Spotlight: PILIPINX Movers + Shakers in the San Diego Wellness Community

Beginning my wellness journey in San Diego, California – I noticed quickly that wellness, while it seemed saturated because I was surrounded by like minded people, was in reality, a foreign concept to many minorities and those of diverse backgrounds and identifiers.

However, what came to light in my exploration of this community was the fact that wellness was less attainable to those in varying class neighborhoods because of the separation of money, status, power, gender and awareness.

This is why, when I came across these 4 amazing healers, it was a breath of fresh air – a newfound hope for bringing wellness to those who wouldn’t normally find it approachable. I found 4 healers of Philippine heritage (whom felt so familiar because it was that of my own) – who break the barriers of class separation, gender, color, and so much more. I had the honor and privilege to sit down with these amazing people, create conscious conversation, and learn about their personal and beautiful healing journeys.


Virgil Simm / Massage + Reiki

Virgil’s Story (adapted from a recorded interview with Virgil Simm)

I needed to understand who Virgil was. I was honestly, such a “mute” growing up. Very privileged, loved my family – but I was a middle child. My older brother is gay, so I always felt

that I followed in his footsteps. My younger brother was a black sheep – so he too was trying to figure out his journey. With mine, I just felt so lost and confused. I felt like a fucking fairy, a unicorn in the woods, like “What the hell am I doing here? Why am I always drawn to plants? Why do I just stare at fish tanks? Why?”

(meanwhile, Virgil is literally petting flowers in the table’s centerpiece)

People call me a hummingbird – I don’t ignore what people are saying around me, I am aware – I know what’s going on. Hearing the bartender, seeing the cars driving around. Anyways, I was so lost in life – I was so confused. I never had a strong male connection, but was always so drawn to women – aunties, grandmas. I would listen to their stories and I would take away their pain, and I [feel] I’m empathic because of that.

I needed to understand who Virgil is, this depression, this not standing out, not stepping in the zone, I needed this understanding of who he is.

Getting into shamanism, getting into my practice, my reiki – I’m mind blown of this spirituality and healing. What is all this? Why wasn’t this here earlier? Why is everything making sense now? Why did I go through depression, sex addiction – everything addiction of all sorts? Getting into my practice – I finally tapped into who I am. I have that feeling of connection with people, I am understanding why I am here, what my words mean to people, that I have a deeper purpose. I’m here to make people smile. This is why I am breathing in this moment.

I have the tools and the experiences, and I am allowing people to connect through my words, through the life I’ve lived. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I went through, without having a path. They need to know that there are outlets. There are people just like you, who can support you.

Everyone is so amazing. Everyone is so beautiful, so impactful and they don’t even realize how impactful and strong they are. I love to shed that light on them because it’s their show. Not my show. When you come to me for a session – this is you. Don’t ever say sorry. If you need to release, if you need to share something – you’re sharing because you’re finally believing in who you are, and you’re trusting this entity to be your beacon. I am all for it.

..and the formalities:

  • Is what you do, what you love? If so, when did you realize that this practice was your calling?
    Yes I love the healing arts.  When I was a young kid.  Right away I knew my touch and presence was healing for all those around me.
  • If you could share one thing with the world – what would it be?
    Healing Touch
  • How do you think your practice makes a difference in people’s lives?
    My everything: Voice, touch, presence, knowledge, mindfulness, selfcare, community, tribe, truth, aromas, open up dimensions, open up vision, open realms
  • How would you explain your mission to someone who has no idea about the modalities you practice?
    Heal through holistic herbal remedies and tribal practices to cleanse mind, body and spirit.
  • Finally, what is an ideal day in your shoes? If you had no limitations – how would you describe your perfect day?
    To be immersed in nature, do yoga, do CrossFit, eat vegan deliciousness, do a few healing sessions, teach class, teach worship,  be in the community. I would do so much!!!!!!!! Do everything in the healing arts, immerse myself with shamans, angels, singing bowls, divine vegan eats, music festival, aroma party, light therapy.  All holistic therapy!!!  Nature. Life! All about it!

Robin Calara / Healing Crystal Jewelry + Adornments

Robin’s Story (adapted from a recorded interview with Robin Calara)

I’m a nurse by trade, and it was really stressful working in the ICU. To release my tension, I would always try to do something creative. I have always had a love for geology and rocks, and I love making jewelry so that’s how I tied them together. For me, making jewelry is a form of meditation, and I’m still able to play with the rocks! I was tell people, if I wasn’t a nurse, I would be a geologist – not a gemologist, but a geologist! Like to be out there, and excavating, and finding all the rocks. But honestly, I do this because I find it very therapeutic. I love when I make things and give it to people – seeing how happy they are with it and how it makes them feel.

I go to gem shows around the state, source from friends, or go mining with my husband to source my gems. My signature hoop, the Lotus – I just love what the lotus represents. Every day it starts new – I love the idea of starting each day new, clean, and pure.

