Copyright: GABRIEL GHERASIM Editor: Gabriel Gherasim Editura Excelenta Dacia-Romania Tel: (347) 517-6510 Cover: Ione Bright. Computerized typesetting: Gabriel Gherasim Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
When a person is of profound faith and gratitude, it will lead him/her to overcome any obstacle.
-Teodor Mardare Gherasim
Practice makes progress. We must be real, authentic, honest in the process. -Counseling goal, Jason Stonehouse
Give yourself the gift of a joyous life while you are still among the living -Jen Sincero
Before you speak, Let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself, “Is it true?”
At the second gate, ask, “Is it necessary?”
At the third gate, ask, “Is it kind?” -Sufi saying
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens -Carl Jung
I’m grateful to Mrs. Louise Gherasim for her patient corrections and for the overall review of my manuscript. I’m thankful to all the people from whom I have learned about the importance of gratitude: family, friends, role models, supervisors, colleagues, team members, authors, clients and patients.
Enclosed is a list of some of them: Florica and Teodor Gherasim, Carmen and Michael (Mihai) Gherasim, Catrina and Mardare Gherasim, Aurel and Marioara Gherasim, Paula Ion, Iuliana Natalia Ionescu, Veronica Ionescu, Rodica Bordeianu, Dr. Iosif Lax, Dr. Dobrea Emilian, Dr. Napoleon Savescu, Lyana Galis, Mario and Nikolas Grasso, Ione Bright, Fr. Jacobsen, Jack Falk, Rosalie Grafe, Fr. Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa, Jesse Barton, Fr. Theodor Damian, Barry Fedder, Wendy Zinman-Szachar, Professor Eugene Ritchie, Marta Hendozko, Daniel R. Morales LCSW, Tiffany Prado-Leu LCSW, Cyrus Kazi, Susan Dooha, Paula Wolff, Kerry Keys, Delmy Sabio, Homairah Salam, Samantha Johnson, John Colon, Jennifer Glenn, Lilliete Lopez, Gabrielle Prince, Ifeoma Okoba, Ronald Harris, Marika Fraser, Rebecca Litt, Monica Bartley, Lourdes Rosa Carrassquillo, Shain Anderson, Evelyn Baez, Eva Eason.
I want to present a special thanks to the graphic artist and the publishing house which transformed my manuscript into the present book.
Summary Foreword……………………………………………………. Introduction by Father Theodor Damian……………. Chapter One: The Universal Spiral and Egg…………. Chapter Two: The Recogniscience Therapy Order… Chapter Three: The Human Being…………………………. Chapter Four: What is Love?.................................... Chapter Five: The Process of Thinking…………………….. Chapter Six: Antecedents and Forgiveness……………. Chapter Seven: The Infinite in Us……………………………. Chapter Eight: The 8 Dimensions of Wellness and Health… Chapter Nine: Unhealthy perceptions and the need for therapy… Chapter Ten: Exploring the need for therapy……………………………. Chapter Eleven: Therapy through Respect and Gratitude… Chapter Twelve: Faith, Trust and Support……………….. Chapter Thirteen: Sacred Plants versus compulsive addictions… Chapter Fourteen: Responding to Crisis and the 12 Core Functions….. Chapter Fifteen: Gratitude in Prison by Eva Hermann, Louise Gherasim and Teodor Gherasim……… Chapter Sixteen: Gratitude and Love…… About the author……………………………..
Gratia Cantantes (Recogniscience Therapy)
Foreword Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul -Henry Word Beecher
The words Gratia Cantantes in Latin mean: Singing About (Cant) Thankfulness (Gratia) Before (Antes).
Singing About Thankfulness Before, is a mind set and a way of living which acknowledges that Thankfulness is the fertile ground in which to plant one’s life.
In order to explore the ‘whys’ of thankfulness in our modern culture, we need to correlate the original culture from which these concepts generated, to our present understanding of thankfulness. We shall thus discover that practicing daily thankfulness, far from being an emotional paradigm, is quite a logical (or scientific) conclusion to a meaningful and fully thought (think fully/ thankful) understanding of ourselves and of our interactions in the world.
The Latin culture and Romance languages come from the original Thracian culture presently called Daco-Romanian. According to Pope John Paul II’s (Wojtyla) expert on ancient languages and religions, Irish born Miceal Ledwith, the precursor of Latin, is the Thracian based Daco-Romanian language originating from the Bucegi Mountains -which constitute a large section of the larger Romanian Carpathian Mountain Range- (Ledwith, Miceal Limba Romana, Radio Cluj interview 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjlPGmWalIw).
The European civilizations were build on the Thracian or Indo-European or Aryan, language and culture, generating from the Carpatho-Danubian basin of Dacia or present day Romania.
It is from this area also that genetic research on the Pharaohs of Egypt shows that they originated.
“The haplogroup R1b1a2, which iGENEA claims includes King Tut, arose 9,500 years ago in the Black Sea region. It is unknown how Tut's ancestors would have gotten from that region to Egypt, but Scholz said iGENEA hopes to learn more by collecting more close and exact matches from modern people of European descent.” (Pappas, Stephanie King Tut Related to Half of The European Men? Live Science 2011 https://www.livescience.com/15388-discovery-channel-tutankhamen-dna.html).
This conclusion is based partly on some striking petro glyphs found on a massive 500-foot-tall rock outcropping. The carvings - which seem to show fertility dances, a crucial concern for ancient people with infant mortality rates of 33 percent or higher - are distinctive for their triangular torsos and 90-degree arm positions. The only other place where similar images have been found - by Davis-Kimball and other scholars - is in the Romanian region of Moldova, near the Black Sea. (Kimball, Davis Tocharian Dacia, Dashia in Chinese, from Danube to Asia, Romanian History and Culture, 1998 https://www.romanianhistoryandculture.com/tochariandaxia.htm ).
Also, Harald Haarmann, a German linguistic and cultural scientist, currently vice-president of the Institute of Archaeomythology and leading specialist in ancient scripts and ancient languages, firmly supports the view that the commonly known Danube script is the oldest writing in the world (Tartaria script images 1-3). The tablets that were found at Tartaria, Romania and are dated to 5,500 BC, and the glyphs on the tablets, according to Haarmann, are a form of language (The Danube Civilization, the oldest in the world http://ancients-bg.com/the-danube-civilization-oldest-in-the-world/ ).
These “fertility dances” in Romanian are called Hora. These are spiral or circular group dances which are meant to conjure through movement the creative forces located in the womb.
The verb הרה (hera) means to be or become pregnant (Genesis 16:4, Exodus 2:2, Isaiah 26:18http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Hara.html#.XHLblmw2wuU ). The Bible depicts nations as individual women even more than as mountains; the words אמה ('umma), meaning people and אם ('em), meaning mother are closely related. A pregnant woman is to her husband what a conceiving nation is to its deity.
Interestingly, in Daco-Romanian there is no hera/hara cognate to women’s proper names, while men often carry the name Horia, which is meant to stand for ‘influencer, server and protector of creation.’
It is from this Daco-Romanian ancient culture that the pharaohs brought to Egypt since pre-historic times, the cult of Horus.
Horus means in Egyptian the “far away one” and is considered a ‘sky God.’ He is encompassing the sun and the moon in his divinity. As such he is important to the fertility of nature and to women, since the sun affects the harvest of nature and the moon affects our lives as well, from the tides of the ocean to the women’s menstrual (lunar) cycle (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horus ).
Horus’ priestesses the horae, would sing, play music and dance the sacred dance Hora to influence favorably both the internal metabolisms and the external natural cycles. It is from his cult therefore, that the arts of dance (Hora), of music (cHoir, musical cHords and the cHromatic scale), as well as the aristocracy of the ‘sky gods’ descendants, symbolized by the cHrown developed.
While the Roman Catholic and Puritan churches declared such practices as “devil’s work” and predictably propagated ad hominem attacks against them, ultimately reversing the meaning of the horae from sacred to profane. Such is with the modern day understanding of the term “whores,” i.e. of women being prostitutes, or harlots (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/whore ).
In Dacia-Romania however, this pre-Egyptian cult of the sacred priestesses persisted with the horae being converted to Orthodoxy and becoming Christian nuns with their own monastery (Horezul Monastery Images 1-2) called the Horezul or Hurez Monastery (Horezul Monastery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horezu_Monastery ).
The Romans brought from Dacia the word c[H]orda meaning heart, while the Egyptians considered the human heart as the place where the human mind is.
The symbols, which are also called Vinca symbols, have been found in multiple archaeological sites throughout the Danube Valley areas, inscribed on pottery, figurines, spindles and other clay artifacts.
We shall refer below to the Daco-Romanian concept of “Recunostiinta.” This means Knowing (Cunosc), the Science (Stiinta) Again (Re) or to coin this term in English Recogniscience.
A similar, albeit incomplete usage concept had been used arbitrarily and, one may argue, superficially, in relation to exterior senses and for military purposes under the term “reconnaissance”.
Thus, reconnaissance is a mission to obtain information by visual observation or other detection methods, about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy or about the meteorology, hydrographic or geographic characteristics of a particular area. Reconnaissance came in English parlance in 1810, from French reconnaissance "act of surveying," literally "recognition," from Old French reconnaissance, recognition, acknowledgement" (The Free Dictionaryhttps://www.thefreedictionary.com/Aerial+reconnaissance ).
In addition to the acknowledging of certain commonalities as described by the term reconnaissance above, the term recogniscience, particularly for therapeutic (from Greek therapeia ‘healing,’) purposes, uses the science of recognition of one’s inner reality to find, maintain, progress and create lovingly, in an environment of thankfulness.
Introduction Gratitude as an existential state A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent. -St. Augustine
From a theological perspective, gratitude, or recognition, is a divine gift that we received through the image of God according to which we were created, next to other gifts. In virtue of the free will and the discernment that characterize us ontologically, we need to use this gift not only occasionally, which would make gratitude an occasional act but rather at all times, making of it a permanent attribute of who we are, a state, a way of being.
We need to conscientize that we owe everything to others: to God, first of all and to those around us on whom we depend directly or indirectly, now or in the past (such as our parents, when we were children) and without whom we would not be who we are to the end of our lives.
On the other hand, gratitude is a natural and necessary response to any type of good we receive. Man is a responsible being, i.e. we are endowed with a special capacity to respond. Yet, the response is a reaction to a call: when someone calls you, it would be unnatural not to respond. The gift that is offered to you is, in fact, a call. For a gift, whether you need it or it just fills you with joy, has the quality to raise you spiritually from one level to another, to contribute to your personal effort of spiritual achievement, to the achievement of personal integrity, a lifelong process.
Man, as an imperfect being, has a normal and natural tendency towards perfection, therefore tends to be engaged deliberately, consciously and voluntarily towards his or her own betterment.
As man was created in the image of God (reason, will, feelings) and the image is a gift, the likeness or resemblance with Him (which consists of holiness and immortality or reaching immortality through holiness, through a pure and holy life) requires man’s own effort helped by the divine grace.
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, in his famous treatise De hominis dignitate, says exactly this in powerful words:
“We have given you, oh Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor any endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgment and decision. The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior order whose life is divine” (Oration on the Dignity of Man, Gateway, Chicago, 1956, p. 7).
Thus, the gift is a call, because when someone gives you something, the giver and the gift represent a confirmation that you exist.
The gift calls you into a relationship, it places you “within”, it brings you, from outside, inside, and a new relationship is a new universe. That is why through the gift that invites you into a new universe, you receive much more that the gift as such. The gift is just a pretext for something much higher, much richer, much more complex.
Thus, how could one not be grateful? (to paraphrase the title of a book by Petru Dumitriu: How could one not love Him?) How could one not be grateful, even overwhelmed in a state of gratitude?! And if gratitude is connected to the gift and the gift represents a call, this brings to mind the primordial call, the one from non-being to being, when God created the world and man. “God had spoken and everything came to be,” we read in Ps. 32,9. By the same token, at God’s call: “let us make man…” man comes into existence, thus his or her existence is the response to the primordial creative call.
Hence man, as a response to the call, is a being of response, of responsibility, responsible. Man’s vocation (voco/vocare = to call) is responsibility. Part of this responsibility is gratitude, or recognition, as response to the call made through the gift.
Even etymologically speaking, re-cognition, implies “having knowledge again”, cognition of a fact, a conscientization that determines you to say something, to act in a certain way, thus taking you out of a lethargic existential state because the evidence of the fact pushes you, obligates you to react and respond.
So important is gratitude in man’s life that Jesus Christ dedicates to it one of the most beautiful parables that are part of the treasury of human wisdom, the one related to the healing of the ten lepers. The parable is constructed in such a way that the accent is put squarely on the imperative need of gratitude as an existential act. I say “existential” because in the parable the lepers, because of their illness, had been excommunicated from their community, from the midst of those dear to them; their leprosy had caused a fall from the normal, desirable state of living. Consequently, their healing meant reintegration into the normal state of existence. There is here an interesting parallel between God bringing man from non-being into being and the bringing back of the lepers from the hell of a condemned existence to the normality they enjoyed before falling sick.
In the first case, that of God’s creation, of the human existence as a divine gift, one understands that gratitude cannot be an occasional act but has to be a permanent attitude, an existential state or condition, just as the Latin proverb says, dum spiro, spero - as long as I live, I hope; in our context: as long as I live, I am grateful.
In the second case, after their reintegration into the normal condition of life, the normal, necessary, natural attitude of the lepers should have been gratitude. Hence the critical question Jesus asked when only one of them came back to show gratitude and recognition: “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” (Luke 17, 12-19).
Again, everything we have, we have received. St. Paul draws our attention to this important point when, in his first letter to the Corinthians, he poses the question very philosophically: “What do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast, as if you had not received it?” (4,7)
Here is a new foundation for the argument in favor of the state of gratitude as the normal way of being. On a different note, gratitude sanctions and confirms a relationship (just as ingratitude destroys it). Not being thankful for what you received; this is what spoils the relationship.
It is as if one would like to hide something, and this, as Anoushka von Heuer notices, keeps you from existing fully for the other (Le huitième jour ou la dette d’Adam, ed. Jean-Luc de Rougemont, Geneve, 1980, p. 76), it blocks the total transparency and thus leads to doubt, misunderstanding, confusion, negative reactions, the cessation of the gift, exclusion. And if we speak of God, exclusion means death. Thus, at a human level, gratitude has the capacity to humanize the relationship and at the level of our relationship with God, it has a saving character.
Fr. Theodor Damian PhD. Professor Emeritus
Chapter One: The Universal Spiral and Egg
What you put into life is what you get out of it -Clint Eastwood
In Daco-Romanian and other ancient cultures the egg is seen as permeated by healing, regenerating powers. The Romanian Painted Easter Eggs often come in colors representing the aural spectrum of the rainbow palette and the intricate drawings on them focus on the concepts of fertility, healing, restoration, resurrection while in its geometric patterns, it is emphasizing the shape of the spiral. (Romanian Easter Eggs images 1-2).
Both the colors and the spiral shapes are illustrating essentially visible and invisible aspects of the electro-magnetic fields, which we call alternatively, life, consciousness, and spirit (spirit is derivative from the word spiral and should be understood in the context of an intelligent spiral).
Of course, the symbolism of the immensely popular hunt for Easter eggs in the West, reflects the same search for the primordial life, consciousness and spirit, in the form of the eggs hiding gifts for the wide-eyed children (Hunt for Easter eggs images 1-2).
Thus the spirit or the intelligent spiral, is fluctuating, expanding, diminishing, creating and regenerating the universe world, as noted by Dr. Michio Kushi, in such visible shapes as the DNA, the finger prints, the ear shapes, the shape of the snail’s shell, the hurricanes, the water going in the sink, some mountain ranges such as the Carpathian Mountains of Dacia-Romania, the Milky Way et al. (Emoto, Masaru, The Book of Macrobiotics, Square 1 Publishers, 145). Essentially the spiral is life creating and maintaining of energies and of their respective physical manifestations.
In mathematical terms the spiral is reflected in the Fibonacci sequence or number, often referred to as the Golden Ratio (Meisner, G. Spirals and the Golden Ratio, The Golden Number Publications 2012 https://www.goldennumber.net/spirals/ ).
It is through this spiral force that the material and living universe is created, through the ovoid (egg shaped) form and vice-versa.
The Romanian Constantin Brancusi, the inventor of the modern sculpture, brought these concepts (spiral and egg shape) in the 20th century, from his Daco-Romanian millenary homeland culture to Paris and opened a whole field of art exploration, through the symbolism of science as a sacred activity.
His polished bronze Sleeping Muse for example (1910), today in the Musée National d'Art Moderne in the Centre Georges Pompidou, is startling because it is a head without a body, lying on its side. It is like an egg and also like a beautiful abstract woman.
Brancusi also did several touching character drawings of Joyce but the image that was published was his Symbol of Joyce - consisting of three straight lines and a spiral. (Jones, Jonathan Carving a Way to Heaven, The Guardian, 2004 https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2004/jan/03/1 ).
What to the arts aficionados were shapes of mystery, passion, sexuality and love, to Brancusi were, as per his Daco-Romanian ancestors’ culture, sacred meaningful art illustrations, reflecting the intelligent (spiritual) electromagnetic and physical manifestations of the universe. In other words, he employed sacred geometry in his artwork.
Incidentally, it was just a matter of time until Brancusi’s artistic concepts translated into architecture, such as with his beloved Endless/Infinite Colum (spiral symbol) ‘becoming’ the Hearst skyscraper in New York. Here is how Tom Wilkinson, described in The Architectural Review this transference from art to architecture (Brancusi Infinite Column and skyscraper image 1):
“Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, the first version of which he developed around 1918, is not actually endless. In fact, it’s just over 2 meters tall. But unlike the columns of antiquity, bracketed by base and capital and flexing in entasis towards some finite albeit distant point, this column could, by a process of modular repetition, go on forever. It is freed from all bounds of propriety and anthropomorphy to pursue its geometrical destiny into infinity. The escape of abstract art from the bounded forms of the Classical tradition had its corollary in the realm of architecture, most dramatically in the skyscraper. And although stylistic abstraction entered the discipline via De Stijl and the Constructivists, it was on the other side of the Atlantic that the extruded plot had to be mastered by architects schooled in the Beaux-Arts tradition, like hapless cowboys trying to lasso a runaway train.” (Wilkinson, T. Typology: Skyscraper, The Architectural Review, 13 May 2017 https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/typology-skyscraper/10019237.article )” The interconnected transmutation between the electro-magnetic (Being) and matter (Human), through the forms of spirals and ovoid shapes, may be seen in the influence thoughts have over the drops of water. Dr. Masaru Emoto (Emoto Gratitude Image 1-2), in fact demonstrated that water exposed to negative thoughts formed ugly and deformed crystals, while water exposed to positive thoughts formed symmetric and sublime crystals (Emoto, M. The Hidden Messages of Water, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon, 2006).
Since 80%-50% of our bodies are made of water (depending on our age), it only follows, that negativity generating emotions and positivity generating emotions modify not just our cognitive and sentimental essences but also the very physiology of our bodies. We can only extrapolate how our states of being affect our human selves as well as our interactions with others, if not our very actions in the world.
In the Daco-Romanian folklore, the essential colors of the authentic artifacts (textiles, ceramics and architecture) are white, red and black. The meaning of this is of course that the electromagnetic spirit (white) is connected to the matter/earth (black) by the blood/water (red).
This correlation thoughts-matter is based symbolically in the Egg (shape, context) of our lives, where the Spiral (action, content) of our thoughts describes and creates our lives on a daily basis by following the Recogniscience Therapy Order.
One can only function side by side with the other such as when the egg of the woman is inseminated by the sperm (spiral) of the man, in order to create another human being. This human being is each one of us.
Chapter Two: The Recogniscience Therapy Order There is no happier person than a truly thankful content person -Joyce Meyer
The Recogniscience Therapy Order model is structured as follows:
Let us be aware of our Destinty/Legacy, For it comes from our Personality.
Let us be aware of our Personality, For it came from our Habits/Trends.
Let us be aware of our Habits/Trends, For they came from our Actions/Behaviors.
Let us be aware of our Actions/Behaviors, For they came from our Words.
[At this point we move from our external manifestations and therefore observable by others, into our individually intrinsic manifestations of thoughts and feelings which are invisible to others].
Let us be aware of our Words, For they came from our Feelings.
Let us be aware of our Feelings, For they came from our Emotions.
Let us be aware of our Emotions, For they came from our Perceptions.
Let us be aware of our Perceptions, For they came from our Beliefs.
Let us be aware of our Beliefs, For they came from our Leaps of Faith and/or acts of Trust.
Let us be aware of our Leaps of Faith and/or acts of Trust, For they came from our Experiences.
It is interesting here to note that in Daco-Romanian, the word for ‘word’ is Cuvantul. At the same time, if with separate this in Cu vantul it means “that which travels with the wind”.
Words are powerful spiritual electro-magnetic messengers of meaning-based energy and they may influence the thoughts, feeling and/or actions of millions of people. In Tibet, the Daco-Romanian “words/that which travel with the wind” are literally treated as such. In fact, the Tibetan monks to this day are writing prayers on flags, which then they position on high altitudes, so that the wind may “make them travel” to the Creator (Tibetan prayers images 1-2) .
In Biblical terms, the very Creation of the World is done by God based on His Word:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1 The New International Bible https://www.biblehub.com/niv/john/1.htm ).
In the West we have such expressions as “words are mightier than the sword.” And in America, famous 1937 Pulitzer Prize winner author Margaret Mitchell, chose as the title of the only novel she had written and on which she had worked for 10 years Gone with the Wind.
Feelings (that which I feel) are the physical manifestation of the energy in motion or e-motions, which generate from our perceptions and therefore interpretation of the world we live in and of our station in life. The romance languages use the word “sentiments” which is synonymous to feelings.
Perceptions are the subjective interpretation of a neutral or objective world. So, if I say: “It rains, which makes me sad,” the objective neutral observation is “it rains,” followed by the subjective perception “which makes me sad.” By changing how I look at it (“well, at least there is no ice,” or “it will clean the air and hydrate the plants”) in other words, by choosing to look at the half-full glass of that situation, I will then perceive the same neutral situation (rain), as positive and therefore feel in kind: “It rains, which makes me happy/grateful.”
This focusing on the “half full” part of a situation is particularly useful in circumstances which we cannot change (in the present, or past, or future).
In fact, in a 2011 documentary called Happy (Wady Rum Films, San Francisco, 2011), the components of one’s happiness are listed as: 50% genetic; 10% external events and/or experiences; and 40% perception. Out of these three, it is the perception aspect on which we have 100% control and therefore for which we are accountable 100%. Therefore, our thoughts are the foundation on whom and what we are. Our thoughts are the ones which generate our perceptions, emotions, feelings, words, actions, behaviors, habits, personality and destiny. If we like where we are in our lives, then our foundation (thoughts, thus our beliefs and perceptions) is healthy and good for us. If we like where we are in our lives and feel in harmony with the environment, then our foundation is good for both us and the universe.
