Life is a series of journeys that in time become stories. Some of these journeys are incredibly long, challenging, and at times painful and yet as always there lies a balance of beauty and direction within them. I do not know how else to describe Melissa other than introducing her as a warrior. A warrior of healing, of love, of peace, of beauty. M. Parke Studio is a testament to all of her dedication to the natural world of healing. Melissas talents are seemingly endless. She is a practiced artist and designer, she has a beautiful jewelry line that will be coming available soon. She is also a trained holistic nutritionist, massage therapist, reiki practitioner , and writer. She does all of this while battling late stage lyme disease. As an advocate for this debilitating disease she finds power in grace. She seeks beauty and she exudes compassion and love in all that she does. M. Parke Studio is a place of loveliness filled with amazing information as well as inspiration. This is just the beginning of a magnificent story and the chapters to come are going to be absolutely breathtaking! Now let me take you on a little adventure into the brilliant mind of this remarkable woman! Enjoy!
What is one of your favorite self-love rituals?
Oh so many, hard to choose just one. And so many that are vital right now in my healing. I would say my entire daily morning routine. It has just become my norm, mostly out of such a strong need and desire to heal from my late stage Lyme disease, but also because I know that without it, I could potentially slip into a relapse. I don't say that in fear, so much as there are times when I've taken a break from it all and I just don't feel as well. It keeps me going that is for sure. And for me, these days, self love = self care. Each morning goes something like this: Warm Lemon, Turmeric, + Probiotic water, Breathwork + Meditation + Intentions, Oil Pulling while I do my Coffee Enema (multi-tasking at its finest), and then my Super Food + Tonic Herb Smoothie, in which the ingredients change daily depending on what my body needs.
Hydrotherapy, and specifically baths, are also absolutely essential to managing my sore muscles. They can be so soothing, so regenerating, so therapeutic. And a time to just relax. Contrast baths aren't as enjoyable as being cold is really challenging for me, however, they are SO effective. The combination of hot + cold dilates and contracts the blood vessels forcing a flushing of stuck toxins and fluids out of my sore joints and is THE MOST effective tool right now that helps me manage pain. I don't quite get to do this quite enough.
If you could go any five places in the world where would you go and why?
- Thailand - for everything. The food, the scenery, the beaches.
- Bali - also for everything.
- Costa Rica - would love to live here some day and just surf all day everyday.
- A roadtrip across the US in my Airstream trailer with my puppy Yula and my beloved.
- A tie between Spain, the south of France, and Italy - all for the food, the smells, the people, the scenery. Such a celebration of living!
If you could take a photograph of the inside of your imagination what would it look like?
A whirlwind of vibrant colors, constantly moving, shifting, changing shape. Ideas bursting into life. A beautiful world where all my spirit + animal guides exist. It never sleeps. My creativity and imagination have always been my lifeline to this existence, and there were many times throughout my illness when neither creativity nor my imagination were working. I felt dead inside. My shaman + healer would always tell me that my imagination is real. So when that part of me came back to life, it was full force and really vivid. And I was alive once again.
Do you have a favorite meal? You can tell us one healthy and one naughty if you would like!
95% of the time I'm on a fairly clean, local, seasonal, immune boosting, super food nourishing diet. But when I indulge, my favorite meal is something Mexican, Indian, or Thai. Fish tacos are my thing. And I could eat burritos all day every day. It's all about the sauces - I adore sauces! And if I could eat Truffle Macaroni + Cheese with Gruyere every single night, I probably would. Or a gooey pizza with caramelized onions, gruyere, mushrooms. Oh and French Fries dipped in a home made Curry Mayo. I have a salty + sweet obsession, so ending the evening with Salted Caramel Ice Cream would be divine. That would be the ultimate for me. And I've never met a Creme Brulee or Coconut Macaroon I didn't adore + savor. I love food!!!
Where did you love of artistic creation come from? Did you love to create as a child?
My parents were very creative. My mother was a painter + landscape designer. And she had a very strong personal style. She saw the world in colors. Chartreuse was her absolute favorite. And my father has always had an amazing eye for architecture and building. My sister is a graphic designer and is amazing with interior design. I was always very creative as a child and that was nurtured in high school and then as an art major in undergrad. I had many imaginary friends growing up and was definitely a dreamer. Still am. If I was quiet or distant, I was usually creating something in my head, a project, a design, a story. It just grew and grew from there. My mother and I used to share studio space. She would paint and I would design my jewelry. But we were definitely muses for each other and would always co-create certain pieces and images. So when she passed, it took many, many years for my creativity to come back to life. I was scared to do it without her. For a long while it was an incredibly dark time trying to navigate this world without her. But I do know now that she is with me always and in all my creations.
