Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

The Penultimate Herbal Wisdom Class

Monday, June 18th, 2018

After 25 years, I’m bringing this free class series to a close. June 19 is the penultimate (next to last) class and July 17 will be the close. June’s class is an open forum for questions of any kind. The last class will be one of my favorites “How to Talk to Plants and Avoid Giving the Impression of Lunacy”.

Both classes are free, at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom, and are from 7-8:30.

Why stop now? Things have canged a lot in 25 years. Back when we started this class sponsored by The People’s Food Co-op I was mostly concerned with maintaining the bulk herb section for the co-op. It had been acquired from The Herb and Spice Co-op around the corner, and without dedicated herbailts on hand I feared few would know what to buy and why.

That goal has been met. It is a thriving section, and knowledge of herbs and bulk herbs has vastly increased over the decades.

I also wanted to provide some easy to access quality herbal information to our area. Now, there are plenty of people who can do that. Back then, I was one of only a few practicing herbalism.

I wanted to make growing herbs and harvesting weeds more normal. This has been a great success, with dandelions flourishing in many yards without embarrassment or remorse. Plantain is an up and coming match for dandelion, and in general people are more willing to look at weeds for food and medicine.

My work is done? Well, there is always more to do. But I don’t have to be the one to do it anymore. 25 is a nice solid number. At 10 classes a year, thats 2500 classes. I’m guessing that means around 25,000 people. Some come back, some pass through. it’s a reasonable guess.

Please join me for the last two classes. It will be a joy to teach them, and I admit a relief to be done after 25 years! For more information check out the People’s Food Co-op website

Support – Kindness made Active

Monday, March 21st, 2016

I have some very supportive friends. The extreme demonstration of this was November and December of 2009. I had major surgery to remove a very large fibroid tumor. I lived alone, I had no partner, just my dog and I. Over 50 people chipped in and took care of me for almost two months. I had food, company, dog walkers, house cleaning, even assistance in the first few days turning over, getting out of bed, washing, and figuring out how to walk again.

That was support. And the experience was life changing for me. I had never known that sort of support.

Except of course from my parents. Whose support was strong clear, and very long lasting as it continues through my father to this day. But in many ways fading as he grows older, and actually needs more of my support,

I’ve been practicing kindness. It seems to be my most important spiritual path at this time. And I’ve been considering support, now that I’m single again, and also getting hints of what happily growing older may require.

I had a lot of support in my last relationship, and I am sad to be without the small and sometimes large daily ways of being cared for and nourished. Thrown back into the unwanted status of “single” my support has to again depend on the many individuals who are my community, my friends, people not necessarily pledged to me as a lover is, but who do respond and care in so many small and large ways.

And support comes from strangers and synchronis events and coincidences as well. It matters to stop and appreciate the small and large ways I have wonderful support. People who support my work by being clients or by sending clients to me. Requests for writing and teaching. Peers who challenge and inspire me to do better.

Gifts of food, company, money, chocolate. People who will lend a hand moving something, clearing out a closet, providing expertise as I puzzle out a new project. Those who show up and carry heavy objects, saw lumber, shovel sand and weed the garden with me.

Friends who will read and comment on a book chapter, tell me when I offended them, suggest a softer or more mature way to proceed with conflicts. The support of singing the song while I ranch off into exotic harmonies. The support of giving me a ride somewhere or adjusting my bike for me. Hoisting the canoe, paddling behind me, swimming into the deep part fo the lake together urging me to go further, climbing the mountain (literally) with me when I didn’t think I could do that.

Support in believing in my dreams, introducing me to someone who can make those dreams become real.

And my work, my time, is spent finding how I can support other people. Especially the ones who come to me as clients. I am especially called to support new moms anyway I possibly can. Support them in breastfeeding, support them in taking care of themselves when they are giving so much Support them in having the space and the time to fall madly in love with this tiny person new to the world. I have never been a mom, and never will, but they hold a special part of my heart.

