Before I was born, my father planted a rose bush for me outside our home. For me this gesture began to form my path to connecting with the plants. One of my first memories is walking around eating rose petals and honeysuckle flowers, I realize now that being with the plants as a young girl was how I survived. By the age of seven I had started playing with making rose water. Wow! It was so beautiful to put those petals in a bowl filled with water, and how quickly the water smelled of roses! Rose medicine is still one of my favorites, she is a medicine for the spiritual heart, the rose teaches us that we can be open and soft like her petals, yet have boundaries, as she has thorns.
At fifteen I had an adopted uncle that would take me to the book store and get me whatever books I wanted to read! So I began my personal study, reading books on Native American healing, herbal medicine and massage therapy.
When I turned eighteen I started working in a natural foods store, where I met Brigitte Mars, internationally known author and herbalist. She was my first herbal medicine teacher. She taught me the magic of the plants and how to use them for common ailments. In her class I became friends with a student who was going to India for college and I thought to myself, “I want to go to India!”
After working really hard at the health food store, I finally saved enough money to go to India, where I lived, travelled and studied for six months. Towards the end of my stay I immersed myself in a six week silent Buddhist meditation retreat, this course was intense to say the least, I received downloads in Buddhism for six hours a day and the rest of the day was spent in silent guided meditation. Being in silence for that long at that age was obviously quite challenging! While in silent retreat, I had the opportunity to sit in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and do a pilgrimage to the sites where Buddha had travelled and sat and taught, in fact I have a leaf from the grandchild of the original bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. I did a full moon, all night meditation under the tree and at the end of this journey I placed my forehead on the trunk of the tree and a leaf fell to my feet. Such a mystical time for me, as India is both scary and magical. My encounters and experiences there forever changed me. While in retreat I had some time of my hands so I began to volunteer at the local clinic offering acupressure and massage to children afflicted with polio, to help relieve their intense pain and suffering. I was also introduced to the healing power of Reiki by a fellow meditator on the retreat who was a seventh generation Reiki master and an amazing healer.
I fell deeply in love with the plants...
After returning to the United States I decided to move to Ashland Oregon and found myself apprenticing at the Herb Pharm, one of the country’s best botanical medicine companies. It was an amazing experience to work on a medicinal herb farm and live in a community of like-minded people. In trade for working on the farm we had a lovely home to share and the chance to learn from the local healers and herbalists in the community. After the program was complete I worked and lived on another flower farm in the area before I decided to return to Boulder to attend school to become an herbalist.
In 1999 I moved back to Boulder to attend The Rocky Mountain School for Botanical Studies. I loved every moment of my three years at herb school and graduated a Certified Clinical Herbalist/Nutritionist. I have had the honor of learning from some of the best herbal teachers in the world, some through the school and some through herbal conferences or personal relationships; David Hoffman, Rosita Arvigo, Susan Weed, Rosemary Gladstar, Matthew Becker, Feather Jones, Paul Bergner, Sevensong, James Snow, Matthew Wood, Ryan Drum, Juliette de Baïracli Levy, Mindy Green, Brigitte Mars, Ann Drucker, Jyoti Wind, Deborah Francis, Alakananda Ma, Jeannine Parvati Baker, Terry Willard, David Winston, Rebecca Luna and Michael Moore to name a few. I was living in a teepee back in those days, in Boulder while in school, which makes it seem even more romantic when I look back on those times.
I began my journey apprenticing in Shamanism
While at herb school I also began my studies in Shamanic Healing first with Shamanic Healer and Astrologer Jyoti Wind. Studying astrology gave me a deeper understanding of the general blueprint we each come into the world with and how the plants and the cosmos affect our lives on a very intrinsic level.
I also had the honor to apprentice with Earth Centered Shamanic Healer and Herbalist, Ann Drucker, which was an amazing personal healing journey. She is such a dynamic teacher and healer, and remains a huge inspiration for my work in the world. Learning about the unseen worlds, helping spirits and the spiritual uses for plants from an earth-centered, wise-woman, shamanic tradition helped me profoundly on many levels. This work taught me that we hold our emotions in the body, also how to be in right relationship with the Earth Mother, and with our helpers and guides. This work is still teaching me to this day, to work in the unseen realms, to trust my own inner wisdom, and how to listen beyond words, how to have and be in right relationship with everything, including myself. I am so blessed to have found such amazing women mentors and teachers, to help guide me on my sacred path.
