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Balancing Body, Mind, and Spirit

When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Two eyes, a mouth, two shoulders, hands, legs, and feet. But you also have a mind for thinking, planning, creating, remembering, and dreaming. You own emotions such as love, hate, anger, despair; and a spirit which searches for meaning and validation.

Even though you can’t see it, you know that your mind exists and is functioning on a day-to-day basis. You are keenly aware of your shifting emotions, even though you can’t touch them. In the face of obstacles, you call upon your inner spirit to face those obstacles and overcome them.

If you were just a body, you would function like a robot performing tasks in a mechanical fashion without deviating from the routine. If you were all mind, you wouldn’t need a body. If you were all spirit, you wouldn’t need this world at all.

Once you recognize that you are made of body, mind, and spirit, you can see yourself as a whole person. You can appreciate the beauty and wonder of yourself. Science has dissected the physical body for centuries and still has not discovered all of its secrets. Psychiatrists have tried to analyze and understand the mind, to no avail. The imagination continues to amaze and delight all of us. The world of the spirit is an infinite frontier yet to be explored. 

When you are living in balance, you are addressing the needs of body, mind, and spirit. You nourish the body with food, the mind with knowledge, and the spirit with faith and hope.

You know when you are feeling out of balance. You know when you are experiencing too much stress. You know when you are not eating right or getting enough sleep. You know when you are feeling lost and empty inside. You know when you are consumed with love or rage. You know when your body craves exercise, your mind seeks quiet, and your spirit needs comfort.

Stop for a moment. Listen to yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit are speaking to you. They are asking to be recognized and nourished. You know already what to do. If in doubt, seek help.

January 22, 2007; June 30, 2022

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, March 6, 2007

Copyright 2007-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Your Own Best Friend

Once we have made the commitment to achieve a higher level of wellness, there are a few things we need to consider.

First off, making that kind of commitment could be interpreted as selfishness by the people around us.  Our spouses may not want us to go out jogging while they lay on the couch watching TV.  After all, this is an activity that has been shared for many years, and now that situation has suddenly changed.  They may feel abandoned.  They may feel threatened or afraid.  Hopefully, they will get the message and get up and join us.


Our kids may not be ready to give up mom or dad to activities that take us away from them.  They may become more demanding or attention-seeking.  On the other hand, there are many activities in which they can participate.  They, too, can achieve a higher level of wellness.

People who do not understand may try to discourage us.  Since they do not see anything wrong with themselves, they may tell us we are wasting our time.

Secondly, wellness can be costly.  Fitness center memberships and work-out gyms can cost a lot of money, especially if they go unused.  If choosing to buy organic foods, be prepared for a higher grocery bill.  Vitamins and other supplements can also lighten your wallet.

So what is the answer?

Take a moment to consider, “Who is my best friend?”

If you did not name yourself, then you need to reconsider your commitment to wellness.  In order to win on the path to wellness, you must first be your own best friend.  You must first be your own best nurse, doctor*, partner, fitness coach, mother, spiritual adviser, and cheerleader.  You must believe in yourself, your efforts, and your ability to succeed.

Make the choice.  Make the commitment.  Have faith in yourself.  Stay focused on what you are trying to achieve and stick with it.  This is not a commitment to last a day, a month, or a year.  This is a commitment to last a lifetime.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
November 2, 2006; June 29, 2022

Copyright 2006-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

*Check with your doctor before engaging in exercise that may be harmful to your health. Even yoga and simple exercises can cause injury. Make sure that herbs and supplements do not interfere with your prescribed medications. Watch out for medical scams that promise miraculous cures. Watch out for practitioners who offer questionable therapies. DO NOT GO AGAINST YOUR DOCTOR’S MEDICAL ADVICE. DO NOT STOP TAKING PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS UNLESS ORDERED AND SUPERVISED BY YOUR PSYCHIATRIST. DO NOT USE STREET DRUGS. Being “your own best doctor” means taking responsibility for your health, NOT self-diagnosing, NOT self-prescribing, and NOT self-medicating. If necessary, go to the emergency room and get the help you need.

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The Path to Wellness

Wellness, from a holistic point of view, means wholeness.  We achieve wholeness when all the parts of our lives come into balance.  But how do we do this?

First, we make a choice.  Making the choice may or may not be easy.  We may genuinely enjoy smoking.  We may really like going out for Sunday dinner at the local steak house.  We may really believe that one more cup of coffee won’t hurt us.  But what is the end result that we want to achieve?

