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Positive Parenting: How to Raise Empowered Women, Danielle Drake-Flam and Cynthia Drake

raising empowered daughters, U.P. holistic business, U.P. holistic wellness publication

There is no one right way to raise a daughter—everyone is so wildly different with varying beliefs that are bound to affect their child-rearing. However, parents can find common ground on one factor: making sure their daughters know they’re important and loved.

Danielle: My mom instilled many great practices in me—expressing gratitude, being kind to everyone, the power of communication—but perhaps her greatest mantra was her constant reminder that my voice mattered.

Below are a few aspects we’ve found to be helpful in raising empowered women through our mother/daughter relationship:

The Power of Choice
Danielle: Growing up, my mom made me feel I was in charge of my own destiny. She was never one to ask me what my grades were in school, and she didn’t push me to be number one. She made me feel as if I had a choice. Because I was allowed to function so independently, and given the space to think on my own, I didn’t want to disappoint her.

If a difficult situation would arise, she would talk through it with me, and we would lay all the options out on the table. But, ultimately, it was up to me to decide what I was going to do.

Cynthia: Know you are a vessel for life but your daughters are not an extension of you and your life. They are their own beings, and you are there to nurture them and let them grow into themselves fully. The process of raising daughters is a gradual growth into trust—trusting they are growing into themselves as they make their own mistakes and have their own adventures in the world. You can be there to help pick up the pieces, give a bit of time-tested wisdom, and allow in the excitement of discovery through their eyes.

Respecting Boundaries
Cynthia: Be present to your daughters fully and also allow them to have space to learn and grow into healthy boundaries. Notice who they are and foster opportunities for them to explore themselves and their interests. Be a cheerleader, but also a silent observer. Learn when to be which.

Make sure you have your own interests and life beyond being a parent. Let your daughters know about who you truly are as a full person with a life of your own. This gives them a model for themselves to also be a full person in the world.

Teaching How to Stand Up for Yourself
Danielle: Too often women are expected to roll with the punches—sit back and be quiet, we are often told from a young age. However, when someone says something rude or makes us uncomfortable, we need to hold each other accountable to speak up. I’ve learned this quiet self-respect only after years of practice, and constant reminders from my mom. Having watched her stand up for herself both professionally and in personal situations, I see what a positive effect it has had on my life. Now that I know my own self-worth, I find myself speaking out against injustices, and not just those committed against me.

Being Open to Having Honest and Real Conversations
Cynthia: Hold your daughters accountable for what happens; don’t bail them out. However, you can also be a soft place to land for discussion and decisions on what to do next time, and how to make amends for this time. Let them out into the world to test who they are and discover their own boundaries. Give them a strong foundation of truth to stand in. Then let things roll. Be ready to trust them to learn and grow again.

Expressing Gratitude
Cynthia: The practice of gratitude is just as important as being honest with one another. Take the time to appreciate your daughter and tell her why you’re grateful for her. This can be in the form of small notes (Danielle: My mom likes to leave little ‘thank you’ cards around the house) or just a simple ‘thanks’ when you notice she’s done something nice.

Relating Hardships
Cynthia: Allow your daughters to see you as a real person with emotions, someone who makes mistakes and who is fully, vulnerably human. Let them in, but don’t make them responsible for holding you up. Know you will scar them in some way no matter what because we are all out of balance with ourselves and the world from time to time. Let them hear “I’m sorry” from you here and there, and talk through why.

If you are divorced, try to co-parent well, allowing the traumas and dramas of your adult world to stay between you and your ex. Let your daughters know they are the product of two people who came together for good reason for the time you were meant to be together, and that life does not guarantee “happily ever after,” but it does guarantee you can stay strong, resilient, and even loving, through turmoil and pain. Let them know that love for the time it was meant to be is good enough. Show them that being a woman who is single is enough, and relationships do not define who we are, but may challenge us to grow into the best parts of ourselves.

Encouraging Growth Through Education and Pursuing Passions
Cynthia: Valuing and respecting your daughters by allowing them to show the way toward what draws them is important. Then support them with enthusiasm and helpful mentors and teachers to assist them in reaching toward their own light through their passions. Make sure they contribute financially too, if possible, so they come to understand the importance of personal investment by earning their own way.

In Summary
Raising an empowered daughter is like allowing a tree to take root and grow. You are the fertile ground upon which she stands and firmly roots herself. All the while, she reaches her arms toward the sky and leans into the winds of life, knowing the ground is always beneath her no matter what.

Danielle Drake-Flam is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. She was born and raised in Houghton, Michigan. Currently, she works as a freelancer for Footwear News in L.A., and as the Director of Journalism for the pro-bono consulting initiative Rem and Company.

Cynthia Drake is blessed to be mother to three strong, courageous, unique daughters. She’s a community builder, encouraging people to find their deepest potential via her life’s work: raising daughters, as a transition coach, grief counselor, Quaker youth leader, and living as a full human being. 

