Fly kites not make war!

The globe is at war, and it ain’t pleasant. The phrase “Go fly a kite!” and accompanying physical act when one is angry 😡…. to give time to relax the intense emotions, breathe some oxygen and get some healthy sunshine 🌞 is so needed NOW by all of us, and so also the political “greediness“ …

In Greece this Monday it’s a cultural tradition to fly a kite 🪁 symbolic of the soul flying high as the majority are Eastern Orthodox Christians and it’s a “clean Monday” no meat, subdued and happy moments with family and the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. In light of what’s happening in the Ukraine, the fact is that both the Russians and Ukranians are mainly Eastern Orthodox.

However, the Ukranian Orthodox church split off the Russian Orthodox church Patriarchate in early 2019 (autocephaly) which likely set off Putin. Archbishop Daniel, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in U.S. commented asking for divine forgiveness of the former. Metropolitan Epiphanius of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine states that we as Christians, “as people of faith, we also have a weapon in our hands — and that’s a prayer.” (See Feb 25th article)

We need to think 🤔 and take some time to personally contribute to a better world starting with us … manage our systems and manage our anger in healthier ways. It is not as easy as it looks.

Go FLY a Kite!

Ms. “Sarakosti” keeps time with her legs ! 7 weeks ….

And of course who would forget Ms. Sarakosti her 7 feet symbolize each week of Lent. She humbly reminds us to turn within and add our family members names (optional) to keep us on path for our detoxification and spiritual growth.

The hope is that we learn to soar and the “growth mindset” takes some time ….

  1. Manage yourself first ….including rethinking about what you do and say. No one is perfect.
  2. Sit with it — Extreme emotions may be warranted but not to the detriment of your relationships. Start counting ….it takes about 10 seconds to realize how you’re feeling and a quick body scan, 🛑 reflect and then act!
  3. Listen — Can you really “hear” truth or simply perceive criticism ? Good friends and family often want what’s best for us, so tease out what is valuable.
  4. Clean house — inner and outer, literally and figuratively. A bit of fasting and reflecting is healthy. Decluttering also makes you feel great and the KonMarie method is one to follow!
The pure white Lily of the Valley…

Rovaniemi winter survival

We take for granted what we have in most cities and towns, all year long. Cars and trucks that take us places, the local grocer or supermarket for our goods. Recall that before “all things mechanical” people were living off the land with resources given and their own passion, creativity, and will to survive. Animals have always played a big part in this for protection, ranging from fur for warmth (not only fashion as we now know — see past minks post), food, protection (think mountains and wolves) but also for travel, in the form of dog or horse drawn sleds.
Recently, this video came into my hands reminding me of the loud but fun snowmobiles, and the amazing dogs trained for the dogsled area in Rovaniemi, Finland. Don’t let the puppy 🐶 cuteness fool you as your hand can get bitten off in seconds (we were advised NOT to put our hands through the metal netting)!

Dogsleds and snowmobiles – Rovaniemi, Finland (Northern Lapland)

Beyond the tourist attraction, Imagine that these people not so long ago, LIVED and travelled with dog 🐕 sleds 🛷; turns out that the female dogs are almost always in the front because they keep the TRACK (they don’t get easily distracted), and immediately following the 2 strongest males in line with the other “Dog pack” …. Pretty amazing !
Harsh winters as the North Pole measures freezing temperatures and earlier bedtime routines since darkness falls quickly during winter but in the summer it is the land of the Midnight Sun as they are near the Arctic!

So what do people do to stay healthy? Locals as other groups around the globe are big on arts and crafts, hot drinks, berries collected and made into compote earlier in the Spring and summer. The traditional Shamans (in tents) may foretell your future, eating high fat or high protein meals (keep body fat going to bear tge cold — bear meatballs anyone?) as it is ok to gain those needed winter 5-10 kikos!! The kids love a good snowball fight, while adults shovel, sled-rides keeps kids active! I personally loved greeting Santa Claus 🎅🏻 with his long beard and winter cloak while we danced under the starry winter night with the Northern lights (known as Aurora Borealis) in the distance …. something we wanted to see clearly but due to weather did not, so it’s worth a trip back !

There are plenty of ice-hotels, for those thrill-seekers, as for our group we had some amazing hot soup with salmon, yummy 😋!!

Appreciative of those pre-Covid times and holiday memories from several years back.

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

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.

