Whew…life hasn’t been easy around here in the longest time- especially sleep wise! My senses are sensitive-always have been-so this means no ambient light from laptops, charging stations, etc. Darkness is as necessary to our health as light. So even though I am a sunshine girl by nature, I was very grateful for the last few rainy grey mornings that allowed for some desperately needed sleep ins.
I’d forgotten what enough sleep even felt like. Delicious, decadent, necessary. Getting enough sleep affects the way we see ourselves and engage with the world around us. Seeing the Beauty that is all around us and within us is much easier when we have had enough of it.According to Proust, the real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
I love that quote! it is a big part of the inspiration for Engaging The Senses- the chapter on Sight begins with it- as well as the exercise below which can be done lying down or sitting up at your desk. Done regularly it is easy way to help maintain good eye health. Best of all it is a simple, relaxing way to nourish your senses inside and out. Try it now, at the end of the day or anytime your eyes feel tired or strained.
Let’s get started…..
- To begin rub your hands together for a count of ten making sure both your palms and finger are touching while imagining the warmth you’re creating and feeling between your hands is healing and restorative.
- Close your eyes and breath in deeply through your nose open your hands and immediately place your palms one over each eye socket forming a seal of warmth. Your pinkies should overlap. Keep your arm, neck and shoulder muscles relaxed. Now tell your eye muscles that it ok to relax completely. Feel this happening- sides of eye, under the eye, over the eyebrow relaxing deeply…Letting your eyes roll slightly upward as if you were gently gazing through the point between your eyebrow will help the muscles relax even more.
- Focus your attention of the feeling of warmth and imagine again that the healing restorative energy you just generated is bathing your eyes in cool softness as you relax your throat and focus on your breathing which should be calm and relaxed as the balm of healing, restorative energy works its magic on your hard working eyes.
- Repeat the process again and this time after you have formed the seal of warmth and healing take a moment to give thanks to your eyes for all the hard and important work they do and for all the beauty they allow you to see. eg. clouds, stars, the faces of your beloveds, flowers, sunsets, etc.
- Repeat the process one more time and then slowly open your eyes keeping your gaze soft. Relax the muscles of your belly,take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth before going on to your next activity.
When you focus with soul eyes, you will see home in many, many places. -Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Confession: I’ve kept a ‘notebook’ or ‘journal’ all of my adult life. All different kinds from classic black hard back artists sketch style to marbled black and white composition books like the kind I had in kindergarten. Plain and collaged with my own personal vision boards. Knowing all this I imagine you won’t be surprised to learn I love to read about the lives of great writers and poets. One of my dreams is to take a writers walking tour of London and Paris.. Or NYC! So many amazing writers and poets live have have lived, worked, played fought, loved and created in these places. Safe to say that such dreams are within reach. That first miracle I needed happened when I was home on Maui recently to see the amazing Dr.Joel Friedman, ‘shaman’ and author of Dear Isaac. On my way out the door, I grabbed a few more of my favorite books off the shelf including poet Mary Oliver’s Thirst, and Billy Collins ”Questions About Angels“.
