interactive reflection (IR), meditation practice support and dharma teacher mentoring
In 2001, I began working with members of Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC (IMCW) who wanted to explore their inner and outer lives from the perspective of Buddhist psychology, teachings and meditation practice ~ what I called *Interactive Reflection ~ rather than from the medical/mental illness model. During that time I also served on the IMCW Teachers Council and Board of Directors and taught meditation retreats and addiction/recovery workshops with Tara Brach.
Since moving to Spokane, WA in 2007 I have continued to work with IR clients and students in person or “from a distance” via telephone or Skype. The latter have often been referred by Tara when challenging material emerged during retreat or when **Meditation Practice Support is requested because a local teacher is not available. I have worked with people living in the United States, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Europe. I served as a mentor for the Sounds True Power of Awareness, an on-line meditation training course with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield as well as their two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Programs which began in May 2017 and February 2019.
In addition, I offer Dharma Teacher Mentoring to practitioners who are teaching Buddhist or mindfulness meditation classes and want support in the teaching role. Possible discussion areas range from the logistical to the visionary and experiential aspects of teaching including curriculum development (content & format of teachings and meditations), teaching style, qualities and role of a teacher, and challenges in the “classroom.”
In June 2010, I completed the 4-year Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society teacher training and was authorized to teach “The Dharma of Liberation in the Lineage of the Elders” by Jack Kornfield, Phillip Moffitt, Joseph Goldstein, Carol Wilson and Guy Armstrong. I have taught retreats at Spirit Rock, IMS, Tara Mandala, Cloud Mountain, Teen Retreats with iBme and regional retreats with various insight meditation sanghas in Nevada and Washington State.
I have extensive experience with addiction and recovery (1980) both personally and professionally which was my initial testing ground for “dukkha” (suffering, distress) and freedom from dukkha (liberation). Life reveals dharma! In addition, I am devoted to “re-membering” and calling on qualities of the Sacred Feminine ~ embodied presence, variance of vision & inclusivity, interdependence & collaboration, honoring inner authority and a deep reverence for all life forms.
meditation practice support
**Meditation Practice Support can include didactic teaching and guided meditation practices (i.e., mindfulness, concentration, the heart practices of forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity); establishing a regular home (“invitro”) practice; review of and suggestions for working with what is arising in your home practice; establishing an (“invivo”) life practice; suggesting resources for further study, support, and inspiration (e.g., books, on-line trainings, audio files); and embodiment practices of walking meditation and Qigong (of which I am only a student) if we meet in person. It is of great importance to spiritual development that we undertake the teaching and practice of sila – the intention of harmlessness, reverence for and generosity toward all life which refers to the first two lines of a pithy description of the path of awakening: “Do no harm. Act for the good. Purify the mind.” Buddha (Dhammapada 183) The third line refers to the development of meditation.
Meditation Practice Support can include becoming more aware of emotional states and habitual thought patterns that create stress, distress and suffering and those that are wholesome and onward-leading toward liberation from suffering (e.g., mindfulness, generosity, joy, tranquility, investigation, loving-kindness, open-hearted awareness). The Buddha advised us to cultivate the four great efforts in regards to mental-emotional states: To restrain the arising of unwholesome states; to abandon unwholesome states that have arisen; to develop unarisen wholesome states, and to maintain wholesome states that have arisen. As such, there is often a natural flow between Meditation Practice Support and IR.
*Interactive Reflection (IR) sessions generally include:
- opening mindfulness/embodied presence reflection which leads us into
- exploring thoughts, feelings and sensations as they naturally arise, indicating what is most calling for attention and determining which practices will deepen presence and liberation (inquiry, RAIN, forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, spacious awareness, etc.) and
- taking time to reflect on and discuss what has been revealed and how to integrate the learning/insights into daily life.
IR relies on the aliveness of moment-to-moment open-hearted awareness which often reveals fresh perspectives on habitual patterns that have become “old and in the way.”
