I grew up in Phoenix, swimming, of course swimming, doing crafts, hiking and horseback riding. I had a part Morgan/Quarter horse named Scooter, a beloved friend, who got me through those trying years of middle and high school. I was the hiking club president at Paradise Valley High School mostly because I loved connecting people. (Who knew I was a budding young social networker before the term existed.)
Before completing college I went to live in Mexico City to learn Spanish but ended up teaching English to first and second graders as well as middle school students and business executives. Eventually I became the personal director for a language service that provided English classes to bank employees and Ford Motor Company before and after work. From Mexico City I returned to Tucson to continue college, finishing up a B.S. in Business Administration at Goldey-Beacom College, a very small business school in Wilmington, Delaware. Being a social worker type at heart I thought that I would bring business skills into the volunteer world. But soon after graduating I had my first son and moved back to Arizona to be closer to family. In Tucson I was a stay-at-home mom volunteering at schools and for community based health projects through the Pima County Medical Society Alliance.
In 1995 I began a master's degree in counseling psychology at Prescott College. It was a self-directed program that I could do a long distance from my home and family in Tucson. For the years prior to Prescott College I had become interested in personal growth studying everything from Neurolinguistic Programming, hypnosis, Reiki, to shamanic healing practices eventually becoming involved in a shamanic path. My head turned toward states of consciousness and I wanted a container for all my endeavors. This container was the masters program at Prescott College which I completed in 1998. But life takes it turns and I ended up spending several years attending to family crisis and getting my real estate license to help with a family business. Finally in 2006 my focus returned to the healing arts and I began working with a doctor to calm the racing minds of his patients with sleep issues.
In August 2009 I began training in Somatic Experiencing, (Peter Levine's work, Waking the Tiger author). Immediately after starting the training I began using what I was learning with my sleep clients with great success. Since I began the Somatic Experiencing training with my instructor Steve Hoskinson I continue to incorporate what I learn into what I do with my clients but equally important it is changing my experience of being in the world. I am gaining a sense of alert, calm, presence.
Somatic Experiencing is really about how to calm one’s nervous system enough to be comfortable in the body. It is not a technique. To me Somatic Experiencing feels like it is a title under which the fundamental truths of great spiritual traditions, conventional wisdom, and scholarly teachings are gathered. When I sit with Pema Chodron's writings, read Buddhism, or psychology I grasp that life is about experiencing the spectrum life offers. It is through our awareness, acceptance, and integration of the range that we find peace. Peace within ourselves as a result of accepting the pain and joy not only in our bodies but in everything from personal relationships to global events. As Steve Hoskinson, my SE teacher says, “Somatic Experiencing should really be called Life Experiencing." Also Steve speaks of how humans are designed for pleasure. I couldn’t agree more because once we feel safe enough to occupy our bodies we are able to be present in our lives.