Spiritual Bypassing and our emotional jar – Part 1: A response to Heather Plett

I’m fortunate enough to be a participant in a Holding Space Facilitation Course through the Lighthouse Fund, under the supervision of the organization’s co-founder, Valerie Shayne.  The group meets on a weekly basis, providing a support system of sorts. We have a list of recommended readings which we work through and discuss, enriching the overall experience. Recently we had a session on Spiritual Bypassing, which inspired me to talk about the metaphorical “Emotional Jar” – a helpful tool that I use in my day-to-day life.

The Emotional Jar can be visualized as a physical container that is filled with one’s emotional and psychological strengths. When a trigger happens in life, you are always faced with a choice. You can either work through the experience systematically, facing the turmoil experienced, and reaching a space of inner peace. Or, alternatively, you can bypass it – essentially “sidestepping” any unresolved emotional/psychological wounds, protecting yourself from any emotional discomfort that the pain evokes, without finding inner peace or closure. This is called “Spiritual Bypassing.” With each bypass, over time, we pour some of the content out of our emotional jar and eventually risk depleting it entirely. Our depleted emotional jars are exhibited in our daily lives as coping mechanisms: burn-out, illness, despair, addictions, or even poor eating habits. This unidentified response will present elsewhere! There are many reasons that we choose the “spiritual bypassing” option and that’s okay in that moment. There are times in our lives when being able to cope with emotional challenges simply falls outside of our capacity. What does tend to happen is that we are continually faced with similar challenges until we face the lesson that we need to learn.

Sometimes a good starting point is to deal with the smaller issues, or with issues that have a common thread which can work quite well. It allows us to understand the experience from a broader perspective, and uncover viable solutions within our own internal/external resources. Once solutions bear fruit, this fills our emotional jar to be able to cope with other tasks on a deeper level.  

We can literally choose to deal with an issue on a certain day and time if that is beneficial – tailoring it so that the challenge does not remove any more nourishment from our emotional jar lessening the toll it takes on our day to day lives.  

Response to “The need for a new way” by Athol Williams: Part 2 – Rosalia Cranfield

The saddest part of the current criminal justice system is the inherent judgement that maintains silence between people until it is too late and the damage is done. Unfortunately, this disempowers them from being able to make impactful change. Instead of merely pointing fingers and placing the blame, (both subconsciously and intentionally) making right the wrongs is what really counts. Everyone deserves the space to just “be,” and tell their own story – because we are all guilty of doing wrong at some stage in our lives. At Creative Touch we are actively involved in “re-scripting the orientation of African organisational & societal life.” We believe that through reaching out and creating a space of connection, we are able to facilitate an area which closely reflects positive values, serving the common good through responsible leadership, and clean living. Not only is this transformational on many levels, it also embeds hope amidst damage caused by self-serving decisions, actions and behaviours at all individual levels, even within business and other organisations.

Similar to Athol Williams’ comprehensive reparation plan, we aim to provide people and institutions with practical support, improving the workplace and management experience of staff throughout the South African economy.

In my last blog post we briefly mentioned Chapman’s Languages of Love. In this one we’ll explore them in line with Creative Touch’s ethos.

Within the scope of our Workplace Chair Massage experience, our Corporate Languages of Acknowledgement © help you to go beyond what an ordinary manager would do. Let’s take a look at what this means:

Quality time: Your employee has the full presence of the therapist during their massage treatment.

In addition, they experience safe touch – an inherent need within a space where it is unlikely to be experienced.

Receiving gifts: The Workplace Chair Massage is a novel experience, especially as many staff cannot afford to treat themselves on a regular basis.  Time and financial constraints restrict many people in this regard. Receiving the treatment speaks into self-acknowledgement on a neuro-physical level, as oxytocin is released. The effects of this are even greater when this happens during the course of a work day.

Acts of service: The Workplace Chair Massage demonstrates that the “company / institution / stakeholders / managers” care enough to make the arrangement and to investment in their staff. You are consciously “implementing a remedy”.

Physical touch: The Workplace Chair Massage provides tangible restoration for the receiver.  The therapist adjusts the massage technique to suit the receiver’s unique preference.  Healing takes place on a holistic level, cultivating positive energy for the employee, nourishing creativity, boosting their immune system and improving their ability to cope. In the longer term, this means decreases in absenteeism and boosted office moral and enthusiasm.

