A State of Milagro address, from our President.

I keep getting mail addressed to:
Ashley Smith

And it makes me giggle every time, so I’m totally using it.

Let me tell you a story, as we’re approaching five years of Milagro (officially on September 3rd! I cannot even handle this.)

We’d been open less than two months when a kind stranger wandered in. It had happened before and it’s happened a hundred times since, but this one rocked my world a bit. In a good way.

She looked around, chatted with some Milagrans, got a spa tour. And after being in the space for less than 15min, she headed out the door. But not before saying these words, casually, over her shoulder, on her way out:

“Hm. A spa? Feels more like a ministry than a spa.”

Mic drop. And um, wha?

What am I supposed to do with that? Where does a sentence like that even come from? I don’t know how to “ministry”. Is there a manual somewhere? Help me, Tom Cruise.

And here we are, about to celebrate five years, described by one friend as a “non denominational spa”. How did this happen?

I read advice recently from a serial entrepreneur who said “don’t start a business you don’t want to run”. Seems obvious.

Truth bomb (just wait, there’s a better one coming later): I inherited (or more accurately, purchased) a business I wouldn’t want to run.

There was nothing wrong with it really, it was just a traditional “day spa and shop” model. Therapists encouraged to push add-on services and sell lots of expensive skin care, always banking on women feeling badly about getting older (or honestly, just for daring to look like a real life human person and not a photoshopped fictional creature-bot).

I am simply unable to get behind that cause. So what to do?

If I can’t be a beauty guru (for so many reasons, including a remarkable skill of growing really long hair in weird places and even worse, not caring), am I allowed to have a spa?

If I can’t be a wellness guru (you guys, I can’t even sit cross legged AT ALL, like my hips do not allow it PLUS donuts and nachos and pizza and omg wings), am I allowed to have a spa?

And here comes truth bomb #2.

I was at a dinner party recently with a lot of people I didn’t know and when they asked what I do, I was *embarrassed* to say I own a spa.

I know I’m not supposed to tell you all that. I don’t even like thinking it. Feels yucky on my insides. But it’s the God honest truth.

And on the flip side, I could not be more proud-er of what we do at Milagro. And here’s why:

My spirit is tired of this culture we’ve somehow built. And I say “somehow” and I say “we” because we create our culture. I ask myself on the regular what I or my habits have done to contribute to this mess. Donald Trump was not elected in a vacuum. Kylie Jenner isn’t becoming the world’s youngest billionaire (BY SELLING MAKEUP ON INSTAGRAM) in a vacuum. This is us. We are this. And I’ll do everything I can to help turn that tide.

And Milagro has shown me I’m not alone. You all are out there. And you come to us when the crazy is really getting to you. And you find your true north again. And you remember there’s so much more to life than skimming along superficial surfaces. And you allow yourselves to let go and tune out the irrelevant noise so you’ll have the strength to handle the hard real stuff.

You’ve made me a believer.

business plan circa 2004

And we’re not going anywhere. We’re growing at such a lovely, steady, sustainable pace. And yes, downtown OP is changing, but trust me, we’re right where we need to be and we’re well taken care of with a handy long term lease that will allow us to weather the change. Thank God for commercial real estate lawyers who took care of us all those years ago.

And thank God for you all. The Milagrans. Let’s keep moving mountains. Or at least noticing them?

By | 2018-08-30T20:33:00-06:00 August 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|10 Comments


  1. Sara August 31, 2018 at 12:15 am

    I just love this!! Thank you, Ashley! For taking the time to pull it altogether for us. We who come through your doors at Milagro recognize that this is a very special place – and that it blocks the world out for awhile while we bask in taking care of ourselves. It’s a gift. It’s necessary. And it’s sonething you just want to keep coming back to. Because it matters!! ❤️

  2. Suzy Carter August 31, 2018 at 5:42 am

    I am so happy I found Milagro. The minute I walked in I didn’t feel like it was a “ministry” I felt like I was home. A safe place to relax, a calm in the storm of a life I’ve found myself in this year.
    Thank you.

  3. Susan Sanders August 31, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Ashley…Milagro Spa is a favorite place where I find peace and relaxation. I’ve had facials twice with Joann. Each time, I’ve left the spa feeling rested. I’ve escaped from the zany shenanigans of the world we live in, in a healthier, happier frame of mind. Thanks, Milagro!

  4. Sofia Hudson August 31, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Hmm, perhaps it is time to invent a better word for Milagro than spa? I vote for “oasis”.
    “I own an oasis”
    “Intriguing, tell me more . . . “

  5. Michaila Prelogar August 31, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Congrats on your upcoming 5th anniversary. Your musings are the best…so entertaining, honest, thought provoking, grounded, and healing. I adore your spirit and love you.

  6. Ann DeFeo August 31, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Ashley, you are a beautiful writer and express your feelings/thoughts in such an articulate way that resonates with how so many of us are feeling these days. You have truly created a wonderful experience for each of us that walk through the door.

    I salute you for speaking your truth each and every time you write.

  7. Nancy Matheny August 31, 2018 at 9:07 am

    One of your best musings, Madame President. Coming to KC IN October. I plan to come to your Oasis!

  8. Carol A Smith August 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    This comment may sound biased because it’s from her mother-in-law. Ashley is the same person in and out of Milagro. She is sweet, kind, knowledgeable and loving. Her true North is her soul. How many mother-in-laws can say that about their “daughters”? I am fortunate to have two. Oh Yes, and she loves my son…that in itself is character. The best facials and massages without all the trappings of “I’m not pretty enough or I’m not thin enough.” All I ever have felt is healthier and peaceful after a visit.

  9. Leigh McKinney August 31, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Loved your post! Healing and kind kindred spirits. That’s what I think Milagro is about and I’m grateful found it.

  10. KO September 4, 2018 at 7:39 am

    I am relaxed just thinking about Milagro!!! I haven’t visited in a while, but know when I walk thru the doors again, I will be greeted NOT like a customer, but instead like a friend that you haven’t seen in forever–yet pick up like it was just a day ago. I actually cannot say which service I have had that is my favorite. They are all spiritual for me. Our skin is our largest organ–all of the body workers (dare I say “healers”–yes yes I do!!) at Milagro understand this. Thank you for creating this space, dear Ashley! And for your writings, I love them!

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