February 26, 2016

To Think or Not to Think


Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. - Criss Jami

I am a child of a simpler time. A time when a person had the pleasure of forming their own conclusions about the world around them. A time when folks were given credit for having a "lick of sense." Apparently we mere mortals are unworthy of this kind of power because it's been completely stripped away.

I must have been otherwise engaged when things changed so radically because I didn't see it happening. It feels like I blinked too slowly one day and the world I lived in morphed into something that bares no resemblance to what was in its place before the blink. 

For for whatever reason, the powers that be (or the powers that want to be) seem to believe that human beings are no longer capable of taking in information and drawing conclusions from it. There's an urgent need to translate - even the simplest of things. It seems we now need to be spoon fed our impressions and conclusions. Did we get too lazy to do it ourselves? Were we only too happy to have one less thing to do or did we all just do what I did - blink?

The news media is particularly guilty as it vies to input its various and sundry agendas in that hallowed space once reserved for our own rational thinking. They can take a simple statement and shape shift it into something that would totally confound even the X-men!

When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snap back! - Bill Copeland

Have our brains rusted shut? Who should we believe, the commentators or our own lying eyes and ears?

 Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind. 
                        - Austin O'Malley

I've also noticed that truth has changed dramatically. Now instead of being a stand alone item it shifts depending on how many times misinformation about it is reported. It goes something like this: Take the truth and change it up enough times and...POOF...the lie is not only transformed magically into truth but has taken on a new life of its own. Might this sort of stuff have worked on my parents when I was growing up? If I lied repeatedly enough about the same thing would it have been awarded enough "truth points" to actually become the truth? If that's the case can I get a do over and get back all the time I spent grounded? 

There's nothing wrong with stretching the truth. We stretch taffy, and that just makes it more delicious. - Stephen Colbert

Why do we need so much conjecture? For instance, why are we willing to let someone tell us, after a political debate, what the candidates on stage really meant? Have we so completely devolved as a species to the point of not being able to connect the dots without someone holding our hands and guiding the pencil? On top of that all we need to do is push a button to get a different version of "what really happened." We can channel surf until we come up with the the version we like best without ever activating a single brain cell in the process! Isn't life grand??

If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it - Edward Bernays

It's not just the "news" media however. We're not even sharp enough to watch a sporting event without an hour of conjecture before hand telling us what we can expect to see and an hour after letting us know what we just saw - in case we somehow missed it.

Politicians have elevated conversational hocus-pocus to an art form. Soon we'll have national museums displaying beautiful works of spin. Admission will be free if we can cut through the sticky webs at the entrances and don't mind the slime dripping off of us as we leave.

All of this worries me - apparently - since I'm writing a blog post on the topic. Maybe I'm just a late adapter. Maybe I should just get on board the train to Brainlessland and stop complaining. I see so many other people doing it that I have to ask myself: "Is it just me?" 

 But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and important requirement for success
 - Adolf Hitler

Regardless, I've made it this far drawing my own conclusions so I don't feel particularly inclined to hand that job over to someone else. Especially someone whose agenda I can't even pretend to know. Not yet at least. There's no doubt that the big wheels keep on turning and the big spin will keep on churning. I guess it's left to us to decide whether to get on board or continue to swim through the ever thickening murk ourselves. To think or not to think. That is the question!

How about you? Are you still thinking or has it become just one more thing on an already too long to do list?

February 21, 2016

The Unexpected Sabbatical



[suh-bat-i-kuh l]

Any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, or to acquire new skills or training, etc.

On October 21, 2015, I finished writing a post titled Nailing Jello to the Wall, edited it, and hit the publish button - just like I'd done time and time again since beginning this blog. I walked away - fully intending to do the same thing one week later. Then a strange thing happened. I didn't. The week came and the week went and no blog post went with it.
At about the same time, I pretty much abandoned my social media sites - stopped tweeting - stopped posting on Facebook and even stopped reading other blogs and commenting on the wonderful insights gleaned. I stopped checking my phone constantly for emails, tweets, and texts too.

I'm a consummate reader and the only thing I love more than a good read is a good "write."
Writing frees my mind - but for a time, my mind has been otherwise engaged!

 Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  - Henry Ford

In a previous post titled  The Power of the Purge, I mentioned that I'd taken part in an experiment of sorts with a friend who was learning a process called TEC which releases trapped emotions from our bodies. (Hooey! Yeah, yeah...that's what I thought too - until I saw some pretty amazing results from our sessions. You can read more about that at the link above.) 

I felt such a difference after those sessions in fact that I became fascinated with the whole process - to the point of researching it, and deciding to become a certified TEC practioner. (Didn't see that one coming - did you? Well either did I!) I felt if something so simple could release my demons, how outstanding would it be to help others find the same relief!

 Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.  - W.B. Yeats

To that end, I've been anxiously engaged in studying, practicing, and finishing up all that was required for certification. Now all that's left is to receive the certificate.

In the process of practicing with friends and family, I've seen some very interesting things. Some results were nuanced and some quite dramatic. Some of the sessions in my training were on behalf of animals. Yes, even animals (especially rescue animals) can benefit from releasing trapped emotions and they seem to get results even more quickly than their human counterparts.

I don't think there are many people that deny the mind/body connection. Studies repeatedly prove that stress wreaks all kinds of havoc on our bodies. Where does stress come from? It comes from our emotional responses to external stimuli. Trapped emotions occur when we feel any particular emotion with high intensity. It's sort of like the resonance that's left once a bell stops ringing. The energy of the emotion can linger long after the initial emotions have passed and if that energy gets trapped in our tissues, it can cause trouble for our physical or emotional health.

 I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led. - Thomas Jefferson

Ever had a bad break up? Go through some pretty terrible feelings? How did that affect your willingness to stick your toe back into the romance pool for a time? Did it color how you showed up in your next relationship? I'll bet the answer is yes. 

One of the aspects of trapped emotions that I found most intriguing was the concept of a literal, energetic, heartwall. We've all heard the cliche "I've put up a wall around my heart to protect myself." Well, it turns out that it's not just figurative. We can actually build an energetic wall around our hearts as a result of traumatic events, painful experiences etc. Those walls do, in some sense, protect us from pain. Like real walls, however, they also separate us from others. Anything that can keep out bad things, can also keep out the good. Heartwalls keep us feeling isolated and outside looking in.

 Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it, but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.
- Danzae Pace

The experience that I talk about in The Power of the Purge was just part of what I experienced when my friend finished removing my heartwall. My social anxiety also vanished. I no longer felt like I was "different" from others and didn't fit in. Instead of avoiding social situations I found myself seeking them out and actually enjoying them. Does that mean I've gone all extrovert on myself? Nope! Still need my alone time to decompress but I no longer ONLY want alone time. 

 There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.
 - Gordon B. Hinckley

I'm looking forward to this new adventure. I have no idea where it will lead and isn't that fantastic! Something to look forward to is as essential as continual learning for keeping our lives meaningful and staying engaged.

So I guess that it is possible for an old dog to learn new tricks. It's much more than possible! It's crucial in my opinion and I hope that no matter what your age, you're still finding wonder and intrigue around every corner. 

My sabbatical has been a time of learning, experimentation, mind expansion, and OK...a little break from social media. The result is I'm feeling refreshed and renewed. You know what that means right? You'll be plagued with more posts!  

How about you? Have you ever treated yourself to a sabbatical? What did you do? How did it affect you? I'd love to hear all about it!