Perfect time 🕰️ for self-care. As everyone is racing to the finish line, staying up all hours to study 📚 or correct papers 📝 , I felt my eye twitching, my brain 🧠 “frying” and needed to take a walk, a break, and stop work for a couple of days … Teens feel the same way, especially those who transition into harder classes in high school. I enjoyed the re-thinking of our process and rethinking our habits that Tony Robbins teaches in his ‘training session’ with youth… and it so reminded me of the Stoics! This useful video in finding our purpose by Marcus Aurelius and his ‘meditations’ and insights of a life of virtue.
It is exam season for many teens and college youth! Dealing with panic 🙀 breakdowns, over-demanding procrastinators, unreasonable administrators, home 🏡 stress — this may or may not change. If you are also struggling with your finances, physical and emotional challenges but are looked upon as the “beacon” to guide and support others, you know what I mean.
Let’s remind all about these 5 steps :
1) eating well (Particularly plenty of vitamin C, foods rich in neuro-building vitamin B, and for athletes magnesium!) 2) drinking plenty of water 💦. Be cautious with caffeine — it’s still a drug. Some within a day combine with other drinks, like energy drinks, it can be dangerous; limit cups of coffee ☕️ and never after 7 pm, or not at all, as it may increase anxiety and may cause sleeplessness. See what experts recommend here. 3) taking care of their skin by washing, moisturizing, wearing sunscreen 🌤️ 4) Pacing studying 📚 as cramming adds too much mental stress as often lack of enough sleep and anxiety leads to mental blockages. 5) Building up those Affirmations for mental flexibility and increasing self-esteem.
Take care of you to be able to take care of others.
Here is one for parents 👨👩👧👦 & teachers 👨🏫 👩🏫: “I am capable and strong 💪🏼 . I am calm. I take care of myself to be able to care for and guide others.” Read more about affirmations here at BetterUp
When you’ve bee working your butt off, trying to balance the pieces AND trying to recover from your own health saga, you appreciate a “May Day” break. It IS about worker’s rights, and everyone is entitled to self care. Everyone needs a little “boost” to their wings to fly… friends and family who help you with the little things or the big things. And a little help from the energy of the Holy Spirit, earth angels, and guardian angels has helped me and others through difficult challenges…
The colors of the Earth, vegetables and plants of May can help us to rebuild ourselves. And some good supplements and building up our immune system during the months of January through March (3 months make a big difference!) can have big benefits later. Refer to the recommended steps in past article on Little Prince and Covid lessons. The gifts 🎁 we receive whether a good word, a sweet Easter bread (see above ⬆️), an amazing dessert 🍨, a book or poem, a letter of support! Even your toothpaste…
My beginning to walk more normally (thanks for the cane 🦯 support “M”!), physical therapists and knowledgeable orthopedics, friends who visited and took me out for coffee ☕️ , after months of a bone break recovery ❤️🩹 are what I will be grateful for this May. Perhaps it was the ‘rabbit’s foot’ (some used to have these as talismans for good luck) but the Rabbit year is proving to be true… if you’ve ever had a pet rabbit 🐇 or observed them in nature there is the proverbial “bunny flop” when they feel safe and want to relax 😃perhaps we should try this when we are exhausted 😩 so others will “get the point” that we need a break ! 😝 The reality is that physical and social support prove most effective in helping people cope with stress, depression, anxiety, as we and the animal kingdom are social creatures we are not born to be alone. The site It’s all you Boo has great quotes of inspiration for healthcare workers (selected quote below) and it would be useful to translate these into all languages as we do not often say thanks to people who have helped us to stay physically and mentally healthy throughout our lives!
Go ahead and gather your thoughts of gratitude, words of wisdom, photos of your dearest, flowers 💐 and scents that bring joy, into your May wreath of celebration. Dance around the May Pole as much as you can for physical activity is necessary on a daily basis and bringing people together makes for healthier societies.
