An Unexpected Death
I fucked up.
Those three words—so full of shame, so ripe with sadness, and so unbearably true, that I refused to let them surface to my conscious mind, never mind speak them aloud, from the moment that seed of reality planted itself over four years ago.
When you have grown a business, a brand, a name, quite literally based on knowing things, predicting things, modeling the ability to manifest and live an aligned and cognizant life, and teaching others to do the same, there is an overarching expectation of you, your decisions, and your abilities that leaves little room for “error,” for simply being a human.
I can still feel my words held in my throat, as if my soul was trying to hold them back from escaping passed my lips and making it true.
“I’ve decided to close the physical location of Journeys and move everything to virtual. I’ll be focusing on research and clinical work at my new ‘big kid job,’ and will be taking clients for readings, coaching, and classes in the evenings,” I announced that night on a live stream from my socials; all while trying my best to hold back my waterfall of tears.
I refused to allow myself to feel the true devastation that came with that decision. I refused to acknowledge the undertones of shame I felt—for feeling like a “sell out” who gave up on her business and her clients for a “safe” paycheck, especially after preaching to hundreds on the art of manifesting plenty of money; for slamming the door in the face of my dreams, of my self, because it felt my business, and therefore I, wasn’t seen or recognized as a “legitimate” service capable of helping people to heal. I focused only on escaping my fear.
Accepting a position at a fancy Ivy league university seemed to be the golden ticket for establishing credibility and the steady stream of income and benefits I needed. The Universe led me straight through those doorways and said, “Here you go! Your wish is my command!” I asked, It delivered, and when it delivers that easily, the last thing I want to do is question it. “If the Universe is giving me this, this must be what I’m meant to do!”
I had forgotten a key component of manifesting, which is that the Universe gives you what you order—no matter what you’re ordering. No matter if it aligns with your path, your purpose, your greatest and highest good or not (unless of course, you specify you want that intervention).
So along for this ride I went—full of excitement for my wounded inner self that needed to feel validated by onlookers, full of relief that I didn’t have to worry about making sure I always had enough clients in order to pay the bills that was rooted in old money fears passed down generationally that I had to heal, and riddled with Imposter Syndrome and intrusive thoughts that I was never smart enough or good enough to sit in meetings with people who were literally named some of the most brilliant minds in medicine. All of these feelings were loud enough to dull the underlying grief I felt for my highest self who I slowly, but surely, stepped further and further away from; the deep knowing I kept buried that I wasn’t quite so certain about the decision I had made.
The anxiety began before the job officially started. The mild depression within the first month. The more I dove head first into this new role, the more disconnected I felt from my soul, from my Spirit Guides, from the Universe.
I was surrounded by scientists who spend their time searching for absolutes, and while all of my direct co-workers were very supportive of my spiritual work and seemingly intrigued by it, the overall tone of psychiatry is that of pathologizing every experience that at one time, long ago, a group of old, white men decided weren’t “normal.” I was in the belly of the beast; a woman with visions and voices, senses that help her make decisions, a belief in the unseen, who then had to turn to kids who have similar experiences to her, and label them because it was “what you had to do.” I could never have anticipated that this would be a weight I would carry. The dissonance was debilitating—to believe one thing about myself, the world, my community, but to be told by everyone around me indirectly that everything I was and experienced was a problem. It made me feel broken. And I began to feel as though I wasn’t allowed to believe in spiritual experiences or else it would mean I was psychotic.
The one thing that saved me years ago and helped me overcome such intense mental health symptoms became something I feared.
I couldn’t understand why my Guides had brought me here, to this place where I thought I was coming to change the mind of psychiatry—and psychiatry actually started to change my mind, change me. Was I even allowed to ask my Guides anymore? Or did that make me “crazy?”
I stopped doing readings. I stopped teaching classes. I stopped connecting. And all that work I had done to heal felt as though it came unraveled in a blink.
My soul was like a caged bird, rattling and smashing against the walls confining it, begging to be let out and seen again. I kept it trapped, while frantically responding to its energy and searching wildly for “the thing” to quiet it down.
Perhaps we focus on life coaching?
Perhaps we start a YouTube show?
Perhaps we focus just on therapy?
Perhaps … perhaps … perhaps …
Those who’ve been following me since the start have seen my multiple attempts at rebranding myself—searching for the ways in which my soul could feel alive again, but this time with new limitations and rules. We can’t get too spiritual, we won’t be credible. We can’t boost readings, then your therapy won’t be seen as legitimate. We can’t mix clinical and spiritual work because “too spiritual” can be “pathological.” We can’t be too clinical either, because then that will deter spiritual seekers. We can’t be ourselves because ourselves isn’t good or smart enough. All these rules. All these limitations.
How can we put limitations and rules on our soul, on the self, and expect that we will walk in the freedom and empowerment of our truth?
I was in the throws of a deep spiritual death or “dark night of the Soul” and experiencing an awakening I was not prepared for, nor would I have realized I needed had I not gone through it. An awakening to come back to self, only with more clarity, awareness, and healing that has taken root. Because when I had Journeys, when I was the most aligned I had ever been, I still felt that self-doubt and lack of confidence. I still was not fully trusting of myself or of my capabilities to take care of myself. Fear still burrowed deeply and discreetly within me and rose to govern so much of my decision making.
