Northland Age Column


Pain, as we all know, is not to be denied. It is insistent. It is calling for our attention. Heed the call.

Pain has a purpose. It has a message. It is telling us, insistently, that something needs to be changed. It could be your diet, your lifestyle, your job, your relationship, your state of mind . . . .

Ignore pain at your peril. The result will be more pain. Why? Because pain is your body’s way of getting your attention.

Sure, you can mask pain with pain killers. But pain killers will not address the underlying reasons behind the pain.

Did you know that the Navajo have no word for pain? I wonder what this means?

Your Body Never Lies

So listen to your pain. Investigate it. Give it the attention it is asking for. Discover what needs to be changed, change it and the pain will disappear. With acute pain this can be almost immediate. With chronic pain, the complete cessation of pain may take some time. The habits of mind and body that led to the pain have been in place for some time so it may take considerable time to make the necessary adjustments the body is asking for.

There is a book I read years ago titled, Your Body Never Lies. Its overarching message was simple. The body is an outward manifestation of the thoughts, emotions and expectations that we carry within us. We have, in other words, created a physical state which reflects precisely our inner state of spirit/mind/emotion over a period of time. If the results are less than what you would like, try changing the messages you are sending your body through your thoughts, emotions and beliefs.

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Dr. Bruce Lipton writes in The Biology of Belief that we are not the victims of our genes. Dr Lipton and other progressive-thinking scientists such as Rupert Sheldrake are paving the way with their investigations and writings for a revolution in human consciousness. They are showing us through science what the mystics have been telling us since time immemorial: We are far more powerful than we think we are. We are unlimited in our ability to heal. We are not the sum total of our DNA. We can in fact change our DNA by the deliberate adjustment of our beliefs and expectations.

I injured one of my shoulders last summer while tramping. The ground gave way near a river bank and I managed to arrest my fall by grabbing a tree with my left hand. I twisted my left shoulder badly. Over time pain crept in and eventually both shoulders hurt so much that my sleep was disturbed. I couldn’t lie on either side without pain. I began research through books and via the internet. I used anti-inflammatory herbs such as boswellia, liquorice, ashwaganda, turmeric, nettles, gingko, horsetail and my old standby, kumarahou. I applied tupakihi (tutu) and other oils to my shoulders.

I completely eliminated the nightshade family from my diet. This was a big ask for someone who absolutely loves tomatoes.

I began using tapping several times a day. This was a new technique for me. It involved setting a healing statement and then identifying underlying thoughts and expectations while gently tapping a prescribed set of points.

I also began to use yoga nidra (a form of deep relaxation) in earnest.

One morning, while in deep relaxation I suddenly realised why the pain which began from an injury to one shoulder was now manifest in both shoulders. There are heavy sliding security doors at Te Ahu which, over time, had become stiff and increasingly difficult to move. I had been helping to open and close these, to help my female colleagues. The morning of my sudden realisation I queried the three other people who regularly operated these security doors. It turned out that all of them had injuries to arms or shoulders of some kind. One had already missed work because of this. I immediately reported my findings and, just as quickly, our Council health and safety specialist took it on board. The security doors are now repaired. The moment I came to the realisation that this was one of the causes of the, by now, chronic pain in both shoulders, I experienced a marked lessening of pain. It was almost as though the moment I shifted the focus on healing from ‘I’ to ‘we’ the ‘I’ in illness became the ‘we’ in wellness.

Some pain persisted. I continued with my herbal regime yet pain, now less, remained. I became somewhat frustrated. I am not accustomed to things taking so long to heal. I began to have doubts that this pain would ever go away.

Then, while tapping, I had an ‘aha’ moment. In a moment of insight I understood what was stopping the final and complete healing of the pain. Me. I was stopping it. I had lost faith in the body’s innate ability to heal. I thought about what happens when I cut my skin while working in the garden. There is never any doubt that the cut would heal. I had developed doubts that my shoulders would ever heal. I came up with a slogan: If you can feel it, you can heal it. This was the beginning of the final stage of healing.

Healing is not linear. It sometimes stagnates and at other times it jumps to a new level. Each jump is a reflection of an inner change and expectation. First, I listened to the pain by doing research and then by applying my findings. This was the beginning of the healing process. But I didn’t experience significant healing until I took steps to have the security doors repaired. This not only helped me. It helped everyone who opened and closed those doors. Clearly, some of my pain was telling me to fix those doors.

