ABOUT LAURA
 
I am a writer, poet, leadership and educational coach and consultant, soul-centric guide, mother of two, and lover of the wilds.  I currently serve as the Lead Facilitator for an inspiring year long Leadership Institute with American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley (alfsv.org), where I work with a diverse cohort of leaders from the public, private, tech, religious and non profit sectors to create networks for change. I am also a lead faculty member (and former co-director)  for PassageWorks Institute--an educational non-profit supporting schools to cultivate meaningful and nourishing school cultures that integrate social and emotional learning, mindfulness, and equity. Over the last two decades I have taught over a hundred workshops and programs for leaders, educators, young people, and families. I have also guided journeys to the Ecuadorian Amazon for Pachamama Alliance and led land based rites of passage work for communities of all ages. 

A poet and writer since my early years, I graduated with a BA in Literary Studies (Trinity College, CT) and an MA in Creative Writing/English (UC-Boulder). In earlier chapters of my life, I was a massage therapist, a doula, a domestic violence hot-line volunteer, and the co-founder and director of an all volunteer non-profit working with homeless communities in Philadelphia. I also taught Creative Writing and English for four years at the University of Colorado and beyond.
I am the author of the poetry collection Luminous: Poems & Inquiry for the Soul's Journey (SoulPassages, 2018)~a collection of soul-centric poems and reflection questions, the co-author of the book for educators  The Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching  (Solution Tree, 2013), and the co-author of numerous curricula for the transitions years. I have also published dozens of poems, book chapters and essays on topics ranging from systems change to rites of passage to healing.  You can find samples of my work here or on my blog.  I am currently working on a next collection of poetry The Pearl Sutras and a work of creative non-fiction entitled Blooming from the Dark.  I continue to regularly publish excerpts from my writings on my soul passages blog
Raised in California, my first great teacher was the sea. As a child, I spent endless hours at my grandparents' home~walking the the shoreline, feeling the pull of the swinging tides, and drinking in the ever-changing water-light. The sea taught me about belonging to both the human and the more than human world and gave me a felt-sense of the power and aliveness of thresholds~these mysterious and potent "in-between" places on the earth and in our lives where two (or more) worlds meet. In the natural world, these are the places where creation bursts forth, where ecosystems teem, where new life is born. In our lives, these are the unmapped wild spaces of the soul. When we wander with intention here, we often come face to face with our deepest longings, fears, and gifts--all of which can support us to more deeply connect with Life and what we are here to serve and create. 
 
I have been rooted in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with my two children since 1998. Here, I am nourished and inspired by a different kind of threshold living. Here, where the high prairie meets granite upthrusted mountains, we are abundantly gifted with wide open spaces, audacious wildflowers, coursing snow-fed streams, diamond nights, fierce thunder storms, and extremities of weather and landscape that demand a particular flexibility of spirit. 
Over the last decades, I have had the profound blessing of studying, training and working with many gifted teachers, writers and organizations. Gratitude to my colleagues and mentors in leadership, education and equity (ALF, PassageWorks, NCEE, Somatic Abolitionism), to my colleagues and teachers in rites of passage, council, soul-crafting, and wilderness work (Rachael Kessler, PassageWorks Institute, School of Lost Borders, Animas Valley Institute, and the Center for Council) and to my Writing Master's program mentors: Marilyn Krysl, Lucia Berlin, Mark Irwin and Lorna De Cervantes.
 
My life has brought me a number of initiatory health journeys that have cracked open my heart and transformed me from the inside out. These passages deeply inform my writing and work in the world.  They also have became one of the taproots for my work as a guide and support to others in the midst of initiatory passages and thresholds of all kinds. I bring a deep respect for the resilience of our beautiful bodies and profound compassion for the very vulnerable journey of being human.  You can read more about my own story in the article Illness as Initiation and my walk with three dear friends through death in the chapter Gifts from the Portal.
 
I am a weaver. My work in the world draws from the many strands of my life experience~from my ongoing engagement as a leadership consultant and culture change agent, to two decades of parenting; from directing two non-profits, to facilitating workshops for K-12 schools across the country; from walking through my own healing "crisis," to growing and sustaining an ongoing relationship with my creative muse; from working in the field of therapeutic healing, to supporting the life passages of others; from walking the on-going path of an anti-racist, to co-creating vibrant and inclusive human communities.  My core inquiry continues to be~what is it to be in right relationship to Life itself?  What does this call forth in each of us? And how do we tend this call individually and collectively, so we are fully and consciously participating in this beautiful and complex journey on the planet?  
 
In my experience, each of us longs to offer our gifts, to serve Life, to know our belonging, to experience our wild, untameable spirit, and to live in sacred reciprocity with all that is. My work, in all its forms, is dedicated to the Re-Membering of who we are and what we are here for. 
 
See Offerings for more details about my work.
 
One-paragraph professional biography available here
My work is informed by:
  • the work of American Leadership Forum, founded by Joe Jaworkski, author of Synchronicity
  •  the work of Rachael Kessler and my 15 years as a director at PassageWorks Institute
  • the work of NCEE--National Coalition for Equity in Education
  • the work of the Pachamama Alliance in partnership with indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest
  • council and deep list practice as taught by the Center for Council & the Ojai Foundation (certified levels 1-3)
  • the work of Resmaa Menakem and Somatic Abolitionism 
  • land based rites of passage work through Animas Valley Institute & School of Lost Borders 
  • my poetry and writing mentors: Marilyn Krysl, Lucia Berlin, Mark Irwin, Lorna de Cervantes 
  • trainings in healing modalities-including integrative massage (certified 1992), reiki (levels 1, 2, 3), healing touch (levels 1,2,3), shamanic training & journey work 
  • embodiment, dance, and mindfulness practices~5 Rhythms, Authentic Movement, MBSR; truthtelling practice; Body Talk 
  • earth-based wisdom traditions
  • the work of the Conscious Dying Institute (Sacred Doula training)
  • my own personal experience with rites of passage, birth, illness, death and transitions (in my personal life and guiding and supporting others)