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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Conscious Aging

Caral, Peru (America's oldest known city)
Aging - and particularly conscious aging is a concept I've written about in the past on this blog, and some of my radio shows have also been on this topic. Today I chanced across an article about this very important way developmental psychology focuses on the aging process by Harry R. Moody.


What does it mean to say that Conscious Aging represents a new form of "growth" in later adulthood? It means that Conscious Aging amounts to a higher level of functioning correlated to the distinct chronological stage of later adulthood. Both level and stage, hierarchy and chronology, are included in this definition of "Conscious Aging."

"Conscious Aging" has emerged as a social ideal at a specific moment in history, in the first decade of the 21st century. This historical moment reflects the convergence of two historical trends: the evolution of psychology to include humanistic, transpersonal and lifespan development theory; and the widening impact of population aging in all post-industrial societies. The evolution of psychology toward a deeper view of the human person can now join with the societal transformation of institutions to create new opportunities for positive development in later life.

Within this framework of lifespan development theory and transpersonal psychology it is possible to define more precisely what is meant by "positive development" in later life. The psychologist Gisela Labouvie-Vief has drawn a contrast between two very different trajectories of "positive development" in old age (Labouvie-Vief, 2000). The first, which I will label the "holistic" line, is a pathway characterized by increasing integration of divergent elements of the self, both rational and emotional, to yield a more complex structure. This is the process Jung calls individuation, a pathway that includes growing awareness ("conscious aging") in later life.
Second, there is a trajectory for positive development, which I will label the "adaptation," characterized by ability to maintain optimal well-being in the face of age-associated losses. This second trajectory is what Rowe and Kahn call "successful aging." We know from a growing body of research that this second trajectory is correlated with the multiple dimensions of "life satisfaction."

But what is the relationship between "Conscious Aging" and "Successful Aging?" If they are not exactly the same, how can they be distinguished? Let us begin by saying that the holistic strategy of Conscious Aging is not necessary for positive aging for most people. Conscious Aging represents an option, only one pathway, perhaps not a typical pattern, for coping with the challenges of later life. Many individuals can achieve mental wellness without becoming ever more and more conscious but by simply by adapting themselves to age-related losses and changes. They may age "successfuly" but not "consciously."

The holistic and the adaptive pathways are both viable but different alternatives to mental wellness in later life. Individuals may combine elements of both coping styles, but they represent distinct trajectories for positive development.

Conscious Aging-- the holistic line of development-- is not an easy path nor is Conscious Aging likely to appeal to a majority of those entering old age. Far more appealing, we might imagine, would be alternatives such as Successful Aging and Productive Aging. The reason is not hard to imagine. Both alternative strategies of aging represent efforts to sustain or optimize values already enshrined by mainstream culture: namely, "success" and "productivity."

Both Successful Aging and Productive Aging are strategies for making old age into a "second middle age," in effect denying the losses of aging altogether. This strategy of denial can be quite effective. Depending on life circumstances, individuals may achieve positive life satisfaction and mental wellness without any greater growth in consciousness or wisdom. They may simply remain themselves, adapting to new conditions but sustained by familiar midlife habits in keeping with Kastenbaum's definition of aging as "habitatuation" as the beginning of old age (at any chronological age).

By contrast, the strategy of Conscious Aging typically entails a long struggle, described in detail in The Five Stages of the Soul (Moody, 1997). Conscious Aging means going beyond patterns of ego strength acquired during youth and mid-life. This message of struggle is precisely the one that world wisdom traditions have always conveyed. It is a message at odds with today's culture, in its modern and "post-modern" varieties. Rationality, assertiveness, moral certitude, mastery of the environment, and similar qualities are very different from the stance recommended by spiritual paths such as Zen Buddhism, Sufism, or mystics in the Jewish and Christian traditions. On the contrary, mystical traditions celebrate "the way of unknowing" (overcoming rationality), "emptiness" (giving up self assertiveness), even entering what Buddhists call "the Great Doubt" in the face of cosmic mystery. Post-conventional spiritual traditions typically entail a "dark night of the soul," which might be described as "regression in the service of the ego." In the most profound mystical tradition, the way of transcendence entails at its highest point the "loss of the self:" that is, dissolution of conventional ego structures altogether (Roberts, 1992). At this point there is a stark contrast between opposing tendencies of holistic verus adaptive paths of positive development in later life.

Conscious Aging, as an emerging cultural ideal, represents a genuinely new stage and level of psychological functioning. As a way of life and a level of consciousness, Conscious Aging has appeared at a distinct moment in history. Yet the holistic path of late-life development is not a new idea but a possibility long familiar in the spiritual traditions of the world, which depict later life as a time for the growth of consciousness and wisdom. Still, those same traditions caution us to expect some degree of tension between dominant institutions, with their ruling ideas about "successful aging," and the more holistic path involved in becoming the person we were meant to be, in becoming more conscious of ourselves and of the cosmic mystery.

[Note: This article is adapted from the chapter by H.R. Moody • "Conscious Aging: A Strategy for Positive Development in Later Life" which appears in Judah Ronch and Joseph Goldfield (eds.) Mental Wellness in Aging: Strength-based Approaches, Human Services Press, 2002.]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Be Who You Are With the People You Love

Blue Bay Beach. Kiwengwa, Zanzibar
The author of a book I recommended recently: Happiness is a Choice, makes mention of something that is so obvious, so important, and yet so rare.

Asked during the question-and-answer period after a seminar, by one of the participants, how he and his wife had managed to stay married so long, and what the secret to their bliss was, Barry Neil Kaufman replied that what he most loved about his wife, was the fact that when he was with her, it was as though he were alone. In other words, with her, he did not have to pretend to be anything or anyone other than the one he truly is.

And that is what I want to encourage you to do today. Be aware of yourself when you start to be someone you are not, especially when you are with those who love you and whom you love. Being real makes for such a difference in the quality of your life and the happiness you will feel. If you are at the beginning of a new relationship, practice it right from day one. If you are in a relationship of many years' standing, begin to be the one you really are. Become conscious of the moments you pretend to be another and step by step, get rid of that persona and allow your real self to come through. Think your relationship won't be able to take it? You might be surprised.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Using Your Emotions to Learn About Yourself

Notre Dame, Paris
You're angry. You're sad. You're jealous. You're in a rage. You're frightened. You're worried. You're feeling low. Etc. etc. Substitute whichever emotion you like, and in particular - as I have done here - make use of the negative ones, because when you are in their thrall, however briefly, you have a real opportunity to learn something about yourself, as long as you are willing to do what most of us don't like doing.

