January 1st, 2010


Wow ... totally missed it

Ever since I quit drinking (24+ years ago) New Years Eve has been somewhat anti-climactic.

I was working on coding something tonight and Midnight sort of just flew past me ... usually I'm at least cognizant of the date clicking over, but I was trying to "MacGuyver" this page on Ning (the same thing I posted about a day or so back), and suddenly it's 12-something on 1/1/10. Oh Well.

Today wasn't quite as bad as yesterday, but I'm really missing my other computer. I haven't had time to try that Ubuntu rescue (although the CD's ready to go), but will hopefully get to it tomorrow.

Tonight we did our traditional run up to the Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was pretty cold, though (and some areas, where the wind was coming through, were brutal), so we didn't stay and poke around every building. The Girls did the cookie decorating thing, and some craft stuff, and then we headed home, picking up Chinese food on the way.

I am feeling very down, but that's likely still due to the computer crash (which has gotten me "off my game", putting The Job Stalker on the sidelines, etc.). I just hope I get a job soon ... I am so incredibly sick of LOOKING for one.

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A good one ...

As I've noted in this space before, I'm a participant in the LibraryThing “Early Reviewers” program, which from time-to-time provides me with books (matched to my on-line collection via the mysterious workings of “The Algorithm”) to read and review. I have been fortunate to have received books in each of the past 3 months (with copies-to-requests odds of 5.9%, 3.4%, and 2.3%), with this being one of the better books that I've had from that source.

I initially was a bit hesitant about The Five-Minute Miracle by Tara Springett, as it had numerous “newage” red-flags in my view, but I was fascinated, as I got into reading it, to find that it potentially (disclosure: I've not attempted practicing the system described as yet) is grounded on more substantial stuff that many books that it may resemble! The “5 minute miracle” of the title is the 2-minute, twice a day visualization practice that Ms. Springett has named “Higher Consciousness Healing”. As frequent readers of my scribblings may recall, I have studied Vajrayana Buddhism, which Ms. Springett is also rooted in. A substantial factor in Vajrayana is visualization practices which often take the form of a particular symbol (be it a Tibetan syllable, or an object) in a particular color, focusing on which is designed to produce a particular effect. In essence, this is what the author's “Higher Power Healing” is based upon.

However, the author is also a psychotherapist, and this discipline comes in during the preparatory phases. The first part of the process here is to identify what needs to be addressed. One has to do a bit of work to narrow down the range of the “problem” and what one is specifically feeling regarding that. She postulates three basic types of feelings that are causing one's suffering, anger, sadness, or anxiety, (with a table to relate these to a wider range of emotions) and that these manifest in various ways in various situations. Also, she has one focus on the problem in terms of the emotions it produces, i.e., one does not suffer from being fat, one suffers from feelings of frustration about not being able to lose weight. She also has one rate how much one generally suffers from the problem, from a 0 (no suffering) to a 10 (“utter desperation").

Once one has the problem defined in these terms, it's time to contact one's Higher Consciousness for assistance. She uses a consciousness model which involves the day-to-day Conscious mind, the Unconscious mind, and the Higher Consciousness, which she defines in something of a pan-theistic mode of a greater level of consciousness which is shared by all beings. Despite being shared, each person is likely to envision their Higher Consciousness in a particular form, from a religious symbol, to some newagey manifestation. Through a process of relaxation exercises (basic self-hypnosis) one gets to a point where one encounters one's Higher Consciousness, and gets, through this, images of one's “Life Path”, which provides a general “map” of how one is presently progressing. Once one has this information, one is to ask one's Higher Consciousness for a “symbol” to help one overcome one's suffering specific to the previously-defined problem. Interestingly, if one does not like the symbol one initially gets, one is encouraged to ask for a different one!

Once one has one's symbol, one goes through a fairly simple meditative practice to focus on it, for two minutes, twice a day, for a minimum of two weeks. She suggests “adding” this to some pre-existing habitual action (like brushing one's teeth), so that it will be easier to have on-going. At the end of two weeks, one takes assessment of how one is suffering (that 0-10 scale) and adjust one's activities appropriately. Interestingly, Springett claims that nearly all of her clients have substantial improvement in the initial two weeks, some achieving complete relief of the specific suffering in that period.

Again, I have not attempted to do this practice myself as yet, so I can't give much direct feedback on that, but the component parts, the visualization, the self-hypnosis, the mediation, all are dead on things that I have experienced, and the combination here looks like it would have every chance of working. The author claims that the method “popped up” in her mind, perhaps after a long period of mulling around various elements in her subconscious, in search of “a method of transpersonal psychotherapy” to help with her own issues. I, personally, would have liked the book more had it grounded its assorted aspects in the background practices (that I, at least, perceived to be behind it), but it does seem to have solid theoretical basis, and could be a very useful approach. As The Five-Minute Miracle is just now coming out, you're best bet is likely getting it on-line (Amazon has it at 28% off of cover), but if you're looking for something in this ballpark, this is a fascinating practice that has a lot to recommend it!

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