The Earth Holder Community of North America/Turtle Island is guided by a the Care Taking Council and a Coordinator. Together, they are advancing policies and addressing organizational needs to fulfill Earth Holders’ founding document. You can learn more about the Earth Holder Community Structure here.


Who We Are


Stephanie and her daughter Daphne–the embodiment of fearlessness

Stephanie Knox Steiner (she/her/hers) ordained as True Earth Dwelling in 2017 and joined the Earth Holder Care Taking Council in 2017. She is a mother, peace educator and scholar, currently working towards her doctorate with a specialization in Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She writes about these topics, as well as mindfulness and motherhood, at

Stephanie recently moved to Colorado, on the traditional land of the Ute nation, where climate disruption takes the form of a combination of warmer winters, drought, wildfires, and increased  intensity of winter storms such as “snowicanes” and “bomb cyclones.” 




Sister True Vow sitting and breathing with compassion.

Sister True Vow (Sr. Thệ Nghiêm)is a second-generation Vietnamese-American who grew up in Pennsylvania. She ordained in 1999 and currently resides and practices at White Crane Hamlet of Blue Cliff Monastery, NY. As a practitioner in the Plum Village Tradition, she received Dharma Lamp Transmission from Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh in 2006. She has a deep interest in exploring the connections between Buddhist and Western psychology to help people heal and touch their fullest potential.





Shephali embracing Great Mother Ocean, the source of all life on Earth.

Shephali Patel (she/her/hers) is a traditional ecologist, regenerative farmer, educator, and climate crisis activist. All of her work centers around creating spaces that support people in remembering that they are Nature, and falling in love with the living world before asking them to save it. Her teacher Thich Nhat Hahn, the Plum Village Tradition, and precious visits to Blue Cliff Monastery continue to teach her how to weave these pockets-of-wonder that fuel the love-in-action needed to build a future of joy and peace for ALL of us. In between all this, Shephali loves to commune with the wild by staring at stars, hiking, rock climbing, practicing yoga and qi gong, and falling into the ocean over and over again.

Shephali holds both of her given 5MT names close to her heart as she works to embody each energy: Radiant Kindness of the Heart (given by fellow CTC member Sister True Vow) and Spiritual Action of the Heart (from CTC member John Bell).


Sara breathing with the scent of kale and great mother earth

Sara Henry (she/they) received the 5 MT name Complete Understanding of the Heart, in Plum Village Thailand in 2012, and received the 14 MT name True Manifestation of Offering, in Blue Cliff Monastery in 2017. She grew up in southern California, and is now a resident at Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in Alstead, NH, on the stolen lands of the Abenaki people. Morning Sun also practices in the Plum Village tradition. Sara enjoys playing in communities and dedicating time to healing and transforming. She is a yoga and Thai massage practitioner, peer counselor, and person of many trades. She cares deeply about mental and physical health care, intersectional racial and social equity, and bringing modalities from her ancestral lineages into her daily life. Sara aspires to walk the path with the mahasangha, with the intention to help transform seeds of discrimination and injustice into peace and refuge.


Maíra loves the scent of wet earth, lots of coffee, baking bread and walking barefoot.

Maíra Fernandes de Melo (she/ela/ella) is a journalist, scholar, poet and activist, working on building bridges towards a free existence for all beings – and on burning the ones systemic oppression has built.

Born in the lands of Tupinambás, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she grew up surrounded by the waters of Atlantic Ocean and the mountains of Atlantic Forest. She also lived in Argentina, land of Guaraníes – the dense stream of Paraná River embracing her body. Living in the Global South, she has witnessed all sorts of social, racial and environmental injustice.

Maíra has Indigenous (Potiguara and Puri) and European (Portuguese and Spanish) human ancestors, and is a daughter of Oxóssi, orisha of the forests in Brazilian candomblé. She received the 5MT name Engaged Serenity of the Heart and dwells happily in hammocks and jabuticaba trees. 



~ Harmonious Continuation of the Heart ~

My given name is Ivan Trujillo Priego (he/el). I am an individual who practices and constantly tries to learn how to bring equal opportunities for all beings through direct actions. In my day to day I focus on how to improve infant and children’s health. 

