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  1. How to Handle Grief over the Loss of Health

    How to Handle Grief over the Loss of Health

    Dear BR,

    I'm wondering what the best cds would be for grief around the loss of health that will not be the same again and how this change affects relationships/work/options, etc.

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  2. Beginner’s Mind: A Toddler Discovers the Amazingness of Rain

    This delightful video clip of an adorable toddler discovering rain for the first time has been making its way around the internet.  The reasons for its popularity will immediately become obvious.  Give yourself a treat and check it out – for the first, second or yes, even the dozenth time.

    Kayden + Rain from Nicole Byon on Vimeo.

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  3. Guided Imagery Works on Cocaine Addiction & More

    A friend found this encouraging message about using guided imagery for help with chemical dependency posted at a website called How Cocaine Destroys Lives for people seeking recovery from cocaine use. 

    It’s in the context of a review of our CD for Alcohol and Other Drugs, and it’s the kind of comment you love to hear, because it’s the best possible outcome - that the imagery is not just helping with the substance abuse (although that by itself is fine with us), but with larger issues and attitudes as well.  

    So thanks, A. Baranowski, wherever you are, for your hopeful words and kind assessment!  

    p.s. I‘m glad you don’t think I’m a silly person!!  Same backatcha!!  We all wish you continued success and joy. 

    He or she writes on November 6, 2010:

    “I am currently withdrawing from several medications. I have found that this CD is having an impact on parts of my life I never thought related to any drug, alcohol, recovery-related “problem.” 

    I am sleeping better, having some incredible experiences while listening, crying a lot, (don’t be scared!!) ..yet, finding that this clears out a lot of things I have been avoiding for years. I am feeling good, open, willing to move on afterward.

    “About one or two days into listening, I woke up feeling so great, and great in a way I don’t remember for many, many, many years; in fact, so long ago as to almost have been forgotten. But, that “ability” was still there.

    “Belleruth Naparstek has a voice that I trusted and relaxed to immediately – hence the crying. The music is fabulous!! I go to some wonderful places, dig way, way back to feelings of goodness, strength, vulnerability, and have had some unexpected experiences.

    “Also, I visited her website, and I really like her attitude and common sense about some of the things people have asked her there. She is not a silly person!!

    “Anyway, highly recommended. Listen, relax, enjoy, and be well!”

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  4. A Truly Smashing Poem that Will Knock Your Socks Off

    I recently revisited this amazing poem by Ellen Bass, co-author with Laura Davis of that landmark book for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Courage to Heal.  All her poems are exquisite, but this one is a very special gem to me.  It comes from her book, The Human Line.

    I love the particular way she combines earthy sensuality with spiritual mystery.  Her emotional depth is dizzying.  I love the idea that in all kinds of places, there’s an Ellen Bass, quietly and unobtrusively watching moments like the one recorded here - in some random airport or restaurant or public park.  

    She zaps the ordinary with meaning.  And she lets us know we’re so much bigger and better than we think.

    So here is Gate C22.  Enjoy.

    Gate C22

    At gate C22 in the Portland airport
    a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
    a woman arriving from Orange County.
    They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
    the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
    and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
    the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
    like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
    like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped
    out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
    from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

    Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
    She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
    her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
    kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
    the way it gathers and swells, sucking
    each rock under, swallowing it
    again and again. We were all watching--
    passengers waiting for the delayed flight
    to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
    the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
    sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could
    taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

    But the best part was his face. When he drew back
    and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
    as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
    as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
    what happened after--if she beat you or left you or
    you're lonely now--you once lay there, the vernix
    not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
    as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
    The whole wing of the airport hushed,
    all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
    her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
    little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.

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  5. How to Make It Way More Fun to Choose the Stairs

    Please don’t miss this ingenious way of instituting a super creative, fun, positive shift in behavior with this dazzling public health intervention.  These inventive folks got people to choose to use the stairs over the escalator.  What a dazzling way to improve health, strength and fitness!

    I just love this.  You will too!

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  6. The Largest Biofeedback Installation in the World?

    A friend sent this piece about the work of Yehuda Duenyas, 38, who calls himself, “a creator of innovative experiences”. 

    Part art installation, part geekazoidal techno-fest, part amusement park ride and part spiritual journey, this marriage between meditation, performance art, neuro-feedback, and over-the-top production values (comparable perhaps to Roger Waters recent performance of The Wall at Fenway Park??) is something to behold.  It’s called The Ascent and it was in Brooklyn until last week.

    Bottom line:  users get to harness their brain’s own electrical impulses, measured through EEG readings, to levitate themselves... the ultimate form of biofeedback, you could say.  Focus your mind on nothingness and the colors turn blue while you ascend.  Get distracted, down you go in a red haze.   You can read about Ariel Kaminer’s experience here.  What a kick! 

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  7. A Little Favor Can Sometimes Make a Big Dent on Misery

    I’ve been coming into my neighborhood cleaning store to drop off or pick up clothing for years.  I usually chat with the same attractive, caramel-colored, 40-something woman at the counter.  We talk about politics, children, movies, travel - you name it – for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then we both move on.  

    From all these brief, casual, accumulated moments – moments that are the glue of any real neighborhood – I’ve come to like this no-baloney woman quite a lot.  

    One thing I began to notice a few months ago, however, was that she was starting to look pretty haggard.  And her conversation was getting bleak. 

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  8. Guided Imagery Lets Phobic Woman Leave House, Ride Harley

    Here’s a dramatic story that came out of Fargo, ND, about Alison Kohler, a woman who was so traumatized, she’d basically shut down her life, and how her therapist, Connie Bjerk, trained in practicing integrative therapies, helped release her from being controlled by fear, and jump-start a very juicy new chapter in her life, filled with hope, romance and possibility.  

    Every now and then it really does happen this way.  You can read more about it here.

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  9. The Mayan Women’s Beading Collective

    Some of you are already familiar with the powerful Portals to the Self women’s retreats offered by the extraordinarily gifted therapists, Ceci McDonnell and Karen Rosenberg (with Lisa Hernandez teaching integrative yoga), on Isla Mujeres off the Yucatan Coast of Mexico.  It’s a wonderfully enriching, creative, exciting growth experience, where you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by wonderful company.  The next Circle by the Sea is set for March 17-24, 2012, by the way.  Registration for this closes on January 15th.

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  10. Killer Poem on Savoring What’s Precious

    This poignant poem goes right to the heart, inspiring a rich, open-hearted awareness of what’s precious with its perfectly chosen words and everyday details.  Please enjoy and linger over it a little. It’s by Ellen Bass, who co-wrote Courage to Heal with the very gifted Laura Davis.  This one is in her latest collection of poems, The Human Line.

    If You Knew

    What if you knew you'd be the last
    to touch someone?
    If you were taking tickets, for example,
    at the theater, tearing them,
    giving back the ragged stubs,
    you might take care to touch that palm,
    brush your fingertips
    along the life line's crease.
    When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
    too slowly through the airport, when
    the car in front of me doesn't signal,
    when the clerk at the pharmacy
    won't say Thank you, I don't remember
    they're going to die.

    A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
    They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
    a young gay man with plum black eyes,
    joked as he served the coffee, kissed
    her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
    Then they walked half a block and her aunt
    dropped dead on the sidewalk.

    How close does the dragon's spume
    have to come? How wide does the crack
    in heaven have to split?
    What would people look like
    if we could see them as they are,
    soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
    reckless, pinned against time?

    Ellen Bass
    ,The Human Line

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