We had the good fortune of connecting with Yarrow Bucans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yarrow, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
We live in a traumatized and addicted society, and the more we buy into society the way it currently is the more traumatized and addicted we all become, both indiviudally and collectively. Our society, with its addiction to busyness, disconnects us from our selves and leaves us making choices that are not in alignment with our wants, but rather are driven by fear and scarcity. As we wake up to this fact, and we begin to do the work of inner healing we are able to heal individually and that healing reverberates out into our communities and into the world. Above all else, our world needs healing. I have dedicated my life to helping people heal. My approach is meant to facilitate healing spiritually, psychologically, and somatically. I focus on releasing addcitive behaviors, healing the central nervous system, processing chidlhood pain, wounds, and trauma, and helping people to connect more deeply to themselves, others, and the world. I use a variety of modalities to do this including breathwork, chanting, meditation, depth psychology, yoga, journaling, attachment theory, trauma work, polyvagal theory, and the energetics of abundance. When we heal in this way we are able to be more present, attuned, and connected, which gives space for others to meet us there. As we all begin to heal, we make space for society, as a whole. to move out of survival mode and into a place where we feel calm, centered, and able to play. We are no longer living in fear and seeking saving. We are no longer playing a victim. We are no longer living under the delusion that power, greed, and fame will make us happy. We are able to be responsible for our lives and to feel safe that we are able to trust ourselves. The disconnection from ourselves leads to the disconnection from others, which leaves us suceptible to rejecting our intuition and becoming addicted to whatever substance, behavior, or thought process we think keeps us safe. We have to learn to feel safe internally, so we stop seeking it externally. When we find this internal safety we are able to trust that we are able to make choices based on our atuhentic needs rather than being controlled by our unmet childhood needs. When we are controlled by our unmet childhood needs we never feel safe that we can just BE, which creates anxiety, depression, illness, stagnation, and addiction. There is no greater gift in life than being able to just BE. It takes courage to do the work to heal and to trust in our ability to take a leap into the unknown. It is not easy, but it will lead you to feeling joyful, abundant, and deepy connected to yourself. Society feeds off of our uncertainty, which further disconnects us from ourselves and leaves us making choices based on fear rather than purpose. I want everyone to be able to live the lives they want to live and to feel how they want to feel while living them. And, this is different for everyone. We all value a different way of life. And, I want people to trust in their vision for their lives, to feel safe to create one and work towards that vision while feeling calm, present, connected, joyful, and free. This level of healing helps to create more connection and more healing within the communities and the world. As I mentioned, our world needs this healing more than anything else. If we all were able to trust ourselves and to be present with what is without trying to avoid the painful truths of life we would stop using achievement as an addiction and start recognizing the deep healing our Earth, communities, and individuals need. From there, we could all heal together. When everyone does their trauma work, learns how to breathe properly, and meditates daily, we will know love and peace.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I took a circuitous path to where I am today… My journey to creating The Art of Connecting began over twenty years ago in an unlikely place. On January 23, 1999, I had a spiritual awakening on the dance floor at a rave. The trancelike beat of the music became meditative in my ears and I instantly felt connected to myself in a way that I hadn’t since I was a child running free amongst the rivers, trees, and oceans of Northern California. Before stepping foot onto that dance floor, I was essentially a teenage alcoholic. Lost, confused, and misled, I sought saving in the form of a boy, not any one in particular, just a boy. I numbed myself to find solace, but in a moment, on that dance floor, every cell in my body came alive and I was able to feel again. I stopped drinking, stopped seeking saving, and began to get to know and understand myself. I immersed myself in my classes at USF and in the rave scene, a warm and love-filled space that became my church. The thing about a spiritual awakening is that the real work comes afterwards. We think it’s like the fairytales and aspire to the idea of the “happily ever after.” The reality is that it’s not. The awakening is the high, but it’s only the beginning. Afterwards, we aren met with the hard choice of where we go next. Do we force ourselves back into the box we had been in and live in denial? Or do we actually do the work and begin to shed our addictions and maladaptive behaviors. I chose the latter. However, without alcohol and boys as coping mechanisms, I sprouted new ones in the form of intense anxiety and magical thinking and ritualistic OCD. When you let go of one addictive behavior or coping mechanism, new ones will take their place. That is, until you no longer need them to feel safe. This is not often emphasized in healing communities or therapeutic settings, and yet understanding this is essential to healing. Above all else, humans seek