I earned a BFA in Graphic Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in the late 1980s. After graduation, I moved to Brooklyn, New York and worked as a designer in Manhattan. Being in the city during this time was great fun, but at other times it was overwhelming and over stimulating too. I often experienced stomach pain, digestive problems and low back pain from constantly walking on the nonresilient surfaces of city streets. Consequently, I was led to seek out alternative approaches to relieve these conditions. I began with natural herbal remedies for my stomach. Soon after and almost by accident, I learned about a type of bodywork that is commonly called Trager work.
I heard about Trager from a friend in Champaign during a short visit there. She had been receiving Trager sessions and described it to me. She then proceeded to show me what it felt like by gently shaking my arm. This sent a ripple of pleasurable sensation through me and we both responded with laughter. It felt great! When I returned to New York City I signed up for a one day introductory Trager workshop. This was the beginning of what has become a life-long journey of discovering and deepening my self awareness.
Experiential education proved to work extremely well for me. One body/mind-centered class led to another and within two years I had completed the Trager training track requirements and received certification through the Trager Institute in Mill Valley, California. While I still worked freelance as a designer, I also began to teach and practice Trager work professionally. Each year I participated in and assisted as many trainings as possible. The work really excited me and it offered tools for expanding one’s self awareness and provided a venue for honest, open communication. For me, Trager was a laboratory to explore human behavior and how behavior directly corresponded to inhibiting thoughts that manifested physically in restrictive movement patterns. In addition, it was a safe and supportive way to receive healthy touch.
Trager work essentially blew open my mind's doors to the possibilities of my own human potential. I began learning and receiving other forms of bodywork, volunteered and participated in yoga at the New York Open Center, attended movement classes, learned chanting and meditation and met my spiritual teacher. It was quite an exciting time.
In the summer of 1994, I unexpectedly returned to the Midwest. Early the next year, with the support of a few dear friends, I opened The Whole Life Center—a venue for holistic studies and bodywork located in downtown Champaign. I was one of the first to offer and promote a variety of mind/body modalities to the community. Those years were extremely happy and rewarding ones for me. Unfortunately, a few years later, I sustained a severe injury to my ankle and lower leg that prevented me from practicing Trager work and from maintaining the center and I had no choice but to close.
Even though it was necessary to close my practice and the center, following that dream and creating "something from nothing" was a great personal endeavor and an adventure without any regret. The Whole Life Center was an inspiration to many people in the community in numerous ways, seen and unseen.
After my accident, I spent a number of years focusing on my own health and recovery. Later, I resumed my graphic design practice as a partner in a design studio called Electric Pictures.
In 2006, I had the good fortune of spending two months at Esalen in the work/scholar program. The first month’s program was bodywork/somatics. Living and working in community ran deep with interpersonal relationship dynamics. This set against the backdrop of the ocean, the mountains, clean pine-scented air, fresh healthy food, the availability of bodywork, and the healing effects of the baths are indescribable. The experience changed me and propelled me forward to once again pursue my interests in bodywork and spiritual practice.
In the spring of 2008, I participated in a month-long Esalen massage training in Ubud, Bali. With four senior level Esalen massage instructors, a skilled yoga teacher and several other assistants, the schedule was intense—12 hour days mixed with meditation, yoga, dance, singing, experiential anatomy, group process and massage practice. It was very rewarding and very challenging at the same time. Once again, the experience served to ignite and deepen my desire for bodywork and spiritual practice. It also reaffirmed my belief in the body's own innate wisdom, resilience and natural tendency towards health.
Presently, I have over 1000 hours of professional bodywork training. I am certified to practice nationwide through the NCBTMB [National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork] and am Illinois state licensed.
In addition, I am very excited to be returning to the profession that comes most naturally to me—touching people with the intention of moving closer to optimum health, lasting happiness and balance in body, heart and spirit.