“Let the beauty we love, be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
My journey to becoming a wellness practitioner emerged over years, though looking back the threads began to be woven early. At five years old, as the story goes, I came into the room where my parents were sitting with a worried look on my face “I want to be a doctor” I said, and then “but I don’t know where doctors go to school.” By eight years old, after performing in my first full-length play Pirandello’s Six Characters in search of an Author (I was “The Little Girl”), my sights were set firmly on the theatre. This love continued through childhood and into college. While acting something magical happened: I was able to be fully present and alive in myself, and in so doing was able to access an understanding of others’ life experiences, I was able to touch unknown worlds, and bring new understanding to people through art. I loved to travel, and lived abroad with my family and also for my junior year at college. These experiences continued to break-open my sense of what was possible and deepen my love and respect for different cultures, ideas, and people.
A couple years after graduating from college, it was while traveling for 100 days around Europe (with a pack strapped to my back) that late one night I had my first experience with intense musculoskeletal pain. During the simple act of making my bed, I threw out my back. Any movement hurt, and sleeping was nearly impossible. Having studied The Alexander Technique as part of my performing arts studies in college, I used its practical, holistic approach to get around without aggravating my injury and to allow it to heal. That event fueled my realization that I wanted to train to teach this incredible work that not only had remarkable effects on my performance as an actor and singer, but also had the ability to empower me with knowledge to heal. In 2001, shortly after returning from my travels, I began studying to become a teacher.
In my last year of training to be an Alexander teacher, I experienced some deep emotional stress and began to sense it was having a profound impact on my body. I ended up at my doctor’s office asking why “I just don’t feel right.” Blood tests eventually diagnosed me with an auto-immune disorder. Searching to understand what was happening, and finding no solutions I was comfortable with (Why should I remove my thyroid when there is nothing technically wrong with it? Why do I have to be on medication for the rest of my life that only suppresses symptoms and doesn’t address the cause? What is the cause?), I ended up turning to Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I loved the quality of attention I received from my acupuncturist. I was surprised no one else had asked me to participate in my own wellbeing in this way – it just made so much sense! I also loved the way it was changing me, how I felt, and experienced my dis-ease. It was during one particular treatment, when I literally felt my hands pulsing with Qi, that I decided I wanted to know more. As I built my Alexander practice in New York City, I also began to study Chinese Medicine. The more I studied, the more I grew to deeply value the philosophy that seemed to me to align perfectly with my training in Alexander.
I had found where “the doctors go to school!” At least the kind of doctor I wanted to be. Traditional Chinese Medical school is intense, not to mention in the heart of NYC, and I wouldn’t have made it through with my self in tact if it wasn’t for the skills I had as an Alexander teacher, and my Alexander students – whose curiosity and courage brought me joy and fortitude.
As I began to weave these two potent practices together, and began to offer to others the deep wisdom I learned from both West and East, I have found such beauty in the collaborative process of healing and self-discovery. Teaching is an art, and healing in an art. In both there is an opportunity to be fully present, alive and nourished by the unknown. I learn from, and discover with, each and every person who walks through my door.
My desire to be closer to nature and to be in community with people finding new and ancient ways of exploring the healing of ourselves and our planet drew me to relocate to North Carolina in 2015. I love living with more trees than people! I am learning from the trees, and I also continue to study with senior Alexander teachers and Chinese Medicine masters; I do regular exchanges with colleagues; and continue to add to my artist’s palate with other modalities of consciousness and healing. I find it benefits my art and my clients when I am continually engaged in the learning process myself.
I feel deeply grateful to the many colors woven into my journey and to where it may carry me next.
“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
-John O’Donohue’s Fluent
“Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.”