Purple, the color of royalty and spirituality, also a color of mourning for the many Eastern Orthodox Christians who consider Good Friday the day of mourning for both the Lord Jesus and those who have passed on, as the next day is the Sabbath and the celebration of LIFE, and the resurrection to the afterlife. Thus, why I chose to bring lavender as an offering from our Spring Garden.
Lavender is a medicinal herb, can be a tea ☕️ (many health benefits, but not to be drunk by pregnant women or young boys) made into delicious candies, crushed into sachets to ward off moths and mosquitoes, and used for stress reduction as its strong smell and pressed oil is often preferred by massage therapists and others. Even by the bees 🐝!
Step by step crutch by crutch I was determined to make my “march” after 2 months of being almost exclusively at home due to a broken foot. It felt like a 2nd Covid lockdown but as Dr. Ed Tick said, perhaps 🤔 it was a mere “next step” into another life phase. There were low days, days of anger at my predicament, of relying on others, of being “forgotten” but this was self-pity which can be refined to a more realistic stoic philosophy, in increasing one’s resilience. And as Saint Paul preached to the Corinthians … love is patient, love is kind — best showcased with the beautifully sung hymns of Petros Gaitanos.
Those in midlife who look forward to their next 50 years can offer good advice to younger generations, for all who will listen. We need to take life’s “crumbs” to make something out of them, for ourselves, our children and our future generations. This is one of the 5 life rules that well-esteemed actor Michael McConaughey gave to graduates:
Poems about new beginnings and the Resurrection, offer life perspective, Spring comes to give us for new and renewed energy. Transcendental poet John Donne wrote “The Good-Morrow” to hail the brief dream he had of his love (read it on Poetry Foundation site). Let’s heed these lessons for Good Morrows are yet to be born my friends! 🙏🏼
My first time meeting Dr. Edward Tick (Ed) was at a friend’s home. A quiet, humble man, an authentic smile, powerful yet kind gaze, and a prominent turtle on his belt! We would later discuss the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta Caretta, native to the Mediterranean (under protection as deemed by the WWF), a symbol of good luck, protection, motherhood, and wisdom. Dr. Tick spoke of his spiritual transformation on top of a hill on the isle of Poros, a Greek island of the Saronic Bay, place of ancient worship to the sea-god Poseidon as well as one of the Asklepieian healing centers (the most well-known sacred healing center being in Epidaurus).
Dr. Tick is an honorary citizen of the island, featured in several articles of Saronic Magazine (March 2023). My own turtle 🐢 paraphernalia in appreciation of this reptile, includes creation of a heavy tile mosaic, that for years sits in my parents’ garden. Dr. Tick has been training healers, civilians seeking healing, veterans, all suffering from “soul wounds” to pilgrimages in Greece, to places of transformative soul healing, writing about these experiences in several of his books, including his latest: Soul Medicine: Healing through Dream Incubation, Visions, Oracles, and Pilgrimage, and his poetry book Coming Home in Vietnam.
I first read his book, The Practice of Dream Healing in the early part of the millennium, how honoured we are to continue sharing his wisdom through today [Dr. Tick’s complete works can be found here].
Asclepius (or Asklepios in Greek) son of Apollo and the mortal princess Coronis, a Greek (Hellenic) god of medicine taught by the Centaur Chiron, the art of healing . One who recognized his own wounds and would establish a sanctuary at Epidaurus so others could heal their own “wounds”; his immortal daughters His daughters, Hygieia, Aceso, Iaso, Aegle, and Panacea, representing the stages of the healing process and pharmaceutical treatment. His sons Machaon (Μάχαων — the Father of Surgery) and Podalirius (Ποδαλείριος), a legendary healer.
Dr. Tick has deep knowledge and appreciation of the lands that relate to the warriors and healing, as well as being a poet, rekindling our interest for Jungian archetypes, and dream incubation.
