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Red Mountain Resort's Stone Goddesses

By Betina Lindsey, Shaman Spirit Guide

statue“When Deborab Grebenar creates, it is a sacred act; her sculptures bless.”

After knowing Deb for many years, I feel these words speak true of Deborah’s sculptures which grace the Red Mountain property on the South, West, North and East of the Canyon Breeze Restaurant. When I first came to work at Red Mountain I was very thrilled to see some of Deb’s sculptures resting on the land. The goddess Spirit Keepers, as I have come to know them, are a tribute to the four directions, four elements (earth, wind, water and fire) and the four seasons.  Of most of her work, she described its essence as "maybe Self and Spirit Self, Self and God, Self and Other Self, or the unity of masculine and feminine. I don’t care what anyone sees, as long as they see something that is of service to them — whatever needs to be held up, reformed and spiritually transformed."

She said in an interview, “For a time I created only goddesses because I needed to see them.“ 

 I’m glad she did for we all need to see goddesses in these times. She loved being a role model of feminine power for girls, especially when they could see her working. At Breckenridge’s annual wood-carving event, she is out there with a chain saw — and the only woman among men. "I like being that evidence for little girls to know they can weld, mix concrete, wield a chain saw and buy power tools," Grebenar said.

Writer Trina Hoefling, in an article in Denver Woman Magazine about Deb, tells us that “Dance was a metaphor for movement with Grebenar, who was also a watsu water massage therapist. Whether the dance of body and water and the watsu therapist guiding and gliding through water, or the dance of artist and medium dancing into creation, all is movement. Sculptural art encourages people to move around the piece. Deb believed the water massage made her a better sculptor, and the sculpting made her a better body worker. Whether as artist or body worker, she focused on the interaction of separate beings moving together to shift consciousness into something new. Whether art lover or watsu client, we are moved by her work.”

Grebenar’s career as an artist moved forward powerfully through the years. When Hoefling asked her how she came to believe so strongly in herself, her talent and her work, she replied, "Incrementally!" Little Deb Grebenar began sculpting at age 5 when she found Ivory soap and a paring knife. When she discovered alabaster, stone felt so familiar. It looked like Ivory soap! She’s been an art teacher, postal worker, retail sales clerk, printmaker, illustrator, fabric artist — but when she went from flat art to stone, she knew she had found her medium. She discovered her full artistic self incrementally, and came to name herself "sculptor" even more incrementally.

Grebenar began her definition of self as "sculptor" years ago in Frisco, Colorado. She knew she wanted to sculpt, but did not believe she could afford a studio. Immediately she found an ad for the "perfect gallery and studio" for $250. It took her 18 months to say yes to herself. Her next step was to place one 18-inch sculpture, Moonchild, in her friend’s Breckenridge bookstore. She had the courage to do so because it was a bookstore, not a gallery. The piece sold for $600.

Her works can show up any where. I have "Eve’s Dream" in my home. Other commissioned public and semi-public permanent sculptures of Grebenar’s can be found in California, Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania and many cities in Colorado — Gunnison, Glenwood Springs, Breckenridge and, of course, Denver. 

In Zion Canyon at the center of Springdale Town Park sits Deb’s Earth Mother herself! On my morning walks, I always pause beside the nurturing massive sculptor. She is an enduring presence cradling the earth child in her arms. I am that child…we are all that child.  

Often, we don’t know what we have lost until it is gone…but in this case her art remains a lasting gift to us.

Thank You Deb, for your inspired life and your work of stone blessings.

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The Quicker Picker-Upper

You know that moment during the day where you feel overwhelmed by the pile of tasks that need to be accomplished ASAP? This is the perfect opportunity to take five minutes to induce the art of stillness. Taking just a couple minutes during a hectic day will help elicit the relaxation response where you can breathe space into your mind and instill mental clarity to organize your thoughts. 

statueGET COMFORTABLE. It really doesn’t matter if you sit on the edge of your chair with an extended spine and your feet hip width distance apart or if you cop a squat on the floor behind your desk, sit in the most comfortable position that supports a long, fully extended spine.

CLOSE YOUR EYES. Either soften your gaze or close your eyes. Begin to take your awareness within, closing off the chaotic outside world.

BREATHE. Become aware of the natural flow of your breath. Notice where you naturally tend to breath. Do you feel your breath in just the top of your lungs, behind your chest; can you sense the breath expanding your ribcage or pulling down toward your belly? Just watch at first, become a silent witness to your connection with life. If we did not breathe, we could not live!

