Fiona is an Intuitive Health Practitioner, Educator & Human-nature Guide who midwives humans through soul growth and transformation into a deeper sense of trust, understanding, authentic expression, and belonging.
She is a facilitator of events and courses. She is also the creator and steward of Innerlife Health Services, a multi-disciplinary Wholistic Health Clinic in Victoria BC.
We humans, especially in the westernized world, are living in a time of big, fast, and hard revelation and growth.
As we come to this growth, the response to either curl up under a rock, or blaze on in varying degrees of denial might never have been so obviously polarized.
I am far more interested in a third way, the way of interbeing (a word and concept developed by Thich Nhat Hanh), animism, and relational maturation, which is the bedrock of my work in the world, my research and practice, and is rooted in my personal lived experience as one of your fellow human beings.
Below are some of the ways in which I have come to find myself in this work, and how my origins, background and training, as well as the people, lands, power and this place, bring it to life.
A little Herstory
I grew up in a family and broader culture of good-hearted folk, genuinely interested in connection, but also deeply conditioned to turn to “stiff-upper-lip” and “pull-up-your-socks” kinds of responses to emotional needs; people basically steeped in generations of survival, hardship, dispossession, relocation and loss, that handled life through the inherited, learned and hardened heroic patterns of denial, distraction, hustle, pushing through, and moving on. This also inevitably meant and means pushing the resulting conflicted feelings deep into the body, and/or playing the conflicts out interrelationally, and unconsciously isolating or dominating and pushing others to the margins. And sometimes losing them in the process.
Complicity was confused with connection, repression and dissociation confused with contentment, resistance treated as defiance, and obedience or “being good” valued more than being authentic. The resulting chronic anxiety, outbursts, resentment, fear, shame, guilt, jealousy, apathy, immature expressions of feelings and perpetual interpersonal drama was normalized as “just the way life is”. Attempts to talk about feelings and work with them creatively and productively could mostly only go a small distance because there were insufficient frameworks of understanding for the healthy inclusion of social/emotional needs, empathy, intimacy and personal, interpersonal, transpersonal and cultural growth.
My family and culture have been focused on physical survival for so many generations that more mature and nuanced emotional and relational skills and healing cultural practices have been abandoned or actively suppressed through social, political and religious movements through the ages and been lost through time. These practices have also been co-opted, absorbed and diluted through newer cultural trends, and therefore arrested at early stages of development, then normalized into habituated capitalistic patterns of industry, addictive behaviours, moralizing and avoidance.
I have found that many people can relate to my experience here.
Over the last 25 years, I have been working my way through my understanding of these patterns, and exploring the healing and growing offered by therapeutic, academic and other cultural resources I have encountered along the way. I have also been unpacking the forms of violence that can be, and are, inadvertently perpetuated by otherwise well-intentioned leaders, facilitators, therapists and health practitioners as they themselves work through their own growth, attachment wounds, ancestral, gendered, colonial and cultural impacts on heredity, health, relational maturity and their own complicity in oppressive systems of power. And I have also been working through the ways I have been and am complicit in these same patterns and systems and sometimes, inadvertently perpetuate oppression and abuses of power in some of these same ways.
This work requires ongoing self-reflection, learning, practicing and growing. It’s often hard, but also rewarding. I'm not in it alone. And it is my greatest pleasure to assist and support others working through this where I can.
Innerlife Health Services, my private practice, my clinic, and my business, are a response to my own ongoing needs for understanding, meaning, connection, community, hope and growth in my life. And they are just one small and humble, but authentic, personal, cultural, and political response and offering to the collective shift on this planet for the same.
My mother is from Scotland, my father is from New Zealand, and I am a first generation Canadian that follows a long line of people primarily from the British Isles, Ireland, and Europe. It has most likely been over two thousand years since my (blood ancestral) people have lived in a mature, sustainable, intact and earth-rooted culture, so I live with awareness of, and have sensitivity to the presence of this inherent dissociation in myself and my own life and worlds. But I am also aware of the places I am rooted.
