Jessica Chapman is a recent graduate from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts’ Massage Therapy program, with a focus in Polarity and Cranial therapy. Prior to that, she completed the Reiki Master Teacher program. Today, she tells us about her journey, and offers inspiration to those seeking to step fully into their purpose!
What was your life like before SWIHA? What led you to SWIHA and to your particular program of study? Why are you passionate about this modality?
I'm aware, it's the on-going giggle: "SWIHA finds you".
Before SWIHA, I had no idea that I had something more within me than how I'd been showing up in the world. I had this very matter-of-fact way about myself and the world I was living in. I didn't see it then, at least not entirely, as it was...and had always been.
What initially led me to SWIHA was one of those aura photos, which are obsolete with all the new techy stuff. I'd never had one done and I thought that they were "neat". I mean, I'd always been considered a little...What's the word? Oh, right, "woo-woo" would have been the term, had anyone known it.
It was a photo and a suggestion by my Aura Reader, that a practice like Reiki was well suited for me. I had no idea what Reiki was and began asking the "woo-woo"-est of folks I knew (or who I perceived as such, at the time). I was expressing to a friend my frustration in trying to find this "Reiki" and who could teach me. Little to my knowledge, that friend was a former SWIHA student and had Reiki as a part of his Massage program.
I filled out an online request for information, was rude to what I believed to be an automated text message... and the next thing I knew, there I was, sitting in an office full of butterflies, as the Admissions Coach explained the program and showed me around.
That day, I was hooked. And yes, I do believe that was the feeling: Hooked! I couldn't get enough of it. I had found a place where the things I wanted to share and experience weren't isolated to me. Where modalities dating back to long before my time (my parents’ time, their parents’ time, etc) are taught, shared and practiced. I felt safe, I felt honored, I felt home.
The Reiki Master Teacher program led me back to explore how I might be able to offer to those who were unfamiliar. What better way than through massage with an energetic track?
For me, at this point, it isn't about one specific modality—I'd discover them all if I could do such a thing. I apply these modalities as tools in a plethora of ways. They assist me in my experiences. They assist me in traversing the most internal aspects of self. And they have helped facilitate safe spaces with others and their discoveries. At this point, the more I explore in general, the easier it has become to be truly present in my experience.
For me, the entire journey has been intended to lead me here, where I am, which I still have doubts are where I "should" be at times. Yet here, in this moment in the calm I've created through the areas I've surveyed.
This was about who I am in this experience, and becoming aware of sovereignty, truth and love. For me, it is learning to live again.
How does intention/mindfulness show up in your life?
Intention and mindfulness have become a more present awareness for me and a constant in my life. Always. Even in the words that I use, which are often far "too many" for some.
However, as I continue to walk through my experience and my journey, I notice the manifestation of the thoughts and feelings I embody. It would be unfathomable for me to deny my awareness of the interconnectedness of my internal and external worlds. Which means whatever I "want", truly and authentically is available through my efforts, passion and action toward it. Whatever "it" may be, there are limitless opportunities constantly presenting themselves.
I used to sort-of follow any opportunity, wondering where it may lead. Without intention and mindful application, I found myself looping through seemingly different experiences that were really just the same.
The lyric by Nahko and Medicine for the People: "Which wolf will you feed? One makes you strong. One makes you weak." is a good description of how intention/mindfulness have shown up in my life.
What did your life look like when you weren't living with intention?
What-a-mess, like the dog. All disheveled and chaotic! That’s how my life appeared in moments lacking intention. To this day, I still don't always live full of intention. I am still challenged by certain patterns. I am still human.
I have found it isn't just the lack of intention, it is the lack of action that used to create so much discourse for me. I would constantly risk myself in ways and situations for things that were in direct opposition with my idea of my intentions. I do believe however, that was the intent of all that came from all of the mess-ups and misguided direction. I've learned through experience that it can be as simple as speaking anything into existence.
What goals did you have the past year, and how did living with intention help you reach them?
I was aware within the first portion of my Massage program that I would not be practicing in 2022. I wasn't exactly certain why, although I have identified much of it as fear-based. However, this year I have been diligent about rediscovering what I am truly passionate about and disarming protections I've placed for myself.
A goal for this year was to work toward obtaining a degree I had unexpectedly (and tragically) walked away from nearly a decade ago. After a few minor mishaps in getting that moving, I saw how much control I was surrendering to the excuse that it wasn't a possibility or within my power.
I sat down and began sorting through the barriers I'd placed (un/knowingly) on myself. I considered ways to honestly remove some of those barriers and the Universe began to conspire in my favor. I met the roadblocks that arose and as I did, they began to crumble away favorably. Each roadblock providing even better things that followed. I am in the process of completing something I thought I'd never have a chance to finish and this time, I'm ready and well prepared.
What advice do you have for those wanting to live with intention and mindfulness?
It is absolutely acceptable to acknowledge our human-ness. In my experience, living with intention and mindfulness is a daily practice. It is a practice and for me, that means, it won't ever be quite "perfected".
Each act we make toward living mindfully and intentionally ~is perfect. If the choices we're making are in alignment with where we want to go, truthfully and honestly, then we're bound to find our way there eventually.
Anything else you want to add about living ON-PURPOSE?
Just that for me, this has required a brutal, yet compassionate, honesty with myself that I believed I already held. Acknowledging even the smallest acts, if that's where we are and as we get better we'll be more agile in the applications. It will become a way of life and a daily practice.