An “alchemist” is someone who can take one substance and transform into another. And my life has been a long process of learning how to change “lead” (anger, sorrow, pain, rage) into “gold” (love, forgiveness, light-heartedness, joy).
I like to look at my life in a few “heart chapters” that led me to where I stand today: a coach and healer for others.
Here’s how I became The Heart Alchemist.
I started out life as most of us do: with the tender, innocent, and open heart of a child. I was born in California but raised in the breathtaking Azores Islands, a little-known paradise in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, that belongs to Portugal.
From my earliest memories, I was what you might call “quirky”. I was extremely spiritually sensitive and solitary at times, my heart bursting with curiosity at all the miracles that life presented.
But that open-heartedness didn’t last very long.
Before the age of 5, I experienced two major life traumas that completely blocked my tender heart and caused great suffering in my life: my father’s severe illness and sexual abuse perpetrated by a family member.
By early adolescence, I was so filled with rage, anger, and fear that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I suffered from severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety. I was drowning in my own darkness. The sexual trauma became so repressed that I didn’t even remember big chunks of my childhood.
Fast forward 15+ years and I was now living in New York City (then Washington D.C.), working as a Neuropediatric Physical Therapist. I received my Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from New York University and my Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins University.
I was now a clinician, trained to see health and healing in a “science-based” way: only what can be verified by science exists.
But something was deeply missing. On the outside, it looked like I was living a great life. I had the “Dr.” initials, a wonderful partner, a highly rewarding career, and lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
It turns out that living with a blocked heart had taken a major toll on my life.
I wasn’t living the life that my heart wanted, I was living from my powerful mind only.
But life has a way of helping us heal, one way or another. And usually, this “healing” comes in the form of major breakdown and pain.
In 2013 my life fell apart with the sudden breakup of my marriage.