Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shingles, anyone? Dr. Mercola on why we should NOT vaccinate against chickenpox

"Nature has devised an elegant plan for protecting you from the shingles virus.  
After contracting and recovering from chickenpox (usually as a child), as you age, your natural immunity gets asymptomatically "boosted" by coming into contact with infected children, who are recovering from chickenpox. This natural "boosting" of natural immunity to the varicella (chickenpox) virus helps protect you from getting shingles later in life.
This is true whether you are a child, adolescent, young adult, or elderly—every time you come into contact with someone infected with chickenpox, you get a natural "booster shot" that protects you from a painful—and expensive—bout with shingles.
In other words, shingles can be prevented by ordinary contact, such as receiving a hug from a grandchild who is getting or recovering from the chickenpox. But with the advent of the chickenpox vaccine, there is less chickenpox around to provide that natural immune boost for children AND adults.
So as chickenpox rates have declined, shingles rates have begun to rise, and there is mounting evidence that an epidemic of shingles is developing in America from the mass, mandatory use of the chickenpox vaccine by all children.
As hard as scientists try to come up with ways to "improve" human biology, they just can't outsmart Mother Nature.. In trying to tinker with the natural order of things, we tend to destroy processes that nature has masterfully orchestrated to keep us healthy.  This dance between chickenpox and shingles is a perfect example."

Another victory for natural medicine . . .

German National Soccer Team & Physicians Use Acupuncture & Homeopathy

Here's the link to the article, which I saw posted on FB by Maria Cronyn:,,3383416,00.html

Monday, November 1, 2010

Colostrum bests flu vaccines by a factor of three

"Colostrum, both in healthy subjects and high-risk cardiovascular patients, is at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu and is very cost-effective."
Clin Appl Thromb Hemost.  2007 Apr;13(2):130-6.  
(This refers to the medical journal entitled, "Clinical & Applied Thrombosis / Hemostasis.")

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did you know vaccine makers have no liability for bad products?

Here are two paragraphs from Dr. Mercola's newsletter that I read this morning:

"Pandemic vaccines are 100 percent risk-free for the vaccine maker, as laws ushered in after 9/11 exempt them from ANY liability. And, making matters worse, the laws create a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are fully aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct! It’s in their best interest to know as little as possible about the adverse reactions their vaccine might cause.
Non-pandemic vaccine injuries fall under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which is a no-fault federal vaccine injury compensation program. But again, very few vaccine injured children ever receive compensation from this program, and asexplained in this previous article, the program is so seriously flawed as to be useless."
The Big Pharma companies are now they are in the process of creating vaccines for things that don't even involve bacteria or viruses!  They are creating vaccines for obesity and stress, and what do you want to bet the highly un-educated American public will buy them, not understanding the principle of vaccination nor the real causes of obesity and stress.   Can I get a science teacher?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A great book

I recently re-read a great book by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., entitled Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success.  It's easy to read and understand, but she is a world-renowned scholar in the fields of personality, social psychology and developmental psychology.  She holds a chair in Psychology at Stanford, and previously held one at Columbia, so she obviously has credibility.

The book is about the difference between children and adults who have the growth mindset, that is, they believe they can learn and grown into any skill or ability, as opposed to those children and adults who believe our level of intelligence and skills are set in stone, a given, and are unchangeable even with great effort.  The latter category gives up when they run into a subject or skill set that they cannot pick up on the first try.  They become despondent and feel bad about themselves.  The former category who have the growth mindset believe that they can learn anything if they put enough time and effort into it, and even find it exhilarating to try.  If they fail, it doesn't reflect on them as a person, they get up, dust themselves off, and try another tack, learn more about their challenge before they attempt it again.  Failure is nothing more than feedback that they weren't yet appropriately prepared to face that particular challenge at that moment.

If you asked me which mindset I have, I would likely have told you that I am of the fixed mindset because I often feel bad about myself when I fail to achieve a particular goal on the first or second or even third try.  However, my life has again and again borne out the truth of the growth mindset.  I mastered the art form of opera singing even though I chose it because it was the only art form I wasn't absolutely certain I could master.  I never gave up trying to heal (rather than just mitigate) my fibromyalgia.  For the past 17 years, whenever my research and experimentation with natural medicine took me two steps forward, I always ended up having to take one step back.  It is incredibly frustrating when you work as hard at getting well as I have.  But I refuse to give up.  I know I can master this, too.  There is always a reason for why things have gone awry.  And the process of experimentation and discovery is fascinating.

