Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mindmap to Enhance Your World

I’d like to offer an explanation of my Mind Map 2014. Click on it; it’s an uploaded and upgraded two-page pdf.  The word map as intended to be a mindmap, but I didn’t have either the proper software or outstanding artistic skills, so I cheated, and did the best I could.

Its purpose is to be an elemental guide to the content of that old collection of excerpts I called “Summon The Magic” whose mission is to allow you to come to a functional understanding of how you can learn to use your mind or brain to its best advantage, to make it work for you.

You can also see it from the perspective of a parent, teacher, trainer, learning coach, business leader, entrepreneur or a creative artist.

 

An explanation is useful and will extend the value of the “mind map”. Creating such an explanation is also a review of the material for me.

If you printed out the sheets, widened the margins so it can breathe better, taped the second sheet to the bottom of the first sheet, and got out some fine-point colored ink markers and a ruler and French curve ….

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/76100/76130/76130_ellip_frncrv_md.gif 

then you could stand back and see the structure flow from head to foot.

 

The top, surrounding the word Intelligences, is a riff off of the seminal work of Howard Gardner.

http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html 

http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/what.cfm 

Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child, Laurel Schmidt, Three Rivers Press, New York 2001.

 

You can examine any of those sub-headings or multiple intelligences and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

You can work with and improve on your strengths, and seek to improve your weaknesses.

Your particular mix can be identified and provide some further sense of direction for your further studies, your career, or how you can apply what you already know in the areas of your strongest intelligences.

Google for the term “multiple intelligences” and scan for additional titles by Gardner. http://howardgardner.com/

 

http://rebeccaholder28.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sci-ed.jpg 

 

The second block, what might be seen as the shoulders of the skeletal structure, center around the triad of Learning, Training, and Education.

Those who provide those processes to you operate from positions of trust, power, authority and respect.

[Here is a 25-page pdf “On Mentors and Coaches”]

You bring to your mentors, teachers and coaches your interests, curiosity, awe, yearning and inquiry. [You could spend 30 minutes simply listing elements within those five categories for you.]

Your coaches and trainers will provide — particularly if they are training a neuromuscular activity — the practice, repetition, and cognitive cues; you have to do the homework, the drills and go to practice/class and thus provide the repetition, the habit, and then find your groove.

Both of you will work along the spectrum of awareness and interest, applying discipline to the point of absorption.

 

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vZ4nt8boxrs/UaJ1BHp97hI/AAAAAAAAHqQ/iT4ovmKe4hQ/s1600/13thinking.jpg 

 

Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1999.

http://www.e-bookspdf.org/download/sparks-of-genius.html 

 

 

 

http://ericbooth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-Everyday-Work-of-Art-Awakening-the-Extraordinary-in-Your-Daily-Life-Eric-Booth-9780595193806-Amazon.com-Books.png

 

Use your PREP tool: your personally-relevant entry point

We are what we are attracted to, and become what we yearn toward.

Follow your attraction through the spectrum of curiosity, interest, admiration, concern, connection, resonance and change.

 

The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life, Eric Booth, Authors’ Guild Back-in-Print (iUniverse.com) (ISBN 0-595-19380-3)

 

“… Inherent in the artistic experience is the capacity to expand our sense of the way the world is or might be. This amazing human imaginative, empathetic capacity provides the artistic experience….. An entry point is a distinctive aesthetic feature of the work with enough dynamic relevance that many people will be able to apply it to parts of their own lives to discover meaningful relevance….To learn more about entry points or teaching artistry, read my book mentioned above, or check out many available essays on my website (ericbooth.net) or read David Wallace’s excellent book Reaching Out. ….

http://ericbooth.net/three-and-a-half-bestsellers/

Following your personally-relevant entry point is the backbone of the flow theory. It’s how you become engaged and absorbed.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Harper & Row, New York, 1990. [The flow theory is a major component in performance enhancement and is a wellspring for many applications. See also his sequel The Evolving Self, as well as Flow in Sports.]

 

Notice that it all starts with intent. 

 

Attention has four axes: broad, narrow, external, and internal.

 

A simple explanation with athletic implications is Nideffer’s model.

http://www.science.smith.edu/exer_sci/ESS565/MPres1/sld011.htm 

 

Attention is a core property of all perceptual and cognitive operations.

 

A lengthy, detailed, “taxonomy of internal and external attention”  from the perspective of psychology, neurobiology and brain research can be found here:

http://www.princeton.edu/ntblab/pdfs/Chun_ARP_2011.pdf 

 

You sharpen the point of the spear of discipline with concentration, which eventually leads to harmony and synthesis of the whole.

 

The torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map is centered around split symmetry. [The “translation” of the text and its various fonts into a pdf format somewhat destroyed this functional symmetry in earlier versions; the uploaded version here is improved with the upgraded Mavericks OS software.]

 

Put the gestalt mind {-} logic mind in the middle.

You have to use both sides in a balanced way; binaural beat-based guided brain wave meditation opens up your corpus callosum and exercises it.

 

At the top, the spectrum or curve of desire:

First you have or discover a passion, even temporarily; this then generates a fantasy (“wouldn’t it be nice if…?) which sometimes turns into an extended or developed dream. The dream transforms itself into a vision when you add detail. And then you’re only a step or two from developing an objective, or a list of them. You start to set goals.

Your mentors, guides and teachers can help you differentiate your goals

as outcome goals, behavioral goals, and process goals.

 

Motivation’s four dimensions:

Targeted zone of behavior

(e.g., be more consistent, stop swearing, focus on defense).

Quantity of behavior

(e.g., run more miles today than yesterday);

Quality of behavior

(e.g., shoot free throws more accurately);

Intensity of behavior 

(e.g., level of activation and amount of energy delivered).

 It’s your choice…

  • where to be active,
  • how much to be active,
  • what level of excellence to aim  for, and
  • how much of yourself to invest.

Coaches Guide to Sport Psychology, Rainer Martens, Ph.D., Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, 1997. [A high-level academic textbook for coaches.]

Here is a 15-page pdf on the topic of goals: Goals pdf

 

The second tier of the torso of the skeletal structure of the mind map pertains to Spirit, Mind and Body. It is breath that links these three key elements. While one can study intensely the role of breathing in psychology and physiology, its relevance to meditation, etc., the simplest approach is to pay attention to your breathing.

On the body end of the triad are the brain, the lungs, the heart, the digestive system (much more important than we generally understand). You could spend a lifetime appreciating the interactions. Such is proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. The gamma system of your neurology is your internal feedback loop.

Within the mind, there are entire libraries and sciences given over to your exploration. Add colleges, associations, think tanks, institutes and so on and you can get lost and dis-oriented. Stop thinking; keep breathing; believe in yourself.

At the spirit end of the spectrum are awe, yūgen (profound grace and subtlety)[1], satori, stillness, silence, surrender, sacred places, empathy, love and gratitude. Again, there are libraries, book vendors, churches and religious institutes and their leaders, pastors, rabbis, gurus, shamans and charlatans. But you can pray and learn to meditate without them.

http://img.pandawhale.com/post-25617-yugen-meaning-gif-XonM.gif 

 

Some of the vertebral joints in the skeletal structure of the mind map include:

the aikido-based triad of balance, centering and grounding (Richard Strozzi Heckler is an outstanding writer and teacher, though there are surely others);

the triad of renewal, relaxation and rest ( look for the books by Jim Loehr, Ed.D. in  http://boydownthelane.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Bibliography-pdf.pdf );

the criss-crossed axes of connection, detachment, differentiation and integration through which we move our self; sometimes we must be apart, sometimes we must be with others, sometimes we feel different, sometimes we feel similar; we are unique and yet we are an integral part of It all (this is the epiphany I had sitting still, basking in the sun listening to the sounds of the waves sitting on the granite cliffs at Pemaquid Point, the grand ripping of the Curtain to which I surrendered through my silence);

the spectrum of physical activity that includes art, music (musicians are athletes of the small muscle groups), the martial arts, dance, play, recreation and sport (see Deep Play, Diane Ackerman, Random House, New York, 1999);

the grand Daoistic dynamic symmetry of contemplation and action, in the middle of which sits continuous incremental improvement;

examples of awakened mental development which extends from meditation and mindfulness to visualization and mental rehearsal and beyond through autogenic training (the bibliography contains many books on meditation and mindfulness: see below for the ones I recommend)

(think of it as preventive mind control under your complete control, ownership and decision-making process); 

and, finally,

the multi-faceted diamond of skills and challenge, of flow and action, of goals band feedback, and its core of immersion, immediacy and intensity.

 

 

http://russpetcoff.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/nate-appleman.jpg 

Source of image:

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/entry.php?12-Intensity-Immediacy-and-Immersion 

 

On Autogenic Training:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogenic_training 

Google the term for more.

The Break-Out Principle, Herbert Benson, M.D. and William Proctor, Scribner, New York 2003. [How to activate your accessible biomechanical “trigger” to power up creativity, insight, stress-reduction, and top-notch performance, by the author of The Relaxation Response.]

On Mindfulness:

Mindfulness, Ellen J. Langer, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1989. [The apposition/antidote to mindlessness, by a Harvard psychology professor.]

Counter Clockwise: mindful health and the power of possibility, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2009.

Emotional Alchemy: How The Mind Can Heal the Heart, Tara Bennett-Goleman, Harmony Books, NY 2001. [Written by a psychotherapist, the wife of the author of the book Emotional Intelligence, on schema therapy and mindfulness.]

On Becoming An Artist, Ellen Langer, Ballantine Books, NY 2005.

The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer, PhD., Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, MA 1995. [Ought to be required reading for all teachers and coaches.]

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hyperion, NY 1994. [This is considered elemental; the author teaches how mindfulness is applied to stress reduction and one’s physical health,  and was affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn ] See http://www.mindfulnesscds.com 

 

 

The hips and thighs of the skeletal structure of the mind map, the pivot points and strengths, include emotion and physiology.

Physiology gives us vision and perception (including acuity and peripheral awareness), the flexibility, agility and dynamism of movement in space, and the structure, speed and flexibility with which we choose action and movement, and the strength, balance and force with which we execute that action and movement.

Emotion has to do with belief (world-view, and belief in self), identity, faith, expectation, passion, dedication, choice, commitment, doubt, tension and anxiety, fear, distraction, intention, focus and composure.

It also brings together all of the comprehension of all of the factors that we bring to bear through our trip down the framework. You can’t execute excellence crisply if you don’t comprehend what you’re doing, who you are, and how to do it.

 

The knees, calves and ankle joints of the skeletal structure are the five A’s 

(attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing);

see David Richco’s books, or google the phrase in red.

 

I’ve included them twice for a simple reason: you have to apply them to your own self first,

 

and then you have to apply them to everyone else.

The connecting tissue is the understanding of losing your self-consciousness in the way you go about things. From a strictly training and performance perspective, you have to learn the skill or technique so well that you can put aside thinking about how to do it. It is the highest form of meditation in the middle of action. Artistic expression, dance, the martial arts, and deep play are all places where we practice losing our self-consciousness.

Losing self-consciousness is not about losing awareness or focus. It’s about getting beyond your self, not making you and your needs the primary issue or drive. We’ve all driven in and out of strip malls and box stores where we encountered people who are stuck in self-consciousness. They’re lost in their cell phone conversation at 35 mph; they aren’t aware of the presence of you or anyone else. This is the mindlessness for which mindfulness is the antidote.

I submit that this is at the root of the currently dominant world-view.

 

http://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/Blog%20images/mindlessness.jpg 

 

The entire skeletal structure of the mind map rests on the feet.

 

The two feet are leadership and team.

The feet are what propel you, keep you grounded, provide secure footing, enable you to walk, or run, or sprint, or run a long-distance race.

