Sunday, June 13, 2010

fit-flops and the "rocker sole revolution"

great, what an idea! Who wouldn't opt for a 'non-workout' toning method? And the science, if not the anecdotes, seems to be behind it. Flatter abs and less cellulite. Now let's talk about the foot and ankle problems that scores of cellulite obsessed women are going to develop in the next five years! Anything for a trim waistline!

*check out the small print on these ads as well-- 'not for use in a serious exercise capacity, not for use as a long-term walking shoe, not for use in sudden side to side movements...' and so on!

For an interesting contrast to the rocker-soles debate, do a google search on running barefoot (as nature intended) and see what the experts say on that!

**on an unrelated note... i really think there's no better singer/songwriter today! Check out "Mind's Eye", "Southern Pacifica" (w/Dawn Landes) and others on Youtube, but Josh Ritter is INCREDIBLE!!**CLICK ON ME!**

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

recommendation for jeffrey remas home inspections.

i can honestly say that in the whole REAL ESTATE process that encompasses both buying and selling a home, everyone is out to maximize self-gain. many are liars, many 'shade the truth' and some... you just don't know what to think!!

that being said, in my recent NEPA home purchase process, i did meet one real estate professional who was the epitome of integrity.

if there is anyone out there considering hiring or dealing with jeffrey remas in anyway, you needn't have a moment of doubt. you will not be sorry!! he is, as i was told beforehand, the absolute best.

you could not make a better decision in your real estate process than choosing to deal with jeffrey remas home inspections.

Friday, May 14, 2010

adventures on F-book...

what’s with this “Follow us on Facebook” badge on all these corporate websites? Does anyone really do this?

shhh!… I follow Simple Shoes on their F-book page—and they are only one of many companies using F-book to change the way they do business.

For instance: A recent post asked how much consumers would be willing to pay for a U.S. made m&m: get it?Simple Shoe. Manufacturing is big business, or at least it was. And Simple would be one of the few companies moving production BACK to the States, in keeping with their mission statement promising eventual "100% sustainability."

But the overwhelming response to this post was truly the best part: ‘You mean they’re NOT made in the U.S.?’ ‘ WTF?’ ‘How is that sustainable?!’

Not only that, but now, Simple’s F-book page informs us, by virtue of postings from loyal F-bookers, that ‘massive layoffs’ occurred at corporate, in Santa Barbara, in early May. This is noted nowhere else on the web, so who’s to say? I’m not sure how this jives with their speculative plans to manufacture domestically, but it may be that they are already cutting corners wherever they can!! Perhaps the corporate mindset is: better to chintz on the sales staff than the shoes?!
**CLICK ON ME**

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

how to get over hero worship...

i suffer from hero worship--as do, i know, many of you. It can strike in many forms. What follows is just a sampling:

extreme ambition at work, to please the BOSS.

extreme ambition in a relationship, to please a LOVER.

extreme, almost blind devotion to a MENTOR.

extreme idealization of FRIEND or FOE.
**CLICK ON ME**

So, how do we get over it? And should we? The first step is to realize that BOSS, LOVER, MENTOR, FRIEND/FOE are all forms of the IDEAL. And when i say this, i'm not talking about ideals in the context of morality. i'm talking about putting any person, place, thing, or idea (any NOUN) on such a high pedestal that in life, you are measuring yourself, your success or failure, everything, and everyone else against this IDEAL.

It may even be said that, as ideas/constructs go, LOVE and RELIGION are the ultimate IDEALS.

We must of course ask: what does the mind do, or what may its use be, that does NOT have an interest in the kind of structure that IDEALS provide? Now, there are lesser forms of structure that we often utilize, in order to mask the tension that comes from taking full responsibility for our own consciousness. The most obvious example is, of course, TV (Csikszentmihalyi).

But what purpose does the IDEAL serve? Perhaps it may be as simple as structure + hope, insofar as the knowledge that Man is put on this Earth in order to "perfect" himself. Isn't that a bit simplistic, though? On an intuitive level, it may sound correct, and you may stand back and say 'that makes sense.' But isn't it scary to think that all of our motivations stem from so simplistic a source? We go to college because we're SUPPOSED to. We get married because we're SUPPOSED to. We have kids when the IDEALS we've chosen dictate to us that we're SUPPOSED to.

Perhaps it's good, perhaps it's bad.

Now let me ask this... does a deep and abiding character flaw negate otherwise
**CLICK ON ME**extraordinary genius in the IDEAL, in the HERO whom we worship? One may suppose that judgement/genius is fluid, and thus one area flows inextricably into the next, likely tainting something which on its own would have otherwise been perfect. That being said, might it be that genius is 'modular' in the brain? That it is perfectly segmented and thus should be revered strictly on its own merits? Or, are we as subjective perceivers of genius somehow askew in our own ideas (i.e. why did only 50% of the population report liking Infinite Jest)?

Is having an "Ideal" to measure oneself against good or bad? Is it good, in that it prevents some form of seriously flawed mentality by mere virtue of its structure, which is implanted on our psyches early on? (Real men don't act that way). Or is it bad, that it prevents outside-the-box thinking? (Why shouldn't a man or a woman act however they want, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else?)

Does the human mind really crave structure?
Or are we **CLICK ON ME**looking for easy answers?

Let's assume the IDEAL is bad for you:

How would you raise a child with morality, but without the IDEAL in the sense of a personage to measure their life's successes or failures against? (We point kids to Santa Claus, to the Easter Bunny, to Mother Theresa, even to the stereotypical version of a "perfect" high-school boy or girl.)

No TV comes to mind. The stereotype is a common occurrence on television. It is, on the other hand, anathema to writers. But... that's my answer to everything nowadays.

Read more and watch less TV!
**CLICK ON ME**

Sunday, March 28, 2010

hot-house them when they're young and lock them in retirement homes when they get old??

in our time-crunched world, every activity is combined with something else to bow to the holy god of Efficiency. Kids write in schools, but the writing they do is bland and unimaginative--meant to teach them structure. "What i did on my summer vacation." "What i want for Christmas" (apologies to Jean Shepherd!)

Kids are 'hot-housed' to use Sigel's apt terminology. In most schools, imagination is disregarded in favor of the rigors of sentence structure and voice tense. What sense does this make? The world's truly great writers (let alone its great thinkers) rarely obeyed convention. i realize the thinking goes that one must first know the rules in order to break them; but what about the neuroscience evidence--that there is a shockingly small window of time in which kids plastic minds may be used to their full advantage.

**CLICK ON ME!**We waste those precious years absorbing sentence structure and passive voice? Formulaic learning should be the stuff of adolescent years. Sound ridiculous? Consider that by encouraging purely imaginative writing in a young child's most formative time period, you are almost without a doubt instilling a love of words that will translate to a love of reading. Reading a variety of authors will introduce the full craft of writing to a child and in all likelihood do a majority of the structural part of an English teacher's job.

