What Is Real? Vs. What Is Fake?

What is happening in the world has upset many of my clients from fears of climate change, the environmental issues, the migration of peoples, and the world politic to name a few. Some feel captured in their emotions and are living is a state of mind by a paralyzing anxiety that causes them to go from A to Z and the end of the world in their thinking.

The Victorian English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) in his poetry describes his despair about man and himself in his poem Carrion Comfort:

Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;

Ruminating repeatedly and catastrophic thinking creates feelings of dread and despair. Despairing is a passive aggressive activity against the self. There seems to come a point when one feels consumed by their hopelessness and gloom. The anguish of their despairing thoughts causes them to ask why bother and what is the point of it all. They want this state of mind to end. At the extreme end of this preoccupation a glimmer of hope might start to enter. The poet states: “Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be…”

Some people seem so confused and depressed over the world’s daily news that they have wondered aloud what can be done. What is real? What is fake? How can I know? What can I trust? Hopkins seems to imply that this emotional suffering can eat away at one enough that what is not true can start to fall away. Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear…

A person can begin to trust their own life process and intuit their own right contribution to their world from right where they are. He said, All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.

A person can sit still, follow their breath, and relax into their own body to gain personal relief. Life’s meaning and purpose can reveal itself. As a priest Hopkins probably prayed, meditated, and contemplated. In the following quote he states, Elected Silence, sing to me And beat upon my whorlèd ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I care to hear.

By sitting quietly and listening to yourself and your own intuition as Hopkins explained, Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.

“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.” ─ Gerard Manley Hopkins

Loneliness

The Lonely Hunter

“Deep in the heart of summer, sweet is life to me still, But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.” ─ William Sharp

The heart is a Lonely Hunter; this book title was derived from sharp’s poem The Lonely Hunter. The poem refers to personal isolation and the love-hate relationship about being alone and feeling lonely.

Loneliness

“The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.” ─ Norman Cousins

I have noticed that many people I have worked with have a difficult time during the holiday season time of the year and cannot wait for the holidays to be over. Sometimes they sit with strong feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is a state of feeling cut off from and perhaps longing for connection, love and heart. Some people may experience a lack of contact either physically or emotionally with others. Loneliness is not to be confused with solitude and a quiet time to reflect and restore their vitality. It is like being in a solitary confinement. Some people just have a disposition toward being alone.

Loneliness causes people to question and ask themselves why am I here and why was I born, what is my purpose and life’s mission, how can I discover my own niche in life that is a perfect fit for me?

As we are quickly winding down 2018 have you had any feelings or thoughts about your coming year? Are you wondering what is in store for you in 2019? Do you have a felt sense, instinct or an insight as to your own personal direction in life?

This is a good month, the last month of the yearly cycle to contemplate your life’s possibilities. Take a few moments to review your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and your insights by paying attention to what has floated in and out of your mind.

Consider allowing yourself to be an intuitive visionary for your own life to fulfill your heart’s desire. See and look, listen to yourself, and be aware if any answers to your questions are being transmitted to you. Are the new thoughts and ideas that have come to you the food you need for further investigation and exploration on your path?

“When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?” ─ Epictetus

 

Blame, Fault, and Guilt

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.” ─ Albert Einstein

After noticing that there is often confusion about the “blame game” by some of my clients within their interpersonal relations, I began to wonder about the differences betwixt and between blame, fault, and guilt.

Blame – Be Lame

“When people are lame they love to blame.” ─ Robert Kiyosaki

 When a person is blamed for something whether they did it or not they will feel diminished and their sense of self feels “lame.” When you are blamed this type of disapproval stresses a sense of being held liable. When one is blamed even accused of something the person can feel responsible when censured. Censure produces the feeling of being condemned. As a person sits within this feeling they are experiencing a felt sense of self-attack.

Fault

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
─Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

 When you feel at fault or told it is your fault the resulting self criticism is that of failure. To experience a feeling of failing or failure seems to imply a weakness or lack of ability to measure up to some standard that one is held to. Again this is a familiarity within an incident of self attack.

Guilt

“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves—at what we did or did not do…” ─Peter McWilliams

When you feel the sinking feeling of guilt, as the offender of some breach of a standard of conduct or a moral culpability, it stresses a guilty offense and not just a practical shortcoming. A person accepts guilt, decides that they are guilty. It is another self attack encounter through one’s own self criticism or judgment.

