SWEET INSPIRATIONS The Quarterly + Newsletter of Inspiration Unlimited & The Paramount Wellness Institute Vol. 36, Autumn Edition, 2009 TA DA! Finally! Earth Songs: The MOVIE is Finished With over two years in the making, I am happy to announce that Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature is nearly complete. Copies will be available for sale on December 8th, 2009 (High Def copies will be available, upon request (not sure of the price yet) soon thereafter. Please email me if interested). I was incredibly blessed, while securing the music rights, to come across music composer, Brian Keane, who offered to “score” the documentary with a selection of songs (some with a full-piece orchestra) from his library collection. Brian also put me in touch with his friend and colleague, Ira Spiegel, who does special sound effects (e.g., wind, ocean waves, geese, etc.) now making Earth Songs quite the professional production. Both Brian and Ira have worked very closely with Ric and Ken Burns of PBS specials fame. As I write this, final edits are being completed (so many details) and the whole project will be sent into mass production on Nov 24th, ready for sale on Dec 8th (although checks are preferable, I took the liberty to include an order form for this at the end of this newsletter, and we are setting up a Paypal account for the website as well.) Additionally, video clips (from both the documentary AND Earth Songs Meditation) will be made available on YouTube.com at the end of Nov. Finally, one dollar ($1) from the sale of each DVD will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Below is the DVD cover. Enjoy! The 10th Annual Vail Mountain Retreat A HUGE Success The first snowstorm hit the front range of Colorado, but high up in the Colorado Rockies; the weather was nothing less than perfect for the Vail Mountain Retreat (and Level II refresher for the holistic Stress Management Instructor Certification Workshop). A good time was had by all (and who couldn’t have a good time in a five-star resort with an exceptional hotel room price?) People didn’t believe me (or the retreat brochure) when it was mentioned that each room had a fireplace (some had more than one). Aside from the spender of the Sonnenalp Resort, retreat participants remarked how special it was to unplug from the real world for a few days and regain their center of gravity. A very special concert was held featuring singer/songwriter Chris Bonoli and accompanied by my good friend ( and guitar virtuoso, Zach Bergen). Plans are underway for next year’s annual Mountain Retreat (not sure if it will be in Estes Park, or back in Vail) but this we do know; the dates for it will be Columbus Day weekend, Oct 7-20, 2010. Peru: A Very Spiritual Place I had the privilege to travel to Peru to hike the Inca trail and spend time at Machu Picchu. I have wanted to travel to Machu Picchu for decades and all the stars fell into alignment in Sept. Of course I managed to capture some stunning footage for the Earth Prayers movie as well. I took the liberty to include my dispatch from Peru at the end of this newsletter (for anyone who might have an interest in reading it). Peru is a very spiritual place and I highly recommend this trip for anyone who has also dreamed of going. “Stressfully Speaking” Blog Much interest continues with the Stressfully Speaking Blog, perhaps because there is so much stress out there. If interested, please check it out. http://stressfullyspeaking.blogspot.com/ Upcoming 2010 Workshops The dates for the 2010 Holistic Stress Management Instructor Certification workshops are: May 13-17, Boulder, Colorado Sept 16-20, Longmont, Colorado A PDF brochure of each event will be posted on the “Upcoming Events” page of my website, typically several months before the actual event. Please call our office with any questions or more information (303) 678.9962. Home Page PHOTO BANNER Moonset over the Tetons and a spinner dolphin among a pod of dolphins off the shores of Kauai Closing Quote: “The winds of grace are blowing perpetually. We only need raise our sails.” —Sri Ramakrishna, As always, we love to hear from you, so if you are so inclined, please drop us an email, snail mail or even a phone call. Best wishes and inner peace, “Luke” Brian Luke Seaward, Ph. D. Executive Director Inspiration Unlimited & The Paramount Wellness Institute www.brianlukeseaward.net Trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru Picture this: You are standing on top of a huge rock formation encircled by a mountain that forms the better part of a half-moon shape. Not