Particularly my healing journey and awakening to white privilege
*note- I’m always healing and always learning*
Who am I? Well, there’s the short version: My name is Tekla, and I am someone who holds space for others, in one-on-one settings and in community, sharing and teaching practices like Reiki, boundary setting, and BE-ing- in your own body and in community with others. I am an Intuitive Reiki-Informed Teacher, who has spent 14 years studying the healing arts, and the last five years learning about my white privilege and white supremacy culture we are living in. My journey has taken me through the awareness and healing of codependency and addiction, and I work today to continue being grounded in my truth, to learn more about my own heritage, and to continue to educate myself on how to live into the practice of being an accomplice of Black, Indigenous, and brown folks. I support people through community, daily practices, setting energetic boundaries, and releasing energy using many practices including the Japanese Art of Reiki.
Would you rather listen to a podcast where I am interviewed to learn about me, my programs, more about Reiki, my philosophies on teaching and community? Please check out this podcast hosted by my friend Carin Huebner, on her wonderful podcast, heal and go public.
My own healing work over the past 14 years has brought me now to a place where I am incorporating and highlighting practices from East Asian medicine & practices, Reiki, and intuitive training, into an on-going program (Be Rooted) of community and support for those ready (or even not-so-ready but are ready to take the leap) to transform, connect with their own intuition, and continue to heal.
PS- If you are looking for the “degrees and certifications”, here is the list with most of the things:
- MA Applied Healing Arts/Transformative Leadership and Social Change
- Usui/Holy Fire and Karuna Reiki Teacher
- Reverend from the Church of Inner Light, CO- Intuitive Development and Self-Healing Program Graduate
- Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR) Leader
- Birth and Postpartum Doula
- Yoga Teacher, support for prenatal and postpartum
- BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Science Teacher
And here is the longer version of who I am, thanks for listening!
My name is Tekla, I was named because my parents knew it to be a Swedish name (and my matriarchal line is of Swedish heritage). I have since learned my name is Polish, Ethiopian, and other origins- it doesn’t really “mean” anything, though it originates from the Greek name Thekla, meaning “God’s glory”.
I use she/her/hers pronouns and I am raced as white. My heritage is of European ancestry, specifically Scandanavian and Irish. My ancestors benefited from the stolen land of the Ojibwe in the state now known as Michigan, where my family still farms the land. I was born and lived my first 26 years in Tucson, Arizona, the land of the Tohono O’Odham and Hohokam. I currently live on the land of the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Dakota, known as Colorado.
I am currently in the position with my knowingness and awareness about myself that my journey has been one of privilege in many ways (white, upper/middle class, straight, cis-gendered, no physical or debilitating mental disabilities). Where I do have direct experience is being deeply affected by addiction and codependency in my family and my partnership, and I have been on a healing journey for more than a decade. I am here to share tools with people who are called to work with me, as I see codependency as a cultural phenomenon that everyone experiences to some degree (it is not a bad word or something to be shamed about). I can be a support for people in releasing and healing patterns from the collective phenomena of a culture of codependency and addiction. I support people through community, daily practices, setting energetic boundaries, and releasing energy with Reiki.
Over the past 5 years, this white woman has been on a powerful journey of education by listening to podcasts like Scene on Radio’s Seeing White, reading books, watching movies, and taking classes to examine my white privilege with Building Bridges in Denver. This journey has brought me to be acutely aware of systemic racism, and to work through my own white fragility and white guilt, so that I now speak about anti-racism through conversations in my classes, circles I lead, and with my one-on-one clients. Through my work, I am supporting people to release the energy held in the body from systemic racism and white supremacy, (you can find an eloquent explanation of this in Resmaa Menakem’s book, My Grandmother’s Hands). I am still a beginner, I am not the expert, and I am always learning.
I was raised and lived the first 35+ years of my life unaware of my white privilege, of the history of America, how it was built on, and has not healed from, white supremacy. My past includes playing the role as the “white woman savior” in Baltimore City. I had no idea at the time I was playing this role. Education, awareness, and energy healing are ways that I work to release my white guilt around this. I am wanting to stay aware of the pattern of “white women healers” culturally appropriating healing work like yoga, and energy healing like Reiki. I am committed to continued unlearning while also being of service in what feels authentic and has been helpful on my journey of healing and awareness. Though they may not be part of my ancestry, I am so deeply grateful for the support of Reiki, yoga and East Asian medicine. I am called to continue sharing while acknowledging the origins of these practices with honor.
As a woman of European descent in America, I did not grow up with a connection to the ceremonies and healing modalities of my ancestors until I was in my 40’s. Since traveling to Ireland with my Reiki teacher in 2019, I have become aware of my Irish and Swedish heritage and my connection to the Wheel of the Year celebrations, which are linked to the cycles of Mother Nature. My daughter and I have studied healing with herbs from the traditional Irish tradition, and we celebrate earth-based and seasonally-based Wheel of the Year ceremonies with our family (I also host these ceremonies to celebrate in community and host 3 retreats a year to celebrate 3 of the seasonal celebrations). My connection to healing over the past decade has been a mix of other traditions and cultures, which I recognize and completely honor . I am committed to consciously recognizing and honoring the originating cultures of the traditions and practices that I share and teach.
