Archive for the ‘Truth & Lies’ Category

Fight, Flight or Freeze? Clearly, I Freeze Under Stress

April 5, 2016



“There is nothing to fear.” ~ A Course in Miracles

Calligraphy by my sister, Amy.


I could be wrong, but I believe I may be emerging from the longest most frozen freeze response I have experienced in my life to date.

Yes, that’s a lot of hedging, but I am not sure and I don’t want to make grandiose statements and promises about this. I’ve been really stuck for a long, long time.  At least, 2 years, if not more.

In that time, I’ve been single and dating no one for the longest span of time to date. I left a job. I moved to the dry desert & brown adobe world of Santa Fe, NM.  (Right thing to do at the time. Wrong place for me long term.) I have spent most of my days at home. I go out some, to coffee shops & Meet Ups, but not a lot. I am not on the phone much.  Me?  Not on the phone?

Instead, I hang out on Facebook.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s been great for me. I am the most active admin on a very good group for doing the practice called, “The Work of Byron Katie.” I chat and relate to people from China to India to Australia to Canada – and nearly every state in the Union.

I get to communicate!  And yes, that’s still pretty much what I live for – and to serve.

I take online classes.

That has been a whole new form of education for me. I deeply miss the in-person classroom, sitting at the front and raising my hand to answer all the questions.  No doubt about it – I prefer in-person classes.  Still, I did a lot of my master’s in psychology and almost all of my doctoral work in education online.

So, it’s not like I’m doing absolutely nothing.  I do stuff. I just do it from my couch online.

Still, it has been a form of the freeze response.

“Freeze” was added to the “fight or flight” idea decades ago. More recently added are “fidget” and “faint.”

Well, I tend to freeze.

I seem to have something like fibromyalgia (which tells us nothing – it means pain in the tendons – it is merely a description). I believe that the pain in my tendons and joints is a result of consistent lifetime freezing.

I was first aware of it around the age of 11. When I walked to school, only a mile away, my calves cramped severely. I told Mother about it, and she said, “You’ll get used to it.” I’m sure she thought it was just muscles working out the way they should.  It was not.

I’m 56 now. That was 45 years ago. Except for a few months about 10 years ago when I did work up to walking in the mountains about 45 minutes a day, it hasn’t gone away.  Rather, I have pain like that in every part of my body.

And please, don’t try to tell me I should just work out. Doing that can put me in bed for 3 days, unable to move, with pain that ibuprofen and aspirin cannot touch.

But not always, that’s true.

I have no idea when it does and when it doesn’t. It has something to do with how acidic my diet is. And how much caffeine, vinegar, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, wheat, milk products, and so many other trigger foods I have eaten.

It also has to do with fear & childhood trauma.

I froze.

I’ve been relentlessly pursuing ways to thaw since at least 1985, when I was 25 years old. They have all helped.

Now, I’m learning TRE, Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercise. Find information on that here:

It’s a way to get the body to shake, the way an animal shakes, to release fear chemicals. It is not known exactly how it works. But it seems to help.

I couldn’t say for certain whether my recent feeling of thawing is attributable to TRE, hot baths, breathwork, The Work of Byron Katie, Mars & Pluto stationing retrograde or simply Spring.

I don’t really care which it is – except that if it’s some of those things I’m doing, I will want to keep doing it. I think TRE, being the newer thing, is somewhat responsible for the change.

I do know that this is my first blog in about 2 years. Blogs are fun. I like writing them. If you liked reading it, please Comment.

I like to co-mmunicate – that means “with.”  With you!

Much love,


Oh, if you want to learn some of these things from me, particularly The Work, let me know. I’d love to help.



Teaching and Effective Learning: The Work of Byron Katie

March 5, 2013

Someone emailed me today and asked why I stopped writing.  I was pleasantly surprised that anyone cared.  In fact, I have been writing at least a paper a week or more.  I’m working on a doctorate.  Below is one of my papers and you’ll see the general direction I’m heading. Thanks for reading!

