Eating with ease makes travel so much easier!

May 20, 2020

[Note: this blog post was written Oct 21, 2018 and shared on the Gupta Programme forum then, but I had not posted it here at the time. And I look forward to traveling again in the future. 🙂 ]

I feel so thankful to be able to eat with such ease now. When I started the Gupta Programme, I had been on a rigid food rotation diet for years. It was only after I transitioned off that diet, that I realized how much deprivation I had been living with.  Before making food changes I used tools to prepare my system and then had great results, success building upon success. At first the changes were quite small, starting to say, I’ll just eat the rest of that quinoa tomorrow, rather that rotating every single food. After I could freely eat from the foods that had been in my rotation, I started experimenting more—such as a tiny bit of cracker a houseguest had left behind. Gradually I expanded and expanded, until I could eat whatever I wanted.

I still eat incredibly healthy, because I love fresh produce, from the garden, the farmer’s market, or a local store. And also I love the ease of accepting hospitality from people, whatever they offer. Perhaps the greatest ease comes in traveling; when I fly out tomorrow to attend a training in the somatic movement therapy that I am studying to expand tools I offer to clients, I wonder what snack they’ll serve on the airplane. Sure, I’ll bring along some protein bars, nuts, and carrots as travel food for the day.  And now, I supplement those with enjoying what is served, whether it is little pretzels, peanuts, or tiny cookies. Just to enjoy the abundance of the world, the flavors, and the ease of knowing I can tolerate whatever comes my way.

Deborah Mayaan has a special focus on both Eating with ease, and on group coaching in addition to one-on-one coaching sessions. To learn more, see:

Dreams deferred, dreams realized

April 15, 2019

When I began my own brain retraining, it was a mixed experience to draw upon memories of health, because I had been ill so very long. When I started the Gupta Program at age 53, I had been ill for 28 years. I went far back in time to harvest memories, running down a trail in the forest in my 20s, swimming and riding my bike as a kid, snorkeling on a reef in my 20s. I chose active memories, some solitary, like the running one, but mostly ones with friends.

Any chronic illness can be isolating, when not part the normal routines of work, school, and/or community activities, but that was particularly the case with chemical sensitivities, since the advice was to avoid exposures. That was especially hard for me as someone very drawn to community. In my 20s I had lived in cooperative households and spent five months on a kibbutz before the viral onset chronic fatigue that later spread to the related Neuro-Immune Conditioned Syndromes (NICS) of chemical sensitivities, electromagnetic sensitivities, food sensitivities, and fibromyalgia.

I had been living by myself for years when I started the Gupta Program, and my visualizations included living in community again. After I got better, I started attending dinners at a cooperative house and also hosted people through Airbnb to get used to sharing a living space. I was drawn to live in Ajo, Arizona for a year, and enjoyed living in a historic school that had been remodeled into apartments for artists. I had my own apartment, but organized a music jam and attended writing and art events organized by residents. These were paced steps into community, because if there is anything that can stir our old issues, it is living with other people!

I feel so thankful to be living in intentional community again. As I write, I am nurtured by the sounds of children playing as a neighborhood sewing class is happening in my cooperative house’s living and dining rooms. Earlier today I spent time working with some of my old stress patterns stirred by challenging interactions with people in my community. I spent time with some scared younger parts, orienting them to current reality: that I am in community with people who all have their issues, me included, and sometimes we get triggered, or argue or are frustrated with each other. And also, I have managed to be with a group of people who are all people of good intent, who wish the best for each other, who seek consensus, a decision that is good for all concerned, as we learn the skills of direct democracy.  My safety seeker can relax! My approval seeker and achiever can curb the impulse to do too much to prove my worth. My helper can see that attending to my own needs and receiving help are also important in living sustainably.

I needed the tools of the Gupta Program to calm my system through relaxation and retraining. And I needed that third aspect in Ashok’s metaphor of the dove; re-engaging with joy through my love of community. The joy of connecting deeply with people energizes me and gives me the courage to continue to retrain old stress patterns as a healthy person, in the ongoing growth journey of life. My dreams deferred are being realized on a daily basis.

Deborah Mayaan has a special focus on both Eating with ease, and on group coaching in addition to one-on-one coaching sessions. To learn more and sign up for her email list to learn about group coaching opportunities, see:

Increasing pleasure and joy in the New Year

December 27, 2018

When Ashok Gupta talks about re-engaging with joy as part of the Gupta Programme, sometimes that soundsfruit smile image 400 like that will just be easy! Many people then discover that support really helps with discerning what brings joy in life, and spending more time doing that.

