Featured Articles from Issue 56

Featured Stories and Columns
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.

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.

  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. 

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.

For Want of a Nail: How the  U-M’s Innovative Faculty Scholar Program Could Fade Away, or Continue to Thrive

In 2013, Professor Ana Baylin found herself in a professional crisis. After training as an M.D. in Spain, getting her Ph.D. in Nutrition and Epidemiology, and working at the U-M School of Public Health, she found herself wanting to do… something else. A colleague encouraged her to enroll in the Faculty Scholar Program (FSP), a year-long educational group. The faculty in the program study recent research on integrative medicine, such as meditation, yoga, and chiropractic, as applied to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic pain, and mental health. By exposing professionals to the benefits of other disciplines outside their own, and building bridges based on science between medicine (disease treatment) and health (vitality and well-being), faculty find themselves creating new methods and solutions to patient problems. The program has been innovative and successful, and a key element in the slow but steady growth in the acceptance of integrative medicine at the University of Michigan.

At the Heart of Everything is Dharma — Getting to Know Tsochen Khandro and Traktung Rinpoche of Tsogyelgar Dharma Center and White Lotus Farms

The Tsogyelgar Dharma Center is a singularly dynamic and vibrant Buddhist community set on farmland just a few miles west of downtown. Now in its 26th year of existence, the community may be best known for spawning White Lotus Farms and its delicious baked goods and dairy products. Founded and guided by an American-born couple, Katie and Stuart Kirkpatrick (who have been known by their Buddhist names for decades now), Tsogyelgar includes its own self-built Stupa, magnificent self-generated Buddhist works of art (thangkas), poetry nights, CDs of beautiful and spiritual music, and dozens of local and nationwide followers dedicated to living in a conscious and compassionate way.

Reinaldo Couto — A Journey from Violinist to Alexander Technique Teacher

For much of his life, Reinaldo Couto was a professional classical violinist, as a chamber musician and as a member of a number of major orchestras in his native Brazil, Europe, and the U.S. In 1990, in his late forties, he made a big career change. He started studying to become a certified Alexander Technique (AT) teacher.

Room to Breathe — Organizing for Happiness and Harmony

How one's personal space, be it home or work, is organized has a great impact on one's energy, productivity, and sense of self. Organization, use, and harmony among multiple users of the space all have a hand in affecting our well-being. To some, well-organized means sparse, but this can be detrimental to usability and may not work for everyone. Luckily, there are a number of tools at our disposal to bring organization and harmony to our living spaces.

More from Issue 56

Featured Stories and Columns
More Than Just an Exercise: Learning to Breathe with Yoga

By Tatiana Knight | Photos by Tobi Hollander

When yoga became famous in the 60’s in the U.S., it was an esoteric set of poses and breathing exercises to aid meditation. It was initially presented as a map to living our lives by following a kind of yogic 10 Commandments. Not very many people knew about yoga, and those who did were not “normal,” but considered hippies or society’s outliers. 

Art Therapy for Inspiration, Guidance, and Healing

By Sibel Ozer

A non-artist friend asked for help with a painting she had started a year ago. I suggested we do some foraging for inspiration, and we spent a day antiquing, visiting the art museum, stopping by an art store, and hunting for materials in her backyard. Next, we cleared her garden table for a day of painting, where I modeled free expression.


Fresh Air for a Fresh Start

By Melissa Sargent

We've packed up the holiday decorations, our house guests have all gone home, and we are ready to take on our new year’s resolutions. A little power cleaning and a few sprays of a fresh scent might seem like a great way to start anew. But before you pull out the disinfectant or plug in the pine mountain scent, think about what may be sealed up inside the house with you and your family.


Reconsidering the Impact of Grains and Carbs on our Diet

By Gary Merel

Since digestive systems, much like finger prints, are unique, the foods that work for you might not work for someone else. However, there are definitely foods and food groups we should only eat sparingly, or not at all. High on that list are refined carbohydrates and grains.


Namaste, Roshani!

By Roshani Adhikary 

Namaste, Roshani,

These winter blues get me every year! I don’t feel like leaving my house to go and practice at a studio, so I've been following a lot of yoga DVDs. Lately, I find that my knees are really starting to kill. I don’t have an instructor to turn to, so I’m wondering if maybe you can help.

Caring for Your Pet with In-Home Hospice

Death is not an easy topic. No one likes to talk about it, even when it's regarding pets. As a veterinarian, I believe the reason pet parents do not like to talk about death is fear of the unknown. Perhaps they had a bad experience in the past or heard terrible stories from friends, but whatever the case, they are left with a lot of tough questions.

Why I Teach Meditation

In the wonderful Dr. Seuss books that narrate the adventures of The Cat in the Hat, we are introduced to the Cat’s helpers named “Thing One” and “Thing Two.” When he wants to create maximum mischief, the Cat brings out these two little guys. And do they know how to party! Their antics can go on for numerous pages, involving all sorts of outrageous projects, which always lead nowhere.