Category Archives: photography

Stress, Nature, and What 13 Countries are saying about U.S. politics; a link

You can learn a lot by listening to other people. Hard lessons learned, ideals to follow and ideals to disavow, and who likes who and who doesn’t; the following link is to a long article but one that is well worth reading, if only to find out which country is the lone wolf:

Stress can be stressful, [1], a walk in a natural setting [2] or even looking at images of nature has been found to help reduce stress levels — more than taking a walk in a busy urban setting,[3] suggesting that while exercise has health benefits, exposure to nature also has health benefits.

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I do care about preventing nuclear war and racism and about not inciting bullying or nuclear war or racism — I care a lot about that.

I didn’t find the older post about nature walks but thank goodness there’s a search engine and the internet.

An excerpt from the link I did find amongst my old posts, paraphrased for brevity:

People more vulnerable to the negative health effects of stress include: older adults, mothers and especially working mothers, less educated individuals, divorced or widowed individuals, people with financial concerns or lack of health insurance, isolated or lonely people, people who are targets of racial or sexual discrimination, and people who live in cities. [1, “Stress,” University of Maryland Medical Center]

Also from that link, having a history of childhood trauma can leave the adult with more risk to feeling stress.

Taking a closer look at nature may help relieve stress.

Taking a closer look at nature may help relieve stress.

You can learn a lot by listening to other people — not always easy to do or pleasant to listen to, but useful if only to learn what not to do or who to avoid listening to or associating with in the future — if possible.

Hazing sets the bad example for our children that bullying is acceptable if everyone or a majority of those in power don’t like the person or the group of people and it’s a bad example for our country’s reputation as a democracy who values individuals as a mixture of both positive and negative traits. Strengths and weaknesses is what adds variety to life and variety to life’s lessons.

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Dewdrops in spring greenery, (Sedum, Autumn Joy).

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Happy Pi day

Pi day, 3-14-16, happens but once, so just in case of flying pies I put away the fine art and quotes for the day. The date is roughly equivalent to the number called Pi which is used within geometric calculations involving circles. The first few digits are: 3.14159; The first million digits are available here: [http://www.piday.org/million/]

Penzey’s spice company created a new Pie Spice blend in honor of Pi Day 2016.

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I’m all out of pie, but spice is nice, in pie or other foods.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use./

The Parity Pledge and Gender parity in the art world

The Parity Pledge asks for a commitment to take action and working to increase awareness of gender parity issues was the area I pledged to take action.

Thinker frog might be thinking about other things besides the need for gender parity in the art world. I don’t really know. The photographs are actually unedited rather than being badly edited and were taken with natural lighting. I haven’t learned how to use my new photo editing software yet. /adjusting the light would have been easy on the software that I had been used to using./ So these photos are poor representations of the collection of posters – I’ll add a few details about the collection and the artists later.

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Hanging the collection of posters of art masterpieces from around the world was a self challenge. I had bought the collection used and laid them out on the floor one morning. The arrangement was pleasing somehow and I had an empty wall so — I just hung them up even though I wasn’t sure if I could do it by myself or without a scaffolding. I did have a stepladder though and a tape measure but no other person to help with laying out a measured gridwork over the large area. The room has a cathedral ceiling so the wall has extra space.

With poster putty on the corners laminated posters are fairly easy to stick up anywhere  though and then you can adjust them slightly as needed to straighten the horizon line. I did measure the base of the wall and double check where the center of the room was located. Then I worked from the center row, hanging the lower, middle, upper posters; and then hung the bottom row, middle row, and top row. Thumb tacks at the top corners helped secure them in place after all the tiny adjustments were completed to my satisfaction when viewed when standing on the far side of the room. The poster putty by itself tends to unstick after a day or two — leaving you to rehang and readjust. I learned that lesson earlier though but thankfully with fewer posters involved.

I did it even though I wasn’t sure if I could.

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So a revised version of my childhood belief: “One learns by trying, but it helps to read the instruction manual first, and it may be helpful to write one or revise the old one if needed.” Hat tip to Kurt Vonnegut for the part about the instruction manual.