only is this mass of perfectly formed granite nearly surrounded at its base like a castle moat 1,000 feet below by a river, whose mist rises to enshroud the rock edifice, but it is also completely enclosed by a caldron of glacial mountain peaks (some over 22,000 feet) that stand as sentient beings protecting this island vortex of energy. Standing in the center of Machu Picchu you cannot help but notice that specific peaks in this outer crown perfectly salute the points of north, south, east, and west. I am sitting at the northern lip of what is now being called one of the (new) wonders of the world and it is hard to fight the tears of joy that have brought me to this mystical, magical place. Words may fail me, but in no uncertain terms… this place is UNREAL! Machu Picchu at dawn in a veil of morning mist that rises from the valley below I arrive at dawn by way of the famed Inca Trail, entering through the ceremonial “Sun Gate” by what can only be called an initiation of sorts; trial by fire through four days and twenty some miles over two mountain passes, rain forests and miles of carved stone steps—each strategically placed by hand, centuries ago. This is the famed Inca Trail, but only one of hundreds of trails that connect villages through the high Andes, I was to learn. The footpath highway of the Incas is vast and amazingly complex. The fourth and last day of my hike is the shortest, waking up at 3:30 a.m., sipping some hot tea and then setting foot back on the trail at 4:30 am in an effort to make it to the Sun Gate by dawn’s early light. This day begins in solitude as hikers walk slowly down chiseled steps with flashlights—eerily reminiscent of Walt Disney’s last scene in the movie Fantasia where luminescent beings walk single-file, silently through a forest to the musical score of Ave Maria. Ironically, as the first rays of sunlight hit the mountain peaks, things quickly transition from the sublime to the ridiculous. What begins as a line of hikers in single file formation becomes utter chaos as people elbow their way to the front of the line! Conjure up in your mind a scene reminiscent of the “running of the bulls” in Pamplona, Spain; a stampede that is anything but spiritual, and you’ll get the idea. Even though I was warned, I had no idea the mythical Sun Gate was the finish line to this foot race! In the end, however, we were all winners. This isn’t the Sun Gate, but it is THE entrance to the Incan Citadel! Impressive, huh? Let me be quite blunt when I say that the Inca Trail is not for the faint of heart, nor the physically weak (I am considered to be in good to excellent shape and I was huffing and puffing; at times, moving at a snail’s pace over the pass marked at 13,780 feet. Of course, carrying 50 lbs of camera equipment and clothes had much to do with this). The natives encourage the use of coca leaves (tea, and chewing the actual leaves. By the way, this is what they make cocaine from! My guide assures me that I will pass any drug test back in the States. The tea is bland and the leaves taste like hay.) If I am going to make it, it will be by shear will power! Despite the mad rush to the finish through the mystical Sun Gate, the moment you set your eyes on this prize Incan citadel, all the pain in one’s calves, quads, hamstrings, shoulders and lungs melts away. The sight of Machu Picchu takes your breath away, but at the same time, it inspires heart, mind and soul to a level you have never experienced before. If heaven exists on earth, this is surely it! My guide on this trek is a Peruvian indigenous native named Wilber, a 45-year old veteran of all things Incan and quite possibly a reincarnated soul from the days of the original ancient empire. His smile, which our questions trigger often, is punctuated with gold-filled teeth, echoing a voice to the famed city, EL DORADO! The rest of our crew is comprised of two cooks, and five porters, none of whom speak English, but they seem to comprehend my attempts at Spanish. Their native language is called Quetchuan which dates back to the Incan days. My Quechuan is non-existent so Spanglish and frequent games of charades save the day with my attempts to communicate. Golden smiles are not uncommon among the porters, either. Thank GOD Wilber translates for me! Each day on the Inca Trail begins with a hot cup of (Earl Grey) tea brought right to the door of my tent. The appointed porter (each has his own specific tasks) waits patiently as a series of zippers open, signaling life is stirring inside my tent (e.g., sleeping bag, clothes and several tent flaps—all of which