Ready to Give

02MIGRANTS-2-jumboMy Arizona colleague, Rich Evans, explains the spiritual underpinnings of giving unselfishly.  From personal experience, he describes how practicing the Golden Rule can be an effective response to the current refugee crisis.  Here’s Rich…

Budapest. Munich. Bodrum.   These beautiful, historic places have become symbols of unanswered global questions about our moral obligations to mankind.

This question is just as important here in the Southwestern US, as anywhere.

Seeing reports of masses of refugees fending for themselves at Keleti railway station in Hungary, having just escaped the chaos of warfare, begs many questions and demands serious thought.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I”, could be a natural response.  But what is the grace of God?  To me, it’s the inspired effect on human behavior of understanding God’s universal love.  Such boundless grace must hold answers for each individual, oppressed or free, in conflict or at peace, in Syria or Arizona.

We could, of course, simply view these challenges as someone else’s problem.  But we have a track record of doing better than that….

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Why caring about Cecil the lion is good for our health

@Glowimages: Lion (Panthera leo) sitting in a path, Okavango Delta, Botswana


I live not far from the Minnesota dentist/big-game hunter who killed a treasured African lion by luring him out of his protected national park, wounding him with an arrow and then tracking him for two days before finishing him off with a gun.  My British Columbia colleague, Anna Bowness-Park, helps us understand that the uproar (pun intended) caused by this kind of brutal slaughter, indicates a moral shift that can have profound effects on both societal and individual health.  Here’s Anna…

The senseless killing of Cecil, the nationally beloved lion in Zimbabwe by an American big-game hunter has provoked a media storm of angry protest and controversy.  Closer to home last year, Cheeky, a grizzly bear beloved by the First Nations who shared his territory, was shot and killed by an unapologetic NHL hockey star.  This angered First Nations’ people as well as many other British Columbians.

But the critical newspaper articles and social media frenzy in response to what has been historically a commonplace practice – i.e., hunting – indicates that these instances (and others) have awoken something in our hearts.  Is it that the senseless killing of creatures for nothing more than the purpose of sport is beginning to make less and less sense as we grow in our understanding of the connectedness and value of all life?…

Cecil and Cheeky may be rallying points for public anger, but there is no doubt that the moral compass regarding how we treat each other and the animals with whom we share this planet is undergoing a major rethink in Western society.  But does it have any staying power amid our flighty attention spans?  I think it does, especially as we begin to understand that how we treat each other and our fellow creatures is essential to both individual as well as universal health.

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Are you having a near-life experience?

© GLOW IMAGES (model used for illustrative purposes only)

© GLOW IMAGES (model used for illustrative purposes only)

The famous John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” makes us question if we’re really living in the present.  Have the ever-increasing speed of life and the growing options technology provides caused us to opt out of appreciating today?  Wendy Margolese, my north of the Minnesota border colleague up in Ontario, shares some practical and healing insights to help our day-to-day experience become more real and satisfying.  Here’s Wendy…

The pace of life has picked up speed – and most of us feel like we are always running to catch up.  Some days pass in a blur of phone calls, text messages, and kids’ activities – maybe all at the same time!

Author Max Strom has coined the phrase ‘near-life experience’ in his recent book, ‘There Is No App for Happiness’.  This type of life is characterized by experiences we are not completely engaged in and present with; a life that leaves us feeling that something is missing despite how busy we are.

Advances in technology have led to constant connectivity to information and to people.  Although this has brought some good things into our lives (I can Skype with my family living in another country), statistics say we do not feel a sense of satisfaction in life.  If anything, we have become dissatisfied; and stress has become a constant companion.  And that’s not good for our health.

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Celebrate religious freedom on the Fourth of July

@Glowimages: The Statue of Liberty, New York City, United States of America with the Stars and Stripes flag in the foreground



















My Southern California colleague, Don Ingwerson, reminds us that a big part of why we celebrate our independence this weekend, is freedom to practice the religion of our choice.  That idea often gets drowned out by fun and fireworks.  And the prayer that’s at the center of religion can bring freedom from sickness.  Here’s Don…

Is July 4 just a day for barbecues, friends and family?

It seemed that way to a friend of mine a few years ago at an Independence Day neighborhood gathering. He was surprised to learn that most of the children attending didn’t know why they were celebrating….

One of the bedrocks of our country, which many other nations tragically lack, is the commitment to religious freedom we have maintained through the years. Yet I have learned such commitment requires fresh renewal with each generation. We can’t take for granted that all our citizens will understand and appreciate this crucial component of our history, nor recognize how vital it is that it should continue.

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Empathy: crucial for effective healthcare

© GLOW IMAGES (model used for illustrative purposes only)

© GLOW IMAGES (model used for illustrative purposes only)

Can the caring at the heart of healthcare sometimes seem to get lost?

Many think it does, as classic family physicians have been increasingly replaced by time-constrained, clinical specialists.

Among doctors, such caring used to be called a “good bedside manner”.  And after more than a generation of specialized training focused on medical knowledge and technical acumen, the value of empathy is being re-discovered and taught as an essential skill.

It improves the experience of both patients and doctors when medical professionals express clinical empathy, according to the Kaiser Health news service.  The patient feels understood and cared about, has a better outcome and is more satisfied.  The doctor in turn gets a better rating, faces less risk of malpractice suits and experiences decreased burnout.  The whole system is benefited.  (SeeEfforts to Instill Empathy Among Doctors are Paying Dividends.”)

I too have learned how powerful empathy can be, in my journey as a practitioner of Christian Science healing.  But I view it from a slightly different angle.  To me, empathy for patients is not just a technique to show you understand another person’s emotions and share their feelings.  Rather, it’s at the core of our desire to help one another.  As children of a loving Creator, the capacity to care for each other is innate in all of us. Continue reading

PTSD Treatment: Symptoms or Souls?