“I’ve often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they’re on, why they don’t fall off it, how much time they’ve probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don’t fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn’t explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I’d tell them how we reproduce, how long we’ve been here, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. I didn’t learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Gender inequality in the art industry reflects similar employment and wage differences that are seen in other fields. Opportunities may not be as prevalent for female artists or female art museum directors according to recent research and surveys:

 

“Women run just a quarter of US art museums with budgets over $15 million, according to the study “The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships,” released in March by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the National Center for Arts Research. Those leaders make just 71 cents for every $1 earned by men, the study says. As for artists represented by galleries in New York and Los Angeles, just 30 percent are women, according to the collective Gallery Tally.” Read more: [https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-world-bias-by-the-numbers-94829]

Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use.

Earth Day, time to go for a spin

Mother Earth, my home, Whether snow white or mud brown, or fragrant green,           It is my shelter, my life, and home to us all.

Mother Earth, our home;
Whether snow white or mud brown,
or fragrantly green,                                           Earth is our shelter, our life,                           and home to us all.                                             Every day is a win.

 

Helping others may give more meaning to life

Seeking happiness in life may give more short term enjoyment but less long term joy than looking for a meaningful existence. Helping others may give a sense of purpose that a self serving pursuit of happiness doesn’t provide. The experience gained while helping may be more memorable than brief feelings of happiness or pleasure. An article, “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy,” explores the idea of what gives meaning to life in more detail. [The Atlantic]

Live, Work, Create.

                          Live, Work, Create.

The US debt clock is ticking

The US national debt is growing daily. The amount is being tracked and updated on the website brillig.com. On June 15, 2011 the national debt was $14,344,566,636,826.26. [p21, 1] As of July 9, 2014 the debt reached $17, 593,242,377,603.53. Since September 30, 2012 the national debt has been increasing at an average of $2.36 billion per day.

The population of the United States is estimated to include 318,580,956 people currently, so if citizens could just pay the $17 trillion dollars in debt we would each need to chip in $55,223.68 – if we paid today. Tomorrow we’ll owe about $2.36 billion more. This is depressing but ignoring the problem until next week will just mean we owe $16.52 billion more. Putting it off until next year might leave us owing $18,454,642,377,603.53 if the debt continues to grow at the current rate.

/Update: As of Dec. 13, 2015 the Outstanding Public Debt was $18,768,632,736,769.67, exceeding the above estimate. The estimated population on Dec. 13, 2015 is 321,962,716 people making each citizen’s share of the debt $58,294.43 if we all chipped in and paid it all today. The National Debt has been increasing at a rate of $2.31 billion per day since Sept. 30, 2012, which is a slight improvement from the rate of $2.36 billion per day on July 9, 2014 when I originally wrote this post. — data summarized from the brillig.com website. /

 

Transparency may reveal uncomfortable information but knowing about problems allows people to work together to find solutions. For eleven years a National Debt Clock existed in the physical world as the idea of a private citizen. It ticked up from $3 trillion in 1989 when the clock was started, to $5 trillion before the debt started dropping in 2000. The clock was paid for and maintained by the concerned citizen until his death in 1995 and the work was continued by the man’s son until the year 2000 when the debt level was decreasing. In 1980 the average citizen’s share of the national debt was $35,000. [2]

Today we aren’t being asked to pay $55,223.68 but someday eventually becomes today. Changing the way capital gains income is taxed and reducing corporate subsidies and off shore tax shelters could help make a dent in the debt.

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Need a lift? No thanks,
not today, but we do need a loan,
every single day.

 

Reviewing Fukushima

The article “50 Reasons We Should Fear the Worst from Fukushima” also includes links to more information about the nuclear power plant disaster. [1] The amount of radiation leaking into the environment at Fukushima is estimated to be greater than that released at Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Governmental silence may be a primary reason to fear the health consequences of the disaster. [2] Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s only denying reality.

