By Gabriela De Golia
“Whatever we’re doing to be mindful, it’s all good medicine.”
So believes Rosanne Demanski, a practicing naturopathic doctor who has been frequenting Copper Beech Institute since its founding. For her, spirituality and medicine have always gone hand in hand.
“As a little girl, I used to care for caterpillars,” Rosanne says. “I immediately knew to feed them what they already ate and put them in an egg crate that I called my ‘Caterpillar Hospital.’ I’d sit in a willow tree and find caterpillars munching on the leaves, with wind blowing around me, and I just had a sense of the unseen.”
This sense of a connection with all beings has only strengthened throughout Rosanne’s life, in part thanks to her medical practice.
"In studying the effects of lifestyle and stress through my work, I’m more keenly aware of all the factors that brought my patients to me and how important it is for me to connect with them in order to be an effective healer."
For Rosanne, health is not simply a matter of addressing physical ailments. She regularly invites patients to think more deeply about their wellbeing.
“I listen to the stories people tell me of their health and I keep mining for what’s underneath that,” she says. “I often ask them, ‘How do you nurture yourself? What’s your spiritual practice?’ I try to remind them to weave those practices into their lives, whether it’s walking in nature or sitting in prayer or singing.”
She recognizes that maintaining deep connection with one’s spiritual life can be challenging, however, including for herself. This is what led her to Copper Beech Institute.
“As a mom with two kids, I eventually knew I needed to find a lifeline to cling to when things get hectic. That’s what brought me to enroll in Copper Beech’s eight-week MBSR course,” she says.
“I loved having the chance to sit for all those weeks with a community of practice. Now, even when I can’t sit as long as I want to, it’s an ever-present thread in my life that reminds me to pause and breathe.
“More than other opportunities I’ve had, including serving as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher, Copper Beech’s MBSR course has been a tool for me to maintain my connection to a spiritual life.”
Rosanne further shared her conviction that “if there is a path to get to a place of love and peace, we must choose that path above all others.” For her and many more, Copper Beech has been an important part of that journey.