Meet Our Team

Inner Fire Board of Directors

Beatrice Birch

Beatrice Birch

Founder, Executive Director, Director of Outreach and Therapeutic Healing Program

Full Profile

Beatrice Birch, Inner Fire founder and Board President, has worked as a Hauschka Artistic therapist for more than 30 years in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan. Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.

James Pewtherer

James Pewtherer

Board Chair

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James Pewtherer has worked as an educator in Waldorf education for over 40 years, teaching children, young people and adults. He has been an active leader in this school movement, both nationally and internationally since the early 1980’s, working continually to develop curriculum, approaches to teaching, and organizational forms that will address the whole human being in a healthy way.
His interest in the work of Inner Fire grows out of this active involvement with and study of human development and education. The effectiveness of the approaches used at Inner Fire through the co-working of guides and seekers is extraordinarily promising. This work, which has already allowed some Inner Fire seekers to throw off their dependency on psychotropic drugs, is an indication of what would be possible for so many more people struggling to regain control of their lives. It is in light of this need that he wants to help Inner Fire to share its findings, approaches and methods with mental health professionals and government health officials so that this work can be shared and financially supported. The health-giving activities practiced at Inner Fire offer real hope at a time when pharmaceutical solutions have fallen so far short of what is needed to help individuals become their healthy selves once again.

Lynn Barrett

Lynn Barrett

Board Member

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Lynn Barrett is founder and president of Primetime Concepts, Inc. and publisher of SO Vermont Arts & Living magazine. She is an award-winning communicator with over 25 years experience in media, marketing and public relations. As president of Primetime Concepts, Inc., she has an enviable track record in creating and executing literally hundreds of consumer brand campaigns, sponsorships, special events and cause-related programs for corporate clients such as Chase, Hyatt Resorts, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Parker Brothers, The Home Service Store, the Manchester Designer Outlets, Historic Manchester, Southern Vermont; NEC, McDonald’s, Lincoln Life, Citicorp, Louis Vuitton, Golisano for Governor, among others.

PTC’s non-profit clients have included the Ronald McDonald House, Camp to Belong, The Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, High 5 Adventure Learning Center, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Rescue Inc., Strolling of the Heifers, Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce, Southern Vermont Regional Marketing Program, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Brattleboro Retreat 175th Anniversary, Landmark Trust, The Nature Museum, New England Center for Circus Arts.
She is expert in translating ideas and issues into “media-worthy” and social media-worthy stories and events. Her interest in Inner Fire is to assist a young, deserving non-profit that offers an alternative choice, develop their story and get it out to the world.

Mitzi Montague-Bauer

Mitzi Montague-Bauer

Board Member

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Mitzi has spent her entire career supporting people through life’s most transformative moments—from birth to death. During her 30+ years as a doula, Mitzi has owned her own successful doula practice, was the co-owner of a freestanding birth center, and has had the privilege of assisting in over 600 births.

In 2009, Mitzi’s son, Journey was diagnosed with a mental illness. Mitzi searched exhaustively for solutions that could provide a path to wellness, but by the time she found options she thought could help, Journey had isolated himself and was no longer open to suggestions. After four years of struggle, he ended his life.

Passionate about rewriting the narrative on mental health, and making sure others know that viable mental health solutions exist, Mitzi co-founded the nonprofit organization, Journey’s Dream.  She is the author of a deeply personal memoir, Journey: A Mother’s Account of Love, Loss and Spiritual Healing. It is Mitzi’s hope that her book, her work with Journey’s Dream, and Inner Fire will support others in realizing that mental illness can be temporary and can be an opportunity for personal transformation.

Raphael Rosner

Raphael Rosner

Board Member

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Raphael Rosner received his BA in Applied History from Carnegie Mellon University and his Master of Architecture degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Raph’s lifelong interest in earthen architecture and biophilic design led him to study and work with Rumi scholar, architect and inventor of Super-adobe Nader Khalili. Lakota tradition has also been central to Raph’s personal practice for many years. This confluence of earth-based building and Native spiritual ceremony informs his commitment to intentional body/mind approaches to healing, enabling individual as well as collective transformation toward wholeness.

Tom Kavet

Tom Kavet

Board Treasurer

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Tom Kavet, Inner Fire Board Treasurer, is President of Kavet, Rockler & Associates, LLC, an economic and public policy consulting firm (www.kavetrockler.com). For the past 19 years, Tom has been the State Economist and Principal Economic Advisor to the Vermont Legislature, where his firm provides economic forecasting and related analytic services. Prior to starting KRA in 1989, Tom was a Vice President at DRI/McGraw-Hill, the nation’s largest economic consulting firm, where he started and led the construction and real estate forecasting group. In addition to many non-profit and community boards, Tom is a member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Inner Fire Advisory Board

Claudia Esteve Vila

Claudia Esteve Vila

Advisory Board Member

Full Profile

I like to think of myself as an independent thinker, respectful and tolerant, and very curious and creative. I am most motivated when I can communicate with others, share experiences and ideas, and help create bonds between people.

As an Art historian, I am a firm believer in the healing power of beauty and kindness. I believe there is still a tragic misconception and dangerous stigmatization of “mental illness,” and that the current medical paradigm of diagnosis and treatment aggravates the situation. In recent years, I have been involved in voluntary work in psychiatric care and creating the Justice, Action, and Education in Compassion (JAEC) Foundation in Switzerland. Our mission is to create awareness towards and support for the most vulnerable and misunderstood individuals of our society, their families, and communities, while at the same time promoting alternatives to the biomedical mainstream treatment model.