A few days later I opened my WordPress reader to learn that “Billy Collins, a former United States poet laureate who manages to send books onto the best-seller list, can now claim another feather in his cap: the sale of his archive to the UT at Austin, where his papers will sit beside the collections of such greats as E. E. Cummings and T. S. Eliot. They include dozens of notebooks containing observations, notes, doodles, clippings and extensive drafts of poems, published and unpublished. There is also wide correspondence, audio and video recordings, and childhood writings and diaries. Mr. Collins, 72, said by email that he had decided to sell his papers when he “started making a mental pile” and realized just how much material there was, including more than a few jottings on cocktail napkins, envelopes and other scraps. “I remember one occasion when the lines of a poem occurred to me while I was walking around the city with no pen and nothing to write on,” he said. “So I ducked into a bank and started writing the poem, standing up, on the backs of deposit slips. I used the bank pen that was attached to a desk with a chain, all of which made for a rather short poem. I tried to look very serious as if I were making a monster deposit.” Speaking of poetry and angels, I wanted to update you on The Sound and the Fury and let you in on a little secret that the rest of the world won’t hear about until the official press release next week at the Berlin Film Festival. The need EU distribution deal is in place and the film is going to premier at Cannes on May 2014 with James playing Benji and Seth Rogan playing against type as the sheriff! Talk about a feast for the senses. I’ve been invited to attend and if I can pull it off I intend to savor every French moment, and to post a special “engaging the senses” Cannes edition. To paraphrase Holden Caulfield, one of the all time great literary characters, “What really knocks me out is a movie that, when you’re all done watching it, you wish the director that made it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” This is how I am starting to feel about oscar nominated actor- director- writer of The Sound and the Fury, James Franco (Milk, 127 Hours, Homefront). It seems to me that James is redefining what it means to be an actor and a ‘hollywood star’ and in doing so has taken on the unlikely role of literary guardian angel. He’s already made two great American novels into films and played one of America’s great cultural figures, ‘Beat’ poet, Allen Ginsberg in “Howl”, and now he’s turned the iconic, outsider, writer and poet Charles ‘hank’ Bukowski’s ”Ham on Rye” (one of Franco’s favorite books of all time) into a film staring Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln, O Brother Where Art Thou?) and Alex Kingston (Like Crazy, ER) amongst others! Engagingly yours! Sabrina xXxoOo p.s. Billy’s new CD has been released. The live recording was part of a benefit for WNYC public radio and includes and improptu introduction by Bill Murray. You can purchase the CD here.Billy’s new book – The Trouble with Poetry is in bookstores.
“it’s not that ‘literary” fiction’, and their cousin ‘literary film’ can’t be an escape, a highly enjoyable one, it is that they offer so much more than that because the story doesn’t depend on a formula. They are organic and sometimes messy like life. These stories are soul food for the senses because they engage our sense of empathy and imagination. They speak on many levels and deal with the stuff of real life. They help us know ourselves and to understand others…!”
Hello again lovelies,
I hope your new year is off to an engaging start. I just finished reading a wonderful book that further imagined the life of legendary writer, Ernest Hemingway, so when I got the news that funding to bring another great American writer’s work to the screen had finally come together, I breathed a sigh of relief and excitement and wanted to share the news with all of you!
Movie making is a ‘team sport’ however hats off go to James Franco said producer, Ron Singer, of Thats Hollywood Pictures and tv for pulling off the almost impossible! These lovers of literature have come together to bring one of 20th century America’s most important novels “The Sound and the Fury” to the big screen. Nobel Prize winning writer William Faulkner’s epic tale of all the things listed in this post’s title and more.
James has talked fondly about reading Faulkner as a boy, and why he still likes and teaches his work. So it is a beautiful homage to the great writer and screenwriter - Faulkner, adapted the work of two master story tellers into successful film scripts - Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and Raymond Chandler’s detective novel “The Big Sleep” -that James decided to adapt the novel and co-wrote the script with his friend, Matt Rager. While security on stills is tight, the candids below taken on set last week show James dressed down and getting into character as well as wearing his director’s hat.
Word is Franco intends to use the finished movie in the film classes he teaches at universities both in LA and NYC. This isn’t the first time James has put his time, money and talent towards adapting Faulkner’s fiction for film. “As I Lay Dying” premiered at Cannes this year and judging by reviews he pulled it off with “aplomb” so ”The Sound and the Fury” is likely to be even better than its predecessor. The way the second time mother or father is often a better parent.
There are some that wonder if James, who likes to burn the candle at both ends, is over extended and whether this will affect the projects he is committed to? The guy is only human after all. Asked about this, and the difficulties around funding and distribution, Singer clearly said, “he wouldn’t want James to be any other way.” And with recent studies on the merits of literary fiction finding it, “good medicine” for an often apathetic society, I say, “way to go James for using your considerable influence to bring quality literature and film into the consciousness of the millennials and popular culture at large.”
