The Good – The Bad – The Possible

Over the years, I’ve written about Peak Oil, Community Exchanges, Shop Local, Campaign Finance Reform, Education Reform, Alternative Healthcare, Big Pharma, Corporate Monoculture Farming, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy, Self-Healing and Spirituality.

I’ve read, listened and researched.

I’ve talked, argued and thrown my hands up in despair.

I’ve ranted, I’ve raved, tried sharing information through humor and How – Not – Too.

I’ve been on fire with enthusiasm and sick with despair when I believed that my passion for these subjects had no interested audience.

I’ve dreamed, I’ve hoped, I’ve struggled to make a difference through my lifestyle choices, purchasing decisions, writing topic choices and personal belief system improvements.

And now, all that experience has been encapsulated into one extraordinary two-hour film, “Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take?”, which I discovered this morning via a post by recOveryhealth.

(I embedded the film below – yes, it’s that important – I don’t want you to even have to click twice to start watching it  –  *You can donate to the producers here.)

So instead of digging through my archives, you can now glean all that info with the simple investment of a couple hours of your time – you can even watch in increments if you like…

The Good

From the beginning to about 33 minutes – the film highlights the creator’s background and reason for researching.  His quest for truth and the form he found it in echoes the conclusions found throughout the history of the spiritual, the religious and the scientific.  It has been postulated by the prophets, the holy men, the gurus, metaphysicists, cosmologists, cellular bioligists and quantum theorists:

There is a code to the Universe – to Life

If we  figure it out, we can work in harmony with it,

Instead of paddling upstream all the while…

And though I’ve had my crisis of faith moments and believed the Universe to be one big Chaotic mess, bent on destroying me – – I’ve found the only way for me to continue in this life with any semblance of happiness is to embrace the Code story in it’s many variations.

The Bad

Around 33 minutes, you enter the Bad phase – the phase that examines the problems facing our world and the inter-connected,  complex structures  that are contributing to or causing-on-purpose the disasters we fear and seek refuge from.    It digs deep into systems and mind-sets that contribute to the misery of our lives –

You may not agree with all the viewpoints referenced as causing our global problems, but only the truly oblivious could say we have no challenges regarding our continued existence given our present course.

It’s not always a pleasant or comforting place to be, confronting our fears – though I believe this film does it’s best to present the information within a space of hope – – which brings us to…

The Possible

At around 1 hour, 38 minutes – after you’ve delved into a story you really hope isn’t true -but suspect is –  you get to watch the What’s Possible portion.

(If you’re already worried and depressed about the state of things and you feel powerless in being able to do anything about it – skip from :33 to 1:38 on the film.

Choosing not to wallow in the problems portion will not keep you from being inspired by the Possible section; however, if you’re one of those who must know Why? before you do – best just take your lumps and confront your fears.  Watch with a friend and the lights on if it helps – – )

The Possible portion will inspire you – it will show you easy-to-integrate ways to make a difference, right now, today, with what you already know and  have, with who you already are.  To quit contributing to the problems and instead, become part of the solution – you don’t have to do them all – – any forays you make into your favorite arenas makes a difference – just pick one and start.

Without further ado – here’s “Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?”:

For myself, I’m continuing on through my day ‘off’ by meandering through the ThriveMovement website – – – they sound like my kind of folks….

H.R.2 – Repeal Healthcare Act?

Some few months ago, I started receiving emails I don’t remember signing up for. I haven’t griped about it too much, for the emails are from organizations that keep folks alerted to political issues, which means I get a steady diet of things to research and then write about – – I suspect my recent foray into signing petitions may be at the root of it all…

Today, I received an email from the John Birch Society.

( I’m now sure I failed to un-check a “Contact Me” box when signing some petition. Yet another example of “Auto-Opt-In” marketing…On the bright side – their “Unsubscribe” process is easy and painless – hence, I’m not raking them over the coals…)

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Today’s missive informed me of H.R.2, the bill proposed to repeal all or parts of Public Law 111–148 and Public Law 111–152 (906 and 55 pages, respectively).

