"My Story Lives is a cornucopia of hope and optimism in the midst of challenging and sometimes dark circumstances. You're doing great work!" Dr. Mel Waldman, Psychologist'

"In my opinion, this is one of the BEST LITERARY sites ever created!!" Camincha, San Francisco Bay Area poet and writer

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Live the Questions"


I would like to beg you, dear sir,

to have patience with everything

unresolved in your heart

and to try to love the questions themselves

as if they were locked rooms or books

written in a very foreign

language. Don't search for the answers,

which could not be given to

you now, because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is,

to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, some day in

the far future,

you will gradually,

without even noticing it,

live your way into the answer.


by RAINER MARIA RILKE

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An amazing experience with a medical intuitve...


By Claudia Ricci

Maybe you've heard the words "medical intuitive."

Maybe you even know what a medical intuitive is. Some of them, like Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz, who lives in Yarmouth, Maine, are M.D.s (Schulz is actually an M.D., Ph.D.) Some, like Carolyn Myss, a popular champion of so-called "energy medicine," are not doctors at all. But what they've all got in common is an uncanny ability to diagnose diseases over the telephone in people they have never met.

OK, OK, so I can hear some of you laughing at this notion.

Before August 6, 2003, I probably would have laughed too.

But I swear to you what I am about to tell you really happened to me.

I was in L.A. visiting my sister. A few days before, I had phoned a medical intuitive, a woman in Stowe, Vermont whose first name is Karin. We had never met. We had spoken only for a couple of minutes, to arrange for the "reading."

She knew absolutely nothing about me, only my first name. She knew nothing at all of my medical history, i.e., she had no idea that I had been treated aggressively for Hodgkin's Disease (lymphoma) the summer before.

Nor did she know that my doctor at Sloan Kettering was insisting, in the summer of 2003, that I need to be treated again, this time with a stem cell transplant, an even more aggressive medical treatment that basically scours out your immune system. It puts you at death's door, in order to "heal" you.

I had told the doctor at Sloan that I didn't need the procedure. And ultimately, I would be proven right. Ultimately, another cancer specialist, Dr. George Canellos, at Dana Farber in Boston, would confirm that I did not need the stem cell transplant.

Anyway, back to the medical intuitive.

I had phoned Karin at the suggestion of my sister-in-law, Jo, who lives in Vermont. Jo had told me only that talking to the intuitive "would blow my mind."

I was kind of desperate at that point. I had that doctor at Sloan breathing down my neck, insisting I needed the stem cell. I had also made a trip to Dana Farber, and the second doctor was reviewing my medical records.

I was in limbo, waiting to hear from the doctor at Dana Farber.

I was terrified. And there I was in L.A.

Karin had instructed me to call her at 7 a.m. L.A. time. I did. My sister was asleep down the hall.

Karin told me simply to lie quietly for about 45 minutes. "You will feel very heavy," she said. "After the feeling passes, call me back."

I lay down as instructed, and my limbs went lead. My body started to feel like a puddle of liquid cement. And then, about 45 minutes later, the feeling lifted. And then I called Karin back. And that's when the weird stuff happened.

The first thing she asked me was, "did your mother have lung cancer?"

"No," I responded.

"Did your mother have a serious lung illness?"

My jaw dropped. "Well, yes," I whispered. "She had asthma, and it was often very serious."

I didn't tell her about all the times, as a very young child, that I would sit by my mother's bed, as she hunched over a pile of pillows, gasping for breath. I didn't tell her about all the times I had, as a four or five year old child, to take care of my mother, and my baby sister, who was now grown up and asleep down the hall.

I never said a word about any of that.

"OK," Karin said. "Your own illness is tied up with your mother's. You harbor a deep resentment toward your mother over her illness, over what it did to you. The fear it left you with. You need to deal with that resentment and fear in order to heal."

My head started spinning. But that was just the beginning.

She went on. Somehow, she knew.

This: "OK, so you've got one spot of cancer to cure, on the left side of your chest, right below your heart, above your diaphragm, next to your sternum."

"Yes," I murmured. I said only "yes." What I didn't say: that at my follow up visit at Sloan Kettering a few weeks before, a routine CT scan had showed one spot of Hodgkin's lymphoma in EXACTLY the position she described. A biopsy needle mark remained on my chest as proof.

I said nothing. I just sat there, my mouth cottony, my heart banging inside my chest. I held my breath, waiting for what she would say next. Would she say I needed the dreaded stem cell transplant?

