consider the dangers of prescription medications if you have interest in living past the age of 50

This topic is vital to address if you or someone you care about is taking a prescription drug:

“Somehow or another, we need to refocus our efforts to create lives worth living, and improve access to and information about basic disease prevention, which begins with diet and basic lifestyle choices.

60,000 Americans Overdosed in 2016 

Opioid addiction and accidental overdoses are now taking a tremendous toll. According to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50! In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans died from some form of drug overdose; 33,000 of them involved some form of opioid. 

Preliminary data for 2016 reveals that death toll is anywhere from 59,000 to 65,000. That’s a 19 percent increase in one year, and the largest annual increase of drug overdose deaths in U.S. history. Between 2014 and 2015, drug overdose deaths rose by 11 percent. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).

Americans use 80 percent of global opioid supply

Prescriptions for opioid painkillers rose by 300 percent between 2000 and 2009, and Americans now use 80 percent of all the opioids sold worldwide. In Alabama, which has the highest opioid prescription rate in the U.S., 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.”

Source Dr J Mercola

my perspective

There are times when prescription medications are absolutely necessary and we are grateful to have them.  However we Americans must come to our senses and comprehend that if it isn’t a life-or-death situation, it becomes one when we decide to take a prescription medication. Even routine antibiotics, properly prescribed, kill people.  I know several such cases firsthand.  

We must self-educate and educate others. We cannot rely on the media to inform us. We cannot rely on the pharmaceutical “industry” to protect us.  It is a mega for-profit “industry.” This means health is not often the first consideration.

This year I have a goal to complete my first home self-care guide.  Included in the manual will be no-cost or low-cost methods I have learned to prevent illness and disease.   Basic outlines for self-experimentation for optimal health will also be included.  I started studying the traditional medicines of the world over half my lifetime ago because they are based in living a synergistic life with the earth and founded in the principles of human longevity.

Occasionally I feel it is important to post commentary about big-picture issues that should be avoided so that home self-care might be more useful.  In my opinion avoiding chemicals in all forms is essential.  Since we can’t avoid all poisons due to environmental hazards and unforseeable circumstances, it benefits us all to optimize our health so we can be as strong as humanly possible.

be brave with your life

This is Father’s Day so I write this post in dedication to the most extraordinary dad who is responsible for the vast majority of my fortitude and the development of my values.  He died many years ago from bone cancer after suffering excruciating pain, multiple treatments and surgery that doctors knew could not save him.  I suppose he knew too. We grew up near the Hanford nuclear plant and fished in the great river of the Columbia not far from there.  Many of our friends worked for the plant.  They all died first. Our tiny community was agricultural, dominantly apple orchards, but there were hops and other fruit trees too.  Though my family raised our food mostly organically, we didn’t know that all the chemicals in our valley would cause cancer and many number of other diseases.  So the majority of my family and our neighbors and friends who didn’t even work for Hanford, or fish in those rivers, died too.

This is why I dedicate my life to learning and sharing what makes people thrive, to how to restore health and develop a mindset of longevity in a culture that seems to have become complacent about its poison.  My dad said our nature-loving ways are from the fraction of Choctaw we hold in our blood.  He said our health and our life cannot separate from the Earth.  He taught me reverence for our home.

As the summer solstice approaches in the Northern Hemisphere (Tuesday, June 20th) and we experience the greatest days of light, I feel the time has come to share with you what one of my grandmothers called “true story.”  It is a kind of story that repeats itself again and again throughout history, for many people in many different ways, but the core of the story is the same for everyone.  This is a story about life and death.

A few days ago I accidentally surprised a giant rattlesnake while out hiking.  My dog and I wrapped our limbs through the muscular coils while the many legs and snake tried to undo what had already been done.  I’ve been thinking about poison and gratitude ever since.  She rattled and rattled and struck twice but didn’t puncture either of us.  We were given a pass to see another day.  Because of this, I share the story of my people that I more prefer to keep private.  Life keeps leading me to states of awakening.  Death keeps reminding me there is no cause to delay.  What are these gifts if I do not share them?

Mary Oliver, my favorite living poet asks, “..what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  And Rumi, my most beloved mystic of the past tells us, “don’t go back to sleep.”  My friends I struggle with you through the gravity of our collective human choices.  For those of you who are awake, I write down these words so you will know you are not the only one who feels there must be something that can be done.


Last year I promised that if I was still alive this time this year I would explain the source of a long pilgrimage that led me to the desert lands under the Huajatolla, the “mother breasts of the earth” where I now call home.  I had grown a tumor in my pelvis the size of a baby head.  The doctors insisted upon a surgery that I refused, if I survived the ordeal it would remove most of my insides and leave me with enough scar tissue and dependence on drugs to render whatever time might remain useless to me.  The treatments they proposed to follow would destroy anything resilient.  I have spent much of my life attending to the dying of those I love.  I am unique in my perspective perhaps, but I wasn’t going to die or ‘live’ that way.

