Coffee with Maggie Derthick of Girls Gone Vinyl — Detroit’s Annual All-Women Party in the Mecca of Techno Music

Since 2000, thousands of electronic music fans from around the world flock to Detroit during Memorial Day Weekend for Detroit’s internationally known electronic music festival. The festival, now called the Movement Electronic Music Festival, was created to celebrate Detroit's role as the birthplace of electronic (or “techno”) music.

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

Pockets of Poverty, Shadows of Hope — Luke Shaefer, Ann Arbor Co-Author of $2.00 a Day, Shares Insights into the Story Behind his Blockbuster Book

This is what it’s like to be incredibly, desperately poor in America today: You live in a crowded homeless shelter with nothing but spoiled milk in the fridge. Without a permanent address, potential employers are reluctant to hire you. But you can’t get a permanent address without a job. You find a job, and it seems like a pretty good one at first, paying a little above minimum wage. But the shifts are uneven and the working conditions are unsafe, and you start getting sick. But with a job, you can get a housing subsidy, so you need the money.

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

Namaste, Katie...

Namaste, Katie — I walk ALL over campus with a lot of text books in my backpack, and my shoulders ache every day. Though I have been going to a gentle yoga class, I am struggling to find any postures that I can do when I get to class, or at home, to relieve that tightness on the front of my shoulders. Any pointers?

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

Transformation Is Here — Capuchin Ministries of Detroit

Driving on Gratiot headed toward Mt. Elliott Street, I was in the heart of downtown Detroit, just a mile or so away from Ford Field. It seems only small businesses are here, a Mr. Fish and a crowded shop selling second hand furniture, likely for a charity. In this place on this map, blocks of the grid are disappearing. Fallow fields sit waiting in their place. I pulled up to a bright brick church anchored strong amidst open green plots and dilapidated, boarded-up structures. There is a man sitting on a milkcrate. He is sentinel of this corner.

Posted on September 1, 2017 and filed under Food & Nutrition, Healing, Health, Profile, Programs.

Conversations with the Elements — An Interview with Martha Travers on Bringing Nature-Based Shamanistic Practices to the U of M

Martha Travers is a beloved teacher at the University of Michigan who shares the wisdom of contemplative nature-based practices with her students. Her courses are influenced by her own shamanic practices, and provide a space for students of all walks of life to listen to their inner voices.

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

Coffee with Zain Shamoon, Co-founder and Host of the “Narratives of Pain” Storytelling Showcase

I was sipping a nitrogen-infused cold brew at Mighty Good Coffee Co. when a purple-splashed flyer caught my eye, “NARRATIVES OF PAIN” boldly emblazoned across the top. At first I thought “Narratives of Pain” was an indie-satirical play on words, or perhaps an improv comedy showcase with a dark twist.

Posted on April 28, 2017 .

Vic Strecher – A Public Health Scientist’s Inquiries into Purpose

Vic Strecher, a behavioral scientist, is an energetic, trim, and youthful sixty-two year old. He teaches at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and is Visiting Professor at the Peking University’s School of Public Health. He has given hundreds of talks the world over. (He jokes that his frequent flyer miles are sky-high.) His TED Talks and recorded lectures, replete with PowerPoint presentations featuring trademark symbols from his graphic novel, On Purpose, have given him a YouTube presence and a popular culture crossover audience.

Posted on April 28, 2017 and filed under Wellness, Purpose, U-M.

Being in Place — A Panorama of Meditation in Ann Arbor as told by Libby Robinson

We are a community of meditators. In the last Crazy Wisdom Community Journal there were listings for 25 different organizations offering meditation. Many more people practice as part of church, temple, or mosque prayer time. Some meditations are specific to cultural or religious traditions, while others do not require membership to participate. Mindfulness is now a trending topic, prompting articles, videos, social media threads, and books to be available.

Posted on April 28, 2017 .

Questions for Paulette Grotrian, Co-Founder of Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness

By Maureen McMahon

Maureen McMahon: Paulette, you have a long history of teaching Humanities at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and you trained at U-Mass Medical School Integrative Medicine Center for Mindfulness. Now your teaching has shifted to meditation. How did you begin to learn meditation and what were some highlights of your training? What was it like?

Paulette Grotrian: My first experience with meditation was in the 1990’s with Transcendental Meditation. In early 2000, I met a teacher who taught Mindfulness, Martha Kimball, who is in Ann Arbor and is retired now. I studied with her for quite a few years. In 2010, she suggested I become a Mindfulness teacher. That took me by surprise, but she said, “You get it. You have something to share.”

I began my mindfulness teacher training at Omega Institute, where Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), was my teacher; I went on to study in his program at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and after silent retreats at Spirit Rock in California, much coursework, and Intensives, I became a qualified MBSR teacher. I have been teaching in the Ann Arbor area ever since. For me, it has been a personally and professionally rewarding journey.

MM: Is there an Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness initiative you are most excited about? What is your current focus with teaching and facilitating Mindfulness? Who’s attending?

