July’s celebration on the 4th signifies the U.S. claiming independence from the monarchic rule of Great Britain and its king almost a quarter of a millennium ago. It was a time of new beginnings for the colonists, a time to reinvent policy and government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We cannot take our freedoms for granted as there are those among us who still lack some of those freedoms. It seems we still have much work to do in making sure all of us are able to “pursue happiness”.

Yes, happiness is an inside job, and I do believe it’s essential to protect that. Let’s take a moment to reflect on what we have, our special skills, gifts and, within that place of knowing ourselves, understand the broader picture, the longer view in how we can best use those gifts for the betterment of others. For some people, that thought may bring to mind a close friend, family member, or a neighbor. To others, it may include a wider array of people, and a few of us are in a position to impact on a more global scale. The point is not how many we seem to be affecting by our service; the point is that that’s what we’re doing. All of us are integral to the health and wellness of our society and the planet.

 

Diversity within our nation is its strength, as mirrored in Nature. Today, there’s an opportunity to understand Nature even better and the vital role diversity plays within each eco-system. When the coral reefs off the coastline of Broward County are showing stress, that is an opportunity to step in and understand how it is that we are contributing to that stress. How can we effectively serve the coral reefs? We can do better, and we will, through continuing education and finding ways to inspire our readers to find effective ways to have a positive impact.

 

Let us celebrate the local writers that take the time to contribute to our magazine and our national team that does an amazing job researching for our readers, providing a constant flow of health and wellness information from diverse sources. It is through this continual supportive education and taking action that we can improve our own health and wellness, positioning ourselves to then better serve our planet, our Mother Earth. When Mother Earth shows signs of stress, it’s a reflection on us. When she is “happy” and in balance, we can reflect that, knowing that we are doing what we can to keep ourselves and her in balance.

 

It’s through the stretching and broadening of our own horizons that we climb the summit, working and, of course, playing (see article on play, page ​22) with others along the way.

 

Also included in this issue is an insightful article on agriculture in the city (page ​24). The concept of greening our cities with plants is a great way to help reduce heat, clean the air, be more sustainable and feed the population. There are many reasons to plant edibles. We note that a Fort Lauderdale Italian restaurant owner funds vertical gardening at a local community garden.

 

Another article we believe you’ll enjoy is on Forest Bathing (page​ ​32). We are blessed to have so many parks in Broward County and, of course, the coastline is amazing. Enjoy delving into a new nearby park and sit, stand, or lay down in Nature; soak in the sights, sounds, and smells that abound. Feel the gentle breezes and connect with your deepest essence and inner self with Mother Nature as the catalyst.

 

Breathe in and feel; plan on it.

 

Susie Q Wood