Sunday, November 30, 2003

Mapping the Internet

These images by Opte are really quite beautiful.

An explanation : New Scientist: Internet mapping project weaves colourful web .

The Opte project pages give more detail about the project. There is a link for "view and generate maps" and one that says "find yourself".

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Home again.

We are back from San Diego County, where we had a wonderful time with my sister and her husband- good food (she is a great cook and hostess) and good conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, but it is also nice to be back home.

Their home is on one peak of a set of hills forming a circle around a tiny valley in a larger zone of rolling hills. The geology of the area about ten miles away, looks like uplifted and eroded bedrock, very likely from ancient fault activity. This set of hills has a house on approximately each peak, and is filled with fruit tree groves. The whole area has the feel of being out in the country without being too far from civilization. When arriving, we saw a baby coyote out in the daytime as we traveled down the road that leads to their drive. There was no mother coyote in sight and though it moved up the hillside into the edge of the tree line, it didn't seem frightened, only curious, which was odd. But it served to reinforce effect of being out in the country.

We grew up in the country on a lake surrounded by forests, farmland and rolling hills, some of the largest in Indiana and some of it formed by similar ancient geologic activity. I have always felt most at home in Southern California in these same kinds of foothills and rolling hills. I suspect my sister has the same feelings and need to be located slightly outside and off the beaten path. I accomplished this to some degree, by moving to a town like area with a National Forest and mountain range behind me, rimmed by foothills and smaller ranges on the other sides that separate us from the larger bustle of Los Angeles valleys. I am too far away for coyote to venture into yards, but a 10 minute walk puts me in bobcat and coyote territory. Several minutes more and I am in mountain lion and bear territory.

Lately I have often thought about the fact that my sister is the only person in the world with a long shared history and background. We are at once very different but also similar. My uncle has known me longer, but not as well. My father (we share unbreakable emotional and legal bonds, but not genetics) has really only been around about a year longer than her and probably knows me from a different sense. I have been around all of her life, and have watched most of her changes, but she is short 5 years of being around all of mine. It is an odd feeling as time continues onward, to think in these terms. Perhaps others do it sooner, but for me this is a new concept of measurement and I am pretty sure that it is an age related frame of reference.

I wish we lived a little closer, as I would like to simply pop in my car and see her whenever I felt like it- not for us to reminisce about growing up, but to keep current, to weather the changes of age together. Unfortunately it has to be a planned event, not a spontaneous one. Maybe that will change at some point in the future.

I completely enjoyed seeing her, I always do, but it is also good to be home.

Home is where my pillows are exactly the ones that can be scrunched to fit my neck and shoulders the way I like them. Home is where I know what is in the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet for that late night snack, and where the utensils are located for fixing it. Home is where my old, frightened, grey cat comes out of hiding because we are back and he can relax and eat now and then snuggle up against me. He looked at me reproachfully earlier as he smelled the 5 dogs and 3 cats from my sister's on my clothes, but still snuggled up because that is our routine and that is where comfort is found. Home is where I can put on clothes that don't match but are comfortable and two pairs of sox instead of shoes when it is cold. Home is where chaos and disorder reign, and the nagging sense of things that need to be done is often a part of my mental state. But surrounded by my things, even in the state they are in, home is also where I can truly relax and feel completely comfortable. That feeling has probably increased as an age related thing too.

Going away for an overnight visit with my sister is wonderful. Coming home after is perhaps even better.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

It is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.
To all who are celebrating, I wish them a day filled with good food, loving family and friends. Cheers!

To missing friends and those far away, I will be thinking of you too, when I raise a glass.

I consider it a time to gather with family and friends, not to celebrate anyone's oppression, but there are those who don't agree. It does no good for anyone to hold hatred and resentment towards others for things past. It isn't forgetting history to forgive where forgiveness is needed. Honor yesterday by working to fix the present.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Clever words.

A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.

An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Warning from the website: "Since the material here represents the view of one individual and was written in the early years of this century, there will no doubt be material here that you will find sexist, nationalist, racist, or just generally offensive. Proceed at your own risk."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A quick find before leaving home.

Interesting little discussion here: "THE" PLACE NAME.