But in all of my clients and students the real purpose is to find how I can support them to be wonderful. Successful. Happy. To make it through hard times, with more than they started with.

I support the cranial vitality when I do Cranialsacral Therapy. I support the brilliant ability of the body to heal when I do other bodywork. I support people being insightful and wise and powerful when we talk about their lives and their struggles. It is all just about being supportive. Finding those small and large ways each person can use support. Making sure they have other people and parts of their lives which are supportive, encouraging them to build more support and move away from the people and things that are not.

It is all pretty simple.

I could use more support in my day to day life. There are tasks and projects and dreams that are behind or delayed. I need help keeping up with day to day tasks, and so many things that need doing. I can be more aware of ways to support my friends and clients and community in those small and large ways, I can do so much more.

When I write about it, I become more aware. As I’m more aware I can be even more active and —- supportive.

Being political – learning to listen

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

I invited an anti-abortion “rescue” activist to speak to a class I taught at Community High School. This was many years ago but it was a teaching experience I’ve never forgotten.

The small group of students in my “Political Organizing” class agreed it would be a unique chance to really listen to someone who had a viewpoint they strongly disagreed with. We agreed that the point would not be to debate or try to change anyone’s mind. It was a class comprised of liberal, pro-choice kids, and they truly wanted to understand how anyone could hold a position they found to be simply – but for many of us profoundly – wrong.

My brother David had a friend I had met a couple of times. David had told me this guy regularly went to protest at Planned Parenthood. He joined people from his church to try and “save” women from having abortions. I knew Bob casually, and enough about his political and protest activities to give him a wide berth – and certainly I did not want to discuss his actions with him. Until the class.

When I called him up to see if he might meet my class I was very candid about why we wanted to have him as a guest. And that every student had identified as pro-choice. That this was an exercise in being open to viewpoints we opposed, issues we had already come to a conclusion about. But that the students were sincere in wanting to hear a viewpoint they had not yet encountered first hand.

The class was great in giving Bob attention as he explained why he did this protesting, and his motivations and experience. They asked questions, they challenged him rather gently on women’s rights concerns, and they talked a lot with him about his deep passion and convictions concerning life and his very deeply held religious beliefs.

In the end, no one changed their minds. But something even more important happened. The students expressed some surprise at how deeply Bob felt about the issue, how articulate and well thought out his ideas and beliefs were. They did not expect that. And they gained some insight into why he was doing work that they had dismissed previously as mostly misguided and hateful.

There was a connection, there was greater respect, there was kindness, there was learning. And there was the budding practice of sitting down and learning to listen to a perceived enemy.

I believe it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taught. And this skill is desperately relevant today.

Preserving the Past

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Long long ago I created a lecture series and a newsletter called “Contributions to Wisdom”. The lecture series was originally every Friday night, and then every other Friday. The lecture series and the 10 times annually publication lasted from 1986 to 1993.

I videotaped most of the lectures. The small ($3) donations that people made for each lecture covered the cost of tea, a blank videotape, and over time part of the cost of purchasing a video camera.

Some of the videos were available for rent at Crazy Wisdom, I lent out a number of them as well. Mostly they have sat in plastic tubs for almost 30 years, waiting for something to happen.

A couple of people that I videoed are famous – Patch Adams, Susun Weed, and Larry Brilliant. Most of the local practitioners remain well known. A few have died, many have moved.

Those VHS tapes are slowly losing quality and ability to be played. I’d like to preserve them. Transferring them to Quicktime and DVD has to be done in real time. And it uses huge amounts of computer storage space, which does get cheaper every year – even every month it seems. But it is a very large project. It can also be done professionally, for about $20 for each 2 hour VHS. I have 33 tapes of local practitioners, 16 of Susun Weed, and 8 of Patch Adams. Preserving all 60 tapes professionally would cost over $1,000.

If each local presenter could be found and sponsored their own preservation, I could start by saving those tapes. For about $25 I could have the tape transferred to quick time and DVD, put it up on YouTube, and also create a collection that might be of interest to the Bentley Library, The UM Integrative Medicine Center, and maybe Crazy Wisdom might make them available again.

