H E A L T H Y
L I V I N G
H E A L T H Y
P L A N E T
feel good • live simply • laugh more
NATURE Floatation CREATIVE KIDS Therapy AGING Outdoor Schools Build Skills
Isolation Tanks Induce Deep Rest
Gloriously Enriching Our Later Years
September 2017 | South Central Wisconsin Edition | AwakeMadison.com
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contact us Publisher Donald Beran Advertising Donald Beran 608-721-2254 Publisher@AwakeMadison.com Editors Alison Chabonais Julianne Hale Randy Kambic Sheila Julson Design & Production Melanie Rankin Distribution Donald Beran
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The act of writing monthly letters to you affords me opportunities to explore my thoughts, beliefs and feelings about subject matter featured in articles in the current issue. I hope that reading Natural Awakenings’ editorial enriches your thought life as well. Current contemplation arises from ideas prompted by Deborah Shouse’s feature article, “Aging with Passion and Purpose.” Acknowledging that my attitude regarding advancing age needs improvement, I approach it from the standpoint of aging gracefully, aiming to journey toward, if not on, a spiritual high road. Aging, like the laundry, has to be done and I believe a determinedly upbeat attitude is essential. The key is not to find aging foreboding, rather to consciously choose every day to express love and wonder in whatever we’re doing. Then each day can yield satisfying discovery and conclusion, performing the miracle of contented self-acceptance at every state and stage of our experience. Recently I chose to take a scenic detour on my way home. At first I thought I was on the right road; then I became unsure. With no known address and no Internet connection to pin down my destination, my next resort was searching for a paper map, which wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Feeling unsettled and upset, I ended up meandering in a general direction westward, toward sunset-lit familiarity. Not a bad way to proceed, though I wouldn’t describe my fuzzy aim as graceful. Similarly, allowing fear to be the starting point isn’t ideal for aging gracefully. Rather, it’s a recipe for stressfully wandering hither and yon with no conscious plan and with next to no actual direction. Living a spirit-based love for our self, others and all creation cultivates calmness in adversity and replaces fear with grace. I look forward to opportunities to be evermore loving and to cherish what shows up in the process. I am grateful in this moment for practical action steps—such as those outlined in the aforementioned article—that this magazine provides for us all toward a happier, healthier, longer life.
© 2017 by Natural Awakenings. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained in writing.
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South Central Wisconsin
Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that. ~Eartha Kitt
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Natural Awakenings is your guide to a healthier, more balanced life. In each issue readers find cutting-edge information on natural health, nutrition, fitness, personal growth, green living, creative expression and the products and services that support a healthy lifestyle.
12 AGING WITH PASSION AND PURPOSE
Finding Fulfillment, Creativity and Meaning by Deborah Shouse
15 RODNEY YEE ON YOGA AS A WAY OF LIFE
Simple Strategies for Staying on Track
by Marlaina Donato
16 ZAYA AND
Joining Science to Spirituality by Linda Sechrist
17 BEING BEAUTY
What Makes Us Glow by Glennon Doyle Melton
18 FLUORIDE ALERT
Excess in Food and Tap Water Harms Pets by Karen Becker
20 SOLAR HEATS UP
Demand Surges as Prices Fall by Jim Motavalli
22 FLOATING AWAY STRESS Isolation Tanks Induce Deep Rest and Healing by Gina McGalliard
24 NATUREâ€™S CLASSROOM
Outdoor Learning Engages the Whole Child by Meredith Montgomery
26 FABULOUS FAN FARE Healthy Tailgating Foods to Cheer For by Judith Fertig
Madison Area Pagan Pride Day
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Headline Rock the Green
ock the Green, a nonprofit with a mission to educate and empower communities to take actionable steps to live sustainably, welcomes Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals to headline the fourth Rock the Green sustainability festival from 2 to 11 p.m., September 9, at Reed Street Yards in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals has received Gold and Platinum certifications overseas for their eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock music. “We are thrilled to have such iconic artists like Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals headlining the main stage this year,” says Lindsay Stevens Gardner, founder and executive director of Rock the Green. “Ben is a well-known environmental activist whose beliefs align perfectly with Rock the Green’s mission to educate the community and empower its members to take actionable steps that result in sustainable living.” Other musicians performing at this year’s festival include Barns Courtney, Mondo Cozmo, Baio, Reyna, and Evan Christian on the main stage; and Girls Rock Milwaukee, the Evan Christian Band, Devil Met Contention, Klassik, and D’Amato on the Pedal Power Stage. Returning highlights from the festival include the Eco-Kids stage with interactive children’s activities; locally grown, sustainable and healthy cuisine in the Farm to Fork area; and a gathering of 18 local environmental nonprofits in the Eco-Champs space. Rock the Green is a Travel Green-certified event, and it has been recognized as one of the greenest music festivals in the world by the UK-based nonprofit organization A Greener Festival. Last year the festival’s zero waste efforts welcomes set a new record by diverting 90 percent of the event’s waste from landfills. ®
BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS
Cost: $50; free for kids 10 and under; $100 VIP admission. Location: Reed Street Yards, 222 S. 3rd St., Milwaukee. For more information, visit RockTheGreen.com. See ad, page 21.
SEPT. 9TH AT REED STREET YARDS
he 20th annual Madison Area Pagan Pride Day will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 16, at Winnequah Park, in Monona. Networking opportunities will be available for local pagans at this day of community learning, outreach and service. Attendees can participate in workshops and rituals focusing on how paganism shapes lives. The information and education provided at this event helps to break down barriers that grow from the stereotypes and stigmatization of the pagan community. Every year, Pagan Pride Day helps support local charities. This year, event visitors are encouraged to make grocery and financial donations to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, and the Demeter Foundation, Inc. Location: 5301 Healy Ln., Monona. For more information, email Pierre at PublicRelations@MadisonAreaPaganPride.org or visit MadisonAreaPaganPride.org. See ad, page 7.
Autumn Classes Begin at Angel Light’s School of Sound and Healing
ngel Light Center for the Healing Arts, a resource for health, healing and spiritual development, begins its School of Sound and Healing fall certification program on October 6 through 8, in Elm Grove. The classes meet one weekend per month and conclude in March 2018. Students will be taught—by 14 experienced music and sound instructors—how sound affects human beings physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Class participants will learn tuning forks, Himalayan and crystal singing bowls, drums, vocal toning, chants, healing rituals, whistling vessels, gongs, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), low-level laser therapy, and light and color frequency healing. The School of Sound and Healing was established in 2015 and provides a comprehensive curriculum designed with the input and talents of Wisconsin’s most experienced sound healers. Location: 13300 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove. For more information, call 262-787-3001 or visit AngelLightLLC.com/ cdSound.htm.
South Central Wisconsin
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MADISO N g
No matter our paths, we meet at the crossroads
EA PAGAN AR P
DAY DE RI
Madison Area Pagan Pride Day September . 16 . 2017 Monona, Wisconsin Winnequah Park
Retired Volunteers Keep National Parks Humming Retirees are volunteering at hundreds of nationally protected lands. They staff visitor centers, do maintenance, clean up debris and remind visitors to keep food items secure from wildlife. Last year, volunteers outnumbered National Park Service staff about 20 to one, expanding the financially strapped agency’s ability to serve hundreds of millions of visitors. Nearly a third of them are 54 and up, contributing to the 7.9 million service hours worked in 2015 by all 400,000 volunteers. Volunteer opportunities also exist at National Wildlife Refuge sites, fish hatcheries and endangered species field offices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Sallie Gentry, volunteer coordinator for the Southeast Region, based in Atlanta, notes that Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has a dozen designated spots for motor homes in its Volunteer Village. She says most volunteers are local retired residents whose working hours vary while RV volunteers commit to 20 hours a week for at least three months. In return, they get free hookups for electricity, sewage, propane and water. “They have skills they want to contribute, but are also looking for a social outlet,” notes Gentry. Cookouts and potlucks are common. She also cites the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, an important migratory stop especially for songbirds, as a place with great appeal. “We supply uniforms, training, tools and orientations,” says Gentry. “It’s a mutually beneficial investment.” She suggests that individuals apply for specific sites at least a year in advance. Megan Wandag, volunteer coordinator for the USFWS Midwest Region, based in Minneapolis, cites the popular Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, in Bloomington, and the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, near Des Moines, as “oases near urban areas.” USFWS Southwest Region volunteer coordinator Juli Niemann highlights the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, in central New Mexico, that has 18 recreation vehicle spots and an average occupancy duration of five months. “It’s a prime wintering place for sandhill cranes.”
