The Women of TTB is a series where we focus on some of the women who helped get The Tattooed Buddha off and running and also continue to keep it growing! We sent out a few interview questions to some of these writers and artists so that we could find out more about them and highlight their many talents!
Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live? What is your living arrangement like?
I am currently in Vista CA, north San Diego County. I live with my two dogs (George and Cid), three cats (Dante, Logan, and Diego), and four turtles (Siddalee, Caro, Niecy, and Tallulah). I am about 20 minutes from Deer Park Monastery, which is my home monastery.
I have been based in the San Diego area for 20 years, and for the past 10 I have gone back and forth a lot between San Diego, Los Angeles area, and San Francisco. Before California, I lived in Texas (Houston and then Austin), Georgia (Atlanta area and Athens), and my family is from Syracuse NY.
How did you get into the arts/writing?
I have kept a journal since about the age of eight. I have practiced fiction and short stories for a very long time, have worked in medical and technical writing for about 20 years now. I also dabble in photography, painting, mixed medium, and ceramics.
Do you meditate? What is your practice like?
I started meditation practice in 2003 when I started going to Deer Park. I was going through a divorce, and would go up to sit in silence with the other people who were going there at the time, and I would not speak to anyone, and skip out before the talking part started for the day. It wasn’t until much later that I started getting more involved in the community.
My meditation practice looks very much like everything is covered with meditation. Every morning I sit for 15 to 30 minutes to get the day started, then have a breathing practice that I do throughout the day, and an evening meditation practice as well. Since the pandemic and subsequent shelter in place, it has been very difficult to stay on task, and I feel like there has been a great deal of ebb and flow with my practice and where things are settling in my body. I am doing a great deal of trauma work with a therapist, and with the overall stressors in the world today, sometimes it feels very overwhelming.
Do you identify with any specific spirituality? If so, how did that happen for you? What spirituality were you raised in?
I was raised Catholic, which I have resisted almost forever. When I was in my early 20s, I gravitated to Unitarian Universalism, and was also very much drawn to Paganism. I started practicing Buddhism in my 30s, and I find that my belief systems are very much in harmony. When I started spending more time at Deer Park, some of the rituals there were the same that I would practice in my Pagan and UU communities, so there was a great deal of familiarity.
I was reading Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, and Noah Levine. I feel like I was always heading in this direction, and I have found my spiritual home. I took the Five Mindfulness Training in 2011, was ordained as a member of the Order of Interbeing in 2013 and completed two years of facilitator training in the lineage of Spirit Rock, with the now defunct Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.
What do you do for a living?
I am President and CEO of an international biotech/pharmaceutical consulting company.
How long have you done that?
I have worked in pharma for almost 20 years, I was a counselor before that, and would refer people into clinical trials, so it’s almost as if I moved from the very front lines to the back end of the industry.
How did you get involved with TTB?
I followed TTB, and would read the articles, and listen to the podcasts and leave feedback. I think that being vocal got me noticed. At one point when there was a call for submissions, so I wrote and submitted a piece, and not long after I was asked to be a contributing columnist. I have failed at that a lot, because I get stuck in my head a bunch (I’m sure no one else knows what that feels like). I have taken part in discussions and podcasts, and led a weekly meditation during the first part of the pandemic. I am contributing more behind the scenes, and love working with Dana (everyone else too, but I super love Dana).
How long have you been involved with TTB?
Since about 2016?
What would you like to see TTB do in the future?
I want to see TTB expand, become a bigger online presence. I want to see more women get involved with TTB, because it is a site that has space for multiple facets in social and belief perspectives, and women have had less of a voice and less of a space for expression.
Anything else you would like to add about yourself?
I am really grateful for this space.
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