The Roots of My Practice
“If you don’t do the work of the heart, then you will always have pain.” ~ Don Daniel, Maya plant friend in Tulum MX, 2015.
I traveled to Tulum first in 2009, the first of what began as many trips to the Yucatan and the beginning of a love affair with such a magical place. It was on that trip that I met an herbalist from Colorado – Shelley Torgrove where she introduced me to her Maya teacher and plant healer, Don Daniel Poolpech.
At the time of that trip, I was between “careers” … I had recently left my work as the director of our local nature center, which included leaving the small nonprofit I had founded called Mixed Greens (we created school gardens to teach nutrition education programming to urban schoolkids). I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was doing some food systems consulting, but that wasn’t tugging at my heart-strings. My children were little, then-husband commuting to Ghana (yes, Africa) and I was needed at home. NGO work had burned me out, having babies had sucked me dry — I was fried. And I was only turning 30.
I remember telling a farmer friend of mine I was so tired that I couldn’t even bother clearing away the leaves from my garden. His reply – maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe you should sit and listen to the plants. In Tulum – and upon meeting Shelley – I said out loud, “I want to work with plants as an herbalist” (even though I had no idea what that even meant – and still don’t haha). I just ~knew~ that being an herbalist was my calling.
Don Daniel, seeing how anxious I was (about everything) gave me blessings and a strong sedative tea. He told me (in Spanish) to drink it, as it’d help heal my stomach, clear my head and open my heart. Then he sent me back north to begin my path as an herbalist…
Now 2015, I went to him with gratitude and humility and prayers for clarity and strength as I begin this next chapter in my life.
Don Daniel took me into his garden to harvest plants for my medicines and taught me their names. I dried the plants in my window of my rental car, as an impromptu solar dryer. Plant medicines for my own healing, to carry with me as I head back north to continue along the path. Hopeful. Softer. Less anxious. Focused. And free. There’s healing power inherent in gathering your own medicines.
My plan is to return to Tulum within the year with my own students, to introduce people to the culture, food and herbal traditions of the Yucatan. We will stay in Tulum with locals, ride bikes, swim at the beach, dive into cenotes, eat nourishing foods and learn a bit from Don Daniel’s ways of Maya healing. It will be adventure of rest, renewal and growth. Look for an invitation soon to join me on a trip in May of 2016.
For now, I am partnering with Shelley on a fall excursion in Maya healing with Don Daniel. Interested? Take a look at Shelley’s website, Artemisia & Rue for the October 2015 excursion. We’d love to have you join us.
Hello- I am wondering if you have been in touch with Daniel Pool Pech lately? My son is going to Tulum and needs healing. I would like to connect him to Daniel. Thanks!
My close friend Shelley – Daniel’s partner – is with him right now in Valladolid. Do you want me to get him a message? Feel free to DM me via email, email@example.com. Or also I can connect you two via Facebook.
Thank you! Do you mean Daniel is now not in Mexico? My son is hoping to go to Tuolumne during the week of March 12? Do you have any idea as to whether Daniel will be there then?
I do not have a Facebook page/and not on Facebook, so communicating that way won’t work. Again, I appreciate all your help very much!
Valladolid is in Mexico – about an hour inland from Tulum, where Daniel’s extended family resides. Daniel does not have INTL phone, so Shelley is the only way I can be in touch with him.
Oh…I see! Thanks so much. If it’s okay with you, I will reach out again when I know the exact dates my son will be in Mexico. Thank you very much!!
I’m looking for him too . Did you find him? If you did please call me at 2106055117. Thank you
Where can Daniel Poo be found in here in Tulum and would like to see him again. Thank you
I am sorry, but our dear Daniel passed over last summer. His spirit lives on with his family in Merida.