Conceive, Believe, Achieve

When a person tells me they can, I believe them. When a person tells me they can’t, I believe them. The unconscious has no prejudice one way or another toward one’s success. As a team in the hypnosis session, the hypnotist is ethically obliged to become one-hundred percentaligned with the desired goal of the client, and in the state of unconscious neutrality that is void of external stimuli that trigger inaccurate perceptions of our potential, the client hears the hypnotist’s voice resonate with the desires of their heart and become registered in the unconscious, self-regulating region of the brain. Thus the words of the hypnotist, like codes input into a computer, become embedded in a clean sector of the hard-drive of the mind. Just because an inherent characteristic of the brain is its inability to understand itself, it does not mean the brain cannot seek outside sources to help it achieve its desired goals. Case in point, the internet is nothing more than a network of brains collaborating to better understand itself, as the holy grail of understanding from a human point of view is the understanding of oneself. Perhaps the greatest maxim uttered by man was that ascribed to Socrates in two words:  “Know Thyself.”

But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason,
my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic
inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me
ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate
things.”

Advice to a New Counselor

My best advice to an up-and-coming counselor: “Ride in the back of the boat with your client and let them do most of the paddling. Dip your paddle in the water now and then to gently steer in the general direction, but never hesitate to apply the oar with vigor when troubled waters arrive, or reach the pole out to shove off the bank when caught in twirling eddies.  Listen to the stillness of the water as it runs slow and deep, as small rapids may subdue the warning sounds of perilous conditions just around the bend. And remember, counseling is what you do; listening is how you do it; there’s a lot to be said for listening.”

The Rainbow over the Bay

TRainbow_waterhis image is a rendering of what I saw in San Blas, Mexico when Jack Lenz and I took a trip down there around 1975. I didn’t have a camera with me as it was early, before the sun had risen, and I went for a walk on the beach to see the effects of the storm that had rocked the countryside for hours before and after midnight the previous night. With the assistance of the “Reflections” iphone app I have been able to produce an image similar to that which I saw that calm and quiet morning. That after-the-storm morning scene on the San Blas coastline was as close to magic as you can come. As the slick, smooth, black water of the bay grew faintly lighter from the first appearing rays of the sunrise from behind the mountains a good eight to ten miles away, the bay became a black mirror casting the reflection of all the land and sky around and over it, and as the sunlight from behind the mountains slowly grew brighter, a rainbow emerged from behind the mountains and arched straight up into the sky, making a perfect arch over the entire bay and disappeared downward behind the banana trees and upward behind their opposite reflections. A unicorn could have stepped out on the beach and would have seemed quite ordinary and in place amidst the fantastic scenery that lasted only about fifteen minutes, as when the sun steadily rose from behind the mountains on the other side of the bay, the water became lighter and lighter as did the water’s surface which somehow lost its reflective quality the less dark it became.

Flying Northward Home (Late March ’15)

