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Issue 10 Inspiration Journal, November - December 2004 Cover

The Four Paths of Peace – Jane Ely, Phd

“Peace begins within” is a vibrational current we all relate to. But even more, it is a calling of the soul to self-responsible practices and truths that exist in the very marrow of our ancestral bones-the home of our integrity, authenticity and self-empowerment.

A Royal View – Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen of Bhutan) by Hob Osterlund

Shortly after her 45th birthday, the Queen of Bhutan realized what she had to do. “I knew it was time to travel my country.” Not by vehicle on snaking, precarious Himalayan roads, not by horse through a wooded maze of unmapped pathways, not differently from her subjects, but, like most of them, on foot. From one tiny village to the next. To learn about their secrets, their sorrows and their celebrations.

Hawaii Forgiveness Project: True Forgiveness – Michael North


The word forgiving is generally considered synonymous with forgetting. “Forgive and forget” is common folk wisdom. According to this saying you must set aside, by an act of will, the hurt, pain or injury someone has caused you, focus on other things and move on.

The Sounds of Music in Our Lives – Judy Shabert, M.D.

Music has the ability to create strong emotions that affect our mind, body and soul. Since antiquity philosophers have written about the value of music for humans, but not until the 20th century was actual research conducted on music’s effects on plants, animals and humans.

  • Bringing Aloha into Buddhist Meditation – Jacqueline Kramer
  • Family Peace Group: Healing through Forgiveness – Elizabeth Spanton
  • Enlightened Relationship – Tomas & Joan Heartfield, Phd
  • Men’s Health: Prostate Health – Steven Dubey, ND
  • Women’s Health: Hot Flashes and You – Francine Kanter
  • Elements: Metal – Alaya DeNolles
  • Healing Touch- What is it? – Lee Rosendaal
  • Chakra 7 -Gloria Coppola
  • The Chi of Feng Shui, Part 2 – Clear Engelbert
  • Holiday Fitness Tips

The Four Paths of Peace – Jane Ely, Phd

“Peace begins within” is a vibrational current we all relate to. But even more, it is a calling of the soul to self-responsible practices and truths that exist in the very marrow of our ancestral bones-the home of our integrity, authenticity and self-empowerment.

“Peace begins within” is a commitment to activism and life-giving creativity. As each person decides to walk the path of peace-making and peace-building, a change is created in our world. We are a culture inundated by outer-world media and inner-world chaos, leaving us in various states of overwhelm, over-extended credit, emotional angst and physical exhaustion. In short we are stressed out and stressed-in.

When does your spirit get rest? Where is there a place for true relaxation without the “doing mind?” Now is the time my grandfather and elders spoke about – the time of “the Wobble effect.” The world is in chaos, but the mind thinks it is in control. Institutions and systems are dissolving, lurching to grinding, dysfunctional halts as a result of decades of misuse and suffering. This time is known to our elders as the death of the fourth world giving way to the fifth world.

As individuals we can make a difference by looking at the internal chaos we create in ourselves, to the mind over-thinking us to a standstill É but most importantly, to what we practice in our daily lives.

I would like to share some of the tools and skills given to me by my elders for coming back into balance. These skills are American Indian spiritual and cultural practices, but they are universal in nature, and we all can benefit from them.

The foundation for these teachings is the Medicine Wheel – a circle of life representing all creation.

The four aspects represented are the physical world – Mother Earth and our own bodies; the emotional world of fluidity and flexibility; the mental world of clear mind and wisdom; and the spiritual world of inter-relatedness with all life forms, seen and especially unseen. At the intersection of these aspects is stillness, spaciousness, the Creator (or as some would say The Great Mystery That Moves Through All Things) – in essence, the heartbeat of wholeness and unity.

In the southern direction, with the physical Mother Earth and our selves, is the principle of community. Only by being balanced ourselves can we come into balance with others, which then leads to the acknowledgement that we are interconnected with all life.

Community balance needs mutual respect and appreciation of differences of others, both culturally and spiritually. The Cherokee word for balance is u-ti-yv-hi. This is a concept of wholeness.

The second aspect of The Medicine Wheel represents cooperation, the emotional world of flexibility, the ability to change and remain fluid – “moving with” rather than moving “against.” This is also the home of moving through life changes such as illness and walking into the time of transformation. The Cherokee word for co-operative energy is a-li-go-sv.

In practice we find common ground with one another to work together. We consider ourselves equal partners in finding creative solutions for problems. Cooperatively we build bridges of understanding. We learn patience in this aspect and we learn to truly listen to one another.

