Before I started at USM in 2010, I was already on a path to healing, teaching yoga full time and practicing massage therapy with a fierce, almost compulsive dedication to my students and clients. I live in Aspen, a ski resort town with a high-end clientele and a similarly high cost of living. I was working tirelessly, teaching an intense style of Hatha Yoga in a room heated to more than 105 degrees and keeping up with my own serious practice. Between teaching and taking class, I was in the studio several hours a day.
In addition to teaching yoga, offering massage therapy, and teaching private clients, I still had to pick up extra work in restaurants or child care to pay the bills. As much as I enjoyed the work I was doing, it was not fulfilling me on a deeper level spiritually, emotionally, or financially. I had a hard time saying “no” and found myself constantly working for others and never taking the time to do the work on myself I needed. I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion, at times until I was physically sick.
It was the same story in my personal life. I was in a relationship that was intense and emotionally draining. I was a people pleaser and certainly fell into the “over responsibility” category. I was also looking for feedback from others to prove to myself that I was on the “right” path and, more accurately, I was looking for feedback from others to show me my own worthiness.
Deep down, I felt a connection to my heart and a knowing this was the path I was supposed to be on—that all of this was happening for a reason. Even then, I was operating from somewhat of a spiritual perspective, and it felt good for me to go inside and listen to my heart. I knew I loved teaching, and I was teaching from a very heartfelt place. I knew I loved helping people, but I didn’t always realize how little I was giving back to myself. I didn’t have the language or the tools to apply the spiritual context that I was connected to in my physical world reality, the Goal Line. I felt like I was supposed to be where I was, but I also knew there was a bigger picture. The truth was, I wasn’t happy.
Applying to USM was certainly guided by Spirit. I knew a few of my yoga students had gone through the Program. One day one of them approached me after class and said, “You’re speaking a language we’re learning.” When I learned there was a program devoted to the essence of what I wanted to do with my life, it was an epiphany. I applied without knowing much about it. I had this blind faith that it was the right thing for me. It felt like this path came to me instead of me trying to find it—and somehow I knew it was a step in the right direction. Turns out it was the first step of many.
During school, I learned I could take control of my life by letting go. I didn’t have to let my ego or my mind run me. I stepped in and became a co-creator in my own life. I learned that I don’t have to suffer to grow. I don’t have to drag myself through the mud or seek out difficult situations and relationships and try to overcome them just to prove to myself that I am worthy. I don’t have to prove my worth to myself or anyone else. Now I know if something feels good to me; I know I’m on the right track regardless of what others think.
My work evolved after USM. During the first month of the Consciousness, Health, and Healing Program, I began to experience back spasms. This was the catalyst for major change in my work. Over the course of CHH and doing the Radiant Health and Well-Being Project, I had to let go of my massage work. This was extremely frightening as I was unsure where money would come from. I came to see how I was compromising my own body by doing this work, and realized that the spasms were also communication from Spirit. Whenever I would commit to something or commit to doing body work with someone now that I was listening to my needs, I immediately would experience a severe back spasm that would prevent me from following through with my commitment. Spirit was speaking to me and I was forced to stop and listen.
My clients for whom I did body work, however, were still paying me. Only now the work I was doing was simply spending time with them, listening to them. I began to receive the experiential awareness that my good energy and presence was my gift, and it was not limited to my hands massaging someone. Just me, being present, was enough. Soon I had more and easier work—I was in abundance. Instead of how many massages I could do in one day, I shifted to doing less work and calling on Spirit more. As soon as I let myself do less, I was able to receive more.
This awareness began to carry over into all areas of my life. I created my own work, leading healing retreats all over the world that began with yoga but have grown into so much more. Now I travel every few weeks. I maintain residences in L.A. and Aspen. I have financial freedom. I work less and earn more; my income has quadrupled. I work for myself and have created a successful business under my own name. The opportunities I’ve created for myself have led to bigger opportunities, all involving a leadership role in helping others to heal, both in groups and one-on-one settings. I’ve worked with a variety of clients, from Chinese artists protesting in Hong Kong to teenagers, cancer patients, and retired billionaire CEOs. I have found the confidence to teach in so many different settings with all kinds of people. I have found my voice in sharing the Spiritual Principles I learned at USM and feel confident sharing from my heart how easy and fun life can be.
Truly Co-Creating my life with Spirit, I am aware that my life is a gift to me, and healing the world really does come from healing myself. I understand now what it means to reside in my Loving and to allow from that place. I have tools to work with challenging situations and for healing unresolved material that comes forward. I honestly get excited when I feel emotion—both negative and positive—it is all important to me and an opportunity to grow and heal. I love what I am doing. Each day brings me more energy. I continue to develop these new “muscles,” which have shifted my perspective and the way I relate to myself, the world, and others. Remembering who I am through this physical world is exciting, and I’m so happy that I am not alone—Spirit is always leading the way.