I grew up in New Mexico an only child, avid reader, and perpetual journal writer. Being in the desert in close proximity to the Rocky Mountains, I grew to love open spaces, big sky, and the brown curves of mother earth. I craved pinto beans, green chile, homemade tortillas, and tomatoes fresh from Big Mama’s garden. Now, I live in the Midwest.
Harsh winters make spring exquisite; humans mimic the plants, as we come out of our dormant state, reaching towards the warmth and light of the sun. I grow my own tomatoes during the short summers, and living near water and in the shade of so many trees makes me miss the mountains and big sky of the Southwest a bit less. But I still order Hatch green chiles to add to the stews that get me through the cold season. These days, rather than reading and writing, I spend more of my time talking to weeping willow trees, sitting with turtles, and learning from my ancestors.
I see my role as an embodied coach, facilitator, and consultant as sacred: It’s the work of healing justice -- supporting transformation of ourselves, our systems and our communities. It’s one path to liberation, a way out of oppression and into greater connection with each other and the non-human, living world around us. Through my own healing journey and in holding space for others, I’ve learned that an investment in healing and in justice ripples outward.
I began my professional life in independent schools as a teaching assistant, then taught 5th grade, and later became a high school English teacher. While teaching high school, in order to provide greater support for students who often reached out to me for mentorship, I founded an alliance for students of color. Creating affinity space for Black, Indigenious, Latinx, and Asian identified students was a start in creating safer spaces and greater comfort for them in the school.
However, I realized early on that student support wasn’t enough, work had to be done to create an inclusive school, one that centered all of its students instead of just those that were white and upper class. And so I began my journey as an equity and inclusion practitioner, focused primarily on naming and shifting the dynamics of racism and white supremacy as they showed up in curriculum, pedagogy, policies, and practices at the school.
This was hard work, and though change happened, it was slow and incremental. One day after a series of challenging and disappointing conversations, I found myself, in my frustration, talking to a friend and describing my experience at the school using metaphors from slavery: I was on the plantation; I had been sold down the river; I worked in the belly of the whale of white supremacy. Hearing my own language stopped me, leading me to take stock. I realized I was worn down, fighting for my own survival, and struggling with the impact of an oppressive system on my mind, body, and spirit. Though aspects of my work were rewarding, I wondered if I was actually influencing meaningful change? And if so, at what cost?
So, on a friend's recommendation, I joined a group of women of color developing somatic awareness and skills to address racism, white supremacy, and ways in which we had internalized both. As we learned and practiced somatic strategies together, I began to understand the depth of my wounds -- particularly the damaged tissue of internalized racism. I confronted my own fears, hypervigilance, and feelings of powerlessness and came face to face with the ways I limited myself: I avoided stepping into leadership, questioned what I knew and how I acted, and blamed myself for outcomes that were symptoms of systemic oppression.
Looking closely at my struggles, I also came to recognize adaptations and survival patterns that had kept me alive in the face of racism, but that no longer served me and the ways I wanted to be in the world. Though I have always had a way of speaking truth to power, I realized that speaking truth isn’t enough to shift the power dynamics and change oppressive systems. In order to influence change, I had to show up fully, be vulnerable, speak the truth, and support people to act differently.
Investing in somatic learning and practice has helped me walk the path of healing justice. I’ve learned to name my longings, declare my commitments, and show up as a healer and change agent. My work with clients is embodied and collaborative -- supporting healing and transformation from the inside out and building the world we desire.
I am an educator and a healer who sees my work as sacred. To me, this means that what I do is as essential as how I do it.