Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Power & Powerlessness

Dedicated to Marshall Slade Agresto Smith, who killed himself the day after his 22nd birthday. His family includes French, Spanish, Native American and Lebanese blood. The blood of his life is on all of our hands.

suicide, cultural ills, guns, Marshall Smith

Marshall Slade Agresto Smith candlelight vigil dedicated to his life, which he ended with suicide with his own gun.

He was an acquaintance whom i met at the bar where I asked to dj and incorporate my own music with the set. He hung out there from time to time, when he wasn’t working as a chef. Cooking was his passion.

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to him, commenting that the way he dressed, he looked like the carpenter apprentices in Germany who wear a particular uniform and only walk between their apprenticeships, Zimmerman. I couldn’t remember the name, and intended to tell Marshall the next time i saw him.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

A Zimmerman is basically a journeyman.

I noticed the last time I saw him to my astonishment that he had a real gun in a holster carried on his belt, hanging at his stomach. He said “yeah, it’s legal here in New Mexico”. Bout a week later, i was swinging by the plaza of Santa Fe coming into town at dusk and saw all these people standing holding candles and ‘CANDELARIOS’ lined up around the center.

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

I thought to myself, which tragedy happened now around the world, a new bombing or flight disaster? I approached and tried to see in the darkness the picture setting there. I soon learned that it was a vigil for Marshall, who killed himself several days earlier. The day after his 22nd birthday he shot himself with his own gun. His family stated in the announcement of his obituary, to not let people who drink be near guns, and not let people with guns near alcohol.

I came across this article a few days ago and sensed it that it’s appropriate to the current zeitgeist.

Broken Open, Heidi Barr, grief

Broken Open Heidi Barr on grief

“Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

So I don’t think we need more guilt, or rage, or powerlessness.  We surely don’t need more entitlement, self hatred, or shame.   But we do need to grieve that which has been lost, that which has died, that which we or our children will never have, and that which is at this very moment fading away.  Stephen Jenkins says, “Grief requires us to know the time we are in.  We don’t require hope to proceed.  We require grief to proceed.”

Marshall’s one grandfather had been president of a local college, St. Johns. The other, a Native American who’s a fantastic chef, bringing the family together through this ritual and art, which his grandson Marshall adopted with a passion.

I feel that this is representative of a sickness of our culture.

We’re all ‘expected’ – by whom – cultural norms and habitual responses – to conform; i.e. in our economic incentives, the way we dress, the appendages and material possessions we obtain, through the work we do, the way we express ourselves and how we view and even interpret reality. It’s a structural conformity, that filters down to our routines and habits, the ‘weekend’ celebration, the time allotted from our economic machine to gather… otherwise – put your head down and don’t question. French, Ukrainians…question. Americans are severely brainwashed. Noam Chomsky communicated how the media contribute to this structural conformity in Manufacturing Consent. “proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion, by means of the propaganda model of communication.”

Suicides, drug addiction are all representative of cultural ills. War is a condoned, anticipated and enculturated norm which is uncanny. War and artillery, weapons and the military industrial complex are viewed through the cloak of nationalism. It is your duty, and is equated with loyalty and honor to your country. I become so disgusted with this that I often feel just disappointment with my fellow man, and have more affection, adoration & praise for other animal & life forms, including plants.

This young man was not a conformist by any means>>>>and our culture screams for conformity. Consumerism overpowers the urge for genuine communication and cooperation. We all quickly assess and judge by clothes. How do you dress? What kind of automobile do you drive? What are these things broadcasting about you? What is your job or profession? How do you make your way in the world to pay for your housing and clothes…so that you have a place to sleep when your weekend respite arrives to spend some time at home enjoying these? We drive by one another insulated in our automobiles or interact while attending an entertainment event which we usually need to pay for. The entertainment standard is something we passively ‘watch’, rather than interactively participate in. I have been viscerally thinking about this and wrote while waiting to attend the ‘visitation’…that I’m disgusted with Marshall’s suicide, feel it is representative of cultural ills – not merely family.

fiery orange sunset

fiery orange sunset

The same day that I walked out of the visitation for Marshal and caught a glimpse of this fiery orange sunset which lingered pink on the horizon as I rode away, I later communicated the circumstances to a friend living in New Mexico who also saw this sunset. She said that just that day she had been reading about the Bridgend suicides, which were this sudden increase in suicides among mostly teenagers and young adults in the last few years in Wales. I found this article about it. The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend county

“The author talks to “cluster suicide” experts…Outbreaks like this are rare but not new…They have happened in Germany, Australia, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Micronesia…Psychologists familiar with the phenomenon are saying that what’s going on in Wales is a classic case of the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next…”

“These suicides are a symptom of a deeper societal malaise.”

This was just one individual, yet it prompted me to wonder how common suicides have been in history. It’s something I’ve never really wondered aboutinternational suicide rates. It appeared from my search that this has been on the rise in a number of different countries. I can’t imagine that this was common hundreds of years ago somehow.

International suicide statistics

International suicide statistics

About the same time that this occurred, George Monbiot – an environmental, social, economic and political writer – wrote this blog. “There Is Such a Thing As Society

Why should plagues of mental illness surprise us, in a world being ripped apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th October 2016

“What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis…There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same. Human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.”

“Though our well-being is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.”

Another article and preview of the film which it refers to also presented itself during these same last few days.
From Brexit to Donald Trump: welcome to the age of hypernormalisation in London

“No one talks about power these days. We are encouraged to see ourselves as free, independent individuals not controlled by anybody, and we despise politicians as corrupt and empty of all ideas…But power is all around us. It’s just that it has shifted and mutated into a massive system of management and control, whose tentacles reach into all parts of our lives. But we can’t see it because we still think of power in the old terms—of politicians telling us what to do.”

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization, film, Adam Curtis

Still from trailer of Hypernormalization film by Adam Curtis

“The aim of the film I have made — HyperNormalisation — is to bring that new power into focus, and show its true dimensions. It ranges from a giant computer high up in the mountains of northeast America that manages and controls over 7 percent of the worlds total wealth, to the complex algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice you make online- giant computer constantly compares events happening around the world to events in the past. If it sees a dangerous pattern, it immediately adjusts its trillions of dollars to keep things stable. That is real power. The algorithms on social media constantly look at the patterns of what you like and then feed you more of that—so you enter into an echo chamber that constantly feeds you back to you. So again nothing changes—and you learn nothing new that would contradict how you feel. That too is real power.”

In the meantime, Native Americans and a handful of white people are in North Dakota trying to defend their land.

In North Dakota, Dakota Pipeline, protestors, Water Protectors

In North Dakota, the Dakota Pipeline protestors are actually Water Protectors

By the way, I learned the other day from a man I met who had been adopted by a Native American family who is a Native American Literature professor, that in contributing to the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Iroquois. The Six Nations: the Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

“The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House… The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history.”

Iroquois, 6-nations, Participatory Democracy

Iroquois 6-nations Oldest Living Participatory-Democracy on Earth

Karl Marx was also influenced by the Iroquois in his political philosophy.

In fact, every kid in school is indoctrinated into this with the daily pledge of allegiance.

United States Declaration of Independence

Second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence

And yet, I don’t particularly feel that we are all created equal, especially when those who inspired the declaration are the very people who live in sacrifice zones – A sacrifice zone is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are most commonly found in low-income and minority communities.

Speaking of Democracy, wikileaks now reveals that it is not ‘we the people’ in a Democracy who vote for our representatives, but in fact just before the last election it was Citibank who were already planning even before Obama was elected, who were going to be taking the top posts in the Federal government. This New Republic describes The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton

What John Podesta’s emails from 2008 reveal about the way power works in the Democratic Party.
BY DAVID DAYEN October 14, 201

“Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.”

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.”

 Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Meanwhile in his article addressing climate change and the disasters and devastation of the petroleum industries’, Monbiot writes in his blog “What Lies Beneath” – a nice play on words – is as biting and bold as his honest assessments always are.

