I survived now nearly 27 months since my spouse died. Somehow, I cannot imagine, surviving another 27 months or more like this.
Today I copied an article about my deceased daughter Gaby and published it:
I often contemplate now, how I seem to face a dilemma that is not unlike that of the one that dear Gaby had to face after David became too sick to do any caring for her. Well, officially, he had been just her carer, not her partner. They had separate bedrooms of course. As a paid for carer he had to be in the house with her at nightime, in case Gaby needed him in an emergency. When David did take a few day’s leave to travel somewhere to have a break, Peter and I, as well as our young daughter Caroline, would stay with Gaby for a few days. We always had a good time with Gaby. It was like a little holiday. But then of course we were always happy, when we could travel home again.
So, there came a time, when David could not do anything for Gaby anymore. So, Gaby had to look for somebody who could replace him. She tried and tried to find somebody. She never gave up. How can a 54 year old very disabled person find a trustworthy live-in partner? Difficult, very, very difficult. This is all I can say. Now, did Gaby want to end up in institutional care? No, never! So, to be honest, isn’t it somehow a blessing that Gaby did die peacefully in her own home just a few weeks before her 55th birthday? – Originally her life expectancy had been 30 years! I think, one can say, she did do extremely well with her life.
So, to compare the last stages of Gaby’s life with my last stages. Aren’t we in a similar boat? Nobody, absolutely nobody, is inclined to share some of his life with me. There is not even one person, who would be willing to share just an evening with me! The only exception is my son Martin, who might spend about a week with me, that is he may visit for about a week maybe three times a year! Well, of course these are very beautiful special weeks for me. But how can these few weeks make me want to live forever when for the rest of the year I have the feeling to go on living is not worthwhile anymore, because, really, there is nobody living close by, who would be able to spend a few hours with me on a more or less regular basis. Yes, one can have hope, hope, hope. The fact is, with rapidly advancing years, there may come a time, when hope just is not enough anymore, and one is only too willing to welcome eternal rest! 🙂
I can’t keep up with the younger people anymore. All my family are much younger than me. A more elderly person, with not too many other attachments, might understand much better, what sort of company I do need, and hopefully could make valuable time for me. I feel, it is really only natural, if my time is running out now. I am only too willing to face up to it. I think, for the rest of my days, I’ll just concentrate more and more on reading, talking, and writing. I am determined to enjoy live as much as possible for as long as I live, but that does not mean, that I want to live much longer, or for ever and ever. When the time is up, it is up.
“Holy Mary, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
It turned out that “Nuubu Detox Foot Patches” is not a medicine but a complementary solution that is safe to use as it is developed based on generations-worth of wisdom.
She told me that these “Nuubu Detox Foot Patches” are made from herbs of Asian origin that you can pick in the forest and have been used by local healers through the centuries.
The ingredients are various natural Asian herbs and herb extracts: Bamboo vinegar, Wood vinegar, Tourmaline, Chitin, Loquat leaf, Houttuynia cordata, Thunb, Vitamin C, and Dextrin.
But there was a catch – as much as she wanted to, she wasn’t selling it and told me where to order it online.
Well, that’s all I needed to hear, so I ordered a box from my phone while I was still standing in front of her and went straight back home while I still had the energy.
I didn’t have to wait long for it to come in the mail.
I followed the instructions that were included and placed a “Nuubu Detox Foot Patch” on the soles of both of my feet and tried to get some sleep.
And do you know what was weird? I burst out crying as soon as I woke up the following day.
But this wasn’t my usual stress-related reason why I was crying. It was because what I felt was something I’d not felt in YEARS…
Invigorated, refreshed, and full of energy, with a warm sense of calm covering my whole body like I was surrounded by a ball of warm, positive energy.
These were tears of pure relief.
I was glowing!
“Surely this is just some kind of placebo effect,” I thought… But I tried the patches the next night, and the same thing happened again!
I felt like “Nuubu” took all the negativity out of my body along with the perspiration it induced.
Once I peeled them off, I could tell that something had happened by the color of the patches.
