Sight on the Light: Teaching, Training, Coaching and Mentoring

It’s wonderful how things unfold.

As I’ve written, I recently returned home from a 100-hour Yoga Teacher Training Immersion with Eoin Finn and Blissology Yoga with the intention of doing more teaching, training, coaching and mentoring.

Well, I’ll be finalizing plans this week to work part-time with Abilities Plus at Mount Snow to coordinate staff training and special programs (Special Olympics, Paralympic Sports, Wounded Warriors). Abilities Plus is an adaptive sports program affiliated with Disabled Sports USA, and specializes at Mount Snow in life-enriching programs for people with visible and invisible disabilities. See More to come soon…

I’ve also committed to start to teaching yoga at Heart of the Village Yoga Studio. I’ll begin with two classes per week focused on yoga for athletes. See More to come soon…

I’ve also been approached about doing some mentoring work locally. More to come? We’ll see.

Also, an organization we help start a couple of years ago in San Diego, CA, called Warriors Live On, is planning their first mentoring programs for this fall. I hope to be involved helping to develop these important programs over the next few weeks. This work is very close to my heart. See

All part-time work to supplement my normal design and consulting work, but it’ll be nice to get some traction again doing things that will get me out-of-the-office again, with people, doing more teaching, training, coaching and mentoring… with a sense of excitement and wonder!


Twin Lights. Photo by Eric Berkander

Always more to come…When you keep your Sight on the Light!

Day 3: Evrie Littl Ting is Gunna Be Aw’rite!

I’m not a psychologist. In what I share in my public blog, I am purposely a little vague; the privacy and health of others is my ultimate concern. For us, remembering traumatic experiences is no longer really helpful; we try to focus on re-training our bodies through practice for a healthy and vibrant future. We try to adapt for on-going change through mindfulness-based yoga practice. But, perhaps some more insight on my last post will be insightful.

Tetons- Bob Meditating
The diagnosis of PTSD implies a diagnosable “disorder” (the D), one that doctors with post-doctoral training since 9/11 are better qualified to evaluate. The symptoms with which we are familiar are severe bouts of panic and prolonged anxiety, nightmares and lack of sleep, fear (feeling trapped), inability to function, loss of hope. The body is in a prolonged fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system) response. Human bodies are not adapted to this prolonged state of survival-required arousal; bodily functions start to shut down in order to protect vital survival functions. The PTSD diagnosis is usually caused by a particular event, or series of events, wherein your inner sense of safety and survival (or your basic core view of life) is severely disrupted… perhaps over a period of time. So much in this area of mental health has been learned since 9/11 and from the veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where prolonged exposure to life-or-death stress (whether real or imagined) has caused consistent symptoms. In years past, these symptoms might have been diagnosed otherwise (mental breakdowns, hysteria, battle fatigue, psychotic behavior, manic depression, bipolar disorder, etc). It can become especially hard to heal from PTSD if it is held in the body for long periods of time (as was our personal experience); animals have an immediate “somatic experience” wherein the body shakes and lets go of the trauma. (See Peter Levine’s work with somatic experiencing, or his book “Waking the Tiger”).

In my case, it might have been the years of trying to save my wife’s life during the “breakdown” that changed my body’s nervous system. In my wife’s case, we’ll never be sure if it was the “events” in her previous life’s experiences that were triggered years later in our lives together (ie, loss of feelings of safety, feeling trapped), or our health system’s misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis (and the subsequent loss of hope), that led us to the brink of life and the severest PTSD symptoms. We just know that when we found specially-trained doctors (a miraculous story unto itself), and trigger sources were no longer present… and we “let go” of attachment of what we thought life “should be like”… things improved. For me, this “letting go” was a spiritual experience wherein I decided to “let go and put faith in the Universe”. I clearly remember that instant in time.

