Local Dharma Leaders
Forrest Hill has been practicing Insight Meditation since 2004 and is a founding member of Napa Valley Insight Meditation. He has served as a facilitator at NVIM since its inception in 201l. Forrest is currently enrolled in the Community Dharma Leaders Program, a Buddhist teacher training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He has a PhD from MIT in Biological Oceanography and currently works as a socially responsible financial advisor. Forrest is passionate about prison reform and has led financial literacy programs for inmates at San Quentin Prison. He believes insight meditation can foster greater awareness, wisdom and kindness in our daily lives, and teach us how to respond more compassionately to the world around us.
Lori Stelling has practiced Insight Meditation since 2002 and serves as a facilitator and board member for NVIM. Lori has completed Insight Meditation Center’s 9-Month Eightfold Path Program and is currently engaged in on-going Buddhist studies through Dharmagiri. She is a certified life coach with advanced Enneagram training and served for 14+ years as a community recreation supervisor specializing in youth services. As the mother of a school-age child, Lori is particularly passionate about how daily life practice can support us in cultivating greater moments of clarity, patience, gratitude and wise, compassionate response to the inner and outer joys and challenges of everyday human life.
Mike Coughlin is a public school administrator, trained mediator, and has been practicing mindfulness in the vipassana tradition for 15 years. He has received training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Mindful Schools and is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mike has over 20 years of experience working with high-risk youth, most specifically in residential and day treatment programs, as well as years of mediation experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution. He has a focused interest in exploring how mindfulness and compassionate awareness can lead us to a more expansive and grounded relationship with our human experience, both as individuals and as engaged members within our communities.
Syra Smith is an engaged artist, activist, community organizer, sharing cultivator and mindfulness educator interested in deep ecology and manifesting a culture where we can turn toward fearless abundance and generosity. She is Founder and Curator for Oakland’s Dana Cafe, a monthly gathering offering transformational teachings at no cost to participants. She co-leads and organizes East Bay Meditation Center’s weekly Teen Sangha and is a mindfulness and meditation instructor with the Mind Body Awareness Project. Syra graduated East Bay Meditation Center’s yearlong Commit to Dharma program in 2011 and is a current participant in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s 2 year Community Dharma Leaders training program