Looking at yourself.

That's it.

That's all you have to do in order to begin to make use of one of the most precious built-in psychological tools we have: our own emotions, as long as we use them to look at ourselves, instead of looking out at the other or others or the event.

Imagine you have just met someone at a cocktail or dinner party. Say you are a woman. And the person you met is another woman. Something about her makes you dislike her. You explain it to yourself by telling yourself it is because she is so overbearing. And indeed, she might very well be. But the fact that you are affected by it, tells you more about you and your inner make-up, than about her. If it were not something you need to be looking at, you would actually not be reacting to her. You would notice this characteristic of hers, but you would not pay any undue attention to it, and you would pass on by to the next person. It simply wouldn't affect you.

But if you look at yourself in order to understand this emotion of yours, it might be telling you that this overbearing characteristic of hers is actually also a part of you that you very much dislike, and because you have not yet recognized it in yourself, is why you dislike it in her...it is always easier to see something outside of oneself rather than within. Or, this characteristic of hers and your emotion in view of it, might be telling you that it is triggering something in you that stems from your childhood, when an overbearing person made you feel inferior. And there might be other explanations.

Let's look at another example. Let's say you are furious because your boss promised you a new arena of responsibility, which would eventually and potentially lead to a promotion and an increase in salary. At the last moment he tells you that he is actually handing it to another colleague of yours, and gives no explanation. So you fume. And visualize throttling your boss. And sleep poorly. And have bad dreams. And continue to be very angry. By now even your digestion has been affected.

So what is going on here? Yes, on the outer level, your boss has indeed done something that appears to merit your anger. But what have you done? You got angry. What else? You fumed. What else? You imagined doing all kinds of nefarious things to your boss. What else? Nothing. And that is the problem. What you are truly angry about, is your sense of self respect that you yourself, by not doing anything when you were informed about this new turn of events, did not respect. You may not be able to do a lot. You may, indeed, not be able to change things back to where they were. But you can stand up for your self respect. And that entails having a conversation with your boss. Stating the obvious. Asking about the change in plans, and pointing out why you were the more suitable candidate. You may not get what you want, but I guarantee you will feel much better after you have stood up for your self respect. A good portion of the anger you are experiencing has much more to do with what you neglected to do for yourself, than with your boss' behavior.

You can see by these two examples that looking at yourself in the face of strong negative emotions, will always give you clues into your inner working. Following that path, using those emotions as a guide, making choices about looking within rather than without, you will soon start chasing down some of the problem areas of your life, and in so doing, find a greater measure of self-understanding and inner freedom.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Healthy Boundaries and the Choices You Make

Djibuti, Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Gulf of Aden (Indian Ocean)


An article by Cherri Britton about businesses and the manner in which they set up their very logical boundaries (i.e., opening times, type of service, payment, when payment is to be made, etc.), caused me to think about this very important subject in our personal lives.

Much has been written about healthy boundaries by numerous authors (see also my article: Do Your Relationship Boundaries Contribute to Your Well-Being?), and we generally encourage the reader to set these boundaries in hind-sight or retrospect, when the damage of poor boundaries has already been done. Evidently, when you are in the middle of your relationships, that is the way to go about it, at least, it is the way to go about it, if you want to make a lose-lose. or lose-win relationship become a win-win relationship. However, it is a tedious process, that often involves so much more than just setting up the boundaries, and telling the person that is crossing the limits - or whom you have allowed to cross those boundaries for such a long time by not speaking up - that his or her attitude, or behavior, or words, or tone of voice, is not acceptable. It involves, as so many know, work on our sense of self love, on our self esteem, on our needs, on our recognition of the bits and pieces of ourselves that we yearn to fill with the other rather than filling with ourselves (see also my July 2006 Newsletter - I Need You...I Need You Not).

So wouldn't it make more sense to sit down and decide what we feel are the correct and healthy and this is what I want to live with boundaries might be in our lives? And then start applying them to all the new people we know? Wouldn't that, in the midst of all of our unhealthy boundaries help us to get some practice so that we could then more readily apply them to those situations where we have been living with unhealthy boundaries for a longer period of time?

You might, for example, sit down and make a list of boundaries for your friends. No calling after a certain time in the evening. No calling during dinner time. How about no calling, or other conversations to off-load their problems and worries and anger on you for longer than five minutes?
How cruel, you might reply. I'm there for my friends. If they need me, I'm there to listen to them. Hmm. Yes. Maybe. But look at it from out of the box: are you really helping them by allowing them to go on and on about something that is not good in their lives? Wouldn't it be more helpful to lead them to another mode of thought, where they concentrate on either resolving the issue at hand, or getting into another frame of mind that is of more use to them? (See also: Being a Victim or Choosing Freedom or Keeping Your Energy High (2)). So this means that you would also need to do some changing, not just expecting a specific type of boundary upheld by your friends. And if you make a new friend during this process, let's say someone who is going through a difficult divorce process, you might begin to uphold those boundaries right from the beginning, by not going down the road of two hour marathons of listening to their problems. Think about it. You can be a much better friend by not doing that, and at the same time, you get to avoid the drain of listening to this long story of woe...

OK, so that might be one type of boundary you could look at. Then you might look at boundaries with your children. Imagine for a moment that you had none. How would you imagine a great relationship with a son or a daughter to be? Courteous behavior? Free, open communication? Total honesty? How about not having them sleep in your bed from birth to age eight? How about them going to bed whenever bedtime is established? How about eating one meal together per day? Haha, I can hear you chuckling drily. That would really be the day. Ok, look at it like this: if you could start over, what would you change? Why not have an open and honest talk with your children about that? Tell them that your relationship with them is one of the most important relationships in your life, but that currently things aren't so good. So could we both change? Could we both work on having healthier boundaries? This is a long topic, but it can be done. It basically requires that you do work on yourself to the same degree as you expect them to do work on themselves.

And your primary relationship? Let's say for the sake of argument that you have just split from your spouse or partner. You are once again on your own. And sooner or later you meet some new people. Be clear in your mind prior to meeting people where you want your healthy boundaries to be. Make a list. Think of all the things in the past that have not worked. But also be very clear where you have been part of the tango in bringing about those problems of the past. Did you say nothing when you last partner stood you up, or made arrangements without consulting you? And did you then get very resentful after this happened on a number of occasions? Well then don't think that this has to do now with you choosing someone who does not do that kind of thing. It has much more to do with you now saying something when that kind of thing happens with a new person. Perhaps the new person won't like you saying whatever it is you will say. And off they go. Well that is good. If you had not said it, it might have resulted, some time down the road, in another marriage with similarly disastrous results as the other one. But if you do say it, and if the new person takes it in stride, and respects this newly-erected boundary of yours, well then, it just may be possible that the two of you have the chance to set up a new kind of relationship.