3 PART BREATH. Now begin to consciously control your breathing. Start by filling the bottom third of your lungs with oxygen, energy; sense your belly expanding on the inhale and deflating on the exhale. Keep filling the lower third of your lungs, now begin to sense your ribcage expanding 360º, finally, allowing your chest to rise. Inhaling belly, ribs, and chest, then exhaling chest, ribs, and belly. Complete 10–20 complete breath cycles. 

JUST SIT AND BE. After you complete conscious control of your breath notice the effect it has had on both your body and your mind. Sense a state of peace and release. Notice how your heart rate has slowed down. Explore the expanse of open space in your mind. 

WAKE-UP. Slowly wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes. Pick up a pencil and write a list of what you feel is the most important tasks you need to accomplish, remain relaxed, and begin. 

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World Peace Gardens

By Betina Lindsey, Shaman Spirit Guide

THE DIRT

IT’S ALIVE!!!

BetinaLindseyI discovered this at six months old. It was the moment I crawled off a blanket and into the dirt. My chubby little fingers grabbed for the texture of it. And into my mouth the dirt went! Think about it…nothing and none of us on the planet would thrive without "The Dirt"!!!  

I will capitalize the “D” because to me, Dirt is sacred - it is the living skin of the earth! From Dirt we came and to Dirt we go. In the beginning comfort food came directly from the Dirt, not fast food drive thru as my grand kids think. The Dirt, the Waters, the Air, the Sun and the Plants are Nature’s living soul. We can’t survive without Nature, but Nature can survive without us. Yes, indeed folks!!! This is the rude awakening of the 21st century.  

To me this world is a garden, a global garden in need of respecting. It is time to encourage all peoples, governments, corporate pirates, militaries, the jobless and the cyber children to walk outside in our world wide garden, kneel down and touch Holy Dirt.   

I am sure this is the spiritual shift needed.  

A tree can live for thousands of years with its evolved immune system, not so with stocks, bonds and derivatives. Governments, religions and overlords come and go, but the "Dirt" is always here. We fight over Dirt, blow it up, radiate it, draw boundaries on it, sell it, pave it, drive on it, farm it, defecate on it, exploit it, spray pesticides on it, yet we don’t acknowledge it as having rights or intelligence…but it does because it is alive! Sometime, take a hand full, smell it, and look at it in a microscope. Dirt is You!

A headline read: “Dirt Exposure Boosts Happiness.” Researchers at Bristol University in Britain treated lung-cancer patients with "friendly” bacteria found in soil, otherwise known as Dirt. The patients reported feeling happier and had an improved quality of life.

Where are the happiest places in the world? Studies show in our gardens!!! Want to be happy? Gardening is a number one happiness skill say happiness experts, along with counting your blessings and hugging friends and family. Even in one of the most unhappy countries in the world, when asked what made them happy, the citizens agreed that their locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables were one of the few happiness shots they had. Now, that is what I call a "happy meal."

I have this dream of seeing a Dirt flag flying on every flag pole in the world. Imagine a new movement in our institutions. “We interrupt this old programming of fear, greed, BS and mayhem with the One and Holy True Dirt!”

Imagine gifting the next seven generations with a new Pledge of Allegiance.  “We pledge allegiance to the Dirt, one Earth, unpolluted, with microbes, flora, fauna, pure water and balanced habitat for all.”   

Yes, we all die and go back to the Dirt for graveyard therapy. Mark my last request for my funeral, when the hole is dug and the "Dirt to Dirt" and "ashes to ashes" bit is spoken, I hope they will sing, “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get back to the ‘Dirt’!” *

*Don’t miss the five star documentary: DIRT! THE MOVIE, A Story with Heart and Soil. Check it out at a library near you

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Tips to Improve Your Emotional Health


rosePeople with balanced emotional health have learned healthy ways to cope with the daily stresses that occur naturally in life. Change is one of the most common stressors we will all have to deal with.  Whether the change is for good or bad we can plan on experiencing change several times through out our lives.

Sometimes when we are stressed, or hurt emotionally it comes out in a physical way and we may feel some of the following symptoms:

  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
  • Sexual problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

Recognizing these symptoms of stress and learning how to cope with stress now is important, as some of these symptoms get worse with time. Also, investing in your emotional health now will prevent medical costs later.  

The following are some helpful tips from Red Mountain Resort and familydoctoroctor.org.

