Today's Quotes - Connect the Dots, or... How Stupid Are We?


BIGGEST QUARTERLY PROFIT IN US HISTORY

HOUSTON — EXXON MOBIL CORP. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation.

"Republicans in Congress are now demanding that President Bush investigate whether the oil companies are engaged in price gouging. Putting the White House in charge of investigating oil companies. That's like putting Dick Cheney in charge of gun safety."
Jay Leno

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
Albert Einstein

"Most people would die sooner than think; in fact, they do."
Bertrand Russell

"At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols."
Aldous Huxley

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."
John Stuart Mill

Today's Quote

"For two people in a marriage to live together day after day is unquestionably the one miracle the Vatican has overlooked."
Bill Cosby

Today's Quotes

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“By 'radical,' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative,' one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary,' one who won't go at all.”
Woodrow Wilson

“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”
Mark Twain

Today's Quote

"Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

More on the Autism Dialogue - "HENRY'S OTHER MOTHER"

Here is an amazing, heartfelt piece I received this AM in an e-mail from a former patient of mine, the mother of an autistic boy. As part of the ongoing dialogue I've been having on the subject of autism and parenting, this stands out as a shining example - actually two examples - of what loving motherhood can look like.
"K" - the biological mother, and the author of the letter - and "L" - the step-mother of the boy - couldn't be more different in some ways. But in the way that counts - and it's clearly why they connect to each other so well - they are the same: they love, truly, from their hearts and souls, from that place where the boundaries and constrictions and contracts of modern relationships and parenting don't apply. This is a radical thing to say, under the circumstances you'll read below, and the judgments you may be inclined to have, but K and L are BOTH great mothers. It's all about the love.

Read on:

"HENRY'S OTHER MOTHER"
by "K"

"She was the only one who hugged me when I lost custody of my son. I remember. Hunched over the table, in the court room, silently sobbing, and yet feeling like I had no right to do so, I felt warm arms around me from behind, hugging me hard. The arms belonged to "L," my ex-husband's wife - Henry's new Mother. At the time, I was so insane with grief, so dumbstruck by the consequences of my own actions, I didn't realize how much her gesture would resonate for years to come.
"I am an alcoholic. An alcoholic who had been put on warning: "Give up alcohol or you will lose your son.' I didn't. And I did. And for that, I cannot ever forgive myself.
"It's hard for people to feel sorry for someone like me, someone who had all the support and help and yet still chose drink over her son. I don't feel sorry for myself. I only hate myself - feel horrible and unnatural. How many times do we watch in real life and in TV and movies, the single mothers who posses such tremendous strength of character, such moxie, they will die before they will give up their children. They will sacrifice everything for their offspring. Where am I in all that? Nowhere, I'm afraid. I could easily wallow in the self-pity of my self-hatred, But to what end?
"Henry is a beautiful boy. He would probably like me to mention that he is a beautiful 'cool teenage boy.' He is fourteen years old, and autistic. He is also funny as hell, incredibly sweet and thoughtful, and often 'needs breaks' from talking. He acts out a lot of his life pretending he is 'Napoleon Dynamite.' I didn't understand many of his comments and expressions until I saw the movie. His step-mother, L is the one who clued me in. She told me to rent the movie, said she'd seen it so many times, she could recite it along with Henry. She explained to me that right now Henry is Napoleon Dynamite. But this is not really about Henry, or about me. This is about L.
"The first time I heard about her was through a friend. She spotted her with my ex-husband in a pottery barn. Her words: 'She's beautiful, I guess, but in that really put-together way. You can tell, no personality.' Ha. I laugh now. I appreciate the fact that my friend was trying to protect me. Trying to make sure I didn't feel inferior or rejected. But D and I had already made our peace with the fact that our time as a couple was over. I don't think either one of us was ever jealous of other partners. Regardless, at first I guess I did have kind of a pride thing. I enjoyed thinking of her with a miniature prada backpack, lots of make-up, humorless. During exchanges with Henry at D's apartment, I noticed some pictures of her. She looked beautiful - long blonde hair, perfect teeth, but far from humorless - always laughing at the camera.
"I met her during the summer at my ex's beach house. She was wearing a sarong and was very tan. And very tiny. I towered over her and felt way too big, like I did in 6th grade, when I had already reached my 5'7" height. She had a big smile, and a surprisingly big laugh for such a small woman. In fact, everything about L is big, except for her size.
"In those days, Henry was still so much MY BABY. My husband, "D," had left when Henry was two, so Henry knew nothing except for the two of us. We were a team, albeit, a team with a developing alcoholic at the helm. But then, who knew? Certainly not me. And I assume, certainly not my ex-husband. I was together enough to do the right things. Got Henry into the right special ed schools in NYC. Harder than getting your kid into Harvard, let me tell you. I was a good mother. A fun mother. We laughed a lot, and if I let Henry stay up late at night playing the pots and pans with my musician friends, and eating spare ribs in bed, naked, well, so be it. Henry was at the peak of his autistic behaviour. Couldn't bare transitions, and hated leaving me. Everytime I left him with his dad for the weekend, he would shriek and scream for 'MOMMY.' Heartbreaking.
"Ultimately L and D got married. Ultimately I went to rehab. Wish this is how it ended, but it's not. During the course of a year, I went through the whole rehab, relapse, rehab, relapse, rehab, relapse. Well, that's what some people would say. I would say I never relapsed. I never really stopped drinking in my heart. So I lost Henry. And after I lost custody, even though it was my own fault, I lost hope. Funny. no-one in my first three rehabs knew I had a son. There were no pictures over my mirror, no sharing about him in meetings. Too painful. I felt like he had died.
The court decided I couldn't even telephone him. Brittany, I feel your pain...
"Good news now... I get to see Henry - at least monthly. We usually go to the movies and then have run of the Hicksville mall. I live for the visits. He has far exceeded my expectations. And that's where L comes in. I worry that I sound cavalier. Like, oh yeah, I completely screwed up, but luckily L was waiting in the wings, so all's well that ends well. That's not how I feel at all. I just find it fascinating that someone is raising my, I mean our, son in the exact same manner I would if I were a better woman. The line from 'As Good As It Gets" comes to mind. When Jack Nicholson says 'You make me want to be a better man,' I feel like saying to L, 'You ARE my better woman.'
"I know a lot of step mothers raise children with tremendous love. And I know biology does not a child make. At this point, the fact that I gave birth to Henry means so little. However, I never expected for L to 'get' Henry like she does. She laughs with him. And laughs at him. And understands how his mind works. No easy feat that. After the grieving, I've grown to love their relationship. I love how much she loves him. and I love how much he loves her. it's not painful when he gets insecure and needs to check in with 'mom.' I find it comforting that, although I completely made a disaster out of Henry's life, L repaired it. He feels secure. And loved. I can tell that they share a unique mother-son relationship. They adore each other. They have fun with each other. L reminds me of me letting Henry play the pots and pans, only she probably makes sure he gets to bed at a decent hour.
"I don't want to seem too adoring, so I will mention, I think she makes Henry a bit more of a germ-a-phobe than I would have. And, I notice, unlike all my nieces and nephews who swear like sailors, Henry cannot sit through a movie if there is any cursing, causing lots of movie anxiety for me, as the adult movie matron. However... she is amazing - fills his life with joy, just like I hope I would have done. As I said, big in every way, but stature. Her heart mostly - it surely must be enormous. The fact that she has such compassion for me awes me. The fact that she loves my son so much is beyond my comprehension. Wait, strike that. Henry is her son."