Here is a list of some of the lectures – some have the title of the lecture, but most only have the name.

Jay Sandweiss intro to osteopathy
Larry Brilliant Karma yoga Apr 87
Cheryl Newel
Bonnie Breidenbach
Bernie coyne rubenfeld synergy
Leigh Daniels
Bronwen gates
Aura Glaser
Phil Rogers Amazon toucan Native American chants
John Friedlander
Brian odonnel
Don Mathis therapy
Emily Socha past life fact or fiction
Brenda Morgan
Manny Schrieber making relationships work
Wasentha Young the tau chi symbol
Patricia Current
Marsha Traxler homeopathy
Barb Brodsky
Bob bedard
Leigh Daniels magic and the qubalah
Catherine Lilly MyersBbrigs
Jonathan Ellis
Pat Kramer with Bronwen gates herbs and childbirth
Steve Bhaerman Swami Beyondananda
Leah song
Leigh Daniels Saturn and Neptune
Bernie coyne 4-5-91
Michael Vincent acupuncture
Judy stone

I do believe this is a valuable part of Ann Arbor’s early history of alternative healing and the practitioners who were the pioneers of integrative medicine, spiritual development and alternative therapies. I would welcome your ideas, response, and financial support for the project. You can contact me at
holistic – at –

My Imaginary Energy Protector Made of Magical Plexiglass

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Sometimes imaginary thinks work really well. This one has been part of my practice for over 30 years.

Wanting to help other people is a natural urge. We may also be able to trace it to an evolutionary trait – those who were good at being a tribe survived the normal stresses and dangers of life better than those who were more outliers. We also have found that you can increase levels of oxytocin (one of the brain’s wonderful feel good chemicals) by being kind and helpful. Ironically – or purposely – when you have more exposure to oxytocin it also makes you want to be more generous. So you can get into quite a self perpetuating cycle when you help other people.

When you’re in a “helping profession” it isn’t hard to get pulled in and empathize with someone else’s pain or troubles. If you do this a lot, it can lead to burnout, resentment, lower levels of functioning, and even taking on the pain or distress form other people. The idea that “I’ll do anything” to help another may be an occasionally good idea, but certainly not sustainable long term for most people.

I found early on that some clients just took it out of me. I’d be exhausted afterward, I’d have dreams about them, I would obsess about their problems and if I helped them. It wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t workable.

So I imagined I had two tubes of magical plexiglass in my spine. One contained my personal energy, the other was inspired form that core current but only through the plexiglass. The core tube was untouchable. I didn’t use it when working on clients, and it could only be replenshed or “touched” by energy that was of equal or greater vibration. I use the term vibration as a way to imagine some spiritual core foundational energy that every has. Except mine is in a tube. The the secondary tube can be used entirely, and it is easily replenished from the core tube.

Why plexiglass? It was easy to visualize, it was familiar, it seemed like a fun thing. PVC isn’t transparent, I didn’t like the feel of soft plastic. No real good reason it was just what popped into my mind long ago. Some people were imagining crystal tubes and gem studded things. I wanted simplicity and practicality.

I’ve had many clients, especially moms in labor or their babies, who I wanted to give my all to feel better, be safer, or come more quickly in the case of a laboring mom. I don’t let myself go all the way. I don’t use that core current.

This has made it a pleasure and a refreshing experience nearly all the time I work with people. I rarely have trouble “taking on” the stuff that belongs with my client. I usually have more energy after working. I feel safe from any psychic jolts or weird activities that can go on. it is imaginary – and it works well.

just recently I’ve been considering instrumentation. Monitoring devices. Because this is all well and good, but can I also watch and monitor how my different energies are being used? That would add more control and specifics to my imaginary system.

