The Story of Tom, Mindy & the Pancreatic Tumor Part II: Surgery & Who I am

Mindy: One of the things that I admire about Tom is his ability to recreate himself and pursue in great depth very diverse interests. Tom, once a vegetarian on Wall Street from 1974 to 1997 (such an oxymoron!!), had recreated himself and established a thriving Permaculture Center in Durango, Colorado. A number of years later, Tom discovered Donna Eden and her brand of Energy Medicine. He subsequently pursued a three year study and certification program with Eden Energy Medicine (EEM). He had just completed the first level of certification a month before his surgery at the end of February 2014. He was able to use this advanced medicine on his own body before and after the surgery and was released in record time (just five days) from the hospital and was hiking in a week- all this after more than five hours of surgery that essentially restructured Tom’s digestive organs.

Part-II Pix

You might be wondering how I got from Wall Street to Permaculture and EEM. I had been an organic farmer in the early 1970s while I was finishing graduate school. Later in the 1970s I became a vegetarian and became very aware of what I was eating. In 1999 when I retired in Durango, I began once again to garden. In the fall of 2000, I discovered Permaculture and decided to use Permaculture principles on my land. I became very excited about Permaculture, and I wanted to share what I was learning with as many people as I could. That desire led to Oakhaven Permaculture Center and three big summer festivals at Oakhaven where I invited my community to come and see what Permaculture looked like. I was one of five people in my community recognized as Bioneers of the Animas Valley for 2004.Tom: Yes, at age 76 no less, I was the first patient released in just five days after undergoing a modified Whipple procedure. I had requested that one of my EEM teachers work with me the day before the surgery and two days after. Her work in those two sessions plus the cumulative effects of doing my Daily Energy Routine really paid off in my rapid and unique recovery.

By 2006 I had pretty much realized my goal of using Oakhaven to demonstrate to my community what Permaculture could do, and I decided to focus on my role as one of the founders of the newly created Sustainability Alliance of SW Colorado This left a bit of a vacuum in my life, and it was not until the Spring of 2008 when I went on a 10-day vision quest that I began to connect with my inner self. Later that summer I began to study Shamanism and my inner world began to grow. Shamanic healing drew my interest because I was fascinated by how it worked. Then in 2010 I discovered Donna Eden, and I took her 5-day Basic Energy Medicine course and began doing her Daily Energy Routine every day. As an engineer and techie, I was very skeptical at first, but within the first six months, I was surprised to see the shift which occurred in my life. I felt empowered, a new ease, and a joy that permeated my life. In 2011 I took a 4-day advanced training with Donna, and in 2012, I began the two year certification program which I completed just a month before my surgery.

That same year I also began the Foundation for Shamanic Studies three year program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing.

During a series of Shamanic journeys in the Fall of 2012, I got the very strong message that Love is all there is. I experienced the knowing that Love (or the lack of love) motivates everything that we do. That was just two-and-a half months before Mindy and I were introduced by a mutual friend. Over the last three years, I have experienced that power of love with Mindy. I have let myself feel the vulnerability of loving someone unconditionally. It has not always been easy, but the reward to each of us has been the joyful feeling of being so loved in return.

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On The Importance of Having Friends of All Ages – Part I

One of the things that I have become aware of recently is just how important it is to have friends of all ages. When you are younger, the experience of older friends can help you navigate the bumps along the way. When you are older, your experiences can help your younger friends, and their experiences can bring the excitement of new ideas and challenges into your life.

Eleven years ago when I was 65 and my then partner was 56 we started a Permaculture center near Durango, Colorado. As we were beginning to build the 2200 sq.ft. greenhouse, we started down the traditional path of doing it ourselves with some help from knowledgeable friends and some paid help. That did get things started, but we soon realized that there was no way we would be able to get the greenhouse closed in before the snow came. A friend and board member of our Permaculture center suggested that we contact the environmental center at Fort Lewis College (FLC). We spoke with the director of the center, and he was excited about being involved in something so interesting. Ten days later some 30 FLC students appeared on a sunny October Saturday along with an instructor from Habitat for Humanity to organize them. That day we made significant progress. But more importantly we connected with each of the students, and for the next ten weekends, we had 4-6 or more students show up ever Saturday and Sunday, and by the first weekend in December, the greenhouse was all closed up for the winter. The next spring, two of those students volunteered to complete the masonry for the pond in the middle of the greenhouse.

Over the years since then, we have had a number of unexpected visits from students who worked on the greenhouse who were just passing through and wanted to see how it was going. It was exciting for us to catch up with them on where their lives were going, and they were just as interested in seeing how things in our mostly solar heated greenhouse were growing and going.