February 2018
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Archive for the ‘Health & Healing’ Category


Friendship enriches life, and good friends are good for our health.  Many studies show that friendship can increase our pain threshold, stave off cognitive decline, and even enhance the immune system.  For example, the now famous Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women who had ten or more friends were three times as likely to survive breast cancer.

This study also revealed that the more friends women have, the less likely they are to develop physical impairments as they age.  And they are more likely to lead a joyful life.  Women’s friendships may be a significant factor in their longevity.

In a landmark UCLA study, Drs. Klein and Taylor showed that men and women respond differently to stress.  Their work demonstrated that women ‘tend and befriend’ rather than ‘fight or flee’. 

Study after study reveals that social ties reduce our risk of disease, can lower blood pressure, contribute to lowered cholesterol and reduced heart rates.

Maria Paul writes in The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You Are Not A Kid Anymore,”Your friendship menu needs a range of both intimates and acquaintances.” Casual friendships and deeply intimate friendships are both important and valuable  to our overall health and well-being.

To have good friends, you need to be a good friend.  Good friends have meaning to each other.  Our BFF’s are the ones we can bare our souls with, cry and laugh together, support and mirror, give honest feedback to, and, be open to receiving the same in kind.  They are people we trust with our secrets, our lives and our hearts.  This does not happen by fiat.

Cultivating a gorgeous garden of friendship requires being willing to stick our neck out; to take risks. Weed out what is not working, and allow the seeds and plants of good friendship to grow strong, healthy and beautiful.

I invite you this week to give thanks for your circle of acquaintances and friends.  And continue cultivating your Friendship Garden.



‘Having value’ is a good definition of worthy.  In ‘10 Telltale Signs of Low Self-Esteem’ (Spirituality & Health, November 2013) author Anneli Rufus shares habits indicative of low self-esteem.  The habits outlined below show a self-loathing attitude; a personal unworthiness.

1. We’re indecisive.  We believe we can’t possibly make a decision that will not have negative consequences.

2. We fake it.  We hide behind masks, fearful of revealing our true selves.

3. We deflect praise.  We actively deny praise; it can’t possibly be true (we are not worthy).

4. We’re hypervigilant.  Words, body-language and gestures become a powerful body of evidence that we are unlikable failures.

5. We have great difficulty inhabiting the present moment.  Regret and fear, favorite ploys of the Chatterbox,  keep us roaming between the past and the future.

6. We give up easily.  We give in.  We assume the attitude that we are always wrong.

7. We plead.  Our lack of selfworth  “…turn even the simplest requests into desperate, self-abasing pleas.”

8. We aim low.  Confident in our probability of failing, we keep the bar low.

9. We are chronic comparers.  This habit reinforces our self-loathing.

10. We puncture our own fun.  “Believing we deserve no happiness, we flood with dread at the first spark of joy….”

Ms. Rufus maintains that the first step toward changing these negatives to positives is compassion.

The Original Angel Cards Book states that ‘Compassion’ is a “Heartfelt understanding of the human condition that encompasses the pain in oneself and others, dissolves judgment, and opens the way for acceptance.  Sincere desire to alleviate suffering.”

Strive to alleviate your suffering and open yourself to acceptance.  You are worthy.



Peeps 2014

It is Peep Season again.  My previous Peeps post tells the story of Peeps and their popularity, including, to my absolute amazement, that people actually eat them.  I also shared how my partner and I Peep.

Our new home is smaller and the layout much different from our previous abode.  This presented a real challenge.   Although we have a few Peeps still nesting in their box, we are meeting the challenge.

In addition to the usual Peep placement (see earlier Blog) we have added peeking Peeps, medicine Peeps (open the medicine cabinet and behold a hot pink Peep), and flower Peeps (especially hard to find; yellow Peep in a yellow Lily).

Peep Season is well underway here and we are looking forward to ‘placing’ the new colored and flavored Peeps born into the marketplace this year.

Wishing you a wonderful Spring and happy Peeping!!





Happiness was the topic on a recent Dr. Oz  show.  More specifically, “The Five Signs of Happiness,” aired on March 11, 2014.   The boiled down results of a substantial poll revealed these five indicators that create unhappiness.  For each there is an action to take that can counter the negative response.

1.  Don’t compare yourself to others on social media.   I was quite surprised by this one; but surely it is relevant.  The positive action, is to refrain from social media for one day a week.  Take a day off.

2.  Don’t talk negatively about others.  Counter action:  Do or say something positive for/about another.  Find something to compliment.

3.  Give gratitude.  This simple (and free) action can cut your stress by 30%.  Action: Send yourself an email once everyday, stating something you are grateful for; create a file.  When you are down in the dumps, open the file and read your gratitudes.

4.  Learn to say “No.”  Hard to do, but so important to our health and happiness.  Action: Take time for yourself at least two times a week.

5.  Learn to say “I’m sorry.”  Don’t let bitterness take root in your psyche.  Action: Review your relationships, and, if appropriate, tell someone you are sorry.

Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Happiness is an attitude, a state of mind, a choice.  Be happy!

Spring 2014

Last Saturday at midnight, time changed in an artificial, man-made way.  On  March 20, time shifts in the natural world.  Thursday is the vernal equinox, heralding the arrival of Spring.

Rebirth, rejuvenation, re-invigoration and revival; time to make way for the rising of the light.   Coming out of Winter,  Spring is the moment when we overcome great difficulties;  when we meet the challenges of renewal head on; it is  the time for birthing new life.

