Sunday, January 29, 2006
'I think I can, I think I can.'
Remember the book you read or someone read to you as a child... The Little Engine that Could? _ the story of a train engine trying to make it up a hill? So many discouraged her, but she had the will power, to make it up the hill, all the while chugging, " I think I can, I think I can.." I always liked that story_ still do. And it comes to mind this January morning 2006, bringing with it the insight that without positive change, a downhill slide is certain. So in 2006
'I think I can, I think I can.'
is my anthem and New Year's Resolution. What I may have found utterly challenging in 2005 ,I'll reinvent in 2006. I will pay attention to my purpose...and put some energy into healthy choices... take my daily fish oil, buy a trampoline and keep my appointments with the dreaded dentist...and read more...
Lately I have been reading a translation of the Lord's Prayer from Aramaic. As a Native American friend of mine from Seattle might say... " This is a "skookum" experience..
(SKOO-kuhm) adjective Powerful; first-rate; impressive.
[From Chinook Jargon, from a Chehalis word meaning spirit or ghost.]
As I read the translation of this ancient prayer from Aramaic,
the words of the prayer are coming to me with a new slant ...
and I feel connected over the bridge of a thousand years
to a timeless wisdom and to a place in history
that changed it's course.
If we all could speak and know the language of others, what do you think would happen in this world?
King Charlemagne said, "To know another language is to have a second soul." Possibly learning a language is more than just learning words in the new language. It's also learning the culture of the people, understanding their dreams, their spirit, their values. When you learn another language, you might be able to see the world with a new vision...
SO in January 2006...where to start envisioning?
I am starting by making a promise to myself to learn a word or two from another language each day ...
Maybe I'll start with the language of Earth ...terra ..
with sustainability and stewardship and their value in the scheme of things.
Of Interest: -Anu Garg at www.wordsmith.org says: "There are numerous material reasons to learn a new language. But the one I believe most crucial is this: Once we speak the language of a people, it's much harder to hate them. "
And once they are no longer alien to us, it's much more difficult to discount or ignore them.....
As a person working in the arena of investment portfolios centered around stewardship of land I see the appllication of caring every day......caring for family... for home...for community and for terra...
Happy New Year,
Thursday, January 12, 2006
...a few thoughts at the beginning of this new year...
BUILD SOMETHING NEW
Build something new in that empty space.
Erect a scaffold on a stage,
Create the scenery, and then collaborate
On a glorious production.
And when, in just a little while,
The project is complete,
Take down the scaffold that you once needed,
And carefully regard your naked creation. . .
Then, in good time, dress it in new way of thinking,
Wrap it in novel relationships between image and meaning,
And dance into the mysteries and assets
Of all you can imagine,
For here, your dreams can take you well beneath the surface,
Where the nighttime blends with bits of yourself and your history,
And star-songs singularly attune to your very soul,
And you can bring forth solutions,
Turn “stumbling blocks” to dust
Beyond the bone-hard edges of wrongly perceived limits.
Good medicine hands swing the sword of pure possibility.
There is no reason to resist breathing the light of your life
Into this place, for it abides by the Laws of the Whole and the Laws of the Wild,
Where truth is found in strangeness and blessings often are disguised.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
.....reported today in the New York Times. Ah, those incredible 'connections' that are part of what we perceive as consciousness--or impact us even if we are not conscious of them....may explain many of the phenomena we experience when we engage in stewardship of Appalachian land and historic properties...may even refer to what happens when we mirror nature.
Thought I'd share for those who might be interested... Parents, take special note!
Cells That Read Minds
When a monkey watches a researcher bring an object-an ice cream cone, for example- to his mouth, the same brain neurons fire as when the monkey brings a peanut to its own mouth. In the early 1990's, Italian researchers discovered this phenomenon and named the cells "mirror neurons." More Photos > By SANDRA BLAKESLEEPublished: January 10, 2006On a hot summer day 15 years ago in Parma, Italy, a monkey sat in a special laboratory chair waiting for researchers to return from lunch. Thin wires had been implanted in the region of its brain involved in planning and carrying out movements. Cells That Read Minds Every time the monkey grasped and moved an object, some cells in that brain region would fire, and a monitor would register a sound: brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip.