I remember meeting a young man once while we were both commuting on the ferry from Hoboken, New Jersey to the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan.  He was a gifted musician, but he wasn't Mozart so he completely gave up music to work as a trader and make a lot of money in downtown Manhattan.  He was clearly bitter about not being a better musician, and it was a shock to me to realize how miserable he was.  It was almost as if he were punishing himself for not having been born a better musician.  There are plenty of musicians out there making a living at it but who aren't anywhere close to being a Mozart, and they are happy.  How we choose to judge ourselves and the world entirely shapes our experience of it.  We can choose how we look at things.  It makes all the difference.

I plan to recommend this book to every one of my patients who suffers from a chronic disease that challenges them to keep working at healing.  It can get very discouraging to get sick again when you have worked so hard to stay well, but Mindset

Americans Against Food Taxes - BAH HUMBUG!

I could hardly believe my eyes this morning when I was on the Care2 petition website, where I often sign petitions on various political issues in an attempt to protect our environment, our food stream, and generally stand up against the powerful on behalf of the average citizen.  As a primary healthcare practitioner, the well being of ordinary people is my greatest concern, and often very powerful large business interests are allied against the wellbeing of ordinary people when it threatens their profits.

So I was disappointed to discover this morning that a group calling itself "Americans Against Food Taxes" appeared on the Care2 petition website.  They cite research studies that say there is no connection between drinking lots of sugar sodas and obesity, which, having just finished nine semesters of pathophysiology, is simply not true.  There might be one or two studies here or there that say such things, but the overwhelming majority of studies say the opposite.  Clearly they are cherry picking studies, probably funded by Big Agribusiness, that say what they want to say, not indicating that there are hundreds if not thousands of studies saying the opposite.  That is not merely misleading, that is a flat out lie, and they should not get away with that.

Because in classical Chinese medicine diet is seen as the treatment of first resort for any condition, I fight daily for keeping our foods pure and natural.  That is what we were designed or have evolved to eat, and not the processed gargabe that makes up 75% of the foods sold in grocery stores.  So it was no surprise when I looked at the page of "members" of this "Americans Against Food Taxes" and found that it was made up of regional grocery store associations (private business interests that have their own best interest rather than the health of their customers at heart, or should I say in mind), and Big Agribusiness, companies like Cargill (they grow millions of acres of corn and soybeans and make billions of dollars) and Burger King, as well as Coca Cola.  Now do you suppose Coca Cola would be a disinterested observer on this issue, since it is soda that the government is trying to tax to reduce its use, the way they tax cigarettes to make it a very expensive habit and reduce the number of cigarettes smoked?  Of course not, that is an absurd notion.

So I want my readers to recognize what a farce this front group is for Big Agribusiness.  Shame on you, American Against Food Taxes.  You are an enemy of the American people.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Handy Chart of Harmful Ingredients Used in Cosmetics - Thanks to Dr. Mercola

ParabensHeavily used preservatives in the cosmetic industry; used in an estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products.Studies implicate their connection with cancer because their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and could disrupt your body’s endocrine system.
Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and PetrolatumThese petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They’re implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity. When you think about black oil pumped from deep underground, ask yourself why you’d want to put that kind of stuff on your skin…
Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)Found in over 90% of personal care products! They break down your skin’s moisture barrier, potentially leading to dry skin with premature aging. And because they easily penetrate your skin, they can allow other chemicals easy access.SLS combined with other chemicals may become a "nitrosamine" – a potent carcinogen.
AcrylamideFound in many facial creams.Linked to mammary tumors.
Propylene glycolCommon cosmetic moisturizer and carrier for fragrance oils.May cause dermatitis and skin irritation. May inhibit skin cell growth. Linked to kidney and liver problems.
Phenol carbolic acidFound in many lotions and skin creams.Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death from respiratory failure.
DioxaneHidden in ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Very common in personal care products.These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that’s easily absorbed through the skin. Its carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965, and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages are considered extremely vulnerable, making it, in my opinion, a really bad idea to use these things on your face.
TolueneMay be very poisonous! Made from petroleum and coal tar… found in most synthetic fragrances.Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage…May affect a developing fetus.

