Don't Let Toxic People Thrive On You

Sunday, November 23, 2008 13 comments

I am very careful about who and what I allow into my life. Anyway that you look at it, it is a shield I attempt to build around myself.

I am a firm believer, as you well know if you have spent anytime on this site, that like attracts like. We are, and bring into our lives that which we think about. This thought creates the next moment and action, and so on. Every person, and situation creates a perception, and you begin to become, that which you surround yourself with.

Because of these beliefs, I do not watch much TV at all. If I want to know what goes on in the news, I look on line, so that I can filter in only what I choose to. I do watch a movie now and then, but even then, I am careful about what I watch. I want to surround myself with as many good vibes as possible, and attempt to filter out any of the negative ones.

One of the biggest contributors, in my opinion, that chips away, bit by bit, at our self-esteem and confidence is, our :”Bad Twin”, as I like to call it. You know who I’m talking about. We all have one, and at times, we all let it take control over us, and it almost always has disastrous results. This “Bad Twin” comes in many forms, but for the purpose of this article, I am only going to talk about one.

It’s that loud voice that sometimes shouts, and sometimes is whispering quietly, inside our heads telling us all kinds of crazy little untruths about ourselves, others and some situations. It snatches a hold of our magnificent imaginations, and then seems to take great joy in making us miserable, by saying things like; I’m too fat; too short; that was stupid; you dummy; why I can’t do that, and the list just keeps growing. Sometimes, it concocts elaborate story lines to go along with it, because once it has gotten our curious imaginations to give it a hand, there is no telling where things can go from there.

It also likes to listen to and storehouse all those nasty things that others have said to us over the years, and it stores them all deep inside our mind where we are usually too busy with our lives to bother to go look for them and clean house. Then bam, when you least expect it, or least need it bothering you, it starts pulling out some of those memories…just so you don’t forget…and starts talking inside your head. I am learning to filter out these thoughts, as well. They only bring in, and create negative vibrations and energy into my life. I am learning to change the “nasty voice” within my head, replacing it with encouragement.

When it comes to people, I am even more cautious, and because of this, I have been accused of not letting people in, which many times is true. I am one of those that have many acquaintances, but very few people I consider to be friends, and I shower all of my love on those few. This fact, often times, bothers me, because I want to be able to give freely of myself to all people without reservation, or expectation of anything in return. Everyone has something special to offer, even if you have to look a little harder with some than others, to find it, and bring it to the surface.

This creates a conflict within me, at times, because I believe that we become like those, and are transformed by those, that we associate ourselves with. I know who I am attempting and working very hard to be, and I want to surround myself with those people that are working at being that same sort of person. Those people that respect me, and make me feel good about myself. I want to be with those people that encourage, and lightly nudge you towards your aspirations, and to stay away from those that suck out my spirit and power, for no other purpose but to make their selves feel better. Because they have so little self-esteem and confidence in themselves, or aspirations of improving who they are, and where they are going, and hate to see others that do.

Guy Finley, who has written over 30 self-transformational books and audio programs, states that we should stay away from these four types of “toxic people”, and by recognizing and learning about these people, it will help us to identify some of these traits and gray areas within ourselves.

Muckrakers – These people relish in being a victim, and love to drag up a past emotional pain, and relive the anger, hurt, resentment that goes along with the memory. Always living in the past, and blaming it for the reason they are unable to accomplish something today.

Mud Slingers – We have all come across the person that thrives on putting others down, judging, criticizing, either to their face, but most normally, behind their back. Gossiping about anyone that has ever had the bad luck of entering into their lives, and they love to pull whomever they are not talking about at the moment, into their web, to listen, and hopefully join into their current crusade.

Swamp Dwellers – These people thrive on low vibrations and dark dissonance, and seek out another human to play out their endless need to dredge up dreadful mental images of past and future events, for the pure sake of the reactions they produce.

Life Haters – These people refuse to see anything good that life has to offer, and look for anyone they can to feel sorry for them, and to deal with their anger, cruelty, and irritation with life, and to feed their addiction to their own gloom.

Of course there are others:

The alcohol and drug abuser.

The sufferer – who always has some sort of peculiar ailment or another, when they are not being paid enough attention to.

We all have come across these people, and most of us, at one time or another have had part of these traits within ourselves, even if just for a short time. Sometimes you can’t avoid them, such as a co-worker, but we have to make every attempt at not allowing them to suck us into their web. We have to know and recognize these games, and see it for what it is, whether it is coming from someone else, or from within ourselves.
Just as harmful viruses require a human host to exist and thrive, so do negative states require the unconscious consent of human beings to carry out their dark mission. For what power does a negative thought have other than the power to convince a person to do its bidding? The answer is none!
When we begin to consciously withdraw our consent to associate with toxic people, and the toxic thoughts and feelings inside of us, we leave them with no place to thrive. Our real inner work is to sweep clean the places in ourselves where such creatures reside, which in turn brightens our life and the lives of everyone around us. ~Guy Finley~

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Learning Through The Eyes Of Another

Thursday, November 13, 2008 6 comments

One NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Method that has helped me tremendously in problem solving and personal relationships is the use of Perceptual Positions. I have learned more about myself, and come to understand others better through this method, than any other, in my opinion.

Perceptual Positions

First Position – The easiest one for all of us to understand is the first position, because this is how we see, feel and interpret the world and others around us, looking through our own eyes.

Second Position – Putting you in someone else’s shoes, and seeing, hearing, feeling, and looking back at yourself through their eyes.

Third Position – This is making you the proverbial “fly on the wall”. This is placing you as an objective observer.

When you are in the middle of a conflict with someone, you both are trying to get your needs met, and protect your ego from the attack of the other, and during the confrontation, it is hard to look through any perspective, other than your own. However, if you can learn to take the time to both look through the second and third position, even if you have to use it later, you will be amazed what you will see and learn.

Visualization is a powerful tool, and we all use it from time to time when we are daydreaming, reading a novel.

Putting It to Use

There are many ways to use these perceptions, but today I am only going to write about one.

Second Position - Sit back and relax, and take deep calming breaths, and when you have relaxed yourself, replay the prior events, first looking through the eyes of the other person. Imagine your self floating around that person and then drifting right down inside of them. Look through their eyes. Look at your hands, where you are standing or sitting. Look over there at yourself and what you are doing. What do you see? What do you feel? Imagine saying the words that they said, and the body language that they used. What are they trying to protect within themselves? What needs were they trying to have met? You can even use this tool to learn more about yourself by using to see through the eyes of another part of yourself. Some conflict you hold within.

