HOLIDAY EVENTS

Lake Harriet Spiritual Community www.lakeharrietspiritualcommunity.org

"Rhythm of the Earth – Winter Solstice Yuletide Celebration" will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Minneapolis. LHSC’s seasonal Earth Ritual, co-created by current and former ministerial guides, will be blended with "The Rhythm of Love" Drum Jam led by Gary Chisholm. "Honoring the rhythm of Mother Earth, and aligning our being with her cycles, is the deep intent of celebrating the Earth’s holy-days," notes former ministerial guide Steven Johnson. "The winter solstice is a fleeting cusp between the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. We will use this moment of time-out-of time to journey through the wheel of the year, honoring and accessing the energies of the four cardinal directions and the cross-quarter directions. Through this journey we will look back to the year just past, releasing old energies. And we will look forward to the year ahead, setting our intentions for the next turn of the wheel." For those looking for a full-immersion experience, the drum jam is the ultimate way to plunge into the flow. It will begin around 9 p.m. and last until midnight. The suggested donation for the entire event is $10. LHSC is located at 4401 Upton Ave. S. For more information, call 612.922.4272 or visit the website.

CONCERTS

"Return to Wintersong" with Michael Monroe Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis www.thecedar.org

Minnesota original Michael Monroe performs at The Cedar in a "Return To Wintersong" at 8 p.m., Saturday,

Dec. 6. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door, available at ticketweb.com. The concert features a collection of vocal and instrumental selections created from the warmth of his cabin during winters on the North Shore. The performance will be recorded for a future LIVE @ The Cedar CD. Wintersong, Monroe’s latest CD, was described by City Page’s Rick Mason as "…richly melodic acoustic music…with heartfelt sincerity…Monroe explores subtle, quiet places that spark the imagination." The singer-songwriter-instrumentalist lives and creates music on Lake Superior’s North Shore. He moved his solar MisTree Studio to his Grand Marais Log Cabin where he and longtime partner Deb Mueller (now husband and wife) host a monthly Log Cabin Concert Series in their home. Monroe blends rich vocals, guitars, bamboo and glass flutes together…all original music. He recycles his music live on stage to deliver a powerful style of acoustic folk, reggae and jazz. His award-winning soundtrack is featured on PBS in the documentary Chased By the Light and he received a regional Emmy for his "Soaring On Mended Wings." Monroe plays guitars built by David Seaton of the Gunflint Trail, using salvaged wood from the area and 100-year-old trees from the bottom of Lake Superior. Adding to his eight CDs and two vinyl discs, he recently narrated and composed music for a series of podcasts for the Gunflint Trail Association. For more information, visit www.michaelmonroemusic.com

BOOK & POETRY READINGS

Magers & Quinn Booksellers 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.822.4611 www.magersandquinn.com

• Sunday, Dec. 7, 5-7 p.m. – Robin Asbell will discuss and sign her book, and serve samples from The New Whole Grains Cookbook. Treats will be served; some will be gluten-free. From whole wheat, oats, and rice to farro, barley, and quinoa, no grain is left unturned in this compendium of more than 75 healthful recipes. There’s a tasty dish for every meal of the day: Quick Skillet Flatbreads made with millet or teff for breakfast, or a hearty dinner entree of lamb and rye berries braised in red wine. Even desserts get the whole-grain touch with such sweets as Chocolate-Chunk Buckwheat Cookies. This book is the culmination of her 20-plus years working with natural foods, showcasing International recipes designed to tempt the palate of today’s diner. Robin has been a chef, private chef and culinary instructor and brings her passion for great food to the people. She has been teaching throughout the Twin Cities since 1985, at Cooks of Crocus Hill, The Chef’s Gallery, Let’s Cook, and other locations. Her popular classes range from decadent "Handmade Holiday Truffles" and "Italian Food and Wine Pairings," to "Sushi and Dim Sum," to "Vegan Tropical Asian Food" and "Gluten Free Bakery Favorites." Robin Asbell’s writing about food, health and enjoying life has appeared in such diverse publications as Better Homes and Gardens, Taunton’s Fine Cooking, Real Food Magazine, Health Magazine, Weight Watchers Magazine and Vegetarian Times.

NEW BUSINESS

Fit U www.2ndwindexercise.com/fitu

Fit U, a new fitness health club in Burnsville, Minn., says it eliminates all of the negatives that turn you off in a health club: overcrowding, expensive personal training, skyrocketing membership dues, impersonal environment. The club, located at 14027 Grand Ave. S., does not have membership dues. Participants only pay for the services they use, and a personal trainer is available at every visit due to a unique appointment exercise program designed to eliminate overcrowding. 2nd Wind’s new Fit U Training Studio also boasts what it calls a "revolutionary workout" that uses the Power Plate, a platform that gives off multi-directional vibes to stimulate nerve endings and stimulate muscles for better results. Recent results include: a quadriplegic walking more than 67 steps and doing up to 12 squats; a woman with MS who is now stable and can now write; and others without physical challenges who maintain body fitness and build muscle structure. "We help people lose weight and get fit rapidly and efficiently, with just a 30 minute, three-days-a-week commitment," says Keith Spennewyn, MSc, CPT, an Olympic-level athlete and fitness expert who now serves as managing director of Fit U. "If time is an issue for you, this program is the most efficient method of exercise to help you reach your goals." Sessions start as low as $18, and private personal training is also available at prices below industry averages. Training sessions at Fit U begin at 6 a.m. and end at 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday classes are also available. For more information, call 952.892.5479 or email info@2ndwindfitu.com.

