THE ELDERWOMAN NEWSLETTER
Issue #6, June 2004
View from the Desk
It is the solstice today. The longest day of the year for us here in the North and the shortest for our friends Downunder. Today, June 21, is a special day for me personally, as it is the day I sent the manuscript of my new bookThe Lilypad List to the publisher (see announcement below). Finished at last!!
It is also the day the rain finally came to our patient garden. We have been hand-watering the vegetables for several weeks now, hoping it would soon rain. But we have also been enjoying the wonderful sunshine. It is hard to sit indoors at the computer when the sun is shining outside, so that's another reason to be grateful for the rain; it encourages me to stay at my desk.
I must tell you, though, that when I use the word "desk" it is only in the symbolic sense. I don't really have a desk at all. Athena, my elegant, flat-screen computer whom I love to bits, actually perches on one small corner of an old, pine table in our 10x10 foot living room, sharing the surface with Sky's computer, a printer, a scanner, several piles of paper and - usually - several cups of tea. After many years of living in a small space, we have become very good at it. So whilst I sometimes envy friends who have their own studies, I do enjoy the cosiness of life in this tiny cottage where everything happens in one spot. It helps me to feel that I am not taking up more than my share of space in our overcrowded world.
Happy Solstice to you all
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I sent out invitations, via Yahoo, to everyone on the mailing list. Only three dozen subscribers have accepted the invitation, so far, but several of those have expressed their delight in having a way we can all talk to each other and get to know each other. I have really enjoyed all the messages - a total of 82 to date. Some subscribers have also been having private exchanges of e-mails, after "meeting" each other on the list.
If you are one of the other hundred or so people who have not signed up to be part of the discussion group, for one reason or another, but would like to, then all you have to do is send me an e-mail and ask me to add your name to the list. Just e-mail me with OKEM in the subject line and say "add me to discussion list."
By the way, if you are worried about the mechanics of accessing the group online, of if you are worried about privacy issues, let me reassure you. You don't have to go on to the Yahoo website or register with Yahoo. There are two levels of membership: full membership (for which you do have to register) and "discussion list only" (for which you don't). All you have to do to be part of the ongoing discussion is let me add your name to the list, and the messages will come straight into your e-mail "in" box. You can send a message back to the group just by clicking the "reply" button. It is that simple. All that Yahoo - or the other group members - will know about you is your e-mail address.
(Of course, if you do want to register with Yahoo, you can, and then you will have access to all the previous messages which are archived on the Yahoo website and also to the names and e-mail addresses of everyone else in the group, so that you can send them a private e-mail if you want to).
(It is an "invitation only" group, by the way, so only people who are signed up for this newsletter are allowed to join, and all have to be approved by me).
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The Lilypad ListThis, my new book - on simple living - is to be published by Findhorn Press in October. If you belong to a simplicity circle or know of any in your area, or have any ideas for helping me promote this new title, please get in touch. As you probably know, authors these days (except the ones in the J.K. Rowling category) have to do most of their own book promotion. Unless of course they can afford a publicity agent. Not an option for me, I'm afraid, as a somewhat impecunious old age pensioner! So I need all the help I can get. I'll be doing some promotional touring in the UK in November/December, so if you have a group that needs a guest speaker, please keep me in mind.
Crones’ Day 2nd May 2004 in the Blue Mountains of Australia.
By Maggie Lowe
Fourteen of us, 3 newcomers and 11 return participants gathered for a second day of discussion, creativity, dance and fun.
Before the day, all participants were asked to consider ‘Simplicity’ – what it means, how they implement it and how to integrate it into all aspects of Elderwomanhood. They were also asked to bring one item from nature, from their own surroundings, e.g. stone, seedpod, flower, feather or similar, and a piece of fabric – any shape, size, colour. Something pleasing or with a story in their life, disposable, no commercial value.