I then realized It must be those detoxifying properties of the “Nuubu Detox Foot Patches” that reacted with the pressure points of the soles of my feet, bringing out sweat that flushed the toxins out. The little old lady at the market had told me all about it.
It was all I could talk about during the Zoom meeting the next day at work (which I was enjoying for the first time in I don’t know how long!)
I then got everyone on my team to go online and get some too.
I knew this couldn’t have only worked for me.
So I did some research online and found a random forum post that described the exact patches I was looking for.
The message said:
“‘Nuubu Detox Foot Patches’ will give you a feeling of calm that you’ve been missing. As you feel more relaxed, your energy levels will go up and you’ll feel happier. Everyone will wonder what your secret is!”
I couldn’t believe they were also available online. It turns out the person behind this forum post had also purchased “Nuubu Detox Foot Patches” after a recommendation from someone at an Asian market and was so happy with the results they got their friends to get them too!
Nov 7, 2019In this first of two sessions hosted by the C.S. Lewis Society of California, Dr. Graham H. Walker discusses the landmark book, “The City of God,” the highly influential work of Christian philosophy by Saint Augustine of Hippo (Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, 354-430 A.D.). Watch Part Two in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC_Yz… First published in the first part of the 5th century A.D., this expansive theological work provided an articulate defense of Christianity against the claims that it led to the downfall of Rome in the years preceding its publication. It outlines a citizenship that goes beyond the worldly, the political, and the self-centered, instead focusing on a place where the inhabitants are devout, God-focused, and seeking grace. In examining history with a clear perception of good and evil, Augustine was in effect interpreting human actions in relation to eternity. He contrasts earthly and heavenly cities to great effect, in addition to inspecting pagan religions, Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, and the Bible. A monumental influence upon Augustine’s contemporaries, “The City of God” is today considered a seminal and foundational book of Christianity philosophy as the basis for Western Civilization itself. The book has established Augustine as one of the world’s most important thinkers and a central Church Father of the Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. “The City of God” further continues to resonate widely with both Christians and non-Christians in discussing the ideas and institutions of liberty, law and justice, civic virtue and human well-being. This session focuses on the following sections of “The City of God:” • Book V: Chapters 9-20 (especially Ch. 12-13) (Political virtues of pagan Rome) • Book XI: Chapters 1, 4, 9-10, 16-18, 22-28 (Order of creation) • Book XII: Chapters 1-8, 25-27 (Nature and vice) • Book XIII: Chapters 1-5 (The fall of man) • Book XIV: Chapters 1, 3-7, 11-15, 28 (especially Chapters 11-15, 28) (Human nature, love, will, dynamics of human fallenness) Graham H. Walker is the Executive Director the Independent Institute. http://www.independen
In Book One of his composition on free will and human action, Augustine defines authority, and wisdom. According to Augustine, wisdom arises from an ordered soul operating in synthesis with the pursuit of virtue. Alternatively, authority he splits between temporal and eternal jurisdictions.
“The law of the people merely institutes penalties sufficient for keeping the peace among ignorant human beings, and only to the extent that their actions can be regulated by human government. But those other faults deserve other penalties that I think Wisdom alone can repeal.
“If a people is well-ordered and serious minded, and carefully watches over the common good, and everyone in it values private affairs less than the public interests, is it not right to enact a law that allows this people to choose their own magistrates to look after their interests – that is, the public interest?
“When reason, mind, or spirit controls the irrational impulses of the soul, a human being is ruled by the very thing that ought to rule according to the law that we have found to be eternal.
“For I reserve the term ‘wise’ for those whom truth demands should be called wise, those who have achieved peace by placing all inordinate desire under the control of the mind.
“What is a good will? It is a will by which we desire to live upright and honorable lives and to attain the highest wisdom.
*All excerpts have been taken from On Free Choice of the Will, Hackett Publishing Company.
For decades, Philomena Lee didn’t think there was anything interesting about her life story.
