Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

By Jenny Rosenbaum

For The Union Democrat

The third annual Spirit Mind Body Expo, "Celebrating Wholeness in the Sierra Foothills," will bring a full day of workshops and seminars plus exhibitions and family entertainment to downtown Sonora on Saturday.

Events will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stage 3 Theatre at 208 S. Green St. and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the historic Sonora Opera Hall at 250 S. Washington St.

Admission to all events is free. A raffle package including 10 chances to win is available for $7.

The centerpiece of the expo is a full day of workshops at Stage 3, ranging from spiritual growth to holistic health and sustainable living.

The venue will be transformed into the "Know-a-Sphere," where speakers will explore visionary, state-of-the-art approaches to living the fullest life possible and empowering people to re-envision their lives in transformative ways.

The expo is presented by the Unity Spiritual Center, joined this year by the Foothill Collaborative for Sustainability (FoCuS). Unity supports holistic lifestyles and cultivates a balanced approach to well-being - nurturing spirit, mind and body. FoCuS is a nonprofit community organization that educates communities in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties about sustainable living and community self-reliance.

"Building on the success of last year's event, we are expanding both size and scope for 2014," said event coordinator Anne Jimenez.

FoCuS Vice President and Know-a-Sphere program chairman Robert Gelman commented on his vision for Expo 2014.

"We saw something wonderful happening at last year's expo and felt we could bring something even more valuable to this year's event," he said. "By presenting this world-class educational program and exhibition, we are fulfilling our mission to serve the community. By attending and enjoying the event, the community has the opportunity to return the favor and support two terrific sponsoring organizations."

Exhibitions, a craft area and "Healing Loft" will take place at the Opera Hall. There will 25 exhibitors present, twice as many as last year.

The "Healing Loft" will showcase therapeutic massage, Chinese metaphysics, feng shui, Rolfing, solar power, wise water use, energy consulting, aura imaging, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, quantum touch, biofeedback and more.

Vendors will offer essential oils, handcrafted jewelry, herbal teas and more. A children's craft area and a journey through a labyrinth will also be available.

Food and drinks from local organic sources will be prepared and served by Schnoogs Café.

Here is a schedule of the Know-a-Sphere workshops at Stage 3:

The first, "A Mystical View of the Universe," will be presented at 9 a.m. by Ashgar Gholami. For three decades, he has studied Sufism in the lineage of Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, one of the most revered Persian Sufi masters in modern times. His spiritual teachings and poetry are considered comparable, in stature, to such 12th century Persian mystic poets as Rumi, Hafiz and Attar. Currently, he is writing a book titled "Mining the Treasures Within."

In 2011, he launched "East-West Mosaic: Alchemy of Transformation," a monthly salon in Sonora that explores notions of the sacred in the Eastern and Western worlds. It features eminent scholars, authors and master teachers who delve into the world's great wisdom traditions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sufism, shamanism and Judeo-Christian belief systems) and investigate the dynamic synthesis of spiritual values with cultural traditions.

His talk Saturday will integrate Sufi beliefs and esoteric teachings of ancient India to explore the eternal questions of mankind. He will examine mystics' belief that the universe originally existed in a state of pure potential, in absolute equilibrium. He will also demonstrate the Sufi infinity meditation technique, using music of India and live drumming.

At 10:10 a.m., "How to Make Stuff" will be given by Misha Rauchwerger, who has been involved in the sustainability movement for more than 25 years and constructing natural structures for 20 years.

He teaches classes in "natural building" and permaculture and is creating a permaculture center on his land in Sonora. On the board of the Cob Research Institute, he is actively working to more easily obtain permits on natural structures. He received a landmark permit for the first code-approved cob residence in a seismic area in the United States. In his free time, he is learning many self-sufficiency skills, from brewing, welding and fermenting to herbalism.

His talk will explain why it is imperative that we all start "making stuff," moving from a nation of consumers to producers. He will describe the process of making a range of products, with the goal of inspiring people to develop essential self-sufficiency skills in a culture of mass production.

At 11:10 a.m., Peter Kampa, manager of water districts in rural areas of Northern California for more than 20 years, will speak on "Water-Wisdom: Getting Through the Drought and Beyond."