Once that love of writing is instilled, it is easier both to maintain and to cultivate. Life will throw curves at every individual and the ability to articulate oneself and one's thoughts through words, as well as through pure imaginative speculation (day-dreaming) will serve the individual well cognitively (as Snowden & others have shown).

In later years, writing will become a means not only of translating wisdom to future generations, but of preserving family heritage, and also consolidating/ testing/ solidifying memory against the ravages of time.

It is a shame that our culture places so little value on the insights that the elderly have to offer us. Our American Ideals teach that Man is only as valuable as the work he is able to do. The average person seems either not to think they will get old, which is a sneaking suspicion i have (else, why so many smokers?) or perhaps they believe that when they get old, they will simply do it better.

In other cultures, in particular Asian cultures, the family hierarchy is sustained as mothers and fathers are revered and continue living with their children, even grand-children. Of course, this happens less nowadays than it once did--the change is certainly not for the better, as the Western influence spreads out to cover the globe.

Why do we not have time (or make time) to revere our elderly? To dissuade them of the notion that they are second-class citizens? Rather, perhaps, then lay complete blame on those in my generation and surrounding, we can ask this question from the reverse--have American Ideals created, in the mindset of the elderly, something akin to a belief that it is okay that they are treated with such disrespect??

Another question: are there quantifiable differences between the elderly American and the elderly Asian of today? In other cultures, there is no such concept of retirement, is there? And how at odds is this with what we've been told for years of our proud individualism? Perhaps our own cognitive distortions on these two realms--the young worker and the old retiree -- are what prompt us to very nearly ignore the elderly and house them in facilities that distribute industrialized care with the workers, CNAs, doing most of the care who make the least money!

What can be done to reverse this trend?

The elderly must retake a position of value in our society. This will come as a result of some effort on their part and some effort on behalf of younger generations. Just as we should teach the children, the elderly should be writing--beginning before they're elderly! Snowden's work CLEARLY showcases the myriad benefits, and that is what must be talked about more (and more responsibly) by the mainstream press.
*read 'Conceptual Split?' by KR Fisher, et al.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

thoreau probably just sat outside and breathed deeply all day long, doncha' think?

**CLICK ON ME!**
been endeavoring to live a "simpler" life. In that way, i've given up vices such as movies, radaronline, iTunes, the office, etc. It's hard, but it surely has led to an increase in my portion of peace.

It can be taken to an extreme, though, as one might imagine. There are times when i find myself being too quiet, too shut off. For the past three days, i've been sick. Done nothing, really, but sleep and read. Now, today, my first day sort of "back in the land of the living," i'm having trouble getting back to writing. Sensory deprivation, perhaps. Even now, as my toast burns, and i've just crumpled another half-written on sheet of paper (what an amazing SOUND!) i am entranced by the songs of the birds outside my window. Spring is here--yay!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

couples chatter

at a birthday party i went to last week, one of the couples told the story of how they met. (She was a social worker of some kind or another; he, an English teacher who did a lot of writing on the side. At this point, he jokingly elbows her and says "i'm a writer.")

They're dating, been together about three years (the writer, a friend of the birthday boy since college days at TU).

The social worker proceeds: they'd fallen in love over a sentence. Each one, separately, years before. And both remembered, nearly a decade later, nothing **CLICK ON ME!**significant save for that sentence. "God himself culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages."

Their chance meeting in some out of the way grocery store was occasioned by his car having the good sense to break down in the impossibly small town where she lived--very 'out of the way' compared to the hectic city pace of life he'd been used to.

Entering the grocery store, he begins telling it. He'd started scoping out people he could speak to, regarding making a telephone call, as his cell-phone had no service in the mountains.

She proceeds to knock over a display of cat food in her efforts to get to him; wildly, noisily, clumsy to an absolute fault (she interjects)-- but kind of heart, as anyone could see, and everyone said. Her house was just around the corner. He could call a garage from there.

After all, he is a writer, so they wait for the tow truck, discussing this book they'd both read years before. The truck comes. They make their goodbyes, just, goodbyes. He is attached to another, as is she.

Time wears on, he picks up the pace now, tramping in unpardonable metaphors. She elbows him. "My editor," he shrugs, rolling his eyes. They had occasional phonecalls, whereby she commiserated with the hectic pace of his life and he admired the slow steadiness of hers. She could watch sunrises and deep breathe the mountain air, instead of racing around some concrete jungle where every creative impulse was judged solely in terms of how salable it was.

"i have this friend," Olivia says now,"he's a school teacher, but he makes the most amazing furniture in his garage, after work at night. Rocking chairs, armoirs, you name it-- he's made it for someone at some point as a wedding or anniversary gift. All the time, people ask him why he doesn't aspire to it full-time. And he responds," (here, Dennis whispers along with her) "because i want to wake up every morning, and still do this, and still love it."

she had no "second" act...

i dream in story lines. Sometimes, my dreams are reiterations of past things i've written--though, even now, i wonder if i dreampt it first and wrote it later. In any case, what does that say about my memories, if my dreams are almost "too" chronological?

i've enjoyed writing since i was 8 and read my first nancy drew mystery. But i've been told, at various times in the past, that i have strong openings and endings in my stories- and no substance in the middle! If this translated equitably into neuroscience lingo, one might expect i'd have a bad memory, however, no such **CLICK ON ME!**luck. i remember too many unimportant things and not enough important ones. So, it would seem attentional difficulties are my true curse.

Most people claim to remember snippets of dreams. Some do say their dreams have recognizable beginnings, middles, and endings. Is that really it? Or is it what the psychoanalysts might say? We contextualize things afterward in order to understand them. Forget psychoanalysts. Here's Nobel prize winner Dr. Eric Kandel: "Once i place these memories in the context of the spatial layout of our small apartment, the remaining details emerge in my mind with surprising clarity." He's recalling something that happened in his youth--Kandel found that when he specifically focused on imagining his childhood home, he was suddenly flooded with all sorts of details that he had not otherwise considered, were he to think on a particular night of particular happenings from a more removed context. (It's the same with expressive writing - EW - and traumatic event reconciliation - TER - which i've posted on before: a TE must be considered from an honest place, face-to-face with the reality of a client's most personal context). Not to make light of anything, but perhaps this is a more illustrative example: the Method of Loci would not be nearly as effective if you were watching Jim Smith walk the path, instead of walking it yourself).

Consider this: are you ever naked in your dreams? Are you certain that you did not later, upon waking, add the crowd of classmates backward into your dream? What does that say about memory? There are those among us who are always, even unconsciously, striving to make sense of things. However, It would seem that the PTSD sufferer is unlikely to be someone prone to analytic fits of self-examination prior to the event of onset because the social-learning circuit for "contextualization" failed to fully develop. That, of course, could be where EW comes in.

