Today's Quote

“If you want to keep something precious, lock it up and throw away the key. If you love someone, set them free.”

Full Permission Lyrics

This is a new item I thought I would try as a regular feature. Music is one of the "languages" of the soul, and language that uses words is a uniquely human way of communicating. Combining music and lyrics into songs creates a powerful way to stimulate our inner lives.

Today, I was moved to start with one of my favorite Lennon-McCartney lyrics: "Fixing A Hole." What I love about what's happening in this story is that the protagonist is taking action so he can be available for the inaction of letting his mind wander. How much do we all need to do that - take the steps necessary so we can create space to go within and be with ourselves?

You can listen to it here:



"I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go
I'm filling the cracks that ran though the door
and kept my mind from wandering
where it will go

And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong
See the people standing there
who disagree and never win
and wonder why they don't get in my door

I'm painting a room in a colorful way,
and when my mind is wandering
there I will go

And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong
Silly people run around
they worry me and never ask me
why they don't get past my door

I'm taking my time for a number of things
that weren't important yesterday
and I still go

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go
where it will go
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go"


The "Higher Side" of the Psychopathic Character Structure

The other day, I posted some aspects of the "Psychopathic Character Structure" on my blog, with a few pictorial examples of some well-known psychopaths. To be fair, I also want to post the "Higher Self" aspects of that structure.

Every character structure is a distortion of the True Self (which I'm using interchangeably with the Higher Self). Every soul is born into a lifetime with specific and unique attributes and qualities, "gifts" that can manifest as their greatest potential for their own growth and development and fulfillment and can facilitate that of others, as well. Because of the emotional and psychological injuries incurred during childhood, we create defenses that distort the expression of our True Self. Those defenses, clustered together, form a "character structure." The character structures will vary according to the nature of the True Self that created it. As I've said to many people, all character structures suck! They constrict us, inhibit us, delude us, damage our bodies and our relationships. All in different ways, but... they all suck!

That being said, all Higher Selves are magnificent, beautiful, creative, loving, imaginative, brilliant, and always throbbing there underneath our defenses waiting for a chance to express if only we would dismantle those old cocoons from childhood and fly.

Here then are the...


- Great leadership and executive qualities and capacities to bring people with differences together in a harmonious effort;
- Strong abilities to guide and inspire others to accomplish their chosen tasks in life and see their own specialness without competitiveness or separation;
- True innovators and adventurers able to travel “the road not taken”, or “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, without recklessness or excess;
- A genuine seeker of truth, with genuine humility, honesty, loyalty and unwavering integrity;
- A truly big heart full of love and fearlessness to surrender to the flow of feelings, life and the Higher Self.

Today's Quote

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

Today's Quote

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

Today's Quote

"Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death."
Erik H. Erikson

Today's Quotes

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

"Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise."
Sigmund Freud

Freud Meets Buddha

Well, we've been on the cutting edge of this trend for a good two decades now, haven't we? Check it out: "Lotus Therapy"

"Children Poisoning Themselves with Illegal Psychiatric Drugs"

Peter Breggin, M.D., is one of my heroes in the mental health profession, going back at least 17 years when he published his landmark book, "Toxic Psychiatry," followed up with many more, including, "Talking Back To Prozac." Dr. Breggin has been informing the professions, media and the public about the potential dangers of psychiatric drugs, electroshock, psychosurgery, involuntary treatment, and the biological theories of psychiatry for over three decades. He has testified before Congress on more than one occasion about the dangers of medicating children.

This is a great man!

Read his latest here:

Today's BONUS Quote

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson

What's with Me and Paul Krugman?!

Is it me? Why do I feel the need to keep addressing Paul Krugman's columns?
Am I becoming overly irate about the things the Times columnist has been writing during this primary season? Or is he losing it? Or worse, is he showing the unseemly underbelly of a man who fears change and moving forward into an unfamiliar world.

This is the preposterous quote from the beginning of his piece, "Divided They Stand," in the paper today:

"It is, in a way, almost appropriate that the final days of the struggle for the Democratic nomination have been marked by yet another fake Clinton scandal."

Fake Clinton scandal?!!?

Paul, read this! Asked if her continuing fight for the nomination against Senator Obama hurts the Democratic party, Hillary replied:

"I don't. Because again, I've been around long enough. You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

Taken out of context? Okay, Paul, how about this:

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

No? She was just tired and misspoke?

I know you remember the one where Senator Clinton claimed that she was instrumental in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland. (According to Senator George Mitchell, the Clinton Administration's leading Northern Ireland peace negotiator, Hillary Clinton was not directly involved in the negotiations. Brian Feeney, author and former Belfast politician said that, "The road to peace was carefully documented, and she wasn't on it.")

Still not convinced, Mr. Klugman? Check out this list of known lies by the Senator:

• Chelsea was jogging around the Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. (She was in bed watching it on TV.)
• Hillary was named after Sir Edmund Hillary. (She admitted she was wrong. He climbed Mt. Everest five years after her birth.)
• She learned in The Wall Street Journal how to make a killing in the futures market. (It didn't cover the market back then.)

Oh, yeah, and...

• She didn't know about the FALN pardons.
• She didn't know that her brothers were being paid to get pardons that President Clinton granted.
• Taking the White House gifts inappropriately was a clerical error.
• She didn't know that her staff would fire the travel office staff after she told them to do so.
• She didn't know that the Peter Paul fundraiser in Hollywood in 2000 cost $700,000 more than she reported it had.
• She opposed NAFTA at the time.
• She urged Bill to intervene in Rwanda.
• She played a role in the '90s economic recovery.
• The billing records showed up on their own.
• She thought Bill was innocent when the Monica scandal broke.
• She was always a Yankees fan.
• She had nothing to do with the New Square Hasidic pardons (after they voted for her 1,400-12 and she attended a meeting at the White House about the pardons).
• She negotiated for the release of refugees in Macedonia (who were released the day before she got there).

Paul, I suggest you read my post on the "Psychopathic Character Structure" (

The "Millennials" Are Coming - GET THE DIAPERS!!

Was anybody home last night to watch the "60 Minutes" story" on the new generation of "kids" that have recently arrived to "adulthood?" Man, I've been writing and ranting about this age group and the one coming after them for years now, and getting no small amount of flack for it. I've been begging parents to consider the consequences for the narcissists they're creating, and for the world at large, and admonishing those same parents for their own ego-driven, vicarious motivations that are gutting our kids.

Well, it's hitting the mainstream media now. Here's Morley Safer from last night's show:

"There are about 80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995, and they're rapidly taking over from the Baby Boomers who are now pushing 60. They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds, and you can take your job and shove it. They are a generation that only takes 'yes' for an answer. And their priorities are simple: they come first."

