Counting your blessings

As I’ve mentioned at this post, one of the negatives in my life is the fact that my mother is a deeply unhappy person.  Conversing with her subjects me to a never-ending stream of complaints about her life:  her physical surroundings, the food she hates, the people who are mean or boring, her failing health, her chronic worries, etc.  Everything is bad, a disappointment, mean, scary, or any word out of the thesaurus that spells negativity.

The net result is that, despite the fact that she’s nearing the end of her life (nothing specific, just the nibbling away of very old age) and despite the fact that I do love her very much, I cannot manage to be in my Mom’s company for more than an hour at a time.  It’s just too demoralizing.  Mom throws at me the entire weight of her unhappiness in the expectation that I can lighten her load.  I can’t, though.  She’s like the hydra.  For every facet of unhappiness she passes on to me, she quickly develops three more anxieties and two complaints.

What troubles me is that my son seems to be going down the same path.  Although I know he has many friends, several good teachers, and a generally good school environment, when he comes home, he speaks only about his boredom and troubles.  Although he loves sports, when he comes back from an activity, he tells me only about the people who cheated or injured him.  Although he loves to go and play with his friends, when he comes running back into the house from a four-hour playing spree, I hear only about the physical and psychic injuries his friends visited upon him.  I see a happy life, but I hear an unhappy life.  When I call him upon it, he assures me that he is happy — and certainly, he shows no signs of depression.  He’s just negative, which is different from depressed.

My tendencies are also towards the negative.  Growing up with an unhappy mother and a chronically clinically depressed father, I didn’t get many life lessons in happiness.  In my life, it’s easy for me to point out all the bad things, but I won’t — and that’s the point.  I will not enumerate the bad things.  My rule to myself is that, if I want to complain, I must be funny.  That is, I’m allowed to articulate things that make me unhappy only if I can be assured that I won’t drag my audience down.  Those who know me will state truthfully that I break this rule periodically but, if I realize I’m breaking it, I catch myself, so that’s something.

The single most important thing I do is that, every single day, without fail, I count my blessings.  It is a reminder to myself that no matter the situation in the greater world or the minor injuries in my life, things are pretty darn good.  I have beautiful, nice, decent children; my dog is perfect; I live in a comfortable house on a beautiful lot; I have the best neighborhood in the world; I live in a delightful town; America, my country, is still the best place in the world; I find tremendous joy in martial arts; I have many very good friends, both in the corporeal and the cyber world; and on and on.  If I think about it, the list of my blessings is pretty endless.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that irritate me or make me unhappy, but it does mean that, on balance, I have a good life and I know it.

That’s all.

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  • Indigo Red

    Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ A. Lincoln

    I grew up in similar circumstance in which nearly everything was negative. Our mothers are about the same age and could sit around all day and night kvetching about everything under not just the sun, but the moon and stars, too, and still not be done. It is wearing. Mom doesn’t complain so much while I’m around now anymore because when I returned to my hometown after thirty years, I demanded that she say at least one good thing about the subject for every bad thing she had to say. It took many silent visits, but she now can talk for an hour without complaining. My older brother is the worst. He’s made no secret that he detests our parents and never misses an opportunity to knock them. I set him aback once while he was on a rant when I observed that he sure did talk a lot about two people he hated so very much. He went quiet for a while. My brother and I don’t get along very well.

    I try to be happy and humorous, too. I find I need anti-depressant meds to do that, though. I have had depression since before it was an ailment. I can only wonder what my life would have been like if the proper meds (not the Ritalin overdoses my nephews were subjected to) were around when I was in elementary school.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Hi, Book. Chances are that your son is picking up this behavior from people around him, probably his peers at school.

    Here are three short answers we gave my son and daughter when they acted negative, in order of presentation:
    1) “Stop whining!”
    2) “What are you going to do to fix it?”
    3) “Get back to us when you’ve figured it out”

    We also had talks with them explaining that, when people whine or dump on other people, it is because they are trying to  shove their burdens from their shoulders onto yours. That is why you immediately need to tell other people that you will not accept that behavior.

  • Charles Martel

    Indigo Red, I recently read the obituary of a woman I worked with almost 30 years ago. She was very sharp and wise, but had to take heavy meds to cope with the depression that laid a constant siege on her. She told me that while she intellectually understood that she was depressed, and that it obviously has much to do with her outlook, she also understood the burden that her body chemistry has been visiting upon her since her girlhood. What a prison she was in, knowing full well what was going on with herself, but powerless despite her greatest exertions of will to fight back her depression without the help of drugs. Thank God she had them to help her.
    I’ve been around people who see only the darkness, even in the brightest sunlit day. My wife tends to view things negatively, and frets if she doesn’t have something to worry about. Perhaps it’s her way of doing penance for all the things that have gone well for her. Fortunately she has a great sense of humor, and we both are still able to use our doofus boxer dog Baxter and the daily comeuppances of life as foils. Much laughter.
    I try to remember now when I wake up to be thankful–thankful for a deadline looming because it means I have work, and thankful for my dog’s unending demand for affection (which he reciprocates), thankful for even a grey day because I can stare at the clouds in wonderment and note the surprisingly broad span of shades that lie between the brightest white and the deepest black. God is in the details if I will but notice them.

