Bobbing Around Volume 21 Number 3

With practice, it’s easy having a hurting body and a smiling face.
From Lifting the Gloom


There is no zero-sum conflict between fighting climate breakdown and preserving local environments and livelihoods.
Thea Riofrancos


Plastic items from take-out food and beverages largely dominates global litter, followed by those resulting from fishing activities.
Carmen Morales-Caselles et al.

Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty-one, Number Three,
September, 2021

Bob Rich’s rave

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* From me to you
Luck-it: the gift that keeps on giving
Grannies for grieving children
If you have lost a loved one: How to cope with grief
A new venture: group therapy for environmental anxiety

 

* New stuff
Inspiration
Stone axe finds its way home
Sports star shows what humans are really like
Psychology
Relapse prevention
Deeper Issues
Offgrid community living
Sweat the small stuff, by Lauren E. Persons
Will swatting flies, mosquitos and cockroaches make a bad karma?
Smart little people in the sea
I approve of these announcements
Psychology for a Safe Climate
Marriage and Mental Health online conference
Rewilding the Urban Soul by Claire Dunn
Learn art from the comfort of your home
Meditative bush retreat with Penny Fenner
Pragito Dove offers training
Reviews
Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Beverley Bateman
…and George Wahab
…and Peter Cock
Seven Choices: Finding daylight after loss shatters your world, by Elizabeth Harper Neeld
Poetry
Remember when we, by Laurie Corzett
Fun
Words that mean their opposites
* Blog posts during August
ENVIRONMENT
Rain on Greenland’s peak

GOOD NEWS
Bushfire survivors force climate action

POLITICS
What kinds of protest are effective?

What’s wrong with nuclear power?

INSPIRATION
A farewell speech from the heart

PSYCHOLOGY
How therapists deal with climate anxiety

DEEPER ISSUES
Is certainty worth anything?

Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times reblogged from Andrew.

TECHNOLOGY
You don’t need a metal box around the delivery

Robots: a solution to Poison Planet

HEALTH
Entertaining read about a terrible topic: cancer

The voice of reason on vaccines

LOOK OVER A WRITER’S SHOULDER
Well, I just don’t know: repetitions August Rhobin’s Rounds on how not to put distractions into your writing.

REVIEWS
Carl Stonier reviews Sleeper, Awake

Lost but Found by Lauren Persons

Beyond Carbon Neutral: How we fix the climate crisis now by Samuel Goodman


From me to you

Luck-it: the gift that keeps on giving
Grannies for grieving children
If you have lost a loved one: How to cope with grief
A new venture: group therapy for environmental anxiety

 

Luck-it: the gift that keeps on giving

The Luck-It network featured me three times, on three different topics. Since then, Sy, the wonderful lady who runs it, has extracted statements from her various interviewees on a particular topic, then assembled them. The latest is What helps when you’re experiencing failure?

Guess what, my response is there.


Grannies for grieving children

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has broadcast my review of Lauren Person’s beautiful little book for children who have lost a loved one. Then another one of our mob, Carolyn Wilhelm, made a lovely poster for it. You can view the fruit of our efforts here.

Please have a look yourself, and spread the word.


If you have lost a loved one: How to cope with grief

This is the title of my new writing project, and it is going well. I want to combine it with being of benefit to my friends. If you have suffered the loss of a person in your life within the past four years, please email me. I will offer free counselling, and in the process further develop my ideas on how to help strangers via this book.


A new venture: group therapy for environmental anxiety

I am in the process of designing an online course of group therapy, tentatively titled as “Climate Change and COVID: coping with the anxiety.”

This is also desperately needed in today’s world. At this stage, my idea is 5 or perhaps 6 weekly sessions, for a group of 10 participants.

I will run it as a fundraiser for the election funds of my local branch of the Australian Greens, doing two good things with one action.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions on what I should include, what has or has not worked for you, how you recommend I should do it. Relevant expertise is one or more of three things: having expertise in providing therapy, having received therapy for this kind of anxiety — or experiencing the anxiety and wishing for relief.


