Important

Why Being Neurotic Could Actually Be A Good Thing

Why Being Neurotic Could Actually Be A Good Thing
Irritable. Moody. Anxious. Tense. Neurotic types get a bad rap, and it's no surprise considering the characteristics most commonly associated with the personality trait.

Neuroticism is considered one of the "Big 5" personality traits, along with extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. According to a 2009 article in the journal American Psychologist, neuroticism refers to "tendencies to respond with negative emotions to threat, frustration, or loss." In other words? Neurotics don't exactly roll with the punches. And that can affect more than attitude and mood. In studies, neuroticism has been associated with negative health outcomes, including increased risk of mental conditions and physical health problems, as well as decreased occupational and marital satisfaction.

"Indeed, it predicts shorter, less happy, less healthy, and less successful lives to a meaningful extent," the American Psychologist article reads.

But it's not all doom and gloom if you are a neurotic type. Research shows that some people are actually healthy neurotics, meaning they have high levels of both neuroticism and conscientiousness. (Conscientious people are known to be organized, good planners and thorough. They even live longer.)

So what sets these "healthy neurotics" apart? Read on to find out.

They harness the anxiety that is so fundamental in neuroticism, and use it in a positive way.

Nicholas A. Turiano Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains that people who are neurotic tend to have more anxiety, emotional reactivity and a negative affect. Anxiety and emotional reactivity in particular are not only linked with increased stress hormones and blood pressure, but also with negative health behaviors, such as self-medication.

"But those neurotic individuals that also endorse high conscientiousness don't seem to resort to these behaviors," Turiano tells HuffPost. "We think the high conscientiousness gives the person the resources to refrain from engaging in such detrimental health behaviors and use that anxiety to improve health." For instance, a healthy neurotic will still experience worry, but will channel that worry into positive behaviors, such as going to the gym or eating healthier.

"The neurotic who is low on conscientiousness and doesn't have the appropriate self control resources isn't likely to take this path and instead they ruminate on their anxieties and worries in life and engage in more detrimental behaviors," Turiano says. "Those high in conscientiousness may have anxiety but it is not making the person freeze while they ruminate on their life problems. They act on their anxiety and that is what motivates them to address what they have anxiety about."

Being conscientious and neurotic could actually be good for health.

Turiano was the lead researcher of a recent study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, showing that people high in both of these personality traits actually have low levels of interleukin-6, an immune protein that's known to be a biomarker for inflammation.

Healthy neurotic people don't just engage in healthier behaviors, but they also "have fewer chronic health conditions, they have healthier body weights, and they have lower levels of inflammation," Turiano says. Research is also increasingly showing that these people have better stress responses, and don't overreact to stress (which leads to increased stress hormone levels and heart rate).

"Somehow, these conscientious individuals dampen their own stress responses," he says. "Finding out if this indeed the case and how they do it will be an important area of future inquiry."

They also use their conscientiousness and neuroticism to be more successful at work.

Healthy neurotic people don't just have better physical health, they may also experience benefits in other areas of their lives, Turiano notes. Stress permeates all professions, whether it be the myriad responsibilities of a CEO, or the pressure to obtain grant funding for professors or researchers. But it's how you deal with that stress that can make you successful or not.

"The healthy neurotic individuals somehow find a way to channel that anxiety they have to motivate them to do good work," Turiano says.

For journalists for instance, instead of panicking about an upcoming deadline, they will use that anxiety to work harder to get the story done. Meanwhile, a doctor might use that anxiety to better prepare for surgery and be more meticulous while in the OR. "A little stress and anxiety in life can be a good thing to motivate people, especially if you have the resources to channel that anxiety in protective and productive avenues," he adds. "And high levels of conscientiousness seem to be that protective resource."

It is possible to boost your conscientiousness. (The big question is how.)

While research is still emerging as to how to increase conscientiousness among neurotic people in particular, there are strategies that exist to increase conscientiousness on a general level. Most people become more conscientious as they get older and mature, and experience life events such as marriage, childbirth, and the like. But not all people experience these increases in conscientiousness, and it's these people who would potentially need to utilize strategies to increase the trait.

The first step, Turiano says, is to get them to realize that they aren't harnessing their anxiety and stress in a healthy way.

"For the person who has high anxiety, getting them on a routine may help with their behaviors," he says. "For example, they plan their meals for the entire week and prepare as much as possible before their work week starts. This way, during the week when they know the stress will be very high, they have already done the planning so they aren't just eating fast food all week when they are stressed."
View more at www.huffingtonpost.com
  • 0
  • 0
null

5 Steps to Eating the Elephant on Your Plate

5 Steps to Eating the Elephant on Your Plate
Are you ready to eat your elephant?

When you are hungry enough to go after what you want, tired enough of doing the same routine, pushed far enough in the corner, then and only then, will you stop procrastinating and do something about the elephant on your plate.

Trust me, it is not as bad as it seems. The elephant on your table may reflect a business you want to start, a book you want to write, a relationship you want to turn into a marriage, a new position you have been contemplating, credit that you need restored or a relationship that needs mending.

The elephant on your table can represent a lot of things that you have ignored and brushed off, just to watch it grow bigger and bigger. The elephant is not going to go away. It is going to be there when you wake up and when you go to sleep.

If it's your book, put together a writing schedule and stick to it. Invest in a hotel for a few nights and just work on your manuscript. If it's mending a relationship, set some time aside to have that difficult conversation you have been avoiding.

The most important thing to do when you have an elephant on your plate is to address the elephant. By addressing the elephant you will begin to set priorities. You'll begin to create order in your life and give yourself permission to make choices that align with your values. Some people have more than one elephant. You know it's there, and you know it's not going to go away. You may even know what you need to do, but refuse to do it.

Here are some tips to help you to start chipping away at the elephant head first.

A simple five-step process for you to try:

1. Name your "elephants."
2. Select one and break it down into bite-size pieces.
3. Write these steps down in the order in which they need to be completed.
4. Assign start and completion dates for each item on your task list.
5. Enter these dates into your calendar so you remember when it's time to do them.

Bonus: Tell someone to hold you accountable. If you are really bold, make a bold declaration on social media.

As you focus on one bite at a time, you'll be amazed at how remunerative and gratifying this process can be. You will begin to do things you've never done before but always wanted to do. When you put these steps into action, you actively determine the way you will live your life rather than just allowing life to happen to you.

If you need help with coming up with an elephant eating plan, contact me at lucinda@lucindacross.com

Book recommendation: A Rose Can't Grow In A Garden Of Weeds by Tanisha A. Cunningham
  • 0
  • 0
null

Does It Have to Be Hard to Be Healthy?

Does It Have to Be Hard to Be Healthy?
I was reading an article in Elle magazine the other day, and I came across an article that pitted two experts on obesity against each other in their opinions as to why this epidemic is so challenging to alter. The dispute between these particular experts was not so much about obesity as it was the use of data to explain obesity.

But that's not what struck me. The author reflects on experts' frustration with confusing information that paralyzes people into doing nothing. With popular diets, pseudo-experts and actual science, it's enough to make you crazy. And the author sums it up beautifully with this:

In the beginning there was the low-fat dictum, which was revised to cut out saturated fats but encourage vegetable fats -- unless your vegetable fats are trans fats, in which case they're killing you. Oh, while you're eliminating butter, make sure you don't add in too many refined carbs-toss out those Snackwells! Sugar will kill you. Actually, maybe all carbs are the problem, including fruit. Double up on your breakfast sausage, but drop the Wheaties. After all, humans were never designed to eat agricultural products. We're hunter-gatherers. We should be eating wild game and greens. Nothing processed! What would possess you to eat sausage?!??! Fill up your plate with dandelion greens and elk. But wait! Scratch the elk. Cut out meat. Meat will kill you. Except for fish. No, wait, fish is too high in mercury and the seas are overfished. Okay, okay, you can eat small stinky fish like anchovies and maybe a little chicken and eggs (as long as they are humanely raised by a local farmer with whom you are on a first-name basis), but you'd better chuck dairy. It's full of growth hormones that are giving seven-year-olds pubic hair. Unless you get organic, grass-fed, raw milk. But just know that raw milk can kill you. Actually, you know what? Go vegan. Go raw vegan. Go on a detox fast. Juice all your food. No wait -- juice is too high in sugar. Get a Vitamix and make a breaksfast smoothie out of avocado, foraged mushrooms and kale. Gwyneth Paltrow's kids love it. Wait! Stop! Put that down! Liquid calories are causing the diabetes epidemic. So just eat vegetables, fruits, beans, olive oil, anchovies, chicken, eggs, plain yogurt, sea vegetables and whole grains. Except brown rice. There's arsenic in it. Arsenic will kill you. And obviously, don't eat gluten. Have a little wine with dinner, unless you care about getting breast cancer -- in which case stop boozing and become vegan (you know we already told you to go vegan -- pay attention!). But go easy on the soy. Because it can kill you. Got that?" -- Rachael Combe, Elle, June 2014


This brilliant take-down about the confusion that our information age has created about healthy eating is funny, clever and sadly... spot on.

How many times has this kind of diatribe played in your head? I am considered an expert in this field, and it plays in mine more often than I would care to admit.

This kind of thinking has become so common that people either jump onto the next big ginko/goji/kale/avocado/wild mushroom drink or they do nothing at all, simply throwing up their hands and ordering fries. How did we get so far removed from our food that we do not know what to eat? How did we become so disconnected from this most natural of all human necessities? Our very link to life itself?

Marketing has made us all culinarily insane, not to put too fine a point on it.

Manufacturers know all too well how to seduce us away from real food. They spend a lot of money working with flavor houses to tweak the flavors in their foods to be more intense and more addictive. As a result, they manufacture cherry treats that taste more like cherries than Mother Nature's version... and they can make anything taste like chicken. Between flavor houses and masterful uses of fat, sugar and salt, we are lost to them from the moment we buy our first package of processed food.

Along comes the healthy eating movement with a parade of experts (me included) telling everyone to abandon their addiction to intense flavors for the taste of real food. And then it gets sticky. Everyone has an opinion as to what healthy eating is and so we experience information overload, contradiction, disagreement and dissent like you read in the above diatribe.

Here's the thing. No matter whether you decide to eat a Paleo diet, a vegan diet, a raw diet or juice your way to health, there is a common denominator among even the most diametrically opposed approaches to healthy eating (think Paleo vs. vegan). All of them rely on real food -- food that is minimally processed if processed at all. All of them rely on us preparing our food at home, by our own hand and not leaving that most important activity to some lab kitchen inside of a monolithic corporation. All of them agree that processed foods will rob you of your health and wellness.

The disagreements turn out to be simply opinion, borne from fact, myth, science, idea and experience mashed together to create an approach that might help us to become collectively healthier. Where we get lost is when experts tell us that theirs is the only way to wellness. With an almost religious fervor, other ideas are denigrated as silly and false, harmful to human health even though, in the end, they are just another approach to wellness.

And in the middle of the experts you'll find us... confused and paralyzed that we will do the wrong thing and fall ill.

But will we?

As a committed plant-based eater, I have strong feelings about not eating animal food... from a health standpoint (no good news about saturated fat and heart health, in my view), from a karmic standpoint (the loss of an animal's life for a burger), from an environmental standpoint (it takes so much of our precious resources to produce meat). With plant-based sources of protein, I find animal food unnecessary.

