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How I Came to Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Once upon a time, I walked the colorful streets of Berkeley, California. The atmosphere was so bizarre that I was easily distracted from the agonizing feelings of self-loathing, self-pity, hopelessness, fear and despair. Here on Telegraph Avenue I could forget my swollen ankles, hands and legs….swollen from the consumption of massive amounts of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. In Berkeley I could lose myself into unusual forms of creative expressions, some of which seemed pathological. You have to know the Telegraph Avenue of the 70’s to understand what I mean.  Day after day, hour upon hour, I was utterly consumed and tormented by a sugar and food obsession. SUGAR….my complete ruination.

Before the Berkeley era, I had abstained from bingeing for seven months, while attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings. Upon relocation to California I fell off the wagon once again and gained fifty pounds in three months.  Clinical depression accompanied the bingeing as I approached a non-functional existence. This was not the first time. I was diagnosed with a mood disorder but refused medication. I awoke one morning and groggily opened my change purse only to find one penny. That was a most memorable morning! It was welfare or a psych hospital. I chose welfare and could barely get myself to the office. Along with the welfare came food stamps…a month’s worth binged away in a day or so.

If I was lucky enough to stop eating, I would start chewing gum. Transformed into a sorbitol junkie I chewed 20 to 30 packs of sugarless gum per day……chewing gum wrappers strewn all over my room along with incessant bouts of daily diarrhea.

Berkeley was the place I walked aimlessly on a daily basis, trying to make the most out of a quarter.

In 1980 I desperately searched the Bay Guardian, a small San Francisco newspaper. I longed for a way out of my living Hell. I saw an advertisement for Zen meditation and phoned the teacher immediately. When he answered the phone, I asked, “Do you have peace of mind?” He said, “Yes” in a way that was truly genuine. I made an appointment and was on his doorstep the very next day on my 29th birthday. As he opened the door I could sense a true peacefulness about him. I had met lots of people in my life that smiled a lot, were energetic, charismatic, vivacious and friendly. But I had never met anyone with what I considered to be true peace of mind. I wanted what he had and knew I would do anything for it. And so it was on my 29th birthday that my meditation journey began.

As a psychotherapist, addiction counselor and mindfulness instructor, I have spent years instructing clients and students in transforming their lives, using simple focusing techniques. I have witnessed seemingly hopeless individuals attain peace and freedom in the midst of significant personal and psychological challenges. Since I am one of those people, I can share my experience and hope for anyone who is seeking relief from the inevitable sufferings of life. My passion stems not only from my own personal transformation but also a deep belief in every person’s ability to discover his own inherent place of internal peace and harmony. This belief manifests itself as my daily reality, as I witness profound growth in my clients and students.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Curriculum Vitae

Clinical Positions

  • Sage Neuroscience Center: Mindfulness program for adults, adolescents and professionals offering individual psychotherapy, group therapy and staff trainings, Albuquerque, New Mexico (11/2011— 5/2013)

  • Cross Country Education: National speaker offering mindfulness seminars for clinical application in psychotherapy presented in over 100 U.S. cities (6/2005-7/2010)

  • Private Practice:  Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy with adults and adolescents, specializing in mood disorders, pain management, eating issues,  impulse control disorders, trauma, anxiety disorders, stress reduction (10/98 —present)

  • Discovery Counseling Center: Individual and group alcohol/drug counseling, Louisville, CO (8/2003 — 4/2006)

  • Denver Cares: Teaching mindfulness-based elective class to addiction counselor trainees, Denver, CO (9/2004 —10/2006)

  • Bay Area Addiction Research and Treatment:  Individual mindfulness-based addiction counseling, San Francisco, CA (10/2001— 7/2003)



Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Clinical Experience•

  • Vessel Health:  Office of Harvey White, M.D, cardiologist, "Calming the Anxious Mind:  An Introduction to the Unified Mindfulness System", January, 2013

  • Boulder Valley School District: Mindfulness meditation for high school teachers, research project,  Boulder, CO (2/2010 — 4/2010

