WE ARE BECOMING — AMBER LEE

To have a conversation with Amber Lee is to instantly understand what connection looks like — to oneself, to the natural world, to a broader picture. As founder of holistic healing practice Plant As Compass, Amber’s work is rooted in compassionately offering wisdom on how we as individuals can evolve through seeing ourselves as part of a broader narrative. Based in Ojai after splitting her time between New York and LA, Amber was raised in a multicultural household in Hawai’i, Latin America, and North America — a cultural cross-section that’s allowed her to view herself as a citizen of the natural world, rather than limiting herself to a singular community. 


In her work, Amber walks individuals from different paths, beliefs, and backgrounds through nuanced, hands-on healing and group facilitation work. Her ethos acknowledges life’s complete interconnectedness — beginning at birth and extending through all the complicated relationships and seasons we enter and depart. We spoke with her about the large role nature plays in her practice, the value of slowing down, and how healing ourselves allows us to hold space for others.



 

Amber wears the Eva Jumpsuit in Ceramic

  

  

  

  





During this unique public health crisis, how do you recommend women take care of themselves and stay in tune with their bodies and emotions?

My first recommendation is to always first find your breath and tune into your very own heartbeat. From this space you may begin sensing how it is you are really feeling and what is needed. When we are truly present, all of our senses come alive and share their insight with us.   

This practice of presencing is essential for tending to our own wellbeing and cultivating balance in our lives. As we listen to this inner knowing, we are in effect slowing down and allowing our innate wisdom to lead the way. Creating this kind of sacred space on the daily is imperative, and may even be practiced multiple times in an hour. All it really takes is one single breath to return home to oneself.  

In these and all times, I also recommend a steady protocol of self-massage to tune into our bodies and provide nurturing care. All of our bodies - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and beyond desire deeply to be heard and held.  

Beyond this, a daily practice of movement and time in nature is essential! While being mindful of hydration and nourishment, and if possible a daily and or nightly bath. Steeping in all things nourishing is the only way to stay resourced, filling the depths of our reservoirs so that we may meet what comes our way with the most grace, clarity, courage, and compassion.  

 

How does an individual who is on a healing journey experience the world differently than someone who has not done the work of healing their spirit?

It can be said that an individual who is consciously cultivating their own healing journey experiences the world from a more grounded, reflective, and receptive place.  Depending on how integrated their own healing is, they may be characterized as less reactive and  more expansive. They are likely more skilled in their communication and in taking responsibility for themselves as well.  

Essentially, a healed person is one who has journeyed through a path of remembrance, and has returned to their original state of wholeness. Therefore there is a level of spaciousness they have created within, and from this place they experience the world.  Instead of being uncentered by challenge, they rather view it as an opportunity for learning and growth. Truth, forgiveness, freedom, compassion, and awareness are their close friends and allies. 

Those who walk a healing path may be described as being more sensitized as well.  This may mean also that while they are less reactive to the perils of the world, they may grow increasingly more sensitive and thus find the need to create healthy boundaries and new ways of being in the world.  

Oftentimes, as one walks further down their respective healing road, they will experience shifts and growth. This may manifest as changes in their identity, occupation, relationships, residencies, tastes, and preferences. Old ways fall away, and new ones emerge. A simple way of being and living is that of the healing road. 

The more we heal ourselves, the more space we have to hold for others and the world.  In time, the narrative shifts from the micro to the macro. I believe that the most fulfilling and rewarding path we can walk, is to devote ourselves to our own healing and to be of support to others along the way.



  

  

 

Amber wears the Ana Dress in Ochre 





 

 

Amber wears the Lucie Top in Black and the Mason Pants in Ceramic

  

  

  

  

 

  





You grew up amidst different cultures: Latin America, North America, and Hawai’ian Islands. How has your multifaceted identity influenced your understanding about the needs of others as a healer?

Born to a multicultural ancestry, and raised between Hawai’i, Latin America, and North America, I have been blessed and privileged to learn about our human family from different places and perspectives across our Mother Earth. While there is so much beauty in our uniqueness, there is also so much wisdom in understanding our oneness.

