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“Radiant Beauty” found at an APTA Conference

By September 16, 2019Uncategorized

Interview with Janice Marie Durand, NC LMBT, BCPP, RPE

By Meredith Zelman Narissi, MS, BCPP

I mostly help people get out of their own way…as I was originally taught and then grew into. I help them get to know, trust, and uncover their wise inner-knowing and their original-essence self: that Innate Intelligence with a Capital “I” that goes back to the old osteopathic roots of our evolutionary Healing Art of Polarity.                                                                                           …Janice Marie Durand

It might sound superficial, but I kept asking “Who is that woman with the really pretty face?” We had shared a group session in Johnny Henderson and Tom Langan’s class at the Polarity Renaissance Conference, and I wanted to know who she was. The thing is, the pretty face was beautiful; not just because of symmetry, or proportion, or shape. It seemed to be due to something else…a kind of inner radiance that belied the usual definition of beauty. Janice emanates goodness and beauty in a single glance. Being Polarity Therapists I’m sure you can feel what I mean.

We began our email exchanges by playfully calling each other Divine Goddess and that sort of thing. It was fun and funny, yet it also acknowledged a quest behind the journey we share. When I read her resume, I was astounded. She has done many meaningful and powerful works in the name of Health, Wellness, and of course, Polarity!

Here is how she describes her Educational Style at Tree of Life Center:

Our educational style is designed to explore the various ways students learn by incorporating kinesthetic, visual, and auditory perspectives.  We open to the world of Energy in its’ many forms; exploring the energy blueprint that precedes form and breathes life thru every cell in our body.

We integrate old Osteopathic principles, Cranio Sacral anatomy, and what Dr. Stone called the ‘wireless anatomy;’ the energy blueprint of the body. Included in our studies is a Nervous System approach to Trauma resolution work which incorporates awareness of body sensation and resolution of undigested life experiences. Meditation and Movement such as Polarity Energy Yoga, Chi Gong, and Brain Gym exercises (right/left brain integration) are woven throughout the learning to integrate experience, and to provide tools for working with clients. 

These are all primary threads in of our program:

  • Presence is more important than technique
  • Less is More
  • Aligning with being-consciousness vs. doing-consciousness 

While teaching protocols, Tree of Life Center takes note of the practitioner as well as the student-client. Janice states: “I will work subtly with the postural alignment of the practitioner so that energy flows more freely for both the practitioner and the person on the table. It is like two sessions happening at once, one for the practitioner and one for the person on the table. This feedback is invaluable for practitioners wishing to gain confidence in their work.”

The importance of safety when teaching is also emphasized, “…our group circle is a safe, healthy, trusting, respectful learning environment. This invites cohesiveness and healing.” Creativity is also part of the teaching style. “I never teach the same way twice, just like we can never step into the same river twice.”  For example, one of Janice’s creative lessons at TLC involves an ancient technique where she highlights an analogous relationship between Cordage Rope Making and the Caduceus!

When I first came to Polarity Therapy, I was also teaching Primitive Indigenous Earth Skills:

  • weaving baskets from an Ash tree log by rhythmically pounding it to make weaving-strips from its annual rings
  • teaching bow and drill matchless friction fires, and
  • making cordage by spiraling fibers from the inner bark of trees… called Cordage- familiar to all indigenous people on the planet.

I remember when I learned that the Sanskrit word for Gunas translates into ‘strands of rope.’ Light bulbs went off for me! From that day on I bridged these two worlds: Earth Skills and Polarity Therapy.

The fibers are the Gunas; one strand (Satva) folds in half to become two strands that spiral and twist back onto each other (Rajas/Tamas) making it exponentially stronger. This is exactly what we are dancing with in Polarity Therapy. This cordage is also the DNA spiral, and the STEP-DOWN of energy into form, like the Caduceus creating the Chakra system in the body. 

Interestingly, Janice is also a Camp Founder and Director for the Turtle Island Girls’ Camp. Here she designed a “Wholistic Earth Skills” Nature Camp for girls in the mountains of North Carolina: a 1000-acre wilderness preserve! Safety and First Aid, Wellness Education, Self-Care and Nature Crafting are all included. Janice implemented a Scholarship Program for the girls.  She has similarly given her gifts as a Wilderness Therapist to juvenile delinquents for the New York State Division for Youth in the Adirondack Mountains.