A graduate student entered the lab with an ice cream cone in his hand. The monkey stared at him. Then, something amazing happened: when the student raised the cone to his lips, the monitor sounded - brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip - even though the monkey had not moved but had simply observed the student grasping the cone and moving it to his mouth.The researchers, led by Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist at the University of Parma, had earlier noticed the same strange phenomenon with peanuts. The same brain cells fired when the monkey watched humans or other monkeys bring peanuts to their mouths as when the monkey itself brought a peanut to its mouth. Later, the scientists found cells that fired when the monkey broke open a peanut or heard someone break a peanut. The same thing happened with bananas, raisins and all kinds of other objects.
"It took us several years to believe what we were seeing," Dr. Rizzolatti said in a recent interview. The monkey brain contains a special class of cells, called mirror neurons, that fire when the animal sees or hears an action and when the animal carries out the same action on its own. But if the findings, published in 1996, surprised most scientists, recent research has left them flabbergasted. Humans, it turns out, have mirror neurons that are far smarter, more flexible and more highly evolved than any of those found in monkeys, a fact that scientists say reflects the evolution of humans' sophisticated social abilities. The human brain has multiple mirror neuron systems that specialize in carrying out and understanding not just the actions of others but their intentions, the social meaning of their behavior and their emotions."We are exquisitely social creatures," Dr. Rizzolatti said. "Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions and emotions of others."He continued, "Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling, not by thinking."
The discovery is shaking up numerous scientific disciplines, shifting the understanding of culture, empathy, philosophy, language, imitation, autism and psychotherapy.Everyday experiences are also being viewed in a new light. Mirror neurons reveal how children learn, why people respond to certain types of sports, dance, music and art, why watching media violence may be harmful and why many men like pornography. How can a single mirror neuron or system of mirror neurons be so incredibly smart? Most nerve cells in the brain are comparatively pedestrian. Many specialize in detecting ordinary features of the outside world. Some fire when they encounter a horizontal line while others are dedicated to vertical lines. Others detect a single frequency of sound or a direction of movement. Moving to higher levels of the brain, scientists find groups of neurons that detect far more complex features like faces, hands or expressive body language. Still other neurons help the body plan movements and assume complex postures. Mirror neurons make these complex cells look like numbskulls. Found in several areas of the brain - including the premotor cortex, the posterior parietal lobe, the superior temporal sulcus and the insula - they fire in response to chains of actions linked to intentions.
Studies show that some mirror neurons fire when a person reaches for a glass or watches someone else reach for a glass; others fire when the person puts the glass down and still others fire when the person reaches for a toothbrush and so on. They respond when someone kicks a ball, sees a ball being kicked, hears a ball being kicked and says or hears the word "kick." "When you see me perform an action - such as picking up a baseball - you automatically simulate the action in your own brain," said Dr. Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies mirror neurons. "Circuits in your brain, which we do not yet entirely understand, inhibit you from moving while you simulate," he said. "But you understand my action because you have in your brain a template for that action based on your own movements.
"When you see me pull my arm back, as if to throw the ball, you also have in your brain a copy of what I am doing and it helps you understand my goal. Because of mirror neurons, you can read my intentions. You know what I am going to do next." Cells That Read Minds He continued: "And if you see me choke up, in emotional distress from striking out at home plate, mirror neurons in your brain simulate my distress. You automatically have empathy for me. You know how I feel because you literally feel what I am feeling." Mirror neurons seem to analyze scenes and to read minds.
If you see someone reach toward a bookshelf and his hand is out of sight, you have little doubt that he is going to pick up a book because your mirror neurons tell you so. In a study published in March 2005 in Public Library of Science, Dr. Iacoboni and his colleagues reported that mirror neurons could discern if another person who was picking up a cup of tea planned to drink from it or clear it from the table. "Mirror neurons provide a powerful biological foundation for the evolution of culture," said Patricia Greenfield, a psychologist at the U.C.L.A. who studies human development. Until now, scholars have treated culture as fundamentally separate from biology, she said. "
But now we see that mirror neurons absorb culture directly, with each generation teaching the next by social sharing, imitation and observation." Other animals - monkeys, probably apes and possibly elephants, dolphins and dogs - have rudimentary mirror neurons, several mirror neuron experts said. But humans, with their huge working memory, carry out far more sophisticated imitations. Language is based on mirror neurons, according to Michael Arbib, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California. One such system, found in the front of the brain, contains overlapping circuitry for spoken language and sign language. In an article published in Trends in Neuroscience in March 1998, Dr. Arbib described how complex hand gestures and the complex tongue and lip movements used in making sentences use the same machinery. Autism, some researchers believe, may involve broken mirror neurons.
