Here's LOFF56:

Some other things you need a license for:

(not necessarily in all states or cities)
Owning a gun
Owning a dog
Breeding dogs
Driving a Scooter
Getting married
Being an electrician
Being a plumber
Being an architect
Selling liquor
Being a Financial Advisor

Things you need a Permit for:
Painting your house
Using a public park
Learning to Drive
Playing music in public
Selling Pretzels
Playing softball
Taking your bike on a Train!! LOL

I'm sure there are hundreds if not thousands more, but these are pretty silly.

That's right, you need a license to breed a dog but not a human!!!

Here's PL:

THANKS, L56! By the way, I often recommend to those who need further training in parenting skills to watch "The Dog Whisperer!"


This moment from the script of my City Rock TV series pilot, "While You're Busy Making Other Plans," in which the main character, "FRANK CELLO," is confronted by the spirit of a street kid who was killed on Frank's watch, is one of my favorites. The idea of making Frank's conscience manifest as the spirit of that boy was inspired by Paul Michael Glaser, who directed the recent reading of the episode at the Cherry Lane Theatre. An interesting tidbit - the reading took place on December 8, the anniversary of John Lennon's death. Lennon's murder figures prominently in the story, but I was not aware that our reading was scheduled, serendipitously, for that particular night.

Here's the final scene:


Frank is walking, lost. He arrives to the Gramercy Park Softball League playing field and goes over to sit on a bench. He looks out onto the dark asphalt schoolyard, lit up only by the street lights.

Hey, man, your team was tough.

What? What are you doing here?

What are you doing here?

Look, what do you want?

What do you want?

Tonight is not a good night for questions.

Can’t have answers without askin’ questions.

Silence for a long moment.

YOUNG GUY (cont’d)
Remember that night John was killed?

Frank remembers and looks pained.

YOUNG GUY (cont’d)
Four months ago tonight. That was not a good night.

Don’t remind me.

Why’d you name your team after me?

I don’t know. It just came to me.

I like that you did that.

You never told me your real name.

Nobody has a real name on the street.
Maybe it was his time, you know? John. I wasn’t into the Beatles. Kinda cool, though, that we checked out on the same night.

Cool? Not exactly.

You couldn’t save me, Frank.

Frank starts to object.

CITY ROCK (cont’d)
No. I mean you couldn’t save me. You can’t save anybody, Frank. That’s what I’ve been tryin’ to tell you, but you don’t want to hear it.

Frank looks at the boy, then hangs his head for a long moment.

Then, what am I doing? What’s the point? What’s my point?

What would Kirk say? You just know what you gotta do and you do it.

You know Kirk?

Yeah, we just met. Hey, maybe you just keep going, Frank. These are crazy times comin’ up. This decade, I got a feelin’ a lot of people are gonna split. But what you’re tryin’ to do, it still matters.

Frank looks out at the ballfield under the moonlight, then looks back at the boy... but he isn’t there.



We see a crowd of people mourning, holding a candlelight vigil in Central Park in what will soon become Strawberry Fields.



Frank walks over to home plate, stands there, looking out onto the field, then heads for home.



"The physical mind is not designed to know how something is going to happen. It’s only designed to know how something is happening and has happened. It doesn’t have the ability to know how something is going to happen. The higher mind does that job."



Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.


"No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
John Donne


Below is a post I put up a couple of weeks ago referencing an article and a study demonstrating how the emotional state of mothers affects the brain development of their children. How parents' emotional lives affect the development of their offspring is obviously not a subject I've shied away from, and I've aroused the ire of many parents as a result.

Well, today comes another article and another study reporting that when parents are depressed or under stress, their suffering can leave a lasting mark on their children’s DNA — and not for the better. You can read the entire piece by Sharon Begley, entitled "How Stressed Parents Scar Their Kids," by clicking on the title.

