By Ken DeLaat
It started years ago when I was doing a story on one of Mike Hummel’s Transcendental Meditation workshops. I knew he had been practicing it for many years and delivering instruction as well. It must have served him well since Mike is perhaps one of the most positive humans I’ve ever been fortunate to be acquainted with. His dedication to not just the practice itself but the process of educating others of the benefits it brings is unwavering.
One day while working out at Tamarac Mike and I were exchanging pleasantries and I mentioned a friend who had embarked on a TM journey several months ago. She holds a pretty high stress job in a metropolitan area and took instruction after years of struggling with sleep. She found the practice had improved her sleep patterns considerably and as a result improved her outlook even more considerably.
Mike and I spoke a bit about it and he said, not for the first time, “You ought to take it.”
I nodded in agreement and said I would think about it.
When my Dad was asked something we knew would never come to fruition he would say “I’ll think about it.” Fairly early on my sibs and I realized this was his way of not slamming the door on our ideas (“We should put in a swimming pool!”) but in reality his thinking about it ended with that reply.
But I did think about it. I remembered doing a story on Mike working with students at a local school and observing one of their sessions. I was impressed by how quickly the kids had taken to the practice and was told by staff of their improvements academically, particularly in the area of being able to focus.
An ongoing issue throughout my 7+ decades has been the challenge of staying focused on any consistent level and while age has improved this lately there has been a bit of a backslide.
The next time I ran into Mike I led with “Well, I thought about it. Let’s go.
Arrangements were made and it began with scheduling sessions for four consecutive days, a challenge for me due to an unrelenting series of meetings and other commitments I seem to have signed on for. It took a few weeks but we worked it out and I began instruction.
Side note: I have always considered myself a skeptic. I eschew conspiracy theories that are ridiculous in nature, cast a wary eye to ideas that others dear to me might hold, and remain cynical sometimes even in the face of some compelling evidence to the contrary. Thus I approached the process warily and not overly optimistic regarding the possible results. On the other hand there has always been a willingness to try a new adventure and my curiosity was piqued about TM.
There were rituals to be observed in the beginning including being given a mantra, a personalized sound used as a vehicle for assisting the mind in settling down. Mike took me through the process of meditation, encouraging me to allow thoughts and sounds to enter into my mind pattern.
When Mike would say “We don’t try to meditate. We allow meditation to happen” it was perhaps the best advice I could hear. When attempting meditation early on I struggled with the notion that I was somehow doing it wrong. That the thoughts I was having were signs that I was failing TM. Prior attempts at meditation always involved attempting to purge the thoughts. In this practice they were part of the process.
It took awhile but I became able to allow the thoughts to enter and pass, returning to what Mike called transcending.
Many years ago (say, 35-40) I was encouraged by a colleague to visit a local masseuse. I had never gotten a massage before then and she extolled the wonderfulness of the experience to the point where I needed to give it a try.
During the massage there was a space of time when I had no thoughts. None. I wasn’t asleep, just totally thoughtless. It didn’t last because at the time life was pretty busy with younger kids, full time jobs and a mountain of responsibilities and commitments to attend to.
That is the closest I can come to in explaining what happens to the thought process in TM. There is a free floating seemingly timeless period absent of any intrusive thoughts. It’s peaceful, self embracing and as Mike has described it, innocent. I cannot put a time on it nor is it easy to describe. It just is.
As for the thoughts that enter, I was speaking to a friend who also practices about this. I told him the thoughts were from the past. Things I hadn’t thought about for years, even decades. Not traumatic events nor even conflictual times, just encounters with others or things that happened that I may have forgotten about. He said the same was true for him. They were pleasant memories for the most part but surprisingly resurfacing after so much time.
I asked Mike about this and he explained it being part of the process of the practice. A way of connecting to the past and then letting it go.
It has been quite the journey. As instructed I have meditated 20 minutes twice a day. I have a favored spot but have learned to be able to practice in unfamiliar places as well. While there have been times I have missed, they have been few and far between and I am acutely aware of the difference in my day when I don’t get both in.
What has it given me?
A way to begin and end my day on a positive note
A greater appreciation of the world and the people around me.
An increased awareness.
And as to my primary goal…
A much needed increase in focus.
I usually sleep well and I am not a very high stress person by nature. Both are areas TM practitioners find to be helped dramatically by the practice.