After becoming pregnant out of wedlock in Ireland in 1951, a teenage Lee was disowned by her father and sent to live and work in a convent alongside other unmarried mothers. When her son Anthony was three years old, the convent’s nuns, in exchange for a generous donation, gave him up for adoption to Americans, who were told he was an orphan. A distraught Lee watched from an upstairs window as strangers drove off with her child.
For the next 50 years, Lee told nobody about Anthony. That’s just how life went for sinners in the Catholic Church, she thought.
But one day, she told her secret to her daughter, Jane Libberton, who quickly began the search for Lee’s long-lost child. It wasn’t easy: Irish law makes it extremely difficult for adopted children to learn about their parents and birth records, and the nuns at the convent where Lee lived stonewalled her requests for information. Eventually, Libberton pieced together the identity of Anthony: Renamed Michael Hess by his American parents, he’d grown up to be a top attorney for the Republican National Committee.
By the time Lee and Libberton solved the mystery, however, they were too late: Hess had died of AIDS in 1995. His ashes had been buried at the the convent at Hess’s request—he hoped that his mother would return and find him. Just as the nuns wouldn’t give Lee and Libberton any answers about what happened to Anthony, Hess himself had journeyed to Ireland to ask about his mother—with no luck.
Acclaim and Oscar nominations for Philomena, based off journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, have brought international attention to the stories of Lee and the thousands of women just like her. Last month, Lee partnered with the Adoption Rights Alliance to launch The Philomena Project, which will advocate for changes to Ireland’s adoption-records policies and help connect mothers and children separated by the country’s history of forced adoptions. In late January, Lee, Libberton, and Mari Steed, U.S. coordinator of the ARA, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with senators and diplomats about the project, and they spoke to The Atlantic about the film, faith, and forgiveness.
When you started your journey a decade ago, did you ever think it would bring you to Washington?
Philomena: No way whatsoever.
Jane: When mom first met Martin, she didn’t even really want it to be a book, did you? You didn’t really want the story.
Philomena: Oh no. When I told my daughter after 50 years, I said, “No, I can’t.” Because I kept it a secret so long. No way. So then I just decided, well, look, if it can help a lot of mothers my age, I’m nearly 80—
Jane: You are 80!
Philomena: We were ostracized in them days because we had babies out of wedlock, because that was a very awful thing to do. Women my age kept it a secret and wouldn’t tell their families. A lot of the babies born, their offspring, they’re now looking for them. A lot of ladies my age still haven’t come out to say it. So many people responded to the film, and a lot of them actually were women like me coming out. People like Mari and her colleagues have been trying for years to get the government in Ireland to give people rights to their records.
Is the project more about helping adopted children here connect with parents in Ireland, or about putting pressure on Ireland to change its policies?
Mari: Both. Some of the senators and congressmen we met are from the states where a lot of the babies were placed to—in Anthony’s case, Missouri—so we met with Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill. Somebody might go to their local representatives and say, “I was born in Ireland and am a citizen here, what do I do?”
Likewise, we met the Irish ambassador [Anne Anderson] and it’s the same thing. “If one of our citizens should happen to come to the Irish Embassy or call one of the consulates, would you be able to give them these resources and point us in the right direction?” We don’t want to do any hard-hitting political lobbying, but we would like them to lend their voices and their support if at all possible. I think the response was very positive.
Jane: It was very positive! Obviously my mom and I have no experience of being here in Washington and meeting senators, that’s like—
Jane: We had no idea what to expect. Each and every one was different, but very positive. We felt like we were following in Anthony’s footsteps because he worked in these buildings.
That must have been special.
Philomena: Very much so. This was his world.
Activists have said you’d need to drag Ireland to the United Nations to see these changes happen. Have you had more success going the political route than through the Church?“We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church.”
Mari: Absolutely. With the Church, you really will get nowhere. I’m not saying that’s a negative or a positive. That’s simply what it is. They’re not going to change their mind or suddenly change their policies. And not only that, but all of the records, as of this year, have finally been transferred out from under the ownership of Church agents and are now under the government’s Health Service Executive in Ireland, so we’ve almost removed the Church from the picture, at least as far as the records are concerned. But I think eventually it may take a UN case similar to the Magdalenes cause in Ireland. We’ve got the right players, we’ve got people affiliated with the project. If we have to go that route, we will.
