I’m not the briefest storyteller. But I hope that reading or skimming this will show you, that even when we feel confused and hopeless, every step of our journey is leading to something bigger & more incredible than we ever realize at the time. This is the story of how I reclaimed the power to create my own reality, instead of living someone else’s. This is your story, whoever you are. All you have to do is find it inside yourself.

“I have learned that if one advances in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau


I never really suffered from depression until I graduated from college.

I was a good girl. An overachiever. A straight-A honors student. I wrote a thesis. I studied abroad. I got my first full-time job before I’d walked the stage. And then…slowly, almost unnoticeably, this very rude reality set in.

emo_workThis is it? This is what I’ve been working my ass off for my whole life?

Looking back, I began to see the farce within our education system. I was a great student, really good at bullshitting…but I was completely unprepared for the “real” world.

What was I even doing? Why was I spending 90% of my waking time in a florescent cubicle placing ads for big technology companies? When did I amass so much STUFF?

I got really depressed. I’d fallen into this monotonous routine that felt empty and never-ending, and yet seemed to be “normal.” Passing my time at work, waiting for just a few hours or couple of days to live my life. I spent whole days in bed.

It rubbed off on my relationship, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I felt unappreciated. I literally threw fits, screamed and pouted, then felt embarrassed and out of control of my emotions.

I was so good at school. But I wasn’t feeling very good at life. Even with a big promotion, I felt stuck.

I had everything you’re “supposed” to have. I was making more than most of my peers. I had my own apartment, a brand new car, lots of clothes and shoes…so why didn’t it feel better? What was wrong with me?

I guess you could say that’s when I first started hearing the “whispers” of Spirit.

In February of 2010 a chain of synchronicities led me to the YES+! course with The Art of Living. I remember sitting in the hallway before the course began, crying…nursing heartbreak over life, over breakup, over disillusionment.

By the time the week-long workshop was over, I experienced the first in a series of massive moments of awakening.

I’d never resonated with my family’s religions—Catholic on one side, Jewish on the other, I floundered in the middle, confused, longing to know my own spiritual truth. And now, I’d finally found a way to connect to the Divine.

I learned to meditate and practice deep, conscious breathing. I did ten sun salutations every morning before work. I studied the Ashtavakra Gita and even met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in person.

That summer, I went for my annual PTO cash-in, a week in a little Mexican fishing village I’d been falling in love with for years. It went too quickly, it always did, and on my last day there I sat in a beach chair and watched the bartender pause his paddleboard game in the sand every few minutes to pop a beer or shake a margarita for someone.

beachbarI imagined what his life might be like. I loved the way I felt there. Relaxed, peaceful, centered, free. I didn’t realize it then, but Spirit whispered again. Suddenly, I knew I had to move. I knew it instantly, and immediately I began considering different places I could go.

Argentina, I thought, or maybe Chile…the islands? Oh, maybe the Dominican…and just then the sun sparkled on the ocean just so, and I got lost in the clouds and the waves, and through my hazy stare the obvious smacked me between the eyes and I jolted upright and laughed out loud. DUH!!! I’d move right here!

That move, just the IDEA of it, unlocked something I’d buried oh-so-very deep.

It put all the pep back in my step. I had a reason to grind, a big exciting goal. I didn’t know what kind of work I’d find, or how or when I’d make it happen, but at that moment I began hatching a master plan to transform my life. I kept it secret for a year, slowly selling off everything I owned.

I embarked on an adventure—to surrender control to the Universe & follow my heart wherever it led me, even when it seemed to defy all reason. Tons more synchronicities popped up, more than I could ever fit on this page…I met a Mayan daykeeper and began studying the calendar, I was accepted to the School of Authentic Journalism in Tepoztlán, all signs pointed to Mexico.

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At a Mayan fire ceremony months before moving to the Mayan Riviera

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Sitting in El Tepozteco pyramid after the 1200-foot climb up the mountain

Then just before I was set to fly away, literally five minutes after declaring to the Universe that I was done with dudes, I met this guy. And fell HARD. I tried to fight it, but there were uncanny synchronicities everywhere; he was clairvoyant, and moment after speechless moment I was left thinking…”Whoa…where did this guy come from?!”

He shared a birthday with my mom. He spoke words before they came out of my mouth. He meditated and slept with crystals. I just happened to find a Mayan tattoo artist to do my first tattoo…and then found out he’d used the same artist some years before. He was a rapper, with conscious, artful lyrics. My weakness. We got deeply intertwangled.

