Squirrels: Beyond the Cute

Squirrels. They're everywhere. They're so common that you kind of block them out after a while. Then one day you're driving along minding your own business, and suddenly one of the furry hoodlums sprints across the road right in front of your car. It's almost like he was actually waiting for your car so he could give you a heart attack as you desperately try to avoid squashing him without causing an accident! What was that little maniac thinking, anyway?

Prepare to be amazed.

Having a Bodymind Coach Changed the Trajectory of My Life

By Julie Kouyate

I was struggling. I mean, here I was, a totally spiritual woman, a successful massage therapist,  West afrcian dance instructor, home birthing mamma, and a WIFE! I had all the ingredients that would have many believe I was fulfilled, completely. I can't agree more that I was doing well and grateful for all that I had come to know about healing, living a natural and spiritual life, taking risks, and coming out okay. But, under all of that amazing goodness, I was still somewhat unsatisfied. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was something more, something missing.

 What was it? Well, for starters. I never went anywhere on my days off without my five babies I spent years lugging them around, fighting, crying, and all. I really thought they would miss me too much, and then the GUILT would set in. I am a woman, after all. I’m here to serve and nurture without fail. But in every single moment?

My husband and I never spent a night away from them. They breastfed and slept in our bed till the next one arrived and even then we would do double duty. My work was also a place that required me to serve, my dance classes needed to be managed—I needed to support dancers to be able to feel comfortable and safe enough to try something new.

I was burned out on life.

 Then I followed the call in my heart. I took action and landed in a program that I thought was going to give me a new way to work with clients. What I found was the total opposite. I FOUND MY WAY BACK HOME, a way back to my truest and highest passions.

 Bodymind coaching is what I found and it's a journey into a deeper healing, a deeper conversation that gets really REAL with reality and how a person is living their life versus how they dream it to be. It's not about “things” that you want (but the bodymind process can be about that), it's more about the way you desire to feel each day and how to go about amplifying the energy you want to live in.

Bodymind coaching is totally unique as its developed for lightworkers and healers who already have a deep wisdom with working with people’s bodies and their mindset in relation to emotions and dis-ease. But I got served!

Touch, along with a brand new awareness, is how it all began. I was being coached around some of my blocks and some of my deeper passions left forgotten and laying dormant within me.  I felt a renewed sense of purpose, and a direct route to achieve it. Best part is that this all came from ME! A great coach only guides and facilitates as you come into your own AH-Ha moments that are totally pivotal for growth. If we aren't growing and evolving then we are stuck, truly.

I am fully alive after bodymind coaching and it has brought many new things into my life. I task without pushing, tuning into my body to ask, “What is the one most important thing that must be done today?” Not 15 things done mindlessly, but one or two most important tasks. Then I ask, “What do I want to do today?” and “Which task feels best to do right now?” This is pure feminine flow, and it’s the intuitive approach to life. Since having a coach of my own, I now have done countless things that I would never have begun on my own before. These things were a distant reality. A dream.

  1. I finally took weekends off for the first time in 16 years. I always said I wanted to and “should,” but never did.

  2.  I left my children many times for fun and pleasurable things, and they were all okay.

  3. I choose daily self love (care). I take naps, I leave those dishes, skip some of those soccer games, buy those massages, create as a regular part of my day, regularly make time with my sister friends. I prioritize myself for the first time ever, and I’m nicer, and I am encouraged to continue.

  4. I take singing lessons. All my kiddos had lessons for over ten years. I said I'd love to do that someday for myself. I’m doing it now!

  5.   I’ve learned that spiritual work is key, and I continue to learn, grow, journal, and receive coaching for myself.

  6. I RUN GODDESS RETREATS! I'm finally utilizing all my healing gifts. I feel the fear of all the things that go along with following your passion even when I can't “make sense” of it. (more feminine flow)

  7. My coaching clients lives are being transformed in huge ways with my programs that take them through a unique healing process that is designed to transform.

  8. I am scheduling breaks on my workdays. It used to be self-imposed (unconsciously) to work straight through (if I’m not working hard I’m not worthy mindset) and now poof! DONE with that!

  9. My life is at the highest, healthiest place I have ever known and it could never have been done without the help of a coach to bring some of the programming of the “day on repeat” cycles we subscribe to unconsciously.

