Look At Your Hand


I want everyone reading this to do something. I want you to look at your hand for a moment, and think about the following:

Every atom in your hand was once part of a star. Not only a star, but several stars, which exploded and spilled their enriched innards into space, to be reprocessed in other stars.

Stars are the engines of creation, the furnaces that produce new types of atoms. Those atoms became part of a planet, which, through a long and tortuous series of events, became hospitable enough to generate, in some corner of itself, the phenomenon we call life.

Those atoms, in your hand: those atoms have seen worlds that predate all our dreams, that extend back in time to unspeakable antiquity. Those atoms, if they could speak, would tell you about worlds where the sky was red, where the oceans, which were green or frozen white, were filled with trillions of denizens of an early form of life, a life that knew no morality or any conception of itself. A world in which reason makers didn’t exist, but where reason did: in the imperative to survive and reproduce.

This unconscious reason, this archaeo-purpose, as Richard Dawkins has called it, is why the myriad and bountiful garden that inhabits this thin sliver of rock exists, on a planet that has circled around a star for over four and a half million centuries.

These atoms would tell you about worlds that were punctuated by cataclysms, and that laid the foundations for new flowerings. They would tell you about the majestic beasts we call dinosaurs, and how their dynasty reigned for six hundred times longer than our own species has roamed on this Earth.

For these atoms were themselves part of the dinosaurs, and the wasps, and the fish and the seas and the clouds.

Those atoms: they traveled through the body of a mother Allosaurus, through the body of an ancient spider, and later an early hominin who looked up at the night sky and, perhaps, had a fleeting sense that there were other worlds beyond our own.

Those atoms would tell you about countless sunsets, some polluted by the debris from a collision with an extraterrestrial object. And they would tell you about the countless beings who were came and went, and how they changed.

Comments Off on Look At Your Hand

Filed under Deep Thoughts

Second-Hand Stress: Mental & Emotional Strain By Proxy

We all know what a downer people can be when exhibiting negative attitudes, but now research is showing how harmful exposure to other people’s stress can be – actually acting like a contagion. Just take a look at this video:

Comments Off on Second-Hand Stress: Mental & Emotional Strain By Proxy

Filed under Health & Medicine

Visioning a Better Future


What is Region 2020?

Region 2020 promotes local cooperation and citizen participation to increase standards of living in such areas as transportation, the environment, educational systems, housing as well as the arts.

Region 2020 is a citizen-driven organization. More than 5,000 citizens were involved in the process and helped to formulate Region 2020’s 34 goals and 217 strategies for implementation. The Region 2020 visioning project started in 1997 and encompasses a 12-county Central Alabama region: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cullman, Etowah, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, and Walker.

Working with community volunteers, Region 2020 first identified shared ideas about hopes and dreams for the region’s future, then translated those ideas into regional goals, related strategies and action steps.

Ever since, Region 2020 has acted as motivator, promoter and planner, working with both government and private sectors, along with citizens to help support the common goals. Region 2020 also has served as an incubator in recent years, helping its spin-off agencies such as the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham and the Housing Enterprise of Central Alabama get their start.

A non-profit organization, Region 2020 encourages communities to think and plan regionally in order to define their future, while maintaining local identities and characteristics unique to Central Alabama.

The strongest message that emerged from the Region 2020 process was an exhortation to citizens and leaders to recognize and protect the values and assets of the region, safely passing them on to future generations.

The Region 2020 motto is: “Building a better place to live.”

Region 2020 is a Citizen Driven Process.

Over 5,000 people participated in the process by providing ideas and insights. Every idea, goal, and strategy contained in this report came directly from the citizens of Region 2020.

The sheer number of participants, from all parts of the Central Alabama’ region, makes the resulting vision an accurate and realistic reflection of the wishes, dreams, and aspirations of the region’s residents.