Now, many who know me or read this blog have heard me talk about the "Joy of Quitting," or the "End of the Job," and "Full Permission Working." I am a staunch advocate of not wasting your life doing things that you don't find fulfilling. And I certainly see the 9-to-5 (now 8-to-8) corporate cog work-life as demeaning and spirit-crushing. But by no means do I advocate remaining a child. I absolutely know that fulfillment in life includes the capacity to be creative and productive in the world, and attaining what Erik Erikson called "generativity," the desire to give back.

Marian Salzman was on the show. She's an ad agency executive who has been managing and tracking "Millennials" since they entered the workforce. "You do have to speak to them a little bit like a therapist on television might speak to a patient," Salzman says, laughing. "You can't be harsh. You cannot tell them you're disappointed in them. These young people will tell you what time their yoga class is and that the day's work will be organized around the fact that they have that commitment. How wonderful it is to be young and have your priorities so clear. Flipside of it is how awful it is to be managing the extension, sort of, of the teenage babysitting pool," Salzman tells Safer.

Her words, folks, not mine -an "extension" of "the teenage babysitting pool." Exactly. One of the questions I've often put to parents is "Who's going to continue coddling your kids when they reach adulthood? Who's going to hire them? And who in their right mind would ever want to marry someone who needs an eternal source of narcissistic supply from their partner?"

Mary Crane offers crash courses for Millennials, trying to prepare them for actual work. She said this on 60 Minutes: "You now have a generation coming into the workplace that has grown up with the expectation that they will automatically win, and they'll always be rewarded, even for just showing up," Crane says.

In psychological terms, by the way, that's called "Primary Narcissism."

Morley was onto it.

"So who's to blame for the narcissistic praise hounds now taking over the office?" Safer asks.

Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow blames...Mr. Rogers! "You have got a guy like Fred Rogers on TV. He was telling his preschoolers, 'You're special. You're special.' And he meant well. But we, as parents, ran with it. And we said, 'You, Junior, are special, and you're special and you're special and you're special.' And for doing what? We didn't really explain that," Zaslow says.

Furthermore, he says that the coddling virus continues to eat away even when junior goes off to college.

"I heard from several professors who said, a student will come up after class and say, 'I don't like my grade, and my mom wants to talk to you, here's the phone," Zaslow says. "And the students think it's like a service. 'I deserve an A because I'm paying for it. What are you giving me a C for?"

Now, here's where the pathology really starts to manifest from this upbringing without autonomy:

"Today," Morley Safer says, "more than half of college seniors move home after graduation. It's a safety net, or safety diaper, that allows many kids to quickly opt out of a job they don't like."

Does that give anyone a chill: "SAFETY DIAPER?!"

"There once was, if not shame, a little certain uneasiness about being seen to be living at home in your mid 20s, yes?" Safer asks Mary Crane.

"Not only is there no shame with it, but this is thought to be a very smart, wise, economic decision," Crane says.

Finally, here's where it gets really sad. This is a young man in his twenties, talking about his upbringing, interviewed on the show:

"Our parents really took from us that opportunity to fall down on our face and learn how to stand up," says Jason Dorsey.

You can find the whole transcript of the show here:

Today's Quote

"Perfectionism is the enemy of creation."
John Updike

Old Souls Wiser Than Old Men

As an addendum to the previous post on old age and wisdom let me clarify: wisdom is more a function of being an old soul than an old man. Many of us know more than a few "old fools," and I know more than a few wise young people. Personally, I have been remiss on the details and focused on the big picture most of my life, which is why I used to walk into door frames as a kid while I was thinking lofty thoughts. Ouch!

Older and Yes, Wiser!

Well, you gotta love this study (if you're me, anyway), cited in an article entitled: "Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain," in the NY Times.

"It may be that distractibility is not, in fact, a bad thing,” said Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard. “It may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.”

I've been trying to convince my girlfriend (who's 6 years younger than me) of this since we've been together. "I may not remember the details of things, but I remember the essence," is my frequent claim, frequently met with rolling eyes.

Come on, Doc, bring it on!

“A broad attention span may enable older adults to ultimately know more about a situation and the indirect message of what’s going on than their younger peers,” says Dr. Lynn Hasher, a professor of psychology and a senior research scientist. “We believe that this characteristic may play a significant role in why we think of older people as wiser.”

Yes! Grandpa Pete rules! He taught me about patience, and being willing to try new things based on trust without needing to know first what it was I was trying. I learned from him that rushing actually makes things ultimately take longer, and that an over-sized intellect can be an impediment to exploring life. He made me look forward to being old. I couldn't wait to be wise.

“These findings are all very consistent with the context we’re building for what wisdom is,” says Jacqui Smith, another researcher and professor of psychology. “If older people are taking in more information from a situation, and they’re then able to combine it with their comparatively greater store of general knowledge, they’re going to have a nice advantage.”

That's right - a "nice advantage!" That's why I'm not afraid to take on all the younger Hollywood types in trying to become a screenwriter at my age. Now, if I could only remember where I put my reading glasses.

Today's Quote

"If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient? If someone prays for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prays for their family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"
Morgan Freeman (as "God" in "Evan Almighty")

Today's Quote

"We don't need another hero."
Tina Turner

The Psychopathic Character Structure

These are some typical traits of a person who has a "psychopathic character structure," a collection of defenses overlying a fragile sense of self whose main purpose is to ward off intense feelings of emptiness, made all the worse by emotional numbness and a lack of empathy. Contrary to the common stereotype, psychopaths come in many shapes and sizes, not just overt criminals or Don Juans. Politicians, CEO's and "heroes" frequently have this structure.

Just thought I'd put it out there to provoke some reflection.

Psychopathic Character Traits:

- The will is powerfully exerted to control others and to control feelings;
- Only what’s in one’s head, only one’s own ideas in the moment, are treated as valid and real;
- Power rather than pleasure is sought from life;
- The mind is the servant of the will in this structure, so reasoning can be dramatically inconsistent, though capable of brilliance; arguing both sides of a situation or mixing lies with truth is common if it suits a manipulative purpose to gain power or be “right”; one’s own lies are often believed; there is also a tendency to poor judgment and an inability to learn from mistakes;
- Pain is numbed, and genuine feelings are denied, but dramatic emotionality and false feelings are acted out to achieve some purpose, like intimidation or seduction;
- Fear of being wrong or of submitting to the will of others is extreme and is powerfully denied;
- Intuitive capacities of the mind are formidable, with very strong abilities to read what is going on inside of other people, although the understanding of the meaning of what is going on is often very distorted.
- Intense fears of being defeated, humiliated, controlled, or used;
- Outer tone of falseness and insincerity, and a lack of integrity are common manifestations.

