What are you trying not to feel?
Take a breath... How does this question land in your body?
Most of us make enemies out of feelings we think we shouldn't have, trying hard to feel good, desperately running from the pain in our hearts and bodies.
The tragedy of this approach is that in turning away from our pain, we shut down our inner compass. The very purpose of our emotions and body sensations is to guide us through the world. Without it, we become lost and empty, finding ourselves in relationships and situations that are bad for us.
In learning the language of sensation and emotion, we reclaim our power, our voice, and our ability to feel deep connection with ourselves and others.
Befriending our vulnerability is the key to living a vital, connected, deeply fulfilling life.
For me, this is the essence of shadow work: Turning towards what we censor and deny, and realizing that what we thought was poison is the only medicine that will ever heal us.
On a more personal note...
Like many of you, I was raised in a family where we didn't talk about feelings, and I quickly got the message that if I was having feelings that were inconvenient, I needed to go to my room and "fix" it right away. Only then would I be fit to be part of the family again.
In other words, I had to choose connection over authenticity. I learned to skillfully minimize and deny my true feelings in exchange for love and approval.
Both my parents struggled with emotional challenges that no one talked about, and yet, perhaps like you, I was the kind of ultra-sensitive kid who picked up on everything... Their fear and pain was a constant, silent yet deafening hum that became the soundtrack of my childhood.
My obsession with shadow - with what lies below the surface - came largely from that experience. The unseen and unsaid were giants in my awareness. They were what mattered most, and what I learned to sense and even predict with great subtlety.
You might be wondering how I got here.
My fascination with the human psyche, and particularly the unconscious, had me spending my teenage and college years with my nose in the work of Jung, Freud, Goethe, Kant, Hegel, and many others. Long story short, I ended up with a Bachelors in Philosophy, and a Masters in German. (And... well... not a whole lot of friends.)
After working as full-time faculty in German at Oregon State University for several years, my soul began calling me home in the form of high-functioning depression, a lingering and pervasive sense of emptiness, and a string of codependent relationships.
At this point, I'd spent countless hours in therapy and personal growth work, and it was clear that the usual methods weren't getting anywhere.
The tools that were really changing my life were the ones I practiced on my own, inspired by Jungian depth psychology, somatic trauma healing, and mindfulness. In my bones, I knew that I was on Earth to help people heal, so in 2016, I left academia with the intention to pursue the healing arts.
After spending a few years teaching trauma-informed yoga classes in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, I enrolled in a graduate program for Counseling Psychology, but left after realizing that becoming a Mental Health Counselor wasn't going to help me do what my soul was calling me to do... to offer others the work that continues to transform my life.
For five years, I worked intensively with individuals in my shadow work private practice, learning more about humanity than I could have ever imagined, and refining my methods.
Now, I primarily teach through my Becoming Bold program, guiding others to look under the surface, direct their lives from their own feelings, needs, and desires, and discover true power, self-expression, and intimacy.
Education + Inspiration
There is no certification for what I do (besides the one I created), so below are some of the studies that form the foundation of my work today.
Major inspirations: Carl Jung, Gabor Maté, Stephen Porges, Kimberly Ann Johnson, Peter Levine, Resmaa Menakem, David Richo, Alice Miller, Malidoma Somé, Bessel van der Kolk, Tara Brach, Sarah Blondin, Rainier Maria Rilke, and my daughter, Gabriela.
BA in Philosophy - Reed College
MA in German - University of Oregon
Graduate Studies in Counseling Psychology - Bastyr University
Certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, with education through Street Yoga, The Lotus Seed, The Trauma Healing Project, and Kamala Mind Body Wellness
Courses in somatic trauma resolution and polyvagal theory with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Stephen Porges, and Liz Koch
Personal coaching and education in Black Studies and anti-racism with Dr. LaTasha Levy through Black Star Rising
The education and abundant support in my life would look very different if not for my unearned privilege as a white, cis, heterosexual, thin, able-bodied woman. I also want to acknowledge that I live and work on the ancestral, unceded land of the Duwamish people. I take it as a life-long mission to use my privilege and platform to help dismantle systems of oppression and build a more equitable, compassionate future for all.