Sometimes I think,
she says with a wink,
I’m stupid and old
if the truth be told.
Cuz it’s hard to remember
the last time I was young,
she says cheek in tongue
“This is what a group of researchers from the University of Kansas found after taking a close look at some extinct as well as living species . . . analyzing the physiology and evolution of as many as 299 species of aquatic mollusks — including present-day snails and slugs — over last five million years.”
“They delved into the occurrences and extinction of different species over the said period as well as their respective metabolic rates or the amount of energy each of the creature in question needed for survival.”
“Much to everyone’s surprise, the findings of the work revealed that metabolic rates make a reliable factor for predicting the likelihood of extinction of a certain animal species or community of species.”
“We found a difference for mollusk species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today. Those that have gone extinct tend to have higher metabolic rates than those that are still living . . . those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates.”*
*Luke Strotz, lead author of the study
**co-author Bruce Lieberman
“Astrophysicist Karel Schrijver, a senior fellow at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, and his wife, Iris Schrijver, professor of pathology at Stanford University, have joined the dots in a new book, Living With the Stars: How the Human Body Is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars.”
“Talking from their home in Palo Alto, California, they explain how everything in us originated in cosmic explosions billions of years ago, how our bodies are in a constant state of decay and regeneration, and why singer Joni Mitchell was right.”
Iris: “Was she ever! Everything we are and everything in the universe and on Earth originated from stardust, and it continually floats through us even today. It directly connects us to the universe, rebuilding our bodies over and again over our lifetimes.”
Karel: “When the universe started, there was just hydrogen and a little helium and very little of anything else. Helium is not in our bodies. Hydrogen is, but that’s not the bulk of our weight. Stars are like nuclear reactors. They take a fuel and convert it to something else. Hydrogen is formed into helium, and helium is built into carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, iron and sulfur—everything we’re made of. When stars get to the end of their lives, they swell up and fall together again, throwing off their outer layers. If a star is heavy enough, it will explode in a supernova.”
“So most of the material that we’re made of comes out of dying stars, or stars that died in explosions. And those stellar explosions continue. We have stuff in us as old as the universe, and then some stuff that landed here maybe only a hundred years ago. And all of that mixes in our bodies.”
“Iris: I’m a physician specializing in genetics and pathology. Pathologists are the medical specialists who diagnose diseases and their causes. We also study the responses of the body to such diseases and to the treatment given. I do this at the level of the DNA, so at Stanford University I direct the diagnostic molecular pathology laboratory. I also provide patient care by diagnosing inherited diseases and also cancers, and by following therapy responses in those cancer patients based on changes that we can detect in their DNA.”
“Our book is based on many conversations that Karel and I had, in which we talked to each other about topics from our daily professional lives. Those areas are quite different. I look at the code of life. He’s an astrophysicist who explores the secrets of the stars. But the more we followed up on our questions to each other, the more we discovered our fields have a lot more connections than we thought possible.”
Karel:” I’m an astrophysicist. Astrophysicists specialize in all sorts of things, from dark matter to galaxies. I picked stars because they fascinated me. But no matter how many stars you look at, you can never see any detail. They’re all tiny points in the sky.”
“So I turned my attention to the sun, which is the only star where we can see what happens all over the universe. At some point NASA asked me to lead a summer school for beginning researchers to try to create materials to understand the things that go all the way from the sun to the Earth. I learned so many things about these connections I started to tell Iris. At some point I thought: This could be an interesting story, and it dawned on us that together we go all the way, as she said, from the smallest to the largest. And we have great fun doing this together.”
Iris: “Most people don’t even think of the skin as an organ. In fact, it’s our largest one. To keep alive, our cells have to divide and grow. We’re aware of that because we see children grow. But cells also age and eventually die, and the skin is a great example of this.”