Words of affirmation: Seeing the employee as a human being affirms that they are not a number.  70 % of our communication is nonverbal – the Workplace Chair massage treatment affirms that “I appreciate you. You are valued, cherished, and deserving.” The therapist delivers this message through her hands by acknowledging them as a human being, but most importantly she calls you by your name which is scientifically proven to have many psychological benefits.

Let’s filter more love into our lives, starting on an intra-personal level (self-to-self),  in our work environments as well as in our social interactions with others.  Please send your suggestions to me directly at rosalia@creativetouch.co.za (subject heading “Inviting Love”)

Response to “The need for a new way” by Athol Williams: Part 1 – Rosalia Cranfield

The greatest good for everyone involved is what maintains a successful systemic model.

I felt inspired by Athol Williams’ presentation, “An Ethics-Based Approach to Corporate Reparations,” that I attended at The Graduate School of Business in Cape Town recently.  For me, the presentation spoke into the issue of immoral decisions made by individuals that are systemically supported by a whole institution. By doing nothing about a problem, or standing by when things seem to be wrong, you inherently become part of the problem. Both our actions and inactions can impact a situation.

Moreover, people are naturally good, and good people unfortunately can make poor decisions when faced with external pressure / stressors.  Not only does this happen in the workplace, it happens whenever there are interpersonal human relationships. Without seeking to understand where they are coming from, or how they got to that point in their lives it is easy to attack another.  Radical transformation can only occur when we are compassionate.  Providing a space of support and a listening ear, situations can be repaired, and underlying causes identified. Overall, a compassionate approach seeks to reach constructive practical changes, which are far more beneficial to the system as a whole.

The greatest good for everyone involved is what maintains a successful systemic model.  We see it so often when employees are worked to the bone, which adds to the to normalised daily trauma that our staff experience within the context of South Africa, one of the top 5 countries for crime in the world.  So how do we as management best demonstrate to our staff that they are acknowledged and appreciated?

If someone feels like they truly matter, they will go above and beyond everything they do. This is a well known fact. Creative Touch has the simple, practical solution for corporates who want to helping their staff to feel like they matter. Based on Chapmans languages of appreciation in the workplace, Creative Touch has developed the Corporate Languages of Acknowledgement in the workplace ©.

Creative Touch assists your institutional change through the Workplace Chair Massage. These treatments are non-disruptive, short and succinct – tapping into the root of relaxation for your staff.  During the 5 minutes for call centres or 20 minutes for corporates, the workday is uninterrupted and staff may continue working throughout their treatment.  All administration, including scheduling staff and zoning departments, is part of our job.  We literally need your “go ahead” – it’s that easy!

This cost-effective, non-invasive solution not only de-stresses your staff, but also enables you to build your professional relationship with them too. In the act of gifting your staff a monthly Workplace Chair Massage, you are consistently filling their socio-emotional jar. This becomes a place for fond memories of you to sprout, creating (facilitating) an association between the treatment and you. It’s likely that they will begin to think far more highly of you, and if not, it at least gives you a conversation starter and common ground. 😊

If you’re seeking to increase your staff’s productivity, reduce their stress, build the professional relationships within your company, and reduce rates of absenteeism while meeting your CSI responsibilities, take the action! Confirm your booking with us, and we’ll help you to show another side to you.

Quietness is sought, silence is imposed. – Rosalia Cranfield

It is important to understand the difference between silence and quietness.
Silence is imposed through disempowerment, often in a defensive mechanism to ensure survival, coming from a space of helplessness. Becoming silent is a process that can take place over time or during a single experience, especially when a person steps into an unfamiliar territory.   Quietness, on the other hand, is safe, nourishing, tranquil, light, and inherently embodies beauty. Quietness is sought through a process of feeling comfortable and at ease, providing a space for healing to take place. Through my years of experience, it is absolutely essential for a client to be invited into a space of quietness, trust and safety with their therapist.

After my consultation ritual, clients effortlessly discover a place of quietness.  They are able to fully surrender, release their stress, embracing the appropriate healing that happens in my treatments.

