Is there intelligent life out there; because there is very little of it down here on Earth.

Intelligence is defined as: The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. With this definition in mind, I consider most of what we have come to know as knowledge and skills may not meet this definition. Leaving aside the obvious, let’s focus on the day to day lives of most people on this planet. The information we do posses and how we act upon it.

Most of the information we receive in our day to day lives is prejudiced. The majority of our economy is not set up to enlighten us but to enslave us. The halls of science, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology and medicine are devoted to selling us crap and then attempting to help us live with our poor choices. Walk into a supermarket and take a good look. Most of the floor space is devoted to the processed foods that you have been brainwashed to buy, or even more sadly your kids have been, then read the labels and you see how these so called foods have been created by our misnamed realms of science. They are then marketed to us by industrial psychologists who understand that our evolved tasted buds, keyed to the sugars, salt and fat, that over eons, when these were in short supply to our evolving monkey brain, which when it overrides our neocortex is still driven by basic desires to acquire such once rare products that are now in abundance. There is a convey belt of sugar, salt and fat right from the supermarket or 7-11 right into our open mouths. When the giant hybrid food/chemical companies where forced to admit that their emulsifiers, stabilizers, food dyes, defined by their knowledge that we crave sugar, salt and fat by our monkey brain, that are making us sick, they then developed other chemicals as the cure, like Ritalin or synthetic Insulin, so we could continue eating this crap and maintain life, just maybe not a quality life. This leaves us with Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disordered Obese citizens who are addicted to processed foods and the drugs they need to counter-act their poor diets. It’s interesting to me that the drug companies who make the food additives are the same ones who make the so called cures.

We now know that we are heating up our tiny globe, our home and space ship, with green house gases ever since we discovered that dinosaurs and their decomposed environs could fuel our crazed economies. When I see a hummer going down the road, along with a thousands of other single drivers in their cars, all going to the same place, all emitting green house gases and a toxic mix of other deadly chemicals, I wonder about the definition of intelligent life here on earth.

When I see an open pit mine take out a whole mountain range to get at the coal so we can provide electricity in a foreign country so that their air pollution comes right back to us, while the profits from such foolishness goes into the pockets of the one percent, I also wonder at the definition of our so called intelligence.

Then I glance over to see another old growth forest devoured by the industrial machine and turned into two by fours and tooth picks, again for some foreign building boom and again with the profits going to the one percent. How about those giant fishing nets that without discrimination depopulate the oceans only to package them in a chemical stew so that for our convenience we could eat them tomorrow or in ten years? The same one percent profit from this destructive practice as well.

Sometimes we are distracted by sleight of hand when we are convinced by marketers about suspect sustainable endeavors like salmon farming. Small fish, which were the stable food for many aboriginal peoples on the west South American coast, are now caught and processed as feed for our Atlantic salmon farms on the west coast. These nutritious fish are ground up, mixed with antibiotics, pesticides, food coloring before being wrapped in bubble gum and feed to a species foreign to the west coast that circle in their millions within huge nets, right over the migration routes of our local threatened salmon. In such a tight ball of foreign hosts, sea lice proliferate and then fall like snow onto our struggling local salmon fry as they swim by, decimating them before they have a chance to flourish.

We have left the wilderness to become slaves to technology, not much of a fair trade off if you ask me. Young people now are dealing with gaming addictions and when they are not killing virtual avatars they bully each other on facebook and twitter. While our cycling the other day, I watched a young father out walking his son in a stroller through a beautiful local park. The father was intent on his Iphone while his infant son was mesmerized by his Ipad, both not communicating with each other and both missing the beauty around them. Even the poor souls who are trapped into manufacturing our technological addictions, are protected from their attempted suicides by their employers/slavers, when their employers install tall fences around any jump points on their factories.

The one percent are profiting from all of this but are not willing to share their riches with the disappearing middle classes, never mind the poor. The middle classes only exist in our economy’s to harvest by the rich, when in every planned economic downturn they are fleeced of their savings, losing their homes and bank accounts but not their credit cards, only to be sent back into the fields of low income jobs to fatten up for their next shearing. The poor are essential to the rich because without them how would you know that you are rich. The one percent point then to the poor in their roiling masses that fill our inner cities and country backwaters and say to the struggling middle classes; “work where I put you or that is your fate”. Now that we are a world economy the good jobs from North America and Europe migrate to the developing world. Their factories and the jobs are exported to where a weekly wage equals our hourly wage. They then ship the stuff back to us to be sold in the Wal-Mart’s of the world.

The medical/industrial complex is also complicit in this scheme by the one percent to own everything. When we feel awful, depressed or anxious, develop sleep or eating disorders or try to self medicate ourselves with drugs or alcohol they step in with pharmaceutical straightjackets so we can return to work zombized. Only the rich have access to talk therapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Mindfulness. The rest are given five minute appointments with Psychiatrists before the prescription pad comes out.

My intent was not to depress you. So put down that Prozac, put the razor blade away, my point is not to make you panic but to help you change. You only will be a part of intelligent life here on earth if you stop and think about the situation you find yourselves in. Some want to burn society down and start again, others want to eat the rich but that may raise your cholesterol to dangerous levels. Anonymous wants to remain that way.

I recommend being mindful in the moment. Eat naturally and avoid processed foods, get out and exercise regularly, vote for those who want what you want and if that is not available, run for office yourself. Volunteer to help those who need it, understand that less is more, (do your really need a large flat screen in your bathroom, do you need everything you have been brainwashed to believe you need) and be mindful.