Have the ways the Catholic Church has changed in the past several decades made it any easier?
Mari: Yeah, not really. Their attitudes really haven’t changed.
Jane: In Ireland.
Mari: Yeah, absolutely not in Ireland. Here in the States, we tend to get a lot more encouragement and sympathy. In Ireland, it’s still this stubborn willfulness. They’d rather stay silent and take the bad press than issue apologies, because they know that will open them up to legal liabilities.
Jane: My mom still very much has her faith and is still quite protective of the Church, so you find it a bit awkward sometimes.
Philomena: Sometimes. You just believed everything you were told. You didn’t query it, you just didn’t query it. People would say, “Are you against the Catholic Church?” No, I’m not. At the time they did it, they took me in, they gave me a home for my baby. They gave us a home. It was the Church that caused all the problems because the Church made a baby out of wedlock a mortal sin. So we firmly believed we were sinners. That’s the teaching of the Church.
Were you worried people would take an anti-Catholic message away from the movie?
Jane: I don’t think we even thought about the Catholic stance at all, this is just my mom’s story and what happened to her. Obviously people have come out and said, “This is an anti-Catholic film.” It was never intended to be. This is what happened.”People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving.”
Philomena: No! It’s my story.
Jane: There are other Catholic groups that are in support of it, [saying] that it isn’t an anti-Catholic film because she retains her faith all the way through it. We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church. Steve Coogan [who plays Martin Sixsmith] says the same thing. He’s from an Irish-Catholic family. He spent a lot of time with women my mom’s age when he was a child. He never set out at all to make an anti-Catholic film. It’s just different people who have different views. As mom said, yes, they did take her in. Where else would she have gone? But they kind of caused the problem in the first place. They were part of the solution, but they were part of the problem.
Did you feel surprised that so many people found your commitment to your faith inspiring?
Philomena: We did, actually. People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving. But I mean, Anthony would have been 61 last year. When he was adopted and taken away, I went to Liverpool, two years I stayed there, and then I went down and did psychiatric nursing for 30 years. Now, you don’t work in a psychiatric hospital and not see some awful, sad faces. You see so much hurt and pain caused by anger. I was angry in the beginning, and I used to think, why did this happen to me? And then nursing the patients, sitting down and talking with them, helping them with their problems—it made my own slide into the background. I’ve seen so much hurt caused through anger. And I thought, “I couldn’t go through my whole life being angry.” It’s just not in my nature to be angry. I was upset and very sad and very hurt. But I just went on with life and got married and had children. Working with psychiatric patients, it helped me to heal a lot of the pain I had.
One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is the moment of forgiveness near the end. Steve Coogan, as Martin, seems confused by it, asking, “Just like that?” But Judi Dench, as you, says it actually takes everything inside you to forgive.
Philomena: When my daughter first found out about this story, she was very angry, and I think Steve Coogan took on her anger.
Jane: Martin was a political journalist, and he wasn’t particularly angry. He’s seen all sort of things in his career. Steve asked a particular question of whether you forgive the nuns, and you did. I said, “I don’t,” so he took the anger and put it in his character. Martin wasn’t an angry character, he was a journalist.
Were the nuns as big of an obstacle in learning about Anthony as they appeared in the movie?
Jane: When we went the first time, they didn’t help. They were very pleasant very nice.
Jane: We sat down to tea like this. We knew Anthony’s grave was there. But they didn’t give us any information about the American side of things. When we went back the second year, I’d said we found Anthony’s partner and we found Mary, who was adopted with Anthony, and then they went to the cupboard and gave me papers they could have given me before. Without those papers, there never would have been a book. They just weren’t helpful.”We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella.”
Did they not fully understand?