“All this nonsense is a substitute for a simple proposition: stop digging. There is only one form of carbon capture and storage that is scientifically proven and can be deployed immediately: leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“Their (governments in the pocket of the oil industry) choices are as follows. 1. a gradual, managed decline of existing production and its replacement with renewable energy and low-carbon infrastructure, which offer great potential for employment. 2. allowing fossil fuel production to continue at current rates for a while longer, followed by a sudden and severe termination of the sector, with dire consequences for both jobs and economies. 3. continuing to produce fossil fuels as we do today, followed by climate breakdown. Why is this a hard choice to make?”

In the meantime,

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

The Great Barrier Reef is officially dead: http://www.theearthchild.co.za/great-barrier-reef-officially-declared-dead-25-million-years/

I am in the library with my laptop, the only place to come to, not having residual cash to pay at a cafe to sit and linger in communication with the rest of the world. I’m here among library patrons along with a regular homeless population, of which, I guess i’m sort of one. In Tucson, at the grandiose university student library, there were a lot of homeless people too. There are no places to congregate really, unless you have money to spend. I wish to continue writing blogs and doing the research to complete my book, wish to continue playing bass guitar and piano and composing music with computer programs. I am lost as to how to find an artist residency.

… I entertain myself through learning and reading and doing various creative projects, which except for the tools – is free – all the time and effort put in to it have returns in the delivery of delight and joy gained through doing something. It is empowerment through action, not through consumption.

I have been kicked out of numerous places over the last year; parent’s home in PA, the workaway on a ferry in Brooklyn, my friend’s house in PA, the WWOOF i had arranged in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, and then voluntarily from the place i could no longer afford by paying rent with my credit card…and a few other places among familiar people, because people need their space. In fact there are a lot of quite large homes here in Santa Fe and people with homes left vacant while they live in their other homes….and I now have even more stuff that I’ve aggregated to my side; a suitcase of clothes, my laptop, bass guitar, favorite piano book, camera, now a few more frisbees since I’ve joined in on local ultimate frisbee pickup games in each towns I’ve lived in…and yet am almost homeless again, as I’m living so far up into the hills – literally encroaching on the animal habitats of the animals that have no more space for their own territory to live and survive – that my back is started to feel the weight of carrying everything with me down the hill and then trekking back.

I’m going to attend the debates tonight again in a public forum, just to exchange with people around me in their loathing. I had found a place and exchanged a friendly conversation for almost two hours with the woman with whom i thought we had a lot in common, and she said she had to sleep on it, and then never bothered to call me to say she didn’t want me as a housemate. then i moved to this mountain home guest of a man living alone there whose dog I walk, and the other woman who i was going to move in with and had to wait 2 weeks + to move in, called it off at the last moment, after i’d taken down all my signs, stopped looking for housing. a day before move-in i received an email in blue ink, very comforting looking, saying that she wasn’t moving in. then i had my first day at a job substitute teaching and instead of the principal telling me that it wasn’t going to work while I talked to her about potentially exchanging positions with the music teacher substitute who didn’t know how to read music…didn’t bother to tell me to my face that the job was off, but i found a ‘system response’ later that night. Had i not seen it, i would have gotten up again at 5:30 am to get there. then last night, i went to practice bass with a band, and neither of the guys bothered to phone to tell me that this was off, in fact they were playing earlier together with another guy on bass, when the day before i was trying to arrange an alternative night to accommodate the one guys’ new job.

It appears to me that gay men control the fashion and the art industry and then a small percentage of people control everything else. I’ve put out housing ads, and there have been a few people who randomly contact me with obscure cryptic texts, and then there have been a few men who send me pics, practically sexting, to their abs in pictures.

In the meantime, An eye-opening flight over California’s dying forests
By Kurtis Alexander Updated: August 6, 2016 8:00pm

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras, California's dying forests

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras – California’s dying forests

The four crew members were halfway through two weeks of flights over landscapes shifting ominously from green to brown, and already they’d begun to draw their conclusion: The mind-boggling number of trees that have died in California due to drought — an estimated 66 million over five years — is only the beginning.

It’s creeping farther north, and to higher elevations, not only providing tinder for wildfires, but also obstructing the forests’ fundamental ability to provide clean water and absorb carbon dioxide.

All i want is an artist residency where I can physically contribute to learning about and maintaining sustainable living, while also helping to ensure animal habitat conservation. My dream; a community of people contributing this, who are also committed to completing new works on an ongoing basis, the work which blends into education and awareness of the fragile planet and interrelationships that need to be sustained. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHRE THESE EXIST? WITHOUT A WAITING LIST?

guess i'm going to have to adjust the sails

guess i’m going to have to adjust the sails

Le plus dur n’est pas de rêver, mais de ce réveiller

….the most difficult is not to dream, but to wake up…..

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music performance and composition

Happiness & Healing Oneself | Your Choice of Mind & Heart

It’s another one of those times when I’ve come across a subject that I feel is of such import that I post it on both blogs simultaneously.

In the last days I read and viewed this information, which is one small extract of many peoples experiences of either making themselves ill or healing themselves, through their own attitude and what they anticipate. If you think that someone is going to react in a certain way or something is going to happen in the way that you expect, good or bad, typically, because this is the window you’re looking through and the way that you approach the situation, it more than likely will.

http://truththeory.com/2014/04/27/is-there-scientific-proof-we-can-heal-ourselves/

Here is the youtube video of Lissa Rankin, MD’s TED talk – a presentation of the results of her research. YES, she researched and found her proof. Rankin addressed in her TED talk a group of health care professionals talking about how much their caring intention influences the health and healing of their patients.

happiness shot holding up arms Lissa Rankin talk

happiness shot holding up arms Lissa Rankin talk

I’ve written plenty of times about the subject of happiness.

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/pursuit-of-happiness-the-happy-movie-my-stroke-of-insight/ The giggling Guru and the insights of the writer’s book, “My Stroke of Happiness”.

the giggling guru Madan_Kataria

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/new-year-resolutions-happiness-through-action-one-mini-habit-at-a-time/ Talking about the satisfaction of accomplishing things through adopting mini habits that are manageable.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/the-science-of-happiness-an-experiment-in-gratitude-soulpancake-upworthy-things-that-matter/ about the importance of gratitude.

laughing buddha

laughing buddha

…and a few times about healing…

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/marijuana-out-of-the-closet-the-cannabis-cure-cbd-tincture/ The Cannabis Cure, by Charlie Bayliss and Amelia Powers “The Powers of the Mind” regarding her ability to overcome a brain tumor not with chemotherapy (which hadn’t been working) but through the decision to employ optimism, dancing and CBD tinctures – extracted from marijuana.

There may be all sorts of incidences that occur throughout the day which may trigger a stress response. Regardless of the source of the stress, our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. The body responds to stress by producing hormones that are ingrained into the ‘fight or flight’ response which is genetically built-in, from the times when humans actually did have to be prepared to promptly face or flee a threat such as a wild animal or severe weather condition. Yet, it is us who decide how to respond emotionally to interpret a situation as something inducing stress; a perception of monetary, marital, social problems, work conflicts, situational discomforts or environmental hazards etc. Our body doesn’t distinguish between the source of our stress, it simply responds to our emotional response by chemically producing hormones to interpret our emotional reaction.

You basically do have a choice in how you respond to circumstances.

The point is to actively pursue experiences that lead to feeling happier and to alleviate the stress. Making a conscious choice to allow oneself to relax, enjoy one’s environment, to enjoy simple things, engage in activities like meditation and other practices that facilitate a deeper conscious breathing, physical exercise, participating in experiences that engage with nature, eating healthy foods, spending time in the company of positive people and interacting with all sorts of animals; therapy dogs specifically elicit happy hormones because of their unconditionally loving nature. Make a point of acknowledging with gratitude what you appreciate, attune to all of the different wonderful life forms (animals and plants in our world) that are here around you, and recognize that by participating in creative activities and doing tasks that involve achieving little goals, all lead to developing more insights and a sense of accomplishment. All of these different activities that are coming through the heart, instead of through the head, will lead to the release of hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, which the body produces in association with feelings of happiness and contentment and a sense of well-being. Laugh! Go out and play!

