Grads C-D

Carolyn Stachowski
Arlington, VA

Carolyn Stachowski has dedicated her life to the dharma. She is a watercolorist and sculptor, and has written and illustrated the book, “Unshakeable Peace: A Primer,” to support the work that she and 25 other volunteers do throughout the Washington D.C. area – teaching in correctional institutions.

Carolyn also co-facilitates a Women’s Sangha at the Langley Hill Friends Meeting House in McLean, VA, with Insight Teacher Rashmi Nair-Ripley. This sangha was founded in 2010 to create a safe container for women to practice meditation and mindful dialogue. She is passionate for the cause of re-empowering the values associated with the feminine: interdependence, cooperation, connection, and is clear that these values are shared by all of humanity.

She is grateful that she grew up near a lake, lived for a short time in Lebanon, owned a restaurant, and raised two children. She is also grateful to her many teachers, to her parents, and to nature, for this ‘wild and precious life.‘


Charles (Collie) Agle
Washington, D.C.

Collie’s first awakening to meditation happened during his growing-up years on California’s Big Sur coast. As an antidote for family dysfunction, he sat  in redwood groves and on ridges in stillness and quietness.

Today, Collie’s meditation practice rests on three pillars: his own and others’ personal awakening; the interconnectedness of all things; and a direct engagement of the practice in the world.

He has been involved in insight meditation since 2008, when he helped found the St Marks Meditation Center, where he now guides and teaches meditation and Buddhism. He is also an active Episcopalian.

His activity arc consists of: increasing awareness of and involvement in the Anacostia watershed; village-based reforestation and sustainable agriculture in Honduras; conservation  and sustainability practices in West Virginia; nurturing individuals in spiritual communities; and exploring contemplative interfaith traditions. All of these are under-girded by the Dharma, particularly the two wings of wisdom and compassion.

Collie lives with Betsy, his wife of 48 years, and their dog, Bodhi. They have two sons and five grandchildren. Along with their home in D.C.,  he and Betsy also spend time at their mountain farm in West Virginia, which has become a forest refuge.

He aspires to be a bodhisattva.

Charmi Neely
Staunton, VA

Charmi is a psychotherapist in Staunton, VA. Growing up in New York City, and the Mid-Hudson Valley, she was introduced to the dharma through the magical, Buddhist-infused stories about connection and change that her Aunt Charmi Mori told to her as a child. Visiting Zen Mt. Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY in the 1980’s, Charmi’s practice began through readings and teachings across traditions, and evolved into a dedicated meditation practice in 2002, after the deaths of loved ones, and deepened insight into impermanence.

Charmi has master’s degrees in English Literature and Marriage & Family Therapy. She has taught at SUNY New Paltz, Marist College, and JMU; and began teaching mindfulness classes and daylong retreats in 2004. In 2005, she completed the MBSR Teacher Development Intensive under Jon Kabat-Zinn; and in 2008 founded the Mindfulness Meditation Group of Staunton.

Some major influences have been Jack Kornfield on Buddhist psychology; Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, and Pema Chodron on awakening the heart-mind; Bhante “G” and Phillip Moffitt on embodying presence;  Alan Wallace and  Leigh Brasington on cultivating shamatha and the jhanas; and Guy Armstrong and Anan Thubten on resting in awareness.

Inviting others into compassionate inquiry, and dedication to practice, Charmi’s teachings are about “letting go” and “lightening up” — in a joyful embrace of “One Dharma” — opening to the experiencing self as other and the world — as wakeful loving presence.


Cheryl Harlan
Oak Hill, VA

Cheryl’s travels have taken her both around the world and into interior realms of herself. Her formal education – B.S., MA, Ed.S. in Creative and Healing Arts Education – are informed by years of mind-body studies. Her yoga, meditation, art classes, and retreat curriculum are a dynamic blending of her lifelong trainings.

In 1996, after six years of meditation practice, she completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Professional Development Institute program with Jon Kabat-Zinn. In 2011 she completed the Year of Living Mindfully program with Jonathan Foust.

Today, she is a Yoga Alliance-affiliated teacher (with advanced study in yoga, chi gong, and other health therapies), an adjunct professor of meditation at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, a mind-body facilitator for the Center for Consciousness and Transformation at George Mason University, and an affiliate teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C.

As a former lead consultant for CBS, Inc., and a certified K-8 regular classroom teacher and K-12 art teacher, she is also dedicated to bringing mindfulness into mainstream education by working with K-12 teachers and administrators.


Clay Evans
Reston, VA

Clay has been meditating for more than 40 years. He started meditating in 1971 in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) style, and in 1991 began practicing Mindfulness Meditation. He has attended 15 silent meditation retreats over the years – lasting 7 to 10 days. His personal practice includes on-going retreat attendance, and in 2013 he attained a life-long goal of attending four retreats in one year.

