This page is for comments Page 4

Time for a new page ! G.

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921 Responses to This page is for comments Page 4

  1. Berk, Sorry to hear your dog isn’t doing well. I know how hard that is. Gretch

  2. I also wanted to make a quick comment on using drugs of any kind. I think we are all pretty much on the same page but just to be 100 percent clear we really don’t advise it. Whether we are talking about LSD, pot, alcohol or any number of substances really doe not matter. It can be extremely dangerous. There are also more effective ways to get closer to your feelings that we believe will have better long term results. Gretchen

  3. Sylvia says:

    Thanks for the new page, Gretchen. “Far out”, as they used to say in the 60’s. I was always afraid of drugs.

  4. jackwaddington says:

    Hi everyone: I totally agree with Gretchen about most of those psychedelic drugs. As I see it I did not have any bad effects from any of them. My contention was that having had a very good mother, who wanted me and loved me; my major PRIMAL SCENE for me was at birth and then a reliving of it at age two and a half..

    I contend, the way we got traumatized will depend on how we react to drugs. All drugs the prescribed ones as well.

    But the question goes a little deeper than all that. The pharmaceutical industry is pouring out drugs faster than we are able to take them and many IMO are not all they are cracked up to be.

    In my case I have been taking a simple cough mixture for some coughing that brings up phlegm. It all seemed so normal and natural until for two days I stopped, since I ran out of it. Guess what, the coughing decreased.

    The contentions between Jim and I are all about medications. He’s well and truly steeped into it. I am a little more wary.

    The saying goes:- It depends on how YOUR ‘cookie crumbled’


  5. Guru, If it was such a minor issue I doubt you would characterize me as devious. I posted a new page because the old page was not allowing me to comment with out cutting and pasting from my email. I encourage you to repost any comment you are concerned will be overlooked. If you prefer I will be happy to do that for you. I’m not sure what the issue is however because as I said I was under the impression we were all on pretty much the same page. It simply struck me as a serious enough subject ( and possibly dangerous) that Barry or I should weigh in on the issue.Gretchen

    • Gretchen, I wouldn’t go so far as to ‘characterize (you) as devious’ where this matter is concerned. It just SEEMED kinda sneaky, and a skeletal network of about 2,100 out of my 100 billion brain cells sent me an alert message to this effect. I did consider ignoring the alert altogether, yet the slight ensuing irritation compelled me to move forward.
      I was pretty much finished with the drug topic, except to say I am only 92%+ in agreement with you as I don’t object to C-A-U-T-I-O-U-S experimentation to see if there are any benefits.
      Just looking at the enormous number of psychotropic prescription meds handed out under legal and professional sanctioning leaves me reticent to completely closing the door on personal experimentation.

      • Addendum:
        It was discussed in the recent past about Janov and various loyalists completely closing the door on anything beyond materialism and the eternal end of all subjective experience upon death.
        With Gretchen and her close associates closing the door to all forms of drugs and alcohol as well, it starts to give me a ‘strict atheistic schoolmarm’ feel to the whole scenery even though I had always believed such a depictions to be of Catholic nuns with rulers ready to slap our hands.

  6. Phil says:

    About drug experiences, I tried LSD one time while in college, with no thought given to it. It was so terrible that I would never go near it again. I thought I was going crazy and every negative thought I had about myself was magnified like a million times. It was educational though, and did lead to my doing primal therapy. The first few minutes were extremely positive, so much so, that I thought, why can’t I be like that all the time.


  7. Margaret says:


  8. Phil says:

    Coincidentally, there’s an article in The NY Times today about Ayahuesca jungle retreats:


    Didn’t want to say anything, but something is pushing me to do so. I had an insight after waking up a little while ago, but I don’t think it matters much. Cried a bucket of tears during group about something; not sure what, and not sure it matters. Something about– wasn’t it enough to be clobbered by life by losing my mom at 10 months? But no, then I was totally abandoned, unseen, unwanted and unable to express any of that to anyone for the rest of my life, to a large extent. For how could you express that horror at the age of 10 months, not knowing how to speak. Sure, crying, kicking, and screaming, but who wanted to listen to that. Well, the insight I had got muddled and I didn’t write it down fast enough and now it seems meaningless and it flew away. Anyways, I feel no empathy towards anyone in group but I guess I did not want to feel alone, so I watched and listened a little. Listened more to music which brought on the bucket of tears, but those tears realistically are probably worthless — and definitely not being a part of group, and no fooling, I never will. Even before covid, when we were in-person groups, I was barely there. Anyway, maybe I am gaining a little empathy for my mate, more and more, step by step, week by week, but i will curse the crap out of her every morning before she wakes up. Happy happy group members and their significant others. You have hope and can listen to each other and care for each other. I guess I am jealous of that, but oh well. The time keeps slipping by. Didn’t see that time passing by. Seems funny to be still thinking about a loss that happened 67 years ago. But as I was trying to say, good old life, you can sometimes count on it to continue the brutality on and on. I was touched last night watching the American. Clooney getting big smooches from his sweet Italian girlfriend whenever they would meet. Smooching left my life a long long time ago.

  10. Jo says:

    Otto, it seems like being present at the groups is helpful for you.

    • Jo says:

      I feel that for myself, having been in zoom group last evening, unable to access at the time what was going on in me. But being there feels like I’m with real family, and I want that, even if I dont say anything.

  11. Jo says:

    This last week of August, feeling alone, bereft of people, jaded view of my life, hopeless, what’s the point.. effort to respond to an invitation for a walk with stepson yesterday, but I did. Anxious because I felt my lungs weren’t at full capacity while walking. After half an hour we sat on a wall in the sun, below was a 15’ drop (onto vegetation) but I couldn’t cope with the feeling of danger and I would imminently fall. Then home, in my cocoon. Later the zoom group,
    This morning Ive woken from a vivid dream, the last bit of the story resonating with early boarding school. I was sobbing and coughing, horrible feeling, and back in a scenario where I had to perform (at 8yrs) in a choir, juniors and seniors together. Parents would be there, I think I’d been told mine wouldn’t be there (disappointing) but a strong hope that they would be.
    This involved several of us walking to the ‘big’ school, but Nurse (matron) held my hand all the way (I was comforted but uncomfortable because I didn’t understand why she did this) She kept me apart from the crowds of other children, right up to the moment when we were placed on stage..all very surreal. It was because I’d fainted before a play I was in before, and fainted in an assembly, and she thought I might faint there.
    I cried a lot about this earlier, calling for mummy, It connects to feeling fear about speaking in groups I suppose, or the individual thanks I had to say at Thanksgiving retreats, the spotlight on me, in any shape or form, to a greater or lesser degree, I eventually wondered (re the scenario described above) if it was because I was worried that my parents might be in the audience, might see me. There was hope they would, plus the huge need for them, but fear they would see me, as at home I wasn’t supposed to speak up at home. To complicate this issue, my father on occasion demanded I read out loud from the bible in a small group he ran…very difficult and painful.
    I guess I’m conscious that being in groups are triggering in different ways.

  12. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Thanks for caring, Gretchen. This is heart-rending sad. She was coughing a lot this morning but finally fell asleep when i gave her a pill. we were giving her a liquid compounded version of that pill, and maybe the compound was just not as good as a pill. anyway, it’s getting close and i can barely deal with this. she trusts me so much. she loves her walks and food and being alive. life’s cruelest joke is leaving your mind alive while ravaging other parts of your body. she will be my last dog. i can’t do this again.

  13. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    “Euthanasia is a way to provide your pet with a peaceful and dignified passing. It is a way to give back to them for all their years of friendship, loyalty, and unconditional love.” years of f’ing love…this is so horrible.

  14. I am sorry to hear about your beloved dog too, Otto. Believe it or not I did catch a glimpse of her in a couple of your old videos. Your writings about life being cruel with a sharp mind and ravaged body remind me a lot of the terribleness of what dad went through the last couple months before he died.
    It all feels so wrong, as though it’s never supposed to happen.

  15. Margaret says:

    I am so sorry for you and your dog, I know how heartbreaking the goodbye can be.
    but you do provide your dog with a feeling of safety and trust and make sure he won’t suffer unnecessarily.
    that is all anybody could do and it means so much…
    your level of sadness shows how big your level of love is, they go hand in hand when we have to say goodbye isn’t it?
    thinking of you,

  16. Not to detract from Otto’s suffering in the slightest bit, but…
    I know I am more vulnerable to either taking substances or gambling when a terrible feeling just hangs around, hangs around, hour after hour after hour. The terribleness might let up for a few minutes, but then only smothers me once more…hanging over me like a dark slimy cloak or shroud. Allowing all of the feeling to course through just leads to more of the same, never letting up, hour after hour.
    That’s when I become utterly sick of the misery and seek an escape. If the misery never wants to leave, why the fuck would I want to lay in bed with it forever when I can find a quick and easy respite?
    Maybe I am just looking for someone with an understanding heart ready to tell me, “Yes, Guru, it’s alright, go ahead and indulge. Take a break for tomorrow we all die anyway. Why die miserable?”

  17. Vicki says:

    Otto, sorry about your dog. Nothing but hard, and missing the smell, touch, and love.

  18. Vicki says:

    I went back and read some of the drug stuff posts. My brother who died used pot for quite a while many years ago, and liked it, but he said he tried LSD one time, and never would again, it was so bad. Extremely scary and disorienting. Both he and his wife wanted nothing more to do with it.
    I remember reading in the 70’s that some who took it jumped out of windows, and died, of course.

    And I knew someone who had taken a drug called STP back then, which a psych. prof. said was about 200 times more potent than LSD. He had taken STP two years earlier, and still had not recovered. His mind was racing all the time, and he could not speak fast enough to express it. He could only speak about every 5th or 10th word of what he needed to say, in the group. So no one could understand him. I found that by listening carefully, I could gradually adjust to guess what he must be aiming at meaning, so I could speak it back to him and get confirmation. But he was barely functioning, his girlfriend had to take care of him and help interpret for him, he couldn’t hold a job or anything. He had just tried the drug one time, and his life was ruined. I have never wanted to play Russian roulette like that.

    I smoked pot just a few times, but the last time was a doozy — I think the stuff must have been laced with something stronger. The guys doing it were heavy daily users in college. Within two puffs, everything s–l–o–w–e–d d–o–w–n for me a lot, I could no longer keep up with the movement in the room. Next I could no longer feel my body below my neck, at all. I just was scared, and thought I’ve got to get home, but I didn’t know if I could make my body move, but I just tried to, and I couldn’t feel it, but it did move. I walked back to my own dorm room about two blocks away, scared the whole time. Keyed into my door, stepped in, and just fell onto my bed and slept for 10 hours, dead to the world. When I woke, first thing I checked was that I could feel my body again, and move ok, and it was a relief. Never again.

    • Hi Vicki:
      Thanks for your own story about recreational drug use. I was really surprised you tried pot, for you struck me as highly strait-laced & highly disciplined with very few chaotic or counterculture lifestyle pursuits.
      — I told Gretchen I favored legalizing drugs, yet I neglected to her mention why. It’s precisely due to what you experienced and your fear of your own drug being adulterated. With legalization, most of the risks of pesticides, greedy and dangerous dealers putting fentanyl in heroin or cocaine or pills, and other forms of spiking would be minimized if production was legalized and the process regulated for safety. Dosages would also be measured better for safety. When you buy from the black market, you truly don’t know what you’re going to really get!
      –For the reasons above, I also favor safe injection sites as well.
      –My favoring legalization doesn’t mean I want people to try drugs. If someone felt uncomfortable trying, I wouldn’t want him or her to try it either!
      –LSD and STP do sound dangerous and I have no interest at all with those, either. That was a tragic story you shared.

  19. Otto, It took me a year to even consider getting another dog. It was just too painful, in fact it still is. But it has been exactly a year now and I have just adopted a rescue who is happy to have a home. I’m glad I did but yes it is a long road. I do feel for what you are going through. Gretch

  20. Les B from Almont ! Welcome to the blog! I hope you continue to visit! Gretchen

  21. Phil says:

    Sorry about your dog, that’s really hard,


  22. Daniel says:

    For some bizarre masochistic reasons, I’m following the developments in the US, especially the rapid and sweeping changes in academia, the violence and lawlessness, and of course the presidential race. I can’t help but follow the last two because they’re on the news and newspapers every day and every evening, but the first one is a torture I picked all on my own.

    I’m not surprised at the post-modernist extremism of the intersectionalists who came out of richly activist but poorly academic Critical Theory university departments – I’ve written of their dangers here on the blog – but am very surprised, even shocked, at the speed and breadth of their current influence on academia, their ability to dictate terms, and especially at the almost complete lack of opposition to this agenda, even a total capitulation.

    It is extraordinary that reputable institutions of higher education bow to anti-enlightenment spirits and are busy “decolonizing” their curriculum; even hard sciences such as Chemistry of Physics or Math, as if these were just another Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima brands (the rebranding of which makes sense to me). It’s extraordinary that universities are receptive to being bullied or harangued into considering crazy “anti-racist” policies that are likely to end in just the opposite – small racial civil wars on campuses. And it’s extraordinary that nobody is rising to defend academic standards. Students, faculty, alumni and donors are all silent as bureaucrats lower admission standards, presumably to meet some racial quotas, thus practically ensuring the lowering of graduation standards.

    As is appropriate for revolutionary movements, they are not settling for higher education; now California wants to require all its school districts to offer a semester-long ethnic studies class.
    The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (head for the attachments at the bottom of the page) speaks the same extreme language of grievance, oppression, privilege, and anti-capitalism that the critical studies departments are so fluent in and their subject matter is now deemed appropriate for K-12 students. I won’t bore you with details, except for a Jewish point.

    The model for ethnic studies includes African Americans, Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans and Indigenous people, but not Jews. However, Jews are not entirely excluded because in Unit 6 of the Approved Course Outline it is suggested that “Students will write a paper detailing certain events in American history that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege”.

    Julius Streicher would have been proud.

    • Renee says:

      Daniel, I will assume from what you have written that you are wanting to continue debating/discussing this same stuff with me. At the same, I think it has been established beyond the shadow of a doubt that we fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum with regard to these issues. And that it 100% impossible that you will be able to change my views. So why continue trying?

      To be totally honest, when I read what you wrote, the only thing I found new and interesting was your first five words: “For some bizarre masochistic reasons.” I really think it could be worthwhile to get some help with exploring your underlying motivations for continuing to want to engage with me about this subject.

  23. Daniel, I realize you are describing an apparent infection of far-left values onto mainstream academia, but I wanted to direct your attention to this blog entry from Paul Campos, as well:

    The entry describes how far right-wing ideologues (and very deep-pocketed ones at that) have also infested mainstream academia with their beliefs through affiliated groups which donate lots of money to educational institutions, using said institutions to give a patina of academic respectability to the right-wingers in question.

    Since you have said you are a moderate, I felt it best to include my very short post as a balance for your own post.

    • Please note: Paul Campos’ blog entry devotes well over half of its space to Kamala Harris’ citizenship issue, but the REAL issue Campos is trying to explain lies much deeper than that, towards the end of the semi-long blog entry, so patient reading is required to fully understand why I was saying what I did in my post above.

  24. Daniel says:

    Thanks, Guru, for the link. Of course, there is the possibility that I may be locked in an information bubble where I only get only very specific pieces of information that reverberate what I already “know”. However, I consciously try not to be trapped that way. I do that by reading reports from several media outlets, both US and non-US, some considered left leaning and some right leaning. I mean, if one gets most of their information from Fox News and Breitbart, or from Democracy Now and Jacobin, then one is in a bubble.

    Obviously, I can’t survey the entire US higher education system, so I may be too influenced by what I encounter. Still, my impression from the sample of university websites, policy proposals, and personal reports is as I wrote.

    The blog article you linked to is indeed another symptom of a similar disease. Academics shouldn’t be right wing or left wing. The classic university is defined only by its scholarship and teaching. Not much room for politics in Math, Chemistry, Physics, AI, Quantum Computing, Psychology, Diplomatic History, Latin, the Classics, the Law, Textual Analysis (not “English”). A bit more discipline is required to keep politics out of subjects such as Literature, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and the Arts, but it is achievable. And none of the victimology or identity-massaging courses. I mean, those are legitimate concerns for some people, but they should remain in the public/political arena, not as academic fields on their own.

    By the way, it is no accident that in that Robin DiAngelo interview Renée linked to a few months back DiAngelo describes herself as a Sociologist, even though she isn’t, her degrees and appointments being in Education, not Sociology. DiAngelo is unconsciously accompanying her false self-description with a little smile, a sort of an editorial about what she’s saying at that very moment. One wonders why DiAngelo isn’t describing herself as a critical race theorist. My guess is that she really wants to be considered a Sociologist because Sociology demands a level of rigor and part of her knows what real academics is and what is not. Critical race theory is not.

    • Daniel says:

      In case it isn’t obvious, were I an American I’d most certainly be a Democrat. Being a proponent of Scandinavian Social Democracy puts me in the political vicinity of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang, or some combination of the three.

      In case it too isn’t obvious, as a world citizen I consider the single most important objective currently is to remove Trump from office, and to do it politically rather than judicially. Ironically but IMO not surprisingly, giving Trump another 4 years in the WH may be BLM’s crowning achievement. After all, as I was arguing here in the past, Trump is a pristine example of identity politics.

      • Phil says:

        BLM is getting 63% support from the public,and about that number support the protests. But they may not poll as well in critical states for November, which is what matters. Trump is counting on activating his base and trying to tie Democrats to the looting and violence, to influence undecided voters. I’m afraid the election will be close, when it shouldn’t be.


        • Phil, I hope you haven’t perceived that I was ignoring your last few posts addressed to me. I simply had nothing good to add to what you said at the time.
          I admit I have been posting here a LOT lately. I’m suffering from too much loneliness and way too thin of a support system. Clearly my need for some camaraderie has been seeping though here.
          I know Otto and others are having a tough time as well, so I will happily shut up as much as I can for them if needed.

    • Hey Daniel, thanks for checking out the Paul Campos link. He’s one of my favorites! He does lean to the left, to be sure, but I always enjoy his intellectually snarky quips. I have another reason I like the guy a lot, but I won’t rehash that here and now.
      –it would be a FASCINATING study (at least for me) to see whether colleges can have a score, an aggregate score, designating how “liberal” or “conservative” their professors in the ‘soft sciences’ (sociology, history, etc.) lean. Is such a scoring scheme in existence today?
      –Another fascinating study would be to see whether ‘liberal’ designated schools have a greater percentage of STEM courses as a percentage of their total curriculum than ‘conservative’ designated school or vice versa. Some fascinating inferences might be drawn from any noteworthy results in this study.
      –As for Robin DiAngelo..I will admit I do tend to lean in favor of your own beliefs here, but I don’t want to go any further regarding the author personally. I have not read her materials and it seems you and Renee are much more competent pugilists than I with this topic.

  25. jackwaddington says:

    Hi Everyone: For last two or three months I have been feeling exhausted and as time passes it comes on stronger and stronger. It feels very physical … but I am willing to stay with it and see if there is an old feeling component in there.

    Each day it gets worse and I have little energy to do anything. I am still able to get out of bed and pee several times in the night, but the effort is enormous. I feel I am dying.

    Jim does not believe it and thinks I will eventually recover. I am not so sure. It is a very debilitating situation for me. If I do die I have no illusions that there is anything beyond this life.

    If I go back into my ancestry I came from nothing and will return to nothing other than some peoples memory of me … until they’re gone then I am hardly a statistic

    I just feel I needed to talk about it; especially since it’s getting worse.


    • Sylvia says:

      Jack, you should go see a doctor or at least call them if they have telehealth where they can talk to you over the phone or see you with your computer. They could order some tests for you for blood sugar levels or heart function tests. Something has changed and you should find out what is going on. Take care, Jack.

    • Renee says:

      Jack, PLEASE don’t die! I will miss you. And if you’re going to go ahead and die anyway, I hope that, as much as you feel up to it, you can talk about it here. None of us have had the experience of dying from old age and what it is like. I hope you can share your experience with us.

    • Phil says:

      I’m sorry about what you’re going through. You say you feel like you’re dying, but maybe that’s just a feeling. I sure hope you get some energy back and recover.


    • Jack. if you really feel as though you might be dying I will start to muster some empathy for you. It’s just that I have seen you put forth this frail, sympathy-evoking countenance many times before…even when I saw you in person 20 years ago!
      I felt badly for your condition when Patrick attacked you 8 years ago, and even tried to protect you a few times early on…
      Afterwards you were mean and denigrating to me, so the kindly old grandpa image wore off quickly and it hardened me,
      It feels a bit like ‘The boy who cried wolf’.
      Two months before my dad died he could barely write any words at all and he was 10 years younger with a stockier frame than yours, yet you still manage to type your blog post.
      I’m not sure what to think considering those closest to you are also skeptical. I think you will be dying for the next 36 years until it happens in your sleep at 126 years of age.

  26. Daniel says:

    Guru, those are indeed interesting questions. I think it would be fair to say that in most Universities in the free world faculty tends to be liberal more than conservative. Right wingers are up in arms about it. I don’t care about faculty politics as long as they teach the subject matter fairly and academically.

    Phil, it makes sense to me that 63% of Americans support BLM, because the natural inclination is of course to stand by and support a struggle against racism. However, I’m doubtful Americans look further than the just cause and into the actual policy proposals that are being advanced and the ideas underpinning them. Take a look at the following Newsweek report and especially the infographic in it, from the African-American History Museum, summarising what Whiteness is. “Objective, rational thinking”, “cause and effect relationship”, “hard work is the key to success”, “plan for the future”, “delayed gratification”, are all declared to be “White” values.

    These ideas are closely tied to developments such as the lowering of admission standards in Universities, or other accommodations made to bypass those “white” values. The rationalisation is that there is no real achievement gap between white and black kids, just bad and racist testing and admission standards. So, when considering admission, if we dropped, for example, “objective, rational thinking” or “cause and effect relationship”, which are “white” and therefore racist values, as criteria for admission, the achievement gap will go poof in the air.

    Aside from the very relevant question what kind of science, medicine, law, and public services America will have when its students will resist “objective, rational thinking”, the irony is that real white supremacists traditionally project the opposite of these traits on black people, thinking they are lazy, less likely to be on time, not as good as white people. In other words, these ideas actually promote rather than mitigate racism.

    Of course, such ideas are legitimate and perhaps have their merits, but they are outside western culture. So, the attack is on western culture and its enlightenment values, and at the moment a radical minority is dictating non-western values to the most important country in the western world. That is extremely powerful and also scary. I must say I don’t believe it will last and I fear the backlash might be very ugly, especially if Trump will win in November.

    Renée, you’ve been trying to shut down such discussions from day 1, with the exact same arguments about protracted exchange, me trying to convince you, and down to the customary and innocently violent suggestions at the end of the comment to look at my motives or get help.

    I write when I feel like sharing some of what I have in my mind, not to change your yours. You’re welcome to participate in the discussion if you like, or refrain from participating if you like. It’s not about you.

    • Daniel says:

      Guru, you may want to read DiAngelo’s original paper from 2011 which I’ll post here (downloadable pdf). It’s an interesting read.

    • Phil says:

      I read the Newsweek article you linked and thought that a good part of what the Smithsonian African American Museum says seems true. The parts about “whiteness including ” being “no tolerance for deviation from a single god concept”, “rugged individualism”, “the protestant work ethic and aesthetics, and white privilege. This museum is just one voice and I wouldn’t give it that much importance.
      I don’t feel that western culture and civilization are a risk or anything, however, and I think it’s good to question our assumptions. Colleges and universities are centers of liberalism and that isn’t likely to change. We have an ongoing culture war going on in this country, with the right and left taking more and more extreme positions, and because of that division, change is likely to be slow,

    • Phil says:

      Are you aware of our college admission scandals. It’s about peoples buying and/or cheating their way into elite schools, using privilege and connection. Trump, the genius that he is, got into Wharton business school only because of an example of this corrupt process. I’m sure this kind of thing has been going on forever, so I wouldn’t worry that much about students having a lack of achievement, since many of them never had that to begin with in past years.

  27. Margaret says:

    I also hope you can keep sharing what you feel here.
    there are many nice things about you I will always remember, like the first time you came up to me, when we were in front of the Pico institute and i was new, and you introduced yourself to me.
    i was immediately struck by your eyes, they were beautiful, not only the colour but the straightness of your look and the sparkle they showed.
    then there were many moments you suddenly were there to support me at retreats, and the hilarious time when before group you sat down in the therapists seats and silently impersonated them all so brilliantly, just by your expression and body language and cracked everyone up.
    I also hope you will get better again and live for many more years happily together with Jim .

  28. Renee says:

    Daniel, I think that your assertion that I am trying to shut down this conversation is a feeling. Each of us is, and always has been, free to write and react to each other (or not). No-one is shutting anyone down. Each of is just reacting to the other. That’s all. I think that your interpretation that I am somehow trying to “shut down” the conversation is part of your belief that I am a participant in some giant left-wing academic conspiracy that is intent on overthrowing and shutting down the whole western, civilized canon. Seen from this viewpoint, it makes sense that you would see my suggestion that you get help to look at your motives as somehow “violent”. Of course, from my viewpoint, the “violence” and the “shutting down” is actually top-down and not bottom-up. This is exactly what systemic racism/sexism etc. is all about at it roots, along with finding ways to divert attention away from that reality. Usually, this is accomplished by finding marginalized groups, and any allies of them, to blame. It’s why history keeps repeating itself. It just saddens and disappoints me that someone who identifies as Jewish, could uphold and espouse these beliefs. Considering the history of the Jews.

    I was actually struck by your insightfulness when you said that you had “bizarre masochistic reasons”. And then you expanded on this insight, in the same paragraph, by acknowledging a preoccupation with what you called, “sweeping changes in academia”, and that this preoccupation was “a torture I picked all on my own”. I think this is likely very true and makes a lot of sense. It left me reflecting on whether this tendency could be connected to historical trauma. Not just personal trauma. It has left me reflecting on whether a tendency toward masochism and self-torture could be connected somehow to being Jewish. In other words, when violence, torture and suffering is no longer being imposed on us from the outside, do we do it to ourselves? I know I have had times in my life when I’ve chosen to put myself in situations where I would suffer and feel tormented. Usually, I’ve only thought in terms of what I’ve recreated from my childhood. But your comments have left me wondering if part of this behavior could be connected to historical trauma as well.

  29. Jack, I hope you are feeling better but I wish you would take Sylvia’s advice and maybe do a phone call with your doctor. Of course I can’t know what’s going on with you but what if it’s a mild infection or maybe you need vitamin D or B after all you been inside like the rest of us for months. I just feel it’s worth checking. You could also have a mild case of the virus, there are lots of people who describe being exhausted or having headaches. It’s not always a serious situation with this virus and more often than not it isn’t. Anyway do take care of yourself! Keep us all posted on how you are feeling. Gretch

    • jackwaddington says:

      Gretchen: An addendum:- I never had much faith in doctors ever since spending two years of compulsory military service in the Royal Army Medical Corpse ; Then another years on the peripheral of the medical profession as a pupil ‘health inspector’

      As for supplements, I take 7 each day and Jim is now looking others that might help.

      I lost faith in the medical profession the moment they chose to NOT consider the Primal concept.

      Meantime I had a buddy session with my buddy who gave me several areas to explore that I have done sInce.

      Meantime,; thanks for your caring.


  30. Jack, I understand what you mean. I don’t tend to go running to doctors either. Still sometimes it can be worth checking out things like low energy or exhaustion. I’m glad the time with your buddy was helpful. Sometimes a little support is the best medicine of all. Take care ! Gretch

  31. Daniel says:

    Guru, I never meant to force you to read DiAngelo, and I hope it didn’t come across that way. As far as I’m concerned you can move it from the Download folder directly to the Recycle Bin.
    Your example of corruption in admission shows exactly what is at stake. We call it “corrupt” because by circumventing the admission system it admits people who shouldn’t be there in the first place, people who do not need to show the aptitude that is required to successfully graduate. If you take what yesterday was considered corrupt and turn it into an official policy you will fill the institution with people who do not need to have the aptitude that is required to successfully graduate. Since once they’re admitted it will be impossible to not let them graduate the graduations standards will be lowered.

    Absurdities are all around. Tuft/Fletcher school of Diplomacy (!!!) has dropped it’s requirement for a second language. You can read their explanation: it has become more of a barrier than an opportunity for students, including those with learning disabilities. I’m sure the US will benefit greatly from diplomats, state department officials and CIA operative who will rely on English alone. Most likely spoken loudly.

    Colleges and universities may be centers of liberalism and you don’t seem concerned that something may hurt that. So, let me just leave you with a glimpse of what that liberalism may turn into. Northwestern U. law school had a town hall meeting online recently. Everybody began with a ritual denunciation of themselves as racist.

    Aside from it being obvious that not all professors really believe that they are racist or wish to participate in that (one reader wrote: “Prof. Speta is not a racist. He is a wonderful man universally loved by students. It makes me sad that he is forced to say otherwise.”), does this look like liberalism to you? To me it looks pretty much like a Chinese struggle session, or, since I’m Jewish, those people who were forced by Nazis to carry signs they are “race defilers”. Not too long ago I wrote here on the blog how these ideas that on the face of it are innocent and about justice can become totalitarian. And they have. Sooner than I thought.
    In saying “bizarre masochistic reasons”, or “a torture I picked all on my own”, I was being humorous and referred to the fact that it pains me to learn, but also sometimes makes me laugh, of what is going on.

    I do feel your innocence is at times violent, but I promised you not to talk about my personal impressions of you. As an aside, I’ll just say that your portrayal of my views is far from accurate.

    I do agree, though, that historical trauma plays a part in me, although being transmitted through generations it is obviously vague. I want to skip for now talking about parents who live through their children and concentrate of the Jewish experience as a whole.

    Jews have suffered the harshest and deadliest slavery and racism to date. What happened to them in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s was a culmination of centuries of persecution, deportations, expulsions, pogroms, and other humiliations. What do you know of their reaction to all these? Do you think anything can be learned from their reactions? What did Jews demand from and what are the differences from the current racial crisis and demands?

    • jackwaddington says:

      Daniel: In all seriousness:- what makes you Jewish?

      Repeat:- My being in on my two Jewish American Jews. “What is all this about being Jewish?”

      At birth you had no idea what or who you were, just needing and needing mommy … something happened meantime … what was that?

      Gays also have been humiliated and put in concentration camps also. It is in the Jewish scriptures that man laying with man is the greatest of sins … Leviticus & Dueterominy.

