MICHELLE KATZ, MA, QMHP, RYT
Director, Counselor, Rites of Passage Facilitator
Live your questions now and perhaps without even knowing it you will live along some distant day into your answers.-Rilke
Michelle lives life in the question of “How is this a ceremony?” or “How can this become a ceremony?” Her passion for this work began with her first vision quest, as she marked her movement into adulthood and faced the challenges of stepping into being an initiated adult. The experience opened her up to connecting more deeply with herself and the world around her. It is in this practice, she become awake to the lineage that moves behind and beyond her; and that she came awake to her gifts and place in community. She not only has a passion but a calling to this work. Having facilitated various experiences of rites of passage and counseling for youth, adults, and families of a variety of backgrounds and circumstance, she brings a knowing that nature helps support us in seeing and accepting ourselves. The experience of rites of passage supports the becoming of a person. The opportunity to witness someone intentionally marking a change in their life and recognizing their own human nature and unique gift to this world is what Michelle wholeheartedly dedicates her life to.
Michelle is a trained therapist with a MA in Counseling, deeply interested in the process of severance, threshold, and incorporation. In her work, she integrates knowledge of human development, family systems, empathy, attachment and attunement as well as the use of body-centered therapy, art, and mindfulness. She brings a wealth of knowledge from Jungian psychology, Gestalt therapy, Wilderness guiding, Council practices, Yoga instruction and Linguistics. She is an enthusiastic learner in her commitment to always growing into the role of Guide. She marries experiential transformation process with deep listening, patience, and trust in her participants.
Sara McFarlane, MA, LMHC
Counselor, Rites of PassaGe Facilitator
Sara is a deeply empathic partner in the process of healing and transformation. She has a Master's degree in Art Therapy and Counseling, with a foundation in Expressive Art Therapy, and extensive training in Eco-Psychology, which encompasses various traditional ceremonies and teachings, including Vision Quest, Lakota Pipe Ceremonies, and Peruvian Shamanistic Journeying. Sara's soul purpose is to stand beside others as they reconnect with the truth of themselves, the truth of life, which can be uncovered in our collective and personal creativity, as well as in connection with our natural world.
Sara works with people recovering from process and substance addictions, deepening her awareness of the impact of our current culture's disconnect from each other, from the earth, and most importantly, from themselves. Sara also works with those dealing with various mental health issues, and believes the current system for treating these issues is deeply flawed, and is continually reimagining a more holistic and effective approach.
Sara's personal journey of healing and re-connection includes yoga, African and Haitian dance, art, music, gardening, cooking, meditation, ritual, ceremony, spending as much time outside as possible, and mothering her young daughter.
Dharma/Meditation Practitioner, Facilitator, Mentor
Eric is a recovered drug addict and alcoholic who has, since the beginning of his own recovery over eight years ago, dedicated himself to helping others to move in the direction of increasing freedom from the things that keep us stuck in cycles of suffering. Eric is in his fourth year of studies and practice in the Committed (Dharma) Students Program at Mountain Stream Meditation Center in Nevada City, Ca, and is in his sixth year as a student of his Dharma/Meditation teachers John Travis and Heather Sundberg. Eric has also completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program with a special focus on the use of Yoga for Trauma Recovery under Skyler Myers (RYT500).
In addition to his formal studies and practice, Eric has found that times of stillness, silence, and mindful observation in nature has been invaluable in his own ongoing work of unraveling the knot of the small, separate, conditioned self, and uncovering the inherent truth of Awareness, or that which is our True Nature. Eric frequently takes solo trips into the back country of the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, not so much to ‘get away from it all’, but to go within and experience more deeply the truth of our interconnected and interdependent nature of our relationship with the natural world.
Eric sees all of Life and all of Nature as an immense classroom full of amazing teachers. He is dedicated to remaining an eager student with 'beginners mind’, and to pass along what he finds on this journey of uncovering True Nature. Known for his passion and commitment to walking the Path of Awakening, Eric works with groups and individuals seeking to cultivate an increasing realization of freedom and sense of purpose in their life in a number of various settings including recovery homes/rehabs, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, as well as in whatever aspect of society someone finds themselves when they start to ask the bigger questions and reach out.
Founder of Rites of Awareness, Facilitator
Nicole founded Rites of Awareness to re-sacrilize the human experience and reconstruct man’s relationship with the planet. Nicole participated in her first Rite of Passage at age 14 and since has been awed by personal transformation through connecting with one’s truth. Nicole received her BA in Psychology, focusing on transpersonal psychology, dreams, intuition, omens, and developing psychic awareness. Trained as a Vision Fast Guide with The School of Lost Borders she is a compassionate listener, truth seeker, and brings much passion, intensity and humor to her work. As midwife and mirror to ceremony, Nicole provides the space for those willing to go within, an opportunity to know themselves and share their gifts with their global community. Ritesofawareness.com
Oscar C. Pérez PhD
Grief and Rites of Passage Facilitator
Oscar C. Pérez PhD is a strategic intervention coach, consultant, and cultural advisor. For the past twelve years he has dedicated himself to studying the healing capacity of storytelling in emotional, social, and psychological contexts. He has focused cross-cultural wisdom from around the world for workshops and diversity trainings at Brown University, Harvard University, various public and private educational institutions and non-profit organizations. He was the Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives at Brown University’s Center for Students of Color in 2011 prior to becoming faculty advisor for Harvard University’s Latino Men’s Collective. He is currently a consultant and board member for the Eastern Education Resource Collaborative, the Tsi Akim Maidu Tribal Non-Profit Organization, and The Voices of Angels Foundation. He holds a PhD from Brown University where he researched cross-cultural approaches to identity development through the art of storytelling.