An Early Love For the Ancestors
I discovered genealogy and family history research as a 12-year-old. I always had an innate interest and curiosity about my ancestors and history in general, so when I discovered that researching your own family was “a thing”, I was hooked!
As a young teen, I became rather obsessed with genealogy research. It was all I wanted to do. I was a pretty nerdy kid and didn’t have a lot of friends or confidence. At the same time, I was a closeted gay teen who was deeply troubled and conflicted about who I was. My religious and cultural upbringing did not provide me the opportunity to really understand and express myself; and I carried a lot of guilt, shame, and self-hatred as a result. Genealogy research gave me something to feel connected to. I discovered a natural gift for problem-solving, teaching others, and retaining amazing amounts of information. It gave me confidence, and ultimately, a safe place where I could escape and completely lose myself.
Adulting as Best I Could
I never expected to become a professional genealogist. It just kind of happened; and I have been grateful ever since. In my mid-20s, I was married, but found myself again struggling with confidence and the increasing tension of a bottled-up “self.” I needed something new to escape to. That’s when I discovered health and fitness, and I dove in! For some reason, I thought if I could look like a Men’s Health fitness model that it would somehow give me the confidence to overshadow the stress and mounting pressure from a buried and suffocating inner-self.
I became obsessed with weight lifting, chronic cardio, supplements, calorie counting, you name it! Ideal body composition and physique were my focus. I wanted to look awesome! And I did for a time... This went on for a few years with consistent maintenance of a body fat percentage in the single digits. Then, my work and personal life became more stressful. I had intermittent periods of heavy exercise, followed by crashes, weight gain, etc. I didn't sleep well; I lived with heavy amounts of stress, and what mental and emotional health I did have began to fracture. Finally, at age 36, I experienced a complete mental breakdown and nearly committed suicide. Years of mounting stress and tension about my repressed sexuality were the primary cause, but poor lifestyle habits were also a factor.
Then, on top of that, I experienced a faith crisis and found the spiritual framework I had built my life around no longer met my emotional needs, nor resonated with newly emerging "self." After a tremendous battle of inner turmoil, I determined a divorce was necessary and found myself starting life over again as a fresh, new person. That was scary!
Discovering Ancestral Health
To help cope with divorce and starting life over, I discovered new spiritual wellness practices and also jumped back into fitness. My thought was that if I was going to venture into the dating market, I wanted to look awesome! So physique, once again, became my focus. But this time, I started to feel differently than I had in prior years. My joints ached; my heart rate was lower; muscles were strained easily during workouts, etc. Then, while doing a heavy squat routine one day, I heard my knee lightly pop. It was painful, and I couldn't do leg exercises for over a month. A few more pounds on the bar or reps could have easily led to knee surgery. "What was wrong with me?", I thought! I was so frustrated and felt a lot of fear about not being "fit" and "in-shape." Sadly, that exact fear is what much of the fitness industry preys upon.
While I wanted to be fit and healthy, I also began to recognize that my 10-year+ approach to a great body wasn't necessarily leading to great health. So I began researching other diets, fitness routines, health philosophies, etc.
Then one day, I had the idea come to me one day while meditating that I should focus my efforts on becoming a health and wellness coach. This really lit a fire in me, but I didn't know where to start. Less than a week later, though, I read an article in a special Keto edition of the Paleo Magazine, and on the next page was an ad for the Primal Health Coach Institute. On the ad, the phrase “ancestral health” caught my attention and I immediately knew I had found my health coaching vehicle.
In studying the Primal Blueprint model, I fell in love with the principles of ancestral health from a diet and exercise perspective. I was excited and empowered to learn that many of my old exercise and eating habits were actually contributing to not just the physical stresses I was experiencing, but to a host of other unseen metabolic issues as well. I came to learn that reaching our optimal state of human expression wasn’t as hard as I previously thought; and that constantly stressing to look like a magazine cover photo won’t lead to long-term sustainable health.
I passionately adopted all the beautiful new concepts I discovered, and began coaching work. However, something still wasn't right. I still didn't feel complete and aligned with what I felt called to do.
Ancestral Healing and a New Spiritual Framework
As part of my journey, I found myself deeply curious about the earth and universe in a new way. I felt driven to deepen spiritual practices, but it was difficult to uncouple religiosity from spirituality. The two had been deeply enmeshed my entire life. However, I was slowly led to various teachings, concepts, practitioners, etc. that helped me find new, powerful ways to bring my spiritual self to life in new ways.
Around the same time I completed health coach certification, I was listening to a wellness podcast one day and the guest, Dr. Daniel Foor, author of the book Ancestral Medicine, was speaking about the concept of Ancestral Lineage Healing. This lit up my soul stronger than anything I had experienced in my spiritual journey to that point!
I signed up for a class on the topic with Daniel and began working through the steps. Powerful shifts began to happen. I found so much joy learning the principles of Ancestral Healing, and seeing the deep intersection with animistic, earth-honoring practices. All of these teaching deeply resonated with my being and I found my spiritual self coming to life in ways I had never before experienced!
After going through the course several times, and taking other similar courses, I felt moved to apply to train with Dr. Foor as a practitioner in Ancestral Lineage Healing for a nine-month program. I was grateful and delighted to be accepted!
Re-attuning to my ancestors, healing deep lineage traumas, and taping into the wisdom stored deep within my body, has brought more clarity to the ways I have felt called to integrate genealogy, Ancestral Lineage Healing, and ancestral health into a practice that I believe can help others unlock deep healing and wellness within themselves!
My Life and Family
Today, I am grateful to experience life in a healthy, vibrant, joyful and well-balanced way! The best part, though is that I get to share and experience it with my incredible husband and love of my life, A.C. Ivory, along with our three amazing kids and little cockapoo, Hampton. I am more happy, vibrant, alive, and healthier than at any other point in my life! But what has made it all the more fulfilling has been the ability to take my knowledge and experiences and use them to teach others how to discover and express their best, and healthy selves!
My family and I live in south-central Utah near the sacred lands of Capitol Reef National Park (ancestral lands of the Ute and Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) peoples). We live on a small one-acre micro-farm called Color Ridge Farm and also operate a small artisanal ice creamery. We have a small 1911 farmhouse with chickens, a large garden, greenhouse, and a 20-tree fruit orchard! We love the high desert climate and spending time in all of the amazing state and national parks and monuments that are close by.