About Deborah Eden Tull
How we treat ourselves and how we treat our world are one and the same.
Long ago I found myself asking a simple question, “How can I cultivate more peace and sustainability in my life and help others do the same?” and that question has taken me on a journey that continues to inspire and humble me to this day. I often feel as if I’ve lived many lives in the years I’ve been here… My journey has taken me from city to farm and back many times, to sustainable communities around the world, to the life of a Zen monk, and most recently, to life as a meditation and mindfulness teacher, writer, and sustainability educator, committed to living in the world but not being of the world.
Born and raised in the city of Los Angeles in a family of free thinkers, artists, and activists, I had some experiences at a young age that inspired me to courageously seek out alternatives to the over-consumptive and stressful life I witnessed in the city. I also lost my father to cancer at age 11 and this loss opened up a life-long inquiry into spirituality, consciousness, authenticity, and what it means to live wholeheartedly in the time we are here. I left LA in 1991 to attend Hampshire College and over the next decade I practiced meditation, worked as an organic farmer/gardener, studied sustainable design and green architecture, and spent time a lot of time living “off the grid” in intentional communities. Even in the well-intentioned world of change makers, I learned that our greatest challenges to personal and collective well-being often lie in our deeply limited conditioned perceptions about the world and ourselves. My experiences led me to turn within and at the age of 26 I entered a silent Zen monastery to train as a monk for the next seven and a half years, at a center dedicated to peace and sustainability. One of of the gifts of my training was to discover that the only way to truly cultivate transformation and embodied sustainability is from the inside out. How we treat ourselves is reflected in how we treat our world. Through cultivating a practice of present moment compassionate awareness, our relationship to ourselves and thus to all of life transforms. Our relationships with our self, one another, and our planet are deeply impacted and we come home to the authenticity and interconnection that is our natural state. We learn how to live a life of engaged interconnection.
My primary teachers are the wisdom of the natural world and the practice of compassionate awareness. I have also been deeply inspired by the field of Sustainable Design, Deep Ecology, the Enneagram, Shamanism, Conscious Movement, and Awareness Through Movement taught through Feldenkrais. Some of my teachers and inspirations along the way have included Cheri Huber, Joanna Macy, Walter Makichen, Diana Winston, Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Penny Livingston, Masanobu Fukuoka, and more.
In 2007, after years of living off the grid, close to the earth, and dedicated to compassionate awareness, I returned to Los Angeles and set out to incorporate the tools and skills I had learned into life in a metropolitan city and began teaching others to do the same. I teach workshops and retreats on compassionate awareness, relational intelligence, and allowing our daily life to be a laboratory for awakening. I also teach The Work That Reconnects, as created by eco-philosopher and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, and guide people through the process of transforming our pain for our world into compassionate action. The backbone of awareness practice is the notion that “how you do anything is how you do everything” or “as above, so below.” In every moment of our lives, we are either moving from compassionate presence or from the mind of separation. We are either focusing on the process of our lives (which positions us to see clearly and honor interconnection and long-term sustainability) or the content of our lives (which positions us as a separate self, standing outside the landscape of life looking in and assessing, judging, and seeing through a distorted lens.)
Meditation is not just something you practice on a meditation cushion. It is a moment-by-moment engaged practice and a way of life. For many people, there is a sense of “duty” with becoming more conscious, but part of what I teach is also the most enlivening, creative, fun, passionate, and life-affirming work we can do. Meditation is not about finding “peace” and stopping there. It is an invitation to ever expand our heart’s capacity and to continually release the lens of “other” in relation to ourselves, other people, and all forms of life.
My teaching style is experiential, engaged and based in compassionate inquiry. As a female teacher it has been life-giving for me to take a stand for the natural quality of feminine receptivity in a male-dominated world, and my teaching comes from this place.
For me, this work is a tremendous and continual gift, as I witness transformation in people’s lives every single day and experience the willingness, tenacity, compassion, and resilience of people all over the world committed to living more present lives and learning to turn within for guidance rather than to the conditioned mind.
There are many ways to participate in this work and in addition to what is listed on my website, I also teach through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. Read on for more information about how to cultivate a kinder, more sustainable world. Feel free to write to me if you would like to invite me to lead a retreat, workshop, or give a talk in your area.
For information about workshops, click here.
For information about my non-profit, click here.
Past Clients for Workshops and Consultations have included:
Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Esalen Institute, Sony Studios, Fox Studios, DiCaprio Foundation, Zen Center Los Angeles, Berkeley Ecology Center, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, All Shades of Green, One House of Peace, Against the Stream, Golden Bridge Yoga, Skylight Books, Project Butterfly, Burbank Green Alliance, Tender Greens, Sustainable Life, The Anneliese School, The Manzanita School, The Shalom Institute, Santa Monica City College, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, Women Go Green, Beyond Shelter, Silverlake Library, Wellness Works, Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Liberation Yoga, Cafe Gratitude, Whole Foods Market, the Global Summit 2011, Women’s PerETC…
The soil from which all of this work has grown is the soil of compassionate awareness. All are welcome to participate.
In Peace and Passion,
Deborah Eden Tull