Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Letter from Publisher

Better Together

As we greet the summer this month, while fathers are remembered and kids are afoot, we bring more focus on health and fitness for him, as well as the whole family. Growing up in a small town in Michigan in the ’50s and ’60s, my dad’s hot dogs and hamburgers were plentiful on the summer grill and we certainly weren’t discussing whether our food was hormone-free, GMO or organically grown. Sharing food and company seemed simpler then.  

Eating started to become more complicated after high school when I read some books and decided to switch to a natural food diet. Not only was it a big change for me, but for my family too; we weren’t sharing the same food anymore. I remember how much my dad would make fun of the new things on my plate while he continued to eat his meat and potatoes. While I got healthier, his standard American diet (SAD) and lifestyle caught up with him and he left us way too early. I felt robbed of his golden years not only for me, but for my kids, who were just getting old enough to enjoy a relationship with their grandfather.

After reading Chris Bruno’s personal essay, “Fatherhood's Pain and Glory: We Must Face Our Own Story First,” I was reminded that any untransformed pain from our fathers will be transmitted to our children. I thought about my relationship to my dad. How was he fathered, and how was that transferred to me and my siblings? From what I’d learned about my grandfather, who passed even earlier, Grandpa Roy didn’t express deeper feelings and issues with his children, which explains why my dad likely felt ill-equipped to share these with his eight children.

Mine was a great dad in the most important ways. As adults, we realized that we might not have deep, heart-to-heart conversations, but we could get more comfortable saying, “I love you.” I remember how uncomfortable at first it made him (and me) to say it, and how the poignant pauses that followed felt, until I finally heard what I knew to be true: He loved me! Eventually this new expression spread its way through our entire family; even our nieces and nephews add, “I love you” whenever saying their farewells.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta confirms the importance of this sense of belonging in “Chasing Life” on page 54. CNN's chief medical correspondent shares his eye-opening experience following an immersive tour of some of the happiest and healthiest places on Earth. The resulting docuseries by the same name explores, among other things, how ancient traditions may play a role in 21st-century health care. Yet one of his most surprising discoveries was how profoundly social isolation and loneliness can impact health, while having a strong social fabric and cohesiveness protects it. Our other health habits are important, but we need strong social connections to thrive!

The longer, slower days of summer are a great time to expand on your social connections, and this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings has plenty of ideas about how to do just that. Dare to say, “I love you,” to others more often, and especially to all the males in your life this month that have added to your love tank.

Spread the love, it’s healthy…and feels good!

Sharon's Signature

Sharon Bruckman

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