Two years of blogging, and happy first birthday, wellbodymindheartspirit!

Two years ago today, I posted my first blog post on this blog. Back then, this blog was called The Zafu Report. After the first year, I expanded its mission and changed the name to The Well: bodymindheartspirit. The blog has evolved as I have evolved, and it’s been a great journey of learning by doing.

I am grateful to WordPress for providing templates and widgets that make it look good and take the skill and decision-making that goes with that out of my hands, freeing me up to write.

I thought I’d celebrate by listing the most viewed posts and thanking all of you who have connected. This, by the way, is the 503rd post I’ve published, and the blog has now received 26,847 views with 156 followers. My biggest lesson: persistence pays off.

  1. Home Page has gotten 4,493 views. Of course, the home page changes with each new post, so if you click a link that takes you to the blog, Home Page is where you land.
  2. Update on my Spartan trailer has received 1,844 views and the second most comments. A lot of people using search engines to find information about Spartan trailers end up here. (“spartan trailer,” “spartan trailer for sale,” “spartan carousel,” and “spartan trailers” are among the top 10 search engine terms to steer viewers to this blog.) I feel kind of badly for them because this is not a blog about Spartans. I happen to have purchased, transported, remodeled, and moved into a Spartan Carousel in the past year, and it’s definitely part of my lifestyle redesign to a more sustainable, less stressful way of life. In that way, it fits into my main topic of wellness, and after some internal debate, I decided to post about it here. Some Spartan-appreciating readers have lingered, commented, and/or checked out vintage or, and I’ve made a few new friends whose interests jive with mine in a broader way. This particular post was added in April 2011 when I had purchased the trailer but was still awaiting title and delivery.
  3. Trauma releasing exercises has gotten 1,132 views. This post in May 2010 was written when I first revealed that I’d been experimenting with them. I’ve written a lot of posts since then about both trauma releasing exercises and shaking medicine, but this one has gotten the most views, mostly via search engines, because of the simple title.
  4. More yoga tattoos! has been viewed 566 times. That post actually links to Alison Hinks’ blog post of yoga tattoos. She’s awesome with the visuals! The internet must have many users who are hungry for tattoos relating to Asian spirituality, since “yoga tattoos,” “yoga tattoo,” and “buddha tattoo” are also among the top 10 search terms that landed viewers here. I have a yoga tattoo myself, a small OM.
  5. About me is actually a page, not a post. It’s received 500 views. I actually revise that page every so often because how I describe myself changes and will continue to change. Good for you for coming back. This page has gotten a few comments, too.
  6. Comparing trauma release and shaking medicine videos has gotten 336 views, and I’m pleased to have posted it. My exploration of these healing modalities included locating videos of each online and sharing. Curious viewers can see each modality in action.
  7. Book review: Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson is the next most viewed blog post, at 326 views. I enjoyed reading this book and writing this review. I especially liked the appendix to the book that lists supplements for optimal brain health, written by Rick Hanson’s wife, an acupuncturist. I wrote about that in Buddha’s Brain: Supplements for brain health (236 views). I take them.
  8. The left brain right brain crossover has received 322 views. That seems surprising for an anatomy topic, but I guess a lot of curious brain geeks out there are wondering about this too. I got a few comments, and it was reassuring that one reader told me, “just to let you know that you could study this for years and it would still remain an enigma. such is the complexity of the human brain – even at a macroscopic level!”
  9. Spartan Carousel has arrived! got 319 views. That was posted in late June of 2011, the day after it arrived from southeast Washington.  It has some photos, and it’s received more comments than any other post. Thank you for sharing my joyous relief at its arrival!
  10. The tenth most viewed post is Fantastic prehistoric cave art movie, posted May 17, 2011, with 307 views. I loved that film by Werner Erhardt. This post was written before I saw the movie. It included online research I did in advance of seeing it. Okay, I know I’m geeky like that! My actual review, Movie review: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, was the 20th most viewed blog post.

So there you have it, the most viewed posts in two years of blogging. Thank you for reading.

Movie review: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

On Saturday, I got to see The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which I posted about earlier (see Fantastic prehistoric cave art movie).

I enjoyed Werner Herzog’s narration in English with a soft German accent, completely understandable. He’s so earnest, it’s easy to make fun of him, but when you realize he’s the only filmmaker that’s been allowed to film the oldest known art, the precautions they had to take, his love for cave art since he was a child, and what an awe-inspiring experience this must have been, and you understand and forgive him. He’s a treasure of a filmmaker.

The art is pretty remarkable.

The “supporting cast” (the archeologists and other experts who shared their insights) was good and interesting. One man dressed in clothing made of reindeer hides is the type of colorful character that Herzog loves to include in his documentaries.

A young archeologist, Julien Monnet, stood out for helping Herzog give the film its title. This young scientist with a ponytail (formerly a circus juggler and unicyclist) spoke about his initial response to the cave. He said that when he first went into the cave to do scientific work, he was dreaming every night of lions — of real lions and of paintings of lions (they are depicted multiple times in the cave).

In his dreams, the lions weren’t attacking him, they were being peaceful, but their presence in his dreams was quite powerful.

Being exposed to the cave art was such an emotional shock, after five days, he had to stop going in. He needed time to absorb the experience. The cave art touched something deep.

Here’s a link to a clip of Herzog interviewing him from the film.

That was a profound response to this art, the kind of experience that can reorder your map of the world and who you think you are, and perhaps why Herzog chose to title the film The Cave of Forgotten Dreams. There is something dreamlike about seeing these fresh, lively images intact inside a cave and realizing they are over 30,000 years old.

Watching this film feels like rooting around in your forgotten ancestral memories. Something ancient becomes very, very fresh and new.

The film offers an opportunity for the collective unconscious to become a bit more mindful, for us to reflect on our evolution and deeply appreciate the lives of our forebears from the time before recorded history. 

We can now connect to these unknown people because they have become more known to us.

Thank you, Werner Herzog, and thank you, French authorities who decided to use extreme preservation methods yet allowed this film to be made.

In a postscript at the end, Herzog shows us a biosphere heated with water from a nuclear power plant 20 miles away from Chauvet Cave. The biosphere has been especially hospitable to alligators, and some of them are albinos. The camera lingers on images of albino alligators.

At first, it seemed like a rambling nonsequitur to include this in a film about prehistoric cave art, but I had a sense that Herzog was affected by the images of these albino alligators in a nuclear-heated biosphere in the same way the pony-tailed archeologist was affected by the images of lions in the cave.

The proximity of the ‘gators to the lions, the biosphere to the cave, a nuclear power plant to ancient drawings of animals, somehow stretch the boundary of what we think of as possible — and we humans played a role in the creation of both environments. The juxtaposition of the new and the old, the natural and the unnatural, the images and the collapse of time in this film and in our psyches is deeply powerful and disturbing, like the best art.

Do we humans like who we’ve become?

I liked it when Herzog’s cameras lingered on the art. The 3-D is subtle. There are no tricks that make you jump. Instead, the curves of the cave’s walls and features are made more visible. It adds life and depth to the imagery.

The perspective of seeing the beautiful wild countryside in southern France, with pockets of vineyards, massive geological formations, and deep rivers, was also integral to the beauty of this film.

The musical soundtrack seemed very well-suited for the film, although I might have wished for more silence at times. The soundtrack is due to be released on October 11, 2011.