Connect with Nature

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Barbara M. Harison

It is Spring and a great time to get outdoors. The drought years in California are over and there are more poppies and wildflowers than we have seen in many years. I am grateful to be healthy and enjoy walking, golfing and swimming laps. I have been fortunate to benefit from the Vertex drug Kalydeco (Ivacaftor) for over two years. I haven’t needed to head to the hospital since taking this drug. I will turn 71 in May and I'm still living an active lifestyle. A few weeks ago my husband and I decided to connect with nature and headed up to Ojai to visit Taft Botanical Gardens. What a treat!

Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve is a 264 acre property nestled in the foothills of Ojai near Lake Casitas. It is a secluded outdoor setting; a sanctuary for native plants, with winding paths through Australian and South African garden areas. There is also an art studio, amphitheater, meditation areas and a Buddha. I recently got back into yoga and was pleased to see the Buddha. I actually taught yoga back in the 1970’s but over the years with a busy career, I forgot how good yoga is for the body and the mind. It is uplifting like the words from the poet Rumi. Now that I am retired I enjoy the mindfulness that yoga can bring.

CFLF has awarded 33 grants for yoga over the past 10 years. One recipient, a 26-year old from Utah, said, "Yoga has given me the gift of being able to work on myself through physical exercise. Every single time I come to the mat it gives me an opportunity to find myself. This practice makes it possible for me to learn more about myself. It has taught me to be more grounded and stable even through the darkest times."

The Loretta Morris Fund, founded in memory of my sister, has awarded several Recreation Grants to people, mostly in California, for the activites she and I enjoyed most. One woman, in California, who's in her mid-fifties and received a grant for yoga through the Loretta Morris Fund, states: "I truly believe if I did not have yoga I would not be alive.” 

Many grant recipients have demonstrated the health benefits and impact of yoga and other fitness activities on their lifestyle. They have followed Rumi- “You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.” There is new hope on the horizon as the CF community awaits FDA approval of the potential new Vertex drug combination Tezacaftor with Ivacaftor. This combo will potentially treat many more CF patients with one or two copies of the delta F508 mutation. Until then, may we all get outdoors, connect with nature, and “breathe in positive, exhale negative.” And remember NAMASTE!


  Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-



Barbara Morris Harison lives in Ventura, CA and served two terms on the CFLF Board. She was diagnosed with CF at age sixty four (64). She lost a sister to CF forty-five (45) years ago and established the Loretta Morris Memorial Fund with CFLF in 2010. Barbara is retired after a long career in public parks and recreation administration and management of her own consulting business, Harison & Associates. When she is not swimming laps or golfing she volunteers for community organizations.



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***Views expressed on the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation***   

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