About Nadia

The Shorter Bio

I hold a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University, where my studies were supported by a Mellon Fellowship and a Jacob Davits Fellowship, and where I won the Bunner Prize for Best American Essay and a B.A. from Harvard where I graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. I’m a certified Kundalini yoga teacher and an Order of Interbeing aspirant in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Tradition.

I’ve taught at MIT, Lesley and Stonehill College, where I was a visiting writer, and, for the past ten years, in popular workshops around New England and in Costa Rica.

​My writing has won numerous awards, including a PEN/NE Discovery Award in Poetry, and my poetry and prose have been widely published in more than sixty national publications including The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Slate.com, American Scholar, Grist.org, Literary Imagination, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Yes! Magazine,  Yale Review, Southwest Review,  Boston Globe Magazine, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Women’s Studies Quarterly, LA Review of Books, Volt, Columbia: A Journal, elephant journal, Appalachia and many other places.

I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and students in New England and around the world as a private coach and as a workshop leader and teacher helping them come into their full potential. I work with individuals and with groups to use mindfulness and creativity to help facilitate optimal flourishing and a vision of the self in society.

I’m also a founding editor at the spirituality and social justice magazine, Anchor, published by Still Harbor, and a Research Scholar at the Ronin Institute.

My own path is an untraditional one, and I help create pathways for authentic becoming.

​I live in Cambridge, MA with my husband, Eric Colburn, and our  two children.

The Longer Bio: My Story

I’ve always been a seeker, passionate about finding meaning. As a young child, I was an avid reader and a somewhat serious ballet dancer. I grew up in New York City with one younger sister and parents who both worked in publishing.

I went to Harvard where I majored in English, and after a year in Paris with my boyfriend (now husband), I went to graduate school in English Literature at Columbia University.

Much as I enjoyed graduate school, I was eager to live more fully, and had my first child, Gabriel when I was 27. I wanted to move into my heart more, and that baby definitely moved me into my heart: being a mom rocked my world and opened me up.

No longer content primarily to study other people’s literature, I wanted to explore more deeply my own writing as a woman and mother, and I moved to Cambridge, where I studied poetry with the Harvard Professor of Poetry, Jorie Graham.

Five days after I moved from New York to Cambridge was 9/11/01. My heart—and eyes—opened even more.  I felt a calling to work for peace and to stop the proliferation of violence. I helped organize peace rallies and became a volunteer counselor with the GI Rights Hotline, which provides free counsel to members of the military, many of whom were looking for ways out of the military and/or dealing with PTSD.

At the same time, I began to publish my poems widely. After having my second child, Simone, four years after Gabriel was born, I began to write prose focusing on issues of transition, motherhood, peace and environmental justice.

The questions I was writing about—questions of narrative shifts and heart-and earth- centered meaning—opened me to explore my own life in a new way, and I began for the first time to unravel the meaning of my own physical illness and imbalances that conventional medicine had not been able to help me with and that had bothered me on and off since my early 20s. And this line of personal inquiry and writing about my experiences becoming a mother and with confronting the violence of the world as a mother, led to a direct confrontation with early childhood trauma.

This confrontation turned my life upside down for several years as I went into very deep healing work to overcome post traumatic stress and be the mother and woman I wanted to be. But as challenging as that work was, it helped me clarify my own commitment to healing on every level, my commitment to a spiritual path, and my commitment to helping create a more peaceful world in which all people are able to come into their authentic and aligned voice and vision.

I became an aspirant in the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing and a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, and I studied numerous forms of spirituality and holistic health. In my studies and practices, I benefited from the discipline and wisdom of particular traditions while also seeing the ways in which the different traditions all point in the same direction of peace, compassion, healing, wonder and power.

The things that knock us off our own center, whether in our childhood or in our jobs or relationships or in public events—the shadow side of our lives, those things that pose the greatest challenges—are also opportunities for growth, understanding, compassion and the impetus to our greatest and deepest purpose in the world.

It is my honor and calling to help people and organizations on their own path for positive change.

It is my belief that our personal stories are larger than the individual; it is through our own awareness that we are able to manifest the change we want to see in the world.

In this period of political and environmental dangers and of rapid transitions, nothing is more important than coming into our centers and developing our voices and our visions for a more equitable, peaceful, sustainable world.


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