Tag Archives: perception

inside out

The gynormity of it all hit me a few days ago as I awoke at about 7:30 AM.

You could call it a re-awakening.

It seems to have taken about 40 days for my sister’s revelations to sink in, to percolate down through the deposited soils of six decades of having been protectively misled, lied to, prevented from knowing certain things, from having been put into a position in which everyone around me from the earliest days of my consciousness and my personal, cognitive and psychological development was not who they appeared to be but was a caricature created by my own ignorance.

So I sit alone inside a maelstrom, adrift on a raft in a gentle eddy in the center of a massive storm, carefully balancing the presence of wife and family; they are the only truths I know because they were not there; they were selected and created by my own free will, whatever persona I was then. They were not central players at the beginning of the mess but they now gravitate elliptically around someone they assumed was real and grounded but which, all along, was operating under a set of assumptions that turned out to be misconstrued, misperceived… that were inside out and backwards.

I started out as a child, to borrow from a well-known actor/comedian whose own projection was not what it seeemed.

I am going to have to enroll at Bright-Eye’s school of Theater in the Cavern.

Astute perception of old records by a nurse disclosed that my emergence from the hospital of my birth was delayed, that my discharge was unusually late because — well, see, right away I am into speculation, analysis and detective work — my recorded weight upon discharge was well beyond that of a newborn.

I’d apparently been kept after school.

I was in detention from the git-go and started the normal process of growth having been fed the formula given to newborns of that era whose mothers were absent.

Sara Clarke

My mother had died from — again, I’m into speculation, not having medical records, autopsy information, physician’s notes, or anything beyond what can only be considered as unsubstantiated hearsay because none of the people involved are alive and those who aren’t are working off distant memory built on hearsay in the minds of older siblings, shadows on the wall of the grotto of life, and I am hear at age 67 near the end of my life looking back through the mists of my own perception — blood clot to the brain.

It was explained to me years later — sometime soon after a distant relative, an esteemed member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, looked in on the birth of my first-born son — over lunch at the Harvard Club by that same esteemed OB/GYN expert, that the state-of-the-art in obstetrics back then wasn’t what it is today, and that they were unable to counter-attack well enough or fast enough to save my mother.

It’s not unusually ironic, given a long history of similarly weird synchronicities in my life, that my own awakening to the gynormity of it all occurred on the anniversary of my first outward adventure into the world.

And there is now some further correlation to the old rumor that one of the contributory causes of my mother’s death five days after I arrived wet, startled, soon enough hungry, may have been trauma at the hands of my father.

My father was, through almost every moment of my life, a distant and often absent character. He had work. My job was to learn. He had two and a half other people to be concerned about too, and I am given to believe (and it naturally follows) that one of the reasons I was kept in the hospital was because of a great degree of uncertainty about who was going to take care of my brother and sister, four years and three years older respectively. and me.

I was on the fast track to an orphanage.

Men did not do household and child-oriented work then.

Mr. Mom was still in the future.

I do not know into whose arms I was placed when I was sent home but, soon enough, a series of nannies was hired. I am told there were four to six people who played that role in my early years. When I was about four, my father married his third wife, the woman I know as my step-mother, the woman who was the adult female in the house for fifteen years until I dropped out of college and married.  She, I am told, signed on to a life-long contract to watch after three kids because she fell in love with the youngest one.

Preceding her was a mysteriously-unknown social climber from Yonkers, New York whose marriage to my father was annulled after eleven months for reasons unknown; the given legal reason had something to do with moral terpitude, but sometimes words are simply what was seletced to put in the blank space on the form.  I have no pictures, only the vaguest of memories of a blonde in a fur coat, but I am told she was rejected imediately by my older siblings who, at one time, arranged for a bucket of water to fall on her from the top of the door as she came home from a dinner date with their dad. I was apparently on the floor in a playpen in the living room with her cat prowling outside the playpen which, it seems, provided some of the substance for a recurring nightmare about tigers prowling outside my cage.  These are but old Kodak Brownie snapshots of the formation of a young mind and a young life.

Preceding her was a series of hired nannies, the dominant of which was one woman who apparently nurtured and loved me and had a secret crush on my father. She wrote to me when I was in college but, of course, I had no knowledge of and only the vaguest of memory about her.  She was the source of a few old photos and one negative of a portrait of my mother, the one above.  The nanny was a Mennonite (we lived in a major old industrial city on the fringe of Pennsylvania Dutch country) and she always wore the starched white cap that was emblematic of women in that sect. I have been able to ascertain the place where she was buried in Missouri.

The murmurs and memories that come echoing back (all who lived then are dead now, except for my sister) all say that the prime focus at that time (post-war America, after the bombing of Japan but before Korea) was finding homes for the three kids. Could the father sustain the family? He had work, but needed household help. He needed a mother for his children. All manner of effort was made to keep us together and to keep us out of homes, institutions, the uncertain roiling seas of society where children were at risk.

As I understand it, my older brother and sister, being about a year apart, formed a team and gave numerous elders significant doses of pre-school grief. The kid in diapers simply needed to be fed and have his diapers changed.

