Who am I:
I am a trauma-informed Somatic Movement Therapist and Somatic Movement Educator with 30+ years experience with tarot. The heart of my work is restoring the archetype of the body: inhabiting the wisdom and intelligence of the body with respect, reverence, love, care, and joy. The body is its own ecosystem and is the blessed container of our humanity. My heartfelt goal with all my work is to cultivate the conditions that allow us to be better stewards of our personal and collective humanity.
I was born and raised in the boogie down Bronx, lived in NYC for 30 years, in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years, Southern California for 2 years, and now call the South my home where I live with my husband of 23 years and our two adorable rambunctious kitties. I am childless, not by choice, and have deep compassion for anyone who has experienced infertility and grief related to the mothering journey. My creative and therapeutic work, as a somatic alchemist, is the equivalent to having birthed children in the world. It is possible and deeply fulfilling to redefine mothering. In November 2022, my family matriarch died at the age of 104. As one of the four generations she left behind, I lift up my work in the world to honor my abuela’s resilience, longevity, and history as a survivor.
My journey, summarized:
I am a woman of color from an indigenous (South American) and Caribbean family. A first generation American who was raised in an urban setting in a predominantly immigrant and working poor community. I grew up surrounded by people whose first language was not English (including my own) and whose foods, songs, dances, and rituals were outside of the dominant American culture. Most of us were Black and Brown People of Color. I watched as my family and community struggled to assimilate. To fit in, I learned to code switch. I witnessed my community vacillate between pride and shame for their cultural languages, rituals, foods, songs, dances, beliefs, and values. I learned early on that we were deemed “less than” by the dominant culture and always felt like I had to work ten times as hard to feel worthy. I struggled with imposter syndrome. I learned to not behave “too ethnic,” which created a lifelong pattern of self-protection through a dance of hiding and concealing – a pattern that kept me from the truth of my body. It is difficult to drop the armor and feel safe enough to inhabit the space of your body when you are broadly deemed in a category of “less than” and are taught that the world is hostile and unsafe for “people like you.”
Within the broad category of “less than” is having experienced racism, sexism, classism, social trauma, and intergenerational trauma. I have worked with many therapists and healing modality teachers in my lifetime – from many cultural backgrounds, races and ethnicities. I am thankful for the roles they played in my healing journey and for being part of my learning lineage. I have listed most of them at the bottom of this webpage and left out the ones who asked for privacy. It’s important for me to share that the therapists and teachers that I felt most comfortable being truly vulnerable with are the ones that had similar life experiences and were also women and/or people of color. In those moments, I didn’t need to explain myself. Not having to explain myself made me feel safe enough to bypass the time I would usually spend, in my mind, trying to find the words to articulate my experiences and instead drop into my body and spend time feeling. Because of this, I am passionate about working with and being of support to others who have had similar life experiences. I want to offer a space where no explanation is needed and where inherent worthiness does not need to be qualified or quantified.
I also grew up immersed in cultural rituals that supported my mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. My body was a place of censorship and survival. I had to shield and protect my body in order to feel and be safe in the world. My mind, heart and spirit didn’t feel safe in the world but it found both safety and sanctuary at home where I was held by ancestors, curanderas, rituals, and indigenous practices. Within this scope of practices was tarot, which I was introduced to when I was two years old and began doing readings when I was 11. For me, tarot transcends culture and cultural expectations and speaks directly to the humanity of the individual – that our journeys through life are embodied through images that convey knowing, understanding, compassion, and that offer pathways to personal evolution and healing. I was always a kinesthetic learner but didn’t know it for sure until I was in graduate school studying Experiential Health & Healing (now called Integrative Health & Healing).
Image right: the only photos I have of my ancestors.
Bringing the body into tarot was my first experience of bridging the gap between the places I felt most safe (heart, mind, spirit) and the place where I was deeply disconnected and wounded (body). Weaving tarot and the body together reopened the conversation between my body and mind. When I realized that I learn through the body and that my body is the central source of my wisdom, I began the journey from disembodied to embodied, and from disregard to deep respect for my body. I also discovered that I have a gift and a deep love for creating body-based archetypal experiences. I had been reading tarot since I was 11 but evolved my process and began doing embodied/somatic tarot readings in 2003 and then created ArcanaDance™, as a group experience, in 2014. Bringing tarot archetypes and images together with embodied movement, I have witnessed profound transformation in myself and others. This led me to seek out somatic therapy training programs that included drawing, imagery, and movement. That’s how I ended up studyingSomaSoul® Somatic Therapy at the Leven Institute.
I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school, college, to pursue an advanced degree (MA), and additional trainings in healing modalities. I name this with pride and awareness of the me that I lost on this educational journey and the me I reclaimed as I turned to healing modalities that restored my connection to my body and heart. It is a privilege and honor to combine all of my knowledge and experiences to serve my community.
