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feel good • live simply • laugh more

SACRED Kitchen with a Horse PASSAGE Gardening Their Gentle

Heart-to-Heart Empathy Helps Us Heal

Conscious Dying as a Transformative Healing Journey

Easy-Grow Microgreens Are Big on Nutrition

February 2017 | Seattle Edition |



elcome to the February issue of Seattle Natural Awakenings magazine! I had many opportunities to witness people purchasing flowers, cards and candy for loved ones for Valentine’s Day when I worked at a grocery store. Most put a lot of thought into reading the card and fussing over the perfect roses, but a few customers seemed to be doing it only out of obligation and some even told me “if I don’t bring something home, I’ll be in big trouble.” The worst incident was a man who came in the day after and bought the last of the wilted roses. I warned him, “don’t bother, too little too late.” He didn’t heed my warning and bought them anyway. Having been on the receiving end of such a foolish gesture in previous years, my heart ached for the woman who was waiting at home for the gift of a dozen wilted roses that had been marked half off. This was not a true gesture of love, but a mediocre effort driven by a sense of obligation. Empty romantic gestures leading to disappointment may in part come from a sense of defeat in the face of unrealistic relationship ideals. Movies and television shows portray the perfect man romancing the perfect woman, and lead us to believe the correct combination of flowers and candy from a partner will somehow make us feel happy and fulfilled. If you don’t have a romantic partner, these same messages serve to make you feel incomplete: having spent the last five years without a Valentine of my own, I can attest how much internalized pressure you can feel when you are not dating someone. By understanding and growing through the discomfort, I gradually learned that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about a romantic interest–it can be about sharing time with the ones you love, like I often do throughout the year. Love is more than a dinner for two. Real love can be felt for your best friend, sibling, grandchild, parent, a pet or most importantly, yourself. Valentine’s Day was created by the greeting card companies anyway; it’s just one more $5 card you will have to eventually throw away. Reinvent the day by treating yourself to all those things you are waiting for someone else to give you: buy yourself your favorite flowers, chocolates, or even a day at a spa. If you have a partner, make every day about strenghtening and growing your relationship, and for Valentine’s Day, I suggest you spend the day doing what you love with the people you care most about with no expectations or the burden of obligation, just the intention of enjoying yourself. After all, real love has nothing to do with romance, roses, wine or candles. True love comes from a deep connection to those closest to you and a balance between giving to others, as well as to yourself.

contact us Publisher Ann Dorn 206-788-7313 Director of Operations Dena Marie 425-350-5448 National Editor S. Alison Chabonais Franchise Sales 239-530-1377 To Advertise: 425-350-5448 3815 S Othello St. 100-186 Seattle, WA 98118 Phone: 206-788-7313 Fax: 877-531-7691 © 2015 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. Natural Awakenings is a free publication distributed locally and is supported by our advertisers. It is available in selected stores, health and education centers, healing centers, public libraries and wherever free publications are generally seen. Please call to find a location near you or if you would like copies placed at your business.

There’s lots more in these pages–enjoy!

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Natural Awakenings is printed on recycled newsprint with soybased ink.

contents 4 newsbriefs


6 healthbriefs 8 globalbriefs 10 l iftyourspirits 11 t raveladventure


20 consciouseating 22 greenliving 24 wisewords 26 inspiration 29 naturalpet


30 calendar

advertising & submissions how to advertise To advertise with Natural Awakenings or request a media kit, please contact us at 425-350-5448 or email Dena@ Deadline for ads: the 15th of the month. Editorial submissions Email articles, news items and ideas to: Deadline for editorial: the 5th of the month. calendar submissions Email Calendar Events to: or submit online at Deadline for calendar: the 12th of the month. regional markets Advertise your products or services in multiple markets! Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp. is a growing franchised family of locallyowned magazines serving communities since 1994. To place your ad in other markets call 239-449-8309. For franchising opportunities call 239-530-1377 or visit

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.


A Seattle-Based Mourning Doula Helps Clients Navigate Dying by Emily Pinzur



Dr. Norm Shealy’s Four Tips For A Healthy Long Life



Conscious Dying as a Transformative Healing Journey by Linda Sechrist


Easy-Grow Microgreens Are Big on Nutrition by Barbara Pleasant




Relax into Nurturing Furnishings by April Thompson




An Interview with Alison Armstrong by April Thompson

26 KISSED BY KINDNESS by Emily Esfahani Smith


Their Gentle Empathy Helps Us Heal by Sandra Murphy


Natural Awakenings Founder to be Guest on Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie


he founder of Natural Awakenings Publishing Corporation, Sharon Bruckman, will give a guest interview on Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie on Feb. 3. Bruckman founded Natural Awakenings with a single magazine started in Naples, Florida in 1994 and later transitioned into a franchise. Natural Awakenings is now the world’s largest healthy lifestyle magazine, with editions published in over 90 cities nationwide and the Seattle edition turning six years old in March. “We’ll be talking with Sharon about following your heart in business and tips for success, along with the history of this amazing publication,” host Dena Marie says. Also a guest that hour is Jill Crosby, the founder of, a dating site for conscious individuals. The website offers free basic profiles and discounts of 20 percent in the month of February using code “NASingles.” “Jill will be offering us some ideas for navigating the world of online dating and tips for finding your soul mate,” Dena Marie says. “She’ll also be talking about some of the inspiring and heartwarming stories of couples who have met on” Crosby and Bruckman will both be guests Feb. 3 on Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie, which airs every Friday on KKNW 1150 AM from 8 - 9 a.m. The show will be co-hosted by Ann Dorn, publisher of Seattle Natural Awakenings magazine. For more information:



Body Temple Wellness to Open in Downtown Snohomish


new practice offering therapeutic massage, wellness coaching and clinical herbalism is opening at the end of February in downtown Snohomish. Owner Marilene Richardson is a graduate of the Northwest Healing Arts Academy and will be bringing holistic healing to the community through massage and herbalism with an Ayurvedic perspective. “A good massage leaves you feeling great,” Richardson says. “Regular massages can be life changing because they can do so much more for you. The work that I do for you in each session is customized to your needs and builds on itself, helping your body lower stress and your muscles to remain loose, to decrease pain and increase flexibility and range of motion,” Richardson continues. According to Richardson, Body Temple Wellness offers a fresh and clean environment to help clients relax. “Our special space offers deep and satisfying heat that is essential for loosening muscles before massage. We also offer negative ion salt lamps to enhance your massage treatment,” Richardson finishes. “Call today to schedule an amazing massage in beautiful downtown Snohomish,” she says. Body Temple Wellness is located at 611 2nd Street ,Suite I Snohomish. For more information: 314-325-4643 or

NW Yoga Conference to Take Place in Lynwood in February


he Northwest Yoga Conference, a premier yoga event, will take place Feb. 8-12. This sixth annual conference features more than 30 internationally acclaimed yoga teachers including Seane Corn, Eoin Finn, Kia Miller and Aadil Palkhivala. Bringing together over a thousand yogis, the Northwest Yoga Conference provides an interactive weekend featuring a diverse selection of workshops and a mindful marketplace accompanied by live music. The marketplace is free and open to the public. On Sunday, the conference is offering a free adults yoga class with Roy Holman as well as two children’s yoga classes. Children can choose between May the Force Be With You with special guests Darth Vader and Jedi Knight or Tangled Up In Adventure with special guest Rapunzel. Pre-registration is recommended for free community classes to secure your spot. (Preregister at and choose Community Yoga Class ticket.) “No matter where you are on your journey—from beginner to advanced student, teacher or studio owner—the Northwest Yoga Conference is ready to support you on your path to your heart-center,” says organizer Melissa Hagedorn. “Come find out why attendees come back to this uplifting community gathering year after year.”

