Bios

Serena PicSerena Oakley – Founder of Her Sacred Body

I consider myself a sensitive soul. Like many women today, I have experienced body-shame, depression, anxiety, isolation, dis-empowerment, and a need to push myself to fit into a patriarchal model of accomplishment. I have also struggled with painful periods and chronic pelvic pain from endometriosis, and postpartum depression.

Living with chronic illness…

I have made it my spiritual path to heal myself. I have Endometriosis, which is a chronic disease that can be managed in various ways but is incurable. It creates symptoms such as painful sex, extremely painful and heavy periods, daily debilitating pain, infertility and more. Living with this disease means I have learned alot about my body and can appreciate the help of both holistic and conventional medicine that has helped to give me quality of life.

On the more conventional medicine side of things, I have benefited greatly from surgery and hormonal medication. On the natural medicine side I have benefited from pelvic floor physiotherapy, meditation, yoga, nutritional changes, homeopathy, Network Spinal Analysis, massage, reiki, shamanic healing, dance, expressing my creativity, and cultivating community, sacred space, working with the Goddess in many forms. Through learning to listen to my body’s needs, accepting the processes of death and rebirth happening in my life, nurturing my creativity, accepting the wholeness of who I am- I am wiser, stronger, happier and healthier. It has not been a easy journey, but my Inner Wisdom led me to the lessons I needed to learn, how to take care of myself and how to live in a way that supports my health and happiness.  I still have difficult days.  But I am now quite comfortable in my own skin, take pleasure in my body, my sensuality and my creativity. I employ regular acts of self-care, self-love, natural medicine and medication on my path of embodied feminine wisdom. Thanks to my experiences and skills I have developed, I now am able to help others on their journey of healing and embodying their feminine power. I encourage clients to listen to their inner knowing of what’s best for themselves. I believe empowerment comes from having choice and ownership of our own bodies, and from having our voice be heard and validated.

Embracing menstruation…

Since I was a young girl,  I have felt there is both something very special but also very shameful about being a girl or woman.  I could not put my finger on the unease I was feeling, because the messages I received were registering at a subconscious level- through conditioning, media, collective beliefs and through osmosis from other women in my life. However ever since my mom first explained to me when I was 8 yrs old what it meant to ‘have your period’, I got a sense that there was something magical, and sacred about this. She explained it in a very straightforward, medical way, however I detected something deeper in her telling. I knew this bodily process was an initiation of sorts. I looked forward to it but did not understand why. I felt like it should be celebrated, or at least acknowledged as a rite of passage somehow. I realised that it was actually a taboo subject and not celebrated in our culture. Something shameful meant to be hidden and sanitized. The ‘Red Tent’ movement is alive and growing to help young people internalise new, more accepting messages around our natural processes. I am proud to be a part of that, and hope to grow this aspect of my work over time, as I raise my daughter to appreciate and celebrate her body as it changes. I also embrace inclusivity and diversity- that to be ‘girl’ or ‘woman’ or anywhere on the gender spectrum or agender is something one may define for themselves, may be fluid and may reflect experiences different from my own- all sacred in their own way.

Embracing Sensuality…

DSC_0129As I went through puberty and young womanhood, it became clearer to me that becoming a bleeding, sexual, embodied woman was somehow a threat to the status quo, and potentially dangerous.  I felt like an object. Everywhere I looked there was messages telling me to look, act or be different than what I am. If I expressed my natural sexuality I was called a ‘whore’. If I restrained my sensual energy and dressed more discreetly I was deemed ‘uptight’. My body seemed to be something that could be analysed, criticised, forced to fit into a box, and never truly belonged to me. It wasn’t until I took up regular yoga classes that I began to align with my natural rhythms, love my body as it was, and learn how to respond to my body’s needs and limits. As I practiced more yoga, I began to feel a need to express the creative and sensual energy that began to release and bubble up inside of me. I began to dance. Ecstatic dance and bellydance felt the most nourishing to me. Finally, I felt like I could embody that freedom and authentic sensuality that was natural to me without shame. I delved into learning about the Goddesses of every culture, Goddess-centered and Earth-based spiritual teachings and rituals. The more I connected with different aspects of the Goddess, Her manifestation through the Earth and learned how the moon’s cycles affected me, the more empowered I felt.

Motherhood…

By the time I became a mother, I was receptive to the deeper changes taking place while my body and life shifted. Somehow the experience of pregnancy and motherhood really brought home the intensity of what being a woman means in this culture. Imbalances and oppression I was not even aware of became glaringly obvious. Navigating the changes to my identity, my relationship, my body and my career really took their toll on my mental and physical health. My endometriosis worsened during this time, and I had post-partum depression which made it hard for me to keep up with all my responsibilities.  Luckily, I had some great supportive people in my life and developed tools to navigate these changes and I have come out the other side. Parenthood is an incredible honor, a labor of love, but also an extremely under-valued job in our culture. No one really can be prepared for the changes it will create in you, in your life, but it will change you forever. Caregivers need to be taken care of too. I created Her Sacred Body in hopes that I can offer that support mothers,parents and caregivers who need to help remembering to take care of themselves. I am proud to have a happy thriving daughter and know that my taking care of myself is an example to her of how to live in balance.

