The Muse

Showing posts with label Brain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brain. Show all posts

Monday, August 16, 2021

Ready?

 A psychiatrist in Eugene said he had never had so many depressed patients as this year.

The other day he called his office and said, “I’m not coming back.”

You know what they say about putting on your oxygen mask first? If you run out of oxygen, you will be no help to others.

 What can I say?  What comfort can I offer to folks scared these days? I could say that all pandemics end eventually. The trouble is we don’t know when this one will or how.

 I’m wondering if somehow there was a message this pandemic was screaming at us, but our ears were closed. So instead of listening, we dropped into survival mode and started hoarding toilet paper.

 Are we waiting for someone to fix the problem then arguing over how it ought to be done?

 Are we with each other or against? We’re divided and argumentative. The veins in our necks budge from arguing over ideologies.

 I thought of this in contrast to Ester, who got into a hotel elevator and pushed the button for the top floor. Shortly after that, nine other women joined her. One woman taking over elevator control asked the others, “What floor?”

 Ester said, “I’ll have the lingerie floor, please.”

 The women started to giggle, and one woman popped up, “I’ll have the bargain basement.” Another said, “Not me; I’ll have the penthouse.” One said, “Let’s just stop at every floor and see what’s there.”

 They all got off laughing after having a grand time.

 Zig Zigler said he started the day by opening two gifts—his eyes.

 I know it’s not easy to change one’s focus from fear to optimism. However, we can move incrementally up the ladder toward feeling good.

 Is it possible that our consciousness had something to do with a virus that got out of hand?

Not possible? What if it was?  What if we believe we can lick this thing? What if our attitude would have some effect on the outcome? What if we believe that our immune systems can take us to the penthouse? (On earth, not heaven.)

 I’ve talked about the brain many times--how we have a brain stacked on a brain on a brain and how we drop into the Reptilian brain in times of fear.

 I had asked my daughter the question I asked you, “Do you think metaphysically we had anything to do with this pandemic?”

 Her answer came the following day. She said, “I think it runs on fear.”

 And she followed that with, “And I think that overcoming fear is becoming the master.”

 Wow. Something to aim for.

One of our brains helps us fight the tiger. Another brain runs our bodies without us thinking about it.   “Sent an enzyme down to the stomach.” “Send a sleep chemical. Send a wake-up chemical. The cells are crying for water—make them thirsty. Breathe. Pump the heart. Send white blood cells to clean up that injury.”

 Talk about spinning plates on poles.

 And then sitting on top of all the machinery is the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain, that can analyze, plan and build empires.

 Give that big thinking brain a problem, and it will find a solution—not always the best solution, but it will come up with something. And then brains got together and created the computer to speed up problem-solving ability.

 We have all felt emotion in our heart space, and indeed, some say the heart has a brain. In times of trouble or joy, we have felt a hit in our solar-plexus, so we know something is responding there. And who hasn’t felt as though every cell in the body was tinkling with life?

 We are warriors.

 We are going to take care of each other. We’re going to encourage the light, not the darkness. We’re going to trust that it will tell us to go here or there. Eat this. It will help our immune systems.

 We have become so chemicalized our poor tiny cells must think they are swimming in toxic waste. Our ozone is struggling to hold itself together, and the plants were happy for a breather when we decreased our driving.

 What if we stopped waiting for a synthetic pill to save us and instead looked to some natural remedies? Yes, use chemistry but be reasonable about it. Don’t put weird things in our bodies. I’ve heard that in nature, where there is a toxic plant, there is also an antidote plant. For example, where we live, we have poison oak, and we also have rhododendron plants. Rhododendron tea can soothe poison oak rash.

 Many of our medicines are synthetic versions of the real thing, and we think it’s the same. However, once a doctor—he was so fascinating. I don’t remember his name. He lived in San Diego and was in a wheelchair. His office had a wall of supplements and an aisle in front of them where he wheeled his chair back and forth, plucking from the shelves what he thought would help his client.

 This doctor told me that the calcium from eating the plant worked better than a calcium supplement. He didn’t know why, but going through a plant added something to the calcium that made it work better in our bodies.

