Thursday, January 4, 2018



Nadia Natali’s father invented color film, and her mother – who sang and danced professionally – was the sister of George and Ira Gershwin. Amidst great genius and privilege, Nadia was driven instead to create a life of great consequence, one in which she could seek her true purpose and life’s deepest meanings. Moving to the wilderness in Ojai’s Los Padres National Forest became the antidote to privilege. Enrico, her husband, initially introduced Nadia to Krishnamurti and meditation. It became the jumping off place for her own work in somatic psychotherapy called DanceMedicine.  Her book will make you cry and marvel at how essential it is for all of us to bring a commitment to truth and openhearted honesty to all our challenges as well as our uplifting Journeys.

Book Details

Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin

Author: Nadia Natali

Publisher: RareBird Books

Pages: 304

Genre: Memoir


A few of your favorite things:  I love good food, dogs, cats, rugs and pillows.
Things you need to throw out: Old clothes, unwanted food in pantry and lots of books

Things you need in order to write: A quiet cozy place, time and a cup of tea.
Things that hamper your writing: Anxiety, noise.

Things you love about writing: It forces me to be authentic and clear.
Things you hate about writing: The feeling of being inadequate.

Hardest thing about being a writer: Being clear while succinct.                 
Easiest thing about being a writer: There simply is no easy.

Things you love about where you live:
I love being in the wilderness away from all the craziness.
Things that make you want to move: The complication of living off the grid.

Things you never want to run out of: Chocolate chip cookies.         
Things you wish you’d never bought: Certain clothes and jams.

Words that describe you: Cheerful, introspective and impulsive.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: A control freak, impulsive.

Favorite foods: Chocolate chips cookies, fish, salads.
Things that make you want to throw up: Fast foods, peanuts, and pork.

Favorite music or song: "Summertime."                   
Music that make your ears bleed: Country music, military band music.

Favorite beverage: Tea
Something that gives you a pickle face: Mold on food.

Favorite smell: Lavender, Lemon Grass.
Something that makes you hold your nose: Old cat litter.

Something you’re really good at: Raising kids, giving therapy, dancing , cooking.
Something you’re really bad at: Accounting

Something you wish you could do: Carpentry, really ride a horse.         
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Being falsely considerate.

Something you like to do:
Conversation with my husband, dance, cook.     
Something you wish you’d never done: My first marriage.

People you consider as heroes: Buddha, though not Buddhism.     
People with a big L on their foreheads: Trump


Last best thing you ate: Banana walnut pancakes. 
Last thing you regret eating: Too much banana walnut pancakes.

Things you’d walk a mile for: My husband and my kids.             
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: My husband repeating his old stories.

Things you always put in your books: My attempt to be authentic.        
Things you never put in your books: To condescend to the reader.

Things to say to an author: Write only from the belly
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: To tell them how to write.

Favorite places you’ve been: My home in the wilderness.
Places you never want to go to again: A cruise ship.

Favorite genre: Literary fiction, memoir
Books you would ban: Books presented as words from some higher being.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Our friends who are introspective
People you’d cancel dinner on: People who are inauthentic.

Favorite things to do: DanceMedicine therapy with clients, cook, read, dance
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Taking care of the chickens on a dark by myself.

Things that make you happy: Getting things done and getting my husband to get his undone things done.
Things that drive you crazy: People who have no boundaries.

Most embarrassing moment:
I peed in my pants in fifth grade.
Proudest moment: Finishing my memoir and getting it published.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: Making my original family seem so terrible when in fact there were good moments in my childhood.
A lie you wish you’d told: That the people in the world are going to be okay.

Best thing you’ve ever done: Find my own voice and help others find theirs.    
Biggest mistake: Getting involved with certain men early on.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Turning against my family’s set of value and moving to the wilderness.
Something you chickened out from doing: Finishing my Ph.D.

The last thing you did for the first time: A cruise trip
Something you’ll never do again: A cruise trip.


We’d caravanned in separate vehicles, hauling all that we could carry in and on top of our cars, in addition to a foldout trailer hitched to Enrico’s Toyota jeep. At the end of a long, winding two-lane road that followed Matilija Creek, a brown metal gate barred our way. Beyond the gate lay the Los Padres National Forest, wilderness, and a mile farther up a dirt road through the canyon, our property. We had to wait for a key to open the lock, a key that a forest ranger was going to hand over—the key to our new life. I gazed toward the jagged and intimidating mountains that leaned over the canyon. Inhaling the sweet smell of the dry chaparral, I couldn’t help but compare it to the lush, green landscape of my childhood home in Connecticut. This is going to be a very different life, I thought. My privileged upbringing seemed the polar opposite of this place, and maybe that was what attracted me to it. Observing the struggles of my family and seeing that money and fame had failed to bring happiness, I’d learned I needed to find my own path. I had not fully formulated my goal, but it was something unique and original, and I had to find it on my own.


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 California, 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.

Connect with Nadia:
Website  |  Blog  |   Facebook  |   Twitter  | 

Buy the book:
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Audible