Shaman Walk & An Actor's Dream

Hello, my name is Leslie Grasa and I am a performance artist and writer. For me, my artistic work goes hand-in-hand with my practice and teaching of Reiki energy healing and Shamanic healing techniques. I believe that underneath our quirks, fears and not-always-nice behavior, we human beings are all born with unique gifts to share and the capacity to love beyond measure. I create theatre to honor and celebrate every person in my audience and my goal is always to inspire them to remember their own passion, joy and immeasurable value. 

As with all artists, my creative work is a reflection of my own journey and vision of life. I was born with a type of muscular dystrophy called Charcot Marie Tooth disease. When I was 6, doctors told me I would not be able to walk by the time I was 20. I had club-feet as a child and had frequent falls and sprained ankles. At age 12, I had extensive surgery on both feet - they broke every bone in my feet, literally removed them and repositioned them back on my legs, moved tendons and muscles and fused my ankle joints. They never offered me physical therapy and my 12 year old self felt the call to the stage and had things to do in the world so I taught myself to walk again after 6 months of recovery. I enrolled in acting and voice classes immediately after that and continued studying theatre in college, ultimately receiving my MA in theatre from Florida State University.  

While ultimately my surgery did more good than not, it also presented a number of challenges. By my early-30's I was barely able to walk from arthritis in my feet and in severe chronic pain. I also lived with depression, which goes hand-in-hand with pain. Eventually I stopped doing theatre believing my body could no longer support me in that dream. Then, in 2004, I found Reiki, an energy healing modality from Japan. After one Reiki session I was free from pain for the first time in many years. Now 43, I have relatively little pain, more ease of movement, and am more comfortable in my body, on all levels, than ever before in my life. This is a direct result of daily self-Reiki treatment and shamanic healing practice, as well as support from a number of amazing healers. I live in joy and gratitude for my health and ability and so appreciate my beautiful body and my miraculous feet for supporting me all these years.

Today I have a dream and a goal of building a touring theatre company, Shaman Walk Productions, to bridge my artistic and healing paths and share my gratitude and inspiration with the world. This dream is over 20 years in the making and now I have the physical strength and confidence to make this dream a reality! Step one for me is getting my MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, a Buddhist University in Boulder, CO, where I will gain the tools, training, movement techniques and contacts to successfully fulfill my dream. 

I have been accepted into the program and plan to start this coming semester. This is where I am asking for support. I originally understood that I had full funding for both tuition and living expenses (a combination of student loans and scholarships). However I just learned that my funding for living expenses did not come through and that I still owe a bit in tuition. I have given away nearly everything I owned in joyful preparation for this adventure and I basically have a car, a few boxes of belongings, and a big dream. 

I will be looking for part time work and taking Reiki and Shamanic students and clients both via phone and in-person in Boulder. Through this campaign, I am hoping to raise $9,333 to allow me to me move to Boulder, complete tuition payments and help supplement my living expenses while I get established.

I realize we all have so many opportunities to help fund many worthy projects. I hope my appeal speaks to you, and if you are called to give - any amount - I will be deeply grateful and I promise you that I will not take your gift for granted. I will use these loving donations to gain everything I can from this program and then I share what I've learned to help change the world and bring even more passion and joy to the planet. 

If a donation doesn’t feel right to you, I completely understand. You might consider booking a distance Reiki or Shamanic Healing session or series. Please contact me directly to schedule an appointment. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my appeal. I am so grateful for the love and support I’ve received throughout my life and I am so excited to begin this next chapter and to share my own unique gifts with the world in a new and wonderful way. I look forward to sharing about my experiences and connecting with all of you on Facebook as the journey unfolds. 


TESTIMONIALS

Darrell Grant

My friend Leslie Grasa is a rare and amazing person. 

Leslie is a person who has a vision of the power that an authentic artist can have in the world.  She is also someone willing take the road less travelled in order to deliver that authenticity.  When I met Leslie, she was a Development Officer at my University.  She was a creative, articulate, generous and hard working team member and very good at her job.  When she left it was because she felt she had a deeper and truer calling, I know it was not an easy choice to make.

In the years since, I have admired Leslie’s pursuit of her place in the world- a place without a job title, or employee health-benefits, where artistic creativity, organizational acumen, spiritual growth, community and caring combine to make something new.  She is a reminder to me that reaching who we are called to be requires us to make the most fulfilling choice, rather than the safest one.  Sometimes the biggest risk is holding onto a vision that transcends the ordinary.

It is true that these days we are all presented with more causes than we could ever support.  And I know that you may not know my friend Leslie.  She is not making an album, or funding a video or startup.  But she is pursuing a life-changing goal despite obstacles that have come up in her way.

So if you are reading this at a time that you feel hopeful about people and their dreams. Or if this is a moment when you are moved by human potential, then what I can tell you that Leslie Grasa is a worthy recipient of your faith and optimism.  She is the real thing - someone who is willing to matter, and who is on the road of making a difference.

I’m inspired to help Leslie because she is my friend.  I invite you to share my inspiration. 

Darrell Grant
Pianist and composer
Professor of Music
Artist
Human

Mark Powers

Getting to be the musical accompaniment to Leslie's one-woman, one-act play, "The Real," allowed me a peek into this woman's incredible world and spirit. Combining her diverse interests and experiences in theater, shamanic work and beyond, she creates work that is authentic, fresh and impactful on those who get to witness it or participate. As Leslie takes this next step to develop her skill set in new directions, enabling her to grow and expand that impact her art already has, I am definitely here to help, and encourage you too, as well. You can't find a more thoughtful, compassionate person to support, and I'm honored to have the opportunity here to do so.

Congratulations to you, Leslie, on acceptance to Naropa . . . I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for you (and what future experiences you breathe into life for the rest of us to enjoy and benefit from)!

Mark Powers
Musician and Teacher


Rev. Patricia Roller
I have known Leslie Grasa for years and have long been an admirer of her deep work.  She led a Shamanic program for our school, The Center for Inner Awareness, which was a life changing experience.  Leslie's work as a Reiki Master and Shaman are some of the beautiful healing gifts she brings to this planet.  Her new journey will take all of her skills and energies and bring them to a new level in order to help even more souls on this planet.  I fully support Leslie's work and journey ahead.

Rev. Patricia Roller
Founder and Senior Pastor of Sacred Space Spiritual Center

Don Crites

Leslie is a truly loving, caring, compassionate woman who uses her talents to benefit others. As a member of our theatre troupe, she has proven herself to be a talented actress with the ability to connect us energetically with each other, and our audience.  It is a privilege to support her ongoing education as she pursues her vision of awakening and inspiring people to live their dreams with passion and joy.

Don Crites
Founder and Artistic Director of Salem Playback Theatre

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Organizer

Leslie Grasa 
Organizer
Salem, OR
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