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LESS SALT REDUCES NIGHTTIME POTTY VISITS
study from Nagasaki University, in Japan, has found that reducing salt in the diet can cut down on the number of trips to the bathroom during the night. Researchers followed 321 men and women with high-salt diets and sleep problems for 12 weeks. Of the subjects, 223 reduced their salt intake from 10.7 grams per day to 8 grams and the remaining 98 increased their salt intake from 9.6 grams per day to 11 grams. The nighttime urination frequency rate for the salt reduction group dropped from 2.3 times per night to 1.4 times, while the increased salt group’s rose from 2.3 to 2.7 times per night.
EARLY BIRDS EAT BETTER AND EXERCISE MORE
esearchers from Helsinki, Finland, analyzed data from 2,000 people to find out how sleeping patterns affected their food choices. They discovered individuals that wake up early make healthier food choices throughout the day and are more physically active. “Linking what and when people eat to their biological clock type provides a fresh perspective on why certain people are more likely to make unhealthy food decisions,” explains lead author Mirkka Maukonen, from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, in Helsinki.
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esearchers from several international universities have found that seniors that provide caregiving services live longer than those that do not. The scientists analyzed survival data and information collected from the Berlin Aging Study on 500 adults over the age of 69 from 1990 to 2009. They compared survival rates from the subjects that provided caregiving for children, grandchildren and friends to those that did not. Of the subjects analyzed, the half that took care of their grandchildren or children were still alive 10 years after their first interview in 1990. Caring for nonfamily members also produced positive results, with half of the subjects living for seven years after the initial interview. Conversely, 50 percent of those that did not participate in any caregiving had died just four years after their first interview. The researchers warn that caregiving must be done in moderation. Ralph Hertwig, director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, in Berlin, explains, “A moderate level of caregiving involvement seems to have positive effects on health, but previous studies have shown that more intense involvement causes stress, which has a negative effect on physical and mental health.”
Beetroot Juice Helps Older Brains Act Younger
Caring for Others Prolongs Life
eets contain high levels of dietary nitrate, which can increase blood flow and improve exercise performance. Researchers from Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tested the impact of consuming beetroot juice prior to exercise on the somatomotor cortex, the part of the brain that processes information from the muscles. Twenty-six older adults with hypertension that generally don’t exercise were split into two groups. Half were given a beetroot juice supplement with 560 milligrams of nitrate prior to a thrice-weekly, 50-minute treadmill walk for six weeks. The other half were given a placebo with very little nitrate. The beetroot juice group showed substantially higher levels of nitrate after exercising than the placebo group. “We knew going in that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain,” explains W. Jack Rejeski, director of the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Wake Forest and study co-author. “We showed that compared to exercise alone, adding a beetroot juice supplement for hypertensive older adults to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what is seen in younger adults.”
Yoga Eases Eating Disorders
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esearchers from Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, have found that regular yoga practice can help reduce anxiety and depression in young women with eating disorders. The scientists followed 20 girls between the ages of 14 and 18 that were enrolled in an outpatient eating disorder clinic that comprised the larger control group. Those selected agreed to participate in a weekly yoga class and complete questionnaires after six and 12 weeks, assessing their anxiety, depression and mood. Of those that started the study, five attended all 12 yoga classes and six completed between seven and 11 classes. Researchers found decreases in anxiety, depression and negative thoughts among those that participated in the yoga classes, with no negative side effects. Another study from the University of Delaware, in Newark, supports these results. Half of the 38 residential eating disorder treatment program participants did one hour of yoga prior to dinner for five days and the other half did not. The yoga group showed significant reductions in pre-meal anxiety compared to the control group.
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MEDITATION AND MUSIC AID MEMORY IN EARLY STAGES OF ALZHEIMER’S
new study from West Virginia University, in Morgantown, reveals that listening to music and practicing meditation may help improve memory function for those in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers asked 60 adults experiencing subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a common predictor of Alzheimer’s, to engage in kirtan kriya musical meditation or listen to other music for 12 minutes a day for three months, and then consider continuing for an additional three months. Scientists measured the memory and cognitive function of the 53 participants that completed the six-month study and found significant improvements in both measurements at the three-month mark. At six months, the subjects in both groups had maintained or improved upon their initial results.
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News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.
The Aurora Organic Dairy pastures and feedlots north of Greeley, Colorado, are home to more than 15,000 cows—more than 100 times the size of a typical organic herd. It is the main facility of the company that supplies milk to Walmart, Costco and other major retailers. They adhere to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations, but critical weaknesses exist in the inspection system the government uses to ensure that food is organic; farmers are allowed to hire their own inspectors to certify them, and thus can fall short of reaching standards without detection. Organic dairies are required to allow the cows to graze daily throughout the growing season rather than be confined to barns and feedlots. Although the USDA National Organic Program allows for an extremely wide range of grazing practices that comply with the rule, Aurora was observed onsite and via satellite imagery by the Washington Post as having only a small percentage of the herd outdoors on any given day. The company disputes the data. U.S. organic dairy sales amounted to $6 billion last year; although it is more expensive to produce, the milk may command a premium price of 100 percent more than regular.
Organic Milk Producer Under Pressure
Finland, internationally renowned for innovative educational practices, is poised to become the first country to eliminate school subjects. Officials are making changes to be implemented by 2020 that will revolutionize how the school system works by allowing pupils to absorb a body of knowledge about language, economics and communication skills. “We need something to fit for the 21st century,” says Department of Education head Marjo Kyllonen. The system will be introduced for seniors beginning at age 16. They will choose which topic or phenomenon they want to study, bearing in mind their ambitions and capabilities. “Instead of staying passively in their benches listening to the teachers, students will now often work in smaller groups collaborating on projects, rather than just assigned classwork and homework.” Another new model of learning sparked by XQ: The Super School Project (xqsuperschool.org) is underway at New Harmony High School, housed on a floating barge at the mouth of the Mississippi River southeast of New Orleans. They’ve received a $10 million grant to work on environmental issues when it opens in 2018. “High schools today are not preparing students for the demands of today’s world,” says XQ Senior School Strategist Monica Martinez; she notes that about a third of college students must take remedial courses and are not prepared to thrive as employees. 10
South Central Wisconsin
Gestalt-Based Curricula Emerging
Plutonium Problem Glass or Cement May Encase Nuclear Waste
Congress might consider authorizing the U.S. Department of Energy to encase much of the nuclear waste at the Washington state Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation’s largest waste repository, in a cement-like mixture, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It states that when burying the waste, cement would be less expensive and faster than vitrification, an alternative process currently used to turn the waste into glass logs. A $17 billion vitrification plant, one of the federal government’s most expensive construction projects, is intended to separate much of the waste into high- and low-level radioactive material, but construction has stalled over design and safety concerns. After the highly radioactive waste is immobilized in the glass logs, it would theoretically be shipped to an as-yet-nonexistent national repository proposed for Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. The 56 million gallons of waste in question is left over from plutonium production for nuclear weapons since World War II, and the site itself has a history of leaks. The Department of Energy likes the cement burial, but state officials believe the best way to safely deal with the waste and protect the environment is by turning it into glass. Source: enews.earthlink.net
The Egyptian fruit bat is a highly social mammal that roosts in crowded colonies. A machine learning algorithm helped decode their squeaks, revealing that they speak to one another as individuals. The research appears in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers at Tel Aviv University, in Israel, discovered that the bats exchange information about specific problems in four categories. Ramin Skibba, at Nature, notes that besides humans, only dolphins and a handful of other species are known to address individuals, rather than making broad, general communication sounds. Studies allow that it may eventually be possible to understand nuanced communications in other species.
Winnebago Assists Computer Literacy Librarian Shannon Morrison drives the Digibus, a new, 40-foot-long Winnebago computer classroom that hit the road in January bound for Fresno County, California, communities with the goal of bringing free computer literacy and job searching skills to the public. It employs 12 computer tablets with keyboards and staff that include bilingual interpreters. The library bus was scheduled to spend one week at each of two different communities each month.
Milkweed Mittens Leene/Shutterstock.com
Common Weed Is Lightweight Insulator The Canadian Coast Guard is testing milkweed pods as a source of potential environmentally friendly insulation in partnership with Encore3, a manufacturing company in Québec, Canada, in prototype parkas, gloves and mittens. The plant is roughly five times lighter than synthetic insulation and hypoallergenic. The Farm Between, in Cambridge, Vermont, harvests the plants and sends the material to Encore3. Co-owner John Hayden says, “Milkweed is grown as an intercrop between the rows in our apple orchard to increase biodiversity and provide a host plant for monarch caterpillars. Monarch populations are in serious decline, and the two things we can do to help on the land we steward are to not use pesticides and provide milkweed habitat.”