An opposing view of counseling.

Theodore Dalrymple reviews Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi: "He argues, in my view convincingly, that the extension of belief in 'therapy' is both symptomatic and productive of a profound change in human relations, and not for the better."

hmmm.... On the one hand I do see the dangers, depending on the therapist's views of the goal of therapy. But I also think that there are perspectives that take into account the need of humankind to be connected to others, have positive relationships, build communities and be and feel a part of something larger. I don't think that individual choice and self autonomy are exclusive of community, relationships, and shared values, but the cautions might make this book worth the read.

Monday, November 24, 2003

And a Monday Comes and Goes.

There are some things done, some things closer to being done and new problems to solve. I moved through this day a bit slower than some days for a variety of reasons that are mostly all my own doing.

I wandered blog to blog for a while, into Conscious-Living, and found a treasure of short things to think about.

From there I followed a link to a blog I read regularly (gassho) because I found it one time in one of these wandering sessions (now that I think about it, t'was a wandering mood not session, because I know exactly how I found it I think).

An entry that caught my eye contained the line: "innovation occurs at the intersections of communities", which is attributed to another place, but I would swear I have read it somewhere else. I just can't remember when or where....

... which led me wondering about my memory, as I do forget some small things fairly frequently, and then to thinking and wondering about how many things are probably buried and forgotten until something like this triggers them and even then what I get back is only partial. Is it only partial because I encoded it poorly to begin with? Or is it only partial because it wasn't used? Or because it is old? Or all of those things? What happens to all the information we never get back to using? Does it fade away over time to make space for other things? ...

... and back to the original thought, which was what does it mean really- innovation occurs at the intersections of communities? I think it can... but I don't think that is the only place it occurs. Innovation occurs in a lot of different ways for a lot of different reasons- by accident that is found to work or just does- survive, perform better; by need because there was no way to get there from the here that existed; by need when there is a way, but the resources aren't available.. and on and on.. at the intersections of community yes, but also in isolation, at random, by choice, by invention.

It is time for sleep. I would say something about tangents, but it would be redundant.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

SRF Temple experience.

By their own admission, the Self Realization Fellowship is a "religious organization". The professor said that it was a spiritual organization, specifically that it was not a religious one.

I believe there is a big difference. The various dictionaries don't make quite as large a distinction as I do though.


The part of me that has strongly ingrained American beliefs, was troubled by this assignment. No public university should require the completion of something like this unless offering a non-religious alternative or else if it were for a philosophy or religion class. I don't have a problem with it as a voluntary or extra credit assignment. I was offended (and my ancestors on all sides would be offended) that it was forced upon us.

But I went with the notion that I would find something of value in the experience. I chose the group meditation rather than the Sunday services, which are lectures.

A portrait of the founder (also on the webpage above) and Jesus took up center stage above what can only be described as an alter. There were four other large portraits there, including one of Gandhi, I think. The exhortations were to meditate on God. The song/chants were all about God. The "minister" wore vestments. The whole thing ended with "amen". The setting reminded me of every other religious fellowship worship service I have ever attended.

But overall, the experience this morning was ok. I enjoyed the meditation part even
if I was slightly uncomfortable to begin with sitting in standard church pews and listening to people sing/chant short bits about God. The time allotted for silent meditation was slightly longer than I normally spend meditating, so it was a little more difficult to come back to the usual level of consciousness. The manner of signaling the end of the meditation was interesting. There were tones played in a slightly increasing volume. This may be somewhat standard in group meditations, but since I normally meditate alone, it was unique for me.

I think I will create a CD or a tape of chimes or temple bells- first with decreasing volume and then a timed silence and then with a similar rising volume to signal the end. I stay in meditation for however long I stay, but it usually winds up being about 20 minutes, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer -depending on which of the various types of meditation I am using on any particular day. I am not sure that having a timed sequence is beneficial.. but it was a pleasant enough experience to return that way, that I may try it at home.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

November 22, 1963.