And what exactly happened to each of us over the next several years and why remains murky to this day. My own ability to form and keep a coherent memory was still in formation, and their’s hadn’t had a lot of practice yet. Neighbors (the source of the information about my father hitting my mother as she went into labor) didn’t leave any diaries, testaments or testimony; people didn’t talk about these kinds of things back then. [They still don’t.]  And children’s physical and psychological well-being is still at risk.

My father’s boss, whose picture remains on my hard drive, having made the geographical and technological transition by some sort of para-normal IT event (it hijacked a ride on a disc) after I discovered his name and identity in connection to an alleged pedophilia/sexual abuse ring, introduced him to my eventual stepmother, to whom he may have been distantly related. These are things I discovered on my own in my 50s.

He was a heavy drinker, as was she.  He was a batterer and an abusive personality.  She battered me and psychologically abused me, but apparently not my sister or my brother.  He was a stern disciplinarian to us all and occasionally used a belt, especially when directed or prodded by my step-mother. My sister last month reported an attempted sexual advance by my father when she was in her early teens; my step-mother was very protective of her. My brother’s history remains very cloudy. There are some facts I can attest to, but he is dead now, the victim of estrangement, manipulation, possible sexual abuse at the hands of unknown people, and eventual death resultant from exposure to Agent Orange as an airman first class in the early years of the Vietnam War.  My brother was mustered into the US Air Force and spent time around locations known to have been involved with Operation Paperclip activities. All of this is deniable, of course. But back in 1952, when my step-mother arrived on the scene, her entire task was to lend some measure of stability to a family teetering on the edge of dissolution.

I have no doubt that she did that.  She was an occasionally-battered woman and she frequently battered me. Was this a kind of “reverse psychology” to insure that I did not grow up to be a batterer?  It could have backfired. Through the grace of God, it did not.  I’ve read enough of Arthur Silber and Alice Miller to know better. I’ve read Derrick Jensen’s “A Language Older Than Words”; my experience is insignificant when compared to what he suffered at the hands of his father.

Both my parents were deeply troubled people. My father’s own upbringing was troubled. He was an elitist, a racist, a misogynist and had been immersed in a culture of eugenics. He disowned me when I married a Catholic of French-Canadian descent. He despised Catholics and believed in the supremacy of the white male Anglo.  [I believe i have managed to shed most if not all of these influences.] Once, however, he got to know her (she was very intelligent and he admired intelligence, and she was a computer operator and programmer back when few knew what a computer was or could do and they required large air-condiitoned spaces), he warmed up to her. So he disowned me a second time when we divorced. He refused to attend our wedding ceremonies (one in a Protestant church, one in a Catholic ceremony).  And he wasn’t much impressed when he discovered my second wife was an Italian-American.  He hated Italians too.

He married a Scots-Irish Presbyterian and always said she was the love of his life. Growing up, I was never allowed to know anything about her.  I’m told she was a creative individual involved in crafts; she sung in the church choir. No pictures (or mention) of her were allowed on the household during my youth. I am beginning to think that this was not out of some viciously assertive jealousy or need for dominance as the female person of the household on the part of my step-mother, but may have been a means of protecting my father from his own self-destruction, mental breakdown, or ‘black alcoholism’ which we saw only very rarely. Rermember, I spent the first four years of my life totally in the dark, and the next ten years isolated away from any exposure or awareness.

My step-mother’s upbringing, emotional and romantic history, etc. are a mystery to me. There was a man, a sailor from World War II. She never ever discussed him; no one knows the story.  Perhaps he died in the war. Perhaps there was some other reason he was no longer in her life. She was a prototypical ‘Rosie Riveter’ working in one form of industrial work or another during the war years and, as such, was part of the vanguard of feminism. She was a hospital worker, perhaps an LPN, a Civil Defense captain, a social worker, a Cub Scout leader, engaged in the community, a social drinker who could pack away three Martinis PDQ.  She played industrial league softball. He was a Scotch drinker and an inveterate pipe smoker who spent some time on Wall Street just before the crash in some low-level investment banking job. His father was an expert in mechanical engineering, a 32nd-degree Mason who was the shop superintendent at a major firearms manufacturing plant in New Haven; the two of them had a falling out over the fact that the son would not quit smoking.

In response, I played the role of “the reclusive child”  I ran away a lot, hid myself in the woods, got lost in reading.

So to have learned these latest revelations late in life…  that my father made his third wife walk to the hospital when she suffered a bout of appendicitis, then forced himself upon her in the hospital bed after her surgery, is to have suffered a synaptic WTF that almost forces a kind of psychological plasticity.

Will someone invent an online brain game  for this kind of thing? They could call it Illuminosity.

To finally be able to have a conversation with a sister three years older than I about our lives six decades ago… to be in a position to divulge things about our brother she never knew because we were all prevented from knowing what went on in the lives of our siblings and because I developed enough curiosity to ask about the truth of what else we were told…. sets up further tensions, and these undoubtedly will reverberate in unknown ways down into later generations.

But the real enormity of the need for a massive re-thinking is the awareness that, through all those years, others around me must have known or sensed what I never knew or what was hidden from me.

