Today's Quote

"Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it."
John Adams

BUSH & CO ARE NOW OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Well, this is a difficult one - I frequently tell my patients who have been wounded in their childhoods (which is all of them) that facing the wounds inflicted by one's parents, and the rage and pain that comes with them, does not necessarily mean confronting said parents in present time. Healing is a personal, inner process from which healthy behavior will follow, but confronting your old tormentors isn't always a practical or valuable thing. What's more important now is that you're not allowing yourself to be injured by them, or anyone else, any longer.

What's difficult for me about applying this approach to the national scene, however, or the collective as it were, is that very often by not confronting the damage done by perpetrators in positions of political, business, religious or other institutional leadership, we can inadvertently set the stage for further acting out and damage.

Bob Herbert makes this point today in the NY Times, in an op-ed piece entitled: "ADD UP THE DAMAGE."
Herbert starts out by saying: "When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry, a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches, over the damage he’s done to this country."

Well, I agree with Bob, but I actually think more needs to be done than howling in order for the collective consciousness to heal from the crimes of our leaders. When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for the high crimes that led to his resignation, the country was not able to heal its collective wounds from being so betrayed by a leader in high office. If George Bush, Dick Cheney and many others who committed very high crimes indeed, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are allowed to go off unaccountable except to the annals of history, our collective psyches will not be able to heal. I do truly feel that for Barack Obama to bring the nation together in the way he is inclined to, he must see to it that his Justice Department holds the previous administration accountable for the damage it has inflicted.

Here's a bit more from Bob Herbert:

"The catalog of Mr. Bushes' transgressions against the nation’s interests — sins of commission and omission — would keep Mr. Bush in a confessional for the rest of his life. Don’t hold your breath. He’s hardly the contrite sort. He told ABC’s Charlie Gibson: 'I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it."

Well, Mr. Bush, we actually cannot leave you to a history you won't be interested in or around to read. You are now our responsibility.

REPOST: LAST YEAR'S YEAR-END REFLECTION

Interesting to review last year's year-end reflection of 2007, written at this time last year. It still stands up, I think, so I'm reposting it, though I still plan to do this year's Year-End Reflection.

'Tis the season to... reflect. At least that's what I always feel most inclined to do at this time of year, much moreso than exchanging impractical presents and over-eating, all in the name of "traditions" which require that we behave in certain rote ways without reflecting on why we're doing it.
I'm not against acknowledging certain dates on a calendar, though. Since we do live under the construct of a linear time continuum, holidays and anniversaries can serve as moments "in time" to look over the period just ending to try and understand what motivated us to live how and where and with whom the way we did ("What did you do and how did it feel?" is the only question I think God actually ever asks anyone at the end of a lifetime.). I find a good year-in-review process at once gratifying and disheartening. Gratifying to see the ways in which I may have evolved in the past year, and to take note of the non-material gifts I have given to others, given of myself, in other words, to the degree to which I was able to be myself genuinely with those others. Disheartening to face the ways in which I was disingenuous at times.
One thing I've stopped saying is: "This year was a year of transition." Ha! Why? Because in looking back, I've been saying that exact same thing about almost every preceeding year for most of my adult life. Perhaps, I'm finally accepting that this is a transitional lifetime for me, though if the present moment is all there is, and all time is simultaneous, then what I am transitioning from and to is up for grabs.
Reflecting on the outer world situation, I had an insight recently, expressed somewhat in my recent essay, "Ain't That America." The insight was simply this - that as bad as things seem today, in terms of corruption and greed and dishonesty and brutality in so many areas of our various societies, it has been no better or worse for any long stretch of history that we are aware of going back at least a few thousand years. Which again speaks to the simultaneity of time. Clearly, we are exploring and experimenting with the dark side of the human experience, from Ancient Rome, the European Dark ages and the American continent's use of genocide and slavery to establish its sovereignty, to today's exploitation and despoiling of our world and children under the tyranny of corporate and religious fascism.
Sounds grim, but yet this thought did not leave me at all in despair. Quite the contrary, it focused me on the two things that really matter most: self-knowledge and love. When you examine any extensive text of spiritual teachings that stand up without dogma, the only two things that ever really seem to "interest" God are finding more and more creative expressions of love, and deeper and deeper explorations of God's "I Am-ness." So, too, for human beings, each of us as part of that greater I AM, when we are mostly about love's expression and knowing ourselves, we are in harmony.
So, in looking back at the calendar year of 2007, a year that held more than a few bits of turmoil for myself and many people in my sphere, I am ultimately gratified, as in full of gratitude, because I did indeed find more ways of expressiving myself creatively through love, and I do actually know myself that much more at year's end than at this time in 2006. And I had the great pleasure of sharing similar journeys with fellow seekers. I end this year, then, feeling blessed. And grateful.
So, from the great I AM from which we all originate, I wish you a wonderful rest of the holiday season (and hopefully a little actual rest during the holiday season!) and a spectacular New Year!
All my best -
Peter

REPOST: "IS THERE LIFE AFTER THERAPY?"

One of my favorite books ever written by a psychotherapist was called: "Is There Life After Analysis?" by Alma Bond, Ph. D.

Here's what Dr. Bond had to say about what makes for a successful course of therapy:

“...the ability to understand oneself, to love, to hate, to work, to mourn, to allow oneself pleasure when appropriate, to maintain a relatively stable mood, to know who one is and be comfortable with it, to see oneself and the world realistically, to be independent of one's parents or one's therapist, to remain emotionally and physically healthy in the face of anxiety and the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’, and to take over the role of the therapist when the treatment is over. In a manner of speaking, the primary motive of psychotherapy is to make the therapist obsolete.”

Yes! I have frequently said that if I am doing my job as a therapist correctly, I am continually putting myself out of business! Notice that Alma doesn't say that one has to be issue-free to be done with therapy, but rather that one has to be able to honestly see oneself and be able to treat/confront the issues when they show themselves.

Here's more from Dr. Bond on what takes the place of analysis after it is completed:

“The definitive answer to the question of what takes place after therapy can only be answered by the character of the individual patient. Every patient who ends therapy will do something different with his life. My first result was that I became my own therapist. I began to work on my dreams in earnest. I also had more time and energy to throw myself into my career. In two years, I doubled my therapy practice, then went onto writing. Now, in present time, in this new era of my life, the force of energy I once devoted to therapy, and before that to being neurotic, is now focused on my writing career. I feel it is fueled by exactly the same source of power. We only have so much of it; if it is going into conflict, it is unavailable for work. Some will spend this energy enriching their family life, others in deepening their knowledge of the interest of their choice. Some may change their careers altogether. Still others may buy themselves the time and leisure to travel...”

How great, huh? To have all that energy back? Energy that was first locked up in our neurotic defenses and character structures, and then the energy that had to be devoted to the hard excavation and demolition work of those structures in therapy. That's a lot of energy! Having all of that back can do wonders for fulfilling oneself sexually and in love, in health and in our chosen paths to creativity and generativity. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! So, come on people, put me out of business already!

I just want to add a note about meditation here. Many people I know who are following some kind of spiritual path end up feeling very frustrated. They've read The Course in Miracles or Conversations With God or watched The Secret a hundred times and they just seem unable to make use of the Laws of Attraction. Well, here's the thing - all of the promises contained in those and many other spiritual teachings are real. We are meant to attain the fulfillment of our deepest desires, and we do create and/or attract our own reality. And meditation does "work." In fact, there's a cute little piece of the Huffington Post today called "How Meditation Makes You Nicer." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/07/how-meditation-makes-you_n_95363.html)
BUT... and it's a big but... you are always going to create and attract from your unconscious and subconscious first, so if there is a lot of conflict and negativity in there, you're going to find a lot of crap coming into your life before any good stuff does. You can't wallpaper over the unresolved issues, even with a valid meditation practice. You might achieve some level of "niceness" and glimpses of peacefulness, but it won't last. That's where the hard work of therapy comes in. I wish there was another way, but there aren't any end runs around this, and there arean't any magic pills! However, after therapy, watch what happens when you meditate for real. It's easy. All you need is love.
P.S. Last I heard, Alma Bond was alive and well and writing in the Florida Keys.

Peter Yarrow's Response to the Mean-Spirited "Barack the Magic Negro"

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE!

You really gotta love the way psychopaths always end up shooting themselves in the foot they're always trying to stick up someone else's ass.

