Student Shani
My love of the natural world was instilled early by growing up in the beautiful and challenging environment of outback Australia.  Being surrounded by people who were keen observers of plants, animals, and weather was a treasured part of my childhood education, as was riding a horse to the schoolhouse my sister and I attended!  Our rural life meant further schooling had to be in Sydney, where I later obtained my university undergraduate degree in psychology and anthropology. 
My deep interest in immersing myself in other cultures and exploring some of the Big questions of life led me to adventure abroad for many years.  I  lived and worked in some wild, remote parts of the world — New Guinea, Morocco, Jamaica, West Africa. These experiences distilled in me a passion to work with people’s health and wellbeing and find ways to encourage reconnection to our deeper selves and the Earth. This began a rich and meandering journey to weave together a variety of the healing arts. Initially, I studied nutrition at the UNC public health school and worked with a research group at the university. I then studied massage therapy and went on to co-found a massage school and healing center. Some years later, I picked up the threads of my undergraduate psychology degree and became a certified Hakomi therapist. This became my main work for the next 25 years, and ultimately led me back to the Southern Hemisphere where I taught psychotherapy students and ran a private practice. 
Along the way I sustained my love of gardening and growing and cooking wonderful food. I also love to collect plant materials in my wanderings to weave into baskets. I  spent a number of summers with Aboriginal people in Northern Australia learning about collecting wild foods and medicines, and tending spiritual relationship with the Earth through ceremony, story, and song. 
It wasn’t until my return to the U.S. in 2010, however, that herbal medicine blossomed for me. And what a joy that has been!  I graduated from Rosemary Gladstar’s course on the Art and Science of Herbalism, learned from various local herbalists in Oregon, and eventually began study with the East West school in early 2013.  Herbal studies have rekindled my commitment to the search for alternatives to mainstream healthcare, to enhance both my own and others’ health.  I am finding an exciting convergence between my previous work with people’s psychological and physical energetic patterns and the energetic foundation to herbalism as taught in the wonderful East West course.
I hope eventually to develop a small home practice weaving together herbal and other healing approaches to benefit my family and community.

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