It also provided the following Organizational Chart which is touted as showing the regulatory monstrosity ObamaCare would be:

My first thoughts were, who would take time to research this mess to find out if:

A. It truly reflects Reality

and

B. how many graphic artists died of stress related disease while compiling this?

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I next pondered if this is how most government organizational charts look.  If so, it’s amazing anyone ever gets anything accomplished and I have been way too harsh on my elected officials.

Faced with a stack of these charts my first day on the job, followed by the directive:

“This is how the company works.  Get familiar with the processes – we have a meeting tomorrow morning for you to propose your plans for overhauling this system”,

I would grab my purse, lunch and coat and flee through the nearest exit….

Without giving notice….

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I recently finished the 26 lecture series by Professor Teofilo Ruiz, titled “The Terror of History – Mystics, Heretics and Witches”.

He states we create laws, organizations, etc.,  to bring order to chaos and hence, quiet the internal terror created by our awareness of living in a world we don’t fully understand and often have no control over.

This chart, whether true or not, reflects our terror-soothing tendencies run amok.

If the time and money taken to draw this chart had been spent on designing affordable solar homes, I suspect we’d all live in one by now.

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For myself, I must spend time researching the Public Laws that are listed for repeal in H.R.2 – because the John Birch Society also informed me a poll in December showed 60% of likely voters favor repeal, the Senate and House favor Repeal  – if so many favor repeal, I want to know:

How in the Hell did these Laws come about in the first place?!?

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For your viewing pleasure, here’s my HealthCare Chart:

 

Would Baboons Like You?

Thursday nights are “Tamrah’s Pick” of what to do after dinner.    I really look forward to my nights, because its the only time the male personages in my house will sit through a chick-flick or documentary…

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Last night, we watched National Geographic’s “Stress: Portrait of a Killer” (2008).   Not as much of a downer as you might think.  Yes, they cover what chronic stress does to your body.   And they highlight the main cause of stress in populations.

But they also tell you what fixes and repairs the damage done.

Though they covered many studies, much of the program focused on the work of  Robert Sapolsky and Sir Michael Morat.

Want to guess who the test subjects of their studies were?

Baboons and British Civil Servants.

Hmmm…..

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Baboons first – Mr. Sapolsky has spent 30+ years studying baboon populations in Kenya.   Here’s the highlights:

  • Baboons spend approximately 3 hours a day foraging/eating.
  • The other 9 hours, they fill with picking on each other (I suspect because they don’t have Xboxes, TV or an Iphone to keep them entertained.)
  • Baboon society is of strict hierarchy – Alpha males pick on subordinates (usually females and non-alpha males), who in turn kick, chase, taunt those below them (teenagers and children)
  • Thousands of blood tests over the years have shown – If you’re near the top – Low Stress and better health.    Bottom?   Oober Stress and attendant stress-related health disorders

The baboons all eat the same diet.   They all have the same health care plan.   To date, none of the baboons have been observed drinking beer, smoking cigs, driving a classy car or showing off their designer jeans to those in the clan who can’t afford them.

(The levels of chronic stress in the “low-class” baboon population tells me they probably would smoke and drink, if only they had access to such things…And I bet the alpha-males would just love a red sports car…)

Those at the lower rungs of the social scale exhibit many chronic ailments that in the human world are associated with Poverty, Malnutrition, etc., etc.

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While Mr. Sapolsky is learning how aggressive, underhanded and backstabbing baboons are, Sir Marmot is half a world away wondering if the strict hierarchy of the British Civil Service produces the same kind of health problems as observed in the baboons.

The answer is Yes.

  • The lower down the hierarchy, the less autonomy and control, the higher the stress and the bigger number of sick days.
  • The higher up the subject was, more job satisfaction, lower stress and better health

Although wages were not the same, all civil servants have access to the same healthcare.   They all work in the same physical environment.   But those at the bottom suffered from more health problems than those at the top, which, in turn, kept them at the bottom (apparently, poor job performance does not result in promotion at Whitehall…)

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What’s the good news?   The most fascinating portion of the program was the following:

A few years back, one observed colony of baboons took to dining at a local dump place.   Turns out, some of the dumped meat was contaminated with tuberculosis.    A large portion of the group died.