As my own psychology students stated, it gives another dimension to their understanding of healing and becoming better therapists, at a time where the field of psychology places far too much emphasis on replicating studies or “hard science”, forgetting often what we are here to do, to listen and help people truly heal … how can we remove “soul” from “Psycho-logos” (as indicated on Tick’s presentation)?
Ed’s own story of healing from almost paralysis, is powerful. As he calls himself the “Compopolitan” citizen of the globe, his love of Socrates and subsequent philosophers who wrote about the latter, leads us all to think that we too “know nothing” [ἕν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα –“the one thing I know is that I know nothing” attributed to Socrates by Plato symbolising that we know only little, and how complacent it is to consider ourselves ‘wise’]. Of course, even in modern cognitive behaviour therapy based on stoic philosophy, we help patients with various reframing techniques by using the Socratic method of questioning their logic (eg. If this is true, then? What do you mean by the word “courage”? to help define and revise). Dr. Tick reminds us that holistic healing ❤️🩹 goes beyond, as it should integrate the mind, body, heart, and more deeply, the soul.
Dr. Tick is a transformational healer, holistic psychotherapist, educator, consultant and international journey guide, but he is also a poet, his selected poetry and prose can be found on WordPress on this page. After his presentation to over 200 persons both in Athens, Greece and global virtually, he read “I am The Bull…” in Greek Ο ΤαύροςΕγείρεται, poetry book published in Greek and English (Athens) translated by George Kanavos, which will be presented in a local bookstore in Athens; powerful words of transformation symbols of life, death, and the resurrecting of spirit. The entire process of combining poetry, art, music, to bring forth that which is set in the unconscious or conscious mind are powerful mediums, in a world that continually needs collective healing. This is ever more powerful for those who suffer from trauma including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and we have much knowledge now of how both individual therapy but also the community can facilitate our healing.
This power of transformation, is reflected even in the god Hephaestus (Ήφαιστος), whom Dr. Tick reminded me to seek commonality and inspiration, since my recent foot injury involves taking the “next steps”; thus, encouraging me to seek a new approach to my own thinking. What do we each need to learn at this point in your life when we have these experiences? Hephaestus, son of Zeus and Hera, was conceived with help of an herb — we may assume this acted as a teratogen, as this lead to his being born “lame”, his feet were malformed, they are often depicted in statues as curved; modern scientists believe this was indicative of a clubbed foot (What makes Hephaestus lame? 1997).
Hephaestus may have been sent in exile and rejected by his mother, but was brought back by Dionysus to be ‘reinstated’ in the gods of Olympus, and the goddess Aphrodite may have become his wife, she was not exactly faithful… Hephaestus a talented blacksmith and craftsman, creator of fire, made weapons and military equipment for the gods and certain mortals, including Achille’s armour, and the famed winged helmet and sandals for Hermes (anyone see the FTD florists logo?), and inspired many humans as the patron of craftsmen and manufacturing.
We all carry wounds, let’s facilitate each other’s healing, we do not walk alone.
Women celebrate a very important day, ourselves ! What will you do to honor your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling, daughter, grandmother or grandchild? Let’s start with some good words like “you are special,” “thanks for being in my life,” “you help me become a better person.” Gifts 🎁 and flowers 💐 are always welcomed! This article describes the 5 reasons we should hire women, including: their efficiency, innovation, productivity and increasing money for the company/ agency, effective retention, and simply gender equality more women !
Having graduated from an all women’s college, then Simmons College, now Simmons University in Boston it was amazing to me to witness my own self growth and confidence boost. Many leaders are made! I participated in many clubs and attended many panels and talks; the beginnings of my lifelong journey in self improvement.
Furthermore, I am grateful to so many professors who helped my learning including psychological testing, social psychology, bio psychology (loved those dissections and sleep 😴 studies), experimental psychology, Freud and dreams, English literature, mythology, biology, communication, journalism. It was the first time we made a short film 🎥 and we learned the difference between real journalism or simply “sensationalism” (comprising 80% of the news 📰 channels in Greece today). Our wonderful Dean, W. Peebles-Wilkins who fostered our mentoring of commuter students — Only years later do we realize how special these relationships were and the learning!
