About Mekorah


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

We know that the journey of spiritual living starts from within. We also know that once people anchor in their own innate wisdom they begin to reflect on both the newness of the world around them as well as the cultural ways they have inherited. Oftentimes, this unfolding leads people to question existing structures in society, including existing religious frameworks.

At Mekorah, we recognize ancient traditions as true storehouses and carriers of essential human knowledge.

However, when these systems stagnate, they often become perpetuated simply for their own sake, regardless of the quality of their messages and practices. It is our hope that as humanity awakens to our inner callings, we find the discernment to separate the wisdom that serves us from the vestiges of religious past, and harness the power of our collective human insights for the sake of the needs of the world that is manifesting in the 21st century.

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 embodied self-inquiry you will come to know yourself with ever-increasing depth. You will finally be able to harness your true gifts and align with your true calling for the sake of the ones that need you most.

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

Welcome to the realm of Somatic Spirituality! To really understand what we do —and how we can help you walk the path of your own true calling — you need to experience it. If you feel the resonance and are ready to taste the power of somatic spirituality for yourself, book a free call today for your somatic consultation.

Rabbi Matthew Ponak

Co-founder of Mekorah and Somatic Spiritual Guide

Hey, I’m Matthew

I’m here to help guide you back to the source of your inner wisdom.


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

After growing up as a fairly happy kid, I found that adult life was overwhelming. I had friends and deep interests, but when I was in university sometimes I just couldn’t get out of bed because I had so much anxiety.

I had begun exploring my spiritual life a few years before and knew what it was like to have a mystical experience that felt peaceful and illuminated. I greatly admired spiritual authors who described their enlightenment as a never-ending state of bliss. However, all the books in the world did not seem to help me find balance. I yearned to be like the authors and loved to talk about their ideas, but when I was overcome by stress my life was nowhere near what they described.


Then The Shifts Began…

A professor and mentor of mine recommended I see someone who specialized in Somatic Spirituality. The first few sessions were noticeably calming and transformational. They started me on the journey I continue today.

First of all, I learned techniques for addressing the roots of my anxiety that not only alleviated the overwhelm but also allowed me to gain self-understanding 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.

This was a greatly beneficial change that allowed me to:
1) have a lot more insight into these experiences and the gifts they brought me
2) integrate the lessons I learned into my emotional and intellectual worlds
3) maintain a healthy connection to my cherished relationships and worldly responsibilities even in the midst of a transcendent experience.

Most noticeably, I noticed overtime that my baseline anxiety was much less. Waking up on the average day I felt more peaceful and in-tune. I had a lot more resilience to everyday life and I had developed a much deeper connection to my own inner wisdom. I felt confident knowing who I was and what called to me.

Over time I began to study with a rabbi named Zvi Ish-Shalom whose school Kedumah taught a blend of Jewish Mysticism and somatic self-inquiry. Zvi taught me that Judaism—as a path that valued engagement in the physical world—was harmonious with embodied spiritual practices. These approaches naturally keep us rooted in this world as opposed to more intellectual paths or practices which actively try to transcend the body, such as lengthy periods of fasting. In the words of the 18th century Jewish Mystic Nachman of Breslov, “You should have great tenderness for the body, to refine it, so that the soul can reveal to it each insight and spiritual realization.”

Most fortunately, Somatic Spirituality also helped me grow in my ability to communicate authentically, speaking from my inner experience but in a compassionate way. I was blessed to meet my wife Melina whose shared love of body-centered transformation allowed us to be very open with one-another and grow together. It has been a great joy to see our young family connect around this practice as well. Even our six year old has had the experience of overcoming his tummy-aches by listening to the messages his belly was trying to tell him.


Now, I’m Here to Serve You!

After years of practice, my journey turned me towards helping others. The same spark and attention I felt towards my own unfolding self-knowledge I feel towards the clients whom I now serve. There are few feelings as satisfying as witnessing someone work through a difficult situation and realize an innate and profound truth about who they are. One person at a time, it is a privilege to help people find more calm, trust, and awareness inside.

Years on from my first encounter with Somatic Spirituality I no longer search for a permanent bliss state. I am content with the foundational calm that I am cultivating, the trust in my own inner guidance, and the knowledge that part of being embodied is grappling with challenges and flaws. We can never be perfect but as beings who possess both bodies and consciousness we have a special capacity to bring healing, transformation, and insight to this world.


How You Can Work With Me to Experience the Transformation for Yourself

If you’re ready to go on your own journey from disconnection to unity, and ultimately, to actualizing your unique calling in the world, I’m here to guide you back to how it feels to be in authentic conversation with your body and to living life connected to the source of 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

Melina wants to live in a world where everyone can sing along to every song, it’s totally fine to pause time, most landscaping is edible and massage is the standard way to end the day. 

For now she finds the best way to pause time is to listen deeply and share stories. 

Growing up in Chicago, by the shores of Lake Michigan, Melina wanted to be first the Karate Kid and then a diplomat. At the age of 14 she walked into a used bookstore, picked up a hardcover copy of a Carl Jung book and her spiritual journey began. Knowing she wasn’t alone in feeling something significant in  synchronicities and dreams gave her a new sense of belonging and fueled her curiosity about “what is really going on in this universe?” She is still working on that one. 

By the time she graduated high school she was so intrigued by the hard-to-overstate power of ideas in human history that she signed up to study the History of Ideas at McGill. In magical Montreal Melina studied medicinal herbology, therapeutic relationships and compassionate communication in French at Flora Medicina while working at a vegan cooperatively-run restaurant that felt like an ongoing rainbow gathering. Nine years in Montreal opened Melina’s eyes to the quantity and quality of wisdom available to support us as we co-evolve consciousness and culture. Her heart opened to the joys, and necessary challenges,of seeking through relationships and community. 

After herbology school, Melina felt called to devote herself more fully to spiritual practice and learn about storytelling.

This call led to a journey which included Western Sufi meditation in Florida, a year on an organic farm on the Central Coast of California and two Eurythmy schools near Mt. Shasta California and Boulder, Colorado. Eurythmy, the movement art connected with Waldorf Schools, introduced her to Waldorf Early Childhood Education and she joyfully dove into teaching and storytelling. 

In Boulder, Melina joined a chavurah, aka group of friends, got a new perspective on her Jew-ishness, and met Matthew. They sang together for hours before they talked together, but once they started talking they started scheming and dreaming and simply haven’t stopped. Co-founding Mekorah together is a dream-in-progress for them.  

One of their big dreams, welcoming their two children into this world- Orion in 2014 and Sephira in 2019- has already come true. Being a parent is another thing whose power is in the hard-to-overstate category.

Since becoming a mother, Melina has worked with Sounds True Publishing to design a Children’s Program for their Wake Up Festival and consulted on the storytelling curriculum for an alternative school. She has also undertaken a year-long study of mission-driven entrepreneurship with a mentor and is continually learning independently. 

Melina currently teaches The Story Sharing Cycle, a four-part process she developed. It is a spiritual practice for adults who know that sharing stories, especially (but not exclusively) their own, is a necessity in fulfilling careers and life. The process can also be used to delight/educate children and inspire their own innate storytelling capacities! Melina loves to see how sharing stories transforms us. 

At Mekorah, Melina steers the ship. For Melina, business is an expression of ideas in action and how to have an impact in the world. Healthy business allows for the full thriving of self and other. She is striving to walk a path of wholeheartedness and integration inspired by leaders like Brene Brown.

Melina wants the work at Mekorah to support people in their work in the world.