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Friday, April 30, 2010

Easing the Dis-Ease. Part 1-The Bank of You

     I have enjoyed opportunities this week to step back and reflect on many areas and if there is a common thread through my week it is one of evolution. Nothing is static, nothing at all and we are constantly in a state of flux.  Does not matter if it is personal or professional, global or cellular, micro or macro... we are always evolving and progressing.

  Peace yields prosperity of the mind. When we are at ease and in synch with the movements of the day and the changes of the moment, we can be at ease.  To be at ease is peace. When we are at peace then we are more able to truly be ourselves and advance the true agendas that we have. Stand back and watch people that are stressed, overwhelmed, unhappy or seemingly at the challenges and mercy of others. Guaranteed they are not at peace. I can also guarantee that there is so much in regards that evolutionary effort that is expended that there is no room to take in the intricacies and beauty of the day. 

  Not talking about a state of Zen for all where we all stare at each other in a format reminiscent of the 1960's in San Francisco drug culture, or LSD Acres. The drug culture is exactly the opposite and antithetical to my point. Not talking about the artificial wins, but true endogenous ones. What I am suggesting is to be at peace and thus drive prosperity, we need to be very conscious of ourselves and our surroundings. That is mindfulness. If there is angst or dis-ease... why is that not at ease there? That is the root cause analysis that needs to be identified. That is the first step to be at peace with the moment and having awareness of the situation and know where you need or want to be. Then you can make an honest determination to advance prosperity. Personally, professionally and spiritually. Whining, complaining, not caring, hurting others, narcissism and egocentrism is NOT the way to peace and prosperity, but the opposite. Thats not the culture of mankind. Its societal driven and its ok to step back and be fun and lighthearted to succeed.

  This step requires a fearless moral, personal, professional and spiritual inventory and basically know whats in the bank. For example, we know if you have $1000 in the bank, you can not afford a $30,000 car immediately. Of course, there is credit and loans and borrowing. Do NOT mentally do that. In the words of a wise man, "Its like robbing Peter to pay Paul". You get the car sure, but technically are bankrupt, and you have to pay interest.  So this step is all about realism and the facts and honesty. Want the car, put dividends aside and let them collect. To be blunt (and my close friends and many patients know I am brutally blunt at times), if the car ain't there when you have the money. It aint meant to be. But you can't collect dividends if you dont invest and dont know whats in the Bank of Yourself.

  Want to be at ease? Then need to fearlessly look at the dis-ease and the root cause. Then you can evolve as the signposts along the way have you evolve. This is not a passive exercise but one of the most fortified believe, looking at honesty, empathy, caring and personal taxonomies. But it can one where you have fun. Be at peace with oneself, enjoy the colours, sounds, moments and sweet friends. Love the moment and carpe diem. Its is a good feeling to have collected the wins in the mental bank account to be able in tough times, or as a positive to reap the dividends.

  To do that, have to find yourself, be true and be yourself, often. After all, The Bank of You... what better place to Invest?


--- Joel Lamoure April 2010 


8:31 am edt 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Waste Lands and Earth Day +2 and Ourselves

" April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain" 

From "The Waste Land" Chapter 1 l.1-14 "The Burial of the Dead"  T.S. Eliot 

   I am certain that there could be so many debates on the premise of April being the cruelest month of all. After all, cruelty is ascribed based on beliefs and experiences and society. So what is cruel to one is not cruel to another. But maybe fellow reader, we will keep that analysis for another day?

  Today I basically decided to back to the whole overarching premise of the apple and what is the apple and how basically do we look at things? The apple is something that we can look at superficially or appreciate all of the non apple elements in it and the continued life that it gives to an individual afterwards. But it is such a shame in Western cultures and societal mediated challenges we dont stop and reflect on that issue. What of the clothes that warm us and the roof over our heads and the kind word of a friend? Are these meant purely for our enjoyment, and indeed heading more towards a concept of nihilism? I am me and the rest is to serve me? Maybe not deliberately, but why do we use the apple and not stop, reflect and appreciate the gifts past, present and future of the apple?

