How it started
The opportunity to learn how to meditate presented itself right around the time I realized that I had become really invested in ‘being busy’. I had spent years unwittingly building up this identity. It validated my existence. It gave me a sense of self-worth and purpose. Being busy made me feel necessary (or, maybe more accurately, it kept me distracted from feelings of inadequacy).
But then, for the first time in decades, as I was looking at a calendar with an uncomfortable amount of empty space on it, an inner-voice blurted out in panic ‘If I’m not busy, I’ll disappear!’ I realized in that moment that, as ridiculous as that thought seemed on face value, my sense of self was lashing out against an existential threat. And it was causing me – and those around me – to suffer.
Fortunately, right around this same time, a friend told me about a weekly mediation group started up by her friend, Jeff Warren (this was the weekly gathering that would become the Consciousness Explorer’s Club). The timing was perfect. I had read books on Zen in my twenties, and the Tao Te Ching, I had never developed a practice! It was like I had read books about balance, but never actually got on the bicycle. It was time. I wanted to learn how to quietly sit still (my understanding of meditation at the time) and experience the completeness and perfection of just being alive.
My introduction to the mindfulness system that would become Unified Mindfulness was by way of Jeff and the CEC. And within a year or so I was regularly attending retreats with Shinzen Young at the Mt. Carmel monastery in Niagara Falls, along with other shorter retreats here and there with other teachers. That led to me facilitating sits and workshops with the CEC, which led me to seek more training so I could deepen and clarify my own practice and, in turn, more effectively share it with others.
How it’s going
After meeting Julianna Raye on retreat, I enrolled in UM’s Foundations, and then Pathways. After completing those courses, I coached Pathways, started leading 8-week UM-focused courses, as well leading half-day and day-long programs in schools and offices around Toronto. In March 2021, I co-taught a virtual week-long retreat with Shinzen and started coaching people one-on-one soon after. I was a Mentor in UM’s first offering of their year-long Level 3 Teacher/Trainer certification course, Compass, I am now Mentoring the second Compass class. I’m also still an active teacher with the CEC, occasionally leading evening sits and short retreats.
I welcome the opportunity to work with meditators at any and all levels of experience. While UM is the foundation of my practice and my coaching, my priority is always to meet people wherever they are and use the tools of UM to support them in their practice, whether they are just learning to meditate, or have an established practice in a specific tradition or technique.
In my own practice, I continue to enjoy exploring and learning from various teachers and traditions. Areas of particular interest to me lately are the complementarity of mindfulness and non-dual techniques; ways to deepen mindfulness in ordinary life activities, situations, and interactions; trauma-sensitive mindfulness, and unconscious bias.
If you are curious about working together, please feel free to get in touch for a free consultation to explore the possibilities. Whether it means working together, or just helping you get clear on what you’re looking for in a teacher or coach, I’d be happy to support your practice however I can.
Thanks for reading.
PS – Aside from mindfulness and meditation coaching and training, I’m also a professional musician (guitar, bass guitar, and occasionally drum kit), as well as motion graphics designer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and occasionally an illustrator and animation background designer/digital painter.