Third Position – Watch both of you from “over there”. What are they saying and in what tone of voice? What are they each feeling? What body language are they using? If you were that detached person, or fly, what kind of advice would you want to be giving to yourself? Try it by making yourself observe the scene from within someone that you admire and respect. How would they see and say to you about the situation? What would their advice be?

What did you learn?
Try it again using what you know now, and run through the process again.

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Honoring The Sacrifice - Veteran's Day 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1 comments

In honor of our Veterans and soldiers who have made the sacrifice for us.

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Conflict Addiction Meets Psychological Needs

Friday, November 07, 2008 3 comments

Addictions come in many forms, and rarely do we see, or acknowledge them within ourselves. We all know about the usual ones, like drugs, alcohol, eating, etc., but what about the non-visual ones like the addiction to drama, grief, victim hood? Usually we don’t stop to consider that our thoughts can be addictions as well.

Addiction is: “anything that compels you, in actions or thoughts, and you don’t feel you have control over it.

The mind creates a perceived element of survival to some aspect of our ego, in all addictions.

Look at the addiction to drama and conflict. Have you ever noticed how you dwell on conflicts, whether just continually thinking about it, or talking about it, like a broken record? We have the goal of being declared the “victor”! We also want to punish the perpetrator. Conflict has a way of creating winners, and losers. As the winner, we have the power of feeling superior and right, and punish the loser.

The addiction to drama stems from the need to feel right. Feeling right gives us a feeling of power. A prime example of this is the situation that happens that seemingly is out of your control, and you feel helpless, angry and frustrated. This situation gives you the perfect excuse to complain, because after all, the situation is wrong, and you feel right, which in turn, feels good. Sometimes we go so far as to create drama and conflict, to get our next fix. There is also the addiction to the adrenaline rush associated with drama.

We even relish in reading about, and watching other people’s drama; tabloid magazines, Jerry Springer, to name just a few. Television, movies and the like, make big bucks on society’s addiction to drama. Many people admire the success of celebrities, and to see that even though they have wealth and beauty, and the knowledge that they can’t get their lives in order, makes us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we even use other people’s drama as a way to justify our own actions.

There is also a personality disorder called Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), which is described as, the need for constant attention, and approval; excessive emotionality and attention seeking; and inappropriate seductiveness.

Symptoms according to Wikipedia:

• Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
• Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions.
• Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
• Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
• Excessive concern with physical appearance.
• A need to be the center of attention (self-centeredness).
• Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
• Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear shallow to others.
• Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details.
• Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
• Making rash decisions.
• Threatening or attempting suicide to get attention.
• Refusal to speak when confronted.

Every conflict within our lives, whether the conflict is within ourselves, the situation, or other people, stems from the feeling that one, or more, of our needs not being met, or attempting to have one of our needs met, and a feeling of scarcity. The problem lays, however, in our desire to look to outside sources in our search for fulfillment of those needs. Another problem lays in the fact that many of us aren’t aware of our psychological needs and what they are.

Psychological Needs

  • Love
  • Self – esteem
  • Respect
  • Fulfillment
  • Courage
  • Affiliation
  • Learning
  • Equality
  • Affection
  • Belonging
  • Fun
  • Freedom
  • Power
  • Status
  • Self-actualization
  • Pleasure
  • Emotional safety
  • Recognition
  • Independence
  • Hope
  • Praise
  • Security
One way to help identify your needs is:

• Think about a time when you had a conflict with someone that made you angry or anxious.
• Write down what you were hoping to get out of the conflict and what your position was within the conflict.
• Write down what you understood or perceived to be the other person’s position.
• Then relax yourself, close your eyes, and ask yourself why you wanted what you wanted, and write down everything that comes to mind.
• When your done, look over what you have written. One or more of the things that you wrote will designate stronger than the others.
• Now ask yourself why that is important to you. Your answer may even revolve around a tangible need such as; food, clothing, shelter.
• Many times you need to ask yourself “Why is that important”, or “What will that give me that I don’t already have?”, several times before you will come to the core need or value.

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Simon Says

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 3 comments

If you are human, no matter how self-confident you are, we all have that voice within that gives us varying degrees of doubt. We all feel the need to fit in, and no-one wants to be wrong, because if we are wrong, then we have failed in some way. Even though a mistake is a vital step in learning and becoming better, a mistake is still perceived as a failure.

If we fail we may be rejected. There again, none of us want to be rejected. If someone rejects us, there must be something wrong with us. If there is something wrong with us, we have failed in someway. We are always looking around us to figure out our place in this world.

As children we learn by observing what all those around us are doing, and by mimicking what we see and hear. Many of us have even played the game “Simon Says”, as children, where we learn to prefect the art.

As we grow we gravitate towards the things that are familiar to us for comfort. When my son was growing up, and his father and I were going through a divorce, my son started changing the friends he chose. I realized that the reason he was choosing those friends was, because they all came from broken families, or had lost one of their parents by death. He felt comfortable with them, because he felt they were the same.

One of the principles they teach to all salesmen, politicians, religions, cults, etc., is the Principle of Social Proof, which is one of the avenues that we use to determine what is correct. When we are unfamiliar with a situation, we look to those around us to see what others are doing, for clues as to how we should behave. If we match up our behavior to what those around us are doing, we are less likely to make a social blunder, and stand out as unacceptable, and feel less vulnerable.

At Christmas time especially, the sales industry uses this powerful effect by making some toy perceived to be extremely popular, so that all the children will believe that they just have to have this toy to be like everyone else. Parents will literally fight for the last one on the shelf. But then, in this example, the sales industry also uses the principle of scarcity to compound the phenomenon, by only producing a limited number, therefore creating even more demand. Toys aren’t the only item that this is used with.

The person most noted for studying this principle is Dr. Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist, who wrote the books, “Influence: Science and Practice”, “Influence: The Psy”, and “Yes, 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”, which he authored along with Dr. Noah Goldstein and Steve J. Martin, along with several other books and publications. There are five other principles that he talks about, but they will be addressed in other articles.

