Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

“Winter into Spring”….

January 22, 2021

Winter Into Spring 

Mysterious, silent season,

Where life and reason are suspended

Upon a cold metal wire.

The wind– a razoring of clipper glass

Sailing through glassine air

Slicing the pallid sun’s surface–

An attempt to warm a frigid earth

To remembered fertility.

Solemn seasonal palette,

White, gray, black,

Cut with a flash of blood-red-

A Kamikaze cardinal!

Like the demon wind bearing its name,

Dares the thin and paling air

To brighten only a moment–

A witness to recurring life.

Season of bountiful snow,

Brings a thirsting to the land

Where hoar-frost leaches

Moisture with a crystallized withering-

Hands to crack, bark to shatter,

And all dries and curls about

In a perverse furnace of freeze.

One pale day southern breezes

Break  through the bonds of Winter–

They brush, sidle up

To  impervious ice

And a crack like a thump is felt in the gut,

A slow drip-drip of water

Signals the end of this harsh season,

As icicles emit a hesitant stream,

Then the ice- dam down in the brook

Explodes with a thunderous sound

And the rush to Spring

Is heralded all about.

A slight movement underground

Felt deep in the soil-

A careful stirring,

A rumble in the gut of the surface

As birth replaces death

Pushing through Earth’s womb

To a weak sun above–

The tyranny of Winter now broken.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011, 2012

From “White Cranes of Heaven”, 2011,

Poem…..”O Vapory Spring Moon”

September 4, 2019


(watercolor painting above by author below.)


“O vapory Spring moon,

rising in a pale, silken sky

shedding upon earth

reclaimed innocence.”

Some poetic hope that Dorian turns to the east and bedevils the sea.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2019

The Struggle of Diabetes, and Hope through Intermittent Fasting.

November 5, 2015

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

I don’t write about my health…or at least I don’t remember doing so.  I have been a diabetic for around 12 years, I think, though datelines on this disease are generally hard to pin down.

Mostly I have lived in denial, or made half-baked attempts at doing something about this disease.  However, I have been seeing different diabetic doctors and frankly?  They don’t seem to really get to the root of this ailment.  At least they don’t to me, except to prescribe more and more drugs.  Perhaps this is just the state of American medicine, but I think there are so many conflicting theories out there about diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, etc., that  it overwhelms them and patients, all of us together.

Two months ago I had an appointment with my GP.  I like him, he is a dear person, but I do think that his only real answer is more drugs. And more tests.  Five years ago I started a course of insulin and gained twenty pounds in six months on the injections.  Being then a belly dance teacher, my midriff bloated and was marked by the bruising of the daily needle.  Not an attractive sight for students or anyone looking.

I was really stressed at the weight gain and even intensive walking and dieting didn’t do much.  So I quit the insulin and the diabetic symptoms continued, though the bloating stopped.  I was rather lucky because the only outward sign of the disease was a numbness in my feet, or more so a pins and needle feeling.  At times I couldn’t touch my feet with a washcloth because of the extreme sensations. I am sure that there were more things going on inside of me, serious stuff, but I didn’t feel much of the effects.  And that is probably the problem with diabetes:  It’s called a silent killer, along with the extremely high blood pressure that seems to go along with the disease.

My sweet doctor put me back on insulin, and tried to prescribe Humalog, and other ‘stuff’ but I refused everything besides the insulin.  Metformin was ok, because it has some benefits besides diabetes, but it seems to lose its efficiency in a matter of years.

Since that depressing appointment, and the different hospital tests that I was registered for, I have done a lot more research.  I have read everything I could on the internet, plus a pile of books by different diabetes gurus I had at hand.

I needed to make a radical rupture with what I knew and what I was told by my doctors.  And within the last few weeks I see a ray of more than hope:  I see progress.

I have come to believe that the root problem for Type II diabetics is usually insulin resistance.  The body is complex but there seems to be a general path to all of this.  Or perhaps individual bodies are different, and respond in different ways, but there are some universal truths out there.

Insulin makes you fat.  I won’t repeat what I have learned through my reading, anyone diabetic can read for themselves, but giving a Type II diabetic insulin seems wrong: counterproductive.  More insulin leads to a higher Insulin Resistance, or so it seems.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I am not addressing Type I diabetics because that is of a different nature and way beyond my interest.  I am just trying to make a breakthrough in my own health and future.

For the past month, I have been following a routine of IF:  Intermittent Fasting and a relatively low carbohydrate diet.  But what I feel is of most value is the IF factor:  There are different methods to do this, some fast for two days a week and eat “normally” the remaining five days, and some fast everyday a matter of hours.  I have fallen into the latter routine.  And I see amazing results already.

