Important Influences

My life path is one of awareness, healing and growth. Throughout the decades of the journey of my personal and professional evolution I have continuously sought out approaches to self realization from the east and west that cultivate the important connection between body, mind, heart and spiritual nature.

On this page I have encapsulated the essence of each major influence on my life and work, and how they have contributed to my development and understanding. It is important for me to mention that each of them has had an equally profound affect on me.

Spirituality, Meditation, Yoga

My inquiry into the nature of life and "spirituality" started when I was a young child. I was born in to a spiritually active family. Prayer, meditation, singing and sacred ritual were daily activities in our household and it instilled in me a sense of the scaredness of life and a reverence for it.

A severe case of childhood asthma was the catalyst for my first exploration into meditation. Of course at that time I did not know that I was meditating. All I knew was that if I sat very still, concentrated intently on my lungs and breathed very slowly and intentionally, the reactivity in system would calm down and I would be able to get the air that I needed. I would sit in concentration for long periods of time. Later in life after I had been meditating for a while, I understood how this health challenge was my entry into the world of meditative states of consciousness.

As a young adult I became directly involved with Yoga and meditation practices through the lineages of two great Spiritual Masters from India, Ramana Maharshi and Sivananda. The holistic understanding of the important connection between mind, body, heart, and spirit and the sacred nature of life that Yogic philosophy became the cornerstone of my life path. In my thirties I associated myself with Osho (Rajneesh) immersing myself in the synthesis that he was known for, that of yoga philosophy and contemporary western psychology. I began to study approaches to western depth psychology that integrated spiritual principles from the ancient scriptures of Bhuddism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta.

My training in figurative painting and dance also took me into meditative states of consciousness and being in touch with something larger than myself. In both of those fields, I was trained to "get out of my own way" and be a channel for the creative expression to come through me. This means to let go of the identification with the ego of the mind and engage with perception and consciousness that is beyond the mind. I took this to heart in my life in general and in my relationship with my creative process. As my dance career took precedent and my exposure to the field of somatics intensified, dance became an important spiritual practice for me.

Living a spiritual life is my path and I consider all of life to be the field of spiritual practice. I approach all of life with reverence, respect and regard for the sacred in everything. All of my involvements, relationships and circumstances are an opportunity to cultivate my awareness and consciousness and provide me with a chance to practice compassionate loving kindness. Within this general framework of living life as a spiritual practice, I support myself with specific meditation and yoga asana practices.

As I progress through my life I see myself as a spiritual bridge person in that I seek to understand that essential nature of human spirituality and life that is the common thread joining all of us, beyond whatever traditions we choose to align ourselves with. My path is to help others come to an self realization of their essential nature. In this bridging quest I weave together understanding and practices from the east and the west that support an unfolding of essence and true nature of humaness in harmony with the earth. This spiritual thread runs through all my teaching and guiding.

NVC Compassionate Communication

Since 2000, I have been steeped in the study of NVC, the work of the gifted and internationally acclaimed psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. His insightful view into how interpersonal communication is directly linked to understanding and harmony between people, psychological well being, and peace in the world is the foundation of what I offer in my trainings, support groups and coaching.

Marshall's understanding of how "unskilled" human communication causes pain, suffering, disconnection, and conflict, led him to formulate guiding principles and tools for skillful communication that help to create compassion, consideration, understanding, connection, resolution of conflicts, and healing between people. Since the 1960’s, for over 60 years he tirelessly spread his knowledge. NVC is currently taught and practiced all over the world by trained facilitators and others inspired to share this profound skill base.

This unique understanding of how interpersonal communication interfaces with psychology and human well being has made a major contribution to the field of human relations, social justice and community building. The work has helped millions all over the world find more clarity, peace and love in personal relationships and to resolve conflict within communities and between cultures.

The NVC community is an international community of people dedicated to cultivating peace and harmony throughout the world by changing the power paradigm of me versus you into us together, by helping everyone to get in touch with the compassionate, caring and loving aspects of our humaness.

I am passionate about sharing the tools and principles of this approach to human relations because through the study and mastery of it my life changed in ways that, previous to learning NVC, I dreamt of but did not see a way to. Like most people, I had many issues related to communication and relationships that I couldn't change and felt frustration, pain and a sense of powerlessness. After learning NVC and mastering the skills began to see my through and now feel deeply self connected and confident in my relatings with others in any situation and in regards to whatever comes up. I also have found NVC to be the path upon which I can bring my inner spiritual values of loving kindness, compassion, into my day to day relating so that I can live my spirituality in my everyday life. If you would like to know more about my journey with NVC and how it can help you click here.

Dance

Modern Expressive Dance is a deep dive into the world of the body/mind/heart/spirit connection. One cannot give oneself to dance with a mind busy with other things, emotions running wild and a lack of connection to something greater than oneself, especially in the realm of professional training and performance, which is what I was involved in.

