Healer Q&A: Roya Darling on building your authentic presence as a healer.
The following interview is a transcript excerpt from the Heallist podcast episode. Listen to the full audio version below and subscribe to get notified of new episodes here.
Yuli Ziv, Founder & CEO of Heallist, connects with Roya Darling, a gifted energy intuitive, healer, and community builder. Roya's journey to find her authentic self is nothing short of inspirational, as she navigated years of mentorship to heal her own stress and trauma before receiving certification in CranioSacral Balancing. Today, she leads a thriving practice in the Hudson valley NY, offering workshops, virtual group business healings, and empowering monthly full moon singing circle ceremonies for women. Be inspired by Roya's unshakable determination to build an authentic presence and find your voice, no matter what you do or what social media channel you are on. Follow @royadarling on Instagram for her most authentic daily video updates.
How can vulnerability create an authentic connection?
Roya Darling: In terms of authentically living like living from your authentic self, for me, when I get into a group environment, and if I'm the facilitator, or I'm the guide, one of the things that are important to me is that I don't take myself too seriously because I feel like I don't want to be performing, I don't want to be, in any way, expanding myself, so that I'm higher than people. I want to be myself amongst people. I want to be having fun. That silliness that I bring to group environments just gives permission to other people to be silly as well.
Yuli Ziv: A hundred percent “Yes.” I love that about you because I do feel like a lot of people in this field and a lot of spiritual teachers could be amazing, and the wisdom that they project can be incredible, but oftentimes, it comes with this cloud of seriousness. It should be a more light-hearted practice, because for many of us, it becomes too serious, it becomes too heavy, and the work is just too much to handle.
Roya Darling: There's so much seriousness, and there needs to be seriousness with healing because there's a lot of reflection and reviewing and going inward and contemplating, so it's so important that we take moments intentionally to dial up the silliness and realize that healing and spirituality and being connected doesn't always have to look like a certain format. I really try to take those moments because it it's another way to just bring us together as humans.
I’ve always been a silly person, my husband and I—we’re jokesters. There's so much joking that happens in our household. This actually was helpful in terms of my trajectory, my journey into becoming an energy intuitive. I tried really hard at first to be like one of my teachers who was very clinical. I thought that I needed to be an expert in anatomy and physiology. I started dialing down my mystical side, my energy side and forcing my voice to be something it wasn't. I was not bringing playfulness into it. I wasn’t very abundant because of it. There was a moment where I was like, “I need to be able to talk about angels or if I want to talk about frequencies coming through or if I want to talk about spirit guides.” That's what I'm working with in my own individual life, why would I not talk about it in my sessions? When I started actually talking about and owning that, there was a major shift that happened in my path. I started to also bring my personality into it and not feel like I needed to be molded into some type of practitioner.
How do we overcome the fear of authenticity and limiting beliefs?
Roya Darling: It was a journey. The social media piece is really interesting too. I've had to push myself. Some people are going to be listening to this and be able to relate to this, because there's going to be some people who have the urge to be more visible and they may quiet that because they'll feel like that's ego or it's vanity. There are some people who are meant to be more visible. If there is an urge to grab your camera and film yourself and put it on Instagram. It may be because that's part of your path.
Yuli Ziv: The more I talk to healers, the moment I mentioned Instagram or social media, there's always this deep gasp. “This is so hard or this is not for me, I don't have time, I don't have that confidence to just film myself.” Can you give us any specific tips or advice or ideas? How did you overcome that on a practical level?
Roya Darling: To answer that really is also to answer how I was able to give myself permission to be a spiritual teacher and a spiritual practitioner because as much as it was second nature to me to understand spirituality, and to understand energy, there was still that voice, "You're full of it, and you're making stuff up. No one's going to believe you." That voice is something that many people in alternative healing have to confront because we are, in many ways, working in the etheric realm that is invisible, so we have to create and cultivate this sense of self-worth and self-belief that what we're doing matters because it can be so overlooked, and it is oftentimes overlooked by mainstream.
One thing is just to stay with it, until you start to really believe that you have this gift to offer. For me, I discounted it for so long, until I got to a point where I'm like, "No, it matters if I show up today." There's the other thing of the self-consciousness about being able to speak about this, because there's a lot of judgment around it. We have to start drowning out those voices because the general perspective is to believe what you can sense with your five senses. You have to start drowning out the noise. You have to drown out the feedback so that you can stay true to yourself.
If I'm totally honest, it's still a work in progress. You're always going to meet somebody who doesn't believe in any of this so I'm still confronting that within myself, but overall, I've really overcome some big hurdles, because I just started believing that I had a gift to share and that gift mattered. When I started really believing it, then other people really started believing it too.
How does engaging on social media empower us?
Roya Darling: There's some of us who have the gift of the voice. It's either we have the gift of sharing energy through our written word, or our spoken word. I have that gift. There is that impulse to move something through me, through the voice. Instagram, for me at first, there was no strategy. I want to use it almost as my personal diary, because I have nowhere to capture where my downloads are coming from or what my downloads are. It was just a real way for me to capture some insights that were coming through and also to let other people know, who may be going through some strange things as it pertains to energy or as it pertains to this big shift that's taking place, that they're not alone. It reminds me that my voice matters. It's tuning out how many likes there are and just realizing that if this could help a few people today for me to share this, then why would I not? When there is feedback, and there is engagement, it just validates that the words were helpful that day.
How do you deal with negative energy on social media?
