RADIANT LIVING FOR REAL PEOPLE
B REAL SPRING 2013
Our health and solutions feature leadingedge products and programs designed to help minimize toxins and maximize nutrition - rejuvenating the body - from the inside out. We offer products and programs that go â€œbeyond organicâ€? within the categories of cleansing and detoxification, toxic-free skin and body care, live snacks and beverages, pure mountain spring water, and nutrient dense beef and dairy products shipped direct from our farm to your family.
Organic Grass-fed Beef
Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
We’re Growing Online! B.Real magazine has grown to over 12,000 online readers in less than 2 years! We are so proud. Stay tuned for more exciting online news OUR NEW BLOG at bRealMagazine.com will launch some amazing contributor posts in the next several weeks. This issue of B.Real magazine marks our first totally online publication filled with articles on do-it-yourself, holistic health, green living, vacationing, eating, recovery, sound therapy, spring cleaning, stress relief, hot yoga and so much more. Thanks to our new associate editor, Kyle Blauw, for his incredible skills as an editor. Thanks as always to B.Real magazine’s founder, Colleen Sauvé, for keeping this publication ALIVE and thriving with her continued support, passion and hard work. She is a true inspiration
Publisher Radiant Health Institute, LLC Founder & Director Colleen Sauvé firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Dez Stephens email@example.com Associate Editor Kyle Blauw Cover photo Rick Malkin Cover model Savi Rene Pocevic
as we grow grow grow this inspiring and informing magazine. It takes an e-village! Dez Stephens managing editor, B.Real magazine
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founder, Radiant Health Institute firstname.lastname@example.org
In This Issue
8 Caregivers Need Care Too
12 Nourishing Your Body, Soul & Making Your Cells Smile
17 Recovery Rising
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
13 How to Grow a Herb Spiral
18 B.Real Interview with Sara Sharpe
Spring Cleaning Spring Into Action A New Approach to Stress Relief Yoga Studio Spotlight Reiki: Modern Day Mysticism Becoming Fearless Holistic Blood Chemistry Analysis
10 Food is Nourishment & Connection
14 Moments Matter
20 The Renewal of Forgiveness
11 Do I Need a Guru?
16 NOW OPEN The Jenerator
21 Sound Mind, Sound Body, Sound Soul Expressions of opinion, claims and statement of supposed facts do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors nor do the editors or publishers in print and online publishing thereof accept any responsibility for the validity of claims make in articles or advertising. Opinions expressed within are not to be considered official expressions of B.Real magazine or bRealMagazine.com. The publisher will not assume any responsibility for errors and omissions appearing within.
Clean Clothes without Detergent or Hot Water.
Take Your Fresh Air With You.
Not All Water Is Created Equal.
Eliminate Indoor Pollution.
JENNIFER ABERNATHY +
CAREGIVERS NEED CARE TOO +
What would you do if your supervisor came to your office and told you your job schedule had changed? You are now working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and you cannot leave the office unless someone comes to relieve you. Would you quit? Find another job? A family caregiver cannot just quit. They cannot just find another job. A family caregiver works twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and cannot leave unless there is someone to relieve them. They are a mother caring for her child with severe autism, a husband caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s, a brother caring for his sister with Down Syndrome, or a daughter caring for her aging father with Parkinson’s disease. According to a 2011 study conducted by the AARP, the latest figures on caregiving in Tennessee identified nearly 800,000 informal, unpaid caregivers (usually family members or friends) who provide more than 830 million hours of caregiving annually. These figures leave out the thousands of children with an array of special needs that parents are caring for every day.* The American Psychological Association’s 2011 survey, Stress in America, found that family members providing care to the aging or chronically ill report higher levels of stress, poorer health and a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors to alleviate stress. Caregivers are 82 percent more likely to have a chronic illness and 94 percent more likely to report experiencing physical symptoms of stress.^
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TENNESSEE RESPITE COALITION
So what do family caregivers need to help relieve some of this stress? They need respite! Respite is the gift of time for family caregivers; the temporary relief to escape from their full-time job of caring for their loved ones. Respite is the time for family caregivers to rest, relax, refresh and renew themselves so they can continue to care for their loved one. If you are a family caregiver, here are some tips to help you get the respite you need: 1. Ask for and Accept Help – Friends, family, and neighbors can be there to support you. All you need to do is ask and give them specific tasks that will truly help you. 2. Plan Your Respite – Keep a list of things you would do if you had some free time. When you do get a break, refer to that list to be sure you get the type of break you deserve. 3. Seek Peer Support – Explore online and in-person caregiver resources and support groups. You can share your experiences and learn from those of other caregivers. 4. Be Creative – Respite does not always mean a professional coming into the home to care for your loved one. Your respite can be when your child attends a summer camp, when your spouse takes your mother to a doctor’s appointment, or when a neighbor drops by for a visit. 5. Explore Resources – Contact the Tennessee Respite Helpline at 1-888-579-3754 for information on local respite resources across the state. *(Source: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info07-2011/valuing-the-invaluable.html) ^(Source: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/ index.aspx)
The Tennessee Respite Coalition (TRC) is a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for and helps provide relief to caregivers. Last fiscal year, the Tennessee Respite Coalition provided more than 43,000 hours of respite to family caregivers through voucher programs. It also serves families through volunteer respite and Senior Companions programs. The statewide Respite Helpline, 1-888-5793753, serves as a resource for family caregivers and professionals to access respite resources. More information about TRC is available at www.tnrespite.org. Jennifer Abernathy, MSW, is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Respite Coalition, an organization that provides respite services and information to family caregivers across the state. She has diverse professional experience working in the fields of disability, mental health, volunteer management, senior services and higher education.
ANDREA NORTHCUTT Join the Coffee County Soil Conservation District for a week-long learning adventure in Costa Rica. From the airport in San Jose, you will be picked up and driven to the town of La Fortuna, highlighted by the Arenal Volcano. During your drive, you will pass through many different ecosystems such as high elevation cloud-forest and then drop down into the lowlands of the northern plains. You will also get a chance to see much of the dairy industry as we pass through the farms of the highlands.
Day 2 The adventure begins with a zipline ride through the cloud forest. If you are not interested in zipping, you have the option of taking a tram ride through a virgin rainforest canopy. The zipline will take you on cables almost 1km long and hanging 700ft above primary rainforest from start to finish with breath-taking views of the Arenal Volcano. After the zipline, we will spend the entire afternoon at Don Juan’s Organic Farm. Don Juan himself will give us an in-depth tour emphasizing sustainable agriculture. This is a great tour of beautiful lush Costa Rican gardens, and Don Juan is a treat to meet. We will then eat a fresh delicious meal grown on Don Juan’s farm.
Day 3 We will make our way to the Village of Sitio de Mata. On our way, we will visit a small
Sustainable Agriculture, Adventure, & Sun in Costa Rica!
reserve where we are going to get an up-close look at the tropical rainforest as naturalist guides open your eyes and minds to the many spectacular wonders of one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Here we will see butterflies, poison dart frogs, tree frogs, sloths, hummingbirds and so much more. Sitio de Mata is a village located in a picturesque setting with fabulous views of the Turrialba Volcano, which is constantly smoking for your camera’s delight. The scenery is outstanding, but not half as good as the people you will meet. The village is filled with smiling kids and parents—a world of simple living with happy minds.
Day 4 We will visit Caite University, which is known all over the world for their work in agro ecology, forest biodiversity and socioeconomics. The afternoon will be filled with cultural fun and will include learning how to cook the local cuisine, a soccer game with the local kids and an evening fiesta where you are introduced to the dance and music of the country. This is an evening that you will not forget and one of the true highlights of visiting Costa Rica.
Day 5 We will white water raft down the Pacuare River. Listed as one of the top five most desirable and commercially rafted rivers in the world, Pacuare lives up to every bit of the good press it gets. Along the river we will encounter canyons, waterfalls and virgin rainforest as you get a true sense of what the miraculous wonders of nature can do when left alone. This is a class III & IV section with a minimum age requirement of 10 years old. There is a tour available for those under 10 or not interested in rafting. Afterward, we will drive South to the Caribbean Coast to the famous Almonds and Corals Ecolodge which was voted as Costa Rica’s top ecolodge in 2010. The Lodge is surrounded by jungle while also being just steps away from the beach. Your alarm clock will be the howler monkeys that get going around 6am.
Day 6 We will hike on some of Costa Rica’s most pristine and unknown beaches. Here is where the rainforest meets the ocean and we will learn more about the natural history of the area as we hike through the jungle filled with wildlife. The afternoon is reserved for relaxing on the beach on the many hammocks at the hotel.
Day 7 This is another beach day, but we also plan on visiting a nearby Permaculture Garden where you will see a different kind of organic farming. In the afternoon: more beach time. You will have the option to finish the book you brought or maybe rent some surf boards to test your skills.
Day 8 We will fly back home. The Soil Conservation District is a nonprofit and we are not making money off this trip, in fact it’s just the opposite. We put the trip together as a way to educate our locals. The trip highlights permaculture, environmental responsibility, cultural awareness, and general agriculture. For more information, visit www.coffeetnscd.com.
This trip is extremely educational and will immerse you in the local customs. While on this ecotour in 2012, I did not feel like a tourist at all. I have partnered with Costa Rican Resources, a local company that focuses on local tourism, environmental education and safety. During the trip, all your transportation, meals and expenses for activities are included. There are no worries once you arrive. Even the airport is a friendly place. Our tour guides are local, professional rafters and experts in Costa Rican ecology. Pricing starts at $1360/ person + air fare and is scheduled for July 13-20, 2013. This is an ideal trip for students, teachers and anyone who desires to learn more about ecology, agriculture or the Costa Rican culture.