We are actually addicted to the chemical release that we create as we assign “a meaning” to an  emotion that results from  a specific event (the negative thought loop that makes a body respond (i.e stress response) and the release of depressive drugs in the spinal column like dopamine). The body has to come back into the conversation. When we connect to our truest source, our body's wisdom, then we can feel our way forward. I was asked a very important question that was so simple and yet so profound. Julie, what do you want to feel each day and how can you amplify this? The power lies within us to go from what we think we should be doing and being totally disconnected from that, to what we know in our bodies as the guidance to live a life on purpose. Coaching has given me the freedom to live in the now more than ever before and this is the only reason we are here, to connect and to be in the now. Enjoyment of life and not living with just the end result in mind is the key. Now, I know that this is not only a great idea, it is attainable!

Julie Kouyate is a Bodymind coach and LMT. She has been in the alternative healing and wellness industry for over 20 years, but coaching is now her preferred way to work with clients because of the way we can change our patterns to have a lasting change that leads to a more connected life that is less restricted in a holistic way…. Body, mind, and spirit! .  Learn more about her offerings, including the BodyMind coaching program, at www.kouyatehealingarts.com, or call (734) 330-7903. 

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Posted on September 20, 2019 and filed under Guest Blogger, Healing, Intuition, Parenting, Bodymind.

Only A Glimpse

I am a summer person living in Michigan, walking around half heartbroken, not being able to keep myself from anticipating what is to come, which is not-summer for another three seasons.  Since I know the value of mindful presence, I look for things that’ll help me stay in the present. Even though I am more of a mammal lover in general, at the moment the antidote to my mind’s tendency to hijack me to the future comes from the insect kingdom as they remind me to be in the present, to savor the magic of the moment, and to contemplate the mysteries. I had written a blog about fireflies before so will focus on the butterfly this time around.  

Posted on September 13, 2019 and filed under animals, Art, mindfulness, Nature, Wildlife.

Ideas for Helping Your Child Invest in Their Future Self

t takes strong willpower to say no to ten more minutes of texting friends or playing instead of going to bed. It also takes willpower to say no to ten more minutes of sleep when you are still tired and don’t want to get up for school (or work). This is because immediate gratification has a serious edge over some possible vague reward that may, or may not, show up in the future, and only if you work for it. In other words, when working from our evolutionary default setting, now will beat later every time! 

The Slugs of Summer


By Peggy River Singer

I've always enjoyed slugs and snails for their energy and cheerful nature, and their cute little faces. I've even kept them as "pets". They've never caused any problems in any of my gardens, until I planted marigolds here at my lakeside apartment for the first time.

Did you know that slugs REALLY LOVE marigolds?

Each plant was stripped, from the ground up, so they all ended up looking like tiny little topiary trees. I would have thought such a spicy-smelling plant would be immune to slime-trailing snackers, but that's not so.

Worried about my beloved marigolds, I asked to speak with a representative of the slugs in my garden. It was unproductive: I got a flat NOPE when I asked about a truce or a compromise. (I'm sure it would have helped if I had waited until night to connect, instead of trying to negotiate during the day when the slugs were sleeping!)

Meanwhile, my Sage plant was also getting chewed on, and I asked it what I could do to help. To my surprise, the answer was: "Nothing. We can handle this."

That evening, Sage had more to say when it connected with me during Dreamtime:

            "I do not mind a nibble here or a nibble there. Sometimes the slugs come to us for healing substances we can provide. Only the weak and sick plants are harmed by slug dining.

            "Yes, marigolds are medicinal for the slugs. There is so much poison used here [insecticides] and it makes the slugs sick. The marigold essence helps them.

            "Yes, they do LIKE the taste of marigolds; that is part of the scenario. They are not mindless; they have awareness of the consequences of their actions. As in, if they eat every bit of a plant it might not grow anymore and they must seek elsewhere.

            "Their mind processes are quite basic/simple and they live in the day, the Now. Focused on their little bit of the big world. Big matters are not part of their awareness. They experience bliss, joy, fear, affection in a limited way. They would tell you that life is good, until it is not, then it becomes good once again. What else is there? What else would they possibly need?"

Well, Sage gave me a lot to think about, and as a result I've let go of trying to "fix" this situation. I'll continue to send loving Reiki energy to everyone involved.

