One word that’s been on Alicia Alfaro’s mind lately is permission. Alfaro, 43, is a certified life coach and reiki practitioner. One of her many happy places is Medicine Wheel Wellness, playing her crystal sound bowls.
“I help give people tools and permission to trust themselves,” Alfaro said. “Because there’s so much noise in the world that it’s hard to just be here [points to heart-center], focused on what we know to be true.”
Alfaro considers herself a facilitator and a space holder. Her journey into sound healing started around the same time she moved to Jackson, in February 2017.
“When I first moved here I went to several sound baths and really fell in love with sound healing,” Alfaro said. “In 2019, I went to a workshop in Lander that my teacher Rachel Holmes taught.
I learned how to play from her, and as soon as I started playing I immediately knew I had to buy a set and play them.”
Sound healing uses musical instruments to tap into the power of vibration. It’s been known to ease anxiety, sleep irregularities and even digestion issues.
Alfaro enjoys offering the passive experience, in which participants allow sound to wash over them, lowering their brain waves into a more meditative state.
“It’s a really accessible way for people to have a meditative experience,” Alfaro said. “You don’t have to sit a certain way, breathe a certain way, you just show up. There isn’t anywhere else you have to be — just let the sound take you wherever you need to go.”
Particularly fulfilling for her are the reactions of her clients once an hourlong session is up.
“I get ‘Where did I just go?’ a lot and ‘What just happened?’ ” Alfaro said. “There was a gentleman who said he had not been able to feel his feet for a very long time and he was able to feel his feet for the first time. That’s when I knew something really powerful was happening.”
When she isn’t playing sound baths, Alfaro is an office manager for the Local and Trio restaurants. In the summer months she enjoys working with horses as a volunteer at Jackson Hole Therapeutic Riding, which offers equine-assisted activities for individuals with a broad range of disabilities.
“It’s such a fulfilling organization to work with, to see the client’s progress throughout a session,” Alfaro said. “It’s really cool to see that moment where you notice the growth and change, like an increase in the comfort around the horse. When you’re there with a rider you’re very present with what’s happening.”
She's also on the board for the Jackson Hole Horse Rescue, caring for abused, neglected and elderly horses. Her horse, Dobie, a buckskin quarter horse gelding, was relinquished to the Rescue, at which point Alfaro adopted him.
“I started with horses much later than most people,” Alfaro said.
“I was 35 when I started volunteering at a horse rescue in Kansas. I always wanted to be working with horses; I just didn’t have the opportunity growing up. But I love being around them. They’re so intuitive.”
On the ranch Alfaro does whatever needs to be done, from mending fences, to taking care of the horses’ health, to working with the horses for rehabilitation.
Another lifelong passion Alfaro is diving into is roller skating. She recently joined the local roller derby team, the Jackson Hole Juggernauts.
“I grew up roller skating,” Alfaro said of her hometown of El Dorado, Kansas. “We had a skating rink, and it was something I did every weekend. I was a speed skater.”
Alfaro was inspired to get in touch with the Juggernauts after she began following them on Instagram.
“I reached out and said, ‘I might be having a midlife crisis but I’d like to come and check it out,’” Alfaro said. “And they gave me a bunch of loaner gear.”
Alfaro said there’s a lot to learn in the sport, so she doesn’t plan to “bout,” or participate in game play, for her first season.
Outside the corral and the derby track, Alfaro plans to continue growing her reiki practice at Medicine Wheel as well as her life coaching business, Attuned Alchemy.
“About four years ago I started to work with coaches myself,” Alfaro said. “I really loved having a person to work with on specific goals, patterns and beliefs. It felt more like taking action toward the life I want.”
Alfaro works with her clients one on one, customizing her coaching to their personality and goals. A common refrain that brings clients to her door is a sense of knowing that they want something more from their life but they don’t know how to get there.
“What I’ve noticed is people have come to me because I am so open that it almost gives them permission to be the same, and then I become a safe place,” Alfaro said. “People think asking for help is a weakness, and it’s not. The simple act of asking for help sets off a chain reaction to receive support and become stronger.”
Alfaro said one lesson her clients learn is a sense that they can trust themselves, a common thread that seems to run through all she devotes herself to, from sound baths to horse-assisted therapy.
“I feel deep in my soul that I want to be of service to people,” Alfaro said. “That’s what my purpose is, I know that.”“People think asking for help is a weakness, and it’s not. The simple act of asking for help sets off a chain reaction to receive support and become stronger.” — Alicia Alfaro Life coach and reiki practitioner
“People think asking for help is a weakness, and it’s not. The simple act of asking for help sets off a chain reaction to receive support and become stronger.” — Alicia Alfaro Life coach and reiki practitioner