To start the day, each person introduced herself and pinned her fabric onto a piece of calico – the intention was to create a mandala as a centrepiece for our activities. Wonderful stories of wedding dresses, 1960’s psychedelics, an Indian sari dress ruined by dry cleaner, scraps of childhood bedroom curtains, a leopard spot blouse from the op shop and a printed calico bag proclaiming "Vincentia a plastic bag-free town". Very different patterns, textures and colours, (just like people), and looking a bit disconnected.
A greeting dance followed around our embryonic mandala before a short meditation "Simple Presence" done sitting on a stone wall in the garden with autumn sun on our backs. The garden of the ex convent is large and welcoming so we gathered some more items from nature to decorate our mandala. Flowers, both native and exotic, bark, weeds, leaves, cones, stones etc. we placed on the mandala which instantly gained an extra dimension from the gifts of nature.
During morning tea we sat around our mandala and discussed why each item was chosen. This "why" discussion led us around many topics and into Sun and Moon Walks, led by Madeleine, to express the opposites, of ourselves. Working in pairs, exchanging energy, each taking turns to be the moon walking around the sun. One person received energy, representing the moon, the other projected energy, representing the sun. Discussion followed about the feelings our opposite created. A common quote was that "it is easy to give but not so easy to receive".
Another Dance before lunch then time to re establish contacts from our last meeting and get to know newcomers. After lunch, in a circle around our mandala, each person had to express with face and body only one aspect of the child, mother or crone age. Great fun, first cigarette (Yuk!), learning to knit etc. We then discussed "Simplicity" which took many interesting twists and turns, one of which was the dilemma of how to create a sense of belonging for a grand daughter who felt disconnected from a family of 4 generations with no marked burial places or family history and legend. This was an opportunity to think about the continuity of families and the role of the elderwoman to connect the generations in an age where "doing your own thing" reigns supreme. A beautiful, creative, nurturing energy surrounded our circle during this period.
We then decorated our mandala with pieces of extra fabric, braid, lace, ribbons etc which really brought it to life as a cohesive whole and it was decided to stitch the fabric parts into a permanent piece to be used again. Beverley Fischer, a very creative cronie volunteered to do this.
Lesley, a new cronie, brought a very large Tibetan singing bowl which she used, adding some wonderful resonances to our activities. At the end of the day Lesley "bonged" the bowl over the prone bodies of several people with harmonizing vibrations, sending the recipients into blissful states. It is possible we will have a mini session later to explore the subject of Vibration using the singing bowl and some chanting.
Our day ended with a dance around our beautiful mandala and the vigorously expressed opinion that we should have another Crones’ Day, date already set for Sept 26th. I hope to send photos by email, when I receive them, from the digital photos taken. The bookmarks, postcards and leaflets you sent have gone out into the world to spread the message Marian. You certainly have started something which resonates in the hearts of Elderwomen. Greetings to Crones all over the world. Get together and start ‘Croning’!
Much love from all our Crones in Oz
(Note from Marian: To my great delight, Madeleine, who led this group in their dances, will be in Devon next month and I shall get to meet her. As synchronicity would have it, she and I have spoken on the phone, many years ago, when I lived in Melbourne and called her to find out about getting tapes of the music for some of the Dances. She has promised to bring photos - the old-fashioned, paper kind - of the Crones Day).
And speaking of meeting people….
I had the good fortune, in April, to spend the day with Clare Cooper Marcus, the author of House as a Mirror of Self. What a wonderful elderwoman she is.
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Checkmating Alzheimer's (NYT 25/6/03)
(This article was in the New York Times last year. I just came across it again while I was searching for something else, and it occurred to me that it might interest some of my readers)
Can regular games of bridge or chess or playing a musical instrument ward off the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia? That is the provocative implication of a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine last week. If the findings hold up in more rigorous follow-up inquiries, the day may yet come when doctors will routinely recommend regular mental activity to ward off dementia just as they recommend regular physical exercise to ward off obesity and heart disease.
For now, the study offers at least a ray of hope for preventing or delaying some of the most intractable mental diseases facing modern medicine. Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx followed 469 people aged 75 and older who showed no signs of dementia at the start. Over a median follow-up time of five years, dementia developed in 124 of the subjects.