“It’s something that touches everything around us. It’s also very exposed to damage and needs to constantly regenerate. It weighs around eight pounds [four kilograms] and is composed of several layers. These layers age quickly, especially the outer layer, the dermis. The cells there are replaced roughly every month or two. That means we lose approximately 30,000 cells every minute throughout our lives, and our entire external surface layer is replaced about once a year.”
Iris: “Every tissue recreates itself, but they all do it at a different rate. We know through carbon dating that cells in the adult human body have an average age of seven to ten years. That’s far less than the age of the average human, but there are remarkable differences in these ages. Some cells literally exist for a few days. Those are the ones that touch the surface. The skin is a great example, but also the surfaces of our lungs and the digestive tract. The muscle cells of the heart, an organ we consider to be very permanent, typically continue to function for more than a decade. But if you look at a person who’s 50, about half of their heart cells will have been replaced.”
“Our bodies are never static. We’re dynamic beings, and we have to be dynamic to remain alive. This is not just true for us humans. It’s true for all living things.”
Karel: “When the solar system formed, it started to freeze gas into ice and dust particles. They would grow and grow by colliding. Eventually gravity pulled them together to form planets. The planets are like big vacuum cleaners, sucking in everything around them. But they didn’t complete the job. There’s still an awful lot of dust floating around.”
“When we say that as an astronomer, we can mean anything from objects weighing micrograms, which you wouldn’t even see unless you had a microscope, to things that weigh many tons, like comets. All that stuff is still there, being pulled around by the gravity of the planets and the sun. The Earth can’t avoid running into this debris, so that dust falls onto the Earth all the time and has from the very beginning. It’s why the planet was made in the first place. Nowadays, you don’t even notice it. But eventually all that stuff, which contains oxygen and carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements, finds its way into our bodies.”
“When a really big piece of dust, like a giant comet or asteroid, falls onto the Earth, you get a massive explosion, which is one of the reasons we believe the dinosaurs became extinct some 70 million years ago. That fortunately doesn’t happen very often. But things fall out of the sky all the time. [Laughs]”
Karel: “Whatever you mention, its history began in outer space. Take salt. What we usually mean by salt is kitchen salt. It has two chemicals, sodium and chloride. Where did they come from? They were formed inside stars that exploded billions of years ago and at some point found their way onto the Earth. Stellar explosions are still going on today in the galaxy, so some of the chlorine we’re eating in salt was made only recently.”
Iris: “Absolutely. There are healthy processes, such as growth, for which we need cell division. Then there are processes when things go wrong. We age because we lose the balance between cell deaths and regeneration. That’s what we see in the mirror when we age over time. That’s also what we see when diseases develop, such as cancers. Cancer is basically a mistake in the DNA, and because of that the whole system can be derailed. Aging and cancer are actually very similar processes. They both originate in the fact that there’s a loss of balance between regeneration and cell loss.”
“Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease. You inherit an error in the DNA. Because of that, certain tissues do not have the capability to provide their normal function to the body. My work is focused on finding changes in DNA in different populations so we can understand better what kinds of mutations are the basis of that disease. Based on that, we can provide prognosis. There are now drugs that target specific mutations, as well as transplants, so these patients can have a much better life span than was possible 10 or 20 years ago.”
Karel: “There are two things that struck me, one that I had no idea about. The first is what Iris described earlier—the impermanence of our bodies. As a physicist, I thought the body was built early on, that it would grow and be stable. Iris showed me, over a long series of dinner discussions, that that’s not the way it works. Cells die and rebuild all the time. We’re literally not what were a few years ago, and not just because of the way we think. Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.”
“As far as our relationship is concerned, I always had a great deal of respect for Iris, and physicians in general. They have to know things that I couldn’t possibly remember. And that’s only grown with time.”
Iris: “Physics was not my favorite topic in high school. [Laughs] Through Karel and our conversations, I feel that the universe and the world around us has become much more accessible. That was our goal with the book as well. We wanted it to be accessible and understandable for anyone with a high school education. It was a challenge to write it that way, to explain things to each other in lay terms. But it has certainly changed my view of life. It’s increased my sense of wonder and appreciation of life.”
