The knee is the articulation point of the leg responsible for mobility and flexibility. It plays a primary role in the body’s movement.

Knees are like shock absorbers and carry the weight. But not just a physical weight. Sometimes emotions affect our knees, too. And inflamed knee indicates unresolved frustration with someone whereas a dislocated knee shows a resistance to giving in.

The sun warms the joints and helps ease knee pain. So, when I can, I take my knees to the beach.



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Love Turns Stone to Flesh

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”  Voltaire

Have you ever read Emily Dickinson’s poem #807? The one that starts off with “Expectation—is Contentment…” Well, I’m not sure what that means. However, in 1968, psychologists Rosenthal and Jacobson published a book, Pygmalion in the Classroom, indicating that a teacher’s expectations of his students will affect their performance. If you expect a student to do well, he’ll do well just as if you expect him to do poorly, he’ll do poorly.

Rosenthal and Jacobson referred to this phenomenon as the Pygmalion Effect, named after Pygmalion, the Greek sculptor who fell in love with one of his statues. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Pygmalion was so disgusted by prostitutes that he declared women no longer interested him. Nevertheless, he carved a statue of a woman who was so beautiful that he fell in love with her.

Imagine, preferring stone to flesh.

The lovesick Pygmalion prayed to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to bring his statue to life. And, after receiving many gifts from Pygmalion, Aphrodite granted the sculptor his wish. But isn’t that what a goddess of love supposed to do—make love happen?

Pygmalion named his new love Γαλάτεια (“Galatea” meaning “she who is milk-white”). The two married and had a couple of kids.

Moral: expect love and you’ll get it.


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Artist Needed

Inanimate objects of no great beauty become art in a still-life painting. So why not turn myself into a painting! But, I say to myself while lying on my kitchen table posing as if I were a basket of fruit, I wonder what good will it do if there is no one around to paint me?


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Kindness and Cultural Editing

Myths are for grown up, fairy tales are for children. But sometimes nostalgic grown- ups long for their childhood and often find solace in fairy tales.

Scottish folklorist, Andrew Lang (1844-1912), set about collecting fairy tales from all over the world. He relied much on his wife, Leonora Alleyne, and a team of female editors. Mrs. Lang, feeling that some of the fairy tales collected would not be appreciated by an Anglo-Saxon mentality, took the liberty of “restyling” the stories to make them culturally more accommodating. One such story is “Kisa the Cat”.

Kisa was the daughter of the Queen’s smoke colored cat with cerulean blue eyes. And when the Queen had a daughter of her own, Ingibjorg,  Kisa became the best of friends with her. But one day Kisa disappeared and couldn’t be found.

The years past. One morning, while playing in the garden, Princess Ingibjorg saw Kisa and went towards her. But Kisa escaped back into the forest.

The next day Ingibjorg went to the forest looking for Kisa but, instead, encountered a giant who cut off her feet. Luckily Kisa came along and took the princess home to nurse her then snuck into the giant’s home to recover Ingibjorg’s severed feet. Now the princess could walk again. The Queen & King who were so grateful that they offered Kisa a reward. But all she wanted, she said, was the chance to sleep at the foot of Ingibjorg’s bed.

The next morning, the princess woke up to find not a cat lying next to her but another beautiful princess. It was Kisa who explained that she’d been placed under a spell by an evil fairy and couldn’t be freed from the spell until she’d done a kind deed.

I’m not really sure what the moral of the story is supposed to be—shouldn’t an act of kindness be spontaneous and not a kind of barter where you hope to get something in return?  

Like the fairy tales, it looks like the meaning of kindness has been edited, too.


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Kindness as Medicine.

The vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic nervous system, is like a super highway that transports information from one organ to another. If the vagal tone is low, it will not function properly. Stress is the main cause of a lethargic vagus nerve.

Among the many things that can help stimulate the vagus: deep breathing, meditation, and singing. But there’s also the cold. Exposed to the cold, the body adjusts to the new temperature–sympathetic activity decreases whereas parasympathetic activity increases. With this in mind, I often go to the sink to splash myself with cold water.

Once upon a time, women were goddesses but, when the boys took over, all that changed. If I can’t be a goddess, at least I should feel like one. And, if my vagus nerve is in the dumps, that’s just not possible.

Today I read this article: Kindness Towards Oneself and Others Tones Your Vagus Nerve. Kindness seems to be a powerful medicine. But there is so much animosity going around these days that it’s no wonder so many of us are feeling down.

Maybe, from my balcony, I should start throwing buckets of cold water onto the people walking below. Do you think they would smile?


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