The striking finding was that participation in mentally demanding leisure activities late in life seems to provide protection against dementia, although the evidence was not conclusive. Playing chess, checkers, backgammon or cards was associated with a reduced risk, as were playing a musical instrument and reading. The evidence on crossword puzzles was not quite statistically significant, but those who did crossword puzzles four days a week had a much lower risk of dementia than those who did one puzzle a week. By contrast, most physical activities, like group exercise or team games, had no significant impact. The only exception was ballroom dancing, possibly because of the mental demands of remembering dance steps, responding to music and coordinating with a partner.
There are reasons to be cautious about over-interpreting this study. For one thing, despite heroic efforts by the researchers to screen out subjects who already had dementia before the study started, it remains possible that some subjects had extremely subtle abnormalities that diminished their interest in mental activities. In that case, incipient dementia may have caused their lack of interest in mental engagement, not the other way around.
Working with Dreams - Part Two (by Marian)
As promised, here is the second article on working with dreams.
Dream – 12/08/00. Moon waxing.
I was inside some sort of walled city in a desert. High walls – sandstone/adobe. It was night-time, but light enough to see clearly and to see the colours as you would in an Henri Rousseau painting of the night.
As you may recall, I suggested that a good way to work with dreams is to enter the dream and take the part of each element in turn. ("I am a woman dressed as an Arab, wearing a turban. I am walking quickly down the street….."
So I invited Ann to become the city, become the desert, become the alleyway …and so on. And this is what she did.
'I relaxed and started off as I do for meditation, then asked these questions of my dream companions / places. I noted it all down afterwards, as near as I could to how it came into my head.
The Kitten / Young Cat.
'I am a kitten / young cat and right now I feel…..'
Excited! I’m out here on my own in the dark and it feels exciting and scary. Things look different in the dark – but I can see very clearly. There’s no-one telling me what to do. I can play and have fun. I can hide in the grass over there and watch what’s going on and no-one will know I’m there. All my fur and whiskers feel zingy. This is great….
Why am I in an alleyway off the main street?
I’m exploring. Looking for hidden doors and other hidden places. This is a very old part of the city – I haven’t been in this street before. I like exploring. I’m sort of undercover and secretive….I like it here in the shadows, I can blend into the background and not be noticed, and get on with my search and no-one interferes. I’m looking for a key.
What does the alleyway represent?
The alleyway goes round and round and up and down the city. Its secret – kind of ‘underground’ or possibly undercover. It is a labyrinth that goes to the centre of things. It has hidden doors (alright – I know labyrinths don’t have doors, but this is my labyrinth!) leading to rooms with all sorts in them, and even to outside the city. It is my mind.
I am in the city, what is it to me?
It is alive. It is pulsing with life. It is my body.
Woman in Arab Dress.
What am I doing? Why am I in a Hurry?
There’s something wrong down in the city. I need to sort it out. I need to be quick, so I’m running down the street.
Who am I?
I am queen of this city and its surroundings. I am beautiful, exotic and glamorous.
I protect this city and take care of all within its walls – and much outside too.
I bring it love and light, colour and harmony.
I rule with love, but I am firm.
I am powerful and strong and determined. I make decisions about my city and will not be swayed from what I know is right.
I am knowledge and understanding.
I am honesty, fairness, wisdom & compassion.
I am healing love
I am the link to all
I am joy
I am sexual energy
I hold the keys to mystery and enchantment
I am the core
I am often veiled
What am I wearing and where am I when I’m not running about?
I am wearing dark blue and dull gold striped silk baggy trousers, tight at the ankles, with a white silk collarless shirt with baggy sleeves that are tight at the wrist. I have a short dark blue waistcoat edged with gold braid and a long dark blue woollen cloak held at my neck with a gold brooch. On my head I am wearing a blue and gold striped turban with a white fan at the front, pinned with a huge sapphire brooch.. I have rings on my fingers.
