Note: This is a personal account of where I come from and how that lead me to the work I do, offered in order for you to get to know me if you like. It’s long, and reading it is not necessary to book an Artful Touch session. If you found yourself here by mistake, just make your way back to the main site to continue.
I grew up in the suburbs and south country of Sacramento, CA, eventually leaving high school during my freshman year, with my GED in hand and ready to enter the fast food workforce at age 15.
I was a social fixture of the hacking community in the mid 90’s, running one of the first crop of webcams online. I spent most of my adolescence on IRC when not directing operations of a retail computer store, and in 1998, I escaped to Seattle to break software and run test labs.
Thanks in part to the demands of tech, as well as having endured severe childhood abuse, I had already become deeply entrenched in a constant loop of incredible self-neglect that came to a head when I moved to WA at age 19 to live with the person I eventually married.
Like many young people navigating compounded traumas, I had developed an impressive substance problem, well-cured by a life of deathwish teenage excess having matured into the habit of actively going out of my way to attempt to drown out how profoundly I was abusing myself as an adult.
I first began to seek refuge from those coping mechanisms in the form of vigorous physical activity, taking up yoga, swimming, and circus. Through the encouragement of others who swore by the stuff, I eventually sought out massage reluctantly in my early 20’s; quite a feat for someone who didn’t even like people I knew touching me.
It took me a while to find the right practitioner, but when I did, that one experience stayed with me, planting a seed that later profoundly altered my course in life. Suddenly I became aware that my long held assumption of my body being incapable of relaxing without sex or pills was wrong.
It is from that single sensory experience facilitated and witnessed by a bodyworker I never saw again that I credit the first cracks and crumbles in the facade of my intense self destruction.
One day in 2003, after many geeky years of the sedentary, super-stressed life of a desk jockey at Microsoft and various dot-coms, I looked around my brand new office and made a decision. With my forearms so injured I literally couldn’t open doors for myself, and with my tender creative artist self in neglected shambles, I left the technology industry in pursuit of a more balanced relationship within myself and with others.
In the years that followed I explored art, music, writing, odd jobs, sex work, and pulling shots (both coffee and booze) as vocations. By 2007, I was divorced, a resident aerialist and ensemble troupe member at a Seattle underground theater, working full time administrating a medical office, and putting myself through massage school at night.
Once out of that frothing cycle of Y2K era tech, I’d also began to explore many forms of mental health therapies to address what grew to be a host of fancy diagnoses. I did deep psychotherapy, CPT, CBT, EMDR, a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat. I went through the Grief Recovery Method I now teach, participated in many family constellations, as well as maintaining my intangible outlets like circus aerial, painting, music, and theater.
All of these experiences eventually informed my desire to develop my practice to include emotional and neurological awareness in conjunction with manual massage therapies, narrowing my focus toward education and empowerment rather than applying passive remedy.
After graduating the renowned Brian Utting School in 2008, whose mission was to create outstanding massage therapists with a deeper sense of their humanity (nailed it!), I opened my first private massage practice in the Medical Dental Building in Downtown Seattle. At that time I was renting the Chiropractic office I managed, practicing my work in the off hours, and dragging heavy chiropractic equipment in and out of my makeshift treatment room every night.
I moved my practice to my own space in the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square in 2010, where I reconnected with how much I enjoy interior decorating along with learning many other valuable lessons and helping many gracious people.
I added Somatic Unwinding®, which is now my mainstay technique, to my repertoire in 2012, and became certified in the Grief Recovery Method® in 2014.
Shortly after adding CGRS to my title, I finally accepted I had been utterly priced out of Seattle and that I was facing impending homelessness. I shuttered my bodywork practice and used my small savings to buy an old rusty van, strapping my motorcycle, the one thing of value I “owned”, to the back. I was stateless and wandering for nearly four years, touring the country looking for a new home, playing music shows, and making art, all while living in that van.
I am profoundly grateful for the gigantic wakeup call touring the south and midwest alone as an insulated Seattleite afforded me. It’s stunning how up my own privileged ass I was, and how ridiculous my assumptions about the rest of the country had been before I did that.
Finding myself a snowbird at 36, sometimes living on as little as $500 a month, I periodically returned to Seattle to labor seasonally (and for the glorious summers), most notably to work in Green Stormwater Infrastructure and Urban Agriculture from a social justice lens.
Getting into the dirt and learning about food and waste systems further deepened my appreciation and understanding of the intricate web of life; as well as the often infuriating dynamics of privilege, capitalism, and oppression that I had only begun scratching the surface of while protesting with Black Lives Matter before leaving Seattle.
“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” – Spanish Proverb
By 2016, the road had offered me enough space and reflection to finally come out as nonbinary, officially using the pronouns they/them. Claiming myself in this way has changed a lot for me, shaking a lifetime of puzzle pieces gently into their place, and deepening my commitment to viewing others as people rather than gender stereotypes.
In 2018, my body let me know that it was time to settle again with a trip to the ER, where I realized I’d developed disordered eating and had relapsed mentally after being out alone on the road so long without safe touch or psychiatric support. Washington state is where I am health insured, so Washington state is where I returned, nesting about 30 miles south of where I started: the incomparable Grit City of Destiny, Tacoma.
I’d never genuinely left the healing arts, so once recovered and stationary, returning to bodywork became its own matter of course. I took the class hours I needed to reinstate my license, refreshed my Somatic Unwinding® education with its originator Karen Clay, and gained Intraoral certification from Pat O’Rourke in 2018. As of 2020, I’m considering Reiki certification, training officially as a Systemic Constellations Facilitator, and getting an Associates in Clinical Medical Assisting.
And now here you and I are.
As a former fanatic who now sports a sticker on my phone that proudly proclaims “FUCK COMPUTERS”, I’m familiar with the benefits of taking time to center one’s self in their body and root into the physical world, as well as the grave impact on our human health when we treat ourselves (and each other) like code.
As an aerial performer, instructor, and movement enthusiast, I have gleaned insight into injury, recovery, and developed an athletic level of body awareness, returning successfully to aerial arts after countless injuries including ripping all my hamstrings in my right leg, and breaking my back.
My talents as an artist and musician have gifted me with a unique, flexible appreciation of connection, healing, ritual, expression, and witness; as well as the universal truths that reside within each of us as meaning-making human beings. On the flip side, my experience as a performance director, 501(c)(3) non-profit founder, theatrical director, and sole proprietor have helped me stay balanced and focused in my intangible creative endeavors.
Enduring my struggles with substances, abusive relationships, risk-taking, depression, and suicidal ideation has shown me that a setback or episode is often an indication of a massive breakthrough on the horizon. A breakdown can signal that I am threatening to grow beyond my current capacity to even imagine myself. A relapse might mean I am tapping into a place of profound knowing that threatens the status quo of my core identity, setting off my most desperate and primal coping mechanisms. It is from this well of experience that I so unwaveringly believe in the capacity of my clients to heal, not only physiologically in their tissues, but spiritually and emotionally in their minds and hearts.
I’m also pleased to mention that having maneuvered an often tumultuous on again off again relationship with substance since 1988, I am clean and sober for keeps as of just a few weeks after my 40th birthday. The dance was long, complex, and often enjoyable; but 30 years was long enough.
If you’re still reading this, I think you know as well as I know that somatic wisdom deeply shapes the manner in which you experience your life, whether one is actively listening to it or not. If you know this, you also understand that as such we can only get so far coping by intellectualizing in the mind, churning and thinking and philosophizing without doing the profound work of (re)learning how to actually hear yourself.
I leverage everything you’ve read about here and more to offer creative real-world solutions and tools to enable you to find your unique balance, and continue to do, discover, or even return to, the things that you love.
I am a facilitator, orchestrator, and dedicated accomplice with an authentic personality, a bit of a potty mouth, soft strong hands, and an unwavering belief in your human ability to heal, self connect, and grow.
Moments when we decide to stop putting up with our own bullshit, and choose to try something different ,are sacred opportunities. Even just one session, like that massage I got at Gene Jaurez nearly twenty years ago, has the potential to profoundly alter your life. My practice exists for those turning points, because of one.
Maybe a turning point is here for you right now, and maybe your crossroads leads to my studio. Regardless, whatever it is you’re working through, and towards, I trust in your path and your process, and I know that you can do it.