Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Barron.
Heather, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 1993, at the age of 16, I first came to Colorado and fell head-over-heels in love with the Collegiate Peaks and Arkansas River of Buena Vista/Chaffee County. I decided then and there that this is where I would live when I “grew up.” Growing up came much faster than I’d imagined. I married early while in college and dropped out with my Australian husband to move to these blessed mountains. After a few incredible years of Rocky Mountain living, my unfolding story took a very sharp turn in my late twenties.
Life, itself, forced me to leave for a decade of couch-surfing, world travel, finishing my undergrad degree, going on an Outward Bound wilderness semester, and and completing a tough, winding journey of self-discovery. But I fought my way back here to CO, and am deeply grateful to once again call Buena Vista my home. Everything about this place – the community, landscape, weather, animals – makes this the home of my heart.
I returned changed by that long “adventure” of self-discovery that also led me to my career as a Life Coach for women. This journey has come full circle, in fact. I love the life I’ve been able to carve out here that includes my precious dog, Lucy-Lou, and my fiance, Michael. Most of my “free time” (I am finishing up a full-time job as a live-in guidance counselor for a private experiential learning high school) goes to the two careers that I love so much – wedding officiating and life coaching. But my favorite pastimes are working on my novel and meandering along the Arkansas River with my pup, drinking in the beauty of life.
Has it been a smooth road?
Eighteen years ago, I was living in a beautiful cabin, with 360-degree breathtaking views, married to my college sweetheart, expecting our first child. Life seemed pretty perfect, but I felt like I didn’t really know who I was. I felt aimless like there was so much more I was capable of, but that I was far from living it.
We’d been married for eight years and all that time I’d wanted to be a writer. Meaning and purpose were topics that tugged on my mind and heart but also ones I did not quite understand for myself. Then, in my seventh month of pregnancy, I discovered that my husband was having an affair. That realization plunged me into a long “dark night of the soul” that would continue with losing my son during labor, losing my marriage, my home, and everything I’d loved about my life up to that point.
Holding my son, William, shortly after his birth, I promised him that I would make his life count by giving my life to serve Divine Love, God. So I set out on my journey with my whole life in a backpack and a suitcase and returned to college three weeks after we buried my only child. That’s truly where the journey that brought me to being a Life Coach and Wedding Officiant/Marriage Celebrant really began.
Every time I would find myself on my knees with sorrow reaching out to Love for help, I would remember my promise. I would think, “If this pain/grief/confusion I am experiencing can help me to help one other person, then I will walk through this fire.” Looking back, all that pain has been transformed into purpose and meaning that has made the arduous journey worth it.
If I had anything to pass along to another woman, it would be this: You belong here. You are ready. You are not alone. Whatever path you are on. Although you must walk your own path, you are always walking in the footsteps of other women who have chosen to be courageous like you. Look for your angels – the help along the journey. Those who have gone before you had to feel alone to find themselves; they had to walk into the fire of their own challenges. But you are never alone because their wisdom is right beneath your very feet. Where you stand is holy ground. This knowing is what has carried me through the darkest times and brought me home to myself over and over again.
Please tell us about Luminous Life.
I’m a Life Coach, Wedding Officiant, professional writer, workshop facilitator, and public speaker. I absolutely adore my business, Luminous Life, which is the umbrella for all of this! As a Wedding Officiant and Marriage Celebrant, I like to tell people that I have the best seat in the house at every wedding. If you’d told me a decade ago that I would have officiated over a hundred weddings by my 40s, I would have laughed. In my thirties, I had very dear friends who were a husband-wife Interfaith Minister team. They co-officiated the most loving, beautiful, heart-warming, joyful wedding ceremonies. Each one left me thinking, “Why isn’t every wedding like this?” They were just so inspiring and felt like they renewed a sense of love for everyone in the audience, not just the betrothed couple. The wife of this extraordinary team passed, but the husband kept officiating.
A dear friend was getting married in my area and asked if I knew an officiant. I told her about Jim and this story. She asked me if I would co-officiate with him. I was floored. Me?! “Yes,” she said. “You are clearly passionate about this!” So we co-officiated and that day changed my life. Jim asked if I would like to co-officiate with him from then on and put our names on the list as co-officiants at venues around Colorado. Then he passed suddenly three weeks after that first wedding. I was thrust into a whole new career I never knew I’d wanted, but has become my greatest joy. I also specialize in designing ceremony for any of life’s milestones and have presided over Bridal Blessings, Celebration of Life ceremonies, Memorials, Baby Welcoming ceremonies, Parent Blessing Ceremonies (before a baby arrives), Milestone Birthday Celebrations, Retirements, and many more. But weddings and vow renewals are my favorites!
