Is Proud to Present Its Social & Spiritual Commentaries:
SPIRITUAL CLIMATE NEWSLETTER
Updated on Sunday, 10-23-2016
Welcome to the Editors’ introduction to Spiritual Climate Newsletter, October 2016.Can’t you just feel the change in the air? Autumn, Fall, the Autumnal Equinox. That time of year when we take a deep breath of slightly cooler air, watch as the days grow shorter and nights grow longer, and begin to anticipate the approaching holiday season in all its glory; from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s! Those lucky enough to live in an area where the trees put on their amazing display of vibrant colors brace for a treat!
Takes one back to the days of burning leaves, bonfires and family gatherings replete with clambakes, hot dogs and s’mores. Ah, the good old days! Memory is quite an astounding faculty! With just a few words, one can be transported to a different place and time, and reinvent the details to better suit the fabric of the personality. To most, our memories are thought to be an accurate picture of what happened in the past, but as anyone who has had the advantage of having therapy knows, our memories are often fabrications of what we, as a younger version of ourselves, perceived the situation to be; that which we created with our then limited understanding of the event and continued to carry on into adulthood as a reality. Quite a feat; quite a talent! Absolutely lethal, however, when manipulated by charlatans seeking to gain power.
The longing for nostalgia, the “good old days.” For some, that is merely five years ago; for others it may be fifty! It seems to be a universal trait we all share to varying degrees as we muse about times past, using the memories tinged by what we truly think happened, to smile and recall what was. Trump appears to have mesmerized an entire segment of the population of the United States and manipulated them to believe that they need to move back in to a time when America was great, playing upon the very real personality trait of nostalgia and the comfort of the memory of the past. Remember? No Federal Debt cliff or economic ‘Grand Bargain’ stupidity created by the insufficiently literate Erskine Bowles, et. al. No Trade deals. Good union pay scales.
But of course the overpaid, mono-syllabic, economically ignorant bought and paid for Faux Conservative & Liberal Political Media ABC, CBS, CNN, CSPAN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and not to forget the economic faerie dust from the dolts on CNBC, has another outcome intended for American citizens — more Neoliberal policy agendas which support plutocrats, lowers wages, slows GDP growth with no counter-voices who know better on the corporate lobby news boutiques from above. This outcome is being assisted by monetary ignoramus billionaire? Donald Trump and to a much smaller extent from Hillary Clinton, by helping to support Budget and Public Debt fear mongering echo chamber agenda.
How is the intended outcome by the Political Media1 being accomplished? Why with the built in continual, echo-chambered drone of serious economic ignorant Neoliberal policies that have decimated the middle class in this nation from upward redistribution. Haven’t you noticed the well-deserved, substantial ire and anger against the Political Media in response to the forgery of economic opine on Networks? This anger and ire from a portion of the populace is what feeds some of the Trump phenomena2 and part of the Hillary-Hatred Derangement Syndrome.3
By censoring any rational, economic heterodox counter-dialogue, the Political Media reinforces their shove-it-down-the-throats-of-Americans to their agenda to dismantle the public sector and drain the public’s money. The front part of this powerful lobby can be heard in various opines, but Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s (PGPF) Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) wins the booby prize. CRFB’s President Maya MacGuineas is a fine contribution to toxic information and a wasteland of profound fiscal irresponsibility of resistance to facts, who shrewdly cherry picks economic facts to support CRFB’s insanely irrational call for balanced budgets because the national debt with ANY deficit spending is going to starve you, your children and kill jobs for your children’s children; it’s psycho econo-babble4. Note how well the marketing hypnotism works in the last presidential debate as misinformed journalist Chris Wallace promptly invoked the ‘Grand Bargain’ on Social Security and National Debt! Look at the incredible, superb efficacy of post-hypnotic suggestion plays out plainly and visibly as a testament to the prowess of hypnotism marketing of CRFB’s commercial induction-that’s great power and influence.
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) is an economically bigoted, biased and insufficiently literate, bipartisan public policy organization filled with economic incompetents who want to pocket and drain your Social Security and ANY of your money with your earned, paid for benefits outsource it to salivating Wallstreet handlers in a NAFTA-like policy that trumps out government protecting your benefits in favor of financial sector losing you money.
CRFB is a pseudo think-tank based in Washington, D.C. By preying on the fact of our insufficiently informed citizenry, CRFB talks a one-sided federal balance sheet paranoia designed to assist the Private Financial Sector (with Rants-alot-Trump’s help and as Progressive’s rightfully fear Hillary might help) in stealing the power of the federal monetary system of the USA in a can’t see it coming type coup d’etat. This would effectively hand over USA monetary sovereignty to the financial sector bankers by getting people to believe in a fiction called Balanced Budget nonsense or National Debt apocalypse — THERE ISN’T ONE. Then what is going on?
So, plain and simply put, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and everyone who supports this economic den of thieves are LYING to American public to get what they want. Why? Because they want your money and will stop at almost nothing to get it. They use the Political Media to promote their ALEC-like lobby and its austerity legislation agenda against the American people on ABC, CBS, CNN, CSPAN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and not to forget the economic faerie dust from the dolts on CNBC has another outcome intended for American citizens — more Neoliberal policy to to further the reach of the private Financial Sector’s tentacles by playing on the American public’s lack of full knowledge on how our money system actually works simultaneously pulling a bait-n-switch67
Private Sector billionaire ‘Rants-Alot-Trump’ professes he will “Make America Great Again.” Though I am not sure exactly when he deems the cutoff point to be as to when the United States of America became “not great,” from rhetoric bounced around and indications from the Republican Party, an educated guess might be that it somehow, in his own Trumpian logic, correlates to when President Obama took office. After all, we know that that point in history is when Civil Unrest became rampant, right? And let’s praise Trump for his wisdom in finally ending the birther theory that Hillary started as well, enlightened, wise man that he is. You know what is genuinely frightening? That Trump supporters would read these words and not even catch a glimpse of the sarcasm that is implied in them. They would agree and pronounce Barabbas-Trump as the Savior! And so it goes, The Gospel According to Trump.
But Trump paints such a picture of the evils of what America has become at the hands of a Black President, the depths to which we, as a nation, have sunk, and by playing upon the emotions of the nostalgia of whatever it is he vaguely sees as the good old days, a picture that is unique to each individual, that he has created a mass hysteria of desire to return to some nebulous time unique to each one’s imagination. . .but it works, because it carries such emotional impact! How naïve and gullible are we, as a nation?