Women absorb 5 lbs of cosmetics each year!

Women who wear makeup daily absorb about 5 lbs of cosmetic ingredients each year.  That is not good news because nearly all cosmetic products are heavily laden with toxic ingredients.  I read this in Dr. Mercola's newsletter today.

I can recommend one line of beauty products that don't contain anything harmful:  Lavera.  It is a German company, and I have had to order online until recently, when Lavera made a deal to begin selling their products at Target, of all places.  Who knew they had an interest in natural products?  I have used Lavera products for several years now, on the recommendation of a classmate in acupuncture school.  She is a chemical engineer from Germany, and is totally into natural health.  (Interesting person, huh?)  Germany has banned many sources of toxic chemicals such in dry cleaning establishments.  They've been doing this for two decades already.  America is SO far behind . . .

Think purity, whether it's food, clothing, cleaning products or cosmetics.  Anything that you breathe, eat, wear or touch ought to be harmless.  We have a long way to go on this.  Time to get started.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Here's a lovely quote from today's Rigpa Glimpse of the Day, quotes from Sogyal Rinpoche:

      Everything can be used as an invitation to meditation. A smile, a face in the subway, the sight of a small flower growing in the crack of cement pavement, a fall of rich cloth in a shop window, the way the sun lights up flower pots on a windowsill. Be alert for any sign of beauty or grace. Offer up every joy, be awake at all moments, to “the news that is always arriving out of silence.”

Slowly, you will become a master of your own bliss, a chemist of your own joy, with all sorts of remedies always at hand to elevate, cheer, illuminate, and inspire your every breath and movement.

Sweet dreams, all.

Daoist Dietary Therapy

Daoist medicine's treatment of first resort is dietary therapy.  Foods have medicinal qualities and help balance various aspects of the bodily humours and organs (Zang Fu).  A nutritionist friend sent me the following article about a physician in the Bay Area who started a Farmer's Market in Oakland with his son.  This M.D. believes diet is the foundation of health.  We Daoists "docs" whole heartedly agree!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blogging a sign that there is little real life on Earth?

This evening, I was reading another in a long string of Wallace Stegner novels that I've been enjoying lately.  The latest novel I'm reading is Crossing to Safety, and the quote that struck me is:

"Henry James says somewhere that if you have to make notes on how a thing has struck you, it probably hasn't struck you."

So perhaps all this blogging is a sign that people today are not truly in full body contact with life, that they are skating along the surface, not truly being struck in the heart by any of it.  I wonder.

Happiness and unhappiness

Patients come for healing because they don't want to suffer.  Humans naturally want to avoid things that make them feel bad and want more of or to hold onto the things that make them feel good.  Most people think that the cause of their suffering is the things that happen to them in their lives, things they don't like, things that don't make them feel good.  But the real cause of suffering is how we think about the things that happen to us.

For example, parents see their children grow up and ultimately leave them.  One parent might look at the situation and feel abandoned, might feel the child ungrateful to go off and now think of their own needs instead of the needs of the parent.  Another parent might look at the same situation and feel terribly proud of how they have raised that child, allowing them to develop into a strong and independent young adult who has the courage and self-confidence to venture out into the world on their own, ready to discover their own path through this world.  Same situation, looked at in an entirely different way.  One parent is angry and resentful, the other proud and rewarded.  What a world of difference in how they look at the situation!

Health is affected more by our thoughts and feelings than by outside physical events and circumstances.  Because that is such a radical statement, I will repeat it, so you don't think I made a mistake:  Health is affected more by our thoughts and the feelings than by outside physical events and circumstances.  That is saying a lot!  Think of all the ways our physical environment affects our health:  weather conditions is a big one, but also the things people say to us, the events that happen to us during the course of each day including cars that cut us off on a busy street or our boss not seeing the point we just tried to make in an important meeting.  But these things that happen to us are not the source of stress.  The stress comes from the way we look at things, the way we interpret them, the way we take it.

