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As we start the 20-21 school year in BBSH, we also launch our new initiative, What's your story? The intent behind What's your story? is for people of marginalized races and cultures, as well as those who have suffered because of gender orientation or identification to be able to share their stories and their ancestral stories to promote greater understanding and harmony. With this initiative, we invite all colors, all genders and also those who have experienced trauma through religious persecution, wars or natural disaster to share their story.  We will continue to support people of color and are excited to present in the next months a lineup of Black storytellers, Native American ceremonies as well as experiences from the  LGBTQ community.
Unresolved issues of the past will haunt us until we can come to some global understanding of the suffering that has been imparted to others through the act of discrimination. It is no longer acceptable to live in a society where one group excels at the disadvantage of another.  Through story, we hope to weave both historical and personal information into the telling and to also arouse the listener’s emotions, energy and empathy to an understanding of the universal truth that we are all equal as human beings with essential value and goodness. Our mission is to learn to celebrate our differences and to see our similarities, to know that underneath whatever we have inherited by birth such as skin color and gender and whatever we choose consciously such as our clothes and behavior, we are one people under God. 
Additionally, we intend to weave performances such as rituals, ceremonies, prayers, song and dance into our What’s your Story? initiative. The artists have always led the way in using the healing force of art for global change.
We begin with the storyteller Thomas Saxon Southern. We are deeply grateful for Thomas who also opened our 2020-21 Florida school year meditation with his beautiful poem What’s your name? 
Ada Robinson's story along with other story tellers will be posted here shortly.  
With deep respect and love,
Lisa VanOstrand

LGBQTIA+ Who Am I? Who Are You? Healing & Evolving Perspectives from Lesbian, Gay, & Transgender BBSH Graduates and former faculty

BBSH LGBTQIA+ HMD Lecture - February 25, 2021, 1:30-3pm EST

LGBQTIA+ Who Am I? Who Are You? Healing & Evolving

Perspectives from Lesbian, Gay, & Transgender BBSH Graduates and former faculty 

We invite you to join us for an exploration of self-discovery through gender and sexuality.  Come listen to the stories of Ky Scott, Sandy Rakowitz, and Deckllan Marckle Hartte as they share their experiences growing up outside of the heteronormative gender-binary.  We hope that this space offers you a deepening of self discovery as you ask what it means to you to be a man, woman, or non-binary individual.  How does your sexuality serve you in your unique journey of self-awareness?


Ky (uses pronouns he/him) has a BA in multi-cultural education from the University of Maryland.  He went on to complete his MA coursework in English Literature, focusing on gender and sexuality, and taught Beginning Writing at Florida Atlantic University.  

Ky then trained and worked as a Licensed Massage Therapist.  After completing his bodywork training, he helped assist Body Electric workshops.  These workshops grew out of the AIDS epidemic and the need for gay men to find safer ways of experiencing/expressing their intimacy and connection to the Divine.

Ky graduated BBSH 2002, ASBIW in 2004, and was then hired to teach, serving on both the sophomore and senior year teams.  His senior class project at BBSH was on “Sexual Fantasy as a Gateway to Understanding Our Childhood Wounding and Core Longing.”

Ky’s private practice has focused on teaching mediation to couples and families to transform conflict into intimacy.  Currently he is pursuing a path to become an Associate Helper in the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork and is adjunct faculty at BBSH, offering support around gender and sexuality.

Ky’s journey of self discovery has included study/exploration around gender fluidity, same-sex desire, bisexuality, pansexualism, BDSM (training with spiritual leaders in this field), and polyamorous vs. monogamous relationships.  He believes that all forms of gender expression and sexual attraction are sacred teachers of our divine nature.  


Sandy guides people to find their voice and realize their dreams through innovative Multidimensional Coaching, Animal Communication and Soul Path Programs. Sandy graduated BBSH 1995, and was on faculty from 1995-2001.

At 27, Sandy ‘came out of the closet,’ as a Lesbian. She understands her choice to incarnate as a Lesbian, Jew, Woman, as one who communicates openly and professionally with animals, nature, energy and consciousness across time and dimensions as co-creatively healing for herself, humankind and universal consciousness.

Sandy stands for believing in ‘What is Possible’ co-creating realties that have never before been able to be in existence - altogether, at the same time, openly, safely, in her personal life, publicly, professionally, in the name of the highest of Light and Love, all while getting paid well. 


Deckllan Marckle Hartte is a Two Spirit Light Being, presenting in a Transgender Masculine Experience; uses the pronouns He/Him.

Deckllan graduated from Barbara Brennan School of Healing in 1995 and Barbara Brennan’s Teacher Training Program in 1998. For over 25 years, he has been professionally holding space and guiding others on their journey in this life. 

He encourages the exploration and recognition of all the parts of one’s self including, self-love and release into the personal expression of a soul’s longing and heart’s desire.  By openly exploring the idea that it ok to love every part of your being, even those currently suffocated by their self-critic and self-judger, we can explore the areas that that are limited and longing to be released, seen and loved by you.  The judge within us is essential and worthy of love; it is present to provide objective balance and harmony, not repression and suffering.