Teaching and Effective Learning

 The Work of Byron Katie

            What is teaching?  We are teaching all the time whether we know it or not.  This is part of what “to teach is to demonstrate” means (Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992).  Whatever we are demonstrating to those around us, we are teaching.  It is said that we are either teaching love or fear (1992).   Kahlil Gibran pointed out that we cannot really teach anyone anything other than that which is already inside them (1923).  We forget this, or maybe we never knew it, but it is very obvious.  We cannot teach a human being to sprout gills and breathe underwater.  Anything we can teach a human being is within their capacity.  The same applies to individual talents and inclinations.  No matter how hard we try to teach a student to be a basketball star, if that just isn’t in their skill set, nor their genetic makeup, and it is definitely not something that student is likely to be inclined to pursue.  So when we begin to teach, we must teach to the student’s inclination and strengths if we wish to be successful and most importantly, if we wish for the student to be successful.  It is a corollary of the fact that no one can be all things to all people.

With this in mind, we look at the question of happiness or well-being.  Can we teach it?  Is it within every human being’s make up to be able to be happy or to enjoy well-being?  This author believes that it is.  In her class presentation, Jessica gave an excellent example – autistic children.  We may think they need to learn social skills or that they are missing something by not going out with their peers, but according to Jessica, the autistic child is perfectly content to be alone, reading or playing.  She mentioned a time when two autistic children tried to go out to socialize.  One of them reported that they had nothing to say to each other.  That wouldn’t be the case for you or me, but apparently it is true for them.  Are they happy this way?  Can they enjoy well-being?  It appears so.  The point is that happiness and well-being are not the same for everyone.  Each person enjoys different things.

Our national standard of using the Gross National Product as our measure of success makes it somewhat inevitable that we teach and learn in a context of whether or not we are producing.  This has the very unfortunate consequence of ignoring what might actually contribute to our individual and collective well-being because our happiness is not the measurement; productivity is.  Therefore, a car wreck increases the GNP because the driver has to buy a new car and because of the time spent in the hospital due to injuries, but the car wreck did nothing to improve on the happiness of the driver.  Same with a divorce, a disaster, a war (Seligman, 2011).  The United States and many other member countries of the United Nations are looking into using measures of Gross National Happiness as a new standard for measuring a country’s success (San Francisco Chronicle, 2012).

Remember, human beings are notoriously bad at guessing what will make us happy and we tend to believe everything we think (Gilbert, 2006; Gazzaniga, 1998; Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  And there is science that shows that we may not have the kind of free will that we believe we do, that we have it only in small ways, not in the bigger picture (Norretranders, 1992; Harris, 2012).  So, where does that leave us when we try to find out what will make us happy and add to our well-being?

Positive Psychology discussed in Martin Seligman’s latest book, Flourish:  A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, gives us a taste of the future in a world where happiness is measured, valued and used in productive ways to guide individuals, institutions and governments (2011).  This is a very necessary piece of the well-being and happiness puzzle, but this author maintains that often (though not always) Positive Psychology is still a swing to just one side of the pendulum.  We all know that life has a dual nature – or does it?  Could it be that through our evolution we simply came to that idea in order to survive and run from tigers?  Is it possible that a more whole view of life is now possible due to our mastery of the basics of food, clothing and shelter?  If so, what else is there?

Nearly every religious tradition I have studied, from Hinduism to Buddhism to Judaism to Christianity to Native American practices and more, alludes to a way of being that is beyond being pushed and pulled by the duality we seem to see around us.  Hindu terminology is useful here.  Hindus refer to “satori,” which is an “aha” moment, a glimpse into our oneness, beyond duality of good/bad, love/hate, right/wrong.  This concept exists in Judaism, as well.  An excellent work on this is Kabbalistic Healing by Jason Shulman (2004).   There is a place akin to the fulcrum of the pendulum that never moves, the observer within that simply watches the dance of life go back and forth.  Shulman calls it “briah” or “briatic consciousness.”  Someone who has seen and maintained this viewpoint is said to be “enlightened,” or to have experienced “Samadhi,” in Hindu terms.

