~ Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist ; Past experience: Dream Analysis /10 Years Experience ~ Psychotherapist / Gestalt, Jungian, Zen, Reality and Energy Therapies /10 Years Experience ~ EMDR~ Men and Their Journey: the neuroscience of the male brain, and the implications in sexuality, education and relationship ~ Women: Their Transformation and Empowerment ~ ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) / 21 years experience ~ Ordained Interfaith Minister & Official Celebrant ~ Social Justice Advocate ~ Child and Human Rights Advocate ~ Spiritual Guide and Intuitive ~ Certified Reiki Practitioner ~ Mediation / Conflict Resolution • “Intentional Love” Parenting Strategy Groups ~ Parenting Workshops ~ Coaching for parents of Indigo, Crystal, and Rainbow Children ~ International Training: Israel & England ~ Critical Incident Stress Debriefing ~ Post-911 and Post-Katrina volunteer

BSW - UNC Greensboro

MSW - UNC Chapel Hill

"An Unending Love"

This blog and video is devoted and dedicated to my daughter, my grand daughters, and my grand son. They are hearts of my heart. Our connection through many lives..... is utterly infinite.

The Definition of Genius

By happy fraternity amongst themselves, the embodied beings get the supreme peace. Then all this earth shines like one house. When the men, the embodied beings, treat each other with equal respect and have good brotherly feelings amongst themselves, great peace and harmony abound. Then all this earth shines like one house. The whole world shines like the one dwelling house of the entire human family.

~Ramana Maharshi~



The degree of our enlightenment is the degree of passion that we will have for the whole world." ~The Greystone Mandala

~The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

Winston Churchill


In “Conversations with God”, by Neale Donald Walsch, there is a warning. I think of it as the Atlantis passage, and I've quoted it a few times before. "As I have said, this isn't the first time your civilization has been at this brink," God tells Walsch. "I want to repeat this, because it is vital that you hear this. Once before on your planet, the technology you developed was far greater than your ability to use it responsibly. You are approaching the same point in human history again. It is vitally important that you understand this. Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology rather than your technology being a product of your society. When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cry, Heart, But Never Break: A Remarkable Illustrated Meditation On Loss and Life by Glenn Ringtved

Once I knew a man who said that most of the Caldecott Award Winning

books for children were "too scary".  I found myself doing a minute breath relaxation.  When I read this, that memory returned to my mind ... I had to giggle. 

This book is rich and poignant ... perhaps one of the best to sum up this
"feared" subject; that rather embraces it as a lesson on the cycle of life. 

I have three grandchildren who come out with some comments that have had me hold my breath, they were so insightful. That aspect of children is one which, at the least, has to be honored. Often it is ignored or, worse, maligned. One can only pray that parental and educational forces which surround them are still able to see from that level of process. That was why I chose children and adolescents as my focus during my psychotherapeutic training.  

Oh, indeed we can become exhausted with these young people who, although we are reluctant to admit it, can run rampant through so many of our adult (?) levels of cognition.  

As I progressed, I realized that the key to my success with these (as my adult daughter terms them) "short people", is to literally be in contact with ALL of our levels of perception.  Children have a penetratingly incisive way of cutting into the heart of a matter.  As adults, our best reaction is often to simply listen, inhale, and breathe into the experience.  It wasn't too far into my training when I realized the trick was simply to let go into it.  I salute Glenn Ringtved from my deepest heart for writing this profound work, and also to for posting it.
To say that it is well worth reading is an understatement of great proportions!

“Who would enjoy the sun if it never rained? Who would yearn for the day if there were no night?”