Want to guess which ones didn’t make it?

Yup.  The aggressive alpha males.  They all died.   The females who were left (who previously preferred to spend their days grooming and engaging in positive social interaction, which by the way has been scientifically proven to repair  vital parts of your working parts and boost your immune system) comprised nearly two-thirds of the remaining population.

The surviving males were, as Mr. Sapolsky joked,

“In scientific terms…they were the ‘good guys’.”

He was amazed to note that over the next 10 years, this clan not only survived, it thrived.

In the baboon world, if you’re male, then part of becoming an adult means hitting the road and finding another group to join.   Seems aggressive baboons who encountered this clan had a serious adjustment phase (usually about 6 months.)

Coming into this clan with aggression, taunting, kicking and in general, exhibiting “good” alpha male qualities did not result in the usual rewards.

The program didn’t say so, but I suspect the new males spent the first 5 months or so yelling,

“But this is how it’s done.   It’s always been this way!  Survival of the fittest!  You touchy-feelies need to get with the program!”

The clan liked their new way of doing things.  They knew it worked.   Daily life was so much better.   Their reply?

“Either be nice and participate in mutual grooming and bonding activities, or hit the road, Jack.”

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I’ve pondered for many years why we humans seem bent on having hierarchies/groups (and the freedom to cause misery for those below us or not of part of “our crowd”)

– seems like we don’t know how to organize ourselves any other way.

No matter how much we hate being at the bottom, or left out,  once we have achieved a higher level, or acceptance into a community, our mindset has changed:

“Hey, I had to work my way up – I paid my dues.  Now I can enjoy my success.   If those whiners at the bottom would just apply themselves…”

Okay – but there’s one group of baboons that won’t have us, unless we change our perspective….

Food and Chemicals

Lynne McTaggart’s blog this morning, citing the work of Dr. Grace E. Jackson, highlights the increasing volume of evidence linking some pharmaceutical medications to dementia.

The list of medicines cited as the biggest offenders against our brain matter:

  • Cholesterol lowering or blocking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Anti-depressants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Certain Medications for ADHD

All have been shown to have debilitating effects on our grey matter, often resulting in some form of dementia.

Now I know why the recent elections in my area went the way they did.

Silly me, I thought people were just too lazy to research – turns out, they are probably suffering from some stage of dementia.

I feel bad about my previous harsh thoughts towards my fellow citizen voters.

Sick people deserve compassion.

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I’m also concerned about Dr. Jackson’s career.   History tells me she’s on a path that ends in being ostracized from the Lodge of Modern Medicine.  I’m awaiting her being added to the Quackwatch list.

(No, you don’t get a link for quackwatch.   This guy doesn’t do his homework.  I only know about him because he came out with egg on his face when the Weston A. Price foundation refuted his findings on a point-by-point basis.   Those folks know how to research and footnote, therefore are link-worthy. )

Maybe I should send her Mr. 11 Dimensions’ address – they can hang out in seclusion together.   Although I think he may be currently enjoying genius status….his status in the world of Physicists has changed frequently – so not sure if he’s in seclusion or not.

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I’ve always held that modern medicine has gotten very good at keeping the body alive while what’s wrong is figured out.   Broken bones, gun shot wounds, blocked airways…hey!  Modern is where it’s at.

I’m still convinced that daily health and quality of life comes from ingesting properly prepared, nutritious food and seeking assistance from a holistic provider when you’ve gotten yourself ‘jacked up’ (Politely referred to as ‘out of balance’ by the holistic circle.)

And taking supplements if you’re not getting nutritious food.

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When I first entered the Traditional Diet world, I ran my mouth to friends, family and neighbors nearly 24 hours a day.   The changes I observed in my own body were so significant I could hardly wait to share.   So many things became clear on why I had suffered from various health problems for so long.

I turned my back on USDA and FDA guidelines.   My new guidelines were: “Was this available to my ancestors who lived 40,000 years ago?  In this form?  If not, how much would they have to eat in order to get that amount?”

(Did you know that to get a cup of corn oil into your system, you would need to ingest 1/2 bushel of corn or more, at one sitting?)