It was in this spiritual death/rebirth time of my life that my deep work began. Deep work breaking down a lifetime of beliefs that stemmed from trauma I hadn’t acknowledged, that “positive thinking” and manifestation can’t simply undo. Beliefs that kept me stuck in a space of feeling inadequate and consistently having to prove myself. Beliefs that moved me from being the owner of a spiritual healing center and feeling like I had to prove myself as a “gifted healer,” as a successful business owner to my dad, as a legitimate healer to the public to doing clinical research, therapy, and management in an Ivy league setting and feeling that I had to prove I wasn’t crazy, prove I was smart enough, prove as I was worthy of being at table.
All of this time “proving,” and getting nowhere. Because that belief of being enough won’t ever come from the external world we seek to find it in.
I decided to dig up those roots and burn them to the ground.
I am done feeling as though my over-a-decade of helping others to heal in a variety of ways—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, clinically—is not legitimate because only a portion of that has “been clinical.” I am done being gaslit by boards of people who think they know everything and make us think that our unusual experiences make us diagnosable. I am done conforming to the norms others have set that say that there is only one way to heal. I am done letting others opinions decide our worth. I am done punishing myself for letting myself down and letting my clients down when I left Journeys because I know now that I wouldn’t have grown in such exponential ways without doing so.
I am done hiding behind the name, Journeys, and other pseudonyms I created to lose myself behind. I am done not feeling brave enough to simply just be me:
Brittany Quagan. Healer. Therapist. Intuitive. Life Coach. Human.
I write this post with such gratitude in my heart for this long and unexpected journey I have been on. I can say with confidence that I have no idea where I will be in ten years from now. Just as I had no idea I’d one day leave the world of insurance to open up my own little psychic shop of healing. Just as I had no idea I’d end up getting my Masters in clinical counseling and become a licensed therapist who also happens to be psychic. Just as I had no idea I’d end up leading a really dope international research study that learns from psychic/mediums and healers and uses our skillsets to help those in distress have healthier skills to navigate their experiences. Just as I had no idea I’d close Journeys to continue focusing on that study. Just as I had no idea I would grow to yearn spending my time doing the deep healing work with my clients I had once done at Journeys and that I’d end up leaving research to return to the work that truly sets my soul on fire.
I said goodbye to the Ivy league life a few months ago and have since been focusing on private practice—a private practice that is Brittany Quagan. No limitations. No belief systems holding me back. No gaslighting from the outside. A space where I help others to heal by incorporating all of my clinical knowledge and all of my spiritual knowledge so that all levels of the self are brought into the work. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. And I am so fucking happy to be here. To feel whole again. To just be me without that horrendous feeling that I need to hide.
It took me a long time to write this post—to even announce my return to full time because I had to allow myself to fully acknowledge this shame I felt for leaving. For feeling as though I was a hack for chasing a paycheck and wanting legitimacy. But the truth is, I needed that time and space, I needed that relief. I needed to pivot my business plans to get a solid financial foundation, but also, I wanted more knowledge to help others psychologically too. Taking that break allowed me to readjust my sails and move toward destination that was far clearer and vaster in the best ways. I had to heal my shame around that and remember that I am just a human, who does not have all the answers, and that it is okay to pivot our plans. Pivoting does not make us a failure or a loser. It doesn’t make our original plans invalid. It doesn’t mean our original plans will never come to fruition or that we have to forgo them completely. It’s simply a detour.
Todays blog wasn’t just for you, but for me. To announce my return in the only way I know how. To speak my truth and show up as authentically as I have always promised you I would since the beginning. My shared truths have always been my truths, but sometimes I don’t even fully know my truth to even be able to share fully. My shame about returning to this work full time came as a shock. My lack of confidence and self-doubt being so deeply rooted did too. I thought with all the work I had done I had wiped those insecurities out, but they still dwelled within. So here I am sharing with you—sharing what this journey has been like for me, what I’ve experienced, and screaming out to the world, “I’M ONLY FUCKING HUMAN!!!”
As are you.
Any rules or expectations you are holding yourself too, any punishing yourself for where you are at or choices you have had to make, this is your invitation to stop. The punishment will never end. The rules will keep stacking up. And neither are going to bring you closer to where you want to be; Closer to the self and in full alignment with who you are and where you are meant to go.
Things I did to heal during my death/rebirth:
- I worked with other healers, specifically my girl Tawanna who I have been doing EMDR intensives with. She is an absolutely magical being and healer and I am so thankful my Guides brought me to her. I’ve had some profound moments since doing this work. You are not in this alone, nor is healing meant to be something you do solely on your own. We all need guidance.
- EMDR, which I am now trained in, has to be the coolest, most magical, jaw-dropping form of therapy I have done with folks. It allows so much space for all the spiritual work too, which I LOVE. It’s non-pathologizing. It digs up and out all the deeply rooted belief systems and/or traumas we hold onto so that our brain, bodies, and energy can TRULY heal. I will be sharing so much more about EMDR with you as this new year begins, but of course reach out to me if you have questions or want to talk about it!
Post blog “footnotes:” As I was writing, I received a delightful reminder from my Guides (ah yes, a relationship I’ve been reforming and re-establishing in such beautiful, new ways) that my leaving Journeys was part of my manifesting more money and that when we ask, it doesn’t always come in the form we expect, it just comes :)