Unexpected losses, events or challenging situations are part of all our lives and can cause significant stress. It can be difficult to adjust to change, even when it’s positive. But a series of challenging life events one after the other can be devastating. Sometimes these events change how we see ourselves and our place in the world. That is what happened to me.
It started off innocently enough. My ex-husband accepted a job in France in the summer of 2011. It sounded like a dream. He started his new job in September and by December 2011 I had closed my company, sold anything we weren’t going to take with us, shipped the rest and moved from San Francisco to Paris following him.
From the moment I arrived in Paris, my spidey sense started tingling and life as I knew it began to crumble. The relationship between my husband and I rapidly deteriorated. My brother died in May 2012. As I searched for work one door would closes and another would door slams shut in my face. I was lost in a new cultural landscape, learning a new language with little support. Even now it’s hard to believe how quickly it all happened, but in less than a two years the course my life had completely changed. I could have dealt with any one of these events alone, but one challenge after another left me feeling scared, heart-broken and depressed. But I had not choice but to press on.
Then as I prepared to rebuild in spring of 2013, I moved to Brussels and despite not having any of the prerequisites the move came together seamlessly. I had finally landed, but I was still shaken and lost. Yet in that dark moment, something welled up in me and sobbing I vowed, “I’m going to figure this out and I’m going to help other people because no one should feel the way I feel now.”
As I searched to find solid footing an amazing, miraculous and life altering thing happened. I discovered mindfulness. I had been meditating for years and I could quiet my “monkey mind” in an instant. But I had never engaged in the self-inquiry that is part and parcel of mindfulness. This self-inquiry enables me to see life clearly as opposed to through a lens of stress induced reactivity. With that clarity I gained the ability to see and leverage the power of my own experience to fully engage and take back control over my life.
Thanks to my practice, I began to look to my insight, inner game and mindset to find peace in the midst of the chaos of modern living. The challenges of life have not miraculously disappeared, but with these tools I learned to both weather the unavoidable challenges and have greater appreciation for the good moments, all the while relying on my personal compass to guide me to safety to shore.
Learning these life skills changed my hopes and dreams too. Remembering my vow to help others, I began to tease out exactly what I had done to get from where I had been to where I was. I also started studying Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness (CFM). Now I’m a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher.
My life purpose and work have merged in serving you by sharing tools that can help you too weather the inevitable ups and downs in life while enjoying the sunshine more. I have a great deal of compassion and respect for our respective journeys. And I appreciate that there will still be difficulties because mindfulness doesn’t mean that life doesn’t happen. There will still be challenges, but we can change our relationship to those challenges through mindfulness. Ups and downs can be less stressful, less disruptive, more manageable.
Calling on my 20+ years of professional leadership experience, I’ve returned to teaching and coaching. Motivated by my personal experiences, led by my training and guided by my highly personal exploration, I am here to support you. What I share is led by my mindfulness practice, supported by the latest research and guided by advice passed on to me by neuroscientists, statesmen, corporate executives and Zen teachers. Yet and still my focus is squarely centered around serving you.
Now I know in theory and in practice that we can live the life of our dreams no matter what life throws our way. You don’t have to spend the years of loss, heartache, pain, research or training that I have to get here. I’m ready to pass this knowledge on to you, so you can connect with your inner wisdom, release what’s holding you back from reaching your potential and live the life you’ve longed to live. You can live more peaceful and easeful.