Do you understand my point? We frequently do not stand up for our boundaries at the beginning out of fear to antagonize the other. This can be very dangerous, as it may set a precedent. It is our own fears that need to be examined. This is the first step to setting healthy boundaries, and in so doing we will experience inner growth and greater inner freedom. Having and setting healthy boundaries implies having a healthy sense of self love and self respect, and all of this implies also feeling respect and consideration for the other.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Joseph Campbell I: The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell has long been one of my favorite thinkers and authors. Teaching mythology classes at university was so much richer thanks to him, and my students often were thrilled by the comparisons he was well-known for making from culture to culture, looking at, for example, the flood myth in different civilizations over epochs of time, as he did the saviour gods, who of course appear in almost every culture, frequently born of a virgin, whose birth is frequently heralded by special magical, or wise men, frequently known to have performed miraculous deeds, frequently killed, often on a cross or tree, and generally resurrected. (This is a hugely fascinating topic, and I recommend that you view Campbell's six 1-hr DVD set The Power of Myth in order to begin to understand his global and historical vision of mythology).

Campbell wrote many books, and I have referred to him in this blog in the past, and was heavily influenced by Jung, another thinker who has shaped my own Weltanschauung.

While both men have died, their legacy is rich and I rarely write something or give a speech, or teach a class or workshop, without in some fashion or another referring to one or both.

Jung spoke of the need for people to individuate, and Campbell spoke of the hero's journey. Both concepts are similar in tenor, as both refer to the process through which we as human beings can - and should - go, in order to become more of that which we are capable of being, and in order to fulfill our individual purpose, find meaning in our lives, and in essence, through our collective growth as individuals, make the world a better place.

Interestingly Campbell refers to our passage through the dark forest where we meet trials and tribulations in our quest to complete the hero's journey, often finding chance helpmeets who allow us to continue our path, while Jung refers to our encounter with the shadow, that part of our own psyche that remains in shadow as long as we do not bring it into the light, in order to become conscious of all facets of our being, in order then, to become free of the shadow's blind reactions to people and events in our lives.

Below is a video that was taken from an interview Campbell granted some time before his death. In it he speaks of myth as a lie, and the hero's journey.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brian Tracy II (You are What You Think)



Here is another very brief statement from Brian Tracy, the success guru, reiterating something most of us can stand hearing just one more time in order for the message to sink in more deeply. Give a minute and 45 seconds to listen to this video.

Dream Symbols 10: Marriage

A wedding in a dream is often felt to be the portent of such an event in real life, or we might say that it is often hoped to be the portent of such an event, but according to Jungian dream interpretation, weddings in dreams speak, in fact, of something quite different, that, as always, if you have been following these posts about dream symbolism, has to do with the dreamer's inner life much more than with an outer event.
Jung referred to the mysterium conjunctio as the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy. Jung often used alchemical symbolism in his psychological work, and in this case, it may be easier to understand with the following quote:
The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves. Carl Gustav Jung
That means, among other things, that when you are not aware of what is inside of you (i.e., why you react as you do to external events), then you will continue running into persons and situations that continue to "cause" the same reactions in you over and over again. So you fight it out with the world, or in your relationships, until you become aware of the inner part of you that is actually responsible for the way you react. Only then will the individuals and events that you used to run into, stop being part of your life.
So once you are able to unite the two opposite halves of the self, an inner marriage takes place, and the individual becomes more whole. This, more than anything else, is what the dream wedding symbolizes. Something in the dreamer - on an inner level - has begun to unite.
Previous posts in this series are:

Being a Victim or Choosing Freedom

Symbol of Yin Yang. Photo Credit

It's just the way I am.
My husband/boyfriend/partner always makes me so sad.
My wife/girlfriend/partner always makes me so mad.
When it rains I get so depressed.
When they play "our" song on the radio, I feel so nostalgic.
When my boss gets stressed he yells at me and I resent him so much for it.
They cooked my steak too much, but I don't like to make a fuss, so I had to eat this really tough piece of meat for lunch and now I have indigestion.

My friend stood me up for dinner the other day because some guy she really likes asked her out in the last minute. I'm really happy for her, but I don't think it's right she left me high and dry with nothing to do on a Saturday evening.

Sound familiar? Recognize any of these tunes?

So if you have been reading some of the posts on this blog, you will have realized that in all of the above situations, no matter what the external event, you can choose to see yourself as a victim of circumstance, or you can choose to see other alternatives of action, thought, or feeling, and in so doing, choose freedom. It is freedom, because you no longer have a blind reaction to the external event, but deliberately choose how to react to a given situation.
Choosing to react from a number of different alternatives means you have a choice about the outcome inside of you, and you always have a choice.

See also the following articles from my website and posts from this blog regarding making choicess:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happiness and Gratitude


Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii

Catherine Price, a journalist looking at what positive psychologists recommend in order for people to feel happier, decided to experiment with herself over a period of six weeks in order to determine if the typical exercises make a difference. She writes about her findings in Will Saying Thanks Make Us Happier?

Here's some of what psychologists of this new school of thought recommend (see also my October 2006 Newsletter - Happiness: Has it Become a Science or is it a Question of Luck?)
  • keep a gratitude journal - write down five things you are grateful for on a daily basis (as simple as being grateful for a sunny day, the smile you get from a child, or a favorite pet who shows you his love for you)

  • stop to savor something every day (watch that multi-hued sunset spread out over the horizon, taste the smoothness of that chilled juice going down your throat, enjoy your own laughter as you watch that comedy)

  • write a letter to someone that once did something for you that means a lot to you, and let them know about it

There are many others, but the gist of them all is this: you begin to recognize that you yourself are responsible for how well you feel, for how content you are, for how much happiness there is within you. Realizing that, you will never again be shackled by the misery of only reacting to what happens to you. Taking responsibility for yourself forms part of achieving inner freedom.

Brian Tracy I (If You Could Achieve One Goal in 24 Hours)



This brief video presentation by Brian Tracy may change your conception of how to get to the next place in your life. Have a look and give it a try. You will only need a few minutes to watch it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Keeping Your Energy High (2)

Brazzaville, Congo
Continuing on with the same motif as I expressed in an earlier post Keep Energy High! Watch How You Feed Your Brain, Heart and Spirit, I'd like to encourage you to continually be aware of what you are feeding yourself with. It is the content and the energy of what you read and listen to, that determines where your own energetic frequency lies.
In that earlier post I commented that it's a good idea to make a habit of listening to CD's in your car as you drive to and from work, a drive many of us do alone, and at best we tend to listen to music or the news, or perhaps an audio book, and at worst we basically just waste that precious time, impatiently wishing we had already arrived at our destination.
Another great moment in our day for listening of this type may be as you shave or put on your make-up.