The complete healing took place when I suddenly became aware that my underlying expectations of healing were flawed. I had doubts and these needed to deeply change. This was the beginning of the end of pain. What a relief and what a journey. Pain has a reason. It also has a season. Heed the message. Heal the pain. I hope I’ve inspired you to begin your journey of healing.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

Holding Hands

Adam approached God and asked, “Why did you create Eve?” God replied, “So that you may love her.”

“Why did you make her so beautiful? I can hardly take my eyes off her.” “So that you may love her.”

“Why did you make her so kind and considerate?” “So that you may love her.”

“But Lord, why did you make her so stupid?” “So that she may love you.”

This opening joke is just that. But like all good humour there’s more than a hint of truth in it, don’t you think?

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus why are we attracted to one another? Is it because Earth is the meeting place, lying midway between our planetary neighbours? Just kidding. But it is not a wonder that men and women sometimes have difficulty understanding one another. Fundamentally, we are different.

Einstein once said: “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”

Men and women are created equal but entirely different. As Woody Allen put it: “Men learn to love the woman they are attracted to. Women learn to become attracted to the man they fall in love with.” We all may speak the same language but we interpret the words differently.

Will men ever fully understand women? Will women ever fully understand men? Perhaps not, but there are many examples of where we have learned to live together. And as Neal Stephenson wrote in Snow Crash: “She’s a woman, you’re a dude. You’re not supposed to understand her. That’s not what she’s after . . . . She doesn’t want you to understand her. She knows that’s impossible. She just wants you to understand yourself. Everything else is negotiable.”

That may be a big ask. We can each strive to be ourselves. But will we ever truly understand ourselves. The deeper we look the more mysterious we become. But that shouldn’t stop us from looking. Life is relationship. Whether it be the relationship with our partner, our colleagues, our family, our friends, with nature, with ourselves . . . . It is all relationship and it is all a glorious mystery.

As Osho once said: ‘Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.’ Just live life. Don’t try to fix it. The problems keep coming. No point in looking for them. Just smile through them.

I’ll leave the last words to C. JoyBell C.: ‘The truth is that male or female, gay or straight— we are all people— we have all been broken and put back together in so many different ways . . . it’s really just about learning how to recognize the sound of the other one’s cracks.’

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com And In Search of Simplicty is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

John Garton and Digitalis. Approaching the Trig

John Garton and Digitalis. Approaching the Trig

Last week the Wednesday Walkers were invited to tour the 800 acre farm of John Garton in Fern Flat. Some 6 or 7 years ago John gifted 105 hectares of regenerating hill-country native bush as an open space covenant of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust —a generous move on the part of a farmer whose family has owned this land for 94 years.

Steep going up.

Steep going up.

John, who turns 80 next year, guided us on a walk that would have exhausted many a younger man. He shared stories from his youth, noting the incredible community spirit that once enveloped the rural area he called home. ‘Whenever a house was sold, the whole community would hold a farewell party for those leaving,’ recalled John. Then, a week after the new people had moved in, the process would be repeated so that the newcomers had a chance to meet all their neighbours.

And steep going down.

And steep going down.

The social fabric of the community was strong and the nature of life resulted in strong, fit people. Children either walked or went on horseback to and from school. Couples met at the regular dances held in the community halls of the area. John expressed concern that young people growing up today don’t have the benefits of the strong community bonds of yesteryear. Something to think about.

John Garton and his faithful farm dog.

John Garton and his faithful farm dog.

Trudging up and down the steep hills of the family farm must have played a part in keeping John fit. Despite being on his second pacemaker he is still able to shear 100 sheep in a day.

While preparing this post I browsed the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust website. I came across a story I have repeated to many others. A very inspiring story.

Robert ‘Mútt’ Lange, a successful songwriter and music producer, and ex-husband of Shania Twain, has gifted 53,000 hectares to Queen Elizabeth II National Trust as an open space covenant. In essence he has gifted New Zealanders a block of land 10 times larger than any other open space covenant ever given in New Zealand. Why, you might ask? Because he wants to make a difference. He has a team of people who have thus far eradicated 7,500 feral goats and are planting around 12,000 native trees and plants a month in the 8-9 months each year that allow planting in this mountainous part of the South Island.

Please click below to see a six minute clip on Campbell Live. I hope you are as inspired as I am. Here’s a man who cares and who is putting his money where his mouth is. What a great example some of our empire-building leaders could learn from. Who’s next?

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

dying to be mePreviously I’ve written of the importance of having a right relationship with life. This time I’d like to address the importance of establishing a right relationship with death. After all, is not death the last great adventure?

