Archive | November, 2013

Humanity’s Eternal Quest Eckhart Tolle on the Kingdom of Heaven Within by Eric Nelson

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

To listen to Eckhart Tolle is to be reminded that anything is possible—for anyone.

We’re not talking about living a life of leisure, filled with expensive cars, beach homes and extravagant vacations, but an experience brimming with the kind of spiritual insights that make this life not only worth living, but decidedly more fulfilling.

The problem is that when people hear the words “spiritual insight,” there’s often an assumption that it’s about something too ethereal to be practical or too elusive to be achieved in this lifetime.

This is exactly the point that Eckhart Tolle, one of the world’s most well-known spiritual teachers and authors, rebuffed during a talk earlier this year at Stanford University.

“Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching,” he says. “They may awaken simply because they can’t stand the suffering anymore.”

He went on to cite examples of those that have either been told they have a short time to live or have been given an exceptionally long prison sentence. In both cases, any thought of a future has been effectively dashed, forcing these individuals into what Tolle describes as an intense awareness that there is only the present moment, with no more future to escape into mentally. The result is a lot less suffering.

“That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were,” says Tolle. “So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.”

The good news, according to Tolle, is that in order to experience this awakening, “You don’t have to wait for the diagnosis by the doctor or to be put in prison… nor do you have to do 30,000 hours of meditation or live in an ashram for 20 years. Once you get a glimpse of it, you can invite it into your daily life.”

For a growing number of people, it’s this understanding of the always present “spiritual you” shining through that has led to significant improvements in their lives, not the least of which is better health. This would seem to indicate that these kinds of spiritual insights aren’t the least bit ethereal or elusive, but decidedly practical.

“Spirituality and religion belong in the healing paradigm,” writes Airdre Grant, Ph.D., of Australia’s Southern Cross University, in a study published in the Journal of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. “They are determinants of health and they are factors in recovery, well-being, and longevity.”

So where do these insights come from? Is it simply a matter of wishful thinking? Or is it perhaps something more reliable, more effective than that? “Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you,’” observes Tolle, implying that this health-inducing understanding may be a lot closer than we thought. “I think if he lived nowadays, instead of ‘kingdom,’ he would have said, ‘dimension.’ And ‘heaven’ refers to a sense of vastness or spaciousness. So if we retranslate the words of Jesus into modern terms, [it would be] ‘the dimension of spaciousness is within you.’”

“And then Jesus said—when they asked him, ‘Where is the kingdom of heaven and when is it going to come?’—‘The kingdom of heaven does not come with signs to be perceived. You cannot say, Ah, it’s over here or look, it’s over there, for I tell you the kingdom of heaven is within you.’”

How comforting it is to be reminded that the proverbial “kingdom of heaven” we’ve been hearing about for at least two millennia—this “dimension of spaciousness,” or what might be characterized as the understanding of our true spiritual identity—is “within you.” It’s within us all, here and now. All that remains is the willingness—and the humility—to put this insight into practice.

Eric Nelson is a Christian Science healing practitioner from Los Altos, CA, whose articles on the link between spiritual consciousness and health appear regularly in national online publications. Connect at

Spiritual insights aren’t the least bit ethereal or elusive, but decidedly practical.

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Pet First-Aid Kits All-Natural Home Health Care by Sandra Murphy

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

“First-aid is the first thing you can do to help an injured animal if you are prepared,” says Dr. Jason Nicholas, owner of The Preventive Vet, in Portland, Oregon. Attention in cases of injury or sudden illness can help a dog or cat stay more comfortable, stop bleeding and provide temporary relief.

A pet first-aid kit can resemble a pantry more than a medicine cabinet. Natural components include:

Cool Water. Purified water kept in a spray bottle can cool overheated pets. For the fastest results, spray near the pulse points, the “armpits” and where fur is the thinnest. A vet visit will assess if clinical hydration is needed beyond the water bowl.

