Grads E-H

Ellen Fried
Greenbelt, MD

Ellen Fried is a writer and editor who specializes in organizations that have “National” in their name. For many years, she worked for the National Geographic Society; now she’s at the National Archives.

For more than two decades, she has studied and practiced both meditation and a closely-related awareness technique called Focusing, which offers a way to make space for, be with, and investigate the more difficult experiences that arise in meditation (and in life). She is fortunate to have studied with many wise and gifted teachers; the two who have had the greatest impact on her practice and her life are Tara Brach (for mindfulness meditation) and Ann Weiser Cornell (for Focusing). Ellen thinks it’s cool that both Tara and Ann have written books with the words “radical acceptance” in the title.

In 2011, Ellen entered into teacher certification programs for both meditation and Focusing. She looks forward to teaching, coaching, and mentoring at the intersection of these two powerful practices.


Frederic Persi
Washington, DC

Fred is a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, where he teaches mindfulness basics such as compassion, awareness, concentration, and meditation to children ages 5-11 and their parents in the Children & Family Mindfulness Meditation Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, VA.

He is devoted parent, business owner, avid traveler, and cook. His life is filled with great joy, for which he is very grateful. Fred’s outlook on life has been significantly influenced by many years of living overseas as a child, his X-year recovery from alcoholism, and his meditation practice.

Fred began meditating many years ago, and has attended numerous meditation retreats in both the Vipassana and Zen traditions. He has been guided by a number of teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Jonathan Foust and Pema Chodron.


Gary Hillesland
Rockville, MD

Gary is a long-time meditator with a long history of retreats and trainings who has studied for ten years with Arica teacher Oscar Ichazo and eight years with Insight teachers Jonathan Foust and Tara Brach. He is trained in both Vispassana (insight meditation) and Samatha (concentration meditation.) His active involvement with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington includes being the founder and administrator of IMCW’s Mentoring Program.

As a support to his sitting meditations, Gary also practices Qi Gong, and is involved with a 12-Step program. If you wish to work with him, he will encourage you to develop a regular sitting practice. “I’m not a therapist, but I do recognize the importance of compassion and the heart practices of Insight Meditation.”

Gary lives with his wife of 35 years, Janet Merrick, a long-time meditator and assistant to Tara Brach.


Gene Kojowski

Geoff Maxson
Takoma Park, MD

Geoff works as an electrical engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and has taught meditation classes there. As appropriate to his station and calling, Geoff is especially interested in the scientific aspects of practice, including the positive psychology and the neuroscience of happiness. He also loves the metta practices—cultivating friendliness with ourselves, the people around us, and the experience of the current moment. He serves individuals as a private meditation mentor, and for several years has taught meditation to people in prison.

Geoff has also studied yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, and incorporates the benefits he receives from these practices into his own practice and teaching.


Glendora Meyers
Washington, D.C. 

Glendora grew up in a family of mindful practitioners. She’s been attending mindful retreats, day longs, courses and classes since the early 1970’s and continues studying with Hugh Byrne, Patrick Coffey, Jonathan Foust, Sylvia Bornstein, Tara Brach, Ruth King, Mary Aubry, and many more.

She’s taught classes on behalf of IMCW at St. Mary’s Residence, St. Mark’s Church on Capitol Hill, The Yoga Connection, HIV/STD Administration, The Pavilion of God Church, several Unity retreats, the Singles Sangha and local libraries. She’s affiliated with Minds and teaches mindfulness in local schools, recreation centers, and shelters. Glendora also teaches a weekly meditation class for experienced students in her home that focuses on the Four Noble Truths and Stress Reduction.


Heather Karp 
Charlottesville, VA

Heather is devoted as a messenger of Insight Meditation, dedicated to passing on the gifts of mindfulness and the heart practices she believes can make the hard things of life a little easier, and the good things more delicious.

As a child growing up in apartheid South Africa, Heather awakened at an early age to the issues of suffering and social injustices. Today, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, she works through the lens of her own complex immigrant experience to not only bridge perceived and real issues of separation, but to celebrate diversity as well.

With a professional background in health promotion education and counseling, Heather’s practice has also been informed through the challenges and medical trauma both she and family members have experienced due to chronic immune deficiency conditions.

Heather is also part of a mindfulness teaching team at a women’s prison. She was drawn to this particular service with the belief that we are all “doing time,” and can find a measure of freedom and peace despite great difficulties.


Helen Knight Farrar
Lexington, VA

Helen Knight Farrar, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in a community health center and a hospice consultant in Lexington, VA. She has practiced meditation since 2002, including Vipassana, and Insight Dialogue/Interpersonal Presence based on the work of Gregory Kramer. Her work in the health and mental health care fields has been highly influenced by her practice. In 2007, she completed the certificate program for teaching “Being With Dying” at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe with Roshi Joan Halifax.

Her current practice interests are those of the heart, impermanence, and mindful presence in relationship. She has taught the latter to hospice workers on both the local and state level. She has also taught “Introduction to Meditation” classes for the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville and in her local community.

Helen’s love of mindfulness teachings and practices is deep and personal. It has changed her relationship with both physical and emotional pain (both her own and others’) from “being at war with” to “holding with kindness”. She feels this has brought more ease and freedom to the way she lives and interacts in the world. She lives on a small farm with her husband and animals in the southern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Holly Balow Robedeau
Harrisonburg & Charlottesville, VA

Holly Balow Robedeau, PsyD., teaches meditation in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, Virginia, as well as other locations in the U.S. She has practiced Insight Meditation since 1990, and taught meditation since 1995.  Holly is an affiliate teacher with IMCW-the Insight Meditation Community of Washington D.C, and IMCC-the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, Va.  She offers retreats (half-day, daylong, two day+), guided meditations, introductory courses in meditation, and welcomes you to contact her for her schedule or to invite her to provide these services in your community.

Meditation informs her life, both personally and professionally: as a mentor/coach-to individuals, and also to those seeking assistance in establishing their own meditation communities, whether this be within companies – profit or non-profit – or towns.

She is in private practice as a Psychologist (Harrisonburg, Va.); and as an organizational consultant in OD & Training, providing wellness and productivity programs to profit and non-profit organizations.

Holly is an assistant professor of psychology at James Madison University, where she has led meditation groups for faculty, staff and students.  She holds a master’s degree in business, and a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Pat Coffey, Hugh Byrne, Jonathan Foust, Venerable Bhante Gunaratana, Trudy Goodman, Lila Kate Wheeler, Thanissara, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Marge Minervini are just a few who have influenced her practice. For Holly, meditation has provided a deep respect for the benefits of practice not only on the cushion … but off the cushion, as translated into everyday life; within ourselves; with our intimate others; at the work place; with nature.

“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow – come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all.” – Buddha


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s