In another method that I find complementary to the Gupta Programme, Organic Intelligence founder Steve Hoskinson talks of this in a slightly different way. Orienting to pleasure, spending more time doing what feels good in a healthy way, helps gently shift the nervous system away from the over focus on the negative. We learn to listen to and honor the impulses for healing and growth that are specific to our own organically intelligent systems.

A group is another level of organization, another system. A healing group supports people in developing their capacity to know what brings them joy and their choices to do more of that, raising the level of enjoyment all around! There is a positive synergy in a healing group that ripples out. In healing ourselves and following our paths of growth and enjoyment, that way of being impacts all we encounter. Ashok’s Meaning of Life Experiment supports people in that amazing lifelong process of unfolding.

In this 90 minute single session of group coaching, I’ll guide you in exercises for increasing your access to pleasure and enjoyment.

As well as putting a special focus on group coaching, I also focus on helping people heal from food sensitivities. Orienting to pleasure is an important aspect of increasing the ability to take in nourishment in all forms.

By videoconference (or join by phone)
Thurs, Jan 3
90 minutes, starting at:
10 am Pacific
11 am Arizona
11 am Mountain
noon Central
1 pm Eastern
6 pm UK
7 pm Central European
(If you are not able to attend live at this time, you are welcome to register for the event and will then receive the recording.)

The format includes exercises with optional sharing. The session is recorded so you can review it.
Register through Paypal at

Registration closes at 5 pm Pacific the day before (Jan 2)
If you enjoy the group coaching experience, then you may be interested in the next 5-part Foundation skills for brain retraining that starts Thurs, Jan 17, that meets every other Thursday for 5 times, same time as above.

After graduating from the Foundation series, people are eligible for two forms of more advanced group coaching:

* A new five part series on Eating with ease, focused on brain retraining and other exercises specifically for increasing the ability to enjoy a wider range of foods
* Topics in brain retraining, in which people choose which topics to cover.

Eating with ease during the December holiday season

December 21, 2018

[This is reposted from the forum for the Gupta Programme , and that is why it refers to “by the time this is posted” ]

Navigating the holidays with more ease in general involves boundaries with family members and maybe even getting some perspectives on dynamics through humor 😊

Navigating the holidays with ease can also mean honoring how the rhythms of your life and your culture interweave with the dominant culture.

In my Jewish culture, Hanukkah is a minor holiday that has become more prominent as a way to compensate for the big focus on Christmas, and also often falls well before Christmas since Jewish holidays are based on the cycles of the moon as well as sun. By the time this is posted, I will have enjoyed getting together with others to share fried latkes (pancakes). Now I have the ease of eating anything, but when I was still sensitive to gluten, I found recipes for gluten-free latkes, and made ones based on sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Now there are even pre-made latkes from cauliflower! The jelly doughnut is not something I experimented with, but with all the stevia and gluten-free baking mixes, who knows?

Those ingredients can form the basis for healthy treats in the form of Christmas cookies, nut breads, and other seasonal favorites. I’ve also bought stevia-sweetened chocolate to share, since I still don’t like to eat a lot of sugar. The tamales that are a Christmas favorite in the southwestern US and points south are made from corn.

When making treats for ourselves or to share, it can also help to acknowledge that not every culture has a late December important holiday. Outside of northern Europe and other cold climates, the return of the sun and need to deal with winter depression are not pressing. Here in Arizona on the land of the Tohono O’odham people, our gardens are bursting now and just like in Judaism, it is the rain we need to pray for in other seasons. And for Christians from Mexico and further south, Easter is the more important holiday when they make a pilgrimage to be with family. The next Islamic holiday (Shab e Barat) will be in April. (holy days are on a lunar cycle and shift around the course of the year). The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, falls in October or November.

And also, when it seems everyone around is having treats, making treats for ourselves can be an important part of nurturing all our parts.

Deborah Mayaan
has a special focus on both Eating with ease, and on group coaching in addition to one-on-one coaching sessions. To learn more, see:

Healing from orthorexia with brain retraining

August 2, 2017

fruit smile image 400For me, healing food sensitivities was my final step in recovering from the interrelated conditions of chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, electromagnetic sensitivities, and fibromyalgia.

I was so eager to be part of the world again, that I first focused my retraining on the other aspects, and was willing to live with a lot of what I called discipline around food then, without acknowledging the level of deprivation I experienced.

