ROOM FOR MIRACLES?

Do you have room for miracles? Couldn’t we all use a bit more amazement in our lives? This was how I made time for the miraculous last weekend.

My husband and I attended the Prairie Awakening at Kuehn Conservation Area in Dallas County, Iowa last weekend. https://www.mycountyparks.com/county/Dallas/Park/Kuehn-Conservation-Area.aspx This has been an annual ceremony at the 770 acre nature preserve since 1998. It features a celebration of our native prairie lands as well as of the indigenous culture of the Midwest.

The perimeter of the circular arena was outlined with elegant, tall grasses and blooming prairie flowers. One of the early portions of the program involved a bit of education on the monarch butterfly life and migration. The Naturalist, Chris Adkins, spoke of himself as a scientist, then shared a quote from a world-renowned scientist.

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

He had me with this quote! The lucky monarch holders were each invited to plant a kiss upon the proboscis of their tagged butterfly. Then the winged wonders were told “Adios, amigos” at their release to begin their long migration to Mexico. Typically, this creature only lives two to five weeks during the summer. This last generation of the year migrates between 2,000 to 3,000 miles to overwinter with our neighbors to the south. It was thrilling to hear that monarchs tagged here in Iowa have been tracked to their winter location! Amazingly, this migrating generation can live up to nine months! How miraculous is that?

When do you suppose the butterflies typically arrive to their southern destination? It tends to be around the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. Can you imagine the arrival of these huge kaleidoscopes of butterflies? It is no wonder it is commonly thought that butterflies can carry messages from our dearly departed loved ones. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/Monarch_Butterfly/biology/index.shtml

A rehabilitated red-tailed hawk, who was injured by a pellet gun, was introduced. We gazed into the wild eyes of this majestic bird. Imagine how few humans get this chance. Ponder the relief of that fortunate critter to finally be able to freely fly the skies again!

Room for Miracles of Reconnecting Cultures

Native American Dallas Chief Eagle led group dances with audience members. A small gathering of drummers kept the beat with deeply resonant native drums. The chief demonstrated a beautiful, traditional hoop dance. These hoops symbolize many things: our horizon line as well as individual spirits of animals, trees and rocks. The hoops seemed to magically become looped one into another in the midst of his dance. For me, the highlight of his graceful movements was when the numerous hoops extended far beyond his arms’ reach. He greatly resembled the bird of his name as his arms and hoops seemed as wings!

The chief also led a brief meditation with Grandmother Rock and Grandfather Rock. In imitation of a rock, one was just to fix their eyes upon a rock (or another singular point) and empty one’s mind of thoughts. Aren’t rocks a perfect example of being still?

Let’s go back to the Albert Einstein quote. Here is why I was motivated to write this. I had a copy of this very quote on a white board attached to our refrigerator for several years. This was during the time between our son’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis and his passing. Miraculously, this time period was nearly seven years. During that time, our son did accept nearly all of the scientific, Western medicine treatments offered. However, we also explored much from the natural world of healing. Our son believed he would not have been here as long if it wasn’t for the additional things we did. I also know he would not have been here as long if he hadn’t had most of the current Western medicine practices.

A balance of honoring science as well as the spirit of nature, especially when fed with a miracle mindset, enhances life.

So, is it possible to have room for miracles? Just as our family experienced, the Kuehn Conservation Area is blessed with a harmonious blend of science and spirit. Through the years, the conservationists have developed a relationship with indigenous, spiritual people. It was a learning process for them to discover how to ask for this relationship to occur. This celebration has become a draw for local people. Unity and sharing fosters the marvelous.

I cannot recall how many years we’ve attended. Through these celebrations, I’ve become intrigued enough to acquire my own Native American wooden flute as well as a hoop drum. I’ve honed my love for nature.

Last, but not least, relationship to the land is critical. Our country, our earth sorely needs all of us to adopt these attitudes. The Dallas County Conservation Board are tremendous role models on many levels. You enhance the heartbeat of the land as well as community. Thank-you for the miracles!

If you enjoyed this, here are two more posts on learning from the ways of nature: Think Like a Dog and LESSONS FROM MOTHER NATURE. Feel free to subscribe to my weekly blog – go to the very top of page, click on Follow Blog and enter your email. Thanks for reading!

Your Hurricane Eye

What’s your hurricane eye? Before I continue, I must explain myself. I recently learned that waterfowl can become trapped within a hurricane. If these birds are fortunate enough to work their way into the calm of the eye, they can swim or fly with the eye until the storm either slows or reaches landfall. Birds in this predicament have also been known to seek shelter on ships caught traveling within the eye. These strategies allow them to rest within the center of the storm. Here is a site showing an image of birds in the eye of a hurricane. https://mashable.com/article/hurricane-irma-flocks-of-birds So, onto your hurricane eye. What brings you calm while navigating the wild hurricane ways of the world?

