News & Notes Summer 2014

Lama Tsomo at her home in rural Montana. Photos courtesy of Lama Tsomo.

Compassion Mojo

Lama Tsomo is one of the first American women ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist lama (2005). A student of Gochen Tulku Sangak Rinpoche, she managed to pick up the Tibetan language to converse directly with her teacher using concepts not readily expressed in English. Living a quiet life up until recently in the mountains of Montana, Lama Tsomo is building a Buddhist retreat center there and developing a plan to teach Tibetan Buddhism via a network of living-room learning and practice circles. She is the new face of Tibetan Buddhism in America with her 2014 book release Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? A Westerner’s Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice.

To those feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed by the immense suffering in the world, particularly following a natural disaster, Lama Tsomo offers this insight: “…to exercise the compassion muscle, there are practices, such as tonglen, where you visualize people who are caught up in a disaster or a difficult situation, breathing in the suffering to relieve them of it and giving back happiness. The breath and visualization help you to make your natural compassionate response more vivid and visceral. It then helps to take you out of the I-can’t-do-anything paralysis mode into action mode. Over the years I’ve found that the exercising of this ‘compassion muscle’ has increased my capacity for compassion tremendously.”

— Source:



You, Too, Can Grow Fresh, New Bone

Bone weakening is a common problem associated with aging. In most people, sometime during your 30s, your bone mass will begin to decline gradually. Exercise, however, naturally builds stronger bones.

Your bones are constantly being rebuilt in a dynamic process involving the removal of old bone through osteoclasts and regeneration of new, healthy bone by osteoblasts. Load-bearing exercise works to build stronger bones by stimulating cells responsible for the synthesis and mineralization of bone (osteoblasts). Weight-bearing is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then responds by continuously creating fresh, new bone. It can go a long way to prevent brittle bone formation and help to reverse damage already done.

Weight bearing exercises include activities like walking, jogging, stair climbing, biking, dancing, yoga, weight lifting, strength training exercises and impact-producing sports. Vary your weight bearing activities to exercise all your muscles and joints.

— Source: Mer



Vermont Votes For GMO-Labeling

On May 8, 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law legislation making Vermont the first state in the nation requiring mandatory labeling of food containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Labeling officially begins July 1, 2016 and also bans GMO-tainted foods from being labeled “natural.”

The national Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other GMO-industry giants have already declared their intentions to sue the state in federal court to overturn the law, arguing that GMOs are safe and the label unfairly warns consumers away from their products.

These legal threats have intimidated most other states away from passing their own laws, but as Governor Shumlin noted comparing the issue to other Vermont state laws that were first in the nation, such as banning slavery and allowing same-sex marriage, “We are pro-choice. We are pro-information.”

“This is a victory for everyone who eats,” said Andrea Stander, Director of Rural Vermont. As the Center for Food Safety points out, 64 countries including China, Russia, and all European Union nations currently have GMO-labeling laws in place.

The website has been created to help pay legal expenses in case the law is challenged.

— Source:



photo via Flickr

Health Is Normal

Many chiropractic patients are surprised to learn that chiropractic actually doesn’t cure anything. So, how do you explain the millions of patients that have recovered from diseases with chiropractic care?

The fundamental truth is: health is your normal state. If you’re not healthy, there is something interfering with this normal state. The best care that doctors of any type can do is to remove interferences that may be preventing your body from expressing its normal and optimal health potential.

The chiropractic focus is on your nervous system, which controls and regulates every aspect of your body. Restoring better brain/body communications permit a more normal and optimal expression of health. The fact that your illness may improve in the process is an expression of better nervous system control of your body.

Thus, chiropractic doesn’t cure anything. Only your body can do that, if there isn’t any interference, that is!

— Source: Northboro Chiropractic Care



photo via Flickr

New Hope for Tired Brains

Until recently, neurologists believed that a person’s brain stopped physically developing when they were 25 to 35 years old. But a growing body of research points to the possibility of lifelong neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to adapt to new input — and a 2011 Massachusetts General Hospital study found that those who meditate regularly for as little as eight weeks changed the very structure of their brains.

MRI scans showed that by meditating daily for an average of 27 minutes, participants increased the density of the gray matter (which holds most of our brain cells) in an area that is essential for focus, memory, and compassion. Previous research had already shown that monks who had spent more than 10,000 hours in meditation had extraordinary growth and activity in this part of the brain. It’s now clear that even relative beginners at mindfulness can quickly rewire their brains in a positive way.

— Source: Frances Weaver, The Week



Truth In Advertising?

With sugary beverages being today’s Public Food Enemy #1 in our nation’s obesity epidemic, it’s hard to imagine that parents were once encouraged to “do their children a favor” and place them on a “strict regimen of sodas and other sugary carbonated beverages…for a lifetime of happiness!”

My, how times have changed!