apocalyptic fact of the day

according to health canada the breast milk of Canadian women contains the second-highest levels in the world of a compound used as a flame retardant in computer casings and household furniture. apparently women in canada have levels about five to 10 times those in other advanced industrial countries. we of course are second to the united states (where the rates are double those in canada). results from exposure to this chemical (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs) include learning difficulties, memory impairment and alterations in thyroid hormone levels.

it’s ok though because the government says that exposure has not yet reached harmful levels. phew! that’s a relief

camping at sand point

just came back from the first overnight hiking trip i have done since i broke my ankle last summer…..

went to wash. state to see a friend of mine and we hiked a loop in ozette state park through sand point to cape alava which is a 9.5m/15km hike. we did 5 km the first day and 10 km the second which gave lots of time for watching wildlife and exploring the tidal pools. the tides were the lowest they have been for 19 years which meant lots of sea critters to look at – not to mention the eagles, deers, sea otters and racoons. there was quite a bit of rain, which made for a nice private hike (good thing about the rain is it keeps other people away). that also meant few other people camped at sand point which is a beautiful camping site overlooking a sheltered bay.

getting to do an overnight was a small victory for me – staying away from my computer for the entire weekend was an even bigger one!

i have a *lot* of work to do to get back in good hiking shape for my planned manning park trip in july which is a four-day/40 km journey.

one of my goals at the moment is to sleep outdoors as often as possible. i think it makes me a better person to fall asleep to the rhythms of wild space.

remind me why i bothered with the degree?

my paycheque is now three days late. this is not a big deal in itself except it highlights the ease with which electronic money can just disappear (or not show up in the first place) since the lateness of my pay is due to a computer error at the bank. this error is affecting thousands upon thousands of public sector workers across the country who bank with a certain institution. the latest is that our pay will not show up until sometime at the end of the weekend (if we’re lucky).

i don’t really consider this particular glitch a sign of any coming collapse but a reminder that one day all these non-physical assets could easily be wiped out by a bad computer virus or some other systemic failure. (remember argentina?) i would like to invest in some dirt if possible, but it is less and less likely i will be doing that anywhere near the city i live in….

my apartment – which last year was assessed at $200,000 is now listed on the market at $300,000 – which i confirmed with the real estate agent on tuesday. $300,000! for an apartment full of settling cracks in east vancouver. unbelievable. there is an article at vancouver.cbc.ca today about the increase in housing prices in vancouver in the last year, followed by an article on the increase in unemployment in bc. there seems to be a disconnect here – how can it be in a time of growing unemployment, there is a huge inflationary increase?

even more depressing is rents also seem to be impossibly high in vancouver since i last looked. i have a strong aversion to paying more in rent than i currently do, but it looks like if i want to stay in my oh-so-trendy-used-to-actually-be-cool neighbourhood i will have to shell out another couple hundred a month unless i desire to live in a basement suite. not fair! (but whoever said life was?) – but really, i make a professional wage and can’t afford to live in vancouver’s eastside unless i accept divey digs? something seems askew here – i think it could be….. huh? what is that? oh yeah – capitalism.

so rather than kowtow to a system that seems determined to grind the desire for a decent standard of living out of me (unless i do the proper thing and pair up since this world is designed for a double-income family) – i am going to talk to my employer next week and see if they will let me work part-time from home. if that is a solution we can work on, then i am going to move off this penninsula for the shores of the sunshine coast where the rents are cheaper (by almost half) and the air quality a lot better. sure it means commuting by ferry and bus – but if i can knock that commute down to three days a week i think it will be more than manageble. i am so desperate right now, i might even consider moving up there and commuting every day until i can sort out a better arrangement.

so it looks like september 1st will be the eviction date, though if i could arrange a move for august 1st i would be more than happy. now the shoe has dropped i would rather just get a move on than wait around until the last minute.

or

maybe i should just purchase one of these obscenely-priced kiddie playhouses and set it up in grandview park. gah.

(and yes, i recognize that all things considered i’ve got it pretty damned good)

passive-agressive listening

i am at an impasse in a close personal relationship caused by a total break-down in communication. open, honest and non-coercive communication is the cornerstone of the functional relationships in my life, and to go unheard or disregarded is something i find very challenging. in a non-essential relationship, i would react to a tendency to disregard by severing or modifying my connection to the other – but in this case, while i could do that, it doesn’t seem appropriate.

what is particularly frustrating about this situation is the person not hearing me is someone who considers themself an expert at “active listening”, and leads workshops on non-violent communications in a federal prison. she recognizes coercive communications patterns in other people in a particular setting, but apparently has little capacity for self-reflection on these issues.

so all of this has made me work on my own “active listening” in the most non-patronizing way i can (the active listening model, if not used fluidly, makes it sound like you are talking to a kindergartner – i hate it when people use it on me in an unnatural way as it in itself becomes an abusive communications tool). currently, her and i are having an ongoing debate about whether i should volunteer at the prison with her regularly or not. this discussion has been going on for months, and i have a number of personal reasons why i’m not interested in participating in her program at the moment.

