Interview with Nadia Natali, author of Stairway to Paradise

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 

Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.



What made you decide to become a published author?

I know I had to write a book about my unusual background and story. It was a dear friend who suggested I write a memoir and with her encouragement I decided to go ahead and jump in.

Would you consider your latest book, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Stairway to paradise: growing up Gershwin, is a memoir and like all memoirs it tells a particular story. But what is significant are the layers of truths that unfold in myself, as well as the work I developed from that journey, revealing how I developed a way to help others.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I write at my desk near the kitchen (I love to cook) and my home is in the wilderness, off the grid where I have lived for 37 years.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Do not assume you will get much help publicizing your work. It is a grueling task that needs to be addressed all the time.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is finding my truth, my voice and authenticity. My memoir is all about that and it is an ongoing journey.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

This is the second book I‘ve had published by two different publishers and

I have learned not to depend on them for much publicizing.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book.  What’s the first ingredient?

Something outrageous and yet universal.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

I come from a family of great genius, fame and money and that doesn’t make for happiness.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Since it is a memoir, it is all about my real life experiences.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love to cook and have written and published a cookbook, blue heron cookbook: recipes and stories from a zen retreat center. I love animals and I love to help others.

What’s next for you?

I am writing another cookbook that is primarily gluten and diary free, also I’m thinking of doing a book about my work I call, DanceMedicine, a way to reduce trauma in the nervous system in a non-threatening way.



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