When you can progress through your life in acceptance, feeling all your emotions, you are able to be more present; to create the life you have come here to live more fully. 

Presencing and Honoring Our Indigenous Heritage

Join with Former year 3 Dean, Rebecca Ellens, Year 4 Dean, Haroun Soumah and Advanced Studies Student  Amy Alston, for 4-one hour online sessions, where we will presence our Indigenous Heritage through storytelling and prayer circles. Our intention is to deepen our faith, embolden hope, and ask for healing for humanity, all sentient beings, and our precious Mother Earth during these challenging times.  Presencing and Honoring Our Indigenous Heritage, is part of an on going, online, multi-dimensional platform that supports continued growth and healing through cultural and racial awareness. 

Join us on
Tuesday, November, 24 - 3pm EST
Tuesday, December, 29 - 3pm EST
Thursday, January, 28 - 3pm EST
Saturday, February, 27 - 3pm EST
On Zoom
Meeting ID: 649 071 4815
Password: BBSH

If you are able, a donation of $15 is suggested unless you are currently enrolled in BBSH.  Thank you for your consideration.   

Learn more for Native American Heritage Month at

Presensing and Honoring our Indigenous Heritage Session Recordings

  • Session 1-Nov. 24 Rebecca will share her story with an emphasis on strengthening faith and holding to hope. Rebecca will lead the prayer circle/ceremony

  • Dec. 29 - The second presentation in our series, Amy Enoka Alston will presence and honor her Hawaiian lineage, in a multigenerational sharing and ceremony with guest elder, Kumu Pa’a Lawrence Aki. (Halawa Valley, Molokai)

  • Jan. 28 - Haroun Soumah will share his story with an emphasis on strengthening courage. Haroun Soumah will lead the prayer circle/ceremony

What's Your Story?- Rev. Jennifer C. Nelson

As an Afro-Latina woman, Rev. Jennifer Nelson is deeply influenced by the African, West Indian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Dutch, and South American Indigenous roots of her native Guyana. From the colorful and celebratory “Land of Many Waters,” Jennifer brings the rhythms of the Caribbean into daily living with heartfelt openness, to the “Land of the Free.” Through her healing ministry through music, poetry, storytelling, and dance, you may just catch a creolese expression, or her mother’s wisdom sayings or a lyrical Caribbean song, sometimes with humor other times with poignancy, certainly with a heart toward the Divine. 

Jennifer enthusiastically collects rocks and crystals, is an advocate for racial healing and immigration reform, and is the first female Mining Engineer of South America. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mining Engineering from New Mexico Tech as well as an undergraduate degree in Mathematics. She works as an Environmental Scientist in Livermore and is an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church. 

Join Rev. Jennifer for an evening of Spiritual storytelling through poetry and music as she shares from her own experience the invitation to follow the Divine. 

Friday, February 5, 2021, 5:30-7pm Pacific Time

To view this video recording, please click here

What's Your Story?- Joseph M Marshall lll

Joseph M. Marshall III  

Joseph Marshall III was born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Because he was raised in a traditional native household by his maternal grandparents, his first language is Lakota. In that environment, he also learned the ancient tradition of oral storytelling.

Joseph is an award winning author who has published fifteen nonfiction works, three novels, a collection of short stories and essays, two children’s books, and was contributing author in five other publications; and has written several screenplays. In addition, Joseph has appeared in several television documentaries, served as technical advisor in movies, and had a role in a major television network movie, Return to Lonesome Dove.  He is also a practitioner of primitive Lakota archery, having learned from his maternal grandfather the art of hand-crafting bows and arrows, and is also a specialist in wilderness survival.

In 2005 he released Quiet Thunder: The Wisdom of Crazy Horse, a six-part audio teaching series, and in May, How Not to Catch Fish: And Other Adventures of Iktomi, a children’s book. Also in 2005 he released Walking with Grandfather: The Wisdom of Lakota Elders. In 2007,  The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History, was published  and was also featured on C-SPAN Book TV; also released was Hundred in the Hand, based on the Fetterman Battle of 1866.  Its sequel, The Long Knives Are Crying, was released in 2008 and is based on the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  Other books include;  Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance, 2006, The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse, 2009, and To You We Shall Return: Lessons About Our Planet from the Lakota, 2010.  His sixth book, The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History  is a biography from the Lakota viewpoint of the greatest Lakota warrior, based primarily on oral accounts. It was picked by the South Dakota Humanities Council as the One Book Read for 2011. In early 2012, The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage: Lessons in Resilience from the Bow and Arrow, was published and in 2013 Returning to the Lakota Way: Old Values to Save A Modern World.

To view a recoding of this program please click here

What's Your Story?- Danita Rountree Green

 A Storyteller on a Mission                      

Facilitating Courageous Conversations on Race         

DANITA ROUNTREE GREEN is an author, playwright transformational storyteller and Trauma-Informed Care specialist addressing historical and race-related issues in the former capital of the Confederacy. She is also co-founder and co-CEO of Coming to the Table-RVA, a nonprofit committed to racial healing in Richmond, Virginia.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Maryland University of Integrative Health and she also serves on the Dismantling Racism committee (DRBBC) for the POJ and is the Artist in Residence for the Virginia Department of Health specializing in generational and historical trauma.

