Pictures from Punsavana

A couple of recent pictures.  The top one is Natalie and I on our unborn babies Punsavana.  And the lower one is Natalie from a couple of weeks ago.  She is much rounder now.  Little Los is growing quick! 🙂

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Happy Punsavana! 120 days in the womb…

In many traditional cultures, the 120th day in the womb marked a rite of passage.  Muslims believe that at 120 days an Angel is sent to blow a spirit into the fetus.  The Angel then carries out 4 instructions :  to write down his livelihood, the span of his life, his deeds, and whether he is wretched or fortunate. Hindu’s also believe that a baby’s Spirit enters the fetus at 120 days, celebrating it with Punsavana, when special prayers are intoned for the protection and safe development of child and mother.  Science has come to back up these claims.  Brain activity truly picks up after 120 days, leading up to the baby dreaming at 161 days.   There are numerous other things which the fetus can do in this period. Such as expressing emotions (happiness, fear, disgust etc.) through it’s facial expressions. It can show anxiety through the sucking of the thumb, assert itself and protest through kicking, and it develops memory.

One other important development during this stage is the ability to distinguish and recognize sounds. Experiments have been carried out that proved this: – A newborn will prefer a story that has been read twice a day to it, when it was a fetus, to a new one.  –  A newborn will recognize and copy its mother’s words.  –  When a music was played, a newborn whose mother listened to that music during pregnancy, will calm down.

Today Natalie and I celebrate our baby’s 120th day in the womb!  Happy Punsavana!!  We have a thinker on our hands…

🙂

Breaking habits can make you more creative.

“HABITS are a funny thing. We reach for them mindlessly, setting our brains on auto-pilot and relaxing into the unconscious comfort of familiar routine. “Not choice, but habit rules the unreflecting herd,” William Wordsworth said in the 19th century. In the ever-changing 21st century, even the word “habit” carries a negative connotation.

So it seems antithetical to talk about habits in the same context as creativity and innovation. But brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.”

Thanks to NYTimes.com for the story.

The Greatest Revenge is Success

There’s blood in the water, and the sharks are circling. Why is it that when you mess up in this world, there is always someone there to make money? Why is it that when you are sick, there is always someone there to make money? Why is it that when God touches your heart, there is always someone there to make money? Our worlds belief structure creates a self perpetuating vicious cycle of greed and fear. Everyone alive has had a moment where they were down, whether physically or spiritually. Its what you do when you are down that this is all about. Most people break when they are down. They give up, succumb to control, and admit defeat. They allow their lives and energy to be leached off of by the vampires who set this whole system up. Most people become bitter, dwelling on what could have been, or stewing with envy and rage at someone who threw them off course. They forget that light kills Vampires… To have someone tell you about climbing a mountain is one thing, but to climb the mountain yourself, that is a whole other story. Tribulation brings understanding, and understanding brings true compassion. And The Compassionate ONE is what this world is starving for. The Compassionate ONE drives the sharks and vampires away with the power of thought, voice, and action. The power of inner light. Cry not for yourself, cry for the millions oppressed worldwide. Sing the Song of Their Liberty! Take the fear and greed of the vampires and sharks and let it fire up your will to succeed! For the Greatest Revenge is Success!

omegaprojectmusic.com

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

If you enjoy eating exotic mushrooms, are interested in their nutritional and medicinal value and if you would like to learn how to establish mushrooms in your yard, garden or woods, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets will not disappoint you.

If the subtitle How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World intrigues you, it should. Paul Stamets’ thirty years of experience in “engaging fungi”, his original theories and research will reveal a world that many of us never knew existed. He calls Mycelium Running “A mycological manual for rescuing ecosystems”.

The text is divided into three parts with a foreword by the author’s long time friend Dr. Andrew Weil. 360 high quality photos and concise, useful graphs and charts enrich the text. You will see mushrooms the likes of which you never imagined.

Mr. Stamets has a wonderful writing style; friendly, funny and scientific all at the same time. He describes fungi as the “grand recyclers” of nature, their cobweb like growth under logs as “mycomagicians”.

Part One, The Mycelial Mind, contains four chapters:

* Mycelium as Nature’s Internet

* The Mushroom Life Cycle

* Mushrooms in Their Natural Habitat

* The Medicinal Mushroom Forest

Stamets describes mycelium as “the neurological network of nature” that can “expand to thousands of acres in size in cellular mats achieving the greatest mass of any individual organism on this planet”.

Mycelium is a single-celled organism that travels several inches a day. That means there is only one cell wall that protects this organism from pathogens, yet it thrives more prolifically that any plant or animal on the planet.

