Sateen’s #MeToo moment

Sateen was standing at the bank teller’s window, cleaning out her bags, when in the chatSateen 4,12,18 window appears, “X-Doomhammer rubs you.”  Now I can’t remember the other character’s name, but when I looked around to see where he/she was, I couldn’t find that character.

Sateen is my level 110 Beast Mastery Hunter, a Draenei jeweler.  As you can see, she doesn’t dress provocatively.  She doesn’t participate in conversations on chat, and she generally quests alone.  I created her as a Draenei, because they get an advantage in the jewelers profession.

Whoever the molester was, he/she didn’t stick around to flirt or chat her up.  They were obviously doing it because they wanted to make the person running Sateen uncomfortable.   It’s the kind of person who would grope you on a crowded subway with shifting passengers, because they know you can’t identify them.  Only they aren’t even touching anything in this case except a keyboard.  They do it to mess with the other player’s mind and emotions.

In retrospect, I should have made a screen shot (photo) of the screen right away, so it would show the molester’s name, and then complained to Blizzard, who owns World of Warcraft.  They do care about the safety of their players, and have banned players for making unwelcome suggestive comments and advances toward other players.   But now I can’t even remember the other player’s name, so reporting it wouldn’t do much good.

What kind of sick person gets off on doing something like that in a game?  Does he/she “rub” people like that in real life, or is this the only way they get their jollies?  I wish I was enlightened enough to say I feel sorry for them, but I don’t.  No matter what horrendous hand Life deals you, what you do with it and how you act toward other people is your choice.  This person is not making healthy choices, and harming others in the process.

I am not making light of the #MeToo movement.   What happened to Sateen/me earlier this evening was a symptom of the attitude that it’s okay to treat people like trash and use them for your pleasure.  As a bone fide member of the #MeToo movement, I believe it is NOT acceptable to do that.   And I will not tolerate it.

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Wild land vs domesticated land

I grew up in a Southern California suburb, where the only wild things were the birds, gophers, and moles.  Now I live in a Northern California semi-rural small town, next to a wildlife conservation area and the Redwood National/State Park.   In our neighborhood Eagles at Sandmine and 101 Jan 2018we get a multitude of birds (including bald eagles), raccoons, foxes, mountain lions, black bears, and Roosevelt elk.

I love it here.  The primary reason I live here is because of the ocean, mountains, and wildlife.  Fortunately we’ve had jobs here, but that allows us to remain where we want to be.

In the early 1990s a state prison opened in our county, and for the first time since the Gold Rush era we had an influx of people who were not used to wild land.   While it helped keep the area afloat economically (fishing and the lumber industry went downhill because of over-harvesting), it also caused problems.  People with higher incomes meant higher rents and property values — good for some, but not most of the residents at that time.  Drug use and related crime escalated.  It also meant an influx of people who were used to subjugating the land and wildlife, not living with it.

Mountain lions and bears come down off the ridge into our neighborhood once or twice a year — Spring (when the elk give birth, and their afterbirth provides free protein) and Autumn (when the fruit trees and blackberries are ripe).   Two years ago someone in our neighborhood began circulating a petition to have Fish and Game come shoot the mountain lion that had come down in the Spring.  I refused to sign.  She talked about protecting the children at the bus stops in the mornings.  I pointed out a mountain lion Elk at the end of Nickel Avewouldn’t be stalking children in a crowd, and if they were that worried they should send along an adult with bear spray (a type of pepper spray that will work with most wild animals).  Apparently they made enough noise that Fish and Game did come to check out the reports of missing cats, mauled dogs, and missing turkeys.  Turned out only the missing turkey was attributed to a mountain lion.  Fish and Game declined to shoot the mountain lion, but gave a permit to the turkey owner.

When people move into an area with wildlife, they need to realize they are the newcomers there.  It is up to them to alter their lifestyle to protect themselves and their property if necessary.  Want to raise chickens?  Build a sturdy chicken coop with below ground fencing.  Want fruit trees?  Maybe keep dogs in the backyard or orchard, or build sturdy, high fences.  (Elk like fruit, too.)  Want to eat local seafood?  Then don’t dump chemicals or paint into the storm drains or sewers (which empty into the ocean).

I suppose it comes down to a mind-set that sees animals and ecosystems as being just as important as humans.  I know it is possible to learn that, because I did.   Humans have Fox in our backyard 3,9,18 cropdone FAR more damage to the Earth than animals and even natural disasters.  It would be nice if we learned to get along with all the inhabitants of Earth before we make it uninhabitable.

 

(My husband made the first two photos, I made the last one — all in our yard or neighborhood.)