As we do with our own dreams, we must aid others in the contextualization of much more horrific TEs, using, predominantly, varied forms of EW. As memories unfold and are faced head-on, a truly remarkable process of healing can begin to take place.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

in high-school, they called him "todd from hell"

**CLICK ON ME!**
recently, i caught up with a friend of my brother's from high-school-- todd jacks. he was an interesting guy: part hippie/part intellect--struggle to see which side of him would win out. what had he been doing with himself?

"nothing...bought a church."

now i had always gotten a kick out of this church that i passed on my way to school. the sign out front didn't have one of those pithy little sayings on it (the center of sin is "i" ; welcome to ch_rch- all that's missing is u.) this one just said "for sale" which i found absolutely hilarious.

todd...hippie atheist dh lawrence-spouting todd was the guy that bought a church. uh, to live in, as it turned out...

"my grandparents left me some money--i hate how all the houses around here look the same."

rich, hippie, atheist, dh lawrence spouting todd tells me he has every intention of opening his doors to the townfolk for potluck. first tuesday of every month.

ps: lolz




Thursday, March 18, 2010

platitudes as emotional shorthand

i have wondered, since visiting an elderly acquaintance recently, why it is that many older people so often speak in platitudes. walter was a gem... my heart is so light! ... god is good.

from an academic standpoint, i'm interested in the neuroscience work of longcamp, klein & boals, and even david snowdon, whose nun study traced the cognitive declines of a group of convent sisters in the midwest.

snowdon and others have found relationships between intelligence and the eventual onset of dementia or alzheimer's. more specifically, correlations have been found between ew and overall brain function. what's interesting about this work is, of course, the cerebral stuff. writing is hard! but longcamp specifically pointed toward the motor components of the writing process as being of paramount importance.

ah, speaking of platitudes!

why, then, would a dementia-addled brain resort to quick, almost automatic keystrokes (if you will) of speech? is it so simple an answer that more in-depth processing is no longer available?

no... what i'm trying to grasp at here is not involved in overall cognitive processing. i'm concerned with verbal and written ability.

but these quick verbal keystrokes are interesting. as the mind regresses, it resorts to that with which it is most familiar. in other words, memories, phraseology, even...words!... that it has longest known and thus grown most familiar with. here, we come to the all too common occurence whereby senior citizens, widowed by their respective partners, rediscover a high-school sweetheart.

what is love?

is it as unique and passionate as we make it? or does the mind simply prefer the comfort of an 'old shoe' in later years?

what are we, the conduits of it?

under the auspices of love do we stockpile all our past favorable impressions--whereby nowadays, it is recalled that high-school was 'all about walter.'

shorthand verbal keystrokes, the tritisms uttered by many in advanced years implies much about the relationship between language and emotion. we know that snowdon explored this in the nun study, in terms of positive versus negative emotion, but what of platitudes--which seem like 'shorthand' for genuine experience?
does dementia cut down on our emotive pathways? is there an emtotion that one may experience which is not totally reliant on the interconnectedness of language and memory? in other words, many may spend their time matching up current happenings against patterns of past happenings, and using that to decide whether or not they are happy. is there an emotion you can experience which may not be put into words? guh guh guh...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

why does expressive writing aid traumatic event reconciliation, but it has no effect on memories of positive events?

if a traumatic event (te) harms our darwinian sense of self, and thusly our sense of self-referentiality, then--as evidence from ew studies shows us--the aspect of "chronology" (reinfusing the te into our existing self-concept in different and healthier ways) appears to reconcile it. ew effectively places the te, which cannot harm us any longer, into a more tolerable self-referential perspective.

inherent to this idea is the notion that most or even all individuals suffer from the illusion, supposed to end in late adolescence, of immortality. just ask yourself why seeminly intelligent modern adults would smoke or entertain other likewise vices. clearly there are gradations, but it seems to be a disease that afflicts all of humankind.

when taking into consideration the above, who is the client most helped by ew as art therapy? certainly an introvert... what else?

that being said, what "curriculum" should ew as art therapy resemble? "i" focused personal narratives (as opposed to fictionalized accounts, such as third-person omniscient viewer; even though that technique seems like it could supply a powerful baseline) that may shift perspectives among participants actually involved in the te, directly related to the client in question.

one such instance could be straight forward essay-style account, another could be a reiteration of dialogue only, another could be an event retelling that uses no dialogue whatsoever (focusing instead on the client's nervous system responses--voluntary or otherwise; as well as recitations of observable actions of others involved in the te--what facial expressions/gestures did the mugger use, for instance? what clothes do i clearly remember him wearing?)

ew has not yet gained the foothold it deserves in the art therapy community. certainly a reason is that it's a much less subjective undertaking than painting or, say, sculpting. one may construe, on behalf of the client, a fear of being judged, as there is 'nowhere to hide.' this effect should be mediated by the watchful sensitivities of the clinician, perhaps in no small measure by administering the "creative/fictionalized ew" baseline tests that were touched on above.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

'who is' the real idiot?

after finishing dostoevsky's the idiot awhile back, i've since been thinking about it, and i'm drawn to make parallels between that story and the much more famous (at least in the u.s.) atlas shrugged, by ayn rand. dostoevsky's prince myshkin loses faith in humankind and is destroyed by it. rand's john galt loses faith and he rejoices in it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a "time-deprived" person

in keeping with my recent posts on expressive writing (ew)--as it relates to traumatic event reconciliation (ter) and also art therapy on the whole--i want to propose a thought experiment.

what would a person raised without an awareness of time look like? act like? in this instance, then, self-referential chronology would be a huge problem and my guess is that, on the whole, memory of any significant kind would be an issue.

clearer definitions are perhaps warranted... what do we construe an awareness of time as? in considering the above, i gravitated to the topic of feral children. can they describe accurate memories? or do they lack language skills to place the self in a chronological context, and to a further degree relate a stream of constant happenings to oneself in the sense that it may be integrated into long term memory (ltm)?

to that end, then, might there exist such a person with language functioning and without a conception of time? what anthropological/sociological data do we have? this is an intriguing read...

what does this offer us with regard to ew as art therapy?

there must be a clear emphasis on the part of the clinician, as it relates to the client's personal experience of time--their memory framework and flow. the ew must lay out a clear, concise, chronological timeline, with an emphasis on what the client experiences minute by minute--as well as event pre-cursors and long-term ramifications. perhaps, again, a good baseline would be to alter the event's timeline and ask the client to respond to those changes in isolation, outside of their given context. just a few ideas...

see also: dan everett's homepage.





