Tag: wellness

Earth Day ~ “It’s Not Nice to Fool with Mother Nature” ~ #ScienceMarch

Earth Day ~ “It’s Not Nice to Fool with Mother Nature” ~ #ScienceMarch

Earth
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Earth Day brought this infamous quote to mind today. Do you remember the old Chiffon Margarine commercial famous for the one liner, “It’s not nice to fool with mother nature!”? Of course you do! The actress Dena Dietrich delivered her lines with such style they lasted longer than the commercial, or the margarine!  A classic commercial, you can still hear the one liner spoken today, at least by our generation!

These are crazy times. It’s a pleasure to escape back in time for a moment and revisit simpler times. Old movies, classic music, and even commercials remind us of simpler times when our world seemed safer.  Back then we weren’t afraid to eat Chiffon Margarine or drink out of a hose.  Drug stores did not sit on every corner and we didn’t even consider that the food our parents served us might be harmful to us.  Most of us grew up in a world in which a visit to church or synagogue was a part of week.

THE GIFT OF THE EARTH

earthRomping in the woods was a natural part of my life as a child, and Earth Day gives me an opportunity every year to reflect on the value of the natural world. For me, it’s not just about global warming and National Parks, although it is that, it’s about the restorative life energy nature gives to each of us when we seek it out.  It’s the interior value of a walk in the woods, or watching a sunset or the waves as they crash on the shore. There’s nothing else like it.

I can easily imagine life without Chiffon Margarine, which had a long an interesting history. It seems those who created it first began selling it in 1954. A corn product out of Texas, it was the first soft tub margarine to come on the market.  My family used it, did yours? I never liked the taste. Butter was infinitely better in all respects.

Chiffon Margarine sold to Kraft in 1985 which became a part of Nabisco in 1995, and then became a part of Con-Agra in 1998. Con-Agra stopped distributing Chiffon in the United States and Canada in 2002. It can still, however, be purchased in the Caribbean. (Wikipedia) So went the fate of Chiffon Margarine. We are healthier for its absence from our diet, that is, if we ignore the rise of fast food restaurants and snack foods!

THE GIFT OF SCIENCE

The events that gave rise to the Science March on Earth Day this year have given us  an opportunity to reflect on what really is good for us, as individuals and as a nation. Like the earth, we have taken so much for granted in our lifetime. We were so busy with our lives we lost sight of the bigger picture. It wasn’t that we weren’t doing our best and contributing to the betterment of our corner of the world, we just became a little too self-focused.

We’re a nation of individualists. That has its advantages. The disadvantage, however, is the tendency to believe that everyone else thinks like we do, and that everyone else’s life is like ours. Being self-focused may get things done day-to-day. It doesn’t mean things will continue as they are in the world unattended to. We became so accustomed to our government watching our backs about everything, from the quality of our food to the quality of our earth. We trusted them implicitly. There didn’t seem to be any reason not to. After all, the government managed to impeach Nixon when he crossed the line. They generally know what they’re doing. They will keep building National Parks, and maintaining our highways, and protecting the environment from big business.

The upside of the political nightmare is that we are now taking the time to revisit our values as a nation, to remember and restate exactly what it is we stand for.  We had forgotten who we were. Complacency had taken up residence.  So lost in the minutiae at election time, we stopped paying attention to whether or not the people we elected shared our deepest values. Furthermore, we assumed that we were all, more or less, on the same page, but without open dialogue and communication we can’t know this for sure.

POLITICS & MARRIAGE

Our political world is much like a marriage. Communication is foundational and without it, problems will and do arise. It is time for us to collectively restate our values, beliefs and goals as a nation. Only then can we unify, stand together and work together to keep this country great. It’s up to us. It’s not just up to our leaders. So I say march on scientists! March on women! I am thrilled you actively voice your values, not only to the listening ears of our leaders, but to the people who elect them.  The majority of us are cheering you on and stand to benefit from your tireless efforts to make the world a better place.

The earth is a gift. Science is a gift. Freedom is a gift. Let’s never forget it, and let us continue be vigilant and stay informed. As we work together to get our already great nation back on track, know that we are becoming stronger than we were before.