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Senior Viewpoint: Bone Health & You, Dr. Conway McLean, DABFAS, FAPWHc, FAMIFAS

bone health, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, senior wellness, senior health,

Ask anyone, especially a senior, What is a sign of wellness? What tissue epitomizes strength? The answer is your bones and skeletal health. Never have we known so much about bone health, and never has it received so much attention. Our understanding of bone as an organ and a tissue has deepened, especially in the last few years. The public’s level of awareness has been raised as well, and people want to know what they can do to improve their bone health. They know about the problems that result from osteoporosis, especially the potential for fractures and bone injury.

Bone is truly a remarkable tissue, with amazing abilities and wonderful reparative properties. Bone has the principal responsibility of supporting the load imposed upon itclinical herbalism, the human body. The demands placed upon our bones require enormous strength and resilience, while still being relatively lightweight. Bone is a very responsive tissue, altering its shape and configuration depending on the forces it endures, responding to physical stress by becoming stronger.

Bone requires physical forces be placed upon it, at least partially in the form of resisting gravity, to survive and thrive.

We know more about this process than ever before. At last, we begin to grasp how bone responds to physical activity. Advances in technology have allowed us a better, more thorough understanding of the biology and physics of bone. We know its healing abilities are excellent, at least partially because of its well-endowed blood supply.

As we are all aware, aging affects bones, as it does every part of the human body (and everything else). But certain eras are associated with more significant bone changes. Bone loss begins or accelerates at midlife for both men and women. The goal during this time of life is to keep bone loss to a minimum. For example, between the ages of forty and fifty, bone loss may progress more slowly in both sexes with effective interventions. Unfortunately, during menopause, there is a period of more rapid loss in women. Both sexes may lose a total of 25 percent of bone during this period. This phase can occur anytime between the ages of fifty and seventy.

The frailty phase typically occurs in adults over age seventy. One common occurrence in this phase: bowing of the spine, called kyphosis, due to spinal fractures secondary to osteoporosis. But, be aware these phases are generalized. It is important to know fractures are not a natural consequence of aging. They can be avoided, to some extent. Your chronological age, as an individual, is a given, so we must focus on those factors over which we have some control—our diet and physical activity.

Osteoporosis is the excessive, or “pathologic,” thinning or loss of bone density.

With this common disease, bone substance is lost, making the bone lighter, thinner, and, of course, weaker. When progressive, it can lead to loss of height, stooped posture, humpback, and severe pain. Osteoporosis is characterized by the systemic impairment of bone mass, and strength, resulting in increased risk for fragility fractures, disability, and loss of independence.

Falls frequently result in fractures when thinning of bone has occurred. In seniors, or anyone with certain risk factors, falls are a real and ever-present threat. One approach to the problem is participating in a fall prevention program, helping us to protect our bones by reducing the risk of injury. Programs such as these, addressing muscle strengthening, balance, and gait training, and home hazards evaluations, all help to reduce the number of fractures that occur.

Gait-assistive devices are important, although patient acceptance can be a real issue. Bracing and supports can be beneficial, but are utilized far too rarely. Re-evaluation of prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken for possible unexpected consequences is also recommended. Oftentimes, one person may receive prescriptions for multiple medications from multiple providers. Many pharmaceuticals have the potential to have psychotropic qualities, meaning they alter perception or mental acuity in some way, and should be reduced or replaced.

Osteoporosis is the most common and most well-known of the bone diseases.

Sometimes referred to as the “fragile bone disease,” this loss of bone mass is often caused by a vitamin deficiency, particularly calcium, vitamin D, or magnesium. Its development usually starts with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, in which there is early bone thinning.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects 54 million Americans, mostly women. Millions more Americans are estimated to have the low bone mass of osteopenia, putting them at risk for osteoporosis. The morbidity and resulting expense is incalculable. For starters, we know that almost two million Americans a year suffer a fracture attributable to osteoporosis.

It’s well-recognized and proven that physical activity is important for bone health.

Exercise, in all of its varied forms, helps to reduce the risk of falling in later years. This is common mantra holds true throughout the many phases of life. Exercise helps to increase or preserve bone mass. Resistance training, whether with machines or weights, is especially helpful.

We can improve our own bone stock. Still, we have no control over some of the most important factors in developing healthy bone. Studies indicate that genetic factors are responsible for determining fifty to ninety percent of our body’s bone mass. Heredity issues not only limit how much bone a person may acquire, but also affect bone structure, the rate of bone loss, and the skeleton’s response to environmental stimuli, such as certain nutrients and physical activity.

Healthy, sufficient nutrition is important in maintaining optimal bone mass.

We also know the optimal type of nutrition and activity will vary across our life spans. A person’s nutrition over the years is clearly essential to preventing this debilitating disease. It is widely accepted that adequate calcium and vitamin D intake are necessary for good bone health, and the nutritional benefits of these two nutrients go far beyond their boon to bone health.

Because the average American consumes levels of calcium far below the amount recommended for optimal bone health, it has been singled out as a major public health concern today. Vitamin D aids in the absorption and utilization of calcium. There is a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in nursing home residents, hospitalized patients, and adults with hip fractures.

Some estimates claim that over 40% of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency.

Although sunshine is the best method of increasing your levels, supplementation is recommended for most of us. Current guidelines suggest 400–800 IU per day is adequate, although many scientists say this is not nearly enough. Another controversy surrounds which type of vitamin D is best, D2 or D3. The former is from plant sources and the latter from animals. Most experts believe D3 is better at raising tissue levels. 