If there is someone out there in the world that thinks you can achieve something worthwhile alone, without the integrated interaction of at least a few, or several, then they need to send in a comment and some suggested readings.

 

Both leadership and team start with intent.

Team is also about expectation and cohesion, trust, communication, character, learning, and energy.

Leadership is about convocation (calling people together), will, audacity, courage, and enrollment (or getting others to sign on to the task).

Leadership is also about vision, clarity, energy, vision, and communications skills; it requires intellect, heart, humility, the ability to model behavior and action, the ability to create and sustain innovation and momentum, the ability to retain flexibility, and the ability to lead people through processes of problem-solving.

Applied teamwork and leadership require inspiration, imagination, improvisation and the synthesis of it all through to break-through to mastery and the achievement of quality and excellence.

 

Every word on that mind map can be a personally-relevant entry point for your own exploration and improvement.

Or you can take the wholistic approach and use the totality of it.

If you hung it on your wall and simply meditated, paying attention to your thoughts as your eyes wander, then when you get up, you may have been moved.

Nosce te ipsum.

 

From The Harbor of the Long Cut Bank

Before I left on the trip north, I rechecked something — based on my wife’s question as to why what I had mentioned wasn’t on the news.

I had mentioned the breaking story on the evening of the 30th about a major “ground stop” at LAX due to a computer/phone outage. I didn’t have a rational answer for her. She’s often raised her eyebrows at stuff I report off the ‘net, and is fully aware of my predilections for wild and wooly tales about events that aren’t covered the same way or with the same detail on the primary local news channels. I went back to the computer briefly to check and re-check and found the report on the CBS/AP story that lay at the core of what I’d read on What Really Happened.com.  I was aware as well of some of the opinions about Michael Rivero, though I don’t agree with them. I went back to re-read the reports, to see if they stemmed from a “member’s story”, if there’d been a fact-checking slip-up or an infilitration of the cognitive sort.

I told my wife that two thoughts came to mind:

  1. The Internet is appreciably faster at delivering “breaking news” (thus making it vulnerable to hoaxes and disinformation), and the traditional mainstream news business exists in great part on the basis of stories already written, filmed, produced and “in the can” (thus a serious financial investment has been made before they are aired), and most MSM outlets do not yet monitor online media (though they are improving and learning). [I’d jumped ahead in Standage’s book noted below to read about blogs, more about which later.]
  2.  That perhaps there was a reason mainstream news didn’t want to cover the story, though she said a halt in air traffic in LA seems to be a pretty big story. I printed the article from CBS  and made a note to check further on the detail and coverage of these events when I returned.

 

As I left on the trip north, it was announced, that while I would be gone, there would be a Boston-based homeland security exercise of the Urban Shield variety. I’m just now back and haven’t been able to check to see if there was any residua, sequelae, or coinky-dinkies associated with that event.

 

It was also announced that Fox TV will be making a TV series based on the Boston Globe authors’ book on the Boston Marathon Bombings.

FOX Reportedly Wants to Develop a Boston Marathon Bombing Miniseries | Complex

No word yet from Hollywood on who will play the cameo walk-on parts of the employees of Craft International [I’m thinking this was probably a purposeful pre-scripted event by someone to jump-start a false lead for the conspiracy terrorists crowd the FBI warns us about] or get the prime supporting role of Ed Davis.

http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/the-widow-of-american-sniper-chris-kyle-sues-the-company-her-slain-husband-started.html/

http://bollyn.com/craft-international-silent-on-boston-bombing/

MEDIA BLACKOUT: Boston Bombing Secrecy Surrounding Private Military Contractors “Craft International” and the Killing of Their Founder! : Political Blind Spot

Boston Bombing: Third Man with Craft International Ops Carrying TWO Bags / Others quickly Leave | American Everyman

 

Sinn Fein’s old name in the news got arrested on a decades-old murder charges based on research done at Boston College; perhaps there is a reason for conspiracy theorists to keep on keeping records and archiving material, no?

 

http://www.maineharbors.com/msailcov.jpg

Source of image: http://www.maineharbors.com/decbk04.htm

 

When we finally hit the road, I got off the hyper-fast-and-crowded Interstate at the first mindful opportunity, dropping down off the bluff into the valley and alongside the river that emptied New Hampshire mountain runoff and urban sewage into the estuary, one of many known for its sailing ships. I hugged the north side, almost immediately inching through detours necessitated by the high water damage of extensive spring rains. At the end of April, the river was swollen for so long that lesser road surfaces had simply dissolved into the torrent.  I crossed up under the overpasses at the convocation of three-lane highways turning heading Down East; we were a small part of a migration of humanity in search of steamed crustaceans, short celebrations of a diverse personal nature, and accommodating hoteliers and restaurateurs. Quickly, then, I was on the shore road, the easternmost, slowest, and most scenic route along a short distance which, if I’d stayed on the highway, we’d have arrived soon after the top of the paragraph. But we were only getting started.

Almost immediately, I was within a block of the ocean, visible irregularly amidst the paraphernalic evidence of clam shacks, lobster boats, places to buy beer, wet-suit-clad people with surf-casting pole, rocks, sand, mist, fog, and sea spray.

The car crawled north, its occupants lost in conversation, the pace slowing, winding, halted by road construction crews with heavy machinery re-moving rock and dirt, re-channeling water, repairing a winter’s worth of coastal storm damage at another half-dozen locations. The seas were still angry, the last rainfall having ended the night before, the waves grey with salt foam, the sun arriving in cloud breaks to the west, illuminating the crossing of a huge estuary navigated instinctively and by following the roadside markings for the northerly route known simply as “1”, the Navy yard where the USS Miami died ahead, beside and behind us as if we were flying but our speed only due to close proximity.  Now behind us, I was in terrain I’d never seen, my eyes alert only for a single intersection miles ahead that would open up the first section of coastal Maine.

I’d been up and down the Maine coast on numerous occasions. Like many, I spent a summer vacation on the rocks, had ancestral roots in the harbors and rivers that send ships down to the sea, the sap of the pointed firs coursing in my blood, but not the sailing. A landlubber aye, hard-pressed to master a wooden row boat, let alone something with a mast.  Yet here I was among he deepest roots of the post-Revolutionary growth of the US merchant-men and their familial haunts. Captains abound, shorelines heavily speckled with mansions and wealth but now deep haven to the arts, tourism, and an economic tale that lay on the surface.

The escapade was a gift to my wife on her retirement from a company where she’d worked for two and three-quarters decades; the company credited her with 19 years but, with overtime on salary and the daily commute, it played out like 27 years and tool an equal toll. She was given a gift certificate for a stay at a bed and breakfast, highly rated and appearing on the list of national historic sites, having earned clusters of repeat customers and the maximum amount of diamonds in the industry’s rankings. It came with another gift certificate for a small consortium of restaurants.  The locale is and was famous for a number of reasons. Both inn and restaurants were tightly clustered at the head of a small harbor where, three hundred years before we drove up, they built ships. The inn was built by shipwrights during an economic blockade — today we call them sanctions — during the second American war against fractional reserve banking fought to prevent an empirical indebtedness relationship with the British royalty, the City of London, and eventually the Rothschildian infiltration. As colonists grappled with the concepts of freedom and currency, trade and livelihood, they built fleets of sailing vessels , and mansions, and moved on down the ways of elitism.

On the first night we stayed on the coast, we used up my wife’s restaurant gift certificate and had a meal that started with oysters trucked in from Westerly, Rhode Island. It was once said that the very best oysters in New England came from the Damariscotta River in Maine.  Eat local food. The lobsters were caught nearby and then made “happy” with a saffron-based cream and some fettucine.

The barside conversation by the local patrons was about the case of the Zumba lady. “Portland defense attorney Gary Prolman, the only lawyer to get an accused john acquitted in last year’s high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to launder money for a drug trafficker….”

The musical entertainment seemed passable and superfluous. I gather we caught them on a kind of “off” night with a vocalist among the missing and maybe another instrumentalist.  The group needed a bass player. They played in front of a large photographic mural of the scene outside the front door, though the boats in the mural were in the water, not wrapped in plastic on the shore. There was a lead guitarist and a key board player, with the guitarist handling the vocals. (Perhaps he was doing his Chet Baker impression.) There were some good tunes; the cover of “All Blues” was the best of the night.  The worst of the night was the effort, vocally and musically, in trying to cover “Waterloo Sunsets”.  It was more like waterlogged sunsets.

After we retired to the lodgings for the night, I was treated, to a serenade by outdoor thunder and indoor high-pressure low-flow toilet flushings from other rooms resonating in the timbers (required by the Energy Policy Act signed into law by George H. W, Bush), some light reading in the book in the upper right hand bureau drawer entitled “Can Man Live Without God?” (foreword by Chuck Colson) [ Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias | 9780849945281 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble] and the ticking of the timer on the gas fireplace.

The next morning, after the stupendous breakfast (breakfasts at B&Bs are the without which there is no reason quintessential foodie experience in some circles), we played tourist and looked around downtown. We’d already spent some time scouring the countryside just following our noses and noting that — almost literally– every third house was for sale.

 

Maine’s economy on the rise as real estate sector rebounds | MEREDA – Blog                     Download the full report here.

Maine Coastal Program – Coastal Access Resources and Technical Assistance

http://www.ceimaine.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Colgan-Report-Final.pdf

Later in the trip we saw on some menu a lobster mac and cheese made with orechiette. The heavily-favored restaurant mentioned positively by several people at breakfast and noted to be George Bush’s favorite didn’t make a a real positive impression on us. (It was less than a mile away from Walker’s Point.) The establishment with the green-and-white-striped awnings — on the other side of the bridge from the little shack where a TV promo with hired actors and free lobster rolls had been filmed on the day before its season-opening — was the best meal of the weekend.

 

The portable reading of the weekend: 

Bloomsbury – Writing on the Wall

In the first chapter — in other words in the foundation of Standage’s theory about social media — he speaks of the relative sizes of the primate brain, which got larger and larger through evolution. Standage says we humans have a large frontal cortex because of our need to track social information within our social network, the development of language an important necessity.

He speaks of “grooming”, that activity of lesser primates in which network members groom each other’s fur, removing insects, parasites, dirt, etc. and which is an activity that is inherently pleasurable, reducing heart rate and nervous behaviors and releasing beta-endorphins, and which serve as the basis for a strong bonding process. This is interestingly where we left off in the discussion of survival and the polyvagal theory.

Standage speaks of “the Dunbar number” [Dunbar’s number – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] and says on page 13 that “for humans, grooming is longer a primarily physical activity” but has become an activity of language (rhetoric, committees, the telephone, Facebook, and Twitter).

And therein lies the giant hole through which you may drive your 4×4 into the New World Order.

I think an important comprehension has been left out of Standage’s presentation if not his (or Dunbar’s) theory about human communication and bonding.

I posit that touch plays a critical role. My wife the classically-trained nurse (by that I mean the product of a diploma school whose focus was on “hands-on” training under-experienced craftswomen) has been an advocate of touch since I’ve known her. EMT’s are taught that patient assessment is incomplete without palpation. Diane Ackerman (whose book on the five senses remains packed away at the moment) brings home the neurology of touch; you can access A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman.  And then we can re-visit the theory that we will survive in small groups based on how we touch one another. Perhaps we are too immersed in touch screens and touch pads and not enough in sensing the world through our richly-enervated fingers.

 

It’s ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact,” Schanberg explained, “and it affects damn near everything we do. No other sense can arouse you like touch; we always knew that, but we never realized it had a biological basis.”

“You mean how adaptive it is?”

“Yes. If touch didn’t feel good, there’d be no species, parenthood, or survival. A mother wouldn’t touch her baby in the right way unless the mother felt pleasure doing it. If we didn’t like the feel of touching and patting one another, we wouldn’t have had sex. Those animals who did more touching instinctively produced offspring which survived, and their genes were passed on and the tendency to touch became even stronger. We forget that touch is not only basic to our species, but the key to it.”