    1. Express your feelings in appropriate ways. Keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. At these times, ask someone outside the situation such as your family doctor, a counselor, a religious advisor or life coach - for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health. You can also express your feelings through movement and dance. Many guests enjoy The Nia Technique at Red Mountain Resort. This energizing technique provides a way to express your feeling through dance, sound and voice.
    2. Live a balanced life. Some research has shown that having a positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost. Let go of the negative things in your life and make time for the things you enjoy. You may need to get away from work and the stresses of home for a while to recharge your batteries and bring the work/relax ratio into a balanced state. In addition, you can balance your mental energies through acupuncture, zero balancing, Tai Chi and other types of energy work.
    3. Develop resilience. People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view of yourself, accepting change and keeping things in perspective.
    4. Calm your mind and body. Relaxation methods, such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and slow stretching are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. These methods should be done in a peaceful environment and can be performed inside or out in nature.
    5. Take care of yourself. It’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises are equally important and should all be enjoyed as part of your essential routine. Avoid overeating and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.

For a more intense look at your emotions and how to find emotional peace, check out our Emotional Fitness Add-on package.

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Am I Hungry?®

By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager

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This deceptively simple question could be the answer to ending your struggle with weight and food without restriction, without deprivation, and without guilt. 

All of us know someone who just seems to manage their weight without effort. It just seems easy and for most of us, it just does not seem fair. Think of that person you know who does this. What do you observe about them? For me, I see them eat whatever they like. They never seem to obsess with constant calorie counting and labeling food as good or bad. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. Eating just seems natural to them and food just does not seem to have any power over them and they seem happy, active and energized.

Now, consider someone you know who is a “chronic” dieter. What’s different from the people you know who just manage weight easily? Is food always on their mind? Do they obsess with calories and portions? When do they eat? I bet they are not eating what they want. Do they eat when they are bored, anxious or depressed? If they eat out of boredom for example, what happened when they stopped? They were probably still bored.

What’s the difference between these two types of people? Why can one person seemingly break every accepted rule of weight management and live a healthy, vibrant life while maintaining a healthy weight while another can diligently follow very rigid and specific guidelines and gain weight?    

Could it be that the real issue is not about what they eat, but rather why they are eating in the first place? Consider that for a minute. If you find yourself eating when you’re not hungry, then why are you eating? What are you eating for if it is not for hunger?

Red Mountain Resort will soon be proudly adding the Am I Hungry? Mindful eating and vibrant living programming to our wellness offerings. This wonderful program, developed by Dr. Michelle May helps support the definition of health and wellness adopted by Red Mountain Resort, which looks to enhance the physical, social and emotional well-being of each individual. The Am I Hungry? Program will help improve on our very successful Weight Loss and Well-Being retreat. It will add another dimension to the mindfulness component of all wellness offerings. The Am I Hungry program will offer Red Mountain Resort weight loss and well-being participants the following workshops:

“In Charge, Not in Control” helps answer the question of why we eat and introduces the Mindful eating Cycle, specifically addressing the difference between the Instinctive, overeating and restrictive eating cycles and how to avoid the eat-repent-repeat cycle that so many fall into.

“Trust Your Body Wisdom” sheds light on when we eat. Understanding the physical, emotional and environmental triggers that move us to eat is crucial to us learning to eat instinctively. The workshop will introduce the hunger and fullness scale as a tool for determining when and how much to eat to provide nourishment without leaving us feeling deprived.

“It’s Not About The Food” addresses strategies that can be utilized to avoid using food as a means of addressing true needs. Whether it be boredom, stress or anger, using food will as a solution avoids the underlying need and will leave you bored, stressed and angry and will leave you feeling guilty and out of control.

“Mindful Eating” will teach you how to eat with intention, feel more satisfied and find greater enjoyment in eating as you meet your true need for nourishment and satisfaction. You will more fully understand your body’s cues for hunger and fullness and will begin to eat more instinctively.

This program will certainly enhance your experience and will more fully address the challenges that you may be experiencing around your relationship with food. 

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Complete Hormone Health

By Dr. Joseph Collins, RN, ND, guest speaker September 18-21

drjosephcollinsComplete hormone health requires an optimization of how your body responds to hormones; a poor response to hormones can cause problems, even when hormone levels are “normal” based on blood, urine or saliva tests. Simply put - it’s not just hormones - it is also how your body responds to hormones. So complete hormone health means helping the body “listen” better to the message that the hormone is trying to send. Whether it’s your thyroid trying to improve metabolism, your adrenal glands trying to improve your energy or your sex hormones trying to improve your libido.

Even if you have been told you have “normal” thyroid tests, you may still have poor thyroid function, which can cause decreased metabolism with fatigue, weight gain, poor mental function and a wide array of other symptoms. It’s important to know how to properly evaluate thyroid function. Certain foods and herbs can help you achieve and maintain optimal thyroid function.