Kampa became a key figure in protecting source water resources through his work with the Association of California Water Agencies, helping to provide rural California communities with resources and techniques to ensure effective water resources management.

He will address timely issues related to the California water shortage - long-term strategies and solutions that require more than conservation. They must also include innovative ways of capturing, storing and moving water to where it is needed. He will offer key information about greywater systems, rainwater capture and more.

At noon, keynote speaker Michael Gosney will deliver his address, "Taking Charge of Our Evolution."

A new media innovator, entrepreneur and visionary thinker on cultural evolution, Gosney has played a defining role in social movements since the 1980s - spearheading business ventures, events and projects in the arenas of "deep ecology," holistic health, heightened environmental consciousness, desktop publishing, cyberculture, digital art, online music and sustainable lifestyles.

His career has encompassed work as a new media publisher, board member of Soleri's model eco-city project in Arizona, co-founder of the Green Century Institute, a sustainable living think tank, and host of the "Eco-Evolution" podcast.

He has authored 16 books on digital media and lectures widely. Currently, he is managing director of Techné Verde, a nonprofit research and production partnership sponsored by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, promoting technology solutions for progressive philanthropic organizations.

His talk will target the past 50 years of cultural awakening to issues of holistic health, environmental sensitivity, human potential and global citizenry. He will address the urgency of societal focus on nothing less than a humanistic redesign and the kinds of contributions individuals can make to this unfolding.

At 1 p.m., Dr. Jakob Jaggy, a holistic physician, and Erin Ross, an author, counselor and workshop facilitator, will speak on "Connecting Body, Mind and Heart for a Thriving Community."

Jaggy is a founder of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. In 1999, he launched a practice in the Sierra foothills based on Chinese medicine principles that focus on catalysts to optimal health: removing toxicities to correct deficiencies through non-pharmacological strategies and correcting digestive imbalances.

Ross has done inspirational work with students, artists, business leaders, entrepreneurs and couples to nurture heightened levels of communication that engender insight and passionate action. Her book, "Getting That You Matter: The Guidebook to Making a Difference by Being Who You Are," will be released this year.

Their talk will explore the connections between a healthy body and mind.

The 2 p.m. workshop, "Mindfulness and The Next Generation," will feature Sally Arnold, a labor and delivery registered nurse for more than 15 years who began her career in Pediatric Oncology at Stanford Children's Hospital.

For 20 years, she has taught mindful parenting, an enlightened approach to raising a family, and instructs children in mindfulness. Currently, she teaches in the adoption and foster care licensing program at Columbia College, and is completing a yearlong certification as a mindfulness trainer.

At 3 p.m, John Adams, Ph.D., an expert on organizational development, workplace effectiveness and sustainable living, will give a talk, "Thriving in a Changing World."

An international speaker, professor and consultant, he has given numerous seminars on "Being Ready for an Uncertain Future." Locally, he served as director of education for FoCuS. He served as manager of executive education at Sun Microsystems, as a visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and has written prolifically in the fields of stress management and organizational change.

His books include "Thinking Today as if Tomorrow Mattered: The Rise of a Sustainable Consciousness," "Transforming Work" and "Transforming Leadership."

His talk will address pressing issues about preparing for uncertainty and disruptions in our familiar ways of living as a result of ever increasing consumerism, global warming, severe weather patterns and financial crises.

He will provide a 12-dimensional template for systematic assessment, preparedness and community resilience. Attendees will be encouraged to share what they are already doing so that everyone can learn specific steps for confronting global and local uncertainties with insight and wisdom.

At 3:55 p.m., Arleen Fotiu will lead a workshop titled, "How Our Community Feeds Itself."

She was the force behind a new community resource housed in the former National Guard Armory at the Columbia Airport - a combination buyers club, community cooperative, learning center, farmers market and cottage kitchen marketplace called Mountain People Organics.

The grande finale, at 4 p.m., will begin with a juggling and comedy performance by Mountain Motion, featuring Jeremiah Johnston, Erin Stephens and Kevin Axtell.

They will then lead the crowd in a parade to the Opera Hall where they'll take center stage with musicians, the Co-Motion Dancers and the Sonora Drum Circle.

For more information, call 588-8055 or 532-6531, or visit