Toilet of Truth and the Marijuana Mystery

Once upon a time in 1999 a mother accompanies her 15 year old son to his appointment with their clinical psychologist seeking help in solving a case of “the magical appearance of a bag of marijuana that wasn’t”. I greet them in the waiting room. Mom asks if she can come back with Jimmy to talk about a growing concern she has about Jimmy inhaling marijuana. Jimmy expresses his displeasure with an eye roll, a big sigh, and a perfect enunciation of the old “Maa—umm”.

I’d be seeing Jimmy off and on for about 3 years. Typically, I have a parent come in for a few minutes at the beginning or ending of a meeting so the parents feel included, everybody knows where I stand, see how they interact so I can bust whomever needs to be busted. Generally, my motto is ‘everybody has to do some changing.

Anyway, we get back to my office and everybody gets seated. I’m in my swivel chair on wheels that allows me to twirl around, move back and forth from my desk to my ‘position’, and to lengthen or shorten the distance between me and them. Today, they are both sitting on the couch. Something tells me it is going to be an hour packed with mystery and fun.

Quite often, I open things up with a fairly serious “So………” adjusting the sound of the word to the mood of what I sense is coming. Sure enough, Mom expresses concern that Jimmy is smoking pot on a fairly regular basis. She finds ‘evidence’ to support her hunch in his room and car and most recently in their mailbox. She digs into her purse and pulls out a good size bag of what appears to be marijuana that mysteriously found it’s way into the mailbox. Mom hands the bag to me to get my ‘expert opinion’. Jimmy suggested it might be oregano-not that he would know because he has never seen pot. Yeah….

I open up the bag, take a whiff, and declare-” Wow, there is a lot here. Not only that but this is top quality marijuana”. Jimmy just shakes his head repeating his mantra that he has never seen pot, and has no idea how it could have gotten in the mailbox. I interrupt the back and forth between the Mean Mom and Jimmy “the innocent”. It’s time to use what I call ‘split the difference’ tactic.

I take both sides. I explain to Jimmy that mothers are supposed to be nosy, suspicious, mistrustful, and have to give their kid a hard time if he is smoking pot. It’s her job. Just like it’s your job-Jimmy- to try to get away with things, to outwit her. Big surprise. It’s always been this way and always will. Might as well acknowledge the game so it doesn’t seem so damn serious. Lots of laughter as I move in close enough to give Jimmy a little kick in the shins.

I turn to Mom and say something like: “Well, it’s possible he really doesn’t know anything about how the pot got in the mailbox. Maybe it was supposed to be delivered to another mailbox in the neighborhood, in which case it wouldn’t be fair to ground this poor kid”. Jimmy is giving me a secret smile. I inquire about the presence of any other incorrigible teenagers that might live close by. Unfortunately for Jimmy, there aren’t any likely candidates.

Mom insists she knows Jimmy is smoking pot. Jimmy insists that Mom is always looking to give him a hard time, never believes him, and adds that he has hurt feelings being accused of such a thing.

It’s time to call Jimmy’s bluff. I know darn well he is getting stoned a few times a month. Mom asks me again if I think the bag contains pot. After I answer in the affirmative, she asks that I just keep it because she doesn’t want to get busted for having pot in her purse if the police pull her over on the way home. More laughter.

They both try to conceal their astonishment when I say ” Well, I’m happy to take it off your hands but I can’t keep it. We just need to follow ‘standard operating procedure”. What is that ? “Well, Mom, I need you to come to the bathroom with me so you can witness me flushing the pot or oregano or whatever it is down the toilet”. Mom smiles while Jimmy seems perplexed. I get up and Mom follows. We have a few laughs as I estimate how much money we are just about to flush down the toilet. As we head back into the office I tell Mom to pay attention to Jimmy’s reaction when we return.

I close the door and sit down. I believe I’d be a rich man if I had a video camera to capture the next few minutes. No sooner do I sit down than Jimmy, with reddened face, says to me: ” I can’t believe you just did that” Did what dude ? He shakes his head as his legs are bouncing wildly. “Jimmy, what’s wrong, you seem pissed or bummed or something….I just got you out of trouble….told your Mom we couldn’t hold you responsible for the mysterious appearance of the bag of ‘whatever’ in your mailbox”. He says 3 times in quick succession-“I can’t believe you did that….do you know how much money you flushed down the toilet ? Did you really flush it down–you didn’t do you”?

