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09 May 2021


I find it remarkable just how much media attention Leslie Schwartz achieved in a span of just a few years, and we never had an agent or public relations team, only word of mouth. 

Our work went out to millions of people all over the world. 

I hope to keep Leslie's work and life's message alive for many years to come and to build upon his efforts to educate future generations of students. 

This is an incomplete list; please send me links and I will add them and update as they come in.

-Marc David Bonagura


Surviving the Hell of Auschwitz and Dachau: A Teenage Struggle Toward Freedom from Hatred

Leslie Schwartz (1930), Marc David Bonagura (1961)

2013 Lit Verlag

ISBN 978-3-643-90368

Durch die Holle von Auschwitz und Dachau

Ein Junge erkampft sein Uberleben

Leslie Schwartz (1930)

2010 Lit Verlag

ISBN 978-3-643-10821-0

At overleve helvede: en af de sidste overlevende fra Auschwitz

Leslie Schwartz (1930), Karen Thisted (1946)

2007 Politikens

ISBN 978-8-756-78073-5


Enter "Leslie Schwartz" in the search box and list sorted by "date" and  all my blog posts will be listed.

Here is a link: 







The Muhldorf Train of Death


Beatrice Sonhuter

The Samuel Project


Directed by Marc Fusco

21 April 2021



1. Proper sleep, proper hours: without proper sleep in terms of the hours, as well as the time of day, it is very hard to lose weight as your body is always on hyper alert producing too many of the stress hormones and not enough of the hormones that promote healthy weight, recovery, and muscle building. The best hours are between 10 pm and 5 am--get as many sleep hours within that zone as possible. Short naps of around 20-40 minutes during the day are fine, too, but not too close to bedtime as that may reset your internal "clock" and keep you up. The worst thing you can do is expose yourself to blue light from screens around your bed time or worse in your bedroom--additionally, the room should be dark with no light and electronic devices unplugged around you. Great, too, if you can get sunlight in your face in the morning when you wake up.

2. Probiotics: an often overlooked aspect of weight loss is digestion, and probiotics will make your digestive system more efficient and make you less prone to binge eating or junk food cravings. Simple, plain, whole milk yogurt a few cups a day--around or with meals even--add local in-season fruit like strawberries or blueberries in the summer months to make a great "dessert" in lieu of sugary desserts like ice cream or cookies.

3. Core exercises like Pilates, Yoga, or other similar workouts: working the core as in Pilates will promote fitness in the most important regions of your body regarding health and wellness, your core areas. Forget the marathons, all you need is 20-30 minutes a day on a mat. This is low impact, safe and effective--you'll see the inches melt off your midsection in no time. Get some exercise bands or ankle weights as you will eventually work up to adding more resistance. there are so many free videos available, you don't even need to pay for a gym membership. You can also add walking whenever possible in your normal, daily routine.

4. Intermittent Fasting: this concept is kind of a trendy, hipster key word search these days, but it has been around since our hunter-gatherer days--when people ate only when they could secure food--they might eat a lot on one day and then not again for three days-simply stated, you are just fasting for certain periods of time, usually hours, and this changes your metabolism and eliminates blood-sugar dips and cravings, too. You stretch out the times in between meals--say, eat a 6 pm dinner and then try to go until 9 am the next morning for a 15 hour stretch--you try to put these stretches together without overly stressing your body. 

11 April 2021

Healing Ginger Chicken Soup

This recipe is warming and healing for any kind of virus or infection, like colds and flu or simply to aid in breathing, esp. for elderly people. Ginger is an incredible healing herb with so many restorative and immune building properties. I'd caution not to put too much ginger, only because it will drown out the other, more subtle flavors. Ginger is legendary for relieving nausea and promoting appetite, normalizing blood pressure, regulating blood sugar, lowering inflammation, and helping digestion, and so much more!

Healing Ginger Chicken Soup

 Chop up 3 (three) medium-size onions and several cloves of garlic in a food processor.

Add those to a large pot of boiling water—add sea salt and dried or fresh oregano.

Chop up several carrots and add them to the soup.

Take a decent sized bunch of fresh organic parsley and remove the excess stems, then chop up the parsley along with a few small pieces of ginger (the more ginger you add, the spicier the soup will be, but too much will ruin the other subtler flavors in the soup—I suggest starting with less and learning how much ginger you like from experience).

Add the parsley and ginger to the pot.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes over a low boil.

Add your cut up chicken pieces with skin and bones intact—rinse the chicken but leave the skin—you can use breasts with the bone or even legs and thighs, any parts really.

Cook on a slow boil for an hour minimum, preferably longer, but this isn't really a broth, so ten hours is not required!

You'll notice all that green parsely, which when combined with the ginger and oregano, makes a potent healing soup!

You can serve alone or with the rice of your choice or various "soup" pastas and home baked bread if you fancy.

22 July 2020


from NIH website

Very common, esp. in women who haven’t had children—perhaps up to 70-80% of women have them

Not really a big issue unless they cause pain/discomfort or excessive bleeding/or require surgery

Disappear after menopause

250,000 women have surgery every year—98% of these surgeries are unnecessary

There are different kinds of surgery—some techniques can save parts of your tissue/organs























VITAMIN D have you had your levels tested?
In the first group, small pumps implanted under the skin delivered a continuous dose of vitamin D for three weeks. The researchers then examined the animals in both groups. Fibroids increased in size in the untreated rats, but, in the rats receiving vitamin D, the tumors had shrunk dramatically. On average, uterine fibroids in the group receiving vitamin D were 75 percent smaller than those in the untreated group. (source under "Reading Material")

Reduce fibroids by reducing your exposure to estrogen: avoid birth control pills, ERT/HRT, estrogen-mimicing residues from herbicides and pesticides used on food crops (eat organically- raised products). Tampons that are bleached with chlorine may mimic the bad effects of estrogen, too. (Source under "Reading Material")




19 May 2020


"Misfortune is virtue's opportunity." 

