As a young girl, I understood that humans long to belong. Growing up in a large family in Germany during the 60s and 70s, I was fortunate that my four siblings and I knew that we belonged with each other and that our family is our home.
My passion for learning, exploring, and venturing into the unknown brought me to the US as a student at the University of Kansas, where I met the most caring, amazing person I had ever encountered, my husband of forty years. We created a life together, a family and a home of belonging and happiness!
For many years, my husband and I and our two children travelled through life with ease and an endless amount of joy, sense of adventure, and love for each other – blissfully unaware that a human life is, in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s words, the “full catastrophe,” joy and suffering.
We were not spared! Our son, Owen, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, when he was 22 years old. The sense of despair that overcame our family is indescribable, yet, we were able to rise and gather ourselves to fight this disease.
As a family, we moved heaven and earth. Owen continued his life with joy and optimism. And then, in the blink of an eye, the cancer re-emerged and he passed a few days after his 28th birthday, leaving us and his beloved wife and his one year old son. Our family had not only lost our Owen but we lost our life. How to live now?
Having practiced mindfulness since 2010 and knowing the peace and equanimity that mindfulness can bring, I was inspired to become a mindfulness instructor and completed my training at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts in 2017.
The cultivation of mindfulness unfolds on the individual as well as on the institutional and organizational levels. My expertise spans both levels. The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, monthly mindfulness sessions, and workshops and classes on specific mindfulness topics that I teach support individuals in developing a mindfulness practice. The Mindful Leadership and customized programs for professionals are designed to bring mindfulness to organizations.
Specifically, through my work with the National Judicial College and the leadership and mindfulness programs designed for judges, I have been able to contribute to bringing the benefits of mindfulness to the U.S. Judiciary and the judicial branches in other countries.
Hundreds of MBA students have taken my mindful leadership course and often describe their experience as life-changing. Executives, managers, and staff in businesses across a large range of industries have participated in my mindfulness programs and consistently express their gratitude for having been introduced and inspired to create a new, a mindful way of living.
My work has afforded me a great variety of experiences through extensive travel, learning several languages, and continuous study and learning.
Yet, there is nothing more inspiring and important to me than being in nature. I live in the forest, in the Sierra Nevada mountains! On any given day, you can find me hiking, skiing, snow-shoeing or simply sitting by a mountain lake.
Nature, that is where we truly belong!