Today's Quote

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Today's Quote

“One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.”
Albert Einstein

Comments from "Trisha" on the Autism Dialogue

To the Bettelheim quote:

"YES! Exactly."

To the posting:

"I don't at all believe a mother can make her child autistic. However, I have noticed certain trends in growth and behavior in my son that directly parallel my own life. I have never been certain who is the cause and who is the effect. But, yes, definite correlation."

Thanks, Trisha!

Today's Quote

"The good enough parent, in addition to being convinced that whatever his child does, he does it because at that moment he is convinced this is the best he can do, will also ask himself: 'What in the world would make me act as my child acts at this moment? And if I felt forced to act this way, what would make me feel better about it?"
Bruno Bettelheim

Barbara Fischkin and PL Dialogue on Autism Continues

Barbara Fischkin, author and activist mother of an autistic son, and I continue to exchange thoughts on the subject of autism. The dialogue began with my response to a piece by Barbara on the Huffington Post in which she responded to a screed by a conservative cretin named, Mike Savage.

Here's Barbara's latest response to my most recent to her:

"First let me say that I welcome this dialogue. But actually what you are saying DOES NOT make sense. When our son was first diagnosed we spent a small fortune on play therapy and it did absolutely nothing. Dibs down the drain. In recent months three things have worked: A speech therapist who can do prompt therapy. (hard to find) A DAN protocols doctor, who is very important despite your skepticism. And excellent teachers. They all are vital and all work in tandem. Play therapy, though, is not what they do."

PL's response to BF's response:

I understand what you are saying, Barbara. The problem with "play therapy," or any kind of therapy, for that matter, which I'm sure you know, is that whatever the therapeutic technique or theory, in practice, it's only as good as the therapist and patient make it (and in the case of children, the parents must be included in that equation). Helping a child and his parents overcome autism is a tremendous undertaking, and I am not knocking the DAN protocols, occupational therapies, cognitive/behavioral methods, etc. By no means. (Clearly, I am an activist against chemo-therapy for most childhood conditions, though.)
I consider myself to be a "whatever-works" therapist, after thirty years of studying and using a wide variety of approaches for an array of different disorders and syndromes. My biggest concern here is with the big picture in addressing disorders like autism. From the broad-view perspective, to call theories on the etiology of autism that consider the emotional state of the parents prenatally, at birth and during the first 6 months of life as discredited, "DOES NOT make sense" to me. In fact, I would dare to incur further wrath from you by saying that such "compartmentalized thinking" is typical of the "Schizoid Character Structure, which I have written and taught about extensively.
We are all connected, Barbara, in the truest sense. The medical paradigm which separates human beings from nature, and from each other, or dares to presume that nature randomly screws up, and then requires fixing by us, is beyond hubristic. It is dangerous.
Looking into all of the connections, including the hardest ones to face emotionally and ego-wise, are often the very ones worth keeping on the table.
Thanks for the dialogue.
PL

Barbara Fischkin responds to PL on Autism/PL's response to Barbara

Barbara Fischkin left this comment on the FPL blog today:

"Yes it's me that 'dreadful' parent Barbara Fischkin. If it's always the parents' fault why do I have a younger son who is a caring, charming, handsome, articulate athlete? And by the way, I was older when I gave birth to him and so was my husband. This blog's views on autism are from the shameful depths of another century. People who decry abuse stopped worshiping Bettelheim decades ago."

PL's response:

Barbara - First of all, in no way was I saying that you were a "dreadful" parent. I am sure that you are a loving, dedicated mother, and while I wouldn't say that I "worship" Bettelheim, I do think that his landmark book, "Love Is Not Enough" has some very valuable information in it.
If you read my post, it is clear that what I am saying, Barbara, is that parenting in our society is an overwhelming challenge, and unfortunately, our medical establishment - which is first and foremost a business, today - exploits said overwhelmed parents by offering the false balm that it is nature that screws up our kids, not us, and that the magic solutions lie with the drugs that "correct" nature, an approach which the medical establishment just so happens to get rich from.
My experience, which has led me to observe that parenting is always part of the etiological picture of childhood disorders like autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, attention deficit problems, etc., etc., and the conclusions I draw, are not an assault on parents. If anything, they are my reflection on the opportunity for parents and children to heal together by exploring what went wrong and how, together, it can be corrected.
I am speaking from experience, not dogma or theory from "another century," Barbara. I have helped children diagnosed as "brain dsyfunctional" attain normalcy through play therapy and working with the parents. No drugs. Just hard, roll-up-your-sleeves emotional work. Don't fear this notion. I'm not saying it's your "fault." I'm saying you're connected to your child's struggles. Doesn't that make sense?

Today's BONUS Quote

"People of Berlin, People of the World, This is our Moment! This is our Time! What has always united us - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please. I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again."
Barack Obama (Click on picture for enlarged view)

Today's Quote

"You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth."
Kahlil Gibran

PARENTS ARE ALWAYS PART OF THE PROBLEM - GET OVER IT!

I read a heartfelt piece this morning by the mother of an autistic son. Said mother, author Barbara Fischkin, was lamenting an inane, if not insane, diatribe by conservative talk show host, Michael Savage, in which the jackass said on his nationally syndicated radio show: "Autism is a fraud, a racket. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is."

What's sad about this is that both Ms. Fischkin and Mr. Savage, as two opposite sides of the same coin, facilitate our continuing to miss the point, which is that parents are always one of the sources for every disorder that our children have. Period. Ms. Fischkin wrings her hands, "wishing" it could be her fault (Not!), and Savage, like most so-called "conservatives," is so primitive that he thinks most problems in life can be solved by slapping somebody up.

