Thank you for visiting our Appreciations page. We are deeply grateful to so many people who’ve helped make this site and our whole work possible for over three decades. Please see more from us at the bottom of the page.
Most of these Coaching Client Testimonials are from people we’ve recently served or are currently serving in customized personal programs.
We also offer Half-Day or One-Day Intensives, Residential Retreats, and other options of personal or group coaching.
If as an individual or a couple you’d like to explore the experience of this powerfully catalytic approach to awakening, growth, or ongoing transformation with one or both of us, please send us your Request for a Discovery Session.
One of us will contact you shortly and together we can clarify next steps. We’d love to serve you and very much look forward to hearing from you!
Lynn Evans is a leading executive in global online education at a prestigious university in the UK. She and her partner James are parents to their young son Henry and entrepreneurial proprietors of a business serving dog breeders and their dogs.
Lynn passed through her Second Birth awakening in our Waking Down in Mutuality process in the early 2000s.
“As I’ve become more and more established in this whole-being realization, I’ve relaxed more deeply into myself and discovered a new confidence in Being. I’m a better, more thoughtful mother, partner, and friend. I’m a more considered and competent leader. I’m more able to serve others and live more purposefully, free of the unconscious tensions and insecurity that could lead to poor decision-making and bad interactions with others in the past. I’m living the mystery of Being in a more conscious way, flowing with life and more able to appreciate the beauty, tenderness, and majesty of every moment.
“Saniel and Linda may not have a big media team or a glitzy public profile. But they are without doubt a revolutionary force for embodied awakening, respectfully recognized by some of the most prominent spiritual teachers of our time.
"The transformative potential of this latest evolution of their work and its uncompromising focus on the HEART is particularly exciting. I wholeheartedly recommend them to you.”
Kamala Allen began her spiritual quest at a very young age and trained extensively in Zen and Tantric Buddhism. She is now a retired psychotherapist and a longtime awakened practitioner of Waking Down in Mutuality.
Kamala served for several years as a Mentor in the former Waking Down Teachers Association. She's currently developing original teachings on accessing one’s “Inner Oracle.”
“I devoured Saniel’s books and started to attend the workshops and classes. In 2006 I had what’s called a ‘Second Birth,’ a whole-being Self-realization. I immediately felt an end to my existential anxiety! It was a total shift in perspective and cessation of my seeking.
“Things still come up, but it’s more of a sense of discovery and wonder than the sense of suffering it was before.
“Saniel and Linda’s work [has an] all-encompassing availability. And the group work, combined with their insight and wisdom, seems to create this vortex of transmission that really propels you along in your process.
“Their divinely loving acceptance has allowed me to transcend the subtle and not so subtle striving that permeates a lot of spiritual paths. It’s allowed me to embrace a whole-being confidence in my process and deeply relax into myself.
"My life has been immeasurably blessed by them.”
Joel Monk is the co-founder and podcast host of Coaches Rising, a prominent international coach training organization, a leadership coach himself, and a serious student of Tantric Buddhism for many years. He's married and a father and stepfather. Joel offered this statement about two months after beginning an extended coaching program with us both that lasted a full year and now continues on a more occasional basis.
“In 2021 I [went through] a hell realm basically, a breakdown, actually terrifying. As I started to come through that, I felt this call to a path of spirituality which was not about transcending the world.
Coming down into my body was crucial. I knew of Saniel and Linda’s work so I reached out to them…
“One of the most potent parts of the transmission is this embrace of everything. Last week I experienced a lot of grief. I could feel the — I don’t know how to put it — I could feel the beauty, and the gift that was, and how it wasn’t antithetical to this path in any way.
“What I think is different about the transmission of their path, this greenlighting of everything, this divine/human experience, where we’re not imposing any sense of idea or standard of what we should be — in that very act there’s a freedom, something begins to shine through which is incredibly beautiful.”
Jane Rosenzweig is a consultant, coach, and expert in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. For more than 15 years, she was the respected leader of the team implementing a relational approach to these delicate issues in a multibillion dollar American company with over 10,000 employee “associates.”
Married to Michael and the mother of a young adult daughter, Maya, Jane has been a lifelong student of human nature and the deeper dimensions of both belonging and justice.
