Bobbing Around Volume 21 Number 2

Human health cannot be separated from the health of the planet.
Dr Neil Vora


Most convicted offenders have an experience of trauma, abuse and violence at least four times higher than the general population.
Gwen Adshead


Instead of loving things and using others, we need to love others and use things.
Annie Hill Otness, who says she got it from Anonymous.

Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty-one, Number Two,
August, 2021

Bob Rich’s rave

email

bobswriting.com    anxietyanddepression-help.com/    mudsmith.net/    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

Comments are welcome — on the bottom of every post and page here, including this one.

You can send me a private message via my contact form (click the tab at the top).

Do note that anyone buying any of my titles anywhere, in any format, qualifies for a second electronic book for free. Emailing me a review qualifies as proof of purchase (unless I sent you a free review copy of course).


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.


Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person.


* From me to you
Submission on a new gas pipeline
New cover for Lifting the Gloom
A deluge of new grandsons
A new writing project

 

* New stuff

Inspiration
Go, Anna!
Psychology
Forgiveness, from Pragito Dove
Repeating thoughts are driving me crazy
I’ve done horrible things and am now having panic attacks
Breaking a terrible habit
I approve of these announcements
Personal development for therapists (in Melbourne, Australia)
Reviews
Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Isabella Milan
…and Florence Weinberg
From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Kary Youman
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Annie Otness
Inspired by the Holy Ghost: Spiritual Poetic Messages Received from Popular Songs by Aimee Cabo Nikolov
Before the Alamo, by Florence Weinberg
Poetry
The Winners by Laurie Corzett
Fun
So true!
Gender justice in sport

* Blog posts during July
ENVIRONMENT
Why is Canada cooking?

GOOD NEWS
Dove for the future

Even the loggers are going renewable

PSYCHOLOGY
Busting emotional myths

What is better than punishment?

The searchlight of attention

DEEPER ISSUES
Rabbi Ron Isaacs on what is important in Judaism

LOOK OVER A WRITER’S SHOULDER
New ongoing project at Sleepy Lion Publishing: essays on writing.

Gathering dust: excised adventures: July Round Robin

I APPROVE OF THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS
Help my mob to go Green

Great slogans you can wear from World Beyond War

REVIEWS
Angel of Aleppo by Jon Cocks

Lifting the Gloom, reviewed by Theresa Hortley


From me to you

Submission on a new gas pipeline
New cover for Lifting the Gloom
A deluge of new grandsons
A new writing project

 

Submission on a new gas pipeline

My state government sent me an invitation to comment on the environmental effects of a proposed new gas pipeline. Here is my response:

    I have no specific objection to the proposed new pipeline. Rather, the problem is that extracting, circulating and burning methane (“Natural Gas”) should be phased out as soon as possible, because we have entered the period of catastrophic climate change.

    The climate disaster is not some time in the future, but now. We should have taken preventative action 50 years ago, but as the Chinese proverb has it, “The best time to plant a tree is 250 years ago. The second best time is now.”

    Resources invested into this pipeline, in gas exploration and extraction, anywhere, will soon become stranded assets as society is forced to replace fossil fuel use in order to survive.


New cover for Lifting the Gloom

I have now self-published my latest little book. A companion volume to my popular From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide, it is a collection of short stories and essays, each with a brief discussion that reveals a path to a good life. If you like a clearly laid out map to contentment, regardless of your circumstances, it’s in From Depression to Contentment. If a ramble with surprising twists and turns is more your thing, that’s Lifting the Gloom. And actually, the two go together like main course and dessert.

You can find out more about it here.

As part of my preparation, I cooked up a cover. Since the book will only be in electronic format, I wasn’t worried about having a printable file size.

Victor Volkman, publisher at Loving Healing Press already distributes several of my other self-published books, so I sent it off to him.

It’s a good day when I learn something new. Victor explained that given the devices people use to access e-books, nowadays a book cover needs to be about 2500 pixels tall, and Amazon won’t even accept a book that’s less than 1000 pixels tall (whatever that means, right?). So, I found another creative commons pic, and made up a replacement big enough to do the job:


A deluge of new grandsons

In the past month, six young men have approached me with similar but unique issues: they all considered themselves to be paedophiles. Some had actually interfered with a younger child some years ago, others not, but all are now consumed by guilt and shame.

