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A Japanese Healing Garden Offers Resilience To Men In Custody: The Power Of The Human Spirit To Transform – 3 parts below

Posted on 29 April 2019 by Douglas Merrow

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Reduce Stress, Make Space for Wellbeing this Spring

Posted on 28 April 2019 by Douglas Merrow

It’s all there underneath the hustle. When you Pause, you’ll find it.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) infuses the energy of mindfulness into your everyday life by systematically training the mind to break free from cycles of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and unhappiness. Pause Meditation offers comprehensive training programs which teach skills and techniques that tap into your deepest resources to develop an innate sense of wellness, balance and inner freedom. These courses provide structure, accountability and huge support for you to build and establish a mindfulness practice in your life. Learn simple, science-backed practices that train your mind so you can live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life.
This 8-week course is ideal for anyone who is ready to take a deep dive into practice, and is especially helpful for people seeking relief from high levels of stress, illness or pain. The mental training synthesizes insights from three primary sources, neuroscience, positive psychology and wisdom traditions, into a simple, non-religious approach to training the mind. Backed by modern science and research, Pause trainings consistently yield a greater sense of wellbeing in participants, from joy and inner peace to resilience and stronger work performance.
The MBSR Spring Course is offered Sundays, May 5-June 23, 6:45-8:45pm and is also available Wednesdays, May 8-June 26, 7-9pm. Both groups will join for an all-day retreat on Sat. June 15.
Want to learn more before you jump in? Chat with the instructor, schedule a free 15 minute phone visit with Ryan to discuss if this course is right for you. Phone; 503-343-4831; email: Register: Pause Meditation Studio, 213 SW Ash St #209, Portland.

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Help Chewy walk again…as a tri-paw

Posted on 28 April 2019 by Douglas Merrow

Chewy is a 3 year old mastiff/lab mix who loves to spend time with his family and in nature. He is full of energy, love, affection and kindness. He came through the second chance program as he is a big boy and was not getting adopted due to his size and people’s worry he would be an aggressive dog…although, nothing could be further from the truth. He is the kindest, most resilient, most joyful being his family knows. They wrote a song for him about how he is such a sweet big boy who bounces around the house, with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

Chewy recently was hit by a car and his leg could not be saved so the tough decision had to be made to amputate his right front leg. He is a young, strong and healthy boy full of life, though he is also a big boy who will need time, patience and support living life on 3 legs. The costs of his trip to the ER to help manage his pain, the surgery to remove his leg and rehabilitation and recovery supports and supplies are adding up.

His mommas are both social workers and have limited resources to finance his road to recovery, though they love him soooo much and want to be able to help him live a healthy, happy, lively quality of life. They chose not to have children to dedicate their lives to rescuing dogs…the dogs are their children. Any support and assistance you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Every little bit helps. Thanks for your consideration, thoughts and care!!

You can help here:

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CBD Hemp Store Opens New Location in Beaverton.

Posted on 28 April 2019 by Douglas Merrow

The CBD Hemp Store is family owned and aims to be the friendliest, honest CBD store that provides the best customer service while being proud to sell CBD products that are safe, lab tested and made in the USA. CBD Hemp store is not a marijuana dispensary; they are a retail CBD boutique, online store and wholesaler. All four Portland area stores carry hemp-based CBD products, including CBD oil, tinctures, edibles, lotions, vapes, pet treats, pet tinctures…and much more!

Hemp Oil supports a healthy lifestyle by helping to manage pain, reduce inflammation, maintain healthy joints and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It is important to note that CBD Hemp Oil products are, by FDA guidelines, treated as food supplements. CBD is a naturally occurring compound that is non-toxic, like a vitamin, legal in all 50 states and does not get you high.

You can find CBD Hemp Stores online at and the following locations:

1523 SE Morrison St, Portland, (Buckman Neighborhood) Phone: 503-206-4060

7384 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, (Sellwood Neighborhood) Phone: 503-206-8242

230 E Main St Ste A, Hillsboro, (Downtown Hillsboro) Phone: 971-228-8499

10020 SW Canyon Rd, Beaverton, Phone: 503-208-2623

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NLP Practitioner Certification Training

Posted on 28 April 2019 by Douglas Merrow

We all have the ability to empower ourselves. Sometimes we get stuck, and we don’t have to stay stuck. Ask yourself… Are you in control of your thoughts and emotions? Are you able to easily change a habit or incorporate a new one? How do you talk to yourself about your goals, dreams and habits?

Often described as a user manual for your conscious and unconscious mind, the scientifically-proven techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) provide techniques to reprogram your mind for success. Utilize the same tools super successful people such as Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey and Pharrell Williams use to bring effective changes in every aspect of life.

A more EMPOWERED you!