LORI BRADFORD MILES
HOLISTIC WELLNESS COACH
Planting seeds in our own garden will bring us back to our own roots to nourish, cultivate and feed ourselves. It is the food that is alive, that brings energy to our being. When you plant the seeds, sprouts will root deep into the earth. As nature nurtures her gardens with rain, sunshine and morning dew, a new life process begins to blossom. Just as we can plant the seeds of self-awareness, we begin to organically cultivate nourishment in ourselves. When food is cooked with love and reverence, it supports spiritual seekers on their chosen paths. Foods we ingest can add or detract from our life force and the power that already exists within us. It is best to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible: whole foods. We share together in the joy of creation and sustaining life together through food as nourishment and connection. Many ancient cultures recognize the inherent healing power in food. In ancient writings, food is described as nothing less than divine. Created from divine Consciousness out of its own Self, fresh, organic foods are infused with that same Consciousness. Through food, we embody the sun and the cosmic energies of the Universe, regenerating our spiritual essence. Our spiritual nature interacts with the properties of the foods we eat. Organic gardening fosters a more holistic, natural ecosystem. This is the center of what our ancestors offered to their own holistic nourishment. A garden can be a place at home for your friends and family to share or at a local community garden. Locally grown produce retains more of its nutrients because it does not have to be driven thousands of miles to be sold and eaten. Food can sustain our life force and our healing process leading to a more elevated state of transformation.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms or local farmers markets provide fruits and vegetables. They offer a way to obtain healthy foods and recipes on how to prepare the foods. Planting a local, seasonal garden and tending to it is immense is medicine in itself. It is also about [clarity] our relationship with the foods we eat and the information our bodies get from eating fresh, whole, organic foods—especially if we grow them ourselves. You can learn from organic gardeners because you learn about where our food comes from and a pathway for understanding and respecting nature. All that is alive has a soul! Allow yourself to spend time in nature as it is cleansing mentally and spiritually. Focus your attention on the natural world which brings beauty, peace and harmony into your life. You will have the pleasure of eating from the garden where you have grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, nuts, roots, and more. The satisfaction in knowing that the garden is healthy will fill your heart with gratitude and blessings. You will remember the beauty of the growing plants. Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again. When you participate in gardening, you will be fully responsible for any food that you grow for yourself. You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life. Each and every garden connects us with our own natural processes as we too begin as a seed. We follow the cycle of life as a reflection of our universe. Interacting with nature in this way gives us a sense of well being, happiness, vibrance, vigor and connectedness.
Lori Miles is a native Nashvillian who is very rooted in the community. Her journey to healing began when she decided to become a nurse and then spent the next 17 years working with patients in the field of mental health and addictions. Her interest grew in alternative and complementary medicine so she began to understand how this nurtured her own soul. Lori became deeply invested as a student of yoga and she later decided to become a teacher of yoga to share her knowledge of liberation with others. Lori became a certified holistic life coach through Radiant Health Institute and continues to explore ways to living a holistic, organic and yogic lifestyle. Lori is currently in yoga teacher training to enhance her ability to assist others on their own personal journeys to self-healing. More information on Lori is available at www.HolisticWellnessCoach.org
AMANDA DOBRA HOPE
EVOLUTIONARY PIONEER DOCTOR OF HOLISTIC LIFE COACHING
It depends, what do you want one for? Are you looking for a guru? A spiritual teacher? Finding a great teacher on our path is a tremendous boost when we are looking to grow spiritually in an exponential way. However, when seeking a guru or teacher, choose carefully and consider what those titles mean. Remember first and foremost that you are already your own guru, and so is everyone around you. If the guru you seek, or friend and teacher you love, knows that he or she is still growing and evolving everyday as well - you have found one worth their weight in gold. Learn from them but do not hand over your personal power or your will to learn and discover things on your own. A real teacher is one who is happy to let you go when you are ready to fly. Teachers come in many forms. Not all are hired, and the best are most rewarded when their students fly off ahead of them, surpassing their own knowledge and sharing their new discoveries with others. A real teacher works to empower you, not to make you dependent on him or her. Do not do exactly as they tell you just because they told you, but rather take their teachings deep into your heart and look for your own answer. We are all gurus to each other. Do you find yourself looking up to certain people in your life? Perhaps you think they know more than you or are in a higher place spiritually than you are. This may be true, but also true is the fact that you may be a teacher or guru to them in a very different way. Do not underestimate your power as a teacher to others. Live your life with impeccability, integrity and be the best and most authentic YOU that you can be. In doing so, you empower and inspire others to do the same. Humanity benefits greatly when all humans are being their most authentic selves. We are all here with things to teach and things to learn. True teachers, just like true friends, bring us gifts. We may not wear them all of the time or give them a prime spot on our wall, but we accept them in the loving spirit that they were given, and then choose what we wish to do with them. Teachers, gurus,—or whatever you choose to call them—may come and go or may be with you for a lifetime. What you make of this life for yourself and those around you is yours and yours alone. Do not depend on another human to live your life for you or tell you what you should do. Learn to look inside yourself for your answers, and don’t forget to partner often with your higher power. You are the one you have been waiting for. All others are merely a reflection of you.
Please enjoy this musing on the ‘teachers’ in our lives.
g with me in and engagin p u g in ow sh r Thank you fo this life. ectual and yed the intellith you. jo en d an , ch u ew I have grown mulation of spending tim im st al u it ir sp anymore than st loving youts. si re I t bu , ou I thank y ve been my antagonis those who ha the same. For I love them easure brought me plct on ve ha ay m ou ce, y e impa In this instanve brought me pain but th ha e. m ey sa th e n th whe d my soul is my growth an ought me mymore e who have brap os th ve ve them lo d an I bless and perh s loe theater of my s, on ss le e bl unpleasura to play the villain in th for choosing. life at times is time we ed the hero thco ay s pl ve ha ou le y e are nsciou So friend, whi everyone, if wourselves that or F . es ro he are all truly ives back to us a piece of and aware, g since forgotten. an we have long and no less th , but no more may currently play d n ie fr y m ot we I love you , whether or n the others I loveis earthly plane. together on th ank you mate, and thlf ay pl y m g in yse for the r be Thank you foe back one more piece of m for giving m taking. are merely my my guru you ot n e ar ou y For reflection. myself. chosen to like ly al n fi ve ha And I
Amanda Dobra Hope, MDiv, and Evolutionary Pioneer, currently serves as a Non-Denominational Minister, Holistic Counselor, Writer, Teacher and Wedding Officiant. She is passionate about helping others uncover their true inner selves so that all have a chance to give their unique gifts in a world that works for everyone. You can find her at: www.itsasyoulikeit.com
CERTIFIED NUTRITIONAL CONSULTANT AND CLIENT MANAGER AT THE HEIMERDINGER FOUNDATION www.livingyourdream-now.com
NOURISHING YOUR BODY, SOUL AND MAKING YOUR CELLS SMILE “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates 300 B.C. Make your healthy eating journey an adventure into the world of delicious tasting wholesome foods. Enjoy your journey and enrich your health. Organic food is grown without the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. The food is as natural as can be, safer for our environment and tastes better too. Most importantly, eating this food is healthier for you. There are dietary approaches which are exceptional in activating the body’s own healing system, regardless of any disease or illness. Using organic whole food nutrition allows body to use its own built-in restorative ability and will assist the body’s amazing capacity to heal itself from disease or illness. At first glance, it may look like natural and organic foods may seem more expensive than the conventional grocery store produce. Keep in mind that you are actually getting more for your money because it is nutrient dense, without any fillers. Think of it as preventive investing and care, rather than paying later for medical bills to treat illness and disease.
The health-promoting effects of whole foods are thought to be partially related to their abundant and complex antioxidant profile. Fruits and vegetables feature a spectrum of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, the trace minerals selenium and zinc, and a palette of important phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids.
Whole foods such as fruit and vegetables contain hundreds of plant compounds called phytonutrients. Antioxidants are among these plant compounds that provide an array of disease and cancer-fighting health benefits. Vitamins and minerals are found in the right balance to promote optimum health and prevent disease. The protection that antioxidants offer are related to their ability to reduce such enemies as free radicals and other unstable oxygen molecules that are present in our cells and can damage cellular membranes and alter genetic materials if not neutralized. These reactive free radicals and other damaging molecules come from UV radiation, toxins and pollutants that get into our bodies, and even from our own energy producing processes within our cells. Free radicals and unstable oxygen species are known to promote the development of atherosclerosis, CANCER, arthritis, diabetes and a host of other conditions.
THE HEIMERDINGER FOUNDATION
In November of 2010, Mike Heimerdinger was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He began undergoing traditional cancer treatments including chemotherapy immediately following his diagnosis. He sought to find answers by making changes to his diet and lifestyle. Then, when faced with the news that traditional treatments were not working, it led him to clinics that approached cancer using different therapies. These clinics treated cancer with a whole-body approach by using nutrition, supplements and alternative treatments along with chemotherapy. Although he ultimately lost his battle in September of 2011, the information we gained from his journey has opened our eyes to the benefits of eating nutritious whole foods and the additional therapies available to help support the body. In memory of Mike’s life, we have organized The Heimerdinger Foundation to promote healthier lifestyles and help raise awareness about cancer treatment options. Our vision is to educate the Nashville community about proper nutrition, healthy meal options and provide nutrient rich meals to patients fighting cancer during a time when eating right can make all the difference. Meals 2 Heal offers hope, support and healing to the local community The Meals 2 Heal program involves: Teens working in the kitchen under the guidance of adult mentor chefs. They prepare beautiful, delicious and nourishing meals for people dealing with cancer. Students learn about nutritious foods, basic cooking skills, teamwork and making a huge difference in someone’s life. Meals are delivered by volunteer Delivery Angels free of charge to patients in the community. Clients are supported by volunteer Cancer Liaisons who visit them at home, help them understand why this type of food can make a difference and stay in communication weekly to make sure the food is working for them. Food is from organic or sustainable sources. Only “clean” nutrient rich food is used in the preparation of the meals—no pesticides, herbicides, preservatives or refined ingredients. Mike’s family is overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from people whose lives “Dinger” impacted. It is their dream to give back to the community he so loved. To donate, volunteer or find out more information if you or a loved one in the counties of Davidson or Williamson is eligible, please visit our website www. heimerdingerfoundation.com.
Robin Legittino, CPT, NC, is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Personal Trainer with NASM--practicing, teaching and leading thousands of people. Robin has served as Director and Manager of multiple multi-million dollar Health and Wellness Facilities, increasing collections by 100% and increasing client/patient retention by 320%. She has successfully provided services for thousands of people from all facets of life and wellness. With over 15 years’ experience in the Health and Wellness Fields, Robin has also served as an Health Advocate and Key Note Speaker for organizations such as Whole Foods, Lifetime Fitness, American Heart Association-Go Red For Women and is currently volunteering as Client Manager for the Heimerdinger Foundation--Meals 2 Heal Program. More information about Robin is available at www.livingyourdream-now.com.
