"One of the most intensely beautiful and powerful events I have ever experienced.
Lara has a true gift for bringing people together in peace, love and unity."
I’m the granddaughter of Soviet German immigrants, and of British and Irish settlers to so-called Canada. I’m a queer femme with big feelings, a therapist, teacher, and bodyworker who practices at the intersection of embodied healing and liberation. I found somatics after a decade of activism and work in the community health sector, and felt called to train in this work so I could fill the need for practitioners who understand collective and intergenerational trauma as inseparable from all the other work we do towards healing and liberation. I also experienced the profound impacts of somatic healing in my own life, and wanted to bring this work to my communities.
My trauma. In Trauma & Recovery, Judith Herman states that through shaming and silencing, victims of trauma are often re-traumatized when they dare to tell their stories. On the other hand, chronic suppression of terror can cause dissociation, freezing of the full personality, disconnection, constant low-grade depression, or more profound depression.
Herman learned that recovery from trauma could happen - but with one condition: The traumatized individual must be able to enter a recovery zone. Many are so flattened by shock; they end their lives. Others endure severe physical complications that stall recovery. Another essential condition is remembrance and mourning. Telling the trauma to someone who cares, believes the speaker, and understands that the blood-red threads of grief take time to weave into the tartan of a revised life. Concealing trauma keeps it alive and fermenting within, a psychosis waiting to be triggered. When ready, each survivor tells in a preferred way, some by writing, others through activism, song, or art. The third imperative to recovery is that traumatized individuals connect with like-minded others for comfort and encouragement.
Human beings naturally recoil from pain of any kind and cautiously emphasizes the importance of community in healing traumatic grief.
My approach is rooted in a deep trust that with the right conditions, our bodies will innately move towards connection, wholeness, and liberation. All of my work is guided by a commitment to dignity for all bodies. No one owns the concept of somatics; this work has wide and diverse origins and stems from a belief that the wisdom of our bodies is our birthright. Connection to our ancestral practices can be a powerful resource to guide us in this work. We all come from people who at one time, belonged to life affirming, animistic, embodied cultures and communities
I hold practice spaces, courses, and workshops. This space is anchored by The wildbody Circle - a membership based community of practice that you can learn more about here. In this space you’ll find offerings that integrate trauma-informed embodiment practices lead by me and guest teachers that include movement, experiential anatomy, and somatic awareness. Practices are shaped by collective care, mutual liberation, and centred accountability and are informed by neuroscience, embryology, somatic psychology and ancestral wisdom.
Storm - What you can’t see in this photo of Bo (the most handsome mule-person ever) is how hard it is for him to trust human-people. He was abused and neglected for the first seven(ish) years of his life. When I met him it took months to be able to approach him at all. It’s been almost four years since we met and we’re still building trust day by day. Now, he lets (dare I say likes) me (to) scratch and rub him. Sometimes. On his terms.
I’ve learned so much about attunement, consent,
embodiment and right-use-of-power from Mr. Bo. Oh, and, patience. Lots of patience. What I love most is the way he naturally calls me on my shit. If I’m not present and congruent with him, he’s not interested.
My ancestors carried out both acts of harm and resistance. Accounting for and cultivating relationship with ancestors is an ongoing part of my personal practice, and anchors me in this work.
I practice mutual aid through a mixture of sliding scale offerings, as well as redistributing a portion of my time and income to BIPOC lead healing initiatives. I prioritize donating to groups that are local, with whom I have relationships, and can offer recurring or consistent funds. I strive to offer a wide range of ways to engage through my offerings and fee structures.
I don't adhere to a single discipline or methodology; I practice an integrative approach to embodiment. My practice integrates studies in: generative somatics, Biodyamic Craniosacral Therapy, Focusing & NeuroAffective Touch.
Prior to colonization, all of our ancestors had ways of connecting with their bodies that were embedded in daily life. Within our current conditions many of us have lost touch with our bodies and find that somatics offers a much needed pathway to reconnection. Contemporary somatics has stripped much of the cultural and spiritual aspects of embodiment, emphasizes clinical applications, and in many cases - fails to acknowledge the origins of these practices in BIPOC cultural + spiritual traditions. I am committed to ongoing learning, accountability and repair around the colonization of embodied wisdom traditions. As we work to heal the divide of mind/body we must also acknowledge the systems that created such a divide, including how they manifest in healing and embodiment practices today. Embodiment and disembodiment are always inherently cultural and political.
I am also deeply influenced by time spent with the forest and ocean, and my 15+ years in racial and healing justice movements. (https://wildbody.ca/lineages)
this is time when I get to sit with you and listen for the histories that are showing up in your life, the places where deeply held beliefs that are older than insight are getting in your way, and support you to be right there, smack dab in the middle of your own life.