Am I any better or smarter than my Paleo-eating friends at the gym who feel as strongly about eating minimally-processed, grass-fed, humanely-raised animals with lots of vegetables? Only time (and their heart and prostate health) will tell. I believe in my heart that a style of eating that does no harm can nourish us completely, keep us healthy and make a lighter footprint on the planet is the best choice. But it's my choice, based on my experience, resulting wisdom and extensive study.

I hold the belief that a Mediterranean approach to eating that includes whole grains, beans, lots of vegetables and good quality fats like olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds serves humanity best, keeping us vital and well and living long, productive lives. Other people believe differently.

As long as their approach to wellness includes whole foods, who is to say one approach is completely correct and appropriate for all humans and more important, that everyone else is wrong?

In the end, life itself is a terminal condition. None of us are getting out of this alive. But wouldn't it be nice to eat a delicious diet of health-creating foods and enjoy each minute we have in wellness? Skip junk food in any form and concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods and I am pretty sure you'll experience your own personal nirvana of wellness.
  • 0
  • 0
null

Cancer: Befriend, Don't Battle... It Just Might Turn Out to Be Your Best Friend

Cancer: Befriend, Don't Battle... It Just Might Turn Out to Be Your Best Friend
"You have cancer. You have a very serious, fast-moving cancer, and you need to do something about this immediately."

Those were the first words I heard upon awakening after a "routine" biopsy of a lump that had mysteriously appeared, two months earlier, on the left side of my neck. The diagnosis was stage IV throat and neck cancer. Treatment began immediately, with a prediction that if something didn't work fast, I would not be here for Christmas. Christmas was only 90 days away. That was almost nine years ago.

When life comes to a screeching halt, it demands our attention and introspection. During the initial days of my journey, I had hours and hours strung together to ponder the many questions that accompany a potential death sentence. "Why me? Why now? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong? How long do I really have? So many questions crawling around in my head like termites looking for the perfect place to gnaw.

Then... the most important question of all drifted in. A gift from the angels. Why is cancer the only disease referred to as a battle? This question triggered a cascade of thoughts and subsequent questions that took center stage and demanded an answer. Have you ever thought about why this is so? I hadn't.

We never hear about someone losing their battle with heart disease, or losing their battle with diabetes, or losing their battle with kidney disease. No. We only hear about it in relation to cancer. We have permeated society with this mindset of "battling" cancer so much so that the very first words of support from doctors, family and friends are, "You are facing the toughest battle of your life. You have to fight! You have to battle." Then you have to pray that you ultimately win and the cancer loses. The time has come for a paradigm shift.

The answers and soul searching that surfaced as a result of this question is why I say in my book, FROM STAGE IV TO CENTER STAGE, that the presence of cancer was the best present I have ever received. I took a deep, spiritual dive. Searching my soul for the truth about who I was. Here's what I learned.

I learned that war against war is war. Where there is a battle there is a war. I certainly did not want to perpetuate a war with something that was already potentially angry. Cancer has a lot of heat. It needs to be cooled. It needs to be loved. It needs to be embraced and befriended. I began to dialogue with my cancer as I would with a trusted friend. I gave it a name. I gave it a pen. I gave it permission to tell me what was going on. I asked: What are you doing in my body? Why did you decide to come into my life? What do you need in order for me to help usher you out of my body and on your way? These are just a few areas that were explored.

The sessions felt as if I was actually in relationship with someone who was far wiser than I. This is what happens when we are willing to let our higher selves lead the way. What I gleaned from these quiet, personal and intimate moments was invaluable. I believe it was what helped save my life. I was inspired to investigate places within that needed to be healed. There are too many lessons to share in this short blog, so suffice it to say, the top three are the most important and useful to anyone facing anyone of life's challenges. Challenges are doorways to transformation. Especially when dealing with cancer.

My top three:

1. "Stop beating yourself up for nothing." When I said I wasn't beating myself up for nothing, the response was, "It doesn't feel that way in here."

2. "The more light you can hold within, the less room there will be for me." This meant it was time to locate the places where the emotional wounds had caused blockages and find ways to once and for all, clear them.

3. "The more you love yourself, Denise, the less reason for me to stick around." This is where the rubber meets the road. The work began and continues to this day with the woman in the mirror. Our bathroom mirrors can be our most precious therapists.

I don't think I would be here today, sharing my journey with you, had I chosen to battle and fight against cancer. I would have depleted what little physical and emotional resources I had.

My mission is to usher in a paradigm shift. A shift in how we approach cancer. It's time to give people who have received a cancer diagnosis the permission they need to stop fighting and start loving themselves. If they don't have the tools, then lets equip them. It's time to let them know they didn't do anything wrong. And please, let us stop referring to those who died as people who lost their battle. They are in no way losers. They didn't lose anything. They simply died.

Two days prior to being diagnosed I had ridden my bicycle 90 miles in one day with the Pan Mass Challenge, affectionately known to Bostonians as the PMC, raising money for children's cancer research for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. How ironic! How perfect!
  • 0
  • 0
null

New Technology Helps Vets Navigate the Medical Quagmire

New Technology Helps Vets Navigate the Medical Quagmire
Both Congress and the administration are moving to relieve the backlog of veterans waiting for access to medical care by authorizing them to get private treatment at the VA's expense. But those veterans are still facing some formidable obstacles, not the least among them getting access to their own records and taking them with them to new providers. But technology that's already in place can help them jump some of the bureaucratic hurdles. Many veterans are covered by a variety of health plans, including the VA, Tricare (the military's medical insurance), and older vets may be covered by Medicare. In addition, their medical records may reside with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Administration as well as private providers. Since many vets are facing (or are living with) long and complex medical problems, just gathering their records together to bring them to a private hospital or doctor is challenging. Critics point out that so-called legacy electronic medical record systems, like those housing DoD records, and VA systems are not even capable of talking to one another.

Aneesh Chopra, the former White House chief technology officer, says the government has spent billions of dollars and decades trying to resolve the problem. But he notes that fundamentally they may be going after the wrong solution.

The challenge is actually simpler. The question ultimately is, 'What problem are you trying to solve?' Are you solving a modernization problem, or are you solving an interoperability problem? Because if you want to solve the interoperability problem, the better thing to do, I believe is to have each IT node point the data directly to the patient because the thing that the patient can do that the systems can't do together is verify with 100 percent confidence that I am who I am to get my own records.


In simpler language, it's going to be a lot easier for the patient to get his own records from the DoD or the VA and then bring them with him than to get those institutions to see each other's records and talk to one another. In 2010 the government launched a technology initiative called Blue Button, which does exactly that. It enables patients to go to the VA or Medicare and download their medical records electronically to their own computers. More recently, companies like Humetrix have created applications like iBlueButton so those records can be collected in an easy-to-understand format and securely loaded onto a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. That means a veteran can now download all his VA or DoD medical records to his device and then take them to a private practitioner and have them with him if he needs emergency treatment.

One of the million or so vets who've taken advantage of the technology is Vietnam-era vet Randy Watson, who is totally disabled as a result of exposure to Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant widely used in the Vietnam War. Watson, who has had multiple surgeries and survived eight heart attacks, lives in Neosho, Missouri, about 15 miles south of Joplin. His closest VA medical center is in Fayetteville, Arkansas, more than an hour's drive away. He often makes use of a closer VA clinic about 45 minutes away in Mt. Vernon Missouri. But over the years Watson has often needed emergency attention which he's gotten in nearby Joplin, where his primary care physician is also based. Using all those VA and non VA facilities created a paperwork nightmare. Watson became one of the first vets to start using the new technology.

I've used it several times. I can assemble all my records, download all my health records from the VA website, My HealtheVet, whether it's self entered or entered by the VA. iBlueButton includes all my lab reports, different tests, blood work, lists of X-rays or CT scans -- I can download all that information, all my doctor visits, all my medication that I take and all the allergies that I have to different medications. If I have to go to an emergency room or see another doctor that's not from our area, I have all that information on my iPhone, and I can bring it up and show him without having to sit and fill a bunch of forms...

If I'm in an emergency situation, I can bring this information up. And if I'm not able to, my wife or my children know how to access this information on my iBlueButton app. That way they don't have to repeat tests, say if I had an MRI a week ago. It's easy and saves time and saves money too because I don't have to go to hospitals or doctors and ask for paper records -- and have to pay for them. I've saved my paper records over the years and scanned them into my computer and put them into a PDF format, and then I can upload those files to my iPhone to the iBlueButton. So it's helped me out a lot, and it's a safety factor.


But Watson cautions vets that it's still going to be their own responsibility to keep those records current. And he says that no matter what changes are made, or how helpful the technology, the vet himself has to take on the role as his own health care advocate.

They're the ones that really need to step up to the plate and get the app and go online and take the initiative to do that. In order for the iBlueButton to work in their favor, they have to make sure it's up to date and in downloading updated records after a new hospital stay or after they get new lab done. With the health care system the way it is, they have to take control, they have to do if for themselves, because no one else will.


The federal BlueButton initiative has not gotten very much attention or usage, neither from the millions of vets who can make use of it, nor the tens of millions of Medicare recipients who can get it. The original program allowed downloading only to a PC, and not to a mobile device. The government then turned to private industry to innovate around the program, which resulted in applications like iBlueButton from Humetrix, which made the Blue Button mobile, and other programs from developers like HealthVault and RelayHealth. But so far the numbers are almost embarrassing. According to the office of the national coordinator for healthcare IT at U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, about 17 percent of eligible vets have used the BlueButton system on the VA site, while less than 2 percent of all Medicare recipients have made use of it.

According to Dr. Bettina Experton, CEO of Humetrix:

Unfortunately, most Veterans do not know that they can bring their health information from the VA or DoD to non-VA doctors. Bringing copies of paper medical records is not a practical option, especially when you are sick or when an emergency strikes. As a result, the coordination of care between DoD, VA and civilian doctors can be poor, causing unnecessary and additional delays in diagnosis and treatment. But apps like iBlueButton can change that by allowing Veterans to bring their medical records from the VA and DoD with them to non-VA doctors via their mobile device.


iBlueButton is free to download and provides one free Blue Button downloaded record. Then there is a one-time in-app purchase of $3.99 that covers all subsequent downloads of Blue Button records. But, Dr. Experton says, "At this time of crisis, we've made iBlueButton available at no charge to our veterans so they can easily take their medical records to any doctor and help expedite the process of getting needed care and in the safest way."

Author's Note: We did contact the Veterans Administration for help with this blog. They asked us to submit a list of questions, which we did. But two weeks and several inquiries later, we have yet to hear a word back from them.
  • 0
  • 0
null

This Awesome Skydiving Granny Has The Best Life Motto

For more than seven decades, Pat Leitner has gone in search of new experiences and new adventures. Her 77th birthday was no different: she celebrated by jumping out of a plane thousands of feet above the ground and soaring through the air.

"It was exhilarating... I wasn't nervous at all," said the Charlevoix, Mich. grandmother to 11, who went skydiving for the first time Saturday. "It's not something you can easily explain -- floating down it's peaceful and gorgeous… I'd do it again in a heartbeat." (Watch the video of Leitner skydiving from Up North Live above.)