I realized however, that it is not always easy to get good CD's to listen to, especially for people who live in countries outside of the the USA, UK, and Canada.

That's why today, I want to take your attention to four websites I frequently use to get the latest information available about a great many subjects on the edge of discovery, enlightenment, and understanding.

1) A website I recently found (and have added as a link to my link list - on the right side-bar of this blog), called What is Enlightenment?. Downloadable audio programs with progressive thinkers and leaders abound on this website, and they let you download as much as you want for the first two weeks, after which time you will need to become a member. Because their material is downloadable, you can get it into your iPod, or burn it on to a CD and later listen to it in your car. (If you don't have MP3 capacity in your car, you will first need to convert your clip to audio, so that it can be played in your car. You can do this with iTunes).

2) Ken Wilber's The Integral Institute offers Integral Naked on the website, a membership site that is a "multimedia gateway into the world of Integral consciousness. It features weekly audio and video by leading-edge teachers, artists, and visionaries. Often moderated by Ken Wilber, the most influential Integral theorist of our times, these discussions span a wide range of topics, including spirituality, sexuality, psychology, ecology, art, business, and politics. Through these many topics runs a single thread: a focused determination to connect the fragments of the postmodern world into a unifying view of reality and life, interiorly and exteriorly, individually and collectively.

Guests on Integral Naked include: Warren Bennis, Andrew Cohen, Billy Corgan, Michael Crichton, David Deida, Genpo Roshi, Alex Grey, Father Thomas Keating, Robert Kegan, Sally Kempton (Swami Durgananda), Eddie Kowalczyk, Elizabeth Lesser, Carolyn Myss, Julia Ormond, Tony Robbins, Rick Rubin, Marilyn Schlitz, Serj Tankian, Frances Vaughan, Larry Wachowski, and Saul Williams." (source: the site). A free trial membership is for one month.

3) Another website that offers a lot of punch for your money is Coast to Coast am with a wide variety of daily interviews and programs that you may download and burn for easy listening in your car.

4) A website I have mentioned on this blog in the past for cutting-edge downloads is Skeptiko , which is well worth a visit for their downloads of speakers and thinkers.

While all but the last of these four websites come at a low monthly membership fee, and therefore are not free, I nevertheless recommend them all for several reasons:

  • I'd like to encourage you to use your off time to nurture your mind and spirit
  • where else can you get cutting-edge, last minute speakers into your car stereo system at such a low price, and with such speed after the actual talk or interview has taken place
  • where else can you get such a variety of topics and speakers?
  • last but not least, aren't you, your mind, and your spirit worth it?

I would appreciate hearing from readers who have their own favorite sites that offer the type of information I refer to herein, and that is either free or comes at a very low cost and is downloadable to iPod and/or MP3 and audio.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moods and Food and Micro-Nutrients

China
Thought I'd mention some of the books I've come across over a period of time that deal with nutrition-based ways you can improve and change your mood, and that I have often recommended to my clients. In other words, if you are depressed, or anxious, or fearful, or sad with no apparent outer reasons, then it may, according to these authors, be due to a chemical imbalance in your body that you can address by changing what you eat, and possibly supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals, including amino acids.

Clearly I am not the one with expertise in this area, but these authors are, and if you suffer from debilitating moods, even bi-polar and schizophrenic symptoms, as well as ADHD, insomnia and a host of others get discussed, as do alcoholism, and cigarette and drug addiction, then you may well consider it worth your while to look into some of these books in order to try out some of the solutions they present.

The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Rebalance Your Emotional Chemistry and Rediscover Your Natural Sense of Well-Being by Julia Ross, MA

Ross, author of The Diet Cure, here offers a prescriptive plan designed to relieve a variety of ailments from seasonal disorders, stress, irritability and depression. Ross believes that many of these annoying and, in some cases, severely disabling disorders can be relieved through a change in diet and nutritional supplements. Readers are asked to first determine which of four "false moods" they suffer from: a dark cloud, blahs, stress or too much sensitivity. The survey is simple and the questions will immediately resonate with readers: for example, someone who is suffering from the blahs is likely to have difficulty focusing or require a great deal of sleep. Armed with their survey scores, readers can then turn to the appropriate chapter to learn which diets and supplements will be most helpful.Particularly reassuring are the author's detailed explanations of why she advises a particular strategy. While Ross is an advocate for nutritional supplements, she provides a sound overview for all her recommendations.

Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life by Joan Matthews Larson

Larson, author of the bestselling Seven Weeks to Sobriety, believes that many doctors misdiagnose nutritional imbalances as psychological disorders. She argues that most people who are depressed, fatigued or addicted to food, cigarettes or alcohol suffer from a deficiency of vitamins or amino acids that is only exacerbated by drugs like Xanax, Prozac and lithium. Larson provides checklists of symptoms, possible disorders and corrective formulas along with simple but thorough explanations of how the biochemistry works. She plausibly links biochemical emotional problems with the gradual shift in the American diet over the past 60 years toward sugary, carbohydrate-laden and processed foods, which disturb the body's insulin production and deprive the brain of much needed vitamins and nutrients. The author urges readers to seek out doctors to run lab tests in order to identify possible deficiencies, blood-sugar abnormalities and food allergies.

Food and Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best by Elizabeth Somer

What at first glance would appear to be yet another look at the relationships of food with emotional state is, instead, an extremely well-researched probe of what a good diet can mean to both body and mind. Somer, editor of Nutrition Report, dispels many of the myths about specific foods and diet patterns, putting in their place scientific studies showing the links between mood and diet. Among the topics she discusses are food cravings, stress and diet, food allergies and intolerances, eating disorders, premenstrual syndrome and how food can affect sleep patterns. More than 100 tables, charts and worksheets help readers evaluate their diets and make appropriate changes. Menus and recipes are also included, and the need for supplements is discussed. Readers will appreciate Somer's no-nonsense style and the absence of contrived anecdotes to make important dietary points. Although some may find that the book gets off to a slow start, those who stick with it will find a valuable nutritional sourcebook.

Note: all book reviews are from http://www.amazon.com/ from the editorials on the same page as the books themselves respectively.