Healing…

My own mother passed down the ‘healing gene’ to me, which is why I have known since I was young that I was here to help people.

I feel the body is our gateway to the soul- a wise messenger of our deepest needs, longings, and inner wisdom.The body knows how to heal itself and is always urging us toward balance. We just need to learn how to listen! There is a direct link between our physical health and our emotional, mental and spiritual health. I enjoy working from both ends to help clients achieve inner harmony.  I can help you on your journey of healing and growth with a variety of modalities.

 I am a certified Yoga Instructor, Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Bellydance Instructor, Dance Our Way Home Facilitator, and Shamanic Healing practitioner.  I have studied the Tarot since very young and enjoy doing readings, facilatating Goddess rituals & spiritual ceremonies. I enjoy learning new things, making everyday life magical, remembering the old ways, communing with nature, dreams and mystical arts, taking care of my body and soul, teaching, healing and community spirit. I look forward to walking with you on your journey of healing!   Many thanks to the healers and teachers who have trained me and influenced my work in Toronto:  Roula Said, Daniel Leonard, Erica Ross, Caroline Owens and Sarah Schlote, Nan Keyser, Monica Bodirsky, Ursula Fugger, Dr.Lynne McRoberts, Audra Simmons, Judy Reynolds, Ted Grand & Jess Robertson, Martha Randall & Roberta Mohler, Sandy Powell, Mona Oakley.  

Mona Oakley – Holistic Health Practitioner

IMG_4779As a woman, mother and grandmother, I have traveled through the milestones of the life experiences in common with most women, as well as some self-initiated ventures into the unknown and the uncommon along the way.

I have known the gifts and challenges of raising two daughters; career changes; divorce; single parenting; the stages of an intensively difficult menopause, and all while pursuing my own on-going spiritual development journey towards self-realization.
The struggles of those years of chronically long working hours, stress, anxiety, and fatigue  provided an acquired understanding of the soul/mind/body connection. I have learned to perceive and appreciate the unique opportunities for personal growth presented at each stage, though often only after passing through them. The enrichment gained continues to be the driving force which inspires me to assist others through these life transitions which can be stressful.
I can help by easing away tension and discomfort in the body and mind, through deeply relaxing treatments in a peaceful environment. Through experiencing my intuitive Healing Therapy Blend, massages, reflexology, guided meditation and discussion,you can feel restored energy, flexibility and strength of the body, calmer and more peaceful in spirit and  more clarity of mind, leaving you inspired to go on living and loving life in all it’s stages.

I believe that illness is a manifestation of imbalance – A disharmony between body, mind, and/or Spirit. In order to create that harmony, we need to slow down. Life today is very fast paced. The demands on our bodies- physically, emotionally, and mentally, are so intense and overwhelmingly stressful. Without creating a regular pause to relax deeply, we begin to feel disconnected from our Source, and the strain manifests in some or all parts of our being as dis-ease. Treatments that relax and calm us, help to quiet the mind and make space for the energy of our own Love Essence to flow through us and to the world.

It was my mother (Serena’s grandmother) who inspired my pursuit of a career in the healing arts. Her comforting and soothing touch had a profoundly calming effect as she cared for me through typical childhood illnesses. My mother’s loving and confident presence helped me to feel utterly safe and assured that I would feel well again, and I did! I wanted to help people to feel this way, which led me to pursue a career in nursing for over thirty years.

 In 1996, I was guided to energy medicine, through training in the modality of Therapeutic Touch (Which is now offered in the nursing curriculum). As I utilized these techniques which proved so effective in patient care, I realized something. Here at last, I found the evidence to support what I had intuitively known to be true: that the energy of loving intention, powerfully accelerates the healing process.

 A few years later, I received a treatment in foot reflexology, and was so amazed at the deeply relaxing and restorative effect, that I took that course and became a certified Reflexologist. Shortly after that, I was employed at a health and wellness spa, which required CranioSacral Therapy training. This treatment balances all of the systems, improves alignment, clarity, and results in a calm state and a lightness of being. To further round out my skills, I was fortunate to receive training in Swedish style deep relaxation massage from an RMT on staff. Giving this form of hands on movement of the muscle tissues has always been my favorite way to express the depths of loving-compassion-in-action, and, to witness the resulting melting away of stress and tension held in the body.

 Each of these healing modalities is unique in its process and effect. I have found over the years that they can be perfectly combined and customized to individual requirements. So, I developed a two-hour intuitive combination treatment of the above modalities called ‘The Healing Therapy Blend’. In this treatment I may also share intuitive insights (as guided) from the energy of your Essence. This has proven to be a highly effective compilation of my practical and intuitive skills and experience.

For bookings with Mona in Peterborough, ON, email: monaoakley2@gmail.com

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