Paying it forward

October 19, 2010

“Children cannot intervene in their parents’ fate”–Jakob Robert Schneider, Family Constellations, p. 88

How much more energy will you have for living your life and paying it forward, when you stop old patterns based on trying to heal your parents?


I have exactly what I need to move forward–can this be true?

October 8, 2010

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.–Henry David Thoreau

We start out enthusiastic, but when we encounter some lack or run into an obstacle that seems too big, we often get discouraged and tell ourselves that we must have had a grandiose vision, that we can’t have it.
The essence of energy work is to look at each experience and ask what we need to transform it. The apparent lack or big obstacle becomes a great teacher alerting us to an opportunity to transform something in ourselves that is showing up as an issue in our health, business, or other aspect of our life. In a friendly universe, a need is met by help, and our job is simply to find what will help us shift the issue.

This time of the new moon is a great time to try out a new perspective, or renew our commitment. Have fun!


What rhythms are you in synch with?

October 3, 2010

One aspect of healing is finding what energizes us and what drains us. Trying to force ourselves into a pattern that we don’t resonate with drains us. Trying to march to a drumbeat that is not the best pace for us leaves us exhausted from pushing ourselves or not present due to boredom.

Did you miss receiving a post on Oct. 1? If so, my guess is that it was habit, usually finding it within the flurry of other publications.

Oct. 1 was a major Jewish holiday, and rather than posting early, I decided this would be a good time to shift to synching messages with the natural rhythms of the earth, rather than the arbitray patterns of the Julian calendar.

In many earth-based spiritual practices, the waning moon is a time of releasing that which no longer serves us. When we actually observe the moon each evening, we get a visual cue in the dimishing moon. I remember when I first started attuning to the cycles of the moon back in Massachusetts. As I walked home at night amidst all the multi-story buildings in Cambridge and Somerville, I would crane my head, seeking a crevice of sky to glimpse the rising moon. Even with the bigger sky in Tucson, it is still easy to simply grab our things as we move from car to building.

A simple practice can be to remind ourselves to look up, to search the sky for the moon, to notice where the sun rises and sets. As we attune to the larger rhythms of the planet, we may ask how our heartbeat, our breathing pattern, our cycles of high energy and rest time, nestle within those larger cycles, fed by the abundant energy of the cosmos.

If you’d like to think more about calendars, you may like to watch the video of a speech I gave last December about the cycles of the year and holidays.

Blessings, Deborah

No Flunking in the School of Life

September 1, 2010

When a Tucson Unified School District employee recently told me that some families were still trickling in to enrol, even though school started weeks ago, I asked, “Were they on vacation?” She said, “No, just watching TV,” not aware that school had started.

I was fortunate that my eagerness at starting school each year never faded. School was a place where I enjoyed learning and connecting with friends. My desire for school to be a fun, succesful experience for everyone lead me to earn a masters degree in educational psychology. I learned about a mastery approach to teaching, in which there is no flunking, only seeking to find what approach will help a student master each step in the learning process. My special interest was in studying how we create the conditions that foster creativity.

But during that time, my health seriously declined, and after pursuing many approaches to healing, I thought I was “flunking,” that there was no hope for me. I then became like those parents and students who no longer showed up for school.

While holding little hope for my own healing then, I still had a belief in some larger planetary healing, and put my energy into activism. It was in that context that I got the feedback that I was very good in troubleshooting. My training in systems theory was still going to a good use, examining a situation, seeing how energy was flowing, where it was blocked, and being able to suggest courses of action that were effective.

Years later when a surge of energy came through my body during intensive meditation, I began to heal on all levels. Then I rediscovered a joy in troubleshooting the flow of energy in all situations, moving through layers in my own healing process, and helping others find where they were bloeked and getting energy flowing.

Today I encourage us all to take a mastery approach to learning in all areas of our life, simply asking, what do I need to do to shift this issue, what will help me learn skills I need? Without the option of flunking, we all become more skilled troubleshooters, helping ourselves and others learn and grow, contributing our unique gifts so needed in this time of great transition on our planet.

On the theme of learning, in November at Odyssey Storytelling I’ll share the story of my mother’s last lesson.

In general news, Aqua Vita is open again!

And for all who celebrate Rosh HaShanah, I wish you a sweet new year.

On Sept. 26, we’ll have our third annual sacred water event at the Jewish Community Center, starting at 4 pm. The new shaliach, or emissary, from the Israel Center will give a brief presentation on water issues in Israel, then a variety of individuals and groups will lead psalms that represent spiritual ascent to Jerusalem, and then we’ll make a procession carrying water, chanting Kosi Rivaya (my cup overflows), which not only honors the sacredness of water, but also helps us shift into an attitude of abundance regarding all things. If you have young children, they can go to the outdoor sukkah to enjoy a story, and then join in for the procession.Then we’ll have snacks and peruse water conservation and harvesting resources.


August 8, 2010

While I’m not ready to say goodbye to my own Subaru, this book helped me adopt more local sustainability practices and drive it less

August 6, 2010

After riding my bike to reduce my carbon footprint, thinking about meeting spiritual needs without burning also health effects

August 5, 2010

Gathering some mesquite pods each morning is a meditation on abundance, later to grind them into meal

Easiest Manifestation: Shifting into Abundance

August 1, 2010

A month ago, Josephine Thomason and I met very early in the morning out at TerraSante to make  new essence of saguaro fruit. In the synergy of two minds are better than one, we made an essence that I think is even better than the one I made years ago (story below) and found to help with “easier manifestation.” This new essence helps with “easiest manifestation.”