Leitner planned the jump after she won a skydiving session at a fundraiser for a women and children's homeless shelter. A couple dozen well-wishers and family members joined Leitner and her son at Skydive Harbor Springs to celebrate her birthday, which was actually May 6 -- or as she put it, they came "just to watch this crazy lady jump out of a plane."

skydiving
Courtesy Pat Leitner.



But Leitner is less "crazy" than independent and spirited, something she attributes to a long life of self-reliance as a single mother of three.

"I raised three kids on my own and I didn't have any family to call on," she said. "Back in the '60s, I was the oddball. [There weren't many] women who were divorced."

Leitner spoke of a time she applied for a job with a manager who eventually told her they couldn't hire divorced women because they were "unstable." She then rattled off a list of things she had done on her own, like sailing a sailboat, driving all over the country, home improvement projects like knocking down walls and hooking up a gas dryer, and working at places like social services and the sheriff's department, where she was one of few women. Though she accepts help from friends and family when necessary, she prides herself in doing as much a she can herself.

"You tell me I can't do something and I'll find a way to do it," she said. "I'm not afraid to try, I think that's always been my motto."

Leitner originally got the idea to skydive from 83-year-old Sally Bales, a friend who went on jumps when she was 70 and 80. The two women plan to go together in the future, though they won't wait until Bales is 90, Leitner quipped. And the plan for her 78th birthday? Leitner doesn't know yet, but said she'll "think of something."

"I'm not one to just sit home and twiddle my thumbs because of the age that I'm at."

skydiving
Courtesy Pat Leitner.


H/T Up North Live.
  • 0
  • 0
null

The Secret of Waking Up Early

The Secret of Waking Up Early
Early morning is the best time to do creative work, to exercise, to meditate and to get a head start on the proceedings of the day. You can get a lot done during those early hours because it's almost completely distraction-free time.

But still people don't make use of this wonderful time because they find it hard to wake up early. Waking up early is right up there, along with exercising, losing weight and quitting cigarettes, as the most popular New Year's resolutions that people make. It's something that everybody wants to do but very few seem to be able to actually do it.

There is one simple thing that you can do to make sure that you always wake up early. It's a secret that is so ridiculously simple and easy to do and yet, when you understand the logic behind it, so powerful that it will give you the ability to wake up early with ease starting from tomorrow.

Here's the secret: Take intensive deep breaths as soon as you wake up.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Too simple, in fact, so much that you might not even be impressed. But before you rule it out, read about the logic behind this simple secret.

The problem most people have in waking up early is that when the alarm goes off and they hit the snooze button, their mind is still in a haze. In that early morning half asleep, zombie-like state, it's hard to convince yourself to get out of bed and do whatever it is you want to do. Instead, your brain rationalizes and convinces you why the best thing to do is to stay in bed and sleep for a few more minutes.

This happens because our brain doesn't boot up as soon as we wake up. It takes time to wake up, and that time is enough for us to fall back asleep. When we fall asleep, our body goes into a slowdown mode. Our heart rate decreases, our breathing slows down and our brain activity decreases. We need very little energy and oxygen to survive, and so all our processes slow down.

Oxygen is the main regulator of this process. That's why if you are working in a confined space with low oxygen levels, you can start feeling sluggish and sleepy. In the morning, there is a lag between when we wake up and when our brain returns to full functionality, and it depends on the time it takes for the body to inhale enough oxygen to bring all the other processes to full speed.

These scientific facts lead to the simple logical conclusion that in order to speed up the booting time of the brain, you need to inhale a lot of oxygen as quickly as possible.

You can try it yourself tomorrow morning and if you do, you'll find that by taking deep breaths quickly in the morning you'll feel fully awake in 30 to 45 seconds! You'll feel the oxygen rushing through your body and your brain will be on high alert within a minute from waking up. Once your brain is fully awake, it will be much easier to get out of bed and your brain will have no time to offer you any rationalizations about being lazy.

If you try this simple hack even once. You'll be amazed by the result and never have any trouble with waking up on time ever again.

Serial entrepreneur and author Faisal Hoque is the founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka's portfolio of companies (R&D driven products, services, and thought leadership) accelerates individual and organizational sustainable growth. Author of several books, his newest book is "Everything Connects -- How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability" (McGraw Hill, Spring 2014).
  • 0
  • 0
null

Social Media Is Actually Making You Socially Awkward

Social Media Is Actually Making You Socially Awkward
How often have you misinterpreted the meaning of a text message due to lack of tone, context or general connection with the person on the other side of the conversation?

The ubiquitousness -- and our reliance -- on technology and social media might be to blame for these miscommunications and overall inability to carry on a normal, face-to-face conversation. Justine Harman, Elle.com features editor, and Tara Kennedy-Kline, author of Stop Raising Einstein, joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss how our tethers to technology are making us socially awkward -- and sometimes even creepy.

Several months ago, Harman published an article online titled “ How Social Media Is Ruining My Social Skills,” which explores how strange it feels to know about friends’ and acquaintances’ life events before we even see them in person and ask about them.

“I think it’s the death of an actual civilized conversation,” she says. “I think it’s skipping a lot of steps. You don’t know people the way you would if you actually spent time with them. It feels inherently wrong to make those leaps, but at the same time, it’s inauthentic to say that you don’t know.”

Kline, who approaches this issue by analyzing the country’s youngest generation, feels that connecting primarily through social media actually ends up making us socially awkward.

“I think that there’s a lot of things we don’t understand how to have conversations about anymore,” she says. “I think our kids are kind of getting addicted to it. Our kids don’t know how to have conversations. ... There are simple social skills that we are completely losing an entire generation of because we only do anything online.”

To hear more about how social media could be ruining your social life, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above.

  • 0
  • 0
null

U.S. Says 75 Government Scientists Possibly Exposed To Live Anthrax

U.S. Says 75 Government Scientists Possibly Exposed To Live Anthrax
June 19 (Reuters) - As many as 75 scientists working in U.S. federal government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria and are being offered treatment to prevent infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency's Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. They then transferred the samples, which may have contained live bacteria, to lower-security CDC labs not equipped to handle live anthrax.

Dr Paul Meechan, director of the environmental health and safety compliance office at the CDC, said the agency discovered the potential exposure on the evening of Friday, June 13, and immediately began contacting individuals working in the labs who may have unknowingly handled live anthrax bacteria.

"No employee has shown any symptoms of anthrax illness," Meechan told Reuters.

Meechan said the normal incubation period can take up to five to seven days, though there are documented cases of the illness occurring some 60 days after exposure.

Meechan said as many as seven researchers may have come into direct contact with the live anthrax. But the agency is casting as wide a net as possible to make sure all employees at the agency who may have walked into any of the labs at risk are being offered treatment.

Around 75 individuals are being offered a 60-day course of treatment with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin as well as an injection with an anthrax vaccine.

Meechan said it is too early to determine whether the transfer was accidental or intentional. He said that all employees who were doing procedures to inactivate the bacteria were working in a biosecurity laboratory and were "tier one select agent approved," meaning they had undergone a security reliability review and deemed to be "stable, trustworthy individuals."

Meechan said the CDC is conducting an internal investigation to discover how the exposure occurred and said disciplinary measures would be taken if warranted.

"This should not have happened," he said. For those exposed, he said, "We're taking care of it. We will not let our people be at risk." (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Michele Gershberg, James Dalgleish and Eric Walsh)
  • 0
  • 0
null

Human Being vs Human Doing: Which One Are You?

Human Being vs. Human Doing: Which One Are You?
There is something scary about a baby who knows how to navigate a computer at 8 months of age and prefers playing with it over her new doll. There's something scarier when a 10-year-old doesn't give you eye contact, when coming into her home with gifts for her birthday, because she's staring at her mobile phone. As a grandmother to these aforementioned young people, my fear is that the human being that was once part of our culture and era is slowing disappearing and morphing into a new species of evolution that I call the "human doing."

What's to blame? A lot. Social networks are probably the best and worst invention of this new generation, not excluding the present one, which are all infected by the plague of the 21st century. The danger of these phenomena is that what we once knew as socialization is morphing into the world of cyberization; my own word that imbibes the world of today. It seems that we have lost the art of being present: We are no longer present in the interaction between others and ourselves.

Technology's Effect on Human Beings
Sitting on a back porch, taking walks with great talks and enjoying a family dinner is no longer a significant part of our culture. It has been replaced with super-sized HD television screens, computers, iPads, iPhones and a dozen other creatures of technology that have interrupted and interfered with the human being in us, transforming us surreptitiously into human doings. According to a recent study from Pew Research, "67% of cell phone owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls -- even when they don't notice their phone ringing or vibrating" and 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as 'something they can't imagine living without.'"

Today, couples lie in bed holding their laptops or iPads rather than each other. Moms use computers to help their children with their homework, rather than working on problem solving by speaking to one another. Libraries are obsolete, as are books to hold and feel in your hands. Encyclopedias have been replaced by Google and Bing for instant gratification. It's not that all technology is bad; it's the abandonment of the human being-ness that it's replacing in us as we slowly disappear into the "Brave New World." Balance is key!

The Future of Human Doings
Human beings are wired for connection. When we disconnect, we go into crisis. What I see in my practice as a psychologist is that human interaction as it was once known will no longer be part of our civilization. The depth and wisdom of knowing each other will vanish with pushing fingers on a keyboard as opposed to looking into the eyes of each other and seeing the soul of a human being. Instead, conversation will be looking down onto a keyboard void of feelings, touch and love.

The scariest part of this, as a mother who's daughter suffered and took her life due to mental illness, is that mental illness can no longer be ignored. There isn't a person who doesn't either have a family member or knows someone who suffers from mental illness. In my own practice, it has become clear to me that much of anxiety and depression is a result of loneliness and especially, human touch. It has become pervasive not only in our country, but worldwide. The loss of this magnificent part of our being a human being, is that we may never know the inner part of our beautiful essence and authenticity.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • 0
  • 0
null

Why Being Neurotic Could Actually Be A Good Thing

Why Being Neurotic Could Actually Be A Good Thing
Irritable. Moody. Anxious. Tense. Neurotic types get a bad rap, and it's no surprise considering the characteristics most commonly associated with the personality trait.

Neuroticism is considered one of the "Big 5" personality traits, along with extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. According to a 2009 article in the journal American Psychologist, neuroticism refers to "tendencies to respond with negative emotions to threat, frustration, or loss." In other words? Neurotics don't exactly roll with the punches. And that can affect more than attitude and mood. In studies, neuroticism has been associated with negative health outcomes, including increased risk of mental conditions and physical health problems, as well as decreased occupational and marital satisfaction.

"Indeed, it predicts shorter, less happy, less healthy, and less successful lives to a meaningful extent," the American Psychologist article reads.

But it's not all doom and gloom if you are a neurotic type. Research shows that some people are actually healthy neurotics, meaning they have high levels of both neuroticism and conscientiousness. (Conscientious people are known to be organized, good planners and thorough. They even live longer.)

So what sets these "healthy neurotics" apart? Read on to find out.

They harness the anxiety that is so fundamental in neuroticism, and use it in a positive way.