When as mothers, we lose a dear child, everything stops. From spiritual beliefs to daily habits, to privileges we took for granted. We will question everything. I am lucky to have my child in this world still, but I never stopped searching for answers, and in that search, I stumbled upon MIA, where I found scientific support to my suspicions: research, statistics, all well documented. And as I stand here today, I knew then that amid this crazy world, the craziest are those making money off illness, off the most fragile and defenseless sectors of society, the “mad,” the ill, the poor, the old, the very young. Questioning the mainstream mental health system—and the biomedical model story that presents psychotropic drugs as the panacea—was something I was going to do.

Robert Whitaker introduced me to Inner Fire, the only drug-free community healing center in the USA. I became an advocate for the organization.

When Beatrice, now a good friend, asked me to become a member of the Advisory Board, I was thankful. I admire Beatrice, her struggle, her passion, and her dedication and trust in the Universe. Honesty and generosity are two words that come to mind when I think of her. Beatrice’s ideal of “soul health” versus “mental health” is inspiring. It is an honor to support the Inner fire Community, which offers the seekers the choice to overcome the challenges to their mental health without drugs and embrace the path of inner healing.

David Dunn

David Dunn

Partner, Phillips, Dunn, Shriver & Carroll Law

Full Profile

David Dunn is a partner in Phillips, Dunn, Shriver & Carroll, P.C. in Brattleboro, Vermont, concentrating in corporate, banking, and business law. He represents several non-profits in Windham County and has been on the boards of many others, including the Brattleboro Retreat, Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development, Youth Services, New England Youth Theater, Brattleboro Habitat for Humanity, and Windham County United Way. He graduated from Cornell University then attended Vermont Law School, graduating in 1981 with a J.D. and a Masters in Environmental Law. He practiced for six years in Washington, D.C. followed by seven years in Boston before returning to Vermont in 1995. Since that time he has practiced with the same firm in Brattleboro while raising two children.
David’s interest in Inner Fire began when he was approached by Beatrice to provide legal services to the non-profit. He has always been a supporter of increased funding and awareness of mental issues and finding the best method for addressing the debilitating effects of addiction and related co-morbidity, and was (and continues to be) intrigued and supportive of Inner Fire’s unique way of addressing and resolving issues on an individualized basis that leads to a life-long cure.

Dina Tyler

Dina Tyler

Trainer, Advocate and Peer Supporter

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Dina Tyler is a psychiatric survivor, trainer, advocate and peer supporter. Dina is the Director of the Bay Area Mandala Project, a group bringing together alternative healing communities to support the transformational and spiritual aspects of extreme states of consciousness. She has seven years experience in community mental health working in early psychosis and bipolar intervention programs around California’s Bay Area, where she trained and supervised peers and family supporters, trained clinical staff on recovery-based language and approaches, and brought compassionate alternative approaches through direct peer support and mentorship. She is a co-founder, facilitator and Board Member of the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network. Dina received her B.A. in Sociology, with a focus on mental health and stigma from UC Berkeley. She was awarded the prestigious Peer Specialist of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2015 for her work with young adults recently diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

Dina’s interest in Inner Fire comes out of her years seeing the need for alternatives to conventional mental health care, that people should have a choice in their treatment, and supports Inner Fire’s vision to create a place of healing for those who have said “no more” to psychiatric hospitalization and medications.

Francis Greenburger

Francis Greenburger

Founder and CEO of Time Equities Inc.

Full Profile

Francis Greenburger is the founder, chief executive officer and guiding force behind Time Equities Inc. Established in 1966, Time Equities Inc. (TEI) has been in the real estate investment, development and asset & property management business for more than 45 years.

Mr. Greenburger is also the Chairman of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc., a literary agency, and is the founder and principal benefactor of Omi International Arts Center, established in 1992. Omi is a not-for-profit arts organization with residency programs for international visual artists, writers, translators, musicians, and dancers, as well as year-round arts education program, an experimental architecture lab, and The Fields, a renowned sculpture park located on a 300-acre property in Ghent, New York.

Mr. Greenburger is also a very active board member of several not-for-profit organizations: Alliance for Downtown New York, Baruch Real Estate Advisory Board for the Department of Real Estate, Lavigny Writer’s Residency, Lincoln Center – Real Estate and Construction Council, Little Red Schoolhouse/Elizabeth Irwin High School Board of Trustees, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MASS MoCA, Michael Wolk Heart Foundation, NYU Real Estate Institute Advisory Board, and Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation.

In 2014, Mr. Greenburger started the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, a non-profit organization committed to advocating for reforms to the criminal justice system. The Center believes that the criminal justice system should focus on rehabilitation and not only punishment, that laws should protect society, not penalize poverty, mental illness or underlying substance abuse, and that Judges must have the ability to fashion sentences that do justice while preserving human dignity and the potential for reentry, and include alternatives for incarceration. In founding the Center, Mr. Greenburger stated: “Mass incarceration, including of those with significant mental illness and addictions, is the most important social justice issue of our time and it is happening on our watch. I and every member of society have an obligation to respond and not allow it to go on.”

George Karabakakis, Ph.D.

George Karabakakis, Ph.D.

Advisor

Full Profile

George Karabakakis, Ph.D., was appointed CEO of HCRS in 2014. Having held a variety of roles at the non-profit agency since 1994, including Director of all Agency divisions and Chief Operating Officer, George knows what it takes to successfully manage this $47 million community mental health agency. His emphasis on building relationships and his focus on improving lives has resulted in significant culture change within the Agency and improved services for more than 4,000 individuals across Windham and Windsor counties every year.

George has extensive experience as a clinician and a leader within Vermont’s community mental health system. He obtained his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California after completing his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. He has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and maintains licensure in Vermont. He has served as a Governor appointed member of the Vermont State Standing Committee for Adult Mental Health, as a Governor appointed member of the Statewide Advisory Group for the Agency of Human Services’ Reorganization, and as a member of the Think Tank charged with developing the Department of Mental Health’s 2030 strategic vision for the State of Vermont’s mental health system.

