The Beauty of Farming

My grandparents, from both my parents’ side, were farmers in Telkaif, a town in northern Iraq where, not long ago, Chaldeans [Christian Iraqis] lived a fairly peaceful life. My maternal-grandfather woke up every morning before the break of dawn, attended church, came home to eat a fresh breakfast he’d grown on his land, and worked in his farm until evening. Then he was off to church once again before having supper and calling it a day. They enjoyed good clean air, exercise, and a quiet time with nature. 

In 2012, I went to the home of a 111-year-old Chaldean woman, Warina Zaya Bashou, who lived in my neighborhood, to interview her for an article. She had just become the second oldest person to be granted citizenship to the United States. I asked her what was the secret to her longevity and she said:

  1. work
  2. don’t go to the doctors
  3. drink lots of tea

She too was from the village of Telkaif and, like my grandparents, had worked a great deal on the farm. Over the years, we’ve lost that relationship with the land and with eating foods grown on local farms rather than delivered in trucks from far away. But we’re trying to bring this relationship back. 

One person who’s helping do that is Diane Dovico, who I interviewed on my show. Diane spent 21 years as the Executive Director of the Royal Oak Community Coalition, a 501(c)3 non-profit and currently, she serves Oakland County working as a Wellness Program Administer at the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities by designing and facilitating original programs, initiatives, and campaigns. She started So You Want to be a Farmer?  which is a free event she had for kids at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. 

My niece and I took our children to the event yesterday where kids had the chance to play games and do activities such as animal yoga poses, planting vegetable seeds to take home, designing your own farm, story book time, making a healthy snack, and pretending to grocery shop and to learn how to make health food choices. 

I try, whenever possible – meaning when there’s the least resistance from my children – to get them involved in the meal’s preparation or to take them grocer shopping with me. Sometimes the easiest way to get them to eat healthier is by being an example, biting your tongue (kids love to rebel) and limit the types of snacks that enter your home. 

It’s also important to support local farmers. Small farms renew a connection between the food people eat and the land they live on. They help create jobs, improve the health of the land and the people, and they provide a foundation for a more resilient local food system. As people become more conscientious, they understand the beauty and necessity of farming. They want to know where their food comes from, how it is produced, and that it is produced in a way that isn’t damaging the environment. It is this consciousness that will shift the economic attitude to “what’s good for the world is what’s right for the company” for the rewards of brand loyalty and profits.

What’s your relationship to food and the land?

The Women of WISDOM

In response to the divisions that emerged during the recent elections, many women have come together to form unity and a more peaceful world. They began taking on leadership roles, with over 25,000 women contacting Emily’s List about running for office. This is one small example.

But the pattern of women stepping up to create harmony during difficult times is not a new phenomenon. Many women around the world have worked hard to help provide equal opportunities and healthier environments so that individuals, families, communities, and nations can strive. Over a decade ago, Gail Katz, a Jew, Shahina Begg, a Muslim, and Trish Harris, a Catholic, reached out and brought other women together to form WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit) which officially became a 501 (c) 3 in May 2007.

The 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War had caused a polarization as turmoil escalated in the world between and among the various faith traditions. In the belief that women could come together and form an interfaith movement where we could listen to each other, respect each other’s differences, and then take action towards change, these inspiring women started a beautiful circle of sisterhood that has gone on to present many empowering programs.

Wisdom

I met one of WISDOM’s co-founders, Trish Harris, through Padma Kuppa, who’s running for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. Trish is a Catholic like myself, and she definitely has a lot of wisdom to contribute to the world. In the book Friendship & Wisdom, she writes, “There is something distinctive about how women work together. We tend to take the time to build the relationships first, and then work on solving the problem.”

Friendship & Wisdom features true stories from over 50 remarkable women. One of the woman who shares her story in the book is Padma. Padma is a Hindu American and community activist working for social justice and understanding. Born in India, she arrived to the U.S. to start kindergarten in 1970 on Long Island. Returning to India with her family in 1981, she finished high school and college while living in a mainstream Hindu culture. Returning to New York in 1988 as a foreign student, she, her husband, and their two children have made Troy, Michigan their home since 1998. Padma is a founding member of the Troy-area Interfaith Group, as well as the Bharatiya Temple’s Outreach Committee.