A former student of Franco’s called him “one of the best, best, best film teachers I have had.” and said “He is so great..it’s easy to forget he is famous he is so humble and talks to you as a peer.” At his recent Comedy Central Roast, James was called a lot of things, but humble wasn’t one of them. That is probably because it takes a big healthy ego,imagination and determination, to translate Faulkner’s epic tale of obsession, suicide, virginity, alcoholism, deception and promiscuity, not necessarily in that order amongst the aristocratic, once prominent, Compson family in post civil war America.
The novel has been called un-filmable by some due to its stream of consciousness style and non-linear story line. So it is especially brave of Franco to fight not only to bring the story to the screen, but to insist on artist integrity in the filming. This remake, unlike the recent, Gatsby, isn’t full of music video inspired cuts and will not be shown in 3D. (I love and admire the creative team of Baz Lurhman and Catherine Martin -so no offense meant!) I wonder if “The Sound and the Fury will be ripe with the longer luscious camera pans and dreamy sequences, that worked so well in “As I Lay Dying”?
“Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder” William Faulkner
Anyway, they don’t call it show BUSINESS for nothing. Funnily enough, the European market would rather have our fast action dreck than an art house adaptation of one of America’s classic novels Even if the movie is being made by the gorgeous, idiosyncratic actor/director, playwright, James Franco and includes hot Hollywood actor/director/producer, Seth Rogan. This did not make the producer’s job easy. No, no, not easy at all. Singer, a collector of literary first editions,and a long time friend, has had to act like a magician on this one. First and foremost to raise the money needed to make the movie. And secondly, to cut a distribution deal that will make this film available, and accessible, while remaining true to the artist’s visions and legacy. I can’t wait to attend the premier!
Happy New Year Lovely Reader!
How fortuitous that this year begins with a new moon in the sign of Capricorn. According to spiritual astrologer, Jan Spiller, “on this day wishes concerning the following categories that are related to that sign are especially potent: ambition, goal orientation, sensible approaches, success, accepting responsibility, authority, taking charge. Now, we can focus on practical and attainable long-term goals, work on developing maturity and common sense, prepare for the future, make commitments and recognize responsibilities, and nurture our dreams in a realistic manner.
Here are some Sample wishes from Jan’s WordPress blog:
I want to easily find myself successfully taking charge in every area of my life
I want to easily find myself managing ambition in a way that is in my overall best interests
I want to consciously and consistently experience a quiet sense of my own authority in every area of life
I want to easily find myself accepting responsibility in the situation of ________ in a way that empowers me to win
I want clarity concerning ________ so that I can make sensible decisions that lead to security in my life
I want to easily reach my goal of ________ by breaking it down into smaller goals and accomplishing them one step at a time.
Whatever your resolutions and wishes for the year ahead may be, do take time today to write them down or even to collage them, and then tonight just after sunset, look over your list and let the power of the new moon infuse your intentions with extra energy. In the spirit of this new year and new beginning, I wanted to share Diana Nyad’s powerful, funny and just plain awe inspiring, TED Talk, with you.
For a late bloomer, such as myself, it is particularly potent reminder to “never give up”, and that it is only too late if you think it is. So to all you dreamers and seekers out there, let 2014 be the year you decide to harness the immense power and intelligence of your senses, and use them as portals to appreciation and connection!
Let this be the year you mindfully stop and smell the roses, both symbolically and literally. Let this be the year you hear and follow your heart’s whispers and deepest desires. Let this be the year you truly taste all of life’s sweetness. Even in the midst of great sadness or struggle these things are still available to us! We always have the power to choose the light and to mindfully engage our senses. To let the power of Beauty in all its ordinary and extra-ordinary forms transform us and re-connect us to our the Beauty that is our True Nature. So dear ones, my wish for you is the same as my wish for myself- May we walk in beauty as easily and naturally as the sun shines and the birds sing, and may the road rise up to meet us with every step we take!