As a teenager and young woman, I had an eating disorder, starting with depriving myself by increasingly severe dieting, alternating with times of bingeing. I learned that in order to stop the bingeing, I needed to stop depriving myself of enough calories, and sure enough, the urge to overeat became something I could  manage. Until I learned more skills for working with emotions, I would eat for emotional reasons at times, but was off that rollercoaster of deprivation followed by bingeing. I learned this approach from methods for healing from eating disorders in the late 80s, but did not follow guidelines to eat not only from hunger, but also from eating whatever I preferred. That’s because without realizing I was doing it, I transferred my control of calories and weight to control of eating the “right” foods. I developed what is now being called “orthorexia nervosa”–an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

For anyone who is already retraining their brains for some of the other conditions I too lived with, the word “nervosa” may jump out at you. We retrain the nervous system to shift the stress responses that have become conditioned to foods, chemicals, EMF, or lingering symptoms from infections or injuries.

I now make choices of healthy foods and make choices of environmentally healthier products, as a joyful path, rather than one fraught with fear over making a mistake and suffering consequences to my health.

If you too would like to eat with more ease and joy, then please register for the upcoming group coaching event on this topic. This event also serves as a general introduction to brain retraining and group coaching, so is also suitable for people who are not dealing with food sensitivities, but are interested in coaching.

Eating with Ease with Food Sensitivities

Weds., Sept. 27 by videoconference or call in by telephone

A 90 minute session starting at:

11 am Pacific 11 am Arizona  noon Mountain 1 pm Central 2 pm Eastern 7 pm UK

$30. To register, please go to

Group coaching serves as a way to more affordably learn skills and be supported in your retraining, and to connect with other retrainers. And for the limited number of spots I have for individual coaching, I give priority to people who are in group coaching. All group coaching currently takes place by videoconference, with the option to join in by telephone as well. I am also exploring options to hold some in-person events in the future here in southern Arizona at the Sonoran Desert Inn and Conference Center.

Shortly after a single-session event, a 5-part Foundations Skills series begins. The next series starts Weds., Oct. 4.

People who have attended a Foundation Skills series are then eligible to enroll in Topics in Brain Retraining group coaching, in which the participants choose which topics to cover.

The next Topics series starts Weds., Oct. 11. To see details about of group coaching events, please see:

About the Gupta Programme: New theories of the underlying processes of chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, and anxiety have resulted in highly effective tools. The Gupta Programme was developed by Ashok Gupta as he healed from chronic fatigue. The idea is that after an initial infection, the brain got stuck in a feedback loop, reacting to symptoms by revving up a fight or flight adrenaline response, which would bring on more symptoms. The brain is retrained to not be reactive to what is simply an adrenaline cycle. It has also been used successfully to retrain the brain to not overreact to chemicals, or to lingering pain signals in fibromyalgia, or to anxiety responses.

To learn more, watch the free webinar. If you are interested in purchasing the Gupta Programme home study set, if you do it through my affiliate link, I receive 20% of your purchase price and give that back to you in the form of a credit that can be used for group or individual coaching (use for individual coaching depends on availability since I often have a waiting list). When you make your purchase, please email me the date and time of your purchase.

From that link you can also navigate to other resources on the site, including videos of Ashok Gupta explaining how the hypothesis applies to specifically to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, or anxiety.

For individual coaching, I give priority in my schedule to people who commit to working on a regular schedule–weekly, every other week, or monthly sessions. People who wish to schedule on an as needed basis then use a link that I give you to schedule themselves into whatever slots remain.   Because there is such a large demand for coaching, for new clients I give first priority to people who are attending group coaching (or attended a prior series). Group coaching serves as a way to:

  • learn tools to deepen or supplement the Gupta Programme methods
  • get some of your questions answered by me or members of the group
  • build your support network
  • Then individual coaching sessions can be focused on what else you need. This may include going through and checking how you are doing methods if you don’t think they are working as well as they might. Or having me hold the space for deeper work on getting clear on patterns or resolving issues that are adding to stress.

The Pima County Public Library now has a copy of the Gupta Programme home study set. While the set lives at the Main Library, you can place a reserve on it and have it sent to any branch. People outside of Pima County may also contact their own library about requesting to borrow it through Interlibrary Loan.

Should the canary heal?

July 17, 2017

When people are considering doing the Gupta Programme to heal from multiple chemical sensitivity, sometimes they wonder if their role instead is to serve like the canary in the coal mine, giving the signal of toxins in the environment?

That was a question I had needed to answer for myself, and it came in layers. Early in my healing process, the idea came to me to be a different kind of bird, that sings as the Voice of the Earth, giving a message about cleaning up the air. I had the idea that speaking with words would free my body from speaking through reacting, and I certainly made a great deal of progress, and became much less reactive.

