“I can’t be a good vessel for positive change for others if I’m not taking immaculate care of myself.” -Tina Kat Courtney
After working for tech and entertainment companies, Tina Kat Courtney has found her way inspiring others as an “Afterlife Coach”. After investing 12 years training as a shaman in the Shipibo-Conibo Ayahuasca tradition, she specializes in Ayahuasca integration and preparation, shamanic guidance, and end-of-life assistance. She’s a fascinating expert because she has mastery of what seem like two different worlds .
I asked Tina about what keeps her going and her journey. I found her answers to show conviction, wisdom, and articulacy.
What made you want to be an Afterlife Coach?
I have always, always had a deep, fascination-filled relationship with death and the afterlife. In my adulthood, I spent 12 years training to be a shaman in the Shipibo-Conibo Ayahuasca ceremony tradition, and throughout the process, I experienced ego-death more times than I can possibly recall. Each time, I felt a little closer to the other side. And one day I was granted the idea to make that my life’s work – the term “Afterlife Coach” landed, and I turned it into a business.
What’s the difference between a life coach and an afterlife coach?
A life coach traditionally assists clients with creating big wins in their lives – holding them accountable for action items that help them feel closer to the dreams they are manifesting.
My role is different. I am a spiritual life coach, in that I am solely focused on helping people understand the esoteric elements of consciousness. As an afterlife coach, I help people understand what death is – and most importantly, what it isn’t (an unending). I specialize in existential crises, people working with the preparation and aftermath of sacred plants like Ayahuasca, Iboga, Kambo, and San Pedro/Huachuma, as well as anyone in spiritual breakdown that wants to understand how to work with fear, anxiety, and anger.
At heart, I am a shadow worker – my mission is to help people realize we all have darkness, and it’s not the enemy. It’s our ally if we learn to face and integrate those aspects of ourselves.
What’s the most valuable resource in your profession? What’s your most valuable tool?
Ayahuasca. I have sat over a thousand times, and this medicine is the single most impactful tool I have ever discovered for expanding consciousness and healing traumas.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Feeling the intense suffering of beautiful souls.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I love to remind people what I have been taught – that the only way out is through. The only way to reach the states of bliss and serenity that we are all seeking is to first face and feel our shadow sides.
Is there any advice that people in your industry give that you disagree with?
Yes. In the spiritual space, there’s an intense focus on the bright side, and a tremendous resistance and judgement to “negative” emotions. I am all about bringing in the light to any situation, but this spiritual bypassing is not honest. To ignore half of our consciousness, which is rooted in the darkness, is to ignore half of our beingness, and it doesn’t work. So I am a voice for the emotions most of us would like to avoid. Again, the only way out is through.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about what you do?
People assume that anyone who has had over a thousand plant ceremonies must be in some permanent state of stability and happiness. That is only true if you hold that one can be content with sadness and rage, just as much as joy and connectedness. I am not, nor will I ever be, at some idealistic destination free of fear and resistance.
What I have instead is a sincere acceptance for whatever life throws at me. I say yes to the darkness as much as I do the light – or at least, I try very hard to do so!
In the last six months, what’s been a product that has positively impacted your life that costs under $100?
As mundane as this may sound, it’s a Chrome extension for Gmail called Boomerang. I receive a lot of email, and this handy tool ($5 a month) helps me keep my inbox clean and organized, avoiding the inevitable overwhelm. It’s been a game-changer.
What’s the number one thing you repeat to your clients?
Those emotions you are attempting to avoid hold the keys to the joy you are seeking. Go there. Feel them. They will not destroy you.
What’s been the biggest triumph of your career?
Creating this business outright. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to help people integrate Ayahuasca and understand the deepest parts of themselves. So the biggest triumph is having the courage to believe that this would actually be possible. And it turns out it IS 🙂
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
Self-care. I’m obsessive about it as I can’t be a good vessel for positive change in other people’s lives if I’m not taking immaculate care of myself.
So in spaces of overwhelm, I take a time out. I make me first. Bubble baths, walks in nature, meditations; whatever it takes to find my grounding again. I rely a lot on plants and crystals, connection to the moon – elements of the Earth that help me remember everything is OK, and overwhelm is caused by the mind.
It usually doesn’t take much to find balance again because the Earth is such a powerful healer when we remember to let her in.
Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
“Plant Spirit Medicine” by Eliot Cowan
“Care of the Soul” by Thomas Moore
“Soul’s Code” by James Hillman
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?
“Before every action you take, ask ‘What would love do?’ If we treat each other with unconditional kindness and compassion, murder will become a memory.”