Category Archives: Mental Health

Nature Therapy


Sunset at Ocean Beach. Copyright Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2017. 

Northern California has had so much rain this winter that it’s been in the national news. After five years of drought, the last one finally bringing water use restrictions, record-setting rainfall has caused flash flooding and has compromised the dam at the state’s second largest water reservoir.

This past weekend brought a welcome break in storm systems. People, my husband and I included, came pouring (pun intended) outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Ocean Beach in San Francisco was busy with people strolling on the sand and dogs chasing seagulls. We were soaking up the sunshine and storing away vitamin D as fast as we could. At the end of a wonderful day, we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

For me the day was a metaphorical respite from the current political climate in our country. With each day bringing heart-stopping headlines and Twitter battles, it feels like ominous clouds never give way to blue skies. If only our country could catch its collective breath like I did. My beloved land of the free and home of the brave needs a day of sunshine.


©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2017.


Beware of Beautiful Doors


Copyright Living off Island, Writing Wahine 2016. 

He was handsome, intelligent, funny, and well mannered. An expert in his field, he was often asked for advice, and he always responded graciously and modestly. Well traveled and adventurous, he entertained people with stories of exotic places and fascinating people.

People thought they were more than mere acquaintances because he had a way of making them feel close to him. He listened to their stories, asked if they enjoyed their holidays, and remembered the names of their spouses and children. People didn’t notice that they never saw the inner workings of his life.

When newspapers reported that it was his body that had been decapitated by a train, people were stunned. Some had heard rumors of a change in his outgoing personality, but none would have guessed that he would walk to train tracks not far from his home and lie down across them because he could no longer bear to live.

The doors to his soul were beautiful. Warm in hue and texture, the doors were inviting, but they were equally thick and tall. He came out to dazzle and to charm, and people were content to enjoy his company, but he never invited them in.

Will anyone ever know all that transpired behind the beautiful doors that attracted so many but opened for no one? Are people haunted by the thought of his loneliness and despair? Do hearts ache with the pain of connections that fell short, like lifesavers thrown into the water but never grasped by the drowning?

Beautiful doors. They make the view from the outside so pleasant that people fail to notice they’re being kept out.


©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2016.