“Yeah, Jimmy I did. You told me you thought it was oregano and have made it clear you’ve never even seen pot before. It’s possible I am mistaken–it could have been oregano but not like any I ever came across. So, the simplest and safest solution was to flush it. I couldn’t have you guys leaving me here with a bag of very good pot. Hell, Jimmy, your Mom might think I smoke pot. So, she had to watch me flush it. What else was I supposed to do “?

Now Jimmy is angry. ” That was 100 dollars”. A hundred dollars of oregano ? Dude, I am trying to save your behind here but now you are making it difficult. You aren’t telling me oregano costs 100.00 and why would you care if it got flushed. So, Jimmy tries the ‘admit a white lie’ tactic.

“Okay, I have seen pot. I don’t smoke it but I’ve seen it. That could have been pot. If it was, you just wasted $ 100.00. That isn’t right. Nobody just flushes perfectly good pot down the toilet”. Mom starts laughing and I can’t keep the belly laugh from coming out. Even Jimmy is laughing as he keeps repeating-“I can’t believe you did that”.

“Okay Mom, it’s time for the wicked mother to leave the boys to talk” 
Jimmy mumbles “Thank God”. Mom counters with “I love you too, dear”. As soon as Mom leaves Jimmy stands up, starts pacing, as he expresses his disbelief over and over. I ask him, what the hell else did he expect me to do ?

He doesn’t have an answer for that except—“you didn’t have to flush great pot down the toilet”. So, I get him to cough up how often he is getting stoned, etc to see how much of a problem we have. It falls in the ‘experimenting’ category in a late bloomer. Eventually, he laughs about the pot, tells me who put it in the mailbox, but insists it wasn’t for him. I suggest he is full of elephant manure. His laughter blows any chance of sneaking that one past.

We finish up the rest of our time covering ‘it’s a parents job to try to catch you just like it’s your job to try to get away with things’. He laughs as I remind him I saved his ass. I made a strong recommendation that he quit being so darn stupid and making it so easy for his Mother to catch him. I encourage him to consider fessing up to Mom that he has inhaled a few times.

He is agreeable. As we shake hands, he asks one last time-“For real, Dr. K., you …you didn’t really flush it did you’? Yeah, I had to bozo. Do you think I enjoyed flushing great pot down the toilet ? No, I didn’t. I’ll be pissed if you make me have to do it again. ‘Go fess up and quit being stupid’ as I put him in a headlock.

We greet Mom in the waiting room. I tell her we have solved all his problems but it would be good for him to come back within 10 days. Smiles all around. No tension. Life is okay again.

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Marriage and Divorce

Notes from the Trenches

Research indicates that roughly one half of all first marriages will end in divorce.  The divorce rate for couples is second marriages is higher and tends to occur sooner with those in third marriages experiencing even higher and quicker divorces as compared to couples in first and second marriages. The divorce rate for law enforcement marriages is considerably higher as compared to the general population.  21st divorces are initiated by women roughly 70 % of the time.  Most couples live in states with “no-fault” divorce laws leading to faster, easier, and essentially uncontested divorces.  Divorce tends to run in families so individuals whose parents divorced are more likely to divorce than people coming from intact families.  There are a wide range of explanations for the increase in divorce rates amongst baby boomers as compared to their parents and grandparents, the rise of “no-fault” divorces, and a general de-stigmatization of divorce in the USA.

half.

Divorce and martial turmoil are associated with significantly increased risks for a broad range of medical, mental health, academic, occupational, substance abuse, relational, behavioral, etc. problems.  It is intellectually indefensible to suggest that divorce and marital turmoil are problem-free events for all those touched by divorce.  

Divorce is a major social, economic, and public health problem that costs society untold billions of dollars in lost productivity, illness, absenteeism, accidents, and so on. Historically, women tended to fare worse economically than men but this trend is shifting.  As a general rule men evidence more numerous and serious problems than woman following divorce including a tendency to die sooner following divorce. 

Given the magnitude of divorce related problems our efforts to minimize the divorces within the USA have not been commensurate with the negative effects.  Curiously, virtually every state has mandated “divorcing parent programs” aimed at minimizing the negative effects of divorce on children but little is done to minimize the negative effects on parents and there are essentially no court mandated programs designed to prevent divorce by providing couples with information, skills, and tools that are known to substantially reduce the likelihood.

 of experiencing divorce.  It is extremely common for couples participating in “divorcing parent programs” to express astonishment and bewilderment when they learn that marital researchers have developed remarkably effective divorce prevention programs that they learn about in “divorce programs”.

