We had an incredibly inspiring conversation with our magical teachers Susy & Elizabeth Schieffelin of the Divine Feminine, Yoga & Sound Healing Retreat, to talk about their healing journeys and their deep love of building supportive communities of soul sisters.
Q: What drove you to heal yourself and dive inward? What was the turning point?
For me, this moment took place when I hit rock bottom in 2015. For years I had struggled with anxiety and addiction. I was stressed out, overweight, and unhappy. I had been trying to make healthy changes and knew that I needed to stop drinking, but kept repeatedly falling back into old patterns. I wanted to eat healthier and exercise more, I wanted to live a conscious, meaningful life, but as hard as I tried, nothing stuck. I was looking outside myself for someone or something that would fix me, but nothing worked. I was in a toxic cycle and simply could not break free. Rock bottom for me was a moment of complete desperation when I came to the decision that I couldn’t take the struggle anymore and no longer wanted to live. I was so lost and felt alone with my feelings. In that moment, I believe that a part of me really did die.
I woke up one morning and something clicked. I made a decision to do whatever it took to heal. And from that point forward, I began looking for the answers within. I went to rehab and stopped drinking. I began a Gratitude practice. I developed a daily meditation practice and a relationship with a higher power. I started to listen to the voice within me, and everything started to change! I began to heal from the inside out and my life transformed. It has been a journey of learning to love, trust, and let go and I am grateful for every minute of it.
My healing journey has been a real evolution over time, much like wading in a pool. For me, there wasn’t one major trigger or crisis that inspired an inward dive. I’ve always been extremely curious about the mind-body-spirit connection. My journey mainly began with the physical body through the asana lens of yoga and fitness. I love to sweat, and daily activity is a non-negotiable for getting good sleep and working through emotions! Over time, through reiki energy trainings and more meditation, I've become fascinated with the energetic body and how I can heal my physical body.
I moved to Shanghai six years ago and have worked hard to build up my smoothie cafe business. I noticed about three years ago that I was really living in the "Yang" end of the Yin-Yang spectrum. I embodied characteristics of the masculine within me: outward facing, exertion, logic, sun energy, decision making, rigidity, power. I wasn’t nurturing or respecting the Yin: inward, receptive, fluidity, softening, moon energy, reflective, etc. I believe, as a result of this internal imbalance, my physical body suffered. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. I sought help from sisters (literally, my sister Susy and also soul sisters in the form of mentors, coaches and teachers). I began to make shifts in my thoughts and actions to nurture my Yin energy. I traded my HIIT classes for restorative yoga, I began to take rests during the day, I journaled and meditated more. Most importantly, I began to ask for and receive help.
Fast forward a few years, and I've deepened my study of the Divine Feminine through meditation courses and a mystery school. I truly feel like a flower that’s blossoming in health of mind, body, and spirit! The journey continues, but I’m so grateful for the growth that’s come from softening and letting go.
Q: What does divine femininity and sisterhood mean to you?
Trust. Love. Connection.
Allowing. Receiving. Being.
There is Divine Feminine energy within each of us. I believe that this energy is the most powerful energy of all because it is the energy of creation though unconditional Love.
The Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine live within all of us, no matter our gender, and allows us to reach our highest potential and creativity. The Divine Feminine is the aspect of self that is the purest form of feminine qualities. This includes sensing, feeling, intuition, sensuality, creation, softness, receptivity, collaboration, and love. Because of past centuries of a patriarchal society, for many of us, these qualities are suppressed or malnourished, which can lead to imbalance. The Divine Feminine is a sacred power and a creative force. As I’ve ventured within and explored this part of myself, I’ve flourished in all areas of my life. I’ve healed relationships with family, friends and have strengthened my romantic partnership. Going on this journey alone can be scary and overwhelming. Sisterhood from biological and soul sisters has been a crucial support for me personally. I will forever be grateful for the women who make up my tribe, and who have supported and loved all parts of me. This bond is available to all with open hearts. On our retreat, we’ll work to unlock and clear blockages and stories that may be interfering with the flow of sisterhood.
Q: If you could offer any advice to a woman hoping to connect with herself and others, what would it be?
As women, we often give so much to others and forget about ourselves. We become "doer"s - always giving and doing and trying. We turn our focus outwards and lose touch with the Truth within. That Truth is that you are already perfect. You are already whole. This life is a journey of remembering that as well as the fact that all of the answers are already within you. You have nothing to prove.
My advice to you is to open your eyes and let yourself see the signs the Universe is offering you. Spend time with people who lift you up. Do things that inspire you. Choose to see that you are surrounded by Love because you are Love. Life is too short to waste one moment angry or resentful or regretful.
Going on a retreat is an incredible way to experience a shift in perspective, reconnect with yourself, recharge your spirit, and meet like minded people who lift you up and can support you on your journey. My first women's retreat changed my life and helped me to see things in a whole new way. If you are looking for more love, connection, and healing in your life, come join me and my sister in Bali for our Divine Feminine retreat this October and that's what you will get! We have just a few spots left so, if you have been waiting for a sign, let this be it!
Say yes to our Divine Feminine retreat! Ha ha. But really, through daily practice of meditation, (in particular, Metta, or Loving Kindness meditation and breath work) you can open up a whole world of possibility and connection. Meditation is an ancient technology that allows us to unwrap the layers between the current reality and our true, authentic selves. Journaling is also a powerful way to dialogue with different parts of our inner worlds.
Q: What’s your mission?
In today’s world, many people feel disconnected and struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction, and stress. My mission is to inspire and empower people to reconnect with the Light, sense of purpose, and infinite potential within.
I do this by creating experiences that help people to relax, let go, and see the Love in every moment. It is never too late to choose to live life as your happiest, healthiest, most radiant Self!
My mission is to empower my generation of women, and the next, around the world to be our own best health advocates. I’m most inspired by connecting with women and building communities of sisters and mothers. I hold loving space, teach yoga and meditation, and offer health coaching to support women in shining out the light that we all have within.