But the truth is this, and it needs to be said and received with compassion: Parents are always part of the problem.

Parents are always part of the problem.

That's not meant as a judgment on parents. It's an assessment, one that I can make after thirty years of study and practice as a sociologist, psychotherapist and clinical social worker, and as a parent three times over.

Barbara Fischkin decries the late, great Bruno Bettelheim's statements about autism being caused by "coldness" in the mother, saying that such ideas have been "discredited," just like the concept of "schizophrenogenic mothers" (as a causal factor in schizophrenia in children) has supposedly been discredited, but discredited by whom? Medical practitioners who want every disorder to ultimately have a medical cause and therefore, a pharmaceutical cure? Parents who strive to be seen as blameless in their children's problems? This is as tragic as homosexuals in the early 1980's refusing to accept that a lifestyle that included excessive recreational drug use, along with massive doses of antibiotics, coupled with enormous societal pressure and stress was the primary cause of their immune system breakdowns. Hello?!

This is a great shame. Life is hard in many ways for many people right now, right here, on planet Earth. No one is perfect, and yet, parents are asked to raise children perfectly under the most impossible of circumstances, and at that, while there still is not even the slightest priority given to mental and emotional well-being in this society.

The fact is, in the field research will easily validate Bettelheim's theories. Any therapist who actually works with his patients and their families, and studies their histories thoroughly, will tell you the same thing, even though it has somehow become politically incorrect. Children are not born complete blank slates, true. There are genetic predispositions and seed plans in the soul, but parents are always part of the plan, and part of the trigger for those genetic switches turning on. It's not a crime to acknowledge that. It's a crime to deny it.

The woman I love and live with is a mother of two beautiful children that I am privileged to be raising with her. What makes her an amazing mother is not that she is perfect, but that she is fearless in seeing herself reflected in the strengths AND weaknesses in her kids. She has been willing to face the gut-wrenching truths that her children's "issues" have roots in her issues - even the ones doctors would let her off the hook for - and so she is able to help her children with their problems as she works through her own.

Eating disorders, addictions, attention problems, and yes, autism, in children, are issues that can be addressed through the self-work of the parents. Sorry. It's just true. Ask anybody who's actually operated from that premise - for real - and done the work without turning to the illusory magic bullets of medical treatment. Go ahead. Ask.

Life works. You can heal yourself, and in so doing, help your children heal themselves.

Today's Quote

"Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said."
Mark Twain ...to John McCain

NOW HEAR THIS! PARENTAL OVERINVOLVEMENT IS NOT A GOOD THING!!

Here's an article I found yesterday that hits the nail on the head about the damage done to kids by overinvolved parents. It's entitled: "What Price, Privilege? Has our overinvolved parenting style created a generation of kids with an impaired sense of self?"

Needless to say, I've been screaming "YES!" from the rooftops about this forever. This is a very professional and clinical piece stating the case.

Here are some excerpts:

"If warm connection has been shown to be the silver bullet of effective parenting, how can it possibly damage children or impair their development? The hard-to-face answer is that warmth and connection easily can slide into overinvolvement, enmeshment and intrusion. Sometimes our children's unsafe behavior dictates that we have no choice but to fully insert ourselves into their lives, but more frequently we have drifted into overinvolvement out of our own fear of uncertainty or anxiety about loss of connection. At times it can be difficult to know whether we are being appropriately loving, or intrusive. But listen to your instincts, and your children; they will usually be only too happy to help you with this distinction.
"Persistent worry about how well one's child stacks up against other children inevitably leads to parents who are overinvolved and emotionally exhausted as well as to children who are impaired in their ability to function independently. In spite of good intentions, the levels of adult overinvolvement that have become typical in so many comfortable homes and communities are startling and counterproductive. Both intrusion and overinvolvement prevent the development of the kinds of skills that children need to be successful: the ability to be a self-starter, the willingness to engage in trial-and-error learning, the ability to delay gratification, to tolerate frustration, to show self control, to learn from mistakes and to be a flexible and creative thinker. Kids who develop these skills have a large toolbox to dig into, both to enrich their lives and to help them problem-solve.
"Little has been written about the falling off of creativity among kids; it is, however, an ominous trend. Creativity, the ability to look at things from a fresh perspective, is an underrated but critical life skill. Children can read the needs of their parents remarkably well. They know that the mother who spends a disproportionate amount of time and energy inserting herself into her child's life is likely to be fending off her own unhappiness. She needs to be overinvolved, and, in an unfortunately common psychological drama, her child is willing to sacrifice his own needs to meet hers.
"Parental overinvolvement and intrusion are typically indications that a parent's own needs are not being adequately met. The more we pour ourselves, our talents, concerns and aspirations into our children, the less room they have to develop their own talents, concerns and aspirations. Autonomy, not dependency, is always the goal of good parenting. Mother birds know the value of nudging their fledglings out of the nest so that they learn how to soar on their own wings. Overinvolved parents are clipping their children's wings.
"Parents who persistently fall on the side of intervening for their child, as opposed to supporting their child's attempts to problem solve, interfere with the most important task of childhood and adolescence: the development of a sense of self. Autonomy, what we commonly call independence, along with competence and interpersonal relationships, are considered to be inborn human needs. Their development is central to psychological health. In a supportive and respectful family, children go about the business of forging a "sense of self" by being exposed to, and learning to manage, increasingly complex personal and interpersonal challenges.
"When we coerce, intrude on or take over for our children unnecessarily we may be 'spoiling' them, but the far more significant consequence is that we are interfering with their ability to construct a sense of self. My patient was empty because she had not been able to develop the internal resources that would make it possible for her to feel that she 'owned' her life or could manage her feelings. She felt little control over what happened to her and had no confidence in her ability to handle the curveballs of adolescence.
"Well-meaning parents contribute to problems in self-development by pressuring their children, emphasizing external measures of success, being overly critical, and being alternately emotionally unavailable or intrusive. Becoming independent, and forging an identity becomes particularly difficult for children under these circumstances.
What looks like healthy assimilation into the family and community -- getting high grades, conforming to parents' and community standards, and being receptive to the interests and activities valued by others -- can be deceptive. Kids can present as models of competence and still lack a fundamental sense of who they are. Psychologists call this the 'false self,' and it is highly correlated with a number of emotional problems, most notably depression.
"We need to examine our parenting paradigm. Raising children has come to look more and more like a business endeavor and less and less like an endeavor of the heart. We are overly concerned with "the bottom line," with how our children 'do' rather than with who our children "are." We pour time, attention and money into insuring their performance, consistently making it to their soccer game while inconsistently making it to the dinner table. The fact that our persistent and often critical involvement is well intended, that we believe that our efforts ultimately will help our children to be happy and to successfully compete in a demanding world, does not lessen the damage."

