Bobbing Around Volume 22 Number 4

No mud, no lotus
Thich Nhat Hanh


We’re killing all complex life on Earth. It’s official: we are in the sixth extinction event, the next one after the dinosaurs departed. Metta is what we need to survive. You see, all the problems are due to greed, aggression, fear, envy, hate. If you exercise metta, you won’t be doing things that way, and then we’ll be able to solve the problems facing us.
Bill Sutcliffe, in The Doom Healer


Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty-two, Number Four,
October, 2022

Bob Rich’s rave

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* From me to you
Title change
Dementia Electionitis
Hanging around

 

  New content Posts during the past month
RESPONSES Trevor Tucker, about Sleeeper, Awake
Bonnie Solomon
Lauren Persons
Fiona Lemmon
Multifarious commentators
 
ENVIRONMENT Elephants are environmental engineers Houseboats, anyone?
POLITICS   Transgender: how any issue should be considered
Mourning the Queen? Here is another take
INSPIRATION Compassion in outer space
The Tsarina of Russian pop challenges Tsar Putin
An ode to cooperation
Chess as a ladder out
PSYCHOLOGY Toxic relationships Crater lake guided imagery for inner peace
Restful sleep — not too much or too little
Living with borderline personality disorder
Do YOU have the Ability?
DEEPER ISSUES Instant inner peace
A spiritual hope
Killing animals
TECHNOLOGY   Hope for coral
HEALTH   Long COVID: the case for inner peace
WRITING   Secret dossier my September, 2022 post in Rhobin’s Rounds
Sound Eagle’s script extraordinaire on writing
Even villains are apprentice Buddhas: the October, 2022 Rhobin’s Rounds
ANNOUNCEMENTS Setting The Tone From The Top: How leaders’ conversations shape a positive culture, by Melinda Muth and Bob Selden
Betrayal: The Loss No One Is Talking About: A TED talk by Holli Kenley
David Kaye asks: what is love?
Healthy Eating: the first magic bullet at Recovering the Self
Australia’s kindest person sought
Find out about this funny old fella
REVIEWS Energy healing, by TA Sullivan
Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Trevor Tucker
 
POETRY Child of the Sun, by Laurie Corzett  
FUN Conservatism
An ode to the pun
Fun garden path misleading


From me to you

Title change
Dementia Electionitis
Hanging around

 

Title change

I’ve been calling my coming book on grief If You Have Lost a Loved One, but then I had the need to cover the situation of grief for a dead abuser. One of the chapters is titled I hated him but now I miss him.

If I want people in this situation to consider the book, I need to change the title.

What do you think of this? The Hole in Your Life: How to cope with grief

OK, here is the relevant little part:

    Our life has structure. A change in any part involves losses.

    Greta originally came to me because of domestic violence. You could see it on her face: slightly crooked nose, a missing front tooth, and that defeated look of a victim. She had endured eighteen years of abuse, but her husband’s grooming induced her to believe that she had nowhere to go.

    And then he got into a drunken fight and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

    Financially she and her teenage children were secure, except that she had no idea about accessing the bank accounts, budgeting and the like. Financial abuse is almost invariable in her situation. I referred her to a financial counsellor, who sorted out the immediate problems and educated her on relevant issues.

    Six months down the track, she said to me, “At first, I felt joy—‘the bastard’s gone!’—but I… I feel guilty that I miss him.”

    “Let’s examine this. Would you want him back?”

    “No way!”

    “Greta, close your eyes… A few deep breaths…” I’d taught her relaxation and meditation in our earliest sessions, and now saw her relax. “Put yourself in a situation when you miss him. When you’re ready, tell me about it.”

    After a silence, she softly, hesitantly said, “There’s no one to tell me what to do… I need to make all the decisions… Yeah, the fear is gone, but, but, there is nothing in its place. I’m in a… an emotional vacuum, like.”

    I don’t know if you are in this situation. If not, imagine it. How do we escape from an emotional vacuum?
    Remember the seven magic bullets? They are a great start. In particular, I encouraged Greta to engage in creative activities, and to deliberately have fun. Then I asked, “What was the meaning of your life while Ron was still alive?”

    “Survival.” We’d worked this out months previously, but I needed it as the starting point of her new life.

    “OK, Greta, what’s my next question?”

    Good. That got laughter. “What’s the meaning of my life now, right?”

