Inner Light Therapy- Rayna Milner, LMFT
When I was in high school teaching dance at a local Oklahoma studio, my mom asked if i would want to teach dance for a living. "no way!" I responded. I have had a good chuckle over that story for years. I do tend to yell “NO!” often…and things turn out to be a slow burn into… “yes.” I’m not complaining.
Life isn’t linear, no matter how hard we try to make it so. I am thankful I have been open to signs that have redirected my life journey. My life was on my planned track until my late 20's. After college, I thought about moving to NY to dance, but I decided to head to San Diego for graduate school as a psychotherapist. I was still on the mend from an eating disorder, I'm highly sensitive, and I think NY would have eaten me alive at that point in my life. I didn’t have a clue how strong I was, but few do at such a young age.
I married when i was 25, we got our first fur child soon thereafter, and we started trying to have a baby a few years into our marriage. More on this path in my "therapist" page...gotta keep this one on the teaching track! I also began dancing around the time I got married. And my entire world shifted in wonderful ways.
I sobbed the entire drive home after my first San Diego modern dance class. A month or 2 later, I auditioned for a local modern company and was accepted. I was healthy, and I was dancing from a place of love and fun, and it was spectacular. I think I was 29 when I was asked to teach a master class for Canyon Crest Academy high school, an unknown arts school in its first year of existence. This master class was another moment of Universal intervention, and I knew I had to be involved with this exceptional school.
For a couple years, I juggled dancing, teaching, and working as a Licensed MFT. I knew something had to give. I decided to go back to school for my teaching credential, much to my husband’s dismay (“you already have a career that you love!”), and I reduced my hours as a therapist . While I was in school, my marriage started to unravel, and when we separated in 2007, I was paralyzed by fear of how I would be okay on my own. But I kept at it, and in 2009 I took the reins directing the dance program.
Canyon Crest Academy has spent some years ranked as the #1 school in california. Yes. You read that right. NUMBER ONE IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF CALI. The 15 years at CCA shaped me in magnificent ways. I loved instilling dance as a beautiful, healthy way to stay connected to our bodies, and I also got to do a lot of work with body image. This was the entire reason I had become a therapist, and I still pride myself on the very low incidences of eating disorders that were experienced during my years at CCA. Dancers were taught that strength, hard work, and kindness were where it was at.
This school supported me in my wild show visions, allowing us to produce some controversial shows! I was always supported by my admin at CCA, and I truly feel like I was given permission to be ME. My initial years as a therapist were filled with insecurity and uncertainty in myself, but, as a teacher at CCA, I truly found my voice as a human, an artist, a teacher, and even as a therapist. The students at CCA are like no other. So wise, compassionate, & open-minded. What a gift to teach at such a privileged yet enlightened high school. I am forever grateful.
As I say in my “background” page, it was covid that altered my course yet again. I have been torn for years between my incredible life in San Diego to returning home to my family in Oklahoma. It always was just too much to give up. I also never imagined I’d want to go back to being a therapist full-time. Well, when I started seeing clients virtually in 2020, I was attracting the kind of individuals who were a great fit, because I am finally confident in being ME. And when I brought home my puppers, Echo Violet, the wheels in my head begin to turn churn even faster.
Waking up to that fateful white snow on New Year’s Day 2021 in Oklahoma was the final sign I needed. I was scared shitless. I still have moments of sadness and fear, but I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and because of the incredible years of teaching at CCA, I am a much stronger and effective therapist! And I love that I am still open to seeing how my journey as a mover takes shape here. I am hoping to build a small movement studio in my backyard within the next couple of years, where I can hold movement classes.
We shall see what the stars have in store…