safety. And, if we do not feel it internally, we will seek it externally, even when it is only a perceived sense of safety. Determined not to take psychotropic medication, I sought ways of healing these symptoms of disconnect and fear on my own. Not that I judge taking psychotropic medication, but I didn’t want to manage my symptoms; I wanted to find, extract, and heal the root cause of these symptoms. After a few years fully immersed in all aspects of the rave scene (including founding a rave production company and coordinating 4,000 person raves), I found myself needing more. The experience that had once brought me so much had lost its sparkle and caused me to feel more disconnected than connected. Losing the rave scene left me heartbroken. It had been my place of healing for so many years, my place of connection, and I didn’t know how to exist without it, until I found yoga. In June 2002, just after I’d graduated from the University of San Francisco magna cum laude with a BS in Marketing, I sprained my ankle in a kickboxing class. I was seeking a low impact form of exercise to keep my anxiety in check while my ankle healed, so I walked into a Bikram yoga studio in San Francisco and fell in love at first sweat. Since I suffered from severe anxiety and OCD, I had always found it difficult to be still in yoga classes. With the heat and the disciplined style of the Bikram series, I had found a style of yoga that spoke to my soul. I needed this level of intensity so that I could learn to be still. When I walked into that class, I had just graduated college, had lost the love of my life: the rave scene, was studying for the LSAT because I didn’t know what else to do, was anxiety ridden, and was losing a battle with my obsessive-compulsive disorder. As I mentioned, the spiritual awakening was only the beginning. I was able to ride that high for a number of years, but after graduation, when real life began to creep in, it became harder and harder to keep that connection to my greater spiritual self. My time on my yoga mat began to take precedence over all other facets of my life. I even quit my day job so that I could practice first thing in the morning, which led to my working in a high-end fine dining restaurant, called Fifth Floor, at night. I was studying for the LSAT, working at Fifth Floor, and practicing yoga. One day, after I had sent in my law school applications, I was watching the 3 star Michelin Chef work his magic on the plate, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to go to law school. I want to love what I do as much as he loves what he does.’ This, again, could be one of those fairytale moments where I decided to be a yoga teacher and danced off into the sunset, but that is not how this story goes. While I did attend Bikram’s nine-week teacher training, I opted to torture myself as a fiction writer for a number of years as well. The darkness in my soul was brewing, and it needed a space to release. And, I gave it one. I allowed my deepest darkest self to emerge through the characters on the page. During which time I continued to deepen my healing through yoga, meditation, and breath-work practices and teachings. This left me straddling two worlds within myself— one of healing and wholesomeness — that wanted to do yoga, live in the light, dance in the sun, and go to bed at a reasonable time. The other was dark and expressed through my desire to to stay up until 5AM hunched over my computer while demons danced on the page. I hadn’t yet learned the art of paradox, that both of these sides could exist and that I could honor them both. Interestingly, once I started to understand this paradox and accepted both sides of myself, I no longer felt the split. This was the summer of 2014, I had just finished writing my third novel (the only novel that was in good enough shape to query agents about). I was lying on a blanket next to the turtle pond in Central Park, below Belvedere Castle. I looked up at the sun-drenched, puffy cloud filled sky and said to my friend, “I don’t want to write fiction anymore. I just want to help people heal.” Again, the change was instantaneous, I stopped writing fiction, signed up for Dharma Mittra’s yoga teacher training, got certified as a Reiki healer, and started leading healing workshops called “Alchemizing Pain into Light.” In those workshops the attendees came forth with childhood trauma and psychological questions that I felt unqualified to answer. It felt unethical for me to continue doing healing work in this way without getting my Master’s in Psychology. This was a HUGE decision to make. I hadn’t intended on going back to school, but my heart called for me to make this choice. I had just enrolled in Ashley Turner’s Yoga Psyche Soul teacher training and realized that she had gotten her Master’s from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Synchronicity gave me the push I needed, and in September 2016 I made the choice to go to Pacifica Graduate Institute to get my Master’s in psychology. Pacifica is in Santa Barbara, California, and I live in New York City, which meant I would be flying to campus for four days each month for the next two and a half years. I didn’t think about it. I just knew I had to do it. So, I decided that fairies would pay for it, and I applied, was accepted, and started attending classes at Pacifica all within a three week time period. I took a leap and trusted that I would be caught, and i was. Always trust your inspired intuition, it will never lead you astray. As I got deeper into the program, my whole world unraveled. And, I realized that in order to let go, we must first learn to healthily attach. Attachment, the dirty word of the spiritual community, became the missing key in my own healing. Through my internship of being a therapist at an addiction center, writing my