Yes, it’s a choice.

New Year Resolutions | Happiness through Action | One Mini Habit at a Time

It’s the Winter Solstice as I write this, and a new moon. I posted earlier today a blog https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/happy-winter-solstice-new-moon-be-like-water-aboriginal-dreamtime/ mentioning the fact that it’s a good time to initiate new activities and plant seeds; coinciding with these events on our horizon. Certainly the pagan celebrations of the solstice must be the origins of the tradition of ‘New Year Resolutions’.

At this tipping point, it’s a good time to dive in.

Bruce Lee learn to swim jump in the water

Bruce Lee learn to swim jump in the water

As we all are inspired by certain images and have ideals we wish to reach, here’s what I have to say. Happiness is not so much derived by a thing, but by what you do. Sure, having something that is an excellent state-of-the-art tool is great, yet it’s what you actively do, what you craft through your actions, that results in feeling excited, enthusiastic, joyful and a sense of accomplishment. It’s through performing activities and being immersed in them and witnessing the little thresholds of achievement and just knowing the work that was put into it, that we derive happiness.

I’ve recently come across a post of a freelance writer’s guide, in Episode #20 of the International Freelancers Academy. The topic is to forget goals, and focus on habits instead. Ed Gandia states that more than 40% of the actions we do every day are not due to conscious decision making, but habits! When we are doing something habitual, we are not using all of our brain; we’re sort of on autopilot. Our minds are hard-wired that way. The mind chooses neuropathways that are already developed, the path of least resistance. That means that as we develop new habits, we’re already on our way to effectively driving change.

Specifically, he talks about creating new mini habits.

Charles Duhigg has a TED talk about his book The Power of Habit.

You can not eliminate a habit, you can only change it for a better alternative.

Though we all have various goals, often they are out of reach because we are holding them out there in front of us, and not actively participating in them. And like standing on the edge of the diving board frozen with fear, the longer we wait to dive in, the more the fear envelopes us. With this in mind, the smaller the better, so as to not intimidate yourself.

I’m working on this right now; forming new mini habits which I gradually embrace and do more of: stretching, reading, writing, composing music, contributing to the book I’m writing.

The other side of the coin, is just being present and mindful of what you are doing at that time.

Language is important as well, because this is how we  visualize and conceptualize. Eliminate ‘trying to, would like, wish to’…and

Just Do It.

We All Know This Slogan.

 

 

 

The point of developing Mini Habits, is that when we bring an action down to a small size that isn’t intimidating, we can easily jump in. Notice my change in words! Certainly, diving, jumping or just sliding in to an activity rather than looking at it from a distance, is enough of an action in itself, to push through a threshold; to consistently build new habits – gradually raising the bar of quantity and quality. Whoops, I guess that by virtue of being of western culture, the future concept of goal, slides into the picture. Best thing is to just do what makes you happy and be present as you’re doing it and go with the flow.

Bruce Lee Knowing not enough Apply Willing not enough must Do

Bruce Lee Knowing is Not enough, We must Apply, We must Do

Don’t ask me why I’m on a Bruce Lee kick, so to speak,

Steven Ho, flying kick

Steven Ho executing a flying kick

 

it just so happens that the meaning is the important gesture 🙂 Focus on what you wish to aim for, not on what you don’t want.

 

 

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”  — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Among many other achievements, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the author of the fabulous book “The Little Prince“.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Image from The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude | SoulPancake | Upworthy: Things that Matter

Since I’ve been blogging about happiness a number of times and then had the surprise and delight while living back in the United States to attend these college courses for several semesters at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania – a consortium on the subject of “Happiness” – I’m very happy to share this with all of you. I’m really starting to like upworthy.com the more I receive the postings. This particular video made me cry, bringing tears of gratitude, to realize what is truly important in life. ‘-)

Soul Pancake is, in their words, a brain batter of art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality and humor.

SoulPancake is, in their words, a brain batter of art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality and humor.

According to this SoulPancake production, scientists have discovered that one of the overwhelming indicators of how happy you are in your life, is how much gratitude you show.

They did an experiment, and encourage you to do the same.

one of the subjects of the experiment

one of the subjects of the experiment

 

another subject in the experiment on gratitude

another subject in the experiment on gratitude

The experiment, conducted by SoulPancake, can be watched in this short video on the ‘Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude’, presented by upworthy.

I’ll have to test it out too! As the saying goes, we can’t choose our family or genetics, but we can choose what kinds of people we associate with and our ‘responses’ to situations. I choose to be around people who have tolerance, respect and gratitude along with sharing humor and joy in life. ‘-) Feeling self worth and recognizing one’s value, can be disfigured, if you hang around people who constantly criticize, or for that matter, completely ignore you. Listening to one’s intuition is very important, in terms of moving towards or staying away from people, in terms of how they respond to you. Ultimately, tuning in to what makes you happy and what you love to do most, reflects those things you do best, and the path that you should be following. Often what is truly worthwhile, what has value in life, are the simple things. It has little to do with material acquisitions or wealth, and everything to do with how much one appreciates the little things and how one navigates through the little decisions and circumstances. As a single female, I recently encountered a scenario in which I began sharing company with someone who I felt did not value my presence or company. Fortunately, the ‘red flags’ went up. I can’t be happier to go in the opposite direction, and enjoy being. Enjoy!

Earlier in the year, before even concretely making the decision to return to Berlin, I was also blogging about the Science of Happiness https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/tools-for-decision-making-freewill-astrology-the-science-of-happiness/

The blog links to the Futurist, featuring two articles having to do with the subject of happiness. One written by two psychologists, David G. Myers and Ed Diener on the “Science of Happiness”. The second is about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of the “flow” theory of happiness, in which he hones into the connection between creativity and happiness.

Following are two poignant quotes by Albert Einstein:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Think about it and well, feel and digest what he means!

Tools for Decision Making | freewill astrology | The Science of Happiness

As is a growing tradition with me, I tend to create and post new blogs in pairs. The other one is http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/the-tradition-of-human-towers-in-catalan/

Song_Hay_Double_Happiness_Oranges_streets_SF
Chinese_Character_Double_Happiness

I’m presently up against making a rather major decision; where to relocate. That’s after living in Berlin, Germany from 2006 to the ‘eve’ of 2012, returning to my home town in the States in Central PA, to spend time with my parents, and now deciding where to from here. Thing is, I’m inhibited by the economic realities which make San Francisco or New York city, less attractive.

I contribute to two blogs, have nearly completed a book project that I hoisted into full gear since I have none of the typical distractions of a thriving metropolis or family of my own, intend to further produce music (live beats on my laptop) and hopefully also play bass in a band. Following my bliss! words of Joseph Campbell.

I really am kind of a self motivator type, the type of work I do is solo (outside of visiting places that host internet access for others also doing free-lance work away from home). After a while, one can feel isolated due to not having a regular ‘workplace’ environment with colleagues that one gets to know over time. Yet that is changing, with more co-working establishments popping up in a variety of towns. Berlin had some, where I met the brothers who were about to open their cooperative work environment in Paris. La Mutinerie. They had been attending a coworking seminar in Berlin at a co-op space the Betahaus and then within 24 hours I met them again where I usually brought my laptop to work, at a cafe in Mitte, Sankt Oberholz, usually swarming with laptops, and an inordinate number of Macs. I hung there regularly, often hearing at least 5 different languages in one little space. Here’s a new one http://co-up.de

All that said, besides reaching out to get feedback from friends, I’m literally with a notepad and pen, honing in to what things are important to me and what kind of community could help me to thrive; not just artistically and with the sports and my enjoyment of outdoor activities, but also in terms of maintaining income.

Knowing that I need to finally make this decision and make it quickly, ironically, today I happened to open up a different web browser (because frankly Mozilla Firefox has been getting on my nerves by always defaulting to Yahoo as my ‘home page’ despite me re-setting it every 5 minutes).

