Shoji Arts is permanently closing

a closing letter (as emailed on July 16, 2022)

Dear friends,

I so appreciate your being with me through the twists and turns of fate, life and healing arts, over the months or years.

This letter is to announce the “soft closing” of Shoji Arts next week.  I am sorry I did not give more notice to those of you who may have wanted a final booking, but all bookings with the team are closed.  We will conclude next Sunday, July 24th with a beautiful couple’s Thai massage as the final session in the Shoji Arts name, life and legacy.

It has been an inspiring undertaking with a lot of learning!  Shoji Arts was technically born in Ithaca in July 2018 and around until November 2019, then relaunched in the pandemic in downtown Ithaca from March 2021 until now.  The business has been good to me and has served me very well, and I was happy to see Shoji Arts “go out with a bang” with a highly collaborative twist at the end, exposing a glimpse into the community created in our boutique expressive healing arts studio for shiatsu, Thai massage, yoga, Cuban dance, tarot and beyond.  I am grateful for the healing presence of Charlene Konkankit, Catherine Stone and Clara Nieto, our team at Shoji Arts.

I also couldn’t be more grateful to all of you, who’ve cheered, who’ve booked, who’ve supported and sustained this.

Some of you may be in the know that on May 31 I was invited to an assignment in Southern Spain to be a language and culture assistant in a k-12 school in exchange for a visa, health insurance and stipend.  The official start of the program is October 1st and it goes through the school year, with terms and conditions for the visa to be renewed.  Right now I’m in the midst of applying for the study visa through the Consulate General of Spain in New York, and I’m crossing my fingers that it will all be processed swimmingly and that I’ll land in Spain for the assignment.

Regardless of what happens, I have made the decision that it is time to conclude Shoji Arts.  I would like to release its name, life and legacy off into the universe for the good to bear its fruit.  Setting up and closing a business is a lot like setting up and closing a shiatsu session.  First, there is the setting of the space.  Then, giving service.  Then cleaning up and following up.  Then the effects of the session sink deep into the tissue far after the session.

I’ve based my living, however humble, in massage, dance and yoga for the last 20 years.  I am ready to make a change and untether from physical based work in physical based locations.  It is my hope that with the shift in geography and culture, I will also make a gradual shift in the future of my work and pivot to working online as a life coach.  The very last newsletter from this email list will be to invite you to opt in to a new mailing list from scratch (that won’t be mailchimp).  I’ll be building a new website from scratch and once it’s live, you can decide whether or not to follow along my next journey and project, which I foresee gradually becoming the life coaching business.  But we shall see.

You may be asking, Why Spain?  And why now?  I look to make a change.  And I look to live in a warm and sunny place.  Having grown up in the South, the warmth I was accustomed to as a child in Texas and Florida is something I am ready to feel year-round again.  And there is a lot to be said for the decision to live in another country, learn another language and immerse in another culture.  I don’t think it’ll be easy, but I think of all places to try, Spain is a place I’ve established a relationship.  My first trip there was 10 years ago, in 2012, when I landed in Malaga and traveled with my friend through Granada and Seville en route to Portugal to see my yoga teachers.  It was my first time in the Iberian Peninsula, and since then, I’ve been back several more times.  Spain calls me however so, even if 10 years ago I could not conceive ever wanting to live there or learn Spanish.

I don’t know if Spain will be my forever place, or just a cultural experience to embrace for its time, but I want to give it my best, change my story and change my life.  The basis of healing I’ve found for me is just finding myself, and in a way searching for myself.  That story and that search continues.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for Shoji Arts.  It has been an utmost blessing to work with you in the capacities of healing touch, shiatsu, Thai deep tissue massage and yoga, to work so closely with your bodies and energies and the stories of your lives.  May we continue our work together whether we’re near or far.

Please note: Charlene will continue to work privately in Ithaca with clients whom she has already worked with previously. Feel free to reach out to Charlene at the email address for a limited time, until September 1, for requests, until that email subscription is cancelled.

Much love,

Shay’s recent passport photos
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Shayna Grajo