In 2008, Natalie McGovern met a woman who, in retrospect, seems to have been an angel…
“I was working at a psychiatric hospital, and I was in my 90-day grace period when the hospital decided whether or not I was a good fit,” she shares. “I was on psychiatric medications myself, so I knew what it felt like when interactions with the drugs were going wrong. In a couple of the small groups, patients were complaining about side effects. I told them to talk to their doctor and that they had a right to NOT take the medications that weren’t working for them. My employer didn’t like that, and I was very quickly let go…”
“The night before I was fired,” she continues, “A woman who was part of a staffing company was assigned to work the night shift. I made a comment to her that I wouldn’t like that shift, and she happily replied, ‘Oh, I love it. I go to SWIHA from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, then I drive here and work, and then I can take my daughter to school in the morning.’”
Natalie was puzzled. What on earth was “swee-ha”? And why did this woman need to be there for four hours a day? “It’s this healing arts college,” the woman patiently explained. “I’m going to work with people who are struggling with mental illness and addiction, like we do here… but I’m going to help them heal naturally!”
When Natalie continued to quiz this woman about the school, the woman gave her one piece of advice: “Just go to Gifts and Graces.”
Yet, Natalie wasn’t quite ready to discover what SWIHA had to offer. After losing her job and discovering that the man she was dating at the time was actually married, she found herself spiraling downward. “I was so full of shame that I just quit life,” she recalls. “My parents let me move in with them, and I basically didn’t leave that room. I went into a really dark depression.”
That depression escalated until Natalie became homebound… and then eventually bedridden for an entire year. The struggles with mental illness and addiction that had afflicted her for the six years prior only worsened, and so she continued to turn to medication to ease the pain. “By the time it all was said and done, I was on eleven different medications and nine of them were psychiatric meds,” she explains. “I was in and out of hospitals, and I had tried to commit suicide.”
At her very lowest, the Internet, of all places, allowed her to find some relief. “I googled, ‘how to heal naturally from mental illness,’” she remembers. “I kept getting results for nutrition, reiki, and hypnotherapy. I found someone who was a life coach and an intuitive; she also did hypnotherapy, reiki, and was super into juicing. I started doing sessions with her, and she was the first person to introduce me to holistic methods. Within two months of working with her, I ended up getting off all eleven medications that I had been on for six years.”
And, yet, Natalie realized that she could not rely exclusively on her coach; she had to learn to develop a sense of balance in her life independently. Her coach suggested that she start getting out there again and that she should do something fun. So, Natalie thought back to the night before she was terminated and the advice that her angelic co-worked had given her… and she went to her very first Gifts and Graces. “The Monday after that,” she smiles, “I walked into SWIHA and enrolled.”
Of course, starting fresh wasn’t necessarily easy. “When I went home and told my parents that I was starting school again, they tried to talk me into dropping out. They told me that I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t going to graduate, and that it was going to be a waste of money,” she remembers. “To be fair, I was still really sick. I had only been off my psychiatric medications for about a month. Nevertheless, I knew I had to do this.”
By the time her classes started in the Mind Body Transformational Psychology program, Natalie had lost 35 of the 100 pounds she had gained while on medications. Still, she was struggling with migraines, a poor diet, and a weakened mindset. Although the prospect of doing so was daunting, she made a commitment to herself that every time she took a class, she would do everything that she was instructed to do. In the process, she learned that it is possible to strive for excellence.
“I used to think ignorance is bliss,” she confesses. “Now I know that ignore is sickness. Self-knowledge is bliss.”
Stepping into Her Bliss
By the time Natalie had graduated, she had healed all her ailments and already had opened her personal practice, Blissful Living - Mind, Body, Spirit Healing. The mission of her guidance is to help other reinvent themselves and create a new life out of their existing burdens. “What you think is horrible about your life can be turned into bliss,” she says. “Everything that’s happening to you is a huge gift.”
Of course, that kind of self-understanding doesn’t necessarily develop overnight. “For me, it took forever,” she explains. “I was in my story and in my rut for six years. One person’s papercut is another person’s bullet wound. One person might have a month of anxiety and realize, ‘I need to get this under wrap,’ while it might take someone else years of being in a PTSD state to finally get help.” To make sure that a potential client is ready to work with her, Natalie asks them to schedule a complimentary discovery call with her to help determine what areas of their life would best benefit from her guidance.
In fact, a large component of this business involves educating her clients so that they can become self-empowered in their own healing process. “I walk people through what you would need to do to heal yourself AND to hire a healing team,” she explains. “Before I agreed to do a package with my own life coach, I interviewed her to make sure we were the right fit for each other. I’ve personally seen a lot of problems with unethical healers and practitioners who don’t help their clients avoid confusion about the choices before them. I’m focused on helping clients discover what’s right for them. What are the right modalities for you? What tools resonate with you? What is your intuitive learning style?”
Natalie’s aim for Blissful Living is to have her five private membership programs set to launch by the end of 2018. These virtual online programs will support clients, students studying to become practitioners, and active practitioners themselves to help heal AND get their business started. “About 75% of my clients are other healers that are trying to heal,” she shares.
Part of these memberships will involve special signature healing experiences in Sedona, where Natalie now has a beautifully renovated office space. There, you can encounter the natural beauty of the red rocks and the spiritual energy they have to offer while attending sessions with a variety of healers specializing in various modalities.
Her advice to SWIHA students who are looking to make as many profound changes as she has is to focus more on “doing” than “being.” “Stick with it and be in your process,” Natalie explains. “And remember… you can always say yes to starting over!”