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Writer-s-Bloc

Trumped up on Trump

By Ray Regan 

Trump! Trump! Trump is a term in card games. Today, it's a stand-out name that brings up emotions in folks all over the world:

  • joy
  • pride
  • faith
  • anger
  • rage,
  • disgust. 

I'm in the neutral camp, or I like to think I am. It's a big shame because I protect myself by not getting sucked into the media frenzy and feeling the juiciness of my anger and disgust.

I read theSkimm, which covers world headlines with humour. My wife and millions of other people around the world delve into every word to feed their anger.

I tell people I owe him (Trump), because my wife has turned her anger away from me and toward Trump. We (my wife and I) get along quite nicely now.

Most people of reason see him for the divisive, small-minded racist that he is and worry about his actions affecting the world order, the environment and a life away from war. "The world order" sounds a little 1984ish, a futuristic, totalitarian surveillance state.

The puzzle is why people support him, idolize him? Like the Republican party  and his "base."

How do these, many educated intelligent people live with his bizarre behaviour, his vulgar statements about women and people of colour. 

How do they support him and filter and ignore his derogative statements and actions? We can only speculate. And the overabundant media coverage I mentioned, I think he has raised the ire of intelligent journalist.

They sooth their anger by writing negative op-eds about him or reporting his buffoonery on TV daily. It feeds his fire!

On the human side, I have compassion for Trump; he is suffering. Trump must struggle mentally every minute of the day. His mental health, his mind must be on the edge of disaster. Who would want to live in his fear filled, troubled, jealous, hateful head? 

If he had been born in another circumstance — in poverty, the middle class, or born black — he'd be just like us, another angry person who never got the affection, recognition and caring from a father, a father who suffered and didn't know any better himself.

He has power, that's our worry.

I didn’t think he would last; I didn't think he would win the Republican nomination; I didn't think he would win the presidency. I thought he would implode over some slight, maybe a critical tweet from Lady Gaga that would push him over the edge.

Said this every year, but...

The bottom line for me — I'll do something when it becomes appropriate; when he does something, an illegal act so outrageous that even his evangelical base can't deny (not a marginal Democrat, trumped-up past action), something blatant. I'll get active and do whatever I can to help get him out of office. 

I just hope it's not too late.

Ray Regan is a grandfather and writer living in Chester County, Pa.





Turning a new page

By Michael Van Soest 

Change is constant, from the vibration of molecules to the rotation of the planets and stars. Just as the seasons change, so do we.

Every so often in life we wonder, “why is it so difficult to change?” In most cases, it's a personal habit or pattern.

We attempt our best to quit or change something about us, and it works for a little while, but then we find our self right back to where we were before.

Although everyone is unique with different answers for them, often, the key reason why we hold certain habits, patterns and or behaviors is because of a deep underlying emotion.

An emotion with a specific meaning we haven’t truly identified, made sense of and dealt with yet. This again, is different for everyone.

What if changing were easier than you thought? With the right tools and techniques, long-lasting change has never been easier.

As we continue our life, the story continues. The sense of enjoyment may be as simple as completely turning the page.

It seems we may get stuck on certain aspects of where we are in life, not fully being able to change or completely turning the page in our life.

We have every reason to move forward and make the most out of life.

“The brain is a far more open system than we ever imagined, and nature has gone very far to help us perceive and take in the world around us,” wrote neuroscienctist Dr. Norman Diodge.

“It has given us a brain that survives in a changing world by changing itself.”

It’s not always easy seeing the forest through the trees. Studies have shown it is faster to change and upgrade who we are from an outside perspective then doing it our self.

We’ve all been there, wanting to do it all our self to prove we could.

What if you had more time to live your higher potential making a bigger difference in the world, living the life you had dreamed, but the only thing in the way is trying to change.

We don’t have to do things alone -— Changing being one of them.

One of the easiest ways to change effectively is to identify the underlying reasoning behind a habit, or pattern so that behaviour has no meaning left to it.

Hypnotherapy is an incredible tool to do just that.

If you were to wake up every morning and feel happy, free, feel like you want to be pulled out of bed to continue your adventure... would one day, one week, even one year sooner, be worth it to you?

With hypnotherapy, efficient long-lasting change has been proven time and time again to help people free themselves from their patterns or habits.

What is hypnotherapy and how does it work?

Hypnotherapy is based on hypnosis, a state of consciousness involving focused attention and deep relaxation. This allows for the communication between the conscious mind (logic and reason) and subconscious mind (emotions, beliefs, memories, passions etc.)

The subconscious mind regulates our breathing, emotions heartbeat, body temperature, habituated behaviours etc. which may also be defined as our autopilot mode.

Until we are seven, our brainwaves are incredibly slow, beginning at delta first two years, then increasing to Theta (this is known to be the frequency range of our subconscious).

