For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in people – how they think, how they relate to each other and the world. And most importantly, what makes them free. As a child I drank in fairy tales and ancient myths – stories that offer clues to what makes us tick. I moved on to religious texts, and practiced meditation and prayer. I studied psychology, went to counseling, and read a variety of self-help books. Then finally, I attended a series of workshops that brought it all together and helped me make it real.
I learned about the importance of truth, and the power of errant mindtalk. I learned about the costs of resentment, and discovered the relief of forgiveness. I learned the importance of feeling, and noticing the moment as it comes. I learned to breathe. And I learned the value of support.
In the years since then I’ve continued learning and practicing what I know, and spending time with others to keep it real and take it deeper. I earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and was trained in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). I learned about nutrition, exercise and medication. I went to yoga classes, and learned what it means to be still.
In 1996, I got my Master’s in Social Work. Since then I’ve worked with children, the elderly, soldiers and the general public. I’ve dealt with psychiatric emergencies and violent offenders. I’ve worked with couples, and addressed spiritual issues. I’m happy to say that despite this variety of clients, I’ve found the ways of suffering to be simple and few. People are people, wherever they are. And what can help one, helps many.
Today I work in private practice, speak occasionally and study the Enneagram. Like everyone, I struggle and suffer, and go through times when nothing seems right with the world. I forget the things I’ve learned, and act in ways that I later regret. But there’s one thing I can never entirely forget – and that’s that suffering is never what it seems, and there’s always a way back to yourself, to peace, to a sense of freedom. My job is to help you find yours.
I was born in New Jersey and then moved to Texas, but never quite felt like I fit anywhere. Then at age 17, I discovered Austin, and promptly made it my new hometown. I’ve lived here ever since, enjoying the people, the music, the rivers and lakes, and the many bicycle trails! It’s a great place to adopt children, though I didn’t expect to watch my daughter win awards for breeding pigs! (Though I suppose I should have, given the ongoing menagerie of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, and some rather elegant chickens…)
I may travel, or live elsewhere for a time – but I’ll always come back home to Austin.
Freedom is our birthright. The freedom to be who we are, to express ourselves, to connect with others. To live.
Yet freedom gets misplaced when we feel overwhelmed by fear; when our hurt becomes a closing heart; when anger becomes our norm.
And along with suffering comes the mind, telling its stories about why and how, and when, and who… Stories that try to defend us, and justify our pain and our suffering.
These stories can obscure true freedom. Disguised as protection, they keep suffering alive, and often lead to new sufferings.
Real freedom from suffering can be known, however.
It comes from seeing through stories that are lies, and telling instead, the truth.
It comes from the willingness to feel whatever we’re feeling – imperfect, human, vulnerable – and not try to control it, or let it take over.
And it comes through seeing how we ourselves act to perpetuate suffering, our own and that of others – and choosing to act in some new way, for the sake of what you love.
All of which means being true to yourself, to that which is true within you.
This is where true freedom lies.