Here's Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary, known for many songs, including "Puff the Magic Dragon," of which the RNC saw fit to pass around a racist parody of this holiday season:

"The sending of a Christmas greeting by Chip Saltsman to the members of the Republican National Committee that includes a recording of the so-called parody, "Barack the Magic Negro" is not only offensive, it is shocking and saddening in the extreme. It flies in the face of America's deeply held hope for a new era in which common ground and mutual respect characterize the exchanges between our national leaders.
"I and my co-writer of 'Puff,' Lenny Lipton, have been eagerly awaiting an end to the mean-spiritedness, outright disrespect and bigotry that was commonplace prior to this last presidential election. What might have been wearily accepted as 'the way it was' in the campaign, is now unacceptable. Obama is not a candidate. He is the President-Elect, and this song insults the office of the Presidency, the people who voted for him, as well as those who did not -- and taking a children's song and twisting it in such vulgar, mean-spirited way, is a slur to our entire country and our common agreement to move beyond racism."

REPOST: "WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!"

Here's another news story to add to the four different but horrific stories from four different news sources I posted last week. My point in printing them is this: until we realize that while we may all be physical human beings living out lifetimes in the same linear chronology, we are not all the same soul age, and so to treat people who would enslave, rape or otherwise brutalize children, or murder others because of their skin color as if they were merely "bad" is itself insane. The people of the various groups and cultures in these stories are infant and/or baby souls at best. Just like a two year old child is by adult standards "insane," so, too are the people in question here insane by the standards of a mature soul. To go to war with or simply incarcerate a two-year old would be nuts, right? But to set strict, clear limits on the behavior of that child, while offering guidance, training and support makes sense, yes? That's exactly what we need to do with the insane, misogynist, racist, paranoid infants in human adult bodies of the world.

Think about it.

Check out THIS STORY: "Child maid trafficking spreads from Africa to US"

And...

THIS STORY: "Saudi court rejects divorce plea from EIGHT-year-old girl married to 58-year-http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifold man"

And...

THIS STORY: "There are now more slaves on the planet than at any time in human history"
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
And...

: "White vigilante groups blockaded small town in post-Katrina New Orleans and murdered blacks"

And...

: "Egyptian teacher murders a pupil whose homework was late"

Today's Quote

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Confucius

Today's Quote

"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
Black Elk (1863-1950)

FAREWELL TO ANOTHER PSYCHOPATH

FROM THE PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE SECTION ON BODY ASPECTS:

"The eyes are often lidded, with a drowsy, sleepy look meant to disarm and seduce." "Brit, here we are memorializing you and you're not even dead yet! But time marches on."
George W. Bush

OH, AND ONE MORE MIRACLE -

After twice electing (well, sort of) George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and their philosophies of "greed is good," "might makes right" and "I'm always right, anyway," the very same country elected Barack Obama!

MIRACLES HAPPEN!

Over the past three decades, I have witnessed what many, including mainstream medical practitioners, would consider to be miracles. Tumors shrinking and disappearing shortly before a scheduled surgery without explanation, terminal cancer going into sudden remission, a child with a supposedly organic brain dysfunction becoming normal, gastrointestinal problems clearing up in one week after a year of failed medical approaches, sexual functioning and potency increasing in middle age, chronic vision problems clearing up instantly without any medical treatment... I've got a long list of many more that are both physically and not physically oriented, but it's those physical ones that seem to impress people more. For me, people finding love-Eros-and-sex in a whole new way, seeing themselves and others clearly for the first time, finding more strength and vitality in their bodies as they get older, receiving a surprise solution to a financial problem, these are more of my favorites.

Anyway, the point is, miracles happen. They do. Really. I've seen it. But what is a miracle?

My favorite definition of a miracle - and I don't really know who said this first - is this one: "Miracles are the result of nature unimpeded." Think about that.

Miracles are the result of nature unimpeded.

In other words, what we call miracles are really just the normal operations of life when we get the barriers that our egos have created out of the way. In every one of the above examples, and many, many more, a person has freed up their emotions and/or let go of a long-held, internal belief system, and as a result, created what others would call a miracle: a spontaneous healing of an illness without slashing, burning or drugging, a dissolving of a long-standing mental block, the sudden, unpredictable solution to an intractable problem.

Einstein also knew about miracles. He once said this: "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Exactly.

As you go into this final week of the year, which is the "high season" for those of us in the psychotherapy business, a time when people feel their conflicts, losses, disappointments and blockages most acutely, try opening yourself up to the unimpeded nature of yourself. Consider the possibility that when all the efforts of your logical mind fail, when your outer will is being thwarted, when you can't easily see a way out or a path to the light at the end of the tunnel, there is a miracle waiting to happen. Not a reward for being "good," or a compensation for your suffering, not because it's "your turn," or the luck of the draw is finally going your way, not because God or Santa Claus is cutting you a break. No. Simply because the goodness of nature, of life the way it is meant to be for all can be accessed and channeled through you, if you just let it. So, let it. If you need help getting out of your own way, getting out of nature's way, which we all do, seek it. Help is always available. Really.

That's a miracle, too.

Comment on PL's post "WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!"

"scolthorp" left this comment:

"Peter -- Well said! I've recently been studying Don Beck (student of Clare Graves) and his model of human development. I think us nutty human-folk need more advice from people like you on matters of psychological maturation, or we're never going to grow up and learn to enjoy the variety of cultural differences. To Quote Gene Roddenberry: 'Humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms."

Today's Quote

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein

WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!

Here are four different but horrific stories from four different news sources today. My point in printing them is this: until we realize that while we may all be physical human beings living out lifetimes in the same linear chronology, we are not all the same soul age, and so to treat people who would enslave, rape or otherwise brutalize children, or murder others because of their skin color as if they were merely "bad" is itself insane. The people of the various groups and cultures in these stories are infant and/or baby souls at best. Just like a two year old child is by adult standards "insane," so, too are the people in question here insane by the standards of a mature soul. To go to war with or simply incarcerate a two-year old would be nuts, right? But to set strict, clear limits on the behavior of that child, while offering guidance, training and support makes sense, yes? That's exactly what we need to do with the insane, misogynist, racist, paranoid infants in human adult bodies of the world.

Think about it.

THIS STORY: "Saudi court rejects divorce plea from EIGHT-year-old girl married to 58-year-old man"

THIS STORY: "There are now more slaves on the planet than at any time in human history"

THIS STORY: "White vigilante groups blockaded small town in post-Katrina New Orleans and murdered blacks"

THIS STORY: "Egyptian teacher murders a pupil whose homework was late"

Today's Quote

"The narcissist is not hungry for experiences, he is hungry for Experience! Looking for an expression or reflection of himself in Experience, he devalues each particular interaction or scene, because it is never enough to encompass who he is."
Richard Sennett (U.S. social historian)

ARE YOU A "MAXIMIZER?" NOT!

Well, here's an article, called "Unfreedom Of Choice?" based on a ridiculous but popular belief that suggests that the reason so many people are either not satisfied in a relationship, or avoid relationships altogether is because there are too many choices - kind of like a grass is always greener syndrome.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Are you always looking around for something better: a better job, a better apartment... a better relationship? For example, let's say you finally found a pretty great love catch. Do you still find yourself tempted to keep going back to that large online dating ocean, in hopes of finding an even bigger, better, more 100% perfect catch? If so, your search for the better might be making your life worse.
Barry Schwartz, Ph.D., psychology professor at Swarthmore College, and author of 'The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less' has concluded that excess proliferation of choice makes people more anxious and less happy - even clinically depressed at times. Schwartz defines people who tend to check out all the options as 'maximizers' and believes they tend to question whether they've made the right choice, then later regret their choices."

Come on, Doc! Why do so many of the practitioners of the healing arts and sciences still look outside of the human being for the causes of our dysfunctions? Maximizers?! Ugh! How about this idea? A person who can't make a choice or feel satisfied with a choice because there's always a potential "better" choice is trapped in an Oral Character Structure with a narcissistic personality disorder overlay. A mouthful yes, and it is a real double whammy, too.

The orality part of it is what I call the "need-greed complex," in which there can never be enough (see my Oral Character Structure post for details), and the narcissistic part of it is that desire to be "the special person of a special person," as one narcissistic person so aptly described it. Problem there is, as soon as said special person picks you, and is therefore not elusively out of reach and elevated, he or she is no longer special.