As infants, we absorb reality more then we will our entire life. An estimated 80 per cent of who we are, by the time we are an adult, is recorded between from birth to age seven.

Through hypnosis, by slowing down our brainwaves to a theta state, we then can access the truth of who we are, the depth and the reason for our habits or patterns.

Hypnosis has many misconceptions, the most common being that a hypnotherapist will make you lose control of your mind and make you cluck like a chicken.

This is 100 per cent not the case. If someone clucks like a chicken, it is because they wanted to do it on some level. The people who do not want to cluck like a chicken, simply won’t.

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Meaning no one, not even the hypnotherapist, has power over you or anyone.

In fact, the client is in complete control, some may say in more control of themselves as they become in tune with their feelings. The client will know to a greater degree when something is okay or not.

At any point in time, the client can easily move out of hypnosis at will.

During a hypnosis session, the client may feel a sense of ease and very relaxed. Completely calm with comfortable breathing. It has been described as feeling like your about to fall asleep yet still conscious and able to hear the hypnotist.

Some of the benefits:

  • Stop smoking cessations
  • Increased self-worth to change careers
  • Greater self confidence
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Reduce stress and calm your nerves Sleep better
  • Identify and reduce pain
  • Release repressed trauma

Truth isn’t always easy to hear, especially coming from other people, however, what if that truth was coming from you as a vision or feeling?

Hypnosis can do just that, It allows for the client to tune right into their memories, their long time agreements, commitments, the resistance the client may be holding against their change. All of this with of course professional guided direction.

Most cases the hypnotist does not know or hear what the client is seeing, and only has a perception of the subtle signs and shifts the client is making. Again, at any point may the client choose to come out of hypnosis.

If there was ever a time where you had some type of resistance with change or moving forward in life, what would your life look like if you moved through it easily?

Letting go of the pages you’ve already written may be that sense of ease you need to move forward with your own story.

The tools to help are available.

Michael Van Soest can be reached at [email protected] or 250-267-9039. Call or book a complimentary 30-minute session with reference to this article.



A rabbi's reflections

By Rabbi Shmuly Hecht 

I love wishing people happy birthday.

Sometimes though, I’ll encounter a student, child, or friend who really can’t stand their birthday.

It makes them feel sad. “I wish I was never born” they might say. Or “what am I doing here anyway?” might be the response.

Well, the Talmud records that when the evil Haman cast lots (in Hebrew, ‘Purim’) to determine the most opportune month to annihilate the Jewish nation (in approximately 357 BCE), he was overjoyed when the dice landed on the Hebrew month of Adar.

It was on the seventh day of this month that Moshe Rabeinu (Moses) passed away, a seemingly obvious bad omen for the Jews.

Historically, better records were usually kept of death anniversaries then of birthdays. Since there was no Google back then, Haman had no way of knowing that the seventh of Adar, was also Moshe’s birthday.

Indeed, because the merit of Moshe’s birth is so colossal, the entire month has historically become the most auspicious 30 days on the Jewish calendar, outweighing any negative omen from his passing.

This triggered what the Book of Esther describes as “Venahafoch Hu” -— which means “topsy turvy” — the ultimate reversal of fortunes. Haman and his sons were killed, his evil plot foiled, and the Jewish people were miraculously spared - gaining a major holiday from the whole ordeal, “Chag Purim” (Holiday of Purim).

So the word “Purim” became kind of like a Hebrew “egregious,” just backward, or “reading from right to left” sort-of-speak.

Instead of going from “remarkably good” to “outstandingly bad,” which (for those who may not know) is the history of the word “egregious,” Purim went from an association with “outstandingly bad,”  to “remarkably good.”

From being the cause of fright, evil and senseless anti-semitic hate, to becoming a holiday of abounding Joy, sharing, caring and love. All because of a birthday.

This unique transformative birthday power should not be seen as reserved for the spiritual elite.

True in Moses’ case, it was still effective even a thousand years later, but the birth of every person marks the beginning of a new divine mission in our universe, and is cause for celebration and transformation during their lifetime.

When a baby is born, a new light begins to shine in the world. The light of this soul’s long awaited positive impact on our world. A light, that only they can kindle. Year by year, as we utilize our unique strengths, this light shines brighter and clearer.

No matter how often we stumble or how broken we may feel at times, we still have so much to accomplish and it’s never too late.

There will always be someone else out there who is more in need than you, waiting to be touched by a thoughtful person like you.

Look up! That person might just be standing in front of you right now.

With this attitude, we can transform “death like” circumstances and feelings, into successful “rebirths” and celebrations.

So on your birthday, study something meaningful, say a prayer and be charitable. Celebrate your indispensable purpose in this world, beginning with doing for others first.