      Why do Jews need their very own country (state)? The answer to that question alone, bring up more of all this separating our selves from one another.

      In the final analysis I am not anything other than myself … and that’s been my preoccupation for almost 40 years now … Not British, not Christian, and within the very strict meaning of the word ‘gay’ … anything but perpetually joyous.

      Something went totally wrong some 20 – 30 millennium ago … we lost out ability to feel and express them, simply and naturally.

      Last point:- being antiemetic, does answer it either … the Palestinians are Semites also.


    • Renee says:

      “A radical minority is dictating non-western values to the most important country in the western world….once they’re admitted it will be impossible to not let them graduate the graduations standards will be lowered……Jews have suffered the harshest and deadliest slavery and racism to date…… What did Jews demand from and what are the differences from the current racial crisis and demands?” I never thought I’d say this but I’m starting to miss the raw, in-your-face, no-holds-barred prejudice and racial antisemitism of Patrick! This intellectualized, sophisticated and nuanced version of anti-black and brown racism is exhausting, obfuscating, and way more dangerous, IMO. Looking down on “thems who are lowering our ‘standards’” and “dictating non-western values”, comparing oppressions, and pitting oppressed groups against each other are all destructive and harmful. Remember Audre Lorde’s famous statement, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”? Well, these are all well-used tools of the master to maintain the status-quo. Or, to use primal language, tools that perpetuate neurosis and the disconnects between us.

      • Daniel says:

        There is nothing really “obfuscating” about the sentences of mine you quoted. On the contrary, I thought I explained them and the rationale behind them rather clearly. Nor are they racist by any means. Perhaps you care to explain the racism in them? None of the sentences even include specific reference to black or brown people (I did mention lowering standards for students with learning disabilities).

        In a way, I think it is exactly those two – the clarity and lack of racism – that drive you mad and make you pine for Patrick.

  32. Phil says:

    In the end graduates of universities have to prove themselves in the job market, in the real world, and a lot of learning also takes place at that time too. I don’t know much about diplomacy, maybe graduates of that school can get hired only speaking English, I have no idea.
    I’m just not triggered or alarmed about the implications and consequences of the BLM movement, other than I hope it stays peaceful, and that reasonable goals can be achieved.
    What does worry me these days is Trump and his movement. Trump is trying to undermine our democracy and looks like he will do anything to stay in power. I don’t know that the country in it’s current form can survive another four years with him as president. There is a lot of fear he won’t step down even if he loses. I’m afraid I’m not looking kindly with understanding towards his supporters. So for me, other than my personal situation which is OK, that is kind of superseding other questions and concerns with the election coming in 2 months.

    • Phil says:

      And I’m concerned of course about Covid and the economy. I hope that good solutions for the virus will come out soon, although I don’t want that to benefit Trump. So many people have died, it’s terrible, and we are all being negatively effected, one way or another. My younger son just graduated in May and can’t find a good job in the current environment. He could always come back and live with us, but that isn’t what he wants, and I can understand it wouldn’t be exciting or fulfilling for him.

  33. Renee says:

    Jeezus effing Christ, dog whistles are getting loud these days! My ears were ringing after reading about the Northwestern Law School’s recent online town hall event on racism. Northwestern is an ultra-conservative institution. It’s current interim Dean, James Speta, is a member of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservatives and libertarians. (See this recent article to get a sense of their shenanigans: Is it any surprise, then, that this institution has put itself forward as a contender to lead the backlash against the movement of white people educating ourselves, and standing up to, the horrors and violence of systemic racism? I have been wondering what this backlash would look like. Now we have an example. The town hall meeting was designed and executed to portray white peoples’ consciousness-raising as a grotesque variation of an AA meeting at best and a return to Communist style re-education camps at worst. This is fearmongering taken to a perverse extreme. Sadly, it is perfectly in line with Fox News and right-wing tactics. With Trump sorely lagging in the polls, I predict we will be hearing more of these dog whistles as the election get closer. Be prepared.

  34. OTTO CODINGIAN says:


  35. Otto, I have just sent you an email so please check. Gretch

  36. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    Thanks Gretchen. Thanks Jack.

  37. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i just have this really strong feeling of loneliness. wishing i was still at group 10 hours later. I guess it’s my ‘losing my mom’ thing. can’t do much with the feeling except …except what? embrace it? don’t run away from it? no idea. i will keep listening to this lady who probably reminds me of my mom. Emmylou Harris- “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” LIVE 1970 [Reelin’ In The Years Archives]. Gretchen, i wanted to say in group today that i missed going to your sunday groups. lots of female energy, for what its worth, and some of my favorite guys who don’t come to zoom much or at all. and of course, you leading the group.. but how was i going to say a word back then, in all that energy? ok

  38. Daniel says:

    I’m happy to see you’re up and about.

    All your important questions (why remain Jewish, why Jews need a country of their own) have been discussed in blog before so I won’t go into them again other than saying that whether I like it or not I’m being considered as part of that group of people. The Spaniards of the inquisition or Hitler’s Germans didn’t care if I decided I was not Jewish – they would still categorised me that way.

    Once people form as groups, organise themselves as a society, it actually makes evolutionary sense to define who is of us and who is not.

    But let me ask you something else, a personal question which of course you are under no obligation to answer. You mentioned your mommy and you mention her quite a bit in your comments. Like many therapists who work with homosexual patients, I too noticed how often they are preoccupied with their mothers, who are described in various ways but perhaps mostly as personally absorbing, or domineering, or supplying a compassionate refuge from a distant father.

    Psychologically speaking, what do you feel is the maternal contribution, if any, to homosexuality?

    • jackwaddington says:

      Daniel: The last part of your question is the one I feel most relevant to reply to.

      Most Homosexuals claim they were born this way, and there is a good reason for it, by my reckoning I feel strongly that it is trauma in utero that creates the basis of homosexuality.

      Not all gay people agree with me … in fact very few. It is not NORMAL. Most gays think it is

      However, the so called cure is both cruel and never complete Depending on what transpires thereafter, will depend in the scale between fully homosexual:- to being bi-sexual.

      On the earlier points you mentioned … my ‘mantra’ is:- Neurosis came first … then from there-on-in, transpires our current fucked-up humanity. Starting with Religion by way of totem poles, all the way to Abraham. For me it has no redeeming features … it is here, I feel, we (you and I) part company

      As with the Primal notion,, the whole system needs tearing down … the young of a very near future generation will understand it; and after a period of creation of a ‘critical mass’… it will all fall apart

      No- one seems to see it … except the few anarchist, but the way back is the is the ultimate destruction of what is:- for humanity.

      The ‘repeats’ are for emphasis.


    • jackwaddington says:

      Daniel: I did not respond to your first line:-:-“Jack, I’m happy to see you’re up and about”.

      Yes, I’m still up, but the feeling of exhaustion is with me more than ever.

      We’ve tried several fixes, but none seem to ‘bear fruit’… so far..

      Jim, my partner, suggested that I go to a nursing home; to which I replied:- “I am already in one , with a single staff member … who can be an awkward bugger sometimes.


      • jackwaddington says:

        Daniel: I did not respond to your first line:-:-“Jack, I’m happy to see you’re up and about”.

        Yes, I’m still up, but the feeling of exhaustion is with me more than ever.

        We’ve tried several fixes, but none seem to ‘bear fruit’… so far..

        Jim, my partner, suggested that I go to a nursing home; to which I replied:- “I am already in one , with a single staff member … who can be an awkward bugger sometimes.


        • Renee says:

          I’m glad that you’ve still got some life left in you, Jack. And I’m glad that you are using that life to maintain your sense of humor! 😀 It’s the best medicine, after all.

        • Sylvia says:

          Jack, “go into a nursing home,” really? I think it would be easier to go for a few tests. You may just need supplements or have an infection. Anemia can cause exhaustion. It may be something simple. As we age we lose some ability to make those red blood cells. Sometimes iron pills aren’t enough either. Don’t be stubborn, okay? Do something about this. Take care, Jack.

          • jackwaddington says:

            Sylvia: Being the stubborn bugger I am … I will not make matters worse for myself by going to attend a strange place with doctors I have almost no faith in’

            Why are we trying to save those that have done their time? Move over ‘buster’ … let the young take over,


        • Larry says:

          Jack,I feel sad to hear of your condition of persistent low energy and even sadder that you could be dying. I think that you and SuperstarGuru were the first two people on the blog when with some trepidation I joined it early in its birth. In the beginning I had contentious interactions with you, which I learned about myself from, and after a few years I realized you have a good heart (which you denied), and I was eventually touched by your support and encouragement for me which sometimes brought me to feelings. For me, you are a fixture of the blog and it makes me sad to imagine you no longer being here. The older I get though, the more conscious I am that every life and eventually mine comes to an end.

          But your life isn’t over yet Jack. You are still here to care for yourself and your loved ones as best you can. Doctors or naturopaths might have insights that might improve your quality of life. If these truly are your last days, hospice care coming to your home would improve quality of life for both you and Jim in this final stage of your time together. You say Jim is the single staff member in the nursing home your are in. I’m sure he would welcome some help in caring for you. If these are your final days, there are ways to plan the endgame so that it is a best quality experience for you both, not a nightmare for Jim to have for the rest of his life.

    • Renee says:

      Daniel, psychologically speaking, what do you feel is the maternal contribution, if any, to heterosexuality? Would you agree that straight men tend to be preoccupied with their mothers?

      • Daniel says:

        Some straight men in therapy are preoccupied with either parent. Homosexual men in therapy tend, on average, to be preoccupied with the mother alone.

        • jackwaddington says:

          Daniel: this is the problem with dealing with it from statistics alone. Trauma is the main fuctionary of it it all ……… from my experience.


          • Daniel says:

            I wasn’t approaching the issue “statistically”. Over years of working with people I thought I noticed a pattern where my homosexual male patients were rather more preoccupied with their mothers. With some it felt like they were trapped inside her. Quite often it would be closely linked to the intense states of mind and corresponding physical theatres particular to cruising for sex, where scenes of looking for love on the one hand and a complete erasure of the self on the other were simultaneously acted out.

            • jackwaddington says:

              Daniel: You say:- “Over years of working with people I thought I noticed a pattern where my homosexual male patients were rather more preoccupied with their mothers.”

              The operrative words …”you’ve noticed a pattern” … That is not what I have experienced.


  39. Renee says:

    What evidence do you have for this assertion? Perhaps it could be more accurate to say that homosexual men in therapy with you tend, on average, to be preoccupied with the mother alone? Take a look at this for an alternate viewpoint:

    • Daniel says:

      You’re so busy angrily disputing what I have to say you are completely oblivious to the fact that the article you linked to doesn’t include even a single “alternate view”.

    • superstarguru says:

      *Adorning his shiny White Western Male Marauders gang leather jacket, arrogantly blowing his masculine blue bubble gum and pointing a mocking finger at Renee*
      “Haha, Daniel TOASTED you with that one. PWNED! BOOYAH!”

      • superstarguru says:

        Speaking of which, the White Western Male Marauders’ acronym ‘WWMM’ would carry tons of potential in terms of artwork logo design. WWMM being opposing reflections, smooth continuous neon style lettering, all kinds of creative potential for a nascent gang.

        • superstarguru says:

          OK! OK! Hours of merciless blog silence is too discomforting. It was just poking fun at identity politics. Fuhgeddabout it!!

      • Renee says:

        Ugg, I don’t mean to pop your masculine blue bubble gum or stop your imagination from creating fascinating stories about marauders, leather jackets and mocking fingers, but “it’s all in your head”, as they say.

        Daniel believes that I am “angrily disputing” him and that I am “oblivious to the fact that the article I linked to doesn’t include a single ‘alternate view’”. It is his right to believe this, even though both assertions are inaccurate, IMO. I disagree with much of what Daniel says, including this. I posted the link to attempt to show that I think he has a very narrow view of what he is attempting to describe as gay male “patterns” in therapy.

        I actually think it is ridiculous for Daniel to present himself as an authority of behavior/ psychology/patterns/ tendencies of gay males in therapy. And to do this by presenting a stereotypical cliché, no less! I’m glad that Jack was able to comment on Daniel’s assertion and cast doubt on it. So no, Daniel didn’t “TOAST” me. And the only “PWNED! BOOYAH!” that happened was in your head.

        • superstarguru says:

          Renee, I didn’t catch this post you made in time, sorry. I probably shouldn’t have made my biker gang joke when I did, for you were going over the homosexual topic with Daniel when I was sarcastically responding to how you sometimes seem to lump the white western male into a negative stereotype. Obviously you’re on a wholly different topic at this time, and I should have refrained from introducing my delayed response to what you’ve discussed months or years ago

          I don’t have much in the way of good feedback to offer on the homosexual topic, except to say I was a bit taken aback by Jack’s astonishing opinions on it, namely homosexuality being unnatural. I admit being seduced myself by this train of thought where being gay is a mental illness even though it’s been widely discredited long ago.

          • superstarguru says:

            It seems as though I will have to dispense with subtleties from here on out. Many people on the blog don’t seem to pick up on them, and not through any fault of their own.
            A small cultural white male glossary:
            PWNED is what the younger white male set would use as a term for someone who has been defeated, often in a verbal discourse
            BOOYAH! is a celebratory term used by Jim Cramer on his CNBC “Mad Money” show. It’s deeply rooted in the white affluent male province of stock ownership in America.

            Anyway, I was using those terms sarcastically to flesh out an image of the insufferable white male exerting dominance over others as Renee has portrayed in the past.

            I see now I packed WAY too many cultural references and wrongly assumed the reader would have a sufficient grasp of my sarcasm as well.

            Let me just offer the blog one big fat, “Never mind, this won’t happen again!”

        • Daniel says:

          Renée, misrepresenting and casting me yet once again as the villain you so need me to be will give you only a very brief respite.

          • jackwaddington says:

            Daniel: If you feel Renee is casting you as a villain … that is your feeling … not necessarily her’s.

            It might help to say so.

            Just a suggestion … that is all.


            • Daniel says:

              Please assume everything I say is my own opinion/feeling/thought/impression. It sort of goes without saying and would be tedious to keep mentioning each and every time. Conversely, if I were to present another blog participant’s opinion or feeling I would certainly have to and will mention that the opinion or feeling is not mine but that participant’s.

              • jackwaddington says:

                Daniel: I personally always make a point of saying “my feeling2, “my opinion”, “my contention”; such, that I avoid being seen as some expert on something … I am not.

                I doubt any phrase I mentioned about would e tedious … just MY FEELING.


  40. Otto, You did great in group and I’m glad you are there. It is true that with Barry and I leading the group together we have ended up with an equal number of males to females so maybe a little less “ feminine energy”. Of course I’m wondering who you are missing as it seems pretty much everyone is there but whoever it is maybe you can let them know. I am just so grateful that we have all had this opportunity to meet weekly. I will see you next Sunday ! Gretch

  41. Phil says:

    This morning I feel like I’m coming closer to feeling the full nothingness of my childhood. Just no one there for me. Oh, a little here and there, which didn’t amount to anything. Also, somehow related to having to go to work after a nice long Labor Day Weekend. I feel like I can hardly do this anymore. It’s just so hard. No caffeine either. I’m caffeine free for several years because it gives me acid. For years my energy was based on that, and now I can’t have it.

  42. Margaret says:

    you and your dog are on my mind a lot today.
    remember she must always have been aware how much you love her which must have made her a very happy dog…

    Phil, that must be hard, to have to go without caffeine while having to push yourself every day.
    and ginseng or similar stimulating drinks are probably not good for the stomach either, isn’t it?
    Labor day indeed…

    • Phil says:

      Unfortunately I’ve developed an extreme sensitivity to caffeine. I just can’t drink it, I get a reaction which can feel like a heart attack. I drink special decaffeinated coffee which is 99% caffeine free. Maybe I get some psychological boost from that, but otherwise I’ve found no adequate substitute. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine how I did all those things I did in past years. Like all the things I did for my kids. I coached their soccer teams even when I was exhausted, for example. Luckily, they’re grown up now and don’t need much from me.


  43. superstarguru says:

    Apparently the wildfires are so bad now in California that the sky is quite literally an orange fireball color in San Francisco and throughout parts of Oregon.

    Anyone on the West Coast with interesting reports to share on this? California residents have been quiet about this on the blog, and this would seem quite traumatic to witness overall. At the rate this is going there won’t be much foilage left to burn in the state. At least there are fewer deaths than the Camp Fire of 2018…at least so far.

    • superstarguru says:

      • superstarguru says:

        Is this God’s (or a staggeringly advanced computer simulation from millions of years from now’s) way of wreaking vengeance on California liberals since much of the state hates Trump and their skies are now the same color as Trump’s eponymous orange hair?
        Meh, probably not.

        • Sylvia says:

          Guru, I think God or the Universe, according to one’s beliefs is more upset with trump than with the liberals of CA. Karma, I feel, is waiting for Mr. orange.

          Yes, the sky here in N. CA is orange too, just about 50 miles north of the Bear fire in Butte county. Ash is laying on car surfaces, pet dishes squash plant leaves. Winds were terrible yesterday and last night that swept the fires, probably all over the state, I imagine. My neighbor said she could see flumes of fire shooting in the sky over Oroville on her way back from town on the freeway. Poor Oroville having to evacuate in places. They had a catastrophe a few yrs. back too with the dam spillway giving way when many evacuated from there.

          I am watching the winds and acreage behind us in this neighborhood where dry grass grows that has caught fire in the yrs. before. I suppose I won’t mind a truck stop development going in after all, eventually. Such is life. Y’all take care in Southern CA too. Thanks for asking about us, Guru.


          • superstarguru says:

            Sylvia, do you think you might have to evacuate? Do you have plans in place for all your cats and the dog? It might also be a great time to have a “go bag” with all your extremely important items (documents, survival stuff) packed in it in case of emergency if winds fiercely blow a fire your way.

            • superstarguru says:

              By the way, I should point out…on a completely separate note…that, yes, the computer simulation argument as put forth by Bostrom and Musk have fascinated the hell out of me, particularly since it’s also quite compatible with a naturalistic worldview as espoused by Thomas Clark.
              My point with all this is when Sylvia brought up Karma for the Orange One. I won’t argue for or against the existence of Karma, but I did want to emphasize that the simulation argument for the universe still holds quite well even if Karma does not exist AT ALL (pure materialism where the universe doesn’t give a damn and will never intervene in anyway). Karma is not needed for us to be in any sort of incomprehensibly advanced computer simulation.
              I just wanted to mention this before I forgot, thanks.
              The fire topic with Sylvia and possible evacuations are obviously more pressing for today.

          • superstarguru says:

            It’s being said that 2 MILLION acres of vegetation have burned so far this year in California. At 640 acres per square mile California is likely going to easily exceed 4,000 square miles of foilage burned in the state this year. This number has potential to go MUCH higher since it’s still early in wildfire season, ouch!
            California is about 164,000 square miles in size.
            4,000 square miles burned is 2.5% of the ENTIRE STATE ON FIRE.
            Simultaneously amazing and terrible. No wonder the skies are orange!

            • Sylvia says:

              I do have a few bags ready to put in the car if a possible grass fire cannot be contained by water hoses. The fire engines are prob all at big fires now so we are ready as we can be.

              I think Karma is really, if a down-to-earth view is taken: “When your chickens come home to roost,” or “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it,” as the sayings go. In other words, trump has a lot to answer for. He will get his just deserts.

              I don’t know if Elon Musk is just dissociating. He says sometimes this all doesn’t seem real. I know he said he had a terrible childhood and that his dad beat him. Maybe if he had primal therapy he wouldn’t have these strange ideas and just face what happened to him growing up. He seems hyper to me.

  44. Sylvia says:

    I saw a post from a therapist formerly at the PI. On the “Being Human Podcast” Richard Atherton interviews Theresa Sheppard Alexander, author of, “Facing the Wolf.”

    • Viicki says:

      Thank-you, Sylvia! I didn’t even know there were any videos with Tracy. I knew of her, and people in P.T. who knew her, many years ago, but she was in New York, and I never met her. I think I just saw her briefly, at the Open House they had at the Institute, a few months after they moved from Almont in West Hollywood to Colby in West L.A. Sylvia, have you read her book, “Facing the Wolf”?

      • Sylvia says:

        Hi, Vicki, yes I read her book a few years ago, but I want to re-read it, as my thinking is more clear after having had more feelings processed, and I appreciate the primal literature more now. I think she is great and such a good communicator.

        • Vicki says:

          I finally finished watching the long interview — How did you come across it, Sylvia?

          Late on the video, the interviewer, Richard, asks her about how her “Deep Feeling therapy” is different from “Primal Therapy”, and she talks about the use of “transference”, which Art disavowed originally — and after becoming a Primal Therapist, she came to disagree with Art’s view that homosexuality is neurosis. But she said she didn’t know if Art’s position had shifted over the many years since. Richard also mentions he did his therapy at Art’s Training Center.

          In the old days, I heard the term “symbolizing” instead of transference, but I have heard Gretchen say that their view of the importance of transference has changed, and my own experience of PT in the late ’70’s was quite different from what I found when I returned in the mid ’90’s. The P.I. also long since moved away from Art’s views on homosexuality. I heard Gretchen say that they never agreed with Art about that. At any rate, “Deep Feeling therapy” sounds the same as “Primal Therapy”, in practice. When “Facing the Wolf” was first published in 1996, copies of her book were available for sale in the lobby, for quite awhile.

          • Phil says:

            I’ve thought that book, “Facing the Wolf”, to be one of the best ones on primal therapy. Phil

          • Sylvia says:

            Hi Vicki. It’s great that the Tracee Sheppard Alexander interview brought back such good memories for you, Phil and Margaret. I’d read about her in the PI Newsletter or Journals when they first came out. I’ve been watching Richard Atherton’s podcasts since before he interviewed France Janov by phone a few months ago. He himself is still a patient, though long distance from the UK, at the Primal Center. He has another podcast talking about his own problems and subsequent awakening to the primal process, he made about a year ago.

            I think from what I have heard that Tracee’s deep feeling approach toward therapy is in align with what Dr. Janov at the Center practiced, concerning homosexuality I saw a video on a sexuality discussion from the Center that implied they did not think homosexuality was anything to be cured. Some patients had changed their preference back to heterosexual after therapy and some stayed with the homosexual preference. Whatever anyone chose was fine, it seemed. There was a belief, though, that if the hormones were affected in utero, that the change would most likely not happen, (homosexual to heterosexual), as compared to a second line or third line influence where there was a change sometimes. Another video talk that France Janov gave implied that genetics could be involved also in the determination of homosexuality. Interesting stuff, at any rate.

    • Phil says:

      Sylvia, when I started therapy at the New York Institute Tracee was co-director there, not my therapist, but I remember her well. I didn’t finish watching this but it brought up feelings about what went on in my therapy at that time, so long ago. My feelings started to be opened up, a process that’s continued ever since, but I had so much trouble talking about things and saying what I wanted. It’s hard to be helped if you can’t talk about it. I was just so bottled up. Tracee did my intake interview, as I remember, and I was just so scared.

    • Renee says:

      Thanks for sharing this podcast, Sylvia. I read Facing the Wolf when it came out in 1996 and found it really meaningful. While I agree with everything she says here, I particularly liked hearing her comments on the connections between old feelings/acting-out and political activism. I thought she responded really well to the white interviewer seeing political activism as simply an act-out. To me, this is a symptom of white privilege. You can hear this part from around min. 59 -1:05. I think she reinforces how inextricably the personal and the political are linked. It also reminded me of how remembering in therapy my own suffering in the system of my family allowed me to become more compassionate toward people suffering in other systems as well.

      • Phil says:

        Renee, I thought what she actually said was that anything could be an act-out, depending on the individual. So, being an activist could being an act-out, as could be being a passive non-activist.

        • Renee says:

          That’s right, Phil. But that is not all she is saying. I think that the more we are beneficiaries of this system (due to our gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical abilities etc.), the harder it can be to see the other part of what she is saying: “The growth of awareness of feelings, emotions, depth of human experience…..can mean having a greater compassion for other peoples’ suffering and….solidarity with people who are being badly treated.”

          • Phil says:

            Renee, through therapy we become more aware of our feelings, have greater access to them and can have greater compassion for people’s suffering. I certainly agree with that. I thought this interview was mostly for a general audience and the content was stuff that we already know, except in the ways Tracee’s “deep feeling therapy” differs from primal therapy. I already knew that too having read the book many years ago, and while it’s still relevant, I hope some new volumes on primal type therapy will be coming out.

          • Daniel says:

            If “the personal and the political” are inextricably linked, then the personal “compassion for other peoples’ suffering and… solidarity with those who are being badly treated”, are politically determined and so selectively felt.

            • Renee says:

              Yes, that’s what I like about her. She is challenging the dominant perspective that you are presenting, which is the view that the personal can only be politically determined and selectively felt, which keeps people divided. She is, in my opinion, overlaying a social justice perspective that understands the pain caused by, what she calls “systemic aggression”, with a therapeutic/primal perspective, to inspire and create a more humane and compassionate politics. Totally awesome, radical and subversive, if you ask me!

    • Steven Herron says:

      Happy to see that Traci seems to be thriving. I was the the P.I. on Almont when she and Curtis Knect got married. I always liked them both a lot. Even went to their wedding at someone’s home over in The Valley, I think. Before they were an item, she, Starr May, Jean Landswerk, and I and a few others of us took a ski trip to Mammoth even. The wedding was a pretty quiet affair, as I recall, but there were some interesting folks present, e.g., Vivian Janov, (sans Arthur) actor Kenneth Mars, actor Bob Mandan, Theresa Wright, the actress, who was dating Leslie Pam at the time, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Holden, and of course Gretchen, who I think was dating Nick Barton at the time, but I could be wrong. I have some interesting photos that I will cherish for a long time to come. Well, however much longer I live. After all, I AM 79 now (LOL). May not have to cherish them for very much longer.

  45. Margaret says:

    thanks for posting that link, it was a long but interesting interview.
    it made me teary, being reminded of my own intensive and breakthrough to an unexpected feeling which opened up the gates to my almost forgotten childhood self.
    after the feeling it felt euphoric to have found myself again like finding a long lost and almost forgotten best friend.
    of course then the work only started to peel off the layers of defense, but that breakthrough had the great quality of making me trust the primal process since then.

  46. superstarguru says:

    I don’t want to greedily and self-indulgently draw any attention to myself beyond simply saying I watched the interview from beginning to end. It was enjoyable to watch and I wish a little bit of time was spent exploring the validity of self-therapy for lost souls ‘out in the wild’. I had heard of Theresa’s book decades ago though I had never read it, only reading some of Alice Miller’s books instead.
    Perhaps because of the fact I never came around to reading Theresa’s book, I had been under the mistaken impression that she left the Institute simply as a renegade patient rather than a high-ranking supervisor.
    I did feel a twinge of disappointment that the interview had to end, if you can believe that!

    • superstarguru says:

      The interview did do a good job addressing a person’s fears that s/he will completely fall apart and not function if s/he stays in place rather than offering excuses of having all sorts of little errands to do “bye gotta run!”. The idea being that, once the feeling no matter how terrible, was addressed it would leave the person with ‘more of himself/herself’ to manage the situation afterwards.
      To put this more succinctly, people commonly underestimate the power of incremental healing and our inherent flexibility as humans. Theresa was right that even in the deepest sobbing fit, you can really stop in an emergency.

  47. Daniel says:

    I like Tracee Sheppard Alexander, she has a “therapeutic personality” where warmth, emotional intelligence, and a sense of trustworthiness about her combine to make one feel it possible to talk with and open up to her. From all she said I’d like to add something to the idea of transference.

    Transference not only repeats the patient’s feelings and modes of relating as a subject, as he or she felt as a child in a relationship with a significant other. Transference is not only a simple continuation of the role one had as a child – although many times it is also that. Since it’s the entire mode of relating that is being internalised in childhood, the patient may in the transference (and in life) become the object: the seducing father, the explosive mother, the bullying brother, the condescending and triumphant sister, etc. One of the more difficult revelations people have in their therapy is how similar they are at times in their feelings, actions and modes of relationship to their parents, especially to a parent whose feelings, impulses and modes of relationship one spent many years disavowing.

    At other times patients experience a sense of liberation when discovering that some of what they feel, some of their states of mind, are not theirs to begin with. Their hypochondria, depression, a perennial sense of loss, the specifics of an anxiety, the vehemence, the difficulties in thinking, although truly experienced by them, actually belongs to their parents or siblings.

    • jackwaddington says:

      Daniel: I also read those books, ,but got the sneeky feeing they were doing a ‘one-upmanship on Primal discovery and Primal theory.


      • Phil says:

        Jack, I’m hearing that you’re not doing well, that your health is declining. I’m rooting for you to recover. Keep in mind, it may be possible, despite how you’re feeling right now. Don’t give up!

  48. Well, well, well…
    Even I, as Humanity’s Supremely Insufferable Superstar Guru, must profess to scant moments of sheer ignorance.
    I do my best to correct such mishaps.
    In my discussions with Sylvia earlier, I expressed alarm and dismay at almost 3% of the entire state of California being on fire.
    At the time I assumed it would be a naturally correctable condition to where the goal is stopping all fires as much as possible.
    Little did I understand the idea of ‘natural fuel buildup’, where concerted firefighting efforts only makes the inevitable worse due to excess natural vegetative fuel buildup over many years.
    From the highly respected nonprofit news site ProPublica: “We live with a deathly backlog (of burnable vegetation fuel). In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.”
    Ouch! Looks like this will become a lot worse before it stabilizes:

    If the smoke becomes too dense, we can start to consider moving mini-retreats and groups to my old house which is far away from those fires. The air quality is “green” here.

  49. Daniel says:

    Wow, Renée, you’re really confused here, again attributing some of your thoughts and attitudes to me.

    Jack, which books are you referring to that are doing ‘one-upmanship’ on PT?

  50. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    i am scared shitless about my dog. sinking feeling in my stomach. old feeling yes, but also reality. trying to fight off the paralysis. scared to even post this. happy motherf’ing monday.

  51. Margaret says:

    how are you?
    M and cats

  52. Margaret says:

    of course my question was how are you, typo, as you clearly understood.
    and my heart goes out to you.
    when I had to say goodbye from my former cat, it was so painful, and at the same time an intense feeling of tenderness and closeness with her, holding her and talking to her all the way through, doing all I could to make her feel loved and safe.
    I asked the vet to put opiates in the cocktail to make sure she would drift off feeling at ease…
    but it triggered the most painful feelings I have ever had, exactly what you say, both old feeling and present deep pain and sadness.
    I cried and cried for weeks in a row
    it helped me to think of all that grief being part of all the love between that cat and me, and at some point it really felt as if she had installed herself permanently safely and comfortably in my heart, it really felt that way and felt like she was curling up there liking to be there.
    it felt like all the crying had led her into that safe place.
    this probably does not help you at all right now, but maybe at some point it can do so just a little bit.
    you are a very caring and loving person and I am completely certain your dog is feeling all that love and care since the day she started living with you.
    and she is in good hands from you and your wife to start her last journey to stay forever in your heart.
    I am getting teary myself here, xx,
    Margaret and Pluche and Plukkie and Molimet my former cat.