Inspiration

Stone axe finds its way home
Sports star shows what humans are really like

 

Stone axe finds its way home

Bobbing Around subscriber John Hill lives in Queensland, and has had a varied and colourful life. Recently, he sent an email to his friends, signed “John the Axeman.”

You can read the reason for the name (not John, the other one) in this inspiring story.

Here is a clue:


Sports star shows what humans are really like

You know my disgust at the cliché, “Human nature being what it is,” meaning it’s greedy and nasty? Real human nature is compassionate, cooperative and generous.

There is a young man who has earned a lot of money through being a great basketballer, although he only a shade over 6 ft tall — a midget among basketballers. He is friends with anyone who is willing to respect him, regardless of skin colour or background. He himself is from a very disadvantaged group: his mother is a Torres Strait Islander and is part of the Stolen Generations (forcibly removed from her family), and his father is Australian Aborigine.

He had the honour of jointly carrying the Australian flag at the Tokyo opening ceremony with another athlete, and it was fine that she has white skin.

The inspiring part has little to do with his wonderful achievements in his sport, but in his attitude to people in trouble, and how he uses his earnings. Read the story of Patty Mills and cheer with me.


Psychology

Relapse prevention

One of my honorary grandsons is a fine young man, precisely because of remorse for actions when he was a young teen and sexually played with a couple of younger children.

He is doing great, but occasionally something in his life triggers a relapse. But even then, his reaction is better than it was a year ago. Then, he slid back into guilt and shame and even wanting to die.

Now, he keeps reiterating to himself, and to me in a barrage of emails, how he will never, ever, do anything to hurt another person, and will always treat everyone with kindness and respect.

Here is my message to him:

Harry, you’re reverting to bad old habits. Stop it — you don’t need it.

The young, self-hating boy inside you is shouting nasty thoughts at you. You do not need to shut him up, to argue with him, to shout over him. Instead, hug him, stroke his hair, tell him he is all right. Thank him: if he hadn’t made those mistakes, you would not be the fine young man you became.

End of story.
🙂


Deeper Issues

Offgrid community living
Sweat the small stuff, by Lauren E. Persons
Will swatting flies, mosquitos and cockroaches make a bad karma?
Smart little people in the sea

 

Offgrid community living

I am a long term member of the Moora Moora cooperative. One of my friends, Glen Morris, has regular talks on renewable energy, since he is one of Australia’s top experts on solar power.

In his first session in August, though, he chose to move focus away from technicalities to the human side of living offgrid, and also, celebrating our community. He is interviewing two delightful young women: Chelsea, who used to have sleepovers at my place as a schoolkid, being best friends with my daughter; and Anne, who is a recent but greatly valued arrival, and is a sparkie herself (that’s Australian for electrician).

You will enjoy the 1 hour video, and, regardless of your circumstances, it may help you to reduce your environmental footprint while improving your quality of life.


Sweat the small stuff, by Lauren E. Persons


I have always had a dislike for the catchphrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Yes, I understand that it is important not to get caught up in the petty, insignificant things that muddle our lives. Yet, I believe that it is the “small stuff,” the seemingly tiny, inconsequential gestures that have the most lasting effect.

This thought whisks me back over twenty-five years ago. I was working as an associate director for a community theatre. One of my charges was publicity. A show was opening soon. A mailing had to go out. Well before social media, the task to get the word out was not just a post and the push of the send button. To help stuff envelopes, lick stamps, and sort mail, I enlisted some willing volunteers from a nearby mental health center. We spent the entire morning stamping, licking, addressing, sorting envelopes.

There was still another task to do—walk around the neighborhood hanging posters for the upcoming show in every local restaurant, shop, bar and community center. On one of the hottest days of the year, we were armed with tape, posters, limited water bottles and tired volunteers who already carried some of their own baggage of anxiety, bipolar, OCD, developmental delays, etc.

The task seemed absolutely insurmountable. How would all the loose ends of mounting a production possibly get done? There were costumes to alter, scenes to direct, sets to paint, and here I was in the middle of the city with a group of ragged volunteers who did not share my mission to get it all done NOW.

