This is for the Daily Prompt: discover.

I see people out with ear buds in place, walking or running. I also see people outside face down towards their phones.

I am sending people outdoors from my clinic, without ear buds, with cell phone off or silenced.

We need the sensory input from forests, from the outdoors, from fields, from beaches. We need the unpredictable and to USE all our senses. Smell, sound, proprioception… Proprioception is your feet telling you whether you are on a flat surface or little stones or a dirt path or that there is a rock there. My daughter and I walked on the beach last night, without a flashlight. I stumbled more than her. We discussed night vision and clearly hers is better than mine. We could see the light of Seattle reflecting from the clouds and onto the water of the Salish Sea. Mostly clouds, a few stars, no streetlights. We could see the windows of houses along the beach. The tide was out and the waves were very quiet, and we walked into a flock of sandpipers who called.

When my son was 18 months old, we took him to family land in Ontario, Canada, with old cabins on a lake. The paths are dirt. I ran those paths in the dark as a child for years, and every year the rocks and sticks were different. My son was used to floors and sidewalks and a grassy yard. For the first few days he stumbled on the paths, which are not even. By the time we left, he was running the paths with ease.

We need that sensory input and proprioception and to use all of our senses. When we get new complex sensory input, chronic pain sensors are turned down, as the brain is engaged to evaluate new information. We need outdoors, we need sensory input, we need uneven paths and beaches and rocks, we need to practice balance or else we lose the skills….

Turn off your phone. Take off your headphones. I exchange calls with birds often. I hear eagles and can imitate their call. I am good enough that sometimes the eagles that I cannot even see when I call, will drop down from the sky to see where the sound came from….Am I some sort of weird eagle insulting them?

Happy solstice and joy to you and yours.





H is for heal

H for heal, healing, healed.

Heal is not used as a feeling as much as healing or healed in conversation. Unless you are a healer and you hope to heal someone. But we use healing frequently or say, “I need to heal from that.” What do you want to heal from? A physical, a mental, a spiritual or an emotional healing? They are all tied together and we need them all. I am working with a massage therapist, once every two weeks. I chose massage for healing because my sister and father had died 14 months apart and about ten months later I thought, I need some help. And the thought of discussing my family was horrifying. I thought, I don’t want talk therapy. Let’s go at it from another angle: heal and help the body and the mind will follow. I feel much better now….

verb (used with object)
1. to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment.
2. to bring to an end or conclusion, as conflicts between people or groups, usually with the strong implication of restoring former amity; settle; reconcile:
They tried to heal the rift between them but were unsuccessful.
3. to free from evil; cleanse; purify: to heal the soul.

verb (used without object)
4. to effect a cure.
5. (of a wound, broken bone, etc.) to become whole or sound; mend; get well (often followed by up or over).


I am a family doctor and one area of healing that we should use more is going outside, going for a walk and going in the woods. Why? I was feeling gloomy yesterday am and walked down the wooded paths in my neighborhood. The birds are celebrating spring. A deer stood watching me on the path, immobile in hopes that I wouldn’t see her. A sapsucker was up in the top of a dead madrona tree. I only walked ten blocks, but the new information from being outside and watching and listening, blew the gloom right out of my mind. The brain is geared for new neurological information using all the senses. We do NOT use them for computer and especially not for television. So go outside and blow the cobwebs away! And if you have a feeling you are not comfortable with, take it for a walk and show it birds and squirrels and just let it be present. Be kind to it and yourself. Heal.

I took the photograph Saturday. I walked into my lower yard and the deer and a yearling were startled. I stopped and the deer did too. She kept looking at an evergreen to her right, and at last the cat walked out from the lower branches…. If a cat may look at a king, then a deer can look at a cat….