Saline solution. Versatile saline is available at the vet’s office or any pharmacy, and also easy and inexpensive to make at home. Use it to flush debris from eyes, clean wounds and promote healing from incisions. Two teaspoons of non-iodized salt in four cups of water mimics the body’s natural fluids. The Ohio State University Medical Center website provides a recipe for normal saline solution at

Vinegar. It acts as a drying agent, especially for floppy-eared dogs taking a dip in a pool or natural waterway, which can leave the inner ear moist. “Don’t use vinegar if the skin is red or broken because it will be painful,” says Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan Pet Insurance, in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Never use it more than twice a week.

Honey. Apply this sweet unguent to gums to help counteract low blood sugar and shock, particularly when a diabetic pet’s insulin levels are off. Maple syrup is a good substitute.

Sugar. Although not recommended in a regular pet diet, sugar can be a topical antibacterial for the short term. Sugar draws water from the wound and dehydrates bacteria, supporting growth of new tissue.

Plain yogurt. Adding this healthy refrigerated topping to dry food will activate a sluggish appetite and supply needed cultures to help balance the digestive system.

Cornstarch. This non-toxic remedy helps stop minor bleeding from cuts, scrapes and pedicure accidents.

Calendula. Also known as pot marigold, calendula cream may be used as an anti-inflammatory. Bug bites, scrapes, sunburn and itching from allergies also benefit from its application.

Aloe. Easily grown in a garden or pot and available in gel form, aloe sooths burns, prevents blisters and speeds healing. It also serves as canine Chapstick. “Older dogs often have cracked skin on their noses,” notes Benson. “Aloe helps to heal the skin and keeps the dog comfortable.”

Rescue Remedy. Illness or injury brings stress and one common solution is Rescue Remedy. To relieve fear or anxiety rub it onto a paw, nose or ears or add the recommended number of drops to water, a treat or food. It helps dogs, cats, horses, birds, fish and even iguanas. Dosage relies on the extent of stress rather than weight or species.

Clean cloths. For bee stings or insect bites on the body, cool compresses can reduce swelling and itching. Wet a washcloth with cold water or for larger welts, wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply for a few minutes at a time. For stings on the face or mouth, it’s best to go to the vet’s office immediately, so that airways don’t swell up and hinder breathing.

Miscellaneous supplies. Keep on hand gauze, tape, small scissors, tweezers (for removing objects from the roof of the mouth or splinters), a small flashlight, clean socks to cover a bandage and disposable gloves to keep human germs out of open wounds. A dog in pain may bite without realizing it. Nicholas recommends a basket muzzle, so the dog can easily breathe and pant.

When a pet eats or drinks non-food items or foods they shouldn’t, such as chocolate, grapes or onions, head to the local vet. Veterinarian Jeff Levy, in New York City, who is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist, counsels, “Always keep contact information for your vet, an emergency hospital and animal poison control center handy.” Also, find out where emergency services are located when traveling.

Pets can go into shock just like humans. To prevent or reduce the impact, keep the animal warm and provide a deep massage of the ears, at the base, where ears meet the head. A couple of drops of lavender oil on a collar or bandana will help everyone relax. Do not put essential oils directly on the pet, especially cats, as it can be toxic.

Just like children, pets will have accidents or get sick after office hours. Stay calm, head for the natural pet pantry and then call the family’s holistic veterinarian.

Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer in St. Louis, MO. Connect at

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Too Much Togetherness? Exercise Helps Keep Family Holidays Merry by Sarah Todd

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

Given family hopes and often unrealistic expectations that everything will go perfectly, holiday gatherings can sometimes be a recipe for untoward stress. One of the best ways to keep potential ’tis-the-season tensions under control is to carve out some time for exercise, a move supported by research findings at Princeton University. Other experts suggest that from practicing a favorite Eastern modality to taking a spin around the neighborhood, we all have instant access to foolproof tactics for staying relaxed, healthy and more even-keeled among kin this winter.
To mend nerves frayed by debates at the dinner table, slip into a nearby bedroom for a calming yoga workout. Yoga’s emphasis on controlled breathing makes it ideal for treating family dynamics straight out of Silver Linings Playbook. The Mayo Clinic reports that deep breathing increases the flow of oxygen into the bloodstream, easing headaches, muscular tension and chest tightness. Yogic breathing patterns also are shown to lower resting heart rates, which helps practitioners stay composed in the face of any intra-family disagreements or other stressors.
For a quick, relaxing yoga routine, begin with a few breathing exercises before moving into a sun salutation—a sequence of full-body poses, or asanas, performed in a smooth, continuous flow. Begin standing, palms pressed together in the tadasana, or mountain, pose. Then move through a series of motions that sweep the arms over the head, expanding the chest, before dipping into downward dog and plank poses, which help increase flexibility and strength. End lying down in the shavasana, or resting, pose with eyes closed and let the quiet settle in.
Resistance-training exercises are another option. Release pent up tension by pushing against a wall. Stand about three feet away, lean in and push. Position feet at an angle so that a straight body line forms the hypotenuse of a triangle with the wall and floor. This activity drains the limbs of tightness and stretches out hamstrings and calf muscles, enabling us to walk away feeling light and limber.