Jane: Oh, they understood. [The character] Sister Margaret was [based off] the present-day nun we met with Martin. She was delightful. She’s English like I am, so she knew where I was coming from, because in the United Kingdom, at 18 years old, you can find out your history if you’re adopted. In Ireland, you can’t. I didn’t get angry with her. I was angry, but I didn’t shout out her like Steve Coogan shouts at Sister Hildegard [in the movie]. She knew exactly what I meant when I said, “To me, what you’re doing is completely wrong.” She did sit there kind of stony-faced. She was in the position where she felt she couldn’t give me the information because that’s what she’d been taught by the Church. And we’re only talking about seven years ago. It wasn’t a long time ago.
Did you have a sense of how widespread this was?
Philomena: You mean everybody having babies? Women having babies?
The forced adoptions across the country, I mean.
Philomena: I was a teenager at the time. I didn’t know anything about that. I didn’t know about babies being gone abroad and getting donations for them. I didn’t know the first thing about that. How would we know? The nuns wouldn’t tell you. We were Catholic, we went to church, we went to mass, that’s all we did. I worked in the laundry for three and a half years.
Mari: There were many Irish families who might have had a mother and baby home just up the road and didn’t even know it. They just knew it was the nuns who ran their business. Nobody really knew what went on behind the walls or dared ask. I think they had an inkling, it just wasn’t discussed.
Philomena: And often the mother’s parents were glad to get rid of you, because it was such a shame on them. We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella. Some of the women now come forward and say, “Did you remember me when I was there?” I wouldn’t have remembered them because they’d have another name. From the day I went in till the day I came out I was Marcella, not Philomena Lee.”And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him.”
Tell me about the first time you told Jane about Anthony.
Philomena: I go home to Ireland every year. I call it home still even though I’ve lived 56 years in England. My brother, he was a young lad. He was 18 months older than me when I went to the home. He drove me when they discovered I was pregnant. He bounced him on his knees and hugged him and loved him. My father was out signing papers with the nuns—in them days you didn’t query what they were doing—and my brother was out with me in the halls. For years he felt so guilty. “I should have run away with him.” But with the police, the guards, we call them guards in Ireland, [he] wouldn’t have gotten away with it. I went home in 2003, was it? He said, “For goodness’ sake, go back home and tell them.” My son is older than Jane. I went home and sat them down and told them.
Jane: Well, you told me. You came out to see me. I’d just moved house and renovated it. And my mom, you’d [just] been to Ireland, and you said, “Oh, I’ll pop around and see you.” It was slightly unusual because we normally meet in the day, and you were feigning interest in my decor. I just had some new light switches. I remember it very clearly. You looked at them said, “They’re very nice.” You’re not really into that kind of thing.
Philomena: Not decorating, no.
Jane: So she sat down, and we did open a bottle of wine, and she just came out with it. “I had a baby in Ireland,” I think is what you said. But immediately I knew who this child was because we always had his photograph in with all the other family photos. He always looked like he was in an odd place because he’s got nuns with him, or he looks like he’s in a hospital. I had asked you once when I was a child, and you said it was a cousin’s son, and I didn’t think anything more of that. But I felt immediately sorry for her, because I’ve got children, and he was three and a half when he was adopted. I couldn’t imagine having to give a child away at that age. It would just be awful.
Philomena: Awful, awful.
Jane: Clearly you would have bonded with him because they’re little people at that age.
Philomena: He was a lovely, lovely little boy.
What was it like seeing the movie for the first time?
Philomena: We didn’t know what to make of it, did we? We saw it together.
Jane: It was very hard to judge whether it was good or not because we’d been so involved in it. We met the next day at lunch and I said, “I think it’s okay? I think we’ll be alright with this film.” But we couldn’t tell. People asked me if it was good and I said, “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you if it was good.”
Philomena: We couldn’t!
Jane: It took a couple viewings. Then it went to the Venice Film Festival and received such fantastic reviews. I started reading the reviews to mom, and we could see why people liked it. But it took other people to point us in the right direction.
But you’ve come to enjoy it?
Jane: Yes, we certainly laughed.
Philomena: Oh yes, it’s very funny.
Jane: Life’s not all doom and gloom.
It was already such a tough, emotional movie to watch, it would have been a lot harder without those funnier moments.