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Grounding Like a Tree (Part 2)

In Grounding Like a Tree (Part 1) I wrote about using creative visualization to safely drain away stress, anxiety, and depression — the “bad stuff.”  This one is about how to take in the “good stuff” to help you heal, the way a tree does.

Most of the nutrients a tree or any other plant needs are taken in through the roots.  As itPecan tree in GA happens, the Earth and its soil also contains most of the nutrients we need — usually we get them by eating things that have been nourished by the soil.  Recently I read an article where scientists discovered a potentially powerful antibiotic in soil in Central Park.  That suggests soil has the potential to sustain and heal us.

In Scotland there is a organization and farm called Findhorn.  The people who founded it in the 1960s decided they wanted to work with Nature to make their gardens and other activities more successful, and ended up creating a self-sustaining community on what started as sandy, dry soil.   Here in the United States, Machaelle Small Wright began the same work in the 1970s and 1980s, and calls her site Perelandra.  What both these groups discovered is that sometimes the nutrients are required to be directly absorbed from the soil, and sometimes it is possible for plants, animals, and humans to absorb the essence of the nutrient and still get the positive results.  As Wright says, “What I’m going to describe to you does not fit comfortably into the recognized notions of tradition, logic or even sanity. In fact, it tends to thumb its nose at all three, especially sanity. Be that as it may, it works.

Here is part two of the grounding exercise.   It just occurred to me a week ago, although elm tree with rootsit is likely it has occurred to someone else before me (I just haven’t read it).   If you think it makes no sense and don’t want to try it, please don’t let that detract from using Part 1 to drain away your stress, anxiety, depression, and the “bad stuff” — I know that works. I learned it when training to be a therapist.  This part takes it a step further, inviting the good stuff to be absorbed.

  1.  First do your grounding and draining away of the “bad stuff” through #6.
  2.  Once the bad stuff is gone, imagine a circle around yourself that includes your tap root deep into the Earth.  Ask Beings of Love and Light (you can think of them as angels or Nature spirits or whatever) to be present with you in the circle.
  3.   Imagine medium and small feeder roots reaching out from your tap root and into the soil.
  4.   Now ask that those roots absorb the nutrients you need to help you be healthy in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
  5.   Wait a few minutes.  You may feel a sense of completion at some point, or you may not.  Trust that the Beings of Love and Light will help you with the healing.
  6.   When you are ready, pull your attention back to your surroundings.  Thank the Beings of Love and Light, and let them know they can leave.  Mentally open your circle.  Take a deep breath, in and out.  Know that all is well.

I can’t say this will make an immediate difference in your life.  I do trust that it is apt to help, because I have seen how the things I’ve learned from Findhorn and Perelandra have made a difference in my life.  It certainly won’t hurt you.  So far I’ve found it extends the feeling of calmness and well-being that I get with Part 1 of this grounding.   If you do get some obvious benefits from this (although Nature tends to be subtle), please feel free to leave a comment.

Namaste.   namaste

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Grounding Like a Tree (Part 1)

Whenever a person is feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, one of the quickest ways I’ve found to drain away the “bad stuff” is grounding like a tree.

This makes use of creative visualization and a bit of meditation.

  1. Make sure you are in a safe, quiet place the first time you do this.  The first time may take 10-15 minutes, but the more often you do it, the quicker and easier it will be to do, even in less than a minute.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine you are a tree.  We want a tree with deep roots, sobig old oak tree oaks, hickories, walnuts, sycamores, and maples might be best, but you can imagine yourself as any tree you want, because it is the roots you imagine that will be most important.
  3. Imagine that root begins at your heart, tail bone, and the soles of your feet.  The root is one very strong root, and it goes down, down into the Earth.   It is strong, and goes down quickly into the Earth, pushing aside soil and rock, down, down, all the way to the Earth’s inner core. The Earth’s core is a ball of molten lava.  Your root is so strong and magical, it can survive contact with the Earth’s inner core.
  4. Now think of what is upsetting you right now, whether it makes you stressed or anxious or depressed or whatever.  Send it down that root, and let it travel with the speed of light all the way to the Earth’s inner core, where it will burn to nothingness in the heat and harm no one. diagram of the Earth
  5. Think of everything that is upsetting you, and one by one send it all down that deep, magical root.  All of it is destroyed at the Earth’s core, without hurting you or anyone else.  Keep sending all the bad stuff down that deep root, until you feel you have gotten rid of everything.
  6. Now pause for a few moments, and savor the feeling of having all that bad stuff gone.  Feel the Earth holding you safely, protecting you from all that has harmed you.  You are at one with the Earth.
  7. Slowly become aware of your surroundings again.  Hear the sounds, feel the air upon your skin.  When you are ready, open your eyes, and take a deep, slow breath — in and out.  All is well.

