From Mud To Lotus

I meant to behave but there were too many other options.

By Pratibha Eastwood

The compelling, inspiring story of one woman’s coming-of-age, set in three significant eras of war-torn Palestine turned Israel, to the tumultuous 60’s in California, and the spiritual journey that followed.

Biography of  Dr. Pratibha Eastwood

A native of Israel, Dr. Pratibha Eastwood traveled extensively and lived in India, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and England before moving to Hawaii in 1983. Dr. Pratibha Eastwood is a twice-published author and a licensed clinical psychologist, and has developed a software program on numerology.

She is a U.C. Berkeley graduate and taught at California State University at Sacramento Counseling Department. She provided various workshops to the community including trauma healing, holistic health and meditation. She is a Jungian and Sandplay therapist, and a marriage and family counselor. Dr. Pratibha Eastwood currently runs a successful private practice in Honolulu, Hawaii, and has a reputation for being on the leading edge of her profession.


  • Powerful and thought provoking! Each chapter in this historically accurate book enchanted me and transported me into an era I’d previously known so very little about. Now I know more and am richer for the knowing. Pratibha's nuanced, richly descriptive writing introduced me to places and faces I’ll never forget. Such a vividly engaging story. It touched me deeply.

    Lizbeth Hartz Author of Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai'i, A True Story
  • I laughed and cried and thoroughly enjoyed Pratibha Eastwood’s book, and recommend it highly for a great read. Deeply insightful, Pratibha Eastwood explores her life story within the contexts of wars, the sixties revolution and her own responses to all of it.

    Patricia Masters Ph.D. in Political Science, Master’s Degree in Asian Studies, Bachelor’s Degree in Asian Languages. I am professor and administrator at the University of Hawaii. Author of:” Searching for Mary Foster”
  • The title – and subtitle – says it all! This is a story – and a life - to be savored slowly, bite by bite. A delicious, spicy, and unexpected tale of a woman’s amazing journey home to her Self. Put down that other book and start reading this one!”

    Marcia Zina Mager International Author, Award-Winning Playwright & Performer
  • This book will draw you in from the beginning. An insecure, fearful, lonely and neglected child in the mud of Israel becomes a hippie in America, a PhD in Psychology, a sannyasin (seeker) in India. She experiments with drugs and therapies and ends up with Osho Rajneesh for a while. From that commune, her adventures take her all over Asia, to the Himalayas, Australia and back the US. In the end, she comes full circle to reconcile with her estranged parents, having grown into a lotus blossom blessed with Freedom, Trust, and Forgiveness. A great read!

    Roshani Shay Curtis PhD ProfessorEmeritus Western Oregon University
  • From Mud into Lotus is a real page turner that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of such epic proportions that one almost forgets it’s not fiction. A great read that is reminiscent of the lineage of Anais Nin as it champions tireless and daring explorations of what it means to be culturally, spiritually, and sexually free.

    Sunny Massad Ph.D. Author of UnTherapy


Looking at her life, a successful psychologist unearths secrets of her childhood evolution as they relate to her present life circumstances. This story is based on the true rendition of some of her life’s events. Only through writing did her sources of transformation reveal themselves clearly, hiding as they were in the shadows cast by her memories.

The book is divided into three parts:

Motherland – Palestine/Israel through the eyes of a child;
Fatherland – living in America;
and, the Journey Home – a spiritual quest.

Part 1: Motherland, 1940-1967

This part of the story is told through the eyes of a Sabra (born in Israel) who mostly grew up in boarding schools until she was in high school. Born in Palestine to a Yekke (German Jewish) family faced with the British mandate and Arab and Jewish fighting in the streets, Pratibha also endured the ghosts of the holocaust at home. Through her experience of being sent away from home as a four–year-old entrusted with the care of her two-year-old brother and without the knowledge of where her parents were or whether they were even alive, she learns to cope with chaos and resiliently survives. Her sense of grounding comes from her relationship to nature and the magic of a supernatural world hidden within it, which begins her spiritual journey. Her coming of age inspires a longing for a normal home, which she manages to manifest during her first marriage to Amit, an Israeli Air Force electronics mechanic.

Part 2: Fatherland 1967-1978

At her wedding, twenty-three-year old Pratibha reconnects with her long-lost father, who disappeared to America when she was five. Her dad invites her to visit in order to recuperate from her divorce from Amit in 1967, right after the Six-Day War. This section describes the experience of an Israeli provincial girl diving headfirst into the Berkeley, California counter-culture movement, the summer of love, and psychedelic altered states of consciousness. Her awareness opens to include free exploration of ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll’. These experiences transform her understanding of what was considered normal as she redefined love, family, spirituality, community, and the license to live freely.

In the middle of this transformation, she musters up the courage and dedication to become a successful psychologist and university professor. This career move was discouraged by her family in Israel who perceived her as “a mere woman”,  meant to be a housewife. Pratibha succeeds in accomplishing all that her grandfather was respected for in Israel: all the trimmings of normal living.

Her success, which included marriage to an American man, the acquisition of a big house, a good job, and two cars, brings her to an existential crisis that she can only define as “emptiness.”

Part 3: The Journey Home 1978- 1993

Out of loss and desperation brought on by facing the illusion of the conventional standards of happiness, Pratibha dismantles her life yet again and leaves by herself to embark on a journey of self-discovery for the grail of “Truth” and “Life’s meaning.” In India and Asia, she immerses herself in meditation and the inner life, which form her new spirituality.

Life in Poona, India, at the Rajneesh Ashram opens her perspectives wider than drugs ever did. She learns the meaning of living in the present moment, through the simple experiences of love, trust, surrender, and laughter. Within that mix, she finds home for the first time in the form of her true self. She takes this new state of being and discovery on the road in her adventurous travels in Asia, finally landing in Hawaii where she renews her practice of psychology and heals her relationship with both her parents and her magically found ancestry.

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