Human beings are pretty astute, and they talk. My step-mother worked at the private day care schoool I attended, and those students (some of whom were the children of my parents/ peers, co-workers, social contacts) likely overheard or were told something about me and my life that I didn’t even know at the time. And middle school and high school teachers have experience in dealing with hundreds of families and thousands of kids, and they have access to educational records the kid never sees.

Not knowing meant that I acted and behaved in a certain way.

Their knowing whatever it is they knew or thought they knew drove their behavior

Our interpretation or “reading” (socially, sub-consciously or consciously) of those interactions drove impressions, choices, and opinions.

Who wants to go back through that tapestry and meditate on the pattern of the weave?

What’s past is past. What’s left is


32 Ways You Know You Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Family 

If you need more, simply tune into reality TV shows, family sit-coms or the evening news.




Dysfunctional Families: Recognizing and Overcoming Their Effects


originally written and developed in 1993 by Sheryl A. Benton, Ph.D., Counseling Services; updated/modified for the Internet in 1997 by Dorinda J. Lambert, Ph.D.



“Is there a silver lining to growing up in a dysfunctional family?

Bestselling recovery author Karen Casey looks at stories of people who grew up in dysfunctional families and “the good stuff” that can come from the experience. “Throughout my many decades in recovery rooms I have interacted with thousands of women and men whose journeys reveal, in detail, the harrowing history of dysfunction that has troubled their lives,” says Casey. “But what is also apparent in their stories is their eventual and quite triumphant survival, often against extreme odds.”

Casey interviewed more than 24 survivors of families rife with dysfunction; survivors who willingly shared their stories and came to realize they had, surprisingly, thrived as the result of their often harrowing experiences. In “The Good Stuff from Growing Up in a Dysfunctional Family,” Casey shares the stories and the skills these survivors developed to live more creative and fulfilling lives.






“… If a culture is based on emotional dishonesty, with role models that are dishonest emotionally, then that culture is also emotionally dysfunctional, because the people of that society are set up to be emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional in getting their emotional needs met.

What we traditionally have called normal parenting in this society is abusive because it is emotionally dishonest….”



“Last December I saw an advertisement outside an electronics store. There was a little boy, delirious with delight, surrounded by computers, stereos, and other gadgets. The text read: “We know what your child wants for Christmas.” I stared at the poster, then said to no one in particular, “What your child wants for Christmas is your love, but if he can’t get that, he’ll settle for a bunch of electronic crap.”

Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words


Read that book. Start with the quotes in the link above. Go to the library and borrow the book. Better yet, buy it directly from the author.  If you need to save a buck, look online and find it at a used book seller, here or here; I’ve used and recommend both.

Read the book, not to learn more about Jensen’s experience or mine, but for his insight into what the psychopathology of the dysfunctional and abusive household means for your world and what is going on today in virtually every corner of the plant, in most societies, in the minds of the governance currently in place and looking to cement itself in place. 

Then move on to the next level and find and read both volumes of Endgame.

It’s getting late.

complex challenge

Chapter 14 of the e-book is about leadership, building winning teams, moving people, and all of the factors and skills in doing those things. It draws on athletics, on business, and on the military. The art of leadership is embodied in the person. Leadership requires exceptional skills in conducting a changing or dynamic activity in a dynamic process that involves people who themselves are at various levels of skill, learning, and mastery. Leadership involves taking action. It requires presence. It involves communication.

Tab N (Leadership)

Chapter 15 of the e-book is about strategy, situational awareness, finding out what you need to know, decision-making in a dynamic setting and/or under stress, and more. It introduces the reader to some ancient and basic precepts in military strategy through time-tested and accepted sources: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War; Sir B. H. Liddell-Hart’s theory of the indirect approach, and John Boyd OODA loop theory. It provides some limited examples of how these are applied to athletic scenarios, and focuses on the psychological aspects that come into play with perception, comprehension, speed/tempo, and space/time.

Tab O (Psychology of Strategy)

Chapter 16 of the e-book is about possibility. It is based on sources from within the world of learning, and the world of business. It is focused, in the end, on getting people aligned toward producing a desired outcome. It is focused on accountability, on making a difference, on collaboration, and on honesty.  It’s about choices that leaders make.

Tab P (The Art of Possibility)

To make effective sense of a complex challenge, we must have a grasp of the whole of the situation, including its variables, unknowns, and mysterious forces. We must examine more than just the surface. This requires skills beyond everyday analysis.

Arts and Athletics

Arts and Athletics: Using All Your Common Senses


I went to see the home opener of a summertime inter-city league game for college players who want to make it to the majors. [Good luck.  There are only 720 such jobs but, as has been said, there are 700 positions and someone’s got to fill them.  And the smallest paycheck they can give you when you win the job is over half a million a year.] 

“Baseball is like church. 

Many attend but few understand.” 

 Wes Westrum

Just the other day, I was told that my grandson is gonna be a catcher.  His coach told me.  

His uncle was a catcher in high school.  His grand-dad was a catcher for the team that won the state Class B slo-pitch championships. 