Shmuly Hecht is the rabbi at Chabad Okanagan in Kelowna. www.JewishOkanagan.com



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Mind buzz antidote

By Ray Regan 

Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" was found guilty; will he bust out of Supermax in Colorado, too? What a movie! The tunnel…he could tunnel under a Wall…

El Chapo’s billions could fund a Trumped-up wall…but the dude did so much evil…and do we really want a big fence…”♪Don’t fence me In ♬”...

Focus, Ray! Stick to the point. This is about meditation, remember, about chilling out your discursive thoughts.

Meditation is the latest buzz, popular, like not eating one-pound burgers, becoming a gym rat, and sleeping more (unless you're driving). Meditation is more than a trend, it’s mind-health.

So why aren’t you doing it?

One reason is fear; we think we can’t sit still. Or its fear of our racing thoughts —“my mind is so messy and busy.”

But millions of people with freaky thoughts and overactive minds that keep them up at night, try meditation.

This article is not about how to meditate, there are great books and teachers for that. Its focus is quick facts:

  • what I learned during 10 years of meditation
  • the misconceptions
  • to encourage you to try it.

I’ll talk about the concept of meditation and the end game. Meditating, (becoming Aware) is a life changer!  Also, you don’t have to give up your religion to do it.

More About Mind:

Here's the skinny. The secret truth is, most people have similar thoughts (unless you’re my Uncle Fred); you're not alone in the thought game.

We all have self-deprecating thoughts, our minds jump around like a monkey from one worrying thought to another; we think we're going crazy at times — we have pleasant thoughts along with guilt, and shame — and anger (maybe lots of anger!).

Life is tough, maybe you got kicked by a horse growing up (or maybe it was your mom or dad). We have funny thoughts, then get depressed.

No big deal, it’s all just life.

Also, we have conversations in our heads and distract ourselves. My biggies are an internal battle over going to the gym, rehearsing future conversations obsessively, and my favourite distraction is drifting off into fantasy land.

These are all part of being human. Meditation helps us understand ourselves — to get in touch with our basic goodness. To learn that we’re enough, in spite of what we otherwise think.

Rules:

Study meditation, learn the rules and then throw out the rigid 'how-tos.” I wasted years thinking that a straight back and crossed legs were it, that correct posture was the secret to meditating. A

s well intended as the different methods and teachers are — they are just methods. Whether you focus on the breath at the tip of your nose or your chest expanding is not essential.

Don’t get me wrong you do need to study meditation. I learned it from books, podcasts, videos online and teachers. Find a method that works for you.

Expectations: Forget them

Throw out any expectations; like you're going to be calm, relaxed and stress-free, and that meditating will make your life blissful. That’s not real. Meditation is about being curious. Just seeing what comes up.

Have faith that the practice will work in the long run. Expectations or wanting a specific result will hinder progress and make you quit in frustration.

Mediation is a long game like baseball, boring at times, but worth the effort. With practice, you’ll make hits and even home runs in the future. So, get over your yogic thoughts and just do it.

Good or bad: I hate dichotomies, but due to conventions, I’ll use the words. In reality there is no good or bad, it’s all just meditation. Some sittings will be focused and the very next day you'll be climbing the walls with boredom or impatience, thinking about yesterdays argument with your partner.

This is all part of meditation.

Why:

What’s the point? Mindfulness means being aware.

The idea is to recognize when your mind drifts off — and return to the present moment. (Simple) You'll get to know how you think and to process that to become the person you want to be; more tender, kind (including to yourself), patient and compassionate, while functioning and at a higher mental level in everyday life.

Method:

Sit in a way that is comfortable. The point is to learn how to relax into the meditation, without consciously trying. You’ll get it with practice. In the beginning, you might squirm around; thoughts cause feelings and some feelings make you antsy.

You’ll learn to deal with that, too.

Also, meditation is not about stopping thoughts. We need this function. Thinking, our consciousness is how we became advanced mammals (unlike my Uncle Fred) The target for meditation is to let our thoughts drift by without engaging them.

For example, when you run off on a riff while meditating like “What’s for lunch, pizza or a salad?  Oh, I could try that new chile enchiladas...no fatso, go with the salad”…When you catch yourself during that cluster of thoughts and gently go back to the breath — you’re meditating.

You have to practise and experience it for yourself. And be warned, it’s hard to stick with, but worth the price. It can change your life, buddy.

Advanced:

The end game is non-meditation! Although I still do formal meditation, daily. (Confused?)

Mediation is a tool to uncover a level of consciousness hidden inside all of us. A high functioning state of mind, what Lock Kelly calls, “Open Hearted Awareness” or what Tibetan’s call Dzogchen — athletes taste it when they're in the ”flow state.”

It’s concentrated and creative. You function outside of the Self — beyond your ego identity. You shift onto awareness, your open-hearted, compassionate self.

This is not new age dreamy theory; millions of people, including me, experience it every day. Some people learn quickly, others like me, take longer — but anyone can do it.

So why not give it your best shot?

Ray Regan is a grandfather and writer living in Chester County, Pa.



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