He has also served on a variety of community coalitions and local Boards such as the Alliance for Building Community Regional Partnership, Community Partnership of Orange/Windsor, and the River Connection and regional Accountable Community for Health partnerships. In addition, he is a past Board member of the Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center and a former Advisory Board member of the Vermont 211 project and the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery.

George has been committed to collaborative partnerships and innovative programs that incorporate a holistic, integrated approach to care and address the social contributors to health.

George was drawn to being part of the Advisory Board because of Inner Fire’s belief in a proactive ,alternative healing community that emphasizes empowerment, balance, and connection between mind, body, and spirit. A perspective that is both compelling and powerful.

Gerhard Bedding

Gerhard Bedding

Activist

Full Profile

Gerhard Bedding emigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1955, having experienced 5 years of Nazi occupation during WW2. Gerhard is a renowned elementary school Waldorf teacher and tutor. From 1971-75 he edited a science journal for Xerox Education Publications. Gerhardt holds Master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and Wesleyan University. As an activist, he has questioned nuclear power, defended health freedom and alternative medicine, and supported truth and transparency in government. His interest in Inner Fire has its roots in seeing a sister caught in the trap of psychotropic medications, and wondering how her biography might have changed if she had been exposed to a different healing protocol.

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D.

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D.

Psychologist

Full Profile

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D. served for thirty years as director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, a statewide citizens’ organization. During those years, Dr. Libertoff was a prominent lobbyist at the Vermont statehouse, representing those challenged by mental health and substance abuse issues. In 1997, under his leadership, Vermont passed the nation’s most expansive and progressive parity legislation, which mandated parity in health insurance plans in Vermont between mental health care and physical health care services. Dr. Libertoff also was vigilant on annual appropriations processes while playing a major role on many initiatives including the prohibition of shackling children in the state’s mental health and family services departments and a campaign to reduce the reliance of psychotropic medications in the treatment of children and adolescents. In 2009, Dr. Libertoff also led a successful campaign to regulate and reduce the influence of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. As reported in the New York Times, Vermont became the first state to ban free gifts and food to members of the state’s medical community while making all fiscal transactions transparent and part of the public record. Dr. Libertoff has lectured and consulted in more than 35 states, spoken at the Sorbonne in Paris and served as a consultant in South Africa. He retired in 2010 after three decades of public advocacy work and was honored by a Vermont legislative resolution (H.C.R. 360) highlighting his many accomplishments and “exemplary work as a mental healthcare advocate.” Ken Libertoff was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University in 1978. Ken’s support for Inner Fire is based on a belief that, “Vermont and the nation need new and alternative approaches in the treatment of those who struggle with mental health and addictive disorders. Building new models, especially ones that build treatment approaches without reliance on pharmaceutical medications, is a most worthy quest.”

Marc Clifton

Marc Clifton

Web Developer

Full Profile

Marc Clifton is a software developer specializing in web development and the Microsoft technology stack for server and desktop applications. He has worked in technologies as diverse as voter registration, satellite design automation, boat yard management, and insurance services. He also develops custom IoT applications in *nix using C, C++, and Python. He loves technical writing, having published several e-books through SyncFusion and over 200 articles on The Code Project, and is a past recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award as well as current Code Project MVP. Marc helps to maintain the Inner Fire website as a pro bono gift to the Inner Fire community as he firmly believes that the integrative therapies that Inner Fire offers are absolutely vital to achieve long term healing and recovery from addiction and trauma.

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.

Author, Educator, Advocate

Full Profile

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D. is nationally and internationally recognized for her work in studying how people recover from mental health challenges. Her focus is on shifting the system of mental health care toward prevention and recovery through education, training, and research. Dr. Copeland is the author of many books, including: The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic DepressionHealing the Trauma of Abuse: A Women’s WorkbookRecovering from Depression: A Workbook for TeensLiving Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Workbook for Maintaining Mood StabilityFibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Survival ManualThe Loneliness Workbook: A Guide to Developing and Maintaining Lasting ConnectionsThe Worry Control WorkbookWinning Against Relapse: A Workbook of Action Plans for Recurring Health and Emotional Problems, and is the creator of the renowned Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Dr. Copeland can be reached at maryellencopeland@mentalhealthrecovery.com. Her website is: mentalhealthrecovery.com.

Nels Kloster, M.D.

Nels Kloster, M.D.

Psychiatrist

Full Profile

Nels/Dr. Nels Kloster has been practicing psychiatry in VT for 10 years with a focus on community mental health. Over time he has seen the limitations of medications, as well as their detrimental physical and psychological impacts.  With the sense that pharmaceuticals are used for too many people, and for too long periods of time, he has joined Inner Fire in the hope of furthering more rational and person centered approaches to wellness.

I am the son of a Norwegian mother and Norwegian-American father and was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. I was raised in the US with the awareness that there were other places and ways to live. Growing up family stories included the Great Depression in the US and the Nazi occupation in Norway. This history, and family example, instilled the
sense that work and duty are important. I was shy, yet social, and my physical energy and embarrassing wealth of opportunities impeded development in other areas until my adult life. I started medical school at 37 years old having finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. I originally planned on family practice. But I was taught that most primary care encounters had a psychological component. Given my fascination with psychology, and the sense
this was a larger source of suffering, I went into psychiatry instead. I learned that I had little taste for the worried well, so my career has centered on those most impacted by mental illness. This work has centered on addictions and I have worked in most psychiatric settings. I am now in private practice with my fingers in as many pies as I find interesting. I have come to Inner Fire through my sense that mainstream psychiatry has lost its way.

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W.

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W.

