MEET Intuitive artisan carissa beresford
Carissa Beresford (she/her)
Owner & Founder of Waterfall of Wellness (WoW Mississauga), Intuitive Energy Worker, Reiki Master/Teacher, Artisan, Facilitator, Creator, Writer, Therapeutic Arts Life Coach, Healer, Spiritual Empowerment Coach, Entrepreneur, Auntie, Resilient & Resourceful Mama
Carissa Beresford is an entrepreneur of mixed Indigenous and European descent. Carissa’s journey as an entrepreneur is one of reclaiming and healing, tapping into naturally developed gifts from ancestral wisdom, and embodying the full expression of her Spirit.
Carissa is the founder of Waterfall of Wellness (WoW Mississauga), an award winning holistic wellness brand providing healing services, workshops, and self-care products honouring the Medicine Wheel Teachings and bridging the gap between physical and spiritual realms. After her own experience of feeling as if her voice had been taken from her, Carissa’s voice and words have gained strength over time. Carissa is here to help those who feel they can’t, or haven’t spoken up. Now, through WoW, Carissa encourages mindfulness, balance and connection through self-care and filling your own cup.
Waterfall of Wellness, WoW Mississauga is located on the traditional lands of the Anishnabek, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. WoW acknowledges and gives thanks to all traditional Indigenous stewards of the lands and the waters.
A portion of every sale of WoW Mississauga is donated to Angel Hugs to purchase yarn. Angel Hugs is a non-profit providing handmade items for trauma victims, those diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, young mothers at risk, and the homeless population. Carissa’s relationship with Angel Hugs has continued for over 20 years, serving in various roles such as the former President for 8 years. Now, she gives back to this beautiful community through sponsorship.
Carissa continues to serve in her community through WoW Mississauga. She has received a number of awards for her contributions to her community. Some include; CommunityVotes Mississauga 2021: Platinum winner - Candles, Platinum winner - Aromatherapy, and Platinum winner - Cosmetics & Perfumes. Mississauga News Readers' Choice Awards 2021: Gold winner - Holistic Health/Healing and Gold winner - New Business. CommunityVotes Mississauga 2022: Platinum winner - Candles, Platinum winner - Aromatherapy, and Platinum winner - Cosmetics & Perfumes. Mississauga News Readers' Choice Awards 2022: Gold winner - Holistic Health/Healing, Gold winner - Alternative Medicine/Healing, and Diamond winner - Aromatherapy. CommunityVotes Mississauga 2023: Platinum winner - Candles, Platinum winner - Aromatherapy, and Platinum winner - Cosmetics & Perfumes.
“As I continue on my path of healing and spiritual development, I want to share the benefits I’ve experienced from my holistic lifestyle with those seeking their own healing path.”
-Carissa Beresford, Waterfall of Wellness
MORE ABOUT CARISSA
Carissa’s story is a journey of discovery with more left to uncover and learn as her family's ancestral story has mixed ancestry on both sides. Carissa is an Anishnabe kwe, Eagle Clan from Mississauga, ancestor of European settlers, the Beothuk, Innu and Mi'kmaq peoples. This mixed ancestral story has led Carissa down a long and winding path of discovering her roots, her ancestral lineage, and what it means to be Urban Indigenous. She is bridging the gap for future generations through intergenerational healing of reclaiming all hidden parts of her family stories.
As a part of her ancestral journey and developing her Indigeneity, Carissa has received her spirit name in ceremony. Her spirit name is a big responsibility, which Carissa is working towards stepping into it fully with a wide array of colours bridging the gap between the spiritual and physical. Gently referred to as, “Rainbow Woman”, Carissa works with all colours and this is extended in the WoW Mississauga as part of an extension of Carissa, a sharing of her that now includes her Indigenous identity, acknowledgment of her ancestors and through this recovery--resilience.
Many elements of WoW have hidden spiritual meanings. Some are through ancient symbols and traditional healing while others are more personal to the discovery of Carissa's family story. Carissa has always been very connected to Spirit and encourages others to connect with their own Spirit and to embody the full expression of their soul purpose.
Carissa’s work ethic, drive, and journey toward entrepreneurship and self-healing inform her approach to business and Waterfall of Wellness' aims, while her young family and mindset which has been shaped and reshaped-by-motherhood help guide her continued journey of healing and business approach. It’s reciprocal divine energy.