NW Mind Body Spirit Connection comes to Lynnwood on Feb. 11


he NW Mind Body Spirit Connection takes place on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and will offer attendees the opportunity to meet local experts in traditional and alternative approaches to health and well-being. “There will be thoughtprovoking speakers, lively demonstrations, and knowledgeable exhibitors throughout the event and admission is free,” says organizer Gayle Picken. Speakers include Rob Spears and Brenda Michaels from Conscious Talk Radio and Dena Marie from Lift Your Spirits with Dena Marie. “The Connection brings together natural health enthusiasts, yogis, organic food lovers, healers, fitness experts, alternative medicine doctors, holistic health advocates, and spiritual growth leaders for a fun and informative learning experience,” Picken continues. “It’s a chance to sample a variety of holistic and alternative health and wellness options and meet local experts all together at this one day event.” The NW Mind Body Spirit Connection takes place Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street SW, Lynnwood. Free. For more information:

The NW Yoga Conference takes place Feb. 8-12 at the Lynwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SE, Lynwood. Event price varies (day passes starting at $149, weekend passes available). For more information:

natural awakenings

February 2017



Infants Breathing Bad Air May Suffer as Teens

Fenugreek Eases Menopause


Oliver Wilde/


study from the Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine, in Stockholm, analyzed data on air pollution exposure and lung function in the first and 15th years of life among 2,415 adolescents in Sweden. The researchers focused on nitrogen oxide in vehicle exhaust and particulate matter from road erosion, using road traffic, topography and weather conditions to classify pollution levels. They compared this data to the level of difficulty the teens experienced getting air through their peripheral airways, termed “resistance”. The study found that breathing problems increased for teenagers each time their exposure as infants to such pollution increased by 10 micrograms per cubic meter, with the strongest association occurring in male subjects with asthma at age 16. The same increase was not present in relation to their exposure to traffic pollution as teenagers. Lead author Erica S. Schultz, Ph.D., says, “An increasing number of studies demonstrate the importance of airway periphery for lung health. It’s concerning randomized, double-blind study from that the effect from the first year of life seems to be long-lasting, although we the Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovas- don’t yet know the full clinical implications.”




Reflexology and Imagery Relieve Preoperative Anxiety


nticipating surgery can be stressful, and many patients suffer from preoperative anxiety, which can cause serious health complications such as hypertension, rapid pulse and sugar metabolism changes. Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa have found that complementary medicine, combined with standard use of anti-anxiety drugs prior to entering the operating room, can significantly reduce preoperative anxiety levels and improve outcomes. Researchers divided 360 preoperative patients ages 17 and up into three groups: those receiving standard care for preoperative anxiety; those receiving standard care along with complementary therapy, featuring acupuncture, reflexology, individual guided imagery or a combination of the latter two; and those receiving standard care combined with generic guided imagery via a recording. Anxiety levels were measured preoperatively before and after the intervention on a scale of one to 10, with scores of four or more constituting intermediate or higherlevel anxiety. The study found that complementary therapy in combination with standard care produced a 60 percent reduction in anxiety, with the mean score dropping from 5.54 to 2.32. Combining standard care with reflexology and guided imagery provided the best relief, reducing anxiety by an average of 4.22 points. Patients receiving only standard care experienced a slight rise in their average anxiety level.

cular Science and Research, in Bangalore, India, has found that an extract of fenugreek husk (FHE) called FenuSMART can provide relief from common symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, insomnia, headaches, hot flashes and mood swings. Researchers studied 88 menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 58. Half were given one gram of FHE per day for 90 days while the other half received a placebo. The study measured the impact the supplement had on the subjects’ menopausal symptoms through weekly telephone sessions. At the study’s end, approximately 32 percent of the women in the FHE group reported no hot flashes, while the placebo subjects saw the frequency of theirs reduced from three to five per day to one or two. Additionally, the subjects that took FHE experienced a 57 percent reduction in night sweats, a 68 percent abatement of mood swings, a 75 percent drop in insomnia and 58 percent fewer headaches.

Chinese Herbs Lessen Postpartum Blues


study from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, in Beijing, reports that Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) can be an effective treatment for patients with postpartum depression. Traditional Chinese Medicine advocates herbal treatments based on underlying issues. Researchers analyzed data from 47 clinical trials encompassing 3,795 participants between the ages of 18 and 43 suffering from postpartum depression. The study pooled results into three categories: CHM versus placebo, CHM versus routine treatments (antidepressants) and CHM plus routine treatments versus only routine treatments. The study found that using Chinese herbs combined with antidepressants is the most effective approach, noting that CHM is a safe, effective alternative for patients unable or unwilling to take antidepressants.

Aloe Vera Juice Allays Diabetes



esearchers from the David Grant Medical Center, at Travis Air Force Base, in Fairfield, California, have found that oral doses of aloe vera can reduce fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which indicates the average glucose level over the previous three months, in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Data from nine clinical studies that included 89 diabetes patients were analyzed. Findings suggest that patients with a fasting blood glucose level of more than 200 milligrams per deciliter experienced the greatest benefits from the aloe vera.

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February 2017


globalbriefs News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.

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Dena Marie Director of Operations

Meet amazing people & connect your community! Seattle Natural Awakenings magazine is now hiring sales contractors. Set your own hours and work in the world

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Abandoned and Lost Fishing Gear Pollutes the Seas Abandoned and lost fishing gear such as traps, crab pots and nets litter the ocean floor in coastal areas worldwide, continuing to attract, entrap and kill fish and other marine life. The Associated Press reports that global nonprofits, governments and companies are engaged in efforts to retrieve and recycle as many of the items as possible to protect the environment, save marine life and reduce hazards to marine navigation. A 2009 United Nations report estimated there are 640,000 tons of discarded fishing nets deep below the ocean surface worldwide. Recommended solutions include degradable panels on traps that break down and allow trapped marine life to escape. International agreements prohibit dumping fishing equipment at sea; yet in England, small vessels can amass landfill charges of roughly $700 per year, giving them an incentive to ditch broken gear. Pascal van Erp, a Dutch diver alarmed by the amount of equipment he’s encountered, founded the Ghost Fishing Foundation to tackle the issue. He says, “It’s found in all seas, oceans and inland waters at all depths, along the beach and under the sand. I don’t think the problem can be resolved completely, but we can keep it from getting worse by showing the problem to the public and the authorities.” Industry experts and scientists estimate that commercial fishermen annually lose about 10 percent of their traps due to bad weather.

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Hydrogen Conversion From Water Making Gains Scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, report that they have finally unlocked a major barrier to exploiting a renewable energy source through extracting pure hydrogen from water. Because the best-performing catalysts for electrochemical oxidation, or “water splitting”, are expensive precious metals, the research team led by KTH Professor Licheng Sun developed molecular catalysts for water oxidation with an efficiency approaching that of natural photosynthesis comprising common, abundant elements, all of which could help change the economics of large-scale hydrogen fuel production. Meanwhile, Daniel Nocera, a professor of energy at Harvard University, and Pamela Silver, a professor of biochemistry and systems biology at Harvard Medical School, have co-created a system that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels. Their paper, whose lead authors include post-doctoral fellow Chong Liu and graduate student Brendan Colón, was recently published in Science. “This is a true artificial photosynthesis system,” says Nocera. “Previously, people were using artificial photosynthesis for water-splitting, but this is a true A-to-Z system, and we’ve greatly exceeded the efficiency of photosynthesis in nature.”


