Q: You changed professions from working in the fashion industry to working as a healer. Can you tell us about what influenced this change of course?
A: I was losing it. I had the first and only panic attack of my life after months of being worked to the bone. The environment where I was working was not conducive to being a human being. I was exhausted and uninspired. Many circumstances aligned to show me that how I was spending my time needed to change. I had two big wakeup calls when I realized how my profession was affecting my health and after Hurricane Katrina when I realized how ridiculous it was to be pushing $10,000 handbags when there were people struggling to survive.
It still took me about six months of praying and asking the Universe to help me find a new direction before the idea of acupuncture school landed in my path.
Q: What was initially appealing to you about working in the fashion industry?
A: I have always loved clothes as a channel for personal expression. I would pour over all the September issues as a teenager to plan how to spend my back to school allowance. I grew up in the Northwest-the land of performance fabrics-so there wasn’t a lot of inspired style around me. The fashion industry felt glamorous, shiny, seductive, and beautiful. There is a cool factor and exclusivity that is connected to it that bolstered my identity before I decided to define myself on different terms.
Q: Are there any elements of your interest in fashion and your passion for healing that are similar or relate to one another?
A: Definitely. I worked for two luxury brands and what I loved about them was the lineage of the craftsmanship. There are people who make lace by hand or do beadwork or make hats and these skills have been passed down from generation to generation. There is something very romantic and deeply intentional about a skill that has been survived and been gifted down the line. Chinese medicine, Reiki and Breathwork all have these deep lineages and have been around for thousands of years. I love the richness of a time-honored tradition.
Q: I know for me, working in industries that didn’t suit or fulfill me, helped direct my path to outlets that were ultimately more satisfying for me. Do you feel that your experience of getting burnt out in the fashion industry helped guide you to healing?
A: We don’t usually make big moves until we are pushed to our limit. I wasn’t seeking healing when I realized that I couldn’t stand what I was doing with my life. I knew that I felt unhealthy and exhausted but all I knew was that I wanted to do something more fulfilling. If I hadn’t been so deeply dissatisfied I probably wouldn’t have swung as far in the opposite direction as I did. I also feel that there was a karmic path that I reconnected to when I found healing work. I had gotten off track in my pursuit of bright and shiny things that only made my ego happy and had to find my way back to a place of service that fueled my inner growth.
Q: Your mission is to help people heal their relationship with themselves. Can you describe your practice and how you use different healing modalities?
A: We always begin with therapeutic conversation. There is so much healing in being able to tell the story of your life, your pain, and your struggles to someone who is actively and compassionately hearing you without judgment. I create a shame free, sacred space where someone can be witnessed for the totality of who they are. One of the main things that I do in helping someone change their relationship with themselves is to empower the narrative of their life, acknowledging the hardships but helping them to find the gifts and the growth in the experience. There are so many highly sensitive, intelligent women out there that have been existing in a culture that doesn’t value their superpowers and as a result, have molded themselves to fit into a box that doesn’t work. I encourage people to build a life that works for them and honor their uniqueness. Then we integrate the learning and re-patterning into the body with energy work.
Q: How does your practice of helping others explore themselves and heal influence your own process of self-exploration and healing?
A: Everything that I’m healing personally and learning about myself gets channeled into what I’m bringing into my practice. Whatever I’m going through-whether I’m working with sobriety or anxiety or creative expression-I attract people into my practice that want to work on the same things. We are all energetic magnets for each other like that. It’s the coolest thing. Like attracts like. I am always in a place of questioning myself, refining myself, and looking inside to see how I can become more of who I am. Every time I experience something that blows my mind, I want to learn that thing and share it with other people. A lot of my group work and my writing is me story telling about my life and my process. The more I heal, the more tools wind up in my bag of tricks and the more experience I have in being a human being that thrives in the world. All I can do is light the way by example and show people that it’s possible to create the world you want to live in and enjoy your life.
Q: As an empathic person and healer how do you protect or maintain your own energy?
A: Really good boundaries and clear intentions. The idea of having to protect your energy feels disempowering to me. Unless you are doing really high-level spiritual work and coming into contact with entities and dark energy, you really don’t have to combat energetic attack. Being grounded, well-rested, well-fed, conscious and present go a long way in not getting sideswiped by someone else’s energy. As far as my work goes, I love and am present with whoever is in front of me at the time but when the session is done, it’s done. I don’t obsess over other people’s problems or worry about that on my personal time. A lot of sensitive, empathic people run other people’s energy as a way of connecting with them or helping them. I did that for a lot of my life before I realized that it was hurting me and not actually helping them. I work with groups of people that are releasing a lot of pain and rage. I just smile as they do it because it’s awesome to witness their vulnerability but I don’t ride the wave of their feelings. Also, lots of Palo Santo and sage and calling in my guides to surround and support.