Cat’s Eye

Just the other day I found our cat’s eye of her hurricane. We were trimming shrubs. (Well, not the cat and I, but my husband and I.) As I loaded our wheelbarrow with trimmings, Miss Meow-Meow decided to climb aboard. I guess the small twigs were in a cushy pile, but the barberry bushes do have thorns! She was unconcerned.

Once I finished clearing the piles, I began pushing the barrow toward the brush pile, cat and all! Our little Miss MM was thoroughly and calmly entertained. For part of the ride, she stood on all fours. Some of the time, she was reclining. All the way, her head was out front, scouting our path and watching the ground roll beneath her. Now, you must know, it wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing as part of her ride was down a somewhat bumpy hill. I only permitted the cart to roll slowly in case she jumped. None the less, she rode all the way to the pile! She disembarked to sniff around, giving me the opportunity to dump the brush.

Before I began the ascent back up the hill, I placed her in the empty barrow to see if she’d ride back. She took the helm again and stood guard. I imagined her as a Puss-in-Boots captain of the ship in a past life as she watched the grass billowing by on our journey. She actually rode the entire distance to the house! I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, she’s the cat who hops onto our deck swing. I’ve seen her standing on the seat, then moving her body to get it to swing. She then lays down for a lovely ride.

I believe Miss Meow-Meow’s hurricane eye is riding. This is her relaxation, her calm, her joie de vie.

My Hurricane Eye and Yours

Back when I was in elementary school, typically Friday afternoons were reserved for art projects. That was my absolute favorite time in school. I would many times be in my own little world while making art. (Perhaps this is why my career was an elementary art teacher!)

Oh, and I recall another time as a fifth grader. That day I felt two very strong emotions. I was completely immersed in a book while sitting at my desk. For some reason, I decided to look up. My first reaction was shock. Amazingly, I saw only one other student in the room. I had been so engaged in my book (of an unknown title) that I had tuned out all the other students going to outdoor recess!

My second feeling was embarrassment. The boy who sat in front of me was turned around and intently watching me read. I don’t recall if the teacher was in the room or not. Somehow, this book became the eye of my hurricane while in the midst of a flurry of excited classmates leaving for recess. I now wonder if the boy was puzzled as to how someone could have been that engrossed in a book!

Nowadays, several additional ways can bring me that eye of the hurricane safety net. Being with a loved one, reveling in nature, and playing or making music are among them. Another key element is an attitude of focusing on what is good or positive rather than that over which I have no control. I love to imagine a scenario which is beneficial for the highest good of all.

As an energy healing practitioner, I can tell you that doing these life-enhancing activities will literally make your light shine brighter while making this world a more pleasant and safer place to be!

As an aside, the bold faced sentence immediately above came to me in the middle of the night. I got up and penciled it on paper in the dark. Two miracles happened. The next morning, I could actually read it. The second miracle was when I turned on my computer. The random desktop background was a lighthouse. Confirmations such as these are signs we are headed in the right direction!

When we are focusing on activities which bring us joy, we feel more enlivened. An activity, that feels as if it is our life purpose, opens up our energy field to optimal flow. This enlivened feeling of flow is important to our health and well-being. Here is a site which shows visual evidence that our bodies truly emit light. https://www.livescience.com/7799-strange-humans-glow-visible-light.html Some people are gifted to easily see our light without special equipment. I only occasionally see it. However, I generally feel it. Any time you feel positive emotions, you are shining your light brighter. Perhaps this is our soul shine? I love to say that it makes me feel sparkly!

What brings you to your eye of the hurricane? Some like to tinker in the garage or machine shed, while others crochet or knit. Sitting in meditation or running marathons works for some people. Perhaps gardening or flying airplanes may speak to others. Of course one’s faith and prayer life may be the utmost eye of one’s hurricane. Just feel into your heart and ask what makes you feel most alive. That, my friend, may be your shelter(s) in the storm. May you find the eye of your hurricane to hold you steady while you navigate the ways of the world.

If you enjoyed this, here are two more posts on learning from the ways of nature: THINK LIKE WATER and Your Thoughts Are Seeds. Feel free to subscribe to my weekly blog – go to the very top of page, click on Follow Blog and enter your email. Thanks for reading!

Temporary: Art and Life

There is much that is temporary in art as well as in life. As an artist, I am intrigued by those who create work of such a temporary nature. Some artwork is far more fleeting than others. Yet, are we not temporal creatures? Let us explore the parallels.

