Tag Archives: desire

life work

life work

Income, jobs, self-expression, entrepreneurship, the economy (or what of it is available to people like you and me), creeping expenses, the shimmering mirage of globalization, debt, health care expenses, and familial obligation have been on my mind a lot lately.

I suspect it’s been on a lot of minds.

music:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZI76J1UDKw

 

I’ve been out of work for longer than I’d like to admit.  I did qualify for a disability check from the US government with the dual diagnosis of motor stroke and advanced heart disease that required surgery for a new valve, generated atrial fibrillation, and got me one of them pacemaker-defibrillators tucked under my left clavicle.

Thanks to an irreplaceable battery of doctors, nurses and their support staff, I am alive, ambulatory, of sound mind, upright, capable of thought and keyboard output.  But I have been told I’ll never work again. And the disability check rolled right over into Medicare retirement.

How do YOU define work? The production of what pays how much these days?, and what will your bosses say about how hard you have to work and how well you will be paid for that? A lot of people have those questions and problems.

I had an e-mail exchange the other day with someone in a particular peculiar predicament; I’ll not share the details (you go ahead and fill in your own details), but what I told him was that the simple investment of something like $150-500 and about five hours time might help him figure out the answer to his conundrum in a way that would set him on a positive and functional course for the next two decades.  In this economy, it’s hard to think about work for two decades, especially if — like him — you have turned the corner and are well into the prime of your life. Or perhaps your particular peculiar predicament doen’t allow you to find $150-500.

Now you could ask, and with good reason, why I thought I had something of value to offer this particular fellow, and the answer is pretty simple. The more complex answer is to look back into this idea of work and life and see what falls out.

As you might have noticed, I have a library full of books that I not only have read but understand.  I recommend many of these books to a lot of people.  You really havde to go and read and discover a lot of this for yourself, and why not? It’s your life.

You really don’t want to be beholden to some distant fellow who is going to tell you what to do, or keep you on a short leash so he and his upstream buddies can harness you to the plow, do you? I told him that he could take me over the local bistro at happy hour and buy me a large plateful of oysters and two two-finger glasses of  single malt while I told him about the time just after I’d fashioned a very successful and very functional 18-hour long-range planning retrerat for my employing organization and the incoming President came in and threw it (and me) out the door.

Or I could tell him about the time when the incoming President of the organization I had kept afloat despite the inepitude of my predecessors and the Board’s own rigidity cancelled my vacation and told me that my “administrative shortcomings” were sufficient to put my job in severe jeopardy.

Or I could tell him about the time when, having taken over for a fellow who had been summarily fired, the Board told me to manufacture the accounting evidence that would cover the apparent embezzlement by he and several of the elected officers.

In the first case, I found myself a new job (I re-invented myself); in the second case, I told the Veep that she had 48 hours to re-instate what was due me or I was going to walk out the door at the very moment when their entire programmatic year was hanging in the balance. Six weeks later, we had a mutual parting of the ways.  In the third case, I informed the Board that the penalty for me to do what they asked was a $10,000 fine and/or some serious jail time, neither of which I would risk for them. They gave me a parting gift of a few grand which did not last as long as I needed it to last. No matter; I am still alive and breathing.

In those instances I had found myself in a peculiar predicament, as I did in yet another case in which I mastered the computer with sufficient understanding that I was able to program it (and me) with a set of templates that allowed me to double and triple my output.  I was paid for the production of typed reports and records at the rate of a dime a line and, having discovered what I had discovered and implemented it effectively, I went to my boss (and her boss) to try to explain that they could stop out-sourcing and bring the work back inside and keep a lot of people (including the “customer”) much happier because the turn-around period was cut in half, and they did not have to pay premium rates for the output.  But despite the fact that, while I listened to the dictation of people with thick foreign accents I simultaneously listened to jazz, and despite the fact that I was regularly interrupted to interpret the complex terms for other typists, my income soared beyond that of the department head, and when she discovered that, I was history.