Read more of judy’s “mini sermons” on this same subject click:
Peggy & Judy don’t like to promote “stuff” much less brag. Guess who’s been assigned . . . . I should be flattered they have such trust in me but I know it’s mainly because I’m the one who has the most followers and fans.
I told them I would do a post about the “LOVE” products in the CURIOUStotheMAX ZAZZLE shop if they would make me a T-Shirt to wear on Valentines day. They agreed but I’m very disappointed and you’ll see why . . .
The Early Bird Love the Worm Ladies T
P.S. I have no idea who the hairy model is but he needs a stylist.
I played violin in the high school orchestra. It was enjoyable and got me out of physical education class. Practicing was another matter. Practicing the violin was excruciating for me. It was solely focused on doing weird, complicated, boring scales over and over and over . . . no melody, NO FUN. I would set a timer for 1 hour: polish my violin for 10 minutes; resin the bow for 5; tune the strings for 15 and; laboriously do scales for the rest of the time. I did get better.
If only I had known that I could have practiced being in a good mood while I was practicing scales.
Our brains seek out familiar patterns. The more we consciously focus on positive thoughts the easier it is for our brain to access those thoughts and find positive patterns in other areas. (Of course, there is a corollary – focus on the negative and your brain will look for more negative connections). So the more you think about the positive things in your life, the easier it is to think of good things in your life.
Start at any time. Like now. Think about something “positive/good” . . . a time you had fun or laughed at a joke or a childhood celebration. It doesn’t even have to be about you or your life . . . something “positive” you’ve witnessed, read about or even imagined. Share it with someone and notice feeling happier.
The more you practice the easier it will be for your brain to access the positive and lift your mood.
Here’s an easy practice session.
Each day for a week, at the end of the day, write down 3 good or positive things that have happened to you that day and why they happened.
They can be:
When you write down why they happened give yourself credit:
My violin “practice” list would have looked like this:
Reference: Seligman, M. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410
Dear Freddie Fans,
It’s a scientific fact! You can get sick from holding secrets: My brain’s prefrontal cortex gets over simulated when I thought about how bad sharing the secret would be. Just imagining all the possible negative outcomes (If I told you Peggy and Judy were changing the name of CATNIPblog they could stop giving me payment treats, ban me from blogging future posts, or cut-off my blog royalties from past posts) the end result is an EMOTIONAL BURDEN.
Specifically, when the prefrontal cortex wins the battle within my brain over keeping a secret, the pressure causes my cingulate cortex leads my body to ramp up production of stress hormones. So true . . .every time I’ve thought about the secret I felt my stress hormones surge thereby necessitating a treat.
Make sure to have solid food in your system before having any alcohol. Experts recommend that you eat high-protein foods such as cheese and peanuts, which help to slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system and burn it off.
Dehydration can cause your blood volume to drop, allowing less blood and oxygen to flow to the brain and allowing the stress hormone cortisol to have a greater impact on your system, so make sure that you are getting adequate fluid. If you drink alcohol while dehydrated, it will have a seriously negative impact on your system. Water improves the processing of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolize it. The faster you drink, the more time the toxins in booze spend in your body, affecting your brain and other tissues, and the bigger the hangover will be in the morning.
Metabolism depends on several factors (gender, weight, age, health), but in general, most people can metabolize roughly one drink an hour.
Diluting alcohol with ice or water will increase your time between refills and decrease its effects on your body and brain. As you slowly enjoy your beverage, the ice will melt and create more liquid as it reduces the strength of the alcohol. You can also use soda water or another non-alcoholic beverage as a chaser. Don’t be influenced or embarrassed into not chasing your drink. Your own health and safety are what’s important.
Whether it’s flu medicine, painkillers, sleeping pills, antibiotics, prescription meds, antidepressants – you name it, it doesn’t matter – it is a really bad idea to mix alcohol with drugs.