A great culinary dish becomes extraordinary with the addition of a few choice herbs. Wouldn’t it be great to have access to a variety of fresh herbs just outside your door? An herb spiral is an easy project that will have you growing many herbs in a small space. It’s basically a spiral of rocks enclosing a mound of soil that gently slopes upward toward the center. It is then planted with various herbs. Herb spirals are a popular feature in permaculture gardens, and for good reason. They embody principles that guide good design by mimicking nature’s patterns. The spiral is an efficient design found in everything from galaxies to seashells. In the garden, spirals make use of vertical space, doubling growing area without increasing the amount of space required. Place the herb spiral close to your door for quick harvest and easy maintenance. The spiral pattern creates microclimates which allow for diverse herb plantings. Some areas of the spiral will receive full sun to accommodate herbs such as basil, thyme and even aloe. Other areas will be in part shade and possibly full shade, depending on if the spiral is in the shadow of another element in your yard. You want to make sure that most of the spiral is receiving full-sun to part-shade. Herbs such as tarragon, anise hyssop, parsley and lemon balm will appreciate afternoon shade.
visible layer. If you want a small pond locate it at the end of the spiral on the north side. Dig a hole and either put in some type of waterproof container or a piece of pond liner. Surround it with rocks as well. Next you need to fill in with soil. Some people like to put a layer of gravel on the bottom, then a layer of coarse sand for better drainage on clay soils. Add compost or good quality potting soil and fill to the top. A small amount of sand can be mixed into the soil at the very top to keep it dry. Now it is time to plant. Remember thyme, rosemary, marjoram, hyssop and chamomile like dry soil, so put them toward the top of the spiral. Lemon balm and oregano like average moisture found in the middle, while basil, dill, and parsley like it moist, so plant them toward the bottom. Plants that like a little shade should be planted on the north, while those that like full sun do better on the south or west side. There are many other possibilities. Try growing a medicinal herb garden or incorporate flowers or vegetables into the spiral. Nasturtiums look especially beautiful trailing down the side. An herb spiral will add functional beauty to your yard and entice you with delicious aromas and flavors. You will never buy supermarket herbs again!
The herb spiral has different areas of soil drainage. The top is dry and perfect for oil rich herbs like thyme and rosemary. Green foliage herbs like dill, mint, basil, cilantro and chives will feel at home in soil that is rich, wet and closer to the ground. You can even create a small pond at the bottom to grow water loving herbs like watercress. The rocks warm and dehumidify the soil to extend the season for the more tender herbs planted there. Convinced you need an herb spiral? You can build one in just a few steps. First, gather the following materials to make the spiral. Many people use rocks, which can be bought or gathered. You can also use recycled materials like bricks, wine bottles, urbanite (broken up pieces of concrete) or wood. You can mortar the spiral, but it is not necessary. Decide where you want your herb spiral. An herb spiral will be approximately 6 feet wide and about 3 feet tall. You need to be able to easily access the herbs in the middle. Lay down cardboard to keep weeds from growing up through the rocks. Place a stake in the center point with a 3 foot string attached to it. Walk around the center point in a circle marking the cardboard with a marker (the string is attached to the marker). As you come to the beginning of the circle, curve inward drawing the outline of a spiral on the cardboard. Alternatively, just wing it! The space for planting should be about 1-1.5 feet wide - less if you want to make a smaller herb spiral. Lay your rocks along the outer edge and work inward. The height of the rocks has to increase closer to the center. You may have to infill as you go to keep them from collapsing. Reserve the most attractive rocks for the top,
Jennifer Albanese is co-owner of Spiral Ridge Permaculture, LLC, a familyowned and operated whole systems design business, educational center and homestead in Middle Tennessee. She can be reached at www.spiralridgepermaculture.com.
SUZIE KERR WRIGHT
Moments Matter “The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here.” (from A Course In Miracles) This quote was delivered to my email as I was struggling with the topic for this article. I wavered between several choices, as I often do. But as a fairly creative person (singer/drummer/actress), I wanted to write a article called, “Creativity Matters.” Yet I was repeatedly being reminded of staying in the present moment. I ignored that and kept looking for an angle, a way to approach the writing process and amaze you, dear reader, with my litany of talents and creative knowledge. But what I kept hearing in my head, my heart, through other people-wherever I went was “Now Matters” and “This Moment Matters.” “Ahhh,” I thought, “I should just stop and be in the moment to gain the appropriate inspiration for the amazing ideas I will impart on those less inspired than me.” I thought I might take some time out of my busy schedule—later—and have a chat with God about how my contribution would go (read: rampant ego, spiritual procrastination and control). And then the quote appeared. And this ego-driven human finally realized that God was sending me clear, concise messages repeatedly about what my topic should really be. Damn divine order. That was not MY plan! Guess it’s time for another spiritual lesson. Hrrrrmph!!
“I don’t have to force my spiritual practice on anybody, but I had better live it.” Caroline Myss I am a woman who lives both in the past and future. I know I’m not alone in this behavior. Let me hear an “A-MEN!” I do cherish my past and hold onto a lot of family memorabilia. At the same time, being self-employed, I’m forever looking far ahead for the next opportunity to do…well, anything fun and potentially profitable. But as someone who has immersed herself in the practice and teaching of the Law of Attraction, I know better than to stay on either side of those worlds too long and abandon what is now. I’ve seen my life go from the deepest, darkest depths of despair, loneliness, abuse, abandonment and shame to the joy-filled life of purpose it is today. I could not have dreamed this life up, folks. As I stopped—yes, I finally did stop—to reflect on how it came to be, it was clear…always has been, always will be. It happened one moment at a time. Piled up moments. One hour at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time.
“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun - and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy.” Paul Coelho
So just what IS a moment? Here are two of the dictionary definitions: Significant period: an important or significant time or occasion PHYSICS: product of force times distance: the product of a quantity such as a force multiplied by its perpendicular distance from a given point The power in a single moment is often overlooked. In astrology, seconds matter when casting a chart. Just a few minutes’ difference in the birth of twins will set up a completely different chart. That is one of the reasons why some twins don’t look alike or act alike. I find it interesting that the dictionary defines it as a “significant” time or occasion, and additionally, from a physics point of view, it is force multiplied by distance. We humans tend to forget or ignore the infinite power within our grasp. Science has proven our ability to influence our own lives and others. There is energy constantly being created and emitted by every one of us. Notice when you have had a strong, deep desire for something how your body tends to vibrate with intensity. You feel the thing you want. Your body reacts to what it will be like when you have this item in your hands or that person near you. You create the scenario-sights, sounds and smells—all in your mind and body. Have you ever become frustrated, thinking really hard about how to do something, when someone interrupts your train of thought? You may let out a sigh or your body may suddenly relax. Point is, you were creating a lot of energy. Just notice how much physical strength that took. Now imagine that energy of frustration going out into the world. What is it creating? The Law of Attraction is a constantly flowing gift from the Universe. It just… is. And whether you believe you’re creating or not, you are. Imagine if you took that force and allowed yourself to connect to source for your highest and best.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” Henry Ford So let’s just say for the sake of this article that a moment equals one second. It could realistically be more or less. Think about what a tenth of a second can mean to an Olympic athlete. It can mean the highest accolades or the pain of defeat. A moment could be that blip of time that passes as you hear the most devastating news that will change your life forever.
An old friend of mine, the late comedian Ron Shock, known as “America’s Storyteller” videotaped his last months on earth in The Cancer Chronicles (on YouTube.com) so his friends and fans could share the victories and heartbreak with him. The support was overwhelming. The first video of the series began with him saying that on December 14,, 2011 at 12:15pm, his doctor told him he had urethral cancer—one of the most aggressive and untreatable forms of cancer. He spoke of that very moment. He stated that up to 12:14pm on December 14th, he lived in one world. At 12:15pm, he suddenly lived in another. “A very scary world,” he opined. He could not recall what he was thinking prior to hearing that diagnosis. Think about that for just a moment. And what about the most beautiful and awe-inspiring moments: visions of nature that take your breath away, a simple statement of compassion from a loved one that opens your heart, an epiphany that propels you in the direction of your dreams, the “I do” at your wedding, the first “I love you” from your new love, or the brilliant idea that wakes you up in the middle of the night and fills you with excitement and adrenaline—blips in time but overwhelmingly powerful events that change you forever.
“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” Wayne Dyer So how do you do this? What is staying in the moment like? Is it difficult? Being present is easier than you think. I hear people say all the time that “we’re not wired” to do this naturally but actually we are. We’re instinctual beings and our bodies provide us with vital information all the time. It’s the outside influences that overstimulate our senses or distract and disturb our energy. We allow this to happen. Staying present requires something that sounds like a dirty word to many of us. It’s called discipline. It’s the same as any acquired skill. It must be practiced. Try this: set a period of time that you are willing to commit to this process. Choose whatever you’re comfortable with. For example, let’s start with one hour. Every 15 minutes in that hour, pause and look around you. What do you see? Don’t think too much. Let worries, todo lists and anxiousness all fade away for just 30 seconds. What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? Notice your breathing. Pay attention to the ground you’re standing on or the chair you’re sitting in. You can do this anywhere. Stop your racing thoughts—therein lies the discipline. It helps if you set a timer initially so you won’t keep worrying about how long it’s been. Just breathe, see and feel. Pretty interesting, huh? Before you resume your busy life, ask yourself, “What is the most amazing thing in this moment?” You might want to snap a picture of something that captures your attention—a flower, the sky, a pattern on a wall. Keep it with you to remind you of the freedom, peace, beauty and just plain awesomeness of being present for that short amount of time. You’ve just reset your internal operating system. Wow. That’s called starting your day over.
“The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” C.S. Lewis There are 60 seconds in every minute, 3600 seconds in every hour, 86,400 seconds in every day and 31,536,000 seconds in every year. Each of these is as precious as the next. What are we doing with them? Each of these fragments of time is a grand opportunity. An opportunity to send out into the great Cosmic Galaxy a ray of hope, a vibration of love, a wave of forgiveness or a breath of fresh air. Force times distance. The thoughts we create each moment are propelling us into our own future. We’re not there yet and we can’t re-write the past. This second, this moment, oops it’s gone. How about this one? Oops-gone again. You may have missed those fleeting increments of time, but the good news is you can begin again at any time. Right after you flip-off the jerk that cut you off in traffic. Just start over. As often as you need to.
