positive-mental-health-quoteshealth-benefits-of-exercise-and-positive-attitude-oisdfmj0Today’s WP Daily Post Challenge has me once again free-associating … “healthy, wealthy and wise.”  And really, these words do belong together; though not necessarily connected to early to bed and early to rise, and most certainly not in the over-used implication of worldly success.

Having spent a lifetime thinking, talking, plotting and occasionally even attempting to ‘be healthy,’ I feel more than qualified on the subject. (!) But I’m not going to go there, because in the end – just like parenting – it’s about what feels right, what serves you best. Prescriptions for exercising X times per week will fall quickly to the X’d out. Proscriptions against eating certain foods will almost surely result in incurable cravings. Overdoing anything, in either direction, will bring the entire endeavor to a screeching halt; the scale will not waver, willpower and progress will cease. As my wise dad always said, moderation makes things come out right.

It’s not the details of hours, weights, calories, miles or charts that get you there. Because ‘there’ is not a goal, but a lived process of daily choice. It’s the internal Attitude of Health that matters – openness, compassion, accepance. The choice to love. Standing vulnerably in the middle of our shared human failty.  Seeing possibility. From this deep and pervasive attitude arises health itself. Therein lie both the wisdom and the wealth of being healthy.


Once again, I am in synch with WP Daily Post and relieved to be able to write something ordinary, non-political and without consideration of any social value. Just for fun. [And not my photos – thank you, stock images]


On the right lurks the black
and left, the white —
strays curled in the tufts
of last year’s grass
wrapping the ponds
that guard the entrance
to our neighborhood.

The black cat appears only by day,
the white, by night; a fat shadow
moving swiftly through darkened trees
or sitting, immoveable, ten feet
from the windowed door
where my dog barks

What passes between them,
cat and dog so unlike?
Does one yearn
for the heart of home,
the other for freedom
of the yard?

Do they speak
of what they know,
as do I – that cats
come and go on their own time
in the time it takes my dog
to come inside to the hearth
both day and night.



credit - nevena uzurov

credit – nevena uzurov

Today’s WordPress Daily Post challenge: what decision would you make differently if you could go back …

Since my recent visit with my sister (see ‘very present,’) I have been thinking – a lot – about presence.

Two days after my return to icy, unpredictable-but-clearly-treacherously-winter Vermont, I followed a casual impulse to walk in the woods.  A few days later, shattered elbow rewired and writing mobility significantly curtailed, I wished I could go back and act on the small voice that told me not to go without my micro-spikes.

And yet… I could have fallen anywhere. It just happened to be the farthest point in early morning deserted woods on thick unrelenting ice. Even wearing those intimidating and confidence-inspiring spikes, I might have gone down. Even in company, I could have landed hard on that one bone that took the fall for the rest of me.

I can tell you exactly what was on my mind when I slipped because in that moment I was not entirely present to the walking-with-care which required my undivided attention. I had even shifted from enjoying the beauty of the quiet early morning snowfall which drew me in to start with.

Here’s what I know of presence. It leads to a fuller and richer experience as both giver and receiver. True presence is unmitigated by expectation or judgment. It is a pure opening to the moment. Whether that moment be the enveloping silence of soft mid-winter snow nestling among hemlocks, or the wrenching shock of indescribable pain. We need to embrace it all as it unfolds in our lives. This is how we grow into compassion for ourselves and one another.

These past few days I have experienced the connective and healing qualities of presence – within, certainly, but also between people. Witnessing/being witnessed through present-moments. Truly seeing one another without pretense. The absolute stripping down to what matters. Present moments. Perhaps after all I wouldn’t want to go back and re-do my hasty decision. In the aftermath of my fall, I have come to re-set my own experience of presence.

very present

sisters 1987

sisters 1987

Here I sit in the morning sun, the whoosh of cars beyond the windows indistinguishable from the rush of heat. This created sauna of over-hot apartment and sunlight steams me back into undress.

Despite single digits beyond, my temperature rises in inverse proportion to my hope. Hope that this time I can help my sister navigate her failing health. Why do I imagine that my stubbornness trumps hers? We are who we are, sisters in more than skin.

This gift of presence is my focus. Sitting with her, doing nothing. I entice with aromas that waft through her modest rooms. We dance with invitation, refusal, a tentative taste, a genuine smile, though weak. Moments pass between us. A memory flickers at the edge of a clear-eyed gaze. We slide seamlessly from symptoms to sorrow. She sleeps, wakes, shuffles slowly from here to there. We pass the time. Time passes, each moment a present.

[Thanks to today’s DPChallenge: write a post entirely in the present tense]

headlining into the past

credit - rudylife

credit – rudylife

Know how little kids, in an attempt to wrest control from an uncertain world, cover their ears and taunt, “I’m not listening!!!” Often accompanied by a defiant stomp of the foot. Perhaps averted eyes. Definitely a stance of distance and refusal to engage.

Somehow this petulant image is what comes to mind before even reading the third headline on the New York Times front web page this morning. As if the justices, in refusing to hear Arizona’s appeal to revive the abortion law, were lined up in the classic ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ monkey trio of my youth.

But I also lived through the years of hard-won abortion rights – we called it a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. Just as the little kid and the justices choose not to hear. Only in this case, the choice sends women’s control over their bodies headlong into the past. Is ANYBODY listening???

Thanks to today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: to incorporate the third headline on the page of a preferred news source, in this case the New York Times, front page, into a post. It turned out to be “Justices Won’t Hear Arizona’s Appeal to Revive Abortion Law.”