My path and healing journey has been long and winding, with many stops along the way. As a child, I was interested in philosophy and world religions. After a brush with near death, my dark night of the soul, the first of many, I got very involved with art. I had an eating disorder and literally and figuratively wove my way out of it. I became a weaver and did that as well as drawing and painting every day after school. I became obsessed with finding my truth and sharing my vision. I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and moved to Washington State after graduating, where I lived in a log cabin with a wood stove.
Art school had put a bad taste in my mouth because I felt like I was constantly fighting for my work to seem valid and important. Everyone wanted art to be edgy, about sex or drugs, or at least something clever and sarcastic. I was obsessed with Japanese textiles and Japanese tea ceremonies. I loved the process of making art, nature’s beauty, and the imperfection that comes with it. It was spiritual for me. Meanwhile, art school and the art world felt like the very opposite of nature and spirituality.
I worked at a Bakery in Bellingham, Washington, and I was determined to weave and make something of myself as an artist. It did not really happen to me. I don’t think I had in me to be a starving artist, and I just felt lost. I knew I couldn’t make the kind of art that I wanted at the time. I was not spiritually mature enough, and honestly, I had so many areas I wanted to grow.
I got really into yoga and started taking a yoga class every day. All of a sudden, that is where all my money went. I became really interested in Forrest yoga and decided to do her teacher training in Seattle. The training was life-changing. I read about 50 books to get certified and changed so much through the process. I became really fascinated with Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine and started studying them.
After massage school, I moved back to the Northwest to Portland, OR. I only lived there for 9 months, teaching yoga and doing other random jobs. I did not believe I would pass their difficult massage exam, as my training focused on Chinese Medicine. I was depressed, unsure of myself, and did not do what I wanted.
I decided to enroll at Heartwood Institute in Garberville CA. The program was 9 months living there. The massage program was focused on Asian massage modalities and I would simultaneously be studying nutrition from a Chinese Medicine perspective. I was so excited.
As luck would have it, it was not meant to be. I was at an ashram on the East coast, when I was called and told that the program had been canceled. I was advised that I could come for the “Healing with Whole Foods” immersion with Paul Pitchford, but after that I would want to go somewhere else to learn massage.
I decided to enroll at Heartwood Institute in Garberville, CA. The program was for 9 months living there. The massage program was focused on Asian massage modalities, and I would simultaneously be studying nutrition from a Chinese Medicine perspective. I was so excited.
As luck would have it, it was not meant to be. I was at an East Coast ashram when I was called and told that the program had been canceled. I was advised that I could come for the “Healing with Whole Foods” immersion with Paul Pitchford, but after that, I would want to go somewhere else to learn massage.
I was recommended to a small program in a very obscure place, Crestone, Colorado. At the Crestone Healing Arts Center, I learned:
A big focus of the program was on Chinese Medicine. I spent many hours studying acupressure points and their uses.
I moved to Denver, Colorado, because I had a massage license there because of my school. Denver was great. I quickly got a massage job and felt so happy. After a year, I started the 11-month program at Boulder College of Massage Therapy because it was known as the “Harvard” of massage schools. I desperately wanted to pass the National exam, and BCMT would give me the western anatomy and kinesiology knowledge that I needed.
Ultimately, I passed the exam but decided to stay in Colorado and move to Telluride. I worked in the spa at the ski lodge and massaged hundreds of people. I really started to get a lot of experience working with the body. What surprised me was how much people wanted to talk. They wanted to tell me their story. They cried and they remembered things. I would touch an area on their body, and they would become flushed with emotion. I started to get very interested in how the body, mind, and heart interacted. Some of these clients came for bodywork but needed much more. There was a lot of pain and trauma in these injuries.
This interest in the body-mind connection is what led me to study Polarity Therapy with John Chitty. He introduced me to Peter Levine’s work, Somatic Experiencing, and taught me about the nervous system and how it reacts to trauma. Polarity therapy bodywork taps directly into the nervous system. After studying Polarity, I decided to take it further and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to take an entire Cranio Sacral program with Etienne Peirsman.
With Polarity Therapy and Cranio Sacral Therapy, I felt like I was going back to my roots in Acupressure that I learned in Crestone. There is a subtleness to the work that feels like meditation.
In the midst of all of this, I was working at Ten Thousand Waves, a famous Japanese bathhouse in Santa Fe. I was working on more clients than ever before, and I got injured. I thought my life was over because I felt so clearly that this was my path as a healer. I loved working with people and enjoyed the unique relationship I got to have with them.
I had an astrologer I worked with in Santa Fe. He told me to treat my life like a treasure hunt and follow the clues. I decided to enroll in grad school to become a counselor. I picked Prescott College because it allowed me to focus on Somatic Psychology. I also decided to simultaneously study Hakomi Mindfulness Body Psychotherapy in Boulder. This was a 2-year training in which I drove from Santa Fe to Boulder every other month for 5 days. My life was really full with working at Ten Thousand Waves, studying in grad school, and traveling to Boulder to study.
Eventually, I realized I wanted to move and had my eye on Berkeley, CA because there is a Hakomi training program there. There is also one in Austin. In the end, I chose Austin. I’m glad I did, and I have been here since 2018. I came right before the pandemic and did my first year of counseling all telehealth! In my free time, I love going to Barton Springs and taking walks with my mini labradoodle. I feel so lucky to do this work and excited to dive deep with you!
Prescott College (Prescott, AZ) August 2016 – August 2019
Master of Science graduate student; Clinical Mental Health Counseling with emphasis in somatic psychology
Hakomi Institute (Boulder, CO) Nov 2017-June 2019
Two-year training in body-centered, mindfulness-based psychotherapy. Currently enrolled in advanced training.
Colorado School of Energy Studies (Boulder, CO) June 2017
27-hour training: Polarity Therapy approach to Gestalt “Empty Chair” technique
New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts (Santa Fe, NM) Jan–June 2015
Craniosacral therapy certification
Colorado School of Energy Studies (Boulder, CO) Jan.-Apr. 2014
130-hour training: Polarity 1- Focus in nervous system bodywork, “empty chair” counseling, yoga, and diet
Boulder College of Massage Therapy (Boulder, CO) 2010-2011
700-hour therapy program: Myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, trigger point therapy, orthopedic, and sports
Heartwood Institute (Garberville, CA) | Summer 2008
Healing with Whole Foods intensive with Paul Pitchford; 5 element (Classical Chinese Medicine) nutrition
Crestone Healing Arts Center (Crestone, CO) Oct–Dec 2008
630-hour massage therapy program: Shiatsu, Acupressure, Reiki, Jin Shin Do, Reflexology
Yoga Teacher Training with Ana Forrest (Seattle, WA) 2006
3-week Intensive, Certified Forrest Yoga teacher
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL) Graduated 2004
BFA in weaving and ceramics- focus in Japanese Art
In Casa de Luz Village
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