“The time to blossom is now, not sometime in the future when you believe the stars will be aligned for you.” Deepak Chopra I hold the vision that the moments you spent reading these words gave you a more intimate and deeper appreciation for each breath of creation and assist you in designing an exquisite future for yourself and this world.
A gal with a whole lot of style, Suzie Kerr Wright brings excitement and fun to the world of metaphysics through many different venues. She hosts her own BlogTalk show, television show and a weekly vlog called “The Cosmic Cupcake.” Suzie is a Certified Holistic Life Coach through Radiant Health Institute, expert Astrologer, Tarot reader and Reiki Master/Teacher. As one of the most well-established Astrologers in Nashville, she brings positive insight into the lives of her clients. Her many years of experience in the Human Resource field adds to her ability to empower, educate and uncover her client’s abilities and potential. Suzie also teaches classes on Astrology, Tarot, and psychic development. Most recently, she has been hitting the streets of Nashville in her beautifully ornate “Gypsy Wagon” where she offers psychic readings for parties and events in a traditional gypsy setting. More information about Suzie is available at www. astrogirl12.com.
FITNESS EXPERT, TRAINER + AUTHOR
NOW OPEN THE JENERATOR Seeds of my future sprout on airplanes.
So I did some research...
In flight, I outlined my first book, FUNdamental Fitness, designed my first website, JenoftheSun.com, and drew the plans for my first personal training facility, The JENERATOR. I opened my own space on January 5, 2013, as an extension of the FUNdamental Fitness Classes that I teach upstairs at the Second Story Studio in Belle Meade. There, I’ve offered hard, short and strong, total body workouts that mesh flowing yoga with functional fitness. For over five years, women and men of all ages and abilities have challenged themselves as individuals and as a community to be more flexible, to commit to their health, to experiment with new exercises and movements and to get empowered through all of the above. In love with the classes and the program, I still knew that for optimal health, we have to train at least once a week with heavy weights. I believe in the hunter/ gatherer philosophy that our DNA is programmed to chase prey (intervals), wrestle it to the ground (strength), and then rest. I also believe in the “use it or lose it” concept. If the body isn’t asked to stretch or jump, it will stop making the muscle fibers that can DO those things. Hence, FUNdamental Fitness the book, the classes, and now the training studio, The JENERATOR.
The ROM involves 12 times as many muscle cells as does walking or running. Even very out of shape and weak people can get to very high oxygen consumption rates with the ROM because so very much more muscle cells are involved in oxygen metabolism while using the ROM. It engages 55% of all your muscles through an average of 80% of their full range of motion. This means that 55% of 80% or 44% of all your muscle cells are involved in consuming oxygen. That is 12 times as many muscle cells as the percentage of muscle cells involved in walking or running. On the ROM the number of repetitions and the resistance/workload are always maximum for the user’s ability to perform work because the centrifugal brake on the ROMs flywheel regulates the resistance automatically to match the user’s diminishing strength during the workout. The user’s strength determines how fast the flywheel spins, which in turn determines the number of repetitions per minute and the resistance/workload applied by the centrifugal brake.
Back to the airplane... Do you remember 20 years ago, in the Skymall catalog, a goth-futuristic machine promising a 4-minute workout? I saw this ad and have had a compelling curiosity ever since. How could one costly machine—I think it is the single most expensive piece of equipment in the business—provide the benefits of increased lean muscle, lower body fat, healing blood sugar levels and diabetes, improved strength, stamina, range-of-motion and power in just four minutes a day?
It still felt too good to be true, but my airplane instincts have always been pretty right on. So I asked around. [joined sentences]It turns out, the Chief Science Officer for a cutting-edge anti-aging supplement company who is a good friend and amazing athlete has owned a ROM for just under five years, and has done four minutes a day ONLY for the last four years. He has never been healthier, stronger, more fit - ever. Hmm, compelling enough for me. The JENERATOR was born. A 4-minute ROM machine...HALO-BELLS - weights that distribute the iron in a circle to ease pressure on the wrists and elbows, a cable machine, yoga mats, bands, balls and toys... all to bring out the hunter/gatherer in you. [I don’t know what to do with this, but it needs to be made into a sentence somehow, instead of some bizarre spoken-word ad copy.] We build lean muscle, we inspire the metabolism with high and low intensity intervals, we flow through some yoga poses for centering, balancing and breathing, and we enjoy the benefits of being more aware of ourselves in our bodies. We are Jenerating awareness, simply. Join us?
Jen Hoeft started teaching exercise classes while on a cruise ship in Alaska in 1986, and has never stopped! She became certified in everything…STEP, SCULPT, SPIN, AQUA, KICK BOXING…anything that had great music, and got people excited about their bodies. In 2000, she added a personal training certification and wrote her first book: FUNdamental Fitness: Playground Exercises for Grownups, creating a template for a functional fitness workout that embodies the natural movements of children in an accessible and complete workout for adults. But true wellness is much more than physical fitness, and the spiritual space of yoga fascinates and attracts her. After practicing for several years, she became a certified yoga instructor in 2008, and she recently opened her first fitness studio, The Jenerator. More information about The Jenerator is available at www.FundamentalFitness.com.
YOGA INSTRUCTOR, ENERGY HEALER AND ARTIST www.RecoveryRising.com
Y R E V O C E R RISING YOGA ART DANCE SUPPORT
IT ALL BEGINS WITHIN
If you were to look the word “recovery” up in the dictionary, the following definitions are what you would find: 1. A return to a normal state of being 2. Restoration to a former or better condition 3. The return of something lost. When people hear the word “recovery,” visions of recovering alcoholics and addicts usually flash in their heads. The fact is anybody can begin a recovery program simply by their intention to want start down a path of healing and change. Recovery is for anyone who wants to return to their original state of being - the happy healthy and spiritual person they came into the world as. Going down a path of recovery requires a journey into oneself. It requires a great amount of awareness, honesty, surrender, open-mindedness, acceptance and willingness. It is a journey of taking responsibility. The journey into one’s inner world is not always easy, but, it is necessary to be restored to ones original self. In order to fully heal, attention needs to be given to both the energetic and physiological imbalances within the body. Journeying down a healing path can also be easier if others are there for support. It is always nice to know you are not alone. Recovery Rising provides students with the time, space and group support to go on a journey within. Each unique workshop utilizes the technique of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation to address the physiological and energetic imbalances that contribute to addiction, low self-esteem, shame, depression, anxiety, inner anger, low self-worth and a lack of self-love.
Recovery Rising utilizes yoga sets (kriyas) and breathing techniques that assist in: removing subconscious memories, balancing the brain hemispheres, releasing inner anger, opening the heart center, building core strength, clearing and balancing the lower three chakras, moving out of fear, building the pranic body, throwing off stress, and moving through addictive urges. A special six-part Kundalini yoga protocol for treating depression is introduced in the “Dealing with Depression” class. Recovery Rising was born in January of 2011 and was created out of my passion to want to share the most effective and transformational tools that had assisted me on my healing path. I created a program that gives the opportunity for adults to learn or re-learn the basic tools for building selflove and self-esteem. I share the techniques that assisted me with going from just talking and writing about my core issues and blocked feelings to actually moving them up and out. I created the type of class that I wish someone would have offered in Nashville when I was at the beginning of my healing journey. Recovery Rising is not just a class; it is an experience. Students share their personal experiences of: Body Acceptance Elevated Moods Increased creativity Kindness to self Connection of buried feelings to physical pain Listening to and honoring body signals Self-love and setting boundaries
In addition to yoga, students also participate in creative activities and introspective exercises to assist with gaining a greater awareness of core issues and blocks. Free-form dance and movement is practiced to assist with bringing students into a deeper connection with their bodies. Various self-healing teachings are introduced and guest speakers are often invited to add to the overall experience. Kundalini Yoga is a powerful and practical discipline that combines eye-focus, breath, mudra, mantra, body locks and postures. It addresses the needs of the student who is looking to balance their glandular system, rebuild and strengthen their nervous system, expand lung capacity, purify the blood stream and revitalize their love for life. Kundalini Yoga sets are designed to eliminate dependence on external fulfillment by creating a greater awareness within oneself. It provides practical tools to unlock a persons’ true self. A self that is powerful and fully capable of resolving life issues.
Kristianna Zack-Simmons, BFA, is a KRI Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Energy Healer and Artist. In 2010 she co-founded Kundalini Rising Yoga, Nashville’s first Kundalini Yoga studio. She has recently trained with Mukta Kaur Khalsa, the director of SuperHealth; A Yogic Science Approach to Healing Addictive Behaviors. When Kristianna is not teaching you can find her writing on the Recovery Rising blog, painting, dancing or creating a new workshop. More information about Kristianna is available at www.RecoveryRising.com.