▶ Wooden Ships – Hot Tuna & Airplane Reunion – YouTube (4:38)

 

Alignment of Purpose

The final part of an extended article entitled

Getting Beyond:

Finding Purpose and Vitality After Enduring Systemic Insult

The first three sections are here:

http://boydownthelane.com/2014/05/01/getting-beyond/ 

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-deep-survival/

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-surviving-survival/

 

Alignment of Purpose

 

 

What we tell ourselves,

in the quiet of our own mind,

is the key.

 

 

 

There is much yet to be said about this topic, which spreads across affirmations, self-talk, the nature of the music one listens to, and much much more. What do you feed your brain? You believe what you say to yourself for fairly obvious reasons, though a lot of people don’t “grok” the concepts very well.  First, your body/mind has been listening to your voice for a long time, and it recognizes and responds to that voice instinctively and instantaneously.  Second, the source of your voice is deeply embedded within your body; the vocal chords in your throat, the resonance of your abdominal expulsion of air, the rhythms and resonance vibrating directly through the boy jaw right into the bony stirrups of your ear and along the outside of your skull.

[For more, see  Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All In Your Head, Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., Great Ocean Publishers, Arlington, VA 1995. [The author is a nationally- recognized neuropsychologist and educator. This is a fascinating, very readable and important book on neuroscience, educational kinesiology and the brain/body connection as it affects us in learning, in performance, at work, and in society. It explains several basic BrainGym exercises, very simple techniques anyone can use to enhance their lives in innumerable ways.]

 

 

For further reflection:

“A fascinating corollary is [the] discovery that not only a lack of communication between individuals but the quality of that communication influences the cardiac system of the human being. Using state-of-the-art equipment to measure blood pressure surges during certain kinds of dialogue, Dr. Lynch has found that negative language – abusive, angry, loud, denigrating – when used repeatedly, and especially early in childhood, can have a devastating effect on the heart of the individual to whom it is directed. “Lethal talk”, Dr. Lynch posits, therefore can be just as much a factor in heart disease as exercise, diet, or cholesterol levels. Negative talk and loneliness, then, can negatively affect our health and, potentially, our lifespan as meaningful human relationships can in the opposite direction.

Although Dr. Lynch focuses on the psychological and emotional factors of loneliness and lethal talk and their relationship to cardiac health, he does not address the vibrational or resonance aspects of both physical proximity of electromagnetic fields and the sounds of conversation. Is it possible, for example, that when the energetic fields of two hearts are near one another that they actually entrain?

Rhythm entrainment, also known as sympathetic vibration, or simply resonance occurs when two wave-forms of similar frequency “lock into phase” with each other. The waves actually oscillate together at exactly the same rate. Two oscillating vibrations, if they are near enough to one another in frequency, will eventually entrain. An example of this is what happens when clocks in a clock store are wound, with their pendulums set in motion. At first the tick tock of the pendulums’ sway is just slightly off but eventually every clock falls into rhythm with the others as they become entrained.

This principle of rhythm entrainment can also occur with one wave triggering a vibration in a resting source such as when a violin string can be tuned to a certain pitch by playing another violin string set to the same pitch nearby. This is how tuning forks are used in remote control television units. The TV is remotely activated by pushing a button on the remote control unit which strikes a tone that entrains with a tone in the unit….

Have you ever felt the energy in the room shift when two or more individuals seem to be “on the same wavelength”?

http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/papers/levi_sentient.htm 

 

 

music video: 

I Can’t Get Started 

(Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

(“A Child’s Dance”) (Woody Shaw on trumpet) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97NGOo92Tak 

 

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We are what we think. What we are (and what will we will become) starts from within our thoughts. With our thoughts, we create our reality. Virtually all of our behavioral patterns are generated from the unconscious naming or categorization of our prior experiences. Much of what we believe about ourselves is based upon erroneous conclusions we have drawn due to how subjectively we interpreted and experience. We prevent positive outcomes for ourselves because we imagine that we have been slighted, or judged, or doubted, or criticized, or been found to be deficient in some way. Repetitive experience of this type leaves traces upon our subconscious mind. If we tell ourselves frequently that we are worthy, or unattractive, or clumsy, or at fault, or any of a range of negative self-perceptions in a variety of forms, then we will form identifications with those characteristics.

Identifications (how we see ourselves) are etched into the subconscious.

At the core of every identification is a subjective belief.

Beliefs generate attitudes. Our experiences related to our beliefs

Attitudes generate feelings.

Feelings generate thoughts.

Thoughts generate action.

At the root of every identification is a belief. This is a statement of relative truth that generates a series of attitudes, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. The subconscious mind will hold onto pattern the programming and become locked in, seemingly inaccessible. We can and do believe something, or act a certain way , without a clue as to why. Our minds have a built in sentinel which guards the mental file cabinet where we store our identifications and beliefs. It acts as a filter so that nothing can be filed in that file cabinet that does not already conform with the identifications and beliefs there are ready there. (Psychologists call it “the critical factor”.)

You can gain access to your subconscious, to that file cabinet of core belief, when your mind’s filtering sentinel can be made to step aside through the use of effective progressive relaxation techniques. The identifications and beliefs that do not serve you can be overcome and replaced. You can choose to give yourself positive messages that will generate positive experience and reality.

See

Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life, Dan Millman, New World Library, Novato, California, 1999. [Millman is a former world champion on the trampoline, a Hall of Fame gymnast, a coach and a university professor. This is a revision of his earlier book The Inner Athlete.]

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron with Mark Bryan, Jeremy Tarcher/G. P. Putnam Books, New York, 1992. [A path for uncovering or unblocking your innate creativity.]

This all has to do with the harmony within one’s self, as well as the harmony that can be extended to others, within community, and within nature and the cosmos.

 

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“People appear to think in conjunction or partnership with others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements. Cognitions, it would seem, are not content-free tools that are brought to bear on this or that problem; rather, they emerge in a situation tackled by teams of people and tools available to them… What characterizes such daily events of thinking is that the social and artifactual surrounds, alleged to be ‘outside’ the individual’s heads, not only are sources of stimulation and guidance but are actually vehicles of thought. Moreover, the arrangements, functions, and structures of these surrounds change in the process to become genuine parts of the learning that results from the cognitive partnership with them. In other words, it is not just the ‘person- solo’ who learns, but the ‘person-plus’, the whole system of interrelated factors.”

 

“No distribution without individual cognition: a dynamic interaction of view”, G. Salomon, in Distributed Cognitions — Psychological and Educational Considerations, Cambridge University Press, 1993 G. Salomon (ed.), as noted by Mark K. Smith, Learning and Organizations, at www.infed.org/biblio/organizational-learning.htm.

 

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“… learning results in the construction of nodes and relations….”

How does this apply to (or how is it applied by) the super-empowered individual?

“Three types of learning are particularly interesting from an organizational perspective: communication-based, experience-based, and expectation- based.

In communication-based learning, individuals learn about tasks, people, organizations, etc. by observing or being told. The information garnered in this way is expected to be new or novel to the learner.

Experiential learning has its basis in task repetition and feedback. There are several sources for this experience: the communication of previous results, increased familiarity, increased physical skill, prior problem-solving.

Finally, expectation-based learning occurs when individuals engage in planning, thinking ahead about the future, and then use these expectations as a basis for future reasoning.

From a network perspective, learning results in the construction of nodes and relations.”

 

“On The Evolution of Social and Organizational Networks”, Kathleen M. Carley, Carnegie Mellon University, in Steven B. Andrews and David Knoke (eds.), Vol. 16 Special Issue of Research in the Sociology of Organizations on “Networks In and Around Organizations,”, JAI Press, Inc, Stamford, CT, pp. 3-20.

(http://www.casos.cs.cmu.edu/events/summer_institute/2001/reading_list/pdf/EvolutionofNetworks.pdf).

 

 

 

From Body-Mind Psychotherapy: Principles, Techniques & Practical Applications, Susan Aposhyan, W. W. Norton & Co., 2004:

“In my book Natural Intelligence,: body-mind immigration and human development (1998), I distilled six principles which underlie body-mind integration in any context. These principles are: respect, full participation, inclusivity, dialogue, sequencing, and development. [Otherwise] we are merely using our bodies to perform mechanical functions and thereby contributing to body-mind the synchronization.” [Page 15]

“Throughout the development of human cultures, as visions of how to live grew more complex in some parts of the world, in order to manifest those visions, industrialized nations came to dominate more of the natural world–including other humans. Body-minded dualism is part and parcel of this domination. In the act of dominating, we forgot our bodily connection with the other. In the act of being dominated, we became fragmented, losing touch with the vitality of our own subjectivity. This fragmentation increases cyclically; it is far easier to dominate a fragmented creature….” [Page 24]

“The development of modern mouth, teeth and tongue allowed us to articulate in so much detail and free up our hands even further. We could now speak and do at the same time….” [page 25]

“As cellular life evolved from colonies of cells to multicellular organisms, a new form of communication evolved–vascular communication. While still relying on chemical messengers, vascular systems provided organized, fluid channels of communication that both sped up and directed the communication process within within an organism (Margulis and Sagan, 1986). Our circulatory systems are still fundamental to communication within the human organism.” [Page 36]

The amygdala

“As we have come to understand the amygdala and its role in fear and other emotional reactions, we have recognized that it can receive and react to pertinent sensory data before the prefrontal lobe has had time to completely receive and process the input. In other words before we recognize the stick in our path as not being a snake, we have already jumped out of its way.  Our lower brain functions recognized that this stick could be a snake. It is adaptive to jump first, evaluate later. Not only does the prefrontal lobe receive and respond to the sensory data more slowly — as it is further way from the sensory input with many more synaptic connections to complete, it is also has a relatively weak ability to control the amygdala response. The prefrontal lobe has fewer and slower connections into the amygdala than the amygdala has to the prefrontal lobe. This makes the effect of the amygdala on the prefrontal lobe both quicker and stronger than the effect of the prefrontal lobe on the amygdala.

Understanding this brain circuitry helps explain why our emotional intensity can easily overcome our rational perspective. The degree to which this is true seems to vary with individuals and is a fundamental aspect of temperament.

Furthermore, this mechanism can be strengthened in either direction through practice and experience. This tendency for emotional intensity to overcome the rational frontal lobe is especially salient in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis, addictions, and adolescence. In these situations, the prefrontal lobe is already operating at a disadvantage. Thus, the emotional intensity generated by the amygdala can more easily overpowered.

Polyvagal theory

In the evolution of the motion, mammalian behavior is distinct due to the centrality of bonding and parental care. Some argue that this evolutionary legacy has placed relationality at the center of our emotional processing.   Stephen Porges (1995), director of the brain-body center at the University Illinois, has developed a poly-vagal theory of autonomic nervous system regulation that places the roots of social engagement in the brainstem, at the very foundation of our neurological regulation.

According to his theory, human autonomic regulation has 3 tiers of operations.” [They consist of immobilization; sympathetic arousal response of fight or flight; and, finally, the social engagement system. ]  “This system involves the ventral root of the vagus nerve as well as aspects of other cranial nerves. Together these nerves in their respective nuclei in the brainstem control bonding and engaging behaviors, such as facial expression, localization, listening, and sucking.

In a state of social engagement…, heart and respiratory rate vary…, [as does facial muscle tone which controls ears noses eyes and more, enabling] “the ability to respond with a variety of behaviors. This variability is essential to engagement. It could be seen as a fundamental aspect of responsivity or attunement….” [Pages 40-44]

 

 

And then, as if it were a coda, in response to a comment I’d made, Laurence Gonzales said I should check out “the polyvagal theory”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnfKmNRfLYU (2:27)

 

It turns out I’d heard of the theory before and even included it in a slice of my “Summon The Magic” material, replicated above.