This Holy Season, I invite you to conceive your future, to plant for the harvest that will come in Autumn.  Tend the garden of your dreams.  Feed and nourish it with love and dedication; looking forward to reaping abundant yields at harvest.









As in Daylight Saving Time.  Did you wake up this morning feeling less rested?  Perhaps a little cranky and off-center?

Saturday at midnight was the time to “spring forward,”  setting our clocks ahead one hour.  For all practical purposes, we have moved an hour of light from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.  Light is the principal time cue for regulating our circadian rhythm.  So we are effectively, out-of-sync.

How well we adjust to the effects of this time change depends on our personal health, sleep habits and lifestyle.  The good news is that there are some things we can do to help with the adjustment.

According to WebMD, get as much light exposure as possible during the day.  Use a mask and/or earplugs to help you go to sleep.  Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine near bedtime.  exercise several hours before bedtime.  Relax with a hot bath.  Meditation and soft music can also be beneficial.

All things considered, your circadian rhythms should adjust within a couple of days, preparing you to enjoy the light of evening.



It started with the stunningly small population of Monarch butterflies returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Then came more information on the massive meat recall and shut-down of Rancho Feeding Corporation in Petaluma.  Followed by a KRON4 News report on the hundreds of foods that contain azodicarbonamide or ADA, a chemical found in Yoga mats and tires. (You can check out the list at KRON4.com).

Then a guided tour through the wonders of Whole Foods (an establishment I have eschewed) and it’s gorgeous organic offerings;  coupled with my wish to replace my lawn with natural habitat, all lead me to bees and CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder.  There is real, immediate reason for concern as three of every five bites of food we eat is courtesy of these busy pollinators.

The common thread: pesticides and herbicides.  Regarding bees, scientists are looking at neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticides.  According to The Huffington Post (March 2013) 40-50% of commercial US Hives have been lost due to CCD.   With the magnificent Monarchs, herbicides and habitat destruction, including the use of Roundup to eradicate milkweed which is essential to their survival, growth of GMOs and destruction of native forests in Mexico,  are all considered causal.

I will be planting milkweed in my garden along with bee and butterfly friendly flowers.  Visits to Whole Foods will become more frequent.  I will be more diligent reading labels and  avoiding refined foods, especially bread products (Oroweat and Saralee are on that list containing ADA).

Lastly, I will, to the best of my ability, patronize local organic and sustainable farms, and back legislation directed toward supporting them and protecting our food supplies.  I invite you to join me.







…a person who lives a hundred years or more.  Attending a Birthday celebration for an amazing woman who turned 100 on Saturday, got me to thinking.

Born before the commercial application of the automobile, air travel, and the refrigerator; before computers, supermarkets, shopping malls, telephones and Social Security. That, in itself, is amazing to me.  Then the moment arrives.  Stepping from the car with little help, to shouts of ‘SURPRISE’, her face lights up and she acts like she didn’t know a thing. (Commenting to her daughter a few days before, she was wondering why she hadn’t received any Birthday cards.).

No cane. no walker, no wheelchair.  Our honored Centenarian  moves slowly through the gathered celebrants, smiling, acknowledging…savoring.  Seven hours later, after stories, food, cake,  the sharing of Birthday wishes from President Obama and the First Lady,  toasts, tears, laughter and pictures galore, she is still going strong.

Aware  that I have a personal relationship with a Centenarian; I wonder how many others experience this rare gift.  The party concludes and I am invited over to play games and continue connecting, but I am too tired.

It is a gorgeous evening in Pismo Beach.  As I rest from the day’s activities, I reflect on something she said to me, ‘I’ll be around to celebrate your 100th Birthday with you’.  Can’t say I would be surprised.


I didn’t shop at Target during the Holidays.  Imagine my shock when I checked my bank account Monday morning and discovered debits of $935.00 for online purchases that I did not make.

I am at the Bank when it opens.  This is a familiar procedure for me.  It is the third time in ten years that I have gone through the process of closing accounts, disabling cards and starting over.  IBM lost Health Net Data a few years ago; that was a big breach.  The trunk of my car was pried open and my purse stolen while I was hiking at a local park.  And now this.  Add a trip to Social Security to authorize a change in my Direct Deposit, put a ‘hawk alert’ on my credit file, and I spend 15 hours dealing with the mess.

I have changed many things.  I don’t take anything but my driver’s license, AAA card and a little cash with me when I go to parks.  I use my ATM only at selected businesses.  I do buy online, but again, selectively.  I made six online purchases in December using my debit card.  This  is the time period when it is believed my card information was stolen.

A few years ago, I followed excellent advice from Bank of the West.  I started monitoring my bank accounts daily.

So, more changes are in order.  I am going back to writing checks and paying cash.  I won’t use my debit card for online purchases anymore.  It is  inconvenient; but obviously,  much safer.

It is President’s Day.  If you plan on going shopping, beware.   You might consider using a credit not a debit card, or ‘just pay cash’.


The deepening drought brings our relationship with water into sharp focus.  All life is dependent on water.  Like the air we breathe, it is easy to take for granted.

Water has a spiritual element, it cleanses, purifies, and washes awayHoly Waters and Sacred Waters are central to many belief systems and ritual practices.  Although objectified by modern society, water still represents emotion, feeling, spirituality, the primordial unconscious and the womb.

I invite you to bring the value of water, both  sacred and mundane, to the forefront of your conscious mind.

Contact www.scwa.ca.gov for drought updates and water-wise conservation guidelines.

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