What is your jewelry line like? What kind of materials are you working with?
I've had my jewelry line for almost 10 years now and it's definitely taken a few turns. It started out as more fine jewelry using mostly gold. But it's evolved into a celebration of mixed + recycled metals. I love using base metals such as brass and combining it with silver or gold. My pieces have an industrial touch depending on the chain I use, but then combined with really elegant silver or gold charms, it's elevated to something really special and unique. I make mostly necklaces. It's my favorite type of jewelry to wear. And I create them really quite long so the wearer has multiple ways to wear them....across the body, doubled up, layered. I design each piece so that as it moves and shifts throughout the day, there are always unique views in how it ends up falling on the body. All my pieces are meant to be layered together. They are really about movement, draping, and the sweet sound of the charms dangling.
You are an amazing green beauty. Any favorite products at the moment?
Ahhhh so many. This is such a passion of mine and there are such brilliant people paving the way for this vital green, clean beauty revolution. I love and adore different lines for different reasons. I'm not one to promote things that I don't truly believe in and use on a daily basis. I love the entire Pacific line by Hillary of True Nature Botanicals. Just stunning products that are incredibly effective. My favorites are the Exfoliating Cleanser and the power duo of their Vitamin C Capsules mixed with their Retinol Night Serum. Amazing. I'm a huge fan of Chase Pollan and her Kypris Beauty, especially her Moonlight Catalyst and Antioxidant Dew. She is meticulous in everything from her formulations to her ingredient sourcing to testing to her exquisite packaging. I adore May Lindstrom's entire line for bringing us back into the ritual and ceremonial aspect of skin care and self care. Her mask The Problem Solver is unbelievable. Angela Shore of Jiva Apoha is doing something so, so special and her oils are so healing on multiple levels. I'm a huge fan of the Parukti Body Oil which I massage into my entire body and is super soothing for my Lyme damaged joints. And my Gemstone Organic sisters are creating something so high vibrational, I'm addicted to their Hydrosols and their Jade and Rose Cremes. They smell incredibly and are super nourishing for my skin. My friend, healer, and esthetician Negin created JustBe Skin Line, and it is one of my all time favorite lines for its absolute purity and roots in Ayurveda.
Touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste, out of the five senses which would you say you adore most ?
Mmmm so hard to choose being an intensely creative person. I'm inspired by and through all of our senses minute to minute, but I would say Touch and Sight are my loves. There is such power and healing in human touch. As a Massage Therapist, I've seen and witnessed this first hand. What a difference it can make in someone's life who has been isolated by injury or illness. And what a difference it makes in my life. To be able to lessen someone's pain through touch is a very special gift to give.
And of course using my hands as an artist to create, whether it be my interiors, flower arrangements, a colorful, delicious meal, a painting, or my jewelry designs. It's how I feel totally connected to the universe I suppose. And Sight, it really is my quiet, more introverted way to absorb the world around me. I have a bit of a shy side and enjoy watching and soaking things in and contemplating. I do have a bit of a meticulous memory for things that I find beautiful. It feeds me + inspires me.
What motivates you to keep striving towards your goals?
The understanding that I have been gifted this very special journey, although sometimes very, very difficult, to share my knowledge to help + inspire others.
What is your ultimate dream?
To have created a home where my beloved and I are able to live off our own land filled with beautiful gardens and animals. To live in a peaceful, healing place. To travel the world. To have a store and space where my clients can come to heal, be inspired, find the best selection of green beauty products, wellness tools, and information available anywhere. To have my own child whom I guide on their own life journey.
Do you have a favorite author or poet? If so care to share a quote or verse that inspires you?
I don't have a favorite author (yet), but my all time favorite quote is "One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore." - Andre Gide
Anything you would like to say those who are going through a difficult time in their journey to health?
Illness can be so excruciatingly isolating and so terribly difficult to feel understood and to find people who truly, truly "get it". That has been my biggest struggle for sure. And then comes the challenge of trying not to resent all the people who were just not able to show up for you. Illness presents a very effective and powerful weeding out process of people and behaviors that just no longer serve you. Try to tune into that and trust it. Know that it is painful in the moment. Let yourself feel that disappointment. But KNOW that in the long run, your life will be majestic at some point again without the weight of those who were anchoring you down before, perhaps without your knowledge.
Note: Melissa is offering an amazing Infusion Spring Cleanse starting March 23rd. Check it out here.