  I guess that this discussion goes back once again to mindfulness. I chose TS Eliot's poem "The Waste Lands" and the first 4 lines from the first chapter of that poem for a reason. April is the cruelest month. It is a time when the burdens of winter are dissipating and it is a time of hope, longer days and shorter nights. When the light vanquishes the dark. (Sorry to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere and Australia and New Zealand especially... you can substitute in September)  The land has been frozen, unable to produce and give back to us. Per wit, it has been in hibernation. Yet now the lilacs grow with their colours, fragrances and beauty out of the roots and rains of April. We think of lilacs in the way I mentioned, so why is this the cruelest month?

  Why would the flowers producing and spreading their beauty, that evoke memories and desires be cruel? A time of birth, blossoming, abundance, life and growth. Remember, these are the waste lands.

  Back to the apple and the growth and development of the apple. I really use the apple in more of a metaphoric term.  The apple is every one on us and we need to stop and reflect on our actions and we cant just consume not just items and tangibles, but also the the non tangibles. We have to be prepared to plant back in the earth of our culture and society some seeds. Consumerism of hope, faith, time, love, effort, smiles, hugs without giving back is just wrong. That is the taxonomy of the narcissism and the all about me attitude. We have to give it back and pay it forward in order to return it. Don't hesitate to Pay It Forward. Perceived to be so hard in todays world, but thats a fear factor coming in. The more resistant to paying forward and helping someone in an altruistic way indicates to me the deeper the root of the self-taxonomy. Sadly, those cant feel the apple in the same way. Paying it foward is the part of the feelings and appreciating the apple for its intricacy and pleasure, but only a step of that journey.

  We as humans and society do not want to be the metaphorical Waste Lands here. But are you?

  Find yourself, and be yourself often.


--- Joel Lamoure April 2010 


8:45 am edt 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Priorities and Pathologies

  There have been several instances over the past week that have given ruse to thought. Beyond the standard adage, "Physician Heal Thyself", there have been numerous contemplative points that make me reflect on the topic of priorities and pathologies. Tying it in with the underlying premises that I attest to, which is the taxonomies. Does not matter what you ascribe to, but be honest to yourself. For example, if your self centeredness causes you to lose something, don't go crying that it was in the name of some other, more altruistic action. I believe that borders in fact on the world of psychopathology when harm comes to an individual but you only care of yourself and the misguided taxonomy.

  Not to say that it may be deliberately misguided. Certainly if deliberate (or an act of commission) then it delves into psychopathology but really, what is your priority and why do you have it?  I suspect most episodes of misguided taxonomies are acts of omission and non-deliberate in nature. Sucked into the shiny vortex of items, possessions, titles and things by virtue of genetics, nature, nurture and self-delusion. If you dont achieve a goal that you feel you should have, why is the ego bruised? Rejection management comes into play, a term I have inherently know but never articulated. These are the times to step back and reflect, meditate and look at your compass and wonder if it is pointing the right way. What is the root cause analysis? What are your priorities? Some people seek medications to cure their ills. It is but a piece of the puzzle as I had the opportunity to say many times this week. The other good things are regular wake, sleep, diet, routine, exercise and someone to talk to. Root cause analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal behavioural therapy, self-awareness. Back to basics so to speak. Mindfulness, most of all being mindfulness. To appreciate the event in the moment. To appreciate the great things in small packages by humility, peace, patience, silence and yielding serenity.

  What are our priorities and how can these be aligned and being honest to ourselves. Being honest about our taxonomy. Is the gold ribbon and medals the be all and end all? Thats a societal spent and bent on things. There is honour, as aI have said before in courage. That is taking a weakness and using it to help others, watching the signs and signposts along the way and not resisting them, for the Fates will have you where you are meant to be.

  Oh...physician, heal thyself. Not without some good friends, lots of people to talk to, reflection, meditation, exercise, health and lots of self-awareness. Thanks to my friends.

  Be yourself, often.


---  Joel Lamoure   April 2010 

9:32 am edt 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I dreamed a dream... 3rd dimension of Mindfulness

   Greetings this week my fellow readers and friends. I have wondered what topic that I could choose for this weeks blog and realized the answer was quite evident. A dream is a vague 1 or 2 dimensional concept. A dream in and of itself can be thought of as attainable or unobtainable, depending on what it is and the effort you are willing to devote to make it real. But there is something that helps add a 3rd Dimension to the dream, and that is the exercise of mindfulness. The title "I dreamed a Dream" comes from the Broadway production Les Miserables and if anyone hasn't seen it, or heard of the book by Victor Hugo from 1862, I strongly encourage watching or reading it. Certainly most people have heard the song over the past year. I see it daily at work and the loss of dreams and dashing of hope and the loss of direction. Emptiness.