I want this to be my retirement – right now, I’ve moved away from the bedside. I worked ICU for 15 years, but honestly my dream for later on, is to teach patients how to make jewelry because it is a form of meditation, it’s therapeutic. I want to be able to teach cancer patients, patients in general, to do that when they’re stressed. Use my nursing license and somehow relay my holistic skill to the creative.

..and the formalities:

  • Is what you do, what you love? If so, when did you realize that this practice was your calling?
    YES, I love what I do! As a nurse, my calling is to care for people to help restore their health, and I feel that my jewelry does the same.  I realized that I could help others feel good with my craft when I was working in the ICU – I had so many stressed out nurses requesting jewelry with healing stones and crystals.
  • If you could share one thing with the world – what would it be?
    I would love to share the knowledge that I have about the geological aspects of rocks and minerals. Staying aware of the process that created these beautiful objects in the first place develops a greater respect for the crystals we decide to collect.
  • How do you think your practice makes a difference in people’s lives?
    Through my practice of making jewelry, I am able to provide others with adornments that have healing properties through the genuine stones I use in each handcrafted piece. What I am able to provide for others through what I create is what I love about making jewelry.
  • How would you explain your mission to someone who has no idea about the modalities you practice?
    During my career as an ICU nurse, I found that creating jewelry was a form of meditation for relieving my stress. My mission is to provide others with the same healing energy through each piece I handcraft.
  • Finally, what is an ideal day in your shoes? If you had no limitations – how would you describe your perfect day?
    My perfect day would be when I could spend the whole day with my husband and our two year-old son Dylan.  My husband and I have opposite work schedules and it is beneficial when it comes to taking care of Dylan, but it’s rare when all three of us are together.  My ideal day would start with me waking up early to do my yoga and meditation while everyone is still asleep.  Then we would make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast together as a family.  During Dylan’s naptime, I would find time to cuddle my hubs and make a few pieces of jewelry.   After a fun filled day of us hanging out together, we would grill dinner in our backyard with our closest friends and end the night with a bonfire after Dylan goes to bed.

 


Marco Von Mülbach / Reiki

Marco’s Story (adapted from a recorded interview with Marco Von Mülbach)

I started really young in this [healing journey] and I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing, the whole “go to college, get a degree, work for someone for 40 years, then retire” – that just never appealed to me at all. For me it was a crisis, when I was 19 in college. I’m either going to sack my life off, go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing. …Or I’m going to make a really abrupt decision, and do what it is I know I’m meant to do. At the time, I had no idea what that was.

A week after dropping out, I was laying on Marisa Moris’ table (who’s a phenomenal healer). Favor’s exchanged, I got a healing that changed my life. I had no idea what Reiki was, I was raised Roman Catholic, and again – I didn’t feel God in the church. I would feel myself, when I walked in – that everyone was pretending. It was really disconnected for me.

I’ve always wanted to be a wizard. This was it. I wanted to be a wizard + Indiana Jones + Luke Skywalker. That was it, there was always this feeling that I wanted to get to the core true element of everything, and with work like this, it’s so adaptive. You can throw it on yoga, you can throw it in the office space, corporate, private, you know, people that own businesses. It was a great way for me to explore my reality in a way that was loose enough that my imagination wasn’t supressed. I could play. I’m like a little boy – this is like a playground. This is work that I want to do in the world, and I want to do it my way. The reason I do what I do is because it allows me to do this.

I want people to understand that they have the power to heal themselves, because I realized that. I’m learning more about it, deeper into that power and to what extent. I’m healing things now that I didn’t even know I had to heal. Life will keep throwing these things at you – and with my practice, it’s been a culmination of all that. Whatever you got, that’s where you can start. The only place you can ever start is with what you’ve got and where you’re at. I want to equip people with the tools to make space for that to happen. I want to be part of that quart of miracles that has allowed people to be themselves.

Everything else is meh. When you really know what lights you up, you do it.

..and the formalities:

