Sheryl Henkin-Kealey has been in business for about 5 years with her partner David Paxon. The Healing Retreat Center is located at Route 287 in English Corners, PA. It is multi-faceted. The initial intent was to bring people in for weekend retreats where they would have a spiritual learning on a variety of healing arts with various teachers. People would learn together, eat healthy food together and, in the same place, living the energy of that for the weekend. It also houses the other skill sets that Sheryl has – medicinal aromatherapy, “The Scentual Soul” – Fine Aromatherapy Products body care product line created and produced by her, cancer education, teaching nutrition and how to cook healthy. Sheryl may be contacted at (570) 634-3777, SycamoreSpirit@gmail.com or www.SycamoreSpirit.com.
How did you get to this place?
I took aromatherapy classes and wanted more. I earned my certification and went for a second certification. I then began The Scentual Soul: Fine Aromatherapy Products. That was about 17 years ago.
I named the product line Scentual Soul because I wanted the spirit of the plant to be part of the concept. My logo is a rose whose stem comes down and turns up into the body of a woman in white with dark hair. It comes together at the tip of the rose. The aura (the energy) comes together with the flowers and the person as one.
You are a certified teacher. Did that come first?
I have a teaching degree from Penn State in elementary and Kindergarten education. Knowing I wanted to have children, I ended up in the corporate daycare world in the Philadelphia area. I advanced into a manager and director position over the years. One place I managed was at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
I became interested in aromatherapy. My certification is through Barry Kapp at Wisdom of the Earth. He is now in Cottonwood, outside of Sedona, AZ. My children were still young and I could not find products that had ingredients I was happy with (even at Whole Foods). I purchased a cosmetics ingredients dictionary and could not believe the ingredients that people listed as safe and ‘OK’. Out of necessity, I began to make my own things for my children and family. Friends began asking for the things I was making and The Scentual Soul was born.
As my children aged, I decided to stop teaching. I went to work at Whole Foods Market for about 6 years. I moved to Northern PA for a life change and a better quality of life with 50 acres and organic gardens. I divorced. I worked at Wegmans in Elmira for 6 years. I was the very first manager of the Natural Health section – Nature’s Market – in Elmira.
A back injury prevented me from continuing at Wegman’s. During this time, I was searching for a space to open the Retreat Center. Life Changes!
What have been your greatest stumbling blocks, either personally or in business?
In business, trying to wear so many hats has been a stumbling block. I am really good at teaching. I am really good at working with people. There are things I am great at, but Marketing is not one of them. Trying to get things out on the computer in a timely manner is a challenge. When you are attempting to do something you are not so good at, it can take you five times the amount of time as someone who is good at it.
Then there seemed to be family stumbling blocks that kept coming in. My back continues to be an issue for me. My son’s car accident and my aging parents ill health has been a challenge.
Do people have misconceptions about you or your business?
I have a difficult time easily describing what my business is, so there are misconceptions. When people ask me “What do you do here?” there is no easy answer. I think that has hurt me. I needed to clarify what I wanted my business to be and speak that to the world. I have not narrowed it down enough.
If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently?
I would hire someone who is very competent to do the computer/business end of things. I would spend more time focusing on what I am good at. We can’t all be good at everything. The rest was life so I can’t say I would change any of that even if I could.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will be in a new location. I know it will not be in Philadelphia, but I don’t know that it will be here. I am very drawn to the water, trees and mountains. I know that this time, we will build a building from scratch and not shape another space into what we want. We would incorporate the feedback from people into the design of the new space. I would not live in the business space. (I did not realize how hard that would be).
I am focusing now on getting out to other areas and teaching. Maybe the building won’t be as much a concern as I am sitting here and thinking about it. Maybe it’s not about the building. I very much want to teach. I very much want to help people heal and teach them ALL the power they really do have. That is the essence of who I am.
Sounds like a building might be a detriment to that.
As we are talking, that is coming to me. That is awesome! In my heart, you just helped me to see something.