A study published in the Jan. 6 issue of Nature Neuroscience by Mirella Dapretto, a neuroscientist at U.C.L.A., found that while many people with autism can identify an emotional expression, like sadness, on another person's face, or imitate sad looks with their own faces, they do not feel the emotional significance of the imitated emotion. From observing other people, they do not know what it feels like to be sad, angry, disgusted or surprised. Mirror neurons provide clues to how children learn: they kick in at birth. Dr. Andrew Meltzoff at the University of Washington has published studies showing that infants a few minutes old will stick out their tongues at adults doing the same thing.
More than other primates, human children are hard-wired for imitation, he said, their mirror neurons involved in observing what others do and practicing doing the same things. Still, there is one caveat, Dr. Iacoboni said. Mirror neurons work best in real life, when people are face to face. Virtual reality and videos are shadowy substitutes.Nevertheless, a study in the January 2006 issue of Media Psychology found that when children watched violent television programs, mirror neurons, as well as several brain regions involved in aggression were activated, increasing the probability that the children would behave violently.
The ability to share the emotions of others appears to be intimately linked to the functioning of mirror neurons, said Dr. Christian Keysers, who studies the neural basis of empathy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and who has published several recent articles on the topic in Neuron.When you see someone touched in a painful way, your own pain areas are activated, he said. When you see a spider crawl up someone's leg, you feel a creepy sensation because your mirror neurons are firing. People who rank high on a scale measuring empathy have particularly active mirror neurons systems, Dr. Keysers said.
Social emotions like guilt, shame, pride, embarrassment, disgust and lust are based on a uniquely human mirror neuron system found in a part of the brain called the insula, Dr. Keysers said. In a study not yet published, he found that when people watched a hand go forward to caress someone and then saw another hand push it away rudely, the insula registered the social pain of rejection. Humiliation appears to be mapped in the brain by the same mechanisms that encode real physical pain, he said.
Cells That Read Minds
Psychotherapists are understandably enthralled by the discovery of mirror neurons, said Dr. Daniel Siegel, the director of the Center for Human Development in Los Angeles and the author of "Parenting From the Inside Out," because they provide a possible neurobiological basis for the psychological mechanisms known as transference and countertransference. In transference, clients "transfer" feelings about important figures in their lives onto a therapist. Similarly, in countertransference, a therapist's reactions to a client are shaped by the therapist's own earlier relationships.Therapists can use their own mirror system to understand a client's problems and to generate empathy, he said. And they can help clients understand that many of their experiences stem from what other people have said or done to them in the past.
Art exploits mirror neurons, said Dr. Vittorio Gallese, a neuroscientist at Parma University. When you see the Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini's hand of divinity grasping marble, you see the hand as if it were grasping flesh, he said. Experiments show that when you read a novel, you memorize positions of objects from the narrator's point of view. Professional athletes and coaches, who often use mental practice and imagery, have long exploited the brain's mirror properties perhaps without knowing their biological basis, Dr. Iacoboni said. Observation directly improves muscle performance via mirror neurons.Similarly, millions of fans who watch their favorite sports on television are hooked by mirror neuron activation. In someone who has never played a sport - say tennis - the mirror neurons involved in running, swaying and swinging the arms will be activated, Dr. Iacoboni said. But in someone who plays tennis, the mirror systems will be highly activated when an overhead smash is observed. Watching a game, that person will be better able to predict what will happen next, he said.
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ASHEVILLE is dazzlingly replete with arts, culture, history, a sense of community, remarkable recreational amenities AND both a cosmopolitan and earthy flair. If you are the kind of person who enjoys folk art showcases, historic Civil War landmarks, first-rate museums, art galleries and exhibition halls, music, dance and theater you will feel right a home here. If you like good food, locally grown and organic foods are plentiful. Welcome HOME to the mountains, tailgate markets, friendly folks and places to stop for refreshments and good conversation.