Today's Quote

“I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand.”
Rodney Dangerfield

"SMARTMOM" on "Iconic Park Slopers?"

Here is my response to Louise Crawford's "Smartmom" article called: "SMARTMOM friends moving to Canada" from the Brooklyn Paper, also posted on her blog, "Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn."

"Wow, Louise! I am amazed at your "love" of this neighborhood. Not that I have anything against the neighborhood as a place, but the idea that what constitutes an "iconic Park Sloper" is someone who is "smart, politically progressive, vegan, well-read, community oriented, neighborly and fun to talk to" is well, so strikingly lacking in objectivity, and so absent in my experience with people here, that I am inclined to say... 'Wow, Louise!'
"Obviously, I don't share your attachment to this neighborhood, but of course, I've never felt attached to any particular place, even though I've lived in neighborhoods for long stretches (including my home town in the suburbs until college age, and 25 years of living on the upper westside). A place is well... just a place to me. There are things to enjoy in a place, routines, favorite restaurants, etc., certain people, and there are annoying things in all places, as well. But in the truest Buddhist sense, attachments make for unhappiness in life, ultimately, because the nature of physical life is transient. Paradoxically, attachment also prevents true intimacy, which is very important to me, because attachment is rooted in fear, and fear interferes with the openness necessary to feel genuinely close to someone. Perhaps, that is what I have complained about the most since living in Park Slope - the pseudo-intimacy masking the fear and attachment energy (What others have called 'entitlement' and 'clique-ishness' when criticizing Park Slopers.)
"Okay, my dear Louise, that's my curmudgeonly response to your otherwise poignant 'Smartmom' piece, which as always, is enjoyable reading."

Today's Quote

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

BE A FLOWER

Interesting article by Dr. Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist, author and public speaker who was previously the health and sex editor at Men's Fitness magazine. The article is called: "Why 'Pretty' and 'Ugly' Mean Nothing." It's barely an article, really, more a comment, that basically ends with some advice to parents of young people:

Dr. Vranich says:

"1. Take your daughters and sons to open dressing rooms. They need to see real people naked. (Yipes, during my last trip to Loehmann's, l was startled at the number of grandmotherly types sporting thongs. Note to my own mom: let's stick to boyshorts, okay?).

"2. Show your daughters how make-up and Photoshop work so you can bust the myth of perfection. Most women do not have the ridiculously long torsos of Shape magazine covers and turning bat wings into taut triceps takes lots of consistent work.

"3. Without being catty, make sure she sees those "stars without makeup" articles that magazines feature every once in a while, or "Just Like Us" columns that show zits and backfat (or strange discolored hands like Katie Holmes has, hmm).

"A reality check can be the best piece of advice we can provide in our beauty-obsessed world."

Okay, fair enough. I particularly like the last suggestion that reality can be the antidote to obsession, but then Dr. V herself uses the phrase "beauty-obsessed," and therein lies the problem.

What is beauty? And who "has" it? And who can see it? Are the so-called beauty-obsessed really obsessed with beauty? Or is it something else they're obsessed with?

Well, remember this - obsessiveness is a defense mechanism, and as such is an attempt on the immature part of an individual's psyche to solve an intractable problem. And like all defense mechanisms, it distorts a person's personality and ability to perceive reality. A young child, suffering the slings and arrows of being brought up by parents who aren't self-actualized (99.9% of parents, by the way), will very often conclude that its own inadequacies are the source of their suffering, because it's too threatening to face the limitations of their parents, upon whom they are utterly dependent for everything. In other words, in the child's mind, "If the problem lies in my parents, I'm screwed, because I need them and I can't control them to make them give me more of what I really need. But if the problem lies with me, then perhaps I can 'fix' myself, make myself 'perfect,' so I'll get more love and care, etc."

What happens? Needless to say, the child's attempts at self-perfection never bring more nurturance, so... "Maybe if I attached myself to someone else who's perfect, it'll be like I'm perfect." Thus begins the tortured, futile quest to find that perfect Other who will solve the childhood dilemma. And of course... it never works. Why? 1. Because the child's perceived imperfections were never the problem in the first place; 2. because love is never given in response to beauty, anyway; and 3. beauty does not reside in static, delusional constructs like "perfection."

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion," said Sir Francis Bacon.

I love that. As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says in Today's Quote, beauty is all about the light that shines through a person.

Eckhart Tolle talk eloquently about the beauty of flowers and why human beings universally agree that flowers are beautiful - because flowers straddle the boundary between form - which is dense - and spirit - which is light.

Tolle:

"As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a “silent sermon” once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it.

"Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless."

Yes. Let the light of your soul, of your True Self, shine through you, and you will discover your own genuine beauty. It's not relative or subjective. It is reality. The proportions and dimensions of your body parts, or anyone else's, for that matter, do not constitute beauty. It is the proportion of light that you allow to come through you that makes you beautiful. The arbitrary standards set out by the moguls of perfectionism are meant to trick the desperate child in you into buying whatever they're selling.

Don't do it.

Become the flower that you truly are. We need the light.

Today's Quote

"People living deeply have no fear of death."
Anais Nin

Today's Quote

"Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." Soren Kierkegaard

Repost: "Eat, Drink and Be Merry/Live Long and Prosper"

I'm reposting this from early last month. It's a good weekend meditation. Have fun!

Remember these lyrics from the classic K.C. and the Sunshine Band?

"Baby, babe, let's get together.
Honey, hon, me and you.
And do the things, ah, do the things
That we like to do.
Do a little dance, make a little love,
Get down tonight.
Get down tonight."

Well, according to two studies, written about in the NY Times this week, red wine will help you live longer and sugar won't kill you even if you're diabetic. Woah! For real?

From one of the articles:

"Two large studies involving more than 21,000 people found that people with Type 2 diabetes had no reduction in their risk of heart attacks and strokes and no reduction in their death rate if they rigorously controlled their blood sugar levels."

And from the other:

"Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan."

What gives? Well, the bottom line, if you want to skip ahead, is this: what promotes good health and longevity, first and foremost, are happiness and pleasure. How many times do I have to say it? (I don't care, actually. I love saying it!)

