I’m Cassandra Marcella Metzger
I’m a writer, yoga therapist, educator & enthusiastic bullet journalist with big aspirations. Most days you can find me in my favorite city in the world - Washington DC - working to make my dreams a reality, learning, diffusing essential oils, journaling, writing (yeah, there’s a difference), meditating and yoga-ing! Sometimes I dance solo in my apartment with the music cranked up too.
I’m obsessed with the power of good stories, pasta (I’m part Italian!) and comfy elegant loungewear so that I can do my best imitation of a glamorous classic film star on my bad days. (See below).
I’ve lived with an illness for 20 years now, and I’m on a mission to prove that living well while ill is not an oxymoron.
When I got sick in 2000, I could not find what I needed online -
a place that was spacious with possibility,
a place with pragmatic tips that were actually do-able,
a place that offered information I could take in despite the brain fog.
a place that addressed my entire life - mind, body & spirit.
That's why I created
Wellspring Stones ::
the online oasis for those living with illness.
Read on for more!
CASSANDRA MARCELLA METZGER
JD, MA, C-IAYT, RYT
A yogini since 1994 and a teacher since 2002, I'm now a practicing yoga therapist. I teach women living with illness how to redesign their lives so they can have more ease despite disease.
Through yoga therapy, I show women how to befriend their bodies, even when their bodies have betrayed them. Meditation is marvelous medicine to create space for change. (I believe meditation saved my life). I've loved essential oils since the early 1990s. But since I got sick, I’ve mastered how to manage the roiling emotional trauma of living with an illness using aromatherapy. It’s amazing. My latest fav tool is bullet journaling which is a terrific, adaptable method to raise awareness about my body and life, to navigate the mercurial symptoms that pop up, and to help me plan my best life possible!
When I got sick, I was working at PBS Headquarters as an attorney at my dream job with smart people doing important work. I loved my life and career. I had just bought a home. I was in my early thirties and dating and looking for a partner to build a life and a family with. At the end of 1999, I gathered my dearest friends and hosted a great party to celebrate the millennium.
Within months all of that and all my hopes for my future were gone - through no choice of my own. I had chronic pain, and weakness so bad I couldn’t pick up a glass of water, and my sleep was beyond useless. I’d wake exhausted and feeling like an 18-wheeler truck had dragged me around the beltway!
I was mystified. I felt like a rat in a trap that kept coming up against obstacles, and I couldn’t find my way out of the maze. All my education and book knowledge and investigative skills and my type-A personality seemed to be of no help. I’m a Vassar grad and have a masters in creative writing from Johns Hopkins in addition to a law degree. I (obviously!) value the life of the mind but my mind couldn’t figure out what the f*ck was going on! And neither could many of the doctors I saw, including a team at the Mayo Clinic. I had never felt so lost and at a loss.
Doctors diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue, then Lyme disease (with a blood assay to “prove” it) and finally - for good measure - Fibromyalgia. The great trifecta of mercurial, misunderstood and mysterious chronic illnesses. And they were all invisible to the naked eye so, like too many others, my struggles and suffering was made worse by friends and family who didn’t believe me and by some who suggested I just needed to think more positively.
Still over the decades, I have figured out ways to create meaning, grace and joy in my life. I won’t lie. It’s not always been easy. There’s been a lot of spaghetti thrown at the wall to see what sticks and works. (Pasta again!) And I’ve weathered a lot of crises and storms. But I’ve become a very skillful, resourceful and resilient sailor of life, even when powerful riptides pull me away from where I wish to go. And now, as Louisa May Alcott put it in one of my favorite books, Little Women, “I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.”
One translation of a yoga teacher is a darkness dispeller. I love that because yoga dissipated so much darkness for me. Let me dispel darkness for you.
How DOES a Yoga Therapist differ from a Yoga Teacher?