   What does it mean though, in the context of life and ourselves? Can we take the concepts of dreaming a dream and manifest those dreams into reality. I know that a couple weeks ago that I compared Harry Chapin's line from Sequel that goes "Its better some times, when we don't get to touch our dreams". What denotes that dream and how can we make that dream reality? As an educator, to see a dream become reality is to set a clear goal, hope or aspiration and then to make the conscious steps to make it happen. That is as such lies the challenge as people in Western society I find expect things better, faster and yesterday. 30 minutes or free. Take a pill to cure your ailments. I know I have touched on the culture of entitlement many times and I assure you that is not the way to live the dreams. Not the way to dream a dream. Living the dream is something you have to make a stand in and believe in. Whether right or wrong, it is your belief system, and really who is the judge that your belief system is wrong? To expect things to be handed to you in a flash or the past to go away in a heartbeat is irrational. If you can't stand up for what you believe in, how do you expect to achieve it? Entitlement breeds resentments. Guaranteed. Hurts yourself and others and the great wheel of samsara and karma enter into a vicious circle.

  Want to dream the dream? Mindfulness. The power to live in the moment and appreciate every step along the way. Its about the wins and the losses in equal measure. I have written before that courage is using your weaknesses and challenges to help others and still believe in that definition. Thats what Harry Chapin I feel wrote about, that maybe the dream isn't worth it if we can't appreciate the blessings that we have in the moment and practice mindfulness. Because the dream without belief, work and appreciating the journey is emptier. Its the expression that goes "rushing though each thing to get to the next". Never any satisfaction. Each milestone pro or con isn't appreciated as such.

  So to live the dream and dream the dream, set a destination, get a good compass and appreciate the moments of the journey, being prepared to alter the destination as the signposts of the day dictate and tell you. To dream a dream is to express, live and feel and embrace our individuality. Let the light shine.

  That way you can be yourself, often.


---Joel Lamoure  April 2010 



8:32 pm edt 

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Deadly Sins in 2010 and Mirroring Psychopathology.

   For a bit of a divergence, I want to address the 7 Deadly Sins and thoughts around them. A bit of a religious-psychiatry bent as an escape from the North American excesses of candy and chocolate on Good Friday.

The original 7 deadly sins at 590 AD were: 

Luxuria (extravagance)

Gula (gluttony)

Avaritia (avarice/greed)

Acedia (acedia/discouragement)

Ira (wrath)

Invidia (envy)

Superbia (pride) 

  Important to note here that Lust is used today instead of Extravagance and that Sloth is used in place of Discouragement. If you have read any of these blog posts, the loyal reader would appreciate why I would chose the version from 590 and more in line with the original meaning from Dante.

  Extravagance, gluttony, greed, discouragement, wrath, envy and pride. I guess the best way instead of a careful dissection of each of these items would be to spin them from a personal perspective. Would you want to spend an extended length of time with an individual who coveted then took your toys then broke them, bought the best for themselves and left you with little and gloated on their wins, all the while putting you down as inadequate? If you have never met such a person in North American society, I would be quite suprised although that levels of pathology would be labelled more as antisocial personality disorder, but definitely Cluster B. Under Eysenick and the DSM-IV there are 3 clusters of personality traits and disorders which we all have. They fall into groups A, B and C. The 7 deadly sins definitely fit into Cluster B, with their own short term and long term consequences and sequelae.

  Thats one point and the other is: DO you DESERVE to spend an extended length of time with an individual who coveted then takes your toys then breaks them, buys the best for themselves and leaves you with little and gloats on their wins, all the while putting you down as inadequate? Imagine how mental health or disabilities patients feel, just for a moment. Look in the fearlessly into the mirror and reflect back on the Golden Rule and hope that the Phantom isnt there looking back at you. Because it might just be you with the psychopathology and as of yet, sadly you don't have that insight. Be good to yourself, know yourself and be gentle with others. Hope, faith and belief and most of all, understanding and compassion will drive excellence.

  Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure April 2010 


8:20 am edt 

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