It is essential we value the impact we can have on our own bone health. While genetic factors are important in determining bone mass, we each need to understand we have a critical part to play. In fact, controllable lifestyle factors, generally referring to diet and physical activity, are responsible for ten to fifty percent of our bone mass and structure.

But too many of us are too sedentary. Many of us know, in a general sense, that exercise is important. Yet how many of us are able to incorporate it into our average day and make it a regular practice? A little self-knowledge has not achieved great gains in levels of personal fitness. It may be time for a different approach. When exercise is prescribed like a drug by one’s family doc, it acts as a prescription medicine. And it is the healthiest kind.

Dr. Conway McLean is a physician practicing foot and ankle medicine and surgery in the Upper Peninsula (Marquette and Escanaba). McLean is triple board certified in surgery, wound care, and orthotic therapy. He has lectured internationally on many topics. Dr. McLean welcomes questions at drcmclean@outlook.com.

Excerpted with permission from the Fall 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Creative Inspiration: Challenges as Catalysts, Kim Nixon Hainstock

challenges as catalyst, creative inspiration, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

When change happens, many of us become uncomfortable, even if we recognize and accept that the one certainty in life is change. I have worked in the Adult Foster Care industry and managed a group home for those with cognitive and physical disabilities. When a new resident would arrive, they often did not fit the written description given by former caregivers. Often, having arrived at a place never seen before, without familiar faces present, a new resident would demonstrate skills no one thought they had, as if an alarm clock had gone off, and now he or she was awake.

I always suggested to staff we roll with it and see what else might surface. How exciting to do so rather than look at the negative side and blame the people who made those meager introduction notes. Once we were told a person would not walk without guidance and assistance, and one day the person did, standing up, walking across the room, and sitting on the floor in a spot of light coming through the window. I smiled and thought, “Oh, this new resident can self-soothe. The person saw a spot of warmth and moved to it like a cat.” Others in my employ looked on with pity that this person sat on the floor; how sad.

I recognize change can be so sudden and complete that we often feel loss, and just like a special needs individual with no compass to navigate the changes before them, it often comes down to what I need in this moment. Warmth, I need warmth. I will walk across the room and achieve that. Here I now sit in a spot of sun. Magical! Change can be a catalyst for magic, and for fresh new insights on living.

Perceptions of change, as well as our coping abilities, vary and we all have differing skill sets.

Often we do not know how to confront or meet what is happening. In such situations, I like to turn to my creative skills: journaling, vision boards or dream-mapping, or creating mandalas of natural items found on walks.

Let’s look at the process of creating a dream-map or vision-board. I like to gather images and items starting at the New Moon and put them into a cardboard box—clippings from the news, old photos, and items culled from old magazines, bits of scrapbook papers, letters, cards, poems.

Then on the Full Moon, I settle into a space created for the moment. I set the stage. Spread out a blanket upon the floor. Retrieve the box of gathered treasures, scissors, glue sticks, adhesive, scrapbook paper, with an artist pad or cardboard as a base. I set an intention, say a positive affirmation, and begin the sifting process on what is rising up through these items for me. Often I am surprised that something I had clung to or felt strongly about initially does not make it through the gathering phase for my full moon collage.

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Displaying my new vision board is essential, as I do not always recognize the meaning or message in the artwork I created. I like to keep it present and allow for the true messages to come like whispers on the wind, allowing their guidance to become fully realized. I do not need to take action right away. Change is often slow. But having a catalyst to help with the sorting of meaning and story can be extremely enlightening.

Licensed Massage Therapist and Yoga instructor Kim Nixon Hainstock holds a B.S. in English from NMU, has led vision board classes at Ishpeming’s Joy Center, Essentials Massage and Yoga, and with at-risk youth, and is currently navigating change and finding ways to nurture her journey.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Holistic Animal Care: Immune Boosting for Pets, Jenny Magli

pet health, immune boosting for pets,holistic animal care, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Our furry friends offer us unconditional love and joy on a daily basis. What wonders they are! We try to offer them the same, along with much care and attention. As we go through life together, we learn to co-exist, and eventually get to know each other very well. I really feel they are teachers of sorts in that they show us how to live in the moment, and find simple joy from day to day. But ultimately, they are dependent on our complete care during their lifetimes.

Most pets start their lives pretty strong and resilient. No matter their age, they can always benefit from immune support, especially if their immune systems have been compromised due to aging, or sudden or chronic health issues. With the many pets I have had over the years, I have learned just how beneficial immune support can be, and how it can add to longevity and quality of life. This is a win for the pet parent as well! Keeping your pet’s immune system balanced can help to prevent a variety of health issues such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune issues, and more.

Additionally, some medications can stress the immune system. Antibiotics come to mind, as they are often over-prescribed by vets. Of course, at times they may be totally necessary! If your pet must go on antibiotics, be sure to support his or her immune system during that process. Also, know there are alternative health options that can strengthen and support the immune system.

Here are some examples of ways to support your pet’s immune system:

First, please be aware that the majority of commercial kibble (for cats and dogs) does not contain the nutrients you’d think. The manufacturing, along with shelf life, storage, and heat, destroys the majority of nutrients that may have been added during processing. So a well-balanced, wholesome and nutritious diet (preferably organic with human grade protein and free of dyes and preservatives) should be your first point of support.