Carissa’s professional life began and appeared set when she started out as an Early Childhood Educator employed by the same childcare center she attended as a child. She was on a path to a full-time contract within the government facility. However, when the center closed, life crashed down on Carissa, leaving her feeling hopeless and lost. Other factors and lived experiences contributed to this transformative moment in her story. Her life journey has featured abusive relationships, unsatisfactory jobs in the corporate world, and a multitude of health issues caused by stress and a workplace injury. These experiences and the knowledge gained therein have helped Carissa find her healing journey and serve as some of the motivations for starting WoW.
The new beginnings of WoW Mississauga was initially inspired by a local waterfall -- a special place of healing, connection, reflection and Carissa’s shift towards abundance, nourishment and self-love. A time and place, special to Carissa, which marked the beginning of a healing journey of balance and this nourished her as she embraces a life of many experiences including, a change in her career, the depths of friendship, healing, a continued relationship with her life partner and the birth of her beautiful daughter as she became a mother. This time and place Carissa made for herself at the waterfall inspired the name Waterfall of Wellness and also the concept Carissa talks about -- the cup that overflows/sharing with others (like a waterfall) that she balanced with time and space for self/self love so her cup is full and not empty.
WoW is Carissa’s holistic wellness business that came to fruition in 2019 with Carissa and her best friend, Alaini, a red-seal chef, developing products and partnering in their entrepreneurial endeavours. Through collaboration and co-creation with Alaini, Carissa anchored the WoW signature product, Lavender Whipped Body Butter, inspired by their friendship. Things took a turn when Alaini needed to focus on her family, stepping aside while remaining a source of encouragement and support for Carissa.
In 2020, Carissa and her life partner faced many great losses. As part of Carissa’s healing, she was called to “birth her creativity”. While fully supported by her spouse, she gave life to the business, Waterfall of Wellness. Family, healing and compassion are at the front and center of WoW Mississauga.
In March 2021, Carissa found out she was pregnant after suffering an episode of Bell’s Palsy. Carissa found relief through holistic healing, drumming, singing, connecting with ancestors and traditional medicines. By the summer, Carissa, baby in womb and her mother were very active at markets and events. Three generations in community, sharing and growing together.
As Carissa’s life path can be a teacher for many of us, things changed again when Alaini was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in May 2022. To make the journey more complicated, Carissa was dealing with the emotional, neurological, and life-altering realities of being a new mother at the same time. Yet, Carissa’s journey of healing and enabling others to find their healing is not a solitary journey as Alaini’s recipes, guidance and unconditional love still guides Carissa and helps inform Wow's changing and growing mission despite no longer being with us on this plane. And even now, that Alaini has passed into the spirit world, their friendship and work continues as an extension of Carissa and Alaini, a sharing of friendship and community.
What’s entirely unique about Waterfall of Wellness is the healing that Carissa is doing for herself through her products on an extremely deep level, like her need to hide gems everywhere and the emerging Holistic Healing with Hidden Gems product line, wherein Carissa and the purchasers healing is revealed overtime, when it’s ready and needed the most. Everything is curated in ceremony and incorporates multiple modalities of healing. Carissa brought in the healing earth element with a bit of fun and games -- through hidden gemstones in the WoW creations. Fun and games is at the heart of many cultures including Indigenous and European cultures, which Carissa incorporated in WoW Mississauga, a reflection, extension of Carissa- grounded in fun and games which now includes the healing properties of our beautiful mother earth through hidden gemstones as well as plant medicine ingredients through essential oils.
“I want everyone to experience the same spiritual connection of self-love and mindfulness that is possible for all of us as the hidden gems we are.”
- Carissa Beresford
Waterfall of Wellness
Carissa's Impact Statement
Carissa’s life journey, holistic lifestyle, skills, knowledge, and spiritual gifts are the services hidden in the products available from Waterfall of Wellness. People searching for their path to healing can explore Carissa’s services like workshops, Reiki, Therapeutic Arts life coaching, and purchase natural wellness products. Each of these aspects of WoW Mississauga is informed by Carissa’s unique combination of skills, education, life experiences, and her journey through spiritual growth and healing.
Carissa expanded the WoW product line as she and her new family grew to include candles which represent the fire, the spark of life fueled by air representing mind, thoughts, and intentions. Carissa aims to be very intentional about how she lives and runs her business. WoW are Carissa’s thoughts and intentions that include her life experiences of healing and balance and resilience that she shares as a mother, partner, friend, grand daughter, auntie, daughter, sister and cousin. WoW is an extension of Carissa in products of simple, natural ingredients that also include: reiki infused symbols and intentions for life; Indigenous wisdom of plant medicines; and fun and games through hidden gemstones in nourishing products for our mind, body and spirit.
