I am a writer. I’ve been blogging here since September 2011. I’ve also published guest posts on other blogs and various pieces in print publications, such as Mabel Magazine. I self-published an ebook, Self-Compassion Saturday, (download it for free), the compilation of a series I posted here. I am currently working on another book, about practice and how it saves/saved me and how it could maybe save you too.
I’m a Contemplative Practice Guide holding space for people cultivating the foundation of a stable mind and open heart, embodied compassion and wisdom, specifically through meditation, yoga asana, and writing as practice. I call that work “Open Space Practice” and offer it through ecourses, workshops, classes, and private consultations.
My mission: to ease suffering — in myself and in the world.
In 2009, I was incredibly unhappy. I hated my job, my body, myself. My life wasn’t working and I didn’t know how to fix it. I was lost and didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to do something different. Something had to change. I started therapy, which led to practicing meditation and yoga — however, at the time I was meditating to deal with stress and anxiety, and doing yoga to work on the flexibility and core strength of my body. Practice for me then was a coping strategy, a life hack. I was focused on fixing myself, thinking the problem was that something was wrong with me.
Then an encounter with grief woke me up. My first dog and a dear friend were diagnosed with cancer. Nine months later, he died. Six months after that, she did too. It became clear to me that life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal, that we lose those we love too soon and it’s too sad, and bad things will happen no matter how hard we try. In the meantime, we have to live the crap out of our lives, love the shit out of ourselves and each other, and practice like our hair is on fire.
In 2011, I started a life rehab. I made my last New Year’s Resolution ever, to be a better friend to myself. I (re)started a daily writing practice. I read books and blogs like they were food and I was starving, took ecourses and classes, attended workshops and retreats. I worked with compassionate and wise teachers. I found a sangha of generous and gentle people. I started writing this blog. I could see a light in the distance even as I wasn’t sure if I could make it that far.
I’ve spent the past few decades training with various teachers, schools, and programs; earning degrees and certifications that support my current life and work. In particular:
- I have a Master’s degree in English: Communication Development from Colorado State University, (where I stayed and worked as a writing teacher, programmer, web designer, and communications coordinator for 19 years). My thesis (granted Distinction) was a creative nonfiction hand-coded hypertext, “Happiness, Fear and the American Dream: the Difficulty of a Simple Life.”
- I’m a 500 hour Certified Yoga Teacher, (Hatha), with special certifications from Yoga for All and Curvy Yoga, as well as continuing education credits in chair and restorative yoga.
- I’m a certified meditation instructor through the Open Heart Project.
- I’ve served as a program assistant for Susan Piver’s Fearlessly Creative Writing and Meditation retreat, as well as a teaching assistant for Andrea Scher’s Mondo Beyondo ecourse. I’ve been writing regularly with Laurie Wagner since 2012, and occasionally teach her Wild Writing practice in my classes and workshops.
I am a dog person. I’ve been lucky enough to be rescued by four dogs, three adopted and one born on purpose. I’ve lost three of them (Obi, Dexter, and Sam) to cancer in the past ten years, and each time, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When I talk about my practices, I always include “dog,” along with writing and meditation and yoga. It is a sacred relationship for me, serious practice but also the sweetest joy. Dog is my guru, my teacher, my guide, my companion, my heart.
My partner Eric and I married in 1993. We eloped, wore green, got married in a mountain town called Evergreen. He listened to the same bands I did, and introduced me to reggae. We both loved hiking. He had earrings, wore patchouli, read books, taught Philosophy. He felt like home. He makes me laugh, he’s my comfort, my soft place to land. He’s my favorite, my family, my best friend, the problem I chose to have, the choice I make over and over, day after day.
At the beginning, I thought by this point that if we made it this far together things would be easy. I didn’t understand that adulting would be so hard, that so many awful things would happen, to us and around us. I thought I was stronger, saner. I thought if I was with him, if we were together, the ordinary magic of that would surround us, protect us from the bad stuff. And yet it has, in a way. I’m not sure if I’d still be here if it weren’t for his love and support, the way he makes me laugh. The partnership, the rub of having someone always there, can at times be irritating, but it’s also the glue that keeps it all from falling apart.