“Why true healing is a journey that begins by looking within”, with Susy Markoe Schieffelin

In a culture where we are taught to look for love, validation, and answers outside of ourselves, I see so many people who are anxious, depressed, and addicted. People reach for alcohol, drugs, food, sex, technology — you name it — to help them relax, quiet their minds, and ultimately escape from the discomfort of the […]

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In a culture where we are taught to look for love, validation, and answers outside of ourselves, I see so many people who are anxious, depressed, and addicted. People reach for alcohol, drugs, food, sex, technology — you name it — to help them relax, quiet their minds, and ultimately escape from the discomfort of the present moment. I believe that true healing is a journey that begins by looking within.

Susy Schieffelin of The Copper Vessel is a Los Angeles-based sound healer, reiki master, yoga and meditation teacher, and sobriety coach. Inspired by her own healing journey, she uses these modalities to help others transform their lives and find healing from within. Susy is vocal about her path to sobriety and her journey with alopecia, she is a speaker and thought leader, encouraging people to build healthy, happy, radiant lives through self-love. Susy leads deeply restorative crystal alchemy sound bath ceremonies, healing rituals, group trainings, international retreats, and workshops. When she is in Los Angeles, Susy shares her offerings at Unplug Meditation, Ceremony Meditation, and Sanctum LA . She also offers a series of virtual sound bath experiences for self-healing on ALO Moves. Follow Susy on Instagram HERE.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Myhealing journey began when I was 8 years old and my hair began falling out. My mom took me to a dermatologist and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata. As a young woman, my hair felt like a crucial part of my identity and I was completely ashamed of my condition. From that point forward, I became filled with self-judgment and crippling anxiety as I sought to keep it a secret while desperately seeking a solution.

In my early teens, I turned to alcohol to escape my suffering. In college and my early twenties, I also began using drugs and prescription medications to quiet my mind, ease my anxiety, and help me feel like I “belonged.” The funny thing was, the more I looked outside of myself for escape and relief, the more unhappy, uncomfortable, and disconnected I became. Fast forward to age 26, I was living a life in New York City that seemed picture perfect, but on the inside I was dying. I had become an addict and an alcoholic. My path was getting darker and darker. After years of trying to break free from the cycle of addiction and alcoholism, I experienced a fateful night during which I almost took my own life. I woke up the next morning with the profound realization that I could not live my life this way any longer. I was ready to surrender and take steps to get sober and heal.

In the process of getting sober, I began looking for true healing within. I turned to yoga, meditation, reiki healing, and eventually discovered sound healing. These holistic modalities changed my life. For the first time, I was able to connect with a sense of calm and inner peace. I started to let go of self-judgment and began learning to love and accept myself fully. My anxiety and sense of panic began to disappear and the light came back into my eyes. My life was changing so profoundly that I knew I needed to start sharing the tools that helped me. After studying sound healing with a mentor and training in reiki, I bought my first set of crystal bowls, left my corporate job, and founded The Copper Vessel. I held my first public sound bath on the beach the summer of 2017. Shortly thereafter, I began teaching regular classes at local meditation studios, leading groups at drug and alcohol treatment centers, and working privately with people helping them reconnect with their own inner power, calm, and truth.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Onthe Full Moon in August of 2018 I was at a breathwork class in Santa Monica and had a vision of myself on stage playing my crystal bowls in front of thousands and thousands of people. I could see every detail and felt a deep knowing that it was an experience that would manifest in real life. 11 months later, I got an email inviting me to play crystal bowls with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. At first I thought it was a scam, but something inside me said to immediately reply to the email and just say yes. Exactly one year after I had that vision, on the Full Moon last August, I had the honor of playing crystal bowls at the Hollywood Bowl for 14,000 people. It was an unforgettable moment.

