Abudances, Perspectives

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It’s safe to say that at any given point in time, there’s always an abundance of something.  Before dismissing that statement as self-evident or overly simplistic, one can amend it to say that abundance is always in flux.  This gets more interesting.  Contemplating abundance is one good way to break away from one’s usual preoccupations-of-the-moment (the Red Sox season, the Facebook page, worries inspired by today’s headlines) and to go for a broader perspective, if only briefly.  Call it an exercise in greater awareness, never a bad thing. 

Doing this the week of the 4th of July, consider it a move towards a kind of freedom, of what sort remaining to be seen.  For starters, try acknowledging the natural world, currently awash in an abundance of light and warmth and occasional godawful heat.  Be aware that you are currently surrounded by an abundance of birds, the highest numbers of the year, as the adults are joined by newborns trying to make their way in the world.  Many won’t make it very far, such is nature – those first weeks of life are tough ones, and the attrition will continue steadily, right into next Spring when the whole cycle begins again, as it has for millennia.  Massachusetts is also currently witnessing an abundance of gypsy moths, the worst outbreak since 1981, to which thousands of leafless trees bear witness.  A drive out the Mass Pike can be sobering, spectacular in a kind of grim way.  Maybe more impressive is the fact that the trees aren’t dead, a testimony to nature’s resilience, at least for this year. 

Moving beyond this planet, the recent arrival of a human-sourced spacecraft at Jupiter’s front door, five years and 540 million miles distant, is a dramatic reminder of the incomprehensible abundance of space and time that characterizes our universe, one in which Jupiter happens to be a very close neighbor.  Modern astrophysics suggests that our known universe may be only one among many, an abundance of abundance.  Try to get your mind around that perspective!   That the human mind can conceive of such a thing is remarkable in itself.  Even more remarkable is how that same human mind, yours and this BH consultant’s included, can get so tripped up by an abundance of negative thoughts of every conceivable sort, that too often serve no other purpose than to make us suffer unnecessarily.  The irony is that in spite of our ability to shift perspectives when we so choose, the one perspective we struggle with (or simply lack) is the one that can provide a healthy distance from all these thoughts, at least sometimes. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the local mindfulness guy, talks of “an inner spaciousness” that can be achieved with enough diligent, focused effort, and that this can be transformational.   He has seen it in cancer patients, among the many people he has treated.  It sounds like an abundance of some kind, but of what?  It probably can’t be put in words. 

John Dabrowski  LICSW
Neponset Health Center
Geiger Gibson Community Health Center

Harbor Welcomes New Dental Director

Dr. Matthew Horan medMatthew Horan, DMD has joined Harbor Health Services, Inc. (HHSI) as the new Corporate Dental Director. Dr. Horan comes to HHSI with almost 10 years of experience in oral health care at the community health center level. Prior to joining HHSI, Dr. Horan was the Director of Oral Health at the Boston Public Health Commission, DotHouse Health, and Codman Square Health Center. In addition, Dr. Horan was a dentist with Codman Square Health Center.

Dr. Horan will be overseeing Dental Operations at Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, Harbor Community Health Center-Plymouth, Harbor Community Health Center- Hyannis, and Ellen Jones Community Dental Center in Harwich.

Dr. Horan received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and his currently pursuing a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

 

A Wheelie Fun Time in Dorchester

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Harbor Health Services, Inc. (Geiger Gibson Community and Neponset Health Centers) is hosting “A Wheelie Fun Time” a wellness event in South Dorchester on June 12th at the DCR Pope John Paul II Park near the Neponset Circle from 2pm to 5pm.

This wellness event is open to all residents and community members and will include local vendors, healthy and fresh foods, educational resources, giveaways, health screenings, physical activities, raffle prizes from local businesses and more! We will have scheduled activities to include a Slow Roll Bike Ride along the Neponset Greenway, a 5k Walk/Run around the park, and other events to promote active lifestyles and healthier living.

Additionally, we are running a Community Bike Swap & Repair–bring any and all bikes you are willing to donate to us so we can repair them and redistribute them to those in need of an affordable bike in the South Dorchester community or if you just need repairs done on your own bike.

Come join us and have “A Wheelie Fun Time”!

Event Page: https://awheeliefuntime.eventbrite.com

Park Directions

We encourage walking and/or biking to our event if possible!

MBTA: Take the Red Line (Ashmont branch) to Fields Corner. The #202 bus route passes by two of the park’s entrances: at Neponset Circle and at Hallet Street.

By Car: Take I-93 South to exit 12, Rt 3A South and merge onto Gallivan Boulevard (MA 203). The entrance is located on Gallivan Boulevard. A second entrance is located on Hallet Street.

Contact:
Prevention Services
prevention@hhsi.us
398 Neponset Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02122
617-533-2228

The Nature of Anxiety

Anxiety

Besides the fact that anxiety runs deep in human nature from an evolutionary standpoint, due to the survival instincts of our animal natures, there are other factors that put it center-stage in our minds and in our lives.  The relentless media-blitz that forever reminds us of threats and dangers ad infinitum (and greatly exaggerated) plays a huge role.  One might condemn them for this, but the fact is, it’s simply good business to cater to our inherent fear-driven instincts.

Besides ample media support for our worries – and never forget there’s at least a kernel of truth in almost every one of their stories, which we will then turn into a mountain of grist – it is interesting to note that anxiety, of all the darker emotions and mental states, has nowhere near the stigma of other mental dysfunction.  Most human cultures show a marked reluctance to acknowledge, much less talk about depression and rage, not to mention mania or psychosis.  On the other hand, being “stressed out” is a topic of everyday conversation, making us a kind of community of stress enablers, though certainly one of well-intentioned people.  As with  all good intentions, good results can happen sometimes.

In Behavioral Health, it’s called social and peer support, and we’re always suggesting that people seek this out.  Consider it to be, in fact, one of the most basic forms of stress relief, and a time-honored one, at that.  When friends and family can be reassuring, or can tell you to  “get a hold of yourself” (does anybody actually say that anymore?), or when they help you question some of your worst fears and imaginings, they are practicing therapy in its most original and purest form;  turning this activity over to professionals is a very recent development in human history.

Sadly, many also lack such people in their lives, or perhaps the modern world has generated too many of us with too many of our own troubles, so better to leave the counseling role to trained professionals.  Of course, this particular trained professional’s prejudices should be apparent, at this point:  sharing your struggles with somebody else is usually the best idea.  But  the fact of the matter is, the majority of us tends to take the self-contained and self-directed approach, when it comes to relieving stress.  Think alcohol and cigarettes and Xanax.  Exercise and gardening.  Taking a vacation.  Retirement.  The catalogue of individual solutions for stress is vast and many-dimensional.  All of them work sometimes in some way for somebody.  Some have serious drawbacks.  Almost all have limitations, and one limitation in particular.  More on this next week.

John Dabrowski,  LICSW
Neponset Health Center &
Geiger Gibson Community Health Center