Keep your smile 😀 going ! Oral Health Month

Do you have bad breath 😷?
Do your gums bleed 🩸 in excess?
Do you get your teeth cleaned at least 1-2 times a year? Keeping overall well-being includes a combination of eating right, brushing teeth twice a day (flossing at least once!) and preventive care especially if you smoke and have chronic health issues that may lead to gum disease.
These guys have it right —https://www.123dentist.com/april-is-oral-health-month/

Having had painful gum surgery because my back teeth had “pockets” that caused later issues, and because of a misdiagnosis — the one time I went to another dentist and his machine didn’t pick up my cavity (or perhaps he should lose his license) I went on for months with full pain that got out of control 3 months later … I lost a tooth last Spring.

Realizing that my own dentist inspires me with his knowledge and skill, and knowing that during crises people don’t go to the dentist, it reminds me to remind others …. TRUST your dentist and get your teeth cleaned !

I was so happy when my six-year-old Godson was playing with plasticine (clay) and came up with this …complete with cavities and a “tool” to remove them.

The mom writes “a little mouth that has cavities unfortunately needing fillings. The creation of my little guy.

Obviously, the school 🏫 and parents did something to keep him health literate about his teeth 🦷. We need continued education around good oral health. This why health educator teams need to include the allied health professions.

Here are some other images and adverts …love the one with the toothbrushes and Covid, and even in our orthodontist office we wear foot covers to prevent the spread of germs 🦠…. it’s a forgotten area. If you’re like me and you like sugary foodies remember your sugarless gum and brush often !

Smile and the world is a happier place! Keep it clean and pretty ….

Mundane Poetry and thoughts on Pandemics

April is National Poetry Month, in the U.S. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996.

I have been writing poetry for a very long time and only recently during quarantine had a bit more time in my plethora of life and work matters, to pick up some poetry books to read, and of course write more. Why not published….. hmm? Too busy reading articles. Part of inspiring hope is through literature and poetry. Poetry can take many forms, it can describe a mood, reflect on subconscious or conscious thoughts, history, fantasy or reality. Quotes and poetry add great depth to our lives, to inspire, to make a difference, so dream and think like a poet!

Robert Frost, and many of his writings are classics, one of my favorites, as also the metaphysical poet John Donne. Andrew Spacey in Owlcation poetry analysis of Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (written in 1922) provides a great analysis by stanza (group of lines divided into groups and separated by lines in a poem). Indeed some of Frost’s lines are “dark” but then, a lot of music and poetry is. It describes our mood, subconscious thoughts or simply a state of mind. Frost has that ‘hunky sensitivity’ — endearing to many of us romantic types — this poem is indeed reflective of isolation, and if anyone travels to Vermont or New Hampshire during the long winter months, they can understand the context of a seemingly mundane world.

This may be how some people even view the current pandemic. Mundane and isolationist.

Diseases categorized as ‘pandemics’ used to travel very slowly, in older days. So slowly that it took decades and even hundreds of years for these to reach continental Europe from places like Asia. Although it has been documented that quarantines helped control disease spread in the Middle Ages, we as human beings cannot live very long in isolation. We do not travel solely on ships anymore, we are ‘airborne’ — and this is the issue of the current COVID-19 and related SARS family of diseases. COVID continues to get the reputation of being a ‘clotting disease‘ and unfortunately damages multiple organs. We keep losing people, the medical community is overburdened and fatigued.

One of my students recently lost his wife, mother of two, ages 13 and 9, may she rest in peace. Others we know had been hospitalized, some ‘survived’ but still report extreme exhaustion and having ‘fuzzy’ unclear thinking processes.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) another American favorite wrote more than 800 poems found in her family home in Amherst, MA. Influenced by her context, a strict father, a mother who was crippled from a stroke.

It takes time. We want to believe that self-tests will shed light on the “Typhoid Mary” types of of our communities, the Spreaders and potential Carriers. We hope that having a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated will help humans move forward so it is not as in ‘the end of days’ or some version of the Apocalypse. We need to go back to the basics of trace data, inform close-nit groups, and train community health aides.

There is confusion, an anti-vax movement, and for sure no perfect solution. As with everything, we need to take action, to educate, and to empower. A recent March correspondence article “Covid-19, cults and the antivax-movement” in The Lancet, I am aligned with this: “Burgess and colleagues drew attention to how people who might have suffered disproportionate economic and health consequences from COVID-19 are now being asked to trust the same structures that failed to provide adequate resources and social protection during the pandemic…..However, Burgess and colleagues make a distinction between ‘people wholly opposed to vaccinations (anti-vaxxers) and…vaccine hesitancy.’

MUNDANE

War, Blood,

the tears of pain,

of victory, of power,

the story of greed.

Walk, journey,

the birth of life,

of growth, of courage,

the story of survival.

Hope, fear,

the light of truth,

of freedom, of serenity,

the story of peace.

