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HealthSHEs: Frankie Fernandes

Frankie Fernandes is a startup-focused professional building teams, culture, and community at companies including Warby Parker, Rockets of Awesome, and LoftSmart. She also works as a holistic healer offering a custom healing practice incorporating tarot alongside her Yoga and Reiki certifications. She lives and practices in New York City and can be found online at @frankiereadstarot and frankiefernandes.com

Who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m a ridiculous combination of things and stuff—originally from Memphis, TN and living in New York City for the past 8 years, I started my career as a professional dancer, transitioned into teaching yoga, stumbled into working in startups as a People Operations leader, and somewhere on that journey I got my Reiki II certification and started reading tarot.

Reiki is a technique of hands-on energy healing with its roots in Japan. It is administered through gentle touch, typically in a one-to-one capacity, and is complementary to any other therapies to improve and enhance physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being.

The sessions I offer to clients tend to vary depending on the client and the season as I combine my different healing modalities for customized healing. My own special sauce is a gentle movement practice that settles into a more receptive Reiki session incorporating crystals and ends with a tarot spread to interpret and examine the energies that arise during that time. I usually work in 90-120 minute sessions.

What inspired you to a position in health/wellness? What was your path there?
I came to healing and wellness by way of dance. Movement has always been my creative and cathartic outlet, so in hindsight it’s no surprise that I decided to get a 300 hour yoga teacher certification during my final year of college at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. At the time, I had no idea what a life-changing, or rather, life-affirming healing journey that process would initiate for me.

I still found myself leading a double life— tech startup hustle by day, intuitive healer by night; often hiding one part of my life from those involved in the other.

What obstacles have you faced, internal or societal, in your involvement in health/wellness?
While I’ve spent the last four years working to integrate my yoga, tarot, meditation, and reiki practices into a holistic healing practice, I still found myself leading a double life— tech startup hustle by day, intuitive healer by night; often hiding one part of my life from those involved in the other. Guess what? Leading two lives is exhausting. It meant I couldn’t exist in either space fully and was doing a disservice to my clients and my coworkers.

The Antique Anatomy tarot Two of Swords card (top left)
The Antique Anatomy tarot Two of Swords card (top left)

The Antique Anatomy tarot illustrates this challenge beautifully in the Two of Swords card. It depicts a skeleton split down the center of the skull and spine with one unified brain suspended between and leg bones crossed below at the knees. The split clearly speaks to this sense of cleaving myself in two to satisfy different parts of my life at different times and in different ways. I also love the detail of the legs crossed as a base. Without that arrangement, this skeleton would simply fall in into pieces. It illustrates how we often make excuses for ourselves to prop up our unsustainable illusions about who we are or should be.

I realize now I was giving up my power by splitting myself in two between my professional work and spiritual work. There are so many influences in our world that tell us that as femme-identifying folk, we’re only allowed to be one of a few characters. Everything in my world seemed to tell me “You can be a boss conquering the corporate world or the hippie earth-mama caretaker, but for the love of god, make a choice!” There was certainly never an invitation to be both of those people simultaneously.

It wasn’t until a much needed retreat in the mountains of California lead by the brilliant Lindsay Mack and driven forward by a group of deeply powerful women that I realized we often make excuses for ourselves to prop up our unsustainable illusions about who we are or should be.there was no need to separate the two. These incredible friends and teachers reflected my strengths back to me so I could see them and all of their potential more clearly, without my own narrative obscuring it. Upon returning from this retreat, I actively worked to incorporate techniques and practices from my healing work into my startup life and vice versa. In the following months, I’ve found a renewed sense of direction and joy in both areas of my life.

To paraphrase Walt Whitman, You are vast, you contain multitudes. And don’t forget it.

What advice would you give SHEs considering a career path or continuing their journey in health/wellness?
To paraphrase Walt Whitman, You are vast, you contain multitudes. And don’t forget it. The moment you realize that all of the pieces of yourself are in support of one another, not in contrast, the more ease and success you’ll find in all areas of your life. In fact, speaking to those seemingly disparate strengths can help you identify and serve niche pockets of clients. I’ve found immense support from my NY startup community and I’m uniquely positioned to serve them given my experience in that space!

Find your teachers and honor them. They come in unexpected ways, stay for varying amounts of time, and influence your journey differently. Honor them and never forget to share them as a part of your story. We all work hard to get where we’re going, but none of us would go anywhere if others didn’t present us with opportunities for growth. (Shoutout to TaraMarie Perri, Anneke Jong, and Erika Wuhrer who push me to become stronger and wiser in everything I do. I am eternally grateful.)

Busy ≠ Successful. Make time for yourself. Healing and expansion happens when we hold space for it, whether for ourselves or for others. If you struggle to hold space for your own process, find healers for yourself. Whether it’s a personal trainer, a masseuse, a reiki healer or even just a friend you can always turn to— Set aside time devoted to that relationship and work.

Don’t forget to listen to our latest SHEspeaks, a recap of our 2018!

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