Sowing seeds of health

Over the past month, I’ve been busy sowing seeds (mostly indoors) for this upcoming growing season. After recently downsizing from a small farm to an urban setting with space only for container gardening, I’m making the most of what I have – and devoting a fair amount of time to cultivating healthy, nourishing soil, the foundation of growth.

This is a good time, as well, to review the health of our own metaphorical soil, so essential for our minds and our bodies. Increasingly, on this blog as well as in my social media postings, I’ve referenced how our daily behaviors can positively or negatively impact health. While it feels like we’ve all been held hostage during this pandemic, we can still amend our lives with adaptive behavioral responses that also serve to boost our personal resilience.

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All winter I was lost

This evening I was reading food-related poetry and came across this poem by Camille T. Dungy, which I’m still unpacking. Here’s a taste. You can reach the entire poem courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:

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SAVOR weekly digest

This week’s digest will be a little shorter because I’ve spent most of the past week watching sessions from the Embodied Social Justice Summit – there’s still time to purchase access to this amazing line-up of speakers and presentations. I look forward to re-watching some of my favorites when the collection is re-released on February 15th.

After this post, I’ll move to a condensed monthly digest as I dive back into the intensive growing season, which will also include a return to short psychoeducational webinars in the near future.

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Edith’s zucchini bread

Several weeks ago, I signed up for a Food Writing class. I’ve written briefly about a similar class I attended in 2015. Whenever I dip back into the literary world, I feel grateful for the gift of receiving others’ writing and for the chance to share discussions about the craft. However, I’m mostly interested in the process of storytelling, the power of storytelling, the magic of storytelling – and how it helps us heal.

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SAVOR weekly digest

What a difference a week can make! Our world is constantly changing and as always, our lives are filled with ups and downs. Delicious and painful impermanence. Such a dialectic. As we greet one other and each moment, a warm helping of mindful awareness and self-compassion goes a long way.

A reminder from last week’s digest about how I’m loosely organizing these posts into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR), to align content with The SAVOR Projectโ€™s mission:

  • HEAL supports mental health treatment and trauma recovery.
  • GROW is additional growth-oriented resources, to include art, social justice, therapeutic horticulture, and mindfulness practices.
  • SAVOR because positive emotions boost overall health.

Please keep in mind, as always, that you can save these digests for a later time because they’ll often contain a dizzying array of resources – kind of like a big meal you can’t expect to eat all at once, so save some of what follows for “leftovers,” to be enjoyed at your own pace.


I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the impact of trauma, as it relates to mind/body health and our responses (individually and collectively) to the crises unfolding in our world. In a conversation with a psychologist colleague recently, we discussed how the research on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) is gradually making its way throughout the field of healthcare and also how our understanding of what constitutes an “adverse” experience continues to evolve, to include intergenerational poverty and systemic racism. If you haven’t viewed this TED talk video by pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who is now the Surgeon General of California, I’d recommend it:

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Life is like a bucket of worms

A statement perhaps more apt during this past year (depending upon your experience of 2020, your perspective on our creepy-crawly garden friends, and/or whether you’re taken up gardening during the pandemic).

Worms are essential players in our soil’s ecosystem, improving aeration and breaking down organic matter into castings (otherwise known as worm poop), which are a rich source of nutrition for plants. Call me crazy, but I think worms are super cool. There’s a load of things I can’t stomach in our world right now, but I can hang with worms. Worms don’t require social distancing, and they don’t pitch a fit, or assign you more chores, or post comments on your feed that are cringe-worthy. They just eat garbage, and poop…pretty much the whole relationship. Like I said, pretty cool.

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SAVOR weekly digest

Welcome to the new SAVOR digest – an appetizer plate of what I’ve taken in or discovered* over the past week, gleaned from research, community resources, and current events.

I’m now loosely organizing content into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR), to better align content with The SAVOR Project’s mission:

  • HEAL supports mental health treatment and trauma recovery.
  • GROW are additional healing modalities, to include art, social justice, therapeutic horticulture, and mindfulness practices.
  • SAVOR because we know that #takeinthegood and positive emotions boost overall health.
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SAVOR weekly digest

Throughout January 2021, I’ll post a weekly random collection of resources elevating a therapeutic connection with nature and/or food, along with behavioral health tips designed to improve mind/body health, drawn from current research, recent news, and my two decades of experience in the fields of mindfulness-based programs and clinical psychology.

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Gardening heals

Still crafting one or two resolutions for the New Year? Don’t forget to consider time in nature – and specifically, tending to your own garden (no matter the size), as a healthcare strategy. Even if you’ve been gardening for decades, as I have, you’ll find that each season offers new lessons and rewards.

Check out a few of the following articles exploring how gardening positively impacts mind/body health:

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Feast on your life

A favorite poem that I like to read aloud at the beginning of each year:

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the otherโ€™s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.