I work as a healer, through my blood lines too, but passed directly down by and through my mother who was trained as a midwife in Britain and among other things, worked as a nurse in labour and delivery once she arrived in Canada (midwifery was still illegal in Alberta at the time), and then in the latter part of her career, launched and ran a lactation consulting practice with a fellow colleague and friend. She is also a keen and talented gardener and is skillful with culinary magic too. My mother modeled marrying the healing arts and sole proprietorship for me, as well as practical magic at home. Modeling imprints possibility and knowing on a child’s soul. It offers them a map. And for my own soul embodiment as a (now) business owner in the healing arts, it clearly mattered that from a young age, I was shown by my mother that it was possible to practice the healing arts in a way that feels aligned AND support myself financially, especially as a woman.
Both my parents consistently prioritized time outdoors communing in wild places throughout my childhood and adolescence, spending extraordinary amounts of time and energy organizing and leading adventures into the back country and investing in their own, as well as my connection with the wild parts of my own soul, even though we lived in a city.
And among many other things, my father patiently modeled deep listening, empathy and understanding enough times that I got to know what it felt like in my bones to feel understood and known. But he also modeled humility and his own capacity to make mistakes, own his fallibility and learn from his process enough times that I got to know this humility in leadership too. He modeled what growing relationally looks like, even in adulthood…and as a man, especially given how counter-culture and counter-patriarchal-conditioning this is.
It matters, especially in this world at this time, that children know what it feels like to be heard, understood, known and at home in connection with themselves, other people, and the more-than-human world, as well as learning how to understand, know and help others belong too. It matters that little girls too, as well as LGBTQ2S and other marginilized folx, know what it feels like in their bones to be heard, understood, known and respected, especially by men in positions of power in relation to them, like their fathers, especially in patriarchal cultures. It helps them to be able to identify when they are not being heard in gendered power dynamics, but other relational and systemic power dynamics too. It builds resilience and helps them more easily withstand a culture that is still young, dangerous to many, and has much to learn about inclusivity of needs. And it helps them build resilience in other folx as well, and create safer, more mature cultures around them.
It matters that we know what growing looks and feels like, especially past childhood and adolescence. It matters that we know how to grow the cultures of our friendships, partnerships, family relationships, communities and world. Growth happens in different ways, at different rates, and at different times for everyone and it is important that we continue to learn how to work responsibly and respectfully (especially within places, roles, on platforms and in positions with some power) with the conflict this often surfaces in our relationships as we come to understand the ways our choices, behaviour, and lives impact others.
My father too, has a love of the way words come together - especially in writing, a deep affection for story, and a poet's heart.
All this imprinting...knowing...at a felt-sense in my body, passed down by my parents too, is how I am most rooted in this world.
There are parts of my background, training and experience that could be called conventional, but we are living in times that demand more innovative approaches, understanding, and systems beyond what much mainstream convention can currently offer. So, much of what informs my practice has been born out of what I have studied and what has been modeled, taught and shown to me, but almost entirely (necessarily because of the times we live in) from sources of wisdom and knowledge outside of more conventional or mainstream schools and paths. And at its heart, my learning is driven by my own ongoing needs for deeper understanding and wider truths in these times.
My best schooling by far comes from living it…with a lot of f*cking up. And listening. Researching, seeking support and learning. And trying again. And each time, hopefully becoming more transparent to my soul and becoming a better human. It comes from walking this exciting, terrifying and humbling path with others as they do the same and share their journeys with me.
Among other things, I have worked as a nanny, a tree-planter, a stewardess on a yacht, a running store sales associate, a desk clerk in the library, a language teacher, and a teacher-on-call; each of these roles grew my capacity to listen, respond, nurture, guide, connect, understand, lean in and learn. However, it is having been in my one-on-one energy medicine, body work and soul work practice over the last 15 years that has grown me the most in my own humanity and taught me the most about human nature.
This work experience...in combination with the privilege of having been able to travel, live in other countries, downward-dog around the planet several times in many yoga centres, and mountain bike, backpack, hike, run, climb, and ride horses over thousands of miles in back country trail systems in some of the most wild and magical places on this planet...has grown my ability to perceive different perspectives and points of view.
