For those of you who have been following me for some time, you may know a bit about my evolution as a healing facilitator. If not, I’ll review 🙂

First there was Reiki and Spiritual Astrology. I still work with the Astrology, sometimes Reiki comes through my hands, but I don’t do much with the symbols any longer. Although my willingness to work with healthy, compassionate guides, angels and wisdom beings has always been here.

Then I met extra special teachers and began learning what it means to truly come down out of the head and into the body. Embodiment took me a solid five to seven years – in terms of making it stable. I practiced Craniosacral Therapy, Zapchen Somatics, and learned how to work with the visceral organs for several years. All while practicing Tibetan Buddhism – meditating and drinking from that deep well of wisdom and blessings.

Next, starting in 2012 I began learning to work with the Polyvagal System – the Vagus Nerve and the Autonomic Nervous System. This path I am still on today, as regulation and building resilience are a lifetime’s work – especially in learning how to skillfully teach it!

In 2013, I participated in my first Womb Surround / Birth Process Workshop – this is an intense four or five days of diving deep with a precious group of fellow seekers and working on early early material each day for about six hours. Whoa! The first one I joined was potent and amazing and I pushed too hard – that along with working 60 hours a week right afterward meant I got sick for a bit.

Fortunately I stuck with learning the birth process work however, attending two of Myrna Martin’s Summer Intensive trainings in Canada – two weeks each. That and I participated in about three more womb surround workshops over the next few years. That allows me to gradually do a bit of PPN (pre- and perinatal) work with clients who are ready.

Why am I mentioning all these modalities? There is a reason, trust me. What I haven’t mentioned is most recently I completed an intense and amazing massage school / ninja / Taoist training in Colorado (we did Chi cultivation sometimes for 3.5 hours a day). There I learned massage, shiatsu, acupressure and an incredible Shamanic Hot Stones modality.

And now my arsenal of skills is more complete 🙂 When we do emotional-process-oriented-bodywork with a client, this can be a lot for their system to take in, to integrate. I have learned my lesson here too (another story) – I have learned that most people can do two potent sessions involving processing early developmental stuff in a row – maybe within about 5 – 7 days of each other. However, if they request another similar session within a week, I almost always muscle test to see if Shiatsu or Acupressure would be better for them, or pure Craniosacral Therapy. This is so they can integrate the work we have done without putting another added strain on the emotional-process-integration-body.

On a sidenote, I see talk therapy and some forms of meditation as being good for purifying the mental body. Some forms of bodywork are necessary to all the body to catch up with mental purification work – people who meditate day and night can still get stiff bodies! But there is also the emotional body piece – and that is what I am referring to above.

Yes, I am going to continue to do more training. Yes I want to complete my PPN training (not too much more to go there). And yes I am beginning to teach Working with the Polyvagal System – Building Resilience in the Nervous System (in fact, I am teaching the introductory class in Portsmouth Va in April – let me know if you are interested). And now I have the skills to competently assist clients in integrating deep work – often times less is more. And going slower will get us there faster. It’s true!

Thank you for reading!



I heard a story recently on NPR about how young people are struggling with massive college debt and struggling with choosing a major that is not very lucrative. You know, the Art History majors, the English Literatures, the Humanities, etc. Not that there is anything whatsoever wrong with these edifying and enriching areas of study! They are in fact, how we become more cultured. How else are we going to chat about Sisyphus, Atlas or Oedipus? Unfortunately, these classic college majors are beginning to disappear. But I digress…

The reason I am posting this however is because I wonder if all of those young college-bound adults require college-directly-out-of-high-school? If they are passionate about something, they may not require college after all (unless their desired profession requires that track).

For myself, I definitely would be considered a late bloomer. I literally grew six inches after high school… but I am also a late bloomer regarding my career track (and psychologically, emotionally, spiritually). I had no clue what I wanted to do until I was 30. And then it took me a few years to get on track even knowing what I wanted!

While I did well in school (community college and then at the University of Virginia), I’m not sure I required it per se. Yes it helped me to grow socially. Yes it gave me great contacts, assisted me to become a better writer and definitely contributed to where I am today as a human being… (okay okay, even if I didn’t require it, I am super grateful for everything those experiences gifted to me).

I even grew a lot during the three semesters of nursing school that I attended – not to mention benefiting a ton from the Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology portions… And the nursing school experience helped me immensely through Massage school and the national board exam…

As an outside-the-box healing facilitator now, my college degree and my education in those areas barely contribute to what I do in an average day. Let’s say I give one Craniosacral Therapy session, one Polyvagal treatment, and one Shamanic Hot Stones massage… does any class I took over the course of twelve part-time college years contribute to these modalities or these sessions? Not much.