His coach (his mother) was a two-time NFCA regional Division I All-Star catcher who was nationally-ranked in the top ten in three offensive categories; she earned a master’s degree in sports management while she was an assstant coach for a D-I college team while she played for a perennial national amateur championship club, played pro ball for two years and then did color commentary on TV in the third season, and then earned another master’s degree, that one in elementary education. 


The Catcher

“His legs are buckled into clumsy shin guards; his face is hidden by the metal grille of a heavy mask….  His chest is covered with a corrugated protective pad, and his big mitt is thrust out as if to fend off destruction…. his field of vision gives him his own special view of the vast ballpark.  In a sense, the game belongs to him.  He is the catcher.”

Time, August 8th, 1955

“Catching is much like managing.  Managers don’t really win games, but they can lose plenty of them.  The same way with catching.   If you’re doing a quality job, you should be almost anonymous.”

— Bob Boone, Kansas City catcher,  in the 1989 season opener issue of AstroSports


“A good catcher is the quarterback, the carburetor, the lead dog, the pulse taker, the traffic cop and sometimes a lot of unprintable things, but no teams gets very far without one.”

– – Miller Huggins,


in The Complete Baseball Handbook by Walter Alston


“Consider the catcher. Bulky, thought-burdened, unclean, he retrieves his cap and mask from the ground (where he flung them, moments ago, in mid-crisis) and moves slowly again to his workplace.  He whacks the cap against his leg, producing a puff of dust, and settles it in place, its bill astern, and then, reversing the movement, pulls on the mask and firms it with a soldierly downward tug.  Armored, he sinks into his squat, punches his mitt, and becomes wary, balanced, and ominous; his bare right hand rests casually on his thigh while he regards, through the porticullis, the field and deployed fielders, the batter, the base runner, his pitcher, and the state of the world, which he now, for a waiting instant, holds in sway.”

—  from “In the Fire”, by Roger Angell


Quotes from Baseball’s Greatest Quotations, ed. by Paul Dickson, HarperPerennial, New York, New York 1991.



“Coaches of tee-ball kids and the like are usually wholechild centered. As the youngsters get older and more skillful, coaches become learner-centered. After a couple of more years, the coaches are sport-centered, teaching strategies as well as more sophisticated techniques….”


Coaching the Mental Game

Find out more (and read about the trap into which most coaches fall) in this very short series of excerpts from Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports – and Everyday Life, by Harvey A. Dorfman, Taylor Trade Press (Rowman & Littlefield), New York 2003.

Harvey Dorfman, now deceased, lectured at major universities and for corporations on psychology, self-enhancement, management strategies, and leadership training.


To know baseball

is to continue to aspire

to the condition of freedom,

individually and as a people.

A. Bartlett Giamatti, Take Time for Paradise




The book “The Well of Creativity”, based on a series of interviews of Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, Keith Jarrett, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi et alia by Michael Toms, arrived yesterday. I tore into it like a kid opening presents at his birthday party. 

I have studied or read for years most of these people for years. Cameron’s “The Vein of Gold” arrived a few weeks ago. Jarrett’s music takes up a lot of space on my iTunes files, and links to his YouTube videos on improvsation are tucked away for regular enjoyment. 

While Cameron is a source for those with writing block, she is also a source for those interested in writing or composing music. 

Echoing what John Temple said about being the dream, Julia says simply “be the music”, and I’ve set up my keyboard synthesizer and begun a file for this kind of stuff:






Tab G is the next chapter due out in the e-book series entitled Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a better athlete (or anything else you want to be).  

My athletic days are over, unless you count the in-pool therapeutic walking, stretching and swimming I’ll be doing just as soon as the summer warmth returns to the pool.  

But a review of this sixth chapter (“The Arts and Athletics: Using All Your Common Senses”) will help my musical inquiries as I seek to develop and train the small muscle groups in my upper distal extremities. Will that make me a phalangist?

I can still remember the night I first listened to the four-disc series “Time Signatures: A Career Retrospective”, put on my Koss Pro 4A headphones so I wouldn’t awaken the wife, and discovered this song. 

And this feverishly-paced ditty


Tab G (The Arts & Athletics)


Whatever gets your temperature rising is likely to be aided by 90 pages of excerpts drawn from educators, neuroscientists, performance psychologists, experts in movement disciplines, and two of the people you met earlier in the Je Ne Sais Quoi symposium.  

The sections on developing and using kinesthetic imagery, brainwave entrainment, resonance, improvisation, vocal toning, proprioception, mindfulness, perception, sensory experience, rehearsal, concentration, attention, observation, and awareness skills will slowly get you en fuego.

Turn up the heat on your internal burners and get cooking. 

And remember: you decide what’s on your menu.

debate and dialogue



Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. That’s why we must have debate and dialogue about psy-ops.

If one is connecting dots about psy-ops running between “Booze Allen Hamilton…Snowden…Wikileaks…the Hastings “assassination” , wikileaker holed up in Ecuadorean Embaprison, to Chelsea the transgender whistleblower/traitor/NY Times OpEd writer from Ft Leavenworth prison, to Snowden hiding in Russia”, one ought to be able to conjugate that with a lot more research, and then let it have some air and expose it to the world.