make me wonder what camping actually sounded like before the invention of the zipper). Hot tea is followed by a facial wash (a tub of hot water, bar of soap and towel awaits each tent resident outside the zippered gates.) Breakfast soon follows and just like a scene from the movie, OUT OF AFRICA, the assistant cook severs us our meals in the dining tent wearing white gloves and a smile. At this point it is incumbent upon me to mention the reverence Peruvians of the High Andes have for Mother Earth (known here as “Pachamama”). All garbage is partitioned out into biodegradable and organic (nothing including human waste is left behind) and this recycling method can also be found in the hotels in Cusco as well. VERY IMPRESSIVE! Lone hiker on one of the terraced fields of the Incan Trail Wilber, in a nod to his shamanic traditions, begins each meal with an eloquent ritual by saying grace, honoring the three worlds; upper, middle and lower, through the energy of the condor, the puma and the python, respectively—all of whom serve as archetypes to the magnificent Incan spiritual world. (In nearly every breath, Wilber ties each conversation to the three worlds). For me, the mystery of the Incans has begun in earnest and we are miles away from our final destination. Over each and every meal, our conversations range from Incan history (pre and post Columbian—and to this day there is no love loss for the Spanish), philosophy, religion and healing practices to Incan astronomy to UFO’s (my prodding, but know there are many here) all of course, related to the bigger story of the Incan people. Dinner conversations continue as tutorials each day on the Incan Trail itself. I was to learn the next day (with a little prodding) that Wilber was Shirley MacLaine’s guide on a similar sojourn through the Sun Gate and Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. What luck? Tonight’s story, over our first (five course) dinner of potatoes (Peruvians have over 100 types of potatoes), corn (Peruvians have over 150 types of corn) and alpaca meat sautéed in local spices, begins with the Incan legend of the Mighty Bear who marries a beautiful tribal woman to the horror of her town folk, the story of the (three) Sacred Lakes and the centuries old Glacial Festival (currently impacted by global warming), all rich in mythology (or is it reality in the eyes of the Quechuan?) We many never know! First, banish any and all thoughts you have about Machu Picchu, from Shirley MacLaine’s Out On a Limb to James Redfield’s, The Celestine Prophecy. Machu Picchu isn’t just a pretty postcard setting, nor simply a fabled lost mountain retreat. There are layers upon layers of mystery and intrigue here. There is history. There is mystery. And there is majestic visual beauty that simply cannot be captured on film (though I certainly tried). Machu Picchu is a puzzle hidden in an enigma and she holds her secrets close to her chest. In fact, archeologists are still discovering many items (e.g. mummies) on the grounds and repairs to the incredible stonework are a perpetual work in progress. Twin Llamas of different mamas (also known as the lawn mowers of Machu Picchu) As explained to me by Wilber, Machu Picchu, was designed as a city to honor the upper world. Machu Picchu is laid out in the shape of a Condor! (Cusco, should you ever end up on Jeopardy, was built in the shape of a puma and it represents the middle world. Indeed, there is a city in the shape of a snake and it’s somewhere near the Amazon. By the way, the headwaters of the Amazon start in Peru!) Our tour through this amazing ancient Incan city revealed several highlights including a Temple to the Sun (with windows that mark the arrival of sun light on the Solstices and Equinoxes,) the Moon Temple, a Sundial and a temple of the Condor. And of course there was the Incan King’s chambers (complete with his own bath!) Who new? Machu Picchu was never finished. The Spanish arrived in Cusco around 1531 and destroyed everything Incan they could get their hands on, melted all the gold, and beheaded anyone remotely related to the monarchy, all conveniently under the name of the Catholic Church. It was this reason that the surviving Incans decided to keep Machu Picchu hidden, a well guarded secret for nearly 500 years until 1911 when Harvard scientist, Hiram Bingham, wouldn’t let rest the search for El Dorado! As they say, “The rest is history!” While many people think that El Dorado is nothing more than a mythical tale, Wilber thinks differently. He explains to me that someday archeologists will find the elusive gold