Accepting Reality

I see myself on the high-speed motorbike with skin-tight leather jeans and long shiny hair and the looks of an angel. I see myself acting in a movie. The movie wins an Oscar, and I have all that I need and cherish as an actor and author. I see myself being a great leader whose speech touches the hearts of  millions, who brings victory to mankind and kills all ignorance. I see myself writing books and shifting the mass consciousness and see the creativity inside me to publish these best sellers. —Vidya Gargote from MUTE: Poems That Saved My Life! … Continue reading

Welcome Spring with Health, Fitness, and Cooking apps

With the weather finally heating up (goodbye snowpocalypse!) it’s that time of year again when we layer down and show some skin. For those of you who didn’t exactly get that body you’ve been hoping for during this year’s hellish winter… don’t stress. From running to biking to cooking, here are some apps that will get you in tip-top shape in time for next winter: 1.MapMyRun – For all the runners out there, MapMyRun allows you to record your workout details including the time span, distance, pace, speed, elevation and calories burned. It uses the GPS in your mobile to … Continue reading

Getting unstuck from depression

On the bus recently I overheard a woman on her cellphone. “I’m so depressed,” she told the person on the receiving end. Later that day, I was on the receiving end as I listened to a friend from across the country explain that it’s been hard to get out of bed in the mornings. I knew what she meant. I, too, had been having a hard time getting and staying motivated and upbeat. While the term “depression” might commonly be used as a general descriptor to convey, I feel bad emotionally and I don’t know how to relieve it, depression … Continue reading

A Brief Taxonomy of Addiction

“Think you’re different”? read the tagline on the poster my first C.D. counselor would point to the second a new patient entered his office. The words, printed in a cheerfully comic balloon-lettered font scrolled over a depiction of thousands of densely massed European lady bugs, bright red with big black polka dots. “I’d relate better” I said “if they were cockroaches” I said. I understood it, though; I was already getting the idea: Find the common ground. Whether in treatment, or in the “rooms,” addicts come together from wildly different backgrounds, cultures, levels of formal education and religious upbringing. If … Continue reading

Guide Your Recovery with Wellness

Exuberant Life! The road to recovery is difficult for everyone whether you’re at the beginning or well into your journey. Incorporating wellness practices like good nutrition, exercise and improved sleep habits into your routine make your recovery easier and more successful. Easier? You might think that sounds like extra effort when you’re already working so hard. Yet, for people in recovery, a healthy lifestyle is especially important for several major reasons. First, substance abuse causes damage to the body due to excessive stress. Second, alcohol and drug abuse can cause general malnutrition as well as specific nutrient deficiencies. Third, improved … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

Letter to editor: Mary Lou Logsdon’s reflection on the ginkgo trees that line her street (“Letting Go,” November/December, 2014) was a reminder that many meaningful life lessons are gleaned by observing nature.  Her comments about “letting go,” based on the metaphor of trees losing their leaves in the fall, were not only thoughtful, but lyrical, as much akin to poetry as prose can get.  I’m saving her piece, so that I can share sections of it as the opening words for a future service at our Unitarian Universalist church.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor: Though I regularly find useful and supportive advice and information in The Phoenix Spirit, I was shocked by the tone of John Driggs’ latest column, which, in defending parents, came across as very blaming and shaming of (adult) children. Here are a couple quotes that were especially troubling: “… no matter how problematic our childrens’ childhoods were there is absolutely no justification for their rejecting us today from their lives.  If they do so, they are doing so out of their own spite and cluelessness, not because they were harmed in childhood. ” “All of us are obliged … Continue reading

Health Beyond the Numbers

Mahatma Gandhi said: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” He was voicing ancient wisdom that goes as far back as the first century BC when the Roman poet, Virgil, wrote: “The greatest wealth is health.” Today we say, “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.” We seem to want good health. The majority of New Year’s resolutions center on the physical body: exercise more, quit smoking, eat better. Fitness clubs offer state-of-the-art equipment; television commercials hawk quick and easy weight loss plans, in-home exercise paraphernalia and plastic-encased ready-to- eat meals. We … Continue reading

