I have been an educator and coach for more than 40 years. During the first 25 years of my career, I was a public school teacher in Eugene, Oregon. During that time, I worked with gifted students both within a heterogeneous classroom and as a gifted specialist. For nearly 10 years, I worked as a professor of education at Pacific University's Eugene campus where I created and coordinated the Center for Gifted Education, and where I taught gifted education and general education courses. A very generous family donated money to establish the Center for Gifted Education, and it enabled me to provide gifted education workshops for parents throughout the community as well as provide "triage" for parents who were looking for help in dealing with the academic, social, and emotional issues of their gifted children.
I have developed a unique and dynamic way of working with gifted and twice-exceptional students. It is an approach I call "cognitive coaching." We accept that top athletes, even professionals, refine their craft and are guided to a higher level through interactions with a mentor. The same can be true for a student who is gifted or twice-exceptional. Through the use of games and higher level thinking activities, I can pull students beyond their zones of proximal development (Vygotsky) and ignite & excite their brains. Each child is provided with an individualized program designed to meet their unique profile of strengths and challenges. I maintain ongoing communication with the parents of my clients so they know the progress we are making, and I am available for school advocacy consultations.
I was raised in a family that provided no spiritual modeling. In fact, I believe my parents considered themselves to be atheists. It wasn't until after the death of my brother (18 years ago) that I had a chance to experience first-hand the living presence of all things, including people and animals who are no longer alive. My brother, who was always larger than life, made himself present to me in ways that were both profound and funny. I remember how he would try to communicate with me after he died, and one night I asked for a REALLY BIG SIGN that he was okay. The next morning, I passed by a church that had had its large sign knocked down the night before. Coincidence? I consider these affirmations and messages to be synchronicities. I experience life as though we are all energetically connected, and I am one of those sensitive beings who is exquisitely aware of that connection. The day after my mother died, while I was walking from my front door to the mailbox down the street, a beautiful butterfly joined me all the way from the front door to the mailbox and back to my front door. It gave me great comfort to have that lovely being escorting me on that walk. One author calls these experiences "God winks." I consider them to be "presents" because they remind me to be in the "present" moment, which is where we can always experience the miracle of NOW. If you invite me to be your coach and travel your path with you, I will share more of my synchronicities and help you learn to be the awareness of what is already here waiting for you.
I have a morning routine that is anything but routine. I engage in an eclectic mix of modalities from Donna Eden's energy medicine exercises, Thich Nhat Hanh's Mindful Movements, Lee Holden's qi gong routines, and qi gong shaking. That is followed by meditation and automatic writing. I try not to be a slave to any routine that makes me feel anxious if I am going to be rushed that morning and unable to do all of this. I wake up at 5:30 a.m., and if I don't have time for the full array of spiritual opportunities, I just go with whatever needs my attention that morning. One of my favorite parts of this routine is the automatic writing that helps guide my personal and professional work. While working on this website, I found myself getting anxious that I was trying to build this on my own and that it was taking me so much time to get it completed. During my qi gong shaking, I found myself ruminating about the website. I sensed an internal guidance that suggested I stop my qi gong shaking and head right to the automatic writing. Here is the guidance I received: "Do not rush - there is no deadline. There is just the continual evolution. Ask for guidance on this. You do not have to walk alone. There is always guidance to lessen a burden and to provide creative juices. When we overthink, we are diminished by not accessing the knowledge of our bodies and our energetic beings. There is a never-ending reservoir of goodness, creativity, and love at your disposal." I am often amazed by what comes from the automatic writing because the lessons are usually ones I really need to hear, and the phrasing of them is often different from the way I usually speak.
Walk side by side with your younger self. Let her know she is safe and loved.
Let her remind you of your own True Nature.
I was a very sensitive and intense little girl, and it took until I was 50 to understand these characteristics were part of my giftedness. I cringed and forced my way under my bed when I heard my parents yell. I cried when my teacher disciplined one of my classmates. I had the misunderstanding that I came into the world to heal others, to take away their emotional and physical pain. It is not uncommon for spiritually sensitive people to be healers, but as a young child I had no idea that any of this was a gift. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of my feelings, and I couldn't distinguish my feelings from those of other people. I did not find a coach who was gifted and spiritually sensitive until I was nearly 50, and the realization that I had needed a coach at a much younger age, to hold my hand and be a bridge to my giftedness and true nature, has led me to this role as a bridge for my clients.
I am also the mother of a daughter who was identified gifted in elementary school, so I have been able to witness the life of a gifted person from the perspective of the child, the adult, the parent, the educator, the friend, and now the coach/advocate.