Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"When It Rains... snows."
(Quote attributed to FL State U. football coach Bobby Bowden)

This is the quote on my stupid-quotation-a-day desk calendar. Good timing, too. We had a beautiful 1/2 inch snow last night that covered the ground and highlighted all of the trees and bushes. By morning, it was mostly melted and the sky sort of rainy. Guess the coach was right.

Speaking of silly quotations, have you ever heard someone exclaim, "I'm on top of the world!"? Unless are dead or spelunking, isn't everyone on top of the world?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Social-O-Meter Reading: High

While you all have been very quiet in the "Comments" area (is anyone still reading??), I've been making up for lost time in the social arena.

I went out with friends for dinner Friday night followed by attending a kickoff event for The Cradle Project. Bought a piece of art and met an interesting fellow named Hector.

Saturday afternoon, I met the new love interest of a friend of mine. She and I shared many common interests: hanggliding, bonsai, sumi ink brush painting and dancing. I approved of my friend's choice.

Saturday evening, Hector called and we went out for dinner, then to a play titled "Duet for One" and followed these with fun at the Reptilian Lounge held at the Orpheum and sponsored by the Tricklock Theatre Company. This is a wild cabaret of various musical and comedy acts interspersed with other crazy antics too bizarre to describe. (I won the grand prize drawing for the night/morning.)

Two nights of back-to-back staying up until 4 or 5 AM is always invigorating. I polished them off with a potluck lunch and an annual meeting Sunday at the church, followed by a new hypnosis client and a drop by a friend's house to see him and his baby served to finish me off.

I went to bed at 9 PM, turned down an offer at 11:30 to go to a friend's house, and slept until 7 this morning. Today my time is shelter work from 8:30-3:30, one hypnosis client, back to work at the shelter at midnight to supervise a new employee. Tomorrow: hypnosis client, shelter work, simplicity & meditation group at church.

"Typical life for Dennis," as my friend Melissa would say.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Need Some Medication for Your Medication?

My landlord has loaned me a small television for a while. I've been watching and am amazed at how many commercials there are for prescription medication.

What really has me laughing, though, are the disclaimers that take up nearly a fourth of the commercial itself:
May cause bloating and irritation of the bowels; has been known to increase risk of severe heart attack in persons over the age of 40; other known complications include: naseau, migraines lasting over a period of two days, blurred vision, bleeding with urination, ulceration of the stomache, disorientation and possible stroke. Do not take if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or are a cat.
Well, I made up that last part about the cat. But you know what I mean if you've seen any of these ads. What's even funnier is that they deliver all of these dire warning with a straight face as if still expecting you to desire risking all of that for a few hours of medicated sleep.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Did I post about how the movie "The Secret" came into my life? How about when my high school class ring returned to me after 12 years? The strange re-appearance of my first pocketknife?

No? Well, maybe another time. This post is about something different.

It's something about centeredness, prayer, mindfulness, controlling the autonomic nervous system and maybe a little bit about just having one's eyes wide open.

It is at least about an interesting synchronicity....

  • In college, I had a professor who could lower his body temperature by a degree or two just by focusing on biofeedback.

  • Years ago, a friend of mine came from Germany to study mindfulness in Worcester, MA. I read about it at the time.

  • I went on to learn quite a few meditative practices as a monk.

  • I've always been drawn to simple and earthy persons who look deeply at life while also treading lightly.

  • While in Boston, I briefly enjoyed the acupuncture services of a friend, fascinated by its combination of ancient wisdom and modern science.

  • My hypnotherapy training focused on very similar things being explored in the realm of quantum physics and the power of the mind.

  • All of this fit well with my rooted spiritual beliefs.

  • Recently, I learned in my peer review group (the "La Mente Collaborative") about some biofeedback, parasympathetic work that one can do while hooked up to a computer game. The objective is to achieve levels of the game through altering things like your heart rate, breathing, temperature, etc. I've been trying to borrow a copy of the program for testing.

  • This past Tuesday, I joined a 7-part series at my church on simplicity. It involves presentations and discussions on things like world-wide fair trade, debt reduction, personal clutter. And the evenings include a silent meditative group sit. Sort of a mild and westernized sangha.

  • If you read the righthand sidebar of this blog, then you have also noticed that lately my reading has begun to include some interesting psychological titles. (And if you haven't, you are missing an evolution of book, music and movie titles there.)

Recently, my therapist has begun to push me toward what he calls the "third wave" of psychology. The first was Freud and psychoanalysis. The second was Skinner and other cognitive behavioralists. The third is purportedly more like the movie "The Matrix." It is a blend of east meets west. It is acceptance and commitment therapy. It is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

So this week, I went in to see him and he said that he felt it was time to hook me up to a computerized program to check on patterns of coherence. It is one of the biofeedback programs that helps train the user to control thought and physical repsonses.

To make a complex story simple, many parts of my life are continuing to weave together a compelling fabric. I keep returning to things like mindfulness, meditation and observance. It is interesting to me, too, that some of my clients have begun to ask for spiritual direction, as well as hypnosis. I keep getting directed back to my center. Being present in the moment.

Guess my new year's resolution held more for me than I was conscious of at the time.

