Master Teachers and Inner Listening

My development and training as a bodymindfulness therapist and teacher is rooted in academic study, independent study, personal exploration and inquiry, and mentor relationships with master teachers.

In 1996 I began a therapeutic relationship with psychotherapist, Peter Collins who founded the Institute for Personal Growth in Montpelier, Vermont. This relationship has continued for the past seventeen years. My work with Peter forms the foundation of my understanding of the therapeutic relationship. Our work together has not only been immensely healing on a personal level it also deeply informs my work with others.  In particular my deep respect for the power of relationship as a healing force and the responsibility and clear intention the “healer” must hold in giving another the space to grow, become, and meet their deepest feelings and experiences.

I’ve worked at times regularly and at times intermittently with Edie Yovu in Middlesex, Vermont since 1998. Edie is a long-time student of the Diamond Approach, founded by Hameed Ali, and a craniosacral therapist. She also completed the Resonant Kinesiology Training Program founded by Susan Gallagher Borg and Caryn McHose. She introduced me to body listening and inclusive attention as well as grounding my experience in an understanding of spiritual development as it unfolds as part of the natural stages of individuation and maturation.

In 2003 I completed a full-time, year-long 500 hour mediation and conflict resolution training at Woodbury College, in Montpelier, Vermont, and went on to work for about four years as a mediator, mostly working with couples. This training honed my listening skills, my capacity to guide and organize complex conversations and offer support and compassion in highly charged situations. It deepened my understanding and respect for conflict as a potentially creative source of transformation as well as a potentially devastating and traumatic life experience.

In 2002 I began studying with Susan Gallagher Borg in her BodyMusic practice in Lincoln, Vermont. I came to her initially to deepen my understanding and use of my voice as a resource in my work as a mediator. Along with a focus on voice work she has taught me a great deal about using perception and attention to attend to the energetic level of relationship with self and other, strengthened my capacity to practice inclusive attention, and also deepened my understanding of stages of development and trusting the way nature unfolds when unimpeded.

I completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified yoga teacher training with Patricia Brown and Surya Chandra Das in 2007 and began relationships with them in 2006 when I attended silent retreat at Rolling Meadows Retreat Center in Brooks, ME.  As well as deepening my understanding and personal practice of yoga, giving me a strong foundation in restorative yoga, and building my confidence and capacity as a teacher, my ongoing experience of silent retreat opened me more deeply to the experience of being itself. Patricia and Surya introduced me to the concept of nondual awareness. They also introduced me to the teachings of Neelam, a spiritual teacher I’ve had the opportunity to work with on a number of occasions. Her teaching focuses on attending with tenderness to presence and felt sense in the moment.

In the fall of 2006 I became sick. This led to a five year period of chronic illness and discovery as I accepted life more deeply and healed my  injured neuroendocrine system. As part of this healing journey I began to see Medical Herbalist, Hart Brent, for treatment at her home in Danville, Vermont. She has continued to assist and support my healing over the past five years and also become an important teacher and friend. One of the primary outcomes of my work with Hart is my understanding of dousing as a healing and listening tool to assist individuals in developing their intuitive capacity, aligning with their organisms needs, and empowering people to make decisions from a holistic and heart centered framework.

When I moved to New Hampshire in 2009 I had the opportunity to begin studying with Caryn McHose at Resources In Movement in Holderness, New Hampshire. Caryn McHose has a background in experiential anatomy, Craniosacral therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Resonant Kinesiology. Through our close work together over the past four years I’ve deepened my understanding and experience of embodied movement and healing trauma. I’ve also, both with Hart Brent and Caryn McHose, had the opportunity to explore and experience a more integrated relationship to earth, landscape, and dreamscape and utilize imagination, perception, and awareness to build resources for meeting the challenges of existence.

In 2011 I began training as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with Berns Galloway in Montreal. In September 2013 I completed the training. Somatic Experiencing is a body centered approach to healing stress and trauma and building resiliency and well-being. This training builds on and integrates the rest of my education, rooting my understanding not only in psychology, spirituality, and embodied movement, but in the physiology of the nervous system and what conditions are necessary for the reestablishment of vitality and self-regulation to an injured body/mind system. Quoting from the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute 2012 Annual Report: “Somatic Experiencing is an innovative and powerful psycho-biological approach to preventing and healing the consequences of emotional and physical trauma. Developed by Peter Levine, PhD, the SE method integrates a broad scientific base with more than forty years of clinical observation and development.”

Some other teachers who I have not worked with directly, but whose writing and teaching has deeply influenced my understanding of healing, teaching, and being human include: Adyashanti, Pema Chodron, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Darlene Cohen, C.J. Jung, Denise Levertov, Peter Levine, Andrea Olson, Toni Packer, Wilhelm Reich, Carl Rogers, Marshall Rosenburg, Suzuki Roshi, Chogyam Trungpa, Eugene Gendlin.

Along with my ongoing relationships with many of these teachers it is my relationship with my inner teacher, my capacity to listen to my being itself—my many years of meditation, movement, solitude, and rest—that most deeply informs my capacity to be a healing presence with others where they are and as they are.

A partial list of college courses and workshops I’ve taught.

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Community, Leadership, and Conflict Studies
  • Body Earth: Connecting With Ourselves and the Planet
  • Holding Our Ground: Action Through Presence
  • Rock Your Body, Speak Your Mind
  • Coming Home to Yourself: A Retreat to Reconnect with your Body
  • The Art of Collapse: Building Strength and Acceptance in Difficult Times
  • Delicious Movement
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Community Meditation
  • Embodied Resiliency