Debra McDermitt 2,019 Professor Debra McDermitt - Achieving Life - Institute of Sacred Studies
Who are you?
Well, I am Debra McDermitt, MA, LMT (retired).
No, really who are you?
I am an adjunct professor, spiritual life coach, wife, friend, sister, cat mommy, aunt (20+ times over), explorer, entrepreneur, dreamer, ongoing conqueror of my autoimmune challenges, divorcee, student, and lover of pictures out in nature (especially waterfalls, flowers, and trails).
Ok, but who are you?
hmm... I am a unique original one of a kind masterpiece that is also equal to all other beings... you/we/me
Right, but who are you?
uhhhh... I am something of/like/etc a soul having a human experience
Cool, but who are you?
well... I am.
I have been teaching world religions (and related courses including ethics and student life success) for over a decade. One of my favorite stories comes from a textbook I used to use by Huston Smith (The Illustrated World's Religions) where in the Tribal Religions chapter he shares a story of Oren Lyons (Onondagan / Seneca / Iroquois) being asked by his uncle on a canoe after going off to college who is he... finally after giving numerous answers his uncle shares that he is the bluff, the trees, and even the water that is holding the canoe. He is one with all and truly he just is.
I have had numerous roles in my life and my dreams/brand Achieving Life has been part of most of them for 20 years. It was part of the name for my massage therapy business (including reiki and meditational massage plus more), it was my poetry/positive phrase phase (still continues some- desire is for more), it was the health & wellness expos along with becoming 7 Life Dynamics, it was coaching, and it was something in the sidelines as life happened and I dreamt. Re-awoken it has been in the process since last November of re-emerging and re-starting with what it was (minus me being an LMT), developing further the 7 Life Dynamics, and bringing back the health & wellness as retreats both online and in-person.
Stemming from those 7 Life Dynamics and my roles specifically teaching Religious Studies / Spiritual Studies courses grew Sacred Life Academy. That non-profit had to fade which was devastating as it was just starting to be what I desired. But,, as with life when things change it means to pivot and find the purpose, the passion, and the possibilities. So, here I am now setting things up to relaunch a similar but so much more site delving into what is Sacred.
Through both of these major endeavors and life one key thing has been the importance of dialogue through diversity. Mark Hanson in the documentary by the Naudet Brothers, "In God's Name" delivers a quote that sums up my views: If we don't have a sense of what unites us our diversity will turn to divisiveness and destruction, but if we have a sense of what unites us than our diversity will only enhance our experience and relationships. In my courses I always give students Leonard Swidler's Dialogue Decalogue and we speak of it as well as other components of constructive and empathetic conversations (from psychology, philosophy, the world's religions, etc). Now, especially as I look at facebook posts and the divisiveness that exists, I know these pathways to dialogue, these steps to improving the conversations we have with those who believe differently than us, absolutely need to be put out there. So, that is what and where I am starting here on MM. My MM course, Pathway to Dialogue, will be focusing on these steps, this journey, of bridging the dialogue gaps and avoiding the "argument cliff."
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