Could I be doing this work today without having any college under my belt? I’m not sure. Like I said, I benefited tremendously from the social growth, the integration of Humanities with Economics with Philosophy and somehow even with Statistics. And I lucked out to encounter some incredible mentors and heart teachers who showed me that education is also coming down out of your head and into the body. In addition to intelligence quotient (IQ), there is also emotional quotient (EQ). And I would even go so far as to add embodiment quotient – another EQ.

One thing I will admit is that my college experience made me a better practitioner today – especially regarding training my mind to be more critical, more logical and more rational. I tend toward an intuitive, circular mind-set. When I took the Research Methods and Data Analysis Psych classes, I struggled mightily because I was literally changing my mind each arduous day. And today I can speak about authentic, research and evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific studies with ease – which provides more credence to the work that I do (because most of it is scientifically validated).

With that said, my younger brother is doing life without college so far. He went to Governor School (and advanced, expansive, outside-the-normal-high-school-education-box program) where he learned how to do software design among other proficiencies. He started to learn how to create apps for IOS and Android – the iPhone and Android systems! In fact, he was so good at it that the Superintendent agreed to pay him $1500 to create an app for the Nelson County school system (once he graduated high school).

He tried college for one year and grew increasingly frustrated. He continued working as a software engineer and then he decided to do it full-time. And now he is training interns at his job! And he is not 22 years old yet!

I guess the jury is out whether or not he would have benefited more from staying in school (society would say “Yes!”). But I think it is very possible to become educated outside of college – if we work at it, if we take classes or workshops in what we are interested in, if we want to stretch ourselves.

In my family however, of the four kids, 2 seem to be doing what their college degrees said they would. And 2 of us are not. Yes I got my BA in psychology, and some bodywork sessions involve some dialogue, but in reality I barely use that degree in what I do now.

So I guess I would say trust your heart, study what you are interested in, and go for it. (Don’t waste time.) My time in college was precious and in a way I miss it. There is nothing quite as brain-stretching as having all these deadlines to make and books to read etc etc.

And yet, don’t fret if your path seems to take a detour away from school. You might just end up fine! No matter what your parents or relatives might imply. 🙂

Thanks for reading!


I am working on a flier for a workshop that is being held down in Portsmouth Virginia April 5th-8th 2019 (Friday through Monday). I know it will come up upon us quickly!

It is going to be an introduction, so just about anyone can attend (there is an in-take form and moderate screening through that). Working with the Autonomic Nervous System, being introduced to the subtleties of the fight-flight or freeze sympathetic branch, the rest-and-digest healthy parasympathetic branch and the new-research based social nervous system branch, it will be both educational (informative) and practical in terms of experiential tools for self-regulation.

We will be working with the Skin and Boundaries, with the Fascia and connective tissue and completing the workshop by gradually touching on and relaxing the kidneys and adrenals.

My preference is for people with some experience in bodywork, massage, psychotherapy, yoga, mindfulness or medicine to take the workshop. But anyone who wants to learn tools for deepening embodiment can attend.

Leave me a comment if you want to learn more! It will be held at the Sattvic Space in Portsmouth Va April 5th – 8th (Friday evening through Monday afternoon). Their website is

The workshop should be up on their calendar soon – we just completed a flier for it! Yay! Spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested down in the Tidewater Area.

Thank you!


If you look at the previous post about Taoism and Embryology, it is possible that without some knowledge of Chinese Medicine, you might scratch your head and say, “Huh?”

If this is the case, then continue reading! Hopefully this information will help in deciphering that post.

The Dan Tien, or Hara, is the point below the navel. Except it is not an external point – it is the core of the body, it is known as the center of gravity in the body, and it is the primordial point. It is literally the first part of the body to start forming in utero. When the sperm cell is invited into the egg cell during conception, this location on the egg cell is what becomes the Dan Tien – it is a major, very important organizing principle in our health and development!

From the Dan Tien form the Eight Extraordinary meridians. These start forming in the womb, in utero.

The Dan Tien is known as the Gateway to Source or the Gateway to Life. It is the source of life. It is the primary generator / reservoir of Chi. The Dan Tien feeds the Eight Extraordinary meridians – which are more like large lakes of Chi, they are reservoirs in their own right as well. And the Eight Extraordinary meridians feed and nourish and balance the Chi flow in the 12 Principle Meridians (most people who know alternative medicine have heard of these – the Liver, Lung, Heart, Kidney meridians, etc).

Here is one analogy (my own, may not be entirely accurate): The Dan Tien is the ocean of Chi. The Eight Extraordinary meridians are large rivers of Chi. The 12 Principle meridians are smaller rivers and streams, ebbing and flowing throughout the day and throughout the seasons.