Some basics for a healthy immune system include reducing stress, providing fresh filtered water (clean food and water dishes regularly), moderate and regular daily exercise, quality uninterrupted sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, receiving regular dental care, and enjoying sunshine, fresh air, playtime, love, and attention.

Reducing your pet’s exposure to toxic substances is also protective. Consider using simpler alternative household cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda. Use natural or non-toxic pet shampoos and products for flea and tick control because commercial topical and oral flea and tick preventatives can have an adverse effect on the immune system, and are highly toxic. Do not use chemical cleaners or household air fresheners. Do not use scented laundry soap or chemical dryer sheets on anything your pet lays on. And be sure not to use lawn or garden chemicals in areas your pet frequents.

Here’s a sampling of supplements that can help support the immune system:

– Bovine Colostrum – Preferably from New Zealand grass-fed, non-grain-fed cows that have not been fed antibiotics or hormones.
– Medicinal mushrooms such as Maitake, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Lions Mane, etc.
– Digestive enzymes and probiotics
– Pre-formulated immune-boosting supplements for dogs and cats

All the above can be purchased already-formulated for pets and can easily be added to their food. Please do your own homework to determine the appropriate serving size for your pet.

*Readers are reminded it is entirely of their own accord, right, and responsibility to make Informed decisions/choices with their pets and health care. Supplementation should always be discussed with your holistic veterinarian. Jenny Magli disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, and a Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES BioEnergetics Practitioner. Consultations are done over the phone and through email. To contact, call or text (906) 235-3524 or email 1healthlink@gmail.com.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Green Living: A New Normal, Steve Waller

green living, sustainability and covid 19, new green normal, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Before rushing to return to normal, we should first rush to define it.

Was the old normal proper, healthy, and right, or should we consider a new, better normal? Mother Nature just pushed “restart” on our society and economy. Should we reboot to the same operating system, or install an upgrade?

While we were social distancing, we were unintentionally forced to recognize what is “critical infrastructure” and what is not. Family, friends, and neighbors are critical. Health care and all that supports it is critical. Food and all that is needed to grow, process, and deliver it is critical. Energy, water and sewer are critical; apparently, so is toilet paper! Schooling is critical but classrooms less so. Workers in these fields all risked personal safety for our good.

Conversely, we were unwillingly forced to recognize non-critical activities, events and entertainments that when prohibited, albeit grudgingly, reduced our travel, cut our expenses and put us back in our homes. Those prohibitions taught us to be more domestic—cooking, pursuing hobbies, music, spending time with family, exercising frugality—and offered the chance to discover what quality time involves. Many workers of non-critical infrastructure became involuntarily unemployed, greatly complicating their lives, adding unwanted stress and complications.

There were unexpected consequences to this global realignment.

Traffic congestion worldwide disappeared. Airplanes stopped flying. Non-critical factories stopped burning fuel and creating waste. Major urban areas, notorious for terrible air quality, quickly became clear. Residents of Punjab India could see the Dhauladhar mountain peaks, over 120 miles away, not sighted from Punjab for almost 30 years. Nitrous dioxide from Chinese factories decreased drastically. Air pollution in Seattle and Los Angeles plummeted.

The 2020 crisis could trigger a 5.5% annual fall in CO2 emissions, the largest ever, more than during any previous economic crisis or period of war, yet still not close to avoiding the global temperature limit. Global emissions need to fall by 7.6% every year this decade to limit warming to less than 1.5 C. 2020 demonstrates only a sample of what needs to be done.

It’s as if Mother Nature finally found a way, after many years of failed subtle hints, to very seriously get our global attention. She got us, at least temporarily, to stop the non-critical things that corrode the air, water, and global temperature. She showed us that supporting critical infrastructure while inhibiting non-critical infrastructure (or substituting something better) actually achieves many of the necessary changes that can resuscitate our long-abused critical and warming biological life support system.

It’s time to re-evaluate “normal.”

We need to shift non-critical jobs to critical-sustainable. We need to re-employ in fields that maintain healthy environments, non-toxic infrastructures that keep our air and water clean, and our globe stable.

The new normal needs to encourage wind power, solar, and the Super Grid, not fight it. Restored jobs need to shift toward sustainable infrastructure, not inefficient and unnecessary excess. Air travel is non-critical. Travel needs to be less and cleaner. We need new rail and to buy more electric passenger vehicles. These create critical jobs, including maintenance, sales, service, communication, planning, material moving, construction, coordination, purchasing, security, all the fields that were lost in the “old normal” non-critical fields. Now is the time to upgrade to better.

If we don’t learn, don’t change, and successfully return to the old corrosive normal, will Mother Nature try again, more drastically yet? I wouldn’t put it past her. Orgel’s second rule states “Evolution is cleverer than you are.” Mother Nature has successfully managed life on earth for over three billion years. People who say “Evolution can’t do this” or “Evolution can’t do that” are simply lacking imagination.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. Steve can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Inner Nutrition: 16 Questions for Mining Your Corona-Impacted Time, Roslyn Elena McGrath

covid reflections, inner work prompted by covid, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

I believe this is a very powerful time. As we each deal in some way or another with the challenges presented to us by the current pandemic and world situation, I think there is a mighty potential for greater clarity, commitment, and action aligned with our deepest values for improving our world.

