I love real things. I love rough wood, rocky mountains, and wrinkled hands. The things that are shaped by nature.    

I also love real relationships, real intimacy, and real power.  And like their physical counterparts, these qualities are not formed in isolation.  They require exposure to the elements.  They are formed by friction.  Conflict.

I’ve intensively studied conflict as a Harvard Law Student, participant in the Harvard Program on Negotiation, and a licensed mediator.  The intellectual education has been invaluable, but mental understanding only goes so deep.

My most profound education in conflict has come through my own personal journey.  About five years ago, I was in a dysfunctional relationship that I was desperately trying to use my strength and smarts to problem-solve.  

I was immersed in Buddhist studies at the time, and went to a teacher for further instruction. I expected it to center on formal sitting meditation.  Instead, he asked me about my life.  I told him about the relationship, and he replied that he didn’t care if I sat ever again.  Instead, he told me to stop trying to fix or manage the situation.  I was to engage more fully with it, as uncomfortable as that might be.

A few weeks after practicing that simple instruction, I entered into a meditation retreat where, as best as I can describe it, I discovered my true center.  From that place, I left the relationship cleanly and with grace.  I let go of what I thought my life should look like, and found the courage to journey into the unknown.  I don't claim to have solved life, or escaped the ups and downs of being human.  What I have found is a totally new way to relate to life that has me show up as a powerful, alive, and generous person.   

Since then, I've also discovered my capacity to offer wisdom and presence to others, and embarked on the journey to become a certified coach.  In my work, I combine my intellectual conflict studies with this deeper knowing and insight.  I no longer see conflict as a mental exercise, something to be solved or analyzed.  I view it a test of our basic capacity to meet life with an open heart and a fierce commitment to our best selves.  Resolution is merely a happy byproduct of our willingness to engage.   My life, personally, is much richer and Realer for it.  

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nicole
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
— Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Education & Training

Harvard Law School,
graduated with Honors

Negotiation training
with Harvard's Program on Negotiation

Mediation certification,
training with Ken Cloke

10 month coaching certification program,
with emphasis on feminine modes of relating from OneTaste, Inc. 

2 years as a founding member of the OneTaste Reconciliation Council,
providing conflict support to one of the worlds' fastest growing educational companies

RelationalOS training with Robert McNaughton of Authentic Relating

Mediation training with Center for Understanding in Conflict, upcoming 

Studies/training in Non-Violent Communication

Buddhist practice and studies, mainly with the Shambhala and Insight Meditation schools, ongoing 

15+ years of self-taught studies in various forms of personal awareness, psychology, and interpersonal dynamics