Being Healthy and Being Frida!

Unlike Frida, I was born at a time when there was finally a vaccine for polio. That’s what afflicted Frida at 7 years old and my cousin Cleonice when she was only 12. I was lucky to be spared when so many other children in my family and neighborhood fell victims to this terrible disfiguring disease.carmen_64

However when I was 7, I contracted hepatitis and missed most of my 2nd grade classes. I recovered in third grade. I was always very skinny and sickly but I dreamed of being healthy forever: my childhood dream. I made it to adulthood surviving being surrounded by dire poverty in the barrio of Afogados, Recife, in northeastern Brazil. I also overcame tonsillitis at 3 years old, an appendectomy and 3 C-sessions.

I know that I have been far more healthier and luckier than La Frida! She had over 30 operations during her lifetime of pain and suffering. She was never able to carry a pregnancy to term and had terrible headaches and hip bone pains. I count my blessings everyday for my health and well being.

Being healthy in today’s society does not come easy for anyone, or so it seems. I now have come to realize and believe that health is ultimately a question of balance!

But it takes a lot of work to figure out. Is your food local? What about calories? Sugar? Gluten? How about allergies, the flu or a fall… there are so many factors and that’s where the work and time comes in. How do we keep ourselves healthy?

For me nutrition is so important and food is medicine! I prefer food that is natural, wholesome and nourishing. No processed food for me. I try to eat as simple as possible and in very modest amounts. I prefer mostly vegetables and fruits.

carmen_73Exercise is another big part of my day. Walking, dancing and stretching are vital and should be part of everyone’s daily routine. Our bodies are made to move it is what keeps it lubricated and in balance.

Laughter and music are also healers in my life. I need to laugh every day. Laugh hard, laugh until your belly hurts and sometimes I laugh so hard I cry. Music is one activity that utilizes most of our brain cells. It is healing to listen to music and there are so many options for music in our daily lives. Take advantage of it!

Art and culture cures. How? When you immerse yourself in an art project, we activate our humanity and become part of the energetic creative process which to me is super therapeutic!

Frida found comfort in her food, lots of laughter and Art! Her cackle is legendary. She kept her suffering in ‘check’, while always eyeing la muerte arriba de su cama / with death looking over her shoulders and never giving up her desire for moments of bliss and absolute health.

This is what continues to inspire me as an artist and a healthy human being!

I love being outside in nature, being enveloped by music and doing art. These are all very important activities. Even singing or dancing alone or in groups is an excellent healthy way of developing a positive attitude toward life. Doing yoga on a daily basis has been a big part of my life for many years and most of all LOVING YOUR FAMILY and Friends. Frida too had lots of friends….. Frida and I are so different from each other yet we have so much in common: food, laughter, love and Art!