Join the Empowerment Partnership with Dr. Matt James for an Integrative NLP Practitioner Certification Training in the Portland area May 2-5 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Portland City Center. This experiential program provides proven techniques to communicate more effectively, build rapport easily, release limiting thoughts and negative behaviors, overcome unwanted habits such as procrastination, lack of motivation, depression and phobias.

Only $144 to attend this life-changing four-day training with Promo Code NATURAL.

For more information and to register, visit, call 800-800-MIND (6463) or email

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Daily Walks Make Kids Healthier

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Douglas Merrow

Thanks to a program called The Daily Mile, Scottish schoolchildren have shown improvements in their fitness and body composition, researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Sterling report. Started by a teacher in 2012, the initiative encourages children to run, jog or walk around their school grounds during a 15-minute recess from classes in addition to normal activity and physical education lessons.

For the study, 391 pupils between 4 and 12 years old wore accelerometers to record their activity and were checked for body fat and overall fitness. Compared to a control group, they increased their physical activity by 9.1 minutes a day, lowered sedentary time by 18.2 minutes, ran 42 yards farther and significantly lowered their body fat.

“[The study] suggests that The Daily Mile is a worthwhile intervention to introduce in schools, and that it should be considered for inclusion in government policy, both at home and abroad,” says study author Colin Moran, Ph.D.
To date, the Scottish Government has extended it to half of the country’s primary schools, plus nurseries, colleges, universities and businesses. The Daily Mile Foundation reports that 3,600 schools in 35 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, the Netherlands and the U.S., have embraced the program.

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The Science of Self-Compassion

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Douglas Merrow

 by Deb Rodney

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education in a 2014
study showed that self-compassion is
an important resilience tool. It gives us strength in difficult times, the ability to learn from mistakes, and to re-bound with a greater zest for life.

The research suggests that self-compassion is a far superior alternative than trying to be perfect, work harder, compete with others for approval or resist making mistakes.

Here are some of the findings: 

• When our self-worth depends on out-competing others, we become more insecure, anxious, and self-critical.
• When we fear making mistakes we feel anxiety if criticized and become defensive.
• In competition, people see others as obstacles to overcome, which separates us from them.
• Self-criticism and competition get in the way of our primary goal to belong and be loved.

On the other hand:

• Self-kindness reinforces the understanding that we are intrinsically deserving of care and concern just like everybody else.
• Self-compassion helps us understand that making mistakes is intrinsic to being human and that they are a normal part of everybody’s life.
• Self-reflection with kindness is likely to improve one’s performance after failure.
• When one remains calm in the face of failure, rejection or criticism, people experience a higher sense of well-being and are more productive.
• Meditation has been shown to loosen the grip of self-critical thoughts and emotions.

Health Benefits:

Self-compassion can activate our biological nurturance and natural soothing systems, which leads to greater feelings of well-being. Conversely, harsh self-criticism activates our sympathetic nervous system and elevates stress hormones.
So, those who have more compassion for themselves and their mistakes are less at risk for anxiety and depression.

Deb Rodney has spent her career writing about change, empowerment and resilience. Sometimes she hosts soirees or leads workshops. Please contact her at with your thoughts and comments. They would be gratefully appreciated.

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What if Love Powers The Universe?

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Douglas Merrow

By Deb Rodney

What if it is LOVE that powers the universe with an energy that sustains and nourishes everything? I think it’s what the new physicists are struggling to describe with different words because the word “love” has been cheapened, diluted and stuffed into syrupy cards, fairy tale romances and television commercials. And in our world of logic and measurement, the word “love” is just not substantial enough.

What if LOVE is a force like gravity or the wind? What if it keeps the planet spinning and causes birds and butterflies to migrate? Love, as a creative impulse, ALWAYS leads us toward genuine connection, balance and wholeness. War, poverty, jealousy, fear, competition and division are expressions of the resistance to LOVE. This resistance creates suffering.

Love is operating at full power now as everything that resists LOVE is being called out from the shadows.

LOVE is a pulse that beats through everything we know. It is pointing out what we can’t see, so it can be healed and transformed. It is operating at full power now as everything that resists LOVE is being called out from the shadows. This is happening out in the world, and inside ourselves. Countries are dividing, relationships are failing. LOVE is diligently enticing us to observe, be curious, and awaken. Seen from this perspective, this is a time of love’s light revealing what is stuck and has been festering under a thick cover of darkness.

Hating or fearing  the darkness won’t make it go away. It only blocks the light.

LOVE keeps knocking on our door asking us to wake up. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy. There is so much blocking LOVE’s creative power that we have grown used to living without it. Our collective resistance to LOVE is greater than our ability to act as if LOVE is all that matters. LOVE keeps tapping, though. If we embrace the creative power of LOVE, we get new opportunities to see how and why we resist, miss or try to use love to feel superior.

