Archive | September, 2011

Fundraising Effort to Help Open Neighborhood Co-Op

Posted on 25 September 2011 by Jason

The community effort to open a food co-op in the Montavilla neighborhood is still going strong with help from a core group of volunteers who have been helping to recruit members for the co-op’s “Founding Members” campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to recruit 100 members to purchase shares in the co-op to raise funds for start-up costs, build community support, and increase visibility. Eventually, organizers would like to sign up many more members, but 100 is their starting point, and they are just over halfway to their goal.

The Montavilla Food Co-op is much needed in a neighborhood that lacks access to fresh, organic, locally-grown produce and grocery products year-round. A food co-op is owned and organized by its members united voluntarily to meet common needs and operate for the benefit of the community.

In October, the co-op is partnering with Roscoe’s Bar on Stark Street to help spread the word with a costume party and contest. Details will be announced on the co-op’s Web page,, where you can learn more about the co-op and purchase a member share online.

Please contact the Co-op at if you would like to get involved with their next event, volunteer to sign up members or just help to get the word out.

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Veins, Veins and More Veins

Posted on 25 September 2011 by Jason

Are you tired of living with varicose veins and spider veins? Do you want to wear shorts again, and not be embarrassed about your legs? Do your legs ache and sometimes swell at the end of the day? You don’t have to live with these very common and annoying vein problems.

The OHSU-Interventional Vein Specialists Clinic specializes in treating veins and offers state-of-the-art treatments including laser therapy, sclerotherapy, venous ablation, and phlebectomy. All of these procedures have shown to have very effective outcomes with little recovery time.

To find out more about the different treatments and what is best for you, call or visit them online today for a free consultation on their “Ask Pam” hotline. Pam Burrows is a Registered Nurse and has been treating veins for years. She will help answer your questions and explain all of the different procedures to help you determine what is best for you. Burrows works together with a team of experienced doctors who treat a variety of venous problems using safe, quick and minimally invasive techniques.

To find out more about your veins, call Pam at 503 568-4571 for a free consultation or visit them online at

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Art & Artifacts Event at Community Warehouse

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

On October 14, 2011, from 5-8pm, Community Warehouse will be hosting the second annual Art & Artifacts event, featuring a special sale of curiosities, unusual artifacts, valuable art pieces, and much more. Don’t miss the opportunity to browse these collections, sample food and wine, meet great folks and support Community Warehouse. Admission is free.

“We take in free stuff, and then we give it away. How cool is that?” In the words of program manager, Tom Elston, that’s precisely what Community Warehouse does. Since opening its doors in 2001, Community Warehouse has served thousands of families in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Focused on reusing resources already present in the community, the local nonprofit collects essential household goods and redistributes them to low-income individuals and families. Community Warehouse operates on a lean budget and relies heavily on generous donors, volunteers, and fundraising events like Art & Artifacts to keep its doors open.

Community Warehouse is located at 3969 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland. Visit or call 503-224- 0711 for event details.

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Max Muscle Vancouver Triathlon/Duathlon

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

Mark Sunday, September 11 on your calendar! For the second year in a row, Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Vancouver is the title sponsor of this great local event. This year, there will be five events: Three triathlon (swim/bike/run) distances – Triit, Sprint and Olympic and two duathalon (bike/run) distances.

Beginning at 8:30am, the event starts and finishes at Klineline Pond in Salmon Creek. The swim will take place in Klineline Pond, the bike travels through the hills of Felida and Ridgefield, finishing up with a run along the Salmon Creek Trail. This is a great event for beginners and experienced triathletes/duathletes. Relay teams are welcome! Participants will get a dry fit tech shirt, medal, goodie bag, a well supported course and lots of fun!

Proceeds from this event benefit the Rotary’s fight to end Polio. There is a 250 participant limit, so sign up today. The Max Muscle Vancouver Triathlon/Duathalon is a partnership between We Live for Crazy Events, LLC and Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Vancouver – a local supplement store that specializes in general health, weight loss and sports supplements.

For more information, visit or email Register online at active. com or at either Max Muscle Vancouver Store (find locations at

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Artful KIDS

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

Kids’ active participation in the creative arts helps them develop physically, mentally, emotionally and socially—whether they are painting, drawing, shaping pottery, performing in plays or musicals, dancing, storytelling, or making music. Studies culled by educators at Arizona’s Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts confirm the multiple benefits, ranging from higher SAT scores to increases in self-esteem and improved ability to handle peer pressure.