Nicholas A. Turiano Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains that people who are neurotic tend to have more anxiety, emotional reactivity and a negative affect. Anxiety and emotional reactivity in particular are not only linked with increased stress hormones and blood pressure, but also with negative health behaviors, such as self-medication.

"But those neurotic individuals that also endorse high conscientiousness don't seem to resort to these behaviors," Turiano tells HuffPost. "We think the high conscientiousness gives the person the resources to refrain from engaging in such detrimental health behaviors and use that anxiety to improve health." For instance, a healthy neurotic will still experience worry, but will channel that worry into positive behaviors, such as going to the gym or eating healthier.

"The neurotic who is low on conscientiousness and doesn't have the appropriate self control resources isn't likely to take this path and instead they ruminate on their anxieties and worries in life and engage in more detrimental behaviors," Turiano says. "Those high in conscientiousness may have anxiety but it is not making the person freeze while they ruminate on their life problems. They act on their anxiety and that is what motivates them to address what they have anxiety about."

Being conscientious and neurotic could actually be good for health.

Turiano was the lead researcher of a recent study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, showing that people high in both of these personality traits actually have low levels of interleukin-6, an immune protein that's known to be a biomarker for inflammation.

Healthy neurotic people don't just engage in healthier behaviors, but they also "have fewer chronic health conditions, they have healthier body weights, and they have lower levels of inflammation," Turiano says. Research is also increasingly showing that these people have better stress responses, and don't overreact to stress (which leads to increased stress hormone levels and heart rate).

"Somehow, these conscientious individuals dampen their own stress responses," he says. "Finding out if this indeed the case and how they do it will be an important area of future inquiry."

They also use their conscientiousness and neuroticism to be more successful at work.

Healthy neurotic people don't just have better physical health, they may also experience benefits in other areas of their lives, Turiano notes. Stress permeates all professions, whether it be the myriad responsibilities of a CEO, or the pressure to obtain grant funding for professors or researchers. But it's how you deal with that stress that can make you successful or not.

"The healthy neurotic individuals somehow find a way to channel that anxiety they have to motivate them to do good work," Turiano says.

For journalists for instance, instead of panicking about an upcoming deadline, they will use that anxiety to work harder to get the story done. Meanwhile, a doctor might use that anxiety to better prepare for surgery and be more meticulous while in the OR. "A little stress and anxiety in life can be a good thing to motivate people, especially if you have the resources to channel that anxiety in protective and productive avenues," he adds. "And high levels of conscientiousness seem to be that protective resource."

It is possible to boost your conscientiousness. (The big question is how.)

While research is still emerging as to how to increase conscientiousness among neurotic people in particular, there are strategies that exist to increase conscientiousness on a general level. Most people become more conscientious as they get older and mature, and experience life events such as marriage, childbirth, and the like. But not all people experience these increases in conscientiousness, and it's these people who would potentially need to utilize strategies to increase the trait.

The first step, Turiano says, is to get them to realize that they aren't harnessing their anxiety and stress in a healthy way.

"For the person who has high anxiety, getting them on a routine may help with their behaviors," he says. "For example, they plan their meals for the entire week and prepare as much as possible before their work week starts. This way, during the week when they know the stress will be very high, they have already done the planning so they aren't just eating fast food all week when they are stressed."
  • 0
  • 0
null