Executive Director of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding

Full Profile

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W. is the Executive Director of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, a nonprofit in Amherst Massachusetts that works with international partners to promote social healing in countries recovering from war. From 2002-2012, she also directed the Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT) Graduate Certificate Program at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. Olivia has led programs in peacebuilding, inter-communal dialogue, and reconciliation in over 15 conflict-affected countries, ranging from Africa to South Asia, the Balkans, the Caucuses, and the Middle East. She recently directed a two-year inter-faith reconciliation program with 160 Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders in a region of Sri Lanka heavily affected by the 27-year civil war. She is currently developing a program in Burundi, Rwanda, and eastern Congo, focused on building the capacity of local groups to break inter-connected cycles of communal and gender-based violence.

In her early 20’s, Olivia worked for two years with the Gandhian movement in India on rural development and non-formal education. She spent two years leading artistic therapy programs at Gould Farm, a residential psychiatric community, and then worked for 20 years in community mental health. Together with her husband, she also helped start the Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, MA.

Olivia holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University, a Masters in Social Work from Smith College, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Piers Kaniuka

Piers Kaniuka

Chair of the Department of Integral Psychology at Burlington College

Full Profile

For over 20 years Piers has utilized spiritual, psychological, and wellness practices to help those suffering from addiction.

Piers is the co-founder of the Liberation Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing wellness, recovery, and educational services to underserved populations. He currently serves as the Director of Spiritual Life for Granite Recovery Centers in New Hampshire. Piers is also core faculty in the Contemplative Spiritual Direction program at the Alcyon Center in Seal Cove, Maine.

Piers holds Master’s degrees in Theological Studies, Counseling Psychology, and is a certified yoga instructor. Join him in his exploration of the causes and conditions of the addiction epidemic.

Ron Dunselman

Ron Dunselman

Psychologist and Art Therapist

Full Profile

Ron Dunselman is a professional psychologist and art therapist.  He worked nearly 30 years with drug addicts in ARTA, a national health anthroposophical center for the treatment of drug and alcohol addicts. He was involved in the founding of ARTA and served as director of treatment, specialised in health care.

1996 – 2012 chairman of the board of the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands.

1996 – 1997 and 2001 – 2014 General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands.

He participated in the international founding group of “Goetheanum Meditation Iniative Worldwide”.

He is author of the book “In Place of the Self; how drugs work”.

Ron is married with his wife Milou; they have four children and ten grandchildren.

When Beatrice asked me to become a member of the Advisory Board, I agreed because for me the struggle to free oneself of addiction to medications is a real fight for freedom and human dignity, which I want to support.

Sandra Steingard

Sandra Steingard

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Full Profile

Sandra Steingard, M.D. is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University Of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. She recently retired as Chief Medical Officer, Howard Center, Burlington, Vermont after 30 years of working in public sector psychiatry. She is chair of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, a member of the board of the American Association of Community psychiatrists on the advisory board of Mad In America Continuing Education, and an Associate of the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. She is editor-in-chief of Community Mental Health Journal and editor of the book, Critical Psychiatry: Controversies and Clinical Implications.

Dr. Steingard has interest and experience in de-centering pharmaceutical treatment in psychiatric practice. She has worked with individuals who are reducing their use of psychoactive drugs. This interest aligns hers with that of Inner Fire.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Medical Advisor

Full Profile

Sandy Reider, M.D. graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1971, completed a medical internship at the Medcal Center Hospital of Vermont, and practiced family medicine and emergency medicine in Vermont from 1972-1985. For the past 30 years Dr. Reider has maintained a private medical practice in northern Vermont, with particular emphasis on nutrition, classical homeopathy and anthroposophical treatments. Dr. Reider has been one of Inner Fire’s medical advisors since its inception.

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D.

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D.

Founder and Director of Mission Society Care

Full Profile

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Mission Society Care (MS Care), a hospice and skill development multi-purpose organization based in Johannesburg South Africa that has sought to provide care, education and a source of hope for people at the margins of society in South Africa. MS Care’s mission is to: Educate underserved communities about the medical and socio-economic implications of HIV/AIDS and methods of prevention; Provide care and training for those suffering from the disease, providing dedicated, in-house care for those in the final weeks of life, and; Welcome AIDS orphans from the community with food, friendship, and afterschool programs. MS Care provides primary healthcare, pre- and post- traumatic stress counselling, HIV/AIDS education, care for abused children and women, palliative care through home and community visits, life skills training, training for caregivers, group support for caregivers, food parcels provision for the needy, projects development for poverty alleviation, and assistance with schoolwork (as well as school uniforms and school fees) for children without family or staying with family members who are illiterate. Dr. Mnisi-Msibi is also a multi–gifted International motivational speaker, best-selling author, radio and television personality, and business consultant. She sees global potential for improvement in mental health through the unique programs and treatment modalities offered by Inner Fire.

Administration

Beatrice Birch

Beatrice Birch

Director of Outreach and the Therapeutic Healing Program, Founder/ Executive Director

Full Profile

Beatrice Birch, Inner Fire founder and Board President, has worked as a Hauschka Artistic therapist for more than 30 years in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan. Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.

 

Bradley Sawchuk

Bradley Sawchuk

Administrator

Full Profile

Bradley joins Inner Fire as our Marketing Director. He believes in the power of the human spirit and that healing is the birth right of everyone. After suffering for years at the hands of mainstream psychiatric treatments, Bradley discovered a new path – a path that led him to Inner Fire as a Seeker. He has reclaimed his life and views it now as his mission to spread the truth with others about the human being’s resilience and ability to heal holistically.

His personal interests include tennis, fitness, and pottery. Professionally, he has deep experience working in marketing, having come from the world of technology and consulting. He graduated with his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and with his MBA from Duke University.