B.REAL interview with www.sarasharpe.com
Sara Sharpe is an award-winning actress, writer and certified Holistic Life Coach from Nashville, Tennessee. She is the creator of FESTIVE EVOLUTION: Art and Activism in the Twenty-first Century, an organization dedicated to helping artists mobilize their art and fan base for social and political change through ongoing educational programs and activities. Currently, Sara and Fest Ev host monthly meetings for female artists, in and around the Nashville area, involved in social change. Fest Ev is calling the initiative ARTemis: Women, Art and Change-making. Sara is the former Artistic Director and co-founder (along with singer-songwriter Steve Earle) of BroadAxe Theatre (Best New Theatre Company, 2001 Nashville Scene), Nashville’s most political theatre and one which joins the long tradition of popular theatres working to unravel and express the root causes of social and political ills. BR: Judging by your website, you’ve been juggling a lot of balls in the years since BroadAxe Theatre closed. SS: Yes. It’s the right brained approach to livelihood! I have fashioned a professional life the same way I decorate my house. I buy what I love— what I can’t walk away from—and somehow it all seems to come together in the end. It’s the same with “work.” I follow my heart and launch or take on projects that I love and can’t walk away from, and this is what I have ended up with so far. BR: BroadAxe Theatre was, for all practical purposes, political theatre. Is your work as an artist still politically motivated? SS: I always used to say that BroadAxe was political theatre with a lower case “p.” Most of the work that the company produced was certainly issues-oriented. As I’ve gotten older, I’m less interested personally in making and producing art that’s overtly political. My work is still issuesoriented, but at this point I’m more interested in simply telling stories— which is, and always has been, enough. BR: Under the Festive Evolution umbrella, you have produced a docudrama/documentary, started a group called ARTemis: Women, Art and Change-making, written a book about “marrying yourself,” worked with lawyers as a Communications Coach, and you’ve recently become a certified Holistic Life Coach. Is there any one thing that ties all of these different ventures together? SS: Yes. More and more, all aspects of my life bear the same witness, as the Quakers say. The world needs healthy, energetic, fully realized citizens to tackle the many challenges we now face as a country and world. My book, along with the work I do as a Holistic Life Coach, address the healthy, energetic, fully realized part of the equation—all of the work I do as an artist and activist seeks to address those challenges in specific ways. But, to be clear, of the things you mention, only ARTemis and the FAIRVIEW project come under the Fest Ev umbrella. Festive Evolution is an organization that supports and encourages artists who are socially and politically engaged, on some level. All Fest Ev initiatives meet at the
intersection of art and activism, with an eye on making the world a better place—planetary transformation, if you will. And then the book, as well as my work as a coach, are more about personal transformation—because, of course, we evolve collectively only to the degree to which we evolve personally. I didn’t get that for a long time, but I get it now. BR: Can you explain that? SS: As a young person, I was very interested in saving the world. To that end, I devoted myself to social justice at the expense, often, of my health and family. I just had it all backwards. I learned the hard way that we have to, ourselves, evolve before we can evolve the planet. It’s common, I think, to get the steps out of order. Because ultimately, the outer work that goes into changing the world is easier than the deep, inner work of personal transformation. BR: You think? SS: I do. We’re all so outer-directed. I think most people will admit that it’s easier to do than to be. Changing the world requires doing. Personal transformation requires being. Most of us find countless ways of distracting ourselves, all day, with pursuits that are noble or ignoble in varying degrees. But even the noble work of making the world a better place becomes a distraction if it keeps you from the sort of deep, inner work which is primary. I have friends and loved ones who know this and have always known this instinctively, but I had to learn the hard way. BR: Meaning? SS: Meaning that I have made mistakes that were dire—Mistakes that had severe consequences for me and for the people I love. Mistakes that were exceedingly painful, but which taught me a lot—because instead of crumbling beneath the weight of them, I got tenacious about deconstructing the dark and fearful places in my psyche that rendered me incapable of making healthy and empowered decisions. That newfound determination, along with the gift of ill health, forced me into a place of quietude for several years. For a long time, I was deeply focused on my inner work because I needed to be. But, of course, it’s important not to get stuck there. BR: So now, in your personal and professional life, you’re trying to balance the two— doing and being; Changing your life, changing the world... SS: Exactly. BR: Festive Evolution is the new incarnation of a 501c3 formerly known as Festive Revolution with an ‘R’. Can you explain the difference? And why the name change? SS: Well, I like to say we evolved. The fundamental principle of Festive Evolution is that artists are among the greatest agents of change in the world. Festive Evolution, ultimately, is about art that moves the people and changes the world. But, Festive Revolution had a different focus.
BR: How so? SS: I started Festive Revolution over a decade ago, just after 9/11, in response to our country’s insistence on immediately beating the drums of war following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Festive Revolution was very political, and we existed to support the anti-war movement, which was vibrant, but which was the victim of a sort of media blackout. Karl Rove was telling us that there was no real anti-war movement, and that no serious politician would show his or her face at an anti-war rally. But even as the words were coming out of his mouth, there were huge demonstrations all over the world. On February 15, 2003, for instance, ten million people took to the streets, in cities all across the globe, to demonstrate against the war in Iraq. But you would have never known it in this country, because the national and international demonstrations weren’t making the news. So there was no real discussion about whether or not we were going to war. It was just presented as the inevitable response, and if you questioned that, you were un-American. The only anti-war movement that was getting any attention was the celebrity one, for obvious reasons. But those brave souls—Steve Earle, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, etc., were getting crucified in public. It was an ugly time. In any case, that was what we had to work with, so Festive Revolution, at the time, was intentionally celebrity-centric, in addition to being artist-centric. We sought to support those celebrities and artists who were speaking out, and to train them so that they could speak out more effectively. Sean Penn was on our board, and we had an impressive celebrity advisory board which was helpful. But I was an inexperienced organizer at the time. I ran into some roadblocks that I hadn’t foreseen—this well-known artist didn’t want to be associated with that well-known artist because she was too hostile, or these grassroots artists didn’t want to be associated with those celebrities because they didn’t know their talking points or because they were still doing Gap ads...it was complicated. And then we ran out of time. Once the war started, the huge outpouring of support faded quickly. Everyone was exhausted and discouraged. It was a disappointment, but I learned a lot. BR: And the name change? SS: As for the name change, I invited Pete Seeger to a Fest Rev event, and I got a lovely, hand written declination from him, along with his Musical Autobiography and a p.s. that said, “see page 162-163.” There I found his song, “If A Revolution Comes To My Country” which is about the perils of revolution. I was a Quaker Pacifist, but he had no way of knowing that. So the name was misleading. On some level, it repelled Pete Seeger, while attracting inordinate numbers of RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) members. I was interested in a peaceful, festive Revolution; not a bloody one. And, ultimately, I’m more interested in Evolution than in Revolution. Hence the name change. BR: And so does Festive Evolution still focus on artists and celebrities who are outspoken politically? SS: No. Festive Evolution focuses now on art and artists. That was a specific campaign for a specific time. I still recognize that the celebrity factor can be hugely helpful in drawing attention to important issues. It’s one of the most effective tools activist organizations have at their disposal. If you host a rally about child poverty, you might be lucky to get 30 people there. But if Marianne Williamson hosts that same rally, you might get 300 people to show up. And if Taylor Swift is singing at the rally, you might draw 3,000. And the more people who hear your message the better. So the celebrities are invaluable, and many nationally and internationally recognized artists are wonderfully generous with their time. They’re willing to show up, knowing that they will bring out people who wouldn’t otherwise come. But once you get people there, you’d better deliver more than a potential brush with some famous person or other. Celebrity doesn’t move the people and
change the world, only art can do that, by telling the stories that most need to be told—with words, songs, pictures, etc. It all comes back to stories, artfully told. That’s the focus of Festive Evolution now. BR: Why stories? SS: Because storytelling is in our DNA. Stories teach us, persuade us, define us and move us to action. They link us to our past and to our future and, most of all, they link us to each other; because stories are personal but they’re also, always, universal. Storytelling is the real through line in my work—everything I do comes back to storytelling. My son laughs at this, because as good as I am at sussing out the story and writing about it, I can’t tell a story to save my life. Neither can my daughter. We can’t tell jokes either, for that matter—and I’m an actor! I get fuzzy on the details and chronology if I’m not writing. But in any case, Festive Evolution encourages artists to collect and tell stories via different artistic disciplines - stories that give voice to the voiceless and help us to understand the “other.” FAIRVIEW: AN AMERICAN CONVERSATION—the documentary/ docudrama you referred to earlier—is a collection of stories told with the express purpose of encouraging people to reach across the ideological divide to connect with folks who have very different religious and political beliefs. The work I do as a Communications Coach, with lawyers, all boils down to storytelling. I either help lawyers tell their client’s story effectively or—and this is my favorite work as a coach in this arena—I help lawyers understand the importance of getting their client’s story as way of bridging the cultural and sometimes socio-economic divide between them. Finally, as a Life Coach, I help my clients reinterpret the stories of their lives, past and present, and write the stories of their futures—empowering, intentional ones. We are the authors of the stories of our lives. Oh, and of course, my book is part of my own, personal story. BR: The part about learning to love, honor and care for yourself. SS: Yes. BR: You wrote, A Dress, A Ring, Promises to Self: an unconventional wedding planner for one, nearly a decade ago and just published the book last year. Why did it take you so long to publish and distribute it? SS: Maybe the simple answer is that self-publishing is easier now than it was when I first wrote it. The more complicated answer is I was more than a little embarrassed by the book for a long time. I gave it away to friends, over the years, but beyond that it didn’t seem like anything I could or would seriously consider marketing. BR: Embarrassed, why? SS: Because as important as my ceremony was to me, and as much as I love this little book, it is very self-helpy, and for a long time the concept struck me as vaguely silly. Also, the story is inward as opposed to outward looking, and I judged it to be a bit frivolous – especially in light of the FAIRVIEW Project and other work of mine. When I performed my ceremony, all those years ago, I wrote and made promises to myself, which I grew into only very slowly. I planted seeds of self-care long before they bloomed and grew. The importance of this part of my story dawned on me equally as slowly. Only after I had given away my power for nearly two decades, and found myself sick and tired and incapable of being helpful to anyone, did I realize how important it was to take care of myself, first and foremost. Then the book seemed vitally important as opposed to silly.
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KEMETIC YOGA INSTRUCTOR AND HOLISTIC LIFE COACH
The Renewal of Forgiveness THE ART OF FORGIVENESS
The art of forgiveness requires the understanding that there is no simple path to releasing the pains inflicted by someone we love. To protect the heart, many employ the philosophy of “forgive, but don’t forget” which sets us on a path that returns to a place of offering forgiveness again and again. Not because the other requires forgiveness again and again, but because we choose to never forget. True forgiveness must take the risk of forgetting and the possibility of being hurt again. If we love someone enough to truly forgive and yet we make a conscious decision to remember the hurt, what has been forgiven?
During winter, the trees that lost their leaves in autumn do not try to regenerate themselves immediately. Nature’s patience to be reborn in its full glory is a beautiful reminder that there is not a singular moment of forgiveness, but a process for forgiveness. We have to allow ourselves time to heal and grieve what has been hurt. During the winter of forgiveness, it is important to remember that the offense is dead, not the relationship. Of course we will think about those who have hurt us and how or why. It is natural. However, the longer we dwell on the offense instead of the love we have, we make it necessary to offer forgiveness time and time again simply because we can’t let go.
Nature offers us the most beautiful lessons if we open ourselves to receive them. As we welcome spring, we see a perfect analogy to forgiving and letting go. Despite the cold, harsh environment surrounding the trees and plants of the earth during winter, they continue to return to their full beauty and radiance each year. When there is someone we authentically desire to forgive and with whom want to have a fulfilling, loving relationship, who better is there to consult than Mother Nature?