If we are unhappy with our lives, we may numb the symptoms of that which makes us unhappy by external means (drugs, other compulsive words and/or behaviors).
Or…we can come, stand under (understand) the skewed foundation of that which is the sum total of us and change our thinking system from an unhealthy one (biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading) to a healthy one, which will (re)create a healthy foundation of who we are. With a healthy foundation, we can now rebuild on it a healthy construction of like thoughts, emotions, feelings, words, actions, habits, personality and destiny.
Ultimately, the idea is to experience life from a spirit of gratitude, or, in Daco-Romanian, recunostiinta.
Chapter Three: The Human Being You alone are enough [to be grateful for] -Maya Angelou
Even when our destinies may be dictated by powers outside our control, such as imprisonment, spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuses and/or diseases and social status, how we choose to look at those circumstances (perception) may very well define and redirect our lives to a meaningful life and/or death.
Meaningfulness means what I call:
The Gratitude in Action Promise:
I understand that under critical circumstances which I can change, I will take consistent actions to progress in life and if the circumstances are beyond my control, I will change how I look at them consistently, so that I may progress internally. I will thus, be thankful for each day I am given for something for which I can be thankful.
Thoughts come from two avenues, which create our belief systems: Faith based and Trust based.
The Beliefs derive from that which is making one “be alive” (belief). American educator John Dewey spoke extensively about the importance of one’s “experiential value” where the same experience, say studying mathematics, may be valued and experienced by one student in the class as a privilege and/or by another student in the same class as a burden. (Gounilock, James American Philosopher and Educator, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018).
In other words, the challenge to human life, therefore, is to determine how to live well with the processes of change within and without our control.
A very important aspect in one’s belief system is realizing whether his/her concepts are motivated by fear or by love.
If one’s belief system is motivated by fear, one is thinking and doing something in opposition to his/her wants (conflict between antipodal ideas and/or conflict between ideas and actions).
However, if the same belief system is motivated by love, one is thinking and doing or NOT doing something in conjunction with his/her authentic self.
If I do something I do not want out of fear or a sense of obligation, there is conflict between my ideas and actions (or between ideas) which is going to wear and tear me down prematurely as if driving a car with the hand break on (except that the ‘vehicle’ here is my body). In the latter case, where there is syntony or fluidity between my thoughts and actions (or between my ideas), in other words if I only do or say something out of love, this in turn will create a prolonged existence to me, much like the vehicle which is well oiled, driving on a smooth road with no hand break on or what the sailors referred to as moving ahead full sail.
With the exception of sociopaths and psychopaths, who have no empathy to which to refer, by being authentic in thoughts and actions, one would also be feeling love and thankfulness for his/her existence.
Now, of what does my existence consist?
The term human being reflects two realities, which are both part of us. One is temporary (the human) because it is made of matter, which is perishable. The other one is eternal (being), because it is made of an electro-magnetic field and as such, energy has no beginning and no end, it only changes modes of manifestation.
For example, when a person expires, the electro-magnetic field ‘spirals out’ (ex) of the body. It is like the driver who leaves the car; just because we don’t see him/her driving and operating the car, it doesn’t mean that s/he doesn’t exist anymore. S/he just walked away. It is the same with our being.
So, the question raises therefore, are we beings having a human experience or are we humans having a being experience? In a harmonious world, we are both. This is what the Latins had in mind when they reflected: Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (Healthy Mind in Healthy body).
Unfortunately, these two essential values of our wholeness are often artificially pitted against each other following the “either/or fallacy.”
Much too often the being part known as ‘cognition,’ ‘gnosis,’ ‘soul,’ ‘intelligence,’ or ‘mind,’ is deferred exclusively to carnal experiences or senses, relegated to matter, instead of energy.
In fact, very often we juxtapose these two values without wondering about the interconnectedness of the two and that at the end of the day, the being can and does survive the human, whereas the human is inert and deteriorating without the being.
In fact the English word ‘dead’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon languages word for ‘still’, devoid of perception -which is a thought-emotion electro-magnetic process and therefore belonging to the eternal being in the human being- (Etymonline,https://www.etymonline.com/word/dead ). So even if somebody is biologically alive, without cultivating, maintaining and progressing the spirit of love in his/her life, that person is going though life as a living dead. We have expressions such as “having an empty look,” “being heartless.” “being indifferent,” in other words, being detached from appreciating (being grateful) the gift of life.
The Italians have a solution to this in their proverb: finché c'è vita c'è speranza (As long as there is life, there is hope).
Hoping comes from the same etymological root as the physical act of ‘hopping around.’ Similarly, when we hope, even psychologically, we need to take a ‘leap of faith.’ In other words, coming back into the fullness of love and gratitude requires an act of faith.
Faith comes from the Latin fides, as in the English word “confidence.” The definition of fides is this: “ascent of the mind to the truth of a statement for which there is incomplete evidence.” Therefore, “faith is neither the submission of the reason, nor its acceptance. Faith is being able to cleave to a power or a goodness appealing to our higher and real self, not to our lower and apparent self. “(Arnold M. Literature and Dogma 1873, Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/faith ).
Let us note here that while trust is a rationally (human) based decision making process, deriving from several and consistent confirmations of an act of faith, faith per se’ is an act based on intuition (being), which is in constant communication with the higher and real Creator of the Universe and we may add the Eternal Self .
It is based on materialistic views that we choose possession of things and people, as opposed to being with things or people. Eric Fromm, in his To Have or To Be (Continuum International Publishing Group, London, UK, 2005), gives an example on how these two mentalities may affect us and the world: one poet sees a beautiful rose in the forest, he cuts it off, brings it home and puts it in a vase, after which he writes a poem on how beautiful this rose is; another poet, sees a beautiful rose in the forest, uproots it and transplants it in his garden, after which he writes a poem on how beautiful this rose is; a third poet, sees another beautiful rose in the forest, he approaches it gingerly and smells it, after which he writes a poem on how beautiful this rose is.
All three poets appreciated the roses and wrote poems on how beautiful the roses in the forest are but at what cost for the roses in the first two cases?
The human in us wants to have and the being in us wants to be. The word ‘behavior’ (be/have) encapsulates both of these needs.
If I’m choosing to have or be in relation to any of these values, people, places, actions or things, I need to correctly have the material assets which are in my control and be with the electro-magnetic ideas and feelings, which are in my control. Should I ‘confuse these priorities’ I may want to buy and have a trophy car and house (which is fine) and also ‘buy’ and want to ‘have’ a trophy wife (which is a mistake) and hope for her to love me because of the things she has from me.
Since material wealth is at a different frequency of feelings than sentimental wealth, it’s like trying to tune into an AM radio talk show by being tuned at the FM frequency; it’s an impossible dialogue. In fact, the trophy wife may end up divorcing and taking both the trophy house and trophy car because, quite simply put, she is in love with another person.
Chapter Four: What is Love? Equality only exists in mathematics -Mihai Eminescu
Love is energy and as such, it’s an emotion. Energy has no beginning and no end. Energy is endless. Therefore, one cannot ‘have’ love but only ‘be’ in love.
The business model of “give and take,” which deals with material values (you can have my presence and expertise and I can take a check for giving you my time) never works, no matter how persistently the modern man is trying to apply it, in love. The definition of insanity, in fact, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
One can always give love and receive (be given) love but never ‘take’ it. The effects of love are phenomenal for one’s life; love gives life a superlative meaning. The famous Biblical quote of Corinthians 13, 4-8 describes its effects and eternity:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (The Holy Bible, New International Version, Biblica Inc, 2011). The modern definition of ‘love’ is having a man or a woman as a partner. The functional definition of love, however, is being with a man or a woman. Based on these definitions, we can deduce that too often we seek instant gratification, having-based relationships (having sex, having a spouse, etc.) and expect being-based results (being in love, being with a spouse, etc.).
What makes love eternal is being with a partner intimately, being married and so on; and yet, we seek long-term effects by using instant gratification having mentalities and actions. Not even the “internet” of our mind, the so-called rationalizations, can create the wishful alchemy of transforming one into another, no matter how much we insist that this can be done. It’s like planting an apple tree and expecting that we can harvest oranges from it.
To be sure, Love DOES create an alchemy, which was quite splendidly described in the poem of the same name by Persian poet Rumi in the 13th century as such:
“THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE
You come to us from another world
From beyond the stars and void of space. Transcendent, Pure, of unimaginable beauty, Bringing with you the essence of love
You transform all who are touched by you. Mundane concerns, troubles and sorrows dissolve in your presence, bringing joy to ruler and ruled
To peasant and king
You bewilder us with your grace. All evils transform into goodness.
You are the master alchemist.
You light the fire of love in earth and sky in heart and soul of every being.
Through your love existence and nonexistence merge.
The original writing of love (amore) in Latin was ad-mortem. Loving somebody often implied to death (ad-mortem). Some individuals throughout history decided to kidnap, possess, rape and/or kill their partners rather than lose them (“If I cannot have you nobody will”). Some parents may use the same skewed understanding of ‘love’ by telling their children, “I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out of this world.” These people are using having values for a being value. They are not taking into consideration the facts which are that love is energy, conscious energy at that and that as such, it can be freely given or received but never be taken as possession.
In fact, love (ad-mortem) has more accurately been interpreted as being selfless to death in regards to somebody/something else which we love; therefore, it was meant the other way around, where the loving person would sacrifice himself in large and small feats (economically, mentally, physically, emotionally, by giving up his life if need be) in order to safeguard the loved person or cause.
Also, for skeptics of idealist decisions, who want to find a selfish logic in selfless feelings, love is simply turning perfectly sensible people into complete idiots. Which, from their perspective is absolutely true. In fact, this is what love is.
This paradox in appearance makes sense when we understand that love is about protecting and serving the ones we love with gratitude, including and up to our supreme sacrifice, if need be.
Chapter Five: The Process of Thinking Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you. -Rumi
Our thoughts, the foundation of whom and what we are, as well as, the very foundation of the universe, were quite aptly described by Nikola Tesla, an ethnic Romanian inventor, physicist and super-genius from Croatia, in the last century as such:
The word “thought” comes from the proto-Germanic thankija, Old English þencan is the causative form of the distinct Old English verb þyncan "to seem, to appear" (past tense þuhte, past participle geþuht), from Proto-Germanic thunkjan (source also of German dünken, däuchte). Both are from PIE tong- "to think, feel" which also is the root of thought and thanks.Therefore, if one can think, one is thankful (https://www.etymonline.com/word/think?ref=etymonline_crossreference ) or should be.
In other words, being aware means being grateful.
The question is why?
Thoughts function at different frequencies and as such, we should be aware of these.
There are 5 types of different brain waves: alpha, beta, theta, delta and gamma. These brainwaves of the human mind are constantly fluctuating within their own respective frequencies:
a) Alpha waves – correspond with the state of relaxation, meditation, “dream with open eyes." b) Beta-waves -correspond to when we think, discuss, communicate. c) Delta-deep -correspond with the sleep waves. d) Gamma-waves - correspond to when we learn and process the information. e) Theta deep-relaxation waves, - correspond with the hypnosis, the moment before awakening from the dream state (sleep) and the immediate moment in the dream state.
Theta waves are the frequency between our conscious and subconscious thinking.
Our thoughts and beliefs are placed in our conscious mind in a proportion of 5% and in the subconscious mind 95%. So, unless we take a constant active role in our thinking process (awareness), we are led by the subconscious thoughts without realizing it.
By changing them, we change our attitude, health, reality, behavior. We can move from a state of mania to unconditional love. By changing them we change frequency.
By changing our frequency, from an (often learned) helplessness induced state, to an “I can and I do” mind-set, we attract, recognize and become part of people, places, things, time and situations of greater, beneficial frequency, into our lives.
For example, if we are afraid of thieves, we will surely attract them into our lives. In English, this attitude corresponds to the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy.” This predisposition comes at the visible cues we show, from our body language (75%) to our verbal (25%) communication. If we release ourselves from this fear, our frequency increases and we can now move beyond the low frequency predisposing us to being targeted by the would-be predators.
In order to be happy/grateful, it is important to have beliefs, thoughts and positive feelings conducive to that. Also, if we have the conviction: "I have to sacrifice myself in order to save the world," we may set ourselves up for martyrdom.
Dr. Dwayne Dyer describes in The Power of Intention the interconnectedness between one’s paradigms about himself and the world and the actual life. He states that people who are going around “seeking occasions to get offended” will eventually find them, whereas when people are (sometimes the same people) “seeking occasions to receive blessings” they will just as likely find them (Dyer, D. The Power of Intentionhttps://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/the-7-faces-of-the-power-of-intention-by-dr-wayne-dyer/).
Another case is that of a blind person begging in front of the iconic main library building in New York. Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before the majestic Beaux-Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, have captured the imagination and affection of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world since the Library was dedicated on May 23, 1911. The blind man had made it his business to sit by them and wait for the passersby’s change with a sign stating: “I am blind and I cannot see.” He was making ends meet when the cops would not chase him away.
One beautiful spring day, when the sun was resplendent, the temperature was in the 70’s F and the trees were in blossom, a marketing executive who had just been diagnosed with a progressing eye sight problem passed by and approached the beggar. She pondered for a moment and after a while, she amended the text on the beggar’s cardboard sign. She also slipped him a few dollars and she left. Shortly after that the blind beggar started noticing a higher and higher influx of money making its way into his collection container, once just about an empty can. It was soon filled and some Good Samaritan brought another larger container to accommodate the increasing influx of money.
At the end of his day, just as he was getting ready to leave, he recognized the approaching steps of the Italian leather shoes and the expensive French perfume of the woman who had altered his sign. As she came by his side, full of gratitude the man asked: “What did you write on my sign?”
The woman smiled, seeing the abundance of the donations and modestly stated: “I didn’t write anything new; I simply restated what you wrote.” The amended sign read; “It’s a beautiful day and I cannot see.” Both the beggar and the marketing executive lady smiled and parted ways. They had both become inspirational in the lives of the eye-sighted passerby pedestrians, who had simply been reminded of how fortunate they were to have been gifted to be able to appreciate the day’s beauty in body, mind, eye sight and spirit.
By setting the intention (or in-telligent tension), to “be blessed”, i.e. in harmony and practicing this mind-set constantly, we create the foundation of goodness in our lives. In fact, the word “blessing” is a conjunction of two words. It comes from the Latin bene-dicere, i.e. “speaking well.” It also comes from the old English bledsian i.e. “blood”.
So, in order to have a good health, or good blood, one needs to speak well. And in order to speak well, one needs to feel and think well. Therefore, when one thinks, one also needs to thank. This is the understanding of thinking fully (be thankful). This is why one should be thankful from the moment one becomes a fully thinking person.
Carlos Castaneda describes this interconnectedness this way: “In the entire universe, there is an immense, indescribable force, which shamans call intent and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.” It is in our control to chose and practice the kind of intent we want to become. (Dyer, D. The Power of Intentionhttps://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/the-7-faces-of-the-power-of-intention-by-dr-wayne-dyer/ ).
Negating this universal fluidity comes with consequences, including in our own homeostasis.
Dale Carnegie writes: “The psychological patterns are quite clear. When a person says “No” and really means it, he or she is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. The entire organism -glandular, nervous, muscular- gathers itself together into a condition of rejection. There is usually in minute but sometimes in observable degree, a physical withdrawal or readiness for withdrawal. The whole neuromuscular system, in short, sets itself on guard against acceptance.
Let us imagine then what happens to us when we say “Yes” and mean “No”.
When, to the contrary, a person says “Yes,” and means it, none of the withdrawal activities takes place. The organism is in a forward-moving, accepting open attitude. Hence the more “Yesses” we can say, at the very outset, the more likely we are to succeed in capturing the attention for our ultimate proposal. Get a student to say “No” at the beginning or a customer, child, husband or wife and it takes the wisdom and patience of angels to transform that bristling negative into an affirmative.” (Carnegie, D. How to Win Friends & Influence People, Simon & Schuster, 1936, New York, p. 164)
By practicing awareness, we learn to consciously enter into the frequency of theta waves and there we connect to the High Consciousness (the Universal Being), that exists in us, through us, by us and which permeates all.
Also, in learning to use our consciousness for the betterment of our ideas and lives, we may focus better on our interactions with ourselves and/or the world, at the conscious, subconscious, unconscious and supra-conscious levels. The capacity to make conscious decisions is one of the things that are human. We make choices and decisions all the time. Some are logical, some are emotional. Some decisions we make instantly, some take us extensive planning. 1. Conscious decisions are fully aware decisions. We use the information which is available to us, evaluate the pros and the cons calmly, look at them from the short-term, medium-term and long-term perspective and we use consequential thinking in order to come to a decision. We take full responsibility for each decision, knowing and feeling that it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. We are aware we take decisions and why we take them.
2. Subconscious decisions are based on our past experiences, and on our personal beliefs, as to what it is acceptable in our eyes and in the eyes of the society in which we live. Our subconscious plays a major role in our decision-making process. Often, we think that we have a choice but our conditioning determines the outcome of the decisions. We are aware we take decisions but not why we take them.
3. Unconscious decisions are the decisions we make while we are not really aware of making them and therefore, we cannot explain why we make them. These can be decisions made out of habit or generally doing something without thinking about the consequences for ourselves and of others. Crimes of passion are often committed at this level of thinking. This is the auto-pilot mode where we give control of our lives and often blame others for the consequences. We are neither aware we take decisions nor why we take them.
4. Supra-conscious decisions are “made” for us in the form of inspiration. Inspiration or being in the Spirit, implies that we are in contact with a higher power (or the Creator power) whose counsel we have opened up to willingly and who is communicating with us. There are many reported ways to achieve that connection with the universal wisdom which may range from prayer, meditation, psychedelic drugs, music, dance, poetry, sculpture, writing, to painting. We are not aware we take decisions but we are aware why we take them.
We can focus on and attract creative energy as much as we can focus and attract destructive energy. For the other side of the sun is the black sun just as the other side of creation and love, is destruction and hatred; they both generate from wisely guided or unwisely misguided passion.
Our brain is equipped in fact with a mammalian (creative, loving) part and a reptilian (destructive, hating and/or cold part). By choosing intention we choose to activate one over the other. In fact, within the native tribes of the United States circulates a Cherokee anecdote in this regard. A grandpa tells his grandson the following story: “In each of us there is a vicious battle between a predatory wolf which wants our demise and a protective wolf which wants us to be protected. The battle goes on day and night.” The grandson asks: “Which one of the two wolves wins the battle, grandpa?” To which, the elder responds: “The one we feed the most” (http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html Legends/ TwoWolves-Cherokee.html)
A word of caution on intention is also necessary. A proverb in Daco-Romanian clearly states that: “Even hell is paved with good intentions.” We have to ensure that our most noble intentions actually provide a constructive relief to us and to the people affected by our words and actions.
One classic example is the doting parent who provides the money to the drug addicted son/daughter to buy his/her “fix”, because: “at least I know that s/he is not on the streets, hustling for drugs and thus jeopardizing his/her safety.” Yet, despite the parent’s best intentions, all he/she is doing is enabling the son/daughter to self-destruct.
Rather, the parent should offer to pay the money for the rehabilitation treatment, rather than contributing to the spiraling down of his/her child.
There is functional thinking (thinking that helps us maintain our balance or progress in life) and dysfunctional thinking (thinking the makes us stagnate, or regress in life). Some of the dysfunctional thinking types are all or nothing thinking, shoulds, catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, minimizing/maximizing, personalizing, jumping to conclusions, labeling, defeatism (also called learned helplessness) and denial.
In terms of denial we have denial of facts, intentions, damage and responsibility.
All these dysfunctional thinking types are set aside from our thinking by using the method of suspended judgment. When one suspends her judgment, she opens the door to know and understand her interlocutor from the interlocutor’s perspective. One’s personal judgment can resume at any point in time, yet suspending it, even for brief amounts of time, allows for an impartial look as how the person to whom one speaks, sees herself.
Suspended judgment allows us to use empathy and compassion as a means to reframe our world views by understanding the plight of others. It also is conducive to try and find a mutually accepted compromise, from the win-win perspective, regarding one’s interests and the others’ interests.
Chapter Six: Antecedents and Forgiveness Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. -Mark Twain
In the Recogniscience Therapy Order there is a preceding step to our thoughts, which in fact, particularly in the first 7 years of our lives, influences heavily (sometimes for the rest of our lives) our order of actions-reactions, including our belief system, from which our perceptions of our realities and thus our habits arise.
To wit: Let us be aware of our Leaps of Faith and/or acts of Trust, For they came from our Experiences.
For happy people, people in harmony, these experiences were delightful: their genetic material was healthy; they were loved, protected, educated in a spirit of curiosity, knowledge and creativity; they were taught mannerisms and received opportunities which allowed for their minds, bodies, souls, actions and lives in general to be flourishing.
For most people however, whether it be because of deficient genetics and/or outside social experiences, their own way of looking at themselves and at the world, their thinking (faith, trust, beliefs, perception) became lackadaisical at some point and from it came in a furious domino effect of negativity, the damaging of their being and of their humanity, which ultimately led them to the present dysfunctional and unhappy state of things.
The Recogniscience Therapy encourages the facing of any traumatic experiences of the present and past and following the cathartic (or emotional purging), addressing of them to the point of closure, meaning transforming them from an open wound into a scar (emotional or otherwise).
This is equally important to address after a one-time traumatic event or after intermittent and/or constant traumatic events, which demolish our normal homeostasis (balance) and demand healing, before our resumption of a harmonious life. I propose the following 8 Stages of Healing Model: Shock-Denial-Pain-Fear-Sadness-Anger-Bargaining- Acknowledging/Forgiveness/ Closure. An individual may go through this cycle of healing sequentially or by jumping between stages, in no particular order. She may linger briefly or for years in one stage or another, until full closure/forgiveness is achieved. While each stage has its own difficulties and impact on people, it seems that the facing and moving away from anger is perhaps the hardest stage to pass. We shall distinguish between healthy anger (as a motivation for change) and unhealthy anger (as a pretext for [self] abuse). We have to establish the fact that anger is a secondary emotion to fear and therefore, if we want to comprehensively resolve our anger, we have to first address and resolve the fears which are triggering the anger. The human and animal approaches to imminent threats are to fight, take flight, or freeze. Depending on the time, people, places and things with which we are dealing, any of these techniques may work as a successful defensive response. The question is what to do with Post Traumatic associations when the actual threat is gone but not so also its associations and triggers, conscious or otherwise? The concept of Forgiveness is the prime (if not the primal) example of the wise mind (the wise mind combines logical and emotional aspects of processing, with the sole goal of guiding the individual to achieve and maintain spiritual, mental, emotional and physical harmony).
If changing one’s belief, from dysfunctional to functional is the foundation of the edifice we call our character, forgiveness is the solid ground on which we build that foundation. For without forgiveness there is hurt and resentment. And no amount of healthy thinking, as strong as a foundation that would be to our character, can be and remain stable if it is built on the sand of negativity, anger and conflict.