And Gonzales was right again, I discovered, when I  re-examined Porges and his theory, this time in depth, and having a deeper understanding of what Porges means, what the theory is about, what it tells us about how we humans are constructed, and that it holds the key to our re-generation after trauma.

My return from West Virginia, my re-engagement with my wife and kids, my focusing on getting the “Summon The Magic” material in shape and online, and my looking for new ways to learn and get involved and engaged, are my examples. I got beyond the physical and emotional trauma of my dance with intensive care, my rehabilitative process, and found some answers to “What now?”.  I focused on restoring or keeping what health I had. WIth the kitchen empty and the wife still working 14-hour days, I focused on cooking. I bought an instructional cookbook from the Culinary Institute of America, watched cooking shows, and played in the kitchen as an artist in love. We got the kitchen re-modeled. I started to assemble some instructional tools on learning how to play the piano or electronic keyboard. I bought a new computer, got re-invested in blogging, and ended up transitioning my blog to a new host with a new approach. And I’ve put 9/11 and such things behind me, in the sense that I no longer feel obsessed, no longer have the need to chase down every detail, eliminate the doubts and variables in every piece of disinformation, or classify and categorize every one who posts on the Internet. I still watch and post about such things on the news,  obviously, but there are spaces and gaps now, places and times when I can turn away and invest my self in something else.

Each of us has to do this in his or her own way, when we are ready… again not for the sake of letting go of our awareness and activism, but in harnessing it to better ends with better tools and in learning to live a life in our own way that is contrapuntal and antithetical to “the evilarchy” that has brought us to the cliffside of brutal totalitarianism, economic collapse, and world war. 

Below the calligraphic break is a section devoted to Porges and his theory with more links for your exploration to the depth of your own interest.

 

In his article on love and our emergent autonomic nervous system

[ http://www.craniosacrale.it/pdf/dainfo/love_paper.pdf ],

Stephen Porges, Ph.D. explains our innate human neurobehavioral system and the way it promotes an alternative to the flight/fright mechanism by promoting social contact and communication.

His polyvagal theory describes the enervation of the branchiomeric muscles which control our facial expressions, listening and vocalization, our head tilts and all the  other very subtle elements that are intimately involved in the communication of affect.

These are the tools of engagement and interaction within the social environment (although these require face-to-face contact, not social media contact).

These same internal systems also communicate with our heart and with our gastro-intestinal system which are intimately connected with the brain, the heart and the body’s hormonal regulation mechanisms. This triad is inseparable and is deeply integrated with our abilities for cooperative and shared responsibilities of survival, the transmission of cultural values, and with physical safety.

Love, which is incompatible with fear, may have evolved to bypass slower, more tedious, and often unsuccessful processes of communication and social engagement.

For more, click on this pdf link: The Polyvagal Theory 

 

A Short Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGDMXvdwN5c (3:59)

 

ABC’s Sydney Lupkin calls it a “fake”, but maybe a placebo is a more correct term. 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/04/09/doves-latest-ad-entails-tricking-women-to-wear-fake-beauty-patches/ 

RumblePitch tweets — inside the story — that it’s degrading for all intelligent women but then, on the other hand, intelligent women would know how to use their own minds in a manner that improves their well-being and, maybe, just maybe, some people need to be educated about how that works.

This is what I’ve been trying to do with “Summon The Magic” and, while my own direct applications have been focused on helping one individual be able to hit home runs seemingly at will, and in another case helping a post-Olympic pitcher [Danielle “Harry” Henderson] get over the simple psychological hurdle of making an error every time the ball was hit back to her [“Thanks… it worked!”, she told me a year later], it’s simply about opening up the door to the idea that the power of the brain can be focused on any issue the brain’s owner wants it to be.

Here are chunks of the old e-book “Summon The Magic”:

the Bibliography pdf,

Mind Map 2013 pdf

ActionMapping pdf

Team Chemistry pdf

Get Going

 

 

The state of loneliness can be crippling, and though majority of people don’t find themselves consumed by it, they do feel its effects as their inner worlds shrink and dry up.

According to the 65-year-old Indian-born American physician, the only real answer to loneliness is to experience your own fullness, and only then can you be sure that you will not look inside one day to find holes, gaps, unanswered fears and a sense of lack.

A few steps that enable an individual to become true to themselves have also been given, the Huffington Post reported.

Step one is to have a vision that you devote time to every day – according to happiness experts, the best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day. Chopra has modified this a little bit and said that the best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day that looks forward to tomorrow as the future is something you build toward and the place where you build is inside yourself.

Step two consists of putting yourself in a context for fulfilment – the solitary life is suitable for very few people and the vast majority prefer social connections. We all have them if yours are the kind that doesn’t fulfil you emotionally, the whole value of relationship is being missed.

Proximity isn’t the same as bonding. There is a sliding scale for bonding, from least to most intimate, which is as follows:

Relationships exist for the purpose of mutual fulfillment, but if they exist for other reasons like status, financial security, feeling wanted or meeting the social norm, it’s not the same as being true to yourself deep down and allowing intimacy to move into the region of the soul.

Lastly, view your life as a process, a never-ending journey – as long as you live between the end points of birth and death, life is like a conveyor belt heading inexorably for a black tunnel. The only time that never ages is the present moment.

Living in the moment has become a spiritual cliche, but it isn’t always a useful one. The now becomes eternal only when it is full, when your being is enough to sustain you, complete fullness is at hand and when just being here elicits bliss, you are timeless.

http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-deepak-chopra-reveals-how-to-fight-loneliness-1781879

 

Random Acts of Kindness caught on film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeph_eX_pVw&list=PLxr6alg-YpQYPINmZkZuGl8xxN1HDOOkz (5:27)

 

music video (must be watched for its explanatory graphics)

Oh Come, Emmanuel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozVmO5LHJ2k&list=PLxr6alg-YpQYPINmZkZuGl8xxN1HDOOkz (4:36)

 

 

From “Deep Survival”

The appendix of the book starting on page 278 offers up the condensed rules”.

 

The rules of adventure:

Perceive, believe, then act. Guess well. Avoid the “four poisons of the mind”: fear, confusion, hesitation, and surprise. Hesitation. [My sports psychology reading taught me a very simple mantra which continues to remain deeply embedded and yet available: “Don’t  discriminate in the midst of action”.] Stop, think, observe, plan, and then act.

Avoid impulsive behavior; don’t hurry.

Know your stuff.

Get the information.

Commune with the dead. “If you could collect the debt around you and sit by the campfire and listen to their tails, you might find yourself in the middle of the best survival school of all.”

Be humble.

When in doubt, bail out.

 

The rules of survival:

Number One: Perceive; believe (look, see, believe).

Number Two: Stay calm (use humor, use fear to focus).

Number Three: Think/analyze/plan (get organized; set up small, manageable tasks;).

Number Four: Take correct, decisive action (be bold and cautious while carrying out tasks).

Number Five: Celebrate your successes (take joy in completing tasks).

Number Six: Count your blessings (be grateful–you’re alive).

Number Seven: Play (sing, play mind games, recite poetry,  count anything, do mathematical problems in your head).

Number Eight: See the beauty (remember: it’s a vision quest).

Number Nine: Believe that you will succeed (develop a deep conviction that you make real).

Number Ten: Surrender (let go of your fear of dying; “put away the pain”).

Number Eleven: Do whatever is necessary (be determined; have the will and the skill).

Number Twelve: Never give up (let nothing break your spirit).

 

Mark Knopfler – True Love Will Never Fade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cDxnbDfgYA (4:28)

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[with a big tip of the cap to A. Peasant]

http://www.sott.net/article/142725-Limbic-Warfare-and-Martha-Stouts-Paranoia-Switch

http://www.c-span.org/video/?199990-1/book-discussion-paranoia-switch

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-374-22999-3

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“Life is precious and irreplaceable. Even severe incurable illness can often be temporarily fixed, moderated, or controlled…. In chess, to resign is to give up the game with pieces and options remaining.  My version of DNR is “Do Not Resign”.

Don’t give up on me if I can still think, communicate, create, and enjoy life. When taking care of me, take care of yourself as well, to make sure you don’t burn out by the time I need your optimism the most.

It’s so easy to let someone die, but it takes effort, determination, and stamina to help someone stay and feel alive.”

 

Boris Veysman, M.D. [ http://rwjms.rutgers.edu/emergency_medicine/faculty/profiles/veysmanb.html ], in the journal Health Affairs,

cited on page 207 of Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You http://www.amazon.com/Your-Medical-Mind-Decide-Right/dp/B00CVDO05U , Jerome Groopman, M.D., and Pamela Hartzband, M.D., Penguin 2012.

 

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From the Nag Hammadi library, the Book of Thomas, Christ tells us “For whoever does not know self does not know anything, but whoever knows self already has acquired knowledge about the depth of the universe”.

Compare this with a tract from the Upanishads, the Indian metaphysical treatise on self-realization:

“It is not by argument that the self is known…. Distinguish the self from the body and mind. The self, the atman, the highest refuge of all, pervades the Universe and dwells in the hearts of all. Those who are instructed in the self and who practice constant meditation attain that changeless and self-effulgent atman (spirit/self). Do Thou Likewise, for bliss eternal lies before you….”

http://www.sol.com.au/kor/8_01.htm 

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http://snippits-and-slappits.blogspot.com/2014/04/18-things-highly-creative-people-do.html

 

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“…. for god’s sake, one can’t spend untold hours chewing blogospherical cud when there is a real life to be lived out there in the real world….”

Chris Floyd

 On Data Dumps, Death States and “Respectable” Dissent

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“You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he ‘s no longer in your power–he’s free again.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 

ATTRIBUTION DETAIL »

Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/source/bobynin_in_the_first_circle_1968?page=1#QogthHx4ItgqQg3o.99

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There is a tearsheet used as a bookmark in my copy of Civil Disobedience which notes an excerpt from the book The power highway: Saga of a desperate Southern gentleman, 1955-1967” (Dillard, 1997) (edited by Douglas Brinkley), and which reads, underneath the title in bold red

 “Fear and Loathing…”:

On the night of November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Hunter Thompson wrote to his friend William Kennedy from his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. The letter contains the earliest known use of his signature phrase “fear and loathing”. An excerpt follows.

….There is no human being within 500 miles to whom I can communicate anything–much less the fear and loathing that is on me after today’s burner….The killing has put me in a state of shock. The rages troubled….This is the end of reason, the dirtiest are in our time. I mean to come down from the hills and enter the fray….No more fair play. From now on it is dirty pool and judo in the clinches. The savage nuts have shattered the greatness of American decency. They can count me in – I feel ready for a dirty game….

****

 

The Sacred Ritual of Walking: Venkat Rao explains, for the benefit of us un-spiritual types, that sacred rituals are of four types: grounding, centring, connecting, and collecting. He then provides an intriguing exercise to assess which type most appeals to you.

When the Purpose of Meeting is Not to Agree on Actions: My friend Amanda Fenton summarizes some great thoughts on the value of conversation, connection and networking that yields no action plans, decisions or “solutions”. Sometimes, sharing and listening and learning is enough; sometimes, “the dialogue is the action”.

 

“Don’t turn your face away.

Once you’ve seen, you can no longer act like you don’t know.

Open your eyes to the truth. It’s all around you.

Don’t deny what the eyes to your soul have revealed to you.

Now that you know, you cannot feign ignorance.

Now that you’re aware of the problem, you cannot pretend you don’t care.

To be concerned is to be human.

To act is to care.”

― Vashti Quiroz-Vega

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/01/28/ 

 

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Accepting reality

Americans’ Mental Health is Latest Victim of Changing Climate (Op-Ed)

An excerpt:

“When you have an environmental insult, the burden of mental health disease is far greater than the physical,” said Steven Shapiro, a Baltimore psychologist who directs the program on climate change, sustainability and psychology for the nonprofit Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR). “It has a much larger effect on the psyche. Survivors can have all sorts of issues: post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and academic issues among kids.”