It is my joy that every one of them has progressed toward self-acceptance, though most have a long way to go toward self-love (in the best sense of the term).


A new writing project

One morning late in July, I woke with the realisation that, in our world of virus and catastrophic climate change, all too many people die prematurely, and I want to be there for the survivors. (The departed person has help from a higher source than me.) So, I have started on If you have lost a loved one: How to cope with grief.

Any suggestions on what I should discuss will be gratefully received, and possibly included. Go on, earn yourself a mention in the Acknowledgements section!


Inspiration

Go, Anna!

I am inspired by a 30 year old girl who thinks she is old. (That puts her two years outside the range of qualifying as my grandchild, so I am entitled to grin.)

She has just won an Olympic gold medal in this race: “The elite women’s 137 km road race started from Musashinonomori Park and included two mid-race climbs over Donushi Road and Kagosaka Pass, for 2,692 metres of elevation gain, before a punchy final at the Fuji International Speedway.” Don’t forget, Japan is in the grip of a heatwave, so riding 137 km up and down mountains is amazing. All these girls have my admiration.

Anna Kiesenhofer from Austria was in the lead with 41 km to go, then put on a sustained sprint that got her so far ahead the second placegetter thought she’d won, not seeing anyone ahead of her.

OK, OK, every race is won by somebody, so what’s so inspiring about Anna? Unlike all her opponents, she is not a professional sportsperson, but what the Olympics used to be like: an amateur with a day job.

She lectures in university in the challenging field of mathematics, did her training while completing her PhD, and is now (also) doing postdoctoral research.

Do read her story.


Psychology

Forgiveness, from Pragito Dove
Repeating thoughts are driving me crazy
I’ve done horrible things and am now having panic attacks
Breaking a terrible habit

 

Forgiveness, from Pragito Dove


This wonderful lady circulates a message every Monday. The one on 12th July really spoke to me, since bashing myself up for mistakes is one of my failings. There was no link to an online version, so I hope Pragito approves that I share it here.

Forgiveness is realizing that there is nothing to forgive.

When you do or say something you later regret, remember you did the best you knew at the time. You were trapped by your own unconscious.

You cannot be someone you are not. You can only be who you are at any given moment.

When another person hurts you, they are acting unconsciously from pain.

You can choose to either put energy into hating them, or put energy into loving yourself.

Over time you understand that they too were acting the only way they knew at the time. There is nothing to forgive, there is only to understand, and find compassion for yourself and others.

Love, Abundance and Peace,

Pragito


Repeating thoughts are driving me crazy

A young woman contacted me with this complaint. The details don’t matter.

Dear Jill,

I also have repeating thoughts. In addition, melodies go round and round inside my mind, and often the only way I can make one go away is to deliberately substitute another one — which then goes round and round. If I allow it, the internal noise can get annoying.

For many years now, I have also had tinnitus: a 24/24 ringing in my ears. It’s most noticeable when I am settling for sleep, or start to meditate.

We are not alone. This kind of issue is very common, if not universal.

The difference between you and me is that I have developed tools for simply accepting the inner noise without distress. Occasionally, I forget to use these tools, but once learned, they are easy to switch on.

Tinnitus cannot be switched off, but inner thoughts can. They are a habit, and habits can be changed. But whether they are present or not, the annoyance can be stopped.

The first method is to understand the searchlight of attention. I once had a client who felt he was going to fall over anytime. His doctor had found nothing physically wrong, so referred him to me. We worked out what was going on. Look, standing upright on only two feet is a complex task. Below awareness, we use a complex set of muscles to achieve it in a dynamic way. There are constant adjustments, with tiny movements back and front, side to side. For some reason, or no reason at all, he once noticed these little movements, and after that kept observing them. From background they became foreground — and he felt unstable. This made him tense up, so he needed more muscle action to stay upright, so the problem grew.

This is what you are doing with those distressing thoughts. The problem is not the thoughts, but that you are paying them attention. As I am typing right now, I have a melody repeating inside, and the ringing in the ears. I have chosen to focus on them, but before that, they were there but I was focused on my answer to you, so they were hardly noticeable background.

So, practise mindfulness meditation. I describe how in detail in my book From Depression to Contentment. If you can’t afford the few dollars for an electronic copy, I am happy to email you one in exchange for a review.