A psy-op isn’t proven because someone went to the same school as the children of someone else.

I went to the same school as Cleveland Earl Dodge III. We spent time together at his family summer home in the Thousand Islands. If you research Cleveland Earl Dodge and his son Cleveland Earl Dodge Jr., you will learn a lot. I also went to school with the two children of James McGregor Burns, in a town where one of the ministers was a well-known member of one of those Yale fraternities; maybe it was Skull and Bones.  I lived under the shadow of the 1,800-acre animal husbandry plantation belonging to Mrs. and Mrs. E. Parmalee Prentice.

Does this mean that I was taken in and tucked under the wing of the Rockefeller family or the Central Intelligence Agency and secretly “baked” in such a way that I would emerge in my 60’s to become a blogger whose aim was to mislead after I’d retired and had a heart attack and stroke under the watchful gaze of the Rockefeller influence in West Virginia?

It might be.   From this, someone might conclude that I’ve been a sleeper for decades.   Did you known I went to the same prep school as Valerie Jarrett?

Does this mean anything?  No.

It means that my parents, who were as snookered and confused as anyone and who were subject to or immersed in the beliefs of the day. found their way to a certain location and they had kids and the kids went along and they thought one of the kids should have the benefits of a decent education and so my step-mother took a job at the school as a secretary so they could afford the tuition.

My classmates were children of industrial wealth.  Does this mean that I subscribed to and embraced their world-view?  It must be that I am living in an apartment on a Social Security stipend and not in a mansion in the hills living off my investments as part of my “cover”.


Has there been substantive debate and independent confirmation?  People have to be able to engage and converse with some transparency and to have their feet kept to the fire in terms of how they see things. How any one person sees something different is entirely possible.  We can’t possible put in a few short paragraphs all the hard and soft input that comes from our reading online and offline, as well as our interpersonal interactions offline, as well as our education, work experience, etc.  All those go in to making up perception. …

This is why ongoing, constructive and focused dialogue among bloggers is valuable.

One of the more inspiring things I ever read was from the late great Gabriel Marquez Garcia who spoke of tertuliana among journalists:

“… every afternoon at 5pm, the entire newspaper met for an unofficial coffee break somewhere in the newsroom, and took a breather from the daily tensions. It was an open discussion where we reviewed the hot themes of the day in each section of the newspaper and gave the final touches to the next day’s edition.”






‘… the Basie’s band was swinging

‘Cause that’s something else you know

They know how to play it, they know how to say it

They just wind it up and let it go….’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6egXWHvSzo (3:34)






via http://www.blacklistednews.com/



[Ed.: Maybe someone should write those two fellows an e-mail and inquire about the psy-op nature of national security law.]


“…Brown, 33, a feisty, confrontational figure, published incendiary findings about what private intelligence contractors were doing. His work, still largely ignored by the mainstream media, came before NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations made government surveillance a household topic.

His reports based on hacked e-mails were nothing short of astonishing. Working through his virtual research syndicate Project PM, Brown described:

• The mass monitoring of social media networks

• A “cyber-intelligence complex” of breathtaking expanse

• Disinformation operations against Wikileaks and its supporters on behalf of Bank of America

• How analysts can control multiple fake online identities


Dec 16, 2014 by Douglas Lucas

[Bold emphasis by editor, noting with interest the proximity of campaigns undertaken by the security state and its subcontractors on behalf of one of those Wall Street banks we’ve paid to bail out of they can continue to prey]


“… Quinn Norton, a journalist who covers the Anonymous movement, told the court: 

“The concept [that] you could be held responsible for [posting] a link is absolutely chilling for what I do. It’s absolutely chilling to what 21st Century journalism will be.”

I can’t understand for the life of me why I would be interested, can you?


“… Norton dated Aaron Swartz for three years.[9] Articles in The Atlantic and in The New Yorker indicate that she was pressured by prosecutors to offer information or testimony that could be used against Swartz, but that she denied having information that supported prosecutors’ claims of criminal intentions on Swartz’s part. Prosecutors nevertheless attempted to use a public blog post on Swartz’s blog that Norton mentioned, which may or may not have been co-authored by Swartz, as proof of a criminal intent.[9][10]  …”





Bill Blunden says that “the likelihood of a positive outcome will depend in part upon people acquiring access to alternative sources of accurate information.”

Bill Blunden, http://cryptome.org/2014/12/sony-wurlitzer.pdf 



Monument to Hans and Sophie Scholl and the “White Rose” (German: Die Weiße Rose) resistance movement against the Nazi regime, in front of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Bavaria, Germany.


Julie Levesque, a journalist and researcher with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, recently listened to a presentation by Jacques Pauwels and reported on fascism and war as tools of the elite elite-tools to crush and kill dissent , i.e., how global war is “about crushing mass revolutionary movements”. 


[This link has many quotes from the leaflets, and links to their complete text, as well as much more.]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaTwJh1s_wQ (3:53)

[There are about 40 videos on YouTube on this topic.]