The northern aspect of the Medicine Wheel is the home of our mental well-being. We develop clear minds, using the wisdom of our elders and teachers to guide and support us, and we learn the practice of open-mindedness.

In the practice of non-violence we respect all life and promise to do no harm. We keep open minds and hearts to develop empathy and compassion. We use the mind in dialogue, as a creative problem solver. We humbly share our life experiences with integrity as our teachers have done before us. The Cherokee word is harmony – nv-wa-to-hi-ya-dv. It embodies the concept of to-hi, the word for peace.

The fourth aspect of the Medicine Wheel is the most significant. It is the practice of spirituality on a day to day basis. In this aspect we learn to pray deeply and sincerely. We learn to witness one another in a non-judgmental way and to honor all ways of authentic spirituality. There is a natural living presence that arises with inclusiveness. In Cherokee the word is a-tlo-ya-s-to-di.

Each path of peace leads to the center of the Medicine Wheel of Life. When we are able to hold all these aspects in our consciousness and practice them in our daily lives we are present to and for whatever happens around us. Standing in the center of the wheel requires a powerful practice and great skill. It is a state of being that naturally and generously generates faith, trust, truth and discernment.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Author unknown.

Jane Ely, Ph.D., D. Min. is the author of The Ancestral Soul: Soul Loss and Recovery, and is the founder of The Peacemaker School of Spiritual Healing, dedicated to fostering peacemakers in the world. Please visit www.peacemakerschool.com.

She has a private practice in Lihue, HI. at 808-245-4246 and in Delaware at 570-807-4989. The Peacemaker School of Spiritual Healing will establish its Kaua’i program this year with an introduction to the Principles of Peacemaking. For more information contact Dr. Ely via email: deerclan2@verizon.net.
[© copyright, Jane Ely, 2004]


A Royal View – Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen of Bhutan) by Hob Osterlund

Shortly after her 45th birthday, the Queen of Bhutan realized what she had to do.

“I knew it was time to travel my country.’ Not by vehicle on snaking, precarious Himalayan roads, not by horse through a wooded maze of unmapped pathways, not differently from her subjects, but, like most of them, on foot. From one tiny village to the next. To learn about their secrets, their sorrows and their celebrations.

Hers was no small feat. Bhutan is more than mountainous. It’s virtually all mountain, the result of a long, spectacular slow-motion crushing collision between the Indian and Eurasian subcontinents. The peaks arch above Calcutta’s plains like the ribs of a massive, recumbent beast, from an altitude of about 1,000 feet to nearly 24,000 feet at the Tibetan border, all in a span of 100 miles from south to north, in a country the size of Switzerland. Even today the mountains continue their climb toward the heavens, at twice the clip that fingernails grow. Only 8% of the land is flat enough to farm.

Bhutan is also known as Druk Yul, The Land of the Thunder Dragon. It takes four days to drive its entirety from east to west, some 300 miles as the raven flies, much farther on narrow winding byways carved from stony cliffs.

Life in Bhutan
Life in Bhutan is hard work. Seventy-nine percent of its nearly 700,000 people are subsistence farmers, with an average annual income of $597. Most die by the age of 66, a big improvement from the 37-year life expectancy in1955 when Her Majesty was born. Infant mortality is roughly ten times that of America. The government reports that 54% of its citizens are literate.

As the only surviving Buddhist monarchy in the Himalayas, Druk Yul’s biological diversity and native habitat preservation are an ecological phenomenon. Seventy percent of the land is forested. More than 770 bird and 165 mammal species are found there, including an artist’s palette of creatures such as the black-necked crane, snow leopard, golden langur, blue sheep, red panda and the bizarre brown takin. More than one-quarter of the country is protected as national parkland.

“Before 1974, we lived in total isolation,’ the queen remembers, until Bhutan’s royal government decided to gradually end its seclusion from the rest of the world. Even the villages themselves were insulated from each other. Most of the country was accessible only by footpath.

In 1979 she married the respected and beloved King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who would later become internationally honored for his splendid developmental philosophy, “Gross National Happiness.’ More precisely, she and her three lovely sisters married him. Collectively referred to as “Their Majesties the Queens,’ none had time for leisure. There was much to be done. To remain sovereign, Bhutan needed to quickly and cautiously unlock its border to global relations and modernization.