At this point, you might be expecting me to share advice about how to cope with slug damage on YOUR plants. Nope. You'll find plenty of ideas online. You'll also find lots of fine articles about the spiritual aspects of slugs, and what we can learn from them.

The rest, I leave up to you!


Peggy River Singer is a heart-centered animal communicator, medium, faerie ally, Reiki practitioner, and lifelong writer. She combines her gift for communications with her psychic abilities to help create harmonious relationships among all who share the Earth. Connect by phone at 734-548-0194; and by email at newbluecanoe@aol.com. She shares her experiences and insights on her blog, angelsfairiesandlife.wordpress.com.

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Posted on August 26, 2019 and filed under animals, Environment, Nature, Wildlife.


While environmental scientists across the world were working hard to finalize the assessment of the 2019 UN Report on the State of the Environment, I was eagerly descending the steps to my basement art therapy office on Main Street, Ann Arbor so I could put the finishing touches on my latest painting. I’ve felt this space to be particularly compatible with psychological work that requires a quieting of the mind chatter in order to be able to access inner wisdom.

Posted on August 16, 2019 and filed under Art, Environment, Nature.

Jasper the Cat Talks About Some of His Nine Lives

By Peggy River Singer

I have provided Reiki and animal communication services to Jasper and his family since early December of last year, when Jasper was in the early stages of a long and difficult illness and physical decline. This reading is from about a week before he transitioned on March 11. We are still working together; he is developing a new variety of Reiki from the other side of the veil.

I have provided Reiki and animal communication services to Jasper and his family since early December of last year, when Jasper was in the early stages of a long and difficult illness and physical decline. This reading is from about a week before he transitioned on March 11. We are still working together; he is developing a new variety of Reiki from the other side of the veil.

River: Are you ready, Jasper

Jasper: Yes. I've had many lifetimes as other kinds of animals. Hawks, owls, hares, beasts of all kinds. Every life teaches us something. Animals and humans are alike in that sense. 

Now, then. I remember a tiger, I think it was my mother parent. That was a very short life, I was very weak at birth, the last to breathe air [the runt of the litter], and it was hard, so very hard, to lift my head. My mother SO BEAUTIFUL SHE WAS, in body and spirit, grieved for me even as I slipped away, darkness came upon me as I felt her great tongue gently, gently blessing me with love and HOPE. My heart fills with the emotions even now, recalling that moment so vividly... 

The next life after that was my choice, and I chose to be a lion. A lion of India you understand, I had decided to stay in India after being a tiger cub. It was my hope that I would be able to meet my tiger mother in physical form, but it was not to be. The Gir Lions [living in the Gir Forest] are quite different from what I have heard of African lions. We are more graceful, more lightly built is a good way to say it, seemingly less massive in muscle, very beautiful in our way. In this life I was a male, a young male ready to find my own way in the world as my father lion did not wish me to challenge him, as is the way among lions. 

So I set off away from all that was familiar, walking many miles and days. I had a male friend with me, we thought we might start our own lion family together, this is not unknown among lions. 

River: Did you have any ideas about which way to go? 

Jasper: We had listened to the elders' stories about what lay in each direction, so we had what you call a mental map in our minds of the terrain, dangerous places, and good places to hunt, that sort of thing. We knew it was best to keep away from humans, but had never so much as sniffed one before in our young lives. Plenty of stories gave us plenty of reasons to avoid those ones!

It was one day when we smelled rain that something wonderful happened! We also smelled a girl tiger! My friend immediately took the lead and we found her resting, licking blood from her muzzle. What a beautiful sight she was, so sleek and serene...

River: What happened next?

Jasper: Sorry, I was enjoying the remembering. Well, I cannot say she was glad to see us, we were lions, after all, and she had a kill to protect. And though the time of matings approached, she was not yet feeling that power. I shall say she sneered at us as unworthy creatures and beneath her notice, and she commanded us to move on.

And so we decided together to continue our travels. We had heard of a great forest, a forest within a forest, as you might say, where very special lions dwelled. Naturally we desired to be Very Special Lions ourselves! [joke] It was a very long journey, as much as a moon, before we realized we had found the place.

River: And what was it like? 

Jasper: [A long, low moan.] It was death, it was all death. The humans had come before us. The great trees were felled, the stink of humans was everywhere.

That night we grieved with those who had died there in that naked, ruined forest. With the trees and the animals and the plants, we grieved… 

[Jasper closes his eyes and starts to sway slightly back and forth, singing the song of those who were lost.]


