Who is Red Beard?
Our business name and logo, “Red Beard” refers to a historical figure, Bodhidharma, who travelled from the northern part of India to China and established the Zen school of Buddhism there in the 5th Century. He was said to have piercing blue eyes and a red beard and many legends and iconography have developed around him since that time. According to legend, he spent 9 years in solitary meditation in a cave at Shaolin Temple after his initial attempts to spread Buddhist teaching fell on deaf ears. In modern day China, Korea, and Japan, images of Red Beard are often used as symbols of blessing, strength, or good luck. In Japan, he is often invoked at New Year’s time with papier-mâché dolls symbolizing good fortune.
Red Beard is a frequent theme in Zen artwork. Zen portrayals of him are often rather serious, conveying the fierce strength, determination, and concentration needed for him to successfully plant his teaching in China. Our logo itself is derived from an ink painting brushed by the famous 19th Century Zen master Yamaoka Tesshu. Alex has a special connection to Red Beard both from his time living in Japan as an adolescent, and later as an earnest student of Zen. By choosing Red Beard as our business namesake, we honor the deep commitment to mind-body-spiritual study represented by Bodhidharma and artist Yamaoka Tesshu and endeavor to bring a similar depth, energy, and intention into our work.
Our Vision, Mission, and Core Values
Vision: Creating a space where people anywhere in the world can access somatic tools to find healing, growth, and transformation through the mind, body, and nervous system.
Mission: Red Beard Somatic Therapy is a group practice serving customers online around the world and in-person in Boulder, Colorado and Madison, Wisconsin.
We offer a full suite of multi-modal somatic therapies including: trauma recovery, hands-on bodywork, somatic coaching, movement therapy and nervous system regulation. By working with the body, mind and nervous system we create deep and lasting change.
Our programs have helped individuals, teams and organizations all over the world in over 25 countries. Our recent organizational clients include Providence Health System and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Our recent pro-bono work has included training TRE Providers for social justice activists in Detroit, Michigan and training social workers focused on sexual violence in Nairobi, Kenya. We have also provided TRE education for an organization supporting first responders in the Ukraine war.
Safety. We believe that finding safety at the nervous system level is foundational to all healing and growth. We are committed to supporting safety with all of our clients.
Embodiment. We believe that the deepest change is embodied change, meaning that our growth, values, and purpose are experienced and communicated at the body level.
Regulation. We believe that all systems in the body and mind rely on the principle of dynamic regulation. When we improve regulation of any system, we see positive, lasting change.
Awareness. We believe that awareness creates choice and empowerment. With all of our modalities, our aim is to build self-awareness to allow for sustainable growth.
Connection. We believe that connection to self, other, and the world around us is foundational to human thriving, and that safe, therapeutic connection can support connection in all areas of life.
Self-Leadership. Borrowing from Richard Schwartz’ Internal Family Systems Model, we believe all humans are in possession of a Core Self - a source of innate wisdom and creativity within them. Our goal is to model and support Self-Leadership, meaning that Self leads the way in our healing, growth, and actions.
Non-pathologizing. We believe that we are treating human beings not pathologies. We believe all human beings have innate healing mechanisms in their minds, bodies, and nervous systems that can serve for growth and enhanced well-being.