Alcohol is calorie-dense
*P.S. We bought calendars for ourselves with Zazzle discount coupon. Make sure to check out the Zazzle specials. The 5% profit we make will be donated to charity.
It’s coming! It’s almost here . . . Are you glued to your keyboard? Judy and Peggy are almost set to make a New Year’s announcement.
In the meantime . . . I’m sworn to secrecy which is an oxymoron cuz canines never swear.
In the meantime . . . I interviewed Judy and Peggy – being an intrepid reporter – as to what, BESIDES THEIR SECRET, their new year’s resolutions are.
Several years ago I gave up on New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like to promise myself anything because I don’t like to be disappointed . . . especially in myself.
This year I’m starting a new ritual for New Years. I’m calling it Old Years Resolutions. On December 31, 2018 I’m making my resolutions for 2018. That way I only have one day to disappoint myself.
I resolve to:
That’s about all I’ll have time for in 24 hours.
I don’t like to make resolutions and then not keep them, so I look for resolutions that I WANT to keep, instead of resolutions that I SHOULD keep. Here is what I came up with:
I resolve to:
Freddie Parker Westerfield, ii
I’m here to help promote a petalicious book because my human and her blog-buddy Peggy Arndt are loath to toot their own horns, which is a human expression I fail to understand but because you are mostly human I think you know what I mean . . . but I digress.
If you’ve read CATNIPblog you know that it is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui even though I maintain it should be dedicated to me, Freddie, since I do most of the work . . . but I digress.
Peggy has FINALLY after years and years of prodding published the children’s book she wrote for her granddaughter about her cat Maui who regained use of his paralyzed back legs. He did it by re-patterning his brain, even though I doubt Maui knew that’s what he was doing. That’s why, so they tell me, CATNIPblog is dedicated to Maui, because the blog is about how neuroscience research helps humans . . . but I digress.
Here’s the skinny, which is another human saying so ridiculous even human’s don’t know what it means:
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDM
Canine Director of Marketing
One of my favorite places to go is the Columbia River Gorge, an area with the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. There are over 90! I love it there and I will hike uphill for miles to see the waterfalls.
All my life I’ve loved the rain, going to the beach, having a water fountain in my yard, and taking showers. They all make me happy. Now I know why – negative ions.
WebMD. Pierce J. Howard, PhD
“Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes” By Denise Mann, WebMD, June 2, 2003.
The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain, by Pierce J. Howard, PhD
Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal, by Robert E. Thayer,
My father died over a decade ago. He held his secret for six decades.
My father was a World War II veteran – he was stationed in the Philippines when I was born. He enlisted in his 30’s without telling my Mother. My Dad didn’t have to serve – he was exempt. It was an honor to serve your country, a patriotic duty. I was conceived on a furlough.
My father came home from the war changed. To the day she died Mother never understand why he was withdrawn, uncommunicative, carrying resentments he seemed incapable of letting go. The spontaneous, communicative man she had been married to for over 10 years was missing.
The father I knew didn’t talk, he did things – built rooms, repaired cars, fixed leaks, upholstered furniture. He was incredibly handy, always busy doing, never talking. The father I knew was taciturn and downright anti-social at times.
When Mom died Dad grieved deeply. And a man I had never met emerged: Bursting easily into tears; making friends with supermarket clerks who knew him by name; talking to babies in strollers; smiling and giving hugs. He talked to me, to strangers, to anyone who had a friendly listening ear. It was as if Mom’s death had liberated him.
He talked non-stop mostly about fond memories of his youth and early days of dating and marrying Mom, about his more humorous war experiences while I drove him to doctors appointments. His anger at General McArthur, decades later, still smoldering. His amusement stealing sirloin steaks from McArthur’s mess-camp, still delighting.
After hearing the same stories over and over I began to tune them out until one day driving to yet another doctor’s appointment he shared what still haunts me.
