Hello! Welcome to my website. I’m genuinely glad you’re here and hope you’ll find something that intrigues you enough that you’ll feel compelled to pursue it: whether it be a service I offer, a topic I write about, or a book I’ve loved. But first, a bit more information about me and my journey.
Born and raised in Iowa, I moved to Seattle when I was 21, ostensibly to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. Probably though, my move was more about love than anything else: both of a person and the salt water and mountains that seductively called to my midwestern spirit. After obtaining my master’s degree, (and after the person part of the love piece didn’t exactly work out as I’d hoped,) I started my career in earnest and steadily began working my way up the corporate ladder in health care and then public television and tech start ups, pursuing increasingly responsible positions in human resources, administration, and leadership and organization development. I enjoyed and excelled in my work life, I adored my colleagues and friends, I met and married a great guy, and I spent my life outside of work exploring the Pacific Northwest hiking and skiing, traveling to different parts of the world, and reading and writing voraciously. I vividly remember buying my first bag full of books at Elliot Bay Books back in the days when there were still in Pioneer Square—ecstatic that a. they were not textbooks and b. I could afford them and c. I could read anything I wanted. I had arrived, (or so I thought) at a realized, fulfilled and achieving adult life.
Then life really happened. Over the next fifteen years: I lost three close friends in two separate plane accidents; a best friend to a sudden and virulent illness; my grandmother in a tragic car accident; and an ex-lover (and good friend) to cancer. My father developed leukemia. And my husband developed two different and unrelated types of cancer.
By my early 40’s, I was reeling. And searching. And depressed. And confused. And deeply, deeply grieving. (Only I wasn’t really clear about that part at the time. What did a 40 year old really know about grief work? ) What the heck was happening?
I say my true adult life began when I left a job with no concrete plans for the future. Instead, on a total whim I went to live and work for six weeks at a monastery in northern New Mexico, after which I meandered around the western part of the US for another month by myself on a solo road trip before heading back to Seattle. Was I religious? No, not particularly. Catholic? Nope—born and raised as Lutheran as they come. Was I still married? Yes—and obviously to an understanding husband. So what possessed me to leave a great job to spend six weeks working and singing and praying alongside cloistered monks who only spoke a few times a week? And then spend the next three years trying to find my next path(s), to understand the depth of my grief and to understand the depths of my heart’s longings?
I wish I had a “spiritual” answer. I wish I could tell you I heard a “great voice on high” or angels singing or that I had received a particular sign or an invitation or a clear unequivocal message from God. Nope. All I had was a newspaper article I’d stashed in a manila file folder (remember those things?) from ten years earlier about a guy who lost his wife to cancer and then went to the monastery to ritually mark the end of his formal, self-imposed one year grieving period. I remembered thinking at the time: “If I ever need to regroup in my life, I’m going there.” And there I went.
Fast-forward fifteen years. Now, I’ve learned to LISTEN, truly listen to myself and my deepest desires and longings and yearnings. I’ve learned to listen to the voice of the Mystery—to what I call God. I’ve learned to worship and honor. I’ve learned to be in community. I’ve learned to fully grieve and experience loss in a way that takes my breath away and yet brings it back round. I’ve learned to feel my sorrows (with the help and support of others) and not dance (or eat or spend) my way around them. I’ve learned to acknowledge—truly acknowledge another’s loss. And I’ve learned to share. Share my heart, my deepest self, my intuitive, knowing side that tells the truth. Always. Even if the truth is difficult to hear. I’ve trained as a spiritual director, building upon my innate gifts as a natural listener. I’ve learned to sing Gregorian chant, drum and meditate. I’ve been tattooed (ten times and counting.) I’ve explored shamanic practices and ways of knowing through the natural world. I became a progressive Catholic working for women’s ordination and an Oblate of St. Benedict and a Sister of Belle Coeur. I returned to the corporate world and worked with creative professionals to help build cultures where people could thrive and grow and be together in places they loved to be. I learned to honor the bear inside myself that must hibernate yearly and create an inner and outer sanctuary to cultivate the best choices for living into the upcoming years. I learned to write from my heart and write to heal. Most importantly, I’ve learned to love who I am now and I look forward to loving who I will become.
THIS. This is my life now. To me, THIS.IS.LIFE. Life fully lived and felt and stretched and cherished. Lived with a bit of reckless abandon and raucous laughter and a lot of joyous love. And books. Many, many, many books.
Thanks for coming along on part of my ride, whether you’re here for a short while or whether you return again and again. I’m here. Ready to listen, support, share, help, coach, facilitate, lead, guide, grow, heal, cry, accept, and trust. Trust that life works out best especially when we learn to listen and do our personal work. And sometimes even if we don’t.
With deep respect, many blessings and admiration for all,