This was similar to another employment pecadillo when, as the department rep at an inter-departmental meaning to look at how expenses could be cut, I showed them a way to save over $100,00 a year which, when she found out, made my department head livid because I’d apparently showed her up by not having brought my idea to her so she could take the credit. Later, for that same employer, I was placed back on probation for the exact same act that her bosses’ bosses boss gave me a $500 bonus.

So when, in the final instance, I threw in the towel in exasperation, I became intrigued with the field of performance psychology, and I ended up doing a lot of reading about methods of self-improvement.  All this experience with employment (or the lack of it) brought me to the books Zen and the Art of Making a Living.  I began to become interested in coaching. While I had done my share of youth sports coaching, I discovered the fields of executive coaching and life coaching and even considered becoming one.

And there’s the rub, the word life. It’s not because I considered being a life coach that I think I am one.  I am not. I never did the schooling. I never got certified.  I never hung out my shingle. I decided it was not what I wanted to do with my life.  But I did enough work that I have several practice resources and fieldbooks, a library full of related material, and a solid understanding of what a life coach is and what one can do for you. I even wrote about an oustanding exemplar in the field right here in this blog, as well as an oustanding executive coach.

A life coach can help you see clearly where your life is right now, create a vision for where you want your life to go, and make a plan to get you to your destination. When your coach has a good understanding of what you want, they will help you, guide you, and facilitate the process of achieving your goals and dreams. They will collaborate with you and provide the support you need…. A life coach will not tell you what to do with your life. Their job is to facilitate your goals, not push their ideas on you. ”

Lots more here:

https://www.your24hcoach.com/blog/what-is-online-life-coaching-and-does-it-work 

http://www.lifecoachspotter.com/how-to-find-life-coach-guide/ 

http://www.findacoach.com 

http://www.findacoach.com/rightcoach includes business and corporate/organizational coaching

Now, as I said, I appreciate that you the reader may not have the cash to hire yourself a life coach. Look into it briefly anyway so you know what it’s all about and how, especially if you do some work on your own, you can reduce the expense you have to pay out of your pocket.

If you’re here. we know you can read.

If you haven’t gotten there yet, start with the book I compiled when I was out of work.  I thought I was doing it for my kids, but I was really doing it for myself. I was, as a high school friend of mine from waaay back put it, “re-parenting” myself.

Yes, of course… If you want to be a good parent, you have to make sure you got the lessons done first.

That book is right here inside the blog, the chapters are in pdf format, there’s an expanded or annotated table of contents so you can simply figure out where to start, what to skip, and even if you need it at all.

Even exemplars need coaches.  You can’t see yourself as clearly as someone else can.

Life coaches are not shrinks.  There’s nothing wrong with you that you can’t fix. So sit down and have a conversation with a trained professional about where you are, where you are stuck, what you want, etc.

Find some books.  The bibliography of “Summon The Magic” offers you a number of places to start. Go to the library.  If you like the book, buy a used copy. If you have a pretty good idea of where you are headed, find How To Do, Be or Have Anything by Laurence Boldt.

Or get Steve Chandler’s Reinventing Yourself: How To Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be.

If you’re confused about the relationship between earning a livelihood and thriving in your family and community, get Matthew Fox’s The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time.

If, after you’ve put your toes into the water, you can’t find a life coach you’re eager to work with, or you simply can’t afford to get involved in his or her fee schedule, go back to the book search process and find a copy of Coach U’s Essential Coaching Tools. It’s a pricey reference book loaded with tools to assess your situation; it’s what the pros use when they get started. But there’s one out there right now for under $50.

You do care about the quality and meaning of your life enough to invest $50, don’t you?