Sometimes using “Social Proof”, can lead to “pluralistic ignorance”. A common example of this, and one that Cialdini uses to illustrate this phenomenon, is where Catherine Genovese was stabbed to death in 1964, over a grueling 35 minute period, which was witnessed by at least 38 people. Not one of those people telephoned the police until after the woman had died. This very same thing has happened time and time again. Studies have shown that as the number of witness increases, the likelihood of someone in need receiving help decreases.

Social proof is also powerfully influenced by similarity. We trust those that are similar to ourselves, much more readily than we do those that are different from ourselves. Not only that, but say you are an alcoholic. You will gravitate towards those that are also alcoholics or at least drinkers, because your behavior is acceptable to them, and we feel that we belong, whereas, you may not be accepted by others.

“We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.” Dr. Robert Cialdini.

More than 200 years ago, a German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the book, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, where Werther ends up dressing himself in boots, a blue coat, yellow vest, sits at his desk with an open book, and shoots himself. The book was later banned in many countries, because following the book’s publication, several young men copied Werther, by dressing themselves in boots, a blue coat, yellow vest, at a desk with an open book, and also committed suicide. It is said that in the year 1962 following the death of Marilyn Monroe, there were over 200 suicides in the next month.

David Phillips studied the suicide statistics in America from 1947 through 1968, and found that following every front page suicide article in the New York Daily News or the New York Times, there would be an increase in others committing suicide by 58%, and this effect has been called, “The Werther Effect”.

Another factor that strongly plays into this effect is the fact that we have a tendency to follow our leaders, and people that we perceive to be in authority, or people that we admire. The Miligram Experiment, is a prime example. That is why advertisers like to use Sports figures, and doctors in their advertising.

Social Proof creates perceived value. How many times have you passed a restaurant that always has a lot of cars parked there, and made the assumption that “they must have great food”?

Don’t forget, “It’s all just an illusion.”

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Confessions, The Notebook, and Journaling to Save My Soul

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4 comments

Last year I had several drastic things happen in my life. Each one in itself, is hard for anyone to deal with. Before I was able to recover from one, and get my feet planted back firmly underneath of me, another one would hit.

The man that I was building a life and home with, and thought I would be spending the rest of my life with, and trusted with my heart, the man who I believed had intelligence, honor and integrity, left me for the town tart who grew up in a bar, and had no other aspirations of being anything more than that, unless a man was willing to give it to her. What a blow that was to the ol’ ego, as I try to constantly improve myself, through knowledge, insight about myself, appearance, and profession…a never ending road of striving, and bettering.

It wasn’t a month after that, my ex-husband killed himself on Mother’s Day, and was found by my one and only son three days later. I was faced with guilt, anger, sadness, all the while trying to be there to help, and be strong for my son, who was going through all those same feelings.

A little over a month later, I was laid off from my job, which is a profession that I have been in all my life, and thought would sustain me as long as I needed it, but with the economy, mortgage crisis, and being in a profession that is geared around real estate, the bottom fell out, and only continues to get worse.
I was left confused as to where to go from there.

I was physically attached and blindsided by the same tart above on a night out, after being invited and convinced by a mutual friend to attend the gathering, and then ended up in a one vehicle accident on the way home, and spent the night in jail. A night I am still paying dearly for.

I somehow had become a drama magnet, and no matter how hard I tried to run from it, the more it seemed I got hit.
I found myself very confused, and consumed with more emotions than I ever dreamed were even in existence. There were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without forgetting what I was saying in the middle, my mind was racing so fast.

To save my soul I began doing all of the things that I love, but had laid down over the years for one reason or the other. Anything that I could think of that pleased me I forced myself to do, no matter how much I didn’t feel like it, and no matter how exhausted my emotions were making me feel.

But I also ran out and bought myself a cheap spiral notebook, and started writing. I didn’t have any intended purpose. I was not writing a novel, or anything for anyone, but me. I wrote constantly about how I was feeling, and anything that was on my mind. I took the notebook everywhere I went, because I sometimes would all of a sudden get some great epiphany, or insight, and I had a need to capture it. Things I wanted to say to others, but knew I couldn’t, but yet had to get out. That notebook has my soul, and the deepest darkest moments of my life held within it. That notebook was my life raft. That notebook saved me.

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The House of 1000 Mirrors

Monday, November 03, 2008 3 comments

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often." In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again." All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet? Japanese Folktale

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Only The Shadow Knows

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 1 comments

The Shadows That Lay Within Us

Most all of us want to be good people, and to act with wisdom, dignity and integrity…three qualities, I know that, I strive for. Along with honesty, but then, I believe, that is a quality that is only a portion of the other three. But humans, as a whole, are less good than we want to be, or even imagine ourselves to be. I have written several times before about the different selves that make up our whole.

I can not argue with Dr. Carl Jung who believed that we have a “shadow” side. We all have one, albeit some of us show that side of ourselves more than others. According to Carl Jung, the “shadow” is the part of ourselves that a person has no wish to be, and is a part of our subconscious (as I always refer to it) and/or unconscious…anything we once were, but then pushed away, which can also be positive things.

“All that is unacceptable is, as they say, "in Shadow" to the degree that is us, or was us, and we deny it.”

Human’s are capable of the most horrendous of atrocities, but we humans have a tendency to turn a blind-eye to the shadow side of human nature, even though there is a part of us, that is painfully aware, that there is that side of us lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right opportunity to reveal itself. Take a look at my article “When Good Men Turn Evil, The Stanford Experiment”, for a good example, and the “Milgram Experiment”.

We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous breakdown. What is so difficult for the layman to grasp is the fact that in most cases the patients themselves have no suspicion whatever of the internecine war raging in their unconscious. If we remember that there are many people who understand nothing at all about themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts. "New Paths in Psychology" (1912). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.425
There is a vast difference between who we are, and who we portray ourselves to be, and also who we are individually, and who we are within the collective whole of the human race, and our surrounding connections. Every person and every experience within our lives has formed some sort of belief, value, and perception connected to it, and continues to form how we scrutinize ourselves, and our surroundings.

Just like the dark figure that mimics our every move in the light, our shadow self follows us wherever we go. Many psychologists, philosophers, and the like, as well as myself, believe that until we confront the shadow part of ourselves it will continue to follow us, for it is reflected back to us in our interactions with others. If there is something that we like about someone, it is a part of ourselves that we like, and on the other side, if there is something we dislike about someone, it is a part of us that we dislike, all of which are mirrored back at us. We will continue to draw in the same situations and the same people, with different faces, that we have experienced in the past, until we meet, and come to grips with, those shadow parts of ourselves. Many times, we would rather die, than to say that we are like them.