Think about your thinking! This is the true sign of intelligence, to think about what you think. If you become a part of the solution you will not a part of the problem. If everyone was a part of the solution there would not be a problem. The one percent only exist because they are protected by the politicians that we elected, because they promised us all the things that we have been brainwashed to lust after. We buy their crap not because we need it but because our wants have been hijacked by marketing produced by scientists who study human behavior to enslave us to materialism, rather than to solve our serious social problems.

Intelligence is in the eye of the beholder, so look in the mirror and consider your thinking. Google mindfulness, yes the internet can serve you versus enslave you, and practice “being in the moment” because that is where we live. We haven’t screwed up once tomorrow, we can’t change the past but we can learn from it. We can focus on the now and idea by idea, thought by thought, and decision by decision create a better life that we deserve as humans who share this tiny fragile blue globe floating in outer space.

Sure there is probably intelligent life up there but stop and ensure that some exists down here to.

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Psychosomatic Whack a Mole

Psychosomatic Whack a Mole

I have long been a follower of Dr. Sarno whose latest book, “The Divided Mind” reminded me of what I have long believed and used in my practice. Many times I have been amazed at how the unconscious mind influences our consciousness, even our bodies. This is true especially when through childhood trauma, specifically abuse, when the horror is compartmentalized and then repressed so that the child can move on with minimal damage. Almost like a modern ship that can seal off compartments, so that a hole in its hull does not sink the whole ship, children can compartmentalize horrible trauma, such as sexual abuse, as a way to salvage what tatters of a childhood that they have left. Just because we have sealed off the trauma does not mean that it does not affect us. Dr. Sarno details how these repressed traumas in our unconscious affect our conscious minds and our bodies by causing psychosomatic depression or anxiety or body pain, even organ malfunction such as in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

We have evolved from simple creatures into the complex animals we now are. Evolution does not throw good ideas away. The alligator’s brain does exactly what the alligator needs it to do, breathe, eat, defecate, procreate and hunt. Nature did not throw this basic design away but rather built on it. We have a base brain very similar to that of an alligator and it is responsible for basically the same things. When we moved into the next stage of development and became primates we evolved monkey brains and this allowed us to live in groups, make simple tools and get the basics the alligator brain wants but with less danger. Next we grew our neocortex, or modern brain. This gave us the ability to plan, engage in civilization, develop religions and get what the alligator and monkey brain wants but with the veneer of civilization to make it seem like we are able to practice altruism.

Freud said that we have an Id, an Ego and a Super ego. Not that we have these structures within our brain but that we form psychological structures within ourselves, some conscious and others unconscious. The id wants what it needs and resents anything that gets in the way of what it wants. It wants sex, food, no responsibilities etc. and it wants them now. The ego gets what the id wants but is smart enough to get it in a more socially accepted way. The Super Ego judges the Ego and Id and creates the need for us to feel good about what our Ego gets for our Id or judges us for taking shortcuts and guilt when we meet basic needs in socially unacceptable ways.

So the battle between our unconscious and conscious begins. Our unconscious, the realm of the Id, where we repress our baser selves for our sakes (jail is a drag) and for the sake of society and our consciousness, where we attempt to get our needs met in socially acceptable ways and then judge these actions. Our unconscious, where we have compartmentalized past trauma and repress current unacceptable drives, seethes with rage, anxiety and sadness. At times of extreme stress it can leak into our consciousness and our conscious mind to distract us with psychological issues like depression or anxiety or physical issues as in body pain in our muscles or joints or organ malfunction like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Acid Reflux. For more details on this process read the many good books by Dr. Sarno.
As a therapist I am more interested in the cause not the symptoms because our consciousness can switch from one symptom to another, like a game of whack a mole.

I have had clients who, after extreme trauma in childhood, have compartmentalized to the extent that they have developed separate internal personalities each with distinct voices and temperaments. Some clients live within their main personalities but express basic forbidden drives with another and then protect themselves or judge all of this with a third aspect of themselves. When this occurs the client believes that these other personalities are not of them but outside their consciousness but through therapy the goal is to reintegrate them back in a cohesive whole again.

Other clients, when they have to make decisions, fear inner urges and so end up procrastinating or deciding against their own interests out of fear and then spend years second guessing themselves and heaping on the guilt. The self esteem we feel at a conscious level may be quite different from how we feel about ourselves at an unconscious level. This conflict has fascinated therapists from Freud to the Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural (CBT) therapists of today.

I always try to address doable CBT strategies first as well as mindfulness, diet and exercise. Ensuring my client has the tools to affect change within their own lives before we move into areas of repressed conflict and unconscious extreme feelings of rage or sadness.

Knowing what we need to eat to be healthy versus what we want to eat. The giant processed food corporations know that you have taste buds set for sugar, salt and fat and they have brain washed us from childhood to want to eat the crap that they produce. With a huge part of our citizens facing obesity and type II diabetes, never mind ADHD and anxiety, what we put down our throats does matter. We tend to eat to satisfy conscious and unconscious needs not just our physical needs. Eating this way cannot be compensated for with only exercise because you can not outrun your fork. Avoid sugar, processed foods, energy drinks, pop, juice and simple carbs, like in pasta, breads and white rice. Eat lots of raw oats, nuts, berries, whole fruit, vegetables, and complex carbs, like brown rice or ancient grains. Supplement your diet with wild fish oils, flax meal and vitamin D especially in the winter if you live in Northern areas like Canada.

