liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/nyregion/bronx-hospital-shooting.html. He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (Default)
Maher crossed a line with his joke, but that's what comedians do. It's the taboos that make jokes funny, the fact that they refer to something that is painful or secret. The US history of enslaving Africans is not secret, but it is painful. The pain is felt by many of us, perhaps not the same for those with other colors of skin, but there is no doubt that it has marred many generations of our society. When/how will we ever get past it? Can the descendants of slavery ever forgive?

My great grandmother lived in the piedmont of North Carolina and owned a slave. Am I guilty? Should I be punished for that? I have been punished, and I'm sure I will be punished more. Do I deserve this punishment? I go out of my way to protect and include black people. Does my calling them black people make me a racist? How about brown people, red people, white people? Does my effort to be inclusive make me an ass? Is there any way for a white person to broach this subject without it being negatively received? I know I am priviledged but I am not immune to the attitudes of people around me of every description.

Racial relations get worse when people are unfairly punished. I was born with no ill will toward any group. Painful experiences in my life have led me to be wary of certain groups of people. Usually it is the people who have historically been abused who later become agressive or condescending. Jewish people have treated me badly, moreso than Blacks but some of them too have assumed that I am a racist and helped to make me into one. It is understandable, but it does not result in the whirled peas that we seek.

Those who say Maher should be fired for racism, seriously now? He did not call anyone else a nigger, he was referring to himself. His joke was on TV and showed that he understood the class system that was applied to black slaves in our nation. Who else but a comedian can publicly break taboos and get people talking about it? If we are to heal these wounds, we need to talk about it. Keeping it secret and taboo does nothing to reduce the pain. Time passing, generations shifting, that reduces the pain... but I wish we could do it faster.

This brings me to the question about words. The word nigger is apparently 100% taboo, at least for a white person to say on TV. It appears to me that it is just a word. It is not the word that I am worried about, it is the attitude. Certainly words and attitudes are linked, but it is not a 100% correlation between saying the word nigger and being a racist or promoting racism. I do not believe that Maher is a racist. I think he is trying to defuse the tensions around our dark history and get us all to laugh, together, and let the pain slip away.

What other words are taboo? I can't think of any that the two white men I live with react to as strongly. Honky? LOL.

I wish "bitch" were less acceptable. The word has been applied to me many times in my life, usually because I refused to do what a white man wanted me to do, or because I got angry. The word bitch has been used to suppress the will of a huge class of people, and it is still in common usage and acceptable in rap music and other places. I am allowed to get angry and to assert myself without deserving denigration. But women have been put down for a long time and a large segment of our population would like to keep us down. If Maher had said "I'm a bitch", I would not have been offended. That is not the same as him calling someone else a bitch.

I would like to hear from the descendants of slaves in the US as to whether they think Maher should be fired. I bet they will say no. He is doing his job, making us laugh out things that hurt.
liveonearth: (Spok has a cat)

“Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.”
--UCLA Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb



Four Rituals that Make You Happy:

(in summary, and as suggested by science to date)
1. Be grateful.
2. Name negative emotions.

3. Make good enough decisions.

4. Touch people.

SOURCE: http://theweek.com/articles/601157/neuroscience-reveals-4-rituals-that-make-happy

liveonearth: (blue mountain painting)

Be soft.
Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still believe it to be a beautiful place.

--Kurt Vonnegut.

liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)

  • This epidemiologic analysis revealed that mortality rates are increasing in the middle-aged white male population, largely due to preventable conditions like poisonings and overdoses.

  • Reductions in mortality were seen in other racial groups.

ARTICLE from Medpage, primary care )


SOURCE

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/GeneralPrimaryCare/54456
liveonearth: (moon)
I used to wear heels that made me six feet tall.  I loved being tall and accepted my big feet for the anchors.  I never liked my body much though, or my face, always found fault.  When I was approaching 30 years old I decided to get in shape.  I'd been in shape a couple of times before... from jiujitsu in high school and my first year of river guiding.  My plan at age 30 had to do with biking, swimming, and walking, hopefully running but I had never been a runner.

When I was living in Knoxville, )
liveonearth: (skull candle book)

The relief of suffering and the cure of disease
must be seen as twin obligations
of a medical profession that is truly dedicated to the care of the sick.
Physicians' failure to understand the nature of suffering
can result in medical intervention
that (though technically adequate) not only fails to relieve suffering
but becomes a source of suffering itself.

--Eric J. Cassell

liveonearth: (neuroactive substances)
If you live and Portland and haven't picked up a copy of this month's Willamette Week (free news weekly, online here: http://www.wweek.com/portland/index.php), this issue is likely to get snapped up. They've named it the 420 Issue and it is all about the businesses and culture incurred by the recent legalization of cannabis in Washington and soon Oregon. What struck me initially is the amount of wordplay around the subject, and the generation of witty new phrases, words and hashtags that accompanies the surge in businesses and products containing cannabinoids. There is great excitement about the new availability and openness that comes with legalization.

I for one am OK with recreational and medical use. I think that the risks to society of adults using cannabinoids are fairly minimal. It certainly doesn't make people drive dangerously the way alcohol does. It does have a whole set of risks that aren't covered in this issue, and that really need to be kept high in our awareness as this drug becomes widely acceptable.