I was on Victoza  for about a year and a half, but it really stopped working in my system.  Apparently my results are not unusual.  I also suffered two episodes of pancreatitis because of the Victoza (I was warned in their literature of this possibility) and didn’t want to push it.

IF works (at least for many) because we  have evolved not eating everyday, or stuffing our mouths all day.  That was the way life was:  you hunted, and if you were successful, you ate.  Otherwise, you grubbed for roots and berries. You could go for days without food.  You basically fasted more time than you had access to food.

Today?  We can supply ourselves with food at any time and at all hours. And what we are eating is modified, intensively processed and artificial.  Grains have been modified in the 60’s, especially wheat and corn.  What were slower digesting carbs now metabolize in the mouth and then in the gut.  Slow is no longer available to many of our grains. Beans are better, but are heavy, slow digesting carbs.

I ditched the insulin very recently.  I fast for 18-20 hours in a 24 hour period.  It’s easier than it seems because in doing so, my hunger seems to have dropped off in two weeks.  I try not to eat after 6-7pm at night and I don’t eat anything until 2 or 3pm.  I allow myself a 4-5 hour window of time to eat.  And I eat mostly low carb, but I do fudge on some fruit….apples, pears, mostly.

Thankfully I am asleep for most of those hours….and my sleep is better after struggling with this for many years. I do drink green teas and lemon water upon waking, but have dropped coffee…just because I am losing the taste for it.

Apparently it takes a LOT of energy to digest food.  Having a period of rest for the gut and digestion enables the body to redirect energy to other places in the body. And repair systems, cells, etc.

I have pushed myself a bit on this routine this week because of the results in blood sugar:  Yesterday, without insulin,….105….today….122.  The numbers are good to me, though the point is to get them consistently in the ‘normal’ range…..around 100 or lower.  That will come, but I am very surprised at the results so early on in this venture.  Low carb is very much part of it, but the main factor I believe is in the Intermittent Fasting.

I don’t see my doctor again until after the first of the year.  The holidays are almost upon us, but low carb is easily followed with turkey and salads, greens, butter, the wonderful stuff of eating that actually is healthy for us.  High fat, but not too much of that.

We are told (us diabetics) that diabetes gets worse as we age. Perhaps so if we continue down the paths we have been going.  I am trying to make a radical rupture with everything I think I can change and control.  Already I have lost another 5 lbs in a couple of weeks, and I haven’t tried at all.  It’s been raining here for a while, and my dogs refuse to walk in the rain.  We will see what exercise we can get when the sun starts to shine, but already, my blood pressure is much better and I have a lot more energy.  Perhaps IF is similar in effect to serious exercise.  Something to think about….

I have come to believe that Insulin Resistance is the root problem in diabetes and this isn’t addressed strongly enough by the medical community. High blood sugars are just part of the symptoms, but not the root cause of our disease. So we have to figure it out ourselves.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

Mimi Cat August

Mimi says “Eat mice, silly…no problems at all”.

“BlackBerry Winter”, a poem for Steve Isaak.

March 11, 2015

Blackberry Winter

Blackberry Winter

It’s almost Spring, and the weather this week seems complacent, giving in to our hopes for gentler weather. Though it’s dicey to plant anything down here in the South before Easter, I have put in a long row of onions and hope for the best. Never had any luck with onions, because you have to ‘hill’ them, plant them shallow, and push the soil from their growing bulbs. I’ve done the hills and we expect rain this whole week, but as I sit here writing, the sun is coming out and rain seems will be spotty. I have trays of tomato seeds germinating on my painting table in front of a large window and tender sprouts are raising their leaves above the plastic.

I love Winter, but this one gave us nothing but cold weather, no snow and that was a major disappointment for me. The new woodstove has finally been learned by us, and now it’s not called “the worse stove ever”. There’s intelligence in these things and ours was wanting.

Steve Isaak is a poet friend from California of many years standing.  It is good to have poets as friends.  They nudge you in the direction of what you are not writing lately by their friendship, and they a generally, when their hearts are forgiving, loyal.

Lady Nyo



It is Blackberry Winter

One last shot across

The bow of an emerging Spring.


Winter does not play fair,

It will not give up the ghost

Exit with a dignified bow

Preferring to show its rotting last tooth.


The blackberries are blooming

Kernels of lusty fruit,

Black as midnight

Sweet as a baby’s kiss,

Unavoidable staining of hands and mouths

To be shared with a snake or two down below.


The Easter planting is done

The earth knows your game

And blankets seeds

With dark, moist soil

Cozy enough to shelter tender life.


