On a Wednesday night, the crackle and smell of sage burning filled the Sykes Chapel at The University of Tampa. That’s how Juliana Lemos’ release exercise began. As we closed our eyes, we could sense everyone releasing tension through an uncoordinated dance, and later, screams and sobs filled our ears. Now, it was time for us to take our places lying down on our mats with our eyes closed once again to listen to the sound of Lemos’ voice and her white healing bowls.
Lemos is originally from Brazil and came to the US in 2017 to study at Michigan State University. She didn’t like it there, so she spent a semester abroad in Rome and then transferred to UT in Fall 2019. Three years later, Lemos graduated from UT with a double major in music and entrepreneurship. Although she works with a real estate acquisitions company, she’s also passionate about making songs and guiding meditations.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lemos went back to Brazil. However, she applied for jobs around the world because she was tired of being at home and wanted to be somewhere else. That’s how she got a job offer to work with events in a beach community in Playa Venao, Panama. It’s also the place where she met DJ Hernan B, who later asked her to collaborate with him on the song Terra, released on Spotify on Sept. 29, 2022.
The lyrics were a mix of improvisation and verses that Lemos had written a few weeks prior.
“When I was listening to the track, I felt like the Earth was talking to me. Like, I could see and feel the roots of the trees,” said Lemos. “So, I started improvising just like I was coming from the Earth…I love harmonizing with my voice, too. So, in the end, I was like ‘I need to put more voices and express the power of the Earth in this song.’ ”
One of Lemos’ biggest inspirations is to be authentic to herself. She’s been on a self-development journey for six years and her life has changed completely. It’s challenging at times as this authenticity within her comes, which she believes happens to all of us. Lemos knows that by committing to her true self, she’ll inspire herself as well as others to find their own spark. A part of the journey has been linked to meditation because it’s all about being present and it helped her be reborn.
A year ago, Lemos was an RA at UT and once she got the money for the role, she finally invested in sound healing bowls. With those white bowls within arms reach, she began guiding meditations for two friends in her room. Later, a resident of hers decided to create a new club at UT called Alternative and Natural Explorations in Wellness (ANEW) and wanted her to guide meditations for it. Now, she guides meditations for about 30-40 people at UT’s Sykes Chapel.
“First, I studied a lot of hypnosis techniques and I meditated a lot, so I get my inspiration from that,” said Lemos. “My sister took a theta healing course in Brazil and she used to guide meditations for me, so I got some techniques from that, too. I like applying everything that I’ve learned. Sometimes before a session for a group, I like writing down the steps. Like, ‘I’m going to start with a breath work, and then I’m going to do this specific hypnosis technique’…but sometimes I just follow my intuition.”
Lemos sees herself as part of the Earth and believes that everyone is God experiencing itself on this planet from different perspectives. To her, when we sum up all the lives of each individual and being they are equal to the whole. So, she is a small part, a small perspective trying to experience life most authentically and seeing who she can be.
The reason why the 23-year-old is in the real estate business is that she wants to create an eco-friendly housing project or a retreat center. However, she wants to keep guiding meditations, while maybe doing retreats in the future. She’s getting certified in sound healing from the Globe Institute. Lemos also has two other songs in the works. The bottom line is that she wants to keep creating with a purpose.
In the Sykes Chapel, in a deep meditative state, we all breathe in and out, allowing ourselves to be present. Lemos told us to imagine a small staircase and after each step, we were supposed to feel more relaxed. Those steps took us to a beautiful forest so we could connect to the Earth. But before we even began, we were asked to write down our Sankalpa (intentions) on a piece of paper and have it nearby during the practice. Those intentions were tangible when we opened a box with that same piece of paper in our minds. The sound of the bowls massaged every inch of our bodies and coming back to the Sykes Chapel felt like being born again.