Katherine Stewart

Katherine Stewart

Administrator

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Katherine Stewart has focussed professionally in the healing and educational fields for nearly twenty five years, as a therapeutic eurythmist, Waldorf educator and Waldorf teacher educator. The word “eurythmy” means “true rhythm,” and it offers the human being a chance to be active in their own creative healing journey, by awakening the soul through movement. Katherine is excited to bring this work to Inner Fire

Ken Ijichi

Ken Ijichi

Seeker Care Coordinator, Nurse and Guide

Full Profile

Ken Graduated from Nursing program at Erie Community College in 2019. Worked for a year as an operating room nurse. He was diagnosed with incurable mental condition and doctors offered medication, which he refused. Believing that there was better option than medication he went on a spiritual quest to find out how psychiatric patients are treated and are living out in the real world. Talking to countless addicts, homeless, drug dealers and drug producers he gained much needed perspective on his own and medical paradigm. Determined to heal himself, Ken arrived at Inner Fire on 2021 as a recipient of Seeker Fund Scholarship and stayed engaged in the program for the full year. Having gone through the program himself, now he volunteers/works at Inner Fire as a guide/nurse to help other souls find their way to healing. On his free time, he loves to hike and do glassblowing.

Susan Pelkey

Susan Pelkey

Business Manager

Full Profile

Susan Pelkey joined Inner Fire remotely in May of 2022 to help support the business office with the main focus bookkeeping. Susan has spent 25 years taking care of the books for a business she co-owned with her husband as well as a birthing center in mid-Michigan. In 2018 Susan retired early to care for her family, but as the needs of the household have changed, she has the desire to be of service outside the home again. Susan also practices massage therapy part time, loves organizing for others and digs in the ground seasonally at a local garden center. Balancing mind, body and spirit comes to her by way of service in her varying fields of work.

Guides

Ami Ji Schmid

Ami Ji Schmid

Trauma and Grief Support, Life Coach

Full Profile

Ami Ji is a trained and experienced Radical Self-Acceptance and Trauma and Grief Support Coach and group facilitator. She has been called “The Hope Restorer ” and “a safe container” with whom you can wholly explore, feel, and talk about shame and guilt, trauma, loss, death and grief.  Ami is a psychic, intuit and empath, with a core belief in energy-based spirituality. She holds a master’s degree in MH Counseling and master’s level training in Psychosynthesis psychology and  transformational life coaching. Ami is also trained and experienced in Metaphysical healing, therapeutic massage, movement, nutrition, Addiction and Suicide Prevention, Hospice and Bereavement Support, and Mindfulness (as a path to Chronic Pain Control, Emotional Self-Regulation, Self-Acceptance and Inner Peace).  Ami is the creator of The Compassionate Revolution of Grief and Grieving (CRGG), a study, project and collaborative.

“I first heard of Inner Fire in 2015, while interning at HCRS – from an awaiting “Seeker” looking for temporary mental health support services before Inner Fire opened. Researching their website, I was intrigued by Inner Fire’s method to help people wanting to titrate off pharmaceutical medications while immersed in a compassionate, healing, rural-farming, home setting.  Now, I find myself honored to be a part of the Inner Fire team. It is a pure joy when like-minded and like-hearted people and places find each other.”

Beatrice Birch

Beatrice Birch

Hauschka Artistic Therapist and Guiding Counsellor

Full Profile

Beatrice Birch, Inner Fire founder and Board President, has worked as a Hauschka Artistic therapist for more than 30 years in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan. Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.

Brian Robertshaw

Brian Robertshaw

Guide and Naturalist

Full Profile

Since childhood, Brian has been spent endless hours in the woodlands of New England and beyond. As a boy, Scouting was a big part of his life and he enjoyed all aspects of programming – organizing camping trips and volunteering as an assistant Leader for many years. College brought more adventures as he joined and helped run the Outing Club, Rock climbing and Caving organizations on campus… eventually studying abroad and continuing his explorations. After Graduating with a degree in Communications, Philosophy and Peace Studies, Brian intensified his study of the Natural world by mentoring under, and eventually working with, Tom Brown Jr. and his
renown Wilderness Awareness and Tracking School. After years of study, his experience culminated with a four-season primitive living adventure where he practiced and honed his skills in the remote woodlands.

After moving to Vermont, Brian started sharing and teaching primitive technology. Working with both children and adults, he has developed programs for dozens of schools, camps and private organizations. He co-founded the Vermont Wilderness School in 1999 and continues to teach and advocate connections with Nature.

Working at Innerfire is a great opportunity to share the healing aspects of nature, awareness and connection with the natural world. It’s been a wonderful experience and joy working with the staff and seekers!

Brighter Wild

Brighter Wild

Office Manager and Weekend Guide

Full Profile

Brighter is a metaphysical explorer in deep relation with our sensual Earth and Her systems. She believes in the power of the Earth, the Imagination, and the Human Spirit to lift us up in these times of great dis-connection and dis-ease. Currently pursuing a traditional midwifery apprenticeship, Brighter arrives to Inner Fire with professional experience in both holistic healthcare and first response emergency medicine. With great emphasis on play, Brighter enjoys nurturing the dynamic work of kindling the Inner Fire.

Bruce Elliot

Bruce Elliot

Spatial Dynamics Practitioner

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Bruce first was introduced to Spacial Dynamics when he started the Waldorf class teacher training. After getting a masters degree in education and completing the Waldorf training, Bruce worked for five years as a class teacher at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH. After that fifth year, he changed directions and began pursuing ways to work therapeutically with the body. Bruce acquired his NH massage therapy license and studied techniques like craniosacral therapy, reiki and deep tissue massage. At the same time he was studying ballroom dance, contact improvisation and yoga.

