Originally from New York, I've lived in Corvallis for the past 13 years with my life partner, Winston McCullough. Together we are raising our 3 vibrant and active teenagers. One of our goals as parents is to create balance and harmony in our family life while nurturing individual passions and interests.
A graduate of the Oregon School of Massage, I received my massage license in December of 2013. Thankfully, my training included reminders of how to stay safe and grounded in our bodies as we give to others throughout our day: "Allow your knees to bend slightly and softly, feel the bottoms of your feet connected to the earth, bring your rib cage directly over your pelvis, let the weight of your pelvis be anchor and guide, lift upwards from the crown of your head as let your shoulders drop down away from your ears, etc.."
It is challenging to be aware of our bodies' position in space, to notice how or if we are breathing, connect with others mindfully, and do things all at the same time. Yet....
There is great relief and comfort in living an embodied existence. Coming home to well-being, a grounded, and centered place inside one self is incomplete, maybe impossible, without nurturing a compassionate connection with our physical bodies. Often, we look for safety and love outside of our bodies, while remaining emotionally detached or disassociated from them, due to trauma, habit, or lack of awareness. With regular practice and daily self-care, we can learn to trust and appreciate coming home to ourselves, cultivating safe places within.
My intention with massage is to help clients connect more deeply and lovingly with their own bodies through the medium of therapeutic touch, in some cases including dance meditation.
Meditative movement is another way we can consciously choose to be more fully present in our bodies, with love and compassion.
How I Became Enamored with Embodiment
The Venettes Cultural Workshop, based in Wyandanch, New York, accepted me into their program when I was 13 years old. The first formal dance classes of my life began here. The director at the time, Mary Baird, teasingly called me the "token white child." I was in awe of her powerful presence and sharply focused intelligence, and remember trying to anticipate what she might say or do at any given moment. I am realizing now that Mary Baird demonstrated daily what it's like to be fully present in our body, unabashedly connected to one's genuine thoughts, emotions, and sources of creativity, and to fearlessly speak truth out loud. Empowering, enlivening, and most importantly, 100% authentic.
At the age of 17, I continued to study modern, ballet, and African dance, first at SUNY Purchase and then SUNY Brockport. At Brockport, I enjoyed performing in a traveling troupe called "Sankofa." After my college experiences, unexpected mystical encounters with Sufism introduced dance as both a spiritual path and a healing art form. My pursuit of standard modern and ballet dance technique was abandoned as I pursued an inner intuitive approach.
Twenty years later I continue to practice Sufi inspired Dancemeditation regularly and take time for retreats every year. Dunya Dianne McPherson (http://www.dancemeditation.org/dunya-mcpherson/) and Paula Byrne (http://www.PaulaByrneMusic.com) are my two biggest inspirations in the world of spiritual and transformative movement and meditation. (Paula is also an amazing jazz singer, taught by the famous Greta Matassa. Check out her website for info on her music gigs!)
Why I Am Drawn to Healing Work
Massage is a natural instinct to give kindness in the form of touch. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual stress or injury all deserve our compassionate attention and mindful intention. Dancing from the inside out ultimately led me to the desire to reach beyond my own body and offer healing to others. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go back to school as a mature adult, studying the healing art of massage, and feel privileged to be a part of this profession. I have a practice space in downtown Corvallis and also a home office in the beautiful and quiet Soap Creek valley.
There are many wonderful places throughout town where you may find the McCullough family pursuing their passions, or appreciating the passions of others. Included are Live Well Yoga, Donna Blatt-Ervin's Modern Dance, OSU Rugby, Farmer's Market, the public library, OSU campus and research forests,1st Pres Sunday jazz, Planet Boogie, and Ecstatic Dance, http://www.ecstaticdancecorvallis.com/, the Majestic and historic Whiteside Theatre, the Darkside Cinema, Sky High Brewery, Bombs Away Cafe, and many more, not to mention special outings to Portland, the coast, and the gorgeous rivers and lakes of the high Cascades. Breitenbush Hotsprings Retreat Center is my personal favorite! The McCulloughs are all grateful for the abundance the heart of the valley generously provides.