sacred ritual



Hey beautiful, I have been sharing my Sacred Heart Teachings digital program this month to bring awareness to this powerful, heart-centered body of work. This morning I came across an informational interview hosted by my friend Michele Rosenthal of Heal My PTSD that she shared with her tribe when I first launched the home study program. I think you will enjoy our conversation.

You Can Heal Your Heart

1. What does it mean to have a ‘sacred heart healing’ experience?

It means that we learn to remove the barriers within that keep us from experiencing joy and compassionate self-care. Often we subconsciously erect protective walls around our hearts to insulate ourselves from the pain and trauma we once endured.

To be fully present and shine our light, we must lovingly explore our darkness. When we get to the root of what is weighing us down, we can let go of what no longer serves us and begin to liberate our hearts.

The Sacred Heart Teachings was created to facilitate deep introspection, forgiveness, relaxation and healing. I know that when each one of us heals ourselves, we invite a profound shift in compassion for ourselves and the world.

When you experience compassion and trust, you feel loved. You are at home in your body, and your relationships with yourself (and others) is at its best. Each one of us deserves to experience life with more levity. More joy. With deeply profound unconditional love.

2. You yourself have had such an experience, would you share some of how that experience has impacted your life?

I’m living proof that we can give the most when we are living lives we love. We can be the best friends, mothers, wives, and business owners when we are feeling nurtured, fulfilled, inspired and self-expressed.

My life feels so much lighter. I find that I’m much more enthusiastic about being alive. I’m living proof that we can give the most when we are living lives we love. We can be the best friends, mothers, wives, and business owners when we are feeling nurtured, fulfilled, inspired and self-expressed.

My sacred healing experiences have come in many forms over the last 15 years. I learned to get back in touch with my creativity working through (and facilitating) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ve enjoyed silent Yoga retreats and Yoga teacher training. I’ve made peace with myself through deep wise women’s work and sacred sweat lodge ceremonies. I often journal, pouring my thoughts on the page to remain in touch with my inner knowing. I’m part of the Changing Woman Sisterhood and facilitate Transformation Goddess circles for women experiencing life-altering transition.

I can happily share that sacred healing and deep introspection have helped me see that my life is a beautiful and sacred experience.

3. Why is it important to unite the mind, body and spirit with the divine? What is the divine? And, is it accessible to everyone?

It is important to unite the mind, body and soul with the divine because we are meant to be healthy and whole. We have permission to trade in guilt and shame for grace and self-acceptance. We deserve to learn how to let go of our pain and suffering so we can love ourselves unconditionally. When we learn to unite our mind, body and spirit with our divinity, we learn to rejoice in the miracle of being alive. We learn to put our energy where are joy is.

The divine is described in Wikipedia as: (1) In religious terms, divinity is the state of things that come from a supernatural power or deity, such as a god, or spirit beings, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. (2) Such things are regarded as “divine” due to their transcendental origins, and/or because their attributes or qualities are superior or supreme relative to things of the Earth. Divine things are regarded as eternal and based in truth, while material things are regarded as ephemeral and based in illusion. (3) Such things that may qualify as “divine” are apparitions, visions, prophecies, miracles, and in some views also the soul, or more general things like resurrection, immortality, grace, and salvation. Otherwise what is or is not divine may be loosely defined, as it is used by different belief systems.

I define (and think of) the divine as eternal grace and unconditional love from a higher power.

In my opinion, we are each divine human beings. So yes, I believe the divine is accessible to everyone.

4. You say that “beneath our personal stories of pain and discomfort, we can access wholeness, love, and compassion.” How do you know that’s true? How do we access all of that?

I know this is true because of my own personal experience and the experience of those who have made the choice to align their mind, body and soul. I know this is truth because when we learn to tame our inner critic and let go of what no longer serves us, we learn to love ourselves just as we are. We begin to show up in our authenticity without shame and excuses.

We can access wholeness, love and compassion through deep introspection, breathing exercises, journaling, meditation, yoga and mentoring. We can access love and compassion by choosing to be more loving to ourselves and others. We access all of this by doing our best to suspend judgment and by learning to trust and surrender, instead of trying to force / control every situation and outcome. As a recovering perfectionist and Type A personality, my daily mantra has become Trust and Surrender. Learning to let go and lighten up is extremely liberating. Here is a sweet poem by Hafiz which illustrates my thoughts about surrendering:


What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God (The Universe/Higher Power)

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”

5. Your personal journey sounds like it has included moments when you knew you had to change direction. How did you find the courage to make the choice and take the action necessary to accomplish that?