    “Right. See, you don’t need me, you can do it yourself.”

    She looked down, then out the window, then into my eyes. “Rebuilding.”

    She was on the way.


Dementia Electionitis

I the past couple of weeks, I made over 200 phone calls, almost all to strangers. Never mind the time of day, most were to message banks. A few replied.

Many of the people listed in the database I was given didn’t have a phone number, so I sent them a beaut email. Two replied.

Then there were those with no working phone number or email address. I refused to contact them. Even I have limits!

The fruit of all this effort: about 40 people who will, or at least may, volunteer for our campaign. I am told this is an excellent result, but… but I still have a list of about 50 names to contact.

Sigh.


Hanging around

One of my minor annoyances of life is pains in the toes. They are almost invariably while I am asleep, and while I can handle them with mindfulness, It’s not that convenient to wake several times a night.

I do have bunions, which is probably part of the reason, but surely they’d be worse while I’m on my feet rather than asleep?

The reason I cannot have my bunyips… sorry, bunions, operated on is that the blood supply to my feet is restricted. I found out recently, that’s probably one of the rewards for distance running. It does have an interesting consequence: although I am 5 cm (2 inches) shorter than I used to be, I won’t pass for a hobbit: my feet have become hairless.

So, my doctor sent me to this nice lady who is a vascular specialist. She said, no, the pattern of pain is not typical of arterial stenosis. (Aren’t you proud of me, using such big words?) So, she sent me to a special kind of scan, which showed that 5 of the 6 ankle level arteries are actually not blocked. The reduced blood flow is because calcium tubes are not that good at pulsing and pumping.

She also sent me for a CT scan of my lower back and hey, I got bumps of bulging stuff pressing on a few relevant nerves.

I can stop the nightly toe pains by traction.

Another nice lady with a delightful Scottish accent showed me how to do that without spending $100 on a traction harness. I’ve built a sort of tower with pillows on the top, and, well, hang around for a minute or two.

You know what? After this, I am 5 cm taller, for a while!

It hasn’t made the hair come back onto my feet though.


Responses

 

Trevor Tucker, about Sleeeper, Awake

Good morning Bob.

Some well deserved solitude for me; so I’ve finished your book.

I must say mate, I was captivated.

Incorrectly, I hope, I’ve been told that by the end of the 2020s, less than 2% of the world’s population will control 95+% of the world’s wealth. If that is credible, the obvious conclusion is that many, many good people will suffer horribly and die prematurely because of the absurd, selfish pleasures of just a few.

Yet your story, a very timely one indeed — and of Flora in particular — captures the inherent essence of the human condition, for good to prevail over greed and evil, even after likely (though I hope not mandatory) catastrophe.

I think I could cope with an implant and a society similar to the one your imagination has implied just might be possible.

Well done; a great read.

Cheers.

Trevor Tucker.

Trevor specialises in writing about Australian history, for example his novel, Ned Kelly’s Son.


Bonnie Solomon

Latecomer to your work and this post — just finished “Ascending Spiral.” I’ve read all of Michael Newton’s books. Curious what your take is on WHY life (at least the kind we know and most of the ones you reference in your book) has generally started with conditions that promote violence and self-preservation, e.g. ecosytems reliant on a food chain…

    Bonnie, what a challenging question!

    The straight answer is, I don’t know. After all, I was very young when life started evolving. 🙂

    My understanding of evolution is that if there is a way of making a living, some organism will fill it. So, if I get nourishment from sunlight, I make organic matter that’s food for someone else, on and on, round and round.

    And scientific evidence shows that even plants feel pain. That is a great survival mechanism.
    All the same, the major force running our universe is metta, or universal love

    Perhaps the answer is in the title of that book, “Ascending Spiral.” Everything needs to start at, well, the start. That is savagery, and we then grow from that.

    I’ve reviewed “The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence” by Matthew Fleischer.

    He argues that the acts of violence in the Torah are only early steps toward Love for All (which is also in the Old Testament, in Leviticus).

    Anyway, thank you for tickling the old neurons.

    You do know that if you have bought “Ascending Spiral,” you have earned a free electronic copy of any of my other books? Please email a review to bob@bobswriting.com and I’ll publish it in the next issue of my newsletter.

