Andrew Whitman holds out his hand. At first glance, he appears to be offering up a pile of tiny gray pebbles, or the world’s tiniest seashells, purple and black flecks radiating from the center of each. They are alive, and very, very old, but the spiraled wonders have nothing to do with the ocean. They are the seeds of teosinte, the ancient predecessor of maize and corn.
Articles by Maria Grusauskas
Several months ago, a friend served me pu-erh tea for the first time. He talked of an “expansion” and a “clear headedness”—highs that sounded particularly useful at the time. After the first miniature cup, a calm washed over me. I felt relaxed, yet more mentally open than I had been even 30 seconds before.
Darryl “Flea” Virostko needs a house, preferably near the waves, hopefully with sports equipment. Not for himself, but for the greater good. The big wave surf legend behind FleaHab, a support program for recovering addicts, says he’s reached the point where he realizes he could help more people if FleaHab had four walls, a roof and a few beds.
Call me an addict, but the first sunny morning following a slew of rainy days always propels me outside to soak it up with a maximum skin-to-clothing ratio. Sunshine on skin: an ancient, visceral pleasure, and one of life’s simplest. Too much of it causes wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer. But just a little bit of conscientious, unblocked sunbathing is actually as good for our body chemistry as it feels: it converts vitamin D, a unique and crucial nutrient, into one of the three forms that can be absorbed by the human body. (The other two forms come from the diet.)
Surprisingly, a deficiency of the sunny vitamin is more common in Santa Cruz, and more serious, than you’d expect.
Jill Escher had me at “clear skin” and “lifted brain fog.” Armed with a copy of her book, Farewell Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict’s Guide to Easy Weight Loss, I hurled myself cold turkey into a sugar-free existence a few weeks ago, just as Girl Scout Cookie season commenced. And it wasn’t just the white stuff, either. All starches had to go.
I catch sight of Heather Nagel’s red hair first, ablaze in the noontime sun as she stands on the sidewalk and waves. She leads me up the stairs of an apartment building tucked away off Center Street and into Aushadi Santa Cruz, the first non-profit Ayurvedic clinic in town.
Mike Baldwin wouldn’t call himself a spiritual person—he isn’t interested in prana or chakras, and he’d probably rather be programming software than chanting Om shanti shanti shanti. But he’s a yogi, through and through. His practice is an integral part of his life.
Seven years ago, John was in crisis, cut off from the rest of humanity and disconnected from the people he loved. He was suffering extreme anxiety in social situations and having trouble sleeping, and even when he did sleep he was waking suddenly with night terrors. He was 23, fresh out of a five-year stint in the U.S. military, including six months fighting in Iraq, and could see no help in sight.
Inside the classroom in the Louden Nelson Center, the Wednesday afternoon traffic is a distant hum. It’s not that Center Street has gone quiet, by any means—it’s just been absorbed into a great stream of concentration and a calmness that fills the room. Time itself appears to have slowed.
Most people will love and appreciate the unnecessary material good you’ve carefully selected—it’s the thought that counts, anyway, right? But when it comes to the impassioned activist on your list, holiday shopping becomes a little more challenging. For the Occupier in the family, there is only one type of gift that will flatter and please without offending their anti-corporate, nonconsumerist and eco-conscious values: the made-in-Santa Cruz gift. This guide locates some nifty locally made gifts anyone can feel warm and fuzzy about giving or receiving.