Forest bathing – big benefits, shrinking spaces

Amen for an article in today’s New York Times on the deep health benefits of forest bathing – aka a walk in the woods.  It might be news to the NY Times, but it is also good old-fashioned common sense, the sort that our grandmothers knew – “Turn of the television & get outside!”  

One of the reasons our older friends do so well is because we get them OUT, get them into the woods – and the meadows & mountains, the seaside & parks.  But it’s getting harder & harder as precious open spaces shrink more & more.

Forest bathing, walk in the woods, communing with nature – – it delivers great health benefits for ALL of us!

 

Breast milk, seriously? In which I make a rare foray into current events

It’s rare that I bring up current events on this blog, but today’s hot news about the USA’s weird (& wildly consequential) attempt this past May to weaken, then to block the introduction of a World Health Organization (WHO) resolution encouraging breast feeding seems noteworthy as beyond bizarre, especially as it unwinds to its end, which is either a) funky ~or~  b) makes perfect sense, depending on your ideological perspective.

Mind you, the 05/28/18 resolution was about as uncontroversial as they come, based on eons of research that concludes – no surprise here – that mother’s milk is WAY better for infants than formula.  It reinforced governments taking steps to limit misleading, even flagrantly inaccurate marketing of “breast-milk substitutes.”

The US won a small “victory” – language supporting countries that tried to stop “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants & young children” was withdrawn from the final resolution – but our nation’s reputation took a beating as our nation’s representatives flat-out bullied Ecuador by threatening withdrawal of military support & imposition of financial penalties if it dared introduce the resolution, which left made other nations unwilling to take the lead.

Let the curtain rise on the fascinating denouement.  One brave nation rises to the occasion, steps up & acts on behalf of the world’s children.  Strangely – or not – that nation was neither bullied nor threatened in any way by the USA.  And the country that put the interests of infants & their mothers over corporate profits?  Drum roll please…  RUSSIA.

No idea why a story that supposedly unfolded in May is only now being reported, but it is well worth putting on your radar for its multiple outcomes:

  • The USA appeared to put corporate interests about the health of children & mothers.
  • It succeeded in weakening the language of the final resolution.
  • It flagrantly bullied, both militarily & financially, a sovereign nation that attempted to introduce the resolution.
  • Its intimidation tactics kept other nations from taking the lead.
  • Which left the way clear for RUSSIA to step up to the plate & be the white knight for infants & mothers around the globe.

 

Bottom line – the USA shredded any reputation the Trump administration might have for protecting children & families, deepened the image of the USA as a swaggering bully, and set up Putin’s Russia to save the day.

Funky?  Nah.  Makes total sense.

In which Joan Borysenko joins the team

I’ve admired JOAN BORYSENKO for eons, since reading A Woman’s Book of Life after a 09/2001 perfect storm of upheavals stripped me of long-time core expectations, turned foundational assumptions to rubble.

The PlantPlus Diet Solution has been tucked away on a den bookshelf for 3+ years.  Apparently read a few pages before the Universe realized, “Not YET!  She’s not ready to process this!  She still has work to do!

Here I am, two days into July 2018, post-processing The Greatest Salesman in the World,  (just reading it properly takes a YEAR), post-Die Empty & Playing Big, You Are A Badass, The Right Kind of Crazy  & anything by Brene Brown.  FINALLY, the Universe considers me ready for the Big Time, kicking in my Analog Summer & connecting me with the great Joan’s book on… dieting?

Right person, right approach, right info, right reader.  When the student is ready…  July 14 will find me starting a Reboot Month, which will be… interesting.  At 66, am old enough to PAY ATTENTION.  And – thanks to the personal growth program customized for me by a wise & tough Universe – reading to take big plunges with integrity & determination.

Joan ~ welcome to the team!   Looking forward to your energies disquieting the status quo, connecting me (and a delighted John) to a true-to-my-true-self wise ways!

Crucial read about intubation & olders!

Another must-read NY Times article ~ ~ if you can’t access, get thee to a library or borrow from a friend.  IMPORTANT!!

EXCERPT –   Intubation “is not a walk in the park,” Dr. Ouchi said. “This is a significant event for older adults. It can really change your life, if you survive.”