Tough one, huh?

Maximizer!

Comment on PL's "EVERYDAY CHILD ABUSE" & PL's response

"Anonymous" wrote this in response to my "EVERYDAY CHILD ABUSE" post:

"So, I have less than a 10% chance of inadvertently fucking up my kid?! Only the most suicidal degenerate gambler would accept those odds---at that price, the game sounds like it ain't worth playin'! So the question is: is the possible but highly improbable reward of actually raising an amazing kid worth the much more likely risk of contributing more ugly mess to the human experiment and being responsible for screwing up the very people you most intend to love?"

PL:

No, it's not worth the risk if the question is just whether to procreate or not. Anyone can have a child, but not everyone can or should raise one. But if a prospective parent is dedicated to healing their own wounded inner self, regardless of what that entails, whatever it takes, then a prospective child born to that parent would be blessed indeed.

EVERYDAY CHILD ABUSE

How is THIS not child abuse?!

Yes, naming your innocent newborn "Adolf Hitler," per the news story linked here, is an extreme example, but it is only the grossest manifestation of what constitutes socially acceptable and legal child abuse committed every day by everyday parents. Vicariously acting out through one's offspring is one of the most insidious and common ways that "good" parents gut their children's self-esteem. By identifying with your kids and projecting your own fears, wishes and other feelings rooted in your own unmet needs and wounds from childhood onto them, and then, by living out the idealizations of yourself meant to compensate for those unmet needs through your children, you are repeating the damage that your parents inflicted on you.

Alexander Lowen, famed psychologist and author, once said that over 90% of children are effectively abused by their parents. I agree.

Something to think about.

NOW THAT'S DEPRESSING: ANTIDEPRESSANTS KILL YOUR SEX-LIFE!

As if being depressed weren't depressing enough, the medications euphemistically known as "anti-depressants" kill one of the best remedies for depression - great sex!

This is from an article in the Boston Globe:

"Sexual numbness. Lack of libido. Arousal that stalls.Such sexual symptoms have long been known side effects of the popular Prozac class of antidepressants. 'This is such an upsetting issue," said Aline Zoldbrod, a Lexington psychologist and sex therapist, "with millions of affected sex lives"

People? Hello?! Depression is caused by turning anger and sadness inward, and, of course, one of the effects of that emotional suppression is to inhibit emotional functioning and our ability to experience pleasure in all areas of life including sex. Anti-depressants don't eliminate anger and sadness; they numb and bury it deeper inside of you. This is the exact opposite of the movement needed to heal and - YES! - cure depression. Through a holistic therapy process, you can get that stockpiled rage and hurt out of your body and live emotionally free, full of joy and pleasure. How utterly ludicrous to manufacture a drug, let alone actually ingest one, that not only deepens a serious problem, but even eliminates one of the most powerful antidotes to that problem - sexual healing! Killing off your sex drive while trying to solve your depression problem is as ridiculous as destroying your immune system with radiation while trying to solve your cancer problem.
Just because the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry have gone insane, folks, doesn't mean you have to be crazy, too.

Today's Quote

The holiest of holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today's Education Quotes

"The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves."
Joseph Campbell

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."
Clay P. Bedford

FULL PERMISSION LEARNING - UPDATE

Six months ago, I posted a piece called "FULL PERMISSION LEARNING" in which I described the dramatic effect on our then 10 year old son after attending the orientation week at the Brooklyn Free School.

I wrote last June:

"BUT... after just one day at the Free School - ONE DAY! - B was like a different kid. Not only was he relaxed, smiling and bright-eyed after his day (at SCHOOL!!), he was standing taller! That was the truly remarkable thing. And I got it - he felt respected. He'd spent a day with adults who respected him for who he was, adults who cared about what HE was interested in learning about, instead of adults who tried to force information down his throat and conveyed his inadequacy if he didn't spit it back properly in a timely fashion. Now, after a week at the Free School, miracle of all miracles, given a chance to take today off from school or go in, B chose to go. He wanted to go to school!"

Well, now, as we approach the end of 2008 and the holiday break, and after a full three months of "B" - now eleven - attending the Free School, I can report that the remarkable experiment continues with remarkable results. Not only are the awful memories of stressful nights and conflict-ridden mornings fading, but B is able to walk the streets of Brooklyn with a friend, go to stores and manage money, and observe with interest the goings on in the world. The other evening at yet another stress-free dinnertime, B was talking about Iran. Surprised, I asked him how he knew anything about Iran? Did he study it in school? "No," he said, "but now that I'm not worried all the time, I listen to the news when you and Mom are watching it and I pick things up."

Wow! Did I have to fight back the tears! A kid learning from the world around him, without being stressed out or force-fed information. B has even taken an interest in watching Jon Stewart with us lately, and recently he had the patience to sit through my story from high school physics class about the "Vandegraff machine," used to make static electricity. Oh, yeah, and he came home from school one day and showed me how to play "power chords" on guitar, surprised to find out that I'd ever heard of Deep Purple and even knew the song, "Smoke on the Water!"

Trust and availability, that's what the Brooklyn Free School is all about. Trust that children all bring gifts to bear in this world if they would just be allowed to explore themselves and find the room for self-expression in their own time. Availability, adults just being there, without the needs of their egos, when the kids need guidance or mentoring on their journey.

It's a beautiful thing! I'll keep you posted.

Bonni's comment on my post: "WHY AREN'T YOU RICH?!"

Here's Bonni:

"Thank you for this. My 'word of the year' for 2009 is 'abundance' (word of the year is sort of like a resolution, but it's more just setting an intention/theme and a year is a convenient length of time). This post appearing now was synchronistic and perfect. I'm guessing you posted it for me, right? :)"

DO WE GET IT YET?!

Homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, greed... these are not political or philosophical positions or points of view; these are psychiatric conditions. MENTAL ILLNESS!
READ THIS and hopefully, if you're not emotionally dead, WEEP!
"Brooklyn Man Dies From Beating" (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/nyregion/14ecuadorean.html?_r=1&hp)

Today's Quote

“Only the man who does not need it is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started.”
Ayn Rand

Today's Quote

"Dangerous is wrath concealed. Hatred proclaimed doth lose its chance of wreaking vengeance."
Seneca (Roman philosopher)

Deepak Chopra on Sean Hannity and the Deflated Right Wing

Here's Deepak:

I sent the following letter to Sean Hannity recently in response to his misrepresentation of what I said on his show regarding the Mumbai terrorist attacks. I have not received any response back from him. Today I read it aloud on my Sirius-XM radio program and am now making it public here as well.


"Dear Sean,

I saw a report about last night's show that quotes you as follows:

"Hannity continued by saying, "We had Deepak Chopra on last night and he's blaming America! ...He was blaming America for the attacks in Mumbai and I challenged him on it and I'm like, 'Wait a minute. You've done so well in America. Why are you blaming us?' We protect 100% of the world's population. We're 4% of it."

I am really disappointed in you. Do you not remember your other guest when I was on, former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen? He made the same point I did about America's policy toward the jihadists: "Are we creating more terrorists than killing them?" Ironically, this question is attributed to Donald Rumsfeld.

It really doesn't matter to me personally whether you agree with me or not. Leaving our debate aside, your habit of taking statements out of context and playing the blaming game is sad. You have a powerful platform that influences many people. Why do you use your influence to monger fear, militancy, divisiveness, and jingoism?

I was hoping to come back on your show and have a reflective, intelligent dialogue, but perhaps the attack mode is the only way you know to make a living. The best excuse for your dishonest accusations against me is that you don't believe what you're saying. The far right has deflated, so you are there to pump it up with hot air. If you stop blowing, you'll be out of a job. I empathize.

Love,
Deepak

PS: No one expects the right wing to change, but for what it's worth, they have entered an era of reconstruction. They've lost both their power and their credibility. Instead of trying to educate me about being an American, you might want to re-educate yourselves about dirty pool and below-the-belt attacks. Just a thought."

Today's Quote

"The body never lies."
Alexander Lowen

25% IN THERAPY?!

Here's an item from today's news:

"Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind. The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25 percent of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment. Counting substance abuse, the study found that nearly half of young people surveyed have some sort of psychiatric condition, including students and non-students."