Yet, with shrinking school budgets, cutting back on what are considered non-core subjects such as music and art is the path that many school districts are forced to take, explains Anne Bryant, Ph.D., executive director of the National School Boards Association. Communities, in turn, must find new ways to counter this new financial reality. For example, an elementary school music or art teacher, once devoted to a single school, now may have to travel to several throughout a district.

“Schools are under so much pressure due to dwindling resources and the No Child Left Behind legislation that sometimes the children who most need the arts are put in remedial classes instead,” says Susan Tate, a former teacher who is now executive director of Kansas’ Lawrence Arts Center.

Add in our digital culture—where hands-on most often means a computer keyboard or phone-texting device—and domestic situations in which busy parents aren’t keen to clean up messy finger paints and other craft supplies, and the result is, “These days, kids also are less likely to do hands-on art at home,” adds Tate.

At young ages, children are likely to be more passive than active learners, says Sharon Burch, a music educator in Mystic, Iowa. They may listen, for example, to whatever tunes their parents play, instead of simpler, more age-appropriate songs. Burch has helped fill the need by providing interactive Freddie the Frog resources for use by parents, as well as in music classrooms.

Fortunately, communities across the country have rallied to offer afterschool and weekend arts and crafts programs. Many simple arts participation activities are easy for parents, grandparents and caregivers to do along with the kids.

Developing Mental Abilities
“Current studies of brain imaging and mapping show that the active making of music creates synapses in all four parts of the brain,” Burch says. By active, she means physically tapping out a rhythm with sticks, singing a song, dancing to a beat, marching, playing patty-cake or engaging in other ageappropriate, physical movement. “To really light up the brain, you have to do something, not just passively listen.” Making music helps kids think, create, reason and express themselves, adds Burch.

Practicing the art of simple storytelling, as well as having adults regularly reading children’s literature with youngsters, can also have a profound impact. A 2003 study published in the American Educator, based on exhaustive research by Ph.D. psychologists Todd Risley and Betty Hart, showed that by age 4, a huge gap in vocabulary skills exists between children of different economic levels. Those growing up in a household of educated, professional people hear a cumulative 32 million more spoken words (1,500 more per hour) during these early years—and thus have a greater vocabulary—than those from welfare families. The researchers further documented more than five times the instances of encouraging feedback.

They discovered a direct correlation between the intensity of these early verbal experiences and later achievement. Risley and Hart attributed the meaningful difference to the increased interaction—more storytelling, reading and parent-child discussions— that typically takes place in more affluent households.

Firing Imagination “Our culture is so linear and lingually driven that it often doesn’t tap into the vastness of a child’s imagination,” observes Anne Austin Pearce, assistant professor of communication and fine art at Missouri’s Rockhurst University. Pearce often works with school children through library events that couple art and storytelling. “Also, there’s pressure to measure results in a culture that tends to label you either a winner or a loser, but art is not quantifiable in that way; art allows kids to develop ideas through the creative process that they

can’t do any other way. “When kids are drawing, they often talk as they are doing it,” she says. “You can then engage in a different kind of conversation with kids, just letting things happen and asking open questions. Kids tell their own stories.”

Kids that study and perform at least one of the arts such as dance, playing an instrument or acting in a play, “… will have an edge up that’s so critical as an adult,” concludes Verneda Edwards, executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Blue Valley School District, near Kansas City. “Kids not only benefit academically by engaging in the arts, they also have the ability to get up in front of people and perform. That builds increasing confidence.”

Judith Fertig celebrates the craft of cooking at AlfrescoFood

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Sound Yoga Practices

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

Known as one of the most consciously positive artists in music today, Michael Franti has been practicing yoga for 11 years. The discipline resonates with him as a solution to the physical and mental stress he encounters touring on the road, and he has practiced yoga daily ever since his first experience. “I still recall how stiff I was during my first class. I couldn’t touch my toes and I could barely sit with my legs crossed,” Franti reflects.

Franti reports that he is in better physical shape today than he was 20 years ago. “The great thing about yoga is that it’s not a competition,” says the 45-year-old, who grew up in a competitive household with four siblings before going on to play college basketball at the University of San Francisco. “In yoga, you’re not competing against anyone, which has been a valuable, if difficult lesson for me—to stop thinking, ‘I wish I could do a headstand as well as the person next to me,’ but to instead really embrace where I am at that moment.”

