By Greg Hugh
What does a child adopted from China by an American couple experience as they grow up in the U.S.? The idea for this article was proposed by Ming Tchou, founder of the Chinese Heritage Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and promote, through grant making, the understanding of Chinese history, culture, and heritage among all Minnesotans. Tchou thought it would be interesting to get a perspective from such a child, so she and I selected Summer Ahern to be the subject of this article
Summer was adopted by Will and Beth Ahern, residents of Chanhassen, in 1999 when she was 15 months old.
There is no denying that music alters moods. But what about the sound of gongs? A former New York oncologist began using sound therapies to help his cancer patients overcome pain and became a gong bath devotee.
Gongs emit one of the most sonorous sounds of any musical instrument. Their transformational and therapeutic sound is the basis of gong baths, where participants are “bathed” is the gongs’ sound waves, cleansing the subconscious mind to bring about healing. And no, there is no water involved.
Sound therapy has been known to improve symptoms associated with stress, migraines, depression and lack of concentration and focus. Gong baths are quickly gaining a following in Hong Kong. Following a day’s work in that bustling city, Hong Kongers are now turning to gong baths for achieving a state of relaxation.
Gong baths use the vibrations of sound and frequency emitted from gongs to help reduce anxiety, stress and release repressed emotions. The theory is that the sound emanating from the gong will infiltrate your outer consciousness and penetrate your core, disconnecting you from the superficial world and all the cacophony associated with it. Unlike therapy, which requires talking about your problems, a gong bath offers the opposite experience. It uses no words, and requires no effort on the participants. It is particularly helpful for those who find forming and articulating words difficult. Your body surrenders to sound, helping to clear any “blockage” and may help you find the words you’re looking for.
With the start of more spring-like weather, Phase 2 of the Chinese Garden at the Arboretum is moving forward, following the successful installation of the Phase 1 Chinese Garden Pathway and viewing area, and Asian-inspired plantings in fall, 2016. In early May, construction of the Moon Gate that will grace the entry into the Chinese Garden and Walk commenced.
A special design feature is the Chinese calligraphy that will accompany the Moon Gate. The calligraphy, created by Hong Zhang, international artist and master calligrapher, and faculty member at the University of Minnesota. Zhang serves on the community advisory committee for the Chinese Garden & Walk. The inscription for the moon gate translates to “Garden of Harmonious Beauty.”
Other Phase 2 elements planned for the Chinese Garden include teak benches for family memorials and tributes, in Asian-inspired designs. (Memorial benches are also offered at other display and specialty gardens.)
A dedication ceremony for the newest Phase 2 features of the Chinese Garden is planned for September.
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