What are your roles in the Winona community?
I live a variety of roles. I work at Winona State University in Enrollment Services as a member of an innovative Warrior Hub leadership council. I work with a lot of students, faculty, and staff to remove barriers brought about by the business side of the academic experience. We work to educate and empower folks to better achieve their academic and social growth goals. I am Founder and Director at Manitou Center to provide resources development of body, mind, and spirit. I have a life-long martial arts practice and have taught for over 20 years.
I am a fully ordained Zen priest as well. My partner, Trish and I, founded a local Zen Center, Zen Garland Dharma River Temple (Hosenji). The center provides service, education, and training activities and resources internationally. This center is part of the larger Zen Garland Order where we serve as the administrative center here in Winona. We have frequent collaboration with Winona Interfaith Council as part of our ongoing community work as well.
What advice do you give community members during these uncertain times?
Life is always uncertain, but during times like these this uncertainty becomes imminently clearer. We need to physically isolate for reasons of biology… but it’s also important to stay socially connected through the internet or community resources. I also think it is important to spend time with nature. To assist with supporting our Winona Community, The Manitou Center has created online classes and video recordings of content providing support in mediation, mindfulness, yoga, kung fu, taiji, and qi gong.
How are you maintaining holistic wellness throughout these world changes?
It depends on the day; each day brings new challenges and opportunities. I am a martial artist and have been for the majority of my life. Training in kung fu, taiji, and qi gong are part of my daily way of staying in touch with my body and how I move through my world; I am also a Zen priest. My daily practice in that tradition keeps me connected and present throughout my day.
I also very much enjoy connecting with my students from Manitou Center and from Zen Garland Dharma River for online teaching. Additionally, my family time has increased in a manner that allows us to grow together as a family. Meditation helps me develop myself as an individual and in the community. Meditation allows me to cultivate a sense of presence in an ever-changing environment. It’s important to remind yourselves of the things we can control such as being engaged and compassionate in the moment as well as those things that are beyond our immediate scope of influence.
How are you staying positive during isolation?
My goal is to always stay engaged, present, and moving. I don’t know that for me it is a question of remaining positive or suppressing the negativity that comes up. Rather, I try to simply “show up” and be there for the whole experience. That means to be doing great when things are going that way and to acknowledge when there is negativity and well… I keep up a daily schedule that allows me to work, play, learn, and live in balance. I spend a ton of time with my family and a huge amount of time in nature hiking, running, and exploring. I feel that keeping that balance in place helps me maintain some degree of equilibrium during isolation.
What do you love about Winona?
I JUST LOVE IT! The landscape and the tremendous natural beauty caught my eye the first time I visited. I lived in Taiwan for a number of years and loved it there as well. One of the aspects that I appreciated there was the way the community is expressed on an island. There is an acknowledgment of independence as a way of being on an island. It makes growing community a way of being that island sense is a feeling of Winona that reminds me of Taiwan. The island aspect of Winona creates a community where we realize or reliance on one another and work to build compassionate, supportive shared living space. Winona has a huge amount of promise and creativity. I enjoy the energy Winona has and the community sense that creates genuine relationships in the community.
Why did you join the Live Well Winona Board?
Live Well Winona acts as a Hub providing the Winona Community with a single source for connecting with services, people, practices, and spaces that help Winona to thrive. I appreciate Live Well Winona’s forward-thinking and innovative position as a resource for educating and empowering Winona to live better lives. Live Well Winona’s mission aligns with my personal values. I am excited to learn more about how I might bring my skill set and past experience to forward their mission and help to realize an increasingly healthy, inclusive, and compassionate Winona.