Susy Schieffelin, Founder of The Copper Vessel: Healing
Q When did you first get into meditation, sound baths, Reiki and energy healings?
I became interested in Buddhism, yoga and meditation when I was very young, but it was only after moving to California that I discovered Sound Healing and decided to embark fully on the path of a healer. That being said, I have always been called to explore alternative healing modalities. Even as a child I remember my mom taking me to see a variety of different energy healers. To me, the mind-body-spirit connection has always felt obvious and intuitive. My family and friends would come to me for guidance on health and wellness related matters, and I loved sharing my knowledge and suggestions. It all just feels natural to me.
Q After how long of practicing meditation and sound baths did you decide to start your own company?
I have practiced meditation on and off for most of my life, but it was after I found recovery from years of struggles with alcoholism and addiction that I realized that the spiritual path was my solution. I officially began studying Sound Healing and Reiki in 2016, and about a year later decided to leave my corporate job in luxury to pursue healing and teaching as my full-time career.
Q How do you build relationships with your students?
As humans, we want to feel safe. We want to feel heard. We want to feel loved. We want to feel a connection. In life, many of us have experienced traumas that led us to create stories around why we don’t deserve to feel those things. I see each of my students as perfect and whole and complete, no matter what they have been through. Whether at a group event or private session, I create relationships with them by giving them the opportunity to connect. My primary goal is to be of service. I listen to them, hear them and Iove them. If we can learn to believe that truth, then we can reconnect with our true self and experience deep healing and live in happiness and harmony.
Q What are some challenges you have experienced as a coach and healer?
True healing begins with a journey to the self, and that journey takes willingness and work. I serve as a vessel to guide my students along the way. I support them verbally and energetically. I can help them to relax, teach them techniques, work with them, and love them, but ultimately it comes down to whether or not they really want to heal. I do this work without expectations, because otherwise it can be challenging to see someone with so much potential to heal and shine. then stop, holding him/herself back.
Q What is your greatest weakness and greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my ability to look outside the box and view things from different perspectives. I have an extremely strong faith and willingness, so when I truly believe in something, I can always find a way make it happen!
My greatest weakness is that I am human too. I feel pain, I feel fear, I feel a lot of things. When these feelings come up, my ego often wants me to shove them down so that people will see me a certain way… but the truth is that being human and feeling feelings and being vulnerable is what actually connects us. So this “weakness” is actually a strength too.
Q What types of meditation and healing do you have the most experience with?
I love working with sound and use it as my primary healing modality because a Sound Bath Meditation has the ability to both enhance and expedite the results of “normal” meditation. A Sound Bath is a meditative experience that brings you to a deep state of rest, relaxation, and healing in a short period of time, with no effort on your part. There is no water involved in a Sound Bath, and the name refers to the fact that you are "bathed" in healing vibrations of sound. Many people feel that they simply don't have time to meditate and, but a Sound Bath is the perfect foot in the door to the world of meditation, as even first-time attendees almost always experience profound feelings of rest, healing, and connectedness.
The harmonic sounds of the bowls that I play can be both heard and felt as they resonate with the body on a cellular level and these vibrations virtually recalibrate your personal vibration and bring your entire being (body, mind, and spirit) into harmonious alignment. The sound vibrations also entrain with your brainwaves, bringing you from busy-minded Beta into relaxed Alpha then finally into the Theta brainwave state, which allows for deep meditation/rest, creativity & connectedness, stress relief & healing. This shift, which is the goal of a long-term meditation practice, can happen quickly and effortlessly during a Sound Bath. In addition to relief from chronic pain and migraines, benefits of sound healing include improved sleep, reduction of stress and anxiety, as well as a renewed sense of well-being, calm, and happiness.
Q Tell me about the Copper Vessel.
Many years ago, I went to an Ayurvedic Healer in search of a remedy for my auto-immune related condition. She told me to purchase a copper vessel and drink water from it daily. For the next 15 years, this copper vessel has been one of the only possessions that I have always kept with me. When I was trying to think of a name for my business, I woke up in the night and was scribbling names down on a piece of paper. Thirsty, I turned to my bedside table to take a drink of water from my copper vessel.. suddenly it struck me!
