SUSAN


Photographing a young cormorant on Anna Maria Island, Florida 

Wakeful, curious wonder is the cat in my life-enthusiast hat.

I'm a walker, observer, and bird-watcher with a remarkable job—I listen as people process personal difficulty using open-ended questions. I call that work Wonder Anew. It's inspired by the writings and teachings of Pema Chodron, Viktor Frankl, Thich Nhat Hanh, Khenpo KungaYongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Mary OliverTim Olmsted, Maria PopovaFred Rogers, and Carl Rogers.

I've been a listener and teacher most of my life. I've taught most ages from preschool through adult as a Montessori, parent, and art museum educator. I call my vocation empathetic listening. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I've twirled baton, tatted, played classical piano, and learned to loom weave. I created a project to practice.

My teaching practice is best described as subordinating teaching to learning, something I learned from Caleb Gattegno while studying with teacher and friend Janice Mattina at Center Montessori School. Gattegno said that a teacher's role is to engender acts of awareness in students, as it is awareness that is educable.

In 2000 I co-founded with a neighbor a neighborhood conservation group (Adena Brook Community) inspired by Margaret Wheatley's caring conversation principles. With others, I worked regularly for eight years to learn about and transform a ravine ecosystem declared lost by a state conservationist to its native habitat. I recommend trying this.

I am grateful for being part of social justice-mindedcommunity-collaborative museum education programs, gallery installations, and volunteer conservation work experiences.

An event that has been my greatest teacher is the unexpected death of my son. I learned to use the power of grief to build and dedicate to him rain, butterfly, and organic vegetable gardens.  

The love and listener of my life is Terry Barrett
My heart melts when I'm part of conversations he fosters with groups of people using contemporary art to better understand the human condition. I'm moved by what happens when people talk and listen from their hearts about what they see, think, and feel. 



I count being a mom and stepmom, and a grandma to nine fun, kind, energetic, alert super beings as the best thing that's ever happened to me. I write whimsical books for them.






I like to read books out loud with others and have conversations about the parts that grab our mind and heart.

I choose to love, not fight, the incurable cancer that visited my body. Amazing at it seems, this illness woke me up to living life in an immeasurably beneficial way. Oh, and call it a meditation miracle, but I think I am cured. 

I think my meditation practice is the kindest, most affectionate and informing something-to-do when I flip out. 


I'm inquisitive and curious about my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I use questions to begin to ponder my experiences.

I aspire to recognize and harvest adversity and its subsequent bundle of uncomfortable emotions with warmth and tenderness because I think it's the best chance at true love and peace.