To those who have not had this experience, it must seem that someone in this state must have “all good, all the time,” but this is not so.  They have simply changed their perspective about duality and are no longer victims of the illusions that things are “bad” or “good.”  Someone with this perspective is an embodiment of the illustration given by the yin/yang symbol.  The yin/yang symbol is actually three-dimensional.  It is two tear-drop shapes interpenetrating one another at the tip of the teardrop.  When it is rendered in a two-dimensional cross section, we see a spot of white in the black and a spot of black in the white to represent the “whole.”  The message is the whole, not the black or white alone.  They require each other.  My teacher, Steven, referred to this as “coinness.”  Each side of the coin requires the other to exist.  They cannot be separated.

What if we taught this to children in school?  What if there was a method or methods for showing students how to question the black/white thinking that perpetrates a sense of victimization (which is probably the cause of random acts of violence such as the various shootings our nation has experienced)?  What if we started with the solution to the sense of suffering and then learned to be productive, creative contributing members of societ?  What kind of difference might that make?

This is completely possible.  The methods exist.  (And not just Katie’s.)

Using videos and personal experience of classes in The Work of Byron Katie, as my field experience in this one possible method, some answers on how to learn to see beyond the perception of fear and suffering evolved.  Katie’s Work is very similar, as Jessica pointed out in class, to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  So, in a sense, both schools of thought on teaching given in our text are useful (Bigge and Thermis, 2004).  The Work or “inquiry” uses thoughts as the starting point, questions those thoughts and the awareness that comes from questioning our thoughts leads to natural changes in behavior.  It is just like learning a magic trick.  Once we see how it works, it can no longer fool us.  All that is required is that we notice and question the thoughts that underlie our beliefs and behaviors (Katie & Mitchell, 2002).  Katie says that she simply “knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t,” (2012).  So, while no learning theory is discussed in the course of doing The Work of Byron Katie, it is easy to see that there are both cognitive and behavioral components.  We question our thoughts and we notice that certain thoughts and behaviors hurt.  The questioning process benefits from an understanding of the logical fallacies from the Socratic Method tradition.  When we see our logical fallacies, when we see where the pain comes from, we tend to choose differently because we can no longer lie to ourselves and believe that our lies are working in our favor (2002, Web site for The Work, 2012).

The Work of Byron Katie has broad applications.  In her book, Loving What Is, co-authored with her husband, Stephen Mitchell, who has translated many famous philosophical and spiritual texts from various world traditions, Katie goes through chapters on relationships, work, money, self-judgments, children, underlying beliefs, the body, addictions, and includes a chapter on generalizing the process to any situation that is causing us pain (2002).  Relationships are covered in more detail in her second book, I Need Your Love:  Is That True? (2005).

Technology in teaching is useful here, as well.  There are teleconferences, webinars, You Tube videos, and many more avenues for accessing and learning this method.  It made this field research possible, when local classes were cancelled.  And while technology may bring us much that we have never had access to before, there is still a place for live, in-person learning.  It is this author’s theory that what is gained from in-person learning may not be currently measurable, the way we cannot measure the energy we get from food other than the rudimentary counting of calories.  Our proprioceptive sense receives more than just words and pictures from live instructors. There is far more to be modeled than the form of what is said in a class.

This field experience summary is a broad overview of the potential of effectively teaching and learning a way of being that demonstrates the truth, demonstrates love, demonstrates well-being and happiness.  Again, what if this was the starting point of education?  Grounded in well-being and happiness, what clarity and creativity is possible?


Argosy Student Portal for the class, (2012).

Bigge, M. L. and Shermis, S. S.  (2004).   Learning Theories for Teachers.  Boston, MA:Pearson Education, Inc.