 We’ve heard the idea that once a people believed in planning for the seventh generation. We know that many Indigenous cultures knew to walk gently on mother earth’s back. I’ve heard that the Native Americans said they would be back, like smoke, and that they did not die in vain. They were smart enough not to kill off the buffaloes—how stupid to wipe out one’s food source. And on top of it to revere the man who killed them. A man with a gun on a horse --the buffalos didn’t stand a chance. And the people in revering this man did not respect the life of another creature.

 I’m not saying the Native Americans were perfect—they were people, and some fought other tribes. However, living close to the land did teach them some things. Like not to pollute the very earth that sustains you. Do not take more than you need. Plan for the next harvest, like tying up the Camus flowers, so that next year, when the tribe traveled through that area, they would know where the bulbs, a food source, were.

We need to treasure what we have and bless it. We need to remember that the populace keeps the corporations going, not the other way around. The public keeps the medical personal in jobs. They know it, and we know it, but somehow, we are intimidated by the big guys. (Money, bluster, and degrees does not a master make.)

We run the cogs we think are running us.

We aren’t powerless. We are powerful.

 We are worth saving.

 


 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

What Makes Life Worth Living?

I lie in bed thinking. And then I thought that this mass in my head is doing it. And then I thought, what a magnificent thing, that all those neurons, synapses and whatever, like electrical wires are coursing through the mass that resides inside my skill. Such a strange mass it is, a lump that if you didn’t know what it was and found it in your yard you would think you ought to buy it.

 

Of course, it belongs in the skull, not in the yard. We carry a powerhouse atop out shoulders, yet we spend most of the day whining, and throwing chemicals at the powerhouse spurring it to work better, run faster, be smarter, get with the program, make us happy.

 

I’m not a spring chicken, and I suppose that brings with it a certain amount of urgency to get things done. I read once that if you want to know about death ask a 70-year-old, they’ve been looking at it across the street for a decade.”

 

I say, yep, look at it, then get on with life—that’s what you’re here for.

 

What is my purpose? What is my dream? What is my passion? How can I be of service? How can I feed my soul good things when I hear so much bad stuff? How can I combat negativity?

 

Questions of the ages, yet one lone soul had the audacity to stand up and say, “Our purpose is to live in joy.”

 

Do you believe that?

 

This morning I heard Oprah quote Maya Angelo. “I come as one, I stand as ten thousand.”

 

For Oprah, it was her people behind her, the ones that had price tags attached should they ever be sold. They were listed in a slave ledger, Donna, $900, Lydia $800, an 11-year-old girl $500. She will not let herself forget where she came from.

 

I grew up thinking that war was just the worst thing that could ever happen. I heard about Hitler, and I saw the pictures of skeleton people with skin stretched over their bones, people from barracks, emaciated, so when I hear someone say, “Let’s kick their butts,” or happy that we “Bombed them back to the stone age,” my heart aches. I carry those remembrances.

 

Oprah daily sees a painting that has prominence on her living room wall. It’s of a slave mother standing on the sale’s block holding her daughter’s hand.

 

Should we remember or forget? Is this remembrance a constant damper on our joy? Tell people to be kind to each other, love each other. Must we flagellate ourselves with something we didn’t do and can’t erase from the past? Aim for thoughts that feel better. Raise someone up when they are down, but first take care of yourself. That isn’t selfish. If you are limping along a dangerous trail, straight down on one side, wall on the other, shale slipping, do you want another limping person beside you, or do you want someone strong, someone who takes your hand and says, “It’s okay, I’ve got you.”

 

Be that person.

 

Yes, when we walk into a room, we carry those 10,000 people with us. But could it be that those people, instead of being slaves and victims, are warriors?  They are our mothers and fathers. They are the ones who escaped tyranny. They are the ones who immigrated to this country to make a better life. They were the pioneers that crossed the prairies to build a home. They were the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote. They are the ones who formed unions to give workers a living wage. They were our grandparents who farmed and fed a nation. They were the ones who wrote a Constitution to ensure that democracy shall prevail. They fought for gay rights, birth control, a woman’s reproductive right to choose, and the end to child labor. And they are still out there building wells in Africa, trying to stop selling and enslaving women for sex, believing that not one person on the earth should starve, and that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the strength of their character.

 

See how long that list is? We don’t have baggage we have the spark of life in us.

 

President Truman placed a sign on his desk as a daily reminder: “The buck stops here.”

 

I suggest in response to the rabble “out there,” that we adopt that attitude.