In the midst of his movement studies and body work practice, Bruce also taught instrumental music for grades 4-12 at the same Waldorf school. Yet, since that first encounter with the Spacial Dynamics approach to movement, Bruce was looking for ways to study directly with Jaimen McMillan (the founder), but the practical details were not working out. Twenty years after that first introduction Bruce was finally able to join the Spacial Dynamics training and study directly with Jaimen.  Exploring the insights of Spacial Dynamics has become Bruce’s primary passion. The first hand experience and witnessing in others the powerful transformations of this work inspire him daily to share it with others.

Bruce is moved by all that is happening at Inner Fire and is looking forward to moving with the seekers here as part of supporting their healing journey.

Christa Macbeth

Christa Macbeth

Speech Arts Therapist

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Christa was born in 1947 in California. Her school time was partly there, but also in England and Switzerland. After school, she headed to college and got a BA in English literature. Then she followed her dream of training in creative speech, receiving a diploma in Dornach in 1976. Her first position was at the Freie Waldorfschule, Hannover, before returning to the States in 1980. For ten years she was part of Eurythmy Spring Valley, working with the students in creative speech and being the voice for the performing group. Then she followed ‘the thread’ to get an MA in social work, with placements first in a domestic violence shelter and then in a psychiatric day care program. She found full-time employment in a blindness rehab agency, where she no longer had finished texts to interpret, but practiced listening to the clients’ stories and finding a way to a response. The new century was mostly in Chicago, after The Christian Community announced the founding of a seminary there, and she jumped at the possibility of being the speech artist involved. At the same time she taught English as a second language, and continued with that when the seminary moved away. The last years in the Midwest were filled with attending training at the Chekhov Studio Chicago and performing with its companion stage company: The Moving Dock Theatre. In 2019 she moved to Vermont, and a much more home-centered life. She looks forward to joining the work at Inner Fire, where everyone is considered a creator.

David Naughton

David Naughton

Lead Gardener

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David joins Inner Fire as an overnight and guide. He offers a wide range of skills and experience as a youth rowing coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and professional actor. His coaching background includes guiding and mentoring competitive adolescents, teaching recreational adults, and training one exceptional para-Olympic hopeful. As an actor he has performed on stage in San Francisco and New York City, in plays and musicals ranging from classical Shakespeare to bizarre and innovative world premieres. At Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA, David gained valuable training in clown, Linklater voice, movement, and above all, a keen awareness of Shakespeare’s potent magic to enliven the spirit and awaken our emotional intelligence.

Beyond his vocational pursuits, David brings a passion for learning, reverence for nature, and a devotion to supporting those on their journey of self-empowerment.  He is honored to support and advance Inner Fire’s remarkable mission and vision as a pioneer on the vanguard of holistic healing with minimal or without medication.

David Roberts

David Roberts

Cranial Sacral Practitioner

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David Roberts joined Inner Fire as the Seeker Care Coordinator in 2022. He has served as a public school teacher and information resource specialist for K-12 and collegiate institutions and professional development provider. He is a licensed massage therapist specializing in Craniosacral Therapy. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, he provides craniosacral therapy to the Inner Fire community, coordinates details of care for the Seekers, and develops promotional materials about Inner Fire.

Elisabeth Radyshe

Elisabeth Radyshe

Dollmaker

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Elisabeth was born in Switzerland and lived for the first third of her life in a culturally rich family/small city surrounding where the integration of handwork into every day was a centuries-old tradition.

After two years as an elementary school teacher her inner questions led her to pursue Rudolf Steiner’s work.

Upon completing of the Waldorf Teacher Training , she moved with her husband to New York City, and there, close to Central Park – the new alps! – and close to the Rudolf Steiner School, they raised their three children.

As a teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School, and later elsewhere, Elisabeth always sought to awaken in students, parents and becoming teachers alike the joy, endurance, and confidence that handwork can bring.

More recently (30 years ago!) Elisabeth has settled in Western Massachusetts. She has become a toy maker, creating dolls, and animals using natural materials.

Her lifelong passion for the question, what does it mean to be a human being, is reflected in the making of dolls. That in turn has also been the natural bridge to her connection with Inner Fire, where the seekers are intent on healing and re-creating themselves. One possible way of doing that is by creating a doll.

Ian Bigelow

Ian Bigelow

Archery and Fencing Teacher

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It all began with the childhood love of Robin Hood and Crazy Horse.  I made my own crude bow and arrows, missed my targets, but after trying well made bows and real arrows, I discovered hitting the target was not impossible.   But the challenge is still there,  so with practice and good guidance, I learned more about the way of Archery.  Having taken the UVM 4-H shooting sports training in 2011, I started helping out with the “Kids Day” event at a private sportsmen club.  Then taught Archery (and Fencing) at The Compass School in 2013. All the while competing in Archery (and Fencing) in The Society of Creative Anachronisms events.  A few years ago, I started working with an incredible bushcraft school called Flying Deer Nature Center.   At Flying Deer we practiced Archery in new ways including combat archery, hunting, and making really good bows and arrows from raw materials.  These days I have been teaching my son and his friends the ways of Archery and other martial arts and shooting sports.

Archery, along with fencing and other martial arts, have been passions of mine all my life and have brought me great joy through the trials and tribulations.

I feel it is always important when a skill is learned and understood inside and out that the skill is passed on to help keep the knowledge and understanding alive.  For that reason, I have tried to find good opportunities to share. Inner Fire has a great purpose and mission that I personally think is a vital resource for a changing world and culture that sees people “not hitting the mark” and thus, not giving people a chance. With a bit of focus, determination, and guidance, hitting your target may not as hard as it once seemed.

Jesper Brickley

Jesper Brickley

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

John Donovan

John Donovan

Bio-Dynamic Gardening Consultant

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John joins Inner Fire combining years of Bio-Dynamic Gardening in Europe and the USA with his tremendously gifted insights and enthusiasm for the human being. He is a natural teacher and team player, and sees the uniqueness and gifts within each individual. Gardening is all about observation, nurturing and growth. As we tend the earth and help in its healing, so we learn to tend ourselves and each other.

