Category Archives: Inner Nutrition

Inner Nutrition: What Camp Means to Me, by Christine Saari

Photograph by Christine Saari


It all began with a clearing in the woods cluttered with ramshackle buildings from a former homestead: the remains of a cabin, a leaning barn, a decaying pig sty and chicken coop. I was horrified to learn this was to be the site for our camp. Why would we want a camp to begin with when we lived amidst a beautiful landscape waiting to be explored? “I’ll never come here,” I said to my husband. If he wanted a camp, so be it. I did not!

Jon proceeded without me. One day he took me to the transformed site – the buildings were gone, the clearing pristine. Then he purchased a 100-year old log cabin which had brambles growing inside and no windows and doors. Again I was aghast. But Jon was undeterred. The building was taken apart, transferred and rebuilt. Trees were felled for replacement logs, windows cut, doors made, layers of wallpaper stripped off the cedar logs. Endless work, but I participated, helped lay the floor, chinked, found furniture, worked to make the place cozy.

The two-story cabin has been proudly standing in our clearing since 1994, over time joined by a two-seater outhouse bought from an aunt, a shed and sauna rescued from a pasture for cows who rubbed the dovetailed corners round. Finnish relatives equipped the smoke sauna with a hearth and benches, and a deck was added to the house.

Although I said I’d never come, I have grown to love our camp above the West Branch of the Whitefish River. Why? What does camp mean for me?

With a thirty-mile trip, it is close enough from home to come for just an evening in the summer or for an overnight stay. Of course, if we can we stay longer, but whatever the length of our visit, we return to town refreshed.

Thanks to the “primitive” nature of the place – no electricity, a spring in the woods, a wood stove, life there slows down immediately. We forget about the news, e-mail or phone connection. Instead we make sure the kerosene lamps are filled for the evening and that there is enough wood to stay warm. This is a place just to be. We cook simple meals, talk, write letters, read and play scrabble. We take time to take a nap, we go to bed early. In summer we take canoe rides on the river, in winter we ski. We watch the natural world around us: a wild turkey has lost a beautiful feather, irises are blooming on the shore, a heron flies overhead.

Although we are close to a road, we seem far away from civilization. I can sunbathe unobserved. There are berries and mushrooms and flowers to pick. The stars shine brightly at night, the moon lights up the clearing, fireflies glow in the dark. Because the area is small, we have gotten to know it intimately. Every time we come we see changes. The river swells from melting snow, spring leaves unfold, white trilliums cover the dark forest floor. Here we are aware of the annual cycle of growth and decay and of our place in this universe.

Aside from all that, at camp we are surrounded by our ancestors: the flour bin reminds us of Jon’s grandmother’s farm. Jon’s father brought the cuckoo clock from the war in Europe, and camp brings me back to my childhood, to the Austrian mountain farm without electricity and running water where I grew up. Here I am connected to the past and to nature. Here I feel whole.

Christine Saari, an Austrian immigrant,  is a writer and visual artist. She has published a book, Love and War at Stag Farm, The Story of Hirschengut, an Austrian Mountain Farm 1938-48. It tells the story of her family in Austria during WWII and its aftermath.

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2012 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Camp, Gifts from Nature, Inner Nutrition, Uncategorized

Inner Nutrition: Guffaws for Good

by Nicole Walton

When my mental meter is buried in red, digging a spiritual hole to China, I don’t reach for a wine glass and a bottle of white, or for high-powered aerodynamic sneakers that propel me over hill and dale.  I reach for the phone and dial the number of a friend who I know will make me laugh.  “Hey wench!” Sonya will answer, using her pet name for me, a moniker generated long ago in a now-forgotten but undoubtedly thigh-slapping conversation.  I smile and am on my way to feeling better.

Laughter nourishes me like nothing else (except maybe house special egg foo yung).  Aside from the fact that the act of laughing releases endorphins, diminishes the intensity of pain and lowers the level of stress hormones, it’s just plain fun.  Laughter breaks me loose from my intellectual bonds and springs me into a much lighter atmosphere where I can deal with my issues in a less bleak way.  It lets me know that life is good and should be enjoyed wherever and whenever possible, even when it seems no light can penetrate the fog.

A cousin of mine was involved in a terrible car crash when I was 13.  My mom and I headed downstate to help her family, and as I walked into her hospital room, I burst into tears.  She was in a coma and I didn’t know how to handle it.  As I was led into the visitor’s lounge to compose myself, an older woman sitting in one of the chairs looked up and saw my obvious upset.  “Hey there,” she said, very kindly.  “Those are some pretty boots you’re wearing.”  I looked down at my brown leather zip-up boots and thanked her.  “Where did you get them?” she asked.  When I said they were a Christmas gift she responded, “Oh!  So did you get one from your momma and one from your daddy?”  I laughed.  And I think that was the very first time I recognized the healing power of laughter.  A woman I’d never met before knew I needed to be taken out of my situation, just for a moment, so she made me laugh.  I was lifted up and out, carried away to a better place, enlightened.