cryheartbutneverbreak“Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead,” John Updike wrote“so why … be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?” Half a millennium earlier, Montaigne posed the same question somewhat differently in his magnificent meditation on death and the art of living“To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago.”
Yet mortality continues to petrify us — our own, and perhaps even more so that of our loved ones. And if the adult consciousness is so thoroughly unsettled by the notion of death, despite intellectually recognizing it as a necessary and inevitable part of life, how is the child consciousness to settle into comprehension and comfort?
Now comes a fine addition to the most intelligent and imaginative children’s books about making sense of death — the crowning jewel of them all, even, and not only because it bears what might be the most beautiful children’s book title ever conceived: Cry, Heart, But Never Break (public library) by beloved Danish children’s book author Glenn Ringtved and illustrator Charlotte Pardi, translated into English by Robert Moulthrop.
Although Ringtved is celebrated for his humorous and mischievous stories, this contemplative tale sprang from the depths of his own experience — when his mother was dying and he struggled to explain what was happening to his young children, she offered some words of comfort: “Cry, Heart, but never break.” It was the grandmother’s way of assuring the children that the profound sadness of loss is to be allowed rather than resisted, then folded into the wholeness of life, which continues to unfold. (I’m reminded of Maira Kalman’s unforgettable words: “When Tibor died, the world came to an end. And the world did not come to an end. That is something you learn.”)
This warmly wistful story begins outside the “small snug house” where four children live with their beloved grandmother. Not wanting to scare the young ones, Death, who has come for the old lady, has left his scythe by the door. Immediately, in this small and enormously thoughtful gesture, we are met with Death’s unexpected tenderness.
Inside, he sits down at the kitchen table, where only the youngest of the kids, little Leah, dares look straight at him.
What makes the book particularly touching, thanks to Pardi’s immensely expressive illustration, is just how crestfallen — broken, even — Death himself looks the entire time he is executing his mission, choked up with some indiscernible fusion of resignation and recompense.
In the quiet, the children could hear their grandmother upstairs, breathing with the same raspy breaths as the figure at the table. They knew Death had come for her and that time was short.
To stall the inevitable, the children devise a plan — believing that Death only works at night, they decide to keep refilling his coffee cup until dawn comes, at which point he would have to leave without their grandmother. Here, too, one is struck by the ordinariness of Death, for what can be more ordinary — and life-loving, even — than to enjoy a cup of coffee at the kitchen table?
But Death eventually curls his bony hand over the cup to signal that the time has come. Leah reaches her own tiny hand, taking his in hers, and beseeches him not to take their darling grandmother. Why, she insists, does grandma have to die?
Some people say Death’s heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal, but that is not true. Beneath his inky cloak, Death’s heart is as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life.
Death is once more overcome with kindness and compassion for the children, so he decides to answer Leah’s question with a story, hoping it would help them understand why dying is natural and necessary.
He tells them of two brothers named Sorrow and Grief, who lived in a somber valley and went about their days “slowly and heavily” because they never looked up, because “they never saw through the shadows on the tops of the hills.”
Beyond those shadows, Death tells the kids, lived two sisters, Joy and Delight.
They were bright and sunny and their days were full of happiness. The only shadow was their sense that something was missing. They didn’t know what, but they felt they couldn’t fully enjoy their happiness.
As Death is telling the story, little Leah nods her head, for she can tell what is to come — the two boys meet the two girls and they fall in love, two perfectly balanced couples: Sorrow and Joy, Grief and Delight.
Death tells the kids:
It is the same with life and death… What would life be worth if there were no death? Who would enjoy the sun if it never rained? Who would yearn for the day if there were no night?
Something difficult and beautiful has sunk in.
When death finally gets up from the table to head upstairs, the youngest boy is moved to stop him — but his older brother puts a rueful hand on his shoulder and gently discourages him.
Moments later, the children heard the upstairs window open. Then, in a voice somewhere between a cry and a whisper, Death said, “Fly, Soul. Fly, fly away.”
They hurry upstairs, where their grandmother has died — a moment of great sadness, enveloped in warm peacefulness.
The curtains were blowing in the gentle morning breeze. Looking at the children, Death said quietly, “Cry, Heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life.”
Then he was gone.
Ever after, whenever the children opened a window, they would think of their grandmother. And when the breeze caressed their faces, they could feel her touch.
Cry, Heart, But Never Break comes from the courageous Enchanted Lion, who have brought to life such daring and deeply nuanced picture-books as The Tiger Who Would Be KingLittle Boy BrownThe Lion and the Bird, and Louis I, King of the Sheep.
Complement this particular masterpiece with Oliver Jeffers’s The Heart and the Bottle, which explores what we stand to lose when we deny difficult emotions like grief, and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, a beautiful meditation on loss, illustrated by the great Sir Quentin Blake. For a grownup counterpart in the same spirit, see Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World. For an Eastern perspective, see how a Zen master explained death and the life-force to a child.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Céline Dion & Andrea Bocelli - The Prayer (Vietsub)

I so miss the live opera, musicals, and orchestra concerts of my younger years.  It was a crucial part of being a student in Philadelphia at that time. We would go to at least one concert or musical a month.  Sadly, coming South afforded no such immersion or opportunities. I have never had an illicit drug in my life ... I believe that a plethora of experiences as this were the most natural highs one could have.

