Archive for November, 2014

Preserving the Past

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Long long ago I created a lecture series and a newsletter called “Contributions to Wisdom”. The lecture series was originally every Friday night, and then every other Friday. The lecture series and the 10 times annually publication lasted from 1986 to 1993.

I videotaped most of the lectures. The small ($3) donations that people made for each lecture covered the cost of tea, a blank videotape, and over time part of the cost of purchasing a video camera.

Some of the videos were available for rent at Crazy Wisdom, I lent out a number of them as well. Mostly they have sat in plastic tubs for almost 30 years, waiting for something to happen.

A couple of people that I videoed are famous – Patch Adams, Susun Weed, and Larry Brilliant. Most of the local practitioners remain well known. A few have died, many have moved.

Those VHS tapes are slowly losing quality and ability to be played. I’d like to preserve them. Transferring them to Quicktime and DVD has to be done in real time. And it uses huge amounts of computer storage space, which does get cheaper every year – even every month it seems. But it is a very large project. It can also be done professionally, for about $20 for each 2 hour VHS. I have 33 tapes of local practitioners, 16 of Susun Weed, and 8 of Patch Adams. Preserving all 60 tapes professionally would cost over $1,000.

If each local presenter could be found and sponsored their own preservation, I could start by saving those tapes. For about $25 I could have the tape transferred to quick time and DVD, put it up on YouTube, and also create a collection that might be of interest to the Bentley Library, The UM Integrative Medicine Center, and maybe Crazy Wisdom might make them available again.

Here is a list of some of the lectures – some have the title of the lecture, but most only have the name.

Jay Sandweiss intro to osteopathy
Larry Brilliant Karma yoga Apr 87
Cheryl Newel
Bonnie Breidenbach
Bernie coyne rubenfeld synergy
Leigh Daniels
Bronwen gates
Aura Glaser
Phil Rogers Amazon toucan Native American chants
John Friedlander
Brian odonnel
Don Mathis therapy
Emily Socha past life fact or fiction
Brenda Morgan
Manny Schrieber making relationships work
Wasentha Young the tau chi symbol
Patricia Current
Marsha Traxler homeopathy
Barb Brodsky
Bob bedard
Leigh Daniels magic and the qubalah
Catherine Lilly MyersBbrigs
Jonathan Ellis
Pat Kramer with Bronwen gates herbs and childbirth
Steve Bhaerman Swami Beyondananda
Leah song
Leigh Daniels Saturn and Neptune
Bernie coyne 4-5-91
Michael Vincent acupuncture
Judy stone

I do believe this is a valuable part of Ann Arbor’s early history of alternative healing and the practitioners who were the pioneers of integrative medicine, spiritual development and alternative therapies. I would welcome your ideas, response, and financial support for the project. You can contact me at
holistic – at – lindadianefeldt.com

Recipe for Mac and Cheese

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Like many of my recipes, this will be a little casual.
The end result is delicious, comforting, great reheated, and can also be frozen for later pleasure. This is fancy enough to serve to guests. It may or may not be okay with kids – since it doesn’t taste or look like the regular out of the box stuff that kids love.

Cook a package of pasta as directed, until just al dente or a little less. Drain, and dump into a large casserole dish. I like seashells, penne, fusilli, elbows, or rotini. I use pasta that is made from organic semolina. Whole wheat just falls apart too easily and doesn’t have the mouth feel I’m looking for.

Melt about 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add an equal amount of stone ground whole wheat flour. The fresher the better. Cook that with a whisk on medium heat for 1-3 minutes, until the flour is well incorporated into the butter and has time to cook a bit as well. It will darken a little, but it is the change in smell that I use to know it is ready. Don’t let the butter get too hot or burn.

Add about 3 cups of good quality whole milk. On medium heat, cook that while whisking often for 10-20 minutes. It should start to thicken. Sometimes it thickens well for me, sometimes I forgo taking it to a boil and let it be a bit thin. Since I’m adding cheese it will thicken with that and also after cooking with the pasta.

I used a large handful of grated gruyere cheese, the same amount of a nutty flavored comte, and about 1 1/2 handfuls Vermont Cheddar. About 1 tsp salt, and a few dashes of white wine – maybe 2 tablespoons. All added to the white sauce and stirred until melted.

Pour that mixture over the cooked pasta, cover top with bread crumbs from a good quality whole wheat bread, 1/2 to 1 cup of crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

The Thing About Grief

Monday, November 10th, 2014

My first dog, Zomba, was a therapy dog. For eight years we were hospice volunteers together, although she got most of the attention. She loved the work because she got lots of treats, but she was very connected to the work as well. I learned that when I saw her grieving for one of the patients who died.
z and bear wide shot 11-01 copy
It was someone who she had enjoyed visiting over a few months, and when she died I took Zomba to the empty room. She looked for her friend, she smelled the room carefully, and then she went to the door to leave. When we got home that day, she took her bear out – which by then had no stuffing left. She held it in her mouth, cradling it almost, and sighed very deeply a few times. She just stayed there, and I could feel the sadness in her posture and her breathing.