The overall experience put me in touch with what it feels like to lose hope… and how important it is to have hope. In my view, healing starts with a feeling of internal safety and personal worthiness… and a twinkle of hope that one feels, an internal feeling of faith that everything will be okay. It builds through acceptance and an understanding of the validity (normalcy) of what you’re experiencing and how your body is reacting (body and mind together as one). It takes time; it takes support from compassionate people; it takes building feelings of self-esteem through successful experiences; and it takes present-moment awareness to learn to build your life back up and live again, one step at a time. We found that reflective moments in nature helped us re-connect with the awesomeness of things outside of our heads, and to ultimately re-connect with our own natural feelings of positivity and wonder. Through time and practice, we build resilience, re-connect with ourselves and our natural authentic selves (the being we were each born as). This might be called learning to love ourselves again. Eventually, these feelings of love spread outwards and are more easily accepted inwards, and because of the new awareness of the value of life and feelings of true happiness, we might also have enhanced opportunities to feel more connected to all things. We might relate more intuitively to the plights of everyone and every being fighting their own battles in life.This building process, the re-programming of mind-body-spirit connections or neurological byways, are facilitated by the practice of yoga and mindfulness, in my view, perhaps also in conjunction with other energetic healing modalities.

Healing is a life-long journey of learning and adapting.

The healing takes steps backwards with judgment and negativity, and excessive stress.

So, to the point of my previous blog entry, the PTSD (or disorder) might just be the severe case (wherein one loses ability to function) at the end of the spectrum of PTS… (post-traumatic stress). PTS might be thought of as all mental health challenges we might face as we grow and try to survive through disruptive, de-stabilizing or “traumatic” events… like when we don’t feel validated, when we don’t feel worthy or good enough, when we are bullied, when we don’t feel safe or when we do not experience unconditional love, when we are otherwise emotionally, physically, or mentally abused. Or, when we live in a world of constant comparison, judgment, fear, winning and losing (and losing)… Ya know?

That’s why I think our practice of yoga is so valuable to so many! The mindfulness part is like modern-day cognitive behavioral therapy… being aware of unhealthy thoughts and judgment and observing our thoughts with more wisdom! And since trauma is held in the neurological systems of the body… body therapy is required. To me, practicing loving kindness just connects us in the present moment to feelings of peace in our bodies (our natural parasympathetic nervous system), and lets us know that everything is okay .

Okay. I’m babbling. I guess the purpose of mental health couseling and therapy is to uncover the layers of thought-processes that are not healthy so that one can succeed again. I suppose it’s our journey to learn how to peel away the layers of obstacles we’ve created for ourselves and to live our lives as our authentic selves again, whoever we are and whatever we’re “diagnosed” with. For us, our yoga practice and our therapeutic outdoor experiences have been our way of learning and healing.

I guess it all starts with feelings of acceptance and love, safety, and a ray of hope and faith… faith that we are all connected and everything will be okay and happen exactly as it should…

Some kids never have the chance to feel these basic feelings of safety and love…. Are they more susceptible to the challenges of life and to PTSD?

“Weaknesses” are only what we have put in or minds (or others have put in our minds)… all perceptions, yes? But feelings of love?

Feelings of love are real, the truth, our path to the Divine. At least in my view.

I’m not sure if this will help anyone or not… but I thought it might provide more insight beyond the previous posted article on what I’ve learned through my own personal experiences with PTSD.

All of the best to you! Keep walking forward on your individual and shared paths… one step at a time… one day at a time. Learning from living.

Evrie littl ting is gunna be aw’rite…

Skating at Warrior Weekend

Hold On to Happiness!

Day 2: PTSD and Me

I’m starting my second day back from Vancouver. I just finished a morning workout incorporating a bit of Blissology (see below).

As I’ve discussed before, my wife was previously diagnosed with PTSD as a result of things which happened in her life before I met her. The severe symptoms didn’t manifest themselves until years later in our marriage when events triggered behavior we couldn’t explain. Because we have endured much and survived, we walk together now in many ways as one spirit, though we try to walk paths respecting the dignity (see definition from August 8 post) of each of our unique spirits. Thus, one could say I have PTSD too.

