Congratulations to our student of the month for July: Kevin Pennell!
Saying Kevin has a varied background is an understatement! Having started a career in broadcasting at age 14, he stayed with that through his 40s, working in management, as an on-air personality, and in journalism. Kevin earned a Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Studies at Spurgeon College in Florida, which led him to pastor churches for about 10 years. He's also been a police officer and insurance claim investigator.
Though these career paths may look disassociated, Kevin has always enjoyed working with people, helping them become the best they can be and so finds himself today teaching and writing to encourage them to that end.
In the early 1990s, Kevin met Ken Two Feathers, a Penobscot Native American from Maine, who taught Kevin about Native American culture and ceremonies which helped to change his life. "He was a man whom Creator used to help me focus on my true calling as a healing facilitator, writer, and teacher," Kevin says. "Two Feathers helped me find my truth and spiritual path. He helped me find and identify with my true self instead of being a chameleon living in society." Two Feathers left enough of an impact on Kevin that he wrote the book about Two Feathers' life, Two Feathers - Spiritual Seed Planter in 2003, now published by Lotus Press.
Kevin was introduced to "Mother Redbird" during his spiritual journey in the mid "Ëœ90s. Through her, he was introduced to herbs, and desired to learn more as he watched her make formulations and teas for people who needed physical healing.
Later that decade, Kevin began focusing on healing modalities, and eventually became a Reiki Master/Teacher, certified hypnotherapist, and shaman. Even after all of these, Kevin sensed the need to integrate the natural world into his current practice, SpiritWings in Bethel, Maine.
In the late summer of 2007, a friend introduced him to the East West School of Planetary Herbology. As someone who had struggled with self-education of herbs and occasional herbal workshops, Kevin decided that it was time to jump in with both feet and plant himself deeply into East West's Professional Herbalist program.
"Everything began to fall into place, like things usually do when we make life-changing decisions," Kevin recalls. "In the next two days after signing up at East West, three people that I didn't know came into SpiritWings that knew Michael Tierra's work and one had met him at a workshop. It was like the Universe was saying, "ËœYou need further validation on your decision? Here you go!'"
Besides his herbal studies, Kevin enjoys the natural world by kayaking, primitive camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring nature to become a part of it instead of apart from it. He also practices martial arts and has studied Goju Ryo for over five years. "Martial arts, like my involvement with the natural world and Mother Earth, is not a hobby," Kevin says. "It's a way of life, learning to live in balance and harmony with all." He also plays flute, sings, writes, rides his motorcycle, walks and meditates to relax.
The East West Foundation Track Herbal Seminar in May of 2009 challenged him to further his healing training even more. He recently enrolled and received his acceptance at the New Hampshire Institute for Therapeutic Arts where he'll begin training as a massage therapist in January 2010.
Kevin's goals include completing East West's Professional Herbalist course by 2011 and becoming a practicing Professional Clinical Herbalist recognized by the American Herbalists Guild soon thereafter. He also wishes to pursue training for Jin Shin Do Acupressure.
"Life is an opportunity for us to learn to be better souls, to help those around us, to be "ËœHollow Bones' for the spirits to use, maintaining the attitude and philosophy of purpose beyond self, so others may enjoy life to its fullest so they too can become better souls," Kevin says of his multi-pathed healing journey. "As part of the herbal family, it's all about loving, caring, sharing, being thankful for, and giving to one another, especially at the East West School of Planetary Herbology."