I was in the sixth grade on this day in 1963. Our teacher was called outside the room and predictably we all started talking, only softly because he was fairly strict and no one wanted to be caught doing something wrong upon his return. But when he came back into the room, he didn't actually see us. His eyes looked strange, his face was grayed and he was subdued beyond anything we had ever seen from him. "The president has been shot", he said. "Our president has been shot." After all these years, I can still see his face as he said those words.

I don't remember much about the rest of the day. I think we were sent home early. I wasn't told until I got home that the president was dead. I knew what the word assassination meant, but I thought it only happened in history books.

For a fair read about why Kennedy had such an impact on so many read this article by Ken Ringle at the Washington Post: The Day a Generation's Spirit Died.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Other people's agendas.

I need to attend one and preferably two lectures, meditations, or prayer services in one of these temples (linked below) as an assignment for the self assessment class- or I will not have enough points (80 required) even completing all the other assignments perfectly, to pass the class. This Sunday is the only time that it will fit in before the end of the quarter (and it doesn't really fit in this Sunday either)

While there might be some value to the SRF temple visit, I prefer to work on my spiritual side in my own way and under most circumstances as a solo pursuit. I prefer sweat lodges to group meditations. I prefer gatherings of a spiritual community that mean something to me, rather than strangers. I prefer communing with nature and meditations outdoors as often as possible, rather than sitting inside a building listening to someone tell me how to practice my spirituality.

I keep repeating to myself that "I will find something of value".
Self-Realization Fellowship Home Page

In an existential frame of mind...

"We love and will the world as an immediate, spontaneous totality. We will the world, create it by our decision, our fiat, our choice; and we love it, give it affect, energy, power to love and change us as we mold and change it. This is what it means to be fully related to one's world."

"Problems are the outward signs of unused inner possibilities."

"Adjustment as the purpose of therapy means that the therapist is the psychic policeman for the society, a role that I, for one, heartily detest."

~Rollo May.

More quotations by Rollo May can be found at: Quotations by existential psychologist Rollo May.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

End of Wednesday.

Small in final form,
lengthy in thinking This day
spent putting words to screen.

Printed and stapled
foundation clarified-
but still revisable.

sigh... not quite but almost haiku..

Dashing in and more on community from a different angle.

I fell asleep an hour after I got home, woke up a couple of hours later, so it seemed a good time to toss in a quick post.

In the discussion of community that was swirling around some circles recently and in opposition to some posts I have read about the self absorbed nature of blogs, this aspect of community that I have posted about on Corner, is worth a look. It is about a dispute that is an ongoing problem for Calblog. There are several links, and it is an example of the potential power of blogs when they unite around a problem of one or more. We will see what comes of it. Justene at Calblog has my support and sympathy.

I like the idea of leagues of bloggers united around loose commonalities. The whole idea of it intrigues me. On a social/psych sort of note, humans form communities of stronger or looser ties no matter where they are and these do seem to be another example.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

quotation for today.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams, "Last Chance to See"

Monday, November 17, 2003

Monday and I am behind before I start.

Blogging might be very slow the next few days. I didn't get everything done Sunday and the week is looking more and more tight, time wise. I enjoy the moments that I reflect about my studies and various other things here and there is a reward in knowing that there are a couple of people actually checking to see what I am doing and what I am thinking about. Thank you to those people.

Tonight was the self awareness class. Most of the time the topics are ones I have considered, but it is always good to revisit to see if there are any more layers I can expose in the understanding of self. The discussion tonight had several interesting topics, but only one stands out.

We all wrote anonymous questions that might be woman to a man or vice versa. The questions were then compiled and discussed in groups. One of the questions was 'why do women exaggerate their stories so much'. As it turns out, the questioner wanted to know why it takes so long for women to tell their stories as opposed to a man. The example was a man goes to the store to get something and if you ask him where he went the generalization is that he will tell you that he went to the store or at most he will tell you he went out to get such and such.
The stereotype is that a woman asked the same question will tell you what happened on the way there, what she saw, who she talked to and how they are doing and sort of incidentally will tell you about the item she bought, but then will probably tell you about the other item she almost bought and so on.. you get the idea of what the male who composed this question was thinking. It is a stereotype, but it also made me laugh because there is some truth to it in my experience.

