Podcast: At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corp Memoir

At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corp Memoir  by Janet Givens

learning about others, writing memoir, award winning memoir, peace corp memoir

"Who benefits when we reach out to those who seem different? We do. It is to our benefit to get to know others who are different."  Janet Givens speaks about her experience, involving empathy and stumbling through at least two languages on assignment in the Kazakh Steppe. She also tells us what it took to write her award winning memoir, here. 




podcast Now I Can See the Moon Alice Tallmadge

Now I Can See the Moon by Alice Tallmadge
A Story of Social Panic, False Memories, and a Life Cut Short
mar 19 2018 

When cultural hysteria combines with her niece's bulimia, Alice Tallmadge goes on her own spiritual quest, for the truth. Is her niece mad, or under the spell of a cult? This well written account of her family's loss, her own questioning and growth provides readers with a sense of our connection to those around us, both family and the wider community beyond. 
Listen in here.  




podcast Shunned How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

Shunned How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself: Linda A Curtis 
march 12  2018 

losing religion, reformed life, divorce, loneliness, happiness

Born into the unrelenting Jehovah's Witness religion Linda's childhood was spent in a fervent devotion to all things involved with Jehovah's Witness traditions. From knocking on doors to daily prayers, Linda's life was safe, sanctioned by God and would lead her to heaven. 
When her corporate job collided with her family religion Linda found herself without moorings, struggling to find her way. Listen in to this fascinating account of what happened as she left everything she had ever known to find her own happiness.  




podcast Laura McHale Holland Resilient Ruin

Resilient Ruin  Laura McHale Holland 

March 5   2018   

The path from early childhood abuse to a stable, warm adult life remains a mysterious one but Laura McHale Holland has much to say about her experience growing up out of abuse into a life worth living. Listen in here




podcast Gary Barwin Yiddish for Pirates

Yiddish for Pirates Raises the Flag on Humour

fiction, humour, award winning fiction, Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin's fabulous jaunt through history, war, tragedy and very, very funny scenes all through the eyes and considerable beak of a Yiddish speaking Pirate has won this year's Stephen Leacock award. Listen to Gary here


Wellness Wednesdays Silence for Greater Brain Power

Wellness Wednesdays 

Silence for Greater Brain Power  

Shshshsh…don’t make a sound! Silence, the new/old discovery, encourages growth of brain cells, especially in the hippocampus.
This organ sits (silently we may presume) storing memories, especially those that will go in long term memory.

What’s vitally important about science discovering the power of silence? Imagine an office space where the air 
holds only hushed sounds of a few conversations, where phones and copy machines and typing, doors and (horror!) music are gone, in favour of that thick soothing layer of no noise.

Consider shopping in stores where the latest blast of someone’s favourite choice of music just doesn’t happen, leaving you to really focus on what you want and why. All right, so that’s not how marketers will approach this information, but maybe, eventually…

If silence affects one area of the brain positively that leads us to consider other areas may also be served by silence. And meditation, that latest path to adding years of positive living, health, well-being to your life span? Uh huh. Silence.

So consider giving yourself a short pause of complete 
silence. Think of silence as your best ally toward a more peaceful life.  Even ten minutes during a lunch break (look for a museum, a park, a library close by your office) or after work as the de-fusing time between work and home. Or offer a night cap to your day with a period of silence. And sleep better for it. 

Wellness Wednesdays Benefits of Silent Retreat

Wellness Wednesday 

Benefits of Silent Retreat

Some of you may have read about experiments by Imke Kirste of Duke University. Mice in her laboratory showed neurogenesis, or new nerve growth in the hippocampus area of their brains following exposure to two hours of silence per day.
The hippocampus is an area deeply associated with forming and properly storing memories. It takes only a moment of reflection to understand that memory and identity are profoundly connected. Therefore neurons in the  hippocampus conduct energy that informs our sense of self.

The World Health Organization also studied the effects of Noise Pollution here 

This study concluded 3,000 deaths from heart attacks had been caused primarily by Noise Pollution! 
Silence is indeed golden and increasingly difficult to come by in our daily lives. Stay tuned here and at Stouffville Yoga Life for the next silent retreat opportunity.