Author Archive

Another Study Proves It – Gratitude Rewires the Brain

17/11/2019

Tulip at Mtnspirit

Editor’s note: We host a weekly Sunday meditation here at Mountain Spirit New Zealand near Wanaka. Yesterday, it was my turn to host, and I re-introduced the simple three items of incense, flowers and a candle. The flowers especially are a great reminder to be grateful. I used to use the simple three items during my meditations after a family loss some years ago, and although I use them off and on, now I’ll make it a more regular thing. Its funny how simple things can bring you back on track even during the toughest of times. It’s all about gratitude. If you’ve not seen it, check out What the Bleep! movie which also served, and still does, as a good reminder to be grateful for what we do have. It’s along the same lines at the article below – showing, through science what the Eastern Mystics have known all along. Randall Richards

Neuroscience Reveals: Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to be Happier

 

by DailyHealthPost, 2019

When you say “thank you”, do you really mean it or is it just politeness to which you give little attention? Neuroscientists have found that if you really feel it when you say it, you’ll be happier and healthier. The regular practice of expressing gratitude is not a New Age fad; it’s a facet of the human condition that reaps true benefits to those who mean it.

Psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude. Read more…

 

Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

17/11/2019
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Amanda Richards, Summit of Mt. Roy, Wanaka, New Zealand

By Alanna Ketler of Collective Evolution

While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better!
Hiking in Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts

Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin. Read more….

Learn the Real Reasons of the Bolivian Coup of President Morales

17/11/2019

Bolivia CrossTalk RT“The pattern” continues, now in Bolivia, as explained by these well-informed international experts on a show called CrossTalk. For a different take from the MSM, check out this interview. Although I’ve not yet heard any comment from Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man author John Perkins on the subject of Morales’ departure, I think he’s working on something so keep an eye out.

I’ve spent some time in Bolivia, running a few educational programs with Mountain Spirit, and even  considered moving there at one time. It was uplifting to see what Evo Morales as doing for his country, and I was surprised to hear about the election improprieties. When I dug into the story a bit, it started to make sense. It’s all about lithium.  Also see Lee  Camp’s Redacted Tonight Episode 268 for some eye-opening facts on Bolivia’s Coup. Also see a past Mountain Spirit Blog post on Morales and Bolivia

REI: Closing on Black Friday for Good

14/11/2019
REI Closed Blk Frdy

REI’s Seattle Store..Take note of the “day out” banner. Regaining sanity

Below are a couple of excerpts from Jerry Stritzke’s piece on REI (Recreation Equipment Incorporated coop). A great idea started four years ago, it seems to be catching on. Even though REI loses a lot of revenue in some ways, they’ve made great strides in re-instilling a sense of sanity in an otherwise completely “world-gone-crazy” holiday shopping season.

By: Jerry Stritzke on #OptOutside 2018

Thursday and Friday, REI will be closed. For #OptOutside, all of our 12,000+ employees will be paid to take time off and be with family and friends. We’re asking each to take someone they love who might not get outside as much with them. If we’re honest, these are stressful times, and we hope it will help bring people closer together.

When #OptOutside started four years ago, it was about reclaiming a day that was distorting a time to give thanks for what we have, and re-grounding in what we value most in life as an outdoor community. Back then, closing down on the busiest retail day of the year shocked the system. Now, millions of people have chosen to make a walk in the park part of their family tradition.

We have been inspired by the momentum. Being together outside has brought us together as a community. It’s unusual in today’s atmosphere to find a movement that unites rather than divides.

That’s why, this year, we chose to focus on the healing power of being outside.
Read the rest of this article here…

Sage, Not just for Smudging Anymore

03/10/2019

Study: Burning Sage Kills 94% of Airborne Bacteria, Disease-Causing Strains Stay Gone for 30 Days
Sage
From Returntonow.net

The ancient ritual of burning sage to purify the air turns out to be more than a superstition! The Native American ritual of “smudging” or burning sage to clear the air of “bad energy” turns out to ward away more than just “negative vibes.” Read more…

 

Mindfulness And Meditation To Become Part Of The Curriculum In 370 Schools In England

14/07/2019

By Fino Menezes
BrightVibes.com

i2In 370 schools across England, children will be taught how to meditate, techniques for muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises for mindfulness. The program is being conducted under a mental health study that the British government is running up until 2021.

Dealing with new and complex emotions can be mitigated by meditation and mindfulness.  When children act out by kicking and screaming, very often it is simply because they don’t understand. Read More….

Over-Tourism – Now What Do We Do?

13/07/2019
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Dexter and Genelle Richards at Dexter’s Inn circa 1940  ©randallrichards

I grew up in tourism. My parents started a ski lodge, Dexter’s Inn,  in the 1940’s in Sunapee, New Hampshire. I’ve been in and out of tourism over the years, and in different shades of it, from ski instruction, to experiential education, high-altitude mountain guiding,  a guide on the Inka Trail to Machu Pichu, back in the days when you didn’t see a lot of people, and no permits required (referring to the Inka Trail only).