  • Is what you do, what you love? If so, when did you realize that this practice was your calling?
    Reiki is so universal and yet, ultra personal. My own style of healing draws from my passion for music, martial arts, history and philosophy. I love it immensely. Sessions and workshops often feel more like play than work. This was a clear indicator that my calling was here in the study and practice of healing arts.
  • If you could share one thing with the world – what would it be?
    – The richest place in the world? Where is it? The Vatican vaults? Swiss bank accounts? Castles and temples around the world? All wonderfully rich places but wrong as an answer to this question. The richest place in the world is the graveyard.
    – Every book never started, art piece never painted, conversation never had, and trip never ventured will die with you if you don’t have the courage and compassion to follow your heart.
    – You can fail at something you despise, so you might as well fail at doing the thing you love most! That, is in fact, how we get good at anything, by failing. So find a way to fail faster!
    – And your grave will be empty, all your dreams and creations living in the world you left behind.
  • How do you think your practice makes a difference in people’s lives?
    Life is busy. My practice reunites perspective with awareness. Through relaxation and subtle body building, we explore a much deeper level of reality that often is ignored due to the hyperactive reality we all spend the majority of our days consumed by. It’s very common for people to start paying more attention and energy to their overall wellness after working with me. I am a master of reflecting what is. Through awareness of what is, what truly is, nearly all the suffering and pain we experience can be transmitted into personal power and healing.
  • How would you explain your mission to someone who has no idea about the modalities you practice?
    I’m here to lead by example. You feel how well I am? Well it’s because of simple things I do everyday that work for me. I want each person in the world to know what those things are for them, and then have the courage and compassion to practice, everyday! It sends a strong message to the universe. I am worth it!
  • Finally, what is an ideal day in your shoes? If you had no limitations – how would you describe your perfect day?
    Every good day starts with a sunrise, followed by some sort of flow, be it dancing or yoga. Then I would hit the books. Study and reflection play a big part of my ideal day. Good plant based food would naturally find its way into the hungry hours of my day. After a nice mellow morning I’d make my way into the collective with music, dance, reiki, or all three! Much of this I see happening in the forest, on the beach, or at one of the many transformational music and arts festivals that happen through out the seasons. I’d make many friends and have plenty of reasons to laugh.


Melanie Esperon / Reiki, Angel + Intuitive Readings

Melanie’s Story (adapted from a recorded interview with Melanie Esperon)

I began my journey when I went through a personal tragedy, I lost my fiance, and by pre-knowing. That’s when my mom introduced me to Joy, [Reiki Healer], just so I could sleep. I hadn’t slept for nearly a year – I just hated life. I wanted to die, I tried to kill myself plenty of times, but God wouldn’t let me die. Tried all the escapes in the world, I went crazy. So my mom said, go meet this lady named Joy. It’s on me, and just lay there.

With Reiki, she did something. When I met her, it just felt good. I decided I was gonna come back again. Tomorrow. And just kept going and going. She helped me return to a normal state. I learned Reiki because it healed me, and I realized that I could help other people through it.

I look back and I think about my “why,” alot. I was in so much emotional pain, which then turned physical. It turned into a physical illness – I had pnemonia for 9 months. Everyone has a lesson to learn with pain, but if I can be any sort of listener or helper through that pain, I’m there. That pain is unbearable.

Combined with clairvoyant gifts that I’ve had since I was a child, I realized that I can do good. I was doing so much wrong for so long. I was very money driven – at age 23 I was making 6 figures, easy. I was very corporate, when in contrast, I came from a very creative family – singers, dancers. I wanted to be the opposite. But now, I come back to my roots – I am a healer, performer of expression. I never thought I would be here.

 

..and the formalities:

  • Is what you do, what you love? If so, when did you realize that this practice was your calling?
    Absolutely. 2011. That was the year my life changed completely. After experiencing my love tragically passing away, I found myself in a place of rebuilding. Discovering who I really was and defining what I was meant for. My Intuition and Reiki Practice re-entered my life full swing and I have been running with it ever since.
  • If you could share one thing with the world – what would it be?
    Generosity. And I’m not talking about money. I’m talking generosity with your time, words, an EAR. I believe when you live in that state of mind, you get to know people in depth and vice versa. It creates a space to show you care and receive as well. And when people understand that “space” more, our world becomes a little bit more compassionate. More love to go around.
  • How do you think your practice makes a difference in people’s lives?
    I do my best to “bring it” during every session or just in every day life. Being LIGHT…it’s a tough job especially when we’re all human just trying to make it through sometimes. The way I approach my practice is with a slow pace, a gentle nature and through loving eyes. When I get people to just slow down, that’s when true reflection occurs…bringing all the gunk up to the surface, releasing and then creating space for new seeds to grow. It’s pretty magical to witness. Essentially, I am just helping people realize that the answers they seek have always been there. They choose wear to water. 
  • How would you explain your mission to someone who has no idea about the modalities you practice?
    The two modalities that I practice the most are my clairvoyance and reiki. With clairvoyance, I explain to them that it is the gift of sight. To see clearly. Whether it’s situations, spirit, validation. I guide them into listening with their eyes. With reiki, I help them to understand that their body is a vehicle to get you around. And when you keep that vehicle clean, your energy and physical body is telling the universe that you are ready for more. When you as a person with a happy spirit can see clearly and are ready for more, guess what happens? GREAT shows up. Now, this isn’t the easiest place to get to right off the bat. It takes time and practice. So my mission is to acknowledge where that person is at and go from there. Ya gotta put in work
  • Finally, what is an ideal day in your shoes? If you had no limitations – how would you describe your perfect day?
    SLEEP. Kidding! lol. Waking up naturally. Meditation. Going for a walk/jog at the beach. Eating breakfast. Reading/Writing. Going into session for a few hours. Then explore with my loved ones. Geez, my ideal day sounds so relaxing. I guess I need to do that more 😉

 

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