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I’m a big fan of ‘experiential data’ – I’ve seen what happens to data when the graph doesn’t look just like someone wants it to…especially if that graph is directly tied to that someone’s paycheck.

I’m also a big fan of ‘natural selection’ – even though completely adhering to that would mean I would be dead by now…and wouldn’t have lived long enough to procreate….

My brain full of history tells me that if physical bodies evolve slowly to survive in new conditions, our bodies haven’t had enough time to catch up with all the wondrous food products that come to us via the Industrial Revolution.

I can trust my brain – I’m not on pharmaceuticals.

I can go crazy all by myself, thank you very much…

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I have my own set of data on whether to believe Modern medicine or Age-Old practices.   I’m not afraid to experiment on myself.   And I’m not afraid to say, “oops!  that didn’t go well, let’s try something else”.

I think my ‘all or nothing’ personality combined with a healthy skepticism of anyone who makes grand promises with a similarly attached price tag, along with personal mishandling by both modern and holistic practitioners,  has placed me in a position to be rather open to views that go against the majority consensus.

I also refuse to knowingly purchase anything with Aspartame in it.   My son sorely misses chewing gum.    We haven’t been able to find one that doesn’t contain aspartame.

If you do a search of Aspartame, you’ll find plenty of people crying “Poison!” and about the same number shouting, “Shut up, quacks!  It’s fine!”

My deductive reasoning says, “If it’s ‘fine’ then why do your footnotes (if you have any) contain studies 20 years old and dissenters cite numerous studies conducted almost non-stop for the last 10?”

Until proponents indicate to me they are willing to back up their claims with current, 3rd party performed, non-grant funded research, then I’ll stick with avoiding it.

(Maybe they are suffering from dementia and can’t remember to put footnotes in….)

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I changed over to ‘good fats’ in 2006.   As of January, 2010, blood tests revealed my Cholesterol (good, bad and trigs) to be in normal ranges.   2 modern medicine doctors, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist all stated they couldn’t see any problems there. (although one of the modern medicine folks suggested I should start medicine, to keep the number good…arggghhh!)

I’m over 40, my exercise entails typing and doing housework, I’m a smoker with a kitchen devoid of ‘fats’ except for the following: homemade lard, real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, tea oil and a smidge of peanut oil.

I’ve stubbornly ingested in large quantities the very fats the FDA, USDA, AHA and AMA have all told me to avoid like the plague.

Hmmm….still here.    Good Cholesterol levels.   Brain functioning (okay, maybe not to your standards, but I do not leave my house only to be found 6 hours later, wandering around in the woods, unable to tell you what my name is or where I live…)

I don’t take my blood pressure.   I don’t have any scales in my house except for those to weigh food (Uniformity in homemade dinner rolls necessitates this piece of equipment….)

I look over each day and ask: “Did my health prevent me from doing something I wanted to?  Do I have clothes that fit?” (I hate to shop – I still have the nightgown I wore on my wedding night…and yes, it still fits….)

I check in with my body after I eat.   Is my tummy happy?   How’s the digestive process going?  Painful?  Loud?  Smelly?

I also analyze my sleep patterns and dreaming.   If those are unusual, then I know something has gone astray either in my brain or my body.

(day 2 of no coffee…. day 3 of no Tylenol pm…..tummy is happier, body still not sure how to sleep 8 hours straight, on its’ own…but I did get to 4 last night….)

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In short, I come back to the same thinking.   I’m not particularly afraid to die, nor am I trying to extend my life as long as I can.   I instead am trying to enjoy whatever time I do have.

Home cooked meals with Hubby and son, made from food purchased direct from farmer/rancher satisfy my nose, heart and tummy in a way McDonalds can’t.

Pain pills, anti-depressants, and hormone therapy side effects made me decide the original symptoms were the lessor of two evils.

Extra Vitamin C, various Chinese herbal blends and aromatherapy make me feel better when I’ve overindulged in thoughts or substances I should have left alone.

Day after day, I practice medicine on myself…

Some things are just better left out of the hands of ‘experts’.