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Losing my father…Finding my path

Mar 23, 2018 | 0 comments


Do you believe things happen for a reason? Or that everything is happening randomly. moment to moment?

Is Life about our choices? Or about living your Dharma*?

We can look back on our lives and see how one thing led to another, and we can more clearly see how some things are meant to be.

On October 8th 1995, my Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. He committed suicide after years of struggle with his personal demons. He was 39 years old. I was 19 years old. My three brothers were 15, 13, 11 years old.

The crushing blow of the news came on a rainy Sunday night, and suddenly life felt divided in two: 

Before and After.

Before, I’d just begun a program at Minneapolis Community College, taking some college basics, studying Writing and Gemology.

After, plunged into grief and confusion and pain, I couldn’t focus on school and I just quit going. I worked as a manicurist at the Elizabeth Arden salon at Dayton’s, and finding it impossible to make lighthearted chitchat with my clients. 

I’d lost my Dad. I was obsessed with how much pain he must have been in to make such a terrible, forever decision. I feared his soul was condemned to Hell forever, and that fear veiled all possibility of happiness. I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t laugh. I was in a dark place, and completely out of place in the bustling salon.

The following summer, I was invited to Boulder, Colorado to spend time with my Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike is kind of like an older brother to me, closer in age with me than to his own siblings.

He owns & operates a screen printing business, and back then, it was a small operation in its startup phase. He was 28 years old with long hair & sparkling Irish eyes. He was fresh off the Grateful Dead circuit, since Jerry Garcia was another one lost in 1995.

Uncle Mike’s friends were artists, musicians & budding healers. I met his friend Jenny. She was studying Homeopathy. She gave me a remedy for grief and listened to me talk about my Dad and how I was completely unsure of what to do with my life. Jenny’s kitchen was her apothecary. She had a cupboard full of essential oils & tinctures, salts & salves. She grew her own herbs and made her own skincare products. She taught me to blend the herbs & oils and make a simple cleanser.

I was hooked, and I wanted more. As I look back now, I see that she planted a seed that became my whole life’s work.

I returned to Minnesota with the seed taking root inside of me. When I realized that the Aveda Institute of Minneapolis was the best place in the country at that time to study Esthiology, I couldn’t get there fast enough to check it out. 

As soon as I walked in the door, I was hit in the nose with the now-familiar as can be Aveda Aromatherapy Blend, and I never wanted to leave. I enrolled to begin the program that fall. 

Aveda was founded by Horst Rechelbacher. When I went through my program, he still owned the school, which made for a unique experience, since he was so passionate about the Ayurvedic philosophies, principles and practices that we students received the benefit of the exposure to people he was collaborating with at the time. 

That was my first introduction to Holistic Healing.

We learned about Yoga & Meditation, Ayurvedic nutrition, Aveda’s commitment to the environment, pioneering the way to consciousness in the beauty & wellness industry. Horst Rechelbacher started this movement in 1978. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak not long before his passing in 2014.  I wrote a blogpost about his talk on Plant Stem Cells, which you can read here: 

That program was the beginning of a journey I am still on and still learning new things all. the. time.

Learning from the industry experts, learning from clients, learning from experience.

Writing is my long-held secret passion. When clients & friends have suggested I write more about all things I talk about all the time, it has seemed so daunting because the topics of Skincare, Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda, Holistic Healing & Wellness are so vast that it’s hard to know where to begin.

So I am beginning with the basics – what I know and how I came to know – and laying a foundation to share where I’m coming from, because when I do, I feel even more that I am living my Dharma*, which is fulfilling my specific purpose, or living in accordance to a higher cosmic law.

Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share anything you’ve learned on your own Healing Path.

There are millions of people seeking, learning and growing, let’s share what we’ve got. It’s the best chance we have.