Charlotte Edwards Interviews Ashley Leavy about what it takes to live your dreams, moving from a mainstream career to doing what you love (and succeeding!).
Charlotte: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your career background? Why did you choose your career (before you moved into the crystal healing sector)? Why did you feel like you wanted to change careers – was it stressful, unfulfilling?
Ashley: I have loved crystals my whole life. When I was younger, my grandfather would take me to gem shows and teach me about all the different minerals. I was always captivated by their beauty and I soon began to collect and learn about stones. My grandfather had a big influence on me and to this day I share his love of nature – rocks, plants, animals, etc. I had a great interest in plants and horticulture and earned my Associate’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture.
When I decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree, I was feeling a lot of societal and family pressure to choose a major (and occupation) that would be respected and profitable. As a result, I chose to go into Botany. I forced myself through a year of unfulfilling course work before I realized that the only occupations I may realistically find in the field were with pharmaceutical companies or creating genetically modified organisms (neither of which felt right with my innermost beliefs). I knew it was time for a change.
Charlotte: What steps did you take to move into crystal healing? Was it difficult, or did things fall into place?
Ashley: While I was in college, I was lucky enough to find a part-time job at my local New Age shop, Mimosa Books & Gifts. I found myself drawn to study a variety of spiritual and natural health topics (all the while neglecting my University course work). It was then that my passion for crystals was renewed. I began taking some certification classes in crystal healing (the first of which was with one of my mentors, Akeeya; it was Melody’s Laying-on-of-Stones Levels 1 & 2). That changed everything! I knew in my heart that this was the change that I was looking for – this was the path that I needed to take. I had finally found something that I truly loved. It was a way to combine my interests and beliefs with my profession.
When I was growing up, I was told that I could be anything – a firefighter, a ballerina, an astronaut, even the president of the United States, but no one ever told me I could be a crystal healer. I took the summer off of school, working at Mimosa and giving crystal healing sessions to clients.
Then, my dream really came true…
An ownership position opened up in the shop and I was approached by (my now current business partner) Diane about becoming a co-owner. We went through a trial partnership period (which went great) and I made the decision to buy into the shop. Needless to say, I didn’t return to school the next fall – I was already living the dream! The shop and my crystal healing practice went hand-in-hand and things were “in the flow”. After doing sessions for a few years (and after years of self-study and lots of professional training in crystal therapy) my clients began requesting that I teach classes about crystal therapy. So, I began giving free crystal healing lectures to local spiritual groups and women’s circles, working my way up to short, donation-based events.
I finally had enough teaching experience that I was approached to teach a 13-part crystal series by a local healing arts school. I now travel over a wide area offering a diverse range of classes and I have also created an online, virtual classroom where I teach students from around the globe. This has really tied in with my new age shop and each of my businesses feeds and supports the other (my customers at the shop often enroll in classes and my online students often order supplies from the shop). My hope is that they will continue to grow and evolve in harmony.
Charlotte: What setbacks did you experience and how did you overcome them?
Ashley: At first, it seemed difficult to balance the demands of the shop with my healing and teaching practice, but with experience, I have found the right fit. I have also had to remember to take time for myself and for my family – starting (and operating) any business can be a bit demanding of your time and energy, so staying focused on the present moment – and what is truly most important in that moment, is key.
The thing that was most difficult for me to overcome was the social pressures I was facing to pursue a more traditional career. It was challenging to find my own voice and work though this challenge (especially when I was feeling unsupported by friends and family). I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but I knew that if I didn’t at least try to follow my dreams, I would always regret it. So…I went for it, worked hard, and here I am now…living the dream!
Charlotte: What are your personal strengths? What are your spiritual strengths?
Ashley: I would say that my strengths are compassion, the ability to be direct, and that I am purpose-driven. I am dedicated to what I do and I am able to trust in the energy that I am working with. I feel connected to crystals and to the natural world in a deep, spiritual way.
Charlotte: What is your best practical advice on how to move into the crystal healing sector?
- Believe in yourself and in your healing gifts.
- Know that the rough spots don’t last forever.
- Learn as much as you can – continuing education offers new techniques to better serve yourself and your clients.
- Staying centered and grounded can help bring you clarity when you need it most.
- Be authentic – your clients will appreciate it and will like you for you!
Charlotte: Can you give any nitty-gritty business advice to help people just starting out?
Ashley: Don’t underestimate the power of client referrals; offer your existing clients a special bonus or discount if they refer you to a friend. Be prepared to work hard – starting a new business (or developing an existing one) takes time and commitment. Partner up with colleagues and other people in your industry – share, support one another, and co-create together. Don’t get discouraged (for long) and NEVER give up – you CAN do it!
This interview is featured in Charlotte’s book, Starting a Spiritual Business – Inspiration, Case, Studies, and Advice.