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http://www.livelihoodshow.com 

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https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/01/bruce-lee-on-performance-psychology-elements-willpower-emotion-imagination-confidence 

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The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/20/the-body-keeps-the-score 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhe_o4AaN_A

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/58/0a/be/580abeec694717753a181514e7f2f39c.jpg 

“… Nurses agree that GOOD care is good care no matter whose hands deliver it. Aseptic technique doesn’t necessarily improve with additional initials behind a nurse’s name, and a nurse doesn’t get faster at psychomotor skills because she went back to school. In fact, she may be a little slower getting those electrodes and defibrillator pads attached because of age!!

Nurses agree that GOOD care is good care no matter whose hands deliver it. Aseptic technique doesn’t necessarily improve with additional initials behind a nurse’s name, and a nurse doesn’t get faster at psychomotor skills because she went back to school. In fact, she may be a little slower getting those electrodes and defibrillator pads attached because of age!!…”

Diane Goodman, in a thread at MedScape

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http://hugyournurse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/great-nurses.jpg

http://hugyournurse.com/what-makes-a-nurse-a-great-nurse/ 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bRb-HzPKBA 

Long-Distance Runaround

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The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/10/12/mary-oliver-upstream-creativity-power-time/ 

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music courtesy of

http://thebadplus.com 

healing a sick world

healing a sick world

The e-book I’ve been posting here piecemeal will continue here with the sixth chapter entitled “What’s Inside You?  Desire, Belief, Passion and Intent”. 

Tab F (What’s Inside You)

Borrowing from Richard Strozzi-Heckler’s seminal book “In Search of the Warrior Spirit”, it asks early on 

“For what reason do you come?”,  the master asked the student.

“I have come to learn the art of self-defense”,  said the student.

The master responded:  “Which self do you wish to defend?”

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O’SENSEI, A WAR VETERAN WITH PTSD…???

“.. the potential that Aikido, the “art of peace” could be a product of Post Traumatic Growth is a compelling point… Aikido is often referred to as “medicine for a sick world.” … the practice of Aikido can be a path towards healing.….”

Tom Osborn’s exploratory and explanatory essay can be read at the link

http://www.searchofpeace.com/blog/2015/05/27/osensei-a-war-veteran-with-ptsd/#more-594 

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Awo2s7aaof0/T5C3DNGACPI/AAAAAAAAAXg/0BkT_X0ynOk/s1600/aikido+quote.jpg

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Later, on pages 36 & 37, the sixth chapter touches upon — with two snippets — a subject addressed in a separate ex parte article below.

The main characteristic of an addiction is that it creates a need for itself that doesn’t provide you with energy to do something more. What you get from cigarettes is a craving for cigarettes, as well as the denial of a lot of other needs.

Some people eat because they’re hungry, others because they are bored, tired, or sick of being fat. A single substance comes to meet the needs of a lot of subtleties without fulfilling real needs. As Eric Hoffer said, “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.”  In that way, it becomes an end in itself. It may seem like the supermarket and the video store give us choices but often we choose the same thing over and over again. When we choose the same thing time and again, it has to become bigger, better or more potent to meet the original need it satisfied. Addictions are substitutes for real community.  Any of the states that you reach through a substance you can meet through some form of relationship. In a fully functioning community, you can live on less, or do without.

Addiction is any dependency that self-perpetuates or self-catalyzes at an ever-accelerating rate…. Addiction consumes energy and leads to slavery.

Practice generates energy and leads to freedom…. Habits are addictive, if that mysterious acceleration factor is present, when enough is never enough, and what was enough yesterday is not enough today. Habits are addictive if the reward and the work are inverted. Samuel Butler joked that if the alcoholic’s hangover preceded the intoxication, there would be mystical schools teaching it as a discipline for self-realization.

So practice is the reciprocal of addiction. Practice is an ever-fresh, challenging flow of work and play in which we continually test and demolish our own delusions; therefore, it is sometimes painful.

