Dedication (Etymology): “set apart and consecrated to a sacred purpose by a solemn act or by religious ceremonies; devoted with earnest purpose, as to some person or end; devoted to one’s aims or vocation.”
My Life’s Work is dedicated to The Many, both human and beyond, who have come before and those on their way. To the ancestors, who gifted us these bodies, which store all the memories and codes in a vast genetic library, helping us remember what needs remembering and forget what needs forgetting. To those who bequeathed their well-worn maps to those they left behind, as tattered and flawed as parts of them are, which eagerly offers us guidance and clues along the way. May we continue to chart, repair, and polish what they could not in order to pass down a more honest, beautiful, and crystalline world to way-finders of current and future horizons. May we continue to develop their lives and become ancestors worth descending from.
“Unfinished Poem: I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”― John O’Donohue
(*subject to further development):
“A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not cover the whole target. But the archer is too well satisfied with his success to ask anything farther.”
Know Your Body & Know Nature Intimately:
This. Full stop.
This topic is so deeply rich and expansive that it causes my heart to collapse in a swell of tidal reverence. My hypothesis: our Bodies (also referred to as the BodyMind in various traditions) are incredible instruments–technologies–designed by Nature, in order to serve Nature. The Body, like Nature, is a storehouse of wisdom and knowledge that, like an instrument, when properly attuned and practiced, can create powerful, moving, and joyous experiences. When we feel our Body, we are feeling Nature, and when we get into Nature, we are getting into our Body. As Wendell Berry notes: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” This is an invitation to make sacred again that which we have unwittingly descreated. Let’s learn to play these instruments well so that we may feel well and serve others well.
Nature (Etymology): “restorative powers of the body, bodily processes; powers of growth; being, principle of life; character, essence; course of things; natural character; the universe, literally ‘birth’.”
Body (Etymology): “trunk of a man or beast; the whole physical structure of a human or animal; main or principal part of anything; any number of individuals spoken of collectively”
What does it mean to live well? When we follow the etymological roots of the word “Nature,” we reach a timeless place of deep continuity where Nature and the Body flow into a river of inseparability. To know life, we must know our distinct forms, our Bodies–which are composed of a dynamic, complex symphony of other Bodies in motion. The food you eat is a Body composed of other Bodies in motion. Your eyelash is a form, a Body, composed of other Bodies in motion. To respect life, we must respect all the many Bodies that make life possible. I hypothesize that the Body is an instrument that enables Beauty and Love to come alive. Love is not only our birthright, but it is our necessary and natural responsibility, our obligation and duty as a species. Beauty-making is an act of Love in service to and for other, world, and self. Nature reveals to us the what, how, and why of Love. Love is a feeling; and we feel through our Bodies. I encourage us all to be intimately conversant with Nature and our Bodies; in service to our ultimate human-responsibility to enact Love and make Beauty.
How I Aim to Work
Right in the middle, centered within the Mystery and Abstract & supported by the Known and Concrete. Like seasons, I believe that there are inherent patterns that help us learn how to respond and navigate our re-cycling lives. I’ve been blessed and cursed with a ravenous appetite for investigating the interior sciences, the stuff that defies objective measurement. I also have professional training and a deep reverence for the exterior sciences that help us find our way through the beauty and insight that measurement reveals. I see it not as an either/or, rather as a both/and. Rationality, Matter, Stability: & :Intuition, Spirit, Chaos make fantastic dance partners, and I have no intention of separating them from their natural gravitational pull to creatively move together. Life is a really big, serious deal and simultaneously playfully absurd and NBD (no big deal). I don’t know how both of those things are true at the same time, but they are. So depending on the context, sometimes very practical, grounded, tangible tools are explored and offered, and sometimes diving into the deep imaginal, feeling senses, and the dream world is the best medicine for the context. Together, we get lost in expanding our horizons of knowing by using the instrument of our bodies to navigate us home.
Diagnosis: Etymology: “to know thoroughly” or “know apart (from another),” from dia “between” + gignōskein “to learn, to come to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know”.
Diagnoses, from my perspective, often reveal the way that we are organized and shaped. I am interested in knowing the functionality and beauty of the various shapes that we take; the functionality and beauty of how we are organized. Whatever shape you are in, it is worthy of understanding, regardless of how strange and alien it may initially appear. I primarily work with individuals, ranging from late teens into elderhood.
Fundamentally I see humans not as static entities but as dynamic becomings. We are all grappling with some flavor of becoming in our identities, be it spiritual, gender, familial, professional, artistic…. My aim is to support and move with processes of becoming–necessarily and appropriately seeing you as a fantastic work of art that is constantly evolving. Exploration, experimentation, discomfort, and play are necessary to creating any remarkable work of art.
“It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.” ― Margaret Mead
I grew up the youngest child, often believing myself to be the black sheep of the family. At least this is the myth that I have perpetuated over time. Ask any given member of my family, and they will surely offer a different perspective.
This mythical black sheep troupe had its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it gave me permission to explore, take risks, and make mistakes without much surprise to others. To their enormous credit, my family has consistently supported my flightful, haphazard experiments, and in spite of our natural perspectival differences, this brave act of love and support enlivens a sense of indebted gratitude that moves me to become a larger, more generous human being.