The goodbye was painful but he didn’t want to stop me, and I went to Mexico anyway. He told me to do two things right away: Find a cave and get a big stick to keep by my front door to protect myself. “Yeah right, sure, honey,” I thought. Within the first couple weeks:

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  • I ended up in a sacred cave in Cobá totally by chance

  • Walking home on the beach one night, I saw a giant stick with a sharpened point carved into it 

bartenderI had a crazy time…met amazing people, saw incredible things, got the job bartending on the beach at the same bar I’d been sitting at that day. I even managed to launch myself as a freelance writer.

But a funny thing happened. I’d been so sure that moving would be the answer to all my woes. I imagined studying under a Mayan shaman and learning how to read the stars and make medicine from plants. There I would find peace. There I would know myself. There I wouldn’t stress or procrastinate.

Instead, I ended up bringing all of my “shit” with me.

I dipped in and out of bouts of elation and depression, I felt even more lost and unsteady as I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing. After 6 months, on the phone with my mom, crying and angsting and wondering where I went wrong, she asked me, “Why don’t you just come home?”

My last hurrah was unforgettable. It was 11/11/11, a sacred day, and my friend Carlos, an Aztec shaman, was holding a fire ceremony on the beach in Tulum. I took a bus by myself, watched the moon rising crisp and silver above the fire, burning warm and golden. That night I met two kindred spirits, and along with Carlos we stayed up all night together, reading the stars.

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Mexico taught me to look inside, instead of outside, for the answers.

I realized that what I was seeking, what I had been so sure I’d find in this little village, was really a state of being within myself. I could create it anywhere. An important lesson…that I hadn’t quite finished learning.

Back in the States. Back to the grind. Back to shopping centers and cars everywhere and lots and lots of cement.

It felt so good to come home, to return to my lover’s arms, and yet so jarring to re-enter the consumerist culture I’d tried so hard to escape, like waking up from a paradisiacal dream, back into sharp reality.

I wrote and developed recipes. I went to herbal medicine school. He & I moved into a cute little apartment. I’d followed my heart and quit my “real” job…I was writing and cooking, making my own schedule…I felt like I should’ve been proud of myself, enjoying it…but I wasn’t, and I didn’t know why.

Before I knew it, I’d gained 30 pounds…and that’s when it really got bad.

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© Julia Walsh

I’ve had weight and body image issues pretty much my whole life, but with constant dieting and working out, I’d managed to stay slim. Suddenly none of my clothes fit, I felt terrible about myself, and worst of all, no matter how much I biked and did yoga and cut carbs, the weight didn’t seem to budge. I became really depressed again.

One particularly bad day, still in bed at 3PM, I suddenly remembered this weird video I’d seen of people rhythmically hitting themselves in the face.

Why this? Why now? The curiosity was enough to make me get up and grab my laptop, and a few Google clicks later I discovered they were tapping—using a healing modality called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). 

While browsing info about EFT I stumbled upon an ad for “tapping for weight loss and emotional eating.” The words jumped at me. I knew I needed it…I signed up, but ignored all of the emails for months. I just wasn’t ready.

In a crazy-synchronistic turn of events (seeing a theme here?!), it happened that the teacher, an EFT/emotional eating expert named Brittany Watkins, had just sold everything she owned and moved to Mexico…the exact part of Mexico I’d been in.

We started to talk, and eventually I came to work and train under her for almost 2 years. She was no Mayan shaman in the jungle, in fact she was more like a sparkly spiritual Barbie doll, but she helped me realize that I’d been an emotional eater my whole life, and for the first time taught me tools to heal.

It’s hard to put in words the amount of transformation I’ve been through since learning to reprogram my subconscious.

I come from a family of emotional eaters…on both sides. I learned to love through food at a super early age. My relationship with my dad, a food writer & cookbook author, had always been a little rocky—sometimes it felt like food was the only thing we had.

I felt a strong pull toward the spiritual arts, but he didn’t believe in all that, made fun of it. Once after sharing a profound spiritual experience with him, he said I should write a fiction book about it. No wonder I ended up writing about food.

The day I launched my first big campaign for Brittany, which was also the first time I seriously committed to taking her course for myself, I was exhausted, stressed, and terrified of what I was getting into. This food problem felt huge. Out of the blue my dad called, he was in town, did I want to have lunch? The Universe is so clever and cheeky.