We now own Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters and Mountain Spirit NZ in the Southern Lakes District of New Zealand. So we’re officially back in the industry. However the industry seems uber-industrial.
Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  So when is enough, enough? And what do we do now?
Here are some rumblings about our, small, but very fast-growing communities, Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand.
First an article from CNN: in which Queenstown is listed, among other areas in the world, as a trouble spot, with over 3 million visitors per year…

Destination trouble: Can overtourism be stopped in its tracks?
(CNN) — We first hear about these places when we’re kids. Famous destinations full of wondrous architecture, spectacular scenery or ancient mysteries that fire our imaginations and fill us with yearning.
We dream, we grow, we save up all our money and one day we finally get to visit — only to discover, read more…

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Queenstown, New Zealand , image©Randall Richards

Next, our local Wanaka Stakeholder Group’s Protect Wanaka Facebook page, a firebrand in its own right (and I mean that as a compliment), weighs in: “Queenstown has been named in CNN Travel’s global list of locations that are currently plagued by ‘Overtourism’, read more…

The Wanaka Sun
The Disadvantages of Tourism
By Allison McLean (journalist@thewanakasun.co.nz)

“Tourism is noted as New Zealand’s top export earner and the cornerstone of its economy. It sustains and grows local communities and reportedly employs one in seven New Zealanders, according to Tourism New Zealand. Many locals consider this sword to be double edged, noting the accumulated waste, erosion of land and consumption of fossil fuels from tourism that put the country’s land and greatest asset at risk. read more…

 – – – –

Just as shifting our paradigm on how our family uses plastics during Plastic Free July, we’re in the process of shifting how we think of tourism, and how we contribute to the problem or clean up the mess. Whether as suppliers or tourists, we all need a re-think. A saying I heard the other day made me chuckle, and again was a paradigm shifter:
“I’m not stuck in traffic, I am traffic”
Responsible tourism is the future, not simply the bottom line. Here’s New Zealand’s webpage on the subject, as well as another great page on NZ Sustainable Tourism Tourism Industry Aotearoa, TIA’s page.  And acompany, Responsible Travel has had some new global initiatives.  Lake Wanaka Tourism has published a sustainable tourism page.

Unfortunately I see Wanaka and Queenstown going the way of Park City, Vail, or other towns in the Alps, that just got too big, and now deal with smog, traffic and overgrowth, but that’s another subject, I suppose.  Although we, too, are new here, one redeeming attribute is we’ve always tried to live a small footprint, including buying existing houses rather than building anew, living off the grid when possible etc. .

Tell me what you think. Respectful comments welcome.

Neuroscience Study Shows Gratitude Pays Off, Rewires Your Brain

12/07/2019
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Mountain Spirit New Zealand

Half-way through my Outward Bound career, I starting introducing the concept of gratefulness by asking my students to name five things for which they were grateful. The five things didn’t have to be from their wilderness trip, it could be anything.  It was an eye opener to see how some of them had a difficulty finding things in which to be grateful. They were just out of practice. So was I. These days, it’s been a daily question in our family, sometimes at the dinner table or while driving. It puts things in perspective, and not only for our 8yr-old.

Echkart Tolle states in his book Power of Now, “When you honor, acknowledge, and fully accept your present reality — where you are, who you are, what you are doing right now — when you fully accept what you have got, you are grateful for what you have got, grateful for what is, grateful for Being. Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity. It cannot come in the future. Then, in time, that prosperity manifests for you in various ways.” (There’s more of this excerpt here.)

If quotes from Tolle aren’t convincing enough, a recent UCLA study should give you something to think about…

Neuroscience Reveals: This Is How Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to Be Happier
From: Real Life Pharmacy
By Justin Brown

We often hear about the power of gratitude for creating a more positive and happy mental state. But did you know that gratitude literally transforms your brain?

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier.

When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. Read more….

www.realfarmacy.com

 

Rocketman – Sir Elton John’s Life Story – 5 Stars

18/06/2019

RocketmanI just saw Rocketman tonight, and had to write a few words.  Sir Elton walks the talk. The movie is a statement of compassion, strength, endurance, and is an inspiration on many levels. This movie has the message of being grateful for what we have in our lives, and, to get to the business of living our lives.  Get those songs recorded, tell your loved ones how much you love them. Life is short – show up and be there…

Where am I going with this? Elton John did what it took to pull himself up. He checked himself into rehab and chose life.  He’s done the work, and it shows, and the world is better for it.

I had no idea about his life story, but wow – what a story of love, of perseverance, of forgiveness, of friendship. If you want a life lesson you’ll never forget, definitely see the film with the following caveat: The film has explicit sex scenes, which are not my cup of tea*, so buyer beware.

There are some great interviews but here is one in particular where Elton John makes some comments that reveal his altruistic,  strong character, and resilient nature. Actor Taron Egerton and Giles Martin are also in this roundtable interview on Apple Music.  There’s another good interview, believe it or not, on ET. As an aside, Elton John and Taron Egerton sing Tiny Dancer at the 75th Aides Foundation Fundraiser.
Through it all, you get that he’s just a real person wanting to do good in the world, and is not afraid to candidly share his life story with us. Good on ya Sir Elton John.

* Author’s note:  My practice is that I  don’t watch movies with explicit sex scenes, violence. There are rare cases when the message furthers the overall mission of the movie, and this is probably one of them.

Children need microbes — not antibiotics — to develop immunity, scientists say

17/06/2019

By Brandie Weikle
Special to The Star

20190617 Children Need MicrobesYes, it’s important to wash your hands. It’s critical during cold and flu season and especially if you visit someone at the hospital.The problem is — in the West at least — parents have taken the business of keeping clean way too far.
New science shows that blasting away tiny organisms called microbes with our hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps and liberal doses of antibiotics is having a profoundly negative impact on our kids’ immune systems, read more..