Oh beauty, oh vibrant life, oh springing joy!

In this place of burdens, let the life return in its own time.

Too much to bear is this sorrow.

Too heavy lies the burden of death.

We sing our grief, we sing our sorrow,

We sing hope for the future, the future forest,

Which is greater than Man's greed.


And we opened our eyes, our amazed eyes, and saw the spirits of all those who had died, singing and laughing in the sunlight and the moonlight, joyful in death as they were in life, dragonflies playing in sunbeams. All were there just as they had been before Men came. And we were told: "Your hearts have been heard by the All Highest. This place will bloom again. Go in peace."

[Jasper opens his eyes, he is very intense.]

Do you see, do you understand? All hearts are one heart, a great heart, too great to be permanently harmed by the Darkness.

We are done.


Peggy River Singer is a heart-centered animal communicator, medium, faerie ally, Reiki practitioner, and lifelong writer. She combines her gift for communications with her psychic abilities to help create harmonious relationships among all who share the Earth. Connect by phone at 734-548-0194; and by email at newbluecanoe@aol.com. She shares her experiences and insights on her blog, angelsfairiesandlife.wordpress.com.

Posted on August 9, 2019 and filed under animals, Intuition, Nature, Pets, Wildlife.

The Song of the Phoenix

I realized only later that I had great expectations around how wonderful it would all be in a way that wasn’t compatible with real life. I try to help my clients understand the many myths around mindfulness practices, especially the one that suggests that regular practice will lead to steady calm, happiness, or bliss. What mindfulness cultivates is an increased capacity to be present with all states of being rather then favoring the good over the bad and the ugly. One of the biggest takeaways of the retreat for me personally was that the same applies to retreats or vacations.

Posted on August 2, 2019 and filed under Art, Creativity, mindfulness.

Healing Anxiety Naturally

Along my personal journey to find natural healing for anxiety, I made two exciting discoveries that changed my life and gave me the relief I needed to heal from a lifetime of unease. These two discoveries have become the foundation of my work as a holistic health practitioner, and as I work to help others reclaim a more vibrant level of wellbeing, joy, and health in their lives.

Posted on July 19, 2019 and filed under Healing, Health and Wellness.

It's Not Easy To Be a Tick!

A few years ago I spent a weekend at an Animal Communication class out in the country. While we were taking a break on the back porch Saturday afternoon, I discovered a tick walking up my arm. I'd never met a tick before, but recognized it right away thanks to all the media hoopla about Lyme Disease. "Oh, look," I said. "It's a tick!"

Posted on July 12, 2019 and filed under animals, Nature, Environment, Wildlife.

Astrology- The Original Internet

So much is happening on planet Earth! The rising of the Schumann resonance (Earth’s heartbeat), the shifting of magnetic north, the decreasing magnetic grid, and increasing solar radiation—all are having enormous impact on our world. Pluto and Saturn coming together in Capricorn in January 2020 will create far-reaching changes in the power structures on Earth. So let’s talk about the tool of astrology in navigating our personal lives.

Posted on July 5, 2019 and filed under Astrology.

A Snake Charmer Tree Spirit and the Honeysuckle

It is impossible not to grow in awareness and fondness of nature in general, and birds and plants specifically, while living in a town like Ann Arbor. I’ve been learning things organically, without a need to study deeply, or have a specific interest in plant life (which I admit I don’t). We lucked out with a house that has a huge backyard with many trees, a small pond that hosts a snapping turtle I’ve seen only once in the eight years that we’ve been here. Ignorance got me close enough to get this photo of her.

Posted on June 21, 2019 and filed under Art, Nature, Spirituality.

Chrissy Barua Eats the World

What’s for food? Where to next? Believe it or not, these two questions roll through my mind each and every day as I search my mind for ideas for my next delicious meal, or my next far-off adventure. Appetites for both, insatiable. Food and travel, the fabric of my being. And, as it turns out, the subject of my little passion project.

