Good morning, everyone!

At this time yesterday (shortly before 5:00a.m.) the temperature was already 91 degrees. The barometric pressure was intense, and the humidity level so high the concrete was sweating. By 10:00a.m. the sun was too intense for anything but ants/mosquitoes. Our first small-group parking-lot Pain Management session proved to be a test of our willingness/need to seek one another’s company/support. Weather conditions might have taken our minds off of our physical pain, but gave us another kind of misery to contemplate. Were we increasing our risk of skin cancer in lieu of risking our lives to potential exposure to COVID?

This pandemic has occupied our thoughts/dictated our actions for these many long months. We waited like prisoners in our homes for the date of freedom to be announced. We were as giddy as five year old children two days before Christmas as we gathered at the Senior Center again, happy to be reunited and looking forward to the “normal” weekly gathering. Unfortunately, it took only one person one visit to put our entire Group into a state of uncertainty/fear. Coming from a COVID hotspot, she brought our indoor gathering to an abrupt halt.

I am reminded of a health lecture that was given many years ago, when AIDS had swept a broad stroke of panic/uncertainty across the world. The speaker cautioned her young-mind audience to be aware of the fact that the person you choose to have sex with is bringing with him/her all the other people they have had sex with, referring to the microscopic organisms transmitted person-to-person.

I am also remembering a graphic commercial showing the power/volume/ coverage of a single sneeze. … And the black-light revelation of how our hands transmit germs to everything we touch. …

Spray infection image (coronavirus) for synthesis on black background

Similarly, we transmit bits-n-pieces of self everywhere we go, to everyone we meet. We wash our hands with soap/water, sanitize them and the surfaces we touch. We wear a mask, take precautions, and exhaust ourselves with thinking/ planning/doing the best we can. Yet, there is no shield of protection, no guarantee that we are 100% safe 100% of the time. We simply do what we can, wherever we are, with what we have. We do our best to be our best for sake of self/others. It’s not a contract that promises a reward or a star-studded crown. It’s simply common sense.

Which is why Group members unanimously voted to stop meeting indoors. We care about one another enough to adjust our behavior for the greater good. And so, we met outdoors … in the heat/humidity … amongst the ants/mosquitoes … for as long as we could tolerate conditions. We laughed together. We shared joy at the sight of wood-stork, ibis, anhinga, hawks, dragonflies … . We filled out eyes with Nature, blue sky, a zillion shades of green, sunlight sparkling on the pond. We watched parents/children enjoying playtime in the Park, and marveled at the ability of people who could play tennis/pickle ball/disc golf despite the sun/heat/humidity. We waved to friends as they drove by or crossed the parking lot.

We found our personal point-of-balance in the process. Discovered how to adjust our thoughts/feelings from “loss” to “joy”. Quality versus quantity! Indoors, we would have been more physically comfortable. Out there, we found a greater sense of shared thoughts/feelings/experiences. We created happy brain-files that we now share in common, and that’s just about the best pain-management “tool” we could ever have!

CRAFTSMAN Portable 20.5-in Ball-bearing 3-Drawer Red Steel Lockable Tool Box  in the Portable Tool Boxes department at

LAST WEEK’S NEURON-STRETCHING CHALLENGE:Who wrote: “… at some point we have to make a plan. … There’s a time for propping things up, and then there is past time.”

ANSWER: Barbara Kingsolver, from her latest novel “Unsheltered”. 

THIS WEEK’S NEURON-STRETCHING CHALLENGE:(A) Who; and, (B) in what year — instituted a project to preserve all known literature and knowledge, resulting in a massive encyclopedia of 4,000 volumes, covering a period from the 11th to the 13th centuries?

I hope you are discovering that your toolbox of pain-management tools is a reliable resource, readily available, and with room for additional tools. Tell me, please-n-thanks, what tool(s) you’ve used lately that made you smile despite the pain, which one(s) assisted you in creating happy brain-files. Isn’t it remarkable — this magic thing of giving/sharing “tools” and yet never depleting our supply?

Tool Kit: Pain Self-Management Program PRE-ORDER NOW!

Stay kind. Stay sharing-n-caring. Stay aware of how many lives your life is influencing. Toss a wave/smile as you move through the world. Let that be the next pandemic to circle the globe! 

Gentle hugs/much love,Marian