"Forgiveness is a mystical act, not a reasonable one."
Carolyn Myss

LESLIE SCHWARTZ died in Florida on May 12, 2020 at the age of 90. While this news wasn't wholly unexpected, I thought he would somehow bounce back. Leslie was always superhuman to me, resilience personified; through all the normal misfortunes, diseases and bad breaks we all endure, to the unthinkable horrors he lived through in Auschwitz and Dachau, Leslie could survive, even thrive, in almost any situation. He always told me, "it's not what you achieve that matters most; it's what you've overcome." I figured in a few more months he'd be back on his feet, out of the hospital and doing what he loved best, talking with students, educating them about the Shoah--speaking with all his heart, mind, body and soul, and the unbelievable strength he always seemed to muster, again and again, while traveling the world doing this holy work.

with German students
"This is where my healing started, by trusting and believing in the new generation of Germans."

HE SPOKE WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS, from the United States to Europe, and especially in Germany, his adopted country--and while the irony of a Holocaust survivor finding a home in Germany wasn't lost on a lot of people, his reconnecting to the nation that murdered his immediate family was essential to his own healing journey, for it was the descendants of the people who had orchestrated the war and inflicted genocide upon untold millions he sought most to reach, so a better future for them and for the world might someday become a reality. He told me many times the older Germans, those who had been alive during the war, weren't so eager to embrace their history. Once when acting as an impromptu "tour guide" at Dachau, he met an elderly man who had been an SS Guard there. Leslie casually told him, "I was once a prisoner here". The man replied, while sizing up Leslie, "I guess I didn't do my job."

HE HELD MANY DREAMS close to his heart his entire life; in addition to being reunited with his mother, after being separated from her when he was just fourteen years old in the lines at Auschwitz, he wished for the human race to learn from the dark times and unimaginable horrors he endured during World War II. That we not repeat the Holocaust. That we help to heal each other--without regard to borders, race, religion or personal biases--anything that separates us from one another had to go, for in his wisdom, peace and justice without healing were impossible.

IN THE PAST DECADE OR SO, Leslie Schwartz and I  wrote a book together, presented lectures and facilitated discussions at many different venues, large and small, from elementary schools to college campuses to the United Nations--corresponding with world leaders and children alike, our work was recognized by major media all over the world from The New York Times, NPR, and Fox News in the United States to SΓΌddeutsche Zeitung and Bavarian Television in Germany, and so many other outlets I can't even remember. A frequent speaker at international events of remembrance, he was given many honors and awards, even the Knight's Cross for his service to Germany, but the impact Leslie had on my life is still hard to put into words. He was the fourth person who emerged from World War II to educate me personally, so that I could understand how something that ended sixteen years before I was even born was still affecting me in profound ways. Today they call it inter-generational trauma or epigenetics, but all I knew is something wasn't right my entire life. How many other millions and millions of people, the children of Holocaust survivors or combat veterans or anyone who has experienced severe trauma, have felt this same unnamable void? My father, a US Marine who fought in the Pacific, brought home severe, although often invisible disabilities I couldn't make any sense of as a child, yet these disabilities had incredibly detrimental, very real effects on my family; then Bob Worthington, another Marine from the Pacific, who is largely responsible for my career path, literally forcing me to tell his story--he made me become a writer--came into my life, and I began interviewing other World War II veterans from that point on.  Although Bob's life was completely destroyed by the war, and his disabilities wrecked havoc in every aspect of his life, he always sought healing. He wanted to change his brain entirely, to see the world in a new way, and he prepared me for that mindset.  Then my friend Jimmy Mirikitani, world renown artist who spent World War II in a Japanese internment camp in California--that experience altering the trajectory of Jimmy's life to the point where he wound up homeless on 6th Avenue in New York, well into his 70s--yet another person I met who was seeking his voice and some kind of healing experience--that the world not forget what he went through. And finally Leslie came along. Leslie was a child during the war. Leslie had the opportunity to heal simply because he had more time than the others. I helped Leslie find his voice as I've done for my writing students throughout my entire career. I helped him to communicate his deepest feelings to others, and we shared a simpatico that was instantaneous. I so enjoyed our conversations, sometimes several times a day, for many years. We shared the joys of this newfound recognition. People sought him out for appearances. Suddenly he mattered to a whole new generation, and he loved the connection with those younger students--they laughed with him and cried with him and hugged him like they would their grandfathers. For the German students, the war was a distant memory to their parents and grandparents, but the echoes of the war still affected them. With KZ camps literally all over Germany, they walked through the shadows of their ancestors' crimes everywhere they went, and students and teachers there resonated with Leslie's quiet message; he'd first simply inform them of what went on--to speak for all those whose voices were forever silenced-- and then he'd allow the students into his emotional aura, healing together, no longer alone, to face the impossible task of coming to terms with darkest parts of the human psyche the world has ever seen to create something life affirming out of that spiritual poison.

