Angela Benck, Integrative Coach at AngelaBenck.com inspires fierce freedom living from the heart in her own life and in integrating her Ayahuasca clients back into their daily lives. Ayahuasca is the plant medicine used by indigenous tribes in South America for thousands of years and the psychedelic brew Terrence McKenna lectured about and advocated for its responsible use.
People who drink Ayahuasca, a melange of chacruna leaves and Ayahuasca vine experience bouts of physical purging and psychedelic visions. Tina ‘Kat’ Courtney, AfterLife.Coach calls Ayahuasca the “ultimate consciousness expander” that “takes us deep, deep within ourselves” and, “brings our demons to light.” The Vine of the Soul (Ayahuasca) can be a harrowing spiritual journey looking at oneself and letting go of egocentric behaviour. But, Ayahuasca has also proven to be a highly effective treatment for substance abuse, PTSD, and other psychological and physical ailments afflicting the human condition. “Ayahuasca is like years of therapy in a single weekend”, said Angela Benck. MPM caught up with her before an Ayahuasca ceremony at Soul Quest Church in Orlando, Florida.
“Can you explain your mission to inspire fierce freedom?” MPM
“It’s when we can fully be our truest selves and be in that fullest expression. I believe this is what living your life on purpose is and how that is expressed is through our creative design. This is ones calling. A calling isn’t a job or creative pursuit it’s how only you can show up in the world as the light of your truest self. So I say fierce because it takes greater courage to access our hearts and learn to listen from this place of wisdom. Then to trust it enough to act from that place again and again. This is how we access freedom and this is what it’s like to live from the heart”, said Angela.
“How did you become acquainted with Ayahuasca and SoulQuest Church?” MPM
After Angela returned from Europe she detected lumps in her breast which she knew to be cancerous. She said she had strange dreams urging her to go to the Amazon and to bring the Amazon back to her community. Angela also had a vision of Soul Quest Church before Chris and Verena Young, the Founders purchased the land off Hancock Palm Road. She admits she couldn’t interpret her dreams at the time and mentally filed them away. But several years later she felt called to Ayahuasca during a meditation. Angela promptly googled Ayahuasca, watched some videos and booked a weekend retreat.
When she arrived at Soul Quest Church to drink the “medicine” (Ayahuasca), Angela was 60 pounds lighter and her immune system was compromised. “My first weekend with the “medicine” healed me of cancerous tumors and confirmed the women I need to step into being rather than wanting to be. The dream I had years before was confirmation because it was exactly what I experience my second night there of my first weekend with the medicine,” Angela said excitedly. And remarkably, Angela hadn’t thought about her tumours until that first weekend with Ayahuasca.
“That’s incredible! How can you forget you have tumours?” MPM
“I had put the thought of tumors out of my mind so thoroughly. I didn’t think about them. I’ve done it many times in my life blocked the tragic and painful as many learn to do that grow up with trauma. The mind is so powerful and we underestimate our consciousness all the time,” she finishes.
“What circumstances led you to launch a coaching business?” MPM
“I went to Europe and left a thriving massage practice because I wasn’t fulfilled doing massage it always felt like a stepping stone”, she said. “Getting people out of pain” took its toll on Angela. “Helping people is rewarding but people relied too heavily on me to fix them and that’s not my job,“ she said. “People need to take responsibility in owning their bodies and pain and show up to do the work” and when they weren’t “showing up to make the changes I knew I needed to change”, she confided.
“When our outer circumstances keep pointing to an inner problem take notice. Life kept nudging me and I couldn’t ignore it any longer,” she sighs. Thus began Angela’s deep transformational journey. “Once I started to really explore my inner life and make peace with my past my life started to transform. I could see the woman I wanted to become emerging. I was willing to be with my inner landscape to dive deeper toward my highest potential”, she finishes.
“What does Ayahuasca do exactly?” MPM
“Aya (Ayahausca) shows you who you are and where you are at in your life”, said Angela. The people she works with pre and post Ayahuasca experience are preparing to make change in their lives. “If you’re ready for healing this is an experience for you. If your ready to do some inner reflections and cultivation this is for you”, she smiles. And if someone is not ready to drink Ayahuasca, Angela is available to work with less radical modalities like breath and energy work and meditation. Angela is honouring the call to support people in their spiritual awakening and providing information for those seeking alternative healing therapies to conventional ones. “I love helping support my community in this way”, she said.
“What jobs or careers have you worked?” MPM
“I went to college for art but dropped out to go to massage school where I became an LMT and specialized in Neuromuscular massage”, she said. Angela then became an energy healer. “It doesn’t take classes to be a healer it’s something we have innate”, she affirms. Angela utilized her gift as a healer in her massage practice coaching people into living an optimal lifestyle. “I understood the body as a map to our deeper selves. As an empath I can feel where people are stuck in their organs and energetic systems,” she said.
Angela said she’s had “every job known to man” from babysitter to her first paid job at 14 as a secretary at an insurance agency to working at Kmart in high school and the Gap and as a waitress in College. Angela is not “one that sees being in one job forever” and believes we can evolve through our work and creativity. “That’s the beauty of the times we live in now that model of one job or one career is not true for a lot of people”, she said.
“What did you want to be when you grew up?” MPM
“I wanted to be an artist an actor and a lawyer. I remember they had us write a letter when I was in the 6th grade to my future self and those were what I listed”, she said. Angela laughed remembering she “couldn’t choose just one and figured if one didn’t work out the other might be just as good.”
“Sounds like a true MultiPod! What interests do you remember being passionate about when you were young?” MPM
“Definitely art and acting in plays. I loved running and won races and medals for it. I won awards for my art as well,” she said. Angela became aware of meditation at 6 years old on a camping trip in her home state of Alaska where she’d “sit to be in the silence of nature” enjoying her “own thoughts and company.”
“If you required a coach to help plan and execute your projects, how could they assist you?” MPM
Angela has a business coach that helps execute her coaching programs. “Working with a coach takes a level of trust just like being open to taking Aya (Ayahuasca)”, Angela explained. After an Ayahuasca experience, “most people that work with healers and coaches want clarity” examined “from the outside looking in”, she said. Angela smiled adding, “There isn’t anyone I know that couldn’t benefit from a healer or coach it’s often just what one needs even if they don’t know it yet.”
“Is there a piece of music or poetry that keeps you motivated and feeling hopeful about your life and passions?” MPM
“Words have power”, Angela said. So powerful, Thoreau’s quote became the springboard to opening her own massage studio. “If we would learn to act from a place that’s trusting in our dreams they can become reality. That’s a huge part of why I am coaching. To teach others to listen to the heart for it’s compass that guides us toward acting upon our dreams and imagination. This is how each of us serves the greater whole to contribute to the world becoming a better place”, she said.
“Was there a particular topic, story or phrase on Emile Wapnick’s TED Talk ‘Why some of us don’t have one true calling’ that resonated with you? Do you see yourself as a MultiPotentialite or MultiPod?” MPM
“When she (Emile) said, ‘Innovation happens at the intersections.’ Life is a dance of innovation when we are tapped into our potential and creative side of ourselves. Yes, I see myself as a MultiPotentialite, I am so diverse in my skill set and my creative abilities, but I feel it all comes together to help me serve as a healer and coach,”Angela said.
“Yes, most definitely I’ve seen this evolving for a while now and didn’t know it was a thing or movement, but absolutely. It’s what helps us express our fullness in this beautiful tapestry of a life we create together. I hope it inspires others to know we are multifaceted in our talents and gifts”, she said.