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Veggie Tales

Find Your Natural Valentine

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A recent study from the University of Western Australia has found that plants regularly react to and emit sounds through a series of clicks produced by their roots, and that such inter-flora communication may be essential to their survival. Evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano, who made the discovery, listened to the roots of young corn plants and found that they regularly produced sounds in the range of 220Hz, a frequency audible to the human ear. Plants have been shown to influence each other in many ways through nanomechanical oscillations on a molecular scale. Gagliano remarks, “Scientists also know that plants use volatile chemicals to communicate with each other.” Another biological research team under the direction of Professor Olaf Kruse, Ph.D., scientific director of the Center for Biotechnology at Germany’s Bielefeld Unioin the conscious-living online networkbut also has versity, has shown thatlargest green algae not only engages in dating photosynthesis, an alternative in source of energy: It can draw other plants CommunicaValentine’s Day(Nature discount* February and receive a it%from tions). on new memberships! Use referral code NASingles Gagliano comments, “Considering that entire forests are all interconnected by networks of fungi, maybe plants are using fungi the way we use the Internet.”


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Watch the Birdie

Selfies Promote Animal Cruelty and Death Zachary Crockett, of, has found that since 2014, 49 people were killed in attempts to take pictures of themselves with wild creatures. Although there are no statistics on how many animals have been harmed due to selfies, wildlife organizations such as Care for the Wild International are appealing to the public to stop using animals as props. Visitors to China’s Yunnan Wild Animal Park lured captive peacocks from their enclosure and grabbed them by their tails. The birds died as a result. Another group of people at a beach in Argentina was filmed mobbing a baby Franciscana dolphin, an endangered species, while taking pictures, resulting in its death likely through shock and severe dehydration from being removed from the water for too long. Due to the high demand by tourists to take pictures with wild animals, special photographic settings are popping up in Mexico, Europe and Morocco. However, the Association for British Travel Agents stated that no legitimate sanctuary would allow animals to be used as photo props.

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February 2017


liftyourspirits Upcoming Events Friday Feb. 10, 5–6:30 pm Chakras Tea Party at Tea with Your Dragon Downtown Stanwood Saturday Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The NW Mind Body Spirit Connection Lynwood Convention Center Sunday Feb. 12, 12-4 p.m. Energy Matters Certification Course Includes the book Our Energy Matters & 21 polished stones. Camano Island February 17-25 The Great NW Glass Quest. Search Camano Island and Stanwood for clue balls redeemable for a hand blown glass ball. Saturday Feb. 18, 11a.m.-4 p.m. Reiki 1 Plus Chakras 101, Camano Island

Tune in Every Friday from 8–9 am on KKNW 1150 AM!

Lift Your Spirits with Dena Marie – 8-9am. Discover fascinating people, inspiring activities and places that will lift one’s spirits in this radio show. Tune in to 1150 AM KKNW Alternative Talk Radio every Friday at 8am. 425-350-5448. To listen to archived shows, go to

Sunday Feb. 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. One Day Re-Treat on Camano Island Sunday March 5, 11a.m.-4 p.m. Reiki II, Camano Island Call 425-350-5448 to register. For more information: or LiftYourSpiritswithDenaMarie. com.

Enter to Win an Island County Adventure for Two One winner will receive an overnight stay at Camano Island Inn and a whale watching trip for two from Deception Pass Tours! No purchase necessary. Full contest rules at Enter at – winner will be drawn at random on Feb. 17 and announced on Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie on KKNW 1150 AM between 8-9 a.m.




Boutiques and Birds in Bothell

the group, much larger at this point, circled back around. Swarming, dancing, swirling ... the skies went dark as they flew overhead and gathered together for the night–an amazing sight I won’t soon forget. Gayle Picken is an arts promoter, video blogger and travel writer. Connect with her at or reach her by email at

by Gayle Picken


visited the new Se-Lyn Boutique on Bothell’s Main Street last week ... what a treat for the soul! Definitely worth making your way through all of the construction going on in downtown Bothell. The window display featured intricate geometrical web patterns made from yarn in the colors of the chakras. Once inside, I was immediately distracted by the clothes: beautiful tops, dresses and leggings! Then owner Lauren Dillon-Merrill gave me a quick tour and Christine showed me the shelves of crystals and jewelry. She encouraged me to hold one of the crystals that spoke to me and then gave me an introductory lesson on vibration and how it can affect our energy. She showed me the 3 Petals Healing classroom and healing room at the back of the store. They offer a range of holistic wellness classes, including building your own grounding jar, kids art and energy, and esoteric healing. I look forward to learning more at the NW Mind Body Spirit Connection on Feb. 11, where Lauren is one of the featured speakers. After my visit, I decided to go for a walk. The weather was cold, but clear and sunny, so I headed to one of the North Creek trails I’d heard about on the east side of I-405. Within a few hundred yards from my starting point at an office park, I found myself immersed in a beautiful wetland area and watched many ducks and a great blue heron feeding in the creek. As the dusk approached, I was treated to a remarkable sight. Thousands of crows flying overhead--a stream of movement that went on and on, for at least 20 minutes. Then

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natural awakenings

February 2017



End of Life Care: Choices & Dignity Emily Pinzur is a Seattle-based certified End of Life Doula and an energy healer who provides practical and emotional support for individuals and families facing death. The role of a an end of life doula My clients can choose my help in as many or as few ways as they like. I offer packages and a la carte services. I am a certified end of life doula, death doula, mourning doula, home funeral doula and professional post-loss artifact reorganizer. I am also a social worker and a certified Reiki and integrative energy healer. As a death doula, I demystify death and dying, allowing my clients and their loved ones to better connect with themselves and one another while experiencing the rich possibilities of both life and death. 12


In this role, I work with clients who know they are at the end of life. We start with the process of Life Review. You tell your story, in a personalized and meaningful way, formally or informally, using whatever style or media feels right. A vast literature of clinical research agrees that this process of nonjudgmental observation and reflection has multiple benefits, including but not limited to: providing comfort, identifying and resolving areas of discomfort or conflict, sharing new details with loved ones, promoting healing and acceptance, and creating meaningful dialogue as a pathway toward a more deeply connected encounter with death. While I do not provide or give opinions about clinical care, I use coaching in the form of progressive exploration to ensure you make conscious choices, and explore “best fit” solutions, that reflect your needs and wants at end of life. If desired, I am present during the time of transition, holding sacred space. If a family is traveling from out of town and doesn’t want their loved one to transition alone, I am there. Likewise, if a family is present and wants support, I am there, enhancing our uniquely human experience through mindful attention and calm presence. I stay with your loved ones until they feel complete, offering assistance as requested, including end of life blessings, space clearing, and support calls. Working with moments of transition My love of working with the energies of liminal spaces and moments of transition, combined with my new understanding of the healing potential of energy body, led me to hospice care as a social worker. I loved many things about hospice, most of all the opportunity to facilitate and witness healing and forgiveness work on all planes, as the beautiful synergy of energy work, a profound meditation on healing and love for both recipient and practitioner, helps people let go. The more I experienced this shedding of layers for myself, I knew there was something even greater for me. When a hospice nurse friend told me about an end of life doula course, I I felt a roaring, resounding YES from somewhere deep inside, and I knew my life would never be the same. I found Momdoulary LLC’s Five in One Certification Program and enrolled immediately. And here I am, profoundly grateful to perform this sacred work; it is my pleasure, my joy, and my deep need. I am honored to walk this path. Navigating grief and loss Imagine you have just lost a loved one. Whether the loss was expected or sudden, life has changed. What was familiar may seem strange; what was simple may seem difficult, if not impossible. However, time marches on, no matter how we feel, and there are many tasks to be completed and arrangements to be made when a loved one dies. As a mourning doula, I provide emotional, informational, and practical support for you as you experience of the loss of your loved one. I understand your needs, not only addressing but also anticipating them. I provide emotional support. I may sit with you over a cup of tea and simply listen, or perhaps stay the night. I may call you or visit in the days, weeks and months post-loss to

