Traditions

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Having the unique opportunity of viewing the botanical gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV is a true pleasure.  Every few months the staff work tirelessly to present a visual floral feast to celebrate the current recognized holiday.  Without regard to religion or country or creed – each worldwide ethnic traditional celebration is displayed.

Here in the United States we are entering one of our periods of traditional celebration – Thanksgiving,  Christmas and New Year’s.  These are our traditions, our celebrations of development, remembrance and new beginnings.  We express ourselves and our happiness by spending more time with family and friends.  Our gift giving and meal sharing is our attempt at making everyone feel happy and secure.  We want to party and encourage others to join us in celebrating our traditions.

Traditions are our link to the past and offer hope that our surroundings in the future will be stable and secure.  All ethnic groups have similar celebrations focusing on their traditions – it grounds us all to the past yet offers hope for the future.

Traditions, and the celebrations of them, are fast approaching.  We all revel in our ability to freely enjoy their dual meaning: the past the future. Enjoy your traditions and those of others.

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More Time

Jennifer Brea was a PhD student at Harvard when her body began to rebel against her. She was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In her TED talk launched January, 2017 entitled “UNREST,” she describes her harrowing journey through symptom management and finally correct diagnosis.  This debilitating disease stole her energetic, promise-filled life.

Her heart felt sympathy for the other yet unidentified people who carry the invisible disability is heart breaking.  Jennifer was forced to give up a youthful, promising professional life to a debilitating, little-recognized medical condition that will slowly cannibalize her ability to enjoy the pleasures of life.

She’s a beacon: a light that shines a path urging us to use our time wisely.  She thought that she had more time – time for: experiencing the pleasures of life, discovering the truths hidden in books, spending quality time with friends and family and earning an advanced degree at a distinguished university.  Jennifer has reevaluated her life based on new goals that are every bit as challenging.

She has developed a new voice.  A voice that will stand the test of time.  One that will give us all MORE TIME.  Her example shows us that by using our time wisely together and developing a collective voice we can integrate what we know into the challenges of the future. So, my challenge to you is: Check out Jennifer Brea.

Comfort with Life

20171005_123354This cartoon appears in a recent 2017 edition of Reader’s Digest.  Obviously, it offers a relaxed slat on life.  This  viewpoint is reinforced in a recent interview with Art Garfunkel (11/4/2017) when he states that he has reached a period in his life when he is “comfortable with life.”

Certainly, this is a broad term cultivated after weathering life’s many trials and challenges.  Often we wonder: “why am I enduring this horrible situation?” There seems no rhyme or reason for a negative or bad experience to enter our otherwise normal or calm life.  I am not a “bad” person.  I have not intentionally hurt someone.  Yet,  there it is – a great big challenge sitting smack dab in front of you.

So, you gather all of the positive coping strategies that you used in the past to overcome the challenge.  This approach works.  You know it works because it has worked in the past.  You develop a strategy, the strategy works and provides harmony in your life.  This is a path to feeling comfortable in your life.

As you work through issues in your life, instead of ignoring them, you realize that only by addressing barriers that challenge your comfort level will you develop a strategy.  This attitude becomes comfortable.  Being comfortable, feels comfortable. You like the feeling and want to repeat it.  You develop strategies to keep experiencing the feeling.

Before long you too are comfortable with life… Continue reading

Energy Boost

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Fatigue is not part of this flower.  It takes work, energy, timing, systemic nutrition, scheduled strategies, clean gardening devices and focused problem solving to bring this rose from its’ basic root system to a full, healthy, vibrant bloom.  Its’ blood red color and sturdy stems are supported by a responsive root system that draws nutrition from a fertile soil enriched with vital nutrients.

We are like the vibrant flower.  There are tools and strategies which we use to maintain and boost our energy level.  The first step is to identify our peak energy so that we can  understand when we fall behind or below our best.  This strategy requires a variety of sources: nutrition, sleep, relaxation, stimulation, education and socialization.  Using these sources to our advantage is key.

