friend always

veru4_2_19I miss you, my friend.
You, so close,
          and
you, the one I will never know.
I don’t know where you are.
This was always the design.
You are going somewhere new
          without me, again.
What can I do but make wishes for you,
          like always,
and simply remain.
I miss you, my friend.

 

simple changes for a healthy life and world

veru2_13_19-e1550060900590.jpgI was happy to see a recent video in which Mic. the Vegan interviewed Dr. Dean Ornish.

Mic. the Vegan always offers fun and informative presentations on all things vegan. His forte is delving into actual research to substantiate what we know about the vegan lifestyle. Be sure and check out his channel here.

I’ve appreciated Dr. Ornish since way back when he first published Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Everything in there made sense to me then, back in 1990, and it still does.

Ornish has a new book, Undo It, written with his wife, Anne.  The idea is that most chronic diseases can be reversed through simple lifestyle changes.

In Mic.’s interview, Ornish boiled the themes of the book down to a handful of maxims:

EAT WELL.

MOVE MORE.

STRESS LESS.

LOVE MORE.

Eating well translates to a plant-based diet. Ornish encourages vegan – the book includes recipes, too. Moving more means exercise. Stressing less involves things like meditation and yoga. Loving more means healthy, loving relationships in our lives, including connectedness with friends and community.

Sounds simple enough, eh? 

Mic. quizzed Ornish about a variety of topics. One that they spent some time on was the prevalence of depression and loneliness, and the impact on health – hence, the “Love more” part of the mix – which Ornish singled out as a high priority. In fact, in 1998 he wrote an entire book on that subject alone: Love & Survival.

Needless to say, Ornish’s latest book is on my reading list. It would be great to see us all take Ornish’s four simple maxims to heart: Eat well, move more, stress less, love more. If we did that, we would all be a lot healthier.

Not only that, adhering to those maxims as a culture has the potential to change the world and our collective future in very positive ways – from protecting our endangered planet to improving the very structure of our society.

Works for me. It’s simple steps each one of us can do to take care of ourselves and each other. Let’s “be the change we wish to see.” 

look up

veru1_22_19

For you the stars shimmer and dance in the blueblack sky
if you would but once look up to the heavens and see them.
The shooting star traces its exuberant arc
but you never see it
your wish unmade.

Your eyes instead peer nervously down into the dark hole.
You keep pouring into that hole and it never fills.
You look around in the starlight
and think everything is broken
you limp with it.

Always always tending to the hollow space
wasting away with the effort.
Waves wash over you
you shirk them off, snarling,
too busy with the empty hole.

My whole body aches with this.
look up! look up!
The stars
they shine for you
they hold you, perfect, in their gaze.

Things are broken
holes are surely dug.
It’s not your fault
and you are not those things.
The stars, they shine for you.

a gentle hug

veru11_20_18So, Thanksgiving. I can tell because when I went to do my shopping, the store was positively throbbing with people and angst. Oh, and there were a lot of frozen turkeys.

As we launch the whole holiday season, I cannot help but think of those for whom this is a difficult time. Persons who have suffered loss or separation, or who experience poverty or strife, may find the season can bring additional pain.

I lived for a number of years emotionally struggling to get through the holidays. It was a very, very depressing season for me during those years. It was also a very lonely time.

Simply being an onlooker as all about you is the happy hustle and bustle, family gatherings and traditions, that are lost from your own experience can heighten sad and separate feelings. There’s no explaining it if you haven’t experienced it.

Well-meaning folks tried to draw me into their own family traditions, but that just somehow amplified my feelings of loss and separation. When I finally settled on following my own path, it worked a lot better for me.

The advice to start your own new traditions is fine – when you’re ready. The six weeks or so of the holidays do not have to be defined by what everyone else is doing or has always done, or what’s big in the stores or media. It is unfortunate that so much of the beautiful meaning in our holidays is sucked up by a focus on obligated consumption.

I ultimately found my own holiday path, and I’m finally in a good place with the season. 

I am writing this because I know there are others out there who suffer with the holidays for various reasons, and I am sad for that. I know how rough that can be.

It is part of the human experience to know sadness. We try hard to push sad feelings away, but sometimes, we just have to fully put our arms around the sadness and be with it before we can heal. And, eventually, we can see the path taking shape before us again.

There can be peace and happiness on the path. I know, and it is what I wish for you if you are one of those struggling right now.

Please consider yourself gently hugged.