As an example, my boss reads the memo I have been preparing for the past two days.  I did careful research, I laid out the arguments thoughtfully, and yet he put me down in front of all my colleagues by glancing at the memo and tossing it on the table, with only a "Thanks, Karen, I think we've already made our decision on that issue."  Now, I could feel hurt that he made no notice of all the hard work I did, I could feel put down because he seemed to dismiss my contribution in front of all the department heads, and I could feel angry that all my hard work was for no purpose.  On the other hand, I could also be perfectly fine with it, not caring whether he took my contribution into account or not.  If I truly believe what I have to say might affect his decision, I can go into his office later and explain why it's to his and the company's benefit that he read my memo, or outline it quickly for him on the spot.  I could also not care one way or the other whether he reads it, having done my job to the best of my abilities, since I have no control over whether my boss has the time to read my memo or not.

Do you see the difference here?  We don't have to interpret everything in the worst possible way.  There is always a positive explanation for what other people do, and most times it has absolutely nothing to do with us.  It is usually a reason pertaining to their own personal situation.  My boss could have just been served divorce papers by his wife, and doesn't have the energy to deal with my detailed memo.  My boss could have just gotten some bad news from his doctor, and his mind is on how he is going to deal with his health problem quickly and thoroughly.  My boss could have just been engaged in a big internecine war with its biggest competitors, and the issue in my memo is really very unimportant compared to the big problem he has to solve right now.  None of those reflect on me and the quality of my work, nor whether he values my opinions and needs me in his organization.  When we are unhappy about what someone else has done, we assume the other person has done whatever it is we don't like for some reason that has to do with us.  However, the reason people do the things they do does NOT have to do with us.  Their behavior reflects something about them, not something about us, so we never have to take what they do personally.  It is not about us, it is about them.  And it is our business to pay attention to our business, not to stick our nose into the business of others.  "Take the beam out of your own eye before you try to help others take the tiny sliver out of theirs," a quote from Jesus of Nazareth.

So the secret to happiness is to focus on your own stuff.  You can choose how you look at things, you can decide to make positive interpretations about what happens instead of negative interpretations about what happens.  Happiness is just that simple.  To be continued.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FDA knowingly misrepresents scientific findings

In my daily review of the latest alternative medicine research this morning, I found this:

 [In a] 2006 survey sent by the Union of Concerned Scientists to nearly 6,000 FDA scientists.  Those scientists that responded to the survey (about 1,000 of them) made some pretty shocking admissions . . .
  • Almost 20 percent admitted that they had been "asked explicitly by FDA decision makers to provide incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information to the public, regulated industry, media, or elected/senior government officials."
  • Less than 50 percent agreed that the FDA "routinely provides complete and accurate information to the public."
  • 47 percent admitted of being aware of instances "where commercial interests have inappropriately induced or attempted to induce the reversal, withdrawal or modification of FDA determinations or actions."
Shocking?  Yes.  Surprising?  Sadly, no.  

Enough said?  I thought so, too.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hey, this stuff works!

I recently did a few Feng Shui cures on my apartment in downtown Manhattan.  It's a very small apartment, an old tenement building turned into 1 bdrm (or so they call them) apartments.  It's in a wonderful location (Chelsea, one block from the West Village, one block from the Meatpacking District, two blocks from the Hudson River and Park), but it's noisy (Eighth Avenue) and not enough light (only the second floor).  I am very grateful to have had this apartment during my years in grad school as it is only 10 short blocks to school.  But I am about to open my new private practice in Classical Chinese Medicine and I am preparing my home and my office so that the Qi will flow amply yet smoothly through my life and work, and that is what Feng Shui cures do, they smooth the flow of Qi so it doesn't get hung up anywhere and doesn't flow too aggressively.

You don't have to believe in any Oriental philosophy for Feng Shui to work.  It is a science that understands the subtle energies in the universe, which was studied through an empirical process for several thousand years by Chinese physician-scientists.  They learned what worked.  We in the West are only now beginning to recognize the presence of these subtle energies and how they affect every aspect of life on Earth.