Bocelli is one of my favorite tenors in the world ... this You Tube video is exquisite.  Watching his love and utter passion with music is indeed (for me) mind-altering. His face and micro-expressions is a gift. I cry with joy each time I hear this. This then is passion and joy about being in the moment......

No other words are necessary.... watch closely.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

11 TED Talks that show how weird the human mind really is - ScienceAlert

We use our mind every second of every day, but it's safe to say no one understands exactly how it functions. Even psychologists and neuroscientists are often stumped by why we think and behave the way we do.
Some of those researchers have appeared on the TED stage to talk about the questions that keep them up at night. The following 11 talks - on topics like decision-making, happiness, and our concept of time - are some of the most thought-provoking in TED's collection.
Each one will bring you one step closer to understanding who you are, and who you might be.
1. Tali Sharot: Your inherent bias toward optimism is a double-edged sword.
Sharot is a neuroscientist who, along with her colleagues, was able to reduce people's optimism by controlling activity in certain areas of their brains. On the one hand, this could be a positive development. After all, Sharot says in her talk that people underestimate the likelihood of bad things like cancer happening to them, so they're less likely to take precautions like scheduling medical checkups. But on the other hand, Sharot says that optimism enhances our well-being because it acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we believe we're going to land that job or promotion, we're more likely to get it.
So how do you reconcile those two viewpoints? "We would like to protect ourselves from the dangers of optimism, but at the same time remain hopeful," Sharot says. "The key here really is knowledge."
She illustrates this idea with a cartoon of penguins trying to fly off a cliff. The ones that are successful have a back-up plan:
"If you're an optimistic penguin who believes they can fly, but then adjusts a parachute to your back just in case things don't work out exactly as you had planned, you will soar like an eagle, even if you're just a penguin," she concludes.
2. Dan Ariely: You have less control over your own decisions than you think.
Most of us believe we're totally in control of our own decisions. But as Ariely, a behavioural economistexplains in his talk, we're incredibly susceptible to outside influences.One of his most enlightening examples is based on an old Economist advertisement for three subscription levels: $59 for online only, $159 for print only, and $159 for online and print.Ariely figured out that the option to pay $159 for print only exists so that it makes the option to pay $159 for online and print look more enticing than it would if it was just paired with the $59 option. 
Using examples from medicine and online dating, Ariely proves that traditional economics can't fully explain irrational human behaviour - and that's where behavioural economics comes in.
"When it comes to the mental world ... we somehow forget that we are limited," he says. 
"I think that if we understood our cognitive limitations in the same way we understand our physical limitations ... we could design a better world."
3. Sheena Iyengar: The freedom to choose is not always empowering.
Iyengar's talk illuminates how our beliefs about choice are shaped by our cultural backgrounds. For example, Americans tend to believe that if a choice affects them, then they should be the one to make it.Compare that to people from Asian backgrounds, who generally believe that it's best to defer to other people you trust and respect."It is a mistake to assume that everyone thrives under the pressure of choosing alone," she says.Iyengar, a psycho-economist, debunks the idea that the more choices you have, the better decisions you make. In fact, she says, when you give people 10 or more options, they tend to make poorer decisions in areas like healthcare and investing. 
Ultimately, Iyengar says it's about accepting that constraint can in some contexts be more liberating than freedom.
The American narrative promises "freedom, happiness, success. It lays the world at your feet and says, 'you can have anything, everything'", she explains.
Yet upon closer examination, Iyengar says you'll realise that the idea of choice is much more complicated and can be interpreted in many other ways.
4. Daniel Kahneman: Your happiness depends heavily on your memory.
According to Kahneman, a behavioural economist, every individual is divided into an experiencing self and a remembering self. The differences between these two selves are critical to our understanding of human happiness. To illustrate this idea, Kahneman refers to an experiment in which two groups of patients underwent a colonoscopy.The group that experienced the peak of their pain at the end said they suffered more - even when their procedure was shorter. Kahneman says that the second group's experiencing selves suffered less, but their remembering selves suffered more.
The remembering self, Kahneman says, is the one that makes decisions, like which colonoscopy surgeon to choose the next time around.
"We actually don't choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences." Even when we contemplate the future, Kahneman says, "we think of our future as anticipated memories."
Bottom line: What makes you happy in the immediate present won't necessarily make you happy when you reflect on your life overall - and it's important to consider that idea the next time you're making a big decision.
5. Dan Gilbert: You have no idea what will make you happy in 10 years.   
11 TED Talks that show how weird the human mind really is - ScienceAlert

