Creative Sparks Nursing
Spring Giddiness

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

I love the playfulness that the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi exhibits in his life and his teachings.
Like many in our society, I am one who is likely to wake up and ”…open the door to the study”, anxious about the responsibilities and To Do list of the day.
For that reason, I make it a daily practice to begin each morning with a little quiet time. 

I light candles to remind me this is a sacred moment, then open the window shades to experience the sunrise.  I meditate for at least 15 minutes. I listen to soothing music. I write in my journal in that calm state of mind. This gets me centered and able to face the day calmly.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” Small rituals, living in the present, making small changes to habits can be valuable. 
This Spring, take time to see the trees in flower. Listen to the birds as they visit the garden. Inhale the fragrance of sage and eucalyptus. Exalt in the beauty that is now. May your Spring be full of the beauty that you love.
Sharon Sparks 

Invite wellness and healing through Qi Gong.

My yoga classmate Jennie invited me to attend my first Qi Gong class last week in Santa Monica.

It was led by Michael Sieverts, who said he took it up to recuperate from a debilitating illness.

He now teaches cancer survivors five days a week at a park in Santa Monica.

This was an evening class held at an indoor studio.
We stood for 90 minutes. We followed along the mostly visual clues, moving slowly in patterns.

Qi gong is an ancient practice based on Chinese medicine. The whole body is engaged in a dance-like workout, moving energy, stimulating circulation, using the breath to eliminate toxins, build muscle strength, and promote balance. According to Sievert's website, there are many forms do Qi Gong."These are truly powerful healing techniques.they are easy to do and stretch and tone the body in a powerful way."

     Sieverts reminds us that through a practice of Qi Gong, we can prevent illness as well as recover from illness.

Learn more about Michael Sieverts at
"As I play the game of life
I try to make it better every day.
And when I struggle in the night
The magic of the music seems to light the way."
-John Lennon

This Summer, I had the opportunity to attend several community concerts. People flock to these events with picnic coolers, children in tow, wearing their outfits of Summer.

One nearby community celebrates Cajun and Blues music. Two stages, dance floors, no experience necessary to move to the sounds, people-watch, eat BBQ, and smile and laugh.

Ventura County Fairgrounds hosts an annual tribute to Johnny Cash. Cover bands rock out. Beauties in 50s dresses and hairstyles parade through the crowds. Gleaming hot rods and choppers are on display.

Cash's daughter Cindy made an appearance. She has assembled memorabilia from her father's colorful life for the occasion. Vendors sell tee shirts, sun umbrellas, BBQ, and there was even a booth for 50's hairstyles.

Oxnard hosts a Salsa Festival in Heritage Square. Again, it is a draw for families and folks of all ages.
Great music, dancing, picnics, community, a place to bring friends and meet new ones, to experience a blend of cultures- these are among the attractions.
I attended a Ziggy Marley concert another night. Reggae music transcends generations in its rhythms and teachings of One Love.

I have fond memories of seeing Bob Marley in concert in the 80s. Having been to Jamaica a few times, this music conjures up good feelings. Like so many, I revisit those memories. Yet I see young children and college students having their own joyful experiences.
Yes, music in Community allows us to express our joyful selves, to embrace shared experiences, to form new memories. 

Sharon Sparks

The Healing Power of Music for Alzheimer’s patients.

The AARP Bulletin for July-August 2015 has an article addressing the healing power of music in patients with advanced dementia.

My 83 year old Aunt, who has been in a memory care unit for 6 or 7 years with Alzheimer’s, is a good example of the wonders of music in calming her down and getting her to sing and tap her feet. She is an avid participant in all musical events held in the facility. Though she is clearly declining, slipping into not knowing family members, and has become more angry and agitated in recent months, using headphones to soothe her with favorite music has been a welcome solution.

If you’d like to read the article, go to AARP.ORG/BULLETIN.