Tuesday, March 09, 2010

adventures in time displacement

have you ever said "time flies?" we all have. at the very least, you've thought it, in the not too distant past.


where do the hours go? how do we properly choose which investments of time to make? all too often, it's things like computer games--anyone addicted to online solitaire? or gossip websites...or sports scores... or alcohol. with so many distractions, nay addictions, it's no surprise that 24 hours in a day turns out to be nowhere near enough!


famed psychologist mihaly csikszentmihalyi noted, in his landmark work flow that psychic entropy (general fatigue, weariness in terms of thought and personality) is the inevitable result of having made poor choices with regard to how time is spent (or misspent). csikszentmihalyi went so far as to say that the inordinate number of hours spent watching television, by the average person, was a direct result of how little that person chose to engage his or her consciousness. basically, we watch tv because it fills the silence--and the silence scares us! csikszentmihalyi's implication here is that most people feel this way. most have no satisfying inner life--and when faced with the choice of being alone with their thoughts or watching a seinfeld episode for the second or third time, most will opt for tv. even just as background noise.


i've presented this opinion to people before, and more often than not, i get the same response: i don't watch that much tv. but ask yourselves...is the tv on in the morning while you're getting ready for work? is it on while you eat dinner or pay bills at night? what does it drown out, in terms of meaningful conversations with loved ones?


now i've already touched on the fact that the internet can be a huge time waster (does the world really need a perez hilton?) but i've started to approach my time spent online in a more orderly fashion. before, i would suck on the computer (as a technophobe friend termed it) for at least a little while every day. now, i pretty much just go on every other day, and spend less time because i am more focused (these blog posts are written longhand because i believe in the work of longcamp, klein & boals, and others in the neuroscience field who are just beginning to posit that the motor act of writing AS WELL AS the cerebral act of composing are beneficial to cognitive longevity-- to cite a work well known in popular media, see dr. david snowden's classic nun study.)


psychic energy expended in a haphazard manner weakens your overall ability to focus; disjointed attention spans weakens overall physical energy levels which inevitably increases stress as 'what should get done' mounts in comparison to 'what does get done.' what does increased stress equal, if not poorer overall health?


the average person's media usage makes actors, singers, and advertisers rich. it makes cable companies rich. all it does in the bargain is leave you profoundly worse for wear.


in flow, csikszentmihalyi discusses the ideal of the autotelic personality. their usage of time would be, in a vaccuum, to engage in an activity that equalled either mental or physical exertion, as opposed to something passive, like aimless daydreaming or tv viewing. in fact, in one anecdote, csik relates the tale of a ship's captain at sea, on a long voyage. he finally sees another ship in the distance, after days of total solitude. the two ships set course to meet. when they arrive beside one another, our captain telling this story describes a terrible odor that he quickly sees and identifies as hardened egg on the ship's deck, cooking in the sun.

the captain of the second boat relates that, being by himself, he took the eggs from his refrigator and tossed them out onto the deck. letting them harden in the sun gave him something to do in terms of cleaning.

i think this raises an interesting question, as there are those who would say: no music, no movies, no tv, no internet--how boring. let me ask you this... what are your goals? how would people describe you? how would your friends describe you to someone who didn't know you? sadly, it may be that what we choose to call someone's personality is really no more than just a laundry list of things they've chosen to allow themselves to be distracted by.


if we unplug from media usage-- turning off the tv, the radio, forgoing movies and music and needlessly stressful news reports--our mindset changes. what we think and feel and talk about undergoes a shift that, with time, equals a myriad of positive results. sleep at night is more satisfying and dreams are more fulfilling. media usage, to me, equals that old ubiquitous saying 'time flies.'


all you are responsible for in this life are your reactions to other people, as well as your actions in direct regards to obtaining the outcome you want in your life. looking back, your regrets will be how you treated people--not how you were treated. it doesn't matter what they do--only what you do.

must reads: radical simplicity by jim merkel , walden by thoreau , flow by mihalyi csikszentmihalyi , and radical simplicity by dan price.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

maybe the best insult ever written into literature...

"i hate you, gavril ardalionovitch, simply because--this will perhaps seem marvellous to you--simply because you are the type, the incarnation, the acme of the most insolent and self-satisfied, the most vulgar and loathsome commonplaceness. yours is the commonplaceness of pomposity, of self-satisfaction and olympian serenity. you are the most ordinary of the ordinary!"

dostoevsky's the idiot pp 465-466


vegan notes...

i just made my first loaf of homemade, no yeast/ no soy/ no sugar bread-- and it turned out great!

oven 400F-- 4 cups 100% whole wheat flour, 1/2 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tbsp baking soda, 1.5 cups filtered water, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp 100% steel cut oats, 2 handfuls raisins, 2 tbsp ALL-NATURAL pear butter spread.

glaze: water & cinnamon

next time, i plan to add banana and cinnamon to the initial recipe.

great website!-- i just tinkered with the recipe a little...

************

speaking of cinnamon... i've started recently to add it to my green tea for EVEN MORE antioxidants. NOW decaffeinated organic green tea is perfection. of course, use lemon when chilled, save the cinnamon for hot...

**************

single best item EVER: Dr. Bronner's 100% peppermint castile soap. use it as a soap, a shampoo ( need a separate conditioner then, of course ) and a detergent!

*****************

your number one healthy lifestyle move to engage in on a daily basis? stopping, at random intervals, to take 10 deep breaths. so sayeth dr. oz.

number 2 is STOP complaining! i've made myself a promise to do this because all complaining accomplishes is spreading the contagion which is a negative attitude and a poor spirit. it's hard, but that's why i like this website...
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

expressive writing as a therapeutic method: ew and memory

if motor activity is considered a strong element of memory, then why do we so often zone out while we are driving? i suppose we must conclude that novel motor activity (or at least fully-engaged motor activity) is key. perhaps that would equate to expressive writing (ew) being used as a treatment for traumatic event (te) reconciliation, insofar as it is used in a novel way in each session? (can't beat the cost to insurance for this type of therapy!)

but would that mean using new writing methods each time (personal narrative, detached observer, etc.) or is it enough to write from a new perspective each time, taking hold of a different element of the event at each outing? for instance: my te effected me this way, my te effected my loved ones this way, and so forth...

if my memory serves, neuronal calcium potassium pumps are engaged during learning, and the above proposed method of te treatment ties it more clearly into memory reconciliation, thus allowing the client an inherently self-referential (hofstadter) and most deeply personal method in which to heal.

boo-yah entertainment weekly's mark harris

" the blind side is a fable of exceptionalism about a kid who's worth saving because he might become a superstar. precious is about a kid who's worth saving simply because she's a human being."
thanks to entertainment weekly

reading now...

the idiot, by dostoevsky. "the priest, who must have been an intelligent man, left off speaking and only gave him the cross to kiss." (this is pretty much my view of religion.)

am about to order rebecca skloot's the immortal life of henrietta lacks, off of amazon. sounds like a must-read, getting great reviews!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Expressive Writing: Is it the ACT or the MENTAL PROCESS?

I n keeping with Klein & Boals, (see link) negative thought pattens are most helped by the "chronology" of Expressive Writing. -- I may be over-simplifying here, but it's an accurate statement.