How to Choose Discipline Methods that Help Your Child Grow - Dr. Tali Shenfield

This is an insightful article about the discipline of our children:

How to Choose Discipline Methods that Help Your Child Grow

Friday, December 23, 2016

7 Disturbing Facts About Trump's Personality - Janet Altom / Alternet

7 Disturbing Facts About Donald Trump's Personality

Senator Al Franken, who formerly made his living in comedy, recently made a weirdly unsettling observation about Donald Trump. He never seems to laugh. And it’s true. The New York Times [3] reporter to whom Franken made the comment did some research, observing Trump at events where normal people tend to crack up, like the Al Smith Dinner. Though Trump smiles, he never laughs outright.
“I don't know what it is,” Franken says.
We don’t either, but it’s creepy.
An abundance of pieces have been written about Donald Trump’s malignantly narcissistic personality, his lack of impulse control, his gnat-like attention span on any topic but his own fabulousness, his complete disregard for the truth, and the fact that he's a racist, sexist bully [4] who may also be fairly unintelligent.
All true.
But he also has some weird and disturbing personality tics that are less frequently mentioned, but which nonetheless give us the heebie jeebies.
Here are seven of Donald Trump's worrisome quirks.
1. He has never done drugs.
Trump has never smoked a cigarette or had an alcoholic drink. All respect for those who have had an addiction problem, or decided to abstain after some time as a drinker, or who simply don't like alcohol—but never to have tried a mind-altering substance of any kind is just not normal. It also shows a lack of curiosity and a fear of losing control.
Trump has said the alcoholism and early death of his older brother turned him into a life-long teetotaler, and maybe that is true. He won’t even have a cup of coffee, though. Seriously, who does that? That’s not normal.
He has also said in many interviews that his biggest piece of advice for his kids when they were growing up was not to do drugs. Really, that’s it, dad? That’s all you’ve got?
Of course, Trump has tried to cash in on other people’s drinking habits with Trump vodka, which failed.
2. He’s a germophobe in the extreme.
Trump has called the practice of shaking hands “barbaric." He won’t shake hands with his children’s teachers because teachers are in touch with too many germy kids. Then again, it’s hard to imagine he has attended too many parent-teacher conferences. Teaching children, after all, is germy women’s work.
His germophobia [5] is such that he is unwilling to push ground-floor elevator buttons because they have been touched by too many people (the masses).
Perhaps on the belief that it distances him from germs, he drinks with a straw and eats pizza with a fork, which is fine if you’re from Chicago, but definitely not New York. He even explains his penchant for fast food in terms of what he imagines to be its cleanliness. “I’m a very clean person,” he told Anderson Cooper on the campaign trail. “I like cleanliness, and I think you’re better off going there than maybe someplace that you have no idea where the food’s coming from. It’s a certain standard.”
He has spoken about how he loves to wash his hands, and does it as much as possible. (Here’s a theory: maybe his hands got so tiny from all the washing. He wore them away.)
He has openly boasted about never changing a diaper on any of his five kids, probably as a result of his germophobia, plus sexism and wealth.
Some have speculated that Trump’s germophobia and anti-immigration stances are related, since he sees immigrants as potential carriers of disease. But really, all the unwashed masses are carriers of disease for Trump, so he must stay in his high tower.
3. When he does shake hands, he does it in a very weird way.
Whenever possible, Trump avoids shaking hands. When he absolutely has to shake someone's hand, he has a weird habit of aggressively pulling [6] the person in close to him, so that the person practically has to hug him. When the fellow (it is usually a fellow) offers any resistance, the whole dance can become a fairly awkward arm-wrestling match.
No word on whether Trump pops a Tic-Tac before pulling the person in closer than they would really like to be.
