There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together… But if such a world is created in our lifetime, it will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism, and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation, and peace. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s not uncommon to have difficulties accepting and being comfortable with those who are different  from us. These feelings are often based solely on skin color, cultural mores, or religious beliefs. But racial and cultural prejudice is a social concept; it’s not part of our DNA. We learn prejudice in childhood, and it becomes an unconscious bias. This filter clouds our ability to see clearly and leads to divisive conclusions about other groups or races. It takes great tender love and often great suffering to change us forever. 

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~Nelson Mandela


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Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are plenty of good reasons to be outdoors this summer, and now we can add ‘safe haven’ to the list. As we all know, strict isolation strategies have been employed since mid-March to curb the spread of the pandemic. The resulting isolation, combined with fear of contagion and misinformation overload (“infodemic”) is creating a great deal of confusion and stress.[1]

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There is no question that reducing the contact rate of latent individuals, and interventions such as quarantine and isolation, can effectively reduce the potential peak number of infections and delay the time of peak infection. However, as much as I believe this to be true as it applies to being indoors, I question whether being outdoors—even in groups—poses much risk at all. While there is still so much we don’t know about the virus transmission, we have yet to see proof or a strong likelihood that the outdoors poses a significant risk.  In fact, research suggests it may be safer compared to indoors.


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“The greater the suffering, the greater God’s love is bestowed onto you.” Padre Pio

People have been increasingly distancing themselves from each other, even before this horrific pandemic hit. Years ago, in an interview with Self magazine, I was asked what I thought the number one contributor was to our poor health. My answer then was the same as it is now—a lack of intimacy. We’re losing the quality and ability to relate, not just to each other, but to our environment and Nature. For example, people go for walks, but instead of quietly connecting with nature, many are focused on their phones. People at my gym walk around with earbuds in and don’t make eye contact with each other. We are lonely, and most of us don’t even know it. With the sudden onset of COVID-19, we’ve isolated even more. Meanwhile, the opportunity to be present and in tune with our surroundings and each other exists every day. Even if we are physically distant, our deep presence can make even the briefest or seemingly small encounters more lasting and meaningful.


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“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

During these unprecedented times, it’s important for all of us to focus on positive steps that we can take to stay healthy, not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. As difficult as things may appear to be, remember that within every crisis lie opportunities for growth and change.


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A Zen master was teaching his students one day and one student asked, “Is there anything that I can do to make myself enlightened?” The Zen master replied and said; “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.” The students then asked, “Then what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?” And the Zen master said this; “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”


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“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King

Our brains have the remarkable capacity to adapt and change throughout our lives. This ability to form and reorganize neural pathways in response to learning, experience, injury, disease, or aging is called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity helps the brain process sensory input along with creating suitable adaptive responses to stimuli. Neurons must have purpose to survive, and those with weak or ineffective connections are pruned. Through a variety of structural and molecular mechanisms, neurons compensate for injury or disease.


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