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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dreams of shadows, Dreams of light

She said "I've heard you flying high on my radio"

I answered "It's not all it seems"

That's when she laughed and she said, "It's better sometimes

When we don't get to touch our dreams"   -Harry Chapin "Sequel"

Dreams have very much been the center of my week. Dreams of making things happen, dreams in the concept of hoping and dreams in the sense of nightmares. Watching people have dreams achieved and shattered all at the same time. Being a part of helping people rebuild their dreams after they have been shattered. 

    So I decided to think about dreams. Not the nightmare ones that keep us awake or feeling unrested in the morning, but the sort of dreams that people dream towards and work towards. I know that I keep going back to taxonomy every week. Why should some achieve such lofty possessions and are evil in mind and heart? Why are they cherished in the workplace but will stab you in a heartbeat if you don't conform. It looks like they succeed and the other fails. I have a hard time with that concept. Always have and likely always will.

   Let us look at a dream of shadow and darkness and a dream of light:  "Bad things happen to good people". I know that I have said that before and I still believe it and always will. I also believe that the converse is true. I have observed people have their hopes, goals and dreams trampled on by people and it hurts to watch. Is the Dream, really being able to run for Prime Minister, have 2 cars, live in the suburbs and 1.5 children with a white picket fence and a 48inch (min) plasma tv? More I reflect on that taxonomy, its one of lust and greed and gluttony. Maybe next week I will touch on Dante's 7 Deadly Sins. Seems like a good topic. My happiness is watching a student pass me and excel and someone with a good heart achieve what they want. Watching another denigrate that happiness due to envy (another Deadly Sin) angers me to no end.

   We are losing ourselves and thats a sad place to be. The eyes of a child, the caring person that listens and helps others, the altruism, the gentle hand and soft word.... is a dream. That dream went by for so many people and maybe its time its time to set our horizons back again. Going for a walk, enjoying a hug and appreciating the outdoor and giving back. It does come back, but why is it so darn hard in society to reach for the wrong dreams and be unsatisfied? Dreams of shadows, dreams of light.

  Dreams can be light and they can be shadowy and elusive. Maybe, just maybe we are trying too hard for the wrong objectives. Maybe we just need to listen more to the people with good hearts and go back to basics. Just maybe "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. " Isa 2:4 and Mic 4:3 Maybe we can subsititute the words to say "They will not speak or act ill to others but practice kindness. People will focus on altruism, compassion, awareness and kindness instead of spite, greed, envy and malice." Maybe we can help each other more, vs hindering each other. Maybe I'm a dreamer, but this is one I wouldn't mind touching.

   Be yourself, often and be gentle.


---Joel Lamoure March 2010 


11:21 am edt 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Demeanor OR an Ode to Bullies.

   Demeanor.... How a person behaves to another. Love how the word "mean" is secreted in the word. Mean can be defined as an act of hate or malice towards another human being, usually cloaked directly or indirectly by acts or lack of action that negatively impacts on someone else. I enjoy the fact that the word mean can reflect an individual that is base (meaning without refinement) in the context of "having or showing and ignoble lack of honor or morality". I just had to paraphrase that last one as it illustrates my point.

   All this time I have been extolling issues like taxonomy, the rose and the gift of giving and helping hands and simple analysis of appreciating the small things, with a hint of literacy thrown in when Swineburne's poem contained within "Chorus" from Atlanta in Calydon. Today its the opposite side of the coin and the winter and darkness side that exists in differing percentages in different people. Some individual are mainly winter and darkness of night and others mainly summer and the light of day. But I do feel the percentages do exist in each of us, and fluctuates a small amount across time.

   To pull it all together, this creates indvidualism but a person full of darkness is so full of that darkness there is little room for light unless it relates to advancing their own agenda. Per wit they can turn it on and off at will. Bullying fits into here quite well. Hurt others to make yourself feel good. Hurt the underprivileged, the different and those that do not conform. A blend of overt and covert... by physical intimidation to gossiping.... it all hurts and mirrors back negative, and negative karma I believe. Stigma, labelling and bullying hurt. I see that all the time in my clinical practice in psychiatry. What is worst is when my patients say that and no one believes them. Almost like a Munchausen syndrome by proxy in regards hurting someone so you dont get hurt and you get the attention. Inflicting that pain on others and you end up looking like the caring caregiver or spouse. If you are a bully or engage in bullying behaviours then you are forcing your will on others overtly or covertly and trampling on another's individuality or differences or skillsets. Not cool. Its the opposite of collaboration and understanding and teamwork.

   Frankly, when I say be yourself, often as my catchphrase... I mean it. But then ask what are the price of your actions?

   My "Ode to Bullies": If you are a bully or engage in bullying behaviours, I want to avoid you and you are dampening the light of my day and the gifts that are out there. If we have to deal with a bully, please dont expect me to be nice to you, as I dont trust you. If I am civil to you, its because I have to in school or work. I dont deserve to have to fear you. If I flinch, its because you have hurt me. If I dont talk to you, its because you have mocked me overtly or covertly. If I dont do you a favour, its because you have trampled on my basic rights. If Im not your friend, its because you arent. You really arent that big or important physically or besides in your own mind. Sorry to tell you that. If you hurt me, I am sorry for your loss of my friendship and all the base vitriol you have inside. You lose.