Back to the myth of the black sheep. The story created some problems. It implanted a plotline that I didn’t have an inherent place of belonging. Growing up, I often felt like I was carrying around a lot of darkness, as if I was harboring a community of ugly Monsters within. In a culture bereft of healthy rites of passage, coherent cosmologies, and initiation processes that wisely escort the individual from childhood into adulthood, our development is often dangerously over-accelerated in some parts and acutely underdeveloped in others. I fell prey to this failure in cultural technology, and the delicious potential of this beautiful youth came out of the oven like a lackluster Christmas ham, crusty on the outside and raw in the middle.
As time has churned, tossed, glided, and broken me through the world, my perspectives and storytelling continue to expand and unfold. Looking back, there’s a sense that the Monsters I was impossibly trying to banish were my own humanity. I now sense that the Monsters were past and future Selves trying to reveal their innate humanity, trying to be birthed into a world that didn’t contour with the natural shape of our inherent human-ness; trying to enter into a world overpopulated with well-intentioned beings and operating manuals that had very incoherent instructions about how to skilfully grow a human.
So I have spent a lot of time and effort learning about these supposed Monsters. This learning sometimes feels like utilizing all the lessons gained from sprouting into a mature, adult body while also trying to remember how the body of a wide-eyed, non-cynical child works. It has taken years and an abundance of support from others to be able to tame my mind and soothe my nervous system in order to more fluidly be in fruitful alignment with self, other, and world. I am beholden to all those who have helped me along the way, to share and pass along the data collected in this dedicated study of how the heart beats and how the heart breaks. The Monsters demand that I share what I know. It doesn’t belong to me; it was never “mine” to begin with. Truly it is our inherent birthright to love and live well. We must remember, again and again and again and again….
“When you meet The Monster, anoint his feet.” –Bayo Akomolafe
“Thou shalt not give birth reluctantly”― Otto Rank
Training & Credentials
The LinkedIn Version
- Rice University, BA (Anthropology); University of Denver, MA (International Studies); Chaminade University, PsyD (Clinical Psychology)
- Educated by Nature: Completion of the Pacific Crest Trail (a continuous footpath from Canada to Mexico); Solo Wilderness Fast (School of Lost Borders)
- Work, study, and research conducted in Mongolia, S. Korea, China, Chile, Costa Rica, & Hawai’i
- Extensive meditation experience as a long-term Zen temple resident
- Work experience in a variety of settings, including dishwashing, graveyard grocery shifts, cleaning houses to working for large global media think tanks (i.e. The Economist Intelligence Unit, Beijing Office). Each space offered valuable experiences that deepened and enriched my capacity to integrate various life perspectives
The Joseph Campbell Version:
I have traversed the traditional, western educational system for longer than expected. About 80% of my life thus far. This was primarily due to a failure of imagination–school was safe and predictable. I did what I had to do to make the grades, sometimes learning a lot, often not learning as much as I could have or wanted to because the goal of making a good grade got in the way. The result-oriented, outcome driven “A” obscured and flattened the opportunity to read in-depth and reflect in a more meaningful and growth-oriented manner. Nevertheless, I picked up a lot of good information, while also forming a lot of terrible habits in my thinking and way of being in relationship to the process of learning. All the schooling was valuable, yet what I sense was more valuable to my professional maturation had less to do with sitting in a classroom and reading books; rather it was my relentless drive to sit with myself. While I was in graduate school pursuing my doctorate in psychology, I lived and worked at a Zen temple, adhering to a consistent schedule of meditative practices. I also hustled, sweated, and gritted my teeth to make ends meet, working three part time jobs at some soul-crushing places, which ultimately shaped and wounded me in invaluable ways. In this field, knowing your own subjective, interior landscape is not just helpful but totally necessary for becoming an effective practitioner. So I really got to know my Body/Mind and those inner Monsters with deeper clarity and intimacy. It was harsh and punishing at times and demanded more of myself than I thought possible to give. But turns out I had it to give and was able to give it. That embedded, embodied knowledge is priceless; more valuable than any piece of paper or stainless-steel grade point average that the world falsely misidentifies as mattering most.
So that’s one window into my credentials related to my relationship with the Body/Mind. I can’t escape a conversation about my credentials without mentioning Nature. Nature. Their Majesty–an astonishingly wise, demanding, cruel, merciful, generous, and infinitely eternal power of teacherly authority. In my early 20’s, I was called to learn from the Mongolian landscape how to move nomadically through a rooted listening to the land. The people, horses, and sky of Mongolia first jostled me awake to the reality that Nature is not “out there.” All the stories of a dead, material world that I had been fed by western science were flipped on their axes, as it gradually became more and more difficult to deny that nothing in this world is vacant of spirit, power, intelligence, and life force. That Mongolian steppe, and the people who loved it into its natural Beauty-fullness, catalyzed a slow awakening to remembering Nature as animated, living, and, in fact, my very own Body/Mind. Fast forward to 2019, where these lessons were further deepened when Nature called me into an apprenticeship with wild-finding wayfaring. In solitude, I walked along the Pacific Crest Trail, making my way from Canada to Mexico, in pursuit of an education. It is impossible to fully explain what I received in that coursework, where my only responsibility was to place one foot in front of the other, day after day. However, none of these lessons are lost in me. My cells are different now, and they remember some things that we, as a culture, have long forgotten. I do my best to help pass along these forgotten memories that are longing to be remembered and loved back into creation. My sense is that in remembering our deep and primordial Nature, a kind of wisdom of necessary self-forgetfulness ensues.
Thus, an invitation
“For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . .When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.” ― Terry Tempest William, (“When Women Were Birds”)
Join my mailing list