ADVENTURES WITH CANDACE
I have always sought an adventurous and awakened life, in relation to both my experiences in the world and my state-of-being. I offer the following details in that spirit.
As a young adult, I learned that I perceive the world through a different lens than many people. I am aware of life through my body responses, and not via words or pictures as it seems to be for most everyone else. I experience full and vivid dreams, but there are no pictures or words. Everything for me is known via body sensation.
Most people, and many philosophers/psychologists/theologians I’ve met or read, speak of knowing the world/life/all-that-is through the mind or the heart, connecting with god, source or spirit, nondual consciousness, essential self or pervasive unity by honing the mind towards a particular direction or opening the heart to a certain dimension of being or following a particular set of instructions to experience enlightenment or realization. I tried many methods to discipline my mind and open my heart, but they took me away from the reality of my experience, which was the present moment in my body. My life has been a quest to connect presence in my body with my mind, my heart, and all-that-is.
A student of life, determined to experience every moment in the fullness of being, some of my adventures have been out-of-the-ordinary:
I cruised over 40-000 miles aboard a 35-foot sailboat on the Pacific Ocean.
At age 13, an experience of dying (“near-death”) made me certain of a pervasive unity (nonduality).
A 6-month solo backpacking/hitchhiking trip to Europe grew into 6 years living in England.
My couturier line of skirts, caftans, & capes was briefly popular in London 1972-73.
I experienced 2-years traveling with a carnival through the mid-western US. I managed a pair of traveling food stands.
I gave up a successful real estate career and became a massage therapist because of a vision.
My life and being is ongoingly supported by a joyous 40-year relationship with my beloved husband, Richard “RG” Guches, and a meaning-filled 10-year loving friendship with my working and philosophical partner, J. Zebedee "Zeb" Lancaster PhD.
Enthusiasm and curiosity consistently propel me deeply into many realms of the mind, heart and body. My intrinsic drive to know more has manifested in a variety of self-employment enterprises.
Since age 10 years I have provided an income for myself, often using employment to deepen my learning about any particular subject in which I am interested. I began as the neighborhood babysitter and during 55+ years of self-employment, have worked as a typist/administrative assistant, a membership and conference registrar, a housekeeper, a professional organizer, a free-lance magazine writer, a book editor, a couturier clothing designer, a TV actress, a psychiatric nursing student, a self-published co-author, an elder-care worker, a successful residential realtor, a research assistant, a massage therapist, a yoga teacher, a vacation rental host, and a somatic educator of various embodiment forms.
I love to read and to learn, and I enjoy science and mathematics as well as philosophy, literature, art, and the psyche. My experience of the natural environment has been a primary influence. Following is a description of some of my learning experiences and my few teachers. I’ve been fortunate that several of my teachers have become life-long friends, including my college “Introduction to Literature” professor, Richard “RG” Guches. His mind and curiosity-fueled perspective fascinate me infinitely, I am blessed to include him in my life forever. We’ve been happily co-habiting since 1982, exploring the world together. We now live on acreage in So. Oregon, land that's been in his family since the 1880s.
1970, age 19 years, living in Southampton, England, I uncovered my own psyche. Over the next 6 years, I sought personal counseling (a life-long, albeit intermittent, pursuit), participated in “encounter groups,” studied the work of Carl Rodgers, Carl Jung, and RD Lang, and trained as a psychiatric nurse. I learned to accept each individual based on behavior and environment, rather than by their diagnosis or label or outward appearance or their job. During the time living in England, I also discovered yoga (hatha) and meditation (via TM) and they continue as part of a life-long practice. From 1984-1991, I had the honor to be a senior student of Prof. Pillai, an east Indian teacher whose guru was Sivananda. Prof. Pillai taught for more than 2 decades in Sacramento, CA.
1977 I discovered the work of Jean Houston and Robert E.L. Masters. For many years I participated in a group that explored all practices in their booksListening to the Body andMind Games, and deepened my understanding of archetypes and the work of Joseph Campbell. In 1986 & '87, I joined Jean’s Mystery School and Jean & Bob’s Human Capacities Training Program. For the remainder of his life, I was Bob’s organizational assistant and helped with research and editing on many books and projects, most particularlyThe Goddess Sekhmet. In 1990 I obtained a BA in Philosophy from Union Institute, with Jean Houston as my primary mentor/adviser.
Nature is a place we can experience unfiltered reality.
My understanding and experience of the natural world was expanded by becoming friends with author/teacher Susun Weed. Our mutually supportive relationship continues to flourish after nearly 30-years. I have edited four of her books, and the Wise Woman tradition continues to inform my therapeutic perspective. I also was fortunate to apprentice for 5-years with Grass Valley (CA) herbalist and prolific author, Kathi Keville. She invited me to write book reviews for the American Herb Association newletter (ahaherb.com) and for 2 years intern as her teaching assistant.
Here’s some other embodiment awakeners: I studied Zero Balancing with Fritz Smith, neo-tantra with Charles Muir, guided people in embodied self-health (Energy Tune-ups) during a 12-year therapeutic massage career, and I’ve danced Continuum with Emilie Conrad, 5-Rhythms with Amara Pagano, NIA with Rachael Resch, tap dance with Buddy Ebsen, hula and modern dance since age 4. Yoga principles and practices spiral through all of my life.
2009-2014 I co-created and taught an embodiment practice called BodyMind Boundaries, with my partner, Zeb Lancaster PhD. Our perspective helps people develop a visual and tactile representation of the size and shape of their life-energy and therein create personal sacred space from which to manage life less stress-fully. Together, we wrote, published, and promoted 3 books in the “Boundary in a Box” self-health series. 2014-present, Zeb and I host travelers and students in cottages at our therapeutic sanctuary, Chakra Garden of Ashland.
In 2011 I discovered Realization Process, the work of Judith Blackstone. These practices, a simple, clear, and precise method of embodied wholeness and unity, brought together for me all the pieces of study, work, and experience that have so wondrously filled my life. I found that I can play with the RP practices not only to deepen my own embodied experience of aliveness but also open me to the experience of unchanging unified connection sometimes called nirvana or bliss or cosmic/fundamental consciousness. All my work and interest now is focused towards deepening embodied nondual experience for myself and others. I would be delighted for you to join me on the journey.