Perhaps these descriptions can help one recognize the practice of self attack or beating oneself up. It is possible to start catching yourself in these dynamics by being aware of your thoughts and feelings and then changing your mind and reframing the spin you tell yourself. As William James said, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”

© Ozimkiewicz

Hold Your Horses

“Will is to grace as the horse is to rider.”  ─ Saint Augustine 

The horse throughout the ages has had many meanings. One significant and important association with a horse is that it can be a symbol of riding one’s instincts. A divining power can be offering up guidance and/or a warning to its rider. There are many fairy tales, fables and legends that tell about the horse’s uncanny ability to be of help through intuitive understanding; even the horse-shoe brings luck. It is this unconscious instinctual horse power that is the invisible vehicle that is ridden, followed, and heard. Sometimes a person might put their ear to the ground of their being to listen to this horse sense as they become their own horse whisperer. This kind of listening might require slowing down like an old horse.

 

Wait a Minute

 

Some people use horse sense which is like having the use of common sense but it is not always enough. The inner ear, the intuitive ear has horse symbols within it. An interesting horse like clue to the use of the inner ear is that part of its makeup includes the small bones; the hammer, anvil, and stirrup that work together for your benefit. According to The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols spiritual hearing is considered to be an older ability than spiritual seeing.

 

A way to hear and listen is to decelerate and reduce the hurrying, take a break, relax, breathe, and be still. Then notice and pay attention to that quiet voice that might speak to you almost like a whisper. Listen and be aware of what is heard. Clients will often wonder and ask how they will know when to start, when to make a change, when to wait or when to go. Robert Browning said, “Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!”  This can be like a horse of another color. Your personal will power can be harnessed with a willingness to follow your heart’s desire by holding onto the reins of your heart as you click into action and decide to move forward on your own path.

 

 … While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.
There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.

…What joy to find freedom a while from your yoke!
What bliss to be launched with the luck of the start
On the old one, the proved one, the horse of your heart!

                Excerpts from The Horse of Your Heart ─ William Henry Ogilvie

 

 “The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never.”  ―Yiddish Proverb

 

 

The Cloud on the Ground

“The fog is like a cage without a key.”   ─ Daniel J. Boorstin

Fog

Fog is defined as a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that obscures or restricts visibility. Fog as a metaphorical comparison is a cloudiness that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought processes by bewildering or puzzling a person so that their perceptions are vague.

Sometimes a client will say that they have a sullen type of mood and I will ask them about what their experience of this internal condition is like. A few have described their experience as if they are living in a fog, a brain fog that has slowly crept upon them. Others have implied that their fog is like a veil of grayness unlike smog which is a tan smoke like color. For some it denotes a brooding dimness like living in a cloudy netherworld. It is a place removed and below the light of a bright and clear consciousness. The fog obscures direction and movement. The passage out is blocked. Thick fog at ground level feels like living inside a drab damp cloud. This dreary emotional gray will cause the person to have misty or moist eyes as the cloudy feeling is expressed and even a tear might form.

The following poem by Carl Sandburg expresses through a cat metaphor poetically described the experience of being in a fog.

Fog

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

A psychological interpretation might suggest that the cat is an invisible instinct that can stealthily slink and sneak up to a person thus making its presence known. Both the fog and cat are independent and there are no rules to its silent and quiet movements. Both can hover and look over various situations and yet they can move on quickly and disappear. As the fog comes and goes it reminds us that a foggy brain is in a hazy state of confusion. This affect seems like it will last forever as the person lives in a state of perpetual uncertainty. It will in the end be a temporary situation and not a permanent condition. This experience of being in a fog is also an act of trust that things will burn off, clear up, and the light of consciousness will return.

“Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.” ─ Black Elk

Happy Valentine’s Day

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires; To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Historically, February has been the month of romance and love. The need to give, experience, and receive love are topics that my client’s bring in with them from time to time. Longing for love is a common feeling for many people. February is that time of year that we are reminded about love in our life or the lack of it. The following is adapted from articles at History.com.

