markdieveMy path towards herbalism began via a long and winding road as a small child in 1970s Ann Arbor, Michigan. This international-college-town microcosm of diversity, hope and idealism would form the roots of my worldview that I have relied on as my touchstone throughout the decades. In my 20s, I moved to New York City to live a corporate ethic of work hard/play hard. This brought on the collapse of my health and a radical shift in how I chose to live my life and health, literally overnight.

This experience made so apparent to me was how easily we disconnect our true selves from our projected selves, most often resulting in degenerative health. My family and I have now committed ourselves to demystifying and eliminating confusion from the world around us by rolling back various aspects of our household to tried-and-true times, re-approaching each product/task with the benefit of hindsight to learn from our modern mistakes. Our main goals are to eliminate toxins, waste, and health imbalances; and to keep our child as unpolluted as possible from the epidemics of 'moderinitis.'

My approach to herbalism has been to absorb as many traditions/lessons as possible (Western, Native American, Ayurveda, TCM, etc.) as a humble student of the dynamic relationships of organisms as 'phenomena' and their essence. I don't believe these lessons would even be possible without the techniques of systemic thinking to help identify the components, forces, and relationships that exist, constructing a more holistic picture.

I've been in the East West School's herbal program for the past couple years, as well as in graduate school to attain my MBA in Sustainable Enterprise, and I had my first child, all at the same time. These past three years have been intensive as a student for continual improvement, in so many respects. I also signed on to East West alumna Candis Cantin's Ayurveda course, which I just completed in February 2011. There are so many elders I respect as well and whose books I cherish.

To build on my experiences and successes, using herbalism to heal conditions from a modern lifestyle, in my family and my community, my wife and I are launching a site. It will be more than just a shingle on the door, and we hope to grow it into a source of information and education to help advocate complementary and alternative medicine policy in the home, community, and beyond.

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