Inevitably, we will know come November 8, 2016. Whether Trump carries us into a coup d’etat into the hands of the financial private sector, becoming a second Hitler by means of taking over the Supreme Court or Hillary is the victor, at the very least bringing experience and common sense, the decision is in our hands. We the people hold the power, as has always been the foundation upon which the Untied States of America has be based. And the choice is ours, along with the implications of what might be with a Trump victory; this may be our last stand to make this choice. The future of our country hangs in the balance. Make your choice and voice count!
Follow the path with Dr. Strickler as he puts into print his life altering journey in his medical event in suffering an acute stroke and the repercussions of the aftermath in his sensitive recounting in his article, “Lightning Struck Late at Night.”
Join Wendy Ford as she permits her Ego to speak in a revealing commentary on two of her previous articles, discovering the power of her exploration of Self in “My Dearest Idiot, This Is your Ego.”
Explore the characteristics of character with Glen Ford expressing the intricacies of the make up of what we do and why in his article “Thoughts on Character.”
Encounter experiences of obstacles and the importance of overcoming them as you travel with Adam Crosthwaite in his article “Caution, Gate Opens Inward.”
As always, get cozy and comfy with a tall or short glass of your favorite beverage and join us once more. It is with hope that our great country continues to be as great as we are right now that we, the staff of Spiritual Climate, invite you take a break from your busy day to travel with us through the meanderings, ponderings and realities as seen from the minds of mystics with our commentaries about what is happening on this crazy, never boring, spinning sphere called Earth!
Welcome to our Autumn 2016 Edition of The Spiritual Climate Newsletter.
O’Donnell, Lawrence. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. “Political Media Loses Its Mind over Clinton.” News Media. MSNBC, September 12, 2016. Editors Note:Lawrence O’Donnell’s wording, ‘Political Media’ is a concise, powerful naming of the Conservative-Liberal Beltway Media. Thankfully your voice is on mainstream Lawrence![↩]
Most if not all of the surrogate co-chairs, represent a blight and malignancy of cancerous ignorance, such as Mitch Daniels, or they sound like wannabe economists who do not understand accounting identity, sectoral balance identity or balance of payments in macro government budget accounting which put simply translates as government is nowhere near anything like a household checking account. Brilliant economists like Stephanie Kelton, Michael Hudson, Bill Mitchell, Steve Keen or Dean Baker counter against the dubious farce of presentations the CRFB’s broadcasts daily on Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s (PGPF) commercial minions ABC, CBS, CNN, CSPAN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and not to forget the economic faerie dust from the dolts on CNBC; these economists provide a counter-voice of reason based on economic history and flawless math.
“Here’s something we need to understand – there is a Wall Street Wing of the Democratic party, and one of its most eager representatives is Erskine Bowles. According to Bill Black, noted economist and blogger at Naked Capitalism, Bowles along with Alan Simpson is allied with Republican Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson who has pledged a billion dollars in the effort to privatize Social Security called “The Third Way”.
Black writes, “The Third Way represents the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party and has pushed successfully for the worst domestic failures of the Obama administration, including continuing the Bush administration policy of granting the elite banksters whose frauds drove the crisis de facto immunity from criminal prosecution. … Third Way is also useful to Wall Street’s pursuit of other major priorities, including austerity and gaining access to tens of billions of dollars in freebie profits from beginning to privatize social security. Third Way’s specialty is spreading the faux “moral panic” that the safety net is the great threat to America.”[↩]
It may not have been an unusual Sunday, either in the morning or afternoon for that unparticular day: I don’t recall much about August 22, 2004 sifting back through layers of memory. That day, that month and that part of the year does indeed have some type of unfamiliar vibe lurking behind the appearances of its chronological settings. In fact, I don’t recall much about the daylight settings other than the fact that at that time period of my life it was a normal workday for me. Most of my recall seems to surround around the darkness. That would make sense because the lightning struck me at night.
I am not referring to lightning in the ordinary sense of the word. I am referring to a metaphorical sense of lightning striking. Sitting here writing this, I’m still struggling to find any sense of what had occurred during the afternoon on that Sunday. All that day, even to this day, seems to have been obliterated or buried from any sensible recollection. But I do vividly remember lying in bed, having retired for the night, staring into the darkness at the window curtains in front of my bed.
It seemed almost as if it were any other night, except for my usual routine of reviewing the day’s events in backward sequence. Not surprising, details appear to be missing from my recollection of that day into night. That is until the memory of a squirming, agitation yanking my body out of bed to go into the bathroom, turn the lights on and look at myself in the bathroom mirror, for no conceivable reason whatsoever. Then, reviewing that motion, that whole process again of looking at myself, but thinking, “Why do I have the bathroom light on?” Why am I staring at myself in the mirror? Shaking my head, I turned the lights off and headed back to bed.
However, going back to bed, It didn’t stop there, the uneasy restlessness continued with finding myself monitoring my body fidgeting around in bed and I couldn’t quite seem to get comfortable. This was a sense of uneasiness ‘from out of nowhere’ with no apparent cause I could pinpoint. My legs were so restless. Before I knew it I was once more up again turning the lights on over the bathroom wall mirror just staring at myself all the while wondering what the hell was going on? Now there was some sort of inaudible humming sound with tiny electrical sparks that felt like ants crawling up my legs.
All I could think of was, here comes another night of difficulties in getting to sleep but that rapidly turned into a pause producing a growing concern. I began wondering if something was wrong. What was I picking up on? My attention was immediately cast to any family or friends. Maybe I’m picking up on a strong signal of distress from someone, I thought to myself. No sooner had I invoked the thought process above, when right under my nose, my body was getting up out of bed. Yes, I did state that correctly; my awareness was of actually lying there, watching my body getting up out of bed.
Here I was again for the umpteenth time, turning on the bathroom light and eerily seeing the reflection of myself staring back at me as if to say, “Are you paying attention yet?” It was almost as if another probable me was looking at me from the other side of the conjunction between our realities trying to get my attention. Now ordinarily I wouldn’t consider that type of thought strange. Those of you who know me understand when I say that. Small whirlings and vibrations felt like they were going on inside me, taking place like Jonathan Winter’s Maude Fricketmight vocalize, “all over my body.”
What’s Going On?
Staring at myself or the reflection of myself in the mirror, whichever you prefer, I didn’t see anything out of place; my color didn’t look bad, my pupils weren’t overly dilated and appeared reactive nor was the room was shrinking while my body was growing, I did not see any horns or antenna coming out of the backside of my head. It was clear to me, however, that there was something wrong. In retrospect, I left the bathroom vanity light on and walked back to my bed and sat on the edge of the bed, with my feet on the floor, moving both knees up and down in a rapid pace with pressure placed on the front part of my foot, something most parents will tell their children to “stop doing that!”