Here's an excerpt and below is my previous post with links to other previous posts on this matter:

"When it comes to finding culprits for everything that’s wrong with us as children and even as adults, parents are everyone’s favorite default option. And why not? Decades of research in child development and psychology have linked maternal depression to children’s mental and physical illness as well as language and cognitive deficits, shown that when the parents’ marriage is riven by conflict children grow up to be emotionally insecure and have difficulty forming loving adult relationships, and found that when parents are under significant stress their kids are more likely to have behavior problems, to have difficulty handling stress, and to be at greater risk for mental illness. If there was any doubt about the power of this parental legacy, an upcoming study should dispel it: when parents are under emotional, financial, or other forms of stress, it can alter their children’s patterns of genetic activity at least through adolescence and perhaps longer. And since some of the altered genes shape brain development, the effects of parental stress might permanently wire themselves into children’s brains."

Well, as is so often the case, out comes a study this week entitled: "How Sad Moms Change a Child’s Brain: New research shows that children with depressed mothers can have enlarged amygdalas, the part of the brain responsible for emotional responses—and detecting threats."

I'm not looking to be right here, folks, I'm just fed up with the insidious partnership between the mainstream medical establishment, claiming that brain chemistry is unrelated causally from a child's environment, and parents who don't want to do the self-work necessary in order to qualify themselves for parenthood.

There's nothing disgraceful about acknowledging one's limitations and dysfunctions as parents. What is disgraceful is the denial and refusal to seek appropriate healing at the expense of our kids and society at large.


The Republican Party is nearly dead!

Barely intelligible, pseudo-political miscreants on the internet and FOX News want to fantasize that Scott Brown's win last week was an omen that stupidity was back in business, but Brown's election was the best thing to happen to President Obama and the Democrats since November 2008. Obama is coming out swinging as he always does, once he's on the ropes. (Think Ali's rope-a-dope.)

There's no "there" there in the GOP, no ideas, no direction, and most significantly, no intellect. The very notion that a drug-addled blowhard like Rush Limbaugh or a bi-polar clownshow like Glenn Beck could be the focal point of dialogue on the right says it all. George Will, David Brooks, even Joe Scarborough have become the fringe elements on the right because they actually think!

The right is all about costumes and bellicosity now, wearing tea bags on their hats while ranting about socialism, fascism and communism all in one breath, as if they had any idea what those terms actually meant. The mostly working class right wingnuts railed against health care reform, not even understanding that they were the ones who were most abused by the present system that feeds the beasts known as insurance and drug companies.

These folks are so behind the times and so unable to change that having a man of color as president terrifies them for no other reason than that he is... a man of color. They've actually started an all-white basketball league, for Christ's sake, to "get back to the fundamentals." (Think "fundamentalism," as in Pat Robertson, who decried that the devil is skulking around making deals and causing God to kill poor people.)

The pretenders to the ravaged right want you to forget George Bush, their brush-clearing hero for eight years, who's only true "mission accomplished" was to destroy our economy and our credibility in the world at large, after allowing the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history to occur and then waging a futile war against the wrong country in retaliation.

Now, the teabaggers say they are "independents," even though they're celebrating Brown's brief moment in the electoral sun as the second coming of... the Republican Party!

It's Sunday morning in America, folks. And it's taking a while to get over the hangover from the binge of stupidity and corruption we've endured. But believe it - Scott Brown's election was the beginning of the recovery.

Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates!!

I found this in my archives from last April. Nice.

BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Thousands of dolphins blocked suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday.


Today, it is eminently possible to follow the news about anything and everything, everywhere, at any time. In an instant, we can know when there is a natural or man-made disaster across the globe from where we are, or we can follow the inane, moment to moment tweets of a celebrity, politician or a friend traveling the world. We are exposed by cameras hidden in our IPhones and by the pictures and videos that can be spread around on YouTube literally like a virus. There are websites made in heaven (or hell) for both voyeurs and exhibitionists of any persuasion, and there are forums for voicing opinions (endlessly) on subjects both boringly mundane or exquisitely obscure.

All of this exposure of ourselves to ourselves can give one the impression that the world is really devolving. Corruption and deceit on such grand scales, wanton greed, violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia... all seem rampant these days. The "captains of industry" seem more like drunken sailors on permanent shore leave than clever capitalists, while our political and religious leaders seem to be either in some kind of hypnotic stupor or maybe just downright demented, rather than the "best and the brightest."