Philomena: The thing is, I found him. And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him. I used to think over the years he could be in Vietnam, he could be on Skid Row. It’s the not knowing. But once I found out how successful he was, then I was able to put my heart to rest and my mind to rest. At least he had a very good life and a wonderful partner. And I’m sure, up there, he helped me to start this 10 years ago. I believe that.
Mari: He’d be so pleased.
Jane: I think he’d be pleased, being a political man.
Philomena: I’m sure he is. The thing is, I’m sure because about one year [before finding him], maybe less than that, I started going back to mass. I had given up going to mass and communion and confession. Somehow or another I said, “I think I’ll start going back.” I went to mass at the beautiful abbey near where we lived. They had a Catholic mass every Friday morning. I joined that and got back in there, and I’d go down and light my candle in this beautiful place. Somehow after this, my brother said to me, “Will you go back home and tell your daughter?” after I started [getting that] feeling. I’m sure Anthony was up there.
Disadvantaged and vulnerable people “bore the brunt” of Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response, according to a report.
The review has found that governments were making decisions in a “fog of uncertainty”
It received submissions from more than 350 people
Many of Australia’s border closures and lockdowns were the result of policy failures in quarantine and contact tracing, the review also found
The privately funded reviewhas condemned Australia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that government health measures and policies lacked transparency and further entrenched existing inequalities.
“Governments and public servants were making decisions in a fog of uncertainty,” the review said.
“But, looking back, we are persuaded that significant mistakes were made.”
It found disadvantaged or vulnerable groups — such as low socio-economic families, people with disabilities, aged care residents, migrant communities, women and children — were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 policies.
The review was funded by three philanthropic organisations: Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the John and Miriam Wylie Foundation.
It was ledby Western Sydney University Chancellor Peter Shergold, along with businesswoman and former University of Wollongong Chancellor Jillian Broadbent, University of Queensland Chancellor Peter Varghese and 2021 Young Australian of the Year Isobel Marshall.
It received submissions from more than 350 people, including health experts, public servants, economists, business groups and community organisations.
The review was sharply critical of taxpayer-funded economic policies — such as JobKeeper — arguing big businesses were favoured while casual and temporary workers were left without financial support.
“Failing to include a claw-back mechanism for businesses supported by JobKeeper was a design fault,” it said. “It was fiscally irresponsible and unfair when other groups in society were excluded from economic supports.”
It also argued that many of Australia’s border closures and lockdowns were the result of policy failures in quarantine and contact tracing, and could have been avoided.
“Rules were too often formulated and enforced in ways that lacked fairness and compassion,” it said.
“Businesspeople were often allowed to travel across borders whilst those wanting to visit dying loved ones or newborn family members were not afforded a similar opportunity.”
The review argued that schools should have stayed open, particularly once it became clear they were not high-transmission environments.
“For children and parents — particularly women — we failed to get the balance right, between protecting health and imposing long-term costs on education, mental health, the economy and workforce outcomes,” it said.
“The social and economic costs were likely significant.”
It also warned of the “perils of overreach” when it came to implementing and enforcing COVID-19 public health measures.
The review found many Australians — particularly those living under strict and extended lockdowns in Melbourne and Western Sydney — felt they were “being protected by being policed”.
“There were too many instances in which government regulations and their enforcement went beyond what was required to control the virus,” it argued.
“Such overreach undermined public trust and confidence in the institutions that are vital to effective crisis response.”
It claims to be apolitical and states that its terms of reference “were not dictated by a politician”.
The review states its submissions were received voluntarily and participants were given “complete confidentiality so they were able to speak freely”.
Recently, Roderick joined eight other participants in a Catalyst experiment that explored how dance can help older people improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Over 12 weeks, the participants spent four hours each week learning a routine that combined dance and sign language.
Led by Australian choreographer Kelley Abbey, the program culminated in a live performance at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney.
The participants also took part in seven health-based assessments that measured their physical and cognitive abilities before and after the program.
But after just three rehearsals, Roderick had already made a breakthrough.
After 10 years of living without any feeling in his legs, he says he began to feel a twinge of pain in his calf muscle while doing some stretches.