"You will heal, then, you will respond to the chemo, but you must come to grips with your resentment, with the underlying anger you have, the anger and resentment that lingers there in your chest, toward your mother."

That's all she said. I made arrangements to send her a check, and then I hung up the phone and stared into the ceiling. Confused. Amazed. Scared.I was trained as a newspaper reporter. I had always been a rather skeptical person. But now, all of a sudden. My blood felt like it was flowing in a whole new direction.

I had just witnessed something that I absolutely could not explain. I placed my hands over my chest, over the spot, over the spot, and I waited for a moment. I felt my heart beat. I felt weak and transparent, as if all the world could see right through me.

I did not tell my sister what happened. My sister is trained as a nurse, and at the time, I didn't think she would believe me. I didn't think she would automatically agree that what I had experienced was nothing short of a miracle.

But a few hours later, though, another miracle occurred. It was about 10 a.m. I had just stepped into the shower. As the hot water flooded me, I heard a knock on the bathroom door. I stuck my head outside the shower.

My sister was holding the phone. "It's your husband," my sister said, her eyes brimming in tears. "He just spoke to Dr. Canellos at Dana Farber. Canellos just confirmed that the spot you've got is a left over from last summer, not a new spot. You don't need the stem cell after all. "

As I took the phone into my wet hands, and heard the news for myself from my husband, tears started to fall. I stood there, awash in water and blissful tears, as happy as I've ever been in my entire life.

I hear about new cases of cancer all the time. I am often called upon by friends and family to "counsel" other people suffering with cancer.

I hear about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor, and I wonder, how would a medical intuitive "explain" it.

Today, almost five years later, I have finally found the courage to write about this day, about these puzzling and amazing events. About a day when a medical intuitive set my head spinning in a new direction.

Honestly, it has been spinning ever since.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"The Happiness Bank"


By Judi England

Recently something good -- very good -- happened in my life. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I pretty much wanted to alert the media, post a billboard, or, at the very least, gather around me all my nearest and dearest to toast the wonder of this moment.One of the treasures of my life is having friends and family to celebrate with, to be happy with. These times when my heart fills up and spills over just beg to be shared - like an unexpected windfall.

Most people I know are happy to jump in and join in the fun. We have the unspoken knowing that in the blink of an eye things could change, life could intervene, and the moment gone. “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” - so writes Robert Frost. The nature of transition makes me acutely aware of the need to love the moment - no not love - more like drink in, wallow in, take total delight in it all.

I think I was born happy, and stayed that way for most of my life with the exception of some brief, but notably awful periods. I’ve also notice that my level of happiness has increased with age- a fairly universal phenomenon I understand. Maybe that’s simply recognizing that after a certain age we’re on the down slope of the mountain, and it’s a lot easier ride. After all 62 isn’t middle age unless you plan on living to 124 - Gad! what a thought!

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. As a matter of fact I don’t think anything really MAKES me happy.

Certainly it isn’t about the stuff.Less is definitely more in my life now. Less to take care of, tend to, clean, maintain, worry about, feed or insure. Changing wardrobes for the new season usually winds up with more and more being given away- less and less being packed away. Quality, utility and beauty far outweigh quantity, status or glitz. Having enough, and sharing that - is what informs my choices.

Sometimes the happiness of one person isn’t something that can be shared. We each receive the experiences of another through the filter of our own history. For some, sadly, there seems to be an unspoken belief that there is a Bank of Happiness - with finite resources. One person’s blessing = a withdrawal = less for the other.

For now I am enjoying it all - not just the smiling part, but the whole physical experience. There is an ease in moving through the day, a lightness , a feeling of expansiveness and possibility when I wake. I am feeding my heart for darker, drier times.

With any luck happiness can soften it’s voice into contentment. And that’s the stuff that can last a lifetime.

Peace

Judi England, RN, LMT, is a long-time teacher of yoga. She also has a thriving practise in massage therapy. She lives in the Capital region of New York State. This post appeared first on Monday, May 19th, in the Holistic Health blog at http://www.TimesUnion.com

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Let's Pick More Daisies"



By Camincha

Not long ago, my friend Marilyn came to me complaining mournfully. “I’m so miserable,” she said. “I am trying to become the best person I can be. I take night classes, I attend lectures. I join organizations and clubs, all of them offering to help me improve.”