After suffering from a series of physical hurdles, including joint problems, operations on his abdomen and a ruptured appendix, Franti continues to be grateful that yoga has prolonged his livelihood as an athlete.

He recalls, “There was a time when my body felt like it was breaking down and I thought I was never going to be able to play catch with my son again. But through yoga, I’ve learned that it’s possible to heal my body.” He attributes his ability to play basketball and run long distances to the flexibility and strength derived from his yoga practice.

Currently performing with guitar legend Carlos Santana on the Sound of Collective Consciousness tour, Franti weaves the yogic philosophy of ahimsa, or the sacredness of life and nonviolence in thought or action, into his music.

He explains, “For songwriters, one of the most difficult things to do is to instill all of your ideas into just one phrase, word or melody. When I’m in a yoga class, ideas come because my mind is clear, or because I’ll hear my teacher say something that starts me thinking in a different way. Often, when I practice without any sound at all, I’ll hear melodies in my head that I’ll sing to myself as I’m practicing. All of these insights find their way into my songs.

“I like to rock out!” notes Franti of his preference for nontraditional yoga music during his personal practice. “Sometimes I make playlists that are all loud dance music, or all reggae. I’ll do a whole class to The Beatles sometimes. Today, I listened to singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons.”

A supporter of several charities and an environmental activist, Franti also values seva, a yogic philosophy that emphasizes selfless service. “As an individual in this world, I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back to our communities and to the planet,” he says. Ten years ago, he decided to go barefoot after playing music for children abroad that could not afford shoes. Since then, he’s remained barefoot, except in airplanes or restaurants. The artist also collects shoes for Soles4Souls ( at all of his shows.

As a touring musician, Franti enjoys traveling to places such as Haiti, Israel, Palestine, Brazil and Indonesia so that he can share his music on the streets, but also so that he can experience unfamiliar settings. “I learn so much when I go outside of my comfort zone. Similarly, yoga forces us to step outside of our comfort zone and look at our self from a different perspective.”

Although he enjoys practicing advanced arm balances and inversions, the final pose in every class, savasana, is Franti’s favorite. “It doesn’t matter if I’m at a workshop for three hours and we do 15 minutes of the relaxation pose, or if I just did one side of a sun salutation and I lie on my back for three minutes. Savasana always changes my whole outlook on life, on my day and the present moment. To lie quietly on my back on the floor, close my eyes, breathe deeply and let everything go for a few minutes enables me to then move forward into whatever comes next in my day.”

Meredith Montgomery publishes the Mobile/Baldwin, AL, edition of Natural Awakenings (HealthyLivingHealthy She also serves as director of donor relations for National Yoga Month (

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Gluten: Trust Your Gut

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

Walk through the gluten-free product aisles at the grocery or health food store and many people might wonder: “Is this a food fad? Who has a problem with gluten?”

As it turns out, more people have gluten sensitivity than scientists, physicians and researchers previously thought. A study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Celiac Research estimates that 6 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 18 million individuals, have some sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale.

Research published online by BMC Medicine and this year provides the first scientific evidence of what many people allergic to gluten already know: While gluten sensitivity presents less serious negative health effects than celiac disease, its host of symptoms can become problematic. An earlier study in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics concluded that for dealing with both wheat allergies and celiac disease, the dietary avoidance of gluten-containing grains is the only effective treatment.

Case in Point
Carol Mahaffey, a tax attorney in Columbus, Ohio, was experiencing intermittent joint pain and what she calls “living in a fog,” in the summer of 2009. Because she had read that joint pain can sometimes be caused by gluten sensitivity, she decided to eliminate gluten from her diet.

Although her new regimen didn’t relieve the joint pain—she was later professionally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis—she found that after four to five weeks, she looked and felt better overall. “I was losing weight, my digestive system was better and I found it easier to mentally focus. Somebody at work also happened to mention that I didn’t sniffle anymore,” she relates. Although Mahaffey’s blood tests were negative for celiac disease, she had all the signs that she is gluten-sensitive.