 

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“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 

Rumi 

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http://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/article-1338546439171-1366017e000005dc-116469_466x310.jpg 

In 2009, Rachel Weisz expressed her views on Botox to Harper’s Bazaar – “It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen. Acting is all about expression; why would you want to iron out a frown?“[109]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Weisz

 

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http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3JIAsVgrwuo/UxreysiCZJI/AAAAAAAB0fY/NkO2xHQREaI/s1600/h60_n.jpg 

 

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There is no prosthetic for an amputated spirit.

Lt. Col. Frank Slade (blind from a foolish accident with a grenade)(From the movie “The Scent of a Woman”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN0rMmUxUMI (0:08)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2zTd_YwTvo (4:30)

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“Happiness is the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”

John F. Kennedy, citing Plato

See also page 159

Your Unfinished Life: The Classic and Timeless Guide to Finding Happiness and Success Through Kindness

by Lawrence J. Danks

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/your-unfinished-life-lawrence-j-danks/1014434870?ean=9780615242071 

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“… Only the wealthy can afford to have someone else fix their bicycle, walk and wash their dog, change the oil in their car, repair their house, etc. Practical skills enable an individual or household to lower the cost of living to the point that savings (capital accumulation) is possible. Practical skills are human capital, which is the means of production in a knowledge economy…..”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/losing-practical-life-skills.html 

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There are two books in my bibliography for the never-quite-got-off-the-ground effort I called “Summon The Magic” that I recommend first and foremost for students and parents, students for the obvious reason that they have evidenced some desire to learn something useful and parents in the hopes that they would buy one for their kids (and read it when the kid was doing something else).

One of those books has this description in my list:

The Everyday Work of Art: How Artistic Experience Can Transform Your Life, Eric Booth, Sourcebooks, Napierville, Illinois 1997. [At the foundation of Summon The Magic, the concepts in this book should be taught to every high school student; written by an individual who has achieved unparalleled success in the fields of music, the performing arts and business.] [Having been recognized by many educators as an outstanding book, it has been re-published by Authors’ Guild Back-in-Print (iUniverse.com) (ISBN 0-595-19380-3) with the new subtitle “Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life”.]

There are many rich tidbits to be drawn from this book. He talks about developing own’s own hall of masters, the select few with whom you’d like to have a conversation, a dinner, or some form of deeper relationship. [He’s on my list.]  The second is a little meme about a spectrum of curiosity, really a spiral that describes depths of attention.

He does a lot with etymology, which endears me to him, and he is the kind of fellow I very much wish I’d had an encounter decades ago; it would have changed and improved my life. If you’re not yet convinced of the need to part with some of your hard-earned cash for this man’s book, read this commencement address of his:

http://necmusic.edu/eric-booth-2012-commencement-speech 

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Healing the Traumatized Self

CONSCIOUSNESS, NEUROSCIENCE, TREATMENT

Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology

Paul Frewen (Author), Ruth Lanius (Author)

With a Foreword by Bessel van der Kolk, With a Foreword by David Spiegel

A neurobiological explanation of self-awareness and the states of mind of severely traumatized people.

Cultivation of emotional awareness is difficult, even for those of us not afflicted by serious mental illness. This book discusses the neurobiology behind emotional states and presents exercises for developing self awareness. Topics include mood (both unipolar and bipolar), anxiety (particularly PTSD), and dissociative disorders.  Frewen and Lanius comprehensively review psychological and neurobiological research, and explain how to use this research to become aware of emotional states within both normal and psychopathological functioning. Therapists will be able to help survivors of trauma, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and dissociative disorders develop emotional awareness. The book also includes case studies, detailed instructions for clinicians, and handouts ready for use in assessment/therapy with patients/clients.

BOOK DETAILS

  1. Hardcover
  2. Forthcoming July 2014
  3. ISBN 978-0-393-70551-5
  4. 6.1 × 9.3 in / 416 pages

http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Healing-the-Traumatized-Self/

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Healing Trauma

Peter Levine, author of “Waking The Tiger”, has a book/CD package called “Healing Trauma” which detail a number of exercises built on Eugene Gendlin’s “Focusing” theories of “felt sense” (Somatic Experiencing).

“Levine’s psycho-physiological trauma theory is informed by what ethologists, or biologists who specialize in studying animal behavior in the wild, call the immobility response, a survival enhancing fixed action pattern evolved in prey animals which is triggered by the perceived imminence of being killed by a predator.”

Levine talks on Track Nine of the CD about somatic collapse as a result of trauma or having been shamed; one wonders if there is a parallel to social or cultural collapse. He talks about the exercise in which the client begins to re-stack their vertebra to come back to an upright and vertical alignment. On the tenth track, he discusses immobility as the pretended death of the predator’s victim, frightened by the aggression of the predator and giving up one’s own to feign death. On the eleventh track, he talks about looking around, or re-orienting, after waking up and shaking off the energy of the feigned death, or a natural built-in neurological system that [echoing Booth] allows for interest, curiosity and exploration. “It’s also the antidote for the trauma response. The nervous system cannot both be exploratory, curious, searching, looking and be traumatized.”  The “trauma response” cannot co-exist with those activities. And the activities of exploration create an urge to contact others who are similarly searching.  “It’s a natural response because, when we are not in the traumatized lockdown, our natural response is to reach out and make contact, both with our natural environment and any individual that we have a relationship with.”

Healing Trauma – Peter A. Levine

Waking the Tiger | Professional Training For Mental Health Professionals & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Trauma Therapy Training

Peter A. Levine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

****

Stop pretending that you don’t want whatever it is that you want, and take action. In every case, the remedy is to take action. Get clear about exactly what it is that you need to learn and exactly which you need to do to learn it. Getting clear kills fear.

Zen and The Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design, Laurence G. Boldt, Arkana/Penguin Books, 1993. [Thick, thorough, penetrating, demanding: it will help you work through the issues of what your mission in life is, where to apply your talents, and how to accomplish the dreams and visions you have for your life in the world.]

****

Imagining Healthy Work: Why We all Have to Become Monks

by JEFFREY BILBRO on MARCH 10, 2014 · 6 COMMENTS

I’m going to have to think on a small-scale, I’m going to have to think little.  If you leave here today remembering one thing, let it be this paradox: to include everything in our work, we have to work on a small, local scale. This is why we all have to become like monks.

I’m going to argue that if we want to work well, we should seek to work in a local community, for a common purpose, and at a variety of tasks.

http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2014/03/imagining-healthy-work-become-monks/ 

A Way of Working

http://www.amazon.com/Way-Working-Spiritual-Dimension-Craft/dp/0930407016 

Laborare est orare.

****

One’s true capacity for moving,

or being moved, can be achieved

only when one’s commitment to others

is in fact connected to and derived from

his primary commitment to himself. 

When we find this kind of alignment of purpose,

there is a harmony of motivation

that can provide the fuel and clarity

to overcome great obstacles

in the pursuit of great challenge.

from The Inner Game of Work, by W. Timothy Gallwey

****

To stay on track is hard. You have to want it really hard, and you have to get better every year. Why are you doing what you do? Is it instinct? Belief? The way in which you are different? A caring about what you do? The opportunity to be of influence, to give a gift of beauty and happiness to someone? It is a heroic endeavor to come to task with the demands of your inner gift or talent. What is the choice if you choose not to meet these demands? There are many professions and pursuits that will allow you to be average. But mediocrity is not acceptable in the many careers where you are constantly measured against the best, when the comparisons to the titans of the past are inevitable. Pursuing your life’s work is a kind of agony, and you have to be careful not to love the agony, but to use it. In the end, you have to break out by yourself.

From “Juilliard”, an American Masters production on PBS

****

Angels don’t produce art. Neither do beasts….

You and I do, in response to the pain of being human—without a credential and without the approval of anybody.

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2014/04/can-writing-be-taught/?mc_cid=fc7c5c4314&mc_eid=430d290bc7 

****

▶ Cinema Paradiso – Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Botti – YouTube (8:16)

Alfredo: Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.

Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?

Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.

 

 

▶ David Crosby featuring Mark Knopfler – What’s Broken (2014) – YouTube

▶ David Crosby – Holding On To Nothing – YouTube (3:40)

▶ David Crosby – Time I Have – YouTube (3:43)

 

Getting Beyond

Getting Beyond:

Finding Purpose and Vitality After Enduring Systemic Insult

 

 

▶ David Crosby – Dangerous Night (Special) – YouTube

 

“Getting Beyond” consists of a hopefully-well-integrated series that totals over 200 pages but which is broken up for better digestion in the following manner: This is the main body of 45 pages with small inserts in pdf format.  It is dominantly my experience, thus deeply personal. It is followed by two sections of quoted excerpts from two books: “Deep Survival” and “Surviving Survival”, with two intervening and following sections on Tavistock, and on Porges’ polyvagal theory, the first short, the second one long. Links and videos are embedded throughout. These will be posted at

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-deep-survival/

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-surviving-survival/

The final section is called “Alignment of Purpose”, which will follow in six hours here:

http://boydownthelane.com/2014/05/01/alignment-purpose/ ‎ 

https://www.aamc.org/linkableblob/326256-1/data/stress200-data.jpg

source of image: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/getting-beyond-the-narcissismadvertising-complex/

  Preface and Acknowledgement Laurence Gonzalez is a journalist recognized for his  insights into the mind under duress that are “accurate, accessible, up-to-date and insightful”. The very first story in his book I’ve credited online with helping save my life is about the mental and emotional glidepath markers of landing a Navy combat airplane on the pitching decks of an aircraft carrier at night. I trust that this distinguished author will understand why I have excerpted more than is usual and customary  for a review in an attempt to get you the reader to go out and buy the books, read them, and apply them to your own life. The second book, the impetus for this piece, has been called  a “realistic,and accessible self-help book on the potential of growth from suffering” and “an education for those wishing to be of use in a stressful, often frightening world”.

 

I’ve been suggesting that people buy and read books to learn more about how their mind/body/spirit unit works for two decades now. Gonzalez will then hopefully appreciate the line from that graceful old powerhouse of an intellect I met at the very end of her career — retired Admiral Grace Hopper — who said, clutching her handful of nanoseconds, “It’s easier to apologize than it is to ask permission”.  I’ve taken great liberties with his work without expressed permission, but it is laden with such insight and understanding that I make no apologies.

 

I must acknowledge “my funny valentine”. We’d been through some difficult back country, and we’re still hiking. There are bears on the trail, and wildcats, but she’s a trauma nurse and knows something about survival herself. I met her almost 40 years ago a few days before Valentine’s Day; she forgave me, and love still abounds. ▶ Pat Metheny Trio & Nils Landgren “My funny Valentine” – YouTube 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdDJ0XwlJyM (7:51)

 

I acknowledge as well the small army of medical professionals with whom I have worked through the spectrum of discovery, testing, coordination, action, trial, error, support, rehabilitation, release, and follow-up. There are too many of them to be named, but they include cardiologists, experts in electrophysiology at three tiers, physical and occupational therapists, dozens of nurses, and Gene the equipment man, a pastor and jazz afficianado.

I acknowledge “Gabriel”, without whose care, attention and love I would probably be dead, or broken.  I offered to re-pay the $15K she coughed up to cover my expenses at a time when I had nothing.

She told me to “pay it forward”.

This is one of the payments.

 

The calligraphic art used as textual separators are the Chinese symbols for resilience.

