How I Found Aromatherapy…or, How it Found Me
For many years, I had a dream to get “closer to nature”…to have chickens like my grandmother did, to have an organic garden, to deepen my connection to both the unseen and the natural worlds. The realization of that dream started “innocently” enough about 15 years ago, when I was Vice President for Human Resources for a large pharmaceutical development corporation on the East Coast.
The Massage that Changed My Life
My career, which had been interesting and stimulating, had begun to sour. The company I worked for had been acquired, integrated, and then spun-off, all in a matter of a few years. It was like a roller-coaster, except the ups and downs weren’t very much fun. Being head of Human Resources, I dealt with the human side of these changes…many of which were NOT positive. The mixed messages and the focus on market share and stock price, at the expense of the people who were the heart of the business, began to take its toll on me – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I will make quite a long story short. Because of the physical problems I was experiencing, I had begun getting physical therapy treatments. While at a week-long management meeting in Philadelphia, I arranged for a massage therapist to work on my aching neck and shoulder. The Universe sent Barry Kapp, armed with essential oils and a passion for healing. I had never heard the term “essential oils”, so when he proposed using them in the treatment, I asked the simple question…What are they?” He put Frankincense and Galbanum under my nose…and for anyone who know what they smell like….well, let’s just say that I found them VERY pungent, and told him “NO.” After all, I had to return to a meeting with 350 of my global peers, and could not imagine myself smelling like that!
To his credit, Barry persisted, and after three tries, I relented, on the condition that he “use something people have heard of…like lavender or orange.”
A Whole New World!
The rest is history. Twelve hours later, I was driving home, happily singing in Philadelphia’s rush hour traffic. I was filled with joy. I was euphoric. Having been the beneficiary of numerous massages, I knew it was more than the physical treatment…I knew it was the essences he had used in the treatment. Still driving, I pulled out the business card he had given to me, called him to report the incredible results of the massage, and our professional relationship and friendship began.
How often does a single experience open up a whole new world to you? Change the direction of the rest of your life? My introduction to essential oils was just that. All I knew was that I wanted to feel that aliveness, that joy, again. It was more than the relief of pain, though it certainly was that. It was also feeling a connection to the wisdom, love and support of Mother Earth that I had been sorely lacking in my life. The price of admission to that world was not cheap…I had to change many things about my life and in my life…job, relationships, world-view. But, though the changes were difficult, each brought me one step closer to my authentic self.
Wisdom of the Earth is Created
In the months and years that followed, Barry and I, as life and business partners, created Wisdom of the Earth (WOTE). WOTE is a beautiful company that provides medicinal-grade plant and tree essences to those seeking “the real deal” in aromatherapy. Barry and I relocated to Arizona (near Sedona) in 2001 and dedicated ourselves to teaching others about the healing power of the plants and trees, and sourcing some of the most powerful, pure essences available on the planet.
Along the way, our relationship transitioned to that of friends and business partners. Barry married a wonderful woman, Cynthia Olivera, who is now an integral part of Wisdom of the Earth. Barry and I remain grateful for the opportunity to continue to teach, learn and work together under the loving guidance of the plants and trees, and with the support of our incredible families, students and clients.
Introducing Shining Sun Aromatherapy
In early 2006 I relocated to New Mexico…drawn by the beauty and diversity of this land and its people. I married a wonderful man by the name of Leonardo Gutierrez, and we obtained a beautiful property just north of Santa Fe (Nambe) which overlooks the Sangre de Christo mountains. It is here that I created my practice, Shining Sun Aromatherapy, and offer the consultation services, medicinal aromatherapy classes, events and products described throughout this website. As co-owner of Wisdom of the Earth, I feature the full line of WOTE essences and hydrolats in my practice.
The land is magical…we are surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, several of which form a circle on the front of the property. Leonardo and I were married in that circle, cementing both our relationship to each other and the land. The views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. And, we have a beautiful “farm family” of chickens, goats and burros, in addition to our four dogs and two cats.
Our plan is to cultivate some of the acreage and grow medicinal plants such as helichrysum, lavender and rosemary. We hope to build a distiller here and distill medicinal plants…both as a business and a teaching opportunity for others who wish to understand how these precious essences are produced. We want to honor this land and share it with those who are drawn to the healing power of essential oils. Welcome to my world!