Again, it does seem plausible to suggest that when we take our anger out on others, it can be difficult to admit the fact that we have, and difficult to admit that how we see ‘them’ is shaped more by us than ‘them’. And “No matter how obvious it may be to the neutral observer… [that this is such a case], there is little hope the subject will perceive this themselves.” ibid., p. 146.

When you come across someone in your life that irritates you for some reason, sometimes you can't even put your finger on why, but observe them, and try to see what it is about them that is bothering you. What is it that they do that you dislike so much? Then look within yourself, because according to scientists, this is an undeveloped, un-confronted, unresolved, aspect of yourself being mirrored back at you, that has been tucked neatly away in your subconscious, as you attempt to hide from it.

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.
"The Philosophical Tree" (1945). In CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335
Dr. Carl Jung believed that our shadow self will slither its way into our dreams. Many times as an unknown, but same sex person, although this does not mean that every same sex person in our dreams, is our shadow trying to tell us something. Jung believed that you should not reject, accept, or try to become this person, but to try to relate to this person. He believed that your dreams not only reflected the problem, but also holds the solution.

Ann Wiseman, an author, artist and teacher for more than 50 years, has a method that she has used when working with children, where she would have the children draw a portion of a dream that they found to be threatening in some way, and once they did that, they were told to draw something in the picture, other than weapons, that would render the threat harmless. For example, putting bars in front of the threat. Then they were to talk to, and confront the threat, and listen to its response. Interact with it, to find out its true purpose.

Many times throughout my life, I have had a dream where I was urgently attempting to run from something, and would continually fall down, get back up and run a few steps, and fall once again. Another variation of that dream is one where I frantically try to scream in utter terror, and nothing will come out. In both instances, I was filled with sheer desperation. However, I never would know what I was running from, or why I was attempting to scream, other than the need for someone to help me, or to escape. I have learned now, that I need to turn around and confront my demon. Why is it chasing me, and what am I so very afraid of?

Only the shadow knows.
“The more projections are thrust between a subject and the environment, the harder it is for the ego to see through its illusions.” Jung, Carl, “Aion”, p. 147.
What an interesting, and challenging journey lays ahead, as I discover, meet, and become familiar "shadow".
"On a broader scale, recent history continues to show how it is easier to send thousands of ‘our’ troops to die at the hands of a ‘shadowy’ enemy, leaving a trail of death and destruction in our wake, than to introspectively ask hard questions of ourselves, and our society." Andrew S. "Amishtrasher".
Indeed, to Jung, such large scale cases of hatred were, in a sense, extensions of the personal level shadow projection. Quoting Jung, “Just as the addition of however many zeros will never make a unit, so the value of community depends on the spiritual and moral stature of the individuals composing it.” Jung, Carl, “The Undiscovered Self”, in Storr, Anthony (ed.), “The Essential Jung: Selected Writings”, 1983, London, Fontana Paperbacks, p. 363. Whole reactionary social movements, and many political careers have been essentially built people’s unwillingness to turn their gaze inward. The social pressure of either a movement, attitude or creed can be a large obstacle to overcome in shadow integration; especially where challenging such movements, attitudes or creeds may be an invitation to other people to project their shadows on to you.
These quotes are coming from an article about our "shadow", which is also integrated within the "collective shadow" of society.

Just as, for day there must be night, for good there must be evil, and we must observe both in order to appreciate the other.

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Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome Meets The "Wild Divine"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1 comments

I was born with mitral valve prolapse syndrome (MVPS (also known as "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome"), which is the most common heart valve abnormality, affecting five to ten percent of the world population. I never knew I had it until after my son was born.

At first it felt like a thump in my chest that would cause me to gasp. At times in the middle of the night I would wake up rising to a sitting position with a gasp. In those times it felt almost like I couldn’t figure out whether I needed to breathe in or out, almost as if I was stuck suspended between somewhere unknown, and the present.

As time went on there were times when my heart would go into these extremely rapid beating palpitations, which feels more like the rapid fluttering of a butterfly, or rather more like a hummingbird. If you feel my pulse there is no distinct beat felt, just rapid fluttering. Although sometimes the symptoms differ slightly when this happens, there are times when I can’t get my breath; extreme anxiety like I would imagine a panic attack would feel like, and my throat would burn, as if I had been running a long way in cold weather; and my left arm will feel heavy and ache slightly. Many people state that they experience sharp pains in their chest and left arm; however, I have never experienced this. Another complaint by many is fatigue, another symptom I don’t experience, or at least when I do, I have never attributed to this ailment. It is said that people with mitral valve prolapse may have imbalances in their autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing, which may be what causes that particular symptom, along with depression, sweating, anxiety and panic attack feelings. Stroke is a very rare complication of mitral valve prolapse.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a regulatory branch of the central nervous system that helps people adapt to changes in their environment. It adjusts or modifies some functions in response to stress. The ANS helps regulate...
• blood vessels' size and blood pressure
• the heart's electrical activity and ability to contract
• the bronchium's (BRON'ke-um) diameter (and thus air flow) in the lungs
The ANS also regulates the movement and work of the stomach, intestine and salivary glands, the secretion of insulin and the urinary and sexual functions. The ANS acts through a balance of its two components, the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.

I was told by my doctor that it is not life threatening, although it certainly feels like it when you have an attack. I can go on medication for this ailment, although I choose not to, although I am required to take an excessive amount of antibiotics about an hour prior to having any dental work done, including x-rays, and then another excessive amount several hours afterwards, since valve infection, endocarditis, is a rare, but potentially serious complication of mitral valve prolapse.

Instead of medication, I will take a baby aspirin and calcium when I have an attack. Calcium is a natural relaxer, and growing up was the only thing I could take that would touch my severe menstrual cramps, along with soaking in a hot bath. Since I feel like I may pass out, I will usually squat down, or get on my hands and knees, and regulate my breathing by breathing in through the nose, short pause and slow breath out through the mouth, and imagine all the tension leaving my body with each breath out. This usually works quite quickly for me.

