Musings: Embracing Life Change
A favorite postcard tacked up on my wall is from writer Nancy Slonim Aronie of Chilmark Writer’s Workshop fame on Martha’s Vineyard. Xeroxed across the front of her happy family photo is a typewritten strip: “Right now is exactly where you are supposed to be.” That card has inspired me for years in the midst of whatever angst I am feeling to stop and be right where I am and know it’s okay.
Nobody knows that better than Nancy. Not long after she sent out the postcard, her 23-year old son Dan, a model and aspiring actor, was diagnosed with a severe case of multiple sclerosis. After the grim diagnosis’ initial shock of “How can this possibly be where I’m supposed to be?” wore off, they decided to embrace the disease by videoing Dan’s profound inner and outer transformation from tough guy to tough love with the help of a filmmaker and family friend. The making of A Certain Kind of Beauty galvanized Dan to express his deepest, emotional truths and documented his strongest sense of presence throughout his short life, much like Nancy’s writing workshops have done for decades in startling closeted writers into full bloom expression. And when her beautiful son passed away after six agonizing years and her heart was completely broken, Nancy embraced that, too, because “every writer must turn shit into gold.”
Sometimes it seems the days and all the changes they bring are flying by so fast that time must have speeded up. Or is it that we just simply have assigned too much to ourselves to do? Americans live in far more stressful times than our ancestors ever did because we live longer, and are under the constant stress of paying bills, keeping up, living disconnected from nature, and sadly, just trying to stay safe and healthy in an increasingly toxic world. The vital support networks of our families and communities that once engaged so much of our attention have given way to virtual realities connected online through a device. Life as we know it is changing faster than we can even live it.
I feel a compassionate sense of humor for my 80-year old friends. How can they possibly comprehend Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, Wheaties box hero and symbol of male virility worldwide, now as the glamorous Caitlyn Jenner, celebrity spokeswoman for transgendered people globally? Talk about life change…and I don’t mean for Caitlyn Jenner! The times they are a-changing, said Bob Dylan, but this is complete revolution.
Maybe it’s something in the water. Seriously. According to the National Institutes of Health, Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD), where the genital appearance is abnormal and it is not possible to decide at first glance the sex of the infant, now appears in one of every 4500 births. Other medical sources cite numbers as high as one of every 2000 births. The American Cancer Society reports childhood cancer diagnoses have risen annually for over twenty years. Over 12,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer in the US this year. The CDC estimates the autism rate at 1 in 68 births, an increase by six to fifteeen percent each year from 2002 to 2010. Alzheimers.org reports that one in three Americans will die with incurable Alzheimer’s or dementia and that number will grow as our population ages. And, according to this issue’s Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren, skin cancer rates have only increased in the last thirty years, not decreased, despite the population following doctors’ orders to slather on toxic SPF products and avoid sun exposure.
The most expensive medical system in the world can offer no cures for these diseases — just expensive treatments and tests — while ignoring the obvious: good nutrition makes healthy bodies and if we are poisoning our water, air and soil, we cannot grow healthy food. The World Health Organization just this year identified Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide, essential for the growing of GMO crops, as “probably carcinogenic.” Roundup has also been identified as causing genetic and reproductive damage. Our soil is contaminated with Roundup. Our drinking water carries large streams of waste pharmaceuticals in it, known to cause genetic and hormonal mutations in populations of frogs, birds, fish, mammals and insects. Why would we think humans are immune to these side effects and allow corporations to continue to poison us? It brings to mind this saying attributed to a 19th century Cree Indian: “Only when the last tree has died and the river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
It’s never too late to take a stand or make a change. Everyone has an inner healer. Get quiet, go within and consult with this inner wisdom about making healthy changes in your own life when the time arises. I recently came to such a crossroads with Spirit of Change when I realized I could no longer continue publishing four print issues a year. As of this issue, Spirit of Change will now publish twice yearly with two larger editions — spring and fall — but no summer and winter editions.
There are two reasons for this decision. First is that as communication increasingly moves online, reducing our print output and increasing our online publishing efforts makes sense in order to keep our printing sustainable and our online presence up to date. Second is that Natural Living Expo is a family-run business. As a new mother and grandmother, my daughter Michella and I have discovered the reduced print schedule makes sense for us personally. All of our angst about whether two issues per year is enough was quickly dissipated with our first public announcement to our advertisers, many of whom congratulated us for taking care of ourselves!
We know that print publishing will always retain its unique value — even more so with fewer publications in print and even fewer that are independently published like us — so enjoy our fall and spring print issues and sign up online to receive our weekly enewsletter so you can enjoy even more Spirit of Change content. The website also offers a New England holistic practitioners guide, daily astrology forecast, the region’s largest calendar of holistic classes and events and free listings for New England businesses. Stay in touch!
Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine. Visit www.spiritofchange.org.