  • JFK University: continuing education seminar, Pleasant Hill, CA (10/2009)

  • University of Colorado at Boulder:  Inservice Training (6/2010)

  • Boulder Community Hospital Center for Integrative Therapies: In-service training, Boulder, CO (8/2009)

  • Evergreen Orthopedics:  Mindfulness-based pain management in the office of Basel Al-Aswad, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Chicago, IL, (1/2006-1/2007)

  • Sierra Tucson Rehabilitation Center: Trauma, eating disorders, addiction, pain management, continuing education seminar for counselors, Tucson, AZ, (11/2008)

  • Denver Health Addiction Counselor Training Instructor: (9/2004 — 10/2008)

  • Bethesda Naval Medical Center: Grand Rounds, Bethesda, MD (11/2007)

  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation for public, students and staff, Martinsburg, W. VA (11/2007)

  • Little Company of Mary Hospital: In-service for nurses, Chicago, IL (2/2006)

  • University of Colorado Health Sciences Center: School of Nursing, continuing education (2/2005 — 9/2009)

  • Naropa University, Wilderness Therapy Seminars: ( 10/2007 and 10/2008) Addiction Class, (1/2005 — 3/2005)

  • Metro State College: Meditation presentations for the classes of Scott DeMuro, Ph.D. Denver, CO  (5/2005, 5/2006, 5/2007)

  • Toronto Psychotherapist Guild: Continuing education seminar, Toronto, Canada (10/2005)

  • Craig Hospital for Spinal Cord Injuries: In-service training, Denver, CO  (9/2005)

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, FCI, Englewood: in-service training for counselors, Englewood, CO (3/2006)

  • Western Colorado Area Health Education Center:Winter School two-day seminars for addiction professionals, Grand Junction, CO (2/2005-2/2007)

  • Longmont United Hospital: Public classes and presentations, (3/2000 — 5/2009)

  • University of New Mexico: Introductory meditation class for continuing education,  Albuquerque, NM (1990), Continuing education seminar for mental health professionals (2/2013)         


  • MA, Clinical Psychology: Regis University, Denver, CO (8/2000)

  • BA, Psychology: State University of New York, College At Buffalo,

  • Buffalo, NY (12/74)


  • LPCC, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (NM)

  • LADC, Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor (NM)


  • Boulder Veterans Center: Boulder, Colorado(9/1998 — 12/1999)

  • Access Counseling Center: Boulder, Colorado (12/1999 — 12/2000)

Specialized Training

  • Gestalt Institute of the Rockies: Gestalt Therapy Training, Denver, CO (2000-2002)

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Training:  VA Hospital, Denver, CO (1999-2000)

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Training with Antonio Wood, M.D., Boulder, CO (1997-1998)

  • Mindfulness Training: Approximately 35,000 training hours of intensive study and practice; certified to teach the Basic Mindfulness System developed by Shinzen Young

  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy Training:  Denver, CO (7/2008)

  • Denver Cares: Alcohol/Drug Counselor Training, Denver, CO (2003-2005)

  • Internal Family Systems Training:  Vermont Center for Psychotherapy and Yoga, Burlington, VT (7/2011).

  • Healthy Families Counseling Center, continuing education workshops for staff counselors, (2013, 2016, 2017).

  • Youth Shelter and Family Services, Introduction to the Unified Mindfulness System, In service training, Santa Fe, NM (2/2016).

  • Southwestern Women's Options, In service training, Introduction to the Unified Mindfulness System, (July 2016)


Volunteer Work

• Veterans Helping Veterans Now:  Mindfulness workshops for veterans, Boulder, Colorado (2011)


  • “The Mind of Meditation”,  Meditation Magazine, (1990)

  • Break Out of the Sugar Prison, (2009)

  • Benny the Bunny Finds the Happy Place:  A Mindfulness Journey for Children and Adults, (2009)

  • Mindfulness-Based Awareness Skills for Emotional Well Being : A Teaching    Manual (2006)

  •  Mindfulness meditation articles (diabetes section)

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