My point today is that only two days in, I am falling asleep and staying asleep.  I've had VICIOUS insomnia for many, many years now, where I can't fall asleep before 3 or 4 in the morning, or if I do manage to fall asleep earlier, I wake up 4 or 5 times, feeling extremely uncomfortable both physically and mentally, waking up so tired that all I can do is cry out of sheer exhaustion.  So seeing these simple, inexpensive Feng Shui cures already begin to have such a clear positive effect is delightful.  I am feeling so much more cheerful, and am looking forward to opening my new practice next week.  If Feng Shui does this much for my crappy little apartment, imagine what it will do for my beautiful new little jewel box of an office!  "Hooray Feng Shui!" (chant repeatedly)

May I suggest you look into Feng Shui to help the energy flow into and through your life and work as well?  These energies of the Earth and the Heavens are a free gift from God, why not accept this gift?  It was put there for your benefit.

In light and love, Karen-Lynette

PS.  Believe it or not, I did these cures based on "Feng Shui for Dummies," yes, one of THAT series of yellow and black beginners guides.  The author is funny and makes it very simple to understand.  If you don't want to read it all, just do the general cures for the most important rooms:  bedroom, kitchen (stove in particular), home office desk, and front door.  The cures can be bought for a couple of dollars each in any Chinatown.  Have fun!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Second verse, same as the first

I wrote a blog entry earlier today but decided not to post it.  It ended up being a political rant--quelle surprise!--and for health reasons, I'm not going there.  I am by choice a Taoist, and therefore I have no reason to complain about anything.  Everything is as it should be.  It just is what it is, and how can you complain about reality?  Reality just exists.  I am going to spend my energy and my time focusing and acting on things that come from my heart, not things that come from my head.  The reasoning here is that most of what comes from my head is tinged (or soaked through) with ego.  And only what comes from my heart, my truest self--that is, my soul--can possibly make me happy in any real way.

And that is the discipline I am choosing for my blog.  This blog is going to be a medicine that transforms me over time, each day requiring myself to focus only on what is coming from my heart and not my head, only what flows easily and naturally from my heart, not what I am striving to prove or to achieve.  Those are born from the ego, and do not lead to peace and contentment.

Lao-Tze is my model, the Tao Te Ching by bible.

I was raised a conservative fundamentalist Christian, a Seventh-Day Adventist.  I have a problem with the Christian churches in general, with pretty much all organized religion.  The institutions by their very nature go against what Christ's life as he lived it.  About the only true Christian I have ever read about was J.R.R. Tolkien, who gave away the money he made as a Cambridge don, to the point of living in penury.  Now THAT's a Christian, in my book.  If you're going to claim to follow Christ, then you'd better live the way he himself lived.  Popes with their silk robes in royal colors, ruling over millions of people.  That's so obviously NOT Christ-like.  Most Christians today would HATE Christ.  He didn't have a job, and when he worked a few days here and there he was a carpenter or a fisherman, a man who worked with his hands.  Although he was brilliant enough to be a rabbi, he eschewed everything that was for show.  He was homeless, in point of fact, relying on the charity of others for food and shelter.  What would modern Christians think of a teacher like that?  I think they would either laugh him off as a fool or have him swept with disgust off the streets as a vagrant.

Christ himself was an amazing being.  According to The First Coming, a book I read by a professor in the highly regarded Religious Studies Department at Princeton, a young Jewish rebbi showed up in central Asia, in the Himalayas, northern India, Tibet, Nepal.  And he studied with all the great mystics at that time.  He was enough of a spiritual genius that his travels and studies were noted in records of the time.  Well, that's my Jesus, the one who studied for 10 years with all the greatest Eastern religious thinkers.  Their philosophies fit in perfectly with the way he understood God and man, without the anger, fear and hatred found in the Old Testament and Pentateuch.  This Jesus understood The Way to be mystical, about an inner journey in which one finds Heaven on Earth, by fully embracing this moment as perfect in itself, not waiting or hoping or wishing for a more perfect future somewhere else.

That's my Jesus.  He's one of my circle of spiritual teachers, and well loved and respected by the rest of the circle.  Besides Lao-Tze, there is Li Dong Yuan.  I know him as the founder of the Earth School in the history of Chinese medicine, but it turns out he was also an amazing writer.  I came across some of his writing in an anthology of Chinese thought and literature, and I was shocked to find what an accomplished writer he was.  It was almost poetry.  Who else, who else?  Kiekegaard was a big part of my early training.  Stories from Native American storytellers and healers.  Chuang-Tze, definitely.  Some early American writers like Henry David Thoreau, maybe Hawthorne, certainly Emily Dickinson.

