acupuncture-needles1

John’s special guest on Voices from the North on November 5, 2008 was Terri Stout. Terri describes the shift she made ten years ago from psychiatric nursing to the completion of four years of training to become a registered acupuncturist. She has a saying, ‘Listen to the whispers or get hit by a brick,’ because her life is guided by meaningful coincidences. She describes the Chinese medical model which is based on prevention and puts the onus on the individual to take responsibility for their own health. She indicates that it is never too late to begin Tai Chi or Chi Gong. Practitioners may be ill in their 60s when they began and going strong in their 90s.

Here’s the interview:

Acupuncture has been around for between 3,000 and 5,000 years and data is being collected today to show its possible assistance in cases of infertility, of all things. This is interesting, because the Alexander Technique has also been found to assist with fertility.

Terri is much more than an acupuncturist. She is an intuitive and a guide. She gives the example of a man who, through a couple of sessions, decided to completely revamp his life and work. Terri has found that people want to be given permission from someone else like herself to make changes in their lives. And she tends to be the visit of last resort, ‘the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.’

An inspiring example Terri gives is of a lady in her 80s with a motor neuron disease who has lost 21 pounds in weight in 5 weeks of treatment and who now has ‘Betty Grable’ ankles. The acupuncture has helped her to release excess fluids from this woman’s legs.

Terri describes moxibustion and cupping and gives an example of cupping drawing out accumulated toxins, the residue of old injuries. True healing occurs when symptoms move from inside the body outwards. Terri Stout provides her services on a donation basis or koha. Payment is sometimes given in fish, shellfish, furniture or ketes (Maori flax-woven baskets).

Acupuncture works on all levels-physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. New Zealand national health insurance (ACC) covers acupuncture visits. Terri presents an inspiring viewpoint of the role acupuncture can play in the establishment and maintenance of health and wellbeing. The song midway through the interview is Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love.

Be sure to check out all my uploaded radio shows and associated blogs here.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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

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tall-grass-bread

 

‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food’ Hippocrates 400 BC

I promised I would post a good news local business story and here it is. I love this story. I trust you do too. 

Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company

On June 10th & 11th, we told you about the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We received a lot of mail requesting a copy of that story so we’ve decided to post it here:I have been talking today about my travels over the last month or so. Well, before I left Toronto, my friend Julie Penner, who is the music producer here at the Vinyl Cafe, and also a pretty decent violinist, notably as part of the Toronto music collective Broken Social Scene, stopped by my desk and said, When you get to Winnipeg I want you to promise that you will go to the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company for breakfast and say hi to Tabitha, who’s one of the owners. I think you’d like her. Julie used to live in Winnipeg and she used to work at the Tall Grass Bakery, so I said I would do that, and I want to tell you why I am so happy I did. It has nothing to do with the bread, or the sandwiches, or the first class cinnamon buns, though it could have, because they were all great. And I would have been happy to have gone just for them … What I what to tell you about is Tabitha Langel, who Julie had mentioned. Tabitha came out of the bakery covered in flour and sat at my table and had a cup of coffee while I ate. And because I asked, she told me the story of her bakery, and how it started, and I want to tell you that story this morning. So Tabitha is a lapsed Hutterite. She left the Hutterite community where she grew up because, she said, she was curious. And she moved to Winnipeg, and married, and settled down, and joined an ecumenical church, a church which includes some Mennonites, and some Hutterites, and some Lutherans, and some Presbyterians, and some Catholics … and I am telling you this because the church was important to the bakery in the early days. The bakery was born out of conversations that began at the church. In these discussions, the church members were wondering how they could be more of a community. Most of them lived in the same neighbourhood, but they were wondering if they could work together in some way too. This was in the late 1980s, a time when farmers were struggling … when grain farmers were getting the lowest grain prices Canada had ever seen … and farm suicides were at a record high … so another question that arose at church was if there was any way they could support farmers. And that is where the idea of starting a bread co-op began. It would address both concerns. You see, if you tracked a loaf of bread, you found that farmers were getting about 2 cents a loaf in those days. Tabitha and her church friends figured if they went to one farmer and bought grain directly from that farmer, and then milled and baked the bread themselves, they could afford to pay more than 2 cents a loaf and thus support one farm family, have fun baking together, and maybe even get some decent bread out if it. So they started their bread co-op, and they baked bread every Saturday night in a kitchen they rented at the St. Margaret’s Church, and it became a neighbourhood thing … not a church thing. Neighbourhood people joined the co-op … and you could work in the co-op and get work credits, and people who were well-off were invited to pay a little more for their bread to carry those who couldn’t, and neighbourhood kids delivered bread around the neighbourhood in little red wagons … and the co-op grew over two or three years. And they were actually supporting one family farm. And having fun. Just as they had hoped. And this provoked more discussion. It began with the question: What is good stewardship of the land? And what did that mean to people who live in the city? If you believed, as Tabitha and her friends did, that herbicides and pesticides were not God’s best idea, how should you proceed if you are city folk? How much should those who live in the city be paying for grain, ethically? What would things look like if instead of having farmers begging city people for pennies, city people were begging farmers for grain. Finally they asked … what could they do? Could they do anything to support farmers in some larger way? Five of them decided to open a bakery. They found one for sale and figured they needed about $40,000 to get going. They went to the bank and explained they wanted to sell bread at $2 a loaf rather than the going rate of 50 cents. They said they figured if you explained to people that you were charging more so you could pay farmers more, people would be happy to pay the extra. The bank told them this was absurd. The bank said that wasn’t the way the world worked. So they got money from friends. Some low interest loans, some no interest loans. They promised to pay them back, if and when they could. They figured there was this great hunger for connection; that farmers wanted to meet the city people who used their crops; that city people wanted to know where their food came from. They had no idea if they were right. Everyone told them they weren’t. Everyone told them not to quit their day jobs. Everyone told them they would fail. They figured they wouldn’t be grandiose. For opening day they baked about 30 loaves of bread, 2 dozen muffins and 12 cinnamon buns. When they opened their doors at 10 o’clock … there were 200 people lined up at the door. They had planned to have a bread blessing, but after ten minutes there was no bread left to bless. Someone gave their loaf back and they blessed it, broke it, and ate it. They had made all these careful plans for failure … how they could exist selling 12 loaves of bread a day … but they hadn’t given any thought to what would happen if they were wildly successful.It was a nightmare. They were working so hard. Tabitha remembers the day the timer on the oven went off and she picked up the phone and couldn’t figure out why no one was saying hello. And today … some 15 years later … three of the five original owners, Tabitha, and Sharon Lawrence, and Lyle Barkman have opened a second branch of their bakery … they still have the little neighbourhood place in Wolseley where it all began, and now they have added a new one at the Forks. Which is where I went … and they support five farm families, and they employ about fifty people and they have learned that you can’t get rich when you pay fair wages to both farmers and staff … but you can make a decent living. “We buy our wild rice from a local native co-op”, says Tabitha. “We could get it way cheaper elsewhere… but we like what these folks are doing. They have a store in the poorest part of the city and they won’t sell cigarettes …and they are part of changing their community and we want to support them.” She picked up her coffee and looked around her bakery and smiled. She said, “If something is too cheap that means someone is paying the cost somewhere. Maybe it is the environment or maybe it is someone else down the line.” “The average food item in the average grocery store travels 2000 miles,” she said. “Here the average is 200 miles.” “The farmers come here and deliver their grain. And they see the bread. They see where their grain is going. And our customers see where it is coming from. They can have coffee together.” Tabitha says she has learned that you can make a difference to the local economy and make a living at the same time. “The questions that we continue to ask,” she said, “are how can we be more local, more just, more environmentally conscious than we were yesterday.” “It has been an unbelievable journey,” she said. “I am honored to be part of it. I am a tad tired. But show me a baker who isn’t.” They started with 2 people in 1990 and baked 30 loaves on opening day. This Saturday they baked about 700 loaves of bread, all organic and many hand-shaped. And I don’t know how many cinnamon buns and croissants. I am a lucky man. I get to travel all across this great land and talk to people from coast to coast. Mostly I get to tell my stories … but often I get to hear others. And every once in a while I meet someone who tells me a story I think everyone should hear.

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In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

cove_of_the_ancients

 

Now we have proudly separated ourselves from Nature, and the spirit of Pan is dead. Men’s souls are scattered beyond the hope of unity, and the sword of formal creeds sharply separates them everywhere. To live in harmony with the Universe made life the performance of a majestic ceremony; to live against it was to creep aside into a cul de sac. Yet, even now, whispers of change are stealing over the face of the world once more. Like another vast dream beginning, man’s consciousness is slowly spreading outwards once again. Some voice from the long ago is divinely trumpeting across our little globe. To that voice, I dedicate this book.

 

 

 

Edmond Bordeaux Szekely in his dedication to The Essene Gospel of Peace – Book Three

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I embark on the journey of completing the sequel to In Search of Simplicity, I am re-reading some of the books that inspired me at that time between 1989 and 1993. I will be bringing summaries of parts of what I read to you. The first of these is a little on Edmond Bordeaux Szekely. I trust you enjoy and derive inspiration as I have from him and his writings over the years. 

 

In Northern Baja, Mexico, with little more than the shirt on his back, his assets frozen half a world away in war-torn Europe, Edmond Bordeaux Szekely embarked on what was to become known as The Great Experiment.

