Heart-centered Q&A with the Founder of Synergetic Spaces + Damselfly Digital, Erin Marie Ratliff
If you're anything like me, selecting a coach or consultant to bring into your life requires hours of research, scrolling and "stalking" to find that perfect fit and vibe. So if that's what brought you to this page, then to you I say "WELCOME" with open arms. It's so nice to meet you!
The purpose of this post is to provide deeper insight into ME. This isn't going to be your typical website Bio Page. You'll get to know my quirks and inner workings so that you can understand me better personally and professionally.
I aspire to be open and vulnerable as possible in the hopes that YOU will be able to do the same when we work together in the future, whether that is through an upcoming energy attunement in your home, or a marketing project for your growing business.
Whether it's in your Self or your Space, I believe that TRANSPARENCY opens the doors for TRANSFORMATION.
First off, my Personal Disclaimer
You may see me preach and project the ideal of achieving a "perfect" life but as we all know, true perfection is unattainable. There is no perfect space, just like there is no perfect person. We also each set our own definition of perfect. That feeling, that energy of genuine joy is completely, entirely up to you.
I have worked really hard to create a life that feels in perfect alignment with my true and authentic self. But I am dedicated to the LIFE-LONG journey of self-healing, self-discovery and cultivation. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and am committed to learning every day and every way. In other words, I am allowing myself to change and grow while empowering and helping others do the same.
We are ALL a giant work in progress - evolving and growing every day. Change is a beautiful, and completely natural thing! I believe that we should try our best every new day. And if your ascension doesn't happen in this lifetime then you are always given the opportunity to try again in your next one ;)
Like an onion, I have many layers
I am not officially diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, or Giftedness, but I do show many traits. I am a human paradox- a living walking set of contradictions.
A plant mom with a black thumb
A foodie who can't cook
A homebody who loves to travel
An adventure junke who avoids risk
A workaholic who procrastinates
The list goes on...
Being a neurodivergent, non-conforming, hyper-curious, multi-passionate, multi-dimensional multi-potentialite is both a torturous yet wonderful existence. And like the Yin and Yang I must accept and embrace it all. Life is so much richer and interesting this way!
That being said, from the outside looking in, some people are not quite sure what to make of me, and that's ok. At the end of the day I am like everyone else- much too complex to be put in a box.
Cheers to all of the polarities in life! The dual nature of my personality, needs, talents, and interests manifest in my career as an entrepreneur as well. Because I despise the term "Life Coach" and "Digital Marketer" is far too vague - here are some more clever job titles I have come up with as a "Free-Spirited Freelancer"
At this point, you are either completely confused and overwhelmed, or very intrigued. Keep reading if it's the latter! :)
BACKGROUND & STORY
My childhood was kind of ideal: happily married parents, one lovely younger sibling, a supportive extended family, an amazing public education, a minimalist modern home in rural Virginia, defined by decades of immersive nature experiences and outdoor adventures.
My teenage years were a different story. I spent lunchtime hiding in a bathroom stall because I was suddenly ostracized from my peer group and had too much social anxiety to find new friends. I felt a deeply depressing sense of un-belonging and misunderstanding. So when I finally mustered the courage to put my self out there, it was not a genuine and authentic version - it was what I thought people wanted of me. Unfortunately this toxic pattern of people-pleasing continued well into my adulthood- until my Great Becoming.
As a Geography major, I originally wanted to be an urban planner (yes- a scientifically accepted version of feng shui!), however at that time after college I knew I would get restless with an office job. My inner camp-counselor took over and I began to pursue a career in Environmental Education, getting certified by both federal and state institutions to present outdoor curriculum-based programming to youth and adults. Those years in nature were fun and formative, but I longed for a more "adult" job.
The irony is that years later I eventually wound up with that dreaded cubicle job that I ran from! For over a decade I worked as a digital marketer specializing in social media, SEO, ORM, and PR for agencies and nonprofits, all the while exploring my passions (nature, service work, and storytelling) in my own way and at my own pace.
All of these things have come together today to manifest in my two primary creative business ventures. Synergetic Spaces and Damselfly Digital. Two different industries that share one thing in common: encouraging others to learn, grow and thrive in their journey to abundance by deepening their connection to Self and the Earth.
