Lesley University

Being Myself: meet my new intern, Desiree.

Hello all, my name is Desiree, and I'm Dillan's new intern for the fall semester. Clif Bars 061


Dillan has asked me to write on his blog and give a brief introduction as to who I am. I met Dillan at Lesley University. Dillan came to a class I was in called Application to Holistic Healing. The class was an intro to other holistic practices and the professor organized many guest speakers whose businesses are using holistic models.

Immediately, I was drawn to Dillan's humor and the way he promoted health in a non preachy, nonjudgmental way.

When he shared with the class his recent transition in life, to come out and begin his gender transition...I began to see how similar Dillan and I really were, despite our different journeys.

A snap-shot into mine:

I was raised in a single parent home and brought up in a christian family. I considered myself, as did others, a “born again”. I married a christian guy and we were significant leaders in our church. My mother was proud of me and my two younger siblings looked up to me. I lived among the Christian teachings for 25 years.

Then things began to change.

It wasn’t one event that led me away from the theology, it was a number of life events that made me rethink who I wanted to be. Making this change was not an easy adjustment, and once I did it my life didn’t suddenly turn into “boom, now I’m happy".

Everything unraveled right before I got divorced. I lost friends, lost family support, broke my foot then, lost my job, started an unhealthy relationship, stopped eating...

drank a lot of wine, and more wine.

I fought back every tear that wanted to be cried out because I was still performing for everyone else.

I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. They shaped me into who I am today, and I think I’m pretty cool! (It’s taken a lot of introspective work to be able to say that and mean it).

I wanted to do my internship with Dillan because I could relate to his personal story. Even though our transitions in life have been so different, we have more in common than not. We both have been through some life changing events that have shaped us into the people we are today.

But, if you really think about it, who hasn’t been through a transition in life that changed us forever? 

After I graduate, I’m interested in doing the same kind of work as Dillan. I look forward to learning from him. I respect his approach and how he communicates with his audience. His message is clear, that we can make an impact on the world by simply accepting ourselves for who we are.


How To Be Yourself: The 3 Key Needs for Authenticity

  Last month, I was invited to share my story as part of a larger presentation about courage and authenticity.

The presentation was for first-year students at Lesley University and I shared the stage with two incredible professors, Matt Nash and Rachel Carbonara.

We put together a talk that inspired many people that day (my facebook page and inbox were flooded with messages), and I hope you find meaning and inspiration from it, as well.

It's long, over an hour. I suggest you watch the whole thing, but if you want to skip to my part, I get on stage around the 18:00 mark.


LUCID Identity & Authenticity Lecture from matthewnash on Vimeo.

A Holistic Approach to Religion

This is a guest post by Victoria Ellis, Lesley University student and my intern this semester. ;-)  

Since my freshmen year at Lesley University, I have spent Easter with my teammate and fellow colleague Sarah Bassett.  This year her mom picked us up and brought us back to her house in Clifton Park, New York for the weekend.  Sarah’s family is Catholic so we went to the St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church down the street from her house on Easter Sunday.  I was raised going to a Presbyterian church but have been heard many Catholic services as well, but the homily I heard this Easter was unexpected.  I expected this Easter homily to be about the resurrection of the Lord and how all things done in the Lord’s name will be victorious, but the pastor had a different agenda.

After a few hymns, the pastor came forth and began by saying that this Easter homily will be a little different than usual.  He explained how he debated within himself for a while about what he would say on that day.  The church was packed full of people who attend church every Sunday as well as those who only go because it is Easter.  In my opinion, the pastor made a bold move and took this very busy day to explain to the church the relationship between science and religion.  He was addressing the arguments that atheists make towards religion and respectfully refuting them.

I could tell that this pastor was a very well educated and open-minded individual by the way he was making his argument.  He used Albert Einstein’s belief on religion throughout the homily.  Einstein stated that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” and the pastor (and myself) agree with this assertion.  He explained that some people are not religious because their minds do not understand it.  They cannot grasp religion because it is not tangible and that is very hard for people to overcome sometimes (some people always need scientific proof).  Science needs religion as much as religion needs science.  Science is necessary for critical thinking and spirituality nourishes the soul so there must be a balance between the two for us to function.  Religion must be taken in holistically (this is not the exact word the pastor used, but I made the connection that it was basically what he was describing).

Just because one's mind cannot grasp religion does not mean that the body and soul do not.  This is where I think faith steps in.  No matter what religion you believe in (unless you are an atheist), faith is necessary.  My religion creates a feeling inside of me that I like.  It affects my thoughts and actions, but I do not fully understand it.  I cannot see it or touch it, but I feel it.  My faith comes from the feeling religion creates inside of me, not from the things that I can prove about my religion, hence why they are called beliefs not facts.

As I was listening to his homily, I felt almost as though I was in one of my Lesley classes, specifically my Holistic Psychology class.  Living holistically means that an individual is taking into account their mind, body, and soul and creating a balance in their life.  This homily was about seeing religion and science holistically as well.  Take into account ones mind, body, and soul when trying to apply to religion and science to ones life.  It does not have to be one or the other.  Religion and science work together and are necessary for balance in everyone’s lives.