Remembering this saying: “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing, and expect different results.”

I decided to just try a different browser and

ba da bing:

upon opening Safari which I’ve used rarely, I realize that not only does it have a slicker interface design in its elegant presentation and functionality, but one window was already opened (as I tend to do when I want to go back to that material) and this was:

The San Francisco Bay Area based astrologer Rob Brezsny’s column, whose words tend to be humorous and his lean towards spiritual growth and insight into one’s own attitude. He often puts the responsibility back to the individual; to be aware of themselves, the attitudes they have and the choices they make.

This one somewhat leaped out at me, since it so resoundingly echoes my current dilemma. Oh, by the way, I’m a Capricorn sun and rising sign, with 3 planets emphasizing Sagittarius and a moon in Scorpio. All of the influences are split between 3 houses; so naturally, I read all three ‘-)) This one was quite targeted! By the way, I’ve had several people ‘do’ my astrological birth chart, interpreting it for me, and writing out all of the influences, with a rather remarkable portrait of what really has influenced me, delineating what characteristics I have, with undeniable accuracy. One of these astrologers, a woman in Taos, New Mexico, said that a person, particularly a female, should pay as much if not more attention to where her moon falls, than the sun sign.

Rob Brezsny_freewillastrology_weekMay9_Scorpio

And since this is so accurate, I began with writing two pages attempting to hone into formulating the correct questions of what I need to ask myself regarding where I should reside. Then I decided to google the article mentioned, and well, here it is, yet another angle on the subject of “happiness”; the ongoing theme I’ve been writing about, and which is popular, because more and more people are realizing that we are responsible for our own happiness.

The Science of Happiness by David G. Myers and Ed Diener
Magazine article from The Futurist, Vol. 31, No. 5

Shortly I will read it, and already have a paper out to ‘map out the foundations of my own happiness’.

Of course putting the effort behind doing the work of thinking and writing these exercises on paper, will help me towards narrowing-in on a decision.

And if I were to actually meditate on them (which I have not yet done) my heart may provide me with even more accurate and gut/intuitive information.

http://dimensionalbliss.com/2011/03/23/follow-your-heart-it-is-smarter-than-you-think/

Happiness Addendum | Recommended Reading: My Stroke of Insight

I wrote this last blog about happiness on my digesthis site, http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/pursuit-of-happiness-the-happy-movie-my-stroke-of-insight/

Now I have more to add about this book which I’m finishing, “My Stroke of Insight“. Jill Bolte Taylor also has a TED talk on the subject.

Nirvana is a mere hemisphere away; from the bustling, critical and judgmental ego centered left hemisphere !-)

I think the book should be required reading; not just for people who may know a stroke victim, but for all hospital staff, interns or any persons entering the medical profession who have contact with patients in general. In fact, it is very insightful for every one of us. The author discusses the ways in which our brains function anatomically, and how this translates to our consciousness and choices about how we perceive and operate in the world.

Rather than copying and pasting what I already wrote in the other blog, I welcome you to read it to get the gist of what the author describes after having witnessed having a stroke, from the point of view of a neuro-anatamist. I’ve taken notes on the book “My Stroke of Insight” and posted some here on the blog, along with the Appendix A & B, which contain important information about how to approach communicating with someone who has had a stroke and assessing to what degree they are able to communicate.

Here is some food for thought!

left_right_hemisphere_brain_jill_bolte_taylor_TEDtalk

p 29 Left hemisphere is a serial processor and right hemisphere is a parallel processor

p134 Many speak about how our head (left hemisphere) is telling us something while our heart (right hemisphere) is telling us to do the exact opposite. Some of us distinguish between what we think (left h) and what we feel (right h). Others communicate about our mind consciousness (left h) versus our body’s instinctive consciousness (right h). Some of us talk about our small ego mind (left h) compared with our capital ego mind (right h), or our small self (left h) versus our inner or authentic self (right h). Some delineate between their researcher mind (left h) versus their diplomatic mind (right h). And of course there is our masculine mind (left h) versus our feminine mind (right h), and our yang consciousness (left h) countered by our yin consciousness (right h). And if you are familiar with Carl Jung, there is our sensing mind (left h) versus our intuitive mind (right h), and or judging mind (left h) versus our perceiving mind (right h). Whatever language or terminology you use to describe these two parts, they stem from anatomically two distinct hemispheres inside your head.

p149 Dr. Jerry Joseph “Peacefulness should be the place we begin rather than the place we try to achieve.” “dual interpenetrating awareness”

p150 The more aware you are of how you are influencing the energies around you, the more say you will have (control) in what comes your way. Sure, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you choose to think and feel about those things. Even negative events can be perceived as valuable life lessons, and if you step to perceive things from the right hemisphere of your brain, you can choose to evaluate an experience or situation with compassion.

p151 You can become aware of the cognitive loops that are running in your brain, and focus on how these thought patterns are causing you to feel physiologically in your body. Neuronal loops (circuits) of fear, anxiety, or anger can be triggered by all sorts of different stimulation. But once they are triggered, these different emotions produce predictable physiological responses that you can train yourself to consciously observe, and then allow to dissipate in a matter of 90 seconds, that is, if you choose not to feed them!

p146 She defines responsibility (response ability) as the ability to choose how you will respond to simulation coming through your sensory systems at any time. Although there are certain limbic systems (emotional) programs that can be triggered automatically, it takes less than 90 seconds for these surges to arrive and then be flushed out of your bloodstream. If you remain angry….it is because you have chosen to let that circuit continue to run. Moment by moment you make the choice to either hook into your neurocircuitry, or to step back into the present moment with awareness, and allow the reaction to melt away as a fleeting physiology.

p155 Same thing goes with ‘negative’ thought patterns, or positive ones. It is vital to your own health, and to what kinds of vibes you put out to ripple to other people you directly or indirectly come into contact with. You can choose to hold onto joyful, happy, empathetic, playful and loving thought patterns, and send these physiologically through your body and into the electromagnetic field surrounding you to move onto other people.

p148 Feeling deep inner peace and sharing kindness is always a choice, for all of us!
-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-
Recommendations for Recovery: Ten Assessment Questions

1. Have you had my eyes and ears checked to make sure you know what I can see and hear?
2. Can I discriminate color?
3. Do I perceive three dimensions?
4. Do I have any sense of time?
5. Can I identify all of my body parts as mine?
6. Can I discriminate a voice from background noise?
7. Can I access my food? Can my hands open the containers? Do I have the strength and dexterity to feed myself?
8. Am I comfortable? Am I warm enough? Or thirsty? Or in pain?
9. Am I oversensitive to sensory stimulation (light or sound)? If so, bring me earplugs so I can sleep, and sunglasses so I can keep my eyes open.
10. Can I think linearly? Do I know what socks and shoes are? Do I know that my socks go on before my shoes?

40 Things A Stroke Survivor May Need

We would highly recommend Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight,  the story of the author’s experience with her own stroke and recovery.  We particularly like the appendix section titled “Forty Things I Needed Most.”  In fact, immediately after a parent’s stroke, it may be difficult to find time to read any more than that.  But it is well worth it:  It tells you how you can be most helpful to your parent.  Below are Taylor’s 40 things she needed most.