Once you are good at mindfulness, you can do anything and everything that way. This will remove attention from those annoying thoughts, and they will become a “so-what.”

The second tool is acceptance. Geniuses at survival can live in hell, with peace in their hearts. We can learn from them. If I don’t like something, I need to work at changing it. But that takes time, and may never succeed. For now, I can simply accept it. Best illustration is pain.

Pain = sensation + emotion.

1. I have an unpleasant sensation. If I simply accept it, I’m not hurting. It can stay there, I’m OK.

2. Sometimes I can’t manage this. Then I’m hurting. I can accept that for now I’m hurting, in pain, do want it to go away — and it’s OK to feel like that. Then I may be in pain, but it’s OK.

3. Sometimes, I can’t do this, and am in despair: “What’s the point of living like this?” If I can accept that for now, I’m in despair, I can still carry on.

Acceptance at one level may allow return to a better one, but can’t be done for that reason — or it’s not real acceptance and won’t work.

So, Jill, learn these two tools and give them an honest go, then we can continue our conversation.

Your new grandfather,
Bob


I’ve done horrible things and am now having panic attacks

Yet another young man has contacted me about past sexual actions that have now driven him to intense shame. The guilt is practically killing him.

The acts he described are somewhat, let us say, disgusting, but not illegal.

Here is my first answer:

Hi Andrew,

Welcome to my tribe of grandchildren. And please call me Bob.

First, you have told me that none of your past actions are illegal in your country. You have talked with a social worker who has reassured you that you are not abnormal.

All the same, many of those things were, let us say, unwise. In fact, to make my point stronger, let us pretend that they were illegal.

That was then.

As a result of having done those things, you have suffered 5 years of panic attacks. You feel intense shame and guilt.

This means that now you are a wiser, better person as a result. Congratulations. It is better to grow without doing things that you will later disapprove of, but once you have grown, you ARE a different, better person.

I have a page for people who consider themselves to be sexual abusers. Read that, and the questions and answers linked there. They are all different from your situation, but there are also similarities.

Also read my panic attack page.

If you have a few dollars to spare, buy an electronic copy of my book, From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide. If you can’t afford it, I am happy to email you a free review copy. You can read about it on my list of books.

Read right through the book once, then go back to the start and work through all of the program. That will take you months, but each little bit will help in its own right. While the book focuses on depression, the same tools work with anxiety, and guilt.

I am happy to continue our conversation.

Bob


Breaking a terrible habit

One of my ongoing ‘grandsons’ is addicted to watching porn, and hates this about himself. Here is my homework for him:

…OK, how to get rid of the habit of wanting to watch porn.

First, let’s examine the ethics. “Above all, do no harm.”

So, think about these questions:

  • What harm does it do to me if I watch porn?
  • What harm does it do to the women who are featured on those sites? Are they doing it freely, or are they slaves forced to?
  • Who gets the money from porn sites?
  • In what way is violence against women made worse by porn?

Take weeks if you need to, but think deeply, do research, then let me know what you come up with.

Second, we can use the ABC diary. You have my book on depression, right? It’s in there.

Draw up a table with 4 columns:

  1. Date, time and place.
  2. What you were doing and thinking just before you felt an urge to watch porn. (antecedent = trigger)
  3. When you had the urge, what did you do? “Yes” if you either gave in and watched or if it was impossible at the time, felt you missed out. “No” if you decided not to go along with it. (behaviour. Note the B is not watching porn, but giving in to wanting to.)
  4. How the yes or no made you feel. (consequence)

Do this for a few weeks. This is detective work: you get understanding of what leads you to these urges. More important, it actually reduces the unwanted behaviour.