Padma starts her story with profound words (page 89):

One of my favorite Bible verses from 1 Corinthians: “Faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” This is a lot like passages in Hindu scriptures, including these words from the Maha Upanishad: “The whole world is a family.” There also is a prayer of peace in the Rig Veda that reads, in English: “May all be happy. May all be healthy. May all be prosperous. Let no one suffer.”

The Foreword by Barbara Mahany was also touching:

Day after day I wake up with my chest feeling hollowed. The space in my heart hurts so much, so immeasurable, I can’t fathom how to contain it. I shuffle down the stairs of my old shingled house, look out the windows into the quiet dawn, into the leafy arbors, and wonder how in the world can I stitch a single thread into the tatters of this world, this oozing brokenness all around?

And then the stories of this book landed on my desk. This, I knew right away, is where the answer lies: In ordinary-extraordinary stories of women who reach across doorways, and hallways, and kitchen counters – who see beyond burkas and veils and prayer beads and venerations.

Being in the presence of these women, you know there’s something special at work that you want to be a part of. Wisdom received from anyone is very important. With women, their wisdom allows them to see in another woman what she herself might not be able to see or articulate so clearly. When I opened the book that Trish had gifted me, I saw these words: “Weam, thanks for helping to change the world – one relationship at a time.”

I’m grateful for women like Trish and Padma and others who help make communities a better place. May their sisterhood circle continue to grow, prosper, and embrace the whole world.

To learn more about Wisdom, click here:

To learn more about Padma Kuppa, click here

The People Around You

Before the publication of my first book in 2004, I was eager to launch my writing career. I imagined the wonderful life of an author that awaited me and expressed this to my Native American teacher as he sat crisscross in his La-Z-Boy, smoking his pipe, staring at me with his inquisitive eyes. After some silence, he said, “The only people that matter are those around you.”

His words remain in my heart today, revealing their wisdom whenever I get too caught up in my work. Although I always strive to improve my craft, to expand my career, and to create beautiful things in the world, what my teacher had said becomes clearer and more meaningful with time. I see a lot of people get mystified and obsessed over famous names or becoming famous themselves – neglecting to discover the treasures within their own circle.

Myself, I try to see the wonderful attributes of those who cross my path, like Siete16 Guevara. He’s an author who cares to make an impact on the lives of those around him. That’s the first thing I recognized when we met over a year ago at a book signing. He didn’t talk about his books as much he did about creating unities between literary communities. He has regular poetry readings, free for the public. In honor of National Poetry month, he will host two Open Mics at the Dovetail in Warren, Michigan (April 13th and 20th) where performers, poets, storytellers, musicians and singers are welcome to join.

Siete 16 was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and after high school moved to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where he lived for about eleven years. When he returned to Michigan, he sought out the artistic scene of poets and writers, like the community he encountered and became a part of in Texas. It was happening in Saginaw for about three to four years, but it had dissolved so Siete16 moved out to the Metro Detroit area and found several groups and communities where he made friends and connections with.

His work was accepted by college magazine – The Gallery at the University of Texas and in ARTIFEX at Macomb Community College. He has published three books of his own poetry, and currently works on his fourth book. He’s also publishing a second book of poetry written by students in Sterling Heights. The first book of student poetry was from Saginaw.

“My greatest accomplishments are two things, my daughter, and my nonprofit organization that I started with my dad,” he said.

The nonprofit is called Artistas Latinx en Accíon Siempre (A.L.A.S.) In Spanish it means, Latinx Artists in Action Always.  A.L.A.S. means wings in Spanish, which ties into their motto: Perform with Us, Soar with Us!

Sieta 16 reminds me of Will, an artist I met in Suttons Bay a few years ago. He owned a store called Casey-Daniels where he made jewelry and sold handmade handbags. He’s also the publisher of Exposures, a Leelanau County Student Journal that has been around for nearly 30 years. He’d said to me about his artwork, “I make weird things. I’m not going to stick myself in art shows. You know why? Because I’m not looking for the approval of others. I’m going to authenticate me. You’re going to authenticate yourself.”

With that, I returned home with a whole new perspective.  

Sieta’s books on Amazon

Siete 16

Ano Dos Mil

Siete 16 -2

Where is the Sexto Sun?

Siete 16 - 3

 

 

 

An Extraordinary Doctor

 

This time last year, I flew to Los Angeles to participate in an incredible documentary called The Staff of Mercury, which is produced by Dr. Homayoun Sadeghi, MD.  It is a visionary film intended to transform people’s lives around the world, especially with regards to health and wellness. It launches in 99 days and recently, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sadeghi on my show. It’s always wonderful to reconnect with him as he has a wealth of useful information and enormous positive energy. Furthermore, his story is truly fascinating.