Therefore, before any re-thinking can be done, the very ground of our psychological foundation needs to be solidly positioned on love and serenity (i.e. gratitude). These only come after abandoning and bringing to closure the conflicts within (of ideas and/or between our ideas and the facts that create the paradigms of our lives).
Generally, when we choose “me, myself and I” only thoughts, feelings and actions, we are well served in covering our physiological, survival and self-protection needs. When we choose “me and the group,” or “me and a cause,” sometimes “me less than the people, groups, causes” I love, we are well served in our seeing ourselves as protectors of others.
Iconically speaking, the devil’s horns being portrayed in the back, or on the side-ways of his head, represent ego-based decisions. Conversely, the dot on the center of the forehead for Indians (Indians forehead chakra images 1-2), the Ash Wednesday cross on the Catholic and Orthodox Christians’ forehead (Ash Wednesday Cross Images 1-2), the Tefilin box on the forehead of Orthodox Jews (Tefilin box Images 1-2 ) and the prostration marks on the forehead of pious Muslims (Prostration marks Images 1-2), called alternatively the Third Eye, or the Pineal chakra, represent altruistic needs-based decisions (even when they are in direct contradiction of the comfort or even of the survival of their religious followers). What we are talking about are two juxtaposing specialties in our brains: the selfish, reptilian one versus the selfless mammalian one (in fact they should work most of the time in conjunction rather than opposition with the exception of choosing to sacrifice part or the whole of us out of love).
Being aware of these perspectives is very important in our healing, because, in order to heal from hurt, we need to let go of our resentment. Resentment emanates from the reptilian brain and is the survival, or proud ego, asking judgmentally, “how could they do this to me?” Letting go of resentment is about living in serenity, in a harmonious state, which can only come by if we forgive the sources of the offenses inflicted upon us over time (including on ourselves by ourselves), not because it’s right but because it’s healing.
Resenting is a little bit like drinking poison and expecting that somebody else will die; the only ones who are going to be poisoned are ourselves. Forgiveness looks not at “what’s right or wrong” but at what is needed for someone to live burden free, including being free from the burden of hatred.
Originally, the word forgiveness was written give before, as in “Give before the LORD your cares and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Once one’s “cares” (including resentment) were dropped, there was no more burden on reliving them (re-living or living them again) because they were not ours anymore.
It is as if we had placed on a collection plate in church our hurt, fears, pains and resentments and passed them over to God. Now they are His, just like the money put in the collection plates on Sundays, these burdens belong to the Church and they are not ours anymore.
Unless we choose to take them back, as if we could technically do with the money from the collection plate too. Then, we have to “give them before the LORD” again.
If we liberated ourselves from hatred (forgave), we could love (ourselves and others). Over the centuries, give before became before give, fore give and this in turn became the word forgive of our contemporary acceptance of the term.
In the precursor of Latin, the Thracian based Daco-Romanian language (Ledwith, Miceal Limba Romanahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjlPGmWalIw), the term pai da-i (“donate to Him,” or “give away”) was coined and subsequently, various Romance languages reflected this as perdono, pardonnez and pardon (as in the English word for a governor’s pardon). They all mean the same thing as the Anglo-Saxon word forgiveness.
In conflict resolution texts there are various perspectives on why and how to best approach forgiveness in victim/perpetrator dynamics. Among other things, they present the act of forgiveness as:
1. Forgiving, looked upon as strength, rather than a weak act. 2. Use forgiveness as a practical or psychological tool rather than just as an abstract or spiritual dogma. 3. Understanding the value of forgiveness in reshaping the perception of past, present and future experiences. 4. Understanding the benefits of forgiveness both internally and externally. 5. Concentrating on the good side rather than on the evil side of human beings. 6. Understanding that survivors are outsiders no more, being active participants in restorative justice measures. 7. Have a desire to heal broken relationships. 8. Use past suffering memories as cathartic rather than an immutable reliving of painful experiences. 9. Understanding the scapegoating mechanism and that the victim was not at fault for going through such suffering. 10. Offering self-acceptance and praise for enduring unwarranted suffering. 11. Separate actions from the perpetrators (forgive the perpetrator but not approve of the crime). 12. Use personal ordeals to work for justice. 13. Create justice first and then expect reconciliation. 14. Be an active participant in restorative justice measures. 15. Receive reparations commensurate with the crimes and seek conviviality but not necessarily communion between victims/perpetrators.
Forgiveness doesn’t come automatically for the former perpetrators from their victims. In addition to addressing the above appropriate steps for themselves, they’ll also have to: confess fully their crimes, take responsibility for the criminality of these actions, listen to the victims’ harrowing accounts of their suffering, be willing to relinquish their inordinate power in society (if still in power), be received back as an equal (rather than privileged) member of the society and pay reparations commensurate with crimes.
Forgiveness is not given because it is right; it is given because one wants to live at peace. The logic of forgiveness is simply: to be wrong and happy (in letting go, forgive), rather than being right and miserable (logically having the right to hate for perpetrated traumatic acts of injustice and continuing to be resentful).
Chapter Seven: The Infinite in Us In order to pray to God Brancusi sculpted the Infinite Column. In order to listen to God, Brancusi sculpted the Table of Silence -Viorel Vintila
To sum up external, or observable aspects of us (words, body language, facial expressions, actions), come because of our internal selves (genetic material and perceptions to outside events and thoughts).
Perceptions give meaning to our lives (or lack thereof) via imagination.
In their book, Imagination & Meaning, dedicated to Romanian born professor Mircea Eliade, the only person who successfully attempted to write and completed The History of World Religions, writers Norman J. Girardot and Mac Linscot Ricketts describe imagination as follows:
“What is imaginary is MADE a fact in time. What is real and has meaning is by virtue of the creation of the world as the temporal embodiment of the imaginary, the fact that the ideal came into historical existence. In this way, essence is the source of reality but becomes meaningful only because of the creation and reality of the concrete world of things, facts, events -only because of the consciousness and historicity of man, the experience of temporality where something actually happened, is happening and will happen-.
The felt tension of human life is that like language, life has tense. Understanding from this perspective requires a method that is alive. It calls for, as Eliade frequently reminds us, a ‘creative hermeneutics’ [from Greek interpretation], which is capable of finding a hidden coherence, grammar or narrativity in human history. Eliade’s vision thus, follows this train of thought: ‘the truth is the ideal which BECOMES real and is known only accidentally.’” (Girardot J. N. and Ricketts, L. M. Imagination & Meaning, The Seabury Press, New York, 1982, Ppg. 2-3).
That ‘accidentality’ is our implementing our free will or intention (intelligent tension) to perceive and interpret ours and others’ reality through the prism of consistent love, creation and gratitude. Even in dire circumstances and following traumatic events and situations, that choice is still in us as long as we are alive and can exercise our consciousness. As a client of mine stated in a private counseling session: “It took me decades of reflections and counseling to implement the choice of changing my perspective about my life (past, present and future) from defeatism to loving, creating and being grateful on a daily basis (including when looking back at past traumatic events). This is because while consciously I had realized since my earlier years that I had this option at a logical level, subconsciously I was blocking myself from implementing this change of thought and being, because I had been habituated to be a victim, a prey and to live, feel, see and respond in life exclusively from this helpless perspective.” Breaking habits is hard and at the same time possible, with consistency of love in thoughts, words and actions. In addition to behavioral and perception-based changes, even our bodies react favorably to positive thoughts. Fortunately, our brain listens to our mind and even modifies its connective neuronets in accordance to the kinds of thoughts we entertain, by a process called neuroplasticity. Rather than likening our brain to the unchangeable cement, forming the foundation of an edifice, we can liken it to clay.
Clay is defined by Wikipedia as: “a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth, typically yellow, red or bluish-gray in color and often forming an impermeable layer in the soil. It can be molded when wet and is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics.” Therefore, there are two kinds of clay: the modifiable, molded when wet; and the rigid, baked clay.
We can say that with regard to our brains, unless due to physical injury and/or organic diseases such as Alzheimer’s (which will “bake” our brains), the human brain remains malleable and open to reshaping, like the wet clay, until the last day of our existence on earth.
How one gets to his destination is also very important. We can follow our journey with enthusiasm and excitement or with resistance, fear and anger. I can do a task out of fear and anger (avoidance) or I can do the same task out of enthusiasm, trust and joy (or by embracing it). How I do it therefore, is as important as the doing of it.
In 1970 Mircea Eliade wrote a play inspired by Constantin Brancusi’s Endless/Infinite Column by the same name. In it, he describes the column as infinite (endless) because of the impression on its observers to be in continuous motion: “it forces the matter to ‘move’ and to raise to the sky because only this way it is alive. It is like the dancers who, -by imitating people, animals, events, nature and feelings in their choreography-, are able to ‘dance the forms and emotions’ and thus, give them life (Eliade, M. The Infinite Column Play, 1970 https://old.upm.ro/cci3/CCI-03/Lds/Lds%2003%2088.pdf ).
This is why art, any beautiful art, which is inspirational is ‘contagious’ in its bringing alive beauty; it is because it ‘moves’ us, it makes us more alive. Art therapy is one way in which art becomes part of our healing process and progress.
Only by progressing in life consistently in thoughts, emotions, words and actions, while maintaining gratitude for what we can find good in each day of our lives, past, present and future, can we become meaningfully ‘infinite’ to us and hopefully to others.
To be clear, the intention to be grateful is the thought triggering, the feeling of gratitude. There is then the feeling of gratitude which motivates the individuals to continue to want (have the intention) to be grateful. This interdependence of thoughts/feelings have actually led the Egyptians to consider that it is the heart (the locus of feelings) rather than the brain, which is actually where the mind is located.
Why should a rational process (thoughts) be considered as part of feelings (an emotional process)?
In many psychiatric wards patients are counseled in therapy to understand and use carefully the three parts of their mind: the emotional; the rational; and the wise one (from the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy DBT, School of Thought).
The emotional mind is the reactive thinking, coming up during highly emotionally charged circumstances. Logic has no say in it and it’s all about passion. The rational mind is all about calculating the pros and the cons of a situation and selecting the most reasonable outcome. It usually comes during still emotional waters and it’s all about logic. It is similar to the ‘mind’ of a computer or of a sociopath’s.
The wise mind employs both, usually upon reflection and trying to combine harmoniously as much as possible the needs of our enthusiasm with the needs of practical approaches. This is called the wise mind, because, while it reflects logical components in its thinking, it also empathizes with the human heart and as such it’s basically compassionate logic.
Based on the wise mind then, we make decisions which may include at some point the need to refrain from exploding and to redirect that energy into a positive avenue, based on changing one’s perceptions from negative to positive ones.
The spectacular results of having and implementing this revelation were summed up by quite possibly the shortest poem on record:
It was written by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti and it simply states: M’illumino D’imenso. In English we could translate it as: “I light up with immensity.”
This ‘immensity’ is the pattern of gratitude generated by and through love in our lives, which, much like the pebbles thrown in the lake, have a ripple effect beyond our control, which manifest in people, time and places, going beyond our wildest imagination as they meet and permeate in kind souls and other open creatures of God.
We have the great capacity to be producers and creators like the bees or consumers and parasites/destroyers like the locusts. While both these insects, bees and locusts have a predetermined path in life, we can choose. Herein lies the choice for gratitude and love.
Chapter Eight: The 8 Dimensions of Wellness and Health God gave me 86.400 seconds today. How many of these did I use to say thank you for them? -William A. Ward
How can we do that?
Once we have understood and (re)created our inner foundations to a perception of looking at ourselves and the reality surrounding us with love based on gratitude, we can address the outside aspects of our lives.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness propose the following categories:
Spiritual/sense of self (internal)Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life Enhancing connection to self, nature and others brings balance and peace in our lives. Take time to discover what values are most important to us.
Intellectual/learning (internal)Recognizing creating abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills Be a lifelong learner by expanding knowledge. Find creative outlets that stimulate us. Be open to new ideas, insight and wisdom.
Emotional/being in touch with and expressive of our thoughts (internal)A positive self-concept which includes dealing with feelings constructively and developing positive qualities such as optimism, trust self-confidence and determination Listen to our feelings. Express them to those we trust. Maintain a positive outlook.
Physical: air, water, food, exercise, activities (internal and external)Recognizing the need for physical activities, healthy food, healthy hydration and sleep Reduce risk of illness by increasing activity levels according to our capacities. Ensure that we get well rested nights of sleep. Hydrate by drinking at least 1 glass of clean (spring) water every 2 hours. Choose healthy foods. Explore the outdoors.
Social/belonging (external)Developing a sense of connection, belonging and a well-developed support system A sense of belonging and developing a reliable support system (informal and/or formal-professional) to help as needed during difficult times. Seek advice when needed. Create healthy friendships.
Environmental/places (external)Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being A positive environment has a positive effect. Find surroundings that encourage good physical, mental and spiritual activities. Take the steps to feel safe in our environments.
Financial (external)Satisfaction with current and future financial situations Make a point to understand your finances.. Establish good financial habits Decide on when to work hard and when to work smart. Plan for the future.
Wellness is a conscious deliberate, daily and consistent process that requires being aware of and making choices for a meaningfully satisfying life.
The 8:8:8 breakdown model for each 24 hours cycle of our lives is paramount in terms of creating a fully meaningful life for us. As such, it designates 6-8 hours of work; 6-8 hours of leisure; and 6-8 hours of sleep as being tri-dimensionally necessary in order to create a balanced life. Too much work, to the detriment of leisure or sleep, may get one imbalanced on those two levels; too much leisure and/or sleep, to the detriment of the time where we should produce and/or create professionally, may imbalance our sense of purpose from that perspective.
An imbalanced life leads to ‘short-cuts’ such as taking stimulants or sedatives to compensate for this lack of balance. Whether bio-chemical, mental, emotional and/or behavioral in nature, these are temporary ‘feel good’ results, which eventually lead to compulsions and addictions and plateau, ultimately leading to a crash which can devastate the individual’s life and/or that person’s loved ones.
Because, as human beings we have both human needs (material and physical) and being needs (mental and emotional), only by maintaining a homeostatic level of these various activities can we feel, have and be balanced in our lives.
Health When the English language as we know it today was born in the 1300s, the Old English word root hal evolved into 3 words: health, whole, and holy. At one time, that is, there was just the one word...hal to express these 3 integrated and interdependent concepts. (Get Well Stay Well America publication http://www.getwellstaywellamerica.com/EnergyEnhancers/etymologyHealth.htm ).
In the 1600’s the concept of health became a mechanism and thus, it was devoid of the patient centered engagement and of any electro-magnetic resonance, as part of the treatment.
“The Newtonian paradigm, also called the clockwork universe, is the scientific paradigm that supports modern science being characterized by its materialistic and atomistic vision of isolated inert objects (matter) that interact in a linear cause and effect fashion, giving a vision of the universe that is analogous to a big machine or clock, which is thus orderly, knowable and predictable.” (Systems Academyhttps://systemsinnovation.io/newtonian-paradigm/ ).
This led to great advances in such strictly physical procedures as surgeries, to the detriment of engaging the patient’s mental and emotional attributes in the healing process.
This Newtonian lackadaisical model of health leads to corporations such as Starbucks having to spend more on health insurance for employees per year than on raw coffee. AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily (75% of Americans do not meet this goal). About 67% of Americans are obese and 12% of employees’ costs are attributed to disease related to obesity.
McDonlads’ corporate mission is to have locations within 4.5 minutes from the nearest outlet at all times. Predictably, Americans spend more per capita on fast food than on higher education (American Heart Association yearly report 2017).
In terms of tobacco, 23% of the population is addicted to tobacco and tobacco associated diseases end up costing for treatment for females $ 106,000 and for men $ 220.000. (Welcoa.org https://www.welcoa.org/ ).
Depression, which according to the Newtonian bio-chemical model is treated with allopathic medications to simply manage the physical symptoms, is predicted to be the leading occupational disease of the 21st Century. It is responsible for more days lost from work than any other factor. It costs $ 300 billion, or $ 7,500 per employee in the United States (as per compensation claims, lost productivity, health insurance claims and medical expenses). Perhaps the fact that Americans are working 164 hours per year MORE than they did 20 years ago may contribute to said depression (Stress Directions Inc. 2017).
Only in the 1900’s the “3 in one Hal” concept was revived in science with the introduction of Quantum Physics. Max Plank coined the term in 1900.
What is Quantum Physics?
Lynne Mc Taggart explained it as the the existence of a strong, unbreakable life and energy-giving spirit which is: “an energetically fundamentally living and intelligent field and that this is a scientifically proven phenomenon” (Mc Taggart, L. The Field Harper, New-York, 2002 p. 15).
Her book, The Field, tells the story of a group of ingenious scientists who discovered that the Zero Point Field connects everything in the universe, much like “the Force” in the movie, Star Wars. The Field offers an avant-garde view of the way our living world and our bodies work and gives both meaning to suffering and motivation to the former oppressors to transform themselves into nobler beings.
The human mind and body: “are not distinct and separate from their environment but a continuum of pulsating energy constantly interacting within this vast energy sea” (Mc Taggart, L. The Field Harper, New-York, 2002 p. 19).
The Field illustrates an interconnected universe and a scientific theory which makes sense of supernatural phenomena. It talks about the juxtaposition of the Newtonian views on the world based on materially separated and distinctive particles, with the quantum physics paradigms, based on the Zero Point (e.g. the ocean of microscopic vibrations which is between and within beings). In other words, at our most basic essence, we are not a chemical reaction but an (intelligent) electric charge (Mc Taggart, 2002).
These paradigm distinctions are important for physical-psychological-political purposes, because according to the Zero Point perspective, there is a living conscience which observes, modifies and is modified, based on the intentions and actions being present. While many basic processes such as feeding, digestion, sleeping, sexuality, remain regulated by physical laws, it is the quantum physics perspective of the interrelationship between living beings, that offers a more integrative view on consciousness (e.g. that each living being has a field of influence over the world and vice-versa).
Slowly but surely this shift of paradigm is being accepted in the corporate world in regards to the health of the employees.
As such, Wellness at Work programs offer more and more:
Health advantages: screenings, incentives, assessments, chronic condition care, tobacco and weight stress management programs.
Lifeline Employee Assistance: psychological services, life coaching.
Recreation Centers: open recreation, fitness programs, outreach programs.
Environmental Services: accommodations to address personal avenues to exercise and recreate based on personal mental, emotional, spiritual and physical needs (Adapted from Exponents Center for Personal and Professional Developments, 2017).
Chapter Nine: Unhealthy perceptions and the need for therapy In the grateful heart, there will be always summer -Celia Thaxter
What creates the need for therapy?
There is a theoretical and a practical framework to understand dysfunction (that which doesn’t function). Whether by thoughts, emotions, words and/or actions we perceive the world as a good or bad place to be in.
The people, places, actions and time we live in every day may influence us about 10%, in our definition of happiness (outside factors), alongside 50% in our genetic predisposition and with the remaining 40% being based on our interpretation of these events. If we like our station in life, no changes are needed. If we don’t, we need to decide on whether we choose to walk away (take flight), maintain, stagnate (freeze), or change/confront (fight).
This cumulative experience creates our belief system, i.e. “that which makes us be alive –belief-.” Another term for this is one’s culture. The term ‘culture’ was originally an agricultural term reflecting the specific harvest of a field of potatoes or beets or corn cultures. It was transferred in the ‘field of ideas’ to designate the ‘field or culture of one’s thoughts and actions.’
Therefore, as a Romanian proverb states “one cannot harvest wheat out of weeds.” Similarly, one who entertains a preoccupation to seeking occasions in getting offended, cannot seek, find, recognize and absorb experiences which are positive, particularly if this negativity has become a habit in thinking (which happens by age 7), until and/or after s/he changes his/her thinking to a positive paradigm of looking at his life (past, present or future). This in turn will recreate habits of thinking and therefore in feeling and taking actions. In electro-magnetic terms this is called switching from low frequency thinking to high frequency thinking.
Some common trends in family dynamics may predispose one’s (mis) perceptions one way or another such as: social hierarchy and violence-based functioning, as opposed to peaceful, loving and gratitude-based functioning.
The Duluth Models illustrate these mentalities as The Power and Control Model and The Equality Model, respectively.
The Power and Control Model includes: using intimidation; using emotional abuse; using isolation; minimizing denying and blaming; using children; using gender and socio-economic privilege; and using coercion and threats.
Conversely, The Equality Model includes: inviting behavior based on admiration and respect; trust and support; honesty and accountability; responsible relationships; shared responsibility; economic partnership; and win-win compromises and fairness (The Duluth Models of the Wheels of Powerhttps://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheels/ ).
One of the tenets of compulsions and/or addictions is the fear of inconsistent supply of the sought-after reinforcement. Whether bio-chemical (food, drugs, sex) or electro-magnetic in nature (feelings, affection, love, making love), if we live in fear of not ever having enough (thus consistently) access to our sources of happiness, we will gorge in the ‘fix’ each and every time we have sporadic access to it, thus abusing and eventually getting intoxicated by the very source of our perceived happiness.
In human relationships negative manipulators will use intermittent and/or conditional validations to reach their goal, thus having their targeted population living in fear of not ever having enough positive access to their manipulators. Additionally, whether by logical strategy or out of habit (sometimes learning since a young age to be abusive, after initially being victims themselves), these manipulators will use the ‘carrot and stick’. strategy, such as batterers being violent at times and switching to positive reinforcements intermittedly, in regards to their victims.
Often the abusers will use the 5 esses fallacies, to groom and maintain their victims into submission and acceptance of (repeated) traumatic abuse: I am safe; You are special; I/we are each other’s saviors; we are both to feel shame for your abuse; and it is our little secret.
These 5 esses fallacies have been used throughout the millennia by individual abusers, occult state agencies, religious establishments, private organizations and secret services, to coerce and induce passivity in their victims.
These are all skewed examples of logical fallacies, as they are illogical and therefore should be refuted as they appear, with logical counterarguments such as: I am safe without you; I am special as a child of God; I am my own savior; only the abuser should feel shame; and therefore, the victim has no reason to be secretive about the abuse committed on him/her.
When buying into their faulty narrative, the victim may try to escape internally by creating a compartmentalized “memory” with an on and off switch, which may allow him/her to get some breaks from the painful experience. Alternatively, they may try to find an outside solution to this internal need for healing, such as using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.
The actual solution to traumatic events and obliterating the spell of the 5 ‘esses,’ is synthesized in one word: catharsis. In Greek, catharsis has the dual meaning of ‘cleansing’ and ‘purity.’ Catharsis is the releasing of active or dormant painful memories and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions. This is done by venting them out (or purging them) and through the process of forgiveness. It is painful (like squeezing the puss from and infected finger) and still more painful (such as when applying alcohol before bandaging the cleaned wound) and yet it is better than the alternative, which is just numbing the infected area and denying its need for treatment until it gangrenes and leads to loss of limb or life. In psychological terms, that emotional gangrene is caused by resentment. Resentment means just that: feeling (sentiment) again (re).