Gagne, R.; Wager W.; Golas, K.;  and Keller, J. (2005).   Principles of Instructional Design.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Gazzaniga, M.  (1998). The mind’s past.  Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA:University of California Press.

Gilbert, D.  (2006). Stumbling on happiness. New York, NY:Random House.

Harris, S.  (2012).  Free will.  New York, NY:Simon & Schuster.

Katie, B. and Mitchell, S.  (2002). Loving what is:  Four questions that can change your life.  New York, NY: Random House.

Katie, B. and Katz, M.  (2005).  I need your love:  Is that true?  New York, NY:  Random House.

No Significant Difference web site (2012).  Retrieved from

Norretranders, Tor.  (1998).  The user illusion:  Cutting consciousness down to size. New York, NY:Penguin Putnam, Inc.

San Francisco Chronicle (April 2, 2012).  U.N. discusses creation of gross national happiness.  (Retrieved from

Shulman, J.  (2004).  Kabbalistic healing:  A path to an awakened soul. Rochester, VT:Inner Traditions.

 Seligman, M. E. P.  (2011).  Flourish:  A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being.  New York, NY:Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster.

 University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology web pages (2012).  Retrieved from

(Most of these books have extensive reference sections with the necessary peer-reviewed journal articles.  It proved too time consuming to trace each discussion above to the proper references in each book, though the dissertation will probably require this.)


 4 Worlds from

Jason Shulman’s Kabbalistic Healing

 4          Atzilut                              Beyond even Oneness. Even Oneness is too much

3          Briah                                 Things are not One and not Two

Same stuff, but not the same.

Who would you be w/o your story?

All roads lead to Briah

2          Emotion                           Things that have relationships to one another.

Yetzirah                             Food you like, food you don’t like.

Related, food, liking/disliking.

Me, when I’m complaining.

The Worksheet of Byron Katie.

1          Action                                 Newtonian      Stuff is separate.

Assiyah                               Cups different than tea

Wouldn’t even do inner work around the problem

Always in all of them. Can’t prefer one over the other.

Brief Blurbs of Updatedness

September 15, 2009

Labor Day weekend I dunked my body into 4 hot springs in 3 days – more if you consider that Ojo Caliente has 7 pools of varying temperatures and mineral composition. The drive to and from was peaceful and relaxing, and Joy is a Joy to be with, as always.

By 11:30 this morning, I learned that my boss, who gave her notice a full 6 weeks ago, would not be back. She was trying to work through this Friday, but really… once the decision was made, 6 weeks is a *lot*. Totally don’t blame her.

I am enjoying a very odd phase of things with people right now. Tying up lots of loose ends, getting clearer with people – winning friends, losing friends over my honesty & clarity – what is it they say about that?  Something about how there is nothing really lost when someone can’t handle honesty & clarity. It’s better worded than that. I forget.

I wrote Sashen a note I’ve been meaning to write him for about 6 years, wondering if he’ll be a sounding board for me, asking to negotiate on how to do that, and requesting a referral if he doesn’t have time. His local classes are down to not even one a year, and the 8-week series on practical aspects of Quantum Wealth has not happened, so I am going to take matters into my own hands a bit more now.

I played a great scene with an old friend Sunday morning. Enjoyed the hell out of it and will never do it quite like that again. More clarity. I still want what I want. And won’t settle for less. I’d rather be single than unhappy.

My eating habits are pretty much back to something I can live with. I am still planning on some more fasting for cleansing and weight loss, but am much less susceptible to foods that hurt – and I’ve lost a chunk of weight, but still have much more to go.

What else?

I’m wishing for a bit of a larger living space, one maybe with the living room between the 2 bedrooms so that my roommate and I aren’t sharing a bedroom wall. That would be nice. Still, the rent here is wonderfully low, and lets me live really well for less. That and no car payment and I’m doing fine on that front.

