Mailbag: Sweat lodge helped connection to nature

February 16, 2012

I was heartened to read your story on Andrew Soliz and his Native American sweat lodges ("A spiritual place to sweat," Feb. 10):

I was a lucky participant at one of his sweats, and they are run with integrity, safety and the utmost respect for the neighborhood. Everyone was clothed and quiet. Andrew did open the flaps to allow air circulation, and we were treated to a Lakota ceremony that was a deep spiritual experience.

Soliz goes to tremendous effort to secure the right lava rocks, preps everyone on what to expect, and then sings, chants, drums and guides participants through an amazing, transformational journey tied to the four directions, plus birth and rebirth.


We emerged from the sweat feeling an amazing sense of renewal and connection to nature and the people around us. We are lucky to have such an indigenous tradition in our community, one that sprang from the very land we live upon.

Since we pride ourselves on tolerance and religious pluralism, I hope the neighbors and the city can support this man's awesome contribution to our local culture and community.

Billy Fried

Laguna Beach


How to think and live in Laguna

I disagree with the public policy of the City Council of Laguna Beach. I've seen their "holier than thou" phoniness inflict silliness on us including banning plastic bags, overruling the votes of the Constitution (fighting to overrule Proposition 8), banning fishing in an ocean, etc., so please let me offer people the 16 axioms (which I can't take credit for originating) for living la vida Laguna:

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

2. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

3. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

4. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

5. War does not determine who is right — only who is left.

6. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

7. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

8. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

9. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

10. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

11. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

12. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

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