There are three ponds on my in-laws’ property in northern Georgia. Each was stocked decades ago with largemouth bass and bluegill, and since then, the fish populations have flourished. I’ve seen them from the water’s edge, sleek shapes among the weeds, under overhanging branches, and near the pilings of the old dock.
Three years ago, Laura Robinson moved to Scio Township with her husband and two children. For five years before the move, they lived on Berkshire Road, within walking distance of central campus in Ann Arbor. But they wanted a more rural setting. They chose the township for its tranquility, a quality that attracts many township residents. Two years after their move, West Bay Exploration came looking for oil.
César Valdez, 43, is a local psychotherapist doing cutting edge work with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR, trauma and grief work, and with transpersonal approaches to personal development. Trained at U-M’s School of Social Work, he’s been practicing in Ann Arbor for 15 years.
The word ‘mandala’ is familiar to many people, and yet it may not be well understood. It has had many purposes, and for each purpose it has its own form and meaning — for meditation, artistic expression, or connecting with the inner self.
Ann Arbor can claim a new offering to add to its list of family-friendly activities — family yoga. Peachy Fitness, advertised as an “Ann Arbor Yoga & Dance Studio for children, adults & families,”offers classes for adults, but it is the sessions for children and families that clearly set it apart from the numerous other yoga studios in town.
Barrels line reflective colorful walls, and a scent of vinegar hangs in the air. Eccentric cut-outs collaged together create a welcoming and calm atmosphere. Tucked neatly in a corner of Ypsilanti is the warehouse that houses the successful kombucha beer company Unity Vibration and its Triple Goddess Tasting Room.
Call me a science geek: I enjoy delving into the scientific literature about topics I'm interested in. This often includes looking at studies from the previous year that relate to plant-based nutrition. I search my favorite database for articles about vegetarian and vegan diets and then settle in for a good read.
I first met Coco Newton over a decade ago. Back then she was raising a family, adapting to being a local celebrity (her husband, Roger, was part of the Lipitor team at Pfizer), and creating a nutritional practice focused on individual needs. Over that decade, diet, food, and food systems have been evolving in culture and healthcare.
Ann Arbor Kirtan and the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore are co-sponsoring Jai Uttal in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at two public events: a kirtan on Saturday, June 6 from 7:30–9:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Emeth located at 2309 Packard Road and a half-day workshop at 2608 English Oak Drive on Sunday, June 7 from 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
It’s Friday evening, 7:25 p.m. Across the front of the Friends Meeting House chapel are seven individuals, a cello, two harmoniums, kohl and tabla drums, and a guitar. By the time a short cello invocation is finished, anywhere from 40–90 people have arrived for the monthly Friday evening kirtan, a local tradition that just crossed the ten year mark.
My five-year-old daughter, Lila, and I were cuddled up at bedtime talking about God, a conversation that, as a non-believer, I can only sustain by relying on the belief systems of others. We were running down the list of people we knew who were religious: our Hindi neighbor, a Buddhist colleague, our Jewish friends, our mixed-bag family of Christians, Pagans, and atheists, and finally Grandma Bird.
Instead of sitting, we paint; instead of coming back to the breath, we come back to what our hands want to do from moment to moment. The nature of the mind doesn't change with the activity itself; we still get hijacked by thoughts of the past or future, or are influenced by critical inner voices, such as, It’s supposed to look like something by now, or What everyone else is doing is so much cooler, or I can’t really change it in the last week …
Have you ever attempted to create a self-portrait? I was required to do just this in a number of fine art college classes, from figure drawing to figure sculpting. I recall it being an uncomfortable experience to spend that much time looking at myself in the mirror. The point of the assignment was to learn to draw or sculpt using the available model — myself. The unexpected benefit was that, in addition to improving my skills as an artist, it led me to a new level of self-acceptance.
The compelling sound of the wooden mok’tak pierces the early morning silence as the wake-up person heartily chants the “Great Compassion Dharani” to the drumbeat of this traditional wooden instrument. She makes slow rounds of our Temple building and even crosses the back garden to the Hermitage, to rouse residents there. Each one of us washes up, then joins with others in rooms next to our seonbang (meditation hall) to stretch a little - some with yoga, some with tai chi.
One cannot compare or try to match some other creative work with one’s own work; one needs to allow creative energy to blossom from within. I did not know how to do this. I had not been to art school nor studied art history. But I loved art: in museums, in nature’s unique and unsurpassable expression . . . in all manifestations.
Change in every moment is a given. It is empowering to set conscious intentions around what changes will support your growth, health, and long-term goals. However, knowing what you’d like to have in place “someday” is very different from the day-to-day process of making that happen. The latter is usually much harder! Using an alphabet analogy, it can feel overwhelming to set an intention to change at point “A” knowing that all the steps between “B” and “Y” are needed to finally have the new change at point “Z” fully integrated in our lives. The brain gets exhausted just imagining all those steps that might be needed -- and the initial spark from the intention quickly burns out if motivation is missing to start the action steps.
Part of the curriculum in Integrative Medicine at the University of Michigan is to get students to think beyond the paradigm of making a diagnosis and then matching the right drug or surgery to the problem. Unfortunately, many physicians, as well as many medical consumers, have fallen into this trap. With medical visits crunched by time and society trained to look for the quick fix, using pharmaceuticals is often the go-to treatment for a particular condition.
There is an important lesson in these lyrics that goes beyond growing healthy veggies. It also applies to our spiritual growth. In Buddhism we believe that each person is a piece of fertile ground that can be cultivated to produce the fruits of joy, equanimity, love, and compassion.
As the inhabitants of this very special planet, we often ask ourselves where we are going and when will we get there. We are in such a rush to get there that we miss those present moments that fill our lives with joy. Maybe the question is not where are we going, but instead, where we are, and perhaps once we are aware and awake, we can see that we have already arrived.
It’s time to wake up to the realization that artistic creativity promotes health and well-being at any age. As a lifelong learner and nascent artist, I've experienced some of the health benefits of artistic creativity since retiring from a 30-year career in university administration.