Happy Solstice Everyone from my Heart to Yours…
“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.”
Aloha Lovely Readers,
I am so excited to tell you that I am soon to be the owner of this spiffy new scooter!
Every season offers its own special treats for engaging the senses. I’ve always loved Autumn with its golden orange leaves just perfect for crunching. So it probably won’t surprise you to know that for weeks now I have been longing to “take a walk” in gorgeous Kapiolani park (check out the slide show above),and bask in the beauty of the cooler days of Autumn. The park (which is close to the zoo and the aquarium) is lined with festive pink and yellow Shower trees and stately Banyons, and is a feast for the senses as well as the soul. I love the views up to Diamond Head on one side and glimpses of tropical blue Pacific Ocean on the other. Even though I live ‘a stones throw’ away from this semi-urban oasis,I am not yet able to walk there and still have enough leg power left to actually take a walk in the park.:( And parking, especially around sunset, can be a problem. So who’s a temporarily disabled girl like me gonna call? Why developer/designer Peter Treadway and Acton M Scooter to the rescue of course.
Unlike a regular bike, which I can’t ride yet, “the Acton M scooter can handle grass, dirt and pavement, and “is compact enough and maneuverable enough at low speeds that you could drive it through a crowd of people without causing all kinds of chaos.” According to reviewer Jason Torchinsky on Jalopnik.com, one could drive it into a building, and right onto an elevator. It gets even better because the scooter, which has a retractable seat, folds up into the size of a medium suitcase, and can be placed under a desk or in a car trunk. So if you live in a large, dense city, it could function as your daily commuting vehicle, possibly used in conjunction with public transport. It could also make sense on college campuses or any number of large-area places. Needless to say, I can’t wait to give it a try and to let you know how it goes! Freedom here I come.
Big Hugs and happy post Thanksgiving,
ps. A great big thank you to the visionaries at Kickstarter, and all of you who believed in Acton M, for making projects like this not just possible, but probable and hopefully profitable!
This poem sings out to be heard, even if only whispered to yourself…Happy Thanksgiving! XXOO
A List of Praises
by Anne Porter
Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing, Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches, Mad with the joy of the Sabbath, Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun, Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes, A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry living wild on the Streets through generations of children. Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning, Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh Of the wind in the pinewoods, At night give praise with starry silences. Give praise with the skirling of seagulls And the rattle and flap of sails And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor. Give praise with the humpback whales, Huge in the ocean they sing to one another. Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas, Give praise with hum of bees, Give praise with the little peepers who live near water. When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries We know that the winter is over. Give praise with mockingbirds, day's nightingales. Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle And glossy tulip trees On quiet side streets in southern towns. Give praise with the rippling speech Of the eider-duck and her ducklings As they paddle their way downstream In the red-gold morning On Restiguche, their cold river, Salmon river, Wilderness river. Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow. Far, far from the cities, Far even from the towns, With piercing innocence He sings in the spruce-tree tops, Always four notes And four notes only. Give praise with water, With storms of rain and thunder And the small rains that sparkle as they dry, And the faint floating ocean roar That fills the seaside villages, And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood, And with the angels in that other country.
Our sense of smell is considered by some to be our most primal sense. It corresponds with our root chakra (at the base of the spine), Cedarwood, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, and Frankincense essential oils, and the color red. Numerous studies have demonstrated its power -both negative and positive on every thing from our moods to the selection and rejection of suitable mates, to the identification of our newborn babies. It’s good a thing to know we can identify the exact scent of our baby should count we or the hospital lose track of them.
Seriously though, a recent study showed that “immediately postpartum, odor-based cues direct the newborn babies orienting decisions in the environment afforded by the mother’s body.” This process is reciprocial and bidirectional. Eg. Human adult caretakers experience heightened bonding in response to infant sensory cues as well as to infant-elicited behavior. This in turn releases nurturing attitudes and responses, and the correlative neural and neuroendocrine cascades, mainly within the dopaminergic reward system. This is neural pathway associated with addiction, and with the good feelings that are activated by engaging in reward-inducing behavior.