Healing should be seen not so much as a line to cross, as indeed a road to take. The archetype of healing is love. Love is an internal process of high electro-magnetic resonance and of the five senses of the external world. It is manifested through the divine Universal Creator. We open ourselves to it via inspiration. Inspiration is the icon to the universe. Interestingly in Greek, icon has the dual meaning of “image” and “likeness” (Wiktionary https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ikon ). In other words, if I imagine love, I become love.
Consistent or intermittent social attention doesn’t have to be necessarily nefarious in nature, as it can also be related to whom, what, when, where, why and how we are interacting with.
The 10% loving; the 10% hating; and the 80% undecided people of our lives.
This concept was initially discussed by a prison chaplain, Father Jacobsen. It states that on average an individual will meet about 10% people in his life who will love him regardless of his circumstances, 10% people in his life who will hate him regardless of his circumstances and 80% of people in his life who will be undecided (i.e. conditional) in his regard. In other words, these 80% undecided will “love” him when they can draw some ulterior benefit from the individual or be indifferent, -if not downright hateful-, if that individual’s situation may become neutral or a liability for the undecided person, rather than an asset.
This 10%; 10%; 80% people of our lives’ paradigm was later reviewed, adopted and implemented with great success by individuals such as basketball player Kobe Bryant, following his 2003 rape accusations and subsequent trial. As he had been focusing on wooing the 80% undecided fans in his life before and taking for granted the 10% consistently loving people in his life (such as his mother and wife), he had realized during the trial the error in his focusing of appreciation on the wrong category of people. As the undecided switched from loving and supporting him, to hating and condemning him, while the loving 10% persisted in supporting him through the thick and thin of his legal ordeals, Kobe Bryant understood the importance of gratitude for the consistent love of the 10% loving ones.
Therefore, following his acquittal, he moved on to supporting exclusively the 10% loving people and to focus on his basketball game, while ignoring both the 10% hateful and the 80% undecided people in his life (including when they were again conditionally loving of him, after the acquittal of the criminal charges). When he retired in 2016, he had become the best player in his league and there were no scandals of which he could be accused, since his trial.
As one of my colleagues exemplified the difference between the 10% loving versus the 80% undecided people, if one wins a race and he receives the gold medal, the 80% undecided will “love” him because and only because of that. However, if one wins the bronze metal the 10% loving people in his life will love him and be proud of him as if he had won the gold medal and would support him even if he had lost the race.
Consistent and complete support and love (from the 10% loving people) lead to a sense of peace, mental and emotional safety, physical security, harmony and self-esteem. Because of that, the individual has trust and encouragement to be authentic, as inside (thoughts, feelings), so on the outside (words, actions). It can be equated to the individual who has continuous access to water and because of that, he will drink only when he is thirsty and only as much as he needs to satisfy his thirst.
Conversely, if an individual gets conditional and therefore intermittent support and love (from the 80% undecided), he may behave psychologically like the Bedouin in the desert. Seeing fresh spring water in an oasis, after weeks of not having had access to fresh water, he will drink and drink beyond saturation, in a compulsive way, until he may eventually get sick from it.
So compulsiveness of thoughts, emotions, words and actions don’t come from consistent positive validation but from intermittent positive validation, often intermingled with negative reinforcements. This sense of furtive and conditionally limited accessibility to love, may lead to different kinds of compulsions, from binge drinking and over eating, to uncontrolled gambling, drug use, erratic sexual behavior, shopaholic habits, violent acts and even death.
In keeping focused on the 10% constantly loving people, being both internally and demonstrably grateful to them, look at them as a privilege, rather than with a sense of entitlement, will insure that we reciprocate that unconditional love, rather than taking them for granted and pay attention primarily to the undecided or the hateful individuals, whom, in a futile attempt, we would thus like to change.
We think that if we offer constant love and caring to the 80% undecided people, they will cross-over into the 10% loving group. It’s an attempt to change people’s feelings and loyalty to love us with as many chances of success as winning the lottery. This is because while people have and reserve the right to change their style of attachments to other people, in reality, the undecided folks are much like the parasites. Their job is to be undecided, conditional and opportunistic, while the loving folks’ job and nature is to be loving and altruistic towards us. Therefore, while it does good to our ego to be loved by as many people as possible, we have to be cautious in terms of why would people manifest love to us. For seeking to be loved for the wrong reasons (conditional love) is as dangerous as taking for granted the constant and complete love of the inherently loving people towards us (unconditional love).
Personal transformation from the abusers (including those who solely abuse themselves) mandates that they first look at themselves and others as being unique and at the same time having commonalities with the others, where, whether because of one characteristic or another, they are seeking reasons to be grateful for every living moment with themselves and with others, whenever this is possible. In order for them to do so, they need to have their daily life be guided out of love, be it because of the exterior situations, interior aspects, and/or because they change how they look at these to reflect the above.
For example, a former patient disclosed in group counseling that he was a very aloof and irresponsible parent with his first child because he had looked at his duties as a father, as being a burden and as an imposition to his freedom and leisure time.
After going to prison and spending several years incarcerated and far from the child’s life, he had come to the conclusion that he had been missing precious time from the child’s development, which will never return.
Following his release and after he had a second child, he became a very doting father for both of them, including when it came to changing the new baby’s diaper. This is because now he looked at the tasks of caring for his children as privileges, as opposed to these being burdens. To use his own words: “I am now looking at changing the diapers, feeding and protecting my children lovingly and consistently as my right, as opposed to looking at these errands as my responsibilities.”
According to the Duluth based Equality Model, some examples of manifesting love are:
Believing in the possibility of being happy. Being grateful and expressing gratitude. Being kind. Being compassionate. Expressing love and caring. Taking time to reflect and respond as opposed to explode and react. Sharing money, places, food, time. Believing in, researching and daring to seek and/or provide support. Recognizing when people need help. Suspend judgment and ensure that one’s perceptions are the same as of the intended beneficiaries. Being present and savor the moment. Allow people to save face while presenting one’s opinion, even when it is in contradiction with other people’s perceptions (Adapted from The Duluth Models of the Wheels of Powerhttps://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheels/ ).
Here, the “equality” model as a term should be used with caution. This is because the man’s role in the family and in society is to be the ‘cannon fodder.’ He needs to put his needs as subservient to women’s and children’s, sacrifice these needs in small and large features, including up to his supreme sacrifice. Man is brought into this world to protect, serve and ultimately sacrifice himself, if need be, for the sake of those more vulnerable (women and children). This mentality goes counter to the mentality of certain feminists (equal rights between men and women) and batterers (men are superior to women). Yet, from the Titanic’s example to the mob, we have seen that women and children have a special written and unwritten protection from society.
Since pre-imperialist times, the concept of pater familias (father of the family) imposed several responsibilities on the Roman man for each and every right bestowed on him. These were moderated by the checks and balances of law. He had a duty to father and raise healthy children as future citizens of Rome, to maintain the moral propriety and well-being of his household, to honor his clan and ancestral gods and to dutifully participate—and if possible, serve—in Rome's political, religious and social life. In effect, the pater familias was expected to be a good citizen (Pater Familias definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pater_familias ).
Hesiod, a theology theorist, poet, economist and farmer, who was a contemporary of Homer also discusses men’s responsibilities. In his Works and Days a poem of over 800 lines he states: "Both gods and men are angry with a man who lives idle, for in nature he is like the stingless drones who waste the labor of the bees, eating without working." (Hesiod, Works and dayshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesiod#cite_note-38 ).
This is nothing new, from Nature where, from the seeds of the plants which sacrifice themselves to create the plant, to the wild elephant bulls surrounding protectively the calves and the females of the herd from the predators, we learn that the role of the men in society is to procreate, serve, protect and sacrifice themselves.
Even for those men who think from selfish and/or fear-based perspectives, women should still be placed and maintained on a pedestal, as it was clearly explained by Nobel Prize winning British novelist, playwright and poet William Golding, who wrote the famous Lord of the Flies:
“Women are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman she will make bigger. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiples and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her crap, she will give you a ton of shit.” (Golding, Williamhttps://me.me/i/now-heres-a-man-who-understands-women-william-golding-british-7931394 ).
This ‘shit’ may manifest directly or indirectly. Some forms of the latter would be characterized by psychologists as passive-aggressive statements and they are often more lethal for the relationships than the direct confrontations. Many happily married husbands have learned early in the game to recognize the psycholinguistics aspects of their beloveds’ statements and back-off promptly in order to be and remain happy. Here are some examples called the Five Deadly Terms used by women:
1. “Fine This is the word a woman uses to end an argument when she knows she is right and you need to shut up.
2. Nothing Means “something” and you need to be worried.
3. Go Ahead This is a dare, not permission, don’t do it.
4. Whatever A woman’s way of saying screw you.
5. It’s OK She is thinking long and hard on how and when you will pay for your mistake.
Perhaps it is for such reasons that my late father promptly invited any man getting married to make a choice from the first day of the marriage. The happy groom quite simply had to decide whether he wanted to be: “right and miserable, or wrong and happy” in regards to his better half.
When this barrier is broken and men, women and children get the same treatment of abuse and destruction during persecutions, often with women and children getting the worst of it, mammalian values disappear and reptilian values take over, into an endless display of selfishness by and from the strongest (the men),
Chapter Ten: Exploring the need for therapy The root of joy is gratefulness... It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. -David Steindl Rast
One great aspect differentiating objective from subjective needs is the understanding of the various components of goals. As such we have three elements leading one goal from imagination to completion: desires, abilities and needs.
While many individuals are focused on pursuing their desires, it is the actual abilities one has (in terms of the ‘right’ people, places, things and time) and one’s actual needs which must be equally incorporated in one’s actions. The saying “necessity is the mother of all inventions” is telling in this regard.
The desire to achieve something is a phenomenal motivator, since it is passion combined with daring to envision doing it, which set the foundation for its realization. At the same time, just following one’s passion and disregarding the abilities and the actual need for the person to reach that goal, may (and in fact it often does) lead to failure, due to working hard rather than smart to achieve the goal under just about impossible circumstances. Even when the goals are reached, without them addressing actual needs, the actual needs are remaining numbed or underserved, which maintains, if not exacerbates them to exhaustion.
It is like the stray bird or butterfly, which occasionally enters into our homes and instead of strategizing the options on how to best escape (such as exiting from the same opened door or window from which it had come), it keeps hitting all the closed windows, doors and sometimes even the walls, simply because it wants to be free again. People do that a lot too and unlike the birds, we do have the faculty of taking time-out to ponder what our actual abilities and options are…should we choose to implement them.
When we change for the better, we want to: evaluate, stabilize, maintain and progress this change.
In order to do this, we follow this cycle of mindsets:
Pre-contemplation, when I don’t even imagine the change. Contemplation, when I am imagining this change. Preparation, when I’m setting up the conditions for the change. Action, when I am implementing the change. Evaluation, when I am comparing myself to the before and after change. Maintenance, when I continue that cycle of contemplation, preparation, action, evaluation.
We can use this template to change for the better or worse. Using this template may also lead, if allowed, to the following derivatives of usage: use; misuse; abuse; confuse; diffuse; peruse; and refuse. One may use it for progress or regress. It’s a choice.
Reframing is a necessary step to change. It is very hard for persons who have been taking for granted their superior powers over other human beings to willfully scale it down and (in the case of batterers), to actually use it in the service of their former victims. This is also true when coming to acceptance of losing one’s senses (such as eye sight or walking) or even the prospect of one coming to a premature death, following a terminal diagnosis.
In either case, reframing one’s perceptional lenses, from focusing on wants to necessity, will be an utterly humbling process and will have to involve that person’s more ardent wish to be at peace (an emotional goal), over just as persistent a wish to be right (an ego based, logical goal).
Can one be both right and happy? Yes, at a societal level, when for example the individual is involved in litigation and wins or gambles and wins. In love, one can only be both right and happy when the loved person reciprocates and amplifies that love. Because this is not in the loving person’s control but in the loved person’s control, it is not in the individual’s control to be right and happy and therefore, love should not be a “give and take” process but a “give and BE GIVEN one.” And the loved person should only focus on loving or (if unsatisfied) walk away.
Furthermore the “walking away” has to be done out of and with love for those who did not reciprocate. This is necessary for the sake of the injured party’s wellbeing. Otherwise, having been hurt, she/he will always evoke resentment when looking back at that separation and this will be like “drinking poison and expecting that somebody else will die.”
General Robert E. Lee gave one such example when he was responding to his interlocutor, when asked about his opinion of a fellow officer, who also happened to be under the general’s command. As he spoke in the most glowing terms with the president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, about him, another officer in attendance replied astonished. “General,” he said, “do you not know that this man of which you speak so highly is one of your bitterest enemies who misses no opportunity to malign you?” “Yes,” replied General Lee, “but the president asked my opinion of him; he did not asked for his opinion of me.” (Carnegie, D. How to Win Friends & Influence People, Simon & Schuster, 1936, New York, p. 140)
Our ancestors knew this quite well and it was for this reason that we say even today, “goodbye” (originally “God be with you”), or –in the Romance languages- “adio; adios, adieu” (a Dio/Dios, a Dieu, i.e. go with God).
The word “jealousy” has two meanings: to turn somebody into an amorphous, soft, invertebrate shape, such as a jelly-fish or to turn him into a block of ice, such as con-GELATION. Either way, jealousy is bad news for the individual’s character, thoughts, emotions and actions and may lead to the individual’s inner and/or outer collapse, including but not limited to his demise.
What may make forgiveness an easier process is choosing to focus at the beautiful recollections of that relationship (there must have been some) as opposed to the sour ending and/or the conflictual aspects of the relationship. Thus, the association to that relationship will be in time habituated with the pairing and ensuing emotions of the positive episodes in it.
I remember a dialogue with a famous bouzouki player who had been married and divorced four times. With each divorce he had lost several properties, money and was paying a lot of alimony to each of the ex-wives.
I asked him how did he feel about losing so many assets and money and having to play each night to make a living, while having to sleep in a cheap motel and keep up with his payments to the ex-wives, thus being reduced to a pauper. He replied smiling and with a child-like twinkle in his eyes: “Sure Gabriel, it is a struggle now and at the same time, when I was loved by each one of them, it was superb.” That reconfiguring to ‘and at the same time’ focusing on the bright side of the relationships now dissolved, may be the saving grace of forgiving, out of love and moving on.
To summarize the aspects of losses: face the facts, use forgiveness and love to bring to closure, move on. It does help if we engage two concepts in our transition and healing: recognize the fact that everything is temporary and –as my father says- that a person’s profound faith and gratitude will lead to one to surmounting any obstacles.
There are four kinds of personality types which abound in the world:
The soft personality will allow being manipulated, used and abused, out of fear of saying ‘no.’
The spongy personality will absorb the kind of behavior being exposed to and will react in kind, regardless on whether this is being easily manipulated by those who can use this predictability to their own advantage.
The rigid personality will reject indiscriminately any gestures and acts of love, including from those individuals who are genuinely, consistently and sincerely dedicated to them (those in the rigid personality category may also have the reptilian, sociopathic and/or psychopathic personalities of non-existent empathy).
The flexible personality responds to outside stimuli, be they good, bad or indifferent through the prism of her knowledge, character and appropriateness, based on the people, places, behaviors and time in which these stimuli happen and with moderation. This is the healthy personality and something to aim and strive for.
There is a great difference between mandated societal forces which are forcing an individual to become accountable for his wrongdoings and for the individual himself to take ownership of these. Sometimes a person may need to experience negative consequences between deciding to take a long, hard look at himself.
At the same time, taking ownership is entirely in the individual’s control and there is a serious internal tug of war between his/her ego denying, minimizing and/or blaming his/her wrongdoings on the others (including when being his/her own victim) and the taking ownership of errors in judgment and actions, which may only happen when the abuser has changed the foundation of his/her thinking. While some ex-offenders may have an instant revelation and change the fallacy of their thinking overnight, changing one’s paradigms about their inordinate power and the abusing of others, to seeking acceptance and love based on respect, if not based on their own sacrifice, usually is a lengthy process. This is usually a gradual humbling experience, based on growing empathy and modesty.
‘Modesty’ derives from moderation, or freedom from exaggeration, self-control, being gentle, temperate (Etymonlinehttps://www.etymonline.com/word/modesty ), which is why among many other reasons, individuals should be functioning primarily from a flexible personality mode.
There are several ways to carry a gun and the same holds true for therapy. They vary from holding the assailant responsible entirely for his/her criminal actions, to explaining his/her crimes as a symptom of his/her mental disabilities. Different schools of thoughts have debated each other, as to which one of them is the holder of the truth.
At the end of the day, our own values are seen as the holders of “truth”. Yet, there are factual values which are objective and belief-based values, which are subjective. In therapy, addressing beliefs, which are damaging the patient and/or other people, has to be done from a compassionate and assertive level.
The equation facts, sensation, perception and projection has to be addressed in all its aspects by the counselors with the patients. How the patients react or respond to it varies in great deal on the quality of the soundboard which the counselor is to them. At the same time, much like a patient going through physical treatment including often surgery, physical therapy or occupational therapy, so there is a process too, with the treatment in counseling.
During mental health treatment the “surgery” often requires of the client to “cut” the toxic perceptions and replace them with healthy ones. During counseling the “surgeon” is the actual client, while the therapist acts as an “assistive device,” or sound board.
In both cases, it depends on one’s condition and consistency in using any available assistive devices, people, places and other present opportunities in his/her possession, to aim for the maximum recovery level.
With regard to the patient in counseling therapy s/he has to be an active participant in his/her treatment and in fact, do most of the heavy lifting efforts. Therefore, taking ownership of his/her hurtful actions, rather than simply going through the motions of the accountability measures s/he is mandated to make by the Courts or parole conditions, is what will get a counseling patient to succeed.
Plenty of psychological and sociological schools have tried to take the horses to the watering hole and force or seduce them to also drink the water of their counseling precepts and goals. At the end of the day, much like the proverbial horses, the patients will only drink from this knowledge when they genuinely choose to do so.
That’s why treatment or “treating the mental” is a highly presumptuous concept as an exterior expectation, when in fact, the only ‘treatment’ by the patients, can and does happen after they themselves have decided internally to open themselves, absorb it and become an integral part in the process. Treating an inside problem with outside solutions is as much doomed to failure as the other way around.
On occasions, whether by the patient himself/herself and/or by his/her counselors, when treatment is replied to with sarcasm, it defeats the whole purpose of openness. Sarcasm comes from the Greek sarkazein, literally meaning “to strip off the flesh," (Etymonlinehttps://www.etymonline.com/word/sarcasm ). This is not exactly conducive to openness and change. Sarcasm can be manifested verbally and by body language. Therefore, just the sarcastic thought alone, contemplated by the therapist in regard to the patient’s person and/or actions and/or by the patient in regard to his/her treatment, will branch out in body language and/or verbal innuendos, which will turn off any possible positive transformative process in the patient.
Rather, with the exception of the reptilian personalities, most people who commit destructive acts, should understand that if they genuinely address the cause of their actions, i.e. the anger within them, and the cause of the cause of their actions (i.e. their fears) and they gain serenity by replacing fear with love, this harmful domino effect manifested with the symptoms of violence will stop, once the cause of the symptom (anger based on fear) is addressed. This is done through catharsis, (self) forgiveness and a new changed mental foundation based on constant and compassionate respect and love for the self, others and for the universe.
13th century Sufi mystic and Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi, had several wise reflections on this foundation of love in our lives.
Here are only some of them:
“Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you. Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. What you seek is seeking you. Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself. The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along. When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that and I intend to end up there. If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” (Rumi https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/875661.Rumi ).
There are several ways to seek an agreement and /or take ownership of a past or present destructive existence.
This “taking of ownership of one’s life” was beautifully stated by a client during one of the group counseling sessions, which I have facilitated, as follows:
In the entire world, there is no one else like me.
There are some persons who have some parts like me but no one adds up exactly like me.
Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.
I own everything about me:
My body, including everything it does; my mind, including all thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they might be: Anger, Joy, Frustration, Love, Disappointment, Excitement.
My mouth and all the words that come out of it, polite, sweet, or rough, correct or incorrect; my voice, loud and soft; and all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.
I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts.
I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interest.
I know that there are aspects about myself that puzzle me and other aspects that I do not know.
But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for ways to find out more about me.
However, I look and sound, whatever I say and do and whatever I think and feel at any given moment, it is I.
This is authentic and represents where I am that given moment and time.
When I review later how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting.
I can then discard that which is unfitting and keep that which proved fitting and invent something new, for that which I discarded. I can see, hear. feel, think, say and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.
I own me and therefore I can engineer me.” (Gherasim, G. Theodor and Us, Editura Gens Latina 2017, Alba Iulia P. 72).
The patient and the therapist may agree on the degree of it: in part; in totality; in principle; in probability; and clarify the accountability between the actions of the individual and the individual himself/herself.
The individual, possibly the parties having been affected and the therapist or mediator, might want to come to a common understanding of: where the harmful actions did happen, why did the individual commit them (fear and anger based, or out of reptilian indifference to suffering), when did they happen, who was affected, what were the actions and how have they been perceived by each party (or if in individual therapy by the former offender himself/herself).
As we see, this process involves factual actions and their (various) perceptions of them. Only when the former offender understands the objective and subjective gravity of his/her actions, will he/she be able to change the frequency of his thoughts, feelings, words and actions from low to high ones, from destructive to constructive and from hateful to loving.
This is done through the following understanding of one’s position:
Your understanding of the situation Your feelings regarding the situation Your needs regarding the situation Your awareness about the harmful effects of your situation Finding and subscribing to healthy ways to look at your needs, perceptions, feelings and actions.
Chapter Eleven: Therapy through Respect and Gratitude Gratitude is the memory of the heart -Balzac
Respect and gratitude are symbiotic and together are the ground on which to build the beautiful experience of life. Symbiosis means syn-together and bios-life (Etymonlinehttps://www.etymonline.com/word/symbiosis ).
Again, this is about our perception (40%) in its regards, of our actual life (10%) and based on our genetic constructs and predispositions (50%).
Acceptance and approval are often and erroneously used interchangeably and as interdependent.
Thus, we assume that we can only accept that which we can approve, even if circumstances are beyond our control. This is because our good old ego wants us to be the center of the world and the arbiter of what is right and good, including about other people, places, things and actions and even when they are in somebody else’s control.
A more sensible approach would be to detach and separate our approval from our acceptance.
Thus, we can accept the fact that a loved person is choosing for herself a path in life which is in her control, while disapproving of it. This way, we can separate one action we cannot approve, from a person we otherwise love, from the totality of that person’s essence and simply accept a fact that is in somebody else’s control. This is a typical case of “agreeing to disagree.”
The ‘having’ versus ‘being’ and vice-versa mentalities, have also been successfully used by individuals in their own regards, so that they may discard aspects of them which were unhealthy and destructive and progress as a person.
For example, a person coming out of prison ‘has’ a criminal record (as opposed to ‘being’ a criminal) and therefore by improving his/her path in life can have that record expunged, amended or leave it in the past. He/she accepted the past mistakes without approving of them anymore.
However, if the individual buys into the narrative “I AM a felon; once a felon always a felon”, then that person both accepts and APPROVES of this reality as ongoing, unchangeable and really hopeless.