  • Ymarsakar

    Actually, it’s a good thing your son wants to talk about the bad things in his life. Most children find it embarassing to confide in their parents, if they lack trust or security. If he’s talking about them with you, it’s probably because he thinks you may help him by providing a solution or clever retort. Isn’t that what you have been doing for his entire life? Have you noticed whether he talks like that with his sister or with his father?

     I’m of the stoic faction. I never talk about negative things in conversation. On the internet, it’s easier, much easier, but in conversations, I steer way clear of the darkness.


  • Danny Lemieux

    Monsieur Hammer, re. your post: you know enough about my secretive life to know that there is a background in psychology and physiology there somewhere. 

    Here is a question that has been rattling around in my head for a while: do behavioral disorders cause mental disorders or do mental disorders cause behavioral disorders? In other words…can behaviors condition the brain into certain patterns that translate into “chemical imbalances”? What comes first?

    I don’t know the answer to that one, but I have observed that business people in business situations that create rapid emotional ups and downs (investment bankers) do tend to exhibit bipolar symptoms after a while. Also, I have wondered whether people who are encouraged or enabled to constantly fixate on what is wrong in their lives create a physiological pattern whereby the brain automatically reverts to those states of mind?

    I know that during some very tough times in my life and career I would catch myself wallowing in self-pity and listless behaviors. I recognized that these were symptoms of depression and would force myself out of those states of mind by focusing on other things. Eventually, I learned to easily shuck-off those damaging behavioral patterns before they could take hold. I suspect that many other people go into the opposite direction.

    As I said, I don’t have any answers to this question. I would be curious to know what others think. 


    What I think…

    Chicken or the egg? Does it matter – behavioral, chemical, hereditary or observed patterns affect all of us. Some have a proclivity to avoid the negative and others cling to it like a childhood teddy bear. It’s the balance we seek and not all find it. I agree with Charles Martel, thank G-d there are drugs to help, otherwise we’d look like Russia and its excessive alcholol consumption.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Sadie, it is important. Because if it is all chemical or hereditary, there is no hope other than medication. Also, to Book’s example, it may be possible to prevent such disorders from developing early in life by other than medication.

    I do believe that there are far too many kids medicated today as the “easy” response to behavior modification and for behaviors (esp. for boys) that would in bygone days have been considered quite normal.

