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Erin Telford

       

Erin Telford is a Breathwork healer, teacher, writer and guide. She works with emotional and spiritual healing, helping people to clear trauma, core wounds and limiting beliefs out of their bodies and belief systems. Read on for a look into her journey as a healer, and the practices that keep her grounded.

How did you begin your journey as a healer?

Like a lot of people, that journey began a long time before there was any formal kind of training.  I was always looking for nontraditional ways to heal myself and curious about expanding my consciousness.  I was the friend or the girl at the party that people knew they could tell all their secrets and scariest stuff to and know it would be kept safe and not judged.

The big push into doing this work professionally came after I moved to New York in 2004 and was working in fashion.  The luxury fashion world was killing my spirit.  I was overworked and the environment was really unhealthy and out of alignment for who I was.  I was absolutely miserable and I didn’t know what to do because I thought that working in that industry was my dream.  I started to pray every day and ask the Universe for signs.  One day, I took home a magazine from the PR department that had an article in it called Death by Stress.  I was hypnotized, reading about this woman who had all the same emotional and physical issues that I did.  In the story, she went to an acupuncturist and everything changed.  I was so intrigued that I immediately looked up the school online and checked out their course catalog.  The classes were everything I had ever wanted to learn and then some.  I applied to the program, got in and quit my job within a matter of a couple months.  After that, I would just learn any other techniques that blew my mind and healed me so that’s where the Reiki and the Breathwork came in. 

Before getting into breathwork, your background was in acupuncture and herbalism. You are also a Reiki Master and work with clients through therapeutic conversation and lifestyle counseling. How do these healing modalities inform each other? How do we benefit from integrating them?

We always begin a session with therapeutic conversation because trust, safety and an opening for intimacy needs to be established. Not everyone has someone in their life who can really see them and really hear them. It can be very lonely not to be deeply understood when you are going through something, whether its big or small. A healing shift can be as simple as letting someone know that they are witnessed for all of who they are, accepted and loved. 

Every medicine has its own special flavor and use. When I began my practice, I was just using acupuncture and herbs. I treated everyone for everything from digestive issues, sleeping problems, fatigue, fertility, achy backs and knees, sore necks, colds and flus, cramps, you name it. Acupuncture has a vast reach and herbal medicine is a beautiful compliment to it. I was trained in Reiki about 4 years after I had been practicing acupuncture and used it primarily in conjunction with acupuncture because it added an extra healing layer. It deepened the treatment because it dropped the body down into a deeper relaxed space which is optimal for healing. New Yorkers also need a lot of nervous system calming because the city is so intense. I would also use Reiki during the resting portion of Breathwork for the same reason, to deepen the rest and integration. 

How is breathwork different? Has it been the most transformational for you?

Breathwork is different because it’s an active dynamic between you and me. I am not just doing something to you. You are the one doing the heavy lifting and showing up to breathe. I am supporting, guiding, intuiting, and using oils and music and sacred plants to move energy and hold a strong container for healing to unfold.  It is not a passive experience. You are moving the prana in your body with your breath and reaching it into your emotional center and your heart and connecting it with places that hold pain. 

Breathwork is incredibly empowering because you discover that you really do have all the answers inside you. It works efficiently and effectively because you are releasing emotional and mental patterns somatically from the body rather than the mind. You can connect easily to your intuition; your creativity and dots can connect on why things happened in your life that may have evaded you for decades. For myself and my clients, I have seen it heal and transform lifelong emotional patterns and generate more self-trust, self-love and confidence more quickly than any other healing modality I know. 

What are your guiding day-to-day rituals?

I like to see what the day needs, what kind of emotional space I’m in and what my energy level is and go from there. I do always make myself a cup of coffee and cook myself breakfast, usually eggs, sautéed greens and avocado or paleo granola and hemp milk. Some days I feel like I need to move so I’ll go for a hike.  If I need to get my creativity going, I get the most ideas when I’m on the trails so I’ll do that. I like to follow my rhythms and choose what feels right according to them.  Some days I need more rest, some days I need more human connection, some days I need more quiet time so I adjust my day depending on what feels right.  Before I have a one on one session or a group, I’ll use a few essential oils on my crown, third eye and the bottoms of my feet. I burn a sage leaf and ask that my higher and lower chakras be connected and that I bring through whatever is needed for the highest and best good of the people I am working with. 