Yes, it is true that the concept and name of The White Rose Society have been appropriated by people who are actively engaged in attempting to influence your worldview. 

It is perhaps the nature of power and hegemony (some might call it parasitism, some might see it as the choking of a python or the obscurantism of the octopus) that it cloaks, absorbs or chokes to death whatever or whomever it is that stands in their way or seeks to point out to others what is going on, who is responsible, and what some of their options might be.  

The White Rose phenomenon is but one example of people exercising their right to know and speak. 

The samizdat movement in Soviet Russia (met with techniques of torture, psychiatric manipulation, and forced feeding as documented by Vladimir Bukovsky and others) is another.  [These techniques are now used by the same folks seeking to overthrow Russia.]

Power will always suppress the urge for liberty and the right to know and speak.

whirling into harmony


“Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of the martial art of Aikdo, defined misogi as a washing away of all defilements, a removal of obstacles, a separation from disorder, an abstention from negative thoughts, a radiant state of unadorned purity, the accomplishment of all things, a condition of lofty virtue and a spotless environment. In misofi, one returns to the very beginning, where one is at harmony with the universe.

The sword (ken) is transformed through misogi from a weapon of destruction into a tool of purification. The purpose of misogi no ken is to cut through the ties that restrict us — anger, bewilderment, depression, illusion and doubt — and to remove the obstacles that block our way — sorrow, grief, regret, and distress.

Similarly, in misogi, the staff (jo) becomes a vehicle of intuition and freedom.  Spnning the four directions, misgi no jo links between heaven and earth, revealing realms of the manifest, hidden and divine.”

From the back panel of the box for the DVD Misogi: Purification of Mind and Body by John Stevens  (90 minutes, produced by Aikido Today Magazine (www.aiki.com) in which he demonstrates misogi no ken, misogi no jo and other forms. The DVD also includes rare photos of Ueshiba O-Sensei, rare footage of Shirata Sensei, and sections on misogi of the mind and misgogi of speech.

A second DVD Takemusu Aiki features Shihan Mitsugi Saotome explains a higher level in which attention shifts away from the technique during conflict and toward the moment of vulnerability or “risk points” through which one “develops the ability to perceive other people clearly and to respond to their movements with definite and appropriate decisions.

Highlights from the Aikido demonstration and lecture at the O’Sensei’s Life and Message event. One of the demonstrators was Dr. Rober Frager, founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

The lecturer, John Stevens, is an internationally acclaimed Aikidoka and one of the foremost authorities on Aikido and Buddhist studies. Professor Stevens taught Eastern Philosophy at Tohoku Fukushi University in Japan for 35 years and has written over thirty books on Aikido, Buddhism and Asian culture.



Robert Frager has been training in the martial arts for over 50 years, and practicing Aikido since 1964.

He personally trained with Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido, while living in Tokyo, Japan in the mid sixties. He currently holds the rank of 7th dan.

Dr. Frager is renowned for his pioneering work in the field of transpersonal psychology and for his role in establishing an educational institution dedicated to this emerging field of research and practice.

Robert Frager is a Harvard-trained psychologist, the past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and the founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he is Director of the Spiritual Guidance program and professor of Psychology.

He is also a Sufi teacher, or sheikh, in the Halveti-Jerrahi Order, in which he was initiated by Muzaffer Ozak. He currently leads a dergah in Redwood City, California as Sheikh Ragip al-Jerrahi.

He attended Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA, from 1957-1961, and earned a B.A. in Psychology.

Robert Frager went to Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, from 1961-1967, and earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology.

He became a fellow of the East-West Center, Honolulu, from 1963-1965, and a research fellow of Keio University, Tokyo, from 1967-1968.

Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with the Omoto Kyo and Onisaburi Deguchi.

Aikido Success Blueprint is a massive 7 ebook and 2 video collection of unique knowledge. It shows you how to speed up your learning and develop your skills at a faster rate. Plus Key Action Steps for results!

– See more at: http://www.aikido-health.com/robert-frager.html#sthash.Eo0aVmXQ.dpuf



http://quentincooke.tumblr.com or


The Three Pillars of a Transpersonal Education

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HladGw7aHtE (3:26)

Practice, Praxis and Theory

Dr. Robert Frager discusses Aikido in ITP’s curriculum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUkzsS_nV70 (5:14)


The Seven Sufi Stages of the Self

Robert Frager


December 23, 2013

The update from the battlefront at Sofia University is as follows as this concerns all martial artists in the Greater Bay Area:

-On Thursday Robert Frager and a group of faculty members, staff and students held a protest outside Sofia University. The result was King Neal fired Frager from the school he founded as well as additional core faculty and staff members.

-All the locks have been changed at the school effectively locking out faculty and staff and students. Key faculty and administration members have been escorted from the school by security guards attempting to retrieve personal items from their offices.

-As a result, students have lost their faculty advisor(s); the Chair of their dissertation(s); Head(s) of their Departments and their Professors. In essence, King’s action now may threaten the school’s accreditation.