Temporary Art in Zimbabwe

First of all, a Zimbabwean creative, Peggy Masuku, paints her family’s huts. It takes her six months to gather the materials, create her paint, listen for the design and apply the paint. Bold and beautiful splashes of brown, black, gray and red adorn the exterior of their home. Since she uses ant hill soil, clay and ash to make the paint, it is of a perishable nature. When the rainy season starts, her artistry washes away, returning to the soil from whence it came. While her hut itself is a bit more durable, somehow her painted creation is reminiscent of the creation and destruction of an ant hill. Each is beautiful, intricate and purposeful in their own way. Both are vulnerable to the elements. It is ironic that the necessity of life giving rain water is what leads to the demise of her designs.

Here is an article with photos of Ms. Masuku’s award winning hut paintings. https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20210826-zimbabwes-contest-that-celebrates-the-artistry-of-women

Art of Tibetan Monks

Secondly, I’ve puzzled over the monks of Tibet who create fascinatingly detailed and colorful mandalas of sand. Typically these contain multiple lines of symmetry as well as all the colors of the rainbow. These take painstaking work. In fact, prior to and during the creation, it is a very meditative practice. A team of monks, who have trained in sand art for several years, typically take a number days to carefully place the sand. At the end of the process, the sand is immediately swept away to signify the impermanence of this life. Here is a very brief time-lapse example.

Sometimes it is puzzling to me how these artists could create these pieces knowing that their efforts would soon be demolished. When I make my art, I delight in viewing it for times to come. Yet, I fully know this physical reality is a temporary situation. Our youth is fleeting. Slow poke suckers don’t last forever. Any hair dresser would tell you that even a permanent wave is not permanent. Art is, alas, just as our earthly bodies, only temporary.

Matheson and Art

The temporary does affect both art and life. However, this perishable nature doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t make an effort with my art as well as my life. I’ve always been fascinated by the book, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. This book has an extensive bibliography of numerous religious texts from around the world. I do not begin to know the exact source of his information as I’ve not read all of these resources.

What struck me as profound was what the book had to say about art. Matheson’s book speaks of art being influenced by the realms beyond. The perfect forms of anything we create is there. We are inspired (more or less) from the other side. He tells of grand, other worldly museums which house the most perfect forms, even and especially of the master artists! The quality of our earthly art is dependent upon how well we can connect to our inspiration.

The two examples of art I provided for you gave me great joy and pleasure to view and contemplate. I’ve no doubt that a part of the value of art as well as life is in how we make others feel. Perhaps some permanence may be in the memories carried on to the life everlasting. May we always remember our joys and pleasures!

Slow Down – Ten Quotes

Slow down! When I first thought of writing about the concept of slowing down, a song immediately came to mind. It was an old sixties song with a gentle reminder to slow down. Here it is.

I also think of this wind blown speed limit sign as a symbol of what could happen if we are exceeding our speed of living!

Slow down if breaking the speed limit!

It just seems that there are times when we must take stock of our lives and look at the wisdom of a slower paced life. Here are ten quotes to contemplate.

  1. Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. Eddie Cantor
  2. Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list. Patti Digh
  3. Slow down. Life is crossing the road. Debasish Mridha
  4. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lau Tzu
  5. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott
  6. It always pays to dwell slowly on the beautiful things – the more beautiful the more slowly. Atticus
  7. Most people’s minds are too busy for them to feel their skins being caressed by the wind or the sun. Mokokoma Mokhonoana
  8. You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour. Zen Proverb
  9. The earth has music for those who listen. George Santayana

Slow Down – Where is Number Ten?

I know what you are thinking. Perhaps I ran out of quotes. Maybe there are truly only nine? Okay, maybe I just needed to slow things down a bit… Sometimes I just need a little help from my friends to slow down. This brief video of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Eckhart Tolle reveals a simple solution to slow the racing thoughts in one’s mind. This was fascinating to me as the secret is in the hands!

Yes, I will tell you that you are actually nearing your opportunity to read the number ten quote. However, that quote must be prefaced by some further information. When learning the practice of Spring Forest Qigong (SFQ), I learned that the movements are more powerful when performed slowly. There is more healing power when the exercises are moving glacially, as in the speed of a glacier! You are now ready to read my number ten quote.

10. Some people, the faster they go, the slower they are. kindergarten boy

If I had not had the SFQ experience, I would have thought this statement ludicrous. It also reminds me of the story of the tortoise and the hare. Remember it was the tortoise who won the race. The hare was so confident that he became distracted. He started out running so fast that he exhausted himself in the heat, so he needed a nap. This is similar to when we don’t stop our racing thoughts. It also resembles when we are overconfident that we are super human and can do it all. It truly is more important, more efficient, more life enhancing to slow down!

Slowing Down Further

Last of all, I’d like to share one more song which fits with our theme of slowing down.

As luck would have it, after I slowed down, I discovered that the very two songs I chose to feature slowing down were both written by Paul Simon! He truly seems to understand the human need to slow down and listen to the silence.

