Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mind Control

I used to think that mind control meant using my mind to control things, things like emotions and experience. Now I realize that mind control is really about controlling my mind.
I recently have had a couple of mornings without guilt, moments in which I regarded who I am, what I had done the night before and even what I might do that day as neither good nor bad, just me being me. In those moments, I felt happily compelled to keep doing things better and better.

Guilt, as a negative motivation, pales in comparison to love as one's source for desiring, doing and being.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why I Love Autumn

The real reason I moved to New Mexico...

Roasters are beginning to appear in parking lots and weekend farmer's markets.
I love to listen to the crackle of the roasting chile and to smell its amazing aroma.
Bag and let steam for three hours and then, finally...
If only this were a scratch-n-sniff blog!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Understanding & Time

Just an update today:
I finished two weeks of housesitting for Brian and Susanna last Monday and began housesitting for James and Craig on Thursday. Will housesit for Lyn and David beginning Tuesday. It helps to pay bills.

More than an update:
Work has been, on average, 10-12 hours a day, attempting to fill two positions at once. No, I'm not getting paid for two positions...I do it because I believe in the work. Contrary to what staff and even residents perhaps imagine, I'm not getting rich. If I was, I wouldn't be housesitting every week and still seeing clients in my hypnotherapy practice.

I do the work, for the most part, because I like it and I believe that I am making a difference.

I am also learning why persons in positions of leadership can sometimes appear harsh or non-responsive. I'm learning that everyone (quite naturally) thinks that his or her issue should be top priority. In deciding priorities, however, someone's issue is always going to be listed lower than some other issue. No matter what issue gets ranked lower, for someone that issue is the most important; they will never accept that it shouldn't be given immediate attention.

For example, one person was recently disgusted that I did not respond to his offer to help within three days of his sending me an e-mail offering to volunteer. Of course I was grateful to have another volunteer, but among the days' priorities of meeting deadlines for submitting a grant request of $8,000, of getting signed documents to city hall for a $115,000 weatherization project, of hiring two staff members so that the shelter could actually remain open with staff, of getting drivers so men can make their doctor's appointments, of paying 10 bills to vendors like those who do our laundry and the utilities company for basics like lights and water, his individual e-mail was not high on my to-do list.

For safety reasons and to respect the confidentiality of our residents, certain screening processes are in place. I'm sure the volunteer didn't know that bringing on a volunteer involves about 3 hours of time. Had I responded to him in a timely fashion, something else would have had to give. Perhaps the missed deadline would mean that 71 men a night had to continue with insufficient heating and cooling in the shelter because a contract deadline was misssed.

I'm not complaining, though it would be ideal if folks realized that we are on the same side working for the same cause. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue and accept that, were the tables turned, I'd probably have the same complaints as does the other person and that s/he would likely take the same action that I am taking. I tend, like most humans, to see things from my own perspective and to believe that that is the reality. I often forget to view things from another's point of view.

I don't know, for instance, what went into play for that person to volunteer his time. He may have been deliberating for days and finally decided that this was how he was going to contribute to society. He may have just finished a long night of depression, emerging with this offer of volunteering as his link back to meaning in his life. So of course, his request to hear back from me was of the highest value and importance in his mind.

Meanwhile, from my perspective, other issues were higher priorities. And if I were to not even take any action on any issue, but were simply to take time responding to everyone who presented an issue, I could easily spend over half of my day accomplishing nothing! I think that is part of why leaders have to accept that they will never meet all of the needs and expectations of everyone and why they sometimes just ignore requests to effectively move on with the bigger picture.

Anyway, the dynamics are interesting. I haven't presented them very well here, but perhaps enough to illustrate what I've offhandedly been thinking about. It is something that fascinated me back when I worked with the bishop in Massachussetts as he dealt with 90,000 people and their requests. My level of playing field is only about 90 people and their related issues.

I'm sure that someone out there in the world of academia has a word for studying what I'm talking about.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Well Said

I was waiting in the lobby for Health Care for the Homeless when a lady passed by with Les Miserables printed on the back of her shirt.

The guy I was waiting with chuckled to himself, "Ha. Less Miserable!"

