Welcome to the first interview in my new Authentic Business Series. Meet Kay Gillard – shamanic teacher and healer who specialises in supporting healers and spiritual seekers walk a path that is truly their own!
Kay kindly agreed to answer some questions, allowing me to share a bit of her story, and how her work has taken off through her online presence, allowing her to support clients across the globe. Kay, over to you…
1. Who/what is your greatest inspiration?
I’ve had to break this down because I realised I am inspired by so much! I have healing influences, but I’m also inspired by creative people who defy the odds, and by nature.
Direct influences on my work are healers like Sandra Ingerman and Peggy Dylan because they really live the work every day. I’m sure they have tough days, like we all do, but they just embody the work of spiritual connection, they never deviate from that. Light just radiates from them and I can feel healed from just being in conversation with them, or reading a book they wrote, or hearing a story they are telling. To live in such alignment with the work is really inspiring to me.
I am really inspired by creativity, by anyone who does things their own way – things that look very far removed from my work even – especially when what they are doing looks a bit impossible. I am inspired by Richard Branson shaping his ideas into real successes and never accepting defeat.
I am inspired when I read The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, to see someone so expertly use images and poetry to create a story that can live inside my heart and mind.
I was inspired when I went to Kennedy Space Center – making such epic dreams into a reality is breathtaking to me.
I even felt inspired by watching the Foo Fighters documentary where they made an album out of performances made while touring through a history of music in the US just because they wanted to go big and do something not done before. I know… that’s weird, right?
Probably most of all, I am deeply touched by nature – just seeing how easily the earth creates abundance, variety, and unimaginable beauty – and with such ease. The woods, a mountain, the desert, these things fill me with inspiration.
2. What’s the story of how you started your work?
Like all healers, I came to the work because of my own need for healing. I had been working on psychic development and magical and spiritual work for some years before I came to the healing path. It really came about because my life was a mess.
I was unhappy, I was in pain, I was drinking a lot and I was just really lost. I knew I needed something to completely change my life but didn’t know where to begin.
I went on a trip to Glastonbury and bumped into an acquaintance who was there to do a course. I expressed an interest, she picked up some leaflets for me and gave them to me the next time I saw her.
One night soon after I was doing a small ceremony at home, I was imploring the gods to bring me some kind of way out, a way to change my life. After, I was looking through some of the leaflets and then I fell asleep. When I woke up I had one of the leaflets, for a shamanic healing course, stuck to my face. I am so classy. I didn’t know what shamanic healing was but for some reason I took it as a sign and I signed up right away!
3. What’s unique about what you do that reflects who you are as a person?
For me life is a creative adventure, and I consider healing to be a creative art. I have no interest in the formulaic application of healing systems, techniques and positions, I want to know who each individual healer is. I think they each have something so unique to share, so in my work with them and in the training I offer I am always reaching in to find that unique spark in them. It keeps me interested in the work too! I don’t want to shape people to do things the way I do it – where’s the fun in that? I always want to see their own way of doing it.
The people I work with are usually healers, therapists, facilitators, coaches – people who support other people for a living. I really want those people to care for themselves and stay strong because I know what it is to over give and let ourselves be drained by the demands of others.
I teach self care and personal practice – all unique to each healer – so that they can be strong enough to bring their own style of work into the world. I want them to be strong enough to be the artists they are.
4. How has being online/social media impacted most on your work?
Being online is essential for our work these days isn’t it? Being a healer used to be one-on-one or group work in therapy rooms – now I have clients all over the world that I can work with via Skype and send supporting materials as mp3s…I feel really lucky to be able to work in this way.
The big impact is I find community online, and in business terms I find clients online – or they find me. The way they find me is through my website, my Facebook or the podcasting / blog site I run, The Shamanic Voice. So I’m really driven to stay present in those spaces and keep creating new content and stay up to date, because that’s where we are marketing ourselves, in the virtual world.
It takes a bit of creativity and vulnerability as well, but I really think if we use it right, we can still be our real selves even in virtual spaces. We can let ourselves be honest and be seen – people can always sniff out the fakes. So for me online content, videos and audios give people the opportunity to get to know me a little bit and see if I am the right person for them, if they can trust the way I work – it’s a way to build that trust. And if people don’t like it, great! A quick sorting process, they can click away 🙂
5. Can you tell me about the most interesting connection you’ve made online?
I’ve made some of my best online connections through The Shamanic Voice. It’s a free site I run to give podcasts and videos to people who are walking a shamanic path, lots of different discussions around aspects of that spiritual and healing path. It’s so varied so I try to bring in different voices, not just focus on the way I work.
So I would just hit up people whose books or sites I liked and ask to interview them. This brought me into personal contact with Sandra Ingerman who is one of the greatest female shamanic practitioners there is, and that brought me a lot of joy.
They went on to become genuinely important people in my life and then one day I hopped on a plane to America! I started off staying with Katie in San Diego, we took a trip to Arizona together, then I met Jim and his wife Sue in Arizona and we travelled from the Sedona desert up to the snowy mountains of Colorado. It was a wild trip! I was out there for a month and these people I’d met, effectively through online networking and marketing, received me like family. How extraordinary is that?
6. What have you learned most from putting together your online offering/s?
I’ve learned that if we put together something online, it can still be really personal, vibrant and warm. There is a real abundance of formats we can use, a lot of richness we can provide. Spiritual people need to get onboard with that I think – the online world isn’t sterile and removed from the soul of our work!
In my Oak Programme, a package of personal healing and mentoring I offer, we actually get a lot of face time. We get to talk really intimately on Skype and it can still be really heartfelt and emotional. I make recordings and provide those in mp3 formats delivered online, so my clients can keep right on with the work by themselves afterwards and still feel really supported.
And there are distant healing offerings that come as part of that too – for these the clients are just in their own space at home with no digital connection to me, but I perform the healing ceremonies for them and they already know and trust me, we already have that relationship and they already have support. So then I get to work on that spiritual level and it’s more powerful somehow in the context of our ongoing work together.
Distant healing is a funny thing – for years I thought of it as something that we do alone and our clients have to have a real trust in the energetic process that is happening. And they can trust it – it really does work, of course – but I really feel like by making it an online offering I am giving clients something more tangible to hold onto.
I do these Power Healing packages now that I offer online, and it has given the work form and allowed it to go deeper. I give them some questions to work through first, then we come together for a Skype consultation, and that really seems to open people up for the ceremony that comes afterwards.
Then again I can provide the ongoing safety and support through audio tracks, and a personalised pdf of healing information, and loads of links into resources on my site, so the work feels like a beginning rather than a stand alone incident. And that’s how healing ceremonies should feel, even in the virtual world.
7. What do you want to be remembered for?
I don’t think I want to be remembered at all.
You know what I’d like? For so many people to have accessed their creative healing potential, and for self care and personal power to be so treasured by those who live their life in roles of healing and support, that there will be no need of my work anymore. It will be second nature to access the things I’ve been putting out into the world and everyone will forget about me.
I’ll go offline, divide my time between deserts, woods and mountains, write poetry and be a happy little pixie.
Thank you Kay, it’s been a joy to meet you!