In December of 1998, in intensive meditation, I had a startling healing experience in which energy started coursing through my body. I began to recover from the severe chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, electromagnetic sensitivities, and fibromyalgia that had started to develop 12 years before at age 25, and which had eventually kept me homebound and then bedbound.
A healer helped me see my experience as an initiation into healing work, and he told me I would need to learn many methods to heal myself and help others. I began by writing about health and spirituality topics for newspapers and magazines while I apprenticed with flower essence and energy work practitioners. My first healing mentor told me that a person doesn’t wait until they are completely well to help others, but instead helps the people they are able to help. I have worked continuously with clients on a part-time basis since 2000 while continuing to peel off many layers in my own healing process. I vacillated between 60 to 80 percent well for years until I started the Gupta Program. At age 53 I could once again consistently work a full day, exercise daily, and have a social life all at the same time! Once I saw that the results were holding I inquired about coaching for the program.
The Gupta Program was developed by Ashok Gupta in London as he healed from chronic fatigue. The idea is that after the initial viral infection, the body got stuck in a feedback loop, reacting to lingering symptoms as if that meant there was still an infection, revving up an adrenaline fight or flight response, which caused more symptoms. The brain is retrained to not be reactive to what is simply an adrenaline cycle. It has also been used successfully to retrain the brain to not overreact to chemicals, or to lingering pain signals in fibromyalgia, or to anxiety responses that are not appropriate to the current situation.
Before becoming ill, I earned a BS in Biology. I developed chronic fatigue while in graduate school and earned an MA in Educational Psychology. I completed two years of a PhD program in Social Psychology focused on the social psychology of motivation, as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Brandeis University. So I appreciate research as well as stories. People who have been trained in the Gupta Program showed “statistically significant improvements in scores for physical health, energy, pain, symptom distress, and fatigue in patients who received the amygdala retraining compared with standard care.” (Toussaint, Whipple, Abboud, Vincent, and Wahner-Roedler, 2012 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22385563)
I am a member of the Associated Body Work Professionals, and earned a certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I continue to enjoy learning, and am currently enrolled in the Organic Intelligence coaching certificate program and am also studying Intuitive Eating.
I also worked as a manager at a food co-op while in graduate school. I enjoy working in teams, and have taken part-time management work in various aspects of integrative health. I have also volunteered at two nonprofit clinics and served on the board of Clinica Amistad. These experiences inform my work with clients, who include a wide range of health care practitioners and business owners as well as people seeking healing for diverse conditions.
Working with organizations is one aspect of the larger societal healing. I also have a particular interest in supporting people in working with the stresses and strengths associated with their cultures and marginalized identities (such as race, religion, class status, gender identity, sexual orientation, size, disability, age, and immigration status). I live in the Tucson/Chukshon area, near the Tohono O’odham reservation, and my approach to eating issues is informed by learning about healing relationships to food in the Tohono O’odham community.
I enjoy leading workshops focused on aspects of healing and have taught personal development workshops at a wide range of organizations including the Arizona Cancer Center, Casa de la Luz Hospice, Handmaker Jewish Services for The Aging, Tucson Medical Center Senior Services, and professional development workshops through the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Casa de los Niños.
Most of my workshops include writing exercises. In my own writing, I primarily explore health and spirituality and cross-cultural topics. My journalism writing has appeared in Spirituality & Health, the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Lifestyle, the Arizona Jewish Post, and the Tucson Weekly, and my poetry and personal narrative has appeared in a wide variety of publications including Poets & Writers Magazine, Friends Journal, and Sin Fronteras.