Let’s face it: it’s just really hard to feel horrible when you’re guffawing, chortling, and chuckling.

I also get a big charge out of using humor to get a reaction out of others.  “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” Victor Borge said.  It breaks down barriers and creates the common ground upon which we meet in jovial sister- and brotherhood.  Our defenses drop and intimacy  is allowed to blossom.  I always feel more connected to the person who giggles at my jokes.

I have a feeling some people envision spiritual practice as being strict and serious.  I’d like to remind them that Jesus laughed.  Buddha laughed.  They knew that a good ole joyful hoot rejuvenates body and soul, creating greater balance within and allowing a greater flow of energy.  I always feel more open to the world in general when I laugh, much like a child.  And how do we enter the kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus?  Like little children.  Perhaps there’s much more of a connection between humor and spirituality than most people think.  I’d like to believe so.

So whenever my batteries need a jump, I just remember the film Monsters, Inc.  At the end, the monsters discover they get more power by collecting kids’ laughter instead of their screams.  As their energy cylinders are quickly filled with each belly laugh so are my own energy centers recharged and replenished, helping me live a more nourished and complete life.

Nicole Walton is a broadcaster, writer, and human companion to two intelligent and slightly pushy felines.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2011 – 2012


Filed under Inner Nutrition, Laughter, Nicole Walton

Attracting the Life of Your Dreams

by Diana Oman

In the fall of 2005, I discovered Abraham-Hicks and the Law of Attraction. (   As I listened to the teachings, something “clicked” inside me.  The teachings felt right and true for me.  It was as if I had truly found “food for my soul”…some kind of incredible “inner nutrition.”  It sparked new life inside me.  I now feast on this “food” daily.  As a result, my life has changed in positive ways beyond my wildest expectations!  I find more reasons to be hopeful and joyful.  More perceived “good” things happen to me than “bad” things.   I now expect things to work out well for me.  I’m in love with life!  And I found freedom!

Here is my inner nutrition menu (Zero calories!  Totally 100% organic ingredients!  Suggested serving: No limitations!

  • AppreciationEvery morning before opening my eyes and every evening before falling asleep, I do a “rampage of appreciation” for everything that I appreciate.  It’s simply a list of appreciative mental or verbal ramblings!
  •  ResponsibilityI believe that I create my life, including every little detail.  Everything in my current “reality” is simply a manifested indicator of my previous thoughts and feelings.  I get what I expect. Everyone and everything that is in my experience is a vibrational match…an exact indicator of the essence that is vibrating within me.  I attract my life experiences by the feelings behind my thoughts and spoken words.
  •  Before taking any action, first get into the “vortex of a feel-better thought”: This means that before I do anything, I first make sure I am  thinking good thoughts.  If I have difficulty finding a really good thought, then I just do my best to “lean” towards a better feeling thought.  Then, I do the tasks on my “things-to-do” list.  I make a deliberate effort to never do anything when I feel or “it” feels “off”. (To determine whether something feels “off”, I check with-in myself to see if it feels like a vibrational match for me to proceed.  If it does, I do it.  If it doesn’t, I don’t.  If it’s not clear, then I simply gather more data and then ask me again.)
  •  Seek JoyI am led by joy!  I make a conscious effort to selfishly lean towards better feeling thoughts.  If it’s related to something that I “must” do, then I find a different, out-of-the- box way to accomplish it that feels like play, not work.  If it’s not fun, if it feels like hard work, it’s not a match for me.
  •  Embrace Love!I do my best to see the Divine light that shines within us all because we are all one.  I try to remember to see life through the eyes of Source.
  •  Ask, Allow, Receive: I ask. (visualize my life the way I want it to be)  I allow the Universe to deliver it and I align myself so I can receive it. (ie., I might speak of expecting something I have visualized with “excited anticipation of it arriving and how good it feels to have this” so then I can be a vibrational match to receiving it”.)  I tell the new story of how I want it to be instead of telling my old story of how it was or how I currently see it.
  •  Surround myselfwith like-minded people: To break through old paradigms of fear-based, limited thinking, it’s necessary to have the daily support of those who “speak the same language.”   We support and celebrate each other’s dreams and manifested desires!  Co-creating at its best!  It is my deliberate intent to surround my life with loving, joy-generating, life-giving, engaging, uplifting, forward-looking, leading edge people!  Priceless!
  •  DVDs/cds/books: Daily doses of these are a “must” in replacing old limiting language.
  •  Really good food and really good Chocolate: Hmmm, another “must.”

If you are ready for positive change, participate in your own life-changing experiment by inviting yourself to play (remember…it’s got to be fun!) everyday with these inner-nutrition hints.  Feel what happens!

Diana Oman is a Marquett Resident, holistic practitioner at Lake Superior Holistic Connection, and facilitator of Law of Attraction events based upon the teachings of Abraham-Hicks. Contact Diana at (9060 250-4995 or email at Visit her website at

Reprinted from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2010. Copyright Diana Oman, 2010.

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Filed under Abraham-Hicks, Diana Oman, Inner Nutrition, Law of Attaction