Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Be Mindful of Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk can kill a person slowly. The post Following the Rules on the 28 Years Later blog can give you some idea of how devastating negative self-talk can be.

Mindfulness is a great defense against negative self-talk. If you're aware of your internal dialog, you can begin to challenge it and understand its origins. You'll probably discover that you're trying to live up to someone else's unreasonable expectations. Or you'll be telling yourself that the project you've been thinking about will be laughed at.

Do you feel that something's holding you back? Maybe that something is you!

Tune into your thoughts.

On the Passage of Time

The older we get, the faster time seems to slip by. Perhaps it's because each year, the ratio of that year to our life span gets smaller and smaller.

How Long Has That Been There?

I've done a fair amount of writing about Mindfulness and being in the Here and Now. I wish I could practice what I preach!

Yesterday, my wife and I walked our morning walk in the neighborhood that we lived in since 1995. On the way back I noticed something "odd in a tree" near our neighbor's house. As I got closer I noticed that it was in fact a flag or banner, and not the bloated hawk I thought it was.

It seemed inconceivable to me that a banner would be there, floating among the trees. So I looked more carefully and finally noticed the sturdy utility pole that the banner was mounted on. Apparently, our neighbors have had a utility pole about six feet from their house since before we moved into ours.

Maybe my inability to see the hugely obvious is a result of habitually tuning out all those crass advertisements that bombard us from roadsides and storefronts. Or maybe I'm just messed up.

Anyway, if I don't post for a while, it'll be because I'm out looking for large obvious things on our property. I'll let you know if I find anything.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dream: The Mailman and Love-Making

My wife is in two places at once. She's lying here in bed with me. But she's also at the other end of the room receiving a package from the mailman.

I'm kissing her exposed breasts and also looking at her interact with the mailman. As I look at her standing across the room, I think how sexy she looks. She's wearing a white, short-sleeve jersey with dark blue piping, almost like a baseball uniform. But it's so sexy.

I'm not at all embarrassed about being in bed while the mailman is there. But eventually it occurs to me that the mailman might feel awkward. So, reluctantly, I get up out of bed and walk over to the mailman. My wife is no longer there.

I find out that my wife had told the mailman that we're refusing the package. The box is open, so I close it and tape it shut.

A few minutes go by. The mailman is gone, and I reassess the layout of this apartment. First of all, the door is unlocked, so I lock it. Then I wonder why the bedroom is open to the entrance way. It's not right.

Dream: Fishing While Sitting in the Lake

I'm at the lake with my wife and daughter. I'm sitting in the water on a concrete ledge, with my feet dangling off, not touching the bottom. The water is brown, murky, and it's halfway up my torso. For all I know it could be 100 feet deep.

I have a fishing rod with me, so I decide to cast the lure out and see what happens. I have to be careful not to snag my wife and daughter, so I don't swing the rod very much, and the lure doesn't go out that far. It goes only a few feet to my right.

I reel it back in and try again. This time I cast over to my left, and I manage to get it out about eight feet. The bail hasn't caught the line right, so I'm holding onto it with my fingers, trying to keep it taught. I can tell I've caught something already, and I wonder if this thin line I'm using will hold. It feels like only four pound test.

Finally I manage to set the bail properly, and I can reel in. There definitely is a fish on the end of the line. But it's not giving me much of a fight at all. It rises to the surface. It's a bass, only about 10 inches long, and it appears to be dead. It's curled a bit and listing on its side.

I feel as though I shouldn't have cast the lure. I didn't want to catch any fish. And now I'm stuck with a fish on the end of the line, sitting in very deep water. How am I going to get the fish off the lure? I have no place to set down the rod!

The fish seems to wake up, and it dives down below my feet. Now the line is between my legs. I manage to untangle myself. As I bring the fish back up, I feel something brush against my feet and legs. It feels as though a person is down there grabbing at the fish with his hands.

I feel miserable and exposed. I want to get out of the water.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is Life -- Hawk Escort

This is going to sound like a dream, but it's not.

I was driving home from work in my wife's Ford Escort when I noticed large wings flapping above me. At first I thought it was a crow.

But then it gradually descended while keeping ahead of the car. I noticed it was a red-tailed hawk. It was pacing the car, flying directly in front of me and a bit above me. I was going about 35 mph.

The raptor started slowing, so I applied the brake a bit. I wanted to keep it in sight. Then it drifted to the left side of the road. It slowed even more and sank lower.

At one point, the bird and I were level and neck-&-neck, and we were just one car width apart. I turned my head to watch it. But then it either slowed dramatically or veered away. I almost think it swooped down to catch a mouse because I thought I heard a squeak as I left it behind.

Somewhere a hawk is dreaming about how it escorted an Escort.

Note: The Picture is borrowed from Chattanooga Nature Center.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dream: Mother Rat

I start walking downstairs. These are not the stairs of my current house. They're the stairs of my mother's house, the house I grew up in. But I'm in the present, a homeowner, married, with a daughter, dog and cat.