Time for bed.  More on this.  Dobre nocs.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This is like a mini-meditation just reading it! Enjoy . . .

If you find that meditation does not come easily in your city room, be inventive and go out into nature. Nature is always an unfailing fountain of inspiration. To calm your mind, go for a walk at dawn in the park, or watch the dew on a rose in a garden. Lie on the ground and gaze up into the sky, and let your mind expand into its spaciousness. Let the sky outside awaken a sky inside your mind. Stand by a stream and mingle your mind with its rushing; become one with its ceaseless sound. Sit by a waterfall and let its healing laughter purify your spirit. Walk on a beach and take the sea wind full and sweet against your face. Celebrate and use the beauty of moonlight to poise your mind. Sit by a lake or in a garden and, breathing quietly, let your mind fall silent as the moon comes up majestically and slowly in the cloudless night.
--  Sogyal Rinpoche

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cool your jets, baby girl

I am, by nature, just WAY too concerned with justice.  I believe that is a form of mental illness.  The world is exactly as it is at every single moment, and banging your head against Reality is simply not healthy.

I was raised in a conservative household, one that was entirely centered around the religious beliefs of my parents, Seventh-Day Adventists.  Even within their community, they were considered conservative.  They were fundamentalist's fundamentlists.  They taught me that because I was born with many talents and abilities, into a comfortable home and a family that loved me, I was responsible to take of those less gifted, less fortunate.  But one has to be careful not to try to change the world too hard, with too much effort.  And one has to be careful lest that desire for equality and justice prevent the experience of peace.  We were intended to live in blissful peace, "as above, so below."  "God is love."  "The peace that passeth understanding."

So how am I supposed to accept the harshness of the world?  The natural way is for animals to eat each other.  Why should I be surprised when people act the same way, using and ultimately crushing others so that they may have even more money than they already have.  Humans don't even have the excuse that they are doing it for survival.  They need very little to survive and even to live very well.  But the world is what it is.  There is no arguing with reality.  And that is the heart of the matter.

It doesn't mean I shouldn't try to make conditions better for all those who are oppressed or downtrodden.  But I must work with great discipline to remain happy and light while I do so, accepting everything as it is in every moment.  Lao Tzu, my favorite "old child," would say that there is no need to change anything.  Everything is as it should be.  It is all perfectly itself, not perfectly what I wish it to be, but perfectly itself.  And that is the way of the Tao.  If I am truly an eternal spirit, what does it matter what the physical conditions are on this Earth?  It doesn't ultimately matter.  It seems to matter, but it doesn't in any ultimate sense because we are eternal beings who can dwell in infinite peace whenever we really want to.  We will become nothing and then we will arise again and be something, which will divide into itself and Other, and then those two will combine to give birth to the Third of the Trinity, and then those forms will give birth to "the ten thousands things," all that exists.

The universe breathes, life begins.  The universe exhales, life ends.  The Big Bang was just a very large breath in and then out, one cycle of the universe's breath.  The universe is so large that we have only seen one cycle of it's breath, it moves so very slowly from our perspective.

Then why do I care whether people act justly on Earth?  All I have control over is my actions, what I say, how I treat people.  If I am bothered when some people seem not to respect others, then I can take that energy and examine myself:  Where do I not show respect to others?  If I am upset because the rich abuse the poor to get even richer, then I must look to my own life and see where I make choices to buy products from companies that enslave people to make a profit because it makes life easier for myself.  It's simple:  I don't need to buy those products.

I want to take Byron Katie's course so that I can help teach my patients how to "Love what is" so that their life will be peaceful and joyful instead of worried sick.


Old folks rock

Several of us who sing in a band together went to another band's gig because their lead singer is one of the singer's in our band.  Wow, that was convoluted.  Well, it was a really rocking band, tight rhythm section, two keyboards, two guitarists (one rather awesome lead), bass player and the lead singer.  Four other people in the band sing backup, so the vocals were interesting.  The audience was hooting and clapping raucously after every number, each song being well-written and well-executed.  I was impressed.  The band's name is The Shirts, who were a sort of "house band" at CBGB back in the day.  They're still together after several decades, and have put out two albums in the last couple of years, and all the new material is at least as good as their old stuff, and most of it is even better.  That's saying a lot.