In fact, it is mycelium’s vast structural network that is responsible for decomposing plant debris, at the same time providing nutrients to the plant and animal kingdoms. In other words, mycelium is earth’s life support system and should be understood, respected and protected as such.

A mushroom is the fruit of mycelium. They produce spores capable of traveling great distances on the wind, on clothing, in animal feces and even on envelopes and packages in our mail.

There are four types of fungi: saprophytes, parasites, mycorrhizal and endophytes. The saprophyte subtype is largely responsible for recycling organic debris and providing nutrients to the plant and animal world.

Mycorrhizal fungi are vital to the health of forests because it transports nutrients to different species of trees.

The chapter The Medicinal Mushroom Forest discusses the ancient knowledge of the value of mushrooms to both the human body and the forest ecosystem with useful charts of commonly collected wild edible mushrooms from NW North America including chanterelles, matsutake and hedgehogs.

Various mushroom varieties possess potent anti-microbial properties. The author notes that a “moldy cantaloupe sent to an army research lab in 1941” led to the identification and extraction of strains of penicillium chrysogenum that led to the commercial synthesis of penicillin.

Mr. Stamets’ own research led to the discovery that the extract of mycelium from the mushroom Fomitopsis officinalis “protects human blood cells from infection by orthopox viruses including the family of viruses that includes smallpox.”

Specific varieties of mushrooms possess antiviral activity against such viruses as hepatitis B, herpes simplex, HIV, influenza, pox, and tobacco mosaic virus. A useful table lists various mushrooms and their antiviral activities.

Several varieties of mushrooms are sources of other medicinal compounds including triterpenoids and glycoproteins. Pages 38-39 provide a cross index of Mushrooms and Targeted Therapeutic Effects including mushroom activity against specific cancers.

Mr. Stamets presents strong evidence that fungi from old growth forests have potential as sources for new and vital medicines. And he emphasizes the essential importance of preserving this priceless resource.

Part II – Mycorestoration

In Mycorestoration the author presents his original thought, theories and research into how mycelium and their fruit, mushrooms, can be harnessed for uses that support the health of humans and our ailing planet. In this fascinating section of the book, the author presents the reader with “fungal opportunities underfoot”.

These original concepts are presented in four forms: Mycofiltration, Mycoforestry,Mycoremediation and Mycopesticides.

Mycorestoration is defined as the selective use of fungi to repair or restore the weakened immune systems of environments.

Mycofiltration uses mycelium as a membrane to catch and filter upstream contaminants including microorganisms, pollutants and silt. Talk about filtration capacity, Mr. Stamets says that “more than a mile of mycelial cells can infuse a gram of soil”.

The text illustrates how we can use mycelium on farms, in our own urban and suburban environments, in watershed districts, in factories, on roads and other stressed habitats to filter protozoa, bacteria, viruses, bacteria, silt and chemical toxins.

Mycelial mats, called “bunker spawn” mature in months and can be used for years to prevent downstream pollution. Mr. Stamets discusses his own research in microfiltration and presents directions for building and installing mycelium microfilters.

Mycoforestry is the use of fungi to sustain forest communities by preserving natural forests, recycling woodland debris, sustaining replanted trees with the goal of strengthening the forest ecosystem.

Mr. Stamets emphasizes that contrary to conventional thought our forests are not “renewable” resources and discusses how carbon cycles that fuel the food chain can take centuries, if not thousands of years to establish.

For example, in Oregon a honey mushroom mat found on a mountaintop covered over 2400 acres and is thought to be about 2200 years old. “Nurse” logs in this forest increase soil depth and enrich the habitat for the fungi, plant and animal kingdoms.

The reader must wonder how many regions like this exist on planet earth today.

According to the author, acceleration of this process is possible by using wood chips as a spawning medium for fungi. This method has the potential to prevent forest fires because as mycelium grows on the wood chips they draw moisture to the forest floor in a sponge like way.

Mr. Stamets urges forest pathologists to develop strategies that utilize mycelium to improve forest health.

Mycoremediation is the use of fungi to degrade or remove toxins from the environment. According to the author fungi can be used to degrade heavy metals including lead, and mercury, industrial toxins including chlorine, dioxin, PCBs and organophosphates.

This potential is viewed in the perspective of the hierarchy of organisms in the fungi, plant, bacterium and animal kingdoms, a hierarchy which begins and ends with fungi.

Photos in this chapter illustrate diesel contaminated soil “under attack” by oyster mushrooms which thrive on the contaminated soil and regenerate it by neutralizing the contaminant. When they die and rot they provide a healthy environment for new plant growth. The contaminated soil in which mushroom growth was not introduced remained just that, barren and contaminated.

