Learning when to lead and when to listen

Hudson Valley Parent, I am a Hudson Valley parent, Erica Chase-Salerno, family

"Children are beings that we're not in charge of," says Erica Chase-Salerno, shown with her 9-year-old daughter Quinn (L) and 12-year-old-son Declan (R.)

Erica Chase-Salerno of New Paltz has always been guided by intuition, by the belief that if you patiently assess the situation, the correct path will appear before you. It’s what led her and her husband to make the decision to try homeschooling when their first child, Declan, approached preschool age. 

“Being at home has always been how he refuels,” she said. “So when a lot of his friends were bounding off to go do things in the mornings, his pace was always a little bit different. Crowds did not agree with him. So we just kept him home. And then we just kept keeping him home. He’s 12 now, and every year we revisit our decision. We’re always up for change, but it continues to be model that works for him as well as our daughter Quinn who’s now 9.” 

Some of the advantages of this decision have been obvious: Time spent according to the choices and interests of her children, as opposed to what someone else thinks is important. But some of the advantages have been surprising. Erica says that she’s always been an adventurous person with a tendency to go exploring. Declan has shown her the happiness that can come with staying put for a while. “That’s part of the cool dynamic between us,” she said. “I’ve helped stretch him into the world and he helped nurture my connection with the home space.”

hvparent articles

Not surprisingly, Erica’s “day job” is guided by intuition as well. At her studio known as Wyld Acres, she practices intuitive energy healing and sacred caretaking. 

Voices from within

“One of my favorite takeaways about being a healer is something I’ve learned from being a mom: What’s the problem behind the problem?” says Erica. “Sometimes we try to solve a particular issue, but it turns out that’s not the main issue. It’s just a symptom of something else. So as an energy healer, I really enjoy letting some of these bodies speak to my hands, and spending time there. I work with that person’s energy and spirit, and then talk to them about it. That way we unravel something together that might  missed and is actually the crux of their issue.”  

But Erica’s specialty is working with mothers-to-be, helping them to hear whatever their child is trying to tell them. She usually begins a session with some questions and mediation before she begins laying hands on the parent’s chakras -the centers of spiritual power that are spread throughout the body - or, wherever the child tells Erica to lay them.  

“The parent will tell me what they hear, I share what I hear,” she said. “Sometimes the child has specific messages that are delivered a certain way and we talk about what that means. The session closes with some final thoughts from the child, some centering and grounding for the mom before she returns to the regular world. Usually I have feelings of elation, peace, hope and great joy.” 

hudson valley parent, hvp, hvparent, parenting in the hudson valley,

The path ahead

Besides joy, moms often leave the session with a vision of what parenting their child will be like, and a new view of the parent/child relationship: As a team, with both parties working together towards common goals. “Children are beings that we’re not in charge of, that we’re responsible for living with, and helping them find their path,” she said. “But we have such a joyful path ourselves along the way and alongside them. I can’t think of a greater gift in my particular life.”  

Erica continues to take joy in walking that path, even when it seems to lead into darkness. Recently, she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at the young age of 45. Despite the severity of the diagnosis, she remains focused on the road ahead, appreciative for the many gifts of her life, and driven to continue sharing those gifts with the world.  

“I'm excited about the adventure of it,” she says with her characteristic sense of grace. “And being an energy healer as well as a parent truly informs so many of the gifts along this path.”

big book of health, free copy

Brian PJ Cronin is the editor of Hudson Valley Parent magazine. 

Other articles by or about "I am a Hudson Valley Parent"

  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Sarah Omura

    A momtrepreneur in a community of makers

    Sarah Omura used her creativity to turn her son's handmade play mats into a business that kids love and parents appreciate. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Pastor Jeromey Howard

    Drawing inspiration from parenting

    Pastor Jeromey Howard is making a new home for himself in Orange County and a family within his congregation at First Presbyterian Church in Montgomery. He turns to his young daughter when he needs inspiration and to get a glimpse of how humanity should be. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Melissa Banks

    Making every day like Christmas

    Melissa Banks's generosity spreads to families throughout Ulster County each year through her organization Christmas Wishes. See how she turned hardship into an opportunity to give back. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Allison Conti

    Advocating for families with special needs

    Dutchess County mom Allison Conti has always been an advocate for her own family's special needs. Now, she is known as an advocate for other families and stands with those in her community and beyond. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Dan Hoffman

    Parenting with a 24/7 career

    Dutchess County dad and New York State Trooper Dan Hoffman makes sure his children know that police work never stops. He is lucky to have a supportive wife and a troop of officers beside him that can be there for his family when he is working. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Amal Ishak

    Turning sweet dreams into reality

    Orange County mom Amal Ishak turned daydreams of a trendy boutique into a successful business that brings flare to the city that she loves. She counts on her "Liberty Street family" as a support system. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Randi Zinn

    Going beyond being a mom to start a movement

    Randi Zinn is the author and founder of Beyond Mom. Her book has turned into a movement that helps other moms push themselves to live fully and drop the mommy guilt. read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Chris Hewitt

    Learning from the land and raising happy teens

    With a newspaper, a regional currency and an estate caretaking business, how does Chris Hewitt find time to raise two teenagers? read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Amy Dooley

    Finding a balance as a family

    Amy Dooley is a mom above everything. She balances going back to school and starting her own business while still making time for her daughters and their artistic interests read more »
  • I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Kristen Brown

    Raising her family on the farm

    Family farming has always been a part of Kristen Brown's life. The Orange County mom now shares her love of cows and agriculture with her growing family and with her community. read more »