I am sitting on silk cushions in the garden of my palace at the top of the city. My garden is beautiful with a glorious abundance of flowers, herbs, shrubs & trees. The sun is warm, and at night I can see all the stars of heaven. There are pools and fountains in my garden and even a small waterfall. Butterflies and bees hover around the flowers and a gentle breeze wafts their perfume to me. Birds sing in the trees. I can see down into my city and for miles all around on the beautiful plain. I look after my garden myself."
"I have to say that I suspect the woman will have a twin sister who vacillates, is weak & vulnerable, peevish at times and in general has many of the opposite qualities of her twin - she just didn't feature in the dream! I've still to look at the desert (which changed into a plain in my questioning - maybe it always was - just looked like a desert in the dream because it was flattish) and back at the man & woman on the hill singing and parting - although I feel instinctively that you have hit the nail on the head with that one. I really enjoyed myself - and its taught me a different way of looking at things.
I already knew exactly how the woman was dressed - I realise she is more like someone from the Arabian Nights than anything else - although I described her as an Arab, she's really a sort of fairytale figure to look at. I was interested in the idea that she is often veiled - because if she is part of the inner me, I know I hide a lot of my ideas and beliefs from others - they emerge in poetry and paintings! There are few people whom I talk to about them. I think I'm afraid of scaring people off, or of them thinking I'm totally flaky. I'm also born under Cancer, so the idea of blending into the background and also having a hard shell and soft centre ( the city and the kitten) comes as no surprise!"
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Ann has latched on beautifully to this way of working with dreams, and has obviously learned a lot about herself already by working on this one.
When she says "I have to say that I suspect the woman will have a twin sister who vacillates, is weak & vulnerable, peevish at times and in general has many of the opposite qualities of her twin - she just didn't feature in the dream!" she is already moving, intuitively, into the next process that I want to talk about. This is the process which Carl Jung called "Active Imagination."
Active Imagination is when we get into the dream elements and carry the story forward. We move beyond the events of the dream and bring our imagination to bear on what might happen next. It is as though the dream has given us the plot and some of the characters and written the first chapter and then handed over to us to keep telling the story.
You might say "But then it's just imagination." True. However, the storehouse from which our imaginations select their ingredients is the storehouse of our own minds. From an infinite variety of possibilities, we choose only certain ingredients. What motivates the choice? The unconscious mind, usually. It is our unconscious which throws up the raw material of imagination, just as it throws up the raw material of dreams. So Active Imagination, like the dream itself, can be full of fascinating information about what is really going on in our own, mysterious depths.
The next thing I want to talk about is what Jung called the Shadow. We all have one. It is the disowned part of ourselves. In the Shadow, is our potential for doing, saying and feeling things which we cannot allow ourselves consciously to do or feel or say. The Shadow versions of ourselves are selves we would dislike and be ashamed of and/or embarrassed by if we knew they actually existed. So we deny the possibility of their existence altogether. When we were constructing an identity for ourselves, these were the elements we left out.
However, when we spot these things in other people, we get very judgmental about them. ("How could she do such a thing?" we exclaim, with huge indignation. "She just walked off and left the project in the middle and left everyone else to finish it. How selfish. How thoughtless….."…yadda yadda). Our own unconscious minds are fully screening from view our own potential for selfishness and thoughtlessness, our own occasional longing to quit something and walk away, and projecting it safely on to someone else. When we do that, what we are actually projecting is our own inner Shadow.
So part of getting to know yourself better is getting to know your Shadow self. Noticing your projections (as in the above example) is one way to do that. If you find yourself becoming unusually irritated by someone else's behaviour, it is always likely that a projection is involved. Another way to discover the Shadow is to look for it in your dreams. The Shadow will often be represented by "a dark figure" or "someone I can't quite see."