Dreams come true...
When I was a teen I read the book, Sastun, My apprenticeship with a Maya Healer, by Rosita Arvigo. Ann was good friends with Rosita and inspired me to go down to Belize and immerse myself in the Maya tradition of healing. It was a lovely healing experience for me. It was so empowering to learn about the body in a different way than I had ever before and learn the rituals, ceremonies and modalities the indigenous Maya healers had used for thousands of years. I had the opportunity to study with Rosita Arvigo, Miss Beatrice Waight and Miss Granny Hortense, from whom I learned Maya Abdominal Massage and Spiritual Healing. While I was staying at the magical Ixchel Farm in Belize I had a dream that I moved to Hawaii to study bodywork. In order to offer this work to others Rosita wanted those learning to have a certain level of education in the ability of touch, so I thought to myself, I can make this happen, I can move to Hawaii and go to massage school. And a year later I moved to Maui!
Began studying hands on healing and body work
My intention, when I moved to Hawaii, was to attend a local massage school, but after attending for a month I realized it wasn’t a match for me and decided to seek a more personally resonant experience. I found an amazing woman to apprentice with, Shari Sunshine, internationally respected Master Bodyworker and Healer. She has created her own style of bodywork called Syntropy, a brilliant synthesis of all her years of hands on healing experience woven into an amazing, and gentle style of bodywork. As a part of my apprenticeship I went with Shari and a few other students to India. We spent months receiving intense transmission from His Holiness and we had the chance to sit with the Dalai Lama’s oracle, his medicine man, his teacher and also the Karmapa. It sounds romantic, and it was hard! So we rewarded ourselves by making our way to the warmth of Southern India to study, rest, and experience India’s famous Ayurvedic treatments. The last part of our five month journey led us to Bali, where Shari and I volunteered at Bumi Sehat clinic for a month assisting births and helping in any way that was needed. I truly loved being useful and learning from the amazing women there.
When I returned to Maui in late 2005 I decided to learn Hawaiian style bodywork and had the chance to study with Hawaiian Kumu, Maka’ala Yates, this three week intensive was quite inspiring for me. Hawaiian Lomi Lomi is at the base of my hands on healing style. I love Hawaiian Healing because it, like Ayurveda, is not limited to just one part of life, but rather encompasses herbal medicine, martial arts, bone setting, and Ho’oponopono, which is the practice of right relationship with yourself, and the world, through forgiveness. This class helped deepen my relationship with the spirits and plant medicines of the islands. Ho’oponopono has profoundly influenced my own healing journey, and it’s something I have also woven into my work.
My first official employment as a massage therapist was at the Four Seasons Resort on the island of Lanai, Hawaii. I considered this time as clinic time, a place to gain valuable visceral experience. I had the opportunity to work with literally thousands of clients over the five years I was there. I was an undercover healer there, as it was hard on my heart to work there in many ways, but the constant views of the Pacific ocean, the rainbows, dolphins and whales in the distance, made it all worth it. I also have to say that I learned the art of excellent standards, giving me something that, in many ways, sets me apart in the healing world.
While living on Maui I studied Somatic Movement. Similar to Syntropy, this technique combines Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique to support recalibration of the nervous system, brain and muscle connections through slow movements that work to bypass the sensory motor cortex of the brain, thus reestablishing functional calibration and functional movement of the muscles. This work has influenced my hands on healing and yoga teachings in a profound way and it’s a modality I weave into what I call embodied movement.
In 2009 I returned to India for the fourth time for a solo mission of daily meditation, panchakarma, intensive investigative self inquiry and personal growth. I was receiving daily treatments and studying with a seventh generation Ayurvedic Doctor. This trip wasn’t easy on me, but as usual I learned a lot! I have extensively studied the art of cleansing and have tried many of the present day cleanses and detoxes. I have been leading cleansing programs for over ten years now and love co-creating a personalized program that supports all aspects of you and your life.
Went even Deeper into my studies...
I left Maui in 2010 to expand in my education bandwidth, and accidentally landed back in Boulder, Colorado. When I first got here I was so hungry for education that I may have jumped into too many things at once! I did a doula training and attended a few births. My previous Herb School teacher, Paul Bergner, invited me to take his last course in Clinical Nutrition with his school, North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. I also attended a Prenatal Yoga Training and a 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Shannon Paige, where I learned three yoga styles; Vinyasa Yoga, Anjali Restorative Yoga and Bhava Vinyasa. The prenatal course was more for supporting my pregnant clients by being able to make them more comfortable during pregnancy, and the training with Shannon actually helped me to be able to communicate movement cues to my clients on the table. I love teaching a more restorative, somatic, earth-centered style of yoga.
In 2012 I took another course in Nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition making me a Certified Health Coach. Although I didn’t feel I got a lot out of this course, it did inspire me to want to create an online nutritional therapy school that is also woven with herbal medicine, for basic nourishment, self care, authentic nutrition, and a few other more earth-centered ways to connect to the world around you, it’s still a work in progress, so stay tuned!
In November of 2012 I became a Certified Self-Care Instructor for the Arvigo Institute of Maya Abdominal Therapy and I offered their course in Hawaii and Boulder for 4 years. As of April 2015 I am no longer with the Arvigo Institute, but I honor my lineage and my teachers; Don Elijio Panti, Rosita Arvigo and Granny Hortense Robinson. I am excited to have let go of this long term relationship as I have learned that I am better at working with others rather than for others! Now I am free to do my own work, and teach in my own way.
In 2013 I attended level one and two CranioSacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute. This work has inspired me to listen deeper to the subtle energies and taught me how to offer healing with a lighter touch, with less effort. Many people, when receiving body work, believe that the deeper the pressure, the better. What I learned is that actually, oftentimes, the more subtle the touch, the more profound the result.
I am currently enrolled in an Herbal Medicine Course for Women’s Health with Aviva Romm, Master Herbalist, Midwife and MD. I felt I could use a refresher on the more clinical applications of herbal medicine for women’s health. I am a Certified Clinical Herbalist, but my approach to herbal medicine has been more folk style and less clinical.
June of 2013 I wanted to receive lymphatic massage so, in true Naomi fashion, I decided just to study it! I went to Healing Spirits School, in Boulder, to study Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy. This modality is profoundly relaxing and gentle, yet absolutely imperative in contributing to the overall health of your body and immune system, it is so important to take care of our lymphatic systems. What I learned from this course is that most things we think are good for the lymph, aren’t actually working with the system. I learned more about how to touch the lymph system and have woven this technique into my hands on healing sessions.
In October of 2013 I attended an intensive seminar with John DeMartini, Human Behavioral Specialist. He is a quirky man, and absolutely brilliant! He teaches about universal principles and human behavior. His techniques are really mentally based which works for some, but not all. This work helped me to shift my perspective and to see the macrocosm rather than focusing on the microcosm. His work has deeply influenced my enjoyment of life, my relationships and my work.
In September of 2014 I attended SomatoEmotional Release (level three craniosacral) with the Upledger Institute. This modality helps you to drop into an altered state and connect to your inner wisdom and to gently clear what doesn’t need to be held in the body anymore.
Recently I took an online course on Raw Food preparation and raw food nutrition, I wanted to learn to make more raw yummies! As a Nutritional Therapist I am a food educator and I love to empower and inspire you to cook and make delicious supportive, nutritive foods for your own health and wellness. We are what we eat!
I attended a 6 week course with Sandra Ingerman, who is a leading authority on shamanism, called Shamanic Journeying for Guidance and Healing. This was really just for me, as you may have noticed I am inspired by my teachers and by the classes I take, both in my work and on my personal journey. It was a beautiful course, and it really reminded me that this work has been so healing for me.
I began my journey to creating a school November of 2014, Wise Womb Medicine Path™. I am really excited about this project, it is the culmination of my many years of study and practice. In May of 2015 my first class of nine graduated from my 6 month Hands On Healing Apprenticeship, they learned self care, earth-centered healing and ceremonial botanical bodywork. I am so honored to now have students out there doing something I taught them, so satisfying. Through this apprenticeship program my own work evolved and changed, this often happens when teaching. In 2016 I had 21 women taking my level one Apprenticeship Program and in 2017 I had 23 graduates of two different programs.
