to my site, to my story and to my work….
I’m from Berlin, a city I love for its freedom, its creativity and diversity. I grew up when the wall was still standing, encircling the Western part, and I cycled to school through nature reserves along the Wall. My parents loved the woods and the sea, so my brother and I and often some of our friends were ferried into the forests and to the lakes within the city limits.
For me nature always was a place to go lick my wounds, just be with the poplar by the lake, watch dragonflies and swans, ground myself again in times of feeling so other to my peers, just not belonging effortlessly. I was so loved as a child, protected and supported and still there was unintended hurting, that manifested as doubt of my loveability, some layers of protection around my heart, defensiveness. I also got the inner resources to find and stay on a path to question, to search and explore, to accept my own vulnerability and experience love in ways I had not expected. Now the ache of the sense to not really belong, dissolves in a discovery of love that lives within me, and yes, it took forever to really feel it, and it takes practice to deepen it, but I’m very grateful for its presence…. it certainly is a journey, it’s work and probably grace, too…
After my leaving cert I worked for half a year in a foster home and spent another few months of half hearted travel in Europe. I enjoyed the responsibility I was given working with the teenagers and learnt that I was quite adventurous, but not enough to travel with very little money.
I began to study Social Science as I had felt the call for as a teenager. Even though there were explorations of carpentry and organic gardening too.
Social science in the 80ies at Technical University Berlin was a distinctly feminist, very political department. All the discussions we still have today on feminism, racism, classism and their interconnections we had back then in a very engaged, often painful, mostly inspiring, very mind opening and challenging way…. Now I find myself back in those teachings and re-read Audre Lorde, Alice Walker and found adrienne maree brown and others. Voices of Black women speaking about many topics in our troubled world…
My long years in college were tough. They challenged the way we look at the world, privileges were named that questioned the identity of white women as purely victims of patriarchy. As part of a student group I got a teaching opportunity at the department, that partly financed my studies, and was the first time I realized with certainty that I loved teaching – as in sharing experiences and knowledge and develop them into something new.
It took me a while to find my way into bodywork. But when I did I knew that here was my calling. I found the touch I needed for myself in Shiatsu, and discovered the nourishment in my touch and listening.
Yoga I found much earlier, while I was still in college, and it totally changed the way I saw my body, the way I felt in my body. The too big, too clumsy gradually made way for a feeling of inner connections, stillness in the body and the mind, strength and a harmonious flexibility. To the day I’m happy with my body, most of the time, even though I am a bit wobbly…
My first teachers were two friends, women from Israel and America. From the start I was open to a style that allowed freedom, exploration, and was far from dogmatic… When I was introduced to Scaravelli inspired yoga years later in a small studio in the West of Ireland I knew I had found what my body loved and it’s how I feel I want to learn until I will leave this Earth. I consider myself very very lucky to have found teachers like Margaret Hardman, Sophy Hoare and Diane Long who are teaching with a distinct connection to Vanda Scaravellis explorations many years ago. My body and soul are longing for this way of learning… It’s free, deep, hard work, always fresh and very liberating.
After finishing university I worked in some interesting areas of adult education yet found fitting into institutions too energy sapping. I returned to working with people with Learning difficulties, as I had done during college, gained experience and found again, despite loving the people I worked with, institutions unfortunately don’t work for me. I think it was a confirmation that I had not found where I was of best use… So I studied Shiatsu in Berlin and shortly after graduating I moved to Beara, West Cork in Ireland.
I had discovered this beautiful, rugged, wild part of Ireland years earlier and had come back over the years. From my first night on Beara I knew I had to live here.
Just living in that rugged nature on the coastal cliffs of the peninsula was enough to stay, and I worked to be able to do that. I was not courageous enough to offer bodywork, as there were some very good established therapists around and I felt too shy to find my way in. So I was absorbing the land, reading, meeting people, being still. It took another bit of learning until I was ready for the jump into self employed therapist work.
I studied Shiatsu again with the Shiatsu School Dublin, an incredibly rich experience and receiving the diploma after three years increased my confidence. I also found a fantastic community of practitioners and a connection to Dublin.
A couple of more years on Beara evolved with ups and downs, some lonely phases, some very engaged ones, I practiced Dzogchen Buddhist teachings, Loving Kindness in particular, at the stunningly located Dzogchen Beara retreat centre high above the Atlantic and felt as a part of the community there for a while.
