For as long as I can remember, the experiences within my connection and communication with others have enthralled my curiosity and attention. As a sensitive and empathic being, from an early age, I took care to observe the behaviors of people I'd encounter. Like many of us, I learned to navigate my ways of being to create for myself a sense of safety in relationship to what I observed. The world around me often felt a bit too disorienting and divisive, with its social protocols and Southern niceties or the cruelties that were spoken through false smiles and shielded hearts. The fragile nature of the tenderness and fear which I could feel beneath the masquerades around me, coupled with my own sensitivity, compelled a question, whose answers I spent many years exploring:
"What in the world are we all shielding from?"
This inquiry and others led me to teachings, practices, and processes that continue to nurture an increasingly perpetual sense of interior liberation and inherent belonging. Love, liberation and belonging are for us all. Through Practicing Presence, I'm grateful to share some of these teachings and practices with others.
Though it isn't my experience that formal credentials adequately indicate much about an individual's character or competency, there are several areas of formal training and intensive study which have well-served my life and the content and capacity of what flows through my offerings.
I earned a BA in Speech Communication from Baylor University (1994);
I've studied and practiced Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication for 15 years;
I studied, trained, and practiced as a birth doula and birth educator;
I trained as a mediator through Austin’s Dispute Resolution Center;
I graduated and was certified as a massage therapist through Texas Healing Arts Institute (not currently practicing);
I'm certified as an Embody Love Movement Facilitator (embodylovemovement.org);
I'm certified to teach Shamatha and Contemplative Meditation through Dakini Meditative's 300-hour Teacher Training Program (dakinimeditative.com); and
and I'm certified to teach yoga through Waking Yoga (wakingyoga.com), whose certification program was created by master teacher and yoga therapist, Jenn Wooten in Austin, Texas. Waking Yoga "nurtures trauma-informed yoga teachers who are active in their communities and beyond, guiding them to work mindfully with privilege and oppression and understand the nuances of their students' races, genders, sexual orientations, bodies, and overall lived experiences as deep sources of individual and collective wisdom."
I state the vision of Waking Yoga here because it is an inextricably essential lens through which I see the work that my clients, students, and I do together, whether we are working on mindfulness practices, yoga asana, or communication.
I'm grateful for my years of study and training which have provided a cognitive foundation for decades of experiences and lessons in embodied presence and connection (life-giving and not-so-life-giving, alike). My family, friends, partners, and many others along my journey have been clear reflections of how at various times I have both inspired and compromised connection over the years; and through them, I am grateful for the opportunities I've been given to better see and understand the effects of my presence in the world. Like most parents, I especially attribute some of my most valuable lessons about connection to my two greatest human teachers, my loving and gracious sons, who are now 12 and 23.
A primary emotional need we all have is to experience connection—that is, to remember the unifying Love that is ever-present beneath the false interpretations and accompanying behaviors of separateness that can show up when we feel such unwanted emotions as fear, anger, jealousy, and resentment. There is a more peaceable way to inhabit our bodies and to be in relationship with ourselves and with others. I call this way, Practicing Presence.
This journey into calm and abiding presence is a moment-by-moment evolving practice. May we be patient with ourselves and with one another as we learn and as we grow our capacity to compassionately hold space for what shows up. It is a privilege and joy for me to support the sense of aliveness in others that flows from deepening awareness, compassion, connection, and presence in the unfolding moments of this precious life.
If you are curious about this process, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
May peace be with you, and may the fruit of your life contribute to the freedom of all beings--