One of Clay’s primary teachers was S.N. Goenka, and he received his training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.

Clay currently:

  • Teaches a half-day “Introduction to Mindfulness” workshop
  • Leads a weekly Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. morning meditation group at The Center for Mindful Living in Tenleytown/AU Park D.C.
  • Leads a weekly noon-time mediation group at the psychotherapy offices of Dr. Mary-Linda Sara and Susan Pan in Reston, Va
  • Provides individual and group mindfulness training, coaching, and mentoring in person or via electronic media

Clay and his wife of 35 years, Barbara, are both native Washingtonians who reside in Reston, Va with their two college-student daughters – Nicole and Christine – and granddaughter Kali.

Clay’s business background includes:

•   2 years as a youth and family counselor
•   7 years in upper management at MCI Telecommunications
•   14 years as President and COO of PRS Guitars (a global manufacturing company)

Craig Ehrlich
Gaithersburg, MD

I have been training in the Chinese internal arts of Tai Chi, Hsing Yi, PaKua, and Qigong as well as Taoist and Zen Buddhist meditation traditions for more than 25 years. In 2004, I started Vipassana training with Tara Brach and the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW). I currently teach several classes for Insight on the Inside (IOI), IMCW’s Prison Dharma Program, as well as mindfulness meditation and Qigong workshops.

I get great pleasure from working with people on a one-on-one basis. In this intimate setting I am able to tailor mindful movement and meditation techniques to enhance each individual’s overall health and well being. My aim is to work gently over time to develop each individual’s vitality, energy, and spirit.

Cynthia Wilcox
Frederick, MD

Cynthia is a licensed psychologist who practices mindfulness-based therapy with a focus on the felt sense of experience as an essential resource. She has a particular interest in bringing mindfulness to relationships of all kinds, and holds a deep conviction that we each have within us the capacity for healing our bodies, minds, and spirits by tapping into our own deepest wisdom and resources. She works with body-centered techniques to help people discover those resources.

As a teacher, Cynthia co-leads the Singles Sangha at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, and co-teaches a weekly class in Frederick, Maryland. She also teaches classes for therapists who are interested in incorporating mindfulness into their work with clients.

Cynthia discovered the path of insight meditation in 2006 and found it to be a coming home to her own deepest beliefs and values. Her practice has developed through silent meditation retreats and participation in this two-year training.

David Silver
Charlottesville, VA

David Silver, M.D., teaches mindfulness and meditation through the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia Mindfulness Center.  A practicing psychiatrist, David’s work throughout his career has been primarily with individuals experiencing severe and persistent mental illness. David is trained in MBSR and has meditated for more than twenty years. Through his teaching he hopes to encourage others toward an abiding sense of peace and well-being and a greater capacity for living each moment from an open and compassionate heart.


Deepali Patel
Dublin, Ireland

An avid yoga practitioner for two decades, Deepali came to vipassana meditation in 2008 in the face of a major life change and a move overseas. Two months into her (at the time, weekly) practice, she decided to take on a six-day silent retreat, and discovered in seated meditation a beautiful complement to her vinyasa practice. Following another ten-day (Goenka-style) retreat in Mongolia, she developed a daily practice that has since seen her through further moves back to the U.S. and overseas again, along with lots of work (and occasionally fun) travel.

In 2011, Deepali began teaching yoga and meditation. She especially enjoys teaching yin yoga, which blends the yoga asanas with the reflective insight of seated meditation and invites students to move deeply inward through their practice.

Currently, Deepali lives in Dublin, Ireland, where she works as a freelance writer and continues to develop her personal practice. She is available for private instruction in both yoga and meditation, as well as other forms of mindful movement.

Don Abrams
Silver Spring/Ashton, MD

Most succinctly, Don holds that his meditation practice has been transformative and he is committed to helping other through his approach to working with pragmatic dharma.  He has been involved with the Insight Meditation Center of Washington, where he is an affiliate teacher, since 2006, teaching incarcerated humans through IMCW’s Insight on the Inside program and mentoring individuals. In addition to being an avid yoga practitioner, Don is a fine artist/painter.  Previously he was a senior manager for NASA, a Legis Fellow from the Brookings Institute…. and an Eagle Scout.  He is extremely interested in integrating mindfulness and meditation into the daily lives of persons living with physical challenges, based on prior personal experiences.

Don lives in the northern part of Silver Spring with his wife, dog, cats and his wife’s horse. He’s the father of three grown sons and a joyful granddaughter, who is one of his primary teachers.  He maintains a daily meditation practice, which along with numerous silent retreats and significant training programs as the Meditation Teacher Training Institute’s two year course and The Year of Living Mindfully keep his love of the Buddhadharma expanding.

He says, “As a teacher, I am continually aware of how much I still have to learn…..”

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