Gretchen has been fascinated by the metaphysical realm for as long as she can remember and always considered herself to be very spiritual. As she got older she recognized the importance of healing from old trauma and wounds in order to become the best versions of ourselves. She became what she calls a growth-junkie. After studying with Gabrielle Bernstein for over a year she decided to move to California to pursue a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology. While there she studied with some of the top people in the field learning everything from embodiment techniques, and spiritual counseling, to holistic sexuality and dream work. Throughout her training, she began to realize the importance food also has in the wellbeing of a person so she went on to get her wellness coaching certification at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She now works with people to help them become the healthiest versions of themselves in mind, body, and spirit.
We sat down with Gretchen and asked her some questions so that you could get to know her better and so that she could tell you why she started spirit society.
A: What do you like most about being a coach?
G: I am obsessed with all things transformation and growth and I love helping people through that process. I love being able to witness that moment when everything clicks and the person I am working with suddenly has a breakthrough. For me its all about the shifts. Its that moment when people go from telling themselves a story that they cant do something or feel like they are broken and suddenly shift into a new story that says they can do anything, they are whole and they love themselves.
A: That must feel so good to be able to help people in that way.
G: Yeah it really does. But I think the key is that they are really helping themselves. I like to think that I teach people that they have the answers. I might be able to guide them in a certain direction or give them tips but ultimately they are the ones who really know what will work for them and how to better themselves. They are actually their own guides.
A: I really like that! But is that true even in your workshops? Because you give a lot of information.
G: Well I like to talk (laughs). But honestly, in my workshops Im really talking about what has worked for me and what I have learned through my training. Im not teaching doctrine. And I believe that if people show up in my class, they were brought there by their inner guide because they need to hear something that I am saying. But ultimately when they hear what I say, they are the ones who decide how and if they let the information in, what they will take from it, and how they will integrate it into their lives. Im just talking, they are doing the work.
A: Interesting. So why did you want to start spirit society?
G: I spent years learning how to be my best self, grow, and how to be healthy. I have always gravitated towards more alternative therapies to do that. For me that has always worked best. I struggled for a very long time when I was younger and went to traditional therapy and western doctors and nothing ever worked. Yet when I started using alternative therapies like acupuncture, functional medicine, and spiritual psychology I started noticing a difference immediately. But I had to go to a million different places to learn everything I needed to heal. And along the way, I learned that everything is interconnected and that you have to work on all of yourself in order to really see a change. That was hard because I had to search far and wide for all the people and technologies that I needed. There was no place for me to go where I could find everything, and I really wanted to create that for other people. I also wanted to take what would normally be considered hippie or alternative culture and make it main stream because it has a lot to offer. Ya know, I was tired of going to these places and having it be so removed from the modern world that I felt like I didn't fit in unless I was barefoot, and wearing mala beads and flowy clothes. It always felt to me that in order to be part of the spiritual and wellness world you had to remove yourself from the modern world. And I very much didn't want to do that. I wanted to go out and listen to top 40 music while sipping on a martini, and wearing killer heals and tight ripped jean, even though I was also wearing all natural make-up, snacking on fermented veggies, wearing crystals in my bra, and discussing the inner workings of human consciousness. I didn't want to change who I was to fit in; as a true gemini, I wanted to be able to live in both worlds. I didn't want to have to go to a seven day silent retreat to learn how to be more centered, I wanted to learn how to be more centered in my actual every day life. So I wanted to create a place that had all of that. I wanted it to provide and teach alternative methodologies for people who still wanted to be a part of the modern world. And I wanted a place where everyone is welcome, the person who is barefoot and never wears make-up and the person who wants to stay up to date on all the latest fashion trends and watches Vanderpump Rules.
A: So what you are hoping people will learn by being a part of spirit society?
G: I want them to learn that they don't have to choose between being healthy in mind, body, spirit, and being trendy. I want people to know that they can be grounded in the modern world and still be able to use things like meditation, and altered states of consciousness to create a better life. If someone can learn how to stay present and calm while in line at the grocery store, how to heal their body image issues or how to eat healthy at the hot new restaurant in town, while also learning how to shape their brows then I will consider Spirt Society to be a success.