  • Ymarsakar

    My viewpoint on what Danny describes comes from life and death encounters with death or violence. Both from personal experiences and the study of other people’s experiences.
    The human brain forms a pattern when thinking. When they think the same thoughts and come to the same conclusions, a pattern is etched. After 40 or so years, this becomes then “stubbornness” or basically an unwillingness to disrupt one’s preferred behavior. If that pattern is negative, then things like Book’s mom, will happen. If that pattern is negative but you have a way to make it do positive consequences, then some balance may be reached. If a person, whenever he feels depressive, goes out and does chi gong, Taiji Chuan, swims, or runs, then this is a positive development. That will set a healthy pattern, even if the initial stimuli was negative in nature and origin. The physical exercise may rebalance the body, and thus rebalance the mind as well, because the body produces the oxygen and the blood that supplies the mind, whereas the mind gives neural commands to the body via the spine.
    Humans also think in different brain waves and patterns. Not just the thoughts form patterns but the electrical signal traveling through your neurons forms patterns called spikes and waves and sines on the EKG monitor. In folk speak, this means someone can think in the monkey brain, the lizard brain, and so on. The monkey composes social hierarchy, emotion, and imagination of previous or future wrongs. What we turned out to be more or less. The lizard brain is the primordial survival imperative, back when we descended from mammals that survived where the dinosaurs did not. The human system has several reactions when it encounters life and death threats that is recognized as such. The bladder usually empties, because a perforated bladder will produce blood poisoning and internal infection, whereas an empty one will not become infected as easily even if it is punctured or cut (one must realize that Earth predators like to eat the guts of their prey, because it has some juicy stuff there. Compare that to human evolution and what hunted us). The heart rate increases to 180 or even 200 beats per second, going into what the military calls “black zone” where psychological altered states of consciousness and distorted time perceptions start. At more than 160 heart beats per minute, audio signals start to be shut down and rerouted to the visual cortex, allowing a person to see motion as if in “slow time”. That’s because the brain repurposed all of your auditory processing capability and rerouted it to visual cortex. The heart beats that quickly to pump blood to internal organs and muscles (brain uses up 12X the oxygen that the rest of the body does, combined), while at the same time drawing blood away from surface veins and arteries to reduce exsanguination, thereby producing the “pale” look some people get. People get red when drunk and when mad, when they get scared or ready to kill somebody, they become pale. Always remember that difference.
    For a person that is depressed and stressed, they are most often times thinking with the monkey brain. They are concerned over emotions and social status, which indirectly impacts to one’s survival chances. In the past, it directly impacted our survival chances. If your tribe didn’t like you, they’d either exile you or do something else that would probably lead to your death. It was the difference between starvation and safety. Humans can become very concerned over this. However, the lizard brain refuses to let a human accept death. A human can do amazing or crazy things, while under the survival imperative. A human can ignore social rules, in order to deal with a threat then. A human can go against their tribe, for things like love or survival of spirit. This is the zone where courage is demonstrated from its least to its greatest versions. Most people are never directly put in danger, so they lack the benefit of the lizard’s clear focus, while at the same time they are eaten up by monkey politics. When the brain sends neural signals through the spine that it is under duress or stress, parasympathetic reactions start happening throughout the body, especially the hormonal levels. While this can be caused by survival lizard reactions to improve the physical security of the human, emotional stress causes hormone secretions that lacks an outlet, since most people don’t know what to do with the energy. It bundles together and starts eating away at a person, mentally and physically. Hormones are basically catalysts. It speeds up reactions. It also affects things like neuro transmitters. When neuro transmitters hit the spine and the signal goes to the heart and lungs, those organs are affected as well. Stress causes elevated rhythms. Changes in breathing start happening. When the lungs are degraded by this, one could perhaps have an organ functioning at higher levels, but the lungs function at lower levels. This can have disastrous consequences, because the body requires oxygen to make cells process and produce energy. If the lungs suddenly turn into a slump, such as when people get sad, but stress causes the heart and hormone systems to increase in reaction to perceived problems/threats, it’s like a car running at ful max engine rotation while the park break is applied. Something is going to start tearing up sooner or later.
    Most people can half way understand how breathing also controls their heart beat. The human organs are tied all together, and all organs are tied to the spine, and the spine is tied to the brain, all different states of brain wave activities as well. Certain brain states can push the body to its limits, such as surviving something that the brain recognizes will kill the host. Certain other brain states can produce depression and a lowered metabolism for all of the body’s systems. But what usually happens when abnormal thoughts happen is that only some of your organs are hyperactive vs depressed. Only some of your hormone glands are hyperactive vs depressed. The body is then put out of balance. It’s one thing to calm your breathing and your heart beat, this can reduce stress and reduce the gear ratio on the body’s engine. But if one goes up and the other one goes down, we can have a busted up engine after awhile. The brain essentially controls the body, but your conscious mind isn’t even half of your “brain”. That’s the problem. Most of your processing is done subconsciously. Your visual cortex is doing processing and you aren’t even conscious of it. Technically all the images from your eyes are “Up Side Down”. But you don’t see upside down images. Same for auditory process. Spacial processing. Touch processing. Pain/hot/cold processing. Memory. Dreams. Subconscious memories. Repressed memories. The subconscious basically remembers everything that people have seen or heard, going back days even. Yet without hypnosis, they can’t tap into that memory. Even with hypnosis, faulty memories can be created by a single word from the hypnotist. This is “complex”, this stuff that is going on your head. That’s why once you are under the sway of depression or mania, you basically no longer have control. To control those thoughts, it’s too late to say “I got to stop thinking that”. You are already thinking that, and your body has recognized the pattern and will reproduce it so that your hormones and everything else in your Blood will make you keep thinking that. The only way to revert the change is to counter mand the previous signal to your body, via meditative forced consciousness or yoga artificial breathing or chi gong breathing, and self correct the brain by self correcting the body mechanisms. Artificially set your heart rate. Artificially set your metabolism rate. Artificially control your diaphram and gut movements, so that they stimulate the pancreas, liver, and adrenal glands, modifying those production centers. All of this can be and has been done by people with enough control over their bodies, in both China and India.
    Most people (especially in the West), however, cannot control most of their muscles in their body, let alone their heart rate, their breathing, their abdomen power generation from guts, or their diaphragm. So they rely on drugs. So long as the drugs damp down the neurotransmitters, the brain is CUT off from the body, and thus the feedback loop cannot occur. However, you’re still not cured. Anesthesia stops the pain signals, but it doesn’t mean you don’t got problems down there. The negative thoughts are still in your head, you haven’t stopped them. You just stopped them from reaching the body, which reaches the brain via blood stream intake from the blood-brain barrier.
    The reason why religions fast is because once a person stops eating food, they then take the energy from fat, which is pure. Fat has already gone through the body’s purification systems many times over. There is no “toxin”. NO “waste energy”. No waste products. No oxidants to “anti”. Fat around your stomach is pure energy. By processing that, a person that fasts can think much clearer than before. Remember, the “blood brain barrier” removes most toxins, but not all. Some still pass through to the neurons in the brain. By relying on drugs, a person is still dependent, and not in control. It simply gives them a grace period to perhaps adjust their thoughts without the feedback looping setting them back. However, stopping neurotransmitters from working correctly, also has deleterious side effects, sometimes massive ones, on the human organs and hormones. They may not see the effects immediately, but some people can tell. This is why I think some pharmaceutical companies are in league with Democrats, who compose most of the psychiatrists and psychologists who “proscribe” such medictations. 
    Exercise turns out to be a much better medication for people’s depression in the end. The more you feel the body, the better chances of you getting it back in the right gear. When the body functions correctly, the blood brain barrier transmits untainted oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and keeps the brain chemistry balanced. Which in turn keeps the neural command centers balanced in the spine and parasympathetic reactions. The spine is like a super conducting communication line, such that the “top” of the spine is basically no different than the “bottom” of the spine. There’s a reason why this works out the way it does. Because what it turns out to be is that the body has “two” brains. The one at the top, the one in your head, and the one at the bottom of your spinal column. This is something Western science is just starting to research. Some here may even have access to some of this research. But the Chinese chi gong medical societies of the past, already figured this out through trial and error.
    A person with a very high level of concentration and will power can usually adjust their brain patterns forcefully. But if they could do that, they aren’t the normal “weakened” individuals that need drugs or therapy in the first place. Also, after awhile, it’s too late. The body has adapted to the brain wave patterns already. Orders received and carried out. Even if you “stop” thinking about it, you’ll still feel bad, because your thoughts messed up your body. Some things you cannot conquer with will power, such as PTSD. The reason is simple. PTSD is a problem with your subconscious mind. Your will and willpower is in your conscious mind. If you don’t know how to connect the two, you can’t do much about it. Normally an individual must practice chi gong for years before they can control these things by will power. Will power is an abstract concept to most Westerners, but basically if you can stare at a door nob (for 10 minutes) without your eyes wavering all over the place, you have will power. You can do things you want to do, even though it is boring. Marines guarding US embassies have the same problem/ability. The mind tends to wander when you stand there for hours and “nothing happens”. That’s why they play “mind games” to keep engaged and ready to react to threats. Chi gong users then direct this concentration to a part of their body, thus directly linking the neural command through the spine, by with their conscious mind, not their subconscious mind. Via visualization, this can be achieved. For those that don’t think visualization works, you should check out the number of athletes that have used visualization to good effect in their training. Visualization does affect the body-mind connection, and yes it does exactly what people visualize themselves doing. It improves their skills.
    Exercise, do chi gong, find something that interests you, don’t get bored, don’t space out and let your other brain states control things, and definitely, never, ever, let emotions control your judgment.