Adrenal health reflects the health of the entire body. By the time someone feels like they have adrenal fatigue, many parts of the body are distressed. Since adrenal health affects multiple systems, it can affect your energy, moods, inflammation, detoxification, blood sugar and even the function of all other hormones. Proper use of healing herbs and nutrition can restore complete adrenal health.

The symptoms that women experience in premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and even polycystic ovarian syndromes can be due to both imbalanced hormone levels as well as disturbances in how the tissues of the body respond to hormones. Improving hormone levels and tissue response as well as proper testing and assessment optimize hormone health and eliminate those imbalances and disturbances.

Perimenopause and Menopause are natural transitions that can manifest in a variety of different ways. Depending on each individual, there could be imbalances in estrogens, progesterone or testosterone, or any combination of those hormones. Discovering you unique Menopause Type® and making dietary, herbal and bioidentical hormonal therapy choices that address your specific needs frees you from the one-size-fits-all approach, and restores complete hormone health. To learn more, join me at Red Mountain Resort in September. Click to find out all the details.

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Wild or Farmed Fish?

By Dale Van Sky, Executive Chef

orange_roughy-09-2009When planning new menus or nightly market fish specials, I mostly choose wild fish that is sustainable. A good source for researching the sustainability of seafood is the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.

However, if I choose a farmed fish, I first research the farming methods that are used. Some farms use growth hormones to increase production and food coloring pellets to achieve a more natural flesh color. I look for farms that do not use hormones and have a natural water circulatory system (pulling water from the ocean that circulates through the ponds and is then released back into the ocean).

The Monterey Bay Aquarium website will also provide you with information on how frequently you should consume seafood and mercury levels.

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Interview with Mark Montgomery, Licensed Acupuncturist & Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager

MarkMontgomeryQ: Mark, how long have you been practicing Acupuncture and what was it that drew you to become a licensed acupuncturist?

A: As strange as it may seem, I was drawn to acupuncture because I come from a long line of Western medical doctors. My father was a surgeon as was my grandfather, his father and his grandfather. My grandfather, who practiced general medicine in rural New York from the late 1920s through the mid-1970s, was really my role model. As a young boy, back in the 60s when doctors still made house calls, I used to accompany him on trips to visit patients in the countryside. After his death many people told me that he hadn’t just been their family doctor—they had considered him part of their family. And because he’d delivered multiple generations of babies in many families throughout the county and watched those kids grow to adulthood, he had a very unique view of the intergenerational health of those families. That sense of relationship was the foundation of his practice.


When I finished college and was pondering careers I thought about going to medical school, but I frankly didn’t see that sense of community-based medicine being taught or practiced in mainstream Western medicine anymore. That led me to research other options and acupuncture struck me as offering the closest thing to that model that I could find.

Q: Acupuncture has such a long history and proven effectiveness, yet it is not fully understood by those who have never experienced its tremendous benefits. In simple terms, how would you describe Acupuncture philosophy and science and its objective?

A: Over the thousands of years since it developed in China, acupuncture has spread to dozens of countries where it evolved in different ways—so in a sense it’s inaccurate to speak of it as a single, monolithic entity. Nonetheless, there are certain principles that all schools or traditions of acupuncture have in common: the idea that good health is a function of abundant and harmonious flow of energy throughout the body; the corollary that disease, and in particular pain, is a function of a blockage of this flow; the belief that by observing nature we can learn about ourselves and how to manage our health; and the idea that harmony and health are expressed throughout nature in alternating cycles of activity and rest. This is the concept—often mocked as New Age mumbo jumbo by people who don’t understand it—of Yin/Yang theory. It is actually a powerful and beautifully elegant way of understanding health and the natural world.

Q: For those who will experience acupuncture for the first time, what can they expect during the first experience?

A: It varies from person to person. When the needles are inserted many people experience a slight prick, followed by a tugging sensation, a sense of heaviness at the point of insertion or even a dull ache. This is what the Chinese call “da qi” or the “qi sensation.” As they lie with the needles in for 30–45 minutes, many people experience either a sense of heaviness throughout their body or, conversely, a sense of lightness, as though they are floating above the table. Many also experience a sense of energy moving through their body or what I call “lighting up”—brief, intermittent intense sensations at the points of insertion. By the end of the treatment most people feel rested and refreshed and often, if they came in for relief from pain, the pain has substantially subsided.