I used to get these weird stares from my husband and son when answering a question. Their idea of an answer to most things is a three word maximum and will only sometimes be polite enough to listen to any longer version without demonstrating their impatience. There are more than a few exceptions to this, but I have grown used which things they want the longer answers to and try to shorten most things as much as I can. I can "do" their version of where have I been...
I guess in part that is why I blog.

RSS feeds and aggregators.

There are so many blogs that I have enjoyed a read or two and wanted to go back to in the future, that my browser was getting overwhelmed by favorite places. It takes a lot of time to check each and every one to see if there is content that I might want to spend time thinking about. There are the philosophical, the political, the eclectic, the people that I find interesting no matter which sort of content they are writing, the internal/external journey sort, the always have food for thought sort and so on. I have grown to depend on the online aggregator I use at Bloglines to quickly see if there are entries that I want to read and get the flavor of a new blog find to determine if it ought to be in a permanent category.

The problem is that not everyone has an rss/xml feed. I haven't been able to spend the time to set up one for myself and have wandered around to different places and found a few that will create one for me. The one that appears to be the best is Blogmatrix, but they won't create a feed for someone else.

Blogstreet is the next best for creating scraped feeds of others blogs. But they can't create a feed for everyone. Third choice is myRss, but their selection for a scraped feed is often whatever link one might put in their post or else it is the date only and the updates are only once a day.

Which ever one I use, I then put the created rss feed into the aggegator at Bloglines and can tell when the blog is updated and determine quickly if I want to read the entry. It is a real time saver and can be accessed from home or campus. If I were reading only from home, then I would see about one of the downloadable aggregators because their functionality might be better and I would include the news sources I read daily.

A blog I stumbled upon today is angelsandfrogs. I am still trying to create a feed but there appear to be several entries that I enjoyed enough that I want to check future entries.

I am still working on multiple papers and trying to catch up for the Saturday and Sunday morning away. We left one of our cars in the Fallbrook area to be fixed and my sister drove us home. That was 4 hours out of her Sunday. We will have to go back probably next weekend to pick up the car, and it makes no sense to drive that far and not see her even though we will be there for Thanksgiving too. I wish for the Star Trek transporters that would make it simple to get where we want to go.

Sunday, November 16, 2003


We just returned from a nice trip to the San Diego area visiting with my sister and her husband along with my aunt, uncle, father and step mother. My father and step mother drove out from Indiana a week ago to vacation a little with my aunt and uncle, and to visit her brother and one daughter. It was good to see everyone, as it has been quite a while.

It was a very nice little break, (good food, good conversation and love) but one that I will also be paying a price for, long into tonight and this week.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Letting the Day slip away.

I did do some work on my various papers this morning, but not much. I have found plenty of ways to procrastinate and some of them are mentioned at Corner of Babble. Now I have errands to run and don't know when or if I will get back to the paper and the other things I have on my mind.

Older and Growing had a post that gave me pause for thought. The passage he quotes is a very interesting read. I found myself wondering if I know of this seventh sense or if I do know and am resisting any urge to use that as my lens of perception in the end of my middle years. There is something about the tone that signals all sorts of things that seem opposite to my perception of life at this age and stage.

There were many tangents to pursue, if I wanted to (or felt like I could) use the time today that way... Two that quickly come to mind:
Life has many grey areas. We usually do learn to navigate those grey areas in a way that recognizes the inconsistencies and knows when to ignore which of them and that we are ignoring some of them. Life is also finite. We do need to learn to recognize that and accept it for whatever it means to us. Perhaps that is the greyest area of all- that it means something different about what we should do next - to each of us.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

On Perception.

"People are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them." ~Epictetus (1st Century AD, Stoic philosopher)
(as cited by Albert Ellis 1995, stated by Gerald Corey, 2001 in Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy). I remember studying the Stoics in philosophy, and thinking that it tracked with some of my views on life.

I must make some final choices for the paper I have to write describing which, what and why (from the ten most used, most well known that the course covered) of the theories that have the best fit with my life philosophies, beliefs and values. I need to limit my choices for a couple of reasons, even if I believe that in the future I will be an eclectic sort of counselor, using the tools that seem to suit the needs of the client in front of me. One is that I do need an understanding of my particular foundation(s)- the place where my subjective nature will look first and feels most comfortable. At this moment, the more important reason is that I have to complete this paper, this weekend, and not have a 30 page project.