Those who die and return, those who’ve had what we call near death experiences, consistently confirm that there is nothing to fear when crossing the boundary called death.

Dying to be me is the true story of the near death experience of cancer survivor Anita Moorjani. All her life she was caught between the expectations of her family, community and culture and the song of her soul. It was only after nearly dying that she realised one need sometimes disappoint another in order to be true to oneself. It was only after returning from the valley of death that she truly learned to love herself and her body. It was only then that she opened to the seemingly miraculous and limitless power of healing available to everyone of us. Within a few months of waking from coma, her eight tennis ball-sized tumours had completely disappeared. Doctors were amazed when scans showed absolutely no evidence of cancer remained in her body.

One of the biggest post-coma changes she underwent was to realise she could no longer pursue work only for personal gain. She needed to listen to the guidance of her heart of hearts and do what she truly loved.

proof-of-heaven-197x300Neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven Dr. Eben Alexander was sceptical when patients reported profound out-of-body experiences and meetings with deceased loved ones during brain surgery.

His own meningitis-induced 7-day coma cured him of this myopia.

He miraculously returned from the dead with a completely transformed perspective on life after death. He now speaks the words of a mystic: That we are never alone. That the world beyond is indescribably grander, more loving, more colourful and more powerful than the one of everyday life.

His advice: ‘It (your deepest self) heaven is for real dvdcomprehends that it has no need to fear the earthly world. And therefore, it has no need to build itself up through fame or wealth or conquest. . . . How do we get closer to [the] genuine spiritual self? By manifesting love and compassion.’

Both Dr. Alexander and Anita Moorjani confirm that when our actions are guided by the Golden Rule we no longer knowingly do harm to others, be they human, plant or animal. When we let go of fear we understand that in the eyes of God each of us is perfect just as we are. Knowing this we can finally let go, relax and truly enjoy the journey.

Finally, I recommend reading or watching Heaven is for Real, the true story of a four-year-old boy’s near death experience and how his experience rocked the world of his father, a Christian minister.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

russell to opua 14 021

I’m happy to report that kindness is alive and well and thriving in New Zealand.

A few months back on a coldish winter Saturday I came out of work only to find the starter just ticking when turning the key. It would seem there wasn’t enough juice in the battery to turn over the engine.

Not belonging to AA I attempted a call to a friendly local mechanic. But being a Saturday he was not by his phone.

I had the bonnet up and was checking connections, at the same time knowing the battery was old and tired and probably on its last legs. A series of cold days and nights had in all likelihood contributed to this state of affairs.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a car rolled up and out poured a bunch of energetic boys and two sturdily built men, all Maori.

“What’s the matter, mate?” asked one of the men.

They listened to my story and within a few minutes had jumper leads out and had boosted the battery.

I thanked them profusely. The men shrugged sheepishly as if what they had done was perfectly normal and all in a day’s work. Which I suppose it was; for them. They then all crammed back in their car and left as quickly as they’d arrived.

Kindness is alive and well and thriving in Kaitaia.

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russell to opua 14 013russell to opua 14 027

 

On a recent day off Lucia and I went to the Bay of Islands for a day out. We jumped on a ferry to Russell. It was a magnificent spring day, still and sunny. A bit of an exception to the rain and wind we’d had so much around equinox.

We sat by the beach in old Russell for a picnic lunch and were treated to a show by a large pod of dolphins, just offshore. There was plenty of tail slapping by some of the adults while one youngster shot straight out of the water in a joyous breach. A great start to our visit.

I wanted to show Lucia the track to Okiato and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk. It was an amazing day, remaining cloudless and still. But by the time we’d reached the car ferry to Opua neither of us was keen to walk the rest of the track to Paihia, where we’d left the car. We hadn’t really planned to walk so far and it was already nearly 5pm.

So we stood by the roadside in Opua with our thumbs out and within two minutes had a ride. Our benefactor, Trevor, had been enjoying the day on his yacht and was returning to Paihia to pick up his wife from their shop. He thought nothing of helping. It was all in a day’s work.

Kindness is alive and well and thriving in Aotearoa.

The photos are from our Wednesday walking group’s tramp from Russell to Opua in March, 2014.