I have been slowly corresponding with a well-known lecturer and scientist (Embryologist) who is open to discussing esoteric concepts. He asked me, among other questions, how early Taoist hermits could possibly know about the existence of an Egg “Cell” or Sperm “Cell” thousands of years before the first microscope was utilized.

I am not an expert on Chinese medicine. Most of what I say here I have derived from conversing with a couple of mentors who are themselves quite well-versed in esoteric roots of Taoist embryologic theory. Any errors in my interpretation of what they tell are strictly my own! I apologize ahead of time for them. However, I suspect you will find this conversation intriguing at least. 🙂


It has been my pleasure to chew on your words and to chat with my mentors who are expert in esoteric aspects of Chinese Medicine. I’m betting when you said, “Take your time,” you didn’t expect it to take me 5 months to get back to you… but here goes my response:

I am inspired by how much thought you have put into these topics and how you are interested in discovering scientific bases for how / why Chinese Medical perspectives might be “right” about embryologic concepts.
This is a long missive… just to let you know.

In this email, I want to touch on several areas:

  1. to answer your questions about early knowledge about Cells
  2. to mention thoughts on the Principle Meridians in early development
  3. to cover Extraordinary Meridians in the Embryo / in Utero 

First, I am not asking you to suspend your scientific lens, but as you mention in your lecture, sometimes science does not have all the answers – like the Breath of Life causing blood to organize like a fluid until the moment of death, when live-saving machines in hospitals can no longer pump the lifeless blood through lifeless capillaries. With that said, mystics defy science at times – like how do Tibetan yogis, who practice inner fire meditations (Tummo), survive for hours at a time when placed in a refrigerated room (20 degrees F*) when they are wearing only a light robe. It defies logic. There are a number of studies on this with the University of Wisconsin, Harvard and more.

In another vein, how did the Buddha know about microscopic organisms 2550+ years ago? There are sutras which talk about his recommendations to just avoid eating organisms that a normal person can see. If a person has a lot of meditative realization, i.e. if someone is an Arhat, apparently then they can see microscopic organisms in water for instance, and then if they are avoiding all forms of organisms, they would basically starve to death. Hence the Buddha’s words that we should only eat with normal human’s vision – if we have enhanced meditative realization vision, turn that off when eating. This is mind-boggling even to me. But those sutras exist.

So coming back around to your question of how could early Taoist mystics and masters know about Egg “Cell” and Sperm “Cells,” I don’t have any clue in terms of tangible, evidence-based answers. I would posit that when someone is meditating in forest hermitages, they easily enter altered states of mind. And just like the body holding onto birth trauma for years without any conscious memories about it, and then under the proper circumstances (see Ray Castellino’s or Myrna Martin’s work on PPN / birth process work) their body will show them how it wanted to spiral and release that old unconscious stuff, I suspect that those meditators and Taoist hermits likewise started to encounter earlier and earlier memories from their lives. I have met people who have been doing PPN work for a long time who have clear and accurate memories from their own births. If we could just go back 9 months previous to that, then we might have a felt sense of morula and blastocyst?

I realize I am reaching here – even for a logical mystically-oriented mind. So that is the best I can come up with – and this is basically what my mentors in Chinese medicine mentioned when I ran your question by them… In other words, to be determined.

On my next topic above – how does Chinese medical theory discuss the formation of energy meridians in the embryo and fetus? (This information might come in handy for your talks.)

First, as I discussed in my previous email – the Dan Tien is the primordial point – where sperm enters egg. This is a major organizational point in the future body. Esoterically, it is also the point where all other energy meridians originate. The front point of the Dan Tien is known as the Gateway of Life on the Conception Vessel and the back of the Dan Tien is known as the Gateway of Source or the Ming Man on the Governing Vessel.
Side note: I find it fascinating that initially, the umbilicus starts forming on the Ming Man point (the back) and then slowly the embryo turns / rotates and the umbilicus rotates around to the front of the Dan Tien.

The Dan Tien is known as the Gateway of Life or of Source. There is a reason for this. The Extraordinary Meridians or Curious Flows or Strange Vessels (all the same thing, just different translations) begin to form in utero. They all develop out of the Dan Tien.

First, the two initial Extraordinary meridians to form are the Conception Vessel (the more yin component of the Microcosmic Orbit) down the front of the body and the Governing Vessel (the more yang component) up the back of the body. I would assert that these represent the primitive streak and the neural tube formation. The Microcosmic Orbit or the Conception / Governing Vessels are the only meridians which flow 24 / 7 (once they are complete) and they are said to be circulating Chi by the eighth* week of the first trimester. (*I need to verify this but I know it is close.)

