Sattva Institute Co-founder
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Probably the question most frequently asked of me is how I got into
the work that I am doing. The question has always caused me trouble
because I am aware that almost everyone likes easy, quick answers. But
there is no simple answer to something that has taken a lifetime of
searching and questioning--of what or for what I did not know.
Talk about your basic wandering around in the wilderness! I did not
have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew it
was important (if only to me) because it was an inner driving that
would not let me go. I took what I thought were many wrong turns and
dead ends on my quest. It would not be until much later in life that I
would come to understand that I needed every one of those mis-turns in
order to contribute more fully to and to understand more completely
those persons who would come to me later on.
It took an "accident" on one of those mis-turns that almost totaled me
before I would stumble onto the thing that filled my soul and my heart
with such a sense of wonder and fulfillment it still takes my breath
away. My life had become a one-woman disaster zone. Everything I
thought mattered in this world was crashing down around me,
professionally, financially and personally. Even the IRS was after me.
It was one of those moments when the soul is so filled with desolation
and hopelessness that suicide seemed the most hopeful thing I could
do. Fortunately, my stubbornness kicked in. Instead I thought to
myself, There has to be something more to life!
With that simple thought a voice from nowhere asked me, "Are you
It startled me because I thought myself alone in my house. So I
quickly checked all the rooms but found no one. The voice came again
and once more asked me, "Are you asking?"
Well great, I thought to myself. I'm losing everything
else and now my mind, too!
But I could feel that presence still there, waiting. I sort of felt
like Bill Cosby in his skit with God, so I asked, "Is that you, God?"
This voice laughed and said, "Oh no, I'm not God." Then I got a little
scared because with my Christian upbringing, that just left one other
possibility. I was afraid he was going to make me an offer I couldn't
refuse! I finally screwed up my courage and asked him if he was Satan.
He really laughed then and said absolutely not.
"Who are you then?" I cried. And with that he said, "I am a friend who
has been with you all of your life, and all of that time I have been
waiting for you to ask for help. Are you asking?"
As he asked me this question again, he began to fill the room and me
with the most incredibly loving and gentle energy. I started to feel
the emptiness in my heart being replaced with so much love and peace
and a sense of security that I no longer cared who he was. He could
have said the tooth fairy and I would have believed him!
The voice later identified himself as a soul called Yaqui. All that
afternoon and into the night he and I talked. He shared many things
with me about himself, God and surprisingly me. Things I thought no
one knew that I had kept secret in my heart: my hopes, dreams and
yearnings. He knew them all and he told me they were all possible
because they were all seeds. These seeds only needed my nurturing and
love to come to fruition with a little help from my friends. But first
I must learn to ask for help and then I must also learn that I am
worthy enough to receive that help.
Shot right between the eyes! He had just revealed my scariest
vulnerability as if it were nothing and expected me just to overlook
this little weakness. Hadn't he been listening? Didn't he know I tried
all my life to overcome that vulnerability?
Yes, he knew that. (Great, now he is reading my thoughts.)
But when I was ready he would introduce me to another soul who would
be able to help me accept me exactly as I am and would show me how to
help others do the same.
The "trick" was to "feel" God's love and acceptance and to gain
wisdom in being imperfect.
Needless to say, that entire experience was life-altering. At the
time I didn't know whether to believe it or not. But the sense of
well-being and serenity that I still was carrying had no logical
reason for being there. It began for me another search, but this time,
finally, with a direction. I did not want to lose that feeling, but
instead to grow it more and more and to learn how to help others do
True to his word, when I was ready, Yaqui introduced me to
Dr. Sunan, who has proved to
be quite a character. For all his intellectual and teutonic nature, it
turns out he's a teddy bear with a heart of gold who is genuinely
interested in the health, happiness and well being of every soul. He
has taught me much and continues to do so about human nature, our
ability to love and our driving need to be reconnected to our Creator.
Sunan is one avenue to attaining our human needs through a
supportive, loving process that is painless. The key to joy, peace,
fulfillment and a sense of belonging lies in our hearts, in our
garden. For hope is in the garden!
Dr. Sunan taught (and is continuing to teach) me techniques and
therapies we call the Sunan Method. Yaqui
taught me how to apply this method softly and lovingly.
My personal approach as a therapist is to always remember that
judgment lives in the absence of wisdom and respect--that we tend to
judge people and things because we do not understand them. The secret
to inner and outer harmony is respect. Respect is truly expressed in
the absence of understanding. In other words, if I understand you I'm
basically only agreeing with you. But if I can accept you without
understanding you, then you have my respect.
This is also true of self-respect. My job as a Sunan therapist is
not to change you, but instead to help you reveal that which is your
personal truth--whether or not I would agree with it. Therefore I
accept you as you are and as you want to become. If I cannot do this
because of my own limitations, I will refer you to another Sunan
therapist who can.
Sunan therapists are not in
competition with one another because there is no technique or ability
difference between us. In other words, a therapist is either a clear
channel or not. There is no room for ambiguity here. But there are
differences in our personalities.
In choosing which therapist would best fit with you, it becomes a
matter of trust. The Sunan therapist is only going to walk with you
into your soul and all that it contains. You definitely want to feel
safe with your therapist. I have had the honor of training all of the
Sunan therapists and therefore know them all well. It takes tremendous
courage, trust and love to be a Sunan therapist and I can sincerely
endorse all of them to anyone.