Looking for a PhD that will work for making Ann’s Tale a dissertation, and maybe a different sort of book than I’ve been trying to write. Face it – I suck at telling stories. I’m too informational, too much information, too preachy. It just doesn’t come out as any kind of artfully told tale. But as a dissertation?  Something more textbookish? That’s more my thing.

The kittens are kind of in their Terrible Twos. They are 3 months old, too young to go outside on their own yet, and not till they’ve had their shots, but too old to run rampant through a small 2-bedroom condo… and doing it anyway. I will be glad when they can wear themselves out *out*side and be more placid around the plants and furniture. They *will* grow up. (Thank goodness they aren’t children – that would just take WAY too long!)

I’m totally single right now. There are always several bites on the dating sites, but so far, nothing I could sink my teeth into. No, wait, teeth would be bad. 🙂

Alright, I digress.

“We’ll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together guys . ”

      -Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Keep those cards & letters & phone calls coming!



 PS – Today’s latest Duhism is right in line with me…

HHGG Quote of the Day: 

 “I seem to be having a bit of trouble with my lifestyle.”  Arthur Dent

Help me help a friend

April 14, 2009

My friend, Steven Sashen, writes:

I’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks with the most unlightened beings I’ve never met, studying his faux-losophy.

His name is Bob Tzu, and he’s the long-lost American cousin of the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu founded Taoism. Bob Tzu teaches Duhism.

Bob says of the impractical wisdumb of Duhism: “The Duh cannot be understood by those who think.”

Meet him (and his family) yourself at

(then go to for my special plea… which, you may
get again later when I tell everyone I know about Bob and The Duh)

Oh, and PASS IT ON!

Twitter it. Facebook it. MySpace it. Blog it.

Any and all of the above.



Our Guessing Game by The Moody Blues

December 19, 2008

Our Guessing Game

Walking in the sand
Thinking of things, adventures in my mind
Tall ships that sail
Across the ocean wide
They wont wait for me
See the way they glide away so gracefully
And with tomorrow what will become of me
They leave me so much to explain
Thats the start of our guessing game

There are times when I think Ive found the truth
There are times when I know that Im wrong
And the days when I try to hide my fears
Bless the days when Im feeling strong
Bless the days when Im feeling strong

Wonder why we try so hard
Wonder why we try at all
You wonder why the world is turning around
When in the end it wont matter at all

Standing in the town
Looking at people, counting their frowns
Unhappy faces, hurrying around
So blind they cannot see
All of these things
The way life ought to be
And with tomorrow what will they make of me
It leaves me so much to explain
Thats the start of our guessing game

There are times when I think Ive found the truth
There are times when I know that Im wrong
And the days when I try to hide my fears
Bless the days when Im feeling strong
There are times when I think Ive found the truth
There are times when I know that Im wrong
And the days when I try to hide my fears
Bless the days when Im feeling strong
There are times when I think Ive found the truth

                                         – The Moody Blues


I would have included a YouTube link, but I can’t fine one.



Yes, We Can! Where Do I Start?

November 19, 2008

I got the article link below from a close friend, a man who bailed me out of my own economic recession about 5 years ago, inviting me to trade cooking for rent while I figured out what to do next. (Thank you for that.)

I replied to all that I tend to agree. We don’t see how yet, but an attitude of “Yes, We Can!” will take us a lot farther than pessimism and resignation. Remember the childhood truism, “can’t never could?” 

I’ve been coasting for a few years, not quite knowing what to do.

That’s not quite true.

I’ve been coasting with temporary jobs, that’s true enough. That has almost kept my bills paid. Nothing extra, but I have a place to live and food to eat.  I was able to buy a $650 car, and I bought a $600 laptop courtesy of our economic stimulus payment – because having a good laptop is likely to help me stimulate both my personal economy and the larger economy.  One of my skills is writing. Sometimes I even get paid for that.

While I’ve been treading water job-wise, I’ve been unraveling all kinds of other things.