THE FALL TO FORGIVENESS Ironically, when some trees are their most beautiful, they are in the process of dying. They offer us the most significant lesson of forgiveness in the fall. As the process of release begins, the trees express this change through the most vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red. This process of forgiveness reminds us that change can be beautiful if we open ourselves to truly feel the experience. When we allow ourselves to experience the hurt fully, we can accurately radiate our truth to those who hurt us. If we fail to express our authentic feelings, we do not offer those we love a viable opportunity to reconcile what is wrong. In that case, we find ourselves in a space where we may have to ask for forgiveness, as opposed to offering it.
SPRING RENEWAL Unlike nature, our rebirth and renewal through forgiveness isn’t always perfectly timed. It is hard to imagine removing or distancing ourselves from someone we love while we heal. We are wired to bond. As humans, we require connection, making it unnatural to cut the cord with someone we love. Instead of severing a tie to create a space for forgiveness, we may be better served by reconnecting to someone or something that feeds us life. When we strengthen our connection with old friends, talents or habits to sustain us through our growth, we generate the love we need to forgive and forget. And like spring, we are able to offer a level of forgiveness that renews our broken relationships and allows us to bloom in the full glory of love.
Called the Self-Care Coach, Ashiya Swan is a Holistic Life Coach specializing in Wellness + Self-Care. Trained by Radiant Health Institute, Ashiya supports girls and women facing major life transitions by co-creating a high level of self-care that will sustain them as they adjust to a variety of life events from adolescence and high school graduation to career shifts and beginning families. Ashiya is also a certified Kemetic Yoga Instructor through which she guides clients in discovering the benefits of meditation and concentrated breathing on the central nervous system and self-healing. Ashiya has merged her skills as a holistic life coach and as a yoga instructor to provide clients personalized coaching and yoga instruction for personal development, stress management and self-care. Ashiya is also a student at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to further develop her wellness coaching practice. More information about Ashiya is available at www.aSwanLife.com.
Sound Mind, Sound Body, Sound Soul Sound is at the beginning of creation. Everything in the universe is vibrating. Being mostly water, humans are perfect conduits for sound and vibrations. In fact, our nervous systems are barraged by and are compensating for the subtle, external, dissonant humming of civilized society. Becoming more attuned to the sounds within us and without us, we may be more connected to and compassionate towards our surroundings. Sound has been used as a tool in therapy to promote healing and communion with God since the beginning of written history. All the greatest composers and musicians know that sound affects the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of humanity. This makes it a potent and powerful way to bring homeostasis or balance to the whole individual. Drums, rattles, flutes, gongs, conch shells, tuning forks, singing bowls, bells and many other instruments have been used throughout history for wellness, healing, and expanding consciousness. These instruments are becoming recognized once again as we strive to find our way back to health, truth, destiny and love for ourselves and all mankind. As the tide of the ocean washes away sand, it also rebuilds the Earth placing the sand elsewhere. The vibrations of life flow in a similar manner. There are many ways to explore healing through sound and vibrations. You can participate with others, as in a drum circle, chanting mantras or singing hymns in a choir. Other experiences are best explored in a private relationship with ourselves. The simplest is probably humming or whistling, to which I attest my constantly whistling Granny’s long life of 97 years and still kicking. According to Jonathan Goldman, sound is a carrier of our intentions. His equation states: Frequency + Intention = Change. One can easily hear this in the voice of a boss telling the employees what is expected of them and then seeing results. We can just as easily put positive, affirming frequencies into our body and minds. A sound therapy treatment is a gentle and profound way to feel better in the body, re-tune the nervous system and reunite with one’s spirit. Each session starts with a brief but important consultation to orient the intentions and goals of the treatment. The practitioner actively listens to the vibrations of the client’s voice and body language. Listening is one of, if not the most important role, that the practitioner plays in the session. A sound healing session may go a little like this: As the client lies comfortably on the treatment table, a conch shell is blown to initiate the healing session. In many traditions, the conch is used as a sound of creation or to initiate the opening of a ceremony. A frame drum is played above the client to break up or move stagnate energy and “entrain” the nervous system to slow down. Entrainment happens when the nervous system harmonizes with the sound and rhythm of the drum. Entrainment also happens in a room full of grandfather clocks. All the clocks in the room will become entrained to the largest clock. We often become entrained to the fast-paced and stressful world around us, just as the smaller clocks are pulled by the hands of the great grandfather clock. Drumming both grounds and opens the body to healing potential.
After drumming, tuning forks are placed on traditional Chinese acu-points that correspond to the glands and organs as well as the musculoskeletal system. There are many brands, frequencies and systems of tuning forks for healing. Harmonic Bodywork utilizes the Acutonics® system of healing, a system based on scientifically calculated frequencies of celestial bodies in the universe. For instance, the frequency of the Earth as it moves through the period of a day or year. The time from one new moon to the next new moon creates the frequency for the new moon tuning fork. So what does this mean? It means that your instrument (body, mind, spirit) is being tuned and harmonized with the elemental frequencies that make up the universe. This portion of the session nurtures the client gently into a deeply relaxed parasympathetic state where the brain begins creating delta waves. These are the waves that are normally most active during deep sleep, the waves that wash over our nervous system and create healing. A one-hour sound treatment can often produce the experience of having gotten a great night’s rest. Singing bowls are made of either an alchemical blend of seven traditional metals or crystal. They are a great way to wind down a sound session. Laid on the back, belly and/or heart, the bowls are activated using a soft mallet. As the bowls sing, the vibrations resonate so one can hardly tell where the boundaries of the body exist, as if floating in a nurturing sea that supports and nourishes the entire being. Experiencing is believing. Charles T. Eagle sums it up pretty well when he says, “From quarks, to atoms, to molecules, to cells, to bodily organs, to bodies, we hear music. From the spin of the Earth and its musical pitch, to the configuration of the planets of the Milky Way, to the spiral galaxies of outer space, we hear music. From the colors of the electromagnetic spectrum, to the ratio forms of flowers and trees, we hear music. BEAUTY!” Becoming more aware of the music in your life will surely enrich and enlighten the journey to happiness.
Lew is a practitioner of sound therapy, a student of Acutonics® harmonic medicine, a certified Connective Tissue Massage and Myoskeletal Alignment Therapist, a Reiki Master, an educator and a composer. More information about Lew is available at www.HarmonicBodywork.net.
DR. BRIAN HOOPER
COACH, PSYCHOTHERAPIST + PASTOR
Spring cleaning can truly be a sacred ritual. For me, my home is a sacred space, not just a place where I hang my clothes, keep my things and prepare my meals. As a spiritual being, my home reflects back to me my values around living in a way that is conscious, nurturing and hospitable. I believe that the world is an enchanted place, a sacramental space where I have opportunity to be connected to the intangible Spirit through what can be seen, touched, heard and tasted; if I am awake. Spiritual exercises which are most genuine are those that help me live in the most authentic way in the midst of the mundane. If I don’t live in a conscious way with what is behind my closed doors, how can I live as a spiritually alive person in the rest of the world? Here are some steps to help you make spring cleaning a ritual of conscious renewal: Begin with a meditation of gratitude and blessing on your labors. “Source of all provision, thank you for my home -- for roof above and floor below, for faucets of running water and fire red glow of stove, for windows that welcome in light and doors strong against cold and danger, but open to friend and neighbor, for quilts in winter and fans in summer, for scents of fresh coffee at dawn and freshly extinguished candles when night embraces us with sleep. For the sacredness of life gently held within these walls, thank you. Bless me as I care for this sacred space.” Set aside time for your labors. If your home is small, you may only need a half day. If larger, you may want to schedule a time for each room. Make an appointment with your home and set it aside. This is holy time because it makes whole the connection between your home and heart. As you come across items that you have not and will most likely never use, items that can be used by others, consider your abundance and feel the enrichment of knowing that you can give these items to another out of your own surplus. This will aid you in recognizing your wealth with gratitude more often. Then, without ceremony or self congratulation, quietly give it away -- sending your love tucked into some corner or pockets of what your share. Bring order to what you do keep. This facilitates use of what you have when you need it. It also gives you a sense of mastery of your home. Now mastery does not mean domination, but a loving and gracious care for your share in the Spirit’s dominion. Indeed, you are lord or lady of your manor, reflecting the beauty and strength of a well-ordered universe. By this, you consciously invite Mystery into your own home. When the trash has been taken to the curb, when little treasures have been rediscovered and set in places of honor, when excess has been transformed into the largess of gift, when all is ordered and ready for the newness of spring, then remove your work clothes and take a ritual bath or shower, and grateful for the house of your own body. Then, enjoy a glass of wine or cup of tea with family or friends. Be truly present in your home and recognize that what is within and what is without are reunited, that heart and hearth are once again in harmony. Dr. Brian Hooper is a coach, licensed psychotherapist with a psychospiritual integration orientation, and ordained Lutheran pastor with over 25 years in parish and university ministry.
More information about Dr. Hooper is available at www.DrBrianHooper.com.
SYLVANUS WEATHERSBY, IV
CERTIFIED LIFE COACH, SPEAKER + CANCER CONQUEROR email@example.com
SprinG into ActioN
Finally, winter has let go of its clutches from the planet and a new energy is emerging. This new energy calls for all of nature’s creatures to revitalize themselves and seek new possibilities in this ever-expanding world. We are no different. Spring is a time of year in which many of the plans we have thought about and organized get that push into action—into reality. With this surge of new positive energy, let us not forget to participate in activities that not only uplift ourselves into higher more positive outcomes, but activities that help sustain and maintain love, joy, and above all, peace upon the Earth. Spring is a great season to find out what brings us happiness. This is a season of great exploration and divine communion with nature as well as dwelling in the comfort of renewal with our fellow human beings. Use this new energy and you will find and create the “new” you that you have been envisioning. So often, we get caught up in using this time to clean out the old baggage in our lives that we forget to create experiences that we really want. Let’s not forget that the planet is going through a transformation from death to life and that we are doing the same. Yes, transformation includes release of the past, but the most important part of transformation is the resurrection of the new self and the newfound vibrancy in life that we receive. So let us be joyous, happy, peaceful and active in this new beginning. Let’s explore, renew and enjoy the warm sensual energy that the Earth is giving us to create communities of unity and harmony through participation in the greatness that life offers. Smile and create the world that you envision. Nothing can stop us from creating the world we want. The only limitations that we have are the ones that we place upon ourselves.
Sylvanus Weathersby, IV, is certified Holistic Wellness Life Coach, Writer, Public Speaker and personal conqueror of Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer.
