Altitude versus Attitude versus Aptitude versus Gratitude

Altitude versus Attitude versus Aptitude versus Gratitude

Altitude refers to how far a body is above ground level; It simply means the height which the body chooses. While Attitude refers to the orientation and position of a body. Aptitude refers to capability or ability and Gratitude refers to

Altitude: We can choose our altitude! A pilot chooses altitude that is above the influence of the weather. We can be buoyant and rise above our problems when we choose to.
A common issue are automatic negative thoughts. They are a problem when we unaware of them but are affected when they influence how we feel. Thinking shitty=feeling shitty.
Remember that we haven’t screwed up once tomorrow and that you can’t change the past although we can learn from it. But if we are conscious of being in the moment we can experience success by intent versus failure through oblivion.
Being above the turbulence of life is not being distant or detached from this reality by a conscious choice to not being influenced by the negativity of the world around us.
If you cannot change the world…change yourself.
Do not remove yourself from the chaos of the world…rise above it.

Attitude: We can also choose our attitude! When a pilot cannot fly above a storm they will fly around it. Choosing an attitude speaks to emotional flexibility.
World English Bible: Philippians 4:8
Friends, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

Aptitude: capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent:
Develop an aptitude for attitude, meaning use your ability to choose the positive over the negative.
The ability to choose your Altitude, your Attitude and your capacity for Gratitude. If you don’t choose these consciously you are giving away your power.

Gratitude: is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.
To fully experience gratitude one must do an inventory of what we are and what we truly possess. This is an internal inventory for we cannot possess something external to ourselves.
Like altitude and attitude gratitude is a personal choice.

“When you can see through the illusion of the world, it’s perception of our ownership of things, of the desire to possess things that are external to you, of which you can never truly possess then you can truly possess yourself; first by understanding yourself so that you can manoeuvre above or around the turmoil of the world and by developing the capacity for gratitude to begin to appreciate yourself and your place in the order of things.” (Tom 2017)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Altitude versus Attitude versus Aptitude versus Gratitude

Modalities of Change

Insight and Empowerment as Modalities of Change.
At Dan’s Legacy we work proactively with youth who have experienced trauma and abuse and are now dealing with depression, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders and with self-medicating for their inner pain and chaos. We know that these youths will go on to develop addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, video games or become workaholics. If they do not experience a therapeutic intervention they are at risk of overdose, disease, homelessness and perpetuating the cycle of pain and chaos intergenerationally.
We focus on where we can make a difference before these youths become entrenched in dysfunctional ways to self-medicate with whatever they find in front of them. We provide a minimum four month or sixteen sessions of counselling and lifeskills that will help them gain insight and then empowerment so they can heal inside and out. Teaching self-regulation, acquiring cognitive-behavioral skills, learning mindfulness through various exercises like mindful breathing as well as important lifeskills like proper diet and exercise, youth in our programs find insight and empowerment to see meaningful change in their lives. Through visualization and actualization, they choose a functional path for their lives and leave behind dysfunctional behaviors that they had once used to cope with the pain and chaos that they had become habituated to.
We believe that insight and empowerment are far more powerful modalities of change than shame and guilt. We know that trying to make their dysfunctional coping strategies immoral or even criminal does not work. If change will occur, it will because they want it and when they want to change we need to be there for them without judgment but with strategies that make sense to them. Beginning with the basics, we start with helping them to understand what they can do to feel better in the short term. Understanding that a whole food diet that avoids processed food and focuses on eating a diet of complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, nuts, lean meats, and seafood will make them feel better almost immediately. Getting aerobic exercise with anaerobic intervals will also bring almost immediate relief. Learning mindful breathing and how to deal with negative thoughts comes next and once the youth learns these basics of self regulation we then begin to work on their core issues resulting from the trauma and abuse. Many youths find their way after the four-month intervention of weekly sessions but some need more and we are committed to work with them as long as they want to do the work. Some are not ready but we stay in touch with them until they are. Some need to take a break and to regroup before continuing. We remain flexible with each client and focus on their needs as sessions progress.
With this approach we work proactively with youth who are on a path that will eventually lead to addiction or other psychological issues that will negatively affect their lives. If we can intercede while these youths are at this stage we know we have an excellent chance of seeing them, through insight and empowerment, change their trajectory so they can avoid the pitfalls of addictions, homelessness, disease and intergenerational pain to that of success and personal happiness. We can not do this alone but need the help of our community.
Through this work we have identified the desperate need for a recovery program for youth who have become entrenched in their addictions. Although we have empowered hundreds through personal insight there are those who need the next step of recovery and we believe that our planned Rural Recovery Centre for youth will address some of this need. We know that a year long program based on intensive therapy on an local organic farm that focuses on life and workskills will be the missing link for many but again we need your help to make this a reality.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Modalities of Change

