Betty was born and raised in Texas, attended Baylor, lived in
Oklahoma, Kansas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan before
coming to her senses in Arizona.
She worked in the computer industry as a technician, systems analyst,
project leader, salesperson, sales manager, regional vice president
and vice president of sales for one of the largest data processing
She was personally drawn to the leading edge in human resource
management; exploring partnering - beyond team building after completing
the GE Management Program in 1977 and The Applied Creative Thinking
PILOT Program for The GE Mangement Institute..
In her position as vice president she was responsible for 11 offices
from San Francisco to New York and found herself on an airplane
four days a week. High Stress! After having a spiritual experience
on a Shiatsu table she "heard a voice" that said, "let go."
She quit her job the next week and started on a journey to create
a space for people to let go of and learn from their stressful experiences.
Seeking guidance as to where she might locate this space, she experienced
her visual field filling with purple and yellow pansies. Startled
and confused by this phenomenon, she asked for more specifics but
the pansies continued. She finally surrendered to the vision and
left in August 1986 to find a field of pansies. In June of
1987, after driving 36,000 miles, she discovered a retreat with
a back yard full of purple and yellow Johnny Jump Ups that looked
like baby pansies. There she founded The Merritt Center as
the culmination of her dream to provide a space for people to experience
renewal and empowerment; to learn and grow.
She has created many workshops and programs including those described
in the workshop section of this site. She currently feels the Free Program for Returning
Combat Veterans has the highest priority for all Merritt Center volunteers.
More than two thousand
people have experienced her programs.
Answering her need to reduce stress she created a bodywork technique:
KIATSU, based on Shiatsu, incorporating breath, toning, Process
Oriented Acupressure and other energy releasing methods. She
has taught Kiatsu to therapists since 1989. She added Healing
Touch techniques to her bodywork sessions and was certified by the
Colorado Center for Healing Touch January 2001 with renewal
of that certification in 2005 and 2010. She created three Stress Release
Groups based on the techniques learned in the Professional Body Mind
Medicine Program she completed in 2010.
She is the keeper of a teaching lodge. She conducts the ceremony as
an introduction to the process to those new to the Lodge seeking
a way to ask for what is needed, to let go of that which no longer
serves mind, emotions, body and spirit and to give thanks for all
the blessings of the journey of life. As part of her Cheyenne-Arapaho
teacher's initiation to become the keeper of the lodge, Betty was
required to spend four days and three nights in the forest without
food or water in each of the four seasons of the year.. As the lodge
keeper she keeps the lodge as a "little girl/little boy" teaching
Her Spiritual Fasting Vision Quest was described in the April 1999
issue of Health, a national wellness magazine. The Arizona
Repulic and the Payson Roundup featured the Vet Program in several
issues since it's creation in 2005. She is a frequent speaker
in Arizona. She was the keynote speaker for an Annual Meeting of
the Tucson networking organization: Resources for Women and in April
2000, she was the keynote speaker for the Women's Wellness
Forum sponsored by a regional medical alliance. She was the closing
speaker for the NABVETS in 2009. She was the kick off speaker for
the Nurses Organization of the Veterans Administration Regional
Meeting in Phoenix in 2010 and for the Nurses Organization of the
Veterans Administration National Meeting in Las Vegas in 2011.
She also provided an in-service presentation to the VA Nurses in 2012. She will also provide Train the Trainer Training for counselors of the Vet Center and the Arizona Trauma Network to share the educational approach and techniques used in the Vet Program.
In 2005 Betty was ordained as a minister by the International New
Thought Alliance. She now happily responds to calls for Reverend
Grandmother to perform ceremonies to mark life's passages.
There have been several local-statewide newspaper articles, radio
interviews and webcasts about her latest dream: The Free Returning
Combat Veterans Program, which was started in 2005. She was one of 14 participants
in a Roundtable about Peer Support for Veterans sponsored by Survivor
Corps in Aug. 2008. This new program for returning combat veterans
was created to include veteran mentors in a peer support role. Each
of the eleven Programs, held for men and the ten programs held for
women through 2015, included four free weekend retreats and/or 7 day programs featuring
education in trauma release/management techniques, life rebuilding
and celebration ceremonies.
With Al, her husband since 1972, she shares four children, nine
grandchildren and four great grandchildren.