“Listen and trust your inner knowing.”
For more than twenty-five years, Suzanne has taught and mentored in the area of conscious awareness and its relationship to the healing process. She has developed a unique approach to energy, presence, grounding and integrative exercises taught in the Healing from the Core program, which includes a six-level training course and complementary audio series. She is passionate about teaching people practical skills that allow them to feel the joy of being present in each moment of their lives without burning out. To that end, she has just completed a book and companion CD, Full-Body Presence: Explorations, Connections and More to Experience Present Moment Awareness.
Since 1986, she has been a certified instructor of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and SomatoEmotional Release with The Upledger Institute, teaching both nationally and internationally. She is also on the faculty at Esalen Institute. Known for her honest, grounded, nurturing manner, Suzanne assists others in going to the heart of their healing process. She is adept at weaving together mind, body, and spirit to create a unique environment where profound healing can occur.
A sought after speaker in her field, Suzanne inspires healthcare practitioners, coaches, teachers, and caregivers around the world to stay energized using her life changing tools for stress management and full body presence. She has authored numerous articles and thousands visit her blog, Presence Matters at http://massagemag.com/massage-blog/presence-matters. She has a private practice in Reston, Virginia.
Q. What experiences put you on your spiritual path?
A. I have had a series of life changing experiences that put me on my path. One of the earliest was at age ten when I was walking home from church on a clear summer’s night. I suddenly was filled with an overwhelming sense of being one with everything around me—trees, sky, and air. It was deeply inspiring. That experience left me with the clear sense of connection to life that is everyone’s birthright. I have made it my life’s work to bring that felt sense of connection to everyone I can.
Later, as an adult in my late twenties, I had another spiritual wake-up call. I was in a meditation training where we practiced a series of mental and physical exercises designed to allow the mind to drop away and the soul’s voice to emerge. As we did the final exercise, I found myself filling with a golden fluid, starting from my toes. As it reached my eyes, tears of joy emerged and spilled down my cheeks. We all lay on the floor to complete the exercise and huge rushes of energy started to move through me like a freight train. As the energy hit points of compression in my body, it was excruciating. When the compressed places opened up, and the energy moved on, it was ecstatic. Although it was a lot of sensation, and much of it not comfortable, I somehow trusted, relaxed, and let it flow through me. As the rushes of energy slowed down and dissipated, my hands were still buzzing with energy. I had a passing thought about why they were still vibrating when everything else had quieted and, as though in response to my question, I heard a deep, gentle voice say, “How many more times must I tell you that what you are to do is with your hands?” I knew in that moment that I had been given a life direction and it felt right. It eventually led me to CranioSacral Therapy and my work with Full Body Presence.
Q. Who are your mentors? What have you learned from them?
My greatest male mentor is Dr. John Upledger, developer of CranioSacral Therapy. He taught me how to listen to the body with my whole being, through my hands. He also taught me how to dialogue with all parts of the body, which translated into my ability to dialogue with all of life. When I dialogue with someone’s system in a clear, authentic way, it can lead to a life changing outcome. For example, through touch and talking with the damaged area of a client’s liver or shoulder, we can change its cellular structure so that it opens to whatever healing is possible.
There are practitioners who facilitate this type of change without talking. But even excellent body workers fall into the trap of being right on with their hands and way off in the stories they make up about what they find. These stories can belittle the healing process and take the client down a path that isn’t real. So Dr. John adamantly says, “Do not make assumptions about what you think is happening in another person’s system. Ask the person’s body.” This approach not only helps the client’s inner knowing get on board, but also encourages the client to take ownership of his or her own healing process. The person leaves the session with a greater sense of his or her own wisdom and healing capacity, rather than being awed by how much I might know.
For the rest of the interview, please check out the book, Seek The Lover Within: Lessons from 50 Spiritual Leaders.