Tag Archives: healthy mind


Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.


So today I shall be busy with last minute chores so that I can leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  We have to be at the airport at 4am so we shall stay at a friend’s house overnight and then he will take us out to the airport.  What a good friend 🙂

Lotte is going to stay with him for the time I am away.  He is looking forward to that and she seems to settle in wherever I leave her.  She has her coat, her brush, her rug and a couple of toys so she will be fine.

Tai Chi

6am Tai Chi at The Golden Door

When I have been to the Golden Door before I haven’t had access to the internet.  Things may have changed but I suspect I shall not be writing blogs until I return.

And in case you think this is a holiday, here is a typical day at Queensland’s Golden Door:

  • 6.15am   Welcome a new day with Tai Chi Qi Gong at sunrise.
  • 6.45am   Enjoy a guided bush walk on our pink, blue or green courses; or Get wet and wild with deep water running in the bottom pool or challenge yourself with high intensity spinning class.
  • 8.00am  Buffet breakfast of seasonal fruit, Golden Door signature muesli and specialty breakfast cuisine.
  • 9.00am  Morning stretch class held in the gymnasium, a gentle and relaxing way to start your day.
  • 9.30am-11.00am  A health & wellbeing workshop aimed at providing you with the knowledge to make positive lifestyle changes.
  • 10.45am   A healthy and nutritious morning tea served in the dining room.
  • 11.00am – 1.00pm  Take part in the various daily exercise activities and spa treatments available. Try something new or take a challenge.
  • 1.00pm   A sumptuous buffet lunch served in the dining room.
  • 2.00pm-6.00pm    Choose from a variety of activities and seminars available to enjoy. Indulge at the spa where your relaxing massage, refreshing body treatment or luxurious beauty treatment awaits.
  • 3.45pm  A healthy and nutritious afternoon tea served in the dining room.
  • 6.30pm  Be rewarded after a busy day with a mouth watering buffet dinner created by our Executive Chef David Hunter and his team.

But it is enjoyable and I always come back renewed and filled with great plans for the future.  They usually last about two weeks, but hey it’s fun.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
World Health Organization, 1948


It’s Here Again

Saturday again.  Do you think they come around more frequently than they used to?  I certainly do.

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.


I was talking to a friend about going to a health resort in Australia next month.  We have both been several times before and have decided that we need a treat.  A treat I say – well if being wakened at 5.30 am to do tai chi is your idea of a treat.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi at The Golden Door

One doesn’t have to participate but you have to acknowledge the knock on the door.  Who can go back to sleep after that.

Then various activities are offered through the day.  Following (or not) the Tai Chi one has to walk or run through the forest on a designated path.  these paths are of three levels of difficulty – and I always have the easiest although a couple of times I have done the walk twice at one time.

Then breakfast.  This is a joy to behold.  Tables groaning under the weight of bowls of fresh Queensland fruit, Golden Door Muesli, Smoothies and an occasional poached egg.

The regime is quite strict here.  No cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, cell phones or sweets.  The door closes behind you as you arrive and doesn’t open again for you until you are ready to leave.

Dinner and Lunch are mainly vegetables and perhaps some tofu.  Activities are available all through the day and one can choose to attend or not.  There is a series of wonderful treats available, massages, beauty treatments etc some of which are included in the fee and the rest are add ons.

There is plenty of incremental exercise – all activities are either up the hill or down the hill from your chalet.  Even going to the dining room means a hike up the hill.

The five days that I have spent there on three earlier occasions have passed very quickly and I have definitely felt so much better after leaving there.  Leaving there with great promises to myself to make better food choices, to exercise and to treat myself regularly.  How quickly those promises are forgotten.

Both passports

So having agreed to go to The Golden Door once again I looked at my passport and saw that it expired yesterday!  So first thing on Monday morning I am off to get photos taken and then to the Passport Office to renew it.  And then I looked at my British Passport; that too has expired so that will have to be attended to soon.

And from way back in my childhood I remembered this nursery rhyme.  Do you know it?

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
~Nursery rhyme

Political Correctness

No Political Correctness sign

I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.
P. D. James

Is Political Correctness as rampant where you live as it is here in Godzone/Aotearoa?  We are constantly worried here in case we step on somebody’s toes or offend somebody in some way, and often it causes us to do nothing.  Note – the use of the word “us” here is a generic term for both our politicians and the general hoi polloi.

