Peripheral Awareness

NOTE: 

Enter for a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise, book 2 in the Gaia’s Majesty Series.

Email me your entry at roger.burt@earthlink.net

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Do you think life experiences shape your future?

Building Perceptions and Expectations

It seems unlikely that many of you would say life experiences do not shape us. It depends upon the experience and how substantial the meaning is. Only occasionally is it profound and mostly the day to day does little to shape us except in aggregate. Too many interpersonal rejections and people go into hiding whether it is global, social or seeking a love life. Sometimes, though, there is something deep down. And it may be that we can see the deep down and the profound in fiction. And sometimes we do, indeed, see it in our own life.

An Early Lesson

When I was sixteen my father went on a cleanup campaign and since I was the son who was generally amenable I joined in. There was a dead limb over the drive that needed removal so I went up the ladder. I hit my elbow, destabilized and fell fifteen feet to an asphalt drive. When my father got to me he found my heart had stopped. Being a surgeon, he was able to restart it. He later shared his personal devastation at having almost lost his son under such circumstances. Something deep inside me had changed. It was decades later that I learned what.

There It Was Again

Decades later I was coming home from the office late at night. There was a slow moving pickup in front of me. Then around the sharp curve ahead a speeding black SUV swerved into the pickup. The truck sailed off the road and the SUV continued straight at me. Then he swerved, went off the road and came back in directly in the center of my driver’s door.

Being Strange

My personality is a little strange. I remember things people generally forget—such as trauma. If you are old enough to have listened to stories on the radio, you will recall car accidents meant screeching tires and breaking glass. No such thing. The crash I experienced was a mind numbing thud. My left leg exploded as the bones disintegrated. Flashing through my mind were the words, “that should do it.” I know that’s odd.

I had sustained a concussion, broken ribs, a spinal injury, broken left arm and the worst closed femur fracture Shock Trauma in Baltimore had ever seen. Over the coming days every single vision and feeling of the accident came back to awareness.

When I regained consciousness in the car the pain was so intense it cannot be described. Being sealed in a destroyed car with such pain causes a feeling of intense loneliness which I had never experienced before nor since. I crawled into the right side of my body to get away from it and stayed there for twenty years until I was coaxed out by an oriental therapy. The next morning I awakened with my wife at my side while I waited for the first of many surgeries. Again, something was different.

Determinism

At the time it was popular to believe everything that happened to you was of your choosing. In the car I considered and decided that was nonsense and I would waste no energy on such an exploration. I had a wife and four children and I was going to crawl out of the “Pit of Hell”.

The surgeries over the coming years were devastating and since I became friends with the staff they shared how frequently I had died and was brought back in the surgeries. 

Life Energy

Through it all I learned about energy. Often all the energy I had was to hang onto life. The pain was so intense, it was a year before I could turn over in bed. At last victory came and, in time, I finally began to walk again.

The bottom line is that I learned about loneliness and death. I’m not into pain but death holds no fear for me. Naturally I don’t want to leave my loved ones but death is in another sphere. As your energy subsides there is a serenity related to inevitability that may not be under your control at all. I fought back frequently but am left with an understanding about an end, an ebbing of life and peace. Nothing about it stands up to description. It simply is and, quite honestly, I find it reassuring.

What explorations have you had?

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called:Women in Power Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called:Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

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The Tyranny of Older White Men

 

The Rule of Men

Throughout history mostly it is older men who have ruled. They sent their people into endless wars, took the riches for themselves and dominated women. Currently in America the domination is clearly in the hands of older white men. While I am an older white man my eyes remain on a time of discovery I had over fifty years ago.

Forced Awareness

Early in life can be a time of discovery but it may also may be a time of innocence from which we have to recover. For me the awakening came in stages. While I am an intuitive personality type and seek what may be, I also begin with an acceptance of how things are until forced to reassess. As I have said, moving to North Carolina in the 1960s was a time of coming to see entrenched racism  But when I took the job in the impoverished inner city of Baltimore it became a time of new discovery.

End of Innocence

I had never been close to poverty and what I saw in Baltimore was deeply disturbing. But I thought there was hope. I had taken the job to bring much needed mental health services through the dynamic community mental health movement. How naive we all were!

Our staff was a racially mixed batch of twenty somethings both male and female. We had been given a structure that we had to dispense with immediately. It was a grand idea but we had come not understanding that the biggest enemy of mental health was poverty. We had to implement a whole new agenda.