As a result of establishing a connection during the consultation, I relax and connect with the client on a holistic level.  I consciously acknowledge to myself they are human in just the same way I am – recognising the “Wabi-Sabi” within each person, their imperfections, pain, past-sufferings, and inherent beauty. Tapping into gratitude for the opportunity / permission of the therapy in a safe environment, I am able to connect on a deeper level to what needs to be done in each moment of the session.  

Energy exists within every one of us, we have the power through choice to decide how to direct that energy.  Energy can either be put to good or to bad, and it is important to find a space for our energy to be directed to that which is for the highest good. Our thoughts play a  big part in the “how” of where we ultimately choose to action our energy. Moreover, our environment strongly impacts the choices we make when directing that energy.

During a massage the therapist transfers energy via their own positive thoughts and intentions towards the client, carried through their hands.  The client then has the opportunity to receive the directed energy, highlighting the importance of creating a safe space through boundaries and values for both client and therapist.  The therapist’s energy connects with the client’s energy. If the intention is to soothe and to relax then the client will be able to enter into a space of quietness, allowing their body to constructively integrate the energy to heal – just like a mother would soothe a baby.

“HOLD ME TIGHT” – SUE JOHNSON: Rosalia Cranfield

Recently, I spent a few days at a close friend’s not too far away from home. I had felt quite shaken by the fire on Lion’s Head on Sunday night – lashing wind fuelled blazing heat which engulfed the mountain above where I live.  The uncontrollable environmental destruction triggered feelings of helplessness in me.  I reached out for social support.

For many years I held onto a conditioned belief that I did not have the capacity to ever live with someone else.  This impacted my approach to relationships and long-term commitments. Vacating my flat, I sought solace at a close friend who invited me in warmly. When I arrived, she showed me to my room and asked if I needed anything. I felt cared for when she briefed me on little things, like how the lights and security system work. I was only planning to stay for the night but ended up staying longer.

I treasured this time with her and I realised how happy and comfortable I felt.  She said that I could stay as long as I liked. Although we’re both independent with busy lives, we shared periods of time together and chatted about the fact that neither of us ever thought it possible to share living space  with another. Importantly, we realised one has to find the right person to share with, whilst being respectful of their boundaries, and feeling safe enough to voice and uphold one’s own – without feeling compromised.

Since getting home to my apartment I realised that boundaries are important to me especially within my attitude toward relationships and love.  We often think about love in a romantic context, but love can also be that support of a kind and caring friendship.
In fact the Greeks had 6 words for different types of love.

A healthy loving relationship has been scientifically proven to have many positive benefits on one’s health and longevity.  Love nurtures, creating feelings of safety, comfort and stimulates oxytocin (which is the cuddle hormone).  Spending time alone is positive in many ways, but ultimately human beings are social creatures.  We seek connection, comfort and harmony in our own environment, just as I had sought out on the evening of the fire. Having someone to interact with helps to quieten some of that haunting negativity that so easily arises when one is caught in a destructive tendency.

I believe that each person needs to be aware of their own “love philosophy” as part of their value system. Awareness of one’s own boundaries and any expectations of the other’s, needs to be communicated clearly and in a non-threatening way. This solidifies the foundations for healthy interactions all-round.


“When to say yes, how to say no, to take control of your life” (Cloud and Townsend, 1992)

Cloud and Townsend give a practical visual impression of boundaries as “lines that separate one’s property from another’s”.  To me, this definition is a straightforward, grounding concept that I can apply in my daily life.  Those “lines of separation” resemble building blocks that root one’s value system, becoming distinguishing factors that separate our responsibility from that of another.  Furthermore, boundaries extend, impacting the decisions that we make based on our ability to say an authentic “No.”

My boundaries have evolved considerably throughout my life.  My biggest transition involving boundaries came about during my early adult years, navigating the shift between tertiary education and working in a corporate environment. This change involved exposure to more people within the work-space, broadening my perspective on life. Instead of only interacting with my family and school friends, I began to establish myself and my boundaries within this new environment.

In my late 20’s I started working as a Somatologist with a prestige guest compliment at the Cape Grace Hotel.  During this time, reflecting on my own boundaries, I went through a process of integrating them within a broader context.  To me, this meant having to navigate my own values in relation to the hotel’s values, whilst meeting the guests’ expectations.