"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."

"I don't believe in the no-win scenario."

"Why would I quit now?"

Today's Quote

"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning."
Albert Camus

Today's Quote

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours. That's relativity."
Albert Einstein


"There aren't enough hours in the day!"
I'm sure you've all heard and/or used that common complaint. I read an article this morning about how difficult it is to "have it all." The piece was called: "Can You Have It All - Sleep Included?" by Dr. Michael J. Breus.

Breus says:

"A thriving career. A house with 2.5 kids, the average. Time to exercise. A vibrant social life. A great romantic relationship, whether married or not. And you sleep like a baby at night for a full X-hours, whatever you need to feel like a million bucks the next day. Is this possible? Is this a total fantasy? I'm not trying to state the obvious or beg the obvious answer. My gut feeling is that having it all, including sleep, is a tall order."

[Well, of course, many of you who know me know that I feel that in this day and age, anyone who strives to have "2.5 kids" is latently suicidal anyway, but that's not the subject of my post today.]

Yes, I have heard so many complaints for so many years from so many people about not having enough time to work, play, love and rest, let alone pursue self-actualization in an intensive self-work process. Simultaneously, people have frequently asked me how I managed to have a full-time career as a psychotherapist, a full-time avocation as a writer, a full-time love relationship, with kids, and still be able to religiously take naps during the day and watch "Boston Legal" at night. And play tennis or go for 2-hour health walks regularly!

My answer has always been the same: "There are so many hours in a day, more than enough to do everything you want to do."

The response to my answer has mainly been something on the order of: "Bullshit!"

So, I devised a little exercise to prove my point, and only once in the past decade has it not had the same surprising effect on the person willing to do it. Today, I'm passing it on to you.

Here we go:

Start out by writing down the number of hours in a week. (I'll save you the time, since you seem to think you need it - it's 168.)
Now start subtracting: the number of hours you spend sleeping, eating, including shopping and cooking the food, working, including travel to and from work, doing household and kid-related chores, personal grooming, exercise, etc. If you're like most people who've done this exercise, you'll end up with a bunch of hours you can't account for. This shocks many people. I usually say at this point: "Those are the hours you spend obsessing about your life or engaged in compulsive activities or rambling through the forest of your character defenses."

The eyes of the recipient of this information at that moment are wide. It's a powerful moment of realization to face how much time is eaten away by the resistances of one's ego, resistance to embracing life fully. Still, as disheartening as it may be initially, it is ultimately freeing to see the reality of one's situation and eliminate that feeling of being victimized by time.

Check it out. Take the test. You might be surprised. Perhaps it may give you pause to pause.

Now, about that person who did the Time Budget exercise a few years ago and actually came out with a negative balance? Well, when she took the test, she was a mother of 2 little kids, working at an executive-level job she had to commute to, during a major renovation of her home, married to a man who never did any cooking or cleaning around the house, and she didn't have a full-time nanny or cleaning person! However, she did include in her unbelievable schedule enough time for individual, marital and group therapy on a weekly basis. And guess what? Today, she's no longer in that job, or in that house, or in that marriage, and although she has a cleaning person, she is plenty busy raising her kids, writing on her own blog, and engaged in both artistic and spiritual pursuits, while in a loving relationship with a man who does all of the cooking! And she never misses Boston Legal!

The Kids are Still Having Sex!

Here's yet another study showing how utterly ignorant the "abstinence only" religion is, this one showing how many teens are in fact having sex these days and what kind they're having. It's a lot. (Gee, did nature make a mistake by giving adolescents sex drives? NOT!) The real problem is, in places where abstinence only is taught and imposed on kids by fear based, sexually repressed fanatics, said sexually active (alive) kids aren't allowed to get any information on birth control.
Yeah, well, in the nature versus compulsive human control battle, guess who wins.
The article is here:

Like Money in the Bank!

A man I know said this to me last night: "I'm enjoying work so much now, it's scary!" Last week, he said this to me: "The clearer I see myself, the clearer I see other people." Two weeks ago, he said this: "It's such a new feeling to have money in the bank!"

This man is in his mid-forties. He decided about a year and a half ago to dig in and do some serious self-work, and it's kicking in. I'm putting this out there, because we all need to hear it. I've been writing about the challenge of challenging "resistance" lately, and how this insidious force generated by our egos to hamper our happiness will fight down to it's dying breath to hold onto its grip on our lives. Only six months ago, the man mentioned above thought he was having a heart attack because his resistance created an intense swell of anxiety to try and stop him from the work he was doing on himself. He almost quit the process. Instead, he took a breath and dug back in and now, he's beginning to have a breakthrough.

I love this. I've been here before with people. "It feels like my heart is melting, like I can love for the first time," a woman exclaimed once at a similar moment in her process. Another woman is soaring in her career, now, after having sold her furniture and her car and slept on people's couches while she hung-in and stayed the course of her self-work.

What I'm saying is that while it's definitely not easy to crack through the barriers of resistance, it's definitely worth it, just as I wrote yesterday that embracing loss in order to be free to love is worth it.

I asked another man a little less than 2 years ago, "What are you willing to do in order to have a happy life?" He answered, "Almost anything." I told him, "Then you're only going to be 'almost' happy." He laughed, but then continued on the same roller coaster that his life had been for another year. Lately, though, he's been digging in, and starting to do whatever it takes to challenge his resistance, and he's starting to experience some "miracles," some serendipitous solutions to problems that the efforts of his ego and self-will weren't solving for him.

Yeah, dig in. Life is on our side, you know? It's not a crap shoot or a coin toss. The Universe we live in is never working against our fulfillment, never thwarting our true desires, and never off duty. We just have to reach out for the love.

Of course, my favorite exclamation that I hear when people are having breakthroughs is the simplest: "This shit works!"

Here's today's meditation:

Today's Quote

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
Robert Kennedy

Today's Quote

"To one degree or another, we are all in a state of interrupted mourning."
Mark Epstein

Today's Quote

"It is incomprehensible that the transience of beauty should interfere with our joy in it. A flower that blossoms only for a single night does not seem to us on that account less lovely."

Today's Quote

"Resistance is futile."
The Borg

P.S. from P.L. on Blackwater reference

In case you don't know what Blackwater is, go here:

Fire Your Inner Blackwater

Who or what runs your life? Your boss, your love partner, your kids? No. The need for money or sex or recognition? No. You know better by now, if you're still reading this blog, and if you've done any amount of genuine self-work, that your life isn't run by any other person, or by some irresistible force out of your control. You know that "you" run your life.