My entire view of the world has shifted substantially. A decade ago, I started saying that I no longer had “beliefs,” that I tend to have “experiences.” For longer than that, the idea of “god” has been an optional concept – now I find that it actually holds me back. So did astrology, feng shui, affirmatons, manifrustration (err, manifestation ***) and more.

Optimist that I am, I think that as people start to question things like “The Secret” and other superstitious ideas that are not working, maybe a few will find a firmer foundation for thinking and decision-making.  Of course, then we have to wonder whether “we” actually “make” “our decisions.”   That’s a whole ‘nother question. 

(See The User Illusion by Tor Norretranders and Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, and On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You Are Wrong by Robert A. Burton.) 

I’m thrilled. I see things a lot more clearly now than ever.

I’m sure there is more – and I can hardly wait to find a truer way of experiencing anything that I’m lying to myself and others about. I’m less afraid of finding other places where I’ve been certain – but dead wrong.

In the wake of “Yes, We Can!” I am now asking, “Where Do I Start?”

With myself, of course, my thinking, my choices.

I’d like to put this value I have found to work helping others who are ready to discover the truth and the clarity that comes from questioning our thoughts, dropping our tensions and re-pairing seeming opposites in our thinking.

I’m almost glad that I have not been counseling or teaching much this past decade. I would have been misleading people a *lot*. It’s a good thing I didn’t finish the ministry program with University of Creation Spirituality, now Wisdom University. Even Graduate Theological Union may no longer be a fit, though the community near Berkeley might still be one I’d like.

I look forward to finding asnwers to “Where Do I Start?”

And you?


In fact, read any and all of these blogs – they counter a LOT of magical thinking errors that the “new age” community and others have been making for ohh. . . centuries.

And check out to learn the 4 questions and Turn Around that have been part of helping me to see where I’ve been lying to myself.



“Success is a side-effect of clarity.”

            – Steven Sashen, The Anti-Guru,

“Reality is kinder than your thinking – but only always.”

             – Byron Katie,

Opinion Polls and Their Biases

October 29, 2008

I am getting better and better on how to avoid biases in polls. 

I have been reading things this year that are helping me learn where I, we, human beings are likely to go wrong in interpreting data.  Here is a letter I sent to my sister, on the occasion of her forwarding a Newt Gingrich document with some opinions that totally lacked any information on the sampliing (size or composition) and its biases:

We, humans, myself included are prone to question things that we agree with *far* less than things we do not agree with.  The same would happen for me if I found some opinion poll that was based on a sample that agreed with my views, which of course, this does not – not remotely.
For more information on things like sample biases, and opinions about what will and won’t work I can recommend about 3 books that I’ve found very educational on how to interpret things like what you sent.
There is almost no bias here toward any position, just research on humans and how we make decisions and form opinions.
1.  How We Know What Isn’t So:  The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life  – Thomas Gilovich
2.  On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You Are Not  – Robert Burton
3.  Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
and then this one, maybe, which I have not read, but have on order:
4.  Blink:  The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell
I think it is good to learn how to think through these things and make decisions before we are railroaded by poorly-done studies and emotionally charged rhetoric that sways us because we already agree with something.

I may have already posted this elsewhere, but another important piece is to understand and notice Logical Fallacies. Here are two excellent links:

It is interesting to me how anyone who agrees with what that document (or voter information or advertisements or the news  or  . . . ) says might not question the validity of the sampling.

If we learned how to evaluate these things, at least by high school, I think it would help tremendously with things like how to vote.


September 30, 2008


Do they trigger you like they do me sometimes?

Of course they do. You’re an ape-descended bipedal carbon-based human being, right?  (Unless, of course, Ford Prefect is reading this blog now.)

Well, why? Why do differences trigger us so much?

We falsely believe that the way to be safe is for everything to be just like us. We try to control and manipulate people and situations until they give in to us.

How’s it working for you?

If you have done even one Re-Pairing or any kind of meditation or The Work of Byron Katie, you have at least begun to see that seeming “problems” are something to look forward to. Not only do they point out the peaceful blissful reality that is all around us in a way that we can experience it firsthand, they also help to keep us out of icky picky details that aren’t all that important.