Common sense indicates and divorcing couples argue that we would do well to mandate divorce prevention or marriage preparation programs on the front end rather merely mandating “divorcing parent programs” for couples going through divorce no matter how useful and effective such programs may be..  



 

Most people find it difficult to believe robust research that demonstrates that marital researchers can predict with up to 93 % accuracy which couples will stay married and those couples destined to divorce based on less than a minute of observation watching couples manage conflict.  Some people find this fact unsettling however the good news is that martial researchers and psychologists have developed marriage preparation and marriage enhancement programs that have been shown time and again to reduce by at least half the chances of couples breaking up or getting divorced.  Even better these prevention programs are time-limited, relatively inexpensive, presented in educational formats, without psychobabble and complex psychological explanations, self-examination, interpretations, and the rest.  We now have the information and “technology” to equip couples with the information, skills, and tools to reduce by 50 % the chances of experiencing divorce.   


It is high time churches, community groups, businesses, legislative bodies, etc. came together to ensure that all couples interested in attending research based marriage preparation programs can do so.  Some states have initiated public discourse about the wisdom of providing monetary incentives to couples who voluntarily participate in such programs.  It is important to commend various church organizations that offer marriage preparation programs particularly ones that integrate science-based marriage preparation classes with the religious and spiritual components of their efforts to prepare couples for marriage.


The unanswered question is whether couples will make time in their hectic lives to invest 6 hours to boost chances that their relationship will be satisfying and enriching.  The other unknown is whether the people trained to offer such programs will offer them.  We have the information and “technology” to ensure people get something they say they want.  Time will tell whether we can break away from seemingly endless lists of important tasks to attend to something essential.

 An old Irish priest once said” “Never let the important get in the way of the essential”. 

Let’s accept the gift to enhance our lives for each other, our children, family, friends, and loved ones.

 

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A National Disgrace: Time to End Sex Trafficking-Slavery

It is hard for people to identify a terrible injustice in the world to invest time to make a difference; we are overwhelmed by the sheer number and types of horrible happenings in the world.  That said, putting an end to the global sex trafficking-modern slavery is doable and worth doing.

A young man named Siddarth Kara provides people with a way to understand the nature and scope of this crime against humanity and a way to end it in his book “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery.

There are nearly 30 million slaves in the world with ten thousand residing in the USA.  It has become politically correct to respond to such global problems by asserting we ought not endeavor to put an end to such injustices unless they threaten our national interests.  

It is too easy to punt responsibility to the UN though it would take more than a year for the UN to put boots on the ground to mismanage the problem.

The US spends more than a billion dollars a day on national defense projects.  

Kara’s research indicates we could essentially eliminate global sex trafficking with four hundred million dollars.  Pennies to rescue young girls and women from conditions and horrors that are too graphic to mention in this forum.

How does the “greatest nation in the history of the world” justify turning a blind eye to such unspeakable human suffering ?  We can’t.  Sure, the devil is in the details.  But planning and execution of the actions necessary to end global sex trafficking is doable.  

Most “first world” countries have the assets to eliminate modern slavery. Imagine the national pride that would come from such an accomplishment.  Our country continues to need to improve our standing in the global community.  A US sponsored operation that put an end to modern day slavery would go a long way to improve our standing in the world and how we view ourselves as Americans.

It makes no sense to fail to accept this mission that is a guaranteed success.  We need to see that the US can still lead and inspire other nations to do the right things-not just the profitable things.

What can you do ?   Telephone your senators and representatives to let them know it’s time to put an end to this unbridled evil—and fast.  

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Did You Used to be R.D. Laing

R. D. Laing was a brilliant and controversial Scottish psychiatrist.  He made several of the most consequential contributions in  psychiatry during the 20th century.

This documentary offers a rare glimpse into the personal world and professional work of R.D. Laing.  It just became available on google video after a long absence from both google and youtube.  It’s worth a watch and might be available for a short time.

Enjoy.

