Five years ago I was gifted what would turn out to be one of the greatest opportunities of my life.
My new husband, Dr. Janowski, was looking to make a change, and so was I. He had been helming Sonata solo since it’s inception in 2004. His technical skill was there and he could give his patients the results they were looking for, but he knew his clients needed more.
I was working as a staff trainer at the Denver Zoo. Prior to that, I’d been a high school teacher, and even prior to that, a college professor. I loved to serve and saw myself as someone who could bring great love and compassion to my work. But, I was pretty lost. I wanted to do more. I wanted to write more. I wanted to lead others. I wanted to grow bigger than I thought possible.
We both saw the potential in aesthetic medicine. More than just being about superficiality, partnering with people to help them live confidently was good work.
I also had an idea I wanted to try, and a notion about how to create a literal space where people could feel loved, cared for, and radiant. I called that idea loving kindness.
In my early 20s, I had spent much time meditating, at retreats, and teaching yoga. At the end of almost every class I taught, I offered the loving kindness meditation:
First you start by imagining someone you love, and you offer them love and kindness.
Then you imagine someone you don’t know very well, but have neutral feelings for, you picture them, and you offer them love and kindness.
Finally, you imagine someone you dislike, and you offer them love and kindness.
In this way, you are offering the world your loving and kind vibrations, your wishes for peace, and your intention to fill the world with love.
I think part of the reason this meditation means so much to me is because it literally saved me. At the same time I was teaching yoga and meditating, I was also going through a very rough divorce. When I got to the part about imagining someone you hate and offering them loving kindness, I always pictured my ex-husband, who at the time, I felt had destroyed my heart. At first, I couldn’t even bear to imagine him experiencing love or kindness. It was a stretch for me to even picture him without getting angry.
Over time, however, the anger faded, and I could more easily imagine his face without hatred. And after even more time, I could send him love and kindness energetically. This didn’t mean I called him up and took him to dinner, but at least, in my heart, I could have some peace about a tough time in my life.
In our office, and in the new role I had assumed, I already knew the power of loving kindness in my life and in my heart. I wanted to see what could happen if loving kindness was brought in to a physical space and a business ethos. In some ways, loving kindness was a very easy fit – we were a medical office and our mission was to care for people. In other ways, though, the focus on creating loving kindness in our interactions took a little bit more work.
I didn’t have a grand vision for how loving kindness would work – and I didn’t know how big of an impact I could make – so I started small. I worked first on our physical space – making it more comfortable and welcoming, with little touches that reflected this care. When I started to get feedback about how much our amazing patients appreciated these little things – I thought a little bigger. I started to share a little bit more about our staff – and what made them so special. I wanted people to know how much the people who worked with them cared about what they did. When I saw the love reflected back from patients when they felt a more human connection to us, I thought bigger again.
I thought about what would make me feel good as a client/patient – from hand written thank you notes to follow up calls to appreciative messages. Every time I had an experience where I felt loving kindness, I thought about how I could bring that joyful love to our office, in small and big ways. I thought about what made people come see us, drive long distances, and trust us with their faces and bodies. I wanted people to know how very much we appreciated their faith and trust in us.
To really show that deep appreciation for each client in every interaction took more time – it took training our staff, and seeking out just the right people to work at Sonata. We seek out people with tremendously big hearts and endless energy that can provide you with focused, educated, compassionate, and loving care. And who can work with you, patiently, through any issue or doubt. This takes a special, self-less person who leaves their own issues at the door and throws them self in to the work we do. And I thank God every day that we’ve found those people, here, at Sonata.
In 2014, Dr. Janowski and I became parents to our first child (we now have the gift of raising 2 amazing children), and this experience radically opened our hearts to love. As all parents, and most non-parents know, children show you what love, devotion, and care really is. We were able to experience an incredible part of the human condition – and parenthood gave us more love and joy to share with our clients. With our bigger, more open hearts, we could give more to each one of you.
In 2015, we were able to buy and custom build an office space that would better serve our clients needs. I was able to really design the beautiful, welcoming space I had imagined. We could now have music in every room, a custom scent, artwork that made people feel good, and most importantly, space for our staff to spend more quality, focused time with you.
We hope your experience in our office is reflective of the light we want to share with you.
Now, 5 years in to starting this “job”, I’ve become even more bold in my dream to share loving kindness with our patients. We are able to touch so many people’s lives, and besides maintaining exceptional care from start to finish for each one of you, which is always our goal, I’ve also started to share more about me. My own journey is one of finding loving kindness for myself, understanding my role in the world, and discovering how I can best serve others. In my own personal search, I’ve discovered how important it is for me to live with confidence so that I can share my light with others. It’s a struggle sometimes, and I know it isn’t always easy to push aside the nagging voices of self-doubt in your head and step in to the world to share your gifts. But, I urge you to keep trying. And, I wish for the strength to always keep trying myself.
With the thousands of people I’ve had the honor to meet at Sonata, I have seen how much we can help people to feel more confident – both superficially, and inside their hearts. If we can create a space where you feel loved and accepted – then we have succeeded. And if we can partner with you to help you live more confidently … then that is our greatest honor. My dream would be to help as many people as we can to stare self-doubt in the face, and say, “hey, I claim my face and my body. I live the life I want. I look the way I want to look. And I don’t need to worry so much about my insecurities.” If we can give you more time to be your beautiful self, and to confidently share your gifts with more people, then that makes our hearts’ soar.
I am so full of deep gratitude for the opportunities I have had to share, to experiment, to love, and to serve – and I hope for many more years to share our special light with each one of you. Thank you!