In the early 70’s my search to get closer to the core of my being, as a dancer, led me to study in the newly forming arena of Somatic Arts. I was a student in the early develpoment of approaches such as Kinetic Awareness, Release Technique, Kinetic Imagery, Dance Therapy, Body Mind Centering and Contact Dance. These explorations gave me a strong foundation of experiential understanding of the consciousness of the body as distinct from the mental realm of thinking "about the body", to the degree that I could trust my body's innate intelligence and no longer overidentify with my mind as my self.

The Somatic Arts, Expressive and Contact Dance Improvisation became the foundation from which I went beyond the cultural preconceptions of conditioning about the body and its movement. It put me in touch with not only movement awareness but an awareness of the importance of energy and freed up the creative force inside my body. My body became the moment by moment instrument of my lifes expression. Through these practices I came to realize the body is the temple for the spiritual expression of the soul's journey.

Many of these Somatic approaches involved free form exploration, which led me to my passion for Dance Improvisation. The depth of concentration on presense, moment to moment awareness, letting go of thoughts, and mindfulness, all that is required for the art of dance improvisation, led to a profound meditative state. This was the bridge to a deeper spiritual understanding. These three areas later became the focus of my career, and to this day, four dacades later, are major practices of mine.

Dance Improvisation strips away the practiced preconceived movements/thoughts of the mind and body and leaves one to rely on being responsive to each moment without rehearsal. Improvisation requires an open mind and a willingness to be vulnerable, revealed, in touch and flexible to change. It cultivates the capacity and the appetite to be creative in direct responsive to life's moments. Improvisation asks one to shed the identification with ego and lay bare consciousness. Contact Improvisation develops all of this in relationship with another person. It cultivates the fluidity of connection with another through energy and the body and attunes one to the subtle non verbal interplay between self and other.

Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies

Laban Movement Studies and Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals is the work of the late Rudolph Laban and Irmgard Bartenieff. This work has played a pivotal role in the formation of the depth of my understanding of human movement and consciousness, and is a cornerstone of all my movement teaching, and body work with people.

Known and widespread in the realm of academic dance education and dance therapy, the work also has, for over fifty years, had a profound influence on many other movement arts in the west, including sports training, fitness, and yoga asana practice. Laban Movement Analysis is also used in the field of non verbal communication training in corporations throughout the world.

It is a comprehensive and in-depth understanding and mapping of human movement from an integrated perspective of function and expression. It serves as both an analytical model for diagnosing movement coordination, alignment, and expression issues, and as a teaching and experiential learning system for facilitating and teaching healthy full range of movement, functional coordination for strength and balance, full range of expression in movement and the energetics of clear nonverbal communication. I use all of these aspects of the work in my practice.

The work encapsulates the foundational elements that underlie all of human movement, offering a fundamental understanding that can be applied to any movement circumstance. The system helps people to have full range of movement necessary for peak performance, and the healthy use of and enjoyment of the body for sustainability and longevity in life in general.

In the late 1970’s I became a trainer and continue to use this material as the foundation of my movement work. To this body of understanding, I owe my own personal integrated psychological and emotional embodiment and movement intelligence, my youthful physical and energetic vitality, my longevity as a dancer and active outdoor sports enthusiast, my capacity to heal myself physically and energetically from injury and illness, my understanding of non verbal communication and my flexibility and capacity to learn new movement skills easily.

The Hakomi Method

The Hakomi Method is the acclaimed work of the late psychotherapist, Ron Kurtz. Ron’s work was pioneering in it's divergence from the common use of analyzing and interpreting through the mental realm as the main means of affecting change in a person.

The work is know for it's unique approach to accessing the deep seated beliefs and corresponding core wounds that limit us and create pain. It is known for it's non analytical and client centered focus and use of nonduality principles from Bhuddist phylosophy. The use of the mindful witness, healing presence, and the connection between the psyche and the body, in revealing the subconscious process, as well as the connection between the inner child and core beliefs, are some of the major hallmarks of this aproach to personal inquiry.

It is a sophisticated way of working with people that has laid the foundation for many contemporary modalities of psychological inquiry and healing, and is widely known and used all over the world to help people make positive transformation in their lives.

I studied with Ron and others from his team of gifted trainers during the 1980’s and 90’s assisting him in various workshops and trainings. The Hakomi Method changed my life profoundly and infinitely contributed to my inner richness because it gave me the tools for self connection, self inquiry and self healing. I cultivated my connection with the energetic consciousness of the body, and learned how to access my subconscious process for healing and transformation. On a professional level the training gave me the skills to be a masterfully effective guide in assisting others in self inquiry and teaching them the tools for healing growth and transformation.