  • Ymarsakar

    I didn’t know your father was chronically depressed. If that was so, it might be the cause of your mother’s problems right now. I assume your father is no longer around to talk to her. Thus, whatever system of balance she used to counter act that problem, is disrupted and gone. Have you ever talked to her about the good old days she had with her husband, your father? Do you see a change, even temporary, in the tone of her voice or facial/body gestures when you do talk about such?



    Danny, if you focus on children and behavior modification, it then must include all members of the family. I agree that too many kids are medicated, my own grandson included for ADD, but his mother is bi-polar. Is it hereditory, I have no clue, except to say that his mother exhibited extreme behaviors long before she was diagnosed and well after he was born and by the time he was 7, problems started to bubble. So…is it chicken or egg in my example? Ask me and I’ll say his problems are a direct result of hers. As adults, who grew up in a variety of family settings and long before “meds” – we found our ways to cope. Bookworm makes her list funny and her son doesn’t. Who is being more honest or coping better – who knows. There are gender differences as well. Females can cry, pout and kvetch – males not so much, if at all.

    For what it’s worth, I always had a weekly meeting with my boys.  The evening opening went something like …”What do you think of the quality of your life and is there something you or I could do to help improve it?” Did it work ..who knows. They are grown men now, but my thinking was to impart the idea that if the quality was not up to par, it was up to them (once they left the nest) to improve on it. To be clear, it does not mean that I am not supportive to them as adults, but that I could no longer color their day-to-day and make a lousy day at work go away.

  • Indigo Red

    Thank you, Charles Martel. Understanding is hard to come by.

    Charles is right that depression is chemical and hereditary. My parents both had depression as did one grandfather, a grandmother, several aunts, uncles, and cousins. At least one uncle committed suicide after years of people telling him to just ‘snap out of it’, the ‘it’ being unhappiness. My first abnormal behavior was before I was in school, I think I was 5. Each subsequent episode I had the same feeling of being outside myself watching me do something stupid and violent wondering, ‘what the hell are you doing?’ Afterwards, I needed to sleep and upon awakening, I was normal again. When I got the right meds and the right dosage – paroxetine, 10ml – I don’t have those episodes anymore, nor the anxiety and nervousness.

