Community Health and Thesmophoria

Thesmophoria, translating the words “thesmos” θεσμός (ties) and ”phoreis” φορείς (the plural noun of “delivery” or some type of messengers) are helpful to begin to understand what this adult only women tradition of THESMOPHORIA in Ancient Greece was about. Dr. Alkistis Agio, a coach/trainer has written an amazing blog post on this widespread celebration in Ancient Greece (Happy ’Thesmophoria’ ladies!).

Autumn rituals to the agriculture goddess Artemis (Demeter) and her daughter Persephone are still with us through today. Of special interest is the close celebration to Dionysus (Bacchus the Roman name) of Dionysia which is also considered the first carnival. In context with the wine making, wheat storing, in essence ”loading up” food for winter months all these festivals made sense, and created social rituals as human basic need to bond and share. Now we have in some countries September-October the more marketable ”Oktoberfest” … but definitely the traditions of wine and beer making continue (even during Covid!)

I had the privilege years ago to purchase a ceramic chalice with the Celtic writing of “life”…. though too big to drink so much wine from (!) it reminds me of the importance of community sharing and common rituals through Cultural and religious traditions today (eg. communion in the Christian tradition)

As Persephone was lured to the underworld with a pomegranate — read post ”Pomegranates and Autumn Comforts” I was grateful starting the first week of October and ending Thanksgiving to run a 10-session seminar on stress management and wellness psycho-education group for a group ages 23+ through 60+ the benefit of cross-generations, a lot of sharing! I found the entry point of the Persephone myth in the ancient ruins in Elefsis (“Elefsina” Ελευσίνα in Greek)…. perhaps I thought that getting a bit closer to the Eleusian Mysteries will take my spiritual development at a higher point to tie in the power of the female along with our more traditional patriarchal society… and how everything merged into a community bond that was difficult to break, but in many ways maintained that particular community’s identity, health and well-being. Anyone read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s historical fantasy “The Mists of Avalon”? Camelot existed, or did it not? The Celts were travellers, perhaps some traditions merged in a way that we will never quite understand.

Cave in background is the supposed entry-point to Hades’ kingdom as Persephone became his ”bride” — more on Persephone here by World History Encyclopedia.

There is no planet B for youth

This was the key message from the United Nations rep on the current state of our Earth. On November 4th many celebrate Diwali 🪔 much needed LIGHT, and one custom of GOOD reminds me that “there is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for” says Sam to … Master Froddo! So, we need to fight for it.

Fight for your soul, for humanity, and the planet. Take it seriously, this is not a joke — we have no planet ”B”. Many have helped us increase our knowledge, our health literacy, with individual and community efforts…. Do think of what can you do today?

  • As consumers use less plastics, the 3 Rs ♻️ Reuse, Reduce, Recycle ♻️), but be careful as some of these “cool bags” can lead to bigger issues! (The Cotton Tote “Crisis”)
  • Energy and fuel efficient, less carbon emissions cars 🚘 and buses 🚌 🚎
  • Plant 🪴 🌲 🌳 reforest, and think of getting a little help from those heroic bees (April showers bring May flowers and..? 🐝 )
  • Homes 🏡 — energy efficient light 💡 bulbs, turn OFF and stop 🛑 your tap water from running when you don’t need it; insulate well!
  • Clean 🧼 up trash and vandalism from your community and help your municipality! Alone or with a group “after the storm”…
  • Schools 🏫 can also educate to recycle, fix up play areas, contribute books and offer classes to poor neighborhoods
  • Demand your legislators and governments to enforce global mandates — New agreements between US and EU on steel mandates (Joint EU-US agreement on steel 2021)

thinkgreen #EUinitiatives #Recycle #noplanetB

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thoughts – November!

Food for thought this November, happy month !

The birds ”stock up“ How about you?

Every year I have observed a pattern of birds (pigeons) eating olives whose Omega 3 nutrient is much needed for their wings and stocking up for winter survival. Fot sure each season has its foods (see last post!) and what about long-term survival?

Some food for thought from the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glascow, Scotland — we cannot have the earth as a “dumping ground” anymore a wake-up call for individuals, communities and governments to take action for the environment!
oh oh OH!