So I went to the wilderness alone where I stayed for a long time, I fasted and I meditated, I hiked and I journeyed.  Vultures circled, Wolf, Bear, and Mountain Lion were so near to me I am forever changed.  I listened to that Earth Song that my father taught me to hear.  His language was inside the rivers as alive as if he were still.  I remembered where I came from and why I am here.

I plan to show up with everything I have, as best I can, for as long as I can.  The snake reminded me that even though I was able to cure myself through my unorthodox methods and become stronger and more vital than at any other point in my life, there are no guarantees.

I hope you will not have to experience suffering to open up your life, more than you ever imagined possible, to your passions and your most essential reasons to exist.  No matter what happens, try to not become paralyzed by what you cannot do and focus on what you can.   At each quiet dawn that remains, I hope you will listen deeply for “true story” inside your life and your relationship to Earth .   I hope you will do this now, without delay, and be brave with your life!


Hemingway said “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” 

From chapter 34 in A Farewell to Arms.

kintsukuroi:  (n.) (v.phr.) “to repair with gold”

the art of repairing pottery with gold resin and understanding that the piece is more beautiful and valuable for having been broken 

An obsession I have is called kintsukuroi. This is art, it is mastery, it is something called repair.  I look at pieces of pottery that have been healed by this method: a gold and resin that fills the cracks in something once beautiful that was broken. I think they are the most remarkable pottery I have ever seen.  To me this has become a part of my religion.  I seek images on the internet, I ask everyone I know if they have any knowledge of a Japanese master who would be willing to teach me how to do this kintsukuroi.

I want to learn, I feel I need to know, how does one live this life, and live it well, when what we love breaks, when they die?

The other day I was sitting at my computer and a lovely goldfinche flew into the window next to me.  I raced outside and found it beak-down in the dirt.  Its eyes were staring and it was completely unable to hold itself when I picked it up.  From lolling to its side in my palms I sat it on a low bush and hoped it would recover from such a rude experience.  We all know the experience of being certain there is an opening, when in fact, it is a solid obstruction.

Not being able to help myself, I went out a bit later to check on it.  Once again, it was beak down in the dirt, but I could feel the little heart and will of life pumping in my hands as I brought it up to my face and breathed on it the warmest air as I could conjure.  For a good 5 minutes I breathed into my palms willing this tiny life to live, willing wings to work, willing what is broken to fly again.

I can’t be so bold to claim that I know what this word spirit means, and I don’t know where my prayers go, but I can tell you that I was on my knees in the mossy dirt on a 42 degree afternoon breathing on a tiny, beautiful thing with all the soul I have.

After these eternal minutes it hadn’t moved at all, it felt heavy and damp in my palms.  I was starting to shiver and feel hopeless, so I opened my cupped hands to look one last time at this golden creature.  That is when it rose up and flew away toward the clouded sun.

In that moment, something in my chest fluttered with it, something young and resilient was remembered, something gold filled in one more crack in my heart.

segue to spring

We’re leaving the deep and inward time when the energy stores are collected in the roots of nature and feeling the shift into green things that surface.  Here in southern Colorado we had mid-seventy degree weather yesterday and nearly a foot of snow and 30ish degrees today.  Spring is a vibrant and wild time and can make people crazy!  If life has felt stuck in ennui it is a welcome celebration to feel everything bursting to life after hibernation, but if life has been a bit overwhelming, this season can bring angst, irritation, frustration and on up the scale from there. 

Consider some time with nature to bring harmony.  

If you feel depleted and worn thin, lay awake at night in perseveration, tend toward overexcitement and then crash, it might be good to continue with some root medicine.   Some of my favorites were discussed earlier this year, see ginger, dandelion, also consider dang shen, dang gui, ginseng, huang jing, and turmeric.  If you would like more specific guidance where to start with your home herbal apothecary we can create a custom constitutional herbal formula for you with a phone consultation or office visit.  

If you feel like you just came out of the cave and need to burn off excess energy it can lead to a tendency toward cranky frustration in absence of proper venting. Please use this energy if possible to become more active than was comfortable in the winter, preferably adding some time outside.  As physical beings we need light, sun, fresh air and grounding. Grounding means touching the Earth without a barrier between you and it: hug a tree, take off your shoes and stand skin to ground, dig in the soil with your bare hands.  Research is proving that our physical touch to the planet is required to be mentally and physically well.   Fascinating studies show drastic decrease in inflammation quickly after the body grounds (see Tour de France results when grounding methods are used for injury; grounding and cardiovascular health; grounding in the treatment of colic; grounding for relief from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the list goes on as the inflammatory process plays such a part in most diseases and chronic pain patterns).  We cannot ground through insulated shoes, buildings or vehicles. 

I know we want there to be some elaborate story around what creates health but many things are just simple: be with nature, eat of it, drink of it, “kneel and touch the earth,” join your community garden.  

Some of my favorite springtime herbs: nettles, milk thistle, raspberry leaf, hawthorne.  And don’t forget to start your culinary herbs in pots: dill, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley and chives. Though these herbs are not as medicinally powerful as some of the less-tasty, they are all antimicrobial, antiviral and according to much research, anticarcinogenic.  Use them flagrantly!

