Building a bridge to living more fully through mindfulness and meditation.
Denise Costello and Vanessa Gobes are the founders and guiding spirits of the Chrysalis Meditation Center, located in a serene second-story studio that Vanessa describes as overlooking ‘the most gorgeous oak tree in the world,’ on the Winchester Town Common.
As a Captain in the Gulf War, Denise served as a Flight Nurse with a specialty in high-risk obstetrics and health promotion. Even then, she inspired the women she was stationed with to participate in her movement classes, and she has always known the importance of healthy eating.
Vanessa comes from an equally creative background. She had worked in many enterprises —“I’m not afraid to fail,” she laughs — one of which involved designing and marketing her own line of golf clothes. At one point, however, she began to sense that shining higher reality that underlies our day-to-day lives and set out on a path of spiritual growth.
Both Denise and Vanessa were seekers, in other words, and as two advocates for mindful and living and determined ‘practisers’ of compassion, they believe they were fated to meet. Shortly after they did meet, the Chrysalis Meditation Center was born. We will let them tell the rest in their own words.
Interview with Denise Costello and Vanessa Gobes
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What called you to this work?
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My background is in nursing and began my nursing career as a Captain in the Air Force. While in the Air Force, I served as a flight nurse in the Gulf War, and as a health promotion officer. I also worked in high-risk obstetrics. That led me to the University of Illinois, where I received an MS in Adult Corporate Fitness and Health Promotion. The focus was on empowering individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle, thereby keeping them out of the hospital. I moved to Winchester when I married my husband, Peter a Navy P3 Pilot who I meet while stationed in the Azores. I was involved in the creation of the Winchester Breast Care Center as the nurse coordinator. When my twins were born, I became even more interested in learning how to keep my family healthy and protected from disease.
I have always loved food and cooking. I still remember my very first Charlie Brown cookbook and making Lucy’s Lemon Squares for my dad. As a mom I started thinking of food as medicine. Committing to healthy habits can be a challenge because we lead such busy lives. I know first-hand that even when you commit to living a healthy lifestyle, you still need to be flexible and frugal in order to make those good habits stick. I am very passionate about motivating and educating busy overwhelmed individuals and families towards wellness. I wanted to share my creative solutions that come from my medical training as a registered nurse, my love of food, and the holistic approach I take to living and staying healthy. So I started my business The Energized Body in 2013 where I coached individuals how to get back into the kitchen to discover how they can follow a practical, holistic way to eat well and enjoy life’s pleasures.
Becoming a mindfulness teacher was never something I sought out. I was a few weeks into my third pregnancy, designing and launching the second season of my own golf clothing, when I looked around and started wondering what the hell I was doing. No stranger to the blues, I was starting to feel the yuck (my pet word for depression) thicken around me. I felt panicky, desperate to find a way to rise above that yuck. I discovered a book called Many Lives, Many Masters, by world-renown psychiatrist Dr. Brian Weiss, which tells the true story of a woman who finds healing through past life regression. Something clicked as I read. The world became orderly all at once. Massive paradigm shift.
I began to learn about hypnosis and meditation so that I could experience regressions myself, which I did. This opened the door to a long list of studies, which included Buddhism, psychology, religion, mindfulness, energy healing, and more. In the past decade, I’ve read over a hundred books on various approaches and constructs, attended dozens of retreats, earned multiple certifications, written a book on mindfulness, and taught thousands of people of all ages how to meditate.