Yet, I am reminded when considering the above of how the process of healing takes place on an individual basis in therapy. Very often when a patient starts really making progress and breaking through the confines of their character structures, things feel worse. The old festered emotions, suppressed since early childhood, begin emerging as a result of the breakthroughs. And along with the painful feelings come the traumatic memories and associations that inspired the suppression in the first place. As this congestion of thoughts and feelings is undone, the "infection" starts to comes out, and as anyone who's ever had the flu knows, when it starts breaking up and the globs of goo start releasing, it can get ugly.

So, maybe that explains a lot of what we're seeing lately, from Scott Brown to Glenn Beck, from Tea Baggers to Orly Taitz, and of course, everything on the free, public, lunatic asylum known as the Craigslist Political Forum!

Maybe it's all just snot!!


Here's LOFF56:

See... yet again... I said this the day after he got elected, and I'll keep saying it again, why we ever thought that Obama was going to be a liberal president is just beyond logic and quite frankly the facts. We deluded ourselves into believing that. If we're upset that he's not meeting our expectations, quite frankly it's because our expectations were way off the mark!!

As I wrote then, and I'm still writing now, every platform that he stood on was a centrist one. No Gay marriage, continuing the bailouts, continuing the wars, etc... Even healthcare reform! Let's be real, a liberal solution to healthcare would be a Universal Healthcare system. Even the House bill which so far is the most left leaning, barely holds onto a "Public Option". Have we completely lost our perspective. "Optional" is SO far from "Universal"!!!

Thinking that Obama was gonna' be like a Kennedy or a Dennis Kucinich is just plain delusional.

The irony for me in all of this is that I like to consider myself a centrist, (leaning to the left for sure though). But having a centrist in the White House with the stubborn obstructionist Right Wing in the minority, we're not getting any centrist policies. Even the Right Wing has convinced themselves and their constituents that he is way liberal!!! So now his liberal policies (actually centrist policies) are under fire and are going to get modified to the right. The lesson for me being that if I want centrist policies I have to vote for real far left liberals. Imagine if Obama had strongly insisted upon Universal Healthcare. Might then the compromise be a "Public Option"???

Anyway, sorry to go on a rant, but those on the left side of center really need to understand what they're dealing with. It's really easy to equate Democrat with Liberal, Republican with Conservative, but the bottom line is that there are many, many shades of Blue and Red. Just 'cause a guy calls himself a Democrat doesn't mean he's not purple. If he's telling you he's purple, if all the facts say that he's purple, don't turn around and get all upset because he's not blue enough!!! DUH!

Here's PL:

Well, I agree, L56, that many people erroneously read Obama as a "liberal" during the 2008 campaign, even though his positions were generally not so liberal, and as a result of those expectations, many people are angry and disappointed now. Personally, I didn't vote for Obama because I thought he was a liberal, or even a centrist, for that matter. I voted for him because I felt that he was a focused, grounded, intelligent adult, an item we haven't seen in the White House in decades, and I thought him flexible and practical enough to assess situations on the merits, rather than ideology. Pretty much, I still think this about Obama. I still think he has great leadership qualities.

But as the title of my post, spinning off of Maryanne Williamson's article, implies, I do not feel that any political leader can salvage America's devolution at this point.

What our country needs at this point is an "intervention."

Just as Carl Jung realized, and revealed in his correspondence with Bill Wilson who led the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, that some problems were untreatable through psychoanalysis alone, and required a "spiritual experience," America right now, it is clear, desperately needs a spiritual awakening (not to be confused with anything religious, by the way, because religion is actually a microcosm of politics at its worst).

When primitive, fear-based beliefs and attitudes become entrenched, stultifying our intellects and emotional intelligence, and our empathy becomes encrusted beneath layers of anger and need and greed, no political leader, political party or even political movement will penetrate deep enough to heal the infection and disorder. None. Not liberal, conservative, centrist or tea bag, because none of these parties demonstrate any of the soul qualities, most especially not sense of oneness, needed to bring us together.

Whether the catalyst for that intervention comes in the form of more natural disasters or man-made disasters, I don't know, and where our collective bottom is remains to be seen. I am continually surprised by how low we seem determined to go as a society. The extremes we've reached in our levels of avarice, egoism and narcissism, combined with the virulent, unchecked diseases of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and willful ignorance boggles the mind.

And the enablers are legion.