“[When I came to Saniel and Linda] I was broken, I was lost. I hadn’t let myself fully grieve for a friend, a best friend of mine, who got killed.
“Despite an inner voice telling me, ‘No! You don’t need to get a coach right now. You are a coach!’ — I just jumped. I trusted myself to do that.
“Then I met Linda and Saniel — and got cancer! Really? A dead friend — and then cancer?! So I went through that, and they helped me extract every ounce of meaning that I can out of a really hard thing. And I’m okay.
“[Maybe] the biggest outcome of working with them is this trust of self and universe in a way I might have said but didn’t feel. You can trust yourself that a commitment to yourself will happen by working with Saniel and Linda. I didn’t even know I needed it as much as I did.”
Ralf Marzen is a somatic psychotherapist and a leading international trainer of therapists in the groundbreaking NARM (NeuroAffective Relational Model) school and movement in somatic therapy.
He’s also a deep spiritual practitioner who came into coaching work with us having already enjoyed a profound consciousness awakening. Based in Amsterdam, he co-parents a 10-year old son.
“The ‘Second Birth’ awakening — I don’t think a day goes by without me consciously acknowledging that and feeling so much gratitude for it.
"I feel very confidently rooted in my second life now. It’s distinctly different. My first life is over. The human life still unfolds with all its complexities and challenges and raw humanness, and at the same time there is this unshakable trust in Being, and this unshakable realization of the other part of the simultaneity, which is embodied being.
“It’s so integrated, the type of awakening that I’ve gotten through you. It’s only retrospectively that I know this is actually what I’ve been looking for. Not transcendence only — the simultaneity, the living ‘wound/wellness paradox.’
“That’s now become my day-to-day life. It’s effortless. A game-changer. There’s so much more freedom, paradoxically maybe even more than ever. This second life is the biggest gift that can be given. I’m eternally grateful.”
Richard Schoeller began his career as a funeral director. His quest to understand the soul’s journey led to his becoming a Certified Medium and an ordained Spiritualist Minister, a commissioned healer and an international Spiritualist teacher.
For over a decade, he’s been awakened in the second birth realization through Waking Down in Mutuality. He is also the stepfather to his husband John’s two children and step-grandfather to their four grandchildren.
(Note: Richard’s internet connection was not strong, so his video image comes through erratically. But his voice is steady, and what he has to say is so heartfelt and profound that we’re happy to include his statement as he gave it in that gathering in November 2022.)
“In 2008 at my first sitting [with Saniel and Linda,] there were 25, maybe 30 people there. Within them walking into the room and sitting down, I saw this energetic come up, over-encompassing everyone, and, like a xylophone, everyone’s energetic centers go into alignment.
“In 2011 I started working with Linda one-on-one. In June 2013 I had my Second Birth. Through Linda’s support and Saniel’s, over time I was understanding myself as Consciousness.
“In August 2020 my husband and I came back to work with Saniel and Linda as a couple. Being in the light of their presence along with their knowledge and the love that they hold you in is this tremendous, amazing crucible for transformation.
"They’ve helped me to understand myself as divine love, the 'I Am That I AM.' If I walk in the world being the light that I am, with the grace of God it will give others permission to be themselves as the light that they are.”
Amir Ahmed Nasr (aka the artist Drima Starlight) is a musician, an exiled artist, journalist, and memoirist, a TED-X speaker, and a renowned strategic advisor to evolutionary leaders — now including us, Saniel and Linda.
“I used to be a bookworm, a voracious reader, and even though I deconstructed a lot of dogma, my heart was empty. I was really sad, in a crisis.
“[At some point] a friend shared with me a quote on the heart and ‘the religion of Love’ by the Sufi mystic Ibn ‘Arabi. To find this from my own heritage was so affirming, healing, a powerful realization that no amount of philosophy, with information going up here (points to his head), was going to do the trick. I had to learn to be more in my heart, to be more present.
“And I found myself reading Saniel’s work. As a digital marketer, strategist, and journalist, I had come across many people in the, broadly speaking, New Age spiritual community. I never liked the optics of how certain things were occurring.