Here are chapters 3 and 4 of our latest book: "To Have And To Hold: Joining As One In Christian Marriage." We pray that you will read and meditate on this work that God has given us. If you wish to purchase a copy please contact me and I will have your copy delivered ASAP. Continue to pray for us as we continue to serve the Lord in ministry through His church and through the written word. God bless you and thank you for your support. Chapter 3 The Committed Marriage For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church. - Ephesians 5:31-32 What is happening to the institution of marriage today? Young persons are rejecting static understandings and stereotyped roles in marriage. Many take the course of living together for a season, before they marry. This, by the way does not work. And is contrary to the Bibles’ teachings, which is evident in the alarming divorce rate of those who choose this route. Their rate of divorce is actually higher than those who marry without the benefit of living together first. Many are looking for deeply intimate relationships with their life partners, in which they can together share life goals and work. The traditional institution of marriage, in their minds, eliminates many options that are necessary for individuals to mature, and there are means more conducive to a growing and stable relationship than that of marriage. In traditional marriage, one becomes “locked in.” Whereas for people to change and grow they must be part of an open system; “options” must be kept open. In short, these persons want to grow and mature as human beings, and they are quite sure that it is impossible to do so within the confines of marriage, as it is usually understood in our culture. Thus, they never marry. Certainly from a Christian point of view, we can only applaud their desire to cultivate a dynamic and intimate relationship with their life partner. Because marriage has for so long been viewed as an institution, with set roles for husband and wife, there have developed patterns of married life in the United States that are far from desirable. In far too many households, spouses live largely separate lives, fulfilling their expected roles to be sure, and yet each pursuing his or her separate interests, sharing almost no time or concerns, and actually remaining strangers to each other, simply happening to inhabit the same living quarters. In other marriages, husband or wife has been almost totally depersonalized and turned into a service machine, programmed to achieve material success or status for the family. Some husbands almost – and sometimes literally – kill themselves on their jobs; in order that their wives may have the clothes, money, and social standing that belong to the American upper class. Other times it is the wife who is victimized, constantly on demand as hostess to further her husband’s business contacts. Thus the great god of “success” has taken over innumerable American marriages. In still others, both husband and wife work too hard for worldly success (we’ll mention the rearing of children until later in our discussion) which leaves little time for developing a bond that is lasting. We can only hope that our current crop of young people, in their desire for companionship in their marriages, have left behind forever such depersonalized and materialistic slavery. The difficulty is, however, that many young persons have concluded that in order to have a completely sharing relationship, marriage must be avoided altogether. Precisely because of that conclusion, such young people have made an intimate and joyful lifelong relationship with one another almost impossible to achieve. The marital relationship of lifelong companionship is founded on total commitment. This is one of the reasons why the author of Ephesians has compared marriage to the relation of Christ with his church (Ephesians 5:31-32). Christ has totally committed himself to his community of followers. He has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). He has made us his own body (I Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:28-30). He has loved us even when we have been unfaithful, and he has poured out his life for us, not hesitating even to die for us in order that we may live. That commitment by our Lord Jesus Christ shows us the meaning of love. Indeed, if we were to take the famous passage on love in I Corinthians, chapter 13, and substitute the word “Christ” for the word “love” in it, the meaning would be the same: Christ is patient and kind; Christ is not jealous or boastful; he is not arrogant or rude. Christ does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Christ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Christ never ends. – I Corinthians 13:4-8 It is that kind of love – the love that Christ has had for us – which we are to have for one another in our marriages: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). We often ask what it means to love God, and how we can live out that love. God answers us by giving us the command to love our neighbor (cf. I John 4:7-21), the nearest and dearest of whom is the mate with whom we live. “We love, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). With the love with which he has loved us, we are to love our marital partners. The primary characteristic of the love of Christ is that he has poured out himself for us. He has committed himself totally to us, to be with us in life and death. It is that kind of commitment upon which Christian marriage is to be founded. It is love that gives itself away. It is love that always cares about what happens to us. It is love that wills only good for us and wants us to have life abundant. It is love that constantly works to bring about our good. With that loving commitment to be with and to work for the good of the other, we are to commit ourselves in our marriages. As the beginning of Ephesians, chapter 5 puts it: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” – total and unstinting commitment. Up against that kind of pattern for our marriage unions, it is clear what mistake many are making in trying to build a relationship with our partners. We are refusing to commit ourselves totally to our partners. To be sure, we want the right things: a living, dynamic companionship of total sharing with the one we love. We reflect very accurately our depersonalized, bureaucratized, rootless, fast-moving, pressurized, culture’s longing for meaningful and intimate personal relationships. We cry out for the chance to be whole, loving human beings. But we omit from our actions the one element that might make our goal realized: total and non-calculating commitment to our partners. Instead, we want to keep our options open, try out the marital relationship, see if it works, and experiment for a year with a “trial marriage.” By that lack of commitment, we have almost inevitably doomed our relationship to failure. Statistical, psychological and sociological studies have confirmed that most so-called “trial marriages” in this country end in the separation of the partners. It could almost be said that if one wants to ensure a subsequent marital relationship will fail, then one should “try it out” for a year before entering into it. Marital relations, in which commitment to the union is lacking, scarcely ever have a chance. Many young persons entering into trial marriages maintain that they really do have a commitment to one another. Therefore, they do not need the formality and legalism of a marriage license and ceremony, which they see as meaningless and inhibiting conventions. The truth is that they have not made a lasting commitment to one another at all; they are just keeping their options open. Given the conflicts that always arise in intimate relationships, it is almost certain that the partners in trial marriages will part and embark once again on an uncommitted and therefore vain search for other mates with whom they think they will be more “compatible.” Just the fact that such persons are hesitant to legally seal their union is evidence that their commitment to one another is not total. Marriage licenses and ceremonies are not only legal formalities; they are also symbols of responsibility. They say publicly, what is affirmed privately, without reservation, that I am responsible for my mate. I am responsible not only in all those lovely, emotional and spiritual areas of married life, but responsible also in the down-to-earth areas that have to do with grubby things like money, health insurance, and property. For example, two people just living together have no obligation for each other when their Income Taxes come up for an audit, or the other is involved in a car accident or legal suit. But persons holding a marriage license do have such responsibility, and commitment to a marriage involves accepting that public responsibility as well. It is a matter of accepting the full obligations that society imposes on its adult members in order to ensure the common good. So, Christian marriage is committed marriage. That is its basic characteristic. And that commitment is to be total commitment; an unreserved dedication of one’s whole self to the relationship. When Christians marry, they say to each other, in effect, “We are going to maintain this marital union, no matter what.” It is this unreserved dedication to the union that the Christian marriage vows set forth: “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” That is, Christian mates promise each other: “I will be with you, no matter what happens to us and between us. If you should become blind tomorrow, I will be there. If you achieve no success and attain no status in our society, I will be there. When we argue and are angry, as we inevitably will, I will work to keep us together. When we seem totally at odds and neither of us is having our needs fulfilled, I will persist in trying to understand and in trying to restore our relationship. When our marriage seems utterly sterile and going nowhere at all, I will believe that it can work and I will want it to work, and I will do my part to make it work. And when all is wonderful and we are happy, I will rejoice over our life together, and continue to strive to keep our relationship growing and strong.” Christ promised us, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Christians, in marriage, take upon themselves that same unreserved commitment. The question inevitably arises, “Is such a total commitment possible”? Or are we Christians in our marriage vows being naïve and foolish. Are we promising to each other a lifelong love that we cannot possibly deliver? Would it not be better to go with the modern version of the marriage vow, and state that we shall remain together “as long as we both shall love”? Certainly many persons in American society would answer such questions in the affirmative. No one, they believe, can possibly make a total commitment to another person, and to think we can is to kid ourselves about the realities of human life. We had better face facts, the cynics say, to the fragility of the marriage bond, and not expect superhuman faithfulness from weak and imperfect human nature. Christ may have committed himself totally to his church, but he was perfect. We are not, and we had better realize that fact. Even marriage counselors have their doubts about the Christian wedding vows. The answer to this cynicism is that thousands of persons have committed themselves in Christian marriage. And have achieved lifelong unions amazing in their tenderness and persistent in their devotion to the end. Nor should we think that such healthy marriages are simply the product of fantastic luck – that the partners have been fortunate enough to find persons with whom they could be happy. Over against all skepticism about the possibility of Christian marital happiness, the church can affirm from centuries of experience that the Christian faith is not a fairy tale. When Christ promises abundant life to those who trust him and rely on his power and guidance, he gives us a sure promise on which we can count. Although every true Christian knows that abundant life and life free from trouble and suffering are not synonymous. But there is wholeness, joy, peace, and goodness that are given to those who are faithful, and these are gifts that are given also to those who are faithful to their marital commitments. God works within Christian marriages – marriage manuals often ignore that unseen factor. He lends Christian couples his power through Christ to hold fast to their commitment. God is indeed a rock, a fortress, and a sure defender, as the Scriptures say he is. Marriages built on him do not crumble as easily as those built upon the sand of human loyalty. Nevertheless, Christian couples are not relieved of their responsibility for working to maintain and deepen their unions. As the apostle Paul put it so perceptively, even our salvation is both a gift and a response: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). We have worked actively to achieve our own marital happiness, and yet God is at work in and through and even beyond our efforts to give us abundant life together. God alone gives life. However, it is our responsibility to live or achieve it. We achieve successful marriages, and yet they are solely the gift of God. Such is the paradox that every happily married Christian couple knows to be profoundly true. We therefore have something else to do in Christian marriage. We must also learn to accept each other, with all our faults and imperfections. Christian marriage is not only total commitment; it is also accepting commitment, learning to love and value the other for the imperfect person he or she is. Lovers may think each other perfect before they wed, but reality soon asserts itself. Every married person puts up with a number of traits and actions on the part of a mate that are disagreeable and sometimes embarrassing. To be sure, there are some things that can wreck a marriage – alcoholism, drug addiction, neurotic or psychotic fears and demands, infidelity (whether physical, emotional, or mental), mental or physical cruelty. Those evils belong in a class by themselves and must be treated separately. But in the typical, everyday Christian marriage, there are many petty irritations and dislikes, and the committed marriage is one in which we learn to accept, in love, the other’s imperfections. Probably the most marvelous thing about a committed marriage is that it is totally a relationship of grace, a relationship in which a person does not have to earn or deserve love, but in which love is always given. There is no more freeing realization a human being can have than to realize that he or she may grievously err and yet be cared for, accepted, and loved as a lovable and valuable human being. It is precisely for this reason that the Christian faith says that Jesus Christ gives us freedom – because in his sight we always fall short or go astray and yet are always loved and valued. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We did not have to earn his love! Wander as we will into the “far country” of fault or decadence the Father welcomes us home (Luke 15:11-32)! So it is in the committed marriage – I do not have to earn my mate’s love. He or she gives it to me as a gift, in a sheer act of grace. In fact, I could not earn or deserve such love, any more than I can earn or deserve the love of Christ. Love is never deserved, because most of the time, we are not very lovable. Yet love is given to me. I am cared for and cherished in a mysterious miracle beyond my fathoming, and that gives me the freedom to act and to be me, as nothing else does. It is the mystery of love in marriage that commitment leads to freedom. It leads to freedom to move out from a sure base of security and acceptance, freedom to plumb all my creativity, and freedom to be my authentic self much more than if I did not have such security. Jesus told us in his teaching, “Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Luke 9:24). The truth of that teaching becomes abundantly clear in the relationship of marriage. When we commit ourselves, when we give ourselves to each other in the relation of matrimony, when we lose ourselves in total and accepting dedication to the other, then we most fully discover that we can live and love. Christian marriage is also characterized by an exclusive commitment to the other – as the Christian marriage vows put it, “forsaking all others” and “to keep thee only unto her [or him], so long as ye both shall live.” That has seemed an outdated legalism to many in our lustful, modern society. In an age when our young people have lost many of the Victorian attitudes toward sex and see it as a natural expression of caring, experimentation with open sex or group sex is a widespread phenomenon. We must distinguish carefully between various forms of sexual experimentation however. There are, in every age, those who play games with sex – who use it to exploit, to gain power, or to manipulate other people. The fictional James Bond, several “reality” TV characters, or the playboy Hugh Heffner comes immediately to mind as examples, and despite public attention they receive, they have nothing good to offer marriage. But there are also many persons in this country for whom sex is not a game at all, but a sincere expression of affection and caring for other persons. With their skeptical views about traditional marriage, these persons have experimented rather widely with free and open sex in marriage and out of marriage. Can anyone deny the consequences of such activity: divorce rate, sexually transmitted diseases, the feeling of abandonment, self-pity, anger, etc.? Not matter how “modern” the person’s point of view, or his or her intellectual commitment, someone is hurt in one way or another – every time partnerships shift or are expanded. And jealousy does not necessarily relate simply to sexual behavior, but to such things as a loss of closeness. There is a need for a one-to-one relationship in which we give ourselves, and find ourselves, through total sharing with another. Exclusive commitment of Christian marriage is not merely the product of straitlaced and earlier times, but a deep, abiding need that human beings have built into their structure by their Creator. Apparently when God commanded, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), he was making wise and loving provision for our ultimate happiness! It must also be noted that the exclusive commitment of Christian marriage is not limited to the sexual sphere. Many feel they can enter into an intimate relation with another person of the opposite sex, so long as that intimacy is note expressed sexually. Not so! Marital commitment can also be violated by the intrusion of other closer emotional ties – by violating their marriages by forming relationships with friends or relatives closer than those with their husbands or wives. It is difficult to give oneself totally to more than one person. We each apparently need the security and the resultant freedom that comes from total commitment to one other human being and the fullest, and therefore, most satisfying expression of that commitment is certainly the marital union, with its total involvement of an individual’s personality: mind, body, and spirit. The commitment of a Christian marriage is also a continuing commitment, a commitment that is never made simply once and for all. The young man who asked his fiancée if she would still love him when he was bald and fat was more realistic than he knew. Time changes all things, including the persons we are, and marital commitment must continue through the changes. We pass through the seasons of life – the zest of youth with its beginnings of home, family, and career; the infinite activities of parenthood when every minute is taken. We then encounter the middle years, with kids and college and parents old and dying, when suddenly life seems all too short and dreams have not been realized, the decline of physical vigor and the entrance of retirement. Then before we know it we must face our latter years and all so quickly the label of “senior citizen” and intimations of the end. In each season, with each change, the marital commitment must be made new. Like love for God, it is never accomplished once and for all, but only for the day that lies immediately at hand. Indeed, it may be said that the Christian commitment to marriage, like love and trust in God, is a commitment that is acted out in every day’s activities. It must be affirmed when one’s mate gets out of bed grumpy in the morning, when decisions are made about the day’s activities, when money is spent, or the kids are disciplined, or plans for the future are laid. It must be made when we are tired or zestful, when we are happy or in sorrow. It must be made in the middle of quarrels and when all is going well. In all life’s seasons, and in all life’s moods, we decide for or against our marriage, not only by what we think and feel but also by what we do. There, in the stuff of life, we make or break our commitment. To enter into the Christian marriage commitment is to take on a lifelong task, which never ends until fact, death does us part. As one of my favorite and popular musical talent, the late Luther Vandross, puts it; “I’d rather have bad times with you than good times with someone else. I’d rather be beside you in a storm than safe and warm by myself. I’d rather have hard times together than to have it easy it apart. I’d rather have the one who holds my heart.” Most important, Christian marital commitment is a growing commitment, which matures and deepens as time and life multiplies our experiences. There is certainly an initial maturity that a person must have before he or she can enter into Christian marriage. Those who are not whole persons in their own right, who are still dependent for their security and satisfactions on their parents, or who are seeking only the gratification of their own psychological or sexual needs, or who are looking for someone to take care of them emotionally and physically, obviously cannot even initially commit themselves to the self-expenditure of work and caring which Christian marriage requires. Those who desire to rule over or manipulate another person in order to bolster their own self-esteem or to foster their own sense of power and worth cannot commit themselves to the self-sacrifice and sharing that Christian marriage demands. Christ’s love for his church, which is the pattern for marriage, is the love of a whole and mature person. Our love in Christian marriage is possible only in the same maturity. Such maturity is not achieved overnight. Usually it itself is the product of a healthy home life. The ability to share with another, to care for another’s needs, to sacrifice one’s own wants for the good of another, the ability to accept responsibility and to exercise one’s talents, and to maintain one’s own self-esteem – all of these usually are the gifts passed on to us by our own parents or those who have reared and nurtured us, and all of them are indispensable requirements for entering matrimony. There must be a basic health of personality before marriage is even contemplated. Then, given that basic health, a growth must take place within our marriages, a maturing, and deepening of our love and commitment to our mates. It has always been recognized in the Christian life that we are to grow in “sanctification” – as Ephesian puts it, that we are to grow up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13), until we love with the fullness of his love. The necessity for that growth includes the sphere of or marriages. There is to be a maturing and deepening of our love and commitment to each other. To give only one example, in the initial months of every marriage, the new husband and wife must learn what it means to be “us” instead of “I.” That is not always an easy task. Other males and females must now be related to differently than they were before. Parents and ties to home must be seen in a new light. Claims on time and affection between the new partners must be understood and adjusted. Unsuspected flaws in each one’s personality become known and must be accepted. Modifications in how we relate with friends and relatives and each other have to be made, and the initial marital commitment of the couple has to grow to accommodate those modifications. So it is throughout the marriage. Commitment has to grow and mature in order to accommodate life’s changes. The sad fact is, however, that most marriages do not grow in maturity and love. Instead, they wither. Marriage experts have found that most American husbands and wives perceive their marriages to be less and less satisfactory over the passing years. That means that the marital partners have not learned to persist and mature in their relationship with each other through the passing years. Energy has not been expended to keep the relationship improving, intimacies have not been strengthened, and hostilities have not been resolved. Instead, the partners have either settled down into an accustomed routine with each other, in which nothing new is expected – though much new is taking place – or mutual hostilities have hardened into habits and the partners have become resigned to them. There is nothing more disheartening than to see a marriage that has ossified, in which all has become dull and routine. And nothing is more tragic than to watch the partners in such a stultified relationship searching outside of their relationship for someone or something to give them some excitement and sense of growth. When we stop growing in this life, we begin to die, and marital commitment that stops deepening and widening begins to wither away. For this reason, marriage experts are talking increasingly about “marriage enrichment,” about group discussions and exercises in which average couples can come together to help one another grow and realize new possibilities in their marriages. Many churches are now beginning to set up such programs. To undergird such efforts, perhaps what we also need on the part of Christian married couples is a renewed awareness of that Biblical perception of the lively action of God in our lives. It is the affirmation of Christian faith that God has a purpose for each of our lives and that he is working in us and through us and with us, fulfilling that purpose. Given that fact, how then can any one of us expect our mate to remain the same person? God is working with him or her, shaping his or her life in new ways through new experiences. Should we not be open in our relationship with our mates and not be surprised by that working, to find that he or she is being led into new thoughts and experiences? God is leading our spouses, and leading us with them, working out his marvelous plan for our marriage together. This should be our attitude. However, we should never travel a road, or say God has led us, to areas where our spouses are not allowed to travel with us – for we are to be one flesh. We should anticipate unexpected outcomes, new paths, and new ways in which God leads our life together! As we face the future, together, we are equally sure that there will be further surprises. Perhaps, we Christian married couples, then, should bring an anticipating commitment to our marriages, a commitment that anticipates that God has much yet to do with us. As I John puts it so marvelously with that eager anticipation of the future: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be…” (I John 3:2). There is risk in the Christian marital commitment, the risk of total vulnerability. As with our Lord, when we give ourselves away in love, the result may be a crucifixion. But there is no other gateway into the joys of a Christian marriage. To know the good life in marriage that God intended for us to know, we must commit ourselves in unreserved devotion. When our devotion is received and answered, when our mate responds with like affection, then the heights and depths of the resulting relationship is, like life itself, a mystery that we can only receive from God in utter gratitude and joy – the mystery of two persons becoming one flesh, the mystery of two lives proceeding together, separate yet profoundly joined, in a continuing and growing communion. Chapter 4 Marriage in a Revolutionary Time For men will be lovers of self,…holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth…But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. - II Timothy 3:2, 5-7, 14-15 No discussion of marriage and family life today dare ignore the women’s liberation movement. Although it may have appeared to have occurred many years ago, we are still learning how to live, adapt and love after such a fundamental shift in how we relate to one another in our modern society. If you believe this is old news, you are very wrong for we have undergone a quiet revolution in the United States, in which basic structures of society are being drastically altered and will continue to morph into new realities. Marriage as an institution; with a dominant role for the husband and a subservient role for the wife, is dying out and being replaced by the companionship marriage between two fully equal partners. Educators and the mass media are being forced to project new images of the activities and aspirations of male and female. Government is gradually affording women more and more opportunities. Economic life is slowly accepting the permanent presence of women in the labor force (presently in the form of equal pay for equal work), and the “success syndrome” for men is being called, at least by some, into question. Child rearing has adjusted to the absence of both parents from the home. Even our language has been restructured to acknowledge the full personhood of women, as all the awkward he or she and him or her pronouns in this book attest. To say that all of these changes are having an enormous effect on the American home has become a truism that no knowledgeable person would dispute. The husband and wife who face each other across the breakfast table in this century are radically different individuals from the spouses in a similar situation even thirty or forty years ago. Women’s movements are over a century and a half old in the United States. The first substantial women’s rights movement had its birth in the abolitionist cause preceding the Civil War, when women who set out to plead for the rights of slaves found themselves barred from conventions and speaker’s platforms. When females won the right to vote in 1920, with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the struggle for women’s rights largely died out and for a time, forgotten. It was not until the 1960’s that the battle was renewed. At that time, two distinct branches of the feminist movement arose and have been active ever since. One states that women were cruelly deceived by a feminine mystique or stereotype. During World War II, women out of necessity and in large numbers entered into the labor market and were afforded an important place in the country’s industrial structure. However, as soon as the war was over, women were urged by advertising and a consumer-oriented society to return to their homes, to find their creativity and satisfactions in homemaking, and to confine their efforts to a stereotyped role as housekeepers, wives, and mothers. The result of this was that women were no longer able to grow to their full capacity as persons, but were drowning in detergent suds, trying to bolster their egos by floor waxing, and unhappily asking themselves, “Who am I?” and “Is this all?” This actuality was typical of most middle-class females. This view spawned the National Organization for Women, and led to nationwide efforts on the part of women to gain new opportunities in education, employment, government, and society. Indeed, it may be said that this moderate branch of the women’s movement has mushroomed into a consciousness on the part of women throughout the nation of their need for equal roles and personhood. It is doubtful that the effects of this movement will ever again be reversed in American society. The other branch of the modern feminist movement in the United States is entirely different in origin. This is the radical wing, which is made up largely of middle class white women who got their start in the civil rights movement. These women learned in the civil rights struggle what it was like “to have a college education and to be offered a porter’s job. Their contributions seldom were allowed to go beyond sweeping floors, making coffee, typing letters and “bedding down,” - inferior positions typified by the remark of Stokely Carmichael, who maintained that the only position for a woman in the SNCC was prone. Such treatment bred a deep sense of resentment in these women, and they began organizing their own groups to fight for their rights. These are usually, what many call, “men haters.” Without going into a long debate of society’s inadequacies toward women, we raise these issues for information sake and a starting point of discussion. In light of the manifest changes in modern roles of men and women, we will attempt to plot a course toward a sound Biblical model of relationships. There is no doubt that there is still discrimination against women in American society, and most of the basic structures of our society are designed to limit a woman’s role to her home. The difficulty is, however, that our homes have drastically changed in the twenty first century, and many women no longer find homemaking a task that challenges them sufficiently. Once upon a time our homes were rural and were manufacturing communities; turning out clothes, food, and marketable products. Such is no longer the case. We no longer create the necessities of life within our homes. We merely consume them, which means that much of the purposive activity that formerly occupied the housewife – gardening, canning, sewing, quilting, baking, and keeping chickens – has now become merely a hobby or has been abandoned altogether. The modern housewife really has little necessary creative activity left to her in her home. She must, out of necessity, carry out only the rather dull routines of washing and ironing, cleaning and arranging, preparing and serving food. And even many of the tasks involved in those routines are done by someone else: the local cleaners, the bakery, the frozen food providers. To be sure, the modern housewife could give up her clothes dryer, bake her own bread, and make the clothing for the entire family, but that is really not the kind of world we live in. Eventually she would be convinced that she was wasting time. She needs purposive activity that fully engages her energies and interests, and she often now seeks this outside of her household. Because of the mobility of modern society, families are also increasingly isolated. Families who attempt to follow what was “traditional” marriage often find the wife feeling even more isolated. The wife who follows her husband from job to job is usually cut off from her relatives, and she very often lives in a succession of neighborhoods as an almost complete stranger. She obviously needs human companionship, but often her only company, for most of the day, is her small children or, after they are in school, perhaps a neighbor, or worse yet, the Internet, or the television soap operas. She therefore longs to get out in the world where she can talk to someone – anyone – on an adult level where she can experience that discussion and conflict by which alone thinking grows. In addition, it must be realized that the modern woman frequently is educated. Since she has studied international relations or modern physics right along with men, she really cannot be blamed for finding her role as a housewife somewhat limiting. Some persons have actually suggested that since modern education makes women restless, perhaps the solution to the problem would be not to educate them, or rather to give them only those courses that would prepare them as housewives and mothers. This solution belongs to an age forever gone. The modern American woman wishes to grow, to be engaged in some meaningful and demanding activity on her own. She has no desire to compete with her husband, and she certainly does not want to give up her home and family. She finds her major satisfactions in her role as a wife and mother, and she would exchange that role for nothing else and no one. At the same time, the American female wants her personhood stretched to its full measure. At home she often feels that she is merely “vegetating,” and that the simple tasks of running a household present her with no real challenge to which she can rise, no demand that necessitates personal and intellectual growth. For this reason, American females are increasingly turning to activities outside their homes. Some of them are engaged in community charity and social projects, although they confess that such activities often furnish them with little sense of lasting purpose. Some have found deep and stimulating satisfactions from cultural or creative pursuits, and the woman who can sing, paint, or give piano lessons usually feels fulfilled. By far the largest number of American women, however, is entering the labor market. Nearly seventy five percent of all women in this country are now engaged in full-time or part-time employment. It is little wonder that women have sought and are seeking equal employment opportunities, equal pay, and equitable treatment in society as a whole. But it is also clear that the ultimate goal that women seek lies far beyond that of equal pay for equal work. What modern American women are really after is the freedom to be whole persons. Freedom to become all she is capable of becoming, the freedom to choose different lifestyles, the freedom to fulfill the best that is in them. In short, in exploring these points of view, we are not saying that every woman should go out and get a job. Some women find the fullest development of their capabilities in homemaking and should be allowed to do so. What we are saying is that women should have the freedom to choose what they want to do and what they want to be, without being penalized in some way for that choice, whether by lower wages or social disapproval or the necessity of choosing between home and career. Those are penalties that are not forced on men, and they should not be forced on women either. All of these issues and many more, have thrown today’s relationships into chaos. So many questions must be answered as we attempt to develop healthy, maturing, and spiritual relationships with our mates. During the last thirty years or so, issues have come to the fore that weren’t really a factor in years gone by. Such as: If women do not stay at home and are not content to be merely supportive of their husbands, but demand the right to pursue activities outside the home of equal importance with those of their husbands, then some fundamental questions have to be answered. Who will take care of the children? Will the state? Is that what we want? If men take on increasing responsibility for home and family, what will happen to their productivity, and to the gross national product? Can our standard of living possibly remain so high? If we do not utilize women’s talents and education to the full, are we not wasting a national resource on a mammoth scale? Can we, as a nation, value persons more, and products less, and yet maintain our standard of life? Can we make adjustments in our values necessary for such a revolution? We therefore come to our principal question: Are the goals of the women’s movement compatible with Biblical faith? Are the freedom and personhood that the feminists seek, desirable and even possible in Christian marriage? The answers to both questions would seem an unqualified “Yes.” And yet, strangely enough, there are those who would not give that answer. There are still those who would use the Christian faith to limit women to their traditional role as housewife and mother. We prefer to be realistic, which means for us, radically Christian, since it is only the Christian faith that makes sense out of life. We are indeed shortsighted and sinful human beings, created to live in a loving relationship with the God who made us through Jesus Christ, and with our fellow human beings. We are given the merciful gift of marriage by that same loving God, and shown through the revelation of that God in Jesus Christ how to live in the Christian relation of matrimony, abundantly and joyfully. It is the Scriptures that mediate to us such revelation, and it is the Scriptures that form the final, dynamic authority for our faith and practice. What, then, does the Bible have to say about the place of women within marriage? Are its views compatible with full freedom and personhood for men and women? These are the questions we will deal with in the next chapter.