I’ve had some digestive issues, and discovered a “monitoring” system for that. It has worked fabulously in choosing what to eat and when. There is a visual image, as well as an orientation of a spiraling wheel. That tells me a lot about how the system is working, if there are current glitches to be concerned about, and it also seems that I can “add energy” to the digestive system and then monitor the effect. Imaginary of course, but actually very precise as well.

I suggest using the idea to make up your own imaginary system to do what you need it to do. Practice using it consciously for a month or two and then let it be an unconscious practice most of the time. I’m still considering imaginary monitoring systems and would welcome any ideas you might have on that front as well. So far monitoring digestion before during and after has been a huge help for me.

I don’t need it to be real – just effective.

Breastfeeding and CST

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I’m often asked which babies can benefit from Cranialsacral Therapy (CST). My usual response is any baby born either vaginally or by cesarean section. Do I really believe all babies can benefit from this work? Actually, yes. That’s why I offered it free of charge for so many years, and even now make sure it is affordable ($30 for a house call within Ann Arbor). I will also waive the charge if that is an obstacle for any mom who wants me to work with her baby under three months of age.

The primary reasons people come to me for CST are nursing problems; and birth trauma including hematomas, shoulder dystocia, irregularity in the sutures, frequent vomiting, or just for reassurance. Most of the time I only need to provide one session.

I suppose that in 32 years of doing this work I’ve seen a few thousand babies. In that time I’ve also moved from working on babies hours after birth, to just after (sometimes in a hospital birth I can do CST while a baby is being examined or even while being suctioned), to a few times when just the head has emerged, to now routinely doing CST on babies who are not yet born.

My perception of what the baby is capable of and how they respond has shifted completely. The words we use to describe birth imply that somehow the baby isn’t “here” until the birth. Women are asked “when is the baby coming?” We often say “She is finally here!” when a baby is born. As if the baby wasn’t present the whole time, albeit in a series of profoundly different states and ways of being.

I started off as one of those who pretty much thought there wasn’t much there (and certainly nothing to work with) until birth was imminent. But over the many years I found that babies are actually very responsive to CST – many weeks before they are born. The primary positive benefit of this early work is helping the baby be in a better position for birth. So I’ve worked with a number of transverse, breech, ascynclitic, and posterior presentations and helped the baby to turn him or herself. For me, that is the key. The baby does the moving with the very very subtle CST suggestions. There is no force, I have never turned a baby. The work can be done at any time, even during labor. Of course, with a transverse or breech presentation it is better to begin a few weeks ahead of time. I wrote a brief article about the first time we were able to have a baby turn herself after 45 hours of labor, and thus avoided a most likely c-section.

The idea of no force and no demands is also a prominent part of doing CST with nursing babies. It feels much more like teaching than adjusting. The baby’s cranial mechanism is so very malleable, so very sensitive, the lightest of touches and sometimes really just suggestions of touch are usually enough to bring better vitality to the mechanism and therefore a correction.

I know that my work is effective. I wouldn’t keep doing it if it wasn’t – and indeed since I’ve never advertised for clients but have stayed in business for 34 years full time I must be doing something right. But it is with the babies that I feel most in awe of the work, and also have such immediate and clear feedback that the CST is effective. Countless times I’ve been entrusted to do this work with a newborn having nursing troubles, done some simple CST, and then watched as the mom and baby have the most successful nursing experience yet. And then weeks, months, and even years later moms report how much that one session changed everything.

What makes me deeply deeply happy is being able to make the nursing experience better and more successful. It is about great nutrition certainly, but also reinforcing the bonding that occurs with mom and baby when nursing is (relatively) easy and also pain free. This is support that has profound and long lasting effects. I am so grateful that just a little help and support at that sage has such profound positive results.

This is work that makes my heart sing. It is an honor to be entrusted with this small precious beings, and an incredible joy to do such simple work that makes a difference, and improves the quality of life for the whole family.

I have also worked with babies who had serious problems. Mild to severe cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders that were apparent even early on, babies with damage incurred during birth, babies with heart defects. I’ve worked with some of these babies for many years continuing. Even the kids who are non verbal make it clear that they like the work, they find it relaxing, and they are glad to see me.