  53. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    thanks margaret. you are making me cry. i needs to be steel at this point, to do this gruesome deed. i will ask about opiate.. z finally said let her go, even though she keeps saying that sophie is still alert and alive. . i don’t want to let her go. plus, if after the vet examines her today, as to whether she is suffering or drowning from chf or not, i might only have the choice of abandoning her at my car, since the clinic doesnt let people in because of covid. i am also talking to the vet who can come to our house. thanks for the comfort. this will be the scream heard round the world.

  54. Jack, It is definitely a Jack love fest around the Primal Institute. Everyone’s worried and concerned about your health ( I do think Chris may be right about dehydration with the heat you have had so drink some smart water please). We are all thinking of you and hoping you will be feeling better soon! Gretch

    • Daniel says:

      Does anybody have a direct line to Jack and knows what’s going on with him?

      • I have to say I am starting to feel really bad about my post to Jack from early this month expressing anger and skepticism that he might really be having serious difficulty.
        I was too blinded by anger at past grievances to let enough compassion come through, so for what it’s worth (even if my input means nothing) I am starting to feel terrible about that.

        • Daniel says:

          Although I knew Jack is old, and don’t know Jack as well as you do, I too had inside me a similar reaction to yours. We’ll just have to live with that little bit of mean (even if earned) incredulity and hope Jack is ok or will pull through.

  55. Otto, If you need the name of a vet that comes to your home I can give you my vets number. He was very kind and sensitive. Your pup is so lucky to have had a home where he was so thoroughly loved . Gretch

  56. Margaret, That was such a caring thing to have written to Otto. Really beautifully said. Gretch

  57. Jack, since everyone seems really serious about what’s going on with you now, so I will urgently set aside whatever misgivings and rancor I have had towards you from the past to wish you a speedy recovery if at all possible.
    Eat as much healthy nutrient-dense foods as you can…beans and vegetables are good. Try to exercise your body in small ways even if it’s difficult. Any activity is better than a standstill.
    Best of luck.

  58. Margaret says:

    that was such a nice comment you wrote to Jack.

  59. Margaret says:

    I just had a cry, being reminded of how painful it was to have to say goodbye from my cat, to lose her and to let her die.
    more and more I am aware of how unacceptable it feels to me there is suffering and dying in this world, I don’t want that for anything, not even microbes should have to suffer if it were my own creation…
    nothing and nobody would have to die, I remember as a small kid talking about dying with my mom, who was severely ill several times and the feeling was we might have to do without her at some point.
    once when she was very ill in bed, she told my brother and me we should take good care of each other in case she would die.
    i remember my brother and me peeking through the keyhole when the doctor was there with her, and she looked so pale I was literally struck by panic, all I could do was look at my brother in silent terror.
    she made it but I remember talking with her about how hard it would be if she would die before me, and how hard it would be for her if I would go first, so I decided if ever we would have to die, it should happen simultaneously…
    guess my struggle with the dying concept is connected to that as well…
    yet getting older there is no way around it, as the number of times having been confronted with it just keeps increasing.
    on the other hand, when i was severely ill myself, the idea of my own death did not feel scary, but more as the appeal a bed has when one feels very tired.
    and now I have the good example of my mom who keeps squeezing all the fun she can out of life still, approaching her 90th birthday in November.
    she loves all living creatures to, and is happiest in the middle of nature , animals and loved ones.
    seems caring as much as we can is the only option…

  60. Margaret says:

    thanks, it feels painful to really let that in…
    guess I am too used to feeling bad about myself still…

  61. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    ISN’T LIFE GRAND WHEN YOU ARE 110 YEARS OLD. YOU HOBBLE, but you still love to smell raccoon scents and to see people walking and machines cutting grass, and chase the cats away from your food. and eat, if your doctor gives you appetite pills. in other words, this dog is still ok with being on planet earth as an animate object, for however many hours or days ahead. but i feel like i am 202 years old.

  62. Margaret says:

    ha, that is good news really, it is nice to hear your dog is still interested in the world around her, and chasing the cats away from her food when necessary!
    but I also understand this emotional roller coaster must be exhausting for you.
    i wish you many more nice moments together, and hope you have enough time to rest when you need it.

  63. Bernadette says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Yesterday Jack was admitted to the hospital. After tests were done, doctors advised that there was nothing more they could do for him. His body shows multiple signs of shutting down and the doctors said that he had days rather than weeks to live. Jack then expressed his wish to die at home, and subsequently was released. He is taken care of by home medical visits and Jim, his partner. At this point, he is given liquid morphine to keep him pain free and comfortable. Jim is at his side and is taking good care of him. He just let me know that Jack had a good night and is asking for a “fizzy drink” (sparkling mineral water) which he can drink through a straw. We are heart broken and very sad. We hope that Jack’s last days are comfortable, peaceful, and pain free.

    • Sylvia says:

      Thank you for letting us know this. My thoughts are with you and Jack and all of his family. Take care at this difficult time. Jack is one of a kind. Peace be with you all.

    • Larry says:

      That is sad news, but good to know that Jack is being cared for and comforted. Thanks Bernadette.

    • Vicki says:

      Wow! I am sorry to hear this, Bernadette, and glad you let us know. I had gotten used to Jack “living forever”, as he had seemingly done each day he came here. I am sad he is “sailing away” or “leaving us”, he has definitely been a one of a kind guy, and I’ll miss his presence, as well as those times he made me laugh. I hope his final days are calm.

  64. Jo says:

    Bernadette, good to hear from you, but so sorry its on such a sad note. Its a relief to hear that Jack has medication now, and palliative care, and will be as comfortable as possible. Feeling for you.
    Jo XO

  65. Phil says:

    Bernadette, I’m very sorry to hear this about Jack. If true, I hope he can be comfortable and pain free in his last days. I hope you and all his family make it through this difficult time as best as possible.

  66. I’m sorry and sad to hear of Jack’s condition as well. I had mistakenly expected him to be here forever, so I am a bit too stunned to express any helpful sentiments in a better way.

  67. Margaret says:

    it is good to know there is support now, both for JIm and for Jack.
    it will hopefully allow for more quality moments still.
    it does remain sad though, Jack was one of the first fellow Primal patients that introduced himself to me, and I loved the sparkle in his eyes instantly.
    thinking of all of you,

  68. I would dearly love to take back ALL of my interactions with Jack this past year and rewrite everything, but I can’t.
    I wish I had known the situation better and I am being hammered with guilt today.
    I’m really sorry, Jack.

  69. Leslie says:

    Thank you Bernadette! We appreciate you taking the time to let us know.
    It is sad – and must be hard for you and family… Jack will be so missed. I can’t help but smile
    thru my tears – remembering some funny things he said, his zest for life, and his humble, loving nature.

  70. Bernadette says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I am sorry to let you know that Jack passed away today at 4:50 p.m. (local time, The Netherlands) (7:50 a.m. Pacific Time).
    Thank you all for your kind and supportive words above. I had forwarded them on to Jim in the hope that he could read them out to Jack. Although, as he was already in and out of consciousness during the last days, Jack was not able to hear them anymore.
    My last communication with Jack was on Sunday, when he sent me an e-mail and asked me to tell you “Thanks everyone for best wishes” that you all had posted here before.
    We are heartbroken and very sad. It is a comfort to know that his suffering is over and that his last days and hours were pain free, peaceful, and serene.
    Goodbye “Uncle-in-Law”, I will always keep you in my heart!

  71. Barry and I are just so sad that Jack is gone. We were always so touched by his loyalty and love for Primal and the blog . As he always said he loved the banter. Mostly we will always think of him at retreats . We will never forget the look on Vivians face when he told her she reminded him of his Grandmother ! Right now our hearts are with the people closest to Jack. His longtime partner Jim , his family Mark, Bernadette and Louise, his best friend and buddy Chris and one of his oldest friends Patrick. We are thinking of you all . Gretchen and Barry

    • Bernadette says:

      Thank you Gretchen and Barry! Primal had a loyal “disciple” from the very moment when Jack had his Eureka! moment when he discovered the Primal Scream 🙂 His love for the banter on the blog kept him going every day, it was a reason to get up in the morning. Although he loved you, too Gretchen and Barry, I believe Vivian was his favorite 😉 Thanks much for your kind thoughts and words.

      • Vicki says:

        That is definitely true, that Jack just loved Vivian. From the 1st time I knew Jack, when he was my buddy at my first retreat, through all the years after, Jack has told me the stories multiple times, of how he felt about Vivian and what she did for him, that he “would never forget”. Remembering the way he talked about her, makes me smile.

      • Bernadette says:

        Vicki, thanks for your kind words about Jack and sharing your memories. I remember you telling me about the special (and very funny) gift you gave him at that retreat; he loved it. And then, I believe at the last retreat he attended, he asked me to help him find a gift for you. He took it very seriously and wanted to do it right, even though it was hard for him to get around. Bless him! I thought that was very sweet.

  72. Jo says:

    I feel sad at Jack’s passing. He’ll be missed greatly. Thinking of you, Bernadette, Mark and Louise, and Jim. Jo.

  73. Bernadette says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Jack left instructions for Jim in case of his death. His wish was that the following is posted on the blog:
    “I wrote this before I died to say goodbye to planet earth, goodbye to all in this therapy, goodbye to all my friends and family. Lastly, goodbye to my darling Jimbo.”

    • Larry says:

      Oohh…. Too soon. Another 100 years would have been nice Jack. Good-by fellow blogger.

      • Bernadette says:

        Larry, a very sweet message! I also wanted to say thank you for being kind, and especially for the amazing, supportive post you wrote to Jack on Sep 14th.

        • Larry says:

          Thanks Bernadette. I never expected to cry as hard as I did after reading your recent post of his final message to the blog. Finality hits home. I’m surprised how much the void left by his departure hurts. I hope that you, Mark, Jim and Jack’s other relatives and friends are able to find time and space to do the difficult work of grieving as needed.

          I hadn’t realized how much Jack had become a component of my life. We bloggers share here when it feels like there is no where else to go with what we are feeling. Early on he and I had disagreements. Until I knew him better, he had been the most difficult person I’d ever run into. Nevertheless we eventually grew a mutual understanding and respect and I felt support from him. Then he always said I had a horribly difficult childhood, while I always felt (and he always denied) that life was terribly unfair to him.

          For me the blog is a testing ground. What I learn through my interactions on the blog carry into my broader life. At least in some small part, Jack will be part of the fabric of who I’ve become. I’m sad that his becoming is at an end. Makes me realize that mine will be too one day. I’m glad that many years ago, I think before I finally met him in person, I told him on the blog that I wanted to give him a big bear hug. He didn’t know what to make of that, and cautioned me against it. Ha ha! Too bad he couldn’t have heard the blog’s final comments for him. I hope they at least give you and Mark and Jim some comfort, Bernadette.

  74. Phil says:

    I’m very sad Jack has passed away. He was a real character, one of a kind, and I’ll miss him here on the blog. It won’t be the same. I’m very glad to have met him at what I think was his last retreat.
    My condolences to all his family and friends.

  75. Sylvia says:

    Thank you, Bernadette, for letting us know. It is still a shock because of the finality of it all. Good bye, Dear Jack. You have left an impression with all of us for sure. Peace to your family, Bernadette and Jack’s Jimbo.

  76. Chris P says:

    Thank you, Bernadette and Gretchen, and everyone for all the loving and kind comments about Jack. I know it is cliche to say, but I feel like an orphan suddenly. Jack was as close to a loving parent as I will ever have and he was a wonderful friend and buddy. No one in my life was ever there for me like Jack was. We “buddied” steadily for the past 11-12 years. There were many years–and I mean years–where several times a week Jack would take my calls in the middle of the night; I mean like 3:30 or 4 am middle of the night, and not once or twice, but many times… to Jim’s dismay. Sorry, Jim.

    Jack was able to sit and listen carefully as the deepest and most painful feelings would pour out of me. And he was NEVER in a rush to get off the phone or distracted. He was the dearest and most loyal friend a person could ask for. I will never forget the time Jack came to my house just to sit with me as my dear cat Bisky was put to sleep. Thank you, Jack. BTW, Jack would never let me thank him for anything always telling me that I gave him as much or more as I got from him.

    As he wrote here on the blog, Jack had been telling me for weeks that he was dying. In our buddying, we tried to explore any feeling component, and sadly I am not sure there was one, and looking back now I wish I would have spent more time telling Jack how much he meant to me. I guess I just did not want to believe it true that he was really dying. Jack said many times how he did not believe in an after-life and how he was not afraid of dying. He was afraid of how Jim would take it, and that Jim would be devastated. I am sure Jim is and know that we are here for you Jim.

    This past Sunday I did speak to Jack via Skype and he looked very tired and weak and he could barely talk, but I was able to tell him that I loved him and how much he meant to me. He was unable to speak, but after we hung up he texted his last words to me, “You mean a lot to me and we both been through a lot.” We have been through a lot my good friend and I will remember you forever.

    I have so much more to say but I am just so sad now.

  77. Bernadette says:

    Chris, thanks so much for sharing your feelings and expressing your love for Jack so freely. I know what a good friend Jack was to you, and my heart goes out to you in this sad time!
    I also know how important you were to him. I can vouch for it: your ‘buddying” calls were priority to Jack. When Mark and I were staying with him for a couple of weeks in 2014, we could be in a conversation but when you called, that conversation was over, and we were sent to go shopping or to the other room to give you privacy (which we gladly did).
    I know Jack took buddying very seriously with everyone, but honestly, Chris, you got the best of him. He loved being a buddy and helping people into feelings. He was ever so attentive and patient, as you said, and I remember him saying in his most gentle voice that touched your heart, “You’re doing it!” when the feelings came up and the tears started flowing, meaning you are in the feeling and there is nothing more to do but feel it. He was good at that, good at making you feel safe. I want to thank you for giving Jack’s life meaning in this way, as it was very important to him to be a good buddy and friend. I understand when he said that you gave him as much or more than you received from him. That’s how he was. Generous and kind.
    I had many conversations with him about the afterlife, especially in the last few weeks. Of course there was no way he would even consider it. I teasingly asked him to send me a message from the other side when he finds out that I was right and he was wrong (nobody knows for sure!). His answer: “Whenever you think you are perceiving a signal from me, it’s your feeling, not me!” Wherever you are, Jack, may you be at peace!

    • Vicki says:

      I laughed at his answer, Bernadette! “Whenever you think you are perceiving a signal from me, it’s your feeling, not me!” Thanks.

    • Chris P says:

      I really appreciate your thoughtful reply Bernadette; it so detailed and shows how connected you were to Jack. Haha, and I do remember when you and Mark stayed with him back in 2014. I was a little embarrassed to think that you were able to hear me screaming and crying through the phone, but Jack did not skip a beat: he was always ready to listen. And you’re right, Jack’s line of “You’re doing it!” was so encouraging. It’s funny but in the last few years he stopped saying that. I think we both realized I was in it for the long haul and that there may never be a “You’re done!”.

      Saturday morning was one of the days we had regularly planned buddy session, so it is going to be hard waking up tomorrow knowing that Jack is not there.

  78. Vicki says:

    I don’t read the Blog regularly, often I come and catch up reading, before I write something. So I completely had missed Jack’s Sept. 2 post, where he clearly talked about how he felt he was dying — he said it much more clearly than some of the flip comments I’ve heard him make in the past, which always made me think he might “go on forever”. Not so, the one on Sept. 2. It seems amazing that he was right, within just over two weeks later. As he got older, and was often repeating things in his posts, I didn’t know he was still capable of the kind of self-clarity he wrote on Sept. 2. So it kind of caught me shocked, at how fast his leave-taking happened — I didn’t expect it, and have found myself sadder than I would have imagined, especially considering how he and I did often not get along. I am glad we did also have some memories of nice presents and laughs. I think the sadness is a measure of my own mortality, but also just the loss of another someone familiar, when I come to the Blog.

    • Vicki, Jack’s moving from LA to Europe during his late octogenarian years solidified his aura of invincibility for me, and unfortunately made it too difficult for me to believe something might be wrong. Jack also attempted to send me a couple of emails a few months ago, which struck me as strange since we had agreed to part ways many years earlier. My harsh and misinformed judgments led me to believe he had something nefarious in mind, but it’s clear to me now that was not likely the case.
      I sorely regret not softening my own stance towards Jack, and I only hope his last few months were reasonably happy for him.

      • Yeah yeah, I know Jack would say, “There’s no such thing as happiness, only feeling.” but I think you catch my drift..

      • Vicki says:

        I do catch your drift, Guru, but I also don’t think Jack would think badly of you, for having any “harsh or misinformed judgements” — he might just likely think you were mistaken and/or in a feeling. I would have thought his attempts to email you a few months ago were likely his reaching out to hopefully connect to you, again. I don’t think Jack held grudges, at all. Although at times when he and I were not getting along, he did learn to “read” my face, to know when to steer clear of me, which I appreciated. So you may have some regrets, but I don’t think you should beat yourself up for them. Jack would not have.

  79. Vicki , I loved that “ it’s your feeling not me “ comment as well ! It’s so Jack ! Gretch

  80. Chris, Everyone wants to be seen and appreciated. Of course all too often that does not happen. You truly saw and appreciated Jack. That had to mean so much to him. Gretch

  81. Well just had a pretty disturbing earthquake in Southern Ca. . I would say about a 5 ! Yikes ! Gretch

    • Chris P says:

      it was disturbing!!! they are calling it a 4.6 centered in San Gabriel Valley. It scared the shit out of me and I ran out the house!!

    • Vicki says:

      Yes, the first shake was strong, some lateral movement, I thought it might get worse — but then just a few much milder shakes, and then nothing — I am near LAX. One site says 4.6, another 4.8. Chris & Gretchen, I believe you’re closer to it, than I am.

  82. It was scary ! I just heard upgraded to 4.8 but felt bigger and noisier because it is so close. I grabbed the puppy who looked a bit frightened and confused ! Fires are clearly not enough so let’s have an earthquake as well! G.

  83. Chris P says:

    I am about 10-15 miles from the epicenter Vicki, so you’re probably another 15 miles. But it was quick jolt to get the blood flowing. It felt like it might really do some damage so I got out of the house in like 5 seconds, literally. plagues, fires, earthquakes, gees…

    • Sylvia says:

      Chris, next come the locusts.

      I remember a few years ago on the blog someone said something un-primal, not true to the theory, and I waited for Jack to say something. I said to myself, “Jack, say something, set this straight.” He did, thankfully. He was the master of primal theory. At that moment because I was new to blogging and needed to be reassured I was on the right track with with primalling, it really mattered that Jack stuck up for primal. And I continued to risk sharing my feelings here. I will always be grateful for that.

  84. Vicki says:

    You’re right, Chris. We’ve had a couple of strong-shaking quakes this year, which scare me more. I am more used to the slow rollers I have felt for years, that last longer, but not so jolting at first. I remember one of those many years ago, living in Palms, I woke and looked to see my cat just sitting like a sphinx on the coffee table, as my whole room swayed for long seconds. She was pretty blase. I will ask my friends how Baby handled this one down in Long Beach, if they felt it.

    • Vicki says:

      Long Beach is another 23 miles away. Baby’s & Mona’s moms said the earthquake woke them up, and scared the shit out of her! The first thing she said was, “What’s wrong with these girls!! They sleep through everything!!” Neither of the dogs even moved!!

  85. Bernadette says:

    Yes, felt it, too here close to the Marina. It was pretty scary!

  86. Louise sent me this to put on the blog. It’s really wonderful! Gretch Dearest.sweetest,maddest,kindest uncle Jack!
    Most people would think that an uncle is not as important as a mother or father or grandparent but for me, your presence in my life has been just as important.
    When I was a little kid and you would make your whirlwind appearances from exotic sounding places like London and Ibiza and Paris and Amsterdam, with your life changing ideas and mad exuberance it gave me hope that I too could have a life of adventure and follow my dreams. This continued of course when I came to LA and you and Jim put up with me and helped me once again to experience something different! I will never forget the walks and talks and coffee we shared and the California sunshine. Visiting you in Amsterdam and being invited to a live sex show by the very friendly neighbours was also a highlight LOL. Most of all though to be loved by someone, whether blood family or not, in such an unconditional way without any expectation is surely the most wonderful gift a person can receive from another. This i had from you!
    I love you and will see you on the other side!
    When you get there and realise I am right send me and Jim and Bernadette a red balloon. I will be watching out for it.
    I am sad to be in a world without you but I know you will be with me
    As always and forever sending you love
    Louise xx

    This I would put on his gravestone if he had one!

    Jack Waddington: The prime example of how one person being who they truly are, allows the other to be who they truly are! The greatest gift!

  87. Daniel says:

    I’m sad at the news of Jack’s death. The place wouldn’t be the same without him.
    In thinking of him my thoughts drifted to a Berthold Brecht poem which I thought would honour Jack and capture some of his spirit. Here it is:

    On the birth of a son
    Families, when a child is born to them
    Wish it intelligent.
    I, who through intelligence
    Have entirely ruined my life,
    Can only hope my son
    Will turn out ignorant and too idle to think.
    Then he will have a quiet life
    As a cabinet minister.

    My condolences to Jack’s family, friends and buddy.

    • Bernadette says:

      Daniel, thank you for the condolences and thoughtfulness. I love the poem and agree, it captures some of Jack’s spirit.

    • Chris P says:

      thank you Daniel. The poem is great and reminds me of a story that Jack shared with me more than a few times. In secondary school the teacher asked Jack a famous question posed by the philosopher JS Mill: “Would you rather be a human dissatisfied or a pig satisfied?” I’m sure after all of the blogging you’ve done with Jack you must know his answer!

      • Daniel says:

        Yes, that sounds like classical Jack, even though I don’t fully believe that that would be his choice given the opportunity. Perhaps I’m just refusing to believe that, to echo Jack’s side which was disappointed in and rejected humanity. Miserable as we humans are we still have some joyful advantages.

        Your upcoming Zoom service for Jack is a moving gesture for you buddy of many years.

  88. Margaret says:

    what Louise wrote is so beautifully worded and reflects so much the qualities I will always associate with Jack, his liveliness, joy for life,and his generosity.
    it is good to know he had people who cared so much about him.
    my heart goes out to Jim who has to carry on without Jack now.

  89. Bernadette says:

    Margaret, thanks so much for your kind words about Jack earlier this week. I also loved what you wrote to him on September 2nd. It is very warm and caring. It’s nice that you had the chance to tell him how you feel about him before he passed away. Thanks for sharing the memories.

  90. Chris P says:

    Hi Everybody,

    I am going to set up a ZOOM memorial service for Jack next Saturday the 26th of September at 10:00 am PST. It will be an informal opportunity for us to share stories about Jack and to honor his life with our memories. Please come share as we remember how Jack impacted us. Bring photos if you have any, and maybe some Kleenex as we say goodbye to our dear friend.

    As Jack loved to blog and loved the banter with you all on here, I invite all of you who here to come and join in the memorial. Even if you have had disagreements with Jack over the years, I can assure he never spoke ill of anyone here and you are all welcome. If you would like to come, please send an email to Gretchen or Atty at the Institute with your email address and they can forward it to me so I can send you the link to the ZOOM meeting. And ZOOM is very easy to use, you just click on the link and the programs pretty much runs without needing to download any software.

    I hope to see you all there,


  91. Chris says:

    Hi all,

    as I wrote above, the memorial ZOOM service for Jack will take place this coming Saturday the 26th of September at 10 am PST.

    Here is the link to the ZOOM meeting:

    I hope to see you there,


    • Larry says:

      It feels fittine to have the memorial ZOOM service for Jack, Chris. It is an opportunity to say good-bye to him as a primal community. I want to participate in it. I feel the need. But I might be away this weekend.

  92. Chris P says:

    memorial ZOOM service for Jack this coming Saturday the 26th of September at 10 am PST.
    Here is the link to the ZOOM meeting:

  93. Margaret says:

    I will attend tomorrow, even if possibly I can only stay for a while.

  94. Margaret says:

    yes, I knew but somehow it felt like Saturday was tomorrow.
    a friend canceled our lunch for today as she had severe back pain, so this day feels too empty…
    tomorrow visit to my mom.
    autumn seems suddenly to be setting in here now, a big change…
    this week the subscriptions for the senior gym classes should have opened, but to only half the attendance of before Covid.
    but the site messed up repeatedly so after many of us tried in vain to subscribe the date has been set to next Tuesday 9 am, and we will have to be fast as each group will only accept 10 participants, and I really long to start it again!!!
    the site is not very well accessible with Voice Over, so someone will have to try to sign me up, hopefully in time!
    these days everything seems to be difficult…
    and I am putting on Corona pounds bit by bit, also due to increased comfort eating, and on the wrong place as always, my belly and face…
    so fingers crossed that I will be able to get into this (fun) group gym class!

    • Phil says:

      I hope you get into that class. I also plan to go back to the gym finally, but taking a lot of precautions. The weather has already changed here too. One night this week we had our first frost, which seems a bit early for our area.


  95. Vicki says:

    We missed you there, Sylvia, Larry, and Daniel, the Memorial service was excellent! Chris showed a video of pics of Jack, I had no idea Jack had been such a handsome guy when he was young, that surprised me. And Louise told stories she heard from Jack — she grew up with him, as his niece. Patrick came too, and told of how he and Jack had made peace. It was good to see people we had not seen at all this year, and some for years longer.

    • Larry says:

      What!! For some reason I had it in my head that the memorial was this evening. I spent the latter part of this morning and early afternoon helping someone move most of their belongings to their new residence. I was looking forward to participating in the memorial this evening. I got to know Jack mainly through the blog but also from having visited him a couple of times in his trailer off Colorado mabye 8 years ago. It surprises me to realize I formed a bond of sorts with him, and how in his death I feel a void that I don’t like. I wish I had experienced Chris’s memorial for him.

    • Vicki says:

      And Guru — I was hoping you might come to the Memorial, too. Haven’t seen you for a very long time. You may not be able to feel it, but you would have been welcome.

      • Vicki, it’s nice reading this from you…and yes, it was exceptionally difficult decision for me not to attend Jack’s memorial. Some of the reasons would be a surprise to many, and I honestly cannot delve into all this now.
        It was not meant to be a slight towards Jack, no.
        Right now I am trembling with fury over something completely unrelated to Jack (hint…asshole neighbor who years ago illegally put a FULL POWER streetight within 3 feet of my backyard (no, not exaggerating THREE FEET!! My backyard was completely immersed….totally bathed in light)…he managed to talk the city into putting it in an alleyway against municipal policy and it completely bombed out my backyard with light so he could constantly have a birds eye view of this property…his prize he’s always wanted even though it completely destroyed my nighttime privacy and everywhere I walked in the yard was essentially a fishbowl for all to see,,,,after 15 years of a learned sense of helplessness….I finally called the city and had the head foreman come look at it.
        “We don’t do alleyways, this should be taken down”
        Can you imagine a neighbor talking a city into planting a FULL POWER streetlight meant for multi-lane city streets just a few feet from my backyard without my permission?
        After the light was removed, the neighbor gave off FURIOUS non-verbal cues and shaking his head, “No, not allowed” …Like I was the one who did something he rousted his employees to work against me to reinstall another streetlight I asked to be removed since there are already THREE streetlights in a 100 foot street block along with 22 of his privatized acorn light bombs.
        Funny enough, if you go to the actual home of the individual his house is DARK.
        That’s the snake oil gaslighting sack of dogshit I am contending with
        It makes it hard for me to focus on work or Jack.
        I will remember Jack in my own time..
        I do see why ….I do understand why he said money was insanely pathetic and stupid…I truly get the spirit of why he said that…it’s just that….it’s the only game in town, the only language society speaks, I can’t help that.

        • How DARE me remove a full power streetlight the neighbor installed to focus completely on my own yard (without even asking my permission, no less!)
          I swear to God the light pole was 3 feet from my yard. There was no nighttime in my backyard, it was insane.
          But now, I am cast as the ‘evil Prince of Darkness” for turning the light off.

          • I just can’t focus on Jack, I’m sorry. I’ll shut up now. I’m dealing with all kinds of weird shit people would not begin to understand.
            Let’s just get back to Jack before I ruin this for everybody. I’m OK with that.

            • The best way I can describe this individual…powerful, locally influential
              A paranoid far right-wing Catholic authoritarian control freak akin to Attorney General Bill Barr.

            • Vicki says:

              Guru, I understand this a-hole gets to you, I remember you told me about that kind of stuff many years ago, so you just have to keep fighting his rude actions as best you can, with your city. But it seems like when he “gets to you”, it also derails you into some hysteria, where you sound like you’re “trying to prove you’re not the evil one” to us, when we already know that about you. So I wonder what you may need here from us — maybe you’re just too alone with your troubles and fears. If so, then good you’re writing about it.

              • Vicki, I am toeing a fine line here when I talk publicly. Some people on the blog (about 3 or 4 people) know more details than I am sharing here, If you knew as much as they knew, it may help you to understand the usage of ‘evil’ in my writings.
                Sociopath gaslighters are adept at purposely isolating people who stand in their way or whose best interests conflict with theirs. In other words the gaslighter will actively recruit others to their cause against the lone person (ME).
                I don’t think I needed much more from here on the blog, except to show that my anger frequently boils over from this situation. A gaslighter and his recruits are not going to be lovingly accepting my anger, even though I am the one literally surrounded and placed under siege in this block. (remember my story about Vera Coking and Donald Trump?)

                • I am dealing with a highly cunning animal who will stop at nothing for the rest of his life to eventually score his greatest prize, my ancestral home. His father wanted it when I was young. It’s a multi-generational project with these people.

                  • I would go so far as to say he would feel it as his moral imperative to take over and demolish my house, so as to satisfy his belief he would go to Heaven and make his father proud for achieving what his father couldn’t.
                    That’s how fucked up the situation is.
                    There are permanent legal solutions to the problem. Very creative solutions all requiring a shit ton of money to put into action.