The concept of (self) forgiveness discussed earlier is a mandatory process for the individual moving in regards to himself and/or others, from the false paradigm of “I accept only that which I approve” to “I can accept and NOT approve” certain facts beyond his control. This is when the ego leaves and the love comes as fundamental conditions to one’s change and progress in life.
Morgan Freeman is famous for having implemented this dichotomy in the following statement: “I am solely Morgan Freeman; not a black person, not an actor. Just me as an individual.”
Here is the actual script from an interview in 2005 with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes:
“WALLACE: Black History Month, you find … FREEMAN: Ridiculous. WALLACE: Why? FREEMAN: You’re going to relegate my history to a month? WALLACE: Come on. FREEMAN: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me. WALLACE: I’m Jewish. FREEMAN: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month? WALLACE: There isn’t one. FREEMAN: Why not? Do you want one? WALLACE: No, no. FREEMAN: I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history. WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until …? FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, ‘I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ Hear what I’m saying?” (60 Minutes 2002, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/morgan-freeman-on-black-history-month/ ). Another example is the creator of the song Georgia, the Ray Charles song with the chorus:” Georgia on my mind”. It was on “his mind” only, because in 1947, Ray had asked one of his friends to find the farthest place in the U.S. from Georgia in order to move away from that highly racist state. Of course, in 1947 Hawaii and Alaska weren’t yet states, so his friend responded: “It is Seattle, in the Northwest, where there are only pine trees and it rains 200 days a year.” He lived in the Seattle Central District, as the phone directory from 1948 shows (Seattle Historyhttps://seattlehistory.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/ray-charles/ ). He too had accepted the reality of entrenched discrimination in his home state, separated it from the overall love he had for this state and managed to disapprove and write this superb song about Georgia. That means that he also had to forgive his persecution. Here are some telling lyrics from the song: Just an old sweet song,” Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind).I said Georgia. Georgia, A song of you, Comes as sweet and clear, As moonlight through the pines. Other arms reach out to me, Other eyes smile tenderly, Still in peaceful dreams I see, The road leads back to you.” (Ray. C. Georgia on my mindhttp://www.metrolyrics.com/georgia-on-my-mind-lyrics-ray-charles.html ).
Therefore, accepting a fact without approving of the stereotypes would be the mentality needed to move from a stagnant, if not regressive situation, to a positive change. This is the first tenet of change for a victim who had been buying into the docility in which s/he was indoctrinated by the abusers and to progressing and moving to recalibrate his/her mind, thoughts, emotions and actions at becoming respectful of himself/herself and others: accept the past and DARE to disapprove of it so that s/he may claim equality and independence. Based on our perception of our lives we generate the emotions we feel. Emotions are e(nergy) in motion. Good, bad or indifferent, these emotions are emanated and lived by us in the first person and in real time, regardless of them reflecting facts or fiction and in degrees of intensity which are entirely generated by our subjective meanings of assigned importance to people, places, things and time. Such an apparently minor offense as flirting may be perceived by our loved ones as a major tragedy and offense. Flirting or coquetry, is asocialandsexual behaviorinvolving verbal or written communication, as well asbody language, by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person or if done playfully, for amusement. Etymologically, flirting comes from Old French fleurter, or ‘flowerer’ which was meant as a metaphor for bees skimming for nectar from flower to flower (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flirting ). The effects of flirting may lead to jealousy, which may lead somebody to become as spineless as jelly or as rigid as being frozen (congelate), in other words, loose his/her flexibility and balance. Flirting may lead to the three aspects of fear: take flight, paralyze or fight. Again, this is an aspect of accepting the significant person conditionally only when one approves if his/her behavior. We all can imagine what the eventual outcome is if we don’t learn to separate acceptance of a fact, from approving the entire person for his /her qualities in general. One such case is the psycho-somatic cancer of the breast, experienced by many women in Latin America (and elsewhere), where the husbands choose to take lovers in addition to the wives. As Romanian born Dr. Dobrea Emilian noticed over the decades, of successful treatments of his patients with breast cancer in Mexico, the wives of very affluent men, with husbands who had chosen to take lovers in addition to their wives, would predominantly have healed permanently only after they divorced their cheating husbands and moved out on their own (often at significant loss of luxury in their assets). This is because with all due rationalizations, knowing that their husbands had (often overt) lovers, led to lack of approval of their husbands based on their lack of acceptance of their cheating and when continuing to live in this dynamic out of concerns of becoming poorer, the psycho-somatic based breast cancer will reappear and deteriorate their health beyond repair. So, it does beg the question as to when does one need to compromise acceptance versus approval, as opposed to conditioning acceptance to approval or move away from a toxic and (psychosomatically) poisonous situation for them”
Chapter Twelve: Faith, Trust and Support There is always a reason to be grateful for -Charles Dickens
Our beliefs systems are generated by acts of faith and trust. With consistent validation of our faith, this turns into trust, which eventually crystalizes into our belief system.
Faith is defined as “ascent of the mind to the truth when there is incomplete evidence” (Etymonlinehttps://www.etymonline.com/word/faith#etymonline_v_1088 ), whereas trust, comes from the Indo-European drieu which means dry or solid. In other words. trust is based on solid evidence, i.e. consistently proven in the past.
Sometimes, faith and trust are used interchangeably and this should be done with caution, since for example a verbal promise may lead to faith-based decision, whereas a written contract may lead to a trust-based decision.
Based on our faith and/or trust-based paradigms we will make decisions and set up goals, which may maintain, stagnate, regress or progress our quality of life. The cause-effect of them can be summarized in the following sequencing: beliefs lead to perceptions, which lead to emotions, which lead to words, which lead to actions, which lead to consequences.
Becoming faithful, trusting and supportive includes several components:
a) Be authentic: that means that I act as I think and I think as I feel and I feel out of love or I don’t act at all. The proverbial pressing of the gas pedal, while having the hand-break on shows what happens to (mechanical and human) vehicles when one fakes authenticity and thinks that he/she can get away with it internally. In fact, many cars have all kinds or lights and sounds going off when there is a conflict of commands from the driver, such as pressing the gas pedal with the hand-break on. Unfortunately, by using rationalizations, human beings can go on for decades sometimes, being in conflict between their thoughts and their actions, with dire effects for their health, if not their lives.
b) Use healthy perceptions, instead of harmful perceptions in regards to the same stimulus. For example, in regards to the loved person’s flirting, one can turn jealousy into admiration, inspiration and creation (such as: “I want to learn to be like them,” or “at the end of the day s/he comes with me at home.” Conversely, one may maintain and nurse envy, attempt to control the other and/or ultimately choose a (self) destructive path.
Of course, much like the successful breast cancer survivors triggered by their husbands’ affairs, one may choose to be authentic and walk away, rather than approve a situation one cannot accept. This is because it is very hard to gain faith and trust in another person and very easy to have them broken.
Economics very often tries to compensate for emotional and/or physical betrayals, such as for the offenders to pay retroactive reparations and/or ongoing child support and/or alimony to former spouses.
Since household management means anything from changing the babies’ diapers, to taking the garbage out, it is quite clear that money alone will not address either the practical or the mental and emotional aspects of managing a household.
This is why, no matter how much money a parent will pump to compensate for his/her leaving the family nest, or even when being a doting…week-end parent to the children, these minors will invariably grow up to resent the lack of input to daily household management, which the absent parent extricated himself/herself from.
As a spiritual driver for Hollywood celebrities once disclosed to me: “these people are so poor that they only have money.”
This is also a referral to the fallacy of compensating with “having” values of then missing “being” vales, which, as stated before, are at two different levels of frequency and therefore completely incompatible, as replacements go. The word “parenting” has many meanings: in Latin, Parire means “bring forth” (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/parent#etymonline_v_44863). Bringing forth was meant in terms for procreating a child, creating opinions, creating emotions and creating actions. Father meant in several languages from procreator pater to bread/nourisher Pita (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/father#etymonline_v_1154). Meanwhile, Mother meant on different continents creator and the love of earth [A]Mater[ra] or she who keeps account and measures Meter, -which incidentally is where the metric system comes from-, not to mention that in English Mother (creator of life) and Matter (substance) come from the same root (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/mother#etymonline_v_18411 ). In Dacia-Romania, the most sacrosanct region of the country is called Maramures as in Ma (mother, matter, earth), Ra (Father, energy, sun), Mu (admire, desire), Res (rests, residence of). In other words, the complete balance is achieved in Nature and Family there where rests/ resides the admiration of the father to/from mother. The idea or partnership means ‘partitioning’ responsibilities, just like the idea of sex means ‘sectioning off’ (one’s semen from himself during orgasm, to one’s baby from herself when giving birth). In terms of partitioning of responsibilities per se’, the man’s job, far from being an abuser, is to actually protect, serve and sacrifice himself to allow his wife and children to be safe. This is the formula for success of the family unit if we want to look at it for what it is. By extension it is expected that men protect, serve and sacrifice themselves to allow the women and the children in society to be safe. If we want to look at it on how one wants to subjectively see the family unit, we can certainly inverse the values, by declaring the women and children as inferior or equal to men (when in fact they are superior) creating artificial patronizing constructs towards them and in so doing deviating from the very role of safeguarding them, which men are born and build to be. In that case, from both partners being active participants in the intimate relationship of the family, there could be a very quick deterioration for example, from being a doting lover, to coercing or grooming a target, to forceful possession, of (one’s) women or children alike, including to their ultimate sacrifice: murder. Becoming a responsible parent means letting go of the ego-based desire to be right and instead do the right things. And the right things are really sacrificing one’s self for the needs of the protected ones, as the Romance term Amor/ Ad Mortem, i.e. “to death” implies (Glosbe Dictionaryhttps://glosbe.com/la/en/%22ad%20mortem%22 ). In English this is love, or as long as one is alive (love/life) (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/love#etymonline_v_14556). These needs are based on a material, mental and emotional hierarchy. Abraham Maslow described them in the Pyramid of Needs Model, stating that the primal needs (reptilian) would have to be met before acceding to more elevated (mammalian) motivations (Abraham Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation in Psychological Review, 1943).
Maslow proposed five different kinds of human needs, beginning with the most basic one, as the pyramid’s foundation: survival.
Physiological and physical needs such as food and shelter are followed by the needs related to safety.
Next, there are needs of love and belonging.
Forth, are the needs related to self-esteem, such as being respected.
The final need in the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization (fulfilling one’s potential).
The problem with this hierarchy is that in actuality, different needs have different meanings (and therefore, different levels of importance) in people. Not surprisingly, the history books and contemporary times are full with cases of idealists who willingly bypassed and/or ignored all their needs for survival, safety and material wealth, in order to sacrifice their freedom, status, wealth and lives, for the sake of their nations, religions, their own families or for various social ideologies.
Being consistently honest and honorable lead to respect and trust. Again, due attention to people, time and place need to be taken into account. Or else, it may lead to individuals being resented for being unnecessarily honest such as pointing a finger at a blind man and telling him: “Hey, you are blind.”
Many manipulators, far from being accountable, honest and respectful towards others and the self, employ instigation and/or deceit to maintain a state of compliance and confusion in their victims in order to secure their submission and cooperation in perpetuity.
They use: denying (of intent, facts, damage and responsibility), minimizing (of their responsibilities as aggressors, including towards themselves), damages needed for reparations and any responsibilities they might face.
Rather, they rely on: feigning indifference (or genuinely experiencing reptilian indifference for psychopaths and sociopaths) and employ the time proven fear and anger based intermittent conditioning towards their (ex) victims, coupled with manifestations of intermittent and conditional “love.” From political leaders to religious ones, such dictators go by the motto: “Attack, always attack.”
The results are devastating for the damaged individuals: broken faith, breach of trust, mental, emotional and physical damage, distorted or inverted notions of what are “good” and “bad” values. These are just a few of the broken pieces the survivors have to pick up and glue together, hopefully for the healthy regeneration of their lives.
Hailing from Japan Kintsugi art and Kintsugi therapy joined hands to assist in this healing. Kintsugi has two faces: as the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and ceramics with 24 karat gold and as honoring the beauty in the broken psyche. By soldering discarded broken porcelain and pottery pieces with expensive gold filigrees and honoring the human resilience which overcame horrendous traumatic events, Kintsugi techniques have created art works which are often more expensive after the repairs than in their original forms and have reframed the broken spirits of the traumatized victims to a philosophy about life which motivates the survivors to enjoy and live passionately each day of being alive. It comes from Kintsukuroi金繕いgolden repair (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi ) (Kintsugi Images 1 and 2).
The notion of resilience comes into play here, where the individual seeks enlightenment, love and a meaningful life experience as long as s/he is alive.
Resilience addresses two vital concepts to follow in life: flexibility to adapt the “sails of our lives” to keep steadily afloat the boat which is our person, regardless of where the winds of challenges may come and the assurance that we are the authors of our lives when it comes to how we look at our stations in life and what we choose to do given the available options.
An honest person will advocate resiliently and equilaterally for both his/her and others’ rights and responsibilities and will do it out of love rather than fear, out of respect for self and others rather than from a sense of expectations (i.e. obligations) by others.
Four of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous program are addressing this resilient honesty as follows:
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to ourselves, to God and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amendments to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them and others. From Olga Anon we find the following explanation of benefits for honesty/authenticity: “Honesty and willingness collide. We face our past and share every aspect. Courage is not the absence of fear but the faith to overcome it. Okay, so you thought taking a written inventory of your resentments and fears was bad enough. Now you are asked to share your inventory not only with God but with another human being! Most of us think that admitting to God is scary as it is but why tell another person? Confession Promotes Healing: We are as sick as our Secrets. Secrets cause: Shame Guilt Fear Isolation Alienation Dishonesty Denial Low Self Worth Inadequacy Depression Anger Defensiveness Self Hatred Honesty promotes: Trust Confidence Purity Belonging Acceptance of Others Patience Tolerance Gratitude Serenity Peace Openness Self-Acceptance Forgiveness.” (Olga Anonhttps://www.olganon.org/step_5). Drinking the poison of resentment because it is right or forgiving and healing through love because one wants to be happy? Based on which ones of these are more important for the individuals, they will proceed in one direction or another with their lives. Sometimes, one has to negotiate his/her priorities on this choice. The word negotiate means the negative neg, of pleasure/leisure otium (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/negotiate#etymonline_v_2380 ). Negotiation (including with oneself) may be done out of fear or out of love. It may seek a win-lose, lose-win, lose-lose compromise, or a win-win outcome. It may involve time-outs, uphill battles, consistent, or intermittent progress. It may involve stages of logical fallacies such as either/or and always/never. It may be done by addressing the 6 W open ended questions of the issue: who; what; when; where; why; and how. The expression Fairness in Communication is translated as Beautiful in oneness, Beautiful, from German Faegerness and the Latin derivatives Oneness unica in togetherness com (Etymonlyne https://www.etymonline.com/word/communication#etymonline_v_17245 ). It may seek restorative, retributive or reparative justice. Whatever the decision of the individual it is, it will follow the golden rule, since whether functioning out of love or out of anger/fear, it will attract like frequencies and it will become contagious. One way or another it will still follow the sequencing: fact, interpretation, perception, sensation, action.
Chapter Thirteen: Sacred Plants versus compulsive addictions Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all your experiences in your gratitude -Ralph Waldo Emerson
The characteristic and effects of drugs consumption have genetic, environmental and perceptual attributes, which may lead to different tolerance levels and effects in various individuals. As a matter of fact, just about ANY substance may be helpful, neutral or harmful, based on how it is filtered through the three components mentioned above.
Dr Larrey Dossey in his book Meaning and Medicine mentions the case of a devout Muslim colleague in the Medical School, who was tricked by his colleagues to believe that he was eating horse meat, when in fact he had been served pork. Two weeks later the clueless student was informed by the tricksters about having eaten pork and he immediately became virulently sick and required medical attention (Dossey, L. MD Meaning and Medicine Bantam Dell Pub Group 1982, P. 12).
With regard to the bio-chemical ingredients of nature made drugs and synthetic drugs, we could categorize them in a nut shell, as follows:
1) “Depressants:Alcohol; Barbiturates and Tranquilizers; Opiates
Alcohol- Depressants -Typical effects: Biphasic, tension-reduction “high”, followed by depressed physical and psychological functioning.
-Effects of overdose: Disorientation, loss of consciousness, death at extremely high blood-alcohol levels.
-Tolerance/Dependence: Tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms
Barbiturates and Tranquilizers- Depressants -Typical effects: Depressed reflexes and impaired motor functioning, tension reductions.
-Effects of overdose: Shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, possible death.
-Tolerance//Dependence: Tolerance, high psychological and physical dependence on barbiturates, low to moderate physical dependence on such tranquilizers as Valium, although high psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms. Opiates- Depressants -Typical effects: Euphoria, drowsiness, “rush” of pleasure, little impairment of psychological functions.
-Effects of overdose: Slow, shallow breathing, clammy skin, nausea, vomiting, pinpoint pupils, convulsions, coma, possible death.
-Tolerance/Dependence: High tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, severe withdrawal symptoms.
-Tolerance/Dependence: Tolerance, psychological and physical dependence.
Caffeine- Stimulants -Tolerance and/Dependence: physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms. 3) Hallucinogens: LSD and Marijuana LSD-Hallucinogens -Typical effects: Illusions, hallucinations, distortions in time perception, loss of contact with reality.
Marijuana-Hallucinogens -Typical effects: Euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, increased appetite, possible disorientation.
LSD-Hallucinogens -Effects of overdose: Psychotic reaction.
Marijuana-Hallucinogens Effects of overdose: Fatigue, disoriented behavior, possible psychosis.
LSD-Hallucinogens -Tolerance/Dependence: No physical dependence for LSD. The degree for psychological dependence for LSD is unknown.
Marijuana-Hallucinogens -Tolerance/Dependence: Psychological dependence.” (Morris, G. C., Maisto A. A.Understanding Psychology, Pearson education Inc. Boston, 2008 P. 134).
History of Drugs
Late Stone-Age groups began producing mead (fermented honey flavored with sap and fruit) about 10,000 years ago. In Dacia-Romania this kind of drink is made even today and it is called hidromel (honey water). Sometimes this is consumed before fermentation and sometimes after.
The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans viewed wine as a “gift from God.” The Romans declared “In Vino Veritas.” (under the influence of alcohol, a person tells the truth). There are more references in the Bible on wine, than there are about water. Wine (particularly home-made) was consumed as recently as the 19th century with most meals of the day.
As Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, researcher, archeologist and translator John Allegro documented in his seminal book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, (J. Allegro book cover image 1), world religions have been using, for millennia psycho-active drugs in sacred rituals. Also, in general, bio-chemically and consciousness altering drugs, have been used as medicines, tonics, nutrients and as vehicles between the visible and the invisible worlds.
The traditional Christian churches use, even today, wine in the Holy Communion services and incense during the Holy Liturgy. In world religions from East to West and from North to South, any mood-altering substances used during religious celebrations and experiences were meant to be sacred rituals. Thus, the “sacred plants” and those who knew how to use them and had access to them, were implicitly and explicitly revered.
From Orthodox Churches to Hindu, Egyptian, Buddhist, Inca and Maya temples, the very architecture of these sacred locations in their roofs and stained glasses (churches mushroom images 1-3) and in their statues (temples mushrooms images 1-2) reflected the very shapes of such sacred plants as the psilocybinmushrooms(the sacred mushroom images 1-2 ) as the ones that have been used to these days by religious initiates to induce trances, visions, connections to the Divinity of the Creator and to a purported higher consciousness.
Even many of the head gears of patriarchs (Orthodox Patriarchs mushrooms images 1-2), sultans (Muslim sultan mushroom images 1-2) rabbis, (Rabbis and mushroom images 1-2), and other lay and religious figures of initiates (Other religions mushroom images 1-2) emulated sacred plants, which were used by these elites to become intermediaries between their Gods and the masses under their control (Allegro, J.The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross,Hodder and Stoughton Press, 1970 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacred_Mushroom_and_the_Cross ).
The big difference between these ritualistic uses of psychedelic plants and the “recreational users” is this: while the sacred plants were consumed and guided and limited in (controlled) circumstances, the compulsive use of drug users is done obsessively and without any other meaningful end, except self-gratification.
As such, the modern “recreational” use of drugs is simply harmful, with long-term damaging effects at the intra-personal, inter-personal, intra-group and inter-group dimensions of the human existence.
Are the sacred plants providing genuine communication with the Creator or are they, -to use a psychiatric term-, simple hallucinogens? Even this term in the Greek Halyein means “wondering of the mind”, while in the Latin Vaticinari means “to prophesize” (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/hallucinate ). Thus, we have the Vatican, or the place of prophecies.
It could be both, as it could simply be a matter of perspective.
Just as ambivalent is the original meaning of the word “pharmacy”; in its original Daco-Romanian term, Farmec it simply means “to put a spell.” The Greeks picked it up after their arrival from Asia and settling among the Thracians of Eastern Europe and translated it as Pharmakeus, meaning “poisoner and sorcerer.”
A ‘sorcerer’ was an individual skilled in getting in touch with and manipulating the ‘source.’ i.e. the electromagnetic field within and without us, which permeates the universe through and through, called alternatively Chi/Ci (as in China, Dacia, Dagestan, tai-chi) and Ki/Ka/Ko/Kee (as in Korea, Cherokee, karate, reiki). So, a sorcerer was intervening at one’s electro-magnetic field, (to heal or to hurt), instead of making use of the bio-chemical alterations provided by allopathic medications, distributed nowadays by your friendly neighborhood pharmacist.
Far from its nefarious meaning of today, drugs, or dry goods, could have been anything from biscotti to dried fruits or from spices, to the actual dried herbs used for medication.
If we define drugs broadly to also include caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt and spices, most of us use one drug or another on occasional or regular basis, without overtly damaging effects to our health and life.
However, when the use of drugs turns into Substance Abuse and Substance Dependence, we are looking at negative repercussions in one or more areas of our well-being.
Substance Abuse is: “a pattern of drug use that diminishes the ability to fulfill responsibilities at home, work and/or school that results in repeated use of a drug in dangerous situations or that leads to legal difficulties related to drug use.” (Morris, G. C., Maisto A. A.Understanding Psychology, Pearson education Inc. Boston, 2008 P. 131).
Substance Dependence is: “a pattern of compulsive drug taking that results in tolerance, withdrawal symptoms or other specific symptoms for at least a year.” (Morris, G. C., Maisto A. A.Understanding Psychology, Pearson education Inc. Boston, 2008 P. 131).
The causes of substance abuse and substance dependence are a complex combination of biological, psychological and social factors that varies for each individual and each substance. Also, the development of substance dependence does not follow an established time table. One person might drink socially for years before abusing alcohol, whereas somebody else may become addicted to alcohol in a matter of days. Double-blind procedures and placebo comparisons are used to establish scientific standards, understand, research and use the comparative studies for treatment purposes.