Do we want to breathe easy in our old age or be hooked up to an oxygen tank?  Do we want to maintain healthy arteries through our diet or to undergo surgical procedures to clean them out?  How many medications do we want to take — and who’s going to pay for them?  Do we really like the feeling of jitteriness that coffee brings? And oh, the heartburn!

Once we make the choice, it is all a matter of sticking with it.  Making a commitment to ourselves and our well-being goes a long way to achieving wellness.  After all, nobody else can do it for us.  The family doctor can prescribe drugs and suggest lifestyle changes, but he cannot do the exercise for us.  Neither is he going to give up his steak and ice cream for us.  He will, however, be more than happy to take care of us when we end up in the hospital.  Is that the outcome we want to achieve?

Frankly, it’s hard.  It’s hard to give up the things we love and which give us a sense of comfort when we are under stress or bored.  It’s hard to give up those little pleasures which make life worth living.  After all, isn’t that what life is all about? 

And who really wants to go out and jog five miles a day?  Who has the time?  And does it really matter whether we live to be 76 or 78?

Wellness means wholeness.  Wholeness means integration and quality of life.  It is not so much the number of years that we are trying to reach but the quality of life that we are trying to achieve.  A person may live to be 100, but if they are dragging around an oxygen tank, live in a nursing home, and have no family or friends, is that wellness?  Is that wholeness?  Is that the quality of life that we are striving to achieve?

Think about it.  Examine your life now and your possible life in the future.  What do you see?  Do you like what you see?  If not, then make a commitment to yourself to achieve a greater level of wellness in your life.
Dawn Pisturino, RN
November 2, 2006; June 28, 2022
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, February 27, 2007

Copyright 2006-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

The Meaning of Wellness

The term “wellness” means many things to many people but, generally speaking, it refers to a feeling of wholeness.  While many people may regard wellness as an absence of disease, it goes far beyond physical health.

When we view ourselves from the holistic point of view, we see that we are much more than a collection of flesh and bones meandering aimlessly through life.  We have physical needs that must be met such as food, warmth, shelter, sex, etc.  Most people do well meeting these basic needs.  But once these basic needs are met, we find that we need more.  Instead of just physical gratification, we long for love and affection.  Our bodies crave healthy, wholesome foods, not just whatever junk we find in the cupboard.  We want to create an environment of peace and comfort that we can go home to at night after a long day at work.  We seek relationships and environments that are nourishing and contribute to our fulfillment in life.

Wellness begins with our physical health.  We can choose to be healthier by making better food choices, exercising more, watching our weight, and getting more rest.  We can do what we can to prevent illness, rather than trusting to luck and treating the illness after the fact, when it is more difficult and more expensive — or may be too late.

For example, we can stop smoking if we are concerned about future lung disease.  We can cut back on red meat and consume more fruits and vegetables if we are concerned about heart disease.  We can lose weight, exercise more, and cut back on starches and processed foods if we are afraid of developing Type II diabetes.  This control is in OUR hands.

Taking this a step further, then, we can also find wellness in other areas of our lives.  We can end an abusive relationship and associate with people who treat us with love and compassion.  We can quit a dead-end job, go back to school, and follow a new career.  We can cut up the credit cards and avoid incurring more debt.  We can express our creativity through hobbies, loving relationships, service to others, and spiritual practices.

Wellness, from a holistic point of view, is wholeness.  We achieve wholeness when all the parts of our lives come into balance.  It is a feeling of being fully integrated and connected with the world.  It is living a quality of life which brings us inner peace and a sense of well-being.

Examine your life.  Are there areas which you could improve?  Look at your options.  Are there new or better ways that you could live?  Make a choice and go with it.  You can always choose new paths later on.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
November 2, 2006; June 27, 2022
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, February 13, 2007
       and The Standard, week of February 12, 2007

Copyright 2006-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

18 Comments »

What Happened to the Age of Aquarius?

If there’s one song that best captures the hopes and dreams of the 1960s, it’s the medley, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” from the Broadway musical, Hair (1967). The 5th Dimension, who compiled the medley, really rocked it. I still want to get up and dance to the music. But, whatever happened to the Age of Aquarius?

Lyrics:

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

Alright, everybody
C’mon now, we gon’ use other words for this song
Let the sun shine
Let the sunshine in
C’mon, sing along with it

Let the sun shine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in (you’ve got to feel it)
Let the sun shine (you’ve got to feel it)
Let the sunshine in (ahh, open up your heart)
The sunshine in (and let it shine on in)
Let the sun shine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sun shine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in

Songwriters: Rado James, Mac Dermot Arthur Terence Galt, Ragni Gerome. For non-commercial use only.