May you slow down to dwell in the beauty, to be truly speaking as you talk and listening as you hear. Search for the music within the framework of your life. Just breathe deeply and take in your life with the wisdom of a child!

P.S. Please feel free to subscribe to my weekly blog by scrolling to the very top to “follow blog.” Thanks for reading!

Art: Reality, Grief and Truth

A 2014 artwork by Tim Noble and Sue Webster entitled The Masterpiece sparked my imagination. This piece of art spoke to me of reality, grief and truth. Before I elaborate on my thoughts, please take a look at the image in the following link.

https://arthur.io/art/tim-noble-sue-webster/the-masterpiece?crtr=1

Art and Truth

This particular work amazes me as It sparks ideas of reality, grief, truth, object, illusion, shadow, light, Plato and confirmation bias. Wow, that was a mouthful! Initially upon viewing this work, I noted the striking double portrait shadow upon the wall. These profiles happen to be of the two artists, Noble and Webster.

Next, I noticed the object, a silvery sculpture in front. I was intrigued that the shadow cast was actually from a light shining upon the object. Obviously the angle of our view of the sculpture is different from the angle of the light. Next, one must decide whether the sculpture is a thing of beauty. It is cast in silver, normally something reserved for things of value and prominence. Shockingly, the three dimensional part is actually dead vermin cast in silver and carefully arranged to form the artists’ profiles in shadow. Perhaps this may change your opinion of the concept of beauty. Many times artworks may create numerous emotions for various reasons. Indeed, this is a masterpiece, perhaps even more so by virtue of all the conflicting emotions involved!

Reality and Truth

This artwork took me back to college philosophy discussions on Plato. In the Grecian days of 5th Century BCE, Plato created the Allegory of the Cave. In a nutshell, it is representing average people as being imprisoned in chains and facing the wall of a cave. The only thing visible to these people is shadows upon the wall. The shadows are created by puppet masters parading cutout images in front of a fire or sunlight, all hidden behind the people. Hence, they are only capable of experiencing reality as mere two dimensional shadows. As the shadows are all that the people can see, they assume that is the truth. Here is an illustration and further explanation of it.

https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm

As viewers of The Masterpiece, we are privileged to be given not only the shadow, but also the object. Also, when this artwork is visited in person, the light is visible to the viewer.

Grief and Truth

Let’s examine this work in terms of grief. These little critters were once living beings who served a purpose with their lives. Now, they are no longer living and are preserved in a unique way. First of all, The Masterpiece may give one strong feelings of grief or perhaps relief or disgust when contemplating the demise of the vermin. It is ironic that something so potentially gruesome can create a shadow of a thing of beauty.

Now, let’s think about personal grief. Sometimes it is just too easy to focus on the shadows of sorrow. The tragedy of losing a loved one is typically a dark and trying time. What helps me the most is to think of all of us as light beings. Our bodies are merely a temporary vehicle for our true selves. (With the energy healing work as well as Spring Forest Qigong practice, I have seen that we are truly made of light!) This helps so much to have visualized our light in terms of grief. I only wish all of us could soon learn to see it.

Truth

Our world seems to have had difficulty in finding and expressing truth. So many groups have had diametrically opposite viewpoints. Perhaps an element of truth may lie in both sides. (Funny I used the word lie there.) Here are some things to consider. Are we focusing on a flat, two-dimensional shadow? Do we have a confirmation bias? Do our experts have a confirmation bias? Have we thought about the issue in a three dimensional manner, examining many angles as well as the length, width, and depth of it? Are our answers complete and accurate beyond a shadow of doubt? In searching for truth, a blast of light can illuminate the falsehoods and reveal the truth. I will say, sometimes truth isn’t pretty, but truth wasn’t running for a beauty contest.

Finally, can we approach truth with a flowering of love for one another? Perhaps this love could also be equated with light. That for which we are searching must include the best interests of one another, the future of humankind. The powerful lyrics in this song say it all regarding art: reality, grief and truth!

Changes Since 1892!

Do you suppose we’ve had many changes since 1892? Sometimes an amazing treasure appears. This happened with the discovery of a dated local newspaper, The Adair County Democrat. It was printed in 1892! If we were to go back to that era, it could seem as a foreign land. Sometimes, understanding the past can be a key to how our world works. Let’s take a trip to visit that time!

First of all, it was amazing that a newspaper of this vintage was flexible. I could handle it without it breaking into crunchy tidbits! Secondly, this paper, rather than utilizing color photography, was illustrated with lithography of prominent buildings and citizens.

Population Changes 1892 to Present

This edition informs us that “in 1860 the inhabitants numbered 984, in 1870, 3,372.” “In 1880 the population had increased to 11,667.” Adair County, Iowa in 1890, had a population of a whopping 14,534 people! The railways were credited for the population growth and development of the area in the late eighteen hundreds.