A US Navy ship was within two miles of the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima during the tsunami on March 11, 2011. The health risks to the Navy personnel are deemed to be negligible by the US government and Tepco company. Staff have reported ailments however and one of the Navy staff was pregnant at the time of the incident. The infant was born with genetic mutations. [3] No news isn’t the same as lack of news, just lack of news reporting.

Monitoring of the environment and food supply needs to be a priority not something to deny. There are many more nuclear power plants that all need to be maintained safely.

Sad news and bad news, better to know of danger, then to deny risks.

Sad news and bad news,                                 better to know of danger,                                    then to deny risks.

 

Spiritual gardening for the dissociated soul

Trigger warning: This post is about recovery from sexual assault.

Sometimes a book can speak to you like a good friend, heart to heart, soul to soul, sharing secrets you never imagined anyone else had thought or experienced. The author wrote words many years ago but may have imagined that there would be a reader in need of the wisdom learned from hard experience.

Dissociation is a way for the mind to cope with pain or fear or with other overwhelming emotions or events. Children who experience trauma may have coped by allowing their minds to dissociate or separate from feeling the physical sensations or from being mentally present during the traumatic event. Dissociation is a natural reaction to intense experiences but it can become a lesson that is too well learned, a strategy for coping that becomes too much of a habit for the rest of life. Recovering a sense of connection to self and with the world can be difficult for the survivor of childhood trauma.

Dissociation became a habit for Karla McLaren, the author of Rebuilding the Garden: Healing the Spiritual Wounds of Childhood Sexual Assault (1997). [1] She experienced ongoing sexual assault beginning at age three. The culprit was caught but the dissociation remained for the author as a feeling of being incomplete and disconnected during her youth and young adult years.  The book grew from her personal discovery and exploration of an inner sanctuary that can exist within our minds whenever we care to imagine it and visit. She describes the inner sanctuary in terms of a garden with herself as the gardener. Sexual assault occurring during childhood violates boundaries and can take away an inner sense of self.

“Since the lasting wound of sexual assault occurs in a quiet spiritual center that no one ever mentions, it is very hard for assault survivors to understand why they don’t get better.” [page 5, 1]

The assault destroys the inner sanctuary but the survivor is not the ruined garden but is instead the gardener who can rebuild boundaries that protect and heal. Assault during childhood teaches the survivor that they have no boundaries and are open to invasion. Later in life the adult survivor may have problems relating well to others. Some survivors may be overly controlling of every aspect in their lives while others may seek stimulation and act out of control. Normal sexual relations may be difficult for some survivors.

“Many assault survivors become excellent puppeteers when sex is “happening” to them; they pull the right strings and make the right noises, but they are not present at all. They are off in a dream world, or up on the ceiling.” [page 57, 1]

Meditative relaxation is somewhat similar to the strategies described but the visualization exercises in the book delve more into the energy of the chakras and auras. The author describes the dissociated self in terms of being split. The visualization exercises are varied but aim to help the reader reconnect with their fragmented self and with the world around them.

“Not going anywhere in life, not living in peace, not truly knowing how to behave around people, relying on relationships for inner peace: these are just some of the characteristics of people who come to me for classes, and when I see them, they are often at the end of their ropes. People usually don’t come to psychic healers first.” [page 36, 1]

Seeking guidance from someone who self designates as a psychic healer may not be a first choice for most people but dissociation is the mind or psyche separating itself from the body’s present. The visualization strategies the author shares are designed to help restore a sense of an inner core that is always safe and to help reconnect to the world.

A lifelong habit of dissociation isn’t treatable with a pill. Anti-anxiety medications may be provided to help cope with anxiety if that is also present. Cognitive therapy, retraining the brain, is the most effective strategy used currently for treating people with dissociative disorders. But for that you would need an appointment with a therapist who believes in dissociative disorders. So in the meantime, there’s always Amazon. Finding an author who believes in the problem and believes that recovery is possible is at least a place to start even if it’s not a first choice. [1]

Gloriosa greets the day in the cheerful way, that daisies all share.

Gloriosa greets
the day in the cheerful way,
that all daisies share.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./