Karma or Kharma

Do unto others

Well, they say, it’s a bitch and what goes around comes around. Over the past few years, I have battled with this concept thinking that I must have played one helluva practical joke or prank on someone influential in my past life. Frankly, I just don’t think Karma exists.

And how does Karma deal with those children who are subjected to abuse and violence?

And how does Karma deal with war and the effects on innocent people?

I think Karma was a sensible dictum instructing the mass not to engage in retaliations or revenge. Because we all know what happens when Peter hits Paul, well Paul gets angry and hits Peter back … next thing you know, rockets are fired over borders and tanks are rolling across fields.

Did you know that World War One was started when someone from one country shot an important (but less liked) person from another country. Rather than settling the score right then and there, one of them secured the backing of Germany, and the other called on Russia for support, then one month later they came together for a ‘great fisticuffs with bullets’ … other countries joined in, and four years later and well over 20 million lives lost, the war ended.

Shame the knowledge of Karma wasn’t as widespread in the western world as it was amongst the Hindu’s and Buddhist’s at that time.

I guess in the end, the ability to deal with setbacks – or outright failures – is really at the heart of a successful, and happy, person.

Over time and personally, I have found that some of life’s surprises can be really tough, and some people out there can be totally intolerable … but with the help from some truly good friends, a psychologist and the right ‘brain’ pills, you can indeed be treading along a happy place.

Nighty night.

Blog Review

Dave Dixon is a 50-something who has a blog. Besides having a blog, Dixon also was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2009. To combat that disease, he has undergone a procedure that is called a Radical Prostatectomy, meaning that his Prostate Gland has been surgically removed in full, and that was followed by 6 weeks of Radiotherapy. He has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and is taking meds to battle those.

On ddixon.me, the blog Dave fills with rants, opinions and updates on his condition, stands out because of his humor. Dave writes about terrible things, things we don’t want anyone going through, and I quickly found his style a bit particular, but in a good way.

Being someone who tries to see something humorous in every situation myself, I appreciate the levity with which he often writes about his ordeal. Not because I believe that every situation has something funny in it, but because I believe that dealing with something this big with a bit of levity just makes it more bearable.

Obviously, as somebody who does not know Dave personally (I contemplated calling him Mr. Dixon in this review, but that just felt weird, having read a lot about his life), I at times felt some difficulty pinpointing whether a particular joke was a brave attempt at hiding his feelings or a genuine glance of his humorous personality.

The obvious journey when reading the blog in chronological order is that of the man who is ill, venturing down a slippery path that, in ideal conditions, leads back to his full health, with the notable exception of his Prostate Gland, that was removed years ago.

The less obvious journey, yet equally interesting to read, although I might be reading to much into it, is the journey of a man that both seems to come to terms more and more with his physical illness and the psychological fallout it causes. And a man whose writing improves visibly with every blogpost, but that’s true of nearly everyone who frequently writes.

It goes to far to summarize the blog in this interview, and I do not like spoilers. I highly recommend visiting ddixon.me, going to the very first post and then just start reading. You will find it hard to peel yourself away from the screen or to prevent yourself from skipping ahead. You want to know what happens, and you want to know now!

If there is one little flaw, it is that sometimes humor forces actual informing the readers to the backseat, but that is a logical thing and often seen in personal blogs. Those are written by and for the person blogging, as a means to vent, rant and just get things out of their head. Not to have every word dissected by some stranger on the other side of the globe.

tim
Tim Bruls

Honestly, I’m from the Savage Islands

Savageisland Yup, that’s right … secret is out, “Je suis de la Savage Islands”. Actually, let me tone this claim down a tad to, “I WAS from the Savage Islands”.

My mother and her forebears were savages, she begat a Savage-ling in 1962, in Auckland (an almost savage place).

And then much to my dismay some smart bastard in their wisdom decided to rename the Savage Islands to Niue Island.

So at some point of time, Google Earth would have proudly boasted five Savage Islands, and now there are only four, with one simply discounted as ‘formerly known as Savage Island’.

Shakespeare was wrong when he penned, inked or feathered the phrase, “A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet”. Names have power. Why do you think parents spend so much time on naming their babies,

… look at me, I say ‘David’, and people immediately visualise ‘muscles and success’.