Yet there were some more layers that needed to be addressed. A practitioner I was working with to help me detoxify my body liked the idea of the Voice of the Earth, and began calling her other patients with MCS Voices of the Earth. I felt somehow uneasy with this, but wasn’t clear on what it was.

As I was healing, I gradually became part of the wider world again, as a practitioner myself, and in circles dedicated to progressive health and spirituality, or the arts. When I attended an Intenders Circle facilitated by Tony Burroughs, a person who was healthy spoke an intention for clean water and air. I then understood that by allowing the identification of Voice of the Earth to be attached to chemical sensitivities, it was only partly changing that particular role, rather than celebrating that all can speak for the earth. And I was then able to release the burden connected to my body carrying a signal.

It was an important aspect of allowing myself to heal fully when I later found the Gupta Programme. In reflecting on this realization, I notice that it happened in a group.

In many groups of people living with MCS, the idea of serving as canaries is very important. And for me, it had served great value, by giving meaning to the suffering, and for illness serving as an initiation into being a messenger. I now encourage people to take the next step: to be a messenger for a healthy way of life, without the burden of illness.

It’s a lot more fun, being that messenger! I feel so thankful to really enjoy my life, go anywhere I desire, eat anything I like, and have adventures.

As a healthy person, I can contribute more to the shift to a healthier planet as well. Recently I chose to move to the small town of Ajo, Arizona, and it is no big deal that I ride my bike and walk here. But when I still lived in Tucson, people with MCS were astounded that I not only lived in central Tucson, but rode my bike in traffic and walked for errands. I also take public transportation, while still making less frequent use of a personal vehicle.

Because I am not reactive, I can also buy more from thrift stores, reducing my carbon footprint, since even producing new organics has an impact. When I buy new, I still choose to buy organic clothing, and to make conscious choices of appliances, electronics, and other items.

Similarly with food, when I was still in Tucson, I chose to take part in buying produce from Market on the Move, produce that would have gone to waste, while still buying organic from stores and farmers’ markets. I had the energy to garden as well.

Becoming healthy has also given me the freedom to live in an apartment again, further reducing my individual carbon footprint. While the person who bought my house in Tucson was happy to have rooftop solar and rainwater harvesting, all things that I could afford to do because I was healthy enough to be earning sufficient money to invest in those.

This has all been a big transition. I think one crucial factor in my success was that I did not keep all my identity wrapped up in being the canary or later a Voice of the Earth; I gradually built connections based on shared values and interests rather than illness—I kept many friendships and also made new connections with people who ate healthy, liked to be outdoors, and many of whom shared work in the healing or fine arts. Others were women business owners. Some were neighbors.

Few of these new friends understand my whole journey; they cannot fully validate my experience. And that is why it is so important to me as a Gupta Programme coach, to offer group coaching, where people have peers on the journey of retraining their brains and getter better.

When people are retraining their brains, they may also need a break from hearing a lot about toxins, and for that reason, be less connected to some friends living with MCS. That had been my experience, and then it was such a joy to find that some other activists for access for people with MCS have also recovered through brain retraining. These are friends of mine going back many years, some all the way back to 1990, when I started speaking up about access for people with MCS. So I have a long-time peer group again myself, people who have been on the whole journey. And I’m happy to be helping more people come over and join us in this adventure!

To see the schedule of group coaching events, please see:

A pack of coyotes? Choosing a reference group

August 28, 2015

One day a woman greeted me with more intensity than the passing “good morning” that walkers usually give when crossing paths. So I stopped to listen, and she said, “I’m new here and I see two coyotes over there”—motioning to the dry river bed—“Do I have to be concerned?”

“No,” I said. “They’ll just stay down there and won’t come hurt you or your dogs.”

With that reassurance, she continued on. I was glad she had asked. If she hadn’t, she might have missed out on enjoying the beautiful desert morning, the air still reasonably cool, the desert willow in bloom, the birds flying over the riverbed. She might have hurried back to her vehicle, looking over her shoulder for a coyote, afraid to return.

Probably over 99 percent of the walkers, runners, cyclists, and horsepeople exercising that day would have given her the same answer I did. But what if she had asked someone else new to the area who didn’t know? Hopefully they would have just asked the next person they encountered. But what if the person they happened to ask was someone with an unusual perspective, perhaps a member of the High Anxiety Walking Group who started to panic? Rather than getting realistic information to allay her concern, our walker’s fears would have been fed.

Our reference group is critical when we desire to form realistic perspectives, healthy ones that help us make good choices.