Looking back on my career I've done it all... From Retail to Hospitality & Tourism to Education to Marketing & Events, Non-profit, For-profit, the list goes on... I am grateful to have had a winding and diverse career path full of so much professional growth and development. I can be a bit insecure about my apparent "lack of clarity, focus or direction" but on the other hand, I wouldn't be who I am today without all of those varied experiences!
For anyone who judges my job-hopping tendencies or questions my non-linear career path to them I ask: What is the point in suffering in an experience/opportunity that doesn't fulfill your needs energetically or financially? I'd much rather be true to myself than go through the motions of a job just for the optics of longevity. It's far more sustainable to attach yourself to a mission/calling/purpose than a specific company, organization or project.
Today I practice what I preach to my clients in my own life: always seeking to adapt, improve and grow, trying new things and not settling for anything that doesn't serve the highest purpose and potential.
SPIRIT & SOUL
Ikigai: The Japanese term for "your reason for being”
To create something from the source of my inner spirit that is purposeful and powerful enough to impact the greater good.
This manifests as content creation and coaching relating to personal and planetary healing:
Energy alignment and alchemy, elemental wisdom
Personal and professional development, self-actualization,
Practical spirituality, depth psychology and psychoenergetics
Holistic wellness, lifestyle design and environmental sustainability.
My soul mission in life is to help other souls rise to their full potential. To help them elevate, optimize and improve their energetic spaces: their homes, their health, and even their online presence.
Check out my official Manifesto for more...
Favorite Mantras & Mottos
"Leave everything better than you found it." To me this wisdom goes deeper than my obvious line of work. It's about integrity - doing the right thing even when no one is watching, always putting the greater good above the self.
"She turned her CANTs into CANs and her dreams into plans." This quote resonates with because I am a dreamer, a doer, and a thinker. I see possibility and potential everywhere I go and in whatever I do.
"Do what you love and the money will follow". This is true in almost all cases, but the key is to know what that "love" really feels like. It comes from your deepest core, and takes a ton of self-discovery, introspection, reflection and uncovering.
"Work smarter, not harder" I thrive in efficiency systems and organizational effectiveness. I am always looking to optimize my time and productivity - learning how to save energy and create the path of least resistance (and burnout). I wish the rest of the world valued creative intelligence and simplicity in this same way.
"If it's not a resounding Yes, it's a No." This has been a game-changer in the way I move through life, work, and relationships. I no longer settle for mediocre, so-so or luke-warm. It's simple: the choices that inspire complete clarity and confidence are the ones worthy of my time and energy. I manifest and wait for the BEST and greatest, so that there is no "deciding".
"Do what you can, where you, with what you have" This is an awesome mantra I use for manifestation. It reminds me that I already have everything I want, even if it's not yet in the 3D. Ultimately the delivery schedule is out of my control and up to the divine so in the waiting/downtime I just need to make the most of what I have in front of me.
"All you have is all you need." Similar to the above quote. It's a great reminder that every situation, phase or chapter of our lives deserves gratitude. Even if it's an undesirable circumstance then it's gift is clarity, learning or growth.
"Buy Less, But Better" This is all about choosing well. and prioritizing Quality over quantity. It's so applicable in our highly competitive and capitalistic society. I strive to only support the brands that live this philosophy too!
I Geek Out on...
All things process and systems related- whether it is frameworks and schools in feng shui, or marketing theory or content strategy.
My favorite part of my job is... creating real and lasting change in people's lives, while also impacting the larger collective.
I strive to live my life and operate my business with... Integrity, Authenticity and Compassion.
"Awkward in Small Talk, Fluent in Soul Talk"
Cancer Sun. Cancer Moon. Aquarius Rising
Translation: Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Like the moon, and all female-bodied beings, I am a cyclical being, ruled by nature's cycles, My mood, energy and desires shift every day, week and month. I feel radically different from day to day which can at times be disorienting.
I am a full-on INFJ, aka “the Mystic, the Counselor, the Dreamer," What does that mean?
Introverted: individualistic, reserved, cerebral
Intuitive: idealistic, complex, perceptive
Feeling: sensitive, heartfelt, empathetic, visionary
Judging: consistent, conscientious, contemplative
Humble brag: This means I am in good company with the likes of Ghandi, Carl Jung, and Audrey Hepburn. Indeed, this is the rarest MBTI type, occupying only 2% of population, (which explains why I often go through life feeling so misunderstood by others - the Empathetic Introvert is truly a mystery to most!)
