more about me
In the car garage of one of the few Yoga teachers at that time in Puerto Rico, I started learning yoga and meditation when I was 18 years old. I took to it like a duck to water.
By the time I was 25, I had spent months on silent retreats, living in ashrams and studying with all the great spiritual masters I could track. Meditative practices and retreats provided me with great moments of insight and healing, allowed me to have profound realizations about my true nature, my connectedness to others and life itself. They gave me access to states of wisdom, deep compassion and loving kindness and brought me back again and again to the sacredness of the present moment. They also helped me heal from a very painful eating disorder I had at that time.
Yet, these experiences often took place in the midst of a frenzied lifestyle, and often, as soon as I stood up from my cushion or left the retreats, I would be in the “getting things done” mode, going back into an agitated routine -as if the practices were there solely to make me more productive and to catapult me into a high-achieving state, as if the peace was there to help me do ever more.
Then, it started to also be the other way around, the high achieving attitude I had outside of meditation periods started to infiltrate my spiritual practice and I became determined and hurried to “reach the ultimate spiritual goal” (not quite sure what that was at the time, becoming enlightened, or fully healed, or at least in a permanent state of equipoise). This really did NOT work very well. It was like trying to go down the river by swimming against the current. Not only was this not effective, but it actually became harmful - grinding my being into a stressful over-achieving state for hours on end - guided by a sort of FOMO on enlightenment.
My path has been to learn that in order to keep the calmness and ease of these spiritual practices I also need to live in a way where peace finds its space to arise. My sense is that the direction of presence and stillness are where our being naturally seeks to go, as if it were our neurological mandate to turn to presence and stillness. Or, perhaps it is the other way around – presence and stillness organically seek to go in our direction, as if it were their mandate to manifest themselves in us.
I heard somewhere that, in the beginning, one meditates in stillness in order to live a peaceful life, then one lives a peaceful life in order to meditate in stillness. The practices I offer have been the best ways I have found and learned to balance the art of doing and not-doing, of effort with effortlessness, of striving and letting go, and of meditating in stillness and living a serene genuine life.
Apart from my life story, I also have the following qualifications and experience:
My spiritual life has been supported by regularly studying with Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, S.N. Goenka, Mingyur Rinpoche, Babuji and the teachers in the Heartfulness traditions, and my wisest friend and current-day mystic John Butler. The integral framework laid out by Ken Wilber is one of the compasses that I use to orient myself as well as to design individual sessions.
My personal journey was greatly enriched during the coaching time I spent with Brooke Thomas, and many of my perspectives have been crystallized and polished by working with her. I am currently finishing my certification as an Organic Intelligence™ coach and I am very grateful for the added approaches to healing that this system provides.
My academic as well as personal interest have led me to spend considerable time with books by Ken Wilber, the Christian mystics Thomas Merton, San Juan de la Cruz, and Teresa de Avila, by Sufi poets such as Hafiz, Tibetan Dzogchen literature, ancient Indian texts, contemporary Buddhist teachers like Ajahn Sumedho and Tenzin Palmo, and a good share of both classic and pop literature.
Walks in nature, pilgrimages through venerated routes, and surfing in Puerto Rico continue to be highlights in the carving of my own intentional living.
Other life highlights: I delved into the world of Literature and earned a Masters at Stanford University. In fascination with the possibility of awakening and the teachings of mindfulness, I finished a Masters degree in Buddhist Studies from the University of London. I lived for two transformative years in meditation ashrams, exploring the depths of self-discovery. Moved by the possibilities of life transitions, I volunteered at a hospice and worked for many years with people recovering from addiction, offering comfort during life's most challenging and at times profound moments. I trained as a The Work of Byron Katie facilitator, an inquiry method that is one of the great loves of my life. Currently, I'm almost done with a degree in Psychotherapy and a certification as an Organic Intelligence Coach, which has added invaluable synergies between science and spirituality, and awakening and safely healing from trauma to my skills repertoire.
Propädeutikum in Psychotherapy (APG Vienna, in progress)
Masters in Buddhist Studies (SOAS, University of London)
Masters in Literature (Stanford University, California)
BA in Communications (University of Puerto Rico)
End of Trauma Course at Organic Intelligence Institute with Steve Hoskinson
Trained Facilitator for The Work of Byron Katie and volunteer at The Work Helpline
12 years supporting people recovering from addiction and chronic stress
23 years of regular experience in meditation in buddhist and other contemplative traditions
Volunteer End-of-Life Doula at Hospice Divina Presencia, Puerto Rico
And, other non-directly related experiences that come into the mix of my life trek:
10 years working at the United Nations in the Climate Change Department of UNIDO (Vienna, Austria)
Editor of Noctambulo Magazine in Puerto Rico...back in the day
2 years rolling burritos in Taco Bell during my study years (not to be understated as a great learning of how to craft something meaningful...one layer at a time :)