The women leaders of the Toastmasters crew in the U.S. as well as in Greece, the women (and men) who help us understand why we need to keep fighting and educating about femicide…and building health literacy! Why we need to keep “fighting” fires 🔥 to save animals and property, Trap King and Let’s be S.M.A.R.T., continue to be productive like Eleftheria (name means “freedom”), or the grannies whom I met on the boat to a small island sharing their joy despite any chronic health conditions or the covid outbreak 😷 💕💙
Finally, as a social scientist I would be remiss from not including the inspirations for my studies and thanking all Marie Curie Fellows, my mentors, for helping career growth in the field towards improving individual and community health.
Indeed all the strong women in my life including my good friends, aunts, mother and grandmother. Thanks for helping me build strength of character! We can accomplish miracles and with a little effort can help the world 🌎 a better place!
Carnival from “carne” or meat is the last “sinful” day as Christians transition to 40 days of lent. There are many customs around Greece including those well-known in Xanthi, Larisa, Naousa, Rethymnon (Crete), Zakinthos, Corfu, Patras, Nafplio. Smaller celebrations in mountain villages like Agios Andreas in Arcadia have several political messages but they all end in dancing and sharing food. Pagan to Christian traditions as we prepare for Spring. And of course if you ever make it to Venice, Italy 🇮🇹 or New Orleans in Louisiana for your beads …
Larger cities have several parades over many weeks including the Patras youth parade (καρναβάλι μικρών Πάτρας) activities which this year after many lockdowns and restrictions was a year of great energy and fun! And the masquerading can include Latin dancing with great colleagues — much needed for physical and mental health!
In Greece, and many Eastern Orthodox Christians after the last Sunday of Carnival, on “Clean Monday” the cultural tradition for kids and families is to fly a kite 🪁 symbolic of the soul flying high — no meat, subdued and happy moments, with family the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. We need to manage our limbic system, in order to manage our anger in healthier ways… it’s not as easy as it looks (kite flying I mean 😏) but soaring high makes us feel as if we are free and with our maker.
“Today is the day when bold kites fly, when cumulus clouds roar across the sky. When robins return, when children cheer, when light rain beckons spring to appear.” Robert Mccracken (Irish author, former food scientist). There are many “kite quotes” as written up by Rene Turrek, a page of 122 to be exact, that will inspire all!
Ms. “Sarakosti” keeps time with her legs ! 7 weeks ….
Do not forget Ms. Sarakosti, the 7 feet symbolize each week of Lent. She humbly reminds us to turn within and add our family members names (optional) keeping us on a detoxification, continuing on our spiritual path.
The hope is that we learn to soar and the “growth mindset” takes some time ….
Manage yourself first ….including rethinking about what you do and say. No one is perfect.
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!
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.
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! As a matter of fact one healthcare group in Sarasota Florida has a great health literacy message and a visual from Unitedhealthcare on the benefits of decluttering for older persons too — one room at a time.
Photo above of a friend’s beautiful creation and she wishes all, a “Happy Sarakosti!” There are many simple recipes for making “Miss Sarakosti” (translated to Miss 40 days) and she has no mouth or it’s wrapped for being modest or humble. Here is a video by Christina Kyvranoglou, you can also download /print the above to make your own cardboard form. Simple ingredients — flour, salt, corn flower, vegetable oil, decor are usually cloves and raisins (food colouring optional), low baking temperature 160•C and let it dry for at least 25-30 mins before displaying.
This year we focus on the inspirations of this little fur ball …. who has many offspring as if to ‘give’ to the world of his own self. Chinese New Year: Year of the Rabbit site inspires us to figure out our own Zodiac and what our challenges might be forthcoming. Our protective qualities, or health issues. Think of resolutions and what the last year meant to you.
