Following the mainstream drive to feel “secure” in a “real job” led me to spend several years (along with a couple of layovers) in corporate America. Although I always loved psychology, creative writing, sociology and the mystical, as a young adult I didn’t trust that I could make money in those fields, and thought I should have a “real career”, and so majored in International Business. At that point, I just knew I loved people and loved to travel.
After years spent in outside sales in Corporate America, I gradually started shifting to work which held more meaning for me: Communication Skills Training, Life Coaching, and Intercultural Training. These were necessary and perfect to lead me to the “bulls eye” of what I’ve really been longing for, vehicles where I can connect with people at an even deeper level, from the heart, where spirituality, creative expression and the sensory are main keys in that connection. I’ve found interfaith ministry and celebrancy to be a great fit.
My spiritual journey has evolved over time. Although I was brought up as a Catholic, my exposure to people from other spiritual paths through living in Switzerland, Japan, Newport Beach and San Francisco, CA along with attending a graduate school for International Business in Arizona with people from different cultures and religions led me to believe in “One God, Many Paths”. I’ve been on a spiritual growth path for the past 25 years and have studied Christianity, Buddhism, Sukyo Mahikari, Metaphysics, Creation Spirituality, what I like to call “Jesusism” (separate from religious dogma), meditation and symbolism.
Being asked by friends in Asheville, NC to lead healing rituals and other ceremonies led me to become an Interfaith Minister and Celebrant Leader. As I mentioned on the home page, the turning point for me was when my friend Eileen asked me to lead a marriage ceremony for her and her husband who wanted to celebrate with friends in Asheville, NC, three weeks after their official NJ wedding. It was such an honor and joy that I knew I had to do more of this. I became ordained as an Interfaith Minister with James Twyman, through the Beloved Community: www.belovedworld.org in a program which focuses on the ministers being spiritual peacemakers in the world, and which honors the peace prayers in the 12 major world religions. It felt like a perfect fit, reflecting my values and beliefs. I also serendipitously came upon the Celebrant Foundation and Institute in 2010, when one of the directors moved to Asheville, which really resonated for me as I saw it as a wonderful venue for combining my core values of creative expression, spiritual growth and deep connections with people. In April of 2011 I graduated with from the Celebrant Foundation with certificates in Weddings & Other Ceremonies for Couples along with Funerals and other Ceremonies for Healing.
Other work and hobbies: In 2012 I also became a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® through the Grief Recovery Institute (https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com) fulfilling a calling since I was 8 years old to help people going through grief related to any loss. The Grief Recovery Method has been in existence for 30+ years, and is not therapy, but a very effective experiential psycho-educational process. I facilitate Grief Recovery groups in Asheville, NC along with one-on-one sessions in Asheville.
I also love creative writing, journaling and abstract painting. You can view my paintings at: https://barbarasabstracts.com