Under normal conditions, the circuit controls an individual’s responses to natural rewards, such as food, sex, and social interactions, and is therefore an important determinant of motivation and incentive drive. In simpler terms, activation of the pathway tells the individual to repeat what it just did to get that reward. It also tells the memory centers in the brain to pay particular attention to all features of that rewarding experience, so it can be repeated in the future. Not surprisingly, it is a very old pathway from an evolutionary point of view. The use of dopamine neurons to mediate behavioral responses to natural rewards is seen in worms and flies, which evolved 1-2 billion years ago.
“So the reaction to a newborn’s scent may be a hard-wired bonding mechanism between mothers and infants—a biochemical reward for mom in the midst of all her hard work”, according to Erika Beras, and an Oct 21st 2013, podcast from Scientific American.
The example above is one of the more altruistic examples of how our sense of smell impacts our behaviour. A less pure motive is probably behind the use of scent by retailers, and real estate agents -think wafting scent of home-baked chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies- who are hoping to use scents to induce us to buy things. With this in mind, the upcoming release of the Scentee accessory for smartphones shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The plug-in accessory attaches to headphone socket on both iPhones and Android smartphones and, when told to by the companion app, releases a burst of fragrance, paired with a customizable LED light.The current model delivers 100 bursts per capsule, and additional ones can be bought for $5 / 500 yen a piece, online.The available scents and aromas include rose, mint, cinnamon roll, coffee, curry, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lavender, apple, coconut, strawberry and strangely enough, corn soup. But that’s not all. A special limited edition range of scents called the Korean BBQ collection will be available on November 15 and includes three extra ‘flavors’: two different type of meat and, well, baked potato.
According to Endagadget.com, scent release can be added to social networks, SMS, games and alarms, and developers are also working to tie-in location-based release. Hardware development, meanwhile, is aimed at further miniaturization and (if possible) the ability to embed multiple scents into a single accessory. Anyone for some lavender, rose, mint? I’d take that over corn soup any day.
I’ll be talking about a simple engaging practice for balancing your root chakra and for engaging your senses of smell in an upcoming post. Until then keep on smelling the roses and the baked potatoes. We like ours stuffed with broccoli and parmesan cheese. Yum!
Sabrina <3 <3 <3
- Aromatherapy: Brief List of Scents to Manipulate Basic Emotions (undergroundhealth.com)
- Calming Scents (apecewamogo.wordpress.com)
“When I launched Birdsong.fm my friends thought I was barking mad,said James Mulvany, the man responsible for creating this special ‘station’. But I think it’s great for anyone who works in the city or lives a busy lifestyle. Call me eccentric maybe, but I’ve had countless people write to me.. saying how much it has benefited them. I see it like a sort of secret haven on the internet where you can escape to.”
According to Eleanor Ratcliffe, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental psychology at the University of Surrey, past studies found that bird songs have a number of positive attributes. They make traffic noise more tolerable, make people feel less crowded and can even mediate circadian rhythm, but few have looked at their broader impact on mental health.
“A great deal of anecdotal evidence suggests that we respond positively to birdsong,” she told the Guardian newspaper. “However, currently there is a lack of scientific research on the psychological effects of listening to birds.”
“It is very hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”
Aloha Lovely Readers,
Recently I have felt a lot like Piglet. Things have been hard. Harder than hard. A setback. Yes another one. And just when recovery was almost in sight. Strained psoas muscles and a agonizing bout of bursitis in my hip cost me the very little bit of freedom and independence I had gained since returning from surgery in May.