Of course I have been making notes all along. Existential psychology probably fits fairly well with my life view except for one key component. I don't think guilt and anxiety are necessary components of the human condition, nor do I feel comfortable with the belief that we have anxiety because of our awareness of our aloneness, finiteness and our responsibility for making the choices for our life. I don't think that is a never sort of cause for anxiety, but I don't believe that it is necessarily an essential cause or that everyone has this anxiety.

Rationale for my other choices will probably appear over the next day or so. Cognitive/Behavioral has to be among them- existential choice, plus practical ways to look at current problems; Adlerian, and others.

I have three other projects to work on for my academic studies this weekend. My father is in the area (from the Midwest) so I will be visiting him on Saturday too, driving to the San Diego area where my sister lives. It will be a busy weekend and Sunday is likely to be a late night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A real thunderstorm tonight.

The scene in parts of Los Angeles tonight was heavy rain, hail that came down for an hour (not minutes) and an unusual amount of lightning strikes (normal average is 1 or 2 per storm; over 100 tonight) that caused many power outages. I decided to turn off my computer thinking the storm was headed my way, but it never arrived. We only got a little light rain that was intermittent.

The pictures in real time of hail piled up in yards and on rooftops, looked exactly like snow. The street flooding in some areas had water up to people's car lights. Our streets frequently flood briefly and flash floods aren't that uncommon, as we aren't really equipped for a lot of rain in a short amount of time. But it was still a very unusual event. Storm Track. I suspect that Thursday's entries for some local blogs will have much better pictures than ABC7. If I find any tomorrow, I will post links.

The power of nature always fascinates me. I like wild thunderstorms and strong winds, as long as I can stay close to home and don't have to drive.

Today was an entire day of studying and academic writing. Tomorrow is another long day and creativity has flown the coop at this stage. Weather is about all I can manage to write about. The goal now is an almost adequate amount of sleep for the night and hopefully some good dreams that I remember in the morning.

Rewards and reinforcements.

Being exceptionally tired tonight, I will quick post a few thoughts/notes from my behavioral counseling class tonight, and call it a day..

The primary subject tonight was about reinforcements again, the consequences of the antecedent, behavior, consequence sequence. In the context of changing (eliminating or adding) a self behavior (but it works to encourage other people too), one of the things we have to remember is to reward ourselves frequently on an immediate, continuous basis for the little progress/goals towards the new behavior. If the goal/behavior is a large one or complex, then every time we succeed at parts of it, we deserve a reward. If it is a simple new task to add, then each time we do the new behavior we give ourselves a reward.

There are several reasons for this, but one thing was emphasized and struck me as something I don't do often enough for myself- I get locked in a routine that is all work and no immediate rewards. That might work for a while as long as one keeps the end goal in mind, but enough time spent that way and life goes flat- and while we may keep working, there really isn't any reinforcement in the now for continuing.

Rewards/Reinforcements are individual, and they don't have to be huge things. I don't find enough time (none since the end of summer) for reading fiction and I have a love of reading that goes back to my childhood. I can get lost in a book and be completely absorbed and transported. For me an hour or two spent reading fiction would be a reward. In a similar vein, I like sunsets. Simply remembering to go out and watch the sunset in silence and feel the wind on my face is a reward. Another of mine is stopping at the florist to purchase a single flower. I am sure you have your own.

More on this later as my brain is pretty fogged. Not enough sleep, days that are too long and no immediate rewards, makes Stormwind very subdued.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Food for thought.


and just below it a haiku that I liked.

There are many more entries that merit mention.

Haiku interests me. I write bad haiku but find attempting to write them, to be addicting. I have noticed several different styles of English language haiku. Some follow the 5-7-5 format, some follow that format and include seasonal references as the Japanese do. Some use different structure. I have found a couple of places that are haiku blogs and a site called tiny words that will send out a daily haiku. Gassho's is very good.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Garbage in, garbage out.