There is no clear evidence of Ann's Shadow in this dream. I suspect that is because Ann has already done a lot of work on herself and has probably uncovered most of her Shadow material, over the years. That is the case with most elderwomen who have been doing this sort of "inner work" for many years. There are few surprises left when it comes to discovering the dark side of our natures. We've already found and owned most of them! When Ann says:
"I’m exploring. Looking for hidden doors and other hidden places. This is a very old part of the city – I haven’t been in this street before. I like exploring. I’m sort of undercover and secretive….I like it here in the shadows, I can blend into the background and not be noticed, and get on with my search and no-one interferes. I’m looking for a key."
…that suggests to me that she enjoys the inner work. She enjoys Shadow-hunting. "I like it here in the shadows."
My theory feels confirmed when she announces:
"I suspect the woman will have a twin sister who vacillates, is weak & vulnerable, peevish at times and in general has many of the opposite qualities of her twin - she just didn't feature in the dream!"
This tells me Ann is already aware of - and fully owning - her Shadow, the flip side of the Persona that she presents to the world.
The final stage of working on a dream - the importance of which was brought home to me by the Jungian writer, Robert Johnson - is to ground it in reality.
Our dreams are valuable entities. They are teachers, mirrors, guides. So it is only right that we should honour them by listening to them and taking them seriously. Making some action, whether practical or symbolic, to connect the message of the dream with our everyday, waking life, is a way of showing respect and gratitude to our dreaming selves. Secondly, it reinforces the teaching message of the dream by making it more "real." And thirdly, it invites new directions in our personal growth process.
There are many ways in which Ann could ground this dream in the reality of her waking life. She could scoop up a little sand, and/or find a picture of the desert, and place these on her altar, if she has one. She could buy a little china kitten and put it on her bedside table. She could make up a name for her "Arab" self and write a poem to her. She could buy or make herself a pair of baggy trousers or obtain a CD of Middle Eastern music, dress up as an Arab and dance. She could get some essential oil which reminds her of the feeling of the dream. She could even go all the way and enrol for belly dancing classes! There are dozens of ways she could ground that dream in her everyday reality. That way it can continue to teach her, for it will now be woven right into the fabric of her life.
I hope you have enjoyed this two-part article on working with dreams.
If you have comments on it - or experiences of dreamwork that you'd like to share -I would be very interested in hearing from you.
And once again, thank you Ann, for this fertile and wonderful dream.
REQUEST FOR HELP
From Amy Dedow
Hello to all,
I want to share with you the thesis project that I am working on and ask for feedback. (Both positive and negative are appreciated).
My name is Amy and I am currently a student in the master's program in Gerontology at Mount Mary College, an all women's college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am asking for your help in designing my thesis project because I am 39 years old and need to hear how elder women feel about my ideas.
My plan is to complete this project in a qualitative research design (not just statistics which is quantitative) and from the feminist perspective on inclusion. Thus, instead of research subjects being used by the researcher, the two work together and both gain from the experience.
My project is to create a nine week workshop for elderwomen to facilitate personal exploration into the experience of becoming an elderwoman. I will accept eight elderwomen into the group. They will receive the workshop and all materials free in exchange for completing questionnaires before and after the workshop. I will simply be the facilitator as I do have experience in leading workshops. I will be offering the structure and materials to the elderwomen but in no way expect to teach then about the aging experience as I have no first hand knowledge yet.
I want to focus on eight different areas during the first eight meetings and end with a fire ceremony and croning celebration for any participates who have not had the opportunity to celebrate their passing into this new phase of living. I am not sure which eight areas to focus on so this is where I can use some feedback. I have used Marian's Elderwoman book for guidance. My ideas thus far, in no particular order, are as follows:
*Exploring sadness and the need for stillness and mediation.
*Exploring what is your personal wisdom and how you can pass this on to younger women
*Crafting items for a personal altar or to use in meditation. Sculpting an elder feminine image, creating sacred boxes to store personal talismans and other sacred objects, creating nature sculptures for use outdoors using roots, rocks, wood, water etc.
*Simplifying your space at home to reduce consumption and bring more harmony into your life.
*Exploring the three stages of womanhood and identifying wounds from the maiden and mother stages that need to be addressed so the passage into crone can be completed.