plate of the Sun God which he thinks is hidden somewhere in the catacombs and tombs of Machu Picchu, but only when humanity’s consciousness will appreciate it. Time will tell. The elevation of Machu Picchu gives rise to the premise that the city of Gold might just be symbolic in nature. The Incans believed that the Sun and Moon were lovers. As a gift to the moon, the sun cried tears of joy, which then fell to the earth making rivers (veins) of gold in the Peruvian Andes. The moon, in turn, wept tears of joy for her lover, the sun; silver tears that also fell to earth providing the Andes with a wealth of minerals, which to this day are still extracted from local mines. The last bus that takes tourists from the entrance to Machu Picchu to the town of Aguas Caliente leaves at 3:00 pm. The park itself closes at 5:00 pm. For those of us (30 or so people) who are lucky enough to stay (at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel outside the park entrance) we have Machu Picchu all to ourselves for TWO whole hours… and it is heavenly. Each afternoon I find a quiet spot overlooking the mountain citadel and sit in a meditation pose, absorbing the sunlight off the mountain tops. I am not alone in my reverence of appreciation. Off to the west a lone condor circles above the snow capped peaks. Is it a sign? Perhaps a reminder, or a living symbol of a spiritual essence that never left all of these years? One can only wonder… Machu Picchu may be many things to many people, but perhaps above all else, it is a love story of planetary energies and a culture that honored the earth, and in many ways still does. Love is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all. This alone, is mystical enough for me! Glacial Mountains that stand guard over Machu Picchu EARTH SONGS Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature Prepared to have your breath taken away! For over two years, filmmaker Brian Luke Seaward traveled to many of the world’s most pristine locations; Patagonia (Chile), the Caribbean, Iceland, the Canadian Rockies, Hawaii, Greenland, Alaska and New Zealand, capturing the Earth’s beauty in a way that is rarely seen today. Inspired by decades of National Geographic specials, the BBC Planet Earth series, and Mother Earth herself, Earth Songs gently guides the viewer through a journey of ageless wisdom, inspiring poetry and stunning footage of our terrestrial home. Earth Songs is not only a celebration of the planet’s scenic beauty and precious wildlife, but a gentle invitation to renew our relationship with the natural world—not only to enhance our health, but that of the planet as well. What began as a documentary on the healing power of nature has now become two movies. The first feature is a 45-minute documentary film narrated by the renowned actor Michael York with a musical score arranged by the Academy Award winning composer, Brian Keane. The second feature is a relaxing (healing) 45-minute visual meditation experience of stunning scenery set to music by Grammy-nominated artists including Michael Hoppe, Brian Keane, Secret Garden, Keola Beamer Zach Bergen, Min Tzu Wu and Nigel Hawthorne. -------------------------------------------DVD ORDER FORM------------------------------------ Name: _________________________________________________________________ Street Address __________________________________________________________ City, State & Zip ________________________________________________________ Phone number: (________)________________________________________________ Email Address (to confirm order) ___________________________________________ Quantity Price ($25.00/DVD—Standard Defintion•) Total * High Definition Version available upon request • __________ $______________ ........................... $ ________ Shipping & Handling ($4.00 first item, $2.00 each additional item) $__________ TOTAL ................................... $_________ Method of Payment Check _____* (please make checks payable to INSPIRATION UNLIMITED) Please! Checks are preferable to keep the price reasonable. Thanks! Credit Card ____•VISA • MC (please circle one) # _________.__________.__________.__________ Expiration Date ______/________ Signature _______________________________________________________________ MAIL TO: Inspiration Unlimited • P.O. Box 18831 • Boulder, Colorado • 80308 •(303) 678-9962, or you can fax your order to (303) 485.0034. Available 12/8/09 • Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery We will rush for Christmas delivery! Many, many thanks!
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