My Story

“I read a book called The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships, by Sobonfu Somé– and then tracked her down for 6 months. Three years later I was one of a handful of Westerners to get initiated into the rites, rituals, and healing wisdom of her tradition.”

Susan Hough has been living her gift for over 35 years. A born healer, she began her journey on the East Coast working with teens. The rites of passage of losing her mother, being diagnosed with breast cancer, and suffering through a divorce caused Susan’s entire life to shift.

Experiencing so many deeply challenging experiences into rites of passage, which deepened her journey to heal herself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Studying the teachings of Sobonfu Somé, Susan felt her life shifting in a new and profound way. After reading Sobonfu’s book The Spirit of Intimacy several times, she knew they had to meet. When she finally met Sobonfu, they connected deeply and spiritually, and their lives became intertwined almost immediately. For the next eighteen years, Sobonfu mentored her in the practice of traditional African rituals. Through these rituals, Susan expanded the role that indigenous teachings play in her life and vowed to share this wisdom; creating Living Your Gifts.

Susan has the rare perspective of having a background in counseling, studying indigenous healing methods, being an ordained minister and is trained as a life coach. With her diversity of education and experience, she has combined her teachings to develop a coaching practice that honors authenticity and rituals while integrating counseling methods. Susan’s approach to Coaching focuses on living your gifts and enabling you to share them with the world. She makes it very clear that to really transform she and all of us need to bring our authentic self forward even when it’s difficult.

Susan has over 35 years’ experience in counseling working with teens. Susan was mentored by Sobonfu Somé for 18 years. She is a CTI Life Coach, and has trained with Mietek Wierkus in energy healing, Mary Branch Grove in the healing arts, and Jennifer Halls in intuitive healing. Susan has adopted and been mentored by Robert Strock’s work through Global Bridge Foundation. She is also an ordained minister. Susan is the Youth Coordinator and President for Wisdom Spring, Inc., with a fundraising program “Walking For Water,” which has placed over thirty-five wells in isolated villages in indigenous communities throughout Africa and India. She has educated over three thousand children and teenagers both stateside and abroad. She trains teens to claim their gifts through leadership coaching, community connection as well as humanitarian projects.

I Work With You to Create a Custom Approach For Our Work Together

Each person has their own style and needs in terms of what they are hoping to achieve with coaching or any of the ritual work we might do. The best way for me to be of service is to listen to gain a deeper understanding of what your heart is passionate about. We are sometimes so disconnected from our gifts that it takes time to wake them back up. It can feel like new territory, and my job is to be right alongside you. This is how we start to build community together. Being seen for our gifts is essential for healing. 


Susan has decades of experience working with teens, both individually and in groups, to help shape confidence and encourage resilience so that they can find their voice. 


Let Susan support you to create rituals that can weave into your everyday life. She is also an ordained minister and has performed weddings, memorials and rites of passage ceremonies.

Life Coaching

Life and Spiritual Coaching for Individuals and Groups. Experience emotional and spiritual growth. Identify patterns that no longer serve you and connect to your purpose.


Susan has taught at over 50 retreats, working to build group conflict resolution and engaged community skills, centering on relationships, communication and ritual. 

Public Speaking

Over the last 20 years, Susan has traveled the world speaking on topics about changing your life story, envisioning the future, and the role of ancient rituals in the modern world.


Living Your Gifts is a spiritual coaching practice dedicated to helping clients remove mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical blocks from their lives. Concentrating on ancient rituals, Susan guides her clients through rites of passage and helps them grow both spiritually and emotionally. Susan helps clients break patterns and realign with their true purpose. She believes that we all have the power to change our narrative and live our lives free of emotional toxicity.

Her modernized approach to life coaching uses exercises, prompts, and most importantly indigenous rituals taught to her by the late Sobonfu Somé. When we eliminate fear and toxic emotions we can truly live our gifts and be of service to ourselves and most importantly our communities.


Growing up I was always surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors. I was blessed to live with my maternal grandmother and have my cousins spend summers with us in the country. Love and laughter always filled our home, and those are my fondest childhood memories. At the time I didn’t realize that I was growing up in a tight knit community, and reaping the rewards of connection.

