I came to meditation practice slowly, mostly through yoga beginning in my early 20’s, and then only dabbling here and there until my early 40’s. By that time I’d been married for 20 years, my yoga practice was well established, and our two kids were about ready to leave for college one year after the other. My work life had always been busy and full. Early on I’d been a nurse mostly working in Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care, and Obstetrics. I went on to own two small businesses; a job placement company for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and since 1998, I’ve co-owned Emerald City Laundry Co, a full service neighborhood laundromat in Arcata, CA.
While our kids were in high school, meditation began to creep back into my life through my yoga practice. At first, I used meditation as a reason to disappear to the quiet end of the house, sit down, not talk, and avoid arguments with my teenagers. But what I found was that I really needed this time and space to listen to my own mind. I had no specific expectations or intentions other than being quiet, and then it began to change and get interesting. By paying attention to my breath, my body sensations, and my thoughts, I started to have access to myself in a whole new way. I became completely captivated and intrigued by what I might learn by what appeared to be doing nothing. And something else was happening as well – I began to see and experience the world very differently.
Little by little I’ve become less reactive, less judgmental about myself and others, more resilient to the natural difficulties of life, and more compassionate and kind. I realize now that my intention is to live a more skillful life; one that more easily accommodates pain, frustration, fear, sadness, grief and loss right along side joy, delight, contentment, curiosity and love. When my kids were very little I used to tell them “Choose kindness. It’s so much easier that way.” I believed it then and I believe it now. It works.
In 2004, about when my meditation practice had become part of my daily life, I also began to read about mindfulness as well as contemplative Jewish and Buddhist meditation. Because I was practicing alone at home, studying became a support of my practice. In 2005 I realized that I needed to practice with other people, that the support of a group was essential to my own practice, and that practicing alone was not sustainable over time. So, I decided to rent a space at the Community Yoga Center; I put a sign on the door for a meditation group, and people began to show up. After ten years, we’re still meeting every Monday afternoon.
In 2014, I completed the yearlong training at the Mindful Awareness Research Center of UCLA in the secular Mindfulness Facilitation Program. Because I am convinced that mindfulness and meditation are effective and accessible avenues towards well-being, my work now includes mindfulness programs for small business, healthcare, government and other professional settings.