Hi, I'm Ashley!
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU COMBINE POETRY, REIKI, ADHD, AND LEADERSHIP?
An unapologetic mishmash of weirdness and passion that is ME!
I'm a multi-passionate creative who has spent over a decade helping others to uncover their potential and forge unconventional paths to success by integrating my experiences as a neurodiverse corporate learning and development leader, holistic coach, poetry author, and Reiki Master/Teacher.
I spent most of my adult life feeling out of control and drowning in stress, at the mercy and whim of everyone around me. Like a leaf in the wind, I floated around, blowing this way and that, always looking to others for guidance, shrinking from my natural gifts, never finding any respite from the influences around me.
I persevered by living life "by the book", because that's what I knew to do, despite never really feeling or thinking like anyone else around me.
I pursued formal education, earning a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in Organizational and Leadership Development. I followed a corporate career path from one job to the next, finally landing on a career in healthcare talent and leadership development, helping others manage their growth and leadership paths but never fully feeling like I fit into my own.
It wasn't until I started down a holistic path that things really started to take a turn.
I received a certification in Integrative Health Coaching but quickly figured out I wasn't very interested in teaching people how to eat or exercise. However, I was very drawn to the mental/emotional/spiritual aspects of well-being.
I started writing again after a 15-year hiatus. I hadn't meant to stop but I guess I hadn't realized how important and life-giving it had been. Writing again after so long, not only awakened a love I had forgotten, it also began the process of freeing my soul from the self-imposed confines that come from a life without a creative outlet.
And then came Healing Therapies, a practitioner program at the healthcare system where I worked that was based on the energy modality Healing Touch. I soon discovered the energy modality of Usui Reiki as well, and worked to become a Master/Teacher.
Practicing energy work for others requires doing your own inner work, and along with my writing practice, I finally, truly started healing from many early wounds and traumas that had been overlooked for so long, not the least of which was the death of my mother at age 27.
But as transformational as that was, it still didn't answer all the questions of "what's wrong with me?" and "why don't I ever feel like I fit in?"
I am a Bridge, a Light
A Connector of worlds
Translating Love into suffering hearts
For the journey home,
Through the darkness, through the pain
Through the nights that seem to never end,
Let the healing begin
At 46, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Suddenly, my entire life made sense!
I had done a tremendous amount of much-needed healing work. But there were some things that simply couldn't - and shouldn't - be healed away.
Those attributes, characteristics, quirks even, are simply how I'm naturally wired!
And perhaps as importantly, my why became all the more clear.
After nearly two decades developing leaders professionally, and serving as a leader in many capacities myself, I know how draining it can be for those who are sensitive, compassionate, intuitive, and visionary.
Those who envision a better world for all people but are often seen as weird or awkward, or their message is outside the status quo, so they aren't heard.
Those who've spent so much time masking in order to fit in that forget who they are, or are rarely able to voice it confidently.
Those who've been asked to fit themselves into tiny, misshapen boxes with no room to develop except in the direction their environment wanted them to grow.
And those who just can't turn off the squirrel brain long enough to hear - much less trust - their own inner wisdom.
And I also know how much the world needs us – now more than ever.
Now, armed with with over 20 years of trying to adapt (and often diminish) my own deep sensitivity, intuition, neurodiversity, and "weirdness" to fit into someone else's definition of normal, I’ve learned ways to flourish while also honoring my natural, authentic style, and to bring this wisdom and experience to YOU.
My vision is to be a Catalyst for a Authentic Transformation, helping individuals and organizations uncover their potential and forge unconventional paths to success through workshops, programs, strategy, and poetry.
What makes my work unique is my ability to be "liminal" - to have a foot in both worlds using both energetic/spiritual and practical tools, along with the healing power of words and poetry, to teach others to have a powerful impact by tapping into their truest, most authentic selves.
Writing poetry is so much more for me than simply a creative outlet.
It's my heart, it's how I breathe.
It's a process of gentle poetic healing for myself -- and for you.
I publish daily on my blog and I currently have three published collections of "poetic healing":
- The Angel Inside: Inspiration to Connect with Your Inner Guidance
- The Rising
- Liminal: Between Life and Breath
I also authored a chapter in the multi-author book, "The Empath Effect".
follow your weird
Follow Your Weird was born from a podcast interview with my favorite creatrix, Haden Starbuck.
Haden asked me for one bit of advice for her listeners and what fell out of my unprepared mouth was "Follow your weird!"
But where it really started was with 5-year-old me. The one is this photo from the late 70s.
This me followed her weird on the daily.
I joyfully climbed trees, made mudpies, and jumped shirtless in puddles.
I played alone for hours with baby dolls, paper dolls, Barbie dolls.
I was both highly sensitive and I spoke my mind - even when no one wanted me to.
Needless to say, these traits didn't always go over well. Eventually the weight of being "too sensitive" and "too loud" resulted in tamping my natural self down for many years.
Fast forward to the last several years when the impact of not being my full, authentic self became too much and a desire to reconnect with my young, sassy self began to emerge.
Not to go back to being that little girl, but to capture the joy and fearlessness that comes with simply being your whole self.
And so my alter-ego, Amelia, was born.
Amelia is a caricature of 5-year old me.
Strong, sassy, and brave.
Embodying the spirit of a woman who would dare to cross the ocean alone in a plane at a time when women weren't allowed to do much of anything alone.
Or to write poems when everyone else is writing blog posts.
I didn't really know what to do with this vision of Amelia that lived in my head until I spoke those words in the podcast.
Amelia's purpose as my Follow Your Weird mascot, inspiring everyone to be their full, authentic selves, became clear.
And her first endeavor was to create store where we can celebrate all things weird!
on a personal note
I'm happily married to my soul mate, and together we have four children and a beautiful granddaughter.
At any given time, you might find me with a cat in my lap, a dog beside me, or even another little furry friend around.
I love the beach, especially the magical sand and glorious green water of Siesta Key Beach, where I feel most inspired.
I want to write by the ocean, save sea turtles, swim with manatee, and stroll along the sand with my love.
I trust that you feel, deep down in the places where you most fear to go, the message that it's time for a change.
I trust that you hear that inner stirring and you want to know its truth. You want to know what’s possible for your work and life.
You want to step out of the boxes that hold you back.
And you want to have a compassionate guide while you explore this part of you that’s been neglected for so long and help you clear the path for what's next.
One who's been where you are.
Now is the time. What are you waiting for?