At the core of Waterfall of Wellness’ business ethos is a deep motivation to honour dearly departed friends, new family, and the connection between the physical and spiritual realms while empowering people to find, explore, and experience the healing from self-love and mindfulness that Carissa knows all too well from life's winding path. Carissa connects people powerfully to their own ability to connect with their Inner Self and Spirit, heal themselves, and increase their personal power.
“I really want to help heal and unlock the path to healing for people, empowering them to know that they are healers themselves. I’m not saying, I want to heal the world or anything like that; I really believe that we all have that power and that hidden gem within us all. You have to unlock something: a gift that you have within yourself, and I want to help empower people to find their hidden gem, unlocking their pathway to healing, self-love, and mindfulness.
One of the big things I want for people is to be able to fill their own cups and realize we need to fill up our cups until they overflows with gifts for everyone to help promote greater health, healing, and well-being.”
“We all have so much beauty in us that we need to bring out of ourselves and that's part of the hidden gems product line. They can be an experiential step on the path to healing and improved well-being”.
- Carissa Beresford, Waterfall of Wellness
What's Next for Waterfall of Wellness?
Carissa’s renewed focus on honouring her family and departed friend, empowering people to find their path to healing, storytelling and best serving her young family are the motivations behind Waterfall of Wellness’ current mission and ethos. Collaborating with partners to increase reach and bring more healing to the community is a priority for the next stage of development.
Alongside the existing menu of products and services, future projects that fall under WoW's umbrella and renewed mission include expanding the range of products and services to include food products, in honour of Alaini and the changes we go through in life. Alaini’s recipes and spirit will continue to uplift and nourish others through WoW.
Carissa loves to create things and has developed products characterized as “Holistic Healing with Hidden Gems,” where products like rose quartz crystals are infused into candles to promote self-love while revealing encouragement, as the wick illuminates brightly and melts the wax. These “hidden gems” help those on their healing journey, but they also serve as a metaphor for Carissa’s life, as much of her past and ancestry had been hidden from her, revealed over time, opening new paths on life’s journey.
Along with healing, everyone has a hidden story with much to be revealed. We can reclaim all parts of us that have been lost.
Carissa’s family lineage and new motherhood have inspired another spark to help new young families like Carissa’s. Breastfeeding is something Carissa's family has struggled with for multiple generations. Carissa was the first to fight hereditary lactation concerns successfully on her healing journey. Carissa’s lactation challenges, coupled with a global formula shortage, led to incredible stress, fear, and anxiety about being able to produce enough for her daughter.
However, Carissa gained deep knowledge and immense experience in what works and what doesn’t to provide lactation support. This resulted in an envisioned line of natural products designed for lactation support for those mothers whose mindsets focus on their bodies producing enough breastmilk to provide for their child. While the lactation support product is yet to reach fruition, but could easily fall under the WoW MoM line of products, including essential oil mixtures to help with postpartum depression, initially designed as a secret way to help friends along their path to healing.
The WoW MoM line also has visions of teaching other mothers how to create their own medicine in a person-to-person group scenario where knowledge and healing methods are shared and passed on to other Moms and future generations within the community.
In the long term, Carissa envisions a world where "WoW becomes bigger than her," with wellness centers and spaces for workshops in a potential non-profit branch under Waterfall of Wellness’ umbrella in the future.
"Carissa has a warm, loving energy. She exudes a gentle and calming presence which no doubt gets infused in all the wellness products she makes and enables her clients to feel comfortable when working with Carissa as a coach or receiving reiki services. Carissa clearly has gifts of deep listening, empathy, compassion, vision and confidence. Carissa is the true embodiment of a spiritual entrepreneur." - Vanessa Lesperance, LIFT Circle Lead
The LIFTing Your Leadership program brings together a cohort of 12 entrepreneurs for a combination of business development activities and relational resources co-created by The Indigenous LIFT Collective and co-facilitated by guest Indigenous Aunties bi-weekly.
These stories have been crafted in co-creation with the entrepreneur via the Amplify program which provides a combination of listening sessions and story coaching to create a digital profile for each cohort member. The Amplify portion of the project ensures Indigenous peoples and their perspectives are celebrated, seen and heard.
reGEN media will be creating a six-minute documentary to showcase hope, possibility, and the potential of collaborative partnerships to contribute towards Economic Reconciliation.
The co-creation of this impact initiative in its entirety is supported and made possible with our funding partners, Sunshine Coast Insurance Services Inc. and the Sunshine Coast Credit Union with the support of the Co-operators Advisor Community Fund. The Co-operators Advisor Community Fund supplements Financial Advisors’ donations to their community to help address unmet social, economic, and environmental needs, and build resilient communities for Canadians.
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