Growing up in Tucson, I did learn a lot about the Tohono O’Odham and other Native American cultures. A big part of my elementary education was connecting with the Earth, and calling her Mother Earth. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher, Po Ha Ma Hepi, who was a Shohone Medicine Woman from Big Bear, CA. She taught me how to connect with Mother Earth. She influenced me and other classmates so deeply that we feel she inspired us on our life paths. I am forever grateful and honor her, and her teachings, as they have stayed with me since I was around 10 years old.
It wasn’t until I started studying at the Tai Sophia Institute at the end of 2008, that I connected a spiritual tradition to the cycles of the Earth in such a powerful way that it changed the course of my life. This was when I truly began my healing journey. Through my graduate studies, I learned about the ancient East Asian traditions of 5 Element Acupuncture, Taoism and using the I Ching, which all deeply resonated with me. This connection to the seasons and the cycles of the Earth was profound for me in relation to life, relationships, and my own wellness. Awareness of cycles and circles and interconnection became a main focal point.
I have been leading circles of healing, and holding circles through yoga and new mom’s groups, and circles are the format in which I most prefer to teach and gather with others. My experience of circling together is the most powerful way for healing and support in a community. The circles that I have led and been a part of over the past decade have often been rooted in the seasons of the Earth, connection, listening, and sharing wisdom. This is the format of my signature 9 month program- Be Rooted in Your Truest Self- which begins each September and runs through May.
To circle back to my healing journey, Yoga has also been part of my path to healing and I still practice because it is a source of great healing for me. I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training, including Reiki 1, 2, advanced and Teacher training, in 2013-14. I have practiced yoga for over 20 years and have taught it, specifically for pregnant and postpartum women. I honor and respect the yogic practice of movement and breath, and especially the power of yoga to bring people together in community. I am grateful for yoga and I continue to practice regularly with awareness of the origin of yoga and continued awareness of cultural appropriation.
My Reiki training and journey is one that I like to discuss with as much clarity as possible- I am a white woman teaching a Japanese energetic healing tradition, based in the ancient Shinto spirituality in Japan, which, depending on who you talk to, has been westernized and has a lot of history and lineages over just the past 100+ years. How do I justify this? I didn’t plan on practicing, sharing, and teaching Reiki when I learned it! I was in a “growth period” of life- big change and healing was taking place. My daughter was two years old, and my husband was deep in the energetic family/generational pattern of depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. I took my Yoga/Reiki training at a time when I needed something to help me, my daughter, and my family. During this time, I was able to connect with a higher source/energy through my Reiki Reiju (meditations to learn Reiki with my teacher) and classes. The beauty and simplicity of Reiki- the ease of connecting with it with a teacher, and the way that it brings people together in community, as well as the ease of supporting people in the release of old energy and patterns is what keeps me connecting to and sharing this Japanese tradition. During my year of learning Reiki, I was able to start to let go of some of my energetic and family/generational pattern of codependency and, in the middle of it all, as a family, we went through “rock bottom” in a sense, which was the transformation and change our family needed. I was able to handle it all (with a 2.5 year old daughter) and continue to grow, because of the work I had been doing through my graduate school program and practices, yoga, and Reiki.
My husband and I had family who could help support us financially during this time, though I was going through my yoga and Reiki training on a discount and a payment plan, and my acupuncturist of 3 years was offering me a deep sliding scale discount (which is why I offer payment options). During this time, I didn’t have family living in our town, and I leaned on and survived by the help of my friends, specifically the moms I had met in prenatal yoga and new moms groups. Community, energy work, and connection to source through Reiki (which was opening up my intuition, though I didn’t even know it was), is what got me through on a spiritual and mental health level. Alanon (12-step meetings for people affected by alcoholism) was also a community of support that helped get me through this very challenging time.
I had to hit a very low part of my life to start to heal- and because of this journey, and my graduate school program and all that I learned during that time, I am now able to hold space for others. My journey with Reiki (and acknowledged financial privilege of support from family & many other privileges), especially helped my family be able to take the huge leap of faith and move to Colorado when our daughter was three years old, to continue healing and re-start.
My healing journey continued in Colorado when I started studying intuitive training with my now good friend and former office-mate, Stacia Synnestvedt. I studied for two years with her, learning to trust my intuition, and learning methods for listening to my intuition, while also continuing to heal. This part of my journey is a huge part of my teaching, how I lead meditations, and look at energy. I am grateful to have these practices based on practices from the Berkeley Psychic Institute. and to be able to share them with others. Practicing how to listen to my intuition and continuing to see Reiki clients through that time led me to design my own “Intuitive Reiki Method” over the past 6 years of practice. As I encourage my students now to trust how they receive information while sharing Reiki, I have my own tools that I use from years of practice and study.
My own healing work over the past 14 years has brought me now to a place where I am incorporating and highlighting the practices from grad school, Reiki, and intuitive training, into an on-going program of community and support, for those ready (or even not-so-ready but are ready to take the leap) to transform, connect with their own intuition, and continue to heal.