“Novembre” by Italian singer G. Ferreri

Think Fast…. blessed to have training

Every parent and maybe every teen should get First Aid training you can save a life. Last weekend my child from anaphylactic shock. Years ago it was my boss. Thankful to have done American Red Cross training years ago, and continuing to build health literacy for myself and others through today.

It was an awkward moment for one of my Supervisors a brief treatment psychologist, a vulnerable moment where he turned blue from some food he was eating. Running over instinctively as part of Procedural memory I knew what to do, I wrapped my arms around his upper waist made a triangular fist under the diaphragm giving him the Heimlich manoeuvre. He was very lucky person that day as I prevented him from choking and saved his life. Right place right time.

Photo by Roger Brown on Pexels.com
Some mornings you’re extra glad to see the ”Peace and Friendship” stadium from a hospital window! As it says below in Greek ”Each sunrise 🌅 of our life is not a “given” it is a blessing” and we know this well as the country of Greece recently mourns a beloved political leader, Fofi Gennimata, and her long battle with cancer.

As health literacy month comes to a close, some last October thoughts —

  1. Get trained in CPR and basic first aid
  2. Genetics are partly responsible but MAJOR role are our habits/choices for long-term health
  3. Remember screenings appropriate to your gender and life stage (some like dental care need to be done biannually for good oral health, pap tests for women, colonoscopies over 50, etc.)
  4. Anglo-Saxon and Traditions of the Americas like Halloween 🎃 are now popular throughout the world 🌎 so keep some healthy ideas going (pumpkin and nuts versus candy corn?)

After the storm


A great day, one of beach cleanup, and getting some much needed vitamin D from natural sunlight. Floods have become commonplace as a result of bad weather ⛈🌪 and deforestation due to fires 🔥 this past summer with one of the greatest ecological disasters on the isle of Evoia, as one friend said “apocalyptic”. A public transport bus in Attica was flooded as the driver misjudged a bridge and the passengers made a human chain to get out, several drownings — all reminisce cases of people we know who died — wrong place at the wrong time. 💔😥 Often in a rush to make it on time, we misjudge and create accidents, or lose a life.

This day was all about teamwork, beach cleanup after the storm, the benefits of volunteerism. Plastics, cigarette butts, beer cap bottles, old shoes, were some of our findings. So glad that cafes and restaurants are finally mandated to use paper straws. Thus, the lovely loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta, native to the region, won’t get the plastic ones we found (counted over 25!!!) stuck in their snouts.

“If I could remind people one thing for their own and other’s health — Slow Down and enjoy each moment!”

Author, October 2021

Thank God for seashells, and rainbows 🌈 and the promise of new beginnings. Great days ahead.

Be kind

It’s a virtue, we can all work on it and pass the message on to our children. Strive for a better world. This “Above Inspiration” video says it all, and a reminder of what matters.

Be Kind …. You may affect a life
  • Your rude neighbor or colleague — we all have them! Take a lesson from the late Mr. Fred Rogers, and his ”won’t you be my neighbor” inspired life work on public television (Academy Award).
  • Road rage is so intense that one has to grin and bear it. …. my mouthing “stupid” the other day to the lady with the silver Mercedes who tried flying through cutting us off, or the 30-something guy with the beard driving (anything but) SMART almost hitting me at the crosswalk as the light turned red …. nearly running I said, ”slow down you’re going to kill someone” maybe he will think about that next time? Instead of sarcastically mouthing ”idiot” 😊😇 try a smile instead !
  • Ungrateful People whom you’ve bent over backwards to help, introduced them to their (future) partner, help them find work, mentored them, maybe an ”EX” who should appreciate your raising their children (with little support, almost alone) and be grateful in your heroic efforts. At the expense of losing your precious time, they seemingly keep asking for more, or never ask you about your life and needs!
  • Friends opposed to you and your “political” viewpoints — from vaccinations or not, education reform, job security, seems more common these days as social media may be segregating us more than we know.
  • Your family and their (im)perfections. Need I say more?

After all, caring is good for your heart AND your health according to recent articles and think science ! There is a great Greek word that respects our humanity to be kind to all people called “philotimo” (φιλότιμο)…. Let’s keep it going.

Remember to say thank you and be kind!