The goal of mycorestoration is to match fungi species to contaminants to enable the “destruction of toxins that enable other restoration strategies”.

Mycopesticides involve the use of fungi to control pest populations, including carpenter ants and termites. Mr. Stamets relates a personal story of how he used mycelium as a natural pesticide to rid his house of carpenter ants.

He has applied for patents to use this biotechnology which protect groundwater and habitats from damage by conventional toxic pesticides, as a natural method of eliminating termites, ants and flies. He calls the technology “green mycotechnology”.

Part III – Growing Mycelia and Mushrooms includes six chapters:

* Inoculation Methods: Spores, spawns and stem butts

* Cultivating Mushrooms on Straw and Leached Cow Manure

* Cultivating Mushrooms on logs and stumps

* Gardening with Gourmet and medicinal mushrooms

* Magnificent Mushrooms: The Cast of Species

* Nutritional properties of mushrooms

This section introduces readers to methods for inoculation, cultivation and gardening with mushrooms. Excellent photos, graphs and charts help the reader to visualize and practically apply the processes.

Mr. Stamets says that the key to growing mushrooms is to first grow mycelium and that the most important technique is learning how to use wild, or natural spawn because it has the advantage of being acclimated to its habitat.

The mycelium grower is described as a “herdsman” and the mycomotto is “move it or lose it”. The author explains that no matter how successful you may be at getting mycelium to grow it will “consume its habitat” and will move on, if not supplemented with its basic nutrient needs.

Stamets explains that “Your job is to become embedded into the mind-set of this digestive cellular membrane, to run with mycelium”.

Using fungi in the garden builds soil, improves yield and decreases fertilizer requirements. Photos illustrate the increased size of vegetables grown in mycelium rich soil.

Edible mushrooms are good sources of protein, are very low in simple carbohydrates and fats and are high in antioxidants, selenium, potassium, copper, B vitamins and fiber.

Nutritional content of mushrooms depends on variety and where they are grown. For example, button mushrooms grown in Texas and Oklahoma contain higher levels of selenium than those grown in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Pages 198-199 provide a very useful chart listing the nutritional properties of 16 edible mushrooms.

Mushrooms are rich sources of enzymes including cellulose, lignan peroxidases, laccases, manganese superoxide dismutases, enzymes known for their ability to decompose plant fiber.

According to the author, enzyme inhibitors in mushrooms are protective against breast and prostate cancer. Aromatase inhibitors that interrupt the conversion of androgens to estrogens are significant to those at risk for breast cancer. 5 alpha reductase inhibitors are significant to those at risk for enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.

Graphs provide additional information on mushroom variety and content of these valuable nutritional compounds.

The final chapter of the book is Magnificent Mushrooms: The Cast of Species

This section provides in-depth descriptions, distribution, habitat, harvesting hints, nutritional profile, medicinal properties, flavor, preparation and cooking tips, mycorestoration potential and comments for a long list of mushrooms including shiitakes, oyster, and morels.

This is valuable, useful information for anyone interested in utilizing the benefits of mushrooms for health, both human and planetary.

Certainly Paul Stamets book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World will grow the ranks of mycophiles world wide. Because the science of mycorestoration is in its infancy, Mycelium Running will likely inspire a new generation of mycologists to implement the author’s original discoveries and make future discoveries of their own, discoveries that benefit both mankind and the environment.

As Dr. Andrew Weil said in the introduction “I find this book exciting and optimistic because it suggests new, nonharmful possibilities for solving serious problems that affect our health and the health of our environment”.

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets – Ten Speed Press, 2005. 339 pp 360 color photos

Other books by Paul Stamets:

* Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (2000)

* The Mushroom Cultivator with coauthor Jeff Chilton (1983)

Founder of fungiperfecti @ (http://www.fungi.com/) and (http://fungi.com/mycomeds/info.html)

(Book Review) by Teri Lee Gruss, MS Human Nutrition (see all articles by this author)

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Full disclosur, the above article is from NaturalNews.com – Keep up the great works! Thanks for the article!

The Wisdom of Terrence McKenna

A great quote from Terence McKenna-

    “Obviously, we cannot continue to think about drug use in the same old ways. As a global society, we must find a new guiding image for our culture, one that unifies the aspirations of humanity with the needs of the planet and the individual. Analysis of the existential incompleteness within us that drives to form relationships of dependency and addiction with plants and drugs will show that at the dawn of history, we lost something precious, the absence of which has made us ill with narcissism. Only a recovery of the relationship that we evolved with nature through use of psychoactive plants before the fall into history can offer us hope of a humane and open-ended future.