  96. Vicki, It was a beautiful memorial. I was so moved by all Chris did to honor Jack. The videos were incredible. I believe Larry is out of town but Sylvia and Daniel were missed. I will say I do understand, if I could have skipped my own mothers memorial I might have. It’s all very painful. I said to Atty I’m not altogether sure about this closure concept anyway ha! Vicki your poem was one of the highlights. Loved it! I thought to myself this is truly a Primal memorial. Everyone was so honest and straightforward, each memory of Jack began with “ I loved Jack , he was one of a kind but boy did he drive me crazy. “ . No sugar coating but he was very much loved. Unconditionally. Gretch .

    • LesB says:

      There comes a time we all know
      There’s a place that we must go
      Into the soul into the heart
      Into the dark

      Melissa Etheridge, “Into the Dark”

  97. Oh that’s too bad Larry. I think Chris can send you the videos G

  98. Helping someone move .🤔

  99. Phil says:

    The memorial for Jack was wonderful, and showed how much you cared Chris. I wish I had gotten to know Jack better and met him sooner. It’s too bad the rest of the bloggers weren’t there.

  100. Chris says:

    thanks for that Vicki, Gretchen, and Phil. And thanks for coming. The memorial is pale in comparison to what I got from Jack. I really miss him–and yes Phil–I cared a lot about him. And it was great to see that many others cared about Jack too and what a big impact he has had on our community. It was great to hear all of the stories about Jack, and I agree with Gretchen the poem that Vicki shared was exquisite. And the story that his niece Louise shared of Jack studying the map of Cornwall and making it to Truro by hitchhiking; how wonderful! It really was a “Primal” memorial, maybe a little too primal in places (hmm. hmm. Steve). I’m just kidding it was great to hear people being so honest; I would not have wanted it any other way. And Patrick was well-behaved.

    Sorry others weren’t able to come, but as Gretchen wrote, I am willing to share the videos, I just don’t want to link them here. If anyone wants to watch the videos, you can get the link from Gretchen or me.

  101. Since things weren’t sugarcoated at Jack’s memorial, I think this brings up an important point similar to what I am struggling against. When he was healthier years ago, Jack would often be an ‘actual’ irritant in some ways and then say, “That’s your feeling (which must have roots in unresolved trauma or feeling unloved)” when clearly there are going to be legitimate grounds for complaints in life as well.
    I am struggling mightily to try to shut up out of respect for Jack, yet I am in a state of outraged despair at my living situation to where I want to scream from the rooftops for help in front of a large crowd (the blog).
    I’m not living in a slum or in squalor, no, but the psychological dynamics of the resolutely determined party surrounding me and wanting the land I am on are INCREDIBLY nasty, continuously working hard against me, and are debilitating to my psyche.
    The problem is overpowering for me and is ruining my ability to get needed things done.
    I don’t know where else to turn to so I can just talk and talk and talk about it with sympathetic ears until the bioelectric emotional charge temporarily depletes itself and I can relax.
    I don’t mind doing so away from here so more time can be spent remembering Jack.

    • I have a family of four people (and perhaps more than that in the background I am not aware of) who would benefit financially and in terms of ego gratification if I was forced out of my house and it was torn down for redevelopment to their liking
      That shit just pisses me off no end.
      I need Michael Bloomberg levels of cash. I’d know EXACTLY what I would do with it, too, and bring this horseshit to an end forever (legally).

      • I’m so angry I can’t think straight.
        I meant in the beginning of my last post “There are a family of four…” not implying it’s my family.

        • Phil says:

          This problem has been going on a long time with your neighbors, you say. I wonder what was your father’s outlook on all this?

          • Phil, dad was a genius at mathematics and one of the sweetest teddy bear guys you would ever meet. The problem is that in the eyes of the people surrounding me, that made my dad a soft touch to take advantage of.
            Real estate is a vicious zero-sum game when crucial scraps of needed land for proper development are involved.
            It’s not a game for teddy bears like my dad.

            • Phil says:

              Guru, but what was his attitude on this? Did he want to keep the property at all costs, or want you to do it? Phil

              • Phil, beyond this point I think it would be best to take this off the blog for multiple reasons. You’re welcome to discuss this with me elsewhere. Maybe Gretchen will kindly go through the trouble of giving you my email address?

                • Phil says:

                  Guru, here on the blog you can have the benefit of everyone’s reactions. I hope you can resolve the situation to your satisfaction. It does sound really difficult. Phil

  102. Daniel says:

    Sorry I missed the Memorial service for Jack. Did anyone record it?
    If not, I’ll write Gretchen for the links to the videos.

    Guru, I’m sorry to hear of your outraged despair, a definite blow to quality of life. I hope you will find some way to work it out, hopefully one day with but regrettably even without Michael Bloomberg’s wealth.

    All the best to you all.

  103. Margaret says:

    thanks Chris, it really was a wonderful experience.
    of course I could not see the pictures but I listened to the music and reflected on all what had been said by all the participants.
    i feel that if Jack would have been on a comfortable cloud listening to it all, he might have shed a few tears here and there, but he also would have laughed out loud many times.
    there was a true atmosphere of kindness and honesty and love to this meeting.
    the fact Patrick was allowed in after some deliberations really added to that feeling for me.
    i was mentioning a few times how I felt he should be allowed in to what to me felt like some kind of funeral, and while at first there were some objections, it was all expressed in a gentle way which never sounded mean or angry.
    but until he was allowed in I noticed it would have been hard to focus on anything else for me.
    but from then on things just were beautiful and genuinely moving, including what Patrick said, it really was a very beautiful experience an I feel privileged to have been part of it and to have heard some of his family’s stories.
    afterwards it was still on my mind a lot, and I even dreamed about being in group and talking about it.
    in my dream I talked about the bad feeling I had that resonated in me with at first picturing Patrick having to stay out while wanting to join, feeling like an outsider, or outcast.
    but then, when in my dream I added the word ‘hopeless’ to that state of mind, something snapped in myself and a long squeaky kind of cry cburst out of me that went on and on.
    i woke up and felt how apart from childhood feelings of being some kin of outsider mhself, there is also a large aspect for me of forever being an outsider now of life due to my loss of eyesight…
    so everybody being in group and the generosity and kindness and love and comppassion of it all felt very healing.
    if I could wish for anything, it would be to attend something like that about myself, but preferably shortly before I would die, ha, as I would like to hear what people would say about me, the good and not so good, but all in such a loving atmosphere of acceptance and well, love, warmth, understanding.
    so thanks Chris!

  104. Chris says:

    my pleasure Margaret, it was great to have you there and to share in the loving atmosphere. Chris

  105. Syllvia says:

    Thank you for the links, Gretchen to Jack’s tributes. Chris you did a wonderful thing in letting us see more about Jack. The music of Lennon and John Denver got to me along with the photos and well wishes of his family and friends and this group. Jack’s photo from his comment posts has always reminded me of one of my brothers who is also gone. That is funny what he said to you about your car; no pulling punches for Jack. He sure had a rich life with all his jobs and travels and time in the theater and finding his true love. Thank you, again for sharing memories.

    • Chris says:

      my pleasure Sylvia, thank you for the kind words. I must admit I kept hoping you would have come to the memorial. I am not sure if you knew it but Jack liked you and spoke highly of you. But I appreciate that it might not have been right or comfortable for you to come.

      • Sylvia says:

        Thank you, Chris, that means a lot to me that Jack thought well of me. Thank you again for this day of memories and the feelings it has brought about for all of us.

  106. Vicki says:

    Another surprise for me was that I didn’t know Jack was such a fan of John Denver’s music, as was in the videos Chris showed yesterday. That music has been running through my head almost non-stop, since. Luckily it’s not making me crazy, like some music I have to fight off, And I don’t think I ever got to tell Jack my little John Denver story — he sat right behind us in a packed, 1000-seat theatre in Westwood, when I went with a couple of friends to the Star Wars 10th Anniversary showing of all three original films, so many years ago. We had to stand in line for hours, to get tickets, so it was hardcore fans, whooping, cheering, and hissing throughtout the back-to-back-to-back films, as that was the first time all three were publicly shown in sequence for one ticket.

    • Chris says:

      haha cool story Vicki! I didn’t know John Denver was a hardcore Star Wars fan. Did he stay for all three films? His music really is lovely. I hadn’t listened to him for years but it seemed to perfectly fit the picture-telling of Jack’s life, more so than the John Lennon song.

      • Vicki says:

        Yes, Chris, he did see all 3 of them, even with short breaks between the films. He was keeping a fairly low profile (not disguised, but dressed-down), but there with the rest of us getting loud. I remember he did disappear at the end.

    • Bernadette says:

      Hi Vicki, I was surprised as well that Jack liked John Denver. In the 20+ years that I knew Jack, I never saw or heard him listening to any music, at all! He would listen to the PBS News Hour every evening (later in Europe CNN International) to keep himself informed, but never did I notice him listening to music. He did mention once that he liked classical music. Cool story about John Denver– only in LA!

  107. Bernadette says:

    Last Words about Jack – A different perspective

    I have not been able to think straight since Jack died on September 18. I have kept the bloggers informed and participated in the Zoom memorial for him – thank you Chris! But I have not been able to really express my thoughts about Jack. Just this morning something oppressive lifted in my head, so here it goes:

    Yes, Jack was loud and attention seeking, provocative, opinionated, and stubborn. He also was a good listener, an attentive buddy, compassionate, empathic, and made you feel safe to feel your feelings. He was a brilliant computer programmer, a meticulous organizer of his affairs and things, an actor in his younger years, a trained electrician, a practical handyman around his trailer, a bit of a drama queen, and a twenty years survivor of HIV Positiv. He was the four-decades-long partner of Jim, a father figure to some, a loyal friend and buddy to others, and an avid blogger who challenged people and the status quo. He was the untiring advocate of Primal because he believed that the concept of “feeling your feelings” could save the world, a world that needs saving in his eyes. But he was so much more….

    When he flirted with the cashiers at the supermarket and the waiters at the restaurant, maybe he was seeking their attention, but consider this: he also made them smile until their eyes lit up, where you and I sometimes don’t even make eye contact with the people who serve us. He was good at seeing people, drawing them out, and making their day.

    When in the morning after finishing his daily routine, he fed the squirrels in the park, he was gentle, calm, and sweet. The squirrels ate out of his hands and he talked to them in a soft voice. They listened, and sometimes climbed on his shoulders and sniffed at his always scruffy beard. And then he picked up the broom and swept the leaves off his patio that had fallen over night, every day with the attention and care worthy of a Zen master, like it was the only important thing he needed to do.

    When I first met him, Jack ticked a few “firsts” in my book: First openly gay man. First man with a long ponytail down his back, which was pretty eccentric at the time for a man approaching sixty. First person I knew who lived in a trailer – an “alternative” lifestyle I thought. The first self-proclaimed sex addict. The first who openly did not care what other people thought of him. And the first “banter” over my statement, “This is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had” where he tried to refute my logic. Who is this guy? Quite shocking yet intriguing. Later I found in him an ally who thinks outside the box, outside of the rules and conventions that society put on us. He confirmed my notion that more is not always better, and possessions don’t make you happy. I learned from him that there are more important things to pursue than money, career, and status. His unconventional take on life inspired me to look at things from different angles. I believe his unbound energy was a direct result of him living from the heart, and relatively unburdened from the heavy obligations that a traditional society demands.

    I believe he had a genuine love and concern for this world and its people. When he argued about abolishing money and anarchy, it was from the recognition of how damaging and dehumanizing the current system is for many – or most people really – the injustice that prevails on a social, financial, political, and environmental level. When people perceived him as stubbornly adhering to his “unworkable” ideas, I now see, he came from a deeply concerned place, from his true conviction that there could be a better world for all.

    He didn’t care about the ideas of the conventional establishment – career, money, house, car, etc. He chose to live in a trailer; an apartment would have been too confining, and the financial burden of a home mortgage would have drowned the life force out of him, and who needs a whole house anyway? he would say. A car was just a means to an end, a necessary evil in L.A., not a status symbol. He had seven shirts and seven pairs of jeans that he rotated from day to day, each outfit was faithfully allocated to a day: the blue checkered shirt on Monday, the black checkered shirt on Tuesday, etc. Two pairs of shoes. A jacket. A cozy sweater. A sun hat in LA. And a warm, fuzzy hat and a good pair of gloves once he moved to the Netherlands. Anything more he would have considered excessive.

    And yes, he recycled every scrap of paper, aluminum can, plastic bottle, and glass jar. He was concerned about air and water pollution. He was against fracking, the coal and mining industries. He helped to protect nature preserves and national parks and endangered animals. He spent thousands of dollars supporting human rights activists, environmental groups, political causes, and various NGOs. He also picked up scraps of trash on the beach and in parks that others had discarded and deliberately put them into the next trash can. Give something back in exchange for the natural beauty that the beach and park give to us, he would say.

    When he had enough of the toils of the day, it was time to cuddle up on the couch, and all that whirling, supercharged energy came to a quiet rest in Jim’s arms. That’s the time when the loud and opinionated Jack became calm and receptive of the more tender things in life. He was vulnerable and sweet, like a young child. And when Jim wanted to move back to Europe, Jack said that he wants to do this for Jim because Jim had come to America with him so he could do therapy, an endeavor that should have lasted only a few months, a couple of years the most. But we all know how that goes, and Jim stuck with him throughout the decades. So now it was time for Jack to give back to Jim.

    So what kept him sleepless at night, I wonder? Because surely, even the happiest and most outspoken man would have his doubts in the wee hours of the morning. He was concerned about leaving his beloved Jim behind when he died. And he once confided in me that he was worried about not having done enough, not having been able to reach more people, convince more people – show them a better way, maybe? Keep going, Jack, I would say, keep being your old feisty self! See, when he said, he loved the banter, he only revealed part of the truth. Yes, he did love the banter, it’s true, but deep down it was much more serious: he also took it upon himself to “spread the word” and reach people with his message. If there is one thing he would have loved to have done better, it would be to have convinced more people of his ideas.

    So, was he the eternal jokester and flirt, or was he a most concerned thinker?
    Was he the happy-go-lucky, life loving whirlwind that he so often displayed or a doubt ridden, unheard prophet? Maybe a bit of both, or all of it in one. I will never have a definitive answer. But I dare say that he impacted each and everyone of us in one way or another. Maybe he even left a piece of him in each of us. I am very grateful for Jack; he was one of the most honest and authentic persons I have known. A bit extreme, but essentially a good person with a good and generous heart who meant well.

    One thing I do know: Whether we like it or not, he was meant to be exactly as he was.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks a lot, Bernadette, for this illuminating and thought-provoking exposition or summary of “Jack”. He was all those things, for sure, and we will miss him “being around”.

    • Chris says:

      wow, Bernadette, this is such an amazingly clear, detailed, and thoughtful portrait of Jack. And accurate as I knew him. Wow, just wow!!! You really have brought to life in words this simple yet complex man—who we loved—in such a fair and incisive way. What a treasure this is! Thank you!!

    • Leslie says:

      Bernadette – This is an amazingly moving and illuminating tribute to Jack!
      I felt I got to know him so much more from your beautiful thoughts and words.
      This with Chris’ fabulous visuals & chosen passages & Louise’s honest and sweet message make for a very full and real capsule while remembering Jack…
      Authentic and unique – that is for sure – and that was Jack!

      • Bernadette says:

        Hi Leslie, thanks! I am glad I was able to add my take on Jack, which of course is completely biased! He would say to me, It’s all projection and your feeling. He didn’t believe that he was a good person, but I believe he was. I also enjoyed seeing the pictures from his youth; I was utterly surprised to see him so polished and preppy!
        I was lovely to see you on Zoom! Maybe you will participate in the next Zoom get-together that Chris has in mind? BB

    • Larry says:

      Thank you Bernadette. The effect that Jack had on me and the attachment I feel to him surprises me, given that I know him mostly from the blog and I’d been in person with him for not more than 10 hours total. Nevertheless he made an impact, on everyone, an overall good one judging by the reactions that I’ve heard and read and my own in regards to his death. His death is also a sad, sobering reminder for me that time relentlessly keeps moving, despite that we each have a “Best by: ” date and an “End” date.

      • Bernadette says:

        Larry, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think his authenticity and emotional honesty is what impacted people. If someone is genuine and sincere, it is easier to relate. I felt drawn to him because I intuitively sensed that he meant well and was basically kind and generous. That doesn’t mean that he was without fault, of course not. Mostly, when I called him on his B.S. he would have the integrity to admit to it. I say, mostly 🙂
        I hear you about the sad, sobering reminder of the ticking clock. It will catch up with all of us for sure. But I also believe that the “Best by” date kind of moves along with us; meaning, we get better as we get older (that is, if you work at it). There might be “bits falling off” as Jack used to say, but I believe the essential part of us is steadily growing and evolving, so that when the “End” date comes, we can say that we truly have lived and done our best. That’s my take and I’m sticking to it! And Larry, it’s not over until it’s over! You have still many years to go and still be your best!

        • Larry says:

          Your are right about the ‘Best by’ date Bernadette. My ‘Best by’ date will be the date after which I stop primaling and stop striving toward my desired better future.

          • Bernadette says:

            Larry, I am struggling for words… Maybe it’s because I don’t quite understand what you are saying, sorry! Are you saying that only after all the primaling and striving is done, you will be your best? Or are you saying that the primaling and striving for a better future is the very thing that keeps you from being your best now? What I know about you, you are living a pretty full and fulfilling life now. Isn’t that being your best? I think it’s a complex issue. My head is starting to spin… There is something melancholy about your statement.

  108. Bernadette says:

    Hi Chris
    Thank you so much for the wonderful videos. They are so precious. You did an amazing job at putting together the pictures and adding the music and texts. It is very touching to watch them – over and over again – it makes me cry every time. It has touched Mark’s heart as well, and he is remembering past times and is crying… thank you for that!
    I thought the Zoom memorial went very well. It was good seeing everyone, some I had not seen in many years, and I loved hearing everybody’s stories and thoughts.
    Thanks again, Chris! Very well done indeed!

    • Chris says:

      thank you, Bernadette, I appreciate the positive feedback. I have been watching the videos over and over again too and finding that there is still a lot of hurt and sadness. As I mentioned in the email, I hope we can all get together on ZOOM again in the not so distant future to talk and reminisce some more.

      • Bernadette says:

        Chris, I would be up for another Zoom get-together! I agree with you, there is still a lot of hurt and sadness to be worked out. What makes me think most is how much his authenticity and “live-out-loud” way of being has impacted me. It goes deeper than I first thought.

  109. Margaret says:

    what a wonderful comment you wrote!
    especially the story about Jack and the squirrels touched me.
    it takes great patience and gentleness to gain such trust, it is incredible they even climbed on his shoulders, and haha, explored his beard, probably hoping for some crumbles…
    i remember how he specially mentioned he was gonna miss the squirrels when he moved out of the trailer park…
    i also liked what you wrote about him brushing away the leaves in the way you so well described, it says a lot about you too that you did remark with such clarity how special that was.
    there will indeed remain a bit of him in all of us, thanks to you and Chris, and not to forget Louise as her stories were also so touching and coming from a whole new angle.
    it was a privilege to have participated at this memorial group, thanks to everyone that was there including those who would have wanted to attend.

    • Bernadette says:

      Margret, thank you! Besides Jack, I knew only one other man who so meticulously swept up the leaves, and that was my father. I had the privilege to get to know Jack on a more “intimate” level when Mark and I stayed with him for a couple of weeks in 2015 and then took care of him for a while in 2017. By then his whirlwind days had been almost over, he had become more quiet and pensive. Not so much on the blog, though, he was as outspoken as ever! When we did the grocery shopping for him, the first thing on the list was always peanuts for the squirrels. That was so sweet.
      It was really nice seeing you on Zoom, Margaret! And I enjoyed watching your cat wander back and forth in front of the screen a couple of times, I believe when you stepped out for a moment 🙂

  110. Bernadette says:

    Spontaneous Poetry

    I sat on a bench in the park
    Brushing my hair with a thousand strokes
    The squirrel watched mesmerized and
    The bird with the red spot stopped the drumming
    It had been too long since I’d been outside
    A croaky moan escaped my throat

    I stepped into the woods this afternoon
    The soles of my feet found unfamiliar rocky ground
    Herbaceous scents filled the air and baffled the senses
    The trees cast vexing shadowy patterns on the path
    Screeching black and white birds assaulted the calm

    The ascent to the top was cruel: dusty hot and steep
    I lost my way twice
    I lost my mind and control of my bladder
    I nearly lost my faith
    But I did not lose heart

    What is a life about?
    A joy ride? A battle? A dream?
    It was a long goodbye and
    The end came
    Like a lightning bolt

    I stepped out of the woods and realized
    I had been inside far too long

  111. Margaret says:

    Finally, despite many electronical hurdles due to flaws of the website, I am subscribed to the gym and condition training group again, with now only half the number of participants so it was really important to subscribe fast when the green sign was given!
    from next week Friday on there will be a training every week, if it does not get canceled again like it was in spring.
    but so far I am sooo happy to be in!!
    Bernadette, now I understand why I heard at the end of the memorial (Gretchen’s?) voice mentioning Margaret’s cat as a participant, but it was in the far distance in my audio version mixed in with other voices so I wondered if i had been hallucinating, haha!
    he must have made his appearance when I was out of the way, isn’t he cute??
    it must have been Pluchwe, a more slender version of his twin brother Plukkie, who has the same color but almost four pounds more and a thicker fur.
    the vet said they must have their colors from mommy cat and their size and quality of fur of two different daddies, which happens often with cats.
    also with foxes, it is a prevention measure it seems to make all males think the litter is theirs so they don’t kill it to be able to make their own offspring.
    smart of those female cats and foxes of course, and probably they don’t mind using this system, haha!
    first the fun and then more safety, good deal I would say…
    so far the other cat only made an audio appearance when one time I attended virtual group laying on my bed, and he installed himself next to me and purred so loudly Chris noticed the sound of a purring cat during group, smiley…
    i love these groups including cats and dogs, feels cozy…

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, Hurray! Good for you to get back into fitness training!
      I was thinking of you yesterday when I noticed a blind man cross the street, he had a white cane for guidance. I watched him stumble and stagger onto the sidewalk as he arrived at the other side…I wanted to jump out of the car and run to his rescue but I couldn’t abandon my car in the middle of the intersection… he found his way and didn’t fall. It made me think how heroic and courageous people with visual impairment are. My heart goes out to you!
      And from one cat lover to another, I have to tell you about my neighbor’s cat. Kona is an 18-year old Siamese with beautiful blue eyes who decided that she liked it better on my side of the fence than at home. She has been sleeping either under my car (in winter) or on top of my car (in summer). I have started to feed her regularly, as my neighbor is neglecting her, she was looking too skinny. When I work in my garden, she is sometimes there watching me, it feels cozy. She likes to curl up inside the loops of the garden hose, when I leave it out. Lately she has been sleeping on my patio during the day, or under the shady tree, and when feeding time comes, she sits on my door step expecting the food. When we come back from our bike rides in the evening, she sits in the driveway as to say: Hey, it’s about time you get home, I’m hungry! The other day, you won’t believe it, I was out shopping (for cat food, haha!) I got a text from Mark saying “The bloody cat just walked into the backdoor, wandered through the bedroom, through the office, through the living room giving me a dirty look, and then out the front door!” HAHAHA! I was so amused! Next thing, she will move in with us!!!

  112. Bernadette, I loved your perspective on a Jack, so clear and real. I think he would have appreciated being seen to that degree. I also loved your poem particularly the last line. At this time in our lives “ being inside far too long” can apply in a multitude of ways. I’m so glad you posted and it doesn’t need to be your last words by the way. You can have as many words as you need ! Gretch

  113. Bernadette says:

    Gretchen, yes, thanks, I was really not quite aware of how much impact Jack had on me until I reflected on it! And yes, when I wrote the line “I had been inside far too long” it was meant to be interpreted in different ways. I am glad you encouraged me to write more, if I needed to. Because just this morning I wrote more but then hesitated to post it thinking, I would annoy the bloggers, like “not her again!” type of thing. So I will take your advice, and post what I wrote earlier. Thank you! Please see below.

  114. Bernadette says:

    It’s my birthday today and something is missing in my mailbox. Every year like clockwork, for many years now looking back, I would get a birthday card from Jack. It never would have been an ordinary card bought off the shelf – no! He always designed it on his computer and printed it out. Four pages of a very unique, personalized card just for me. He would print flowers and birds and bees and butterflies on the card because he knew how much I love nature. And there was always a picture of himself, sometimes alone, sometimes together with Jim, printed on the last page of the card. There would be lovely words and birthday wishes printed in a special font, each page a different color. Then he signed it in ink with his strong, slanted signature “Uncle-in-law Jack” the name that I assigned to him first as a tease, then it became a term of endearment. Just to say, he put a lot of effort into these cards. They made me feel very special. I collected them over the years, a small stack of precious, little treasures in my drawer. Thank you, Jack!

    • Phil says:

      Happy Birthday Bernadette!

    • Chris says:

      that’s so sad, I know Jack was so careful and consistent with birthdays taking great care to send personalized cards and birthday wishes. And I agree with what Gretchen wrote, there is no reason in the world why you can’t keep writing or saying whatever you want about Jack or anything, It has only been a little over a week and Jack’s passing is a big loss for some of us. Keep it coming.

      And happy birthday Bernadette!!

      • Bernadette says:

        Chris, thanks for the birthday wishes! And thanks for encouraging me to keep writing, I really appreciate it. I missed seeing Jack’s birthday card in my box, and I miss him even more!!

      • Bernadette says:

        Chris, I assume you were also a privileged recipient of Jack’s special edition birthday cards?

        • Chris says:

          Bernadette, yes I was! After I read your post today I went and looked at some of the cards he had sent me. I was looking at the one from my last birthday and it is classic Jack. He put a picture on the card of a baby being lovingly held and captioned it with “this is the childhood you should have had Chris.” hilarious and yet so true!

          But you are right, the cards were so personal and thoughtful. I remember in Skype sessions with him when he would show me the cards he was working on, such a lovely memory. He took such care and pride in his work!

          • Bernadette says:

            Chris, that was so sweet and so thoughtful of Jack. I watched him work on his computer at times, and I marveled at his determination to get things done, especially once his eye sight got worse. Sometimes he had to use a magnifying glass to decipher small details on the computer screen. Every other person would have given up – not Jack!

  115. Awww Happy Birthday Bernadette ! 🎂🎁🎂🎁🎂🎁🎂🎁🎂🎁🎂🎁🐝

  116. Vicki says:

    Happy Birthday, Bernadette — it’s too bad Jack isn’t sending you a message for your birthday, from the great beyond — as that really would answer your question — unless he would refuse to send it, to support his side of the argument!

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, LOL! Wouldn’t that be something!! So, the way I know him, he’d probably be too stubborn to admit that he was wrong and I was right 😉 And secondly, I think he is having way too much fun now swishing around the heavens in his healthy and youthful ethereal body. I would like to think that he has moved on and doesn’t look back. I’m okay with that. Thanks much for your birthday wishes!

    • superstarguru says:

      The entire triple coincidence wouldn’t be complete without saying this movie was released the same banner year as the original Star Wars (1977)?

      • superstarguru says:

        Just in case I wasn’t clear: The coincidences are having God and John Denver rolled into one movie released the same year as Star Wars, filling out Vicki’s own John Denver story.
        It was noteworthy enough to snatch attention away from everyone for a minute; I am finished now.

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, this looks hilarious and I will watch the entire movie later. I get the triple coincident. What I thought another amazing coincident was that RBG died the same day as Jack. When I mentioned to Jim that Jack would be honored to arrive at the Pearly Gates together with such a distinguished human being, Jim responded, You got it the wrong way around, Jack would have thought that it was an honor for RBG to arrive at the same time as him. I think Jim was right…
          And you are not snatching attention away… please carry on! There is room for all of us on this blog.

          • superstarguru says:

            Hi Bernadette,
            I hope you have fun watching the movie; I vaguely remembered watching it decades ago. It seems everyone has their own beliefs on the spectrum of spirituality and materialism, and I found it interesting that many of those closest to Jack, such as you and Louise, did not agree with him on this matter.
            I honestly find it refreshing and inspiring that at least a FEW Primal patients believe in something beyond materialism. It seems as though almost all patients are hardcore atheists.
            I, myself, am a cautious agnostic with materialist leanings…trying to be as grounded about it as I possibly can. This topic is H-U-G-E, so I won’t go any further (but I can and I will elaborate if you request it).
            I do think it’s a shame RBG passed when she did (and Jack, too!) and it would have been nice for both to have been around longer, for sure.

            • Bernadette says:

              Guru, when I started watching Oh, God! I realized that I had seen it before, but I watched it again. I was curious what my take was this time, as my spiritual beliefs have changed and grown over time. It still was hilarious, (in part because there is so much wrong with it on a spiritual level, in part because it was a comedy after all), and not the least bit close to my personal spiritual experience. The only thing I basically agreed with is when “God” said (paraphrased) that all the bad stuff on earth is not his responsibility but the people’s responsibility. For example: It is not “god” that allows war, and it is not up to “god” to stop the war; last time I checked, war was entirely created by man, and only man can stop it.
              It would be interesting to find out how many primal people became atheists based on Janov’s theory. And maybe think that they can’t be spiritual lest they betray Primal. I never bought into that part of Primal. In my experience, the closer I get to my true self, after working out old feelings, the more I feel connected with the universal energy, which is as close to “god” as there is. Hmmm… I see I just opened a can of worms….
              I am curious about your “cautious agnostic with materialist leanings”, so if you like, take it away….However, I can’t get into an argument about this topic. I have no desire to defend my view or proof anything to anybody. I think faith is very personal.
              BTW, it is entirely possible to live in one family and love and accept each other, without having the same religious / spiritual views (smiley)

              • superstarguru says:

                Bernadette, I just want you to know I read what you said above and I am currently pondering it; I am not sure how I am going to respond yet.
                Let me immediately preface anything I might say with my simple, cautious thought there is a good chance of there being SOMETHING more than materialism.
                I think it’s a mistake to completely close off all possibilities aside from eternal oblivion upon death.
                Let me ruminate on this a bit and I will get back to you with a better response.

                • Bernadette says:

                  Guru, no problem, take your time. Once you have pondered about it, I’d be curious how you arrived at the thought that there might be “a good chance of there being something more than materialism”. Mostly I’d be interested in knowing whether that was/is an intellectual thought process or a perception // feeling / experiential process. Only if you are up to it. No pressure.