ONLINE COMMUNITIES

Cirkla www.cirkla.com

A new website, the Mound, Minn.-based Cirkla, provides a new resource for those in the healing arts community to offer their services to the public, in a format that appeals to the millions of people interested in social networking. Even if you are not an experienced social networker, you can easily find others on Cirkla. Business owners can post articles, videos or audio podcasts and can get to know other people interested in alternative health, green living and spirituality through online profiles. Through social networking sites like Cirkla, clients can become more familiar with a business before driving across town to check out their services. They can watch a video about a new healing modality, listen to someone speak about their expertise or read an article about someone to learn more about them. They can even rate practitioners that they know to help others find them. Cirkla is active on many of the popular social networking sites and works regularly to bring traffic to the site through these services. Business owners who are interested in learning more about internet marketing and social networking can visit the site’s B2B (Business-to-Business) Networking Page, which is available to all registered members of Cirkla. Membership on Cirkla is free. Any members registered before December 31 will be automatically entered to win a $100 gift certificate to any business listed in the Cirkla Directory. Cirkla’s founder and webmaster, Amy Jewell, has been working with computers and dabbling with metaphysics for most of her life. Amy can be reached at amyjewell@cirkla.com.

Gaiam Yoga Club

www.gaiamyogaclub.com

Renowned yoga experts, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, a couple noted for their 25 years of individual practice and yogic expertise, have developed the Gaiam Yoga Club, a new innovative, online home-based yoga program created in collaboration with Gaiam Inc., the leading distributor of fitness and yoga programming. The online club is designed to introduce beginners to yoga and inspire long-time practitioners to fall in love with yoga all over again for only $5 a week. It features: a comprehensive 12-week, self-paced online course enabling you to create your own yoga program; nine 60-minute online yoga videos that guide all skill levels step-by-step; more than 60 downloadable yoga and meditation practices on audio; and a supportive online community of fellow yoga students to share your experiences through online chats, blogs and community message boards. "We developed Gaiam Yoga Club as the perfect bridge between the class and home practice," Yee says. "It offers tools to segue between being instructed in class and finding a way to instruct yourself. The club is also a bigger community in which you can reach out to the other members and say, ‘This is what I am experiencing, are you experiencing the same thing?’ " Each week, Rodney and Colleen introduce participants to a category of yoga poses (forward bends, backbends, twists and more) with modifications for different levels, and sequencing principles for personalizing your own yoga program. Podcasts focus on refining the poses and principles, and include downloadable pose guides. The hosts also lead members through guided relaxation, breathwork and meditation for enhanced well-being. Because of the self-paced nature of the program, members decide individually when they are ready to move onto the next yoga lesson. Rodney Yee has made guest appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," CNN, PBS and is one of the most sought-after yogis in the world, selling millions of yoga videos worldwide. For more information, call 1.800.869.3603.

ORGANIC NEWS

Feds slaughter of wild bison beats 20th century records – More than 1,000 wild buffalo have been slaughtered in the Yellowstone National Park area since November 2007, representing the largest kill since the 1800s. "It would seem as though history was not learned the first time, for here we are today, watching these same government entities enacting the same policy," said Nez Perce tribal member James Holt. According to those monitoring the situation, namely the Buffalo Field Campaign, the total kill-off number will likely exceed 2,000 for the year. While the government’s official reason for the slaughter is to prevent the spread of brucellosis from wild bison to cattle, no such transmission has ever been documented, and the bison being sent to slaughter are not being tested for the disease.

Wal-Mart goes rBGH-free – Wal-Mart recently announced its so-called "Great Value" store brand of milk will no longer come from cows injected with Monsanto’s controversial genetically engineered hormone, rBGH/rBST. Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), stated in an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail that Wal-Mart’s announcement will likely serve as a tipping point for driving Monsanto’s controversial bovine drug off the market. Since its inception, the OCA has campaigned aggressively against rBGH, which is banned in Europe, Canada and most of the industrialized world. Wal-Mart’s move, according to industry experts, will likely dramatically expand market demand for rBGH-free and organic dairy products. According to Cummins, "After 14 years of bullying consumers and buying off FDA and USDA bureaucrats, this is the beginning of the end for this cruel and dangerous drug."

White House lies to the world about biofuels – A recent report from the International Monetary Fund estimates that biofuels are responsible for as much as 30 percent of the global food shortage. Despite this fact, at the United Nation’s emergency food summit in Rome, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer defended the U.S. government’s decision to spend billions of dollars subsidizing corn and soybean-based ethanol and biofuel, falsely claiming that biofuels contributed only 2-3 percent of the overall increase in global food prices over the past year. According to USDA spokesman Jim Brownlee, Mr. Schafer was unaware that his statistics were off by nearly 90 percent.

– The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice and sustainability. For complete articles on all of these topics and more, and to subscribe, please visit www.organicconsumers.org.

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