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Living in the heart space

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Shauna Ireland is a seeker with a global mission. Her own healing journey has helped her to help others.

Shauna Ireland has always been a trendsetter. Originally from Calgary, she cofounded a vintage western fashion company there called Revive 45. She came to Toronto from Miami where she put on art shows with artist Brendan Murphy, and San Francisco where she dabbled in styling and fashion while moonlighting as a bartender.

She pioneered a focus on health, wellness and higher conscious in the public relations industry in Canada and lives by the tagline Align and Shine. “Now energy work is becoming part of it,” she says. “It’s leading us through these transitional times.”

Gradually Ireland moved away from traditional public relations to what she calls Power Hour work. “This is the How to your Why,” she says. “It guides you to look deep inside and crystallize what it is you are meant to do and how you connect your message with the world. Alignment is the key to unlimited power.”

When the right energy and information are registered into your consciousness and physical being, a shift occurs, she says. “We aspire to be seen and to see ourselves as an integral thread in the fabric of life and in the tapestry of our larger community. When this is miss- ing, we become disconnected from others and from the self. When we are aligned, the universe conspires to support us. I work with individuals to thread the pieces together.”

One New Year’s Ireland wrote an article about new beginnings. She was visiting her friend and client Hali Love in Costa Rica. “I thought, if I have a child I will live here,” she says. Months later, she got pregnant. She thought she would finally settle down and stay in one place, but the birth of her baby boy was a catalyst for a number of shifts in her life. She and her partner agreed to try Costa Rica for a few months. “It’s a good place for me to heal and create.”

Today, the family spends long periods in Costa Rica, at Playa Negra, a well-known surfing beach. Her young son runs around barefoot. “Everything is a sensory exploration,” she says. “I throw on a cotton dress and feel the freedom of a child,” she says. “I love to be on the beach or in the jungle. It is raw and revealing. We are creating our own reality.”

Survive to thrive

A natural optimist, Ireland has gone through hard times. “I did not have a stable upbringing,” she says. “I suffered from depression and made several suicide attempts. One resulted in a long stay in the psychiatric ward. My brain exploded during my teenage years. That is considered awakening in some cultures.”

In university a professor told her she has a brilliant mind. “I can go from A to Z quickly,” she says. “I am grateful that someone ‘saw’ me. She saved my life.”

After getting back on her feet, Ireland started to travel. In Australia she was introduced to yoga, learning to follow her intuition. Even so, she still struggled with creating balance in her life. She was highly intuitive, but did not know how to channel this energy. There was an upside. Her struggles helped her to do a deep dive: Where did she fit in the world? Where did she want to go?

‘Native cultures have rituals that allow them to share stories. This is the essence of my work. I help people to share their stories.’

Ireland’s own healing journey helps her to connect with others. “I help people to take off the masks and tell the story of their authentic self,” she says. “Compassion equals connection. The pain I have experienced has taught me lessons. I understand the meaning of it all. This is not a brand – it’s who you are. Once you connect with this, anything is possible.”

Storytelling is medicine, she says. “Native cultures have rituals that allow them to share stories. This is the essence of my work. I help people to share their stories.”

Ireland works with spiritual leaders including Shayne Bennett, a Maori from New Zealand who moves easily between the corporate world and the traditions of his ancestors. He came to her yoga class in Toronto and they hit it off immediately.

A coach working with large corporations, one day Bennett was awakened by a loud noise. He looked up to see the image of an ancestor before him—a huge man in native dress. Bennett was afraid, until he realized the man was there to show him the wisdom of his ancestors.

“Maori elders come from a spiritual tradition that is in harmony with the natural world,” he says. “When your heart is open to the natural world, it is easier to open it to others.”

Since that night Bennett’s life has taken a new direction with energy work. Using ancient ritual and prayer, he helps a client’s energy open up. “With trust you build a sacred space,” he says. Before meeting with clients in person or by phone or email, he performs Maori rituals that set the space for change.

He refers to the Maori concept of aroha, which translates as love, compassion, living energy. “It is heart based—the energy that surrounds everything,” he says. “This is the natural energy of my people. When we com- bine this with the fast track modern ways of healing, then you can change your life quickly.”

Ireland tells the story of her sister who had a brain bleed when pregnant, with only a slim chance of surviving. At the time Ireland was alone in the jungle. “I reached out to Shayne,” she says. “He created a space for change and crazy things happened. My sister survived and the baby is healthy. It’s a miracle. Shayne is a human being doing magical stuff.”

The secret to a good life is to simplify, says Ireland. “In university I learned that history repeats. Empires rise and fall. Let’s write what we want collectively. The answers are here. We just need to awaken to a different way. Doors are opening. The question is what needs to happen for change and growth. The old ways are dying—love is the answer.”

Her last word: “Laughter is medicine,” she says. “Laughing at yourself, at the situation, helps keep you youthful. Otherwise, what the hell is life about?”

Author: David Holt. David is the associate publisher for Optimyz Magazine and writes on creativity, self-development, strategy and society. He also contributes to the Chronicle-Herald newspaper among other journalistic writings.

More Inspiration: You might also enjoy this inspiring story or Marylin Denis one of Optimyz’s Top 10 Inspirational Women in Canada.


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