As a child, Erja Järvelä wanted to be a doctor. The dream of healing people stayed with the Finn all the way through high school, but died a quick death during the college application process. Suddenly, finding herself driven by other people’s expectations rather than passion, she switched from medicine to law, “I was convinced I was making a practical decision. I never thought I would become a lawyer in the traditional sense, but I was sure it would provide a good foundation for whatever I wanted to do.”
She wasn’t wrong on that count. Along with a law degree from the University of Helsinki, Järvelä picked up an International MBA from the University of San Diego. On returning to Finland, she began working as a logistics coordinator for Nokia, the Finnish technology giant. “Logistics is a great way to learn the ABCs of a company. You get to see the bones and learn a lot about the business.”
Shipping to and dealing with China regularly, Järvelä gained notoriety in the firm and was internally headhunted to head up logistics there. Based in Beijing, she was responsible for mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It was tough job, but offered lots of experience and leadership challenges.
After a two-year stint in Asia, Järvelä returned to Finland, where she established and ran various logistics organizations at Nokia for a further ten years. In 2007, Nokia Networks underwent a merger with Siemens and all Nokia employees had to reapply for their positions. Järvelä was asked to head up the trade compliance organization with direct reports all over the globe. She hesitated: “I was already 42 and had a strong feeling I would like to do something else with my life. I was pretty tired, but then this opportunity came and I just thought it would be stupid not to take it.”
She stayed for a further three stressful years before the company, feeling pressure from its not-so-successful merger, began offering voluntary exit packages. She jumped! “I was the first one there in the line … Hand in the air shouting ‘I will, I will!’ I had zero hesitation. I just knew if I didn’t leave then, I never would. I had no plans and no clue what I would do, I just knew I had to switch for my own sake.”
A lot of people criticized her decision. “I was alone with my daughter, Ronja, and many detractors said ‘How can you do it? You’re a single mom, there is so much risk involved.’ But I decided to trust that things will turn out for the best,” she recalls.
She took one year off and put thoughts of her future aside. “I just wanted to do things I enjoy, unravel from the stress, and live simply.” She travelled with Ronja and joined the uniquely Finnish kapua community, which combines climbing and charity work for people who want to challenge themselves. And then, to the surprise of many, mother and daughter moved to Lapland, Finland’s northern-most region, for the winter … an adventure not for the faint-hearted. “While Ronja attended a small Lapp school, I immersed myself in nature, skied, and did snowshoe walking and climbing. When the temperatures were too low for even the bravest soul to venture outside, -30 °C (-22°F), I hunkered down with the local old ladies and learned how to knit and weave rugs. It was a great time for reflection.”
Upon returning to Helsinki, Järvelä was still unsure of the direction she should take. “I was asking the universe, ‘Please tell me what I should do?’” It wasn’t long before she got an answer.
During her stint in Lapland, the recovering corporate executive had been writing a blog about what it was like to be a member of society without a title or job. A blog follower contacted her with a suggestion that she check out a holistic well-being school in NY. As soon as she googled the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and read its mission of improving health and happiness, she knew she had found what she was looking for. “I had always been interested in helping people. At work, I thrived on supporting people in their jobs, pushing them to do better and guiding them through the organizational messes we experienced in the workplace. I signed up immediately.”
IIN proved extremely helpful. The one-year distance learning program on holistic well-being, offered Järvelä guidance on possible career directions and how to turn her passion for health, coaching and wellness into a job. After graduation, she was drawn to a local class on energy healing using ancient Peruvian spiritual and ceremonial traditions.
The shamanic energy medicine class was a revelation as Jarvelä explains, “I knew immediately I had found my home. I suddenly arrived somewhere I had been searching all my life. It was so familiar to me.” With no hesitation she enrolled in a one-year program where she learned how to understand and work with realms and dimensions of time and space other than what we in the West are traditionally taught.
Today Järvelä is a health coach and energy healer. Through her practice, Mixing Nuts, she works with clients who are “stuck” or carry a heavy burden. “When an individual can’t make progress, energy is trapped in the body. I help them release the tension and often work on erasing the unneeded blueprints they carry in their energetic bodies. Also, imagine, for example, a machine that is not functioning properly because some parts are missing. I help find those parts, what we in the ‘business’ refer to as lost soul parts, and bring them back to make the person feel whole again.”
Not only does Järvelä help others recover their energy but she too is energized by her work, “I feel completely fulfilled, I enjoy it so much when I see how the process helps people. It’s transformational.” And after all those years of corporate stress, it looks like the energy healer has come full circle and finally become the “doctor” she always wanted to be.
Interested in shamanism? Read more on Erja’s blog mixingnuts.blogspot.fi and, for our Finnish readers, erjanblogi.blogspot.fi. You can also sign up for a monthly newsletter in English http://mad.ly/signups/60167/join
Erja Järvelä’s tips:
- Listen to yourself. It is so important to “quiet a bit down” so you can hear yourself. I wasn’t able to hear “me” when I was working. I was so busy that I heard neither myself nor anything else. Give time for being and not performing.
- Don’t believe what you think, as the saying goes. We are taught to think and act in certain ways that often restrict us from being our true selves. Society, culture, family, history, norms … you name it. Be brave enough and question. Bringing stuff to your conscious level, is a key to rewriting your life script as you want it to be.
Have you ever visited an energy healer to experience transformation and uncover insights in an effort to find your passion?