I can go months and even years without a single episode, but when I am under a lot of stress, it will crop up quite frequently…sometimes several times a day. I would much rather work naturally with all my ailments, and I have purchased the Wilddivine Program, developed by Deepak Chopra and others, and this has taught me the ability to control my mind much easier. It is so beautiful, fun and enlightening, and powerful. Just watch the video. Your mind and body control the game.

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If You Don't Change Your Mind, Others Will Do It For You

Saturday, October 18, 2008 2 comments

Have you ever really taken the time to think about it? Control and manipulation are at the core of all our inter-personal relationships.

Control and manipulation, is a very vast subject. They are such ugly words, but we experience them everyday of our lives. People and institutions use our fears and our needs against us to get us to do what they want. We are being manipulated by our Government, Churches, TV, Stores, the media, and all the people we care most for in our lives. Either we are inflicting it on others, sometimes unknowingly, or they are inflicting it on us, in one way or another. When we do not think and behave the way the people around us want us to, the manipulation begins.

The Government uses our fears to manipulate us. One of the biggest ways it has been manipulating us most recently, is by monopolizing on our need to feel safe and secure, and our fear of terrorism. How many rights have we willingly given up recently, all in the name of security?

The people in our social circle monopolize on our need to feel accepted, and our fear of rejection and abandonment. All humans feel the need to be accepted and recognized, and will avoid rejection and abandonment at all costs, which leaves us wide open to control and manipulation by those around us.

Peer pressure. We think, as adults that this concept only applies to our children, mostly in their school years. We as adults are far too mature for that, right? It may start when we are children, but it follows us throughout our lives.

Stop and take the time to think about how many times as an adult have you allowed the world to control and manipulate you through peer pressure alone.

We go out and buy that expensive outfit to fit in at our office, (maybe we all should have to wear uniforms to work, so we can concentrate on our work and not each others looks). We buy clothes, makeup, cologne, jewelry, big houses, fancy cars, we have this sucked out, that lifted, this increased, that reduced, pierce this, tattoo that. All in an attempt to fit in and feel accepted by our peers. And don’t even get me started on gossip, rumors, lies, guilt…, but then they are just a few of the methods some of the less self-respecting people choose to use to control and manipulate others.

Worst of all...sometimes we even go against our own principles and values, just to go along with the crowd and be accepted. Then we are not congruent with ourselves, and everything goes out of whack. When we are not in harmony with ourselves we begin to become ill, both emotional and physically.

Congruent: harmonious - you are congruent when what you say and do and believe are all in alignment.

And we wonder why so many people feel the need to find themselves. Why are we under so much stress? Why are we no longer able to control our own emotions?

The truth is; we should be controlling and manipulating ourselves. We have to accept ourselves. Consciously we may try or want to change a bad habit, get over a fear, control an emotion or behavior, but it still continues to have a hold on us. The problem is, we are trying to change on a conscious level, but it all begins on the subconscious level. In reality our thoughts and beliefs control our emotions, behaviors and our bodies. Take back control of your mind.

If you can tell the world who you are and what you believe without breaking stride or hesitating, you are happy with yourself. Neale Donald Walshe

If You Don't Change Your Mind, others will do it for you.

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Uber Amazing Blog Award

Friday, October 17, 2008 4 comments

I believe everyone puts a lot of time, thought, and themselves into their individual blogs. For myself, whether I am writing from my heart, or about a subject that is more technical, which I do a great deal of research for…they all take me days to write, and get right.

Even using Entrecard, where you are assured many visitors, you have to wonder whether anyone actually reads anything on you blog, or is just frantically hunting for the widget to click on, while speeding toward their 300 clicks. Sometimes it takes me most of the day reaching less than half that amount, so my mouth drops when I read someone’s blog where they state that they can wiz through their 300 drops in an hour. In essence, many of them are on their way out the door, before they ever even enter. Since my articles take me so much time to write, I don’t have time to tend to my Entrecard duties every single day, let alone visit my favorites. So I am not one to do the 300 clicks, or even come close. I enjoy reading most of the blogs that I visit, even when I don’t take the time to comment, too much to begin to reach that amount.

So when someone gives you an award, it is the ultimate of compliments. You know that not only did they read what you have to write, but they actually liked and appreciated it.

Helen from the “The Inspired Self” has been one of those people, and she has given me this award. Thank you so much Helen. You too have an excellent, and as the name implies, inspiring blog! I hope you all will stop by there, check it out, and read what she has to say.

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

Here are my nominations for the Uber Amazing:

The Esoteric Journey
Thinking Out Loud Blog
Lucy’s Planet Happiness
Creating Wealth and Health
Life Passionately

Please take the time to visit these blogs, and best wishes to you all.

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Communication is the Cornerstone of Our Lives

Saturday, October 11, 2008 2 comments

As humans communication is the cornerstone of our lives, and we communicate in so many ways, mostly subconsciously. We communicate through words, body language, smell, touch, sound. We use every sense, including our sixth sense, which would be subconscious, to communicate with one another. There is a continuous assortment of energy and signals being transported from each other at all moments in time.

But even when we are using our conscious level of communication, we usually mis-communicate, intentionally or unintentionally, with those around us. One of the largest factors that build the walls between us and others is our egos. But communication is essential is the lives of humans.

You need to realize that everyone’s, each and every gesture, tone, word, etc., no matter how minuscule, has some meaning, and some significance, for you and the situation at hand. Everything we do in our lives is transmitting some sort of communication.

The problem lies, most times however, like I said, with our egos. We are so consumed with what we are trying to get others to see, understand, and accept, and what we are trying to communicate, and how we are feeling about how they are absorbing and relaying that information back to us, that we never stop to put ourselves in their shoes, and try to understand what they are, in turn, trying to communicate back to us. For every action there is an equal reaction.

A person whose thoughts and opinions I admire and respect, once said to me, “When a finger is pointing at others, there are three pointing back at them.” Blame in one of the surest ways to stop all effective communication, and destroy a relationship. We all, at varying degrees, question ourselves, and feel guilt, or shame, whenever we do not live up to our own, or other’s expectations. When you lay blame on others, you are going to get a reaction, but it will never be a positive one. They will either withdraw from you, feel that they are wrong and have failed, and it can lead to them being passive aggressive. Whether in the current moment, or later down the road, are can rest assured, they will resent you. We usually, however, blame others to take the heat off of us, and do not have the right, let alone superiority, to judge others. “He who has not blundered cast the first stone.”