*Addressing the medicalization of aging and how to embrace it instead of seeing aging as a disease process that needs to be cured.
*How to bring the four elements into your home and personal space to increase your connection with the Earth.
*Honoring the elderwoman's body and all that is beautiful and powerful connected to it.
*Deconstructing the masculine hierarchy and rebuilding the feminine life spiral and exploring how looking at the world from a spiral perspective offers the elderwoman a position of power and abundance.
These are the ideas I have come up with thus far. I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think about this thesis project. After completing the project, my intent is to show the value in having elderwomen come together in circle to share their feelings about aging.
Thank you all for your time in reading this and I hope you all have a great day. After two weeks of rain here the sun has finally come out to play!
(Note from Marian: Amy posted this on the discussion board, but I decided to include it in the newsletter as well, to give more people an opportunity to respond to her with ideas and feedback.
I think it is so wonderful that she is using these ideas for her thesis project and I wish her every success).
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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
I look around here and remember green
Behind neat privet hedge, hydrangeas bloom.
Yet that old beech still stands. And in its bark,
forgiveness. Fifty uncomplaining years
© Marian Van Eyk McCain 2001
Please pass this along ...)
"Some People Still Don't Want You To See My Movie" ... From Michael Moore June 17, 2004
We're a week away from the nationwide opening of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and not a day goes by where we don't have some new battle to fight thanks to those who are still working overtime to keep people from seeing this film. What's their problem? Are they worried about something?
A Republican PR firm has formed a fake grassroots front group called "Move America Forward" to harass and intimidate theater owners into not showing "Fahrenheit 9/11." These are the same people who successfully badgered CBS into canceling the Reagan mini-series a few months ago. And they are spending a ton of money this week to threaten movie theaters who even think about showing our movie.
As of this morning, a little over 500 theaters have agreed to show the movie beginning next Friday, June 25. There are three national/regional theater chains who, as of today, have not booked the movie in their theaters. One theater owner in Illinois has reported receiving death threats.
The right wing usually wins these battles. Their basic belief system is built on censorship, repression, and keeping people ignorant. They want to limit or snuff out any debate or dissension. They also don't like pets and are mean to small children. Too many of them are named "Fred."
This new nut group is the Right's last hope in limiting how many people can see this movie. All of their other efforts have failed. Let's recap:
1. Roger Friedman at FOX News reported that the head of the company which first agreed to fund our film "got calls from Republican friends" pressuring them to back out. And they did. But... Miramax immediately picked up the film! Except...
2. Michael Eisner, the chairman of Disney, then blocked Miramax (a company owned by Disney) from releasing the film once it was finished. But... public attention and embarrassment forced Disney to let the Weinstein brothers of Miramax find another distributor! But...
3. Instead of a new distributor stepping right in -- as all the media predicted would happen -- it took another month to find distributors who would take on this movie. A number of other distributors, thanks to various pressures, were afraid to get involved. It looked for a while that we would be distributing this ourselves. But then Lions Gate and IFC Films rode in to the rescue!
So, we have beaten back all attempts to kill this movie, and the only thing in the way of you now seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11" is this Republican big-money front group trying to force theaters not to show the movie.
Please, contact your local theaters and let them know you want to see "Fahrenheit 9/11." Tell them that some people don't know that this is America and that we believe in freedom of speech and the importance of ALL voices being heard. (The members of MoveOn.org—an ACTUAL grassroots organization—have done a very cool thing. They are pledging to send a message to theater owners and are planning to attend a showing of the film on its opening weekend.)
I appreciate their efforts, but you don't have to be a member of MoveOn to help stop this effort to keep "Fahrenheit 9/11" from making it to screens across the country. If a theater in your area is planning to show the film, just give them a call and thank them for standing up for the freedom of speech. If your local theater isn't showing the film, call them and let them know that you would like to see it and you'd like them to show it.
