As with most people, I have spent my life searching to “fit in” somewhere; to find my path, not realizing I was already on my path in all the phases of my journey. I had, as long as I can remember, a connection to animals, nature, and physical expression, and was interested in martial arts and weightlifting. As a teenager I lived in foster homes, moving out on my own at sixteen and leaving high school because I was too tired my senior year to stay awake during class. I found myself pregnant at seventeen.
I had always been into dance and loved to connect my body with my feelings in dance. I dabbled in yoga and Tai Chi in my twenties, studied various forms of martial arts (Wu Chien Pai, Tai Kwon Do, Shotokan, and Self-Defense). I was never a disciplined student, only a “dabbler”- and in reality, I was living a very unhealthy life in many ways.
As life progressed into my thirties, I embraced fitness and health more. I quit smoking and other unhealthy habits, and became more aware of my spiritual path. I explored feminist theology and became a Unitarian Universalist. I participated in women’s circles, drumming, pow wows and other activities that called to my heart. Through time, I found guided imagery tapes that I used to help me sleep and for general wellness. Again, I was only a dabbler and used them only sporadically.
When my son was in a terrible accident seven years ago, I began to see my path more clearly. He was in a coma, and we did not know if he was going to live. Although I always knew he would because I couldn’t accept any other thought at that time and continue to live myself. I talked to him while he was in a coma and told him I needed him back, I played him home videos of him growing up (which was always his favorite thing to watch), and I played guided imagery tapes for him constantly, trying to help his mind heal his body and gently return him to me. The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit around us hopefully benefited from the healing images being played in the background for him. I did my own “homemade” energy work on him, drawing the healing powers to his body.
My friends – all of different spiritual beliefs, came and gave him healing energy. Everyone from born-again Christians, Pagans, those with eclectic spiritual beliefs – whatever good mojo they brought, we would take it. Most of the time, I slept in a chair sitting up next to his bed and stayed in the room unless the doctors needed me to step out. We held women’s circles in my family room at home any time I could not be by his hospital bed and called for healing energy.
This is also the time in my life that the dragonfly became a powerful symbol of protection for me. As we sat in our circle of powerful women, my friend TC (I won’t use her full name in order to protect her identity) told me that after her mother died, every time she saw a dragonfly she felt a strong sense of her mother’s presence and protection. That very day, dragonflies began to appear around the hospital – on a nurse’s scrubs, on a picture hanging from the wall; we called on TC’s mother to be there with us and she was.
After ten days of watching as my son lay in a coma and continuing to play tapes and talk to him to bring his body and mind back to us, the nurses would periodically ask me call to him in an attempt to bring him back to alertness. In the videotape of his second birthday, I called to him, “Jordan, Jordan!” and as the movie played in the hospital room, I was simultaneously calling his name, urging him to wake up. Finally, after days of not knowing if my son would ever see me again, his eyes opened. Jordan and I have since joked about how I nagged him out of his coma.
After such a powerful experience of seeing healing energy breathe life back into my child, I knew I had to healing into my life in a more profound way. When we got home after Jordan’s three month rehab in the hospital, I began to find ways to learn more about healing energies, to become trained in yoga, Reiki and other energy work, as well as guided imagery. I did yoga by Jordan’s bedside in the hospital throughout our stay and started taking more yoga classes once we were back home. I received my Reiki I attunement and continued to read and educate myself about healing energy.
In 2005 one of my yoga teachers who had been teaching and practicing yoga for decades, asked me to become a teacher and take over her class. I instantly loved teaching yoga and felt it was one way I could bring healing to others. Two years later, a leader in the guided imagery field came from California to Rochester, MN to do an intensive training on guided imagery. I was able to attend and began writing my own imageries – sometimes incorporating my knowledge of Reiki and chakra energy in the images.
As I became a more experienced yoga teacher, I began to take on more classes. I did guided imagery in women’s empowerment groups and workshops, for teens that were considered “at-risk”, for young men in jail and for others as it was needed. Three years ago, after I left my job as the Director of a domestic abuse program, I sat to visualize my future, to set my goals and ask the Universe what was my calling next on this journey.
What came to me was that 2009 was to be the year of yoga. I found a training program that called to me and paid for my trip before my steady income came to an end. Now I am ready to take the next step towards my goals, my path, and finding ways to be a positive role model and healer for others. Although some days living in the unknown is frightening, I know somehow that this is where I am supposed to be right now.
Liz Jones is a writer, certified yoga instructor, and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. Liz is trained in Reiki, Guided Imagery, and various healing methods. She has also trained in Shotokan karate and other forms of martial arts and self-defense. Her background includes non-profit management and working with various at-risk populations, women’s empowerment workshops, and mentoring programs.