MEET NICOLLE LAFLEUR
I am Nicolle LaFleur, a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher through the Awareness Training Institute and Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. I was trained at an early age to meditate in nature by my father who did not even know he was a great Zen Master! Inspired by many years of sitting in stillness among the trees in the Smoky Hills State Forest, I hope to bring that same peace and wellbeing to others through the practices and techniques I have found so incredibly helpful in my life.
I have practiced various forms of meditation over the past 30-40 years. My teachers come from all sorts of backgrounds, including Zen, Tibetan, and Theravada Buddhist traditions, as well as Unitarian-Universalist and Judeo-Christian practices. I have studied Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, dance and other movement meditations, which are often integrated into my coursework.
For over 30 years, I served in the fields of social services, teaching, and humanitarian aid. I witnessed immeasurable suffering and loss. Overtime, I was overwhelmed and completely taken over by the suffering I was trying to alleviate.
My ability to function and make a positive difference was waning.
When a string of medical crises hit our own family, my resilience crumbled. I kept up appearances of strength and resolve while internally I was frantic and frightened. The imbalance threw me into depression and extreme anxiety that haunted my days and nights for many years.
My refuge came in the form of a small and humble Zen meditation community, Stone Blossom Sangha, that helped me find my way out of darkness and reminded me of my personal strength in my own presence and acceptance. With the help of trained psychologists, using both Western and Buddhist psychology, and my “Sangha,” I have been able to investigate my lived experiences
and open my mind and heart to this life that is – just as it is.
My Vision: I aspire to reduce suffering for whoever chooses to listen, so much that it may ripple out to the people within their own circles, and beyond. I aspire to bring lasting comfort and peace of mind to parents of children with medical ailments; to bring calm and equanimity to humanitarian actors in the field; to inspire waves of love and compassion throughout the world, by anchoring in the foundations of community, loving-kindness, and a deep-rooted knowledge of the interconnectedness of all things.
May it be so.