How We Cope in Difficult Times
July 2015
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Crossroads, Transitions, Limbo: Successfully Navigating
In-Between Times

Recently, I saw the movie Inside Out – the latest and, in my opinion, the greatest Pixar film yet. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it; especially the main character’s journey through turmoil after her family relocates to San Francisco.
Back in Minnesota, Riley was a happy, popular preteen, excelling in hockey and a willing foil to her dad’s goofiness. In San Francisco, she loses everything that has defined her, save her family. Yet they don’t understand Riley’s despair. They just want her to be “happy.”
We, on the other hand, are privy to goings-on in Riley’s “Headquarters,” the seat of her emotional world, where Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear orchestrate her every waking hour. Through this clever device, we can see how often we are at the mercy of conflicted emotions, particularly when life throws curveballs our way.
Feeling a tangle of anger and sadness, yet having neither the tools nor perspective to handle it, Riley decides to run away.

How do we cope during similarly difficult times?
Read on…

Eating Seasonally for Summer: Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad

watermelon, feta & arugula saladSummer’s easily my favorite season. I was born in July and have always loved the fruits and vegetables harvested this time of year – stone fruits, watermelon, cucumbers, kale, other dark greens.   
In Ayurveda, eating seasonally through the hot summer months means favoring lighter, cooling foods that help to maintain a balanced constitution. I’ve found it also goes a long way toward curbing sugar cravings. After I began to cultivate my taste for berries and other whole fruits many years ago, simple sugars became abhorrent to me.
And oh, that sweet, juicy burst of flavor when you bite into a ripe peach or plum! I feel like a kid with the juice running down my chin – and relish every bite.
Here’s a favorite summer recipe – easy and delish. May you relish every bite!
     Baby arugula – one 5 oz. package
     8 c. seedless watermelon, cubed
     Feta cheese – one 7 oz. package, crumbled (I prefer Trader Joe’s light feta.)
     2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar glaze (If unavailable at your local market, just boil 3/4 c. of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan for several minutes, until it reduces to about 3 tbsp.)
  1. Arrange arugula over a large platter.
  2. Scatter watermelon over the greens, and the feta over the watermelon.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with pepper.
  4. Enjoy!  
Adapted from recipe originally published in Bon Appetit


Jaymie Meyer

Get Outside and Get a Mental Lift

As I began to put together this month’s newsletter, I knew that I had to share the Wendell Berry poem you’ll find at the end of this issue. Its truth – that there is solace to be found in nature – was recently echoed by new scientific research.

The study found that time spent walking in a natural environment can mean less ruminating, dwelling on negative thoughts – a thought pattern common to depression. The change was reflected not only in the nature walkers’ subjective feedback but their brain scans, as well.
This only adds to earlier science that’s shown just how restorative our encounters with nature can be. For instance, one study published earlier this year found that the greater the tree density in a city, the fewer prescriptions for antidepressants.

Another - just published - quantified both perceived and actual health gains that come with more trees in the cityscape.

Yet another focused on twins and found that those with greater access to green space also experienced less depression.

Even partial or suggested connections with nature have been shown to make a difference.
In a way, it only makes sense. After all, the natural world is where we all ultimately come from, what we ultimately belong to.

To go back there from time to time is to experience a kind of homecoming.

Life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning. What man needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. - Viktor Frankl

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry

bridge to nature

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Images by Brian Maleszyk and Arlane Hunter, via Flickr
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