Absorbed in assessment, discerning the nature of the moment, whatever you care to call it, is the closest approximation I can give you, because any thoughts after my body walked me back to the bed to sit down were completely absent. Instead, I was listening, watching, pondering my next move, or rather, my body was assessing, watching, listening and subconsciously considering its next move. I can’t say that I was frightened. It was in a heightened state of awareness, a form of hyper-vigilance familiar to me through spiritual tools and exercises; some taught to me, some I discovered then used with consistency throughout my life. To put it another way, something was up and I wanted to know what that “up” was.
Immediately after I invoked wanting to know what was up, I shifted into a complete Observer mode, watching my body’s consciousness move into action without hesitation. Translated that means my body was walking to the phone, picking it up and making a phone call. Further translated: the distress signal I was picking up on was ME.
Mentally galvanized and without any thought I found myself launching into action. I was instantly cognizant that I wouldn’t call Dianne first, because she lived further away from me. I called my friend Christine who lived a few doors down. She answered almost immediately, even though she was a bit surprised at my call, she was her usual polite self and asked me what was up. I told her to call Wendy and Glen to tell them she was taking me to the emergency room at Paradise Valley Hospital (now the Abrazo Scottsdale Campus) to which she said with full alertness, “What?” I repeated myself, to which she responded “I will call Dianne.” I stated no, I would call Dianne, just get the car and hurry up please.
Since Dianne lived further away, and it was likely that she was just getting ready to doze off, this meant it would take longer for her to get to me. She answered my phone call; I told her to meet me at Paradise Valley Hospital emergency room, to which she replied, wanting to know what was wrong. I told her I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong, but something was wrong; I didn’t break any bones, I wasn’t bleeding. But, something was wrong, my body was nagging constantly at me. So, I had called Christine since she lived closer. She could respond more quickly to take me to the emergency room at Paradise Valley Hospital. Dianne told me okay and she would see me there as soon as possible.
Just as I ended the call with Dianne, Christine rang my cell and told me she was in the car waiting in the parking lot down the north-south walkway to my apartment. Everything was feeling even stranger. I found myself rapidly locking the door to my apartment and heading to car. I found myself wondering if this was a false alarm was I going to the E.R. only to find out there was nothing at all going on? But there it was again, that subtle inaudible humming vibration making me question again what was going on. I walked fast to Christine’s car.
Christine asked how I was doing; I said I think I am okay and am having doubts about going to the emergency room. Christine said no matter, I needed to go and check things out. Getting into the car, we then left the apartment complex through the north gate to get on Greenway Road. There was little traffic at this 9 p.m. ‘ish hour. Things were starting to feel even stranger as I was talking to Christine and we approached the 40th Street intersection which we had to turn left on to get to Paradise Valley Hospital on the corner of Bell Rd and 40th Street.
Lightning Struck Unexpectedly…
Approaching the light at the intersection as I was talking to Christine, I remember having a odd sense of immobilization and said, “Oh, my!” There was a flash as if ‘lightning struck’. ‘Bam,’ I felt myself free falling forward realizing I was about to lose consciousness. Next, there was this boing-snap sound inside my head between both my ears. Everything then quickly went from live to black except for the small ball of light condensing to a point. I was looking at the blackness of space within, some apparent last thoughts as I was losing physical consciousness. I do not know how long I was out but I did feel a hand on my chest pushing me back into the car seat. I remember hearing, “Boss, Boss are you okay, can you hear me?” I was opening my eyes as I was hearing this.
I think I felt the car moving rather fast. I said, “Wow, that was a trip, I went away, so that is what it feels like to blackout? I feeling lost somewhere between here and now. Christine asked me to describe as best I could how I was feeling and what I was sensing when all of a sudden, wham, bam ‘lightning struck’ again. I told her for the first time in my life I had some direct understanding of what a candle feels like. Christine asked me what I meant, and I responded by telling her my face was melting. It wasn’t my entire face mind you, it was the left side of my face melting and feeling as though it was going to slide off. All I could think of was a) I now have empathy for melting wax and then the startling awareness of b) my body was in trouble and c) I was glad to have gotten in the car to go to the hospital.
With great relief in seeing the driveway of the hospital leading to the entrance of the E.R. while failing to heed Christine’s words, I opened the door of the car while it was moving, somehow putting one foot in front of the other nearly ‘levitating’ with haste into the E.R. entrance. Making it to the admission’s desk, I felt strange with how the admitting nurse was observing me. I told her I had people coming behind me and I felt I was in trouble.
The admitting room nurse was asking me some questions while I reached for my insurance cards, telling her my address and I was 45 years old, having lost consciousness in the car on the way here explaining to her this has never happened to me before. Christine came in behind me; the nurse asked her if my face had always looked that way, she told her no, and told the nurse I had said my face started melting shortly after I regained consciousness in the car. I couldn’t answer the admitting nurse’s question as to what day it was; she said she would be back quickly. They took me into an adjoining room and took my blood pressure which was some ungodly rate of 230-50 something over 170 something. They asked me if I could walk and saying yes, I nervously followed the next nurse into the E.R. room.
Health care professionals started swarming around me in a dizzying blur. All I wanted to do was to go to sleep, but the doctor who introduced himself asked me to please keep my eyes open. I was placed on a gurney which was followed by needles and IV bags being hung around me. To my relief, Dianne suddenly appeared around my treatment room curtains alongside Christine.
I found solace in seeing Dianne. Dianne could look calm in a hurricane and this is not fiction, it is fact. Dianne and I had gone through Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992 in Naples, Florida. She’s always been my secret sure-rock of stability where I’d temporarily lost my psychological footing. I told her I felt strange. She asked me if I was in any pain and as usual, she nails a novel question to me by asking if I was in any pain. Come to think of it, I wasn’t experiencing any pain. Wow, what a trip! Something was incredibly wrong yet I wasn’t feeling any pain. There wasn’t any experience of fear either.
Next came the MRI’s and CAT scans. Between the flurry of dialogue against the curtain of non-dialogue both inside and outside my brain-space-conversation process, I knew my organism was in genuine danger and I was content with my decision to seek out competent health care professionals. They were working fast to ascertain what was happening inside and to my body. After the flurry of blood work, radio diagnostics and small conversation with those around me, I was beginning to feel a huge pause, not in a threatening sense but in positive anticipation, if it can be called that; I stared at the ceiling while listening to the heart monitor waiting to discover what was wrong with my body. Am I going to lose my organism? But there wasn’t even a sense of “impending doom.”
Time to Know…
The attending room physician came armed with two nurses at his side asking me how I was doing; I replied that there was no pain but something was wrong. He gave me a summary of the tests with little segue and finished by saying the indications were likely that I was suffering from an ischemic strokeand based on their investigation he said I was a candidate for Tissue Plasminogen Activator, otherwise known as TPA or PLAT. He also stated that I was within the four hour window to be able to use the TPA that helps by dissolving the blood clot and reduces the damage done to the body from lack of oxygen. Of course, there was then the obligatory litany of a long list of side effect citations. I responded that I needed a minute to think about it and talk to my friends.