What keeps you present and focused for this work?

Being well fed by nourishing food, nurturing and supportive relationships, laughter, fresh air, moving my body, emotional hygiene, and grounding.  

If someone is unsure where to begin, or how to incorporate this type of healing work, where would you start?

Listen within first. Ask yourself what needs healing, what’s not working, and where in your life do you need help. Dig deep and get clear about what your intentions are with your healing journey. If you are at a loss about what you need or what is even possible, find a healer that you resonate with to help you. You want to feel connection with their vibration, their words, photographs on their website, the way they describe their practice, how you feel in their physical presence. When you enter a healing dynamic, it is a relationship so you should connect inside and with your intuition to see if this practitioner makes sense and feels good to you.  You don’t have to know why. There should just be something that feels like a YES about them. That’s the first thing. The second thing would be to ask "is this the right medicine for what I’m trying to heal?" With so much to choose from, you want to choose the modality that makes the most sense for what you need.  

What is the guiding principle of your practice as a healer? Is self-love the key?

Part of healing as an adult is embracing all the parts of yourself that you have been rejecting for your entire life. All the stories you’ve been told and the messages you’ve received about who you are-too much/not enough, broken, scared, depressed, anxious, incapable, unworthy. Self-love can seem like a fluffy, wellness phrase until you actually try and put it into practice. Self-love is some Jedi sh*t.  It about meeting the self-critical and self-doubting voice 50 times a day with encouragement and compassion. It’s being able to hold your center when you are not being validated or accepted or agreed with. It’s self-trust, self-knowledge, self-acceptance, self-sovereignty. Knowing yourself and your emotional body deeply and completely so you can move through your life with greater grace and ease. 

I hold people in a shame free, judgement free space so that they can begin to hold that space for themselves and allow themselves to be human beings with big histories. We aren’t supposed to be anywhere but where we are, and where we are is where we begin our work.  

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by big open skies, mountains, valleys and beautiful land. I love the Southwest and the mountains, the energy, history and reverence I can feel on sacred sites. I’m inspired by people who are telling their truth and not recycling wellness speak, who are daring enough to be radical and let go of playing it safe. I am inspired by grounded and kind people who are truly loving, welcoming and inclusive. I am inspired by people who can move their bodies in ways that I can’t currently fathom, whether it’s a lunar rhythm flow or hip hop. I’m inspired by anyone who dares to want more for their life and who follows what their heart tells them. 

What do you love to do to reconnect and recharge?

I love to hike and explore and connect to the Earth with my bare feet and with prayers and offerings. Heat, sunshine and swimming are game changers. Going to bed early and waking up with the sunrise is such a luxury. That rhythm feels really great to me. I love to laugh and hang out with friends where there are no limits to where our conversations can go. Connecting with people who can talk about anything from website opt-ins to sacred partnerships to multi-dimensional realities gives me life. And quiet time. Just sitting with myself outside in the midst of beauty and letting my mind clear really neutralizes anything that might feel hard or challenging or tiring. 

How do you maintain the balance between nourishing and protecting yourself while helping those around you?

It has taken me almost my entire life to learn but I finally have really good boundaries! With clients, I give you my full love and attention when you are in front of me and when our time is up, I let go. I try my best not to offer help unless its asked for or worry about things when it’s not my responsibility. I know I’m an empath and I’ve learned how to work with that superpower.  I don’t run on empath auto pilot and mindlessly run other people’s energy. I am aware and I choose when to connect into other people’s feelings. I prefer to be on the energetic offense when it comes to energetic protection. I don’t protect myself, I get stronger and bigger. I build my energetic immune system just like I would my physical immune system. I’ve got a whole class on this because I see it being one of the hardest things for healers and big feelers to deal with-not just with clients but with loved ones too. 

How does your personal growth and evolution play into your practice of healing others?

I can’t take anyone any farther than I’ve gone so I keep showing up and digging into my own stuff. If I’m afraid or in resistance to dealing with something then I’ve got a block around what I can help my clients with. The funny, synchronous, universal thing is always that whatever is up for me in my life, often matches what clients are coming to me for. I feel that my job and the motivation for my work is to heal myself and then share what I’ve learned so I can help other people and show them it’s possible. So, the personal and professional evolution really go hand in hand.

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