Is there a universal solvent for mental clutter?

Is there a universal solvent for mental clutter?The first time I went on a cruise I experienced a big surprise – using the Internet was very expensive. I therefore decided to use it sparingly, which meant emails were seriously rationed and texts were non-existent. No Facebook, Twitter or phone calls for me! I was also determined not to waste precious time on shore looking for an Internet café.

So, how was I going to use this golden, technology-silent opportunity?

The pristine beauty of the glaciers and the wild ruggedness of the Alaskan scenery was a perfect setting for contemplation. But I noticed during the first few days that my thoughts were cluttered with useless information or unresolved issues. I would suddenly find myself thinking back to some old encounter or worrying about some future event.Continue Reading

Fasting or feasting? Finding a better recipe for health

Fasting or feating? Finding a better recipe for health Fasting has long been considered a religious practice that focuses on abstaining from food and drink for periods. The purpose is to free oneself from materialism through cultivating a closer connection to the divine.

However, as religious life fades and food becomes increasingly abundant and accessible in Western culture, fasting as a religious practice is on the decline in our more secular society. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the so-called “lifestyle” diseases – diabetes, some cancers and heart disease – which studies indicate have their origin largely in the quantity and type of food we eat.Continue Reading

Defeating ageism with grace

Defeating ageism with graceThe recent movie, “The Second Best Marigold Hotel,” stars a cast of my favourite older British actors playing the roles of seniors living in India. To me, like the first movie about the Marigold Hotel, this one is not so much about age as it is about life. Whether it is the cranky but wise Muriel (played by Maggie Smith), hilariously dressing down an American waiter on the proper way to serve tea, or Sonny, the young hotel manager (Dev Patel), whose insecurity about his upcoming nuptials threatens to derail the wedding, it’s life in all its tender, poignant and funny moments that is examined, against a backdrop of the color and vibrancy of India.

It’s a shame, though, that the movie is marketed to the silver tsunami crowd, complete with some subtle jokes on ageing. It could so easily have been a great opportunity to more vigorously confront the problem of ageism in our society, as well as celebrate the innate energy, capabilities and wisdom of people of all ages.Continue Reading

Can you knit love?

Fiber artist Rachel Matthews understands the importance of knitting love into everything she creates
Fibre artist Rachel Matthews understands the importance of knitting love into everything she creates

Do you think that knitting is one of those obscure, old-fashioned activities that only old women do in their church basements or Senior Centres? Think again. With many new yarns that are environmentally responsible, and exciting patterns, colours and textures, people of all ages and both genders are falling in love with and learning to knit. Fibre art is in.

And it seems there are health benefits also. A recent worldwide study of 3,500 knitters provided some surprising results.Continue Reading