Aerobically exercising every second day for twenty minutes to two hours will keep us in shape as well as burn off the go fast drugs we create from our fight or flight system. Our little adrenal glands pump this stuff into our bloodstream and it makes sense to burn it off on a regular basis. If not we are floating in adrenalin and other exotic go fast drugs designed to help us run away from bears or chase after rabbits. These drugs can create anxiety, depression and sleep disorders if we don’t burn them off. Long term Cortisol can lead to auto immune disorders like colitis, arthritis and even heart disease. Adding some anaerobic bursts into our workouts will also help you reach your goals of burning off stress drugs and building your endurance. Short two minutes bursts of flat out cycling, running, power walking or swimming added to you aerobic exercise will make a big difference in your work out and how you feel after your work out. I prefer cycling as it allows me to exercise hard without the stress on my body running or even power walking can produce. I have trouble with swimming in pools because soaking in chlorine and walking in your average change room is not what I would consider hygienic but if you can find a lake or clean ocean go for it.

Through ANT Therapy (Google Dr. Amen’s ANT Therapy) we learn to recognize negative thoughts, reframe them into positive ones and then install them. We can then change the negative feelings into positive ones without the use of drugs like anti depressants. We can do a lot to control how we feel but it takes work and commitment. Mindfulness exercises like mindful breathing can help us relax our bodies and desensitize ourselves to our thoughts. Mindful breathing is best practiced twice daily, three minutes in the morning and for five minutes an hour before bed. Do this properly for a month and you will be amazed at the results such a simple exercise can produce.

So with tools like this I can help a client inventory their skills, strengthen weak one, establish new ones and extinguish dysfunctional one. After a few months they are empowered enough to go at it on their own and if they need more work have the skills to deal with exploring deeper repressed issues like childhood trauma.

We tend to run to the doctor for anti depressants before we do what we can to address the situation. We may need some meds but first do what you can with what you’ve got. We can watch what we eat, exercise aerobically at least three times a week, practice ANT therapy until it becomes a reflex or a habit, do our mindful breathing daily. By practicing these basic skills we can change how we feel drastically in about a month and by continuing to use these skills as maintenance we can change our lives for the better.

Read through my other blogs, on Mindful Breathing, The Mindful Meadow, and the Negative Narrator and others for more details. I have practiced these skills for almost thirty years and have taught hundreds to do the same. When they turn these skills into habits, what at first seemed clumsy or odd soon become engrained habits like brushing your teeth. Your mind is a very powerful organ; it can work for you or against you. It’s up to you to understand it as much as you can. Learn the basics and then if you need more help see a therapist who you feel you can relate to. Develop a relationship with your family doctor based on you doing your part. They can be an excellent coach if you take responsibility for your own physical and mental health.

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The Big Threat

The Big Threat is Apathy: When we know that we should do something but do nothing or even worse not enough.

Over the years and with the hundreds of clients who I have worked with the biggest challenge with them (and with me) is when after equipped with the tools to conquer depression, beat back anxiety, see their way through addictions is to watch them acquire the tools but not use them.

The tools are relatively simple: (all are detailed in prior blogs)

1. Diet; eat only food that you prepare, avoid processed foods, simple carbs and cut back all forms of sugars.
2. Exercise; aerobic exercise every second day for a minimum of twenty minutes to burn off the stress drugs created by your fight or flight mechanisms.
3. ANT Therapy; challenge negative thoughts and reframe them with positive ones. Install the positive thoughts by holding them for at least ten seconds.
4. Mindfulness; practice mindful breathing for three minutes every morning and for five minuets every night. Go to you mindful meadow at least once a week after your five minute evening breathing session.
5. Daily Acts of Random Kindness; do something kind daily, without being asked to, for someone else.
6. Begin Your Day on Track; have five positive statements about yourself, that you believe, on the wall by your bed and start each morning after waking by looking at them.
7. Invest in Yourself; if in a relationship do something without being asked that is loving for your partner. If you are alone do something in love for someone around you without being creepy. Put 10% of every pay cheque into savings first.

I have practiced this for almost forty years and when I do it faithfully I prosper inside and out. When I let my lying cheating piece of meat (my body) or my lazy mind wander from this path I suffer. I have not had one client who has taken up this practice who has not done better because of it. I don’t promise perpetual happiness because shit happens. Loved ones leave us or they die, jobs end, our health can falter, car accidents occur and just when you think everything is cool it becomes unbearably hot. If you apply these simple disciplines to your life daily you will prosper and find joy and when the proverbial shit hits the fan you will have a structure that will sustain you through the tough times. If you only do these things when you are in trouble you will always be in trouble.

These seven tools will practiced daily in a few short months will become habits. When you don’t brush you teeth or have your morning shower, once they are habits, you feel off until you do it. Water will find its course and over time will create a path it will follow every time. None of these tools are hard to do, once you start to do them you feel good and when you finish them you feel better. It’s being conscious in the moment when you are making the decision to use the tool or not that is key and until it is an ingrained habit you will have to be mindful in that moment. My advice is “Just do it already!!!!”

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My Inner Mindful Meadow

My Inner Mindful Meadow

In the 60’s we were told to, “Tune in, turn on and drop out!” Timothy Leary and Stanley Owsley attempted to break us out of the trap we didn’t even know we were in. Strapped onto a conveyer belt we were to go to school, go to college, get married, go to work and end up in the suburbs with 2.3 children and live happily ever after. To jar us out of that mindset, or conditioning, they recommended LSD. I became and enthusiast and a psychedelic evangelist or if you prefer a dealer. I truly believed that this was our only way out of the conditioning that had put blinders on us before we even knew they were there. We were domesticated like farm animals into thinking that society and its overlords were guiding us out of benevolence when they were actually fatting us for the slaughter. The Vietnam War, racism, the military industrial complex, the sexual abuse being exposed within the major Christian denominations, the sexual revolution and the birth of rock and roll all were the fuel in youth culture of the day to empower the message that Leary was promoting and Owsley was manufacturing. If you remember in detail what actually happened, you probably weren’t there.

