Thursday Tidbits

Posted on June 27, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Mother Nature- Let it Bee


“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”

 Pearl S. Buck

I am increasingly fascinated with the concept of the arts as a tool for healing. I attended an interesting presentation a few nights ago sponsored by Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!). AHA! is a collaboration between artists, educators and health care workers.

Antigonish’s very own Dr.John Graham-Pole pioneered this concept at the University of Florida. Two local health care administrators went to Gainesville, Florida recently to spend a few intense weeks hearing about the work at the renowned Shands Hospital. More and more health care practitioners are discovering the healing power of art, music and poetry among many other art forms.

The local AHA! Group has been working very hard in recent years to foster the arts in healing. Our community is blessed with an abundance of very talented artistic people who can provide these services. Antigonish was one of the first small communities in the province to hire a music therapist in our Regional Hospital and the results of this initiative are impressive. Many studies have shown that music not only distracts people from their pain and discomfort but can actually be a pain reduction tool. When you think of the cost of medicine, surely music, art and poetry are amongst the cheapest and most effective drugs.

I have some firsthand experience. I spend five afternoons a week at one of our local nursing homes providing music. Yes, I sing lots of songs ranging from old war tunes, to gospel and country and western. Even a bit of Pearl Jam! But the arts provide much more than just a performance. It’s about connection, storytelling and just being present. Many of the residents have suffered memory loss. I am thrilled when I see the faces of a room full of elderly people light up when they recognize the music of their youth.

I am luckier than most. My work career was diverse and satisfying. It would be a stretch to say that I absolutely loved my jobs. But at the age of 67, I have found true joy doing something I absolutely love.

Pearl S. Buck has it mostly right. It’s just that I’m not sure if I’ve discovered the fountain of youth!

I was wandering around the Farmer’s Market last weekend and bumped into a friend, a vendor at the market. She asked me a surprising question: “What do you think about on your long walks?” I was tempted to say that the air passes effortlessly through my head which is partially true!

Here’s what I told her. I pay close attention to nature… sights, sounds and smells. I sing a lot. I think about everyday stuff. I am consciously grateful. I get a lot of my story ideas when I walk. It’s a great time for reflection too when you’re my age. When you’re in the trenches like you are with a family and work, you have plenty to think about without having the luxury of goofing off and daydreaming.

I absolutely loved her response. “I am constantly thinking ahead and where I want my life to go. I need to learn to be still sometimes, that too is where walking helps me. Nature just makes you feel more centred and connected to Mother Earth and if you listen she will let you in on some great words of wisdom.”

Wouldn’t you agree that my friend’s answer was much more insightful than mine?

Focusing strictly on your surroundings on a walk is, I believe, a form of meditation. It calms the mind and is very soothing.

Have a great Canada Day weekend.


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