My primary focus for the last 20-plus years has been spiritual practice. I have also mentored individuals and taught retreats and classes on meditation, writing and spirituality. With flamingseed, I bring together my love of books and language with my love of all things transformational and life-giving.
While I’ve drawn spiritual inspiration from many sources, the ground of my practice comes from Buddhism. On the advice of Bokar Rinpoche, my study has crossed lineages and my path has been largely intuitive. I officially entered Buddhism when I took refuge vows with Pema Chodron and later, Bodhisattva vows with the Dalai Lama in India. After much retreat, practice and study that drew on a variety of Buddhist lineages, I completed an Interlineage Buddhist Teacher Training and in 2009 was authorized as a dharma teacher by Lama Palden — my mentor and spiritual big sister in San Rafael, who I also apprenticed with in transpersonal counseling after receiving my MA in Integral Counseling Psychology.
Other important influences include the writings and practices of the Catholic mystics, as well as vital and humbling transmissions of indigenous wisdom during visits to the Menominee reservation (where my maternal grandmother was born and raised), as well as Bali, Borneo and South America. I’ve also received personal spiritual guidance from the Indian scholar and Tantric master Kamalakar Mishra who I met in Varanasi, and whose open heart, depth of practice and sublime teachings on maitri and the imminent nature of the Divine have touched me deeply.
Traveling has been an important part of my life and I’ve become something of a nomad. I’ve spent a great deal of time in India, first working in the slums of Bombay, then on extended retreat in the Himalayas. Since then, I’ve led student groups to Spiritual India, studied sacred chant in Varanasi, taught meditation and spiritual practice in Rishikesh, and gone on solitary retreat and pilgrimage as I am called. I also spent two winters in a small Andean village in Ecuador, where I taught meditation and Buddhist compassion practices and did solitary retreat in the Andes. For a number of years, I spent a good amount of time in Bali, where I introduced Writing from the Soul to visiting and local writers and spent long periods in solitary retreat. After powerful visits to Muara Tae (an indigenous village in the rainforest of Borneo) and a pilgrimage in West Bengal, I am now splitting my time between India, Nepal, Bali and the United States. With dear friends around the globe and direct experience with their concerns, I now consider myself first and foremost, a citizen of the earth.
I am available to work with those interested in spiritual mentoring (sliding scale via Skype or phone to anywhere in the world). These sessions are valuable for those who want to take charge of their spiritual journey, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. Single and ongoing sessions are available. I also mentor writers interested in using writing as a tool of awakening. I periodically teach writing, spiritual practice and meditation both online and in places around the world, and publish books on the challenge of marrying spirit to earth. To get a feel for how I think, check out this story from Tesa Silvestre, the angel at Ayas Rivers who flow-funded money to me for the retreat time where I put together Grasshopper Guru, my first poetry book — and then more funds to continue staying on retreat after that (deep gratitude, Tesa!).
Browsing the essays on the blog and on the Huffington Post will also give you a sense of who I am and what I’m about, as will taking a look at my essential spiritual book list. If you resonate with what you read on this site and would like to be in touch, please don’t hesitate to contact me.