Eventually I summoned the courage to apply for a therapist position at the Kenmare Park Hotel. It was perfect timing, as another Shiatsu therapist had just left. I was also allowed to teach yoga in the beautiful Samas spa, refined my massage work and made some friends, one of them now my Lomi Lomi teacher. The work was seasonal, so when I got the invitation to move to Dublin I was ready for another move. It is how I live. I could have made more efforts staying on Beara finding my ways, but I moved on.
This was the beginning of the recession in Ireland, and starting a business as a self employed Shiatsu therapist was a daring thing to do. Luckily I was fairly oblivious to the fact, and pursued. Support was available and I found great collaborations which brought me to the Dublin Holistic Centre and later to the Fumbally stables. Both places gave me the freedom and responsibilities to slowly build a business using my bodywork skills, and my developing spirituality. There was a beautiful awareness of how to run a conscious business in both places.
While I was living in Dublin I trained as a yoga teacher. I was only interested in the Scaravelli tradition, so I traveled to Bristol for a couple of years to train with Bill Wood. The attention was on understanding the principles and the freedom Vanda had explored and on developing and trusting each students deep and personal practice. The students were a mature amazing group of women who were a teaching in themselves… The certificate and of course the experience gave me the courage to offer yoga and after a while of finding my place among an increasing number of yoga teachers in the city I established a dedicated little group of enthusiasts who took to my style of teaching. I taught my own yoga days and little retreats in a gorgeous studio in Blackrock. The yoga days were a blend of movement, meditation, Shiatsu wisdom and lunches I prepared. The participants came from many walks of life, all with the wish to rest, have time for themselves, learn, move in interesting ways and enjoy the shared experience of the day. Self defined work including all the interests I developed myself in a group of diverse participants, all sharing some sense of community, definitely was where I needed to be. Many of them came back regularly, and I loved holding the space.
A few years back I trained in Lomi Lomi massage with Louise Kleu from Aloha House in Killorglin, whom I had met at the hotel in Kenmare. Learning this Traditional Hawaiian massage and some of the philosophy and culture it is rooted in, was and is a life changing journey in itself. It brings more love, Aloha, into my life and into my bodywork. Louise created a beautiful community of nourishing and adventurous, sensitive and creative practitioners who come together often to dive deeper into the teachings and have fun on the way.
And then I felt called back to Beara, after 12 years in Dublin. I did a year long detour to Ballydehob first. What a beautiful quirky, spontaneous and creative community … I was lucky enough to get introduced to inspirational women from the beginning, singers, yoga teachers, artists, body workers, publicans, all nature lovers and very free and honest spirits. All working with determination and love on whatever they are into and good at sharing wisdom and company.
I built a little yoga tribe in Schull, who I can’t wait to see in person again and established a group of clients from Schull to Skibberreen.
Yet, I had to follow my heart back to Beara. It was such a clear call, and a place to live and one to work from fell into place so easily. In between lock downs I luckily had the chance to establish another wonderful group of new massage clients here and hope to find ways of teaching yoga in the area as well. Once it’s deemed safe again….
As a therapist and teacher I worked on retreats run by fabulous friends, taught classes and also offered massages as an opportunity to relax deeper, rest more and add extra nourishment to the retreat experience. This is work I love with all my heart…
And here I am now… I feel so at home on Beara, and also in Berlin. These two places will be my nourishing paradises, so different, so complementary. My family is in Berlin, and I feel a longing to see them more, nieces and nephews growing up faster than I wish… There will always be ways!
I am deeply grateful that I followed when my spirit led me somewhere, often I waited a bit longer than maybe neccessary, but there always came a time when the pain of knowing it was the wrong place/work became greater than the fear of moving. And begin again…
Now I rest and follow the voice inside with more peace, as I know I’m in the right places… now I dive deeper into Tantric meditation, into my yoga practice, into the soul of the land. And I have the deep wish to offer what I have, to bring receivers of my work closer to themselves, and more into the nourishing blissful places within. I’d like you to feel your own energy free, strong and rested, ready to embrace what life is offering … and to learn the tools to do so with more resilience, with deeper inner strength, joy and love for yourself and others.
If you feel you are longing for a great nourishing massage, want to explore yoga in a new and liberating way, if you long for presence and deep connection, feel free to get in touch and see what I can offer you to help renew your body and soul.
I’m looking forward to meeting you!