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Pomegranate and Autumn 🍂 comforts

Autumn is here and we are loving the rain and cooler days. For many world regions floodwater has destroyed property and land a bit apocalyptic for some; flooding is concerning due to continued climate change.

Time for the Earth to bare her last fruit/veggies as she, like us ”takes a rest”. Fall or Autumn (from the Latin autumnus) reminds us of the year passing, as we take out out warm sweaters and comfort foods.

What is your Fall Season “comfort food”? Perhaps a morning oatmeal with a bit of maple syrup reminding you of the colors and the beauty of autumn.

In times of “low energy“ it’s to your benefit to add some extra vitamins with pumpkin seeds, cranberries, some goji berries … good and extra yummy!

Wikipedia defines comfort food as something of nostalgic nature from our childhood usually that makes us feel “cared for” and indeed a hot breakfast around cold Fall and winter days makes us feel better. A reminder that “all that falls” could be your mood and a bit of seasonal depression so do something, be active, put on that warm cuddly sweater and make something good for yourself !

Breakfast, the most important part of your day so start your day with energy!

Demeter, goddess of agriculture, harvest and fertility, is a reminder of seasonal changes, human bounty, and potential loss. Gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece mirrored human nature, one may say as a mother she surely felt a great emptiness when her daughter Persephone was lured by Hades into the underworld disappearing from beloved earth grounds. Hades, a dark figure (may be something like a modern Darth Vader) convinces the kind-hearted Persephone to fall for him offering her a pomegranate.

By eating a few seeds she consummates this relationship so that even the great leader-god Zeus could not intervene, thus Persephone travels to Hades part of the year, and as she re-emerges her mother, Demeter brings flowers and the budding of Spring —  a beautiful myth!

Writers talk about the necessity of change, darkness being a necessary part of our healing (Thomas Moore “Dark Nights of the Soul”).

The continued pagan tradition of the pomegranate, a bittersweet food of seeds or squeezed into juice, rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties, is added with barley / bulgar wheat, to commemorate death of loved ones as part of the memorial services of several Eastern Orthodox traditions (called “kolyva” κόλλυβα).

There’s a great list of benefits including helping weight loss indicated in a popular fitness magazine, Shape (pomegranate info).

There are the RED types

Fall healthy eating tips:

  • Eat more pumpkin, lotus, and any beta carotene rich vegetables and fruit
  • Take a walk in the woods and gather some chestnuts ? Remember 20 mins a day, walk briskly.
  • Pair your Halloween 🎃 candy with some Omega rich nuts !
  • October health literacy month a reminder to build health literacy.

We made our Halloween mini garden featuring Mr. pumpkin 🎃 and our seasonal basil 🌿 ready for hybernation.

As we close with Eric Clapton’s Autumn, I came across this great quote in thinking of winter and your relationships — a reminder for ”cleaning house”:

October 4th — World Animal Day

Elders, animals, compassion is more of what we need to help our communities become more health literate and learning patience and respect. October is health literacy month.

It’s more than “knowledge” it is taking the appropriate actions for your and other’s health and being advocates for local and global change. This is across the globe as it includes animals — October 4th world animal day to commemorate St. Francis of Assisi.

When I ask friends, what does your pet mean to you? or how did your pet help you during COVID lockdowns, the answers I get are consistent with the evidence that pets help by minimizing stress, furry animals in particular “give warmth and love” to their owners who attribute “good health” to these little (or big) creatures. Teaching children to take care of pets, including respecting the larger environment, helps them become more active in their communities.

Global Health Literacy goes to Taipei, Taiwan this year virtually (more to come on that later)! Keep learning about how you can contribute to your community’s pro-animal efforts:

  • Be generous
  • Be proactive about your health in understanding how to minimise stress
  • Get animals spade or neutered (microchips a must for house pets)
  • Respect all creatures big and small
  • Adopt and feed stray animals
  • Remember some animals are becoming extinct, educate yourself and donate to organisations like Greenpeace

A big Thank You to all the animals who posed for us for health literacy month !

Mind the gaps

A little girl 👧🏼 held her father’s hand while they waited for the Covid-19 results.
“I’m Fully vaccinated” he said.