But exactly what part of you is it that's calling the shots, and how can you tell? Is it your heart and soul directing you, or is your ego and its self-will in charge? Everyone has experienced coming from these different places at different times, and they are indeed very different.

When you're doing something you love doing, something that inspires you, something from the heart, when you're in the "zone," in other words, time and self-consciousness disappear. You forget to eat, forget any pains in your body or limitations in your mind; you don't judge yourself, how you look, how you're performing. You're just being and soaring, almost without really noticing it. When you're done, when you've accomplished what you came to accomplished, you're at peace, ready to rest and linger with a subtle feeling of satisfaction. You're humble, satisfied and happy.

On the other hand, when you're operating from your ego and self-will, you're totally self-conscious and judgmental. "Is this good enough?" "How do I look?" "What do they think of me?" "Did I win?" Ugh! From this place, accomplishments only give a fleeting rush, a momentary ego boost, and then you're desperately searching for the next source of validation, the next conquest. You can never rest or savor anything for fear that someone else may be slipping ahead of you in the narcissistic line. Happiness in this state is impossible, even considered frivolous or an illusion.

So, why would anyone choose to come from their ego and self-will, when it's such a tiring, endless hamster-wheel of an existence? Why don't we all choose to come from our hearts and souls in all of our actions all of the time?

In this great little book I'm reading, "THE WAR OF ART," Steven Pressfield says:

"The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it." Steven further goes on to say: "Resistance is directly proportional to love."

So, the more our heart and soul call us, the more we love someone or something, the more resistance we have to heeding the call? Why would this be so?

Well, the ego and self-will were created by our minds in childhood in order to survive the slings and arrows of having imperfect, unactualized, often dysfunctional parents hurting us at a time when we were most vulnerable. In an attempt to manipulate ourselves and our environment to futilely try and control the pain and our parents, and perhaps get more good love from them, we became super self-conscious and in that endeavor ultimately identified with our ego. And of course, the consequence of that is that we had to negate the reality of our true identity, that we actually are our heart and soul. Our identity thus became reversed from its natural state. We came to believe that we are egos that "have" a heart and soul, when in fact, we are souls that "have" an ego.

Resistance, that part of us that sabotages our efforts to express our hearts and souls fully, is our internal "Blackwater," a ruthless mercenary hired by the ego to crush our spirits, so that our ego can stay in power.
Here's a kick in the gut from Pressfield:

"Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stick-up man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit."


Bottom line - you survived your childhoods. If you're not psychotic or dead - and if you're reading this, you're not - you survived. So now, it's time to fire Blackwater and return the ego to its proper place, that of "intrapsychic secretary" and quiet observer, and try out letting your heart and soul lead your life for you. Most of us need a guide for a while to accomplish that, so... okay you know where that's heading.
Thanks for saying it straight-up, Steven.
In response to this quote of 5/14 by Rick NurrieStearns -

“The soul’s unfolding is a process of disengaging from limitations imposed through human conditioning and releasing its potential to express love, creativity and wisdom. The soul’s fulfillment is a wonderful mystery, we can only listen and let it express itself, discovering as we go.” -

"Maria" left this response:

"I don't think the fulfillment of the soul is a mystery, I'm pretty sure it is real; you can find it and feel it."

PL: I agree with Rick and Maria. Something that is always evolving and changing and growing can be both "real" and a "mystery."

Today's Quote

"Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."
Steven Pressfield

To be continued...

To Erica Jong in response to her piece on the Huffington Post today

Erica - I would have been more than happy to vote for Hillary Clinton a year ago, along with several of the original Democratic candidates. But contrary to what you suggest, the real Hillary emerged during this campaign - ego-driven, wantonly prevaricating, if not outright lying, willing to split not just the Democratic Party, but the whole damn country into parsed pieces if necessary for her gain. Senator Clinton, even more than her putative husband, Bill, has sadly shown herself to be maniacally ambitious, even at the cost of her own credibility and career. Barack Obama isn't just "the new kid on the block," he's the closest thing we've had to a genuine leader running for president since I became old enough to vote, and that was quite a few years ago. Come on, Erica, this isn't about genitalia, it's about integrity and honesty. Do you really believe that Hillary would have more grace under the Republican sniper fire just because she is able to unblinkingly pretend she's been under sniper fire?


"THE WAR OF ART," by Steven Pressfield (author of "Baggar Vance") is essential, no - REQUIRED reading for anyone who has ever wanted to get anything done or express something from their heart and soul or pursue life, liberty and happiness, but has instead found themselves stuck in the swamps or procrastination, outer dramas or inner conflicts.

"There's the life we live, and then there's our real life, which we don't. What stops us," Pressfield writes, "is Resistance."

Jesse Kornbluth has a review of the book here.
Go there. Read this book - NOW! Unless of course, you're already as productive and creative, healthy, wealthy and wise as you would like to be.

I'm reading the book as I write this, and you will be hearing more from me about it - sooner rather than later!

Today's Quote

"It's important that when death finds you, it finds you alive."

Today's Quote

"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent."
Carl Jung

Acorn Squash? A Reader's Comment & PL's Response

"Stephen" had this comment in response to my "Trusting the Acorn" post earlier today:

"So imagine the pressure on all of us who lost a parent to death or divorce to become towering oaks. I would have been perfectly content to be a palm."

Stephen's point is well-taken. Growing up with absent or neglectful parents leaves scars. And not everyone dealt those cards ends up on the Actor's Studio, and for that matter, some who have made it to that level of success have nonetheless been devoured by their childhood demons.

So let me qualify my "less is more" attitude when it comes to parenting. If we're starting from a bottom line of an upbringing, with one parent or two or more, that is basically loving and provides the essentials for physical care and simple guidance on the safety issues of modern life, then less can be more. When we start intervening in our offspring's explorations of their inner life, and the subsequent expressions of that inner life, we are at risk of treading on the soul. Alexander Lowen once described most parents' notions of good children rearing as the equivalent of breaking the child's spirit, not unlike the way we break wild dogs and horses.

It's a challenge and a delicate balance. The good news is that whether you were neglected or over-controlled in your childhood, you can still discover and actualize your first, best destiny by becoming a balanced parent to yourself.

Thanks for the comment, Stephen. Enjoy the palm trees!

Today's Quote

“The soul’s unfolding is a process of disengaging from limitations imposed through human conditioning and releasing its potential to express love, creativity and wisdom. The soul’s fulfillment is a wonderful mystery, we can only listen and let it express itself, discovering as we go.”
Rick NurrieStearns

Trusting the Acorn

I came across some notes on James Hillman's "Acorn Theory," from his best-selling book, "The Soul's Code," some of which I used for a class I taught on childhood development. It's good stuff.