This time it was serious, and scary, because it meant I couldn’t make my own meals. Even opening the heavy refrigerator door was difficult, and I was already almost dangerously thin. One evening home alone, I dropped the plate of food someone had prepared for me on my way from the kitchen to the table. That night I ate my dinner off the floor-a definite low point. It also meant I could no longer walk or stand without a cane (and even then it was only for minutes at a time),use my camera-you try doing this while leaning on a cane-, art journal, take even the shortest walk, or sit down long enough to work on the book, or to post more than the occasional inspirational quote.
I tried to keep my spirits up, but after while no matter how much meditation I practiced, interesting books and articles I read, or images I viewed, I began to wilt and to slowly die like a flower in a waterless vase. Sunsets came and went without my ever seeing them. Ideas came and went without being written down. Mail and bills piled up in the post box. One day blurred into the next, sometimes without my even making it outside onto the lanai for a sip of fresh air. One week blurred into the next, until months had passed and summer was over.
I feared for my life, and for my daughter’s health and well-being. I knew I couldn’t give up, but I didn’t want to go on. Not like that anyway. All the while, my senses cried out to engage with the ‘medicine’ my soul so desperately needed as an antidote to the ‘endless’ pain. This medicine, was and is, the beauty and poetry of the natural world. The reflection of the light on the water. The sweet, almost jasmine scent, of the Mock Orange blossoms.
The warming touch of the sun and the feeling of the cooling breeze on my skin. The music and sway of the trade winds through the palm fronds and dark green waxy leaves. The sight of the tropical blue sky, and the milk-white clouds, drifting. The sparkle of the stars in the soft inky night sky. The sight and sounds of the birds as they gather at the end of the day…especially this, I missed. (I don’t want to live in a world without birdsong, or a world without bookstores!) Such simple things really. Simple and priceless. And incredibly necessary to well-being.
I tell you all this not because I want you to pity me (empathy is welcome), but because I want to Thank You, dear ones. I want to express my gratitude and my appreciation to all of you for continuing to come, or for finding me for the first time. For ‘visiting’ and ‘liking’ and ‘following’. For continuing to engage your senses, and for giving me a little glimpse of the Beauty that You Are, and for letting me know that in spite of everything, I still had (and have) something worth giving.
Discovering and sharing in your stories and dreams is one of the unique gifts of blogging, one I delight in and feel privileged to receive. So I also want to express how sad and truly sorry I have felt at not having been able to respond to your comments and visit your sites regularly, like I used too. And to say, that soon I will be able to again- as baby step by baby step, I rebuild my body, my health, and my life!
I’ll keep you posted on my progress, I promise. In the meantime, I wish each one of you, every good and beautiful thing,as well as the ability to mindfully engage with and appreciate them.
Go in the direction of your dreams, trust that things happen when they are supposed to and remember….4 Oct
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
From Selected Poems by Mark Strand.
Before Mark Strand became one of the great contemporary American poets, he trained as a painter. At Yale in the nineteen-fifties, he studied under the color theorist Josef Albers, and throughout his life he has continued making paintings, prints, and collages. In recent years, Strand, a former Poet Laureate of the United States and professor of literature, most recently at Columbia, has moved away from writing altogether to focus on art. A collection of his collages, made in Madrid and New York, is currently on display at the Lori Bookstein gallery, in Chelsea. To read more about his process check out Mark Strand’s Playful Collages : The New Yorker.
Originally posted on Astrology with Jan Spiller:
FULL MOON REMINDER… Thursday, September 19th, 7:13 am – EDST, is the FULL MOON exact day and time in SEPTEMBER! Don’t miss this chance to view your life objectively. During the three days around the Full Moon, you can see where you need to make changes in an important relationship. Once aware of your interaction, how can you best adjust your approach so that you can more successfully reach your life goals? It’s time for reevaluation.
There is an opportunity for insight and progress inherent in the FULL MOON. People often react emotionally during the days of the Full Moon due to a feeling of helplessness. They become aware of the distance between the way they want their life to be, and the way it actually is. Often, when they see this gap, they become upset.