Negative (sigh of relief)

Health centers have makeshift testing areas

“What if the vaccine helps only a few? Which vaccine? What about blood clots?” These are the questions from a group of worried chronic health sufferers. Then there are those breakthrough cases. There is no full proof answer, because we simply DON’T KNOW enough. There, I said it.

“Being forced to vaccinate violates my human rights” says an anti-vaccine midlife adult. And then there is the “selective population” vaccination… it almost sounds like a biblical reference.

The voice of denial has roots in fear …of the unknown

Being familiar with “trust” issues related to the Public Health Service (former name for CDC) this article resonated about the loss of a African American couple from Tuskegee, Alabama. Keep your masks 😷 on in public, and keep your distance please! A third “booster dose” is on the way, much to our dismay.

Many people keep the distance in less crowded areas (unfortunately not everyone does!)

A recent BBC article about UK experimenting with air filtered schools included is the use of ultraviolet rays to kill airborne viruses (remember “heliotherapy”?) 🦠 Plus, if your child tests positive the general guidelines are found on CDC and other sites

The World 🌎 Health Organization (WHO) has some great tips including the 3Cs to avoid — 1. Crowded spaces, 2. Close contact settings where people have close conversations with each other; 3. Confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation

I also liked this simple video with infographics as it’s easy for teens through older adults to understand by MedVizz

How long does coronavirus last inside the body?

More importantly in this “Russian roulette” of disease symptomatology we need to always remember what’s important !

What matters today — focus on the present 💝

The crickets will sing

Escaping three fire zones this summer, it was quite scary but quite apocalyptic. I’ve written about prevention and volunteering before (Rafina 2018 fires; Australia 2020); globally whether you’re in Greece, Algeria, California one cannot understand the speed and destruction of forest fire (pine trees 🌲 are the worst “spreaders” with their popcorn type cones). The smoke pollution is the next BIG and toxic problem for all towns and cities. Those K95 masks 😷 will come in handy….

Heatwave at the beach — it started with a stream of smoke eventually difficult to breathe; the burning 🔥 town was mies away…. News, devastation.

I am appreciative of every single thing from the smallest insect to the largest tree. I understand the value of health, and learning more. The summer reading list included Haemin Sunim’s, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down. Turning inwards and focusing on mental and spiritual health, this is how I’m able to help my clients as self-care, as every week I do a lot of praying and a lot of meditating. This is a significant week before the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary for the eastern orthodox and Catholic Christian traditions, there usually were summer festivals and fanfare in and around August 15th. This year once again, COVID and many fires 🔥prevent this from happening.

During the first COVID lockdown I heard a guru saying how the earth will live beyond what we humans do to destroy it, and it’s true. Then there is the late Steven Hawking’s prediction for the next 200 years (video predictions).

The versatile cicada (τζιτζίκια) and the cricket 🦗

At this moment … crickets (and cicadas) will continue to live, as also the trees, and nature will re-evolve. The crickets will continue to sing as we should be happy that we make it through …. Here is a clip of what I heard today the cicadas and crickets say ….

We are quickly gathering groups 🆘 to help those who lost it all in the fires 🔥 their property, special groups helping devastated and hurt strays…. Many lost their livelihood of olive groves, as replanting appropriate trees will have to happen in Fall and Winter months to help long term with preventing flooding, and rebuilding nature.

The hundred year old olive tree, gone….

In these times we need to be grateful for what we have even if it’s not much. I appreciated a gif someone sent me that says “when you see the sun and you have your health, think that you have an entire wealth, good morning.” I also appreciate these short videos and meditations and am grateful to the people who make them 🥰…

Foster gratitude each day.


What 5 things are you GRATEFUL for right now ?

  1. I’m happy to have made my own summer wine (white sangria version and indeed as the song says strawberries, cherries 🍒) and enjoy it with friends.
  2. My family, friends and their summer smiles
  3. Beauty in color of nature, inspired art (including street art), and our new turquoise budgie named “Azu”
  4. Summer fruits 🍉 and new tastes like eggplant (aubergine) salad (recipe includes garlic, onions, olive oil, red pepper, parsley, a few walnuts and of course 🍆🤓).
  5. Being a child of God enjoying and maintaining the gift 🎁 of nature.