Computers Decipher Animal Language
Architecture Becomes Portable Innovative, moveable mini-houses, tents and wagons are gaining advocates amid a trend toward traveling light with style. Designs range from the functional to the outlandish, and also encompass forms of transport from tugboats to tractors. The four-wheeled Collingwood Shepherd Hut wagon has a shingled exterior and wood-burning stove. Some options can provide ready shelter during a crisis or protection in extreme weather. The Rapid Deployment Module temporary dwelling can be assembled in an hour; DesertSeal’s inflatable, lightweight tent can ward off extreme heat. The experimental Camper Kart turns a shopping cart into a mini-home with a roof, sleeping deck and storage, all of which can be folded right back into the cart. The Portaledge is a small hanging tent that climbers can affix to a rock face and sleep in safely partway up the rock. Golden Gate 2 camper features a rounded timber frame, portholes and a spot for a surfboard. Find fun pictures at AtlasObscura.com/ articles/mobile-architecture-tiny-houses.
Easy Mark kaipadhking/Shutterstock.com
Lasers Stamp Prices on European Produce Food retailers are aiming to cut plastic and cardboard packaging by ditching stickers on fruits and vegetables, instead using high-tech laser “natural branding” and creating huge savings in materials, energy and CO2 emissions. Pilot projects are underway in Europe with organic avocados, sweet potatoes and coconuts. The technique uses a strong light to remove pigment from the skin of produce. The mark is invisible once the skin is removed and doesn’t affect shelf life or produce quality. The laser technology also creates less than 1 percent of the carbon emissions needed to produce a similar-sized sticker. Source: The Guardian natural awakenings
Aging with Passion and Purpose Finding Fulfillment, Creativity and Meaning by Deborah Shouse
ant to age well? The answer isn’t in your 401k. Self-acceptance, a positive attitude, creative expression, purposeful living and spiritual connections all anchor successful and meaningful aging. In fact, these kinds of preparations are just as important as saving money for retirement, according to Ron Pevny, director of the Center for Conscious Eldering, in Durango, Colorado, and author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging.
While most people believe adulthood is the final stage of life, Dr. Bill Thomas is among the creative aging experts that identify another life chapter: elderhood. “Elders possess novel ways of approaching time, money, faith and relationships,” says Thomas, an Ithaca, New York geriatrician and fierce advocate for the value of aging. “The best chapters may be near the end of the book,” Thomas continues. “Once you appreciate yourself and your years, you can relinquish outdated expectations and seek to discover your true self. Then the world can open up to you,” says Thomas. “Living a rewarding life means we are willing to say, ‘These chapters now are the most interesting.’” During this time, rather than feeling consumed by what we have to do, we can focus on what we want to do. 12
South Central Wisconsin
Fill the Funnel of Friends
For older people, relationships offer foundational connections; but as we age, friends may drift away, relocate or die. “Successful aging requires refilling our funnel of friends,” says Thomas, who considers socially engaged elders with friends wealthier than a socially isolated millionaire. “Notice opportunities for interacting and connecting,” advises Shae Hadden, co-founder of The Eldering Institute in Vancouver, Canada. Talk with the checkout person at the grocery store or smile at a stranger walking her dog.
Cultivate a Positive Attitude
Our beliefs about aging shape our experiences. A Yale University study found that older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those less so inclined. Connecting with positive role models helps us release limiting beliefs and embrace an attitude of gratitude instead. Other life lessons can be gleaned from observing how negativity affects people physically, emotionally, and socially. Holding onto regrets traps us in the past zapping energy and self-worth; it also keeps the best in us from shining out says Pevny. He suggests a simple letting-go ceremony, with friends as witnesses. If possible, hold it in a natural outdoor setting.
At one of his conscious aging retreats, Pevny created a fire circle. Mike, 70, had been a dedicated long-distance runner for most of his life. Now plagued with mobility issues, Mike decided to let go of regrets. He brought a pair of running shorts into the circle and talked about what the sport had meant to him—its joys, challenges and camaraderie. Then he tossed the shorts into the fire, telling his friends, “I am letting go so I can find a new purpose and passion.”
Understand Our Life Stories
Creating our own life review helps us acknowledge and understand our most significant experiences and reminds us of all we’re bringing to our elder journey. Pevny offers these approaches: n Develop a timeline, dividing life into seven-year sections. For each, write about the strongest memories and most influential people. n Consider what matters most, from people and values to challenges and dreams. n Write to children and grandchildren, sharing tales of our life’s most significant events and lessons. n Record key stories on audio or video.
Explore the Arts
The changes that aging brings can mire elders in depression and isolation. “Older people need to be brave and resilient,” says Susan Perlstein, of Brooklyn, New York, founder emeritus of the National Center for Creative Aging, in Washington, D.C., and founder of Elders Share the Arts, in New York City. “To age creatively, we need a flow of varied experiences, exploring new activities or reframing longtime interests from a fresh perspective.” Expressive arts can engage people’s minds, bodies and spirits. A George Washington University study shows that people engaged in the arts are happier and healthier. Perlstein understands this firsthand, having begun taking guitar lessons in her 70s. Motivated to play simple songs for her new granddaughter, she subsequently learned to play jazz and blues tunes and joined a band. “I’m doing something I love,” says Perlstein. “I’m meeting diverse people, learning new things and enjoying a rich life.”
The answers can lead to fresh settings, including local community centers and places of worship. Many universities have extension classes for lifelong learners. State arts councils support programs, and museums and libraries host helpful activities. Shepherd Centers encourage community learning and Road Scholar caters to elders that prefer to travel and study.
Discover a Purpose Older people are our Upon retirement some people feel greatest resource. We need purposeless and lost. They yearn for to nurture them and give something that offers up excitement, energy and joy. Hadden invites people them a chance to share to be curious and explore options. “We’re designing our future around what they know. ~Susan Perlstein, founder, National Center for Creative Aging and Elders Share the Arts Musician John Blegen, of Kansas City, Missouri, was 73 when he realized his lifelong secret desire to tap dance. When Blegen met the then 87-year-old Billie Mahoney, Kansas City’s “Queen of Tap,” he blurted out his wish and fear of being “too old.” She just laughed and urged him to sign up for her adult beginner class. He asked for tap shoes for Christmas and happily shuffle-stepped his way through three class sessions. “Tap class inspired me, encouraged me and gave me hope,” he says. “Now I can shim sham and soft shoe. It’s a dream come true.” To unearth the inner artist, ask: n Which senses do I most like to engage? n Do I enjoy looking at art or listening to music? Do I like sharing feelings and experiences? If so, a thrill may come from writing stories or plays, acting or storytelling. n As a child, what did I yearn to do; maybe play the piano, paint or engineer a train set? Now is the time to turn those dreams into reality. n How can I reframe my life in a positive way when I can no longer do activities I love? If dancing was my focus before, how do I rechannel that energy and passion? If puttering in the garden is too strenuous, what other outdoor interests can I pursue?
who we are and what we care about now,” she says. Try keeping a journal for several weeks. Jot down issues and ideas that intrigue, aggravate and haunt. After several weeks, reflect on the links between concerns that compel and those that irritate. Perhaps we’re intrigued by a certain group of people or a compelling issue. “A concern points to problems and people you want to help,” Hadden observes. This can range from lending a hand to struggling family members, maintaining our own health, volunteering for a literacy project or working to reduce world hunger. “Choose what inspires you to get out of bed each day, eager to move into action.”
Develop Inner Frontiers
People in their elder years may still be measured by midlife standards, which include physical power, productivity and achievement. “They come up short in the eyes of younger people,” dharma practitioner Kathleen Dowling Singh remarks. “But those standards do not define a human life.” Rather, aging allows us to disengage from the pressures of appearances and accomplishments. As we release judgments and unwanted habits, we can increase our feelings of spirituality and peace. “When doors in the outer world seem to be closing, it’s time to cultivate inner resources that offer us joy and meaning. We have the beautiful privilege of slowing down and hearing what our heart is saying,” says Singh, of Sarasota, Florida.
Acknowledge Our Shelf Life
“We cannot speak about aging and awakening without speaking about death and dying,” Singh believes. “We need to confront our mortality.” Meditating on the coming transition opens us up to the blessings of life. We can ask ourselves deep questions such as, “What am I doing? What do I want? What does this all mean? What is spirit?” Singh believes such searching questions are vital. None of us knows how much Earth time we have to awaken to a deeper, fuller experience of the sacred.