What was interesting about that experience is that all the band members are around my age, which is solidly middle-age.  Half the band has grey hair.  They were all dressed very cool and had their own distinctive look, and they played and sang like they were 20 years old again.  The audience, I noticed, was also our age, and it was a nice feeling not to feel old.  I realized how interesting is is to be of my generation, rock was in its heyday when we were young, and I'm very proud to be a part of that generation.  Life was different then, and I feel sorry for young people today who grew up with AIDS and economic hardship that didn't exist back then.  We followed the sixties, when love was the thing rather than making big corporate bucks.  It was a different world, and I, for one, really love that I got to be a part of that.

I celebrate the values that we stood for, peace and love and brotherhood.  What do young people stand for today?  I can't tell.  They all seem so concerned with how they look, what brands they wear, listening to overly produced music that isn't the least bit original or interesting.  They most certainly are not political, as a group.  (Which isn't to say there aren't dedicated, very hard-working young people in the trenches of grassroots politics trying to change the world; there are.  And I bow to those young people with even more gratitude because it is not the zeitgeist of their generation, while my political activism was right in line with the prevailing social trends of my day.)  But why doesn't their generation care about corporatism and materialism and war?

Where are the student protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?  We were ALL over Vietnam in our day.  I was jailed at Stanford for protesting apartheid.  Why don't kids these days fight the power?  It is primarily young people who have the freedom, the time and energy to stand up in a vociferous way.  Where are y'all?  I guess Madison Avenue succeeded in seducing the last several generations.  But why aren't they interested in questioning authority anymore?  It isn't because they have everything.  My generation lived through the biggest economic boom in the world, a time period when the middle class and upper middle classes lived well for several decades.  Yet we felt the need to question those in power.  Why aren't they questioning now, when there is so much going so wrong?

Young folks, we need you to act like young folks, to be angry with the way things are, to protest war, to protest commercialism and materialism, to call for peace, love and brotherhood.  (I caught myself typing "brotherwood" - a great Freudian slip!)  I'm afraid it's almost entirely up to you, Gen Z.  Let your freak flag fly.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Blog

I am done with school, done with national board exams, I have my license hung on the wall of my newly constructed (and sanded, painted, trimmed and furnished) office.  That means I have more time to do something other than study like a maniac.  My blog has been a big disappointment because I never truly blogged, I mostly just re-posting articles that provided important information on a topic of great interest.

However, that was the Era of Karen-the-Grad-Student.   I am back in the world of grown-ups, where people actually make money for all the hours of work they do, which students most assuredly do not.  In fact, students are paying someone else for the privilege of doing long hours of hard work.  (I should have been a student in Germany or France, where education is free, free, free!)  Now, I am truly going to blog.  I am, as of today, a blogger.

People have written journals since, well, since the invention of writing I imagine.  That must be tens of thousands of years ago.  A journal is a daily record of one person's unique take on life.  Famous journalists that I've enjoyed include Descartes, Mark Twain, de Tocqueville, Julie Powell. . . actually, I never read the book, I just saw the movie because I love Meryl Streep's work as an actress, and she did NOT disappoint.  I used to watch Julia Child's television show when I was a child (ha ha), and Meryl was a note-perfect reproduction.

As a young person, I kept a journal as a way to express my feelings as I tried (very hard) to figure out life.  I was raised in a very strict, fundamentalist Christian family, but an inherently artistic nature combined with incredible drive and a defining pragmatism led me first to reject that heritage (although not Christ himself, he was one very cool and spiritually accomplished dude).  But it was another decade and many semesters of philosophy and religion courses at Stanford before I began to find my own set of beliefs that I could test in the fires of daily human life.  Journaling was an important outlet.

True "journal"-ing would be an interesting challenge:  Can I come up with one truly original thought every day?  That shouldn't be too hard, not with my constantly simmering brain.  Ask my friends:  I bubble like a fountain, probably ad nauseam.  Ah, well, it is what it is.  I enjoy it.  There's no such thing as bored in my world.