Following is an article I wrote a few years ago on the subject called, of course, "FULL PERMISSION EATING:"

A psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Paul Rozin, who specializes in, yes, the psychology of food, conducted a survey in America, France, Belgium and Japan in an effort to explain what is referred to as the "French Paradox." The paradox is basically this: the French consume a diet that is very rich and high in fat, yet they have a low rate of obesity and enjoy generally good health. Americans, on the other hand, are obsessed with counting calories and cholesterol levels and worry excessively about the effects of food on their bodies, yet they have a very high rate of obesity comparatively and suffer with more health problems. Dr. Rozin’s survey suggests that the determining factor may be the different cultural attitudes towards food and pleasure.
Rozin is quoted in the journal "Appetite" as saying, "There is a sense among Americans that food is as much a poison as it is a nutrient, and that eating is almost as dangerous as not eating." He goes on to say that "…when a major aspect of life becomes a stress and source of substantial worry, as opposed to pleasure, effects might be seen in both cardiovascular and immune systems." Rozin’s researcher found that the French, on the other hand, of whom only 4 percent follow diets in line with the American recommended guidelines for fat intake, associate eating more with pleasure than with health.
In a related story, the New York Times ran an article in its "Eating Well" column, by Marian Burros, that quoted two professors on nutrition and obesity extolling the virtues and health benefits of enjoying such luscious holiday foods as foie gras, caviar and pumpkin pie, believe it or not! Listen to this:
"Tucked in between the cholesterol and the saturated fat, the calories and the salt in the foie gras, the sausage stuffing and the standing rib roast, there are dozens of nutrients that are highly recommended by the food police. These are the vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that may prevent cancer and heart disease and a host of other diseases. Everyone already knows that chocolate is a health food: Two pounds of it, particularly dark chocolate, has the same cancer-fighting antioxidants as a quart of tea. But did you know that each time you eat a three-ounce piece of pumpkin pie you may well be reducing your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration? The pumpkin in that small wedge of pie is filled with carotenoids, almost 3,000 micrograms of beta carotene, 1,900 of alpha carotene and 400 of lutein, the carotenoid connected with cataract prevention."
Where is this leading us? Well, the Times also printed an article on Dr. Rozin’s study entitled, "If It Feels Good, Eat It." People will be up in arms perhaps at the suggestion that eating what we want, what we really enjoy, is a reasonable guideline for a diet, yet that is precisely the message of these studies, and it is in keeping with the conceptual foundation of Full Permission Living which is that human beings, if allowed to follow their undistorted desires, will naturally do what’s best for themselves and others without resorting to excess and without having to sacrifice pleasure. Furthermore, if one engages in any activity, including eating, with a spirit of enjoyment and gratitude, it is the premise of FPL that what you take in will benefit you. That may be the original reason for saying a blessing before a meal - to get your mind and digestive system into a positive and receptive mode to aid absorption and facilitate nourishment.
I’ve often thought about the movie, "Michael", in this regard. John Travolta plays the archangel by the same name, and in the film the high-order angelic character is seen consuming huge amounts of sugar, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and of course, dancing and cavorting with women. I asked myself when I first saw the movie, could such a spiritual being actually indulge himself in that manner and not suffer any negative consequences? Absolutely, I realized. Such a being would be so connected to his spiritual self, so full of joy and gratitude that whatever molecules he took into his body would immediately be transmuted into good nourishment. After all, everything is made of the same basic particles of energy, whether it’s steamed organic broccoli or a hamburger! So what determines the effect of various foods on the body? It must be the individual’s state of consciousness, one’s inner beliefs and attitudes. Indeed, my own grandfather, "Pete", lived without major illness until he died of old age at 91, and he regularly consumed sugar and salt, smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol until the end. How did he do it? Well, for one thing, he rarely indulged in anything to excess, but also, no matter what doctors, the media or younger worried family members said to him, he genuinely never believed these things would harm him. So, perhaps that is why they didn’t. He also rejected stressful behavior as a requirement for being successful, even though he had his own business to run which he did for almost four decades. I never saw Grandpa Pete anxiously rushing around or fretting about anything.
Now, let me issue a qualifier here - none of us is Michael the Archangel and most of us are not, in our hyper-vigilant, type-A culture, Grandpa Pete! Most of us are harboring hidden self-destructive or fearful beliefs and attitudes, and so will unconsciously use food and anything else to create suffering for ourselves if we're not conscious. So the "undistorted desires" part is crucial to living with full permission. Furthermore, if you believe that certain things are harmful to your health, you can’t trick yourself by superimposing another belief over that one and expect not to have disastrous results. How you feel about yourself and your body is a key element that must be brought into conscious awareness in order to be a "healthy hedonist," and the channels to your natural pleasure instinct must be cleared of blockages as well. In other words, a full-spectrum healing process may be needed before you can start indulging in the daily red wine and sweet treats.

Here are some great words of wisdom from Jane Roberts’ "Seth" book, "The Way Toward Health":

"The ideas you have, then, play a large role in the way the body handles its nutrients, and utilizes health and vitality…it is possible for your ideas to cause chemical reactions that impede your body’s ability to accept nourishment. If you believe that the body is evil, the purest health food diet may do you little good at all, while if you have a healthy desire and respect for your physical body, a diet of TV dinners and even fast foods may well keep you healthy and nourished. If we are talking about health, it is to your beliefs that we must look. It is up to you to form a body of beliefs that is worthy of your physical image – for you are nourished by your beliefs, and those beliefs can cause your daily bread to add to your vitality, or add to your cares and stress."

Yeah, yeah. Pass the chocolate mousse, please. Oh, and don't forget...

"Do a little dance, make a little love,
Get down tonight.
Get down tonight."

Today's Quote

"In a progressive country change is constant; ...change... is inevitable."
Benjamin Disraeli

Today's Quote

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
Sir Francis Bacon

Today's Quote

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."
Frank Lloyd Wright Wow! Was Frank LLoyd Wright channeling "Seth" before Jane Roberts?!

FUTILITY VEHICLE

Going to buy a car today. Yep. Can't get a Prius, though I'd love to. There's a 2-month wait for one AND a $2,500 add-on to the price over the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price), the price you usually negotiate DOWN from. I guess most people who buy cars and houses in a panic really don't do the numbers. I figure it would take all of seven years for me just to break even on the gas money I would save by buying the hybrid Prius versus buying another Toyota for $5,000 less and getting substantially less gas mileage.

Ain't that America? (And Japan, I guess, too.)

Anyway, there's a relevant article in the NY Times by Judith Warner, called, "FUTILITY VEHICLE." Check it out at: http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/futility-vehicle/index.html?ref=opinion

Today's Quotes

"You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair."
Douglas MacArthur

"Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life."
Charles Dickens

"Grow old with me! The best is yet to be."
Robert Browning

More on HALF-TIME: OLDER IS HAPPIER!

