Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

F.U.Q. Frequently Unasked Questions (Part 1 of 2)   Leave a comment

In our hectic daily lives the questions we don’t stop to ask can often be more important than the ones we do ask. Many times, we don’t ask some questions because we don’t think there is an answer, or the answers don’t have an immediate practical relation to our current emergency, or the answers just seem too complex or they require us to open doors to the dark recesses of our minds where the boogie man resides. Whatever the reason, while you’re here now might be a good time to start asking these questions for yourself. What follows is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the important questions. Think of it as a springboard from which you may come up with questions I never thought of.

1. Who am I?
How much of what you think, feel, believe and do is actually you and how much of it is unexamined indoctrination? We tell ourselves that everybody can’t be wrong if they all think the same thing. In fact, history shows us that when everybody thinks something it usually is wrong. Everybody once thought the world was flat. Fear of ridicule, fear of consequences, even the fear of being right keeps people from examining the status quo or questioning what everybody thinks is “common sense.” Did I say fear of being right? I did. It’s uncomfortable to be right when all your friends are wrong. Like Harry Potter’s Alvis Dumbledore sad “People will forgive you for being wrong before they forgive you for being right.” So we go along to get along. But is that really who we are? Are we afraid to give birth to a Self who may have to stand alone?

2. Why am I where I am?
If we find ourselves in a place, on a job or with a person where we are unhappy, why do we remain there? We say we’ve invested too much to quit now. Okay, if five years is too much to have invested, why compound the waste by investing ten more? If we are in a place where we should not be that means we are not in the place where we should be. This doesn’t mean we should jump up and quit every time things don’t go our way. It means when we are generally and chronically unhappy in a place we need to know why this is so and take steps to change our circumstances. No one else will change them for us.

3. Could I think differently?
We may think we are too old. Too set in our ways. Too accustomed to things the way they are. We may have surrounded ourselves with people who would think ill of us if we voiced a divergent view from theirs. Let me tell you something, if you put chains on a man’s body, you have not made him a slave. To make him a slave, put the chains on his mind. Does anyone have our minds enslaved so that we are afraid to let new thoughts take root? Are we enslaved by material things, not knowing that gold-plated chains are still chains?

4. Why am I feeling this way right now?
We sometimes have those days when all we want to do is throw ourselves on our beds and cry. We sometimes have days when we feel like we’re on top of the world and nothing can hold us back. Sometimes something happens to trigger these feelings. We may know the immediate trigger, but a trigger is not a cause. We must ask ourselves if that trigger justifies the intensity of what we feel. If it doesn’t then perhaps something else is the cause. The cause of intense feelings is often chemical. Our brains secrete certain chemicals that we experience or perceive as feelings. Dopamine is a chemical secreted by the brain that reinforces behavior by giving us a good feeling when we are rewarded for doing things. Ever wonder why chocolate is so popular on Valentine’s Day? Well, guess what? Chocolate increases feelings of sexiness. Certain types of music or atmospheres cause the brain to secrete serotonin, which gives us a feeling of well being and joy. Then there are foods such as red meant, coffee, sugar and alcohol, which give us an initial high but then bring us down low.

Bottom line is we don’t have to just go with whatever we are feeling at the time. The world is full of people who want to control us. They do this through food, mass media, music, feng shui and peer pressure. None of these things is intrinsically bad, but when people use these venues to manipulate our feelings then tell us to just go with our feelings, we can still step back away from those feelings and examine where they may have come from. This is the essence and beauty of being an intelligent individual.