Data From: Musixmatch

Astrologically, nobody really knows when the Age of Aquarius is supposed to begin or if it already did. If you go by these lyrics, it began with the Hippie/New Age Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. But some people believe it began in the 1800s with the Industrial Revolution. Others believe it happened with 12/12/12 and the Mayan prophecy of spiritual realignment. Still others believe it arrived with the COVID-19 pandemic and officially established itself in February 2021. I saw one theory where Jesus and the Apostles were the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Another one promoted Valentine’s Day 2009 as the beginning. So, who knows? One thing is certain – the lyrics do not accurately reflect its beginning, according to astrologer Neil Spencer, because “Jupiter aligns with Mars several times a year, and the Moon is in the 7th House for 2 hours everyday.”

According to New Age adherents, the Age of Aquarius can be identified by certain hallmarks:

  1. A rapidly-changing society, dependent on technological innovation and intuitive creativity;
  2. Universal unity, harmony, patience, love, brotherhood, peace, resilience, interconnectedness, and elevated consciousness;
  3. Increased self-awareness and self-realization, empowerment, positive thinking, personal responsibility, and intuitive guidance;
  4. The body-mind-spirit connection will resonate at a higher vibration than ever before in the history of the human race.

Some people see two paths emerging: the path of totalitarianism and enslavement by powerful elites; and the path of liberation and spiritual evolution by the masses.

In the meantime, while we wait for our astrological guides to enlighten us, we can work on these qualities as individuals and gain more control over our own lives and our own mental, physical, and spiritual development through mindfulness, yoga, spiritual practices like prayer and meditation, healthful nutrition, exercise, and kindness.

Dawn Pisturino

May 16, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

41 Comments »

The Zen of Cats

(from Pinterest)

February 20, 2009: When our fourteen-year-old Siamese-calico cat was peeing on the rug and having occasional bowel movements in dark corners, my husband and I couldn’t wait until she died. Peace at last, we thought. No more litter boxes, no more cat whining, no more scrubbing the carpet. But as the time drew nearer, she seemed to sense that her days were winding down. She suddenly became very affectionate and wanted to sit on my lap for hours at a time. She wanted to be petted and cuddled and to stay near me all the time. She laid with my husband on the couch, hung out with him in the computer room, and slept on top of us at night, even in the heat of summer. But she was losing weight and going downhill fast. I held her in my lap and cried, finally realizing that we were going to lose her one of these days. In spite of her annoying, constant meowing and soiling the carpet, no matter what I did to stop it, I was going to miss her.

It all happened very fast. One day, she could barely walk, and she cried when she tried to stand up. She was sleeping more and more. I didn’t want to accept it, but we finally had to make a difficult decision.

We took her to the vet to have her put down. I held her in a towel in my arms, crying my eyes out. The vet was extremely busy, and it was obviously an inconvenient time for her, but she patiently explained the procedure, agreeing that it was probably the best thing to do. We stayed with our cat throughout the whole procedure, telling her how much we loved her. I hope she understood from the tone of our voices that we truly cared about her. I had lost my temper so many times when she soiled the carpet, I wanted to make sure she knew that we loved her, in spite of the problems between us.

Instead of earning our freedom from litter boxes and gaining peace of mind, we sat in front of the TV set listening for the cat. The house was just too darned quiet. Something had died inside of us, and life seemed very dull. We suddenly realized just how important she was and how much she had dominated our life for the last fourteen years.

After a couple of months, we happened to take our dog to the vet and fell in love with every cat and kitten we saw. Was it time to take the plunge and get another cat? We discussed it thoroughly and ran into the vet’s the next day to adopt an adorable tortoise shell kitten who was obviously the runt of the litter. She was in a cage with a larger black male kitten, and they were cuddled up together like the best of friends. We didn’t have the heart to part them, so we took both kittens.

Were we crazy? We started out with no cats and ended up with two kittens! After a few days, we were in love. How did we ever think we could live without a cat — let alone, two?

After a hard day at work, my favorite way to relieve stress is to curl up in the easy chair with one or two kittens on my lap. My stress just melts away.

Our cats are loving, sweet, funny, and unpredictable. They bring life into the house. And yes, we still have to clean out the litter box. But somehow, we don’t seem to mind so much.

