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31 Aug

Rich Brother, Rich Sister

Robert Kiyosaki is well known for his “Rich Dad” series of best-selling books.  Robert is an expert in money and finance, and his sister, Emi, is a Buddhist nun, the Venerable Tenzin Kacho ordained by the Dalai Lama.  The two grew up in Hawaii with their family, and their lives took very different turns when Robert went off to the Vietnam War, and Emi went to study Buddhism in India.  Together they have written a wonderful book that looks as the spiritual side of wealth.  What makes us rich, and what makes life meaningful?  How do we define “work?”  Simplicity, and the “want not/stress not” philosophy are very important in this discussion.  We need to develop healthy habits in every area of our lives.  We need
to understand that change comes from within.  The Buddha said: “Be a light unto yourself.”  Rich Brother, Rich Sister: Two Different Paths to God, Money and Happiness is a wonderful book.

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31 Aug


Kaizen is the Japanese word for “improvement.”  It is a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.  Kaizen emphasizes small steps – it is a gradual, and continuous, way to reach a goal.  It is also a daily activity, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement.  When done correctly, kaizen humanizes the workplace and eliminates overly hard work – it teaches us how to perform scientifically, systematically, and to learn to spot and eliminate waste in the
process.  The culture of continual, aligned small improvements and standardizations yields large results in the
form of compound productivity.  The kaizen methodology includes setting standards, then making changes and
monitoring results, and then making adjustments.  This is a system that can be used individually, for self-improvement, or on a large scale in an environment such as a corporation.


One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

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31 Aug

Watsu and Tantsu

What is Watsu?  It’s a form of water therapy originated by Harold Dull.  Watsu is effective
with chronic pain and a wide range of conditions.  People who have used Watsu say that they have a greater sense of unity between different parts of their being.  In addition to the physical benefits derived from the movements and stretches warm water facilitates, Watsu’s power to reduce stress underlies both its effectiveness and those conditions in which stress is implicated.  Watsu’s popularity is growing among the general public, and it is welcomed as a primary modality in rehabilitation by Aquatic Therapists.  With Watsu, a therapist holds someone in the water level with the heart.  If you don’t have access to a pool, you can explore Tantsu.  Tantsu brings Watsu’s nurturing holding, connection to inner movement and stretching back on land.  Tantsu is whole body movement and stretching.  It is a new way to access and share our creative joy in the interplay of breath, movement and stillness.


Watsu: Freeing the Body in Water

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31 Aug

Eat This, Not That

In the United States we spend more than $400 billion a year eating out.  That’s a lot of money going towards food, and many times, unnecessary calories! In the book “Eat This, Not That” the authors look at various items at a number of popular restaurants and they break down the nutritional information so that we know exactly what we are eating. They also give us suggestions for healthier alternatives at home or on the road. When we have this information, we can make better choices for ourselves by ordering lower calorie, lower sodium, and more vitamin-packed meals wherever we go. My hubby tested this out by switching from one breakfast cereal to another that the book recommended. He lost 2 pounds in one week with no
other changes in his diet! This book certainly gives us something to think about, and practical advice to go with it.

Eat This, Not That

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31 Aug

The Enneagram

The Enneagram is a system of personality analysis. 
Basically, in this system there are nine different personality types.  The Enneagram figure looks like a circle, with 9 numbered points around the circumference, and lines connecting various numbers inside the circle.  The Enneagram philosophy is that we are all born with a dominant type corresponding with one of these numbers.  The numbers themselves are neutral, and their ranking is not significant. 
Each type is distinct and has its own unique assets and liabilities.  We can use a questionnaire to determine our type, and then use the Enneagram figure to further describe ourselves and our personality, and how we relate to the other types.  The 9 types are: The Reformer, The Helper, The Achiever, The Individualist, The Investigator, The Loyalist, The Enthusiast, The Challenger, and The Peacemaker.


The Enneagram Made Easy

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31 Aug

Emotions and Panic Attacks

Here’s a new word for you: alexithymia, the inability to identify, understand and express emotions.  A recent study from the University of Naples in Italy found that those who have alexithymia may be more susceptible
to panic attacks.  There is a connection between emotional processing and panic attacks.  We need to learn to deal with our emotional issues, and express our emotions appropriately, or it is likely that the problems will present themselves in some way in our body – and a panic attack is just one example of this.  A panic attack is a sudden episode of terror, often accompanied by rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness, faintness and sweating.  After having a few attacks, we can begin to fear the episodes themselves.  This can leave us cutting back on activities and even becoming housebound.  Based on this study, we now know that one key to preventing panic attacks is to identify and work through emotional issues that are being stuffed inside.