Paul and I have a lot of differences:  musical taste, style of dress, furnishings, attitudes, etc. Lots. I mean – lots! 

My best summation is that it’s as if he grew up in the 40’s and I grew up in the 60’s. 

Many of our differences fit that pattern.


Well, so what?

Yes, I want my home decorated in Celtic style forest green, brown, black and cream colors, and yes, I find multi-colored decor with too many knick-knacks disturbing and unsettling. 

Yes, I find crooners and top 40 distasteful pollution of my ear space.

Yes, plaid shirts have been out since my grandfather’s day.

The man loves me.  I love him.

There are things more important than our different generational approaches to things.

Can we find the Still Point? 

Can we find the Peaceful Place?

The place that never moves?

I think we can and I want to try.



“Peace in our minds and in our lives is a cause-effect relationship.”

                                  – Me

Regarding the Email “Why Women Should Vote”

September 4, 2008

This morning I received an email of the text and photos you will find at the following link:

It begins:

“This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. ”

You can stop there if you want. Or you can read the rest of it and see the photos here:

I sent it out to my personal email list with this introduction:

Okay, the fallacy here is that we should vote because someone else suffered in order to get the privilege.
That isn’t true.
If it were, then if you suffer for getting women the privilege of snowshoeing in Alaska, then I should get myself to Alaska post haste and start snowshoeing my little heart out – NOT. 

 (Logic – a fine thing.)  

However, the story is interesting and I did not know a lot of this.  will explain many logical fallacies and give you examples that make them quite clear.

One of my friends, a wonderful woman, replied to me:

“Interesting point, Miss Stacy.  I think I might agree with you.
On the other hand, I get what this person is saying.  I ask: is it misguided to appreciate and recognize the efforts of women who went before us?
The word “should”, as you used it, sticks out in my mind.  Personally, “should” brings to my mind images of finger-wagging and clucking, nagging, maybe even guilt-tripping.  (And for the record, these are clearly *my* issues.  :>)  A guide pointing out the hard road someone took to get somewhere feels OK.  Using that example to strong-arm me into action, I feel slightly ornery.
Perhaps the real operative concept is choice.  We now have the choice of voting, or not voting.  I can imagine people who’ve had relatives die and get hurt to fight for us to have choices might feel that it’s a gift that we can repay by exercising the right.  But I’d rather exercise the choice.  Women fought for the right to do all sorts of jobs that men were allowed to do; good for them.  I appreciate the right.  But as much as I value having the choice to work a construction job, I’d not choose it.
Just some thoughts, random as they are.  Thanks for sending this along.”

She’s right. “Should” is in the title, “Why Women Should Vote.”  I have no idea whatsoever what anyone (male or female) should or shouldn’t do. They should do what they do. That’s all. (Thank you, Byron Katie and Steven Sashen.)

Wouldn’t it be refreshingly honest for someone to say, “I want you to do the same thing I do, believe the same thing I believe, because then I will get my way?” 

It is truer.

In fact, what is truer than that is that whoever is proposing this “should” thinks that they will be happier in the future if others follow their “should.” So, they stress and express and distress trying to get other people all stirred up to agree and go along and give them this imaginary future in which their fantasy of being happier will come true.

That’s one of the reasons I’m not as concerned, maybe not concerned in the same way, about the election as some people are. I am happy now. I am likely to be happy in the future. If I am unhappy, I might question my thoughts. Then again, I might just enjoy being unhappy until happy rolls around again. Doesn’t matter.

I can’t make myself believe that how other people vote or who is in office is going to substantially affect my future happiness. If you do, then feel free to go through the same questioning processes I did to find out otherwise, and see what you find out. It might be different. I don’t know. 

Oh, that would be The Work of Byron Katie. You can find instructions on how to “Do the Work” at  Totally up to you. It’s just an easy form in which to check this stuff.