The Legend of St. Valentine and the story are mysterious, existing since the third century A.D. and contain ancient Christian and Roman influences. Catholic tradition acknowledges that there are three different martyred saints named Valentine or Valentinus. Legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Another imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the middle ages, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial which occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance survived Lupercalia and the initial rise of Christianity yet was outlawed as “un-Christian” at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later that the day became defined with love. In France and England in the Middle Ages, the belief was that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance with Valentine greetings. The written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Later on, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings in addition to the USA it is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In17th century Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their sentiments in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper mail rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

 

Happy Holiday Anti-Stress Kit for Everyone

 “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better living conditions.” ─ Hafiz

“Happy Holidays” and all the best in the “New Year” to you and yours

 Here is the Anti Stress Kit to help you and yours relax by lifting up spirits during this stressful time of year. The kit is a charming way to bring a smile to anyone’s face. As a thoughtful gift you can collect each of the following items, place them in a little gift bag, print out the following content explanation and add to the bag. Attach a cute topper and give as a gift.

Here are my thoughts and wishes for you. Enjoy!

Anti-Stress Kit

An eraser, so you can make all your mistakes disappear.

A penny, so you will never say, “I’m broke.”

Marbles, in case someone says, “you’ve lost yours.”

A rubber band, to stretch yourself beyond your limits.

String, to tie things together when everything falls apart.

A piece of fabric to patch things up.

And a hug and a kiss to remind you that someone, somewhere cares about you.

The author is unknown to me.

 

Intelligence and Smarts

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid” ─ Einstein

 Many clients of mine have wondered about their own intelligence and “smarts.” They have asked themselves if they are intelligent enough. After learning about the 8 “signs” of intelligence I wanted to share this information for anyone interested to know their own MI Components. It is also a way to be able to understand one and their interests better. I recently attended an Adlerian Psychology workshop that was presented by Wes Wingett Ph.D. He gave the following information about MI (Multiple Intelligence) and the work of Howard Gardner.

The Components of MI

For something to qualify as intelligence, it has to satisfy Howard Gardner’s eight “signs” of intelligence. After extensive research, Gardner identified eight, distinct intelligences. These are what comprise his theory of Multiple Intelligences:

Spatial

The ability to conceptualize and manipulate large-scale spatial arrays (e.g. airplane pilot, sailor), or more local forms of space (e.g. architect, chess player).

Bodily-Kinesthetic

The ability to use one’s whole body, or parts of the body (like the hands or the mouth), to solve problems or create products (e.g. dancer).

Musical

Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre. May entail the ability to sing, play musical instruments, and/or compose music (e.g. musical conductor).

Linguistic

Sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections, and meter of words (e.g. poet). (Sometimes called language intelligence.)

Logical-mathematical

The capacity to conceptualize the logical relations among actions or symbols (e.g. mathematicians, scientists). Famed psychologist Jean Piaget believed he was studying the range of intelligences, but he was actually studying logical-mathematical intelligence.

Interpersonal

The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations (e.g. negotiator). (Sometimes called social intelligence.)

Intrapersonal

Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals, and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits. Intrapersonal intelligence is not particular to specific careers; rather, it is a goal for every individual in a complex modern society, where one has to make consequential decisions for oneself. (Sometimes called self intelligence.)

Naturalistic

The ability to make consequential distinctions in the world of nature as, for example, between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another (e.g. taxonomist). (Sometimes called nature intelligence.)

“Intelligence is really a kind or taste: taste in ideas” ─ Susan Sontag

Flattery – a Subtle Art of Deception

“Flattery is refined deception–it is the froth of language–it is the alcohol of social intercourse–it is the prescription of the subtle–and the nectar of fools.”   William Scott Downey

A flatterer is a person who often insincerely lavishes praise and compliments upon another person for a personal gain. Sometimes the flatterer is referred to as a brown-noser, bootlicker, yes-man, and suck-up. A flattering remark enlarges as it is an inflated expansion of praise. A person would not question such exalted words because it sounds and feels so good. On occasion, a client will tell me about wonderful words that were said to them that really inflated their sense of self as it also gave them pleasure like biting into a sweet, juicy, and delicious ripe peach. They will ask themselves the question can this person really mean what they said to me. The question that they ask themselves over and over again, “is it true”

Some people use praise to get their way or what they want by lavishing superlatives and flowery words upon another because it calls up an actual emotion in the other. Many people will eat that up like fertilizing compost that nourishes as well as sustains them. It reinforces their good feelings about themselves. As a manipulating tool it is a dissembler. Flattering adulation can veil the emotional manipulation. Such praise, admiration, and exaltations can cause a bewilderment and confusion in an individual. It might soften and disguise ones real perception about what has been said. It acts as a smoke screen by clouding the flatterer’s real intention. Then one is easily and craftily manipulated.

