Almost five years ago, I was a devoted wife and mother, working as a therapist. I had left my spiritual community four years prior feeling constrained by a form that no longer resonated. I yearned to birth my own form, to create an expression of my own emerging wisdom. Little did I know as I walked away what my journey would hold.
Soon after I set aside my personal goals and desires to support my daughter through a healing crisis that consumed me, and all of my resources for a few years. For that time my world shrunk and my commitment to supporting her affected all areas of my life including my own health and marriage. I knew going in I would pay a price but I also knew I couldn't walk away. I had to give it my all. I did. And it paid off.
My dreams and calling didn't go away but were gestating deep below the surface. I was feeding them by collaborating with a soul sister on local women's circles where we supported other women in clarifying and living their dreams. After a few years my husband hit a big milestone birthday and began to have health issues. A part of me began to panic-is this what the rest of my life will look like - sitting in doctors offices with the other old couples.
I was burnt out and going through the motions. I yearned for more but wasn't sure how to get off the hamster wheel of care-giving I was on.
Life intervened on my behalf. I went to a weekend training in Charlottesville with a Wise woman and Healer I had met years before. She has helped my daughter then 6 months old, heal a birth trauma that was impeding her ability to roll over.
A master healer and wisdom teacher, Janet Evergreen introduced our group to the power of healing trauma through the body and specifically our Vagus Nerve, the longest nerve in our nervous system. It was a revolutionary training as it included dim lights, supportive contact and time for rest.
I entered the training feeling like a dry parched neglected houseplant. Almost immediately my Being responded to the deep nourishment and support. Something vital and alive came back online that weekend. Through Janet's guidance and the portal of my body I began to remember myself and the nourishing power of the Feminine.
It's my great pleasure to share a recent conversation with janet on my latest episode of the podcast. Our time together was like a relaxing warm bath. A perfect antidote to any stress or anxiety you might be facing at this busy time of year.
I invite you to cozy up, dim the lights and give a listen. I guarantee you will come away feeling more relaxed and renewed. It's one fo the best gifts I can imagine giving you.
Traveling with companion Doug Zink, we were welcomed to the owner-built home of David Lasso. Organs and Vagus system class, at INEPE followed. We were blessed by a visit to El Crator and days in vibrant Quito with friends. Somatic Dialogue for Couples class filled us with love. Purified at Papallecta Hot Springs, we were prepared for retreat.
Cultivating Wisdom and Compassion. Beautifully located at Permaculture Farm Pelugo our group of yogis and yoginis, doctors, scientists, teachers, and community indigenous women leaders prayed, created sacred space and made offerings, Zapchen touch with humming and healing, creative opposition to stand in authenticity. We laughed, cried, shared our dreams, love for self, others and our planet. So grateful.
Held in February 2013 in Ecuador. Auyankey (age 2) and his Mom with Janet Evergreen as he redoes his Ceasarean Birth at Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar in Quito. Andina University has generously sponsored events for several years bringing together indigenous elders and shamans with western alternative medicine healers and doctors to share knowledge and wisdom. Narration (with translation) at INEPE's Facebook Page in the album Craniosacral Therapy for Babies and Toddlers. Photos taken by Kalie Ilana, Luna 13 Photography
The highlight of my time in Ecuador 2006-2015 is being with the INEPE school teens. In this video you will also see some friends who accompanied us over the years: Ninni Baeckstrom-Mosaic Artist, Dr. Nancy Union-Acupuncturist, Kalie Cassel-Feiss-Photographer, and Sonya Ullrich-Somatic Educator.
Photos by Kalie Cassel-Feiss and Diego Falconi.
A 3 day meditation retreat for the INEPE teachers and staff (60 people attended). We taught HIP (Help Increase the Peace) to the INEPE youth, then CST Part 1 and Part 3 to the professional community with our Quito team. We joyfully listened to a music concert by INEPE youth expressing gratitude for the new music rooms, the community support for music and the 3 silver flutes and 2 violins we brought. We were blessed to spend time with friends at Casa de Cultural Peace Center and the Permaculture Farm and Education Center. Explored Itchimbia Park, an ancient Ceremonial Solstice and Equinox Site and delighted in the hikes and baths at Papallecta Hot Springs.
Zakira Beasley volunteered with Howito and Janet for this trip to support INEPE teachers, youth, and community. We began the trip with a Birth Process Workshop held at a Permaculture Farm. Then at INEPE, staff and school teachers enjoyed a three day meditation retreat. Youth learned Vagus Touch Skills, bringing more class harmony, and the community came together for five days of Vagus System and Organs Class, including several women leaders of indigenous tribes. As always, we ended our adventure at Papallacta enjoying organic gardens, hiking trails and relaxing in hot springs.
El Encuentro-The Nature of Mind Retreat
Held July 26—August 4, 2014 in Ecuador.
A 10 day silent meditation retreat in the bountiful and lush jungle of the "El Encuentro" reserve near Pedro Vicente Maldonado. We enjoyed living by the confluence of 2 rivers in a rustic simple lifestyle close to the earth. A beautiful group attended including students and friends of the INEPE school, health care professionals from Quito, and Caroline and Janet from Charlottesville, VA. Our intention to is have this be an annual retreat.
A five day training where we were warmly hosted and well-cared for in a beautiful family home in Tumbaco, a small town in a valley near Quito. Some were new to learning with Janet, others have trained for 5-10 years and were part of the team of assistants. Everyone was moved by the depth of the work and especially by the two families who came bringing babies to demonstrate how CST supports families.
These photos were taken at a basketmaking workshop at The Abundant Seed Camp in Shuyler, VA.
It was beautiful to be a part of a group of elders and youth creating and sharing together.
These photos were taken at a Living Earth Adult Foundations Program in Virginia. I was hired to teach basket making at the Living Earth School Spring 2017. My husband Howie as always was a great support. It was a beautiful day in our glorious Virgina woods. Jacob Chang-Rascle, one of their summer campers created this video of their year long adult program including weaving in our day around the sacred fire.
Living Earth Foundation