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Personal and Environmental Wellness

The Power of Empathy

One of my favorite films of the past few years is Little Miss Sunshine, a story about a family that travels in their Volkswagen Minibus from New Mexico to California for a children's beauty pageant.

What I remember most about Little Miss Sunshine is a scene where Dwayne - a Nietzsche-reading, sullen teenager who has kept a vow of silence for nine months to show his commitment to becoming a pilot - discovers that he is color-blind; this discovery leads to the devastating realization that his quest to become a pilot is over.

Dwayne has a panic attack in the back seat of the van, leading his father (a struggling life coach) to pull over onto the shoulder of the highway. Dwayne jumps out of the van, and the family watches helplessly as he runs wildly on a nearby field while cursing at the world. Read more


Judge Individuals, Not Groups

My younger sister is famous for telling me in a half-menacing, half-joking tone: "Ben, don't judge me!"

And I'm just as famous for responding with "Sarah, aren't you judging me right now in thinking and saying that I'm judging you?

My sister thinks that it's wrong to judge others. I think that we judge each other all the time, and that this is a good thing, as we need to judge others to make good decisions on how to use our time and other resources. Read more


Brokenfoot Ranch: A proposed agrarian community in Carroll County, Georgia

In the summer of 2000, while working at a fasting clinic in northern California, I met a woman named Myra Bailes. Over the course of about three weeks, I had several conversations with Myra, and found her to be memorably genuine, thoughtful, and kind. Myra and I stayed in touch over the years, and this past January, I learned that Myra has been working on establishing an agrarian community in Georgia. Her plans for a small, environmentally-sound, community-based, agricultural community are extremely appealing to my wife and me, and if we didn't have the family ties that we do here in Ontario, we would seriously consider being a part of Myra's proposed community. Read more


Most Useful Health Tips from 2007

Since some of our regular visitors rely on news feeds rather than our newsletter to receive updates, I thought it might be useful to post my latest newsletter here; it's a look back at the most useful articles that were published on this site in 2007. Enjoy! Read more


Dr. Drug Rep: One Psychiatrist's Experience Working With Big Pharma

To embrace the idea that the best health care system that is available anywhere involves self health care, it is helpful to understand that conventional health care systems throughout the world are not designed to do their best for each individual. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, exceptions that are created by people who are deeply committed to actually following the Hippocratic oath and have done the work needed to understand the simplicity of healing. But mostly, conventional health care is driven by the profit motive. Read more


COTS: Offering Hope and Help to Homeless Persons in Sonoma County, California

Helping others learn to help themselves is a theme that I have long supported and striven to live by. Earlier this year, I learned about an organization in Sonoma County, California that beautifully epitomizes this way of living. They're called COTS - short for Committee on the Shelterless - and for the past two decades, they have made it their mission to provide hope and help to homeless persons in Sonoma County. Read more


Bill Maher's Take on the Government's Approach to Health Care

Many thanks to Harold Hoffman in Montreal, Quebec, for sharing this video with me. I hope that our readers enjoy it as much as I did." type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="

Low Impact Woodland Home

If you have interest in low-cost and environmentally-friendly homes, I encourage you to visit the web site of a low impact woodland home that was built within about four months for less than 10,000 USD by a small family in Wales.

What I find particularly amazing about this project is that it was completed by a young father and his father-in-law with just a few basic tools and the help of some friends. No professional tradespeople were involved - just regular folks who had experience building a similar home two years prior to creating this one. Read more


Unforgettable Moments With Our Children

In late April of this year, my wife and I experienced a very brief but magical moment with our toddler son during an evening stroll by a local lake. On a whim, I mentioned our unforgettable moment in the closing section of an issue of my natural health newsletter. Because so many of our readers wrote in to thank me for sharing that experience, I thought I would post it here in my blog, and follow it up with a handful of letters from readers who brightened my day with their own memories of their children at play. Read more


Understanding and Overcoming Chronic Depression

Have you ever considered the possibility that if you are depressed, you should be?

Popular media and our society in general tend to teach us that it is normal to be perpetually happy. But is it normal to be happy all of the time? Read more




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