The essence of my work arises from this passion for life. I am a student of the heart who brings presence, playfulness, creativity and grounded action to the work I do and the life I live. I am an engaged learner and creative thinker with an astute social sensibility and a keen capacity to see the whole while caring for the parts. For a better understanding of what this looks like in practice, please explore the other pages of this website and learn about my social emotional consulting, life and family coaching, learning circles and youth mentoring. This will offer you a taste of the ways in which I support individuals, families and groups in their efforts to live more vibrantly, deepening their connections with themselves, each other and the world around them. To dive even deeper into the heart of who I am, the beliefs that guide and inspire me, and the specific details of my training and experience, continue reading below.










Guiding Beliefs

I am deeply curious about life itself, and especially about the nuances of human experience and the intricate webs of connections that weave the world together. There are so many ways to relate with ourselves and others, with our environment and the natural world, and with the mysteries of life. And pulsing through this sacred story we call life is an ever-present opportunity to experience beauty and enchantment, to feel the life-force that animates our living, and to connect to a divine presence that permeates reality. Experiencing such moments allows us the opportunity to fall in love with the world. We can fall in love with the hidden corridors in our hearts, with the neighbors we’ve yet to meet, and even with the unexpected disturbances that we learn to welcome and watch with wonder as we would a summer thunderstorm. We can fall in love with ourselves and each other, with places and experiences, with thoughts and feelings, with the earth and the sky. By nature, we have been gifted with the ability to fall in love – to me, that’s magical.

Experience and Training

I have spent the last 10 years working as a lead teacher, school counselor, social emotional teacher, life and family coach, self-discovery mentor, group facilitator, organizational coach and wilderness trip leader. I have worked individually with children and adults and have facilitated groups for parents, teachers, school communities, organizations and interest-based groups. My approach is influenced by training and experience in:


  1. Child-Centered Play Therapy

  2. Filial Therapy

  3. Positive Discipline

  4. Roots of Empathy

  5. Emotion Coaching

  6. Open Space Technology

  7. World Cafe


Education

  1. B.A. in Sociology

  2. Certificate in Early Childhood Education

  3. Master of Education in Counseling, specializing in Play Therapy, Filial Therapy with teachers and parents (groups that focus on strengthening the child-caregiver bond), and Transpersonal/Integral Counseling

A lover is trying to seduce us into her wonder and mystery, into the heart of her beauty, home.

Day by day, moment by moment, the waters of life are pouring forth into our soul, fed by the little encounters of being that happen without effort simply because we are alive.

We are alive! What an amazing gift.

One afternoon I was sitting with a group of my students at the lunch table. I was animated and engaged in our conversation. Suddenly, a 9 year old boy looked up at me with wide eyes of knowing and exclaimed, “Ashley, you need a tee shirt that says Easily Amazed!” To which I thought, “Exactly!” What a treasured gift he offered me that day as he simply and clearly reflected back to me the passion and enthusiasm I have for life. He also named my weblog!

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

I believe that each individual has gifts - ways of being of service and enriching the world - which they were born to embody. I’m dedicated to cultivating spaces in which people can recognize and offer these gifts while also connecting with the sources of inspiration that motivate their actions. I encourage individuals and groups to take time to pause and reflect on their experiences. What has emerged? What have we learned? How can we acknowledge and appreciate one another’s efforts? By reflecting on and recognizing patterns

and connections, people can create practices that support their goals, spark their creativity, and strengthen their capacities to replicate and sustain change. Integrating opportunities for celebration generates a culture where people are more inclined to continue giving of themselves while valuing their own and other people’s contributions.


When addressing challenges or desires for growth, the entire system must be considered.

Systems such as families, schools, and organizations work most effectively and efficiently when people are supported in their needs to participate and make meaningful contributions and connections. The most valuable resources are the relationships within the system and the gifts, skills, talents, passions, questions and insights that are present. It is an honor to support individuals and groups by creating environments and practices that encourage them to dream into what’s possible, utilize their most valuable resources, and open to the ever-present creative energy through play and experimentation. There are so many possibilities for how people can use their gifts as clear guides for action while learning to work together to nurture vibrant and sustainable systems.

  1. Reggio Emilia approach to education

  2. Conflict Resolution

  3. Body awareness approaches

  4. Mindfulness practices

  5. Nonviolent Communication

  6. Current research in the fields of parenting,
    social emotional learning, and neuroscience

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Ashley Cooper
Thomas Arthur 
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Woven Essence

Engaging Life

Deepening Connections