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Meet Christa Westaway of Into the Mystic in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christa Westaway.

Christa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My interest in mysticism and spirituality started when I was very small. I grew up with many kinds of abuse in the home. But humor, loyalty, creativity and deep love also existed there, making “home” and “safety” a confusing concept for me. I look back at the way I healed myself as a little one, and I’m amazed and so grateful that healing came intuitively to me.

One thing about my family that always gave me a sense of pride was their work ethic. My great grandparents on both sides of my family immigrated to the US, and passed on to their children and grandchildren the importance of taking initiative and responsibility to build the lives they wanted. I learned this lesson super early on. I started working at fourteen in exchange for clothing from a local shop. At sixteen, I interned at the OC Weekly because I wanted to be a writer, and by nineteen, I was managing music stores in my hometown to pay for college.

No one in my family had finished college, so earning a college degree was never a serious conversation I had with my parents. I basically enrolled into community college because some of my friends were going there. It took me four years at community college and about four-and-a-half years at university to earn my BA and MFA in English. I thought that by getting college degrees, I could prove my worth to myself and to my family. I wanted them to see that I had honored them, but it came at a price. Academics had taught me discipline and grit, and I understood very clearly that to be successful within my field, I had to cut myself off from anything that couldn’t be proven, analyzed, or explained. So, I pushed down, avoided, numbed and disowned my feelings from childhood and ignored my intuitive gifts for a long time. I bought into the idea that productivity gave me value. My grandpa used to say, “nothing is free,” and I took that to heart. In other words, I needed to work hard and independently, and expect very little in return. I think that’s the world he and a lot of his generation lived in.

Once I became an English instructor in higher education, so many of the feelings and experiences I had ignored in myself showed up in my students, and so I couldn’t run away from them anymore. They had dreams of being artists, business owners, parents, etc. but struggled with belief systems engrained in them by cultural standards and their family systems. In feeling for my students, I felt I had a responsibility to heal myself. Intimately sharing their lives and their secrets was an invitation for me to confront and heal my own outdated beliefs and internal aches and pains. I got really honest with myself about who I was, what I wanted and why I was avoiding or resisting important truths that could empower me.

As I was discovering tools that helped me heal, I really wanted to share them with others, but opening up and integrating my sensitivities and more intuitive abilities in a demanding, data-driven Academic environment was challenging and a little scary. I was finding that my career in Academia was draining my energy, and I cared very little for the politics involved in keeping my place there. I began to care more about my well-being and my relationships with people who loved and supported me more than I wanted to deny my physical and mental health so I could complete project deadlines or show up to please people. I think I was tired of working for other people and building their visions instead of my own. I recognized that I was changing, and I wanted to serve others in a way that came easy and natural to me. It got to the point where I just knew that there was going to be no other way. I had to make a change or I’d give up the opportunity to really live genuinely.

Making the choice to build Into the Mystic has really helped me to evolve personally and professionally, and at times it’s crushed my heart. I had to let go of who I thought I was and would be in the world, and it wasn’t quick or painless. But it’s made me more empathetic, patient, compassionate and appreciative of myself, and I’m able to bring that kind of energy and heart into my healing sessions with others. I feel like I can fully engage with my work now, and being present and available are huge assets with what I do. Into the Mystic is an extension of my heart and my spiritual practice. I nurture my business the way I want to be nurtured, and creating her has been full of opportunities to re-parent myself in a way that serves others too.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I like this question! Thank you for asking it. It has not been a smooth road. Not at all. But it’s been one of the most rewarding and empowering ones I’ve chosen for myself. Into the Mystic didn’t come to me the way I had imagined most business ideas come to people, where a person recognizes that there’s a need for something specific or they realize that they’re really, really good at something they love doing. The creation process was years in the making because it grew in form alongside me as I grow spiritually and emotionally, so I’m excited and pleased that she’s still and will always be growing. It’s been a very slow, intuitive process, and that in itself has been super humbling. I did a lot of research within the industry, and I listened to the advice of mentors in the field, and still nothing prepared me for how often I’d have questions or doubts. I’ve had to strengthen patience with myself to focus on one step at a time and to be open to guidance and support from others. Also, I attend free business workshops and consultations through my city—so grateful for them! I’ve struggled with believing in my own vision and trusting that others see in me what I sense in myself—that Into the Mystic is unfolding as it needs to. I’ve never built a business before, so of course learning the processes and timelines behind financials, legalities, and marketing are new to me. What I remind myself of every day is that I know how to be me, and I know the love I’m offering, and that’s the basis of what I’m trying to grow in the world with Into the Mystic.

Into the Mystic – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Into the Mystic is a healing arts business that appeals to people who are seeking spiritual wellness, grounding and clarity. My mission is to offer methods of healing that encourage others to trust and empower themselves by reminding them of their natural inner strength and innate goodness.

Into the Mystic is still evolving. For now, I’m focusing on three non-invasive healing modalities—Tarot and Astrology readings and Reiki sessions. Technology allows me to work in-person, online or over the phone with clients depending on what their needs and comfort levels are. I’ve completed trauma-informed training as a Tarot reader and a Reiki practitioner, and I feel that adds a special quality to my interactions with clients because I offer them a safe space and empathy, which I hope gives them agency in their healing process.

A beautiful aspect of my session offerings is that clients can share a session with their families, partners or colleagues. I am a huge supporter of healing individually and healing together when it feels safe and intentional. I also take my services on the road for special events, parties or corporate wellness, and so there are many different ways I can be of service to people. I’m really open to collaborations and new and creative ways of sharing healing to communities.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Another great question! My definition of success has changed a lot since I resigned from teaching. I really believe that creating Into the Mystic has transformed everything about me including what I value. In my former life as a teacher, earning financial gain and recognition or awards from putting in long hours at no extra charge was a huge marker of success for me. I really didn’t understand how to value my time and energy. The old model for me was that work was meant to be difficult and draining, and it has to produce the kind of wage that my family members didn’t have opportunities to earn.

Success to me now means that I’m receiving in equal measure with what I’m giving. I feel best when I can say “No thank you” or “Hell Yes!” when I mean it—that I never do the opposite of what I feel is best for me based on some unmet need or fear of not having enough. Having free time, time with loved ones, time to be outside in nature and feeling mentally, physically and emotionally rested and recharged are all markers of success for me. I’ve come to see time and energy (or how I feel) as highly prized and precious, and finances as secondary. Because of this, I’ve had to make some big sacrifices, but again, the rewards of a life well spent are worth it to me. I see it all as part of the transformation I’m forever undergoing, and I’m having the time of my life.

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Image Credit:
Website photos by Devin Feil

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