Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thoughts on Man vs. Animal...

I recently began studying a book called A Psychology Of Human Strengths edited by Lisa G. Aspinwall, and Ursula M. Staudinger (2003). I was fascinated on some aspects of their findings regarding human nature. More or less, they indicated that human beings have a dual nature. The first can be considered as the part of us that has lasted over the eons of evolution. The animal or primal part that desires survival and survival alone. It also is the part that seeks for self-gratification and is somewhat amoral. It's the cro magnon within all of us--without values or morals. The only purpose is to eat, drink, survive, and self-satisfy. Freud would have called that part of us the Id. The ID operates according to the pleasure principle i.e. it seeks pleasure and avoids pain. It is our instinct. If we want to do a particular thing we will do it. For example, if we are in a lesson and we want to go to sleep, we go to sleep.
It's a fascinating part of each of us. Most of us have done something on a whim or simply because we desired it without thinking of the consequences or if it was the right thing to do. Whether it ranges from eating too much at the buffet, because all the food looked good (and resulting with GI problems) or a teenager or adult offending sexually on a child, it is all the same urge (but to different extents). Many people use these animalistic or Id impulses as excuses. We hear it every day at home and in the work place to various extents. Psychology tries to explain them through evolutionary terms, cognitive distortions, addictions, impulses, desires, appetites, etc. Many people use these animalistic or Id impulses as excuses. If all of our actions were driven by these impulses, that would mean that our behaviors are determined by stimulus and response.
On the other hand, human behavior does not seem to follow determined patterns of stimulus and response. Far too often actions occur based on another behavior that cannot be necessarily measured or predicted. Some may call it the X Factor or the human will. Behaviorists may argue that even human will can be deterministic in nature; however, it seems that it is only said AFTER the behavior is done--hindsight. I believe it is this will that can defy the natural and evolutionary impulses within us all. It can be the determining and unpredictable factor for all that is good within us. It does make one think, does it not?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mind Loop No More!

An expert in anxiety disorders, specifically obsessive compulsive disorder once mentioned that a helpful way to get your mind off of an anxious track is to distract it with something you memorize. It has to be something lengthy and inherent with personal meaning. The following is a great example of something to memorize, because of the meaning the words carry. It is the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Retrieved on 4/22/2011 from

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Promise! It doesn't bother me...follow-up

I spoke to my young son today about his example to me and others and how his dirty hands, wild dancing, and carefree attitude can be so contagiously wonderful. What surprised me most was that his green eyes welled-up with tears and he hugged me and said that "made me so happy, dad." I then spent the next 30 minutes talking to my children about how proud I am as their father and all that they teach me. My son cried, and my daughter (6 years old) beamed. My 3 year old just made faces at me. Children truly can be the source of all that is healing and pure. So, why not act like them some time? Afterwards, I watched him run around in circles down the aisle at the store...and I let him.

Quantum Physics and Mental Health...

The following is from a guest mental health therapist, Hollie Hancock, LAPC. To see her bio, use the following link

The quantum physics of mental health and wellness.

ENERGY.An unseen power that is all around us and moves us every day.

THOUGHTS.Unseen forces that move us to act or react thousands of times each day.

Our thoughts have energy. Our thoughts have POWER. How much power? Let’s consider:

You think about 60,000 thoughts a day. It’s up to you to make sure that you don’t use up 59,999 of them with negative, cynical thinking. So next time, before you start to think something negative, just think about that…and this: Your brain has 100 billion cells – and each of these little babies is connected to at least 20,000 cells. The variety of potential combinations of all these is more multitudinous than the number of molecules existing in the entire universe! So, if you have that many different combinations of brain cells to choose from, why not try a new combo today?

Now for some REALLY scienc-y quantum physics stuff:

(Did you know that reading this blog entry about mental health and wellness would lead you to learning quantum physics? How cool are you?!?!?!? I must say, you are very smart blog readers!)

Both form and formlessness are connected within the same vibrating field around you. All molecules are energy – and all energy is in motion at varying speeds – all around you, at all times.

Some molecules vibrate at slower speeds – and those vibrating at very slow speeds are what you presently perceive as the material world. And those molecules vibrating at hyper-fast speeds are the invisible energy of your thoughts.


Yes, thoughts, too have energy.

In other words: the only difference between you and the computer screen you are presently looking at are the configuration and speed of your molecules. Otherwise, you and your computer screen are made of the same stuff, vibrating in the same interconnected field.