April 26, 2022: After 12 years, we finally had to put our black cat down. He was dying of liver cancer. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. He was my baby, my special boy, my therapy cat. I thought I was going to die, it was so painful. Even though it’s been a year now, I still cry when I think of him. The interesting thing is that our little tortoise shell cat, who has been hell on wheels, has taken his place in so many ways! She now lets me cuddle her, something she never would allow before. We’ve grown very close. We also have an older cat who is attached to my husband. She always viewed me as competition for my husband’s affection. But, since my little black cat has been gone, she has become much more loving and friendly and sits near me in the computer room and watches me while I’m using the computer. She’s 16 years old, and I always thought she would be the first one to go. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
February 20, 2009; April 26, 2022

Copyright 2009-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

29 Comments »

Meditate with Music

Photo by Max on Unsplash

Meditation doesn’t have to be done in silence. It’s nice to sit there quietly, watching the fluffy white clouds of your thoughts float silently away until your mind turns into one big void of nothingness. But, if your goal is simply to relax, clear away your negative thoughts, and ease your tense muscles, there are scores and scores of musical recordings out there that can meet your goal: New Age, Celtic, East Indian, Native American, Chinese, Japanese, Easy Listening, Jazz, Classical, and more.

Music can alter our mood and our consciousness and take us away into a magical world of peace, harmony, and complete relaxation.

Here’s a classical piece that is just heavenly, written by Jules Massenet, and performed by the renowned violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Give it a try!

May you be blessed with a peaceful, relaxing day today!

Dawn Pisturino

April 7, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

27 Comments »

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

It’s Monday!

It’s also the FIRST DAY of the rest of your life.

Think about it! Everything that happened yesterday is in the past. It may or not have been important.

This morning, the sun brought a NEW DAY and a chance to start over again. What happens now is VERY IMPORTANT. It’s the rest of your life.

And, guess what! You get to start your life over again every single day. Isn’t that exciting? Imagine what new opportunities may come your way.

Good morning, everyone! It’s a brand new day!

Dawn Pisturino, RN

February 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

23 Comments »

A Smile is a Random Act of Kindness

Have you ever gone shopping, locked eyes with a complete stranger, — and smiled?

Smiling is a random act of kindness.

It doesn’t cost you a penny. There’s no commitment involved. There’s no signing on the dotted line. But just the simple act of smiling can bring a little ray of sunshine into someone else’s day. Receiving a smile from a complete stranger might be the thing that uplifts you out of a bad mood and reminds you that, yes! the world is a beautiful place.

A smile is a gift that keeps on giving. You smile at me, I smile at someone else, pay it forward. Pretty soon, the whole world is smiling!

Dawn Pisturino, RN

September 1, 2021/February 18, 2022

Copyright 2021-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

36 Comments »

Buddhist Advice for the New Year, 2022

Everything changes. Nothing is permanent. No matter how much we desire for things to remain the same, they never will. New life is born, old life dies. Friends come and go. Children grow up and leave home. Marriages end; lovers split apart. Therefore life — because it changes — can never bring us anything but suffering.

In reality, it is not life itself which brings us suffering but our own attachments, desires, perceptions, and expectations. The more we get, the more we want. The more we expect, the greater our disappointment. The more we attach ourselves to other people and objects, the harder it is to give them up.

For example, we go deeply into debt buying things we can’t afford, then needlessly suffer from the worry, anxiety, and stress of trying to pay for them. When we finally pay them off, we see something else we want — and begin the cycle all over again!

Our suffering can only end when we extinguish our desires; embrace the reality of birth and death, illness and old age; and accept the inevitability of change.

We cannot control the big stuff, but we can control the small stuff.

Simplify. How much stuff is in your closets that you spent lots of money on that you never use anymore? Did you ever use it? Did you really need it in the first place? Clean out your closets and dispose of excess clutter. Donate items to the local thrift store.

Avoid Debt. You can never find peace of mind while coping with a pile of debt. If you can’t afford to pay cash, then you probably don’t really need it. Save the credit cards for emergencies. Pay off all unnecessary bills. Open a savings account. Just saying “no” to things we don’t really need is liberating.

Show love and compassion toward others. Understand that we are all in this life together. None of us asked to be born. Nobody wants to suffer. And there is only one way out.

Be truthful and honest. Avoid causing harm to others through your words and deeds. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Stop doing all those little things which cause unnecessary worry, stress, and pain.

Take things in stride. Instead of resisting change, embrace it! View it as an opportunity to make a fresh start. Have a sense of humor. Go out of your way to make others smile.

Have a happy, prosperous, and serene 2022!

Dawn Pisturino, RN
March 15, 2007; January 4, 2022
Copyright 2007-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

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