Region 2020 started in the fall of 1997 with 500 blank sheets of 24″x 30″ white paper. Within weeks, those blank sheets of paper were filled with 4,727 ideas. These ideas were the result of 17 public meetings, in which over 1,800 people participated. A group of retired school teachers and librarians volunteered to sort the ideas into topic headings, e.g. education, transportation, government, and environment.

34 topics resulted from the sorting process. Following this, 800 citizens translated the ideas in each topic group into 34 goals and 217 strategies aimed at accomplishing these goals. At the vision Fair, 1,300 citizens, including several groups of students, suggested which of the 217 strategies should be implemented with the greatest urgency. In all, citizens participated in 24 public meetings.

In the fall of 1998, over 300 volunteers, divided into seven working groups, sifted through all of the information produced by citizens in the Region 2020 process and recommended the strategies and action steps included in this report. In the following pages you will find 30 Action Plans. These are condensed versions of extensive reports developed by the work groups in hundred of volunteer hours.

In addition to meeting and working group participants, over 1,000 volunteers from throughout the region have assisted Region 2020 with the program’s logistics as facilitators, as members of various action committees, and as meeting volunteers.

Comments Off on Visioning a Better Future

Filed under Deep Thoughts

Learn More About Your Local American Red Cross

Red Cross Volunteers

Did you know…

The American Red Cross is not a government agency and does not receive government funding? They are funded by United Way allocations,fundraising events, grants, and donations from individuals and corporations in order to provide their services.

Your local Red Cross has been providing services to your community for over 100 years?

Your local Red Cross provides immediate basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, prescription medications and more to an average of 200 families a year who are victims of single family fires and other disasters and that these services are free?

Your local Red Cross provides emergency messaging to active military members while serving stateside or overseas during family crises? These messages may include birth announcements, family illnesses, death of aloved one, or other personal emergencies.

Your local Red Cross trains over 17,000 people in one year with life-saving skills such as First Aid, CPR/AED, Babysitter Training, HIV/AIDS education, disease prevention, lifeguarding, water safety, learn-to-swim, and other preparedness programs?

Your local Red Cross provides life-saving blood and blood products to thousands of people each year?

Your local Red Cross has nearly 2,000 volunteers who are supported by a small
number of paid staff, who provide all these services to our community?

To learn more about your local American Red Cross, visit www.redcrossrelief.org or call 256-536-0084.

Comments Off on Learn More About Your Local American Red Cross

Filed under Volunteering

October News Briefs

I definitely want to give a shout out this month to three close friends of mine and encourage you to seek out their services. I’ve known these ladies for a few years now and I’m happy to give my whole-hearted recommendation for each!

Sarah Latham, Esthetician and Massage Therapist Receives Dermal Educator Training

sarah-latham On September 12 – 14, Sarah Latham, licensed esthetician (skin-care therapist) and massage therapist, received training at her office in Santa Fe, NM from Edgar Quincey, Acupuncture
Physician, Chief Herbaceutical Engineer, and Founder of Calmness Center, Inc.

During Edgar Quincey’s formal studies, he went to China to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where he learned methods from 5,000 years ago. Quincey has based his practice on the ancient Chinese principles and practices.

His training focuses on re-educating, balancing, and harmonizing the skin using TCM methods with his new Calmness Center Facial Protocol and CC Herbaceuticals. Each client is evaluated to ascertain the proper skin type, Yin or Yang.

Next, the process of dermal re-education is achieved by stimulating subcutaneous regions along the channel pathways, creating balance and harmony.

Sarah has been a massage therapist for twelve years and an esthetician for three years. Her goal is to offer education and training on the TCM method for skin care and CC Herbaceuticals to licensed spas, estheticians, and esthetic schools in New Mexico. In addition, she will educate and provide TCM facial care and retail herbaceuticals to the general public.

For more information, free demonstration to qualified professionals, or to schedule a facial appointment, please call Sarah at 352-395-7322 or go to www.calmnesscenter.com.

