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My journey, so far

My healing journey started when my heart broke open. I had fallen down a rabbit hole of documentaries on animal agriculture, environmental crisis, and inequality. I had always known of injustice in the world, cared for animals, and felt concern for the environment, but I hadn’t looked deeply into the shadows before. I hadn’t let myself really feel it in my heart until then. And the moment I did, my heart cracked open and broke into pieces.

I became disillusioned with life. I felt helpless to fix all the world’s big, heavy problems. I was devastated by what seemed an insurmountable darkness, and I almost let it beat me.

I didn’t know how to escape the depression that weighed down on me. I was at war with everyone around me. I was at war with myself. I was spinning my wheels looking for ways I could somehow make all the pain in the world stop. I was depressed, angry, and I felt like I didn’t belong.

I couldn’t control what the world did. But I what could do, and what I desperately needed to do, was find a way to help myself. 

I was seeking. And what you seek, you eventually find.

I heard an interview on the radio of a man sharing his experience with Ayahuasca and meeting his inner child. He told of how he held and loved this child and told it everything would be ok. He spoke of how he let go of a deep wound he’d been carrying, and how his life was forever changed.

As I heard this, every cell in my body lit up and I immediately had to find out what Ayahuasca was. I found a National Geographic article of a woman sharing how Ayahuasca guided her through facing and letting go of the depression she’d been carrying her whole life. I did some more digging and found artists sharing their journeys of awakening to another world within themselves and in nature. And my decision was made.

A couple of weeks later I was on a plane to Peru. I went to the Amazon jungle to experience plant medicines and be guided by Shipibo shamans. And while it’s certainly not for everyone, from the moment I heard the radio interview I knew this was for me.

My experience was more profound than I ever could have imagined. I was able to release such a depth of pain from my mind, body and spirit that had clouded my connection with life. I woke up to the light inside of me and the whole universe. I had taken my blinders off, and my life would never be the same again. (You can read more about my Ayahuasca journey on my blog in Part 1 and Part 2.)

I came home lit up, and entirely unprepared for how to integrate my experience into life outside the jungle.

It was a tumultuous couple of years after that. It was painful to try to fit my transformed self back into my old life. I didn’t know how to maintain the connection I’d experienced in the jungle and I felt helpless again. No one around me could relate to my experience, and I felt alone in a world that didn’t understand me or the magic I’d discovered. I was looking for answers, for ways to make my life work outside of the jungle.

And that was when I found meditation. I attended 10 days of silent meditation at a Vipassana Centre, where I learned to observe the patterns of my mind. I gained an awareness of how my thoughts affect my emotional and physical wellbeing. I learned how to sense the subtler parts of my inner world, going deeper into feeling and experiencing my subconscious mind and body. I started developing an awareness of my thoughts; realizing that I didn’t need to believe each thought as it appeared in my mind. Instead I could simply see them as passing stories.

I began learning what buddhists call ‘anicca’, or impermanence. A practice of acknowledging that nature is dynamic and always changing, so there’s no point in getting attached to any one moment. Is something painful? Anicca. Is something blissful? Anicca. Understanding this is a medicine for the mind. It’s realizing that like all things, your pain too, shall pass.

 

Immersed in a community of healers

Soon after Vipassana, I went back to volunteer as a facilitator and photographer at the Ayahuasca Healing Centre in Peru. For two months, I was immersed in a community of healers from around the world, each one offering a unique set of skills. 

The Shipibo shamans have worked with plant medicines for thousands of years, and it was amazing to witness them leading guests through Ayahuasca ceremonies. I was privileged to support as a facilitator; helping attendees to integrate their experiences. It was inspiring to see each guest’s transformation and it ignited in me a passion to not only heal myself but to help others heal too.

 

Transformation happens through
breath, movement & awareness

After Peru, I completed a Yoga Teachers training in India. Nestled among the Himalayan Mountains and Ganges River, I learned a scientific, spiritual, and practical approach to wellness. 

The blend of yoga philosophy, breathwork, meditation, and exercises took things I had seen as esoteric and made them grounded, straightforward, and approachable for anyone ready to do the work. 

Through being fully immersed in yoga for a month I could feel the noticeable difference in my mind and body. I felt light, present, calm and balanced. It didn’t take away life’s challenges, but it lifted their weight and created a more joyful way to move through them.

Healing the Root Cause

When I came home, I went on to train in Medical Qigong Therapy, a form of Chinese Medicine that approaches thoughts, emotions and the physical body as a fully interconnected system.

Here, I learned how to treat not only the physical symptoms, but also the root cause; the beliefs we hold in our subconscious minds. Through my work and through my personal experiences, I’ve found that healing the heart and the mind is where true and lasting change happens.

I went on to also train in Rapid Transformational Therapy, which combines the most beneficial principles of Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, to quickly get to the heart of subconscious issues that are causing physical or emotional pain and heal them permanently. It’s profound, gentle, and life changing.

Throughout my years of training and practicing, I’ve found powerful tools for healing. And while these tools are the framework for transformation, doing my own inner work along the way has given me the wisdom, presence and compassion to more fully and completely understand, hold space, and guide transformation for my clients. 

Changing the world begins with each of us. Because when you feel whole; when you know you’re lovable, worthy, and good enough, you naturally become the light the world needs. Healing yourself is the most powerful work you can do and the biggest gift you can give to the world.

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