1972 with Agnes Reisch

Barbara Huber and spouse

WHAT LESLIE FEARED MOST was that the stories of those who had been murdered might one day be erased from history--he also longed to find his mother again; every minute while in the camps he wished to be reunited with her, and he also feared becoming just like the Nazi's, like an animal that preys on other, vulnerable or weakened animals. He feared hatred like we fear a contagious and deadly virus and desperately wished not to be infected. And, strangely, he also wanted to understand everything--even the reasons the Nazi's had created this hell on earth. He had an insatiable curiosity about life, and he wanted to understand his persecutors. But the real reason he wasn't able to hate was because several German civilians helped him stay alive. Martin Fuss, the railroad worker  brought him liverwurst sandwiches, and Barbara Huber and Agnes Reisch were farmers' wives who nourished him with bread and love directly in the face of SS Guards. Agnes called him "my son." Her biological son was in a prison camp in Russia. All she saw was a scared little boy who needed a mother--she once asked him, "how can you be a political prisoner?" The guards once confronted Agnes Reisch when she was caught bringing bread to Leslie at Dachau; they told her, "if you keep this up, we'll put you in here." She replied, "I don't care; I'm old." If these good people were also German, how could he hate all Germans? Leslie kept in touch with Reisch and Fuss for decades after the war, even visiting Reisch, bringing her a loaf of bread in 1972 in a famous photograph that made the New York newspapers. She fell on hard times after the war as her husband was murdered by concentration camp survivors in Dachau upon their liberation. He was just riding his bike home one night and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Leslie wound up sending her care packages for years after the war. He was reunited with Huber in a sense when he discovered her identity a few years ago--she had long since passed away, but he never forgot her kindness. One afternoon in April 1945 she fed Leslie and a few of his fellow prisoners delicious bread with creamy butter and, as Leslie would say many times, the best milk he ever tasted after they had escaped (briefly) from the infamous Muhldorf train of death, only to be captured by Hitler youth later that same day--a woman invites you, a starving, emaciated concentration camp prisoner into her kitchen and gives you milk, and you remember those few hours for the rest of your life as one simple act of kindness alters forever the future. You can't tell Leslie's story without mentioning these people. He never would have reached out to the German people with so much love had those brief moments of peace in the middle of war not occurred. And how many lives did he later affect in Germany because of his openness and willingness to connect with people? And so the cycle of hatred is forever broken. Who needs nuclear bombs when we have love?

Max and Leslie at Tutzing Ceremony

MAX MANNHEIMER WAS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING. Max and Leslie had known each other in the camps. Max was older and spoke German, so he was a great asset to Leslie, who at that point, spring 1945, saw his chances for survival dwindle with every passing day--Max encouraged Leslie to keep fighting--that somehow he could make it through slave labor, disease, starvation and torture. That had a friendship of sorts that flowered sixty years or so later. Max Mannheimer spent his life educating German students, helping them to heal from hatred's poison, loving fearlessly the nation that tried to murder him--from the first days after the war, he stayed in Germany and began working for peace and promoting education, spreading hope that change was possible and a better future could emerge if people were willing to face things directly and, first, simply listen to each other. Max and Leslie were not normal people, and when Leslie saw first hand what Max did, especially speaking to German students, Leslie thought to himself, I want to do that as well. And so he did, beginning around 2008 and for many more years to come, and that's when everything began to change for Leslie. He even had an apartment with his spouse in Munster and looked forward to traveling to Germany every summer. Finding his voice and connecting with students and teachers who realized what an incredible blessing it was to have Leslie there, alive, standing right in front of them, willing to answer any question and help them understand what happened in their own backyards and all over Germany--this experience was something rare and Leslie was a treasure to them. He felt their love and appreciation very powerfully, and the experience genuinely gave his life new vitality.

Meeting Chancellor Merkel

THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE he brought students and to anyone struggling with impossibly difficult situations is that hatred is useless and damaging--even if justified--being a victim is a powerless and lonely existence compared with that of a survivor--even better--a survivor who uses all experiences as a portal toward wholeness, knowing we all need each other to heal, and the world is a very small place. Turning enemies into allies is no small feat, yet some of the most important healing work happens when you forgive and bring your adversaries into the healing process with you, requiring truth telling and active listening, and ultimately action, for forgiveness is an active process that demands a lot of hard work--and time and patience--and you still need miracles to happen after all this, but they will come, though not always according to our schedules. These miracles took more than sixty years in Leslie's case.

IN THE END Leslie Schwartz understood our sacred task is not to pass along shared trauma but to create a better future and to hand down to younger generations tools for healing and reasons to hope, and Leslie gave us all plenty of hope. The best way we can honor Leslie Schwartz is simply to keep his work alive--resolve conflict without violence--and always to remember him. If you were lucky enough to spend any time with him, you were made better for the experiences. You couldn't look at anything the same way afterwards--your first move, no longer to react, with fight or flight, but to stay and face things, no matter how difficult--to reach for compassion, to find kindness and to value honesty and storytelling as important though often overlooked conflict resolution methods. You find hope, no matter what mountains lay ahead of you in your journey. The simple act of one human speaking to another--listening to each other without judgement--allowing for all the inevitable, uncomfortable silence to be filled with something new--unimaginable miracles--things you couldn't dream up in any parallel universe. And these miracles happened frequently for Leslie, like the time he met Chancellor Merkel--seventy years after the small boy who was supposed to have been worked to death by the Nazi's--greeted and honored by the German Chancellor--that kind of experience far too improbable for any Hollywood screenplay. Even Leslie's famous cousin, American screen legend, Tony Curtis, never made a film that far fetched. I'll never forget you, Leslie, and all I can do now is say "thank you for sharing so much of yourself with me and with the world." Leslie never liked to say good bye, so I won't either.

At Bowling Green University, April 2013
Some links to past stories:

Leslie's speech on the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation at Dachau.

Memorial Speech

Leslie Schwartz BIO

Meeting Chancellor Merkel

My First Meeting with Leslie

Leslie's Talk with Teenagers

Regarding Barbara Huber

An Evening With Leslie Schwartz with Videos

Our Book Freedom From Hatred

More photos from Leslie's amazing journey! We'll update as new pictures come in.

Leslie on his last trip to Hungary a few years ago

Anne-Frank Gymnasium in Germany

with German students

at Tutzing memorial

At Brookdale Community College--site of many of Leslie's presentations--watching his life in a film!


My favorite photo of Leslie

memorial in Bavaria

with his mother in 1933 or 1934

22 April 2020

Nine Home Remedies for Inguinal Hernias That Really Help!

While I should note that an inguinal hernia requires a medical diagnosis and treatment by a competent professional, if one were to find oneself in a situation where that medical help weren't available, say in the middle of a global pandemic, when elective surgery is cancelled until further notice, what would you do?