Here's a follow-up article from the Washington Post to my "HALF-TIME" posting from a week ago. This piece in the Post indicates that "Older Americans May Be Happier Than Younger Ones."

From the article:

"Young people - the very people we think from the stereotype are best off - in fact have high levels of anger and anxiety and also high levels of depression, compared to middle-aged adults. Younger adults were far more likely to have financial worries, troubled emotional relationships and professional stressors. The image of youth or young adulthood as the best time of life is probably not an accurate stereotype."

Yeah! Bring it on, grandpa!

Today's Quote

"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. Faith is an oasis in the heart which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking."
Kahlil Gibran

Today's Quote

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
Plato

Today's BONUS Quote

McCain's top economic adviser Phil Gramm tells America to suck it up and stop complaining about the economy:

Here's Phil:

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession. We have sort of become a nation of whiners."

P.S. Phil - Oil prices are at an new all-time high, the stock market is at a 2-year low and falling, and home foreclosures are up 53 percent from a year ago. Hey, no problem.

Today's Quote

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

HALF-TIME!

I've always known I was going to live to a very old age in this lifetime. Really. It's just something I always felt in my gut, even in my twenties. And I always looked forward to getting old, too. I saw old age as a very cool time, as the crowning glory of a life, as a time to reap the benefits of accumulated wisdom, authority, humor and humility. I even began to see a number at some point - one hundred. I was going to hit and break a hundred years old. I knew it.

Well, today, John Tesh posted an article on "What It Takes To Live To 100" that is very enlightening.

"People who advance to a 100," Tesh says, "typically have several other important traits. They have a sense of purpose. We all have a sense of an inner compass inside us, but we're unsure which direction it's pointing. To live to 100 years, start asking the question as soon as you can, 'What on earth am I here for?"

"Another trait for people who reach 100 is that they're assertive. In other words, they're active people who look for reasons to get out of the house to do something productive."

"The third trait shared by people who live to be a 100 is resilience - the belief that life still has a lot more to offer... knowing there is so much more life and service ahead of you."

Thank you, thank you, John! Yes! We are energetic, spiritual beings first, physical beings second. If we have the desire to live long and prosper, giving of ourselves to life, and to be full of vitality and pleasure while we're doing it, that intention will make it so.

Plus - did you know that the fastest growing segment of the population are centagenarians, those living until one hundred? Check it out. The Census Bureau confirms it. Think about that for a moment, then think about this - if you're fifty years old, it's only half-time. You have a whole second half left to this lifetime. You can still win this Superbowl, if you change course and focus on doing what you really came here to do in this lifetime, which is what you really want to do, what you desire to do, what you would love to do. If you're younger than fifty, forget about it - you can't even know how much time and opportunity you have left.

But if you start hunkering down now, resigning yourself to a deteriorating finale to your life, and then you end up living until one hundred anyway, you're going to spend a lot of years saying "What the fuck am I doing?!" Listen, if you don't love your job, love your relationship partner, love your lifestyle - change it! Dump it! Start over. You can. It's SO not too late. Not impulsively or recklessly, or to run away from something. No. But as I say often, quoting my favorite "THE JOY OF QUITTING ARTICLE," staying in a bad situation compulsively is as futile as leaving a good situation compulsively.

Hey. You do get a do-over in life, see, but not the do-over so many are looking for - of childhood. No, you get to start over in the same lifetime, but this time as an adult, with all the powers and wisdom and experience that comes with maturity.

Amazing, isn't it?

Today's Quote

"Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of feeling-realization is enlightenment."
Eckhart Tolle

"What do you say, Gordon? Pass the caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin and tuna... with champagne, please!"

Okay, here's where I take a different kind of radical position on something, a position that some of my knee-jerk "conservative" friends, who think I'm a knee-jerk liberal (I'm not) might be surprised at, and that some of my liberal friends might be appalled at.

There's an article on the U.K.'s Daily Mail on-line version about the G8 summit conference, "Summit that's hard to swallow - world leaders enjoy 18-course banquet as they discuss how to solve global food crisis", criticizing the participants for the apparent gluttony and hypocrisy.

From the piece:

"Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions. But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.
"The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialized nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S. But the extravagance of the menus drew disapproval from critics who thought it hypocritical to produce such a lavish meal when world food supplies are under threat."

Here's my problem with the criticism. The world's food crisis, just like the world's energy crisis, health crisis, violent crime crisis, and the general dysfunction and degradation of the planet crisis are not caused by any group or individual indulging themselves in fine food, or any other quality pleasure for that matter. There's something appropriate from the soul's perspective in a group discussing what to do about hunger over a lovely meal. It's not necessarily perverted at all.

Everything we need for everyone on this earth to have all that they desire from their True Self is already here. More than enough for everyone to have more than enough. Greediness and neediness are not opposites - they're two sides of the same coin. Greedy people, just like needy people, believe that there isn't enough. They believe in lack. The difference between them is that the greedy person expresses his belief in lack by being continually and compulsively acquisitive, never satisfied, while the needy person expresses his belief in lack through helpless, passive impoverishment, also never satisfied. To ennoble poverty is just as misguided as ennobling greed ala Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street."

Now, I'm not saying that the politicians and suits at the G8 conference were having an enlightened discussion on how to engender a belief in abundance in all the world's population. By no means. If they were, they would be saying, "You know, I would love for us to find a way for everyone to experience this 'caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin and tuna... with champagne! What do you say, Gordon?"

I'm just repeating something that's been said before, folks, that "Hating war is not the same as loving peace," and similarly, hating poverty is not the same as loving abundance. Those who want to rid the world of hunger and poverty by demonizing those who enjoy abundance are missing the bigger picture about how to go about it. Spread a belief in abundance, not just among the desperately poor, but also among the desperately rich. They're starving in their own way, too.

Today's Quote

"A hard man is good to find."
Mae West

ERECTIONS FOR WORLD PEACE!

Erections.

What would Mae west say today about the - forgive me - hard time men are having getting and keeping it hard? It's an epidemic. You can't watch TV, especially network TV, without being subjected to (if you don't have Tivo) a flood of preposterous, romanticized commercials about drugs to induce erections.

Are you kidding me?

Gentlemen, I know that you don't really think it's normal, or a function of the aging process, to lose your hard-ons while you're still able to desire sex, which many studies show continues to occur well into very old age, and in normal individuals, until death.