when we talk, i try to stay off the topic entirely, but as i’ve been re-developing a friendship from high school with someone who is in the prison, i want to change my status there from volunteer to visitor which means i couldn’t come into the institution as a volunteer anymore. i haven’t brought that up recently because there are a number of other issues impinging her life and putting her in a heightened state of anxiety which makes it impossible for her to hear anything. of course, that doesn’t stop her from bringing it up as anxiety brings out the function in people which seeks to control any aspect of life in a situation that otherwise seems overwhelming.

last night, in a phone conversation (i called to see how she is doing), this topic came up despite my best efforts. lately i have been trying to have insight into her motivations and needs so as to address this ongoing problem without having to confront it head on. i have further been determined not to end every phone conversation in a confrontation, and so prepared myself for the interaction before placing the call.

during the discussion i reframed what i was saying no less than six times in the most chill way i could – trying to approach it from perspective of supporting her work, of supporting my own personal work, of any number of approaches i could take – before she cut the subject off abruptly and just ended the call. this is not the first time she has done this, and her tendency towards cutting off conversations completely and hanging up the phone has been increasing over the past few months.

i am completely at a loss here, as i feel like every time i try to take a different path to communicating better with her, i walk into the same brick wall. fortunately i am learning to cut my emotional responses to this behaviour, but ultimately it means over the years (and particularly over the last year) our relationship has become increasingly truncated as i become less and less able to open up in conversation. what a yuck situation! i think eventually i will need to confront this head on, but for now she is not able to discuss much except her world and the current crises in it, so the status quo continues in the meantime.

any ideas? i’m stuck.

barriers to active listening:
comparing, mind reading, rehearsing, filtering, judging, dreaming, identifying, advising, sparring, being right, derailing, placating

cranial sacral and civilization

i had an incredibly powerful cranial sacral session yesterday afternoon with my naturopath that felt like an an electrical storm passing through my body while on the massage table. wow – crazy energy and emotional response. i have been going every two weeks for counselling, homeopathics and cranial sacral work since february and can attribute a lot of positive movement in my life to working with this healing modality.

a few days ago, a friend of mine who is also a cranial sacral practitioner (and who introduced it to me in the fall) sent me an email about the origins of CST, and his ideas about how it could relate to civilization – which i have shared below because i thought it was really fascinating.


he writes:

“Do you know the origins of cranial sacral? A man named Sutherland was a student in the Osteopathic school (a very holistic western medicine, much more education and dedication than standard western medicine). Well Sutherland was studying Anatomy and every day as he walked past a disarticulated human skull in a case (each of the head bones having been separated to show their size, shape and what not) he would stop every day to consider it. Now a few notes here, this was some 60 years ago, Sutherland was a very “normal” american, and the accepted, indeed unquestioned, understanding of the bones of the skull was that they fused solid during infancy (they are clearly separate at birth, allowing us to squeeze through the birth canal– the “soft spot” on the babies head is unosified cartilage which is waiting to turn to bone). Well as Sutherland stared at the skull one day he heard as clear and as loud as if someone was standing next to him “the bones are bevelled like the gills of a fish allowing for articular motion”. He jumped! Turned! No one was there! No one was there! The old boy thought he was going crazy.

Continuing in school, receiving his doctorate and moving into practice the vision he’d had continued to haunt him. Finally giving into the torture he was in over the episode he began to explore the possibility that the bones may indeed move. For over ten years, indeed I believe for nearly twenty, in secret even from his wife, he experimented by pulling skulls apart and investigating them, and then finally modifying an old leather football helmet in such a way that he could jam particular cranium bones. Finally letting his wife in on the funny scene in his basement he began to experiment with his helmet, tightening down one bone and having his wife record the differences in his behavior. One thing led to the next, and over another 25 years he eventually gave birth to what is now cranial sacral therapy. Others, geniuses in their own right, have taken Sutherland’s work and made what may become one of the most important healing treatments for this horribly troubled time.

Here is my biological mysticism relating to Cranial Sacral; cranial has become a major modality, both in and out of the osteopathic tradition. A major part of cranial is the reference and attention given to the CRI, the cranial rhythmic impulse, which is the most often used rhythm in the cranial system. It has a fluctuation of about 6 cycles per minute (which a slight bit of variation for each individual), which is slow for modern people to try and hang with, thus the settling effect when a practitioner drops into listening to it. There are however two other rhythms which Sutherland noted and which, although less known, are just as present. One is the “mid tide” which has a rhythm of 12 seconds per cycle and then there is the “long tide” which is 50 seconds per cycle.

Well here’s where it gets really interesting to me, there is an osteopath who travelled around the world holding heads from people from every walk of life, he found that tribal people do not have the CRI but only the mid tide and the long tide. There is then some wonder if the CRI is a bodily reaction to modernity. Wow! How about that vision Sutherland ha
d huh? Could it be that the bones were talking with him as plants talk to Vegetilistas in the jungle? Could it be that Cranial needed to come to help people drop back into the tides of the body (mid tide) and the ancestors (long tide).”

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