August 30, 2009

Obama At Teddy's Funeral

Did you catch the depths of emotion on Barack's face, a few minutes before Teddy's casket was removed from the hearse by the eight service men. (I had to wonder why at least ONE female military member couldn't be included......)
I believe I now understand Barack's high head tilt, with neck extended, his chin jutting in the air, eyes sometimes closed. This posture has intrigued me for months now. So unlike other politicians who seek the camera on their entire face.

This morning sitting with Michelle solemn by his side, his grief was visable, nay, almost palpable. His heaving deep sigh, quivering chin, and clenched jaw. Holding back tears. He lost the woman he loved the longest in his life, his maternal grandmother, less than a year ago.

I now comprehend that his tilted head is how he can take a private moment for himself, amist any size crowd, any number of cameras attempting to intrude.

August 28, 2009

Thank You David Goldhill

More thanks are in order to people in today's world who can see past the insanity. Today I Thank: David Goldhill who wrote an enlightening piece about our health care system.
I quote from his piece in September's The Atlantic (
How American Health Care Killed My Father:

"Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system
with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse
results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect
of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention.
That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage
transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in
a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing.
And that - most important - remove consumers from our irreplaceable
role as the ultimate ensurer of value."

He systematically looks at a hospital and health care behemoth which will take more than a trillion dollars to feed, and which takes tax dollars AWAY form the needs which truly affect our health: nutrition (yes, righting our horrible food system which is the cause of fully one-third of all cancers, and all of our "lifestyle" diseases), exercise, education, emotional security, our natural environment, and public safety.

Goldhill writes, "By what mechanism does society determine that an extra, say, $100 billion for health care will make us healthier than even $10 billion for cleaner air or water, or $25 billion for better nutrition, or $5 billion for parks..... The answer is, no mechanism at all. Health care simply keeps gobbling up national resources, seemingly without regard to other societal needs....."

And David Goldhill looked into the monster of health care after his father died from an iatrogenic infection passed on by doctors who didn't wash their hands.
Oh Semmelweis would be rolling in his grave.

Free to Make Peace

I must walk twice daily to feed my desire to feel the sky
the near constant breeze, the air on my face.
I need this as much as I need/desire my two cups of strong
black tea each morning.

I love to feel how my body moves through the air
interacting with the sounds, large and small,
and the flying creatures that are at eye level;
sometimes even a precious butterfly.

I watch for the creatures at my feet, small lizards mostly,
these seem to be in all hot climes. Their beings on walls
or sidewalks have given me delight in Arizona, Florida,
New Mexico, India, Israel, Mexico, and Peru.
And now here in desert heat that is southern California.

I am making peace with being here.

The twice daily walks help me to experience the fact of air,
temperature, plants and creatures, my surroundings,
the physicality of this part of the earth that I inhabit.

The act of being in the space of the world, allowing my body
to feel the world, allowing my mind to connect to my Creator,
to connect to what is good in my life; this brings me joy
and routine.

Anytime a soul can be outdoors, she is free to make peace
with her life. Free to see a perspective broader than the
confines of her home walls and mind.

August 14, 2009

Life Always Wins

When two people you love
seemingly more than life
die suddenly, unexpectedly;
both less than six months apart…
it more than unsettles, more than upsets.
So very much more.

Such that after four years since my sister’s death,
and three and a half years after Margaret’s death,
I experience a profound, but commonplace/
everyday awareness of Death;
others’ and my own.
I take nothing for granted.
Everyday may be my last. May be their last.

This awareness becomes OK. Is OK. A given.
Matter of fact.
The awareness of the impermanence
of everyone, even everything.

I don’t dwell on this awareness,
just as I don’t dwell on the fact of the weather.
It is what is and I can’t change it.
This awareness of dissolution is just there,
as part of my given.

And it doesn’t make me sad, or angry, or
anything much; most of the time.

Then there are the times, still the times,
when the impermanence of it all
links with remembrance of something about her;
one or both of them. Margaret or Lexi.

In those melting times, they are as close to my heart and mind
as if they were still here. Still part of my life.
As if I can touch them,
because I can certainly talk with them.

Then I always laugh. Out loud. And say their name. Out loud.
Sometimes over and over.
I give a shout of pure joy, sheer glee.
To be able to feel them again.

It's in these moments that the impermanence becomes permanence.
Change becomes constant.
Dissolution is an illusion.
Death becomes Life.
Life again, always wins over death.
My memory of those I loved
and knew intimately, personally,
allows them to live again.

In my heart.