“It’s pain, but it’s bloody good pain.”
And there was more good news to come.
The big slowdown
Love it or hate it, we are all getting older. When we look in the mirror, we might notice a few more wrinkles or strands of silver hair, but there are also a lot of changes happening on the inside.
For one, we slowly begin to lose muscle mass at around the age of 35, a process that speeds up after we turn 60. This can make us weaker and more susceptible to fatigue, making it tougher to get our bodies moving.
The way we walk also changes. While we may have been able to dart across the street in our youth, we tend to take shorter, slower steps as we get older, leading to unsteadiness on our feet.
Dealing with these physical challenges and the risks that come with them can impact daily life.
Over time, it can become more tempting to take it easy and skip exercise altogether.
On top of that, our cognitive abilities — such as being able to recall names, numbers and do mental calculations on the spot — can take a hit.
But staying fit and mentally sharp go hand in hand — for better or worse, says Emily Cross, a cognitive neuroscientist at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University.
If you’re not moving as much, you’re also not giving your brain enough of a workout.
“We hear it again and again — the use it or lose it mantra,” Professor Cross says.
“That’s particularly the case for physical activity and the maintenance of physical circuits in the brain.”
Get your groove on
But it’s not all doom and gloom. While any form of exercise is good for the mind and body, dancing ticks every box in one go.
Almost half of Australians live with a long-term health issue. It’s why the ABC is hosting a national conversation till mid-November focusing on Australia’s health and wellbeing. It’s Your Move.
Unlike doing squats or lifting weights, dancing is like multitasking on steroids.
You’re moving your body through space, remembering sequences of steps, coordinating with other dancers around you — all while moving in time with music (or trying to!).
This gives your body a 360-degree workout, Dr Ward says.
“What’s unique about dance is that you’re not just doing the same movement over and over … you’re learning so much at the same time,” she says.
“All of that provides a constant musculoskeletal and neurological challenge.”
Dancing is particularly good for your heart. One 2016 study on more than 48,000 participantsover the age of 40 found that those who danced had a 46 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to non-dancers.
Several studies have also linked dancing with improved balance, flexibility, muscle strength and coordination.
By the end of the Catalyst experiment, all the participants saw improvements in their fitness, balance and agility.
On the four-square step test — which measured how quickly participants could step between four squares — Roderick improved his time by over 30 per cent.
And while he struggled to balance on one leg at the beginning of the program, he was able to stand on his right leg for 30 seconds after 12 weeks of dancing.
Dancing can also help people with conditions like Parkinson’s disease — which affects about one in 100 people over the age of 65.
People with Parkinson’s disease often find it difficult to control their movements.
But dancing to music can help them tap into parts of their brain that aren’t as affected by the disease, helping them to find more flow in their movements, says Natalie Allen, a neurological physiotherapist who specialises in Parkinson’s disease at The University of Sydney.
“The rhythm of the music helps people with Parkinson’s to move more freely and easily,” Dr Allen tells Catalyst.
Anni, 72, was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s disease this year after noticing a tremble in her hands.
Balance can become an issue as Parkinson’s disease progresses, but after taking part in Catalyst’s dance experiment, Anni reduced the wobblein her stance by a whopping two-thirds.
Whether you’re trying to master ballroom dancing or a perfect pirouette, dancing makes your brain light up.
All that learning can also reshape and forge new pathways in your brain.
A 2021 study on 60- to 79-year-olds found that doing a combination of brisk walking and social dancing increased the amount of white matter — neural tissue that enables brain cells to rapidly send and receive messages.
“With dance, we have the whole complement of cognitive and social tasks going on,” Professor Cross tells Catalyst.
“If you want to stave off neurological decline in general, dance is a great way to exercise your brain across multiple domains.”
It’s tricky to study what’s happening in people’s brains while they’re spinning and swaying in a rehearsal room.
But Professor Cross has done the next best thing: taking a peek at what’s happening in people’s brains as they watch a video of their teacher performing a dance routine they’re learning.
“If you’re going to learn to dance, you’re going to learn by watching someone else do it,” she says.