But instead of feeling better, my friend felt miserable.

"I feel lonely. I am more unhappy than ever.”

I sat her down and told her of a poem I love. Actually I know it by heart, so I recited it. It’s by Nadine Stair, and it is called “If I Had My Life to Live Over.” It goes like this:

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less spinach.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.


Of course you can’t unfry an egg, but there’s no law against thinking about it. Oh, I have had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them, a lot more. In fact I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.

If I had it to do it over, I would travel lighter than I have. I would keep later hours. I would have more sweethearts. I would fish more. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would go to more circuses. If I had my life to live over I would start barefoot, earlier in the spring, and stay that way later in the fall.

I would go to more dances. In a world in which practically everybody else seems to be consecrated to the gravity of the situation, I would rise to glorify the levity of the situation. For I know now that laughter is wiser than wisdom. If I had my life to live over, I’d pick more daisies.

John, my housemate had a similar story. It went this way. “I hold a steady job, I’m productive! My mother would love me now. My days are spent on the job, nights, I take courses to improve my skills and on weekends I practice sports to improve my body.”

“Am I overdoing it?” he asked mournfully. “Because I sure miss my evening beers with my friends. I miss my time at the local pub.”

Then I heard from my cousin Gina, who is only 21. She is new to the eight-to-five world but already disillusioned about life. She works amidst hundreds of driven people in a mega- corporation.

She is surrounded by individuals whose families are breaking up around her every day. She invariably hears about the spouse who is faced with a divorce, the parent who sees the child turn sulky and rebellious, a teenager already an embittered human being. Gina tells me these people are so surprised. Stunned even. Why? Why? They say. I have tried. I have tried to be the best person I could possibly be, to improve myself in every area. And it doesn’t seem to work.

All of us have similar stories. We know so many people who are not happy. People who struggle to “succeed” in becoming that perfect person. Except in the process we forget to acknowledge what it means to be human, the foundation that holds our lives into a meaningful whole, without which our most intimate needs are not met.

So often we are failing to find satisfaction. Why? Because, at work, digits become more important than the people we work with, their feelings. In moments of personal trial, or illness, or the loss of a loved one, we tend to be afraid—lest we get behind—to take the time we need to mourn, to recuperate, to heal. We hear people say, if I had it to do over again… But that’s depressing. Why wait to do over again! Why not live right now? Today?

Well, so, inspired by the words of Nadine Stair, which I circulated among my friends, we got together, Marilyn, John, Gina and me, and we organized a picnic. We decided not to wait for the sunset of our lives to look back in retrospect. We decided to start today, to let those dear to us know how much we care. We started right away, to live life as though this might actually be the last day.

Camincha is a pen name for a writer living in the Bay Area of California.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Power of Words

Dr. Emoto and one of his water crystals

By Claudia Ricci

OK, try this. Try closing your eyes and saying these words:

"emerald green ocean waves, splashing on the sand, white and frothy glittering in the sun."

Nice mind picture, huh?

There is immense power in words. Whether we hear them as spoken or written messages, words create new states of mind.

What kinds of things do we say to friends and family? What statements or casual comments are empowering, encouraging, supportive, postive and life-giving? What outbursts come from another space, a place of jealousy or envy or anger or resentment?

If you haven't seen the movie, "What The Bleep Do We Know?" rent it. It's quirky, and quite extraordinary in the way it opens up a whole new view of that thing we call reality. Each time I watch it, I marvel at the statements made by the physicists and other scientists who are interviewed about quantum mechanics and the puzzling nature of sub-atomic particles. All of these scientists, echoing Einstein, end up saying in one way or another that nothing is fixed until the mind turns its observing consciousness on the matter. In other words, the mind has enormous power; in effect, we create reality by how we think about it. And how we speak of it. What we say "matters," literally. What we say -- I love you, I hate you, you are beautiful, you are stupid -- ends up in someone else's mind, and creates a real emotion. A situation, if you will.

One of the more fascinating features of the Bleep movie is the work of Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher who has spent years studying the effects of spoken words on frozen water crystals. The work is not without its critics and controversy. But even if you "read" Emoto's work as a metaphor, and gaze at his lovely frozen water crystals as no more than simply illustrations of an idea, rather than an expression of so-called "scientific reality," they are something to see.