“I never told your Mother this . . . “, A tone in his voice I had never heard before startled me. “I didn’t want her to know,” he blurted out, “I killed a man . . . he came at me with a bayonet . . . I see his eyes . . . maybe he had a family . . .” Choking back sobs, Dad stopped talking.
A month later my father was hospitalized. I sat with him as he lay in panic, flashbacks from the war consuming him in terror, convinced the male nurses were there to kill him with guns and weapons only he saw. He was put in restraints because he became combative, fighting for his life in a war only he remembered.
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below”.
“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw”
“The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields”.
“In Flanders Fields” written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces
“No new research was issued Thursday. Instead, the National Toxicology Program dialed up its concerns about a link to heart and brain cancer from a study of male rats that was made public last winter.”
THE ORIGINAL STUDY
“In a $30 million study, scientists put rats and mice into special chambers and bombarded them with radiofrequency waves, like those emitted by older 2G and 3G phones, for nine hours a day for up to two years, most of their natural lives.”
“The levels the rodents experienced were far higher than people are typically exposed to.”
“Last February, the National Toxicology Program said there was a small increase in an unusual type of heart tumor in male rats, but not in mice or female rats. The agency concluded there was “some evidence” of a link. Also, the February report cited “equivocal evidence” of brain tumors in the male rats.”
“Thursday, the agency upgraded its description of those findings. The heart tumor increase marked “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats, it announced. There is “some evidence” of brain cancer.”
“The change came after the agency asked outside experts to analyze the findings.”
“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed,” said John Bucher, the toxicology agency’s senior scientist.”
“While his agency said the risks to rats don’t directly apply to people, the study raises safety questions.”
“The FDA immediately disagreed, firing off a press release assuring Americans that “decades of research and hundreds of studies” has made the health agency confident that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation protect the public health.”
“Plus, FDA pointed out confusing findings from the rodent study — such as that the radiated rats lived longer than comparison rats that weren’t exposed to the rays. The toxicology agency said it appeared that the radio-frequency energy helped older rats’ kidneys.”
The geeeeeeeorgeous model we had last life drawing class came back AND her body still did not have the lumps and bumps to match the drawings. So I focused on shadows.
My last life drawing post Nude No More I complained that the models were wearing clothes. WELL! This last model was nude AND geeeeeeeorgeous: Tall, long, lean limbs, beautiful body, beautiful face, long blond hair and she was really nice . . . I was soooooooo jealous.
Practice makes perfect . . . so they say . . . I’m practicing using just 3 colors burnt Umber, raw Siena and white.
These are all studies in value which is training my eye to see darks, lights and midtones. It’s easier when using just one or two colors and right now I’m all for easier.
In order to not take myself too seriously and give myself permission to experiment I’m painting on the inside of cereal boxes. Canvas seemed much too intimidating and . . . the cereal boxes are free.
It’s a beginning oil painting class but 3 of us are using acrylic paint. Acrylic is water based, dries fast (helps with my boredom quotient) and doesn’t have stinky solvent. For the first lesson the teacher sent us a picture of a black and white alabaster bust of a small innocent looking child.It’s challenging to say the least. My paintings turned into alien babies. After being initially aghast at how I transformed the innocent little child into someone from the outer realms I started to have fun painting alien babies.
My “art” posts are a bit sporadic, as is my energy. Have missed several classes cuz I is too pooped to pop . . . or in this case draw.
The life drawing class starts with very fast – today it was 30 seconds – warm-up sketches. These “quickies” are just to capture a single aspect of the model, like the way the body is . The poses for the remainder of the class range anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
15 minute poses
I’ve discovered I don’t have a lot of patience and am into “quickies”.
Haven’t drawn for months as I stopped going to art class when I fractured my ankle (couldn’t drive). The fall semester of classes just started and I was curious to see if I’d lost all the progress I’d made.
I was even more curious to see how my energy held up since the fractured triggered the worst of all my fibromyalgia symptoms. My arms hurt during the 1 minute poses – probably because I was drawing furiously, holding tight to the charcoal, trying to stay in the saddle.