The next Extraordinary meridians to form are the Belt / Girdle and the Penetrating / Deep meridians. The Belt meridian is the only meridian which flows horizontally and the Penetrating meridian is primarily deep in the body – it does not have many surfaces points. I suspect that these meridians also get started very early in gestation however, and here is why:
The horizontal movement of cells during early neural tube formation might also represent the Belt Meridian circulation of Chi and the Penetrating meridian is in charge of providing life-force energy (Chi) to the cerebrospinal fluid and the CNS. Therefore, these must also be developed and circulating pretty early in development.

These four meridians are primarily organized in the torso – there are points to work with them in the wrists / hands / feet and ankles, but their primary movement is only in the torso. This is another reason that Chinese Medical theory on them seems accurate. The arm buds and legs form a little later than neural tube / torso – as you intimately know.

[This wasn’t included in my email to him, but as I read and re-read here, I am struck by how it seems the body forms around the meridians, not vice versa! Body is condensed energy. First Microcosmic orbits forms, mirrored in the neural tube formation and closure of the CNS. And I suspect Belt and Penetrating meridians are also forming quite early, mirrored in formation of cerebrospinal fluid and the circular / oval shape of the waist. Just more food for thought!]

There is more esoteric knowledge about how the water meridians (Kidney and Bladder principle meridians) start forming before birth and there is an elemental progression through which the other principle meridians form, but I would like to hear your response to what I have shared already.
As yet another aside, there is a reason acupuncturists do not needle infants (or toddlers for that matter) – it is because some of their primary meridians are not formed yet. The Lung meridian is not completely formed until age twelve or so.

I appreciate all that you do and share. End missive. 🙂

Thank you for reading!


Intentions for 2019

These arose out of the 10-day retreat I just recently returned from. Most are mundane.

  1. Keep the container full and clear – patch any leaks ASAP; be gentle; ask body before doing anything dysregulating; spend time re-building trust with my body / kidneys / heart / brainstem
  2. Practice Dharma and / or Qigong daily: if you start feeling off, you need to do qigong ASAP
  3. Receive Bodywork 3x / month: Self Care regimen
  4. Each breath is a death & re-birth: bring mindfulness to everything you do; mindfulness of body, breath, Vagus system, energy and awareness
  5. Prep for Polyvagal Workshop– read & takes notes on the 5 books
  6. Plan ahead for SE Training (woohoo!)
  7. Maintain virtue for SE training & Polyvagal & to be as present as possible for clients / students
  8. Healers Must Do less; what can I take off my plate? Muscle test, ask I Ching about new ventures, new trades

Going in order from our 6 am Qigong start to the day.. then at 6:45 am we did a silent sit to nurture the chi which we had just cultivated. That lasted until 7:25 am. Not a whole lot more to share about that. 🙂

I usually did the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind (Toward Enlightenment) every morning during that silent sit time. Including a body scan to go along with Impermanence, it would take me the whole 40 minutes to get through the Leisures and Endowments, contemplating Impermanence, Karma cause and effect and lastly the Six Realms – and really getting juicy with the sufferings of the lower realms (if you are looking for a good text about this, the Words of My Perfect Teacher includes some rather graphic – yet good grist for the meditation mill – details about the suffering of the Hell realms or the Transformation of Suffering by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen).

Then during the 7:30 – 8 AM window, we did Dharma discussion. This was another time in the day when we could share briefly and not be breaking Noble Silence. We talked about the Four Immeasurables – which included the Drikung Kagyu prayer, another interpretation from Jack Kornfield and a beautiful piece by Caroline Jones:

Brahma Viharas

Metta is the love that connects.

It is an antidote to all forms of aversion.

It is not [grasping] attachment.

If it slides into sentimentality,

Karuna brings the heart back into balance.

Karuna is the love the responds.

It is an antidote to cruelty.

It is not pity.

If it slides into sorrow,

Mudita brings the heart back into balance.

Mudita is the love that celebrates.

It is an antidote to envy.

It is not competitive.

If it slides into agitated excitement,

Upekka brings the heart back into balance.

Upekka is the love the allows.

It is an antidote to partiality.

It is not indifference.

If it slides into disconnection,

Metta brings the heart back into balance.

In addition to the above practices, we also looked at the Eight Fold Noble Path – right view, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, etc and we examined more of a Theravada themed text on the Anapanasati’s – the Mindfulness of Breath practices. We looked at the Four Holdings of Mindfulness, the Seven Factors of Awakening and Knowledge and Liberation.

This was a nice brief way to set the mind toward right motivation for the day before breaking our fast for the day. 🙂

Thanks for reading and more to come soon!