Q: What are some of the biggest shifts you have experienced in your relationship with yourself since you embarked on your path as a healer?
A: Oh god, so many! I’m my biggest experiment. Everything that I go through feeds my practice and gives me more tools to work with. One of the biggest shifts was moving from being a person who had a lot of shame around her sensitivity to being in full acceptance of all of my emotional expressions. I don’t feel bad on top of feeling bad anymore. I just feel. That was a huge healing for me with myself. Through doing group Breathwork sessions I’ve let go of my insecurity about being seen and acknowledged for who I am and what I know. I am a shy person and definitely an introvert. It was a beautiful learning for me that I can be that but I can also be someone who is a powerful and comfortable public person.
Q: Self-exploration can be a scary and daunting process! What are some tools you recommend to people to stay open and continue the healing process if they are coming up against fear or resistance?
A: Self-compassion. Treat yourself and speak to yourself as if you were a child-with complete tenderness and care. Would you tell a sleepy, hungry five year old to suck it up and try harder? No, you would give them a healthy snack, read them a story and let them take a nap. Fear, resistance, massive anxiety and upheaval are part of the deal of the healing process. If you can accept that going in, it’s going to be a lot easier to hold your hand to the fire when you know you need to and back off when you need a break. Usually when we are exploring ourselves, we are encountering all of the parts of self that we have labeled as unlovable and tucked away. Witnessing your shadow and loving yourself through it is the work of becoming a whole human being. It’s definitely not a joy ride but it’s the best work you’ll ever do!
Q: Living in New York City how do you find ways to cultivate quiet so that you can listen to yourself?
A: I totally abstain from the crazy that is New York. I live in my favorite Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s a block away from a huge park and a weekly farmers market where I can compost my food and shop from local vendors. Other than traveling to my office during the week, I only go into Manhattan when I have to. I have a really mellow life so as long as I keep my technology addictions in check; I have plenty of internal quiet.
Q: You have written about the phenomenon of the re-emergence of the Divine Feminine. Can you talk a little bit about this and why you think it’s happening at this time?
A: Everything is happening right now! We are going through so many huge shifts connected to “the way things are” that everything is on the table. Race, sex, gender, pay inequality, everything that has been buried is now part of the conversation. We’ve spent centuries in a patriarchal masculine paradigm and it’s become explicitly clear that this is negatively impacting the planet, our resources, and our entire culture. Something needs to shift and rebalance itself. It’s finally time because we are at a breaking point with the way things have been and we can’t deny that they aren’t working anymore.
Q: Who are some teachers or mentors that have influenced you?
A: My Breathwork teacher David Elliott has been a huge part of my personal and professional evolution. He is a great example of evolved masculine energy and that was something I was really craving in my life. He has encouraged me to show more of myself, to start singing, to start teaching and to really stretch myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. Jill Blakeway is not a formal mentor of mine but she is an author and prolific acupuncturist. She is beyond busy in her career but she was very generous when I was just starting mine and continues to be there to offer perfect gems of advice whenever I need help. She really modeled for me what it means to pay forward your success and your wisdom.
Q: Who are some women in the wellness world who you find inspiring?
A: I have two dear friends that I am currently hugely inspired by. Both of them are in the wellness category because they help soothe my spirit. Sandy Sitron is an evolutionary astrologer. I have very strong opinions about things and Sandy always pushes back on me with these incredible insights that my brain would never have even considered. Her astrology is shamanic and intuitive in nature and helps me make sense of the world. My friend Lindsay Mack is a tarot reader, teacher, healer and intuitive. Her writing is out of this world. So earthy and true and from the heart. My writing is clearer and more inspired because of her. Plus, she’s just really damn good at what she does.
Q: What is something that you haven’t done yet that you want to do?
A: I’m fantasizing right now about abandoning convention completely and living off the grid in Joshua Tree. No wi-fi life sounds so good!
If you are in New York you can schedule a session with Erin She also does group beathwork at Maha Rose AND she does Breathwork sessions over skype! You can find her gorgeous writing on her blog. She is also a contributor to Live the Process and The Numinous, among other publications.
Photos courtesy of Erin.