Posted on June 7, 2019 and filed under Food and Nutrition, Guest Blogger, Travel.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

by Barbara Newell


When Laura Cowan interviewed me for her cover article in the current Crazy Wisdom Journal, we touched on the two main avenues of practice for cultivating mindfulness in everyday life. Ms. Cowan wrote candidly about the parent’s classic dilemma: wanting to enjoy the proven benefits of mindfulness in relating with herself, with her loved ones, and all the ups and downs we all encounter in life, yet feeling stretched too thin to add another item to the to-do list. The avenue of finding small ways to be more present right in the midst of what’s already happening throughout the day came naturally to the forefront of our interview.

The other avenue is the one commonly referred to as “formal practice.” It doesn’t have to mean sitting in the lotus position at an altar with incense burning (as lovely as any or all of these things can be). It simply means setting aside some minutes in which we don’t do anything else except reconnect, again and again, with our “home base” of mindful presence.


For many people, this home base is following our breathing; others find a different anchor works better for them. In it we give ourselves full permission to let go of our agendas. Every time we notice our mind has wandered off (as human minds are wont to do!), over and over again, we bring the mind back to this home base of spacious, kind presence. It seems so simple – which it is – and yet countless people have found it really makes a difference.

One well-known, busy mom I know made herself a deal one day many years ago now. She vowed that henceforth she would meditate every day – and - she gave herself what she calls the “back door” that it didn’t matter for how long. There were times, particularly when her son was quite young, when it was just taking a few conscious breaths and saying the briefest prayer at night, on the edge of her bed, before keeling over; yet her promise to herself made a real difference.

These two approaches to cultivating mindfulness very much support each other. When we take a few dedicated moments to really pause and reconnect with wakeful, caring presence to our own heart, it’s much easier throughout the day and week to take the micro-pause in a challenging moment -  even a single, mindful breath - that gives us just enough room to check in with ourselves and respond to the situation instead of habitually reacting to it in a way we may regret later.

Similarly, when we do take short windows of opportunity to resource ourselves throughout an active day - how about just enjoying a few refreshing, conscious breaths when we’re at a stoplight, instead of looking down at our phone for the hundredth time? - there will be less accumulated restlessness when we do take those dedicated minutes to come back to the miracle of our living, breathing body, here in the present moment.

Recently I recalled a brief exchange that took place nearly 25 years ago, when I was quite new to meditation. I was just meeting a woman living with metastatic, stage 4 breast cancer. Within a couple minutes we somehow discovered that both of us were meditators. Suddenly her dark-brown eyes bored intently into mine, with a fierce gaze from which life’s trivialities clearly had been burned away. She got straight to the point: “When the mind is in the present moment... there is no fear.”

My mind came to a complete stop. It was beyond question this woman knew what she was talking about. I knew that I needed this practice.

I am grateful to her.

You can reach Barbara Newell at Grove Emotional Health Collaborative’s office on Main Street at www.groveemotionalhealth.com or by contacting her at barbara@groveemotionalhealth.com and (734) 224-3822 x113.

To learn more about Barbara, read Crazy Wisdom Kids in the Community—Mindfulness with Barbara Newell, Joy Aleccia, and Anique Pegeron from issue #73.


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The World’s Worst Meditator

Very often when the subject of meditation comes up, people cock their heads, sigh, and wince with an air of self-judgment. They might say something along the lines of, “I know I NEED to start meditating,” or “I’m not good at meditating.”  While there have been many studies on the benefits of meditation, many of us still find it challenging to develop a daily practice. We know it’s good for us and can make us more relaxed, kinder, and happier. So what gives?

Posted on May 24, 2019 and filed under Daily Rituals, Issue 72, Meditation, mindfulness.

Why I make art that is political… even though that is not always my initial intention.

I make work that is political because I cannot help it. I tend to make work that reflects my life experience, and, as the saying goes, the personal is political. This phrase, which was popularized during the feminist movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, means that there are connections between my own personal experience and the larger social and political structures which tend to dominate, exploit, and oppress minorities in our politics, society, and culture.

Posted on May 17, 2019 and filed under Art, Issue 72.

Mother Nature

I have been paying close attention to our backyard for many years now, and know which tree will be the first to turn green (the little willow by the pond), which wildflowers will bloom first, how much progress the moss has made in its fight for territory over the grass. Because I am unable to convince others let alone my husband that our attachment to lawns is not the best idea, we have plenty of it in our backyard, but due to our lack of chemical warfare against Mama Nature’s preferences, moss and some clover types are beginning to make their claim

Posted on May 10, 2019 and filed under Art, Green Living, Nature, Psychology.