Help the World In today’s world of chaos and crisis, the wisdom of elders is more important than ever. “Older people need to be engaged, using their insights to help the Earth, community and world,” Pevny says. Creative aging is about improving the future for subsequent generations. In 2008, longtime educator Nora Ellen Richard, 70, of Overland Park, Kansas, wanted to be of greater service. She
Nearly three-quarters of America’s adults believe they are lifelong learners. It helps them make new friends and community connections and prompts volunteerism.
Creative Aging Resources
~Pew Research Center
The Eldering Institute Eldering.org
asked herself, “What if I housed a foreign student?” and found the International Student Homestay Program. She embarked upon an exploration of cultures from around the world without leaving home. Today, Richard has hosted more than a dozen female students and each relationship has expanded and enriched her life. “We talk about politics, food, religion and cultures; we even pray together,” Richard says. She points to memorable moments of bonding and
Elders Share the Arts Estanyc.org
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Center for Conscious Eldering CenterForConsciousEldering.com Changing Aging ChangingAging.org Dr. Bill Thomas DrBillThomas.org
From Aging to Sageing Sage-ing.org Kathleen Dowling Singh KathleenDowlingSingh.com National Center for Creative Aging CreativeAging.org Shepherd’s Centers of America ShepherdCenters.org
respect, appreciation and celebration, and says, “As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned how vital it is to nurture the world I am in.” Deborah Shouse is a writer, speaker, editor and dementia advocate. Her newest book is Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together. Connect at DementiaJourney.org.
Meditation is one way to deepen spiritually as we age. “Sit in solitude, gather your scattered thoughts and set an intention,” Singh suggests. “A daily practice shows what peace, silence and contentment feel like. As you become more comfortable, add time until you’re sitting for 20 to 40 minutes.”
Rodney Yee on Yoga as a Way of Life
You can blink and half your life is gone. You can’t always be busy, busy, busy; you have to decide how to fill your life.
Simple Strategies for Staying on Track by Marlaina Donato
enowned yogi and international teacher Rodney Yee, of New York City, has maintained an inspired yoga practice for 37 years while juggling career obligations, fame and family life. While the benefits of yoga are increasingly well known—from stress reduction and pain management to a more limber body and inner peace—Lee is also aware of the challenges to maintaining a consistent practice. Here he shares insights on the pitfalls encountered by both beginning and advanced students. “My advice is to first get rid of self-berating behavior, including judgmental inner dialogue. In many aspects of life, we are constantly measuring ourselves against a standard, which is a waste of time and energy,” says Yee. With a professional background in classical dance and gymnastics, Yee decided to give yoga a try at a nearby studio when he craved more physical flexibility. “As many people do, I came to yoga for a reason. I was a dancer with tight joints. After the first class, I couldn’t believe how I felt. It was not at all like an athletic high; I had a sense of well-being and knew what it means to feel peaceful and clear.” For people with jam-packed lives, finding time for exercise can be daunting. Yee suggests a relaxed approach to scheduling yoga into a busy day. “As the rishis [Hindu sages] say, we shouldn’t ‘try’ to meditate, not try to force a natural state. To say, ‘I have to do yoga,’ just puts another thing on our to-do list. Sometimes discipline is needed, but another part of discipline is not about force.”
Different approaches to yoga abound, and part of staying motivated may include exploration of a variety of traditions as individual needs change due to lifestyle, health, interests or simple curiosity. Yee reminds us to go with the flow and follow how we feel in the moment. “Different schools of yoga exist because each offers something different. There is a form for all of our moods and a practice for how you feel at any given time.” Reflecting on how his own practice has evolved through the years, Yee recollects, “In my 20s and 30s, my yoga practice was arduous, including three to four hours of strong, physical work and a half hour of pranayama [breath work]. Then for 20 years, it involved a lot of teaching. Over the past 17 years, my practice has become more subtle, with a focus on sequencing and meditation; it’s about how to do this all day long in the context of my body and my life; about being both centered and in the world. In some way, we’re always doing yoga, as we already take 20,000 breaths a day. From a philosophical and ethical point of view, yogis have no choice but to practice.” Because many American women have found their way to a yogic path, men often assume it’s primarily a women’s niche. But yoga has been a male practice for nearly 2,500 years in other countries. Yee encourages men to not feel intimidated. “Why not try something that can help you improve your business, family life and even your golf game?” he queries. While Yee believes in a no-pressure approach, he also suggests inviting ways to foster consistency. “If you are just beginning, set aside a half-hour before going to bed or get up a half-hour earlier. Also note that pain is less to be avoided than learned from.” Wisdom can come from dedication to a yoga practice. Yee’s philosophy is, “You can blink and half your life is gone. You can’t always be busy, busy, busy; you have to decide how to fill your life. As spiritual teacher Ram Dass counsels, ‘Be here now.’ Train yourself to bring body, mind and heart together and fully drink from that.” Learn more at YeeYoga.com. Marlaina Donato is a freelance writer, author and multimedia artist. Connect at MarlainaDonato.com. natural awakenings
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JOINING SCIENCE TO SPIRITUALITY
n 2008, the Sebastopol, California, filmmaking team of Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo created Science and Nonduality (SAND), which later became a nonprofit organization aimed at fostering a new relationship with spirituality that is free from religious dogma, based on timeless wisdom traditions, informed by cutting-edge science and grounded in direct experience. The next year, they organized the first SAND conference, exploring nonduality and the nature of consciousness. Since then, the duo has been producing short films that contribute to the expansion of human awareness, and hosting annual conferences in the U.S. and Europe involving leading scientists, academics and other pioneering thinkers. Thousands of participants from around the world interact in forums and respectful dialogues with luminaries such as Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., a professor of computational physics at Chapman University, in Orange, California; Peter Russell, a theoretical physicist and author of From Science to God: A Physicistâ€™s Journey into the Mystery of
Consciousness; Robert Thurman, Ph.D., professor of Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, in New York City; evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris, author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution; and Robert Lanza, physician, scientist and coauthor of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of The Universe.
Where do revelations about a deeper reality begin? MB: Individual and communal explorations often occur around lifeâ€™s big questions, such as what it means to be conscious and to seek meaning and purpose; the possible place of intuition as the edge where knowledge meets the unknown and unknowable; and how crucial individual awakening is to social transformation.
What is meant by nonduality? ZB: Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual and scientific understanding of fundamental oneness in which there is no separation. Through quantum
Understanding that consciousness is the key to the universe, reality and ourselves may be the missing link in bridging science and spirituality. AwakeMadison.com
mechanics, Western science has reached an understanding of what Eastern mystics have long understood. Duality, generally determined in terms of opposites such as self and other, conscious and unconscious, illusion and reality, as well as separation between the observer and the observed, is an illusion. Nonduality is the understanding that our identifying with common dualisms avoids recognition of a deeper reality. Until recently, human sciences have ignored the problem of consciousness by calling it the “hard problem”. This has led to our present fragmented worldview rife with chaos, conflict and crises. It may be time for scientists to accept the discoveries of the mystics and consider consciousness intrinsic to every observed scientific phenomenon. Understanding that consciousness is the key to the universe, reality and ourselves may be the missing link in bridging science and spirituality.
What difference can exploring the nature of consciousness make? ZB: Understanding the new science that points to consciousness as all-pervasive and the fundamental building block of reality—that we are all made of the same essence, like drops in the ocean—can change how we approach and harmonize day-to-day living. We can be far more open, peaceful and accepting of others. Absurd violence, as well as economic, social and political crises, could all be things of the past, based on a new quantum understanding of our interconnectedness and oneness.
How has the nonduality movement evolved? MB: SAND has evolved into something we never imagined when we began discussing the ideas that the true spirit of science and spiritually is best supported by an open mind and a non-dogmatic inquiry; while science seeks to understand our external reality and spiritual thinkers seek to understand our inner, personal experience of consciousness, these seemingly different disciplines rarely come together in open dialogue. It became more evident that we weren’t looking for scientific answers or proof of what spiritual wisdom traditions teach, but rather to expand the questions asked of both science and spirituality. Open-ended questions arise such as: What if space and time are just useful maps and quantum mechanics is pointing us to a deeper reality more mysterious than we can ever imagine? What if science and spirituality, while responding to our collective aspiration to grow and progress, would no longer need to carry the burden of having all the answers? What if we considered our search openended, rather then having to arrive at a grand theory of life or final state of enlightenment? What if, while we probe deeper into reality and who we are, we realize that knowledge gathered will always be just a stepping-stone? For information about the 2017 conference in San Jose from Oct. 18 to 22, visit ScienceAndNonduality.com. Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at ItsAllAboutWe.com.
