We had the good fortune of connecting with Diane H. Heggen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diane H., how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This is a great question, especially in 2020. Nothing like lockdown to help one focus on work/life balance! I used to work crazy hours in the entertainment industry. Any spare time I had was spent caring for my daughters, so I went to massage school thinking it would be a better part time career, but I just ended up doing both for ten years. Plus I volunteered for everything, falling into Supermom syndrome to the detriment of my self care. I had become addicted to being Busy as a way of avoiding my feelings. I left entertainment seven years ago to focus on my massage and bodywork career while raising my girls. We went through some tough times, but eventually found our groove. I started making lists about what’s important to me, learned to say no, and did my best to make sure others know what I am available for and when and then sticking to it. I call it a practice and every day I endeavor to do better. This year gave me a nice chunk of time to get a solid meditation/mindfulness practice going and it has really paid off. I often look at this practice as a recovery from Busy addiction. The practice is a form of self love and healing. The trick for me is not spiraling into shame when I “fall off the wagon” and gently nudging myself back towards a healthier schedule. Most times I’m walking alongside the wagon, sometimes I find the sweet spot and take a ride for a bit, but the Busy will find me and knock me off. The trick is to not lose my momentum and just get back on. I kinda got knocked off when I returned to the spa last month, but quickly realized I was getting swept up in the over activity again. I looked over my schedule and made sure to put aside a day just for me. Sometimes, while trying to relax, I realize how much time I spend time doom-scrolling or mind-numbing and do my best to self-correct in the moment. I’m realizing how much time I can have for myself when I remember to stop wasting it on trying not to feel. Mindfulness and meditation are the best tools to bring me back into balance.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been a massage therapist for over eighteen years, but for ten of those years, I could only do massage on nights and weekends because I still had a corporate desk job during the week. It was scary and challenging to contemplate just doing massage for a living because the income tends to be less predictable and would put me in charge of all the variables that come with working for yourself. When I lost my desk job, I spent a year trying to get back into the entertainment industry, but ultimately realized my old position was unstable due to the rise of streaming services and other new tech. Suddenly, instead of dipping my toe into the field of body work and holistic healing, I was pushed into the deep end. I didn’t know how to market myself as a massage therapist, so I got a job at a corporate spa and stuck around for five years as I figured things out. During that time, I also worked for a few different chiropractors, slowly building up my private practice to supplement my income and create a more solid standing in my new field. My greatest passion is Craniosacral (CST) therapy. I received my first CST session almost 30 years ago and it changed my life: I went in with digestive issues, low back pain and regular migraines and walked out feeling pain free. The results lasted years and it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to learn more about this technique. Today I am an advanced CST practitioner, a regular teaching assistant and study group leader for the Upledger Institute. I consider myself a lifelong student of this work that helps people become more connected to their bodies, more centered and calm. Marketing myself has always been my biggest challenge; I often rely on word of mouth from my regular clients to generate new ones. The down-side of working for corporate spas is they often require that you don’t market yourself to clients, which can make it even more difficult to build up regular private clients. I’ve found great success in my partnerships with chiropractors, where I can market myself for appointments both in and out of office, and I hope to one day open my own private practice where I can support other therapists in a similar way. My dream is to open a maternity-centered office with an emphasis on not only pre-natal therapy, but continuous support and healing for mothers and their families. As a single mom and a therapist, I understand all too well the struggles many women and their bodies face, especially in under-served parts of our community. While Covid has definitely put many of my plans on pause, quarantine has been a great opportunity for me to develop into the massage therapist I’ve always wanted to be, helping people manage their stress and stay better connected to their bodies. Once the new year starts, I’m planning to start a TikTok or Youtube account where I can share tips on how to create more ergonomic setups, since working from home has created new lines of tension, pain, and headaches for so many.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a funny question for 2020, isn’t it? Funny and sad. Who knows how many of my favorite places will still exist when all is said and done? Here’s hoping everyone will survive and thrive into 2021. First stop for anyone coming to Los Angeles for the first time is the beach. I love this strip of beach next to Zuma that we used to call “Free Zuma” back in the day because you don’t have to pay for parking (if you get there early enough). Lunch at Barney’s in Brentwood, a tiny cafe for expensive burgers that are worth every bite. Go for a hike to work off the fries at Los Liones Canyon where your reward is an ocean view and a bench to rest on. When we get back to the valley, we will stop by the Sherman Oaks Galleria and stand with Valley Of Change. Catch a movie at the Arclight and a late night bite at Versailles in Encino for delicious garlic chicken. Next day, I would visit Pasadena Lovebirds Cafe for delicious baked goods and drop by Vroman’s Bookstore for a coffee and a long visit because there are so many things to see and buy there. Off to San Marino to Huntington Botanical Gardens and Museum. Lunch at Nine and Nine Thai Food in Pasadena. Hike Eaton Canyon in Altadena. Drive over the Colorado Street Bridge at sunset. Dinner in Eagle Rock at Casa Bianca Pizza Pie. Breakfast in Glendale at Regent Coffee where the beans are curated like a fine wine. Stroll down to the Americana for shopping. Lunch at Cilantro, delicious and fresh Mexican food. Hike off the tacos up at Brand park where we can take pretty photos and visit the old library. Lots of history there. Dinner at The Counter in Studio City where the service is amazing and the food is customizable and delicious. Late night massage at Squeeze, best massages in town! Breakfast coffee at Peets in Studio City and a visit to Bookstar before going for a hike on Fryman Canyon. Lunch at Toshi sushi in north hollywood, best sushi ever! Catch a yoga class in the late afternoon – sadly, all of my favorites have moved on – well born lifestyles and black dog yoga were two of the best. I hope they have new homes next year. On our way to the airport, a stop by Johnnie’s Pastrami in Culver City. Delicious way to end your LA trip!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
While many mentors and teachers come to mind, I think it all started with my friend and chiropractor Patricia Ebert. When I was looking for advice about which path to follow after my entertainment career, she suggested I check out massage school. She provided an office and patients for me to work with, and has always been my cheerleader. There have been several books that really helped inspire me along my journey: “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks, “Aware” by Dr. Daniel Siegel, “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., and “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero, as well as nearly all of Carolyn Myss and Brene Brown’s work. I am also a huge fan of positive psychology, but there are way too many books to list here! I am also incredibly grateful to my many teachers and mentors from the Upledger Institute, my amazing daughters, and my partner for their ongoing love, encouragement and support.