Enneagram: 6/"The Skeptic or Loyalist followed closely by 3/ "The Achiever" 4/"The Individualist" and 7/The "Extremist"
Human Design: Generator 3/5 (Multi-passionate, responsive, and creative but prone to frustration when not in alignment/flow or when acting without clear and direct inspiration)
People often describe me as...
“Calm”. The irony is that I almost never feel like that on the inside! I am really great at looking like I have it together but my body and mind often feels quite the opposite: whirling and distracted. This hyper-viligence spikes when around others, and is what psychologists refer to as "high-functioning social anxiety". Yay!
My Double-edge Sword...
My intensity. I operate in extremes. I am at both my best and my worst when I am over-achieving and over-functioning: overthinking, over-planning, over-communicating, over-documenting, over-analyzing, over-loving, overfeeling, oversensing, overstressing. I am highly sensitive, so I'm easily over stimulated. Basically, I live life in high-definition. I care and feel deeply - which may be too much for some, but just right for others. Thank you AuDHD!
"The world for me is always too bright, too loud, too busy, too fast, too peopley."
I am constantly struggling internally with
Confidence & visibility (phone-phobic, camera shy, socially awkward)
Math anxiety / Number blindness / Dyscalculia
Imposter Syndrome (on-going self-doubt and insecurity)
The need for both Novelty and Routine- constantly torn between understimulated (bored, disinterested) and overstimulated (challenged out of comfort zone, too much sensory input). It is also entirely possible to be both at the same time (ie physically or socially overstimulated but mentally understimulated
My Superpower is...
At Work: visioning, planning and follow-through.
In Life: grit, tenacity and determination.
JUST FOR FUN
How I Learn: Through researching, writing
How I Love: Through teaching, sharing
How I Laugh: Through dancing, exploring
Greatest Fear: Loss of autonomy, self-sovereignty and/or living my life on someone else's terms.
Greatest Accomplishment: My daughter Wren. I made my best friend!
I am a Collector of... crystals, essential oils, sacred adornments, photos and memories.
Never Have I Ever.... organized the inside of my refrigerator ;)
Irrational Fear: accidentally losing my cellphone in the washing machine or being stranded at a remote gas station.
Favorite Word: "Throughfall" (the rain which drips from branches and leaves)
My Happy Place is... around a campfire with friends or family after a day exploring a national park or other public wildlands
I Can't Function Without ... Lists, Spreadsheets, Mindmaps and my Labelmaker.
My Favorite Healing Modality is... Reiki or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique / Tapping)
My Perfect Sunday looks like...Sleeping in, watching CBS Sunday Morning, bakery run (tea and a croissant to-go), a drive on the Parkway listening to WNCW's 'Country Gold', a scenic hike, lunch at a brewery with friends, grinding away at content for several hours, checking some errands off the to-do list, dinner delivery, a David Attenborough-narrated nature or science documentary, perhaps or a few episodes of Friends or The Office, reading in bed, asleep by 10.
The Biggest Obstacle I have Overcome is... Unexplained infertility - recurrent pregnancy loss and ectopic pregnancy. Second biggest - Separation/divorce.
A few More Random Facts
1) I've been a strict vegetarian for nearly 30 years (long before it was cool!).
2) From 2007-2009 I trained for and ran a marathon and a few half-marathons. And I can honestly say I haven't run since then!
3) I am a distant relative of Woodrow Wilson.
4) I have a horrible memory unless I have written something down or have a picture of it
That’s enough about me. Tell me something interesting about YOU!
Or maybe you have a question about how my myriad of services can benefit your life? Ask away!
If any of my weirdness resonated with you, that probably means we'll get along great! So many of my clients have turned into friends. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you soon. :)
Erin Marie Ratliff is an alignment & alchemy specialist and holistic growth strategist based in Asheville, NC and serving clients nationwide. Visit synergeticspaces.com for energetic and environmental services for earth-minded individuals who aspire to live to their full potential and happiness.
feng shui consulting
Visit damseflydigital.com. for freelance copywriting and communications services for holistic small businesses serving the greater good.
inbound marketing science + strategy