I grew up in a multicultural family. My grandparents (both sides) were refugees from Europe with German, Jewish, Russian and Polish blood in their veins. They followed their track to the ethnic neighbourhoods of Chicago, where my parents met and married.
I was raised by Christian parents who were both devout and freethinking. They brought into my early life the impulse to worship and praise, as well as to question everything that constricted and opposed the injunction “love your neighbour as yourself.” My father was a chiropractor, my mother a student of the health education of Edgar Cayce; they raised me with a respect for the body and the wonders of nature found therein, as well as a disdain for the superficial innovations of humanity that polluted both body and nature.
Hearing from childhood German, Yiddish and Polish in our home, raised on the stories and miracles of Jesus, taught the practical truth of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, I formed an interest in language, spirituality, the body and ecological justice early in life. In many ways, I have been pursuing these interests ever since.
After graduation from college in 1973, I pursued a career as a journalist in the fields of social justice, environmentalism and consumer protection for several years before turning to the following questions: Why do people change? What causes me to change? Is there a more powerful level of motivating change than that of ideas? In pursuing these questions, I returned to interests I developed in college that centered on: the body and changes of attitude and behaviour, mystical and “expanded” states of consciousness, and the early pre-religious roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
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