So, what the hell is going on, guys?

Yeah, I know, you're overweight, too stressed, drink too much,... or you're taking drugs for high blood pressure, or drugs to put you to sleep. Blah, blah, blah. Cut the crap! Your erection is nature's compass, fellas, and if yours isn't pointing north, you've got some issues - emotional, psychological, spiritual issues.

Let me give you a hint, okay? You can't spend a lifetime bottling up anger at and fear of women without it taking its toll. You see, every irrational fear, held onto long enough, brings the very thing that's feared into your life. That's just one of the unavoidable laws of attraction. Did you have an intrusive, controlling, co-dependent, "castrating" mother? Of course, you did. We all did. Have you worked it through in a full-spectrum (i.e. - a mind-body-spirit therapy) healing process? Of course, you haven't. So... you're castrated!

You think I'm just talking metaphorically here? Well, listen up - I have helped men in middle age with - Ugh! - "erectile dysfunction." (Give an emotional problem a medical-sounding name and make a fortune in drug sales, huh?) For example, in less than a year of seeing me just every other week for sessions focused on releasing long-held anger at dear old mom, one man not only restored his blood pressure to normal levels (doctors couldn't explain it), but he raised his penis back to its proper elevation. I know other men who, having released that stockpiled mommy rage, actually reported that their penises grew in size. That's right - got bigger! How is that possible? Because when we are stuck in our character structures, it involves our muscles, our organs, our energy flow, etc. And if you're simultaneously hating and fearing that "WOMAN," you will retract that instrument of love a.) because you don't want to give her pleasure, and b.) because you don't want to have too big a target for the looming lopping.

Listen, this is important. Really. Sex is not just a recreational activity, and it's not just for the young. Losing sexual potency is why middle-aged men start wars. I've said this before - nobody who just had a mind-blowing, gut-wrenching, soul-quenching orgasm with someone they love ever follows that up with a desire to blow-up a country or dump toxic waste into our water supply or steal someone's pension. You think I'm voting for Obama because of his policy positions? No. I'm an expert at body language, not politics. I'm voting for Obama because he and his wife do the bump. That means he's not as dangerous as the dried up, feminine-hating quail-hunters we've had driving the country into the ground.

Not having sex - good, full-bodied, open-hearted sex - is dangerous, and not just for you, the individual, but for everyone around you, including your kids. Every major psychological school of thought, and every spiritual teaching comes back to the importance of having an open and vital sexual connection. As the Pathwork Guide says: "In the human realm the power of sexuality can, in its most ideal form, be the greatest representative of spiritual existence." (Read the lecture here: "THE SPIRITUAL SYMBOLISM AND SIGNIFICANCE OF SEXUALITY")

Please, guys, do it for yourself, do it for anyone you care about, do it for the world, do it for me. Shed that anger, dump the pills and stand tall like you were meant to.

Today's Quotes

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Anna Quindlen

“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.”
Saint Augustine

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.”
Winston Churchill

More on the Flaws of Perfectionism

A while ago, on the occasion of Superbowl Sunday, I wrote a piece about perfectionism. Needless to say, perfectionism is not a good thing.

Here's an excerpt from a very direct article on the subject from a recent issue of Psychology Today called Pitfalls of Perfectionism by Hara Estroff Marano:

"Perfectionism may be the ultimate self-defeating behavior. It turns people into slaves of success—but keeps them focused on failure, dooming them to a lifetime of doubt and depression. It also winds up undermining achievement in the modern world.

"You could say that perfectionism is a crime against humanity. Adaptability is the characteristic that enables the species to survive--and if there's one thing perfectionism does, it rigidifies behavior. It constricts people just when the fast-moving world requires more flexibility and comfort with ambiguity than ever. It turns people into success slaves.

"Perfectionists, experts now know, are made and not born, commonly at an early age. They also know that perfectionism is increasing. One reason: Pressure on children to achieve is rampant, because parents now seek much of their status from the performance of their kids. And, by itself, pressure to achieve is perceived by kids as criticism for mistakes; criticism turns out to be implicit in it. Perfectionism, too, is a form of parental control, and parental control of offspring is greater than ever in the new economy and global marketplace, realities that are deeply unsettling to today's adults.

"I don't understand it,' one bewildered student told me, speaking for the five others seated around the table during lunch at a small residential college in the Northeast. 'My parents were perfectly happy to get Bs and Cs when they were in college. But they expect me to get As.' The others nodded in agreement. Today's hothouse parents are not only over-involved in their children's lives, they demand perfection from them in school.

"And if ever there was a blueprint for breeding psychological distress, that's it. Perfectionism seeps into the psyche and creates a pervasive personality style. It keeps people from engaging in challenging experiences; they don't get to discover what they truly like or to create their own identities. Perfectionism reduces playfulness and the assimilation of knowledge; if you're always focused on your own performance and on defending yourself, you can't focus on learning a task. Here's the cosmic thigh-slapper: Because it lowers the ability to take risks, perfectionism reduces creativity and innovation--exactly what's not adaptive in the global marketplace."

Amen, Hara

Today's Quote

"Wise men say, only fools rush in. But I can't help falling in love with you." Elvis Presley Check it out here.

Love the One You're (In-Love) With

There's a light, but nonetheless interesting op-ed piece by Maureen Dowd called: "THE IDEAL HUSBAND" in today's NY Times. Maureen doesn't seem to really have much to say in the piece. She mainly quotes one Father Pat Connor, a 79-year-old Catholic priest, on the subject of how to avoid marrying the wrong person. The priest's main offering of wisdom, as such, is that "you can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.”

Okay, Father.

From there, the priest goes on to list all of the aspects that would be telltale signs that you're marrying the "wrong" person.

Now, I often say that you cannot be successfully married UNLESS you're in love with your partner, unless love, Eros and sex are all alive and well, especially Eros (the in-love part). So, does Father Pat's position stand in contradiction to mine? Not at all.

I would agree with the good, though celibate, man of the cloth that you can fall in love with the "wrong person," though "wrong" is a judgment I wouldn't use. What I say is that Eros is an absolutely necessary ingredient, but not a sufficient one, to make for a gratifying relationship. Why? Because you can fall in love with someone that you're truly not compatible with. It's not wrong because even a relationship that's ultimately doomed to dissolve sooner rather than later has a purpose in your life, a purpose related to your personal evolution.

Every situation that you find yourself in, even a marriage to someone that you ultimately cannot live with, can propel you closer to that future relationship filled with bliss and openness and harmony... if you're willing to take every situation as an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow.