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I STILL Honor You Robin Williams – July 21, 1951 to August 11, 2014

I STILL Honor You Robin Williams – July 21, 1951 to August 11, 2014

Robin WilliamsToo little has been said about Robin Wiliams’ suicide. Too little has been done to honor his life. I sense a world uncertain and confused about how to respond to his suicide, or how they “should” feel, and so they remain silent. Still caught in the archaic notion that depression and suicide are choices we make, sympathy, compassion and understanding are lacking. We are too often a heartless society, unable to rise above our baser instincts, our judgments, our egos.

Robin William’s death could have been a launch pad for vitally important and valuable conversations about mental health, depression, suicide, medically induced suicide, the emotional and mental aspects of illnesses such as  Parkinson’s and Dementia, how we allow advertising and drug companies to determine what is best for us, how doctor’s too often do the same. His death could have been an addition to his legacy, not an embarrassing post-script.

I was stunned by the lack of honor paid to this talented man and his incredible body of work at this year’s awards ceremonies.  When it came to the segment honoring those lost during the year, his picture seemed to be thrown in at the end, like an afterthought,  as if they were debating right up to show time whether or not to include him.  The fact that he died at his own hand seemed to somehow tarnish his legacy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the reasons behind his suicide were thrashed about as hotly on the internet as Donald Trump’s current insult to our collective intelligence are now? I didn’t see it, and I’m present here every day more than I often would like to be.  A few spoke up at the time of his death, like Dean Burnett’s article in The Guardian, Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish, otherwise the topic was dropped quickly; a lack of consensus perhaps, or a lack of understanding.

Robin Williams’ death was ruled a suicide. That is the black and white of medical science. It’s not the whole story. It never is. News reporting didn’t seem to want to go the distance. US Today reported:

The official cause of Williams death, released Friday by the Marin County coroner, was ruled a suicide by hanging, with no evidence of alcohol or illegal drugs in his system and only therapeutic concentrations of prescribed medications.

 

Williams had long battled alcoholism, drug addiction and depression, but in November 2013 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, according to his widow, after noticing a tremor in his left arm and difficulty moving on his left side as early as 2011.

 

Now a redacted pathology report from the autopsy on Williams’ body has been made public and it mentions Lewy body disease, a newly recognized disorder similar to Parkinson’s.

My mother-in-law who died a little over two years ago, and who was born on August 11th, the  same day on which Robin Williams life ended, was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She was given powerful doses of medication that created a vast array of difficult side affects, including anxiety, depression, and hallucinations. Several years into treatment the doctor said, “Oh, sorry, my mistake. You don’t have Parkinson’s.”

We need to question our medical practitioners with increasing frequency and regularity about the drugs they are prescribing, too often without respect for the consequences.  We must continue to be pro-active in our health care, questioning, reading, researching and evaluating in addition to seeking the advice of a professional. We need to stop being so agreeable and willing to accept whatever the multi-billion dollar drug industry prescribes for us, because the drug companies, more often than not, are dictating what doctor’s are prescribing and/or inducing us to ask for them.  They convince us with their expensive advertising that we need their product, much like McDonald’s, and the ill effects may be just as inauspicious.

DoubtfireIn addition, we need to continue to look harder at the underlying causes of mental illness. It is not always a difficult childhood, a trauma, a confused identity alone that leads to depression and suicide. These things may only be the precipitating factor behind a biological imbalance, or vice versa; a biological imbalance that may be corrected by diet, supplements, or remedies other than the chemicals prescribed by drug companies.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have served their purpose and continue to do so for many, during a time in history when they were the best option available to us. Now, however, research is reaching further every day into the body/mind connection. Let’s start listening to their findings and following common sense at least as often as we follow big business and advertising.

Lewy Body Dementia, the disease Robin Williams actually had, causes hhallucinations, visuospatial abnormalities, and other psychiatric disturbances. As mentioned above, Parkinson’s medications can cause these types of problems as well. Should he not have been monitored more carefully?

Robin Williams’ life was a gift. I hope one day I will be able to watch Mrs. Doubtfire without a deep sadness lurking behind each laugh; or Hook without wishing this vibrant life was still dancing across the screen. I don’t think I will ever force myself to decide which of his movies I love the best. Each expressed a piece of him.  How rich a life he lived; how very much of himself he gave in the process. We should all live so boldly. In light of such a life,  does the end really matter? I honor you Robin Williams.