The good news? That someone is bringing up the subject. The bad news? Let me count the ways - The obvious - hardly anyone's getting therapy, and if they are, it's usually drugs, which can do absolutely nothing to cure a personality disorder. And the "nearly half" statistic is a farce. I haven't yet met anyone, young or old, who doesn't have some kind of clinical dysfunction, or "personality disorder," unless, of course, it's because they are psychotic, which is beyond personality disorders. That's right. Unless you had a childhood in which you were raised by two self-actualized parents who were vibrantly in-love with each other and fulfilled in their sexual and creative lives, you have a personality disorder - at best!

The time has come to treat mental and emotional health and maintenance the way we treat physical health - as a top priority. That is, unless of course, you don't mind all of the cheating, stealing, lying, violence, depression, narcissism, substance abuse, eating disorders, nightmares, rage, hand-washing and compulsive masturbating, not to mention pedophilia, racism, xenophobia and homophobia.

Let me know.

Today's Quote

"Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent."
Sigmund Freud

Today's Quote

"It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible."
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Repost: "Like a Fish Needs A Donut?"

Question to the readers of this blog:
Are you in, or do you want to be in, a love relationship with an equal? Are you, in other words, or do you want to be, experiencing love-Eros-sex with someone who meets you in those areas fully, and who also meets you intellectually, spiritually and emotionally?
Hold onto your knee-jerk "yes" answer for a moment, and take a deep breath. Look at your current relationship and circumstances, and look at your history, before you answer.
Are you the type of man who's mostly attracted to younger women, or are you the type of woman who's mainly drawn to men with money? Or do you perhaps "need" flat stomachs, big tits, a six pack, a certain height or weight, hair of a certain color, or at least hair? Are previous marriages or kids a deal-breaker for you? Have you been a "caretaker" type who's chosen a needy, immature or high maintenance partner, so you can feel both wanted and deprived at the same time? Or are you an aloof, introverted type who's drawn to someone who "chases" you, so you can feel both special and harrassed at the same time? And here's one full of conflict: Do you feel satisfied and met sexually by your partner, and do you know if your partner feels that way? If you answered "yes" to any or all of the first 6 questions in this paragraph, and/or "no" to the last question, then reconsider the answer to the original questions in paragraph one.

Judith Warner, in a NY Times piece, "LIKE A FISH NEEDS A DONUT!", bemoans the superficiality of "men Out There" who "dated women multiple decades younger than themselves, prized them for their looks and their fecundity and fell in love with the magical rejuvenating mirrors they found in the women’s adoring young eyes," rather than prefering to date "contemporaries, women who’d lived, matured, grown wiser and more human with the experience of parenting." Yet, ironically, it seems to be exactly women like Judith who choose the very kind of men she's complaining about. (Remember that book, "Women Who Love Men Who Love to Hate Women?")
And rest assured, ladies, the men who choose younger women under the illusion that they're going to be hotter in bed and better eye candy are in for a big let-down. Once you get over the novelty of tight skin, not only do you realize it's just... skin! But it doesn't stay tight indefinitely anyway! And when that craving for the good daddy overtakes her youthful passion, that little Candy Apple isn't going to want hot sex anymore, as much as she'll want ego stroking and shoes.

Having sadly fallen prey to the depressing, and erroneous, belief system that comes from compulsively, and unconsciously, choosing partners from one's character defenses and unmet needs from childhood, instead of from one's adult self seeking a mutually gratifying experience in love-Eros-sex, one is left to only find comfort in shared misery. Judith, like many people I've known, describes the billions of people of one sex or another as if they were truly a monolithic group - MEN with a capital "M" and WOMEN with a capital "W." Only by believing that there are "no good men OUT THERE" (or "good women"), that "they're all the same," can one continue to avoid the reality of facing the choices one is making. In therapy sessions, some of my patients have at least been bold enough to consider that there "might be" some more evolved members of the gender in question OUT THERE, but then, they will often retreat into "Well, there can't be that many!" To which I usually respond, "Well, how many do you need?!" Get it? This is not a statistical problem, folks. And there's no such thing as MEN with a capital "M" and WOMEN with a capital "W." This is a - forgive me! - law of attraction problem. As in, you get what you seek, especially what you seek unconsciously. If you are stuck focusing on getting from a partner what you didn't get in childhood - emotional caretaking, validation, and recognition - you are guaranteed to have a lousy, ungratified adulthood. This is relationship physics, and it is as certain as the law of gravity.
Listen up, Judith, and anyone else who's really pissed off at the opposite sex right now (or the same sex, as the case may be) - take care of yourself emotionally, validate yourself, see yourself, get whatever guidance you need and do whatever it takes to take the loss of your childhood and move on into the great world of freedom and gratification of adulthood. It is so worth it!
PL

Today's Creative Quotes

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
Albert Einstein

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."
Alan Alda

"The key question isn't What fosters creativity? But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything."
Abraham Maslow

INTERVENTION

I watched an intense show on A & E last night called "Intervention," which is a reality show in which an addicted person is filmed in the depths of their pathology, along with interviews with their significant others, and then followed through into an intervention, with a helping professional guiding the way, to get them into rehab. It's a very powerful show, but what was so clear to me, though only an incidental focus of the show, was how the "identified patient" - the addict - was bearing the brunt of their family's dysfunction, and in some ways was the least disturbed member of the family circle.
It's well-know in family therapy models that dysfunctional families tend to orbit around one person in the system who is seen as "the problem." While everyone bemoans this person's disorder and purports to be invested in his or her recovery, the reality is that "enablers" are often more addicted to their role than the addict is addicted to their substance. In fact, you could see in the show, as I have seen in working with such families, that the addicted person is often more open to rehab and treatment than the family is, once the process begins. And very often, once the addict has recovered, he or she turns out to be the strongest member of the family.
Check it out.

"Rick" on "LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS" & PL's Response

Here are Rick's very thoughtful comments on the subject:

"Great stuff here. I will certainly use that in my repertoire in dealing with the trials and tribulations of my teenage students. As I read your posts, I always try to incorporate personal experiences. I try to see if the explanations of who I should vote for, the level of consciousness, an idea, a trait, my ego, longing to kill my brother or marry my mother, all work in my instance. When they do, it certainly is reaffirming and helpful. When they don't, that is when I take a second look, reflect and then come to an understanding. If I just can't quite fit that square peg of your reasoning into the round hole of my actual experience, that is when I usually respond.

You clearly articulated the 5 levels and they are interesting, insightful and, as I always hope these posts would do, give the reader an opportunity for a "free" lesson on self-actualization. Furthermore, you were able to keep in check your proclivity to pull a "Sonny" from the Godfather and throw trash barrels at the reader's head only to be immediately followed by the shoe!

What I struggle with on this post is the feelings around regret. I was shaking my head in agreement all the way through, but couldn't quite accept as part of "being", one must live without regrets of past events. I would argue that putting regrets in a proper place would make one truly "being," not just living without them.

I look at my past and there are certainly decisions I made and actions I did that I wish I could change. Have I worked on the pain it caused me and others? Yes. Have I forgiven myself and others for them? Yes. Have I apologized and taken full responsibility? Yes. Have I chosen a different action since then? Yes. My regrets are in a place of acceptance and understanding, yet they, and the subsequent process of dealing with them, need to still be with me to insure that the lessons of yesterday help me be a better person today.

Simply living without them or forgetting them, reeks of the most unevolved (how's that Loff56) level of consciousness, "reflex". I've been there and tried to justify my actions or just simply tried to delete them from memory. Not to acknowledge regrets, and all of the painful, yet positive lessons that can come with them, can create that big river in Egypt, De-Nile! We know how that script reads."

PL:

As always, Rick, very heartfelt and clearly coming from a person of conscience.

In terms of the state of "being" that I talk about as the highest human level of consciousness, I wrote:

"At this phase of development, a person knows that he or she creates their own reality and accepts responsibility for one's creations without judgment or blame. This person lives without attachment to outcomes, without regrets about past events, without worry about future happenings. Dualistic thinking falls by the wayside, and there is a true sense of oneness felt in connection with all others and with life."

That oneness with others - which creates true empathy - is why regrets aren't necessary to help this person be "a better person," as you strive to be. The person who is in a state of being is connected to others, through empathy, in such a way that hurting another hurts themselves immediately and directly, so regret isn't necessary as a deterrent.