On separate pages, I list the work I do as part of collective projects. Specifically, work on transforming the Medical Industrial Complex through the Healing Histories Project and local work on building/supporting deep community interdependence for collective safety and wellness with REP.
On this page, I list group work I do on my own. I have done and do a range of facilitation or conflict support or cultural change work with groups of people, sometimes alone and sometimes in partnership with others. Some of the things you might ask me to do include:
Bringing a healing justice lens into your work. I have done this with small and mid-sized change organizations who want to sort through if and how they can make their work sustainable and if and how they can work against trauma retriggering for their people. I can do this by myself but prefer to partner. I have a number of people I partner with in this work.
Racial justice, economic justice, healing justice and…. I have organized curriculum and held workshops for birth workers, acupuncturists and massage therapists focused on weaving a radical justice or collective nervous system lens into their practices. I am deeply interested in doing this, and would love the opportunity to do this work, alone or in partnership, with chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths, and other traditionally white-dominated and professionalized healing practice communities. If you are curious what I mean, contact me.
The medical industrial complex and its connection to health and healing. I do this work with Cara Page and Anjali Taneja. This blog post talks more about the work. We expect to release the timeline in 2020 as an open source document, including a curriculum for people to work with the material.
Doing work on death and dying. I have been apprenticing for a few years with death doulas and death midwives. I have co-led and can hold cross-generational or kin groups wanting to listen and share about all of our eventual dying.
Offering specific somatic-based workshops on things like solidarity bodies, working with the body’s developmental stages to understand leadership and group styles, and more. I have often been brought in to places that want to think or vision or strategize together or build trust or deepen relationships.
Some of the organizations I’ve recently worked with include Voices for Racial Justice, Nexus Community Partners, Headwaters Foundation, Heart of the Beast Theater, Astraea Foundation, Family Tree, aMaze, Pollen, Avenues for Homeless Youth, and Hennepin County.
I trust that if we can allow ourselves to be tempered and shaped by the difficult initiations in our lives, we will discover many hidden blessings and unexpected gifts along the way.
(I have been facilitating journeys of healing and transformation with individuals, couples, groups, and communities for over a decade, weaving spiritual perspectives, healing modalities, and ritual practices which are rooted in radical compassion and deep belonging. My aim is to foster, cultivate, and nurture greater courage, compassion, curiosity, and connection within ourselves, between each other, and with the more-than-human world. My work is trauma-aware, somatic-focused, and earth-honoring, and draws from a range of modalities including parts work and inner mediation processes, trauma release and resolution, sacred grief work, earth-honoring ceremony and the expressive and creative arts.
I live simply and close to the land. I am the guardian of four equines; Storm, a formerly wild BLM captured mustang rescued from abuse and neglect, Saoirse (SEER-sha), a formerly wild BLM captured burro, Satya a BLM burro born in captivity, and Saguaro a domestic donkey rescued from severe neglect.)
If you are not part of my local community, I ask you to make an offering for my time. Actually, let me be concrete: I ask you to pay me something. If we lived in a right relationship world and you and your people were not known to me, you would come bearing gifts or offerings with the awareness that you are asking me to turn my attention away from my local to support someone I might not ever see again. I might do the same for you. There would be protocol, something more grounded than the ease of finding a person through the internet. And so, if you are not local to me, feel free to ask and, if scheduling allows, we can set something up. I just ask that you pay me for that time. If you are indigenous, I am honored to be met in traditional ways. If you are not, I ask you to pay me with money.
The Real truth is
My "personal" journey has been way more valuable in helping others than any training or education I have received. As a youth, I fell off a 150 ft cliff and lived, turned my minister father in for sexual abuse, and spent my teen years in foster care before emancipating myself at 17. This catapulted me into resilience and hunger so deep for emotional intelligence and what it takes to recover one's true nature. I had difficulty finding that in 1.5-hour sessions in psychology offices or in a culture that did not teach me how to grieve.
I began to travel the world and have deep interfaces with hundreds of cultures, indigenous and modern. I have facilitated hundreds of women in various settings to honor and evoke their magnificence. For many years, I have sat on my knees all night long in sacred ceremonies on native lands and ritualized with native people for over 35 years.
I have guided Mt Shasta as a solo female mountaineering guide before birthing three magnificent children, one of whom I buried after three years of loving him. I was married for 20 years, experienced divorce, stood solo as my own council, and gained sole custody of my children. That experience resulted in me owning my own home and a highly successful business. I have homeschooled, and I homesteaded.
Throughout all of these life experiences, I have held a few belief systems in place that have assisted me beyond measure. One of them I will share is that we all have an intrinsic ability to walk through life’s most challenging times. We know how to grieve, feel pain, be profoundly human, and live life on life’s terms. Yet, sometimes we get stuck and need help—guidance, mentorship, direction.
“Those who undertake the full journey into their grief come back carrying medicine for the world.”