You see, I live through the roller coaster ride of emotional response too. This morning, like many other mornings, we smile at each other, give each other a hug, but I know she is struggling, I know she had intense dreams. I also know that it will be through her walk with her dog and her teaching at her yoga studio, as well as my validating, dignified and non-judgmental response, that she will find her way back.

PTSD stifles the lives of many. Yes, post-traumatic stress affects the lives of almost all people, in my opinion; it is the “D” part with which we all struggle. We don’t want the past to get in the way of our ability to function in the future, so we avoid the “D” label; but, sometimes it does. We’ve recently left meaningful jobs because of the fear that the work environment would trigger negative responses; we did not want those reactions to burden others… and we know that in order to help others, we will need to work in supportive environments ourselves.

It is easy to blame others. Sometimes, it seems so natural and rational to blame our situation or circumstance elsewhere. But in the end, it is our responsibility to care for ourselves and move on. Moving on involves letting go of expectations for what we envisioned life “should” be, practicing mindfulness and not letting our thoughts become our identity, and connecting with other supportive people, nature, our bodies and our spirits. Yoga is a practice that has saved my wife and me… it helps us live through the “D.”

She came home from our workshop yesterday in an anxious place, perhaps triggered by feelings of being trapped in an unsafe environment, perhaps feeling detached from her home (yoga community and Emma), perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of others. With PTSD and with intuitive powers in hyper-drive, one becomes very susceptible to the emotions of others, in my view.

Last night, a student of hers texted while enduring a downward spiral. A friend of mine (combat veteran) texted me while struggling with current and past issues in her life. We want to help. It is our nature. It helps us. We just try to remember that through our practice… whether it be walks in the woods with Emma or together, engaging ourselves as best we can in our daily routines, or practicing (or teaching) yoga and expressing love, tuning in mindfully, we will ask the right questions and get truthful answers.

My workout “cave” above the garage has been my morning retreat. This morning, it went as follows (below)… with Emma at my side… and my wife teaching at her studio. Life goes on. And it is a miraculous ride. We are thankful for all of our experiences, light and dark. There are lessons in all experiences. We are thankful for all of our friends, those who are struggling and those who are between their struggles. Just like all of you, we seek our light… by helping to illuminate others’ lights.

photo (4)

My Cave

My morning Blissology workout in my cave:

A Long, Loving Self-Hug

An Intention to be at Peace Today

A1: One-leg rear lunges with 2- 25 lb dumbells, 3 x 10 each leg, tree hugger engaged, with the breath, hips extended, integrated legs.

A2: Chin-Ups, 3 x 10, integrated arms and shoulders, focus on open chest, stable anterior serratus, isolated lats…. and core suspenders engaged.

B1: Squats, 3 x 10, 185 lbs, engaged sole arches extended hips and tree hugger core, spreading floor.

B2: Push-ups, 3 x 18, Chaturanga, open chest, DUO engaged, tree hugger core, slow.

C1: Inverted rows on gym rings, 3 x 12, integrated arms, tree hugger and back body engaged, open heart, serratus and low traps engaged.

C2: Planks, 3 x 45 sec, alternating one leg up at a time slowly, 5 sec count, tree hugger, integrated arms and shoulders, extending out through heels.

D1: Slightly bent lateral shoulder raises, 3 x 12, 20 lb dumbells, tree hugger, with the breath slowly focusing on eccentric movement, sole arches angaged.

D2: Shoulder presses, 3 x 18, 20 lbs, same as above.

Inverted head stand on shoulder stand, boat pose, and bridge.


Write this.

Feeling better now. I’ll do some flow yoga later at Heart of the Village, maybe transpose a vinyasa flow routine to start getting ready to teach myself this fall…

Jo came home… a big class… and many compliments on her softness.

Life is interesting, eh? A big miraculous puzzle…

Getting ready to go up to Stratton to help design a large summit deck for next year’s Wanderlust… and work this weekend on the design of buildings being restored in Wilmington, VT… a couple years after being vacated by the effects of Hurricane Irene…

Change Happens… Celebrate Impermanence

A thought for the day… as I transition from vacation back to my daily work…

Living a full life involves being a part of what is happening around us.