After intubation, 31 percent of patients ages 65 to 74 survive the hospitalization and return home. But for 80- to 84-year-olds, that figure drops to 19 percent; for those over age 90, it slides to 14 percent.

At the same time, the mortality rate climbs sharply, to 50 percent in the eldest cohort from 29 percent in the youngest.

All intubated patients proceed to intensive care, most remaining sedated because intubation is uncomfortable. If they were conscious, patients might try to pull out the tubes or the I.V.’s delivering nutrition and medications. They cannot speak.

Humana & hospice – good fit for consumers?

Interesting article in today’s NY Times on Humana, following the money, positioning itself to be a mega hospice provider.  If you can’t access online, get thee to a library.  Borrow a friend’s.  Check out your local coffee shop for a copy.   Whatever you do, read it!  Intriguing, a tad disquieting.

See also:

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180423/NEWS/180429973

https://homehealthcarenews.com/2018/04/latest-moves-increase-humanas-clout-in-home-health-hospice/

https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/part-a/how-hospice-works.html

 

 

Dangerous woman on a mission

It’s rare that I post something smacking of political current events on this blog, but an article in today’s NY Times calls out to be shared, summing up the WHY behind my current calling.  (I regret that it paints the president with such a coarse brush, but even his staunchest supporter should be able to acknowledge that his language & demeanor are rooted in shock jock incivility.)

It seems to me that those who think the president caused the coarsening of America’s character are mistaken – it’s a symptom, not cause.  Presidents are term-limited, but the qualities of our national culture that made millions rejoice at his “politics of rage” will go on UNLESS checked.

Hence my calling – not to take people to task for this that or another thing, but to present & model different ways of engaging with others, connecting within & across communities, feeling about our self.

My hopes dreams endeavors can be summed up in Live Like a LEGO! ~ connect creatively.  Celebrating kindness, generosity – especially emotional generosity, respect, civility & all the other core qualities of a decent life.

Having taught American history from theories about how people first arrived on the continent to 1850, am perhaps more aware than most of the shaky moral underpinnings to what we embody to ourselves as a nation.  I recently wrote out my understanding of our history in order to acknowledge it, then tip my hat as it’s left in the past because my work is rooted in the present, in this moment & this & this.  Not “What did I/we do?” but “What am I doing?”  & “How can I get to better?

In short, am a dangerous woman on a mission.

The NY Times article points out a truth that opponents would do well to remember – only Donald John Trump can get away with being unfathomably coarse.  When other people try to go toe-to-toe, it invariably ends in failure; they come across as honorable people saying dishonorable things of which they should be ashamed.  President Trump can do it without any blow back because no one has any illusions of him having any sense of honor, of being capable of feeling shame.  Love him or loathe him, that’s not a condemnation but an objective observation.

Dangerous woman on a mission.  People distrust all those qualities of decency that I listed, plus the many more I left off.  How well I know.  My corporate world co-workers were openly wary of me due to being too nice.  I learned to counter, “You’re too good to be true!” by pausing, cocking my head to the side & replying, “And part of  you believes that.”   If someone said, “You’re different,” I’d get right into their personal space, look them straight in the eye, drop my voice as I answered, “And trust me – you have NO idea just how different I am.”  It was only when I started countering with those two responses that others relaxed around me, were open to being friends.  But to the end, being open & supportive were negatives in the workplace, where people tend to put faith in the negative & see kindness as mindless fluff at best or insincere at worst.

Bring it on!

We cannot counter an coarsened culture with even more coarseness.  We need to be brave, to have the courage to act with restraint without rolling over, countering canny manipulation with conscious awareness of the values we learned at our parents’ knees.  Let Trump be Trump – praise it or rebuke it.  Just don’t lower yourself to the same level.

My thanks to my dear, much-missed mother, who advised me as a young girl how NOT to respond to school yard bullies.  She quoted George Bernard Shaw’s advice – – I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

Dangerous woman on a mission.  Recognize & call out incivility when it raises its head without stooping to return in kind.  Openly practice the qualities of a decent life.  If you are frustrated with 45, do all you can to channel 16, Abraham Lincoln.  Put your inner Lucy on mute, amp up your inner Charlie Brown.  Focus on resiliency more than resistance, on being awake & aware & active instead of going numb or shrug off.