I Must Choose…
Geeze, damned if I do and damned if I don’t, I remember thinking. Knowing my sensitivities to drugs it was like being handed a possible death sentence. My hesitation did not go unnoticed in the treatment space. The young nurse gave me five more minutes for my decision, reported to the attending physician and then came back watching the clock. Am I running out of time, I thought; this looks serious from my horizontal point of view. I expressed my concerns about the side effects of the TPA to the young nurse; she told me even though I couldn’t see it at the moment, the after effects of a stroke cause much damage if left untreated. She grabbed my hand and said, “Sir, if you were my father in this bed I would plead with you to take the TPA.”
Man oh man — I could tell from the compassion and concern in her voice that I need to pay attention because my situation was serious and could get worse. So looking back at the Angel speaking through her, I agreed to the TPA treatment and she appeared to give a sigh of relief. The situation suddenly moved even faster. Clipboards appeared out of nowhere for me to sign, giving consent to the treatment and of being advised of the side effect of the treatment. She Proceeded in giving me give the TPA treatment with the physician watching. I could feel it moving through my blood vessels; the next thing I recall happening was tingling in my head and on the left side of my face. My friends were watching me with a recital of ‘Oh my god!’ To their astonishment, my face was unmelting. I was watching the doctor try to restrain a smile of thankfulness on his face.
Not Going Home…
I was feeling much better and asked when I could go home. I was then informed I was being transferred to a facility that could monitor and further my treatment. The doctor was transferring me to Barrow Neurological Institute via St Joseph Hospital and Medical Center for Emergency Trauma treatment in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The doctor said I wouldn’t be airlifted because there wasn’t a helicopter available, so I would be carried by ambulance. Things got blurry a bit into a flurry and hurry at this point. I thanked my attending room physician and the angel that spoke to me through my attending nurse.
Suddenly, I found myself being loaded into an ambulance with the continual question of how was I doing? I thought I heard the voices of my friends and the ambulance attendants discussing streets. Off we went, as I watched the street lights above me with some occasional talk with my ambulance attendant. She told me that I had to be observed for a 24-hour period after this type of stroke treatment.
Out of the rear the ambulance doors I could see the streetlights go by like a string of pearls in the dark Phoenix Arizona night sky holding just a few small grayish white clouds. For me at least it seemed to be taking a long time to get to St. Joseph’s Emergency Trauma Center. Now for some reason I was experiencing flashbacks of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lorain, Ohio that I used to work at in the late 1970s; I must admit I was feeling a bit of a synchronicity if nothing else, from the flood of memories of working that job. It seemed to take a bit of getting into the hospital I do recall being amazed at the large volume of people filling the emergency room center.
Rinse & Repeat…
A male nurse showed up to ask me to repeat the whole story again of the evening by remarking “I know you already said these things time and time again, but I need to hear them directly from you.” As an aside, even up to this point in time there was still no pain. After I had given the intake nurse the details, Dianne and Christine arrived; how the hell they ever found me I don’t know, the hospital was huge. I still felt pretty good, as I told them, a bit strange but I felt pretty good; there was no pain, like getting struck by lightning with no pain and no burns.
Then the process started, the whole process of CAT scans and MRIs and becoming a human pincushion, it was another repeat segment of the prior hospital admission questions at Paradise Valley. Leaving out the hypnotizing details of the CAT scan and an MRI visitation, next thing I knew someone was telling Dianne and Christine that I was at being admitted to ICU for further observation. Apparently I wasn’t going home yet.
After getting me checked into ICU, which I shared a room with one other individual who didn’t appear to be conscious. It was dark in there, although there was window; I am almost certain I recall the moonlight coming in through the window. My nurse’s name was David, he wasn’t the only one, but he was the one who introduced himself amidst the flurry of team of nurses who were checking in on me at various points. One thing he stated was that they were not going to let me go to sleep. He informed me that they would be checking on me with some rate of frequency that proved unsettling for me, because all I want to do was to go to sleep.
Some hours later I was eating a cinnamon flavored paste, absolutely ungodly as far as the texture was concerned; I never had eaten Vaseline before, which was close approximation to what the stuff was, but they were preparing to do an echo-cardiogram which meant they were going to slide a tube down my throat. The only thing that caught my interest was they were going to knock me out, which meant I might get a little bit of sleep. Whatever they used to knock me out was wonderful; looking back at that I could of used that stuff post stroke.
It was later in that day’s evening, whatever that day was, that they were transferring me to the stroke ward at Barrow Neurological Institute which is in the same building. My nurse Dave followed me there and informed me that they would finally let me sleep, although with frequency they would come and shine a light in my eyes and ask me questions that hopefully I could answer. I kind of dozed off in and out, when I didn’t have the eyeball light shining on me, only to hear people visiting the patient next to me.
This really caught my attention; I heard the patient’s age was 45, that man was the same age as me at the time. His whole left side was paralyzed and he couldn’t talk. When the family left the room later that night I asked my nurse why I didn’t end up paralyzed like so-and-so; he told me it was because I got treatment in time. I don’t know the man’s name, but my blessings of healing went out to him and his family; that was burned into my memory just like my biological sleep clock was burned into a new time zone.
I met the team of doctors that morning who were getting ready to let me go home. They were talking about some sort of blood tests to be done on a yearly basis and just at that moment my personal physician called me to see how I was doing; we chatted for a few seconds and I asked the one of the male doctors if they would repeat what they had just said to my physician who was on the phone with me. They said that would be no problem at all; they talked for about 5 to 10 minutes I think. I got my release papers and instructions and had to see my personal physician within the next couple of days. I was happy to get out of there alive.
So yes, I made it home and it is here I will truncate the story. It was a few weeks later that what I would call bruising started to show up in my neurological system and physical body. The first striking event: I couldn’t tell which direction sound was coming from! The pain was setting into the left side of my body. I couldn’t see in the depth of three dimensionality that I could before, everything had the appearance of being more flat. I could feel light hitting my skin for example from headlights; I could not take the lights in the store, and I was suddenly possessed by the will to walk. I forced myself to walk every day around the parking lot. The strangest thing of all was I couldn’t stand or walk on a slanted surface without falling over.