The term “Addict” comes from Ad (to) and Dicere (say). The understanding was that an addict, being subjected by any compulsion s/he has, would say anything to get the subject/object of his/her obsession. An addict, as any sincere person in recovery will readily admit, may relapse at any time and follow the path to get his/her “fix” regardless of any health, mental, social, legal and/or financial consequences.
It is at this point, after hitting rock-bottom, abandoned and/or locked up from freedom, independence, well-being, health, wealth and from a meaningful life, that the addict may decide to transform himself/herself, understand the unseen part of his/her thoughts and feelings which had led him/her to (self) destructive actions and to decide to change for the better.
Chapter Fourteen: Responding to Crisis and the 12 Core Functions The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness -Dalai Lama
Crisis (in Greek Krinein) means to “separate, decide and judge” (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/word/crisis). While a crisis may prompt one to freeze, take flight or fight, it is best to take some time-out to calm down and logically respond to it, rather than emotionally react to it (unless one is in imminent danger, where a reaction may save lives). It is only after taking time-out that we can sensibly calm-down and use logic in addressing our concerns. This can be achieved by taking into consideration the respective consequences they would bring to our lives (play the video tape until the end). How do we take the time-out varies from case to case. One such technique was synthetized in a Japanese spa located in New York, where the clients were invited to: "blow hard like policeman whistle and push like baby."
In a crisis the usual balance between thinking and emotions is disturbed. The usual coping mechanisms are obliterated. There may be panic at individual and/or group level. Panic derives from the God Pan, the horned God, he who could with his pan flute’s sound instill fear or love in his listeners. Incidentally, panic is also from the same root of the Daco-Romanian painea aceea “that [Holy] Bread” and it was later picked up by the Greeks as panakeia, word for “cure-all” come.
In Daco-Romanian painea aceea, that [Holy] bread is called Colac, The colac is Holy in the sense that it is primarily baked during Christmas, Easter and other religious holidays. The colac literally means circle and it has spirals knotted in its design. It is, as its shape suggest, a representation of the matter and spirit, which together are the life buoy of our existence (Colac images 1-2). Etymologically, the colac means co (ko/ki energy or life) and lac (lake, needle, anchor). Therefore, the colac represents the lake, needle, anchor of life, later brought by the pharaohs to Egypt as Ankh they key of life (Ankh images 1-2).
Crisis originally meant a time for decisions. The inherent panic could mean destruction (fear of Pan) or resurrection (panacea) based on the course of action we would or would not take.
Crisis intervention (used here as an umbrella term) provides help for individuals or groups during a period of extreme distress. The intervention may be active, passive, interactive with the therapist and short, medium or long term. The goals of crisis intervention may include: mitigate the impact from events, facilitate normal recovery processes and/or teach and/or restore adaptive skills to successfully redress the individual to mental, emotional, social, behavioral and physical homeostasis.
The individual in recovery is asked to engage actively and develop two aspects of his/her internal skills: awareness and motivation.
Awareness is a cognitive process and it seeks to understand logically the relationship between cause-effect, as well as, seek justice.
Motivation is a passionate and emotional process. It is based on one’s perception of his/her station in life, that will lead an individual to be interested or not in his/her improvement.
In therapy, the counselor focuses with the clients in creating a treatment alliance between them, so that they may work in concordance with the stated goals of the individual’s ongoing care plan.
Treatment by the way, means “treat the mental” just like entertainment means “enter and detain the mental.” Therefore, treatment is an active process where we (re)gain control of our mind, whereas entertainment is a passive process where we suspend our judgments and allow somebody else to lull us into distraction from our reality.
It is for good reason then that the word entertainment in the Romance languages is translated as distraction. Another word for entertainment is amusement which in Latin, clearly enough states the whole purpose of one’s entertainment: ad “at/to” muser “stare fixedly”(Etymonlinehttps://www.etymonline.com/word/amuse ).
There is of course also a creative, productive, uplifting, inspirational and educational value to amusement which comes from the same etymology, in such terms as muse, museum and music. In fact, we have a grand total of nine muses in classical hierarchy.
“These were the Goddesses of poetic inspiration, the adored deities of song, dance, and memory, on whose mercy the creativity, wisdom and insight of all artists and thinkers depended. They may have been originally three in number, but, according to Hesiod and the prevailing tradition he established, most commonly they are depicted as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.
• Thalia (“The Cheerful One”) was the Muse of Comedy and was often portrayed holding a comic mask or a shepherd’s crook. • Urania (“The Heavenly One”) was the Muse of Astronomy, and you can often see her holding a globe. • Melpomene (“She Who Sings”) was the Muse of Tragedy, and she is either holding a tragic mask or some other symbol of tragedy (sword, club, buskins). • Polyhymnia (“She of the Many Hymns”) was the Muse of Hymns and sacred poetry, often depicted with a pensive look hidden behind a veil. • Erato (“The Lovely One”) was the Muse of Lyric Poetry; naturally, she’s usually represented with a lyre. • Calliope (“The One with a Beautiful Voice”) was the Muse of Epic Poetry; Hesiod claims that she was the foremost among the nine, since “she attends on worshipful princes”; Calliope can often be seen holding a writing tablet. • Clio (“The Celebrator,” “The Proclaimer”) was the Muse of History, and, quite fittingly, she usually holds a scroll. • Euterpe (“She Who Pleases”), was the Muse of Flute-playing, which is why she is time and again portrayed with an aulos. • Terpsichore (“The One Delighting in the Dance”), was the Muse of Choral Lyric and Dancing; as expected, she is usually shown dancing and sometimes holding a lyre.” (Greek Mythology and Godshttps://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/The_Muses/the_muses.html )
In therapy, a lot of focus is posed on analysis. Analyein means “to release, to set free” (Etymonline https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=analysis), i.e. from the blockages to thinking and feeling, and do it in an authentic fashion. Very often these blockages are caused by fear of getting hurt and angry about being positioned in situations where we know and/or feel that we have lost control.
The 12 Core Functions of Treatment is the structure being followed by therapist to address the clients’/patients’ healing desires, abilities, needs and to tabulate his/her progress over time.
It has been used primarily by Drugs and Alcohol counselors (CASACs), although it’s utility is functional in other forms of treatment as well.
“They are as follows:
1) Screening: The process by which the client is determined as being appropriate and eligible for admission to a particular treatment.
It involves: evaluating physical, social and psychological needs for treatment; determine the client’s appropriateness for admission or referral; identify any coexisting conditions (medical, psychiatric, physical; other); adhere to applicable laws regulations and policies governing such need for treatment.
2) Intake: Intake is the completion of the administrative and initial assessment procedures for a treatment; complete the required documents for admission to treatment; complete the required documents for treatment eligibility and appropriateness; obtain the appropriately signed and dated consents when soliciting information to outside resources.
3) Orientation: Describing to the client the following: general nature and goals of the treatment; rules governing client contract and what behaviors may lead to disciplinary actions, or dismissal from the treatment; time and place when the treatment takes place; treatment costs (if any) to the client; client’s rights and responsibilities; provide an overview of the treatment to the client by describing treatment goals and objectives; provide an overview by describing to the client the treatment’s expectations.
4) Assessment: Explain to the client the rationale for the use of the assessment techniques in order to facilitate understanding for the needs of treatment of the client; the procedures by which a counselor identifies and evaluates an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, problems and needs for treatment; gather relevant history from the client by using professional interviewing techniques; find and use whenever possible corroborative information from formal and informal support on the accuracy of the participant’s disclosed information; develop diagnostic evaluation of the of the client’s need for treatment in order to provide an integrated and comprehensive treatment to the client’s identified problems and needs.
5) Planning: Client and counselor identify and rank the client’s needs for treatment based on: agreed upon short, medium- and long-term goals, decide on the treatment process and the resources to be utilized, produce and maintain a written treatment plan.
6) Counseling: Individual and group counseling formats; discuss objective and subjective needs for treatment; explore problems and their ramifications; examine attitudes and feelings per issues at stake; consider alternative solutions to present mindsets; feelings; and words/actions; decision making actions towards progress; use successful precedents, techniques and innovative approaches to redress and resolve problems; individualize counseling in accordance with cultural, gender and lifestyle differences.
7) Case Management: This function of the treatment insures that the participant can manage his treatment physically, emotionally, financially and socially; link the client to services, resources, agencies, or people in a planned framework of action towards the achievement of an established plan; coordinate services of client care; explain the rationale of case management to the client; promote and support the independent functioning of the client and his/her family (network of support).
8) Crisis Intervention: Address acute mental, emotional, physical, financial and social distress; recognize the elements of a client in crisis; implement an immediate course of action appropriate for the crisis; enhance overall treatment by utilizing techniques geared at solving and de-escalating the crisis.
9) Client Education: Present relevant information for the client’s treatment through formal and informal mediums; present available services for the client’s treatment needs.
10) Referral: Identify the needs and/or problems of the client that cannot be met by the counselor and assist the client to use support and treatment systems available in the community; explain to the client the rationale for referral; map the client’s needs to appropriate resources; adhere to applicable laws, regulations and agency policies governing procedures related to the protection of the client’s confidentiality; assist the client with the utilization of the support systems and community resources available to him/her.
11) Reports and Records Keeping: Charting the results of the assessment and treatment plan, writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries and other client-related data. Prepare reports and relevant records integrating available information to facilitate the continuum of care; chart pertinent ongoing information pertaining to the client; utilize relevant information from written documents from client’s care.
12) Consultations with Other Professionals: Relating and coordinating with peers and outside professionals to assure comprehensive quality of care for the client; recognize issues that are beyond the counselor’s domain, skills and/or knowledge; adhere to applicable laws, regulations and office policies governing the disclosure of client’s identifying data; explain the rationale for consultation to the client.” (Exponents Center for Progress CASAC Training Curriculum 2018 https://www.exponents.org/ ).
In general, the Severity of Illness [S.I.] = the Intensity of Service [I.S.].
Such factors as ideation of (self) harmful behaviors (abstinent) versus healing from past (self) harmful behavior (recovery) of an emotionally unbalanced person, are aspects affecting one’s treatment and intensity of assistance.
As far as the dynamics between clients and professionals go, the professionals have to consistently address the two aspects of their interactions with the clients: the needs-based tasks needing resolution and the trust-based relationship with the clients. Without a healthy professional relationship there is no openness on the part of the clients to genuinely discuss their issues. The relationship is just as important for communication as the assistance to the clients’ needs. The client needs to see his/her counselor as a professional individual who has the knowledge, the ability, the character and the empathy to help him/her heal, become whole and be healthy again.
Chapter 15: Gratitude and Prisons Nothing is more precious than being jailed for Jesus Christ. -Monsignor Vladimir Ghika (Gratitude from Nazi prisons Eva Hermann) “It may seem paradoxical for me to say that I would not have missed the experiences of these two years of my life in a Nazi prison for anything. But it is so. When one’s existence which has seemed quite secure suddenly melts away, when one is cut off externally at least from the circle of one’s family and friends and must rely entirely on one’s self in an indifferent hostile world; when the ground is taken from under one’s feet and the air one breathes is taken away, when every security fails and every support gives way—then one stands face to face with the Eternal and confronts Him without protection and with fearful directness. Then I understood the saying that it was a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Then I understood that it was not man but God who was sitting in judgment. With one stroke everything is transformed: good intentions no longer have any value, the omissions and the things I had left undone in my life in the world all can no longer be made up; failure to love or errors can no longer be set right. What remained for me was an annihilating register of debts. I now saw that what the fancy of the medieval artists represented as taking place on the Day of Judgment was happening here and now in this earthly life. The level of my human existence was not only brought into question but was shattered and stripped from me by the Eternal.
When imprisonment has lasted a certain time it ceases to be punishment. One has removed one’s self from ordinary life and slowly begins to find a new standard. What seemed to be a colorless gray on a gray background, gradually assumes color again, although in weaker shades and hue. Some reach this point quickly, others more slowly. It lasted over a year for me.
Not until then should the question of meaning be put, for not until then is one capable of hearing the answer. Nor is one able until then to get the inward profit which lies locked in such a time. When breadth of life is denied one, one naturally and necessarily puts forth roots into its depths.
“Among the long-term prisoners, murderesses who spend ten, fifteen or twenty years in prison, can be found persons of astonishing inner equanimity” said the chaplain of an investigation prison to me recently.
“A piercing pain, a killing sin and to my dead heart run them in,” says Stevenson.
It is surely true that even the worst deed may become an instrument in the hands of God to awaken a person to the inner life.
Then came Christmas of 1944. Visits and services of worship were forbidden; our writing periods were set at four months instead of six weeks; and our few letters generally were lost as a result of some air raid. For months we had no word of our families. Most of them had been bombed out, many of us no longer owned even what we wore, for that belonged to the prison. Our surroundings had unspeakably deteriorated; vermin abounded, the stove smoked but did not heat, the beds were made with damp covers, everything pertaining to Christmas was lacking. And yet I wrote then, “Perhaps I have never experienced Advent so strongly as this year . . . I often lie awake at night and that which keeps me from sleeping is joy.” “Behold, I have commanded thee to be of good heart and joyful.” In Hagenau that had been a commandment impossible of fulfillment. And now it was becoming more a gift and grace (Nazi Prison image 1). “When the power to laugh in peace and joy was taken from me, Thou didst come and make me glad.” In my whole life I never had a happier Christmas. Free of all Christmas activity, it had become Christmas in the presence of God, and my heart sang: “My heart leaped and cannot be sad.” (Herman, E. In Prison Yet Free, Tract Association of Friends, 1948 extracts http://www.tractassociation.org/tracts/prison-free/ ). And (Gratitude from Communist prisons Blessed Vladimir Ghika) Blessed Vladimir Ghika ~ Priest and Martyr ~ By Louise Gherasim* “Recently, there has been much written about the beatification of Monsignor Ghika, and his life story. This Romanian priest who shared the same cell in the Jilava prison as my beloved husband, Dr. Teodor Gherasim, was a most remarkable man (Communist Prison image 1). In his autobiography, Astride 2 Worlds, my husband, spoke of his friendship with Monsignor Ghika during those horrendous days and nights, in one of the worst of Romania’s cruel Communist prisons: “Here was a man who gave himself completely to God’s service…The great love of his life was to do good for the suffering humanity.” (Page 82). One of the best portraits of a typical political prisoner in a Communist gaol (prison) was made by my husband in the same book: “…dark circles under his eyes, which were sunk deeply into their sockets; his skin was sallow and barely covered his bones; he was devoid of all energy…”
And here are the Christmases that these persecuted individuals experienced under the Communist oppression: “With tear-stained faces and bowed heads kneeling on the icy stone floor some with scarcely enough to cover their boney bodies, these men knew the joy of being completely united to their Eternal Father.” (Gherasim, T. Astride 2 Worlds, First Book Library Edition 2000 P. 85). Both the Monsignor and my husband were originally from the same part of Romania, Bucovina. So, a strong bond of friendship grew between them. They shared hours of prayer, meditation and even food. The Monsignor insisted that Teodor, who was in his early twenties, should partake of his meagre portion of bread: “You are young; you have more chances of surviving the Communist hell to tell the world about our ordeals. I know I’m going to die here, so my food is not as necessary for sustenance,” he would often tell Teodor. In 1954, following one of the many episodes of bestial torture he suffered during two years of torment, the 80-year-old priest died in his sleep, as he lay on the cold damp ground near my beloved husband. Our son Gabriel, writing about this beautiful friendship on the internet shortly after the beatification ceremony on 31 August 2013, was privileged to receive an answer from the great, great niece of Monsignor Ghika. She wrote: “I heard a lot in the family about the story of your father Teodor and how he had been supportive of Monsignor Ghika during their detention. I can put a face now on this person who did a lot for Monsignor Ghika then and afterwards, to honor his memory.” Here she was referring to the many letters my husband had sent to the Vatican and other Church dignitaries, commending the saintly man. Who was the Priest-Martyr, Vladimir Ghika? From the National Catholic Register, we learn that this Romanian priest descended from French and Romanian nobility. He was born on Christmas Day 1873 in Constantinople, where his father was the Romanian ambassador to the Ottoman Court. He was baptized into the Orthodox faith of his parents. His education included medicine, art, botany, and political science in the schools of France. Later, he was drawn to theology and to Rome, where he converted to Catholicism at the age of 29. He spoke 22 languages and on the advice of his friend Pope Pius X, he became a lay missionary. Returning to his country, Romania, he created a foundation for Catholic charity works. He established the first free medical clinic in Bucharest and the country’s first ambulance service. During WWI, he travelled to many dangerous places attending the wounded and refugees, as well as victims of cholera. He was 49 years old when he was ordained in Paris in 1923. He then spent the next seven years ministering to the poor in the most dangerous part of that city, Villejuif. In 1939, at the outbreak of WWII, he returned to Romania as the first priest with Papal approval to celebrate both the Latin Catholic Mass and the Byzantine-rite Liturgy, used by the Byzantine Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. As WWII ended, the Russians occupied Romania. His family urged him to leave the country under Soviet occupation, but his response was: “If God wants me here, then here I remain.” In 1952, the KGB from Romania, called Securitatea, arrested him and every other Catholic bishop and priest in Romania, particularly of the Byzantine-Catholic denomination, now deemed “illegal.” In the notorious prison known as Jilava, he was brutally beaten, starved and attacked by police dogs. Over 80 times he was tortured with electric shocks and strangulation, as the interrogators were trying unsuccessfully to force him to invent various “anti-proletarian” charges against innocent individuals, priests and parishioners. Eventually, he lost his eyesight and hearing as a result of this brutality. Nearing death, the holy priest was heard to say, “Nothing is more precious than being jailed for Jesus Christ” (Blessed Vladimir Ghika image 1). In closing this brief account of the life and death of Blessed Ghika, I would like to recognize Victor Gaetan of the Catholic Register, who has provided us with valuable information. “(Christian Order webpage 2003http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2013/features_nov13.html ). *The author, a native of Ireland, has written 12 books for all ages, on Ireland and Romania. Works by the late Dr. Teodor Gherasim include: Astride 2 Worlds, and Ancient Dictators, Modern Tyrants. For further information and purchase details please visit: www.bestbitesbuys.com/ldpress.html or Amazon. Audrey Lorde, American poetess famously responded when asked which kind of persecution hurt the most: because she was black or because she was a lesbian? “There is no hierarchy to oppression. “(Lorde, A. There is No Hierarchy to Oppression essay http://uuliveoak.org/pdfs/worship_9-04-09_excerpts_no_hierarchy_of_oppressions.pdf ). Unfortunately, in regards to the victims of Communist-Socialism, there is a serious double standard when artificially treated as unimportant, as opposed to the victims of National-Socialism. This was clearly expressed by President George Bush Jr. at Riga in 2005: “As we mark the victory of six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox. For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.” (The Cranky Conservative, 2005, quoted from website) (Yalta image 1).
At the Yalta meeting, during the betrayal of Central/Eastern Europe by the United States and Great Britain, as part of a discussion of the future of Eastern Europe British Prime Minister Winston Churchill cautioned Joseph Stalin to consider the views of the Vatican. To this the Soviet leader responded “How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?” Communism collapsed in Europe after 50 years. The Vatican has been surviving for 2 millennia. Communist and neo-communist dictators have killed about 200,000,000 innocent civilians during the 100 years of ongoing Communist plague in the world and they are fighting a losing battle. This defies the appeal to brute force by materialist dictatorships. The failure to conquer the world and maintain control by fear and destruction is the guaranteed outcome consistently. How is that possible?
Quite simply, the materialist approach doesn’t take into consideration the determination of faith. In fact, while dictatorships may win battles and maintain control for short times, history vindicates the victims and demonizes the occupiers for eternity. One such example was the arrest, torture and the murder of the bishops, priests and faithful of the Romanian Catholic Byzantine church by the Communists after WWII. The Vatican turned these martyrs into saints on June 2nd 2019 during a papal visit in Romania (Episcopii Martiri images 1-3). The Vatican survived for 2,000 years not because of its own past atrocious crimes and forced conversions but because of its martyrs and saints.
As pope Benedict stated:
“The New blessed have suffered and sacrificed their lives, opposed to a tyrannical and coercive ideological system with respect to the fundamental rights of the human person. At that time of sad memories, the life of the Catholic community was put to the test by the dictatorial and atheistic regime: all the bishops and many believers of the Byzantine Catholic Church and Latin Catholic Church were persecuted and sentenced to imprisonment, torture and martyrdom. " (Homily of the Holy Liturgy of Beatification of the Bishops Valeriu Traian Frentiu, Vasile Aftenie, Ioan Suciu, Titus Liviu Chinezu, Ioan Balan, Alexandru Rusu and Iuliu Hossu, who were killed in odium fidei -because of their faith- in various places in Romania between 1950-1970, Vatican News June 2 2019 https://www.vaticannews.va/ro/papa/news/2019-06/papa-francisc-la-blaj-romania-beatificare-episcopi-martiri.html )
Despite these cautionary lessons from the contemporary history this did not stop the American administrations from starting and pursuing relentless wars against innocent civilians even after WWII, in order to exploit their countries of natural resources, which put the United States in the past and present genocidal superstrates club, alongside Communist China, (neo)Communist Russia, Socialist France and the monarchy controlled Great Britain. In order to preserve the semblance of “democracy” each and every one of these imperialist states created a double standard in judging their victims as somehow being “inferior” to the rest of us, or even being “culprits” who deserved our ire (which are text book demonization practices from both the Nazi and the Communist propaganda manuals) and go back to the satanic preaching of Karl Marx’s own incitements and demands for genocides as means to his socialist revolutions. (Wurmbrandt, R. Marx and Satanhttp://www.hourofthetime.com/1-LF/Hour_Of_The_Time_08122012-Marx_and_Satan.pdf ) . Ironically each and every one of these countries with massacres inducing policies, have the Veto right at the United Nations and therefore are free from any international prosecution. In fact, the veto power may very well be the main cause of inaction on war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_veto_power ). The military–industrial complex (MIC) is an informal alliance between a nation's military and the defense industry that supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy. It was famously condemned by supreme commander of Allied forces in Western Europe during World War II and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address on January 17, 1961 (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military–industrial_complex ). The crimes perpetrated by American personnel on civilians at Abu Ghraib is one sobering reminder that when a human being decides to dehumanize another human being, there is no limit to the nefarious soiling of the human soul.