I would have been known as the kid from the Savage Islands when I was at school. Everyone would have picked me to be to be in their rugby team, and begged me to protect them from the bullies. Instead of a yellow flag today, it could have been a skull, and cross-bones, black not yellow, and zombies being hacked to death by us native Savages.

The name David was quite common in the 60’s and 70’s, likewise with other biblical names in the new testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, etc). The trend today appear to fashion names from a piece of fruit in the local supermarket, or some point off a compass … what’s with that?

I should start giving human names to my fruit.

Anyway, must go and look for Poody (the cat) and Buubuu (the dog).

Alcoholism

Alcoholic
Drinking to make other people more interesting

I overheard an interesting statement made by someone recently. He stood proudly alongside the announcement he had just made, ‘… I am an Alcoholic…’, and when quizzed about how long he had been off the turps, he replied, “25 years”.

“Oh!”, me thinks … if he’s been off the nectar for that long, why is he still scratching the surface of this scab. It just sounds so negative to be giving yourself a label when you have proven to be a tower of strength and a conqueror over a terrible dependency.

I certainly don’t hear self-deprecating comments made by ex-smokers. I think they embrace the positive and say that they have quit, or that they no longer smoke when offered a ciggy.

That seems to make a lot more sense to me.

Did you know on average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

If you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life. Not 21 days, which I believe is a misconception, or urban myth or feel good, short term target flaunted by so called do gooders.

Most people believe that habits are formed by completing a task for 21 days in a row. Twenty-one days of task completion, then voila, a habit is formed. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. The 21-day myth began as a misinterpretation of Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s work on self-image. Maltz did not find that 21 days of task completion forms a habit. People wanted it to be true so much so, however, that the idea began to grow in popularity.

Here’s an interesting read, amongst a myriad of others about the 21 Day Myth

I gave up alcohol 9 months ago, it was tough but I feel like a winner!

Narcissism and Toxic Peeps

imagesOver the years I had noticed many narcissistic traits in my good friend, but at the time I was not aware of the term “narcissism”. I could only take comfort in the confused notion that I was being punished for the sins of my youth, and that in suffering, we will all mature and become wise adults.

My friend has a wonderful and charming public persona and is extremely sociable. She organises many events and likes to go out regularly. People who do not know my friend very well usually have great admiration and think how lucky I am to know such a wonderful person.

Within some time, she then developed a habit of having episodes of seemingly uncontrollable rage, and I had still not fully understood what triggered these attacks. The doctor prescribed the cause as a lack of estrogen, but the irrational episodes did not subside and from what I hear, continues to this day. She started more and more to scream at only those close to her, often for very minor misdemeanours. She began forever complaining of feeling exhausted and ‘stressed out’.

I really do think that the narcissist is the principal sufferer but it has to be said that it is definitely not pleasant living with one. These people are toxic.

All in all I am tempted to say that narcissists deserve to stew in their own rancour but I have to remind myself that they themselves are often suffering, and are trying to cover up their low self-esteem.

Having read a little about narcissism I realised that there are many people in my predicament. There is a saying that a problem shared is a problem solved but, like me, there are very few people that they can share this particular problem with others.

It has taken a long long time, but I have learnt that the only way to win with a toxic person, is not to play.

And until you accept that fact, you’re anybody’s sucker. All it will take is one bloated accusation, one lie, or one insinuation about you, and you’ll forever be the toxic person’s most treasured source of satisfying fun and games. If you don’t know how to leave the bait alone and find another, quieter, more indirect route back toward being left alone, you never will be.

Abusive people know that as long as they can set and keep their hooks in you, you are stuck being there for them to use and abuse – to feed on. When they want to, abusive people will say and do whatever it takes to keep you glued painfully to them and their world, because if you are stuck to them, they will always have you handy for whatever emotionally abusive purpose they want.

Toxic-RelationshipsYou may need to cut contact altogether if you are in an entrenched personal relationship, and if so, you may get hoovered and manipulated into staying connected. This is often easily done by deliberately upsetting you so much that the urge to call or contact them just to have your say will be intense, because the lies or other distortions being propagated are so hurtful. Don’t fall for it. Just ignore the whole thing, walk away and wipe your hands. There is no winning such battles. The greatest reward is freedom from the toxicity, which only comes with your non-involvement.