We had something there, a key concept, but the deliver system was a little messed up but at the time desperate times called for drastic measures. Since that time after tuning in, turning on and dropping out I said to said to myself, “What’s next?,” and then moved on.

At that point I discovery personal spirituality and also the beginnings of Cognitive Behavioral psychology and was surprised they were actually compatible. Along the way I have come to understand that the meat computer between our ears is not the latest IBM or apple. It was capable of getting us through life using two programs, although it can only run one program at a time. The doing program, the one that gets us up and out into the world and the being program (experiential) that helps us stop doing and step back to take stock of our situation within and without. The doing program is subjective and the being program is objective. In this day and age we become stuck in our doing program as we are overwhelmed with our schedules, traffic, relationships and responsibities. Our ability to move into our being program or the experiential aspect of our brain can be compromised like a limb that atrophies from disuse. It takes hard work through therapy for many clients to get access to this aspect of their brain usage. Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is key in getting them into this experiential state. This is far more safe, practical and ethical that giving your client LSD. Through mindful breathing, other mindful exercises and specific use of metaphors I help clients move into this mode of thought so that they can objectively examine their lives, their choices in life and the path that they choose into their future.

After thirty five years as a therapist I have come to depend on some basic metaphors and allegorical stories that clients can relate to and this one is one of my favorites. I first get the client to master mindful breathing which can take a month or so of practice. When they have this set of tools down pat then I introduce them to my mindful meadow. I first describe my way of experiencing this aspect of experiential thinking, then lead them into practice and then let them custom make their own experience so it is tailor made for them.

Mindful Inner Meadow: We start after a mindful breathing session, sitting upright, knees slightly below our hips, back straight but relaxed, arms to our sides, hands on our knees and eyes closed. We begin this mind exercise by walking across a prairie where it is dry, windy and with a glaring sun above representing our daily life. We know where are going, to a meadow deep in a forest, deep within ourselves. We move through the dry grass into the outskirts of the forest with trees sparsely spaced and begin to see bird sign and song. Slowly we enter the forest, cool and shaded, cathedral like and we begin to feel the calm that surrounds us. As we enter deeper into this forest, or deeper into ourselves we relax and then lose their shoes and socks, while some when on their own prefer to lose all of their clothes. As we approach the edge of the forest and our inner secret meadow we see the first of seven stone stairs that will take us down into the meadow that is deep within us. As we put our bare foot on the first step the contrast is delightful, cool, dry and smooth. We then count the seven steps down, each time experientially feeling our bare foot touch the smooth, cool and dry stone beneath it. We pause at the bottom step and settle both feet on the cool smooth stone surface of the last stair. Then we step onto the manicured grass or our inner meadow. Another great contrast for us to experience, now feeling the cool, moist and soft grass under our bare feet. We move into the meadow at the core of our being. I lead go to a stone well with water so clean, clear and cool that it looks almost empty as you can see the stone wall all the way to the bottom. We take a cup that I keep there and take a deep drink of this clean, cold water which always refreshes me to my very core. We then spend some time lying on the grass in our inner meadow and allow thoughts to come up that seem to appear unbidden. When we experience these thoughts objectively we are desensitized to them, seeing them as just mind events. Sometimes issues from our childhood visit but now in this safe place we can view them objectively. Clients have made some amazing leaps in growth when visiting their inner meadow and some with sleep disorders use this metaphor when in bed and never make it out of the meadow but wake up to their alarm going off in the morning. When it is time to leave reverse the order, walk back across the grass, onto and up the seven stone stairs, experiencing the contrast between the lawn and the stone stairs. Then entering the forest’s calm and cool interior before rejoining daily life back on the prairie.

Try this exercise. Custom make it for yourself after you use my version a few times to get the hang of it.

Back in the sixties, we sang, “Take a trip and never leave the farm.” In 2015 visit your inner mindful meadow and get into an experiential state that will refresh and invigorate. Thank you, Leary and Owsley, for pointing the way but thank you Mindfulness and CBT for leading us into experiential states without blowing our minds but by finding them.

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Mindful Breathing

The new movement in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is Mindfulness. This perspective teaches that we have meat computers for brains that have evolved over a few million years to serve us as primitive hunter-gatherers. We lived this way for 98% of our time as humans with only a few thousand years in domestication through civilization and only a few hundred years with modern technology. Our brains are not the latest apple platform capable of running a few dozen programs at once.

We can only run one program at a time and only have access to two programs. The first software application is the doing program. This gives us the initiative to get things started, to plan and to get things done. The second software is the being program. With this program we can experientially or objectively look at our current situation and the world around us. Because of limited RAM we can only run one program at time.

Fifty thousand years ago our doing program would get us out of our cave to search for food. Driving us across the landscape, searching under logs, in crevices, on constant watch for things to eat and always ready to react to things that might eat us. We would keep in this program until we found a possible food source, like a mushroom. Then we would switch to our being program and experientially examine the mushroom. Color, size, texture, patterns, smell and then put this sample up against our memory of all mushrooms and make an objective judgment. This was a life saving program for if you ate it without thinking, like you eat most of your meals now, you could be running through the forest for a few days naked and hallucinating or dead like uncle Louie who ate one like that last year.

