Tag: Health care

Dealing with the fear of the Known!

Can we ever conquer fear?

In a recent article I discussed the fear of the unknown, linked to the down-turn, redundancies, etc.

Per Kurowski, a great supporter of this Blog, posed the following question.

Great advice… but how do we remove the fear of what is known?

A simple, and slightly flipant answer would be,

“Develop a different relationship with it.”

What I’m saying is that when we are facing the known, and I’m assuming that it’s something unpleasant, our choices are limited. It’s going to happen, so the only thing we can do is change the way we view it.

This brings us back full circle to developing a different relationship with it.

Let’s take the word, ‘fear’.

All fear is an illusion, walk right through“. I heard Dr David Hawkins say on a CD. Granted, a great trick if you can do it!

Here’s another description of fear: Fear= False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear is generally future-based. We tend to use the past as a learning reference to inform us of what to be afraid of in the future. So human beings live their lives trying to predict and prepare for the future, limited by their past experiences.

Unfortunately, the only way to work with fear of the known is to live in the present! [Just like dogs! Ed.]

Our whole society is geared up to look into the future. We are forever worrying about or planning something for the future.

To begin focussing on the present, try this.

Simply, to start off, become aware of the breath and sensations in the body. This will slowly start to remind us to be present, or embodied, in our own body.


Problems, fear and spiral thinking, often at 3 or 4 in the morning, are generated in the mind.

Thoughts occur randomly, although we call them, “Our thoughts”, and refer to, “Our mind”.

By dropping out of the thought processes into awareness of the breath and body, the noise stops, even if only for a moment.

So very few people in the world will have even the slightest inkling what these words mean.

If more of us got used to coming out of the mind before making an important decision, and simply sat with the question for a while, the answer would probably present itself.

This will probably raise more questions than it answers but that’s not a bad thing.

By Jon Lavin

[If you have been affected by this Post and would like to contact Jon, he would be delighted to hear from you. Ed.]

Antonina Whaples — future fitness celebrity?

Showing dedication to health (and chain saws!)

Wake Forest University has an interesting program at our fitness center where students can be trained by certified personal trainers at an extremely discounted rate.  I have been doing this program for several months with a trainer named Antonina Whaples.  Aside from being a full time student at the university, “Nina,” as her friends call her, has just launched her career as a a figure competitor.  The whole process has exposed to me a side of the fitness world that I was not even really aware existed, but have found to be quite interesting.

Fitness world

Antonina recently competed in the National Physique Committee North Carolina State Championships, where she placed fifth — a very impressive feat for a first time competitor.  However, the real story is not just the competition itself, but also the work that went in to prepare for such an event.  Antonina’s diet, workouts, and lifestyle were all completely centered around this competition; it was dedication like I have rarely seen.  Antonina talked about this in an April 12 interview with the blog Promoting Real Women:

My trainers Jill Coleman (diet), and Kimberley Coronel (weight training) were essential to my process. The quality of my diet came out on stage and I trust Jill 100%. I never cheated on her plan and I was super pleased with my results. I know that this next show I will come in even leaner and fuller. I wouldn’t be where I am at all without the creative genius of Kim. She has built my body rep by rep and is my rock. I am proud to say that she is both my trainer and friend, and one of my greatest inspirations. One of the biggest things that mattered to me show day was making her proud!

Antonina (Don't try this at home! Ed.)

Before the show, Nina also did a photoshoot.  The pictures are really creative, and the fact that one of her majors is studio art really comes out.  My personal favorite is the photo featuring black leather boots and a chainsaw as the accessories of choice.

There’s a saying among Antonina’s friends that she is “intense.”  And if anyone has ever embodied the word “intense,” it certainly is Antonina Whaples.

Her blog, fitNasti, will be moving to a dot com domain name in the coming weeks, and I would not be surprised if after that her site continued to grow in popularity.

Keep an eye on Antonina Whaples — this girl is going places.

By Elliot Engstrom

U.S. unemployment remains at 9.7%

Little reason for celebration

The official unemployment rate of the U.S. economy remains at 9.7%,  and the underemployment rate increased to 16.9%.  These numbers represent a real tragedy for many Americans.

While the White House tries to celebrate the creation of 162,000 new jobs last month, at least 48,000 of these new jobs are government jobs, specifically temporary census workers, who are doing unproductive work and are being paid with taxes collected from the rest of the private economy.


Employment also increased in temporary help services and healthcare, but continued to decline in financial activities and in information, which is interesting given the recent comments by President Obama that the government takeover of the student loan program tucked into the health care bill “took $68 billion from banks and financial institutions.”(Obama’s  April 1 remarks)  That’s a lot of jobs, Mr. President.

Seems like there is more concrete evidence that, rather than creating jobs, the President’s policies are costing the economy jobs.

by Sherry Jarrell

The Hypocrisy of Cutting Waste

Cut Waste Later?  How about now?

I honestly cannot understand how President Obama can look the American people in the eye and tell them that Health Care reform will be paid for, in part, by finding savings and reducing fraud in Medicare over the next several years.

President Obama on Health Care Reform

If it is possible to operate Medicare more efficiently, why have we not done it already?  Why must doing it right wait for new programs and new legislation?  Why doesn’t Congress first prove to the American people that it can operate a program efficiently and then come back and ask for more?

Because it can’t, that’s why not.   The plain and simple truth is that it cannot do so now, and will not do so in the future.  So why are we letting our elected officials get away with such a charade?

I just don’t understand it.

By Sherry Jarrell


The difference that makes the difference!

Nature's 'law' of attraction

As a follow-up to my last Post on Learning from Dogs “Managing in a mad world“, I got to thinking about the so called “Law of Attraction“.

I say that because I beginning to believe that this ‘Law’ is more about what we think about and focus our attention on than anything that has a tangible force of attraction.  But it is well known that the brain (to protect our sanity!) filters out on a huge scale so this ‘attraction’ may be our minds remaining receptive or, as it were, allowing us to ‘resonate’ with others sharing our ideas and emotions.

Again, I notice this common ground between my psychotherapy clients and my business clients. Successful people tend to focus on the positive and usually have a strong belief in themselves and their abilities, and unsuccessful people who have suffered any sort of difficulty for an extended time, tend to be preoccupied with focussing on the negative and tend to have a negative self-view.

Naturally, we become orientated around our belief systems. This, I believe is where good, consistent parenting comes in because many of our beliefs are taken on from our parents. Even if the parenting style has been ‘tough’ as long as there’s consistency, balance is maintained and there is a solid reference point for the youngster to come away from.

Management styles resemble parenting styles, and why shouldn’t they, as the higher qualities of facilitating structured learning in a safe environment is exactly what good management is all about. Delegating is about empowering and confidence building. Parenting styles that are loose or have little or no structure or that are overbearing and dictatorial tend to be damaging.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules here, just tendencies but it’s interesting how these are played out everywhere, in every situation where we are in relationship with others. Even more interesting in a recession where companies are really struggling!

How fascinating to clock the number of companies struggling badly who have an autocratic management style, where staff are told what to do and there is little empowerment, and then compare them to ones where the opposite is true and people are free to interact, communicate, feel they’re reasonably empowered and work together in an environment of mutual trust.

The correlation in this part of the South West UK where I mainly work is significant. It’s as if  when we feel empowered and we’re working together with a group of like-minded people, all problems and challenges are solvable, because our self-belief is high and we visualise success. Also, adversity is seen as a challenge and one that can be mastered.

We certainly are living in interesting times!

By Jon Lavin

Managing in a mad world.

Even in the midst of great pain, we must think through our choices

The last week has been really mad.  I have been working in different companies and organisations and having to be part of redundancies, power struggles and people rebuilding their lives.

For example, I was in a company that had just let its second lot of people go in as many months. It’s gone past losing ‘dead wood’ and now people with valuable skills needed for recovery are going. I’ve noticed previously that good, employable people with key skills start to get concerned and will often take voluntary redundancy rather than hanging around to see how things pan out.

End of job!

It’s the shocking way that it’s done as well that’s unbelievable. No warning, just a phone call to attend a meeting, no hint as to what the meeting is about, then an envelope slid across the table and then a rapid escort off site. All done and dusted in 5 minutes.

Having been through this myself some years ago, it’s not something you forget in a hurry. Lots of feelings of rejection and feeling unvalued and unwanted are what I remember. Perhaps its part of being bought up in a job-for-life culture and then having that illusion shattered.

Working with people in this situation is literally quite shocking and traumatic because it clearly affects them and their lives and the lives of their families, and it affects me because the work we started comes to an abrupt end usually with little or no warning, and so does a source of income to be brutally honest. I don’t even have chance to say good-bye in many cases.

Every Thursday I become a trainee psychotherapist and work with people who mostly struggle to hold down any sort of job. The reasons for this are generally because of upbringings that are awful beyond description. The shock and trauma that is in the air when working with these people is amazing, and so scary for them that the idea of being present in the room with me and is virtually impossible.

So that brings us to managing in a world where lots of mad and non-integrous things happen. I believe that mindfulness can provide a key to these situations; being present for another does more than any instruction manual!

Being present means we make ourselves available at many levels to someone who is suffering. By avoiding the subtle invitation to join someone in their shock and trauma but by being there for them, to the best of our ability and listening to them at depth, we can provide an environment where real reflection can take place. Then options may be chosen which are not born of panic and reaction but come from reflection and response.

I believe that this approach gets us out of the ‘noise machine in our heads‘ (that is forever churning and worrying, in my case) that we have no control over, and creates space for more subtle things to come through the quiet and calm.

Most people I’ve met in my engineering work like to assume that they think their way out of tight situations but I’m not convinced that this process is actually effective. I have heard and practised many times the activity of ‘sleeping on something’ and then being able to decide on a course of action the following morning with relative ease. My psychotherapy clients can’t think their way out the awfulness because thinking about things has got them into a spiral

Albert Einstein

process which is highly addictive, predictable and virtually impossible to break without the intervention of a higher level of awareness. I think it was Einstein who said something like, “you can’t use the same intelligence that created a problem to solve it“!  In other words, a different approach or level must be used.