At lunch, my dad and his pal, a local chef, swapped iPhone photos of food they’d eaten recently. And talked about food. And ordered loads of food. In fact we actually ate at two restaurants in the same complex back-to-back. We barely talked at all. That’s just my dad…he didn’t mean anything by it, but in my current state it felt heartbreaking.

I was so triggered, I rode my bike home bawling. It felt like all my deep-down issues were ripped open and shoved in my face. I wasn’t able to talk to my dad for the next 6 months while I went through an intense and liberating period of emotional healing. I let go of so much old pain. I had huge breakthroughs. And in the process I learned how to help others do the same.

I lost 20 pounds going through Britt’s programs. I really felt healed, like a different person…but then I put it all back on.

Talk about frustration. What. The. @#$%! I’d done all the techniques! I’d mastered all the topics! This was supposed to be permanent! I fell back into depression, back into confusion. Without realizing it, I’d recreated a familiar old pattern…working my tail off for someone else, taking on all the stress of running her business, not truly feeling aligned with her or this job that was draining all of my energy.

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“Arose,” a painting commissioned by my High Self to illustrate my intuitive awakening

Around that time another chain of synchronicities led me to the fascinating and gorgeous Intuitive Coach Katelyn Edgar, who was struggling with emotional eating and wanted to trade sessions. I mentored with Katelyn for several months to develop my intuitive healing abilities, which I wasn’t even sure were there at first.

After breaking through the doubt and “taboo,” little by little I began shocking myself with what I was able to read about people, the information I received from Spirit when I stopped to listen. My relationship to the Divine deepened tremendously as I remembered this amazing, direct connection we all have and have forgotten.

Katelyn helped me realize the purpose for all of this…I had to gain that 30 pounds in order to find EFT. And I had to gain it all back to finally face the truth that I AM an intuitive healer who wasn’t meant to work for anyone else.

Overcoming all of this and releasing this weight from the inside out, has been a little bit like throwing off all those versions of who I thought I SHOULD be, so that I could finally step into the truth of who I really AM.

I stopped trying to be anything other than that. I stopped caring what my dad thought about my spiritual work. I stopped taking care of everyone else before myself, stopped beating myself up about what I had or hadn’t done or eaten, stopped dieting, stopped holding myself back in any way. Eventually, I even stopped working for Britt to do my own thing.

I quickly caught a deep passion for holding healing space for others.

The more energy I poured into coaching and intuiting for others, growing and harvesting plants and being in nature, dancing and painting and making healing concoctions…all of those things I’d always loved but tucked away…the more the life I’d been scrambling to “make happen” just sort of started to appear.

Today, I am an intuitive healer, EFT practitioner, and Brittany Watkins-certified weight loss & emotional eating coach. Along with helping emotional eaters overcome the struggle I know so well, I specialize in helping people who want to change the world make (really good!) money doing what they love, so they can quit the “real” jobs they hate.

GROUP SHOTI am also a certified herbalist and healing recipe developer. I make flower essences and other herbal products as AyurVescent Herbals, which means “bursting with life.” 

My relationship with my dad has improved a lot. I’ve lost almost all the weight. And I now spend 100% of my time doing whatever I feel inspired to do in that moment.

I believe very strongly that we are, now, in the midst of the most historic moments in the history of humanity. I’m here to play my role in this grand shift, to reclaim our sovereign power as spirits in bodies, as a global family of myriad skills and gifts, as a remarkable race on the cusp of an enormous evolutionary leap.

I could never list the mountain of everyday miracles that have popped up in my life since this all started. Being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Seeing signs and messages in the most seemingly unremarkable things. These tiny moments have renewed my dedication and faith to the journey at times when it seemed terrifying and impossible.

They’ve also totally inspired me to share the simple, pure pleasure of owning your reality with anyone who wants to learn. 

You don’t have to move to Mexico, or gain weight, to end up in the same place I have. We all have our unique journeys. My experience taught me how to ease yours for you.

When you listen to your heart, and follow it even when your logical mind screams in protest, the Universe, Spirit, God, whatever you call it, supports you. You receive exactly what you need, without even asking. It is a remarkable and undeniable truth of human existence, one that sometimes takes an entire lifetime to remember.

I’m so blessed to have found my path now. I stand in strength with all members of this human family, on whichever paths you walk. I hope to help you find yours if you haven’t yet. And I plan to march with you. It’s time to leave history behind and create the future we’re here to build. I’m jumping in and holding on tight for the ride—and I’m bringing you with me.

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