But for months before finding TM I struggled mightily with writer’s block.And while this may not affect others as much for one whose business involves a substantial amount of writing, a block can cause problems. It seemed everything I put on paper…well, screen I guess…was a struggle. I thought of a Kurt Vonnegut quote describing writing struggles. “When I write I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in my mouth.”
It was the same for reading. I found myself frequently wandering away from the words on the page and my pile of unfinished in-progress books had become more than ponderous.
Since committing to the practice the block has been seemingly lifted. Beyond the writing for N3 many other projects put on hold have been returned to with a shake or two of vigor and deadline attached requests from other sources no longer fill me with dread or get me thinking of ways to politely refuse.
And while as always there is considerable debate as to the quality of the writing, at the least I am no longer spending too much time staring at a blank screen searching for the right words.
I’m not a panacea kind of person. I don’t believe there is a lone path all should follow. But TM has worked for me in ways that have gone beyond the expectations I had going into it. It delivers with simple tools. The research on it is remarkable and the process of learning is painless.
I have always struggled with adherence to activities that require commitment. My workout history is checkered with gaps of various lengths, there have been numerous attempts at Tai Chi, yoga never really grabbed my attention for long and I can only eat healthy for about 4 ½ days before finding myself knee deep in chips and ice cream.
But I cannot imagine not practicing TM. There are just too many benefits to be had from spending 20 minutes twice a day dedicated to self enlightenment.
I only wish I had listened to Mike when he spoke to me about it years ago, but as the saying goes…
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
Free Introduction: Transcendental Meditation on Thursday, June 8, 7:00 PM, at Tamarac, the Center for Health and We’ll-Being, 1401 West Main Street, Fremont.
In the classic movie Harold and Maude there is a scene when Ruth Gordon’s character is dying and Harold, played by Bud Cort, pleads to her, “I love you!”
She pats him on the cheek and says “Oh Harold, that’s wonderful. Now go and love some more.”
When we love someone it deepens our ability to love others as well. The world is a kinder and gentler place. It changes us.
Like the late great Reggae Man Bob Marley once said:
“Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible.“
Yep. You take a chance when you fall in love, but man, oh man, when it works the rewards outweigh any risks involved.
Here are the latest folks who made their way to the Clerk’s office to sign on for their shot at matrimonial bliss.
Alexis Rose Walters, Kalamazoo & John Edward Lange, Ludington
Audrey White-Paul, Grant & Garrett Young, Grant
Patricia Kunard, Bitely & Glen Bieber, Bitely
Double red flags mean don’t go in the water.
If you see double red flags at a state-designated swim beach at a state park along the Great Lakes, you are not allowed to enter the water.
To boost awareness of changing conditions and save lives, there's been a change to the Great Lakes beach flag warning system. Double red warning flags are now in place at state-designated swim beaches along the Great Lakes in Michigan state parks. A DNR land order makes it illegal to enter the water when there is risk to human health and safety. Risks can include hazardous waves and/or dangerous water conditions, active rescue or recovery efforts, and environmental hazards.
This does not apply to surfers using wind-powered or self-propelled wave-riding boards.
It’s a change to the Great Lakes flag warning system that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began integrating last year at several state parks, and for good reason.
"We actively reevaluate our safety measures and public education efforts, especially when it comes to Great Lakes safety," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. "Many people underestimate the power of the Great Lakes and don't always understand how quickly even the most experienced swimmer can get into a life-threatening situation and swept away. That’s why the DNR is committed to making beach safety and public education a top priority."
Newaygo United Methodist Church provides a homemade breakfast for the public on the 4th Saturday of every month. You can choose from scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage (links and patties), ham, fried potatoes, biscuits and gravy, plain or blueberry pancakes, coffee (regular or decaf), and juice. Breakfast is served in the church basement from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. There is no charge for breakfast, but a free will offering is appreciated to help cover the cost of the food.
Our next breakfast will be on Saturday, May 27, 2023. You can find us in downtown Newaygo at 101 State Road. Hope you can join us and be sure to invite your family and friends.,
For more information about Newaygo United Methodist Church please go to our Facebook page, website at www.newaygoumc.com or call the church office at 231-652-6581
“Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”
“I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.”-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
Is there love at first sight?
Or is it merely infatuation that either evolves into love or fades when further familiarity reveals itself and the thrill, as B.B. King put it so aptly, is gone?
Love comes in as many shapes and sizes as the people who share it.
I recall asking couples who were seeking counseling how they came to love each other. At what point in their lives did they realize this was the person they wanted to commit to? To live with. To create a family with.