1. I am not stupid, I am wounded.  Please respect me.
2. Come close, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
3. Repeat yourself – assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.
4. Be as patient with me the twentieth time you teach me something as you were the first.
5. Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down.  Take your time.
6. Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me.
7. Make eye contact with me.  I am in here – come find me.  Encourage me.
8. Please don’t raise your voice – I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
9. Touch me appropriately and connect with me.
10. Honor the healing power of sleep.
11. Protect my energy.  No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors!  Keep visitation brief (five minutes).
12. Stimulate my brain when I have any energy to learn something new, but know that a small amount may wear me out quickly.
13. Use age-appropriate (toddler) educational toys and books to teach me.
14. Introduce me to the world kinesthetically.  Let me feel everything.  (I am an infant again.)
15. Teach me with monkey-see, monkey-do behavior.
16. Trust that I am trying – just not with your skill level or on your schedule.
17. Ask me multiple-choice questions.  Avoid Yes/No questions.
18. Ask me questions with specific answers.  Allow me time to hunt for an answer.
19. Do not assess my cognitive ability by how fast I can think.
20. Handle me gently, as you would handle a newborn.
21. Speak to me directly, not about me to others.
22. Cheer me on.  Expect me to recover completely, even if it takes twenty years!
23. Trust that my brain can always continue to learn.
24. Break all actions down into smaller steps of action.
25. Look for what obstacles prevent me from succeeding on a task.
26. Clarify for me what the next level or step is so I know what I am working toward.
27. Remember that I have to be proficient at one level of function before I can move on to the next level.
28. Celebrate all of my little successes.  They inspire me.
29. Please don’t finish my sentences for me or fill in words I can’t find.  I need to work my brain.
30. If I can’t find an old file, make it a point to create a new one.
31. I may want you to think I understand more than I really do.
32. Focus on what I can do rather than bemoan what I cannot do.
33. Introduce me to my old life.  Don’t assume that because I cannot play like I used to play that I won’t continue to enjoy music or an instrument, etc.
34. Remember that in the absence of some functions, I have gained other abilities.
35. Keep me familiar with my family, friends, and loving support.  Build a collage wall of cards and photos that I can see.  Label them so I can review them.
36. Call in the troops!  Create a healing team for me.  Send word out to everyone so they can send me love.  Keep them abreast of my condition and ask them to do specific things to support me – like visualize me being able to swallow with ease or rocking my body up into a sitting position.
37. Love me for who I am today.  Don’t hold me to being the person I was before.  I have a different brain now.
38. Be protective of me but do not stand in the way of my progress.
39. Show me old video footage of me doing things to remind me about how I spoke, walked, and gestured.
40. Remember that my medications probably make me feel tired, as well as mask my ability to know what it feels like to be me.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/oprahradio/Jill-Bolte-Taylors-10-Assessment-Questions#ixzz2O6cmYKcf

Pursuit of Happiness  | IDEA  | Authentic Happiness  |  PERMA | Motion

In my pursuit of happiness, a couple months ago I decided to take a trip. It appeared to be pretty spontaneous, yet I had intended to eventually make this circuit, after having lived for the last 6 years in Europe. I had moved to Barcelona in 2004 and then Berlin, Germany for a second time in 2005. It had been a while since I had physically visited these former communities and friends living there, upon returning to the United States on the eve of Christmas, 2011. My first prompt was to reach San Francisco by the day of the How Weird Street Faire http://howweird.org, which would certainly bring a lot of people together in one place, from among the community of people I knew while living in the ccc warehouse, back in the day when my housemate Brad Olsen had established the first How Weird. En route, I decided that I could visit friends in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, as I made my way to the West coast. I was originally drawn to Taos, a high desert town not far from the Colorado border and nestled in the lower reaches of the Rocky mountains, for snow skiing. I had worked at the ski area there teaching skiing for several years, then later lived in Santa Fe in 2003, teaching skiing at the Ski Basin. The point of this trip was to assess where I might wish to relocate, if it happens to be in the United States, and also to visit with friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. As I mentioned in the last blog, I found a flight to Denver, with the intention of hitch-hiking to Taos, as my first destination. After staying in Taos for the first stretch, I continued hitching on to several additional New Mexico locations, and further on to California. I successfully made it to the street fair on time, and really had a delightful visit throughout. I cut my journey short however, because of a number of reasons. Though my initial incentive was to investigate Portland and Seattle as well as Los Angeles, as potential places to consider relocating, I opted against them. Basically, I intuited that probably each of these towns offer a combination of what I’m looking for in a residence; lots of opportunities for people to participate in music, cultural, art related and outdoor sports like mt. biking, ultimate frisbee and nearby mountains for skiing and snow boarding, as well as having a solid infrastructure for bicycle routes along with a good public transportation network (with the exception of LA). However, what I would miss, is the accessibility of dipping into different European languages on a regular basis, which is typical in Berlin. I studied cultural anthropology and am fascinated by languages and the movement of them along cultural migratory routes. I have to admit that I am not too keen on monotone weather either, and really prefer the dynamics of four seasons.

My visiting adventure came to a poignant exclamation mark wrap-up, when I found myself seated on a return flight to the East coast next to a woman who had just written an article http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/elaine-obrien/2012053122448 in Positive Psychology News about health, fitness and general well being. She was touching on the subject of happiness, which I’ve ironically been blogging about numerous times. The mantra of many of my friends is ‘there are no coincidences’. Elain was returning from the 2012 IDEA Health and Fitness Convention, and had just published an article about it, writing specifically about the association. Here are their publications. http://www.ideafit.com/idea-fitness-journal

With her aura of helpfulness and kindness, Elaine was ebullient as she offered information about the subject of fitness, health and Kinesiology (movement). Years ago when I lived in San Francisco and was sketching a guy sitting next to me at a bar, he asked me to draw my ‘favorite thing’. I responded with an impromptu picture of concentric circles, indicating that this was an image of the concept of motion. Here’s the original sketch on a napkin

and a subsequent version on a card I created.

Motion

I spontaneously revealed that motion is my favorite thing; both geographical, intellectual, physical, spiritual…indicating that through moving to a new place/perspective, can one acquire a new insight. I later read Elaine’s article and saw a quote of Plato’s prominently placed at the beginning: “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical exercise save it and preserve it.”

Elaine writes that Peter and Kathie Davis started the group IDEA, to ‘inspire the world to fitness and wellness’, back in 1982, which has now grown to 65,000 members worldwide. They wanted to create “an association where fitness professionals could learn from each other and from the experts”. According to Peter, “Fitness professionals focused mostly on the body for the first 25 years. What we at IDEA have tried to do in the last few years, is to encourage fitness leaders to understand the mind, the body, and the spirit together in a wholeness model. Through this, we can inspire wellness and positive transformation.” Their incentive is to re-frame the way that people look at health and fitness, to recognize how integrally these are related to the pursuit of happiness. They wish to inspire people to make healthier behavioral changes towards wellness.

She also quotes Tal Ben-Shahar, “Exercise feels good, enhances self-esteem, induces calm, improves thinking, makes you feel more attractive, has virtually no negative side effects, is legal, and is free.” He teaches a course on ‘Happiness’ within the Positive Psychology department at Harvard, University, and has written a book “Happier”. Interviewed on The Daily Show, he mentions that students claim that the course makes them feel happier. He hopes to raise the level of happiness and quality of life in the community.

How do we understand happiness and how can we apply this to our lives? There’s a growing movement in positive psychology and for the first time a ‘science of Happiness’. A study done by the Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, not to be confused with con man’-)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman has found that people are less happy if they are too distracted. Therefore, this is not merely about physical fitness and motion, but the necessity of being ‘present’ in what you’re doing. In addition, studies demonstrate that meditation can actually affect how the brain works, so that people can feel the positive emotions more fully and be more resilient to deal with negative ones. Incidentally, my frustration with my refusal to specialize, and insistence in juggling multiple projects in disparate areas, sometimes causes me to feel like I’m not making enough headway. A few weeks ago as I was sensing this, I decided to ‘randomly’ pull a magazine out from a pile of “Utne Readers” to see if the one I picked might synchronistically deliver a message. Ahhh, the one that I slid out from near the bottom of the stack spoke ardently about my ‘problem’.

A Focused Life

It was the issue with the theme of “Focus” and “Why We Are So Distracted and What to Do About It

My airplane neighbor Elaine also talked about Dr. Martin Seligman, the Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s more than serendipity, that his homepage is “Authentic Happiness” His website welcomes visitors to use the tools and resources available for free.

