The long version . . .
Melissa grew up so Catholic that her very first job was working in a convent. The quiet contemplation and the hundreds of hours she spent wandering the convent started a conversation that continues today. “What next?” Her journey began.
She graduated from University of Missouri with a degree in Education and set out to learn from the best and teach from her heart. Life took her to Chicago to study improv at Second City, then launched her career in corporate training. Melissa was one of the
original “Enter-trainers” For 15 years she put on her suit and big girl shoes and did what she does best…took something complex and break it down into understandable bites while keeping the corporate suits engaged and off their phones.
Every minute of the teaching Melissa did it like the Hokey Pokey…she put her whole self in.
She devoured books on spirituality, mindfulness, meditation, and anything to put some sense around a complex world. Trips to a commune, float tanks, and late nights holed up at pancake houses debating the meaning of life with smart people fueled her quest to answer that same question, “What next?”
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. In 1997, Melissa met her first spiritual teacher, Sonia Choquette. Sonia’s work helped Melissa decode that living a spiritual life and a regular life are the same. She didn’t have to put down one to pick up the other. In 2014, Melissa went on to learn the mechanics of teaching meditation with davidji of the Chopra Center. She was ready to turn the cushion around and begin teaching. Melissa finds the best in each student and builds on it. She asks only that her students to place their perceived limitations on the side of the road and take the ride with her. And have a little fun. Opening Meditation for Regular People brought her dream of World Domination Through Meditation to life
She’s learned lessons sitting live with many master teachers. Ram Dass invited her to create a life where bliss is greater than pain. Sharon Salzberg introduced her to softness. David Nichtern invited her to bring humor to genius. Krishna Das taught her that if we have an object of meditation, then we know when we have wandered away. Wayne Dyer inspired her open her heart to forgiveness. Don Miguel Ruis brought The Four Agreements to life before her eyes. Ethan Nichtern inspired her to slow down.
Rameshwar Das taught her that the teacher doesn’t just strike the bell, she sets the tone. So many more teachers lit her way and she is grateful for and humbled by each lesson.
She also studies and reads the teachings of top mystics, thinkers, and scientists. A few of her favorites are Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hann, Malcolm Gladwell, John Kabat- Zinn, Daniel Goleman, Sam Harris, Eckart Tolle, Bryon Katie, and the list grows as Melissa grows.
Right now she’s knee deep studying with Miles Neal and on her walks to the studio her headphones are blasting podcasts by Zach Leary, Matt Belair, Corey Allen, and anyone under 40 that is extending the limits of spiritual discovery.
Great Thinkers + Cutting Edge Brain Science + Pop Culture + Self-Compassion = A class with Melissa.
When she’s not teaching at her studio, you’ll find Melissa on her front porch in Portland, OR with at least 2 cats, 3 highlighters, 4 books, 2 devices, her husband and two daughters.