We will make blackberry wine

From Blackberry Winter.

The present chill will

Sweeten the fruit.

And will toast this short

Spell of Winter’s fading glory.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

“A Reason For The Season”

December 16, 2012

Within the hope of Christmas, the Winter Solstice and other cultural holidays, comes the unbelievable tragedy of Newtown, Conn. Our hearts are broken.

Lady Nyo


I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starved fledging who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of the season, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our early winter rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of wood smoke in the air and the crispness of morning means some of nature is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009. 2012

Letter from Sendai, Letter of Hope

March 24, 2011

cherry blossoms from Sendai

A good friend sent me this letter yesterday. It was sent to her from a woman in Sendai.  It is a beautiful letter, full of hope and gives a clear understanding not only what has happened to life in Japan, but what is happening in  positive ways.  To pluck out the good from such a massive tragedy is truly amazing.  There are so many lessons  for us, and this short letter moved me so much, I thought it right to post it on my blog.  Thank you, Bren, for sending this to me.  It made all the difference.  It is an amazing testament to the human spirit. An enormous Cosmic evolutionary step happening all over the world, indeed!

Lady Nyo

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to
have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even
more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home.
We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep
lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly,
and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit
in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to
get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in
their home, they put out a sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and

It’s utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing
in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an
earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in
the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens
are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half
a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all
of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has
washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more
important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of
non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of
caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some
places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun.
People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their
dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars.
No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with
stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled.. The
mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them
silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see
if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need
help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for
another month or more.. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking,
rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit
elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better
off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country,
bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed
an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world
right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening
now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I
felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as
part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of
birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me.


Basically, an anti-radiation diet should focus on the following foods:
· Miso soup· Spirulina, chlorella and the algaes (kelp, etc.)·
Brassica vegetables and high beta carotene vegetables·
Beans and lentils· Potassium, calcium and mineral rich foods·
High nucleotide content foods to assist in cellular repair including
spirulina, chlorella, algae, yeast, sardines, liver, anchovies and mackerel, Cod liver oil and olive oil· Avoid sugars and sweets and wheat

Three Poems Upon Viewing the Moon Last Night

March 20, 2011

A dear friend, Bren, issued a challenge yesterday: to write a poem about the moon last night.  No poetry of mine can capture the beauty of that particular moon.  It filled the eyes and sky as nothing I can remember.

The great tragedy in Japan was not far from my thoughts as I watched, riveted to the eastern early night sky.  I was sitting under two plum trees and gentle breezes cascaded white petals  into my lap.  Time of sorrow, time also of hope.

Lady Nyo


The moon tonight

Blood orange orb

Duenna of the cosmos

Looms in a velvet sky.

Slipping her moorings

She floats closer to earth

A commanding  presence

Creating wonderment beneath

And pulling our eyes to Heaven.


Is there a moon viewing party

In Japan tonight?

Destruction, sorrow

Covers the land,

Despair, loss

Regulates the heart.

Perhaps the moon presence

Is of little interest

And less comfort.

Perhaps sorrow goes too deep

To raise our eyes above the grave.


Her gleam falls upon all

A compassionate blanketing

Of the Earth,

Softening the soiled,

Ravaged landscape,

A beacon of promise

Of the return to life-

Beauty to nature.


Two weeks and the cherry trees

Would have opened in Sendai.

Beautiful clouds of scented prayers

Falling upon upturned faces,

An eternal promise of hope for the earth

Swept out to sea

With a good part of humanity.

I will sit beneath the moon tonight

I will sit beneath a cherry tree

Feeling the kiss of bridal blossom

Fall upon my sorrowful face.

I will count falling petals,

And offer each up as a prayer.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

“A Reason For The Season”, posted for OneShotPoetryWednesdays

December 28, 2010

I posted this in the beginning of December and thought it a good sentiment to end the month and the year.

Merry Christmas, or the politically correct form: Happy Holidays, though the Winter Solstice is in there somewhere.

Lady Nyo


I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear. Their chiding cries float down to upturned faces.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our late autumn rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of woodsmoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and our fecal plugs and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2010

“Plum Snow”

March 23, 2010

Plum Tree on the cusp of Spring

“Plum Snow”

The soft white petals

Of plum trees are blowing around,

A winter-spring snow storm.

The brook is still choking on ice

With a promise of babble to come.

I raise my arms to

Heaven, and yell:

“Give over this rawness of Nature!”

Then in more pleading tones:

“Bring warmth to the marrow,

Comfort with gentler winds.”

Today I hug life

And buy its promise.

Tomorrow I don’t know

But today I do.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

Voluntary Simplicity, ecology and changing the patterns of our lives.