It's nice that he could have a sense of humor while he awaits an open heart surgery. But it is equally sad and immoral that our society continues to offer the best health care to those with the most money, while offering little to none for those without money. Like Michael Moore said, can you imagine if our fire department would only respond first to those who had fire insurance, or if they would force choices about what part of a house you want saved since your insurance plan only covers certain procedures? Why do we stand for it in health care?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Final Touches

Remember my post about city workers cutting back all of the trees along the fence because they "needed a 3-foot clearance for the new sidewalk"?

Guess what? The workers are back: planting trees along the sidewalk!
Here they are:

The three finalists for the '2007 Greatest Ass in the World Contest'




I'm going for number two. Middle of the road, that sort of thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On Sex, Part Two

Once more from Ayn Rand, then we move on:

...observe that most people are creatures cut in half who keep swinging desperately to one side or the other.

One kind of half is the man who despises money, factories, skyscrapers and his own body. He holds undefined emotions about non-conceivable subjects as the meaning of life and as his claim to virtue. ...he can feel nothing for the [people] he respects, but finds himself in bondage to an irresistible passion for a slut from the gutter. He is the man whom people call an idealist.

The other kind of half is the man whom people call practical, the man who despises principles, abstractions, art, philosophy and his own mind. He regards the acquisition of material objects as the only goal of existence. ...He will not acknowledge, but he knows that sex is the physical expression of a tribute to personal values. So he tries, by going through the motions of the effect, to acquire that which should have been the cause.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Sex

More from our guest blogger, Ayn Rand:

…sex is not the cause, but an effect and an expression of a man’s sense of his own value….

They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you…. But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the [person] he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself. No matter what corruption he’s taught about the virtue of selfishness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment—just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity!—an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exaltation, only in the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and to accept his real ego as his standard of value. He will always be attracted to the [person] who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the [person] whose surrender permits him to experience—or to fake—a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of [person] he can find, the [person] he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer—because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut.

He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it…. But the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to a [person] he despises—because [that person] will reflect his own secret self, will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud, will give him a momentary illusion of his own value and a momentary escape from the moral code that damns him…. He will scream that his body has vicious desires of its own which his mind cannot conquer…. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex—nothing but shame.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On Guilt

"An issue of guilt, he thought, had to rest on his own acceptance of the code of justice that pronounced him guilty…. What sort of code permitted the concept of a punishment that required the victim’s own virtue as fuel to make it work? A code—he thought—which would destroy only those who tried to observe it; a punishment, from which only the honest would suffer, while the dishonest would escape unhurt."
-from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

(More of what I'm currently reading in sidebar to the right.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Social Services

Today I received an interesting e-mail from a friend who had been sent the following perspective regarding social services:

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government?distributes my taxes as they see fit.

In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test, and I have no problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sit on their ass all day doing drugs, while I pay for it.

Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

My friend asked for my thoughts about this. Here is my response:

I think that a larger consideration may be hidden in the question, that is: whether or not social services should be used as a reward to performance that society deems appropriate. In the message [above] that example is: if you don't drink alcohol or use drugs, then you earn social assistance.

Many who work in social services believe that some of the reasons people need assistance in the first place are the problems/challenges/addictions/etc. present in their lives, and that it is illogical to ask of them that they first have their problems resolved before they qualify to receive assistance. In short, this belief is that assistance should be given first so that change may occur, rather than expecting change first and then rewarding with assistance. An example would be when sobering services require persons to be sober before they qualify to enter the program.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sean & Rufus

Monday night was an excellent experience of music and weather (lots of lightning and some rain)! I went with a friend to the Paolo Soleri amphitheatre in Santa Fe
and sat in the 8th row to see and listen to Sean Lennon (yes, John's son)

and Rufus Wainwright (Loudon Wainwright III''s son).
It was great to hear this generation's creativity. Check out their Web sites by clicking on their names above. Can you guess by the sites which guy has the biggest ego?
Post comments to vote.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Very busy right now.

Also attending class in Santa Few tomorrow through next Tuesday. Will add "NLP Practitioner" to my hypnotherapy skills and will qualify me for renewed certification as a clinical hypnotherapist.