My primary focus for the last dozen-plus years has been spiritual practice. I have also taught meditation and worked as a transpersonal counselor as well as a writing mentor. 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 to teach in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism by Lama Palden — my mentor, teacher, 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 and South America, and from eco-psychologist Leslie Gray, a modern-day shaman with a powerful clarity that continues to inspire me. 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; and recently from Andrew Harvey, whose daring reclamation of the Christian mystical tradition as divine rebellion and deep insight into the radical message of Jesus encourages me to push the edges of my own explorations.
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 and finally, leading student groups to Spiritual India and studying sacred chant in Varanasi. I spent two winters in a small Andean village in Ecuador, where I taught meditation and Buddhist compassion practices and did retreat in the Andes. Last year, I spent nine months in an open-air house in the Balinese countryside and introduced Writing from the Soul to visiting and local writers. After a few months in Thailand, I am now back in Bali, and after much solitary retreat, I am staying in a little house just outside of Ubud where I work at integrating spiritual insight and practice with every aspect of my life. This effort is beautifully supported by the field of wisdom created by the Balinese, whose collective spiritual practice permeates life here.
I am available to work with those interested in spiritual mentoring (sliding scale via Skype 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, and publish books on the challenge of marrying spirit to earth. To get a feel for how I think, check out this interview, where I talked about writing from the soul and right livelihood, and this story from Tesa Silvestre, the angel at Ayas Rivers who flow-funded money to me for the retreat time where I put together my poetry book (click here for a little video of one of the poems from the 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.