see how you are. I may refer you to a therapist or support group as requested. I am gentle, accommodating, and flexible; I understand the flowing nature of grief and loss, and remains present with you as you experience, offering as much or as little support as you need. I may provide full concierge service, addressing needs large and small, such as arranging transportation or accommodation for out of town relatives, picking up groceries, hiring housekeepers or ordering flowers. As a post-loss reorganizer, I help families lovingly review and curate their loved one’s items. I meet you where you are, and helps you understand your options through the process of information curation. You and I create goals together, then plan your next steps. Home funeral arrangements Yes! It’s legal. Yes, anyone can have one, but, to be clear, a home funeral is not a home burial. Surprised? The fact is that in the United States, up until about 150 years ago, all funerals were held at

home. Many people find home funerals to be beautiful, healing acts of closure that allow them to gradually experience and truly participate in their loved one’s transition. Home funerals provide an opportunity to say goodbye according to your own time frame, and your own needs. Home funerals allow families to care for the deceased’s body, simply, lovingly and respectfully. Home funerals allow the living to attend to their loved one’s the physical body while paying mindful attention to emotions as they arise. Considering the good death If I asked you what a good death would be like, what would you think? Are any images coming to you? Did you ever consider having a good death? Do you think a good death is possible? Can you imagine how it would feel? I can. I know that a good death is possible, because I have been present at good deaths. Death is personal. It is not a cookie cutter experience, and it is fitting that we should customize it and

practice it. Making informed choices is an act of self-love. To me, birth is the transition of spirit into a new physical form, death is the transition of spirit out of its physical vessel, or skin suit. I’d like to encourage people to shift their thinking. Death is not inherently anything ... not sad, not scary, not depressing or unmanageable. I’d like for people to start engaging differently with death and dying, and that starts with thinking about it and talking about it. I have a quote on my business card and website from Dr. Martin Luther King that says “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step in faith.” Connect with Emily at, silverwheelhealing@ or 206-925-3602.

FIND THE TREASURES at the 8thAnnual

Great Northwest Glass Quest FEB 17-26, 2017 The greatest treasure hunt in the Pacific Northwest! Search for and find unique “Glass Treasures” hand-blown by Mark Ellinger, world-renowned glass artist. “Clueballs” will be hidden at a variety of host businesses and in community sites around the Stanwood-Camano area. Find a “Clueball” and return it to the location identified inside for an authentic limited edition “Glass Treasure.”

Details at natural awakenings

February 2017


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e know unequivocally that four habits are critical for health in general, and only three percent of Americans have all of them. If all Americans developed these habits, life expectancy would increase from 78 to 100 years.

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Maintain a body mass index of 18 to 24 (only one-third of people have this one). Avoid smoking (about 74 percent of Americans do not smoke).

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. Lucius Annaeus Seneca 14


Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily (only about 25 percent of Americans do this). Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes five days a week (only 10 percent of Americans do this)

Other research-backed advice for a long life includes getting adequate sleep, having a positive attitude, and a good social network and spiritual foundation for life. Dr. Norm Shealy is a neurosurgeon and researcher recognized for his work with DHEA and pain management, among other discoveries. He will be leading a healthy living retreat in Seabeck, Wash. March 31–April 2. For more information:

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natural awakenings

February 2017


PASSAGE Conscious Dying as a Transformative Healing Journey by Linda Sechrist


hen properly viewed, the thresholds of all of life’s transitional moments can be both emotionally and spiritually rewarding. Whether it involves marriage or birth, job loss or illness, gleaning insight from the experience can yield fresh perspective on how to live life more fully today, if we remain mindful and lovingly attentive through the process. Like birth, death is a transition we can wisely prepare for. In recent years, compassionate individuals and grassroots movements have emerged to help us conduct ourselves, heal and grow from losing a loved one or face our own passing. An increasing number of initiatives support a new model in palliative care that treats death not as a failure, but an expected aspect of the human experience. Each in its own way advocates for a grace-filled passage supported by dignified, caring and 16


compassionate practices.

Profound Shift

The Conscious Dying Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, aims to restore death and dying to its natural place in the sacred circle of life. Its end-of-life literacy curriculum and certificate training programs are helping to create a new, wisdombased culture of healing teachers and end-of-life doulas that serve among the frontline caregivers and companions providing the comfort people want and need most. Founded by Tarron Estes, a healing artist, poet, Caritas coach and transformational learning educator, the institute is grounded in love, spiritual openness, compassion and a universal field of consciousness. “Training is open to nurses, physicians, clinicians, caregivers, family members, healthcare teams and anyone else interested in exploring what it


means to die consciously,” says Estes. It attends to the provider’s inner awakening and helps them strengthen their ability to give spiritual, emotional, physical and practical care to anyone, helping to relieve pain, regardless of diagnosis. “Rather than curative care, it’s all about seeking to increase precious, meaningful moments, a sense of spiritual sanctity, beauty, interconnectedness and appreciation of life for the families and patients they serve. An end-of-life doula at bedside assures that families and loved ones can focus on what is most important,” explains Estes, who believes that our true nature lives within us as an unblemished jewel. Helping individuals become comfortable talking about death is the work of Dr. Karen Wyatt, of Dillon, Colorado, founder of the End of Life University, an online interview series with end-of-life care experts. She provides a trustworthy loving environment in monthly death cafés. The author of What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of Dying expands the conversation through related articles and podcasts at Death cafés benefit from Wyatt’s experience as a hospice doctor. “There is never an agenda. Of the 10 to 12 people that generally join in, one is always a new caller, recently awakened to the idea of conscious dying or their own mortality. They’re seeking information and someone to talk to because family and friends aren’t interested. Some already embracing their mortality wish to explore their thoughts with others. Some callers join just to listen,” advises Wyatt. Because death in the West has become a commercialized, medical event with funeral home packages the norm, Wyatt recommends the National Home Funeral Alliance to those interested in a deeper understanding of options and resources for a gentler model. The nonprofit, grassroots movement and its members, such as Sacred Crossings, in Los Angeles, seek to restore the lost art and healing ritual of a home funeral by preserving the rights of families to provide home after-death care. Supporting and educating interested families is the mission of Sacred Crossings founder Rev. Olivia Rose-

Exploring the Mystery

For more than 40 years, philosopher, psychologist and physician Raymond Moody’s life work has been acknowledging the mysteries and validating the unexplainable events at the end of life. His seminal bestseller Life After Life appeared in 1975. Lisa Smartt’s mentorship by Moody led them to co-found She’s also authored Words at the Threshold, a study of the nonsensical, metaphorical and paradoxical language and visions of the dying. Moody and Smartt agree that by better understanding the unique language patterns related to end of life we can share more deeply and build bridges with our beloveds throughout the dying process. “When we do so, we offer greater support to the dying and ameliorate our own experience of loss as they cross the threshold,” remarks Smartt. Like William Peters, founder of the Shared Crossings Project, in Santa Barbara, California, they caution that compassionate etiquette during events at death is important. “Assume that levels of awareness exist in the dying so that our energy and presence are felt and our voices heard,” advises Moody. “Respect your words and actions, regardless of the person’s state of consciousness. Be a compassionate listener and validate their vision. Don’t pretend to intellectualize or explain anything.” Dianne Gray, president and executive director of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation, also owns Hospice and Healthcare Communications. “The dying often wish to leave here surrounded by peace and harmony. They choose to let

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marie Bareham. The certified death midwife and home funeral guide draws from her experiences as an auxiliary nurse and hospice volunteer to assist families with end-of-life planning, death midwifery and arrangements for an at-home vigil and funeral, as well as cremation and burial choices. “We also offer sacred singing to help ease a loved one’s transition. Music by a bedside soloist or choir before, during and after death can be deeply relaxing and comforting, and even provide pain relief,” advises Bareham.