I wish it were as simple as you describe, LOFF56. I wish it were simply a matter of voting one way or the other. But I fear that we are past that point.

America needs an intervention.


THIS LINK is to a piece written by Marianne Williamson, writer of many bestselling books about interpersonal, societal and spiritual matters. It is a lament by the writer on the first year of Barack Obama's presidency. It is painful, but yet necessary to consider that perhaps looking to political leaders is not where real change and evolution of consciousness can come from. As I've been saying for a long time - change can only occur one person at a time until we reach "critical mass" and the "Hundredth Monkey" effect can kick in.

Here's are some excerpts from Marianne's post:

"What the current administration is giving us is minimal change. And not because the President hasn't had the time to do better; if he had truly wanted to make fundamental change, he would have gone in there fast and done his own version of shock and awe in the first hundred days. And not because he didn't realize how mean all those Republicans can be, either; Obama knew what he was getting into, and if he didn't, then he was as unprepared for the job as his opponents said he was."

"I remember Bobby and I remember Martin. I remember when there was a moral force at the center of the Democratic Party. I see it sometimes still, in a Sherrod Brown, a Dennis Kucinich, an Anthony Weiner. But they're not reflective of the general tenor of the Democratic Party anymore, and I think we would all do well to wake up to that fact. We elected Obama and then he sort of became someone else. He's doing a lot of good things in various areas, but he's certainly not changing the new bottom line: that corporations get to run the world. He bailed out the banks, but he didn't stipulate that they had to start lending again. He got us health care, but he wouldn't say a word about single payer and he wouldn't raise a finger for the public option. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, but accepted it with a speech that was an apologia for war."

"In 'Healing the Soul of America,' I wrote about Ghandi's notion of soul force in politics and why it matters to stand on your truth. Should we re-brand the Green Party, or draft another Democrat to challenge Obama in the primaries in 2012? I don't know what we should do, but I know one thing that we shouldn't do: pretend to ourselves that this man is delivering on what he promised when he first won our hearts.'


From this week’s "SMARTMOM" in the Brooklyn Paper and on the ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN blog:

A few days ago, these plaintive words appeared on Park Slope Parents, that invaluable list-serve for parenting and, er, marital advice:
“I wanted to ask fellow Park Slope Parents how you deal with a spouse cheating. My husband has a real desire to act out on it, and I have caught him browsing the Craigslist ads. He has not actually met with anyone, but I feel that if he continues browsing the ads, it will happen. It very upsetting to me, and I also realize the reality of things that it’s hard to be with the same sexual partner all your life. How do you deal with this? Besides getting a divorce? Any advice would be so helpful.”
Obviously this woman is very upset. Why else would she write to a bunch of virtual strangers about something so personal?
Smartmom pored over the plethora of responses, which expressed many points of view. One person wrote that viewing the Craigslist listings does not mean that he plans to cheat.
Brooklyn Bridge Realty
“I’ve been married for seven years, have never cheated on my wife, would never consider cheating, but have browsed plenty of Craigslist sections. It’s fantasy fodder.”
It’s tough not to notice that he’s been married seven years …
Another person suggested that the wife should send her husband to strip clubs to get his ya-yas out. “Send him with the understanding this is an outlet for visual stimulation, not permission to go home with anyone,” she wrote.
Smartmom thinks strip clubs are sexist and just plain silly (and they didn’t help Tiger Woods from straying).
Another married woman, who has had affairs mostly with women, said it was OK as long as the affair-haver is honest about it.
“It was amazing. My husband, somehow was fine and I found myself feeling more head over heels in love with him than I had in a long time,” the bisexual adulteress posted. “I felt so trusted, loved and blessed that he would let me have this — and the blast of sexual energy from being with someone ‘new’ just recharged our marriage.”
Smartmom was intrigued — and annoyed by the overly effusive tone of this post. Sure she knows that there are loads of people out there who engage in some form of polyamory, the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. But clearly, it’s not for everyone.
If your partner trusts you to go out and fool around a bit because the love is there, then maybe this could work. But if your partner feels the slightest bit of betrayal then the whole thing is a bust.
And why would you want to hurt your spouse that way? “Do no harm” should be the mantra of marriage.
Still another person wrote: “Cheating is almost always more about narcissism, escapism and immaturity than any purely sexual need. For the most part, people who are self-assured and happy with themselves, their lives, their achievements, etc. don’t cheat.”
Smartmom isn’t sure that it’s all together true. All kinds of people have affairs — even self-assured and happy ones. Tiger Woods? David Letterman? Bill Clinton? These are men at the top of their games, for Buddha’s sake.
By the same token: having low self-esteem or being unhappy doesn’t necessarily mark you as an adulterer. For instance, Smartmom has issues with self-esteem, but that doesn’t mean she’s “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Not yet anyway.
But if it is the mid-life miasma that’s the problem, there are a lot of other things you can do to elevate your mood that might be a tad more constructive like therapy, making a change in your career or creative life, going on a trip, making new friends.
Being married does not mean that you’ll never feel sexual stirrings for another person. Who hasn’t had a teeny, tiny crush on someone he or she met at a dinner party or people they look forward to seeing at school drop off? But having an affair is another order of magnitude.
Managing an affair is a time consuming — and a morally compromising activity. More often than not, it involves lying about where you are and not being where you’re supposed to be.
And what happens if you fall in love? That will almost certainly wreak havoc on your family and hurt your beloved (and your children). You can’t always control the trajectory of what goes on between two people. And this is where the hurt, betrayal and rejection comes in.
OK. But isn’t it possible to be just a little bit unfaithful? What about a frenzy of kisses at a Christmas party or a quick romp while on a trip?
If it’s a one-time thing, Smartmom says, why not? While that might sound flip, the truth is, it doesn’t need to break up a marriage. But if you find yourself doing it again and again, you really need to look at what’s missing in your relationship — and your life. So find a good therapist. In therapy, you can take an incisive look at what’s really going on.
What about doing it the French way? Many married couples there have lovers on the side, and it seems to work out just fine. One former president even had his mistress at his state funeral!
While that sounds tres sophisticated and fun, Smartmom knows she’s not capable of being quite so French.
Truth is, Smartmom is the jealous type. She goes a little bit crazy when Hepcat visits his ex-girlfriend from sophomore year in college to fix her computer.
As for being unfaithful herself, Smartmom knows with certainty that an affair would be very unwise. When she falls in love, she falls big. She’s not capable of Clinton-esque compartmentalization. Plus, she’s a lousy liar. She’d probably become obsessed and stalk the guy or at least Google him until her fingers fall off.
Worst of all, an affair might force Smartmom to question her marriage. While Smartmom loves to analyze and test her marriage, she doesn’t really want to challenge it in such an obvious way. She’s worked good and hard to get along with Hepcat, and they even have a new couch. Who wants to pine for someone other than person with whom she shares her bed?
Truthfully, Smartmom is too much of a pragmatist for an affair. Sure, at the beginning it might be hot and sexy — and a seemingly great panacea for a mid-life crisis. But inevitably, the sparks stop flying and eventually it will be just like her marriage — no better or worse.
Pretty soon, you’ll be discussing hemorrhoids and colonoscopies with your paramour, and it won’t be quite so romantic after all.

Here's PL:

Where to begin, Smartmom? You touch on so many bases here, but like so many of your pieces, I appreciate your honesty and willingness to reveal yourself.
Here are some of my thoughts –
If we’re talking about having “an affair,” as in having sex and romantic interludes with someone outside of your marriage and keeping it a secret, then we’re talking about someone who is not very self-actualized. Why? Well, implied by the secrecy aspect of the scenario is that there is some dissatisfaction in the marriage that hasn’t been addressed over time, which means there is a low-level of honesty and open communication between the spouses, which is unactualized behavior. “Worst of all, an affair might force Smartmom to question her marriage,” you say. Well, actually, that forcing the questioning would be the upside of having an affair, no?
On the other hand, if the purported reason for the secrecy is “structural” – i.e. - to keep the “intact family” intact – or as you put it, SM, you’re “too much of a pragmatist for an affair,” then what you’re describing is a household without Eros. There might be love all around, but a marriage without Eros – what you toss off too easily as “hot and sexy” – does not provide a healthy environment for either spouses or children to live in.
Moving towards the so-called “open marriage” scenarios, well... polyamory is certainly a valid life-choice, and an interesting way to engage in relationships, but once you’ve played that hand out (usually before middle age), a self-actualized individual will inevitably gravitate towards the rich mine of “spontaneous monogamy,” (as opposed to the contractual kind) in order to have that ultimate experience of love, Eros and sex focused like a laser through one person meeting you in the same way. Deep levels of self-revelation, which deepens, sustains and expands the experience of love, Eros and sex, takes time and focus. The “free sample” of falling in love, be it in an affair or otherwise, is exactly that – a free sample. To really cash in, you have to do the self-work necessary to keep the channels open to your inner self and with your partner.
Regarding either affairs or polyamory, Smartmom worries about the consequences. “And what happens if you fall in love?” Smartmom asks. “That will almost certainly wreak havoc on your family and hurt your beloved (and your children). You can’t always control the trajectory of what goes on between two people. And this is where the hurt, betrayal and rejection comes in.”
Au contraire, Smartmom. The betrayal of your beloved and your children comes from your betrayal of yourself, from denying yourself fulfillment, from not having the chutzpah to tell your husband that you might be dissatisfied with some aspects of your marriage, or even telling him that you’re having feelings for someone else. Some well-timed “havoc” is very often what saves a marriage and a family from a life of hunkering down into masochism, martyrdom and unhappiness.
Oh, and there’s no reason whatsoever that discussing hemorrhoids and colonoscopies with your paramour has to kill the romance!



This is an excerpt from a fascinating Pathwork Guide lecture on "Intensity as an Obstacle to Self-Realization."

Here's the Guide:

"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."


"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


It didn't do that well in the theaters or with critics, and wasn't nominated for any awards in tonight's Golden Globe Awards, but this Ang Lee film, which I just saw on DVD this weekend, did well with me.

Based on the memoir "Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life" by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte, the film chronicles not the concert itself and the now enshrined performances by the artists, but how the concert physically came to be. Much artistic license was taken by Lee to be sure, but that was fine, because the performances by all of the principles were personable and down-to-earth in a way that brought me willingly into their lives, regardless of how credible they were.

Yet, what really struck me the most wasn't really directly made a big deal of in the movie, but was covered well nonetheless in the background. It was how the making of Woodstock the concert combined the sensibilities of 1960's hippiedom with the spirit of American capitalism and determination. In an incredibly short amount of time, a dairy farm in a really rural area of New York was transformed into a cooperative city of a few hundred thousand people, coming together to celebrate life.

Money, of which the promoters had plenty, combined with peaceful and loving intentions to inspire people to work really hard to make it all happen, all in the spirit of fun. Plumbing, electricity, refrigeration, drinking water and food distribution, all of these aspects of infrastructure and more had to be built and implemented in a way that made the building of Kevin Costner's "Field of Dreams" baseball field seem like a breeze. Plus, Woodstock really happened! And it rained like hell to boot!

It reminded me once again that money itself is neutral, neither inherently good nor evil. It's all in the intention of how you use it. And likewise, Capitalism in and of itself isn't necessarily corrupt, but rather can be corrupted, or not. The spirit of free enterprise can be used to create and inspire if the element of greed isn't present, and as everyone now knows, Woodstock ultimately became a free concert when the promoters realized that something bigger than them had taken over the event. (For an FPL tie-in piece on this subject, read: "WHY AREN'T YOU RICH?")

I highly recommend this delightful movie!


NASA Discovers Cocaine In Hangar Near Space Shuttle!



" that's how astronauts get so high!!! (Sorry, couldn't help myself...lololol)"


"When it comes to history, we prefer to believe what suits us."

That quote, by Margaret MacMillan, is from an interesting book you might want to check out:

"DANGEROUS GAMES," based on a series of lectures given at the University of Western Ontario, catalogs the various ways that history has been warped, manipulated and just plain fabricated in order to serve one purpose or another. Covering everything from Scottish kilts to the Treaty of Versailles, the book debunks the distorted versions of history that nefarious opportunists made for the purposes of control and excessive gain.

Here's an excerpt relevant to my "AVOIDING MARRIAGE" series:

"The customs of the 'traditional' wedding (the elaborate church ceremony, the white dress, etc.), were concocted not that long ago. In fact, for most of the history of Christianity, a wedding was a low-key affair conducted at home without the benefit of clergy."