                  • superstarguru says:

                    Bernadette..I’m going to have a very difficult time answering *how* I arrived at the thought of there being a ‘good chance of there being something more than materialism’ as it would require an enormous backstory presenting an undue burden to the blog. In a nutshell it’s a story of where I was always some sort of ‘believer’, albeit nonreligious, became sorely challenged by what I read in Janov’s books (even complaining to Vivian once about it), and gradually went back to believing again only in a different form than before. Art and Jack might have interpreted this by saying I simply had stronger defenses against feeling during my early days, weakened those defenses while going to LA and reading Art’s books, only to re-strengthen those defenses again when stepping away a bit from therapy….but I hope it’s something different than that.
                    What I would be more able to carry on doing is to present you with some links I showed in the past in a slapdash manner since my beliefs are unrefined, only an agglomeration of various related items which seem interesting or stimulating to me.
                    I will try to work on that shortly

            • Larry says:

              I completely agree, Bernadette, that faith is personal. I have no interest in arguing with anyone about it. My comment here is to provide you with a data point for you musing that “It would be interesting to find out how many primal people became atheists based on Janov’s theory”. My beliefs were formed before I ever knew of the Primal Scream and haven’t changed since. It’s interesting to me that I don’t think of myself at all as spiritual, yet friends tell me that I am.

              • Bernadette says:

                Larry, thanks for your comment, much appreciated. For me, being spiritual doesn’t (necessarily) mean to follow a religion or specific belief system. Sitting under a tree and contemplating nature, opening your heart to the diversity and beauty of your surroundings, is as spiritual as it comes. It is the same energy that flows through everything. From that point of view, everyone is spiritual because we all have the capacity to connect to the natural energy around us. All it requires is to sit still, stop thinking for a moment, and open the heart and let the surrounding energy resonate with our inner flow of energy.

  117. Margaret says:

    I really hope you will keep writing on the blog!
    you have so much to say and write beautifully.
    and I like everything you share about yourself, and also liked very much everything I heard about Jack which I did not know so far.
    it is great to hear about other persons who attach so much value to nature and our environment, and who support all kind of good causes actively.
    and a fellow cat lover is always more than welcome, smiley!
    I always would have liked to have a Siamese cat, but do not like to buy a cat from professional breeders.
    if one would search a good home or end up in a shelter I would adopt it right away.
    the very skinny ones don’t look very pretty, but the normally shaped Siamese are so incredibly beautiful!!!
    it seems they are very talkative as well.
    I sure hope your neighbor cat will definitively move into your house, seems better than staying on or under the car, that sounds too dangerous to me…
    i liked the description of how she seemed to make an inspection round to check out the place, as to see if it would be acceptable for her or not, haha!
    and happy birthday to you, those birthday cards sound so very special…

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, thanks for the birthday wishes and your encouragement to keep writing. I appreciate it very much. It’s nice to know that you like reading my posts.
      I feel very much connected to the natural environment. I cry when forests burn down, or the ice caps melt in record time, and animals lose their natural habitats and/or die. It hurts me when I see people litter the beaches and parks, such areas of outstanding beauty that they clearly use and enjoy but still dump their garbage there! I don’t get it! And my heart aches when I see square mile after square mile of Brazilian rainforest being slashed and burnt. I just do not understand why we have to destroy our own planet!
      On the other hand, I enjoy the butterflies in my garden, watch spiders spin their webs, listen to the birds in the trees, and mostly, I watch my plants grow (smiley). There is something very satisfying and heart warming about it. Call it love.
      So, Kona the Siamese is old now. She is not such a beauty anymore, that is, since I have been feeding her regularly, she has improved somewhat. The front part of her is clean and smooth fur, the back part is all scraggly and unkempt. Like she can’t clean herself properly anymore. She walks gingerly, like she might have pains in her hips or spine. I am always astonished that she can still make it onto my car to sleep on the sunroof. I am worried most days when I don’t see her right away; she might have crawled into a corner somewhere to die. My neighbor told me that she wandered into his house one day many years ago, a stray cat, or a run away maybe. She is used to being outside and very savvy when it comes to avoiding cars and other dangers. I instantly liked her personality, the attitude she shows, like “this is my world now, please respect my space” kind of thing (smiley). I keep thinking, as long as she eats she is okay. I have not seen her yet today, which is unusual for this time in the afternoon. I have looked for her in all the usual places, to no avail.
      And by the way, yes, I am a cat lover, but I am also a dog lover (which I didn’t know until a few years ago)! I hope that’s not blasphemy haha!

      • Chris says:

        Hi Bernadette, when you say that Kona’s back is scraggly and unkempt, what does that mean? Does it mean that her fur is matted? Once matting takes place, it usually needs to be shaved or cut off as it is impossible for them to properly clean. My cat had that and I had go through and cut all of the matting away. He was as good as new after that.

      • Bernadette says:

        Hi Chris, Kona’s fur is not totally matted, just not as clean as around her head, chest and front legs/paws. In the meantime a lot has happened. After I had not seen her all day yesterday and this morning, I started to look for her. Finally found her under the truck of another neighbor; she was barely breathing and could hardly lift her head. I notified her owner, and then drove them to the emergency vets, as the neighbor doesn’t have a car. She is on an IV drip at them moment, and my neighbor just got notified that she would either need to stay at the hospital for a week, costing an enormous amount of money, or otherwise they recommend to put her down. My neighbor then asked that they drain Kona’s lungs and asked for antibiotics that he can give her at home. He said he’ll pick her up in a couple of hours. They will take a culture of the lung fluid to determine the best antibiotic. That is, if she is going to survive the next two days. I am so sad! Thanks for caring, Chris!

        • Chris says:

          of course Bernadette so sorry to hear this! I’ll be thinking about Kona and hoping that she will pull through!!

  118. Phil says:

    My wife and I haven’t been doing well lately, which is bothering me, but last night we bonded over how terrible the presidential debate was. If you could even call it a debate. I don’t think I could take four more years of Trump. Also, with all that has recently happened in the world I miss Jack’s voice, as I know he followed the news closely, like I do.


  119. Margaret says:

    Yes, at times it is extremely difficult having very poor eyesight.
    officially I am blind but luckily there is a tiny bit of blurry peripheral sight left in one eye, better than nothing.
    I make the best of things, at times it creates no problem at all, depending of the circumstances, or nothing insurmountable, at other times it is very painful, the restriction on social interactions, the isolation and all kind of frustrations.
    I am doing a bachelor study of psychology at Open University, am now doing the third module of statistics, and struggled all afternoon with the website of the course, mostly in vain.
    but well, I have successfully done more than half of the courses, but facing the extra corona complications at times now it feels hopeless.
    but well, I don’t easily give up…
    the good thing about losing my eyesight while doing therapy, is that it forced me into feelings af need and vulnerability.
    i started off my therapy saying ‘I don’t need anybody!’, and felt proud of that, an illusion in fact but I had little to no awareness of my feelings back then.
    but losing my sight forced me to accept I do need other people and have many fears and feel very vulnerable, in many ways other than just the eyesight stuff.
    I think it made me a more gentle person and gave me more empathy, or at least pusched the primal process a bit, many times.
    still life is not easy at times, for years now I have been single and wished I had a loving partner by my side again…
    but better alone than in bad company of course, and I still have my precious furry buddies around, always good for a smile and loads of affection…

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, I would imagine that living with your type of impairment would first force you to slow down and then practice a lot of patience. You would have to open and sharpen your other senses exponentially in order to compensate for the loss of sight. Then start to rely on the other perceptions in order to make sense of your environment. Then add perseverance and tenacity to keep going. And with all of this you would need a huge amount of courage to overcome your fears and daily challenges, in practical and emotional situations. All these attributes I see in you. I see your strength as well as your vulnerability. It takes strength to make a life and it takes strength to be vulnerable, I think. I can imagine that it “pushed your primal process” as you said because I can see your empathy and gentleness and kindness that you extend to people (and cats smiley). You have excellent insights into people’s behaviors, feelings and intentions, as well as intelligence to express your thoughts and feelings in a clear way; I have read many of your comments on the blog that confirms this. It is astonishing what you have accomplished in spite of your impairment – your studies and your personal growth. I am in awe.
      The only tiny hint I get for what it could be like, is when I get up at night and feel my way around the furniture and to the bathroom door in the dark. An intense few seconds!
      I hope someone gentle and kind (and funny and smart) will show up at your doorstep – soon! You deserve to be loved and cherished by someone special, Margaret.

  120. Margaret says:

    Any news about Patrick’s dog?

  121. Margaret says:

    Phil,I would have liked to be able to watch the entire debate, but here I could only see extracts of it and comments about it.
    it seems it was a depressing and frustrating spectacle.
    probably Trump was afraid to give Joe B some time to express his views and ideas, and just kept interrupting him to impede painful truths about his own incompetence.
    but sadly enough as far as I heard by the comments he mostly succeeded and irritated JB enough to also make him become personal and using insults.
    there were comments of Belgian people living in the States, most of them disapproving strongly of Trumps behavior, and one of them a Trump fan, whose father in law is all into trump. but she said even he did say Trumps behavior was childish…
    it is so frustrating Trump already says he won’t accept a defeat, and that he has a majority in the Supreme Court.
    that is so out of line, that those judges are politically assigned.
    no independence of justice at all there!
    not uplifting, we in Belgium here are not much better, after the elections it took about 500 days, (!) for the political parties to form a coalition that agreed on a program and will now finally be forming a government!
    Jack would have loads of comments about the absurdity of it all…
    still I am glad we will finally have a government again, and it is center and left and the green parties included.
    the alternative would have been right and extreme right, a nightmarish idea…

    • superstarguru says:

      As proof that I only read Playboy for the articles, here are some excerpts from Trump’s 1990 interview with the magazine.

      “Every successful person has a very large ego….far greater egos than you will ever understand.”

      “I will send people around to my buyers to test their honesty by offering them trips and other things. I’ve been surprised that some people least likely to accept a trip from a contractor did and some of the most likely did not. You can never tell until you test; the human species is interesting in that way. So to me, friendship can be really tested only in bad times.”

      “I instinctively mistrust many people. It is not a negative in my life but a positive. Playboy wouldn’t be talking to me today if I weren’t a cynic.”

      “I am very skeptical about people; that’s self-preservation at work. I believe that, unfortunately, people are out for themselves. At this point, it’s to many people’s advantage to like me. Would the phone stop ringing, would these people kissing ass disappear if things were not going well?”

      “I enjoy testing friendship…. Everything in life to me is a psychological game, a series of challenges you either meet or don’t. I am always testing people who work for me.”

      “I’m a strong believer in genes, that my kids can be brought up without adversity and respond well if they have the genes. I have a friend who is extraordinarily smart. But he never became successful, because he couldn’t take pressure. He was buying a home and it was literally killing him—a man of forty with an I.Q. of probably a hundred and ninety. He called me one day for the umpteenth time, worrying about his mortgage and I was sitting in my chair, thinking to myself, Here I am, buying the shuttle, the Plaza Hotel, and I don’t lose an ounce of sleep over any of it. That’s lucky genes.”

      • superstarguru says:

        I want to add that I posted the Trump material because it seemed interesting to see such an old interview and how things progressed (or perhaps regressed?) over 30 years’ time. It just seemed interesting from a forensic psychology standpoint, and not indicative of my own life’s philosophies.

  122. Phil says:

    I think Trump’s behavior during the debate was a reflection of his character rather than any strategy. In any case it didn’t work. I doubt he’ll win over any undecided voters with that performance. When given the opportunity last night, Trump failed to denounce white supremacy. If fact he supported it. He didn’t agree to accept the results of the election if he loses. I hope he loses badly because otherwise we may be in for a lot stress, turmoil, and possibly violence after election day.

  123. This was written by Pru ( we had some trouble with the log in )
    About Jack ….
    Although I was not close to Jack, I have shared many a retreat and group with him during my Primal Therapy years and he is certainly one of the people who really stands out in my memory. I can picture him so easily. If I’m honest, I thought he would never last until 87 as he was always so poorly – and talked about it frequently – right from when I knew him 30+ years ago. It’s strange but I can’t stop thinking about him now and feeling disbelief that he is no longer ‘out there’ on our earth somewhere. And, as someone else said – it really makes you think of your own mortality. Anyway, Jack – bloody-minded; irreverent, kicked against the traces, unconventional, sought (and always got) attention; argumentative; world’s expert and very funny. He was also the last person I would have expected to see in the middle of an LA Primal Group – Jack from ‘Up North’ in England with a pony tail, ruling the roost.

    The last time I saw Jack, we were all leaving a Santa Barbara retreat and up drove a shiny sports car with two handsome, brown, muscly young men in it. They stopped, waited and Jack hopped in, grinning from ear to ear for his audience, before his chauffeurs sped off. Only Jack!

    Having read the blog for the first time, I was really moved by how matter-of-factly he approached dying. No euphemisms or dodging or trying to get better. He swatted off everyone suggesting remedies and faced it full on – leaving room for the younger ones to come after. What an inspiration! John, my husband (ex PT patient too) and I have both vowed to remember Jack’s approach and do our best to follow in his footsteps. Hats off to Jack and thanks for that example.

    Thank you for including me in this memorial service – I was very touched – especially by the tender way you, Chris, had put together the film. I never knew that Jack liked John Denver – so do I – hugely….. especially ’Sunshine’.

    To all Jack’s family – particularly Jim – and friends, my thoughts are with you. Big characters leave big holes in life and Jack was certainly that.

    Primal Therapy people – seeing your lovely familiar faces on the Zoom wake was an unexpected treat – a mix of nostalgia, fondness and gratitude for those days. Virtual hugs.


    • Bernadette says:

      Prue, I loved reading your beautifully written depiction of Jack, especially loved the expressions ‘bloody-minded’, ‘irreverent’ and ‘kicked against the traces’ that are so very fitting, yep all that and proud of it, too! And yet, how does the saying go: we die the way we live – I think Jack died with the same emotional honesty and integrity as he lived, being true to himself to the very end. Thank you so much for this, I will send it on to Jim and Louise.

    • Chris says:

      thank you for sharing Prue, well written, and accurate depiction of Jack. loved this, “sought (and always got) attention” so true! and he did face his death the way he faced life, head-on, and only with the fullness of feeling! say hi to John for me.

  124. Pru, I love what you wrote , it was all really beautiful. “ Big characters leave big holes” ! That is exactly right. What a wonderful way to put it! Gretchen

  125. Vicki says:

    I fell in love with this song and video today, of a dog and cat growing up together, and it made me tear up, and of course, think about my dog. There is something sad about the song, and the implied loss of friends.

    Margaret, the puppy is about the same size as the cat, but much younger. At the beginning, the cat is bothered by the rambunctious puppy, who always wants to play, but they progress to be tolerating friends, and then best friends sleeping and grooming together, with the adult dog much larger than his cat brother. So the video is followed by the lyrics of “Best Friends”:

    Remember all the days
    We’d while the hours away
    We had a kingdom made of sand but didn’t care
    Now I think of all the times we shared,
    And i wonder where you are and if you’ll play
    Come knockin’ at my door
    And I wonder will our roads cross someday
    Been missed forever more,

    Remembering our time
    What’s yours was always mine
    Nothing but trouble but it led to so much fun
    We were wild ones always on the run
    And now I wonder where you are and if you’ll play
    Come knockin’ at my door
    And I wonder will our roads cross someday
    Best friends forever more,

    And now I wonder where you are and if you’ll play
    Come knockin’ at my door
    And I wonder will our roads cross someday
    Best friends forever more.

    Writer(s): Ashley Clark, Tom Hillock, David Krutten Lyrics

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, oh wow! That’s just too cute for words! It made me smile so much. It’s endearing and heartwarming. You must miss your dog very much 😦 Do you still get to visit Baby sometimes?

      • Vicki says:

        Bernadette, I do still get to see Baby, but it’s become harder, because one of her moms is a nurse in an Orange County hospital — and she gets pulled into their Covid unit sporadically, after which she has to quarantine for two weeks. So that has happened several times, and is happening again this coming weekend — Erin gave me the option to visit, but she is not even visiting her mom. I miss Baby, and it seems kind of silly, but if I went and caught it, I would feel very stupid. Even when we distance in their yard, I know I can’t wear my mask the whole time — the dogs won’t like it, and neither would I!

        Baby has had some problems in the past week, since they ran out of one of her cardiac meds, and were not able to buy it anywhere! Finally they were able to order a larger dose they will have to cut in half, and their vet found a sample to give them meanwhile, so Baby got some last night. Her heart is enlarged, so the valve doesn’t quite fit, and causes her to cough & pass out, from not enough oxygen. The meds control that, and one of their friends’ dog has been carrying on for two more years with meds. When Baby was fainting, she was so scared and confused, I saw on her face (months ago).

      • Bernadette says:

        Vicki, I hate how Covid makes everything so much more complicated. Could you meet at a dog park instead at her home? There would be more room to spread out and you wouldn’t have to wear your mask all the time. Unless doggie parks are closed because of Covid, I don’t know. In any case, I am sad for you that you don’t get to visit Baby as much as you would like to. May her new mom can send you videos? That’s not the same of course but it might help. I am also sad to hear that Baby has heart problems. It’s heartbreaking to see animals suffer and being confused because they don’t understand. I hope the medication can help her a lot and that she has more time. And hopefully Covid will pass soon, so that you can visit more often.
        I meant to tell you earlier when you sent the above video. Whenever I am stuck inside my head and don’t know what to feel or do, I go on YouTube and watch videos of cats and dogs play. That always puts me in touch with my heart energy. I can feel myself again. Pets have such great healing power!!

        • Vicki says:

          Yes, Bernadette, Erin sends me pics of Baby, when she can — Baby doesn’t always enjoy it. I think dog parks are closed, since it would encourage people to not distance, too. And I watch dog and cat videos almost every day, at least one — or horses, or other farm animals playing.

  126. superstarguru says:

    I don’t mean to spoil the general mood of feeling beloved and the pets we love, etc….but does anyone have a titanium dieter’s box we can put food inside with a timed lock which can’t be opened for up to a week under any circumstances?
    I tried these Jocasta brand maple cream filled rolled crispy wafers from Greece and the addiction is destroying me. Take my advice and don’t start eating them:

    • superstarguru says:

      I briefly thought a timed lockbox for your food or smartphone would be a great million dollar idea, but it has already been shown on Shark Tank and several models are on sale on Amazon.
      Nothing new under the sun anymore.

      • Vicki says:

        Guru, that was so interesting — in my entire life, it has never even occurred to me that people had invented this to control themselves, and certainly never the idea to do this. Growing up in my family, we only ever had will-power for anything, so we either gave in, or did not. This is just a different way of thinking about it. To spend money on something like this, would have been laughed at, and embarrassing, and felt totally foolish — because for no money spent, they could put whatever you want to avoid — in the trash, end of story. To me, it’s a different world, where people use something external for control — Partial control that lets you feel you are “in control”. Never entered my mind. I think the biggest meaning is that we had no money for “such nonsense”, as well as the belief that “we just need to control ourselves” personally, as if that’s always doable. Or painfully humiliating and to be hidden, if you can’t. A lot of complex shit.

        I read some of the reviews, wondering what the heck people used it for. One was brilliant for keeping his elderly mother independent, “who frequently confused the days of the week & subsequently took 2 or 3 days of her meds all in one day.” So he bought 7, labelled and filled them all once a week, and programmed to open one each day at 6 am.
        Another bought 10 (at $70 !), each filled with 1 pack of cigarettes from a carton, set to open 1 per 24 hrs, for her mother who “was driving me crazy every day for more and more cigarettes. She promised me no more than a pack a day, so that was the deal.” “It actually gave us quality time together not fighting about her smoking 2 packs a day.” So it worked for them, so to speak.
        And one woman used it to lock away her cellphone an hour at a time, over and over. The end of her review was “This product is a great amputation of our external organ, the cellular telephone. I shall now lock my phone away now because I just spent 15 minutes writing a review on Amazon.”

        • superstarguru says:

          Vicki, well that’s part of the fun! Being laughed at for using this locking device helps to make it a great conversation piece, wouldn’t it? Even if looked upon derisively?
          Perhaps with time, the naysayers would lose their own willpower and give in to the wisdom of the locking device.
          Putting those maple sticks in a plastic box wouldn’t be totally safe for me, as I might smash it, so titanium would work better.

        • superstarguru says:

          This brings up a weird sidebar point for me. As Jack himself used to tell me over the phone, “You have to have a certain tenacity (a rugged persistence) to be a successful computer programmer.”
          How right he was!
          So…I made a deal with myself since I have a particularly complex code package I need to complete. I bought a 6-pack of beer, put it in the fridge, and strictly told myself I must finish all the code first before I can drink any alcohol at all.
          That was two weeks ago.
          The beer is still in the fridge, the reward lost its meaning along with my desire to finish the coding.
          Sometimes the reward can lose its original value due to some complex internal mental hijacking as I appear to have done here.

  127. Sue P. says:

    From Vicki: I sent Chris’s links to Sue P. in England, who was unable to come to Jack’s Memorial, and she replied with this note, and said I could add it to the Blog.

    Hi Vicki,

    Thanks so much for forwarding Jack’s picture tribute, which I found extremely moving. Jack was someone who lit up the world around him in every way imaginable. He was kind, generous and always such fun to be with. I’m glad he managed to live to the grand age of 87 and that he knew what it is to love and be loved.

    With love,

  128. Margaret says:

    thanks so much, Vicki, I sowed it to a friend that was over for lunch and she loved it!
    now I just forwarded it to my brother and sister, some sunshine in these rainy days full of depressing news.
    but hey, after 496 days we finally have a government, and at the inauguration the two top men of different parties even expressed how they found out they really like working together, while they are from the left and the other from the more right side, and from two different language parts of Belgium.
    that is refreshing, kind of the opposite of Trump and also from some other politicians over here!
    Bernadette, thank you so much for your kind words, part of me can let it in and part of me cannot, (yet?)
    your Siamese foster cat might like the car roof and the warmth as it might diminish the pain in her joints.
    hope you can spoil her and pamper her and enjoy her company for many years to come!

  129. Just heard Trump and the First Lady have Covid! G.

    • Sylvia says:

      Yes, I heard that too, regarding the trumps; must be that Karma I’ve heard so much about.

      Vicki, I know what you mean about using an external gadget to keep things away from yourself. Whatever happened to discipline. Though, those people in the reviews had good practical use for the locking device, didn’t they– very creative of them. Thanks for your perspective and those review comments.

    • Vicki says:

      Yes, Gretchen, I could hardly contain my glee! Even though some tiny part of me feels “it’s mean”.

      He told a political dinner just Thursday night that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.” Covid19 is killing about 1000 more Americans every day, yet he asserted that it was under control and insisted that the country was “rounding the corner” to the end of the crisis. He has scorned scientists, saying they were mistaken on the severity of the situation.

      And LoL! I did not remember: Under the Presidential Succession Act, if both Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence were unable to serve, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California would step in.

      Sylvia, Karma, indeed!

      • superstarguru says:

        I’d be careful here, because if Trump pulls through this with few or no symptoms (a definite possibility) he could say, “See? It will disappear like a miracle. It’s not severe. Businesses should re-open. You just have to have good genes like me, etc.”

    • Jo says:

      Perhaps it’s Fake News!

    • Vicki says:

      About Trump’s Covid19, favored comments I saw today:

      “It’s the first test he’s ever passed on his own.”

      “I hear he’s now in hypocritical condition.”

      “Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy — except Mitch McConnell.”

      And a friend who seldom writes anything on-line, posted: “Okay. We all know that Donald is incapable of empathy. The only way he will ever understand what the millions of people felt when they got sick with the coronavirus is to feel it himself. So, Donald, no sympathy. I want you to feel every single nasty symptom that the victims of your no action, disinformation policy felt. Every one of them: fever, joint pain, gasping for breath. I want you to understand this at a personal level. Get it, feel it. No sympathy.”

  130. superstarguru says:

    Ex-POTUS Jimmy Carter turned 96 years old yesterday, which is semi-amazing all its own. I once shook hands with Rosalynn while Jimmy threw some candy at us in a crowd. A fond childhood memory.
    One year during his presidency he was entitled to pay no federal taxes due to huge tax write-offs on his peanut farm.
    He felt so bad about it he voluntarily sent $6,000 to the Treasury as a voluntary gift.

  131. Margaret says:

    the first song the radio here played after sharing the news about Trump having been infected with Corona, was John Lennon’s ‘instant karma is gonna get you’…
    a large part of the world’s population is probably sharing your and mine feeling, Vicki.
    I would not regret he would become ill for a long time, long enough to not be a president anymore.
    of course his second in line is not a pleasant option either, seems he is worse than Trump himself, and not so openly crazy…
    hope Joe Biden gets elected without unnecessary discussions but I guess that is too much to hope for…

    • Phil says:

      The news about Trump getting Covid has brightened my day, I have to say. I’m guessing the next presidential debate will have to be canceled. Also, my feeling is I hope he has a bad case, that would shut him up.
      His supporters might want to think more now on mask wearing and attending rallies.


  132. Phil says:

    My boss came over this morning to see if I had heard the news on Trump. He said something like “maybe there is a god” and “it feels like Christmas”. I have to agree.

    • Larry says:

      I wonder whether he’ll treat himself and drink some bleach or take the advice of his scientifically trained doctors.

    • Bernadette says:

      It’s always interesting to me that people say “there is a god” when things go their way, but don’t believe there is god when things don’t go their way. Just a thought…hmmm…

      • Phil says:

        I think my boss was joking as he seems to be an atheist. I haven’t thought that atheism was really a part of primal theory, or at least not an important part.
        I was already a nonbeliever before starting the therapy, I go by evidence and I haven’t seen anything convincing.

        • Bernadette says:

          Phil, yes, I get it, it’s just a phrase…. Thanks for your input on the atheism/spirituality question. Much appreciated. I understand that you have not seen any convincing evidence. Truth is, there is no evidence that can be seen or touched or grasped with the intellectual mind. It is all on a more subtle level and therefore a perception outside of the five senses . That’s my experience. Thanks, Phi!

  133. superstarguru says:

    How does someone develop the psychological fortitude able to withstand hundreds of millions of people hating him enough to wish physical ill-will upon him? In the 1990 interview I posted earlier Trump talked about the ability to withstand pressure, maybe some clues lie therein?
    He is just a representative of the elite, a symbol of a larger problem, anyway.
    I suppose if hundreds of millions of people hurl bad sentiments towards you, you can sit back and laugh at how you successfully tapped into the emotional brains of so many people. An incredibly powerful caricature, for sure!

    • Bernadette says:

      Guru, because negative attention is better than no attention. He will do and say anything just to hog the attention of the media. There is a psychological theory about that, I’m sure.

  134. superstarguru says:

    I used to complain about how 9/11 was the most hideously and grotesquely overhyped event since the dawn of cuneiform symbols while millions of people die in car traffic with no one giving a damn. Trump alone will ultimately supersede all of this with literal septillions, perhaps octillions, of collective words spoken about the man worldwide when all is said and done.

    • Phil says:

      But I’m sure it isn’t satisfying his repressed real need which has nothing to do with being president.

      • superstarguru says:

        Phil, I won’t judge you for adding your small part to the octillions of cumulative words spoken about him, but I do think questions such as, “How did we as a society become so addicted to talking about this man?” start to become worthwhile to consider.

        • Phil says:

          Guru, I had no interest in Trump whatsoever until he ran for president. Isn’t it clear that’s why people are addicted to talking about him? Not to mention because of the outrageous things he says and does as president? Also, the interest in how he got there, how we can get rid of him etc.

          • superstarguru says:

            This isn’t just about you at all, Phil, but rather I am asking why society paid so much attention to him. I, myself, bought a paperback copy of “The Art of the Deal” during the 1980’s when I was a kid, more than thirty years before the presidency. Still have the book in storage somewhere.

            • Phil says:

              He thrust himself into the limelight starting in New York. Writing a book, opening casinos, and being on TV must have helped.


              • Phil says:

                Building skyscrapers and hotels named after himself, all helped, I would say.
                If you were to build a tall building in your town and named it Guru Tower, people would start to talk about you.

          • Phil says:

            Guru, Sorry that I’m adding to the talking statistics about Trump. I can relate to his need to get attention (but not from the whole world) and feel important. His act-out is hugely more successful than mine ever was, but I wasn’t that driven, and didn’t start out with the advantages he had. Also I’ve been working on feeling those leftover needs from childhood for years.

  135. Bernadette says:

    Margaret and Chris, I am sorry, I have such sad news. My neighbor just told me that Kona, the Siamese passed away early this morning. He said he cradled her in his arms as she drew her last breath. I can’t believe how much it touched me and is (still) affecting me, I cried very deeply for a long time. I had gotten so attached to her over the last year or so. I’d like to think that I made her last months a bit more bearable and pleasant by feeding her regularly and providing a comfortable place for her to hang out. I am also glad that she was able to die in his arms, rather than in the sterile environment of a vet clinic, or heaven forbid, somewhere under a parked car, alone. She was such a beauty and a sweetie. I will always remember her vivid blue eyes. So sad!

    • Chris says:

      oh no Bernadette, so sorry for your loss! The way you wrote about her in the past few days was so tender and showed just how much she meant to you. So sad indeed!

      • Bernadette says:

        Thank you, Chris. I was so used to having her around; she had such a gentle, sweet energy about her. She helped me open my heart. My neighbor just told me that he will bury her in the garden between the rose bushes. I think that’s nice, those are her familiar surroundings.

    • Vicki says:

      Bernadette, I am glad Kona was able to enjoy your care for the past year — 18 is quite old for a cat, I think, although I have heard rarely of a cat living to 30. I once temporarily “had” a small Siamese in the ’70’s, who was pregnant, and an older male cat made the mistake of trying to attack her under my car in the driveway. We heard an awful racket, then the big cat shot out from underneath, and went flying down the street. She belonged to my roommate, but had her babies in my bed, under the covers in the night. I felt honored.

      I hope at some point you will have another cat you can care for, longer.

      • Bernadette says:

        Vicki, that’s a cute story about the feisty Siamese who had her babies in your bed, thanks for sharing! Kona never had kittens as far as I know. I would imagine my neighbor had her spayed when he took her in from the streets in the Philippines. Maybe that added to her longevity. Yes, I hope, one day when we are more permanently settled, I will have my own cat AND a dog! (whenever that will be – eyes rolling!)

  136. Bernadette, Your story about Kona walking through your home and giving Mark a dirty look made me laugh! That kitty knew she was in charge! I’m so sorry to hear she died but it is nice to know she will be buried in familiar surroundings. I’m pretty certain you could use a break from pain for awhile. Take care of yourself ! 😦 Gretch

    • Bernadette says:

      Gretchen, yes, thanks! I couldn’t wash her last paw prints off my car this morning… It has indeed been a “decennium horribilis” — enough already! I wonder, can one get used to grieving as a permanent ingredient in one’s life? B.