Chapter Sixteen: Gratitude and Love See you thus amidst the ripples Which the moon's pale beams engage, And your years seem but an instant, And each instant seems an age. -Mihai Eminescu Famous opera singer Maria Callas, throughout her life showed that you can be the most successful person in your field, but still that the most important thing is love. That is passion. So, every woman, every passionate woman feels sympathy for the unmet love of Maria Callas. Because they realize that all this success means very little. The most important thing is love. After immense successes, she was crying, saying: “I was no good.” Unloved artists are never happy. They cannot open. They suffer. Then they don’t want to show it and they take pills. These pills that are so often damaging to the brain. Often, when she would meet her friends and after being asked how she was doing, she would say: “Per fortuna e’ un giorno di meno” (Fortunately there is one less day to live). She was ready to give up. One of her friends confessed at her funeral: “I have regrets, because I realize that I had abandoned her. Perhaps, if I had devoted a little more time as friends, instead of taking for granted that she would resolve her problems by herself, I realized that I had been unfair. Had I been closer to this woman and had I given her a sense of life around her, she wouldn’t have died. That was my deep, deep regret.” (Palmer, T.Callas Tony Palmer Films, 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o6YRJ4VimY&t=3480s ) . If perceptions create 40% of our ideas about us, other people, places and things, love is universally felt as existent, consistent, partial, conditional, or inexistent. There is no misperception as to whether one is loved or not. Love is or it is not and it is accurately sensed for what it is. It is based on how we see ourselves afterwards, that we then accept an inferior, equal or superior position to the ones we love and are or are not being given love. The Celtic tradition of The Anam Ċara agrees: “In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is anam ċara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and ċara is the word for friend. So anam ċara in the Celtic world was the “soul friend.” In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide was called an anam ċara. It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam ċara you could share your innermost self, your mind, and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam ċara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.” The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. There is no cage for the soul. The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship.” (Anam Carahttps://lleedsmeyers.com/2019/01/25/a-friendship-blessing-includes-the-anam-cara-by-john-odonohue/ ). Here is a Blessing from Anam Cara “May the light of your soul guide you; May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart; May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul; May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work; May your work never weary you; May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement; May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in the bland absences; May the day never burden; May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises; May evening find you gracious and fulfilled; May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected; May your soul calm, console and renew you.” (O'Donohue, J Blessinghttps://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1156525-may-the-light-of-your-soul-guide-you-may-the ).
Passion is the superb manifestation of love, as Rumi so pointedly described it in the 13th century: “With passion pray.
With passion make love.
With passion eat and drink and dance and play.
Why look like a dead fish, in this ocean of God?” (Rumi quotes https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/560299-with-passion-pray-with-passion-make-love-with-passion-eat ). What keeps consistent love beautiful and exciting is nursing gratitude to, with, from, in and out of it. For without gratitude, consistent love and passion would quickly come to be seen as routine and routine will lead to taking them for granted, boredom and our abandonment to (self) destructive activities followed by regrets.
Time is of essence, as each day, comes with no dress rehearsal and leaves us with experiences of appreciation or disdain for it. These will be our memories and when lived with gratitude, these days will be only purveyors of love.
A Daco-Romanian proverb quite wisely states: Recunostiinta e floare rara; nu creste pe toate gardurile. (Gratitude is a rare flower; it doesn’t grow in all the gardens).
Trying to plant, nourish and multiply the rare flower of gratitude throughout the garden of our lives consistently (starting from being grateful that we have and are a “garden” [i.e. that we are alive] in the first place), is the foundation of Recogniscience Therapy. With it, though it and in it, we can find the meaning of life from a loving, productive, creating, inspirational and happy perspective. Because of this, we would indeed be living in the spirit of Gratia Cantantes therefore, we will be Singing About (Cant) Thankfulness (Gratia) Before (Antes).
About the author: Gabriel Gherasim MA, CASAC holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Portland State University and a Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding from California State University. He is a New York State certified alcoholism and substance abuse counselor (CASAC) with over 17 years in the fields of counseling, case management, faculty, journalism and supervision respectively. He worked with Catholic Charities, HeartShare Human Services of New York, the Department for the Aging in New York, the Department for the Homeless Services in New York, the New York Center for Addiction Treatment Services, RevCore Recovery Center of Manhattan, the Professional Business College and the Long Island Business Institute. Gabriel Gherasim is currently the Borough Manager for Manhattan at New York Connects/Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York and is a guest speaker on the subjects of resilience, gratitude and healing, for survivors from political, religious, governmental, institutionalized and individual oppression. Gabriel Gherasim has also authored Happiness in Our Daily Lives, Lands beyond the Forest, The Story of the Queen Bee and the Children's Corner, Victims of Communism and Their Persecutors, Romania: Martyrs and Survivors of the Communist Regime, The Romanians from Bucovina, The Daco-Romanian Chaplet Prayer Book and Theodor and Us, which are available free online at http://gabrielgherasim.com/writing.html His books may also be ordered at Vervante publishing: https://store.vervante.com/c/v/search.html?sf=author&se=Gabriel%20Gherasim&st=db&co=1&results_title=%22Titles%20by%20Gabriel%20Gherasim%22 They may also be available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=gabriel+gherasim&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss Author’s web page: http://gabrielgherasim.com/index.html He may be contacted at: email@example.com . (Author image 1)
The words Gratia Cantantes in Latin mean: Singing About (Cant) Thankfulness (Gratia) Before (Antes).
Singing About Thankfulness Before, is a mind set and a way of living which acknowledges that Thankfulness is the fertile ground in which to plant one’s life.
The term recogniscience, particularly for therapeutic (from Greek therapeia ‘healing,’) purposes, uses the science of recognition of one’s inner reality to find, maintain, progress and create lovingly, in an environment of thankfulness.
Gabriel Gherasim MA, CASAC holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Portland State University and a Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding from California State University. He is a New York State certified alcoholism and substance abuse counselor (CASAC) with over 17 years in the fields of counseling, case management, faculty, journalism and supervision respectively. (Author image 2)
Gabriel Gherasim Due September 10th 2018 Essay, You and Culture: How are ageism, disability, alcoholism, mental health, LGBT viewed in Daco-Romanian culture? The word ‘culture’ meant in its original use: “the cultivation of a piece of land” (tilling, or preparing the earth for crops). It was an agricultural term designating the needed steps to harvesting of the land. It was an arduous, time consuming effort, preparing the land in the spring and collecting its rewards in the autumn. It still is. Daco-Romanian tradition and history expands back in history by millennia: the oldest writing in the world is in Romania, i.e. the Tartaria tablets (6,000 BC, one thousand years older than the Sumerian one); the Dacians (later Daco-Romanians) are the proverbial Aryans who migrated and left a lasting mark to Indian culture (Sanskrit culture and the Veda texts); today’s successors of the Dacians, the Romanians live in the richest country in natural resources in Europe, with the largest population of bears, wolves and forest in the Carpathian Mountains; and they have a traditional agricultural matriarchal culture resplendent with cosmic symbolism through and through. Therefore, before any norms of equality and standardization of law regarding the treatment of minorities were pushed by the US and the European Community to the world, the Daco-Romanians had their own ‘culture’ in these regards. So how does ‘culture’ reflect in our customs, particularly on the topics mentioned above? The following statements are generalizations and do not take into consideration specific efforts at the governmental, NGO’s and family levels. The short answer is that if a condition had functional purposes it was useful and therefore accepted, embraced and honored. If it didn’t have functional purposes, it was frown upon, discarded, or persecuted (depending on the times in history). Ageism: elders are praised for their wisdom. A Romanian proverb states: “the village which doesn’t have elders, should go about buying them.” The families cherish and assist them as primary support. The Orthodox Church provides some nursing homes and private NGOs assist with home-bound elders’ services and living conditions. The government’s assistance is lackadaisical. Disability: Disabled individuals are cared for by the families. They are loved and taken care of, since they are seen explicitly and implicitly to be the charge of their loved ones. While not-functional, they are seen as the center of attention for the family’s sacrifices, since able family members are expected to take care of the disabled and frail family members. The infrastructure, from street ramps and public transportation navigation for the disabled people, to public benefits is lackadaisical. Alcoholism: there is no functional purpose to alcoholism, nor a noble meaning to this infirmity. Alcoholics/drug addicts are seen as capable individuals who choose to derail from a balanced life into a shameful behavior. Therefore, the family members do not enable their compulsion. Similarly, the state doesn’t provide proper rehabilitation to alcoholics and drug addicts. Rather than looking at substance abuse as a disease, it is seen as a shameful self-determined act (along with other compulsions such as gambling and sexual addiction). It is judged and condemned individually and societally. In fact, long before the American prohibition of the 1920-1933, it was a Dacian King called Burebista (82-44BC), who prohibited the cultivation of grapes and use of wine in present day Romania. That is not to say that alcohol consumption is not used for functional purposes. Romania has very harsh winters and it is when alcohol is being used to allow better functioning in this kind of weather, that alcohol is praised and used moderately. Mental Health: Individuals with mental health are frown upon and institutionalized. Some are disposed of in psychiatric institutions and some are hurdled in prison (often are exploding into a violent incident). While the minimal consumption of psychotropic medications (compared to the US and Western Europe) spared the country of individuals suffering from the medications’ harmful side-effects (including suicidal ideation and/or shooting sprees), it also stopped individuals from benefiting from their respective treatments. The usual approach is to address the symptoms of mental health conditions by seeking herbal remedies, counseling in the family (with family elders), then go to the local parish priest for spiritual advice. In the cities, the practice of psychological and/or psychiatric treatment has seen an increase. And in extreme cases, institutionalization remains the action of last resort. When individuals with dual conditions (mental and substance abuse) are becoming disruptive for the society, more often than not they are isolated from society in the family homes, psychiatric wards and/or prisons. LGBT: Unlike the Greek culture where homosexuality has several precedents of being practiced in the open with societal acceptance throughout history, the Daco-Romanian culture sees no reason to accept this behavior. Since this preference is non-functional to the society (it doesn’t lead to procreation), is seen as parasitic and therefore, something to condemn. During Communism, this condition was selectively punished (the excluded homosexuals from arrest were those from the families of the Politburo, Central Committee and Securitate (KGB) apparatchik). After the toppling of the Communist system in 1989, the laws were voted to impose acceptance of the homosexual agenda, including but not limited to adoption being allowed by homosexual couples. Therefore, while the law has been protecting the homosexual couples, the moral judgment of homosexuals is quite harsh and is being fueled by the Orthodox Church and the conservative part of the population still.
Gabriel Gherasim Homework 8/15/2018 Section 2 Class 27 -What are the three levels of prevention? Universal: targeting the general public, or a whole population group. Selective: targeting subgroups of a population, whose risk of developing the disorder is significantly higher than average (imminent risk) Indicated: targeting high-risk individuals indicating a predisposition for the disorder. (US Institute of Medicine) -What are the 6 levels of Substance Abuse Hierarchy? Morality Creativity Spontaneity Problem solving Lack of prejudice Acceptance of facts -Write 4 examples of System of Care A system of care is: a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families, that is organized into a coordinated network, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses their cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them to function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life. Examples of system of care could include, but not be limited to: mental health services; social services; educational services; health services; substance abuse services; vocational services; recreational services; and juvenile justice services.
Homework Assignment for class # 30 Section # 2 Part # 2 Gabriel Gherasim What does the term “Culture” mean to you? Culture is a set of shared norms by a community. Give 2 examples from the material covered of what “Not to do” if you want to be deemed culturally competent. Refrain from generalizing on a community the attitudes and behaviors of an individual from said community (stereotyping) Refrain from projecting one’s own stereotypes of a community to said community (suspended judgment) The definition of “Cultural Competence” is: “A set of behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or program, or among individuals enabling them to function effectively in diverse cultural interactions and similarities within , among and between groups” (US Department of Health and Human Services) In the material covered, how many stages are contained in the “Stages of Cultural Sensitivity”? 3 stages Please define each “Stage of Cultural Sensitivity” Denial (I don’t recognize cultural differences); defensive (I recognize cultural differences but, as being unimportant or negative); and acceptance (recognize and adapt to said differences). In the material covered, how many steps are on the ladder called “The Continuum of Cultural Competency”? 4 stages Please define each step of “The Continuum of Cultural Competency”? Cultural Incapacity (unintended stereotyping); Cultural Blindness (forcing the melting pot approach –all people are the same-); Cultural Pre-competence (accepting inability to presently be culturally competent; preparing to become culturally competent); Cultural Proficiency (all the concepts of cultural competence are incorporated into the agency’s policy, practice and attitude. Individuals are able to add to the body of knowledge and to teach those concepts to others). Please provide one paragraph answer to the question: “Why is cultural competence relevant to a CASAC in New York State? New York City and by extensions New York state is home to the most diverse population of immigrants in the country. Therefore, cultural competence is a must in terms of approaching the issues of substance abuse from the perspective and through the prism of the patients’ own cultural standards and norms. This would allow for clarity of terms, language, definition of the patients’ substance abuse problems, goals for treatment and evaluation of progress, from the patients’ own cultural understanding of substance abuse.
Gabriel Gherasim July 19th 2018 Assignment 22 What are the 3 levels of prevention? -Universal (targeting the general public); Selective (subgroup of the population at risk); Indicated (targeting high risk individuals). What are the 6 levels of substance abuse hierarchy? -Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem solving, Lack of prejudice and Acceptance of facts. 3) Write 4 examples of Systems of Care: -Family services, child care, employment services, individual services coordination, transportation, supporting substance abuse services, housing support and information and referral
Gabriel Gherasim 7/16/2018 Assignment 21 a Cases 1 and 2 https://www.cnsproductions.com/pdf/casestudies.pdf What preliminary Axis I diagnosis would you give each of your patients and why? Use the DSM IV to look to the Axis I disorder and select one or two that best fit the clinical picture. Patient # 1: Preliminary Opiate withdrawal, or Opiate Dependence. Patient # 2: Preliminary Alcohol withdrawal, or Alcohol withdrawal delirium. What if any medical dangers, do you see or should consider for either patient? Why? The patient with opiate withdrawal is in no imminent danger. However, because of the severity of alcohol withdrawal, the second patient is in imminent danger and warrants immediate medical attention. What transference and countertransference issues would you expect to be present in working with patient A? What transference and countertransference issues might present themselves with patient B? Patient # 1: the patient may be using transference when equating the medical staff to his existing or imagined informal providers. He may be using seductive language to convince the staff to give him his “fix”. When that doesn’t work, he may be using threatening and/or complaining techniques in order to solicit the “fix” (i.e. “if you don’t give me the “fix” you are ‘forcing’ (sic!) me to steal, hurt someone and/or kill myself”). The countertransference concerns may reflect in the staff reacting negatively to the patient’s threats by becoming punitive in tone, words and/or actions. Patient # 2: Transference from the patient may reflect to his comparing his more advanced age to the younger medical and/or counseling team and equating advanced age and youth with experience and lack of experience respectively (including at a professional level). Therefore, he may be more reluctant to disclose his concerns and needs for assistance to younger members of his assisting team. The countertransference concerns may reflect in the staff by affecting positive parental association towards the patient and thus providing extra care and patience. If the associations with the elders are negative in the staff, the opposite countertransference may also be true, where the assisting team may actually provide mediocre if not neglectful quality of care to the patient. Finally, based on all the information, who gets the available bed and why? The bed should be given to patient # 2 due to his alcoholism-based withdrawal, intensity of symptoms and therefore, more intensive if not life-threatening need for immediate medical supervision and care. Case 3-Suzanne S. What drugs does Suzanne seems to be most addicted to? Heroin, alcohol and benzodiazepines (Valium and Klonopin). Of the drugs being used, which ones pose a more danger to withdraw from and why? Alcohol and benzodiazepines because the sudden withdrawal from these drugs can trigger deadly symptoms such as seizures and heart attacks. What dangers do you see as you read this case? What are the dangers for Suzanna? What are the dangers for the baby? Health problems may include contamination with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and putting her health at risk if facing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and benzodiazepines. What treatment options would you offer Suzanne and why? Be referred to a methadone clinic to address her opiate dependency for both her detoxification treatment and the baby’s (after it is born). What referrals would you give to her and in what order? Referral to methadone clinic (in and outpatient, particularly if Suzanne decides to give birth). Also, referral to an abortion clinic, if Suzanne decides to terminate the pregnancy. Referral to counseling groups and therapist for former sexual workers and to vocational training centers to allow her to gain skills for gainful employment under the color of law. Is Suzanne’s friend correct in suggesting that she did not stop the heroin use if she is pregnant? If yes, why? Yes, in the sense that stopping heroin use may lead to the fetus dying and spontaneously being aborted, because of the withdrawal symptoms. Also, because of the mother’s use of alcohol, stopping cold turkey may result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) complications such as physical deficiencies and mental retardation. What legal issues may present themselves in this case, if she decides to keep the baby? Legally, Suzanne may incur criminal charges for endangering the safety of her child once it’s born, including but not limited to going to prison and/or having her child being taken away by the Child Protective Services. Do you see and transference or countertransference issues that can cloud your judgment in handling this case? Please explain! The counselor may be seen as an obstacle to Suzanne, by counseling her to make decisions in terms of changing her life-style and mentality (drug use, prostitution, abusive relationship) in order to become a responsible mother and a legitimate constructive member of the society (gain and maintain sobriety, be a doting parent, gain and education and choose a legal profession). Countertransference-wise, the professional may judge Suzanne as being an irresponsible individual, or perhaps as being a victim incapable to advocate for herself. Either way, these perspectives of Suzanne are disempowering for her, since she would need a professional interested to help her find and develop her strengths, not her weaknesses, be they at a mental, emotional and/or at a behavioral level. Case # 4-Reese C. Based on the information, what other information would you need to determine Reese’s level of drug use? Reese needs to provide when, how often, and how much of each drugs he is taking (time, frequency and amount). Where would you place him on the Addiction-Compulsion scale? Tobacco, marijuana and alcohol-wise, recreational to habitual levels. The details above are needed for more specific evaluations. Is there a genetic component in his addictions? More evaluation is needed. Still, based on the present disclosures, Reese may have both environmental and genetic components which influenced his addictions. What factors in his medical history might lead to a conclusion of the patient suffering from dual diagnosis? The patient reported being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD at age 8. Further evaluation is needed for a more definitive answer. What environmental factors might have played a role in his addictions? Yes, from both parents’ negative role-models. No from the brother, who seems to have found refuge in his studies. Case # 5 Laura What would the initial assessment be? Substance abuse dependency as manifested by: cravings; loss of control; tolerance; continued use despite negative consequences. What is Laura’s main drug of choice? Does she need detoxification? Alcohol and Benzodiazepines. Start with out-patient treatment and progress to inpatient rehabilitation if needed. Case # 6-Lloyd What is a “speedball”? An intravenous injection of combined heroin and cocaine. What would your initial assessment be? His primary drug of choice is heroin; his secondary drug of choice is cocaine. What would be your recommendation for medical treatment? Inpatient treatment aiming for abstinence. Also, outpatient methadone treatment. Either way, HIV counseling and treatment. What pharmacology would you recommend for drug use and medical condition? Please see above. A counselor may only provide information to the patient for the latter to make an informed decision. How would you handle a patient using street terms for drugs? What will you do if you don’t recognize these terms? Why does he use street terms? Could be part of the individual’s routine lexicon. Could be a way to test the counselor’s ‘applied’ knowledge of her theoretical skills. If in doubt state “I’ll get beck to you on this one” when it comes to being unsure about slang terms for drugs. Discuss transference and countertransference possible rationales to Lloyd’s street terms. For Lloyd, the slang usage of drug terms may project ‘experience’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘expertise’ on the matter of drugs and being street smart. For the counselor, his verbiage may trigger disdain or admiration, either way providing an unwanted bias from a professional whose sole job is to locate accurately the individual’s, desires, abilities and needs and come up with a treatment plan which could maximize the patient’s strength and prepare him/her for a life of content sobriety. How should the counselor address Lloyd’s statements of contemplated suicide and his reasoning in this regard? By addressing his misperceptions on the society as he minimizes and denies his role in the matter, while blaming society at large for his HIV predicament. These are logical fallacies and by inviting the patient to take an active role in his treatment, the counselor may advise Lloyd on the whys and hows to deal with his medical condition, not to mention to feel empowered and motivated to continue and maximize his life to the best of his abilities (which would lead to a moot point his suicidal ideations). Case # 7-Jane What are Jane’s regular drugs contributing to her mental state? Hallucinogens (LSD, XTC, mescaline and mushrooms). Is it possible for Jane to be addicted to marijuana and hallucinogens? Yes, it is possible for Jane to be addicted to both marijuana and to hallucinogens. What part of her family and social life history seem to influence her drugs consumptions? Boredom, loneliness, inhibitions and peer pressure (concerts) seem to have contributed to her drug use. What mental health condition should be ruled out prior to recommending treatment? Schizophrenia. Does Jane have a mental, drug problem, or both? For sure a drug problem. It is still to be determined if she is a MICA (Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted) patient. How would the ARRRT skills have helped Janet at the concert? Allowing her to think logically on the course of her actions (and not just accepting to partake in a self-harmful behavior due to peer pressure). What hospital would you be more likely to recommend Jane for? Inpatient detoxification center. Gabriel Gherasim 7/16/2018 Case Study Danny B. Assignment 21 b. When meeting with this client, would you have a direct or a non-direct session with him? List reasons why? Initially, I would recommend a direct (as in one on one) session with him, while the style of the counseling session would be non-directive (listen, acknowledge, reflect, paraphrase, discuss his feelings). This is needed due to the individual feeling more prone to discuss confidentially his issues, rather than in group; and feeling listened to (literally and figuratively) by the counselor, when expressing his thoughts and feelings, rather than being dictated what to do under the counselor’s presumption of knowing him and his needs. Later on, the counselor may start directing the client in the right course of action, after gathering sufficient knowledge from the client to assess accurately the client’s needs for treatment. Gabriel Gherasim June 13th 2018 Assignment 14 Alternative therapies may provide a welcome addition and supplementation of treatment to the recovery patient involved in the medical model. As such Nutritional therapy may provide much needed nutrients and supplements to the individuals who, because of extensive drug usage, have ignored much needed replenishment of their bodies’ vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. For example, beta-carotene, zinc, vitamins C and E, Selenium and the B-complex spectrum replenish the former alcoholics’ and drug addicts’ bodies with much needed building blocks for the healthy balance of their metabolism, there where, sometimes for decades, the addict was only preoccupied to get his/her fix. Other examples of alternative treatments include: herbal medicine; acupuncture; auriculotherapy; guided imagery; chiropractic therapy; hypnotherapy; mediation; and aromatherapy. At more clinical levels we may mention harm reduction therapy, psychodynamic therapy and brief individual therapy. While the latter three fit the clinical label, they are ‘alternative’ in the sense that they are not widely being used as therapeutic tools. With time, some trends may change, such as with the brief individual therapy model, which seems to become increasingly popular. Gabriel Gherasim 6 /11/ 2018 Assignment Class 13 Section 1 Medicated assisted treatment /Medication supported recovery Medicated Assisted Treatment or Anti-Relapse Medication? The presently used Medicated Assisted Treatment is the terminology I favor, as opposed to the “anti-relapse medication.” This is because for a person in recovery, medication does assist in treatment and it is often part of a more complex understanding of treatment which involves counseling, healthy people, places, things and appropriate time set for healing. Conversely, “anti-relapse medication” is very reductionist in nature, assuming that treatment is solely a matter of bio-chemical exchanges, with no correlation to any other variables. As placebo-based experiments have shown over and over again, the meaning a patient gives to his/her treatment, medications, causes and effects, can actually interfere if not outright cancel out the bio-chemical medications. This is because individuals want to be in control of the being, time and place of their treatments. Therefore, by using exclusively the medical model, the “anti-relapse medication” may be promptly made inefficient by the negative perception the individual in treatment may attribute to it. The medical model states and quite correctly so, from a bio-chemical aspect, that addiction is: “a primarily chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.’ That “motivation,” however, is also quite a psychological tool in the individual’s own quest for recovery, since neuroplasticity clearly shows that: “Recent discoveries about neuroplasticity give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘mind over matter.’ By encouraging repeated thoughts and repeated motor actions, we can actually re-wire the physical brain to some extent. We can monitor some of these changes with neuroimaging studies.” https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/thoughts-on-neuroplasticity/ In other words, if we change our paradigms from exclusively depressive and/or negative, not to mention aggressive in nature, to positive, loving, caring and gratitude based, in time, the brain will rewire its own neuronets to create a physical system of thinking best suited for an optimist. Some opioid based treatments include: agonists; partial agonists; and antagonists which can provide a bio-chemical relief to the recovery patient. Examples of agonist medication are: morphine; methadone; and oxycodone. Examples of partial agonist medications include: buprenorphine. Examples of antagonist medications include: naltrexone; and naloxone. There are four phases associated with medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence: induction; stabilization; maintenance; and medically assisted withdrawal. While opioids caused withdrawals do not necessarily require supervision, Benzos and Alcohol triggered withdrawals certainly demand supervision during the detoxification process. Alcohol withdrawal has been segmented in: minor withdrawal (6-7 hours after the last drink); major withdrawal symptom (24-72 hours after the last drink); and delirium tremens (72-96 hours after the last drink). Treatments include prescriptions of: Disulfiram; Acamprosate; Naltrexone; and Vivitral. Nicotine replacement therapy, is a set of medications being employed in assisting the patient to kick the smoking habit. It includes among others: the trans-dermal patch; and nicotine gum. The Holistic care approach involves a whole host of auxiliary elements to the medical treatment of the person in recovery, ranging in assistance to: mental health (group and individual therapy); vocational; educational; legal; financial; housing; family; and case management. Additionally, part of this holistic treatment umbrella includes but not limited to: nutrition; massage; acupressure; acupuncture; yoga et al. Therefore, Medication Assisted Treatment/Medication Assisted Recovery (MARS), seems to be the more complete description of medical treatment for the recovering patient, rather than the more simplistic and limiting “anti-relapse medication.” Medication Assisted Treatment may contradict the impetus on total abstinence promulgated by the 12 Steps programs. While this may be truer in the case of harm reduction approaches, it still may create a conflict between the total abstinence proponents and the functional medical treatment proponents. This is not to say that there couldn’t be a conviviality between the medicated recovery patient and the AA/NA attendant. Treatment versus abstinence have to be prioritized on a case by case level, perhaps in various stages, with the safety of the recovery participant being the sine qua non goal of both the medical specialists and the individual’s support group involved in his/her recovery. For abstinence comes in many shapes and forms, including as a patient taking medications for addiction, who is simply seeking independence from the drugs and a more complete control of and involvement in his/her life. June 11th 2018 Gabriel Gherasim Assignment for Section 1/Class # 12 part II: The 12 Step & Other Types of Mutual Aid Groups Please write about the Role of Mutual Help groups in Extending the Framework of Treatment I was aware of the 12 Step Programs before studying the class’ materials. For 4 ½ years I have been working as a Specialty Counselor with re-entry populations suffering from Mental Illnesses and Chemical Abuses (MICA) in their lives. The subject of the 12 step AA/NA mutual help programs invariably came up during group and individual counseling sessions. This is because many patients had tried abstinence via self-help/mutual aid groups, in an effort to regain sobriety and regain full control of their lives. The reports from them in terms of success rate from this kind of approach to abstinence, was a mixed bag: some reported extensive periods of sobriety; some reported intermitted success; and some reported none. My observation of these accounts would tend to credit self-help and mutual aid approaches to sobriety, for those individuals who are genuinely committed to sobriety AND who have a different, consistent and ongoing passion to replace the one which had been used to chase drugs, sometimes for decades, in their lives. Genuine spirituality is one such passion, which happens to be promoted by the AA/NA 12 Steps standards. Traditional treatment could interact successfully with self-help/mutual aid approaches, when seen from the perspective of the holistic approach. As such, the traditional treatment may address the medical needs of the persons in recovery (chemical-biological-physiological), while the self-help/mutual aid assistance, may address the patients’ more cognitive and existentialist based aspects (such as assisting them to change perception from a drug-focused existence to one related to self-realization, intra-personal, inter-personal, intra-group and inter-group meaningful thoughts, emotions, activities and behaviors). In effect, the self-help/mutual aid assistance provides the skills for the involved participants to improve their physical, emotional, intellectual and behavioral contribution to themselves and to the world. Much like the deconstruction of a uniformed population, followed by the reconstruction of the same individuals according to new standards, seen often from the military cadets, to prison inmates and government, or politically and/or religion indoctrinated youths, the 12 Steps programs empower the participants after first having them admit…powerlessness. The goals of the 12 Steps programs come in three stages: give control to God (deconstruction); build/clean house (reconstruction); and spread the word. So, there is a sense of empowerment after admitting and taking part in one’s own deconstruction. Once the new paradigm of the belief system creates a foundation based on humbleness, spirituality and honesty, the 12 Steps participant moves back into the control of his/her life, only to take ownership of and repair his/her wrong doings, as well as, modeling and propagating positive role-models to one’s self and to others. Rational Recovery, as a counterpoint to the spirituality-based recovery, bypasses the deconstruction aspect of one’s foundation of beliefs, which eventually had led them to abuse drugs, as well as, the collaboration between the individual spirit and the universal spirit (God). Rather, it focuses on one’s strengths entirely, within the individual’s perceptional and behavioral control. The SMART Recovery aspect of it teaches: -Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain -Coping with urges skills -Problem solving (managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors) -And Life-style balance (balance momentary and enduring satisfactions). While these may be excellent skills to acquire and master at the intra-personal level, they are isolationist in nature and may lead to lack of gentleness in accepting one’s own failures (i.e. self-forgiveness), as well as, in terms of engaging external support from other individuals, not to mention from the universal strength of the electro-magnetic field pervading our very existence macroscopically and microscopically, which has been traditionally called God. In fact, the very term “sorcerer” is an abbreviation for individuals who can tap into the so[u]rce of God. If we deny the very existence of this Creative all-pervading electro-magnetic source, such as the Rational Recovery school does, it certainly impedes for the persons in recovery to phantom, let alone connect to it and be helped by it, in their healing process. 6/6/2018 Assignment # 11 Gabriel Gherasim Pick a personality disorder and write about it. Dissociative Personality Disorders and Wrongful Convictions. Dissociative Personality Disorders can negatively affect factual testimony, when the “facts” are being loosely interpreted by a jury, where ‘she says/he says’ is enough to warrant a conviction of an innocent person, by his/her peers and allow the actual guilty party (if existent) to go free in the process. DSM IV squarely defines a personality disorder as: personality traits which are inflexible, maladaptive, and cause either significant impairment in social or occupational functioning or subjective (slanted, biased etc) distress.” (our emphasis). In the subjective/objective tandem evaluation of our reality, a certain degree of bias is expected at the subjective level. When judgments and convictions are being dispensed based on subjective perceptions…under the guise of objective findings, it’s just a matter of time when a person affected by a dissociative personality disorder may display dissociative amnesia, and quite confidently emit accusations from the witness stand which are factually false, let alone “proven beyond reasonable doubt.” The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) has a number of changes to dissociative disorders, including dissociative identity disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the publisher of the DSM-5, the diagnostic criteria for dissociative identity disorder have been updated: Symptoms of disruption of identity may now be reported, as well as observed Gaps in the recall of events may occur for everyday events — not just traumatic events (our emphasis). So, if dissociative amnesia, a possible byproduct of the dissociative identity disorder is creating “gaps in the recall of events which may occur for everyday events-not just traumatic events,” how much more plausible is it then that this form of disorder may render an inaccurate narrative from the plaintiff, when the setting was in traumatic environments (people, places, things and -added by me- time)? A good filter to distinguish accurate versus misperceived testimonies would be to condition the narratives to corroboration from scientific resources (such as a positive or negative rape-kit results, DNA match or lack thereof and of other incriminating or exonerating forensic data. The problem is that jurors are not being properly schooled (they are only informed) on the applied responsibilities they have as “considering a person innocent, until proven…” Therefore, with immunity insured, they may turn in a large number of wrongful convictions based only on the plaintiff’s testimony and (often) self-contradicting at that (especially when affected by dissociative disorder related recollections of facts). Even when defense attorneys request permission from judges to bring as expert witness, a psychiatrist who may explain the above, the judge may at his/her discretion refuse such testimony, and explaining all the possible incongruities in the plaintiff’s testimony as “naturally occurring following a traumatic event.” With the added presence of substance abuse in the individual prior, during and/or following a traumatic event, the accuracy of the evocation of the facts is even more clouded by the bio-chemical, genetic, social, and perceptional variables of the plaintiff. The checks and balances of the justice system become only symbolic, when they are being shoved aside when inconvenient, by the jurors, the judge and the Police/courts in general. It takes years, sometimes decades, for a wrongfully convicted individual, solely based on the often self-contradicting statements of a plaintiff affected by dissociative amnesia, to redress this injustice; many don’t. And unlike exoneration given by the irrefutable proof of DNA clearance, convictions based on accusations alone, have no factual remedy to seek, since they are perception based accusations. Unless the defendant is able to prove a negative, which is close to impossible at times, convictions based on false charges from plaintiffs affected by a personality dissociative disorder (including dissociative amnesia), are going to continue leaving a steady trail of wrongful convictions in the American Courts. 5/21/2018 Essay: Why are we addicted?
The bio-psycho-social model addresses both the comprehensive healing effects of addiction treatment, as well as, the possible causes for addiction. Biological, genetic and/or chemical causes of addiction may indeed trigger and/or exacerbate the intensity of one’s addiction, even while sociological and/or psychological causes stay the same. Similarly, a family and environmental exposure to drugs and violence, may be a precipitating factor in one’s addiction, which are summarized as people, places and things (with my adding the time factor) triggers by the AA/NA participants. The psychological factors of one’s internal perception and interpretation of her world is paramount to resiliency. It is at this dimension where the individual may change and in so doing may change her world. Dr. Constantin Dulcan, a famous neurologist from Romania described this connection between the kind of thoughts we entertain and how it affects us, by stating: Let us be aware of our THOUGHTS, for they will become our EMOTIONS. Let us be aware of our EMOTIONS, for they will become our WORDS. Let us be aware of our WORDS, for they will become our ACTIONS. Let us be aware of our ACTIONS, for they will become our HABITS. Let us be aware of our HABITS, for they will become our PERSONALITY. Let us be aware of our PERSONALITY, for it will become our DESTINY. (Dr. Constantin Dulcan, Reteta Fericirii, Gandul, Bucharest, Romania, 2016). One example of perceiving our worlds, as Dan Puric, an internationally acclaimed Romanian actor, dancer and commentator discussed, is our paradigm on our connection to the society in which we live (Puric, Dan, Omul Frumos, Editura Libris, Bucharest, Romania, 2009). He postulates that if a person sees herself as part of a population, her interest is very minimal in regards to society. Her approach to the rest of the people is very individualistic, a ‘winner takes it all,’ ‘me, myself and I’ attitude. However, if the same person sees herself as being part of a people, then her sense of identity is fused with the society in which she lives (in terms of preset, past and future values of that culture). A sense of quasi automatic empathy is generated and the person thinks, feels and acts in terms of ‘we.’ A sense of community brings an implicit and explicit responsibility and expectation that one’s actions benefited both her interests AND the interests of her ‘people.’ We can surmise that man versus population will think, feel and act only for his benefit, regardless of the cost to others, whereas man and his people, will permeate his existence, in some cases leading to his supreme sacrifice for his community. People, ideologies, politics and religions, have thus acquired supporters who will transcend individuals, places, things and time, in order to experience that addictive feeling of ‘belonging’ so dear to human beings, since the beginning of time. They would thus become true believers (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1951). In order for people to feel that they have fully meaningful lives, they seek and try to find validation on four dimensions: intra-personal; inter-personal; intra-group; inter-group. The intra-personal dimension is introversive in nature and covers areas of our identity which we find within; essentially, our thoughts (beliefs, perceptions), feelings and physiology. The inter-personal dimension is extroversive and it involves our one-on-one communication with other individuals. The intra-group communication is extroversive and it involves our functioning within our communities. The inter-group communication, also extroversive, deals with our functioning in new or otherwise unfamiliar groups. An American expression often equaled to defeatism states: “it is what it is.” While the journalists will be quick to list this as a circular argument logical fallacy, the truth of the matter is that even if this statement is taken at face value, it is not true. In fact, what’s more realistic is to state: it is how we PERCEIVE it to be. Therefore, particularly in a circumstance where we cannot change a fact, we can change the perception of it from negative into a positive one and therefore, we can think, feel, talk and act differently in regard to that situation. Let’s take a pen and poke our finger with it. Let’s call that a sensation. How we think, feel and act about it depends entirely on whether we perceive that sensation as ticklish, painful, annoying, amusing, or pleasant. Even in an extreme case such as having one’s body being whipped with vengeance, the sensations from it usually perceived as being painful are sometimes perceived by some people as a pleasurable experience. A flourishing industry of dominatrix people, getting paid a good penny by such individuals to hurt them, stands testimony to this fact. We can visualize a fact/sensation as the content in a bottle and the perception, as the bottle itself (context, container). The saying cautioning us: “not to judge a book by its cover,” is telling on how manipulation of the context by the advertisement industries can induce us to buy inferior products (content), often at an inflated price, based on their glorious, external presentation (context/container). Similarly, we can try to ‘manipulate’ the context/perception of our paradigms, related to this or that situation, which we may be facing mandatorily, by reframing how we look at them, that is to say, from a negative into a positive perspective. Our context/perception is in our control, provided that we are reasonably sane in mind and calm. In today’s Western societies we are often encouraged, if not tempted to seek and find instant gratification for our desires. In counseling terms, this is called the P.I.G. (the Problem of Instant/Immediate Gratification). This is a problem because instant gratification can and does address the symptoms of our desires but hardly ever the core or the cause of them. Let’s take the example of a head-ache. If I want instant relief, I go to a doctor who gives me medication. I take the pill which numbs my head-ache. Problem solved. But is it solved? Not really. For as soon as the effects of the medications go away, the head-ache reappears. This means that I have to take another pill to numb the symptom (the head-ache). The headache is there and I simply manage it by taking pills in perpetuity. However, if I want to come to a resolution rather than management of the head-ache, I seek the cause of the head-ache and I try to eliminate it. Without a cause for the head-ache, there is no head-ache. For example, if I eat salty foods which give me high blood-pressure, which in turn constrict the blood vessels in the head and which give me head-aches, I go on a low-salt diet. Following the diet, the blood pressure normalizes, the blood vessels don’t get constricted anymore, which means that there is no more head-ache. By eliminating the cause of the head-ache there is no more head-ache. Whether this approach is taken to address physiological problems or in regards to psychological problems, it is just as successful and permanent in its results. It should be said that a resolution approach takes usually longer than the management approach in showing results. Sometimes, both techniques are being used in addressing a problem but very often, today’s society and individuals opt for the immediate gratification/relief approach only, with its hopelessly temporary and insufficient effects and results. With this distinction in mind, we can reframe our approach to our problems from management to resolution, in a wide array of areas, from stress and pain management, to their respective resolutions, which lead to long-term if not permanent beneficial effects. 5/17/2018 Assignment 2 Faith Based Approaches Gabriel Gherasim
Criticisms to Faith based Approaches: how such framework will compete with, be linked to, or be integrated with the mainstream system of addiction treatment? Before discussing faith based addiction treatment, I shall like to discuss faith based use of psychedelic, stimulant and/or sedative substances. From the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, to the Indian Soma, to tobacco, cannabis, opium, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and ayahuasca, religions have been actively involved in the employment of mood altering substances to produce ecstatic experiences and therefore communicate with and become closer to the divine. The difference between religious faith-based use of mood-altering substances and the abuse of the addict of the very same substances consists in the setting, frequency, and purpose of them. For the religious use, mood-altering drugs are used in a guided and limited fashion (i.e. controlled). For the addict, with his chaotic, compulsive and “recreational” use, control of use is unthinkable or unreachable. It is therefore quite telling that faith based rehabilitation centers, from AA/NA to church based programs dictate “0” tolerance of use for the recovering addict, since he would not and could not understand using the mood altering substance in a “guided and limited” fashion. This is because the addict could not keep his word of using the mood-altering substance while being in control of the substance; rather, it is the other way around. The word addict means just that in Latin: A-Dictus (not keeping his word). The dis-ease (not being at ease) theory treats drug addiction as a morality free condition, in strict biological, chemical and chemical terms. While this paradigm protects the recovering addict from any judgments from lay and professionals alike, it also protects him from taking ownership of his drug use. This may create a “learned helplessness” mentality in the individual, with disempowering effects on his reasons as to why he’s using, since… it’s his illness. While there is no question that the medical and genetic theories may explain the physical and physiological aspects which may indeed affect upwards of 50% of the reasons for his addiction, the 50% remaining social and personal accountability (perception) aspects respectively, remain unanswered and unused in a person’s recovery and sobriety. Behavioral and socio-cultural theories may explain the sociological aspects of one’s addiction, which may engage upwards of 10% of his rationale for addiction and answer the “people, places, tings and time” aspects of his compulsive use. Yet the remaining 40%, i.e. one’s perception, which incidentally is in most cases 100% in the individual’s control, is where most benefic effects to recovery may be seen through personal efforts: In fact, the 50-10-40% Formula Happiness states that: it’s not just your geneshttp://www.forastateofhappiness.com/tag/50-10-40-formula/
It is at this point where faith based recovery can do marvels. A belief in purpose, positive purpose and healing out of love (which includes [self] forgiveness of wrongs perceived by fact or imagination), allows a catharsis of negativity (from regret, to fear, to anger) and for the scarred individual to replenish the void left by those emotions with the emotions of love, joy, humor and peace. As long as the faith based movements and the clinical based programs emphasize therefore recovery out of love, as opposed to out of duty, fear and/or guilt, then the healing is done for the right reasons. It then becomes more durable, pleasant and transfigurative in nature, where addiction is replaced by diction (speaking out and being able to keep one’s word), obsession is replaced by compassion and avoidance of life and purpose by embracing both life and purpose. Forgiveness, which is tantamount to healing for addicts, without faith/spirituality, may be possible for rational reasons as well. Some clinical benefits of forgiveness include, but are not limited to: 1. Forgiving, looked upon as strength, rather than a weak act. 2. Use forgiveness as a practical or psychological tool rather than just as an abstract or spiritual dogma. 3. Understanding the value of forgiveness in reshaping the perception of past, present and future experiences. 4. Understanding the benefits of forgiveness both internally and externally. 5. Concentrating on the good side rather than on the evil side of human beings. 6. Understanding that survivors are outsiders no more, being active participants in restorative justice measures. 7. Have a desire to heal broken relationships. 8. Use past suffering memories as cathartic rather than an immutable reliving of painful experiences. 9. Understanding the scapegoating mechanism and that the victim was not at fault for going through such suffering. 10. Offering self-acceptance and praise for enduring unwarranted suffering. 11. Separate actions from the perpetrators (forgive the perpetrator but not the crime). 12. Use personal ordeals to work for justice. 13. Create justice first and then expect reconciliation. 14. Be an active participant in restorative justice measures. 15. Receive reparations commensurate with the crimes and seek conviviality but not necessarily communion between victims/perpetrators (Gherasim, G. Theodor and Us, Ginta Latina, Romania Pp. 33-34). The person centered approach will dictate ultimately the best suited approach for the recovering addict. 5/16/2018 Assignment 1 History of AOD Gabriel Gherasim
1) What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder? The short description of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is incurring damaging effects on the infant, generated by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The most severe form of the condition is known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Other types include partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), alcohol-related neuro-developmental disorder (ARND) and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). The effects include but are not limited to, physical malformation, mental retardation, skeletal and major organ inhibited growth and dysfunctions, nervous system and poor motor skills problems, difficulties with learning, poor social interaction and premature death. Because of the disclaimer by alcoholic companies on their products’ labels in this regard, the consumers (including pregnant women) are considered as having an informed consent on these risks and therefore, the alcohol producers claim immunity from prosecution. The same applies with tobacco and big pharmaceutical producers. Therefore, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the adult (in this case the pregnant mothers) in choosing to abstain from consuming the product. The argument has been made that because the consumer is addicted a priori to her pregnancy, she may react (get the fix) rather than respond (use logical decisions) to the alcoholic product, thus not being responsible for intoxicating the fetus with alcohol. Unfortunately, ever since the Nuremberg Trials, once the company provided disclaimer on the risks awaiting the consumer following the consumption of its product, the company usually becomes legally immune from prosecution.
2) How does Nicotine affect one’s health? Nicotine is the chief active constituent of tobacco. It acts as a stimulant in small doses, but in larger amounts blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells. Nicotine is also used in insecticides. Nicotine was considered by the natives of the Americas to be a sacred plant and was considered by the Catholic Church as early as 1588 to be incompatible with the priestly duties and was therefore forbidden to the priests before the celebration of the Mass. The differences between its religious use by the natives and the inveterate smokers are quantity and frequency. For the natives’ shamans, nicotine (as well as other “sacred” plants), this was supposed to be used in a guided and controlled (limited) manner (the religious and official ceremonies); for the compulsive smoker it is obsessive and therefore, unlimited. A New York Times 1883 article linked the decaying of Spain (and soon to be of the United States) to the very compulsive custom of smoking. In today’s American lore, smoking is allowed from prisons to rehabilitation centers, including by individuals affected with incurable diseases. The issue of responsibility for the devastating damages of nicotine effects on the consumers’ lives was revisited in 1988, when a family of a smoker and lung cancer victim received by jury decision $ 400,000.00 in compensation from tobacco industry magnates. The argument remains as with the alcohol and pharmaceutical producers, that if the companies put labels with appropriate disclaimers of possible side-effects along the products which they are selling, the consumers are ultimately responsible for the devastating effects of consuming their products. This argument may not be sustained however, if individuals get hurt by second-hand smoking, since the latter had no choice in the consumption (by proxy) of these noxious products. Forcing versus seducing (advertisements, based on informed consent) consumption of intoxicating substances, may ultimately be the dividing line between routine successful versus routine unsuccessful law suits against addictive and toxic substance producers. Lastly, there may be the need of a more clear distinction to be made of the government encouraging drug use in some cases and for some populations, usually in combat zones (Civil War soldiers and their opium kits; WWI and WWII soldiers and sailors using rum and cigarettes; Vietnam War soldiers using opium; Afghan and Iraq Wars soldiers using psychotropic medications) and discouraging the very same use of addictive substances, such as with the civilian population. This dichotomy of policies is confusing and discrediting to the citizens, especially when these substances are addictive and therefore very hard to interrupt usage of on command.