As a writer, Ms.Green has been on five national tours, sharing the stage with Iyanla Vanzant,  Levar Burton and Dr. Bernice King. Her work has appeared in Essence Magazine, USA TODAY,  The Wall Street Journal and local publications. Her 25-year career as a writer has produced a body of work honoring the African American experience. Known as The BroomLady, BROOM JUMPING: A CELEBRATION OF LOVE (1992) is a guide to performing the cultural wedding ceremony practiced during slavery. GRANDMOTHER'S GIFT OF MEMORIES:  A Keepsake Journal for African American Women (1997) encourages legacy building and intergenerational dialog through storytelling. LOVE LOCKED DOWN: A Novel about Women in Relationships with Incarcerated Men (2009)  examines the effects of incarceration on the American family. Now a play, The Love Locked Down Theatre Project,  entertains as well as educates young audiences everywhere.   For more information: Storyteller on a Mission/Danita Rountree Green

To view a recoding of this program please click here

What's Your Story? Sola, Telling the Spirit of Life

Join us December 3 on Zoom when we host Olusola Adebiyi AKA Sola Story.  Sola Story has been described as a ‘captivating African performance Storyteller’ He grew up in a Yoruba (people of what is now called Nigeria) household and hails from a lineage of orators, priests and hunters. The proverbs and legends he learned as a child from his family, served as ‘root soil’ in his development over the last 25 years as a professional storyteller. Sola Story is also an instructor in a dance like African Martial Science called KaZimba Ngoma and has been since 2001. He uses the Manyamas (animal forms) to enhance his storytelling narratives. Speaking of this, one review of him says:

“His unique and powerfully captivating blend of 'Physical Storytelling,' hypnotic narrative and audience participation, is inspirational, unforgettable, and resonates with audiences of all types”

Sola Story combines Storytelling with Creative Facilitation and as Founder and Director of Narrative Mindfulness Ltd he has inspired children, young people and adults in Africa, the US and UK through two key programmes: The Awakening Creative Genius Programme, helping them develop self  belief, emotional intelligence and Creative confidence through the power of arts blended with Storytelling.

Mythic Medicine Programme: a conceptual modality that mixes storytelling, visualization,  Mindfulness and Embodiment. It provides keys to  our ability to tune in to our intuitive knowing and to bring liberating meaning to life.

As an author he published his book Nyinka's Daughter in 2016 and is in the midst of publishing more.

To view a recording of this program please click here

What's Your Story? Ada Robinson

Ada Robinson is the Founder and Director of The Village of Natural Teaching in Marshall Michigan. Here she leads Inner-Journey process groups and has been teaching and coaching individuals on the benefit of a living food lifestyle.

Ada is also a laughing yoga workshop leader and teacher, Brennan integration practitioner, a former Brennan faculty member, for 4 years and she is a Bowenwork therapist.

Ada is also an ordained minister and spiritual teacher with vast depth and compassion.

WHAT'S YOUR NAME- A poem by Thomas Southern



Mr. and Miss No Name, brown eyes, blue eyes, brothers and sisters wrapped in various colors.

What's your name?  I want to know your name inside your name.

My name is Ancestral Spirit.  I have traveled through the centuries, bearing witness to humanity's ills, hatred, destruction, injustices, crimes and wars.

What's your name? I want to know your name inside your name.

My name is Ancestral Spirit.  I have traveled through the wonders of the cosmos.  I have also seen humanity's faith, love, laughter, prayers, sorrows and pain. 

What's your name Miss No Name? Your name inside your name.

It was early one morning when a voice came to me out of the blue and this voice said, Ancestral Spirit,  it is time to heal the pain, the pain that dwells within.  The pain that has been carried on the wind for centuries- growling like a tiger - prowling in the night. 

And the voice kept saying, Ancestral Spirit, it is time to heal the pain.   It is time see beyond color, beyond all that's visible, like the beauty of a rose still in the bud, to see the beauty of the butterfly asleep in the cocoon, to see beyond prejudices and shortcomings,  and to see beyond the garments that we wear, and to know you can't judge a person by the way they look.  Are we ready to be healed?

What's your name Mr. No Name?   Your name inside your name.

After all we've seen, felt and experienced we pray that eyes be opened to see past the color we're born in, past the accident of birth, past the body we wear, past the given name, that is beyond all gender, the most wonderful, the most holy, the most divine in all of us.  

So let us tell our story, dance our dance, sing our song, know that we are being healed,  broken hearts are being healed, broken minds, broken souls, spirits, are being healed all over the world.  As we continue to tell our story and as we travel through the crowded streets of life may our name inside our name LOVE, TRUTH, BEAUTY, GOODNESS, FORGIVENESS,  GRACE,  be ever present with us.

What's your name?   The name inside your name?  Could it be something like God?

Thomas Saxon Southern, Storyteller

To Listen to Thomas read his poem please  click this link