geeseAbout 4:00 a.m. this morning I woke up to my wife saying, “What’s that noise? It sounds like chickens out there [‘there’ being our front yard outside our bedroom window].” I vaguely remember, but in my slightly-awakened fog, her comment seemed incredible (I was not awake enough to distinguish the difference between ‘sounds like chickens’ from ‘is chickens’); strange and amusing (we both chuckled); and curious enough to weigh in my own speculation, “No, that’s the sound of . . . doves . . . no, wait a minute . . . what do you call . . . pigeons! That’s what they are! I remember that sound at my grandmother’s house when we would go there as kids.”
Chances are I probably would have forgotten our conversation had it not been for the same mysterious, birdlike noise seeping through my home-office window that also looks out onto the front yard. It wasn’t like those melodic chirp-chir-ree-urping sounds heard throughout the neighborhood in celebration of the arrival of that gorgeous Spring weather we enjoyed in San Antonio yesterday (Sunday was gorgeous with low’s in high 60’s and high in low 80’s and blue skies).  I went outside and could see way up in the sky, about the height of a small aircraft, a flock of geese broken into three groups, their V-formations constantly shortening on one side while lengthening on the other. I stuck my head back in the house and called Viola and she came outside and joined me and we watched the three groups honking and circling around, looking like they were reconnoitering, calculating which way to turn. There were two hawks flying about half the distance between us and the geese, and we wondered if that had anything to do with the geeses’ stationary position for those three or four minutes before they changed direction from due north to north-northwest. In only a couple more minutes their shrinking figures could be seen in the distance moving toward I-281 N. It’s amazing that a group of creatures flying a few thousand feet in the air, honking incessantly all the clamor of which strangely resembled an urban traffic intersection, can constantly re-align their positions relative to one another and in a harmoniously interlocking flight formation create an aerodynamic advantage of reduced air-drag by fifty per cent.  Amazing creatures; icons of cooperative teamwork.   Persistence comes to mind in my observation of these geese, that when you do something and don’t let up, you don’t give up the task, and keep on keeping on, you find yourself and all those with you who are engaged in the same effort, successively realizing the dream of achieving the goal, the goal to be where you want to be, right at the goal line, home free. These birds cruise at 45 to 50 miles per hour for 16 to 18 hours per day, covering up to 650 miles per day! Persistence is so evident in all migratory birds. The arctic tern sets the record for migratory distance at over 56,000 miles in one year, seeing two Summers on the globe in 365 days.  But arctic terns do not fly in a straight line, which accounts for the  longer than 18.5 thousand miles from Arctic Circle to Antarctic Circle. What diligence, determination, and persistence these creatures have! My wife and I found this an interesting event from the perspective of waking up in the wee hours of the morning by the sound of these birds that was too vague to identify and realize a few hours later that what we had heard was an active community of birds flying far above in their migratory, northward path leading toward home far away from San Antonio.

Memories of an Easter Garden

In 1967 Hurricane Beulah’s 20-26 inches of rain washed the top soil and natural garden of wildflowers off the outlying area of the banks of Coleta Creek. We took this picture just past the Coleta Creek Bridge before Easter when I was about 12. We attended St. Francis Episcopal Church, whose ladies of the church would decorate the altar for Easter with those wildflowers they gathered from the fields by Coleta Creek. Maybe there are wildflowers there now, because I remember my dad saying the wildflowers would return as the top soil would change over a several-year period. I wouldn’t be surprised that he might have been told that by a local out there, perhaps Frank Beaton, who lived out there for decades.
In 1967 Hurricane Beulah’s 20-26 inches of rain washed the top soil and natural garden of wildflowers off the outlying area of the banks of Coleta Creek. We took this picture just past the Coleta Creek Bridge before Easter when I was about 12. We attended St. Francis Episcopal Church, whose ladies of the church would decorate the altar for Easter with those wildflowers they gathered from the fields by Coleta Creek. Maybe there are wildflowers there now, because I remember my dad saying the wildflowers would return as the top soil would change over a several-year period. I wouldn’t be surprised that he might have been told that by a local out there, perhaps Frank Beaton, who lived out there for decades.10835371_10203188097078513_5997141094188450525_o

Unsubscribing from Unwanted Emails Has Worked–Despite My Suspicions

spammer                                                                                                    For a number of years I was suspicious of the UNSUBSCRIBE link at the bottom of the body of a message for fear of the unknown, such as clicking a link that would register my information, process it, and distribute it to others who might send even more unwanted e-mail. But I think I can say my fears were unfounded. About a year ago, I started clicking the UNSUBSCRIBE link, over and over again, ad nauseum, to the point where in the last few months I have noticed a once steady stream of unwanted e-mails slow to a trickle. So it must work, in my case anyhow, and I am happy to say that I have become less and less the object of the lamentation, SORRY TO SEE YOU GO.

Constant Contact, Constant Annoyance, Constant Bother, Constantly

stop-junk-mailEarlier today I was unscribing from another unsolicited email address and got to thinking “what shape would a benign counterforce to the dark world of unsolicited e-mails present as?
“www .goawaynow. com? www .sendback. com? www .nomoreconstantnuisance. com?
www. noconstantbother. com? nomoreconstantcrap. com? After entering my email address into the unsubscribe box that I supposedly submitted in the past to permit constant barrages of email on a, yes, constant basis, I sent an unsubscribe request without giving a reason or apology. Hopefully my email submission doesn’t go into another e-mail address collecting machine that distributes to data-mining companies that contrive more ways to enter my email house without knocking at the front door. Unsolicited email is like tele-marketing,, like someone walking into your house without invitation and expecting an apology when you kick them out. On a less cynical note, I have to admit I think I’ve seen a decrease in e-mails since I’ve begun making it a practice to use the unsubscribe option.  So…sorry to see you go, and never come back again…ever!