Roya Darling: There's two types of energy in this reality. There's positive energy which is light, which is source, or creation, and life. Then there's negative energy, which is destructive, chaos, or sabotaging energy. When light comes into a space, there's going to be a reaction from the dark. What happens is that there are these light workers who come into this heavy space. Social media has a lot of negativity and a lot of darkness simply because a lot of people check out when they go on there. That's like a breeding ground for negative energy. These light workers come on to remind people of consciousness and wake up and remember, and there's just this counter force that comes to try to keep people asleep.
It's interesting. The more I posted about negative energy, that's usually when I have to be very cautious about the comments, because something is going to try to attack me or go at me or question my credibility. Sometimes it really affects me and I’ll have to clear my energy, but I have to say it's one of those things that with time, it gets easier, and you understand how to stay in your center, and you understand how to navigate the response and how to shut it down before it escalates.
What are the challenges of being a spiritual entrepreneur?
Roya Darling: This is also what I've had to learn, especially being an empath, and a highly sensitive person. It's our gift, but it can also be our burden because if we don't have correct boundaries, if we don't speak up for ourselves, if we don't stop to say, "I need to restore and take care of myself," then we deplete, and we're running on fumes.
One of the hard parts for me in running my own healing business is that I am not built for this way of doing business that we've been conditioned to do, which is always on and always at it, and always available. That's not good for me. I'm a cyclical person. When I go through my contraction phase, I don't want to see clients sometimes so I've had to just really be true to myself and be true to my rhythms and realize that it's going to maybe upset some people who are very used to the way that everyone does business, which is you're fully available all the time.
I've had just be true to myself. Sometimes I'll just block a week out it if I can, and sometimes I can't, because of what's going on in my life, or I block a day out so that I can maybe choose the sessions I want to have that week, or just make sure I have enough space to take care of myself.
I've had to navigate that, because when I make a post, I get so many DMS, and I have a very gentle nervous system, and it overwhelms me. That's probably one of the hardest parts of navigating my business. It takes me a while to realize that I'm overwhelmed that I need to adjust something or be okay that I'm not going to be able to get to people.
The other thing is that being somebody who wants to stay really connected to spirit and to my purpose and to serving, it can be a really tricky line to walk in terms of how you market yourself, and how you talk about yourself in a business sense. Because I, in my prior life, in this lifetime, I was in branding and marketing. I have that still in my awareness, the shadow side of marketing. Learning how to market myself or bring awareness to myself in a way that feels respectful to what I'm doing has been tricky.
Yuli Ziv: You bring up one of my favorite subjects, coming from marketing as well. It's something I go back and forth on because we know the shadow marketing works. This is what powers most of the world. This is what powers most of the economy, capitalist society. You basically taking a stand and saying, “I want to do it my way.” There was another way.
Roya Darling: The way that I've switched it in my head so that I could feel I could get behind marketing is I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything. I don't want someone to have a session with me because I've convinced them of it. I want to bring awareness of what I'm doing to reach people who it could support but by no means am I trying to convince anybody of anything.
How do you cultivate an abundant practice?
Roya Darling: The one thing I would think about when I reflect on where I’ve gotten to today because I do feel like I have a beautiful practice and it feels abundant, and it feels like it's continuing to grow. I didn't have to overcomplicate it at first. I just wrote regular emails. Even my Instagram posts, they're not stylized, they're not branded, they're very simple. What I really focused on was cultivating my essence. Making sure I was tapping into my essence and getting that out, and not getting distracted by the branding of it. People just want to feel your essence. That's what they want to feel more than anything. I've gotten to this place without having any sophisticated branding at all. It worked for me in a way because it's brought people to feel like they can connect with me authentically.
Yuli Ziv: That's beautiful because it hits one of the major blocks that people have with social media and self-promotion. They feel like they have to have a certain image and until they have that, or they can't afford that image, they cannot show up. You basically coming and saying, “I'm a marketer. I know how to do those things, and I chose not to do it because this way is the most effective.”
Roya Darling: Yes. Especially in this field that we're in, really prioritizing your authentic voice, and just doing it in the simplest way that feels good for you. Get that down, and then build from there.
How was your journey to become a healer?
Roya Darling: I spent a good deal of my life fairly unconscious. I was very disassociated. I had some early years of trauma. I had some severe and deep wounds that I just didn't want to look at. I learned how to escape. I didn’t pay much attention. I got to New York and I got a job. It wasn't until I had a divorce at the end of my 20s—that was really painful, for many reasons— that it was my opening because it allowed me to see that I could live in a lot of denial.
I allowed that to humble me and I allowed that to be the thing, the vehicle that brought me on to a spiritual path. I need to start paying more attention. I need to be present. I need to be here. I need to be showing up in my life. The first person in my life that came in was a clairvoyant. She came in to help heal and help me see things through energy. I didn't totally understand traditional psychology, even though that's what I studied. When I started really understanding energy, something shifted, even between me and her, where she no longer was helping me heal. She was teaching me how to be a healer.
I really subscribe to this idea that in order to fully heal, and listen, we're all a work in progress. That's part of why we're here in Earth school. We're not fully healed. In order to really level up on your healing journey, it's so important to offer yourself forgiveness because if I didn't offer myself forgiveness, I wouldn't look at myself, I wouldn't examine myself, I wouldn't reflect because it would be too painful if I was going to be hard on myself. I had to learn grace and self-forgiveness so that I can start healing. It's about really just taking full responsibility.