Spending my early years growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, in America’s Deep South, I saw first hand the racism and division that was polluting that part of the US. My father, an entrepreneur, decided to move us to Colorado. We moved several times so he could work on his businesses. Meanwhile, my mother was very independent. My lively upbringing and family dynamic enabled me to see as a child. You need to be seen and heard.
It was when I was 16, I lost my brother Chris to suicide. This devastating event impacted all of our family. And looking back, it also sewed the seeds for my drive to look at how children and parents can learn to communicate in a different dynamic. I could see the relationship my mother had with my brother, and his struggles were connected. His relationship with my dad, his step-father, was not healthy. And it set me on the path to creating my teaching so no other family had to endure the pain we went through.
At the time, I channeled my emotional distress into my studies, excelling at my degree in political science and history. I now know this was a classic sign of ‘doubling down’ on unresolved trauma in my relationship with my mother.
Alice Miller calls it ‘cathected’ – a classic case of a child trying to make their parent proud. So many children do this without even realizing, and you, as parents have no idea you are encouraging it.
However, my dedication to my studies enabled me to go on the Semester At Sea Program in 1980. I traveled to Guangzhou in China, and it was here I developed my love for Asian culture. A love affair that would lead me to where I am today.
Returning to the US in the early 1980s to do a law degree, I had my second devastating life-changing event.
During my second year of study, my sister Melanie died from melanoma. This was to be a turning point for me as it made me realize there was more to life than academic success.
Deciding to leave my studies, while packing up my car to move to the mountains, I discovered a book that my sister put in my car, ‘A Course in Miracles.’ It set me on a path to find my Self-enlightenment. I was able to invest time in myself and studied the importance of meditation, Buddhism, and Advaita Vendanta, the study of duality, and Alan Watts,. Ultimately, it was this decision that led me to meet my husband, John, when I went to the Emissaries of Divine Light in California.
Our move to Hong Kong in 1989, was the inception of Conscious Parenting. It was here I started studying ‘Parent Effectiveness Training’ so I could understand how to be a good mother to my son Sam. I sat the course so many times, I trained to become a teacher and was certified as an instructor.
It was during this time I also studied with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of The Center for Non-Violent Communication and trained in NVC. And I was also certified as a Leadership Effectiveness Training (LET) instructor by the Gordon Training Institute, started by Dr. Thomas Gordan.
My certifications in Emotional Freeing Technique (EFT), Matrix Re-imprinting, as a Mediator, and as a Focusing practitioner, have all contributed to devising the methodology for the Conscious Parenting approach.
As the host of several TEDx talks and through parenting training, it has been a pleasure to help 1000’s of parents, educators, social workers, and medical professionals with their ability to converse with children. Adults also take the course so they can use the techniques to learn how to talk with their spouse, family members, friends, colleagues, business associates and break down barriers in their communication.
It’s all about you minimizing misunderstandings and meltdowns. And encouraging your communication, with more collaboration, cooperation, and consideration. My methods positively influence relationships for generations.
We moved back to the US in 2017 to Colorado, so we could be nearer our children, Sam, and daughter Pia. I now live here with my husband John and our two dogs. It has allowed me to open up the Conscious Parenting Revolution to many more families. And I can also focus on my other passions of mental health and wellness.
As the founder and chair of the National Summit on Mental Health and Mental Fitness, we brought together more than 50 scientists, politicians, and spiritual leaders with more than 500 attendees for a conference that looked beyond mental health treatment to holistic mental wellness in 2019.
I have also collaborated alongside experts including Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; the Rev. Michael Beckwith, of the Agape International Spiritual Center; Congressman Tim Ryan, of the Military Mental Health Caucus; and Marianne Williamson, best-selling author, and former presidential candidate, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar world-renowned humanitarian and meditation teacher.
Meditation is also something I love and became an instructor. In 2019 my vision to create a National Mental Health and Mental Fitness summit was supported by the International Association for Human Values and culminated in the largest-ever group meditation in the United States when more than 7,000 people meditated together in Denver’s City Park. World-renowned meditation teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s community of millions joined online to partake in his beautiful meditation gift.