Category Archives: Healthy Living

nature

Mother Nature Heals Hearts

As Mother’s Day approaches, we contemplate the love of mothers everywhere as well as the all-embracing love of Mother Nature herself. In uncertain times like these, it is easy to feel lost or hopeless and make us want to climb into our mother’s lap for solace. But what if our mother isn’t with us any more or there is no human mom to wrap us in her arms and comfort us? Where can we find that support that often only a mother can give? The answer is simple: GO OUTSIDE! Unplug from your technological existence, move away from the pixelated screen and step out into nature. Whether you live on a farm, small town or in a big city, nature is always available to you. In urban areas you may have to search a bit harder but there are large parks, pocket parks, rooftops and other areas where you can take a moment and rejuvenate in the sacred embrace of the natural world.

Red dragon flowers with humming bird. Mother Nature at her finest.

Equal time for nature! We typically spend most of our days and nights in the warm and dry security of our own home or workplace. We may walk from the house to the car and drive through nature, but most likely, we just watch as the trees flow past our windshield without taking the time to stop and smell the blossoms. So when you feel overwhelmed by the man-made world or bad news, it can be a great benefit to take a break from your busy lives to focus on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature.

Mother Nature ~ she built the mountains, breathed the wind and her tears of joy filled the sea. We too are children of Mother Earth whether we walk, fly, swim or sing.

Spending time in nature is one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being. Even Business Insider Magazine touts scientific reasons for spending time in nature. Some of the benefits include increased short term memory, restored mental energy, stress relief, reduced inflammation, improved concentration, immune system boost, and improved mental health to name a few.

Researchers found nearby green space was even more important to health in urban environments. In fact, they wrote, “our analyses show that health differences in residents of urban and rural municipalities are to a large extent explained by the amount of green space.”

So dear friends, this Mother’s Day, be sure to treat yourself to spending time in nature and receive the blessings of our ultimate mother – Nature, Earth or whatever you choose to call it. You deserve to be nurtured.

Also, for some peaceful music to support your Mother’s Day experience, all Soundings of the Planet CDs are on sale for $9. Just use the code MOTHER17 at checkout to receive the discount. Peace Through Music blessings to you!

 

 

Walking in an eco village

Earth Our Eco Village

This Earth Day, Dean Evenson and I find ourselves in a small coastal village in Mexico with no roads and no cars. It is truly a magnificent experience to be in an eco village where one has to walk everywhere and carry on our backs anything we want to transport. The bonus is that walking is one of the best forms of exercise we can do. In our modern world, we have grown accustomed to relying on cars, trucks, buses and planes to move us from place to place so it is quite refreshing to rely on our own legs and feet to get us where we want to go. Here food gets purchased, meals get made, children get educated, business happens and most of it without relying on the wheel! The other interesting thing about this little village is that strangers greet each other with a pleasant hello and most everyone is smiling.

No roads or cars in this eco village
La Tienda local store in Mexican eco village

When one lives in a somewhat primitive system like this, it becomes clear how everything is interconnected. Here, we take nothing for granted and perhaps that is how we might want to consider life on our very own planet Earth. Where does our food come from? In our globalized economy, it may come from halfway around the world. We finish with something and throw it ‘away’ but where exactly is ‘away’? On this finite planet, there really is no ‘away’ so we need to build a more sustainable support system that does not rely so much on petroleum based transportation to supply us with the basics of life.

This is why we love the idea of permaculture. In such a system, there is no waste and everything that is consumed or used is produced locally as much as possible. Permaculture basically means ‘permanent culture.’ It is a system of social design and agriculture that directly utilizes features and patterns observed in natural ecosystems. This may be an idealistic concept today, but in the not so distant future when we have run out of fossil fuels, we may likely be looking at permaculture as a necessity and not an idealistic luxury.

Earth Day every day
Be Green. Be the Planet. Every day is Earth Day here.

Happy Earth Day! Please consider our precious planet in everything you do.

We hope you will take advantage of the nature-based music Dean Evenson and the Soundings Ensemble have been creating since 1979. And when you comment on our blog, we will send you a free mp3 as a thank you. Peace Through Music blessings.

Through May 1st we are offering a special price of $9 for all albums and DVDs that feature nature sounds.  Take advantage of this special now as it won’t last long!

Earth Day Music & DVD Special. All Music & DVDs with Nature Sounds Only $9

 

Gratitude for All and Sharing our Gifts

GRATITUDE.  I am grateful for all without conditions.