There are many, many more, but I believe with these you will find much valuable material to undertake a serious study of yourself and your own health.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Super Achievers Driven by Low Self-Esteem?

Chad (Africa)

A super achiever with low self esteem? Sounds more like an oxymoron than anything else. And yet if we take a closer look at what drives the super achiever, we may find precisely a lack of appreciation and recognition of value of the self. What does a person who is driven to achieve success after success actually get in return? A sense of accomplishment you might say…the satisfaction of having arrived at a sought-after goal…the pleasure of success. All of these possibilities are indeed, correct. And many achievers achieve for those reasons. But many others do not.

Many others are driven instead by a need for recognition…a need for appreciation…a need for approval…a need for applause…a need for respect from others…a need for, in other words, an outer admiration and positive reception of the self. Being driven, in other words, by this acknowledgment of the self from others, from an external source, rather than by the intrinsic, internal, self-propelled feeling of achievement.

When the feeling comes from the inside, it is an affirmation of what the individual already knows and believes about him or herself. When, however, the need for the feeling can only be fulfilled by an outer, external source, then it is because the individual does not believe in his or her own value, merit, and worth. This can be a critical situation for the self, because under these circumstances it is forever doomed to seek what it needs by achieving more and more, greater and higher success, in order to assure itself the admiration it requires in order to simply feel good about itself.

The solution to this rather untenable predicament is not as difficult as it may appear at first glance. Often the “comfort zone” (see my earlier post about this topic) is an important factor. Another is the realization that one seeks external approval or recognition by achieving in order to feel good. The next step is to realize that without the external approval one never feels as good about oneself as with it. Next comes the question why this might be so and the rather evident answer that it involves one’s sense of self esteem. If this sense of self esteem were on a healthy level, one would not need the external recognition, because then one would offer this sense of recognition to oneself, by oneself. And therein lies the final step to the solution: working on one’s sense of self esteem by giving to oneself all of the approval and accolades one would give to another who does or achieves as oneself does. In other words, treat, admire, and respect yourself as well as you would treat your most dearly beloved partner, friend, child, or admired associate. You deserve it and you are worth it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pederasty and the Church

Vatican City. Photo Credit


Reading about the proceedings in the recent Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese settlement with 508 plaintiffs has once again left me reeling. 508 cases of sexual abuse, many of which included pederasty and pedophilia.

It seems to me that when that happens out in the world rather than within the sacred confines of Mother Church, we punish the perpetrators with jail sentences. Then we make sure they never have another opportunity to have close contact with children.

And here money is being paid in order to avoid a trial with all its unwanted publicity, oblique apologies are made, and we’re back to business as usual.

Boston left me reeling too.

A documentary I saw several years ago about pederasty in the Catholic church in Brazil was equally horrifying in its seeming lack of care about the innocents who have been harmed.

France, Portugal, Germany...and we are told this is only the tip of the iceberg.

How is this possible? Where is the outrage? Who is putting an end to this? Is anyone putting an end to it?

The Process of Success

Algeria

This is an amazing quote I recently read by Andrew Matthews Matthews:

Nature always takes her time. Great oaks don't become great overnight. They also lose a lot of leaves, branches and bark in the process of becoming great.

We can probably all take this to heart. And we can further the analogy a bit...as the great oak is growing, it may suddenly shoot up in a spurt, and for a time it appears as though a great deal of growth is taking place very quickly, and then it slows down again.
And when the leaves begin to fall we don't despair, and believe that the future great oak is dying or has stopped growing. We know that it will continue again a little later once this current process of transformation has come to completion. There may come a time when it is necessary to cut off a branch that is sick or dead. This is also no reason to despair, become frustrated, or lose faith.

Patience with our own success and consequent growth is sometimes necessary. More than patience however, is the recognition that persistence and constancy are part of the process. Step by step, inch by inch, leaf by leaf does the great oak emerge. Inner freedom comes from the knowledge that everything has its time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Families, Morality, and Societal Mores

Sanur Beach, Bali. Photo Credit
Isn’t love the most important thing? Isn’t it on our highest list of priorities? What do we have if we don’t have love? And what do we have if we don’t have our families…or at least those people whom we have chosen to be our family as adults…

I have three sons. None has yet decided to marry. It is entirely possible that one of them may choose a woman I feel is not right for them. Or a woman I don’t like. Or a woman who does not like me. Does that mean I need to try to impose my ideas? Or show the son in question the rightness of my own criteria and judgement over his own regarding the feasibility of the woman of his choice?

Of course not. If I treasure my relationship with my sons, I will respect their choices and do my utmost to have a good relationship with the women of their choice. Why? Because of the love. That is, after all, the most important aspect of a relationship with one’s offspring. The love also implies respect and trust that they are adults to do their own deciding and choosing, and to leave them the autonomy to do these things.

Is it any different if it is a brother? Perhaps one who has decided to end his marriage and begin a relationship with a younger woman of whom I disapprove? Or perhaps I disapprove of his actions. Or perhaps my moral stance, or my religious beliefs, or the societal mores I adhere to, make me feel that what he is doing is inadmissible. Hence I feel obliged to shun his new girl friend. By doing so I evidently damage my relationship with my brother. Perhaps not superficially. But in the depths something is being ripped asunder. Something will never be the same. Why would I do this? Isn’t love the most important aspect of my relationship with him? Is it possible that I can be so blind to the empty dictates of my ego that tell me that because I believe I am right I must endanger my relationship with my brother in order to prove the righteousness of my moral stance?

And is it any different if it is a father? He ended the relationship with my mother. I am an adult. I can see both sides of the spectrum. I may not agree, but if my father is doing the right things in the manner in which the marriage is being dissolved, and showing normal respect for my mother, then must I not respect his choices and decisions due to the love of our relationship? Can I just forget about that and decide to endanger that relationship in order to prove to my father that he is wrong, or that I believe he is wrong, and that therefore I must shun his new choice of companion?

We all know that families and close relationships are fraught with difficulties and emotions that are not always easily and readily dealt with. But wouldn’t all of this be so much easier if we would just keep our eyes on the highest priority: our love for each other and the eternal importance of the relationship we share. Once we have that straight, we can worry about the rest. We can discuss it, we can keep open minds about it, we may be able to make some compromises, but all of that must be secondary to the love we share. That lies at the heart of our close relationships and that must come before all else.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pamplona, Bulls & Sensationalism

San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. Photo Credit

Watching one of the international news channels yesterday – there are so many now – (remember when there was only CNN?), the annual bull runs during the celebration of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, were being shown in all their glory and in all their gore, as yesterday several young men were gored.

