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Welcome to the Herbal Healing Journey "Playful Workbook". This is a journey of the self to the Self. It is a circular or spiral path circumambulating the Self. I am Don Ollsin and I was born in Assinaboia, Saskatchewan in 1946. My family moved to Vancouver, B.C. , in 1954. In 1969, I traveled to India, where I lived, studied and meditated for six months. Afterward I returned to the West Coast and started various businesses - i.e. Health Food Restaurant, Natural Food Store and eventually, a Herbal Dispensary called Self Heal Herbs in Victoria, in 1976. I sold it in 1994 and am currently teaching, consulting and writing.

I work with herbs, plant devas, dreams, processes, elemental forces and natural medicines with clients and students. I have been sharing and building my repertoire of knowledge since 1969. I practice herbology, medicine-making, iridology, reflexology, shamanism and counseling. I use process-oriented psychology tools in my work. I am an active student of the dream world.

Don's Dream. In this dream I come into a town and I ask where Carl Jung (one of the foremost founders of depth psychology) lives. I am directed to an apartment complex. I arrive at his door and with apprehension, I knock. His wife answers the door and leads me into the kitchen and departs. I stand there alone until Carl comes into the room. He looks at me and asks, "What are you doing with your life?" I begin to tell him that I am studying Dreambody with Arnold Mindell but he interrupts me. " I said, what are you doing? What do you have to offer to the world?"

I remember two strong vivid awakenings that occurred around ages nine and thirteen. The first was in primary school. A teacher mentioned that the ancients had an archaic belief in the four elements. I remember experiencing a cloud of knowing enveloping me. I awoke in it and looked around wondering where I was and what was I being taught? In my previous world of knowledge, the four elements were fundamental to a precise and dynamic understanding of the world. Some deep part of me challenged the information being fed to me. As I looked around the classroom everything looked foreign to me, the walls, the windows and the desks. I remained in that heightened state for another fifteen minutes. It lingers in the present and guides me in this present work. I was approximately nine years old at the time.

My second awakening occurred when I was thirteen. I was sitting in my sister's car waiting for her. I was lost in deep thought as she approached the old Chevrolet. I didn't hear her open the door. She looked at me and inquired, "What are you doing? Meditating?" The word meditating invoked the most pleasant feeling that touched my spirit and spread throughout my body like internal goose bumps. I looked at her in dazed wonderment. "What does meditation mean?" I asked. In that moment I knew that I knew better than her what meditation meant. By the age of nineteen I was actively pursuing the process of meditation. By twenty-two I was meditating three to six hours a day in an ashram in India under the guidance of Kirpal Singh, a true Master of the art and science of meditation. Through his grace and guidance I experience the incredible depths and joys that meditation brings. It has helped me immensely in my understanding of nature and her marvelous secrets.

I have studied personally with many teachers. Some of them include Kirpal Singh (Indian Mystic), Ellen White (Coast Salish Shaman), Stan Tomandl (Process Oriented Psychologist), Bernard Jensen (Nutritionist), Dr. Robbie Svoboda (Ayurvedic Doctor and Teacher), Dr. John Christopher (Herbalist), Eunice Ingham (Founder of Reflexology), Rolling Thunder (Medicine man), Dorothy Maclean (One of the founding members of Findhorn), Arnold Mindell (founder of Process Oriented Psychology), and many others too numerous to mention.

I have conducted the intensive course, the Herbal Healing Journey, many times. It included experiential learning about herbs, healing, ayurveda, working with body symptoms using process-oriented psychology and shamanism. It has now evolved into a 9 month course embracing home study and weekend practicum's.

I developed the exercises and accumulated the knowledge for this Journey over the last thirty years. The course is designed so that much of the learning comes from within yourself using the "do this" exercises to guide and support you.

My shamanic teacher, Ellen White, encourages us to think as we. We include: myself, my partner Sandy, my children, my ancestors, my adopted grandmother Ellen White, my adopted grandfather Kirpal Singh, my editor and friend Chris Carless, my buddy Stan Tomandl, my teachers, my students, my friends, my co-workers, the plant people, the elements, the ocean, the devas, the many beings from the spirit world. In Ellen's world we are connected to all life. Nothing lives in isolation.

Carl Jung introduced me to the idea that our symptoms and illnesses are very important circumstances deeply connected to our growth, not meaningless pathological symptoms. When we take the time and effort to listen, decipher and act on our symptoms they can be rich in meaning, full of information and offer new directions, attitudes or solutions.

You may want to ask yourself, " What is right about this situation or symptom?" By changing our questioning from what is wrong to what is right we may activate a new set of answers or solutions.

Herbal Healing Journey Playful Workbook  •    

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