August 05, 2009

Thank You Michael Pollan

Another deserving gentleman to Thank: Michael Pollan. Thank you Michael for telling the truth about the food we eat. Your latest N.Y. Times piece deals with the paradox of Americans watching cooking shows, but not cooking. We sit for hours on end watching someone else create dishes and meals, then go out to eat, or order-in "take out." You tell us how cooking is integral to our humanness. How cooking our food allowed our brains to expand, allowed our human communities to develop. How our lack of cooking is hurting us terribly.
I grew up watching Hungarian women cook and bake, bake and cook daily. And sing, or talk, or hum while doing so. Cooking was life, daily life, what had to be done and it was done with love.
Cooking allows a deep transfer of love to what we eat. It is cementing a relationship with the person cooking for herself, or for many; and cementing a relationship with food. She learns to know food intimately. She becomes an expert on the ripeness of a peach or a melon, the freshness of greens, the melding of flavors and textures. Her creation, her love is consumed by herself, or many. There is love in her food. It can be tasted. Nothing will ever take the place of home cooked food. Industry can never replace her love. A woman always cooked for herself or others.

Pollan's latest N.Y. Times article again alerts the reader to the fact that the food we daily consume creates obesity, and disease. And how Big Pharma profits from our suffering. We are eating food industry prepared food because we're not cooking our own. We eat corporate prepared food which has become too salty, sugary, fatty, and much too refined. David Kessler in his new book: The End of Overeating has done the research to prove that the trifecta of fat, salt, and sugar leads to overeating. We overeat food which is designed to create taste bliss (of one sort), and with many more calories than we need, our overeating creates obesity.

How strange that we live in a world structured to support our continued weight gain and poor health, thus enslavement to a broken medical system. A vicious cycle consisting of poor diet, no routine physical activity, overeating, gastro-intestinal discomfort and disease, slow but steady weight gain, back and joint pain, continued lack of physical activity because of the increase in pain, more weight gain, high blood pressure, elevated lipids, elevated blood sugar, increasing inflammation which exacerbates the effect of the elevated blood pressure, lipids, and blood sugars, not to mention the increased joint pain; then finally full blown diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

Ask any medical person and they will tell you that two primary factors leading to our current "chronic" diseases are diet and lack of physical activity. These "lifestyle" factors which physicians and nurses are at a loss to solve. If only people would lose weight, exercise more.....they wouldn't need this or that medication, medical intervention.
If only.....

Sadly, not only does our population suffer from our "constructed/industry taste" food, our factory farm animals and planet suffer as well. Robert Kenner's film: Food Inc. (see my previous blog entry) details the terrible destruction caused by thousands of animals housed in barbaric conditions. Cattle which used to roam large areas, depositing waste here and there, now deposit waste only in one place. Tons of it. To pollute water bodies, land, air, create green house gases.

Anyone watching TV sees the Big Pharma ads for the "cures" we're to use to "fix" our "lifestyle" problems. Viagra, Cialis, Lipitor, Rolaids, Tums, Pepcid, Tagamet, Phillips Colon Health, Activia, Gas-X, Pepto Bismol, Tylenol and the host of pain relief pills, diabetes supplies, lipid lowering, and the up and coming Alzheimer's "prevention" pills.
Ah, there's a pill to fix all our ills. And create Big Pharma profit; at our expense. Of course Big Pharma doesn't teach us how to PREVENT our pain and problems. There is no money in prevention.
The system is constructed to have us and our medical teams view disease, know disease, use pills to treat disease. Our TV ads daily tell us about disease, and the disease like symptoms these pills create (the "warning symptoms" whispered in the background of the ad). We hear about diseases daily that we may never have known exist.
But not once do the ads tell us about how to PREVENT these medication requiring diseases.

Our medical system does not know how to create health. Our medical personnel certainly do not create it in themselves. They are overworked, over stressed, exhausted, stretched thin, eating poorly, eating alot of sugar (go to any nurses station in any hospital in the U.S. and you will find candy, candy, candy, candy), not exercising regularly, doing many things at once most of the time. These are the people who do not keep themselves healthy. They do not "do" their own health.

If this group of dedicated, hard working, loving people who daily see the diseases produced by the poor diet, lack of physical activity and very highly stressed lives that they themselves lead; if this group of medical professionals cannot themselves stay healthy, then God help the common masses.

Can't we see the paradox, the ridiculousness of a "health care" system which doesn't care for health?
If the millions of medical professionals truly cared for health, wouldn't we have already begun the deconstruction of a food industry system which fails us. Which produces the very diseases which health care must care for. And we over pay for.

Nothing will change until the food production, food delivery system changes. Presently bad food is too cheap, too convenient, too ubiquitious and food which creates health is too expensive, hard to find, and not readily available.

As long as there is profit in not caring about the end result of industry food production, not caring about the obesity, the diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, back & joint pain, erectile dysfunction, gastro-intestinal distress and disorder, lack of muscle mass, arthritis, lack of movement, heart disease, cancer and tremendous fatigue that most Americans suffer, then nothing will change.

As long as the food industry can continue to make good profit on polluting and creating disease, nothing will change. We won't have health reform until we have food reform.

We delude ourselves thinking that somehow we "got" diabetes, or heart disease, or erectile dysfunction, or whatever name we give to the end result of our food industry scourge. This disease "happened" to us.
If we cannot claim, cannot "own" our responsibility for our health, then certainly we cannot hold our food system responsible.
Certainly not.