We all understand that mass media thrives on sensationalism: murder and mayhem, torture, kidnapping, abuse, incest, pornography, pedophilia, war, genocide, and mass famine to name only a few that are part of our nearly daily news diet. And once a year, the potentially goring bulls become part of that panorama as well.

We also all know that many of us spend a portion of our day viewing this information. We tell ourselves we have to keep up with what is going on in the world. We have to be informed. Where would we be if we didn’t know that another car bomb killed 15 in Baghdad or another suicide bomber killed 8 in Jerusalem, or that another war criminal has been convicted of mass murder and genocide? How can we justify not knowing that another famine is being occasioned in yet another sub-Saharan country due to yet another coup involving a sacking of the country’s wealth? And what would happen if we did not know that another hurricane/tornado/earthquake/tsunami/fire/landslide has devastated another country leaving yet another aftermath of pain and suffering?

Am I minimizing the importance of this? Am I saying we should ignore it?

Not at all.

But I am saying that we need to be careful about the amount of killing and horror and suffering that we take in as a daily diet. Is it really necessary that we view the bulls goring those young men on that news channel because that is what it has decided we should see? Might it not be enough to just read a headline about it? Or perhaps we don’t need to know about it at all? Clearly there are events the world needs to know about in order to ensure they are not repeated. Had the cameras of one of these relentless news channels been present from the inception of Auschwitz, do you really think that six million would have lost their lives in the Holocaust?

However, having said that, I also insist that it is not necessary that we view as an interminable and incessant daily diet every atrocity, every horror and every painful situation that is taking place across the world. This, in and of itself, will not improve the situation. It is not a question of our viewing these terrible global events in order to improve the world. What is clear, however, is that the more we fill ourselves with this gratuitous, sensationalistic visual information, presented 24/7 if we so desire, we lower our energetic frequency. And the lower it is, the less likely are we to be in the right place inside of ourselves, to be able to lend a hand to begin to change matters.

The better we feel, i.e, the better our feeling state is, the more we are capable of undertaking something positive for the improvement of ourselves, our family, our environment, our neighbourhood, our community, our city, our country, our world. And our feeling state can not possibly be in a good place if we nurture ourselves with information the way it is typically presented in mass media. You may choose to watch news shows less frequently, or perhaps you may choose to read headlines in major newspapers rather than watch detailed programs. You can be very well informed without necessarily going into all of the detail we are supplied with. Be as careful with what you let your eyes observe, and your ears hear, as you are with what you put into your mouth. Feed your brain and your senses intelligently. Be conscious of what you take in, rather than taking in whatever is – and however it is – presented.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Plants, Biocommunication & Creation

Photo Credit
You may be old enough to recall the incredible information that came out in the early 70's - a marvellous book by Cleve Backster called The Secret Life of Plants. The author recounted a story of his research with polygraph testing on humans, and decided to "hook" a plant in his laboratory up to the polygraph. He tried to test the plant's reaction to a number of activities, and eventually decided - while he was quite a distance from the plant - that he would burn the leaf, and in the exact moment the thought entered his head, "the recording pen jumped to the top of the chart". The plant had reacted to his thought.

This gave way to many more experiments that were replicated in numerous situations, and eventually published by Backster in a peer-reviewed journal, as well as in his book Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells.

This in turn gave rise to the field of biocommunication, the "general field of study of communication between different biological life forms, mostly in nature, sometimes in the laboratory. It involves the use of instrumentation to observe reactive events occurring in all kinds of life - animal, plat, cellular, microscopic, and so on - and includes observational biology, high-quality observational studies, and study of the effect of human thought and intention on life forms in the environment." Source. On that page, see the article (downloadable as a pdf document) Exploring a Sentient World.

Just as my post of several days ago about Bruce Lipton and The Wisdom of the Cells, today's post intends to bring you closer to very new information that is subtly altering our conception of the universe and our participation in it. If our thoughts can affect the leaf of a plant, and our belief systems can affect our biology, then it is clear, that an energy field surrounds all of us - indeed, everything - and yet we live and behave as though this were not so. Our paradigms are changing, and there is little more exciting than to recognize this as it is happening, and I encourage you to look into this information closely, not only to "be informed", but to make use of it to enhance your life and that of those who surround you.

Shift Happens

glumbert.com - Shift Happens


Have a look at these fascinating numbers and statements about our current and very-near-future world. (The background music is from the movie The Last of the Mohicans.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dream Symbols 9: The House Part 4: The Bedroom

Photo Credit
Apart from the book on symbolism mentioned in a previous post, there are two gems I particularly enjoy and refer to again and again:

Jungian Dream Interpretation: A Handbook of Theory and Practice by James A. Hall. MD

Symbols of Transformation in Dreams by Jean Dalby Clift and Wallace B. Clift.

A dream bedroom may refer to those typical activities that take place in this room: sleeping, resting, sex, relaxation, quietness, sickness, dreaming, etc.

Dreaming about the bedroom may symbolize that something intimate in the life of the dreamer is coming to light in the dreamer's psyche. Because the bedroom refers to that most intimate sphere of one's life, that one generally only shares with someone with whom one is very close, someone whom one loves - or hates - the dream bedroom may be pointing its finger at something that is in difficulty in this most intimate relationship.

If the dream bedroom is that of one's parents rather than one's own, although the dreamer is the one who now inhabits this room from the past, then it may be that the intimate part of the dreamer's life that is coming to light refers to something that is derived from the parental relationship.

The bed in the dream bedroom is also of importance. It brings to mind the phrase as you make your bed, so you must lie in it. In beds one is generally at peace, no one can make demands of one, but if the bed in the dream bedroom is too large for the room, or takes up too much space, or is of a frightening color, or is somehow menacing, it may be symbolic of the fact that the dreamer spends too much of his or her waking life thinking about or engaging in bedroom activities, or that there is some kind of difficulty in the sexual arena.

If the dreamer is very aware of the decoration or other architectural details of the bedroom, then this becomes important. Perhaps these are very pleasing, or ugly, or menacing, or seductive. Again, in that case, whatever the decor represents is symbolic of something related to the dreamer's waking life activities that would take place in the bedroom.

Previous posts in this series are:

Dream Symbols 1: Pregnancy and Birth
Dream Symbols 2: Death
Dream Symbols 3: The Snake
Dream Symbols 4: The Butterfly
Dream Symbols 5: Flying
Dream Symbols 6: The House Part 1
Dream Symbols 7: The House Part 2: The Kitchen
Dream Symbols 8: The House Part 3: The Bathroom

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Alea Jacta Est - Point of No Return

Julius Caesar Photo Credit
Dedicated to IM con mucho cariño.