Kaiilama Morris

Kaiilama Morris

Somatic Breath Therapist

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Kaiilama Morris is a Somatic Breath Therapist and Life Coach with a private practice for the past nineteen years in Brattleboro, VT. Her greatest passion is to support individuals of all ages to connect, remember and enliven their own true inner wisdom. She knows it is possible to integrate trauma, live medication free, emotionally and mentally balanced, whole and fulfilled lives She received a BA from St. John’s University in Criminal Justice. She initially studied with Judy Kravitz of the Transformational Breath Foundation and then completed her ten year training with the Power of Breath Institute. Over a period of eight years she co-taught Empowerment Trainings and Facilitator Trainings via the Power of Breath Institute, a two year program for breath therapist certification. Native American wisdom teachings, spiritual ceremonies such as Sacred Pipe, sweat lodge and vision quest with a deep love and connection to the Earth continually inspires her commitment to individual and collective transformation. Additionally Kaillama has always enjoyed a deep love and connection to children of all ages. She has a genuine intuitive gift sprinkled with experience, compassion and deep inner knowing. She consistently champions joy, overall well being and true happiness.

Katherine Stewart

Katherine Stewart

Therapeutic Eurythmist and Festival Coordinator

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Katherine Stewart has focussed professionally in the healing and educational fields for nearly twenty five years, as a therapeutic eurythmist, Waldorf educator and Waldorf teacher educator. The word “eurythmy” means “true rhythm,” and it offers the human being a chance to be active in their own creative healing journey, by awakening the soul through movement. Katherine is excited to bring this work to Inner Fire

Ken Ijichi

Ken Ijichi

Seeker Care Coordinator, Nurse and Guide

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Ken Graduated from Nursing program at Erie Community College in 2019. Worked for a year as an operating room nurse. He was diagnosed with incurable mental condition and doctors offered medication, which he refused. Believing that there was better option than medication he went on a spiritual quest to find out how psychiatric patients are treated and are living out in the real world. Talking to countless addicts, homeless, drug dealers and drug producers he gained much needed perspective on his own and medical paradigm. Determined to heal himself, Ken arrived at Inner Fire on 2021 as a recipient of Seeker Fund Scholarship and stayed engaged in the program for the full year. Having gone through the program himself, now he volunteers/works at Inner Fire as a guide/nurse to help other souls find their way to healing. On his free time, he loves to hike and do glassblowing.

Maureen Turtletaub

Maureen Turtletaub

Therapeutic Movement Education Practitioner

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Maureen Curran Turtletaub has been involved in Therapeutic Education for over thirty years. She is the founder of TME, Transformative Movement Education, a program based in the natural world as a model for the students first class room. She is the co- founder of Meristem a holistic approach to working with young people 18-28 who are on the spectrum working towards independence.

“The work that is being done at Inner Fire is an admirable deed. Inner Fire hears the voices of those asking for another way towards wholeness. The approach at Inner Fire offers the individuals to maintain human dignity as they traverse the mighty task of regaining a conscious and balanced life.

I am deeply touched by the staff’s dedication, patience and rigor. I look forward to joining Inner Fire’s team and offering ‘Transformative Movement Education’ for all who are interested.

Mona Hall

Mona Hall

Overnight and Weekend Guide

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Mona loves the healthy, natural lifestyle and the diversity of activities at Inner Fire. “I like things old-fashioned. No new technological gimmicks needed!” she says. At Inner Fire, she strives to enhance the down-to-earth element by sharing her joy in simple practical tasks like gardening, cooking and cleaning. With a positive attitude, work is fun. The basic chores are important in grounding us and bringing us into harmony with our environment. However, the main reason drawing her to Inner Fire is not its outwardly appealing lifestyle but its underlying view of the human being as a spiritual being. Inner Fire beckons us towards a clearer awareness of the spiritual potential in each of us.

Mona has lived in Finland, Sweden, Iceland and several U.S. states. She immigrated to the United  States in 1994.  Now Vermont feels like home. Her studies in her native Finland led to a master’s degree in education. She is also trained in homeopathy. Professionally, her past includes care and activity programs for both elderly individuals and people with developmental disabilities – in various settings, including Camphill communities in Finland. She has also taught home economics at the middle-school level and worked as a gardener.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Classical Homeopath Consultant

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Sandy Reider, M.D. graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1971, completed a medical internship at the Medcal Center Hospital of Vermont, and practiced family medicine and emergency medicine in Vermont from 1972-1985. For the past 30 years Dr. Reider has maintained a private medical practice in northern Vermont, with particular emphasis on nutrition, classical homeopathy and anthroposophical treatments. Dr. Reider has been one of Inner Fire’s medical advisors since its inception.

Tamara Potselueva

Tamara Potselueva

Healthcare Practitioner, Nurse

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Anthroposophical, Naturopathic Doctor, Scientist, Registered Nurse, Journalist/Writer, Teacher.  Tamara is using integrative multimodal human- centered therapeutic approach based on a holistic understanding of man and nature and of disease and treatment.

She applies an integrated image of the whole human being in illness and health, focusing on prevention, education and self care. Tamara believes in the “Inner Physician” and the self-healing potential of the body which, if properly supported, empowers an individual to achieve the highest level of health possible in given conditions. Illness is an opportunity for positive changes and with a new balance in life, one is drawn closer to its meaning and purpose. Anthroposophical remedies support the self-healing forces of the body and which work with the patient and not for the patient, they do not suppress symptoms but address the cause of the disease.

Symptoms of disease are the manifestation of self-healing forces working to overcome the underlying condition, which is the illness.

