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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Local guys capture the essence of body, mind and spirit

Jun 03, 2008 01:06AM
By Lisa Moore

They cover all aspects of healthy living- fitness, art, sustainability, music, healing and spirituality. In tune with their many facets, five local men follow their passions and dreams to move their lives to another level.

Gerald Moose: Let the Chi Set You Free Having always been drawn to the contemplative arts, Gerald Moose tried a T’ai Chi class in his early 20’s, not realizing the long-term effect it would have on him. Thirty years later he is still reaping the benefits of this relaxing Chinese mind-body martial art.

Inspired by the elegance and simplicity of the art, Moose began learning and practicing the Yang Short Form in earnest in 1984 and in the late 80s decided to share his passion with others as a teacher.

“I have found T'ai Chi to be a very powerful and beneficial art, especially for health and well-being,” said Moose, who owns Moose Tech a company that installs commercial sound systems. Many studies have reached the same conclusions Moose has known for years: ongoing practitioners can experience lower blood pressure, stress reduction, stronger immunity, greater strength and increased oxygen uptake.

Moose teaches classes in Richfield and Concord and is honored to have witnessed the transformation of his students. “It has been a pleasure to see people come to class expecting something difficult and exotic, only to find that it's simple and actually fun,” stated the father of four.

Still taking workshops to refine his form and deepen his understanding of T’ai Chi, Moose acknowledged the support he received from his wife, Rita, over the years. “Not a week goes by without me taking a moment to feel blessed that I learned and practice this gentle art and that my wife encouraged me, even when we had young kids and she was a ‘Chi Widow,’ stated Moose.

Rita firmly believes her husband wouldn't be the same person without T’ai Chi. “The calmness and balance that Gerald  expresses contribute to his dedication to Tai Chi,” she said noting that his peacefulness, depth and good humor balance well with her more rough and tumble way of taking on life.

“Geralds' still-developing dedication to meditation and Tai Chi has resulted in sharing all this with many friends and acquaintances, and is part of the whole picture of his pursuit of understanding life from a spiritual perspective,” concluded Rita.

To find out more about Gerald Moose’s T'ai Chi classes visit or call (704) 463-1535.

Jay Thompson: Pushups and Paintings

If life is about balance, then Jay Thompson has it all in check. He impacts people in a positive way through his passions - art and physical fitness. The Rock Hill native wants his art to inspire and reflect and his fitness/wellness programs to help individuals become healthier and improve their attitude and outlook on life.

Thompson has taken an interesting, winding path to his current destination. After eight successful years as Director of Camp Cherokee, the Upper Palmetto YMCA's summer resident camp, he retired in his prime to seek adventure in the world.  With nothing but a backpack in tow, he spent a year traveling the globe.

“I immersed myself in new cultures, meeting interesting people and learning more about myself than I ever knew existed,” stated Thompson.  Seventeen countries and a thousand memories later, he returned to make Charlotte his home and to immerse himself in his new career.

Thompson discovered a penchant for art at a young age and is mostly self-taught, using a variety of mediums. His artwork is filled with the same passion and energy with which he tackles life.  He believes each painting is an extension of himself, inviting the viewer to feel, taste, experience and remember.

Thompson’s studies to become a personal trainer brought him to a deeper awareness about physical fitness. “As I matured I became fascinated with the human body and how it works. I was humbled at how little I knew,” stated the lifelong sports nut. Thompson humbly admits that he has an ability to motivate individuals by building genuine, caring relationships with them.

His client Sharyn Roseman can attest to that, noting that Thompson is not only a trainer, but a motivator that helps clients understand they are in control of how they look and feel. “If you follow his directions, you will be impressed with your overall result,” said Roseman, who added that Thompson stays informed on the changes in a woman’s body after pregnancy, during menopause and as she ages.

“Jay is special because he is the perfect example of what he lives. His mind, body and spirit are all in shape,” Roseman concluded.

To learn more about Jay Thompson’s art and training programs visit

Roger Pence: Green Acres is the Place to Be

Because of his life-long passion for the environment, Roger Pence is taking green living to the next level – his job. Pence owns Clean Air Lawn Care, a premium residential and commercial lawn care service which uses cordless electric equipment that is recharged throughout the day by solar panels mounted to company vehicles.

Pence says he hopes to meet the demands of the environmentally conscious consumers and is committed to “educating consumers about sustainable, environmentally responsible lawn care practices and actively involving home owners and other service partners in the process.”

Friends of Pence’s in Colorado started Clean Air Lawn Care a few years ago and have opened successful franchises through out the U.S.  The business partners with eco-friendly companies like Juice Energy, Patagonia, Black and Decker and others. All bases have been covered to keep the company as sustainable as possible.