So is it the motor act of writing, or is it the narrative format that most helps a person reconcile their traumatic event memories? Can a person think methodically on movie plots, for instance? Or does this outrightly prove Longcamp, who spoke of motor connections to memory being at least as important, if not moreso, than the writing element? (see previous link...)

I often think of when I interned at a community theater during high-school in the late 90's. There was this actor, Ken Weisinger, who--before he went on--would always do this little jig offstage, that he claimed helped him better enter into the mindset of the role he was playing. This is nothing groundbreaking, but I found it interesting, nonetheless.

Does the mere act itself of writing simply focus the mind more? In other words, if we ask the question of methodically concentrating on movie plots--let's say those that most resemble our own traumatic memories--are we then going to reconcile ourselves and heal from those memories? Or must we re-imagine (visualizing) alternative 'movie endings' and those rewrite our own traumatic event memories (at least in terms of the impact they have on us)? The rewriting, I am imagining, to be a bit like those Choose Your Own Adventures of old. But certainly at least a tad more focused.

Is it the writing that makes one concentrate on an ideal and realistic outcome? And thus would the narrative format itself prove not to be a help? It does seem too simplistic... More of that 'write your desired fate' and New Age-y visualization nonsense.

If writing helps one to focus the mind, then does that suppose the existence of a fully-focused mind??? Is a truly concentrated, focused life, in thought and in deed, actually achievable? Yogis, in some way, really seem to have the key to something good.

Are we all of us philosophers, meditators, religious types, convenience moralists-- just individual souls crazy for something to fix our eyes upon? (not to bastardize Donald Barthelme too much!)

Incidentally, I would use this movie, because I want to marry Nick Charles!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tip of the Hat to Tom Clynes



[...]

" I had come to Komodo [Nat'L Park] just a few weeks shy of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. That night, as I swung in my hammock, I thought about Darwin's observation that animals at the top of the food chain tend to develop eccentric, useless traits. It occurred to me that, in this regard, humans and Komodos have something in common.

"Size certainly does matter, and in the case of the world's largest lizard, it has become a profound disadvantage. A member of the monitor family whose ancestors expanded northward from Australia, Varanus kmodoensis apparently evolved alongside a species of pygmy elephants that was likely its primary food source. Thus, for much of its existence, the Komodo's exceptional mass and power gave it an advantage in taking down its husky prey.

"But once the elephants died off, the Komodo's bulk became a liability, requiring an enormous caloric intake to fuel, and long sunbaths to warm up. The dragon, with its swaggering, inefficient walk, doesn't have the endurance or the versatility of its smaler monitor-lizard cousins, whose range expanded as the Komodo's shrank to this small, isolated pocket of islands.

"Like Komodos, most humans have reached a perverse point where we are physically over-equipped to do what we do most of all, which is sit. Generally speaking, our long, speedy, predator-evading legs are hardly used to potential. Unless, of course, we bring them to a place such as Komodo Island, where we might actually need them to survive."
[...]
In memory of Baron Rudolf von Reding, Biberegg

Born in Switzerland the 8 August 1895
And disappeared on this island the 18 July 1974

"He loved nature throughout his life."

"Reading that last line, I can't help but think that a man like the baron would consider himself priviledged, at least in theory, to beat back the stats that would have him succumb to something like heart disease, stroke, or a withering travail with cancer.


"I don't want to over-romanticize it; the baron's most natural of deaths must have been horrific. But in those last peaceful, oblivious moments, as he sat in the shade and gazed out over the hills and shimmering oceans beyond, I'm betting he felt incredibly lucky, as I did that morning, to be part of a world that still has a Komodo Island..."




Sunday, February 14, 2010

BE still...

I n Healing and the Mind, Dr. Dean Ornish tells Bill Moyers that he believes heart disease has a psychological cause. This is a MEDICAL DOCTOR making this statement! Ornish advocates, and is seconded by T. Colin Campbell of The China Study, a method of fighting heart disease that has nothing to do with surgery and everything to do with vegetarianism, support groups, exercise, and meditation. Most importantly, Ornish has seen an 83% success rate across lengthy trials!

Ornish questions why our society considers it the more attractive choice to crack open someone’s chest and inflate a balloon in their veins—as opposed to putting away the butter and salt, and picking up broccoli or a grapefruit!

In the book How Doctors Think, Dr. Jerome Groopman states that physicians will not propose a treatment as “drastic” as Ornish’s to their patients because the medical establishment is educated to believe there is no chance a patient would follow through. People talk so often about the arrogance of doctors—isn’t this the most horrifying illustration?? A doctor decides he knows his patient SO WELL that it is not even worth mentioning this treatment option because the patient would fail to make the necessary changes.

Also in Healing and the Mind, Moyers speaks to a meditation expert who questions whether we have actually ever EXPERIENCED eating a raisin—or whether we just shove handfuls of them into our mouth, while running the kids from this soccer game to that. Renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi spent much of his life working in this arena—the idea that people are so detached from their own experiences of consciousness that they seek anything and everything to fill their time—all in an effort to avoid being alone with the quietness of their own mind. TV fills the time, food fills the time, alcohol, over-scheduling the kids as some sort of vicarious experience for the parents.

In taking all this to heart—over the past year, I’ve aimed to give up TV watching, even listening to music—I find it takes me away from experiencing the beauty of the landscape around me as I drive. Let’s be honest. Internet is a HUGE time-waster as well. But approaching it in a very task-oriented fashion allows you to do only what NEEDS doing, and then move on. In that spirit... THE END. :)

ZZ62FDZQCSTP

Thursday, February 11, 2010

i think i love you, ari greenberg!


"I was born with red hair. Not a fiery red, nor a traffic light red, nor a sunset red or a Partridge Family red, but a red nonetheless, a red that elicited compliments from aunts, uncles, and grandparents and absolute strangers, too. The hair was a blessing and a curse. I was, naturally, proud of it, as it did bring me attention; but I was also possessive of it, as it was one of the only things that I was the sole owner of..."

i have one page-- i lost the rest of it. Greenberg, please send it to me! Not to worry-- my cyber-stalking comes with the best of writerly intentions!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Down with soy! Get rid of the hormones & toxins in your environment-- and be healthy!!

