May 27, 2018

Topanga Resident Loves Waking Up in America


Dr. Valerie Kirkgaard has spent 27 years hosting popular radio show.


Topanga Resident Loves Waking Up in America

Dr. Valerie Kirkgaard in her home office that doubles as a radio station.

Dr. Valerie Kirkgaard is a one-of-a-kind woman who has led an extraordinary life that would take a full novel to tell. It’s that superb.

“I have what I like to call ‘Kodak moments,’” said Kirkgaard, 73. “Many incidents that have happened in my life have left a huge impression on me.”

One recent incident left Kirkgaard lucky when her vehicle rolled over on Feb. 28 on the Topanga ‘S’ Curves. She received only a slight injury to her head and ironically hit her head in the exact same place a week prior.

“As my car was rolling, I kept wondering if this is how I would go,” she said. “Then I saw my community come to help me (out of the car wreck) and I felt happy to be alive.”

For the past 27 years, Kirkgaard has been the host of the popular radio show “Waking Up in America,” talk radio for the intelligent world that explores social concerns. A Topanga resident since 1992, Kirkgaard works out of her home and twice a year broadcasts from studios in Albuquerque, NM, and Tempe, AZ.

“(The hosts and I) identify societal concerns and bring the possibility of resolution to a situation,” she said. “I have a great deal of faith that we are evolving and we are part of a greater plan.”


Born in Merced, Calif., Kirkgaard’s family later moved to Vancouver where her grandparents resided. Her father and mother later moved the family to various communities in California as they loved living in artistic and theatrical atmospheres.

Kirkgaard also developed a love for these types of communities and besides having her main residence in Topanga, loves spending time at her second home in Fernwood, Calif.

“The temperature is perfect and it’s a beautiful rural artistic neighborhood,” she said.

As a child, Kirkgaard would participate in Girl Scouts, 4-H, shoot BB guns (Annie Oakley was her hero), go horseback riding, play with power tools, attend galactic seminars (“I like to consider all things possible”) and spent quality time with her family snuggled up with a grand old radio listening to “The Shadow” and “Sky King.” Radio was so magical to Kirkgaard that she even made one out of a crystal and some copper wire.

“America was proud of itself back then,” she said. “TV shows signed off with American flags and people worked 40 hours a week. There’s a breakdown in families today (with too much technology and work).”

Kirkgaard later developed her interviewing skills when she attended Lincoln Junior High School (now Lincoln Middle School) in Santa Monica.

“I wanted to interview them [my teachers] because I admired their skills and was fascinated,” she said. “I would invite them to the local drug store for genuine fountain Cokes just to get to know them better.”

Kirkgaard also learned the art of hustling while in school, as she noticed her classmates were always in need of pencils.

“I would buy pencils for two cents and sell them for a dime in classrooms,” she said. “I always sat near a bulletin board so I could put up my sign. Much to my amazement, my teachers allowed me to proceed and I established quite a little following. Over time, I saved a couple hundred dollars from this.”

After graduating from Santa Monica High School, she attended UCLA and graduated in 1968, majoring in history and psychology. Kirkgaard later received her masters in transpersonal psychology from Goddard College in 1981. Over a period of 30 years, she has also taken many Insight and Landmark courses, which explore the ontology of dealing with relationships, communication, productivity and leadership. In these courses, she learned to access the Quantum Energy Field, which relies on intention and intuition, not linear time.

“When I’m in the field, marvelous things happen,” Kirkgaard said. “Magic is available to everyone when they get themselves in the field. There is no such thing as the exact present moment, for in the moment you notice the moment, it now becomes the past.”

In order to access the field, Kirkgaard says individuals must neutralize fear and doubt.

“As Peter Pan suggested to Wendy, ‘Just think lovely wonderful thoughts and up you’ll go,’” she said.

Kirkgaard also helps individuals through her trademark Kirkgaard Method of Directed Breathing, which allows humans to release frozen moments and energetic blocks from the past.

“If you’re stuck in a childhood trauma, the part of you which is stuck never grows to adulthood until you release it,” she said. “It is fascinating to listen to a person’s language evolve in a matter of minutes from an angry child to an intelligent adult. I love the work.

Even though she’s retired, Kirkgaard still continues her private practice by telephone to a limited number of clients.

“I am delighted to help create more success for people who have suffering in their lives to neutralize the effects of that suffering,” she said. “I can help a person resolve their issue in minutes that might have taken hours in traditional therapy.”


In 1987, Kirkgaard had a desire to be on the radio and claims it was her [astrological] fixed-sign chart that told her she had to work in media. Soon after, a friend told Kirkgaard she was going to start her own radio program and invited her on. From that moment, Kirkgaard found her calling and began her show, “Wake Up America.”

“I later changed the name to ‘Waking Up in America’ because I realized there were a lot of people who were awake and they just didn’t know where to start or what to do to get our country back on track,” she said.

With more than 150,000 listeners weekly, the hour-long show has had a number of experts, scientists, athletes, world leaders and celebrities, including Larry Hagman, Carol Channing and Marianne Williamson. A wide variety of topics have included magic, miracles, prayer, GMO’s, environmental action, home mortgages and more. In each segment, Kirkgaard takes her counseling practices and brings them to light for listeners.

“The show has a specific formula, based on improvisation and the concept of structured dialogue,” she said. “A topic is introduced, then we rant and rave about the aspects and outrages of GMO’s and then we give the audience something they can do.”


Kirkgaard has no aspirations to slow down. In the future, she plans on producing and directing films “based on possibility,” writing memoirs, traveling (she would love to space travel), spending time with her two grown children and enjoying her role as a peace ambassador.

“Age has to do with depletion. I feel like I’m getting younger,” she said. “Through my consulting practice and the seminars I attend, I have been exposed to a large number of creative and courageous people who in turn continue to inspire me.”

“Waking Up in America” airs every Wednesday at 2 p.m. PST. To listen, visit: or to learn more about Dr. Kirkgaard:; for ear cones: