Mary was born into a culturally diverse family and had the honor of studying with Amerindian Elders, Vodou Priests, shamans, prophets, and faith healers from a very early age.
In 2016 she was introduced to Teyuna (Tairona) Elders in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia and was asked her to be of service to Earth through them: to help protect the land they steward, The Heart of the World, and to support them in pagamento, the work they literally believe they exist to do. She agreed and has come to know the mamos and zagas (male and female spiritual leaders) as the most highly skilled planetary healers she’s had the honor to work with. As a life-long Earth steward she is honored and humbled to have founded the Teyuna Foundation in 2018 to further assist the Teyuna mission.
She believes that indigenous wisdom is the only thing that can save the human race and she works with the last surviving pre-Columbian tribes to emphasize that. If the industrialized world does not heed the council of the Elders, does not turn to holistic ways of living that are founded on holistic principal: we are not separate from nature; we are the natural world. We were meant to live harmoniously: flora, fauna, ocean, sweet water, and land. We must care for Mother Earth as if she was our own mother, because she is. We must uphold peace, spiritual commitment, hope, and love as our highest values and weave our many cultures into a common thread of connection. We must honor the distinctive combination of insight, vision, and acceptance that empowers people to discover themselves through a connection to Earth, thereby a connection to themselves.
Ellen Stone Belic
Ellen is passionate about bringing the voices, vision, and vocabulary of peripheral perspectives into the larger cultural discourse. She has been an advisor of the Chicago MCA Stage, a supporter of the Heidi Latsky Dance Ensemble for able-bodied and handicapped dancers, and a member of The Feminist Lens women’s media group working with sexual abuse survivors. Ellen created and funds “In Her Infinite Wisdom,” a lecture series celebrating elder women artists for the Chicago Humanities Festival. She has served on the Human Rights Watch Women’s Rights Division. She was a trustee of Columbia College Chicago where she founded the Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. She is a member of the Threshold Foundation and The Philanthropy Workshop, where her focus is exploring the intersection of philanthropy and spirituality.
Ellen is a seasoned psychotherapist with clinical and teaching experience, having served on faculty at Columbia in the Dance Movement Therapy Department for 25 years. Prior to studying psychology, she was a massage therapist and energy worker. She always tries to bring body work, meditation, and other spiritual modalities in her practice. Her meditation background includes Udumbara Zendo in Chicago under Sensei Diane Martin and a ten-year practice in Dzogchen with the late Rinpoche Namkhai Norbu, where she was introduced to the Bon practices within the Buddhist tradition.
These days she divides her time between Chicago and LA, where her four children reside and where she is an active member of the Topanga Blue Flag Daré, a healing collective that applies Shamanic practices and dreams to raise individual and collective consciousness.
She is currently finishing a memoir about the search for meaning after her husband’s tragic death while rowing the Atlantic Ocean in 2001.
Of the things that define me, are my relationships – to my loved ones, my friends, my community, my Ancestors and Mother Earth. I pay attention to what is needed around me, very close attention. This informs how I spend my time and energy.
Decolonization moves most everything that I do in one way or another. I didn’t know it was called that many years ago but the spirit and energy of it has been alive in me for as long as I can remember. I am deeply committed to collective liberation and have been working for decades locally and internationally with movements for social justice.
It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be in relationship to and learning from the Teyuna Mamos and Zagas who continue to carry out their original instructions to take care of Mother Earth on the behalf of all beings. Let’s listen closely the vibrations of their songs, the sacred words shared through their stories. Let’s sit quietly and observe their relationship to the wind and water, to the rocks and trees. We will remember who we really are and find a collective path forward to ending structures of violence and turning towards freedom, love, harmony and liberation for all beings.
In 2018, when the idea of a gigantic Summer Recorrido was being discussed, Paul woke up one morning and announced we had to get a short school bus to ferry the mamos. The journey turned into 10000 miles with 5 Teyuna. Who can guess as to what a night’s sleep will bring?
These days it is sleeping at 8000 feet in Crestone, Colorado at Teyuna Foundation World Headquarters, right next door to friends and fellow board member William. From here Paul lends his IT talents towards assisting the mamos and zagas share their teachings and maintain their culture. It is an honor to be a part of this work and he is grateful to participate.
Otherwise one can generally find Paul out tending to the forest, mountain biking or making pancakes. Please come visit and you can join us at the table too.
Poet, teacher, author, co-founder of the Crestone Charter School, founder of Sanctuary House and the Camino de Crestone, founder of four non-profits and serving on three boards of directors, William is using his post-professorship years as givingly as he can.