So often we wait to have what we want before feeling thankful. In this case, we may be waiting a long time. To jump-start the flow of blessings in our life, we practice gratitude at all times, even for the things that might appear negative. When we can be truly grateful for everything that happens, the good or the bad, we will find that our lives gradually improve. It may be challenging at first to find the silver lining in every situation, but once this habit of gratitude becomes a part of us, we will be pleasantly surprised by what opens up for us. We can begin by expressing appreciation for the basics like food and shelter and for small things that we can easily acknowledge. From there, we can allow our gratitude to grow and when it does, we shall be ready for even better things to come our way. Continue reading Gratitude for All and Sharing our Gifts

Have you heard about children with Nature Deficit Disorder?

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
~ Albert Einstein

4 kids in treeApril is here, the month of spring emerging and anticipation of the resurrection of all of nature. It’s also the time that many of us acknowledge and celebrate Earth Day. But did you know that today, an unprecedented majority of children in modern societies have what is being called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder?’  That wouldn’t apply to the kids sitting in the tree pictured here though, but according to a report on BBC about a three-year study done in Britain, only one-fifth of the children aged 8-12 were ‘connected to nature.’  That means four-fifths or a staggering 80% of children have little or no connection with nature.

Why should this matter?  In recent years, a lot of research has focused on the negative effects that result from lack of contact with nature.  In 2012, Britain’s National Trust published a report on the phenomenon of ‘nature deficit disorder.’   Though it is not yet recognized as a medical condition, this lack of connection with nature can have harmful, long lasting effects on children of all ages.  With the pervasive use of technology by younger and younger children, the growth of virtual, as opposed to reality-based play is having a profound effect on children’s physical and emotional lives. Mental health disorders including depression and self-harming can often be a result of this nature disconnect.

According to Sue Armstrong-Brown, head of RSPB Britain’s largest nature conservation charity, “improving the natural connection for children is not only good for the youngsters, it is crucial for the future of nature conservation.  If we can grow a generation of children that have a connection to nature and do feel a sense of oneness with it, we then have the force for the future that can save nature and stop us living in a world where nature is declining.”

Nzc3NjFFMDVBRjkwRUM5REI2OTA6NmEzNWQzODI1YTJlZWY1MjUzZjAxZmI1NDJkZThmYTA6Ojo6MzJiNzljYjEtNzE1ZS00ZDE3LTkyODUtZDYyZjQ0MDY5NGZmLmpwZw==_resized_x0_y0_h400_w600.jpgBecause of their deep love and concern for the natural world, Dudley and Dean Evenson have dedicated their life and work to elevating awareness and appreciation for the earth, our planet, our only home.  They remember the very first Earth Day back in 1970. And in 1972, with Dudley being five months pregnant, they back-packed across Sweden to the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.  There they met Native Americans who were talking about Mother Earth and saying that the planet itself is an actual living being providing for all our physical needs and we are destroying her.  The Evensons were just beginning to work with the early portable video camera so they were able to document their experience in Stockholm and all that they were learning.  These videos and others ended up in a DVD released recently called ‘2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992’ of their experiences in Stockholm and later in Rio de Janeiro.

Then in 1979, Soundings of the Planet was formed to be a voice of the earth.  Dean had recorded the sounds of dawn in the Arizona desert and added their peaceful music of flute and harp and a whole new genre of music was born.  For over three decades, Dean and Dudley have produced CDs and DVDs that focus on peaceful, natural environments.  In celebration of Earth Day, Soundings of the Planet is offering super discounts on all Soundings albums that include natural sounds including our new 4 Earth CD and 4 Earth DVD of only natural sounds.  Please share with your children, grandchildren, or just enjoy them yourself.

Great Gratitude for All That Is

Cristen ThanksgivingMy daughter always says ‘If you want to feel rich, count your blessings.’  Around this time of year, we start to think about what we are grateful for in contrast to times when we may only notice the lack or pain. Funny how it takes a holiday started by Native Americans and Pilgrims to turn our attention to what is good and wonderful in our lives.

We all have our ups and downs and although we can’t always control what goes on around us, we can learn to control how we react to and internalize what happens in our outer world.  Practicing gratitude can be a powerful ally in finding the peace within every situation ~ no matter what.

Try this gratitude ritual: Sit comfortably and let soft music play in the background.  On paper or in your mind, list the things you are grateful for.  You can start with ‘I am grateful for the gift of life’ and go on from there. You can acknowledge many things you are thankful for in your life or bring just one thing to mind and focus on it.  Write it down or just let it dance across your awareness.  Through rituals like this, you can train your mental processes to be calm in the face of adversity and through gratitude for all that shows up in your life, you will begin to attract the people and events that your truly want.