Teaching, Learning, and Sharing:

Proclivities of grace, beauty, creativity and compassion are evident in work at the Tree of Life Center, yet Janice branches out as well. APTA has shared the pleasure of having Janice on the membership committee that originally created the STUDENT MEMBERSHIP category.

Whatever she engages in, Janice imparts knowledge that has been given to her since early learnings of Polarity. She has studied and presented with some of our most honored teachers.  She trained, learned, and shared at various Polarity presentations with Andrea Axt, Alan Seigel, Jim Said, John and Anna Chitty. She  has studied and taught T’ai Chi, and learned Somatic/Trauma Resolution with Peter Levine, Chandana Becker, Anna and John Chitty, Dave Berger, Bessel van der Kolk, Diane Fosha, Stephen Porges, and Diane Heller, Osteopathic/Cranio Sacral Therapy trainings with, Dr. Mike Boxhall, DO, Dr. Tom Shaver, DO. , Franklyn Sills, Roger Gilchrist, Michael Shea, and Pat Donohue. Also, she studied and practiced Bodywork and Somatic Education BASE Training with Dave Berger… (I’m running out of breath). Not name dropping, but we can see that she has deepened her practice through extensive learning, and she expresses deep gratitude and reverence for the legacy of her beloved teachers.

How did Janice get involved with Polarity?

Like so many of us, Polarity Therapy chose me! It found me in my early 20ʻs in the late 1980ʼs.

I knew nothing about Polarity Therapy, but my instinct led me to attend my first intro with Andrea Axt. I was immediately hooked! I studied with her for my first year. She opened up so much for me. What stands out most is the passion she lit under me…to want to understand the endocrine system. She introduced me to the Pineal gland and invited me into new worlds!

I went on many years later to create an advanced 50-hour training on the Endocrine System from the curiosity she had instilled in me. I will be teaching a 3-day advanced version of it this Spring in April of 2020 in North Carolina.

I came to the Polarity field early in the APTA organization’s history; It was a time where initials like APP, RPP, RPE, ATM and BCPP didn’t exist. The field was in its Golden days with new energy and enthusiasm coalescing. I was young and green, and I carried deep wounding. Like so many of us, we are drawn first to do our own transformational healing, and in doing so, we know the benchmarks of this journey.  We have lived through it first-hand. With time, it becomes the bank account that accumulates interest for us so that we can become practitioners who guide others on their healing journey.

My first Polarity conference in Murietta Hot Springs, California changed my life. It gave me a wider landscape that has unwaveringly held me thru these 40 years. It was a coming HOME…a pathway to wholeness. I grew and healed from the inside-out… just as Polarity teaches us in the Evolutionary / Involutionary dance of the soul. Polarity Therapy is an invitation into the art of living Inside-out vs. Outside-in. Trauma teaches us to orient outside. It robs us of years of living inside in an embodied and integrated way.

Specifics about Tree of Life Center:

            The main thrust of the Tree of Life Center is to educate participants to be present in the work. Janice is faithful to a type of instruction that keeps coming back to an “embodied presence” as the main space from which to proceed. Helping her students find and maintain this presence is a mainstay of her work at TLC. It emphasizes the experiential essence of Polarity. Each of the student’s innate and unique intelligence is accentuated as Dr. Stone’s vast legacy of insight, maps, and techniques are employed. Tree of Life Center teaches deep listening skills, so that practitioners can apply this same process to themselves as well as for their clients. Tree of Life center invites “opening to the wider view of our soul’s journey from Source and back again,” says Janice.

Tree of Life Center’s programs are called Somatic Energy Healing programs. They integrate Dr. Stone’s Polarity Therapy with contemporary approaches to Trauma and Nervous system learnings like Stephan Porges Polyvagal Attachment Nervous System.

We live in an exciting time where so many advances are coming together in our field!