   Be yourself, often. 


--- Joel Lamoure March 2010 

8:54 am edt 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blending Tempus fugit with Primum non nocere

    This is one of the first times I have thoughts but no real coalescing title to call it that is slick and catchy, or maybe thats self delusional. 0200 tomorrow is Daylight Savings Times, so I could write on time escaping us. Or the deep gift of Forgiveness from slain OPP Constable Pham's spouse yesterday which was an incredible outpouring of compassion, love and understanding in the worst of situations. Or the simple gift of forgiveness some people have when they have been wronged but they can see through the other person's eyes. Or the desire to do your best and step in where others haven't, can't or mainly won't be bothered.

  Maybe this week all of the above should be considered and take learnings from the books as major and minor history unfolds all around us. The cardinal aspect here is to be your best which will pay dividends to do your best for others and to help make a difference. I believe in the universality of approaches so things and actions that are small are applied at a larger level if people take their blinders off and see the incredible gifts that people have and sacrifices they make. Extra hours, extra duties, a kind smile all the way up to the gift of forgiving. That gift of forgiving allows a person to address a usually minor wrong on both sides of the coin. Sadly people dont see the gifts as truly gifts to pay forward, but use them in a way that is so self-centric they dont see outside their own box. We then have unhappy people, lose the original gift and no one wins. We have choices at these critical points.

   This then in turn lies the concepts of errors of omission and errors of commission. Is it a mistake, which is far easier to forgive or a deliberate act, which of course is far harder. We know Alexander Pope stated "To err is human, to forgive divine" which on the opposite end of the bookcase is the Hebrew quote stating "An eye for an eye". Not going to get into a theological debate this morning, but we can see where conflict arises with diametrical opposite approaches! This awareness and transference and counter-transference that goes on is something to be cognizant about.

  What about all those resentments that are built up along the way and the people that are hurt over minor or perceived slights? What "goes around come around" and the slighted individual is shunned from seeing and getting other chances then as such becomes even focussed on themselves. Their taxonomy goes from finding about themselves by helping others to helping themselves by using others. I'm afraid this is becoming more epidemic my friends. Look at any news webpage story on the comment pages. Some of the vitriol is appalling, full of transference and when you read that which can be written behind the mask. My worries are that what is written behind masks loses the society integration aspects and reflect the real pathologies.

  Tempus fugit translates into "Time flies" and Primum non nocere translates into "First do no harm". 

  So, be good to yourself by being good to others. That will help you learn to be yourself, often, before time escapes you and us.


--- Joel Lamoure March 2010 


7:52 am est 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Springing to Life

  Its March now and spring is just around the corner. A time when the days get longer and the darkness of night is shunted away earlier. A time where the period of hibernation of the grass and trees and animals fade away and the earth is re-energized.

  I have seen that this was a hard winter for so many people. So much loss, grief, anguish and the depths of depression seemed to be magnified this year. However, as we look ahead, while at the same time as having one foot in today, we can be certain we can spring to life.

  New Years resolutions are well renowned for being largely unachievable, a pain and we just get frustrated with ourselves that we cant fulfill these unachievable targets. That just makes the January drudgery all that much more magnified. I mean, why else would the 3rd Monday in January be linked to be the most depressing and gloomiest day of the year? I do believe there are neurochemical changes that in part explain this, predominantly a decrease in serotonin and changes also in dopamine, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. Its is so hard to go for a walk and that in itself add to the comfort foods and increase weight. No wonder we look to spring with such starry eyed wonder.

  Maybe, this is a year that we can maybe look and plan ahead to not an unachievable, kick yourself in the pants New years resolution, which is a very "Earth-like follow the crowd" perspective, but a Springing to Life resolution. Something small, focussed on enhancing your mental health, and achievable which is far more likely to be attained. A walk, a talk, a couple of hours for yourself or with a loved one. Also make the resolution something that can be repeated and feel all the good feelings over and over again. Stepping outside of the box and make it a day linked to Life. It may be a selfless act to others, a smile, a hug but the one thing it shouldnt be is commercial. No stressors, obligations, demands or societal inferences... just a day to work on recharging our mental batteries. I think the picture is pretty well painted here that after this winter, alot of people are working on low reserves, or even in the red zone to the point they hurt, bad. If the batteries dont get recharged then they cant even power ourselves, much less spark to others. Thats why I suggest it be a resolution of something that can be repeated and feel all the good feelings over and over again. Maybe this is the start of something good and positive.

  April 1st could then be declared to be first day of the Season with a Reason and become Springing to Life Day.... maybe I should get commercial on this and create greeting cards etc, etc, etc etc etc etc etc..... or not. I chose not.

  No matter what day it is, be yourself, often.


---Joel Lamoure March 2010 


8:49 am est 

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