Greetings and welcome to the first posting on our new blog site!
If I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting you, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. William Kelley, and I am the owner and one of the practitioners at the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center in downtown Rutland, Vermont. But this blog is really not about me at all--it's about you. Or, rather, it's about the current state of wellness in the world, and how you can find a "home" in our wellness community. Whether you are brand new to thinking about holistic wellness, or you are a holistic wellness expert in your own right, the Pyramid is a place for everyone to come together and teach and learn with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of EVERYONE's life.
The story of the Pyramid is very interesting, actually. (And you can read more about it at our website, http://www.pyramidvt.com/.) Basically, to sum things up, I was working at a small liberal arts college doing a job I absolutely loved, but feeling the deep yearning to do something more. As a psychologist/mental health counselor, hypnotherapist, musician, fitness instructor, and Reiki Master Teacher, I've had a wide variety of work-related experiences in my past, and I knew that there was somehow going to be a way for me to combine all of my interests into one career. So one day while raking my leaves, I just asked. It's amazing how we sometimes forget that we have the ability to get the answers we need--often just from the simple task of asking. So I asked for some guidance...some direction...I meditated on it, and as I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth, I saw a "vision." It was a row of practitioner spaces, and although I didn't know where it was, I did know that it was a new kind of place for Vermont...a place that combined everything I love to do, but also had tons more practitioners, and we would all come together to create a place of peace, where everyone would be welcome.
From there, I just started talking to my friends about my vision, and piece by piece, things fell into place for the Pyramid to start. There is obviously a lot more to it that I won't drone on and on about...I understand what are exciting details to me are probably not as exciting to everyone else. (I'm happy to talk with you about more of the details if you like, though!) Suffice it to say that to me, it was like magic the way everything came together...and the calling for me to do this became stronger.
Although no job is really, truly, 100% safe these days, I felt like I left a rather safe and comfortable position at the college to do this. I wouldn't say it was my dream...more like my mission. And I recognize it was a huge risk at the time, but I wasn't scared at all. I didn't have any doubts, because I knew on some level that this was all going to work because it was supposed to work. At the risk of sounding insane, I do know that I was being directed and assisted in allowing the Pyramid to develop. It was miraculous. But even more miraculous was the way everything came together to allow this to happen.
At each step of the way, the exact right person has shown up in my life. I needed the confidence to get this started, and then BOOM! There is Pat Murphy who tells me that there is no reason why this cannot happen now. Although it was work, the finances all fell into place and the right location at the time opened up at the exact perfect moment. All of my friends (Mara, Mark, Martha, Brian, Becky, Matt, and so many more!) pitched in to help with the initial building of the Pyramid...it was amazing. And then those who would become the core of the Pyramid staff--Margaret, Josh, and Darya--each ended up crossing paths with me in different and interesting ways, and "coincidentally" we were all in a position to be able to immerse ourself in the development of this very special place. Along the way, other people have come and just at the right time added their energy to push us to the next step...Traci, Darci, Karen, Jane, Alison, Bryn, Kammie, Gianna, Lina, Zach, Scott, Raven, ...and the rest of the gang each came and added their expertise. And as they say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What has emerged over the last two years has been entirely unbelievable! I cannot tell you how much gratitude I feel for each and every person who has helped...and for all of the clients who have helped us stay afloat through good times and bad.
Certainly our very well-publicized catastrophe (when the downtown Rutland area was flooded on June 14, 2008) is familiar to anyone who lives locally--and this caused us to have to move to our new location. While it was certainly a trying time, like most traumatic events, they do lead to something positive on the other side. Forcing us to move gave us the opportunity to re-build the Pyramid--having had the benefit of being open for almost a year, we knew what worked and did not work in the old location, so we were able to rebuild. And it was our goal to make the new Pyramid (which we call "P-2") bigger, stronger, better, and even more affordable.
You see, center to our philosophy about wellness is that it should be affordable. We are completely turned off by elitism that exists in our industry...especially when it comes to Americans who do not really understand the ancient history of the modalities they practice. For example, take Yoga...many Yoga instructors have a very strong elitist attitude...only taking Yoga from certain instructors who have trained in a certain style of Yoga or with a certain instructor. But Americans have only borrowed Yoga from India...and unfortunately borrowed only the parts of it that fit with American ideas about wellness. So many peoples' experience with Yoga is just doing the physical asanas or breathing--yet they do not even know about the other principles of Yoga. In short--many people are totally missing the point of Yoga because they are so caught up with who taught whom. At the Pyramid we only have instructors who have excellent credentials--but our instructors have down-to-earth attitudes that make the whole system of Yoga achievable to our clients.
Beyond our desire to eliminate elitism, we also work hard to keep costs down while operating a sustainable, environmentally-friendly business. Naturally we are a business when it comes down to it, and we have to pay our expenses and eat, but the philosophy at the Pyramid is that if we have many things going on at once, all of these things can share the operating expenses, and therefore we can afford to offer products and services at lower prices. Our classes, for example, are $6 each...and I have had the situation where in my Yoga class, there is a billionaire sitting next to someone who scraped quarters from the laundrymat floors to be able to pay for class. And for that hour, socioeconomic matters do not matter--we are all just people trying to achieve and maintain wellness. Our services are also incredibly reasonable for a small city downtown...most services are $30 or $60 per hour. And you may be able to find less expensive services if you go to individuals, but when you come to the Pyramid, you get a lot of extras...such as top-notch customer service, a comfortable, peaceful waiting area, and other perks that you would not get elsewhere. At the Pyramid, you are a person--and we look at you that way. We try to get to know you. And our mission is that every single person who enters the Pyramid will leave feeling a little bit better than when they arrived.