I had a chronic medical situation that no doctor had a sufficient answer to, short of surgery. When I got rid of the hormones/toxins in my environment-- in makeup, in food, in household cleansers (at EWG.org, you can choose environmentally friendly options)--the situation cleared itself up!! I have also switched to a strict vegan diet, just short of macrobiotic. I have relief from symptoms for the first time in years!! (Literally, one year since my self-detox has begun).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

EXPRESSIVE WRITING: A SURVEY OF POTENTIAL COGNITIVE BENEFITS

The relationship between emotionally expressive writing (EW) as a coping mechanism and specific brain functions has never been fully detailed. Perhaps due to EW‘s longstanding favor within the field of positive psychology, and even more so at the forefront of popular psychology, all proposed neuroanatomical effects have never been outlined in a single review. This paper examines the evidence from learning skills and memory augmenting studies, as well as long-term cognitive longevity findings, while it discounts less quantifiable reports and ostensible benefits, in order to determine whether writing affords any striking cognitive gains as a therapeutic strategy. Among the reviewed findings are gains in working memory capacity (WMC) and pedagogical enhancement strategies. It is proposed here that mainstream media accounts of some purported cognitive benefits of EW are misleading, and therefore a clarification is in order: the mere act of EW itself matters less qualitatively than the individual actor’s ongoing pattern of interpretation of negative or positive life events—but EW does matter.


Though it had long been an area of interest for a segment of investigators, until recent years, expressive writing (EW) had not gained the attention of mainstream audiences. No one has done more to change the trajectory than Dr. David A. Snowdon, whose Nun Study has traced the cognitive declines of populations of Notre Dame nuns, since 1986. Snowdon‘s work has yielded many landmark findings, among them a correlation between Alzheimer pathology (AD) and strokes (Snowdon, Greiner, Mortimer, 1997), and a 100 percent success rate using artificial neural networks (ANNs) to diagnose AD (Grossi & Buscema, 2007). Perhaps the most talked about finding in mainstream press is Danner and Snowdon‘s metanalysis of a cache of decades-old autobiographies, written by prospective nuns prior to their formal entrance into the order; their study revealed a striking positive correlation between early-life emotional expression and late-life cognitive potency (2001). The nuns who composed the most idea-dense, grammatically complex sentences amidst their autobiographies experienced, life-wise, the least overall cognitive declines (Snowdon & Greiner, 1999). This was translated by the mainstream media into medically validated findings that becoming a teacher equaled less cognitive decline (nuns predominately taught), as did greater amounts of positive self-talk. Even TV hosts joined in, espousing the merits of so-called ―gratitude journals.‖
Wherever one comes across on this issue, whether with Oprah Winfrey and her advice that people must exercise the past-time of appreciation writing every day, or whether you think Snowdon‘s widely publicized work (Manning, 2001; Lemonick, 2001; Weiss, 1997; Belluck, 2001) has simply revealed an interesting personality finding, a review of the existing literature is warranted. With that, it is proposed here that a clarification is needed among mainstream media accounts of related findings: while EW offers a successful avenue for emotional release, it does not, in itself, provide any striking and long-term cognitive benefits, outside of some evidence from motor skills & learning literature, which is examined below. The clearest cognitive benefits of EW seem to exist within the narrow spectrum of self-interpretation of emotional content. For example, an individual may compose an emotionally positive essay; there are a myriad of reasons why, when prompted, someone might do this, other than that it accurately reflects an internal cognitive state. The benefits of EW and its parent concepts, summarized below, appear to be experienced not merely via the act of writing, but via a regimen, wherein an actor makes clear cognitive connections between positivity and ongoing events in one‘s own life.

Memory Augmentation

Whether EW offers anything quantifiable to the field of neuroscience is a question perhaps best measured by experiments structured around memory tasks. A recent Japanese study examined a proposed relationship between working memory capacity (WMC) and EW (Yogo & Fujihara, 2008). This finding had already been substantiated in earlier literature (see below); however, the investigators sought to determine whether the finding itself would translate to a collectivist culture, one more decorous than its westernized counterparts. Regarding the very use of EW as a diagnostic tool/stress coping mechanism among non-native study participants (originally from collectivist cultures) enrolled at an urban U.S. university, the results of Tavakoli and colleagues (2009) clearly support Yogo.
In the Yogo study, 104 undergraduate students were assigned to one of three conditions: write about a personal traumatic event (TE), write a prospective account of your best possible self (BPS), or write about a trivial topic for 20 minutes. Using word list memorization tasks to measure WMC in post-EW sessions, researchers found an association between immediate mood improvement and the BPS condition, whereas the TE condition indicated sustainable memory gains across subsequent weeks.
Likewise, in the parent study, Klein and Boals found that TE- EW freed the participant‘s WMC; the authors theorized this occurred via a specific reduction of intrusive thoughts about stressful experiences (2001). The structure of this study (two versions were performed to clarify ambiguous data) was generally the same as the Japanese study, with the exception of a positive event (PE) writing group, rather than a BPS group, and a longer experiment time-frame.
As was the case in the Japanese study, PE- EW exhibited no effect on WMC. Why? Extrapolating from existing literature, Klein and Boals note that much of one‘s day to day cognitive capacity is consumed by thoughts of traumatic and/or stressful events. Expressive writing frees the actor from such a cognitive load, allowing other tasks to take precedence, and negative health-wise benefits not to take hold (2001).
The authors found that, as measured by performance on word list memorization tasks, TE- EW not only improved WMC for a period of at least 7 weeks, but the quality of the writing in the event (PE or TE) versus trivial tasks was also noticeably different. In both event writing groups, greater narrative coherence was exemplified by higher levels of cause and insight words. Where the disparity was found, however, appears to be in the mental processes for PE versus TE narrative reconstruction. Klein asks whether positive occurrences simply exert less of a cognitive impact, or if there is something yet quantifiably unknown about writing about negative experiences.
Lastly, Klein and Boals examined whether as WMC improved, so did Grade Point Average (GPA). Existing literature had already found that EW benefitted GPA. Because WMC could now be seen as benefitting from EW, it was inferred that WMC improvement would equal GPA improvement. This was clearly borne out by the data as well.
To reiterate, mere emotive content had no lasting effect on WMC. Study participants in the PE-EW groups experienced no quantifiable gains, whereas those in NE-EW groups did. Taken with the above, cause and insight words, plus the mental exertions required to recreate an NE versus a PE account, it appears that participants‘ personal insight regarding their writing is more important than mere emotional expression. Klein and Boals point to non-writing studies that have borne out these effects (Lutgendorf, Antoni, Kumar & Schneiderman, 1994; Kelley, Lumley & Leisen, 1997).
This study is not the first to posit that the narrative reconstruction element of EW is of paramount importance. Klein and Boals specifically note that the creation of mental models, which package TE s and other generic stressors into something more manageable, may be what allows for the gains seen. However, Pennebaker suggests more generally that the introductory step of emotional expression, with regard to a traumatic memory, can begin a cascade of cognitive processes which culminates in physiological changes (1989, 1993). What Klein and Boals call ―models‖ or ―packages,‖ Pennebaker and colleagues call ―linguistic structural promoters,‖ assimilators that allow the actor to lessen stressful cognitions with regard to TEs. This is the transitional step which soon equals overall mood improvement (Pennebaker, Mayne & Francis, 1997).
According to Foa and others, an important therapeutic technique in the treatment of traumatic memories is continued processing, an end result being improved memory organization; the disorganization of memory is proposed to be the major psychological stressor (Foa, Steketee & Rothbaum, 1989; Pennebaker, et. al., 1997). There are a myriad of methods to this end, and traditional art therapy may prove significant in the future. However, for our purposes, EW as realized in a fully integrated narrative form shows much promise as a potential therapeutic technique (Foa & Kozak, 1986; van der Hart, Steele, Boon & Brown, 1993).