Are there actually home remedies that help?

The answer is yes.

1. The Edgar Cayce "Castor Oil Treatment" is actually incredibly worthwhile--while again, this isn't going to replace a surgeon, it may buy you some time while providing significant relief. Apply food grade Castor Oil to a damp, heated cloth--be careful not to burn your skin! You can also put the Castor Oil directly on your skin, and then place the warm, wet cloth on top of the affected area. Next take a dry towel and place that on top on the wet compress and place a heating pad on top of the towel. Lie down with a pillow under your knees and stay warm and covered up with blankets for about half and hour; take a nap if possible; breathe deeply from your belly and relax--listen to nice meditation tapes or relaxing music. You'll find the hernia immediately retreats and the area becomes relaxed as the blood flow is increased. Two or three times a week and you'll notice a big difference regarding the pressure, tension, pain, and general feeling of weirdness or discomfort.

2. Eat a mostly plant based diet and do not over eat. Avoid constipation at all costs. Any food that causes an inflammatory reaction in your body will make a hernia MUCH worse, especially fried food or foods with vegetable oils or foods high in sugar or overly processed flours--you want to tone down inflammation, which is always a good idea anyway. Any food that causes gas should also be avoided, as gas pain added to a hernia will have you thinking you need to go to the emergency room! A natural remedy for gas is Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon in a glass of warm water will do the trick. Wormwood tincture, 10-15 drops in a small glass of water will also expel gas. Losing some weight is also advisable.

3. Motherwort Tincture is beneficial because it relaxes your insides and would be preventative of a strangulation or other obstruction--I would have some good quality Motherwort tincture made from the fresh flowering tops on hand at all times, and take a good size dose 25-50 drops, if you are feeling tension or stress down there; repeat the dose in a half hour if you don't feel relief, but you will feel relief in a few minutes.

4. Gentle Pilates exercises performed mostly on a mat, on the floor, can be very helpful--just don't over do it, and if it feels wrong, move to another exercise--usually glute workout series are best--take it easy on the abs though--you work your abs when you do glute work anyway.

5. Pelvic floor exercises, again, I stress gentle exercises, preferably seated or on a mat on the floor, not standing, these exercises will prove useful.

6. Linden Flower herbal infusions are great as they help lower inflammation and make everything slippery in your gut.

7. Comfrey Leaf infusions are beneficial to build up the strength of the muscles, ligaments and tendons, etc.  You need to be careful where you get Comfrey leaf, as some strains are toxic. I only trust for mine.

8. Deep breathing, meditation, relaxation--Reiki if you know it--or gentle healing touch, laying on of hands--gently place your hands over the area and think of glowing light radiating from your hands into the area, repairing the damaged cells. I like listening to healing meditation tapes and putting an eye pillow over my eyes--this can also be done during your Edgar Cayce time (see point #1). Simply lying down when you've been on your feet too long also helps! Take naps when you can. Be gentle with yourself. Avoid strenuous lifting or bending or ESPECIALLY pushing anything heavy. Envision healing angels standing around you healing you with their hands and with light beams. With a hernia, you need to get off your feet frequently during the day as the pressure during standing pushes everything from the inside out.

9. Burdock leaves soaked in apple cider vinegar and warmed up in the oven at a low temperature can also be applied to the area much like the Castor Oil treatment mentioned above. Burdock leaves are readily available in the summer months and are gentle and soothing when applied directly on the skin. Afterwards, discard the used leaves in a compost pile. Do not throw away any plant you wish to heal you!

Warning: Always seek prompt medical attention if you feel anything unusual or dangerous might be going on, like a strangulation or obstruction, which can be life-threatening conditions and require emergency medical attention.

Be well friends.

10 April 2020

Flower Essences for Extraordinary Times from Mark D'Aquila

Extraordinary times - extraordinary flowers. Flower essences offer unparalleled support for emotional, mental,  spiritual balance and well being. In many ways I feel the magic of flower essences shine best in times like this. And, my goal as a flower essence therapist and researcher is to help people move through challenges with confidence and perseverance.

To address the energetic challenges brought on by these current times I have put together the Extraordinary Times Kit. This is a collection of 14 flower essences to help your energy system maintain strength, balance, peace of mind and well being. The flower essences in this kit help with anxiety, fear, loneliness, resilience and grounding; as well as other mental, emotional and physical challenges we are confronting.

Key Points that form the basis of my approach.

1.) Support the nervous system
2.) Energetic Protection
3.) Emotional Well being - being with, processing difficult emotions
4.) Staying Grounded
5.) Uplifting
These serve as the foundation. And with good foundational support we thrive, make clear decision and we trust in our ability to meet challenges.

Important flower essences from The Extraordinary Times Kit

Calm: This blend supports the nervous system to come down a notch. Useful when feeling ‘keyed up’ and unable to unwind. The Calm formula supports us to let go of tense emotions and settle more into ourselves. Use it at night to support sleep.

Olive Flower Essence: A deeply restorative essence, good for adrenal stress and exhaustion, helps us with long term recovery on all levels. Useful for recovery after struggle, long term illness and trial. A very useful essence for those suffering from deep fatigue and needing rest. .

Protection Formula: This formula is a combination 5 flower essences that helps to create a strong energetic shield of protection. Our energy field is weakened from stress, overwork, fear and anxiety. This all-around useful formula is superb for anyone who feels they need more protection. A key to well being is to maintain a strong energy field. This is our first shield of defense. Us this daily to keep your energy field strong.

River of Support: This is a special blend of essences created to compliment this collection. The flowers in this blend support strength, flexibility, lightness, balance and protection. It is designed to keep our energy system primed and buoyant. It is also a wonderful essence for those who in isolation who feel lonely and cut off.

All the essences listed above and 10 others are part of the Extraordinary Time Kit. 