When we contrast those numbers to the 2019 census, Adair County had 7,085 residents. Inversely, transportation caused the decrease of the population in the area. A complex system of interstate highways with faster modes of travel was one of the reasons for the population decrease. Economic factors also beckoned people to the larger metropolitan areas.

Changes Since 1892 in Land Usage: Past

Let us listen to the poetic description of the lay of the land. “The surface is an undulating prairie broken by occasional strips of timber along the streams. The soil is such as is found in her sister counties of the famous Blue Grass Region of Southwestern Iowa and is characterized by an inexhaustible richness and fertility.”

As a side note, the Dust Bowl of the nineteen-thirties informed us that our rich topsoil was unfortunately not an endless supply.

1892: “Almost every acre in the county is tillable and fully nine-tenths of the acreage is now under cultivation. The leading productions are corn, oats, potatoes, wheat, rye, barley, millet, flax, clover, timothy and blue grass and all vegetables found in the temperate zone are cultivated. Fruit culture is receiving special attention and everywhere orchards of apple and cherry trees abound.”

Changes in Land Usage: Present

There have been many changes since 1892. Contrasting those days to now, corn and soybeans are the current major field crops grown here. Today’s massively large agricultural equipment would be compared to yesteryear’s horse drawn implements. Certainly this would be a factor in less diversification of crops on today’s farms. Many people still have gardens. There is now a trend of Community Supported Agriculture with producers growing organic vegetables and fruits for those who purchase a share.

In 1892, there were real estate transfers for farms ranging from 80 to 240 acres. The per acre cost was $30. Market Reports listed corn at 34 cents per bushel. Oats brought 24 cents per bushel.

Nowadays, the average farm land value is $5,634 per acre in this area. Depending upon the resource, the average Iowa farm ranges from 360 to 444 acres. Some farms have upwards of 2,000 acres. A bushel of corn today would be shelled rather than on the cob and bring $5.70 per bushel. Farmers in the late eighteen hundreds would not have had storage facilities for shelled corn, nor a mechanized way to shell it.

Town Changes

The Adair County Courthouse pictured above was completed on March 25, 1892. The cost, including furniture was $26,768. This stately structure is still in use today. The tower, however, is no longer there as it was at one point declared unsafe. The courthouse has been updated through the years. It now has a large elevator to enable easy access.

The paper had ads for such businesses as a livery barn and a blacksmith shop. A livery barn was a stable for horses. Wrought iron gates, railings, furniture, tools and horseshoes could be made in a blacksmith shop. Modern day transportation changes dictated businesses such as car repair shops as well as garages for rent. These served to replace the livery barn. As to a blacksmith shop, much of this type of iron work was taken over by larger city manufacturers.

There were train schedules for local and cross country travel printed in the paper. Those sorts of schedules for trains as well as planes are now available on the internet.

An 1892 pharmacy ad also included, “Pure wines and liquors for sacramental and medicinal purposes.” The last I checked, pharmacies no longer sell these products!

Organization Changes

It was intriguing to see a newspaper section of so called “Secret Societies”! These were organizations for veterans, sisterhoods, churches and philanthropic groups. The most fascinating aspect was how a number of them fixed their evening meeting dates by the full moon! For example, one group would meet the first Tuesday night on or before the full moon. Perhaps it helped a horse and rider to find their way more readily. Currently, I am not aware of any local organizations who set meeting dates by the moon!

Well, it is time to park our horse and buggy to return to our current time. I hope you enjoyed our peek at the past to discover changes since 1892!

Stop Cancer Spread

There are answers to stop cancer spread. Three recent cancer news stories seemed to connect. They served to unravel my calm demeanor. I must write to release it. One story was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibiting an early detection cancer test. Additionally, a video detailing cancer immunotherapy embargoes caught my eye. Lastly, there was radon: information to purge the killer in your home. All three grabbed not only my attention, but also my emotion.

FTC Cancer Test Halted

First of all is an article penned by Jim Greenwood. He is a former Republican member of Congress from Pennsylvania. Additionally, he is a past president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. He answers “Why this lifesaving test for cancer still sits on a shelf.” https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/2021/07/28/why-new-breakthrough-test-cancer-still-isnt-u-s-market/5383725001/ It was published in the Des Moines Register, as well as the USA Today. In summary, the US FTC has thus far refrained from allowing an extremely effective blood test. This “new blood test has the potential to revolutionize the way we detect and treat cancer” via DNA sequencing. It has the “ability to detect the early signs of more than fifty deadly cancers.” Forty-five of them “don’t have a recommended screening option available.” This is “before symptoms present themselves”!

