My path to Sugar Ridge really started in 1998 when I was working as a stressed-out professional engineer in Toronto. In order to find a way to learn to relax, I searched my midtown neighbourhood for tai chi and yoga classes. One yoga teacher I found, Marie Paulyn, lived and was running her classes only a block away from where I was living. This was too easy… I thought I would give it a try.
After my first class with her, I walked out with a stupid grin on my face, from that very universal, post-yoga feeling of being both incredibly relaxed and energized at the same time. I was hooked! I took classes with Marie for about a year, when she approached me and said I would be a good candidate for her teacher training program.By the end of the teacher training program I realized that I really liked working with people. My job as an engineering manager was sort of a “people person” job, but it was far too corporate and “bottom line” focused for my liking. With this mind set change, I became intrigued by Marie’s other career as a psychotherapist. I looked into psychotherapy training (initially as “leadership training”, as I told my company) and began that new path. I fell backwards into a Masters degree in Educational Psychology and fell in love with my wife Liz (who was a fellow student in the Masters program).
After Liz and I got married (a few months after we met), we packed up and moved to Midland, where her family was from and where she was living part-time already. I quit my engineering job and have worked teaching yoga or in the mental health sector since.Liz’s dream of owning a retreat centre lead us on a multiyear search for the “perfect” property. We passed over the current Sugar Ridge property several times over the years, thinking it was too expensive. One day we thought we would give it a look and we were sold. The land was just perfect for our vision. We purchased the property and moved to the country just outside of Midland. The Sugar Ridge dream was just beginning and our work hasn’t stopped since…In addition to our work at Sugar Ridge, Liz and I also maintain private psychotherapy and coaching practices, Masala Integrative Lifecare. To broaden my interest in working with men, I also run a regular men’s group, The Men’s Group.