I Tried Working With a Life Stylist—Here’s What Happened
For the last 12 years, I’ve been on what we in the wellness world call a “health journey.” It’s been filled with misdiagnoses, doctor visits, specialist appointments, medications, supplements, dietary plans, chronic pain and fatigue, homeopathy, natural medicine techniques—and lots of frustration, and feelings of hopelessness.
Because I’ve tried practically everything, from Western medicine to energy work, I consider myself open to almost anything. So, when I heard about Vanessa Feils, Life Stylist, and felt a nudge to connect with her, I listened to my intuition and reached out.
Keep reading to see what happened when I worked with Life Stylist Vanessa.
My Problem: Family Trauma on Top of Autoimmune Disease + Chronic Pain
I have two diagnosed autoimmune diseases, celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. On top of that, I have a back injury that causes chronic pain, and often prevents me from doing things I love, like yoga or walking my dog (sometimes, it even curtails my ability to sit or stand for very long). To treat the autoimmune conditions, I’m on a paleo meal plan, in addition to daily supplements and thyroid medication, and I visit my doctor about once a month for a check in. To treat my back injury, I’ve done multiple rounds of physical therapy, acupuncture and massage, and I see a bodyworker for cranial sacral therapy once a week.
It’s a lot to manage. And every three or four months, I have a health dip of some kind that leaves me confined to the couch or my bed for a few days, waiting out the symptoms. So, when a medium/intuitive coach told me in June 2018 that the only way to fully alleviate my pain and help my body heal was to deal with some of my childhood family trauma, I was a) a little shocked and b) ready to try anything.
The Solution: Life Styling with Vanessa Feils
That’s when I reached out to Vanessa, an acquaintance from Minneapolis. We’d crossed paths many times before, but we’d never worked together in any capacity, and now seemed like the time to explore our connection. Vanessa is a self-declared Life Stylist, which, in her words, means she helps her clients understand that they already have everything they need inside of them. “When we approach your life from this new lens,” she says on her website, “any ideas that you ‘need to be fixed’ immediately dissolve.”
If that feels non-specific, it’s because that’s how Vanessa intends it. Each client she works with in her one-on-one sessions is unique, so she doesn’t have a templated format she moves through. And because her clients range from teens struggling with anxiety to entrepreneurs looking to manifest greater business success, Vanessa uses different techniques to get at each person’s goal.
She calls it Modern Therapy, which she describes as “recognizing the shift in consciousness that has happened on our planet, that has moved us beyond our past traumas, allowing us to claim success overnight through reprogramming our minds.” This reprogramming, she says, guides us inward to face and clear any disbelief through learning how to love ourselves. The reprogramming sticks when we commit to a daily spiritual practice, like meditation and prayer.
As an intuitive herself, Vanessa uses guided meditation and conversation to decide on the best path forward for each client. She calls her philosophy “a little bit existential, spiritual and transcendental,” and she says she “bridges the gap between the physical world and spirit world to guide you back to your True Self.” (For more about her work, and what she does regularly, I highly suggest listening to her interview on the Healers podcast.)
The Treatment: Meditation + Confronting My Past
During our initial conversation, Vanessa told me that she doesn’t like to nail down the number of sessions required to “complete” our work together. Instead, we planned on starting with a few sessions, and seeing where that led us.
She sat in my living room for our first session, where I poured my heart out to her about my illnesses, my pain and my upbringing (she had a primer—I’d filled out her new client worksheet, which functions like an intake form at a doctor’s office, and gave her background on what I was hoping to achieve with our work). We really dove into the story of my family and she connected me to my lineage. She said she could see a golden line drawn between me and my parents, and that in order to encourage my body to heal, I’d need to release responsibility for them and their healing, and focus on my own.
That alone floored me, and her laser-focus on how my childhood trauma of an emotionally absent father and a codependent mother has impacted my own health journey resonated immediately. She led me through a guided meditation in which we broke chains connecting me to past events that weren’t serving me, and encouraged me to pull energy and strength from Source, or the Universe, to forgive my little girl self for taking on the projection from my parents.
Heavy stuff for a first life styling session, right?
Vanessa left me with a few homework assignments, including a video to watch and a worksheet to complete, and a daily guided meditation to add to my routine. Being with her made me feel seen, heard and listened to, and I was eager to follow through on her assignments and continue our partnership.
We met a total of five times over the course of about four months, and each session was slightly different than the last, with the common thread of ending with a targeted guided meditation. Every time, I walked away with relevant homework, feeling lighter and more connected to myself.
The Result: Deeper Knowing of Myself, and Progress on My Ailments
Over the course of our time together, Vanessa challenged me to set goals around both my personal and professional life, encouraged me to confront members of my family with complete honesty and showed me how to stand more fully in my own power. I started to understand the ways in which I’d bought into long-standing, generational narratives about who I was, and how I was supposed to act. I began to listen more closely to myself, my intuition and my gut, and take action based on what I truly wanted and needed, instead of what I felt like I was supposed to do.
While I can’t say working with her was the only factor, my back pain has receded and is manageable in a way that it hasn’t been in four years. My autoimmune conditions are still active and at times overwhelming, but my time with Vanessa helped me to stop blaming myself for flare-ups, and to learn to take the time I need to recover when new symptoms arise.
But most importantly, Vanessa taught me that a daily practice, whether that’s meditation or a different ritual, is the key to emotional homeostasis. Before my life styling, I was up and down and all over the place emotionally, stressed and overwhelmed. Now, I certainly have days that are harder than others, but I have new ways to calm and soothe myself because I went through Vanessa’s training. I rely on mindfulness and meditation practices in ways I never did before, and I can more easily move through stressful situations because I’m in touch with myself, and what I need.
The Takeaway: Mindfulness is the Way, and Life Styling Actually Worked
It’s been four months since Vanessa and I finalized our work together, and I still feel lighter and more able to take on my ailments. I use many of the practices she taught me and I go back to the guided meditations she recorded for me when I feel disconnected or discombobulated. Along with traditional psychotherapy, I’ve learned how to set better boundaries with members of my family who drain my energy and make my symptoms worse.
It’s not all “fixed” and I still find myself overwhelmed and discouraged occasionally. But the point of working with a Life Stylist isn’t for life to end up perfect (because that’s unachievable). The purpose is to embrace who you are and learn to love yourself in ways you didn’t know were possible. It’s to help you disconnect from patterns that aren’t serving you, and reconnect to what you want. It’s to shift your current reality into a greater one that you get to choose. It’s to show you your own power.
And that’s what my work with Vanessa did. It shifted my perspective, helped me love myself more and gave me the strength and permission to discard old narratives so I can move into a new, fuller existence.
Interested in trying a live, guided meditation—V style? You can sign up for her free one-week trial Meditation Membership Program, a first-of-its-kind monthly subscription that helps people stay committed to their spiritual practices through LIVE weekly guided meditations. V also offers a 20-minute discovery call that can be booked online. If you’re interested in diving deeper, her flagship eight-week course ACTV8 aligns people to their soul purpose, helping them to hone their gifts and get their talents launched into the world.
Interested in how other treatments can shift your perspective? Read how one writer stopped her anxiety cold—literally—with icy showers.
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