I want to share my personal healing journey with you. I want you to understand why I am passionate about doing this work.

I’ve always been an extremely emotionally sensitive person. One word I use to describe myself is empath, or someone who feels the emotions of others so strongly that they can mistake them for their own. Growing up in New York City, I absorbed the emotions of millions of people before I realized what was happening to me. I coped by shining my light as brightly as I could. I was happy-go-lucky, peppy, the life of the party. This worked great— until it didn’t.

In college, I began dealing with deep bouts of depression. My own issues sent me downward, but my unconscious absorption of the suffering of others kept me there. I found myself in a state of extreme mental chaos and emotional despair. I reached out for help, and many people from friends to therapists tried their best to help me, but no one had the tools I desperately needed. I eventually made the choice to swallow a handful of pills. I was tired, and I wanted to rest.

I am forever grateful that my story did not end there. After a short stay in a psychiatric ward where I was prescribed medications that helped stabilize my intense emotions, and six months of CBT therapy, I returned to college for my final semester and graduated. The medications did a great job of treating the symptoms and gave me the stability I needed to get my life back together.

But after three years of feeling “fine” I decided I wanted more. I wanted to understand what had happened to me, to gain greater levels of self-awareness and heal on a deeper level.

Around this time, a friend shared an article with me describing what an empath is. At first it all sounded to “woo-woo” to be true, but I couldn’t deny the resonance. After reading several books on empaths, I decided to embrace this explanation for my way of being. That was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I learned techniques to figure out if an emotion I was experiencing belonged to me or someone else. I learned how to have good emotional and energetic boundaries for the first time in my life. I knew I needed to learn how to clear my energy of all the emotions I picked up, but none of the techniques I tried worked. That is until I learned Reiki.

Once I experienced Reiki for the first time, I felt more clear, calm and “like myself” than I could remember being since I was a small child. I decided soon after that I wanted to become a Reiki Master so I could harness this powerful yet gentle energy to heal myself and others by clearing stuck energy.

I trained to Master level under Danielle Stimpson at Learn Reiki Philadelphia. After a year of daily meditation, practicing empath techniques and Reiki, I became aware that the medications I was taking were blocking my ability to access deeper levels of self knowledge. They were interfering with my connection to the divine. With the help of an herbalist, I made the slow successful transition from pharmaceuticals to herbs.

Now that the barrier was removed, I wanted to engage in a deeper healing journey. I had achieved stability, I had worked towards clarity and calm. Now I wanted transformation. For the level of healing I wanted to engage, I needed help from Spirit. I didn’t know it yet, but I needed Shamanism.

After reading many books and looking into many programs I decided to enter Sarah Petruno’s Shamanic Healer Training Program. From Sarah and my Spirit Guides I learned how to heal myself and others with the power and vast knowledge provided by Spirit.

Now that I had these skills and guidance from Spirit, I was finally able to go back and heal the Soul level wound my suicide attempt had caused. Not only did it bring me great emotional closure and relief, it also ended the insomnia I was experiencing. I couldn’t sleep peacefully at night until I fully healed from the time I tried to sleep forever.

This is the kind of beautiful, strange, deep and powerful healing Shamanism can bring about. I am so grateful to be able to share this medicine with you.