Kelley Alexander, J.D.
Program Director, Director of Alternative and Complementary Health, Counselor
"Road Less Traveled" ~ Kelley Alexander
By Amanda Christmann Larson
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference ~ Robert Frost
I don’t know what a Shamanic healer is supposed to look like, but Kelley Alexander’s bouncy blond curls, bright eyes and warm, genuine smile are far from what I would have imagined. Her easy manner and gentle laugh showed the inner comfort of someone who has not only done some searching in her life, but has also made peace within her own Self. Her life has always been more about the journey than about the destination, and that journey has led her to some fascinating and enlightening places and personalities. Her transformation from an attorney to an energy practitioner has been both fascinating and inspirational to thousands of people.
It’s hard to pinpoint when Kelley’s searching began. She has never known a time when she hasn’t asked the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” For many years, that searching took her through the halls of different churches, but she felt a bit lost in ritual. She even majored in World Religions in college, then substitute taught and worked as a waitress to save money to travel Europe for a while in search of answers. While she gained a great appreciation and understanding of the role of religion in people’s lives, what she wanted was more spiritual than religious. She wanted and needed to go beyond the academics and into the feeling of spiritual connectedness that she felt she was missing.
“I think most people ask those types of questions,” she explained. “Most people spend life searching for something meaningful and wanting that connection. Maybe it’s that love a mother feels when she holds her child for the first time, or maybe it’s the joy they feel when they attend a church retreat. They want to find that joy and hold on to it always, not just for a moment in time. I wanted that kind of happiness, and I wanted it to stay.”
Kelley went on to law school, then practiced law in three different states for several years. She and her husband lived a life many envied, traveling and surrounded by beautiful things, but she never stopped searching. “You hear of people hitting their bottom. I didn’t hit my bottom, I hit my ceiling. I had everything I thought I was supposed to want, but I felt dead inside. I had a nagging sense that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, and I felt guilty because I wasn’t happy.”
On her 10th wedding anniversary, Kelley and her husband stayed at Enchantment resort in Sedona. As she looked at the menu of services to choose from, she noticed a Shamanic energy session was on the list. “I decided I had time for that between, you know, the massage and facial, so I thought I’d try it,” Kelley laughed. What happened during that session transformed her much more than any spa service ever could. She left feeling a renewed sense of purpose, and panic attacks that she had been experiencing for years completely vanished.
Soon afterward, on her 40th birthday, Kelley made a journey to Peru where she met a Shamanic healer. She stripped herself of all that was familiar and learned about energy healing that have been used for thousands of years among indigenous people there. Through the most ancient wisdom on earth, her eyes opened and she felt the connectedness and joy that she had been searching for, and she discovered the tools she needed to manifest that joy in herself.
It never ceases to amaze me how, when people decide to take huge leaps of faith in their lives and follow their dreams, pieces fall into place to allow those things to manifest. Kelley returned home and the pieces started falling into place. A year later she became co-director of The Sanctuary at Sedona. Her life has completely changed. She spends her days helping others to realize their own potential for joy, purpose and meaning in their lives by sharing Shamanic wisdom and techniques, blended with other wisdom, new and old, scientific and traditional, from all over the world.
Kelley’s message is simple: You don’t have to move away, quit your job, throw away your religion or leave your family to find your purpose, if you don’t already know what it is. You only have to make time and create the intention of seeking within yourself those things that bring you joy.
“What we do here at The Sanctuary is really incorporate what is already working for you,” she said. “We show people how to really tap into that source. Many people pray or meditate, and we believe in the power of prayer, yet there is a disconnect in a lot of people’s lives. How do you bring that sacredness into the every day? That’s what people are longing for.”
“One of the things we are finding that’s scary for a lot of people is that, in our world today, a lot of points of reference are being dismantled. Things are changing in our economy, in our politics, and for some people, in their religion. If you’ve never developed a point of reference within yourself, you begin to fall apart.”
Without that inner reference point, and without honoring our heart’s desires, Kelley explained, our shadow, those parts of ourselves we deem too “unacceptable” that we ignore, shut away or deny, begin to unconsciously influence our lives. People may try to fill the emptiness with alcohol, prescription drugs, food, or whatever else they find available. Overcoming addictions is a big part of what happens at The Sanctuary, but the foundational message of finding joy and purpose is the same for everyone, with or without addictions.
“Maybe you’re a football mom who has given every second of yourself to your family. Perhaps you put down that paint brush 15 years ago when your first child was born and you’re not honoring that part of yourself. Or maybe you love being in nature and you’re not taking the time to make that happen. Maybe you want to go back to school, and you can’t do that, but you can take that one amazing class that inspires you and gives you back that happiness. Everybody can find that one thing, and it doesn’t have to be something radical,” she explained.
“There are things that our soul and our hearts are telling us that we think are not practical so we don’t do them. Nothing’s impossible. We’re not trapped. We don’t have to wait. Today is the day.”
After talking with Kelley, I reflected upon my own life and choices I have made along the way. There is a certain comfort in knowing that taking the road less traveled is not such a lonely route after all. Since humanity began, we have all had the same questions and the same types of struggles within ourselves, and there are thousands of years of combined wisdom to help to get us through. All we have to do is seek our answers and take those roads less traveled, and that wisdom will arrive when we are ready to see it.