We rediscover that in order to die well, we must live well. Dying gracefully is the result of a mindful, day-to-day journey—a culmination of informed choices, honest discussions and deference to the hallowed fragility of nature’s life-death cycles. ~William Rosa go of contentiousness and often wish family members would do the same, which is facilitated by mapping out Advance Directives according to the final wishes of the patient,” says Gray. Questions she frequently addresses in public talks and Death Over Dinner party conversations include: the necessity of finishing unfinished business; bringing closure to unresolved relationship issues; finding words to express our compassion; soothing the sense of impending loss; and managing to take only love with us to the other side, yet leave enough of it behind to help loved ones through their grieving process. She cautions that no matter how well we plan for death, things don’t always go as planned. “Sometimes no matter how many advance care conversations have taken place, discord can dismantle the best laid plans. It requires the tough work of compassionate communications. Friends and families need to remember that this

is the patient’s end-of-life experience, not theirs. It is possible to find peace in the midst of conflict, understanding that the one leaving overwhelmingly wishes for a peaceful passing, including peace within the family.”  The Death Over Dinner initiative, founded by Michael Hebb in 2013, has been hosted by groups in more than 20 countries to help people engage in conversations on “how we want to die”—the most vital and costly discussion Americans aren’t having (

Practical Plans

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program offer a free downloadable national Guide to Financial Decisions: Implementing an End-ofLife Plan at It includes basic descriptions of issues that arise as we age beyond retirement and details the critical documents needed for the individual, dependents, property, assets, estate planning, wills and trusts. It also addresses issues related to advance, treatment and do-notresuscitate directives, insurance, types of funerals and costs, and Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits. Guidelines suggest consulting with a certified public accountant or personal financial planning specialist. The latest innovation is the blessing of a living funeral, a celebration of life while the honoree is present to hear the eulogies, praises and farewells before they depart. provides a downloadable Five Wishes document, a popular advance directive, or living will that covers personal, spiritual, medical and legal aspects. It’s easy to use and can serve as a family guide to prompt conversations about personal care preferences in the event of serious illness. New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich wrote about how Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy chose to spend his final weeks in pursuit of a “good ending.” As death approached, Kennedy told friends that he wanted to take stock of his life and enjoy the gift of his remaining days with the people he loved most. As a result, he continued

natural awakenings

February 2017


Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at

Writing Our Legacy by Linda Sechrist


n their books Caring for the Dying and Having the Last Say, authors Henry Fersko-Weiss and Alan Gelb, respectively, advocate reviewing our life and writing a short narrative to explore its value as we approach our final act of Earth’s play. Processing experiences from the past and what they mean at this juncture presents us an opportunity to achieve greater clarity and integrate them in a positive way in our life story. According to Fersko-Weiss, it has the power to reduce depression, increase life satisfaction, promote acceptance of self and enhance integrity of spirit, no matter what phase of life we are in. The harvesting of life experiences should reflect our true humanity—flaws and all—and what we’ve learned through mistakes and failures, as well as triumphs. Conveying a compelling mythic family story, values we’ve lived by and our embrace of meaningful relationships will help the people we know understand that, for all its difficulties and complexities, life is worth living. Our narrative, whether recorded as an essay or scripted video, becomes an act of praise for the gift of the life we’ve led, imperfect as it may have been. It can also serve as a potential keepsake that passes along life lessons and values from one generation to another. Gelb suggests that summing up what’s most important to us in 500 to 1,000 words can be an experience to savor and enjoy at a reflective time in life, an opportunity to capture our legacy and even serve as our own eulogy. When we want a loved one no longer here to feel near to us and hear them one last time, it’s a way for them to literally have the last say, he adds.




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enjoying his morning ritual of reading newspapers while drinking coffee, playing with his dogs, watching James Bond movies with his wife and holding family dinners and sing-alongs near nightly. He reveled in his bedside view of Nantucket Sound, sailed when he could and ate lots of his favorite ice cream. His mantra was, “Every day is a gift.” “As our time winds down, we all seek comfort in simple pleasures—companionship, everyday routines, the taste of good food, the warmth of sunlight on our faces,” remarks Boston’s Dr. Atul Gawande in Being Mortal. “If we strive in our final months for independence, companionship, mindful attention, dignity, wisdom, joy, love and freedom from pain, we have the power to make those days less miserable, confusing and frightening.” In these many ways, we can manage to gently embrace and tenderly navigate life’s final transition with grace and love.


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Easy-Grow Microgreens Are Big on Nutrition by Barbara Pleasant


ast, fun to grow and packed with flavor and nutrition, tender young microgreens can go from seed to table in as little as a week. Close cousins to edible sprouts, microgreens are grown in potting soil or seed-starting mixes instead of plain water. They customarily grow beyond the sprout stage until they have produced a true leaf or two. After that, harvesting is a simple matter of snipping off fresh greens. “You don’t need a green thumb to grow microgreens, only patience and persistence,” says Mark Mathew Braunstein, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, author of Microgreen Garden. Even first-timers can expect good results. For example, the thin shoots grown from popcorn taste like a more vibrant form of sweet corn, and pea shoots work well in wraps, salads and virtually any Asian dish. Like high-fiber wheatgrass, “Microgreens are great for juicing, either by themselves or mixed with other veggies,” says Rita Galchus (aka Sprout Lady Rita), proprietor of The Sprout House, in Lake Katrine, New York, which sells organic seeds for microgreens and sprouts. “You can add a handful of microgreens to a smoothie to ramp up the nutrition without changing its taste or texture,” she notes.

Good Picks

The seeds of dozens of plants from alfalfa to wheat can be grown as microgreens. If seeking to maximize nutrition, put red cabbage and cilantro on the planting list. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Quality Laboratory, in Beltsville, Maryland, tested the nutritional properties of 25 microgreens; red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth and green daikon radish had the highest concentrations of vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamins K and E, respectively. Microgreens generally provide three times as much nutrition per weight as the same food eaten in its mature state. “People underestimate the intense flavor of microgreens and might try planting mustard greens or radish varieties even if they don’t like spicy flavors,” say Elizabeth Millard, an organic farmer in Northfield, Minnesota, and author of Indoor Kitchen Gardening. For beginners, large seeds that sprout quickly such as sunflowers, buckwheat and snow 20


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peas are good choices because they produce big, robust sprouts with mild flavor. Many people also grow microgreens for their pets. “Cats tend to prefer mild, sweet-tasting microgreens such as red clover, alfalfa and flax seed,” advises Galchus. “They also love grasses grown from hard wheat, whole barley and rye. Cats cannot digest the grass, but use it to bring up indigestible matter that might be lodged in their stomachs.”

Clean Greens

Microgreens grow so fast that there’s little time for them to run into trouble. Commercial growers use large trays, but home gardeners can also use pretty

coffee mugs or tofu boxes rescued from the recycling bin. Drainage holes in the container bottoms work well when growing beets or other slow-sprouting seeds, but are less important for fastgrowing sunflowers or wheat. Work only with organic seeds. Seeds sold for sprouting or bulk grains from a local health food store cost much less than the larger, robust seeds produced for gardening. Soak seeds in water overnight to jump-start germination. Place an inch or so of potting soil or seed-starting mix in the container, and then scatter the plump seeds on top. “A common beginner’s error is to sow seeds too thickly,” says Braunstein. Sown seeds should not touch each other, with most spaced about onequarter-inch apart. Spritz with water and cover with a plate or plastic wrap. At the first signs of sprouting, water and move the pot to a sunny spot near a bright window or within two inches of a bright grow light. Dribble in small amounts of water to maintain moisture over the next few days. To harvest, cut in bunches about one-half inch above the soil line. Microgreens store well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but are best eaten fresh. For both beginners and experienced gardeners, growing microgreens provides a close-up look at seed germination, one of nature’s miracles. Award-winning garden writer Barbara Pleasant’s new book Homegrown Pantry: A Gardener’s Guide to Selecting the Best Varieties & Planting the Perfect Amounts for What You Want to Eat Year Round, will be out next month from Storey Publishing.