What I have learned through my career thus far is that there is really nothing to figure out. I believe that there is a great creative consciousness guiding the way for us all. The quieter I get and the more that I surrender and open myself to love, the more miracles I experience. When I had that vision last year, I knew that it would happen, but I also knew that there was no way I could figure out how. I just had to live authentically, vulnerably, be of service to others, and keep allowing the universe to guide the way. Experiences like this remind me to do my best to live in a state of surrender and just keep showing up and saying yes to what feels right.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was first starting my business, I tried to do everything myself. From accounting, to social media, to building my website, to PR and marketing, to actually doing the healing work my business was created to do. It was like having 10 jobs at once. I was busy all of the time and I often felt overwhelmed. I didn’t make time for the things that really mattered, like time with friends and attending the sound baths and healing experiences that had gotten me to where I was in the first place. I think this is somewhat common for anyone starting a small business.My advice to someone just getting started is to always put self-care first. You can’t give from an empty cup. Eat well, get enough sleep, and build a team who can support you in your business and in self-care. Now I have an amazing team who helps me with the business tasks that I don’t have time for so that I can focus on the work that I really love to do. I also have a team of mentors and healers who support my well-being on a daily basis. I make self-care a priority and start my day with at least an hour of my own personal yoga and meditation practice. I also schedule other forms of self-care and play throughout the week to help me recharge and stay balanced.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Iwould not be where I am today without my friend/mentor/coach Molly. Molly is a master of personal transformation and an advocate for authenticity, vulnerability, and unconditional love. She is brutally honest and gives me tough love when I need it. Molly helps me see my blind spots, and pushes me to let go of self-will and create space in my life for grace. Last year I was struggling to break free of a toxic relationship with a former addict who relapsed on heroin during our time together. In a moment of surrender, I reached out to Molly and asked her for help. Molly coached me on self-love and self-empowerment. She helped me to break free of the relationship, identify the core wounds that led me there in the first place, and gave me the tools to help me heal. After that experience, I decided to work with her and still check in with her on a daily basis. She continues to coach me on love and authenticity and holds me accountable to my highest self and vision both personally and professionally. Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel for her guidance, support, and love. I call her the Wizard of Oz. If it comes through me, there is a good chance that I ran it by her first. I believe that all coaches/healers need their own coaches/healers. I am so incredibly grateful for Molly’s help guiding me towards success.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Ina culture where we are taught to look for love, validation, and answers outside of ourselves, I see so many people who are anxious, depressed, and addicted. People reach for alcohol, drugs, food, sex, technology — you name it — to help them relax, quiet their minds, and ultimately escape from the discomfort of the present moment. I believe that true healing is a journey that begins by looking within. When we make the time to pause, open our hearts, and reconnect with the infinite light within us, transformation takes place. Love, acceptance, and gratitude have the power to heal even the deepest of wounds. My mission is to help illuminate the path to self-love and help people remember how powerful they truly are. I offer healing experiences like sound baths and moon ceremonies in which people feel safe to relax, quiet their minds, connect with their authentic selves, and just be. When we heal ourselves, we heal the world. My hope is that the work I am doing will help make the world a happier, brighter, more loving place.

Can you share your top five“lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  • Start a daily gratitude practice. I began a daily gratitude practice when I was in rehab. It helped me create whole new outlook on life. I continue my daily gratitude practice to this day.
  • Start a daily meditation practice. Just begin by observing your thoughts. You will always have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts. You will have feelings, but you are more than your feelings. Meditation allows us to be in the present moment and live life from a place of responding rather than reacting.
  • Create positive habits. If you don’t have conscious habits, you will have unconscious habits. It is the little things that add up and make us who we are. Notice the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. Choose to consume things that give you energy and make you feel good. Move your body and do things that make you feel energized and happy. Notice what types of media you are consuming — is it based in love or based in fear? Choose to put healthy things in your body and mind and you will naturally move towards a greater state of well-being.
  • Do something nice for someone else every day. The more you give, the happier you will feel. Be the light you wish to see in the world.
  • Rest. Get enough sleep and give yourself time to rest every day. Recharge yourself naturally. Drink less coffee and energy drinks. This practice will change everything. You will feel calmer, clearer, happier, and healthier if you give yourself time to just be.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Iwould implement yoga and meditation programs in all schools, so that these incredible tools are accessible to all people, everywhere. I would also incorporate a program where the children would be assigned homework to meditate with their parents.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • You will work harder than you ever have in your life. It will be worth it.
  • Make time for what matters most to you. Relationships and self-care are the anchors that will ground your success.
  • Approach everything with an open mind and a sense of curiosity and wonder. It’s all happening for you, not to you. Choose to see the lesson or blessing in every moment. Prepare for things to work out better than you can even imagine.
  • Energy doesn’t lie. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. Be clear on your values and do all things with integrity.
  • You get what you give. You will give more than you knew was possible. You will also receive more than you imagined.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health! For so much of my life I struggled with anxiety and addiction. There were periods of my life when I had panic attacks almost every day. I understand what it feels like to be a prisoner of my own mind. I also know what shame feels like. For a long time I suffered in silence. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling. It wasn’t until I go to a point where suicide felt like my only option that I was ready to finally be honest with myself and the world and ask for help. Nobody should have to suffer alone. It is my wish that people are not afraid to utilize the amazing resources out there that are designed to help people suffering with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction and alcoholism. I am incredibly grateful to be in recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Today I live a life that is happy and free. I feel very passionate about clearing any stigma around the issue of mental health. If you are reading this and suffering, know that healing, recovery, and a life of freedom and happiness is possible.

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