How Information Changed the World; or, How the World Changed Information

Yes, okay, we’re now, and have been for some time, in the Information Age. Who doesn’t know that probably doesn’t care to; more power to him or her. One thing to keep in mind is how this information is being handled. Napoleon Hill, in his Think and Grow Rich, mentions that information is power, but only when it is organized and directed towards a specific, purposeful goal (I paraphrase). I believe that the last frontier of technology in this Information Age will be Medicine, and the power of this organized information will have harnessed that most complex topic, mankind, God’s creation, made with infinite care backed by immeasurable understanding. The mind’s quest to understand itself has manifested in this world-wide web of human interaction and crossed-over from Carl Jung’s collective unconscious into the world-wide web of Man’s collective consciousness. Tom Vander Ark, author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World (by the way, if you want to improve the sale of your book, insert ‘How I Changed the World’ or some close variant inside the book’s title [seriously]), “talks … about the future of U.S. schools as they incorporate the internet into education (C-Span Podcasts Sat. 19 Jul 2014), and he notes that already five million pre-k thru 12th graders already have enrolled in an internet education class. Five million out of fifty million pre-k thru 12th graders in the country is a significant number of people. And high-schoolers taking internet-based classes for credit will be the majority of that population in the immediate future, because of the custodial role bricks and mortar schools have for pre-k thru 8th graders. Just as “more gold has been mined from the minds of mankind than from the Earth (Think and Grow Rich),” so will the barriers to achieve the power to solve his greatest problem, Himself, be removed by the collective effort of the improved organization of information through the assistance of the computer, that great dynamo of the Information Age.

Mitigating Negative Emotions with Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

Man is a well-synchronized machine. It doesn’t take much to get out of balance, off our game. We learn to block out things through various ways of coping, and it works for a while, perhaps forever, perhaps not. Somehow, in some way, noticeable or not, its manifesting in one way or another. Some people cope in healthier ways than others. Some may seem okay because there aren’t many visible signs, but inside them there might be an emotional storm brewing. That’s why we watch out for our peers, when they start to shy away from others, when they don’t kid around as much, or start to behave in different ways. We may think we know our peers, but there might be stressors they are going through, and the cumulative effect of changes in the normal stress-load of the work-day, tend to mount quietly inside the emotional steam kettle. It’s as if the emotional pressure cooker inside fails to release appropriate levels of stress steam and the lining of the cooker slowly begins to crack, and/or explode; even a small, subtle fluctation in the syncronized human machinery can casue the cognitive, affective, and behavioral alarms to go off. These alarms may be increased drinking, excessive agitation, slight changes in behaviors that lead from being alone now and then to frequent withdrawal from others, unusual displays of anger, lack of timeliness, increased absences, and on and on. We are experts of covering up. We’re expert cover-uppers. We need to keep a watch out for each other, but moreso we need to take care of ourselves. Eat right, sleep right, talk those with whom we know we’re right.

Interacting in the Retail Environment

I thought of something when an HEB grocery store cashier asked me, “You find everything okay?”  “What a nice way of trying to sell you one more item,” I thought to myself.  The clerk asks you if there is anything else they can help you with and at the same time open up the opportunity to sell you one more item.  “Oh, yes!  I forgot to buy fifteen pounds of ribeye steak!  Thank you for reminding me of an almost lost chance to make a purchase!  How can I re-pay you?!”

I would much rather have someone try to sell me something, albeit cloaked in an altruistic gesture, than ask me when forking over my cash at a convenience store, “Would you like to buy a 1/2 pound chocolate chip or coconut-sprinkled vanilla cookie?” so fast you can’t remember what you came to the store for in the first place.  “Oh, yeh, I also want ten dollars of gas,” or, better yet, “How’d you know that’s why I came here?” or “No, thank you, I’m not into impulse-buying. Only do the pre-meditated type.”