BEING BEAUTY What Makes Us Glow by Glennon Doyle Melton
lenty of people are pretty, but haven’t yet learned how to be beautiful. They have the right look for the times, but they don’t glow. Beautiful women glow. That’s because beautiful is not about how we look on the outside; it is about what we’re made of and being “full of beauty” on the inside. Beautiful people spend time discovering what their idea of beauty is on this Earth. They know themselves well enough to know what they love, and they love themselves enough to fill up with a little of their particular kind of beauty each day. When we are with a beautiful woman, we might not notice her hair, skin, body or clothes, because we’ll be distracted by the way she makes us feel. She is so full of beauty that some of it overflows onto us. We feel warm and safe and curious around her. Her eyes typically twinkle a little and she’ll look at us closely—because a beautiful, wise woman knows that the quickest way to fill up with beauty is to soak in another’s beauty. The most beautiful women take their time with other people; they are filling up. Women concerned with being pretty think about what they look like, but women concerned with being beautiful think about what they are looking at, taking in the loveliness around them. They are absorbing the whole beautiful world and making all that beauty theirs to give to others. Source: Adapted excerpt from Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (Flatiron Books). She’s the founder and president of the nonprofit Together Rising. Read more at Momastery.com/blog. natural natural awakenings awakenings
Fluoride Alert Excess in Food and Tap Water Harms Pets by Karen Becker
n 2009, an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study found that bone meal and animal byproducts in eight of 10 major national dog food brands contain fluoride in amounts between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended maximum dose in drinking water. Some fluoride from tap water used in the manufacturing of pet food contributes to this. Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., lead researcher of the study, remarks, “A failed regulatory system and suspect practices by some in the pet food industry puts countless dogs at risk of ingesting excessive fluoride.” Fluoride occurs naturally in rocks, soil and thus some food plants and water supplies. More enters food via use of fluoride-based pesticides and commercial processing facilities. The EWG advises that two-thirds of all Americans, along with pets and farm animals, are exposed to artificially fluoridated tap water.
Fluoride Dangers to Humans While fluoride exposure hasn’t been studied in dogs or cats, according to 18
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Dr. Joseph Mercola, ample research points to the dangers of fluoride to human health, including: n Arthritis n Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) n Bone fractures n Brain damage and lowered IQ n Damaged sperm and increased infertility n Deactivation of 62 enzymes n Dementia n Disrupted immune system n Disrupted synthesis of collagen n Genetic damage and cell death n Hyperactivity and/or lethargy n Impaired sleep (inhibits melatonin produced by the pineal gland) n Increased lead absorption n Increased tumor and cancer rate n Inhibited formation of antibodies n Lowered thyroid function n Muscle disorders
Fluoride Dangers to Canines Dogs are at substantial long-term risk for exposure to unacceptably high levels of fluoride. They are, for example, at
significantly higher probability for bone cancer than humans, with more than 8,000 cases diagnosed each year in the U.S., compared with about 900 human cases. According to the EWG, a dog drinking normal amounts of tap water would be exposed to 0.05 to 0.1 milligram (mg) of fluoride per kilogram (kg) of body weight daily. A 10-pound puppy that daily eats about a cup of dog food would ingest approximately 0.25 mg fluoride per kg body weight a day, based on average fluoride content in the eight contaminated brands it tested. Altogether, the puppy could be exposed to 3.5 times more fluoride than the EPA allows in drinking water. Large breed puppies may be exposed to even more fluoride due to higher water intake. Whatever the size and the appetite of a dog, combined fluoride exposure from food and water can easily become unsafe. Eating the same food every day, they may be constantly consuming more fluoride than is healthy for normal growth, leading to health problems and higher veterinary bills later in life.
Prevent High Ingestion of Fluoride
The EWG recommends owners purchase pet foods free of bone meal and other meals made from animal byproducts. It also suggests that government set fluoride limits in pet food that protect both puppies and large breeds most at risk for bone cancer.
Fluoride-Free Feeding Tips n In homemade food preparation, avoid Teflon-coated pans, which may increase the fluoride levels in food. n Avoid cooking with fluoridated water, which concentrates fluoride in the food. n Avoid toothpaste or oral rinses intended for humans, to brush canine teeth. Dental health products made for pets are fluoride-free.
Dr. Michael W. Fox, an internationally recognized veterinarian and former vice president of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, recommends providing pets with fluoride-free water; spring water or reverse osmosis filtered water also works well. In preparing homemade food for a pet, make sure any added bone meal is free of fluoride and lead. Ethical bone meal producers will test for these contaminants; verify with the source. Fox suggests a good bone meal substitute might be fossilized oyster shell, dolomite or a synthesized or refined calcium supplement like calcium citrate, ascorbate, stearate or gluconate. Or, consider a pure tricalcium and dicalcium phosphate, blended with magnesium. Fox attests that bones from longer-lived food animals such as dairy cows, laying hens and breeding stock likely contain higher levels of fluoride than shorter-lived animals like chickens, calves and lambs. In his article “Fluoride in Pet Food: A Serious Health Risk for Both Dogs and Cats?” he writes: “Fluorides accumulate in farmed animals over time from phosphate fertilizers, phosphate supplements, bone meal and fish meal supplements and pesticide and industrial-pollution-contaminated pastures and animal feed. The bones, fins, gills and scales of fish are often high in fluoride.” He recommends raw food diets that avoid ground bone from older animals like beef cattle and adult sheep. Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative veterinarian in the Chicago area, consults internationally and writes Mercola Healthy Pets (HealthyPets. Mercola.com).
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SOLAR HEATS UP by Jim Motavalli
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ow is a good time to buy a solar system and get off the grid. Solar photovoltaic prices have fallen 67 percent in the last five years, reports Alexandra Hobson with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). It’s a boom period for solar—a record 14.8 gigawatts were installed last year in the U.S. Solar represented 39 percent of all new electric capacity added to the grid in 2016, surpassing natural gas (29 percent) and wind (26 percent). In the first quarter of this year, solar and wind together comprised more than half of all new U.S. power generation. The Solar Investment Tax Credit was extended for five years at the end of 2015, so homeowners and businesses can qualify to deduct 30 percent of the installed cost from their federal taxes. Also, there’s no upper limit on the prices for the qualifying panels. There are 1.3 million solar systems in the U.S. now, with a new one added every 84 seconds. Some 260,000 people currently work in the industry, double the figure of 2012. California is the leader in installed capacity, followed by North Carolina,
Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Utah.
In 2016, the average residential solar system produced seven kilowatts, at an average installed cost of $3.06 per watt, according to Hobson. A system costing just over $21,000 before taking the income tax credit yields a final net cost of $15,000. “It’s a perfect marriage for residential customers,” says Bill Ellard, an energy economist with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). “The systems will produce electricity for about five cents per kilowatt-hour year-round compared to the average electric price of 10.34 cents per kilowatt hour tracked in March 2017.” New solar panel designs coming online mean even greater savings. Panels with built-in micro-inverters are cutting home installation costs for large central units (although their longterm, all-weather durability isn’t clear yet). A breakthrough at Japan’s Kobe University means single solar cells could achieve 50 percent efficiency, up from the 30 percent formerly accepted as the upper limit.
Demand Surges as Prices Fall
Ugly panel frames may also be a thing of the past. More aesthetically pleasing frameless panels are expected this year from big players like SolarWorld, Canadian Solar and Trina Solar, with adapted mounting hardware. Producers like Prism Solar and DSM Advanced Surfaces are also working on frameless clear panels, with cells bound between panes of glass. These attractive clear panels are highly resistant to fire and corrosion. Tesla, which recently acquired SolarCity, is marketing tempered glass photovoltaic shingles that integrate with tile roofing materials to make the installation nearly undetectable. Tesla claims they’re three times as strong as standard roof shingles and guarantees them for the life of the house.
Solar Works for Many Now
For an average household electric load of 600 kilowatt-hours per month, for example, a daily dose of five hours of direct sunlight and four-kilowatt system will likely meet demand. For households with higher usage, especially in the South and West, bigger installations are the norm. “Solar system sizes have been growing fairly steadily as the price has come down,” Hobson notes.