Why Pain; Why Pleasure

Why Pain, Why Pleasure?
Pain is an amazing adaption and necessary for life to continue its existence. Pain evolved, beginning with the simplest nervous systems, until it helped form what we would like to consider the most complex our own. With primitive organisms’ pain allows the creature to move away from danger, to recoil from a threat and to react to situations that could endanger it. With more complex animals like primates we react to pain to avoid damage to our bodies but pain is not in our bodies, it is in our minds. Our minds are connected to our bodies through a complex nervous system that branches out from our brain stem into our bodies like the root system of a tree. It links our minds to internal organs and then on to our skin, the largest of our organs. We can detect slight pressure and react violently to the pain of injury. Cold, heat, sharp objects all cause us discomfort and like the simplest of creatures we move away from the threat. Pain is a great motivator, in that very few of us can endure it without reacting to it. Our brains can perceive what could cause us pain and sometimes just the threat of it can bring about the exact duplication of it within our minds. An experienced torturer uses the threat of pain with the same effectiveness as pain itself once his subject has been conditioned. Diseases that damage our nerves that sense pain are very dangerous such as Leprosy. We damage ourselves with cuts and burns that we cannot feel as they occur and then infection sets in and we cannot feel that either. So the ability to feel pain is crucial for our survival.

Pleasure is just as an important motivator and key to our survival. We mover away from pain and towards pleasure. We tend to think about it more than a planarian worm but results are the same, avoid pain, seek pleasure. The pain we avoid and the pleasure we seek, although it manifests itself within our body is actually experienced within our brain. Phantom limb pain is an example of this as even when a limb is amputated we can still feel pain in it. Those products that tell us to rub it on the spot that is causing us pain do not stop the pain at that spot but are absorbed into our blood stream and end up deadening pain receptors in our brains.

Psychosomatic pain although experiences in an area of our body is created by our mind to distract ourselves from the conflict between our unconscious and our conscious minds.
Pleasure is linked to our Dopamine reward system within our brains but we feel it in our bodies. Our brains reward our bodies for doing what is in our long term interest to do. Sex is the clearest example. If orgasms were painful there would be a population crisis instead of the billions on earth today. Obviously a very efficient system.

Our limbic system links our minds and thinking to our bodies. Negative thoughts create negative feelings within a few seconds, while positive thoughts take up to fifteen seconds to create a positive feeling within our bodies. That is because negative conditioning is more efficient that positive conditioning. This is connected again to our surviving long enough to propagate our genes. If we don’t react to the lion immediately our genes will not make it into the next generation. Our mother’s love has more time to find it way into our hearts.

So like the planarian worm seek out pleasure and avoid pain but use your minds to understand the context in which this happens. Sometimes pain is a great motivator for change. Most young people leave home in a form of pain (could be called rage) as it takes this to make them move out and on to their own. The pain that an addiction can cause is sometimes enough to motivate a person to discover within themselves what is going on, address the issue and change by moving into a state of recovery. Pleasure is more than just a physical experience and when we begin to understand the pleasure our minds are capable of we can use this as a motivation to seek more. Music, philosophy, art, relationships and philanthropy are just some of the more pleasurable motivations that we can experience with our minds and since our minds are linked to our bodies the pleasure can become total bliss.