Tree of Life Center, located at 4316 Bradford Ridge Road, Efland, North Carolina 27243, is intentionally in a country setting, using the inspiration of nature as our teacher! We are surrounded by a diverse forest with a cacophony of sounds from songbirds, woodpeckers, birds of prey, and tree frogs. A small pond outside the front window teams with life: darting dragonflies and vocalizing frogs. The training space is peaceful and homey. The main classroom provides a cozy circle of seating with warm wood tones and colors, all within an earthy décor of handmade baskets, containers of Rocks, and little nooks throughout the house to perch in. Class sizes are intimate; ranging from 6-8 students for our core programs; and sometimes 10-12 students for Continuing Education classes.

Upcoming Classes with Janice Marie & Tree of Life Center in North Carolina

Please check for updates on the web:

Sept. 28-29,2019 – Intro to Polarity Therapy- Elements & Chakras

Nov. 8, 2019 –Health Building Nutrition Intro (5 hr. class)

Dec. 6-7, 2019 –Polarity Therapy Breath & Respiratory Diaphragm Energetics “The Bellows of Life”

Jan. 24-25, 2020 – Intro to Energy Healing “Polarity Therapy” 

Feb. 21-22, 2020 – Five & Six Pointed Stars

Mar. 27-28- Intro to Polarity Therapy- Elements & Chakras

April 3,4,5th 2020 a 3-day Advanced training on the Endocrine System Orchestration “Bridging Energy & Physiology” North Carolina

Our next Somatic Energy Healing (APP level) 160 hr. program is in fall of 2020 or early 2021.  Contact us if you are interested.

Our next Advanced Somatic Energy Healing (RPP Level) training is ongoing as electives and a possible core group forming in Spring of 2020.

The Name of the Center:

My early memory as a girl is climbing high up into the Cherry Tree in my backyard. Seeking refuge, I would spend hours up there. It began a lifelong love affair with tree beings…. I love the “felt-sense” and the image of that tree holding me: branches reaching for a bigger perspective, and roots to keep us grounded and steady together thru turbulent times. Hence… the name of Tree of Life Center.

Janice Marie Duran’s Philosophy of Polarity, and What She Wishes to Tell APTA Members:

I love the WIDE and INVITING gateway that the Polarity Therapy paradigm holds for the conscious INVOLUTION & EVOLUTION of our SOULS to unfold!!!

Never has there been a more important time on our planet to have a Polarity Therapy paradigm. One to live by, and from, to inform both the collective and its individuals! This evolutional, transformative healing paradigm is a beacon asking us to step into our BIGNESS — Our Soul-Selves in Service of Synergy!

It is a deep honor to walk this path. Deep Bow to all of us heeding the call to Healing and Service!

In Conclusion:

Who is that woman with the really pretty face?”  We can add Janice Marie Durand to the long lineage of wonderful teachers and practitioners who keep giving to the Polarity legacy…giving her all, including her inner beauty to this Healing Art of Polarity. It serves to inspire all of us! 

Contact Information:

Tree of Life Center

4316 Bradford Ridge Road, Efland, North Carolina 27243


Janice Marie Durand, LMBT, BCPP, RPE, PTP

Janice Marie Durand is a Certified Somatic Therapist, Board-Certified Polarity Practitioner, founder and director of Tree of Life Center.  Since 1991, TLC has offered professional development and continuing education for bodyworkers specializing in ‘whole brain experiential learning’ thru a grounded embodiment-model. This model includes Energy Healing/Polarity Therapy trainings, T’ai Chi, Chi Gong, Gentle Energy Yoga, and Trauma Healing.  Janice Marie is also a founding member of the International Polarity Education Alliance (IPEA) providing Energy Principles Practitioner and Polarity Therapy Professional trainings. Her passion is to empower people to find balance by listening to their body’s internal wisdom, on a physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.

Meredith Narissi

Meredith Zelman Narissi, MS, BCPP of Meredith’s Healing ArtsEnlightened Wellness. Meredith is a Board-Certified Polarity Therapist, meditation/yoga/dance teacher, and author of 7 Veils: Mystical Secrets of a Feminine Path to Enlightenment, which can be found on Amazon. She loves to dance in the spiritual realm!

Meredith’s Healing Arts

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