“Tweaking the dose” may be the answer.  This term sometimes refers to medication but is also relevant to the topic of energy.  Exercise in the right amount can release endorphins – hormones that make up feel good – and take our minds off of fatigue.  The May 2016 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, the Psychiatric University Clinics Basel and Iran published an article on this issue.  The results found that the group that did exercise three times a week had less depression and fatigue (University of Basel in Switzerland).  Jack Burks, MD, FAAN, chief medical consultant of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America in Cherry Hill, NJ., (The Waiting Room – Neurology Now, Oct.-Nov. 2017) recommends, as well as other health professionals, that everyone check with their doctor before starting any exercise routine.

When we are not functioning at our peak, we may need to consider help to regain our best operating level.  A variety of medical professionals are a valuable tool.  Just as with the vibrant rose, sometimes outside help is needed.  Maybe we over-exercise or strain a muscle on a hiking trip or fall when riding our bike – it happens.  A professional can quickly get us back into peak performance.

The rose can’t control the weather: sunlight, rain, wind, dust.  However, we can control some of our resources: sleep, nutrition, socialization.  This is our moment to shine – as though we are our own ball of blazing sun.  Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising to tolerance on a regular basis, maintaining a scheduled sleep cycle and reaching out to an eclectic network of friends to enhance our neurologic health is within our control.  It shines a bright light on our well-being.  Just like the red rose, we can help to ensure that fatigue has no part of our flowering.

Change

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The comedian Eddie Izzard once said, “CAESAR – did he ever think that he would end up as a salad?” Well, did any of us when we graduated from high school ever believe that we would change from the youthful, energetic, hopeful teenager that we were on that fateful day of our high school graduation? Probably not.

However, William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, said “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

The message is – if you want to change things, you better start today because the clock may be ticking.

Blood/Blood Clots

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A basic definition of the blood system is a red liquid that circulates in the heart, veins and arteries of man and animals.  It’s also a portal system that stabilizes our body functions – nutrition, hydration, elimination, circulation.  Each of these systems functions in a balanced manner.  When this balance is disrupted the system breaks down.

Healthy blood coagulates, or clots.  In a recent article (published by Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada) this process is explained as a normal process to stop bleeding after an injury is sustained.  The article goes on explain that platelets and plasma proteins inside the blood allow this to happen by forming a solid mass over the broken blood vessel.  Normally, this clot will dissolve – it’s a natural process.

This is a good example of our body “healing itself.”  Our marvelous body can generally do this if it is given the correct tools to do its work.  We are in charge of giving our body the tools.  Our tool belt should contain adequate hydration, nutritious food, restorative rest, enjoyable relaxation, supportive social networks and a stimulating career path.

We may not always be able to keep our tool box filled with the needed equipment but at least attempting to keep it stocked with most of the tools that we use on a daily basis may get us through the hard times.  When we are in danger of “throwing a clot” we want to have right tools at our disposal to handle the emergency.

Energy

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I was relaxing on the shore of a beautiful tropical beach.  The serene scene offered soothing moments of rejuvenation.  The warm sun and the flow of the waves brought a feeling of muscle relaxation and mental freedom.

Into this milieu rushed a barking, energetic Jack Russell terrier followed closely by its’ owner.  The owner was dutifully carrying a bundle of beach-appropriate packages.  As I was observing peace-intruding couple, I was expecting to see the dog owner unpack a variety of sun loving toys: beach shoes, hats, towels, cold drinks, surf board, flippers, snorkel, etc.

Even though the owner was dressed in appropriate swimwear, what I saw was amazing. She unpacked a large, 5 gallon, plastic bucket filled with brightly colored tennis balls and a tennis racket. The Jack Russell terrier’s energy level instantly elevated.  The tiny dog ran unabashed straight into the ocean.  The animal had no concern for consequences.  This reaction was obviously triggered by the owner’s actions. The tiny canine was whipped around by the ebb and flow of the waves yet remained staunch in his resolve.  The dog turned back toward the direction of its’ owner and waited while being tossed about by the current.