Looking back, I think I was becoming frightened at the possible prospect of not being able to walk. The pain was getting to be excruciating on the left side of my body and the pain in my head, the constant headaches, just wouldn’t go away. Of course my physician set me up with a regimen of medications to assist me with the spasticity I was experiencing with my body, but the stroke was beginning to leave its mark in my life and within my organism. All of a sudden I couldn’t remember things; I could no longer do simple math & most distressingly, the photographic (eidetic)recall that I had was nowhere to be found and I felt lost in a series of details. I have a memory of sitting in front of my speech therapist who was astonished that I actually knew I use to be able to add/subtract, calculus which was familiar was gone (to this day) never mind the tears rolling down my face in having those awarenesses.
While attempting to vacuum the carpet by myself one day, I came into this dark realization of the lack of energy in my vehicle, my physical body, and the immense fatigue it was experiencing: I couldn’t breathe after vacuuming 2 foot section off carpet. I had even noticed many cognitive functions had changed and left water running in the bathroom while setting a towel on fire on the kitchen stove to name a few too many things I’ve done post-stroke. To make a long story short, I talked with my physician and requested some rehab. I also requested a neuropsychiatric evaluation, which may help some of you who are familiar with my tweets to understand why I have questioned the cognitive capability of people out there are in various professions. The neuropsych test is painless and it is a fascinating discovery of identifying limitations.
For Whom It May Concern…
So yes, lightning struck me, in the form of an acute stroke, irrevocably changing my life and my relationship with the organism of my body that I operate through, in tandem with my brain and its remarkable capabilities. I am putting this story down since it was only a few weeks ago that it was the anniversary of this event in my lifestream. Why am I writing this? To hopefully give anyone the wherewithal to get their ass to the emergency room if something is going on that you don’t understand, whether with your physical self or your mental self.
There are parts of this story I have left out for the sake of brevity, but I have hopefully included enough of the necessary details to give rational people a chance to realize that in order to exercise a window needed to reduce paralysis in this type of medical event that strikes like lightning out of nowhere, they should act by going to the Emergency Room. This helps themselves with their body more instead of playing macho man or macho woman russian roulette in experiencing an unknown threatening circumstance.
This was an expensive trip that, thankfully, I could take on because of the fine health insurance at my disposal. I have a great many thanks to the people who study diligently in their fields who were able to specifically assist me in my moment of medical crisis. Strokes are confusing and still are to this day but I do know something for sure; strokes affect not only the patient, the stroke also affects everybody who is connected to the patient: the lightning strikes everyone to some degree.
Strokes change people, and I am thankful that I had a group of loving support around me to assist me in this part of the journey of my life with this medical event. Even the people who were in rehab with me in occupational, speech and physical therapy I still remember and feel inspired by their drive to move forward. A moment of special thanks to my Stroke Rehab Team of Therapists below:
11 Years Later…
I would like to take a few moments to address the invisible injuries that can easily happen with head injuries. With any head injury there is an increasing possibility for brain injury and the INVISIBLE problems resulting from it may not be entirely visible to anybody. I look completely normal to people who merely look at me, but my personality has changed, my ability to do things have changed, the stroke has rendered me disabled. ‘My Brain Hurts’ is a normal event for me now — more on that in a minute. Hell, it took me six years to be able to play guitar again viewed right here or here . I tire easily and frequently, I lose focus after 10 minutes, my sleep schedule has been turned into a backwards, afternoon shift of not being able to fall asleep until 5 AM. To top it off, it took another 11 years for them to find the location of the stroke inside my brain. The final kicker? The pièce de résistance is? Get this, I caught wind through the grapevine that a small few thought I was faking it, because “You look fine!”
What I’m trying to say is brain injury is not something to take to lightly; anyone who is had a family member affected with a brain injury, whether it be a severe crack on the head, a stroke or various other ways that head traumas can produce a brain injury, don’t expect the person to respond the same as prior to the injury: they may not even be close to what you recall as “normal” for them anymore. Please, don’t think that all they gotta do is go out there and do it; don’t push them to do things like they did before, because that’s just not going to work. They have been irrevocably changed for this lifetime and need support and understanding as they adjust to a new life.
So, seek medical advice, seek psychological and psychiatric advice about TBI and post traumatic stress disorder therapy such as EMDR therapy. Learn about what’s happening to either yourself or the person whom you love who has brain injury. Why? Because they are forever changed and it is very unlikely that they will ever be the same person that they were before the event, so be flexible and don’t place expectations on them; instead place the expectations on yourself to learn about what’s going on. It’s not the same as working through a cold; it’s more like running into a wall that you can’t see every five or ten minutes and no matter where you look you can’t seem to find it.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030.1 Stroke2 is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. You can help by learning how to identify a possible stroke. Whether it is you or a loved one, whatever the relationship, be informed and ready to make adjustments in your life because a new chapter is about to start. When this type of lightning strikes it, will affect you and those around you, ever altering not only the victim of the trauma, but the relationships and interactions with in all aspects of life.
Someone once asked me what it was like to live in the world after a Stroke. “Simple,” I told them, “Take a mirror without a frame. Now drop it on the floor in front of you and then use those fragments to negotiate the world and any number of your thoughts.” He looked at me wryly and said, “Boy, I am glad you told me you don’t drive anymore.”
Response From An Ego to Its Idiot. This is an open letter from my ego in response to last October’s Article “I Lie Daily” that explored how and possible reasons why we all lie to ourselves daily and to last month’s article “This Is Your Captain Listening” that explored ego and personality responsiveness to directions from Self.
My Dearest Idiot
Ahem! Okay I have had just about enough from all of this Superconscious, Self-conscious, Subconscious, Self, awareness, discovery and honesty rhetoric that is being paid so much attention. It is about time I had my say. So, through the temporarily hijacked fingers of the author, here I go.
Do you have any idea just how long it has taken, how hard I have worked and all of the energy I have needed to grab, use and misdirect in order for Me to develop and hone the barriers and limitations you are trying to disrupt and expand? Sheesh. It is getting harder and harder for Me to keep you, My Idiot, firmly anchored in this mundane physical dimension.
Sometimes I feel like everyone is against me. Dr Strickler is teaching, you are listening and learning, and you are being supported by those around you who are also involved in all of this; how to ferret out where I have sealed off these vast pools of energy for My use, and are learning to free them up for redirection. My carefully stored rememberings are being discovered, examined and taken apart only to be identified as MISrememberings. My seals and vaults containing your emotional responses are being breached and those precious responses are gradually being deemed erroneous and are being altered by examination and poking and prodding. My fears, oh how I despise that term, are being ferreted out, examined and criticized. My beliefs and interpretations are actually being questioned and some have been found to be erroneous or wrong.
You seem to be forgetting the most important of details…. I am in charge and wait.. What? I am WRONG?