I told a psychiatrist friend about my memory “affliction”thinking he would suggest decades of psycho-analysis at best and in-patient treatment at worst. He looked passively at me and without the slightest hesitation said, “All that indicates is your childhood was boring.”
This is one of my aha moments that I DO remember and spurred me to investigate the neuro-biology of emotion. What does that have to do with hang-over? Read on!
You already know without a doubt that most of your memories are ones that were highly emotional experiences.
“Emotional experiences can induce physiological and internal brain states that persist for long periods of time after the emotional events have ended, a team of New York University scientists has found. This study, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience,also shows that this emotional “hangover” influences how we attend to and remember future experiences.”
“How we remember events is not just a consequence of the external world we experience, but is also strongly influenced by our internal states–and these internal states can persist and color future experiences,”explains Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and senior author of the study.”
“‘Emotion’ is a state of mind, . . . findings make clear that our cognition is highly influenced by preceding experiences and, specifically, that emotional brain states can persist for long periods of time.”’
“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” observes Davachi.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second. That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.
I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years. Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical. Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.
. . . and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed. I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.
Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:
. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –
The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.
Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,
I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .
Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe. All is from the same matter.
Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.
When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us.
There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses: The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future.
I admit I don’t understand science.
How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat? We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .
Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.
As you read on my last Mini-Sermon post – I didn’t pray again for 50 years*. During those decades I studied or was exposed to the tenants of many faiths and beliefs: Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist and even atheist.
I discovered two things: First, the bedrock of all religions is love, compassion, unity and the interconnectedness of all beings. Second, no matter what belief I studied something was amiss to me. It just didn’t make sense (if belief could ever make rational sense) how each could claim to be the only truth, the true spiritual path.
So scientific research became my focus and bolstered my belief in the interconnectedness of all humans (and animals). With newer and newer technology the science continues to be even more fascinating and compelling. Here’s just a small sample**:
There is more research but just these four areas alone reinforce my belief in the interconnectedness of all beings. Next . . . our inter-glactic connection on Mini Sermon, Part III.
I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.
Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics. Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics. Thinking is one thing, writing another . . . and sermonizing? . . .
My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most. Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.
Here’s the first 5 minutes:
“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “ –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)
Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood. Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any. Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.
My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.
I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents) – newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.
During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)
At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school. There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows. In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors. Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole. It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.
The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.
I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed. Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace. The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe. Another night I added my younger brother. I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar. Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative. Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them. It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar. One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . . . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.
I do not like being an old lady. There’s not much I can do about it but I don’t like it. I don’t like it! I do NOT like it! If there was someone watching right now I would lay down on the floor, pummel my legs up and down and scream out obscenities which I’m too embarrassed to write down proving I’m an old lady because I was taught that ladies, no matter their age, don’t swear. Even now, when I can’t be sent to my room, I hesitate to say “hell” or “shit” much less utter worse. The problem is I don’t even know what current swear words are. (There’s even a bigger problem if I lay down on the floor. With no one here to watch I might not be able to get back up without help.)
Why would I want wrinkles? . . . to prove I’m as wise as I have ostensibly become? Phony baloney, I’v never seen a wrinkled owl. Rather than look wise it’s easier to look down my elongating nose at people who have plastic surgery, botox or collagen treatments. If I weren’t scared of pain and had the money I’d get rid of my wrinkles. Instead, I’m doomed to cultivating a self-righteous attitude about my aging, sagging, bagging body and pretend to embrace how old I am.
I’ve tried political correctness – how wonderful it is to be wise, to have accumulated all this worldly experience and be on social security . . . I’ve tried to embrace aging, smile when people ask me what I do and act like it’s wonderful to have no career, no purpose, no energy. I’ve tried wrinkle creams that promise me youth. I’ve tried laughing at the “old age” cartoons that appear in my in-box and sting in their truths.