“Loosen Up” with Stretching & Flexibility Class Series”

sandra-boydSandra Boyd-ELwill facilitate the first class in a Flexibility & Stretching series beginning Saturday, June 20, from 1 to 3 pm. The class will be held at the University Fitness Center, 500 James Wright Blvd., on the campus of UBA. Class fee is $20 for URC members and $30 for non-members.

This class series is open to all levels and will teach a variety of stretching and flexibility techniques designed to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. Students will learn to restore normal, balanced motion patterns, relieve pain, reduce stress, and keep bodies working well.

Massage & Movement Synergy offers Therapeutic Bodywork & Massage, Assisted Stretching, Personal Strength & Flexibility Training, and Yoga instruction. For private sessions or more information, please contact Sandra Boyd-EL at 866-766-0766, [email protected], or visit her at www.movementsynergymassage.com.

Myofascial Trigger Points (TrPs)

susan-blackwellSusan Blackwell, M.D., is recognized as the leading pioneer in the diagnosis and treatment of Myofascial Trigger Points (TrPs). Blackwell and Shortwood define a TrP as “a highly irritable localized spot of exquisite tenderness in a nodule in a palpable taut band of muscle tissue.” Most causes of TrPs are overuse of muscles from work or exercise.

The nodule, to a massage therapist’s sensitive fingertips, feels like a knot the size of your thumb or a small lump ranging in size from a pinhead to a pea. If firm pressure elicits pain that refers to another part of the body, it is considered an active TrP. Latent TrPs elicit pain locally with firm pressure. In some cases, one is unaware of a latent TrP until a massage is received from a qualified massage therapist.

One can have a combination of fibromyalgia tender points and myofascial TrPs occurring at the same time in different locations of the body. Tender points feel soft and doughy, while TrPs feel firm.

The good news is that massage is one of the modalities for treating TrPs. The massage therapist will expect your feedback as to whether the firm pressure is a “feel good” pain or bad pain that can ca use stress not allowing the knotted muscle fibers to relax and lengthen. Pressure can be applied within your comfort zone and still produce good results.

Contact Kristine Bertolli (Lic. #402), Serenity Touch Massage, 602-277-5551 or visit www.serenitymbr.com/ttmassage.

Comments Off on October News Briefs

Filed under Uncategorized

My Daily Health Routine

Yoga and Men's Health

First, I’d like to say that we regret that several errors occurred in my local newsletter last month. There were several letter substitutions in Opening Up for Easier Breathing by Dr. Beth Scherer, Acupuncture, Infertility and Hormone Balancing by Dr. Angelique Murphy, and Chronic Illness by Dr.James McMinn. These were not the mistakes of the authors or on my part, but were a printer problem that I hope will not happen in the future.

I have started a new ad this month for “Masters of Yoga and Fitness.” It is presently a half page, but can expand to a full page. If you wish to advertise there, give me a call and we can discuss how to list your business in that space.

This new ad goes along with this month’s theme of Men’s Health. I have a daily practice that involves several of my favorite yoga poses, stretching, push ups, and a short meditation. I usually spend about 15 minutes most mornings waking up with this part of my morning ritual. This helps to start my day loose and with a fresh mind. Afterwards, I enjoy a couple of cups of ‘Jasmine Jazz’ green tea. I also read for a few minutes. I read only a few pages from one of several books to give me something to ponder through the day when I need a break.

Currently I am reading, As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, You by Frances Wilshire, The Gospel According to Luke, Staying Healthy with the Season by Elso n M. Haas, M.D., and Reincarnation – The Missing Link in Christianity by Elizabeth Clare Prophet. This short morning ritual starts off my day addressing my body, mind, and spirit. The entire ritual takes about 30 minutes, but it is the best 30 minutes of my day. I hope other men will join me in finding ways to take care of ourselves.

Serve, Prosper and Have Fun!

Comments Off on My Daily Health Routine

Filed under Uncategorized