      • superstarguru says:

        Trace the outlines of the paw prints with a stencil and have a spot paint job on that specific outline to memorialize Kona forever (opposing shade of the car’s color for the paws suggested….ie. dark green painted paw shapes on light green car or vice versa, etc.)?

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, good idea! I don’t know if I want to do it, but the idea is creative and sweet!

          • superstarguru says:

            The job would be a bit of a hassle, yet it would pay subtle dividends for years to come and spraying an opposing shade of the car color would keep it subtle and tasteful, not too distracting. Unfortunately you’ll have to decide pretty quickly before the original marks wash off. Best of luck if you give it a whirl.

            • Bernadette says:

              I actually went to check the car after I wrote back and looked for the prints. They are already pretty wishy-washy, it has been three days at least since she had been on the car. And if you have ever lived in LA, you must know how dusty and dirty the cars get. So, although your idea is a good, one, I don’t think I will do it. That said, I might just put some paw print stickers across the rear window onto the roof, just for kicks. I will think about it….

              • superstarguru says:

                Paw stickers sound like a great idea, too! Maybe even a cup of (Kona) coffee outline sticker next to it? Good stuff, our collaboration has revealed strong potential for fruitful future creative outcomes. I’d like to hear what you eventually settle on doing.
                I will work on the spiritual stuff soon, as well, but most of what I’d share would be a re-hashing of what I’ve posted in the past.

                • Bernadette says:

                  Funny, but I don’t want to advertise for coffee, especially as I don’t drink any, haha. Actually she was named after the beautiful Kona District of Hawaii, not the coffee (smile). As far as your spiritual endeavor goes, please do not burden yourself with getting more information together. I am quite satisfied with what you have written so far, I somewhat get a sense of where you are with it, I appreciate your back and forth struggle to believe because I can relate to it, and I like your statement from earlier “there is a good chance of there being SOMETHING more than materialism.” An answer to my question as to how you arrived at this conclusion is not relevant. So, no sweat, Guru!

                  • superstarguru says:

                    I’ve never been to Hawaii & I drink 6+ cups of coffee per day, so we cancel each other out. I will still work on the spirit project, anyway.

  137. Margaret says:

    That is so sad…
    it is a comfort though the neighbour hald her in his arms while she passed away, at least she must have felt loved and protected…
    i feel overwhelmed with grief and loss about to strike lately.
    my oldest friend told me yesterday about her 34 year old daughter, who has two young kids, who had her second severe mS attack within ten years, a bad sign for the rest of its course.
    she had already serious paralysis effects in the past and now the lower part of her body feels entirely numb and she has severe spells of dizziness all day long.
    it is so sad, she is a fine very smart and nice young woman now having to cope with the idea of a continuous decline of health …
    and yesterday during a visit to my mom i found out she doesn’t recognize herself anymore in the mirror, so they had ot put paper of her large mirror as they said she starts arguing with her own reflection, which of course does not back down.
    then we noticed she was talking to the small mirror in her bathroom, and my halfsister just let it go on, saying how cute it was, until I went over and gently showed and explained to my mom it was a mirror.
    at some point she said,’oh, good you tell me!’, which is exactly my point. it is painful to see how for example my sister does not see beyond what she perceives as ‘cute’, and does not understand the situation can easily deteriorate in frustration and confusion for my mom, so every bit of reality we can still give matters.
    mom is almost 90 and lately she is showing more and more signs of well, really getting older…
    also a caretaker came into the room, I was sitting on the bed next to my mom who was sitting beside me, but my sister and the caretaker started talking more and more loudly about issues not at all related to the present setting or my mom, until I realized myself I really had to shout to my mom to make myself understood and lost my patience enough to turn around and say ‘hello!…’
    they fell still and I asked if they could turn the volume down a bit as my throat was already sore from raising my own voice to my mom.
    the caretaker left soon after, but it all made me feel so alone, my sister lives so much in her own bubble driven by her need for attention and appreciation.
    this was the first time since february she accompanied me to my mom again, and we only had one hour to be tere, but she spent so little time connecting with my mom or with me in some real kind of way.
    tomorrow I will go with my brother to visit our mom, which is ok of course, but also has its limits and frustrations…
    this morning feels a bit doom and gloom like, and all I seem to be able to do to cope is to start dealing with the daily chores to feel somewhat in control and not entirely hopeless…

    • Larry says:

      I’m sad for you having to cope with all that loss Margaret.

    • Vicki says:

      I know it is sad and painful Margaret, but I had to laugh at the idea of your mom arguing with her big mirror, “which of course does not back down.” That is so much like the videos of a cat or puppy confronting “another one” in a mirror. I’m glad you were able to point her to the reality, however temporary that might be. And I agree that “dealing with daily chores” or “the business of our life” can be all we have to alleviate the “doom and gloom” of hopelessness. I feel like the hopelessness of my infancy is almost there all the time, often just out of reach, leaking into the present, interfering with my fiunctioning, and just waiting to take over, so I can feel it for another intense episode, which gets me some relief, from acceptance of reality — then I can usually rest, and nap, before moving on again to function.

    • Bernadette says:

      I know, it’s so sad, sweet blue-eyed Kona is no more! My neighbor wrote to me: “She was Queen of my house for over 18 years, she lived with me in the Philippines and Mexico before we came here; at least she died in the comfort of my arms.” And he sent me a gorgeous picture of her from when she was younger. So sweet!

      I hear you about your sense of doom and gloom. The sad reality about your friend’s daughter and your mother getting older are culminating in a feeling of grief and loss about to strike. It is a horrible place to be in, waiting for the inevitable and at the same time hoping it will never arrive. It all touched me what you wrote, but what affected me most (and made me angry) was your half sister and the caretaker talking over your conversation with your mother. It’s so insensitive and disrespectful. I’m glad you spoke up! Don’t they get it? These are your most precious moments with your mom. I imagine that you would want to cherish every single moment with her, not knowing how much longer she will be around. And I agree with you, that every bit of reality you can give her matters, after all this is the time when you are able to still connect with her on a significant level. I hope your visit tomorrow will be more peaceful and satisfying.

  138. superstarguru says:

    This post is strictly meant to fulfill my commitment to share some more details about spirituality with Bernadette, It is NOT intended to start any arguments with those who disagree with it.
    I fully understand that many people have made total peace with death being the final end of all experience forever, and I do appreciate the logical allure of that argument along with the simplicity it can bring to a non-believer’s everyday living.
    OK, let me move on, then…
    The first steps of my shying away from death being the end of everything forever lies within this essay by Tom Clarke. I strongly encourage you to try out the thought exercise in his essay:
    (Yes, I’ve posted this a couple times before on the blog)
    That entire Naturalism website is pretty interesting, and the philosophy rhymes a bit with Baruch Spinoza’s ‘God is indifferent, this universe is indifferent’ ideas.
    Naturalism also seems to fit quite well with the simulation argument
    All sorts of stuff about that here:
    (Nick Bostrom is the original proponent of the argument)
    And here, once again with Elon Musk:

    If we accept the possibility that we may be in a simulation created by a stupefyingly advanced civilization with technology post-dating ours by billions of years, we have to understand that our definition of what a *computer* is may be hopelessly outdated. What form factor would such computing be like so far in the future? I have NO idea, but the speculations here are tantalizing.

    And finally I always see David Eagleman’s “Possibilianism” ideas as interesting to pursue:

    Given the exciting direction the simulation argument seems to be carrying everything nowadays, it appears Dr. Eagleman can see some potential in narrowing down some of his far reaching possibilities of what an afterlife, if any, would look like.

    Again, ALL of what is said above could be wrong and it’s simply ‘lights out’ for all of us upon death; I just happen to be a bit more cautious about embracing that approach than Jack or Dr. Janov were.

    I hope this helps to show what I, as a cautious agnostic, happen to find stimulating.

    As a final note, I re-examined my coffee drinking habits and it appears to be more like 3-4 cups per day for me, along with tea, juice, plant-based milks, etc. I just wanted to correct my previous post.

    • superstarguru says:

      Think back to the Middle Ages, just a mere 600-700 years ago. Would the inhabitants of that era possibly grasp today’s 3-D printers, smartphones, high-speed computer workstations? Heck no! And that was just 600-700 years ago..
      Now imagine a civilization a BILLION years in the future. What sort of technology would it have? How mind-blowingly incomprehensible would it be?

    • Bernadette says:

      Guru, thanks for this information. I will work through it and get back to you… Give me a few days, I am dealing with some other heavy duty stuff right now that takes all my brain power.

      • superstarguru says:

        That sounds strikingly similar to what I say to many folks when I must beggar off a conversation. Do you receive a lot of complaints about that like I do? Just curious, no hurry or anything. I just wanted to fulfill what I promised to send out, and I am good with that.

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, I don’t need to “beggar off a conversation” but I knew you would understand (wink). Fact is, I have not even dealt with all my birthday mail, and then with the recent deaths, I was triggered profoundly. I’ve lost in the last decade 11 family members and in addition to that, friends, co-workers, and someone I was very close with. It just hit me really hard. When I need to deal with such profound pain, I usually withdraw from the world, go inside and be still. Give me a few more days before my brain can take in the information you sent. Thanks.

  139. Margaret says:

    tonight I feel a bit better.
    two phone calls made a big difference, one with my sister, whom I called for some trivial information but also as I felt like talking with her to feel if things were ok.
    she told me a long story about her childhood which suddenly reappeared in the present, bringing up a lot of feelings for her and her husband.
    it was good she could speak about it, for a long time, and at times cry as well.
    for me it felt good to listen and feel connected and she felt relieved afterwards.
    later on I called my mom, and that phone call also was nice, I could listen to her brining up some problems she had had during the day, not very clear what the specifics were but I could reassure her easily, and it was nice to tell each other we love each other very much, wished her goodnight and sweet dreams, about that last part she said she would certainly do her best for it, smiley.
    it probably helped i told her a couple of times my brother and me will visit her tomorrow afternoon.
    before that I did do a lot of little chores around the place and even studied some statistics…
    so after all the day was not too bad…
    early this morning thinking of my mom’s example to make the best of things helped me to get up and to start being active…
    and then my cats helped as well to improve my mood of course…
    tomorrow visit to mom, zoom group and then a fairly busy week ahead.
    and Trump and the unspoken details of his state to be curious about…

    • Larry says:

      I’m this morning at the tail end of a cold that I started to feel symptoms of on Monday morning. Because I have asthma and am getting older, breathing seems to be getting even more difficult when I have a cold. Life sure loses its luster when I have breathing trouble, and of course my anxiety was triggered some more because though It felt like a cold it could be COVID. Then there is the concern that if I have COVID I could spread it to my friends and community, so on Thursday I decided and arranged to get a COVID test on Friday. While waiting a few days for the result, I had to remain in isolation, which for the sake of my friends and community I was motivated to do. But if not motivated for them, I would resent the restriction on my life. I think I understand the anti-masker COVID denial stance. I wonder if I am a closet red-neck. 🙂

      Yesterday I received the negative COVID test result, and after having had sipped a lot of warm ginger tea for the past while to soothe my throat, I am breathing more easily and normally. Life has allure again. But the older I get and have these cold or flu induced difficult breathing episodes, the more I can feel how if I don’t get run over by a bus first, some day when I’m old, feeble and ill life won’t feel worth it anymore and I’ll be ready to go. I just hope I won’t go the way of my uncle. He died of pulmonary fibrosis. For years it was harder and harder for him to breathe, until he finally admitted himself to hospital, where his struggle worsened and continued for a couple of weeks until the end. When I was younger, when I got sick I automatically expected to bounce back, I never gave a thought to my approaching end.

      But today life is good and in the years ahead there are things I want to do, experiences I want to have and want to be less afraid to let people into my life, less alone. Sometimes in my primals Margaret, the past loss that feels the most painful is not having had more connection with the important people in my life. I think I understand the intensity of feelings you must have for your mother right now.

      • Bernadette says:

        Larry, that sounds very scary! I am glad you tested negative on covid19! What a relief! Please do take care of yourself, I know you always do. I like your positive outlook in life and good to hear you have plans, I especially like the “to be less afraid to let people into my life, less alone” part. You deserve all that you wish for.

        • Larry says:

          Thanks Bernadette. It sure is nice to read what you have to say on the blog. You have so much to say that I worry that you will exhaust yourself and leave us again for months or years. I hope you pace yourself and remain a continuous presence on the blog for a long time devoid of long periods of drought where you are absent.

          Regarding my comment on my breathing that struck you as being scary, I expect I will have more to write about it soon as I am having primals this morning that tie into my Oct 4 comment.

          • Bernadette says:

            Larry, thank you for your nice comment and the encouragement to keep writing. You know me well! I will follow your advice and pace myself. I am also learning to be less hard on myself with what I write. I am looking forward to hearing / reading about your feelings related to your breathing. Take good care!

  140. Margaret says:

    thanks for all the support!
    this morning I woke up feeling a slight headache, a bit of a sore throat and generally as if I might be getting a cold, so I decided to send my brother a message I would rather not come along to visit our mom.
    he will go on his own, which is good to do from time to time as it is a different interaction then.
    now I feel I only need to feel some concern about myself without carrying the extra responsibility about other people’s health as well.
    and it feels good to know my brother and mom will enjoy each others company.
    and now I can get some more rest and hopefully make the cold disappear as it usually does with me.
    of course there is a slight worry it might be worse than just a cold but so far there is no alarming sign…
    i realized myself my main worry in that case would be about my cats and where they would go in the worst case scenario.
    but well, that is part of the doom and gloom and I have several persons that would be there and know what matters to me…
    i am so tired of all the fear and worrying and increased loneliness by Corona…

  141. Margaret says:

    P.s. Vicki,
    that is such a nice story about that cat cho0sing your bed to have her litter.
    where were you while that happened?
    did you find out when you wanted to go to bed there was a whole new family that moved in there?
    or were you there?
    as a kid I sat with mommy cat a few times when she had one of her many litters …

    • Vicki says:

      Margaret, I was asleep in my bed, when she crawled in, down to the foot. I just lifted the covers, and saw her eyes glowing back at me. I figured she was “nesting”, looking for somewhere safe, but she had been doing that for two or three days, so I didn’t worry. Then in the middle of the night I woke “all hot and sweaty”, and still half asleep, I automatically moved my leg to “kick the covers off” and heard a little “thump” and suddenly realized I had swept one of her kittens out the bed! I quickly picked it up and put it back with her. The bed was all wet and hot, there were four kittens. I don’t remember if I moved them all that night, or waited until the morning. But my roommate got a good size box, lined it with towels, and we moved them all. I was a bit sad or concerned, because she had chosen my “warm bed”, and the box & towels were much cooler. But I realized I could not manage my bed as a cat kennel, especially as they belonged to my roommate.

      Did you attend group today? I had thought I would, since my trip to see Baby got cancelled, but then I hardly was able to sleep last night, and also had to get busy this morning, continuing with re-organizing my room — my job has shipped new equipment to all of us, for working online, and that means a lot of re-organizing for me. I disconnected old equipment (e.g. a big, dead UPS)), and installed a new, better power strip (1 of 3), re-organized the cables, vacuumed and cleaned. I was standing, kneeling, sitting, crawling in a couple of cycles to finish. Then I went out to rest in the other room, looked at the clock, and it was 01:38p, to my amazement, so group was over. I also handled mail, flattened a bunch of boxes for recycling, and threw out some old food. All-in-all, getting ready for my workweek tomorrow.

      One of my coworkers, my manager, has a 28-yr.old son, big, strapping guy — who suddenly was completely unable to function a week ago, passed out, his wife got him rushed to the hospital, it turns out he has a “brain infection”, but they don’t know the cause. Still awaiting some test results. I never heard of such a thing, since my close friend died of herpes encephalitis 38 yrs. ago. So I immediately thought of Covid, but he tested negative — I still wonder. But he seems to be recovering, can talk again, and is having physical therapy. So we’ll see. This manager works from Colorado, and is mask-averse, so he’s been kind of minmizing Covid until more recently, as he’s been hearing more about how we’re handling it in California. Stay safe!

  142. Margaret says:

    P.s. Vicki,
    that is such a nice story about that cat chosing your bed to have her litter.
    where were you while that happened?
    did you find out when you wanted to go to bed there was a whole new family that moved in there?
    or were you there?
    as a kid I sat with mommy cat a few times when she had one of her many litters …

  143. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    I will write a little about things I could have said today in group. I felt very tired today because of work and the frigging heat and and taking care of the old dog, so I lay down on my bed with laptop screen angled up so no one could see me. It would not have been kind of me if I had the camera pointed at my face and people could see me drifting in and out of sleep while they were crying their guts out. Of course, there is my little old pain of me not wanting people to see me at all, for fear of being killed. Note well, that as I write this now and usually in group, I feel like a tiny piece of unwanted unloved shit on the bathroom floor, but for some reason I am motivated to write this. Libra maybe. Anyway, I listened to just about everyone, but I was really moved by s.h. talking about the ken burns roosevelt movie. S.H was so moved by what he was saying, more than I have ever seen him the years I have been with him in groups. Roosevelt’s struggle with his polio while being in the top rank of those leaders who were saving the world during ww2. Note well #2…as I write this (and usually the rare times when I talk in group), I feel as boring as j. said he felt when he got a chance to speak. However, there are many groups where I feel like I have profound things to say, and I want to say those things, but my pain is powerful and keeps my mouth clamped shut. I wanted to say last Sunday, and I don’t know if it was profound or not, but the day before group, me and z went to meet our youngest son and his wife and our 2 grandkids at a fancy restaurant for my son’s birthday. I did not want to even go see them in the parking lot because of covid but we all ended up at the outdoor table together for dinner. My son and his wife were talking seriously about divorce for a week or more. His wife called us the previous week and was castigating him on the phone with us about not making the young kid do his online school perfectly, while she was at work. My son was acting like a blithering angry alien because he could not stand the stress she was laying on him. Plus they both drink. (there was a funny line I think by chris rock last night on snl about everyone being at home together for months because of covid, and telling each other in detail all the things they hated about each other—a line as only chris rock could tell it) Anyway, we sat at the table with them and the 2 kids. The parents were somewhat abusive to the little boy, you know in the way we, as primal people, all recognize to be harmful, but not psychotically harmful. The boy will carry this shit for the rest of his life, but he DOES get a lot of love also from my son and his wife. They kept niggling at him and every time they did, I ran my hand down his back, like petting a cat, and that seemed to calm him. That is what was profound and brings a couple of tears to my eyes as I write this, and had I said it in group this week or last, might have gotten me deeply into tears. But if I am not in group, I really am not going to let the tears flow, because I am very good at clamping that shit down. I am not sure if this relates to a great grandmother who might have petted me on the forehand when I was distressed as a baby. Or maybe that I have the power to help this little boy, even though I was rarely able to get help as a kid myself. The little girl sat herself down on my lap and proceeded to play her video phone game. Z later said the kids trusted us, even though we barely ever saw them even before covid. We had not seen the now since March. I don’t know why these kids make me so tearful. So young and vulnerable. My son and his wife struggle with money and their own pain but are trying to take good care of those kids. Anyway, at work, where they moved me into a new group (so that I could telework), I have gotten back to the IT support world that they yanked me out of a few years ago. I am actually getting a little bit of joy interacting with people at the hospital again on the phone. How could you not have a little joy in talking to the operator named Graciela? What a name! And she treated me like she had known me for years. I grew to have a lot of familiar customers/acquaintances on the first floor of the hospital, once we got back from Tucson in 2008. They would be glad to see me because I would fix their computers so they could take care of the patients. Better than the last 2 years of being with the pallets of computers we would bring from the warehouse, pallets that would not say a word. I did not realize what a loss that job was, because I have gotten used to losing people from a very early age. Sophie the dog hangs in there, still wants to go for walks, even if she looks at things, more than doing much walking. The thing about that ken burns ww2 stuff. I thought that some of us who are at a certain age, had parents who grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. That, in my opinion, was a totally different scene than the last 6 decades have been. Depression, World War, just horrific times and a lot of belt-tightening. There is something very very old about it. Of course I can’t put this into clarity. Just like a totally different lost thing, even though people did the same things then as now, eat, sleep, fuck, look for work, kill, die. Yeah, bullshit. Nothing profound. But some of our parents bore the weight and also the joys of those times, times that disappeared into the winds.

    • Larry says:

      I didn’t really need to talk in group today. Near the end of group, you and I were the only two who hadn’t talked yet. I was hoping you would but you weren’t there, not that I could see anyway. So I talked and was the last one. Today, because I really didn’t have a driving need to, I would have gladly not said anything and see you be the one to talk instead.

  144. superstarguru says:

    I am fighting a losing battle with another can of Jocasta maple sticks. Half an entire can gone in less than three hours after purchase. Two 4-ounce bags of honey BBQ potato chips also gone in hours. For some reason I still have zero interest drinking any of the alcohol sitting in my fridge for weeks. Just atrocious junk food, nothing healthy or anything that would take more than 60 seconds to prepare.
    I do not know why I needed the blog’s attention for this, except to say I’m greatly frustrated at my lack of self control over such invitingly tasty crap.

    • superstarguru says:

      It would seem as though chocolate-coated raspberry ice cream popsicles would symbolically nourish some of my deepest yearnings for motherly comfort, yet I no longer know where I can buy the ice cream popsicles anymore.

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Guru, — in entrenched ignorance and denial, from doing similar stuff long ago, I eventually became morbidly obese and diabetic, with a side of high blood pressure, and stroke. From fear, feeling, self-education and determination, I am in the process of repairing all that, as best I can. Measuring blood pressure & blood glucose were the first major things I had to do, regularly.

      There is significant & growing evidence that what you eat determines what bacteria thrive in your gut, and those billions of bacteria in turn send signals to your brain, basically saying “Feed me” in increasingly compelling messages — that are nearly impossible to deny by willpower. It sounds like you are likely in the grip of this. Changing this pattern is a long, slow process of getting your body to adjust and function differently — growing healthier bacteria takes time, for example, and research is leading even to trials of “fecal transplants” to “speed up” that bacterial process (unfortunately with other disease risks).

      Eating narural, whole foods, less-processed and refined, is a start. There are books you can read, or websites. Or you can ignore the necessary work of this — until it may kill you withj disease. Sugan feeds cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s is increasingly being called “Type-3 diabetes”, and sugar is in research as a factor in things like Parkinson’s & MS. So consider your options, Guru.

      • superstarguru says:

        Vicki, I plan on trying to write a more comprehensive response to you soon. Too much clutter and small errands going on at the moment for me to settle down and devote some “long wavelength” thinking about all you’ve shared.
        Thanks for writing back and I’m really sorry to hear you had a stroke. That completely shocked me and I can literally almost feel the terrifying fear you must have had.
        Will try to come back as soon as I can.

        • Vicki says:

          Yes, Guru, it was terrifying, but it was also in 1999, so I’ve been doing better since, and working on these problems.

  145. Margaret says:

    wow, what a great comment you wrote!
    it touched me when you wrote about those grandkids of yours, and how you stroked the boys back to give him some measurement.
    I wish I had had a granddad like that, never knew my grandparents at all.
    and the little girl on your lap also touches me, I never was able to sit on my dad’s lap or when I did it was very briefly and knowing it was just for a practical reason or something, never felt at ease let alone welcome.
    so glad to hear you have your old job again where you enjoy some of the social interactions.

    Vicki, ha, what a story about those cats in your bed, smiley!
    and it sounds like so much work to get all that equipment installed for your job, can’t they send some technician to do that stuff so people don’t have to spent their Sunday on it?
    too much to hope for I guess…
    i hope to hear you next Sunday, it is always good to hear you.
    Bernadette, you maybe read I did not go visit my mom yesterday, but my brother phoned me twice while he was there and I talked to my mom as well.
    today he sent me a copy of a very well written e-mail he sent to the director of the nursing home, in which he expresses his concern about my mom and some other residents showing signs of loneliness and missing the personal attention they got used to from a very nice caretaker that was replaced to work in the hairdresser of the home and only one afternoon at mom\s ward as an animator now.
    that is such a shame as she did schooling last year to shift from her hairs]dressers job to being an animator, and did a fantastic job at that.
    she also sent us many pictures and videos of the musical afternoons or walks she did with our family member during the months of lockdown, and afterwards, which was so very helpful while not being allowed to visit.
    she cares so much and everyone misses her and all the fun and warmth she added to the place.
    so now we can only hope for a positive response from the director…
    but in any case it was a beautiful e-mail my brother sent, at the same time respectful and direct and asking for a response.
    my brother also called me this morning before he wrote the mail, just to talk once more about our mom, who is doing well, but lately sometimes drifts off into her own world talking to herself or the mirror .
    my brother mentioned it in his mail and added that when she is dressed and gets attention she shifts back to reality, with which he emphasized the importance for enough personal attention and activities.
    he added he asked the head nurse to have the doctor take some blood samples as to check for a possible lack of vitamins or minerals as well, which he also mentioned in his mail to the director, and thanked him for all the good care they give their residents.
    my brother did a really good job with this mail, which makes me feel very good, and proud of him.
    times like this we feel like a good team.

  146. Margaret says:

    A typo in my former comment about my mom and her mental state:
    when I mentioned that my brother wrote to the director, that my mom sometimes drifts off into a world of her own, but can easily be drawn out of it when she gets addressed, instead of ‘dressed’, and gets attention.
    she is always well looked after and properly and nicely dressed etc.
    so the message was she needs a conversation and some attention regularly and some activities or her mind starts creating its own virtual world.

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, I hope you are feeling better! That was a great email your brother sent to the director of the nursing home. I hope you will get a positive response, and that someone will be assigned to your mother to keep her company and keep her from slipping into the forgetfulness. When my mom was in the nursing home and I visited, the worst thing that I observed was the old people being so “spaced out” like they were medicated to keep them quiet and compliant. It seemed that their life force had been dimmed, which I found extremely sad. Just giving them some individual attention made their eyes lit up.

  147. Barry McCall says:

    Hi everyone, at the urging of a well loved acquaintance of us all I have to tell you about one of the best days of my life. Leslie and I were attending a small family gathering at the home of our niece and her husband when I was called to the balcony to ‘check out that car’. I looked out at the driveway and was astonished to see my younger son climbing out of my ‘dream’ car with a huge Cheshire Cat grin on his face. My initial reaction was ‘what?’ he’s just gone and bought himself my bucket list car, but then he held up the keys and yelled up to me “Happy Birthday Pops”
    I couldn’t believe it, my sons just bought me a car !!! A 1989 Jaguar XJ6!!
    As I’m sure you can all imagine, after I regained consciousness the tears flowed freely, both mine and Leslie’s, who also had no idea of our sons plans. The car is immaculate, amazingly maintained and is my favourite model and colour – British Racing Green.
    Whilst I now own a car that I’ve always yearned for but never thought I could realistically afford is wonderful, it is secondary to the fact that my sons came up with the idea, went ahead and looked for it, waited until the right vehicle and the right previous owner materialized, and then bought it for me. I can’t think of too many emotional lifts that could be better than what I felt last weekend. Finding Leslie and being present at our boys births obviously lead the pack, but this lift is only a furlong or two behind.
    I’m still pinching myself to make sure it’s not a dream!
    Barry M

  148. Margaret says:

    wooow Barry!!!
    and happy birthday from me as well, Margaret

  149. Vicki, I can’t believe you remember that story. I must have told you that twenty years ago ! But yes I fessed up 🙂 Gretch

    • Vicki says:

      Gretchen, I heard it personally, but also remember how you enjoyed telling it, and another time heard you tell a shorter version in group. So the memory was reinforced.

  150. Barry McCall says:

    Thanks everyone for your positive reactions, I’m still flying high. Sorry Phil, I won’t be using it as an Uber vehicle, but you can have your picture taken standing beside it. It’s $10 per pic.:)
    And Daniel I won’t be freaking out about the birds ‘cos I’ll be camping out beside it all day with shotgun in hand!
    Vicki, Gretchen already came clean with her Jag story. She’s older and a lot wiser now, but even so, if she does recommend a car for you to buy, just smile and walk away!!!

  151. Vicki says:

    “The Hill” posted on FB: “President Trump has instructed his top aides to stop negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic lawmakers on coronavirus stimulus legislation until after the November election.”

    “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted. The message marks a sharp reversal for the president, who just three days earlier had urged leaders of both parties to come together to finalize an agreement that can hit his desk before the Nov. 3 elections.”

    It’s all a game show for him. So, halt Covid relief until after the election, but full-speed ahead on RBG replacement on Supreme Court? Sounds like he believes he will steal the election. Since he flip-flops continually, lying with every breath, he gets away with dishonesty, because we’ve learned not to expect any consistency! Keeping us all off-balance is part of his game to succeed and take all the marbles!

    And he’s gotten sympathy for “catching Covid” and “recovering so quickly” (assuming he did catch it), yet he put everyone around himself at risk of catching it from him by holding phto ops, and still belittles mask-wearing, with his family championing their freedom to refuse. His base likes him thumbing his nose at the world, they imagine it means he’s strong, and they like his bullying ways, they feel that “aggression” is strength. At the same time, lots of people believe he never had Covid, and the whole thing is another publicity hoax. His Drs. have put out conflicting reports, as well.

    • superstarguru says:

      I don’t think this situation is all about Trump. The White House wanted to pass a stimulus right away, particularly since Trump is behind in the polls and this gives him a chance to “buy” or sway some voters his way at the last minute.
      Mitch McConnell’s top priority has been to jam the Supreme Court and lower district/circuit courts with reactionary judges whose tenures will last for decades to come. McConnell likely told Trump “NO DEAL” in the past couple days on the stimulus so the longer-lasting judicial work can be finished. Trump had to oblige this, and to squeeze the most out of a desperate situation he is trying to finagle a ‘hostage deal’ for himself by offering the stimulus only upon re-election in light of McConnell’s refusal.
      If I were Trump, I would have told McConnel, “If you don’t let me pass a stimulus BEFORE the election, I will nominate a liberal to the Supreme Court and you won’t have time to vote on any dream conservative before we likely leave office.”
      Pardon my French, but that would have squeezed McConnell’s balls enough to oblige Trump’s wishes.

      • superstarguru says:

        By the way, a promise to work on stimulus after re-election is meaningless in Trumpworld. What’s the public going to do if Trump turns his back on that promise after securing four more years anyway? (fairly low chance at this point anyway, it would seem).