I received an e-mail a few months ago from an author; it arrived out of the blue. But it was properly titled so I’d open it and it came from a name I recognized immediately: Laurence Gonzalez. I’d written to him a long time ago. I’d read his book Deep Survival years back and, after some reflection and recovery, credited him, in a review at Amazon [ Permalink ] and in direct correspondence to him, with having assisted me in my own survival. In the e-mail, he thanked me again and told me about his new book “Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience”. I  bought it immediately. There ought to be a copy of these two books -– dog-eared, highlighted -–with accompanying materials -– in every high school guidance counselor’s office, three or four copies in the executive suites of every insurance company, one each in every hospital medical library and medical staff break room, and certainly one in every mental health, social and other counselor’s offices. I’’ll be buying a copy of the new book he’s sending to press now for publication in July :

http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294978729

I’d already given copies of “Deep Survival” to both my adult children and to my wife. I had to search around for my own copy… I’d already “let it go”, having mined it, having added it to my Bibliography pdf of performance psychology titles. But I knew instantly there was still something to be learned from this fellow (I’ve already invited him to dinner if he ever comes my way).

And I suspected strongly and correctly that what he had to teach me was also applicable to those of us who still harbor the occasional moments of melancholy, depression, despair, etc., having suffered through the purposeful repeated traumatization of 9/11 and its related sequelae.  

“The collapse of a Tower in a dream can represent a severe psychological break.”

Aangirfan: CONTROLLING YOU THROUGH SYMBOLS

Frank Culbertson was aboard the International Space Station that morning and shot footage of the attack. The next day, he wrote a letter and said “Other than the emotional impact of our country being attacked and thousands of our citizens and maybe some friends being killed, the most overwhelming feeling being where I am is one of isolation.”   “But as the September 11 attacks turned into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number of researchers at universities across the US have warned that media consumers who repeatedly expose themselves to such gruesome images could be putting themselves at risk of psychological damage.

Roxanne Cohen Silver, a professor of psychology and social behavior at UC Irvine, said that people who spent four hours or more soaking up 9/11 or Iraq War coverage were more likely to experience acute stress.

The results suggest that exposure to graphic media images may be an important mechanism through which the impact of collective trauma is dispersed widely,” Silver said, as quoted by the university’s website. “Our findings are both relevant and timely as vivid images reach larger audiences than ever before through YouTube, social media and smartphones.”

http://rt.com/usa/video-911-attack-space-broadcast-290/

“Don’t feed your amygdala any scary raw data.” 

[Page 241, Surviving Survival]

Some of the people I know of or read on the Internet are more closely attuned or connected to the degradations of the neo-conservative-Zionist-US war of terror against the peoples in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, the Balkans, and perhaps elsewhere. Some are the victims of those warsszs, and some are the warriors. Surviving Survival has a great story of one warrior, the one who crossed a bridge. I’ll use the great big lump of 9/11 as a metaphor, since that event was used as the precursor and progenitor of so much about which we despair, including the degradation of the political processes and the Constitution. Equally, the civilian victims and the soldiers whose boots were on the ground have had to re-build their lives and their bodies, and in some cases their minds and their souls. And at least a few people have recognized the short-term and long-term genesis of the war of terror: the political and psychological leanings of Freud, Bernays and others that have emanated out of the Tavistock Institute. “Ah, conspiracy theories” comes the echo, but more than a few people have spent the time and done the research and the reading. Personally, I became a full-fledged information warrior sometime back in 2004, after the discussion board that grew out of John Kerry’s campaign morphed into a free, open and not-so-disconnected discussion board that had thousands of active members, dozens of sayanim and trolls, and a few moderators with subtly-hidden agendas. By the time the discussion board was closed because most people had left behind the nasty battles, I was ranked among the top 20 contributors and had become one of the leading people to openly question “the official story.” This naturally made me a target, and I re-traumatized myself again and again watching videos, reading articles, etc. And I did some “post-graduate research” in which I was — all at the same time — a goat, a hero, a victim. [Steven Pressfield speaks of the triad of interacting selves as

“victim, perpetrator, rescuer”: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2014/04/the-victim-the-perpetrator-and-the-rescuer/;

yTkbBRGTE

I’ve been oriented to “rescue” for most of my adult life and was given the derogatory appellation of “Mr. Band-Aid” by someone I tried to help. I affixed a Band-Aid to my refrigerator as a daily reminder to understand and connect more deeply.]

As someone with a degree in media and political science and an orientation to news, I’ve long been at least tangentially involved and aware, but I’ll have to confess to having fallen back asleep after the Gulf of Tonkin affair. I had turned away from any further involvement with the military after one year in the all-volunteer Bay State Special Forces. I’d learned where to place the explosives underneath a bridge, how to kill someone with my bare hands, and how not to survive when thrown in the water with my hands tied behind my back and to my feet. [They had to jump in and fish me out.]  (I heard distant echoes of this when I was force-fed oxygen in an attempt to rehabilitate my lungs after having been on a heart-lung machine.) I got out of a weak college major in English and jumped with both feet into the world of news and communications studies. Career and marriage soon took over.  I took a sharp turn at the end of college and started specializing in saving lives. I did re-awaken when my kids were just getting into their teens; a fresh new investigation into the assassination of JFK took me deep into four or five books. But marriage, kids and the hunt for legal tender keep us all occupied enough to prevent us from getting beyond the smokescreen of diversion and propaganda until we finally set aside the time or are forced to look more deeply.  By 2004, I was chronically unemployed, pissed off enough about the Bush administration, and able to spend the time and some money pursuing some deeper interests. And my kids had finished college, moved out of the house, and my wife and I were beginning to become estranged.

It was, at first, a case of transition, of empty nest syndrome, of unemployment, of depression.  And I was isolated as an individual who spent time online reading non-mainstream sources. [Today, they call people like me mentally ill, or a terrorist. ]  On the famous scale that measures stressors due to life changes, I had a number of serious markers and operated regularly with a score at around 200 or more.  I lived with and thus was at times a caregiver for an individual who required a lot of energy; in Julia Cameron’s terminology, she was a “crazymaker”.  I was alternately unemployed or under-employed or ecstatically employed. My spouse’s nose and the grindstone were on intimate terms. My kids were out of college and on their own, and my involvement in their lives as a “sports parent” had chunked down several gears.  I got involved with umpiring fast-pitch softball in order to give something back to a game that had given much, and I took up aikido.  I was still learning and reading performance psychology, but frankly no one else was interested in what I had unearthed: the key to the mind and its effective application by its owner. I wasn’t really aware of the depression; I regarded it as minor and essentially a normal part of life’s ups and downs. I could and did “pick myself up” without much difficulty.  I never needed any pills; other than a rare exception dealing with marital matters, I’d never saw any psychologists or counselors. I’d been a graduate of three tiers of “Actualizations” with Stewart Emery. ▶ Human potential – Steward Emery – YouTube (22:00).

Mastering the Moment 

You can achieve a state of being by what you are doing. Yet getting to a place of being by way of something you are doing is a very long way around and, more importantly, it is rarely more than temporary. Most people do not put on a piece of soft music and remain calm the rest of their lives. Most people do not pray and continue to be at peace every succeeding moment. You can completely shift the axis of your experience by your decision to come from a state of being, rather than to try to get to one. It turns everything around. This decision of yours places the source of what you desire within you, rather than outside of you. That makes it accessible to you at all times and in all places. At present, most of your states of being are “reactions”. They do not have to be this. You can make them “creations”. When you move into any moment, you rarely do so with your ‘state of being’ determined ahead of time. You wait until you see what the moment contains and provides, and then you respond by being something. Perhaps you wind up being sad, or happy, or disappointed, or elated.  But… Suppose you decided beforehand how you were going to be when you moved into that moment, no matter how that moment showed up.  Do you think it would make any difference in the way that you experienced the moment itself? This is genuine power, the kind of power that changes lives…. This level of being can be reached in a single moment. It can also take a lifetime. Everything depends on you, on how deeply you desire it. You may achieve any inner state of being you wish by simply choosing it and calling it forth.  When you decide how you are going to show up before the moment itself shows up, you have begun to move toward mastery. You have learned to master the moment. When you decide ahead of time what your inner state of being is going to be, then no matter what any outer moment brings, the outer world loses its power over you. In fact, the wonderful irony of this is that what the outer world is doing will very often be affected by what you are being.