I notice a few mice at the bottom of the stairs. The dog is there, too. He's halfway in his kennel. I call out for the cat. He would be delighted to find the mice and chase them.

The mice are larger than the mice I'm used to seeing. Then it occurs to me that they're not mice at all. They're rats.

Now I'm glad that the cat didn't come when I called.

I decide to call for my wife, but I don't tell her why. "Come downstairs, and wear your shoes."

She doesn't come either. (It's just like in real life -- no one listens to me.)
I now see that the dog is in trouble. He's stuck in the door of his kennel, and the mice, er, rats, may be be tormenting him.

And then I see that those rats were just baby rats. The mother is here, and she's bigger than the cat. Whoa.

I'm not scared, but I'm annoyed that this is yet another home expense.


This dream occurred more than 12 hours ago. I've thought about it throughout the day. After I started to tell my wife, she asked if my mother (who died about ten months ago) came into my dream.

I wonder now. The stairway was the same as in the house I grew up in, my mother's house. There were three baby rats. Well, there were three of us growing up in that house, my brother, my sister and me. Then there's the mother rat, who could be mom, and the dog, who could be dad. He was patient and laid back like the dog and somehow tolerated the three of us and mom.

Usually when a dead loved one shows up in a dream, they don't show up as rodents. At least dad never did.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This is Life -- The Handoff

Sometimes, things happen in Life that are too bizarre even for fiction. Here's one:

We were having pizza and pitchers of soda at a bowling alley. One soda pitcher was nearly empty, so my wife takes the pitcher and starts walking toward the counter. The attendant saw that we were low on soda, so she filled another pitcher and started walking toward us.

She and my wife meet halfway, and they need to exchange pitchers. The girl tries to hand the full pitcher to my wife. But my wife needs two hands to grab it. So she insists that the girl take the empty pitcher first. And thus they jostle briefly.

Then finally the attendant reaches out her free hand, which is incongruously devoid of fingers. She just has some sort of stump after her wrist. Shaken, my wife quickly hangs the empty pitcher on the stump, grabs the full pitcher, and makes a beeline back to our table.

This is Life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beat the Wheat

I mentioned my diet in Drug Free -- Supplement Expensive. It calls for me to be wheat-free.

What happens when I ingest wheat?

First, I become bloated. I've learned that my intestines become inflammed due to an intolerance to the proteins in the wheat.

Second, the wheat protein can enter the bloodstream before it's fully broken down. Folks who have this problem are said to have Leaky Gut Syndrome. The protein can get deposited in the joints and cause arthritic imflammation. My joints on the right side of my body had started to ache, especially the knee, elbow and wrist.

Third, my blood sugar peaks and then drops. This results in brain fog and virtual unconsciousness in the short term. What's really going on is that the liver produces more cholesterol, which is used to make insulin, which is needed to lower the level of blood sugar. This can happen as a result of eating any food that has a high Glycemic Index rating.

I once ate this way everyday, and my doctor told me to lower my cholesterol. This was due to the blood sugar, not necessarily the wheat. Ironically, he advised me to follow the Dean Ornish way of eating. That involves eating lower-fat foods, less protein and even more carbs, which are fat free. My cholesterol climbed out-of-control.

Also climbing out-of-control was my appetite. My body would lower the blood sugar, but it didn't stop until it was too late. So my body would urge me to raise it back up by eating more. I got enormous cravings for sweets, and then enormous weight gain.

What I should've done ten years ago was eat meat and vegetables to prevent the rollercoaster ride I went on. What shape would I be in if I'd not found out about this? Very round and sick, most likely.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dream: Playscape Hockey Without the Puck

There are six of us boys competing on three teams. The "field" is a playscape. The area is dim and has an industrial quality to it, as though we're in a warehouse.

I'm not sure what the object of the game is, but I do know what I'm supposed to do. If my partner enters the playscape by climbing in, I'm supposed to open the door to let him out.

Right now the six of us are running around, knocking into one another a bit. I'm trying to avoid the tall one, my boss, because he could probably hit me pretty hard if he wanted to.

It's hard to keep track of my partner's whereabouts. But so far he shows no intention of climbing into the playscape.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Now Adding Dreams!

The previous two posts are about the dreams I had this morning. I know two folks who blog about their dreams. One has a blog devoted entirely to dreams!

I used to keep a dream journal about twenty years ago. I had enough time back then to be able to get up a little later in the mornings and write in my tiny spiral bound memo pad. I still remember a few of those classic dreams. (I may post about them as time permits.) I've even had a few lucid dreams, and managed to say my own name "out loud" in the dream, which was considered impossible back then. You have to be pretty well rested to have lucid dreams. Being able to sleep until the crack of noon helps a lot.

This morning's two dreams seemed good to blog about for two reasons:

0. They were very short.

1. They were not my typical kind of dream.

A typical dream for me is one in which I'm visiting another city. The visit is for business purposes, like a conference, so I'm either alone or with a few colleagues. There is some element of anxiety involved, like not checking out from the hotel in time or not leaving in time to get to the airport. And there's a pervasive feeling of aloneness, almost desolation.

