pausing with turtle

Leaving town? Want your home to be well cared for and have a lived in look?

I am an artist and long time house sitter and have tremendous respect for other people’s spaces. I am responsible, neat and quiet and will bring pausing turtle energy into your home…

Please contact me if you are interested in exploring possibilities. And please share my information with friends and family!

Pet care services also available.

Currently in Richmond, Virginia area. Open to traveling…

References upon request.
Katya Lesher

staying awake ~ a new offering

staying awake

For quite a while, my dear friend and co-creator, Maia Duerr and I have explored possibilities for continued support to those who have been a part of ‘Waking Up to Your Life’, our 12-week online program, as well as for others who have a contemplative practice and are seeking deeper connection.

This January, we are offering Staying Awake — a new five-month virtual support circle for women. Our hope is that this circle will give you an ongoing source of accountability and connection with others so that your practice can deepen and thrive.

Staying Awake will run January 15 through May 15. Please visit this page for more information. There is a short and simple application process, which is now open. The last day to apply is January 10.

Please join us for Staying Awake — we are very excited to offer this new way for you to deepen your commitment to your practice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Sending you solstice light and love

~ katya

And an extra bonus! My latest solstice card…

tending to our hearts 2

chrysalis institute, richmond va


 …this is solitary work that cannot be done alone ~ Ira Progoff

I have been aware of Chrysalis Institute for many years, but only recently became involved with them. What was I thinking that it took so long? Ah yes, hindsight…But never mind that!

In this moment, I am grateful to be a part of this gem, here in Richmond, VA! A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to offer a ‘kitchen table’ gathering where a wonderful group of people shared experiences and perspectives about healing through creativity. And the following day I facilitated a Roots and Wings day of creative expression. What an honor it was to connect with community in the Chrysalis space.

Creativity, Mindfulness, Wisdom, Compassion and Consciousness
~ Values ~ 

And I am thrilled that I have been asked to be a part of the staff for the next offering of Spiritual Paths: Cultivating a Life of Meaning Through Spiritual Practice. As a spiritual mentor I will work with a few individuals, supporting them on their journey (a passion of mine!). I will also have the opportunity to lead a segment around connecting with the earth and spirit animals (and it involves creativity!). Really looking forward to deepening my connection with Chrysalis, and thus, a deeper connection with myself.

Chrysalis Institute is a vibrant resource and learning center for
exploring insights and practices drawn from the world’s spiritual traditions,
philosophies and contemporary science.
Chrysalis encourages spiritual growth and exploration
beyond the conventional boundaries of any one faith.
~ Mission Statement ~

So, I am writing about this because I wanted to share a bit of what I am up to and my excitement of becoming a part of an amazing non-profit organization.

And a request:

Chrysalis Institute has become such an important part of the Richmond community (and beyond!) that they have outgrown their current space. A huge endeavor is underway as they transition into a new space that will give more people the opportunity to learn, grow, heal… live their lives more fully. In order to create a beautiful and welcoming space for the community, Chrysalis needs to raise the funds to give the new space some much needed TLC.  A crowdfunding campaign has been launched and I am wondering if you would be willing to support this project, which will in turn support me, which in turn will support the Richmond community, which in turn will support many communities, which in turn will support the country and the world and the universe and beyond!

With love and gratitude ~ katya

Greetings! It has been awhile since I posted here on pausing turtle. For those of you who don’t know, since the beginning of August I have been working at a remote retreat center in Northern New Mexico Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center I will be up here until the end of October and then in November will make my way back to the east coast.

It has been an amazing experience on many levels and I am learning a lot.
And I have so much to be grateful for:

  • feeling embraced by this beautiful magical place
  • the many other humans I have crossed paths with and learned from
  • the powerful presence of the Mule Deer
  • many moments of pausing and being still
  • the trees and their steadfastness
  • the ability to gently laugh at myself
  • night skies that are bursting with stars
  • being so close to and aware of the changing of the seasons, a reminder of impermanence
  • and much, much more…


petals fade and fall
flowers do not fear their death
soft impermanence




tend to each other
we are breath and beating hearts
here on sacred ground


With love ~ katya

tender whispering





tender whispering 5

oh delicate hearts
find beauty in brokenness
tender whispering

I have been moved by the journey of Michael Stone, a Buddhist teacher who recently died. I never met him, but from what I have read, he was a kind, giving, loving and gentle man who supported many on their spiritual journeys.

Unbeknownst to many, Michael lived with bipolar disorder. Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, he kept it from the public.

A good reminder that we are all human, and also that we have no idea what people might be struggling with. We are all broken in some way – and there is beauty in that brokenness. May we be kind and tender with each other…

Lion’s Roar put out an official statement re Michael’s death. You can read it here   and there are many videos available on-line if you are interested in listening to his offerings.