Forbes had a great article six years back – The Ten Golden Rules on Living the Good Life.  make a great prescription to counter today’s civil malaise:

  1. Examine life, engage life with vengeance; always search for new pleasures and new destines to reach with your mind.
  2. Worry only about the things that are in your control, the things that can be influenced and changed by your actions, not about the things that are beyond your capacity to direct or alter.
  3. Treasure friendship.
  4. Keep your life simple. Seek calming pleasures that contribute to peace of mind. True pleasure is disciplined and restrained.
  5. Master Yourself. Resist any external force that might delimit thought and action; stop deceiving yourself, believing only what is personally useful and convenient.
  6. Live life in harmony & balance.
  7. Bear responsibility for your actions (and lack of them).  Hold yourself accountable.
  8. Prosperity by itself, is not a cure-all against an ill-led life, and may be a source of dangerous foolishness.
  9. Don’t harm others.  Doing people dirt is a dangerous habit. 
  10. Kindness to others is a good habit that supports and reinforces the quest for the good life.

Easy to copy, not so easy to live.  My older sister was uneasy around me because, as she rightly pointed out, I wallow in joy doing things for others.  She was right – doing things for others is a great pleasure.  It wasn’t for her, but she felt like my way was a rebuke to hers.

Mim might have been the first to think my Goody Two-Shoes, Pollyanna ways make me a dangerous woman.  She won’t be the last!

Shoulders to the wheel

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 – – a red letter day in my life!  John & I sought counseling from our pastor for some irksome communication issues that have been gumming up the workings of our relationship.

Much as my human nature likes to think of them as my KEET’s issues or ours, it became very clear very fast that a) they were in fact MINE; b) were tightly entrenched in past issues which are no longer active in my life EXCEPT when my Ego drags them in, unbeckoned by my healthier sense of Self; c) the very things that I’ve worked on faithfully for 44+ years to identify, engage & resolve have been stubbornly hanging on by their fingernails to keep a presence in a life that’s ready to roll onward & upward.

At the end of that first session, Tom made one simple suggestion – stop dragging the past into the present.  Live in the NOW.

While the suggestion was simple, neither John nor I expected its implementation to be easy.  To our surprise & delight, living in the now has come easily, naturally to me.  We had three situations since Wednesday that could have turned nasty (on my part) pre-06/13/18 that instead turned out, in each situation, to stay first civil, then tender, then loving.  And each was informing & enlightening.

Today, at my beloved Be Well, a friend who’d seen us yesterday at a social gathering told me how much joy she gets seeing me & John just being with each other.  She commented, “You’ve been married a long time, right?”  Twenty-nine years this 09/03 – – head over heels since 02/03/89.

We were super “old” when we married – John was 43, I was 37.  When my brother pushed me to have him announce our engagement instead of a mutual friend, I pointed out that studies indicated I had as much chance, at 37, of being hit by lightening than getting married for the first time & I would do as I jolly well pleased.

One of the things that has kept our marriage such a pleasure for both of us is our willingness to face difficulties in the face, to head ’em off at the pass whenever we can.  Started almost twenty years ago, when we sought communications coaching from Mom’s psychologist.  We were ready to shell out big bucks for top-notch care, but were never billed!  Turned out the psychologist was so happy to be able to provide a couple with preventive care – rather than mend breaks & heal wounds – the sessions were her gift to us!

When we went to see Tom on Wednesday – an appointment which John took total charge of arranging, to my joy – I was edging closer & closer to being the basket case I was in 1998, torn between John’s healthy persona & Mom’s sweetly yet determinedly dysfunctional.  Only now a healthy present was being dislocated by a mislocated past.

It’s my experience that even the happiest marriages are filled with unhappy moments.  In our case, from day one, we acknowledge distress when it rears its head, do what we can to resolve it between the two or us ~or~ seek help.

In my experience, the same holds true for all relationships. Husband & wife, brother & sister, mother & daughter, friend to friend, co-workers, boss & employee. Being willing to spot potential quicksand, seek firmer ground or a steady hand to avert disaster, strive for the ideal & accept the real.

There, in a nutshell – my prescription for a happy marriage, friendship, family connection, work space!  Don’t expect perfection, welcome hard work, put that shoulder to the wheel & work for good better best!