I was born in the land of the Mexicas, previously known as Tenochtitlán, now known as Mexico City. I grew up in the largest city in the world, surrounded by volcanoes , mountains, forest, a city built on top of a lake bed, where prehispanic and Spanish culture are intermixed, creating a unique identity with an odd relationship to nature and among individuals from different ancestral backgrounds. My own ancestry is odd: Native Mexican, Spanish, German and Belgian, providing privilege in some occasions and discrimination in other occasions. 

I am someone who loves connecting with all beings, human and no- humans, who gets energized by others and strives to recognize the value in all beings. Thus, one of my deepest aspirations is to have a daily practice of interbeing  so my actions may manifest true love. 


Himdeep Singh (he/him) is a first-generation BIPOC immigrant. He received his 5 Mindfulness Trainings in 2021, with the name, Gentle Abiding of the Heart. He enjoys learning new things, exploring the outdoors, and discovering every day, what it means to be truly alive. He loves to express himself fully as possible, weirdness, vulnerability, love, and everything, especially through art practice! He is interested in creating spaces that cultivate healing and connections by building healthy, loving, and inclusive communities. As such, he is currently exploring coaching, holistic medicine, and Earth practices to live in a harmonious way with mother Earth and all beings. 




Chaya – taking refuge in earth sanctuaries

Chaya Ocampo Go (she) ordained as True Radiant Cloud at Blue Cliff Monastery in 2019. She is a Filipina social worker, scholar and activist committed to well-being and survival in marginalized communities across the Philippines. She served as an emergency relief worker post super typhoon Haiyan (2013). Great love and hope inspires her work among front liners. Her doctoral research features three short films on women leading grassroots disaster response efforts in the country: “Barangay Magiting (Village Heroes)” (2019).

Having lived as a migrant/settler on unceded territories in Canada for many years, Chaya practices being in alliance with First Nations land and water protectors. Today she and her young family have returned to Manila. She is tending gardens and exploring ways to energize earth justice work across the Asia Pacific region. 


AD–ever flowing in the river of compassion

AD (he/him/him) received the 5 Mindfulness Trainings from Thich Nhat Hanh in 1995, ordained as an Order of Interbeing member in 2001, and has been active with Earth Holder Community since 2015. He is a retired local public health worker, partner, father of three, and an ex Mindful Peacebuilding board member. AD enjoys walks, yoga, light gardening, inner work, and building community. He  strives to bring mindfulness to local activism in support of the living world and each other.

Living in the lands of the Wintu, AD has experienced deadly wildfires, heat waves and drought worsened by climate change.





Aaron Solomon, Brother Fulfillment, is a mindfulness and meditation teacher, counselor, trauma healer, and climate justice activist. For 14 years he lived as a Buddhist monastic in the Plum Village tradition as a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He is an ordained Dharma teacher and member of the Order of Interbeing, also founded by Thich Nhat Hanh. Aaron works one on one and with groups in the field of trauma healing and is trained in Somatic Experiencing. He also uses the teachings and practices of Nonviolent Communication. Aaron has been active in supporting young adult mindfulness communities, organizing and leading listening circles, and supporting a wide array of communities engaged in social transformation and healing, including climate justice activism and earth-holding. Aaron currently lives and works in New York City, and enjoys spending time in solitude, and also with friends, in the forests of New England, and also of his native home of California. Website: Integrated Mindfulness and Trauma Healing


Simona Coayla Duba, our Earth Holder Coordinator who knows no bounds

Simona Coayla-Duba (she/her/hers) is an Andean-European Indigenous-environmental rights activist. She considers the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Andes of South America home. Simona is an alumna of Naropa University’s Environmental Studies department where she participated in an international academic research program at the Royal University of Bhutan’s College of Natural Resources. She is excited about relational healing, creative and collaborative solutions, and climbing up mountains! Simona has witnessed and felt the impacts of extractivist culture, such as mining and environmental racism, in her homes of the high Rockies in Colorado (land to the Arapahoe, Ute and Cheyenne) and Andean peaks (land of the Tiwanaku and Incan peoples).


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