You can do this exercise anytime you want, although it would be best to choose somewhere you feel safe.  Once I did it in the middle of a traffic jam, but I was sitting still in traffic at the time.  The more often you do it, the easier it will be to do, and the more often you will feel that calm connection with the Earth.

Namaste.  namaste

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Meditation

One very effective way of dealing with stress is meditation.  Scientists and researchers have been paying more attention to the benefits of meditation over the past 5-10 years, and have found that meditation increases the amount of grey matter in the brain in areas that deal with your senses, working memory, decision-making, emotional regulation, and empathy.  Meanwhile, the amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general, gets smaller.  (For more information, check out this article, and this one.)

There are SO many ways to meditate.  I suspect that is because all of us are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.   Some people do walking meditations.  Some people meditate while doing yoga.  Some sit in groups and softly focus onCandle a point on the wall (or a shadow on the floor, or a candle, or . . . ).  Or they sit alone.  Or count slow breaths (in and out).   Some meditate while knitting, or doing another repetitive, non-dangerous activity.  Some listen to calming music, or the even voice of someone talking.

One thing that appears to be central to successful meditation is mindfulness meditation.  This “practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.”  (Article here.)   When a thought drifts into your head you notice it, then let it drift away again without dwelling on it.

When I first tried doing mindfulness meditation it was difficult for me — thoughts kept streaming through my head and demanding attention.   Over weeks and months, my mind finally got the hang of noticing and letting go.   What worked for me was listening to meditation music, specifically Caroline Myss’ Chakra Meditation Music.  The sounds occupy the part of my brain that might otherwise be used for conscious thought.   Thoughts still drift into my conscious mind, but it has become easier to let them drift out again.

Meditating is a bit like exercising — five minutes a day is better than nothing at all, but if you really want results more would be better.  Forty minutes a day seems to come up as a good amount in most of the articles I read.  But the authors of those articles also admit that their meditation varies from daily to once a week.  If you want to give it a try, start with ten minutes, and then work up to more (if you wish).   The amazing thing is when you realize how good meditation makes you feel, and you start craving more.   It’s almost like a runner’s high.   Meditation leaves me calmer and more able to deal with whatever happens in my day.

It’s taken me years to get to this point of craving meditation time.  At the beginning I figured I would never get here.  But the benefits of meditation are worth the continued effort, even for children.  (Article here.)  Think of it as something to play with.  It’s worth a try.  🙂

namasteNamaste

PS  Here is another take on meditation.  I love the light-hearted way The Unusual Buddha writes.  🙂

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How to help your body relax

The world has become a tense place.  We often read, hear, and see things that frustrate and upset us.  Unless we make a habit of helping our body relax, that tension builds and can make us sick.  Let’s look at simple ways to help our body relax.

Progressive muscle relaxation:  Do you know the difference between the way your muscles feel when you are tense and when you are relaxed?  Often we are holding tension in our body and we don’t even realize it.   Go here for a simple, seven minute exercise to help you 1) recognize how tension versus relaxation feels, and 2) to help you relax (especially if you are trying to go to sleep).   While listening to the audio is helpful, once you have done it a few times you will probably be able to do it on your own, either lying down or sitting in a chair.  This exercise is probably one of the most effective ones on this list.

Warm water:  A lot of people use a relaxing bath to unwind.  But if you don’t have the time (or a bath tub to stretch out in), a shower can be just as good.  Use a soap that smells good to you, and get the water warm or hot enough to help your muscles relax.    Where do you hold your tension?  For many people it’s in their neck or back — let the hot water splash over those areas and relax the muscles.    Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine the water washing away whatever situation has caused the tension.

A warm beverage:  I’ve known people whose first response to stress is, “Let me fix you a mug of teacup of tea.”   🙂    There is something about that warm cup between your hands and the warm liquid going down your throat that triggers a relaxation response; even a cup of hot water will do the trick.  Be aware that caffeine can actually add to tension and make us more jittery.   Investigate beverages with no caffeine or that are decaffeinated (decaffeinated tea and coffee still has caffeine, just less than normal).   Or save the caffeine for morning, and then after 2 pm switch to something decaffeinated or without caffeine.

Soothing music:  This is not the sort of music you listen to while driving, or to exercise, do housework, or dance around the house.  This music helps you relax, though everyone will have different preferences.  This study found that the better sounds were harmonious, generally described as peaceful or serene.  You probably don’t want to go for something with a heavy back-beat.  🙂   If you don’t already have music that helps you relax, go to something like Pandora Internet Radio and search around for calm music that appeals to you.  Or check out the offerings at your favorite CD store.