The owner ceremoniously lifted the tennis racket into the air, picked up a handful of tennis balls and, with gusto, began smacking them into the ocean waves toward the direction of the transfixed terrier.

Without regard for life or limb, the tiny dog dove into the waves. After a few anxious moments, the canine surfaced holding three of the fluorescent tennis balls wedged into and bulging from, his small mouth.  He enthusiastically ran onto the shore to return the projectiles.  After laying the retrieved tennis balls at her feet, the terrier immediately ran back into the ocean to repeat the exercise.

I walked over to the owner and remarked about the unique form of exercise that she had devised for her dog.  “Believe me, I have tried everything else and this is the best way to tire him out. He loves it.”  My first thought was that everyone should be so lucky as to find a specific exercise that they love to do every day that totally tires them out.  One that they do with energy and dedication that fills them with joy and abandonment.

Find your EXERCISE and use your ENERGY!

 

 

Dialysis

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Dialysis is the separation of unequal, diluted substances through a membrane. This membrane often has numerous, minuscule permeable tentacles interwoven through flexible fibers.  This process often purifies the substance.

Medicine uses this process to purify the blood of someone who has experienced kidney failure.  It replaces the process that a body’s functioning kidney would perform. The patient usually has a permanent shunt implanted into their body for easy access of the chronic procedure.  Since impurities are filtered out of the body, the patient needs to surrender to the process on a regular basis.

Having observed many dialysis patients, I understand the tension between submitting to life-long medical procedures and the freedom to enjoy good health.  Dialysis means that someone or something has control over an intimate aspect of your life.  However, it also is obvious that not submitting to the procedure will endanger your health or end your life.

Such is the dichotomy of life. Often, we don’t want to do what is good for us!

Is It Obvious?

20150131_135823This festive door is decorated for a Mardi Gras celebration.  The wreath is a collection of bright colors and varied textures.  Visitors would immediately know that the people in this home are in a festive mood and ready for a holiday party.

When people walk by you on a public street can they immediately sense what is going on inside?  Are you healthy?  Do you exercise on a regular basis? Have you taken time to reflect on your personal needs?  Have you chosen your favorite form of exercise and designed a routine that fits your lifestyle?

We all are faced each day with a variety of choices.  How we make those choices determines how we spend our time.  Hopefully, when we are walking down the street, doing our grocery shopping, going to the library or attending a social event the general public can visually see how we are spending our time.  It should be obvious that we are making the correct choices if we are standing tall, walking straight with shoulders back and feeling healthy and well-rested.

Next time you are in the position to make a quick observation, it should be obvious.

 

 

A Little Sugar

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I overheard a conversation: “My doctor said that I have a little sugar in my blood.  I don’t know how it got there.  My doc said that I need to get it out.”  I admit that I was ease-dropping.  The couple was talking about the husband’s recent diagnosis of diabetes.

The man needed more information about his medical condition.  Hopefully, the doctor was following up with education classes.  Possibly, the doctor was referring to the term “A1c.”  This is a reference used by medical providers to assess the level of glucose in a persons blood at any given time – it is a marker on the red blood cell.  There are certain guidelines that gauge if this A1c level is in a healthy parameter for the patient.  We all need to know how our bodies function and education from professional sources is the correct avenue from which to receive that information.

Our bodies function on a delicate balance of hormones, enzymes, signals, pathways, connections, feedback systems and response loops.  In order for all of these units to interact properly we must provide the fuel.  Fuel keeps the entire engine engaged.  Of course, the man needs “a little sugar in his blood.”  He also needs proteins, “good” fats, complex carbohydrates and trace minerals circulating through his system to keep his fine-tuned body in good working order. We all need “a little sugar” just try to make it the right kind of sugar.

I maintain a web site – “HubCityWellness.com” that outlines credible medical resources which may be of interest.