    The last few weeks, I am so glad I had the meds otherwise what I had to decide and do today would have torn me to pieces. A week ago, my feline companion for fourteen years, Alice, was diagnosed with a cancerous growth in her chest and nothing could be done. Today, I had to let and help her go. 

    • Bookworm

      Indigo Red: I’m so sorry about Alice. Knowing that you did the right thing never offsets the loss and grief that go with losing a beloved pet.

      Years ago, after I had to put down the dog that was my best friend during my teens and part of my 20s, the vet sent me a wonderful card. I don’t remember the specific wording, but the gist of it was that our pets are such wonderful companions that we willingly accept the fact that we will have to deal with the pain that inevitably follows because of their short life spans.

      You are in my thoughts tonight.

  • Indigo Red

    That is very kind. Thank you, Book.

  • Danny Lemieux

    OK, pipples. I hear you. But what I want to understand is why we don’t hear so much about depression and bipolar syndromes in relatively non-modern societies in Africa and Latin America, where people must deal with really profound issues of life and death on a daily basis. Help me to understand this.

    Signed … A plaintive cry from Danny Lemieux after waaaaay too much Mardi Gras-related brandy consumption. 

    Btw..Ymarsaker..your last post on this demands a profound reflection. It was good…layers and layers of good insight. I shall have to respond..eventuallY…after I have been able to reflect upon it satisfactorily. 


  • Mike Devx

    I do not think your son is depressed, neither by life events nor by brain chemical imbalance.

    Your paragraph:
    What troubles me is that my son seems to be going down the same path.  Although I know he has many friends, several good teachers, and a generally good school environment, when he comes home, he speaks only about his boredom and troubles.  Although he loves sports, when he comes back from an activity, he tells me only about the people who cheated or injured him.  Although he loves to go and play with his friends, when he comes running back into the house from a four-hour playing spree, I hear only about the physical and psychic injuries his friends visited upon him.  I see a happy life, but I hear an unhappy life.  When I call him upon it, he assures me that he is happy — and certainly, he shows no signs of depression.  He’s just negative, which is different from depressed.

    I  grew up in a household where praise was very hard to come by.  Most conversations were negative.  I think its Midwestern culture that leads to a reluctance to offer praise and positive comments.  As a teacher in high school, I found it VERY difficult to offer praise for good results, and I noticed the same thing about other teachers from the Midwest. (We taught in southern Texas.)

    My fellow teachers on lunch breaks commented on my negativity.  Apparently, though happy, I was relentlessly negative in what I said and how I spoke.  I had no idea!  One day over lunch, they challenged me to a contest: Every negative comment I made during lunch, for a week, I’d owe them a buck.  If it was less than $10 though, I would win.  I think I smiled broadly: “Piece of cake! I’ll take that bet.”

    At the end of the first lunch break, I was already down $8, and I was shocked.   I realized that my presentation was entirely negative, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large.  I knew I was reflecting this in the classroom as well.  But I was generally content and happy personally!

    I don’t bubble over with enthusiasm and positivity these days.  But I’m awfully good at offering positive comments and praise wherever appropriate.  I shattered the negativity that year, as a result of that challenge, and I’ve always been thrilled that it worked out the way it did.

    You might consider something similar with your son.  He’s young, but maybe he’d like the challenge (and if he wins, he not only gets the money back, but you pay HIM that amount too).  He’s perhaps not too young for enlightenment to dawn, that he offers negativity for no reason because he’s actually happy… and he harms himself with others, with that expressed unwarranted negativity.

    Yes, I know I’m negative here a lot – but that’s about our rapidly softening, effete American culture, and the horrifying debt crisis we face.  I think those are realistic negativities!


  • Mike Devx

    My thoughts are with you as well, Indigo Red.  The toughest thing about loving our pets is that we outlive them damn near every time.  We are the ones who have to let go.  And usually, as their lives near the end, we have to make a decision to cut short the misery of pain that only increases as the end approaches, and deliberately end their lives.  That is a very difficult, but responsible and courageoous thing to do.

    Congratulations, too, on conquering chemically-induced depression.

    I agree with much of what you wrote, Ymar, in #8.  I wonder at some of it, even parts I agree with: How much of this is strong opinion vs fact?  Even if I agree strongly with you – and I do – are we simply sharing the same opinion, as opposed to agreeing on actual fact?  Can the young, some of whom are disposed towards chemical-based depression, be cured of it via environmental factors such as the kinds of training you describe?

  • Danny Lemieux

    Sorry about your cat, Indigo Red. We lost our golden retriever a year ago last autumn. My wife was so in love with that happy dope. It crushed her. As Book’s vet said, we set ourselves up for this because their life spans are so short.

    Almost a year to the day later, we brought home another puppy. She already brings us much happiness and we aren’t going to worry about 12 years or so down the line. We’ll just enjoy working with her, day to day.

    MikeD, what your fellow teachers came up with was so incredibly creative I wish that I could have used that with my kids. No worries, they turned out OK, but…it could have made some rough spots a lot easier. 