"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
Carl Jung


"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks."
Warren Buffett

"Sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on."
Eckhart Tolle


In a sharp piece in the NY Times, entitled "G.O.P. GRIEF AND GRIEVING," Charles M. Blow describes the stages of death now taking place in the Republican Party, according to the schema outlined in Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross' classic book on the subject: "ON DEATH AND DYING."

I was just having this very same discussion last night with my dear old friend, Steve. We were marveling at the unbelievably counterproductive, self-annihilating actions and attitudes displayed by the right wing of our country since Barack Obama's election. Indeed, it appears as if their scorched-earth behavior is a kind of depressed giving up, or a manic suicidal gesture, or both.

Here's Charles Blow:

"The attack on the Republican establishment by the tea party folks grabs the gaze like a really bad horror flick — some version of 'Hee Haw' meets '28 Days Later.' It’s fascinating. But it also raises a serious question: Are these the desperate thrashings of a dying movement or the labor pains of a new one? My money is on the former. Anyone who says that this is the dawn of a new age of conservatism is engaging in wishful thinking on a delusional scale.

"Simply put," Blow continues, "it’s about fear-fueled anger. But anger is not an idea. It's not a plan. And it's not a vision for the future. It is, however, the second stage of grief, right after denial and before bargaining."

Steve expressed concern for the well-being of President Obama, though not so much for fear of anyone from the right. I do agree with Charles Blow that the rantings of the right (there is no right-wing philosophy anymore) are the dying gasps of a soon-to-be extinct group of dinosaurs. But the danger to Obama could come from the monied interests who profit from war, corporatism and economic imperialism if the young president makes a restrictive turn in those areas. JFK wasn't killed in 1963 because he was starting to support civil rights or social liberalism, but because he was starting to turn against the money-making machine known as the Viet Nam War. President Eisenhower ominously warned us all of this situation in his farewell address when he expressed grave concerns about the growing power of the "military-industrial complex."

But anyway, that's another story, though a serious one.

Here's more from Charles Blow on the death and dying of the right:

"The right is on the wrong side of history. The demographics of the country are rapidly changing, young people are becoming increasingly liberal on social issues, and rigid, dogmatic religious stricture is loosening its grip on the throat of our culture. The right has seen the enemy, and he is the future. Republicans were more than twice as likely as Democrats and a third more likely as independents to have a pessimistic outlook for the country over the next 20 years. That might be the fourth stage of grief: depression. The Republican brand already has begun a slow slide into obscurity. And turning further right only hastens its demise. Quiet as it’s kept, many in the party know this. That, alas, is called acceptance."

Nicely done, Charles!



"Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones. You have a lot more creativity and originality. Now keep it up!"


Thanks... I think?!




“We have a saying in Puerto Rico: 'The bus — la guagua — always comes for those who wait.
Tony Bechara, painter, on the occasion of honoring his friend and fellow painter, Carmen Herrera, 94, who sold her first painting five years ago, at 89. Now, at a small ceremony in her honor, she was basking in the realization that her career had finally, undeniably, taken off!

Since that first sale in 2004, collectors have avidly pursued Ms. Herrera, and her radiantly ascetic paintings have entered the permanent collections of institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Tate Modern. Last year, MoMA included her in a pantheon of Latin American artists on exhibition. And this summer, during a retrospective show in England, The Observer of London called Ms. Herrera the discovery of the decade, asking, “How can we have missed these beautiful compositions?”

In a word, Ms. Herrera, a nonagenarian homebound painter with arthritis, is hot!



"Wonderful post!! Thank you PL and Happy New Year!"



Believe it or not - and why wouldn't you believe it? - this is one of the frequent questions I deal with as a therapist. Almost everyone who comes to therapy is struggling with this issue in one way or another. Whether its conflictual expression takes the form of self-deprecation - "I'm not smart enough, thin enough, young enough, rich enough..." - or as a desperate search for the "perfect" love object who is enough and more, one thing is certain: pursuing gratification in love based on external or superficial notions of "attractiveness" is a losing proposition. In 30 years of practicing therapy, and 50+ years of living, I have yet to meet even one person who found happiness in a relationship by trying to have the criteria of their "checklist" met or lived up to, either by themselves or another. Not even one exception.

