Door-opening Sentences

Upon reading the title and the opening sentence of an article, I decide whether to continue reading… when writing articles, I consider the title and first sentence as an open door inviting a reader to step into the topic. Open doors present choices, and readers can choose to enter into the topic, or move on to the next door.

On the last day of 2018, I present six open doors… articles written this past year for Rhode Island’s Natural Awakenings magazine. The magazine tagline is “healthy living healthy planet.” Each article spotlights innovative Rhode Islanders doing amazing stuff to help make this world a better place for others. I’m passionate about interviewing cool people and sharing their inspiring stories. Which door below beckons you to enter?

Meditation in Rhode Island (Feb 2018) – While meditation practice is known to help promote greater concentration, mindfulness and relaxation, it is also shown to help decrease anxiety and depression. Read more.

Regenerating Soil Naturally (Jul 2018)Vermicomposting is the process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn food waste into nutrient-rich humus. Read more.

Plastic Waste Reduction Heroes: Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose (Sep 2018) – Produced from fossil fuel, plastics and plastic waste are directly associated with climate change, and as more people realize this, more people take action. Read more.

Young Voices for Education Equity (Oct 2018) – At Young Voices, a Rhode Island organization that provides low-income youth with advocacy skills, students are helped in understanding an issue, thinking strategically, speaking out articulately and persuasively, and assuming roles of leadership. Read more.

FreshConn: An Online Farmer’s Market with a Social Responsibility (Nov 2018) – When Patrick Straus and Brandon Monti look at problems, they see solutions. Co-founders of FreshConn, Straus and Monti represent the emerging generation of spirit-inspired social entrepreneurs. Read more.

Adventurer Vincent Brown: Owner of 2nd Wind Health Premium Yoga Mats (Dec 2018)What got you into yoga and the yoga mat business? I broke my arm snowboarding. Read more.


Words Matter

     Words matter. Through voice, we speak words to instantly transmit positive thoughts, encouragement, comfort, love and joy. Through writing, we use words to share valuable information, to describe transformative ideas and to compose inspiring stories. I write for Rhode Island NATURAL AWAKENINGS magazine, because the focus is upbeat – Healthy Living Healthy Planet – and my words go out to over 50,000 readers. More recently, I’ve been working on the story of our late son, Neil, who was, and still is, an enthusiastic and conscious communicator, taking care in choosing just the right words.

Neil, 19, resting in his Houston hotel room with his laptop, writing a petition to solicit support for his right to continue trying the experimental treatment of his choice. He is wearing a boonie hat and dog tags given to him by a friend who served in the Army Special Forces.
Neil composing words in the fight for his Right to Try

     “Neil had a unique voice, his own way of expressing his life experiences, character, thoughts and feelings. That was until a tumor started to grow inside his brain and gradually took away his ability to write and then his ability to speak. The name of the disease, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, is a strange string of uncommon vocabulary words. It is better known by its acronym, DIPG. Diffuse means the tumor is dispersed throughout the tissue, as opposed to being a solid tumor. Pontine refers to a part of the brain stem known as the pons, which relays messages between several areas of the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Without the pons, the brain would not be able to function, and neither would the body. Intrinsic means deep-seated. Each of these words means the tumor is inoperable. Glioma refers to the glial tissue that is supposed to support and protect the nerve cells, only in the case of DIPG, the glial cells grow out of control and strangle the nerve cell pathways. DIPG gradually takes away all physical abilities, except the ability to think. Throughout the progression of the disease, Neil remained conscious of everything that was happening, and somehow managed to accept it all with grace.

     “Do people realize how blessed they are to have a voice? Since Neil is no longer able to share his story, his thoughts about life and his dreams for the world, I’m here to do it. Things happened in Neil’s life that other kids need to know about in order to help make this world a better place. As Neil’s mom, I’m able to access a lot of material and will share as much as I can in Neil’s own words and the words of the friends, family, coaches and teachers who knew him best. Neil loved a good story, and if Neil’s story and his thoughts about life make people think, and think about their own stories differently, then I will have done my job well.”

     I welcome blog readers to engage and share the thoughts sparked by these words. Words are expressions of thought. Words and thoughts are influential. I dream of empowering more young people, like Neil, to share their ideas, stories and dreams for a better world. Read Neil’s story in the Boston Globe.