I approve of these announcements

Personal development for therapists (in Melbourne, Australia)

Through psychological practice, we are continuously evolving.
We are developing emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and professionally. This workshop will provide the space and environment to explore further your growth edges, blocks, reactions, countertransference, character strengths, perspective and roles which can help your “therapist self.” This group will suit psychologists (incl. provisional), therapists and counsellors who are ready to go that extra stride and go deeper in their sense of self and foster your spontaneity and creativity within. This workshop will utilise the group process as well as the experiential and psychodramatic approach to personal development.
Date: Saturday, 07 August 2021
Time: 9.30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $150
Venue: East Melbourne, to be provided once registered.
Group size: Small group
Registration: Contact Lyndon Medina on lyndon.medina@gmail.com
or on 0417 248 416 (mobile)


Reviews

Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Isabella Milan
…and Florence Weinberg
From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Kary Youman
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Annie Otness
Inspired by the Holy Ghost: Spiritual Poetic Messages Received from Popular Songs by Aimee Cabo Nikolov
Before the Alamo, by Florence Weinberg

 

Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Isabella Milan

Dr. Bob, I loved the short stories that were used as examples in this book. My favorite, page-turning and jaw-dropping was Jimmy’s story. Wow! I admired how you also used metaphors to clearly explain concepts. “Anger” as hot coals that burn your hand and scar you when you attempt to throw at the antagonizer. Many positive phrases that can change our mindset like, “The more you give, the more grow; Live simply so you can simply live.” I also liked the loving instruction you give on survival in the Professional Grandfather’s section. This book will help many suffering from depression with coherent pathways of explanation, causes, and examples to clarify this emotional pain.


…and Florence Weinberg

Dr. Bob Rich’s Lifting the Gloom, a companion book to From Depression to Contentment, is written with passion. He urgently writes to shine a light into dark, gray depression, and equally urgently wants to save Planet Earth from inevitable doom.

He begins with humor. His quirky opening poem and stories serve to illustrate aspects of depression cured by laughter, “the best medicine.” He proceeds with more sober illustrative stories, not only to pull the reader out of gloom but by providing various examples of problems—guilt, anger, prejudice, violence, abuse, bullying, hatred—to show us how to face the truth and deal with it.

A powerful segment speaks of our planet and how, like a two-year-old toddler, humanity’s primary impulses are “NO!” (refusal to recognize our true responsibilities) and “MINE!” (confirming that our main motive is greed). The picture is as dire as it is true. Dr. Rich sets himself as model for us all in “living simply so all might simply live.” “All” includes all living creatures now dying in unprecedented numbers. Our species has indeed gone berserk and is destroying the springs of our own life. Dr. Bob issues a clarion call: STOP!

In The end, he counsels us to be content with our lot, do what we can to improve it more spiritually than materially, by developing equanimity, resilience and stamina. He challenges us to identify and string together the book’s important themes, teases us by revealing that the answers are not “in the back of the book,” but in the companion volume mentioned in line one of this review.

Read this book. Enjoy the exemplary stories. You’ll learn much from your Professional Grandfather Bob. Take it from me, a companion Grandmother.


From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Kary Youman


Bob’s way of sharing his personal experiences with practical examples makes this guide easy to follow. As someone who has experienced the waves of depression I wish I found this book sooner. To recognize the grip of depression is the first step. Having tools in place to combat and transcend the gloomy moments when they arrive is essential to healing and reclaiming purpose. I’m grateful for this book.

P.S. I’m glad I purchased the physical book (see attachment). I’ve been able to highlight and dog-ear pages 😉

With gratitude,

Kary Youman

Kary is a TEDx Speaker, Heart-Centered Facilitator, and Mindfulness Coach dedicated to creating brave spaces for people to discuss and explore complex topics.


He is on a personal mission to empower and inspire others to live their best lives through the virtues of kindness and mindfulness.


Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Annie Otness

Ascending Spiral is an engrossing journey through time — from the bitter struggles of the Irish in the battles when the English invaded Ireland, to the suffering of the indigenous people and the achievements of convicts in the colonization of New Holland at Botany Bay; to the establishment of settlement, and then to contemporary Australia, and finally into space, alien life, and freedom. Bob Rich is more than a messenger, as the reader lives in the world of each character to experience how their lives change as they learn and grow.

An adventure story beyond the boundaries, this is a book well worth reading as every page comes to life, drawing the reader in to participate in the tale. At times humorous, tragic, and illuminating, a must read.

Annie was born once upon a time in Tasmania, and lives near Fremantle, Western Australia. She is an award winning writer, playwright, poet and artist, working in paint, textiles, and clay. A blue water sailor and activist for the environment, her journey is one of survival on trackless voyages where few have ventured. She has published collected poetry, Dream Beaches Invisible Landscapes; Vision Books — inspirational works illustrated with original paintings on silk; and as M.A. Hill, The Travellers Trilogy and The Swagman Saga. Visit annieotness.blogspot.com or ozartworks.com to enjoy some of her work.