“Imagine degrees of gluten ingestion along a spectrum,” says Dr. Alessio Fasano, a professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology and director of the Center for Celiac Research. “At one end, you have people with celiac disease, who cannot tolerate one crumb of gluten in their diet. At the other, you have the lucky people who can eat pizza, beer, pasta and cookies—with no ill effects whatsoever. In the middle, there is this murky area of those with gluten reactions, including gluten sensitivity,” says Fasano, who led the new study. “This is where we are looking for answers on how to best diagnose and treat this recently identified group of gluten-sensitive individuals.”

Until more definitive answers come to light, those who suspect they might have an issue with gluten can try going gluten-free for a period of time, like Mahaffey. “I had to become a label reader,” she advises, “because even things like bottled soy sauce can contain gluten.” She buys baked goods at a local glutenfree bakery, still enjoys wine with glutenfree snacks, uses gluten-free dough to make her own pizza at home, and has become a fan of risotto.

For people that travel on a similar path, the feel-good benefits of a glutenfree diet can more than make up for some of the inconveniences. “You just make it work,” says Mahaffey. On a recent get-together with longtime college friends at a chalet in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Mahaffey brought her own snacks and breakfast foods, asked questions about the menu when they went out to dinner, and ended up having a great, gluten-free time.

Claire O’Neil is a freelance writer in Kansas City, MO.

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Handmade Happiness

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

America’s resurging interest in arts and crafts today comes at a time when making things by hand seems an endangered activity. Why? In The Craftsman, sociologist and author Richard Sennett maintains that making things by hand is an, “enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake.” He observes that craft and craftsmanship can enrich modern life in ways that might surprise us.

The Arts and Crafts movement, which reigned from the mid-1800s through the early 20th century, was a major response to a commercial trend that steered society away from handmade toward machinemade products in Europe and North America. The movement encouraged amateur, student and professional involvement in the making of furniture, decorative glass, textiles, pottery and other forms that are beautiful, as well as functional.

Yet today, we face a new barrier to creating more by hand, observes Monica Moses, editor-inchief of American Craft magazine (American, published by the nonprofit American Craft Council. “Modern life offers a million distractions, a million ways to kill time, or at least stand by idly while it expires,” she says. Mindless television watching, puttering around on Facebook or playing computer solitaire add up. “Such semiconscious downtime can become a weekend, a habit, a lost opportunity.”

Although many people return to an early love of arts and crafts during their retirement years, the good news is that such creative pursuits are also being taken up by young makers, according to Moses. “The marvel of it is that young people in the digital age are embracing craft so enthusiastically, not just their iPods and phone apps. We’re lucky to live in a time when engagement with the practice of craft is expanding.” She cites the popularity of buy-andsell craft websites such as Etsy. com, which reported 2010 sales of more than $400 million.

Moses, who makes jewelry in her free time, values handcrafting for a simple reason: “It feeds my soul,” she says. “Other parts of my life focus on the end result. When I’m making a piece, I’m focused on the process and I’m thinking, ‘This feels right.’”

Whether we wake to this artful phenomenon in childhood or later in life, it’s never too late to reap the benefits. According to crafters from various walks of life, such hands-on experiences help us to enhance our well-being, ground our everyday lives, and give renewed purpose.

Start Today
Lenore Moritz, founder and curator of and blogger at, took her first jewelry making class when she was single and living in New York City. “I needed something to tether me,” she writes, “and I knew it would get me out of the office at a decent hour at least once a week.” She says that what started out as a whim turned into catharsis. “I loved toting my tackle box of crafting supplies and the act of using my hands to transform a silver sheet into wearable art felt empowering. I became an accidental craftsperson.”

She found her best reward in finishing a piece, which she characterizes as, “… a crescendo I never knew in my day-to-day professional life.” She explains, “At the office, my world was nothing but to-do lists and complicated, open-ended projects; a sense of completion was rare. But in craft class, it was crystal clear when I had finished a project, and I reveled in that closure.”

Jenny Barnett Rohrs spent 15 years as a music therapist in Lakewood, Ohio, helping people cope with life’s problems. Meanwhile, she loved decompressing at the end of the day by working with polymer clay to make beautiful beads, doll pins, nametags and other decorative items. “I was always a crafty, creative kid, learning to embroider from one grandmother and how to make seed flowers from the other,” she recalls. “Since both sets of grandparents lived through the Depression, they were always repurposing things, recycling before it was cool.”