5. What will happen if I ignore this craving?
The human body is equipped with certain cravings. The hunger drive, the survival drive, the sex drive, the social drive all ensure that we will seek the things we need to sustain our lives. Even with these drive we often define being a “real” man as depriving our bodies of the things it needs. But more often we go the other way and allow our needs and cravings to rule us. Why do I crave chocolate? I won’t die if I don’t eat any chocolate. I could go for years without eating chocolate. Yet, when the sight of it enters my line of vision and the smell of it enters my nostrils, the thought enters my mind that I gotta have it. I slip into an old pair of jeans and they actually feel comfortable. I can tighten my belt a couple of holes. I feel good. I want to reward myself with a Chip Ahoy chocolate chip cookie. STOP! Nothing’s going to happen if I don’t have a cookie. You’ll die. Oh really? You’ll go crazy. No I won’t You’ll starve. For lack of a cookie? The mind will tell you all sorts of things to make you think you need that cookie. Just remember this, if you don’t eat it, NOTHING’S GOING TO HAPPEN.

6. Why should I take what this person did personally?
One day a guy I knew at college looked down his nose at me and sniffed. I’d said hello and he just looked down his long nose at me and sniffed. I wanted to take my hello back. I spent the rest of the day wondering what was that all about? I considered that I had not done anything to him so why was he looking down at me? And I’d taken a shower so why was he sniffing at me? Saw something he didn’t like, huh? Something beneath him? Well, I couldn’t take it so I asked him. Turns out, he had a bad cold. He wasn’t sniffing at me. He was trying to breathe.

Taking what people do personally can ruin a good day. Nine times out of ten what they do has nothing to do with us. I am not the center of anyone else’s emotional world. So why am I so vain that I think this song is about me?

7. Is there another way to interpret this situation?
My mother loves to say that there are three sides to every story: your side, my side and the truth. Anxiety is often a symptom of a lack of imagination. When we get locked into a rut, it’s easier for the brain to run all our thoughts through that rut than to climb out of it and see what else is possible. Maybe we’ll just climb out of one rut only to fall into another. But at least the two ruts will give us a perspective on one another we would not have if we had only experienced one rut. Why not stay in the rut we know? Because truth is not afraid to explore. Truth is not afraid to ask questions. We may find that our original interpretation of a situation is closer to the truth than any of the others we’ve looked at, but at least we have looked at them and can give something of an intelligent answer to anyone who asks why we stuck to the original interpretation.

Thought for the Day   Leave a comment

Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results could be a sign of insanity—or it could be a sign that you’re using Windows.

The Purpose of Life   Leave a comment

Someone asked the question: What is the purpose of life?
My answer: Well we all have different goals in life but the overarching purpose of life is to live.

At the end of the day I may or may not have reached my goals, but since I learn and gain as much from my failures as I do from my successes, the only question to ask is have I lived. Have I smiled today? Have I laughed? Have I cried? Have I loved?

Helping Blind People   Leave a comment

When encountering a person who has a disability, what are you expected to do? It maybe your nature to offer some kind of help. Will your help be accepted or rebuffed? Opinions vary among the disabled and the non disabled about whether help should be offered and how it should be offered.

Suppose My Help Isn’t Wanted

When I was training to use a white cane my mobility instructor showed me a maneuver to use when people tried to help me. I hadn’t asked her to. She just showed me—as if warding off unwanted assistance were an integral part of my training. It seemed more like a self defense maneuver than something I’d do when someone’s trying to help me. Do that to someone once and they’d never try to help anyone again. But there are some people who shun help. Perhaps they don’t want to be viewed as helpless. Perhaps the space around them is the only thing they feel they can control and they don’t want anyone violating that space by touching them. Of course, most of us wouldn’t allow a blind person to walk off a cliff just to save their pride. However, the situation is not always that clear. Sometimes determining if a person needs help is a judgment call. Sometimes it’s just a nagging feeling that offering help is the right thing to do.

