My Formal Education and Experience
I call myself a holistic practitioner because it’s a functional blanket term that covers all of the services I offer and all of the fields I’ve been educated in. I have studied and practiced more than 100 practices in apprenticeships around the world and in universities and acadamies. I’ve picked my favorite and created a practice around them. My general practice has offerings that include around 60 methods and services at any given time. Obviously, I’m a bit of an education junkie. The stuff’s only as good as what I can understand and integrate, in my mind, so I don’t put much value on paper work other than the need to self-regulate holistic and healing fields, which we definitely need to do. I feel I have learned as much in apprenticeship and other programs outside of formal education atmospheres as I have in getting my various degrees (and thus list some of these, though not the shorter ones, and I often don’t list teacher’s names as per their request). Still, there is a huge difference between the practitioners I’ve met who have completed university and those who haven’t. I do believe that in most cases university educated people are more professional and understand more viewpoints their clients have. I also see this form of education as an important aspect of self-regulation, as well as the involvement in peer-regulated boards. I have included those which apply in this list. In many of these academic places, we have the opportunity to learn many things and study with many people. I was blessed, for instance, to be trained in QiGong, Tai Chi and Yoga from traditional teachers through academic institutions without having to study to become a practitioner from someone who did not understand the culture. Other forms of education, such as travel to other countries to work with local medicine people, can also be powerful experiences (I have listed some of these more unusual trips). Here is the education I have which you should be interested in:
~Reiki 1, 2, 3, M/T, Master Teacher Jenny Lea Schwartz
~1 year apprenticeship with a Cherokee elder
~Cert. Dreamwork, Holistic Healers Academy
~Cert. Spiritual Counseling, Holistic Healer’s Academy
~1 year apprenticeship with a Celtic Shaman
~Usui Reiki 1, 2, 3, M/T, Infinite Reiki Healer Institute
~Cert. Life Coaching, Holistic Healer’s Academy
~1 year Apprenticeship in Traditional Chinese Medicine
~Cert. Knight’s Templar Reiki Healing, level one and two
~Cert. Acupressure, Michael Reed Gauch, PhD (acupressure.com)
~B.A. Complementary and Holistic Health, Ashford University
~Trips to Peru, Bolivia, England, Wales and Ireland for Shamanic Work
~4 yr. Herbalist Training Program, Heart of Herbs Herbal School
~B.A. Metaphysical Sciences, University of Metaphysical Sciences
~Masters in Divinity, University of Metaphysical Sciences
~Cert. Rún Valdr
I also have extensive relevant work history in my field and am an active member of several regulating boards. I am also a licensed or certified priestess (Christian mysticism, Wicca and other Earth Based Faiths), Reverend, Minister, and medicine person in several tribes. Please inquire about these details for up to date information if it is interesting to you.
My Health Struggles and How I Got Into Holistic Work
I personally believe that it is what we experience, not what we study, that gives a practitioner the understanding necessary to be a truly good practitioner. Here is my story as an offering to you.
Growing up, I was a very sick person. Due to injuries at my birth, I had chronic problems with the bones in my skull and neck. I was also born jaundiced. I had asthma problems in my youth, as well as a chronic fever, insomnia, allergies, depression and frequent infections. When I entered puberty, I struggled with endometriosis, Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, auditory and visual hallucinations, fevers, adrenal fatigue, nervous problems, depression, anxiety, instability in my weight, blood clotting problems, prediabetes, vertigo, anemia, photosensitivity, migraines, heart disease, problems with my pituitary gland and imbalanced hormones, and several other conditions that were diagnosed by practitioners in the medical field. I had treatments for most of these, including depression, being given both mainstream and experimental medical care until I was in my teens. When I was sixteen, my endocrinologist told me I would not live another year and that treatment should help to extend my lifespan but I would probably never be able to have a normal life. My family practitioner, after seeing multiple blood tests that proved they weren’t errors in the lab, told me he would help me get disability but not to consider going into the work force- ever. As I progressed into my twenties, some of these conditions were managed with nutrition when all medical treatments failed, but others declined. The year I turned twenty, my lymph system began to fail and I struggled with kidney and liver problems. My allergies progressed to the point that my sinuses bled in an unmanageable fashion, and my digestive troubles progressed until I was on a purely liquid diet that I remained on for a year and a half before progressions in my holistic path enabled me to eat solid food again. I also survived H1N1 at this time, though I did not receive medical treatment because there was no available treatment that did not conflict with other medical treatments I was receiving or that would not cause my overall health to deteriorate faster due to other diagnoses. My fibromyalgia was also out of control and caused arthritic-like conditions in my hands, hips, knees and lower back, though it was a few more years before I was ever diagnosed with (rheumatoid) arthritis by a medical professional.