I work with each couple to craft a ceremony that is 100% true to them and their love story, and to represent what marriage means to them. We speak of marriage as though it is the same thing for everyone. But it really isn’t. I love working with couples to identify what matters most to them as they prepare for their version of marriage. I design a ceremony that they (and their guests) absolutely love, and then I help them feel a deep sense of presence on their wedding day so that they can enjoy their brief moment together at their altar. Where I live is such a stunning destination for weddings that I have gotten to marry couples on mountainsides, on the banks of rivers and lakes, overlooking stunning valleys, on cliffsides, and gorgeous ranches. But I have also gotten to marry folks in several other states, and have enjoyed traveling for weddings.
I also enjoy consulting and coaching for new officiants asked by friends or relatives to officiate. I assist new officiants in building the ceremony, developing confidence, and an understanding of what other vendors on the wedding day expect of them. I help new officiants understand their leadership role on this important day, give them a solid outline for creating a ceremony (which is more than a glorified toast with vows and rings!), and give them tips to make sure they can enjoy the experience too!
But that is only one of my careers! I’ve also spent the last dozen years as an Integral Life Coach, focusing on self-care support, and mindset and purpose coaching. I help women identify their key gifts, which is another way of thinking about purpose. “Purpose” is not something that is “out there.” It’s an inside job! I help women peel back the layers clouding their ability to see the gifts they are already naturally giving. I give them tools that make them more conscious of these gifts and help them cultivate a life that is aligned with what matters most to them. This helps to clear the clutter and the noise that has been causing any sort of disturbance, exhaustion, confusion, and/or unhappiness in their lives. I tell each client that my job is to work my way out of a job by helping them become their own coach. I’m wildly passionate about this soul-full work.
I’m currently re-branding everything about the coaching side of my business and learning how to bring that work into the online sphere to make it more broadly available and doable at each woman’s own pace. The technology learning curve has been a mountain to climb all its own! But it is so worth it! It’s a great honor and delight to walk side by side with women as they explore self-discovery, find greater freedom and inner strength, and identify the unique gifts. Now I want to bring women who are on similar journeys together through the power of the internet. Connection and shared vulnerability only enhance that growth and discovery. <Since originally answering these questions – connection has become ever more vital and tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts are making that connection possible.>
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
As I have desired to learn something, I feel like the right mentors have appeared in my life. I don’t mean to sound woo-woo about this. But I do believe that when I put the desire for guidance out there, Love answers my call. I’ve been naturally drawn to women whose lives I’d like to emulate, who model a life that I’d hope for and envision for myself. Specific qualities in a mentor have been more important to me than career or achievement. When I connect with someone’s story, I often reach out to them and ask questions about specific qualities they have developed in themselves.
I’ve invited women I admire out to coffee and asked if they would mind me interviewing them. Then I have written letters of gratitude that reflect back to them what they have inspired in me and taught me. I’ve sought out women who exemplified a grounded sense of power – strong without apology, and yet soft in their presence. The women I admire most and pay attention to are those who have a blend of fierce tenderness. My mentors are women who are at home in their own skin, and therefore in touch with that inner knowing, that “still, small voice,” in a way that they can make tough decisions with courage and compassion. At the same time, they practice vulnerability, open-heartedness and listening deeply to others. And there are SO many of these women. They are all around us!
- Current Coaching Special for new clients: Three 45-minute coaching sessions for $75 (total)
- Coaching sessions are usually $85/hour (free 30-minute consultation to see if I am a good fit for what you are looking for)
- Coaching Programs begin at $500 (free one-hour consultation)
- Elopement packages begin at $250 (free 20-minute consultation call)
- Wedding Ceremonies begin at $450 (free 20-minute consultation call)
- Officiant Consulting (for people asked by loved ones to officiate) is $100 for 90 minutes
- Website: Coaching: luminous-life.com Officiating: luminousceremonies.com
- Phone: 719-221-9347
- Email: Coaching: firstname.lastname@example.org Officiant Services: email@example.com
- Instagram: Coaching: instagram.com/luminouslifeinc Officiant: instagram.com/luminousceremonies
- Facebook: Coaching: facebook.com/luminouslifeinc Officiant: Facebook.com/luminousceremonies
- Twitter: twitter.com/luminouslifeinc
- Other: linkedin.com/in/heatherbarron
Taylor Jones Photography, David Brenowitz, Luminessence Photography, Jeff Robertson