For the longest time, Dr. Sadeghi dreamt about being a healer, but it was years of hard work and persistence before he found his true purpose in life. In his 20s, he felt a calling to be a healer, to do something greater than himself. He went back to school to become a doctor. After he attained his license, he realized that being a doctor didn’t necessarily make him a healer. He was helpless in trying to cure chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Little did he know that this is the beginning of his “Medicine Man” journey.  

“People do get healed here and there but when they do it’s often not because of what we doctors do but because of the inner resilience and tenacity they themselves must erupt to overcome their challenges,” he said.

He spent the last decade of his life interviewing, experimenting, and researching and studying things like alternative medicine, mind-body approach and the like. He found none of these in and of themselves are 100% effective. The ultimate cure for all these disease probably already exists. We just haven’t found it yet.

“We keep searching for answers in darkness,” he said. “As we touch new sign posts, we keep shifting our beliefs and mindsets.”

Dr. Sadeghi reminds us that there was a time not long ago when we thought the earth was flat; when we gave our soldiers free packs of cigarettes; when doctors endorsed their favorite cigarette brands; when we gave estrogen to even pregnant women. He adds that most doctors who practiced long enough know that many of the treatments they once learned in medical school are now considered acts of gross negligence.

“That’s because we keep learning and shifting our mind sets,” said Dr. Sadeghi. “We constantly keep changing the landscape and growing, evolving.”

He asks, “What if there was a way for you to be healthy and disease free well into your retirement years? What if you can live a much more vibrant and energetic life with just a slight shift in your mindset?”

Over the years, through a lot of ups and downs and trials and errors, he has gained amazing insights and knowledge that he hopes will change and inspire people’s lives. He shares it through these incredible insights through a brilliant mind expanding documentary called The Staff of Mercury.

“Why do I want to share?” he asks. “Because my own life and growth depends on it. Long ago, I realized that my own redemption depends on my ability to give, help, love, and serve others. We are all on the same planet. We breathe the same air and share the same earth grown food. We all depend on each other. I can’t elevate myself unless I help elevate you.”

Dr. Sadeghi is the author of The Art of Healthy Living: A Mind-Body Approach to Inner Balance and Natural Vitality. In it, he explains how health takes effort, and that this effort starts from the inside out. 

To learn more about the Staff of Mercury, visit

 

A Journalist Serves Through Tarot Reading

I had no idea that my friend’s daughter, Christina Salem, did Tarot readings, but once I found out, I invited her on my show. Aside from all the other aspects that make Christina interesting, I wanted a Tarot reading!

Last year, Christina called me asking for advice about traveling abroad. She was then a senior at Oakland University, majoring in Journalism and Public Relations, and she was getting ready to travel as a PR spokesperson for a study abroad program to teach international journalism while observing the economic and refugee crisis in Greece.

Christina had studied astrology, Tarot reading, and other supernatural phenomena. After venturing the other side of the world and walking in and out of refugee camps as a student journalist, she realized her true calling by helping others along their journey through life’s obstacles. 

As she did more research and history on her Chaldean culture, she came across fascinating information about its history regarding astrology. The Chaldean astrologers were famous for their love and pursuit of knowledge in every branch of science and the basic characteristic of ancient Mesopotamian religion was its view of the numina (spiritual force) behind natural phenomena. 

Christina was gifted The Wild Unknown tarot deck in 2017 after studying tarot for two years and has given readings, clarifications and counsel all around the world. The information and experience she gathered led her to start a Tarot readings business online called Salem’s Vision. 

“After enduring a lifelong battle with confusion, discovering my vision gave me the opportunity to help people understand theirs,” she said.

Most people envision Tarot card reading to be performed by a woman in flowing robes, leaning over a small table with a crystal ball and candlelight, maybe with a little incense smoke too. They think that it’s a form of fortunetelling, but really, it more so helps you look within. Similarly to coffee grain or tea leaf readings, Tarot reading highlights the aspects of your life which you may not be entirely aware of at the moment.

