Tressa Berman, Ph.D.
I come to this work of Transformational Creative Coaching as a result of my own transformations. After more than 25 years in academia, working for social change in arts and cultural institutions, non-profit organizations and communities, what I discovered is that people need support for this intensive creative work. We need informed support, guided support, and the kind of support that creates transformation from within – and that will allow us to manifest all that we work to create and share with the wider world. I know I did.
As I trained to be an anthropologist and museum professional, I found support in my professors and mentors and funders of course – but most of all, I learned and grew in my understandings of the world and of myself through the support of people who took me under their wing – sometimes in the shaded conversation of a gum tree in the central desert of Australia, sometimes on the hood of an old Dodge sedan in North Dakota while watching the northern lights dance down their magic. And sometimes in a phone call with a practiced listener who could help me to hear my own inner callings more deeply. From these experiences, I ultimately stepped outside of traditional career tracks, grateful for the many rewards and recognitions I receive for my academic work and writing, to study with Zen masters, Buddhist Bhikkunis, and traditional Indigenous healers. These teachings, and especially the mindfulness-based practices of attention, awareness and action inform my very approach to working in support of others. My work is driven by the belief, based on my experience, that we do not accomplish our deeds or our goals alone, even if it feels that way at times. The work is not easy, and as is sometimes said, not for the faint of heart. Luckily, I also believe that working to make the world a more beautiful, conscious, and awake place takes a radical heart-centered vision that makes us stronger. I try to balance the out-put of teaching, writing, and co-curating projects with others with valuable retreat time – either formally in a temple, or informally gazing out across the horizon – and by dancing and singing and simply walking in this world.