Back then, a key value of the Cape Grace was to “under-promise and to over-deliver on the guest experience” ensuring elements of pleasant surprise, evoking the clients delight.  This maintained the vision of ensuring each guest experienced a “home away from home”.  Navigating a fine line between keeping things too casual and being too professional / rigid, I sought to have a friendly and respectful approach. To me, this meant introducing myself to the guest clearly and professionally whilst maintaining a personable disposition.

Starting each treatment became a ritual. What was usually a customary administrative task became so much more than a mere 5-minute consultation. I used active listening skills coupled with gentle probing questions, which allowed the clients to safely express their needs and feelings to me without interruption.  Based on their responses, I could honour the client’s values, the hotel’s values and my own, synthesising the three whilst ensuring the highest quality treatment for all at that point. In addition, pre-empting guests needs whilst ensuring their optimum levels of comfort during treatments. This enabled me to make sense of the diverse values that I was integrating within this therapeutic context.

Ultimately,  my goal was to mimic that same positive experience of contentment that I experienced as a 14-year old having my first deep cleanse facial treatment.

The positive guest feedback I received mainly mentioned the consultation experience. Right from my first point of contact with the client, boundaries that maintained the values of all parties involved were clearly established. Integrating all three value systems meant that not only did they feel like their needs were being exceeded, I aligned my therapy within the context of the hotel’s world-class spa offering. Oftentimes one feels like this is a daunting or even impossible fusion to achieve, but not only can I tell you that it is completely doable, I can also help you to achieve it within your own offerings.


A Story of Letting Go and Embracing the Future 

“Everything will change when your desire to move on exceeds your desire to hold on.” – Alan H. Cohen

The festive season is an annual celebration period that holds a unique meaning to each human being. To me personally, this season is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, to let go of that which no longer serves me, and to create a preferred future – intentionally. I struggle with goodbye’s so it is necessary for me to feel supported by the people I socialise with over this time of release to maintain my personal Wabi-Sabi.

A dear friend shared “She let go” on Insight Timer with me. The poem is followed by a guided visualisation of one standing on a beach and using one’s index finger to write in the sand what one intends to let go of. It concludes with the sound of water washing away the writing in the sand and watching the words disappear. During the visualisation, the letting go process was simplified by the narrator’s comforting voice and the sound of water washing up to the shore.

From October 2018, I made a habit of listening to the meditation and realised that letting go was not easy. There was conflict between me wanting to let go and me being terrified of allowing myself to let go. It somehow felt more safe to keep the pain that had been my companion for almost a whole year, if not longer.

Over the festive season I put the visualisation into practice on a private beach in Cape Town. The ripples in the beach sand gave me an indication of where the ocean tide reached. I chose to write in the sand what I estimated would shortly be washed back into the ocean. The energetic experience of using my finger to write in the sand became such a powerfully enjoyable practice for me that I wrote more than intended. What ended up being the uncomfortable part was waiting for the water to wash away my words and wash over my feet as was supposed to happen according to the visualisation. Frustratingly, this did not happen as soon as I expected!

The difficult part was standing behind the words that held such significant meaning to me. Focussing on the waves, noticing their continuous inevitable movement helped me to reach an experience of what acceptance meant. I could finally relax into what was happening rather than what I thought should happen.

In that moment, instead of focussing anxiously on the foreboding emptiness, I realised how powerful an opportunity releasing something is. Without letting go I would be unable to welcome in something new. Additional thoughts about letting go came to mind and I decided to write more messages close to my original message. As I became consumed in writing these thoughts, I unwittingly noticed that the water had washed away my first message. I had even partly forgot about what I had written in it – further easing and fuelling my process of letting go.

Over the next couple of days letting go became as easy as writing a message in the sand and walking away, intrinsically knowing and trusting that the ocean would wash it away. That relief felt tremendous… On New Year’s Day I instead wrote my intentions for the New Year in that beach sand. The overall theme emerging from this practice was that it became an act of compassion toward myself, cherishing myself and my process as I would a dear friend.

This exercise challenged me to balance what I do for myself compared to what I do for others. Moreover, keeping promises I make to myself and following through with them. I confidently declare in this blogpost that I promise to learn to speak Italian and intend to go to Italy in Spring. This is how I integrated Wabi-Sabi during this festive season. Stay tuned as I share what fuelled my desire to go to Italy with you in the coming months.