Even though much time in therapy is spent on the effects parents have on a person's ultimate state of emotional health, I've always been aware that there is an X-factor, something that exists beyond, or more accurately "before," childhood experiences, and also beyond genetics. In that quest, I came across the concept of "soul ages," which I've written about a lot, but yet there is still something else that seems to drive the uniqueness of an individual, something that seems to imply that a unique, formed soul is within us from birth, shaping us as much as it is shaped. While this is not a new idea, it is generally rejected by our culture, the possibility that we are fated, that each person comes into the world with something to do and to be, or is called into life with a uniqueness that asks to be lived.

Here's Hillman:

"Our culture has no theory of this at all. Our culture has the genetics and the nature theory. You come into the world loaded with genes and are influenced by nature, or you come into the world, are influenced by the environment, and are the result of parents, family, social class and education. These theories don’t speak to the individuality or uniqueness that you feel is you. The story of the acorn is that you have your own destiny, and that your parents’ tasks are to provide a place in the world where you can grow down into life and to help make it easier for you to carry the destiny you have, which as a child is hard to carry."

Yes. So few parents take into consideration the reality that each child has its own destiny, what others might call a "seed plan," and that the parents' main job is to provide safey and security, to make it easier for the child to become themselves.

Hillman continues on the importance of adults in a child's life other than parents:

"In addition to your parents, you need fantasy figures. You need strange people who excite your imagination, who may release an image of your calling. You also need mentors or teachers. The mentor/teacher is the person who sees who you are, sees your beauty, falls in love with it, helps and inspires it, giving it a chance to bloom in the world. The mentor is not concerned with your well-being, making sure that you have food, shoes and a roof over your head. That’s what parents do. Parents keep food on the table and make sure that you have protection, but they may never see who you are. Many people complain that their parents never saw them. They may have looked in the wrong place for recognition. It’s not necessarily parents who can see you. They have other destinies and eyes for other things. They may see other children and not you. In extended families, adults often see things in another’s children. Just because your parents don’t truly see you doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Their form of loving is taking care of you, making sure that you sleep and have clothes. It doesn’t relieve them of responsibility, but it unburdens them of carrying the child’s destiny. Their responsibility is to make the world a receiving place so children can grow up and follow their destinies."

I have tried so hard to get good parents to see this, that their job is not to control their childrens' destinies or influence their values or decide for them what arts or sciences or sports they should pursue. No. Be good, consistent, loving providers, establish necessary boundaries for health and well-being, then stay out of the way. Let their souls, their "acorns," take over.

Likewise, I have tried to help individuals realize that their parents not seeing them, while painful and demoralizing in childhood, does not have to be devastating. It can even be liberating. It's why James Lipton on the Actor's Studio takes note of the fact that so many enormously successful people come from childhoods in which a parent was lost to death or divorce. In other words, in terms of allowing the acorn to turn into the oak tree it is destined to become, less parenting can be more.

There is much more to say about this subject. It's a powerful one, and a worthy one to have. To read more of an interview with James Hillman, you can go to:

Today's Quote

"Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
George Orwell

Hillary gets it about Baby Souls!

Here's the brilliant Barbara Ehrenreich, in a great piece called, "Hillary's Gift to Women" talking about how Hillary Clinton has set a new ethical low for women in politics.

Ehrenreich :

"Far from being the stereotypical feminist-pacifist of your imagination, the woman to get closest to the Oval Office has promised to 'obliterate' the toddlers of Tehran."

"Toddlers!" Baby Souls. Exactly. See, Hillary gets it (as does Barbara E), and she's taking full advantage of it, as I said in my previous post.

Here's more from Barbara:

"Did we really need another lesson in the female capacity for ruthless aggression? Any illusions I had about the innate moral superiority of women ended four years ago with Abu Ghraib. Recall that three out of the five prison guards prosecuted for the torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners were women. The prison was directed by a woman, Gen. Janis Karpinski, and the top U.S. intelligence officer in Iraq, who also was responsible for reviewing the status of detainees before their release, was Major Gen. Barbara Fast. Not to mention that the U.S. official ultimately responsible for managing the occupation of Iraq at the time was Condoleezza Rice.

"Whatever violent and evil things men can do, women can do too, and if the capacity for cruelty is a criterion for leadership, then Lynndie England should consider following up her stint in the brig with a run for the Senate."

"Biology conditions us in all kinds of ways we might not even be aware of yet. But virtue is always a choice. Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way -- by demonstrating female moral inferiority. We didn't really need her racial innuendos and free-floating bellicosity to establish that women aren't wimps. As a generation of young feminists realizes, the values once thought to be uniquely and genetically female -- such as compassion and an aversion to violence -- can be found in either sex, and sometimes it's a man who best upholds them."

Then again - Baby Souls Evolving?

Check out: "Young, evangelical ... for Obama?" in the Seattle Times.

Baby Souls

Understanding that human beings are all the same in certain ways, and as such entitled to equal treatment and valuation under the law, is a foundation of civilization. Just as important, though, is recognizing that we are all different from each other in significant ways as well. Too often, we get angry at each other, on an individual basis and en masse, because we don't accept our differences. We actually don't even really believe in our differences, especially and including at the "soul development" level.

A most excellent description of the differences between souls, called "Soul Ages" was written about by Joya Pope in her book, "Upcoming Changes." In the book, Ms. Pope explains how an evolving soul, just like a developing human being, can be at various stages in their growth process. Understanding this can change the way we deal with others in a very productive way. Just as you wouldn't expect a 3-year old to drive herself to preschool or make his own dinner, you wouldn't expect a "Baby Soul," to be able to embrace liberal, democratic self-government or guilt-free, uninhibited sexuality.
If we could understand this, for example, about religious fundamentalists - whether in the Middle East or middle America - we would realize that we can't force "democracy" or enlightened points of view on them. In their own exploitive ways, Republicans, and of late, Hillary Clinton, have understood this and used it to their advantage. In the United States, however, there are also a large number of "Mature Souls" counterbalancing the number of Baby Souls, so our government shifts back and forth between conservative and liberal forces on a fairly regular basis. The intense battle between the two main Democratic contenders for the presidency right now is an example of this conflict.

Below are some excerpts from the "Baby Soul" section of Joya's book. See what you think, and see if you recognize anyone you know!