“Whereas with you, Saniel and Linda, I could sense that in your partnership, the realness, commitment, container, wisdom, the teamwork — it was so appealing. I knew I could find deeper answers in engaging with you and really opening up about my vulnerabilities and what I had been going through.
“The Heart is really powerful! (See the final moments of Drima’s video, where he does a powerful “show and tell.”)
“Thank you for helping me embody it in the real world…in all circumstances! It’s been life-changing. Very grateful to have met you.”
Based in Miami, Florida, Paul Toliuszis is one of America’s leading trainers of yoga teachers. He has taught and certified over 500 teachers, at least 100 of whom have gone on to become active, dedicated teachers themselves. Paul is married with a grown stepson.
“I decided to engage in a six-month coaching relationship with Saniel and Linda. I had never really done that before, and I just felt drawn to it.
“It’s really worth it! They have, not a system or a protocol, but their approach to awakening really, really works. Things happen! Just interacting with them changed my life in an amazing way that I never saw coming.
“A deeper understanding [has arisen] — past the non-dualism as spacious consciousness into more of an embodied lifestyle, where all my answers come from within. My confidence comes from within. My love of other people is greatly enhanced.
“This process that I undertook with them was surprising! They were right there with me every week, greenlighting me, giving me so much love, so much support, so much wisdom. I really appreciated their expertise and the depth of human relationship that they showed me.
“I highly recommend working with them.”
Áine Watkins is a longtime consultant to leading women corporate executives internationally, the veteran of decades of her own intensive psychological and spiritual transformational work, and the mother of two teenage children. She is the founder of Conscious Game Changer, an Organizational Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, with over 20 years of International consulting experience in the area of Executive Coaching, Leadership Development and Cultural Change.
“As an organizational psychologist I’ve worked with C-suite executives around the world over the last thirty years. I’ve also trained in Tantric Saivism, as a somatic psychotherapist, a lot of the adult development tools, Wilber’s Integral framework, a vast range. I either know about it and have a view of it, or I’ve trained in it.
“So it wasn’t a light decision when I decided to work with Saniel. I was looking for a teacher, a guide who had been around, who knew the territory.
"I haven’t been disappointed. It’s been an incredible opportunity and a privilege, and I have learned so much. I have connected with my vulnerability and my invincibility in his presence. I don’t think I’ve ever been as fully met by anyone before.
“I feel incredibly privileged to have had Saniel’s, and Linda’s, attention and to be in their hearts over the last few years. I have been challenged like never before, and they have been there through the most difficult of times.
“Their work I believe is crucial for our time. Their embodied, awakened approach in Waking Down was ahead of its time, and they’re still pioneers at the frontiers of this entire area. Their capacity to be both ordinary and extraordinary, fully human and fully divine, simultaneously, is incredible.
“If you ever have the chance to work with them, I would grab it with both arms.”
John Bottone is a former Waking Down in Mutuality and Trillium Awakening teacher and a longtime retreat leader at Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center in New York state. He is a NYS licensed mental health counselor with a private practice on Long Island and in New York City, certified in Gestalt psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems therapy.
John and his husband Richard Schoeller recently completed three six-month coaching facilitated journeys with both of us. John has two adult children and four grandchildren.
“Initially we wanted to work with a married couple on ways of Richard and I working together, because we have different skill sets. Saniel and Linda seemed the perfect fit.
“What actually happened, though, was completely different from what we expected.
“Once we got into that energetic space with them, after some gazing and meditation together, something opened up that felt larger than us.
“It was an experience of entering into the Mystery together. It was quite beautiful.
“There was no way of knowing what the session was going to hold. It felt profound and powerful each time. We were deeply dropping in together, the four of us, and holding each other with tremendous love and wisdom.
“I encourage anyone who wants to enter into that sense of profound Mystery to have sessions with these two. They are some of the most loving and spiritual and wise teachers I have ever encountered. I feel deeply grateful for having them in my life.”