Q: Like most alternative therapies, acupuncture seeks to bring balance and to manage the underlying causes of health issues, but are there certain issues for which people seek Acupuncture treatment?

A: Sure. A great deal of my practice centers on pain relief, either chronic or acute. I’d say 75% of the people who come to me for pain relief leave feeling significantly better. That being said, it’s also important to note that to resolve chronic or even intense acute conditions often requires an entire course of treatment. Many of the people I treat at Red Mountain have never had acupuncture before. They come to see me because they want to try it out and they trust Red Mountain to provide a safe and comfortable experience. After we’ve finished, part of my job is to recommend specifics of how to follow up at home. And because I have contacts with colleagues in many other states I can often recommend a specific practitioner.

So, pain relief is a one of the big reasons people come but remember, from an acupuncture point of view pain is an expression of blocked energy flow, so when we can help the body to resolve the underlying blockage the pain usually disappears or diminishes, along with the issue that’s causing it. Another way of looking at this is that acupuncture doesn’t actually cure or heal anything—it just gives the body a boost in doing what it already knows how to do, which is to heal itself. From that perspective it becomes clear that acupuncture can actually help with just about any condition: musculo-skeletal, hormonal, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, even emotional.


Q: I was also intrigued when we talked about the benefits of acupuncture protocols on hypothyroid or low functioning thyroid issues. This is a significant issue and one that is increasing. From a Chinese medicine approach, namely acupuncture, what approach is taken to help those dealing with low functioning thyroid?

A: Thyroid issues are another example of the way acupuncture uses Yin/Yang theory to explain pathology. From a Chinese medical perspective both hypothyroid conditions and hyperthyroid conditions such as Grave’s disease are actually a function of deficiency states even though they express in very different ways. So even though hyperthyroid conditions usually result in symptoms of sympathetic excess it’s nevertheless important to treat the underlying deficiencies that have led to those symptoms. Hypothyroid conditions are actually more straightforward in that they derive from a simpler condition of deficiency expressed as fatigue, weight gain, etc. In Chinese medicine we tonify the liver and kidneys to nudge the thyroid back to a higher level of functioning. You might think of the process as being similar to “turning up the pilot light” of a person’s metabolism. This is usually done through a combination of acupuncture and herbs.

Q: Another area that people may not associate acupuncture with is weight loss. What role does acupuncture play in weight loss?

A: In my experience weight gain has a lot to do with both systemic inflammation and with stress interfering with sympathetic/parasympathetic regulation, which of course affects hormones, digestion, sleep, immune function and the body’s general ability to repair and replenish itself. By reducing inflammation and helping the body to regulate the nervous system (i.e., helping to move the body from “fight or flight” into “rest and digest”) acupuncture can play an important role in weight loss, or, as I prefer to say, “health gain.” This often shows up as a decrease in appetite or other cravings, an increase in basal metabolic rate, greater endocrine balance and an overall greater sense of peace and relaxation.


Q: Mark, you are also a Qi Gong practitioner and have recently introduced an activity called the Qi Gong Awareness Walk. Could you speak to what the walk is and the expected benefits? By the way, our guests who have done it rave about it.


A: The Awareness Walk is an attempt to distill some of the concepts we’ve been talking about into a brief experiential exercise. Like acupuncture, qi gong is an art which through the centuries has spawned many different schools. Some of them are more focused on health cultivation, some more focused on martial arts applications But all have the goal of teaching practitioners to sense and balance their own energy—a sort of “self-acupuncture without needles,” if you like. Recent research on sympathetic vs. parasympathetic arousal and the adrenal stress reaction has indicated that these states of mind are characterized by very specific types of movement and use of the senses—“Waking the Tiger” by wildlife biologist-turned-psychologist, Peter Levine, documents this beautifully. What I’ve learned over several decades of qi gong practice is that it is possible to induce deeper, more peaceful states of consciousness by learning and practicing the movements of qi gong. But I’ve also learned that these deeper states not only trigger but are also triggered by using one’s vision in a very specific way—by learning to use one’s peripheral vision to enter what I call “the peripheral awareness state,” which is characterized by a sense of deep relaxation, trust, safety and the ability to access insight and wisdom. The activity only lasts two hours—and to really learn this skill can take up to 12 hours—but most people walk away feeling that they now understand—and know how to access—a depth of awareness that they’ve perhaps experienced at certain points in their lives but never consciously controlled.

Mark, we appreciate this wonderful and helpful information. You are a great resource for so many that have visited Red Mountain Resort and I know having spoken with so many that they have received so much from working with you. Thank you for all you do.

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