PG: A group of us started the Center for Mindfulness in 2015. We Mindfulness teachers and practitioners found strength in collaboration, that we can support each other, and that we have much more to offer the community as a resource. This year we added Teacher Support Meetings for those who use Mindfulness in their professions, and this has increased our personal and collective effectiveness.

As for my current teaching, in 2016 I trained to be a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teacher and will be teaching that course again in the fall in Saline, along with a MBSR course in Ann Arbor. This June, I’m excited to teach a five-day MBSR Intensive, June 21-25, 9:30–3:30 p.m. at the Naturopathic School of Healing Arts in Ann Arbor. This will be the first time the Intensive has been offered in the Ann Arbor area. It is designed for those who would find it hard to take the 8-week course. Also, it is ideal for teachers. Registration is open on my website. Additionally, I host a weekly drop-in meditation called Open Meditation Saline on Tuesday mornings. 

As for who attends, MBSR and MSC are really for everybody. Participants include those with health challenges; some dealing with loss and grief; folks dealing with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed, including university students; married couples interested in learning mindfulness together for a healthier relationship; and those newly retired. 

MM: What are some groups or partnerships you are excited about working with to teach MBSR?

PG: One exciting development is at WCC, I taught an MBSR course to Campus Services in the Facilities Management Division and I’ve done some work with faculty through Professional Development. WCC Facilities Management leadership is strongly considering the training for their managers and eventually for the whole division. In short, there is a desire to build the principles of MBSR into the fabric of the workplace.  

MM: Sounds like it can change the place from the inside out. Thank you, Paulette.

For more information on Paulette’s class offerings, visit

Posted on April 28, 2017 .

The Arrival of Consciousness Science at the University of Michigan Medical School

The Center for Consciousness Science at the U-M Medical School was inaugurated in June 2014 by its Founder and Executive Director, Dr. George Mashour. That was around the same time that Dr. Tarik Bel-Bahar arrived in Ann Arbor. We were approached by Bel-Bahar in mid-2015, who suggested that CCS’s mission and activities might be ripe for a story in the CW Journal. We agreed. So what follows is an interview with Dr. Bel-Bahar, about the Center and its work. For long-time Crazy Wisdom Journal readers, this is a “must-read” about exciting work on the frontiers of consciousness research being done right here in Ann Arbor, right at the University, in the Medical School, no less.

Pink Castle Fabrics — A World of Creation and Joy

Last issue, Crazy Wisdom profiled Maker Works, a local business offering space, tools, and teaching about woodcraft, metalworking, and other hands on skills. This issue, we are profiling another business offering space, tools, and teaching, but in a very different medium. Pink Castle Fabrics has a small retail space on the West Side of Ann Arbor, and may seem modest to outsiders. But with a global reach through their online community, retreats, and Instagram feed, Pink Castle Fabrics invigorates and innovates in a uniquely modern format.

Posted on December 22, 2016 and filed under Art & Craft, Winter 2017 Issue.

In the Heart of the Wood on a Rainy Night — Reflections on Black Pond Woods

An equinoctial night in 2016. It’s raining. The injured raptor birds, often used in educational programs, sleep in little wooden houses on the hillside. Community gardens and orchards await spring, leaves poised to unfurl and earth to be turned. It is the night of the salamander survey at Black Pond Woods.

In the Company of Cats — Ann Arbor’s First Cat Café Lets Visitors Enjoy Feline Companionship and Cat-centered Activities

The sun is just peeking over the horizon, burning off the last tendrils of early morning fog, as instructor Lisa Norgren begins teaching her yoga class. The studio is dim; a soothing fountain trickles gently in the back of the room. Students stand in front of their mats, talking softly. The room eventually becomes quiet. The cats awaken, stretch and start to roam.

Posted on December 22, 2016 and filed under Animals, Winter, Pets.

Crafting Beer, Creating Community

"I never imagined a time when craft beer would become so mainstream,” said Rene Greff, co-owner of Arbor Brewing Company brewpub in Ann Arbor and ABC Microbrewery in Ypsilanti. In 1995, when Rene and her husband, Matt Greff, opened the brewpub on Washington Street, craft beer was anything but mainstream. A few brands were paving the way, including Samuel Adams in Boston, Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewing in California, and Bell’s Brewery in Michigan, but American beer sales and consciousness were dominated by light, insipid lagers produced by mega-breweries like Anheuser Busch, Coors, and Miller. 

Posted on December 22, 2016 and filed under Winter 2017 Issue.

A Day in the Life of a Farmer — Kris Hanna of Old Pine Farm

This past summer I was privileged to visit Old Pine Farm in bucolic Manchester, Michigan, where a variety of breeds are raised to produce high quality beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. I found my host, farmer Kris Hanna, wrenching a piece of equipment when I pulled into the driveway by her charming yet modest farmhouse. I noticed she had little by way of “garden or landscaping,” which she later explained is not her area of expertise. Her son did a fine job of perennial plantings in the area surrounding her homes’ entrance as a Mother’s Day gift. The iconic Midwest red barn with silo stands proud among several smaller barns and paddocks, dappled by a background of rolling green fields.

Posted on December 22, 2016 and filed under Winter 2017 Issue, Farms.