To my mind PC as used by our politicians, the media and those who deem themselves to be in charge of our actions (and maybe even our thoughts),  is tyranny.  And the rationale of this tyranny?  It appears to be to prevent people being offended by what is said or done; to prevent compel each of us to avoid using words that may upset others, including  women, fat people, small or tall people,homosexuals, etc etc.

Well I would not knowingly offend any of these people but feel that this has gone too far.  Political Correctness is in my view,  a sophisticated form of censorship that affects all of us and creeps unasked into our lives.  The values and rules of my parents’ generation appear to be thrown out with the bath water and what is moving in to take their place?  Political Correctness.

I decided to investigate the origins or this phenomenon and see if I could find out the reason for its introduction into our lives.  I found an explanation on this site.  Here I read that “It  was developed at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, which was founded in 1923 and came to be known as the “Frankfurt School.” It was a group of thinkers who pulled together to find a solution to the biggest problem facing the implementers of communism in Russia.

The problem?  Why wasn’t communism spreading?  Their answer?  Because Western Civilization was in its way.”  It went on to say

“What was the problem with Western Civilization? Its belief in the individual, that an individual could develop valid ideas. At the root of communism was the theory that all valid ideas come from the effect of the social group of the masses. The individual is nothing.”

And so Political Correctness was introduced to undermine Western Civilisations’  foundations by incessantly and insidiously attacking the rights of the individuals.   Well, that explains it then.

And today after receiving this email from a friend, I decided to air my concernsobjections about and to this trend.  See what you think?

“There’s an annual contest at the University of Arkansas calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year’s term was: “Political Correctness.” The winning student wrote:

“Political correctness is a doctrine — fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rapidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media — which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.”

 Well that says it all for me anyway.  What do you think?

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
Thomas Jefferson

Saturday Stroll

Coffee.  Garden.  Coffee.  Does a good morning need anything else?  Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com

It has been the most beautiful day here and I could not put off the weeding any longer.  It’s amazing how if the sun is shining everything seems to be easier. The weeds are taken care of and now it was necessary to go to the garden centre once again to buy more plants.


I decided that I needed two brightly coloured Azaleas for the back patio that gets little sunshine at this time of the year.

Back steps

Then three white ranunculus and red pots for the brick steps up to the upper patio.

Yellow rununculas

And for no reason other than that they looked so good, three yellow ranunculus.  I shall find a place for them tomorrow.

Bush walk to Massey memorial

Walk to Massey Memorial

Massey Memorial

Massey Memorial

We finished the walk this afternoon with a climb up to the Massey Memorial.   More on Massey and his memorial tomorrow.

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.  ~Author Unknown

Note – all photos taken with my new i-phone.

Playing With Words


“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

I love words.  I like the sound of them, I like to see them written down and I like to see them used by others in different ways and I just like playing with them.

Today, from somewhere in the back of this elderly brain, came the word Onomatopoeia.  I am sure you know what it means but my dictionary defines it as – “The formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss.”

So after playing around for a time I came up with this –


Actors mumble

Birds flutter

Cats purr

Dogs bark

Eagles swoosh

Friends chatter

Guns boom

Harnesses jangle

Insensitives belch

Jellies squish

Kites swoosh

Lovers whisper

Mothers murmur

Noses sniff

Orchestras zing

Pigs snort

Queens giggle

Rain drips

Snakes hiss

Trains rumble

Unicorns whoosh

Victors roar

Water laps

Xylophones twang

Yaks shuffle

Zealots blare.

So what can you add?  I am sure you can come up with many others.  But it was an interesting way to spend an hour today.

Until tomorrow then.

It’s all English – isn’t it?

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.”
So sung the Bee Gees way back in 1997.

I started to write my blog today feeling absolutely ghastly.  The cold that I have been nursing for 8 days has now morphed into an awful cough and all I wanted to do today was lie down with my book.  Waking up several times during the night didn’t make me bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.  Fortunately, I only had to attend one of the open homes being run by my Real Estate friend.

But I made a commitment to myself some six months ago to post a blog every day so here goes.

Some time ago I read a blog from Robin entitled Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve that started me off on a different tack altogether.  Robin’s blog made me think of the different words in the English language that can have two definite and different meanings.  They often sound the same but may have different spellings.

