I’m delighted and a little surprised to find myself writing this “teacher bio” — who’d a thunk? Here’s why: once upon a time, when I was little, science was my family’s religion. My parents were “fundamentalist atheists” meaning that they were as vehemently convinced that they had the right view of reality (pro-science, anti-spirituality, and anti-religion) as any religious crusader. So it’s been quite a journey from my original worldview to being here on this website.
It started by being naturally inquisitive. I loved seeing how things worked, and, with my parents’ proud blessings, studied chemical engineering in my undergraduate years as a way of understanding the external world. I worked as an environmental engineer for over 15 years, and along the way my inner world forced its way to the surface of my life. The cumulative pain of failed intimate relationships and debilitating self-hatred compelled me to seek counseling, and eventually I applied my keen curiosity to graduate studies in psychology, so as to better understand the internal world.
Therapy and grad school were helpful, as were the many other courses and modalities of self-exploration that I invested a lot of time and money in. I’m glad I did them, but towards the end of 2007 I hit a big wall. “When the heck will I be done? When will I finally be enough?!” I asked myself, realizing that there was a subtle abusive quality to my constant attempts at fixing myself.
I stopped seeing a therapist. I stopped taking classes. I stopped trying to improve myself. I quit my engineering job. I stopped working on my dissertation research project on self-trust.
I started asking questions, and began unraveling from the inside out. Various books were supportive at this stage, such as The Holographic Universe, and Jed McKenna’s Enlightenment Trilogy. The latter encouraged me to use my mind to dig into “what is really going on here?” and I realized through self-inquiry that the only thing I can absolutely know is that “I/This appears to exist.”
My husband, also into self-inquiry, stumbled onto various online resources exploring the nature of things, including Buddha at the Gas Pump, and other sites. These were helpful next steps, but it wasn’t until I came across Trillium Awakening (called Waking Down at the time) that my whole being said “AHA!!”
For me it was Trillium Awakening’s embrace of ALL of who I am that struck a deep, resonant cord. No part of me needed to be exiled, and this soul-elixir of deep permission marked the beginning of the end of my war against myself. As my amazing teachers and mentor created a safe space for me to be as I was, I gradually relaxed more and more into myself. The rigid defenses softened, the vulnerability was welcomed, and eventually I came into stark, naked contact with Reality and saw that It was All One Seamless Thing (including, of course, me).
Though deeply profound and life-changing, my recognition of the One Seamless Thing is not a flashy, mystical “spiritual experience.” It is expansive, yet steady, grounded, and humble. My embodied awakening affords me a more authentic and raw encounter with Reality. I am more here than I ever was before. Life is more vivid, textured, nuanced, alive, and acute. There is a fundamental sense of trust and well being that grows by the day. I am inextricably pinned into, or immersed in, life and all it’s grittiness and yet there is simultaneously a pervasive sense of spaciousness, peace, and ease. There are many paradoxes, and I am all of them.
I am profoundly grateful to the wise, generous, and very human teachers of this path for their past and continued unwavering support and guidance, and to Saniel Bonder for birthing this work.
There’s also a recognition that my whole-being realization is just the beginning, not the end! The beginning of an accelerated journey of healing wounds that therapy just touched the surface of. The beginning of an impeccably orchestrated deepening and expansion into more dimensions of who and what I am. The beginning of finally being able to fully live what I’m here to be and do.
Having support for this continued awakening process is so helpful for me, especially because it can be quite challenging and confusing at times. How lucky I am to have teachers and guides who have walked this path before me, and a community of fellow practitioners to walk alongside me!
A growing edge of my post whole-being realization journey is leading me into what I call awakened activism – acting on behalf of something greater than self-interest, from a place of deep Trust in Being and intimate embeddedness in, and as, All of Life. I believe this creative tension between spacious trust, and the raw rub of physical and social realities is expressed uniquely in each of us. As I become conscious of, and awaken more deeply into the challenging realities of our times, I am attuning to my organismic responses and finding ways to be of service. I call this the social and ecological dimensions of embodied, non-separate awakening.
Outside of this work, I find nourishment in being outdoors in the beautiful Pacific NW, whether walking, paddling, or watching birds flit through the great cedar tree in our backyard. Creative work is another source of soul and spirit food, and I enjoy puttering in my studio with paint, chalk, acrylics, clay, you name it. And I love the potent combination of physicality and self-expression that I experience in 5-Rhythms ecstatic dance.