Early detection could be a true health system game changer. I certainly am not a doctor. However, I do wonder what could happen if this test would be released to the marketplace. How might cancer spread be stopped? Maybe simple life style changes would be sufficient action? Perhaps kinder and gentler treatments could stop the cancer? With luck, this could minimize using side effect inducing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery! Certainly quality of life would be enhanced for patients as well as their families.

How can the FTC be convinced this test is significantly vital? Jim Greenwood makes a convincing argument that there is no reason for this to be held up. The best action for humankind would be to fast track the release of this early detection blood test. This could allow us to slow or stop cancer spread.

Cuba Slows Cancer Spread

Secondly, a NOVA episode demanded my attention. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/cubas-cancer-hope/ Apparently Fidel Castro’s former leadership has made Cuba a world class cancer treatment center. They have developed an immunotherapy lung cancer vaccine, CimaVax. These treatments enable the disease to transform from an acute condition to chronic. It thereby increases life expectancy. Many US people go to Cuba for treatments. This is not to purposely break the law, but to improve their lives. Roswell Park doctors in Buffalo, NY have been collaborating with Cuban doctors. They are doing US clinical trials on these vaccines. https://www.pri.org/stories/cuba-has-had-lung-cancer-vaccine-years Unfortunately, there is an embargo preventing delivery of these life enhancing medications to US patients. Meanwhile, US doctors await FDA approval pending clinical trial data.

Yet again, I was disturbed that the best and most humane treatments could be blocked by our government. Medical personnel on both sides of the border want to help patients. They were ready and willing to share these treatments if the embargo was lifted.

What steps does our world need to take? How can the best medical practices be used to benefit all humankind? How can countries work together to stop cancer spread?

Mitigate Radon to Stop Cancer’s Spread

Thirdly, our local news aired a story on radon. https://www.weareiowa.com/article/news/health/radon-in-iowa-mitigation-environmental-protection-agency-public-health-maria-steele-richard-deming-bill-field-gail-orcu Radon is a naturally occurring gas released from the ground. It can seep into homes and cause lung cancer. The entire state of Iowa is a high risk area. Currently, it seems that local agencies are expressing more concern that public and private buildings be tested for radon. Mitigation of radon makes structures safe to inhabit. We installed such a system several years ago. It involves a quiet, continually running fan. The system connects a ground level area beneath the building to the exterior. Radon is then expelled outdoors. This story is a reminder of how we citizens must educate ourselves as to exposure risk.

Here is data from the World Health Organization on radon. https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/topics/topic-details/GHO/gho-phe-radon-database It also details strategies world wide. How can further radon mitigation in the public and private sectors be accomplished? What if people world wide worked on this issue? Could we stop cancer spread?

Conclusion

This brings me to why these three stories concern me. Indeed, we must stop cancer spread. You see, we lost our 38 year old son from cancer. I know we are not alone on this journey. So many of us have lost family members, friends and colleagues to this dread disease. Have you ever counted how many you have lost? Also include those who are still living with cancer. I began counting by using my upper and lower digits. Then, I greatly exceeded twenty and lost count.

My point is that cancer is far too wide spread in our world to be playing trade wars. Cooperation is vital!

Lastly, one must ask, who benefits from these trade policies? While this is not the focus of my writing, it is a vital question. For some reason, it feels as if it is a money issue. I am reminded of the quote from Scrooge in Dickens’ Christmas Carol. “Then let them die and reduce the surplus population.” Is it indeed because of money? If so, this disturbing scenario will end when our love for humankind exceeds our love for money. What can we do? Our policies and actions can significantly make a difference.

The Mirror Tree

Maybe once in your life or perhaps twice, a tree or plant will mirror your life back to you. If you are a seeker you may find multiple times in which nature reflects the circumstances in your life. This is my story.

When our children were young, we planted three fruit trees: a yellow apple, a red apple and a cherry tree. Our son was in kindergarten while our daughter was a toddler.

I recall the four of us doing our own part when we planted them. My husband dug the holes and lifted each sapling into its new home. I held them straight, one by one, while the others (mostly my husband) placed dirt in the hole. Our kids thought it fun to help tamp down the dirt with their dancing feet. It was an enjoyable and carefree time.

Mirror Tree, Which of the Three?

The three trees looked lovely in our yard. The yellow delicious apple tree began fruiting first. I should mention when we purchased the trees, we asked if the cherry tree needed a mate for it. We were told it was self-pollinating. Apparently it wasn’t because it has never produced fruit. It was and is, however, a very lovely tree, appearance wise.

Our red apple tree wasn’t strong enough to produce. It only lasted a year or two. The yellow delicious tree, however, was an exceptional specimen!

