Successful Change – Keeping Your Momentum

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For most people who make the choice to change — whether it’s exercise more, lose weight, start a meditation practice, or really ANY type of change — there’s always a “tipping point” sometime within the first month or so… Will the momentum carry forward or will we start to lose steam?

Change isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time, change is very challenging. Even when we want to make positive changes like losing weight or meditating more or increasing our commitment to exercise, we always meet with resistance.

Where does this resistance come from?

Well, it can come from many sources, both internal and external. But, mostly it is our own resistance that gets in the way. And, it’s not something to beat ourselves up about. It’s just human nature.

There is an aspect of our body-mind that the Chinese sages called “Po”. Roughly translated, it is our core survival instinct. It is that part of us that holds on to life at all costs, that is most active when we are under serious threat.

Letting go of old patterns and habits is a sort of “death”. Any change means that something is ending — or “dying” — and we are entering a new phase, an unknown area.

Our “Po” is trained and programmed to react strongly to the threat of “death” and “the unknown”. And, this is a good thing. But, it can sometimes be overly expressed, leading to anxiety and fear when we really have nothing to be afraid of.

This part of ourselves can be very subtle in resisting change. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how we are sabotaging our own growth. Being aware that this tendency exists, and being on the lookout for it is a good first step to overcoming it.

Remember, this part of you isn’t something bad. It’s a very important component in a healthy, thriving mix of all kinds of qualities that work together to keep us in balance.

But, when we find ourselves resisting change and losing our motivation to change, we can be certain our survival instinct is playing a role. It wants to keep things how they are because, after all, it is SAFE to stay with what is known even if it isn’t 100% healthy.

According to the ancient Chinese Medical sages, the “Po”, or core survival instinct, is primarily expressed through the Lungs. The emotions it generates are grief, sadness, and feeling threatened. For all of these emotions, we are called upon to let go, to release resistance.

It is no coincidence, then, that the breath is what provides the key to overcoming grief, sadness, panic, and other emotions that keep you “stuck”. Letting go of old emotional, mental, and physical patterns requires that we keep our breath open, deep, and gentle. If we are resisting and feeling threatened by change, we’ll start to tighten in our chest, and our breath becomes shallow. We may feel a “pit in our stomach” which also blocks the diaphragm from moving freely.

When you begin to notice resistance popping up, when you start to notice that you are losing motivation to continue moving forward with an important change, stop for a minute and BREATHE. Breathe gently into your belly. Slow down. Breathe light and openness into that resistance. Let your breath create space and help you relax into the moment. You can do this while driving, while listening to someone talk to you, while watching TV. You can do it anytime, anywhere! And, it doesn’t cost a penny.

What you’ll find is that change becomes easier, and there are less conflicting thoughts and emotions blocking your path. You’ll find it easier to continue your reduced sugar diet, or your 5 day a week exercise plan. You’ll find that writer’s block start to lift, so you can continue writing that book you said you would write.

Whatever the resistance is, wherever it resides, your breath is the key to letting it go.


Read more about Successful Change – Keeping Your Momentum.


Advisory Board ChrisChris Axelrad, M.S.OM., L.Ac., FABORM

Chris Axelrad is on the BCCA Advisory Board and a specialist in hormonal, mind-body, and reproductive wellness using Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Therapeutic Nutrition, and Mind-Body Coaching. Chris has a full-time practice, The Axelrad Clinic, and is currently the President of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), a specialty board dedicated to excellence in holistic fertility care. He is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Chinese Bodywork. After receiving his Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine in 2003, Mr. Axelrad completed extensive graduate and post-graduate studies not only in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but also Western endocrinology, psychoneuroimmunology, neuroendocrinology, nutrition, mind-body disciplines, and interpretation of lab results.

Learn more about Chris


What Sweetener Should I Use? Types to Avoid and Choose

Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness, Breast Cancer Facts, Health Tips, iGoPink Blog, Nutrition & Recipes, Uncategorized, Wellness & Fitness 1 Comment

Sweeteners to Avoid and Choose

Do you add sweetener to your coffee, tea, or favorite baked dishes? Enjoy sodas, packaged or prepared foods? Be careful! The type of sweetener(s) you consume can greatly affect your health. Join us on the #iGoPinkChallenge by avoiding harmful sweeteners and instead choose healthier alternatives to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Sweeteners to AVOID:

  • Aspartame – artificial, found in many diet sodas and low calorie processed foods
  • Sucralose – artificial, processed with cholrine
  • Sugar. If you use sugar, use sparingly and select organic, less processed types like rapadura or turbinado.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – higher fructose level than sugar and banned in organic foods
  • Agave Nectar – high fructose levels than HFCS

Instead use:

  • Stevia – a zero calorie natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant. Select organic powders or extracts without “natural flavors.”
  • Raw Local Honey – contains cancer-fighting antioxidants, has a low glycemic index, and local honey can help alleviate allergy symptoms.
  • Real Maple Syrup – contains less calories and more minerals than honey plus studies have shown maple syrup has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting antioxidant properties. Select 100 % maple syrup without “natural maple flavoring.”