Your local Quantum Physicist has even documented how the brain has electrical energy that gives off varying vibrations depending upon thoughts and mood. Because like energy attracts like energy, it makes sense that positivity might indeed attract positive results – even “positive, lucky coincidences”.

This may explain why the rich get richer, why misery loves company, and why whenever you’ve already in a good mood, it’s way easier to stay in a good mood.

And this is why fear attracts fear. Like your fear of not being able to fall asleep always seem to attract the problem of your not being able to fall asleep. Ditto for your fear of falling in love. Ditto for your fear of being too successful.

Yes, my fellow blog readers, thoughts have ENERGY. WEIGHT. And yes, POWER.

Let’s start using the power for GOOD. For lots of energy and lots of success and lots of whatever else it is you seek. Literally.

Concentrate on your thoughts in the coming weeks. Concentrate on one good thought a day. Then let the good times roll!

Until next time, be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself. And take a little time to ROCK ON!

Here’s to you and your journey!


The quantum physics info was borrowed from Karen Salmansohn’s book, “how to be HAPPY, dammit!” It’s a great read! Check it out sometime! Lots of good vibrations coming from this book, if you know what I mean!

I Promise! It doesn't bother me....

I have a little bit of an OCD's always been there and I lovingly accept it for the most-part. One of the things that gets my anxious juices flowing is watching my son. He is eight years old and still gets food on his face when he eats, spills it on his shirt, lets his fingernails grow out and inevitably caked with various types of dirt, mud, and other microbes. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. On top of that, he "makes a fool" out of himself in public by dancing down the grocery store aisle or doing other acts of performance that cause me to look over my shoulder in fear of what onlookers might think of my child. As much as I try to lovingly parent him to "behave" or to have "good manners" at the table he does not seem to absorb my parental advice. Just when I thought that I was some how failing at parenting, I had an experience that changed my mind.

Many individuals go throughout their childhood without the opportunity to dance in the aisle or play in the dirt. When that happens it seems that the childhood light gets snuffed out and they end out on my couch talking about their childhood and how it continues to plague them into adulthood. As I sit and listen, I realize the joy that my son and daughters have when they "make a fool" of themselves, because they feel something. They feel like dancing, so they do. My daughters dress up as princesses, because they believe they are princesses. My son dances break-dancing (or at least his own rendition) and believes that he really is doing it. Who says they're not? The light in their eyes and the joy in their faces is enough to show that they are fulfilled, connected to themselves and their surroundings, and don't care what others think.

We can learn a lot from children...we should do as they do...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes...

An individual told me today a really funny, but true joke. She said that a friend of hers, who is a pot dealer was getting married. She decided to provide a food item for his potluck supper. All humor aside, she is making "twice-baked" potatoes. I got a good laugh out of that one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Homelessness Part 2 and more...

In working with the homeless man I mentioned in a prior blog, I realized how difficult it would be for one who has never had social interaction to develop a relationship. It left me wondering how someone who was raised in a volatile and/or neglectful environment could truly develop a positive and long-lasting relationship. My reasoning for this thought is due to child development. A child goes through stages of development. Many theorists, such as Piaget and Erikson describe some of these stages. I will not discuss these stages in this article, though it is important to understand that there is sufficient data to support the idea of human developmental stages. Though they are not the be-all end-all, they can describe and provide a point of reference when studying human behaviors.
Back to the point at hand...this particular person, as well as many others who have come through my door were not afforded the nurturing opportunities that children require to develop emotional, cognitive, and social competencies. This results in a developmental delay or crisis that slows their socialization to a snail crawl speed, where others may be jogging or some sprinting.
What can be done about it?
I have a few thoughts on this question. When one has not had the environment to grow in, I wonder if it is possible to provide one with the hopes that it would create a microcosm of a nurturing environment. For years, a friend of mine has had the dream of providing a therapeutic farm--a place within a city where the traumatized or others can come to heal. The farm would have small animals, gardens, trees, fields of grass, and places for people to come and socialize and work together. Holistic therapuetic services would be provided in buildings or houses on the property that fit with the decour and environment. A store with therapuetic books and toys would also be present for clients and professionals alike. Naturally, there is much more to it when it comes to the logistics, but the dream could be healing to some or many. The environment would be based on Maslow's Hierarchy, in that it would be safe, away from dangers of the world, filled with natural surroundings, and provide work even for those who need it (i.e. caring for the animals, gardens, trees, etc.).
As I think about such a place, I cannot help but wonder how it might benefit individuals to interact with one another, feel part of a small community that they can affect and mold. A place where they are accepted and with others with whom they have things in common. It's just a thought...