In my twenties I traveled extensively throughout Europe and then settled in France for three years where I attended college and studied French. After returning to the States, I moved to New York City where I enrolled in art school, worked as a photographer's assistant, fell in love and started a family. Eventually I returned to academia to become an English teacher. I wanted to explore with my students the wisdom contained in literature and the power of language to create meaning, beauty and connection. My own ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Schoomaker, still looms in my memory as a Santa Claus-like saint who taught me to trust my inner knowing and put it into words. I aspired to be like her.
After years of working as an educator and decades of personal and spiritual development, in 2012 I enrolled in a nine-month training course to become a life coach through the organization Leadership That Works. I’m currently finishing a two-year certification program as an Inner Relationship Focusing teacher and guide with Ann Weiser Cornell. Of all the modalities I’ve studied so far, Focusing has proven to be the most effective for deep healing and transformation. It is safe, non-intrusive and empowering. In Focusing, we learn how to relate to all aspects of the self, even our harshest inner critics, with curiosity and compassion. Forward movement happens naturally in this process. Those aspects of us that seem to sabotage success, block creativity, or undermine relationships, can transform into our greatest allies, enabling radical life change. Coaching, Focusing and Compassionate Communication form the core of my work, although I draw upon many diverse resources.
I meet with clients on the phone, on Skype or in person. My office is in an old farmhouse in Bucks County, PA that my husband and I have been restoring for the past ten years. The surrounding fields serve as an arboretum for rare and beloved trees, which he began planting 30 years ago. Apart from family and friends, we share our home with one elderly Tibetan spaniel, Peejo, and two kittens, Rufus and Emma, who bring love, laughter and mischief into our lives.
As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to empower people to believe in themselves and risk what seems impossible. What I most longed for, I learned to give to others: curiosity instead of judgment, acceptance, encouragement, self-confidence, kindness and compassion. This came naturally to me, however befriending myself did not; childhood trauma thwarted my ability to believe in my own innate goodness. This “trance of unworthiness,” as meditation teacher Tara Brach calls it, has left its mark on many of our lives. Years of healing work coupled with Buddhist meditation practice made it possible for me to cultivate a compassionate attitude toward myself. Although I still struggle at times, I now see struggle as a necessary part of growth, like that of a butterfly breaking free of its chrysalis. How we relate to challenges in life correlates with our degree of happiness and success.
Life and Leadership Coach