About Mekorah

מְקוֹרָא

The Mekorah Institute is dedicated to bringing integrated and sustainable spiritual transformation to individuals and religious lineages.

What is your calling?

We know you want to be of service in a way that only you can be. Our vision of human flourishing is accomplished one person and one inner shift at a time. As you travel the road of deepening self-insight you will come to know yourself with ever-increasing clarity. You will be able to harness your gifts and align with your calling for the sake of the ones that need you most.

Words can only take you so far and can only explain so much.

To really understand what we do — and how we can help you walk the path of your essential self — you need to experience it. If you feel the calling and want to get a taste of inner and outer transformation for yourself, book a free consultation today.

Rabbi Matthew Ponak

Spiritual Counsellor, Teacher, and Co-Founder of Mekorah

Hi, I’m Matthew.

I help people reconnect to their inner wisdom, calm, and strength.

Where I started (I think you’ll resonate…)

After growing up as a fairly happy kid, I found that adult life was overwhelming. Despite a decent social life and real interests, there were many days in my early twenties when I just couldn’t get out of bed because of anxiety. Any the same time, I had begun exploring my spiritual life and greatly admired authors who described their inner states as blissful and clear. However, all the books in the world did not seem to help me find balance when I was overcome by stress.

 

Then The Shifts Began…

I saw a counsellor who specialized in Somatic Spirituality. The first few sessions were noticeably calming and transformational. I learned techniques for addressing the roots of my anxiety that not only alleviated the overwhelm but also allowed me to gain self-understanding, confidence, and insight into my challenges so I could plot a course of action for my life. I also learned that powerful spiritual moments could be felt in my body. Overtime my baseline anxiety decreased as I learned to approach my inner dimensions with more curiosity and less fear and aggression.  I had a lot more resilience to everyday life, a connection to my passions, and a new ability to start living them out. Most importantly, I had reestablished a connection to my own inner wisdom—a source of guidance whenever I’m in need.

Now, I’m Here to Serve You!

My inner guidance ultimately led me to become a rabbi and spiritual counsellor so I could help people who feel disconnected from themselves. The same spark of curiosity I felt towards my own unfolding self-knowledge I now also feel towards the inner journeys of the clients whom I serve. There are few feelings as satisfying as witnessing someone work through a difficult situation and realize an innate truth about who they are. One person at a time, it is a privilege to help people find more calm, trust, and awareness inside.

 

My Qualifications

  • Certified Focusing Professional – Focusing is a body-centred introspective method
  • Masters in Contemplative Religions from Naropa University – A Buddhist-inspired University teaching meditation and experiential religious studies
  • Ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew College – My studies focused on Jewish Mysticism, including Kabbalah

Do you want to take a deeper relationship to your inner wisdom? 

“When we started working together I was straight up terrified of how my emotions felt in my body and tried to avoid experiencing them because they were overpowering to the point that I thought they would never end. Matthew guided me gently right into them with his terrific intuitive sense of when to let something be, which made the whole experience feel so safe and affirming and comfortable. What we discovered inside the physicality of emotion was honestly mind blowing. I have had such a shift in my perspective where I now experience my body as an infinite garden full of mystery and treasures, the emotions are the point of entry to this great mystery. Every session with Matthew has been a wild journey where we discovered the most profound and unexpected treasures. He has a really sharp sense of when language resonates with embodied experience. The authenticity and ebullience with which he reflected my experience back to me was really fundamental for making this work so transformational and collaborative. Matthew is a very gifted guide and I honor him for the faith he has helped to restore in me.”

-Susannah Slocum

Melina Ponak

Director of Vision & Strategy

Hi, I’m Melina.

I love deep listening

As a child in Chicago I loved listening to my vinyl records spin stories and relished adventures at summer camp in the Great North woods. 

In my twenties in Montreal I discovered there is something very sacred and world-altering in sharing stories and the adventure of inner exploration. 

“The only way to get it together is together.” 

– Reb Zalman Shachter Shalomi

As I explored many spiritual, healing and artistic paths, including Renewal Judaism, Western Sufism, neo-paganism, authentic relating, herbology and Eurythmy, it became apparent to me that I am called towards a secular-spiritual and relational path.  

As a Waldorf Early Childhood Educator I was reminded on a daily basis of the fact that all the steps I take, inner and outer, help co-create the future. The more grounded, understanding and creative I could be, the better I could serve the children in front of me. 

Now that reminder comes from me and Matthew’s two children and their community of friends.

The path that so many of us are choosing to walk is an ever-evolving path that points towards working with all parts of ourselves, cultivating authentic relationships, and above all, making a positive impact on this wild, amazing, heart-breaking/opening world of ours. 

We are walking a path of grounded spirituality. 

I am here to facilitate your journey

I know that the journey is the destination and every detail, be it on zoom or in-person, is an integral part of the whole. 

You can contact me here in Victoria, BC to get a personalized tour of Mekorah.

I would love to hear what you are looking for.

Let’s co-create an awesome story!