August 2014
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Archive for August, 2014

Transition

It is time for me to transition.  I have been writing this Blog weekly for 4 years.  It is time to move on.  A ‘Word of the Week’ will still be published every Monday morning, but my commentary will be replaced by a saying, a quote, an adage, relevant to the weekly word.  My goal is to inspire and uplift, to encourage and support.

My deep gratitude to all of you for your on-going support and wonderful feedback!

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them.  They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits.  We can make our new normal any way we want.”  Kristen Armstrong

Addendum: An especially thankful moment as all of my family; children, nieces, nephews and cousins in Napa and St. Helena  are safe, except for my Aunt Gene’s sister who suffered a back injury.  Thank you all for your prayers!

Suicide

I am dazed and numb; my middle son has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.   Why…?

That crisp, sunny February afternoon seven years ago surges to the forefront of consciousness with the death of Robin Williams.  It is impossible to avoid some of the commentary that so disturbs me.  It seems so easy for some to judge so harshly.  I am stung by the comments of cowardice.  My son was not a coward.  His toxicology showed no illegal drugs or alcohol.  His medications were all within prescribed limits.  He was deeply depressed.

There are no easy answers to the ‘why?’  But there is  the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, www.afsp.org.  Coincidentally, a very special person in my life lost her nephew, Seth Ordway,  to suicide.  In Seth’s memory, Cindy Young will be doing an ‘Out of Darkness‘ walk in Sacramento, on October 4th. (For those who may be interested in participating locally, there will be an ‘Out of Darkness‘ walk in Santa Rosa on October 11.) You may visit Cindy’s personal page by clicking here. I  proudly sponsor her fund-raising efforts for this amazing organization.

If you would like to join me, I would be honored if your donation was made acknowledging my son, Brian Thomas.

 

Security

How secure are you feeling these days?  Given the ongoing shift in global economy; the 22 plus armed conflicts happening around the world; the latest internet hack attack;  food supply and water quality threats; viruses, diseases, hospital safety: crime….  The list could go on and on.

Part of the very definition of security is…’freedom from fear or anxiety’.  Humans want, indeed need, to feel secure.  In a world suffering through  cataclysmic change, where do you find security?

I believe peace of mind and a strong sense of security  is found in our personal belief system, our faith.

This week I invite you to plow deeply into your spiritual beliefs.  The act of living our faith leads to spiritual maturity and a greater sense of inner peace; confidence in a positive future outcome, in spite of the growing darkness.  Security can be found in the omniscience of Divine Intelligence.

Brain

I have always been fascinated by how the brain works, especially as it relates to consciousness, thought and spiritual evolution.  So,  5 Brain Myths That Won’t Go Away, authored by Ryan Wallace snagged my attention.

The brain is the most complex organ in the body.  The largest part of the human brain, the cerebral cortex, typically contains 15-33 billion neurons, all connected by and communicating with each other through synapses.  This amazing structure is control central of the entire body and all of its functions.

Throughout history the brain and the mind were considered separate.  Contemporary neuroscience still struggles to understand consciousness and thought.  Much about how the brain functions in these areas remains a mystery.

The five myths outlined below stem from the work of Amy Shelton, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Myth:  You only use 10% of your brain.

Shelton states that, “Any part of your brain that isn’t used will wither and die.”  90% of our brain is not on hold.

Myth: You are either right-or left-brained dominant.

This myth is rooted in scientific data demonstrating that certain areas and sides of the brain control specific functions.  Pop-psychology exploited this information into the myth that we are all divided into two camps: right-brained dominant, creative, or left-brained dominant, logical.  Extensive research and thousands of brain scans prove we use both sides of our brain equally.

Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells.

Biochemist researcher, Roberta Pentney, long ago disproved this myth.  It is true that ethyl alcohol will kill brain cells on contact, but it is so diluted in alcoholic beverages that our bodies process it (mostly the liver) before it gets to our brain cells.  The ‘buzz’ we get from alcohol arises from the effect on neural communication, a temporary circumstance,  without permanent damage when approached with moderate consumption.

Myth: Brain damage is permanent.

Obviously some brain damage is permanent to varying degrees.  Successful repair of brain damage depends on the location and severity of the injury.  It was once believed that we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have.  Research now demonstrates that through the process of “neurogenesis,”  the brain can not only regenerate cells, but reroute them around damaged neurons.

Myth: Your IQ is a fixed number.

IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a test score determining how smart you are.  What makes people smart is open to debate. Genetics, environment, and learning opportunity all have a part in  IQ development.  It has been demonstrated that cognitive training can improve IQ scores.

For a fascinating and engaging glimpse into how our brains function, check out “Brain Games,” hosted by Jason Silva, on the Nat Geo Channel.  It can also be viewed on-line by typing ‘watch Brain Games online’ into your search bar.  Want to know more about how your brain works?  I invite you to check out this fun and insightful program.