4. He has a 10-year-old’s mentality about bodily functions.
Especially the notion that women have bodily functions. He has made weird comments in interviews about being blissfully unaware of whether his wife Melania has ever used the toilet. And when Hillary Clinton had to use the ladies room (at least, we think that’s where she went) before a debate, he called it “disgusting.” He used the same word about a female lawyer who needed to excuse herself to pump breast milk to feed her infant. That is not what Trump seems to think breasts are for and he finds it repellent.
Ten is the age Melania Trump suggested Trump acts sometimes, and that was part of her explanation to Anderson Cooper about why Trump bragged to Billy Bush that women just let him “grab them by the pussy.” Melania knows what 10-year-olds are like, since her son Barron is also 10.
5. He doesn’t have any pets.
Trump will be the first president in 150 years [7] not to have a pet, if you count James Polk’s horses. It does not even appear that Trump likes animals much, if his family's enthusiasm for trophy hunting is any indication.
He has been publicly criticized [8] by the Humane Society of the United States for having cozy relationships with anti-animal welfare zealots who rake in profits from puppy mills, agribusiness, trophy hunting, factory farming, and horse slaughterhouses.
Being a self-confessed clean-hands freak may be part of the reason Trump dislikes animals, and certainly his run-in [9] with a bald eagle did not help warm him up to animals. Recent science has shown that caring for animals is a big part of what teaches us empathy, since domesticated animals are completely dependent on human beings.
6. He has bizarre ideas [10] about exercise and sleep. 
We already know that Trump does not have much regard for science as he gears up to gut climate change mitigation and voices the view that vaccines might cause autism. But he also does not hold much stock in basic common sense or the recommendation of health professionals.
The fast-food-loving germophobe-in-chief also has some notion that exercise is bad for you. This may be based on his theory that the human body is like a battery, and if you use up the energy it’s all gone, or because he has had friends who have needed knee surgery because of working out. Trump also tends to latch onto one example and overgeneralize: if there is a cold day he thinks climate change is a hoax, and if someone he knows had a cute baby after considering an abortion, it means all women should be punished for having abortions.
Trump also seems to think that needing sleep shows weakness, and claims only to sleep three or four hours a night, which leaves him plenty of time to tweet at people who have affronted him.
“I’m a guy who lies awake and thinks and plots,” he told New York magazine [11] in 1992, somewhat terrifyingly. Among the things he likes to plot, he said, are revenge strategies. Adequate sleep is tied to mental health, and what Trump expressed smacks more than a little of paranoid tendencies, but don’t take it from us. Three professors [12] of psychiatry are also concerned about Trump’s mental fitness to be president.
7. The suit thing.
Trump is never seen in anything but a suit, and since he doesn’t sleep much, he probably doesn’t even don silk pajamas at night, a la Hugh Hefner.
A suit is fitting attire for a businessman, but he reportedly also violently demanded that his college-age son wear a suit to a baseball game by one account. Donald Jr.’s college dorm mate recounted the story [13] on Facebook during the campaign. "Don Jr. opened the door, wearing a Yankee jersey,” Scott Melker, now a Florida Realtor, wrote. “Without saying a word, his father slapped him across the face, knocking him to the floor in front of all of his classmates. He simply said 'put on a suit and meet me outside,' and closed the door."
Don Jr. was a freshman at the time, and yes, they were going to a Yankees game.
None of the Trump sons have been seen in anything but suits ever since, except when big-game hunting in Africa. Ten-year-old Baron is sometimes seen in a polo shirt, though even he is often seen in a suit, which is weird.& Disturbing Facts