Deborah had been a practitioner of the healing arts since 1972 when she trained with and then joined the legendary Ananda Massage Collective of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She and fellow members of Ananda were among the first wave of pioneers in the embryonic, emerging field of holistic health.
Deborah studied - and practiced - many different kinds of bodywork and meditation. In 1986, she graduated from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute of Columbia, Maryland.
As part of her post-graduate education Deborah completed advanced seminars with Dr JR Worsley and a 2-year course in Chinese Pharmacology and Herbology with Ted Kaptchuk, OMD. She continued to study with luminaries in the field such as Dr. Richard Tan, Thea Elijah and Miki Shima.
For her first eight years as an acupuncturist, Deborah worked at a busy holistic medical office. Desiring a more personal context for her healing practice, she began working out of her home in the Porter Square area of Somerville. "I affectionately call my house La Casa Rosita , the House of Healing , because, within its walls the everyday miracles of healing and transformation continue to occur over and over again."
In service to the community that nurtured her, Deborah became President of the Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts in 1995. In her role as President she served as the lobbyist for a successful campaign to remove unnecessary legal restrictions to the practice of acupuncture in Massachusetts.
Significant teachers from other traditions have also shaped Deborah's healing style and capabilities: in particular, Cherokee Elder Dyhani Ywahoo, Tibetan Buddhist lamas Ayung Rinpoche and Namkai Norbu, and spiritual teachers Tsultrim Allione, Terri Nash and Jyoti. See Sources of Inspiration .
Deborah also maintained a small private practice in Providence, RI.
"For over ten years I studied with the Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, a Cherokee teacher and healer who founded the Sunray Meditation Society. Through Dhyani I met many remarkable Native American elders like Philip Deer, Grace Spotted Eagle, Wallace Black Elk, Leonard Crow Dog, and Mad Bear Anderson who was affectionately called the firebrand of the fifth generation.
Writing the names of these women and men awakens powerful memories. Their teachings allowed me to experience the world as alive, intelligent and filled with messages and meaning. This experience shook me out of the worldview that Dhyani Ywahoo labeled "separation mind."
By "separation mind" Dhyani meant the consciousness shaped by the ideas of modern science, which, succinctly put, state that the elements of the universe are isolated from each other, divisible and wholly self-contained. In other words, everything is separate from every other thing.
The ideas of modern science were developed in the seventeenth century and have been made woefully out of date by the insights of quantum physics and more recent scientific research but still, they dominate Western thinking and increasingly, through globalization, most of the world.
Certainly many extraordinary advances have been made by modern science in the last three hundred years and the shadow aspect of this thinking has generated a profound disregard for the earth. "Separation mind" considers the earth to be dirt, inert matter that can and should be exploited for human benefit. Because of this thinking -- and it cannot be stated too strongly -- an ecological crisis of life-extinguishing proportions is stalking the planet.
The indigenous elders speak in a very different way: they speak about the sacred hoop, where the winged ones and the four-footed ones are as important as the two-footed ones. They recognize that the earth is a great sentient being and that all of life is interconnected. These beliefs match the understandings of quantum physics, and in particular Einstein's famous dictum "the field is everything." *
Native America, Quantum Physics and... Chinese Medicine
As another example of the mind that does not separate, Dhyani Ywahoo encouraged her students to study traditional Chinese Medicine. The Nei Ching , a very early Chinese medical text, was where I started. Although the language of the Nei Ching was arcane and difficult for my modern mind, I knew it was a goldmine of wisdom and an antidote to what-was-missing in Western Medicine.
In the ancient Chinese medical texts there is a clear description of the subtle energy field. Called Qi it is the invisible or barely visible force accompanying all material forms.
From their understanding of subtle energy, the ancient Chinese sages developed a comprehensive medicine that has been used effectively to treat illness and promote wellness for over two thousand years. Today we talk about holistic medicine, meaning that all parts of the bodymind are interconnected, and that touching one part touches all parts. Chinese Medicine was one of the earliest, perhaps the first fully developed, holistic system of medicine.
Inspired, I began preparatory training for acupuncture school in 1982. I thought to myself, well, this is a fringe profession but I am passionate about studying a medical system that is based on an awareness of subtle energy; and I am excited to be part of the wave that re-introduces holistic consciousness into the thought stream of the West.
I never anticipated that acupuncture would quickly shift from fringe to alternative and then to become the most prominent of the complimentary medicines and the subject of research at many distinguished medical schools throughout the United States.
At this juncture of history, Chinese Medicine is the yin to the yang of Western Medicine. It is my hope that the interaction between the two very different cultural paradigms will create a revolutionary new science that can recognize the energetic matrix that connects all of life, and in turn, learn to enhance the wellbeing of the earth and all the diverse creatures who inhabit it."