Why not?

Well, it's complicated, but let me try to uncomplicate it.

It starts with the problem of "unconditional love."

Most people have heard about the concept of unconditional love, and most people have some personal notion of what it means. And most people are wrong. You see, unconditional love is the only kind of love there is, so to make it as if it's a special kind of love is erroneous to start with. Love for another, love of any kind - romantic, parental, between friends or family members or pets - is not based on the attributes of the beloved. Love is a soul force coming through the one who is loving, and received, or not, by the one being loved. One doesn't decide to love another based on anything external or superficial, in spite of ego notions to the contrary. You don't love someone because they're handsome or smart or rich. You love someone because you do.

Now, one can actively interfere with the expression or reception of love, which is a function of defenses and character structure issues. A narcissistic person, for example, once put it perfectly in a session when he said this: "I want to be the special person of a special person." Problem is as soon as said "special person" chooses that guy who wants to be chosen, the special person isn't special anymore. So the torturous loop must go on, with the idealized, fantasy love object always remaining just out of reach.

The point is when you're imagining that the unconditional love you want, which is really just love, is based on superficial aspects, then you can become desperately hooked on images of what "attractive" is.

So, then, what is attractiveness really? Chemistry? Destiny? Compatibility? And is anyone inherently attractive?

Hmm... yes, yes, yes, and... yes! But here's the thing - you can be attracted to someone because of the ways in which the desired person will provoke you into feeling something you've been suppressing, like sadness or anger. You can be attracted to someone in order to be moved to a new place in any given lifetime through conflict and loss or ego deflation. Or you can be attracted to someone because they're your soul mate and you're ready for the big orgasm!

It all depends, in other words, on your level of personal development. The more open and connected you are to your deepest, highest self, the more you will see the totality of another person - mind, body, spirit - and the more attraction will be based on the dictates and vision of the soul. And likewise, "beauty" will be seen as a measure of openness and connectedness in another, not as some arbitrary arrangements of body parts or bank accounts.

It's in the eyes, folks, where the soul can shine through, in the suppleness of facial self-expressions without a mask, in the centeredness of one's heart and in the positively charged-up genitals. That's a perfect ten! The very notion of shrinking down a nose, pumping up breasts or tightening up abs as a road to finding the love that you're internally resisting is as ludicrous as putting an expensive rug over a floor being devoured by termites.



"For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different. The past decade was the WORST for the U.S. economy in modern times. It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism -- there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable. There has been ZERO NET JOB CREATION since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well. Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.."



Check out psychologist Ellen Langer's piece entitled: "The Medicalization Of Mundane Experience: The 'Syndrome' Syndrome."


"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


No, not Sarah Palin, Orly Taitz or W. Not Limbaugh, Beck or Joe Wilson. Not even Joe The Plumber (and that's some real stupid there!)

Nope. The winner is... the right wing bloggers on the POLITICS FORUM on CRAIGSLIST!

Surprised? Well, let me explain.

Here's a place where uncensored discourse can take place on any subject related to politics, where whatever anyone wants to express is posted for all to see, without filtering or screening, free of charge, and yet, this spot in cyber space has become a repository, a veritable dumpster for the screeds of the most inane, ignorant and inarticulate of the English-speaking (barely) population. The brain-addled vitriol that is spewed on a daily basis on CL POLITICS is not just racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and paranoid... that kind of material could easily be found on many sites, or even on FOX News. No, the stuff I'm talking about is downright, low-down, not-even-trying stupid! Facts are either made up or considered non-essential to those making their mostly unintelligible "arguments" here, and the level of writing and schoolyard name-calling is such that my 3rd-grade daughter would be embarrassed by it.

Stupidity is not just a function of education, folks. One can be formerly uneducated, yet still be smart, still be coherent, still be able to discern fact from fiction and able to express themselves in a fashion that is worthy of being called a human being. No, stupidity is in many ways a choice. A choice to close off one's mind and emotional connection, a choice to rely on superstition, dogma and base impulses, a choice to act for all intents and purposes - soulless.

So, congratulations to CL POLITICS! In a decade of major bar-lowering in so many areas of civilization, you have set a new, low standard.

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