An excerpt of his book, “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being” “What Is Well-Being? The Original Theory: Authentic Happiness” describes that we not only make choices because something makes us feel good, with more measurable happiness; such as pleasure, comfort, delight, joy, ecstasy. But we also can really derive happiness by being ‘in the flow’ of an activity, when we are totally engaged. This is when time appears to stop, because we are so completely absorbed in an activity that we lose track of time. Engagement is different, even opposite to positive emotion he says, because people often become so involved in an activity that they are aware of nothing, and are not thinking or feeling. The flow involves having to employ your highest strengths and skills. With respect to this, I like to make the analogy of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, when he talks about “using the force”. Seligman states that the third element of happiness that he defines in his book, is meaning. Summarizing his well-being theory since revising it further, it is encompassed in these measurable elements which all contribute to happiness, expressed in the acronym PERMA. Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning/purpose and Accomplishment.

I like the fact that my journey pulled me back to these same themes, motion and happiness, which I am engaged in perpetually, in my pursuit of happiness, fulfillment and meaning. My intention is to aspire to and maintain health, resilience and awareness, balanced with forever engaging in what I love to do, so that I can somehow contribute to inspiring and guiding others to find their own path.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/happiness/

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/guides-to-living-longer-happier-lives-right-here-right-now/

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/speaking-of-happiness-laughter-yoga-giggling-guru-madan-kataria/

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/happyness-making-the-best-of-what-you-have/

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/gross_domestic_problem_-why-measurement-of-wealth-depends-on-a-healthy-environment/

Happiness

I wasn’t sure what would be the topic of this new addition to my carol.keiter blog, which is emerging as a journal of my personal experiences and interests; inquiry into emotions, awareness and an exploration of consciousness.  However, the topic just appeared, to misquote Arundhati Roy “stories cull themselves from the writer, not the other way around”.  I went to look up the word cull, and by the way, one of the sites that i go to often, besides google, is http://thesaurus.reference.com because of my joy and need of looking up word meanings 😉    “cull” to pick out for a reason…

So, I’m sitting at my desk plugged in, to internet access.  I used to relentlessly go to one of several internet cafes, as much for my almost emotional dependency on being ‘out’ among the public, as for the fact that i hadn’t had access at home.  But now, financial poverty and a new vigor towards honing in to and manifesting my projects, is riveting me to just stay at home ‘to play at my work, and work at my play’.

I’ve managed to just ‘get by’ with various jobs that provide income, underemployed positions, peppered with those projects that pop up now and then which I find more rewarding, involving teaching English or writing.  With no regular 40 hour a week job, nor dependents, time has enabled me the ability to work on my own stuff.  Yet there’s that underlying unwritten rule, that when one has too much time, one tends to be less efficient in managing it.

I’ve been writing letters/emails to family members for years, but have decided, thanks to the suggestion of my sister Joan, who’s currently living in Paris with her British husband, to check out wordpress.com to start a blog.  That was after I suggested to her that the two of us should start a blog together, infusing it with all of the topics of conversation that we speak regularly about on our skype to phone conversations.  We’re quite the critics of economic and political policies, power and greed … and conspiracy theories which we’ve contemplated.

Presently, the topic which just emerged to me is ‘happiness’.  Yesterday as I was going about my day, I had had an energetic and calm, peaceful and happy state of mind.  It probably was affected by the mild autumn weather, sunshine and warmth, or being well-rested, or in fact the opposite, sleep deprivation, which often affects my mood – in its early stages – endowing me with a giddy delight and amusement with a lot of things, rather than being bogged down with the perpetual concerns about “what I should be doing or could be doing”, emanating from wanting to live up to ones’ potential in the face of financial insecurity, or looking back at some unpleasant experiences which bait my emotional insecurities.  Hey, |security| and the felt lack of it, could be a later emotional theme topic.

Yesterday I remember interacting with people in brief interludes, with a genuine smile, exuding an ‘i can relate to and identify with you’ warmth, with a sense of harmony and patience”, rather than “this inconvenience for me is because of you – type of anger and blame -driven annoyed response that comes from impatience” a built in not-being-in-the-moment reaction because the person already is on to the next moment in his or her mind.  Later I’d been talking with my parents, it was my Dad’s birthday yesterday Oct. 19th.  Among other topics we spoke about the UTNE Reader magazines that had been arriving & collecting back in Pennsylvania, and then my insight that I could look at their website and look at archived issues to see if any one of them in particular would be one I’d like to have sent to me.  I started doing this, and randomly clicked on a article that popped up ‘glaring at me’, “Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions”

http://www.utne.com/Spirituality/Finding-Happiness-Cultivating-Positive-Emotions-Psychology.aspx

I wound up reading this right after I had had this ‘good’ day in which I genuinely felt and exuded more contentment and presence in the moment.  And in addition to the little pleasant interactions with people, I also chose to act on my recognition ‘that i haven’t been focusing on what projects I want to develop’, by not fretting, but starting to do them.   This then percolated into feelings of more satisfaction and moments of laughter and joy at a variety of images and experiences that I had come across.

To my surprise and delight, the writer of this article mentioned, from the data extracted from their studies, some of the very same points regarding what generates ‘happiness’, which I had observed and recognized quite acutely on this particular day, within my own reactions and responses.

One was pointing out that happiness is a collection of positive moments, which often can be missed, because we’re busy worrying about the future or preoccupying with the past.  And that positive feelings such as delight, intrigue, curiosity, inspiration, awe, amusement …are stemming from one’s engaged interaction with something one is involved in, in the present moment.  The author mentions that affluence has less to do with the state of happiness (as long as one is not riveted with concern about basic shelter and security), than basically a person’s reaction to and attitude to their present circumstances.  She also speaks of genuine human kindness, the interactions that we all have on a daily basis, in which we can choose to reach out and be positive, rather than being self-engrossed with our own preoccupations.  And that a collaborative study that the author did with a man who used mathematical equations to measure the success among groups of people working together hinged on a positivity ratio (positive as opposed to negative interactions), in which they found that when people reach beyond their own concerns and are willing to listen and ask questions to others in the group, that this engages more positivity and creativity.  And with an interesting surprise and delight, but no surprise at all, as groups of people reach out more to one another and bounce ideas off each other, a “complex chaotic attractor” is introduced.  Rather than remaining stagnant and rigid, the more randomness quotient people introduce into their group – and ultimately our own lives – the less we’re mechanically going through routines with which we feel little joy or empathy, inflexibly adhering to things ad nauseam, until there’s no growth at all, but stagnancy.  So, the more we strive to learn and grow and listen and ask questions, the more we introduce random new bits of information and experiences into our lives, which then lead us to following our interests, finding creative solutions and ultimately having positive moments absorbed in a task, and happy emotions.

Okay, enough of me paraphrasing the article.  I’ll end with these direct quotes:

“Ask yourself: Am I really doing what I do best? Being employed in a job that uses your skills is a great source of enduring positive emotions.”

This ironically highlights exactly my personal status report of this day, in which I determined that I hadn’t been doing enough, and subsequently took actions for the remainder of the day leading up to reading this article, spending the bulk of my free time searching for more appropriate ways to employ myself, and ultimately engaging in what I like to do most and moving along that flow; reaching out to friends and creating in whatever medium I’m involved with at the time.

And this one:

“It’s in the ordinary transactions of life—being with others and following your interests—that positive emotions grow.”

This is a bit of an addendum to my first blog in which I began touching on the topic of “re wiring ones’ psyche” i.e. building new neuron connections by the new ways one thinks about and approaches those daily moments in life, by thinking and acting differently; towards refreshing new ideas, creative ways of living and being joyful.  Thought is a powerful thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

And I have to end this with one of my favorite quotes by Mahatma Ghandi, on Being Positive

Keep your thoughts positive, because they become your words.
Keep your words positive, because they become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because it becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because they become your values.
Keep your values positive, because they become your destiny.

Let’s Act Differently-Embrace All Life-Change Habits-Incite Responsibility-Share Incentives

I am sending this letter today, right now, to one after another individual and group on the list included at the bottom. Talk about complete transparency. I want each to realize who all the recipients are, so that they may also add to the list. I need a job, and this is what comes to mind; gathering many to coordinate education at the grass roots level, that all of us can participate in.

