John, aka Genyo, has lived in western Massachusetts most of his life. Along with music, he has always been interested in exploring wisdom paths.. He first studied theology as a youth at an Episcopal church. He later pursued a liberal arts program at Amherst College, studying world music, philosophy, and Buddhism (with renowned scholar, Robert Thurman). After graduating, he continued investigating Tibetan Buddhism, especially Dzogchen, receiving teachings from H.H. the Dalai Lama, Namkhai Norbu, Tenzin Wangal, Chagdud Tulku, and H.H. Jigme Punstok.
For ten years he studied and practiced Zen with Roshi Eve Marko, a teacher in the White Plum Asanga and the Zen Peacemakers, from whom he received his dharma name, Genyo. He also did some study with Eve’s husband, the renowned maverick Zen teacher Bernie Glassman. In August 2015 he received Dharma Transmission from Eve, and became an authorized Zen teacher, and taught for several years at the Green River Zen Center.
In addition, John has done extensive exploration in other traditions, both spiritual and secular, and has studied and practiced a variety of holistic healing and personal growth methods. He has attended teachings and retreats in Sufism, mystical Judaism, Taoism, Hindu meditation and yoga, Theravada, Mahayana, along with his studies of Tibetan Vajrayana, and Zen Buddhism. He has taught classes in world religions, yoga, philosophy, and self-awareness practices to both adults and teenagers. In the 1980’s and 90s he maintained a holistic counseling, healing, and coaching practice, which he has now reopened in a new form.
During the 1980’s John was also involved in the birthing field, as Vice-President of the Birthing Network, a resource and referral network which provided information and workshops to pregnant women and their partners, and serving as a support for the local home birth movement. John offered phone counseling and referrals, led workshops for prospective dads, gave therapeutic healing sessions to pregnant woman, and attended a number of births in a labor support role.
In 1999, John received his M.A. from Vermont College, pursuing an interdisciplinary program in comparative world religions and creativity studies. For his thesis he wrote and self-published a work entitled The Heart of Creation, an investigation of the nature of inspiration for both artists and mystics. He also spent 12 years on an in-depth study of the Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching, culminating with his publishing of a new translation and commentary under the title, The Power of the Way. John is an interfaith minister through the Universal Life Church, informed by his extensive spiritual studies. As a minister John has conducted over 20 wedding ceremonies, as well as leading memorial services, and other ceremonial group experiences.
As a musician, John studied piano and recorders as a youth. He began improvising as a response to his love of jazz, improv-rock, and Indian raga. In college he studied world music with David Reck, and had his first experience accompanying dance. For decades he has worked extensively with dancers, and taught a popular workshop called the Moving Village, which evolved out of Moving From Within, a movement group practice developed and taught in collaboration with movement educator, Susan Bauer. He has also taught workshops in creativity, and improvisation in both music and movement. He has released four CDs of improvisational music, especially for movement and contemplation, one of which was nominated by JPFolks for best instrumental album of the year. He has created music or presented programs at Smith College, Amherst College, Dance New England, Clark University, Hampshire College, the School for Body-Mind Centering®, Earthdance retreat center, Jacob's Pillow, the Dance Complex, Wire Monkey Dance, Harvard University, UMass Amherst, Mt. Holyoke College, and Williams College, and is in the core group of Mandala Dance. He also creates music for yoga, meditational settings, and sacred ceremony.
Finally, John has been involved for decades with alternative education, primary in the “unschooling” approach to homeschooling, and in connection with North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. This journey began as a parent of his two sons, and continues to this day as Core Staff at North Star.