Hi there!

I ❤️ communication

What I love most is when people are free to communicate with each other, meaningfully and truly, about everything that matters.

Trauma and oppression cut us off from that freedom by making the truth unspeakable. I know this from experience.

We heal and get free by restoring our freedom to communicate at every scale — in the world, in our communities, and especially within ourselves. I know this from experience, too.

I want the freedom to communicate for everyone — my family, my clients, the members of my communities, people I’ve never met, and indeed every being of every kind who is capable of making meaning. That’s what my work is about.

How I got here

I’ve done many kinds of work in my life, for many reasons. But in all of them, I’ve tried to create the conditions for more communication, among more people, with greater honesty and depth. That’s not always what I knew I was doing at the time — but in retrospect, the pattern is clear. Click or tap these “résumé entries”:

🧐 1997 – 2001: studying philosophy

I majored in philosophy in college, because that was where people seemed to be interested in talking about the biggest possible ideas — the nature of reality, the limits of knowledge, the nature of right and wrong, what beauty is, whether evil exists. That got me hooked on the humanities.

📚 2002 – 2009: becoming a literary scholar

Because all I knew how to do was school, I went on to get a Ph.D. in English literature. Grad school ushered me into rooms where other people communicated really intensely, with great rigor and fearless curiosity, about the meanings of books and poems and other meaningful things. I hated having to publish scholarly papers nobody wanted, but the joy and wonder of shared intellectual work was enough to keep me going.

🎓 2009 – 2014: professing English

By shocking good luck, I got a tenure-track position at a prestigious little liberal-arts college — but by the time I was scheduled to go up for tenure, I realized I didn’t want to spending the rest of my life communicating in highly specialized ways in very expensive rooms. I quit my amazing academic job, tried for a while to find other employment, failed dramatically, and then hastily reinvented myself as an independent communications consultant.

💼 2014 – present: communications consulting

Consulting I spent a few years taking any communications job I could get, during which I learned to communicate about industrial adhesives and healthcare, among other things. But I still wanted to talk about the really big stuff — reality, knowledge, justice — humanities stuff. That’s how I ended up doing consulting work mostly for folks in nonprofits, government agencies, faith communities, and organizing campaigns — do-gooders. If your business is making the world a better place, you need to talk about huge ideas to explain why. It’s an honor to help these caring people communicate more skillfully about their vital work, every time.

❤️‍🩹 2022 – present: one-on-one coaching

I never intended to be a coach at all — but a few years ago, I found the Internal Family Systems model at a really challenging period in my life. First on my own, and then with a therapist, IFS led me to understand my own inner life in a liberating new way: as a rich inner ecosystem, peopled with all the many parts of who I am. That understanding of my own inner diversity allowed me to heal and get free in ways I had never thought possible. Today, as a coach, I get to accompany other people as they get to know their own inner worlds for healing and liberation. And the more coaching I do, the more I see how the skills of inner communication can help kind people communicate more skillfully, in more healing ways, in the external world.

Who I am

I bring all my identities with me into all the work I do, but those identities have changed a lot over time. These days, I identify as:

  • Queer. I’ve understood myself as gay ever since I learned what that meant. Over time, I’ve also come to understand sexuality as a place where everybody can find greater liberation, which is what queerness means to me.
  • He/him or they/them. When I was small, I did not take well to masculinity. I’ve become more comfortable presenting myself as a man over the years, since that’s how most people seem to experience me. But nowadays, they/them feels as comfortable to me as he/him, so take your pick.
  • Neurodivergent. Over the years I’ve had the privilege to be diagnosed with an alphabet soup of mental illnesses, including ADHD, OCD, PTSD and CPTSD. Thanks to the advocacy and community-building of other folks with unexpected bodies and minds, I now proudly call myself neurodivergent — a person who, by nature and nurture, experiences the world in unexpected, challenging, and sometimes extraordinarily helpful ways.
  • White in the world, biracial by heritage. Because other people consistently experience me as a white person, that’s how I sometimes identify my “race” on forms. But I’m also the child of a South Indian immigrant father and a white American mother, and I grew up eating mango pickle on Wonderbread in a bicultural, interfaith household.
  • Survivor of child sexual abuse. Like at least one person in every ten, I was sexually abused as a child. Healing from those experiences has been the greatest work of my life, and I stand firmly in solidarity with other people who are doing the work of healing for themselves.
  • Abolitionist. I believe that safety and healing require us to work toward a future without policing and prisons — not only in the world outside us, but also within ourselves. I work with lots of folks who don’t agree with me about this, but it’s at the heart of my approach to communication and life.
  • Settler. I live and work in Mni Sota Makoce, where the waters reflect the clouds, on the land of the Wahpekute people of the Oceti Sakowin nation.

This website is all about my work as a coach, consultant, and writer. Take a look around! If what you encounter here is interesting, I’d love to send occasional ideas straight to your inbox.