His contention is that if spoken words or human thoughts are directed at water before it freezes, then the crystals that result will display characteristic patterns. These patterns will be ugly if the words/thoughts are negative, and beautiful if the words/thoughts are positive and life-affirming. He claims to have experimented using prayer, and written words attached to water-filled containers. He has published many volumes under the name, Messages From Water. Each volume displays the crystals and the emotions/thoughts that produced them.

Crazy?

Maybe. But maybe not.

According to Wikipedia, "Commentators have criticized Emoto for insufficient experimental controls,[4] and for not sharing enough details of his approach with the scientific community. [5] In addition, Emoto has been criticized for designing his experiments in ways that leave them open to human error influencing his findings. [6]

In the day-to-day work of his group, the creativity of the photographers rather than the rigor of the experiment is an explicit policy of Emoto.[7] Emoto freely acknowledges that he is not a scientist,[8] and that photographers are instructed to select the most pleasing photographs.[9]"

In 2006, Emoto published a paper together with Dean Radin and others in the peer-reviewed Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, in which they claim to have proven in a double blind test that approximately 2000 people in Tokyo could increase the aesthetic appeal of water stored in a room in California, compared to water in another room, solely through their positive intentions."[10]

So. Maybe you are a skeptic about the water crystal business.

But I bet if you think about it, you would agree how incredibly powerful words are. Think back to a teacher or some other authority figure who praised you. Or one who made you feel dumb and inadequate.

I recall a neighbor of my early childhood in rural Connecticut. The woman's name was Mrs. Harrigan. Playing at her house one day, I snatched a doll away from my sister in her presence. Mrs. Harrigan turned to me and told me that I was "nasty."

I was shocked. I have remembered that statement for half a century. I wasn't even sure what "nasty" meant, but I knew, from the dark fury in her eyes, that it wasn't nice.

Later that day, I told my big brother Rick, who was two years my senior, what she had said. Protectively, he told me what he would do. That afternoon, we lay on the lawn side by side, our faces trained on Mrs. Harrigan's backyard. At the top of his lungs, brother Rick called out these words, over and over again:

"Mrs. Harrigan's nasty! Mrs. Harrigan's nasty!" The words sailed out, and carried some of the sting back in her direction. (I honestly don't remember whether we got in trouble. I've screened all that part out.)

What we say to each other, and just as importantly, what we say to ourselves, day after day, creates a kind of story. A narrative of who we are. If somebody says we are fat, that usually gets wedged into our brain, with pictures.

So today, be nice to yourself. Think something beautiful about who you are and what you are capable of doing. And find something terrific and encouraging to say to somebody else. Make it very particular to that person. Make it something you know that person will appreciate.

Make that person's day

glitter, like emerald green ocean water,

the waves splashing on the sand

white and frothy, in the sun.








Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sounds of Sorrow



By Rose Ross

Clouds are boxing
Winds are howling

My heart pounds
listening to the thunder
of crashing waves

Voices sharply sting
my wounded brain

Reaching for my hand
his fingers intertwine with mine
He apologizes for the rain

The storm testifies to
what I already know

Promises we once made
we can no longer keep

We sit in silence waiting ...
he for a new beginning
I for an ending

Writer Rose Ross lives in Old Chatham, New York.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!!



What better
for this day
than
a bouquet?

ENJOY!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Reliving the Dream!"



By Joi Jennings

She squinted her 84-year old eyes, causing beads of sweat to trickle down her wrinkled forehead. Then a slight smile began to creep across her aged face.

My grandmother was having a hard time seeing the tiny box on the screen of my laptop without her glasses, but she could hear it just fine, and she liked what she was hearing. We were watching a You Tube video clip of Senator Obama’s inspirational speech entitled, A More Perfect Union.

At last, Senator Barack Obama was directly confronting the delicate topic of race. It was a highly anticipated and powerful speech on race relations in America. Not only was it the most courageous and brutally honest discussion of race that I have ever heard from a politician in my lifetime, but it also hit very close to home. The emotional effect that Obama's words had on JoeAnn Jennings, my grandmother, was simply beyond belief. According to my grandmother, the way Obama spoke was reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It's been 40 years since we have heard redemptive language in the political arena. The last person to tell the truth in these terms was indeed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Like King, Obama did not flinch from addressing the lingering pain and anger of racism in America and he did not merely recite a list of black grievances; he gave expression to white frustrations and fears as well. Could he be the "Martin Luther King" of my generation? Not quite, but close enough.