"A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind."
~James Allen, from As A Man Thinketh

The nature of community and interaction via blogs.

I ran across a post at Jeremy Hiebert's headspaceJ -- Instructional Design and Technology that linked to this post and this one at blog.IT which prompted this post at Object Learning.

The topic of community interests me and I think that Brian at Object Learning makes some of the points I might have made about Evans musings as well as many that I wouldn't have thought about. The whole topic is worth some more thought but these are my initial ones and I duplicated this post to Corner of Babble. (They usually have different readers and the topic might be of interest to both)

Evan is right that a lot of the time it isn't a conversation that we are engaged in so much as a conversation about each other, though most have a comment or two to add when they link to someone else. And if no one comments on our posts or links back to them adding their thoughts, or we don't know that they have or don't feel comfortable initiating contact with someone whose posts we have thoughts about, then the community aspect is difficult to feel or see.

I think that it might have something to do with our particular motivation and approach to the world though. If we are reticent about commenting on others blogs (something I sometimes have a difficulty with myself until I feel some comfort level with who they appear to be by what they write), they might not stumble across ours and share in our conversation.

But even when we know who is linking to us, participate in commenting on others blogs and they ours, it is a loose community of interests and the bonds that might be created are not necessarily as strong as a newsgroup or BB. It takes more effort to create and maintain a connection here.

And that sends me off on a half a dozen different tangents...

I may post more about this after I think about it.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Ok, I'll play.

If you begin with Andy's post at Older and growing... but first read the history of the various bloggers on this topic,

( via Andy: The current dialogue began here, was picked up here, here, and here, and echoed in a parallel thread here.) ...

... then this is a part of my response. I don't know if I will have time to pick up the thread again, but if the topic continues I will try to keep up.

In its strictest sense one's persona is the outward self we present to the world. It has variously been called a facade of the whole person, a shell of the person- the mask we wear to face the world. Within the persona are the roles we adopt in daily life and the ways we respond to others. At times some people forget that they are neither the role nor only the outward projection they present to others. And there are some reinforcing aspects in our use of different personas in different environments.

I would suggest that there is a need within most if not all of us, to be understood in a full sense without the masks and that there is danger when we ignore the truth of ourselves that these are only pieces and not the whole. I could go on a tangent about the uses of personas and how it can be functional at times to adopt certain roles in and during the moments we need them. But those are thoughts for another time.

I think Andy is right- we must work harder online in a text only world, to reveal the things that others might see in person.

But in working a little harder, we might actually reveal more of our inner selves than perhaps others notice in person.

It is true that there are people, who are completely different in person than online, but I am not sure that doesn't also reveal something secret about the person who is perceived in that manner. For if we are very different online than off, we may be pretending online to be something we wish to be in the rest of our lives or hiding something that we don't wish others in face to face interactions, to see about ourselves or we have some hidden agenda that we don't wish anyone to see. There are likely more reasons and from a psychological perspective, they might be interesting to explore, but that is another tangent.

I have run across "fake" persons online. In some places they are more abundant than in others. We run across "fake" persons in the face to face world too. They are the con artists and manipulators of the world. They are the insecure folks who are very afraid that we won't like them. And they are the ones who want something from us that they know or think we would not willingly give.

In a world of text, the body language, facial expressions, vocal inflections and other mannerisms we use to interpret the spoken word are missing and we feed a bit of our own perceptions into the blank places to compensate. We may use other things to add some context, such as webspace design or links that the person finds interesting or the shape and color of the text they use, even the smiley faces they insert in instant message conversations. We fill in the rest of the blanks with what we think should be there- based entirely on our own perceptions about the face to face world and if we have been around a while, our perceptions of the online world as well.

I don't think this makes online "personas" more likely to be faked any more than face to face personas are faked. I think that makes this just one more place that we use masks to face the world. I think the masks might have as many holes online as off, once you get used to looking for them.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The hard part of the week ends on a Thursday.