The Grand Impediment

We went to work to respond to how things were and what was needed but there were people who did not see it our way. The management of the program was in the hands of men in the university and the state. Those systems were ruled by older white man who cared not at all for our mission. They basked in the glory of having gained the grant from the federal government and wanted to use the funds as they saw fit, not as they were needed. We were young, dedicated and intransigent.

Some Examples

The mental health system generally worked on two levels. There were people who could pay for services or use insurance to get mental health services. Then there were the impoverished people. At the time in Baltimore they were seen by psychiatric residences who generally did not give therapy but medication. And these people were seen as being there for helping to train medical students who passed through on six week rotations. The students knew nothing about the real life of these people and six weeks is much too short to really begin to work with an individual or a family. We found a variety of ways to block the residents and medical students from dominating our program. For that we were not at all popular.

My “Elevation”

We had a resident in our unit who did not particularly like his job and shortly he resigned. By then our intransigence was known but I was elevated to head the unit. I knew it was not an accolade. Psychologists fall just below psychiatric residents in the metal health hierarchy so I was next in line. The new position was fine with me and the staff but was clearly not an affirmation of my abilities. But it put me, along with my staff, in a position to see the operations of senior staff were actually not in the interests of our clientele.

The Bottom Line

I could go into extensive details but the point is already made. My naivete was gone. In my twenties I saw the domination of older white men as they served their own interests and not the interests of the people. This lesson has been carried forward through my life and I consider it entrenched corruption. 

The other major event was the women in the program who began to work for their empowerment. My support of that movement has also been carried forward. I believe their empowerment is going to be important in overcoming the often corrupt rule of older white men.

These life lessons fueled my interest in writing my magical realism series, Gaia’s Majesty. 

The Overlords represent the older white men I had seen and the activist women the dedicated women I had seen and suggested the future I believe we must see.

In time the dedicated and rebellious twenty somethings moved on and were replaced by more compliant staff. The system and the innovation collapsed and it moved back to the origin system. The breadth and revolution had been destroyed. What has not changed is that we are still ruled by the older white men. Need I say I believe its time to have them taken down from power?

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Guns in America

 

Standing Alone

With the extent of gun violence America stands alone in the world. The time to do something about it is long overdue which should be apparent to everyone. But it is clear that gun manufacturers are in control of Congress and the president.

At Least There Is A Debate

Currently we are debating about options. One of the options relates to mental health. As a psychologist I have an opinion which is relevant.

A First Question

It is relevant to ask if mental health problems are at issue for the perpetrators. It would be absurd to assume it is not, All we need to do is look at their history, their rantings and their claims and it is clear that they are unstable and dysfunctional in a variety of ways. Then comes another question.

Can We Respond With Mental Health Treatment

The simple answer is “NO”. First of all we have no viable way to screen for the issues, the instability and the intent among many other factors. Then, if we could determine that the person is a danger we would have to ask if we can make them get help. The answer is also “NO”. No one can be forced to accept treatment in a meaningful way and even if we could force it they are capable of not responding.

Taking The Option Off The Table

While it would be desirable to get help for these people for many reasons, it is almost impossible to identify them. The answers to the problem of gun violence lies elsewhere.

The First Step

Most of these mass shootings involve assault rifles. Military people are clear with us. Assault rifles are weapons meant for the use of the military to create mass casualties in war time. They do not belong in the hands of ordinary citizens.

The Way Ahead Is Clear

Assault weapons must not be in the hands of ordinary citizens and should not be for sale to the public. The ammunition likewise should not be available for purchase. These are the first clear steps.

Our Focus

The National Rifle Association is clearly in the hands of gun manufacturers. Likewise there are many people in our government who are doing their work for them. They must be voted out of office.

The Way Ahead

Our direction is clear. Mental health is an issue but one which we cannot use for greater impact. The weapons of war must not  be sold. We need to clear our political house and remove politicians who do not serve the public interest.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

A New Movement

 

A New System

There is a new movement concerning how we handle problem issues in our personal lives. That may mean the things we have called mental illness. It’s about time.

As a psychologist I’ve had to wrestle with my profession and the allied profession of psychiatry. Fundamentally I’m not a huge fan of the term mental illness. Obviously no one would be enthusiastic about mental illness. But I’m talking about my reservations about the whole concept and how we respond to problems and crises in our lives.

Long ago we dragged problems assumed to be associated with demonic possession and related issues away from the church and gave it to the medical professions. Not a bad idea but it is long overdue to reformulate our concepts. Time for a redefinition.

Down With Mental Illness!