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Longwalker Speaks

Longwalker Speaks

 

Chief Ernie Peters Longwalker got his name from his 1978 cross- continent walk aimed at defeating congressional legislation that would have dissolved the Native American reservation system. The protest began with ceremonies on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, then moved for the start of the trek to Sacramento, California, where about 25 people set off, a number that swelled to tens of thousands of concerned citizens by the time it hit Washington, D.C., five months later. Midway through the walk, the column of marchers took fully half a day to pass beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

 

The legislation died, even though it had considerable popular support. The outcome, however, was no surprise to Longwalker, a full-blooded Mdewakontonwan Dakotah (Sioux) medicine man, who had been chosen by his fellow Native American chiefs to lead the peaceful protest march. He says that if one lives the truth–by living honorably, purely, and righteously–the power of the Great Spirit will be manifested. And manifested it was in the downfall of the antireservation bill–and also in the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, which ended the widespread federal persecution aimed at preventing Indian dances and other religious ceremonies. This harassment climaxed in the 1890s with an outright ban on the rites. It was lifted only in 1934 but continued with unofficial but considerable fierceness until 1978. During all this time, the rites were practiced underground.

 

Longwalker remains a leader within the Native American community.  He has continued to fight for the rights of his people though his efforts are not as widely known in the 21st century.

In this clip Longwalker agreed to talk about his ancestors view of life and our world with a well-known progressive rock musician, Jon Anderson, known for his work with YES, Vangelis, Kitaro, Youth Orchestras, indigenous musicians, etc.  The audio of Longwalker’s voice was recorded outside underneath a tree on his land as he spoke to Jon Anderson.  Anderson added music to Longwalker’s words after their original recording.

 

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On Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves

This is arguably the best analysis and description written to date of the the experience of the sheep dog moving through life.  It needs no further introduction.

Excerpt from

On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict, In War and In Peace

By Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen

 One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to Lt. Col. Grossman: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Consider that the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year. While this is a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime, we must keep in mind that there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in one hundred in any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation.

Let us call them sheep.

Now, we mean nothing negative by calling them this. Think of a pretty blue robin’s egg. It is soft and gooey inside, but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now though, civilization needs warriors to protect them from the predators.

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world who are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, you are an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who walks the hero’s path. You are able to walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

One career police officer wrote the following to Lt. Col. Grossman after attending one of his “Bulletproof Mind” training sessions:

“I want to say thank you for finally shedding some light on why it is that I can do what I do. I always knew why I did it. I love my [citizens], even the bad ones, and I had a talent that I could return to my community. I just couldn’t put my finger on why I could wade through the chaos, the gore, the sadness, if given a chance try to make it all better, and walk right out the other side.”

Let us expand on the old soldier’s excellent model of the sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kids’ school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is to deny that it could happen. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard for them to fathom.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray-paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”

That is, until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America, said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” But the sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, he does have one real advantage. Only one. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory acts of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

However, when there were cues given by potential victims that indicated they would not go easily, the cons said that they would walk away. If the cons sensed that the target was a counter-predator, that is, a sheepdog, they would leave him alone unless there was no other choice but to engage.

One police officer told me that he rode a commuter train to work each day. One day, as was his usual, he was standing in the crowded car, dressed in blue jeans, T-shirt and jacket, holding onto a pole and reading a paperback. At one of the stops, two street toughs boarded, shouting and cursing and doing every obnoxious thing possible to intimidate the other riders. The officer continued to read his book, though he kept a watchful eye on the two punks as they strolled along the aisle making comments to female passengers, and banging shoulders with men as they passed.

As they approached the officer, he lowered his novel and made eye contact with them. “You got a problem, man?” one of the IQ-challenged punks asked. “You think you’re tough, or somethin’?” the other asked, obviously offended that this one was not shirking away from them.

The officer held them in his steady gaze for a moment, and then said calmly, “As a matter of fact, I am tough.”

The two looked at him questioningly, blinked a couple of times, and then without saying a word, turned and moved back down the aisle to continue their taunting of the other passengers, the sheep.

Some people might be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But most people can choose which they want to be, and more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, “Let’s roll,” which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers – athletes, business people and parents-from sheep to sheepdogs, and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

Here is the point Lt. Col Grossman likes to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers he speaks to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, as are wolves. They did not have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs. Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

Lt. Col. Grossman was training a group of police officers in Texas when during a break an officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other officer replied, “I will never be caught without my gun in church.”

Lt. Col. Grossman asked him why he felt so strongly about this and the officer told him about another police officer he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual charged in and opened fire, gunning down 14 people. He said that that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if only he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy’s body and wait to die.

The officer telling the story looked Lt. Col. Grossman in the eyes, and asked, “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?”

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for “heads to roll” if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids’ school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them. However, their only response to the wolf is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?”

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: You didn’t bring your gun; you didn’t train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by fear, helplessness, horror and shame at your moment of truth.