My wife was wrapped up heavily in her work, and she had the primary responsibility of dealing with her mother, with whom we lived. Her mother was chronically ill with cardiac and spinal problems, as well as having been plagued by continuing mental health issues. She’d had several hospitalizations, was diagnosed as a narcissistic schizophrenic (R. D. Laing’s “Sanity, Madness and the Family” just arrived several days ago).  She’d had a couple of nervous breakdowns over the years; my wife had began “nursing” her through her migraines when she was a 12-year old girl. The child grew up to become a twice-specialty-certified nurse with a stellar career; ‘mother’  had had three ECT treatments, multiple heart procedures and back surgeries. During one critical period, she was hospitalized, often with 911 emergency response to our living room, forty times in five years. And her presence and style was abusive. This I recognized because I grew up in a dysfunctional household with two abusive parents (one through absenteeism and the other physically and psychologically). My ears can still remember their being grasped and twisted; forced labor in a rural environment was a norm; and there’s more. Hidden rage is an ugly thing. So in 2001, in a household centered on a very ill woman who choked off dialogue with a glance, my own stress meter was bouncing off the far-right red zone.  I was professionally oriented towards emergency management and was able to follow the “blinking red” run-up to that “severe clear” day in September quite closely, and I was screaming and teeming enough that I sent an e-mail of warning and hope to my daughter, then in grad school in Queens, the night before. It was her e-mail the next morning that alerted me to events in Manhattan. I’d been involved in early efforts in the development of online discussion and dialogue. I dabbled in a few progenitors of the online learning movement. I volunteered for a task force at learningtimes.net where I met the fellow who developed the interactive “Game of Games” and became one of his beta testers. By 2004 I was in full florid online discussion with a bunch of people who were actively denying that there was anything amiss. I’d devised a “game engine” for a desktop simulation system that forced discovery through dialogue. And slowly and subtly I started to fall into a trap. It was a cosmic turbulence, a wilderness of rapid change. During this same period of time, I’d become interested and involved with the binaural beats audio meditation system known as Holosync, developed by the Centrepointe Institute and described in great detail, with scientific explanation and the supporting research, in the book Thresholds of the Mind. [A Google search will turn up lots of information, including reviews, scribd and pdf files, and more.] Holosync was, at first, simply an escape, a proven way to relax. As I progressed more deeply into the program, especially when I got to “The Dive” and “Immersion”, I could feel the waves of stress flowing off my body. I felt more rested and my experience was wholly consistent with expected results. And I began to notice changes I couldn’t explain, but only experience and explore. It played an integral role in my experience, in my health. I began to have increasingly one-on-one and private discussions with one of the women in this discussion group of 2,000. She had an interest in the noetic sciences, and I had a flourishing interest in sports and performance psychology. I wanted to find a way to make that interest come to life in a job of some sort; my wife suggested I find a psychologist or psychiatrist under whose umbrella I could continue to learn and work. The online dialogue continued to the point where we decided to actually talk on the phone. My wife would come home from work and a long commute and, very tired, do psychological battle at the dinner table with her mother (who was quite adept at dividing the two of us– see Pressfield above), and I couldn’t bear to see what she was doing to her daughter. [It was a living seminar in the triangular nature of family dynamics.] But her daughter refused to counter the abuse, and took her bottle of fortified wine upstairs to the bedroom, closed the door, and fell asleep in front of repeated episodes of “Law and Order”.  I did the dinner dishes and went down cellar into my office to my laptop and online connection where, soon enough, I had installed Skype. I was three floors away from the other two who were asleep. Did I fall into a honey trap?  It may have been one, but only in the sense that Little League is like AA ball.  At one point, I likened it to the experience when two comets cross paths, coming in to orbit from another distant place, a gravitational pull that allowed each to affect the other, and then to shoot back off into space, “spinning unheard in the dark of the sky”. I struck up the conversation. The lady “down South” was troubled, and lacking in confidence. She informed me she had to open up her own practice in a couple of weeks. “Practice?” said the man who had a library of understanding about sports practice, motivation, belief, and performance psychology. “What kind of practice?” “I finish my residency program in two weeks and will be going into practice.” “Residency program?” “Yes.” “You’re a doctor?” “Yes.”  (Light bulb goes on. No wonder she’s so intelligent. I need intelligent people in my life around me.) “What kind of doctor?” “A psychiatrist.” “Oh….   Well, I might have something that could be of help to you. You’ve been preparing to go into practice now for years.” ‘   What can you offer?’ was the unspoken response. So I told her about all the reading I’d done, my e-book called Summon The Magic, and the fact that my two children had been practicing too…where the material had come from, their accomplishments with it, and the fact that the material had been made available to top-flight elite athletes with similar effect.  (I once did a successful intervention with a pitcher who owned a gold medal from the Olympics and the NCAA strike-out record.)  (I posted “If You Want to Achieve Excellence” on the chain-link fence next to the dugout at UHartford and the ‘adept’ went three-for-three with three home runs, one to each field.) Same thing… Walk up to the plate (the door of her practice) and hit a home run. So she asked for more, and I offered up the table of contents, and she said “Send me the 5th, 9th, 12th and 14th chapters.” “Well,” I proffered, “usually people read them in order, but if you’ve gotten yourself through medical school and a psychiatric residency, you can read them in any order you want.” She read them by the side of the pool at the country club. And we talked about the issues and problems. We talked about her five-year old daughter, the product of a failed relationship with a Turkish diplomat assigned at the time to a well-known Mediterranean country and with whom she visited Istanbul. She refused his offer of marriage and was frightened for her child and herself in the middle of a well-armed cadre of protective guards. She returned home to finish medical school and he married a pediatrician he’d met when he was assigned to Moldova. [Check the map and the current news.] And, at the end of the summer, Katrina happened, and we talked some more, and I talked her out of rushing off willy-nilly to New Orleans to offer her services by explaining the term dysfunctional mass convergence, and she motivated me to spell out and publish my understanding of the dynamics of emergency response. I wrote a draft (“This is crap”, she said),  and then took three months to research and write a 57-page paper. “How will people learn about and read this?”, she prompted me to get it published…  internationally [http://www.iaem.com/documents/SimsandVCOPs1.pdf ]. And she’d started her practice. As we talked, it became obvious that she had some kind of sleep disorder, and it occurred to me that she was exhibiting some signs of dissociative personality disorder. I’d done some reading about MK-Ultra and the long-term effects of sexual abuse and, at one point in a conversation during which we had become particularly close, I asked her if she’d been sexually abused. “How did you know? I never told you that.” Well, she owned up to the fact that her father, a physician himself who was a sub-contractor for the CIA as a reserve officer in the USAF, did in fact sexually abuse her when she was 9, and it continued until she was 15. Or so she said… But she did have the symptoms. Or was she play-acting? Well, she acted suicidal on more than one occasion, and asked me to continue to talk to her through the wee hours of the night until either she or her daughter fell asleep. She fed the child Benadryl and herself Ambien, and waited for what my broadcasting professor called my “bedroom voice” to put her to sleep. And, to make a long story shorter, I fell in love with her. She kept coming around singing me up. And I became addicted. On one occasion, we agreed to meet in person  and when she sent me her picture, I fell off the chair.  She was stunningly beautiful.  And smart. And, I thought, needed someone.  And I felt unneeded. And she called or e-mailed every day, more often than not two or three times a day. Every night’s telephone conversation was something we both looked forward to. I had, it seemed, something she needed or wanted. Months went by. And then she “diagnosed” my medical problem. Well, “diagnosis” is perhaps too strong a word, but unquestionably her trained ear heard something in my voice and she insisted, forcefully, that I seek medical attention ASAP. She wanted me to hang up the phone and go wake up my wife and tell her to call the ambulance. “No”, I said, “that’s not going to happen.” I wasn’t going to march upstairs and wake up my wife and tell her the woman I’d irrationally fallen in love said I was having a stroke. But I did promise her I’d make an appointment with a doctor. Three days later, the 6’4” Czechoslovakian cardiologist leaned back from having auscultated my chest and asked “Has anyone ever told you you have a heart murmur?” No one had, and no one had previously told me I needed to have an echocardiogram and a catheterization and a stress test. But I did.   Findings: Moderate-to-severe aortic stenosis due to a damaged aortic valve. Now, I had been in touch with my brother… my long-lost brother … [that’s a whole ‘nuther story]… and he called out of concern and asked my wife, whom I had not told about the medical tests, how I’d made out at the hospital.

http://www.clanimalzoo.com/Kats/Cat%20in%20bag1.jpg

  Music video: Chris Botti, Someone To Watch Over Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eC_Qm78Gkg (9:30)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Someone_to_Watch_Over_Me_(song

http://www.lyrics007.com/Ella%20Fitzgerald%20Lyrics/Someone%20to%20Watch%20over%20Me%20Lyrics.html  

And so the situation unraveled and, as had been hastily planned after the psychiatrist had been informed of the cardiologist’s findings, the old ’99 black Pontiac Trans-Am was packed with clothing, books and music… a great car on the open road across the top of Western Maryland and down the backside of the Appalachian ridge.

Music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0WDS-EQoIM (4:36)

The cardiologist had said “No, I won’t refer you to a surgeon to have the valve replaced because your heart isn’t strong enough to undergo the surgery”, and I was now under the care of a psychiatrist who lived 800 miles away. There may be a book written about the 15-month-long experience. I’ve at least written a prose poem [Eros and Psyche] in which each word and each phrase is a cryptogram of memory. I met the psychiatrist’s mother (once), who threw me out of her house before I was two steps into her kitchen. [Her daughter then ‘keyed’ her car when we left.] Even over the phone, I’d watched a horrible relationship between her and her daughter that also affected a five-year-old grand-daughter. I thought I could offer some sanctuary. [I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Laurence Gonzalez can explain why I was not aware of the fact that I was doing so.] I sat in the passenger seat with the child in the back seat as the shrink followed her mother bumper-to-bumper in their matching Toyota Camrys over three laps of a winding circuit across the urban center and the suburban hills while they talked on the cell phone, child screaming in the back seat. I accompanied doctor and daughter to the movies one night in a moment that will forever live in my memory; doctor sat entranced through great parts of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. I’d already heard about the extreme fiscal situation the doctor was in, and her binge online shopping.  Previously, she’d told me on the phone that when she got home from rounds there was nothing to eat in the house; she said she couldn’t afford to use her credit card and order up a pizza delivery. When I worked in her office, I watched the doctor’s accountant manage her practice finances and, perhaps, her mind. [He was a Disciple of Christ too.] I watched her male medical partner (formerly with the Secret Service) have (and end) a relationship with his male office clerk, the same fellow who circulated nude pictures of patients among other patients in the waiting room of the medical practice, the same fellow whose job I took for eight weeks when I convinced my friend the lady psychiatrist to insist that he be fired immediately. (Among other things, I did the patient intake, took the vital signs, kept the charts in order, and helped set up the Suboxone program.) The lady psychiatrist passed her boards with flying colors on the first try without any help from me and was a specialist in psychopharmacology. She had taken me in the same way she took in the puppy dog one of her patients had left in her office. A pet store found a new home for the dog. I eventually found a new home in a rehab hospital.

Given to me by the psychiatrist from “down South”: My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton G. Erickson (edited and with commentary bny Sidney Rosen), W.W. Norton & Co., 1982. Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton Erickson, M.D. (Volume One), Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Grinder & Associates 1975. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha M. Linehan, Guilford Press 1993. Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha Linehan, Guilford Press 1993. Conversational Hypnosis: A Manual of Indirect Suggestion (Examples, Induction Scripts, Pre-Session Talks), Carol Sommer, 1992. The Art of Political Warfare, John J. Pitney Jr., University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. Given to me to read but retained in her possession:

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

by Kay Redfield Jamison

Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

by Kay Redfield Jamison

 Eight weeks into the period in which  I had ‘gone south’, she invited me — knowing it was expressly against the wishes of her mother — to visit her at her own little bungalow on the family compound. Everything there is all up and down,; literally your neighbor can be 500 feet above you or below you. (Good exercise to make my heart stronger, at least.) I lived in a condo that was about 500 feet higher than and about a three quarters-of-a-mile away from her, high up in the clouds and fog over the river.  Mother was all ready to have me arrested for trespassing the moment I arrived.  I had previously stifled her assumptions about my being a pedophile by offering to present myself to the local WV State police barracks and have them deliver their full report on my legal and moral transgressions directly to her.  I had already explained to the daughter that, as a tenant, she had a right to invite whomever she pleased.) So the tableau was set. Previously, on Thanksgiving, I’d made myself familiar with the area by strolling around the rim of the “holler” in which this family resided.  It was a special section of the land they had owned on the maternal side of things for generations as a giant pig farm, but they leased the land to a series of shopping centers built around a new four-lane road for 10% of the proceeds (or so I was told). During that walk, I was surprised to see a man perched with a high-powered hunting rifle high up in a pine tree that towered over the holler from the edge of its rim in the back of a church parking lot. Deer abounded in the neighborhood and a 10-point buck had once sauntered onto the deck around my condo as I sat in the kitchen with my coffee. Perhaps that image of the man with a .30-06 flashed through my subconsciousness as I walked out the door and started down the hill. Perhaps I went into florid pleural edema as a physical reaction to that part of my Stream, as Gonzalez calls it. Perhaps I had the subconscious sense I was being set up. [See Candace Pert on the molecules of emotion.: Pert Molecules.]

Now it’s a moot point; I turned around and struggled against the advancing tide of water in my lungs to get back to my condo. The Stream had turned into a flood. I walked in and hunched over the kitchen sink where I spit up some pink blood, a sign I immediately recognized and interpreted correctly; I’m a former EMT. And then, as I noted to Gonzalez years later, I grabbed my car keys, hung up the phone without comment when the doctor’s mother called to ask where I was, as the cops were on the way, and — disdaining 9/11 — I got in my car and drove down the hill to the nearest emergency room where the shrink was on staff.   I arrived in time to be able to throw my car keys to an EMT in the parking lot, asking him to ask hospital security to secure the car, and I went into the emergency room and puked all over the floor, and then blacked out. When I awoke moments later, I called the lady psychiatrist, and told her I now had some “skin in the game”.

[See a slice of the prose poem I wrote as an outline for the book here: http://boydownthelane.com/2013/11/27/reverse-911-a-remembrance-of-thanks/ ]

The emergency room staff got me stabilized, took the medical history, and put me in the ICU for the weekend. The cardiologist got the complete history and gave me a chemical stress test on Monday morning; as he advanced the plunger of the needle, I began to black out and told him to stop, and fell on the floor in cardiac arrest.

He revived me, rushed me back to the ICU, asked me if I had “seen the light” of an NDE [I hadn’t], and made arrangements for emergency open heart surgery and valve replacement downtown in the morning. I called my wife and son, and they made  arrangements to fly in. [My wife hates flying; have you ever hopped that old Saab bucket of bolts out of Detroit and landed on top of a mountain?] The next morning, after being asked if I were afraid (I wasn’t), I was wheeled through the doors of the OR and given a Versed and propafol IV cocktail that knocked me out in two seconds and made me unaware of having my sternum split, my heart stopped, an artery patched after they put in a new bovine valve — and then, hours later, being mooved back to the special ICU in the special heart surgery unit. My family arrived while I was in surgery.

There was one small problem… They left a “bleeder”.

I’m unconscious, my wife is in the waiting room with the heart surgeon and my friend the psychiatrist (whom she’d never met face-to-face or even talked to) to whom I had signed away power of attorney.

