I’m delighted to have been featured in Voyage Chicago as an inspiring local business!  To read the article, click the following link: Voyage Chicago


To read the full transcripts, please read below:


Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessie Walter.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessie Walter. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Balanced Presence came to be as I was attempting to combine the many healing modalities that I love. To me, I saw the name as a reflection of the best moments in life; when we are present and engaged in the now, and often that is most possible when we have learned to ebb and flow with flexibility, and we feel a sense of balance and wholeness.

In 2005, I graduated from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy. However, a year out of school, I suffered an injury that caused me to lose use of my right arm for over ten months. During that time, a friend asked me if I would be interested in walking her dog while I was out of work. Little did I know that now, eleven years later, I would still be dog walking! Dog walking and cat sits are my day job. I call that business, The Diddy Club. After several months in occupational therapy, my arm began to heal, and I returned to the world of massage. I began to teach for the Cortiva Institute (formerly the Chicago School of Massage Therapy) as a lead massage instructor, while also working in their professional massage clinic. I remained with the school for nearly a decade before deciding to be fully independent.

One day, in 2010, while talking to a massage colleague, I learned about canine massage therapy. I was intrigued, as it combined the two things I loved most – massage and dogs! I invested fifteen months in training with the Chicago School of Canine Massage (CSCM). From there, I began working at For Your Canine in Melrose Park, offering human and canine massage therapy, as well as teaching, on and off, for the CSCM. During my canine massage training I witnessed the power of Reiki and decided to invest the next three years earning my Reiki Master Level. What profound experiences I have been blessed to witness!

In 2013 I began having issues with my vision and learned I have a rare auto-immune disorder called Acute Zonal Occult Outer Retinopathy (AZOOR). Basically, the disorder whites out my vision when I encounter sunlight and bright light. It also has led to significant color-blindness, in certain light. It’s unfortunately quite rare and thus there is little research. I am very blessed, however, as I am still able to drive and function without too much intrusion. Also, with my massage palpation skills, I am able to navigate in difficult lighting and feel my way through situations. It’s been a learning curve, but I feel thankful, as I am required to be present in all moments of my life for mere safety.

As a huge believer that we are what we eat, I began studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and became a Holistic Health Coach. However, I wanted to go farther with my studies, and really learn how to transform mindset. I decided to study Transformational Coaching with Holistic MBA, completing their foundational and mastery programs. In these programs we learned intensive coaching skills, allowing us to not only help others reach lasting transformation, but we experienced its magic firsthand. Transformational Coaching is about rewiring the brain to align your beliefs to what you are seeking, rather than what you have endured. It’s about freeing ourselves from the meanings we have made about the past, that we have marked ourselves with, to be able to live more freely from our deeper sense of self. It’s incredibly powerful and beautiful work. This level of coaching has allowed me to serve so many amazing clients and witness them making major shifts in their lives.

In 2015 I was honored to begin writing a weekly self-growth column for the Hometown Gazette of Union City, Michigan. This is my hometown newspaper! What a great privilege to share my learned tools with this amazing small community. I’m excited to be returning there in October to host a seminar at the All Things Serenity Yoga and Events Center on how to incorporate the things we love more fully into our busy lives.

So, what is Balanced Presence? It’s me, having the honor of doing human and canine massage therapy and Reiki, as well as, Transformational Life Coaching, for those ready to move forward, empowered in their lives. The published articles are available through my weekly newsletter so that these learned tools can be of greater service. I have a Facebook page called Balanced Presence, Jessie Walter. I also have two groups that I host – For the Love Of, which is about creating community and breaking the loneliness that so many of us experience, doing fun local activities. Our next outing is September 30th to an apple orchard. The other group is Balanced Presence – Coaching Corner, which is open to those seeking coaching in a safe and vulnerable environment. Both groups are open to the public.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I believe that we can perceive opportunities as challenges, if we choose to. When my vision changed, I initially wondered how I would be able to keep dog walking. But, then what I came to realize is that the Universe was already preparing me for this change by having me build my palpation (or touch) skills through massage therapy. I was able to hold the strength of mindset because of my Transformational Coaching tools, and thus not victimizing myself. I see all challenges as opportunities for lessons, and that is what I thrive on. As a Transformational Life Coach, I know I can only take my clients as far on their journey as I am willing to go on my own, and that is incentive to always be seeking.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Balanced Presence – what should we know?
As there are many aspects to my business, I feel that allows me to potentially serve my clients in a multitude of ways with the hopes that the greatest changes are available to them.

As for human massage therapy, I specialize in pain management and injury/surgical prevention and recovery. I work specifically with the intention of discovering the source of the pain and offering the body the opportunity to be freed from it. I believe anatomical knowledge allows the practitioner to more fully address the concern of the client, and I pride myself on this sense of commitment.

As for coaching, how am I different? There are so many coaching voices out there.  I think that it is crucial for the client to feel that sense of connection to who you are as a person. I think that’s where writing a weekly article proves valuable to my services. My clients can learn who I am, what I believe, how I work, and what I stand for in my articles. They can read about how I live, utilizing the learned tools that I would be sharing throughout our work together. They can come to see that I am not about painting my life as perfect, but rather, hopefully, seeing the value of the vulnerability that I feel is the true connector of souls.

My jobs are my passions. I love dogs, love massage, love coaching, love writing. I believe in nutrition, Reiki, Aromatherapy, and more than anything, the power of love to unite us all. I’m proud to understand that and hold that as the heart of all of my business endeavors.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh, heavens, yes! I am so blessed to have been led to so many incredible supporters and mentors!

While teaching at the Chicago School of Canine Massage I met Jesse— much later he would become the love-of-my-life. Yes, both our names are Jessie/Jesse. He is a graphic designer, and has given my website and marketing an injection of creativity and professionalism that I had only dreamed about. Beyond that, he is a partner that allows my growth, as well as also being a self-seeker. I’m so thankful to have such a magnificent human as my partner.

My dogs! I have three! Benson, Delilah, and Freya. They are my greatest teachers, as they look on Jesse and I with such trust. If you need to learn a life lesson – get a dog! They will reshape your heart and awaken you to what is in need of healing and growth.

My Aunt Anne, who kindly edits my articles each week before I send them to the newspaper editor. Without her, I am confident my articles would not be as respectable or as reaching. She is a true blessing!

The owners of the dogs in my pack, who are always so generously flexible to allow me to attend both massage and coaching workshops, that at times fall during my normal walking hours. Their kindness is unmatched.

My mentors – some have passed on, some I have never met, some I am humbled to share time with. I am a learner, and these amazing voices have understood how to feed me.

Geoff Binns-Calvey, my friend, who showed me through photography to honor my beauty and trust in myself. He helped build my confidence and I am eternally grateful for his family’s kindnesses.

My girlfriends – thankful for their laughter and insights!

My parents who have never said “no” to any of my seemingly crazy ideas on how to make a living!

Mother Nature… while this may seem peculiar, please understand, I am outside for over six hours a day, dog walking, no matter the weather. I am also an avid hiker and adventurer who has been touched by the unparalleled beauty that is offered freely to every soul. There is a love that emanates from nature that serves as a connector to each one of us. Being able to hold majesty, understanding, and gratitude for this magnificence, reminds me of how blessed my life truly is.

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