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Joyful Connections

Healing Body, Mind and Spirit

Amy Nesdahl, a Reiki Master, intuitive healer and owner of Joyful Connections, in New Brighton, began her career far from the world of complementary therapies. After earning a master’s degree in audiology, she spent some time working in that field, but soon felt unsatisfied with her chosen career path. She began trying other vocations and eventually landed in real-estate sales.

“I enjoyed real estate and liked helping people, but when I had my first child [in 2000], I knew that working 50 to 60 hours per week was not going to work, so I became a stay-at-home mom,” says Nesdahl. Though she loved being home with her baby, she still felt the need to get out of the house and do something more. In 2003, she enrolled in a community education class called Metaphysics 101, and it changed her life.

“After the class, I went up to the teacher and immediately started to cry,” Nesdahl says. “I just felt so desperate, sad and alone. I was unfulfilled. She suggested I go to [a healer in] Annandale for a Reiki healing session, so I decided to go for it.”


After that first session, Nesdahl says she felt as if she had just gone through years of therapy in an hour. “All of the stress and sadness I was feeling just lifted,” she says. “I was blown away by how powerful and effective it was.” When she went back for another session two weeks later, she asked how she could learn the healing therapy. “I just knew my purpose in life was to share Reiki with others.”

She began taking classes and then “testing the waters” on friends. The more Reiki she performed, the better and more focused she became. At the time, however, Reiki—as well as many other complementary therapies—wasn’t as prevalent as it is now and Nesdahl didn’t know anyone else who practiced it. She felt alone and unsure of her path—until she told her family about her new passion. She had been concerned about their reaction, but was pleasantly surprised. Her grandmother, Bonnie Sheets, said that she had benefited from energy healing, and added that her niece, Beverly Farris, was the longtime owner of The Reiki Center in Sacramento, California. It was exactly what Nesdahl needed to hear.

She contacted Farris, who agreed to mentor her from afar. “I couldn’t have been happier and she has been a wonderful mentor to me ever since,” Nesdahl says.

In 2007, after the birth of her second child, Nesdahl got her first Reiki job. “I had always worked on friends and family, so this was my first time offering services to people I didn’t know,” she says. “It changed everything for me. I could see the energy align and the amazing changes happening in others. It was very profound and helped me to become more comfortable with myself and what I was doing.”

After the studio closed, Nesdahl began working from her home, offering Reiki sessions as well as teaching classes in an effort to reach more people and help make Reiki better known. She also works part-time at a chiropractor’s office, which she says helped add more credibility to her Reiki work. “Back then, people didn’t understand Reiki, and many still don’t,” she explains. “Reiki is not a way of life or form of religion. It is simply aligning oneself with the energy of the Universe and moving through life with more ease and less struggle. It’s great for relieving stress, finding your center and making major shifts in your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual life.”

Earlier this year, Nea DallaValle, a former client and student, approached Nesdahl about starting a business together, and Nesdahl agreed. They opened Joyful Connections, a healing center that provides services and classes to help people through their own transformation, last month. Nesdahl and DallaValle offer Reiki, soul coaching, intuitive healing and bodywork, as well as a variety of classes and workshops on such topics as meditation, spirituality, energy, passion, and the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Nesdahl says the new center is one step toward her dream of providing a place of support, encouragement and mentoring for anyone who is drawn to Reiki or any healing modality. “My dream is to create a ‘hub’ for healers to work together, get training and advice, have a safe place to learn and ask questions and have a place for sharing and fellowship. I would love to see dozens of Reiki masters in the area.”

For both women, the center is just the beginning. “We call our current space ‘phase one,’” explains Nesdahl. “We have big dreams and are excited to see where the Universe leads us.”

Joyful Connections is located at 1401 Silver Lake Rd., #2B, New Brighton. For more information, call 763-229-9988 or visit


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