The Royal Trek
Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the eldest queen. She knew one day she would visit the remote areas. “In the past I really did want to do it, but there were my children, and so many things to do. In the year 2000, I told myself, If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.’ I knew if I didn’t do the trek I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.’

It wasn’t easy. On the second day of the excursion she was so sore she could barely drag herself out of her tent. “There was no way I could call for a helicopter, but I did want to be carried by a stretcher or a horse.’

Despite the impulse, she continued to walk. “Fortunately, the mind takes over the body,’ she observes, remembering her 80-year-old father’s determination. “He keeps going and going. He’s a role model for us all.’ Just the year before her first trek, Her Majesty published Of Rainbows and Clouds, The Life of Yab Ugyen Dorji as told to his Daughter, written as a tribute to his life. She is not one to draw attention to herself. Her presence in the book is evident only in the preface, dedicated to her parents. The rest of the tale is told in first person by her father.

Nor does the queen feel especially skilled as a writer. “I took creative writing in England, but I’m not an author. Good, bad or mediocre, I had to take the plunge.’

The same kind of commitment dominated her trek. “I went to many, many villages.’ Despite physical discomfort, she crawled out of her tent day after day. She lost toenails to steep rugged descents. She sat on her subjects’ floors eating ema-datsee, the blinding, tongue-torching national dish made of chilies and homemade cheese. She prostrated herself in reverence before their altars. She now appreciates the journey as “a great eye opener. I saw that their lives are an exercise in survival.’

Their stories moved her deeply. “People would touch my heart, and I felt I had to do something [for them].’ The queen personally promised a lifetime of support to one person after the next. To people like Wangmo of Laya in remote northern Bhutan, 30 years old, outcast and pregnant. To Wangchuck of Trongsa, a father of five blind children. To individual Lhops of southern Bhutan who live in an inescapable cycle of indebtedness to money lenders across the border.

With so many people having similar needs, how did she choose whom to sponsor? “If you’re sitting talking and you touch someone’s hand and you don’t want to let go, you know you share a karmic connection from a past life.’

Her Majesty’s patronage to each recipient is the equivalent of $10 per month. By the time she’d offered 25 sponsorships, she realized she had to create an organization to provide formal advocacy. “It was then the Tarayana Foundation came to my mind.’ “Tara’ and “yana’ are translated to mean “vehicle of the Goddess Tara’s compassion and wisdom.’

The Tarayana Foundation
Nearly three years later, the enterprise was inaugurated under her aegis, in donated office space and without paid staff. “We didn’t know how we would find the necessary cash, but we opened a bank account and looked for an auspicious day. The crown prince [her nephew Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck], was gracious enough to offer to launch the foundation.’ Before she knew it, they had enough volunteers and sponsors to begin.

The Tarayana Foundation’s primary focus is to improve lives in disadvantaged village communities. As in many countries, rural-urban migration is straining to capacity the infrastructure of more highly-populated towns. Housing, water, electricity, employment and solid waste disposal are all growing challenges in Bhutan’s few urban areas, where only 15% of the populace reside.

Thimphu is Druk Yul’s largest city and the only world capital without a traffic signal. It had one for a short time, but it was unceremoniously removed when people complained about it being too impersonal. The city’s population doubled from 40,000 to 80,000 between 2001 and 2004.

“We want to provide solar energy in the villages, to make the quality of life a little better. We hope the people will want to stay.’ The foundation is also promoting self-sufficiency by supporting artisan skills and encouraging academic achievement by offering grants to students from less privileged families.

Bhutan’s Giant Step
In a few short years, Bhutan has taken the first inconceivably giant strides from medieval to modern times. The task looks impossible. With one foot standing in the 17th century and one foot in the 21st, straddling a four-hundred-year-wide chasm, it seems more like a hip-ripping, excruciating stretch of doing the splits. In some ways they want to be contemporary, but Bhutanese citizens are known to dread the extinction of their culture more than they fear death.

Can their society continue its straddle without falling into the abyss? The queen hopes voluntary service will help stabilize the precarious pose by strengthening a sense of community. Tarayana wants to inspire compassion, which is consistent with Buddhist ideals.

“We want to create awareness that volunteer work is necessary and important. What we do is model it. In this way we can be an asset to the people and to the government,’ the queen observes.

Where it can, the foundation opens small-scale cottage industries. “If some schemes can be successful, that will make a big difference.’

Tarayana is also creating craft centers to sell pottery, weaving and handmade paper. Land in Thimphu and the eastern town of Mongar have been acquired for just this purpose. “We would like to help the craftspeople market their goods, get fair pricing, and pursue international sales.’

