Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.
Gloria Osborne-Sheeler is a First Generation Panamanian-American licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and holistic healer who founded Glow In Therapy, Inc. providing online therapy. She specializes in helping women of color and couples of color through evidence-based practices and a spiritual wellness approach. The LA-based Afro-Latina also owns and operates a coaching and consulting business, Glow in Practice. Her work centers on the power of accessing and maintaining inner peace through ancestral healing, meditation, breathwork, and other forms of spirituality. Through her Instagram she highlights her own healing journey while sharing mental health practices, celebrating her roots and Afro-Latinidad, and discussing the importance of BIPOC healing.
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
My beautiful mother. I am inspired by her bravery, courage, and strength in leaving her life, family, and home country of Panama in pursuit of a better life for herself and I in the early 90s. Without her initial sacrifice and decision to immigrate to the U.S. , I wouldn’t have had the educational, professional, or personal opportunities that I’ve been blessed with.
If you could meet a Latina icon who is no longer alive, who would it be and why?
Celia Cruz because my childhood would not be the same without her vibrant, feel good salsa music that was often heard daily. I am inspired by her as an Afro-Latina who confidently and fearlessly used her voice and talents to establish her presence all while encouraging others to celebrate life.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
It was hard to choose between these two as I use them both simultaneously to help me get through most days: “This Too Shall Pass.” – Often times when faced with challenges or hardships, it can feel hard to not give up or throw in the towel. This helps me remember that whatever I am experiencing is temporary and things will get better in due time.
“Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.” – I can’t expect for things to improve or change for the best without putting in any effort to do something differently. This helps me to get out of my head and put some action into going after the life I desire.
Who was the first person to believe in your dreams/goals?
I give credit to my mother, my stepfather, and my elementary school teachers who saw and recognized my academic gifts and potential before I could. Those initial seeds that were planted at such a young age gave me the belief and the confidence that I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.
How do you stay connected to your cultural roots?
Most definitely eating delicious home cooked meals and cafecito made by my mom or grandma. Listening to and unapologetically dancing to Panamanian Tipico, Reggae or Plena music, Reggaeton, and Salsa daily. Also, connecting with and displaying authentic Panamanian molas — handmade textiles by the indigenous Guna Yala people of Panama — throughout my home.
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
The healing journey requires consistency, dedication, forgiveness, grace, and patience. In my experience, some people believe that coming to a few therapy sessions or doing a few things for self-care will magically cure things or make things better overnight. Even when you are doing the work, you will have set backs but it does not mean that you aren’t progressing. Staying committed to yourself and your healing, no matter how long it takes, is a declaration of radical self-love. Your future self will thank you!
What motivates you?
Connecting with my inner child and making all her dreams/wishes come true. I am motivated by my resilient inner niña who dreamt of having a peaceful and fruitful life connected to my purpose. Connecting with my inner niña through play, creativity, curiosity, and being at ease provides me with the motivation to continue doing the healing work on myself and others.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
I remember the distinct moment where I felt that I had been connected with my calling to be a therapist and healer at age 14. I had been through many hardships in my childhood and was taken to see my first therapist, a LCSW, after I experienced my first panic attack. I was so inspired by the idea of a profession where someone could provide a safe space for me to make sense of the hardships I had experienced, to learn to connect with myself and my emotions, and utilize my voice to take ownership of my story as a means for my own healing. My therapist also assisted and motivated me to recognize my own unique gifts and potential to heal and inspire others and I never looked back! I set out to become a therapist so I could provide the people in my community with a safe, healing space where they could also be seen and heard by someone that looks like them and understands the complexities of Latinx culture.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?
My greatest professional achievement is being able to create a mental health brand and private practice that I believe in; One that supports my culture and my community in healing and prioritizing themselves without feeling guilty for doing so. Many of us grew up in homes where things like mental health and self-care were not modeled for us and we often find ourselves judging or shaming ourselves for “not knowing any better.” Being able to create a healing and spiritual space where others have permission to deshogarse (release), let go of outdated messaging that no longer serves them, and feel seen and heard by someone who looks like them is a dream come true for me.
My greatest personal achievement is obtaining and maintaining my sobriety for these past four years. I come from a family lineage of alcoholism on both sides of my family. Being able to break out a generational familial pattern that is often so normalized in our culture has been my saving grace.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
I hope to be able to write a book about my life journey and the way I’ve overcome the hardships and traumas I’ve been faced with. My hope is to be able to inspire others coming from similar backgrounds in demonstrating that regardless of the cards you’re dealt in life, anything is possible when you believe in yourself and your dreams. How I’m presently working on accomplishing this is taking lots of notes, spending time in meditation, giving myself permission to take my time, and finding inspiration by reconnecting with the stories that inspired me growing up.
What pop culture moment made you feel seen?
When HBO Max released the show, Gordita Chronicles, which is all about a Dominican family who immigrates to the U.S. in the 1980s. I felt so seen and connected to the show through the challenges one faces and overcomes as a First Gen immigrant. I really loved the representation of Caribbean Latinx in the media as there are many similarities between Dominicans and Panamanians. I was so sad when they cancelled the series!
How do you practice self care?
Making sure that I am doing something daily that connects me with healing, safety, trust, and joy in my body, mind, and spirit. Some of these things look like being at ease, honoring my gratitude practice, breathwork, meditation, prayer, journaling, crystals, exercise, listening to music, dancing on my daily walks, and of course, prioritizing my own therapy!
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan:
Sonia Fregoso, LMFT (@lasoniafregoso) because she is a fellow Latinx therapist who also believes in the importance of integrating spirituality and mental health for healing the whole person. I am inspired by her authenticity, her beautiful presence (inside and out), and her offerings for our community.
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why:
Yai’s Naturals (@yaisnaturals) because her spiritual candles are absolutely beautiful, uplifting, and smell so delicious. Esoteric Esa (@esoteric_esa) because her astrological and spiritual guidance is on point! I also really appreciate her magical oracle deck: The Modern Spiritual Latina Oracle, which allows me to be spiritually guided by and connected to my ancestral, cultural, and indigenous roots.