I’ve even considered moving to another country where old age is supposedly venerated. But I’m too tired to pack so I live in these here United States where I’m wise enough to know it’s the youth who say it like it is and have the energy to make this world a better place.
A Cautionary Tale
“Not all cats are affected by catnip. According to Cat Behavior Associates, the “catnip response” is hereditary, and one-third of all cats lack the gene that enables them to feel the high. Even a cat who does have the gene won’t be affected by catnip until they’re at least six months old.”
Freddie Parker Westerfield, B.E.
The study, which was published in the science journal Cell, found that temporarily shutting down chronic pain is part of animals’ survival behaviors when searching for food.
According to a press release, approximately 300 neurons are capable of shifting the brain’s focus to hunger, thus eclipsing the effect of chronic pain.
The Penn team also discovered that the neurotransmitter NPY is primarily responsible for selectively suppressing pain responses. This research could potentially be applied in humans to ameliorate chronic pain after injuries and serve as an alternative to opioid medications.
My Dad lived by specific culinary principles:
If he had known that June 17 was National Eat Your Vegetables Day he would have celebrated with a loaf of french bread & butter downed it with a Pepsi and a cinnamon roll for desert.
Each vegetable has its own nutritional content though generally, they contain a little protein or fat and varying proportions of :
When eating a diet consisting of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, it may help
It is recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day. This recommendation may vary, however, depending on age and gender. For most vegetables, one serving is equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup and can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a tree.(I frequently start my writing with “Once upon a time” as it lends a universal appeal to readers young and old.) Its trunk was crooked and all its bark was peeling. Big roots spread all around the tree, some deep in the earth and some growing above the ground. The Tree lived in a park with other trees of its own kind on the far edge of town. Every day many dogs of differing sizes and persuasions came to claim the tree as their territory.
One day, after years of being claimed,the tree yelled at a big black dog with pointy ears and a black nose sniffing around its roots, “I am NOT your territory!” The big black dog didn’t care what the tree thought, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.
Within minutes a little white dog with floppy ears and a wet nose sniffed out where the big black dog had been. “I am a tree not a fire hydrant!,” the tree yelled at the little white dog who ignored the tree, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.
The tree, ever alert for impending indignities, spotted a medium-sized dog with shaggy brown hair and a pink nose approaching. Finally, after many years of being claimed by many dogs, the tree figured out that actions speak louder than words. So it picked up its roots and walked away.
The end of my tail
In my hope
Bahá’ís are encouraged to see in the revolutionary changes taking place in every sphere of life the interaction of two fundamental processes. One is destructive in nature, while the other is integrative; both serve to carry humanity, each in its own way, along the path leading towards its full maturity. The operation of the former is everywhere apparent–in the vicissitudes that have afflicted time-honoured institutions, in the impotence of leaders at all levels to mend the fractures appearing in the structure of society, in the dismantling of social norms that have long-held in check unseemly passions, and in the despondency and indifference exhibited not only by individuals but also by entire societies that have lost any vital sense of purpose.
Though devastating in their effects, the forces of disintegration tend to sweep away barriers that block humanity’s progress, opening space for the process of integration to draw diverse groups together and disclosing new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Bahá’ís, of course, strive to align themselves, individually and collectively, with forces associated with the process of integration, which, they are confident, will continue to gain in strength, no matter how bleak the immediate horizons. Human affairs will be utterly reorganized, and an era of universal peace inaugurated.
(Universal House of Justice, To the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013)
“A team of researchers from UCLA and the University of Adelaide studied 35 non-demented adults who were from 45 to 75 years old. They gave each study participant the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to determine how many hours on average they spent sitting and how much physical activity they got each day. Each study participant also underwent a high-resolution MRI scans of his or her brain.”
A study with only 35 people has many limitations and does not prove that sitting will make part of your brain thinner. “Maybe in this study, the people who were more likely to sit more each day also were more likely to be less active socially, have less stimulating jobs, or have other circumstances that could be affecting their brains. Alternatively, could thinning medial temporal lobes somehow be affecting their behaviors so that they sat more? More studies are needed to figure out what is actually happening.”
