Deepening Understanding and Embodiment

An open letter to colleagues, students and friends

I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to say that I've had the experience of "coming home" to a path and a practice not once, not twice, but three times in this life! The first time I felt this instantaneous recognition, this sense of deep alignment and trust that I was home, I was sitting in a meditation hall late at night in Bodh Gaya, India, in 1997. I had just heard my first Dharma talk (an exposition of the Buddha's teachings), and I felt as if everything in my life was finally making sense.

It took some doing for my heart to convince my mind to trust what the body already knew: that I'd stumbled upon was something I had been waiting for, and had known inside all along.

It was another five years before I crossed paths with Marshall Rosenberg and began to learn Nonviolent Communication (NVC). And yet, from the very first time I heard someone explain, "Everything we do, we do to meet a need," I realized that I'd found another practice that would be with me as a companion and teacher for the rest of my life. I've been studying and practicing NVC for almost eight years now and the closer I look, the more subtle and profound I find the practice to be. It's role in my life has shifted over time from a communication tool to improve relationships to a living practice of awareness that transforms perceptions and actualizes values.

Since completing the BayNVC Leadership Program in 2007, I've had the joy and honor of teaching with BayNVC as a Collaborative Trainer, facilitating trainings for groups and businesses, offering classes and workshops to members of our community with a background in meditation. There's little else I could have imagined fulfilling me more than teaching about these two passions at the same time, to others interested in transforming their consciousness and integrating their spirituality into their relationships! 

And then, just about two years ago, I fell in love again – this time with a form of healing known as Somatic Experiencing (SE). Based on a biological understanding of our nervous system, I found in SE yet another powerful path to support the natural unfolding of human awareness and healing.

Having completed the first two years of a three-year training program, I am choosing to take a hiatus from teaching NVC for the rest of 2010 in order to focus on deeply learning and studying SE in the final, advanced year of training. After completing the SE training this September, I'll be sitting a 3-month, silent intensive meditation retreat on the east coast and continuing on for further practice and training in Buddhism at my teacher's monastery in Great Britain.  

Life is rhythm - a primordial beat pumps blood through our bodies; the breath rises and falls just like sun; the heart opens and closes. Expansion and contraction; doing and being; birth and death. For this next year, I will be following a slow but steady movement inwards, to listen and learn, to deepen my own understanding and embodiment of this strange and mysterious event we are all sharing, called life.  I look forward to reconnecting in 2011.

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