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Sustainably Stylish Home Relax into Nurturing Furnishings by April Thompson


e all relish a cozy nest, whether that means lightfilled views, the embrace of form-fitting sofas and chairs or plush rugs that snuggle bare feet. A beautiful, comfortable home that reflects our personal style and embodies our values can be achieved by learning the origin of furnishings and investing in sustainably made pieces that will stand the test of time, say experts. “Furnishing a home ethically doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or style,” says JD Doliner, a business consultant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Doliner’s home

is graced with 18th- and 19th-century antiques, organic cotton mattresses, comfy custom-made chairs from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood and handmade wool rugs certified childlabor-free by GoodWeave. “They give me peace of mind as a humanitarian and environmentalist,” she says.

Signs of Progress

Debbie Hindman, marketing director for Associates III Interior Design, in Denver, is working with increasingly knowledgeable clients like Doliner asking for sustainably sourced products. Manufac-

turers, in turn, are upping transparency about product origins, realizing it can provide a competitive edge, she notes. “We look at the story behind a product and make sure that it aligns with both our company’s and clients’ values,” says Hindman, a co-author of Sustainable Residential Interiors. “We ask questions like, ‘Are workers paid a fair wage? Was the product made with local materials? What is the story behind the company’s founding?’” The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers partners with businesses and informs consumers to increase environmentally responsible choices in the marketplace. Its 400 members commit to sustainability and transparency in their business practices and submit an annual action plan showing such efforts. Headquartered in Edenton, North Carolina, the council strives to minimize industry carbon emissions and remove unsustainable materials and harmful chemical ingredients from residential and commercial furnishings. “The residential furnishings industry frequently takes raw materials from one continent, processes and manufactures on another to be consumed on yet another, leaving a huge environmental footprint,” says Susan Inglis, the council’s executive director. As the third largest consumer of wood, these manufacturers bear significant responsibility for preserving the world’s forest ecosystems and fighting deforestation, reports Inglis.

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from what and by whom a potential purchase is made. Lisa Beres, a healthy home expert and former interior designer in Newport Coast, California, and author of Just Green It! advises not taking product claims at face value. Ask if the product has earned a certification like the Global Organic Textile Standard for fabrics or GreenGuard, which verifies low levels of chemical emissions. Not all natural products are sustainably produced; cotton, for example, is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Look for certified organic cotton as a responsible textile choice. Beres also suggests renewable fiber sources like bamboo or hemp. “Natural latex is a sound alternative to foam fillers, offering good support and dust mite resistance,” says Beres. Specific animal-based products like down feathers used in bedding can provoke allergies and be produced inhumanely, Beres cautions. Products certified to the Responsible Down Standard, which protects the wellbeing and welfare of geese tapped for their manufacture, offer a humane choice for fluffy down comforters. Look for well-crafted furniture made from locally sourced, reclaimed or FSC-certified wood instead of particleboard, which usually contains formaldehyde and may be made from unsustainably harvested wood.

Sustainable furnishings are both better for the planet and can make a home distinctive. Natural pieces like a countertop made from reclaimed, rough-hewn wood provide a unique beauty that mass-manufactured pieces can’t match and also showcase the material’s natural form and feeling. Her firm promotes durable, timeless pieces over trendy furnishings that a client might discard in a few years. When it’s time to retire a piece of furniture, find a new home for it, whether by donating to a charity or reselling through a consignment store. While cutting corners on home furnishing choices can be tempting, especially when shopping on a budget, remember that today’s quality pieces may become tomorrow’s cherished heirlooms. “Some will spend money on the latest gadget, but hesitate to invest in a great piece of furniture or a quality mattress they’ll spend much of their life sitting or sleeping on,” says Beres. “It’s not a splurge; you’re investing in your health and protecting Earth’s precious resources. It all comes full circle.” Connect with freelance writer April Thompson, of Washington, D.C., at

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oday’s mass-produced furniture may contain hidden chemicals such as formaldehyde-based adhesives, flame retardants and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) linked to serious health issues. Researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council found 45 toxic chemicals in indoor dust, 10 of which were present in at least 90 percent of households sampled. “These chemicals enter the air as materials in the furnishings break down,” explains healthy home expert Lisa Beres. “Because we spend an average of 90 percent of our lives indoors, the exposure to harmful chemicals is troubling.” Beres advises shoppers to be wary of synthetic fabrics, which not only consume nonrenewable resources like petroleum, but may also contain toxic dyes, heavy metals or chemicals like Teflon. Foam and other fillings in mattresses, sofas and chairs are often a hidden source of off-gassing VOCs. The Sustainable Furnishing Council’s seal of approval and member list at are a good place to start to find companies committed to offering healthier alternatives that include transparency and responsibility in their manufacturing practices.

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natural awakenings

February 2017



Transforming the Way Women Relate to Men An Interview with Alison Armstrong by April Thompson


or 25 years, relationship expert Alison Armstrong has worked to evolve society by changing the way women relate to men. Her yearning to understand the opposite sex was born from personal challenges, including a failed marriage in her 20s. She began studying men on her own, at the age of 30, beginning with the question, “What if men are responding to women?” What started out as a personal inquiry has become a lifelong pursuit and she’s shared her findings with millions of men and women worldwide. Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of PAX Programs, addresses gender differences, sexuality and relationships. She has written three books, including The Queen’s Code, and speaks to interpersonal insights through workshops, webinars and teleclasses, including free recordings and articles at Armstrong and her second husband have been happily married for 23 years and now live in Colorado.

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Which core differences between men and women cause everyday misunderstandings?

The biggest source of mischief is denying that differences exist at all. Both men and women tend to assume that each is a version of the other, which creates significant misunderstandings. We interact with our partners by doing 24


or saying what works for us. When that doesn’t get the response we’re expecting, we usually draw incorrect conclusions and act in counterproductive ways. For example, men and women relate to feelings differently. Women often make life decisions based on their feelings about something or someone. To men, who tend to rely on facts and set aside feelings, this approach can seem irrational, and relating to women as irrational has predictably bad outcomes.

Where does a couple best start to heal the communication divide?

The most powerful thing men and women can do is to address misunderstandings with openness and curiosity rather than assuming we know why our partner did or said something. We should ask ourselves, “What if there’s a good reason for that?” Don’t assume that what’s true for her is also true for him, and vice versa. Once a couple chooses to give each other the benefit of the doubt, a few simple changes can further open up communication. Saying “I need” instead of “I want” will make a huge difference. Because being “needy” is considered unattractive, women avoid this word, not realizing that it connects with a man’s instinct to provide. When asking for something, it’s important to say what it would provide us. For him, there needs to

be a reward equal to or greater than the energy he’ll have to expend. Years ago, I described to my husband in colorful detail the experience of falling into the toilet in the middle of the night; he took it upon himself to make sure that never again happens to the women he loves.

What’s the secret to navigating partners’ differing needs and drives for physical intimacy?

The secret is to stop leaving our sex lives to the whims of biology, or making decisions based on whether we “feel like it.” Waiting for a time when both partners feel like it, the kids are at Grandma’s and we’re not too tired leads to sex happening too rarely. Delicious sexual partnerships begin when we decide to stop waiting and instead work on creating the circumstances that put us in the mood. One example is learning to offer “dessert”. Using the desire for food as a metaphor for the desire for sex, we’re often trying to eat together when only one partner is hungry. But dessert sounds delicious anytime; examples might be massage or kissing or other physical activities. Find out what reliably perks up a partner’s interest and put that on the menu.