The reflection from your environment shows you ‘what is’ – and this…
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Animal assisted therapy is not a game or trivial pastime. It can be part or all of an effective treatment plan for a long list of disorders ranging from cerebral palsy to attention deficit disorder, and may succeed at bringing about a healing response when many other therapies have failed.
Aloha again Lovely Readers,
As some of you may remember, my house rabbit, Satine Bunny, is a certified emotional support animal. She is soul food for my senses, and an essential part of managing my (mental) and physical health as I find my way out of the maze of pain and permanent nerve damage. Just her very adora-bunniness is good medicine. Be it watching her stand on her hind legs to stretch up and snack on a juicy sweet red hibiscus, receiving her warm parsley scented kisses as she snuggles and purrs next to me, or stroking her silky soft black fur when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night…. I can’t imagine life without her. So when she got sick recently, we scrambled to find a vet here on Oahu that specializes in rabbits.
Thank goddess for Dr. Hertzog at the Makai Animal clinic in Kailua. I can’t recommend their friendly, highly skilled staff enough. They called us at home daily to check on her progress, diagnosed an eye infection that had been missed by her previous vet, and best of all restored her to health by advising us to stop feeding her dried timothy pellets and to go all greens and grasses. This being the rabbit equivilant of kicking white flour, sugar and dairy. My “middle aged”, seemingly sedentary rabbit, is like a young, curious, bun again!! Although Kailua it is a bit of a drive from Waikiki, If you’ve never been on the windward side of the Island, don’t miss this charming, laid-back town. Here in hot, traffic laden Oahu, Kailua is as cool and close as Oahu comes to the friendly, relaxed, big country town, aloha spirit feeling of living on Maui (our other Island home).
Animal assisted therapy (AAT) uses trained animals to enhance an individual’s physical, emotional and social well-being, thus improving self-esteem, reducing anxiety and facilitating healing.The use of AAT reportedly dates back to the 1940s, when an army corporal brought his Yorkshire Terrier to a hospital to cheer wounded soldiers. There was such a positive response that the dog continued to comfort others for 12 more years.
Speaking of Maui, rabbits and the aloha spirit…..My friend,medical hypnotherapist, Shannon Dominguez, spearheads Maui’s HakuBaldwin Center. Their mission is to foster therapeutic partnerships between people and animals which they believe promotes the growth and development of healing relationships among all living beings. To this end, they offer the following programs free of charge:
- Therapeutic Horseback Riding for children with special needs-Offered each Monday and Tuesday by appointment , riders receive personal instruction on horseback involving a range of therapeutic games and activities
- Horsemanship for Veterans
- Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activities
The AAT/AAA program visits over 400 patients monthly utilizing small therapy animals (dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, duck and chickens – yes chickens. It is common to see chickens and their off spring literally crossing the road, in Makawo where the Haku Baldwin Center is centrally and spectacularly located. Their therapeutic programs are dedicated to helping children and adults with special needs, patients and seniors in hospitals, rehabilitation, convalescent, assisted-care, pediatric, adult-day care and Alzheimer facilities. And just recently, visits to Maui Memorial Medical Center’s psychiatric units for adult and adolescents were added to the list! One of the most fundamental advantages of animal assisted therapy over other therapeutic modalities is that it provides the patient a much-needed opportunity to give affection as well as receive it. It is this reciprocity – rare among medical therapies – that makes AAT a unique, and valuable route to healing.
Volunteers are always needed for all programs-this is how I first met Shannon and discovered that there was such a thing as a therapy rabbit. The minimum age to volunteer is 16. And for those of you just passing through, vacation volunteers are warmly welcomed! The life enhancing and healing capacity of touch, and of companion animals such as dogs and cats is well documented. But until now I’d never heard of therapy llamas. So in honor of the HakuBaldwin Center’s recent 100th birthday —-and Satine’s recovery, I thought I’d talk about the Center and share this article from the Mother Nature Network with you.