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I guess that I just don’t know

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Drug_War_Fail%3A_Doctors_Now_Creating_More_Heroin_Addicts_than_Drug_Dealers/44174/0/38/38/Y/M.html 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xcwt9mSbYE 

On a great big clipper ship

[Ed.: The fortunes of the founders of Skull and Bones (as well as the family fortunes of one of its more famous members, the current US Secretary of State), the shadows of whose membership have brought us the American security state empire (read this book from cover to cover) and its prolonged intervention in Afghanistan, its hijinks within the Golden Triangle and so much more, were built on the opium trade out of China during the era of the clipper ships.]

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The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned — and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong — and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.

If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.

I had a quite personal reason to set out for these answers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and not being able to. Ever since then, I have been turning over the essential mystery of addiction in my mind — what causes some people to become fixated on a drug or a behavior until they can’t stop? How do we help those people to come back to us? As I got older, another of my close relatives developed a cocaine addiction, and I fell into a relationship with a heroin addict. I guess addiction felt like home to me.

If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: “Drugs. Duh.” It’s not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.

After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days — if anything can hook you, it’s that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can’t recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is — again — striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them. (The full references to all the studies I am discussing are in the book.)

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be? This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense — unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

When I learned all this, I found it slowly persuading me, but I still couldn’t shake off a nagging doubt. Are these scientists saying chemical hooks make no difference? It was explained to me — you can become addicted to gambling, and nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. You can have all the addiction, and none of the chemical hooks. I went to a Gamblers’ Anonymous meeting in Las Vegas (with the permission of everyone present, who knew I was there to observe) and they were as plainly addicted as the cocaine and heroin addicts I have known in my life. Yet there are no chemical hooks on a craps table.

But still, surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre’s book The Cult of Pharmacology.

Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism — cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.

But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That’s not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that’s still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about The Cause of Addiction lying with chemical hooks is, in fact, real, but only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

This has huge implications for the one-hundred-year-old war on drugs. This massive war — which, as I saw, kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool — is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction — if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction — then this makes no sense.

Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona — ‘Tent City’ — where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages (‘The Hole’) for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record — guaranteeing they with be cut off even more. I watched this playing out in the human stories I met across the world.

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world — and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn’t theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them — to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

One example I learned about was a group of addicts who were given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other, and to the society, and responsible for each other’s care.

The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I’ll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country’s top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass — and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal’s example.

This isn’t only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s — “only connect.” But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live — constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.

The writer George Monbiot has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander — the creator of Rat Park — told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery — how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.

But this new evidence isn’t just a challenge to us politically. It doesn’t just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.

Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention — tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won’t stop should be shunned. It’s the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives. But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction — and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever — to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can’t.

When I returned from my long journey, I looked at my ex-boyfriend, in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along.

The full story of Johann Hari’s journey — told through the stories of the people he met — can be read in Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, published by Bloomsbury. The book has been praised by everyone from Elton John to Glenn Greenwald to Naomi Klein. You can buy it at all good bookstores and read more at www.chasingthescream.com.

The full references and sources for all the information cited in this article can be found in the book’s extensive end-notes.

If you would like more updates on the book and this issue, you can like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chasingthescream

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addiction 

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On the last page of the sixth chapter, it says

Beliefs are ideas that can be shaken,

but faith is the result of having been shaken.

Much has been written — I think of Laurence Gonzalez’ book “Surviving Survival” — about those circumstances, events or encounters that shake us to our bones.  

Many of us have had such events; war brings them to soldiers (as noted); accidents and health care crises brings them to civilians; imprisonment or worse brings them to people who succeed at overcoming that experience and writing about it: Nelson Mandela, Vladimir Bukovsky, Hurricane Carter — the list is long because authority keeps impounding people; that list is getting longer, having added Manning, Kirakou, and thousands of unnamed souls thrown into dank, dark centers of isolation and torture.  

I was lucky.  I was in a coma in a bed surounded by doctors and nurses and loving and caring family and friends.  Surviving has a way of getting you clear on which self. 

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There is present within the socio-political leadership of our milieu — including people, institutions, media outlets, and our economy — a massive pathological addiction to violence and war. 

 

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.