As I became increasingly sensitive to chemicals, I talked more and more with people who were also very sensitive to chemicals. In many ways that made sense; we understood each others’ experiences and could be supportive. But we also often fed each others’ fears, by focusing on our reactions and all the toxins in the world.

When I found the Gupta Programme, I learned about how we can become conditioned to have reactions to common chemicals. An exposure to a certain level of a toxin may bring on symptoms that are from the actual exposure. But with the low-dose reactions of chemical sensitivities, the reaction is from the body’s fight-flight adrenaline response. And once the body goes into adrenaline overdrive, that sends a signal that we are in danger, which feeds the fire of the adrenaline response.

The Gutpa Programme has many wonderful tools for retraining the brain to no longer overreact to small amounts of chemicals. The body can then shift from fight or flight to the calm parasympathetic nervous system response that allows us to rest, digest, have a healthy immune response, and to better detoxify from any chemical residues in our systems. And to then have the energy to more fully participate in the planetary shift to environmentally healthier ways of living.

Before I found the Gupta Programme, I had already discovered that I did better if I did not think so much about chemical sensitivities. I was still very sensitive, so with the connections I already had by telephone with people with MCS, I sought to shift the focus of conversation. What self-help healing modalities were we studying and finding useful? What beautiful plant was growing outside the window?

One of the best experiences was starting a group that sang over the telephone. Even with someone who I found to be very negative in her thinking, singing was an activity we could enjoy together. A few of us met in a support group to deal with a specific issue in our lives. These successes gave me the courage to reach out to a group of non-MCS women writers I knew, and ask to be included by telephone. We later got a grant to hold a writing workshop that was accessible by telephone. I also started working by telephone as a freelance journalist. Later I would learn about 12-step meetings that happened by conference call and that became another lifeline.

I also organized a group of people with chemical sensitivities to celebrate some holidays together in person. Some of us then ventured out to outdoor events together. I found that many food co-op and other health food people were safe for me to be around even when I was still sensitive.

I feel thankful now to be able to go anywhere, and be with anyone. My expansion started with simply shifting how I connected with the network of people in my life. My network shifted over time as I found who desired to go in the direction of healing, and as I made new connections.


Deborah Mayaan is a trainee coach with the Gupta Programme, as well as an energy work and flower essence practitioner. She works by telephone, Skype, and in person in Tucson.

What makes today a blue ribbon day?

July 1, 2013

Blue ribbon streamers on my bike at the 4th of July parade

The reminder from the Palo Verde Neighborhood Association about our mellow 4th of July parade encouraged red, white, and blue streamers on our bikes. That brought back memories of riding my bike in such a parade back in Youngstown as a kid. I still love riding my bike, and my eyes were drawn to blue ribbon in my office. Maybe streamers aren’t just for kids, and I’ll tie them on my bike handlebars. These ribbons also serve as reminders to appreciate the gift of each day. And focusing on their color, it can be a reminder of the positive psychology practice of asking what went well today?

Choosing the kind of energy our hands will act with

June 10, 2013

When people have been drawn to the bath salts, but don’t have a tub, I’ve suggested that they do a foot bath. Mary at Desert Rose has also suggested using them as a hand bath, for –I love the synergy of different people’s input!


I actually starting making these bath salts long before I had a tub myself. I lived in a little trailer out in the desert when I first started to spiral up from severe illness. Even before I started making my essences, I started making bath salt combinations that I used as foot baths. During the years when I rented in Tucson, sometimes I had a tub; and other times did not. Someone asked me once, wasn’t it strange to make something that I could not enjoy in its fullness myself? I felt it was part of drawing me forward until the time when I would own a house and have regular access to a tub. Which I very much enjoy at this point!

Is there anything that is a parallel in your life?

Mother’s Day gift–Unconditional love comes in a kit?

April 24, 2013

A Mother’ Day gift can be challenging to pick out when there are unresolved family issues. The Bathe Yourself in Unconditional Love Kit helps heal those issues.

It’s also appropriate if you felt unconditionally loved by your mother; giving this kit of rose quartz essence products is a way to say thank you and keep the love flowing.

If the love that came from your mother had strings attached or was inconsistent, this kit helps heal that pattern. We can only give what we have received; helping another person tune into the flow of unconditional love in the universe can be part of our own healing, of acceptance of what our mother was able to give or not, based on what she herself had received.

I only created this kit recently, but unconditional love/rose quartz bath salts have been popular for years, and I remember how much my mother enjoyed them, and like to think that they were part of healing wounds we both had from challenging patterns that had been handed down by her mother. Giving myself rose quartz essence at the same time also helped me.