(I think the hotlinks in this post are worth your browsing time. Enjoy!)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wish I'd Written It

Dear Mr. President,

Thanks for your address to the nation. It's good to know you still want to talk to us after how we behaved in November.

Listen, can I be frank? Sending in 20,000 more troops just ain't gonna do the job. That will only bring the troop level back up to what it was last year. And we were losing the war last year! We've already had over a million troops serve some time in Iraq since 2003. Another few thousand is simply not enough to find those weapons of mass destruction! Er, I mean... bringing those responsible for 9/11 to justice! Um, scratch that. Try this -- BRING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST! YES!!!

You've got to show some courage, dude! You've got to win this one! C'mon, you got Saddam! You hung 'im high! I loved watching the video of that -- just like the old wild west! The bad guy wore black! The hangmen were as crazy as the hangee! Lynch mobs rule!!!

Look, I have to admit I feel very sorry for the predicament you're in. As Ricky Bobby said, "If you're not first, you're last." And you being humiliated in front of the whole world does NONE of us Americans any good.

Sir, listen to me. You have to send in MILLIONS of troops to Iraq, not thousands! The only way to lick this thing now is to flood Iraq with millions of us! I know that you're out of combat-ready soldiers -- so you have to look elsewhere! The only way you are going to beat a nation of 27 million -- Iraq -- is to send in at least 28 million! Here's how it would work:
  • The first 27 million Americans go in and kill one Iraqi each. That will quickly take care of any insurgency. The other one million of us will stay and rebuild the country. Simple.

Now, I know you're saying, where will I find 28 million Americans to go to Iraq? Here are some suggestions:

  1. More than 62,000,000 Americans voted for you in the last election (the one that took place a year and half into a war we already knew we were losing). I am confident that at least a third of them would want to put their body where their vote was and sign up to volunteer. I know many of these people and, while we may disagree politically, I know that they don't believe someone else should have to go and fight their fight for them -- while they hide here in America.
  2. Start a "Kill an Iraqi" Meet-Up group in cities across the country. I know this idea is so early-21st century, but I once went to a Lou Dobbs Meet-Up and, I swear, some of the best ideas happen after the third mojito. I'm sure you'll get another five million or so enlistees from this effort.
  3. Send over all members of the mainstream media. After all, they were your collaborators in bringing us this war -- and many of them are already trained from having been "embedded!" If that doesn't bring the total to 28 million, then draft all viewers of the FOX News channel.

Mr. Bush, do not give up! Now is not the time to pull your punch! Don't be a weenie by sending in a few over-tired troops. Get your people behind you and YOU lead them in like a true commander in chief! Leave no conservative behind! Full speed ahead!

We promise to write. Go get 'em W!

Michael Moore

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The blog host is migrating all blogs to a new format. Unfortunately, that means that I lost all of my sidebar content. I'm trying to retrieve it.

In the meantime, you'll just have to stay entertained by only the post and comments themselves.

Would You Like Some Quicklime to Go With Your Latte?

I had a most interesting and consumerly wasteful beverage this morning: a self-heating double shot latte. It comes in an insulated can that you turn over and pull off a "tamper-proof bottom to reveal a plastic button. Pushing that button releases some green-colored water into an outer chamber where it mixes with quicklime. This concoction then creates heat. After about 5 minutes a pink dot on the can turns white, indicating that the contents are hot. Twist a plastic lid to line up with the top's pull tab, pull and drink. After finishing all of the drink, the can was still as heavy as it was before I consumed it. All this for only $2.99!

I am pleased to have added (before breakfast even!) my daily recommended amount of trash to our country's landfills.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Watch that Language

I love differences in languages, their usage and translations.

Today, I asked my assistant--who moved from India to NM last April--to put an appointment on her calendar. She sent me this response in e-mail:

    OK. I'll.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Anonymous asked me in my last post if I had made any resolutions. I’m not much of a new year celebrating kind of man. New Year’s Eve has always seemed to me like any other night and the next morning like any other day. A lot of hoopla about an arbitrary date set on a calendar.

But I do appreciate hallmarks that celebrate transition. So as I went to bed last night, I used the pedogenic sleep transition to contemplate any change I desired.

One thing that I’ve been working on lately within myself is a bad habit of rumination. You know how you have an encounter with someone only afterwards to find the right words you wished you’d said? Or, after an argument at work you imagine a future encounter and craft the perfect imaginary exchange?

I find that I create and live out various formulations of past and future possible encounters more and more often. I fantasize about a perfect dinner out. I have an uncanny ability to inspire positive change in my friends. I slice through the matter so precisely that I even amaze myself. I rework and correct my past fumblings.

This habit grows especially strong when there is no one with whom to process my days. Often times, I work, go home and then go back to work without ever having had any conversation that debriefs my experiences. So I play out the conversations as a kind of way to internally process my days, both previous ones and imagined future ones.

But the neurological grooves begin to cut too deeply; I find that more easily and more often I am living in time that is not the present moment.

So my resolution is:
    No more imaginary relationships, either good or bad.

    I resolve to fill my time with real encounters with real people, and to use those times for meaningful interaction.

    (Photo: Snowman and cat built by my landlord's kids.)