Thanks to Google Earth, solar installers usually know if a property has the right conditions; avoiding the fee for an onsite inspection. Houses with a southern orientation within 40 degrees of direct southern exposure are golden. Those with flat roofs work well because the panels can be tilted for maximum effect. Adjustable panels can also be adapted to the best angle per season. Panels can’t be in shade for a significant part of the day. Rooftop installers can work around vent pipes, skylights and chimneys. If major obstructions are a problem, ASES suggests a ground-mounted array or solar pergola, a freestanding wooden frame to mount panels. Solar systems heat swimming pools, too, offering huge operational savings over conventional heaters. They start at around $3,500 and average $5,500, compared to an average $2,664 for a fossil-fuel heater, reports HomeAdvisor.com. Determine if a state has net metering laws, which make it easy to sell excess power from a whole-home system back to the grid. Check for local tax subsidies on top of the federal 30 percent. The beauty of solar is that once
the system is in place, operating costs are negligible. The lifespan of today’s panels is two decades and the payback is just two to three years. Jim Motavalli is an author, freelance journalist and speaker specializing in clean automotive and other environmental topics. He lives in Fairfield, CT. Connect at JimMotavalli.com.
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FLOATING AWAY STRESS Isolation Tanks Induce Deep Rest and Healing by Gina McGalliard
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ensory isolation in a floatation tank is known for inducing deep relaxation with subsequent improved health. A 2014 study published in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry investigating the effects of a series of flotation tank treatments for 65 participants, showed it to be an effective measure in decreasing stress, depression, anxiety and pain, while enhancing a sense of optimism and quality of sleep. The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea, by Michael Hutchison, reports on 20th-century research suggesting the therapy can help allay ailments like chronic pain, migraines and sore muscles. There’s also evidence for enhanced meditation, creativity and spiritual experiences. Float therapy was invented by Dr. John C. Lilly, a neurophysiology specialist. The individual enters an enclosed tank containing 11 inches of water heated to 93.5 degrees—a normal temperature for human skin— and some 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt. The effect is like buoyantly floating in the Dead Sea, but in a clean, quiet, private realm. The water is typically filtered three to five times
between each session and sanitized using UV light; some also use peroxide and ozone gas to purify the water. Without any sensory input—no sight, sound or tactile sensations—the floater typically enters a profound deeply calm state of theta brain waves that tends to bring the subconscious to the surface. It can take experienced meditators years to learn to consistently achieve this condition, remarks Bryan Gray, of Float North County, a spa in Solana Beach, California.
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Scientific research has shown that floating can release the feel-good neurotransmitters endorphins and dopamine, and lower the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Studies performed by the Laureate Institute of Brain Research, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which maintains a float clinic, have found the therapy is an effective treatment for patients with anxiety disorders. “It frees your mind of distraction and puts it in a zone,” explains Gray. “It removes the need for fight or flight, so those hormones are reduced. That part of the brain mellows out.”
Lying for an hour in water infused with Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, the body receives a huge infusion of magnesium, a mineral essential to optimal health. While calcium and vitamin D deficiencies get more attention, it’s even more likely most of us are low on this element due to magnesiumdepleting drugs and inadequate farm soils. Many ailments shown by research to be helped by floating have also been linked to magnesium deficiency.The mineral is also essential for heart health, strong bones and central nervous system function, as reported in The Magnesium Miracle, by Dr. Carolyn Dean, a physician and naturopath in Kihei, Hawaii.
Chronic pain sufferers often find relief through floating because the lessened gravity allows the body to fully relax. The accompanying serenity releases the brain’s natural endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, into the bloodstream, reports Hutchison.
Float therapy, invented by a neurophysiology specialist, is among the rare healing modalities that can benefit body, mind and spirit in just one hour, with repeat benefits. The sheer tranquility of floating can alleviate some mental health issues. “We’ve had several people with posttraumatic stress disorder. One man has returned six times and says he’s advanced more in the last three months while floating than he did in the prior five to 10 years,” says Andy Larson, owner of Float Milwaukee. Athletes also appreciate floating because it shortens injury recovery periods through enhancing blood flow, helping to heal sore muscles. The way it facilitates a calm state ideal for implanting ideas into the subconscious mind enables them to better visualize improved performance.
Floaters can fall into what sleep specialists call the hypnagogic state, meaning they are apt to have lucid dreams while awake. Also known as Stage 1 sleep, it is the drowsiest condition we experience while still consciously aware. This is the scientific explanation for reports of visions or “Eureka!” problem-solving moments in the tank, says Hutchison. This phenomenon can be especially beneficial for creative artists. “We have a girl that always emerges from the tank with an idea for a new painting,” says Gray. He also regularly hosts a composer that has worked with famous singers, who has experienced innovative musical breakthroughs while floating. Floating is among the rare healing modalities that can benefit body, mind and spirit in just one hour, with repeat benefits. Gina McGalliard is a freelance writer in San Diego, CA. Connect at GinaMcGalliard.com.
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Public School Programs
NATURE’S CLASSROOM Outdoor Learning Engages the Whole Child by Meredith Montgomery
Nature-based schools provide a child-centered, guided discovery approach to early learning that appeals to kids, parents and teachers and offers far-ranging benefits.
or youngsters at Tiny Trees Preschool, in Seattle, nature is their classroom— rain or shine; tuition even includes a rain suit and insulated rubber boots. At Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool, in Milwaukee, children use downed wood to build forts and fires. Students of Vermont’s Educating Children Outdoors (ECO) program use spray bottles of colored water to spell words in the snow.
Forest Schools Based on the publicly funded forest kindergarten model used by Scandinavian countries since 1995, Tiny Trees encompasses seven urban park locations throughout the city, ranging from 15 to 160 acres. With no buildings, playgrounds or commercially produced furniture and 30 percent less overhead, “We can make exceptional education affordable,” remarks CEO Andrew Jay. “Most of the day is spent exploring the forest. If children see salmon in the 24
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stream, we observe them from a bridge, and then search out the headwaters to see where they’re coming from,” explains Jay.
Nature Preschools The launch of Earth Day in 1970 and America’s nature center movement in the 1960s yielded another immersive nature-based model that includes indoor learning. The preschool at the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designcertified Schlitz Audubon Nature Center includes three nature-focused indoor classrooms and three outdoor areas— two with manmade structures like a slide and picnic tables, and one left completely natural. Founding Director Patti Bailie says the children spend most of their day outside and teachers can take them beyond the play areas to explore 185 acres of prairie, forest, wetlands and lakefront beach habitats.
ECO currently collaborates with seven Vermont public schools from preschool to high school, offering year-long programs for students in inquiry-based outdoor learning for up to four hours a week. “We immerse ourselves in nature with a 10-minute hike into the forest,” says program coordinator Melissa Purdy. Students first learn safety protocols and how to set up camp. Introducing skill-appropriate tools, preschoolers whittle sticks, third-graders build teepees and lean-tos, and high school students build bridges across streams.
Building Resiliency Sharing space with insects and plants requires special safety protocols and preparation, but the injury rate of outdoor learning is no higher than that of indoor schools. “Children are building risk literacy—they climb trees, but only to safe heights; they step on wet rocks, but learn how to do so without falling,” says Jay. Classrooms without walls work because students have a sense of freedom within reasonable boundaries. “In winter, we dress warmly and do more hiking to generate body heat. We use picnic shelters in heavy rains. Children don’t have anxiety about the future—rain means puddles to splash in and snow means building snowmen,” says Jay.
Developing the Whole Child Outdoor learning naturally creates knowledge of local ecosystems, environmental stewards and a sense of place, but teachers also observe many other developmental benefits. At the Magnolia Nature School, at Camp McDowell, in Nauvoo, Alabama, Madeleine Pearce’s agile and surefooted preschoolers can hike three miles. Located in a rural county with
Kindergarten means “children’s garden” and originally took place outdoors. It’s commonplace today in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
a 67 percent poverty rate, the school partners with Head Start to secure tuition-free opportunities for families. Pearce attests how exploring the 1,100-acre property fosters language skills. “With less teacher instruction, children have more time to talk freely with each other.” Instead of loudly calling kids in, Purdy uses bird calls or a drum, which fosters a sense of peace and respect. During daily sit time students observe themselves as a part of nature. “As birds sing and wildlife appears, children see the rewards of quiet and stillness, so self-regulation becomes natural,” agrees Bailie. Bailie sees how children in forest kindergartens express better motor skills, physical development and cognitive abilities than those restricted to traditional playgrounds. Natural playscapes change with the season, are sensory-rich and provide extra oxygen to the brain—all factors that correlate to brain development. Such benefits are reported in Brain-Based Learning by Eric Jensen, Brain Rules by John J. Medina and the Early Childhood Education Journal.