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DR. BRENT DAVIS
CHIROPRACTIC PHYSICIAN + HERBALIST
A NEW APPROACH TO STRESS RELIEF What is Stress Fundamentally?
Most people describe stress in terms of the undesirable symptoms that are commonly associated with it, such as: tight shoulder muscles, headaches, difficulty with sleep, intestinal upset, clenched or clicking jaw joint, chronic tiredness, and more. The deepest medical inquiry into core stress components comes from the work of Hans Selye, MD, who focused on the physiology of stress—in other words, what breaks down physically under stressful conditions. He did extensive animal studies and found that the body has three stages of resistance to stressors; the alarm or first stage of body response, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage. Physiologically, three things occurred during stress that he meticulously measured: enlargement of the adrenal glands, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and deterioration of the immune-related thymus gland with eventual atrophy of the lymphatic system. Eventually the implications of physiological stress were realized and therapies were created to support healing of the stressed physiology. The therapies consisted of nutritional approaches to supporting the three physical areas that deteriorate AND general stress reduction techniques such as mind-body integration and meditation techniques were developed.
A Core Level New Stress-Relief Technique
Commencing in the late 1980’s, a new field emerged in holistic therapy called “energy psychology” or thought field therapy. That field demonstrated the profound finding that the deepest cause of stress is generally a hidden one and consists of self-defeating thoughts (or painful, shocking, or distressful memories) in the brain that constantly replay a message of stress, generally when we are not even aware of it. That destructive message at the subconscious level never stops. It is always in the background, and therefore it is, in most people, the single greatest contributor to stress. I discovered a novel approach to core level stress reduction which consists of administering frequencies collected from uncut living flowers which have the property of “overwriting” and removing our negative self-talk or stressful memories from the brain where they are stored.
Dr. Brent Davis is licensed in California and Tennessee as a chiropractic physician and practices in Nashville. He has postgraduate training in advanced applied kinesiology, classical homeopathy, and Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST), as well as training in numerous other natural diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. He integrates numerous modalities to address bringing balance and health to the whole body and mind. More information about Dr. Davis is available at
YOGA ENTHUSIAST + CERTIFIED HOLISTIC LIFE COACH www.YogaHarmonyNashville.com
Y O G A
S T U D I O
S P O T L I G H T
YOGA HARMONY When Yoga Harmony offered a $50 LivingSocial deal for a month of unlimited classes, I couldn’t resist purchasing it immediately. Upon my first visit I was greeted with a warm welcome and I felt right at home. There are a variety of classes suitable for the beginner and advanced yogis alike. Throughout the week you can take your pick from a hot yoga series to vinyasa flow or a wonderfully relaxing restorative class. People of all shapes and sizes, young and old, abilities and disabilities are welcome. Owner Nicole Joseph Cyrill, who has a rare disease called charcot-marie-tooth disease (a nerve related disorder), proves that anyone can receive the delicious benefits of yoga. The thing I appreciate the most about this studio are the trained yoga therapists in it. They are very real, down-to-earth, encouraging and funny! You can tell that they are passionate about what they do and are very knowledgeable about yoga. When you take a class at Yoga Harmony, you will receive the support you need from attentive teachers. They will happily assist you in postures and offer the use of props when appropriate. Yoga Harmony is an impressive studio that has antibacterial, cork-rubber flooring, an air filtration system, filtered water fountains and men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers. They also have—drum roll please— infrared heat! Infrared heat is amazing because it increases the release of toxins through mega sweat action. It is also known to reduce cellulite and alleviate joint stiffness. This is the only studio in town that uses infrared heat, so you must come check it out. Prepare to leave class with gorgeous, glowing skin. You will experience more than just a physical fitness, “bootcamp” style workout here. The female instructors at Yoga Harmony integrate your mind, body and spirit into your practice. You’ll be sure to accomplish at least one of three things: 1) sweat your booty off, 2) swim in deep relaxation, and 3) connect with the essence of who you really are. I know I’m hooked. Namaste.
More information about Yoga Harmony is available at www.YogaHarmonyNashville.com. Alicia Gervais is an Indian princess, earth goddess of love. Alicia evokes a spirit of playfulness and is delighted to share in the fullness of life. With her extreme sense of wonder, she is an open and clear channel to remind others that their true nature is love and joy. Alicia is completing Holistic Life Coach certification through Radiant Health Institute and is currently training as a Breathworker. She is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Tribe of Chippewa (Ojibwe) Indians. She has a deep reverence for the seven generations who have come before her and is passionate about honoring Ojibwe traditions in her life.
HOLISTIC WELLNESS EDUCATOR & AUTHOR
MODERN DAY MYSTICISM
What is Reiki? In the large scale Western world, Reiki has long been shrouded in confusion and apprehension due to its mystical nature. If you ask anyone not familiar with the holistic wellness tradition, very few will even know what Reiki is. Science is challenged to define it through standardized testing. Massage and bodywork education boards even have difficulty in deciding how to regulate it. With all this suspicion and, at best, misunderstanding of Reiki, how then is its popularity growing exponentially in these modern times? Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word made up of two smaller Japanese words, “rei” and “ki”. “Rei” means universal or Spirit. “Ki” is the Japanese equivalent to the Chinese “chi” or the Indian “prana”—all meaning life force. Put together, Reiki means Universal Life Force Energy. This Reiki is the energy that animates us and is found in all beings. Some choose to call this energy God. Even though this Universal Life Force energy has existed since before the dawn of time, its most recent renaissance as Reiki began in the early twentieth century in Japan with a man by the name of Sensei Miako Usui. Usui was a scholar whose background in philosophy and religious teachings was broad and varied. While historical accounts of his development of Reiki vary with interpretation, the most authentic understanding is that Sensei Usui originated this healing technique based on his mystical experience on Mount Koriyama in Japan. While on the mountain, he meditated and fasted for 21 days, hoping to achieve a level of awakening that would surpass ordinary consciousness. On the last day of his fast, he achieved just that. It was during this spiritual experience that he fully became aware of the Reiki energy and how to share it with others. Reiki was born through Sensei Usui’s mystical experience with Divine energy and his deep appreciation and love for the human race. Since the time of Usui’s enlightenment, Reiki has been handed down from teacher to student through an attunement process. Unfortunately however, Sensei Usui’s initial teaching and guidance have been altered throughout the years. While the Reiki energy is still as pure and profound as it always has been, some of the so-called styles of Reiki are variations of the original philosophy. One thing is certain, Reiki energy works. It can assist a person on all levels of their being. Reiki supports the body’s natural healing process physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This is Universal Life Force energy, which will never harm. It is utilized in the body/mind/spirit to bring the client back into balance. It helps them fulfill their own healing process.
Working with Reiki is about bringing balance back into our lives and the lives of our clients. Since there is no religion associated with Reiki, anyone can benefit from this system of healing without subscribing to any belief. This practice does not diagnose, manipulate or offer any products in order for it to work. It simply relies on the wisdom of the body to know what it needs in order to become balanced. The hands are the tools of a Reiki practitioner. As we begin to call upon the energy to help others, or ourselves, heat begins to build up in a practitioner’s hands. This heat then emanates outward and creates a comfortable, calming feeling wherever we lay our hands. Some of my clients have commented that the heat in my hands has melted away the aches they were feeling. Sometimes shifts in wellness are immediate and overt while other clients comment on more subtle changes. Receiving Reiki can be a very calming and relaxing experience for both the practitioner and the client. Even during “remote” (distance) treatments, clients remark at how well rested they feel. Many individuals have commented on an overall experience of well-being, warmth and safety. Others note diminished pain and a heightened sense of awareness. In my own personal practice, I have witnessed improved sleep, reduced addictive dependencies, healthier relationship patterns, the relief of tinnitus symptoms, and everything in between. Every single session is unique and different from any other. As I trust in the process and step out from my rational mind and into my heart, I witness the unlimited possibilities that Reiki has to offer. Reiki is a powerful, yet subtle energy that seeks only balance and well-being. Now, that is health! Bliss Wood, MMsc, LMT, e-RYT, is the founder of ChantDance™ and is the author of Empowering Your Life with Yoga and other holistic media for the empowered life. She is a nationally renowned yoga and Reiki instructor who specializes in helping people achieve deeper states of mind/body/Spirit awareness through chant, breath and ecstatic movement. Her holistic approach to life, coupled with her diverse artistic background, brings a uniquely colorful and fun experience to her writings and workshops. More information about Bliss Wood is available at ChantDance.com.
CERTIFIED HEALTH COACH + THE FOUNDER OF LIFE BODY BALANCE
Becoming Fearless The moment before I try anything new in my life, there’s always the fear of the unknown surrounding it. This cloud of fear can be denser at certain times than others. When I quit my high-paying engineering job years ago to start my own business, I was literally shaking when I walked to my boss’s office to turn in my resignation. My brain was charting out one compelling argument after another to keep me in the safety zone: What if my new business fails? What if I can’t get another job? What if I’m making a mistake? A few years after that, when I broke up with a very controlling man I had dated for a long time, the same wave of fears cropped up: What if I never meet anyone better? What if I’m making a mistake? What if I can’t make it by myself? But, as you know, fears will not only arise during big life transitions, but they’ll also crop up for situations as small as trying a new food, learning a new skill or even driving to a new destination. I remember when I first tried brussels sprouts, alarms were going off in my brain telling me I was treading new and fearful territory. When I drove from Nashville to Denver by myself, I was scared I would get lost (who gets lost on Interstate 70 going through Kansas??). Fortunately, both of those situations turned out well, but at the time, I didn’t know what the outcome would be. Over the years, I’ve noticed that no matter what new situation I face, fear is always there. It might have a different voice each time, but it’s just the same old fear trying to protect me from unforeseen dangers. I’ve learned to accept that fear. It’s no longer a road block in my life, but instead a companion in this journey. The key is to know how to recognize it, understand it and make the leap beyond it and towards the life that’s awaiting you on the other side. When fears crop up for you—whether it’s with food, career, relationships, transitions, or anything else—use the following questions to analyze the fear and move forward.