Happy either happens now or it doesn’t happen at all. 


Try being happy yesterday – go ahead. Get on that!  Hurry up!

Try being happy tomorrow – c’mon. Do it! Well?  Are you there yet?

Well, you can’t you see. We’re not built that way.

It is far more effective to notice we are happy now.  (Umm, that one is Zooming in on Peace, one of Steven’s IAM Meditations.  Ann describes it on her page. See link on the right.) 

I don’t know what else to tell you.

Vote. Don’t vote.

Be happy. Don’t be happy.

It’s really all the same.

Oh heck!  That is Re-Paring the Universe, another IAM Meditation.  Seems I can’t hardly type about these without those being the most obvious next thought sometimes.

Well, in any case.

“Do whatever you do. Everything works.”  – Jim Leonard & Phil Laut



Letting Go

August 3, 2008


This post is partly to test and see if y’all are getting the feeds that I put out a new blog.  If you get this, would you write and let me know? Thank you!

So, for the last several years, I’ve felt like I was letting go and letting go and letting go.  I moved and let go of homes and roommates and even once in a while, my favorite place to live. I sold a car to go to Ireland and another thinking I was going to Berkeley.  I work temp jobs and let go of each one. Blah blah. You’ve heard about that.

The unexpected parts are things like letting go of new agey ideas, letting go of thinking astrology means anything, letting go of thinking the world needs to be changed or that I need to “improve” myself.

I still have dusty places to clean up with many of these things, and God (whoever that is) knows what I will let go of next, but I am nowhere near in the same place as I was even a few months ago. I notice this when listening to others. A friend I’ve known for some years started telling me about how Monday is Barak Obama’s birthday. That’s nice. And he is a Leo and something about Venus trining Pluto. My friend turns to me and says, “Stacy, you know what *that* means.”  And I just cracked up laughing and said, “Yes. Nothing.”

I could do that with him and not have him take it personally. He said, “Oh. Right, I know, but I still have fun with it.” OK, and I still find it hilarious that anyone thinks it means anything.

There was some discussion of other things that mean nothing. I enjoyed it.

Later in the conversation a new guy at the table said, “Well, that’s just an addiction.” And Steven replied, “I don’t even know what that is.” And I went, “Oh my, another one.” What does it mean that there is no such thing as an addiction? I hardly know how to tell you now that its’s so obvious.

It’s like the way humans survived by separating things we saw or heard from the background. It does us no good to miss the lion that stands out from the field. We had *better* notice that or die.

But what that led us to, was to thinking that these random and rare events, like lions, were a “pattern.” They’re not. The grass is more of a pattern.

Now think about addictions. Isn’t it true that one is not “engaging in the addiction” far more often than one is? Wow. What a freeing thought!

A junkie doesn’t sit there high all the time or a cigarette addict isn’t lighting up all the time. It happens once in a while. Sure, maybe 8 or 10 times a day, but what about the *rest* of the time!?  *That’s* the more common event – when they are *not* shooting up, lighting up or whatever.

I just marvel. I wish I had thought of these things myself and many, many years ago.

Oh. And another one. My friend, Pablo, called me, all excited, “Stacy, I just made $1000 on a $2500 investment.” That is the worst thing that could have happened. It makes him think he knows something about investing. It will cause him to *lose* far more money than he ever “wins.” I can almost guarantee it. I suggested he read “Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets” by Taleb. 

He asked if I had read it. Not yet, but I have it in a stack of similar books that I am reading to educate myself on how to think straight. Probably he will dismiss the book because I haven’t read it. Oh well. It might save him hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, but that is truly none of my business. It’s his to lose.

Me?  I’m going to read the book. Just as soon as I finish “How We Know What Isn’t So,” by Thomas Gilovich.  Oh, and “Smoke and Mirrors,” by Neil Gaiman. That one is fantasy – and labeled as such.

It’s the ideas that aren’t labeled as fantasy, we might want to learn to recognize.