Not long after we started harvesting the yellow apples, it was common to collect wheelbarrows full of luscious fruit. One year our early elementary-aged son requested I make apple crisp for his entire class. Rather than frosted cupcakes, he wanted this apple treat to celebrate his fall birthday!

Through the years, innumerable fresh apples were consumed from that tree. Quart upon quart of applesauce flowed forth. Of course, the tasty apple crisp frequented our kitchen and landed in our bellies! Year after year, this tree presented her grandest efforts, with the exception of two years. One year, our dear tree only produced two apples, only two whole apples! That fall, one of the two apples fell before harvest. Coincidentally, that was the autumn our son left for college, while our daughter remained home with us.

Mirror Bushes and Plants

Other plants now enter my story from stage right. We planted pygmy crimson barberry bushes to landscape around our home. These lovely, deep red plants added a nice contrasting splash of color. Two years, however, were a challenge for a number of these bushes. They became infested with worms. During the first infestation, the leaves were gone for the remainder of the year. Fortunately, the foliage returned the next year. In the second instance, some leaves were lost, but miraculously in that drought year returned. Interestingly, each of those two years (three years apart) were the years of our son’s two major pancreatic cancer surgeries. He regained a clean scan following each of those two surgeries! It was fascinating to see the bushes reflect a clean bill of health as well!

I would be remiss if at this point I neglected to mention our resurrection plants. These lovely lilies are what some call naked ladies. They explode with beauteous petals in shades of pink tinged in blues and violets. Ours were transplanted in our yard years ago from my mother-in-law’s garden. The habit of this plant is to produce long, slender green leaves in the spring. It then dies down. Eventually in late summer, with no hint of a plant above ground, all at once single stems pop from the ground. A gorgeous flower sits upon each.

Betwixt our son’s two aforementioned surgeries, was his first scan after having been diagnosed with the “c” word. The very day we came back home from this scan, these lilies were tired of playing hide and seek. They were blooming in a glorious array! It seemed to be portending a clean result on our son’s scan, which it was then: no evidence of disease!

Yellow Delicious Mirror Tree

We now return to our yellow delicious apple tree, four years after our son’s second pancreas surgery. Our tree started out that year, perfectly fine. Despite her share of wind-battered injury and removed limbs, she had been producing many apples. That summer, she did set on fruit, however, by mid-summer the fruit shriveled and dropped. The tree lost the bulk of her leaves throughout the warm months and appeared as good as dead. This of course, was the heart-breaking summer when our dear son passed from this life. It was as if our poor tree was in mourning as well.

Unbelievably, the photo on this post is of our yellow delicious tree, the very next summer following the death of our son and seeming demise of our tree. That summer, the foliage looked lush while the fruit setting on appeared delectably plump. Was our apple tree mirroring the influence of our son’s impact through the years, that he and his memory lives on?

Departure

In the years since then, our apple tree continued producing fruit, although the quantity was waning. This very year, our poor tree has finally reached her age of departure. It has been five years since our son’s passing. Our mirror tree started out the year with a small amount of energy devoted to squirrel’s-ear-sized leaves. A very small number of deformed, dime-to-nickel-sized apples squeezed from the stems. What limbs she has now are mainly shoots off of major limbs which were previously lopped off. Her protective bark is no longer clinging to the trunk. This Charlie Brown like tree sadly turned brown for the final time. I read that a semi-dwarf apple tree typically has a life expectancy of thirty to thirty-five years. It will be sad to cut her down, however she lived a good thirty-nine years in our yard. Our son’s life was just shy of thirty-nine years by three to four months.

Our plants, as you can see, speak to me. They uncannily mirror what our lives are. I encourage you to search and seek the mysterious messages that may be hiding in plain sight before you. May you find your mirror tree!

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Approaching Grief

First of all, how are you approaching grief? Undoubtedly, you have questions. Is your grief normal? Are there right ways to grieve? Is it unusual to speak to your dearly departed?

Models of Grief

For years, the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross grief model was the gold standard. Many still use it. This traditional model was developed in 1969. It includes five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. One may assuredly experience these in any order. Many grief models emphasize finishing the grieving process. Meanwhile, this 1996 book, proposes a different way. https://whatsyourgrief.com/continuing-bonds-shifting-the-grief-paradigm/ The title is Continuing Bonds: New Understanding of Grief (Death Education, Aging and Health Care). Klass, Silverman and NIckman are the authors. For overviews of other grief models, check GRIEF RELIEF.

This is certainly refreshing learning for me. Maintaining a relationship with our dearly departed can be a healthy and normal way to cope.