1. Ask yourself: What is the worst-case scenario? I like to ask my clients this question a lot. When you’re adopting a new lifestyle and trying new foods, what is the worst case scenario? If you try kale a few times and you don’t like it, what’s the absolute worst that can happen? If you take a Zumba class and it didn’t jive with your personality, so what? If you burn the dish you’re cooking or your partner doesn’t like your new quinoa recipe, what is the long-term negative impact? So when you’re faced with a fear, ask yourself what is the worst case scenario and think about it for approximately 30 seconds. Then, if you’re willing to take the risk, big or small, make the decision to move forward and do it. Typically, the worst-case scenario doesn’t play out in real life very often anyway. 2. Ask yourself: Will moving past this fear make me a better person? The purpose of your life is to grow, expand, learn and be happy while doing it. Fear is programmed into us to keep us safe from getting attacked by a saber-toothed tiger, but it’s not supposed to prevent us from fully expressing ourselves and our gifts. When I wanted to start my own business, there was a whole database of fears being created in my mind. I had to ask myself if moving past these fears would make me a better person. The answer was yes. Trying new foods, starting an exercise routine, learning a new language, traveling across the world and all types of other situations are going to be riddled with fears, but in the end, they will make you a better person. If that’s the case, you want to indulge the fear, but do it anyway. 3. Ask yourself: How will I feel when I reach the other side? When you want to do something new or challenging, start with the end in mind. For me, I try to exercise in some form every single day, but there are days when I reeeeally don’t feel like it. It’s those days when I’m so tired that I would rather do anything than even get up and walk around the block. So I ask myself: How will I feel after I exercise? The answer is always “better,” “good” or “great.” So I focus on the end result and how good I’ll feel as motivation to put my tennis shoes on and get out the door. Once I get going, I always feel better. This is the same whether I need to knock out a difficult task on my to-do list or cooking at home instead of eating out—I keep the end in mind. When you’re faced with fears, difficulties, time limits or other problems, think about how you will feel when you move past those feelings and reach the other side. Then, base your decision on the end result, not on the immediate obstacles.
Laurel Staples is a Certified Health Coach and the founder of Life Body Balance (www.lifebodybalance.com) and BetterWoman (www.betterwomanonline.com). She began her journey to healthy living when she cured her “incurable” thyroid disease through changing her diet and quit her mechanical engineering job to follow her passion. Now, Laurel is dedicated to helping women reclaim their bodies and rejuvenate their lives through simple, effective and healthy lifestyle changes. She works with each of her clients to develop a personalized approach so that they can reach their health and weight loss goals in the long term and create balance in all aspects of their lives.
HOLISTIC HEALTH EXPERT
HOLISTIC BLOOD CHEMISTRY ANALYSIS This is what I hear from nearly 75% of the clients who walk into my practice; each one looking for some thread of hope for finding a way to feel well. Many people struggle with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, intestinal distress and other health challenges. As a result, they request their medical doctor to do blood tests, expecting to find some reason for their symptoms and a solution for their suffering. Unfortunately, most of these folks will walk away with “normal” blood work and a prescription for yet another pill that doesn’t work. This is exactly the same helpless place I found myself in several years ago. I went from doctor to doctor, spent hundreds of dollars on blood tests and other diagnostic testing, and was determined to figure out why I felt so terrible. I was covered in hives, chronically fatigued, plagued with headaches and dealing with bowels that refused to work. These were just a few of my symptoms. The last doctor I saw told me that I was just stressed (ya think?) and that I needed to take two months off from work and sent me on my way with a prescription for an anti-depressant. “Your blood work is perfect. We’ve tested you for everything. There is nothing wrong with you.” I ran out of the office and cried all the way home. This was not my first hopeless experience. So what are we missing? While blood testing is essential in monitoring our health and looking for signs of disease, “normal ranges” often leave us with the misconception that all is well and thus, what we are feeling must just be “in our head.” This is often far from true. Our bodies tell us when we are out of balance. We just need to learn how to listen, ask the right questions and look at things differently. Holistic Blood Chemistry Analysis is a nutritional approach to traditional blood testing. It utilizes standard lab tests by looking for patterns in the results to determine the weak links in the body’s organs and glands, as well as metabolic classification for the purpose of designing a customized diet and supplement program to optimize your health potential. It’s a tool that helps identify possible underlying causes, whether nutritional, emotional or stress-related. For instance, traditional doctors may not consider low triglycerides a problem as their attention is directed towards high triglycerides as an indicator of potential heart disease. In the holistic approach to blood chemistry, low triglycerides indicate a possible imbalance of hormones or mitochondrial function. This alone can lead to unexplained fatigue!
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In addition, you will be hard pressed to find a medical doctor who thinks low cholesterol is anything but good when, in fact, cholesterol is important for cancer prevention and brain health. If cholesterol levels are too low, this can be an indication of liver congestion or problems with digestion. Another example of a holistic perspective concerns thyroid function. A large percentage of women who visit my office complain of symptoms often related to a low functioning thyroid yet their blood work falls within the normal range. The thyroid acts as an alarm for more chronic, underlying issues such as adrenal fatigue, pituitary gland or even gluten sensitivity. Often overlooked is the emotional connection to physical symptoms. Unresolved emotions can lower one’s immune system and even lead to degenerative tissue states. Chinese medicine strongly considers the emotional and physical connection. The liver is associated with anger or frustration while kidneys with fear and the lungs with grief and sadness. Negative thought patterns can develop into negative responses in the body, leading to dis-ease. Trapped emotions disrupt the body’s magnetic field resulting in overall imbalance. Resisting these emotions can affect neurotransmitter production storing on a cellular level in the organ or gland that corresponds to the particular emotion. We are chemical and energetic beings who experience much more complex physiological conditions that cannot be restricted to or determined by “normal” ranges of a blood test. Holistic Blood Chemistry Analysis is an integrative approach that looks at the whole body, provides nutritional suggestions and determines whether you need to cleanse or to build. It also looks at negative thought patterns related to those areas of need and provides tools for restoring balance. Leslie Shew, PhD, CTN, is a holistic health practitioner with a passionate heart for offering hope through better eating, living and thinking. She uses her own personal healing journey to identify with those suffering from acute and chronic health issues, as well as those who are healthy and want to stay that way. She holds degrees in Education, Counseling, Naturopathy and Natural Health Sciences. Located in the West Nashville area, Dr. Shew’s private practice is Synergy Mind & Body Wellness. For more information, visit www.YourHerbalDoc.com.
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“Have You “Conscious Nashvilled Today?”
B.REAL interview with www.sarasharpe.com
Eventually I gave a copy of Dress, Ring, Promises to a young, twentysomething friend of mine who fell absolutely in love with it and insisted that I make it available to other folks. I put a little blurb about it on Facebook in December of last year, and immediately received so many orders that I essentially took the month off to fill them. Who knew? I was building beautiful, handmade books at that point. And then I had another friend who offered to help me self-publish, and the entire thing seemed to take on a life of its own, so I went with it. I think you never know what’s going to resonate with people. When I read it now, my 45-year old self shudders a bit at some of the writing I did a decade ago. Then again, I’m sort of amazed at how clearly I was writing about claiming my own power a decade before I actually did. And it’s interesting and not surprising, ultimately, that once I did come into my own, the book jumped off of my personal book shelf and out into the world. BR: With all that you’ve got going on, how do you find time for a coaching career? SS: I now spend about two days a week coaching. I do have a lot of other things going on, but I believe that makes me a better coach. Coaching is extraordinarily satisfying work. Most of the people I work with are intensely creative, and all of them are relentlessly capable. They come to me because they need some help in jump-starting the process of forward momentum. I take the work very seriously. We can move mountains together when we move forward, steadily and with purpose. For folks who have stalled out, even a little and for whatever reason—low energy, self-doubt, lack of clarity—it can be life changing to work with a coach. And on my end, it’s like watching flowers bloom. BR: You talk a lot about what you call the “worldwide women’s movement.” Can you tell us about that? Is it the third wave of the women’s movement? And why are you so excited by it? SS: This is my favorite conversation just now. I would drop everything to talk about the women’s movement. I wouldn’t call it the third wave, just because that’s a construct that doesn’t really work anymore. And in any case, what we’re witnessing now isn’t a movement so much as it is a phenomenon; one with global implications. The women of the world are moving, and not a moment too soon. It may or may not be true that we are at a choice point in history when it comes to the survival of our species. Sometimes I think that’s undeniably true, and sometimes I wonder if we are indeed that powerful. But in either case, we do know that the planet is getting warmer, and that as it does, it will be the poor and vulnerable who will suffer most acutely. And so, I look to the women now. It’s up to women and mothers to advocate for the world’s children; all children, everywhere.
With 17,000 children dying daily of malnutrition and climate change threatening to make the problem worse, we’ve no time to waste. And if the fate of women and the fate of our planet are inexorably connected, as I suspect they are, than we, as women, MUST be about healing ourselves and our world. We must do the hard work of reclaiming our power—in our relationships, in the work place, in our communities, within our government and on the world stage. We have to bring our unique gifts to the table and we have to recognize and start talking about the fact that the Patriarchy has hurt men and women, both, and that it’s time to balance the scales. This is not about replacing the Patriarchy with a Matriarchy; it’s about balance—true partnerships—evolutionary imperatives. Of course, women in the west have unprecedented social, political and economic advantages and it’s time, now, to use those advantages in a way that’s very intentional. We have to start by taking the time to understand our history as women; our cultural origins, the Burning Times, Women’s Suffrage, Secondwave Feminism etc. I’m making a concerted effort to educate myself now. Before we can take our rightful place at the table, we have to have a very clear understanding of why we were kept from and eschewed our place at the table in the first place. So we learn, together. But while we learn, we also organize. Starting now. We owe it to women who are still struggling mightily all over the world; women who are caregivers and keepers of the culture even in the midst of war and oppression and economic violence. The ARTemis group was born of this impulse. BR: Last question. Tell us about ARTemis. SS: ARTemis: Women, Art and Change-making, is group of women artists that Festive Evolution hosts monthly. We meet once a month, and every month I leave this circle of women artists with newfound hope and renewed energy. It’s an especially powerful circle in that we are combining Art with the feminine instinct to fiercely protect the vulnerable and suffering. ARTemis women represent all different artistic disciplines and, as far as we’re concerned, the term “artist” casts a wide net. We have seasoned artists as well as lawyers who are writing poetry on the side; we have musicians, actors, writers, etc., but we have also had music video producers and jewelry makers. The thing that draws the women together is a spark of creativity and a desire to do some good in the world. BR: Sara, good luck with all that you’ve got going on. SS: Thank you! For more information about Sara and Festive Evolution and Holistic Life Coaching, please visit her website at www.sarasharpe.com.
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