    Your new friend,
    Bob


Lauren Persons

Dear Bob,
As always, I enjoy your blog. Perhaps, it is because great minds think alike or just that we share a love of words, children and a yen to leave the world a better place. I have a book signing scheduled in October for my new children’s book, “What Happened to Chester?” One of the hardest things for me to do, in the words of a friend, is to be a “unapologetic self-promoter.” So my new line is: If not me, who will? Just a note to thank you for being an excellent example of the power that writers have–to share their own gift, to empower others and find the humor in both!


Fiona Lemmon

Fiona sent me this, some of it copyrighted by that great author, Anonymous:

Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly.

There is no such thing as a grouchy old person. The truth is, once you get old, you stop being polite and start being honest.

How to look after your mental health: ten top tips (from HWlincs)

Talk to someone—anyone: talking about your feelings can help you cope and find balance
Keep active—regular exercise is great for boosting self-esteem and helping your sleep,
concentration and general outlook
Eat well—remember your brain needs a health mix of nutrients
Drink sensibly – drinking alcohol can have a negative effect on feelings of fear or loneliness
Keep in touch—strong family and friends networks can give you support
Ask for help—we all feel overwhelmed or tired at times – reach out for support
Take a break—make time for yourself and press the pause button when it gets too much
Do something you enjoy—if you love a hobby then make time for it
Accept who you are—we are all different and wonderful. Give yourself a pat on the back just for being yourself
Care for others—look after those around you and feel the benefits of togetherness

A wise man said: Don’t take revenge. The rotten fruits will fall by themselves.

[Hey, most of these are in the 7 magic bullets list.]

3 things to remember to help you move forward: (from MyPositiveOutlooks.com)

The life in front of you is more important than the life behind you.
Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
Don’t be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.


Multifarious commentators

I am the secretary of the Victorian Country Greens Network, a vigorous working group of the Greens. At a recent meeting, we had a spirited discussion about hunting, feral species control and the like. My response was the post Killing Animals. It received a few direct comments, and many personal emails. After reading the essay, please scroll down and see what my fellow environmentalist friends think about it.


Environment

 

Elephants are environmental engineers

Or so IFAW tells us.

They do support this claim with evidence, worth reading.

All the same, my favourite item of information about elephants comes from Ogden Nash:

            The elephant is a faithful friend
            With a handle at either end,
            A wrinkled and mothproof hide,
            And teeth, upside down, OUTSIDE!


Inspiration

 

Compassion in outer space

Read this lovely little story about real human nature at its best.


The Tsarina of Russian pop challenges Tsar Putin


I’ve never heard of Alla Pugacheva, but then I don’t listen to pop in any language, and am not rushing to be Russian. (Sorry!)

She has been wildly popular in Russia since the 1970s, so is of my generation: a grandmother. When the Ukrainian war, my apologies, special operation, started, she and her family left Russia in protest.

In an act of courage and defiance, she has now returned, and is telling her 3.5 million followers the truth about the war.


Psychology

 

Toxic relationships

Before I retired, I had clients who faced an intolerable burden: a person in their lives who got them furious at every contact. If this is a colleague or relatively infrequently met acquaintance, no worries, really. But what if it is a close family member, with perhaps daily interactions?

My approach is based on oodles of research, and it works.

1. “You can’t care for anyone unless you care for the carer first.” This is the first lesson student nurses are taught, and it applies in all situations. This means standing up for yourself, but without aggression.

2. The method is the “assertive formula:” “When you [eat with your mouth open / shout at me all the time / track mud all over the carpet / get drunk on the way home and then abuse me / whatever the main objection is], I feel [ready to walk out and never talk to you again / lock myself in my room and cry / take a kitchen knife to you / whatever your usual reaction is], so please [eat like we were in a restaurant / speak to me as if we were friends like we used to be / take your boots off before you come in / do something about your alcohol habit, like going to AA].”

3. If the result is positive, fine. If not, you need to up the ante. “Unless you… I will… and if this keeps going, I can’t live with you anymore.” This is “tough love.”

4. Some clients actually ended up removing the ongoing toxic relationship from their lives. One young woman paid for a classified ad stating, “Janelle Smith announces that she is no longer the daughter of Harry and Clara Smith.”

But in many other cases, the reaction is, “Oh. I can’t do that. Poor bastard would have no one else.”

This converts an intolerable burden into a compassionate gift. The offending behaviour may still be there, but is a reminder of inner spiritual growth.