“You have to translate what you’re seeing in other people’s bodies onto your own.”
Our brains contain special cells called mirror neurons, which allow us to learn through watching someone else.
These cells are located in areas of the brain involved in controlling body movements, spatial awareness and attention.
Professor Cross and her team have found that this network of mirror neurons kicks into gear while people are watching and learning — even if they’re just watching a video of someone else performing the routine they’ve learnt.
“These regions are sharpening their responses and are really kind of coming online in a way that helps you bridge that gap between what you see someone else do with their body, and what you do with your body,” Professor Cross says.
The good news is that these same regions switch on in people of all ages, indicating that the brain never loses its ability to learn new things.
“It’s really, really exciting that the learning is kind of shaping these brain circuits,” Professor Cross says.
“It means you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
This cognitive boost was also seen in Catalyst’s dancers.
Shirley, who five years ago was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease — the most common form of dementia — had the biggest improvement of all the participants.
In the beginning, Shirley’s performance on the cognitive tests was much poorer than the rest of the group.
But after three months of dancing, her test results were closer to the rest of the participants.
“It’s fantastic, I can’t believe it,” the 75-year-old tells Catalyst.
And while Shirley may not be able to dance away her condition entirely, her results show that the physical, creative and social aspects of dance can be beneficial.
“All these aspects of dance can potentially help slow the progress of dementia,” Professor Cross says.
The ultimate mood booster
One in eight Australians over the age of 65 are socially isolated or experience loneliness, which can lead to low mood and poor mental health.
While going for a walk with friends is one way to stay connected, dancing gets you out of your comfort zone in ways that other types of exercise don’t, Professor Cross says.
“If you’re learning new things and making mistakes, and laughing at yourself and with each other, there’s potential for building social bonds that you might not get if you’re just in a walking group,” she says.
“There’s expressing yourself through your bodily motions, and none of the other physical activities will have that.”
We have some pictures to prove that we were at Bowral in 1982 and also in 1983. In 1982 we were in Bowral with our friends and their daughter Ellen who was a good companion for our daughter Caroline who was four at the time. I remember that in 1982 we were not only at Corbett Gardens in Bowral, but we had also tickets to visit a number of private display garden. We enjoyed very much looking at all the gardens.
For the following pictures it says in our album “Bowral Oct.83” During that visit Caroline was not quite five yet. The Tulip Festival was on again in the Corbett Gardens, the same as every year. Since Caroline is to be seen in the picture with some Dutch girls from the Festival, I think that the Tulip Festival must still have been on, even though it was already October.
Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyuta
4 thoughts on “Bowral Tulip Festival 1982 and 1983”
The EmuEditWhat an absolutely gorgeous display Uta, that must have been a very enjoyable outing. Best wishes for a beautiful weekend, and happy traveling.Reply
auntyutaEditThese pictures help us to remember these two Tulip Festivals so many years ago. We have seen the Corbett Gardens at other times too,so not always for the tulip festival. These gardens do look beautiful at any time of the year with lots of trees and different plants and flowers. Thanks for commenting, dear Emu. Reply
Sue DreamwalkerEditWonderful photo’s Uta, and I bet you brought home some wonderful memories xx Enjoy your weekend.. Hugs Sue xxReply
auntyutaEditYes, Sue, the highlands, especially Bowral, Moss Vale and Robertson, always bring back lots of memories. We are glad, this year we went up there earlier in the week for it looks like we are in now for a very rainy weekend. Hugs back, dear Sue oxxo
John Olsen lives near Bowral, New South Wales. In 1962, he married fellow artist Valerie Strong. Daughter Jane Olsen (with first wife Mary Flower), died in 2009. John Olsen was married to his third wife, artist Noela Hjorth until 1986 and married his fourth wife, Katharine Howard, in 1989. Katharine Howard died in 2016.Son of the Brush is a 2020 memoir by Tim Olsen about his life as the son of artist John Olsen.
Daughter Louise Olsen is a co-founder of cult Australian fashion jewellery label Dinosaur Designs[3