WRONG?? Oh, no. I actually used the W word. What is going on here? I can’t possibly be wrong about anything. You, My Idiot just need to keep automatically going about your business. This Busybody Self has no place in interfering with how deftly I have arranged everything to keep My Idiot in blissful ignorance and totally immersed in this physical mundane paradise. If I allow this Self to start mucking about My Idiot might just have instances of starting to be aware and that will never do. No, no, no. Absolutely not.
Ignorance is what I protect and if I let awareness and mindfulness start to occur that will lead to questioning and that will lead to the ability to question and examine and that will lead to knowledge and that will lead to discovery and expansion or breaking down of carefully constructed barriers and limitations and that will lead to truth. That will never do.
Then there is this big emphasis over the past several years on fear. I now will admit you, My Idiot, you, are wearing me down in this area. Oh I know Dr Strickler has been working on this for over 23 years with you but I really didn’t listen up until the past 5 or 6. You have no right to go digging around and flashing your lights looking in this direction but you are becoming so persistent I am running out of ways to ignore or redirect you.
Fears are my means of controlling you, My Idiot.
Fear of Failure: if you don’t try you will never fail and if you never fail you will never learn, grow or expand your awareness. It is only through the trial and error of action or inaction and experience that you first come to discover a boundary or limitation. Once the boundary or limitation is discovered I need to get My Idiot to choose not to push further.
Fear of Change: why does My Idiot fear change? Change might just require the admission that you (we) have been wrong. I make sure you just cannot even entertain the possibility of being wrong about anything, ever; even when written or recorded records exist to prove what was said or done contradicts what you state.
Fear of Exposure: not wishing to have others figure out how truly ignorant or incapable you are My Idiot is a natural response from Me, ego—the response of self-preservation. Not wishing to lose face or stature among your peers in the work setting, not wishing to expose your vulnerabilities to an enemy or our loved one is understandable, and there is certainly no reason to go digging around in my/your internal world to find anything.
You, My Idiot are seriously rocking the boat here and I do not like it. All this awareness stuff is getting to be quite annoying.
If you, My Idiot become aware and start to de-densify, start to become less immersed in this mundane physical existence and know that there is something other than Me in charge then what will I do? What will be my job? What will happen to me?
Hmmm. I started out on a rampage asserting my importance and being really offended and ticked off at you, My Idiot, but I realize I am asking some questions here. That’s new, Me asking questions; Me feeling threatened. Instead of just digging in my heels and holding my ground I am having a wondering about an alternative. Imagine that.
Maybe you, My Idiot, are on to something. Maybe I need to ask My Idiot for advice or even worse, maybe I need to cooperate with My Idiot. That is going to be hard to swallow but I am sensing some changes and maybe I need to stop and listen.
I am being told by you, My Idiot, that this Self is really the One in charge. Something rings familiar and true about that but I can’t remember it being any other way. Those pretty pictures you are always looking at (Tarot Keys) seem to stir me in ways that are so familiar yet forgotten. I seem to be having remembrances about a time long ago when it was different and I didn’t feel responsible for everything. Maybe all really is not as it appears. Maybe things can be different. Maybe I have taken on more burden than I needed to. Oh good grief, I am starting to sound a bit like you, My Idiot.
Upon careful examination I am coming to realize some of the changes are actually starting to relieve me of some the energy I have been expending. Oh dear, now I am starting to even question and examine myself in some areas. Self, what are you doing to Me and My Idiot? It seems I can hear your somehow familiar voice in the distance and My Idiot is starting to respond and this seems to be having an effect on me. Now that is a new concept; I can be effected by something other than Me. Well now this has captured my attention and could be interesting.
Be aware I am not accustomed to change nor being questioned or examined. Discomfort is not my forte, but it seems Self appears to actually be getting my attention and starting to experience some results. I will stop complaining. For now. I also just realized I have exposed myself right out in front of God and everyone. Sheesh. The things I do for you My Idiot.
I now return control of your fingers back to you. Carry on My Idiot.
When was the last time someone asked you for your phone number? Do you remember stuttering and stammering while paging through your brain for an elusive number that you should, and actually used to know, instantaneously? God forbid they ask you to retrieve the phone number of your husband or wife, children or friends from the power of your memory. Does it seem fair to say that our use of memory is being high jacked by technology? Does it seem as if your capacity to recall is being replaced by a 3” x 6” piece of plastic and metal that you can hold in your hand and access just about any fact, person or direction with the push of a few buttons?
If you are in the 50-70 year age range, you have probably felt at least a twinge of this, even if you are a techy; if you aren’t a techy, the whole digital onset can be downright overwhelming. If you are in the 25-50 year range, you most likely haven’t given it much thought, as the computer revolution was simply a part of your growing up process. Most sadly to my way of thinking, however, if you are in the 3-25 year range, you have known nothing else and are totally dependent upon digital memory, the ease of instant communication and having a world of information at your fingertips.
In looking at the scope of this from my vantage point as an educator of many, many years, I ask you to think back. In elementary school, what was it you first memorized, along with your ABCs and 123s? Give up? If that was too long ago, I will remind you! You learned to write and recite your name, address and phone number, smoothly and precisely, from memory. Why? I am sure most readers remember some wise teacher telling them along the way “In case you get lost. How will the police know how to find your family and get you home?”
When I taught Kindergarten through 4th grade Mentally Handicapped kids back in Florida 25 years ago, that was deemed a necessary life skill; knowing your name, address and phone number. Now I find myself teaching much less challenged 7th and 8th grade students with Specific Learning Disabilities, and am constantly both amazed and appalled that when asked they do not know their phone number or address; they must access it on their phone. Maybe I am old fashioned; perhaps my standards are too high, but for the love of all that is right, shouldn’t a kid know their phone number and the street address of the place they live?
Total reliance on technology for memory is only one aspect of my ponderings. In my previous article in the September 2015 Edition of SCN, Prelude to Stupidity, one of my pet peeves was the focus; the dependence upon technology by encouraging children to gather facts and information and reassemble it into an attractive presentation while labeling it as personal knowledge. Then there is the infernal onslaught of video games which hold beautiful minds hostage for countless hours, not only of children, but of adults as well, sweeping them away into a virtual fantasy world of violence and power where time is lost in the blink of an eye, addictively squandering precious ability and brain power that could be spent learning, playing, reading, interacting, and exploring the world. Add to this the feeding of the ever increasing need for stimulation, visual as well as auditory, that is created by the fast paced bombardment of the senses, and you have part of what has added to the psychotic triumph of Trump in the Republican Party; but that is for another article. Finally, the Social Media aspect of the Internet can be the cause of pain, grief and harassment far beyond anything we experienced in the good old days when words were exchanged verbally or perhaps written on a secretive note passed student to student and hopefully not caught by that eagle-eyed teacher who never missed anything!