Deeper Issues

 

Instant inner peace

Veronica-Mae is my older sister-in-spirit in Britain. After years of correspondence, we have yet to find anything we disagree over. (Must stop this immediately!)

She sent me a link to an inspiring essay about a stay in Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in France. As the author, Diana Hill, says, not everyone can afford to do that, so she summarises the teachings in an easy-to-follow guide.

Do take the quarter-hour to read it, then, more important, put it into practice.


A spiritual hope

Janice Dolley achieved a task that is unique as far as I know: co-authored a book with her dead friend. You can read my review of this book here.

She has a guest post at Sleepy Lion Publishing that will lift your spirits — much needed in today’s world.


I approve of these announcements

 

Setting The Tone From The Top: How leaders’ conversations shape a positive culture, by Melinda Muth and Bob Selden


Prior to the banking and finance Royal Commission, people were somewhat sceptical about the important role of culture in an organisation’s success. No longer: over and above all the governance requirements, culture is the one factor that can have real impact.

In their new book, Setting The Tone From The Top: How leaders’ conversations shape a positive culture, authors Melinda Muth and Bob Selden unveil the secrets of how words and language not only impact the behaviour and feelings of the recipients, but also the speaker. Importantly, they show how leaders use this knowledge to develop positive cultures.

In very simple, easy to apply strategies and tactics, the book describes how to develop and promote the six levers that create and sustain culture, plus the three-step process on how to assess and review your cultural change.

As Professor of Strategy and Leadership, Sydney Finkelstein (Dartmouth College) commented, “What we say and how we say it has never been more important than in this era of ‘fake news’. Muth and Selden cut through the clutter to provide road-tested and sage advice for board members and senior executives alike on how to communicate more effectively when the chips are down.”


Betrayal: The Loss No One Is Talking About: A TED talk by Holli Kenley

Here it is.

When we think of betrayal, we typically view it as a loss of trust. Because it is a loss issue, grief approaches are utilized in addressing it. But is this the most effective approach? Based on original research and her experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Holli Kenley widens the lens on betrayal, viewing it as a loss of self, and she identifies three States of Being: Confusion, Worthlessness, and Powerlessness, which lay the groundwork for a different path to recovery.

Utilizing the TEDx story-driven format for delivering her idea – Betrayal: The Loss No One Is Talking About – Holli embeds the theme of “righting yourself” from betrayal injury by describing an uplifting sailing story from college. Then, she pulls us into the depths of betrayal’s loss of self as she discloses her parents dual attempted suicides. Bringing us full circle. Holli concludes her talk by weaving her research into her narrative, offering us a path of healing and one of hope.

Holli Kenley, MA, LMFT, works in the field of psychology as an author, therapist, and presenter. She is passionate about understanding and addressing betrayal and believes unhealed betrayal trauma is a common underlying cause of discomfort in our lives.


David Kaye asks: what is love?

Let’s bring some Love into our lives!

I spent six years as part of research for my first of five books, Crossroads: Your Journey Within, investigating the complexities of “Love.” I spoke to lovers, haters, philosophers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, singers, former KGB and ASIO agents, Rabbis, Priests, Imams, Sex therapists etc and absolutely loved writing this chapter in the book.

The consensus was startling though. Love can be a furnace and burn in the deepest corners of our hearts, it can twist our minds and souls to the point of insanity but most importantly, it is the currency of life.

The research however, raised more questions than finding any answers as such. For example, is love a means to other ends or an end in itself?

What does love mean to you?

David Kaye


Reviews

 

Energy healing, by TA Sullivan

Energy Healing by TA Sullivan is a handy, free little booklet tabulating how various energy-based healing modalities may improve your functioning.

I am handicapped by a scientific education, so don’t believe anything but go with the evidence. So, I did a quick search for the subject-matter of each chapter. To my surprise, “energy healing” has evidence supporting it.

Ms. Sullivan doesn’t claim that crystals, lights, metals or fragrances cure illness, which is a relief to me.

For example, her claim is that fragrances “can heighten or decrease certain aspects of our emotional, physical, or mental well-being.” This is entirely reasonable, and probably in accord with your personal experience. So, it is useful to have a guide of which fragrances to use in what situation.

The other thing is the placebo effect. This is usually considered in a dismissive way, as in “only the placebo effect,” but is in fact an immensely powerful demonstration of the power of belief. There is nothing wrong with improving physical wellbeing by knowing that you can. If going through a ritual, or taking chemically inactive tablets, or meditating in a peaceful environment leads to healing because you believe it does, then it’s actually better than taking some drug with nasty side-effects, or undergoing surgery.