Tamara is drawn to working with seekers at Inner Fire because she believes in giving people the opportunity to be proactive. Being responsible for one’s own health, actions and healthy choices is the right of human beings. Tamara Potselueva has a private practice in CT.

Timothy Richards

Timothy Richards

Whole Foods Chef and Guide

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Timothy Richards has been in the culinary field all his life. With his parents owning a restaurant at a young age, he quickly discovered his passion and purpose in life. Growing up in the North Shore area of Massachusetts, he spent the past decade working in high end Country Clubs across the north of Boston  expanding his knowledge of food, diversifying his creativity and increasing the overall satisfaction of his guests. He has been an Executive Chef in many states including Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire where he was a part of Taste’s Magazine’s Best New Restaurant of the year award. Recently, he has moved to Vermont to be closer to his daughters. Timothy has many other passions, including permaculture, regenerative agriculture, sustainability and building relationships with local farmers any chance he gets. Being at Inner Fire, he gets to empower something he has been deeply passionate about, other than cooking, and that’s helping others to reach a better way of living, overcoming traumatic experiences and addictions through his teachings associated with his culinary experience. Tim also loves music and being in nature as much as possible with his daughters.

Visiting Artisans

Alan Steinberg

Alan Steinberg

Visiting Potter

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Alan Steinberg worked for a decade in early elementary education in N.Y.C. and Pittsfield, Ma; and as a potter for 49 years, 25 of them full time. Trained in Psychosynthesis, Psychoneuroimmunology, Ecopsychology and Expressive Arts, he maintains a practice in Brattleboro, VT, working with couples and individuals. He teaches clay classes integrating skill building with spiritual expression, and leads clay workshops that respond to poetry, mythology, ritual, and nature. He feels drawn to Inner Fire because it shares his view that, as the seed holds the promise of the tree, we all hold within ourselves a natural capacity to grow, beyond whatever our present limitations may be.

 

 

 

Bob Burch

Bob Burch

Glass Blowing Artisan

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Bob Burch fell in love with glass blowing when he first set his eyes on this process many years ago. It is magical and sensual, touching something deep inside him…as he says, it is a dance and he loves dancing! Yet glass blowing is also demanding and asks one to be focused and observant while working with gravity, centrifugal forces, color and the process of heating and cooling. Before one’s eyes ‘stone’ is transformed into ‘honey’ in a matter of seconds. Glass blowing draws an engaged person away from their physical and emotional pain and as Bob states: “It is a positive thing to love and to become passionate about!” There is an alchemical element to this craft which he shares with a quiet enthusiasm. Bob loves the concept of Inner Fire and welcomes the opportunity to kindle the love for and dance of glass blowing in the seekers who are broadening their lives and discovering latent skills.

Edel Byrne

Edel Byrne

Stained Glass Artisan

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Edel Byrne has worked with stained glass since 1990. She fully embraced the media while working in a 3 year apprenticeship with Christopher Pearson in Cape Cod Ma. In 1993, she opened her own studio to explore the creative possibilities with glass developing a style which lends itself to a freedom of expression in design.

 

The process requires patience and focus from choosing colors, keeping in mind how they play off each other in the light, cutting the glass into desired shapes,laying out the pattern as one sees it and finally learning the skills to solder the pattern together.

There is tremendous healing to be found in the creative process and Edel welcomes the opportunity to share her experience with the seekers and witness what each individual creates as each one transforms sheets of glass into a panel of their own vision.

Jan Kees Saltet

Jan Kees Saltet

Visiting Artist

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Jan Kees Saltet, of Dutch origin, studied English language and literature in the Netherlands. He lived in England for three years, where he did Foundation Studies and trained to be a Waldorf teacher at Emerson College, Forest Row. His experience includes language teaching, class teaching, and teaching art in Waldorf schools. For 29 years, he taught at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley, MA, where he makes his home. In retirement, he is actively involved in coaching adults at the Hartsbrook School in the rudiments of anthroposophy, and does translation work.

At Inner Fire, he shares what he has learned through teaching art on days when the staff has a retreat. He admires the tremendous impulse that lives here. Working with the seekers fills him awe, as they are striving towards an ideal which an old Dutch proverb puts like this: “He who gains command over himself, is stronger than he who subdues 7 cities”. On this path towards independence, we are all learners, and it is inspiring to be a small part of this endeavor at Inner Fire, is a beacon of light for our times!

Nettie Lane

Nettie Lane

Circus Arts Guide

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In 2006, Nettie Lane left her job as Education Director for LandPaths, an environmental non-profit, to devote herself to her true passion: Circus Arts. In 2008, she moved to Vermont to attend the Professional Track Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts where she focused on Trapeze and Duo Acrobatics. Nettie’s interest in theatrical clowning led her to study with Giovanni Fusetti, Paola Coletto and Aitor Basauri. Currently, the German wheel has captured her imagination and she has been training and collaborating with it ever since. Nettie has performed with Flynn Creek Circus, Zany Umbrella Circus, Art Farm-Circus for a Fragile Planet, New England Center for Circus Arts, Nimble Arts, Savvy Productions, Overhead Arts and the Payomet Performing Arts Center and Droplet Dance. Her festival appearances have included: Life is Good, Wanderlust, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, Petaluma Rivertown Revival, and the New York Clown Festival. In 2015, she assisted Giovanni Fusetti in the International Clown Training in Boulder, Colorado. Nettie has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe; she currently resides in Brattleboro, Vermont where she is on staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts, and works for Circus Smirkus as an Artist-in-Residence in schools throughout New England. In 2013 Nettie began teaching theatrical clowning classes and since then has had the honor of midwifing over 80 clowns. She firmly believes in the power and humanity of the Sacred Fool as a way of excavating inner wisdom.