Here's Joya Pope:

"Structure helps Baby Souls to feel comfortable in the world. They want to be directed and therefore seek out higher authorities who are willing to lay out clear rules for them. As a small example of this, a Baby Soul (in an adult human body) would rarely defend their child's rights to the school principal, but rather would push to make the child act acceptably to the teachers and administration. Sometimes a Baby Soul will seek out - even again and again - discipline from the prison system as a way to civilize himself. This soul age will hold traditional religious leaders in esteem, turn doctors into gods, and likely feel their country, their army, and certain politicians, can do no wrong.

"Traditions, rituals, and law and order provide a welcome sense of security.
In a dogmatic, black-and-white way, they identify right from wrong. Usually conscientiously good citizens, they can be counted on to do the "right" thing, but this is also the soul age with the greatest propensity to long-term grudge holding.

"The Ku Klux Klan would be a Baby Soul organization on the negative end of the spectrum, while many service organizations like the Knights of Columbus or the Rotary Club would be on the more positive end. Anti-abortion organizations, school prayer promoters, and fire-and-brimstone preachers all tend to emerge out of Baby Soul consciousness and concerns. Preferring to be big fish in small ponds, Baby Souls are often found in small communities.

"When their beliefs are opposed, Baby Souls may become inwardly bewildered. Baby Souls are so sure they are right that they have difficulty comprehending opposition. This is not a self-reflective phase.
When dealing with physical problems, Baby Souls ordinarily prefer conventional medicine, medications and surgery. Considering alternative therapies or looking for the root of the problem doesn't make sense to their way of approaching the body. With the exception of so-called "healing" within charismatic churches, this soul age is sold on orthodox medicine.
Around sexual matters, there is uneasiness, shame and guilt. This is not a time for hot tub entertaining, but hiding bodies, making love in the dark - probably with pajamas and without great sensuality.

"Baby Souls sometimes come into prominence. They don't often look for a big stage, not having the resourcefulness or experience to handle it well, but they may gather fame for their unyielding political or religious beliefs. Jerry Falwell is a prominent religious leader with Baby Soul beliefs; Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart, two others. Idi Amin, Hitler, Khomeini, Bin Laden, etc., and, in the United States, Richard Nixon, Evan Mecham, Jesse Helms and some of our more rigidly conservative Governors, Congressmen and Senators are examples of Baby Souls putting out their world views on a larger scale. Pat Boone and Charleton Heston were among the few Baby Souls peopling the entertainment business!"
Hey, Joya - don't forget Ronald Reagan, who not only liked to eat jelly beans in the Oval Office, but also called his wife, "Mommy!"

Pope Claims Sex Can Become "Like A Drug"

And... how would he know?

Check it out at:

How I Met My Mother

Poignant little piece in the NY Times Magazine today called, "How I Met My Mother," by ALYSE MYERS.

Today's Quote

"Whatever your fight, don't be ladylike”
Mother Jones

Thank You, Bob Herbert!

Bob Herbert is no Paul Krugman, that's for sure.
Read his Op-Ed piece in today's NY Times, "SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION," which ends with this line:

"The Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame."


Today's Quote

"In your life, expect some trouble, but when you worry you make it double."
Bobby Mcferrin

Today's Quote

"He's as dumb as a stump"
John McCain on George Bush at a barbecue in 1999.

Paul Krugman Needs A Break!

Paul Krugman talks about the so-called racial divide in the country in an absurd piece called: "Thinking About November." He decries said divide, one that has in fact been stirred up and agitated by the Clintons, Limbaughs and Buchanans, with the collusion of a media that has lost all credibility, as if it was somehow Barack Obama's fault! How is that, Paul? You mean by his very existence as a person of color? Or is it that because at every turn, against every attack, he has chosen to stand tall with dignity and integrity, acknowledging his mistakes without prevaricating defensiveness or posturing or outright "Clintonian" lying? Or perhaps because he keeps calling for unity among people of all races, ages, religions and previous party affiliations?

"Mr. Obama appears to have won the nomination with a deep but narrow base consisting of African-Americans and highly educated whites," says Mr. Krugman.

I guess Krugman agrees with Hillary who said this in USA Today:

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition... among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans... whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

Paul Krugman, are you kidding me?! It is the Clintons who have sliced and diced the electorate and highlighted the "whiteness" of a small group of her supporters. Paul, you must need a vacation. Or maybe you need to retire. I don't know. Or at least get an oil change! Your thinking on where things now stand in this Democratic primary marathon is so clogged with inversions of reality that I wonder if you're terrified about your own place in a changing world. I mean, Paul, you can't be much older than me, and I've never been so hopeful and excited about a presidential candidate since I first became able to vote in 1972. And guess what? I'm an older white man, who comes from a working class family, who grew up in a working class neighborhood. I never even saw an African-American individual until I was in my twenties. And everyone I knew was Catholic and went to church on Sunday in my childhood. But I grew up! And came to understand and value diversity. The Clintons have only one religion - ambition - and they, not Barack Obama, have sacrificed the Democratic Party, and their reputation, on that altar.

Working class white people may not be as stupid as the Clintons - and apparently you - think they are, Paul.
Oh, and is Paul Krugman Jack Klugman?

Today's Quote

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

Today's Quotes

"All answers lie where the questions originate, and those questions originate inside us."
Kevin Ryerson

Please Abstain from Abstinence - Great "Banned Commercials" Videos!

As many who know me are aware, I am a vocal critic of the ludicrous (and lunatic) "abstinence only" crowd, whose notions about sexuality and chastity are harming the young people who are influenced by their fear-based, repressed dogma. I have cited not only my own 30 years of experience as a therapist working with young people, but also study after study that show that "abstinence" as policy or doctrine for guiding teenagers about sex is not only ineffective, but harmful.

Well, here's an excerpt from another article citing more statistics backing up reality. The piece is entitled, "The Pro Teen Sex and Unwanted Pregnancy Movement," by Christina Page (author of "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex" and spokesperson for

Christina Page:

"Turns out pro-life states, those that are prone to tell kids that abstinence is the only proven contraception, and discourage use of actual contraception, then wag their finger at the less 'morally superior' states, are where high schoolers are:

· more sexually active

· more likely to have had sex before the age of 13

· more likely to have four or more sexual partners."

Yep! Read that again slowly, then read on:

"Turns out that to be 'pro-life' is to be pro-your-young-teen-having-a-risky-sex-life. In addition, the states that are witnessing the most dramatic drop in teen pregnancies are the most solidly pro-choice ones (CA, VT, HI, AK) while the ones where teen pregnancy rates are declining most slowly are anti-choice (NE, MS, WY, OK)."

NOW - check out these great "banned commercials" videos: "CONDOMS" and "LOVE?"