I have learned much about organizational development, power, leadership, social justice, and relationships between psychology, physiology and ecology through literally hundreds of groups, workshops, courses, books, conversations and lived experience studying with teachers, organizations and institutions, but have also recognized that it is possible and even essential to outgrow these and continue my education in new places and innovative, unconventional ways.
I have had the immense privilege of being able to grow in independence, autonomy, agency, freedom and maturity beyond any woman in my family, especially because I have been able to choose to not have children of my own, likely for generations.
My clients have referred to me as a healer, a counselor, a therapist, a coach, a teacher and a mentor… likely among other less complementary things which I’ve no doubt deserved… but I have current professional designations, certifications and membership, primarily in the healing arts.
I am professionally recognized and a member in good standing with the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada, and studied and trained in BodyTalk for 10 years as a Certified BodyTalk practitioner. I have my second attunement in Reiki and have a Bachelor of Arts in Education.
I work as an Intuitive Health Practitioner, Educator & Human-nature Guide, helping make life-affirming energetic shifts in the body, making relational responses more visible, conscious, connecting and empowering for my clients, as well as offering dynamic and responsive frameworks, arechetypal maps and bodies of work that I have found offer guidance through the wilds of human nature (soul). I highlight, invite, and support authentic and affirming ways home to the Self, to the world, and to life.
This Land, this Place, and her People
I recognize this land I live and work on, and the peoples that are also here and were here for thousands of years before colonial settlers/occupiers systematically disrupted, dimantled, colonized and devastated the previously existing mature and healthy ecosystems of this place on Turtle Island (and elsewhere), murdering and dehumanizing now generations of families and an ecology that will forever bear the marks and force of this genocide.
I recognize the peoples and ecology that have been and are still reconciling the ways this injustice has also been instituionalized and among many things, has led to genocide through the residential school system, through the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, and the continual desecration of ancient old growth forests and vital ecosystems here and elsewhere.
I recognize the peoples and the ecology that have been and are still reconciling the ways this injustice has been and is institutionalized through all levels of Crown/Settler State governance, including but not limited to the current education system, child welfare system, land/treaty/environmental governance, the justice system, law enforcement, armed forces and the penitentiary system.
I recognize the peoples and ecology that have been and are continuing to reconcile the resulting devastation and oppression, and at the same time, resist it, transform it, and restore dignity, humanity, justice, and sustainability to it and to the larger life systems that connect all corners of our planet, and also connect our planet in this universe.
Especially as an occupier/settler on these lands here at the Southern end of Vancouver Island, and as someone who has been and continues to be privileged by the colonizing systems of power through my location within them...
I acknowledge the communities and nations in the traditional territories and homelands of the Kwakwaka‘wakw, Coast Salish, and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples on Vancouver Island...in particular the W̱SÁNEĆ (BOḰEĆEN – Pauquachin, SȾÁ,UTW̱ – Tsawout, W̱JOȽEȽP – Tsartlip, W̱SÍḴEM – Tseycum) peoples where I work.
I acknowledge the traditional territories of the Cowichan (Quamichan/Kw'amutsun, Clemclemaluts/L'uml'umuluts, Comiaken/Qwum'yiqun', Khenipsen/Hinupsum, Kilpahlas/Tl'ulpalus, Koksilah/Hwulqwselu, and Somena/S'amuna' traditonal villages), and Malahat nations and peoples where I live.
I acknowledge the surrounding communities and nations in the traditional territories of the Lkwungen (Lekwungen) speaking peoples of the Esquimalt and Songhees nations, and the Schian’exw (Beecher Bay), Ts’ouke (Sooke), Stz’uminus, Penelakut, Halalt, Lyackson, Dididaht, Pacheedaht, Elwa Klallam and Makah tribes and nations, here on the southern end of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula, where I have begun to find a small sense of home over the past almost 30 years...
...among the human ancestors of this place and this land, their living relations, the-more-than human ancestors and kin and all their life-affirming ways..and this living sentient being, earth herself.
This acknowledgement, this exploration of my location and intersectionality, this website, my business, and my practice at Innerlife are reflections of some of my ongoing efforts to contribute to the humanization on this planet and my personal commitments to increase health of the land, this place, and all the human and and more-than-human ancestors and kin here.