Parents usually ask about when to come back, and how often CST should be done. After all this time I certainly have some ideas, and I’ll share them with my clients, especially if there is a more serious need or my experience is that repeat visits would be advised. But I have a larger philosophy. Many of the moms I see have been disempowered – told they are imagining things, brushed off by busy doctors, or just left dangling with few resources and support. Part of my work is to undo that damage. And it is very damaging if women don’t have the chance to learn and become confident as a new parent.

So the answer is, I would like the mom to learn about what I do, and then learn how to recognize herself when her baby might benefit from a repeat session. And most moms do very well. Eventually, the baby grows older and they learn when they need that support. I am absolutely thrilled that there are so many kids who say “I need to see Linda Diane” – asking for my help even as young as a 2 or 3 year old. That is as it should be. They learn to feel what they need, to ask for it, and then get the reinforcement for their awareness of what their body needs. That is a most perfect answer.

I will be offering a class this fall “Cranialsacral Therapy at the Beginning of Life” for midwives, doulas, doctors, and other people who support women and babies. Please contact me if you are interested. classes (at)

Talking to Plants

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

About 30 people came to the class tonight titled: “How to Talk to Plants and Avoid Giving the Impression of Lunacy”. Here are the highlights, and one important point I forgot to include.

First, that talking to plants implies lunacy and you might as well give it up.
The communication process takes many forms including visual cues (wilting, leaf discoloration), chemical signals to other plants, taste, smell, visual, how other plants respond, vibrancy, etc.
Plants also ask for what they need by virtue of where they grow, triggering water release if possible (olla irrigation again – the plants trigger additional osmotic release by root growth and pulling water into the roots), and also responding to nutrients in the soil.
How you perceive plant communication is a function of knowledge, observation, possibly synesthesia, and Gladwell’s ideas of Thinslicing also come in to play. As does Neuro Linquistic Programming, although I didn’t mention that by name. So while I may describe an interactions in words, I recognize that the plant does not use words.
Being in relationship with plants is part of our DNA.
We also talked about Findhorn and plant Devas, the suggestion that utilizing that understanding is especially meaningful with psychoactive and other more powerful plants, that synthesis and other potentizing may remove some of that connection.
Finally, I spoke of the Gaia Hypothesis and how seeds are truly awesome and bring us to a state of wonder.
I forgot to mention a simple beginning of relating to plants, starting with trees that have patience. Of course. I would have liked to also talk about the difference between annuals, biennials, and perennials and relating to them.
There is a tree in Wurster park that is a few hundred years old, with a great view from a hill to the city below. I find that just hanging out with that tree, maybe with your back against the trunk, is a very special experience of communicating with plants. Certainly natures wonders – and that tree is one – can inspire thoughts and feelings that are unique in what they communicate.
I loved teaching the class, and am glad so many came from so many places in the world!

Marijuana – now we get to ask more questions

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The decriminalization of marijuana is essential. I’m thrilled it is slowly taking place. I wish it was more rapid. When I taught 9th graders about drugs and addiction it was hard to explain why a seriously addictive substance like tobacco was legal, a potentially devastating drink like alcohol was considered normal, and marijuana could land you in prison.

I’ve always considered education and treatment to be a better way to deal with drug abuse than incarceration.

One of the serious problems we are now facing is that because marijuana was illegal and “bad” for so long, we haven’t done the studies – the research and the investigation of what the positive effects are, what are the true down sides, and especially what are the long term consequences.

Here is what I’ve observed.

Casual occasional use is no problem for most people. It isn’t a gateway drug, it is a pleasant easy high, and not much of a big deal. Daily use seems to be a big problem for some, a moderate concern for others. Getting high every day is possibly diagnostic of other issues – no matter the substance. Someone who needs to smoke daily is likely self medicating or covering up issues that would be better dealt with. But there is nothing special about marijuana in making that statement. It is generally true.