So, even if some of Ms. Sullivan’s recommendations are “only placebo” (not that I am saying they are), following them still can improve your life.


Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Trevor Tucker

After many years of association with Dr Bob Rich, receiving his timely advice on all things authorial, and sharing his genuine concerns for the human race, I am so glad to have immersed myself in his remarkable book, “Sleeper Awake”.

This account is daring, not only in Bob’s prediction of an impending world-wide catastrophe, but in his proposition that unheard of technology might become humanity’s infinite saviour.

A book for everyone.


Poetry

 

Child of the Sun, by Laurie Corzett

            A gift to the future
            racing who knows where.
            Free-born to spinning Earth,
            curious raveling universe,
            natural child gracefully wild,
            daringly there.
            Immersed in exquisite artistry,
            to flow with the forces of destiny,
            ablaze with combust eternity.
            Living each now, moment to moment,
            owning action and purpose.
            *
            At the heart of human nature is a child,
            trying to figure out what this being human means,
            not waiting to begin to live some day,
            unwinding personal will and sight, so bright,
            lovely, lively, amazing delight,
            child of the Sun,
            reaching to embrace fairy-tale adventure.
            The kind of world in which
            that child is loved and nurtured
            reaps priceless rewards.
            *
            If Greybeard in some quantum sky,
            hallowed by Name,
            presides o’er rewards, blessed bliss,
            helpless cries in flames of perdition,
            would such a power be amused,
            indulgent Grandfather bouncing willful
            child on some ectoplasmic knee,
            promising eternity of learning to make of the whole sad cacophony
            discrete instruments of harmony, of divine symphony
            to find, realize, act with
            impeccable integrity
            *
            Yes, magical child dancing in the fullness of the night
            to ring the rune and cast the spell to make the darkness bright
            *
            Listen,
            love and revere this wild child who laughs at whirlwinds
            and dances to life’s changing, challenging melodies.
            Sing,
            without inhibition or internalized mockery.
            This is our time, all yours and mine, to be wonderfilled.
            *
            Like a child chasing fireflies,
            alive in the darkened air,
            dare to ignite sparkling wonder,
            to share
            more enlivening stories.
            *
            A child wants the safety of hearth and tribe,
            of happy fantasies, every body well fed and
            tucked to bed, caressed in love that hugs away
            the slavering beast.
            Child in the doorway silently sings ecstasies
            of laughing eyes a’float in kindness —
            smiling, dimpling, offers inebriating flowers
            never known to earth’s earnest soil.
            *
            A marvelous secret, a hidden treasure trove
            while unicorns play harpsichord
            within a blossomed grove,
            a blessed child with something wild that
            plays in rainbow eyes,
            has been declared our prophet heir,
            born to hypnotize.
            warm balm to hypnotize,
            sing lullabies,
            reward all the heathen with sleep,
            and dreaming dreams as such who waken
            find their very core earthshaken.
            Made to believe in possibilities,
            they set their sites, reshaping all reality.
            *
            Radiant child, worlds of time,
            the universe, awaits you,
            fiercely at play in the ruins, stomping antiquities
            into sharp shards
            to sculpt transcendent mosaics
            in shifting sands,
            beaming
            with myth’s expectations,
            roaring celestial laughter.
            *
            Enrapt in wonder’s emergent colors,
            swaying to music, smiling to play,
            growing golden through summer’s most perfect day

Fun

 

Conservatism

I couldn’t resist grabbing this off a Greens website. And after all, this is the theme of Labels, one of the stories in Lifting the Gloom


An ode to the pun

            The pun is the highest form of wit.
            Don’t believe me? Just think of it:
            the left brain is only the start,
            you need to add the creative part,
            which is the right brain’s special skill,
            you spin both ways, if you will.

            So, admire the pun, the brainy joke,
            but make up your own, yes, go for broke.
            I recommend it. Be unique,
            it isn’t weak.
            It’s unlike other forms of fun,
            But note, this ditty lacks even one pun.


About Bobbing Around

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  • 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;
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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.

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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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1 Response to Bobbing Around Volume 22 Number 4

  1. Don Lubov says:

    Love your plaque on “Conservatism”. Also, David Kaye on “Love”.

    Liked by 1 person

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