In May of 2015 I attended a workshop in Hakomi, which is a body based psychotherapy technique using loving presence and somatic awareness to help one drop into an inner awareness to support deep and profound healing. I found this work to be a version of shamanic soul retrieval. The influence of Hakomi into my practice has been profound and has literally changed my life!
In 2015 I began studying with an amazing Energy Medicine Healer, Intuitive, Seer, Psychic, this has profoundly influenced my work. Vanessa is masterful in helping her students understand how energy works, and teaches how to manage your energy, how to be in a world where people don’t know how to manage their own energy. She is also a mentor for me in many ways, teaching me more Spiritual Hygiene for working in the unseen realms. She has taught me how to listen even more deeply, how to see the unseen and how to work in a more healthy way for my physical body, also how to do my work without taking energy on from my clients and students. She inspires me to trust my guidance and my intuition even more. I am in love with this work and feel it was a missing link for me. She is basically teaching me more direct resources to use my super powers as an empath, an intuitive healer.
In June of 2015 I decided to take my botanical work to a deeper level and attended a fantastic class at the Flower Essence Society in California to study flower essences, and soul therapy. The weaving of this work into my own life has been about realizing how important the language of the flowers is, as a vibrational reflection, to help us find the language of our soul. Working with flower essences is a pathway to emotional freedom! They have also changed my life quite profoundly.
In 2015-2016 I have continued studying and deepening my knowledge base through studying with one of my most favorite teachers and healers – David Crow, Founder and Creator of Floracopeia Essential Oil company. The class is Medicine Plants and Spiritual Evolution. He is an amazing teacher who speaks my language and speaks to the things that are important to me and what I see the world needs more of. I was also called to do a 9 month apprenticeship called The Path of the Universal Shaman Advanced Intensive with Don Oscar Miro-Quesada. I felt drawn to him because he has a special way of being and way of presence. He is teaching me more about indigenous shamanic healing from South America and I am finding it inspiring and supporting, deepening my work both personally and professionally.
In August of 2015 I started my journey to become a priestess for the goddess Ixchel, who I have worked with in the Maya tradition for over 15 years.Ixchel ceremonies are a beautiful experience for women to gather and connect with the divine feminine, promoting a deep connection to the earth and community. Together we honor Ixchel and prepare ourselves in specific ways to receive healing from her. I have had amazing insights given to me during these ceremonies as well as personal healings.
This year I have been deeply called to immerse myself in an earth centered study of sacred sexuality. Most of us have an uncomfortable relationship to our bodies, to sexuality and haven’t had great role models or conditioning around beauty, sex, or arousal which I see has led us to a deep fear of true intimacy, to true vulnerability, and this fear keeps us from truly connecting with one another. So, I decided my theme for this year is connecting more intimately to the sensual aspect of the Divine Feminine & Sacred Sexuality. I attended a month long teacher training in April of 2016 in Bali, with a specific focus on the Sacred Feminine and Tao Tantric Arts. This was a PROFOUND and intense healing experience and training.
In September of 2016 I began the journey to go deeper in my person healing and offerings for women studying Holistic Pelvic Care ™ with Tami Kent, The Wild Feminine. I have had a chance to offer my embodiment of this work to many women on their path to personal sexual embodiment. Supporting them through touch, presence, and shamanic embodiment to heal pain, trauma, emotional and physical congestion held in the sex. I am loving supporting women in this sacred way.
Back to Maui
In October of 2016 I was called to move back to the beautiful island of Maui where I am creating a new way of offering my work, and living life. Choosing more freedom and personal time in combination with offering my gifts through personal healing retreats and apprenticeship programs, in person and remote sessions.
In January 2017 I left for a two month adventure to Thailand where I assisted a six week Tao Tantric Arts Sacred Feminine Tao Priestess Teacher Training. I was the healer on the weekends, and the space holder for the group participants and I also participated in the program. It was a huge undertaking as I was many roles at once, and I wanted to go back and take what I had embodied in Bali the year before a bit deeper into my system, which happened! To complete my time in Thailand, I was blessed to assist my friend Daisy Kaye at The Sanctuary in Koh Phangan in her Breath Medicine Workshop and Five Element Dance/ Cacao Ceremony and was asked to teach my Wise Womb Medicine Workshop there, which was a joy and a surprise to have doors open so easily for my work.
Big Mahalo’s for taking the time to learn about my motivation and to read my journey of becoming…