Archive for April 21st, 2009

The Healing Nature of Open Spaces

sacred-places-bookFew can deny the healing power of nature. From walking in the park on a sunny day to hiking up a mountain and reaching breathtaking views at the top, the simplicity and beauty of nature is undeniable. “Open Spaces Sacred Places” (TKF Foundation, 2008) by Tom Stoner and Carolyn Rapp provides readers with a look at how the TKF Foundation, which funds the creation of public sanctuaries, partnered with passionate people, referred to as Firesouls, to create more than 100 public greenspaces. From the unlikely drug-addled city neighborhood to the already serene park, these spaces offer visitors a few moments of peace and refreshment from the stresses of daily life when they enter them. The book contains inspirational stories told through the voices of the Firesouls about 12 of the spaces in the Chesapeake Bay area created to date—from the Mount Washington Arboretum (Baltimore) and the Meditation Garden at the Western Correctional Institution (Cumberland, MD) to the Therapeutic Healing Garden at Kernan Hospital (Baltimore). As part of the outreach, there is a TKF-designed bench and a waterproof journal at every location for visitors to share their experiences there in writing. “They are bearing witness to the power of nature to heal and to unify,” Stoner writes. Inspirational excerpts from journal entries and beautiful images of the sacred spaces leave readers with a sense of calm and a yearning to find their own such place to meditate and escape for a while.

When ‘Green’ Doesn’t Sell

Everyone is talking about the environment these days and for good reason. It’s impossible not to notice the signs of wear and tear on the planet. Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of contributing to global warming. Despite recycling every chance I get, taking mass transit, buying organic, and being relentless when it comes to conserving energy, I am probably one of the worst offenders on account of how often I fly. I’ve calculated my carbon footprint, and it’s not pretty. Even so, I can’t say I’m ready to give up air travel any time soon. If truth be told, I think my incessant globetrotting actually makes me a better environmentalist, not to mention a more conscientious citizen of the world. Nevertheless, I can’t say I was all that surprised by the results of “Does ‘Green’ Sell in Asia?” a recent study released by CatchOn & Co Ltd., a Hong Kong-based strategic marketing communications consultancy. A result of an online survey and one-on-one interviews in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the study revealed that eco-friendliness isn’t all that important when it comes to choosing a spa. In fact, only 16 percent indicated they would most likely choose an eco-friendly spa. Price and brand/product quality were deemed much more important to respondents. It’s one thing to want to protect the environment, yet another thing entirely when it requires any type of sacrifice, such as the parting of additional hard-earned dollars. It just goes to show that while most of us want to do our part to protect the planet, we also live in the here and now. It’s not always easy to prioritize the environment over other considerations that have more direct and measurable benefits. Fortunately, doing good is its own reward.



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