 In this time of rain, we can celebrate the abundance of the desert as part of helping ourselves shift into a mentality of abudance and eaisest manifestation. When I rode my bike to the farmer’s market this morning, I stopped and meditated on the abundace of water flowing in the Rillito. Many mornings I gather some mesquite pods from the trees in my backyard, appreciating desert sweetness that we can enjoy now or grind into mesquite meal. What else helps you shift into abundance?

****************  The making of the first saguaro fruit essence ***********************

 People have often commented that many good things manifest for me.  The essence of energy work is that we discern the roots of an issue, make shifts on an energetic level, and then physical shifts happen more readily.

 Yet the concept of struggling to achieve results is such an ingrained idea. Because of that, six years ago I made an essence to help me and others heal that issue. The story of making this essence involved, of course, learning about relaxing into ease. I happened to be camping out in the desert west of Tucson when the Aspen fire began in the Catalina mountains northeast of town. I was camping because I needed to stay away while the fumes from a sealant outgassed in the guesthouse I was renting.

 I had felt frustrated when a delay in the sealant application sent me into the desert as the intense sun of the summer solstice approached, but now I was thankful to be away when the fire started. When the house had aired enough from the sealant application,  I went home to assess the situation.
As I drove into town, I noticed haze in the air, and when my car climbed into the foothills of the Catalinas, I gasped to see smoke billowing over the ridges of the mountain.  While the flames had not come close enough to the property for fire marshals to issue an evacuation order, my landlady and other neighbors were taking the precaution of placing valuables in safety deposit boxes in town and preparing to flee if necessary. I was more concerned about the veil of smoke that hung over our normally pristine landscape, and the helicopters dropping chemical treatments.

 Had I not already been camping out, I might have been tempted to hole up with an air filter. Instead, I simply gathered a few more things to take to my campsite in the desert to the west, where the Tucson Mountains blocked much of the air flow from the fire to the east. Little did we know that the fire would rage for nearly a month.

 While I was far from the blaze, June daytime temperatures reached the triple digits. Without air conditioning, I lived in tune with the desert, doing active projects in the cool of the early morning, slithering into shade in the heat of day to read and dream with the lizards, to emerge again when the sun finally moved below the horizon. In day after dry day, the prickly pear cactus gradually lost the plumpness of water stored from the earlier spring rains, and their pads became thin as cardboard. Other vegetation shriveled as well.

 Yet the saguaros stood tall and sturdy, and with the water they had stored, they produced vibrant red fruit. Like the other creatures of the desert, I craved this sweet wetness. The nearest fruits were far above my head. I could not fly to reach them like the birds, and no one climbs a saguaro cactus! So I called a friend who used to live on this land, who told me she had left behind her gathering pole used to reach fruit. I searched through the brush around the vacant mobile home she used to call home and peered underneath, but couldn’t find the pole.

 As I sat beside a saguaro the next morning, I settled for the vicarious pleasure of watching the birds eating their fill of seeds and luscious red pulp. Bunnies nibbled the fruit that fell to the ground, but my human ideas about germs prevented me from eating what birds had pecked. I admired how a flicker could reach well into the fruit, and imagined myself with that long curved bill and sharp eyes, the black bib to catch the dribbles of feasting, the speckles of black on the breast that could be fruit splatters dried in the sun.

 A flicker right above me aimed not at the juicy part of the fruit, but at the stem that attached it to the body of the cactus. Then-thunk! A fresh fruit almost hit my head as it fell to the ground. I first looked up at the flicker to thank it for this saguaro rain, and then picked up the fruit. Rather than dip my tongue into the red cup to reach the wet black seeds, I thought to make an essence from it to benefit from this experience for years to come. While most existing essences are made from flowers and gems, I had already made an essence of prickly pear pad. The healers who tried it out found it quite effective.

 But I was concerned that this fruit could have picked up some of my energy in briefly handling it. Usually I prayed to be very clear before approaching a plant to make an essence, and used a knife instead of my fingers to remove the flower or plant part. As I meditated, I sensed that it was good to go ahead and make the essence; I had been in such a reverent place that my briefly touching the fruit was not a problem; it was not as if I had been worried or angry and transmitted that.

 So I pulled out one of the  knives  and clear glass bowls I had brought with me for essence making, and sliced off the base where the flicker had pecked to free it. I placed the fruit in the bowl partially filled with spring water. 

While making this essence was itself a lesson in receiving, soon I had another gift. For years I had been doing sound toning for my own healing.  Now I was ready to learn more, and thought when I was back home, I would start looking for a teacher.  Shortly after taking a trial dose of the saguaro fruit essence out in the desert, a friend called me and said she would like to introduce me to a friend of hers, Tryshe Dhevney, who just happened to be a sound healer! I talked with Tryshe over the phone, and later I would learn about working with tuning forks from her.

 This essence of saguaro fruit is a great ally to me, but it doesn’t mean that everything that I or someone else asks for immediately shows up. Other issues may need to be addressed as well.

 To learn more, go to



Culture of Healing

May 12, 2010

In “Falling off the Edge of the Known World” at Odyssey Storytelling last week   (watch at     ), I talked about creating a culture of healing. I contrasted it with a shame-based punishment model from the Puritans, and described its roots in several spiritual traditions:

Christianity also encompasses redemption.

In my own Jewish tradition, tikkun olam, healing the world, is always intertwined with tikkun hanefesh, the healing of each individual.

The worldview shared by various Native American peoples is not punishment-based,  and instead applies restorative justice, and illness is seen as a signal to take action to create harmony not only in the individual, but also in the larger cultural group.

Please share your experiences with shifting perspectives to support healing.

May 11, 2010

A simple way to energize the chakras, the body’s energy centers–while taking a walk, first look for something red, then the color orange, and up the spectrum