The expression “like herding cats” was on steroids. Just finish this block. One or two more businesses. Just a few more posters, I kept telling myself. I didn’t even have a free hand to wipe away the sweat that by this time was running down my face.

In the middle of my inner rant, one of the young men from the mental health center turned to me, and in halting, garbled speech said, “Miss Lauren, isn’t it a pretty day?”

For the first time, all day, I stopped. For the first time all day, I really saw who was talking to me. For the first time, all day, I realized this was not about me. The show would open. The audience would come. A few less posters would be hung. But today, for the first time, it was, indeed, a beautiful day.

Yes, sometimes it is the small stuff that makes the biggest difference.

When I asked Lauren for a bio, she wrote: Indeed, William Shakespeare was right when he said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Lauren’s rich and varied roles as actor, director, playwright, teacher, poet, wife, mother, grandmother have all contributed to the role of writer and now author of Lost But Found, a children’s book to help parents and children come to grips with the death of a loved one.


Will swatting flies, mosquitos and cockroaches make a bad karma?

I answered this question on Quora 3 years ago. Someone had just upvoted it, and when I checked, I liked it enough to draw it to your attention. I am interested in what you think.


Smart little people in the sea

My long term friends know that one of my pet raves is about the intelligence of nonhuman people on Earth. Here is a new study about cuttlefish that’s more evidence.

In fact, old cuttlefish do better at a certain task than old humans. Here is a question: what did you have for dinner eight days ago? Blowed if I can remember, but old cuttlefish can.


I approve of these announcements

Psychology for a Safe Climate
Marriage and Mental Health online conference
Rewilding the Urban Soul by Claire Dunn
Learn art from the comfort of your home
Meditative bush retreat with Penny Fenner
Pragito Dove offers training

 

Psychology for a Safe Climate

This is an organisation I belong to (surprise?) They now have a new website.


Marriage and Mental Health online conference

I reviewed Erin Ramachandran’s book, Mental Health Strong in February, 2020. Her special field of interest is the intersection between relationships and mental health issues, from a Christian perspective.

Now, she has organised an online conference on this issue.

Date: October 2, 2021

You can register here.


Rewilding the Urban Soul by Claire Dunn


You can inspect Claire’s new book here.

Humans are designed to feel part of nature, and yet most of us live in the concrete jungle. Claire shows you how to have both.


Learn art from the comfort of your home

Feeling bored in lockdown? Or stressed, anxious? Looking for a creative outlet? Come join us, students from Western Sydney University on an artistic journey to help raise money for Northcott. Our “Sip on the Gogh” virtual event consists of two art sessions run by an instructor, where you get to create your own masterpiece, all from the comfort of your own home. And the best part is, you can enjoy your favourite beverage in the quantity of your choice. The duration of each session is 2 hrs. All proceeds from the ticket sales go to Northcott. Tickets go on sale on the 18th of August at 10 am and there is limited capacity, so be quick, book here.

A bit about Northcott: Since 1929, Northcott has been providing personal and dynamic support all across Australia to people with disabilities. With over 90 years of experience, Northcott strives to help those with disabilities improve their way of life by providing support, facilities and opportunities to those with disabilities and their families. For more information visit their website.

If the art sessions don’t appeal to you, but you would like to make a donation, here is a link to our GoFundMe account where you can donate as much or as little as you want. All donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated on behalf of Northcott.


Meditative bush retreat with Penny Fenner

Dear Bob,

Small things can lighten the heart especially when we’re challenged or tiring of so much negativity and uncertainty all around this past 18 months.

Tell me: does unwinding and rejuvenating appeal to you? What about taking a break from overthinking and overdoing by self-nurturing, finding deep inner quiet and joy?

Would you like being in a deeply contemplative, supportive space where you can learn about, and experience, Buddhist wisdom intersecting with psychology, let go your limiting beliefs and experience deepest ease, while in congenial company with a small group of like-minded others, enjoying delicious meals, engaging in optional yoga, massage, and walks in beautiful healing nature?