The problem is that we are now locked into our doing mind. Our modern world is a doing world. Computers, smart phones, cable TV, work, school, relationships, schedules and business plans all conspire to keep us locked into the doing mode of thinking. How many times have you during a long drive realized that you have just driven for the last half an hour and didn’t notice anything? How many meals have you wolfed down without even noticing what you were eating? You can eat a whole bushel of popcorn in an exciting movie and reach the bottom only to think, where did it all go? That’s your doing mind stuck on doing.

Your experiential mind is rarely used and sometimes it will be quite hard to get running as you are caught up in the doing world busy with a complex life. To get into this mind set or being program you may need to take baby steps first and then practice some basic exercises daily to get things running the way they were designed by evolution.

Here are some experiential exercises:

1. The raisin: take one raisin and look at it for a few minutes. Pretend that it just fell from space and you have never seen anything like it. Look at its color, its texture and its shape. Rotate it to see everything. Now taste it, put it in your mouth and without chewing just let the first tastes occur on your palate. Now chew it and notice the changes in taste from the skin to the flesh. Wait to swallow until it is almost dissolved and then notice the experience of swallowing it. Then notice the after taste. Once a week experience something new to use your being program on.

2. Have an experiential meal one a week: Take one meal alone. From preparing to cooking to eating it, follow the example of the raisin.

3. Breathing: At least twice a day practice this exercise of a minimum of three minutes. I recommend that you expand your evening (two hours before bed) session to ten minutes. Focus on your breath. Breathe deep into your diaphragm, or as some say breathe into your feet. Be your breath. Within a few breaths your attention will wander, this is not a problem, just recognize the thought that comes across your screen and go back to your breath. With the intake feel your lungs, chest and diaphragm expand and then on the out breath feel them all return to the passive position. As thoughts come to you accept them as just mind events, dismiss them with kindness and go back to your breathing. Two physical benefits are; one you will learn to relax deeply and you will clear your lungs, which will allow deeper breaths for the rest of the day and during sleep. Psychologically you will benefit from desensitizing yourself to your thinking. Thoughts are just mind events and have only the power you give them. Negative thoughts produce negative feelings almost immediately while positive thoughts take up to fifteen seconds to produce positive feelings. When you know this and practice reframing negative thoughts into positive thoughts, especially during your breathing exercise you will begin to see that you have some control over what you think.

You probably don’t have to practice running your doing program as most of us are stuck in it but you will have to practice your being program. Deep breathing exercises twice a day can be life changing in many ways and are the easiest way to practice the being program to run in your brain. We can learn much from this experiential state. History has reported that some of the greatest leaps of intellectual pursuit was when we gave up thinking about a problem, relaxed and then had the epiphany.

Thinking (that’s the doing program) about depression or anxiety can make things worse. It’s like struggling in quicksand; you’ll only go down faster. We constantly measure what we think we should be with what we are in attempting to close the gap we frustrate ourselves by making the problem worse. Going into an experiential state and then considering your depression by letting those negative thoughts come across your screen will show you that they are only mind events and enough exposure to such thinking while being objective will desensitize you to them.

If you find relief in this but want more find a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who is into mindfulness. There is much information on the internet as well as many good books on this subject as well. Knowledge is power.

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Good Bike Karma…Recycle your Cycle

Recycle Your Cycle
Help us send 485 bicycles to school children in the Philippines!
Cap’s Bicycle Shop is accepting donations of unwanted bicycles this holiday season to go to a deserving home. To show that you can give and receive, for each bicycle donated you will receive a gift certificate for up to $100 off of a new bicycle!

Donations can be made on November 28th, 29th, and 30th at Cap’s Bicycle Shop in Sapperton, New Westminster at 434 East Columbia Street.

The goal is to collect 485 bicycles of all types to fill a shipping container destined for Pangalo in the Philippines. The bicycles will be given to local elementary schools that will then load them to children who live more than two kilometers from the school. Some children are walking five kilometers to school. This program is expected to increase attendance in school and make education more accessible.

School buses are not a viable option because of the cost of operation to the municipal government.

Cap’s Bicycles will be providing spare parts, tools and training so that the bicycles can be put in proper operating conditions when they arrive.

The shipping and distribution of the bicycles is being coordinated and funded by Rotary Clubs. The Royal City Rotary Club and Rotary World Help Network are assisting on this end with the loading and shipping. The Mayor of Panglao is founder of Rotary in that community and a past Rotary Assistant District Governor who will coordinate the program in Panglao.

Panglao Island has a population of approximately 68,000 people and was affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit the region last September. Rotary World Help is aiding the area with the focus on Health, Education and Employment. There will be projects undertaken to rebuild a small medical center, put computers and libraries in all 10 schools and use micro credit banking to attract business to the island.

Please forward this email and share our mission with your friends! We need all the help we can get!

For more information, please contact us at

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How to eat your way out of depression and anxiety

How to eat your way out of depression and anxiety

Now that I have your attention I lied. You cannot eat your way out of depression or anxiety but you can stop escalating the problem. Food and nutritional supplements can make the difference, if you are exercising properly (anaerobically) and if you are working with a Cogitative Behavioral Therapist (mindfulness in the moment). You can undo a lot of good work by eating the wrong things at the wrong times.