Sometimes No Help is the Best Help One Can Give

Then there are some people who really do feel helpless and won’t even try to do anything for themselves. My vision went very slowly, like boiling a frog one increment at a time. I was actually standing at an intersection, about to cross a street ,when I realized I could no longer see the cars until they were nearly right in front of me. I had been profoundly deaf for twelve years and now I could not see either. How frightening. I decided not to continue where I was headed but just turned around and went back home, I somehow made it back and once there I seriously considered never leaving the house again. I saw the world outside my front door as a danger zone and was ready to become a 34 year old recluse. Somebody could have offered to help me then. People had cars and I could have become dependant on others to take me where I needed to go. But I knew if I did that, my comings and goings would be subject to other people’s schedules and what they felt like doing I shunned the sort of help that reduces me to a child with a child’s say so about my own business. It would no longer be my business. Besides, my family wouldn’t hear of me staying in the house and not doing anything with myself. It was on me to overcome my fears and learn to navigate the world as it presented itself to me. Until I did that, no one could help me in a way that would not make me more dependant and, at the end of the day, helpless.

How to Offer Help

So what kind of help can you offer people who have a disability? You can’t offer help that is not wanted nor withhold help that is sorely needed. It’s not a guessing game really. Instead of sticking to a one size fits all rule of thumb to help or not to help any and all, it’s a good idea to just ask: “May I help you?” But suppose the person says no they don’t need help when they really do? That is not your problem. That is their problem. I walked around Los Angeles legally blind for six years. When I got tired of busting my knees and having people on the street angry at me for not doing what I could not see needed to be done, I got a white cane. Sensible people will accept needed help when it’s offered in a polite and friendly manner.

The Earth   Leave a comment

We see the crazy weather patterns and natural disasters happening around the world and it really seems that we are destroying the Earth.  Truth is, we live on a violent planet.  Mother nature uses what to us appears to be  inclement weather: storms, lightening, snow. Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes to cleanse and heal herself.  As puny as we are we cannot destroy the Earth.   What we can and are destroying are the conditions which support our life form.

We cover enormous areas of the Earth with hard surfaces so that we can walk and drive more comfortably.  These hard surfaces intercept the flow of rain water into underground aquifers.  Water in aquifers is the purest water we could drink because soil and rocks filter out salt  and other impurities.  By preventing rainwater from entering aquifers we disrupt the natural cycle of water from sea to sky to land and back again.  This is just one of many ways we destroy the conditions that support our own lives.   Can we stop this?  Can we reverse the process of extinction?  Of course, we can.  But the question is not can we but WILL we.  It would take a great sacrifice of the comforts we’ve become used to.  The world outside the United States want these comforts too.  They close their eyes to the truth that you cannot walk in someone else’s footsteps and expect to wind up at a different destination.  On top of this, there are just too many people making too much money.

I’m like most people.  I want to believe that this world’s problems will be resolved with little or no  personal sacrifice on my part.   But from where we are now, the only people who won’t have to sacrifice will be those who have nothing to sacrifice in the first place.    We will not dig up the streets and sidewalks that prevent rain water from replenishing the aquifers of this Earth.  Anyone who tries will be called a terrorist and carted off to jail or a socialist and not re-elected.

Posted January 24, 2012 by rhondadenisejohnson in Topics

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Will and Power   Leave a comment

How often do we wish we had the willpower displayed by others?  What’s their secret?  Why can’t we seem to get it together?  Why do our best intentions fizzle out to defeat?

The secret of willpower is that there is no such thing.  Our will exist in one part of our minds.  The power exists in another.  If these two do not naturally work together for us then understanding them may help us to achieve what has always seemed impossible.  This isn’t a fast track approach.  It’s not a gimmick and it’s not a way to get rid of our problems once and for all with the expectation that we will never have to deal with them again.  It’s a way of understanding how our minds work so we can better deal with problems when they arise.

Our will resides in our conscious mind.  It’s what we consciously resolve to do.  The power resides in our subconscious mind with our emotions.  E=outwar. Motion=energy  when our emotions aren’t in agreement with our will we inevitably follow our emotions, doing the very things we swore we did not want and would never do.  .  We must bring our emotions in line with our will and I cannot pretend that this is easy.  We live in an culture that bombards us with messages and images designed make us desire what others are selling.   The good news is if other people can program us to do what they want, we can also program ourselves to do what we want

What is the difference between will and desire.  Desire is an emotional response to some stimulus or the memory of a stimulus we experienced in the past. Because desire can be so strong it can easily disguise itself as and overpower our will.   My desire may be to be happy.  In my subconscious is the memory of how good chocolate cake is and commercial media has programmed me to associate that good feeling with happiness.  So even though I know I will not e happy when I have to slink over to the plus sized when I shop for clothes and will cry my heart out when my face breaks out in pimples,  I still desire that chocolate cake..