Parents and teachers often describe nature preschool students as being more observant, confident, inquisitive and engaged. Outdoor preschools also foster microbial exposure, essential for healthy immune system development. “Without this exposure, children are at increased risk for developing allergies, asthma, irritable bowel disease, obesity and diabetes later in life,” says B. Brett Finlay, Ph.D., author of Let Them Eat Dirt, which cites supporting science. Kindergarten readiness is a goal of all preschools, but Pearce doesn’t believe a traditional academic focus is required. “By putting nature first, children are socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten,” she says. “They know how to conquer challenges and are ready to take on academics.” Meredith Montgomery publishes Natural Awakenings of Gulf Coast Alabama/Mississippi (HealthyLiving HealthyPlanet.com).
OUTDOOR PLAY “We are innately connected to nature, but need to provide opportunities to make that connection,” says Patti Bailie, former assistant director of Antioch University’s nature-based Early Childhood certificate program, in Keene, New Hampshire. Here’s how. Get wild at home. Hang bird feeders, grow wildlife-attracting plants, start a compost pile and designate an area of the yard for natural play where kids can dig and the grass isn’t mowed. Explore a forest instead of a playground. Without swing sets and toys, children create imaginative play, build forts and climb trees. Incorporate active transportation into the family routine. Walk, bike or paddle. Rain gear and flashlights enable rainy and after-dark explorations. Join a family nature club. At ChildrenAndNature.org, connect with other families that value and use the natural world for playing, growing and learning via their Natural Families Forum.
NATURE JOURNALING TIPS by Meredith Montgomery
ature journal content is highly personal, ranging from scientific species accounts to wildlife-inspired stories. With just a notebook, pencil and fully engaged senses, nature enthusiasts of all ages can foster observation skills, creativity and outdoor exploration. Prompt open-ended questions. “Nature journals encourage children to ask questions and search for answers,” says Tiny Trees Preschool CEO Andrew Jay, of Seattle. Ask why flowers are blooming, how slugs suddenly appeared and what type of tree a leaf came from. Build upon findings with drawings and notes. Make a sound map. Project Learning Tree, a nationwide environmental education program funded by the American Forest Association, suggests drawing an “X” in the middle of the page to represent where the child is sitting. Then use pictures, shapes or words to show the relative
locations of surrounding sounds. Consider the macro perspective. Vermont’s Outdoor Education Coordinator Melissa Purdy shows students close-up shots of moss or sticks without revealing what the abstract image is. Students note what they observe and wonder as they try to solve the mystery. Alternatively, challenge children to draw their own macro images by looking at an object with a magnifying glass. Find a sit spot. Give children the time and space to write and draw freely in their journal as they sit quietly in nature. “Return to the same spot regularly and see how things have changed,” advises Patti Bailie, a professor of early childhood education at the University of Maine, in Farmington. If kids are too busy exploring and learning while outside, reflections can be captured once they’re back inside, too.
FABULOUS FAN FARE Healthy Tailgating Foods to Cheer For by Judith Fertig
at, play, party… and repeat. We may call it tailgating, fangating, homegating, a watch party or simply eating with friends before a big game. According to the American Tailgaters Association, in St. Paul, Minnesota, an estimated 50 million Americans tailgate annually. Whether we’re on the road or at home, making the menu healthy is a winning strategy for hosts and guests. Here, two experts divulge their winning ways. Says Debbie Moose, author of Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home,, Ivy League schools like Princeton and Yale claim credit for pregame picnics that 19th-century sports fans
packed into their horse and buggy for local road trips. Moose lives in the tailgate trifecta of the North Carolina triangle, home to Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest universities. She enjoyed discovering that University of Washington sports fans from the Seattle area like to sail to their chosen picnic spots, while University of Hawaii folks grill fish on hibachis in Honolulu. Moose naturally prefers healthy, Southern-style fare such as deviled eggs and marinated green bean salad, which can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. “At the game or at home, your guests will be moving around, so go for foods that can be eaten with one hand,” she suggests.
According to the American Tailgaters Association, in St. Paul, Minnesota, an estimated 50 million Americans tailgate annually. 26
South Central Wisconsin
She also plans her menu around color, universal appeal and variety because it’s healthier than just serving a mound of barbecued chicken wings and a big bowl of potato chips. She likes recipes that can do double duty; her black bean summer salad with cherry tomatoes and corn can function as a colorful side dish or as a salsa for nonGMO blue corn chips. “Recipes that you can do ahead of time make things easier on game day; just pull them from the fridge and go,” says Moose. Daina Falk, of New York City, grew up around professional athletes because her father, David Falk, is a well-known sports agent. Excitement-generating sports are in her blood and inspired her to write The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook. She knows that most of the tailgating in her area takes place for football and baseball games and NASCAR races. On HungryFan.com, Falk serves up tips for every fangating/homegating occasion, from the Kentucky Derby to the Super Bowl. “Keep your menu interesting,” says Falk. “I always like to feature a dish for each team. For instance, if you’re hosting an Alabama versus Washington watch party, you could feature an Alabama barbecue dish with white sauce and oysters or other fresh seafood. Both dishes are characteristic of the local foods in the universities’ respective hometowns.” Falk recommends buying more local beer than needed to make sure not to run out. Game day guests can get hot and thirsty, indoors or out. Supply lots of filtered water in non-breakable containers. For easy entertaining, Falk recommends biodegradable dishes and cups. “Whenever there are a lot of people in one room, especially when they’re drinking, a glass will likely be broken,” she says. “Save yourself cleanup and the risk of glass shards by committing to temporary cups and plates that are Earth-friendly and compostable.” Judith Fertig writes cookbooks and foodie fiction from Overland Park, KS (JudithFertig.com). Natural Awakenings recommends using organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) and non-bromated ingredients whenever possible.
photos by Stephen Blancett
Healthy Tailgating Recipes Chilled Red Bell Pepper Soup Yields: 4 small servings
Black Bean Summer Salad Yields: 8 side dishes or 4 light meals This salad is easily doubled to feed a crowd. 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and well drained 5 or 6 green onions, white and green parts, chopped 1 large sweet banana pepper, seeded and chopped 1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp lime juice 2½ Tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tsp chili powder Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 /3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves In a large bowl, toss together the corn, black beans, green onions, banana pepper and tomatoes.
Quadruple this recipe to make soup for a larger gathering. Serve in small sipping cups—cold for games in hot weather or hot for games in cold weather. 1 red bell pepper, stemmed ½ cup low-fat Greek or dairy-free yogurt ¼ yellow onion 2 Tbsp tomato paste 1 small/mini-cucumber ¼ cup rice vinegar 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 4 large garlic cloves 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Yields: 8 appetizer servings Plant-based barbecue is a home run or touchdown.
Garnish: Flat leaf (Italian) parsley (minced optional) Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds Blend all main ingredients, except garnish, in a high-speed blender into purée. Serve topped with the parsley and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Adapted from Daina Falk’s HungryFan.com.
Vegetarian-Friendly Barbecue Cauliflower Nuggets
1 head of cauliflower 1 cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour 1 Tbsp barbecue spice blend 1 cup nut milk of choice 1 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce Accompaniment: Dipping sauce of choice Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and separate cauliflower florets into small- to medium-sized pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the barbecue spice, flour and nut milk until smooth.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat them all. Then stir in the cilantro.
Dredge each piece of cauliflower in the batter before placing it on the baking sheet.
Refrigerate from 1 to 3 hours to let the flavors come together.
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the cauliflower with barbecue sauce and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
Note: If using frozen corn, drain it well and lightly sauté in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil before adding it to the salad. This removes moisture that may make the salad watery. Courtesy of Debbie Moose, Southern Holidays: A Savor the South Cookbook.
Remove the cauliflower from the baking sheet and plate alongside a dipping sauce of your choice. Adapted from Daina Falk’s HungryFan.com. natural awakenings
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Submit your calendar event by the 12th of each month to Publisher@ AwakeMadison.com. $20/listing. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 4th Rock the Green Sustainability Festival – 2-11pm. World class music, eco-education, zero waste & local food. This year’s lineup includes Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Barns Courtney, Mondo Cozmo and more. $50/General; $100/VIP. 10 & under free. Reed Street Yards, S 3rd St & Freshwater Way, Milwaukee. More info and buy tickets: RockTheGreen.com.
