Return To Essence includes the book, retreats, and other products that support women's personal and spiritual growth, by helping them to discover new ways to make connections to their individual journey through life, along with their gifts to the global community.

Return To Essence took shape when Linda and Karen traveled with their friend Ann Ladd in 2000. They imagined Return To Essence to be about the outward journey, such as the one they were experiencing in the sacred sites of Asia, and the inward journey that they individually and collectively experienced as spiritual seekers.

Linda Carroll,
M.S., LPC, LMPT, is a marriage and family psychotherapist from Corvallis, Oregon. She leads women’s groups throughout the United States and abroad. She has studied with some of the great spiritual teachers of our time including Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., Hal and Sidra Stone, Ph.D., Dr. Stan Grof, MD, and Jeremy Taylor. Her memoir, Her Mother’s Daughter, was published by Doubleday in January 2006.

Linda is the daughter of writer Paula Fox. Fox’s recent memoir, Borrowed Finery, revealed the story of the daughter whom Fox was forced to give up for adoption. They were reunited as a result of Linda’s search for her birthmother. During her lifelong work as a therapist, Linda has helped many women in their search for a sense of completion. She draws on her own life’s story and those of other women in the writing of the book.

Karen Ruckman
is a photographer living in Washington, DC. Aside from photographing politicians, Nobel prizewinners, and celebrities, she has taught photography to marginalized groups. A recent project took her to Northern Ireland, where she photographed children against a backdrop of terrorism. She is currently working on a book and documentary about her prison photography workshops.

Karen has traveled extensively photographing images from nature, and documenting women in diverse cultures. Her photographs move the reader through the seven stages while reflecting the multifaceted quality of the feminine spirit.


Ann Ladd
, Ph.D., LCSW, lives in Pueblo, Colorado. She combines her early training as a physical therapist with her psychotherapy training and experience in Gestalt, Transpersonal Psychology, and the Casriel Bodypsychotherapy Process to create safe, deeply healing experiences. She has worked with couples across the United States and Canada, most recently at Esalen. Along with Linda, she designs and leads transformative retreats and workshops for women that bridge the psychological healing to an exploration of the spirit.