Throughout the speech, Obama eloquently captured the history of where we started, where we have been, where we are, and most importantly, where we can go. He displayed his great ability to acknowledge the history of race relations in this country, his capacity to understand our nation’s current situation, and to offer a vision for the future of America.

What I found most moving about Obama’s speech was his courage to address openly and honestly our nation’s current race relations, and how we have gotten where we are today. With a kind of honestry rarely heard from any politician, Obama laid it all on the table, verbalizing what many people may think and what others might speak about only in private. Speaking directly of black Americans, the Senator boldly and bluntly told the truth.

He acknowledged that many of the disparities faced in today’s African American communities are a direct product of the inequalities passed on from the days of slavery and Jim Crow. Obama recognized the racial inconsistencies for African Americans that began long ago, inconsistencies which still remain today in some form, including inferior schools resulting in an educational gap; “legalized discrimination” in terms of property ownership and financial matters, and job shortages, resulting in a wealth gap.

This persistent lack of economic opportunities for black men contributes powerfully to the “erosion of black families.” A lack of basic community services which “all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.”
Obama recognized that those who were defeated by society often passed down such a legacy and the individuals of this older generation still hold feelings of humiliation, doubt, fear, anger and bitterness.

In Obama’s own words, “That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity within the African American community, in our condition, and prevents the African American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.”

Simply put, a lot of people needed to hear that, and it was a brave and honorable point to make. Obama encouraged the African American community to move forward, and to acknowledge "the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past.” He urged us to fight against injustice, but to do so by uniting the African American community’s concerns with the aspirations of Americans of every color and creed for such important goals as better healthcare, better schools and more jobs.

Furthermore, Obama stressed the idea of responsibility and self-help; he advocated for more fatherly involvement, more time with one’s children. He told us all that we while we face challenges and discrimination in our lives, we "must never succumb to despair or cynicism." We must continue to believe that we "can write ...[our] own destiny.”
By no means am I saying that Obama is the next Martin Luther King Jr. They are different. It was just incredible to see and hear my grandmother talk about Dr. King, after listening to Obama’s inspiring speech. It was amazing that this speech could make her dementia-plagued memory disappear, and for just a few minutes, help her recall events from forty years ago. It made me smile, witnessing her relive “The Dream.”

Obama Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'


Joi Jennings, a junior at the University at Albany, SUNY, is majoring in English and minoring in Journalism.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"And so, I bounce"


By Renee Geel

I’ve always been physically timid, a careful mover. My activities of choice have never been team sports – I experienced enough volleyball- and softball-jammed fingers during my school years to last me a lifetime, and I was inevitably the last one chosen for any team. I avoid activities that require me to navigate apparatus connected to the body – skis, rollerblades, a skateboard. No, I’ve only ever been attracted to activities which demand that I trust and rely only on my own body, like running and yoga. Despite my childhood love for and dedication to gymnastics, my favorite event was the floor exercise – just me and the mat.

Lately, though, my many years of running have taken their toll on my aging knees. Rather than trading in the early-morning streets for an elliptical machine, I’ve started bouncing. I supplement running, not just with yoga stretches, but with a workout on a mini-trampoline not much larger than a hula hoop. Every day for anywhere between ten and 30 minutes I bounce – basic jumping, those long forgotten jumping jacks, and twisting with raised arms, a move that recalls my 1990s Jane Fonda aerobic days. Years ago, jumping on the huge trampoline was the best and – much to my chagrin – the shortest segment of gym class. Now, I am free to enjoy it to my heart’s content every day in my living room.

According to my research, those in the know refer to jumping on a mini-trampoline as rebounding, an appealing name for its metaphoric implications – emotionally speaking. (In that area, too, I’ve always been rather hesitant to move quickly or without extreme caution.) Something about the giddiness of springing into the air and coming back down to the center of the rebounding mat – years of gymnastics and yoga have given me a strong sense of balance – allows my mind to wander freely along its map of tree-lined hills and childhood dreams, city blocks and heartbreaks. But I’m not just visiting the same old haunts while I bounce; I’m discovering new territories, too.

Jumping on a mini-trampoline or bouncing, or rebounding, besides being good for our bodies – it’s supposedly a natural catalyst for a more active and therefore a healthier lymphatic system – has spring-loaded my head and heart. Looking out the front window, bouncing, I see my neighbor walking to work and suddenly the inspiration for a short story or essay drops in unannounced. I turn 180 degrees mid-air and watch a cardinal dance on a tree limb out back while nervousness over a deadline or anger over an argument evaporates.