I’ve had a number of clients – male – who smoked a lot and actually started developing enlarged breast tissue and had other brain changes that seemed to be clearly related to lots of marijuana use. Depression, isolation, lack of motivation, failed or incomplete projects. When they stopped or drastically cut down on their marijuana use they were changed physically as well as a lot more started going well in their lives. About a dozen guys in total took it to that degree, but it is worth noting.

I’ve seen a number of female clients who were long term chronic users, and mostly they were just having trouble with motivation, being known for being chronically late, and they talked about not living their dreams and being frustrated and even depressed. A much smaller sample of about 5 or 6. Again, cutting way back or stopping was very helpful in a sudden ability to do some powerful and effective work.

Now I’m seeing some very long term users – male and female – who I would say have some alarming similarities. After 40 plus years of using, personalty changes that include anger, bullying, lacking skills for conflict resolution, distortion of facts and reality, holding grudges from many years ago, even paranoia. These are not traits I would normally link to marijuana at all, yet the common thread of very long term use is there. Is there something else that happens with long regular term use?

I’ve talked to other people who are equally curious to know if there is a link. They have seen similar behavioral changes in long term users and wonder if marijuana might be contributing to the negative personality changes we’re observing. It is also possible that this type of personality is attracted to marijuana for self soothing and self medicating. But It would be very good to know what are the effects of very long term (more than 3-4 decades) use of marijuana.

We may have many more very long term users, now that it is more acceptable to use marijuana. It would be valuable to have honest and serious research so we can understand the value in marijuana’s use, especially its medical use. I have had a number of clients and friends who have benefited greatly from its use, especially for appetite stimulation during chemotherapy and while using other drugs that created nausea or lack of interest in eating. What about hemp oil and cancer? Knowledge on the many characteristics of this herb would be invaluable. Can we finally get to the point where we can collect and disseminate some honest information?

I do expect the good news to outweigh the bad. I also expect that just like so many drugs, this potent herb is just not a good choice for a fair number of people. If we know what and why that will help people make the choice that is best for them.

I enjoyed smoking marijuana when I was a teenager. There was a period of time when I got high five nights a week to watch “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”. It was a great show to watch stoned. With sobriety with alcohol, the marijuana fell away as well. I’m not a fan of smoking at all, and ingestion was always too intense. So it isn’t something I’ve done or even wanted to do for many years. So I’m watching all of this as a non-user.

I look forward to the learning ahead of us, and hope it will be helpful and without the influence of money and the lies that used to be told to scare people away from drugs in general and marijuana especially.

Interacting with Medical Students

Friday, October 4th, 2013

This was the week for being shadowed by UM first year Medical students. I had five students visit my basement office, over three days, and observe my work with clients or experience bodywork first hand. These future doctors continue to be interested, respectful, and even excited about the potential of combining and collaborating with integrative and alternative health care practitioners.
It is really fun and inspiring to have the contact with them. It is a great program, I believe it is now in the ninth year of providing these opportunities for learning and having a positive interaction. I’ve been part of it each year, and really do see that these future doctors are evolving in their curiosity and respect for non-mainstream health care. Things are changing, very much for the better in my view.
I had a great time and look forward to what happens next – which happens to be teaching a 3 session (6 hour) class in herbal preparations to 3rd year medical students in just two weeks.

Example of Synesthesia?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

When I watch this video, it is obvious to me that this guy doesn’t sense things normally. He is using more than one sense certainly, and perhaps even has a sixth or seventh sense of innate balance and gravity and ability to find the center of things.

Synesthesia is that ability to combine senses, with often extraordinary results. I’m have synesthesia, and used to think I was a freak of some sort. But it si pretty simple really. I see what I feel, and feel what I see. Makes it handy to teach a class – form across the room I can tell what sort of touch a person is using and make suggestions. And of course working on clients doing bodywork it makes me work more dimensional and intuitive. It;s a great shortcut. If I look at someone I can mostly tell how they feel.

So I liked this video as it comes across strongly that something else is going on.

Synesthesia is a possible explanation.