Leslie Reed, LCSW
Ms. Reed has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1994. Her current focus is in developing a practice that helps others restore their intrinsic capacity for a fuller, more enriching life.
Her practice is informed by formal training in a blend of contemplative and psychodynamic therapies that values health and wellness. Her interest in this therapeutic framework is a natural outcome of her own ongoing therapeutic work and developing spiritual practice. This allows her to more fluently move between the spiritual language of love and compassion and the psychological language of emotional distress and resiliency.
Leslie has a Masters in Social Work from the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University, with a concentration in clinical and research applications and an advanced certificate in Contemplative Clinical Practice from the Smith College School of Social Work. She was the Director of the Organization Program at the William Alanson White Institute. She has worked extensively with groups, providing supervision, consultation and a deep understanding of the underlying dynamics of group life in organizations.
"My aimless walking one spring day in 2008 led me to a Christian bookstore…a foreign experience” for my Jewish nature. I was drawn to the shelves of midlife offerings and the book “Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. called out to me. “If we are spiritual beings on a human path then our lives were meant to be meaningful and authentic, our losses and suffering can either burnish the soul or diminish it.”
A week later in a conversation about Avalon with my closest friend and spiritual soul mate, she had received an announcement for “Crossing to Avalon: A Pilgrimage to Chartres and to the Sacred Feminine. This felt like a welcoming we needed to heed. We landed In Chartres that September. Chartres Cathedral is built upon an ancient goddess and Druid sacred site, where pilgrims journeyed long before Christianity to quicken the divinity in themselves.
We slept at the foot of the Cathedral in a nearby Monastery. We walked daily within the Cathedral’s walls drinking in the nave with its harmonious lines, its grandeur and balance, and the colors of its mosaic windows with their soft light flooding the pavement. We sat at a café across from the Cathedral, enchanted by its mystical glory and historical statuary, savoring French omelets and lattes. This sacred ground spoke to me like no church or temple ever had; full of mystery and pagan divinity. Our sites were on the 13th-century labyrinth where pilgrims traveled to walk its circuitous path of 11 concentric rings, carved from limestone rock, carried to the Cathedral from a nearby quarry. People from around the world walk its path, together, in silence and community. There is symmetry to its pattern. It is not a maze, but a single way.
At night the cathedral was bathed in light. We walked the pilgrim path up through the crypts where we wrote and burnt our intentions in the baptismal font. Mine was: to shed the barriers that interfere with my being with my compassionate self. Inside we walked the stones barefoot and felt those who had walked before us, feet calloused and bloody, comforted by the cold smooth stones and the sweet sound of dulcimers and basses that quietly matched our steps and dreams as we proceeded in silence. A mantra came to me as I walked:
Be with your heart
Your heart is light
The light is your heart
These words spoke clearly and repeatedly with every step as I turned to leave the center of the labyrinth. While there is a linear chronology to our lives, there is usually a labyrinthine quality to following or finding the thread of meaning. A pilgrimage allows us to recollect liminal experiences, moments out of time. This was my experience within the Cathedral and on the labyrinth’s path. It was my initiation into my ever-deepening spiritual life and with it the allure of the powerful voice of wisdom in Sophia, the divine feminine. My spiritual practice has been nurtured through the paths of my own spiritual journey and my connection to colleagues steeped in their contemplative practices, such as the Contemplative Studies Project."