In keeping with this publication’s mission of supporting your health and happiness, the following questions were put together in hopes of helping to bring your needs, values, strengths, supports, and strongest heart’s desires to the surface, or sharpen the clarity you already have about them, in an actionable way. I invite you to journal on them, perhaps even on just three or four at a time, and also to respond to any additional questions that may come to your mind.

For Essential Workers

– How do you feel about going to work?

– How do you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for your work time?

– How would you describe the atmosphere where you work?

– How are you contributing, or how could you contribute, to its positive qualities?

– What do you value about the work you do?

– How does your work benefit others directly and indirectly? (Consider at least “three degrees” of others—direct recipients, those they directly impact, and society overall.)

– What has been most challenging for you during COVID restrictions?

– What have you learned about yourself during this time?

– What would you most like the world to learn during this time?

– What desires for yourself and/or society have become clear to you or been reinforced?

– What next baby step might you take to move one of these desires forward?

– What traits, skills, and/or experiences do you have that will help you take this next baby step?

– What, if anything, do you think might hold you back from taking this baby step?

– What are three or more things you could call upon, internally and/or externally, to help you handle these potential obstacles?

– What would the value of achieving the desire you’ve pinpointed be, and how would you feel about that?

– Is it worth it to you to commit to continue taking steps toward this goal? Why or why not?

For Others

– What changes in your day-to-day life have been most significant for you?

– What, if anything, have you found most challenging about these changes?

– What has helped you to handle these challenges?

– What, if anything, have you found most positive about these changes?

– In what ways might you reinforce or expand upon these positives?

– How would you describe the atmosphere in your home?

– How are you contributing, or how could you contribute, to its positive qualities?

– What have you learned about yourself during this time?

– What would you most like the world to learn at this time?

– What, if any, mental, emotional and/or physical changes would you like to bring forward as your “regular” day-to-day life resumes?

– What baby step toward one of these changes could you begin or prepare for now?

– What traits, skills, and/or experiences do you have that will help you take this next baby step?

– What, if anything, do you think might hold you back from taking this action?

– What are three or more things you could call upon, internally and/or externally, to help you handle these potential obstacles?

– What would the value of achieving the desire you’ve pinpointed be, and how would you feel about that?

– Is it worth it to you to commit to continue taking steps toward this goal? Why or why not?

 

I hope you find your reflection time useful. Please feel free to contact hhupmag@charter.net, or Health & Happiness’s Facebook page to share your experiences.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Gifts from Nature: Benefitting from Mother Nature’s Two Sides, Kevin McGrath

 

nature as teacher, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, two sides of nature, covid and nature

Lyrics from an old-time favorite tune, Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla, about how nature repeatedly reveals man’s follies, ring in my ear as I venture outside for the first time in quite a while to refresh my being. Frigid temperatures had forced me into greater confinement during this time of self-isolation while our pandemic continues its global tour wreaking havoc upon every unfortunate earthling whom isn’t immune to its often-fatal concoction of body invaders.

Time after time, we humans are lulled into believing we have firm control over nature as we as a species advance with technology and improvements to our systems through new ideas, and upgrades to infrastructure and design. Yet, whether it be flooding, tornado, fire, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, avalanche, or virus to name many but not all, we are never as prepared as we would prefer, and many of the shortcomings of our society are highlighted for all who are willing to see them.

All of the cutbacks our current government has made to reduce costs have ended up costing us way more in the long run, as is always the case when you’re not prepared for something.  Every cause has an effect.

I regress.  A silver lining can be found if we choose to keep our focus positive.  Once the crisis ends, our human folly provides an opening for us to collectively begin anew within a clearer, more beneficial path where smarter choices can be made before the tension and pressures of “everyday normalcy” set back into the global economy, choices that still enable cleaner air and water, where distant mountain ranges aren’t blocked from showing their splendor due to smog from fossil fuel emissions, choices where the good of all is held higher than the good of just a few.

nature as teacher, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, two sides of nature, covid and nature

Nature is a great teacher and great teachers are often hard on their students, especially when their pupils are not grasping the main concept. That main concept is simple—take care of nature, or at least take nature into consideration with all decisions.

It’s pretty clear that our natural environment is a central part of the human formula (humanity), even though we try to reduce this fact through “progress.”  We can work with it, or we can continue to work against it, despite witnessing time and time again how the latter doesn’t work.

As destructive and fierce as nature can sometimes be, for the most part, nature is beautiful and healing in its majesty.

Google “healing and nature,” and you’ll get an endless number of studies about improved concentration, decreased anxiety, uplifted mood, improved focus, better sleep and mental health, to helping children with ADD, helping us get exercise, providing us vitamin D, boosting our creative-solving abilities, and assisting us to maintain our weight through better sleep and energy use.  Thank you, sunlight and good old-fashioned fresh air!

For me, and probably for many of you also, I don’t need a study to let me know how beneficial being out in nature truly is, I can just feel it.  It makes me feel happy just to be outside, and I can feel my body sink into a more natural way of being, living as humankind was intended as a part of nature.  Let’s learn the lessons as a people, and stand up for nature for the benefit of all, as we take steps to figure out how to proceed from here as a society.