I’d like to work with you in starting a global, grass-roots educational campaign – coordinated between all – re: ecological emergency; informing and inspiring public response to changing habits and actions.

Hi, 

I would like to work with you towards shifting peoples’ perceptions from complacency to fully recognizing how their actions and habits make an impact on their immediate surroundings and cumulatively affect climate change. Offering education and incentives that people can relate to, to guide them to think and act differently. An edutainment campaign which reaches to the public to give them a voice, through asking them to participate in providing ideas, questions, answers and listening to their responses. The idea, that by allowing people to engage and participate, they will feel more connected, more empowered and motivated, more responsible, and feel excited and involved as they watch how their messages like waves, ripple to bring other people together. 

I don’t believe anything can happen unless everyone is involved. That’s why I’m writing to each of the (individuals and organizations) resources of information I’ve valued and whose messages I’ve shared. Altogether about 40 at the moment. In fact, I’ve just decided to include the entire list of who I’m writing to, so that each of you can fill in and add some more people or groups to the list; who may in fact be more pivotal and effective in initiating this. I’m a female American who loves to write, draw portraits, paint trees and landscapes, play piano and bass guitar, and use computer music programs to compose electronic music. My compositions often incorporate the sounds of different creatures: whales, dolphins, penguins, insects and birds, so far.

I am ready right now (as I will probably have no housing nor money to pay rent in a matter of weeks and am able and willing to relocate virtually anywhere on the planet) to join a movement that coordinates education to raise awareness and offer guidelines towards immediate action. I believe that by working together, across individual and organizational boundaries, across disciplines, that we could engage the public to respond, as if life on our planet depended on it. Well, because it does. Complacency or lack of information has no place. Leaders and polluters will not inform. Therefore, though the odds may be dramatically against us (comfort over change), we could nevertheless try to inspire a movement of actions from the ground up, for each of us to collectively change some habits, that may actually gather so much momentum that people will start to care about what BIG energy hogs and polluters are doing, and BEGIN to speak out to them. New habits are difficult to start, but if everyone starts to really engage because the same messages are rippling out to the public globally by a team of people who are echoing what you and your collaborators have improvised, there is no telling how a critical mass of people with awareness and action and their heart into it, may start to make this grass roots message really move. 

The idea is to instigate people to re-define their relationship to the planet and its life forms and inspire them to re-imagine a dramatically different relationship to all of life, in which humans act responsibly as guardians to the plants and creatures with whom we share the planet. Messages which convey the realization that our greatest treasure is the life that surrounds us, supports us and delights us on earth; containing inspirational guidelines as to how we can change our habits, to live in harmony with other life forms and feel their value; the natural cycles, beauty of flora and fauna and fertility of the earth. You could say I’m an idealist. 

I’m primarily concerned with the loss of well, everything, all life with which we could live in harmony. Defenseless species of plants and animals lose habitats through the encroachment of humans, their residual noise, air and water pollution, chemical poisoning and the formidable elephant in the room, global warming, for which human behavior and industry are responsible. A trend which could collapse all systems on earth that have sustained life as we have known it. Given, Americans are the biggest energy abusers, without recognizing their contribution through the demands they put on having ease and comfort. By its nature, the capitalist formula is based on ever increasing profits, measuring success through the GDP, without factoring whatsoever, the health and well-being of all systems on the planet. This perception and motif has been perpetuated through the mendacity of those wishing to uphold it, in their allegiance to profit. We could actually shift our awareness to valuing deeply every single species as part of the labyrinth of life on this planet which we share. Effectually shifting from the notion of primacy of humans, to one valuing and being guardians to the sovereignty of all life. 

I speak conversational German, French and Spanish, pretty close to fluent. I love to communicate. I’m presently available to relocate anywhere. I live minimally, acquire a bicycle wherever I live, have no dependents and am healthy, strong and resilient. I gained new perspectives quite different from how I was brought up in central Pennsylvania, though I’ve gathered quite different perceptions of the world through having lived in a variety of quite alternative communities (New York city, Washington D.C., Taos, New Mexico, San Francisco, California, Berlin, Germany where I lived for 7 years altogether, Paris and Montpellier, France where I lived last year for 7 months. I’m adaptable. I’m also a person who has all my life been able to walk up to strangers, approach people and begin conversations. There are plenty of other people who with the incentive to save the planet, would be happy to do the same. I have a strong appetite of curiosity and creative drive to communicate. I have to admit that many of my blogs and music need to be more concise to be more easily approachable. I’m working on delivering more elegant and simple message. I also think vlogs are the way to go, more powerful and compelling, with images and music for people who don’t have the time or patience to read.

My dream is that outspoken individuals and organizations like yourself would actually stretch across each of their own boundaries and work together to create a resoundingly clear and transparent message and movement. A message that moves people emotionally to act, because of how overwhelmingly obvious and compelling it is. And a message that is spread through teams of people who go out into the streets to talk with people and collect information from the public. Messages that are informative, humorous, and elicit community participation. I can help you to create this message, I can’t do it on my own. We can do it together.

Below are links to my blogs, music and book trailer. I am in search of the best fit.

I came upon this quote when I was writing an article in 2003 which I just re-located on my HD. This from an Adbusters article in March-April 2003 Issue, “our first problem is one of denial. (and that) our crisis is not fundamentally one of technology, but one of the mind, will and spirit.” The author wrote that our ” denial must be met with a world-wide ‘perestroika’, predicated on the admission of failure: the failure of economics, which became disconnected from life; the failure of our politics, which lost sight or the moral roots of our commonwealth; the failure of science, which lost sight of the essential wholeness of things; and the failure of all of us as moral beings, who allowed these things to happen because we did not love deeply and intelligently enough.”  

With heart, intuition and intent,

Carol Keiter

carolkeiter@gmail.com

(720) 243-2953

skype:  carol_keiter

social networks:

http://www.facebook.com/carol.keiter

http://carolkeiter.tumblr.com

résumé:

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/curriculum-vitae-portfolio

portfolio:

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/parcel-of-my-portfolio

blogs:

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/

I searched under the themes of environment and happiness in each of my blogs, which resulted in several pages in each consolidating articles on these subjects. 

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/?s=environment

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/?s=environment

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/?s=Happiness

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/?s=happiness

ebook trailer:

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/final-metamorphosis-of-the-ebook-trailer-for-adora-vitali-a-spin-on-the-matter-of-motion/

music:

https://soundcloud.com/more_nomadbeatz/sets

https://www.reverbnation.com/nomadbeatz

http://www.myspace.com/nomadbeatz

podcast:

https://deliciousmedicinalfood.wordpress.com

Recipients as of August 24th 2018:  

Alternatiba
Avaaz
Beautiful Solutions Lab
Bill Maher
Bill McKibben 350.org
Brian Thomas Swimme – Center for the Story of the Universe
Center for Biological Diversity
Charles Eisenstein – The More Beautiful World
Climate Warriors
Collective Evolution
Dalai Lama
Daniel Pinchbeck – 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl
David Wolfe – Environmental Defense Fund
Defenders of Wildlife
Democracy Collaborative
Democracy Now Amy Goodman
DJ Spooky – That Subliminal Kid
Earth Guardians
Earthling Ed
Elon Musk
Gabor Maté
Gar Alperovitz – Democracy Collaborative
George Monbiot
Global Climate Action – Climate Network
Greenpeace
Interfaith Power and Light
International Animal Rescue
James Gustave Speth – World Resources Institute WRI
Jeremy Narby – Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
Joe Brewer
Jon Stuart
Michael Moore
Naomi Klein
National Geographic
National Resource Defense Council – NRDC
Next System Project
Noam Chomsky
PlaceToB – Paris COP21
Pope
Prince Ea
Rob Brezsny
Russell Brand
Save Animals From Extinction
Stephen Colbert
Trevor Noah
Vandava Shiva
WildEarth Guardians
WWF – Nikhil Advani – WWF Lead Specialist, Climate, Communities and Wildlife

False Dichotomy | Separate from Self | Gabor Maté | Michael Gregor | Shift

Unprecedented this time around with each of the blogs, is my intention to connect the two in meaning. Describing in each case an illness born of separation, and the prescribed means of emerging from this separation with an anecdotal film. Each contain points that will be woven into my book. I’ve created a connection between this and the other blog which I’m sending out to cyberspace – double happiness.

