Hi, I’m Kellie! I’m here because I’m passionate about meaningful connections, revolutionary healing, and authentic service. My passions are a reflection of both my life-long interest in psychology, humanity, and health as well as my own journey healing through chronic physical and emotional illness. This work is not just what I do; it’s a reflection of who I am.
I’ve been healing and cultivating connections throughout much of my life. I’ve always been fascinated by the mind, and I sought to understand myself and others more deeply even at a young age. I remember filling out my first Myers-Briggs Type Indicator the summer after sixth grade – my friend’s dad was a psychology teacher – and I marveled at this new way to understand myself. INFP. A little bit nature, a little bit nurture, I was (and am) a sensitive and perceptive introvert who didn’t yet know the profound impact of our inter-generational traumas; cumulative family, interpersonal, and medical stressors; and closeted emotions on our health and healing.
Needless to say, psychology was a favorite course in high school and became even more interesting to me when, at the age of 16, I developed anorexia. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to some – family history of mental illness and addiction, self-oriented perfectionism and Type-A personality, thin-ideal internalization and body image dissatisfaction, and an unhealthy intimate teenage relationship, among other factors made for a powerful cocktail. At 89 pounds, my body was at the mercy of my stuck brain. And, while I physically recovered by the time I entered my freshman year of college, the hardest healing work was still ahead of me.
So Much to Learn
Throughout much of college I was on and off SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) as an adjunct to the therapy and nutritional counseling I received, but I was far from healing, as I often struggled with digestive distress, anxiety, and panic attacks. Perfectionism plagued me daily, and I still had an unhealthy relationship with food and myself. When I ventured abroad to Australia for a year of travel and studying, a friend introduced me to applied kinesiology, which sparked an interest in holistic health that would last a lifetime. Through her work, I actually began healing, rather than suppressing symptoms. During this time, I also had the privilege of seeing a group of healers and spiritual leaders live on stage for something called Metaphysical Mastery. Imagine Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, among others, all gathered together to share their wisdom. Not only did I have new perspectives for my own healing, I knew I wanted to bring new healing opportunities to others.
I jumped in with my whole self. I worked at the University of Michigan Complementary and Alternative Research Center as I pursued my master’s in health behavior and health education. There I learned about different healing modalities and traditions. And, I tried as many of them as I could afford, because I was constantly questioning the state of my health. There were the very real physical symptoms, and then there was the underlying belief that I was, quite simply, not OK. I now know that these are intricately connected; my symptoms and beliefs fed upon each other. This cycle became especially intense after I tested positive for autoimmune markers that were indicative of lupus (2003) and Sjogren’s syndrome (2011).
I received no official diagnosis at the time, but I continued to experience bizarre and seemingly random symptoms that only increased as years passed. By the time I was married and had started my own coaching business in 2004, I was fully committed to deep healing, and this was accelerated by the prospect of pregnancy. There’s nothing like the notion of nurturing another human to make you examine what you are putting in, on, and around your body. I’d once and for all decided to stop the birth control pill and SSRIs (I’m not suggesting this is for you; it is a very personal decision that requires adequate physiological and emotional support). And, with the help of a therapist, I was moving through life “fine.” Yet, when I look back, I can see how I was still so far from the revolutionary healing that I own today … I wasn’t quite ready for it yet.
An early miscarriage in 2007 shook things up and left me feeling vulnerable in a way that I hadn’t known before. The stress of this, the hormones, or maybe both initiated a new cascade of symptoms, which were dismissed by my doctor and dismissed again in 2011 when things worsened. During my first pregnancy, I had frequent contractions, leaving me anxious and fearful. The “little t” trauma of my first birth, along with a very colicky infant, fueled postpartum anxiety that proved to be, as with so many things in life, dichotomous in its challenges and its concomitant gifts.
Photography by Krysha
The Gift of Children
My daughter’s challenges as an infant and toddler became a catalyst for my own healing. And, when my son was born, he became a catalyst in his own way as well. In learning how to holistically support my daughter’s IgA deficiency, sensory sensitivities, and anxiety, I began to understand the root causes of “dis-ease,” which further helped me to understand the underlying factors that contributed to decades of my own symptoms. I still remember being blown away when I learned about the impact of our microbiome and gut health on our brain function. Over time I learned about the impact of toxins, trauma, food sensitivities, underlying infections, and more.
And yet, it wasn’t until 2012 – when my son was diagnosed as having a “failure to thrive” at six months old, and I was urged by a holistic lactation consultant to look deeper into my own health issues that could be contributing to his challenges – that I actually discovered I had “idiopathic” exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. My gastroenterologist advised me to take enzymes for the rest of my life and sent me on my way with no real idea how or why this happened and no interest in connecting any dots with my other myriad symptoms. I had other ideas, which were born from my belief that healing, and even cure, is possible. When my endocrinologist told me that she had no explanation for the fact that, despite weighing just over 100 pounds, I looked like a Type 2 diabetic on paper, I was already deep into my multi-year exploration into rheumatological, endocrine, and gastrointestinal dysfunction that could neither be understood nor healed through Western medicine. As it turned out, all of my previous education and experience in complementary medicine was going to pay off.
Words fail me when I try to express just how much I’ve evolved and learned in the last seven years of healing. I finally received a diagnosis of Lyme disease in 2014, and while it gave some direction to my healing, I now know that my healing work is the same, no matter the diagnosis. Homeopathy, acupuncture, trauma-release, supplements, diet changes, nervous system regulation, and more have all been integral in my process, yes, but until I recognized that I was searching outside myself for something that I could only find within, my healing was short-lived. I’d been looking for someone or something to fix me for decades, because somewhere beyond my awareness, I still believed that I was not OK and that someone else held the power to make it so. I was being called to embrace what I now know are vital components for optimal wellness. When I realized I was my own healer and began the work of tending to these components, I became fertile ground for healing.