The White House and their minions in our media have presented one distorted version of the truth after another for the past four years. All we are asking for is the right to show what they HAVEN'T shown us, the real truth. The truth that ain't pretty (and is, sadly, damningly hilarious).
On top of all this, the MPAA gave the film an "R" rating. I want all teenagers to see this film. There is nothing in the film in terms of violence that we didn't see on TV every night at the dinner hour during the Vietnam War. Of course, that's the point, isn't it? The media have given the real footage from Iraq a "cleansing" -- made it look nice, easy to digest. Mario Cuomo has offered to be our lawyer in appealing this ruling by the MPAA. Frankly, I would like to think the MPAA is saying that the actions by the Bush administration are so abhorrent and revolting, we need to protect our children from seeing what they have done. In that case, the film should be rated NC-17!
However it turns out, I trust all of you teenagers out there will find your way into a theater to see this movie. If the government believes it is OK to send slightly older teenagers to their deaths in Iraq, I think at the very least you should be allowed to see what they are going to draft you for in a couple of years.
Finally, some very sophisticated individuals have been hacking into and shutting down our website. It is an hourly fight to keep it up. We are going to find out who is doing this and we are going to pursue a criminal prosecution. I'm preparing lots of cool stuff for the site so watch for new items on it next week (www.fahrenheit911.com and www.michaelmoore.com).
Thanks again for your support and I hope to see you at the movies on opening night, June 25.
Yours, Michael Moore
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I am inspired by your Elderwoman Book. I will be 50 in July and feel that I have only just started to grow up. My heritage as a woman was destroyed through traumatic abuse as a child. I am blessed however by strong helpmates, only male at first, but I am trusting women more now.
Through what seems to me like miraculous circumstances I am now in the job I was trained for. I am a community education worker in charge of a community centre in the middle of Edinburgh. It is difficult but exciting work.
I was approached by some of the older women who use the centre. They are feeling left out as we have been concentrating on toddler groups, youth clubs etc.
They have been community activists in their younger days but want to meet again not just to relive their memories but to plan for the next stage. They don't use the words you do but I feel there is a link.
I was able to apply for grant funding and now have £4,000 to work with this group of women using, nutrition, exercise, alternative therapies and Biography.
Thank you for your book and for your website. I would love to somehow link these women up with others in the world. I am going to try and get a computer and internet next.
Your sincerely Janet McLaughlin
BOOK REVIEW - by Pam Godman
Anti Ageing Prescriptions: Herbs, Foods and Natural Formulas to keep You Young.
Dr. James A. Duke.
If you haven’t already read it, have a look at this book by James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy. It is not a book about how to look young in the cosmetic sense, nor is it about non-acceptance of ageing, rather it is about how to keep fit and healthy throughout our elder years via the foods we eat – plus exercise and adequate rest, of course (although these elements do not feature as other than comment in the book).
Chapter headings, including references to recipes, give real clues to content:
Strong Bones. Bone Bracing Bean Broth
Cancer Prevention. Colon-care Tea
Sharp Eyesight. Macula-saving Salad
Insomnia. Tranquillity Cake
And so on……Easy to read and well laid out, this is a ‘pick up and put down, delve into for specifics, fascinating read, book.
Dr Duke recommends a variation on the Palaeolithic diet of our ancestors, and has a section headed ‘The Healthy Sevens’ which offers a step, or rather several steps, to achieving this pattern of eating (for those who aren’t there already).
Seven kinds of fruit daily – in salads or juices as well as separate if that’s what you like.
Seven vegetables in salads, juices and soups etc.
Seven beans in soups, salads and sprouted.
Seven whole grains in breads, cereals and soups.
Seven nuts and seeds eaten as preferred, or on muesli, in breads, on salads etc. Be creative!
Seven herbs and spices in teas, soups, curries, casseroles, cakes and breads, salads etc.
Seven glasses of water - at least.
He does explain that he means use seven varieties, for example seven different kinds of leaves in a salad, and not seven meals of each a day!
"I pledge allegiance to the Earth,
"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."
—Jeanette Rankin (the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress)