This is my story and background
I am mother to a daughter and a gay son, an oldest sister to six siblings, a busy wife, a daughter to my widowed mother, a grandmother. A writer. A teacher. And a student of life.
At first I thought some of my history might disqualify me. I have been 50 pounds overweight and ten pounds underweight. I lived on the hot-fudge-sundae-only-diet and the V-8-juice-only-diet. I made them up and I sometimes made myself throw up.
I‘ve read and tossed all the books, tried and ditched all the programs. I know a lot of ways that don’t help any of us feel free from the cultural pulls of “more,” “not enough,” and “gotta have this next best thing.”
I have always craved a mindful, heartful approach to self-care. Through what I used to call failures and defects, I kept asking questions about what really matters. Really, what’s central? I kept asking what’s deeply important, beneath the surface of frenzied busy-ness in this culture. I asked and I pared away lots of what’s peripheral: junk food and extra “junk” in my life.
Through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness with teachers Saki Santorelli and Jon Kabat-Zinn, I came upon mindfulness: paying kind attention on purpose to what matters. Through practices of compassion and gratitude, I discovered heartfulness. Through plant-based nutrition courses through e-Cornell, I experienced what true nourishment can mean. Over time, I learned to focus more and more on the core, on –it turns out—the heart. I came to know a lot of ways that do work for us to come alive.
I now have over 35 years of professional experience as a psychotherapist, mental health counselor, teacher and workshop leader. I have over 30 years of yoga and meditation practice.
I have taught yoga, mindfulness, mindful eating, meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). I have taught in universities to Master’s level counseling students; in classes at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness; at the Psychotherapy Networker Conference; in hospitals, schools, businesses, church basements, yoga studios and in my home.
The paradox is, even after two Master’s Degrees and years of post-formal learning, I know that you are the expert on yourself. I write to help us—you and me– find and trust that authority within. I write about simplifying how we think and what we do. My writing helps those of us who are tired of being tired, sick of feeling sick and want a gentler way to live.
I know chaos in my life and the powerful stillness that resides within us all. Humbled again and again by what Zorba the Greek named “the full catastrophe,” —births and deaths, praise and blame, ups and downs, wins and losses, —I write from a place of what the Buddhists call “beginner’s mind,” and what Michelangelo called, “still learning.”
I write about what can be learned from paying attention to little things. My intention is to have my words transform the everyday into lessons for a richer fuller life, to disclose my personal struggles to reveal the universal: the common humanity we all share.
I write what’s real. I write in as close as I can to simple daily truths. I hope to be present with you in a heart space that can hold both joy and disease or dis-ease. I hope you will gain your own personal insights and find here a resting place, a refuge.
And I hope you’ll write back to me and leave me a comment in the same human way.