Have you Hugged your Teddy Bear Today?

Eleanor Leonard

Her college-age daughter had died unexpectedly in an accident. In a state of shock and controlled focus, she and her husband had reached out to friends and family, made funeral arrangements, housed out-of-town family members, carried on conversations. Now the house was empty; guests were gone, her husband had returned to work, a neighbor would look in later that afternoon. She went into her daughter’s room. It was exactly as her daughter had left it – the bed neatly made, a favorite teddy bear propped against the pillow. She circled the room closely, running soft fingers over her daughter’s jewelry, … Continue reading

Color me Alive

“I prefer living in color.” —David Hockney We just finished a simple bathroom fix, nothing so daring as ripping out and starting afresh. The swirly tan plastic tiles that cover the bottom half of three walls stayed – I have taken to thinking of them as vintage. The wall paper had to go, vintage or not. Vintage tile, vinyl floor, painted walls. Since sparkling ceramic tile, heated floors and giant tubs were out of our project scope, we opted for color. The built-in vanity was sturdy enough to accommodate the new oval sink and a fresh counter top. Its former … Continue reading

Looking Both Ways in the New Year

Ah, the new year! Starting over, a clean slate, a fresh beginning wrapped up in our lists of resolutions to improve some aspect of our lives, to make the year ahead better. But better than what? The uptick in ads and commercials for fitness club memberships, diet plans and body sculpting would indicate a narrow definition of “better.” Yet the human spirit seems to innately understand that self-improvement is so much more, that some deeper wisdom longs to elevate our status above the quest for the transitory illusion of physical perfection. How do we honor that longing? How do we … Continue reading

A Long Life. Living in The Blue Zone has its rewards

A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits.” — Dan Beuttner A favorite aunt of mine turns 100 in February. She was born in 1917– the same year the U.S. entered World War I, women suffragettes fought for the vote and a first class stamp cost three cents. She’s lived through a lot, including the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, World War II, the moon landing, the turning of the millennium – times of trial and times of celebration. She remembers it all clearly. My aunt is still in … Continue reading

Horse Sense

The snow swirled around the eight figures. They stood, shaking their heads, arms crossed, and shoulders hunched against the cold. They’d been standing there about ten minutes, staring at the PVC pipe that was raised a foot off the ground and at the herd of horses that seemed unconcerned. The predominating sense amongst the group was that these horses were not going to go over this obstacle. “Come on, let’s just go,” one of the group members called out, gesturing back toward the building, and one by one they walked into the arena and stood out of the wind and … Continue reading

from the publisher

Hold onto your earmuffs, readers, for this issue of The Phoenix Spirit will appeal to a wide and colorful swath of tastes and interests. For the tree-huggers and otherwise environmentally minded, flip to the back cover and read how you, too, can ReWild yourself. 2017 may be the Year of Forest Ecotherapy for you and yours. Have a penchant for horses? See Heather Jeffrey’s article about the therapeutic equine work being done at Acres For Life in Chisago City, MN. These gentle giants are muzzling their way into therapeutic plans across the country as treatment centers recognize that horses have … Continue reading

Op-ed

By Brittney Smith Recently considering the often used phrase, “Your health is your wealth,” I was forced to ask myself some tough questions: If wealth can’t buy happiness can it buy health? Can you be healthy and flat-ass broke? How is it remotely possible that we link ‘health’ and ‘wealth’ together when they are more than light years apart? My overall stance on that statement, considering their literal definitions, is that unfortunately health does not actually equate to wealth. Being free from illness and/or injury is not the same as having an abundance of material objects or money. On the … Continue reading

Managing Stress in an Impaired Culture

John Driggs

“You are not entirely your circumstances. Work on your own life and happiness. Never give up. For starters, embrace the miracle of love, love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity. Do this with everyone you meet, where possible and with cautious respect where impossible. Your worries will be birds that take flight and unburden your shoulders.” Adapted from a quote by James Baldwin, 1964 In case you haven’t noticed it already, we’ve just had a very traumatizing presidential … Continue reading

