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.
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?
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.
Aloha Lovely Readers,
I want to share the poem below, by the talented, lyric, Rita Dove, with you today.You may remember her from her stint as The United States Poet Laureate from 1993-95. I had my poetry for breakfast with a cup of sweet, strong, British breakfast tea, in a thrift-shop, blue Spode teacup and a bowl of ripe red raspberries sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with agave nectar.
I often have a poem for breakfast with my fruit and tea. (I usually read them out-loud, and suggest you try this method for receiving the full flavor and music of the medium.) The poems are delivered straight to my inbox from Poem-A-Day. This service, launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. You can browse the Poem-A-Day Archive or visit poets.org
to sign up to receive your own daily dose of poetry and or find out more about and many other great poets past and present.
As if the lid stayed put on the marmalade.
As if you could get the last sip of champagne
out of the bottom of the fluted glass.
As if we weren’t all dying, as if we all weren’t
going to die some time, as if we knew for certain
when, or how. As if the baseball scores made sense
to the toddler. As if the dance steps mattered, or there’s a point
where they don’t. For instance wheelchair. Heart flutter.
Oxygen bottle mounted on the septuagenarian’s back
at the state ballroom competitions–that’s Manny,
still pumping the mambo with his delicious slip
of an instructor, hip hip hooray. Mambo, for instance,
if done right, gives you a chance to rest: one beat in four.
One chance in four, one chance in ten, a hundred, as if
we could understand what that means. Hooray. Keep
pumping. As if you could keep the lid on a secret
once the symptoms start to make sense. A second
instance, a respite. A third. Always that hope.
If we could just scrape that last little bit
out, if only it wouldn’t bottom out
before they can decode the message
sent to the cells. Of course it matters when, even though
(because?) we live in mystery. For instance
Beauty. Love. Honor. As if we didn’t like
secrets. Point where it hurts. Of course we’ll tell.
by Rita Dove
Aloha Lovely Readers,
How has your week been so far? Mine has brought me back into contact with two talented friends, internationally known photographer Randy Jay Braun of Maui, and poetry goddess and baker extraordinaire, Judyth Hill. Both teach as well as practice their crafts. I first met and studied with Judyth in Santa Fe and would love to take one of her workshops in San Miguel de Allende where she now lives. Just as I would love to travel with Randy on one of his photography sojourns in Provence this summer! A girl can dream can’t she…Blonde always said “dreaming is free”. In the meantime I thought I’d combine one of Randy’s recent photo’s with one of Judyth’s recent poems for your sensory pleasure and nourishment. XO Sabrina
For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. -Ralph Waldo Emerson