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The-Inspiring-Activism-of-Rigoberta-Menchu

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

I find inspiration in the stories of people who have seen a need and tried to meet it. Be they healers, activists, politicians, leaders, or every day people who do the right thing in a difficult situation. These are people who stand up to oppression, or try to bring justice to places where none exists. For that reason, I have decided to create this series on Inspiring People.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum is an activist for indigenous rights in Guatemala. She was born to a poor family of K’iche’ Maya descent in rural Guatemala at the beginning of the country’s civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996. She became an activist against human rights violations committed by the Guatemalan armed forces during the war.

Winter Solstice Morning at the Sacred Stream

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

I have what has become an annual ritual. I arrive at the Sacred Stream Center close to dawn on the morning of the winter solstice, after the longest night of the year. As I enter the garden, I see the silhouette of a great redwood tree. I remember the long, hot summer days and fogless nights where I fretted about its well-being and offered it water and prayers. The last of the leaves from a Japanese maple fall before me as I push the gate closed and start down the stone path to turn on the fountains. Immediately, hummingbirds arrive for their winter bath. Not far behind them is a mother raven with her beak full of dried bread, looking to soften it in the fountain’s waters. The light is dawning, and it touches the fat rose hips and the ripening lemons around me, a dance of pink and yellow in the semi-darkness.

Everybody Hurts: When Those You Love are Grieving

By Laura Chandler

As the REM song says, “Everybody hurts, sometimes.” It is the inescapable truth we all share as humans. We are going to experience pain. The holidays are a particular source of pain for people who have lost loved ones. Those celebratory holiday gatherings and fun parties can be a source of sorrow as they remind us of what is missing from our lives. Often times, for those who have lost a close friend or family member, the holidays are a time to withdraw, and a time to seek refuge in the quiet of solitude rather than the rush of holiday fervor. So, how do you help someone who is grieving?

The Life and Work of Albert Schweitzer

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Albert Schweitzer became one of my first heroes when I read his biography at 8 years old. It was the first time I understood that there were people in the world who did not have access to the help they needed when they were sick. This was very distressing to me. I wanted to go to Africa to help.

How Depth Hypnosis Helped Me Become A Better Parent

By Melanie Robins

When I put my infant daughter onto the bed, my hands could not bear to hold her for one more second. It was as if the hot, bubbling rage ripping through my veins had thrust her from my arms to protect her from getting burned. As she landed on the bed with a giggle, the spell broke and I was slammed back to consciousness. While she thought we were playing an exhilarating game, I knew I needed help.

Regretfully, the story does not end there. I did this more times than I can stomach. As her will came forward, there was more resistance around sleep and more frustration for us both. The constant need since birth for me to participate in her sleep process took its toll. While not every day was horrible, there were some difficult and shameful moments where I blew my top and yelled, slammed doors, and shook with rage.

The Wisdom of Black Elk

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

As a child, the indigenous peoples of North America fascinated me. I lived in northern Mexico, home to a Native American people known as the Huichol. Their relationship to the land, kindness, and gentle strength spoke to me. The way they moved in their world seemed in perfect balance. Whenever I could sneak away from my parents, I would spend time with the locals who taught me about horses, plants, and generosity of spirit. Inspired by these friends, I made a study of all the great Native American chiefs and shamans by reading everything I could find on them in the local library. Red Cloud, Cochise, and Crazy Horse were all people I admired for the way they maintained their dignity and inspired their people despite overwhelming odds. One of my favorite of these leaders was the visionary Sioux medicine man, Black Elk.

Encountering the Self: My Journey with Depth Hypnosis

By Denise Colby, Ph.D.

The most critical choices I have made in my life have rarely been the ones that were researched, well thought-out, and intentional. At best, I’ve stumbled into them, and many times I’ve been full of resistance and struggle. These have been the watershed moments that could only be seen and understood in retrospect. Only after I’ve witnessed how a single, hesitant “Yes” could totally change the course of my life. There have been a handful of these critical moments, but perhaps the most significant has been my encounter with Depth Hypnosis.

The Sacred Land of Menla: A Season of Ceremony

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The fall season is upon us and I am reminded how, for many people, now and in times past, this is a time for gathering together to mark the change of light and to give thanks. The act of ceremony brings us into deeper communion with ourselves, with others, and the natural world around us. To mark this season of the fall equinox, I gathered with a group of students for a drum circle in the sanctuary of the Sacred Stream Center. When the drumming began, the late afternoon light filled the wooden rafters that arched over us. It streamed in through the century-old stained glass, dimming bit by bit in much the same way the days will shorten and the light will continue to dim until we meet again at the winter solstice drum circle, when the cycle will reverse and the days will grow longer once more.

Creating A Value System For Your Child

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

When you are a parent, it’s necessary to understand your own value system. As a parent, your responsibility is to guide your child to the best of your ability. One way you can guide them is by knowing what your values are and teaching them to your child by example. If you don’t know what your values are and what values you want to impart to your child, it is important to sit down and figure them out.

Compassion, the US Open, and a Blueprint for Saving the World

By Laura Chandler

Something remarkable happened at the US Open this year when Naomi Osaka (currently ranked #1 in the world in women’s tennis) defeated 15-year-old tennis sensation, Coco Gauff in the third round. Naomi consoled a crying Coco on the sidelines. She told her it was alright to cry, then invited her to stay and join her for the post-match on court interview where she praised Coco for her talent. This display of sportsmanship was not only kind; it illustrated something even more significant about human nature and our ability to be strong and compassionate, simultaneously.

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