In Fear Less, Gavin de Becker’s superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation, he says:

“…denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn’t so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling. Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be on 24/7 for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself, “Baa.”

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9/11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

 

Loren W. Christensen’s police career began in 1967 when he served as a military policeman stateside and in Saigon, Vietnam. When he got out, he joined the Portland (Oregon) Police Bureau where he served for 25 years in a wide range of jobs, to include street patrol, gang intelligence, dignitary protection, and defensive tactics instructor.

Loren began training in the martial arts in 1965 and has earned a total of 10 black belts in three arts: 7th degree karate, 2nd degree jujitsu, and 1st degree arnis. His slant is, and always has been, the street.

As a free-lance writer, Loren has authored 32 books, dozens of magazine articles, and edited a newspaper for nearly eight years. He has starred in six martial arts training DVDs and videos.

Retired from police work, Loren now writes full time and teaches martial arts.

To contact Loren, visit his website LWC Books at www.lwcbooks.com.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, an Army Ranger, and author of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict, In War and In Peace, with Loren W. Christensen.

As the director of Killology Research Group, Lt. Col. Grossman is on the road nearly 300 days a year, training elite military and law enforcement organizations worldwide on the reality of combat.

To contact Col. Grossman, visit his website Killology at www.killology.com.

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Scientific Research Identifies Health Benefits of Crying

Scientific research supports the accuracy of ancient folk wisdom that crying is good for our health.   Although crying is a universal human experience that appears in every culture throughout history, we understand very little about this common yet mysterious phenomenon. Traumatic events, prolonged stress, loneliness, loss, pain, and simple daily hassles often trigger crying.

Yet, most people have also cried tears of happiness, joy, and relief. How often and for what reasons people weep are influenced by many factors including gender, age, perceptions of events, societal attitudes, health, personality characteristics, and so on. Curiously, we have learned more about weeping from poetry, fiction, and movies than from medical and psychological studies. However,these scientific studies provide strong and consistent evidence that crying is linked to significant health benefits.

Biomedical researchers have identified four biological mechanisms that function as catalysts influencing the amount of tears we will shed at a given time: genetic influences,dietary factors, hormone levels and circadian rhythms (we are more likely to cry if we are sleep deprived and at certain times of day). Once the tear switch is flipped a complex interplay of psychological and neurobiological processes allow tears to flow. We really know very little about the precise psychological and biological processes that initiate an episode of crying or when it will stop. However, recent biological studies offer strong clues to how and why crying is related to health benefits.

Commonly, people report they feel some sense of relief after a bout of crying. There is general agreement that there is a significant increase in the number, type and amount of stress hormones released in our bodies prior to crying. Consistently, researchers find that tears contain stress hormones. This is a critical finding since we know stress hormones cause damage to virtually all bodily systems.

During the last decade, stress hormones have been shown to cause serious damage to brain cells. Stress hormones have seem to target specific parts of the brain including the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and pre-frontal cortex. Unfortunately, stress hormones attack the very brain sites implicated in the perpetuation of mood disorders. As a result, stress hormones damage the exact sites capable of reducing or eliminating the release of the toxic stress hormones.

Finally, extensive biomedical studies demonstrate that stress hormones negatively affect virtually every system in the body including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and immunesystems. It is clear that crying is a primary way for the body to eliminate harmful stress hormones. Thus, crying is a natural and essential biological function that results in the elimination of stress hormones connected to every imaginable stress related health problem. The 21st century has started by removing any doubt about the positive health effects of crying.

Is it any wonder that people so often report feeling relieved after a good cry ? From a public health perspective, it is obvious that the general public would benefit from a campaign to eliminate all stigma associated with crying  so everyone can benefit from the innumerable positive health effects of crying.

Practitioner’s of folk wisdom have routinely encouraged people to allow themselves to cry telling the suffering soul that ‘ a good cry will help you feel better’.

Some people report they rarely if ever shed tears while others indicate crying is just a natural part of their lives.  Those of us that have an aversion to crying would do toss out impediments to crying.  Actually it takes courage to shed tears.  Many men seem to “get it” when informed the refusal to cry when a wave comes makes as much sense as refusing to take a piss when you really gotta go.

It is curious to watch scientists provide proof of things ordinary people have known for eons.  Medical research has weighed in.  We’ve been given “permission” by scientists to allow a natural biological function to occur with knowledge that crying has many health benefits.  Let ‘er rip.

 

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