Unspeakable: When our Adult Children want Nothing to do with us

Unspeakable:  When our Adult Children want Nothing to do with us You know, e v e r y holiday and birthday is like a dagger in my back. Sometimes I just lie on my bed and cry my eyes out. I adopted Maria when she was two-years-old as I couldn’t have children of my own and had no husband. Her mom died of a drug overdose. She was the cutest little girl and loved following me around. I became her everything. Every time I left the room without her she would scream for attention. It took a long time for … Continue reading

From the publisher: 2014 was odd…

2014 was odd, I’m just sayin’. It was a year filled with surprises, big and small, tangible and intangible, some deeply felt and other scarcely noticed. My husband was laid off from his job at the beginning of the year, we launched our eldest off to college, and I continued to slog and plod my way through graduate school. My mother-in-law uttered her last emphatic words, “I’m ready to go – now!” and I attended a party to honor the first 365 days of a young girl’s life.

On Creating Balance

Finding balance in our daily lives can be difficult in today’s fast-paced, smartphone- driven society. Five days a week, my smartphone leaves me feeling as though I am a critical- care neurosurgeon; on-call and always accessible. Without real private time, or privacy. Whether it’s work or family needs, all too often we are encouraged to play the role of the First Responder; always standing ready. Reports tell me that approximately one in five American women are on antidepressants, that tens of millions of our fellow Americans find themselves relying on food stamps, that the most prescribed drug in America is … Continue reading

Applying the Wisdom of Recovery to Your Finances

We seek to live whole lives in recovery and wellness, but it is so easy to find parts of our lives that get compartmentalized or ceded away from recovery principles. Personal finance is one of those areas where the wisdom and tools of recovery could help, but many people get overwhelmed, and doubly so when debts are part of the picture. Debt has become a new norm in American life. Think about how credit cards have become a part of everyday life. Fewer than half of consumers pay their credit card balance off in full each month, and the average … Continue reading

If you live in America today…

……a large part of it at least, you live in a place designed to make you overweight and unhealthy. It was not designed this way on purpose; nonetheless, that’s the effect. Sidewalk-less suburban cul-de-sacs keep you from walking. If you do walk, you face having to cross a four-lane highway to get to a store. Once at that store you are presented with a mile long row of boxed options disappearing into the horizon, all of them packaged with bright, distracting colors and most of them containing a great deal of sugar and fat. If this becomes overwhelming, as it … Continue reading

Blamestorming: Why Conversations Go Wrong and How to Fix Them

By Rob Kendall Watkins Publishing This is a guide to survive challenging conversations and avoid the pitfalls that can sabotage them. Kendall says it is, “How to stop conversations becoming destructive arguments.” He provides strategies to deal with the four fundamental situations: the tangle, the big argument, the bad place, and the lock down. The reader is advised to observe conversations and using different techniques, prevent trivial conversations from becoming toxic arguments. Describing the spectrum of listening, Kendall states, “Remember, you always have a choice about how to respond.” He describes how pretending to listen, which includes listening in order … Continue reading

Choices and Illusions: How Did I Get to Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be?

By Eldon Taylor Hay House This revised edition of a New York Times bestseller is based on 30 years of research and includes 5 new chapters. All of these years later, Taylor still recommends, “Don’t be manipulated by others.” He suggests instead, “Understand your own mind and be your own person.” Taylor uses case studies and research results to support his theory of how minds work and beliefs develop. He explains in depth how our minds work and demonstrates how illusions affect our visual reference system. The reader is urged to be aware of the pervasiveness of manipulation, whether it … Continue reading

Life is a Gift – A Book for Thankful Hearts

By Paraclete Press Paraclete Press incorporated in 1983. They state, “Although Benedictine spirituality is at the heart of all we do, we are an ecumenical publisher.” Readers that enjoy Christian writing, ancient and contemporary, will find enjoyment in this small book. There are quotes from Meister Eckhart and Albert Einstein, and poems by William Shakespeare. There is even a short story by Louisa May Alcott. Readers are provided prompts to list their blessings and include their own thoughts on thanksgiving.   “Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running … Continue reading