Earlier in his colourful life, this brilliant linguist (a well-known philologist in Sanskrit, Aramaic, Greek and Latin, he also spoke ten modern languages) had privileged access to the archives of the Vatican. Here, in 1923, buried amongst the mountains of dusty, ancient manuscripts, he found and translated an Essene document written in Aramaic, ascribed to the life and words of Jesus. This work, Book One of The Essene Gospel of Peace, essene-gospel-of-peacehas inspired millions of readers around the world since its original release in 1928 (the first English translation was made available in 1937).

The story of Szekely’s epic journey that eventually brought him to Tecate in this sun drenched valley of grapes and goats just south of the California border can be found in his Search for the Ageless Volume One: My Unusual Adventures on the Five Continents. I still dip into my well worn copy to derive inspiration from his adventures which included the successful application of ancient Essene principles of healing to a leper colony in Tahiti, survival of a shipwreck off the Caribbean coast of Mexico and near death by dehydration while crossing the southern Sonora Desert on his way to the Baja.

The Great Experiment eventually spanned 33 years and included 123,000 participants on an area of over 1,200 acres.

Inspired greatly by the life, teachings and exploits of Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, I began to correspond with Norma Bordeaux Szekely, known as Swallow to all modern Essenes, the second wife and successor to Szekely. She was living near Nelson, British Columbia at the time, which happened to be the worldwide center for the Modern Essene Movement. I ordered and read quite a number of the morn than 80 books written by her late husband. The inspiration received from that reading formed the foundation for our Little Experiment in living off the land in the high desert of New Mexico.

 

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

 

 

 

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When our dear friend Roselyn was visiting from Australia in December, 2008, I decided to take her for a visit to our old property in Peria Valley, 20 minutes from the beach where we live today. Between 1998 and 2002 we had developed this productive and fruitful (avocadoes, citrus, tamarillos, casimiroas and perhaps 30 other kinds of fruiting trees) 2 acres into a health center we called Angels’ Way Retreat. We offered workshops and classes and had two retreat huts in addition to our home. Somewhat reluctantly we sold that property to finance an open-ended overseas trip that culminated with our family living in the Netherlands until 2004.

United We Sing is a poem that came through me one night in 2003 at the time we were recording a few of my peace songs in Hoorn in Noord Holland. I believe it should appeal to anyone wishing for peace in the world. Acting collectively we can bring about a transformation in human consciousness and recognize the inevitability of World Peace. As I ask in the movie, do we want it now or do we want it later? It’s up to us. The poem is found in the epilogue of my book, In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives. To read the complete epilogue visit here.

Incidentally, Angel’s Way Retreat was purchased by people who own an ashram in New Plymouth and they’ve turned it into another ashram visited by people from all over New Zealand. It warms my heart to see this special property being appreciated in this way.

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

 

 

 

six-healing-sounds-by-mantak-chia

For nearly nine years I’ve been practising The Six Healing Sounds, an ancient Taoist breathing technique using sub-vocalised sounds, breath and visualisations related to internal organs. For nearly four years I’ve been teaching this technique to others.

Below are a few words I’ve put together about The Six Healing Sounds:

Although some teachers attribute the practice of the Six Healing Sounds to a sixth century Buddhist hermit, elements of this ancient chi kung form were found inscribed on silk fragments in the famous Mawangdui tomb discovery, dated to 216 BC. Their original name may have been the Six Healing Breaths, which makes sense when you consider that this technique can be considered more similar to pranayama than to mantra in the Indian yogic tradition.

The sounds are taught by a number of modern masters, from the East and West. Each of these exponents describes a different practice. The pronunciation of the sounds varies. Fortunately, many of these apparent differences seem to arise from difficulties in representing these sounds phonetically in print. However the sound for the kidneys varies significantly, certainly more than can be explained by the challenge of phonetic representation. As always, I can only recommend that you find what feels right for you and stick with it. As with all sound work, the intention is at least as important as the actual sound.

The degree of vocalization varies greatly, from totally inaudible, through the sound of the breath exhaling to complete vocalization of the sounds. It might be well to heed the words of Ni Hua-Ching who says, “If the sound is coarse and audible it will hurt the chi in the body.”

The order of the sounds varies from teacher to teacher, although most follow the productive (Shen) cycle of the Five Elements or Phases. Some begin with the liver sound, probably because it represents rebirth and the season of spring. Mantak Chia, on whom I base my interpretation, begins with the lung sound. Virtually all the teachers agree that one finishes with the sound of the triple warmer. You can experiment with this, perhaps varying with the seasons. It is also possible to focus on one sound and repeat it up to 36 times, in instances where you are attempting to purify a particular emotion or organ. The Triple Warmer (sometimes called Triple Heater or Triple Burner) may be unfamiliar to many Westerners. It has an integrating function that links and harmonises the processes of the primary organs.

