Since stepping back from consumerism, I’ve realized that I used to stuff my schedule with questionably meaningful pursuits. Acquiring, tending to, making, and selling stuff takes a lot of time. At first I was disconcerted by these new blocks of freedom, and I felt an urgency to do something “productive.” Instead of rushing into new pursuits, though, I left the space open to see what would come. As a result, I’ve discovered a community of people also committing to slowing down to revel in what really matters. In the days since I started my Year of Nothing New, I’ve had the great fortune to connect with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
November started with one of those influential encounters. Ashley, from Milagro Midwestern Spa invited me into her space for a massage and a chat. I’d passed by the downtown Overland Park spa occasionally, peering in with cautious curiosity. Milagro once carried a lot of lovely locally made goods and ethical brands. I often feel oddly awkward walking into an independent retailer’s space because, while I want to support the local business, I also don’t want to buy superfluous things, no matter how lovely they are. So, I reluctantly admired Milagro from the sidewalk instead.
Now, I wish I conquered my fear sooner because walking into Milagro is like stepping over the threshold into absolute peace. I was running late, and the energy in the bright and airy space made me pause and make room for contentment right away. Their website opens with this invitation:
“Life is crazy. It’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what’s important.
Find yourself and remind yourself. At Milagro.”
The invitations to rediscover the essential are subtly powerful at Milagro. The space is simple and warm, and there are none of the ubiquitous plastic bottles of potions and serums touting to make all patrons better versions of themselves. At Milagro, the message is that you are the “just right” version of you.
I sat briefly in the lounge waiting for my massage and noticed that the typical stacks of worn fashion magazines were absent. Instead of halfheartedly leafing through “10 Ways to Look Instantly Slimmer” or “The Fashion Must-Haves for Fall,” I read a children’s book about ee cummings. I glanced around and noticed that all of the literature offered at Milagro is inspiring and affirmative. I love how thorough Ashley is in creating a space to unplug and just be. Nothing at Milagro urges visitors to do more or aspire to something else.
That positive energy continued with my massage. Steph has a true gift, and I feel so blessed that I had a chance to experience her healing touch. The tension rolled from my rigid shoulders. I often avoid spa treatments because I’ve been chastised for not wearing sunscreen or skipping yoga. I also struggle to refuse the pile of products most spas want me to schlep home. That’s a big part of a traditional spa’s revenue stream, and I hate saying no.
With Steph, there was no scolding and no pitch. At the end of my treatment, she pointed out the showers and tea selection as she escorted me back to the lounge. She grasped my hands and said, “Take a seat and relax. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.”
You are welcome.
We rush around so much that truly welcoming others is revolutionary. Restaurants want to turn tables, retailers want shoppers to efficiently and quickly move through their space, and “time is money” rules our world. The idea of inviting a patron to linger is radical and refreshing. When the norm is to clamor for more, simplicity is mutiny.
A progressive commitment to less underscores everything about Milagro. Ashley approaches her business with a deep sense of purpose and some lofty ideals, and it works. She has stripped away the shelves of products and extra stuff and offers a space to unplug and recharge. With her ingenue complexion and eyes that shine with the wisdom of an ancient soul, she is magnetic. I can see why people are flocking to her concept of wellness and calm. In a sea of excess, Milagro offers a soothing balm of just enough.
Ashley doesn’t want to sell you anything. She shared her vision for a space where people could pop in to enjoy some peace and linger as long as needed. She seemed unconcerned with pushing her already rapidly growing spa client base, and instead triumphantly shared stories about people just stopping by on their lunch break to unwind in the lounge.
Her goal is to entice people into Milagro to relax. There’s no “stop in so we can sell you something.” They just want visitors to really find the time to find themselves.
It’s amazing how, when the marketing chatter stops, patrons are free to discover and decide what they really want. The absence of any sales pitch at Milagro puts the focus on the treatments. With no distractions, visitors can immerse themselves in the experience, and that is more than enough to make them want to come back. When services are really that good, you don’t need to pad revenue with tiny pots of eye cream.
Beyond the blissfully relaxing treatments, the spa is a haven of calm. Milagro isn’t tied to any skincare brand. Instead, they make their own simple products from pure ingredients like clays and essential oils at their Maker Counter. At the beautiful skincare bar, visitors can build a blend as perfect as they are. The ingredients are straightforward, and the products are amazingly affordable. There is absolutely no pressure to buy, and there doesn’t need to be. The wonderful, nourishing ingredients are beautifully displayed and the the idea of replacing an exhausting skincare regimen with a custom blend or two is irresistible. Milagro doesn’t need to pitch their skincare concept because most people realize it’s exactly what they’ve needed all along.
The rest of the space offers the enlightening books from the lounge, a few shelves of beautiful cards, and an inviting “snail mail” station complete with stamps. I wanted to stay all day. I am so grateful for the invitation to unplug and linger, and my conversation with Ashley was as rejuvenating as my massage.
In most of the world, and though much of history, spas offer calm and relaxation. Somehow, we developed this concept where pores need minimized and every last hair removed. Often, a visit to a spa comes with a heavy load of new products and a sinking sense of inadequacy. Milagro has stripped all that away. Their focus is on reducing the burden and inviting the lightness of peace.
Ashley asked me if I’d had any “aha moments” that led to my conviction to buy nothing new. I shared a couple of experiences, but I feel that visiting Milagro was the epiphanous moment when my commitment made sense. I didn’t quite understand just how taxing consumerism is on our souls until Ashley shared her brilliant alternative concept with me. Milagro and Ashley’s radically simple and refreshing goals set the tone for my whole week.
The treatment menu is affordable and worth it, too. Even though I’m not buying new things, I still like finding ways to celebrate the people I love with presents, and Milagro gift cards are going to be one of my go-to gifts for sure. I would love to be able to give a new mom or an overburdened friend the invaluable gift of space to find and celebrate their own calm. I’m hoping to curate a list of landfill-free gifts soon, and so I am so pleased I discovered Milagro.
I hope you will be braver than me and just pop into Milagro sometime. Let this be your invitation to experience the perfect energy and honest warmth Ashley and her associates have to offer. Whether you schedule a massage or just want to write a letter, Milagro will welcome you.