A Brief Blog in Response to Donald Trump

Dear Trump, You are definitely not my President, because you single-handedly just broke hearts, separated families indefinitely, shattered spirits, and undermined the values that truly once made America great. Those values of inclusivity, hospitality, and humanitarianism are omitted from this action. I spent yesterday in my refugee clinic, counseling survivors of human rights abuses from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. This is the work I have done for twenty years. The sense of relative safety that refugees arriving to the community of the United States have always felt is now shattered. The place we, as a nation, once held in the world — of sanctuary, of acceptance, of pragmatic humanitarian compassion and action, of equality and liberty for all — is eroded. I would love to know what you suggest I tell the woman I counseled yesterday; who was tortured and raped by Isis in two different countries, and who had …

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Dancing with Whales: Tonga, August-September, 2016

Dancing with Whales Tonga, August-September, 2016 There is no word for problem in Tonga. I learned this from the spotter on the boat that took us out, daily, to swim with whales. Anything that arises, troubles, distresses, or hurts, has a solution. Or, with time and perspective, it will ease. After 11 days in Haa’pai, facilitating “Dancing the Wild Home”, a Continuum Movement and Whale Encounter Depths Retreat, and being with the humpback whales almost daily, I believe in this ease. So much of what causes me to stress or distress, can shift when my perception and perspective shift. This is not always easy, but—it’s possible. Whale encounters have shown me that anything is possible. How We Meet The World I awake an hour before I am usually comfortable getting up, and am drawn to the edge of sea and land, where I also see the edge of sky and …

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In the presence of Love

Whales are everywhere, here: they literally punctuate the ocean with their movements. In the space of a few minutes, looking out over the horizon or around the sea our boat is gliding through, we see pairs and trios and pods of whales breaching, spy-hopping, tail slapping and diving. This is an annual pilgrimage site, for breeding and birthing. These prisms of gem-blue waters serve as a safe place for the whales to create new life and tend to their young before they begin their own journeys back to Antartica. This is big ocean. Tonga is in the middle of the South Pacific, and there is a lot of water. I am one of those unfortunate people who saw Jaws when it first came out, and am terrified of the deep. Having grown up near the ocean, and once been comfortable swimming long distances in it; I began to fear being …

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Australia & Continuum, Earth, Sky & Body: Spring 2015

There are still places in this world where the sky is awash with stars. Tasmania is one of them. In this Australian island, just off this most ancient land, the night sky is aglow with the light that emanates from the space that still illuminates the death of these once bright cosmic bodies. To lie on the ground and look into the stars is to look into the mirror. There are numerous citations re: the relationship between humans, and stars. It’s carbon, apparently, that connect us; I am not a scientist but I have read numerous references to the relationship between us, and the stars. In essence, that we are stardust. After guiding a Continuum Movement Depths Retreat, “At the Crossroads: The Serpents Dream”, outside Sydney; my husband and I traveled to Tasmania to visit a dear friend and to spend a week in the many places alive with raw …

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2014 Trauma Resources International (“TRI”) Annual Report

January 12, 2015 Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. I am acknowledging it today with my fellow Continuum Movement teachers. This is our first meeting since our founder and the creator of Continuum, Emilie Conrad, died. And this is the first time I have not been in Haiti for the anniversary of the earthquake. Emilie Conrad was, and is, one of the most recognized and celebrated pioneers of somatics and movement arts. After a devastating childhood of alienation, illness and abuse, she found dance, and dance became her refuge and her sanctuary. In 1955, after years of dancing with Katherine Dunham, she moved to Haiti. It was there, in this land that is both enchanted and shadow, enlightened and troubled, she began to innovate an exploration into movement as healing, as artistry, and as life practice. This movement practice is called Continuum Movement. Amber Gray, TRI’s Director, …

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Lebanon 2014

I am sitting in my hotel room in a lovely suburb of Beirut; for the past 24 hours I have heard sirens almost non-stop. Three bombings in 6 days; one in eastern Lebanon on Friday and then two, in Beirut, in 36 hours. A car bomb went off two blocks from the office I work in late Monday night/Tuesday morning and they arrested a dozen ISIS members in Hamra, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Beirut. It is breaking my heart to see Lebanon crippled under the weight of over a million Syrian refugees, bracing for floods of Iraqi refugees and waves of this insurgent violence that seems to be mushrooming here. It’s growing tense here. I will be leaving tonight with a heavy heart, a sense of personal relief, and deep concern for the violence that seems to be spreading so quickly in the Middle East. Earlier today, as …

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Australia 2014

I’m finishing a two week, door to door, trip to Australia. I taught two classes here, and after a year long run with quarterly trips to my favorite country on earth, I am somewhat numb to the reality that, trauma workshop series complete, I won’t be back for a year, give or take. Australia is under my skin. Every time I leave, I feel sad if I don’t know when I am returning. This is the saddest I’ve been, because changes in my professional life mean it will be quite some time, and a little harder, to spend the extended time I am accustomed to being here, 3-4 times a year. I am not going to write about the work this time, I am going to write about Australians. Every time I visit I meet a few remarkable people, and I am reminded why I wish I could just move …

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Tennant Creek, Australia

Tennant Creek  is a small town situated in a vast expanse of outback.  It literally sits at the edge of the dry, red earth climate of central Australia and the tropical top end of the Northern Territories. Just a few miles south of Tennant Creek (500 kilometers north of Alice Springs, the center; 1000 kilometers south of Darwin on the coast of the top end), the landscape is suddenly different. The termite hills are higher. The air is denser.  Its hotter. And its flat. I was invited to teach a staff support day here by a friend of a friend, who was also organizing a similar workshop in Alice Springs. I chose to do this workshop over returning to New York City for the annual Dance Movement Therapy Conference at which I was to participate in several significant (and quite possibly “career enhancing”) opportunities.  I debated for a moment, but …

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2013 Trauma Resources International (“TRI”) Annual Report

January 21, 2014 On January 12, 2013, I was in Haiti for our Trauma Resources International (“TRI”) Ke Ansam program. This year, we marked the 3-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake. There were several commemorations, though not to the scale of the past 2 years. This year, most Haitians spent the day with family, in quiet and deeply personal reflection and acknowledgement. I spent the day with one of “my” families there; Dr. Roseline Benjamin and her children. The night before, we listened to her son Mikaben perform at a new restaurant/ performance space in Port au Prince. His song “Ayiti Se” has become very popular, and I first heard it in the second session of the current training series we are providing for psychologists and social workers. It’s a stunning song, that acknowledges the beautiful, historical, spiritual and magical aspects of Haiti in a way that celebrates her, …

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TRI Update August 2013

August 5, 2013 I’ve just returned from TRI’s second training this year (and fifth training in the Ke Ansamn series). July is a particularly potent time in Haiti: It is hurricane season, so the dense, hot air swirls around in big winds at night, and occasionally, cools the daytime. Big rains are often not uncommon. The air explodes with coolness right after these rains. It is also a powerful ceremonial time. Ogou, the warrior Lwa (“spirit”) is celebrated from July 23-29 in the Northern region. “Tet Ogou” refers partially to the spirit of warriorship that may enter ones head—and heart– in times of distress, crisis, or when change is needed. My friend Mikaben sings about Tet Ogou in the song I mentioned in January: “Ayiti Se”. The work of Fonasyon Fwa exemplifies this strength and commitment of spirit. After our training program, we accompanied a musician friend from Australia (Mei …

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