Retreat 301 Leaders & Practitioners

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Jennifer Rush

Jennifer has a deep passion for families, holistic wellness, support and balance. These passions brought her to study Midwifery and Holistic Wellness. Beginning as a young curious child, learning all she could in any given health related situation, culminated in  experiences and certifications that spanned from birth to death. This is how Circle of Life came to be. The name was fitting to the services and support Jennifer wanted to offer to her community. Starting humbly in Poughkeepsie NY in 1992, and moving her practice to Pownal VT in 2010, she has continued to add to her practice, keeping with the first goal of families, holistic wellness, balance and support. Jennifer is honored to be trusted by so many families over the years, and is looking forward to practicing for many years to come!

Jennifer Rush is a  Licensed & Certified Professional Midwife with Neonatal Resuscitation and CPR Certifications, as well as a Certified Otoacoustic Hearing Tester for the State of Vermont. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Holistic Health. She also holds certifications as a Lactation Counselor, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Labor Doula, and Childbirth Educator. She holds certifications as Holistic Life Coach, Herbalist, Hypnotherapist, CFT Therapist.

She is also the proud owner of Circle of Life and mother of 5 children, as well as Ima (EE-Ma) to 3 grand-babies. Jennifer has a thirst for knowledge and is always engaged in Continuing Education pertaining to Midwifery & Holistic Health. She has a wide range of personal and professional experiences that she brings to every client she sees. Jennifer has supported, counseled & educated over 600 families & individuals since 1992 and welcomes the opportunity to discuss the services that interest you. Jennifer is a professional member of  NARM, MANA, DONA, CfM, NACPM, MMA, VTMA.

Megan Rush-Booth

Megan is a Massage Therapist, Medical Massage Therapist, Reflexology & Acupressure Therapist. She studied Massage at The Hudson Valley School of Massage. We are thrilled that her amazing energy and experience are part of our offerings. She is also owner of Megan’s Massage. She works at the Circle of Life office bringing relaxation to her clients and our team. Megan is a born mother and nurturer, so her love of the human body and anatomy really shine through in her work.

Deena C. Smith MA, M Psych

Deena’s practice is informed by her professional and creative work with dementia patients, women, children, at-risk teens, families and couples. Her experience as a lifelong musician/songwriter adds depth and humor to your time together.

Deena’s approach is inspired by the works of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Doctor Dre, George Martin, Stanislav Grof and many other luminaries of the realms of the mythological.

Deena brings educated perspective and intuitive insight into your personal mythology. Working together , you uncover the underlying archetypal patterns and energies that make up your wondrous, unique self. Through this lens  you begin to unlock, understand and integrate so that you may move forward with a richer, more meaningful life experience.

Visit her website:

Phyllis “Phyl” Michaelson

Phyllis Michaelson has been doing reiki for 21 years and is a reiki master for the last 20 years. She is a reiki volunteer at SVMC (Southwestern Vermont Medical Center) for the last 12 years and also started a reiki volunteer program at the Cancer Center 8 years ago which is still going strong.

Marin Iwashko

Bio coming soon

Jessica White

Jessica is 36-years-old and down 30lbs. after baby boy #3.  She is now working on healthy nutrition while nursing and just ran a twelve 5k at 4 months postpartum.

In September 2015, she hit my highest weight and lowest in energy.  She joined an 8-week Herbalife weight loss challenge her cousin was running and dropped 17 lbs. and won best transformation.  She went from a size 16 to a 6 over the next 6 months and dropped 30lbs. total.

Everyone wanted to know what she was doing as they could see her energy increase and her new weight loss results.  This quickly started her nutrition business.  She is so excited to help people looking to be healthier and happier:  Healthier with this amazing nutrition and happier earning income.

Lisa Carton

Lisa Carton is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) who’s been working with people of all ages for 30 years with a focus on personal growth and transformation. She has developed a multidimensional approach for working with anxiety and addictions that includes the use of bilateral brain stimulation (EMDR, for example). Since she is also a drummer, she loves applying bilateral stimulation in this fun and natural manner. Facilitating the process of people accessing their inner healing wisdom brings her great joy, and she looks forward to meeting you at the retreat!
You can visit her website at:

Judith Schwartz

Judith D. Schwartz is a journalist who speaks around the world about nature-based solutions to global challenges. The author of “Cows Save the Planet” and “Water In Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World”, she’s in the midst of a book on ecosystem restoration. She lives and writes just over the mountain in Bennington.

Allison Bishop

bio coming

Shannon Barsotti

Bio coming soon

Sarah Harwood

Sarah Harwood was born in Bennington Vermont and spent the majority of her childhood growing up in West Rupert, Vermont. She met her husband at the Bennington bowling alley when she was 15 years old.
Upon graduating high school from Salem, New York Sarah began attending college in Jacksonville, North Carolina. As her family grew to include her two sons Gavin and Bryson and her daughter Iris, her passion for growing their own food sustainably also grew. She currently runs their farm Harwood Homestead full-time where they primarily raise pasture-raised eats including pork, chicken, beef and turkey.

Jenny Dewar

Jenny Dewar was a Broadway stage manager for many years before relocating to Vermont with her trombone playing husband to help care for her ailing mom. She worked at Williams College and when her father unexpectedly died two years after her mom, she kept her promise to save his crazy house and Karin’s Place was born. She is currently a member of the Pownal Select Board, treasurer of Discover Pownal, and preparing to join the Meals on Wheels Board.

Lynn Stratton

Lynn Stratton cared for both of Jenny’s parents and has been by Jenny’s side from the moment Karin’s Place was born. She is called the “House Goddess” and “Sunflower” and cares for the home with the love of a mother for her child. She often cooks for KP guests. She hails from the Philippines where she used to run a pineapple farm. She will be on hand for any additional needs of the guests during the retreat.

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