Andrew Ward and Uta Riek are passionate, dedicated, uniquely original artists living near Frankfurt, Germany. They love co-teaching workshops on art and creativity to children and adults. One of Andrew’s recent works, a massive painting of a Ming Dynasty Chinese dragon vase that had been commissioned by the emperor, was recently purchased by Queen Rania of Jordan at a Paris art exhibition. Uta is extraordinarily talented, a true natural who fearlessly embodies the artistic spirit. They co-parent teenage and young adult children each has had with other partners.
Andrew: Hi everybody! We’re making this video as a shout-out of our work with Linda and Saniel, and the amazing connection we have with them. It’s — uh…[turns to UtaI] What is it?
Uta: Very, very special! [They both giggle and laugh.] It’s always — how do I say this? — an energy push. My inner structure sometimes is not in order. With them, afterwards, I feel in the right direction. It’s such an opening inside of me, and the energy goes in the right direction.
Andrew: For both of us, it’s such an affirmation of who we are and what we do, and our love together. It’s this energy of being together [in which] we find ourselves, and it’s incredibly strengthened by this blast from the Heart from Saniel and Linda, who affirm all the parts of who we are. And this fulfilling of trust within ourselves, that they are always there with absolute enthusiasm and joy —
Uta: And love! Especially! [Both laugh]
Andrew: It’s a complete joy and an amazing presence that we have this connection with them, because we’re on a journey together that is on the edge. We don’t really know who we are, but we discover this all the time — with them! We find we’re able to share things that we would never share with anyone else, because they kind of like really understand how insane we are. How crazy we are [Uta laughs] and that’s totally okay.
We are both artists, and we’re out there discovering all the time what it means to have this language of expression that we don’t understand. But we trust it, and we have this connection together. And finding this incredible connection with Linda and Saniel, it’s huge.
Uta: It’s overwhelming sometimes. It’s heart energy and everything…it’s unbelievable that you find people, they see you as you are. And that is such a great gift. Then something transforms in you, inside, because there is the feedback [from] them. And I really appreciate this, that I can be like I am, and also with my fear or my — [says a word in German to Andrew] —
Andrew: Oh. Your insecurity.
Uta: Insecurity. And I can [choose] it, and it’s not bad at all, so [laughs] it’s always [where] we go a bit deeper. It surprises me always and again, and — then, showing this insecurity for example, then something transforms. I am thankful for everything from them.
Andrew: This huge, huge sense of being held. They hold, they hold us, they’re just [inaudible] and we’re being held, and with great joy, with great love, and learning that, “Oh wow, we’re inside of all that, we’re all part of all that,” and this sharing, and how easy it is to be with them.
You can’t really say enough how good, deeply, deeply good and healing this journey is that we take together with them.
Uta: And I love that it’s not kind of a structure, and [inaudible] —
Andrew: Yeah. No rules! [laughs]
Uta: No rules. So everything happens in the moment, and everything comes up in the moment, and — that’s amazing. It’s not like in school for example! [Laughs] I love that, and it’s so free. Thank you!!
We introduced Ralf Marzen above here on our Appreciations page. This is another acknowledgement that he recorded earlier in his work with us. We’re happy to share it with you.
“Saniel and Linda are masters at guiding a person in their journey of deeper embodied awakening through all the stages: pre-awakening, during awakening, and post-awakening.
“Not only that, they are also adept at what they call ‘Heart-Evocation.’ They have an incredible ability to sense exactly where I am and what wants to unfold as the next stage of my own process. And it’s not only speaking into that, it’s literally evoking that.
“The most powerful instrument they use is their transmission. Which is simply what they as beings, as embodied humans, radiate.
“Saniel is this (laughs) — although he’s very gentle and kind, sensitive and delicate, he also has the quality of a rock. Sometimes he’ll just be quietly listening for 10, 20 minutes, and then he’ll come up with this one thing that he’ll say, totally on the money and from a place of such depth.
“And Linda is, I see her as an embodiment of the Divine Feminine — all heart, deeply touchable, deeply sensitive, always willing to feel everything with you. Almost each time I talk with her we’ll end up crying together, allowing ourselves to be met so deeply in the Heart, and what a gorgeous quality that is.
“And together as a team (pauses, shaking his head)…If you have any interest in deepening on your own spiritual journey, I couldn’t recommend them more highly as guides. Even if you work on other themes in your life, I also couldn’t recommend them more highly.”