Besides toning my calves and giving me a daily mini-facelift, besides hastening the departure of toxins from my lymphatic system and improving circulation, besides burning calories and strengthening my immune system, jumping makes me feel like I can reach anything – or, at least, it makes me want to try. And it’s fun. For ten or 20 or 30 minutes: I bounce, watch, bounce, imagine, bounce, solve, bounce, forgive, bounce…

Heartache is sometimes inescapable, failure is occasionally unavoidable; but rebounding is always possible. And so, I bounce.

Writer Renee Geel, who holds a Master of Arts in English from the University at Albany, SUNY, is bouncing, or bounding, toward the end of her first novel. She lives in Delmar, New York.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Obama and our hope against hope


By Dan Beauchamp

No matter how the whole uproar over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright turns out, the candidacy of Senator Obama reassures me about the birth of genuine hope in our politics.

True hope is a kind of hope against hope, as Paul Tillich once argued. True hope is hope in the face of a seeming defeat or powerful setback. Hope is not the belief that ultimately everything will always turn out right, either for America or for us. True hope is not a sunny, shallow optimism.

True hope, according to Tillich, is when we know, we feel, we sense that something new is being created or is unfolding, either in us or in our community, no matter what else is happening.

Our hope in Senator Obama is genuine because in his candidacy we feel down deep the beginnings of something important. We sense the birth of something new. We sense in Obama a genuine opening to the future and this is where true hope always begins --with an opening, a new possibility for our future.

Senator Obama represents a genuine chance for narrowing the racial divide and driving it from our politics. As this is the master divide of our politics, our hope in Obama is that we might also narrow the other divides of our politics.

We have been astounded at the crowds he has addressed, the genuine excitement he has unleashed. But more than this, we know, down deep, that unless we break free of the racial divide, we will never be the people we can be. Senator Obama represents the opportunity to start breaking free. We feel this excitement and this hope in our bones.

This is what the right wing fears in Senator Obama. If Obama wins, the odds go way up that their vision of politics is entering its last days. This is why they want Hillary because Hillary will play by the rules of their game, the game that squelches true hope.

Even if Obama is defeated, we sense that our hope is genuine and not vanquished. Even as the media stirs up the enemies of hope to increase market share, we know what we feel and acknowledge: hope is in the air and in our bones.

This is the opportunity that Obama offers. He may fail. Our politics may slide back into cynicism and despair and the media will then seek to build market share on that failure.

But our task, as the party of hope and as people of the future, is to remember: our party is willing to stake its fortunes and future on a genuine, authentic, audacious hope. We sense this hope in the full knowledge that our party has not always been the party of hope.

We also felt that hope with John Edwards. We feel it even with Hillary Clinton, even though that hope is often buried under a mountain of political calculation, a calculation that she must play by the rules of the game that Karl Rove set out.

The other morning my wife and I voted early here in Durham, and the polling place was really, really crowded and happy. Everyone was smiling. The staff at the Main Library said that they had voted and that their youngsters who can vote for the first time will be voting.

Something is going on, no matter what happens on Tuesday here in North Carolina. Obama has given birth to our hope. True hope, the real hope, is back and here to stay, and so are we.

Dan Beauchamp, Ph.D., is a writer living in Durham, North Carolina. Formerly a health official in New York and Washington, he has taught at schools of public health at a number of universities, including the University of North Carolina and the University at Albany, SUNY. To go directly to Beauchamp's, blog, called "Tales of Copper City," just click on the title of this post.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Want to stay young forever?

By Claudia Ricci

OK, OK, nobody stays young forever. But if you want to maximize your youthfulness, and your vitality, you might consider trying these five amazing exercises, known as the Five Rites. Popularized in a book called Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth, by Peter Kelder, the rites help to keep the chakras -- those seven energy vortexes that control the body -- spinning and in balance. As you age, your chakras slow down. The Five Rites restore the spin, and the balance, to the chakras.

Does all this sound like gobbledygook? Well, so, a friend of mine was a total skeptic. Then, I showed him the exercises, and he tried them. He was astonished. So my suggestion, try reading the book. And visit the Holistic Health blogsite at the Albany Times Union today. You might just find a simple and powerful new way to stay healthy, and to retain youthful vitality.

blogs.timesunion.com/holistichealth/