Thanks for taking to getting to know me!
In recent years, I would say that the phrase "who I am" has evolved radically. In the present iteration of this evolution, I would say that "who I am" is a human who continues to deepen his self-awareness in order to make sense of difficult times and deeply understand others. Most recently, a sudden relationship breakup a few years ago, and an unexpected surge of old trauma and stress, after the Shelter-in-Place order went into effect, related to my developmental stutter, have propelled my meditation and self-awareness practices. While making sense of these difficult times, I have also experienced some of the deepest, most meaningful and embodied experiences. I have come to understand that the more I understand myself and my behavior (including my underlying trauma, beliefs, emotions and feelings), the more attuned I can be for others, the systems and politics of our times, and to the reality of the my deep interconnection with all living beings. Lastly, the more I have understood myself, the more compassion and empathy arises and is channeled through my work as an educator, mindfulness teacher, coach, and trainer.
In addition to my mindfulness and coaching work, I wear other professional hats. I love and appreciate the diversity of these hats, and the joy and challenges they each offer. I am an adjunct professor for a local community college, where I teach early childhood development. I have enjoyed getting to know each of my students, and do my best to tailor content in ways that resonate and connect with their unique life experiences. I also work for a local public agency, where I oversee investments in early childhood and parenting development services, including implementation of capacity building opportunities and systems integration efforts. These professional roles inform and give my work as a coach and meditation teacher deeper meaning as I see day-in-day-out how adult behavior, health and overall wellness is deeply influenced by our earliest years.
I was born and raised on the Monterey Bay, and identify as Latinx. Both my folks immigrated to the US from Mexico in the late 60s, and I benefited by their strong love for their language and culture, and by their work ethic and dedication to their family. When I am not teaching or at my full-time work, I am with family and friends. I also enjoy running, biking, and kayaking. I am also an active member of a local Toastmaster's club, a wonderful positive group where I've had the opportunity to make lifelong friends. Most recently, I've been learning to play the alto sax, have been backpacking, and continue to deepen my mindful eating and fitness practices.
I found mindfulness after a long search for support with stress and anxiety stemming from a lifelong developmental stutter, and early traumatic experiences of having to read out loud in class and other situations were I was not allowed to finish my words or sentences or had opportunities to practice speech therapy skills. "Respond Mindfully" encapsulates so much of what I felt I've been able to learn and apply experientially from practicing mindfulness meditation, especially with the stutter. For a long time, I reacted to the stutter through a deep layer of conditioning, fear and aversion, including suppressing uncomfortable body sensations, feelings, emotions, and thoughts. As I learned to "respond" with acceptance and kindness to these layers and reactions, I've been able to respond mindfully, and from a place of groudedness and wisdom. Over the years, this same practice of responding mindfully has translated into all domains of my life, including health, nutrition, fitness, relationships, family dynamics, etc. As I've responded mindfully in these and other domains, I have experienced deeper health and wellness, and welcome the opportunity to share this with others.
I have over 16 years of experience working to empower adult learners, with a majority of that experience focused on supporting parents of young children (both directly and indirectly). My professional experience includes being an administrator for a public-private early childhood program, coordinator for outreach services at a public library system, and a non-profit that supported families and schools to bridge the digital divide.
In recent years, my work has focused on supporting the professionals and administrators working directly with families of young children. Throughout my career, I have challenged my colleagues and key stakeholders to support families, while simultaneously building and improving systems that better work and support undeserved populations. It was and continues to be imperative that proposed policy and programmatic solutions are addressing root issues, and developed in ways that address the eco-systemic system they are embedded in. I have continuously focused and refined my expertise in serving the youngest learners as we continue - via public funding and as a society - under investment in the years that research and neuroscience clearly show are most impactful and cost-effective.
I have earned a Master's Degree in Education with a focus on child and adolescent development. My master's program provided a multidisciplinary academic experience, including anthropological, linguistic, psychological, and sociological theories to studying and understanding families, adults, children, and adolescences in school and life settings. I am an endorsed Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health (IFECMH) Transdisciplinary Practitioner and Reflective Practice Facilitator I (RPF) by the California Center for IFECMH.