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.
My personal journey has been greatly supported during the coaching time I spent with Brooke Thomas, and many of my perspectives have been crystallized and polished by working with her.
My academic as well as personal interest have led me to spend considerable time with books by 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.
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)
200 hrs. Yoga Teacher Training (Samadhi Institute, Puerto Rico)
10 years working at the United Nations in the Climate Change Department of UNIDO (Vienna, Austria)
Trained Facilitator for The Work of Byron Katie and volunteer at The Work Helpline
21 years of regular experience in meditation in buddhist and christian contemplative traditions
End of Trauma Course at Organic Intelligence Institute with Steve Hoskinson
Volunteer End-of-Life Doula at Hospice Divina Presencia, Puerto Rico
Although I am not professionally qualified to treat addiction, the work I do is 12-Steps friendly and I have over 15 years of volunteer non-professional experience supporting people who are recovering from addiction to drugs, alcohol, food and codependency.