Check out these albums by Dean & Dudley Evenson to play as you allow your mind to become calm and appreciative for all that is your life.
a_meditationmoods  Meditation Moods

 

 

a_peacefulpondPeaceful Pond

 

 

cd_350px_back-to-the-gardenBack to the Garden

 

 

Golden Spa Tonescd_350px_golden-spa-tones

Peace Through Music for Veterans

Chap.Pappas&DeanWhen Veterans Day comes along it gives us pause to reflect on what veterans’ sacrifices and service have meant to the country and at what cost to the individual soldiers and their families.  After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we heard horror stories about service people coming back from combat with serious head injuries, loss of limbs and the general downside effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  We had a feeling our music could be helpful in the recovery process and a psychologist friend who was treating returning soldiers suggested we reach out to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, DC to see if they could use our music.  After trying the psychology and psychiatry units we were directed to the chaplain’s department.  There we connected with head chaplain clinician Major John Kallerson who as fate would have it was already familiar with our music. He had used Dean Evenson’s music in his own healing process.  How is that for synchronicity!  Chaplain Kallerson ordered boxes of Soundings of the Planet’s CDs to give out to returning combat veterans and their families.  CDs used were Sound Healing, Healing Sanctuary, Ocean Dreams, Healing Dreams, Eagle River and Healing Waters.
We also arranged with him and later with his replacement Chaplain Pappas to do a series of workshops at Walter Reed for patients and staff.   It was a very rewarding time of sharing what we know about meditation, relaxation, breathing, toning, affirmations and the healing power of music.   We were basically teaching soldiers and marines about the Yoga of Sound.  Several people we taught in the lockdown Psych Ward for high-risk patients said the information we offered was the best thing they had gotten at Walter Reed.  Even some of the nurses were able to experience the soothing tones of Tibetan singing bowls and bells. As a result of our involvement with WRAMC, we created a Relaxation Basic Training Guide to help anyone who has had traumatic injuries to use breath, toning, sounds and music to help them return to a state of peace and composure.

 
Please share with any veterans you know or anyone who has had a traumatic physical or emotional experience and needs to learn how to calm down and find a state of balance.
View Relaxation Basic Training Guide here –

RelaxationBasicTrainingFrontRelaxation Basic Training Back

During Sleep Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins

A Sound Sleep by Dudley & Dean EvensonThis post is a bit technical but very exciting when we realize the implications in understanding that something as simple as sleep can have such a benefit.  In a recent report on NPR we learned that when the brain is asleep, harmful toxins are cleared out.  Researchers say that this process may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other such diseases.  “It’s like a dishwasher,” says Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester and an author of the study published in Science. They discovered that the brain’s flow of cerebrospinal fluid is increased during sleep which helps to wash away harmful waste proteins that build up in between brain cells during waking hours.  The research team found this process of brain cleaning while they were studying the brains of sleeping mice.  If this study proves to be true in humans as well as mice, it could explain the connection between brain diseases and sleep disorders.

The researchers noticed that the system that causes the cerebrospinal fluid to circulate through the nervous system pumped fluid into the brain and removed it rapidly during sleep.  The reason this cleaning process doesn’t happen all the time is most likely because the process takes a lot of energy so it is most efficient during times when the brain is not being fully used such as during sleep.  Researchers also noticed that during sleep, the brain cells shrink which makes it easier for the fluid to circulate.  When the animal is awake, the brain cells enlarge and the flow between cells is reduced to a trickle.  Nedergaard says “It’s almost like opening and closing a faucet, it’s that dramatic.”  One of the waste products removed from the brain during sleep is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.  Giving the brain time to remove such toxins has a beneficial effect and helps to avoid the pitfalls that may come with toxic buildup.

Click here to hear and read the full report on NPR

What is the relevance of this research for those of us who may have problems falling asleep?  Mainly, it calls our attention to the important restorative process that sleep provides in healing and general well being by removing toxins from the brain.  How can people improve their sleep experience in this day and age when people are so busy and often struggle to fall asleep at the appropriate time.  In order to help people in falling asleep and staying asleep, we created the album A Sound Sleep: Guided Meditations with Relaxing Music & Nature Sounds.  Because we don’t know how to let go of the thoughts or concerns that may be bothering us that we often have a problem with sleep.  Fortunately, there are tools and techniques to aid in the process.  A Sound Sleep can help and the liner notes also provide suggestions that enhance creating a healthy sleep process.  Sweet dreams!

Increase the Peace Campaign

Increase the Peace Campaign

We invite you to join us in a campaign to Increase the Peace in our world. This campaign is a commitment to increase the public’s awareness of what we can do to discourage violence and disharmony in ourselves, our community, and our world.

In the spirit of mutual support we offer these ideas of how to help “Increase the Peace.” The following are just a few of the things that you can do. Some of them may seem small and in consequential, but studies show that they can and do reduce violent behavior, especially when done more often by more and more people.