The more you understand yourself, how you evolved and what makes up both your body and mind the more you can use this knowledge to create a life that is worth living. Use the pain and pleasure of life to gain and understanding of what is possible for a human rather than letting it limit you to just being an animal.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Pain; Why Pleasure

The evolution of our glands

The evolution of our glands!

We hear much about being a victim to our glands nowadays as we deal with the growing problem of obesity, type two diabetes and the epidemic of ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating and sleeping disorders and self medicating for inner pain or chaos. If we resort to a defense that it’s my glands, “I can’t do anything about it”, we are giving away our power and are setting ourselves up for not only shorter lives than our parents but troubled lives full of unnecessary pain and suffering.

We evolved along with our glands over the last million years, which in perspective is eleven hours and fifty minutes on the twelve hour clock representing the time we have moved from the trees to the plains and finally into cities. For eleven hours and fifty minutes we moved from scavengers to hunter gathers. For the last ten minutes we moved from herders to agriculturists and finally into city dwellers. So for the vast majority of our existence as hominoids our glands had to only deal with the discovery of a fruiting bush or catching prey or escaping and not being prey.

Our pancreas evolved along with us. For millennia it had to deal with us as hunter gathers, finding a fruiting tree or bush or if really lucky, a bee hive. These were seasonal and exceptional but essential to our existence. We also evolved taste buds that are directly linked to our basic brain to help us seek out these important food stuffs. Sugar, salt and fat were rare but essential to survival. Salt, in our history, was more expensive than gold and in prehistory we sought out the same salt licks as did the animals around us. Fat was a precious commodity and gave those hunters status when they shared their bounty with their community. The animals that had the fat were not generous with their gift of life to us, as it meant their death. They did not have hooves, horns and teeth only for show and were prepared to use them in self defense, while we had none. We engaged in a primitive arms race with them, beginning to throwing rocks, then to bows and arrows to close the gap which enabled us to raise our sights from rats and rabbits to mammoths. Rats may have adapted to this arms race but mammoths are now extinct. Sugar did not exist except in berries, fruit or in the honey of bees and none were there in abundance year round and none were easy to access. Fruit was out of reach up trees after the animals ate the low hanging or dropped choice ones before we even got there, berry patches were the property of the bears, who wouldn’t mind a bit of protein (us) with their berries. Honey bees did not welcome your intrusion but defended their hive with vigor.
If your distant relative came upon a five pound bag of white sugar in the field they were walking across you would find their body beside it the next day. Sugar, the bane of our modern civilization, is a modern manufactured product and our bodies, glands and minds are totally evolutionary unprepared for the consequences of this toxic addiction.

Our ancient forbearer’s pancreases were set up to deal with about half a dozen insulin responses a month but modern North Americans have about ten to fifteen insulin responses a day. Where as sugar was once a treat that was rare, seasonal and mostly found in complex carbohydrates that we had to digest to access, now it is available everywhere. Most of our fast foods and most of our produced foods are loaded with it along with the simple carbohydrates that we turn into sugar. Our poor little pancreas that was designed and evolved to handle the eleven hours and fifty minutes of our twelve hours of existence is now abused daily as we fill our addictions to sugar with slurpies, monster drinks, fast foods, and processed foods that fill our convenience and grocery stores and the myriad of fast food restaurants that surround us. What has this poor little gland ever done to you to experience such abuse? You might as well just stomp on it. So with chronic overuse we put ourselves at risk for type two diabetes, obesity and the host of companioning health complications that go hand in hand with such glandular abuse.