What happens around us changes continuously, eh?


If we desire to change also, and be a part of life as it happens, we can practice present moment awareness…

If we practice yoga, we can calm our bodies and our minds and our abilities to be aware in the present moment…

Life is impermanent… celebrate life… and be a part of it.

You can find your peace… and your piece in the puzzle of the Universe… through your breathe and your yoga practice.

After all, if we do what we always did, we’ll get what we always got.




Reflecting upon Blissology YTT Van City 2014

Bobopelli in VC City 2014

I arrived home last night at 2:30 am after attending a 100-hr teacher immersion with Eoin Finn and Blissology in Vancouver, BC. I wrote down the following reflections on the first leg of my trip home.

The group of 20-some participants discussed their personal missions in life. Mine has ebbed and flowed around certain themes over the years as I uncover more and more of my authentic nature, but I wanted to expand upon my “ribbon-sized” shared statement. It is enhanced by the interactions I’ve shared with each of my YTT partners; I thank each of them from the deepest part of my heart. 

My expanded “Life Mission” statement:

To Live, Love, Learn, and Lead… For the ultimate benefit of Earth and our Oneness Nature, but beginning with the experiences and interactions I have each day along each step of my journey.

My definitions:

Live- to experience the richness of a full life, each day as a soaring spirit and as a grounded soul;
Love- to nurture life; to demonstrate care and attention towards all things on Earth, beginning with myself and radiating unselfishly both outwards and inwards,
Learn- explore with a sense of wonder and joy the interconnectedness of all things and of all my experiences;
Lead- With a sense of humbleness and awe, plant seeds of Illumination and walk a path inspiring Dignity and Divinity.

Earth- our planet viewed as a single organism; Gaia.

Illumination- to raise consciousness; to help others see their light and to thrive.
Dignity- an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.
Divinity- Our collective consciousness, raised through deep feelings of presence, connectivity, peace and Love.

Oneness Nature- Each of us is but one piece of a magical natural puzzle called the Universe. However, each of us is also a powerful piece of the puzzle, for the puzzle is not complete without us. In community, together both as One individual organism, and with each other as One collective organism, we Live.

One Living Universe- the unexplained mystery which connects us all, the flowing structure within the chaos, the changing puzzle, the wonder which always has and always will inspire us towards a more magical state of bliss and joy…. often called Enlightenment or Heaven… It is found both within us and outside of us, in the present moment, with each soothing breathe, with each mindful step we take.

Some other reflections:

Everything happens as it’s supposed to, following natural flows and attractions of energy within us and all around us. Ever since the days of my youth when I would lay below the stars in open fields and feel connected in a multi-dimensional way, I believe I have known this deep within. Reflecting in a mindful way on past experiences, I see the many connections and teachings along the way. Here are some reflections and intentions written on my plane ride last night:

A dozen years ago, I started a consulting business called Gaia Structures, LLC, intended to help people design earth-friendly, timber framed homes. I studied sustainable design at a post-graduate level; I’ve designed many healthy and energy-efficient homes. After this immersion, I am reminded that I know that my mission extends well beyond the mental processes of my current work… this immersion has helped validate my natural strengths in other more humanistic, holistic, and yogic ways.  I will set my intention to transform my company to a consulting organization which better supports my life mission to include work as a Life Coach, Consultant, and Group Facilitator or Leader, based on principles of yoga, sustainability (Gaia), experiential education, and integrated health. I will combine healthy living leadership work with my healthy home consulting work; I will continue my current educational interests in nutrition, strength and conditioning, and integrated wellness, and expand my study of yoga. I will start teaching and facilitating wellness events at Heart of the Village Yoga Studio (as the Owner allows). Maybe even one day, I’ll also be an affiliated Blissology teacher or workshop facilitator!