Your brain uses a lot of energy and it needs it in a steady flow throughout the day, even when you are asleep. You have probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is but most of the crap you find on the supermarket shelf should stay there and never be put into your mouth. They are full of sugar, salt and fat as well as a new menace, the genetically modified monster we call modern wheat. (Read: Wheat Belly) Glutton is the plants natural defense against bugs but evil scientists who work for the giant food manufactures have increased it many fold within modern wheat to save them money on pesticides and to help their product stay fresh tasting on the shelf for years. They do not care that most of us will have trouble digesting it or that it causes inflammation or that it will cause your blood sugar to spike or that through digestion it will great an opiate like substance making it addictive. Avoid process foods for all of your meals and learn to cook simple but healthy and tasty dishes that will help you when you are trying to exercise and be mindful.

The best breakfast receipt: Super Oatmeal

½ cup of oatmeal (real oatmeal, not the instant stuff and organic if you can find it)
1 cup of water
¼ cup of flax meal
¼ cup of almonds
¼ cup of pecans
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Table spoon or raw sugar
Table spoon of butter
Boil and stir for five minutes or until it thickens and becomes sticky
Add fruit if you wish.
Add an egg and stir in as the boiling starts if you wish.

This will give you more protein than a steak, keep you full for hours and not spike your blood sugar. It strips cholesterol from you and gives you a solid dose of omega oils and best of all it is cheap and easy to make.

Eat a lean lunch; fruit, veggies and a boiled egg or maybe some tuna fish.

Eat a lean dinner; baked chicken (or lamb, fish or pork) rubbed in olive oil (olive oil rub; add garlic, pepper and a touch of hot sauce) a yam or potato rubbed in the same rub, veggies and a salad. Always preheat your oven and put the rubbed meat in a hot oven.

Keep it simple, home made and make sure your meat is free range, if you eat beef make sure it was grass feed. Keep your snacks to popcorn, peanuts, almonds or home made cookies; Instead of wheat flour for your cookies, use rice or channa flour.

Drink water; that is what your body needs. Teas are good and a coffee with breakfast is good for you but avoid all juices, pops and premixes concoctions like ice tea; especially those huge cans of energy drinks.

Best Cookie Receipt: Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup of milk or water

1 cup of oatmeal

½ cup of brown rice flour
½ cup of channa flour
¼ cup of butter
½ cup of raw sugar or honey
Tablespoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1 cup of real dark chocolate (70% coco)
Rub bake pan lightly with olive oil
Bake at 325 for about twenty minutes (break one to ensure they are cooked right through)

These are not only a healthy snack but two would make a good lunch.

The following nutritional supplements are important to your mental well being as well as for a strong and healthy body.

1. Wild Salmon Fish Oils. Krill oil is great but expensive and make sure you use wild fish oils. Fish oils, olive oil, flax meal, and almonds are great sources of Omega3 EPA and DHA, which your body and brain needs to function well.
2. Magnesium Citrate: Helps relax those tiny capillaries that get blood to areas of inflammation. Will reduce pain and increase flexibility in areas that you would probably take pain killers for.
3. Vitamin D3: best to get some sunshine even if it’s cold as your body can make far more that you can take orally with just twenty minutes of exposure. But if you are not into sun tanning on a cold winter day or may go weeks (months even) without sunshine take Vitamin D3.

So keep exercising anaerobically (cycling, running, power walking or a treadmill in the gym), get some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Google Dr. Amen’s ANT Therapy to get started) and eat well. Old habits die hard and eating crap and junk food is a tough one to stop but if you eat well for a month you will notice the difference and this will give you some perspective on what your body really wants when it’s hungry or thirsty.

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Trauma Train

Trauma Train

Trauma in early life is in the eye of the beholder. We all recognize sexual abuse, neglect, violence, verbal abuse and exposure to violence between our parents as trauma but many times from a child’s perspective walking in on your parents in a moment of passion, watching your dog get run over by a car or exposure to bullying can also be traumatic. Many of us who experience trauma as children but go on to experience it as teens and then as adults because we do what we know. As the results of trauma build up in our lives we end up with what I like to call a “Trauma Train”.

This Trauma Train is like any train but in metaphor. In a regular train, if you only have an engine in might take fifty feet to stop in an emergency but if you add a hundred fully loaded box cars it may take a mile to stop in that same emergency. The momentum of the whole ensemble pushes the train and the engineer at the controls can only watch as the whole thing screeches to a stop far past what it would be if only pulling a few box cars. So it is with the Trauma Train. We get into an argument with a spouse and because of past trauma our reaction is far greater than the presenting situation justifies. The momentum of past trauma pushes us past the appropriate response and into the area of response that an objective observer would can inappropriate. If the other person in the argument also has experienced trauma then it’s like two long fully loaded trains meeting on the same track.

Therapy can help. Through counseling you can go through your box cars of trauma baggage one by one and as you gain understanding and perspective of each past trauma let it go and disconnect it from you train. One by one, through therapy, of being mindful of your connection to your past in the moment and through releasing the trauma when viewing childhood trauma now through the eyes of an adult your trauma train will shrink. Then as you dismiss your box cars of trauma baggage and shorten your train you will gain the perspective of your increasing mental health and bring your train to a stop within the appropriateness of the presenting situation.

Until then be careful. If you know your car has bad breaks, drive appropriately. Don’t race up to stop signs, tailgate others or speed in school zones. If you know you have experienced trauma be careful in social situations. Be prepared to step out of confrontations and arguments before they escalate out of your control. Get in to see a therapist as soon as you can and begin to deal with past trauma before it deals with you. History tends to repeat itself if not understood and that goes double for personal history that includes past trauma.