As she continued to expand her range of crafting skills and interests as an adult, she also started blogging about it at “I am a self-taught crafter and never met a craft I didn’t like,” admits Rohrs. “I believe that crafting is an extension of yourself and how you view your world. It’s a way of expressing yourself, coping with life and gaining insight.”

As Rohrs continued to try out new crafts, materials, products and techniques, entries on her craft blog grew to the point that she launched a second one at, where she shares her evaluations. Earlier this year, she appeared on The Martha Stewart Show.

Regular posts track her adventures with various media, including her recent experiences with water-soluble ink blocks for drawing and painting, and making a booklet from envelopes. Other popular pastimes range from scrapbooking and making home accessories using beachcomber finds to gifting baby garments personalized with fabric paint decoration.

“I believe that creativity is innate,” comments Rohrs. “When you tell your inner critic to shut up, you can have a lot of fun and learn something about yourself. I especially love to encourage folks to try new things and new techniques, and to push their own boundaries.”

It’s Never Too Late
Sandra Palmer Ciolino learned to sew as a child, but didn’t maximize the creativity of her craft until her children were grown, when she was in her 40s. For

Ciolino, of Cincinnati, Ohio, “Making contemporary quilts satisfies my desire to work in solitude and fulfills my longing to create lasting and beautiful art. Creating quilts for the wall marries many things I love—fabric, color, composition, piecing and machine quilting.” Ciolino fondly remembers her mother’s handiwork. “I have a vivid memory of her taking a navy blue overcoat of my father’s and using it to sew me a winter coat with cranberry piping; I was so proud of that coat.”

She began by making doll clothes, and then started sewing clothing for herself in junior high school, doing her own garment construction. “The technical stuff came early,” she says. Later on, busy with family duties and teaching elementary school physical education classes, she didn’t take time to turn to quilting until the mid-1990s. At first, Ciolino made her quilts in traditional pieced patterns to hang in her house or share as gifts; but then, something changed.

“I began to notice in my photography that I was most interested in closeups of tree bark, ripples in water bodies and cracks in the rocks. My quilts then began to take on a more abstract quality,” she says. So Ciolino took a class in Columbus, Ohio, with Nancy Crow, recognized by many as “the mother of contemporary quilts,” and never looked back. She still gives quilts as gifts, but her work is now also exhibited at museums and quilt shows (SandraPalmer;

Like many craftspeople, Ciolino’s process in creating art is part technical skill and part intuitive imagining. When she starts a new quilt, she pulls fabrics from her workroom into groupings that appeal to her. She then takes a black and- white photo to make sure the values of light and dark in the fabrics create an interesting pattern. Next, she uses a rotary cutter to cut the fabric by hand—like drawing a line with a pencil—into shapes freehand, without referring to any pattern. Finally, she sews the pieces together in a composition and uses machine quilting to add another layer of textural interest, finishing each creation by hand.

“The craft is when I make something as meticulous and impeccable as I can,” Ciolino concludes. “The art is when I bring an authentic version of myself— my voice and spirit—to the work.” Judith Fertig celebrates the craft of cooking at AlfrescoFoodAndLifestyle.

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Eco Fashionista- Summer Rayne Oakes Models the Future

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

Because of her close ties to environmental causes, Oakes is known as “The ecomodel.” It seems to fit her well: She has put her name behind many cause-related programs, including a skin care company that built a forest in New York City to show its commitment to the environment and a line of sunglasses that plants a tree for every pair of frames sold.

She didn’t set out to be an eco-fashionista. Oakes, whose first and middle names were derived from being born, as she states, on a “rainy summer day,” was raised amid Pennsylvania farmlands near Scranton and developed a love of nature from an early age. By 13, she was the youngest member of an environmental advisory board in her hometown, and after high school, went off to Cornell University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and entomology.

While at college, researching toxins in sewage sludge and identifying aquatic insects, the 5-foot-10-inch, willowy auburn beauty also began modeling, and conceived the idea that the fashion industry might be the right forum for her to take a leading role in expanding environmental awareness.

Runaway Success
Armed with brains, beauty and an affinity with the natural world, Oakes signed with her first modeling agency after graduating. Today, at age 27, she has built her own brand as a business consultant and spokeswoman, blogger, author, speaker, host and entrepreneur in the multibillion-dollar industry of environmentally friendly apparel and home products.

Oakes says that being in nature is what makes her come to life. “I carry that with me through all of my work in the fashion industry. It keeps me incredibly grounded and gives me an opportunity to work with companies and organizations that mirror my values or operate in the spirit of becoming better stewards,’’ she says.