 

Let’s look at some of the potential benefits of regularly practicing the Six Healing Sounds:

 

1.                     The sounds have a cooling and harmonizing effect on the internal organs, which tend to overheat with the many stresses of modern life.

2.                     Qi (life force) is increased, leading to restoration and maintenance of calmness and good health. Minor ailments can be prevented or easily overcome.

3.                     Improves digestion.

4.                     Perhaps the greatest benefit is in the release or transformation of negative emotions into more positive, life enhancing energy.

5.                     Weakness and sickness in the internal organs such as the stomach or the liver can cause bad breath. Practise of the sounds can, therefore, alleviate halitosis.

6.                     Likewise body odour can be reduced, especially through the practise of the lung and kidney sounds.

7.                     The Six Healing Sounds release trapped energy in the organs, thereby leading to improvement in the range of movement of practitioners. Similarly, the Healing sounds can serve as an excellent warm up prior to singing.

8.                     The practice of the Healing Sounds is a form of Qigong, and as such is another effective tool to be used in the process of self discovery.

Cheers,

John

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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Vietnamese Women and Flowers

Vietnamese Women and Flowers

 

 

 

In December of 2007, I met a couple on the beach I hadn’t seen for many months. I asked where they had been and they told me Vietnam. I asked if there were any visible memories of the war that had been fought there in the 1960s and 1970s. They said the aftermath of the war was obvious. Many people were missing limbs from encounters with land mines. Some children were using metal detectors to search for shards of scrap metal in an attempt to earn money. People continue to die each year when they happen upon unexploded mines.

The jungle where the defoliant, Agent Orange, was sprayed has not properly re-grown. Even after over thirty years it remains stunted scrub, rather than regenerating into the vigorous and verdant jungle it had been before.

Yet, despite this devastation, there remains hope. In an attempt to kick start forestation, there are massive tree planting programmes underway using hardy, fast growing species such as Australian eucalypts. Vietnam is a young country. Something like 60% of the population has been born since the war ended in 1973. Despite pervasive poverty, most Vietnamese seem to hold no animosity towards the Americans and other foreigners who contributed to such destruction on their soil.

I asked this elderly New Zealand couple why they went to Vietnam. They replied that they lived a comfortable life in this beautiful country and they felt it was too easy to become complacent and insular. They wanted to see for themselves that some people don’t have it as good as we do.

I have friends who are Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Baha’is. I have friends whose unspoken religion is their deep connection with nature.

Wouldn’t it be appropriate that at this time in which many celebrate the birth of one of the greatest teachers this world has known that we take time to reflect on that which unites, rather than separates us? We are each a special son or daughter of a mother and a father. We each have a beating heart, and deep within each of these beating hearts is, I believe, a similar wish and that wish is for peace.

Blessings to you all this holiday season.

Over twenty years ago I had the pleasure of spending considerable quality time as a backpacker in the heart of Bali. I was touched and deeply influenced by the rich social fabric of these simple-living islanders. It seemed they were always celebrating something or preparing for the next celebration. For them life was art.

 

To a certain extent my family and I have taken those Balinese messages and assembled them into a quality lifestyle that resounds with simple ritual and celebration.

 

First of all, Christmas in the southern hemisphere feels a little strange as its original date was established based on the pagan festivals of the coming of light. December 25th is a few days after winter solstice and is the first day that was obvious to our ancestors that the days were getting longer and, hence, the light was returning. It is my understanding that’s Jesus’ actual birth date was in January. Here in New Zealand Christmas falls in the heart of summer, creating stress for people as they attempt to finish off activities and shopping in this busy, outward and naturally warm time.

 

What do we do now? Both daughters make their own Christmas cards. The youngest, who is almost 16 now, still makes paper snowflakes and festoons the French doors in our living room with them. Soon I will prune several large branches from a cedar hedge to create a ‘Christmas tree’. The girls will decorate it with many, mostly handmade, decorations.

 

For the past three years the girls and I have sung Christmas carols at homes for the elderly. That is an extremely rewarding pastime. Our family will host an annual summer celebration on December 21st on the beach below our house. These events are attended by an eclectic crowd who follow a diverse range of religions and beliefs. We share a meal, leap over the fire to strengthen friendships, sing together, swim and relish the spirit of friendship. I usually attend carol singing at a couple of local churches. I sang in the church choir as a boy so it feels great to share these traditions. On Christmas Eve I’ll join a few friends for Sanskrit chanting. We have no family nearby, so Christmas day is a quiet family affair followed by a get-together with another immigrant family (from England) who are actually like family for us. All in all, it is a season rich with celebration and low-cost sharing.