If this sounds good, then SAVE THE DATE for my upcoming:

Beyond Mindfulness Fierce Compassion Retreat: experience your indestructible capacity for well-being and peace
November 4 – 7, 2021

in central Victoria less than 90 minutes from Melbourne CBD

Places are strictly limited to enable a deeply nurturing, supportive, transformative space. If interested please let me know.

Penny and I have calculated the necessary charge. If 10 people attend, she will cover costs with a nominal amount for her time and expertise by charging $1105 for a single room, $985 each for two people booking a shared room.


Pragito Dove offers training

What you talk about and what you think about is what you create for yourself. We have to be vigilant of our thoughts… they can lead us to unwise choices. When you are aware of your thoughts, you can redirect them if they are veering too much toward a negative, fear-based direction. Remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for and focus your thoughts in a positive direction.

You will be amazed at the miracles that can occur!

Transform Your Life, Love & Relationships: Live In-Person Event

Sunday, October 24th – Friday, October 29th, 2021
Tucson, Arizona

More details here.

Six days of food, accommodation, beautiful views and of course the training, for $3597

Early bird fee $2997 if you register before September 6.


Reviews

Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Beverley Bateman
…and George Wahab
…and Peter Cock
Seven Choices: Finding daylight after loss shatters your world, by Elizabeth Harper Neeld

 

Lifting the Gloom reviewed by Beverley Bateman

Lifting the Gloom: Antidepressant Writings, written by Bob Rich, Ph.D. is a companion book to From Depression to Contentment: a self-therapy guide. Lifting the Gloom is a unique book of fascinating stories and vignettes from one hundred words to much longer ones. It even includes poetry. Some are true stories, others are fiction. Bob writes with emotion that pulls you into each story. You relate to the characters and feel their struggles and emotions. You feel the angst each character goes through. The issues related to depression can be multiple. They could include racism, homosexuality, religion, climate change, being a woman, bullying and aging to name a few.

Bob writes about depression from his personal involvement and his professional point of view. In some cases, he shows the monsters people may live with and how to fight these monsters. He explains how forgiveness can be healing and how to forgive. It can be done secretly. No one, including the individual, has to know. Bob is a strong environmentalist as well as a Buddhist Jew. His philosophy shows through many of the stories. The stories are fun, interesting, and even upsetting, but very relatable to people you know or have heard about, or real-life situations. There’s always a thought or lesson to be learned from each story. An analysis and possible options that could change the results follow the stories. As a reader you may learn ways to improve your life, perhaps a friend or family member’s life, or maybe improve the environment.

I always enjoy Bob’s books. I recommend this book for everyone. If you suffer from depression or know someone who does, it will give you more insight into the condition. Or you may find ways to improve your own life, or maybe a way to help the planet.

Beverley Bateman is one of my fellow Round Robin writers. She has a habit of being helpful whenever she can — one of the recommendations of positive psychology you will find in Lifting the Gloom


…and George Wahab

Lifting the Gloom by Dr Bob Rich is a collection of short stories. It is well written, easy to read and entertaining.
The author uses his psychological and caregiving background without lecturing or teaching, in a storylike manner, skillfully and delicately to tackle important social challenges to expose the root causes of depression.

He demonstrates how early childhood psychological trauma affects self-esteem and induces a life-lasting depression.
Racial, sexual preferences, social inequality, religious dogmas and other social issues could be contributing factors in the development of depression.

After exposing the causes of depression he presents a way out of it.

I enjoyed and learned while reading Dr Rich’s short stories book.

I recently edited Dr. Wahab’s memoir, and came to admire him. From being a stateless refugee, he grew to be a top expert in a medical specialty, then after retiring built an admirable second career as an artist.


…and Peter Cock

Bob Rich is dedicated to why we are in the fog of gloom and how we can lift it. Through his stories he wisely illustrates how each of us can use our suffering to make a difference to our lives: How we can become life’s carer versus victim. He adds accessibility by using his own life as a case story.

