Charting Her Own Path

It's tough when life doesn't follow a straight line—but meditation teacher and retreat leader Melissa Sutor says those bends in the road can help you discover your true calling. Have a glimpse at Mindful's featured story in the August issue.

Photos by Marco Garcia
Interview by Victoria Dawnson

The art of Melissa Sutor’s life, like the art of meditation, lies in the action of beginning again. And again. Born to a teenage single mother in rural Alabama, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college. At the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, she was the first African-American in the graduate program for computer science and engineering and was on track to earn her PhD before she recognized a fundamental mismatch. Sutor set out for California, with its promise of Silicon Valley and progressive values. However, the tech field left her spiritually parched. She and her husband planned a grand exit strategy: a trip around the world. After traveling together for eight months, they agreed to end the marriage. Sutor continued her travels solo for over a year, connecting with other travelers and learning from locals.

Today, Sutor is remarried and works both in California and in Maui, Hawaii, where she lives. Equipped with a master’s degree in counseling psychology and formal training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Sutor founded the Dragonfly Healing Center in Maui. There, she teaches MBSR classes, leads retreats for women in tech and science, and…

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About the author

Victoria Dawson

Victoria Dawson is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She regularly contributes to Mindful.

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