Here are chapters 3 and 4 of our latest book:
null

Hope for the Searching Soul by Billy Graham from The Reason for My Hope Pop culture is searching, perhaps today more than ever, for truth. But truth has become to many whatever they want it to be, bound up in lies from Satan that cause them to look in futility to others and, sometimes, to themselves. Rock star Jewel sings about being God’s eyes, God’s hands, God’s mind, God’s heart. While those who follow Christ may perform good deeds in His name, humanity will never be God’s eyes or God’s mind. Only His eyes can peer into our weary souls. He says, For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. - Isaiah 55:8 God longs to fill our minds with His truth and heal our sick hearts. God’s heart’s desire is to love us and change us. I was moved when I heard the story that at age sixteen Jewel was traveling through Mexico and observed that everyone seemed to be looking “for someone to save them.” Her evaluation was true. She later wrote lyrics to what would become a major hit, “Who Will Save Your Soul?” in which she reveals people’s worry about who will save their souls. I wish I could tell this talented young entertainer who is searching for God that humanity is not God and never will be. And aren’t we glad? No one cares for us as God does, and no one but God loves us with an everlasting love. The world would have us believe that we do not have souls or that we are our own gods. The Huffington Post’s article on “25 Ways to Feed Your Soul” was really all about pampering self. Yet the world applauds the poets who have written about searching the soul and artists who have attempted to depict the depth of the soul. Canadian writer Douglas Coupland tapped in to our cultural soul confusion in a poignant line by a character in his novel The Gum Thief: “I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.” So many men, women, and children in our society know that ache. How I hope they hear the message that can bring comfort to their aching souls. The apostle Paul wrote, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely... your whole spirit, soul, and body. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Tormented poet Sylvia Plath famously wrote that she was terrified by a “dark thing” inside her. When the soul is separated from the God who made it, the soul is indeed dark. Edgar Allan Poe said when he was dying, “Lord help my poor soul.” It is said that this brilliant poet lived in a great neurotic darkness. But Jesus said, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. - John 8:12 Matchmaking has become a booming business from Africa to Asia, from Australia to Europe, in our culture’s restless search for a “soul mate.” Online services promise to bring light into your life by matching you up with someone just right for you. “Relationship experts” teach clients to practice “self-love” in order to attract a potential partner. One such expert wrote, “We... have the power to create our own personal movie-like narratives, love stories based on our own desires and hopes.” Since the subject of the soul has a prominent place in our thinking, may I ask: Have you found the sole source of the real kind of love that can bring light into your life? Salvation in Jesus Christ is the only hope for your soul. Only He can illumine the dark corners of your life and give you soul satisfaction. You can continue searching for some religion that fits your particular lifestyle, but your search will never come to a satisfying end. Or you can commit your life completely to the Lord, who brings true and lasting fulfillment to the human soul who sincerely seeks Him in truth. You can belong to the Giver of life who saves souls from the weariness of manmade religion. You can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian. Have you humbled yourself before Him? NO RELIGION....JUST JESUS! Resurrection Christian Community Church 296 Spanish Wells Road Hilton Head Island, SC 29926 843 689 3625 www.resurrectionccc.org

