Erin LOVELL VERINDER, Higher ground
We chat to Blue Mountains native about how life in the hills has changed both her pace and practice...
Tell us, how you were first drawn to Naturopathy and the path of wellness?
I was always intrigued with healing, initially more the mystic allure of it all. I loved crystals from a young age, had my first Tarot deck at 13 years old, and really resonated with my Russian Gypsy lineage. I loved the notion that the earth held all the remedies for our ailments, and that we have the innate ability to heal ourselves. After living in London in my late teens I returned all bright eyed knowing I needed to explore this calling. I began studying Energetic Healing, learning all about auras, chakras, meridians, reiki, kinesiology, flower essences, gem healing, meditation, and ultimately how our emotions and mind state impact our physical health. I journeyed a little away from this when I went travelling in USA, in total kismet fashion I met my love and after relocating back to Australia all the signs pointed back to further study. I wanted to ground my connection to how I viewed healing, and the tools I could utilise. So I began studying Naturopathy, I forked off into my passions Herbal Medicine & Nutritional Medicine. I enjoyed all the clinical sciences in the courses, but the grass roots knowledge I learned with Herbal Medicine just made my heart sing.
Honestly it has always felt very inherent to work with facilitating healing in many facets and holding that space for others (and of course always for myself- practising what I preach!) I love that it is all so intentional, and much of great health comes from conscious choices. My passion is to assist others to trust their innate ability to heal. I love that Naturopathic Medicine, as I see it, is all about treating one as a whole, always individually and in tune with the primal foundations of what we desire and require to thrive. For me this means utilising grass roots herbal therapies, fostering connection to nourishment with healing foods and ultimately always encouraging the client to listen in closely to their own body and being.
I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to be in the position I am in to guide and assist clients to shift their health in the most positive of directions. It is seriously mighty witnessing clients improve their health and wellbeing!
You moved from Sydney to The Blue Mountains 12 years ago, what was it that drew you to the mountains?
We craved expansive nature, quiet, and living somewhere the seasons really changed. I had always loved the Blue Mountains, and thought… Why not give it a go?! We first moved up here 12 years ago but it did really take time to make it sustainable. We did many back and forth moves back to Sydney to study, work etc and then finally the time came where we felt that we could absolutely embrace the mountain life in a really doable balanced way. We have been very grounded here for a good few years this time around.
How does living out here change you, your lifestyle? How does it differ from the city?
It slows you right down, the connection to nature is undeniable- as it is everywhere, all encompassing. You are living amidst world heritage listed national park. The land feels deep, and ancient. It is so easy to go for a short walk, and lose that sense of connection to the outside world. I love this, it keeps you in the present moment and I find it so restorative. It is a more simple life, less rushing, less traffic, more green, cooking at home, endless pots of tea, noticing the season changes with the nature scapes shifting. The mountains foster a connected life whilst disconnecting.
I do love dipping into the city, I look forward to venturing down to see my clients at the Bronte Orchard St clinic. The neighbourhood is full of a lovely palpable buzz, great food, and a wonderful community I hold dear to me. But after a long day I look forward to driving up the long winding highway and reaching the peak of the mountain, and exhaling- ahh I am home!
Tell us about the work you do with both your clinic and Orchard St.
What can we experience when we come to ‘Bright and Balanced Living’?
I have been with Orchard St since the Bronte Dispensary/Clinic opened 4+ years ago, it really is my second home and I deeply love the work I get to do there. I am in private practice there, seeing clients with a really huge variety of health and wellbeing concerns. If I had to say what I focus on predominantly in my practice, I would say digestive imbalances (gut healing, dysbiosis, food intolerances) and adrenal disorders (stress, fatigue, insomnia etc), are so commonly seen. But I work closely with all types of women’s health, paediatric health and general health concerns too.
My ethos is to approach each client with fresh eyes, alert ears and and open heart. I approach each case individually and the term individualised care is truly in motion throughout my practice. In my clinics, I do my absolute finest to balance both worlds – bridging the gap with functional medicine, testing, clinical applications, refining nutrition and the softer side of energetics, plant medicine, and always encouraging my clients to be empowered to trust their own healing wisdoms.