OCTOBER 6-8 Certificate in Sound Therapy – Fourteen instructors, 43 courses, 114 hours of instruction; study the effect of sound on human beings physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Learn tuning forks, singing bowls, drums, toning, chants, whistling vessels, gongs, low-level laser therapy, and light and color frequency healing. View entire curriculum online. Six-weekend program begins Oct 6 and completes in Mar, 2018. Angel Light Center for the Healing Arts, 13300 Watertown Plank Rd, Elm Grove, WI. Info: 262-787-3001. Angel LightLLC.com/cdSound.htm.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28
Spa Day – 9am-8pm. Enjoy a healing service; gluten free and vegan snacks; spiritual library; connect with others. Come for the day or an overnight stay. $60 for each healing session. Crow Moon Healing, 6472 Breunig Rd, Mazomanie. Information on healings or to register: Karen McIntosh 608-393-3196 or CrowMoonHealing@gmail.com. CrowMoon Healing.com.
Behind the Veil – 9am-5pm. Author, teacher, counselor William Meader examines the veils of illusion which prevent us from more fully living the life of Spirit. Doors open 8:30. Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Road M, Middleton. $90 early bird, $100 after 9/23. Pre-register or info: Sue: 608-2987151 or Sue.Brou@gmail.com. Info on Meader at Meader.org.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 The Spiritual Call – 7-9pm. Author, teacher, counselor William Meader examines the Call to transform the human condition, which spiritually minded people respond to worldwide. Doors open 6:30. $25. Madison Senior Center, upstairs classroom, 330 W. Mifflin St., Madison. Pre-register or info: Sue: 608-298-7151 or Sue.Brou@gmail.com. Meader info at Meader.org.
THURSDAY, SEPTMEBER 14 Meditation – 6-8pm. Heidi Fromi, a relaxation specialist, leads group meditation. This is perfect for you if you struggle with creating a meditation practice on your own. Crow Moon Healing, 6472 Breunig Rd, Mazomanie. $20. Info or register: Karen McIntosh 608-393-3196 or CrowMoon Healing@gmail.com. CrowMoonHealing.com.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Community HU – 11am. Singing HU can open your heart to God’s love and guidance in your daily life. Sing HU for 20 minutes followed by fellowship and light refreshments. Free. ECKANKAR Center of Wisconsin, 6501 Watts Road, Suite 150, Madison. Info: 608-609-1335 or Eckankar-WI.org. Experience the sound of HU at HearHU.org.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 Guest Appreciation Event – 5-8pm. Receive a free express service* and shop Aveda at a 20% savings. Reservations are limited, so call 608-2503100 to RSVP today or email Info@AIMadison. com. (*Limited restrictions apply). Aveda Institute Madison, 353 East Campus Mall, Madison. AIMadison.com.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Introduction to Healing Touch – 5:30-7:30pm. Enhance your understanding of the energetic world and learn techniques to promote body-mind-spirit healing. UW Hospital & Clinics, Room J3/104, 600 Highland Ave, Madison. $10 donation appre-
ciated. Register: Mindy Kloppedal: 608-332-8432 or Kloppedalmk@gmail.com. Healing Touch info: HealingTouchMadison.com.
plan ahead WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4 Classical Greek Origins of the Art of Herbal Medicine – 10-11:15am. Wildwood Institute Teaching Assistant Mary Halsted discusses ancient systems for understanding our healing plants. $10. UW School of Continuing Education, 161 W Wisconsin Ave #6000, Milwaukee. Register:UWM. edu/sce/courses/classical-greek-origins-of-the-artof-herbal-medicine.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10 Introduction to Healing Touch – 5:30-7:30pm. Enhance your understanding of the energetic world and learn techniques to promote body-mind-spirit healing. UW Hospital & Clinics, Room J3/104, 600 Highland Ave, Madison. $10 donation appreciated. Register: Mindy Kloppedal: 608-332-8432 or Kloppedalmk@gmail.com. Healing Touch info: HealingTouchMadison.com.
savethedate OCTOBER 6-8 Midwest Women’s Herbal: Mycelium Mysteries: A Women’s Mushroom Retreat – Eugenia Bone, author and food journalist, will make the keynote address, “Mycophilia.” Other presenters: Sue Van Hook, Mara Penfil, Linda Conroy, Sarah Foltz and Carla Kramer. Retreat will focus on understanding fungi as the grandmothers of our ecosystems, with workshops at beginner through advanced levels. Camp Helen Brachman, Almond, WI. For more info & registration: MidwestWomensHerbal.com/mushrooms.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 Warming Winter Herbs – 6:30-8 pm. Join Kathleen Wildwood, founder of Wildwood Institute in Madison, and learn about herbs that can warm and soothe the body, support and strengthen the immune system, and nourish the soul. $18/$15 member. Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave, Madison. Limited space; register early at Olbrich. org – Course Number: 11-27.
ongoing tuesday Lakeside Yoga – 6:30-7:30am. Thursdays also. Enjoy sunrise yoga on the shore of beautiful Lake Wingra. Dress appropriately, bring mat, drinking water. $15 drop-in, $10 class pass. Presented by Backyard Yoga. 824 Knickerbocker St, Madison. Register: WingraBoats.com (Events). Women’s 16 Step Group – 7-8pm. Open women’s group exploring recovery, discovery, and empowerment. Enjoy stimulating discussions in this alternative to 12-step groups. Free, donations accepted. Unity Church, 601 Tompkins Dr., Madison. Info: 608-385-6069 or Madelonw3@gmail.com.
friday Community HU – 7:30pm. Singing HU can open your heart to God’s love and guidance in your daily life. Sing HU for 20 minutes followed by fellowship and light refreshments. Free. ECKANKAR Center of Wisconsin, 6501 Watts Road, Suite 150, Madison. Info: 608-609-1335 or Eckankar-WI.org. Experience the sound of HU at HearHU.org.
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Importance and Top Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment in Children
hildhood orthodontic treatment, also known as interceptive orthodontic treatment, can help identify and treat potential issues early before they develop into more serious oral problems. The major benefits of early orthodontic intervention include:
1. Earlier is better. Some orthodontic conditions are easier to correct if they are identified earlier in life. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends all children receive an orthodontic screening by the age of 7. By this age, permanent teeth are coming in and your child’s jaw has grown large enough for a pediatric dentist to identify potential orthodontic issues, such as overcrowding, protruding teeth and cross-bites. Early orthodontic screening and treatment can help treat problems early and prevent more serious problems from developing in the future. 2. The developing mouth. Children can benefit greatly from early intervention because their jaw is still growing and their teeth are still developing. An early orthodontic screening ensures there is ample space for permanent teeth to come in. If it is determined that the dental arch is too small to fit all the adult teeth, it may be possible to expand the arch. This can help guide the teeth into better positions as they emerge through the gums, and reduce the need to extract teeth to make more space in the mouth. 3. The future is bright. One of the greatest benefits to early orthodontic treatment is that it can reduce the need for future—and possibly more invasive—dental treatment. Intervening early, while the jaw and teeth are still developing, means potential issues may be corrected before they become more serious, a better prognosis for the development of permanent teeth. It can also help avoid costly (and high maintenance) braces later in life. Moreover, in case additional orthodontic treatment is still needed, early treatment often helps shorten and simplify future treatment. 4. Out with the old, in with the new. Early orthodontic screening can help detect harmful habits that could cause future development issues, such as tongue pushing, teeth grinding or thumb sucking. These habits often start early in life and, in some cases, the child is not even aware of them. Detecting them early through an orthodontic screening means they can be corrected preventively.
5. Enhance self-esteem and confidence. Children can be just as self-conscious about appearance as adults. Early orthodontic intervention can help cosmetically improve your child’s appearance by creating a more attractive and functional arrangement of teeth and jaw. For example, it can help align the jaw to create a more symmetrical smile and facial appearance, fix an unattractive over-bite or make more room in the mouth without having to extract any teeth. 6. Peace of mind. Interceptive orthodontic treatment is about preventing more serious problems from developing later on. Many parents feel reassured to know they’ve helped prevent future problems preventively, effectively reduced or eliminated future corrective measures. How Can I Tell if My Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment? The best way to know for sure if your child may need early orthodontic treatment is to schedule an orthodontic screening around the age of 7 so a professional can assess your child’s unique needs. That said, a few early warning signs which may indicate the need for treatment include:
• Protruding teeth (the top or bottom teeth extend away from each other) • Thumb sucking after the age of five • Crowded teeth or teeth that appear too large for their mouth • A large gap between teeth • Early or late loss of baby teeth • Difficulty breathing, chewing or biting • Speech disorders • An asymmetrical smile or unbalanced facial appearance • Injuries to the mouth or teeth • Grinding or clenching of the teeth • Jaws that jut too far forward • Front teeth that do not meet
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