Their stories were moving and dynamic in that each partner was, for the most part, generally surprised at what they heard. It wasn’t all good all the time but the honesty was compelling and it served up plenty of material for the sessions.
Wedding vows are sort of designed for this but the whole performance thing that weddings bring creates the need for the flowery verbiage that precedes the ‘I do’s’.
Instead of maybe...
“You picked me up from my friend's bachelorette party and I tossed my cookies in your car on the way home. You assured me it was ok, got me to bed and even kissed me goodbye. The next morning I woke to two aspirin and a large glass of water on my bed stand.
That’s when I knew you were the one.”
Here are the latest folks signing on to obtain marriage licenses at the Newaygo County Clerk’s Office:
Brianna Fuller, Newaygo & Jason Replogle, Holton
Noah Saxton, Hesperia & Cheri Knepper, Walkerville
William Bogardus, White Cloud & Alona DelaTorres Alegroso, Bader Aurora, Philippines
Ron Radomski, Fremont & Jennifer Hren, Hesperia
“Love is not a maybe thing, you know when you love someone.”- Lauren Conrad
4-H Embryology in the Classroom
Children have a natural sense of curiosity about living things in the world around them. Building on this curiosity, students from both Pathfinder and Daisy Brook Elementary Schools participated in the Michigan 4-H Embryology program learning about embryonic development and life cycle during the 21-day incubation process of chicken eggs.
4-H volunteer, Kathy Alford worked with Kristen Christoffersen, 1rst grade teacher from Pathfinder Elementary, and Christina Mazeikis, Library Administrator from Daisy Brook Elementary, to bring the Michigan 4-H Embryology Program to the schools. As a result, nearly 700 students from both schools learned about the developmental stages of chickens, observed the eggs, and witnessed the hatching process. The 4-H Embryology program was made possible by a grant from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
The 4-H Embryology program is an exciting and interactive program that allows youth the opportunity to observe eggs and hatch chicks in the classroom.
The 4-H Embryology program was made possible by a grant from the Michigan 4-
Gerber Federal Credit Union Awards $2,750 in Annual Scholarships
FREMONT, Mich. Gerber Federal Credit Union awarded a total of $2,750 as a result of its Annual Essay Scholarship program. Entrants were asked to explain “Why is it important to be aware of fraud scams and what would you recommend others do to protect themselves?” in 300-500 words. Entries were accepted from Gerber Federal Credit Union members currently attending their senior year of high school and planning to attend an accredited technical school, community college, trade school, four-year accredited college or university, or an apprentice program.
Aubrey Holmes from Fremont High School is the First Place winner. She was awarded $1,750 and publication of her essay at
MaKenzie Brown from Fremont High School is the Second Place winner and was awarded $750 . Bethany Geeting from Fremont High School is the Third Place Winner and was awarded $250.
Essays were submitted by email and mail. Our panel of judges included 4 educators from various school districts in Newaygo County. Judges evaluated the essays on Topical Relevance and Quality of Writing after all identifying information was removed.
School Readiness Clinics begin in June
District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is hosting Ready, Set, Go! School Readiness Clinics at their locations throughout the month of June. This school readiness clinic will have vision and hearing screenings, dental screenings, immunizations, and a chance to meet Spiderman and Elsa.
Any child or adolescent ages 3-19 that need immunizations, or visual and hearing screenings, to attend school, preschool, or daycare are invited to register. Residents can register by calling 231-355-7548.
The dates and addresses for the Ready, Set, Go! School Readiness Clinics are listed below:
6/13 - Newaygo County
1049 E. Newell Street
White Cloud, MI 49349
6/1 - Oceana County
3986 N. Oceana Drive
Hart, MI 49420
6/2 - Lake County
5681 S. M-37
Baldwin, MI 49304
6/6 - Mecosta County
14485 Northland Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
The Revised School Code requires that parents of children entering kindergarten present a statement to school officials confirming that they have received the Michigan Department of Community Health Vision Screening OR a statement, signed by a licensed eye care practitioner (optometrist or ophthalmologist) or medical/osteopathic physician, indicating that a child’s eyes have been examined at least once after age three and before initial school entry may also be presented.
Michigan passed a law to give children the opportunity to receive a dental assessment prior to starting school, called the Michigan Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment Program (KOHA). Michigan KOHA helps ensure each student is healthy and ready for a successful school year. DHD #10 is providing NO COST oral health assessments for children.
For more information on School Readiness, visit https://www.dhd10.org/parents-families/school-readiness/.