For all these plans, the foundation needs funds. “We don’t have a problem of too much money. It’s most obvious that we can only do these things one little step at a time.’ Her Majesty envisions the Tarayana Foundation partnering with international organizations to promote mutual goals. Save the Children has offered $20,000 to assist young people to complete primary education. Her foundation is also committed to economic efficiency. “We spend nothing on infrastructure from our contributions. Literally 100% goes directly to the villagers.’

A Queen’s Invitation
Although she’s royalty, she doesn’t see herself as an expert in domestic relations, much less a celestial being from supernatural realms. “I’m not important,’ she reflects. “If I can be used in a way that benefits the people, I’m happy. I have many lessons to learn myself. I’m just a student of social service.’

What she’s gleaned from her forays apply globally. When asked about how best to promote international friendships, she reflects briefly and smiles. “Listen to each other. One person at a time. A connection can be made, a chord can be touched.’

Her Majesty, Queen of Bhutan has the imperturbable look of one who hears harmony beneath cacophony, who sees Bhutan’s challenges with a sense of hope, who knows something about the truth. “We are all very, very alike,’ she says with a tranquility that will likely give her the stamina to trek many more trails in her lifetime.

Hob Osterlund is a nurse, a freelance writer and a comedian. She lives on Kaua’i, and is writing a book about her travels in Bhutan. This article reflects the first interview Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck has granted a Western journalist.

Side bar: Sponsor a child for $10/month
Make checks payable to:
The Bhutan Foundation
note: deposit for Tarayana Foundation
763 United Nations Plaza, 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10017
www.tarayanafoundation.org


Hawaii Forgiveness Project: True Forgiveness – Michael North

The word forgiving is generally considered synonymous with forgetting. “Forgive and forget” is common folk wisdom. According to this saying you must set aside, by an act of will, the hurt, pain or injury someone has caused you, focus on other things and move on.But we know that willful forgetting sometimes doesn’t work. Read this sentence: “Do not think of an elephant.” Of course, you immediately thought of an elephant.

True forgiveness requires a fearless confrontation of the truth – it’s not a venting of anger or a call for retribution, but a more passionate connection with one’s feelings. Even victims find this a challenging experience.

Real forgiveness is more than a passive pretense of letting go; it is an aggressive remembering. Real forgiveness does not excuse or regret, and does not evade responsibility. It is active; it requires a profound knowledge of the source of pain. One of the truest paths to forgiveness is based on a deep mutual understanding between the victim and the perpetrator.

When this sort of dialogue can occur, the boundaries between victim and perpetrator dissolve — they are mirror images of each other. In the victim, the perpetrator finally sees himself or herself and the actions involved clearly, and in that searing knowledge faces real justice — the inescapable justice of his or her own conscience. That punishment is more severe than any prison could inflict, and more liberating than any rehabilitation could provide. In such forgiveness, justice and punishment take place at the same instant as understanding and freedom. It’s not easy, and it’s not quick. It’s not an act of rational will; rather it is a searing surrender of identity. While a religious guide, friend, therapist or family member can help in the process, forgiveness is, in the end, the ultimate act of intimate personal response-ability.

Please consider a short example, condensed from the book, Stories of Forgiveness.

John Plummer helped organize a napalm raid on the Vietnamese village of Trang Bang in 1972 – a bombing immortalized by the prize-winning Associated Press photograph taken of [several victims, including] , Phan Thi Kim Phuc.

For the next twenty-four years, John was haunted by this image. He dreamed of finding the girl and telling her that he was sorry, but he grew more depressed as the years passed.

[In 1996] John was at the Vietnam War Memorial on Veterans’ Day. Grown up but still suffering immensely from her burns, Kim had come to Washington to lay a wreath for peace. She introduced herself to the crowd as the girl in the famous photograph, and told everyone that she was not bitter.

Kim said that although she could not change the past, she had forgiven the men who bombed her village, that she felt a calling to promote peace by fostering goodwill between America and Vietnam. John pushed through the crowd and told her he was responsible for the bombing.

He says: “Kim saw my grief, my pain, my sorrow…. She held out her arms to me and embraced me. All I could say was ‘I’m sorry; I’m sorry’ – over and over again. And at the same time she was saying, ‘It’s all right, I forgive you.'”

Without meeting Kim face to face, John might never have forgiven himself. But he got even more than he hoped for: Kim forgave him.

Reflecting on how the incident changed his life, John maintains that forgiveness is “neither earned nor even deserved, but a gift.” It is also a mystery.