One risk that is coming into focus these days is of extreme overdoses. Back when folks just inhaled smoke, coughing stopped them from partaking too much. Vaporizers now make inhalation gentler and it is easy to overdose when consuming edibles. With either method you can't tell how much intoxicant is in there. With humans ingeniously extracting and concentrating the active principles, it could be very strong, or contaminated with solvents. With edibles the effect takes time to kick in. It is terribly easy to overdose for folks who are experimenting for the first time, and who have no tolerance at all.

The conventional media take on overdose--blaming it for many deaths and claiming that it is deadly--is probably overblown. It takes a massive amount of pot to kill, perhaps more than anybody is likely to actually reach because unlike opioids it is so unpleasant getting there. It is however a relative unknown: having been illegal for so long, we don't have scientific studies about overdose. We hardly have science to justify all the medical uses that have already been approved. We are going to find out now.

Another risk is incurred by the fact that edibles make the drug palatable to people who would never smoke it. It is tempting to children as candy. There is the danger that children, teens and early 20-somethings will enjoy sugary yummies containing cannabinoids and permanently alter their brain development. Later on in life there is still a brain changing effect, but in early life when the brain is still forming, the effect can be severe.

On top of these new risks due to the availability of edibles, there is the old risk of respiratory injuries resulting in sinusitis and bronchitis, and risk of more dangerous conditions like pneumonia and COPD. There is also the fact that marijuana increases heart rate significantly in most individuals. Folks who already have hypertension or heart palpitations might give themselves a heart attack.

I suppose my main message in the light of all this 420 excitement is BE CAUTIOUS and PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN because there is a lot we don't know. I believe in freedom and individual discretion as most Americans do, and I also know that people can be terribly foolish and injure themselves and others, especially when intoxicants are involved. I cannot protect the whole world from poor choices, but I do hope that this warning is heard widely. Please take care of each other and if you are going to play with the newly legalized products, start very small.
liveonearth: (key to my heart)
If you're really listening,
if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world,
your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again
so that it can hold evermore wonders.

--Andrew Harvey
liveonearth: (mad scientist's union)
I'm not big on woo woo. When practitioners choose modalities simply because they "resonate" with them, I am skeptical. But when science backs up the use of something that has long been thought of as energy medicine, I am happy to recommend it. Of course people will tell you something is backed by science when it isn't, so you have to go look at the science for yourself, or find sources like me that you know are science-minded and skeptical to help filter the claims for you.

Here's a case of energy medicine turning out to be something real. Scientists have found that acupuncture points are detectable by CT (computed tomography, fancy medical imaging). All those points have a certain size of larger blood vessels, and also thick mats of fine blood vessels that have lots of forks (birfucations) in them. Piercing the tissues at these points is probably affecting the nervous system associated with those blood vessels. This supports my belief that energy medicine (that actually works) has a anatomical and physiological basis. Acupuncture is well proven to be effective for pain, short term at least. To treat pain longterm one must take the naturopathic approach and find the reason for the pain, and change that.
liveonearth: (moon)
No time to work out, you say? Have to clear out the sink? OK then, try this. The asana for dishwashing is the Fierce pose, Utkatasana. Basically you put your feet hipwidth or narrower and parallel, and bend your legs like you were going to sit into a chair. But there is no chair. Keep your spine straight, not hunched, head up. Pull in your belly. Put your weight into your heels. Drop lower into your seat. Arms go straight overhead for the full expression of the asana, but you can wash a few dishes in between. This asana is warming, and if you persist for more than a minute or two your breathing and heart rate will increase, and your legs will begin to burn. You can hold it longer than you think you can. This asana is one of the best for back pain, both the kind that is between your shoulderblades, and the low back kind.
liveonearth: (Hands w/ Lotus)
Be grateful
for every scar life inflicts upon you.
Where we're unhurt is where we are false.
Where we are wounded and healed
is where our real self gets to show itself.


--Sara Gran, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, p 172
liveonearth: (stone arch doorway)
The Pentagon began tracking active duty military suicides in 2001. They begin rising in 2006, soared in 2009 then leveled. Military suicides hit a record high in 2012. Exceeded combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls it an epidemic. All branches are suffering.
liveonearth: (Default)
Symptoms, then,
are in reality
nothing but a cry
from suffering organs.


--Jean-Martin Charcot
liveonearth: (hand)

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~~William Stafford




as accessed here
http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Way_It_Is.html
liveonearth: (Default)
Truth is,
everybody is going to hurt you.
You just gotta find
the ones worth suffering for.

--Bob Marley
liveonearth: (Default)
The relief of suffering and the cure of disease must be seen as twin obligations of a medical profession that is truly dedicated to the care of the sick. Physicians' failure to understand the nature of suffering can result in medical intervention that (though technically adequate) not only fails to relieve suffering but becomes a source of suffering itself.
--Eric J. Cassell

notes )
liveonearth: (hotspring geology rainbow)
Pain is temporary.
It may last a minute, or an hour,
or a day, or a year,
but eventually it will subside
and something else will take its place.
If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

--Lance Armstrong
liveonearth: (dragon)
The problem's not that the truth is harsh but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born. Run after truth until you're breathless. Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh. These ideas will take a life to comprehend, and hard one interspersed with drunken moments.
--Nagui Mahfouz in Palace of Desire

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