Learning Augmentation

If memory is influenced by EW, it can be inferred that memory‘s subsequent action step, learning, is also quantifiably influenced by, if not EW specifically, then the parent concept of simple structural writing. In 2008, Longcamp and colleagues studied participants‘ novel character recognition, and found significant differences in brain neuroanatomy among those in either written trials or typed trials. Researchers created unique figures and presented them in a variety of orientations, subsequently asking participants to duplicate the figures either via hand or a specially formulated keyboard. Those who handwrote the figures remembered them better and could reproduce them better, after a period of several weeks. Longcamp found, via FMRI recordings, that the state of the participants during learning trials showed activation in pathways long thought to be associated with geographic shapes; additional activations occurred in left Broca‘s and bilateral parietal lobes, areas related to handwriting, letter identification, and observation of actions. This bore out Longcamp‘s hypothesis that the movements a child uses when learning to write are specific precursors to the visual recognition and remembrance of letters and shapes, and that those selfsame sensorimotor activations would recur whenever the child tries to recreate the characters. Interestingly, it is then asked what this predicts for the future, in which school children are handed computers earlier and earlier.
Longcamp goes on to give the following illustration: pre-reader/new-reader child has trouble distinguishing between ‗b‘ and ‗d‘. There are no striking visual differences. However, the motor program called up to facilitate writing ‗b‘ is vastly different than writing ‗d‘; the difference is to such an extent that confusion seems difficult to fathom, yet it has long occurred in the general population, even prior to the elementary school introduction of computers. Synaptic motor connections are strengthened with time, and while such motor-visual interaction is not the source of all reading errors, it is clearly a significant source. What will increasing reliance on computers mean for the future of pedagogy?
As a matter of structure and comparison, Longcamp included an overtrained letters trial to ascertain the areas of brain activation that processed the novel characters. For the novel-handwritten /overtrained-letter trial: activation of the bilateral AIP, the left dorsal premotor, and the left postcentral regions, in addition to the total left-sided lateralization, were interpreted to clearly signify an interplay between visual processing and reactivated motor knowledge.
According to Longcamp, the most important finding of this study was that in Broca‘s left, stronger FMRI activation occurred for the handwritten than the type-written condition. He states that heretofore Broca‘s was thought of as a site for primarily speech production, but this study implies clear motor prominence as well.

Cognitive Longevity

Another important work in the discussion of brain/writing interplay is Danner and Snowdon‘s 2001 metanalysis of emotional content in a population of 180 handwritten nun autobiographies. Their work presupposed an association between early-life written emotional expression and late-life cognitive longevity. The dataset, consisting of autobiographies composed by prospective sisters from the order of Notre Dame in the late 1930s and early 1940s, is clearly outlined elsewhere, as is the structure of Snowdon‘s now classic longitudinal design.
Researchers examined existing data, previously rated for idea density (Snowdon, 1999) and fleshed out an earlier supposition (Snowdon, 1996) that the idea density rating scale could be correlated to emotional content within the autobiographies. If idea density equalled longevity, and emotional expression equalled idea density, then emotional expression now equalled longevity.
Before continuing, one should note that the majority of Snowdon‘s career has focused on the course of Alzheimer‘s Disease (AD) and prevention. AD is a neurodegenerative disease that affects millions of people. Currently, within the medical community, there is no accepted standard of what constitutes a neuropathologic diagnosis of AD, although strides are being made. It is still possible to look at an AD brain and a non-demented brain side by side and not quantifiably know the difference. As the symptoms of the disease are so insidious, this is difficult to fathom, yet it is the case.
Why? Upon autopsy, neurofibrallary tangles (NFTs), the primary indicator of AD, have been found both in individuals known to have manifested AD in life, and in those who never have. More important than the mere presence of NFTs appears to be the brain region in which they are located. According to Braak, NFTs rooted in the neocortex most assuredly lead to full-fledged AD manifestation. Additionally, Braak states that the first NFTs (which progressively grow, spreading throughout the brain) initially present in an individual‘s third decade.
The neocortex is the area of the mammalian brain key to expression of ideas. One may possess certain ideas on an intellectual basis (i.e. the world is a positive place overall) but unless one acts upon those ideas, ‗exercising‘ those parts of the brain, the protective benefit of idea expression is not experienced by the individual. So the nuns who wrote well in their 20s had likely been raised to do so, and it is likely they continued to do so throughout their lives, experiencing the protective benefits of said action (Danner & Snowdon, 2001; Mortimer, 2005).
In the current paper, Danner extrapolates from the above studies and other literature that if a negative event causes adverse effects, and one consciously chooses to reply from the perspective that the future holds only positivity, this generates an internal state that mutes any negative health-wise possibilities. For example, Frederickson spoke at length about cardiovascular system negative/positive response via activation from the autonomic nervous system, which is tied into individual emotional expression (1998). Danner recounts various other studies that support this idea.
But why EW? Tavakoli & colleagues (2009) and Smyth (1998) have both written to the validity of EW as a diagnostic measurement in that it allows and maintains a veil of privacy for the actor. Even when it is known what the end result of EW will be, for ex. evaluation by coders, the act of EW, the process that goes into creation and composition and completion, allows the actor to let go of an inherently more personal piece of emotional expression than would have otherwise been spoken aloud.
The Danner autobiographies were analyzed by three different coders and multiple statistical analysis were done, resulting in a clear positive correlation between early life positive emotional expression and late life longevity. This finding ran counter to certain other studies that found no protective benefit in positive affect. It stands to reason, however, that a continuing issue is truthfulness of self-report, as well as methods of ‗exercising‘ said self-expressive tendencies.