At this point in my life, I was unable to work, continue school (I had been dual majoring to become an English teacher), or have much of a life at all. There were many days I could not sit up without help, and many days I could not walk. Some days, however, I could get up and would seem perfectly normal to a person who didn’t know my situation.
Then I discovered meditation, energy work, and the chakra system. I began to clear myself out using these methods, combined with the nutrition work I knew and soon herbalism. I was introduced to what I later learned was shamanism, which I incorporated into my own healing, and even later counseling and coaching techniques. My introduction and journey through learning holistic methods was really about me getting well.
Within a few weeks I began to feel better. I started sleeping for the first time since I was literally a toddler. Around this time, PTSD hit me hard and made relationships impossible. I tried mainstream medicine first, but was unable to afford the care I needed, and thus was left on my own. I went deeper into mind-body practices that I learned from cheap online classes and books. A family that were basically complete strangers to me took me in during this time as abusive family dynamics and my health issues had left me homeless and sick.
As I went deeper into myself and learned more and more of these practices, my panic attacks started to fade. I began to be able to eat (I had been on liquid nutrients exclusively due to digestive problems for more than a year). When my thyroid disease started to fade, people started hearing about the various ailments I had and that I was not on any medication or having any sort of medical treatment. I began getting phone calls asking me how I had done it and asked frequently to perform energy sessions on others and teach others what I was doing. It occurred to me that I should get some sort of formal training or a license if I was going to start doing work like that. I started with hermeticism and alchemical studies combined with the meditative and chakra work I had been doing, which are still the foundation of my work.
I made steady improvement, but my liver and kidneys were badly damaged from the high levels of drugs I had been on for so long and may have been weak at birth as suggested by the jaundice. Healing these organs took me deeper into the worlds of Western Herbalism and mind-body practice using Traditional Chinese practices which I learned from a doctor who took me under his wing.
Within three years of starting my holistic journey, I was not receiving any medical intervention or on any medication. The endometriosis (scar tissue) that had reached clear into my intestines was gone. I had stopped having migraines, sleeping problems, and most of the other conditions mentioned. My blood work came back normal and free of any signs of illness after only 17 months of learning energy work. I had also had a mass in my breast, thought to be a tumor by the medical examiners, which disappeared as I practiced natural methods. My lymph system was functional, and I was no longer allergic to sunlight. The ovarian cysts that had caused me so much anguish also began to shrink and disappear. I was still dependent on herbal and nutritional programs, and decided that clearly I was not actually healed until I no longer depended on these. I continued to work on myself, and have been free of dependency on these since summer 2015.
I want to be very clear about something. I am not at all saying that the holistic methods somehow performed miraculous cures of all these ailments. I strongly believe that the body and the person do the healing. Holism is a way to assist a natural healing inclination that already exists within the body. I am not against the medical field or drug therapies. These can be very valuable in many cases. If this is a type of care a client needs, I am more than happy to work alongside mainstream medical care so they may also benefit from the holistic methods I work with. When speaking of things like hermeticism, meditation and other practices, these are available to all people, but the discipline and spiritual maturity to have the experience I did generally develops over time. It should be noted that by the time I was twenty, I had completed 13 years of ministerial school, had been ordained as a Christian minister, and had been identified for my abilities at three years old by the fundamental Christian organization my family was a part of. Nothing in holism is instant. There is no magical pill in holistic care. Holism requires effort. However, I have never met someone who didn’t feel it was beneficial who had put effort into the practices. You and your body can heal yourself if you’re willing to go after it.
Though I still contend with minor allergies, occasional hand pain and mild acne, and I have an occasional painful menstrual cycle, I am currently drug and medical treatment free and am living a full life that the doctors (and I) felt would never be possible less than a decade ago. I am not dependent on any herb, nutrition program or medical regiment, and I still have all my original organs which function better than they have since birth. Sure, giving this to other people came from simply having a love for others and wanting to help them heal as well, but I have truly found my place in the world by practicing holistic health care. If there is something I can help you with, feel free to book a session or get in touch with me. I love helping people achieve what I have. I look back on the years I spent suffering with more understanding now. These things were terrible, and I wouldn’t wish any of it on anyone, but they helped me understand from my client’s perspective what most illnesses feel like and how impossible getting help or getting better can be. I understand the frustration, rage, and hopelessness of being abused and of being sick. I also understand exactly what it takes to turn one’s life around and the difference between surviving and thriving. My history also gave me a chance to experience many forms of medicine and holistic practices first hand. I sincerely believe that working on the holistic front lines is part of my life’s purpose and this helps me reflect with compassion on myself, those who tried to help me, and even those who, through their ignorance and sometimes cruelty, made it even more difficult to survive, which in the end made me the practitioner I am. It is so good to be at peace, and to experience joy in my daily life. In the end, as my first teacher, a Cherokee medicine man and elder, taught me, “it is ALL good.”
I love this picture of me relaxing in the studio between shots.