Check out The Center for Healthy Minds

In my recent presentation, Investigating the Power of Silence, at Austin’s Free Day of NLP, I drew on some research done by the Center for Healthy Minds.

I love that name! And I just got on their mailing list.

You may have heard of it. It’s located at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is run by Dr. Richard Davidson, who was encouraged by the Dalai Lama in 1992 to study the brains of Tibetan yogis. Dozens of monks have flown into Madison over the years, been hooked up with caps of electrodes for EEGs to study their brainwaves and undergone fMRI to see where the brain is most active during meditation, rest, and tasks. These are the “professional” meditators with over 12,000 hours of practice.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 10.43.54 AMThe research I mentioned in my presentation was done on the Tibetan yogi with the most meditation experience they’ve studied so far, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who’s clocked an astounding 62,000 hours of meditation (and looks like he’s about 30 years old but is actually 43 in 2018).

Here’s the link to the article, and here’s a photo of the rinpoche.

Yongey Mingyur became a wandering monk for four years, leaving behind his life as a prominent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, and then resuming it with new perspective. His story includes overcoming panic attacks as a young teenager. Read more here. To find out about his experience wandering, read this.

The Center for Healthy Minds has also improved the rigor of the science behind studies of meditation, holding it to high standards including classifying meditators as beginning, long-term, and professional and distinguishing between types of meditation.

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A Secret Grave, an online serial murder mystery

I have a friend, Nicole Schindler-Jeffords, who is fabulously talented and creative. She is an artist who paints portraits in oil. She is also a published novelist and a born storyteller. She has many circles of friends. I’ve known her for at least a decade through the Austin ecstatic dance community.

Here’s are two of Nicky’s self-portraits:

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Self, by Nicole Jeffords

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New video of Tom Best

I found an audio file on my iPhone this morning from April 17, 2011, that I didn’t know I had. What a sweet and unexpected joy it was to hear the voice of Tom Best leading a group of evolutionary NLPers on a hucha-clearing breath work journey, so much sweeter since Tom died the following April. (At least I think it’s been a little over two years since he passed.)

Enjoy this journey of lightening up the heavy events in your life!

Beautiful movements: murmuration, Northern lights, primary respiration

When birds do this, it’s called a murmuration, and it’s a wonder of nature.

 

Love this beautiful video below of the Northern lights.

In biodynamic craniosacral therapy sessions, we get in touch with movements like these within and around the human body. Called primary respiration, the long tide, or the breath of life, these are the movements of the fluid body (emotional body) healing itself according to its own agenda, called the inherent treatment plan.

It arises from stillness and silence.

Experiencing this in your body is a mysterious, beautiful miracle of nature.

My experience with functional movement

If you’ve friended me on Facebook, you might be aware that I’ve been taking classes in functional movement since August, so four months now. I thought I’d post something  about what it is, what I’ve been doing, and my results.

What is functional movement?

Functional movement refers to fitness and the movements we use in everyday life. As opposed to yoga, for instance. Continue reading

This is water.

Here’s a video made about a  commencement speech, about the banality that is the water we swim in in our modern daily lives, and where our freedom truly lies.

The capital T Truth is about life before death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness, awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over, “This is water. This is water.”

Welcome, reader from Sao Tome and Principe

I just checked on my blog stats and noticed that someone in Sao Tome and Principe had looked at my blog yesterday. I had heard of it before and knew of it as a very tiny nation, but I wasn’t sure where it was.

I marvel at the reach of the Internet. Chances are I will never go there or meet someone in person from there, but there is now a connection between me, in Austin, Texas, USA, and some unknown person hailing from Sao Tome and Principe. Who could ever have guessed?

By hovering over the name, the map on the blog stats page showed that it’s a tiny island off the west coast of Africa. So of course I had to look up this exotic, enchanting place (where someone has read at least one of my blog posts!) in Wikipedia…

saotomemapIt’s actually a group of islands. Sao Tome and Principe are the two main islands formed from an extinct volcanic mountain range. (I bet the geology is fascinating. I love tropical volcanic islands.) This is the second-smallest African nation, after Seychelles.

The largest island was discovered by Portuguese explorers on the feast day of St. Thomas in 1471, hence the name (Sao Tome is St. Thomas in Portuguese.) The islands were uninhabited, and the Portuguese explorers decided they would make a good base for trade with the mainland.

The volcanic soil was good for growing sugar. Sadly, they imported slaves to work on the sugar plantations (not enchanting), but it became Africa’s largest exporter of sugar…until the Caribbean islands began outproducing it.

In the 19th century, coffee and cocoa were introduced. At one time it was the world’s largest producer of cocoa, still its most important crop. The landowners employed slaves, both legally and later illegally, and its history was marked by labor unrest and riots.

The islands became independent of Portugal in 1975 and is now a democracy.

saotomepeakAnyway, these islands have mountains as high as 6,000 feet! Here’s a photo of one. Yes, it is exotic with fascinating geology! Also tropical, with the average temperature of 80 degrees F. and a rainy season.

About 164,000 people live there, including someone who read a blog post here! (Hello there!)

Demographically it is also fascinating. Populated by mixed blood descendants of the Portuguese colonists and African slaves, there is also a group said to descend from African slaves shipwrecked in 1540 (!) who earn their living from fishing, as well as descendants of freed slaves, contract laborers from the African mainland, Portuguese and Sephardic Jews, and Chinese.

Cesaria Evora’s lovely song Sodade is about longing to return home to Sao Tome.

Beautiful video of the Earth’s ocean currents

Love this video produced by NASA of our planet’s ocean currents.

The man who taught the biodynamic craniosacral therapy training I took last week shared this. We have currents inside and all around us.

Video: Les Miserables goes gluten-free. Hilarious!

When Marius, Cosette, and Epipen are invited to an allergy-friendly party at the house of Jean Valjean, each must create a dish absent of all possible allergens.

I know how they feel sometimes.

Inspirational video about the power of belief, yoga, and health

I love this video about Arthur, a disabled Gulf war vet who felt hopeless and got fat, who was turned down by many yoga teachers. Then he met the manly yoga teacher Diamond Dallas Page, who asked himself:

How am I gonna help that guy?

That’s all it takes from the teacher. Arthur was willing to make an effort and fail:

Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I can’t do it some day.

And that’s all it takes from the student.

I hope it inspires your practice, whether it’s yoga or commitment to any path toward health.