I am currently accepting new clients for Embodied Living Sessions.
[scroll down to the end of this FAQ if you want to email me, book a session, or pay for a session]
What is an embodied living session?
An embodied living session helps you to land in your Being experientially, and from there to tune and to hone your sense of that in order to have it as a compass for how you experience and live your life.
Our culture is very mental. Nearly all of our cultural conditioning has to do with thinking about ourselves, our lives, and our world. Thinking makes for a very good servant (tool), and a very poor master (discerner and experiencer). So this work isn’t about some spiritual idea of dropping all thoughts, but rather about getting better acquainted with our experiential selves in a world that turns the volume way down on this potent aspect of self.
Why do you call them “embodied living” sessions?
I’m picky about words because they are pointers that can easily go awry. In another sense they are also just words so take whatever you take from my over-lengthy description and buckle up for some heavy quote usage:
I tried other words to describe the one-on-one client work I’ve been doing: “spiritual mentoring” (both the word “spiritual” and “mentor” are too corrupted by ideas of what they mean), “coaching” (this also has certain expectations of what you will get with it), “embodiment work” (because my work life has always been with the actual physical body, and because we think of our bodies as separate from our lives, this brought to mind something more akin to movement therapy)... As you can see, I pondered, and with pondering I came up with “embodied living sessions”. I wanted it to be not just about how we sense our bodies, but how we sense our Being, which includes our bodies and also much more than our bodies, and how we live our lives from that place. Maybe I’ll change the name tomorrow, but it’s what I’ve got so far!
What happens in a session?
Sessions usually involve a combination of guided somatic (body/sensation based) meditation and embodiment (interoception) work and inquiry to address whatever is most pressing in your life right now.
The somatic meditation and embodiment work is so that we can gain more skill with landing our Being, instead of our thoughts. Thoughts move very quickly, and we are used to them running the show; The Being moves more slowly. So we take the time together to slow down and get acquainted. The embodiment work I love and use primarily for this is called The Realization Process.
The inquiry work about what is most pressing in your life usually takes up the bulk of the session:
First a word about what I mean when I say “most pressing in your life”. I don’t necessarily mean what is most high stakes, or that something huge and dramatic has to be going on. I simply mean what feels most pressurized at the time we meet. This can be the big game-changer things like whether to enter or leave a relationship, whether to take a certain job or move, or how to relate in a less triggered way to challenging characters in our lives. But it can also be funny sticky things that we don’t understand like: “Why can’t I stop binge-watching this TV show?”, “Why won’t I stop planning imaginary moves to new cities?”, “Why did that thing I love suddenly start to bum me out?” The reason for going with what is most pressurized at the time of the session is because usually that pressure is your Being trying to point out something to you. So we follow the breadcrumbs.
The inquiry work itself is not mental in nature (though occasionally it is useful to inquire about whether or not a thought is true), but rather about dropping into your (you guessed it) Being in order to discern from and listen to a deeper place. This is the skillful work of learning how to feel and follow your internal compass. For most of us, that compass has been covered over by many (ahem), many, many layers of conditioning; Ideas of who we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to act, and what the world out there is all about.
What and who are these sessions useful for?
Some of you, out there in the Land-of-the-Interwebs and reading this page right now, are aware that you are engaged in a process. This process could be described as unveiling your ideas about yourself, your life, and your world. Not so that you become “nothing”, but rather so that you can be what you already are underneath the veils: truly yourself. Already home. Already worthy. It’s a funny journey to right Here, but in our world it requires support.
Many people describe their motivations to seek these sessions out as being tired of the self-improvement game, tired of trying to empty the metaphorical bucket of their psychological history, and tired of spiritual paths that make them feel like constant placidness is the only acceptable option. In short, they are tired of energetically moving in the world in a way that feels like a dog chasing its tail. Or a dog suppressing its tail, whatever that looks like.
And, of course, it goes without saying that all of these paths are born of a totally beautiful desire; To really be here and not to miss this glorious human life while it’s happening. The good news is that there is literally nothing about a human being that requires that we stay lost in concepts- we don’t have to miss our lives!
What is your training to do this work?
I trained with Judith Blackstone and received my certification in The Realization Process Spiritual Psychotherapy. I also mentored with Kiran Trace for 2 years. Another teacher whose work and process is very close to my heart and with whom I have sat in retreat, is John Prendergast.
In addition to these 3 foundational teachers, I have had the great good fortune to sit with a number of other teachers whose work and resonance of Being has had a large impact on me. They include Amma, Adyashanti, Matt Kahn, Jeannie Zandi, Amoda Maa, Tami Simon, the Dharma Ocean lineage, Grace Bell, and Sat Shree.
My work on the podcast Bliss+Grit with my partner-in-unfolding, Vanessa Scotto, and the beautiful teachers who we have the pleasure of talking with, also impacts my work deeply.
How is it different from therapy?
The first thing that is important to say is that I am not a therapist (even though the certification training I did with Judith Blackstone has the word “psychotherapy” in it). Therapy happens with therapists who are trained and licensed to help people to understand how their psychological patterns and experiences might be shaping how they feel or behave in the present tense.
The work that I do is not based on understanding the past in order to understand the present*. It is meant to help people get better acquainted with Now, and with their experienced, embodied selves, which is different from their cognitive understanding of themselves.
*It is important to mention that therapy has been important and useful in my own life and in the lives of many others, so this is not my way of dismissing therapy, but rather of differentiating how this work is not therapy. And if I feel a client would be better served with a licensed therapist and working in that model, I will refer them to one.
How is is different from coaching?
Coaching, like therapy, has many different models and approaches within it. In many ways I could call this work “embodied living coaching” and be all good. The only reason why I don’t use the word “coaching” is because for most it has an association of helping people to set a goal for how they would like to change or improve themselves, and then to help them with creativity and accountability in meeting those self-improvement goals. In other words, while therapy can be past-to-present focused, coaching is often present-to-future oriented.
If you are suffering, I am all for feeling better. I also have profound love and respect for touching into what we desire for our lives, and believe our desires are deeply important, even sacred, navigational tools.
In much of what we see in our culture around self-improvement work however, it typically assumes right up front that you need improving. And that improving yourself sometime in the future will make the suffering better. In my experience, and I have self-improved the hell out of self-improving, not so much. I have found instead, as Pema Chodron said, that self-improvement tends to be a subtle form of aggression against the self.
My interest is in getting off the past-future ride and seeing what happens when we land right Here. Which is, I can tell you from my ongoing journey to Here, quite the unique ride. And weirdly, and ironically, life improves. What a trip.
How do we meet?
Sessions happen via Skype. If you are Skype-averse we can also meet via Zoom or conference call.
I work with clients all over so if you are not in my time zone (EST/New York time), we can initially do some timezone sorting.
(Side note: For some reason I have a lot of Australian clients and so between the number of people I work with on the other side of the globe, and the challenging time difference, there are fewer spots available for those of you in the Pacific Rim. Sorry! I love you Aussies and Kiwis too! I wish we had teleportation!)
How frequently do we meet?
Most people work with me anywhere in the range of once a week, to once every 3 weeks. This tends to keep wind at our backs relationally, while still allowing time for integrating and exploring in your daily life.
How much is a session and how do I pay?
Sessions are $150, and you can pay online here.
How do I inquire about or schedule a session?
You can either book online, or use the email form below and I will get back to you shortly.