You may have been a victim in your past but as soon as you recognize that you stop being a victim and become a volunteer if you continue to relive past trauma into your present situations. You might never fully recover from child abuse but you can stop the carnage by reminding yourself that you need a mile to stop before you start and then to get yourself in therapy so that you don’t need a mile to stop when you see someone you love standing in your tracks.

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Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

This seems to make men crazy and women sad. Men judge their self worth by their erections thus the craziness. I am constantly amazed by men when in therapy divulge that they are having problems getting and maintaining an erection. There are two usual causes; Psychological or Physical.

Once you understand that the largest sex organ in your body is between your ears and not between your legs you can make some gains in dealing with psychological causes for erectile dysfunction. Past sexual abuse, stresses in your daily life and over thinking the problem are the usual culprits. If you have experienced sexual abuse in your past you need to deal with it through therapy. Most people do not have the objectivity to deal with this on their own. You can deal with the stresses of your daily life by making sure that you have time off, that you limit your work to your work and don’t bring it home and by developing quality relationships based on trust. Over thinking is something that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you with. Some things are better to just do than to contemplate.

Physical causes for erectile dysfunction can be dealt with through proper diet and exercise. First see your doctor and get their advice to ensure that a hidden physical cause is not your problem. If you can’t get it up or keep it up your body is telling you that you are not in shape for sex. Taking Viagra or any of the other many supplements will only mask the problem and empty your wallet. Your penis’s ability to form an erection is a direct reflection of your overall cardio vascular system. Rather than investing in the internets most for sale supplements or buying a huge truck invest in your own cardio vascular health.

First change your diet. Stop going for the sugar, salt and fat that most food manufactures are pushing. These dealers of death, who lace their products with the three things our taste buds crave, are not your friends. They would sell your rat poison if they could get away with it and you were dumb enough to eat it. They know that through our evolutionary history we never had enough fat, sugar and salt but now we have a conveyer belt laden with this stuff from the supermarket right into our mouths. Then they use emulsifiers, stabilizers and dozens of nasty food colors to make the three deadly ingredients into the shelves full of cereals, canned goods and boxes of crap that fill the middle aisles of your average supermarket. Shop the outside aisles, go heavy on the produce section, select range feed meats, free range eggs and go light on the gluten laden products.

Exercise regularly. Your cardio vascular system needs to be exercised as much as any other muscle structure in your body. If you cannot flex your outside muscles you probably cannot flex your cardio vascular system either. You do that guys by getting and maintaining an erection. Anaerobic exercise is what you need. Lifting weights is good for your outside muscles but you need to run, power walk, cycle or some other kind of anaerobic exercise to work out your cardio vascular system. I choose cycling and I think it’s the best but I am prejudiced. Ride every second day for at least an hour, preferably two, and in a few months you will see and feel the difference, so will your sexual partner. Make sure you have a good bike seat or you may undue all your hard work. Remember you ride on the main nerve that gives you feeling in your penis so your bike seat can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Any good bike shop can give you advice on this, it will be worth the investment, trust me on this.

We get into a rut of bad diet and no exercise and then expect to be rescued by our medical system. Take control of your life. Your doctor will help you in this if needed but if they sense you are abdicating your control to them they will write you a prescription or schedule surgery, which will only take your power away. If you are in good shape stay in good shape but if you can’t see your feet or your penis don’t give us and go for the pill. Change your diet and get on a bike. Start slow but persist and don’t give up. I have witnessed clients cure themselves of diabetes, heart disease, erectile dysfunction and more my taking responsibility for their lives and going for change.

I was listening to a radio show the other day and was amazed by an obese woman who was complaining that she has been waiting for seventeen years to get bariatric surgery. Wow, I almost drove off the road. Talk about codependent behavior between herself and her government. If she would have reduced her caloric intake by a hundred calories a day and exercised regularly (burning a 100 calories each session) she would have changed her whole life in a year or two. I once met a group of women who had to gain a few hundred more pounds to qualify for this surgery as they were not obese enough to qualify for the government to pay for it. They finally were obese enough and had the surgery but did not change their lifestyles. The weight fell off in the first year and they had to have plastic surgery to get ride of the skin flaps that now hung off them like sheets. Once they were tightened up they were ok for awhile. Then two things happened. They kept eating and without exercising they started to gain weight again but their skin has lost its elasticity. Soon they were splitting as their new seams and the next surgeries were to have their jaws wired shut. I met them at that point as a counsellor and could only help the ones who were interested in getting into a regular exercise program and who were willing to seriously deal with their food intake, not just quantity but quality. I was so shocked by this codependent dysfunctional relationship between these women and the medical system that quit taking such referrals and will only work now with people who are willing to take control of their lives and change their lives through diet and exercise.

Depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, colitis and more can be dealt with through better diet (not dieting) and exercise. Always follow the advice of your doctor but tell them about your intention to get control of these problems yourself. You may need their help with medications or surgery but if you do your part they will have to intervene less as you intervene more.

Don’t give up. Change doesn’t happen overnight. I did it. I lost sixty five pounds, reversed my heart disease, avoided approaching diabetes and the need for Viagra all by choosing a prescription for a bike versus the alternative heart surgery and accompanying medications. That was thirty years ago and I have never looked back. Now at sixty three, I can ride fifty km when I want to and do it regularly, everything works well between my ears and legs and I am now enjoying my grandchildren while my peers that I grew up with are turning into fertilizer.