Kevin McGrath can be found observing nature with respect and reverence in an attempt to learn the lessons it’s teaching.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Spotlight On… Joy Center: Interview with Owner Helen Haskell Remien

Joy Center Ishpeming MI, creative sanctuary, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

What is Joy Center?

It’s a charming cottage in the woods in Ishpeming that is so much more than a cottage. It’s a creative sanctuary for people in our area and elsewhere to come and play and dream and expand. People can come and participate in various workshops and yoga and dance and energy sessions, and they also can simply pay a small fee and be on their own, or be with other people, and feel safe to explore their creative dreams.

Joy Center opened twelve years ago and continues to expand what it offers. If there’s yoga, you can come early, peruse the books, create a piece of art…. It’s a beautiful place where you can connect with your biggest, highest part, and also connect with the community.

Why did you start Joy Center?

I had a seed of a dream in me thirty years ago. At that time I was wondering if I wanted to be part of the academic world, in an institution, and teach writing, or part of a place in the community where things such as writing workshops could be held in which everyone could be included.

I wrote in my journals in the early ’90s that there should be a place in the community where we can drum and sing and dance and have writing workshops, and have events like ones I loved when I went to Omega Institute and Kripalu, and that I would love to be a part of something like that.

About twenty years ago, I began encouraging people to find their own creative paths. Then in the spring of 2007, I started to feel a dissatisfaction in me, a sense of something growing, that it was no longer enough to teach writing in my house, and yoga in the basement of my husband’s dental office. And in a flash of two weeks, I spoke with my financial advisor to see if it would be possible to create something like Joy Center. I realized, “Oh my goodness, I have land behind my house, separate land on which we could build a cottage house, and it could be that place in the community.” But even then, I didn’t know that it would be the kind of place it would become.

How did you go about creating it?

It was really about claiming my power because I think my husband was scared of doing it. And I said, “I really need to see if we can do it.” Our financial advisor thought it could work, and be an asset, and he added, “I have a builder for you. He doesn’t know how good he is yet. He’s built a garage for us, and he’s awesome, and he’s never built a house yet.”

It was such a fun process working with this young man who put his heart and soul into it, and brought in his younger cousins and brothers to help. We worked together on the design. I learned so much, step-by-step in that process. It was scary to build something I knew in my soul would really be a big thing for all of us. At every step, I couldn’t settle. Though not extravagant—it’s a cottage—it was important to make the place welcoming. And it’s beautiful.

It was important to me to not settle for less than what felt like the right, soulful thing, and I think also to the builder. “I’ll make the counter tops,” he said, working late into the night. “I think you should have them. And you can collect your own beautiful rocks to put in them.” We really co-created together, him doing the actual work, and me doing the dreaming.

Why do you think Joy Center has expanded in the ways it has?

When I built it, I kept expanding my mind. “This will be a place where I will teach yoga. I will teach writing and creative workshops. And other people can offer other creative things. It will extend our home in some way when our kids come back to visit.” I think both I expanded and it expanded. I realized, “Oh, my gosh! There are so many awesome dreams people are having in the community!” And at that point twelve years ago, there weren’t the places available now offering yoga and energy work and so on.

For example, Amber Edmondson and Raja Howe knew they were poets, but didn’t know they were book binders yet. They sold a book at Out Loud, our open mike night, then began offering book-making workshops at Joy Center. And now they have their own shop in Marquette. Kerry Yost had never sung in public until one night at Out Loud, and she just blew everyone away.

People who have a dream can feel safe offering a workshop, singing a song at Out Loud or playing with something they’ve always wanted to do, and maybe later decide to offer a workshop and expand what’s offered at Joy Center, and what people do in this community, and people would love it. Early on, Joy Center took on its own life to be a safe place where people could take a seed of a dream, like I did, and allow it to blossom. Sometimes their offering stays at Joy Center, and sometimes it flourishes far beyond. And I get to play with people that way, and be the person who holds the space and is a cheerleader for peoples’ dreams.

What do people seem to like most about Joy Center?

I think people feel something when they walk into the physical building because it’s really welcoming and beautiful, and is that creative sanctuary. It was built with a really positive, high vibration. In its twelve years, I can’t think of anything that’s gone on there that isn’t high-vibe, so it just keeps building. So many kinds of things are welcomed there, so that energy just keeps growing. People feel safe to really be brave and find parts of themselves they haven’t felt before, or to love themselves more deeply than they’ve loved themselves before. I feel strongly about keeping the boundaries there safe, to keep it clear in that way.

What do you like most about running it?

Truly, it’s all of it. There is a part of me that loves all the things that are offered, and that I can participate in them. It’s brought community to me. I love being the cheerleader. It’s a soul calling. And I love playing at Joy Center. I get to go play in a playhouse!

What do you find most challenging about running it?