-The “Board” of 2 members appointed a new president, who apparently has a similar if not identical history and background as King with secrecy, financial irregularities and behind the scenes power moves . More on this later…

-PALO ALTO ON-LINE has posted this update here.

The blog LIBERATE has this interesting back story on Neal King and his history of previously perpetrating this same scenario at his previous employment here.

–Speaking with Frager this morning, he stated again that he is still using his Aikido skills to blend with the situation. However, additional atemi are now in the works.


Instructional video with Doug Wedell, Chief Instructor of Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, discussing and demonstrating the chanting and breathing sequences of misogi barai. This video was filmed during a five day seminar sponsored by Mt. Scopus Aikido, Jerusalem, Israel in May of 2011.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54nwTOmxjxM (9:13)


Instructional video with Doug Wedell, Chief Instructor of Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, demonstrating a sequence of 7 breath exercises coordinated with movement and ki flow, filmed December 11, 2010 in Columbia, SC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=net9nT0iuok (9:00)

Mori Shihan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugsS2_Z0wpA (19:55)

[written by one of Frager’s aikido students:

http://www.examiner.com/martial-arts-in-san-francisco/paul-rest ]

June 14, 2014

David Lukoff, featured here before, recently had a situation arrive in his professional life where he was able to put his Aikido skills to the test off the mat.

But first, a little background about David. He is shodan who trains at Two Rock Aikido where he has been a student of Ricahrd Strozzi-Heckler, 6th dan for over twenty years. David also trains with Robert Frager, 7th dan, at the Western Aikido Association’s home dojo at Sofia University during the months he teaches there. He is an internationally respected expert on spirituality as it intersects psychotherapy. He studied at the University of Chicago (Don Levine, the Founder of Aiki Extensions was his Professor there). He is a Professor of Psychology at Sofia University.

David also teaches courses and workshops with other experts and teachers in the field of spirituality, meditation and mindfulness. For many of these courses, he arranges continued education credits for those seeking this for their own professional careers. A little over a year ago, he received a notice that these courses, specifically one with a widely respect Qigong teacher, was under question.

Not only was it under question, his ability to give continuing education to all of his programs would have been withdrawn. The argument thrown at David was that Qigong was a religion and therefore not a valid area of study within the field of psychology.

To defend himself, David need to hire an attorney (this was just like a trial in a court case) and amass as much data as possible to support the position that Qigong was not a religion and the person he was sponsoring the workshop with was not doing this as an adherent of a religion. In addition, almost like the Inquisition, David had to present his case but up until the last moment he was not privy to the “charges” again him.

It all came down to a hearing. David and his attorney were attending via a conference call. The other parties included the attorney for this professional body questioning him, and a group of his peers who would render judgment.

Here in David’s own words is how his day began:

“So [in the] morning 5 am, I packed up all the appeals materials into my father’s old Mexican leather briefcase (May 12 actually being his birthday), drove to Ocean Beach by Golden Gate Park, and jogged for 40′ stopping to do some Qigong along the beach, [and] then parked in the Sofia [University] parking lot with my papers spread around the van and me on a headset starting 9 am, [making myself] quite comfortable for 2 hours. On the call APA (American Psychological Association] had 2 lawyers and 6 members of the Continuing Education staff, there were 3 appeal committee members, me, my lawyer and a colleague who I invited as part of my ‘legal team’ as a researcher and expert on spirituality in psychology.”

And here’s what David said afterward:

“I do feel I got my ‘speaking truth to power’ moment. As I had planned, much of the appeal time was spent on the issue of Qigong and of joy as appropriate topics for ce [Continued Education] programs for psychologists. After I spent 20 min[utes] establishing the validity of Qigong as a form of traditional Chinese medicine and a mindfulness technique, I read quotes on Qigong from the denial letter that were pretty derogatory toward this empirically supported form of complementary and alternative medicine (as acupuncture yoga etc. are considered). The denial letter described Qigong as a “religious practice” and described the Qigong teacher as having ‘religious training’ and in another place ‘theological training.’ What he actually has is decades of training including at a famous Qigong ‘medicine-less hospital’ in China where Qigong is viewed as a science. He has absolutely no theological training. His cv [Curriculum Vitae] was submitted to the [American Psychological Association] as part of my original application, so I asked the appeal committee to pull out and review his [C.V.] with me which was in their packet.”

David later said it was like a randori. He just had to stay centered and focused and not lose your balance as the attacks came in. And he also said he remembered to breath.

David was told her would hear back after a decision was made. Well, this week David heard back. The verdict was in his favor!

Here is the official response:

“While the CEC [Continuing Education Committee], in its response to the sponsor’s appeal, expressed concern that the instructor had religious or theological training, the training entails application of healthcare practice widely used in Eastern medicine and throughout China. As the field of Psychology expands to incorporate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practices, Master Trainers for these practices may be appropriate trainers for Psychology CE. The practice of pairing a Master Trainer with a psychologist for the offerings intended for the professional Continuing Education of psychologists is a good one and we encourage the Sponsor to continue this practice… the information provided in Section D of the application provide a sound basis for offering this CAM training to psychologists as a continuing education offering.”