  • Preserve – for me as I have said means a preserve or jam of fruits or vegetables. For Robin it meant a wildflower park.
  • Conserve – to prevent injury or waste or to make a conserve such as jams, pickles or chutney.
  • Bow – to bow down in homage or the bough of a tree.
  • Left as in direction and left as in ‘he left the store’
  • Address – where one lives and address as in making an address to the assembled people.
  • Close as near and close to shut
  • Permit – allow and permit as license
  • Incline – a small hill and incline towards something
  • Anchor – used to secure a boat or alternatively the shops that anchor a shopping mall ie a large variety or department store at each end of the mall or the newscaster.
  • Rebel – as in resisting authority and rebel the person resisting

And then of course we could open the can of worms of how the same words have different meanings to American and British people.

  • Purse – American handbag, British change purse
  • Vest – American sleeveless garment worn over clothes, British undergarment
  • Jelly – American jam and British equivalent of Jello

And different names for certain things.  For example, in a car

  • Gas in America = Petrol in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Hood in America = Bonnet in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Trunk in America = Boot in Britain, New Zealand and Australia

This didn’t set out to be a lesson in English grammar a subject in which I have always been interested.  But can you tell the difference between  homonyms – words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings, eg bore and boar; homophones – words that sound the same however they are spelled eg whole and hole; and homographs – words that share the same spelling however they are pronounced eg content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something.

As I don’t know where this is going I think I shall end there.  Hopefully my head will be in a better place tomorrow and the blog will make more sense.

But for now, please share my rainbow


My rainbow

Who Put You In the Driver’s Seat?

The reason we left Scotland and started our nomadic life (of sorts) is because my late husband worked for an international car rental company whose tagline was”Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat.”  Are you old enough to remember this?  Click here for an ad of the times.

And when thinking of this it came to me that the men in our family Always want to be in the driver’s seat when driving the car.  When my husband was alive he always picked up the car keys when we were leaving the house – even if the keys were to my car.  Once he had his licence, my son assumed that he would drive us if his father were not around.

My son and son-in-law do the same thing still.  And this week, my grandson picked up my car keys.  But he didn’t get to drive as my car isn’t insured for anybody under 25.

I wondered whether this was a male thing generally or just peculiar to our family.

When I queried several friends they agreed that this was what happens in their families.  So why I have to ask myself.  And have no answer.

  • Do men think nobody else capable of driving?
  • Do they think we can’t find our way, with or without a map/satnav?
  • Does it give them a feeling of power?

Perhaps you have an answer.

If everything comes your way
You are in the wrong lane”  Unknown.


Finding Her Here

Book cover

“I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted, grey at the temples, soft body, delighted, cracked up by life, with a laugh that’s known bitter but, past it, got better, knows she’s a survivor – that whatever comes, she can outlast it.  I am becoming a deep weathered basket.

” I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,  the motherly lover with arms strong and tender, the growing up daughter who blushes surprises.  I am becoming full moons and  sunrises.

“I find her becoming, this woman I’ve wanted, who knows she’ll encompass, who knows she’s sufficient, knows where she is going and travels with passion.  Who remembers she’s precious, but knows she’s not scarce – who knows she is plenty, plenty to share.”

I have quoted from this poem by Jayne Relaford Brown before .  And it really speaks to me and says it all for me.  It is published in “I am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted” a book that was bought for me by my late husband.  He certainly knew how to choose the right books (or push the right buttons perhaps, or even knew me better than I knew myself).

Anyway, I know very little about this woman who has written about me as if she knows me.

I have found out that she received an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing from San Diego State  University and teaches writing at Penn State University Berks-Lehigh Valley College where she is also a Senior lecturer in English.   In addition, she teaches composition, creative writing and advanced non fiction courses.

Her poem, “Finding Her Here,” is  distributed as a poster by Syracuse Cultural Workers.  It has been translated into Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

I really would like to know more about her.  Can anybody help please.

Traditional Families?

 Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!  ~Albert Einstein

Two girls

Photo Alexander Oshvintsev | Dreamstime.com

Here in New Zealand we are becoming more aware of the changes being wrought in ‘traditional families’.  No longer are families only father mother and offspring.  More children are being born to and brought up by same sex parents moving us far away from the ‘traditional’ family.

It comes as a shock then to learn, according to a Victoria University of  Wellington researcher , that Wellington schools are reinforcing the image of ‘traditional’ families by not stocking books about gay parents.  However, she did add that she felt it was often unconscious and inadvertent and schools were surprised at the results. “I think they confidently thought they would, of course, have some of these books.”

More than 85 per cent of school libraries surveyed in the capital did not have any books showing gay parents,  this school of educational psychology and pedagogy senior lecturer  said.

Apparently,  she surveyed  58 schools in the Wellington area to determine  how many stocked the 11 popular children’s books that in some way include gay or lesbian parents.   Only libraries in 8 of the schools had even one of the books.