As I often say, nature doesn't fuck up. Ego's and the human mind do. If you fall in love with someone, anyone, there's something there you're meant to experience. Go with it, or you'll have to find out the hard way that you can't avoid whatever the information is that's coming to you through that lover you can't stand. What is fucked up is that because of societal demands and emotional weaknesses, we stay stuck in those "bad" relationships long past the time when Eros has flown.

Follow Eros, folks. It may take you into some hair-raising places, but it will also guide you out.

Full Permission Lyrics

FOOLS RUSH IN

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
And so I come to you my love, my heart above my head
Though I see the danger there, if there's a chance for me then I don't care

Fools rush in where wise men never go
But wise men never fall in love so how are they to know

When we met I felt my life begin, so open up your heart and let this fool rush in

Fools rush in where wise men never go
But wise men never fall in love so how are they to know

When we met I felt my life begin, so open up your heart and let this fool rush in

Just open up your heart and let this fool rush in."

Ricky Nelson Listen to it here.

Today's Quote

"Patriotism has its place. But waving a flag is never a good substitute for serious thought and rolling up one’s sleeves."
Bob Herbert (in today's NY Times)

CNN poll: Most say Founding Fathers wouldn't be impressed

Well, how sad is that?
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/04/us.poll/index.html

Good-Bye, Bozo

Larry Harmon, longtime Bozo the Clown, died today at 83. Mary Cavataio wrote an insightful blog piece on clowns and kids and why frozen smiles scare us. Check it out at: http://thelovewemake.blogspot.com/

Today's Quote

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM THE EGO

The DECLARATION continued...

"That to secure these rights [Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

How utterly amazing are those words, and how beyond amazing is it that those words were used to launch the formation of a country. Government "deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed" for the purpose of securing the "safety and happiness" of the people.

Who wouldn't want to live in a country founded on those principles? Who wouldn't love such a country? In fact, if you look in the dictionary, "patriotism" is defined simply as "love for one's country."

So, what happened? How did patriotism get redefined as blind loyalty to a government, a government that in practice seeks to limit the exercise of our unalienable rights and reduces our safety and happiness?

Well, you see, it's exactly the same process that occurs internally in each individual when the Ego, whose job it is to serve the Self in certain capacities toward the end of securing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, takes over and wants to exist for its own sake.

In early childhood, the Ego was formed by the young human being in order to organize experiences and observations and learn from those experiences in order to determine future actions. The ego, in other words, was meant to be an administrator, not a decision maker. Decision-making was supposed to be left to the Self, while the Ego was "instituted among us," "deriving its just powers from the consent of the Self" in order to "secure our well-being." But when outer life, visa vie our unactualized parents and congested social institutions, slams the child with inconsistencies and cruelty, the forming young Self panics and turns to the Ego for direction, a job it is not really equipped for. This begins the process of over-blowing one's Ego, not unlike the process by which our government became so bloated. After a while, the Ego takes on a life of its own and wants to survive, and as I said, wants to exist for its own sake. The Ego will then actually begin to use tactics to keep the Self in a state of fear and dependence, so the Self will continue to rely on the ever-expanding Ego for protection. I have called this the "Mafia Syndrome," in that the Ego, like the Mafia, forces you to pay it for protection. But protection from who? From it!

In the very truest sense, then, it's reasonable to say that the overblown Ego, just like our current ego-maniacal government administrators, are no different than organized criminals. All of you know this. You know that the taxes you pay, for instance, are not justifiable and used fairly or equitably for the purpose of enhancing your well-being. Your taxes don't bring better schools, or better roads, or cleaner air. Your taxes to a great extent enhance the lives of those who insist that you (not they, by the way) must pay them. In fact, you know that your taxes line the pockets of individuals and corporations who actually invite danger into your lives because you have to stay scared in order for them to stay in control. Everyone knows this. But you pay anyway because you feel terrorized by the "hitmen" of the IRS, who might ruin your lives with their punitive tactics. Just like organized criminals. Just like our Egos.

And let's be very clear: loving your country is not the same as loving your government, and loving your Self is not the same as loving your Ego.

So, what can we do? Well, as I always say, real revolution happens one person at a time, not through politics or "movements." Outer reality, individually and en masse, follows inner reality. As long as we are ruled by our Egos, then life, liberty and happiness will elude us. When we dismantle the constructs of the Ego, the irrational fears and unchallenged beliefs, we will create a different outer reality of true freedom, based on an inner reality of true freedom.

Self-work make the Self work, folks. Then you can calmly and confidently put the ego and the government back in its correct place of securing our safety and happiness. Celebrate your Self on this birthday of the USA.

Today's Quote

"Intolerance itself is a form of egoism, and to condemn egoism intolerantly is to share it."
George Santayana

Today's Quote

"Why love when losing hurts so much? I have no answers now. Only the life I've lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice - as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."
Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis in "Shadowlands"

Today's Quote

“Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised”
Tolstoy

More on Lying Liars

In today's NY Times is an article entitled: "Deep Down, We Can’t Fool Even Ourselves," by JOHN TIERNEY.

Basically, the studies cited by psychologists describe the mental mechanics of what they call "moral hypocrisy," something I wrote about in my "Lying Liars" posting a few days ago without calling it that. "The moral hypocrite," described in the Times piece, "has convinced himself that he is acting virtuously even when he does something he would condemn in others." Sounds similar to the politicians and psychopaths I described. Believing your own lies, in other words, is the hallmark of a moral hypocrite.

But here's the really interesting thing: one Dr. DeSteno, a psychologist at Northeastern University, found that a kind of deliberate mental distraction was necessary to maintain a lie, and that "just a little bit of extra mental exertion was enough to eliminate hypocrisy."

“Hypocrisy is driven by mental processes over which we have volitional control,” said Dr. Valdesolo, a psychologist at Amherst College. “Our gut seems to be equally sensitive to our own and others’ transgressions, suggesting that we just need to find ways to better translate our moral feelings into moral actions.”

Now, here's my favorite part:

"As useful as hypocrisy can be, it’s apparently not quite as basic as the human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Your mind can justify double standards, it seems, but in your heart you know you’re wrong."

Yeah! I love it when science catches up to the truth. Like I said in my "What's Your EQ?" posting, human beings are designed to lead with their hearts, not their minds. When we reverse that, we are out of alignment and capable of committing nefarious deeds because we lose our integrity and capacity for empathy.

But as I say on my home page: "human beings are, by first nature, sane, loving, cooperative, creative, humorous, intelligent, productive and naturally self-regulating."

Right. No one is a natural hypocrite or crook. No one.
 

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