    My brother-in-law (the smart one…he’s conservative) is a well recognized name in finance. He once told me that the greatest motivator in human behavior was incentive, but that the world seems fixated on using disincentive. I guess that I see praise in the same way…it’s an incentive to do well, but only if it doesn’t come cheap.

  • Ymarsakar

    Danny: Take your time, there’s no hurry. It’s not like the world will end in 2012…. oh wait.

     Mike Devx: As I prefaced my remarks, my views are based upon my research and my own personal experiences. Personal abilities and knowledge don’t transfer over. A friend of mine in California says he hears the Voice of God and thus follows the Christian path, voting for conservatives and what not. What do I believe? I believe he believes it. Since he can’t transfer those voices to me, I can’t judge for myself, I can only judge him. Whether it is the voice of God or Lucifer, is something I can wonder and research, but only he can determine in the end. Many people have extraordinary abilities, but their abilities cannot be transfered to you or taught to you. Just doesn’t work like that.

    So to address what you are wondering about, we agree on the ideal, meaning “what should be true”. But we come from different starting points on that road. I began my trip my way and you are on your own trip your way. I believe chi gong works because I’ve seen and felt its effects, I practice it for martial arts, and I’m beginning to learn creation based healing methods after years spent studying destruction and how to inflict death and injury on life. My advisers and instructors have always said or implied that those who knew the healing arts and the destructive arts, were much better at both than any specialists that only knew one. It wasn’t until recently that I found the time, interest, and resources to start working on that aspect that I was deficient in. Medical school was too tall a barrier for me to learn as a hobby, but this was something I was already familiar with, in martial arts. Many things spoken of in chi gong, I have seen expressed in different martial arts. Thus it was an easier thing for me to learn and practice, so I took it up, instead of modern Western medicine. You will not find me prescribing any medications for that matter. And I still don’t know how to put to right a dislocated shoulder.

    Until you have done chi gong or Taiji Chuan and seen and felt some of its effects, it’s not going to be possible for you to have the same perspective as me on this issue, even if our goals are the same. This is not something new to me, I was already aware of it. It’s one reason why I don’t tell people to do things I would be unwilling or incapable of doing. It’s one reason why I don’t complain about or bring up problems unless I have an actual solution to that problem. Often times I don’t directly come out and describe that solution, until people like those here ask me to prove my claims or others like Bookworm ask me about my solution to the Muslim Brotherhood, primarily because most people are naturally disinclined to use my solutions to begin with. They’re not ready to make that leap, so to speak. It requires greater experience and much more importantly, a world paradigm shift, such as some Democrats experienced with 9/11. It’s not such a simple decision as whether the “solution” works or not. Even if it worked, many people will lack the will to attempt it. This is why I don’t tell people who are depressed to “get over it”. Unless I have a way for them to use to do that, I will hold my comments in check. Even if many people told someone unhappy and depressed to “get over it”, that doesn’t mean they are offering a “solution”.

     Can you imagine how pre 9/11 Americans would have felt and thought if somebody started talking about radical Islam and how it must be destroyed, and even called themselves Charles Martel? They’d be laughed out the ball park and lambasted with plastic cups. Now a days, in 2010, it Ain’t So Funny, now is it. What the hell do you think changed? Did somebody die and get reincarnated with different memories or something? No. People didn’t change souls or bodies. They changed their paradigms: world views. The world forced them to change.  Western medicine is based upon fixing problems after they occur (not preventing it), and using technology to detect things so that they can make them stop or kill off things like cancer cells. Thus it is based upon Greek logic, like Gray’s Anatomy, with a minority base in trial and error experimentations (majority base with trial and error would be experimenting on Jews, like certain Nazi genius doctors). Eastern medicine is based upon majority trial and error, lasting thousands of years. If it didn’t work, the people it was tried on, died. People eventually figured out why. Instead of relying on machines and technology to detect problems, Eastern medicine relies on the body’s own pain receptors and nerves to detect problems, which allows them to detect and prevent problems years before they need “fixing” or “curing”. Including cancer. There’s a whole story on cancer alone, but we’ll leave that for later. It’s not a subject I researched much because it didn’t concern me. Remember, somebody here posted a link about a woman that swallowed a pen and had it removed. The woman told the doctors, decades ago, that she swallowed a pen and that it was in her stomach causing pain. The doctors did a scan, xray perhaps, and said “there’s nothing there, you made it up from imagination”. Yeah, some imagination. Years later after MRI/Xray technology became accurate, they found…. the pen. Ahhh, surely this means medicine has advanced…. yeah right. They still use the same paradigm, just with 10% better tools. Feelings don’t matter, only logic. And the Left actually made “feelings” totally immune to logic, which isn’t how it normally works. This resulted in many doctors and engineers taking “feelings” to mean “Leftist anti-technology Luddite ravings”. You got to remember, though, the Left didn’t exist in China 1000 or 2000 years ago. Maoism came from… Europe. He learned his “stuff”, in Europe. Communism and the Left, as a cancer, came from… Europe, not America and not Asia.