How can a woman satisfy a man’s desire to provide without sacrificing her independence?

American culture tells women that being low-maintenance matters most. Yet, when we allow our partners to fulfill our needs, it can help us unlock our own greatness, as well as theirs. Men are driven to provide for their loved ones and denying them such opportunities takes away their life’s pursuit, which can be emasculating. By asking for what we need, women create opportunities for partnership, satisfaction and fulfillment for both partners. When we allow the men in our life to contribute to us and learn to receive graciously, we discover that it doesn’t diminish our power. Connect with freelance writer April Thompson, of Washington, D.C., at

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by Emily Esfahani Smith


sychologist Ty Tashiro reports in The Science of Happily Ever After that only three in 10 couples remain in healthy, happy marriages. Psychologist John Gottman, in New

York City, has studied couples for four decades seeking to understand successful relationships. He and his psychologist wife, Julie, founded The Gottman Institute that helps couples build and

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maintain loving, healthy relationships based on scientific studies. Using data from his Love Lab at the University of Washington, John separated thousands of couples into two groups: masters (still happy after six years) and disasters (separated or chronically unhappy in their marriages). One of Gottman’s studies watched 130 newlywed vacationing couples and found that partners regularly made bids for connection, requesting responses from their mate. Choices to “turn toward” or “turn away” revealed the level of engagement and respect in the relationship. Couples that divorced within six years had shown “turn toward” bids a third of the time while couples still together responded to their partner’s emotional need nine times out of 10. An integral element is the spirit couples bring to the relationship: kindness and generosity or contempt, criticism and hostility. “There’s a key habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explains. “They are scanning the social environment for

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Kindness glues couples together, making each partner feel cared for, understood, validated and loved. things they can appreciate and express thanks for. Disasters are scanning for partners’ mistakes.” People focused on criticizing miss 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and see negativity when it’s absent. Deliberately ignoring their partner or responding minimally to opportunities for small moments of emotional connection devalues and kills a relationship. Kindness, conversely, glues couples together, making each partner feel cared for, understood, validated and loved. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, creating upward spirals of love and generosity. Practicing kindness during a fight is vital. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage. “Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express anger,” Julie explains, “But it informs how we choose to express it. You can either throw spears or explain why you’re hurt and angry, which is the kinder path.” Kindness can also solidify the backbone of a relationship by being generous about our partner’s intention and avoiding misinterpreting what’s motivating their behavior. “Even if it’s executed poorly, appreciate the intent,” Tashiro advises. Clearly, if we want to have a stable, healthy relationship, exercise kindness early and often and let a spirit of generosity guide happy years together. Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters. Connect at EmilyEsfahaniSmith. com or on Twitter @emesfahanismith. 

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Their Gentle Empathy Helps Us Heal by Sandra Murphy


hysical therapists have long used horses to help patients improve balance or strengthen core muscles. Now they’re helping to teach empathy. Given a horse’s significant size, sometimes distracting surroundings and the need for safety, humans need to learn the animal’s non-verbal cues, and to regulate their own. Close interaction without riding is proving to be helpful for those dealing with addictions, trauma and grief, and for employees to improve their communication and teamwork skills. Kelly Wendorf and Scott Strachan, co-founders of Equus, in Santa Fe, work with both individuals and organizations. Strachan emphasizes, “This isn’t magic. Horses reflect our feelings back to us. If we’re nervous, the horse will be more skittish.” “We’ve had executives arrive with cell phones firmly in hand and leave holding soggy tissues instead,” comments Wendorf. “For them, it was unexpectedly emotional.” For addicts caught up in a debilitating cycle, “Equine therapy gets the brain firing in a new direction,” says Constance Scharff, Ph.D., director of addiction research at Cliffside Malibu, in California. “Patients may say they’re fine when they’re not, but you can’t lie to a horse. They have boundaries; if you’re angry, a horse won’t tolerate your behavior and will walk away.” Scharff notes, “Equine therapy is complementary to psychotherapy medicine, and one tool we use in approaching addiction. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or attention

deficit hyperactivity disorder can be the underlying issue, so we can address it, to understand why the person became an addict.” Wendorf relates the story of an 18-year-old client facing body image issues. “Five horses approached her and touched her with their noses on her arms and legs. Where they touched was where she had been cutting herself to try to relieve her emotional pain.” “People feel a powerful connection when they let down their defenses and

“You can’t lie to a horse. They have boundaries” a horse responds,” says Sheryl Jordan, equestrian director at Salamander Resort & Spa, in Middleburg, Virginia. “Our Equi-Spective life lessons program brings self-awareness and the power to better control emotions. During the session, they may hug, pet and cry on the horse, but they leave the corral smiling.” The program teamed up with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) serving bereaved military families. Kelly Griffith, a surviving sister of U.S. Marine Corps Major Samuel Griffith, points to the power of equine therapy in a video at Equi-SpectiveVideo. Susan Wight, a former professional steeplechase rider and ambassador for TAPS in Leesburg, Virginia, says, “My husband was my riding coach. When he passed away, I was numb when facing decisions, but at the session, it felt like one of



the horses was the one to choose. The initial flood of emotions and memories from being around horses again wasn’t pretty, but empathy is a specific language, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. Horses are a huge part of my life.” At Ranch Hand Rescue Counseling Center & Animal Sanctuary, in South Argyle, Texas, founder Bob Williams considers animal therapy a ministry. “We rescue abused and neglected farm animals, including horses that come into play when patients are not responding to usual therapies,” he says. “It’s important for damaged people to learn to live in the light, and our partnering with the special needs animals helps put them on the emotional path to health.” The rescue’s mission is to provide hope, healing and a sense of security for children and adults that have suffered severe trauma such as abuse, domestic violence and witnessing violent death ( Riding Beyond’s four-session program, in Ashland, Oregon, is free to women recovering from the rigors of breast cancer treatment. Expenses are covered by donations from the community. German research published in the journal PsychoOncology reported that 82 percent of participating breast cancer patients studied displayed symptoms of PTSD following diagnosis. “They often don’t want to touch or be touched, and have trouble with friendships and intimate relationships; issues that can cripple a woman’s life,” says Trish Broersma, founding director and a certified therapeutic riding professional at Riding Beyond ( “The medical team that saved their lives doesn’t treat these issues.” The first client, unfamiliar with horses, met Mystic, who touched her on the site of the former tumor. She says, “Even weeks later, when I brought her image to mind when stressed, sad or even happy, it brought feelings of contentment, peace and well-being.” Horses have been serving humans in many ways for centuries. Equine therapy shows they have even more to give if we are open to receive. Connect with freelance writer Sandra Murphy at

natural awakenings

February 2017


calendarofevents NOTE: All Calendar events must be received by the 12th of the month prior to publication and adhere to our guidelines. Email for guidelines and to submit entries. Alternatively, visit to submit online. conscious and healthy lifestyles. Free. Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SW, Lynnwood.

Saturday, February 4 The Work With Byron Katie – 9:30am-5:30pm.. Experience Byron Katie’s wisdom and humor as she facilitates participants in The Work, an astonishingly simple process that only requires pen and paper. $159. East West Bookshop, 6407 12th Ave NE, Seattle. 206-523-3726.

Wednesday, February 8 NW Yoga Conference– Feb. 8-12. Featured presenters include Seane Corn, Radiant Body Yoga with Kia Miller, and Sarahjoy Marsh Yoga - not to mention Eoin Finn, Jill Knouse Yoga & Michael Knouse, and Aadil Palkhivala. Day passes from $149. Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SW, Lynnwood.