And yes, you astutely understand that this stage - "being" - is similar in one way to the lowest stage - "reflex" - in that the person in a state of being, like all living beings in their natural state, will act "automatically," but in a state of being, it will be in a harmonious way with others without having to use guilt or regret or a lot of analytical thinking as a motivation. The difference between human beings and most animals, however, is that we can question ourselves and develop "awareness" and "understanding" on the way to "being." In fact, we need to go through those stages because, unlike most animals, human beings have egos.

Great conversing with you again, Rick.

Thanks!

Today's Quote

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Albert Einstein

Response from "TreCoglioni" to PL's "DOG EAT DOG" & PL's Response

Here's "TreCoglioni":

"I couldn't agree with you more that it's amazing that workers don't support workers. However, blaming this behavior on sibling rivalry is a bit of a stretch.

The reason many people support measures that don't support their own, and their country's, best interest...is ignorance. Americans are indoctrinated to believe that capitalism and individuality, competition, materialism, etc....are all super wonderful things that equate to freedom. Americans can't seem to escape the propaganda...just look at how many vote for Dems and Repubs versus third party candidates who make real sense. If CNN runs a piece claiming that the labor unions are contributing to the problems or if they run an article that implies the sky is falling...many people will think accordingly. They fail to recognize that CNN gets its money from giant corporations and filters its 'news' to help the cause ("Manufacturing Consent" proves this point quite effectively). People generally don't have the time (by design...they are working to payoff their debt) to dig deep for the truth...and even with the truth, some will not adjust because they are brainwashed (for lack of a better word).

One could also argue that sibling rivalries are a RESULT of our society, not the cause. Did fighting brothers of peasants during feudalism cause the tyranny of kings?"

PL:

Well, while I agree that ignorance is certainly a mainstay of people's self-destructive attitudes and behavior, remaining emotionally and developmentally in childhood is a major cause of ignorance. People frequently "dumb themselves down" in order to serve the childish needs of their little egos.
Thanks for the response.

DOG EAT DOG!

Here's an amazing and absurd reality - as people are debating whether or not to allow the big three automakers to go bankrupt or to bail them out, there is rampant and virulent talk about how it's the fault of the unions! That's right, those damn workers making between $20 and $40 an hour, they're the ones! Yep. Not the sleazy, clueless fat cats going to congress in their separate private jets to ask for billions in corporate welfare cash. It's not their fault.

I mean, come on! General Motors' CEO only made a salary of $360 million plus stock options last year. That's not fair. Ford Motor Co., which posted a record $12.7 billion net loss in 2006, gave its new CEO Alan Mulally $28 million for four months on the job. Peanuts! What's he gonna do with peanuts, Alice?

No, it's those greedy workers making almost $80 thousand! Can you believe it?

BUT... here's the triply amazing thing about it - the ones criticizing the greediness of the workers are... the workers! Yessir! I was listening to talk radio the other day in the car and a woman called in arguing in favor of the bail-out because if the car companies go under, her husband will lose his job. Okay, fair enough. But who did she blame? The union members who were still getting the equivalent of their salary in retirement. Yeah, those greedy retired bastards still collecting a 5-figure pension, that's the ticket. It's not the fault of Don Leclair, for example, who recently retired as CFO of FORD and got only $5 million as a retirement package. That sucks, doesn't it? What can you do with five million in retirement?

So, what's behind the dog-eat-dog mentality of working people? Well, that's where I come in. What's behind it is sibling rivalry, and - here I go again, folks - the childish need to have an idealized parent-figure in our lives. Pathetic? You betcha! But adults desperately vying for the favor of an imaginary parent will betray their own brothers and sisters every time for the crumbs that Big Daddy might brush off the table. Suck up to that abusive parent, blame the ruckus on your brother, and bloated Papa CEO might not fire you this time, Sonny Boy!

You know, I've written about this so many times, but it has to be said over and over - you search for an idealized parent-figure in your life and you live on crumbs... and it's nobody's fault but your own.

REPOST: BEFORE YOU JUMP SHIP!

This is one of my own personal favorites of all the posts I've written:

I would assume that there are fewer and fewer parents these days who would argue against the notion that parenting should be an equally shared responsibility and that child-rearing tasks shouldn't be divided up along prescribed gender lines as they once were. So, rather than write about what's already been written about a lot on this subject, I would like to write about the notion of "equal unparenting."

I've talked and written a lot about how over-involved the recent generations of parents (Baby Boomers and Echo Boomers) are with their kids, and the kind of narcissistic disturbances that can cause. I have also talked quite a bit about how important it is for children to have parents who are happy and fulfilled in their sex-lives and creative lives.

Now, let's get practical and radical and take it out of the box. Raising kids the way most people try and do it today, even with the shifts towards equality of tasking, is inherently dysfunctional. Two parents, living together under one roof with their kids full-time, while also pursuing a self-actualized lifestyle of gratification in love and work is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest or competing in a triathlon every day! And how many of you have done either of those things even once? (I actually do know a mother of three who competes in triathlons as a way of taking a break from the rigors of mothering!)

So, when faced with this daunting situation (and by the way, most first-time parents don't have a clue what they're getting into), what typically happens? Well, like on any sinking ship, the first thing you do is throw overboard the things that seem expendable in an attempt to stay afloat. Sex is usually at the top of that list. No time, too tired, too angry - "Yeah, we'll make a date with each other." Never happens. Well, maybe it happens once. Next to get tossed are any avocations or hobbies that you love, but which don't bring in any money. Writing? Painting? Ice climbing in the Pacific Northwest? Can't afford it. Exercise? Yeah, for the kids - soccer, Little League, karate, ballet. "Should we let the gym membership expire?" "No!" Gourmet cuisine? Yeah, remember when you always cut out the recipes from the Wednesday NY Times to sample? "Amy's Macaroni and Cheese" sure makes cooking easy, now, doesn't it? And it's organic!

What follows the tossing overboard period is the spirit-crushing feeling of loss and emptiness because it "wasn't supposed to be like this." You're depressed and overwhelmed. This is followed by the insidious, relationship-killing blaming of each other - for not doing your share of the equal shared parenting, for not initiating sex, for not making me care that I've gained weight...

Now it's bad. At this point, it's usually the point of no-return for a couple and the only two choices are split-up or hunker down. In truth, the healthier couples can't hunker down, so... Couples therapy? An affair? A trial separation? Well, here's where I come in and where it's all about EROS. If the in-loveness hasn't been killed off completely, if there's still an ember of desire and passion for each other left alive, there's a possibility that the relationship can be revived, but it's rare. And it's going to require breaking the log-jam you're in and breaking the mold of how it's "supposed" to be done, and couples having the courage and fortitude to do that is even rarer.

How do you go about it? You start with your desires, the callings in your heart and soul, the ones that won't go away that you sadly pine about in bed when you're not having sex. You need to retrieve the very things you threw overboard because those things were NOT AT ALL EXPENDABLE. They were the essential things to living a good life and being good parents. Yes. That's right. Your kids need YOU to play soccer more than they need to play it. Your kids need you to have TIME OUTS more than they do. Yeah. Instead of sending more money on McLaren SUV strollers, violin lessons or Wiis, spend it on a good babysitter and housecleaning person. Next - and this is a big one - spend some time alone. Real time. Not just a couple of hours. A couple of days. Go in on a small studio if you have to. You're going to have to spend the bucks if you get divorced anyway. Think about it. A lawyer, child support and maintenance is going to cost you a lot more than a babysitter, housecleaner and a small studio to have some private time in.

Finally, assuming the EROS still burns somewhere for your partner, yes, do make a date with each other - and keep it. But DO NOT talk about the kids or the house or anything other than what you're passionate about and sex, sex, sex. Talk about it, reveal your hidden fantasies and shameful desires and then DO IT! Do it with more gusto than you've ever done it before. Sex only gets better with age. That's right, better. Anybody who has ever told you otherwise should get thrown overboard.

Okay, that's it for now.

Today's Thanksgiving Quote

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude."
Denis Waitley

DON'T GIVE THANKS - EXPERIENCE GRATITUDE!

Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Having gratitude. It is a wonderful state of being, gratitude, but in our masked world of elaborately designed character structures, how many of us actually know that gratitude isn't an action you can take, isn't something you can DO. No, gratitude, like forgiveness, is an organic, spontaneous place you can only ARRIVE to - when you've cleared out the ego-inspired negativity and neediness inside of yourself, which IS something you can do.