Both men and women can experience a particular sweet talker who expresses such smooth talking lines as if they are poured over them like a thick scrumptious gravy. In her song Strong Enough Sheryl Crow sings about flattery as a lie. These lyrics convey the emotional feeling that is generated by flattery.

Are you strong enough to be my man

Lie to me, I promise I’ll believe

Lie to me, but please don’t leave

I have a face I cannot show

I make the rules up as I go

Just try and love me if you can

The following fable clearly shows the use of flattery as a “dissembler.” It is a dissembler because it is a specific type of bending and stretching of a truth that a person would not doubt or have a reservation about, let alone question. Flattery can cause one to lose something of value.

The Fox and the Crow

A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.

“That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree.

“Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.”

The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.

“That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future: “Do not trust flatterers.” ─ Aesop

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.” ─ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

© Ozimkiewicz

Rancid Emotions

Chunks of water from my essence slips

Setting my heartbeat into rewind.

With a heart heavy, my eyes spits

Rancid emotions, my teeth I grind. ─ Alozor Michael Ikechukwu

Sometimes experiencing a particular emotional state over and over again seems to produce a rancid emotion. The word rancid is from the Latin rancidus ‘stinking.’ As an example just think of butter that is rancid. It is old and stale.  If you happen to get a taste on your tongue it leaves a stinking taste in your nose and mouth. It sure does not have the clean, clear, and freshly made delicious butter quality. Rancid emotions are unpleasant and rank as they are decomposing in a person. Because of these emotions sometimes a person will make a “stink.”

At times, clients have indicated that they feel rankled by a festering emotion and a persistent irritation or resentment that has embittered their life. They want to be free of the gall that needles them daily.

Such strong lingering emotions such as sorrow, hate, fear, anger can sour people over time. I’ve chosen the following nursery rhyme, 3 Little Kittens, to convey a feeling essence.

This Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme talks about crying in the form of meeowing as the kittens experience frustration, sadness, badness, naughtiness, anger, regret, loss, and sorrow and finally finding a just reward of approval.

3 Little Kittens

Three little kittens they lost their mittens, and they began to cry,”Oh mother dear, we sadly fear that we have lost our mittens.” “What! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie.” “Meeow, meeow, meeow, now we shall have no pie.” The three little kittens they found their mittens, And they began to cry, “Oh mother dear, see here, see here For we have found our mittens.” “Put on your mittens, you silly kittens And you shall have some pie” “Meeow, meeow, meeow, Now let us have some pie.” The three little kittens put on their mittens And soon ate up the pie, “Oh mother dear, we greatly fear That we have soiled our mittens.” “What! Soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!” Then they began to cry, “Meeow, meeow, meeow” Then they began to sigh. The three little kittens they washed their mittens And hung them out to dry, “Oh mother dear, do you not hear That we have washed our mittens.” “What! Washed your mittens, you are good kittens.” But I smell a rat close by, “Meeow, meeow, meeow” we smell a rat close by…

Interpretation

A therapeutic resolution to rancid emotional states is about being heard and listened to. It is possible that the crying as a mee ow is really an expression that means me or my own hurt that is an ouchy or owie inside of oneself. Often the feeling of loss of a protective caring causes the kittens to meeow. Cats and kittens can represent young or mature independent instinctual possibilities within a person. A person’s own instinctual nature and nurturing self-care helps one to find relief as the person seeks to understand the emotional state that they were captured by. Food is often associated with taking in comfort and love. The pie that the mother cat made might be a symbol of feeding you love and self acceptance. The kittens start to take care of themselves when they take off their mittens and wash them thereby cleaning things up. They ask their mother cat to hear that. Then she calls them good and gives them the approval and validation that they need. This might be approving in a mature way of one’s self. At the end the mother cat smells a rat and the kittens may sense that they have to go out into the daily rat race of life. There is the need to take care of their own feelings now as they struggle with their encounters with the ratty things in life.

“To awaken to the living dream within one’s life and remain awake involves repeated struggle, yet also presents something truly worth fighting for. Each individual soul has its share of genius and a core of imagination that can transcend the collective anxiety and the chaos in the world.”  ─ Michael Meade