The New Feminine Brain: Developing Your Intuitive Genius

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31 Aug

Love and Personality Types

I’ve always been interested in the science of compatibility.  I loved reading Linda Goodman’s books, and I loved researching and writing about Ayurveda and relationships for “What’s Your Dosha, Baby?”  I recently came upon a new book written by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and evolutionary biologist.  It’s called “Why Him?  Why Her?  Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type.”  Fisher used MRIs, studies, and molecular genetics to define four basic temperament types: Explorers, Builders, Directors and Negotiators.  She writes that our primary type “steers us toward specific romantic partners.  Our biological nature whispers constantly within us to influence who we love.” 

-Explorers have high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, they take risks, are flexible and energetic,
spontaneous and easily bored.  Explorers are drawn to other explorers.

-Builders have high levels of serotonin.  They are calm, managerial, loyal, orderly, and conscientious.  Builders are drawn to other builders.

-Directors have high levels of testosterone.  They are competitive, self-disciplined, good with systems, and focused.  They are drawn to negotiators.

-Negotiators have high levels of estrogen and oxytocin.  They are people-people, trusting, broad-minded, empathic, and idealistic.  They are drawn to directors.


Why Him? Why Her?

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31 Aug

The Sand Mandala

The sand mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and also destruction of mandalas made from colored sand.  In the ritual, a group of monks create an elaborate and very intricately designed piece of art using colored sand.  The artwork holds much symbolism, and is geometrically laid out in detail.  It can take days, and even weeks to build the mandala, as each monk uses special tools to pour the sand in just the right way to create the design.  They start from the center outward, and usually work in shifts around the clock.  They work quietly, which much concentration and attention.  It is quite intense, and absolutely beautiful with all of the colors.


Once the mandala is complete it is surrounded by candles, and there is often chanting performed around it.  This is when we stand in awe at the beauty of this mandala, when we take in its beauty, and express gratitude for having witnessed it.  And then, in a very ritualistic ceremony, one monk stands and sweeps the mandala away.  The design is gone, the colors merge, and we are left with a pile of sand.  The destruction of the mandala is done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life.  It is a reminder to us to appreciate and give gratitude for what is before us while it is there.  It is a symbol of the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.


The sand is swept up and placed in an urn.  Half of the sand is distributed to those watching the closing ceremony. The other half is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited.  The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there is spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  So although the mandala, in all of its glory, is no longer physically present, it still serves a very important


A Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols

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31 Aug

Just Like My Child

More and more we are learning that we live in a global community.  We see how much what happens in other communities, and other countries, has an affect on our own lives.  And because of the internet and ease of travel, it’s easier for us to reach out and help people around the world.  I recently met Vivian Glyck, an amazing woman who has made a difference by following her vision.  She says that after becoming a mother, she developed “a keen sense that the world is so small, it is really just one community, and I realized that taking care of oneself means heeding one’s calling – without hesitation or deliberation.”  Vivian’s calling is helping children in Uganda. 

Why?  Because 25 million Africans, many of whom are children, are infected with the HIV virus.  Every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies of malaria.  12 million children are already orphaned by AIDS.  Vivian travels to Africa and works with children personally, and she says they are “just like my child” which is why she named her organization “Just Like My Child.”  The mission is to alleviate the suffering of women, children, and families in rural Uganda by empowering communities to create their own long-term solutions to
healthcare, education, and microenterprise.  Read more about Vivian’s story at: justlikemychild.org

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31 Aug

Happiness is Contagious

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal shows that happiness is contagious among social networks.  This is true whether the network is in person or online!  It’s a chain reaction of happiness that has a positive impact on the people around us.  In short, if your friend is happy, you are more likely to be happy, at least 15% more likely.  If a friend of a friend is happy, then you are 10% more likely to be happy.  If a friend of a friend of a friend is happy, then you are 6% more likely to catch that happiness.  Similar studies have found that social ties also affect your habits.  When someone quits smoking cigarettes, for example, a friend of theirs has a 36% more likely chance of quitting as well.  It is interesting to note how much of an influence we have on other people, even if we don’t directly see it.  We can literally radiate happiness, and like sunshine share that warmth with the world.


Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

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