While some people can happily greet and maintain cheerfulness throughout holiday family times, others may feel a bit anxious. For a sure-fire endorphin boost, try a cardiovascular workout like running, which German researchers publishing in Cerebral Cortex confirm produces a flood of euphoria on cue. A quick jog or spirited walk outside helps elevate mood while strengthening the immune system, helping to keep feelings of melancholy at bay.

Before heading for the door, those stretching their legs outside in colder climates need to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer than the thermometer reads. This helps prevent the body from overheating, especially after being sedentary for an extended period. To get the blood flowing beforehand, do some simple stretching or take a few trips up and down the stairs.

Exercisers that prefer to stay sheltered from wintry weather entirely have a solid alternative; an indoor cardiovascular workout can mimic jogging’s mood-lifting effects. Try alternating 12 reps of jumping jacks, lunges, squats and crunches to get the heart pumping. Consider a second series for a higher-intensity workout. All of it will give muscles that often go slack during holiday loafing a chance to flex. Because these moves don’t require any equipment, such electives are as portable as a travel hair dryer during holiday visits anywhere.
After one or more of these solo workouts, many revelers may be ready to up the ante on family togetherness. For a healthy dose of quality time, round up the gang and enlist them in a high-energy outdoor activity like hiking, sledding or even Ultimate Frisbee. Participating in friendly family competition is healthy fun and gives everyone something else to talk about later.
Sarah Todd is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY. Connect at

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Peace on Our Plates Mindful Eating for a More Peaceful World by Judith Fertig

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

As Earth’s population grows to a projected 9 billion people by 2050, can our global community keep eating flesh like we’ve been doing for centuries? No, says a 2010 report by the United Nations Environment Programme, an international panel of sustainable resource management experts. Examining the food demands of a growing population and associated environmental and sustainability issues, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production recommends “substantial worldwide diet change away from animal products.”

Making the case for a holistic view, Will Tuttle, Ph.D., suggests in World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony that we start to see the connections between our food choices and the health and well-being of ourselves, our families, communities and the world.

Web of Understanding

At the center of the web of life is the food we all share to sustain our bodies. Tuttle insists that we celebrate this and regard each meal as a feast. “Food preparation is the only art that allows us to literally incorporate what we create. It is also the only art that fully involves all five senses,” he says. We honor this wonderful activity most by sharing our cooking efforts with others, blessing the food and eating mindfully.

The problem at the center of life, maintains Tuttle, is that we involve animals in our food chain, an act that “introduces suffering, whether physical, mental or emotional.” This is a truth we try to hide from, what he calls the cultural shadow. “The worst examples include factory farming, but even the best methods ultimately involve killing other animals for food.”

One of Tuttle’s more controversial claims is that the herding culture—raising, dominating, selling, killing and owning animals—sets up a harmful physical, emotional and cultural dynamic extolling domineering and aggressive behavior. “The herding culture requires male dominance and a mentality that might makes right,” observes Tuttle. “It also sees females as primarily breeders, not beings.” Based on contemporary research in anthropology, sociology and psychopathology, he maintains that the actions required to both dominate animals and eat their meat can lead to more aggressive and violent behavior.

One recent study seems to support his claim. Dr. Neil Barnard, in his book, Foods That Fight Pain, remarks that, “Plant-based diets also help tame testosterone’s activity.” Barnard cites a Massachusetts Male Aging study of 1,552 men ages 40 to 70, which indicated that men eating more fruits and vegetables than meat were less domineering and aggressive, because the increased sex hormone-binding globulin produced by plants helps keep testosterone in check.