Tarot Cards are a tool used for divination and the reading is usually performed by someone with strong intuition and clairvoyance who uses his or her gifts to provide answers and guidance for people. They help you take a look at what are the influences in your life, what conscious and subconscious control you are exercising on your life, and how these numerous aspects may manifest in the future. It puts specific weight on what blocks are in your way and how to overcome them.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 

Watch the half-hour segment to learn about Christina’s story and to watch the Tarot reading she did for me which was pretty insightful.  

For more information about Salem’s Vision, visit https://www.salemsvision.com/

 

Utilizing Masters, Shamans, and Healers

I’d invited Vince Anthony Pitre on my TV show because his curiosity and commitment to master the healing process has guided him to study sound healing in Europe and shamanic healing in the jungle and mountains of Peru. I met Vince in January 2015 when a friend invited me to join her to a lecture series by the Metropolitan Detroit A.R.E. (Association of Research and Enlightenment) Community, a non-profit organization which was founded in 1931 by Edgar Cayce. The subject was Family Constellations and the presenters were Vince Anthony Pitre and Robert Auerbach.

These men described how unconscious limits to success often stem initially from the unresolved and many times unspoken traumas, tragedies and transgressions that weave themselves into the energy, “fabric” and conversations of our family.

They explained that we hold many of our histories in our bodies, in our flesh, and how Family Constellations is used to heal resistant, stubborn patterns that might not be ours, or it might be an issue that goes back into past family generation trauma or transgressions that was never healed or resolved. This energy sticks from generation to generation because it’s an unconscious process.

Pitre holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Wayne State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Windsor. For over 20 years, he has helped people in Windsor Detroit area to develop healthier, happier lives. He’s a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and healer. He offers a long list of services, including workshops to help detox from family pain and/or drama.

“It’s done without making anyone wrong, or putting blame on anyone,” said Pitre. “It’s about seeing where issues came from so we can find a resolution. You don’t heal by chasing light all day. You have to face the dark side as well.”

Through movement and unspoken words, people in the room get psychologically reconfigured. Not only is the person with the problem being healed but so are their family members, even if they are not in the room.

“In this process, new images come up that counters what the person thought of themselves growing up,” said Pitre. “The person leaves behind their old story. This allows their brain to rewire to this new image which they step into and move on with their life.”

Bert Hellinger founded this therapeutic method, which draws on elements of family systems therapy, existential phenomenology and Zulu attitudes to family. Hellinger was a priest whose travels to Africa led him to gain fascination of how the natives honored their ancestors, and the way in which they helped each other heal.

 

Although I am familiar with similar teachings, being myself a graduate of Lynn Andrew’s shamanic school, I loved that this type of healing was evidently growing to where you can find them in local cities. For years, I have believed that holistic health is going to be as popular as yoga classes and I see it happening now. Such workshops, teachings and healings are especially beneficial for those who grew up in very old tribal mentalities that limit them from their full potential.

vince-2

I believe in taking as good care of my spirit as I do of my mind, heart, and body, so I scheduled a one-on-one session with Vince. The experience was so effective that I visited him again a year later and plan to do future appointments as I feel suitable. On February 10th, I’m going to the Reset Gong Meditation and Healing Ceremony, a magical evening that begins with a Sacred Cacao Ceremony followed by two sound healing gong sets intended to wrap us into shamanic journey mediation. Afterward, there’s a social hour with hot tea, healthy snacks and integration.

Every religion, spiritual and ancient teaching has emphasized the importance of our spirit, of us looking within, of understanding who we are and how to use our inner power and wisdom in the outer world so we can live a healthy and happy life. Yet oftentimes we place our resources in more surface solutions that give us short-term relief. As I once heard Vince ask, “How much are you worth?”

That’s the question we need to ask ourselves as we look at our spiritual well being. We’re lucky to live in a country where many healers, shamans, and masters have traveled the distance to find their teachers, study, dig deep within, and bring their wisdom, knowledge and powers to our local neighborhood.  It is up to us to utilize it. 

I’m excited to announce that Vince will be one of our speakers at my upcoming Spiritual and Writing Summit in October. For more info, visitwww.ThePathofConsciousness.com

Watch the half-hour interview and look for more interesting people in my upcoming TV show (if you’re in Michigan, CMN TV is on channel 18 on Comcast or WOW!) or To watch more interviews with highly accomplished, talented, inspirational and influential people, subscribe to my youtube channel

For more information, contact the Center for Healing Arts and Massage  38245 Mound Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48310   phone: 586-268-5444

Click here to learn more about Vince Anthony Pitre