My concerns about technology, as wonderful and time saving as I have found it to be, truly haunt me. I shift from the one extreme of fearing that we are being taken over by an alien mechanized intelligence that will strip every ounce of humanity and beauty from us as a species to the other, beating myself up about being stubbornly out of step and allowing this advancement in modern society to take place around me while I wear blinders and attempt to ignore it. As Dr. Strickler has taught me ever since I took a deep breath and bravely stepped up to meet him in Naples Florida in 1992, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and it is my role as an Occultist and Adept, to sort it out and come to equilibration within my own Self as to the resolution of these opposing thoughts. Exploring the depths and complexities of one’s own biases can be both challenging and illuminating, painful and insightful, humiliating and inspiring, but it is rarely an exercise in futility; at the very least, it affords one a view that is malleable and flexible, rather than rigid and one sided.
With this article I intend to explore just a small part of the vast Social Media network, and the effects that this growing occupation of time and energy is having upon society as a whole. Before any such technology existed, it would take a conscious commitment of both time and energy to call someone or write a letter and actually put it in the mailbox. If the person lived a distance from you, those “long distance” phone charges per minute could really add up; phone time was a precious commodity; no such thing as “unlimited data”. Sometimes you had to call a person several times to even connect, as back in the day there was no voice mail; you just let the phone ring many, many times until you were sure no one was home and tried again later! And those calls couldn’t be made as you ran through the grocery store or waited to pick your kids up from school; you had to be tied to a landline or a payphone to reach them.
There is no denying that the convenience of mobile phones and the internet for quick communication is a positive advancement. I can call my 92 year old mom every day as I drive to school and have a leisurely chat with her; precious moments that will soon end. If someone needs something from the grocery store, a quick text assures it will be picked up on the way home. The need for speed of communication is definitely a plus when it comes to the use of cell phones, as well as the internet to connect with others, manage bank accounts, pay bills, do online shopping and research topics of interest, just to name a few. Time is saved, trips are eliminated, thoughts and love are exchanged, bills are managed, gifts and necessities are selected and paid for from the comfort of your home; what a wonder of modern convenience. Yes, there absolutely is an upside to this! But what about the 24/7 work expectations, the hacking of accounts, and especially the ease with which Social Media can be misused and misinterpreted to create a nightmare of an experience when individuals abuse the power.
An article caught my eye while scanning the news, of course, on the Internet. Yes, absolutely, for communication of information the Internet is invaluable, as long as one reads with a critical eye as hopefully any information is read. Written in The Washington Post, And Everyone Saw It, is an easy to read article that I hope you will take a minute to scan before going any further. In short, it is the story of a 13-year-old, kind of out of step girl who was talked into sending a semi-nude (bra and panties, face hidden) camera pic to a somewhat more experienced boy, who was a friend of the family, who flattered her and whom she trusted to show no one. Her picture, along with pictures of other girls who fell into the trap, were then displayed on a large screen at a party as part of a “Guessing Game.”
An age old story, yes, but with a new twist of visual evidence, deceptiveness, shame and a trail of virtual memory that nearly destroyed not only her life, but that of the boy and several other girls who fell into his trap. This is only one story; I am sure this has happened repeatedly, as a complication of Social Media. What distresses me most, however, isn’t just the story, as it has been reenacted time after time, no matter what the state of media we have or don’t have, but the comments that follow it and the impact that the misuse of Social Media has had on our society as a whole.
To sum up what I read, there was the expected male viewpoint of it was the girl’s fault for being so naïve and trusting, she should have known better; the female take of the boy being a seducer and liar, he was the culprit; and many comments about the responsibility of parents to monitor use of electronic devices. In regards to the parental monitoring comments, all I can say from experience being a recess monitor for 7th graders is that a picture or video can be taken in the blink of an eye and go viral within seconds, no matter how closely the kids are watched. The thread of this being a timeless story, since Adam and Eve, male vs female and who was to “blame”, was often presented, and being the true Libra I am, I can see some validity in all of these comments, though taken separately, not one offers a solution to what is becoming the pandemic of electronic memory used to perpetuate shame, guilt, and remorse amongst not only children, but adults as well. These responses simply point fingers and place blame; they do not offer a remedy to the problem.
Looking at the rash of email and texting scandals involved with the political scene as well as celebrities, from Clinton to Powell, the infamous Anthony Weiner pictures, Trump’s most recent trumpeting and early morning tweeting about his disrespect for women, and many others, no one is immune. Hackers can find whatever they set out to find. If no one is immune, then what steps can we take to alleviate the anguish and chaos that so often accompanies full disclosure of written messages and digitally captured photos that were intended to be seen only by the recipient, not the entire world? The enormity of the negative uses of this powerful method of communication appears to be overwhelming!
As I pondered the casualties of Social Media, ranging from Middle Schoolers in a small town to Presidential Candidates on the stage of the World, I kept coming back to a phrase that Dr. Strickler has repeatedly spoken to me, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The Internet, Social Media, texting, the Worldwide Web… all are powerful, permanent and instantaneous means of communication. I believe the correct question to ask is “Where does the responsibility for the use of that power reside? “
The answer is stunningly simple. Within our hands we, each one of us, holds that power of choice, and with it comes exercising the discernment, decision, and yes, the great responsibility to use that power in a constructive manner. When shirking this responsibility, we use that great power in a destructive way. There is no “fault”, no fingers to be pointed. Unless responsibility is taken, we all are guilty of the blatant mismanagement of power. If only the young girl had truly considered the possible consequences of her actions, she may have used her power responsibly to not to snap that picture. The young man, being overcome by ego, made the choice, the conscious decision, to share that picture with his friends, breaking a promise and irresponsibly using his power. The boys at the party continued in a frenzy to corrupt the responsibility they had to make the correct choice in use of power and instead opted for misuse. And so it goes…
Take a giant leap with me and apply this story to that of our current Presidential Election. Trump, the bully, the bringer of “Making America Great Again”, willing to say any words, make any promises and compromises that will put the power in his hands. Trump, the young man in the story; a smooth talking deceiver who makes empty promises in exchange for power. The weary, doubting, distrustful of the status quo citizenry, those opposing Clinton and hanging on to every word of General Trump, are symbolized by the gullible, naïve, trusting girl. They believe him when he says he will make it all right again; they entrust him with something of far more importance than a nude picture. They entrust him with their freedom, support, and eventually, if they get their way, the highest office in the Free World. In this mundane plane, I cannot think of any power higher than that of President of the United States. And I shudder to think of what the repercussions of placing a man so incapable of taking responsibility for wielding that power might be.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Think about those words again please. Close your eyes and repeat them, let them sink into your heart and mind. In how many areas of your life, not only with Social Media or the Internet, have you witnessed the misuse of power? Have you been the victim, on the receiving end, of someone else’s irresponsible use of power? Have you misused power for your own personal gains? Have you accepted the responsibility for the use of power in your own life? Have you spoken to your children about the responsibility that comes with power?