So anyway, if you don't care to read about the dreams, just avoid any posts whose title starts with "Dream:" If you especially like dreams, please visit "The Dark Side of the Moon", the source of my latest inspiration for adding dreams.

Dream: Let the Kids Bicycle Home

I'm visiting a family that has three kids. The parents are busy and need to get the kids occupied somehow. They decide that they will drop off the kids somewhere and let them bicycle home.

Now I'm sitting in a living room, and the scene I just observed was on television. My SIL is sitting with us, and I ask her if she's ever been tempted to deal with her kids that way.

Dream: Vegetation Man

I'm standing in a yard when I see someone coming toward me out of the woods. He's ghastly looking. His skin is covered with thick veins. His eyeballs protrude, revealing the blood vessels behind them. Yet I'm not afraid. In fact, I see that he appears to be friendly, and I wait for him to get closer.

He stops next to me, and we greet each other. I discreetly look at his veins. But they're not veins at all. They're worm-like casings under a translucent skin.

He points to one on his forearm. "This squash looks like it grow into a nice one." I nod in appreciation. I realize that they are seedlings. But they are moving, breathing. They are larve. I'm tempted to point out that I thought plants grow from seeds, not grubs, but I do not want to upset the man.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Drug Free -- Supplement Expensive

I'm happy to report that I have been drug-free since April 2007. I do not take prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs.

So I save money from not buying meds. But I spend it on supplements, about $100 per month, as you can see on the table that follows:

The Isocort is for Adrenal Fatigue, and many of the other supplements support this. For example, Vitamin D and DHEA support healthy hormone production. However, the Quercetin and Stinging Nettle come from Peter D'Adamo's Allergy Protocol. I'll probably not need them by January.

I take Choleast to lower my cholesterol. I had been taking Vytorin, which kept my total cholesterol at around 190. But it caused muscle weakness. I didn't realize this until I stopped taking it and noticed at the gym that the weights suddenly felt much lighter.

Rhodiola is a good one. This keeps me from going off the deep end. Without it I can waste time obsessing over ridiculous things like packing a gym bag, or the order in which I do my morning routine. Rhodiola helps alleviate depression and anxiety, which might be caused by obsessing over the future. I can focus better on the Here and Now that I was telling you about. Without Rhodiola, I can be a wreck.

These are called supplements, which means you add them to a diet. My particular diet, the one that I'm supposed to be following, is a low-carb version of the type O Blood Type Diet. I do have trouble following this diet. I'm particularly fond of sweets, especially B&J Phish Food ice cream, and One Sweet Whirled is extremely awesome. Another requirement of the diet is avoiding wheat, which is almost slightly more difficult than avoiding air.

Okay, now I'm getting silly, so I'll stop now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Here and Now

Where are you? You might answer, "At the computer," or "At home," or even "Earth."

What time is it? Perhaps you've looked at your watch or a clock. Or maybe you thought of the season. Or the slowness of your computer makes you think that it's time for a new one. Very possibly, it's time to read a different blog.

Well, if you haven't guessed by reading the title, the answers to "Where are you?" and "What time is it?" are simply "Here" and "Now."

When our minds wander, we might think about the future or dwell on the past. And we'll often think of ourselves being in another place. Like the elementary school playground way back when we were in fourth grade. Or at the intersection where the other driver ran the red light just a few moments ago. Or the upcoming job interview, or the approaching hurricane.

We don't like to worry. So why do we do it? It probably helped humans to worry back in prehistoric times. Worry made us think about food and shelter. It motivated us to ensure our survival.

But today, most of us don't need to worry about survival. So our worry bone finds other things to dwell on. When it makes us worry about things we cannot control or change, we can make ourselves sick. So we need to bring ourselves back to the Here and Now.

A Yahoo search on "Here and Now Mindfulness" brought up too many links to list. The link to the Ananda.org site really gets to the essence of how to get to the Here and Now.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Autism / Asperger Syndrome Blogs

I was browsing Open Directory when I came across the category Top: Health: Mental Health: Disorders: Neurodevelopmental: Autism Spectrum: Personal Pages: Weblogs.

Today it has these blogs:
  • Adventures in Autism - A mother shares about her young son's trials with autism.
  • APE - the Asperger Parenting Experience - A parent carefully blogs about the methods used to raise his two children, one of whom has Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Biodiverse Resistance - A blogger who explores the universal parallels shared between autism, disabilities and injustice.
  • NTs are Weird - A man on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum blogs about social justice issues with especial concern to autism.
  • Odd One Out - A blogger diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome offers observations and comments on the world around her as well as links concerning the autism spectrum and her own special interests.
  • The Quirk Factor - A mother of a boy with High-Functioning Autism and Tourette Syndrome humorously details his progress through the world.
  • Stop. Think. Autism - A mother blogs with an optimistic outlook on the future of her autistic daughter.