How Listening to Your Children Can Benefit You, Your Children and the World — A Review of 'Listen: Five Simple Tools To Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges'

Reading the new book Listen: Five Simple Tools To Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges
is a little like visiting an amazingly caring, honest, and helpful parents' group. Hearing the stories of other parents, readers will feel less alone with their parenting struggles. Parents will also feel deeply understood by authors Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore, who know parenting and families inside and out. They are down-to-earth and funny, like when they comment that when our children have big upsets, it’s like they are taking “emotional poops.” But Wipfler and Shore also take very seriously the lack of support that exists for all families and the strains that poverty, racism and other oppressions put on parents. 

Posted on October 26, 2016 .

What is 'Floating'? − Floating Free at Bloom Wellness

Each flotation tub at Bloom Wellness has 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt, easily supporting a person's full weight in about 10 inches of water..Upon first arriving, I was handed a large, fluffy robe and shown to a very nice, very clean locker room.... Thus attired, I was then taken to a windowless room lit only by a flickering candle and enjoyed a turn in the Dreamwave Bliss, a completely engulfing shiatsu massage chair that massages from head to toe while a recording of waves crashing on the beach played in the background.

Posted on October 14, 2016 .

Traditional Naturopathy — What Is It, Really?

Traditional Naturopathy has been around in our country since the 1800s, as a drugless system of healthcare and medicine. A Traditional Naturopath — an ND —  is dedicated to utilizing nature's healing powers in a healthcare system to help others. The practice is distinguished by six well-established principles that underlie and determine education and practice protocols:

Posted on October 11, 2016 and filed under Naturopathy.

My Instrument Is Tabla, My Music Is My Own

Before moving to California I had only seen tabla in the form of a documentary video of Ravi Shankar and Allah Rhaka at the Monterey Jazz Festival. It was amazing to watch, but I never imagined myself actually playing those drums; it was too foreign, exotic, and different. When I arrived at CalArts in 1998, my experience with tabla became very real and accessible. 

Posted on September 23, 2016 .

Collective Consciousness

When two or more people get together, their thoughts are stepping stones to the consciousness they share. When we think, there are two components. First, there is the thought. Second is the consciousness that listens to that thought. Most people just focus on thoughts, but in a collective consciousness, they share the consciousness that listens to those thoughts. They don’t always have to agree, for their bond is strong enough that the disagreements don’t break up their shared consciousness.

Posted on September 20, 2016 .

Women in Martial Arts: Different and Strong

When I was a teenager, I was (and still am) a passionate feminist. Back then, my views were very black and white. No one could bring up differences in the sexes around me without provoking a rant. Equality meant men and women were the same in everything of import. Then, when I entered college and at the same time got involved with martial arts, predictably everything got more complex.

Posted on June 17, 2016 .

Your Body Is Talking To You

Did you know that trying to overcome your emotions is a bit like taking down your mailbox so you don’t receive bills in the mail? Just as receiving an electric bill and responding to it keeps energy running in our homes, feeling and responding to our emotions keeps our own energy in flow. If we can see our emotions as messengers, like Karla McClaren recommends in her book Language of Emotions, then we can stop judging them and work with the messages they bring.

Posted on June 17, 2016 .

“Don’t Worry Baby!”

The playful flow of my emotions paused abruptly. The cereal-filled spoon, poised in my hand, seemed to stop of its own volition. I suddenly felt my inner antenna tune to a deeper part of my consciousness. As the words reached my ears from “Don’t Worry Baby,” from the Beach Boys, a subtle vibration filled every cell of my body. 

Posted on June 17, 2016 .

Java in the Woods

When I came out of the tent he was carefully pouring steamy water over a sock draped over a camp cup. The sock had coffee grounds nested in it and the water was slowly steeping and draining through the sock where it was collected on the other side. 

Posted on May 9, 2016 .

I just do.

Perfect practice isn’t the idea that you should create something without error. It’s the idea that, while the finished product may not be exactly what you had in mind, having the right skill set as you practice allows you to learn.

Posted on May 9, 2016 .

Snow Labyrinth

Springs feel to me like Saturdays, where you can really relax, go with the flow, and procrastinate with zero guilt, since they are followed by Sundays. Summers are the best, but there is a lurking awareness of transience that can put a damper on things. Even though falls in Michigan are rapidly becoming another favorite of mine, they are followed by winters, which require serious preparation for psychic survival. 

Posted on May 3, 2016 and filed under Nature.

Creature Comforts on the Camino — Do Real Pilgrims Take Cold Showers?

Tradition has it that pilgrims leave behind the comforts and security of their everyday lives to embark on a journey of the spirit. When I first walked the Camino francés in 2002, accommodations were basic, communications limited, and pilgrims who couldn’t strip down to the bare essentials had no choice but to labor under a heavy pack — or quit. This past summer, I discovered that things are changing fast, and these changes make it possible to enjoy the creature comforts of a fine vacation while on the pilgrimage trail.

Posted on May 3, 2016 .

The Door That Leads Everywhere, Or, What First-Draft Teenage Alien Novels Can Do For You

One Friday afternoon, I hear a story that ends with a tongue falling in love with a river. Another Friday, I learn reasons the moon doesn’t want you; then, a girl rides the bus into a world her family doesn’t think exists. Dragons can be wiped out by genetically engineered diseases. It turns out that there are words for love derived from cooking, spacecraft, and trees.

Posted on March 2, 2016 .

Numbing Out or Tuning In

As I’ve mentioned, I like to wonder. So I wonder about why we find ourselves so depressed, so anxious, and so overwhelmed by life. Why, in recent times, has the US rate of drug and alcohol use outstripped other developed countries, despite our War on Drugs policies? What factors are associated with the 61 percent increase in prescription drug use during the past decade, resulting in sales of 3.4 billion annually? So, grab a cup of tea and consider how this complex public health problem came to be and what we might do to make it different — if we’re willing to take a long view and broader perspective.

Posted on March 2, 2016 .

How Do You Show Up in the Kitchen?

Many authors have written on the subject of what our relationships with food reveal about our relationships with others: Do we diet compulsively because food is the one small part of our lives over which we can exert total control when everything else seems to be spinning out of control? Do we binge on forbidden foods because we are playing out a desire to “be bad” when we spend our lives being responsible? Etc.

Posted on January 25, 2016 .

One Thousand and One Ways to Create Space

My nature is to wonder. About things, phenomenon, and people. I come from a long line of teachers who taught me well about the importance of reflection. From a young age, I was intensely curious about how what is happening now is a reflection of the big picture. Whether it’s by communing with others in deep conversation, a vigorous work out, playing with children, doing yoga, taking a walk in the forest, dancing, chanting, singing, reading or writing, playing with color in fabric, fiber or paint, I have long known that we encourage the presence of our best selves when we purposefully stop the whir of life regularly. I’ve listed some of my favorites, but there really are endless ways to open our hearts and mind to experience. 

Posted on January 25, 2016 .

Starting the New Year from a Deeper Consciousness

Being open is one of the best habits we can develop to start off the new year. The idea of being open often refers to being able to accept new ideas. But, to me, it means being able to accept a new state of consciousness. One way to practice this is by paying attention to the most basic activity that sustains us everyday — the breath. You can profoundly affect the quality of your life by noticing the breath, and simply changing where your 'in-breath' lands.

Posted on January 6, 2016 .