I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ten years in business than by highlighting 10 people who have been instrumental to my success! No one creates alone, not even us “sole proprietors”. Self-employed doesn’t mean I can build a business solo, and I’m excited to share the stories of some of my favorite helpers!
Sometimes a chance meeting blows the doors off of life in ways you don’t expect. Sometimes that comes in the form of a random email from a professor at UMBC who wants a Reiki practitioner to speak to social work students about ways to combat caregiver burnout.
When Victoria reached out I had no idea how far that reach would take me. Speaking to her class, I met Tele Darden (more on her in the coming days) and that connection in turn rippled out to my Alchemical Alignment training. But let’s focus on Victoria herself – not only did she invite me to speak, she also trusted me enough to sign up for my mentorship class. Every student is significant, but this felt extra momentous because Victoria was the first licensed therapist I taught.
Let me tell you, training my first Real, Actual Therapist was a mental challenge for me. I kept worrying that what I was teaching would go against her own ideas or training, but instead, the opposite happened. Victoria began affirming my lesson plans and blessed me with this nugget once when we were discussing the evolution of Reiki and client care: “You’re allowed to do things your way and still be a ‘real healer’. I’m a Black, queer therapist but if I did things the same way Sigmund Freud did them I wouldn’t serve my clients, I’d actually hurt them. Changing the model doesn’t make me any less of a ‘real therapist’. We have to evolve to serve the communities we live in.”
Since then, Victoria has shifted from mentor, to mentee, to friend. It’s been an honor to witness her journey out of academia, into private practice, and the way she has seamlessly blended Reiki and even mediumship with her therapeutic services. She’s an inspiration (and an amazing cook and author too!)
You can find Victoria on IG at @innertruthllc and Inner Truth Wellness and Psychotherapy LLC.
I’ve learned in life to trust that the Universe will put the right people in my path and goodness, is that true with Tele Darden. I mentioned yesterday that I met Tele through Victoria Stubbs; we were both invited to speak to Victoria’s social work students about self-care. I got to listen to this incredible goddess break down nervous system regulation in a way it had never been presented before and afterward was blessed to keep in touch. Reader, when I tell you about the doors that have opened for me from this not-at-all-by-chance “chance” meeting, my god!
Tele and I began exchanging healing sessions and it was my first time experiencing Alchemical Alignment and a bit of craniosacral work. She became a business confidante and someone I could lean on for advice on the nuts-and-bolts of running a practice. I got to share with her about Ho’oponopono, we leaned on each other during the pandemic, and just formed such a mutual admiration society — because how could you not? I mean, just look at her, who wouldn’t want to surround themselves with her potent energy.
Tele and I each have a kiddo the same age and when she found out I started teaching Reiki for Tweens she invited me to do a private class with her child and some friends. This was where my kids’ classes really grew wings and became something more than just an experimental pilot program. Then the response from that class grew into a more advanced curriculum of Reiki for Tweens, during which our kiddos became friends! Through Tele we found out about a summer camp for queer youth that our oldest now attends that has been life-changing, and in turn grown more deep friendships.
It was also through Tele that I learned about Alchemical Alignment training (bodywork for trauma recovery) and if you’ve been following me in the last few years you may have heard me gush over that program too! Tele once said that AA was “the thing that put all the pieces together for my practice.” Knowing firsthand what a gifted healer Tele is, I knew I had to find out what had helped her so much and oh my god. She was right. My life is completely changed from learning the concepts and principles of Alchemical Alignment, both as a practitioner and as a human being.
Tele was already assistant-teaching Alchemical Alignment when I began my training, and now has become a full-fledged teacher of the modality. I’ve been so blessed to help hold the space as an assistant a couple of times working alongside her, and it feels like our relationship has become very layered – not like an onion, but like a sweet and delicious cake!
In addition to teaching Alchemical Alignment Tele works as a business coach for wellness professionals. She specializes in helping healers craft offerings and marketing techniques that are resonant and gentle rather than a hustle-culture rehash. Her coaching is ON POINT, I’ve gotten so much out of her programs! You can find her on IG at @teledarden and at www.teledarden.com
The name “Brigit” connotes bridges, and that’s one of the marvelous ways I think about my mentor, Brigit Viksnins. I feel her Alchemical Alignment training bridged my knowledge of bodywork with a new, intuitive and client-centered approach to healing.
As more and more clients presented with complex trauma histories, starting in about 2018 it became clear I needed help meeting their needs. Intuition and kindness were key, but I was craving more guidance and theory. In Brigit’s classes we learned practitioner skills and the gentlest yin techniques to meet waves of trauma energy in the body. I shifted the way I spoke and even the way I touched people after learning these skills. Alchemical Alignment really did put all the pieces together, as Tele said.
To write a post highlighting Brigit herself feels like trying to draw the Grand Canyon on a napkin with a crayon – it’s too big and deep and colorful and magnificent to really convey the scope and beauty. She models self-care, self-exploration, loving kindness, grace, firmness and – my favorite – “secure attachment as a spiritual practice”. She can pick up on your energy and name it back to you just enough to be creepy, but also exactly what you need to hear. To be welcomed into her circle is a deep honor, and to receive her teachings and songs is a gift beyond words.
I’m a completely different person after having mentored with her – not just as a practitioner, but who I am as a human has changed. Luckily, most of these changes happened in Brigit’s signature phrase – “small, doable pieces.” As I reflect on these 10 folks and these 10 years, it’s probably Brigit that has had the biggest impact on me.
You can learn more about Brigit’s sessions and teachings at www.alchemicalalignment.com, or find her on Instagram @alchemicalalignment.