When my spiritual mentor told me about The Spirit of Intimacy, I was intrigued. Reading and re-reading The Spirit of Intimacy by Sobonfu Somé made me feel alive and awakened. At the time I was working in mental health and I loved my job. I worked mostly with teen populations, helping them heal emotionally. The Spirit of Intimacy supported my work and took it to a deeper level. Sobonfu’s words reassured me that I was on the right path, but that my journey was just beginning.

I learned that in the indigenous Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso, West Africa, you begin your life connected to Source. The Dagara believe that everyone brings something vital to Village life; something that is needed now, something that will be needed or something that they have been waiting for. Every GIFT is a thread in the vitality and life of the Village. Once you arrive, it is your community’s responsibility to recognize, nurture and mentor your GIFT; and to keep you connected to Source through rites and rituals. I saw the parallels in my own childhood, growing up in a tight knit community with everyone contributing to the greater good.

I was so touched that this small village in Burkina Faso, had a ritual to celebrate every child bringing a gift into the world. This resonated with my soul. When your Mother is still pregnant, the village gathers for a ritual to hear about the GIFT you are bringing in, and about your life’s purpose. All of the women in the Village come and gather around your mother. They sing, and chant and hold her, as Sobonfu tells us, “The Elders ask you, ‘who are you? Why are you coming here?” You take over your mother’s voice and speak back, ‘this is who I am. I am coming to do this and this.’ And based on that information, the elders prepare the appropriate ritual space to receive you. They make sure everything is ready here, before you are born.

After your birth the elders make sure they surround you with things that will help you remember and accomplish the purpose you have described. “They name you according to your GIFT,” and “when you reach adolescence and go through initiation, you go back to the time before you were born to remember what you said.”

Learning about these traditions lit my soul on fire. I gave this book to all my closest friends and I made them read it. I became so captivated by Sobonfu, that I made it my mission to find her. I was able to find the place where Sobonfu was teaching in South Carolina. I began calling that number…over and over again. Sometimes a woman would answer and say she wasn’t home. That didn’t stop me. Weeks later, having been calling continuously, I called again and to my surprise Sobonfu answered! She said “yes I will do what you want” and told me to contact her assistant to schedule a workshop in my town. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to get a chance to meet Sobonfu face to face!

When I picked up Sobonfu at the airport, I was nervous and on my best behavior. This was my first time being in the presence of a true spiritual teacher and I wasn’t sure what to say or how to act. That’s when Sobonfu started telling me some off color jokes, much to my surprise. I didn’t know what to do, so I just joined in on the conversation! I had no idea, that spiritual teachers had a sense of humor! Later she told me that if I hadn’t joined in she probably would have left, because she doesn’t connect with people who take themselves too seriously.

Sobonfu’s teachings changed my life. She taught me about connection to community, honoring spirit, and living our gifts. I felt seen and even more than that I felt heard. We connected on a deep spiritual level, and our lives became intertwined. For the next 17 years Sobonfu mentored me in African Rituals. Through these rituals I learned the role that spirit plays in your life, and vowed to share this wisdom, by creating Living Your Gifts.

In my tradition before we come here, we all go into the Spirit office, with all the gods and goddesses (whatever name you like to call them) and we actually bring them a plan, like a dissertation. Based on what we present to them, they put their stamp of approval on what we are going to do. So when you come here you are backed by all of the gods and goddesses and ancestors, you are not coming by yourself. You are backed by powerful forces.

Sobonfu Somé - Keeper of the Rituals


For the last 18 years, Susan has played an integral part in the organization Wisdom Spring. Sobonfu Some and a group of advisors founded the nonprofit to bring water and education support to at-need communities in Africa. A main focus of this is the yearly fundraiser Walking for Water, which was an idea from a teen working with Susan in Leesburg, Virginia. Over the years Susan became the Youth Leadership mentor working with hundreds of teens in Leesburg, Virginia, and Laguna Beach, California teaching community engagement, leadership, and advocacy. Her work has impacted many, inspiring the teen groups to connect to their passions and gifts. Because of this work over 33 wells and thousands of tuitions were supported through Wisdom Spring. The work is deeply important to her.

You’re real with me…and you have a way of helping me identify the emotions that slip away from me. How can I thank you enough?

– Michelle S.

Get Started!

Contact Susan and set a time to meet! Or book her for your retreat event or community group. She would love to speak more with you. 

Email Address



(703) 505-5152

Visit Me

644 Glenneyre
Laguna Beach, CA 92651