I believe that this different approach or level can be used to solve most problems we have. By bringing a different level of awareness to a challenge, whether it is redundancy or some other sort of deeper problem always gives different results and provides more options. It’s just that initially it needs to be facilitated, until we can do it under our own steam. I am heartened that even in the depths of a recession that there are still companies out there that support this approach and the work I do.

By Jon Lavin [This article from the BBC is worth reading in conjunction with Jon’s excellent Post. Jon may be contacted via learningfromdogs (at) gmail (dot) com]

Organic milk in the USA

The unacceptable face of the big agricultural businesses

Another wonderful link from Naked Capitalism.  This one refers to the way that the definition of ‘organic’ as in organic milk is being twisted and distorted to favour the huge indoor milking herds, up to 10,000 cattle, that in any sensible mind could never be regarded as the organic production of milk.

This to me is a picture of organic production of milk:

An English meadow

This to me is NOT! Yet the milk from these cows is defined as organic!

Organic milk?

This last picture is courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute, another web site worth a visit whether or not you take an interest in farming – after all, one presumes that you do eat!

The article is on the Politics of the Plate website, worth your visit whether or not you are an American, and is, to me, so important that I am taking the liberty of publishing the article in full.
Here it is:
Read this very important article

“The People Just Don’t Understand”

US politics and health care

The latest political spin in the U.S. is that the Democrats lost the seat that was held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts because the people “just don’t understand the health care legislation.”  It is not, so they say, that the legislation is bad or that it will raise taxes or result in rationing.  No, it is not the legislation at all. It is that the White House has failed to communicate the key elements of the health care legislation clearly.

I beg to disagree.  I think that we, the electorate, understand the legislation, but we do not like it, and do not want it.  We do not want it shoved down our throats; we do not want our tax dollars used to blatantly buy off votes for the legislation; we do not want our voices to be ignored.

And the White House knows that the public has turned against this legislation because it now knows more about the bill, not less.  Why else would they endorse the secretive, closed-door sessions to draft the language of the bill?  Why else would they want to hide the legislation from the light of day, from the scrutiny of the press and the public?  Because the less we know, the more likely it is that this shameful legislation will slither through and  become law.

So, spare us, White House.  The reason people do not like the health care legislation is not because you haven’t communicated it clearly enough. It’s because we understand it all too well.

By Sherry Jarrell


Capitalising on people’s fears

I often feel that a situation is manipulated by fear. The word is regularly used on television and in the newspapers, and once the thought is planted it is easy to influence the masses!

I was not surprised to read that the Head of Health at the Council of Europe, Dr. Wolfgang Wodard, had said flu drug

Dr. Wodarg

makers had influenced the World Health Organisation to declare Swine flu as a pandemic so they could rake in millions.

Earlier virus outbreaks of Bird Flu, SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and West Nile virus all had major news coverage lasting weeks, but despite the scare mongering, only six deaths, for example, were attributed to Bird Flu.  1.5 million chickens were slaughtered!

The initial “breaking news” regarding Swine flu warned of 65,000 possible deaths, however the campaign of panic provided a golden opportunity for representatives from the drugs companies to lay the golden egg.

To date only 251 deaths have been attributed to the N1H1 bug, and Dr Wodarg, who made the accusation, said it was just a normal flu. The swine flu scare was faked by greedy drug companies, he claimed.

I wonder how, as if by magic, the research, testing and the availability of millions of injections could be there ready for this unexpected outbreak.

In America a few years ago, the news about Anthrax being sent through the post to a government office lasted weeks. Cheap news, Scare mongering, Fear.

Have we moved on to a situation where we create commercial business at the expense of ourselves.

Big business? We wait now for the emergency debate on the issue at the end of the month.

By Bob Derham

President Obama: A Tax Increase Does not Reduce Costs!

A novel, and incorrect, way to lower costs.

The latest from Washington on Health Care Reform is the Senate’s version which taxes insurance companies on plans valued at over $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for couples.

President Obama has defended the tax as a way to drive down health costs.  “I’m on record as saying that taxing Cadillac plans that don’t make people healthier but just take more money out of their pockets because they’re paying more for insurance than they need to, that’s actually a good idea, and that helps bend the cost curve,” the president said in an interview with National Public Radio just before Christmas. “That helps to reduce the cost of health care over the long term. I think that’s a smart thing to do.”

Huh?  Mr. President, you need an Econ 101 primer. Let’s begin now, with supply and demand:Leftward shift in supply

Supply is an upward-sloping marginal cost curve, and includes the taxes and fees a business must pay to the government.  By imposing this tax, the supply curve of insurance companies will shift up and to the left, as shown in the graph, representing a higher cost per unit of insurance coverage.  The demand curve slopes down, so when intersected by a more costly supply curve, the final price to consumers rise and the amount of insurance coverage falls.   Period. End of story.  Indisputable fact.  And nothing Obama or the Senate says will change this fact, though they will try.

By Sherry Jarrell