Certainly there are biochemical issues which can be devastating. I’m thinking of such things as schizophrenia. But there are also a class of problems with varying severity we all have to contend with. Then recently I heard a discussion about new approaches.

The people presenting were fundamentally talking about management. They pointed out, for example, that anxiety is a significant problem for many people and probably all of us from time to time. There are a number of diagnoses associated with anxiety. But there is the suggestion that we need to approach it differently. Certainly it can be a major problem but it is also useful in that it alerts us to danger and problems and pushes us to seek cause and management. Now that is a conceptualization I like.

Life Management

We may have a life coach but we actually need to conceive of ourselves as in the business of life management for ourselves. We tend to do it in our day to day lives when we take time off, go to the gym or give ourselves a treat. But management goes well beyond that.

We have to understand how we are. Introverts manage their tendency to withdraw. They come to understand that they are much more comfortable when they are clear how they should react and manage a situation. I remember Johnny Carson talking about how introverted he was. But night after night he went before an audience as a comedian. He spoke at one point about how well it worked when he was well prepared and knew what he was doing exactly. He knew how to manage it and he looked like an extravert.

Specific Issues

Extraverts have to learn to back off with some people and be engaging but not too engaging. For more serious issues we have PTSD and Autism for example. The new movement is taking a different approach. 

PTSD is, in many ways, completely understandable. If you live day to day being forced to kill people or trying not to be killed, it is going to take a toll. A change of perspective rather than seeing oneself as a failure for reacting is helpful. Also there are ways to help a person decondition with exposure to specific stimuli. These examples merely hint at productive approaches.

Then there is autism. When we listen to the issues autistic people deal with, each of us will identify specifics which are at issue for us as well. The difference may be of degree and the number of different issues present. Managing in discrete areas  will help.

Stepfamilies pose another set of issues. Often everyone in the family is making a life change adjustment at the same time. It’s very stressful and requires attention to management for adults and children. Is it pathological or a mental illness? Of course not. It requires understanding and management.

The Bottom Line

New thinking is leading us away from the concept of mental illness. Now it seems we are turning to management when we use such things as exposure to stimuli, cognitive behavior management. We can now stop threatening people with stigma and help them manage their lives in new ways. At last!

What are your primary life management issues?

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

We Created The Cartels & Crisis At Our Border

 

On Our borders

It is important for us to step back and look at the real reasons we have a crisis on our southern border. We have people coming to our country seeking a new life in many parts of our country but our attention is focused on our southern border.

Stepping Back 

Again we need to step back away from the proclamations regarding politics. The reality is that this crisis has been building for decades and our lack of vision is primarily responsible for it. For much of my career as a psychologist it was inevitable that I would help deal with the problems related to drugs and addiction. 

Looking at Some Elements of the Basic story

It felt like it came out of nowhere but suddenly there was marijuana and the opportunity to use it as a recreational drug. I have to admit I tried it. It made me very hungry and so I would eat a great deal. After just two episodes I walked away. I didn’t want to weigh 400 pounds.

But many did like it. It has been decades now and we are finally legalizing it for recreational and medicinal purposes. But a lot of damage has been done. Drug cartels seized a significant opportunity. They could sell marijuana and offer other addictive drugs. Their businesses grew.

A major focus of their basic business operations was in Central America and it had  devastating effects on those countries.

The problems grew and grew as the cartel activities impacted Central America and our country. For awhile we offered some help to Central America but not enough. For some time I consulted with a drug treatment program and saw the widespread and diverse effects.

The Opioid Problem

And more recently we have seen another issue. There are always people who suffer chronic pain for one reason or another. Management is challenging and there are many responses. Unfortunately, the big drug companies saw an opportunity and they pushed the marketing of highly addictive drugs. And with little awareness the medical profession too often gave out prescriptions which made matters worse. And as a country we failed to look at the issue and develop the important set of needed responses.

Immigration Crisis

Our population has been manipulated. Suddenly there is a distinct increase in opposition to immigration.  I’m of mostly northern European origins except for my 1.5 % West African component. Another whole story there. My people came here 250-300 years ago. Then came the Irish, Italians, Germans and on and on. And suddenly we have objections to the arrival of latinos?

The cartels have created a dangerous atmosphere which is driving desperate people out of their home countries. Of course they are desperate and we have major responsibility for their plight. And in response are abusing their children and tearing their families apart.

Rather than engage in immoral attacks on vulnerable and desperate people we need a clear plan of management which includes significant aid of all kinds to those Central American countries. The cartels need to be defeated, our management of the issues improved and we need to resume a humane and MORAL response.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge