Reiki Healing Works: My Story
Hi, I’m Olivia. Here’s the story of how I got where I am today.
The short version (in the form of an official bio):
Olivia LaBarre is a Reiki practitioner, content expert, and founder of Reiki Healing Works. She left the corporate life and a 15-year career in digital publishing and marketing to fulfill her lifelong dream of helping people. Now, through her Reiki practice, she’s grateful to help people gently clear and release what’s been getting in the way of loving themselves. And through her in-person writing workshops and digital Wellness Business Writing Academy, she’s honored to help other wellness professionals write copy that feels authentic and builds their business.
When she’s not in healing sessions or creating new tools to help fellow practitioners, you can find Olivia hanging out in Brooklyn with her two dogs, Lucy and Milo, and singing in The Brooklynite Choir and karaoke nights around the city. Visit Reiki Healing Works to learn more about Olivia and how you can work with her.
The longer (and hopefully more entertaining) version:
I knew that I was meant to help people ever since I was a little kid. When I was 9 years old, that looked like this:
Later on, helping people looked more like becoming a nurse or doctor — until I got sick while dissecting the uterus of a pregnant cow in biology class and realized I did NOT want to go through medical school.
Then, becoming a psychologist seemed like it could be a good fit, but there were some things about it that didn’t sit well with me, like diagnosis and dealing with insurance companies.
I went to college confused and without declaring a major. I loved reading and writing, so I settled on being an English writing and literature major. That led to becoming a proofreader and copyeditor, which ultimately led to a 15-year career in digital publishing and marketing as a writer, editor, and content strategist.
I was “successful” by society’s standards. I moved up in status and title with each position I took, and I eventually shifted into making six figures doing marketing and content strategy for Fortune 500 companies. But that didn’t matter. I wasn’t happy with my career.
I was tired of working to make money for big corporations whose values didn’t align with mine. I felt like my soul was hurting. I was volunteering here and there, but I just wanted to make a living by helping people and making a positive difference in the world. I just still had no idea what that would be.
Then, I did something that truly changed my life.
My First Epiphany
I decided to try Reiki almost as an act of desperation. Therapy, meditation, exercise—all of the tools I had used to try and manage anxiety and depression—just weren’t doing the job anymore. I needed something else to get through life—something to lift the fog I felt surrounding me. And oh, did that fog lift.
Reiki not only helped me find inner peace and balance more often, but it opened my eyes to possibilities and started me on the path to building my own business. It helped me get out of my own way.
After my first session, I knew I wanted to become a Reiki practitioner. I took Usui Reiki Ryoho I and II training with Kristin Reed at Healing Reiki Brooklyn. After practicing on myself, family, and friends, I started my own professional Reiki practice. I also completed advanced, master-level training at MINKA Brooklyn with Manu del Prete and Aki Hirata Baker. (Note: I still practice self Reiki every day.)
I joined wonderful healing communities and met other healing practitioners, and we shared our successes and struggles. Then, I noticed something: many practitioners were struggling with communication and content in one way or another. Even though it’s our responsibility as practitioners to communicate what we’re offering, it’s not something we usually learn during our training in different modalities. Because of this, many of my colleagues seemed to be lacking the confidence, clarity, or tools they needed to write copy that felt authentic to them and helped them grow their businesses.
This is where you might be thinking, “And then you realized that you could help them because of your deep experience in digital publishing and marketing, right?”
Even though it was staring me in the face, I must not have been ready for that realization just yet. It actually took almost going back to the corporate life, and what I think was a divine message, for me to see the rest of my path.
My Second Epiphany
As a new practitioner in a totally new world of healing and holistic practices, I was still working on the confidence part of it all. I was going back and forth between freaking out about heading into new, unknown territory and being filled with joy for the opportunity to do it.
I was also figuring out how to run a business of my own and reach more clients. Part of that journey was discovering the differences in the world of healing compared to the other industries I worked in—and the ways that my content and communication would need to differ.
In the midst of all of that, I was given the opportunity to interview for another corporate Content Director job. I went through the interviews conflicted, knowing that the job would mean financial comfort, but that it could also mean sacrificing my values and the momentum of building my own business.
Turns out I didn’t get the job. But instead of feeling disappointed, I felt like a weight was lifted off of me. I knew that it was no longer my path. But because I was still facing a big unknown, my old friend worry started to settle in. I did Reiki, meditated, and let that worry go. And then, it came to me like a giant news ticker scrolling through my mind:
You can help other healing practitioners with writing for their businesses. You’re super qualified for that. DUH! Now get out there and do it.
I wrote “HOLY SH*T” in my journal that day. Then, I got to work, and the opportunities just started coming to me: I was asked to teach writing workshops and do live videos on writing for wellness business owners, which led me to start developing the Wellness Business Writing Academy. And here we are.
Now, I not only help people for a living as a Reiki practitioner, but I also help other practitioners help more people. That’s a lot of helping! The 9-year-old me is rejoicing.
I’m so grateful for these gifts, and I’m so happy to share them with you.
Are you still reading? Thank you! Here are some other juicy little facts about me:
Fun Bonus Facts About Me
I used to be a competitive figure skater. (If you scroll through my Instagram page you’ll see a picture of a much younger me with much longer hair in a skating outfit.)
My nicknames include Livers, O-Dawg, Liv, and Livy.
I have about 26 houseplants (and counting), but I admit that they’re alive mostly because of my boyfriend.
I love singing karaoke, and I’m a tenor in The Brooklynite Choir.
Nerd alert! I participated in Odyssey of the Mind for many years when I was in school, and even volunteered as a judge for several years after I graduated from high school. (Are there any other OMers in the house?)
I already mentioned that I have two dogs named Milo (the black one) and Lucy (the other one). But it’s way better when the mention comes with pictures, right? Aren’t they cute?