CONCLUSION

What, if anything, can EW offer clinicians? It is supposed here that, within the occurrence of EW, an actor recreates a TE, instilling or instituting a narrative framework of his own design. That framework could take the form of the traditional: a beginning, middle, and end, relative to me. The latter part of the sentence is key, as one might imagine. Any memory, relative to me, is more easily processed, stored and retrieved. Certainly this is what is at work in Longcamp‘s previously described novel figure recollection/learning task: a superior processing that is the end result of pairing a visual input with a motor action, all in relation to some pre-existing, familiar memory schema.
The EW narrative framework chosen could also be non-traditional: in re-experiencing a TE, there is no emotive context that is adequate in terms of healing. I cannott make this fit in the context of my life [because I am unwilling.] This seems more in tune with intense affective disorders, in that there appears to be a disregard for reality. The event triggers are not necessarily stronger, when compared with anything else, but with previous personality traits taken into consideration, addictive tendencies are likely to reveal themselves in the aftermath of TE and subsequent therapeutic recovery attempts. This is also in line with PTSD.
Without a doubt, the above has dribbled outside the lines of EW and into more conventional psychotherapy. The same question persists: how does the mind cope with stress, with TE? Psychotherapy and EW are different sides of the same coin. The ―context‖ aspect implies that play-acting might be as valuable, if not more so, a therapeutic method than EW. Again, there is a personality issue. Play-acting is performance oriented and thus is more intertwined with issues of self-consciousness and self-perception than is EW. According to Smythe and Tavakoli, EW is preferable to traditional psychotherapy in TE treatment because the emotive expression is veiled so as to shield the writer from vulnerability or embarrassment.
The narrative framework chosen in TE recovery may be traditional (story timeline), non-traditional (addiction as a ―plot‖ advancer), or time-unbound (as one might characterize recovering amnesiacs or potentially dissociative personalities). The point is that recovery is contingent on pre-existing personality traits (or organic conditions, in rare instances). The therapeutic relationship is there to guide the patient not only to the correct form of reinstitution (of integrating TE into traditional, healthy memory contexts, relative to me) but also, first, to recognize those pre-existing and harmful conditions that might derail successful TE narrative reconstruction.
In that vein, a pioneer in the field of applied psychology, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi compiled his theory of FLOW into a single text, in 1976. The book stands out as a guideline for life-wise application (taking into context TE, PE, and everything in between) regarding the entire scope of EW component traits and after-effects. Readers of the book were not told to journal on a regular basis, but the book itself is an exercise in traditional narrative construction—even if pen is never put to paper. How might one construct their life so as to best approach happiness? Do you know what your happiness is? From the ground up, Csikszentmihalyi builds a solid foundation for emotive reconstitution.
Interestingly, the issue of time raises its head in fairly early in FLOW. Csikszentmihalyi invented the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) in which he gave thousands of study participants a pager, and charged them with stopping whatever they were doing and writing in a journal whenever the pager randomly went off over a period of weeks. Results from this lead Csikszentmihalyi to claim that when people are most engaged in an activity, most interested in what they are doing—most involved in something that tests their skill level and challenges them—they lose track of time, and ―step outside themselves,‖ in a sense. They lose a recognizable perception of personal agency, at least until the challenge of the task itself has abated.
This may be where Klein and Boals‘ earlier question fits in: do TE and PE utilize separate brain pathways? As was said, any memory in relation to myself is more readily processed, more easily retrievable. People typically do not possess memory contexts or schemas for TE. There is no anticipation that bad things will occur, no hope—on the part of most people—that they will play the victim at some point in their lives. Having nothing in common with the ―Self,‖ TE is comprised of almost alien characteristics, in comparative terms. Multiple sessions of same-event EW corrects that by allowing the actor to construct a framework, a schema, a scenario in which TE is painted is ‗making sense‘ on some level, in relation to the actor. This is not lying to oneself. Rather, it is acknowledging the importance of the TE and creating adequate space for it.
It is important to note here that many TE victims report a slowing of time just during the course of the event, some report reliving episodes after the fact. This is not the lost sense of time that Csikszentmihalyi recounts, but rather a heightened awareness of time. This may, in fact, be another instantiation of ‗time-unbound‘ contexts, as related above.
That being said, does PE exert any kind of strong influence on the self? Based on the works referenced earlier, Klein supposed that PE made less of a cognitive impact than TE. Is time the reason? Csikszentmihalyi implies that PE bears no strong relation to the self. Not the event, PE. In the event, personal agency is, effectively, persona non grata.
Imagine Pollack straddling one of his canvases. In all likelihood, he would be unable to give a coherent account of his thought processes while under the influence of his art. He could certainly describe it, but the words would have little connection to reality for anyone other than Pollack. (Imagine the football player, breathless after a touchdown, describing his feeling of being ―in. the. zone.‖ These words are discernible to outsiders, but certainly not knowable). It is through seemingly erroneous verbal expressions that Pollack or footballer or whomever would access their internal schemas of who they are. This term ―painter‖ is a memory cue, the key that opens the lock for Pollack‘s visual ―excesses‖ and his complete range of compositional abilities. So while it is true that memory itself appears not to be propositional in nature, it does seem as though the word is the lock that fits into the key. Pollack does not envision himself ―a painter,‖ however he does envision himself painting. But he describes himself to others as a painter. Perhaps the great irony here is that society has ramped up its trafficking in labels, in exchange for an increase of efficiency.
To reiterate: imagine that a small child incessantly chirps ‗mommy‘ at everything because he does not know the right words yet. Perhaps he does know and fully understand ‗mommy‘; perhaps he‘s attempting to, on some level, place her attributes on these unknown things. If not for that reason, it may be that the child is acting, repeating an action solely under the motivation of achieving the same ecstatic response as before. Words are ‗packages‘ that may be reordered into a more favorable light. It is proposed here that the job of therapeutic EW is to teach others to use the written word to alter dangerous emotions and, at the same time, to remake faulty (or unhelpful) perceptions of events.
So, Pollack may find his flow as a painter, but one seemingly cannot paint in order to heal the scars of a TE. There is no way to place the event in a helpful memory context, no ―chronology‖ inherent to painting. Then again, memory itself is not chronological. Memory appears to be a visual entity, accessed by verbal cues, organized on seemingly hierarchic levels of decreasing importance to the self.
For that reason, one would still expect that, as people are such highly visual creatures, painting art therapy would be the better option than EW. There appears, however, to be a sensory neglect that comes on with time. One‘s appreciation of things visual fades from prominence as hours, even minutes pass. This degradation appears to occur on both a physical level and a psychological level. The oft-used illustrative example: can you name all the roads you cross on your way to work? No. Vision is the key to early learning, to memory contextualization, even to adult learning so that any time a person encounters something new, visual examination is often the weightiest consideration. This vision/motor-learning connection was referenced in Longcamp.
In conclusion, Klein asked whether EW could facilitate successful memory organization. What is disorganization? How should clinicians conceive of memories that exist outside of appropriate contexts? Seemingly, as dangerous as a ―standout memory‖ can be, are there not important inherent factors to be assessed? Is memory organization, then, similar to homeostasis, whereby no ripples occur whatsoever?
Considerations for future studies should include concerns for EW‘s effectiveness in treating major affective disorders. Additionally, what is the potential relationship between self-perception and, for instance, major depressive disorder? For that matter, what of self-perception and major anxiety disorder? Will self-image disorder one day be viewed as a component of major affective disorders? More simplistically, what about self-image/ self-perception problems in amnesiacs?

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EXPRESSIVE WRITING: A SURVEY OF POTENTIAL COGNITIVE BENEFITS 18
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