You are only too far gone to change things if you are dead. Being obese is no excuse to change. If you can’t get it up, do something about it. Don’t ignore your body’s warnings and take a pill to trick your cardio vascular system into an erection. Don’t let your type 11 diabetes ruin your life, change your life through exercise and a healthy diet. Depression and anxiety can melt away when you burn off the stress drugs that you make all day long. Don’t give away your power to anyone but take control of your life and change.

How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one but the light bulb has to want to change.

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Negative Narrator

Negative Narrator

As a Cognitive Behavior Therapist I am constantly amazed by how many clients have no idea of the negative self talk that goes on within their brain. We grow desensitized to the clamor of these automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) similar to those working beside a large generator at an industrial worksite. When it is first turned on it seems deafening but in an hour or two it fades into the background and by the end of the day we forget it is on until someone shuts it down and we are shocked by the silence. So it goes for the negative narrator in our brain. This depressing commentator comments on everything and over the years its drone fades to a back ground noise that we ignore at our peril. The problem with this is that each negative thought uses up energy in its electrical and chemical interaction and because our brains are linked to our bodies through our limbic system each negative thought produces a corresponding negative emotion, experienced usually as anxiety or depression.

We can break this cycle by becoming mindful of our thoughts, to begin thinking about our thinking. Dr. D. Amen has some great articles on ANT therapy (Google Dr. Amen or ANT therapy) to help you begin to understand different kinds of negative self thoughts and how to reframe them. When we begin to pay attention to our thinking, specifically negative thoughts, we are at first amazed by how much of it we are capable of. Its not just calling yourself an idiot or other choice names we adopted for ourselves along the way but it is also reflected in thoughts like I must, always, blame, mind reading etc. etc. and we would do well to invest some time and energy to reframing these thoughts as our negative narrator blabs away. Your brain when starting this process is like an untrained puppy, chewing your slippers, humping your leg and then peeing in the corner while you try to focus on a video game. You have to pay attention to that puppy if you want it to grow up into a well trained dog, so to with your brain.

Imagine you have a cage with two bears in it. One, the negative bear, has been feed steak and eggs while the other, the positive bear, has had a leaf of lettuce if it is lucky. After a few years who do you think is going to rule the cage, what about after twenty years. You can change these dynamics by constantly taking the steak out of the mouth of the negative bear by reframing your negative thoughts into positive ones thereby feeding the positive bear. The change won’t happen overnight; in fact it may take months. When you first went to the gym you only noticed that you were sore the next day. If you kept at it three months later you would begin to see and feel a difference with your body so goes it with your brain.

Negative conditioning is very powerful. Your mother may have told you dozens of times that the stove is hot when you were a child but when you finally touched it you didn’t have to be told again. Throughout our evolution negative conditioning kept us alive long enough to perpetuate our species. Positive conditioning although better for raising children to become thoughtful and caring adults is not as powerful as negative conditioning. When changing your thinking you need to do more than just reframe a negative thought into a positive one. We must install the positive thought. Installation is an important technique when changing your thinking. Just like crazy glue, when you put some on a block of wood and glue it to a wall, you have to hold it in place for a couple of seconds. If you just place it and walk away it will fall off in a few seconds because the directions say hold in place for a few seconds for a permanent fix. It is the same with installing a positive thought in your brain after reframing a negative thought. It takes some time. For instance, you wake up and your first thought is I have to go to work. Reframe that negative thought with I want to go to work. Then install that positive thought by thinking about a few things that you like about your job. I am sure you like it twice a month when you get paid but think of a couple of other things as well. That is how you reframe a negative thought with a positive on and then install it into your memory and brain.

Sometimes when in the thick of it the negative narrator is just mumbling in the background. Dealing with your boss, your wife, your husband, your rebellious teenager or the police officer giving you the ticket can distract us from monitoring our thinking but there is no distracting us from the feelings that we feel within our bodies when a negative thought through our limbic system which creates a corresponding negative feeling within our bodies. So if you miss the negative thought you will not miss the negative feeling that comes right after. So when you feel that anxiety, that depression or that tension in your chest, we all experience it differently, think about what you were thinking before the feeling. Now that you recognize that negative thought reframe it with a positive one and then install it. You can create a positive feeling to replace the negative on. It works both ways but only if you do it.

Sometimes you need to challenge that negative narrator in your brain. He rules your brain just like that negative bear rules your cage. We assume that every thought we are capable of is true but when you start to listen to negative commentator you should realize that not only is he negative he is sometimes quite insane. It may start like this; your boss calls you and asks you to meet him in his office in an hour. Your negative narrator starts like this; what have I done, why does he want to see me, could it be about that extra coffee break I took last week, oh my god I am going to be in trouble, for sure I will be fired, my wife will leave me and then I will be evicted, soon to be homeless and lining up at the soup kitchen, eventually as an addict I will be tweaking through the alleys and end up dead in a dumpster. Along with thinking tirade you feel lousy, are sweating and feel like you may be having a heart attack. An hour later when you sit down in front of your boss he tells you that he has noticed you lately and would like to give you a raise because of your hard work. You were temporarily insane admit it. Not only that but you worked yourself up into a frenzy but you are tense, almost had an anxiety attack or maybe you did and are now exhausted. You did your self no favor by listening to that frantic negative commentator. At that first diversion from reality in your thinking you should have challenged that pessimistic homunculus by recognizing that automatic negative thought, as “mindreading” reframed it or at least challenged it.

Be consistent; follow through with reframing and then installation each time. It will seem clumsy as first but as you get the hang of it you will notice a decrease of anxiety, of depression and maybe even your level of frustration and don’t forget to get on your bike every second day to burn off the fuel, you don’t want to put out the fire with gasoline.

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