Remember: ALL sweeteners should be used in moderation! But if you do select a sweetener or enjoy a prepared food or beverage, make sure to make choices that are not harmful to your health.

Have a healthy tip or recipe with stevia, honey or maple syrup? Share it with us! Submit it on our Facebook page at or share it on Twitter or Instagram by using the hashtag #iGoPinkChallenge on your post.

Download the FREE #iGoPinkChallenge Health Guide for more healthy tips and foods to choose and avoid: CLICK HERE

Wellness Wednesday: Fall Fitness Tips

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Seriously, what’s not to love about fall? Pumpkin lattes are back, you can dig out your favorite sweaters, and sweet potatoes are finally in season. Best of all, the crisp temps make fall the perfect time to exercise outdoors: “The cool weather allows you to enjoy yourself without having to worry about being overheated or too cold,” says Terri Walsh, celebrity trainer and creator of the Active Resistance Training Method (A.R.T.). And that means you’re more likely to feel awesome during your workout, and maybe even log an extra mile or climb another trail.

But before you lace up and head outside, prepare for your outdoor adventure with Walsh’s fall weather workout tips:

Wear Layers
It may feel slightly nippy at first, but the weather has a rep for changing on a moment’s notice. Dress in layers that you can easily remove if your body starts to heat up—or put back on if you get cold, says Walsh.

Stay Hydrated
Many people forget to drink enough fluids during fall workouts because it’s not super hot, says Walsh. Not good. Keep drinking as normal to avoid dehydration. While it’s good to carry water, you can add some flavor with a bit of fruit juice to get even more nutrients.

Pack Snacks
Don’t disrupt your outing for a food pit stop. If you’ll be out most of the day hiking or biking, Walsh recommends bringing a small backpack with nuts or fruit stashed inside. No matter where you are, at least you have a constant source of fuel.

And if you think running is the only outdoor exercise to try, it’s time to get creative! If you’re near some branches and a log, you’ll definitely want to try this off-the-beaten-trail circuit workout. But if a park is your only outdoor fitness center, find a jungle gym and do these fun exercises on the playground. The kids in line for the monkey bars can wait their turn.

Fitness Friday

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Wellness Wednesday

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This is an e-mail forward that I received a while back that has always stuck with me. I love it and wanted to share it with all of you! Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Please read both stories!

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld.  Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a  lonely
Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.
The poem read:
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.  Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted .50-caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in
Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

Wellness Wednesday

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Surviving breast cancer with a sense of humor: One mom’s story

Stupid Cancer by:
Michelle Maffei
As hard as the fight must be to beat breast cancer, one mother has chosen to “be a survivor, not a victim,” for herself and her family — all while keeping the sense of humor she is well known for. Read the story of Stephani J., a courageous mother, sister and wife who discovered that life does not stop once you are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Putting it in Perspective

Stephanie J. from Costa Mesa, California is a dedicated worker, a good friend, a sister, a wife, and a mother. Hearing the news on May 30, 2008 that her tests came back positive for breast cancer left her mind reeling about the journey that lay ahead. But, “I refuse to let this cancer define who I am. It is something that is happening to me, that’s all,” reassures Stephanie. And, to support her position, she even sported a shirt that read, “Stupid Cancer,” flavored with her silly humor and her refusal to let Breast Cancer bring her down.

History Repeating Itself

Two years prior, Stephanie had experienced a breast infection, but after a round of antibiotics, a mammogram, and an ultrasound which came back negative, the infection was given the all clear. All was well until a second breast infection appeared in the same area about two months prior to her diagnosis, which brought on the same round of treatment and tests, this time accompanied with a fine needle biopsy. With an inconclusive result and the infection seemingly healed, Stephanie was given a follow-up ultrasound. Five “nodules” were identified as suspicious, two of which a core needle biopsy was performed.

When both sites came back as Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stephanie was scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy in June 2008, in which both breasts were scheduled to be removed. 

Family Focus

“One of the most difficult moments was when I was diagnosed and I was worried about how it was going to affect my three-and-a-half-year-old son. I had a really hard time struggling with the concern.” After speaking with a therapist, Stephanie was reassured that the plans she and her husband were making about post-op treatment were just an extension of his normal routine, which helped subdue some of the stress she was feeling.