Get out in Nature:  This could be something like a walk in the woods, sitting in your car at the beach, or going out in your backyard.   Go somewhere where there aren’t a lot ofS Beach photo.JPG people noises . . . where most of what you hear are the sounds made by Nature (birds, wind in the trees, waves, etc.).   If you live in the city or a suburb, you may have to get creative with this one.  Go to a park.  I have a friend who used to go for walks in the nearby cemetery.   If you feel so inclined, take your  shoes off.  There’s something about contact with the Earth that drains away tension.

Breathe:  Lie down and do some deep, slow breathing.  Rest your hand on your belly and slowly breathe deep, so that you can see your hand moving up with your belly.  Pause for a count of one, then exhale slowly, allowing the air to completely leave your lungs.   Do this for five to ten minutes.   Deep breathing will release tension and lower your blood pressure.  (More here.)

Creative visualization:  Think back to a time when you were alone, felt safe, and were absolutely relaxed.  Maybe it’s lying on the sand at the beach, soaking up the sun and listening to the waves.   Or use your imagination to create a place you like in your mind.  Now imagine being there . . . imagine how it sounds, how it smells, what it looks like.  Can you feel the grass, or the smooth sheets?  Can you taste it?   Spend 10 minutes there the first time, and then come back to it whenever you want to relax.

These are just a few of the things you can do to relax.  Here is link to another site that lists 40 ways to relax.    In other posts I’m going to write about meditation, and a couple about grounding.

You owe it to yourself to take a bit of time each day — even if it’s just five minutes — to allow your body to relax.   And if you do it when you go to bed, you are apt to sleep better.

Namaste   namaste

 

 

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I’m not the only person who dislikes Valentine’s Day . . . am I?

Disliking Valentine’s Day is almost worse than being unpatriotic.  I mean, who doesn’t like celebrating Love?  Ah, but who gains the most out of celebrating “Love”?

One of my favorite discussions of Valentine’s Day is the 2010 movie, “Valentine’s Day.”  It stars over 20 fine actors, and approaches the topic from a variety of directions.   There are those who are love-smitten, and those who are lonely.  Older people, kids, people who can afford to live in Beverly Hills, the person who has a $100,000 student loan and no health insurance, different races, different sexual orientations, different expectations, different dreams.   There is even a discussion about the history of Valentine’s Day, although you might find a more honest (and R rated) version of it here.

flowers and chocolatesMost of the stories have a positive viewpoint about Valentine’s Day, perhaps one that includes flowers and chocolate.  But Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) protests doing a piece about the day, saying, “It gives me acid reflux, that’s what it means to me.  I mean, we spend a lot of money, nobody cares, and it’s not even a real holiday!  We don’t take the day off . . . Listen, I’m a Player.  But I shut down my ‘playerness’ from New Years to St. Paddy’s Day just so I can afford this day.”  Later, while interviewing a guy who delivers messages, the Love Messenger says he makes “most of his dough today,” and Kelvin mentions the day is about commercialism.   That’s one of the big things about the day that bothers me — how it has been so hyped by businesses out to make a buck.  I have nothing against greeting card companies, florists, chocolate makers, or any of the other businesses that make beautiful things we don’t have the skill or time to make ourselves.  But I believe love and friendship ought to be acknowledged all year long.

Then there’s another reason some people don’t like Valentine’s Day.  Julia (Jennifer Garner) calls it a “cosmic bitch slap from the universe for everyone who doesn’t get asked to the Winter Formal.”  Kara (Jessica Biel) throws an I Hate Valentine’s Day dinner every year for friends who find themselves alone that day.  It looks at the fact that notCard from Thomas 2,14,18 everyone is going to have a romantic love, either by choice or by happenstance.   And that’s okay — I’ve known people for whom the bonds of friendship were much stronger (and healthier) than the love others have shared.

Finally, there are those of us who find it difficult to express romance — we feel it, we just never quite got the knack of expressing it as well as others.  Grace (Emma Roberts) says, “I wanted it to be magical, and I’m realizing that it’s hard to plan something to be magical.”  We can always fall back on the standards (cards, chocolates, and flowers), but there are some people who find just the right little gift that says so much (and it doesn’t even have a heart on it).  Many of us LOVE, and yet we are not as practiced at expressing it, which creates pressure.  As Edgar (Hector Elizondo) says in the movie, “Today’s a lot of pressure for anyone.”

So yes, I celebrate Love.  I’m just not happy about all the people making so much money on an obviously commercial holiday.  I’m for the kind of celebration that lasts all year long, so your friends, family, and perhaps significant other know how much you love Cup for Thomas 2,14,18them and care about them.   Let’s make it a whole year long expression — not just Valentine’s Day.

 

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