We know that journal 📓 or diary-writing ✍️ and any creative writing is a great way to get our brain’s neurological system “back together again” as many studies suggest. So here are 5 things to look back at:
what you accomplished…
where you are headed next…
what you need to “fix” in yourself, or mend relationships (if they can be, else move on) understand that you are not perfect but neither is the person with the big ego!
what are you thankful for and give thanks 🙏 to the universe – God.
how has your body kept up with your age and the environmental impact.
Do you enjoy good food and drink? Will you try something new this year ?
Along with the typical family treats in Greece and other Eastern European countries such as the crushed almond butter cookies with powder sugar “kourambiedes” (some refer to them as “Greek almond snowballs”!) and the spicy honey-dipped with walnuts “melomakarona” this year instead of the typical “vasilopita” we made an Italian inspiredpanettone …. More good food to try were beef stew and sautéed veggies 🥦 🥕 with potato hash brown type patty that made for a great British dinner 🥘 along with a berries and cherries low alcohol cider. Fish croquettes with some pieces of duck, salad greens 🥬 with Parmesan, and a glass of red wine 🍷for those good-for-heart flavonoids. Amazing tastes and no guilt on calories! Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”? That’s a good new year’s philosophy to follow, as long as you eat in moderation!
A new year of strength and confidence in your own abilities, creative outlets, with much health, growth, and prosperity! 2023 – be the best you want to be.
Gifts, merriment, kindness, remembrance of Christmas Past, Christmas Present 🎁 and Christmas Future! This is what the English literary genius of Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria would likely have us take home after a visit to a great city like London, England.
From London with love to all … Sharing is caring, and beautiful cities must be maintained. When one respects cities, this can add joy to any pedestrian’s and onlookers viewing and experience. Of course there are a few things to be aware of including, no lighting in parks at night, and the London Fog can make one a bit uneasy 😬 (unfortunately many crimes were committed during Covid lockdown periods); personally, the Scotland Yard stories of detective Sherlock Holmes, and still unsolved Jack the Ripper case still intrigue.
Take a walk and “get lost” only to find your path again.
Travel far, open your eyes and mind, we are all global citizens.
Give what you can, you will have greater returns.
Purchase only what you need and 1 item that makes you happy.
Enjoy precious time with family and friends.
There are many Dickens quotes to share, but this holiday season let’s keep this one,
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Tonight, while driving to (of all things) a Christmas party, I heard a wonderful tribute to darkness.
The poetry of beloved Scottish born author Kathleen Jamie referred to winter solstice. Playing against a backdrop of amazing music taking us all the way to the Arctic Circle and better understanding the Nordic cultures. It’s no wonder Jamie is currently considered one of Scotland’s greatest.
It is a realisation indeed, that we only speak of the “light in darkness” and we have been influenced by the Judeo-Christian traditions that were invented to help people come together in winter months (Christmas and Chanukah) a take-off from ancient pagan traditions.
Solstice is a special day twice each year, where the sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination. The longest day is June 21 and the shortest around 21 or 22 of December. So, I share here beloved Nordic nature with the “call” of ethereal singer
Finishing my almost one month long psycho-educational group I decided that working during the winter months is special, since: 1) it helps everyone deal with the melancholia of less physical light (vitamin D deficiency too !) 2) people with chronic dermatological. or vein issues do better with the cold 3) it also prepares them to deal with the stress of the holidays !
We can delve a bit deeper into the Eleusinian mysteries or take a walk during this crisp winter night …. Did us a world of good ! The theme and practice of December traditions, transcends cultures.
Stay tuned for my next post about psychologist Ed Tick, PhD and his work on dream healing ❤️🩹 plus some special artisans to bridge the ancient archetypes with our modern ways.
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 !
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
Pair your leftover Halloween 🎃 candy w/ some Omega rich nuts !
Take a walk in the woods and gather some chestnuts ? Remember 20 mins a day, walk briskly.