Trust through touch: “Wabi-Sabi” in action – Rosalia Cranfield

“The cure of the part can not be attempted without treatment of the whole” – Plato

I remember having my first deep cleanse facial treatment when I was 14 years old.  I completely fell in love with the experience.
Feeling like my acne was the centre of attention I went in self-conscious and very anxious.  That was swiftly transformed as the therapist abundantly lathered her hands with a cleansing milk and enveloped my face in the nourishing elixir.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I was immersed in the tranquillity of the moment. With a big smile on my face, the delight was palpable as I surrendered, trusting fully in the process. Ever since that day, I wanted to be a Somatologist, creating  an environment that would evoke a similar experience  as that facial did for me. After matriculating, I followed that  dream and trained as a Somatologist at the Adele Institute in Cape Town.  Unfortunately, at that time the earning potential for a Somatologist was low. I worked from home on a part-time basis, simultaneously taking on full-time employment as a legal secretary at a prestigious law firm in Cape Town.

I advanced my massage-training on a regular basis and  developed a passion for therapeutic body work.  In 2000 I started working as a freelance massage therapist at the Cape Grace Hotel, and a few years later I set up their Spa. I created a unique treatment menu in line with the Cape Grace brand.  This incorporated local elements and evoked rituals from the traditional African roots which honour ancient processes of healing for these people.

Over time, I identified a common request from the Spa guests to “Fix me!” Both physical and emotional fatigue was evident in their bodies, caused by prolonged stress. My standard response to these guests highlighted that I could not fix them within a week, ongoing care throughout the year was necessary.  This inspired me to establish Creative Touch.

Creative Touch is my business.  Our  team of therapists provide each employee at various corporate companies in Cape Town a 20-minute massage at the person’s workstation or designated area.  This massage is more than just a sequence of techniques that manipulate the soft tissue of another using the hands. It is a completely integrative approach to each individual’s wellbeing.

Touch is our first experience of trust.  Moreover, when touch is experienced in a safe environment with healthy boundaries in place, healing awaits both the giver and the receiver on various levels.

At Creative Touch we understand that pain is an element of human existence.  We respect the pain of another and know how to just “be” for healing to take place.  Whilst mindful of their own pain, our specialised therapists are able to provide the optimum environment for such synergistic healing to occur without demanding a knowledge of any finer details. True “Wabi-Sabi” in action.

For more info on these curated experiences have a look at these articles:




If you would like a curated treatment for your spa or venue, you may contact me personally:  rosalia@creativetouch.co.za


Wabi-Sabi… Say What?


At Creative Touch we understand that our business and personal lives are connected and that stress in the workplace can manifest at home too. We hope you find our below blog inspirational, for both your personal and work lives. 


“The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole” – Plato.


I recently attended a talk by Professor Dorota Bourne at Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) on Wabi-Sabi Leadership.  The Wabi-Sabi philosophy is grounded in Buddhism and is a longstanding Japanese concept dating back to the 14th Century.


Prior to this experience, I believed that leadership, business success and life were fixed constructs that could be learned through an educational process. However, if that were true, shouldn’t success (or development of one’s highest self) be fairly simple to attain?


With this in mind, I’d like to express how my life-journey has brought me to a place where I am able to connect with Wabi-Sabi authentically and through grace.


To me, Wabi is the experience of hardship, suffering and loneliness, whereas Sabi emphasises the temporary nature of a situation.  Ideally, then, change is both inevitable and visible through one’s pain.


Throughout my life I‘ve had a rigid attachment to ideas, systems and routine. Mistakenly, I believed that my anxiety came from a place of strength that motivated me to work hard. Desperately wanting to be good enough as a single mother, I over-identified with the committed mother archetype and this left me lonely. Instead of keeping me and my loved ones safe, my rigidity resembled impenetrable walls.


Six years ago, in a short space of time, I experienced a succession of losses including my grandmother’s death, and tragically, a long-term separation from my teenage daughter as a result of longstanding and traumatic family conflict.  Pertinent components to my loss compelled me to start a journey of introspection which presented me with countless lessons along the way. Although the lessons have been diverse, I have found that each time I let go of my anxious attachment to an experience I have been able to liberate myself.


Along the way, I have made changes in both my personal and professional life to more accurately reflect the lessons of authenticity, healing and wholeness that have come my way.  I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you.