Happy winter solstice

There is a man in Boulder — tall, thin, long beard and hood shrouded. Most would call him homeless. His “home” is the streets of Boulder.

He walks night and day — every day, in rain, snow and shine — a white plastic bucket in one hand, a 3-foot “grab pole” in the other. He picks up trash systematically, methodically, all the detritus rich people drop. As he does this every day, he checks the parking meter slots just in case someone forgot to pick up a quarter.

It was not much, but I handed him $5. We stopped. I thanked him. He said, “Thank you. I do this for people like you.”

Gulp. Mindfulness like this is humbling, breathtaking.

I don’t know his name, but if ever the winter solstice spirit could be epitomized during this season, it is this man, as people rush around in their Porsches and Beamers, attending churches but not seeing the forest for the trees.

This man sheds light upon us all.

Phil Brittin, Boulder

Alternative answers to chronic pain

Chronic pain is the fuel to the fire for addiction to prescription medications. It is terrifying to know that the drugs doctors prescribe recommend have the power to create addiction. The doctors we trust to give us the best advice are the very people who can significantly hinder our lives.

As a CU Boulder student and being far away from home, I have a fear that if I get in an accident, I will be prescribed a pill and I will simply accept it because a doctor told me to do so.

Drugs prescribed for chronic pain are not only addicting, but expensive as well. According to the New York Times, “The American College of Physicians recently issued new nondrug guidelines for treating chronic or recurrent back pain, a condition that afflicts approximately one-quarter of adults at a cost to the country in excess of $100 billion a year.” $100 billion dollars is a scary number and will only increase if Americans continue to consume prescriptive drugs at this rate.

Is there any other option? There is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). This form of medicine has been around since the ancient Greek era yet is not accepted as a form of medicine by the medical community today. CAM has the power to treat and possibly cure chronic pain as well as diseases. CAM comes in many forms; it is up to you to figure out which one will work best for your physical health, mental health and lifestyle. Some forms of CAM include yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation and a healthier diet. Alternative medicine has the potential to change your life for the better. It has the potential to end the addiction to prescription drugs.

Tasia Kieffer, Boulder

Sexual harassment is a scourge

This letter is in response to the articles covering the sexual harassment allegations made against men in the media and government throughout the United States.

To all males living in this country, I issue a collective statement: Enough already! Who are you to impose your sexual desires on someone without their consent? Once again, we are witnessing those in positions of authority taking advantage of their power. Resignation is the least you can do. Prosecution is the best we can do … and we will.

What did you expect to gain from making unwanted sexual advances on a human being? If this isn’t an indication of the failure to grow up, I don’t know what is. Those men who have perpetrated this transgression must seek counseling before they destroy more lives executing their perverted conquest. Otherwise, time spent in prison will allow them to dwell on their evil actions while trying to survive an environment that is the closest equivalent to hell on Earth.

I had the advantage of growing up with four sisters, which some say predispositions males to be kinder to females throughout all stages of life. Frankly, I remember times when I was embarrassed for making incidental contact with a female followed by an immediate apology.

Ladies of America, please be assured that the actions of a few do not represent the feelings and beliefs of the many. You are our mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, etc., who compose one equal half of the species we call the human race. For that matter, do not despair, because the honest and gentle men of this country know better than to act inappropriately in your company. We will always cherish your beauty, charm and, most importantly, intelligence. Now help us to drive this dreadful scourge from the planet once and for all.

It is up to all of us. Let us begin.

Joe Bialek, Cleveland, Ohio