I see my life’s work as teaching people to heal and integrate all aspects of ourselves: body, mind, emotions, spirit and sexuality. This means both teaching skills to improve our lives right now and guiding us to discover (or remember) that we already have all the resources within ourselves that we will ever need to improve all parts of our lives. I see myself more as a fellow traveler in the mystery of life than as a therapist, coach or teacher. I am most at peace when I remember that all the people in my life are my equals in co-creating the qualities of mastery, power, presence, openness and vulnerability that are so important for me to live by. My greatest joy is in collaborating with others to create healing, beauty, discipline, commitment and integrity in all parts of my life, especially my relationships, businesses, communities and spiritual practices.
Early Spiritual Environment: My parents were vegetarians and meditation practitioners. They started studying the teachings of the I Am Organization (an off-shoot of Krisnamurti’s Theosophical Society) around the time that I was born. Some of my earliest memories are of family members encouraging me that children often remember past lives while they are still young. I did remember some past lives, but more importantly I felt loved and acceptanced. I lived in 13 different homes in south-western Colorado the first 1 1/2 years of my life (including a tee-pee and a tent). I lived in an ashram in Arizona with Yogi Bhajan- who brought Kundalini Yoga to the west – for a short time while my father completed a yoga certification. My mother divorced and re-married a jewelry designer, and we settled (with my older sister and younger brother) in Albuquerque, NM. I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation (TM) and began practicing structured meditation techniques at 9 years old. I attending a weekly meditation classes for children- called the School of Light – at Rothwell Camp’s Gold Key Center from 9- 15 years old. My mother was one of the instructors at the School of Light, as well as a Sunday School teacher at the First Church of Religious Science. I always considered myself a Christian as my families prayers usually evoked Christ, as well as a hierarchy of angels and ascended masters that the I Am Organization acknowledges. I read Richard Bach’s Illusions at 12 years old and Arthur C. Clarkes Childhood’s End at 13 years old. These two books helped me realize two possible outcomes of my meditation practice: 1) individual Self- realization and 2) communities of Self- realized individuals. I began attending many adult meditation programs by 13 years old including: weekly I Am decree sessions (spiritual chanting), weekly transmission meditations from various ascended masters, visiting meditation instructors, out-of town meditation retreats and a multitude of other events. My mother and step-dad often took us to chiropractors, counselors or other healing arts practitioners. During my teen years, I began attended EST (Erhard Training Seminars) and other more psychology-oriented trainings. My mother graduated from massage school when I was 13 years old and she taught me much of what she learned at the time. I continued to study the Do-In (meridian massage) book that she gave me, and by 16 years old I could feel the subtle energies of the meridians and was facilitating individual massage sessions. I taught my first group- on Stress Management and Self-Massage -at 18 years old and facilitated individual and group spirit clearings and spirit guide transmission meditations through-out my 20’s.
Horses, nature and lightning: While I lived in Albuquerque during my early school years, I spent most of my summers helping my biological father break and train quarter horses for use on pack-trips in the high-elevation Colorado Rockies. We often spent more days over the summer sleeping in a tent, tee-pee or under the stars than we did under a roof. I became very skilled in both western horsemanship and back-country camping and continued to spend most of the summers through-out my 20’s horseback riding in nature. I worked for my uncle’s outfitting business and another outfitting business during those years, as well as working with at-risk teens as a therapist doing wilderness therapy after I completed graduate school. I have done multiple solo horse-trips (the longest was 2 weeks alone with 2 horses) and back-packing (hiking) trips. I continue to do week-long solo back-packing trips most summers. My biological father also brought me to many Native American rituals and ceremonies as a child and adult. My paternal grandmother was the first white woman to run the Zuni trading post and my father stayed close to the medicine men and women in that community, as well as the Ute and Navajo tribes. I attended many sweat lodges, Zuni Shalakos, Ute Sun Dances, Ute Bear Dances and many other ceremonies. As a teen, I witnessed events at these ceremonies that left me with no doubt that there are many things that science can not explain. At 24 years old, I had lightning strike within arms reach of me three times in a two week period. The third time was a transcendent, spiritual experience for me: I knew that I was one with nature, I knew that I was going to be struck by lightning and I knew that it couldn’t hurt me if I wasn’t afraid. Friends witnessed my hair sticking straight up in the air the next three times that I saw lightning, even though it was miles away from me. I began seeing full- color auras around people and in nature through-out the day for about three months. At first I couldn’t control seeing these swirling colors that others didn’t see; it happened at the grocery store and places that felt too overwhelming for me to deal with. Even though I knew other people who could see auras, I thought maybe I was going crazy. But eventually I was able to integrate what felt like an increase in the amount of energy available to me and I learned to control my ability to “see” these subtle energies. There are books that describe some Native American tribe’s views that shamans are sometimes initiated by the lightning spirit in this way. I don’t see myself as a shaman, but that experience did help me empathize with some my clients that experience extreme states of mind and emotions.
Dance, theatre and Self- realization: I originally went to college to study International Relations in order to be a diplomat and change the world! I took my first dance class to meet girls, but quickly feel in love with dance. I was passionate about dance in ways that I had never felt as a musician playing saxophone, guitar and bass. I continued to study Ballet, Jazz and Modern Dance at the University of New Mexico from 18- 24 years old. I performed on a regular basis during the school years from 20- 26 years old, including 2 different productions with Colorado Ballet at Boulder’s Mackey Auditorium. I also worked as a technical stage hand at Popejoy Hall Theatre in Albuquerque for 4 years and gained about the equivalency of a minor in Technical Theatre. I was offered a high-paying job to be a roadie for a rock band, but realized that I wasn’t going to be fulfilled unless I took the leap of faith and followed my dream to integrate my healing work with my dance work. So I transferred to Naropa University to pursue Dance Therapy. Dance continues to be one of my primary spiritual practices in that it helps me to integrate and accept those parts of myself that I still judge as inadequate or unlovable. Spending time with my son who has symptoms of Down Syndrome and Autism is also one of my primary spiritual practices. He is my greatest teacher because he reminds me to allow every breath to be a meditation in the way that he so totally lives in the present moment. It used to be that when I heard people talk about the benefits of having a guru (Sanskrit word for “teacher”), I felt rebellious and stubborn in my belief that no-one but myself can help me resolve my inner conflicts (especially how I can feel feel like a limitless spiritual being one moment and feel very limited in my body and my life at other moments). I used to repeatedly tell my friends and teachers alike that I would never have a guru as my spiritual path seemed to be one of ferocious independence. As the saying goes: if you want to make God/Goddess laugh, tell him/her your plan. In 2006 I met Swami Vishwananda and began to have regular dreams about him in which I felt that he helped me resolve many of my most long-lasting inner conflicts. After I began doing daily spiritual practices based on his work (his Bhakti Kriya practices embrace all religions, but especially elements of Hinduism and Christianity), I began experiencing a sense of divine grace in my life the likes of which I had never imagined. I have since accepted Swami Vishwananda as my Satguru (meaning “true guru”) whose life-purpose is to help his/her followers realize the Self through realizing God. Swami seems to have helped me find find a taste of the surrender and humility that had been lacking in my life, by helping me to love the inner guru within myself as much as I love him. I’m more willing to both surrender to my clients and guide my clients since I have surrendered to being guided myself. While Self- realization continues to be a mystery to me, I am more willing to reveal those parts of myself that I’m most afraid to let others see: from my most innocent, simple and clueless parts to my most powerful, complex and outrageous parts! Thanks for letting me share a little of myself with you!