A Bit About Me
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About Pamela - The Technical Stuff!
Undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta
Master's Degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville Univeristy, New Brunswick
18 years of teaching yoga in Central Alberta with a focus on psychological aspects and the embodiment of mental health essentials. Facilitator of Trauma Informed Yoga.
Facilitation of multiple retreats and workshops on self awareness, yoga, the enneagram and other topics in transpersonal psychology.
25 years working in the human services fields including running various programs such as adult literacy and family violence.
10 years as a Registered Psychologist both at a community mental health clinic as well as in a busy private practice in Camrose, Alberta.
Sessional Professor at Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, developed a senior level course in Mindfulness.
Influenced by a multitude of sources giving my approach a very multidimensional feel. Primary influences have been Carl Jung, Gurdjieff and the 4th Way/Enneagram tradition, multiple Eastern and Western philosophical traditions including mysticism, the Yoga Sutras, my primary yoga teachers with a somatic emphasis Dawn Kilarski and Sandra Sammartino, my teacher in transpersonal psychology Thomas Atum O'Kane, Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, Focusing technique and much more.
Equally influenced by informal learning as formal, the many conversations with a multitude of teachers, friends and fellow travellers has been a constant source of sustenance and learning throughout my life.
The Fun Stuff!
As far back as I can remember I’ve had a penchant for questioning. I had a felt sense early on that there is more than the daily, external fodder we entertain so readily. And despite growing up in a loving home it seemed clear to me early on that suffering was part of the package of life. The combination of these two forces – suffering and a call to questioning – have fuelled an ongoing and passionate quest for greater intimacy with the Great Mystery of life.
I tried to be a normal kid, but often felt more comfortable with my inner musings than the antics of the social world. I loved to contemplate questions about God, the universe, death and the meaning of life with anyone who would listen. I would write poems about my inner life. Around the age of 12 I became fond of watching sunsets and would watch them so long that I would forget myself and come to experience what I now know as Samadhi. A state of non-identity where my separate sense of self would dissolve and there would only be sunset. I was it and it was me.
I have had a multitude of other such experiences since that time which has informed my knowing that there is "more" to daily life than what is immediately obvious. My entire path through various traditions and experiences has been informed by desire to know "The More" with greater intimacy.
In young adulthood I attended university at Augustana University College – a Liberal Arts institution where life finally started to make sense. I questioned my socialisation and the and the nature of the “good life” feverishly and felt a belonging there I had never felt before. I majored in Sociology which, at the time at Augustana, had a particularly philosophical bent, which I supplemented with a minor in psychology and philosophy. During this time I also began working in the human services field and have never left. Over the course of the last 20 years I have worked with children, adults, elderly in many capacities, I have worked in the field of family violence, literacy and mental health as front line staff and program directors.
My tendency toward social activism and human services became more focused after having my first and only child in 2009. In her second year I began a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University and am now registered as a Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. It has been in this way that I have been able to turn social activism into transformation of lives one at a time. I am humbled by the constant desire for people to live and love, despite trauma and despair, and this is one of my greatest inspirations.
And then there was yoga. No matter what fluctuated in my life, there was yoga. No matter what trauma or exultation – there was yoga. My primary teacher, Dawn Kilarski, was not a celebrity, she had no Facebook posse, nor Instagram fame. She retired a few years back, from teaching yoga, and leaves a legacy of depth, embodiment, spirituality and enchantment in her wake. She is a tiny woman with a giant capacity for God. I am eternally grateful for her influence and consider myself very fortunate to have found her at 22 years old and became ushered into deeper conversation with my inward path through her. I have had many other influences that have affected me in much the same ways.
In addition to Dawn I have studied yoga at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga with Baba Hari Dass, Richard Miller, Mary Jo Fetterly, David McAmmond and most extensively with Sandra Sammartino whose emphasis on the emotional body has been a huge influence in my life.
Early in my university I was introduced to the Enneagram which alongside yoga is one of the most profound and intricate models of spirituality I’ve come cross in all my explorations. I have studied it for years with Dawn Kilarski and Barry Vall and their teachers Carol Ann Walsh and David Gotch of Inscapes, located in Winnipeg. I have taught introductions as well as advanced workshops in this system and it constantly informs my yoga practice and teaching as well as my interactions with psychotherapy clients.
Ultimately, my greatest teachers have always been my own experiences of life and others. My own suffering through major health challenges and multiple dysfunctional relationships has provided significant fodder with which to put all of my psychological, spiritual and body centered training to work on healing. My thirties were a time of tumult and suffering on many fronts but I made it with the help of the modalities I now share with not only an understanding of their healing power but a lived experience of it. Alongside each of these difficult experiences were the people. My daughter who has taught me more than anyone, my family whose love is constant and my friends who seem to be to be an ongoing "Conversation" replete with humour, the deepest of contemplations and ongoing experiences we have together.
At this point I am threading all that I have learned from others and my own inner world to offer practices that penetrate to the core of what I believe to be our biggest obstacle to spiritual realisation: our understandable inability to stay present through the muck and wonder of our emotional worlds, long enough and intimately enough to pass through and sink into self, soul and Source.