Before we commit ourselves irrevocably to the chimera of a drug-free culture purchased at the price of a complete jettisoning of the ideals of a free and democratic planetary society, we must ask hard questions. Why, as a species, are we so fascinated by altered states of consciousness? What has been their impact on our esthetic and spiritual aspirations? What have we lost by denying the legitimacy of each individual’s drive to use substances to experience personally the transcendental and the sacred? My hope in answering these questions will force us to confront the consequences of denying nature’s spiritual dimension, of seeing nature as nothing more than a “resource” to be fought over and plundered. Informed discussion of these issues will give no comfort to the control-obsessed, no comfort to know-nothing religious fundamentalism, no comfort to beige fascism of whatever form.

The question of how we, as a society and as individuals, relate to psychoactive plants in the late twentieth century, raises a larger question: how, over time, have we been shaped by the shifting alliances that we have formed and broken with various members of the vegetable world as we have made our way through the maze of history?

    If we do not learn from our past, this story could end with a planet toxified, its forests a memory, its biological cohesion shattered, our birth legacy a weed-choked wasteland. … If we can recover the lost sense of nature as a living mystery, we can be confident of new perspectives on the cultural adventure that surely must lie ahead. We have the opportunity to move away from the gloomy historical nihilism that characterizes the reign of our deeply patriarchal, dominator culture. We are in a position to regain the Archaic appreciation of our near-symbiotic relationship with psychoactive plants as a wellspring of insight and coordination flowing from the vegetable world to the human world.

    The mystery of our own consciousness and powers of self-reflection is somehow linked to this channel of communication with the unseen mind that shamans insist is the spirit of the living world of nature. For shamans and shamanic cultures, exploration of this mystery has always been a credible alternative to living in a confining materialist culture. We of the industrial democracies can choose to explore these unfamiliar dimensions now, or we can wait until the advancing destruction of the living planet makes all further exploration irrelevant. …

    Our culture, self-toxified by the poisonous by-products of technology and egocentric ideology, is the unhappy inheritor of the dominator attitude that alteration of consciousness by the use of plants or substances is somehow wrong, onanistic, and perversely antisocial. …[S]uppression of shamanic gnosis, with its reliance and insistence on ecstatic dissolution of the ego, has robbed us of life’s meaning and made us enemies of the planet, of ourselves, and our grandchildren. We are killing the planet in order to keep intact the wrongheaded assumptions of the ego-dominator cultural style.

    It is time for a change.”

Great quote from Seth Godin’s blog

This is from Seth Godin’s blog.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Thanks Seth.

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The forces of mediocrity

Maybe it should be, “the forces for mediocrity”…

There’s a myth that all you need to do is outline your vision and prove it’s right—then, quite suddenly, people will line up and support you.

In fact, the opposite is true. Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance. Products, services, career paths… whatever it is, the forces for mediocrity will align to stop you, forgiving no errors and never backing down until it’s over.

If it were any other way, it would be easy. And if it were any other way, everyone would do it and your work would ultimately be devalued. The yin and yang are clear: without people pushing against your quest to do something worth talking about, it’s unlikely it would be worth the journey. Persist.

-Seth Godin

A poem for Patience

Together we harmonize-

Your voice like sweet syrup-
Coating the troughs of my sound wave.
The words you’ve written,
testament to future generations of the passion of our age.
The Age of Opposites.
The song’s we composed,
4 dimensional gateways with which to time travel.
For you I pen this-
My brother and companion

JAH LOVE ETERNAL!
www.omegaprojectmusic.com
©2008 Carlos Cardona

Kundalini Yoga Mantra and Prayer

There exists One Creator throughout the Creation whose name is Truth.  Greatest is the ecstasy of that Supreme Wisdom.

Oh Formless in every form,
Oh Infinite of every finite,
Oh Unknown, known through
the entire creation.
Oh, Beyond, still bound by love,
It was Your Grace that you spoke
and You heard,
You made it possible that all people,
Your creatures, could come
and could share Your Grace.
Give us power to walk
on the path of righteousness;
Give us humility to serve
and find love of our brothers and sisters;
Give us tranquility and peace to find
the higher realms of consciousness.
May Your Grace lead us
to the light of Infinity;
May our trip to the world be successful,
To spread Your Service so the
fellow Mankind can share.
May this day bring us a
peaceful onward journey.
May Your Grace prevail,
And may You lift us
to the levitated consciousness.
Oh God of Gods, oh Lord of Lords,
if you have been so kind and merciful
to bring us together with You,
oh Infinite, oh Unknown, oh Beyond
still bound by love.
Give us the power of happiness,
joy and bliss, so we can live
in the ecstasy of consciousness.
Sat Nam