I was pleased to see that Bob brings what we have done to disrupt our climate into his stories. And yet he says it’s not your circumstances but how you respond to them that determines whether you go down or rise up through your life experiences. The bias of psychology is to ask too much responsibility of the individual and not enough of society.


Seven Choices: Finding daylight after loss shatters your world, by Elizabeth Harper Neeld

Before I retired, I had a little lending library, for borrowing by my clients. This included three copies of Seven Choices, because it was appropriate reading to deal with all sources of serious grief, not only that due to death. This book shaped my practice, and my nonfiction writing.

Since I am now writing a book on grief myself, I searched my bookshelves, but all three copies had walked. It is a compliment that three separate clients “forgot” to return them. So, I had to buy another copy, and now have the pleasure of reading it once more.

It is that perfect self-help book: passionate, emotional, reflecting the author’s personal experience, while being completely science-based and authoritative.

If you are suffering grief, as so many people are, or want to offer support to people who have experienced losses, you must read this book. And even in the unlikely event that you don’t, Seven Choices is so well written that it is worth reading as a literary gem.


Poetry

            Remember, by Laurie Corzett

            Remember when we
            were refugees,
            martyrs in transition.
            Walking.
            Road hypnosis.
            Steps through unhinged, barbaric world,
            incessantly stranger.

            Home, family, streets of trade,
            perks of urbanity
            cultured humanity
            strong lanes of history,
            tightly wrapped in our world viewed
            as small daily rituals.
            Now obliterated, markers
            of place, of purpose. Constrained movement
            of uncertain destination,
            I walk enclosed in walkers’ formation,
            consciousness optional,
            entrained within we devoid of sentient duration.

            Brief touch, short awareness of a face,
            faces, eyes almost blind, shrouded by terror,
            destitution.
            Why be human, cling to burdens of the flesh,
            of aspiring?
            Herd cattle, we pretend have no pain,
            no mindful fear, no sense of personal
            reality.
            We walk because we have no landing.
            Long past exhaustion, grabbing at pity of
            strangers to attend our exhibition, to watch
            over, protect, accept, that we fall on their streets
            desperate for sleep.
            Tattered skin, fragile bones;
            reviled by foreign merchants
            expecting quid pro quo
            wherever we’re pressed to go.
            Who are we, bleeding identity, to plead
            salvation?
            When we must stop, drop to the ground,
            do they walk over us, or around, or humanely
            offer shelter, bedding?

            Redefine home as space to sleep, keep
            what we own (until stolen).
            Ever diminished, with no where
            to root and grow,
            without resource of comfort, nothing
            worth waking, yet another dire day descends.

            Small girlchild, rags and dust – follow
            her morning of traverse, this tiny world allowed.
            Each tent flap reveals fester of wounds deep
            and shallow, ravage disease.
            Senses, thought, subsumed to beat of breath
            outside rational context.
            Stuck in the dirt, her worth a hole where
            she bottoms out, tributary blood expelled.

            Once known security of work and love
            (pre-war normality).
            Today’s reality denies those lives.
            Turned from tribal identity to nonentity,
            just another broken body in the fray.

            Yet over yonder years, alliances twist,
            resist, recombine; we adapt, regroup.
            Each here/now imbues with further
            circumstance, eternal dance with fates
            suspected or surprise. If we could
            visualize as from above, masked for day’s
            occasion, but behind gathering whole
            panorama truths
            as moments of clarity,
            whom are we assuming our self story to
            include?

            Summons, clarion
            to public ambient acclaim:
            Lives matter, private pain
            sad desperation that never
            fully heals though it ebb, sway, regain
            purchase.
            Surge of survival over uncertain destiny,
            return to industry, if we might find that energy.
            Realign expectant gaze toward peace, plenty
            — planetary necessity.
            Eventually to remember as poignant history,
            ritual song to somber tidal drum,
            when we were refugees.


Fun

Words that mean their opposites

When I saw the link, I couldn’t think of a single example, but as I read the list, I recognised all of them.

Read all about contronyms.

Gave me a grin. See if they cheer you up too.


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.
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