Your Body Is Smarter Than You Imagine

Rob says: Writing in Whole Earth, Dr. Andrew Weil says, “Any level of biological organization that we examine, from DNA up to the most complex body systems, shows the capacity for self-diagnosis, for removal of damaged structure, and for regeneration of new structure.” I urge you to keep that idea close to the front of your mind, dear readers. Contrary to what authorities in many fields would lead you to believe, you have a lot of innate power to figure out exactly how to fix your own problems, both the health-related kind and any others.

Your Body Is Smarter Than You Imagine, Part Two

Health Is Simple, Disease Is Complicated: A Systems Approach to Vibrant Health by James Forleo

Dr. James Forleo proposes a return to the body as the site of self-healing. The problem, he says, is that we don’t understand the language of signs and symptoms it uses to communicate its healing messages. Health Is Simple helps readers decipher that language and access the great realms of health and vitality the body contains.

Remaking the Way We Make Things

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better — say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually “downcycling,” creating hybrids of biological and technical “nutrients” which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm — they’re actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process.

– Therese Littleton

Pronoia Requires Fierce Discipline

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen

I am not accustomed to rejoicing in things that are small, hidden, and scarcely noticed by the people around me. I am generally ready and prepared to receive bad news, to read about wars, violence, and crimes, and to witness conflict and disarray. I always expect my visitors to talk about their problems and pain, their setbacks and disappointments, their depressions and their anguish. Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world.

I have a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. He travels much and meets countless people. When he returns home, I always expect him to tell me about the difficult economic situation of the countries he visited, about the great injustices he heard about, and the pain he has seen. But even though he is very aware of the great upheaval of the world, he seldom speaks of it. When he shares his experiences, he tells about the hidden joys he has discovered. He tells about a man, a woman, or a child who brought him hope or peace. He tells about little groups of people who are faithful to each other in the midst of all the turmoil. He tells about the small wonders of God. At times I realize that I am disappointed because I want to hear ‘newspaper news,’ exciting and exhilarating stories that can be talked about among friends. But he never responds to my need for sensationalism. He keeps saying: ‘I saw something very small and very beautiful, something that gave me much joy.’

This is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded with lies. I am tempted to be so impressed by the obvious sadness of the human condition that I no longer claim the joy manifesting itself in many small but very real ways. The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.

Amazing People Are Working Behind the Scenes to Help Us All

Major discovery from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution: Scientists mimic essence of plants’ energy storage system

In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.