For a list of places to eat and places to stay please contact WELCOME@Asheville1031Realty.com or simply contact the Asheville Visitor Information Center: http://www.ashevilletransit.com/visitors/visitor.htm
Area attractions, sporting events, festivals and cultural events and mountain vistas provide visitors with many exciting places to explore and activities to enjoy. Asheville offers visitors the charm of a small city along with a stimulating urban environment. With its vibrant downtown filled with restaurants, galleries, craft and antique shops and wonderful architecture, you will want to stay and stay.
WHERE TO STAY
If you are planning to be in the Greater Asheville area for a number of days…perhaps looking for investment property, acreages and historic properties to renovate our clients recommend the following:
1. The Grove Park Inn Resort is one of Asheville’s (in fact one of the South’s) oldest and most famous grand resorts. Built on about 140 acres it boasts massive granite boulders and an imposing presence. Mr. Grove himself approved of this architecture in 1913. Close to downtown Asheville's it is both luxurious and convenient The Inn is a remarkable feat of engineering you and your family will not soon forget. (704.252.2711) http://www.groveparkinn.com/ While you are there, stop by the Antique Car Museum/NC Homespun Museum Asheville.
2. Another favorite of our clients is the Inn at the Biltmore Estate this is a Four-Star establishment. http://www.biltmore.com/plan/stay/stay.shtml The Biltmore Estate itself features a 250 room European chateau built in French-Renaissance style by George Vanderbilt, grandson of tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt and furnished with priceless antiques and art. It is the largest private home in America, a winery--where Biltmore wines are available for tasting--and the gardens and grounds.
3. Voted one of the Top Three Country Inns is the Richmond Hill Inn which features 37 well-appointed rooms in the historic Mansion, Croquet Cottages, and Garden Pavilion. You'll enjoy the professional service of the finest Asheville hotel with an intimate setting of the grandest bed and breakfast inn. http://www.richmondhillinn.com/
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PLACES OF INTEREST & THINGS TO DO
Our offices are convenient to downtown Asheville, the local coffee shop and bakery and the historic district. We are close to the Botanical Gardens in Asheville, so you may find one or more of us enjoying this ten acre area of native plants located just off Broadway on Weaver Blvd.
Asheville’s outstanding early twentieth century architecture including structures of national significance is worth your attention. Pack Place is a focal point of the restored downtown district and includes the Asheville Art Museum, Colburn Gem & Mineral Museum the Cultural Center and performing arts theatre. Nearby is the Thomas Wolfe Memorial the famous novelist's boyhood home. This is the boardinghouse depicted in the novel Look Homeward, Angel.
A scenic drives, natural treasures or hiking and horseback riding may be on your agenda. Possibly make time to take a leisurely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many points from which you can access walking and hiking trails through peaceful woodlands and alongside mountain glades. Some even lead to exquisite hidden waterfalls and magnificent overlooks. Nature trails lead to inspirational natural wonders of Western North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles of beautiful, winding road that links the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee to the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. Less than an hour’s from Asheville is the town of Marion, where you will discover Little Switzerland and Emerald Village open to the public for mining precious and semiprecious gemstones. Or explore Chimney Rock, the giant 26 story-high monolith within a 1,000-acre park.
And horse lovers, consider an excursion to our neighboring Polk County and the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center with its 210 acre steeplechase course, show rings, a carriage trail and many horsemanship events.
We really enjoy the Folk Arts Center. It is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in East Asheville. Home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, it has been dedicated to preserving Appalachian crafts and craftsmanship for over 70 years now. It is open 7 days a week, year around, and here you will find a fine craft gallery, craft shop and even storytelling events. We've heard tales about the fly-fishing in our moutnain streams that get more incredible every year! By the way, if you are an avid angler, you can expect any number of small mouth bass, crappie, several varieties of catfish, and perch to FLY on to your rod…or so they tell us.
For our wintertime visitors, when viewing acreage is probably the easiest and you can see the land and what looks most attractive to you, skiing is very good at the Wolf Laurel Ski Resort. This may be a good vacation/second home place for you to ask us about, as well. It is only a 35 minute drive from Asheville.
For more information and investment properties with an ECO-edge….please contact natureWalker@Asheville1031Realty.com
HAPPY NEW YEAR and all good things for you in ASHEVILLE.