Again, if as an individual or a couple you’d like to experience the gifts of a coaching relationship with one or both of us for your own integration, growth, awakening, or transformation, please send us your Request for a Discovery Session.
One of us will contact you shortly and together we can clarify next steps. We’d love hear from you and would be honored to serve you!
Our longtime friend Terry Patten was a principal leader of the worldwide Integral movement, the author of A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries — A Guide to Inner Work for Holistic Change, and the founder of The New Republic of the Heart community. Terry passed away in late 2021. His community continues to preserve, enrich, and expand his legacy.
"Saniel Bonder has been awakened for decades, and was an early pioneer in the democratization of awakening. I have known him for almost 50 years, and I can attest that, quirks and all, Saniel is the real thing — brilliant, awakened, authentic, deep, alchemically potent, sincerely caring, and vulnerably, divinely human — a true original.
"He has a superpower or siddhi: he is able, quite naturally and authentically, to behold the unique divinity, humanity, and gifts of an awakening soul, and to mirror it back — not infrequently with life-changing catalytic effects. During the early years of teaching Waking Down in Mutuality he catalyzed transformational awakenings in many dozens of ordinary people, creating a community of awakening and clarifying a dharma that embraces the messy imperfection of human life rather than attempting to override it in hypermasculine fashion.
"He is a tantric, and works the alchemy of the deep feminine — now in a new way because for over two decades he has been synergistically partnered with his wife, Linda Groves-Bonder. Linda is revered in her own right by students for an immense capacity to transmit transformative love, and for her unique abilities to help people awaken to and deeply embody their divine humanity.
"Together, Saniel and Linda are now empowering the awakening and growth of many emerging gnostics, weaving a masculine-feminine matrix of blessings, and — one heart at a time — activating and provoking new levels of emergence and empowerment, helping people 'drop' into conscious enjoyment of and participation in the sacred nature of reality, recognizing that it is always already the case."
We’re moved to close this page with our own appreciation: to everyone, now and in the past, who has contributed to our lives and work in any way.
Of course that includes all those whose endorsements and testimonials you’ll find above and elsewhere on our site. It also includes our families and ancestors, everyone who’s been part of our lives, and the many thousands of people around the world with whom we’ve interacted throughout the several decades of our work.
Ultimately it includes everyone everywhere — in that beautiful phrase of the First Nations peoples of our country, “all our relations,” human, non-human, even all that exists.
Each and all of you have helped make us and our wonderful calling possible. In our hearts we’re always bowing to you in joyful gratitude.
In particular, we thank and so appreciate the immensely talented, dedicated help of our mostly volunteer team members who contributed so much to the creation of this site:
— Robert Griffin, the manager of the virtual back office for our work for many years now, and an awakened practitioner of Waking Down in Mutuality since 2003
— Al Porter, who helped us create the various logos for Waking Down in Mutuality and The White-Hot Yoga of the Heart starting back in 2000 and has continued to creatively refine them with us as the work has evolved ever since
— Lynn Evans, also an awakened practitioner since the early 2000s, who first urged us to create our 10 Year Vision, came up with its title “A Million Hearts Illumined,” and has diligently worked with us both on that Vision statement and the whole website
— Amir Ahmad Nasr, also known as the artist Drima Starlight, the handprint of whose heart-full branding, marketing, and strategic wisdom is like a watermark on every page here
— Drew Martinez, our website developer, a seasoned professional whose deep appreciation for who we are and what we’re offering, along with his digital skills, receptivity, and commitment to help us get things right, have made him just a joy to work with, and
— Deborah Boyar, a former Waking Down in Mutuality teacher, Don Jones, a member of our “Heart Team” in the teens, and Ejna Fleury, a Lakota Grandmother and Peace Ambassador and a former practitioner of Waking Down, all longtime friends, for their superb photos: Deborah’s portraits of us on the Home and About pages, Don’s sunrise vista in the top banner of the Vision page, and Ejna’s portraits of us on the Contact page (which you won’t want to miss!)
Please check this page from time to time, as we’ll be adding other endorsements and testimonials in the future.