The lesbian parents of two boys aged 12 and 14, said they  had not found suitable books featuring gay or lesbian parents as their boys were growing up, as many of the early books had been “stilted and self-conscious”.  They agreed that more diverse books would be good but pointed out they should be good stories that engaged children and showed the similarities between all families.

Symbol male-female

Photo – Eleandra | Dreamstime.com

These findings came as a surprise to many as Wellington is known as an accepting and  vibrant city with a large population of gay and lesbians. When questioned one teacher said “”It wasn’t that we were avoiding those books, it was something that hadn’t arisen.”  The school has since purchased a couple of the books after a child with gay parents had enrolled at the school.

So what do you think?  Should we encourage the stereotype of ‘traditional’ families through our schools, their books and teachings, or should we embrace and celebrate the changes that are taking place throughout our communities?

“The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come.”
Sandra Day O’Connor  American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. 1930 –

My Morning Pages

“Writing is a form of personal freedom.  It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us.  In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.” 
Don Delillo, American Novelist 1926 –

Do you find that your mind wanders in all directions?  I start out to read a blog, that puts me on a certain trail, from there I go to another trail and on and on it goes.  Several hours pass and I have done nothing except follow these bloggers, their thoughts and mine. This is really stream of consciousness and reminded me of a task I used to set all of my Life Coaching clients.

I discovered this process when reading and following Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – it is now also an online course.  She calls it Morning Pages – a stream of consciousness writing.

I started to write my Morning Pages shortly after my husband died.  It was cathartic.  I could write down all the hurts, anger and disappointments and get them out of my system rather than laying them as a burden on friends or family.

Even before I started using this process a friend of mine told me how she wrote out all her frustrations with her husband who having retired, wanted only to play golf and spend time mainly with his male friends.  She got the angst and anger out of her system onto the pages.  By doing so she rid herself of the frustrations and anger without any major rows with her husband.  And in the process, she discovered that , what she really wanted to do with her life was run a bed and breakfast operation.  She now does that very successfully.

So with this example in front of me I took the idea on board and used it to determine where I was headed and if I wanted to go there.

As it worked for me I then, with some adaptations to reflect that my clients weren’t necessarily artists, I introduced it into my Life Coaching practice.  Of course, I gave credit to Julia Cameron and I encouraged my clients to either purchase a copy of the book or at least borrow a copy from the local library.

My clients were encouraged to start writing three pages by hand, each day when they first awoke.  Before the thoughts and interruptions of the day intruded.  All the minor (and perhaps some of the major) irritants that flow through our days can be written out in the Morning Pages – get them onto the page and out of the mind.

My clients were told that this was non-negotiable.  The pages had to be hand written every day.  Research has shown that handhandwrittenmulates a bunch of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process, giving more importance to the stuff that you’re actively focusing on at the moment—the physical act of writing brings it to the forefront.  Author Henriette Anne Klauser who wrote Write It Down, Make It Happen, says that “Writing triggers the RAS, which in turn sends a signal to the cerebral cortex: ‘Wake up! Pay attention! Don’t miss this detail!’

They were told to “Ignore your inner censor who is very quick to point out that there are other things you could be doing.  Or who says you are not doing these pages correctly.  Get out of bed and begin your Morning Pages.  Just keep your hand moving across the page.  Three pages of whatever comes into your mind.  If you can’t think of anything to write then write that “I can’t think of anything to write”.  You could fill all three pages with this one sentence, but it is likely that in the process of writing this several times other things will pop into your head.”

I also recommended that they didn’t go back and reread what they had written.  Just write.  Why put it back into your head?  And if it was written several weeks ago it has no doubt been dealt with by now.

Stream of consciousness writing is a technique to achieve release.   Our minds have the capacity to think about all our problems and feelings but our minds can become clouded if there is too much information or if one occurrence is overpowering.  We can’t think clearly and the problem takes on a life of its own.

Jennifer Blanchard experimented with Morning Pages and she wrote a blog about it .  Why don’t you give it a try?  It could be quite liberating whether you consider yourself an artist or not.  In fact, just writing your blog each day makes you an artist.

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe
shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
John Jakes, American author 1932 –

And for no reason other than I like it –

“My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end.  Nothing is easier than fault finding.  All it will do is discolor my personality
so that none will want to associate with me. 
That was my old life.  No more.” 
Og Mandino, American author 1923-1996 author of The Greatest Salesman in the World.