I have come to know  that the places in which we dwell, and the quality of our relationship to creation at large, sharply mirrors our own health picture. In travelling throughout various landscapes, and communing with different peoples, it’s crystal clear that being in the right relationship to our environment is essential to our wellbeing.  Nature is ultimately our Great Healer, everywhere we are.  

As a Healing Arts Practitioner, I encourage those I work with to develop their own relationship to Nature as a way to know themselves and cultivate their own healing.  Everywhere you go you will find that there are key elements to live a balanced life: Earth, Air, Fire & Water. These sacred elements are here to teach, guide, support, and heal us.  Living in reverence and reciprocity is not only the way of the healer - It is also the road for us to walk together as a human family.  

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I learned as a child is the importance of safety.  Experiencing a variety of environments has shown me that one’s sense of safety is inextricably linked to wellbeing as well as privilege. When we feel safe, we are able to heal. When we don’t feel safe, there is an imbalance that will call for our tending to at some point if we are fortunate enough to feel it. As a practitioner, my intention and role is to merely create the conditions in which self-healing can take place, and to me this begins with establishing the sacredness of safety and connection to the natural world. 

Over the years, I have been blessed to be guided by spiritual teachers and elders of the North and South, while also coming to know, practice, and now teach healing ways of the East. All of these threads are woven in me and in the healing offerings I provide. It is in honor of each of my ancestors, my beloved teachers, and all those who have so touched my life that I walk in service.

These days, I feel very blessed to be a residing visitor upon the native lands of the Chumash People. Awhay or Ojai, meaning Moon, is a valley known for its healing abilities. Many feel drawn to this sacred area for its mountains, waters, plants, flowers, medicines, and community. 

I share my Healing Arts Practice with all those who come to receive one-on-one support in my private healing studio in addition to offering space and guidance for those who come to retreat and attend Healing Arts Trainings in a variety of topics. Whether it’s a healing retreat into nature, attunements to the Reiki path, and or deepening into the practice of the healing arts for self and others, I am grateful to feel at home in my heart and purpose here on our Mother Earth at this time.

 

What have you been saying 'yes' to in your life? No?

Yes, to more truth and time in Nature! No, to old paradigms of fear!

Can you describe a time in your life when you took a surprising new path? What were the consequences?

I’ve taken quite a few surprising new paths in my life, all thanks to the gutsy gypsy ways of my mother! Perhaps the last and most significant was when I moved in May of 2015 to Ojai, CA where I now reside. At the time, I was between Los Angeles and New York, where I had been enjoying a bi-coastal life and private practice.  

After spending weeks in Big Sur, sleeping under the cycles of the Moon, it became undeniably clear to me that it was time to live somewhere that could nurture and sustain me on the daily, so that I could continue to be of service in the ways I have been called.  

With this clarity, I flew to my Brooklyn loft on my 30th birthday, had the healthiest and most loving separation from my partner, and packed up a couple of suitcases for my new mystery path. It was truly the best move I have ever made.

 

Reflecting on the name of your practice, Plant As Compass, how does personal healing intersect with the natural world and environmentalism?

Healing is a relational journey. One that involves ourselves, one another, and the natural world.  Whichever aspect is our gateway onto the healing journey is unique to each of us. However, the more that we cultivate this way of being, the more our awareness and attention grows to the other parts of the whole.  

Let’s say we begin with our own personal healing. In time, we will uncover the aspects within us that are out of balance. As we follow these effects to their origin, we look to Nature for harmonizing and rebalancing along the way.  Whether it’s in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and so on... The natural world tends to have the insight and remedy to support us in healing.  

The more that we heal ourselves, the more inspired we are to take care of all that’s right before us. Knowing that the healthier our environments are, the healthier we are as a people.  This is why, since the start of my practice my philosophy has been “Return to Nature. Return to Self.” In communing with the sacred elements of life, we remember our True Nature - the wholeness from which we came. In this way, the natural world can be our compass on this great winding healing road of life.



Follow Amber's work here and visit her website here. Photos by Alexa Miller.

Amber has also shared a simple guided practice for self-healing (downloadable!) with us — access it here

 

  

 

 

 

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