Alea jacta est basically means the point of no return. The phrase is attributed to Julius Caesar when he was crossing the River Rubicon in defiance of the Roman Senate.

We apply the PNR, or point of no return, to many other instances in our modern world, in particular, in aviation, when a plane has reached the point at which it may no longer return to its point of origin – as Caesar could no longer undo what he had done by beginning his march across the Rubicon – and hence must continue on, no matter what the outcome.
When you must continue, no matter what the outcome, it means that at least for a short period of time you have no choice - at least until the new outcome can be glimpsed - with regards to the continuation of the path you are on. For a period of time you are riding a wave - for good or bad - until the outcome of the wave is discerned, and only then can you once again choose how the next steps will go.
This is neither good nor bad - it simply is. And once we understand that, we can let the momentum carry us forward, letting go for a time, of all that we carry with us, and then plunge back into thought and action again.

Today’s post about alea jacta est, or the point of no return has come about because I was just reminded of this phrase by someone in my family, and it made me think about how it applies to so many moments in our lives, such as when

  • The contractions of a birth have begun
  • You’ve plunged a syringe of heroin into your arm
  • An unkind word you had just been thinking about, has now actually been uttered
  • You stand before your committee in order to defend your doctoral dissertation
  • You stand before an audience of 250 to give your first speech
  • You sign the mortgage for your first home
  • You tell a lie
  • You say I love you to someone for the first time

These examples may form part of people’s lives and we don’t generally think about them as being a point of no return…

But what about when you do or say something definitive in a relationship you want to end, in such a way that there is no going back? That is absolutely a point of no return. Something will never be the same.

And what about when Nelson Mandela was carted off to Robben Island as prisoner of the Apartheid Government of South Africa? That is absolutely a point of no return. Something will never be the same.

And what about when you have been diagnosed with cancer, you’ve had chemotherapy, and now you are being wheeled in for a major operation in order to rid your body of the offending cells? That is absolutely a point of no return. Something will never be the same.

And what about when you have worked for something to come into being, or to begin to give fruit, and it finally shows the very first tender indications that it is indeed coming into being? That is absolutely a point of no return. Something will never be the same.

And where something will never be the same, something new is born – or, at least if it is not born, a space has been created for something new to be born­ – and that is the purpose of today’s post, to encourage you to look on the positive side of the point of no return – no matter what the actual event is - in order to realize that there is always a new chapter on the other side of it. What you make of it, and how you write it, is obviously up to you. But be aware of the fact that things are not always what they seem. Just look at the Nelson Mandela example to understand the veracity of that statement.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, and the Wisdom of Our Cells

Photo Credit
I've referred to Bruce Lipton frequently in these posts, as well as in a number of the articles I've written for my newsletter (now also in Spanish), due to the cutting-edge research he has done in cellular biology. I've also referred to his book The Biology of Belief: Unleashing The Power Of Consciousness, Matter And Miracles in order to encourage people to pick it up and look into the results of the incredible data this scientist has come up with.

This morning on the beach (hey, it's the weekend) I took along my CD player and was listening to an interview Art Bell did with Dr. Lipton, and was again reminded of the gloriously liberating data that is coming out of so many sectors of science.

In this case, the work Bruce Lipton has done has demonstrated empirically that we are not at the mercy of our genes. This is paradigm-shifting information that takes us right out of the box and into our own ability to be the creators of our own lives.

On his website, Dr. Lipton offers a much fascinating information. One of the articles available there goes more deeply into the subject of our freedom from genetic dominance, explaining (as recent discoveries in quantum physics also demonstrate) that we are indeed in charge of our own healing, and - in many ways - our own destiny.

Lipton writes: "The new science takes us from victim to creator. " What could be more liberating than that?

The Wisdom of Your Cells

"The Wisdom of Your Cells is a new biology that will profoundly change civilization and the world we live in. This new biology takes us from the belief that we are victims of our genes, that we are biochemical machines, that life is out of our control, into another reality, a reality where our thoughts, beliefs and mind control our genes, our behavior and the life we experience. This biology is based on current, modern science with some new perceptions added.

The new science takes us from victim to creator; we are very powerful in creating and unfolding the lives that we lead. This is actually knowledge of self and if we understand the old axiom, "Knowledge is power," then what we are really beginning to understand is the knowledge of self-power. This is what I think we will get from understanding the new biology." read more


I encourage you to inform yourself. This information is life-giving and enriching, liberating and broadening. If you are skeptical despite the empirical proof, ask yourself this: What if he is right? What will I lose by not informing myself and putting some of these ideas into practice in my own life?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Are We Citizens of the World?

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. Photo Credit
I am a citizen of the world. I am rootless. I've lived in six countries over the course of my life thus far...and I've lived a lifetime in each of those countries. I imbibed them. I breathed with them. I learned their languages and the subtle nuances of the different cultures. I made friends of citizens of each of those countries, so now some of my true friends reside in many countries, often quite far away from my own place of residence. I feel no nationalistic pride, although I admit to occasional twinges of favoritism (albeit nationally indiscriminate) when sports matches take place, or when it came time to vote on the Seven Wonders of the World (we will hear about it tonight).

So what are my rootlessness and lack of national pride good for? For one, they allow me to love the world indiscriminately. Secondly, they allow me to be dispassionate about national debates. National pride and fervor don’t enter into it from my point of view, which basically translates to what I think could be – if more of us could adopt it – a greater objectivity about what is good for all.

Global community.

We are the children…

We are one…

Globalization

Here’s what two world-ranked institutions say about globalization:

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field Close-up. Photo Credit
The World Bank

Globalization – the growing integration of economies and societies around the world – has been one of the most hotly-debated topics in international economics over the past few years. Rapid growth and poverty reduction in China, India, and other countries that were poor 20 years ago, has been a positive aspect of globalization. But globalization has also generated significant international opposition over concerns that it has increased inequality and environmental degradation. This site provides access to some of the most recent presentations on globalization and some of the leading research on the subject.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The term "globalization" has acquired considerable emotive force. Some view it as a process that is beneficial—a key to future world economic development—and also inevitable and irreversible. Others regard it with hostility, even fear, believing that it increases inequality within and between nations, threatens employment and living standards and thwarts social progress. This brief offers an overview of some aspects of globalization and aims to identify ways in which countries can tap the gains of this process, while remaining realistic about its potential and its risks.