Powerful stories about LOVE have been told by poets, musicians and freedom fighters. Atheists hid Jews. A Palestinian gave a kidney to an Israeli stranger. A lone man stood in front of a tank. Elephants in Africa are being protected from poachers. Weeds instead of lawns are being grown for bees. Women are leaving men who power over them. LOVE is being expressed in many ways. Sometimes at great risk. But what is more important to defend than LOVE?

The point of being human is to get better at LOVE.

The point of being human is to get better at LOVE. It isn’t one-size fits all. Everyone is capable given their ability to choose either to wake up to what LOVE is showing them (no matter how painful), or to be dulled by denial and resistance. Welcome the light of LOVE as it pierces the darkness. What has been hiding in ourselves and in the world, is being revealed with big, red, blinking lights.

We can’t heal what we can’t see. Take full advantage of this powerful opportunity to witness and awaken to LOVE, as a vital force that powers cells, stars, beauty, gravity and the human heart.

Take full advantage of this powerful opportunity to witness and awaken to LOVE, as a vital force that powers cells, stars, beauty, gravity and the human heart.



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Silver Thread and Golden Opportunities – 25 Years of Natural Awakenings

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Douglas Merrow

by Jan Hollingsworth

The year was 1994. America Online opened the first gateway to the World Wide Web; Jeff Bezos founded the fledgling behemoth Amazon; and Deepak Chopra installed the first bricks on his path to enlightenment with the publication of his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams.

Perhaps not coincidentally, genetically engineered tomatoes entered the U.S. food supply that year, spawning a GMO food revolution that transcended the age-old debate between pesticides and organics. Frankenfoods, as they are called, were the leading edge of a cultural awakening.

Meanwhile, in the sleepy, sundrenched beach town of Naples, Florida, Sharon Bruckman—a dreamer and entrepreneur in her own right—was quietly laying the foundation for what would become the largest franchise publishing network in the natural health industry: Natural Awakenings magazine. “America’s natural wellness and sustainability movements were in their infancy when we started,” says Bruckman. “Now the seeds that were planted in fertile soil are benefiting people nationwide, as well as throughout our precious planet.”

Woven from the threads of grit, inspiration and perhaps serendipity, the magazine was a tapestry of health, healing and mindfulness. Its successful Naples debut was quickly followed by a second edition in Sarasota.

By 1999, it was clear that Americans had a voracious appetite for well-researched, practical information about the latest natural approaches to nutrition, fitness, personal growth and sustainable living.

The Natural Awakenings franchise was born that year, conceived as a local magazine in many different communities—now 74 markets in the U.S.—anchored by a national editorial team that explores and anticipates the latest trends in mind, body and spirit. Readership of the print magazines is 2.8-million strong, plus a broad online and digital reach.

Bruckman’s holistic-minded passion for health, wellness and integrative therapies has awakened in like-minded entrepreneurs a desire to embrace her mission. As Paul Chen, publisher of the Atlanta franchise puts it: “Awakenings of the heart speak to our desire for deeper and stronger personal relationships. Awakenings of the mind speak to our desire to learn more, faster, and optimize our mental capacities. Awakenings of the soul speak to our desire to develop greater love and compassion for all living beings equally and an increasing understanding of and connection with whatever it is we believe lies beyond our small, individual human selves.”

The magazine, in turn, has awakened its readers to new ways of connecting both with their communities and each other. Natural Awakenings has become a go-to guide for local community events, products and practitioners in all of its markets.

“We love to spread light,” says Bruckman. “Natural Awakenings has played a significant role in fueling the wellness revolution I saw emerging all those years ago, propelled by the kindred spirits who read, advertise and contribute to our magazines. Our publishers are torchbearers aligned with the vision of a healthier world and the mission to facilitate that transformation.”

During a lifetime of holistic-minded entrepreneurship, Bruckman, a constant gardener, continues to personally tend each new crop of ideas that germinate on the pages of her magazines which bear the imprint, “Healthy Living, Healthy Planet.”

By identifying and responding to a simple need in one community, she has tapped into a universal spirit that exceeded her wildest expectations. “If you have the heart, vision and enthusiasm to help make the world a better place, a greater force just might step in to enable success beyond anything you imagined. The real ‘natural awakening’ is about each of us waking up to who we truly are and the kind of world we can create together.”

We can’t always be shaded by the trees that we grow, yet after 25 years, the seeds Bruckman planted have branched across a nation and borne fruit that will make a difference in countless lives for many years to come.

It is my honor to join her on this journey as Natural Awakenings celebrates its silver anniversary.

Jan Hollingsworth is the national editor of Natural Awakenings magazine.