One of the largest things that we blame others for is the way that we feel. We alone are responsible for the way that we feel, and the way that we choose to react to the ways that we feel. Once you choose to accept that fact, the sooner, your responses and communication will begin to change more positively. Not to mention, that you will become and feel responsible for yourself. What more FREEDOM can you ask for? When you constantly lay down your emotional wellbeing onto others, you give them, all the power, where do you leave yourself, but to be constantly in control of everyone around you. Take back your power, and responsibility for your emotions, reactions, and feelings. You choose.

Like attracts like; vibration attracts vibration; thoughts attract things.

When you become defensive, the other person is always, going to believe that you have something to hide. Even though you may be reacting to their misplaced blame, and begin to question yourself, which is all human nature, they will consciously, and/or unconsciously interpret your defensiveness as you having something to hide, which in turn, draws an attack. They will begin to loose trust in you. Until one of you is able to show the maturity and emotional wellbeing enough to move away from attacking and towards the other in the atmosphere of reconciliation, there will be a hurtful sequence of attack and counter-attack.

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that we are not always right, and when we take the time to listen to another’s point of view, many times, we find out that we have something to learn. When you lean towards having to be right all of the time, you distance yourself from others. Not to mention, making them feel inadequate or that their views, feelings and opinions are of no significance. Everyone needs to feel they are valued, accepted, and heard.

Another thing that we rarely stop to realize is that when we are having a disagreement with someone, they too are having the same inherent emotions that we are, even if they behave otherwise. You are both fighting to have your emotional needs met. Many times, that realization alone, along with showing them the empathy, which you are also seeking, will turn a conflict totally around to the direction of reconciliation, and effective communication.

One of the largest and most important factors in good communication, in my opinion, is honesty and showing vulnerability, and I wrote an entire article on the subject, “Honesty and Vulnerability The Key to Intimacy.”

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How Core Beliefs Impact Your Life

Thursday, September 25, 2008 2 comments

Humans need to feel in control. In control of their lives, emotions, destinies, and many times those around us, in an attempt to achieve their hearts desires. But in order to be in control of these things, we must be in control of ourselves. In order to be in control of ourselves, we must first begin to know ourselves. Why do we behave the way we do, feel the way we do, believe the things we do?

We all have core beliefs, some of which we may not realize, and many of them formed when we were children, and taken on as our own, even though they came from our parents, teachers, priests, etc. Many times the authority figures of our youth, although they can also come from other children, through the way they relate to us, and things they say to us.

For example, if at some point during your youth, a coach embarrassed you by telling you that you will never be a good baseball hitter in front of your peers, and you take on that belief, you will go throughout your life, performing a subconscious, self sabotaging behavior that will always lead you to being a below average hitter. You don’t even know that you are the cause. You may be excellent at every other part of the game, throwing, catching, etc., but when it comes time for you to come up to bat… Furthermore, each time you strike out, you are only re-enforcing that original belief. Round and round the merry-go-round.

Many of us do it all the time in our relationships with the opposite sex. If somewhere along the line, you came to believe that you are not good enough, you will continue to self-sabotage your relationships, and then tell yourself that it didn’t work out, because, of course, you are not good enough.You search our whole life for the love that you so desperately want and need, only to push it away with all your might when you find it.

Many people that are over weight are over weight, because of a core belief. As an example, one of them that many people fall for is that, they believe they inherited their weight problem, and your genetics do play its part. However, as long as that is one of their core beliefs, they will always have a weight problem. Many advertisers only play into that belief, as part of their advertising strategy, because they tell you it’s not you fault, but they have the cure all products to save you.

The little “nasty voice” inside our head only continues to reinforce these beliefs further. You know the voice I’m talking about. The one that calls you a dummy, stupid, and all those other nasty things it likes to say to you.

Many of these core beliefs come out of hiding by triggers. A trigger can be anything. A sight, sound, tone of voice, touch, that causes a part of us to react without thinking. The ones that cause us problems are the ones that have caused us pain or fear. It has been referred to as one of your inner protector or “Ego Caretaker”, that recognizes the trigger, and then tries to handle it for you, and I don’t mean a separate personality like Sybil had. That is an extreme case. In the case of the baseball coach mentioned above, a trigger could possibly be the tone of voice that he used. When you hear that tone in the future, the subconscious picks up on this and your inner protector, or subconscious takes over with a primary emotion, and you react without a thought, not always understanding what or why. Many of us then want to pass the blame on the person that just caused the reaction, never stopping to realize that it came from within ourselves.

Not only that, but a core belief can make you very bias, by only allowing you to see those things that reinforce this belief, and ignore any proof that shows or proves anything otherwise. They will control a large part of your life, and they will attract to you the people and situations, which will be in line with your core beliefs.

Unlike an ordinary belief that can be changed if you are given proof that it is not valid, a core belief holds on for dear life. The deeper a belief is in your mind, the harder it becomes to change it, and the more you or someone attempts to change it, the harder it holds on. They are deep within the subconscious, and are unaffected by the logic of your conscious mind. They expose your deepest vulnerabilities and pain, and help to keep them locked deep within you. A great little story that explains core beliefs very well; you will enjoy it.

The first step in changing them is becoming aware of them. You have to be able to observe yourself more closely. Become more self-aware. Recognize when you have been triggered, and what may have been said, heard, touched, tasted, etc., that triggers the emotion that causes you to react. This will help you learn what some of those beliefs are, and possibly where they originated from. Triggers can wreak havoc on your life and relationships, and addictions are linked to those negative core beliefs, and an attempt at adapting, and running from them.

“Almost every unbalanced or negative belief seems to be connected in some way with your deepest thoughts or feelings about being” John Nutting
Our belief system is our map of the world, to prepare, protect, and interpret the actions around us. Your negative core beliefs will cause you to misinterpret, your surroundings, and those that you come in contact with.

The videos below are excellent, and are done by Tad and Adriana James. The second and third, demonstrate how they helped one women come to realize a core belief.

NLP, hypnosis and meditation, are ways that I have come to learn and deal with some of my core beliefs. As I discover and take baby steps at correcting and working to change them, my self-esteem and outlook on life has changed tremendously.