Today's Quotes

"So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved."
John F. Kennedy

"We are at our best when we lead with principle; when we lead with conviction; when we summon an entire nation around a common purpose – a higher purpose. We intend to march forward, united by a common vision."
Barack Obama

"The American people are tired of liars and people who pretend to be something they're not."
Hillary Clinton


Today's Quote

"The happiness that we seek depends on our ability to balance the ego's need to do with our inherent capacity to be."
Mark Epstein

All We Know of Love on "The Love We Make"

This is a beautiful message on about the true nature of love and how it can't be "earned." It's poignant, painful and uplifting.

Check it out.

Today's Quote

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let go of."
Henry David Thoreau

"SMARTMOM" Still Is!

Louise Crawford, aka "Smartmom," writing in the Brooklyn Paper and on her own blog, "Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn," courageously stands up for all teenagers, from Miley Cyrus, who posed topless in Vanity Fair, to Louise's own son, "Teen Spirit," who recently shaved his head. But Smartmom's standing up isn't of the usual false kind - i.e. - to "protect them" from the evils of sexuality and independence. No, this thoughtful parent accepts the challenging work of facing her own fears and wishes to control and instead seeks to understand the true needs of adolescents in our ever-vigilant, repressed, prudish culture overrun with sexually deprived parents.

Here's Louise in her own words:

"Both Teen Spirit and Miley Cyrus are adolescents. Both felt the need to reinvent themselves and show the world that they won’t be defined by their public personas (in Miley’s case, she’s not happy always being Hannah Montana; in Teen Spirit’s case, it was clearly time to throw off the look of the slacker dude who just doesn’t care).

"Who can blame either of them for wanting to reinvent themselves? Isn’t that what being an adolescent is all about?

"Smartmom was sorry that Miley chose the pages of Vanity Fair to do her growing up. But then again, teens in Park Slope have to become adults under the skeptical gaze of their Park Slope parents, their budinsky parents’ friends, and their neighbors (that’s like Vanity Fair, right?)

"Posing semi-nude for Annie Leibovitz, shaving your head on a whim. What’s the difference? It’s all part of growing up and trying to discover who you really are.

"Indeed, Cyrus has nothing to apologize about — except perhaps the half-baked apology she made this week. '[The] photo shoot was supposed to be ‘artistic,’ and now … I feel so embarrassed,' she said.

"Embarrassed? About what? She may not go to high school or live like a normal teen, but Miley Cyrus has every right to play with her inner and outer identity like every other kid.

"Change your hair. Change your clothes. Change your persona. Change your mind.

"It’s all part of the identity game."

Hooray for Smartmom!

Today's Quote

"“You DO know what to do.”
Louise L. Hay

You Can Heal Your Life

Big article in the NY Times Magazine today on Louise Hay, a very powerful lady. ("The Queen of the New Age")

Kentucky Derby Horse "Eight Belles" - Hillary Clinton's Pick - Dies On Track

Woah! You think the Universe doesn't speak to us? Hillary's pick in the Kentucky Derby came in second, collapsed with two broken ankles, and had to be put to sleep!
I repeat - Woah!!

Today's Quote

Worth repeating from Lao-tzu, the father of Taoism:

"The more laws and order are made prominent,
The more thieves and robbers there will be."

Finally, Bob Herbert Steps Up on the (W)Right Issue

Just read it. Hello, Bob!!
Overkill and Short Shrift

Ain't That America? Part 2 - Why We Kill

This is on the front page of today's NY Times:

"After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions"


"Less than three weeks after a Supreme Court ruling ended a moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set for the coming months."

Why do we have state sanctioned killing in the United States? You can look this up, so you don't have to take my word for it. The death penalty has been shown for a long time not to have any effect on decreasing murder rates in the states that have it. In fact, many states that have banned executions have LOWER murder rates. Think about that. I blogged recently about related statistics that show that decreases in criminal behavior FOLLOW decreases in the number of recruits joining the police force. Woah! Take a breath and take that in. Again, you can look it up.

Not unrelated, or surprising, is the reality that as ludicrous policies like "abstinence only" have spread throughout our culture, the rates of teenage pregnancies and STD's in teenagers has INCREASED.

Get it yet? We are who we say we are, you see? All of our public messages to ourselves are like self-hypnotic suggestions telling us who we are, and in many cases, how "bad" we are, even to the point that such a basic, built in, supremely powerful and pleasurable urge like sex becomes tainted. So, we act out sexually and behave impulsively because if we're alive and not drugged by medicine or religion, we have to pursue sex and pleasure, but we can't do it without guilt or with socially acceptable guidance. That's what leads to self-destructive sexual acting out.

On the other hand, we are told by the state, by our own "SUPREME" Court, even, that killing can be acceptable. Don't you think that most people who commit murder believe they are doing it for a just reason, that in their warped minds there is some justification? Of course. Why allowing state sanctioned killing backfires is because death penalty laws are not based on Universal Law, which says that killing - all killing - is a violation.

So, why do we do it?

I often take the Sherlock Holmes approach to puzzles like this: "When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the answer." In other words, observe the facts, without judgment or bias, and let them speak to you, and if two things occur together, do not rule out the connection, however "improbable."

You know where I'm heading. Sexual expression not okay = killing okay. Think for a minute. We live in a culture, founded by religious "Puritans" who believed that empowered (i.e. "sexually potent") women were godless witches, and that poverty and illness were judgments by God indicating who was "saved" and who wasn't (research the "Protestant Work Ethic" for further information). Executions and slavery and sadistic medical and economic practices were thus justified. (Kind of makes you wonder who exactly were the Puritans and why they were booted out of England in the first place and forced into exile here. How fortunate for us that they went on to found a society based on sexual repression, genocide - euphemistically referred to as "Manifest Destiny" - and material greed, all in the name of God.)

Now, don't get me wrong, the lunacy of the Puritans was mitigated by the true spiritual leaders of our revolution - Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington and the unsung women with them - and the words in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were clearly "channeled" and in accordance with Universal Law. But over 200 years later, the battle rages between the forces of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" and the forces of repression, fear and greed. So, we still denigrate sexuality and sanction killing.

Evolution of consciousness is inexorable. I know that. We're going to get there. But in the meantime, watching the goings on sometimes is a bitch!

Today's Quote

"A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it's an undo-it-yourself project."
Abigail Van Buren

"I parent" - "Lori" on not mothering by the book

For a long time, I have been telling parents and prospective parents that if they throw away their books and ignore all advice and just raise their children by trusting their intuition and listening to the real messages and signals from their offspring - in other words, if they "wing it" - they will end up doing a better job than most anxious, by-the-latest-book parents. I also have been a strong advocate for having children (preferably just one, thank you) later in life rather than earlier, because parents who have lived a while as adults are generally more grounded and actually have accumulated some wisdom to pass on. Lori became a mother 40 for the first time and offers below her take and experiences. They're not all pc, but I can tell you, her baby is looking pretty healthy, trusting, peaceful and curious about life, just the way a baby should.