“Clean Air purchases wind energy credits to offset any carbon-based energy utilized by our low emissions rated gasoline powered vehicles and any conventional electric power recharging. Biodiesel equipment is also utilized when required for larger lawn service applications,” stated Pence.

Pence traces his desire to care for the planet back to his childhood years as a boy scout. He received a degree in Wildlife Resources and enjoyed a subsequent 25 year-career in Parks and Recreation. A favorite hobby is nature photography. His wife, Tamara, who co-owns Clean Air believes his commitment to the environment comes from within.

“Roger has always sought out solace and refuge in nature. He has a very quiet disposition, however he enthusiastically shares his awe about the outdoors as much as he can,” Tamara noted. “With Clean Air Lawn Care, he can educate and serve the conscious of us and the earth at the same time.”

The Pence family is a role model for a sustainable lifestyle. “We drive a hybrid car, eat organic, buy local food, are stingy with household energy, reduce overall consumption of everything – and teach our children to do the same,” concluded Roger. “It’s easy to be green!”

For more information on Clean Air Lawn Care visit or call 704-361-4303.

John Amen: Speaking Words of Wisdom

As long as John Amen can remember, he was always interested in language and never felt inclined to regard it as merely a means of delivering information. “The malleability of language is what always interested me,” said the founder of The Pedastal Magazine, an online literary journal based in Charlotte that features new and established writers and visual artists.

As editor and publisher of The Pedestal Magazine, Amen hopes to provide a platform for authors and literary critics to publish work and stimulate thought and discussion. An established poet, he has authored two collections: Christening the Dancer and More of Me Disappears, and his work has appeared in various journals and anthologies.

A man of multiple talents, Amen has recorded two folk-based CD’s: All I’ll Ever Need and the recently released Ridiculous Empire. Described as a master storyteller, his music explores a variety of moods. As a visual artist Amen uses oils, acrylics, colored pencils and pastels on a variety of surfaces, including canvas, paper and cardboards.

So where does the stimulus for all these outlets come from? Amen says it could come many things: an image, a word, an action or a conversation he may overhear. “I collect inspiration—am always on a treasure hunt, so to speak—and most of what inspires me I simply stumble across in everyday life,” he stated.

Another source of inspiration is his wife, Mary Powers, a local graphic artist he met when she helped design his first book of poetry. She believes he carries the deep seeds of creativity from his parents who were writers and painters also. “John is a dark and tragic romantic with a wicked laugh. He’s focused and passionate, relentless even, in his pursuit of a desired objective,” she noted.

Amen travels widely giving readings, doing musical performances, and conducting workshops and wants to continue reaching readers and listeners.

“I hope to keep evolving as an artist,” he said. “And I hope that I can continue to regard the creative process as something that ideally happens across the board—in all aspects of life and not just in artistic contexts.”

You can learn more about Amen at or

Ricky Prevatte: Lay Your Hands On Me

I believe my true passion is to heal,” said Ricky Prevatte. “I love to have someone come to me and get well from within their body.” Those are sentiments shared by most massage therapists, but Prevatte’s practice differs because he blind.

Prevatte has been a bodyworker for over 20 years and still enjoys his healing art. The path, however, has not always been easy for him. Some of his training was difficult because the school he attended taught with books and PowerPoint presentations. Compassionate friends and teachers helped him through. For the many years of his practice it was sometimes difficult to convince people of his abilities. Not any more.

With the development of neuromuscular massage - a modality that focuses on the treatment of trigger points to reduce pain, increase range of motion and correct postural distortions – Prevatte found his niche. “People come now because of pain rather than to be pampered. That makes all of the difference in the world,” said the father of a two year-old.

Dr. Eric Bryant, DC, owner of ChiroMed Plus where Prevatte works, likens him to a human CAT scan. “Even though Ricky is blind, he can see into the human body. He has such a sense of touch and feel that not many have and he senses a lot that goes on with a patient physically,” he stated.

Prevatte’s wife, Wendy, agrees. She thinks her husband is more in tune with his patients perhaps because he doesn't have the distractions that sighted people do. “He can tell a lot by listening to the way someone walks - the pattern of their footsteps, whether their legs are rubbing or not, whether their shoes have enough support,” she acknowledged. “Ricky can tell by the direction of a patient's voice if they hold their head down or to the side, indicating a postural imbalance.”

Talent aside, people seem to be drawn to Prevatte’s personality. “Clients love him because he can be honest with them when he needs to be and also joke around and laugh with them at the same time,” stated Dr. Bryant.

To learn more about Prevatte call 704-341-5200 or visit

Lisa Moore is a freelance writer and editor.

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