Well, the hard part sort of ends on a Thursday. It isn't the classes themselves, it is the driving, being gone for 11-12 hours and then studying more after I get home that cause me to call it the hard part. The part where I spend the next three days reading, writing and working on projects in between putting on my other hats to work on the routine things that make a home run more smoothly- begins now. Reading, writing and thinking are the easy parts. Time to get to it all is really the hard part.

The theories class is my favorite this quarter. I will have more to say later, but the various cognitive and behavioral perspectives will have a place in my "toolbox". Cognitive and existential fit with my views of life and our existence, but there is something of value in all the perspectives depending on the client in front of me and their needs. I still have to choose a best fit and write about it for the class, though I can choose more than one if I can explain why in the context of my beliefs. I have to start the paper this weekend along with projects and papers for every other class. There are a few more of the most used theories left to discuss in the next few weeks, and we are getting into areas that I have less knowledge about. It should be interesting.

I am just getting around to the various newsletters and daily food for thought that I subscribe to from the past week. This was in the November 5, 2003, Quotes of the Day:

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
-- Bill Cosby

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Where we meet up.

Accepting that reality is subjective and individual for each of us, no matter if there are or aren't objective truths about it that can be discovered, what interests me the most are the intersections of your reality and mine... and the dance we create when it happens.

Finally today, I am getting around to some of the emails I owe to so many old friends and new ones. Please be patient. I will get to them all. Each dance is important to me.

Quotation and quick mentions that crossed my path today.

S/he* who would move mountains, begins by carrying away small stones. ~~Chinese Proverb

* yes, yes, modernized pronoun chosen by me..

Tuesday's are simply very long days for me. There were many thoughts today, yet little time to write or really sit and think....
Things I bookmarked to go back and read again included
"Pull bar to raise"
from Older and growing which I think will be a phrase I remember for a long time, and on an entirely different note, "Laughter Yoga" from Abyssal Mind.
Beyond how laughter makes us feel in the moment, there are wonderful mood enhancing brain chemicals that are released and linger in our system when we smile or laugh. There is some research (that I don't have a link to at the moment), which suggests that even faking a smile will release some of those same brain chemicals- enough that if we do it long enough, we can alter any underlying negative mood.

There were more thoughts that I tried to write earlier and thought provoking reads- tangents of course- but sleep beckons... and dreams.. which reminds me of something I found at whiskey river.. but I think you will have to discover the less obvious links by yourself. The page has many.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Abyssal Mind

Abyssal Mind :"Do what you want" is Useless: "The more interesting issue to me is not whether I should do what I want, but how can I change what I want so that life works better. By surrounding ourselves with ideas that have lasting meaning we modify our desires, sometimes changing ourselves so much it is like putting on a new mind. "

Well said and an interesting issue to examine. I agree that we always do what we want- by choosing or even by appearing not to choose and consciously or subconsciously for either. With examination of our own particular programming and doing exactly what is said - "surrounding ourselves with ideas that have lasting meaning", we can change our perceptions, thought patterns and actions completely.

"I can't complain but sometimes I still do, Life's been good to me so far".

My car (like its owner perhaps?) apparently doesn't like the cold and rain. I am home working on papers due later in the week because of a little glitch in maintenance. It seems fixed now and ready for the next round. We have gone from 100 degree temps a week or so ago, to rain and temps in the upper thirties (F) tonight. Fall has arrived in Los Angeles. Of course, one should remember when Angelenos complain about rain and cold they are talking about rain which mostly requires the intermittent setting on the windshield wipers and temps in the 35-62 F range. We whine about anything that isn't the average mid seventies to low eighties temps and sunny days. We know how nice we have it, but like the line from the Joe Walsh song- "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.."- we do. A week ago it was the fires, now it is the cold and rain that are helping to finish off the last of the fires- there is no pleasing us.

Tonight's project is one for the behavioral class. I am trying to figure out new antecedents to target to add a desired behavior - or I am trying to figure out which antecedents are the ones involved in procrastinating the desired behavior.... target is working on housework and home projects during the week. I find that I study (the bulk of the time- and I like studying), blog, answer emails read and research instead of being superwoman.

You can't eat off my floors (or well you could sometimes, but that is an entirely different meaning) or miss the fingerprints on certain windows or the clutter that seems to grow when I am not looking. And my weekends are often spent in non stop work. I don't like it like that, but I have so far found ways not to make it any easier. We can be our own worst enemies.

