Sera's Personal History
As so many clients and yoga students share with me their life experiences, the joys and the sorrows, trials and tribulations, I feel like it is a valuable part of my work with others for them to know something about me! And since I prefer not to take up too much time in a session to discuss myself, I offer those interested a basic personal history here so you can get to know me a bit more.
NOTE: This is just an outline of my story. As writing about my personal history unfolds, details of important events and my deeper reflections will be more fleshed out, on my soon-to-be SeraBlog page.
I was born in NJ in the fall of 1972. I had an older brother, and a wonderful stay-at-home mother. My father was a psychiatrist with a private practice in NYC. I grew up in that area of NJ near Manhattan, and went to public school in an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse setting. It taught me a lot about the social inequities that many endure.
I went to college at Cornell for 2 years, however it wasn't meant to be. Came back to NJ and after a few years reorienting my life's purpose, working as a waitress at a local chain restaurant, I graduated from Montclair State University in 1996.
However, I didn't do a very good job in re-evaluating my life's purpose, given that I graduated with a degree in business! Not really where the Universe wanted me to be, and it would soon take me on a whole different life path.
In the Fall of 1996, my parents were tragically killed and left me to handle the estate. My older brother was unfortunately not in any mental state to attend to anyone's affairs, including his own. So a few weeks before my 24th birthday, my family was gone and I was put in charge of all the family's affairs.
Needless to say this was quite a traumatic period in my life. Luckily, I had wonderful friends and a charming new boyfriend, who lived in Florida. As I got my head wrapped around the tasks put before me, I moved in with him there on the west coast. He was a fundamentally vital part of stabilizing my world through this period, and we got married in 1999. Thankful that my family had left some funds to support me, I spent those years working to settle the estate, clean out the house, and sell it, which I finally succeeded in doing in 2002.
The events of September 11th, 2001 deeply affected me, as it did all the residents of NYC where I still had many friends. I began practicing yoga regularly soon after the event, and attended peace vigils with the Green Party of Florida. I became an activist, feeling compelled to put my own personal energy into the noble fight for social justice, environmental sustainability, and world peace, as I sought to play a role to relieve suffering. To this day, my idealism may have waned, but my love for my fellow man and woman, and for the democratic process, which inspired all our Green Party meetings, has never left me.
In 2003, as I was once again reorienting my life after finally settling the estate, it became more apparent to me that my husband was falling into a pattern of addiction. We divorced in 2004, and later that year I left Florida. I went back to the northeast, but not to NJ, to Easton PA. A good friend of mine was there, and we had recently become aware of how our friendship was moving towards something deeper.
Such is how my lovely current husband and I got together. In early 2005 Steve and I moved to Thurmont, MD. Several stray cats came with the house and are now part of our family.
In late 2007 my brother, struggling for years with bipolar disorder, under the care of the State of NJ in a mental hospital, committed suicide. As much as I was devastated by the loss, I also knew how deeply he suffered his whole life, especially after our parents died, and so in some strange way there was an element of relief. A few years later, I spread part of his ashes on the graves of our parents, buried where my mother grew up in Washingtonville, NY.
In early 2008, still grieving the loss of my brother, I begin teaching yoga in Gettysburg, PA, and later that year at Ananda Shala in Frederick. It was not easy at first, but with each successful class I grew in confidence and trust in myself. And in the recognition that I needed to have more training! LOL
The rest, as they say, is history. (For more please see my professional training.)
There is of course much more to the story, but for now I will pause it here.
Over the past decade since I began teaching yoga, I have learned and grown so much. And yet the more I know, the more I am aware of how much there is to know, and how little we really see of one another's sufferings as human beings. Yet every day we have another opportunity to understand another's views, another chance to clear the pathway into our hearts, to connect more deeply to ourselves, and to one another.... abiding in the Love and Truth of What IS. That we are ALL ONE.
With any luck, and with the Grace of the Universe, this is how I hope to live my life.