Inspired by the Holy Ghost: Spiritual Poetic Messages Received from Popular Songs by Aimee Cabo Nikolov

This book is an anthology of 48 poems. Each is Aimee’s personal, heartfelt reaction to a song, and each is a prayer.

A painting precedes each poem.

If you are a Christian, or used to be but wavered, you will find the poems to be inspiring. They are not to be read, but taken in and allowed to simmer. They then are likely to put peace into your heart, and lead you to inner strength and acceptance.

Personally, I much prefer prose to poetry, and am a Buddhist rather than a Christian, but I accepted a review copy of this book because my previous contacts with Aimee impressed me with her genuineness and desire to be of benefit. She wants to share her inspiration, and have it spread; to make our little planet a better place for everyone. As I said, if you are part of her very large target audience, you will find this book to be an invaluable resource.


Before the Alamo, by Florence Weinberg

I have read all of Florence Weinberg’s previous novels. Like them, Before the Alamo presents me with unforgettable characters, some based on real-life historical people; brings a time and place to vivid life; and induces me to read more. I know Florence is in her 80s, but I hope she keeps writing lots more books of historical fiction.

Two women dominate this book: Maria, who is a full-blooded Indian adopted by a white man who sexually abuses her, then sells her into slavery, and her daughter, Emilia. Both are wonderful, admirable people who can teach you about how to handle adversity.

Florence’s books always have memorable quotable quotes. One from here: when little girl Emilia faces racial discrimination for the first time, she points out that “A white horse is no better than a brown one.”

“Remember The Alamo” is a historical catchcry that has justified discrimination, divisiveness and hate. Here, in a superbly researched book is the real story.


Poetry

The Winners by Laurie Corzett

            Isn’t there a story
            (I vaguely see shimmer in lost memory)
            of a people savaged by invisible disease

            We live complicated lives, have no time for
            sickness, enemies we can’t see or fight
            with technology, deadly weapons of
            defense. It makes no sense to our
            society, blinded by Midas intent, to
            give credence to demand for cure,
            to give resource from our wealth for
            suffering we are sure does not exist.

            Stealthy, the microbe universe encroaches,
            silently strangles, suffocates, implodes.
            Exponentially infests, makes itself
            at home, redecorates our world as
            its own.
            No wealth left to protect, without hope,
            or respect, we have succumbed.


Fun

So true!
Gender justice in sport

 

So true!


Gender justice in sport


About Bobbing Around

If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don’t want a repeat, it’s simple. Drop me a line and I’ll drop you from my list.

You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article’s author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

I’d love you to follow my blog. That will automatically get you a copy of this newsletter, and other posts. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the newsletter. To do so, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
This entry was posted in Bobbing Around. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 21 Number 2

  1. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you for the wise and heartfelt comment, Fiona. I agree with you: the emotional response is the same for loss of any kind, ranging from a few seconds for having lost a friendly game of chess to the worst thing: having your beloved child die because of your mistake or negligence.
    My current plan for my new book is to focus on the death of a loved one, but it would do well to have parts dealing with applying the same tools for dealing with other sources of grief.
    In my work with grieving clients in all sorts of complicated situations, like the story you shared, is that the person can heal through forgiveness. This is not to stop disapproving of betrayal of trust, but to forgive anyway, however difficult that may appear.

    Like

  2. Fiona Lemmon says:

    Dear Bob, I am commenting on your new literary venture about loss and grieving. Do you intend this to be specifically about loss through death? I comment as someone who suffered loss and grief not through death but as a result of my then husband having an affair with a man – after nearly 25 years of what I believe to have previously been a faithful marriage to me. That was the death knell of our marriage and we are neither of us in contact. It has caused me to wonder which gives the greater grief: being left alone because one’s spouse/partner has died without wanting to or being left alone because one’s spouse/partner no longer wants one in his or her life. It felt like being consigned to the scrap heap. One’s spouse.partner committing suicide may be the worst scenario of all. None of these circumstances can be quantified, of course. Bereavement counselling seems to be confined to those who are grieving as a result of a death.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.