thesis about Instagram addiction, and my own history with addiction and addictive behaviors, I realized how these addictive tendencies had been a mask for my deeper attachment wound, which can only be healed in relationship. For years, I had been focusing on individual healing without realizing that what was truly going to help me to feel safe enough to trust and let go was relational healing. This wound had been driving my life for years, and I had no idea. I graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute in August of 2019. In that program, I was able to see where I had unconsciously spiritually bypassed my childhood trauma, my attachment wounds, and my ability to express my very real human emotional needs. This was not intentional. I believed I was doing all the right work, but the thing is, I needed to not only be doing individual healing work, but also relational healing work. We need both. From this place, The Art of Connecting,a 40 day workshop, was born. The product of a 20 year healing journey, The Art of Connecting merges traditional spiritual practices with psychological and somatic healing techniques, so that you may heal spiritually, psychologically, and somatically by healing your central nervous system, gently processing your pain, wounds, and trauma, releasing addictive behaviors, learning your ways of attachment, exploring intimacy and vulnerability, creating internal safety, excavating your gold from your shadow, aligning with your vision and intuition, and learning to feel safe to receive. I have been heartbroken, betrayed, and destroyed over and over and over again. I have sat with my pain, examined my addictive behaviors and maladaptive coping mechanisms, only to realize that there were sneaky ones hiding in my shadow running the show. I have spiritually bypassed, over-intellectualized and obsessed until there was nothing more I could obsess about, but then I would find some reason to obsess some more, all in an attempt to feel safe. I have learned, mostly the hard way, how to sit in stillness with myself, to deepen into my pain so that it could tell me its story. I have leaned into discomfort, the spaces that we most often want to avoid, and I have learned to be with them until they transform. I have done the hard work of examining my childhood trauma and attachment wound so that I could break the spell of its power over me. I have realized that my central nervous system was completely dysregulated, which meant I did not feel safe to connect, play, and feel joy, and I have done the daily work to heal it. Through this process, I have been humbled again and again until all I could do was surrender to the process. I have dedicated my life to healing, and I use my education, practice, and experience to help others to heal too. I have traced the lines to the origin of my wounds, and I have learned how to spin them into gold. My greatest gift is to help people learn to be still with themself, so that they may examine their own wounds and spin them into gold too. I want to help people shed their addictive behaviors and maladaptive coping mechanism that are keeping them stuck. The behaviors and addictions that at one time allowed us to feel safe, likely no longer serves us. I want to help people to develop a deeper connection to themself, to others to the world around them, and to a vision for their life – to feel safe to experience connection in that way so that they may be free. Everything is connected and connection is everything. In my work I help people to create a deeper connection, love, internal safety, abundance, freedom, to heal their central nervous system, so they feel safe to receive. And, to experience the most magical gift of all, to be able to just BE without trying to fix, change, adjust, avoid, or numb, to just be present and connected to life. This is where magic happens. This is where you receive.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a very difficult question for me right now. First, we are in COVID times, and, while I technically live in NYC, I am currently in Arcata, California (Humboldt County) living in a cabin in the Redwoods. But… If my best friend were visiting, we would take long drives up and down the coast where we could play like five year olds in the Redwood forests, on the beaches, and in the rivers of this beautiful land. In the evenings, we would indulge in hours by the fire wrapped in blankets with cacao hot beverages filled with magical conversation, dancing, and connection. There are few outings that can compare to a warm fire, hot beverage, and deep conversation. Since restaurants are closed, except for take-out, we would mostly cook with ingredients from the local Co-op where we would get Beck’s and Brio bread and gorge on locally made Vegan cheese and bread. I am not vegan, but I love freshly made vegan cheese. On at least one of the nights, I would insist on getting take-out from Sushi Spot. I grew up here and Sushi Spot reminds me of my teenage years. Plus, it is so fresh and just amazing. We would hike and spend hours connecting to nature in this place that looks and feels like you stepped into a fairyland. If you need to heal, this is the place to do it. The trees carry so much wisdom and salt water heals everything. Humboldt County is this unique mix of beach and forest.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, my mom, Karen Orsolics, for raising me in such a unique and conscious way and for loving and supporting me in every seemingly crazy endeavor I pursue. Aside from her, there are too many to list, but I would like to thank every person who has ever triggered a wound in me that needed healing. This is where my work came to exist. This is what allowed for me to come home to myself and to want to help others do the same.
Anda Ambrosini John Suhar Phil Blair