Here's Lori:

"Do people really adhere to parenting "styles"? There are tons of books, theories, classes, and of course, complete strangers ready to convince you of the absolute certain "success" of their parenting "style". Do people live their lives according to a certain "style" for success? So, what's your style? And who is so bold as to assume that he or she knows what determines success anyway?

"I became a parent for the first time at 40. I don't have a script, a plan, a "style". I am, however, a reader, a researcher. I am well educated. I know the plethora of information about pregnancy and parenting. Yes, I colored my hair, but I used vegetable dyes. I ate hotdogs, but only one at a time.

"But, I also know this-childbirth and parenting are unpredictable. Sure, I took the childbirth class, had the birth "plan", the soothing music, snacks, water bottles, favorite pillow, disposable socks. And after hours of pain that FAR, FAR exceeded the "discomfort" described in childbirth class or my sister in law's description of "like bad period cramps", I had an emergency c-section.

"I took the breastfeeding class, bought the books, bought the gear, was preparing my nipples (?). After two straight months of struggle, I finally stopped nursing. It was a wrenching decision, but three lactation consultants later, football hold, cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, c-grip nipple hold, lip tickling, lanolin, heat packs and ice packs, I let it go. My baby was two months old and I was already banned from numerous parenting styles.

"Although these experiences were not what I hoped for, I didn't agonize the outcomes. I was saddened but able to move on without missing out on the open doors. I have been criticized in the past for my unwillingness to "plan". But if I had stuck to nursing, with the way it was going, I would have missed out on all the tender middle of the night moments because they would have been replaced by nipple wound care.

"I parent. That's my style. I love, care, guide, laugh, and watch. I am not caught up in an "approach". I once had a script for my life. In my twenties. I envisioned marriage at 25, house, kids at 28. I got married at 26, no house, divorced at 30, remarried at 39. If someone asks if I'm using Feber's or Sears' method, I'll just nod. That same nod I get when someone asks if I'm breastfeeding."

Thanks, Lori

PL Too Political?

Well, a couple of people have recently noted that I seem to be writing a lot about things political these days. I've noticed, too, and it's led to some self-reflection. Why this is noteworthy to me is because I have claimed for a long time now to be "apolitical," which goes along with my decades-long efforts to rid myself of all beliefs and opinions, and become a seeker of truth. As such, I have sought to be an observer of events, one without an agenda to prove or validate attitudes already held by me or others. From that place, I find that I can trust that when I discover what feels certain to me to be certain, I can base my actions on the knowledge with confidence. As such, I haven't voted for a presidential candidate in over twenty years, because a genuine leader has not run for that office. That is the Truth (with a capital "T"). As Lao-Tsu, the father of Taoism once said, "When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!"
That is why, now, I am supporting Barack Obama for president, not because I am a Democrat or liberal or any other such political animal. Not even because I've scrupulously studied his policies statements. I have come out of electoral isolation because Senator Obama is a true leader, at a time when we desperately need a true leader.
On my blog, as in everything I write and say elsewhere, I do not claim to be "fair." The Truth is not fair. The Truth is ruthlessly... the Truth. Our media has become so useless in pursuing the Truth these days greatly in part because it insists on giving equal weight to both "sides" of every argument and position, when, in fact, there aren't always two worthy sides. Everything is not relative or a matter of opinion. It's not biased to point out that someone is lying or cheating or stealing when they are. Likewise, it's not slanted to say that someone is open and honest if they are. We may be all equal under the law and under God, but we are not all equally living in Truth.

Here's something from another genuine leader, Abraham Lincoln:

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Addiction to Intensity

This excerpt is from an excellent Pathwork Guide lecture on the subject of "intensity" and how it can be an obstacle to self-actualization. In our "gotta-get-a-lot-done" culture, it's so easy to fall into an addictive pattern in which a relaxed attitude and a state of surrender in the ego is seen as something dangerous to productivity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As anyone knows who has ever had a peak experience - be it an inspired creative moment or a soaring athletic feat or climbing to a great sexual height - when you're in "the zone," you're mentally and emotionally relaxed, even as you're performing at full throttle.

Anyway, this seemed to be up today, so here's a clip:

"In order to be compatible with the universal power, it is necessary that the personality is in inner and outer relaxation. Such relaxation does not imply immobility, nor lack of energy. It is not the kind of false relaxation that does not breathe, move, respond. Quite the contrary. It expands and contracts like breathing -- is rhythmic and relaxed, effortless yet vibrating with power, poised and calm, peaceful and dynamic. This state, when attempting to describe it, may easily be confused with indifference, passivity, or laxness. It is none of these. But it is entirely free from tension due to fear, pride, and selfwill.

"People's habitual state is one of more or less taut intensity which is foreign to and incompatible with the universal power. This very intensity may cause, as a final effect, an outer immobility, paralysis, excessive passivity. These extremes are always the result of an intensity of soul-movement which must be dissolved.

"The dualistic approach to life leads to a typical misunderstanding of intensity. The idea exists that the more intense you are, the more serious, responsible, and focused you are; conversely, the less intense, the more you are irresponsible, frivolous, and distraught. This is not true, my friends. In fact, it is just the opposite. Only when the psyche is in flux and not taut can the personality give its total attention to what it is doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing. This means wholeness, integrity, undivided motives and attention. This state can be achieved only when there are no opposite forces dividing the inner person, hence no hidden fears. The more lightly psychic material flows, the more energy is available to invest into life, and the less exhaustion will follow when energy is expended. The unnatural tautness and intensity of a person's state of mind and emotions has become so much second nature that it has been accepted as natural. In fact, intensity is viewed as the desirable state, connoting all the spiritual qualities I described -- qualities which are only realizable when the psyche is "unintense."

"Every neurotic attitude is a result of -- and results in -- artificial intensity, which is, half-consciously, deliberately cultivated and nursed. This cuts you off from the life-stream. The reason for cultivating this destructive attitude is in part the dualistic misconception mentioned before. Partly, its motive is childish self-importance, waiting to set oneself off from the rest, to draw attention to the self by making everything seem so important. It is what I often referred to as self-dramatization. This may happen even within oneself and never be displayed to others. In the deepest sense, all mental illness, all emotional imbalance is a result of a deliberate intensification of soul movement."


This is in USA TODAY ("U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list"):

"WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it."

Today's Quote

"You may say I'm a dreamer...

... but I'm not the only one." "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
George W. Bush, May 1, 2003

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