We are ready to move on to this higher definition of forgiveness. Ideas like this evolve through history, in fits and starts. Slavery, once the unquestioned law of many lands, is now unthinkable almost everywhere. Non-violence was once thought to be the refuge of the weak and is now understood to spring from the deepest wells of courage.

So it can be with forgiveness. As we work on this, beginning with ourselves, the impact will radiate out through our relationships, families, communities and nations. At the point of stillness where everyone understands the story of John Plummer, we are all profoundly and actively connected, every instant.

By Michael North, for the Hawaii Forgiveness Project A free copy of the book, Forgiveness Stories, is available at: http://www.hawaiiforgivenessproject.org/stories/


The Sounds of Music in Our Lives – Judy Shabert, M.D.

Music has the ability to create strong emotions that affect our mind, body and soul. Since antiquity philosophers have written about the value of music for humans, but not until the 20th century was actual research conducted on music’s effects on plants, animals and humans.

Dorothy Retallack, in the 1960s, showed that playing classical music (Beethoven, Bach, Haydn etc.) and sitar stimulated the healthy growth of plants. However, plants exposed to the music of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Vanilla Fudge grew away from the sound, did not thrive and most died. Focusing her attention on people, she found that the same classical music that stimulated healthy plant growth produced muscle relaxation and tranquility in humans. Much of this music has a rhythm closely approximating the beating of the human heart, which may account for its benefits.

Music can both raise and lower the stress hormone cortisol. Lowering cortisol in our blood can create calm and relaxation in our stress-filled lives, and music with 60 – 70 beats per minute tends to do this. For some people, particularly teen-agers this might not be desirable. The London Times reports that rowdy teen-agers stopped loitering in front of a certain establishment once hard rock music was replaced by classical music. In certain situations it is normal and desirable for cortisol to be increased. During strenuous physical activity like aerobic exercise and athletic competition music with a rapid beat will energize the body and stimulate cortisol production for enhanced performance. One can appreciate the suspense and heightened intensity of a band playing at a football game. Fast foods restaurants also use up-tempo, cortisol-stimulating music to keep customers moving through their restaurant more rapidly.

Research has also shown that music can boost sleep in people with insomnia, enhance mood by relieving depression and anxiety, and lower blood pressure and heart rate when these are abnormally high. Trained and certified music therapists have special knowledge in providing the right music for the right patient at the right time.

Babies in intensive care units who were exposed to heart sounds and other soothing music were discharged from the hospital a full 12 days before others. By listening to or participating in specific music, people who have Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke or other disabling physical conditions improve more than people who don’t. People with schizophrenia and autism become more social when music is played. Women in labor and individuals experiencing chronic pain are encouraged to listen to music to help relieve symptoms. If music is used prior to surgery the need for medication is decreased. In cancer patients music therapy can decrease nausea and vomiting from chemotherapeutic drugs.

Anne Savan, a chemistry teacher in Wales, taught boys with special needs. When she played orchestral pieces by Mozart, the usually unruly, uncoordinated and unfocused boys settled down to their tasks. They could perform experiments that they had been previously unable to do.

In addition to music’s positive effects on emotional and physical state, music may improve our brains. In 1990s Dr. Frances Rauscher had college students listen to a Mozart piano sonata, relaxation music or no music at all. She discovered that for 10 -15 minutes following this exposure, the students who listened to Mozart were able to perform better in certain spatial activities. Don Campbell popularized this idea in his book, The Mozart Effect, claiming that one can increase intelligence by listening to classical music. While many scientists dispute Don Campbell’s broad claim, Dr. Rauscher’s work has generated enormous interest and research.

Where can you find music that has so many benefits? The Kaua’i Concert Association brings to the island a wide spectrum of music every year. The association’s 2004-05 concerts will provide a wide range of musical and emotional delights – some to relax you, some to get you charged. The classical concerts include a Van Cliburn concert winning pianist, Jon Nakamatsu, the Ahn Trio, sisters highlighted on MTV and in Gap ads, and the St. Petersburg String Quartet, with Grammy-nominated guitarist, Paul Galbraith. The contemporary components are Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Adderly Legacy Band, the Honolulu Brass, and the Honolulu Jazz Quartet. The exciting season opener is the Harlem Gospel Choir on November 6.

Tickets for the entire season, for segments, or individual concerts are available at Border’s, or by calling 245-SING. For more information visit the website at www.kauai-concert.org.

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