It was a position she used many times coming back from hospice. Only when someone died, and it was the only time she ever took out her bear and held it in that way.

My grief for Zomba when she died was like none I had ever experienced. I had cried losing pet cats, turtles, and even birds and other animals we held funerals for as a kid. Losing my first ever dog was much more visceral, deep, and painful. She had been such a part of my life every day nearly every hour for 9 1/2 years. It was a bond and a connection I had never felt before. I was so very alone without her, and she had been such a true and wonderful companion.

Everywhere I went, everything I did, she was a missing part. I grieved with my heart, my soul, my hands and my body that was used to having her next to me to touch and to hold. I missed her with every sense – her smell was missing, the sound of her nails on the floor, her warning bark or conversation about needing to go outside. My routines were gone, beginning the day with her by being outside. I noted all the ways I anticipated her greeting me at the door, coming to cuddle next to me. And how she anticipated out walks, visiting the people and stores she liked, the places we visited so often. She was so well integrated into my life I hadn’t known how cold and awful it would be without her.

The grief felt like missing part of my own body. Her absence was so deeply held inside of me. It felt never-ending and too large to ever contain. But that was seven years ago. It moved through me in waves, it did become smaller, the memories changed and another dog found her way into my life and my heart. And the grief is never-ending. It is still present, can still be evoked by photos, or stories. From holding the collar that she once wore. It is now every once in a while, not a daily sobbing and tightening of my jaw and the muscles around my heart. It is more sweet than pain, it is with love and not anguish.

Certainly death brings the largest grief, the never again loss, the tragedy of young death is especially great. When my mother died a friend stayed over, and in the middle of the night I woke him up in the bedroom next to mine and felt that if I wasn’t held and enveloped in his arms I might disappear as well. I sobbed, feeling on the edge of hysteria. He kept me in place. That same night I had spoken by phone with my grandmother, who had just lost her daughter. I heard her cry as I had never heard before. A parent mourning the death of her child, a pain so wrong and raw, so very primitive and piercing. Her loss was not like mine.

My brother gave us long warning of his impending death. Once the doctors said there was no hope he lived six more weeks saying goodby and pondering the transition he knew was coming. So we had moments to talk and reflect, and he said many things that I found important and helpful. But his death was still stunning and sadder than I could imagine. i felt that my whole history and life story was now partly lost. As well as my best source for encouragement, critical feedback, and support. All of the ways he was part of my life emerged as loss, and the grief and realizations continue even more than two years later.
6-14-12 AlDavid

So many deaths of good friends, family, and even the hundreds of strangers I met weekly at Hospice. So many tears, sorrow and connections. Sometimes I am at peace with our last words or times together, sometimes I ache for more or something different.

And it is mostly just the passage of time that soothes, that eases that ache, that allows me to explore that deep space the paradox of hollowness and fullness that is love, life, and loss.

The grieving of those still living is different certainly, but also mostly healed by time. The loss of a love relationship also hurts deeply and uniquely. It is one that i have mostly, in my past, tried to hide. Because it is embarrassing? Because I’ve been rejected? Because someone has found me not good enough? I don’t really know the impulse, but it is a strong one. My first love ended in total confusion when he sexually assaulted me. At 15, I couldn’t share the complexity of my guilt and fear and sorrow and rage at what had happened. I had many things to grieve, it took many many years to sort it out.

The wonderful sweet love that bloomed just after that ended a few yeas later just as suddenly, home from college while I was still in high school he broke it off the day after Christmas confessing to his secret involvement with another woman, and demanded I not contact him from that day on. I showed up for dinner with my family trying to conceal what had just happened just an hour ago in the room above the dining room table. I had to run back to my room in tears, midway through the meal. I had no idea how to hold the grief of ending. I certainly didn’t know that other people could be comforting and supportive.

I have been that comforting and supportive person so many times now. I’ve been given the opportunity to be with people grieving their losses and pain and suffering. It is an incredible honor to share those darkest moments with someone, to be wet with their tears and add my own with theirs. To just simply offer all I can be. I was once afraid to go there, to be there, to feel and to witness such vulnerability. That has changed to awe and to love.

There are skills in working through grief. There are therapies and rituals and waves of change and feelings to go through. The simplest help is knowing that time will help. That grief can overwhelm me, and I know it will also recede. It always has. It always will.

I also know that deep grieving allows the sky to be more blue, the leaves of the trees more stark and alive, food more filling and nuanced, each step I take has more meaning, the moments of happiness are sharper and more live. My state of grief is very close to ecstasy. When my mom was dying I first found that agony/ecstasy relationship and had many years to explore how that worked. It is simply about feeling alive.

I am grieving the ending of a relationship I thought, I felt, would last my lifetime. For now, every day brings tears of loss and sadness. I live within the waves of tears and changing mood. Every day I pass through the sudden and unexpected change in my life and how I spend time. I share feeling this heartbreak with times of joy and contentment. It isn’t really confusing, it just is. I’m happy to have loved so deeply, and I grieve what has ended and what never will be.

I appreciate knowing time will help. Time will pass, and the grief will lighten. It always has. i would like to live even more fully.