null

Decadent America is a country desperately in need of spiritual renewal. There is something missing in America. I think what’s missing is a spiritual dimension. http://youtu.be/M859AzGsrcA Government Gang Stalking – Sign of American Decadence – 5/19/2014 1 Sign of American Decadence - Get all surrounding neighbors to Gang Stalk with tactics like Same Time Exit/Entry, using torture tactics on citizens like social isolation. http://youtu.be/DIHhgWJDrTM Immoral Obama Is Using Shunning In His Outrageous Government Gang Stalking Program http://youtu.be/eQOfRVoUNAo I would like to emphasize I never say anyone in my videos is a Gang Stalker. I am not a mind reader. I don't know a person's intentions. All I hope to do is to share with you what I see to prompt an investigation into the Government Gang Stalking I have experienced 24/7 for 8 years. 2. It is an absolute sign of American Corruption and Decadence that citizens are now Gang Stalked on all their entries and exits by our Neighborhood Watch Groups - turned by evil leaders like Dick Cheney into a Gang Stalking MOB. The American Stasi/our Neighborhood Watch Groups use RED cars, RED trucks, wear or carry RED in conspicuous surveillance and UNREMITTING HARASSMENT of scapegoated citizens. http://youtu.be/P4fNdSBb2Vc I would like to emphasize I never say anyone in my videos is a Gang Stalker. I am not a mind reader. I don't know a person's intentions. All I hope to do is to share with you what I see to prompt an investigation into the Government Gang Stalking I have experienced 24/7 for 8 years. 3. As I come home from my appointment - Gang Stalking Police are there on Buena Hills as I enter my development. http://youtu.be/twG8PW3p9KY A sign of our decadent American Society is the breakdown of all our institutions. Police are now lawless Gang Stalkers. Ego reigns supreme in our politics with politicians only concerned about THEIR party, THEIR bankrollers, THEIR, futures. 4. How is it that in America a percentage of our population willingly becomes vicious, hateful, Gang Stalkers, UNREMITTINGLY HARASSING ordinary citizens 24/7 for years as part of a MOB? http://youtu.be/Octg_ix8pzY This American Decadence is explained by the Lucifer Effect: http://www.lucifereffect.com, Educated in a mass education system that rewards people for doing as they are told/getting A's, for regurgitating what an authority figure says to them, the Gang Stalkers are simply doing what they have always done. To be other than a decadent society, easily manipulated by an evil Dick Cheney, America would need a whole other educational system - one where educators were facilitators, where there was choice to unfold diverse personalities, where students were taught to be inner directed (hear the Pope's Easter season messages), not outer-directed, where they thus achieved a strong sense of self able to be independent, where critical thought instead of memorization was the standard. I would like to emphasize I never say anyone in my videos is a Gang Stalker. I am not a mind reader. I don't know a person's intentions. All I hope to do is to share with you what I see to prompt an investigation into the Government Gang Stalking I have experienced 24/7 for 8 years. Government Gang Stalking – Sign of American Decadence There is no clearer sign of what the Dick Cheney mentality did to America, of American Decadence, under really stupid (evil is ignorance) leadership than Government Gang Stalking. The best way to understand this is to compare it to really good leadership, really spiritual leadership, decent and moral, the leadership of Pope Francis. The Decadent Leadership of Dick Cheney was based on American Exceptionalism – neurotic pride. The really decent and moral leadership of Pope Francis is best exemplified by a Pope so humble when he met with his bishops and they asked for his opinion – he deferred to them and said he wanted to hear what they had to say to make the Holy Ghost manifest among them. The really Decadent Leadership of Dick Cheney was based on a reification of HIS values – spreading HIS idea of Democracy around the world. The really decent and moral leadership of Pope Francis is exemplified by a Pope prostrating himself deferring his will to his God’s Will discerned in prayer. The really Decadent Leadership of Dick Cheney manipulated a country with lies to get them into War. The really decent and moral leadership of Pope Francis is all about working for Peace. The really Decadent Leadership of Dick Cheney – whose effects we still are feeling today – gave us Government Gang Stalking based on domination and control and political repression leading Neighborhood Watch Groups, First Responders down the path of HATE, scapegoating, psychological torture and UNREMITTING HARASSMENT – BULLYING ON STEROIDS. The really decent and moral leadership of Pope Francis is all about exemplifying the life of Christ and the Christian message of love and caring for all God’s creation. Americans have a choice – renew our country spiritually or continue down the path truly evil (ignorance is evil) leaders like Dick Cheney set our country upon. I call on every American to expose the EVIL OF GOVERNMENT GANG STALKING, to make those leaders like Dick Cheney responsible for it accountable and once America’s evil shadow is exposed to begin the long process of spiritual renewal in this country. What Is Going On In America Is Outrageous http://www.fascisminamerica.com http://www.fightgangstalking.com http://www.stopgangstalkingpolice.com www.youtube.com/user/bonnieleec Decadent America is a country desperately in need of spiritual renewal. There is something missing in America. I think what’s missing is a spiritual dimension. http://youtu.be/M859AzGsrcA Our business elite hold a disproportionate amount of the power in America while other voices, especially voices at the opposite pole, have very little influence. And so material values hold a prominent place in American life, in the decisions of our government, in the direction of our country, with spiritual values being left to Sunday church services, not really playing a prominent role in American life. What is spirituality? My dictionary defines it as “of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit.” There are 31 different definitions of spirit in my dictionary and I think they pinpoint what is missing in America, what we have neglected. One definition of spirit is “an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action” Another says: “the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.” Another definition of spirit is “a divine, inspiring or animating being or influence.” Another defines spirit as “the third person of the Trinity.” Another defines spirit as “the soul or heart as the seat of feelings, or sentiments, or as prompting to action.” Another definition is “vigorous sense of membership in a group.” Another definition read to be “out of spirits, in low spirits; depressed” I think the epidemic of depression in this country speaks to this spirit that is missing in America, this spiritual dimension which people aren’t finding in our materialistic culture, our culture where business values predominate. But how do we get spirit, the spiritual back, not just in our churches on Sunday mornings, but predominating in American life. I was listening to some you tube videos on spirituality that I think provide some answers. One talked about Benedictine spirituality, about how to live a Gospel way of life. www.bestselfvids.com/spirituality/benedictine-spirituality-spiritual-values. Dr. Maxwell Johnson Professor of Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame in talking about Benedictine spirituality said, “Seeking to listen, to actively listen with the ear of our heart, in the words of Benedict, for what God, to what others are saying to us, even to what all created things might be telling us, is indeed the first and final thing.” This advice on how to live a spiritual life reminded me of all the other things I had read. It reminded me of D.W. Winnicott who said that children in order to grow into true selves needed parent who didn’t impose themselves on their children from their first days of life, but rather parents have to adapt to their unique infant’s needs – this can be thought as a kind of listening that allows their children to find a truly personal way of life, a life that can be thought of as filled with spirit, as spiritual. It reminded me of Martin Buber who said we could find God in relationships with every one we meet if we relate to them in an I-Thou way, and that the crux of that way was real listening and real speaking, where in every moment we are different that ever before, understanding every person is utterly unique, unlike any we have ever known before. And we accept this person for who they are, understanding being is for itself. I can only enter in relationship with it. The eternal Thou, Martin Buber said, is there in all forms of relating, in I-Thou relating, relating where there is real listening, with man, with nature, in art with embodying form. Being speaks to us in immanence, Martin Buber said. God was not in a special place. He was omnipresent. Here was there in the everyday of our lives. Revelation comes, Buber said, in the voice that is addressed to us. It is there that we find the Absolute. Buber believed to the extent we respond to our own Thou, our own nature, we live in the spirit. Isn’t this the key to a more spiritual America to learn to listen to each other, to start to really hear what other people with other perspectives are really saying. How would this change our relationship with other countries in the world, if we learned to really listen to what world leaders of other countries were saying. Through real listening could we create a more spiritual world where instead of trying to impose our perspective, our values on others, we had this attitude of opening ourselves up to them by real listening. Could it be that the widespread depression, depression of spirit in America is that so many of us feel in our families, in our workplaces, in the political sphere no one really hears us, no one really sees us, no one really listens? I’m reminded of psychoanalyst J.F.T. Bugental who helped his clients look inside themselves, understand who they really were, develop an inner sense by asking them what is the main concern of their lives. He was really teaching them how to listen to themselves, how to actualize their own unique natures, by looking inside themselves at the flow of inner life, at their memories, physical sensations, feelings and emotions, anticipations, apprehensions, fantasies, dreams – and to tell him what they are experiencing in the present moment in an unstressed way. He would heal them of their alienation, their lost of spirit, through real listening, through getting them to listen to themselves again. It is in the context of our relationships, intersubjective psychoanalysts tell us, that determines how we organize our experience. Hence we wouldn’t experience things in a particular way if the context didn’t lend itself to being organized in that way. It is the validation of others, one of the intersubjective psychoanalysts says, that helps us to trust our experience. Without a validating response, parts of our experience will stay unconscious – and will never be articulated. Only with attunement to our inner experience can we become more conscious of who we are. Without confirmation and a validating responsiveness from our environment, we don’t form a stable and coherent sense of self. Have you noticed the look in the eyes of that boy in Connecticut who shot those children, that man who shot all those people in the theater. They have the same wild look in their eyes. Do you think anyone really listened to them, anyone ever helped them to understand who they really were, not who other people wanted them to be, but who they really were. Do you think anyone really listened to them. Erich Fromm talks about the relationship of violence to being. Erich Fromm talks about people who kill and torture others for pleasure. Fromm calls this type of aggression malignant aggression and tells us this more destructive aggression results from the frustration of man’s existential needs. The environment one grows up in is pivotal in this type of aggression. It is not innate. It occurs when a person’s genuine human needs are not met, when his potentialities, human capacities, are not allowed to unfold. Violence, Fromm tells us in his book, The Heart of Man, is a substitute for productive activity, a way people cope with feelings of impotence. We can only effect others through our activity, Fromm said, our ability to love, to express ourselves, , to change things, through productive work. “I am , because I effect,” wrote Fromm. If we can’t affect people through love, we can affect them through pain and suffering. “Killing is one way of experiencing that one can produce an effect on another being.” When a person can’t achieve a sense of potency and purpose through love and creation, he deals with feelings of powerlessness and emptiness and insignificance through destruction. A person can only get a feeling of strength and fearlessness, Fromm believed, by developing his own powers. It is a human need to be able to move other people, to be able to change things, to be able to express our will – all these things add to our sense of effectiveness in the world. The predicament of people of our time, said Fromm, is they no longer perceive themselves as a center of activity. Their will is sapped. They play no part in planning their work. They look for excitement instead of joy, for power and prosperity instead of growth. They try to relieve their emptiness through ever-increasing consumption of things, of drugs, of alcohol, of sex. They listen to what is common sense and public opinion instead of the stirrings of their own heart. We can think of such people as having lost spirit. That’s what Pope Francis meant when he said in his Easter message we have to learn to look inside. Another one of the you tube videos I watched last night talked about how to do this, how to recover our spirit, to live spiritual lives: ► 6:51 www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJBtvpXzUpc As I watched this video I thought of Martin Buber who didn’t only stress the role of listening in recovering spirit, but of real speaking. How do we engage in real speaking, speaking out of the depths of our being, allowing the spirit that is uniquely in us to be seen. Psychologists like Sidney Jourard talk about the transparent self, not talking from an image in our heads of how we should be, as Buber said, not allowing “seeming” to enter the relationship. The spiritual teacher in this video whose link I provided talks about in our speaking, in “moving into ourselves, and pulling out a deeper description of what it is your saying and the art of reaching into yourself to say something more eloquently, mining to be a richer person” with spirit? “is mining for a greater word, a greater phrase in which to explain something about yourself and as your doing it your creating the reality because your effort in mining for your own deeper knowledge, your own greater word, better word, something that is beyond what you always say…” One definition of spirit from my dicitionary was “the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.” Another was “the third person of the Trinity.” Christians refer to it as the Holy Ghost. As a humanist/existentialists I think of it as the creative intelligence that infuses life. When I was growing up Roman Catholic a big topic of discussion was the mystery of the Trinity – God the Father, being transcendent, Jesus – God who became man, the Holy Ghost who inspires from within, who is immanent in us. Today I would see such dilemmas, such efforts at understanding the mystery, as trying to use our language based on Aristotelian logic where A is either B or not B, as the source of our problem. And the answer lies in realizing the map is not the territory. What is exists as Alfred Korzybski said on the un-speakable nonverbal level, our words cannot capture it. In zen they say all we can do is point. Growing up Catholic we framed it – now we see through a glass darkly. But I believe that is what America lacks that connection to a more spiritual way of living that comes from within, from inspiration, from real speaking, and real listening. Will that be so hard for us to recapture? http://www.wholenewparadigm.com The Search For Being http://books.google.com/books?id=oycLbPiWWBQC&dq=isbn:1462829090&source=gbs_navlinks_s

