Healing, Health, poetry, Self Care, tough times, Wisdom

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Safe

Anne Lamott self care quote
Unplugging-Anne Lamott

This has been a frightening week, interspersed with personal trying periods, and a need to bury my head for a couple of hours at a time.

My daughter texted me after the tragedy in Nice, France.

iPhone text
Text One
iphone text
Text Two


I hated that she felt unsafe. I hated that I couldn’t stretch my arms across 1,000 miles and give her a hug, kiss her forehead. All I could offer her was to look for hope and to take a deep breath.

But I had to remember that feeling unsafe doesn’t mean that we are.

This was my reaction to feeling powerless, angry, and fearful.

I wanted to share the power of prayer with her, but she isn’t Christian or of any faith anymore. That in itself added to my sadness. But, also gave me the opportunity, later, to have a conversation with her about why I pray and how that helps me.

That night the news across all channels broadcast the tragedy. Soon there was another world event, the attempted coup in Turkey, and another, the sniper attack on police officers in Baton Rouge.

I had to keep the television off and stay off social media. My mind, spirit, and body were out of whack.

My attempts at ‘righting’ myself was to practice some self-care. I tried to find ways to relax and experience safety.

The garden beckoned. The Monarch caterpillars had decimated the milkweed leaving it a skeletal reminder of a once gorgeous fiery orange headed plant. Meanwhile, new butterflies showed off acrobatic skills over the remaining fronds of the second milkweed bush.

Butterfly acrobatics
Butterfly acrobatics

While watering the potted succulents I found that two blossomed with beautiful flowers. Being in the garden helped and somehow pushed me to go to the gym and exercise.

Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.
Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.

That evening I decided not to go out and sat in my backyard coloring. My sister gifted me with the adult coloring books a few months back. This may sound cheesy, but I felt a lot of pleasure wielding the colored pencils, so much that I had to go buy me a box of Crayola crayons, the giant 64 set box.

The next day, I read a mesmerizing book of poetry written by a man who had been a slave and put into the ‘service’ of a wealthy slave owner as a child of six years of age. Although his verses expose the cruelty of slavery, his poetry reflects the beauty he finds with his parents and his own world.

Book of poetry, cuban poet Juan Francisco Manzano
The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle. Poetry of Juan Francisco Manzano.

Meditation via my cell phone is a life saver. I either go to Pandora and listen to Deepak Chopra or I go to the Oprah channel and listen to one of Chopra’s 21 days of meditations. (Many times they are free).

On Sunday, I attended church service where I’m a greeter a couple of times a month. As I passed out bulletins to numerous families, teenagers and the elderly, the smiles people gave after a “good morning, I hope you enjoy the service” enlivened me.

I wondered why I felt a new energy, and it dawned on me that although the people were heavily burdened, they were trying to live and do the best they could.

Over the weekend, I kept in close contact with my daughter and shared the photos above with her. I don’t know if this helped her but it sure helped me.

Do the best you can. Create your own safe space. Hugs. 




Health, Writers, writing tips

Five Ways to Prevent #Writers Butt


Sitting is the New Smoking
Sitting Too Much?

“Sitting is the new smoking…” Dr. Christine Northrup

I caught the tail end (no pun intended) of Dr. Northrup’s PBS talk on aging the other day. She told the audience that decline and deterioration doesn’t have to accompany aging.

Middle age spread, in your stomach and your derrière is not de rigueur. Worse, those two things age us and are detrimental to our health.

Most of us sit too long. Okay, I sit way too long. So when I heard “Sitting is the new smoking,” I paid attention. It was time for some self-care.

I also looked at my backside in the mirror, for more than a second. Yikes, winter and writing equals more than Kim K has behind her (pun intended).

Writers, in particular, type away for hours, research, scan social media, check out blogs, all while sitting.

We embrace the BICHOK

Butts In Chair Hands On Keys

Well, not anymore. Here are five ways to prevent writer’s butt:

1. Every 55 minutes stand and stretch for five.

Stretch your arms over your head, to the right, to the left. Here’s the standing side stretch and one for the back. Do a chair squat or arm circles.

2. Dr. Northrup’s 20 second move.

I really like this one, but recommend that you stretch your legs and arms for a couple of minutes first or you could pull a muscle. Run in place, fast, for 20 seconds while moving your arms. Think of that old Charleston dance. If you’re really serious, do this for one minute.

3. Use a standing desk.

You don’t have to go out and buy a $500 IKEA desk or a standing treadmill. This guy has a DIY version for less than $22.

4-Just walk.

Push away from the desk and go for a walk. It doesn’t matter if it’s down the hall, around your office, to the kitchen, to your backyard, up and down the stairs. Just do it for three to five minutes.

5-Two minute yoga stretch.

If you’re a beginner, take this slow and build up.

And now for the bonus tip:


From Ploughshares Journal:

Hook up your laptop to a pedaling system. If you stop pedaling, you lose the document. If you hit your optimal heart rate, you win thirty seconds of Facebook time. Reaching your calorie goal will unlock spell-check.

These tips can take you through five hours of writing and sitting. If you’re doing any more than that amount in a day, I suggest you perform all of the exercises in Ploughshare’s Calisthenics for Writers.

Feel free to share any of your tips.