Enjoy 15% off with code Extraordinary. This code applies to the full kit as well as individual essence from the kit.

All Essence Alchemy flower essences are bottled at the stock level dilution. Because they are bottled at the stock level they can be used together. For example you can use Calm and Protection at the same time without them cancelling each other out. To mix and match essences means you can tailor them to your specific needs that day or week.

I wish you much health and well being in these Extraordinary Times.

29 March 2020


Recently, one student in my creative writing class shared insight into her life during ice-breaker introductions; her response to the ice-breaker prompt of exploring one's heart's desire resonated with me on a deep level.

While saying she still wanted to enjoy life in this present moment, she also described how she cares about her future and setting up her later-on life by making sound choices and good decisions now, in her teenage years--to have a "set future" as she called it, which I took simply to mean a future, a future life one could rely on to some degree, temping fate and randomness.

Then she added something unexpectedly profound: wanting and hoping to connect to the infinite and lasting while realizing, "everything I do will be wiped away by time." That idea caught us all by surprise. After a short time, I offered that perhaps "everything" isn't wiped away, but I felt disingenuous suggesting a more specific answer to her dilemma.

I think of her notion as a bit of a mixed blessing; wouldn't that realization take off some of the immense pressure to which we humans often subject ourselves about things that really aren't that important? Maybe that this thing that seems so giant in the present moment really won't amount to much once washed away by some infinite river of time--OK, but while that might help, it doesn't really speak to her question. How do we connect with something greater???

I thought perhaps should I direct her to the Stoics and "Memento Mori'? Stoics and their followers have used that realization of ever-present death and mortality as a charge to act and to decipher what is vital and meaningful to oneself and to honor these deeper values, no matter what life throws at us, in fact in spite of what life throws at us--a personal code for living, or living well with that eventuality that everything turns to dust.

That might help, but she's seeking something deeper, I think. Although her realization and implied questions are important; perhaps something she'll spend her life exploring, I can offer, in a muddled, but somehow still oddly confident way, something about acts of kindness, moments of oneness and union, experiences when we transcend the obvious limitations of the human form--tapping into some other place, for lack of a better word--something more than this life's matrix-like quality, the structure of what we call reality--I know there's something more, but trying to put it into words or even concepts isn't easy. Fact is, our human perception is genuinely and severely limited, so why do we trust this reality so absolutely anyway? And even if we find the land beyond the yellow brick road, when we come back to earth, will that trip have really changed us or anyone else in any profound ways? The current state of the world might indicate "no" since many travelers have gone before us and come back to this black and white world without effecting dramatic changes, but there are subtle shifts and moments, when put back to back, that lead us somewhere different and perhaps better?

Just a few less-than-brilliant tips for would be inner-space travelers like her: the body is a vehicle, not an impediment. There is a physical connection to this infinite cosmos linked within our human experience. Conversely, when seeking guides and fellow travelers, look beyond their immediate or obvious physicality--soul mates along this trip will come in all shapes and sizes, ages, races, genders, etc., and sometimes the one's who might be most important to you might seem most unlikely candidates.

Approach the way with genuine integrity and compassion for others--helping others is one way we change ourselves. 

The present moment is the infinite we seek.  The link to making all of this happen is to be completely present, to have access to all that we are in this moment, with these people, in this place--meaning don't think you haven't got what you need for the journey right here and now, already.

Nature will often bring you out of this fake human matrix--experience it. more about the fake human matrix?

Keep doing the work, whatever the work is for you. And when you find nuggets of experience and wisdom, let them pile up and add up to something greater than the sum of the parts, like a bank account accruing compound interest. Just do the work and keep hope alive, always bolstered by your unique and personal experience--the experience is not flighty or merely subjective--that's your validation and your currency, like a salary for your work--don't cheapen it; treasure it and let it build upon itself.

Basically, let the path take you where it leads, however much faith is implied in that directive. You will find signs and navigation techniques along the way.

That's all I've got in this moment.

26 February 2020



Please note: I have many other blog posts on flu prevention which you can search here under the search engine provided in the blog. Quite obviously, COVID-19 is different than anything we've seen previously, yet the same herbal green allies that protect us from the effects of other viruses, including colds and the flu will also have a strong correlation toward protecting us in the case of new and strange pathogens. As with all herbal medicine from a Wise Woman tradition (as my teacher Susun S.Weed refers to it), using these plants will only nourish you and continue to make you stronger and healthier, whether or not you ever get sick. There is no downside to using these safe, local, inexpensive and abundant plants. And remember, prevention is invisible--you may never know exactly why you didn't get sick. Most people will contract this virus and experience only mild or even no symptoms--the people who are at higher risk especially need all the allies they can find.

Elderberry--the herbal superstar for cold and flu prevention and healing--use in every form from jelly to syrup to tincture. Take it daily all winter long as a preventive measure, as well as when you actually have an infection or virus. I've been taking a dose of tincture about 50 drops twice a day; upon rising and before going to bed. Generally, Elderberry isn't always thought of as a protector, but more of a remedy when we are sick, but since this COVID-19 virus is stealthy and we could have it and not show symptoms, I think daily doses of Elderberry are fine. I prefer homemade tincture to anything else.

Linden Flower--make linden flower infusions and drink them frequently during the flu season! I have them almost every morning in place or in addition to my normal tea or coffee. Heat up linden infusion, not to the boiling point, and add honey for a tasty and effective morning drink! Linden is a fantastic upper respiratory ally all year long.

St. John's Wort--nature's herbal viral defender--take it daily during the flu season and even several times a day if you feel you might be exposed to something--use only tincture made from the fresh flowering plants, NOT CAPSULES. If I had to fly, I'd take St. Johns before during and after my flight or whenever I was confined in a closed indoor space or felt I had potentially been exposed to something!