For the first two dozen years of my professional career, I pursued work geared towards my life mission, but from more of a place of career building, family support, and personal attributes of responsibility and integrity. I successfully performed work which was very fulfilling, in leadership roles, yet usually intellectually-based. I am after-all a problem-solver or solutions-finder, relating present challenge to future vision, finding clarity or structure in the multitude options or variables. (See previous post on Structural Engineering written one month ago.) In Eoin, I saw a mind that finds solutions in a similar way, from a yogic perspective and with an innate inquisitiveness.

Marrying Jo, Alex and Natalie more than 17 years ago exposed me to a world of emotions that has helped my spirit soar in ways previously not experienced. We’ve soared together, high and low, through lightness and darkness. We’ve experienced life to its fullest; we’ve experienced life as it fades away. Recently, for a period of 3 years, Jo and I were blessed to have the opportunity to serve others as a result of what we learned from our darkest days with our work at the Adaptive Sports Foundation and with the Wounded Warrior Project. Through it all, I have come to know me better. After this immersion, I have a greater sense of the valuable insights I personally already have regarding helping others heal and find happiness in their lives. For us, healing and finding happiness through yoga is real.

My father passed away one year ago; he was a hard-working man of high integrity, dedicated family values, and community service; he was mourned by a community that had previously recognized him in the naming of a new school library and media center. I slept by his side on his last night, held his hand as the morning sun rose, and watched as his spirit left his body alongside my siblings and his wife of almost 65 years, my mother. I had helped care for him in his last years. I have come away from this event feeling like it is time for me to expand my wings, using both the strength of his spirit and the freedom from his earthly care.

Natalie graduated from college last year; both kids are happily employed in Boston. Jo has successfully started a new yoga studio, Heart of the Village Yoga Studio, and has found a new sense of peace and connection with the community and with our one-year old dog, Emma. She already shared with you how she felt the power of these relationships and their personal value while being away from them on our trip to Vancouver. During the immersion, I suspect she also validated the power of her previous experiences and her yoga teaching expertise. I think we both have come home with a new sense of clarity, confidence, and connection with our Manchester home community and being out in nature. I feel like I can now give myself permission to expand my wings and ” let go of the reigns” somewhat at this point in our lives.

On our trip, I had time to practice, observe, feel, and participate away from the intellectually-based world of structural engineering. Like Jo, I was also reminded of the power of my previous life experiences and teaching insights. I found a yoga mentor in Eoin whose teachings resonated with me and my inner wisdom… I have always found my spirituality in nature, in the mountains, helping others fly and find happiness. I was inspired by what I learned from Eoin about the physical body, it’s alignment, and the relationships between my understanding of yoga asana and current strength and conditioning methodologies. I see consistency in the balancing of stability and mobility approach in the Blissology concepts, whereas before I saw yoga placing too much emphasis on just mobility. I come away wanting to practice and learn more; I am no longer frustrated by the limitations of my own physical body.

I am my father’s son; I care for my mother; I am my wife’s partner and my kids’ step-father; I am the mentor of some and have inspired some more. I have done my best, and that is good enough. I am now giving myself permission to let my wings expand in ways that may be risky and more variable, emotionally and economically, but in ways that may help me soar higher and better fulfill my life mission… A mission that I believe has been within me forever.

To Eoin, Dylan, Steph, Alissa, Insiya, and my fellow YTT partners- THANK YOU! These reflections come to me as a result of our personal and group interactions. I ask for your continued loving support; I will feel it across the Universe, wherever we are. I will carry your influences forever; our individual pieces of our infinite puzzle have come together and will be forever linked. I am very grateful for that. Remember, if 1 + 1 = 3, than our Universe is expanding!!! Thank you! I love each of you. Be Inspired. Be well. Now life goes on…


My tattoo of Kokopelli is intended to remind me of my intention to plant and nurture seeds of life and joy in whatever village I visit… The wings remind me to keep a heavenly perspective. I got the tattoo with the first wounded warrior I met 5 years ago. He got one on his chest that said, “Let Love Live”…. I pray each day that it does… That he does… And that I do.

To steal the words of a great philosopher friend of mine named Zach: Love + Peace!