Faculty

Alicia AllenAlicia Allen

Santa Fe, NM

Alicia has been practicing and studying meditation for over 30 years. Her practice and teaching have been most strongly influenced by her longtime studies of Dzogchen meditation. She currently teaches meditation to individuals and groups in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also teaches in the Grief, Loss and Trauma program at Southwestern College. A former editor of Shaman’s Drum Magazine, Alicia was trained in a number of traditional and contemporary healing methods. A lifelong artist, she began her creative studies at an early age, and continues to teach and perform the improvisational arts of movement, physical theater, and vocal music. She paints and writes, and is currently writing a book on Meditation and Creativity.

Grove T. Burnett, Guiding Teacher

Santa Fe, NM

Grove is a nationally known meditation teacher and trainer in the practice of mindfulness. He is founder and Guiding Teacher of the Vallecitos Mountain Ranch and has practiced meditation for over 25 years. He trained with internationally renowned meditation teacher Jack Kornfield at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He has taught mindfulness trainings for the Yale Law School, lawyers and judges, and many nonprofit organizations. Grove has had a distinguished career as an environmental lawyer and is co-founder of the Western Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit environmental law firm. He has been named six times to The Best Lawyers in America which lists the top 1% of the nation’s lawyers. He has lived in Santa Fe since 1972.

Mark ColemanMark Coleman, MA

Mill Valley, CA

Mark is a psychotherapist, coach, and mindfulness consultant, has taught mindfulness meditation retreats internationally since 1997. He is a meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and teaches regularly with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg in the vipassana (insight meditation) tradition. Coleman leads wilderness meditation retreats from Alaska to Peru and is author of Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path to Self-Discovery. www.awakeinthewild.com

Suhita DharmaVenerable Suhita Dharma

Juarez, Mexico

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Ven. Suhita Dharma on December 28, 2013.  He has come to Vallecitos for many years teaching our annual People of Color retreat with Mushim Ikeda-Nash.  He loved Vallecitos deeply and always brought a gentle and powerful presence to the ranch and the yogis.  We will miss him dearly.  

Ven. Suhita Dharma, Mahathero (called “Bhante” by his students), is a well-known senior Buddhist bhikkhu ordained in the three Buddhist lineages: Mahayana, Theravada, and Varjayana. He is the first African American to be ordained a Buddhist monk; he was ordained by the late Ven. Thich Thien An, the first Vietnamese Buddhist master to come to Los Angeles. Bhante has been traveling to Mexico recently on a pilgrimage to pay respects to the ancient deities of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, praying to ask permission for the establishment of a Buddhist center in Mexico at the request of the Mayans, Yaquis, Tarahumaras, Pimas, and Aztecs and to meet with the chief shamans in those traditions. A longtime social justice activist and social worker, Bhante began working with Indo-Chinese refugees entering the U.S. in 1975 and has since worked with homeless persons, people with HIV-AIDS, and ex-offenders. Bhante teaches compassion meditation for everyday life and practice for those who are working with people in different communities, emphasizing a one-one-one approach as well as introducing students to the practice of the Kalyanamitta (spiritual friend) and helping those who are within the sea of samsaric suffering.

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Anne Cushman

Fairfax, CA

As a writer and teacher, Anne Cushman explores the intersection between spiritual practice and the down-to-earth details of embodied human life. She is the co-director of the Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the author of the novel Enlightenment for Idiots; the spiritual India travel guide From Here to Nirvana; and the forthcoming Moving Into Meditation, a mindfulness course for yoga practitioners. Her essays on spiritual practice and daily life have been widely published in venues ranging from the New York Times to the Shambhala Sun. A practitioner of both Buddhist meditation and yoga since the early 80s, she is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader program and the co-founder of AwakeningAsWomen, an online women’s yoga and meditation sangha.

Christopher Germer, PhD

Boston, MA

Chris is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, specializing in mindfulness and acceptance-based psychotherapy. He is a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. Dr. Germer lectures and conducts workshops internationally on the art and science of mindful self-compassion.

Natalie Goldberg

Santa Fe, NM

Natalie is the author of ten books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has sold over one million copies and had been translated into twelve languages. She has also written the beloved Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America, a memoir about her Zen teacher.

Joseph GoldsteinJoseph Goldstein

Barre, MA

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the resident guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. He is currently developing The Forest Refuge, a new center for long-term meditation practice.

Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course. His new book is One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism.

Trudy GoodmanTrudy Goodman

Los Angeles, CA

Trudy Goodman is the Founder of InsightLA, a non-profit offering Vipassana (Insight) meditation courses, sitting groups and retreats. InsightLA also provides compassion-based mindfulness education and trainings for Children’s Hospitals, the VA Hospital and other community service organizations. Trudy teaches around the country with Jack Kornfield, Wes Nisker and others, and worldwide. She co-founded and is the Guiding Teacher for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Cambridge, MA.

Steven HarperSteven Harper

Big Sur, CA

Steven is a wilderness guide, author, consultant, and artist. He has led both traditional and experimental wilderness expeditions and workshops internationally for over 30 years. A frequent long-time leader at Esalen Institute he has an MA in psychology and his work focuses on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening. Visit www.stevenkharper.com.

Mushim Ikeda NashMushim Ikeda

Oakland, CA

Mushim Ikeda is a meditation teacher, community peace activist, writer, diversity facilitator, and mother of a 20-year-old son. She has done both monastic and lay Zen Buddhist practice over the past twenty years, in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and S. Korea. A consulting editor to Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism, she also contributes a quarterly column on family life and Buddhist practice, and her poetry and essays have been published widely in journals and anthologies such as the Shambhala Sun and Innovative Buddhist Women: Swimming Against the Stream. Mushim was coeditor of Making the Invisible Visible: Healing Racism in Our Buddhist Communities. She is former chair of the San Francisco Zen Center Board Committee on Diversity and Multiculturalism and she has served on the boards of San Francisco Zen Center and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Mushim’s work has been featured in two documentary films, Between the Lines: Asian American Women Poets and Acting on Faith: Women and the New Religious Activism in America, a recent documentary presenting portraits of three women activists of minority faiths in the U.S. She lives in Oakland, California with her family, and volunteers as a literacy teacher in the Oakland public high school her son attends.

Wendy Johnson

Muir Beach, CA

Wendy has been practicing Zen meditation since 1972 and is ordained as a lay Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh and received Lay Dharma Entrustment from Abbess Linda Cutts of the San Francisco Zen Center. Wendy is one of the founders of the Organic Farm and Garden program at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate. Wendy serves as a mentor in Bay Area, California, school gardening programs, including The Edible Schoolyard, and leads environmental retreats nationwide.

Brian LeSage

Flagstaff, AZ

Brian has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada, and Tibetan schools and was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996.  His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S.  He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide.  Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.

Joanna Macy

Berkeley, CA

Author, teacher, and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is known the world over for her workshops for social and environmental activists. Her books include World As Lover, World As Self and most recently, with co-author Chris Johnstone, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy. http://www.joannamacy.net/

Michele McDonald

Barre, MA

Michele co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 with Steven Smith. She has taught Insight meditation for over twenty-five years, teaches extensively throughout the United States, in Canada, Burma, and various locations around the world. Michele has been a quiet pioneer having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma, side-by-side with a senior monastic figure, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. Having worked with a wide range of Asian and Western teachers, Michele is most inspired by her practice with Dipa Ma and Sayadaw U Pandita and more recently in Burma with the Mya Taung Sayadaw. She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed teaching three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for youth. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice.

Bill Morgan, PsyD

Boston, MA

Bill is a clinical psychologist who has been practicing meditation for over 35 years in both the Zen and Vipassana traditions. He has participated in more than four years of silent retreats, and once lived in a Trappist monastery for six months. He has a private practice in two Boston locations.

Susan Morgan, CNS

Boston, MA

Susan is a psychotherapist in private practice in Cambridge MA. She also consults with therapists who are interested in deepening therapeutic presence. Susan has co-led retreats for psychotherapists with Bill for the past 10 years, and is currently on a 2-year silent meditation retreat. Lovingkindness and body awareness are integral to her mindfulness teaching.

Wes NiskerWes Nisker

San Francisco, CA

Wes Nisker is a Buddhist meditation teacher, author, radio commentator, and performer. His books include Essential Crazy Wisdom; The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom; Buddha’s Nature; and his latest, Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! Mr. Nisker is also the founder and co-editor of the international Buddhist journal “Inquiring Mind.”

