Stepping Up and Forward

I have been away from this blog for a while when life and career took a few turns.

From December 2012 to November 2014 I directed Energize Everett, a community health outreach program in Everett MA. I took a floundering program and did an amazing job of turning it around, brought together constituents from all sectors (government, community and non-profit) to improve access to healthy food and physical  activity. I also wrote large grants that received funding, including a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health grant.

I discovered work in the world that was compelling, that engaged almost all my skills in service of a mission I believed in. I discovered I could successfully direct a multi-faceted IMG_0442program. It was empowering. Energize Everett was a wonderful experience and when it ended (not by my choice) I had some serious thinking to do. Would I continue on this public health career track? I thought about an MPH (master’s in public health) but decided on an MFA, and in 2015, I was accepted into a low residency Visual Arts MFA at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

I have a passion for justice and equity esp in public health but I never had a traditional career trajectory. I’ve basically followed my heart. My definition of creativity is broad and not confined to the arts. I deeply believe there is a place for the arts just about everywhere and I’ve made visual art, and written fiction and poetry since I was a child. So the MFA in 2015 may have seemed like a 180 turn-around but it wasn’t. However…

After a year in the program I realized my old dream of getting an MFA wasn’t necessary. I’d been practicing art for many years and no longer wanted a degree. But I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t tried.

After leaving Lesley, I managed a state-wide healthy aging program, Now I’m at another crossroads. Not sure if we all have lots of these pivot points in life or if my life has been especially blessed 🙂 but here I am.

I’m definitely re-booting notadiabetic. I love writing (I also have several eBooks in the idea stage). And I’m shifting some of the focus from a personal POV to some bigger issues informed by my public health work, like equity in diabetes treatment and prevention, and political issues, like the rising cost of insulin. I want to grow a coaching practice focused on lifestyle coaching with folks with diabetes (PWDs), and life and leadership coaching for female managers and older women in transition.

Thank you for reading. Please share if it makes sense. More to come!

 

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(Not Really) Satisfying

I just heard an ad for raspberry cheesecake flavored Yoplait. Like so many food ads it’s always about satisfying (forbidden, midnight etc.) cravings with something sweet, indulgent and “satisfying.” But eating food which is engineered specifically to keep you eating requires even more energy to stop even though the ad says that eating this food will stop the craving.

You can imagine what the sexy attractive woman eating and smiling throughout the commercial is thinking. “We know you want to eat a lot but you can satisfy that craving by eating this low calorie non-food item that tastes incredibly delicious and is only 90 (always under 100) calories.”

from eattobeat.org

from eattobeat.org

The camera lingers over enhanced images of chocolate, raspberry shortcake, vanilla ice cream ad nauseam setting in motion bodily chemical processes so that you not only emotionally want it but also physically want it.

The insanity of this kind of 24/7 advertising everywhere all day constantly is pernicious. Food and eating should never be based on eating more to satisfying desire. Processed non-food ads rarely talk about satisfying hunger which is the real reason to eat.

When you use an engineered non-food to “satisfy” a craving you only increase the craving, which eventually demands more willpower to quell it.

I recently made the decision to stop calling processed, engineered food items “food.” They are not food. They are processed or engineered non-food products.

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Forever Responsible

And finally one last bit of wisdom from the fox to the little prince. A world of truth in 2 short sentences.

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible forever, for what you have tamed.”

~Antione de Saint Exupery, Le Petit Prince

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[Recipe] Raw Cacao Cherry Brownie

A great example of something sweet that’s tasty and good for your body-

Naturopathy by Savvas Ioannides N.D.

An excellent pre-work out snack that will give you lots of energy coming from good sources of carbohydrates, medium chain triglycerides and omega fatty acids. The delicious brownies also contain lots of healthy minerals that we need to replenish when we sweat at the gym. It also contains antioxidants to help heal those muscle fibres and increase your recovery rate.

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What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups dates, pitted
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt (*or Himalayan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted

What you do:

  1. Place everything in the food processor and blend until combined.
  2. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from freezer and cut into desired shape.
  4. Serve with fresh cherries.

This recipe comes straight from yum. gluten free magazine March 2014 and it is…

View original post 4 more words

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Graduation Words to My Son

Writing about Mr. Rogers and his commencement speech reminded me of the words I spoke to my oldest son at his high school graduation party, when we were sharing memories of him and wishing him well. I’ve re-read those words at various turning points in my, and my son’s, life.

Nick graduated in 2003–I was about 5 years divorced from his dad by then. In my words to him I quoted the line from Saint Exuprey that Mr. Rogers had framed above his desk.

One thing I learned having you and your brother is that you are both inextricably bound to me and yet you are separate. You came with your own little programs.

A graduation is like any other marker in life–it’s all about opportunity and loss. This world, this family, are not what I imagined they’d be when I envisioned your future when you were a baby in my arms. And in that is another truth–you cannot protect your children from suffering–and sometimes, despite all your wishes, you even cause some of it.

It’s been important for me as a parent to remain humble in the face of the young man you are–not imagine that I’ve made you the fine and sensitive person you are, but realize I’ve simply had a hand in guiding you.

I woke up this morning thinking of a favorite line from The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

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heart ©VSpain

If there is anything you can say I’ve given you, I hope it’s a desire to know what is truly in your heart and to act on what your heart tells you. I believe it always tells you what’s right.

I hope I let you know that you don’t have to do great, successful or ambitious things, you only have to try your best to be a good person–a kind, gentle and compassionate man–a mensch–that that is the work of your life, and if you do that you will achieve more good in this world than you can ever imagine.

You have taught me so much–I love you more than you will ever know.

 

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What is Essential

Mr. Rogers was a fan of  Saint Exupery. He had a quote from The LIttle Prince framed, and it hung over his desk. A reference to essentialism of a different sort.

Beside my chair in my office is a framed piece of calligraphy with a sentence from Saint Exupery’s book, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince). It reads: “L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”) I feel the closer we get to knowing and living the truth of that sentence, the closer we get to wisdom.

What is essential about you that is invisible to the eye? And who are those who have helped you become who you are today?

Anyone who has ever graduated from a university, anyone who has ever been able to sustain good work has had at least one person – and often many – who believed in him or her. We just don’t get to be competent human beings without many different investments from others.

~Mr. Rogers, excerpt from 2001 commencement speech at Marquette University

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Bowing to Our Neighbors

When my sons were small they loved watching Mr. Rogers. I can’t say I loved watching Mr. Rogers, though I was thrilled they did because he was so kind and the show was so calm. But when Mr. Rogers died, I was deeply affected and sad. Since then I have come to love reading things Mr. Rogers said, and always choke up whenever I read the commencement speech he delivered in 2001 at Marquette University. Here are the opening words:

For a long time I wondered why I felt like bowing when people showed their appreciation for the work that I’ve been privileged to do. What I’ve come to understand is that we who bow are probably – whether we know it or not – acknowledging the presence of the eternal: we’re bowing to the eternal in our neighbor. You see, I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does. So, in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.

~Mr. Rogers

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 The upcoming work week is packed so I will excerpt a few more pieces from this wonderful commencement speech in this season of such speeches.

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