My Recovery Story: Healer, Heal Thyself

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”-Dr. Maya Angelou

“Healer, heal thyself.” These are wise words to live by; they have saved my life. I’m sharing my story to remind you that you are not alone and that you have a path of healing and growth to unfold for yourself. We are all healers in some way and our most fundamental job is to find and love ourselves and share that love

In my early 20’s, I began to experience serious health issues due to past emotional trauma and childhood sexual abuse: anxiety attacks and severe low back pain.  I was told that I had scoliosis and would suffer chronic back issues for the rest of my life. I was determined to change my destiny so I set about treating myself holistically with a combination of massage, herbs, emotional/spiritual healing, chiropractic, and acupuncture. Receiving the healing touch of massage therapy played a huge role in reclaiming my health and inspired me to make it a regular part of my life. 

Then a couple of years later, my father became fatally ill with cancer and I literally thought my life was over. At 25-years-old, suffering from kidney stones due to the stress and on the verge of a breakdown, I was blessed to find a spiritual guide and teacher who gave me the love and tools of self-love that changed my life forever. That was the positive turning point for the rest of my existence.

As far back as I can remember, dance has always been a lifeline for me. As a child, I did struggle with flexibility due to holding trauma in my body. I wanted to share the beauty and healing that I’ve always experienced from it so in 1999 at 29, I began teaching bellydance as a healing art. Then, after healing my back, I became a massage therapist in my 30’s and have been able to provide relief for other people recovering from the full gamut of trauma.

It wasn't until many years later that I fully embraced the gift of love I was given. I had to decide I was ready to heal and face my shadow as well as shine my light and embrace my purpose.

But until that time, I have lost my way a few times.

I have found myself in perilous situations. Due to unresolved trauma coupled with the fear of taking full responsibility for my own healing (regardless of the wise guidance and loving support around me), I incurred great personal losses and have undergone severe depression, psychosis, and disassociation to the point of being suicidal. Many years ago, I also spent time in a psychiatric facility in order to become stable again and save my life.

In crisis, I opted to take prescription medication to come out of the debilitating darkness. This medication resulted in 2 separate experiences of rapid weight gain, both within a single month: 50 lbs, and years later, 20 lbs. 

Both times, under professional supervision, I carefully weaned myself off of the medication (which had stimulated this excessive weight gain, most notably in my belly) and worked my way back to myself, my normal weight and natural body frame. I has had to detoxify my internal organs from the medications and heal my metabolism back to full function. 

I did this through spiritual/emotional therapy, excellent hydration, a diet of lots of fruits and vegetables, juicing and live sprouted and fermented foods, proper rest and relaxation, and a consistent fitness routine with a knowledgeable and compassionate personal trainer.

Because of this very positive experience with a personal trainer the first time, I was inspired and ready in my 40’s to finally pursue another goal I had not yet actualized–becoming a holistic personal trainer myself. I then infused dance into the training and offered this option.

Being on a creative and spiritual path is a deep walk. As a wise spiritual teacher once told me about life on this planet, especially in these times: “This is not Club Med.”

I am at times overwhelmed and in awe of how much we are loved, supported, and celebrated by the Divine. Mine is not a religious path but simply a spiritual one. I draw on this love and support on a daily basis and become stronger, clearer, and more true to myself day by day because of this commitment to my soul and whole self.

Everyone has their own path of healing and must find what works for them. I maintain a regular self-care practice of daily prayer, meditation, and self-reflection–my “temple time”. This gives form to everything else I do.

Practicing gratitude (no matter what), dance as prayer/meditation, healthy diet, breath work, self-massage, regular bodywork, regular fitness, time in nature, and hydrotherapy are my other essential tools. For me, it is not a luxury, it is a matter of life and death. It has saved my life.

I’m “really living” now. There is no turning back.


I continue to learn from my life challenges and experiences and incorporate them into my work. My life and work are now based in self-love: a path of service to the greater good and a creation from my heart.

My other personal passions include music, nature, warmth and sunshine, quality time with friends and family, yoga, bicycling, swimming, hiking, writing, reading, travel, languages, cooking, eating, and sharing good food, thrift shops, interior/furniture design, gardening, and all things connected with the ocean and warm water.