        • superstarguru says:

          Obviously Trump should have made that ball-squeezing ‘nominate a potential liberal’ threat BEFORE nominating Barrett. Trump made a mistake with that by giving up leverage over McConnel for a possible pre-election stimulus….which is now why we’re seeing Trump’s desperate ‘stimulus after election’ ploy,
          Fascinating brinksmanship between a bunch of terrible reptiles.

    • Bernadette says:

      I just have a gut feeling about this. If anything is “fake news” it’s Trump having covid19. It’s all B.S., a set-up, another way to mislead the gullible public. Turns out, he had a specific plan with it. The sudden stimulus package is only one of his schemes, telling the public, see covid is not that bad, is another. This guy is a liar, a cheat, and truly dangerous.

  152. Bernadette says:

    Last night I dreamed of Jack, the first time since he crossed over. He was assigned to assemble and lead a choir in the heavenly spheres. He was exuberant, young, dynamic, happy, and waved his arms about as he used to do in this life. While he was calling out and waving to others to come join the choir, I heard music in the air, reminiscent of an ancient Sanskrit prayer song. I woke up with a smile.
    I know, Jack, you would say, It’s just “your feeling” – but it’s a nice one! (smiley)

    • Bernadette says:

      I shared this dream with Jim, which in turn reminded him of a picture he had of Jack that Jack had received from another primal person. The picture shows Jack in his full exuberance at the 1993 retreat in Santa Barbara waving his arms in the air and yelling out to somebody. He is wearing a gray and white striped tie-dye T-shit. There is a note attached to the photo, written by the other primal person, saying: “To Jack, a warm and loving human being. From ?”
      Does anybody here know who gave that picture to Jack? It’s a wonderful picture and a very nice message.

  153. Bernadette says:

    Vicki, I had an impulse this morning to write something nice to you. I think it is phenomenal how you turned your life around, as you described above to Guru. It must have taken an enormous amount of discipline and willpower to do what you did. I admire the sheer determination with which you faced your situation. And you have achieved so much! Not only have you lost a lot of weight but more important, you have improved the quality of your life, and most likely this will prolong your life expectancy altogether. I think it’s an amazing achievement!
    I can speak from experience, I have not much discipline when it comes to food. That’s why I usually don’t even buy junk food, because once it’s in the house, I am lost to its calling! I agree with the bacteria calling the brain, give me more! Just the other day, I had pasta for the first time in a long while, and the next day, my brain was foggy and my vision blurry, that could be because of the gluten, but what’s worse, the following day, my body craved sugar… and as I am in an “emotionally challenged state” I had an ice cream! Bugger! Now I am suffering for at least 10 days until the sugar is worked out of my system. Back to kale and cabbage (smiley)

    • Larry says:

      Big jugs of sea salted, roasted mixed nuts are on sale in some of the stores. I convinced myself they are a healthy snack, so why not save money and buy a cupboard full of jugs. I’ve been dipping into them for at least a couple of months. They probably are healthy in moderation, but they are so tasty and it is so easy to reach for another handful, and another and just one more and then another one more time etc., until I decide to be lazy and skip a meal and then grab a few more mouthfuls of nuts. I feel myself putting on weight, puffing up around the belly which isn’t healthy. I suspect the salt dries out my skin and aggravates eczema. I suspect there might be milk residue or sulphite preservative in the nut mixture, and some likely were mouldy when harvested, all of which trigger my asthma. Seems like I finally took a stand today and haven’t had any, ..yet. They are so tempting. I suppose I should throw away what I have, but I can’t do that….duh.

      • Bernadette says:

        Oh wow, Larry, sounds delicious! I hear you loud and clear! My downfall are roasted peanuts in the shell; there is something about the sound of the cracking shell, there is something about the crunching, stimulating sensation in the mouth; totally primal! I have not bought any in ages now because, like you, I couldn’t stop myself from eating them. In my case, I craved the sensation, not the calories. And I gained quite a bit of weight. Nuts have a lot of health benefits, but they also contain a lot of fat, unsaturated, yes, but still fat. I guess like with everything else, it’s about portion control.
        I just did a quick search online regarding nuts and asthma. Apparently, various nuts, especially peanuts and tree nuts can trigger asthma attacks.
        This website has other interesting information regarding overeating nuts:
        A quote: “When you buy nuts in bulk, it’s a good idea to divide them into single-serving-size portions to avoid eating too many at once.” Tell that to a primal person hahaha!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks, Bernadette, for following your impulse — but I often feel differently about it, because I remember how I was when I was thin for just a few years, many years ago. My health was much better physically, but emotionally and psychologically I was in more trouble, and quite disfunctional. My defenses were “for shit”, just really bad. I was overwhelmed in feelings to a much greater extent than I am now. I was so scared, and isolated in self-blame, that I decided I should try overeating again, hoping to “manage” my pain better, fearing I was at risk of hurting myself. But what happened was that as soon as I gave in to overeating, I completely lost control of it, and ballooned up over 100 lbs. in a year and a half. And kept going up.

      Fat is a defense, and the layers of fat do blunt pains — so at some point I was not so overwhelmed all the time, and I started reclaiming my everyday functionality (emotional and psychological), even though my physical health was declining, eventually to the point where my life was in danger. While I have worked hard to change that, at the same time I feel I “haven”t done enough”, and I can’t really separate the two sides, that are both operating every day. I go through times when I am strong enough to not buy anything I shouldn’t eat, but I regularly revisit the feelings that I need whatever it is that I can’t control, once I start. I still face those problems, every day, but they are not as bad as they once were.

      What surprised me was that even after gaining a lot of weight, I was still able to feel deeply and have connected old feelings, as I did when I was thin — they just became less in duration and intensity. Once I gained access to my old feelings in therapy, that has never “gone away”. I thought the fat would put me back to the way I was before therapy — feeling dead much of the time. But it did not. I sometimes still have a “dead feeling”, but they are temporary, before I have some feeling breakthrough, and continue.

      • superstarguru says:

        Vicki, I’m keeping this short and sweet by saying I’ve had many experiences similar to yours where weight is concerned. Even though I firmly agree with you that layers of body fat is an effective body armor especially against mortifying fear/anxiety, I should point out that the neighbor whom I think of as a likely sociopath is, and always has been, thin as a rail.

        • superstarguru says:

          I can think of a fair number of people who have dangerous, fucked-up, non-empathetic views of other people and have no weight gain problems.
          Somehow this makes me feel more inadequate since I am still dealing with weight yo-yo syndrome, so that even if I solved that problem, I would be no better or more emotionally mature than these other originally thin sociopaths anyway.

          • Bernadette says:

            Guru, sorry to butt in. The “thin as a rail sociopath” has other defenses than eating. Don’t compare yourself with a sociopath! A sociopath would never even think about reflecting on his actions or feelings, let alone how his actions and words could affect another person, unless they are done or spoken on purpose to benefit his/her own agenda. Your intention is to deal with your feelings, I think, that makes you a more conscious and aware human being. I don’t like to use terms like “better” because I can’t judge what is good or better for a person; it’s their own choice. I just know that you are in Primal and are aware of your feelings. That counts for a lot. So, here, I have said something nice about you. (smiley)

      • Bernadette says:

        Vicki, first thing that comes to mind: you are being much too hard on yourself! By god, Vicki, what a horrible childhood you had and how much pain you have to carry around! Of course you need a defense. Other people take recreational drugs, chain smoke, are sex addicts, child molesters, abusers, cutters, murderers, etc., in order to repress their primal pain. They act out in violent ways towards themselves and others. And they are not working on themselves emotionally. So what is a bit of overeating to help you manage your life and feelings. Be kind to yourself!
        You have worked hard over the years, physically and emotionally, you have not given up but are still in the game. You have insight and awareness of your feelings and thoughts and actions, which is what this is all about. Of course, there has to be a balance, I understand. Obesity is dangerous, I hear you. But it seems, you have found a way to manage it, found a balance where you can manage your weight and your feelings.
        That it is a constant up and down, I have learned to understand myself in the meantime. I don’t have the final answer either. My defenses creep up when I have to face a challenging situation. Eating is my defense. And sleeping. A lot. These defenses are so deeply intrenched in us because they started so early in life, they are rooted in the limbic system, connected with instinct, and no thinking or rationalizing or good intention can reach it, when it is activated. Eating was the only comfort we had. And all the awareness and will power sometimes don’t work when life gets painful.
        So, to summarize (not that you need it, ha!): Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing great. Keep doing what you’re doing. Live your life. Feel your pain. Eat. Live your life. Feel your pain. Eat. Repeat. Mostly, be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. (I have to remind myself of this every day)

  154. Larry says:

    I’ve been crying off and on this morning until this afternoon when I had enough. I cried about being alone and accepting I will never have loving parents and that it is a feature of my growing up that can never be undone. I cry about the trauma that life inflicted on my wife and myself with her death, adult trauma piled on top of my childhood trauma brought on by life. I feel the tension releasing in my throat, in my chest and lungs, in my back, as I gradually ease into the primal and let it unfold, wave after wave. I feel and understand how since I was little there was too much trauma for me to face in my life. My body absorbed the blow, engaged itself in constant lifelong tension to suppress the feeling, to diffuse and divert the brunt of my reality so as to protect my consciousness from awareness of it. While crying deep in feeling the reality, I think how afterward Jack would reply how sad it makes him feel to read this comment I will post on the blog, and would encourage me to keep at the primalling. Thinking of him and how he no longer exists in the same way the ancient pharoahs no longer do or Cro-magnon man no longer does, I cry even deeper, more fully, realizing that life has no favourites, no exceptions, we almost all are struck with trauma of some sort and then regardless of whether our life has been meaningful or fulfilled, all life eventually comes to an end, at any stage, whether we are ready or not. Today I sank into simple truth that I’ve been traumatized by life and there is no escape but to accept and feel it and understand what it’s done to me. After the bout of primalling, I’m breathing more easily and more deeply. I feel that in facing some truth, I’ve taken some of the load off my body in its task it’s undertaken, from practically the beginning of my life, to protect me from consciousness of my truth that I couldn’t see until now. Interestingly, I feel today I will have the self-discipline to not binge on mixed nuts.

    • Vicki says:

      Larry, I like this very much, what you wrote, especially the final 10 lines, and then the “not binge on mixed nuts” brought a laugh.

      • superstarguru says:

        Vicki, I want to write a semi-apology to you for not really carrying on the conversation we had earlier about junk food. I was already aware of the important role of gut bacteria, and I do eat a lot of healthy food (including some known probiotics)….it’s just that I sometimes get caught in a junk food binge cycle as Larry touched upon.
        I’m sure fecal transplants have their value somewhere and Margaret seemed to like the topic, but lets not go there today and stick with something sweet-smelling, such as mint tea or heady citrus aromas.
        I am in the same boat as Bernadette, where once junk food is in the house it is the first thing consumed. The critical point of decision making is at the grocery store, with a tiny hint of an angry, petulant child wanting to wrangle at least of modicum of instant gratification from a life being a continuously dull and distressing hum.
        I have to accept there is a strange monster inside of me which wants his honey barbecue potato chips, maple frosting sticks, and assorted cookies and he will be stamping his petulant foot wanting satisfaction when at the grocer.

        • superstarguru says:

          I look at the inviting silver foil packaging of a Three Musketeers bar and think of the sugary, frothy, almost obnoxiously sweet excesses only modern day capitalism can uniquely provide by lucky evolutionary chance which will never be seen again when we die. Why not be merry for one night with the candy bar before we die tomorrow as the Cro-Magnons we never remotely knew did so long ago?

      • Larry says:

        Good. I’m happy I made you laugh Vicki. 🙂

    • Bernadette says:

      Larry, you had a profound experience during your primal. I can feel your agony. In fact, I am always impressed to what extent you describe your primals – the feeling and thought processes, the insights and relief – like no other. It also looks like you have come to an acceptance of what was and couldn’t be changed – the traumas, the repression of your pain in order to survive, the lodging of the pain in your physical body – and now you are ready to let it go. As painful as it sounds, I think you are actually in a good place. I think the acceptance of what we can’t change and letting it go is important, actually essential, in order to move forward in life. I hope with this new realization you are able to look into the future. I hope your life will open up like your air ways have, and that a much deserved new wind will blow into your life. You so deserve to have more love and closeness with people. I think you are ready.
      A question came to mind: have thoughts of forgiveness ever crossed your mind in connection with acceptance and letting go? For me forgiveness is an important factor. I am practicing it a lot these days, and it is not easy. Do you have any experience with this concept?
      I had written a lot more and much better before this, but it got lost during the upload, and I couldn’t replicate it fully – sorry! I am so annoyed with myself that I didn’t save it in a document before, which is what I usually do with longer posts! Duh! That will teach me!

      • superstarguru says:

        Bernadette, I don’t mean to interrupt your conversation with Larry…but whenever you have the chance, would you mind sharing what impressions you have gathered about me? Am I ready for love, too?

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, First of all I think, everyone deserves love and closeness, you, too. Sharing my impressions about you might be a more difficult task for me because I don’t know you as well as Larry (and Vicki). But I am reading your spiritual links you sent earlier right now, and will write something about you in those terms.

          • superstarguru says:

            Just so you are aware, you and I did meet on a few occasions a long time ago, but you are right that you know Larry & Vicki a lot better than you know me.
            When you told Larry you think he is ready for love, I really started to feel as though true love is only a treasure from which a tight coterie of advanced Primallers can draw from at the exclusion of unseasoned greenhorns such as myself.
            There is no requirement for you to read the links I gave earlier; they’re just something to savor at your leisure. Feel free to comment on them if you ever feel up to it.

            • Bernadette says:

              Guru, although I truly believe that everyone deserves to be loved, I also know that this need/feeling plays tricks on us; let me explain. From my experience, love comes to the ones who are open for it. It starts with an internal process. Opening up to love is painful, I know it myself, it is related to trusting again and opening your heart and making yourself vulnerable. All the things that got us in trouble as children, and consequently we had to shut down and shut out love and care and closeness. Even when I think I deserve love and have it in my life, I sometimes catch myself pushing love away. In fact, a most recent discovery is that I unconsciously want to separate from people rather than be close, even though the primal goal would to be close to people. I said before, it plays tricks on us. I used to say, I don’t need anybody, but at the same time I attached subconsciously to people who gave me “something” which might not have been love but fulfilled some other need. Then I said, now I want love. And didn’t realize that I demanded it, yet another downfall. Because you can’t force love. It has to come on its own volition. But one thing I know: love comes to you when you are receptive, when you open up, and mostly, when you give it first. It starts with you and only then it can flow to you. I believe it is in your capacity to feel your pain, get through it, leave it behind, and open up to love. That said, it is not a “this first” than love follows. It happens all at once, a constant back and forth, ebb and flow of accepting love, experiencing pain, pushing away, shutting down, working through more pain, opening up again, reaching out, letting in love, getting hurt again, being vulnerable again, etc. It’s a painful process but that’s what we are here for. Doing Primal.

              • Larry says:

                Well said Bernadette.

              • superstarguru says:

                Bernadette, I do see the incremental concept you seem to be conveying, and I am also resonating with your comment of, “(your being) attached subconsciously to people who gave me “something” which might not have been love but fulfilled some other need.”
                I do tend to be drawn towards women who laugh at my jokes or men who smoothly and loquaciously tell me drawn-out, engaging stories. (Yes, just like mom and dad apparently)
                I’m sure there are many, many more things we could talk about, including perhaps a response to your post regarding sociopaths above. Unfortunately I am falling asleep here at my desk. Toodles.

              • Jo says:

                I like that Bernadette

      • Larry says:

        The concept of forgiveness probably is more important to you, Bernadette, probably due to the nature of how your parents treated you, than it is to me. The concept of forgiveness has never been a separate thing that entered my mind. I can understand where in your case tho, forgiveness would be an important step on the road to acceptance and letting go.

        As for your comments about my primal that I wrote about, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to know that someone reads what I write. What your wrote is interesting to me in how it’s different from how I see it. Every primal has felt profound to me as they are happening, this one not any more so than the others. This one wasn’t any more dramatic or meaningful than others. This one is just a stage further along a continuum. I wanted to describe this one because it helps me process it. Each one has been a venture into the unknown, an opening up to feelings and meaning that have been repressed since early life, and thus an awakening and a flush of insights. They are all part of a continuum of painful acceptance and letting go, primal by primal, year by year, decade after decade, each a little piece at a time, none individually causing overtly dramatic change in my life, but now and then when I pause and reflect, I notice …oh, it’s easier to be with people than it was 5 years, a year, and even 6 months ago, or I notice I’m more relaxed and present and speaking up more and being more spontaneous and interactive with people instead of being so scared, armored and withdrawn as I used to be. My airways are not nearly as open as I’d like them to be. I think they are better when I’m enjoying myself with people. I think they are worse when I feel the oppression of too much being alone and/or unhappy and not doing what I need to to meet my needs. These days of living alone, I feel improvement after primals, and often increasing breathing difficulty leading up to primals. I’m curious about what you said about looking into the future Bernadette. I feel like I always have, even before therapy, tried to guide my life into a future that mattered to me, as opposed to not taking any control at the helm.

        SSG, I don’t think it’s only some primal elite who fall in love. It can happen to anyone. Some primal elite never do. Some primal newbies, like myself, are very fortunate to have that happen very soon after the start of therapy. There are people who fell in love before they came to therapy. There are people who fall in love and never do therapy. There are a whole lot of factors that go into meeting and falling in love with some one. In my case, being in primal therapy, tho only at the early stage, helped give me more courage and self-understanding to take what felt to me like big risks in opening up and getting to know this person who was beginning to feel more and more important to me. What primal therapy does is give you the option of getting out of a rut and going on a path of taking emotional risks to make your life better. Primal therapy can’t work without the person intentionally taking those risks. I don’t think it’s being a primal elite that makes a person capable of falling in love. I think it is a person’s intent that closes or opens the door to potential, and primal therapy can help to dismantle self-inflicted barriers that get in the way. Beyond that, it depends on chance and circumstances, which a person can try to shift more in their favour if possible.

        • Bernadette says:

          Larry, I get the sense that I somehow offended you with my interpretation of your primal and that you are annoyed or irritated with me. If so, I am sorry!
          I am aware that you have consciously and continuously been searching and working for a better life/future ever since you’ve been in Primal (or even before as you say). I am also aware that your primals have been on a continuum of accessing feelings ever so deeper and more connected. And in no way would I say that this primal was “more profound than” or “better than” or “more connected than” or “having more impact than” other primals that you had in the past. When I read this last post, I thought that you were in a slightly different place, where you say, you are accepting what was. Maybe you have written this before and I had forgotten, and I just interpreted it this time from my ‘wishful thinking’ point of view, rather than from your reality. If that’s the case, I am sorry, and I will be more careful in the future. Specifically when I talk about your future, I mean a new relationship with someone special. Again, that’s maybe just my wishful thinking for you. But you do deserve someone special, I won’t back down on that!
          I am curious, when you say: “I can understand where in your case tho, forgiveness would be an important step on the road to acceptance and letting go.” what exactly do you mean? How does my parents’ treatment of me call more for forgiveness than what was done to you?
          Nice comment to Guru!

          • Larry says:

            Oh, no please be reassured that you didn’t offend me. I’m not annoyed or irritated. Yes, you’re right on, I am in a different place…definitely yes. I feel as if I’m an insect nymph or a shrimp or crab, moulting….shedding a tough exoskeleton to expose a soft, vulnerable skin in which I can grow and then harden a new protective layer until the next stage of vulnerabiity and growth. I suppose what I was trying to get at is that this growth stage if that’s what it is, isn’t unlike the many others in the long process of doing this therapy. I guess I interpreted your earlier comment wrong in assuming you were implying that this stage was especially unique for me, and i wanted to reply and explain that it’s one stage in many in the long primal process.

            As to your last couple of sentences, I’ve never had the opportunity to talk to you about it but my understanding is that your parents, or at least one of them, was overtly mean to you. It that’s true, I think you would have clear and justified reason to resent them for it, to even hate them. But I think that underneath that is the little kid who loved and needed them in the first place. Forgiving them seems to me a way to become friends again with that little kid who loved and needed them, and the pain that little kid who you were experienced from not having loving parents. I’m just forming an impression based on what I think I know of you from what I think I remember you wrote or talked about in the past. I admit my impression might be entirely wrong. You are the expert on you of course, and the only way for me to really understand is to hear you talk or see you write about it.

            As for me, my parents weren’t generally overtly mean to us in any way that I’m conscious of. We grew up with the belief that they worked very hard to provide us with a safe and clean home and our basic material needs and comforts were provided for. None of us were pressured into any career life choice. I had some vague, diffuse anger toward them because I felt something was missing, but we felt they did the best they could. Through therapy I’m realizing a child needs so much more….being seen, being loved, being supported, emotional warmth, feeling safe. My parents failed on that account. The more I come to realize that, the more I sadness and pain I feel for not having the parents I needed and what that lack did to me, and that little kid is still in me wanting and needing to love them and be loved back. I don’t have an entrenched resentment toward them or a stage of forgiveness to work through. I actually never think of the idea of forgiveness or enact it. It’s just a foreign concept to me. I just learn to avoid people who would intentionally hurt me. Not many people in my life, none that I can think of, has or had the intent to hurt me though that I can think of. There is no one who I feel angry towards who I could weight the option to forgive. Or perhaps I don’t feel angry for long so much as I feel hurt, take the blow and go straight toward the feeling and deal with it, accept and move on but avoid the hurtful person, at least until we know and understand each other better. I think I’m starting to ramble. It’s past bed time.

  155. Phil says:

    The vice presidential debate last night was civilized and watchable, and I thought Kamala Harris did very well, California can be proud. Mike Pence was strangely oblivious to that fly on his head, as he is to other things. I had thoughts of re-watching that Hollywood classic “The Fly” for more insights.

  156. Jo says:

    I wrestle with the concept of forgiveness; can someone give a personal example of it? I cant quite understand your version Larry “ Forgiving them seems to me a way to become friends again with that little kid who loved and needed them, and the pain that little kid who you were experienced from not having loving parents.” Maybe through primalling, taking directly to my parents I’ve regained some ‘love’ or self-worth. For me, that’s the process of letting go.

    • Bernadette says:

      Jo, I think forgiveness is very personal and different for everyone. For me it is a decision, a conscious and deliberate process. And it is not a final, one-time step occasion, like, Okay, now I forgive my mom and dad for fucking me up, no! It is a process, like letting go of old feelings. But like working through old pain, it starts with an intention. Maybe letting go is the same as forgiveness, I’m not sure. I think letting go is more allowing, whereas forgiveness is more intentional. I don’t know! I am exploring the concept myself and thought I throw it out there and see what people have to say. (Also see my comment to Larry below)

  157. Phil says:

    This discussion on forgiveness has had me thinking. To forgive, it seems to me, to begin with you need to blame someone. In my case, at the start of therapy, I blamed my childhood, as certainly a lot of bad things happened to me then..
    A lot of it had to do with my mother, but since I really couldn’t remember her, and she had a severe progressive illness, that seemed to let her off the hook.
    she wasn’t really there for me to blame, or forgive. Since then, as I’ve remembered more, little by little, I’ve come to blame her and get to a lot of angry feelings, although I had no adult relationship with her, which might seem to be where forgiveness would come in. It’s very easy to for me to keep my focus on her, because in my memory it was all so negative.
    I had thought and felt my father to be simply useless and unhelpful and not key to my neurosis, so not to blame really, so possibly even forgiven in my mind for that reason. I did and do connect with anger towards him, but it hasn’t seemed to go deep.
    More recently I’m finding out how important his uselessness was. It’s actually another critical component for me, which has been hard to reach, but is now happening in my process. So, I can start to more fully blame him too, which is more important in that I can certainly remember him well, and he’s who I had after early childhood.

    • Larry says:

      Interesting how the process in a rate that you can absorb sequentially unfolds for you Phil.

    • Phil says:

      Another part of this is, since I didn’t seem to try hard to get what I needed from my father, in the way of understanding and help, he can’t be blamed. I’m starting to see how wrong that idea is. It was so bad, he was so useless, that I needed to completely turn away from him to isolation; that’s how complete his failure was as a parent. I certainly can’t and shouldn’t be forgiving him.

      • Phil says:

        I’m want to add something because it might be helpful for me to write about here, going off on a tangent away from the discussion on forgiveness.
        One day early in my therapy in New York where I started, I was directing some anger towards my father on my own in the group room, in the way we used to do.
        My therapist came over and more or less said it was wrong what I was doing, that it was all about my mother, that my father actually saved me, so there was no use doing that. There was a little truth in what she said, but for the most part she was wrong, and wrong to be saying something like that. I don’t automatically take in what people say to me, and I continued to express anger towards my father, even if not in her presence. She was very helpful, in general, and I’ll never forget that, but was wrong about that..

        • Bernadette says:

          Phil, my gut tells me that your therapist was wrong with stopping you from getting angry at your dad. You did well expressing anger early in your therapy. Gretchen would have been quite pleased with me, if I had been able to express anger, which I couldn’t. I was too scared. I’m glad you trusted your instincts and kept on doing what was right for you.

        • Larry says:

          Seems to me she was mistaken in directing you away from your anger toward your Dad. I guess she thought engaging in anger toward your Dad was a defense diverting you from your true primal anger, which I assume she supposed was toward your mother. Seems to me you have plenty of reason to be angry toward both, from what you’ve described of your parents’ parenting behaviour.

    • Bernadette says:

      Phil, I have gone through a similar process. Access to the feelings of neglect and indifference on the part of my father, and the helplessness of my mother, came so much later in therapy than the overt and obvious transgressions towards me, such as my dad’s violence for example. It seemed that my mother’s helplessness towards my father’s aggression was (and still is) deeply imbedded in me and I am just only discovering on a conscious level it’s affect on my adult life. My own helplessness is coupled with anger and resentment, and as you wrote, blame, mostly directed at people in the present in the act-out. I have worked hard at this over the last three years, taking responsibility for my perceived inadequacy and helplessness, rather than putting blame on someone else. It has been a very hard but powerful process.

  158. Bernadette says:

    Larry, I am glad I asked and glad you are not irritated or annoyed with me. But to be fair, you did read my earlier comment right, I did assume that you had arrived in a different or more unique place, so that was my mistake. I see now that you are in a continuum as you so well describe and I misinterpreted it. I like the way you describe your evolving process “as if I’m an insect nymph or a shrimp or crab, moulting….shedding a tough exoskeleton to expose a soft, vulnerable skin in which I can grow and then harden a new protective layer until the next stage of vulnerability and growth.” Are you by any chance a Cancer in the astrological signs? 😉
    Regarding forgiveness: Thanks for explaining, and I understand now your thinking process, although I don’t necessarily agree with it. You remembered correctly that my parents were at times violent towards me, but what stood out most and needs correcting is: I never hated either one of my parents. It’s just not in me. And like you, I also think that they did the best they could do with their limited knowledge and feeling capacity.
    I don’t think – in a primal sense – that an overt transgression like physical punishment or sexual abuse is more punishable and therefore needs more forgiveness than a less overt transgression like neglect, passive aggression, or indifference. These “non-actions” can harm as much or, I dare say, even more than the overt perpetrations. Neglect has the most profound and long term effects. In my primal process it just took much longer to get to that understanding. These passive violations are more harmful precisely because they are so insidious. They vastly add to our feelings of not being loved and seen and truly cared for, and these are the feelings that keep us from building a healthy life as adults. (I think Phil is also writing about this same issue above)
    I am currently exploring the concept of forgiveness and don’t have the final answer. I think what I am getting at with forgiveness is the complete letting go of all that was done to me, all the negative effects it had on me. My thinking is, once I have forgiven and fully let go, the old feelings won’t return. I’m done with them. In other words, if the old feelings keep intruding into the present, then I am not done with them and I have not truly forgiven. I am not saying that I can do it all the time, but I said that I am practicing it. It is a conscious process, an intentional process, and for me it is a needed process to completely heal and arrive at inner peace. Then again, it is very personal and I don’t believe that everyone has to do it in order to come to a place of acceptance and inner peace. I’ve said enough, and now my brain is fried! Hahaha!

    • Larry says:

      Thanks for sharing your take on the topic of forgiveness Bernadette. I want to clarify that I wasn’t implying that some abuses that are an overt physical/sexual trangression make the perpetrator more punishable than perpetrators of so-called less transgressive abuses. What I was trying to say is that it seems to me that someone who holds on to anger or a grudge against an abuser will not likely get to the heart of suppress primal pain inflicted by the abuse. it seems to me once the person can get thru the anger and can forgive the abuser, deeper primal pain about the abuse will well up. What I was speculating was that perhaps being physically abused is more likely to evoke anger against the perpetrator than does more passive abuse. I guess I was trying to fathom why I don’t hold on to anger or a grudge against anyone, so forgiveness has no meaning or purpose for me. Perhaps it isn’t the type of abuse that is the determining factor as to whether the person holds on to anger or not. Perhaps personality type is the main factor resulting in whether or not a person holds on to anger or a grudge.

      I see where you and I have a different take on forgiveness. You hope that by practicing forgiveness you will come to inner peace. I think that reaching a point of truly letting go of anger and being able to forgive stirs primal turmoil, which, through primalling leads to more inner peace.

    • Larry says:

      More thoughts about my anger came to me after my most recent reply to you, Bernadette. Perhaps my anger is very deep, very early, like 11 months old, and scared me to death, and so I squelched it and Mother found me turning blue in my baby carriage, after which I was rushed to emergency and left for a week in an oxygen tent, where my parents were told I have asthma. There have been a few occasions when primally I erupted in a volcano of anger, but it seems to be anger at everything, at life itself or whoever designed it, for being so capricious and letting what happened to me happen and ruining my entire life. Somehow my parents aren’t the target, because in that volcanic anger I’m also angry about what happened to them so that they could not become the parents who I needed. If I believed in God, I’m angry toward him for making such a mess of things, because if I was the one who was omnipotent I would easily design a far better system. Since I have no reason or need to believe there is a God, my anger gets directed toward Life for being such a fucked up system. I know though that that doesn’t make sense, so then my anger gets directed toward primal therapy for after promising so much not being able to fix things for me and make my childhood right. But I know that doesn’t make sense either, and while in the primal I know that the anger is just a defense my psyche is using to keep me from descending into the pain, so I let the anger dissolve and I find myself plunging into my searingly painful (or so it feels in those primal moments) primal truth about aloneness and helplessness in the face of what is happening to me. Forgiveness never enters the equation for me, but I can imagine where for some people letting go of anger and becoming forgiving could be a step toward opening to primal pain, which when felt leads to peace.