There is Something Missing In America.
This video is about what is missing from America - spirit, spirituality. http://www.wholenewparadigm.com http://www.fascisminamerica.com http://www.stopgangs...
null

Love, The Antidote To Neuroticism, via Black Voices - The Huffington Post http://ift.tt/1iFJwCV Although scientifically unverifiable, young love is the inspiration for a great deal of literature and certainly most rock songs. But according to a new study conducted by a pair of psychologists at the German Universities of Jena and Kassel, falling in love before age 30 is also good for one's personal development -- at least among people who score high for neuroticism. "Neurotic people are rather anxious, insecure, and easily annoyed. They have a tendency towards depression, often show low self-esteem and tend to be generally dissatisfied with their lives," said the study's lead author and a researcher at Jena, Dr. Christine Finn in a statement. "However, we were able to show that they become more stable in a love relationship, and that their personality stabilizes." As part of Finn's research, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Personality, she and accompanying scientists tracked 245 couples, of which both members were between 18 and 30-years-old, for nine months, interviewing them four times, at three-month intervals. Each participant was surveyed and scored based on his or her level of neuroticism -- one of the "Big 5" personality traits that many psychologists view as the foundational characteristics of personality -- and was also interviewed about the progress of and satisfaction level within the relationship. Because, as Finn pointed out, neurotic people are more likely to react to negative situations and to view a neutral situation as negative, each participant was also asked to evaluate theoretical everyday scenarios. The researchers found that people who scored high for neuroticism -- a personality trait that would typically lead to a more pessimistic and negative view of life -- were actually able to approach (at least theoretical) situations with more optimism and positivity as the relationship progressed. What's more, there was often a "partner effect," in which this influence compounded between partners. The shift was observed in both men and women. Researchers will have to further investigate to see if this trend continues over time or leads to an overall reduction in neurotic tendencies (as opposed to just one characteristic of the personality trait: interpretation bias). "Of course everyone reacts differently and a long, happy relationship has a stronger effect than a short one," said Dr. Franz J. Neyer, co-author and chair of Differential Psychology of the Jena University. "But generally we can say: young adults entering a relationship can only win!"

Love, The Antidote To Neuroticism, via Black Voices - The Huffington Post http://ift.tt/1iFJwCV Although scientifically unverifiable, young love is the inspiration for a great deal of literature and certainly most rock songs. But according to a new study conducted by a pair of psychologists at the German Universities of Jena and Kassel, falling in love before age 30 is also good for one's personal development -- at least among people who score high for neuroticism.
null

Today’s Message From Coach To The World Coach Bonnie If We Want Peace We Have To Create The Context For Peace The idea of the isolated mind committing acts independent of the interdependent environment it is in is a myth. http://youtu.be/5bCysseTieQ Why Putin Did It – From the Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/18/why-putin-did-it.html Countries do not exist apart from their engagement with others. The behavior of countries can only be understood in the context its relations with other countries. The Pre-Reflective Unconscious Determines How We Engage With Others The organizing principles upon which each country acts are unconscious. If we want Russia or any other country to change, we have to understand it will only be when it forms new organizing principles based on new experiences with countries like the United States. To Get In Touch With Our Pre-reflective Unconscious – We have to ask of what we see – What does that mean? We create the meaning of our experience. How we experience reality is one alternative among many others. Context matters in how we interpret things and Context is mutually created. If we want Russia to be less aggressive – the United States and other countries must change, too. If we want peace and nonaggression we must create the context in which peace and nonaggression occurs. HOW TO DO THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT WITHOUT AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMING HOW THAT IS TO BE DONE. The Unvalidated Unconscious Every country has unrealized potentials awaiting the right context to appear. That context is created mutually with other countries. Each country is constantly contributing to the context that could allow new behaviors to emerge. When every country in the world responds to the needs of every other there will be peace and harmony and distrust and violence will end. We don’t need countries with neurotic pride talking about their exceptionalism. We don’t need more and more defense spending escalating fears. We don’t need more and more alliances trying to isolate countries. Such tactics provide the context for disharmony, fear, aggression. Only in an atmosphere of trust and good will, in an atmosphere of commitment to mutually satisfactory solutions can peace and nonaggression prevail. We must recognize the prerequisites to aggression to prevent aggression. And the prerequisites of aggression are created in a mutually created environment, an environment that breeds fear, distrust and that shows a distain for the genuine psychological and physical needs of other nations. Every nation needs and wants respect. Every nation needs and wants to belong to the community of nations. Every nation wants to be recognized for the gifts and uniqueness it has to contribute to the world. The world will not be at peace until it realizes how the seeds of war are sown in its relation with other nations. Only in a mutually created context among countries where the needs for respect, for belonging to the community of nations, where mutually satisfactory solutions are constantly worked on – will there be peace.

The Behavior of People/Countries Is Mutually Determined
The idea of the isolated mind committing acts independent of the interdependent environment it is in is a myth. Why Putin Did It -- From the Daily Beast http...
  • 0
  • 0
null

On September 1, 2001... my struggling business went online with a first of a kind Behavioral Health Program for college students. Having learned many lessons from the dot-com bubble, the business model included a subscription fee paid by colleges. Trying hard not to rush into things, the previous 6 months were spent convincing eleven colleges to test the idea. But "my plan" didn't include 9/11. Imagine for a moment being a young entrepreneur, having burned through all your savings and original investments just to get to the day that "the test" could begin... and to be in possession of a one of a kind product (sparse as it was at the time) dedicated to the issues of stress, depression, anger and grief. Well, what would you do in the immediate days after 9/11? Most of you would do what I did... give the program to as many colleges as you could, free of charge. After all, men and women were heading to war and some of them were about to literally give all they had to give. In my mind, the absolute very least that I could do... was the very best that I could do at the time. The choice to offer the Outreach Program free to colleges was a fateful decision. The original business proposition, proposed a test to determine if a branded website could reach "at risk" students ahead of risky, violent or otherwise dangerous behavior. Including suicide. It's not hard to see the value to the schools... if it worked. Reaching just one student could be very valuable. I didn't know it at the time, but giving the program away free meant that instead of needing to reach a troubled student, two or three... any successful new business model required that I reach millions... maybe stressed... but otherwise very healthy young men and women with commercial health messages that they didn't need. Over time I came to believe that a healthy person not only doesn't need to hear about the symptoms of depression... but that general mental health eduction that distributed vague and sometimes misleading "symptoms of depression" could possibly plant the seeds of depression or at the very least- feed it. Need proof? When I began working on the business model in 2000... The National Institute of Mental Health claimed that some 19 million Americans suffered from "the condition" of depression and anxiety. In 2009, a new study claimed that more than 27 million Americans are now taking anti-depressant medications. No matter how you look at it... that's a VERY ugly trend. Thirteen years ago- there was tremendous hope and optimism in the behavioral health field that increased 'education' was all that was needed. Today it's clear those "experts", no matter how well educated and well intended... have been proven wrong. Today, The United States Government estimates that one in five Americans or 20% of the U.S. population is 'mentally ill'. In my mind, the government labeling 60 million Americans that 'way' is very dangerous and... Insane! My advice now? Study how 'Light' spreads from one person to another and spread more of that. That's the only proven way to stop the spread of the darkness and finally reverse each ugly trend... One American Dream at a time. https://www.facebook.com/FreiceMedia

null

Luxurious Facial Cleansing Devices - Foreo's Tiny Luna Luxe Luxury Skincare Products Start at $7,500 (TrendHunter.com)

Luxurious Facial Cleansing Devices
( TrendHunter.com) The Luna Luxe is a luxury skincare product series by Foreo that includes the Luna Gold for women and Luna Platinum for men. Foreo previously introduced the Luna, but these two new devices for men...
  • 0
  • 0
null
{"$type":"planner.model.TUserPageContext","$version":0,"$uri":"mem://planner.model.ejt.TPostPageViewImpl@1851134282.PageContext-702477161674113034"}

Loading Results