Additionally, this page offers ideas to continue a connection to your loved one. Perhaps you have some other ideas as well. https://whatsyourgrief.com/16-practical-tips-continuing-bonds/

Another site documents chiefly positive mental health effects by speaking to our dearly departed. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/grief-talking-to-a-dead-loved-one-is-good-for-mental-health

There are indeed dramatically different ways to approach grief. Furthermore, it is culture dependent. Much of the death process has been removed from USA homes. Most of our institutions have “concealed many aspects of death and dying from patients and their families. One consequence is that survivors are less well equipped to deal with the aftermath of death.” (NCBI)

“Pathologic results of grieving, not surprisingly are … evaluated and labeled.” “Looking for… health consequences of bereavement is so unusual in cross-cultural perspective … that it can be regarded as …Westernization.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK217844/

Grief Practices: Other Cultures

Conversely, some other cultures encourage a continued relationship with our departed. One such example is the annual Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. It honors loved ones with home based alters. An alter is pictured at the top of the Teen Vogue site above. This beautiful photo is a scene from the movie, Coco. These alters celebrate and honor the departed. Food, decorations, photos and candles are certainly part of the celebration. Additionally, parades, music and festivals add to the atmosphere.

What if there was a way to speak to your departed loved ones? How would you do it? What would you say?

Here is another culture which promotes this connection. It is demonstrated in Japan. https://allthatsinteresting.com/phone-of-the-wind This is a Japanese phone booth with a disconnected phone. Mourners may speak their message to a loved one. The wind carries their words. I have no doubt that each heart felt message is delivered!

Finally, does your heart feel at peace with your grief approach? That is indeed a sign this is the right way for you to grieve.

CLEAR NEGATIVE ENERGY

Would you like to clear negative energy? Have bad vibes impacted your life? Do you ever feel encumbered by past emotions? What about trauma? Perhaps you’ve felt stuck in your life? Did you know that our emotions can eventually lodge within our bodies and affect our health? Here is a potential solution for you to try!

A number of years ago, our son was newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This event inspired my search. I looked for multiple ways that the average person could affect one’s health. These health techniques are typically termed complementary healing. They are to be used in combination with other more traditional kinds of medical treatment. One such way I found was in utilizing tuning forks. These are specially tuned forks. A struck fork emits a specific frequency. This in turn affects different aspects of our bodies’ energy fields. After using my forks for some time, I came upon YouTube videos with these frequencies! The videos play specific tones, not necessarily “music”. This enables anyone with access to the videos to try this modality much more affordably.

Our Energy Fields

One’s energy field can hold emotions from decades ago. We may not even realize it! I have previously had an intuitive healer work on me. A trauma from decades ago was significantly affecting me. When she gave me the age range, I thought a bit. I did remember something traumatic from that time period. However, I had no idea that it was still harbored in my body. Even though the event which triggered my trauma was resolved within days, the emotional baggage still needed to be released decades later!

Here is quite an informative article on the intersection of traditional Western medicine (allopathic) and energy medicine. This would include subtle energy healing such as Reiki, tuning forks, etc. It is a lengthy article. If you read only a portion, I recommend scrolling to the bottom to at least contemplate their amazing conclusion. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331403723_Energy_Medicine_Current_Status_and_Future_Perspectives

Purge the Negative

Interestingly, I’ve read that our energy field is somewhat like a tree’s growth. Happenings of our early years are at our core. Successive years build out from there. Accordingly, our positive and negative emotions are recorded within this field. Traditional medicine has their therapies to deal with deeply internalized emotions. Complementary and alternative healing modalities have other sets of solutions.

Prior to trying the frequency to clear negative energy, I felt mildly on edge. Then, I started the video and relaxed on a yoga mat. My breath deepened as I began feeling intensely relaxed. I felt tingly and could feel free flowing energy within my body. I listened for only fifteen minutes, but it was still long enough to induce a light headed sensation. For that reason, I took my time in resuming my activities. It seemed that I felt lighter and freer following my session.

Before trying some of these frequencies, be sure to consult with one’s medical professional. They will ascertain that you are a good candidate to try this modality. Also, one must be sitting or lying down while listening. Once finished, it is important to carefully determine if you are settled before standing.

Here is the YouTube video I used to clear negative energy:

Clear Other Energies!

Last of all, here are a few links to other posts I’ve written on frequency healing. For grief, here is Tuning into Healing: Grief. Before I found this video, I listened to my 396 frequency tuning fork to clear grief. It certainly made my heart feel lighter! For boosting one’s creativity, listen to Creativity 101 with 528 Hertz. Who doesn’t want to be more creative? If you desire to improve in the relationship arena, here is HEALING AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: 639 HERTZ. Find a friend and give it a try! If you are experiencing physical pain, try PAIN: KNOCK IT DOWN – 174 HZ and Pain Blessings When It Hertz! I was dramatically impressed with my experience with these! No medical claims are made. However, I do recommend exploring some of these techniques to decide for yourself. Happy healing!

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