Being bold and courageous seems to have always been part of my DNA. Not that the choices I’ve made have been easy. Every transition begins with some pain and discomfort and the choices I’ve made felt excruciating in the beginning.

For most of my corporate life, I was powerful, successful, and living the high life. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born in 2000 that I realized my inner-wisdom, my divine light, was on the low side of a dimmer switch. The mask of folly I chose to wear at the time was that of a hard working and success-driven leader. I was in tune with my masculine warrior energy and way out of touch with my femininity. I thought that if I was powerful, wealthy, insanely private, and veiled, I could be safe from judgment. If I armored my heart, I wouldn’t have to face the shame and guilt of not being perfect. The mask allowed me to excel in business, but didn’t do much for me or my personal life. I had to resurrect the goddess energy buried deep inside. I had to get to the bottom of what I was afraid of. I had my work cut out for me.

…It sounds as if you’ve “lived” the Sacred Heart Teachings…

Yes. I certainly did. For years I thought I could be happy and fulfilled because I had a ‘good career’ and was bringing home six-figures. In reality, I could buy anything I wanted, but had no idea how to properly care for myself. With a harsh inner critic on the loose, I had to learn how to put myself and my healing at the front of the line to be a good role model for my daughter.

I didn’t even realize that I’d shut down physically, mentally and spiritually. I had to make friends with what I call ‘the monsters under the bed’ and learn how to honor myself as the beautiful, talented and loving woman (that I now know) I am. It was time to begin healing old wounds that needed to be explored with loving kindness. I had to sort out the baggage I carried from being bullied in middle school. I had to stop punishing myself for the unconscious choices I made as young woman. I had to excavate the suppressed feelings from a lifetime of issues around my relationship with my Jekyll and Hyde father. Combine all of this with the underlying current of Catholic guilt, and I simply had to free myself from an unbalanced mind, body and soul. I choose to share this personal story because I’ve had a lot of emotional healing to contend with over the last 15 years, and I know that I’m not alone.

My personal healing experience lead me to create the Sacred Heart Teachings Digital Program. It’s my hope that many will begin to heal their pasts and liberate their hearts with this powerful offering.





The Sacred Heart Teachings are a soulful and introspective experience. A multi-dimensional offering — incorporating the mind, body, and soul together with journaling prompts, gentle yoga classes, guided relaxations, poetry and BIG love. Save 50% on this dynamic offering through February 15th with the coupon code: valentine (all lower case) when you check out. For under $50 you can experience this transformational multi-media program for a limited time.

The Sacred Heart Teachings

Learn more >> Sacred Heart Teachings

About Shann Vander Leek

Shann Vander Leek

Shann is a Transformational Leader, Award-Winning Podcaster, Best-Selling Author, Voice Over Talent, Podcast Coach, and Producer. She lives in the village of Suttons Bay, Michigan with her beloved husband and mouthy old cat. This Goddess Shines!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tina van Leuven Feb 10, 2015, 10:51 pm

    Beautiful conversation and example of embodying the wisdom of your Sacred Heart Teachings, Shann! And I LOVE the Hafiz poem;) joyful blessings, Tina

    • Shann Feb 11, 2015, 10:11 am

      Tina, Thank you so much! Hafiz gets me every time. XO Big LOVE!!

  • Debra Reble Feb 11, 2015, 10:52 am

    Shann I love these sacred heart teachings! Heart-centered practices are near and dear to my heart and ones I practice daily. Thank you for sharing your light with the world!

    • Shann Feb 14, 2015, 9:13 am

      Thanks so much for your kindness. You are such an inspiration to me!

  • Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) Feb 11, 2015, 2:51 pm

    Shann, this is a beautiful interview, and I love love love the Hafiz poem. Thank you!


    • Shann Feb 14, 2015, 9:13 am

      Thanks Sue!
      Hafiz steals my heart, over and over again!

  • Tanja Feb 13, 2015, 9:23 pm

    Awesome interview, Shann – and I really enjoyed the poem too.



    • Shann Feb 14, 2015, 9:14 am

      Thank you for your kindness sweet Tanja!