Oakes is as appealing as the products she represents. She has put her eco-stamp of approval on Portico Home + Spa linens and body products, as well as Payless ShoeSource’s zoe&zac line of bath and body products, ballet flats, wedge espadrilles and handbags. Oakes also loans her name to Modo Eyewear’s Eco-collection and is a spokeswoman for Aveeno.

She sometimes blogs about her experiences at Summer, and in a recent post further explained how she chooses which Earth-friendly companies she’ll support. “An engaging partnership is a critical component for me to [be] a spokesperson,” she writes. “On countless occasions, I have had to turn down offers if the partnership didn’t seem suitable. But how exciting it is to find brands that are ready to step up to the challenge and have the spirit, resources and energy to make meaningful change happen from the inside out.”

Eco-Fashion Trends Oakes’ timing in applying her passions and skills to the green-and-clean marketplace is apt. Global retail sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products reached an estimated $4.3 billion in 2009, up 35 percent over the year before, according to the latest research from Organic Exchange’s Organic Cotton Market Report, and the market is expected to continue to grow. Organic Exchange projected a 20 to 40 percent jump in both 2010 and 2011, which could result in a $6 billion market this year.

Oakes supports the trend through her marketplace, connecting designers and decorators with sustainable fabric suppliers around the world. Other celebrities, models and designers, such as Bono, Jennifer Aniston, Rogan Gregory, Peter Ingwersen, Stella McCartney and Alicia Silverstone, have added their voices in raising awareness of the importance of socially conscious and environmentally friendly fashion.

But it doesn’t stop there, says Oakes. “It really comes down to a brand or product’s design aesthetic and distribution.”

Oakes has modeled for such industry giants as Levi Strauss & Co., Nicole Miller, Replay Jeans and others, but her activism and modeling have also allowed her to branch out into other industries. She says that her book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty, is aimed at “women that love style, but may not have [the terms] environment or green in their lexicon,” and serves as “an irreverent, witty guide for green virgins.”

“I don’t get involved with [a product] if it doesn’t have substance, if it doesn’t have sexiness, if it doesn’t have style and if it doesn’t have sustainability,” she stated in a recent presentation titled “Rainforest to Runways: One Young Woman’s Wild Journey in Fashion, Activism and Entrepreneurship.” “It’s got to have all four if I am going to help develop it.”

Kristin J. Bender is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

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A Path to True Insight

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Jason

The best definition of intuition is that which we know in our hearts to be true. When we feel good and right about a decision, we often attribute it to having followed our intuition.

There is a difference, however, between what “feels good” and what we “know in our hearts.” Discerning this difference separates wishful thinking from true intuitive intelligence.

Intuitive intelligence can be identified by the qualities that accompany it, like effortlessness, clarity, inspired ideas, synchronicity and profound peace. As these qualities also represent the spiritual substance of our selves, the intuitive insights we receive resonate with the truth of our being. When faced with a challenging choice, it helps to look for the presence or absence of harmony, clarity and peace before taking any action. Jumping into action out of frustration is not intuitively intelligent, while waiting for answers that bring clarity and inner peace is a flawless guide.

To move through the layers of confusion and emotion when facing a dilemma, it helps to identify both what we want and what is needed. Confusion often characterizes the conflict between our personal agenda, which may be hidden from us, and the action that the situation genuinely calls for. The following exercise can move our attention beyond focusing on the details of a problem to an awareness of what is really needed. As the steps unfold, take notice of any enhanced feelings of peace, assurance, gratitude and love.

1 Write down a specific concern. Are you at a crossroads? It could be a work concern, a relationship issue or anything else.

2 Below it, write, “What I really want is… ” and then finish the sentence with your natural, immediate response. Repeat this several times, finishing the sentence with another thought each time. It can be embarrassing when our wants are revealed to us. Keep going.

3 Now write the following: “What this situation really needs is… ” Write the phrase several times, finishing the sentence with another thought each time.

4 Be sure not to add “from me” to the above sentence, even in your thoughts. Let the ideas that come flow through you and onto the page, enriched by clarity, love, intelligence, and benevolence for you and everyone involved.

Nancy Rosanoff is a spiritual coach, teacher and facilitator who uses the principles of metapsychiatry in her work ( Connect at

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