Mary PowellMary Powell

Santa Fe, NM

Mary has been a Vipassana practitioner for over 20 years.  During that time she did intensive retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. In the past couple of years she has done month long self retreats both at home and at a remote cabin in the mountains. Recently she completed the 2 ½ year Community Dharma Leader training through Sprit Rock Meditation Center. For many years she has taught the “Introduction to Meditation” class at the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha where she chairs the Education Committee.

Mary has always been interested in practicing in nature. She lived for 5 years in an off the grid cabin near Pecos, where she was first introduced to meditation.

Steven SmithSteven Smith

Honolulu, HI

Steve co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.

Dyanna Taylor

Santa Fe, NM

Dyanna Taylor, a director and veteran cinematographer, brings a uniquely personal angle for guiding this retreat.  After over 30 years, she still has a passion for the film business and a familiarity of the sacrifices it requires.

Combine this with her twenty-five year Buddhist practice, varied and powerful wilderness experiences and the desire to share the Vallecitos experience with other media makers and you find the inspiration for this retreat.

Her media experience includes: Academy Award winning Common Threads, an ABC special; Annapurna, on the first American women’s expedition in ‘78 to the Himalayas; her film Vanished!! an early HiDef expedition film in the canyons of Utah, on the disappearance of the young writer/adventurer Everett Ruess, and her current work-in-progress on James Turrell’s Roden Crater.  Her work as Director of Photography on hundreds of films, for clients in features, documentaries, and television garnered her the MUSE lifetime achievement award from New York Women in Film and Television, a Peabody Award and five Emmys.

Taylor, recently DP’d  a series of live dance films based on Jules Feiffer’s “Dancer” cartoon series, completed a year of filming for HBO on the upcoming 2012 series Weight of the Nation, directed a short film for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Intervals, and is starting production on her film, Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning. 

She has led previous media retreats, co-founded both the Cerrito Amarillo River Canyon Trust and Pecos River Open Spaces (both New Mexico land conservation organizations) and has had the privilege of living alone for a year in an off-the-grid cabin on the coast of Northern California.

Erin Treat, Guiding Teacher

Durango, CO

Erin lives in Durango, Colorado (just 3 hours from the ranch!) and has been actively practicing mindfulness and meditation for nearly 20 years and teaching since 2005. A graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Training, she is currently being trained by Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield and others to teach intensive retreats at Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society. She serves on the teaching council of the Durango Dharma Center and is a faculty member of the Vallecitos Mountain Ranch. She currently gives talks, leads classes, and teaches meditation retreats in the southwest and nationwide. She also teaches mindfulness trainings in a variety of secular settings, from the military to healthcare professionals. Erin maintains a private practice in which she offers a somatic, mindfulness-based approach to working with trauma and as a practicing body worker for 18 years. Erin loves the ranch and the land. “Vallecitos is my favorite place in the world to teach! What an incredible setting to support our deepest liberation.” We are thrilled about her expanded leadership role as Guiding Teacher at Vallecitos.

Don UsnerDon Usner

Santa Fe, NM

Don Usner is a writer, photographer and New Mexico native who focuses on natural and cultural history. His books include The Natural History of Big Sur, Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayo’s Old Plaza, and Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s Newest National Preserve. www.donusner.com

Susan Voorhees

Santa Fe, NM

Susan Voorhees, RYT (500) trained and taught yoga in the Iyengar style in the 1970′s in San Francisco Bay Area, and moved to Santa Fe, NM in 1981, where she has been teaching ever since. She has a slow pace, attention to alignment and uses props when they are available. Beginners are welcome.

Peter Williams

Boulder, CO

Peter is a psychotherapist and dharma leader. He has practiced meditation for many years in the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist traditions and has taught meditation for seven years. Peter is certified as a Community Dharma Leader by Jack Kornfield’s Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Peter leads retreats and classes out of Boulder, CO and loves teaching dharma in nature. Earlier in life, he worked for 18 years as a wildlife biologist and naturalist. http://truehomewithin.net/psych2/Home.html

Diana WinstonDiana Winston

Los Angeles, CA

Diana is the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) where she has taught and designed many mindfulness programs and trainings since 2006. She has been teaching mindfulness since 1993 and has brought mindful awareness into schools, hospitals, and nonprofits, as well as to health professionals, psychotherapists, adolescents, educators, and activists in the US and Asia. Diana is also a member of the teacher’s council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and the founder of the Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement. She is the author Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness (with Susan Smalley, PhD) and Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens. Diana spent a year as a Buddhist nun in Burma and has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1989.