What Do Nicole Kidman and I Have in Common?

It’s not a porcelain doll complexion or stick figure body, that’s for sure. Neither is it the stick-straight blonde hair and blue eyes. Keep guessing! No, I wasn’t born in Honolulu — yes, she was! Check her detailed — albeit rather lengthy — Wikipedia profile if you think I’m lying! Time Magazine’s never named meContinue reading “What Do Nicole Kidman and I Have in Common?”

Before Out of Africa (BOAA)

What I told you yesterday was not exactly the truth. Our decision to go to Uganda in 1988 wasn’t as impulsive as I made it sound. Not only did it take a year to get through the Rockefeller Foundation-Makerere University recruitment process, but our choice was colored by an earlier journey, admittedly whimsical, that weContinue reading “Before Out of Africa (BOAA)”

Never Hit by Lightning, No Matter How Hard I’ve Tried

Is it me? Am I really so poor at estimating risk or do I just ignore it? Pray for Me! No, on second thought, don’t waste your prayers. I appear to be incorrigible. Anyone who would go to Uganda against State Department advice in 1988 will clearly run across an open landscape in the middleContinue reading “Never Hit by Lightning, No Matter How Hard I’ve Tried”

Truth and Healing in Art

Not only do you get to feast on the art with your eyes, if you’re lucky, you get to wear it! Psychiatrist and media personality Jeremy Spiegel calls Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, featured on the cover of ArtHealing, “Eye Candy for the Soul.” Spiegel, who is a frequent co-host of The Positive Mind on New YorkContinue reading “Truth and Healing in Art”

Chilyapa Lwando: the Healing Power of Art

In his 2011 book Art Healing: Visual Art for Emotional Insight and Well-Being Portland, Maine psychiatrist Jeremy Spiegel says that art can heal: “Through interacting with artworks, it is possible to gain mastery over emotional pain, psychological traumas, and paralyzing mental stagnation to attain a more positive perspective on life.” Just looking at art canContinue reading “Chilyapa Lwando: the Healing Power of Art”

Abide with the Uneasy: Carpal Tunnel Bliss

Pema Chodron extols the uneasy, the queasy — the in-between places we fall into countless times each day — as the closest thing to heavenly bliss we will ever experience. These are the points when you are free — and motivated — to change what you’ve been doing all your life, to change who youContinue reading “Abide with the Uneasy: Carpal Tunnel Bliss”

Friends in High Places: Socialist Peak or Bust!

Abandoned! When my Peace Corps climbing partner got the sad news that her dad had died suddenly and unexpectedly, she caught the next flight back to the U.S. It was two days before we were supposed to leave for Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro’s closest neighbor and Africa’s fifth highest peak. But it was Thanksgiving, 1995. IContinue reading “Friends in High Places: Socialist Peak or Bust!”

Pause with Pema. You’ll get there faster, and there will be a better place.

Late as usual! With a six-hour drive still ahead of me (I’m going to visit my twin in Maine), I find myself standing in Rutland, Vermont’s post office line, itching to mail two of my novels to a Writer’s Digest contest and get on my way. There are two more people in front of me,Continue reading “Pause with Pema. You’ll get there faster, and there will be a better place.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Uganda: A Reprise

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” the girl yelled, sliding to a stop at my feet and grinning up at me like she’d stolen second base and was waiting for me to call her “Safe!”  I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.  This was Uganda, for heaven’s sake, and it wasn’t even Kampala.  You mightContinue reading “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Uganda: A Reprise”

Are Twins Rarer than Redheads?

Give me a piece of Dynomite Pie* and I might tell you! Okay, Okay! The short answer is yes! We’re a lot less common than your average red head.  Redheads (and those with intersexual traits, by the way) represent 1.7% of the world’s population, while monozygotic twins – identical, that is  – occur at aContinue reading “Are Twins Rarer than Redheads?”