Echinacea--take only if you are sick, and even though Echinacea is mostly for bacterial infections, it can help during a viral infection by preventing secondary bacterial infections. Take your body weight in drops, divided by half, and take it several times a day and for a few days after you feel better, too. Use only tincture, NOT CAPSULES.

Marshmallow Root Tea and Boneset Tea--are legendary herbal helpers for flu-like infections; marshmallow root helps soothe mucous membranes, and Boneset is an old time, natural fever remedy.

Poke Root--the most powerful herbal ally for those with an active infection--not to be used as a preventative. Take a small dose, between 5 and 20 drops--if no effect, take again in a few hours. Be careful with Poke, as it is very powerful--only take as needed and stop taking when the infection is over. Do not use on children! My teacher recommends 2 drops a day, then 4 the next day, then 8--perhaps up to about 25 drops (which is a huge dose) if you're not getting the response you need.


Vitamin D--a most important protector, especially for pathogens that attack the lungs. Get sun on your face for at least 20 minutes a day, and then when the weather warms, get sun on as much of your skin as possible--20 to 40 minutes a day is sufficient. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our society.   

Probiotics/Fermented Foods--eat more yogurt and fermented foods during flu season. Probiotics are the post powerful protection you have against invading pathogens! Sauerkraut is fantastic, inexpensive and available everywhere, for example. I'm sure you have your favorites--personally I love old fashioned plain yogurt!

Garlic--can be used with food on a daily basis to boost your immune system. I'm allergic to it, but if you're not, and don't mind the superb aroma you will emit, go for it. At least you'll keep people away from you in crowded places!

Red Onions--red onions are super for your immune system--you can eat them raw or cooked. I like a raw red onion chopped fine on top of black beans, for example. They contain quercetin, which is a powerful ally for your immune system. I've read not to cut too much off the outside because there is a higher concentration of quercetin towards the outer part of the onion.

Green Tea--is an old standby that most people have around the house, and green tea is a known anti-viral. Add honey and you've got anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties; plus the warm liquid is also good.

Vitamin C--many people like to load up on Vitamin C--I don't endorse supplements here, but if it works for you, use it. I prefer naturally occurring Vitamin C as found in fresh squeezed orange juice and lemon juice. My mom's old family recipe is the juice of one lemon, the juice of one orange, honey, and a pinch of cream of tartar in a quart of water when you're dealing with colds or flu. She calls it "Imperial Drink," and it is very soothing for the throat and quiets coughs. I heard stories that they are using IV vitamin C in China to treat people with the virus. Those doses would be very high.

Homeopathic Flu Remedies--check out Boiron and Umcka's remedies, and have them on hand and, most importantly, use them at the first sign of illness--homepathics work best when you can recognize you might first be getting sick--take them for a few days after and  at regular intervals to allow them to work. There is no hard evidence, as far as I know, but I believe Oscillococcinum might be useful in cases of COVID -19

Tone Down /Avoid Overly-Strenuous Workouts--stay out of the gym and tone done your workouts--hard workouts depress your immune system in dramatic ways making you way more susceptible to invading pathogens.

Stay Away from Crowded Indoor Spaces, Especially Air Travel--if you can avoid it, please do so. Nothing worse than an closed off in door space for breeding illness. If I had to be in such a space, I would protect myself with massive doses of St John's Wort tincture before, during and after my time spent in these places.

Be More Aware of Personal Hygiene-health crusader Gary Null said many times he carries a little bottle of alcohol around with him in public places and wipes down any surface areas he comes in contact with--not the worst idea, I think. Probably more effective than masks I'd imagine. And try not to touch your face and eyes if you are out in public places.

Avoid Undue Emotional Stress--emotional stress can greatly weaken the immune system--people can and do die of broken hearts! A severe emotional stress can really limit the ability of your immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria. Fear suppresses your immune response.

Stay Home if You Don't Feel Well--most important is to rest and give your body a fighting chance; staying home also prevents the spread of the illness to others.

Keep Your Kids Home if They're Sick and Keep them Home an Extra Day Even if They Feel Better--I always liked the idea of an extra day home even when the kids feel better. Viruses have a way of rebounding even when you are feeling better, so the extra day is not a bad idea at all. Master Herbalist Paul Bergner recommends rest for every day that you had a fever after the fever has passed to prevent the virus rebound effect, which actually kills many people with COVID-19--they seem to be doing better and then take a turn for the worse.

Good luck and don't panic--fear and anxiety won't help! 

Taking action will make you feel more in control, and, again, most or all of the herbal remedies are good for you whether or not you ever get sick!

Here are some links to videos and podcasts; Susun S. Weed (Wise Woman Approach) Susun Weed also has a free course she is offering--go to  You need to register, but then the flu prevention course, "Healthy Immune System Coronavirus Help" is free.
Gary Null (Heroic Healer).

15 December 2019

Unacknowledged Grief, Addiction & Mental Illness

In my experience there seems a force equivalent to a solar wind of unacknowledged grief running through many mental illnesses, especially addiction, depression and anxiety to name a few.

The universal experience we undergo on this planet is loss and closely-related grief, and as I've spent most of my life running from this emotional pain, I think the running in various forms is also the developing of a wide range of dysfunction and disease, like addictions, anxiety disorders and depression just to name a few.

As we try to distance ourselves from reality, that reality being an ocean of grief, and like a fish swimming in that ocean, forgetting it is surrounded by water, we naturally hide everything from that grief, like burying a box of treasure in the backyard where no one can steal it . We think loss unnatural or wrong, as if death is wrong somehow. As a child, when encountering death, what adults actually allow you to process the experience? That's absurd, right? The thought is a child can't handle it. We're taught early to be normal and not dwell on the negative, right? So we're taught early on(whether overtly or not) to find ways to hide from the single most universal experience of all beings on this planet--that of experiencing loss, pain and grief.