All of my somatic movement offerings draw from trainings and various experiences, over the course of three decades, in the following modalities: SomaSoul Somatic Therapy (Leven Institute), Shake Your Soul® the Yoga of Dance, Yoga Practices (all 8 limbs), Medical QiGong, Nia (Classic, Moving to Heal, 52 Moves, and Nia 5 Stages), African Dance, Afro-Caribbean dance, Orixa Dance, Life-Art Process (Anna Halprin, Tamalpa Institute), Body-Mind Centering (the work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen), and BrainDance (Anne Green Gilbert, Creative Dance Center).
With deep thanks to my many somatic movement, expressive arts, and experiential healing teachers and trainers over the past thirty years: Dan Leven, Heather Bilotta, Sage Brody, Terry Anthony, Staci K. Haines, Linda Thai, Debbie Rosas, Carlos Rosas, Britta Von Tagen, Ann Christiansen, Dr. Robert Woodbine, Gary Kraftsow, Bud Stone EdD, Shari Specland, David Darling, Thomas (Tom) Myers, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Jean Houston, Stanley Krippner, Monika Kretschmar, Barbara Sarah, Anna Halprin, Anne Green Gilbert, Dr. Giordana Grossi, Aileen Panke, Steve Rosa, Youssouf Koumbassa, M’Bemba Bangoura, Susanna Barkataki, and many more.
Training & Certifications
Registered Somatic Movement Therapist & Educator (RSMT/RSME), The International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) – 2023-2024
SomaSoul Somatic Therapy, the Leven Institute, 2020-2022
Shake Your Soul® the Yoga of Dance, Levels 1 and 2, the Leven Institute – 2022-2023
Academy of Therapy Wisdom, Trauma Wisdom Circle, founding member, 2023
Certified Grief Informed Professional, PESI, Inc. & Evergreen Certifications – 2023
Grief Care Professional Certificate Program lead by Megan Devine & PESI, Inc. – 2023-2024
Certificate Program in Traumatic Stress Studies, lead by Bessel van der Kolk, MD, with the Trauma Research Foundation & PESI, Inc. – 2023-2024
The Embodied Therapist: Deepening Somatic Practices in Psychotherapy, with Susan Aposhyan, M.A., L.P.C, Academy of Therapy Wisdom, 2023
Healing the Legacy of Historical and Transgenerational Trauma: Addressing the ambiguous losses of adult children of refugees and immigrants with Linda Thai – 2022
Somatic Embodiment & Regulation Strategies Certificate Levels 1-3 with Linda Thai, Collectively Rooted – 2022
BrainDance & Brain-Compatible Dance Education Summer Dance Institute with Anne Green Gilbert, The Creative Dance Center – 2022
Medical QiGong training with Dr. Robert Woodbine, Urban QiFit – 2020 – present
Four Seasons Medical QiGong, 2020-2022
All Seasons Medical QiGong, 2020-2022
8 Pieces of Brocade, 2021
Jin Jing Gong Shi Si Shi Sequence, 2023
Six Healing Sounds (QiGong) lead by Dr. Robert Woodbine, The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), 2022
Courses with with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, School for Body-Mind Centering® – 2022
Building Vitality, Strength, Flexibility, Flow and Ease through Embodying Our Muscles
Embodied Anatomy and the Fluid System with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, School for Body-Mind Centering® – 2022
Embodied Anatomy and the Organ System with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, School for Body-Mind Centering® – 2022
Embodied Anatomy and the Dynamics of Breathing with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, School for Body-Mind Centering® – 2022
Embodied Anatomy and the Nervous System with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, School for Body-Mind Centering® – 2022
Somatics, Trauma, and Resilience, the Strozzi Institute | Embodied Leadership – 2021
Yoga & the Autonomic Nervous System with Gary Kraftsow, The American Viniyoga Institute (AVI®) and 8 Limbs Yoga Centers – 2021
300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification, Honor Yogas Roots, Ignite Institute for Yogic Studies and Social Change – 2020-2021
200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification, Yoga Blue School – 2020
Social Artistry: Discovering the Creative Dimensions of Leadership with Jean Houston, Meridian University – 2019
Expressive Arts Therapy with the Halprin Life/Art Process, Anna Halprin, Tamalpa Institute, 2011
Nia Technique: White, Blue, Brown, Black and First Degree Black Belts, Nia 5 Stages, Moving to Heal, and 52 Moves. Certifications completed between 2010-2018
Personal Mythology and Dreamwork, Stanley Krippner, Bastyr University’s School of Naturopathic Medicine Seattle, 2009
The Spirit and the Pen: A Sacred Creative Writing Journey, Christina Baldwin, 2008
Master of Arts, Experiential Health and Healing with emphasis on somatic awareness, The Graduate Institute – 2003-2005
Bachelor of Arts, Physiological Psychology, State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz, 2003