Friday, February 10 Chakras Tea Party– 5-6:30\pm. Sip your way through the Chakras! Are you using your energy and talents to their full potential? This is a fun and interactive way to learn. Dena Marie will give you a comprehensive look at the chakras, what they are and what they do while you sip tea. $30. Prepayment is required. Tea With Your Dragon, 8715 271st St. NW, Stanwood.

Saturday, February 11 Hynotherapy: Professional Training Intensive – Feb. 11-March 19. The secret to a successful holistic practice is getting effective skill sets in your toolbox. Now you can add “Certified Hypnotherapist” to your credentials, and provide your clients with rapid results from managing pain & addictions to breakthroughs in their lives. $1995.00. Bastyr University, 14500 Juanita Dr NE., Kenmore. The NW Mind Body Spirit Connection – 10am4pm. Speakers, vendors and more to support

Sunday, February 12 Plant Medicine Wisdom– 3-5:30pm, Sundays through March 19. This series will teach identification, wild crafting, medicine making and accurate application of herbal tonics, elixirs and tinctures allowing you as a budding herbalist to effectively treat your health needs. Most importantly it will teach you the principles of understanding how herbs can heal. $40 per class or $250 for series. Tea With Your Dragon, 8715 271st St. NW, Stanwood. Chakras Certification Course – 12-4pm. Dena Marie leads this class, which teaches the basics of both energy healing and chakras. $80 includes the book Our Energy Matters. Registration required. Camano Island, address given upon request. 425350-5448. Make Your Own Professional Skin Care – 9am12pm. You’ll receive a free skin analysis and give yourself a gift to last your entire life! Learn to make your own professional holistic skin care for your personal needs and never buy expensive store brands again. Learn your holistic skin type, conditions, and structure, ingredients, and formulations!. $225. Registration required. $30. Spa Nubia Organic Facial Bar, 1011 S L St, Seattle. 425-358-8107.

Wednesday, February 15 Vegetarian Dining Event – 7-8:30pm. Come join us at The Upper Crust in Seattle to enjoy a delicious, vegetarian, multi-course meal, hear an insightful speech by our president Amanda on a key vegetarian topic, and meet lots of interesting people. It’s an event not to be missed. Registration Required. $12.95 + tax for members, $16.95 + tax for guests. The Upper Crust Catering Co., 8420 Greenwood

Ave N, Seattle. 206-706-2635.

Saturday, February 18 Introduction to Reiki Plus Chakras 101 – 11am4pm. Dena Marie leads this class, which teaches the basics of both energy healing and chakras. $80. Registration required. Camano Island, address given upon request. 425-350-5448.

Sunday, February 19 One Day Re-Treat on Camano Island – 9am-5pm. Spend a day recharging and getting away from it all. Lunch included. Registration required. Camano Island, address given upon request. 425-350-5448.

sunday, February 26 You Are The Univerrse With Deepak Chopra – 7-9pm.. $59/general. Center For Spiritual Living, 5801 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle.

ongoing FRIDAYS Lift Your Spirits with Dena Marie – 8-9am. Discover fascinating people, inspiring activities and places that will lift one’s spirits in this radio show. Tune in to 1150 AM KKNW Alternative Talk Radio every Friday at 8am. 425-350-5448.

Saturdays SewUpSeattle Free Sewing Session – 11am-1pm. On the 4th Saturday of the month, bring your own project and machine or create with our donated fabrics and machines. Men, women and children of all ages and skills are welcome. Free. Sewing Room in Denny Park Lutheran Church, 766 John St, Seattle. Registration required. 206-547-7557.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one. ~Dolly Parton



naturaldirectory Connecting you to the leaders in natural healthcare and green living in our community. To find out how you can be included in the Natural Directory, email to request our media kit.


10623 NE 8th St Bellevue, WA 98004 425-454-8727 The Eastside’s largest selection of nontoxic and organic mattresses. Find the one that fits your lifestyle and budget! Featuring adult and child natural and organic mattresses, adjustable beds, organic and natural pillows, comforters, toppers and more.

Business Norseman Computer

1143 SR 532 Suite A, Cmano Island 360-926-8908

Software installation, computer tune-up, troubleshooting and more.


Our dental practice integrates ancient wisdom with leading edge science. We use advanced technology and materials that are least toxic to your body and to the environment. Dr. Yamashiro values patient connection and trust and strives to make you feel comfortable with your dental care options.

DOCTORS Mind-Body Center For Integrative Medicine 3216 NE 45th Pl., Suite #104 (with Aria Integrative) Seattle WA 98105

NATUROPATHIC MENTAL HEALTH: Specializing in Individualized Treatments for Anxiety and Depression with Integrative Medicine and Acupuncture in Seattle. Dr. Emilie Wilson ND, EAMP honors the MindBody Connection in your mental health.

RESTAURANTS Alta Healthy Cafe Totem Lake Hotel 425-823-3771 12233 NE Totem Lake Way Kirkland, Wash.


A delicious meal is the starting point for nurturing the soul. We provide a full menu of fresh and healthy Chinese style cooking.

66Events - Connect. Engage. Inspire.

Gayle Picken 425-359-7974 Event promotion and marketing services including web sites, social media management, event planning, press releases and strategic marketing plans.


Camano Island 425-356-7014 Emotional Freedom Technique, Quantum Matrix Healing, living from vision, Reiki, medical massage and life coaching. Lic. MA00014134.

Dentists 8412 Myers Rd E, Ste 301 Bonney Lake, WA 98391 253-863-7005

are seeking spiritual progress, optimal health and personal growth, then you’ve probably tried many varieties of relaxation, meditation, yoga, dieting and nutrition, and more. Consider the possibility you might just need a good night’s sleep.

Shambala Bakery & Bistro

311 Pine St, Mt Vernon, WA 98273 360-588-6600 Non-GMO, gluten free and vegan ancient grain breads. New deli open.


2072 W Capt Whidbey Inn Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239 360- 678-4097

Overlooking the ocean at Penn Cove, this 1907 inn with original timbered walls and ceilings is 7 miles from the Admiralty Head Light and 8 miles from Joseph Whidbey State Park

Flutterby Healing Services Tanya Antonelli, LMP MA00025204 425-446-1771 Arlington, WA

Helping you get in touch with your highest self through massage, Reiki, rainbow therapy, intuitive life coaching and chakra alignments. Therapies customized to fit your needs. What better time than now to get into touch with your highest self.

PERSONAL GROWTH Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie!



7513-B SE 27th Street Mercer Island, WA 98040 425-757-2736 240 NW Gilman Blvd #114 Issaquah, WA 98027 425-427-8899 Sleep apnea can prevent you from spending time in stage 3 sleep. If you snore or have apnea, you will be yanked repeatedly out of your deep restorative and REM sleep into stage 1 or 2. If you

Dena Marie is a speaker, author of Our Energy Matters and host of Lift Your Spirits With Dena Marie, a radio show airing Fridays from 8–9 a.m. on 1150 AM KKNW.For upcoming classes and events: LiftYourSpiritswithDenaMarie. com.


206-722-2665 Kanjin Yoga is a path to abundant health and wellness helping people live better inside their bodies. Specializing in Yoga Nidra, Gentle Hatha Yoga, we offer classes and workshops for groups and organizations.

natural awakenings

February 2017






SEATTLE, WA 98105 Tickets: 206-523-3726


ANITA MOORJANI SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 2017 2-6PM Afternoon Intensive Workshop

Wisdom From The Afterlife & Cultural Mythbusting HELD AT SEATTLE UNITY: Seattle Unity 200 8th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Tickets: 206-523-3726

February 2017  

Seattle Natural Awakenings magazine

February 2017  

Seattle Natural Awakenings magazine