Globalization offers extensive opportunities for truly worldwide development but it is not progressing evenly. Some countries are becoming integrated into the global economy more quickly than others. Countries that have been able to integrate are seeing faster growth and reduced poverty. Outward-oriented policies brought dynamism and greater prosperity to much of East Asia, transforming it from one of the poorest areas of the world 40 years ago. And as living standards rose, it became possible to make progress on democracy and economic issues such as the environment and work standards.


By contrast, in the 1970s and 1980s when many countries in Latin America and Africa pursued inward-oriented policies, their economies stagnated or declined, poverty increased and high inflation became the norm. In many cases, especially Africa, adverse external developments made the problems worse. As these regions changed their policies, their incomes have begun to rise. An important transformation is underway. Encouraging this trend, not reversing it, is the best course for promoting growth, development and poverty reduction.

The crises in the emerging markets in the 1990s have made it quite evident that the opportunities of globalization do not come without risks—risks arising from volatile capital movements and the risks of social, economic, and environmental degradation created by poverty. This is not a reason to reverse direction, but for all concerned—in developing countries, in the advanced countries, and of course investors—to embrace policy changes to build strong economies and a stronger world financial system that will produce more rapid growth and ensure that poverty is reduced.

______________________________________________


Ok, you read it. Now what?

Obviously I don’t presume to know more about, or be able to resolve matters that much better and more intelligent minds than mine, are merely beginning to grapple with.

All I do presume to say is this: we are indeed all one. We are indeed all neighbours (see also Europe and Africa: Quantum Physics and Intertwined Molecules. If we believe in the Bible, we believe that we all come from the same man and woman. If we don’t believe in the Bible, we perhaps believe that we all evolved the same way after the Big Bang.

Whatever we do believe, we know this: there is much hunger and poverty. There is much war and suffering. There is much hatred and genocide. There is much disease and death. Can we not take that first step towards the belief that we are indeed all one? And recognize and internalize that it takes a little on the part of each of us to bring us closer to the kind of world we could have. So make the choice to begin at home. Make the choice to begin with you. Make the choice to intend to become a better person by seeking your own inner freedom and inner growth. If you make these simple choices, every day, for the rest of your life, the rest will follow automatically. And the world will be a better place.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How Low Frequency Thoughts Erode the Quality of Your Life

Crete. Photo Credit

Imagine you went through a bad divorce, financially and child custody-wise. But it happened a while ago, and basically doesn’t bother you anymore. But today you caught yourself thinking about it, and going over how you got royally messed about in the financial sector.

Or imagine that you didn’t get a promotion at some point in your life when for all intents and purposes you should have, and someone essentially stepped on your shoulders and got what you should have had. In the meantime you have become relatively successful, and this really no longer irritates you, but today you caught yourself thinking about it and reviewing how you received such unfair treatment from management.

Or imagine that you had written a very clever essay in your English Lit class, you got top grades for it, but when it came time to read a portion of one of the essays to the class, your professor chose to read that of another student. You were hurt at the time, but it’s over, and you have other things on your mind, but today you have caught yourself thinking about it, and remembering how it dismayed you.

And the time your girlfriend cheated on you…you were devastated, but now you have a new girlfriend whom you love in other, much more wonderful ways, and you are happy with her, but something triggered the memory of the betrayal, and you are feeling the flood of obsession and betrayal all over.

And as you find yourself in any of the above – or other similar – situations, you find that you spiral downwards into an inner state that is not good.

It’s of utmost importance to recognize what is going on here. The thoughts you are having about the event in question are low-frequency thoughts that literally erode the quality and the happiness and joy of your life. These are thoughts that immediately bring you to another state than the one you were previously on. If we could equate your state of being to a number on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is awful and 10 is superlative, you might have been going on your day at a 6, and when these thoughts occurred you spiraled down to a 4 or a 3 or even less.

What can you do about this? How can you control such thoughts?

It is literally impossible to be the policeman of all your thoughts all of the time. But it is quite simple to be the observer of your state of being at all times. As you slide down to a lower frequency because of the type of thought described above, you will feel that your state of being has eroded, has climbed down to a place that is not as good as the place you were at before, even if the place you were at before was not so terribly grand either.

The point is, you’ve gone down. And you can do something about this. It’s all up to you.

Become aware of yourself, your state of being, your feelings, and then make the choice to take action in order to bring yourself back up to another level by taking responsibility for yourself. Also see The Energy Barometer, Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Book Review 5: Care of the Soul

Plate in Hans Christian Anderson's The Nightingale. Credit

This wonderful book by Thomas Moore, originally published in 1992, is actually titled Care of the Soul: A Guide For Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. (You can purchase a decent used copy of this book for US $0.01 at the amazon.com website…something I find quite incredible.)

Reading Moore requires some patience and time. Not because his writing is complicated or dense, but because it invites reflection. Moore, an internationally renowned theologian, psychotherapist, and writer, lived as a monk in a Catholic order for 12 years, although he did later marry and have two children. His works include a number of equally thoughtful books on the soul and its importance in our daily lives and our state of well-being.

Amazon.com writes “Care of the Soul is considered to be one of the best primers for soul work ever written. Thomas Moore, offers a philosophy for living that involves accepting our humanity rather than struggling to transcend it. By nurturing the soul in everyday life, Moore shows how to cultivate dignity, peace, and depth of character. For example, in addressing the importance of daily rituals he writes, "Ritual maintains the world's holiness. As in a dream a small object may assume significance, so in a life that is animated by ritual there are no insignificant things." This is the eloquence that helped reintroduce the sacred into everyday language and contemporary values.”

This is a book I have had since 1993 and every so often I pick it out of the bookshelf and let it fall open to see where it takes me. And it is always worth the time.

Previous Posts in the Book Review Series:

Book Review 1 - The Language of the Goddess
Book Review 2 - Happiness Is A Choice
Book Review 3 - The Edge Effect
Book Review 4 - Finding Flow

Alan Johnston Freed: How Did He Survive?

Alan Johnston at his release. Photo Credit

Many of us have been following Alan Johnston's ordeal throughout the months of his kidnapping. Now that he is free, we ask ourselves how he managed to get through this challenge. What were the choices he was able to make - inside of himself - in order to survive?

His interview on the BBC indicated this:

1) he kept hoping that tomorrow would be better
2) he consistently minimized his fears
3) he accentuated any mildly positive element.

Interestingly, this is very similar to what we read in accounts of Viktor Frankl (Man's Search For Meaning), Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn during their own captivity.

We need to learn from this. We can apply this to our own lives.

Read the article about his release.

BBC's Johnston says amazed to free