Though I have degrees in Art Therapy, Psychosynthesis, and Leadership and Human Behavior, and have been nationally recognized as a training consultant and journalist, what contributed most to the person I am today began not in the halls of any university or the board rooms of any corporation, but in the midnight hours of my childhood. It was then that I first began to carry on long, intimate conversations with an unseen but palpable Presence I called "The Magic," a presence that filled me with uncharacteristic bravado about my ability to master my life -- and sometimes, joy.
I did not know then that I was talking to God, for my understanding of Spirit was, at that time, circumscribed by the superstitious wives' tales of neighborhood playmates and the patriarchal doctrines of Sunday School teachers. Twenty years later, after a chance exposure to Eastern philosophy, I understood that The Magic was a personal and beloved God, a God I could experience, a God who could not only move mountains and proffer sage advice but could also be my dearest friend and well-wisher. It was an A-ha! that ordered my thinking and validated a belief system I had long kept secret. For the first time in my life, I felt a kinship with something besides my hidden longings.
I began to meditate daily. I went back to school and studied transpersonal psychology and started working with women and children to unravel the ties that bind a heart to its own pain. I co-founded a women's center and worked with a governing board of doctors and businesswomen to provide mind-body-spirit programs and services to women in my community, and with organizations such as the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Scripps Health, Elizabeth Hospice, Women In Government, and the National Association for the Education of the Young Child.
I also rekindled my childhood passion to be a journalist. I wrote articles and interviews about balancing work and family and women's growth and development, and authored a column for one of the first regional family life magazines in the country, encouraging 200,000 readers to clarify their values, trust their intuition, and act on their deepest convictions. During the national fervor over child care, I published The Kids' After School Activity Book, (Simon and Schuster) the first handbook for latchkey children, praised by one reviewer as "... the best, the very best available to the public today." In conjunction with Kids' release, I gave lectures and appeared on television to help promote the passage of what proved to be milestone child care legislation.
In 1985, I began to bring groups of women together under one roof to talk about their lives, women who were both searching for answers and looking for a forum to share their wisdom with others. I have created hundreds of these "learning communities" -- support groups, workshops and retreats that span the developmental divides of a woman's life -- programs that foster self-discovery and spiritual integration, conflict resolution and forgiveness, and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.
My personal and professional journey backed me into some dark corners and propelled me to the feet of undreamed of possibilities. On one such occasion, I rendezvoused with an errant automobile that made its way into the passenger seat of my car and, then and there, relinquished life as I knew it. I lost 80% of my peripheral vision, a chunk of my memory, and my ability to process and communicate information in a linear fashion.
On a day when darkness all but engulfed me, the thought came to write In Sweet Company. The book made a new woman out of me: It mentored me on my journey to restore my health, brought me infinitely closer to my great and tender God, and took me to your doorstep. It is my fervent hope that reading In Sweet Company and participating in the workshops and retreats I now facilitate will move you closer to the things that are most meaningful to you.
Today, I live in just outside San Diego, California with my husband. My daughters, son-in-law and grandsons live within an arm's reach. I enjoy meditation, deep conversation, walking by the ocean, and sharing my passion with others.