The sooner you do, the sooner it will start to become quiet, which, given certain toxic types, can take long enough without additional delays being thrown in. Don’t tell yourself you have to reply — learn to recognize your refusal to respond for what it really is — a sign that it will be over as quickly as possible because you knew how to ignore drama-baiting and send the toxic person looking for a better target.

So when you find yourself invited into an ugly tug-of-war with a toxic person, simply drop the rope immediately, walk away and LEAVE IT BE FOREVER. Because the simple fact of the matter is, toxic people can’t have a tug-of-war with you if there’s nobody holding on at the other end.

Learning about Narcissism.

20140105-222344.jpgA sizeable portion of this post has been taken from what I have read at other sites. I have changed little as the essence of what I have come to understand has helped me to embrace my understanding of a journey with a previous friend.

And this testimonial concentrates on her narcissistic traits. I must point out that she has many good, positive traits which are not relevant to this post and are not discussed here. Therefore, the following passage puts a misleadingly negative light on her; however, I do want the following passage to be a useful illustration of what it is like to live with a narcissist.

I thought that my friend had suddenly developed a split personality and that this new unsavoury personality had taken the place of the charming personality which she hitherto had. I didn’t realise at the time that what I was experiencing was her private persona when before then I had only seen the public persona. Another factor which made me think of a split personality was the ‘gaslighting’ whereby she would one day say something quite definite and then a few days later insist on having said no such thing. She seemed sincere and convincing and the only explanation I could think of was a split personality whereby one personality did not know what the other personality had said.

There were some subtle signs that might have warned me about the problem. These signs are essentially the tip of a very big iceberg, but could help others to recognise a narcissist. These are:

* A tendency to criticise immediate family members a lot, to the extent of making them look foolish or incompetent or thoughtless or inconsiderate, and a tendency to criticise work colleagues and friends.
* Gaslighting, or saying something, and then later strongly denying having said it OR, claiming to have said something earlier, qualifying it with something like “you obviously were not listening when I told you”
* Frequently wanting to modify other people’s plans.

To be continued …

My Minds’ Power to Heal.

20131109-183642.jpgI’ve covered my nutritional diet and now I’m going to touch on the mind, soul and spirits’ involvement with my healing, and this is where it gets a little difficult because I don’t want to convey anything more than my own testament that I believe this had a significant effect for me.

Here’s how it went down, I remembered that while I was drifting through the ‘eye of the storm’ (with depression and anxiety weaving it’s ugly tentacles around me), I often had a small window of clarity at times that would allow me to engage in my own meditation session. This was horribly hard and often involved an internal battle with one part of me saying this was utter nonsense, and another part of me begging to have the strength and faith to simply ‘believe’ … simply ‘believe’ … and simply ‘believe’ … in this witchery. I just wanted an ounce of that same belief ‘virus’ that makes the Amish visualise horse and buggies as the only rocket launchers on this planet. Infect me now, godamit, infect me now with that belief bug!

Pushing my understanding in science and reasoning to one aside became easier over time and this part of my senses would eventually be over-taken by a blind faith that thinking of something several times would turn that same thought into a belief, and that belief would cause my blood cells to react and behave accordingly to heal … But this only came full on, on a few magic occasions. It was like eating oysters for the first time, and eureka, ‘this is so delicious’! …. But when faced with this same ‘snot of the sea’ at a later time, sitting on a bed of ice, you involuntary shudder at the culinary prospect of sliding these down your throat again. It does get easier. Much much easier, I love oysters, crayfish and mud crabs!

The low down; find a quiet place, lie or sit down, make yourself comfortable, close your eye’s, listen and focus on your breathing, then start to imagine images that you can best relate to that show YOU that your body is healing. Breathe in good air, breathe out the poison air, imagine it, imagine and start to BELIEVE that this is happening. Do this at every opportunity you can, doesn’t matter if you drift off, or you momentarily lose focus, but keep at it.

By the way, I drive a Jeep not a horse and buggy. My internal anti-virus program is solid.