“Close your eyes and visualize melting yourself down—your body, your thoughts, your relationships—into a silvery liquid suspended in a dark night sky,” says Alix Camp, sipping on a glass of peppermint tea. Her glittery butterfly earrings (jewelry-making kits are a new Earth to Alix offering) catch the light as she nods, sending sunlight scattering across the floor. “You’ll start to experience the relief of being free from all the titles we put upon ourselves.”
If the title ‘reiki healer’ conjures up any stereotypes, Alix probably doesn’t fit them. After leaving a lucrative ad agency job in Hawaii, Alix spent the last few years redefining energy healing as less wellness ritual and more creative practice, and her style—both of her downtown Ventura, California studio, Soft Landing Space, and her wardrobe—reflects it. “I just want to dress like someone’s cool babysitter at all times,” she laughs.
As told to SeaVees. Photography by Johnie Gall.
“I got hit by a car while riding my bicycle in college. I was offered OxyContin after my surgery, but the drugs made me feel so strange that I wasn’t able to study, so I had to find ways to manage the pain on my own. I taught myself about which vitamins and foods would help my cells regenerate, what music and breathing exercises could reduce my pain, even what stimulus I was exposed to that might affect my body’s recovery from trauma. As horrible as it was, I think my injuries were what jump started my interest in healing.
I’d applied to different colleges with seven different majors—so as you can probably surmise I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life [laughs]. One of the schools gave me scholarship money and all of the sudden I was a marketing major. I ended up working for ad agencies and created a stable life for myself. I could have stayed at that job for thirty more years and not had to change a thing, but I was deeply unhappy. I was partying a lot and buying whatever I wanted, just numbing myself out. It was fun but ultimately not fulfilling.
“I’d created a stable life for myself. I could have stayed at that job for thirty more years and not had to change a thing. But I was deeply unhappy.”
I decided to uproot myself and join my best friend in California— she had a full-time job and I nannied, and we started a little jewelry business. One day I was invited to a hospice benefit dinner and was seated next to a woman who was a sound healer. She asked me to come over for a healing session but I didn’t have a car, so in my head I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m not taking the bus to your house, lady.’ She ended up being my next-door neighbor. I know, spooky stuff, right? I went to her for a session and, I kid you not, had full waking visualizations. I remember being in a forest and Death was there with me. He pointed to the water where suddenly I was drowning, but then these swans appeared and everything was calm and beautiful and safe. Two weeks later I met my partner—his last name is Swan.
Soon after, I went through Reiki energy healing training and started working with clients. I’m very aware this kind of work isn’t taken seriously by everyone and I actually practiced for three years before I worked up the courage to call myself an energy healer. I still harbor insecurity about looking like a scam artist or being judged for what I do—they call it the ‘witch wound.’ But the more I work with people, the more confidence I gain. I can see I’m giving people a safe space to release old, stagnant emotions that they’ve held in their bodies and, by doing so, they can start to move on.
“Energy healing can sound really ‘woo woo.’ I still harbor insecurity about looking like a scam artist or being judged for what I do.”
I actually have a lot of people come to me who find me on Yelp and it’s their first time trying anything like this. I love being that person who opens the door to this world because I can make it feel familiar and cozy—I’m not going to cast incantations over them or something. The way our medical system is set up, we’re in and out of a doctor’s office in ten minutes with a prescription. Energy healing can sound really ‘woo woo,’ but it seems very logical to me that healing will happen when you feel safe.
I definitely battle stereotypes about what I do, but I like to explain energy healing as a creative practice. Sometimes we get stuck in ruts and need to think about something in a fresh way. Maybe you’re dating the same kind of person over and over or stuck in a pattern of self doubt. With my clients, I like to think about the body as a planet that we’re traveling to. What does that place look like? Do the creatures there have everything they need? Is there fresh water and plenty of rain and nutrient-rich soil? All of the sudden you can start to feel this physical shift from that simple visualization exercise. Energy healing is a really effective tool to come back to self love.
My ultimate dream was Soft Landing Space, a place where people could come and find support with no judgment. People who don’t necessarily fit in because I’ve felt like a misfit in a lot of ways my entire life. I’m an only child, so it was always just me and the adults. I was shy and quiet, afraid of being judged, always reading the room subconsciously to better play the role I thought people wanted me to play. All that insecurity I felt growing up ended up helping me when I decided I wanted to become an energy healer because I’m hyper aware of how people are feeling in their bodies.
“All that insecurity I felt growing up ended up helping me when I decided I wanted to become an energy healer because I’m hyper aware of how people are feeling in their bodies.”
I think so many of us have the ability to sense someone’s energy and we don’t give ourselves enough credit for having that superpower. I’ll see some of my Reiki students come in for their level-one training class and it’s almost like they’ve been doing this their entire lives. They’ll be able to detect disturbances in the auric fields, say near someone’s shoulder, and their client will go, ‘Oh yeah I’ve been having solar plexus issues.’ We humans can really tell what’s going on with one another.<
Taking care of myself used to feel easier before my practice got busy. I told myself I’d never be one of those practitioners who neglects herself, but that’s become tricky with a full roster of clients. I have a hard time separating my identity from my work, and having the self-validation to actually appreciate how far I’ve come rather than just focusing on the next goal and the next goal and the next goal. My work is so much about being present, but I struggle with being able to see what I’ve already cultivated because I’m so ambitious. I’m addicted to my phone like everyone else.
When I’m feeling angsty or angry, I know it’s time to turn my phone off and go make some jewelry out in nature, or put on some Harry Potter movies and do some beading and let my brain relax. Speaking of Harry Potter, when we read those books as kids, they helped us recognize this feeling of magic about life. That gets squashed flat when you’re an adult. So many of us have those little voices inside us guiding us toward the greater picture of what the world wants from us. My dream for others is that they don’t feel alone, because when you have the support you need—emotional, financial, physical, spiritual—you can find those intuitive gifts and discover what you really want to do with this life.
“My dream for the future is that I can fill my life with enough experiences to cultivate some sort of wisdom. I hope I’m a cool enough old lady that people come to me for guidance.”
I might not always be an energy healer. I’ve been doing this for nearly a decade and while it would be cool to see how it might evolve over another decade, I could see myself slowing down, being a mom, making things with my hands, and that will feel like enough. I think my dream for the future is that I can fill my life with enough experiences to cultivate some sort of wisdom. Because right now I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing [laughs]. I hope I’m a cool enough old lady that people come to me for guidance.”