As I've said many times, and written often on this blog, when you love yourself, you can't help but love others. You don't even have to try. And when you have become your true ADULT SELF, you can't help but be grateful and forgiving.

Thanksgiving is actually the only holiday I really like. Why? Well, because it's not religious, it's not patriotic, it's not a memorial or an anniversary, it's not about obligatory gift-giving, it's not about declaring romantic love for someone you take for granted the rest of the year, and for me, the greatest of all blessings, it's not about kids.

Yes, there I said it. I am giving thanks today for a holiday that is about grown-up pleasures, our indulgences of which are the best gifts we could ever give to our children, by the way.

Last year, I posted this in response to a piece in the Wall Street Journal about Thanksgiving:

"Well, you know I couldn't resist this one, being the curmudgeon that I am about kids ruling the roost in our overindulgent times. This did my heart good - from the Wall Street Journal Op-ed page yesterday:

"Thanksgiving: Great American Holiday, or The Greatest American Holiday?" by Joseph Epstein

'Thanksgiving does have the absence of the heavy hand of dreary gift giving that has put the groans in Christmas, the moans in Hanukkah. And no one has written treacly Thanksgiving songs, comparable to White Christmas and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, which, I suspect, have helped make Christmas one of the prime seasons for suicide. Let us not speak Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, of whose travail we shall all have heard more than our fill as we ride up elevators and pass along the aisles of department stores.
'For some time in America we have, of course, been living under Kindergarchy, or rule by children. If children do not precisely rule us, then certainly all efforts, in families where the smallish creatures still roam, are directed to relieving their boredom if not (hope against hope) actually pleasing them. Let us be thankful that Thanksgiving has not yet fallen to the Kindergarchy, as has just about every other holiday on the calendar, with the possible exceptions of Yom Kippur and Ramadan. Thanksgiving is not about children. It remains resolutely an adult holiday about grown-up food and drink and football."

So, rather than "giving" thanks today, folks, I recommend experiencing gratitude - for whatever it is that you are genuinely grateful for already, even if it is your kids!

REPOST: "DO IT... OR DON'T!"

You haven't had really good sex, or any sex at all, in months, years, maybe, whether you may be single or in a steady relationship or a long-term marriage. Your finances are a mess, maybe even a disaster, or... they're not, you're solvent, but still, your work life is ungratifying creatively. You're over-weight, out of shape, having trouble sleeping, feeling old before your time, maybe, or succumbing to the insidious indoctrinations of the medical profession about the indignities of aging and the betrayals of nature. Anti-depressants, high blood pressure medication, Viagra, Ambien in your medicine cabinet? Medicine cabinet? What the fuck?! You have a medicine cabinet?! How did this happen? Some part of you knows this isn't right. Right? Your mind doesn't feel this resigned, this lacking in desire, this irrelevant to the rest of human life, old, for Christ's sake!
Some part of you feels vibrant, engaged, passionate, desiring to contribute. Yet, you are sinking into despair and lethargy and apathy. You're broke, or broken, or close to it. You can't get up or get it up! How is this possible? How did this happen??
Well, ask yourself this - are you commited to doing whatever it takes to open up your inner channels to the fullness of life? Are you willing to turn over every stone in your mental and emotional self to find the negative intentions, stubborn childish wishes and willful attitudes lurking there? Can you admit that being happy, free, healthy, wealthy and wise are not as important to you as being "right," playing it "safe" and being in "control." That your pride rules over all?
Well, having it all, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are indeed our inalienable rights as human beings, but it's a state you have to strive to arrive to. We live in a plane of intense heaviness here on Earth, yet it's a place of potentially great acceleration.
Here's the good news, folks - having a great life, fulfilled in love and work, with a sound mind and body is not only possible, but it is the way it's meant to be for us. But here's the hard truth - there's no short cuts, no end runs, no cheating, faking it, or half-stepping. You've got to reveal yourself - to yourself, and then to someone else. And then, go further and further until there's no corner of your inner life that's hidden and in the dark. Do it. Or don't, but if you don't, don't complain.

Today's Quote

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

IN CASE YOU THOUGHT THE UNIVERSE DIDN'T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!

ACCORDING TO THE NY POST: "Ann Coulter's Jaw Wired Shut!"

YEP! Ann Coulter may be completely silenced, at least for a while. If the New York Post's Page Six report is true, Coulter broke her jaw and her mouth is wired shut.

MUST READ ON WHY CHURCHES FEAR GAY MARRIAGE

"As the American family fractures and the majority of women choose to live without men, churches are losing their grip on power and scapegoating gays and lesbians for their failures."

GO HERE to read the whole article: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/11/25/proposition_8_religion/

MUST READ FROM ROLLING STONE! TAKE A BITE!

"Requiem for a Maverick" by MATT TAIBBI

Here's an excerpt:

"The ironic thing is that the destruction of the Republican Party was a two-part process. Their president, George W. Bush, did most of the work by making virtually every mistake possible in his two terms, reducing the mightiest economy on Earth to the status of a beggar-debtor nation like Pakistan or Zambia. This was fucking up on a scale known only to a select few groups in history, your Romanovs, your Habsburgs, maybe the Han Dynasty, which pissed away a golden age of Chinese history by letting eunuchs take over the state. But John McCain and Sarah Palin made their own unique contribution to the disaster by running perhaps the most incompetent presidential campaign in modern times. They compounded a millionfold Bush's legacy of incompetence by soiling both possible Republican ideological strategies going forward: They killed off Bush-style neoconservatism as well as the more traditional fiscal conservatism McCain himself was once known for by trying to fuse both approaches into one gorgeously incoherent ticket. It was like trying to follow the recipes for Texas 10-alarm chili and a three-layer Black Forest chocolate cake in the same pan at the same time. The result — well, just take a bite!"

Today's Anonymous Quote

“A pessimist is one who feels bad when he feels good for fear he'll feel worse when he feels better.”
Unknown

Repost: "The Superstition of Pessimism"

"If I believe in the positive, I will be disappointed, and I may chase it away by my very belief in it. I dare not believe in the good. It may not happen. It may be smarter to believe that nothing good can happen to me, that I cannot ever change, that I cannot ever grow out of my obstructions."

Do any of you have that little nugget lurking in your subconscious? Well, here's a real gold nugget for you - the Pathwork Guide lecture called: "The Superstition of Pessimism."

You may actually believe that there's some emotional safety in this kind of inner game - "If I expect the worst, I won't be disappointed." However, as the Guide warns us:

"Denying the positive and believing in the worst to appease the gods, as it were, is destructive. You do not know the power of such thoughts. There is no playing with such power without grave consequences. There is no such game that does not have a grave effect. The power of this game needs to be made conscious."

That last part is of the utmost importance. I tell many people, regularly, that making something conscious does a lot. As long as something is unconscious, it will exert power over you. Once something is brought into the light of awareness, it already begins to lose its grip and strength. And mind you, I'm not talking about superimposing a false or exaggerated optimistic attitude over an underlying negative attitude. That will do no good at all. And it's not necessary.

Here's the Guide:

"The courage to believe in positive life unfoldment can very easily be confused with wishful thinking. There is a subtle and yet very distinct difference between wishful thinking and a virile faith in the positive. You all indulge very easily in wishful thinking. Then, to be "realistic" -- because you already know the disappointing results of wishful thinking -- you revert into the superstition of pessimism."

Optimism is the natural state of all living things. Without it, newborns wouldn't reach out for nurturance right from birth. Flowers wouldn't open to the sun. Life expects to be fulfilled. So, by bringing our negative expectations into consciousness, thereby dissipating them, the natural optimism will take over.

Once more, the Guide:

"All human beings are wonderful manifestations of divinity. One flower is not better than another flower. One bird is not better than another bird. The mountain is not better than the sea. The pine tree is not better than the oak. Think of yourself and other people in those terms and assert your goodwill to let others be their best. Then you can let yourself be your best so you can truly enjoy the fruits of your efforts and feel deserving of them."

Today's Special Guest Quote

Today's quote was chosen by two special FPL guests, "Roseanne" and "Willa."

"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

WOW! NEWT'S SISTER RIPS HIM ONE!