Although I earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2010, I see myself as a teacher-midwife (rather than as psychologist or psychotherapist) who can support a person’s process of natural unfolding and expression. We each have an innate healing intelligence that “does the work” if we listen deeply and follow the impulses and wisdom that emerge. The entanglements from cultural & familial conditioning in our personal lives can be known and metabolized when received with wisdom and compassion, often revealing their hidden gems and wisdom. What has been considered wrong or difficult can be the doorway to transformation and liberation (i.e., “tracing back the radiance” rather than fixing what is wrong. Consider “what is here now if there is no problem to solve?” ~Loch Kelly
This process requires the radical approach of “turning toward and leaning into” what you may have desperately tried to ignore, reject, or destroy. This approach requires courage and is only possible when you are ready and willing to look honestly at the choices that lead to suffering and the choices that lead to freedom from suffering. Often the biggest obstacle to transforming difficult emotional states is the attachment to shame and blame; without the willingness to relinquish fault-finding, our work together will have little effect on habitual patterns. Your motivation to investigate the ways you are currently perpetuating your distress is a prerequisite for working together with IR. In addition, it is equally important to establish a regular mindfulness meditation practice to support and integrate what unfolds in IR (if you don’t practice regularly now). Life is short, Carpe Diem! If not now, when?
I also work with the Tibetan Buddhist practice of “Demon Feeding” created by Lama Tsultrum Allione which both invokes what is in the way of complete liberation (a demon) and transforms that energy into an ally. For more information please visit her website. Initial Demon Feeding sessions require a minimum of 90 minutes.
cost & frequency
2019 sliding scale is $90-$150 per 60-minute session. For my bookkeeping simplicity, I request that payment arrives before the session when paying for support at a distance. You can pay by check, Zelle, or if you want the convenience of paying by credit card you can use Pay Pal and add $5.00 to cover Pay Pal fees.
Audio or Video Skype is possible for those who are unable to telephone or meet in person. Generally, I schedule session start times on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30am to 5:00pm Pacific Time. This schedule is subject to change. Great time zone converter.
By choice I am not licensed to provide psychotherapy or to diagnose and treat any mental disorder.
Therefore, our work together is not reimbursable by health insurance.
The frequency of sessions is based on your time, finances, and needs coupled with my schedule. I strongly recommend starting with weekly or twice monthly sessions to establish a personal connection, to co-create the way we work together, and create the momentum that can support my primary goal for our work together: For you to transfer the learning in our sessions to your meditation practice and your life; in other words, to make the reflections and practices your own and to experience the effect on your daily life and relationships. I am interested in “teaching you to fish rather than feeding you fish.”
I cannot offer emergency or “on-call” coverage. For various lengths of time I am unavailable due to teaching, being on retreat, engaging in restorative travel, riding on the back of our Harley, and/or just having fun! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Telephone: 509-688-7772 (Pacific Time) or email
Some of the books that I have found helpful with awakening in practice and in life include:
Feeding Your Demons: Ancient wisdom for resolving inner conflicts ~ Tsultrim Allione
Radical Acceptance: Embracing your life with heart of a Buddha ~ Tara Brach
True Refuge: Finding peace and freedom in your own awakened heart ~ Tara Brach
The Places that Scare You: A guide to fearlessness in difficult times ~ Pema Chodron
Untie the Strong Woman ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Mindfulness: A practice guide to awakening ~ Joseph Goldstein
Wise Heart: A guide to the universal teachings of Buddhist psychology ~ Jack Kornfield
Shift into Freedom: The science and practice of open-hearted awareness ~ Loch Kelly
Loving-Kindness: The revolutionary art of happiness ~ Sharon Salzberg
Real Happiness: The power of meditation ~ Sharon Salzberg
Time to Stand up: An engaged Buddhist manifesto for our Earth ~ Thanissara
Awakening the Heart: East/West approaches to psychotherapy and the healing relationship ~ John Welwood, Editor
Perfect Love Imperfect Relationships ~ John Welwood