The marketing part is not my thing. I’d rather promote by word-of-mouth. So I found a way that feels easy to me and true to who I am with additional support from others. I spend more of my time cheering people on, encouraging them to maybe do a workshop. I may give my dear friends Stephanie Lake and Stacey Willey at Globe Printing the rough draft of Joy Center’s next brochure, or the idea of a poster, and they’ll lay it out beautifully. Stacey helps to get the word out on Facebook. For a long time, my daughter-in-law did a beautiful job of helping with that. And I love my Health & Happiness ad, and the support I get to help me with it. It’s the only place I advertise–it’s perfect for Joy Center, and goes out all over the Central and Western U.P.

What future plans are in the works?

As we hunker into our homes, and aren’t able to go to the creative sanctuary physically, my curiosity and challenge is “How will this time affect Joy Center since the place itself is such an important part of it? How can I use Zoom to make an Out Loud, and then find some richness that Joy Center does beyond these walls, or a poetry workshop by Zoom like U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz did? How will this propel us into the future? Will there be a time that Zoom comes into Joy Center?

I feel like I’m in the middle of the cocoon, and I am learning. Parallel Play–we all did it at the same time and texted and sent photos of our creations simultaneously afterward. It felt like deep connection. So Joy Center has been continuing. I’ve been working on the space, giving it loving physical care. And I’m learning about technology and connecting that way, and how to still have the feel of Joy Center. It’s a beautiful space, and it’s the people and the energy, and that no walls can hold in.

How can people find out about upcoming events taking place?

They can check Joy Center’s Facebook page, and they also can contact me at helenhaskell@yahoo.com about events or if there’s something they’d like to offer here. And they can join our mailing list to receive a brochure on what’s going on, and a letter I write every two months.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Positive Parenting: How to Turn Sibling Foes into Friends, Anna Kangas

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Sibling rivalry. It often starts at birth. I’ve heard the story many times. Baby number two+ comes along and the used-to-be-baby of the family shows those signs of jealousy—sleep regressions, potty accidents when they’d been trained for months already, tantrums over the littlest things. It’s tough on the whole family. Things have changed. They’re feeling insecure. An older child may even voice it.

Fast-forward a few years and instead of the toddler tantrums, you’ll be hearing “Mom! Billy hit me!” and “Dad, Susie won’t stop copying me!” These issues are really obvious right now when our whole world has been changed. Most siblings would just have a couple of hours a day, plus the weekends spent together…. and at the time of this writing, we are in our homes almost 24/7 in a family togetherness experiment like no other. Yes, there are good things coming out of it. For example, maybe this time can help your kids find their friendship again. “Your siblings can be your best friends” my husband reminds our kids often.

So how can we help them accomplish this? Before we can solve the problem, it helps to look at why this may be occurring. What causes this sibling rivalry, this jealousy, competition, and/or fighting. Is it boredom? Too much screen time? Perhaps. But my gut tells me this: I’d be willing to bet that one of the biggest reasons for our kids acting out is that they are craving attention from us, their parents.

Think about how this rivalry may stem from the time the younger sibling is born—

that postpartum time when the new baby takes up so much of our attention. Add in something big, such as the current state of our world, and this huge feeling of insecurity can add another level of stress. So if you’ve been wondering why on earth they keep fighting so much lately, I’d bet these things have a big part in it. If you’re like me, you’ve been spending too much time tuning into the state of the world. My phone is too close to me, and I’ve been draining the battery too often. One of the ways I know it’s too much is when my kids start acting out.

If you’re experiencing this during the postpartum time, I recommend taking some extra time with the older kids who may be feeling neglected. Keep a basket of books near your couch and sit there while you breastfeed. Involve the bigger kids in caring for the baby. Encourage them, “You’re such a wonderful big sister—look at him smiling at you, he loves you so much!”

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication
Are your children past those baby years? Well. Have you ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? With kids, it’s really easy to find out what they need. Just ask them “How do you know someone loves you?”

They might answer, “When I get a hug.” There’s the physical touch.

“When someone tells me.” Hello, words of affirmation.

“When they play a game with me.” Aha! Quality time.

“When they give me a present!” You guessed it, receiving gifts!

“When they help me with my chore.” And there you have acts of service.

Go ahead; ask your child this simple question. It can go a long way toward knowing how to keep him or her feeling secure, safe, and loved.

I think quality time is extremely important, no matter what your main Love Language is. So start by spending time with your kids, good quality time. Be engaged. Put away the phone, TV, electronics. Take them on one-on-one “date nights.”

Give them the stability, consistency, and love they need. This will build up their confidence, and I’m willing to bet you’ll begin seeing a difference in their attitudes and behavior.

But even with the most stable, loving environment, kids will be kids.

There will be fights. And these stressful times we’ve been living in the past few months are going to show in our kids. They’re feeling the stress, too. So, what can we do for them? How do we help guide them when these fights break out?

As Brian Helminen, a Calumet dad of fifteen and author of How to Raise a Happy Family recommends in his book, “Stay neutral as much as possible and let kids settle their differences.” Stepping in to settle their battles for them every time won’t help them in the long run. As long as they aren’t causing each other major bodily harm (then it’s time to referee), letting them find a solution between themselves is a good lesson. It’s part of growing up—finding the maturity to solve disagreements.

The few times my husband and I had to step in, we chose to referee and bring in the “get-along” shirt.” The two siblings who have been in battle must wear an oversized T-shirt together for a set amount of time. What had started with tears and fighting ends in laughing and smiles as they try to navigate together.