    The point is, China and INdia demonstrated what could be accomplished if one combined feelings with logic, over a period of 2000-4000 years of trial and error. Western Medicine is the “new” kid on the block, so far, with only 2 centuries, barely, of experience, and most of that was based upon the trial and error philosophies of Gray’s Anatomy, Aristotle, and the other Greeks. But again, note what I said before. People will only believe when they see it and feel it. There is no other path that is legitimate on this venue. Believing it because they want to, invalid. Believing it because they think it should be true, invalid. Believing it because the world would be a more interesting place, also invalid.

    To go back on topic (for once), the issue of whether American kids can be “cured” with this is not an easy thing to answer. For one thing, who is going to cure them? There aren’t a lot of people with this knowledge and skill level, that could also teach it. For one thing, medical school takes 4-10 years, if you combine the stuff stacked together after and before, but chi gong takes 10-30 years to actually learn how to use for medicine. So if you think Western medicine has a huge patient to doctor ratio, think about what Eastern medicine would have. The advantages, of course, are that Eastern medicine doesn’t require big bucks to get into. Somebody can train it as a hobby, even though they won’t be as good in it. There are a lot of options for people who aren’t chi gong masters. Supplements and massage are backup options for people who don’t know how to control their own body. Kids are not going to be learn how to do this, because they lack patience, mental fortitude, concentration, and time. By the time they figure this out, they won’t be kids any more. So that leaves only external methods to apply Eastern medicine, such as supplements and so on. Mental disorders are still tricky. Medicine can cure the body, whether Western or Eastern, but changing the mind is a lot trickier, even with the patient’s cooperation.

    Suffice it to say that the current status quo is unworkable, untenable, and unethical to boot. It aligns federally funded education bureaucrats with Leftist PP organizations and NAMBLA, and DC corrupt government goons, thugs, pols, and Congresscritters. How many pharmaceutical big companies gave money to Obama in order to get a favored deal once health care was nationalized and thousands of hospitals and patients had to buy their drugs? When the government legally mandates people to buy your product, why should you seek to improve that product or even make it safe for human consumption? That is a mighty alliance, one that must be first destroyed using destructive energies, before you can ever use creative energies to heal anybody that was a victim of them.

     As with most things in life, you won’t know until you try. Problem is, in America the nation of the supposed free, brave, and risk taking frontiers man, you won’t find many people willing to even risk trying. They’ll be put down like mag dogs by SEIU or some other Leftist faction.


  • Ymarsakar

    Because i know Danny has practiced martial arts long enough to attain Dan rank, I believe, there are some corroboration that only another martial artist can use and understand.

     Most Japanese arts use the kiai while striking and break falling. A loud yell to make strikes hit harder and falls hurt less. This Kiai is a very Japanese expression of a chi gong application. Danny may also be familiar with Sanchin kata, which is another form of external chi gong, designed to express external power. Breathing in deeply, then exhaling such that the breath slowly leaks out and rumbles, while tensing muscles, supplies those muscles with a lot more oxygen, and thus a lot more chi. I’ll avoid using chi from now on since it doesn’t communicate what I need it to mean, for those lacking a background in the science of it. When a Japanese karateka punches, he Ki Ais, lets out a loud yell. This is a way for external martial art students to understand how to breathe in and let out the breath. By exhaling, they can transfer more power to muscles, making punches hit harder. Many martial art styles use variations on this thing because they just found out it works. People who do a lot of heavy lifting or pushes cars, understands that if they don’t got air in their lungs and they strain… not much happens. Trial and error. But only the Chinese and Indian arts, the internal ones, really specialized in understanding how this worked.

     Many people have noted that there are some martial artists that are in their 80s and yet look better and can move better than your grand parents in their 60s. There’s a reason for that. Physical activity is only one reason. Chi gong is the other. A person naturally breathes when doing exercise, such as running. Deep breathing. Hard breathing. This in itself, helps regulate the body’s mechanisms. Martial arts love expressing more power, so they do a lot of exercises that use this breathing, while at the same time conserving energy. Conserving energy is a useful skill when a person gets old and weak. An old fighter cannot exert as much physical power as a young fighter, but wisdom and efficiency allows them to get a lot more stuff done with less waste.

    If everybody did this, you wouldn’t need as much medical care for the elderly. And since the elderly costs the most when it comes to medical care… you figure out the economy of how that works. But it’s not a top down solution. It’s something individuals have to work for. You don’t get these health benefits by sitting on a couch watching the Daily Show. I hope people understand that.