June 27, 2009

I have been thinking of a lot of issues, some not new, some dropped for other things, and some that will not stay down.  We can get detoured in life by personal issues, and we can lose the bigger picture.

Sometimes aging helps as we try to refocus our eyes, energies towards something that means more than what we see around us and what we are doing.  We live in the West surrounded with material abundance and a lot of spiritual confusion.  We can hide our behavior within the confines of Orthodox or Liberal religions, but that is a shell.  The true mark of a person is our relationship to the rest of the world, perhaps where we step out of the comfort or the boundaries of what we know and open ourselves to things alien and unknown.  Our experiences and influences should be challenged and growth is only possible when we do so.

Recently these things have come home to me as I find myself dissatisfied with what I see around me and with a yearning to do something ‘more’.  Perhaps all of us are influenced, affected by the current world economic situation. We should be.  Even if we suffer only a small fraction of what is happening, we can not stand aside and continue to ignore or to dismiss that events are world changing and earth shaking.

I believe we stand at a critical juncture.  For a while, it was a time of withdrawal, a time of research, a time exploration into those things of interest, but perhaps ultimately shallow and not supportive of life.  The dualism of our thinking (which pits materialism against spiritualism) must be transcended if we are to be generators of a new world; and there can be no doubt that we need to resolve and reform many things in this world.

It’s not only myself that has been pushed to this realization, but friends from some unexpected places.  Mac the Knife, a writer and practitioner of shibari  (  is turning some acreage into biofuel, a three year plan of organics that takes him far afield from what I know of him.  Jimi Tatu of  shibari fame and teaching is also presently working hard on their (his and Sumi’s) little farm.  Other friends are working in intensive organic gardens and turning their efforts to these things because they believe these things are the ‘stuff’ of a better life, a deeper committment to the Earth for better reasons.

Recently I found my old copy of “Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin.  I sat down to read this book, printed in 1981, and realized how much I didn’t understand when I first read it, (20 years ago), yet it did have a fundamental influence on me and propelled me into Quakerism, (which lasted for 12 years) and ecological issues which lasted longer.  I wrote for major publications on permaculture up until 2005, urban pioneering and intensive gardening, lectured locally a bit, but then put these issues on a back burner of life when other things became of interest.  Still, these issues were deeper and broader than what I was recently experiencing and they never stopped nagging at the edges of my consciousness.

Recently I received a lovely letter from Duane Elgin, encouraging me, thanking me for my passionate poetry in a compassionate life.  I was amazed.  And I thought a bit more about that ‘compassionate life’.  Really, what did my life account for?  And I wondered just how much compassion I really exhibited.

I had to think more on what I was doing.  Some recent influences helped, and a letter from Dr. RK Singh helped lay some of these issues bare.  When we think we are alone in our dismay and confusion, we can get overwhelmed.  When we realize that we are part of the bigger picture of it all, we can take comfort and ask for ideas and glean guidance.

I wrote to RK about my anger concerning religions….all religions, and I received this answer:

“I agree with you, Jane, that no religion is diseased beyond redemption. And it is the followers of religions, and their gurus, that corrupt and debase humanity to the lowest level. We see all around us in India the naked game of what you call “prejudiced rationalization for hatred and contempt” by the right wing political parties and groups, but the silent majority only suffers. I have been UNCOMFORTABLE with institutionalization of faith/religion/ideology as it ultimately corrupts and degrades humanity. Politicalisation of all such groups, without excluding fundamentalists,  in the  name of democracy has ruined the prospect  of living in the environment of  tolerance  and peaceful coexistence. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the current trends continue for another five to ten years.
I have always thought I am a misfit in this world and have been living a life of helplessness. As I composed the following haiku this morning:

Not a day without
begging gods to solve problems–
faith in helplessness

We like it or not, the game of convenience has been  taking its toll, and willy-nilly, we all have been participants in it.


RK is writing about religions, he is also hitting at broader issues.  The web and fabric of all of our lives that ideology, religion, politics have impacted.  We can not avoid any of this. He is acutely aware of this.

I hope in future blog entries to write more about the fundamentals of Voluntary Simplicity because that is where I am starting. Well, my husband Fred and I are starting.  We know that we have gone far afield in this issue…and we need to regroup, rethink our lives and go forth with a plan.  With our friends above, and the understanding that we are not alone, at all, that others with consciousness are feeling these same Discomforts,  we can choose to make a difference in our lives and impact the environment around us.

It all is a matter of a further evolution, after all.

Energy of hope

expresses the dynamics,

We roll up our sleeves.

Lady Nyo

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