Rene Shuford, B.S., L.M.B.T., is a multi-talented individual with a rich and diverse background. As a writer, storyteller, artist, community organizer, and a Massage and Bodywork educator and Somatic Therapist for over 30 years, Rene has made significant contributions to the field of mind-body medicine and holistic healing. Rene is the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Healing Arts Academy, a center dedicated to promoting transformative learning and mind-body wellness.
Rene's journey began in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where she graduated from Appalachian State University. Rene's career took her to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Pentagon for the Department of Defense. Then later ventured into the private sector, working in the printing and advertising industries, and subsequently transitioned into public teaching. While teaching in the public school system, Rene embarked on a path of personal transformation by completing therapeutic massage training and establishing a private practice. It was during this time that she discovered a passion for education and a desire to own her own school, focusing on therapeutic massage and mindbody medicine, with a special emphasis on Psychosomatics. This vision became a reality with the founding of the Blue Ridge Healing Arts Academy, where Rene continues to teach and inspire others in various areas of holistic healing, energy work, and teacher training.
Rene's enthusiasm for lifelong learning is evident in her diverse interests and activities. Rene is an avid gardener and traveler, a dedicated community activist, and she has embarked on the rewarding journey of restoring a 1910 farmhouse in western NC mountains, back to its original glory. On a small homestead, she shares life with two dogs, two cats, an abundance of wildlife, and even a neighborhood bear. Ultimately, Rene's life is a testament to the power of authenticity and courage in pursuing one's true calling.
Rene's dedication to holistic healing, transformative education, and creating sacred spaces for learning and teaching reflects her deep commitment to the well-being of mind, body, and spirit. Rene's story is an inspiring example of the ongoing journey toward self-discovery and living in harmony with one's authentic self.
“I believe in living life to the fullest. I work hard, I play hard and I love with all my heart. I want the deepest most fulfilling relationships that I can have with people. People fascinate, amuse, frustrate, challenge and compel me to be the most authentic me I can be and I am grateful for them.”
On Teaching Or
So It Seems To Me
Teaching, for me, is a simple endeavor when it emanates from a sacred space within my heart. This profound connection allows for a delicate and transformative growth. Observing my students closely, looking into their eyes, and discerning the nuances within their questions provide me with a unique opportunity. When I sense the underlying meaning at that very moment, I recognize it as a chance to make a lasting impact on the world, contributing to goodness and aiding others on their spiritual journey. Teaching becomes a time for me to shine, requiring preparation, organization, and presence as I share my knowledge and life experiences with the hope of enhancing a student's life.
However, on those days when I am unprepared or emotionally distant, the classroom dynamic undergoes a drastic shift. The quality and intention of the teaching environment collapses, resembling a rose petal after a hard rain. The consequences are stark – a dead zone with blank, aimless stares into the void. What was once an opportunity becomes a desperate struggle for survival. The classroom transforms into an unsacred space where escaping becomes paramount. The once-shining faces of students, their attempts at meaningful questions, and their appreciation for an engaging and challenging class are forgotten. It feels like confronting a crippling volcano that engulfs and destroys everything in its path. In these moments, the classroom experience becomes a tumultuous ordeal, marked by a sense of disconnection and despondency.