The spiritual and collective social bankruptcy is evident with the continued violence and addictions that stem from a separation from self.

On the frontier of ‘systems theory’, the Hungarian-born Canadian physician Dr. Gabor Maté recognizes that many conditions which people find themselves in are the direct result of their behavior – coping mechanisms – from what they experienced in their infancy.
Maté has masterful insights into the human condition.

Gabor Maté talks of the intelligence of the body When the Body Says No.
— Caring for ourselves while caring for others.

Gabor Maté When the Body Says No

Gabor Maté When the Body Says No intelligence of the body

He states that all physical and mental illness, misaligned behavior, criminality…comes from the trauma a person had in childhood. That ultimately every child entering the world needs to feel the security of attachment, a connection to another human being which extends into a feeling of belonging, together with a sense that they are being and doing ‘who they are’, true to their authentic self.

Maté suggests that most human malfeasance is related to a person’s experience as an infant, due to either not having a sense of security through not having had a significant attachment to another person (parent/caregiver) or having been prevented from expressing who one is. The latter for example, told to keep quiet, that you are in the way, your opinion doesn’t matter, criticized for each move one makes.

He believes that Western medicine continues to reinforce this dichotomy between the body and mind as well as the individual from the social and familial context. This concept of a false separation is what instigated me to correlate the topic with my digesthis blog, in the context of believing that we are separate from our environment.

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/false-dichotomy-separate-from-environment-zero-point-energy-john-searl-brian-oleary-thrive/ This false sense of separation is what has lead to a mass unconsciousness about who we are and how much we are physically, spiritually and emotionally inextricably a part of our environment.

Maté mentions that this ‘separateness’ point of view interferes with the way that intellects accept information. They stand above what they are describing “behind their intellectual armor”, detached and removed. In their silos of research, they have a difficult time separating themselves from the structure of how they see things from what they’ve studied, to see a larger picture. Caught up in looking through the screen of what they know and have already adhered to as the correct picture, it’s difficult for them to envision a particular disease or symptom as the result of behavior that the child adopted (repeatedly) to compensate for the connection they lacked or being sidelined from being themselves. And that the repetition (like building a muscle or letting it atrophy) embedded in behavior as a coping mechanism, is what leads to substance or food abuse, negligence, suppression of feelings, continual anger or fear, or continued disillusionment and frustration from being obstructed from follow one’s own voice and dreams, is ultimately what makes a person ill. Completely connecting the gut, heart, mind and body…which can best be remedied through connecting all of these in the healing process.

Thich Nhat Hanh Guarding Knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Guarding Knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge.

The emotional centers in the brain are wired for attachment. They are connected to the nervous system electrically. A hormonal immune system, with chemical messengers that travel to other organs; the brain reads what’s happening to the body. The gut has more neurons than the brain, and is sending messages continually to the brain. The gut feelings read the body language of a person. The heart also impacts our brain and physiology.

Many of us have been taught to override our gut feelings with what our intellect, our thoughts and conditioning have told us is more important to believe, when in fact there are plenty more neurons in the gut to bring that wealth of insight.

An infant picks up on signals of body language that translate emotions, with gestures, voice tones that attune them with the message. Even though they have not learned language, they can grasp the truth. He talks of the vast network of neurons connecting the brain, heart, gut, bones and immune system; more neurons are delivering messages from the gut and heart to the brain than the reverse.

Brain develops under the impact of the environment. Wiring the brain is a long-term trait, from a state of the brain to a habitual response. The pharmaceutical industry comes along and brings out pills that treat the symptoms, but do nothing for brain or psychological development. They just increase levels of hormones like dopamine, that has been diminished in the child due to stress. In fact Maté claims that these are not genetic disorders but the result of transgenerational transpersonal familial and cultural patterns are transferred from one generation to the next. One can’t blame a parent when in fact the parent is the result of how his or her parent were as a child. He mentions also Thich Nhat Khan interbeing.

Gabor Maté Attachment, Disease and Addition

In this shorter video on Attachment, Disease, and Addiction he mentions that though the classical Western worldview separates the body from the mind and the individual from the familial and social context, we need a cross disciplinary bio-psycho-social model. He talks of the fact that in traditional medicine, specialists study a type of cancer on a cellular level, yet are dramatically overlooking the obvious, that a cell lives inside a body, within a system relaying chemical, biological, emotional, psychological and social information. One can not separate the cell or the immune system from the stresses that may be occurring physically, socially and emotionally. Trying to understand the biology without understanding the psychological and social relationship is futile. “You can’t study cancer in a cell without seeing the whole relationship. It’s like studying a traffic jam by looking under the hood at the engine of a particular car.”

“When you live in a society that objectifies people, you have to ignore their fundamental emotional and spiritual needs. We live in a society with a pathology of normalcy. The ideological blinders that keep us from looking at the really simple realities of human relationship. Emotional denial serves a broad political and economic perspective, so that the mainstream culture focuses on diversions rather than genuine investigations, which threaten the very foundation of the society.”

One of the points Gabor Maté brings up in this second talk is how one can distance oneself from really seeing a situation, particularly if one is responding on an emotional level that contradicts what knowledge base they have been building.

• Thoughts are eclipsed by emotions.
• The better trained one is at looking at something through the intellectual scaffolding that they’ve built, the less open they are to new perspectives. They can remain shrouded by the intellect. When in fact the heart, gut and immune system of the body are constantly sending out messages.
• Meaning comes through an emotional response. In terms of addictive behavior, once you begin to ask why, you are already opening the door to find answers. That is, once you become aware.

pharmaceutical have nothing to do with it, it is nutrition and diet

Gregor describes that nutrition is what leads to health.

One of the crucial distinctions we have to begin making, is that what we eat is inseparable from our health or illness. Incredulously, the American Medical Association and other government health offices as well as the majority of medical schools across the country, do not even offer classes in nutrition, nor do doctors talk about the subject to their patients, as Dr. Michael Gregor points out in his talk. Doctors are seduced by pharmaceutical companies to hand out prescription medicine, yet not to talk about diet, when the food that people consume is the leading cause of death due to ‘impoverished’ diets.Dr. Michael Gregor talks of Food as Medicine.

Gregor talking about nutrition, specifically a plant-based diet


The movie “The Shift” put together by Collective Evolution, also talks about meaning conveyed through events that have a strong impact. They talk of 911 as one of the collective onsets of a shift in perspective. The old worldview of people as a commodity and as expendable, and view that the end justifies the means, just isn’t working any more.

The Collective Evolution III: The Shift | Official Release 2014, To change the state of our world, we have to change the state of consciousness that is within us.

The Collective Evolution III: The Shift | Official Release 2014

According to the Collective Evolution’s movie Shift:

“We’re seeing the disintegration of the old worldview and moving into a new one that hasn’t quite constellated yet, it’s been apparent as a growing movement; a political, economic, spiritual awakening, new thought paradigms, that starts with the self realization of looking fearlessly that embraces it.

What can we do?

1) continue learning, continue to research & spread the word to others.
2) vote with your dollars. use your money to show your support of the type of world you support; stop buying needlessly, organic and local foods, instead of industries that maintain this system
3) use the power of numbers; get together with others, join a cause, raise awareness to things that can reshape our world, having larger numbers shows the power that we hold over the elite
4) get together with those in your community to create change; community projects, get to know those around you, break down the illusion of barriers that create separation around us
5) opt out of the system in any way that you can; our system requires our participation and support to keep going; recognize the power that we have
6) start with you; reflect on your worldview and your consciousness; is the world you see today really the world you want to live in? we can think about why it is the way it is

The most suppressed technology is our higher consciousness

Our state of consciousness, or world view, needs to change in order to change the world.”

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