10 Best-Selling Hypnosis Downloads

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A Workout For Your Mind - Mastermind

Friday, September 19, 2008 3 comments

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Emotions, The Center of Social Interactions and Communication

Monday, September 15, 2008 2 comments

I don’t think that there is any doubt that emotions play an important part in all of our lives. In every moment we experience them, and are faced with a choice as to how we choose to respond to them. Most of us don’t always understand the emotions that we are feeling during certain circumstances. If we want to know more about ourselves, and understand those around us better, we need to understand emotions. Good communication is essential in our relationships, and one of the most important factors in good communication is understanding what the other party is expressing to you and why. Being able to stand in their shoes and look through their eyes and mind. As well as being able to express to others well.

Emotions are our psychological reward or punishment. In most cases, our emotions are more important than our intellect when determining what our attitude and reactions are going to be, and in forming many decisions. Our ego speaks louder than logic or words. The heart rules the mind. It has been referred to as the “Ego-Caretaker, and has been said that it is the “being of human beings”, and an element of survival. If you are capable of mastering many of the elements of survival, it can leave you free to transform these ego driven feelings, and replace them with intuitive wisdom.

According to experts, we have primary and secondary emotions, and hundreds have been documented over the centuries. The primary emotions are the ones that we feel first, our gut, instinctive, unthinking reaction, and then those emotions disappear quickly, many times as quickly as they appeared, and lead to the secondary emotions. Most normally the primary emotions, which can also be felt as secondary emotions, are happiness, sadness, fear and anger, and are very powerful. Although, disgust, surprise, excitement, loneliness, gratitude and humility, are sometimes classified as primary emotions. They are where all other emotions originate. It is believed that they have an evolutionary basis, as they are also expressed in many animals, also.

The secondary emotions are where things become a bit more complicated. They can be triggered by the primary emotions, such as when you experience fear; it can lead to anger, to prepare the body for the fight response. But they can become complicated when more emotions join into the mixture. For example, jealousy stems partly from anger, fear, and sadness. Relief is a combination of anticipated fear with happiness.

Normally, we are expressing our secondary emotions, and the other party is experiencing them. But to understand ourselves, so that we can communicate to someone else honestly, getting to the bottom of the problem, and so they can understand how we are feeling and why, we have to know what the gut reaction was that started the chain reaction of emotions to begin with. That’s where the real issue lies.

The secondary emotions are also important in understanding others; as they help you get a better understanding of how the other person mentally processes the primary emotion. Normally, the whole process is being done subconsciously, and the person feeling the emotion, has no idea what is happening. If you are able to slow down their mental process to determine their internal reasoning as to why they arrived at the secondary emotions, it may come as a big surprise to both of you.

There is no question that social relations are the prime instigator of emotions (Kemper, 1978; de Rivera & Grinkis, 1986). Other people, or groups of others, are normally are largest cause for emotions. We are social creatures. When you are able to get down to the heart of the primary emotion, and its trigger, normally people are involved. We all have our individual basic emotional needs, and in varying degrees of importance. Many of our emotions stem from one of those needs not being met sufficiently, which triggers that primary, gut reaction. The best way to truly get to know yourself and others, is to discover what your/their most important emotional needs are.

Even though at times it may feel like a curse, we are blessed with the ability to feel emotions. Without them, we would be unable to obtain unity.

One way to discover what your most important emotional needs are, is to ask some basic questions. A method used by NLP Experts.

What do I want most? It does matter if the answer is material or emotional
Take that answer and ask, What will that give me that I don’t already have?
Take that answer and ask, What will that give me that I don’t already have?
Once again, take that answer and ask, What will that give me that I don’t already have?
You will reach the basic, underlying need or value, after asking this 5 to 7 times.

The question “What will that give me that I don’t already have?”, can be replaced with “Why is that important?”

Another way, is through meditation and hypnosis.

You can take a free Emotional Intelligence Test here.

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The I Love Your Blog Award

Friday, September 12, 2008 4 comments

Lea at Ocean of Perspectives has honored me by presenting “Valley of the Subconscious” with the “I love your blog” award. Thank you Lea, it is always nice when you put so much into something, to know that others are appreciating it. I love your blog also, and had you not presented me with the award, you would have been on my list.

Now it is my duty to pass this award on to others:

Here are the directions for passing the award:
Directions to pass it on are as follows:

1. The writer can put the logo on his/her blog

2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours, and
5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve mentioned.

I now pass this award on to:

All of the following write from their heart, and I love what they do, and peaking within their mind.

Robin’s Nest
200 Sacred Words
Black Tie and Sneakers
The Eagle The Lion and the Dove

Although my son, and one and only child, is grown, I worked very hard at giving him the best that I could. Not always succeeding, but doing the best that I could with what I had to work with, the knowledge and emotional support I had at the time. The children are our future. This blog is dedicated to supplying those children with the best future that you are able to give them.

My Barefoot Journey

Keep up the great work everyone, you are appreciated.

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Dedication to 9/11 Hereos, Victims, and Survivors and to Our Nation United

Thursday, September 11, 2008 0 comments

There is a lot of speculation about who the terrorists really were and for what purpose, among the American people, and the World, for that matter. The acts of these terrorists, whoever they were, and wherever they came from, and for whatever purpose this act served to create, it caused the American people to unite. Even though it may have been under deceptive reasons, we as Americans had almost forgotten what it meant to unite. To all lay down our differences and prejudices and band together for a common purpose.

We lost so very much that day. We lost security, peace, loved ones, but we gained unity…even if for a short time.

Only the terrorists truly know who they are, and why, and what they believed they had to accomplish, but irregardless of their purpose, they created heroes. Not created, but brought forth HEROES. They brought forth COURAGE. They brought forth PERCERVERANCE. They brought forth PRIDE. They brought forth UNITY.


The following is an email sent by Seth Castleman after and 9/11 attach:

Subj: news from the rubble Date: Friday, September 14, 2001 2:46:43 PM From: c (Seth Castleman)

Dear friends and family,

The first moment to write and the hands not yet steady on the keyboard.

Firstly, I hope I have not added to anyone's worry, by not checking in sooner. I am alive and physically unhurt. I was ironing a shirt to leave for an errand at Park Place when I got the call about the disaster Monday morning. Park Place, I have been told, was crushed by part of the falling buildings. Since mid-day Monday I have been mostly at the sight helping with relief efforts.