“Nonetheless, this study does add to the concern that “sitting is the new smoking”, which by the way nothing to do with “cigarette butts.” Other studies have associated regularly sitting for lengthy periods of time with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, muscle and back problems, cancer, and other health problems.”
Now I’m learning that the brain centers largely responsible for remembering are connected to the creativity centers.
“We have a lot of knowledge about what happens when we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight. And those examples come from syndromes like PTSD, experiencing terrible situations for a long period of time. Here we come to a concept of brain plasticity, which basically means that what you’re experiencing can change your brain. It can make your brain grow so that it’s nice and fluffy and strong or it can shrink it down.”
“PTSD, high stress, can shrink the size of your temporal lobe and increase the size of the amygdala structure that is processing fear information. It also shrinks the size of a key brain area that I’ve studied for the last 25 years called the hippocampus, which is critical for long-term memory.”
“The hippocampus has been more recently implicated in creativity and imagination. Because what imagination is, is taking those things you have in your memory and putting them together in a new way. So just in the way that the hippocampus allows us to think about the past and memory, it also allows us to imagine the future. Long-term stress is literally killing the cells in your hippocampus that contribute to the deterioration of your memory. But it’s also zapping your creativity.”
In 1995 I contracted an invisible “illness”. Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating burning pain in my hands, arms and legs followed by years of gastrointestinal, cardiological, dermatological and emotional symptoms. At the onset I was also in peri-menopause and experiencing mood swings, wildly, uncontrollably ric-o-shaying swings between happy to annoyed – which I’m minimizing for public consumption.
Back then fibromyalgia was not recognized by the medical community as a “real” ailment. Doctors considered it to be a syndrome: Unexplainable, unverifiable and psychosomatic. It was a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s Syndrome, as doctor after doctor told me. based on test, after expensive test coming back negative. I was told nothing was wrong with me and to go home and “Get a life”.
Forever imprinted in my memory is an appointment with the chief of neurology at one of Los Angeles’ major medical schools (the doctor and medical center shall remain nameless because this is a true story) He reviewed the test findings, looked at me knowingly – as if we shared a secret – and said, “You’re a psychotherapist. You know about psychological issues”. He leaned forward, compassionately touching me on the knee and winked, “Go home, live a good life and take up a hobby like kick-boxing.” The only reason I winked back was to blink away the tears that were threatening to disrupt the façade that I wasn’t a hysterical middle-aged woman.
I searched for anyone – gynecologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, environmental specialists, acupuncturists, immunologists, chiropractors – to name to what I had, to give what was invisible to everyone but myself a label other than HYPOCHONDRIAC. I looked fine, acted fine, and thousands of dollars of medical tests came back negative. All I took away from the 100’s of doctor’s visits was a stack of psychiatrist’s cards doctors handed to me on the way out of their office.
Check out Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters –“You look great!” – and other things you should never say to heart patients and lots of other great posts about invisible illness.
May 12th was chosen as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS.
Carmine is a very stable and reliable natural food dye that can be used to create a wide range of colours – pinks, oranges, purples, as well as reds.
Click here to read the entire article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43786055
Need to catch up? Here’s what happened to me:
So far I’ve worked on CATNIPblog posts, worked on Peggy & my Happiness project, started reading a new book and watched far too much TV. My “rear-end” is already beginning to hurt as much as my foot.
I have more time on my hands (and feet) than ever yet have less focus than ever. Looking for something creative to add to my sit-down-activities I decided to finish pages (upon pages) I started years ago in my many journals.
Today I picked a page that required no thought, just schmearing a bit of paint with my finger and doodling with marking pens. I have no clue why I wrote the fishy-poem I remember from childhood on the page.
Fishy fishy in a brook
Papa catch ’em with a hook
Mama fry ’em in a pan
Baby eat ’em like a man