Soul Courage

By Tara-Jenelle Walsch Rainbow Ridge Books Do you believe that everything you desire to know is already inside of you, in your soul? Walsch does and she wants readers to “live through the magnificence of your Soul Courage.” Soul courage is defined as daring to be and own all of you without shame, judgment, or excuses. She says that everyone already has Soul Courage and her process makes it accessible. Readers are given a formula to facilitate getting in touch with their True Self. Then, using the components of Feeling, Expressing, and Connecting to do that, supported by stories and … Continue reading

From Stressed to Centered: A Practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You

By Dana A. Gionta, Ph.D. and Dan Guerra, Psy.D. Sea Hill Press, Inc. Both authors are psychologists who share their personal stories and experiences. They describe their paths to self-care, whether it was initiated as a stress reducer or a coping mechanism for dealing with trauma. Gionta and Guerra provide a step-by-step guide to help readers practice good stress management and self-care which will generate long term health and well-being. The book includes a questionnaire to help readers evaluate their stressors and determine their stress levels. Determining an individual’s stress level, and how it shows up in one’s life, is … Continue reading

Expectation Hangover: Free Yourself from Your Past, Change Your Present and Get What You Really Want

By Christine Hassler New World Library Have you ever had things not turn out the way you though, planned, or wanted them to? We suffer when our reality doesn’t match the expectations we are attached to. Hassler states, “Expectation hangovers are doorways to tremendous opportunities to heal issues from our past, change how we are living in the present, and create a future based on who we truly are rather than who we are expected to be.” These may be situational, interpersonal, or self-imposed expectations. They are generally similar to what one experiences with a hangover from too much alcohol. … Continue reading

Color Your Dreams: 100 Inspiring Words, Captivating Coloring Images & Uplifting Activities

By Juliet Madison Sourcebooks, Inc. Do you love to color? Many are finding this pastime to be soothing and relaxing. Want to add a meditative component to this practice? A self-taught artist, Madison created the drawings for this adult coloring book. They are meant to encourage meditation and reflection while the colorer is focused on the simplicity of the moment. With 100 inspiring words to choose from, you will find a picture for you. Each word includes a coloring tip, an affirmation, and a mini meditation. For example, the coloring tip for “Imagination” is that as you color, think like … Continue reading

Lighten Up with Step Six

“Lighten up” is my mantra for 2017. I tend to take life – and myself – pretty seriously. These days, though, I’m finding myself pretty amused by my imperfections, also known as character defects, thanks to engaging in Step 6. I’m especially humored by how many activities I thought required my involvement which seem to turn out just fine – or good enough — without me. But I’m the only one who knows how these things should be done. Hah! Apparently not. At first glance, Step 6 sounds painful: “Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of … Continue reading

Creating Your Food Philosophy

It’s the beginning of the year again. A time of snow days, hot chocolate and for many of us, resolutions. If you’re like millions of Americans, some of these resolutions revolve around healthier food choices. Media is full of recommendations to guide us in the right path. We are bombarded with articles about paleo diets, vegan lifestyles, detox cleanses, blah, blah, blah. Much of this information is well-meaning, but it is often biased and may not be right for you. I work with people who get caught up in this advice and decide it’s time for a diet overhaul. Honestly, … Continue reading

Rewild Yourself!

We modern, industrialized humans live a tamed existence that is overly mechanized, gadgetized, sterilized, and—for the most part—segregated from the natural world. We are hungry for rich engagement with life that is ancient to our mind, heart, body, and spirit. We feel restless in our heads, hearts, and bones for reunion with our selves and with nature, as well as for freedom from the madness of the over-complicated civilized world. Let’s willingly let ourselves out of our cages. Let’s rewild. “Rewilding” means simply returning to a state of wildness. One definition of “rewilding” is re-skilling with the technologies of our … Continue reading

The Art of Giving

Eleanor Leonard

Potatoes; a pocket watch chain; a pair of decorative combs; a plastic crucifix. Are any of these on your gift list? We may turn up our collective nose and scoff at the quaintness, yet each in its own way could stand in for the grander definition of “gift”. The 14th century Persian Sufi master and poet Hafiz, in a poem entitled The Gift, wrote: A hunger comes into your body / So I run to my garden / And start digging potatoes. Six centuries later, American writer O. Henry published his now-beloved short story The Gift of the Magi. In … Continue reading