Perhaps we all believe on some level these emotions will weaken us, make us vulnerable, take us away from normal, functional, productive life. So then, why would the Creator put us in this world-- mostly as a cruel joke, where we spend so much time and energy avoiding the unavoidable grief, running around like rodents on a treadmill, so that we're not even alive?

If you've ever felt the intensity of that emotional pain even for a fleeting second, you can understand why anyone would run from it. Yet that grief is so universal maybe it is actually the entire reason for us being here, the spiritual or energetic (much better word) reality that this grief will break us into a million pieces and isn't wrong but right, and that is actually what is supposed to happen, because by being broken apart we connect with all beings on this planet and recognizes our oneness to them while having the opportunity to lose our egos that mostly torture us in the process. Doesn't every religion preach and teach that? We come here not to come and go as the same entity, but to be changed, and this experience of loss will do just that. Reminds me what I've heard my teacher, Susun Weed say, "whatever is, is right."

Otherwise, as we seek to distance ourselves from the grief and loss, we also cut ourselves off from all other emotions, like joy and even bliss, because to feel something you need to feel everything. The disease and dysfunction is really a strangling or twisting into knots the flow of energy throughout our bodies, until I'm sure at a certain point our physicality is altered by this dysfunction to the point where the disease becomes (structurally) real and ingrained into our physiology, like the way an addiction changes your brain structure and function, for example.

We think we need to cut out the illness, like a mass of cancer to be removed surgically, when maybe what we really need to do is use all this experience as a force for healing, healing not being defined solely by removing the problem, but by some new realm of existence.

And when normal life becomes so unmanageable that literally it cracks apart and we're sick, really sick, everything stops anyway. There is no more normal. We're ill, but maybe we're also healthy at the same time. The illness is there to get our attention like nothing else could to stop us.

Might swimming in that ocean of grief be the medicine that can heal us, by opening us up, breaking us apart and connecting us to something greater?

What does that frontier life look like? Where are completely transformed, quite literally, into different beings, and we acknowledge the debt and the grief and also our connection to all living beings, sharing in this samsara, if you will, and transformation. 

Existing in this sea of grief and debt is an opportunity for growth, a portal into a radically transformed life--the one we came here to experience.

02 December 2019

Millet Porridge Breakfast Recipe

A slightly different twist on your normal breakfast fare, this is a recipe I've tweaked and enjoy very much.

Millet Porridge:

Add 1 cup of millet (dash of salt and butter optional) to 2 cups of boiling water; then cover and cook over a slow, gentle boil until water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Add a few dashes of cinnamon, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk, or any other kind of milk you want, a generous pour of maple syrup, to about half of cooked millet (save the rest of the millet in the refrigerator for another day), and mix well with a hand mixer or similar tool to get it almost the consistency of a puree; you won't quite get it pureed as the millet doesn't break up that well, and then cook over a low temperature, a very gentle boil, for about 10 minutes. This will make about 2 servings. Serve warm!

You can also make more millet and keep it refrigerated so as to save time when preparing this breakfast over the next few days.

This is a wholesome, nourishing breakfast, good for people who need help with digestion, people with allergies, those who have issues absorbing nutrients, or just anyone tired of the usual breakfast grains, like oatmeal.

I use whole grain millet for this recipe, such as Bob's Red Mill, as pictured below.


18 April 2019

Twenty Things We Can Learn from Warren Buffett

Like many many millions of people across the globe, I find Warren Buffett endlessly interesting, and I believe we could all do well to take some of the wisdom he's offered the world, either in word or in deed, to heart. Even if one weren't drawn to finance or investing, his wisdom goes far beyond the financial bottom line, although the most successful investor in human history also offers some really good financial tips. Simply stated, I think if we were all just a little more like Mr. Buffett, we might live far happier and more satisfying lives with less anxiety and more self-confidence and personal power. I believe there is a philosophy to the way this man has conducted his life, a philosophy worth exploring.

Buffett's story should be taught right up there with George Washington regarding his importance to the American experience and collective psyche. When teenagers sit in high school classrooms and study courses in personal finance, for example, I hope part of their curriculum includes books on Mr. Buffett, just as American history classes should feature stories about Washington.

Full disclosure: Only recently have I become a Buffett junkie. My obsession started when I watched that famous HBO documentary. Lately I'm reading everything I can find about him and watching countless videos. While I don't know the man personally, nor do I own any shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock, and this particular post is out of my normal comfort zones regarding subject material, I have to say I've enjoyed writing it very much. I hope you will benefit from it as well.

Photograph by Danuta Otfinowski —

What follows are random bits of wisdom and truths I've discovered from my informal research.

These bullet points are (mostly) not in Buffett's own words, rather my interpretation of what he might think or say. There is plenty of great work featuring his direct quotes and whatnot, biographies and the like--this piece is more philosophical in nature; however rudimentary my understanding may be, I believe I've distilled down some useful thought forms.

1. Time can be your friend of your enemy; whether in finance or anything else, time is an ally to be cultivated, or a monster that devours us whole--when you do good things and follow a worthwhile process, time will most often reward you with the blessings of the fruits of your labors (not to mix too many metaphors). If we're acting in hurtful or self-destructive ways, time crushes us as our problems only get worse and worse. And never rush important financial decisions based on someone else's timetable, as in "if we don't buy this house today, someone else will."

2. Your habits and commitment to a process will take your farther than mere intellect or even talent; don't think you need to be the smartest or even the most talented person in the room to be the best; there is so much more to success than just mere ability--our habits and beliefs, all the little things we do all day long, as well as the way we think about ourselves and the way we see our lives, matter so much more.

3. Start young--you're never too young to begin your life--this notion of waiting until you grow up has got to go. Even in childhood we can discover our lifelong passions and areas of expertise--it is never too young to begin. Even if starting something simply means watching others and observing--you'll find older people who will help you as mentors and advisers--people will be surprisingly generous to a young person captivated by some noble ambition, even if that nobility is simply that they want to be really great at something.