I’m glad I’d been unconscious.

I was unconsciously having an “Isn’t It Ironic?” moment, as I was fully aware of the fellow at the University of Virginia Medical School who was a performance psychologist (Doug Newburg) working with cardio-thoracic surgical teams to promote excellence under pressure.

Gonzales talks about surrender. I gave it over to people who cared about me, an ICU nurse named Pascha, and God. [Everyone of them came through for me.]

Four units of transfused blood later, someone finally figured out what the problem was and they wheeled me back to the OR, where the surgical team repaired the bleeding artery, but some arterial plaque “jumped” free and floated off to my brain, giving me a multiplex hemiplegic stroke that left my left leg totally immobilized, my left arm mostly immobilized, and my heart wafting in and out of atrial fibrillation. [No physicians have been sued in the telling of this story.  I knew about the risk going in and had no choice but to go in, without fear.]

Whenever it was that I finally awoke, days later, I was told I had a stroke. Totally numbed out by the depth of the experience, having hallucinated several times, still under the influence of whatever meds they were pushing along with the feeding tube in my right arm, I was fixed to the mattress. I needed help for the slightest of movements and mostly wafted in and out of various mental states of quasi-psycho-spiritual hypnogogic and hypnagoggic and hallucinatory restorative grace.

Well, the story trends with me getting superior cardiological care, 8 weeks of in-patient rehabilitation, moving my residence again [nine times in eleven months], having the lady doctor support me financially throughout the entire process, having her actively working to nurse me back on my feet (at one point  when I had an infection at the site of my feeding IV, she was on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor with disinfectant). She visited regularly, marshaled support and human resources, and provided a good deal of spirit, the sunshine of her presence,  and oversight of the medical care.

On a snowy day, she borrowed an old battered pick-up truck and personally hauled what little belongings and furniture I had out of the four-story condo atop the hill to the new place, stopping by the hospital long enough to throw me into the front right seat. She negotiated with the building supervisor and we got me installed into a cold apartment in mid-February.  The next morning, I grabbed a cab and went back and retrieved my car from the deep parking zone by the hospital where my son had left it when he grabbed his launch out of Yeager. It was an adventure to drive after I’d been immobilized in a bed for ten weeks, a lesson in how automaticity works and doesn’t work. I took it nice and s-l-o-w. The building super got the heat fixed and the lady shrink would come by to check on me and spend some time sharing the tales of her day, and I’d read sections of a book out loud I’d found on medical diagnosis and problem-solving (it was like playing “House”).   I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day she talked about tradecraft as she got ready to do “rounds”.

She played a supportive and perhaps major role (but I suspect not the final critical one, that having perhaps been given over to political influence called in by the psychiatrist’s mother) in getting my Social Security Disability application approved five months later.  I’d moved into an extended outpatient recovery with leg brace, walker and wheelchair in a hastily-rented small apartment in a building with an elevator, and gotten a pacemaker put in to keep my heart on the straight-and-narrow.

I never did find the key to the doorway she’d built and locked in front of her own heart/mind/spirit unit, though she clearly was having more and more problems. At one point, I remember asking that building super if he knew of a book that would help me understand women, and he replied “Ain’t been written yet.” She had what I can only, in my limited knowledge, call a psychotic break due to her mother’s harping or perhaps induced in other ways by others, and the several visits during which she somewhat vividly worked on getting me to end any thoughts of a continued relationship or an extended stay in her neighborhood by relapsing into a vicious alcoholism, asking me if I didn’t want to beat her up, and offering to join hands and fly off the 9th floor balcony (both of us kept our heads and our feet on the ground, and I kept my fists open and soft). I urged her to get formal help; how do you ask a psychiatrist who is an expert in psychopharmacology that she needs to see a psychiatrist? She told me she hoped to go to a hospital near Blacksburg, VA and get some ECT treatments. She did end up working with a psychiatrist and a psychologist on a personal basis. I am told she’s married, went through some serious abdominal surgery herself, and is back at work.

▶ Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – If this is goodbye [Bingolotto -06] – YouTube

 She did make a trip to see a Russian psychiatrist in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and I held my breath for about ten days. She returned and took a weekend to travel out to Nag’s Head [have you read JFK and the Unspeakable?] and sit on the dunes; she came back with a bumper sticker that said “Life is good”, but her resolve to be rid of me was now more stabilized and certain.

I’d seen both poles of her disorder; when she was at the right end of the dipole, she was one of the more powerful, super-intelligent and focused people I’d ever met. When she was at the wrong end, she was a mess. But it was clear that there was little I could do because I wasn’t going to be given the chance, the right, the role, to be of any assistance.

Eros and Psyche

Music video:

Notting Hillbillies Feel Like Going Home – YouTube 

 I negotiated, with the help of my son, a return back to Massachusetts and entrance into a successful re-establishment of a relationship with my wife.  I drove back on Thanksgiving, arriving on a wing and a prayer at the front end of a very tired caravan of driver/Pontiac/U-Haul negotiating the snowstorm, and the curves and hills of about 800 miles of Interstate highway, in time to surprise wife and daughter and to get a piece of pie. [Delicious baked humble pie.]

Relationships were tentative at first, for obvious reasons; I made apologies, and was forgiven.  I lived in a spartan, drafty four-room flat in between the rail line and the airport in a decaying industrial town near my daughter so I could perhaps be of some value to some one. Many months later, I walked my daughter down the aisle and handed her off to an environmental engineer who’s a D-I-Y kind of fellow; they have two delightful kids. My son gave me another grandkid in between those two, and the pictures of the three populate the wall space at home. My son and my daughter were the witnesses in the private ceremony in which my wife and I exchanged new vows we’d written in the middle of a garden labyrinth we found. I had been given a Clew.   Music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j-VHVIQZSg (2:57)

  I registered with all the right doctors and eventually got my old pacemaker installed correctly [yes, that same surgeon screwed that up too] and I’m on a small list of chronic meds with attendant side-effects. I got myself onto a regular system of treadmills and exercise bikes [http://www2.keiser.com/en/ ] and a Keiser weight system and exacerbated an old lacrosse injury to my hips and spine, went to the chiropractor for a year, had to stop the exercise regime, fired her, put on a lot of weight, but have been managing otherwise pretty well despite chronic leg numbness, an ever-present threat of another stroke, and the need to manage myself and ten medications along the thin ledge of homeostasis. Things are much much better now that wife has seen some things differently, as have I, and due in great part to the fact that her mother has been placed permanently in a nursing home, no longer able to care for herself in any meaningful way. And my wife recently retired so we have the place to ourselves (except when the grandkids visit). I did continue with my regime of Holosync-driven binaural beat meditation and then discovered, in the appendix of Izthak Bentov’s Stalking the Wild Pendulum, his theory that kundalini meditation dumped stress out through the aortic valve. When I asked my electrophysiologist about this, he answered “What do you care? You survived, didn’t you?” He tells me I may no longer go to the gym; I am limited to walking. We recently added the diagnosis of paroxysmal atrial flutter. And the aging progress continues….

“This is a very unusual area of medicine,” said Ann Webster, Ph.D., director of the Program for Successful Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine. “These are things people can do for themselves.” [ http://annwebsterphd.com/home.html ]

It was at the Benson-Henry Institute that the term “relaxation response” was first coined. It’s an actual physiologic state of deep rest that’s the opposite of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.

“This is a time when you restore energy to every cell in your body, and this is also a time when healing can take place,” said Webster.

Watch Report

It may sound far-fetched, but they say it’s grounded in real, cutting-edge science and proven to help people avoid high blood pressure,  pain syndromes and even rheumatoid arthritis.

“Take in a deep breath. Hold it … a few seconds, and then let it go,” said Webster. “By the end of the third breath, they’ve already quieted down.”

To turn on the relaxation response, Webster suggests meditation coupled with deep breathing every day for at least 20 minutes, along with:

  • Staying fit and eating right
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Social support
  • Staying engaged in life even after retirement
  • Getting quality sleep

According to Webster, the number No. 1 barrier to successful aging is obesity.

http://www.wcvb.com/health/mindbody-medicine-helping-patients-live-longer-stronger/24528140#!DUC6O 

 

http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/assets/pdfs/Successful%20Aging.pdf 

 

  My story isn’t as exciting or as vibrant a recovery as that of people who have battled mountain lions, sharks, bears, improvised explosive devices or breast cancer.  But my wife went through chemotherapy, radiation and an elective bilateral radical mastectomy when she developed breast cancer for the second time one year after I returned.  I was there to play a supporting role.

My own recovery from survival has been helped by Gonzalez’ second book, if only by recognition of the process. It was there, in his discussion about The Stream, through which I realized the true reason I was able to save my own life as I approached the threats in the holler. That realization precipitated the heart problems and the heart attack in an already-weakened heart and lead to the surgery in which I also almost lost my life twice, and then I had to look forward to the recovery of the rehabilitation and the long trail afterwords, which continues today, as I battle small and minor residua and wonder what to do with my survival. I have annoying loss of strength and dexterity in my left hand, gait problems exacerbated by an old minor hip-back injury in college, and a generalized clumsiness that belies a different self, but these pale and are inconsequential when compared to the problems of others with brain injury, overwhelming disfigurement on the surface and the interior, or other sets of circumstances that are far worse.

I consider myself immensely lucky, and I am glad that I went through the trouble.

One of the promises I made myself as I stared at the ceiling hour after hour and listened to the assembled music CD’s and summoned up bits of energy with which to try to tackle the strenuous physical and occupational therapy sessions thrown at me two and three times a day — the hardest work I’ve ever had to do, and I loved every minute of it, and I loved the professionals who cared for me, including the psychiatrist — was to survive long enough to be able to get back to the computer and online in order to post and share the assembled tome of excerpts from my performance psychology research. I had managed to save most of it across those many residential transitions despite several technological breakdowns and losses of computer capability but finally I started up a blog at Google in which the bulk of it was laid down for others to read. No one seemed much interested, to be frank, a disappointing reality due in great part to how I presented it, perhaps, but the events of the day and my returning anger about what was happening in the world — and the failure of many people (including my own family) to understand them, their causes, their consequences, and the meaning of all of that to their lives — gradually brought me back to an old orientation to the news and a blogging focus that was more dissident.

Most Americans seem unaware and unaffected by what is happening in America and the world, while the rest of the world waits for us to begin our recovery.

But I did save most of those performance psychology excerpts.

As I noted at the top, there are some who are in despair, or who find their way back to that state of despondency or depression or anomie, and it is them to whom Gonzalez’ book “Surviving Survival” should speak.

Music video: Let Down (Christopher O’Reilly)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZtLXmVstjY (5:33)

http://oneinabillionblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/concept-resilience.gif

See Excerpts from “Deep Survival” and “Surviving Survival” here:

http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-deep-survival/ http://www.thesullenbell.com/2014/05/01/excerpts-surviving-survival/

The 10 Big Ideas 

from the book “Deep Survival”

http://joshkaufman.net/deep-survival/ 

[This is a podcast interview with the author and is an outstanding (and portable) introduction to him, his books and how they apply to you. 

http://www.aaronmchugh.com/2013/10/30/18-survival-resilience-laurence-gonzales-podcast/ ]

Here, if it is more suitable to you, is a PowerPoint presentation done for a conference of social workers.

Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (1

naswilmeets.org/wp-content/…/SurvivingSurvivalNASWConf20131.pptx

Surviving Survival: the Art and Science of Resilience by Laurence Gonzales; Personal characteristics; Successful vs. ineffective strategies for surviving the …

 

This is the hour-long keynote address by Laurence Gonzalez at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in 2013. 

http://vimeo.com/84254950 

Are we at risk and existing in a wilderness?

Episode 39 – Laurence Gonzales 

http://podbay.fm/show/409450648/e/1321823159?autostart=1