Years ago, I noticed that I was becoming increasingly irritable, hyper-sensitive, overreactive and I didn’t know why. Then one evening I was looking at my calendar, noticing that I didn’t have much coming up in the way of music work or creative projects for the next several months. Suddenly, a spontaneous inner-voice blurted out, “If I’m not busy, I’ll disappear!” Who or what, exactly, was feeling this existential threat, I wondered.
What was revealed to me in that moment was that I had been unwittingly cultivating an identity – a way in which I needed to see myself – for decades! and that I had been desperately clinging to it for validation and self-worth: the identity of ‘I’m busy’. It was this identity that had been – sensing its existence was being threatened by objective circumstances – was in fear for its life, and lashing out. And this was causing me, and those around me, to suffer.
Around that same time, the opportunity to learn how to meditate presented itself when a friend introduced me to Jeff Warren and the weekly sangha that was becoming the Consciousness Explorers Club. I decided I would learn how to sit and do nothing (which is what I imagined mediation to be at the time) in order that I might dive into what was below this identity: who or what was I underneath ‘I’m busy’, and could I connect with a fundamental sense of completeness in simply being alive – not ‘being busy’ – in sitting and doing nothing?
Through Jeff, I was introduced to Shinzen Young, and with that began years of residential retreats, workshops, and one-on-one training with Shinzen himself (as well as several other teachers along the way), and eventually Level 2 coaching certification from Unified Mindfulness. And while Shinzen has been my primary teacher over the years, my training and coaching are also informed and inspired by teachings of Zen, Advaita Vedanta, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, Attachment Theory, and Internal Family Systems.
As both a practitioner and a coach, my interest is in fostering a kind, loving curiosity and a sense of complementarity and allowing towards what’s true in our experience; illuminating blindspots, identifications, seeing where fixation, resistance, judgment, or denial of our experience might have us feeling stuck in our practice and in our lives.
Currently, I am a regular teacher with the CEC. I also lead workshops and courses independently, having worked with elementary school classes, university classes and student organizations, as well as in the corporate workplace. I recently had the privilege of co-teaching a week-long virtual retreat with Shinzen in March of 2021 and will soon be embarking on UM’s 3rd and final level of teacher training – as a student and a mentor.
When I’m not meditating or facilitating, I work as a musician, a motion-graphics designer, and on occasion I still get to flex my BFA training as an illustrator.