A yoga teacher guides students through a yoga sequence and teaches poses. A yoga therapist focuses foremost on her client's needs to create a responsive practice to relieve symptoms or health conditions. I’ve been a practitioner of yoga since 1994, a teacher since 2003, and certified by International Association of Yoga Therapist as a therapist since 2017.
FROM SICK & SCRAMBLING TO WELLSPRING STONES
Watch a short film about my story…
maybe you can relate.
These woman are my idols. They way they look and lounge while they rest in bed inspires me.
And yeah, okay, they are posing and all, but glamorous stars are the stuff of dreams and motivation, right?
But seriously, thoughts of these glammed up ladies induce me to —
wear something other than pajama bottoms and t-shirts.
cloak myself in fancy robes.
sweep on some velvety red lipstick, even if I’m the only one to ever see it.
spray Chanel No. 5 (which also reminds me of the love of beloved aunt).
wear a fake tiara in bed, just because.
adorn my neck with my jewelry.
pour my blended juice or smoothie or whatever wellness drink I’m imbibing into a cocktail glass.
shower and/or style my hair - if I can muster the wherewithal.
Just because we are sick and stuck at home, abed, for days and weeks doesn’t me we have to forsake all glamour and beauty, now does it?
SOME QUICK ANSWER FUN
After a bad night, to recover I
clear my schedule and take a bath. Or give myself a love rub.
Ahem, that would be a self-massage!
On my nightstand
is a scented candle, a selenite rock, an analog clock, a feather,
and a huge stack of books.
My go-to boredom buster
is television, and boy am I glad we're in a golden age!
My favorite wellness drink
is coconut water, cacoa powder, almond butter, vanilla extract and a banana.
The snack that uplifts me the most
is avocado with cayenne pepper, Himalayan salt, fresh lime juice & cilantro
on a rice cracker or gluten-free toast. Love that!
In a crisis
I call one of my dear friends.
to knit, dance, sing, laugh and cook for a large crowd.
My most sacred object
is my charm bracelet.
I restart my day by
taking a shower if I'm strong enough. Spraying perfume if not.
For a guaranteed laugh
watch John Olivier – finally someone who can make news funny and engaging.
The book that influenced me the most is
it’s really, really hard to say just one. How about 3 – Katherine by Anya Seton, Justine by Lawrence Durrell and The Passion by Jeannette Winterson.
The most beautiful place I’ve ever visited is
the Turks & Caicos.
I wish for
laughter, side-splitting laughter. I look for it every day.
I live in DC because
I can debate current events with anybody I meet. I meet people from around the world. It’s a city where learning and information is valued.
My celebrity girl crushes
Sofia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Meghan Markle,
Helen Mirren, Robin Wright
On my days off, the first thing I do is
grab a novel or a nap.
Words Matter words can hurt as much as sticks and stones.
Companions Count even if they just sit in silence next to you and bear witness. Sometimes especially then.
Tenacity Helps if relaxed and open to possibility.
storytellers, smarts, kindness, dance, dreams, my great girlfriends, community, knowledge, history, poetry, literature, moxy, wit, creativity. Wise old crones and generous teachers. Sticktoitiveness. And Wonder Woman.
to give voice to the invisible, choice-less agony to those living with mercurial, mysterious and misunderstood chronic disease. That's why I volunteered to organize the Millions Missing Visibility Action on the Freedom Plaza here in DC in May 2018. My passion is to create ease, build resilience and spark spirit. And to help those who feel disbelieved and disparaged to be heard, seen and understood.
I AIM TO
inspire and be inspired.
respect experiences, including my own.
trust my instincts.
honor my sensations.
make a safe place to mourn losses.
ask for wonder.
look for more surprises, more adventure, more opportunities.
reveal my heart courageously.
cultivate connection, preferably with delicious meals & lots of wine.
accept help. (yeah, that one is the hardest.)
look for ways to feel and be better.
remember wellbeing is an ongoing pursuit.
seek delight and giggles and belly laughs and tears of joy.
always try to do my best.
forgive. Forgive most of all.
leave the world a better place.