Lyrics "Life's Been Good", by Joe Walsh watch out this is on a purple background that does strange things to my eyes.
Elyrics4U- same song, easier on the eyes background.

Another late night.

I was going to blog about some of the particulars of an assignment that I worked on today, but instead I am going to have to think a little more about how much of them to post. It wasn't that I didn't have answers that made things difficult, or that I didn't want to explore the topics (most of them I have explored previously, but answers change over time), but rather that I had confidentiality concerns about many of them. I don't remember any assurances in this class- unlike any others I have taken in counseling or psychology- that my answers would be held in confidence exactly as if I were in a therapy session.

I am normally very open about most anything in my life- if you ask, I will probably share- but there are things and ways and then there is how one explores within oneself. I don't hide the truth, but I might not share the details in full.

There is a certain amount of angst in the primary relationship in my life. I wrote some bad poetry that is posted online on another page of mine, that expressed the state/stage of things, though not necessarily the emotions. Some of the answers for this assignment were difficult. But in the end, I also found some very positive things to say- but better yet, that I hadn't realized I felt. And that might just be a very good thing.

It is useful to explore the preconceptions and possibly even false notions about relationships, authentic love, intimacy, and identity. In long term relationships perhaps it is even more important from time to time to do it again, to make sure that one still understands these things and where things have changed.

A sampling of some of the questions from two chapters on love and relationships:

What did you learn about love in your family of origin?
How do you express your love to others?
How do you let another person know your own need to receive love, affection and caring?

It is worth it to love because-
List some of the meanings of love to you-
Think of someone you love. What specifically do you love about that person?

What are some of the ways in which you see yourself as evolving in your relationships?
Are you resisting growth and change by sticking with some old and comfortable patterns, even if they don't work? What are they?
How is the person with whom you are most intimate changing or resisting change?

Are you satisfied with the relationship you have just described? If not what would you like to change?

How did your family of origin deal with conflict? What did that teach you?
How do you deal with anger directed toward you?
How do you express your anger in your current relationships?

To what degree are you able to forgive yourself for any of your past regrets?

Complete the following:
To me, intimacy means-
The most important thing in making an intimate relationship successful is-
The thing I fear most about an intimate relationship is-
When an intimate relationship becomes stale, I usually-
One of the reasons I need another person is-
One conflict that I have concerning intimate relationships is-
In an intimate relationship it is unrealistic to expect that-
To me commitment means-

These are only a sampling of the ones I answered, but if you haven't considered them before, they are worth thinking about.
edited to add that the text and questions are from "I never knew I had a Choice", 7th ed., Gerald Corey, Marianne Schneider Corey, Wadsworth Group, 2002.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Internal dialogue.

Once again, I am up after midnight. Note to self- late nights do not work well with the schedule this quarter! I am catching up on reading newsletters, research updates and blogs and stumbled on this.

"Every time I hear or read these lyrics, I am reminded of how I pass through life. Often I realize that my worries are exactly must that...MY worries, and everything related to them (well, almost everything) is going on in my head, in my conversations with me, and that I can, in fact, choose what to say to myself...just as my self can choose what to say to me: ..." From Wirearchy: Musn't Grumble, Mustn't Grumble, Mutter Grumble .

I am mostly a glass half full sort of person, but everyone has days that test optimism and the ability to see through, under, over or around obstacles. Over the years, I found that with meditation a part of the regular routine, I am significantly more positive on those kinds of days. Of course, adequate sleep and a reasonably regular schedule for sleep and meals play a big role too.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Song that keeps running in my head.

I really like this song by Sarah McLachlan, so I had to find the lyrics online: Sarah McLachlan :: lyrics:

"Heaven Bend to take my hand
And lead me through the fire
Be the long awaited answer
To a long and painful fight
Truth be told I tried my best
But somewhere long the way
I got caught up in all there was to offer
But the cost was so much more than I could bear

Though I've tried I've fallen
I have sunk so low
I messed up
Better I should know
So don't come round here and
Tell me I told you so" ...