(B. Kondilis, 1991)

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

We start with a few, and keep adding…. this is how preventive education starts. Individual is good but population-based even better. Meaning the “biggest bang for your buck.” No one knows it better than people trained by the CDC or similar entities. As it seems, it makes no difference if we were trained 20 years ago or 40 years ago. Whether it was the AIDS epidemic or the Covid Pandemic, increasing health literacy remains a consistent goal.

We are trained to give information, to work with teams and media (radio, TV, internet, magazine, newspaper, you name it), for any type of disease (chronic or infectious/ communicable). Mental health trained clinicians deal with loss, help people better understand their strength and resilience, to ‘have a chance’ and make the world a better place to live. We know there is mistrust, but we also know how important trust-building is to the patient-provider relationship. Healthcare professionals, allied health professionals, mental health professionals all bring their ‘arms’ to the “Round-Table” if there ever was a health communication ideal of ‘Camelot’….

Barbara Kondilis & MaryLee Behrens, lifelong health educators
during an online session with health psychology students

The “forced” snow day

It’s snowing ❄️ in Greece

Today I choose “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven and I did not realize the cartoon Angry Birds had satirized “Ode to Snow” as there are many poems dedicated to the beautiful crystallized water. A friend sent me this image of the stones on her balcony which had formed a beautiful heart …. it’s a reminder I said of God’s love.

Epidemiologists are happy today because people have been forced to stay inside due to the snow ❄️ In warn climates people find it hard to stay indoors. Much to our distress we often find worse crowds on the street, “walking their dog”or loading up on toilet paper in the supermarket (the Purple Heart !) . Hearts go out to families in locations with power outages in cold, the homeless, and strays ….may you find warmth soon

Love ❤️ and virtual hugs 🤗

People do not seem to understand that getting a vaccine is not full proof. It will take TIME and maintaining some sense of physical distancing is continuing to be important (official wording see January Global Health Promotion Sage Publications here) as well as wearing your mask 😷.

Adults made snowmen/women for the first time ! Children found it hard to resist making snow angels and why not? They increase their physical activity, and joy for all, as it is the elixir to good health !

One last note 📝 we all need some snow literacy …I hear crazy demands on the government to clean front doors, people ask “why do we need salt?” “What are snow tires?” The list goes on ….meanwhile enjoy the winter wonderland for a few days. Be happy and sing your own “Ode to Snow” ⛄️ today !

February winter

Santa 🎅🏻 will keep physical distance and make it 2020!

It’s official according to the Irish ☘️ Parliament. Santa 🎅🎅🏽🎅🏿🎅🏻will be keeping safe this year too as the Irish ☘️ parliament has confirmed! He won’t be keeping “social distance” but physical distance for sure, and yes the gifts 🎁 will be there for all the good boys and girls. A sense of normalcy is always welcomed as well as human health.

Santa is coming ….

So all the little girls and boys (and their parents) can sleep 😴 with peace-of-mind and thoughts of gingerbread plum and candy canes in their heads! As imagination and dreams are important for mental health.
For a Merry Christmas 🎄🎁 to all!
Full story on Yahoo! Finance page.

22 days left !

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

October is health literacy month

Elders, animals, compassion. These are the messages I’d like to share as we continue to be more health literate in our home 🏡 and in your community. 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.

Global health literacy academy had a great past post shared here… along with a dedication to our elders! The 3rd age is a “hot topic” in global health these days .

  • Be generous
  • Be diligent to watch for early symptoms
  • Be proactive about your health and get animals spade or neutered (microchips a must for house pets)
  • Just be mindful!

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

Thinking about Palindrome Dates!

Today is a special day because as a “palindrome” date which apparently only come around every 900+ years! As a matter of fact 02/02/20 was another one. Some people believe in this so much they got married on this date, others sign special papers for better luck, let’s play the lottery! Superstition is an interesting topic in its own rite as some people may be affected even in their health outcomes so keep in mind Superstition & Health (post)

First sign of Spring….the bees 🐝 were happy too


February 22 is World Thinking Day for the Girl Scouts! They celebrate equity, diversity, and inclusion which are so important for young girls worldwide….and since some of us love Girl Scout cookies a reminder of those goodies too!

let’s think together for a better globe!

Companies are smart about marketing and send tailored messages and gifts like free coffee (thanks Starbucks). Happy birthday 🎂🎉 to us then! Note historical and popular figures: U.S. President George (Washington), Actress Drew (Barrymore), Outback wild animal handler Steve (Irwin), Founder of Toastmasters clubs Ralph Smedley.

One thing likely in common is public speaking, empathy, leadership, positive thinking and community building! Let’s continue these qualities and keep special traditions going.