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Autumn Tips – Spice it UP!

Posted on 20 November 2018 by Douglas Merrow

By Susan Bass, Founder of the Sarasvati Institute of Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy and the Sarasvati Mission.

In Ayurveda, our spice cabinet is our medicine cabinet. Eating food cooked with seasonal spices helps to balance the elements in our body and deliver a powerful punch of nature’s medicine. In autumn it is often the elements of ether and air (vata) that are increased. If they are not balanced with diet and lifestyle choices then our tissues can become cold, rough and dry. Knowing how to use nature’s medicine cabinet in the whole food form of spices to keep one’s body in balance is an ART.

Where do you start? Follow your nose!

My nose tells me what my body wants and needs. Granted, I have spent years doing daily breathing practices and the neti pot to heal my nasal passages, so at this point my nose is a fine-tuned instrument that guides my self-healing process. I grew up completely unable to breathe through my nose as I was allergic to a long list of foods that are prevalent in the SAD (Standard American Diet). But after years of practicing Ayurvedic principles for the purpose of creating my own health, with a heavy focus on digestion and detoxification, I have arrived in my adulthood without allergies and able to breathe fully through my nose. Being able to breathe easily through the nose has a plethora of health benefits, but that is for another day.

Right now the topic is; how to balance one’s body in autumn with food. Spice it up!

What would autumn be without Cinnamon? Warm baked apples, squash and pumpkins become so healthy and delicious with Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon (aka Sri Lankan Cinnamon) is the ONLY true Cinnamon. In Ayurveda we belief that a person is as old as their digestive system and it just so happens that one of the best ways to stimulate your digestive fire is by eating a baked apple with ghee and fresh grated cinnamon with breakfast (see recipe below).

Ceylon Cinnamon is highly regarded as an anti-oxidant that supports healthy blood sugar levels. It has a sweet and pungent taste and is warming to the digestive system. The Vedic texts say that Cinnamon destroys all deep cold in the body. Cinnamon is said to be useful for cold hands and feet as it increases circulation in the joint space. Cinnamon increases circulation everywhere, especially in the lungs. Cinnamon pairs very well two other POWERHOUSE spices; Ginger and Turmeric.

Homage to Ginger! Ginger is known worldwide as a wide spectrum tonic and remedy. Ginger’s benefits include improving digestion, circulation and immunity while reducing inflammation and nausea. Ginger, when eaten fresh initially has a warming effect on digestion but the post digestive effect is sweet. Fresh ginger breaks up congestion and burns ama (toxins). If ginger is taken dried then it has a heating effect during the entire digestive process. So which one you choose depends on whether or not you are dealing with excess heat. I add fresh ginger to teas, juices and pretty much any vegetable dish. See fresh ginger tea recipe below.

We can’t mention powerhouse spices without mentioning Turmeric. Turmeric is said to invigorate and move the blood, especially in the brain, as well as stimulate blood formation. A small dose is said to clean the liver and blood. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties. Use it in broths, teas, curry dishes and to spice up vegetables. It is important to note that Turmeric is not absorbed well unless taken with a healthy oil (ghee or coconut oil are my favorites). The Cork Cancer Research Centre’s test results show that turmeric can kill gullet (throat) cancer cells in 24 hours. India has one of the lowest rates of gullet (throat) cancer in the world. Could it be due to their daily intake of Turmeric? Many health professionals recommend taking the standardized extract of Turmeric root, often called Curcuminoids, to increase the health benefits of Turmeric. But it must be taken with fat to be able to be metabolized by the body properly.  Ghee is our first choice in Ayurveda as it has a 96% absorption rate, higher than any other healthy fat.

Whichever spice you choose, remember to let your nose guide the way!
Your nose knows!  (I wonder if it is a coincidence that nose and knows sound exactly the same. I don’t believe in coincidences!)

Simple Autumn Spice Recipes

Baked Apple with Cinnamon and Ghee
Half and core a whole apple (do not peel), put a little ghee and fresh grated Ceylon Cinnamon on top. Bake for 20 minutes on 350 degrees. This is a great way to kindle your digestive fire!

Ginger-Turmeric Tea – 1 qt. of purified water + 15 ¼-inch slices of fresh ginger root + 1 ½ tsp. of dried turmeric powder + A pinch fresh ground black pepper + ½ tsp. of raw honey added to each cup you drink (optional).  Place the turmeric, ginger and water together in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain. The tea will last for up to four days stored in the refrigerator. It is best to drink the tea hot or at room temperature. (Use the stove, not microwave, to reheat.) Add honey as needed, after liquid has cooled down to drinking temperature.

Some other fabulous Autumn Spices are; Cumin, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Garlic and Saffron.

Susan Bass, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner #23853029

Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500

(857) 919 2866


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