In addition to cost, we have created one of the most unique menus of wellness services around, focusing on all areas of total fitness. So whether you are interested in improving your physical fitness by working with a trainer or taking Pilates or Yoga, or you are interested in improving your health by working with our homeopathic doctor, acupuncturist, or one of the ten massage therapists...or you are interested in improving your emotional wellness by working with one of our six highly-trained and experienced counselors or hypnotherapists, the Pyramid is here for you. Since we are open seven days a week and offer daytime, evening, and weekend appointments, we can meet with you at your convenience, not at ours. Please see our website for our complete line-up of services.
One thing we love to do it put together a mini-spa day for individuals or groups. Because we have everything right here and our prices are affordable, for less than what you might expect to pay for one hour at an expensive spa or clinic, you can spend a whole day at the Pyramid. So let us know what you like to do, and allow us to create the perfect mini-vacation for you!
Our salt cave is currently only one of two public caves in North America that use Himalayan salt. (Although as I write this, more caves are being built!) There are other caves in Chicago, Miami, and Toronto that use other forms of salt...but nothing is as pure or healing as Himalayan salt. And with North America's foremost expert on Himalayan salt on our staff (Dr. Margaret Smiechowski), you are in good hands here whether you are just using the cave for relaxation, or you are using it under the supervision of a doctor for a medical condition. Regardless, the salt cave is just one of the many things that makes our Center special.
Or if you are looking for truly unique gifts that will help improve the wellness of your loved ones, the Pyramid Wellness Marketplace is a shopping destination! Filled with 90,000 products, our items are all one-of-a-kinds. You will find things here that are not usually available in rural areas like Vermont. From our hand-dipped incense (which are more subtle for those with sensitivities to chemicals!) to our amazing collection of books published here in Vermont, to the music CD's, Yoga DVD's, and our extensive collection of gems and crystals, you will find something for everyone here. In general, our prices are amazingly affordable...lower than most similar stores. However, we also believe in old fashioned values of taking care of the customer...so with some of our items, we have them in the store even though they are more expensive because they are of the highest quality, or we really support the person or company who sold us the items because of their business values. In other words, I will happily sell you something at a higher price than the store across the street if it came from a company that created it with care and treated us right during the sales process. Regardless, you can come to the Pyramid and shop in the tranquil, bright, open Marketplace...forget the crowds...allow our staff to help you find just what you are looking for.
The other great thing about the Marketplace is that we will not sell any homeopathic or other remedies that could be harmful to you. Other stores claiming to be "holistic" or "homeopathic" place these items on their shelves without fully understanding what they are selling...and without anyone on staff who has a lifetime of knowledge. At the Pyramid, every person behind the counter is also a practitioner...and all of the practitioners here have dedicated their lives to holistic medicine.
Unlike pharmacies who sometimes advertise themselves as being "holistic," we don't make our money off the sales of prescription medications. We actually make our money by providing a really high quality service at reasonable prices--by caring about seeing that our clients actually get matched up with products and services that will be helpful--not harmful.
And it is truly the people at the Pyramid that make the difference...our practitioners and instructors are truly amazing. Every day I cannot wait to get to work to see my coworkers who I feel are my friends and adopted family. We have so much fun together. Don't get me wrong--we work very hard...but in this caring environment that has formed here at the Pyramid, it is hard to feel like we are working.
We are truly blessed to be able to be part of this amazing center.
But our work is hardly done...for now that the Pyramid is built (and rebuilt), the next phase of our existence is really dedicated to education. And that is in part why we have started this blog. Have you ever read a newspaper or magazine and found contradictory information about health? Of course you have--because wellness is in many ways an art, not a strict science. We call it medical "practice" rather than medical "perfect"--the so-called experts in our society are at best caring humans who want to make a difference...but the human body is so complicated that one field of study cannot pretend to answer it all. In many ways, we live in the best of times because we have the knowledge and technology of today--but we also have the ancient wisdom. And the best practitioners I know live in modern times but are able to blend the best of both worlds. We at the Pyramid have a strong respect for Western medicine...but we also have a strong respect for the ancient wisdom of our ancestors. And we believe strongly in the benefits of holistic wellness rather than just treating someone's symptoms.
More importantly, we believe that there is so much misinformation out there about wellness--much of it even potentially harmful. Companies trying to sell you products and services will say just about anything within what is allowed by the FDA to make you give them money. They bank on the idea that humans want the quick fix.
So please check back on our blog site regularly for more information. I will often post information as I get it that is reliable...and I will welcome your comments and questions. From time to time I may also post relevant information from other experts in the area and beyond...regardless, you can count on this blog site as a place for good, solid information.
If you've read this far, you probably have been sitting at the computer for too long...now, go stretch or drink a glass of water.. ; ) Thanks so much for reading, and we are so glad you've joined us on the quest for wellness!
Dr. William Kelley
Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center
120 Merchants Row
Rutland, VT 05701