Sarah McLean

Sarah McLean. Photo: ©2009 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacHernandez.comAlong with my 20+ year daily meditation practice, I’ve had some unique opportunities: I served as the founding education director of Deepak Chopra’s Center for Wellbeing, as director of Byron Katie’s international School for The Work, and assistant to Seat of the Soul author, Gary Zukav.

Each of these thought leaders hired me to help them share their knowledge and talents with the world. As I developed mind/body health centers, self-discovery programs, curriculum, and events for them worldwide, I was fortunate enough to become immersed in their wisdom and knowledge.

Each one has been a great teacher on my path to self-discovery and living a great life. Meditation, however, has been my constant companion and continues to be the most important practice in my journey.

I’ve explored world spiritual traditions:  I was a 2-year resident in a Zen Buddhist monastery, lived in an ashram in India, bicycled along the Silk Route through Pakistan, and trekked the Golden Triangle in Asia. I also served as a medic in the U.S. Army working with those with post traumatic stress disorder. I’ve journeyed thousands of miles through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia by bicycle in search of the secrets of this world and this life.

My aim is to make meditation accessible to anyone who wants to learn as well as to integrate it with creative practices and everyday life. I teach and speak about self-awareness and meditation throughout Arizona and wherever I’m invited.  My articles on mind/body health have been featured in Green Lifestyles Magazine, Earth Odyssey, Frontdoors, AZ Net News, and other publications.  I’m regularly invited to speak on stress-reduction and mind/body wellness on Arizona TV Channel 3’s Your Life A – Z and many radio programs. Read more here.

Featured Retreat Facilitators:

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson MCLean MeditationWhenever she finds herself in museums or reading a great book, Victoria becomes alive in ways she had never experienced in her previous world of board rooms or business gatherings.

After her mother died at the age of 59 in 1993, Victoria followed her secret ambition to learn to paint and write fiction. Her mother’s death gave her the courage to quit a successful business career to become a full-time artist.

Since 1994, she’s given her heart and time to both endeavors equally. Victoria plans every day around meditating, spending time in nature, writing and painting. In the fall, winter, and spring, the light and the contrasting colors of Sedona where she lives with her husband are a daily source of inspiration to her.   In the summers, the sea and the dramatic light of Monhegan Island in Maine where she lives in the summer are her muses.

Her poems and short stories have been published, and her art has been exhibited in many museums and galleries.  Victoria is a co-facilitator of the Yoga of Writing Retreats with Sarah McLean.

Kathy Zavada

Retreat Facilitators Kathy ZavadaKathy Zavada is a performing artist of sacred music and inspirational retreat leader and teacher. Her programs support the awakening of greater consciousness in humanity.  Her expression of love, joy and wisdom help invoke an awareness of one’s true nature, as well as helping her students fully experience the heart’s opening.

Kathy began her musical career at the age of four, and in 1989 began her professional recording career. Her CDs have appeared on’s 10 Best List, in the top 50 most played on public radio. Her music has often been called soulful, inspirational, and heart opening. You can listen to it on her website.

Kathy spends time with and is often invited to sing for her spiritual teacher Mata Amritanandamayi, the hugging saint, and shares her music at programs for Gangaji, a distinguished and well-respected American spiritual teacher.  Kathy makes her home in Mt. Shasta, California.  Kathy is a co-facilitator of the Heart Opening Retreats with Sarah McLean.

Marty Birrittella

Retreat Facilitators Marty BirrittellaMarty has been meditating since he was in college. He has since made it his priority to immerse himself in the spiritual life. He lived in an ashram (a meditation community) for many years, and is well-versed in the effects of meditation and expanded awareness.

He was the founder and president of several successful well-known public companies. When he turned 41, he retired and was able to fully devote himself to his spiritual practices.

Marty has turned to painting and writing, and calls himself one who “painted by ear” as he really listens to his spirit and is guided by that.  He is a gifted facilitator who loves to work with others and share his approach of the practice of self-inquiry. He reveres nature and the outdoors and does a walking meditation everyday in the wilderness.

Suzi von Mensenkampff

Retreat Facilitators Suzi von MensenkampffSuzi studied at Chopra Center University with Dr. Deepak Chopra. As a Vedic Master, she is certified to teach Ayurveda for Perfect Health, Primordial Sound Meditation, and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Mastery in these three disciplines demonstrates the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda, and Yoga.

Suzi is committed to helping people from all walks of life to nurture and balance their body, mind and spirit, to create a life of peace, health and deeper fulfillment.