My interests?  There will be socio-political analysis and commentary, of course.  And humorous observations (no, I don't write humor, that's the jurisdiction of my paramour, Thomas James Schecker, Jr.; I just notice what's hilarious in the human condition:  much easier and just as much fun).  And of course, observations on my spiritual progress through life, especially now that I am working as a practitioner of Daoist Acupuncture.  It's a very philosophical form of medicine, very poetic and very beautiful in addition to being very effective.  One has to self-cultivate with rigor in order to be a great medical practitioner in this style of medicine.  It requires the highest level of self-knowledge and the highest degree of compassion for each individual human being and their particular weaknesses.

Politics, humor and soul:  yes, I guess that's a pretty good summation of my interests.  If I hadn't had fibromyalgia for the past 17 years, I'd probably also write about the outdoors and my adventures in it.  But since that part of my life was pretty much ripped away by some virus yet to be identified (perhaps fibro is due to one of those new nano-bacteria they have discovered?), my outdoors adventures are pretty . . . uninteresting.  I will daub in the occasional critique of a film or TV show or opera or symphony performance.  Ah, yes, my previous life in music and theater.  Yum!  I've had a damn good life.  I truly have.

So, there you have it.  My new blog begins as of today.
"There's a party goin' on right here, A celebration to last throughout the years.  So bring your good times, and your laughter too.  We gonna celebrate your party with you.  Come on!"
Celebration.  Bis morgen, baby.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas

This is extremely creepy, especially if you have amalgam fillings or gold crowns . . . which I do.  I have decided to go to one of the dentists specially trained to remove these in a way that won't allow further mercury to be released into the mouth.  It won't be cheap, but without health, you really have nothing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The nature of life or human consciousness at any rate seems to be small circular loops that take three steps forward, two steps back, overall always moving forward, but spending a good deal of time regressing just a bit before consolidating the latest progress and moving forward again.  Sometimes I get impatient with those two steps back, though that's as ridiculous as being upset that the sky is blue instead of green.  It makes no sense at all to argue with reality.

I am making the transition from professional graduate school to my own private practice, and while this is terribly exciting and full of enormous promise, it is also a little sad.  Good friends are moving away, going back to where they came from before they started school three years and nine long semesters ago.  (We did three full semesters each year, with only two weeks off between semesters, so . . . WHEW!)

Also, I had to study for my national board exams, which became more than tiresome, utterly loathesome to be honest, which has left me emptied of all resources.  But now, after two weeks spent watching classic films on Netflix on my very comfortable chaise longue and reading great literature on my Kindle for iPhone app, I am finally scratching the surface of recovery.  I am stronger, more clear-headed, and taking the time to enjoy long walks with my scruffy, deeply adorable and very large dog, Cupcake, in the sunny but cool spring breezes in the cobbled and shady streets of the far West Greenwich Village.

All this delight, and yet I find myself feeling uncomfortable at times.  What, am I cowed by having to develop marketing for my practice?  By having to decorate and furnish my new office?  No, I think the burden felt each morning has entirely to do with having less-than-zero money, having taken out student loans to pay tuition for professional school and not yet making money in my private practice.  I won't even have my license for another several weeks because of bureaucratic languor.  Sigh.

But the situation is entirely my fault for having chosen the life of an artist for the past three decades.  I would make the same choice all over again, though I probably would have done professional school when I was young enough for school to be as easy as falling off a log.  Miraculously, I ended up with a solid A average, but this time around I didn't enjoy the process of learning the way I did when I was an undergrad studying the Humanities at Stanford.  I sigh once more.

The answer here is simple, however:  focus on the positive, on the prospect of practicing this exquisitely beautiful medical art that is so effective on every level of human experience.  I can use my well-honed self-discipline to focus on the ideas and projects that have grown out of my deep love for this medicine, any one of which would be professionally fulfilling and financially rewarding.  Perhaps I am a little boggled by the sheer breadth of possibilities, for they do seem nearly endless.  This time the sigh is more like an Ahhhhhhh, an exhale of wonder and delight.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I think the New York Times is absolutely right to charge for online content.  They attract the best journalists in America.  I am willing to pay to support great journalism.  We have lost most of our journalistic fire in this nation of once-great muckrakers.  Sigh.