“At his age, he doesn’t really comprehend it as much. In some ways it’s a lot better. He puts it in his own perspective, as “Mommy’s sick.” What’s important at this age is to give him every single piece of information he asks for, allow him to process it on his own, and most importantly, not to force him how to deal with it. My job is to be here to help manage it,” says Stephanie.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

To help thank the strong circle of support she had been receiving and to share the positive attitude she is carrying with her pre-surgery, Stephanie used her love of humor to threw herself a “Ta ta to the tat as” party. It was an upbeat affair, adorned with appropriately-shaped cakes and cupcakes and supporting the fight against breast cancer.

Post-Surgery TLC

After a successful surgery, it was determined that she would receive Chemo every three weeks for four and a half to five months, which she began in July. Now approaching the end of her Chemo treatments, she will begin radiation treatment, five days a week for three weeks.

As Stephanie can tell you, Chemo is no walk in the park. But, the loving support from her husband, family, friends, and work, and the sweet gestures from her now four-year-old son help her keep her spirits up and her humor strong.

“He knows I have ups and downs, when Mommy is sick and when Mommy is okay. Asks me, “How can I make you feel better?” and does something sweet.” Although it is rough on Stephanie seeing how her post-surgery and Chemo was rough on him, she acknowledges that, “he’s been handling it pretty well. We’ve been handling it all okay because we’re handling it as a family unit, and it helps that [my son is] younger.”

Work Support

Stephanie returned to work in mid-August 2008, where her circle of support was stronger than ever. Her boss is a cancer survivor, and just two years ago, Stephanie supported her boss through the entire process at that time. “When I was diagnosed, I knew I was in a supportive environment, knew a little bit of what to expect, and had a strong example and a great source of advice to follow,” shares Stephanie.

Family Future

Some people take for granted the decision whether or not to have more biological children, but with Breast Cancer survivors, the decision is made for them. The risk is very high that pregnancy can cause the cancer to return, but the option to expand their family is not a closed case. Stephanie adds, “I was adopted, so we are very open to the option, but for now, we have peace of mind knowing our family will remain a family of three.”

As Stephanie begins her radiation treatment, she continues to use her strong spirit and great sense of humor to help her remain another one of the more than 2.3 million women in the U.S. who have survived breast cancer or are living with breast cancer today, according to the National Cancer Institute’s research for 2007. Although Breast Cancer is no laughing matter, if you or someone you know is facing the fight, take a look through Stephanie’s perspective and come up with a list of your own 20 positive things that you can find about Cancer…it may just be the little light-hearted lift you needed.

This article was found on Be sure to check out their website to find more stories just like this one!

Wellness Wednesday

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written by:

Dr. Soram Khalsa

Board certified in internal medicine, Medical Director for the East-West Medical Research Institute

October is breast cancer awareness month. By this point in time all of us are fully aware of the impact of breast cancer upon our families and our society. The American Cancer Society has estimated that in 2011, there will be over 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed and 70,000 new cases of DCIS (localized breast cancer), with 40,000 women dying of breast cancer.

I am looking forward to the day when October is renamed “Breast Cancer Prevention Month”. Integrative medicine doctors have an increasing toolbox of tests and natural treatments in our armamentarium that can reduce the risk of breast cancer or the recurrence of breast cancer, and I see new patients every week who want this extra help.

Prevention is the hallmark of the approach to breast cancer. Even with a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, once she has completed her treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, she is back in breast cancer prevention mode. At that point, she is trying to prevent a recurrence of her breast cancer.

In the integrative medicine doctors’ toolbox there are many approaches to help prevent breast cancer. These range from correcting estrogen dominance imbalances to detoxification of environmental estrogens from her body, using the techniques of naturopathic medicine.

At the present time, there is no integrative medicine modality for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, with more data and research than vitamin D. There is so much information showing that this vitamin, which is really not a vitamin but a hormone, in sufficient daily doses can help protect against breast cancer.

Because for the last year I have been focusing my work in integrative medicine through the lens of vitamin D, I would like to review in this article several of the studies showing the importance of sufficient vitamin D to protect against breast cancer.

The Lappe Prospective study of Vitamin D and cancer prevention

In this study, Joan Lappe PhD, RN and colleagues looked prospectively at more than 400 postmenopausal women over a four-year period of time. In one group the women were given 1100 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium daily. The control group did not receive this. The results of the study were that the women who took the vitamin D and calcium over the ensuing four years reduced their rate of cancer by an amazing 60%. In fact the authors looked in more detail and found that for every 10 ng/ml increase in a woman’s vitamin D blood level, the relative risk of cancer dropped by 35%. These data were not limited to breast cancer but included all cancers.

Goodwin Study

In this study originally presented in 2008, Pamela Goodwin, M.D. and colleagues, retrospectively looked at more than 500 women over a period of 11 years. What she and her colleagues found was that those women who had been deficient in vitamin D at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis were 73% more likely to die from breast cancer than those with sufficient vitamin D at the time of diagnosis. In addition those that were deficient in vitamin D at the time of their diagnosis of breast cancer were almost twice as likely to have recurrence or spread over those years.