  • Gringo

    Ymarsakar’s point in #4 about Books’s son trusting her enough to confide in her is well taken. Book has helped her son solve problems in his life, such as helping him with his writing- great story. So instead of “don’t whine,” a “what can you do to solve it”  approach would seem to be better.
    Regarding listening to an older generation kvetching -or not- I am reminded of my uncle, who died at age 88 last year. He was always cheerful, though because he had leukemia, he could have found reasons not to be so cheerful. Because he did not kvetch, it was fun to be around him and talk and talk. As he kept working as a consultant until a year or so of his death, he had plenty of current things to discuss. Which is not to say that his stories of days bygone were not also entertaining. For my uncle’s memorial service, I wrote up  some of his stories of days bygone, and found out that a few of the stories that I remembered, his children didn’t know.
    By contrast, one of my aunts on the other side of the family, who also died in her late 80s, was more of a complainer. Because of her complaining, she was not as much fun to be around.
    Something to remember as I get older.

  • Gringo

    Mike Devx
     I think its Midwestern culture that leads to a reluctance to offer praise and positive comments.
    Not just the Midwest. It is also characteristic of New England. “Not bad” is considered a compliment in New England. My poor mother, not raised in New England, would get frustrated with me when she cooked up some scrumptious meal, to which I would respond, “Not bad.”
    Your point about praising students is well taken.

  • Ymarsakar

    Read this. See if you can understand it. If you can’t, join the club. But you know what? This is already being used in Chi Gong and Taiji Chuan.

    How do these movements generate chi or electrical fields? By torqing and twisting the bones, that’s how. And that’s only “one” method.
    Do the readers here perhaps have just a tiny bit greater grasp of how such things could heal, using their imaginations? Bones are piezoelectric. Meaning, like crystals that generate electircity when compressed, bones are the same. But do you know why this is so? The entire body is an electromagnetic field, with two “poles” (the two brains mentioned before). So why wouldn’t the bones generate electricity too, they’re like lead rods stuck through an electromagnetic. Chinese and Indian individuals have been researching and developing methods to use such things, before they could even explain what it was. Just trial and error, for 4000 years.

     The point is, there are many different things like this that you can look up. But even if all of them were true, can you put them together and come up with the same conclusion that I or others have? That’s unlikely, unless you also share some of the same experiences.

    Now consider the claim that Taiji Chuan and Chi Gong and prevent osteoporosis in a new light. Did you put the pieces of the puzzle together?

     Oh there’s always more pieces of the puzzle, even after you solve one thing. Danny’s compiling together the info, checking it, and feeling it out right now, because it’s a significant chunk that was gathered and compiled over years. Not something most people can absorb in minutes or even hours.

    To Address what Danny asked about before concerning why third world individuals seem to be less vocal about “mental issues”, I think part of it has to do with not appearing weak. They don’t really have time, in the midst of starvation, warlords, and UN child rape squads roaming the countryside, to do much complaining and kvetching. People can kvetch when they have food, water, shelter, and future resources. Basically, a spoiled Westerner. Those living on the edge of starvation, don’t really have enough time to even “think” about these things in this matter. So they’re too busy to survive. Which brings us to the second issue. By always behaving and thinking in the primordial lizard mind, their EKGs are different. They think differently, literally, and devote less time to worrying about the future and more time worrying about the present. Like any animal that wants to survive. These are just two of my educated guesses, since Third World nations are not my specialty. I leave that research field to missionaries and the Peace Corps. Often times, very dangerous work. As the story of one highjacked yact by Islamos can attest to. If I ever go sailing in the wide seas in terrorist waters, you’d bet I’d be bringing my special arsenal along….


  • Earl

    I can understand the pain at loss of a pet/companion.  Pumpkin had cancer and our vet, who had cared for her since we adopted her 8 years earlier, teared up (with me – even now, and it’s been a decade) as he administered the lethal chemicals.  I held that dog and talked to her as she went to sleep and then died.  It was the right thing to do, but it was HARD….and I loved the vet.  Good man.
    “Snap out of it”, or “Shake it off” doesn’t work if someone is actually depressed.  My Mom the psychiatrist told me that before decent meds a lot of people were helped by regular vigorous exercise, so that’s something to try.  But, I’ve been depressed – the real thing – for a period, and the way in which the brain chemistry can turn EVERYTHING to s**t, so that even things I once enjoyed looked bleak and impossible to me, was a revelation.  Medication for a year, along with a good therapist, brought me back, and I’ve not had a recurrence, thankfully.  But I deal VERY differently with people who show signs of being depressed.
    I like some of the suggestions for your son, BW….I think it’s important to intervene at some level, for sure.  Going through life with constant negativity is going to mess stuff up for him – mostly he’ll never know, because some folks simply don’t have the wherewithal to push through the screen he throws up, and he’ll miss opportunities with no clue.  Bad news. 
    Is he aware that he’s coming across negative all the time?  Does he agree this isn’t good?  If so, you’re halfway there, it seems to me.  Talk to him about some of the suggestions for beating the habit, and see what you accomplish together.  Praying for you…..