At 4 a.m. in the morning, when it was still dark, a huge luxury cruise ship came to a complete stop in the Mediterranean Sea. Far below, shivering and wet, were seven exhausted refugees in a sinking rubber dinghy. They were survivors from war and savagery, desperate to get to Greece, clinging to hope for a better, healthier life.
This is the scenario that we currently read about and see every day in the media. Only this particular event was not in the news. It so happened that I was on the cruise ship that rescued those Syrian refugees. One comment made later in the morning by the Captain, when explaining why he stopped, touched many of us deeply. He said: “The safety and security of every life at sea is of paramount importance.”
It's Halloween time. Trick or treaters will soon be at our doors, ringing the bells and asking for treats. Super heroes, ballerinas, witches and goblins of all sorts will be invading, but none of us will be afraid. It doesn't matter how scary they may look, no matter what their color or physical appearance, we won't be afraid because we know that beneath each mask is a child.
No matter who we are or where we come from, I believe we all want the same things – to feel like we belong and to feel loved by those closest to us must be somewhere at the top of the list. But when life doesn’t go as planned or the relationships we have don’t bring the comfort we’re looking for, turning to drugs or alcohol to fill the void may feel like an immediate solution.
Contemporary reporting feeds us with death, disaster, and the latest health hazard. Satellites have opened the airwaves to almost immediate visual record of what is happening throughout the world. It’s important to consider how digesting such a news diet affects us.
This week’s ‘Belief’ series on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network includes a deep dive into ‘the mystery of what happens after we die.’ Is it possible, though, that we never really die? “In this world nothing can be said to be certain,” wrote Ben Franklin to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy in 1789, “except death and taxes.” Had he written this today, however, it’s not at all certain that death would have made the cut.
The RIAT initiative [Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials] was launched in June 2013 to publish misleading historical clinical findings which, according to Ben Goldacre, may have been ‘unethically hidden from doctors and researchers’. Reuters, September 28, 2015 reported in an online article about the prescription drug paroxetine [paxil], used to treat depression in teenagers.
“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” So stated Christopher Columbus, whose monumental voyage we observe this month. As a student, I loved studying Columbus, Magellan, DeSoto, Cortez and the other “New World” explorers. We used colored pencils and traced the paths they forged. I admired their courage and perseverance.
Throughout history, moments spent strolling through floral paths, even planting vegetable and herb gardens, have been found to be therapeutic.
A Health & Science article in The Washington Post put a spotlight on the benefits of nature moments. It examined Robert Zarr’s “innovative community health program,” DC Parks Rx, which is “committed to combating the woes of urban living by prescribing time outdoors.”