My wife and I had the pleasure to listen to an interview of one of the authors of this article. Much to our shock and chagrin the author pointed out that because the study was retrospective they would never recommend that a woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer take more than the minimum daily requirement (RDA) of vitamin D. They specifically said that they would never recommend additional vitamin D until more randomized placebo-controlled prospective studies were done. This will take an additional 5 to 10 years.

When I presented this information to my staff of mostly women they too were shocked that in light of the data the researcher was not recommending newly diagnosed breast cancer patients take additional vitamin D.

In my own practice of medicine, I have never had a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient who came to me for integrative medicine support of her breast cancer diagnosis, have a vitamin D level measured by her oncologist. What is wrong with this picture?

Epidemiological Study about breast cancer

In a major epidemiological study by Cedric Garland PhD and others, the researchers exhaustively reviewed the medical literature on the relationship between breast cancer and vitamin D levels. According to the analysis done in this article, if women kept their vitamin D blood levels at approximately 52 ng/ml, we could expect a 50% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

In light of this study I endeavor to keep all of my patients who have a high risk for breast cancer or who have had breast cancer already above a blood level of 52 ng/ml.

So what should we do?

The gold standard for medical decision making is the randomized placebo-controlled double-blind prospective study. The study I presented above by Dr. Lappe is one of the few such prospective studies that have already been published using vitamin D. Of course more are on the way.

So the question arises should a woman raise her blood levels higher than the current national average, and will she be harmed by taking a dose of vitamin D that allows her to do this?

My position, and the position of many vitamin D researchers is that because vitamin D is so inexpensive and because the relative risk of overdose of vitamin D is very small, what is the harm in raising women’s blood levels to protect against breast cancer? We would only be raising her level into what is now recognized in the medical literature to be optimal. In my opinion, given that vitamin D overdose does not begin until blood levels of 100 ng/ml and more probably 150 ng/ml, what is the harm in women taking doses of vitamin D high enough to get their blood levels up this high, as long as they monitor their blood on a regular basis to assure there is no overdose?

The data is so strong and every year getting stronger. Why don’t we take action now? How many more women need to get breast cancer or die from it before we make a move?

As written about in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn, it takes many years or even decades, for new findings in science and medicine to take hold in a way that the population as a whole can benefit. In many cases this is because of an unreasonable need for certainty.

Arthur Schopenhauer, the famous philosopher, said this best when he stated: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

I believe we are in transition between the second and the third stages of Schopenhauer’s description in regards to vitamin D. Appropriate (higher) levels of vitamin D are being opposed but not violently so at this point in time. But just the same, these higher levels of vitamin D are still not yet encouraged by the majority of physicians.

Unfortunately I believe it will take another 5 to 10 years until the prospective studies are strong enough to convince the most conservative physicians of the benefits of this amazing vitamin, so that all Americans and all people of the world can benefit from what many of us see as a necessary dose of this very important vitamin.

But ask yourself if you need to wait that long?

I invite your comments and thoughts.

To your improving health!

Soram Khalsa, M.D., has practiced integrative medicine and been a member of the medical staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center for over 30 years. He is a clinical professor of medicine at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a member of the Naturopathic Medicine Advisory Council for the state of California.

He is the author of The Vitamin D Revolution and writes a blog on the newest findings about vitamin D.

You can follow him on Twitter. Or become a fan of his on Facebook.

Thought for Thursday

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It’s nearing the end of the week, and the end of summer for that matter. Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get us through our day. Here is an inspirational quote that should serve as some food for thought for you guys to enjoy :)

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens

Life is full of highs and lows, but in order to live a full and happy life we have to learn that the highs definitely outnumber the lows.

Wellness Wednesday

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I started off today a little sluggish, and to be honest thinking that today was Thursday. I checked my e-mail and saw that a friend had forwarded me ANOTHER e-mail. Reluctantly, I opened it up and began reading. Within the 1st sentence I was glad that I did. This is one of those inspirational stories that you read and they put a little pep in your step, and make you remember that there is still good in the world. I know that this is the perfect blog for tomorrow on “Thoughtful Thursday”, but seeing as how I already thought it was Thursday, I am posting it for “Wellness Wednesday”. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did!

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

by: Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers.”

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Tasty Tuesdays: Summer Edamame Salad

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Looking for a great, healthy and easy summer recipe?  Try out one of our favorites from the kitchen of our Executive Director, Erica Harvey (she always is talking about this salad that she makes!!)

1 Package steamed/shelled edamame

1 Can rinsed dark red kidney beans

1 Can rinsed/drained garbanzo beans

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

1/4 cup of chopped red onion

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup lime juice

Dash of salt

Zest of a lime

Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight (stirring a few times too).  SO delish and high in protein, fiber and great nutrients!