The other overused and misunderstood glandular system is our adrenal glands. These thumb sized glands located on top of each kidney were an integral part of our evolution. As hunter gathers we were designed to conserve energy. Back then the greatest danger to our survival was starvation. We evolved brown fat, our metabolic thermostat, to help us control how fast we burn calories. It was in our long term interest to go slow, gathering the tubers, insects and other sources of food in our environment while conserving calories to protect us when the land went barren because of drought. While going slow to conserve scarce and hard to find calories we would occasionally come across more abundant sources of calories like rats and rabbits or even a deer, while at the same time exposing our calorie rich bodies to predictors who would love to invite us to lunch. This is where our adrenals came into play. We would hear a branch snap and instantly freeze, look to the sound, take a deep breath and while holding it do the body builder’s crunch. This would help us decide if this is our lunch or if we are on the menu. The deep held breath, gives us no hindrance to our hearing, as well with the crunch oxygenates our blood as in that split second we decide on either flight or fight. While this is going on our adrenals pump exotic go fast drugs into our blood stream like adrenalin, so like a nitro dragster we can access this super fuel to either run after the rabbit or to run away from the grizzly bear. We never sat back and philosophized about the rabbit or the bear or you ancestors would not have survived, we acted. We were never supposed to have these go fast chemicals in our blood but burned them off either chasing lunch down or running away and not becoming lunch. How many rabbits have you ran down this week? How many bear attacks have you ran away from? But I am telling you, that your adrenals have responded in kind to many sources of stress; parents, kids, teachers, girl or boy friends, police, traffic etc. etc. All have stressed you our and you adrenals, not distinguishing between real threat versus perceived threat, have filled you up with go fast drugs and you did nothing but suck it up. These go fast drugs were never intended for long term exposure but we burnt them off with the behavior of running away or running after. Now, after domestication into our modern civilization, we just suck it up and go on but not without major effects on our lives.

I recommend to all my clients that they spend at least twenty minutes every second day, every day if they are suffering from anxiety, in aerobic exercise with anaerobic intervals to burn these exotic drugs out of your system. Running, power walking, cycling, swimming are just some of the ways to deal with these go fast drugs and to burn them out of your system. Your brain will reward you with a dopamine release for a job well done when you burn off these go fast drugs. Before a bike ride, my brain is reeling with the stresses of client problems, family stresses (I have four adult children and one grandchild), relationship stress, scheduling issues and on and on but after the ride I can barely remember what was stressing me out.

Gotta love that dopamine!

So get to know your glands and how they work. They can either be your friends, if you understand how they evolved and how they work, or your enemies if you ignore them. This is not a passive battle. Major corporate players know how you work and have spent billions on you developing addictions to their products. Like cigarette companies, they get away with this corporate abuse because their products kill you slowly. They can suck huge amounts of funds from you as they load you up with the salt, sugar and fats in their engineered products, that are designed to link your innate desire for sugar, salt and fat, programmed by the eleven hours and fifty minutes of evolution, when these items were rare, so that now with a fast food restaurant or grocery store are on every corner there is a conveyer belt of this crap aimed right down your throat. They employ industrial psychologists with billions invested in research and know exactly what they are doing. With a similar morality as the cigarette industry they are willing to make a buck off of your evolutionary make up and your lack of knowledge as to how your glands really work.

Your best defense is in knowing how you and your glands work. If you owned an expensive car you wouldn’t drive it in first gear at a hundred miles an hour, you wouldn’t put cheap tainted fuel in the gas tank, you wouldn’t leave the oil in it until it was like glue and you wouldn’t wash it with sand paper. Yet we do this with our bodies when we eat the crap they feed us and when we endure the stress that is internally created in our over the top societies.

So watch what you eat, burn off those go fast drugs and think about your thinking. Your body is not something you can trade in like a worn out car. You will need it for the rest of your life so you might as well enjoy living in it as well. Learn to operate it correctly so that you get maximum enjoyment out of that piece of meat for as long as it lasts.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The evolution of our glands

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Psychosomatic Whack a Mole

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!!!!”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Big Threat

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on My Inner Mindful Meadow

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Good Bike Karma…Recycle your Cycle