What can I do?  We must program our emotions to desire the things that are in line with our will using the same tools society uses to program our emotions to thwart our will.: images, music, words, literature, entertainment, videos others problem programming us with  the same message over and over.  Why can’t we make CDs and listen to them all day everyday. Get a karaoke of a song we like and add our own uplifting words to it. Stop for a minute and ask yourself why is it okay to let others do this to us but corny when we do it for ourselves?

Once we start eating healthy food this will be easier.  There is such a close correlation between the body and the mind that pollutions within our bodies often manifest themselves as unclean thoughts.  This is psychosomatic in reverse. Conversely, depressing thoughts often compel us to eat unhealthy good.  A depressed person is not going to pig out on carrots and green beans.   By the same token, eating junk food until our tummies ache isn’t going to fill our minds with confidence and tenacity.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Yet no matter how vicious they cycle it is weak because it depends not on the strength of the parts but on each part being carried out.  One part in a cycle can be broken if we replace it with and alternate activity such as listening to or watching the programming we’ve created for ourselves.

But listening and watching are passive activities and are not enough to create strong emotions.  Just like a full tank of gas is not enough to run a car if the battery is dead.   We must generate energy in our minds that serves as a bridge to between our desires and our will.  How do we do that?  By creating joy.  Think about our goals.  What do we want to ultimately happen.   Create in our mind’s eye an image of ourselves in the situation we want to be in.   use the CDs, videos and music we have created to silence reminders of our past failures and revel in the joy of picturing future success.  Right now it is just a picture but the subconscious doesn’t know that.  The subconscious mind records information from our five senses with categorizing it as true or false, real or unreal so if we create an image of ourselves in the situation we want to be in the subconscious will create an emotion just as the situation were real.   Keep doing this over and over and soon our minds will begin to associate happiness with that which generated the emotion of joy and we will find ourselves acting in ways that produce the situation in the real world.

This isn’t magic or religion though they may seem to share certain elements.  It is just the production of a natural chemical in our brains called serotonin which brings a sense of well being then using that feeling to carry out our goals.

Posted January 18, 2012 by rhondadenisejohnson in Topics

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A Child’s Concept of God   Leave a comment

At some point in a child’s explorations, he or she may ask about the origins of life.  If he or she sees inanimate objects being made, the most obvious question may be, who made me?  When? Why and how?  The answers the child receives will conform to the culture in which he or she lives.

I grew up in a more or less Christian culture.  As children, my friends and I had a zillion questions about the nature of the divine our parents introduced us to. Before being indoctrinated into the rigid dogmas of some organized religion, our questions were ingenuous and the answers we came up with were based on experience and reason rather than authority.

As my disabilities progressed, the realities of my life ran counter to the Word of Faith teachings that first opened biblical scripture and Christian doctrines to me.  I found myself pulled in two different directions.  In the eyes of the people who surrounded me, being honest about what was going on in my body and mind was tantamount to denying the power and even the existence of God.

Gone was the innocent questioning that marked me as a child.  There was no one to whom I could ask questions.  I knew that such questions would raise eyebrows and suspicions so I learned to squelch them.

Speaking for the Child follows the slowly increasing cognitive dissonance that finally led me to reject many of the preposterous doctrines I had learned from Church and return to honest questioning and searching for my Creator.

Look ahead and trust the Creator
Look back and thank the Creator
Look around and serve the Creator
Look within and find the Creator

–author unknown

Posted September 10, 2011 by rhondadenisejohnson in Topics

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