How I Found Aromatherapy…or, How it Found Me
For many years, I had a dream to get “closer to nature”…to have chickens like my grandmother did, to deepen my connection to both the unseen and the natural worlds. The realization of that dream started innocently in late 1996, when I was Vice President for Human Resources & Administration for a large pharmaceutical development corporation on the East Coast.
The Massage that Changed My Life
This is my aromatherapy story…in my late 40s, my career, which had always been stimulating and rewarding, had begun to sour. The company I worked for had been acquired, integrated, and then spun-off, all in a matter of a few years. It was like a roller-coaster, except the ups and downs weren’t very much fun. Being head of Human Resources, I dealt with the human side of these changes…many of which were NOT positive. The mixed messages and the focus on market share and stock price, at the expense of the people who were the heart of the business, began to take its toll on me – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I will make quite a long story short. Because of the physical problems I was experiencing, I had begun getting physical therapy treatments. While at a week-long management meeting in Philadelphia, I arranged for a massage therapist to work on my aching neck and shoulder. The Universe sent Barry Kapp, armed with great massage skills and essential oils. I had never heard the term “essential oils”, so when he proposed using them in the treatment, I asked the simple question…What are they?” He put Frankincense and Galbanum under my nose…and for anyone who knows what they smell like….well, let’s just say that I found them VERY pungent, and told him “NO.” After all, in a short while, I had to meet with 350 of my global peers, and could not imagine myself smelling like that!
To his credit, Barry persisted, and after three tries, I relented, on the condition that he “use something people have heard of…like lavender or orange.”
A Whole New World!
The rest is history. Twelve hours later, I was driving home, happily singing in Philadelphia’s rush hour traffic. I was filled with joy. I was euphoric. Having been the beneficiary of numerous massages, I knew it was more than the physical treatment…I knew it was the essences he had used in the treatment. Still driving, I pulled out the business card he had given to me, called him to report the incredible results of the massage, and our professional relationship and friendship began.
How often does a single experience open up a whole new world to you? Change the direction of the rest of your life? My introduction to essential oils was just that. All I knew was that I wanted to feel that aliveness, that joy, again. It was more than the relief of pain, though it certainly was that. It was also feeling a connection to the wisdom, love and support of the natural world that I had been sorely lacking in my life. The price of admission to that world was not cheap…I had to change many things about my life and in my life…job, relationships, world-view. But, though the changes were difficult, each brought me one step closer to my authentic self.
Wisdom of the Earth is Created
In the months and years that followed, Barry and I created Wisdom of the Earth (WOTE), a beautiful company that provides medicinal-grade plant and tree essences to those seeking “the real deal” in aromatherapy. We relocated the business to Arizona (near Sedona) in 2001 and dedicated ourselves to teaching others about the healing power of the plants and trees, and sourcing some of the most powerful, pure essences available on the planet.
In late 2019, Barry decided to retire from Wisdom of the Earth, and I was honored to assume full responsibility for the company we had started so many years ago. My vision for WOTE remains true to our original guidance from the Plants & Trees…single, pure essences; a focus on education; personal relationships with our farmers and clients; and hand-poured, not machine poured, essential oils;
I remain grateful for the opportunity to teach and work under the loving guidance of the Plant Kingdom, and with the support of my incredible family, staff, students and clients.
Introducing Shining Sun Aromatherapy
In 2006 I relocated to New Mexico…drawn by the beauty and diversity of this land and its people. I married a wonderful man by the name of Leonardo Gutierrez, and we obtained a beautiful property in Nambe, just north of Santa Fe, which overlooks the Sangre de Christo mountains.
The views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. The land itself is magical…we are surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, several of which form a circle on the front of the property.
It is here that I opened my private practice, Shining Sun Aromatherapy, and offer the consultation services, medicinal aromatherapy classes and products described throughout this website. As the owner of Wisdom of the Earth (WOTE), I maintain my home in AZ, and spend half of every month at WOTE, teaching, supporting the business and planning for our future. My practice in Santa Fe features the full line of WOTE essences and hydrolats, so you are welcome to plan a visit and bask in the aromas and experience the healing energy of my studio.
We honor this land and desire to share it with those who are drawn to the wonders of the Plant Kingdom. Step into my story, and let’s write a page or two of our own!