Most community supported agriculture (CSA) farms are currently taking membership.  Please consider supporting your local small farmer who is using chemical-free growing methods, or prepare now to grow your own food and herbs this summer to whatever degree your are capable.   I have found that the closer our relationship to where our food grows the more consistent we are in consuming a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables.   

Let thy foods be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates 

Lastly, if you have opportunity to test your D3 levels with your primary care physician, I highly recommend doing so as you can more effectively supplement if needed before the summer months when you might get adequate sun exposure to synthesize D on your own. Optimization requires some monitoring as D3 is fat-soluable and can build up to toxic levels if overconsumed.  Keeping adequate stores is an important component to good health.

equinox ponderings 🌱

The process known as the life cycle can be understood through the symbol of the seed. In order for it to live to its fullest potential it must go down into the darkest dark and wait. Time must pass in this dark place where it does not yet know what it is doing. Then, something happens to it—warmth comes. The seed does not make seasons change, life does that. 

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, everything starts breaking apart and all that was inside it pushes out. 

To someone who doesn’t understand nature, the process of life being in constant cycles of creation, those that happen regardless of desire, behavior, or choices– to this seed, it would look like complete and utter catastrophe.

Dear you, human being, do you believe you have not come from the equivalent of this seed?

more dandelion 🦁

Dandelion root is a free source of good medicine and can be found in most parts of the country.  
Before you overlook this powerful, abundant medicine, consider the superpower of a weed.  Weeds are hardy, difficult to eradicate and overall more willful than most gardners.  When a weed has a healing capability, and most do, they tend to be more resilient than their foe.  Please see my prior post regarding weed harvesting safety.

Almost everyone is familiar with dandelions and they are an easy and fun place to begin wild harvesting. Bear in mind that extremely toxic, cancer-causing chemical poisons are readily obtained from any home and yard store in this country, banned by many other countries, American policy hasn’t caught up with the science yet. Avoid any dandelions that have been growing in a place where herbicide or pesticides or even many commercial lawn fertilizers have been used. After that, go wild!  

home apothecary

I learned about the uses of dandelion, (taraxacum) by the Chinese name: pu gong ying. This revered medicine was first written about hundreds of years ago in the Tang Materia Medica and is still used widely in the modern world.   

The root of dandelion is bitter, slightly sweet and cold. Because of this it is often roasted and then brewed as a coffee substitute. In general, our American diet is very lacking in the bitter flavor which is one of the reasons I think we gravitate to coffee. Because coffee can be overstimulating to many, roasted dandelion root is a great non-stimulating alternative that still offers that robust flavor so many of us crave. The bitter flavor in Chinese food theory correlates to the heart. If you are a person who seeks out coffee when you are feeling anxious and then feel overly stimulated and often worse, it is worth considering you might need the bitter flavor to balance the energies of your heart. A wonderful Sufi poems tells us to match the rhythm of our heart with that of the beloved. This, it tells us, will yield peace.

 When our heart organ needs balancing we will naturally crave the bitter flavor. Add overstimulation of a strong coffee and everything seems to get worse. Go out in the back field and dig up some dandelion roots to slow roast then grind and brew, and everything feels right as rain.  
Dandelion comes to mind when I need to cool heat, resolve toxicity and facilitate urination (great also for treating painful dribbling issues). This herb has a downward directing energy. 

It can eliminate hard abscesses or nodules that are internal (and/or the fresh greens externally).

This is also one of the first herbs I might try to brighten vision and reduce redness or swelling in the eyes caused by toxicity or upward rising liver heat. (In the Chinese system, dandelion enters the liver and the “liver opens on to the eyes.”)

Dandelion is a great herb to try if you are feeling slightly toxic digestively from too much food, drink or a wild, wild life.  Also consider it for balancing hormonal patterns especially where lumps and swelling might be an issue.

dandelion tea

I love dandelion.  In this winter season when the life force of nature resides dominantly in the roots we can be comforted by a moderate intake of roasted dandelion root tea.  

the rooster

Rooster year is crowing!

We had a rooster when I was five years old who would get up on the tree limb directly outside my window at the pre-crack of dawn and sound the alarm. Why my window?!  Why my window you wee tormentor? Why not my sisters window? Go wake up my sister! Let me sleep bird!

Often I would actually throw open the window and inform bird that when I’m just a little bigger I will make a fine stew out of him despite my dad’s animate dissuasion (due to the fact the rooster was the only other male on the property of many animals and people).

Anyway, those who know roosters will probably laugh at the competition of wills between child and bird, and you’ll understand the intricacies of the overarching symbolic energetic for this fire year. The new totem has arrived.

don’t go back to sleep

Prepare to be awakened when it is still mostly dark and your brain is perhaps a bit foggy. Make preparations to be inspired, to be brought to consciousness. Anticipate the great awakener to blaze in these days before the sun rises. Indeed it looks dark, but the rooster tells us unquestionably it is time to wake up! If this kind of influence is particularly needed for you, you might even find him roosting outside the window over your bed. 

Our work in this fire rooster year is to try to be grateful that there will be no going back to sleepy unconsciousness.  

Happy New Year!🔥🏮💥🎏🎊