ABOUT KELLY BLASER

Kelly Blaser is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a Dharma Teacher. She has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families – from Fortune 100 founders and presidents, to single moms, to performance athletes, to folks on probation – evolve their spiritual lives and their emotional and psychological well-being.

All of her work (as a therapist, summit host, dharma teacher, group leader, and business owner) draws inspiration from the Zen, Vipassana, Vajrayana, Śaiva, and Śakta teachings, somatic psychology, and neuroscience, as well as from the wildness of nature and the liberating power of social change movements.​

IN KELLY’S WORDS

Most fundamentally, I’m here to help you come home to who you really are. I am committed to supporting people who are walking through difficult times and looking for a way to center their lives in awakeness. We all come to spiritual practice in our own way, but I’ve found that most people find their spiritual center through intimate contact with a practice community, dharma teachings, and the influence of the awake ones. That’s what my work provides.

WHAT’S MY PERSONAL HISTORY?

During childhood, I took refuge from all the slings and arrows of the world by burying myself in books. At this early stage, I thought I would grow up to become a writer. As a teen, I found ways to stave off confusion and angst with perfectionism, self-critique, and obsessive rumination. I threw myself into work and escaped through the good girl drug, food.

But my mom was and is a meditator, a yogi, and a mystic. She loves the planet and its people, and she has made her life a quest for direct relationship with reality. She grew up in a fundamentalist, right wing family in Iowa, and she ended up becoming a Buddhist, environmentalist, progressive, multi-lingual lesbian.

So she had to carve her own way and managed to do so without (much) resentment towards the forces that wanted to erase her – with judgment and conversion therapy. I was astronomically affected by living with her while she undertook that journey. 

There’s something about having someone in your midst who is concentrated on finding the truth. It’s contagious. Once you’ve seen someone belong to themselves, you realize that everyone belongs. We all belong to ourselves, and we all belong to each other. As Gwendolyn Brooks wrote, “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

Threads that Braided into my Life

I started practicing yoga and meditation in 1989, at the age of 19 at the Zen Monastery Peace Center in Murphys, California under the guidance of Cheri Huber. Meditation practice gave me immediate spaciousness from old patterns of suffering, and I felt myself nestling into the lap of a profound inner path. This inspired me to cast a wide net to pull in as much dharma as I could. I began to encounter metta practice and tonglen, which utterly transformed how I saw myself and my place in the world.

At the same time, I worked as a wilderness and whitewater guide, traveling around the world when I wasn’t pursuing a major in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. At one point, after a breakup that left me more unmoored than I consciously realized, I essentially fled to Chile with the illusion that I could drown my feelings in adventure. This led to a chain of destabilizing challenges and solitudes, until I picked up a blank book and some colored pencils. As I drew and wrote, I found my internal experience settling and organizing. That little book of drawings showed me that color and creativity can have true healing power.

Back at home, alongside my studies, I worked with Autistic youth at an incredibly nurturing place called Listen House and with women in abusive relationships at a shelter called Defensa de Mujeres.

My community was highly politicized during this time, and I felt a draw towards social justice and politics. But meditation retreats kept interspersing tastes of incredible luminosity into the mundane of secular living, and it became clear to me that the name of the game was learning to integrate my experiences of awakening into regular life.

The Birth of DharmaBridge

In 2013, I was humming along with a burgeoning therapy practice and my public and private yoga classes. But I had a nagging sense that the format of my offerings didn’t match the demands of the modern world. For quite some time, we’ve all watched top-heavy systems slowly collapsing and changes happening both structurally and in the way that we relate to ourselves and others, particularly here in the US. In some ways, we are desperate for these transformations. The dharmic methodologies of antiquity can provide a solid foundation for our experience, and yet our approaches must rise to the urgency posed by the disintegration of these times.
With all of this in mind, I began creating online group coaching programs to blend the wisdom of the dharma traditions, therapeutic techniques, and the alchemy of community for truly transformative experiences. 

My first short term program, DharmaCamp, quickly evolved into DharmaBridge, my core, 9-month program. As I deepened into supporting people online, I began to bring my life-long love of the written word and the healing power of creativity into how I work with people. Now, I lead a variety of regular online coaching programs, integrating writing, art, and somatic movement with dharma study, inquiry practice, and meditation. You can learn about all my programs here. From free sessions, to weekend retreats and immersions, week-long challenges, and short term (2-4 month) programs, there’s something for everyone! I hope you’ll join in.

WHY IS MY APPROACH SO EFFECTIVE?

DharmaBridge has proven effective for an extremely high percentage of its participants. During the 9 months of the program each year, I have the honor of witnessing profound transformation in the vast majority of DharmaBridgers. Generally, about two thirds of the students return as alumni, and some stick around for many years. 

I attribute the ongoing success of DharmaBridge and my other shorter term offerings to their deep foundation in metta (loving kindness) practice. Upon this crucial ground, I’m able to support transformative change with wisdom from the Trika Śaivism, Śri Vidya, Śakta, Vajryana, Zen, and Vipassana dharma traditions, as well as modern psychotherapeutic approaches from Internal Family Systems, Gestalt Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, and listening and speaking skills inspired by Non-Violent Communication.

Over the years, this community of students has also helped me develop and evolve signature techniques for sparking insight, compassion, and action. Powerful tools like Antenna Listening, the Temple Gate Process, and the 3-1-2 Process all help people pierce through conditioning, open up to possibility, access authentic experiences of bold self-expression, heal splits inside themselves, and connect with the courage to create and accept change, both internally and collectively. 

Gratitude

I would say I’m doing this work thanks primarily to the influence of beings who have carried a spark of liberation within them. Principal amongst them is my mother. Thanks, Mom, for your heart, and your practice. 

I’m also particularly grateful to Kofi Busia, Cheri Huber, Douglas Brooks, Christopher Hareesh Wallis, Tias Little, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Lama Tsultim Allione, Pema Chodron, Sally Kempton, Laura Amazzone, Rumi, Octavia E. Butler, Mary Oliver, bell hooks, and all the dharma protectors throughout the ages.

Kelly Blaser lives in San Jose, California. She is an aspiring author and poet, a non-aspiring amateur artist, a backyard salsa dancer, mother of two boys, adopted mother of a formerly stray cat, and partner to a wild, Cuban-American spirit of a man who keeps her on her spiritual toes and in her loving heart.

Stretch, Sit, Write, and Spark Change

join us for free sunday sessions
Sign up to join Kelly & the wider sangha each month for transformative practices and community support

Join Kelly's mailing list:

© 2024 Kelly Blaser | Website Development by Luminari Studio