4. Failure can be your greatest teacher; when you fail, take apart the experience and examine what occurred, so you're better equipped next time. Look at any failure as a step in the learning process; many bad things in life can be overcome if we're willing to start over and follow a sound process.

5. Play to your strengths, don't be at the mercy of your weaknesses; find out what you are really good at and stick to it. You'll have a much higher rate of success if you stay within your area of expertise and continue to deepen that expertise. This message requires some mental and ego discipline and some tolerance of boring moments waiting for that magic moment when opportunity meets fortune and we are able to make the winning move.

6. A lot of brilliant people have horrible lives; much of our happiness really does boil down to our own choices and especially our expectations regarding our lives; sometimes expecting less leads to greater happiness. Even great intellect and material success don't necessarily equal happiness. Happiness seems more a product our own own minds and beliefs regarding whether we are living life on our own terms or according to someone else's rules.

7. Live below your means; the surest path to wealth (and probably financial peace) is to spend less than you make, and to avoid debt whenever possible. There is a classic short story called The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoi, If you want to know the torture of living a false life based on materialistic keeping up with the Joneses' what was true in 19th century Russia is still true today. Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world, still lives in the same and the first house he bought back in the 1950s.

8. Dance to the beat of your own drummer--it's more than OK to be different; it is essential to your happiness. In so many ways Buffett illustrates that we only get one life and it is complete folly trying to live it based on someone else's rules. Know yourself well and knowing what works for you and what doesn't are key concepts--perhaps slightly easier when one is a billionaire, but something we must all come to terms with. Remember he didn't start out as a billionaire!

9. Take care of your body and mind--you only get one; he's seen telling high school kids this wise tidbit of advice; furthermore he's been quoted many times saying we should develop ourselves through education and an ever-expanding spiral of self-improvement and qualifications. Just another feather in your cap as my dad said frequently.

10. We don't need an extravagant lifestyle to be happy; really, no matter if you're an hourly wage earner or billionaire, there is a great degree of personal preferences you get to control. Buffett going to McDonald's for a breakfast that costs a couple bucks is the ultimate metaphor when he could have a personal live-in chef.

11. Make money work for you, not the other way around--the not-so-hidden secret to building wealth in a capitalist system.

12. You can only control how you react to something and how you treat other people, not the reverse; this is about emotional fitness. Apparently, there is a whole lot Buffett has to say about how our emotions qualify our success especially where money is concerned.

13. Integrity matters; one's reputation is worth protecting and any time we might be (even slightly) tempted to cut corners ethically (morally or even legally) speaking we should avoid that temptation. Always best to do things the right and honorable way--you will never have to remember any alibis or elaborate stories. Buffett I've been told likes to go on TV just so he can never be misquoted. He does not take the honorable reputation he's built up lightly and neither should we.

14. Don't waste too much time on your phone or your PC; refrain from too much time on social media. I've seen interviews where, when asked why he isn't on Twitter, Buffet simply says something to the effect of, what exactly would that do for me? Aside from the occasional and very welcomed re-connection with old friends or family, or perhaps promoting a business, time on Facebook, for example, leads mostly to rising blood pressure and time wasted.

15. Being a feminist makes a lot of sense; it is OK to acknowledge the ovarian lottery.This point makes many men uncomfortable but not Buffett. So much of success one might agree is determined at birth as to where, when and what biological sex we are born into. He works for equality for women and freely acknowledges his sisters were just as smart as he was without the same opportunities, born as women in an earlier time and place. Feminism makes sense, especially now, when we realize we have access to the work and creative talents of half the population. The more America and the world promotes equality for women, the brighter the future will be for everyone.

16. Perhaps the greatest gift wealth affords is that you can help others; his example here regarding philantrophy would be hard to top, but the premise is one we can all follow--he who dies rich, dies in disgrace. You can give it all away; you really can. Why not realize the power of your decisions and how they can impact others' lives for the better? Again, none of us will be able to match Buffett or his pal Bill Gates' philanthropy, but we can all do something to make this world a better place. Don't leave the money to your kids, give it away.

17. Would you still do your work even if you didn't get paid for it? If what you're doing for your chosen career isn't something you're passionate enough to do for free, you might be in the wrong field. I've heard Mr. Buffett say something to the effect of, if you're doing something you like with people you like, you're on the right track.
18. Remember this is all just a game anyway--in the end everybody loses--well, that's at least one interpretation of death--but maybe loss isn't that scary anyway-- maybe it is freeing, especially if this insight allows us to approach our endeavors with a kind of casual seriousness and relaxed focus, like an athlete in the zone. Sometimes the freedom of playing a game instead of the tension of what if I make the wrong choice works much better getting you into that zone in the first place. He might deal in billions and billions with the rise and fall of civilizations riding on his decisions, but Mr. Buffett seems pretty chill in the final analysis.

19. Work on your communication skills, especially public speaking. Buffett often credits his Dale Carnegie public speaking course with increasing his success exponentially. I can tell you most millennials are deathly afraid of public speaking, all this fear conversely existing in an age where our every emotion and whim are often on display on Social Media. I do believe an important component of our voice is masked when we refrain from taking our inner life outside for the rest of the world to see--in  person--not on Social Media. This is a key element in my writing courses; when I say voice is it much more than just the sounds we make. There is a connection to some inner source of power that is completely obscured by fear of embarrassment

20. Focus is the one thing we have the most control over that directly leads to success in any endeavor, and in today's world of multi-tasking and electronically-induced ADD, focus has never been more challenging or important.

Some links and resources:
Annual Letters to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders
The Snowball Effect (excellent biography of Buffett)
University of Berkshire Hathaway (a book about the annual shareholders meetings)
Yahoo Live Stream of Annual Shareholders Meeting
HBO Documentary
BBC Documentary