the tale of two estheticians

by blogasana on March 24, 2011

You have to pick:


You can go to an esthetician who treats you like a queen — offers you flavored water, has a beautiful, serene spa and may be the nicest person you’ve ever met. You don’t love the products, she does a fair job on a facial and charges a whole arm and your first born.


You can go to an esthetician who charges half that, whose products you love, who rocks a facial, but her professionalism, atmosphere and pampering leave you feeling far less than special.

Which one do you choose?


You can go to Targ-Mart (aka the big box store of your choice) and save on time, convenience and the dollar for items mass made in China with an unknown impact on the environment.


You can go to three different local small businesses and pay close to double for items made in the U.S. in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Which do you choose?


You can go to a yoga studio with slick design and marketing owned by a person with confirmed slimy business practices and take classes with an instructor you do not respect as a person but who is a fantastic asana teacher.


You can go to classes with a teacher you adore as a person, whose classes are technically not very polished or skillful in a studio that is modest and lacks business finesse.

Which one do you choose?


No, you can’t have them both — sometimes the wonderful and kind esthetician does not give the best facials.

Yes, there’s all kinds of gray area here. But play along — no ifs, ands or buts. Which do you choose?


We may be feeling now more than ever the power of money. The power of choice.

And the truth is not everyone will make it. What if your choice puts the other person out of business? What if your choice keeps one in business?

Does it depend on what’s at stake (would you put up with a callous doctor because she could save your life)? On what you really want to buy (being treated like a queen vs. a great facial)?

Are you ready to own that kind of responsibility and power?

Photo credits: barbie, china, angry yogis.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Leili Learning Life March 24, 2011 at 3:47 am

Oh wow… Gosh. So much to ponder there, I don’t really have a response. My immediate thought is that I assumed the answers to these questions to be much easier — isn’t the decision that feels the most harmonious to me the one that is beset for my situation, best for the planet, etc.? Well no, of course not. Hmm.

I’ve picked up a couple of books from the library that I think may (or may not) touch on the questions you’ve raised: “The New Good Life” by John Robbins and “The Soul of Money” by Lynne Twist. Not sure when I’ll ever get to them, but I’m curious to see if they continue your conversation.


Leili Learning Life March 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I thought about this more this morning. What came up was the idea of intention and being clear about what it is that you value and want. If I want to be pampered and treated like a queen, then maybe an expensive spa experience is what I want. Or if I’ve made a commitment to reducing waste and going green, I might scour every garage sale and thrift store until I find the rice cooker/chair/whatever I want — and it will be worth it over the convenience of buying from a big box store.

When I came out of my cleanse, one of TJ’s instructions was to be deliberate: specifically about what I ate, but I practiced making deliberate choices in asana, in my leisure time. Being deliberate is hard. And now trying to be deliberate as a consumer is harder still — buying things that I need (though “need” may be to fulfill some aesthetic or sensory need), being specific about where I buy from. Being mindful about purchases, and the reality of the influence of my actions as a consumer…


blogasana March 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm

a beautiful answer, leili. yes, being deliberate (conscious, mindful, aware) IS hard! glad we’re in this together. =-)


Nancy A March 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I chose the less fancy but kinder environment. In fact I do that EVERY time I go to a studio around me because I got tired of attitude and biz practices I didn’t respect where the teacher was wonderful. Now I practices less modestly in a place where they adore their students, they put people first and live their yoga. That is way more important to me than someone who can work my body into Scorpion b/c they are a technically great teacher.


Nancy A March 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm

that would be I practice not I practices. sigh. too much teaching, too little sleep ;-)


geanette March 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm

My choice is… what’s “right for me” and my intention in the moment. After a quick read, my response would be easy… I’m not a fan of a facial… so if I go it’s not for relaxation it’s for a purpose…. That’s “right for me”. Big box stores, they have a purpose for specific things “for me”, however I often choose based on a desire to support local. Finally, Yoga… I have to respect the person teaching the class. Unpolished, that’s me. I’ve been there! I can’t judge based on tiny details if my mind and body are benefiting from the practice. Shady business owner… NOT “right for me”… no matter the teacher.

Although I’m ot to take all of the points so literal. For me, I’ve found a little peace from not taking everything so serious but to really listen for that inner voice… what is “right for me”?

P.S. Loving the thought provoking posts ;)


Kelley M March 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Are these questions gonna be on the final? :)


blogasana March 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm

yep :)


Valerie Dreher March 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Get question. I believe of going for quality not quantity. Just like in lending I tell me client ulitmately you will pay about the same so you really want a loan officer with good intention and a smile to keep you calm during these stressful events.
Thanks Michelle.


Cassidy Castleman March 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

Are these trick questions??? The answers for me a very clear.

The qualities you describe in the first esthetician, store, and yoga studio all seem like cotton candy- there is no real substance in flavored water and ass kissin’, or low prices and convenience, or image without integrity, or a talented teacher that lacks character.

The qualities you describe in the second group of businesses, on the other hand, reminds me of the advice my granny gave me about loving a woman. She told me, ” you must love the pimples too.” And I believe its true that the unique imperfections and quirky personality traits of people are often their most endearing qualities. That’s the good stuff right?

Well isn’t the same thing true of a business?

The image that comes to mind for me are two apples:

One is big, shiny, and perfectly shaped.

The other is smaller, oddly shaped, and not nearly as shiny or attractive at first glance.

Which one will taste better? The answer is clear for me!


Kim March 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Wow…way to put it out there sister. What a provocative series of questions.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about “the inner teacher” – that soft little voice whispering from the depths of my heart, so easily overwhelmed by the bellows of “big want” and “convenience comfort.” I love how comfortable convenience is, and boy do I big want, but I notice that when I respond more readily to this louder inner crowd, my wanting doesn’t genuinely feels satisfied, and I’m not really all that comfortable when I’ve opted for convenience alone. For years of my life I searched for the “teacher” – the master guru who would tell me what is best, open me to wholeness, lead me to an awakened state. I have found that teacher, residing within, at the center of all that spins and swirls…so now unfolds the practice of responding to her guidance.


blogasana March 30, 2011 at 12:24 am

wow, such thoughtful comments, you guys! thank you!!

not trick questions :) i think/see that people really do make choices depending on their own needs. sometimes convenience is a need.

@g – love it, lady. unpolished rules!!

@valerie – nothing like a real life example — and one DEFINITELY needs a calm, understanding loan officer!!

@cassidy – oh my god, i love your granny. what awesome advice. i agree that it’s the uniqueness of each person that makes them special. =)

@kim – agh… i hear you. damn, convenience is comfortable. thank you for sharing this… such wisdom and surprise in your comment. =)) have you heard the “gee, you are you” definition of guru?


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