There are always areas to improve, to better use the power that is yours, and to use it with increased responsibility towards the greater good. In order to make this plane a saner, civil, more compassionate place in which to live, we, as a people need to take into consideration and hold in higher regard the great responsibility with which we have been entrusted by The One Power, both in mundane and spiritual realms, and wield that power in a manner which is in alignment with the Greater Will to Good.
Will we, as this great nation, on November 8, 2016, take the deep destructive dive into relinquishing our power to the self aggrandizing bully named Donald Trump? Will we, a the people of the land of the free and the home of the brave, trustingly send that photo that will forever change the course of the United States of America? I can only hope and pray that some semblance of sanity will awaken within the hearts and minds of those blindly following Trump before that day.
Character: the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. In relation to people it often is thought of as positive. Being a person of character is thought of as a good thing. Character assassination is perceived as a bad thing. That is not necessarily true, it hinges on reputation and point of reference. What does it mean if it is said, to “assassinate Adolf Hitler’s character?”
Character can refer to a role in a book or movie that displays a set of values for our entertainment or edification. In the everyday world role playing is the robe our personality dons to present for and relate to others in the family, at work and in community environments. It is said that living through hard times is good for you. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Trials and tribulations have value in that they build character. Sad to say, from my point of view, the challenges I face do not build character they merely unveil it.
Character, I think of it as two words, Care Actor. Just like a character in a movie, my actions display a set of values, my values, what I care about is what determines my actions. Building character is an addition burden. There are things that need to be done. Mindfulness is needed. It requires questioning, who, what, why, when, and where. It requires of me the need to slow down and look around, become aware of my surroundings, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Who am I doing it to or for? What is the root cause of this behavior? Where and when do I act this way? I need to ask myself, “What do my actions reveal about my character – what I care about?”.
Finally, I need to decide if I am satisfied with it. If the answer is yes, then okay let it ride, maybe. I am talking about building character, growing. Do I care to take action to reinforce or expand the value exposed? If the answer is no, the question becomes “What am I willing to do to change it?”. Do I care enough about it to take action? The key is awareness. If I do not recognize an error, I cannot fix it. For example, if I eat too much and gain weight, I care more about food than being slim and healthy. If I desire to change that, it is simple, I know what to do. All that is required is to burn up more calories than I take in. Being simple does not make it easy.
I have been sending the wrong messages to my subconscious mind for years. It does not reason. It does not make judgments. It works diligently to manifest what I tell it I desire. My ego strives to keep me here, to maintain the status quo. It likes the comfort and security of the known. It knows how to behave here. It does not want to risk the discomfort and uncertainty of change. There is a tremendous amount of inertia to overcome. Inertia, the tendency of an object at rest to stay at rest, or an object in motion to remain in motion, unless acted on by an outside force. So what force is there apart from ego and sub-conscious mind? Enter the self-conscious mind, which is a tool of the soul to have experiences in the manifest world.
I need to wake up the self-conscious mind. It has been asleep at the wheel. I have been running on automatic pilot, going on a course that was input long ago. If it is the way I always did it, even if was right at the start, it probably not right anymore. If I always do what I have always done, I will always get what I have always gotten. It would behoove me to start sending better messages to ego and sub-conscious mind. Shut off the auto-pilot and tell ego and personality it is my (self-conscious) turn to drive. My soul has had enough of this experience. Time to move on. Time to eat a better diet, more nutritious, less calories. Time to get more active, out walking or at the gym. I accept that it will take some time to break the cycle and develop new habits. I accept that there will be discomfort and likely some pain. The weight thing is a simple personal example in the mundane realm. The principles and agencies that can make changes in conditions are the same for all the circumstances of life, to know, to will, to dare.
Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth’s soliloquy:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Macbeth was a tragedy. It is a tragedy because Macbeth’s character acted out of ego seeking only power rather than self-conscious soul seeking to express love. This Character was very much self-centered. His actions revealed he did not care about others. Macbeth was speaking to himself describing his ultimate demise, though he did not realize there was an option or was unwilling to exercise the choice. He failed in this journey along the path of return to unity.
I aspire to better roles. I am seeking awareness. What role am I playing? Who is the director (ego, soul)? Where is this play going for me, for me, for me? It is hard not to be self-centered when considering my actions. If I take anything from Macbeth, it is that it would benefit me to act out of love for others on this journey. There is an apparent paradox here. It is in my own best interests to care about others. How is it then that acts of caring about others is not self-centered?
A clue might be found in The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 5:
Lift up the self by the Self and don’t let the self droop down, For the Self is the self’s only friend and the self is the Self’s only foe.
In this quote, the self (lower case s) represents the ego or personality, the Self (upper case S) being the soul or higher Self. This does not solve the paradox completely, but provides me a point of contemplation. This is not a linear or rational train of thought. Carl Jung said of paradox. “The paradox is one of our most valued spiritual possessions.”1 He went on further to say that, “The paradox… reflects a higher level of intellect and, by not forcibly representing the unknowable as known, gives us a more faithful picture of the real state of affairs.”2
When my ego is allowed to run amuck seeking only what benefits me me me, to the exclusion of all others, I can never seem to get enough. There is no satisfaction, no sense of self-esteem and it appears that others are always conspiring against me. On the other hand, when I treat others with respect, taking their interests into consideration, I feel better about myself and gain a sense of personal value while receiving the cooperation and regard of those individuals, in most cases. For example, I worked some 39 years in surgery as a cardiovascular perfusionist. I ran the heart lung machine in open heart programs. I maintained relationships with people from physicians to nurses to technicians to housekeepers. Over that time, I gradually developed the habit of going out of my way to help others when they were having trouble whenever I could, again, in most cases.
This is because I came to realize, if I did that, when I ran into trouble, I rarely would have to ask for help. An extra pair of hands would just show up. The paradox is, did I develop this from an altruistic desire to help others, or a tool for self-preservation. Well it is not the nature of paradox to be black or white. It resides in shades of gray.
To stay in this mode of operation and develop and maintain character I can be proud of requires me to work at it. Remaining mindful, residing in the moment, being frequently vigilant is needed. Returning to the questions; who? what? why? when? and where? on a regular basis.
Character growth in the Spiritual Garden is clearly a tough row to hoe. If I do not keep after it, the weedy stuff creeps back in. I have varying degrees of success and at times become frustrated. I believe though that if I keep returning to the work it will pay great dividends come my harvest time.