Bright and Balanced Living is my Blue Mountains clinic I co own. It is in the little sweet upper mountains village of Blackheath. We renovated an old 1920’s space on the main strip, and it shined up like a new penny! It really has been a true labour of love to bring a beautiful healing space to the Blue Mountains. We have a wonderful women centric team of incredible practitioners- between us all we span many modalities- Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Breathwork, Counselling, Massage, and we hold regular women’s circles and gatherings for the community in the space. I had a vision to create a high grade space for the community to come, feel the good vibes, and let it all go, heal and feel held. It is a treasure of a space and a place I have loved growing so much.
When you get away I know you enjoy both Byron and LA – do you find a synergy between these places?
For me the synergy is in what both of these places represent to me. They both represent a place of deep connection, inspiration, restoration, fun, my loved ones, and many many transformative experiences in my past has been had in both places.
I love the Byron hinterland. I really first found healing there with the wise women I seriously somehow stumbled upon. I sat in my first women’s circle there, studied with healers, jumped in rivers and howled at the moon as a teen- it was wonderful! Many of these incredible women are still there, and so many more friends have made or are making the move up there. So for me Byron and surrounds are like returning home.
LA, what a place. I find it so incredibly inspiring. There is this huge spark of energy and possibility in the air there. All of the incredible places to eat, and beautiful wellness related spaces fill me up when I visit. I love the access to nature- be it the ocean, woods, canyons, or desert. It is a place we visit often and I feel I could never tire of it! The mark of a magic place!
Describe your perfect day in the mountains, I hear you went apple picking for your birthday recently…
Practicing my daily ritual of waking with the sun rising, shaking off sleep, setting intentions and sitting for a Vedic Meditation.Then rugging up (it’s a pretty constant alpine like temperature here most of the year round) and taking the dogs for a long walk along the valley edge to soak up the expansive mountain views. I love taking the time to really appreciate the sounds of our natural world waking up, an exercise in practicing present time consciousness.
Starting the day with a cosy slow breakfast at home and packing up a picnic for a little adventure.
There is so much accessible nature out here, and one of my favourite drives is down the winding road to the Megalong Valley, I have a soft spot for the old tea rooms there. So pulling up a bench under the trees with a spicy chai or dandy latte and getting lost in a great book is my daily dream. After this, taking a walk by the river and lazing around under the gum trees with a picnic rug and some great food.
Then heading back up the valley to pick up a box of freshly picked apples at the Logan Brae Orchard out on Shipley. Throw a few apples in my bag, and meet up with my hiking buddies and venture into the Blue Mountains National Park for a big bush walk… I love that feeling when your body is deeply tired from treading the trails. Home for a bowl of warm soup and a cuppa tea, and an early night in bed. Literally my perfect mountain day!
What’s coming up next in your world?
I am continuing to expand the way I practice, teaching more, writing more, and refining where/what my energy is funneling into. I am also in amidst the ultimate creative project- designing and building our home! My intention right now and for the future is to craft more space for myself for the new creations to flow. It’s all about alignment and being in the flow for me….
I heard they make a mean apple pie out there too, yet I think I’d rather a recipe for one of your more healthy tonics or homemade elixirs… can you share a little magic recipe with us? (one that’s easy to make at home i.e a sleep tonic, cold cure or a calming tea)?
This is my go to warm and spicy, caffeine free tonic when a little pick me up is needed but I would like to avoid anything too stimulating. Great for the liver and immune system.
Makes 2 cups
1 tsp Carob powder
¼-½ tsp Chaga powder
½ tsp Mesquite powder
¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
1 dandelion chai tea bag
½ cup water
500mls Almond Mylk (homemade is the best!)
(Optional if you need a little extra sweet- 1 drop of stevia or a little maple syrup)
Brew dandelion chai tea bag in the ½ cup water on stove till boiling for 3 mins, add the almond mylk and all the powders and slowly brew on low heat gently for 3-5 mins (be careful not to boil mylk)- remove tea bag and enjoy.
All photos by Georgia Blackie
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