Things you can do to increase the peace:

* Notice your breathing and make sure to fully inhale and exhale
* Take time out to listen to peaceful music and quiet your mind
* Meditate, pray or spend time in contemplation
* Go for walks in nature
* Do yoga or some form of healthy exercise
* Treat yourself to a massage or exchange shoulder rubs with a friend
* Smile and laugh frequently
* Give more compliments (sincere ones!)
* Learn about people who are different from you and reach out to them
* Ask someone’s opinion and listen to their answer
* Listen without being judgmental
* Avoid ‘put downs’
* Volunteer in the community
* Be a youth mentor

Things that families can do:

* Sit down to a meal together several times a week
* Ask how each other’s day went
* Share a problem with a family member
* Share good news with a family member
* Turn off the TV for an hour, a day, a week or a month
* Volunteer as a family in your community

Things that neighbors can do:

* Get to know each other, especially people of other cultures
* Look in on an elderly neighbor
* Organize a neighborhood watch group
* Organize a block party
* Develop a ‘SAFE HOUSE’ network for neighborhood children
* Organize positive youth activities or set up a youth center

Things that parents can do:

* Volunteer at your child’s school
* Read aloud to your child
* Discuss non-violence with your children
* Encourage peaceful behavior and reward fight-free days
* Limit TV viewing and provide family activities
* Monitor the TV shows watched
* Discourage viewing of violent TV shows and movies
* Discourage violent play
* Discourage ‘put downs’
* Remember you teach by example; don’t punish violence with violence
* Encourage self-esteem and be a role model for ‘Increasing the Peace’

Things that businesses can do:

* Give employees flex time to visit their child’s school
* Support a school or a class
* Make waiting areas for families ‘child friendly’
* Have career days when young people can be with employees to learn about careers and the real world
* Create incentives for academic achievement and improved behavior in local schools

Things we can do as a nation:

* Reach out to people of other races, cultures, and religions
* Develop “Sister City” programs with other countries
* Become a “Citizen Diplomat” by visiting another country and meeting the people
* Aid a child in another country by giving monetary support
* Participate in exchange programs
* Learn a foreign language
* Engage in “Pen Pal” or “Email Pal” programs
* Use the internet to study and communicate with other nationalities

Please share these ideas with your family and friends.  Let’s join together and make a difference in our world.

Stress Busting with Music

By Dudley Evenson

We all need to relax. Such busy stress-filled lives most of us live.  Modern lifestyles have caused a new kind of stress that our forebears didn’t know. While they may have had an adrenaline rush from being chased by a wild animal, our demons are often the ones we are chasing in our own minds. Stress comes in many forms. Whether it is a relationship conflict in the family or at work, worry about paying the bills or other things, stress occurs. How we deal with it is up to us. There are many ways to help a person relax. As we are learning how to breathe, moving our bodies or taking time to rest in stillness, music can be an excellent tool to aid in the process of relaxation.

We should all know by now that stress or more specifically our reaction to stress can cause detrimental effects in our bodily system.  Those tensions may result in heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, or mental lapses.  So with that in mind, we would do well to develop some stress busting habits.

Step One – Learn to Breathe
Breathe in this day for it is given to be lived
Breathe in the morning when the sun rises
And the evening when it sets
Always breathe deeply and fully

Step Two – Move It!
Getting the energy moving through your physical body will help to release endorphins that enliven your mind and lift your spirit.  Joyful, free flowing movement can be a wonderful release to help let go of unnecessary thoughts or concerns.  Finding the exercise system that suits you will keep you going back for more. It is a joy when you love to move your body and have the discipline of regularly doing your yoga, running, stretching, dancing or whatever your mode of movement is. Go ahead and sign up for that tai chi or yoga class, get that massage you have been needing, do your daily run.  All these activities can benefit from relaxation music being played.

Step Three – Rest in the Stillness
Know that a prelude of movement prepares the way for that quiet space within.  With the breathing and moving, your body settles down and your mind is able to calm itself and be ready for the visualizations and peace that can come when the mind is empty and clear.  The music can be a focus to help you center in on your own inter sanctum, the innermost place of your being.  Just be. When we are relaxed, calm and peaceful within ourselves, we enhance our health and wellbeing and music is one of the most powerful tools that can trigger the ‘relaxation response’.

Relaxation Zone, the latest release by sound healing pioneer, Dean Evenson, offers music that is perfect to support the relaxation process.  Gentle rolling rhythms, atmospheric grooves, soft percussion and a touch of didgeridoo invite you relax into the moment with music that is both exotic and uplifting as well as comforting and supportive.  The resulting ambience is perfect for healing arts practitioners and others who have been asking Dean for music with a little more rhythm but still with that signature ‘Evenson’ mood. Recommended background music for massage, yoga, working out, going within, living, loving.  Relaxation Zone contains Earth Resonance Frequency for deeper relaxation.