Learning to settle differences is a skill.

And who better to learn it with than the people who love you most, your family members? An unconditional love creates a safe space for kids to be themselves, and grow into responsible adults. Because that’s what we’re striving for, right? As New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews says, “The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

I hope these tips help you to find a balance in your family. From learning their love languages and maybe trying a “get-along” shirt, to making an effort to make sure to spend some good quality time with your family, it’s not too late to encourage your children to find the amazing friendship possible between siblings.

Anna Kangas is a full-time homeschooling mom of seven, wife of 10+ years, and owner of Keweenaw Doula Services. She is passionate about supporting families in Houghton and Keweenaw counties during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Bodies in Motion: Embodying Empowerment by Becoming More Active in Life, Crystal Cooper

reclaiming our power, physical fitness and overall well-being, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

We are in a pivotal time for actively reclaiming our power.

At this decisive point in human history, we have the opportunity to change our direction for the benefit of all. As our current circumstances require, we (at the time of this writing) stay inside our homes and are likely pondering the future. Within this time, we may find a new, ironic sense of liberation. By embracing the need to live more self-reliantly and sustainably, we naturally become more active. By becoming more present in our bodies, rather than trapped in our minds, we can empower ourselves to relieve stress, find calm, restore vitality, and regain our sovereignty.

Though our minds may be full of uncertainty and confusion in these changing times, our bodies know very well what we genuinely need—to live in a comfortable and safe place, eat nourishing food, drink clean water, breathe fresh air, exercise regularly, and get adequate deep rest. The possibilities for revolutionizing our lives may be infinite; however, they all have something in common—action. The action required may vary from meditation on emotional health to intense physical training and more, as everyone’s story will be different. Our authority comes through deciding to make beneficial moves in our lives. By focusing on what we can take action on, energy moves and frustrations neutralize.

By merging creativity, mindfulness, and curiosity, adaptations on movement are vast.

Experimenting with different modalities, as well as developing one, are both admirable approaches for getting mobile. One ancient, well-loved physical practice is hatha yoga. This physical branch of yoga unites the mind and breath with the body through a flow of poses. Both restorative and strengthening, it can prevent injury and support longevity. There are many styles of yoga, making it accessible for all. Another traditional system of coordinated body postures is qi gong, which also focuses on the harmony of meditation, breathing, and movement. Its central tenet is the balancing of energy. It is also a basis for martial arts training. Deep healing can be found within these methods, supporting many other areas of life.

When sheltering in place, or maintaining some restrictions, the significance of moving what we can may become more apparent. Deep breathing, getting the blood flowing, and heating up the body cleanses energy and provides grounding. Fast, exciting activities such as running, bouncing on a trampoline, juggling, and dancing can shake up sluggish outlooks. Strength training, working the whole body, and building muscle can help maintain focus when reality appears chaotic. Physical restrictions can inspire us to focus on what we can do and to creatively employ those abilities. Using our bodies for enjoyment, as simply or indulgently as desired, cultivates peace and exercises our freedom.

We can continue to expand our ingenuity to other, more outward necessities of life. For example, reinventing our transportation can be as simple as walking with a backpack, or as inspired as an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a solar charging battery and storage racks or luggage cart. By returning to more manual forms of labor, we can supersede convenience by reconnecting with quality skill-building. As we reconsider tasks-at-hand during this time, a plethora of creative problem-solving abilities may be unleashed. To regain the impetus to chop wood and carry water, symbolically or literally, is good work. In mastering one’s actions, the lines between training, work, and play may blur.

reclaiming our power, physical fitness and overall well-being, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Actions such as cultivating our own energy and entertainment, growing our food, and riding bicycles run counter to the practices of the ever-consuming capitalistic economy our society has relied upon, thereby becoming acts of empowerment that resist the old status quo. By focusing inward and nurturing our connection with our bodies, opportunities abound for finding the clarity we need to move forward in harmony and inner sovereignty. Mindful activity is medicinal for our well-being and can also be more sustainable for Earth. And because we are nature and are not separate from it, healing our connection with ourselves simultaneously heals a part of human relationship with Earth.

Regaining control and becoming strong in one area of life can often translate to others.

When you can hold your own on the mat, the trail, or simply within a stressful situation, confidence is built that can be utilized in trying times. By moving through life with a more mindful focus on the body, rather than the mind, toxic stress has less of a chance to build up and create long-term negative effects. This is great for the immune system, and helps foster a more positive mood. Working with this perspective one day at a time can build momentum toward a more instinctual, spirited way of existing.

Each person’s movement will look different; however, the magic is in the sum of the parts, in people coming together. The cornucopia of abilities and resources of a united community creates a powerful, ever-evolving entity. The mightiest feats we can accomplish in the world begin with the work we do individually to dream and create and act from an inspired place. In solidarity with our communities and on massive scales, this intention could help humanity move in a healthier, more harmonious, and unified direction.

Crystal Cooper has called Marquette and the northwoods home for over a decade. An NMU graduate in biology ecology, she enjoys studying plants and writing. Passionate about natural healing modalities as well as personal and global sustainability, Crystal advocates yoga and other resiliency-promoting actions within the community.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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