The world is a whirl of love and sorrow.

What follows my be well short of organized and only bordering on coherent, but considering the state of things, perhaps it is appropriate. I wanted to share some experiences, to help let them go, and to bring more people together in the communal suffering and supporting.

First: The despair and frustration and sorrow and fear that we are all feeling. The helplessness. We all wish we could just get our hands on something to do. I do not know how you can help, other than to pray and bear witness. You have likely seen news more than I have over these days, so I cannot tell people how to offer support. I do not know if this is still the case, as I have been home for the last 12 hours getting some sleep, but for the 2 days prior we were having to turn away many volunteers. So much good will and so little that we can do.

The volunteer effort of thousands, while very disorganized and right and left often unaware of the other, is in very good spirits with great depths of kindness and strength. I have fallen in love and made dozens of dear friends, as the best in people shines through in such times.

I have spent most of these days at Chelsea Piers, coordinating the crisis unit for families looking for loved ones, and then at ground zero amidst rubble and dust and shocked sullen faces doing chaplaincy and crisis counseling and coordinating counseling for the rescue workers.

People come in to the Chelsea Pier unit after visiting every hospital in the city, desperate for some news. The volunteer counselors and chaplains fill out missing persons reports, sit with them, look at photos together, weep, laugh, sit in silence. We give out hospital phone numbers, let them see lists of the confirmed safe, enter all the data and scan photos for a FEMA database of missing persons. We hold hands and counsel and encourage people perhaps to go home and be together with loved ones, as there is little else to do. The waiting and not knowing is the most difficult part, not sure whether to hope or mourn, the families feel helpless and overwhelmed with fear.

At ground zero there is equal helplessness. We are counseling firefighters, EMTs, iron workers, and police as they come out of the rubble. For the families it is horrible not to know, for these guys it is horrible to know.

I talked with no one who had found a body. Only parts. Masses of pieces. Collecting fingers by the hundreds, finger printing them and throwing them into bags, sorting by size. Pediatrics here, adults here... An army man in post traumatic stress, weeping about scooping up guts, about reaching into crevasses to grasp a hand, only a hand.

How devastating to return to the family crisis unit after spending all night hearing these stories from the men in the rubble.

And God, as if to say, Do not take this to mean that The Presence is not here, appeared in moments and miracles. A man on the 82 floor. The plane hit that floor and the enormous blast shot him out the window. Somehow he clung to the ledge outside and when the building came down he went down with it, sliding miraculously down the outside. He broke both his legs, yet lived to tell his story.

A firefighter from upstate I sat with for an hour next to the rubble. He found a body of a young Asian man, flattened to just a few inches. The form was covered in another inch or two of dust. (there are no cement blocks to move, as all the cement and sheet rock crumbled to a fine and asbestos filled dust which covers the ground and fills the air.) The body was almost invisible under the dust, yet in the beam of his light something shown. The left hand was grey like everything else, but on one finger was a gold wedding band, uncovered and shining clean, a golden line in a sea of deathly grey. We mused together whether another worker had been there first and cleaned it off ‹ and if so why he hadn't collected the body ‹ or if an angel had passed by.

Shannon, a small retriever dog, sniffed and saved five people at the Pentagon, then came here to find another four. At least ten dogs have been killed in the wreckage. They dig when they smell human, lie down when they smell dead body. Almost no barks, and lying down is easier and easier as the smell turns to stench.

My tag says chaplain, so people come up to talk, pray, breath, or just be silent together. I am struck how much The Presence (as God is sometimes called) can so be found in the presence held between two people.

In the notebook I am using for volunteer names and numbers and random details, I came across a note to myself that I wrote on Sunday night before the disaster. In the holocaust no one was there to bear witness. People either oppressed or were oppressed, helped or turned their eyes away. What would happen if people opened their hearts and truly watched in Jerusalem.

Can we deeply accept tragedy with an open heart, then move to heal and help from the seat of witness. The atoms that change when watched, becomes the world that has been transformed.

At ground zero, amidst all the togetherness and kindness and effort, still thoughts and talk of those who planned this disaster.

It is strange. I can only imagine the motives of those who committed these acts. Undoubtedly they were frustrated, hurt. Undoubtedly they felt politically, economically, culturally, and individually helpless, frustrated, afraid, and angry. These feelings are universal, the world filled with sorrow. The rescue workers, the families, the world, all feeling helpless, afraid, frustrated, and angry with this disaster. What motivates the killer so too inspires the healers, the actions so profoundly different, the initial spark perhaps the same.

I don't know if I am making this clear, but it feels so important. Will the heart open or close? Will we take our sadness and let it harden or let it melt? Do we allow it to turn to hatred or to love? They say the heart cannot fully love until it is broken; only the shattered vessel can hold water. So too only a broken heart can harden into hatred. Only shattered shards become boxcutters and knives. How easily these feelings can turn. Food that one day can nourish us and save our lives, turns rancid and will kill. Love and hatred, good and evil, they seem so far apart, but no further than water is from ice, and ice from turning back to water.

The Atrium, filled with palm trees in the Amex Building at the World Trade Center. Where chamber orchestras once played now is eerily silent. The banners are faded of their writing, ripped and dangling like sails of a pirate ship found on a deserted island. Tangled steel cuts the view of sky through shattered portals. And through the dust and smoke and sounds of slogging feet through water, comes the yellow slice of moon. Only she, it seems is consistent. Later, just before dawn she has ascended above the cloud.

So much devastation, the earth and the psyche marred with death‹

And still a beautiful new moon,

Rising white and Untouched above our sorrow.

Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts and feelings. Feel free to pass them along. My phone is only sometimes working. I have a handful of other cell phones and walky talkies, but best not to call. In an emergency, land line at home is: [number deleted]

Much love,

Seth Castleman

List of Victims from 9/11:

Flight 93
World Trade Center


On Sacred Ground - see photos of the proposed memorial for the victims of 9/11
Flight 93 Memorial Plans
Pentagon Memorial Plans
World Trade Center Site Plans

Survivor Stories from September 11, 2001 tragedy:

9/11 Survivor Staircase to Be Removed
William Rodrigues, a 9/11 Survivor
Story of Adam Mayblum
9/11 Survivor Returns to Tell Story of Hope
And many more, including stories from the "Victims Survivors"

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