"A Letter to My Brother, Newt Gingrich," by Candace Gingrich:

"Dear Newt,

I recently had the displeasure of watching you bash the protestors of the Prop 8 marriage ban to Bill O'Reilly on FOX News. I must say, after years of watching you build your career by stirring up the fears and prejudices of the far right, I feel compelled to use the words of your idol, Ronald Reagan, "There you go, again."

However, I realize that you may have been a little preoccupied lately with planning your resurrection as the savior of your party, so I thought I would fill you in on a few important developments you might have overlooked.

The truth is that you're living in a world that no longer exists. I, along with millions of Americans, clearly see the world the way it as -- and we embrace what it can be. You, on the other hand, seem incapable of looking for new ideas or moving beyond what worked in the past."

Full letter here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/candace-gingrich/a-letter-to-my-brother-ne_b_145739.html

SURRENDER!

This is from a crucial Pathwork Guide Lecture on a subject that perplexes many people in the later stages of their healing work. To attain self-actualization, after all of the excavating work of revealing and releasing hidden beliefs and suppressed feelings, the next movement necessary is that of surrender.

Here is Eva Broch, channeling the Pathwork "Guide":

Broch (“Guide”): “You often use the word surrender. You sense that this word contains an important aspect of spiritual fulfillment. Yet there is also a great deal of confusion attached to this word, which needs to be explored. A human being who is incapable of surrendering cannot find his core; he cannot find his divine nature; he cannot love; he cannot truly learn; and he cannot grow. Such an individual is very stiff, defended, and closed. The ability to surrender is an essential inner movement from which all good can flow.”

“You need to surrender, otherwise you will always remain attached to your very shortsighted self-will, which produces pain and confusion. Surrender means a letting go of self, of cherished ideas, desires, opinions -- all for the sake of truth.”

“You need to surrender to your own feelings. If you do not, you will always impoverish yourself and shut out your feeling nature. You become an automaton.”

“You need to surrender to those whom you love. This means trusting, giving the benefit of the doubt, being willing to yield if this serves the cause of the truth.”

“You surely need to surrender to a teacher, in any field you wish to learn. If basic surrender is lacking, no matter how much the teacher is capable and willing to give you, you can receive very little, if anything. This indeed applies also to a spiritual teacher. If you constantly withhold with distrust and reservations, you do not allow a most important dynamic to develop. You may assume that you can absorb mental knowledge from a teacher from whom you inwardly keep aloof. And this is true to a degree. But in true learning much more is involved than the outer mental processes. There is an inner, emotional, spiritual, involuntary level which must learn too. And on this level nothing can be absorbed unless you surrender to the teacher. This applies to the most mundane thing you wish to learn. A process that is learned merely as a mental deduction is not truly absorbed. It must become an inner reality in order to become your own. How much more is this true of spiritual growth.”

“The refusal to surrender has to do with lack of trust, with suspicion, with fear, and with the misunderstanding that if you surrender, you lose your autonomy and your ability to make future decisions. The refusal to surrender creates an over-developed self-will, which takes its toll on the personality. The personality becomes truly impoverished. For the ability to surrender is such a movement of fullness, of giving over, of letting go, that enrichment must follow it by a natural law. Over-developed self-will always brings strife. You can see in your world that two self-wills clashing create war -- on a small or a big scale. If peace is to be made possible -- again, between individuals or countries -- a giving in, a yielding must occur.”

“It is quite impossible for a dependent ego that denies self-responsibility to surrender... This is why those who are secretly, often unconsciously, most dependent, those who crave for a "perfect" authority to take over, are also the most defended against all yielding. They vaguely sense that the giving away of self can occur only when the self is strong and healthy, because then the self grows even stronger and healthier as it goes through the act of giving itself away. So, my friends, I say to you: when you find in yourself or others an inability to surrender, to trust, to give over, to yield, look for the undercurrent of dependency and denial of genuine self-responsibility.”

“As you grow in true autonomy and self-creating, you will sense very clearly that there is no contradiction, no duality, in regard to surrendering and standing firm. In fact, it will be clear to you that one presupposes the other, that one is not possible without the other.”

“Surrender amounts to a certain kind of inner, involuntary relaxation. The involuntary process comes about gradually as a result of much voluntary work on the outer level. It seems to just happen. There is a phenomenon that some of you may know and that may serve as a helpful illustration. When people go through extreme states of pain, there comes a point when it is no longer bearable. Then the fight against pain is given up on the involuntary level. A total state of surrender to the pain, transcending the conscious, volitional mind and will, takes over. In that moment all pain ceases and transforms into ecstasy. This phenomenon is known to the devilish practitioners who commit torture on human beings for political or other power reasons. When they see this happen, they stop their torture so as to get the victim back into a more normal state in which he begins all over again to resist surrender. The point here is to show you how everything can be transcended if the concept of surrender is properly understood and incorporated into the soul.”

Today's Idiotic Presidential Quotes

"What is right and what is practicable are two different things."
James Buchanan (Generally ranked as the worst president except for You Know Who)

"I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president."
You Know Who

PROVEN - IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE!

Over a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein proposed the famous "Special Theory of Relativity," best known by the formula e=mc2. At the time, Einstein said that he knew his formula was correct, but he famously said he would leave it to the scientists in the laboratory to take the next ten years to prove it. Well, it took them a 103 years, but they finally did it!

CHECK IT OUT HERE: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081120/sc_afp/sciencephysicseinstein_081120235605??

Today's Quote

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
Buddha

HERE'S A NEWS ITEM YOU GOTTA LOVE...


"The CEOs of the nation's biggest three automakers flew to Washington DC yesterday to make their case before congress that the auto industry is desperately in need of a $25 billion bailout. Much to the dismay of lawmakers, these CEOs decided to travel to the nation's capital in style, on THREE separate luxurious corporate jets, revealing their collective resistance to sacrificing any precious perks."

Ya think?!

"The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla" by Dick Cavett

No intro by me necessary. Dick is a true wordsmith.

Here he is:

"Electronic devices dislike me. There is never a day when something isn’t ailing. Three out of these five implements — answering machine, fax machine, printer, phone and electric can-opener — all dropped dead on me in the past few days.

Now something has gone wrong with all three television sets. They will only get Sarah Palin.

I can play a kind of Alaskan roulette. Any random channel clicked on by the remote brings up that eager face, with its continuing assaults on the English Lang.

There she is with Larry and Matt and just about everyone else but Dr. Phil (so far). If she is not yet on 'Judge Judy,' I suspect it can’t be for lack of trying.

What have we done to deserve this, this media blitz that the astute Andrea Mitchell has labeled 'The Victory Tour?'

I suppose it will be recorded as among political history’s ironies that Palin was brought in to help John McCain. I can’t blame feminists who might draw amusement from the fact that a woman managed to both cripple the male she was supposed to help while gleaning an almost Elvis-sized following for herself. Mac loses, Sarah wins big-time was the gist of headlines.

I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.

What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, 'How was it she talked?'

'My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.'

And, she concluded, 'never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.'

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.

(A cynic might wonder if Wasilla High School’s English and geography departments are draped in black.)

(How many contradictory and lying answers about The Empress’s New Clothes have you collected? I’ve got, so far, only four. Your additional ones welcome.)

Matt Lauer asked her about her daughter’s pregnancy and what went into the decision about how to handle it. Her 'answer' did not contain the words 'daughter,' 'pregnancy,' 'what to do about it' or, in fact, any two consecutive words related to Lauer’s query.

I saw this as a brief clip, so I don’t know whether Lauer recovered sufficiently to follow up, or could only sit there, covered in disbelief. If it happens again, Matt, I bequeath you what I heard myself say once to an elusive guest who stiffed me that way: “Were you able to hear any part of my question?”

At the risk of offending, well, you, for example, I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming, hostile enemies and our current and far-flung twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “30 Years’ War.”

Has there been a poll to see if the Sarah-ites are numbered among that baffling 26 percent of our population who, despite everything, still maintain that President George has done a heckuva job?

A woman in one of Palin’s crowds praised her for being 'a mom like me … who thinks the way I do' and added, for ill measure, 'That’s what I want in the White House.' Fine, but in what capacity?

Do this lady’s like-minded folk wonder how, say, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, et al (add your own favorites) managed so well without being soccer moms? Without being whizzes in the kitchen, whipping up moose souffl├ęs? Without executing and wounding wolves from the air and without promoting that sad, threadbare hoax — sexual abstinence — as the answer to the sizzling loins of the young?