“If we continue the meat-centric way of eating, we’re going to continue to have the problems that come with it,” says Tuttle. “The way forward is plant-based agriculture.”

Practicing a World Peace Diet

The Tuttles shop for fresh, organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods and favor what they call “blueprint recipes,” that vary from day to day. Each outlines the makings of a dish and encourages cooks to be intuitive in how they fill in the details.

For a typical breakfast, for example, Tuttle and his wife, Madeleine, will make a green smoothie that includes kale, banana, apple, grapes, ground flax, chia seeds, cinnamon and fresh ginger. “It’s a flexible drink,” says Tuttle. “We will swap out whatever organic fruits and vegetables we have so that we vary the flavor from time to time.” For example, they might use parsley, spinach, or chard leaves in place of kale, or citrus in place of grapes.

Lunch is usually a wrap-type sandwich, sometimes using fresh lettuce leaf or a whole-wheat tortilla. On recent example of such a wrap combined tomatoes, peppers, sprouts, walnuts, tempeh and avocado. A dinnertime blueprint recipe involves a base of cooked rice, quinoa, pasta, mashed potatoes, or polenta, topped with a vegetable ragout, cooked or raw.

“You could live the rest of your life mixing and matching these ingredients and never have the same meal twice,” notes Tuttle. “We have been doing it for 30 years. If we all choose to eat like this, the world could feed everybody on a fraction of the land now consumed by agriculture.”

Learn more at

Judith Fertig blogs at from Overland Park, KS.

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What Is Fertility Massage?

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

The body is miraculous in its capabilities. For women, to be able to conceive a happy, healthy baby is a basic, yet powerful experience. But for some, it can be a daunting and frustrating journey. Utilizing Fertility Massage as a natural aid in conception can be a gentle and effective way to prepare the body for a baby before considering medical intervention.
With Fertility Massage, women learn how to chart their fertility cycle, nourish their bodies to aid in conception and naturally release stress associated with trying to get pregnant. During treatment, acupressure points are stimulated to help balance the endocrine system and the hormones that control ovulation. Castor oil packs are used to cleanse the digestive tract and dissolve scar tissue within the abdomen and pelvis. Craniosacral Therapy and massage ease the overall stress of the body, while pelvic massage relieves tension and adhesions that can obstruct conception.
All of these tools are an effective way to aid a woman in her quest to conceive. They can also be a helpful assistant in the IUI/IVF process. If you, or anyone you love, are considering getting pregnant and/or are struggling with the process, then Fertility Massage may be right for you.

Andrea Thompson, LMT has been a licensed massage therapist in the State of Oregon for over 10 years and is a certified Fertility Massage Specialist and a Craniosacral Practitioner. For more information, visit or call 503-387-3348.

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Toast to the Spirits of the Season

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

The winter season holds many gifts for beer lovers in the form of big, bold ales designed to fend off the cold chill of a long winter’s night. Each year, the Holiday Ale Festival annually gathers up dozens of these winter warmers for a joyous five-day celebration. As a result, this quintessential Portland event has earned a reputation as the premier winter beer tasting venue on the West Coast.
Held in the heart of downtown Portland, the Holiday Ale Festival keeps attendees warm and dry under a large clear-top tent that covers Pioneer Courthouse Square while allowing for views of the city lights. Gas heaters create a cozy ambience under the boughs of one of the region’s largest decorated Christmas trees.
This year’s event, December 4 through December 8, features more than 50 potent winter ales, all of which are created specifically to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday season. The brewers have put together special recipes just for the Festival. From Belgians and Barleywines to Stouts and Sours, these beers are rich, robust and full of complex flavors.

