The writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson always resonated with me, and the words of “Self Reliance” are a profound anthem. When I began studying Vedanta, I was struck with the similarities of those ancient words with the writings of the American transcendentalist Emerson. I didn’t know at the time that Emerson, and, by extension, Thoreau and Whitman, were American yogis, proud proponents of the “oversoul.”
As an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, I focused on American Studies because the discipline appreciated the interconnectedness of so many fields: literature, history, language, sociology, psychology. My yogic affinity for unity was beginning to take shape. It was at Rutgers that I met two teachers who impacted my thinking. Dana Brand, professor of American Literature, probed text with gentle hands and extracted the life force and humanity from language and narrative. Also, Leslie Fishbein’s searing intellect, intimidating, overwhelming yet rarely dogmatic, was clear: Life is messy. All ideologies, once off the page, must adapt or die.
Because of Dr. Fishbein, I refrain from blanket goods and bads. Instead, when it comes to ideas, there is no waste. I venture into dark conceptual corners and note there is truth in all irony, and metaphors reveal.
I earned my Master’s Degree in Communication Arts in 1999. Under the guidance of Dr. Richard Bartone, I expanded my knowledge of visual literacy. If the universe is in a grain of sand, I learned everything is text. Political systems are inseparable from film, fiction linked with journalism. The oversoul solidified.
For fourteen years, I was an award-winning language arts and writing teacher in SW Florida. I taught tenth graders that everything is connected, imitation is suicide and to subvert the dominant paradigm. I imparted my love of yoga, running, language, metaphor, film and art.
Now, I am focusing on a larger classroom as a writer. I specialize in yoga, meditation, green living, sustainability and all things funky. I have been writing the Know Thyself column for The News Press, Gannett Newspapers, for the past two-plus years. I have also published work in elephant journal, GreenMedInfo.com, YogaUOnline, Parent and Child Magazine, Mangrove Review (poetry), The Anthologist, and Art and Understanding Literary Magazine. During my early journalism career, I specialized in education, zoning law, and affordable housing for North Jersey Newspapers and Forbes.
I am a certified yoga teacher, and I work with incarcerated children in the Department of Juvenile Justice of SW Florida. I help kids manage impulse control issues and PTSD. I offer private yoga classes and workshops on creativity, writing, centering and stress reduction.