      • Bernadette says:

        Larry, I am glad you found your anger 🙂 I agree that not having a specific event or target to put your anger on makes it much harder to access it and feel it. A violent act is definitely cause for an angry reaction, and the perpetrator the obvious target. But so is neglect; it’s just that kind of anger is buried deeper and is not as specific and therefore much harder to deal with. You have a right to be angry at Life and the system and the injustice of what has happened to you. It might change later and become more specific. Forgiving is not a goal to be worked towards when you are still working out repressed pain and anger. I think it comes after all that has been worked through and let go. I agree with you that feeling the pain leads to inner peace, too. But you got it the wrong way around, it’s not the forgiving that leads to opening up to primal pain; it’s feeling and letting go of the primal pain that leads to the conclusion of wanting to forgive.

        • Larry says:

          I guess we will just have to disagree, Bernadette, or maybe we are expressing the same thing but the words one of us uses has a different meaning to the other. Forgiveness does not have a place in my thought process. nor in my feeling process, nor a use in my vocabulary. I don’t have anger needing a target. I don’t have anger that I need to discharge in act outs toward people. Many times in my therapy I come to a place in primalling my truth where I feel love for my parents and it hurts deep into the fabric of my soul how I had to shut them out and shut myself down from life in order to survive life with them, because in their own sickness they couldn’t love me back the way I needed them to, and now accepting that’s just how it was and is brings wracking pain, understanding, resolution and peace. That seems like the stage you are wanting to achieve. For me anger was never a dominant feature I had to work through and let go of nor was forgiveness ever a part of the process. I might get angry now at someone who I perceive to be unjust toward me, but I don’t marinate in it. I either find resolution with them, or avoid them. Forgiveness is never something that I ruminate over, until you posed the question.

          • Bernadette says:

            Larry, I get it. We might disagree on some technicalities but essentially we are on the same page. Words can get confusing because of the different connotations and associations people have with them. I’m ready to move on….

  159. Vicki says:

    I don’t think “forgive” is a word I “get”. It feels duplicitous, as if saying, “You hurt me, I was angry at you or about that” but somehow now I’m pretending that didn’t happen, and I can now deny it happened, or act as if it never happened? No. I feel hurt and or angry until I don’t feel that way anymore, the pain subsides, and then I can accept it happened, and all I felt — and maybe I can think about why the other person did what they did (out of their own pain, ignorance, or whatever), and so I feel unburdened, more objective about the whole thing, and can decide whether I can or should trust or tentatively trust the other person, and then see if trust is merited — or not. “Forgive” is not a word I use, as it feels like some kind of shortcut, translation or metamorphosis, rather than simple progression.

    With my parents there were seemingly endless hurts, angers, and mistrusts, all compounded and some complicated through the years. I did “think” they “of course” loved me, and sometimes I felt their affection, but I did not overall “feel they loved me”, nor did I hear it. I remember when once my mother said, “I know you never felt we loved you, but we did…” and they continued talking about how happy they were when I was born. I was surprised, because I don’t remember ever telling them that I felt they never loved me, but I suppose I might have — I was pretty much miserable “all the time”. But I also noticed her comment about “when I was born” kind of set a boundary on their happiness with me, even as it opened the door on “they might have felt good about me at some time”. So I listened, but said nothing. Writing about this makes me feel like I’m kind of feeling sorry for myself, which doesn’t feel good, so I want to stop now.

    • Phil says:

      Vicki, I kind of agree with what you say about “forgive”; that it’s a concept which wouldn’t come up for me except in a discussion like this. Forgiveness doesn’t seem to be a part of primal therapy; my anger and hurt are old feelings, not happening now. Both my parents have been dead many years, so I wouldn’t be able to forgive them, only their memories. It’s maybe more about achieving more understanding, although I don’t have that as a goal. As a parent myself I tried to do better, but I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes, since my own pain was still in the way. Some things are just wrong, and should be obvious, like spanking and other punishments etc.

      • Bernadette says:

        Phil, yeah, I don’t know whether or not Janov ever mentioned forgiveness. I just want to get there because it feels right and good to me, whether it is part of the primal process or not. But in case you change your mind in the future, your parents don’t have to be alive in order for you to forgive them. You would be doing it for yourself mostly.

        • Phil says:

          Bernadette, that’s fine you want to reach forgiveness for your parents. I may have missed if you already mentioned it, is this tied in with your spirituality? We all have our own goal to achieve and paths to travel. I think it’s because I’m not consumed with anger and bitterness towards my parents now, that I don’t feel any need for forgiveness. What I do have are plenty of old feelings that I want to continue primalling in relation to my parents. As I do that I think it means that I will remember and feel them more fully in my heart, the good and the bad, and I can be more myself.

          • Bernadette says:

            Phil, I have not mentioned forgiveness in connection with spirituality. I think forgiveness can happen independently from spirituality, but it doesn’t have to. I am not consumed with anger and bitterness either towards my parents. The desire to practice forgiveness doesn’t come from such feelings, the opposite, it comes from a feeling of closeness. I agree that different people have different goals. I think your goal to remember and feel your parents more fully in your heart, the good and the bad, is a great goal. I am curious what other feelings you are primalling about in relation to your parents.

      • superstarguru says:

        I am so glad I had about a year of warning before my dad died. We did talk about any and all things he might have done which I may have perceived as wrong; he was really disturbed and in angst over whether he was a bad parent through neglect or other abuse, and even cried briefly in distress over it.
        I had plenty of time to tell him I loved him and, if he did anything wrong towards me as a child either emotionally or otherwise, I told him to completely forget about that. He was totally forgiven and I wasn’t angry at him in the slightest. Dad was visibly relieved at hearing me say that, and I’m so glad I had the chance to do so before he had to go to the hospital when things grew too intense to focus on forgiveness.
        Was dad always there for me emotionally? No, but I don’t give a damn that he wasn’t, for he did a lot of good things for me as well with the highly stressful challenges of being an involuntary single parent as an outgrowth of automotive technology.

        • superstarguru says:

          And I absolutely MEANT it when I told dad I absolved him of any shred of wrongdoing. I loved him too much to burden him with any additional stress during his last year of life.
          My mom should have been here with us, and on accordance to the flights of fancy Bernadette’s dream about Jack, I can only imagine the enormous ripple effects of my 30 year old mom torn away from my dad, only to reunite with him when he was 82!
          What sort of notes would they share?

          • Bernadette says:

            Yes, I totally get that. I did a similar thing for my dad after my mom died and he was alone for the last 18 months and opened up about his worries regarding wrongdoings, etc. I made sure to unburden him from many worries, and made sure he was able to die in peace. It was a natural thing to do.
            It would be like your mom and dad were never apart! And they’d be both young and beautiful and in love and dancing on the clouds 🙂

        • Bernadette says:

          Guru, the story about your dad is very touching. Simply beautiful. I give your dad a lot of kudos for opening up and talking about the things he’d done that you may have perceived as wrong. And it’s great that you were able to give him relief by forgiving him and telling him you loved him. That’s just perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    • Bernadette says:

      Vicki, your take on “forgiveness” is actually very rational and makes a lot of sense. I like the way you describe your process. Let me just say this: when someone has to pretend that the hurt didn’t happen, or they have to deny that it happened, or act like it never happened, so that they can say they forgive, then it’s not truly forgiving, then it’s just pretending. The act of true forgiveness is not taking a short cut as you said, it is progression. The way I understand it, forgiving comes at the very end when all the pain has been felt, accepted, and let go. As long as there is pain, anger, resentment, etc. left over, someone is not ready to forgive. And then again, it might not be necessary for peace of mind for some or most people. If all you need is “unburdened” and “more objective” then all is good.
      I think the conflicting information we get from our own brain/instincts on one hand, and from our parents on the other hand, is what is so painful and crazymaking. Parents might say, Of course we love you. But your feeling is saying, But I don’t really feel loved. So which one is true? Maybe both? I think that’s what makes it all so complicated.
      I hope you are okay!

      • Vicki says:

        Thanks for your response, Bernadette. I agree. And I am ok. I find it very hard to continue writing or talking, when what I’m saying starts making me feel bad about myself in some way, hence I said “feeling sorry for myself”. When I am talking, I fumble inside, and don’t know how to handle it, so I usually later find that I was trying to hide the ambiguous feeling from myself. But when I’m writing, my feelings are happening in slower time, so I was able to see it, and just decide to say it, and stop. When I am in some feeling, and at odds with myself, it’s time to do something else.

  160. superstarguru says:

    Don’t predators both big and small rely on the forgiveness of their targets so the abuse or exploitation can continue?
    I can certainly see where forgiveness can be a valuable tool in that case.

    • Vicki says:

      A-ha, ha! Guru — yes! Chomp! I immediately had an image from Jurassic Park.

      But I am sure Bernadette has a more personally, emotionally vulnerable context in mind. Although in familial bullying abuse, “forgiving” rather than “getting the hell out” often plays a big part. Maybe that also depends on how much “need” for the abuser you feel, and “fear”, and “vulnerability”, as in a case where someone is so lost, they crawl back for more. Or see no other way to survive.

      • Bernadette says:

        this feels aggressive towards me. thanks a lot!

        • Vicki says:

          In what way aggressive towards you, Bernadette?

          • Bernadette says:

            Vicki, I feel that what you wrote has a sarcastic undertone. Sarcasm to me signals contempt and aggression. Maybe I’m wrong in my perception. Maybe I am just tired and vulnerable. But I have to trust my intuition here.

            • Vicki says:

              Bernadette, I’m sorry it came across that way, it was not my intent. But I can imagine now, that it could seem that way, and that you have to trust your feeling.

              At first I just laughed at what Guru wrote, which was an extreme example of a predator. I knew your context was totally different, so I commented about that. But then I realized he had a point, that people who are being bullied and abused “forgive” their abusers out of fear, and so it goes on. — I thought of someone we know in therapy, who has that problem. And I have experienced bullying myself at different ages, and didn’t handle it well, even though it was the best I could do at the time. At any rate, I thought the downside of crazy “forgiving” should be said — I still feel that. It did occur to me in passing, to wonder if it might touch you, just because of the interpretation of the word “forgive”, but the context seems so different from what you wrote about, that I didn’t imagine it would bother you.

              I do not know if I should have thought about it differently, or not.

              • Bernadette says:

                Vicki, thank you, I much appreciate your explanation. But in retrospect it was not necessary because this morning I realize that I took your comment personal where I shouldn’t have. I know now that it wasn’t meant that way. You did or said nothing wrong! I actually agree with what you said about “forgiving” because of fear, how crazy and unproductive and harmful that is. And you are right, that’s not the forgiving that I am talking about. As I wrote below: time to move on….. 🙂

              • Vicki says:

                Thanks, Bernadette. I was not able to let go of it last night (fear that I was wrong, or at fault), until at 4 am, again trying to sleep, a howling feeling came up, with relief, after which calmer breathing settled in. So it proved useful in the end, for my sanity.

                • Bernadette says:

                  Vicki, I am sorry I put you through that! You and Guru didn’t say anything wrong. It was a totally valuable point in the discussion. I just misperceived and misinterpreted it, and had a knee jerk reaction, that was my mistake. Please forgive me.

  161. Margaret says:

    it is an interesting topic, forgiveness.
    like Vicki I feel it has most to do with not feeling so angry anymore.
    there seem to be different forms as well, at least for me.
    a few times in therapy I felt mistreated by some persons, who I did not feel like forgiving at all, as I was very hurt and angry.
    but at some point in retreats, they went into a big feeling in group related to how they had behaved, started crying deeply and actually they both ended up at the end of that feeling, still sobbing really, saying sorry to me with their head in my lap.
    then it kind of came naturally to me to let go of the anger, which felt like ‘forgiving’, but without a conscious decision to do so , it just felt like a natural response.
    but I must add I never liked those two persons anymore, as I did not trust them, and will not trust them ever again probably.
    then another time, I felt also very hurt and angry by someone, who never really said sorry, but as I had liked the person a lot to start with, I discovered that time and both of us feeling and expressing what we had to feel, worked anyway and resolved the anger and allowed me to like her again even while some distance seems to remain so far.
    and then I felt hurt and anger to both my parents, it all came to the surface more and more during therapy, but my parents were never intentionally mean to me really, they hurt me out of their own pain in more subtle ways, but both also were nice many times.
    when my dad died suddenly, and I drove up to their house and rushed up to the bedroom and fell apart while putting my arms around his dead body, I first howled in pain and sadness, and then to my own surprise the words that came out were ‘thank you…’
    so it seems on that intense moment of grief something inside of me had made up the sum of my feelings and what remained was still gratitude and not anger. it kind of felt like a relief and also was not planned at all, but it could also be called forgiveness by some, which is ok as a word has so many interpretations.
    then with my mom therapy and time and she and me evolving and changing also have resolved anger and hurt to the point that what remains is tenderness and care and love.
    but that too was a natural process and never a conscious decision.
    therapy and understanding myself made me able to understand my parents better too, which made a huge difference .
    but then I am sure it would be extremely hard for me to feel any kind of even faint inclination of forgiveness to for example someone who tortured or hurt animals.
    that seems unforgiveable somehow for me, as it is deliberately hurting innocent and vulnerable creatures only in order to feel better oneself.
    if I imagine being a judge to them, death penalty would seem appealing, as they would seem too far gone to really get better to me…
    one could say child abusers would deserve the same treatment, but they so often have been abuse victims teeirselves, that the abuse seems a way they use to try to process their pain in their own desperation.
    which of course does not help their victims, but they seem, to me, closer to be able to make progress by a primal kind of therapy.
    of course this is all just my feelings, not what others should feel, and maybe my feelings on the matter could also still change…

    • Bernadette says:

      Margaret, that’s a real nice post, thank you. I like the specific examples you gave of times you were able to forgive. The story about your dad and the “thank you” you felt came from deep inside of you is very touching. I have learned a lot about forgiveness over the last few days by reading the various comments here on the blog. Now I agree that forgiveness can take on many different forms. And I also agree that someone can forgive a person without thinking that their action was justified or in any way acceptable. It does not mean forgetting or condoning the wrongdoing. I also agree that a broken relationship doesn’t necessarily have to be reconciled, even when someone has forgiven the person and the hurtful act. It’s a complex topic, or maybe I am making it too complicated and it is all a natural process as you say, just by letting go of anger and resentment.

  162. Bernadette says:

    Larry, Vicki, Phil, Guru, Jo: Thanks for your thoughts on the topic of forgiveness. They gave me lots to think about. It seems that you all have arrived at some point of internal harmony, understanding, letting go, unburdened, etc. That’s great. I realize now that my desperate striving for inner peace by practicing forgiveness is creating a problem in itself, or is the problem, maybe. I just know that I still have an inner restlessness, or ‘non-peace’ that my rational or feeling mind doesn’t have access to (yet). I also know that it has nothing to do with my outer circumstances, or childhood, parents, etc. as far as I can tell. Instead of continuing my struggle I realize now that I need to look at what causes this and why the desperation or need to arrive at a more peaceful state. All I can do is let it sit and observe it, until it will reveal itself. So, enough said about this. Thanks for listening.
    Lets move on …

  163. Vicki says:

    I find it frightening how Repubs are truly trying to steal this election: “The Trump campaign is furiously litigating in nearly every major swing state (17 states in total) to block expanded access to the ballot during a pandemic, while GOP state lawmakers fight to maintain existing restrictions on voting that have given their party a major advantage in past elections, and push new ones.”

    “29 ways Trump and the GOP are making it harder for you to vote: Republicans are doing all they can to preserve their power at the expense of the democratic process.”

    “In Georgia’s June primary, voters in predominantly white neighborhoods waited an average of six minutes to vote, while voters in predominantly Black neighborhoods waited an average of 51 minutes.”

    “GOP-controlled states such as Texas have closed polling places on college campuses, while allowing voters to cast a ballot with a gun permit but not a student ID.” The Texas Gov. also ordered counties to remove already established additional drop box… See More

    “…ten states (nine of them with Republican state legislatures) still do not allow online voter registration, and Republicans have sued to prevent it from being offered…”

    “In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld efforts by Ohio’s Republican secretary of state to remove voters who had not voted in a few previous elections, essentially turning voting into a “use it or lose it” right.”

    “Blocking election integrity legislation: For nearly a year, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have blocked legislation to protect Americans’ right to vote and prevent foreign election interference. They’ve also blocked legislation passed by the House to give $3.6 billion in election aid to states.”

    “Trump urged his supporters to submit their completed mail ballots and then show up at the polls and test the system by trying to vote again. State officials from around the country had to remind voters that voting twice in the same election is illegal, as others warned that people following the president’s suggestion could create delays that deter legitimate voters.”

    “The GOP is seeking to recruit 50,000 poll watchers to intimidate and potentially challenge the eligibility of Democratic voters, after the party was freed from a court order that had banned law enforcement intimidating voters since the 1980s. ”

    “In eight states, including the swing states of Wisconsin and North Carolina, voters must find a witness to sign their mail ballot, which can be difficult at a time of social distancing; Alabama’s GOP secretary of state went to the Supreme Court to keep a law requiring two witnesses or a notarized affidavit for a mail ballot to count.”

    “In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign recently won a court order requiring the state to throw out ballots that are not enclosed in a special secrecy envelope…”

    “In Ohio, the Republican secretary of state issued a directive limiting drop boxes to one per county (in defiance of a court order), ensuring unequal access for voters living in more-populated counties and forcing some to travel up to 90 minutes to drop off their ballot.”

    “While 44 states will allow all voters to obtain mail ballots during the pandemic, six GOP-controlled states are still requiring a reason other than COVID-19 to vote-by-mail…”

    “the Trump campaign has sued New Jersey, Nevada, and Montana to block them from mailing all registered voters a ballot, even though it’s been done since the 1990s with few problems.”

    “The Trump campaign has filed numerous lawsuits attempting to block states from sending mail-in ballot request forms to voters.”

    • Vicki says:

      Sorry, my 2nd para example should have been “”GOP-controlled states such as Texas have closed polling places on college campuses, while allowing voters to cast a ballot with a gun permit but not a student ID.” The Texas Gov. also ordered counties to remove already established additional drop boxes, leaving 1 per County — e.g. forcing Harris County with 5 million people and is larger than Rhode Island, to go from 12 locations to just one.”

  164. Margaret says:

    on thursday evening I went to the first training meeting for the helpline volunteer work.
    we were a group of 20 new volunteers, and it was great, very primal really, client centered approach, and no solution offering expert attitude wanted.
    the next morning I had my first gym and condition group since February, and in the afternoon a visit to my mom.
    I feel so very much better since, feel part of life and connected with other people again!!
    hope I can talk about it a bit in tomorrows Zoom group.

  165. Margaret says:

    another bit of natural knowledge that made me marvel upon hearing it:
    dragonflies have to hunt 200 insects every day in their mating season.
    their eyes have about 100 lenses so they have 360 degrees around sight.
    they have lived in the same way for hundreds of millions of years, isn’t that something?
    feels humbling, our own species is just a little speck in time in comparison…

  166. Phil says:

    I went deeper into feelings today about why I so easily feel abandoned – because I was.repeatedly abandoned by my mother at early ages. Abandoned as a punishment at, I would say 2 or 3 years old is what came up.. It was so bad and happened so often, in addition to other things that there is hardly anything at all good to remember of my mother by comparison, just a few crumbs. And then permanent abandonment, she never really talked to me again; although that part of it didn’t come up today.
    All this , I guess, because of how poor my weekend is in comparison to my expectations and desires. It’s like a real roller coaster of feelings for me, like the Kingda Ka in New Jersey which goes straight up and straight down, and I think may be the highest in the world. I’ve been on it a few times with my son. Like having an amazing vacation with my wife and then coming back to reality, even though that was many weeks ago. But in my mind it could and should continue. Not all the travelling, but our level of connection.

    • Vicki says:

      Phil, when she abandoned you at 2 or 3, and later on, what was she punishing you for? And then, how old were you when “she never really talked to me again”, and I don’t remember how old you were, when she died.

      • Phil says:

        Vicki, I got punished for wanting attention. At age 8 she asked me what grade I was in school and who my teacher was, so I remember precisely because it felt so bizarre. My mother didn’t even know me, asking obvious things. She felt like a complete stranger, and actually much worse, until she died when I was 11. My father didn’t seem to have awareness of the impact of this. No one did who could have helped.

        • Vicki says:

          Phil, your parents sound so disconnected, it seems amazing they managed to even create children. Like why bother? I’m sorry that’s what they left you with.

    • Phil says:

      An update is that I had a great today, better then any recently. So the bad day yesterday didn’t make that impossible. We had friends over in our backyard from mid afternoon until late in evening. It was a beautiful fall day and we gathered around the fire pit as it got cooler. We laughed a lot and had a great time. I also finished routine things I had in mind to do. I would like to think the deep feelings I had yesterday helped me enjoy this today.

  167. Margaret says:

    I feel so worried…
    One of my two cats has been vomiting almost daily for almost a year now.
    last spring I did already make an appointment with a vet specialized in stomach and intestinal problems, but when the time was there my cat struggled so hard not to be locked in his cage that he escaped three times in a row and I had to cancel the appointment.
    i started feeling less worried when I found hairballs in his puke, which is their natural way of getting rid of the fur they swllow when cleaning themselves.
    but more recently there are no hairballs anymore but he still vomits, so I made a new appointment for next Wednesday.
    so I feel stressed about managing to get him there, and more stressed about the possible outcome…
    it is not easy sleeping with one ear open for vomiting sounds to be able to detect where more easily and to clean it up rightaway, otherwise I have ot check around the floor when I smell a suspect smell by feeling around, ha, or venturing to slowly walk around barefoot…
    i love that cat so would continue doing all of that if I would know it is not threatening his health, but I also want to have him checked out for something that might need treatment…
    I have tried all kinds of food, special food for sensitive stomachs, food focusing on the hairballs and facilitating their transit, out the back door so to say, and not only by vomiting.
    that works to some degree, but still he pukes too often which worries me…
    my brothers cat died last year of cancer on his stomach, and I dread that kind of grieving and pain and loss…
    now I am mostly very afraid…

    • Vicki says:

      Maybe you need help to take him – either help to secure him in his cage before the trip, or to carry the cage for you, with the cat on a leash, and let the vet staff cage him on arrival.

    • Sylvia says:

      Hi, Margaret. Sorry your kitty is feeling so poorly. I know I worry so when one of my pets is sick too. It’s a worry unlike any other, of helplessness, I think. I found this video on you tube that might give you some of the reasons for vomiting. Maybe it will help to focus on some of the causes and make the unknown not so scary. I listed these conditions in case the video does not work or you cannot access it at the bottom:

      1. Malabsorption
      3. Lack of digestive enzymes
      4. Colitis or pancreatitis
      5. Hair balls
      6. Viral or bacterial infections

  168. Leslie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians here! It is a time to celebrate our harvest, so a holiday
    almost every one can enjoy. Completely different this year of course – but in one way or another a time to enjoy & be grateful for family and friends & a delicious meal. Yes, you can all celebrate!

  169. OTTO CODINGIAN says:

    This is hard to put into words. I feel so outside of the group, so apart from everyone else in the group, so jealous and so full of rage, so alone like the dog that was shot into space by the Russians long ago. Can’t say a word about this to the group. The abandonment by my mom long ago seems to fit the bill for this crippling, paralyzing feeling. There never were any words for this feeling. No tears to shed on this yet, if ever.

  170. Bernadette says:

    Guru, I am posting the following few posts in response to the information you provided on “spirituality”. It was fun reading and listening to most of it, so thanks! Here we go:

    On Possibilianism. When I first started reading and then listening, I thought, yeah great, here is a guy who is open and proclaims everything is possible. I agreed with his term “the vastness of our ignorance” and the idea to open up to new possibilities. Then I thought it was weird that he would begin his talk with “Hallelujah” which is associated with religiosity, mostly the Christian faith. And he also calls it the “Gospel” of possibilianism, another religious term related to the Bible. Really, couldn’t he come up with his own terms considering the vastness of possibilities? I agree that the discussion should be expanded beyond the argument of God vs. No-God. But then he started losing me, when he proclaimed that it is only a possibility until it is proven impossible by science. That’s when I started thinking, he is not that open after all. He lost me when he said that ESP can’t be proven and therefore is not a possibility. He completely lost me when he read from his “gospel”- although quite amusing, for me it was more slapstick comedy than anything serious to take into consideration. So if I get it right, the possibilities are only possible if they fall within areas that can be proven scientifically. He encourages to look for more possibilities, but he is limiting the “valid” possibilities from the get go. I think this approach is eliminating too many possibilities and therefore I consider this approach very limiting.
    What worried me, when looking at the audience, I thought that they were just looking for another leader or guru to follow. Which in itself shows how lost people are and desperately try to belong to something or somebody.
    Just as a side note: Actually science has now found out that the heart has even more electro-chemical activity than the brain.

  171. Bernadette says:

    Guru, here are my random thoughts on “Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity”. I get the logic that falling into the abyss, the black hole when dying is still “something”, that the peaceful oblivion is still a “something” therefore the concept of this theory is flawed from the very beginning. I agree with the idea that “awareness is constant” and that we can’t arrive at “nothing” because of this. I like and mostly agree with the statement “centers of awareness–don’t have beginnings and endings for themselves, rather they simply find themselves in the world”, and that this awareness will continue to exist in a different context. I don’t agree with his statement that there is nothing of the personality preserved when moving from one place of awareness to the next. The thought experience I found hard to digest; I found it a complicated way around to prove that energy can’t stop existing. —

  172. Bernadette says:

    Guru, I didn’t read all of this, so my reply is more like “a shot from the hip” —
    The Simulation Argument is an interesting idea. I could only agree with this if I accept God/Source/All-consciousness as the programmer of the video game in which we all take place. In fact, I do believe that there is a bigger plan. That this planet doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather that we are influenced by cosmic energy, so to speak. Call it God or Consciousness, Love or Light, whatever.
    Or: rather than we’re living in an advanced civilization’s video game, we could be some sort of experiment. It is quite possible that a super race is looking down on us and is watching us struggle, but then we only would be their subjects that they observe and study. They would not control us like in a video game, just watch, like humans watch an ant hill. I believe there are advanced civilizations; considering the vastness of the universe, it would be presumptuous to think we are the only intelligent beings in existence. I also believe that the human race is responsible for what we create. At the same time we can’t expect that either “God” or an advanced civilization is going to save us. This planet is entirely our own responsibility. It’s possible thought that we do get help from advanced civilizations in form of thoughts and ideas as to the advancement of our technologies, and as to the improvement of our human rights, conduct, and general living conditions. I think if there is such an advanced civilization looking down on us, they would be quite appalled at how we treat our planet, at the extent to which we destroy and kill, allow famine, starvation, war, etc. Much improvement and advancement is needed on this planet.

    • superstarguru says:

      Hi Bernadette, thanks for devoting so much serious thought to the links I provided. I hope it gave you some food for thought to help refine your own beliefs in some small way. I am a bit indisposed for quite a few differing reasons, and I should mention I am not a hardcore researcher of my opinions. I simply cannot give much mind space to these topics today, though I am really glad I had a chance to share them with you for your review.
      Of the three topics I presented to you (possibilianism, naturalism, and the simulation argument) I do agree with you that possibilianism seems to be on the shakiest ground. The simulation argument is strong enough to where it has already turned a few hardcore atheists in esteemed academic circles into agnostics.
      Between outrage at asshole predator neighbors, trying to ensure my own long-term survival, and helping with house remodeling…my mind is already placed in a few too many inconvenient spots for extensive discussions today, though.

      • superstarguru says:

        By the way, on the “humans being responsible for what we create”….It’s worth noting that we are already capable today, right now, of creating computer programs which can autonomously create OTHER computer programs, so I think it would be a trivial task for a civilization billions of years henceforth to create a veritable Cambrian explosion of autonomous beings with tightly compacted material code.
        My wording above may sound unprofessional…it was just an additional thought

        • superstarguru says:

          Today, anyone can already download a cute little game called “Dwarf Fortress” which procedurally generates deep, rich historical stories with random simulations of creatures, etc. All autonomously created by software code.
          Combine this with nascent 3-D printing technology occurring today and I can already see the barest primitive rudiments of how a planet teeming with life can be intelligently created.
          The universe is apparently 15 billion years old.
          Earth is 4 billion years old.
          This leaves an 11 billion year gap and plenty of time for some multi-billion year civilization to create staggering stuff just within the confines of our own universe! Never mind the possibility there could be something outside the universe which created this one.
          Too much for me to think about, though.

          • Bernadette says:

            Yes, and that leaves enough time to destroy Earth and start all over again a couple of times, too before we get it right. I am being facetious …Then again, Earth has had a couple cataclysmic events as proven, from which it has recovered.
            The worries that I have with humans creating any “staggering stuff” is that we are coming from flawed thinking and feeling, and although we might advance technologically, the human factors – love, care, humility, kindness, compassion, empathy – cannot be created but can only be accessed inside our hearts. And I think that eventually we will always destroy ourselves if we don’t take these factors into consideration. I think the real future of the planet is through right thinking and feeling. And by the way, I think we are on the right path, as bad as it looks like right now….

      • Bernadette says:

        Guru, as I said earlier in this conversation, I am not interested in debating about this topic either. Reading the information you provided was for curiosity only; I have made up my mind already. At the same time I have no need in convincing someone of my ideas. That doesn’t mean I can’t improve on it, no, I learn new things every day. What was interesting in the Simulation Agreement is that it explains in a scientific and technologic way (computers and artificial intelligence) in what I know and believe to be possible on a ethereal level. It’s almost like scientist do get some new awareness through the collective consciousness but because they don’t know how to interpret it outside of their intellectual minds, they make up advanced computer games and artificial intelligence in order to explain it. It’s fascinating. Who knows.
        I hope your neighbor is not giving you too much grief! Hang in there!

        • superstarguru says:

          Bernadette, I do sometimes feel as though 95% of Primallers believe death is the end of all experience, with you and I as the last few who are looking at other options. Daniel is possibly a third dissenter.
          I am only one step removed from the belief of death as ‘the void’ and I am at peace with the label of ‘cautious agnostic’.
          It seems as though books such as Eben Alexander’s “Proof of Heaven” would be appealing to you, though I never occasioned to read it.

          • superstarguru says:

            By the way, Bernadette, you talked earlier about the heart having three times(?) as much electrical energy as the brain. I would think the brute force necessary to contract muscles constantly pumping blood throughout a 130-250 pound body would require a lot more electrical power than a brain that’s really sedentary in comparison.
            A computer (analogue to a brain) would use less electricity than a water pump (heart analogue), so I really don’t place much spiritual meaning into a heart being more electric than the brain.