@Glowimages 022319.


News reports on the current state of American veterans are beyond devastating — over 10 times more veterans have been lost to suicide than to combat operations in the same time period, at a rate that’s averaging 22 suicides per day!  My Virginia colleague, Richard Geiger, shares examples of treatments that go deeper and have more success than the standard drug-based, symptom-focused ones.  Here’s Rich….

After the showing of “American Sniper,” the audience around me at our local theater—perhaps like at yours—remained silent.  Long minutes passed before people quietly rose and shuffled out.

I think we were sharing heartbreak.

We were sharing an urgency for dominion over combat trauma called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The number of affected veterans and families is growing.  And, as many dedicated care-givers work to find solutions, one fact is emerging:  one method of treatment does not fit everyone….

“The need for non-drug treatment options is a significant and urgent public health imperative,” says NCCIH Director Josephine Briggs, MD.  Urgent, because the need for cure is growing, and also because conventional drug treatments aren’t working over the long haul.  In many cases, drug dependencies are created instead–without any real cure in sight.

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Re-thinking our self imposed limitations

Man inside a  bubble

© GLOW IMAGES (model used for illustrative purposes only)

The first words in my Twitter profile are:  “Breaking free of limits!”  So, I’m delighted to share this inspiring story from my British Columbian colleague, Anna Bowness-Park.  She tells how a shift in her mental approach freed her from fear and pain; and transformed what could have been a disaster into a “spiritual adventure.”  Here’s Anna….

Canadian Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek was not happy.  A new member of the team was a better rower than him, consistently beating him at races.  Although annoyed, Kreek was also curious.  What made this young rower more successful?  So, over coffee he asked the question.  The response was surprising.  “I seek failure,” said his teammate.

Expanding this idea in an entertaining and thoughtful TedX Talk in Victoria in 2013, Kreek went on to explain his teammate’s comment.  Imagine yourself with a bubble around you.  That bubble is your self-imposed limitations; how you see your abilities and what you believe about your capabilities.  Kreek stressed that breaking through that bubble is the first step to understanding our true abilities.  It is a vital part of understanding how we unwittingly limit ourselves in every avenue of life, including our health.

What was interesting, was that Kreek’s teammate did not talk about diet, fitness or modern technology as what helped him be a better athlete.  He talked of a mental app; if you like,  a change of thought about how he sees himself….

This is something I learned in a small way that forever altered how I see life….

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Malala Yousafzai and the healing power of forgiveness

malala1The world seems caught up in an endless cycle of attack and retribution.  Whether on an intimate, national or global sectarian level, mankind seems hopelessly drawn toward answering violence with violence.  But there is another way.  My colleague from British Columbia, Anna Bowness-Park, explains how one young girl’s example of forgiveness is having a powerful healing effect and leading us to peace.  Here’s Anna…

Is there a way to heal the effects of violence in our communities?

2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, Malala Yousafzai, is not only convinced there is, but she lives what she believes.  At just 15 years old, she survived a brutal attack by a young “Talib” who shot her in the head on a school bus in Pakistan.  Her crime – in his eyes – was having the audacity, as a girl, to want to work toward an education!

When speaking at the United Nations in 2013, she said she knew her life was threatened long before the attack, and wondered what she would do if faced by a man with a gun.  She remembered thinking to herself:

“If he comes to kill me, what do you do, Malala?  I thought I would take my shoe and hit him.  Then I thought, ‘if you hit a man with a shoe, you would be no different to the Talib.  You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly.’”

In this description of her first reaction to the Taliban threat, we may think it merely the self-defence response of a child.  But in her culture, to throw a shoe at someone is a mark of deep disrespect.  What Malala was really saying is that disrespect was not on her agenda.  She wanted to have a conversation – to show respect for her attacker, rather than contempt and hatred.

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How Christmas relates to healing

@Glowimages MCG02393.

I grew up not knowing the real origin of Christmas.  Our family still celebrated Christmas (and Hanukkah) with presents and decorations, food and fun.  But I wasn’t familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth, which as the saying goes is “the reason for the season.”

Fast forward to early adulthood, where I’d begun to read the Bible and practice spiritual healing through Christian Science.  I experienced quick healing of a wound – in a way that would be considered physically impossible.

One evening, I was trimming my mustache and slipped.  The scissor blade went deep into my upper lip.  At that moment, along with pain and surprise, I had another response that came from my spiritual study.

I recalled an account I’d read that day about a woman working in a restaurant.  While using an electric appliance with one hand, she reached out with the other to turn off a dripping faucet – causing a huge electric shock to grip her. Continue reading

#GratitudeChallenge: From the Trivial to the Transformational

@Glowimages MEE00810.


My Massachusetts colleague, Ingrid Peschke, examines current gratitude fads.  She drills down to the profound, healing impact that true thanksgiving can have on our health and happiness.

She observes, “I’ve found that gratitude can be most beneficial when it feels as though there’s nothing to be grateful for.  In those dark moments, I’ve gotten better at detecting a deceptive view of my circumstances and focusing on the good instead.”  Here’s Ingrid…

My Facebook feed this summer included a steady stream of lists from friends who accepted one of the numerous gratitude challenges circulating social media spheres.  I read their posts with curious interest, but I secretly hoped I wouldn’t be asked to take on the challenge, too!

Sharing gratitude in an open forum can sometimes come off as trite.  Besides, people seem to be popping gratitude like it’s the latest wonder drug.  A recent article addresses the current Western trend toward gratitude and mindfulness as a kind of “spiritual meritocracy,” or spirituality lite.  The author writes:

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