(In passing, has anyone observed that hunting animals with high-powered guns could only be defined as sport if both sides were equally armed?)

I’d love to hear what you think has caused such an alarming number of our fellow Americans to fall into the Sarah Swoon.

Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the oft-lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word 'intellectual' an insult? (And yet…and yet…we did elect Obama. Surely not despite his brains.)

Sorry about all of the foregoing, as if you didn’t get enough of the lady every day in every medium but smoke signals.

I do not wish her ill. But I also don’t wish us ill. I hope she continues to find happiness in Alaska.

May I confess that upon first seeing her, I liked her looks? With the sound off, she presents a not uncomely frontal appearance.

But now, as the Brits say, 'I’ll be glad to see the back of her.”

Today's Quote

"Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."
Voltaire

SOMEBODY I FORGOT TO DUMP GETS DUMPED!

Fox News anchor E.D. Hill is leaving the channel after her contract was not renewed. Hill gained notoriety several months ago when she referred to the handshake that Barack Obama exchanged with his wife Michelle as a "terrorist fist jab."

See ya!

"LOFF56" Responds to "Racism Is A Psychiatric Disorder" & PL's Response

Here's Loff56:

"Hmmmm.... Interesting argument.
I suppose the further time marches on, the better the argument for racism as a psychiatric disorder.
However I'd have to say that racism is more of an educational issue. Obviously not in the traditional education sense, because as far as I know there's not a single school in the country that would outwardly teach segregation or racism. But more in the sense that there are still parents out there that haven't been able to let go of what their parents and their grandparents before them had instilled in them. Therefore educating their children with the same bigotry.
That being said, clearly there is a fear issue on their parts that doesn't allow them to let go of all that nonsense. Which is clearly a symptom of a host of psychiatric issues. So in that sense, racism is more of a symptom of other things (or perhaps a convenient tool for expressing fear) rather than a direct disorder itself.
Hmmm... so by definition I just don't think racism is a disorder in and of itself. But yes, they should all get some serious help!!!"

PL:

I hear you, L56, and I don't disagree with the idea of familial elements as a causal factor in some levels of racism, although I grew up in an all-white small town, in a working class Italian-American family where there were plenty of denigrating racial remarks made about African-Americans in a variety of settings by otherwise "normal" people around me, and yet, I didn't turn out to be racist. However, extreme racism, the kind that leads to hatred and violence and forming organizations around that hatred is psychotic. And psychosis is not culturally caused, although it may be culturally sanctioned.

Thanks, as usual, for the thoughtful comments, L56.

SAY IT: RACISM IS A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER! COME ON, SAY IT!

This was in today's Christian Science Monitor, in an article entitled, "After Obama's win, white backlash festers in US"

Here's an excerpt:

"In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting "inappropriate" comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa. The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element. In some parts of the South, there's even talk of secession. The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style. They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they've been moaning about has come true. Supremacist propaganda is already on the upswing. In Oklahoma, fringe groups have distributed anti-Obama propaganda through newspapers and taped it to home mail boxes. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are also being reported from Maine to Alabama."

Okay, now get this: The American Psychiatric Association has never officially recognized extreme racism as a mental health problem, although the issue was raised more than 30 years ago. After several racist killings in the civil rights era, a group of black psychiatrists sought to have extreme bigotry classified as a mental disorder. The association's officials rejected the recommendation, arguing that because so many Americans are racist, even extreme racism in this country is "normative" — a "cultural problem" rather than an indication of psychopathology.

The psychiatric profession's primary index for diagnosing psychiatric symptoms, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), does not include racism, prejudice, or bigotry in its text or index. Therefore, there is currently no support for including extreme racism under any diagnostic category. This leads psychiatrists to think that it cannot and should not be treated in their patients in therapy.

How do I say this?

WHAT?!

Could anyone who scapegoats a whole group of people and seeks to eliminate them to resolve his or her internal conflicts NOT meet the criteria for a major paranoid delusional disorder? Are you kidding me?! Am I ever going to be able to stop asking...

"HOW STUPID ARE WE?!"

If we don't start treating extreme racism, greed, homophobia, xenophobia and religious fanaticism as psychiatric disorders, we will never be rid of them. A "cultural problem" is figuring out and debating whether or not we want to watch sex and violence on public TV or celebrate Christmas as a national holiday or if Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" is more relevant than CNN for getting the real news. But hating someone you don't know because of their skin color or sexual orientation or nationality, or stealing a person's pension so you could have a $50,000 ice sculpture at your daughter's sweet sixteen party, or believing that an all-knowing creator God could truly love only your particular sect of believers is... right - DELUSIONAL!

Just had to get that out.

GEORGE W. HOOVER BUSH!

The Party of Lincoln became the Party of Hoover 80 years ago, and Bill Kristol, unrepentant right wing columnist for the NY Times, knows it and fears that it is still so. Here he is in today's Times -

Kristol:

"For the hard fact is this: The worst financial crisis in almost 80 years has happened on George W. Bush's watch. If Republicans and conservatives don’t come to grips with what’s happened, and can’t develop an economic agenda moving forward that seems to incorporate lessons learned from what’s happened — then they could be back, politically, in 1933. From 1933 to 1980, Republicans repeatedly failed to convince the country they were no longer the party of Herbert Hoover."

Ha! Of course, what Kristol is saying - or implying - is that somehow in-between, Ronald Reagan was not Warren Harding or Calvin Coolidge, the two Republican presidents before Hoover who presided over the corruption and excesses of the Roaring Twenties, when taxes were lowered on the rich and regulation was non-existent.

In fact, the last 28 years of Republican rule have been an almost exact replay of the years leading up to the Great Depression.

Listen, Bill, if there's one hallmark of right-wing philosophy, it's this - and it's why they hate Obama - they refuse to change. Here's a quote from FDR, the Democratic president who pulled us out of the Republican Great Depression:

FDR: "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.."

Oh, yeah, I've been meaning to put this out there to Hillary for a while -


Hillary, I think you would make a great Secretary of State, probably would've been a good-to-great president, too, but for years I've been saying that you have to divorce Bill first.

Your body language together speaks loudly of the lack of love-Eros-and-sex between you, and as far as your ambitions, well, his ego is so inflated, his pride so off the scale, his temper so volatile that he will continue to undermine you in every attempt you make to advance yourself past him as a great political leader in this country.

I'll help you out here by adding him to my '08 Election "Dump List" for you, but you will have to do it yourself if you want to progress.

More on Today's Paul Simon Quote About The Great Force Of Love

It's a powerful truth Paul is expressing in that little bridge from his song, "You're The One." The song is about the futility of blaming in a relationship, and it relates to something I wrote about a week or so ago in my post: "When Eros Ends It's No One's Fault."

Paul points out most poetically that love, as one of the greatest forces of nature, is a "shapeless shape" that doesn't follow the dictates of "human expectation," including our wish for it to "remain the same." Indeed, if we are living according to our true nature, it is love that dictates, not our wills. And like all living forces, love is constantly changing in a relationship, growing stronger or weaker, according to inner and outer conditions.

What do we control? Only our openness to giving and receiving love by letting go of the illusory protections against the illusory "heartbreaks" we fear. Why do I have heartbreak in quotes? Because the emotional human heart of an adult can't be broken. It is eternally protected by the soul. It is invincible. Experiencing loss doesn't break the heart; it makes it stronger, even more able to love fully and fearlessly if we embrace the loss. What can break, however, are the barricades we construct around our hearts in childhood, those cocoons, meant to be temporary shelters until we grow up. Yes, it is painful when those defenses crack and tear and break, but if we go through it, it is truly liberating.

Let's hear it from Paul one more time:

"Nature gives us shapeless shapes
Clouds and waves and flame
But human expectation
Is that love remains the same
And when it doesn't
We point our fingers
And blame blame blame"

WILL INDIANA STOP SPANKING CHILDREN NOW?

A while ago, I posted a piece called "SPANKING REPUBLICANS," referencing a study that found that Republicans by a much higher percentage than Democrats physically abuse their children (i.e. - hit them, euphemistically called "spanking.")

The big spanking states were: Idaho, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Montana, Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Well, with the election totals in, we have breaking news: all of those child-abusing states voted for John McCain... EXCEPT Indiana! Indiana voted Democratic for the first time since 1964! Wow!

Does this mean that the Hoosier State will change its spanking ways?

I'll keep you posted.
 

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