A journey full of heart and learning

After many years studying and working at universities across the country, I upended my life and moved to the Republic of Azerbaijan to volunteer as a Teacher Trainer with the Peace Corps. I loved the Peace Corps but those first few months of my two-year experience were difficult and I was often lonely and homesick. On a particularly challenging day, a new friend hugged me and I was reminded of the gentle power of touch. The experience stayed with me and was the pivot of change that led me on an exciting path when I returned to family in California.

Reiki was my entry into the world of bodywork. I completed Reiki I (Usui) with Beverly Farris then Reiki II and Master level with my fantastic friend and mentor Elizabeth Fulmer. Also with Elizabeth, I completed Karuna Reiki I and II. In Reiki, I learned the art of simple, beautiful, open-hearted presence.

At the Massage Therapy Institute in Davis, I received training in Swedish massage techniques, cranial sacral balancing, neuromuscular therapy, anatomy, pathology, reflexology, and massage for seniors and became a certified massage therapist*. I worked with Keesha Standley and Jim Gilkeson in cranial sacral balancing and went on to do Jim's 6-month group mentorship program. Jim Gilkeson is a truly gifted practitioner and instructor and I am honored to have worked with him. Under his mentorship, I learned the importance of exploring my own energy system, the critical nature of self-care, and how to hone my heart as my most important tool for bodywork.

In 2014, I completed many hours of training in Healing Touch and now am a level 4 apprentice. Healing Touch, founded by registered nurse Janet Mentgen, approaches energy work from a clinical and evidence-based perspective. Healing Touch has provided me with a wealth of useful techniques and strengthened my skillset for work with medically fragile and hospice clients. Healing Touch led me to explore hospice work and I've completed the 32-hour volunteer training with the Sacramento Hospice Consortium.

Currently, I'm reading about the ways in which trauma affects the body, unlearning and fighting against white supremacy (I am particularly drawn to Layla Saad's writing), working on house projects with my husband and our dogs, and exploring ancestor work with Daniel Foor.

*CAMTC #59527