For festival details including admission fees, visit

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Christmas Festival of Lights

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

Running through December 30, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights presents the sights, sounds and sensations of the season. It is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world, featuring nearly 160 indoor holiday concerts. Offering a family-oriented blend of traditional celebration and serene reflection, the festival theme “Angels on High” reflects the special season of hope that Christmas offers to thousands of families from around the Pacific Northwest.
Five indoor concerts are scheduled each evening in The Grotto’s 600-seat chapel, known for its cathedral quality acoustics. Continuous family entertainment, each night in The Grotto’s plaza area, includes outdoor caroling, puppet shows and a live animal petting zoo. Holiday foods and beverages are also available, as is seasonal shopping in The Grotto’s Christian Gift and Book Store.
The Festival of Lights is a walk-through event, nightly from 5 to 9:30 p.m. with festival grounds closing at 10 p.m. Closed Christmas day. All entertainment areas are either indoors or fully tented. General admission is $9; Seniors 65 and over $8; children ages 3-12 $4; ages 2 and under admitted free. Adequate free parking is available. Visitors are asked to bring a donation of canned or dry food benefiting Snow-Cap, the east county’s affiliate of the Oregon Food Bank.

Location: The Grotto, NE 85th and Sandy Blvd., Portland. For Festival information and details, call 503-261-2400 or visit

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8th Annual Drum Major “Living the Dream” Program

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

The Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, in Portland, has the distinction of being the only church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. personally delivered a sermon. In 2007, the first Drum Major Program was held at this historic church. It was established with the desire to create a connection to the spirit of the Atlanta, Georgia, celebration to the city of Portland—to bring the inspiration to the local level. The mission of the Portland celebration is threefold— remembering the past, honoring the present and investing in the future—to carry on the legacy of hope inspired by Dr. King.
The 2014 two-day event includes the Salute to Greatness “Living the Dream” Brunch on Saturday, January 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the church. The Brunch program will honor the lives and legacies of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Louise Parks and Yolanda King. Community leaders and organizations who emulate the values of these “Drum Majors” of the past are chosen through a nomination process and honored with an award.
The Drum Major “Redeeming the Dream” Ecumenical Service will take place on Sunday, January 19 from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m. in the main sanctuary. Included will be a speaker’s panel with faith and community leaders, interfaith prayers and music for the soul, with a reception immediately following.
Tickets are $24 each for the brunch. Table sponsorship is available. Sunday service is free. Location: 3138 N. Vancouver Ave., Portland. For more program information , call 503-282-9496.

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NCNM SIBO Center for IBS Disorders Opens

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) recently opened the SIBO Center, believed to be the first natural medicine clinic in the U.S. with a center dedicated to the treatment of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and associated gastrointestinal disorders. IBS, one of the most common and hard-to-treat health conditions, is thought to affect more than 60 million Americans. A small but growing number of physicians are recognizing the significant link between IBS and SIBO.
The decision to open a dedicated SIBO Center within NCNM Clinic came with the success Professor Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND, and SIBO Medical Director Allison Siebecker, ND, have had treating gastrointestinal conditions in their patients and in preventing relapses of the condition. Sandberg-Lewis explained, “We realized that by treating SIBO, we were on the leading-edge of a new clinical approach to IBS and other SIBO-related health disorders, such as chronic iron deficiency anemia, rosacea, fibromyalgia and gastroesophageal reflux.”
Eager for medical practitioners of all disciplines to join them and other leading SIBO medical experts, NCNM will host the first annual SIBO Symposium on January 18-19, 2014. Designed for the gastroenterologist, the alternative medicine practitioner and the public, this symposium will present a multifaceted treatment approach. Discussions will include specific testing, pharmaceutical and herbal antibiotics, and a prescribed diet that reduces the bacteria, allows the intestinal lining to repair, and reduces digestive and systemic symptoms associated with chronic health disorders.
For more information or to register:

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Year-end Specials at AAdvanced Dental

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Jason

This is a great time to use insurance benefits before the year ends and they expire, and Dr. Inna Shimanovsky and AAdvanced Dental is offering end-of-the-year specials to help. For $200 new patients will receive an exam with a full set of X-rays and a regular cleaning (a value of $345). In addition, they are offering 10 percent off any treatment of $1,000 or more before the end of the year.
Dr. Shimanovsky specializes in family and cosmetic dentistry and is trained in treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliances. Located in Oregon City, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Portland, their office is completely mercury-free and they utilize safe amalgam removal protocol when replacing silver amalgam fillings.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 503-659-3033 or visit

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