I think if David had become adversarial the outcome would have been different. But by staying centered, he was able to maintain calm and focused and blend with what has happening.

This incident in David’s professional life is a perfect example of how one can use what they are learning on the map in a crisis situation.

Thank you David for setting this wonderful example for all of us.


Aikido in Action with David Lukoff: An addendum to his encounter with the APA

June 26, 2014

David emailed me a few days later. He decided to flesh out the story and give additional background information that he thought was important as this all unfolded.

In reading what David wrote, it became clear to me that there was much more at stake and involved many important people, centers of learning and martial artists in the Greater Bay Area community.

David wrote,

“The decision of the American Psychological Association (APA) to withdraw the approval of the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC–the name of my continuing education business) was based on SCRC cosponsoring the Embodying Joy workshop with the internationally renowned qigong instructor Mingtong Gu and Debra Chamberlin-Taylor in December 2012 at Spirit Rock.

“For the past 10 years, SCRC has also been cosponsoring programs with the San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco Shambhala Institute, Institute for Health & Healing at the California Pacific Medical Center, Marin Mindfulness Institute, Mindful Education Institute—about 20 different centers mostly in the SF Bay Area–with presenters including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rick Hanson, Tara Brach, Mark Epstein, and Sylvia Boorstein. The loss of their ability to provide CE credits for their programs would have been devastating to these mindfulness centers, which is why I felt it was important to mount such a strong defense of these practices.”

And here is something I know Aikido and other martial arts traditions have run into from time to time. One recent occasion occurred with a workshop being held at a summer retreat camp owned by the conservative Protestant denomination. Someone observed the group bowing in and out and decided that this was a religious practice. The group was uninvited the next year. In essence the complaint was that what is being practiced was a religion.

David continues,

“The charge that qigong involves ‘theological or religious teaching’ was due to their uninformed view of qigong as a religious practice rather than as Chinese Medical Qigong which is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a strong evidence base. During the appeal I cited several meta-analytic reviews that confirmed the anti-depressant benefits of qigong.

“My aikido practice provided me the grounding to go through this 14 month ordeal which involved hiring a lawyer, compiling the evidence-base of research on qigong, and presenting my case in a 2 hour adversarial appeals process to a committee. I adopted George Leonard’s maxim ‘Take the hit as a gift.’ From 24 years of training with Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei, I had learned and did practices for staying centered and facing the source of conflict that were invaluable throughout the 14 months. On my Ocean Beach jog at 6 am before the appeal hearing, I faced into the brisk ocean breeze in a hanmi position and let the universe in. Then knowing I would be defending this ancient practice, I did some qigong. All I can say is that I felt the lineage showing up in my body to guide me in this encounter.”

This is such a great example of tapping into to something bigger and bringing that energy forward into the moment. Something we all work on doing daily in our own lives as we bring that ki that happens on the mat into who and what we are in our daily lives. What David did was perfect.

“From Robert Frager Sensei, I knew how to come to a conflict from my heart and not create any enemies. Despite this protracted conflict with the APA, I am still active in the association and have received invitations to present at the annual conference and to write an article for their new journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice—while this conflict was in full swing. In both the article coming out in July and in my presentation at the conference in Washington DC in August, I will address the issue of using qigong and other complementary and alternative techniques in psychotherapy. Last year I presented at the APA conference on incorporating aikido into psychotherapy training.”

And here’s the core learning in my opinion of David’s experience. That he was able to view this conflict from his heart and not from a position of anger of it being adversarial. I think O Sensei and the other great teachers on The Path would all smilingly nod their heads in unison with what he did.

David concludes,

“I don’t consider myself a qigong teacher but took my first course 40 years ago, and teach mindfulness practices including qigong, aikido, and walking meditation in my graduate psychology courses, and believe embodied mindfulness practices such as tai chi, qigong, yoga and aikido will be the next wave of mindfulness interventions to be widely adopted as mental health interventions. So my hope is that the reinstatement of the SCRC will promote continued training and exploration of these embodied practices. Stay tuned to this column to learn about the next Aikido and Psychotherapy workshop!”

Thank you David for making a difference and speaking and acting from both your center, and perhaps more importantly, from your heart.



“Modern psychology and contemporary coaching models have taken us to a certain threshold of insight and ‘knowing,’ but they have failed to teach us how to discover satisfaction and meaning as we evolve through different shapes of living, and therefore different perspectives, throughout a lifetime.”

The author continues:

“Insight has a place, but it’s a mistake to think that if we change our minds, different behaviors will follow. (my italics) To simply have a good idea about something is not enough. To change how we are means changing how we act; it means functioning differently. It requires a different way of organizing how we feel, act, sense and perceive.”

A review in two parts of 

The Art of Somatic Coaching – Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom and Compassion” by Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA $18.95 ISBN 978-1-58394-673-2




“… Before you can move from a position that has met or created opposition you have to let go. …”


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



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

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


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 :


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.”


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.”


“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/;


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.


  Music video: Chris Botti, Someone To Watch Over Me

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



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.





  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)


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”


[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


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. 


Are we at risk and existing in a wilderness?

Episode 39 – Laurence Gonzales