My own spiritual awakening and healing journey was heavily influenced by the book The Alchemist. In the ancient art of alchemy, copper is one of the seven spiritual metals. copper symbolizes Venus, the divine feminine, health, youthfulness, the transfer of energy, balance, and is universally known as a healing metal that teaches about living a fulfilling life. lt is a simple vessel, not fancy like gold, not shiny like platinum. It offers healing energy that becomes what you need of it. I chose to call myself the Copper Vessel because this work is not about me or even about what I can do for you. Each students experience with The Copper Vessel is always unique. My students have access to different healing tools and energies that can help create balance between their mind, body, and spirit as they travel within and connect with their true self.
Q What has helped you improve since you started teaching?
My favorite definition of the word humility is “remaining teachable.” Honest feedback and continuing education is invaluable to me. I am a seeker. Part of that means always looking to go deeper, to learn more, and to do better. I have to walk the walk, I can’t just talk the talk. Learning something new every day allows me to stay humble and always keep improving.
Q How has meditation changed your life?
More like how has it not! My life has been completely transformed by meditation. I used to be so anxious and have regular panic attacks. I was prescribed multiple medications but felt little relief. Today, people come up to me and ask me how I am so calm. The answer is meditation! I feel free and I feel clear headed. I have even been able to get off all of the medications I used to take... today I don’t even take Advil. The other biggest thing that I notice is my ability to respond rather than to react. Before I had a solid meditation practice, I felt like things happened to me. Everything felt like an emergency or a crisis. My life was filled with so much drama. Through meditation, I have learned to believe that I am not my thoughts. I am not my feelings. Things are not happening to me, but rather for me. I no longer react when things go wrong (or even when they go right!) I am able to pause and appreciate and reflect and be. Meditation has allowed me to feel peace.
Q How do you stay up to date with your practice?
By making it part of my daily life! In addition to my own personal practice, I am always learning and reading and researching and exploring. I attend workshops and conferences and take classes (especially Sound Baths!) every chance that I get. I am currently enrolled in a yoga teacher training program and am about to embark in more Reiki training (I am attuned in Usui Reiki and will be receiving Holy Fire Reiki training in 2018). The more I do this work for myself, the better I can serve my students.
Q How do you respond with students with challenging injuries and personal problems?
With patience and love. I believe that everyone has the potential to heal, if they want to. Sometimes the best thing that I can do is help to teach them that they are worthy of healing.
Q Do you prefer private teachings, small groups or large groups?
All of the above! Each experience is different. I love working 1:1 with clients because we get to connect on such a deep level and make profound progress together. The transformations I see in people are astounding. But groups are also so special! It is incredible to see how every group that comes together is always the perfect group for that particular moment. In those instances, I am especially just the facilitator. I am there to bring everyone together but it is the collective energy that serves as the medicine and that is where the healing really comes from.
Q What has been the most rewarding part of your practice so far?
When people come to me and are completely new to Sound Baths or meditation - sometimes they tell me that they “can’t” meditate. Some people want to change their lives but truly feel hopeless. Some say that they can’t even sit still. To experience that and to then speak to them after a session … to hear the relief and hope and relaxation in their voice... to see tears in their eyes… to witness them finding a belief that change is possible. That is the most rewarding part! Everyone has the potential to change. Everyone has the potential to live a happy healthy life!
Q Who is your greatest influence?
My mom! My mom is the most positive, fun, and enthusiastic person that I know. She loves so deeply and sees the light in everyone. She saw the light in me when I was in my darkest times, struggling with addiction. I thought that my light had gone out but she never lost faith in me. My mom taught me so much about how to show up in this world and continues to support and love me every step of the way.
Q What would be the best advice you would give someone who is interested in meditation and getting into the practice?
It is called a “practice” for a reason! Just give it a try and do not judge your experience. There is no right or wrong . Be patient with yourself and start small. Set a timer on your phone for 1 minute and just focus on your breath. When the bell goes off, smile to yourself and know that you did it! At the end of the day, it is all about simplicity. All that you that are trying to do is clear away the clutter, get quiet, and connect with your Self. There is so much science behind the benefits of meditation and these healing modalities - the potential to transform your life is real. My second piece of advice is that you don’t have to do it alone. No matter what you are going through, there is someone who can relate and help you along the way. You can contact me or find another teacher or coach who can answer your questions and guide you along the way. We are all on this journey together!