 

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

images1AUYYMPXThank God it’s Tuesday. I love my work in the library, but one of the reasons I find it so enjoyable is that I’m usually there only 3 ½ days a week. I work Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday (that’s the half bit). Every Wednesday (weather permitting) I join a friendly group for a 3 ½ hour to 5 ½ hour hike. I can’t tell you just how much I enjoy this. Not only do we walk in the some of the most beautiful and pristine places in the Far North of New Zealand, this time spent in nature works as a perfect counter-point to my time at work and with writing that cannot be done without technology. So while I watch full-time workers get progressively more stressed and sluggish as each week wears on, I’m fresh and raring to go every time I arrive at work in the morning.

4_day_work_weekIn the past more than 100 years worthy individuals have laboured long and hard to improve the rights of workers, introducing such revolutionary (at the time) concepts as the 5-day week and the eight-hour day. We’ve inherited this hard-won paradigm and it has worked well. But now, as countries the world over have privatised state assets such as power, telephone and rail we’ve experienced dramatic spikes in unemployment. This in turn has led to increases in crime and family violence. People without worthy work tend towards harmful actions.

If every full-time worker dropped a full day of work, we’d instantly increase jobs by 20%. Yes, people would need to learn to live with less but they would then have the opportunity to discover what they could do with more spare time. They could have more quality time with their families, join a service organization, exercise more. The opportunities are endless. They might have to live with fewer expensive gadgets, but they just might find, as I have, that life can be extremely satisfying, complete and meaningful when work and leisure time are in balance.

imagesBVBU4NDHIf we all worked fewer hours perhaps we’d reach less for the short-term props of caffeine and sugar, the drugs that fuel our current over-full lifestyles.

When I started work with the telephone company in Canada in the early 1980s I watched colleagues with management positions similar to mine retire one year and die the next. Some people are so married to their jobs that they forget or choose not to experience the wealth of life outside the workplace. If retirement frightens you why not ease into it by dropping one work-day a week every few years as you approach the gold card plateau?

Why work too hard and spend your health trying to achieve wealth and then retire and spend your wealth trying to get back your health? Why not live now?

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

tf1

Heart disease is the single biggest killer of men and women in New Zealand. There are many factors contributing to heart disease including lack of exercise and obesity. There’s another I’d like to address here: trans fats.

In 1903 an American chemist named Wilhelm Normann discovered that by boiling cottonseed oil to temperatures over 260⁰C, it would solidify. Margarine was born. The multi-national corporation, Proctor & Gamble bought the rights to Mr Normann’s patent in 1909 and within a couple of years the company was marketing the first hydrogenated shortening. Until then housewives baked using completely natural products such as butter and lard.

The American product Proctor & Gamble launched was called Crisco and it was a huge success. My mother used it in baking as did countless others in their kitchens in North America. The raw ingredient originally found in Crisco was cottonseed oil but today is more often soybean oil. Cooks loved these hydrogenated oil products because they were cheap, easy to work with and had a long shelf-life.

Toxic-Trans-Fat-300x225

Many deep-fried foods found in take away shops, cafes and restaurants have been cooked in these blocks of fat. They are used because they melt down easily, can be heated to high temperatures, and can be re-used many times.

Trans fats are found in many bakery goods such as cakes, biscuits and snack bars, even some so-called ‘healthy’ energy cereal bars. They are also hiding in salad dressings, chocolate and peanut butter spreads, many children’s cereals, frozen desserts, potato crisps, dried soup mixes and more.

Plenty of foods don’t contain trans fats including fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, fish and poultry, milk, butter, yogurt and most cheeses, fresh eggs and uncooked grains and pastas.

Only in the last 20 years have we realised that the hydrogenating produces a damaging by-product: trans fatty acids.

One clinical health study found that increasing trans fat intake even in small amounts could raise the risk of heart disease by a factor of ten or twelve.

FP-MAIN-FDA-TO-BAN-TRANS-FAT-FROM-PROCESSED-FOODS-GR

In the United States, experts believe that up to 100,000 lives a year could be saved if hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVOs) and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVOs) were removed completely from the American diet.

There is no such thing as a safe level of trans fats. The Danish government has banned the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil anywhere in the food production process. They did this beginning in March 2003 and within three years the country had seen deaths by heart disease drop by over twenty percent. That’s impressive.

How can you protect your family from trans fats? First, add more of the fresh and safe foods mentioned earlier to your diet. Second, put on your glasses and read the fine print in food labels and eliminate foods containing margarine, vegetable suet, vegetable oil solids, hydrogenated fat, HVO and PHVO. I wish you the best of health.

Related post: Geoffrey Morell: Staying Young on a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/ 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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