Sparking the Creativity, Love, and Playfulness of the Human Spirit

Hi, my name is Trish and I contribute to the Human Potential Center’s blog from time to time. Recently, I was asked to present at the 2014 American Psychological Association’s Division of Humanistic Psychology Forum. Here is a 13 minute video presentation on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a humanistic perspective. 

The Blue Poppy: C.G. Jung on Combat-related PTSD


Listen, Listen, Listen

Barbara Walters on the impulse to flee when talking to difficult people:
“I’m not in favor of escape as a unilateral policy. There are painful, tedious people in abundance and some of them must be suffered kindly, maybe even until they run down and have nothing more to say. Things being what they are in the world today, we are more and more driven to depend on one another’s sympathy and friendship in order to survive emotionally…

Furthermore, warm, sustaining relationships become especially important during those periods when we are our least lovable. People bursting with good will and abundance of mental health are charming company; their need for ego-boosting, however, is minimal. People sinking into self-pity and depression are dreary, but they can’t get out of it by themselves. So every now and then, just sit there and listen, listen, listen. You’re paying your membership dues in the human race.”



“Take twice as long to eat half as much.”

I’ve got this tummy with which I am not happy. It seems I’ve been eating too much fast food. You know what I’m talking about. That which the food industry creates for our convenience. Tastes good, but good for ya? Questionable. Looking at the list of ingredients provides words I have difficulty pronouncing, much less understanding. I suppose I could google these words or look them up in my dictionary app, but once I learned more about what is in what I eat, I might have to change my way of life.
Take skillet meals. Follow the directions and you’ve got a nice meal in less than 10 minutes. Convenient. There a some good things to zap or nuke in about 3 minutes. Handy. And in every major city, and an ever growing number of smaller ones, there are national franchises with drive-thru fast food places. The same ones we’ve exported to Europe and beyond.
Which leaves time to volunteer in one’s community, pursue hobbies, inform oneself about the candidates and issues on the ballot, learn a new language, spend time with friends or family discussing important things, or reading a good book.
Or not. Maybe just watching tv, playing video games, and endlessly texting.
Of course, it concerns me that I’m hearing rumors about “Frankenfood.” At first I thought it might have something to do with Al Franken, comedian, author, and Senator from Minnesota…or hot dogs. It seems genetically altered foods may be hitting the shelves which are resistant to crop-destroying bugs, and actually last longer on the aforementioned shelves. Oh sure, there are questions about nutritional value, whether these foods would alter the genetic codes of humans over time and repeated use. But hey, really…would anyone, especially a large corporation, put the lives of its customers, consumers at risk?…Nah… ?
But back to my tummy. It has been said that “A waist is a terrible thing to mind.” It was easy to gain the few extra pounds. To get rid of them means stepping up my exercise program, taking fewer naps, and possibly, just possibly, learning to cook, and doing so with fresh produce instead of cans or dry packages. All it will take is determination, perseverance rescheduling my daily life, and taking twice as long to eat half as much, and a vision of being able to count to 21 again.

Heh heh

“I’ve learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with. It kind of brings you back down to earth.”
I’m glad to say I have one of those. Long ago he took classes and became a clown as a means of augmenting his income. The first time I saw him entertaining a bunch of kids whose parents he knew at a birthday party for his son, I laughed my ass off. I’d known him only 14 years at the time, had never seen that side of him, and it was a delightful discovery. We’re both older now, and he gave up being a clown professionally long ago, but… the clown is still in there. I see it in his eyes and his smile, and I know I can act goofy with him. And I do.
But I got an early start. I won’t bore you with the details, but I grew up in a situation that required either anger or a sense of humor. I chose humor. And it has buoyed me ever since. In school I was the class clown for a while. Thru a friend(?) I fell in with a gang of toughs while in high school. About the same time I heard Bill Cosby say, “If they’re laughing at you, they ain’t hitting you.” It is true. I also learned that girls like a guy who can make them laugh. My sense of humor not only got me through some tough times, but improved my social awareness and dating ability.
Somewhere down the line I finally realized that God has a sense of humor. Just look around.
The hard part is, you can’t know with whom you can be goofy until you are. Or they are. If they are, embrace the glee. Of course, there is a time and place for everything, so be careful at work, funerals, and other situations that require somber civility. And if you can do it without disparaging or demeaning another race, religion, ethnic minority, people disabled in some way, or blonds, etc…so much the better.
Which leaves only yourself. If you can poke fun at yourself, others will be likely to feel more comfortable with you. If you can’t, it’s time to start.
I see people every day walking around with permanent scowls etched in the lines of their faces, and I wonder how they got there. And I thank the powers that be that I’m not there yet, and say a little prayer for them and me.
In the spirit of continuing mirth, I’m adding some adages, thoughts, and whimsical meanderings I’ve found on the “social media”. Enjoy.
1. And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world. Then He made the world round…and laughed and laughed and laughed.
2. I love the ones who are in my life and make it amazing, and I thank the ones who left my life and made it even more amazing.
3. Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is realizing that the other person…is batshit crazy.
4. Sleep is like sex…I don’t get either one as much as I want.
5. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.
6. I keep hitting escape, but I’m still here.
7. I have gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, keep me here.
8. Immature is a word boring people use to describe fun people.
9. If you don’t do a lot of stupid things when you’re you, you won’t have funny things to laugh about when you’re old.


Well, the first presidential debate is over. More will follow. In a little over a moth it’s decision day. We live in a participatory democracy. You can choose not to participate. A majority of us usually don’t. Or you can get involved in a variety of ways. My intent here is not to try to sway you one way or the other, or for one party or the other. I’m just saying that either way it goes, we are all responsible for what happens next, whether we vote or not, whether we like it or not.
So do what you will.
I will do the same.
Then maybe we can get back to what matters, especially with regards to human potential….survive and thrive.


Is that the question?

At the end of the day, on an almost daily basis, I tend to reflect on the day and begin to make a list of things I need to get done, would like to finish, or must soon start. In the morning I begin at the top and get as far as I can, ignoring everything except calls from friends, previous appointments and the occasional nap. It seems I never quite finish all I wanted to get don, so I add them to the top of the next day’s list. Those that require traveling I save to do all in one afternoon. With gas so high, it seems the right thing to do both ecologically and pocket-wise. Again, with traffic, long lines and unavailable sales persons, I never quite get it all done before the rush hour, and as I hate traffic jams, must put off till next week what I couldn’t get done today.
So I prioritize, concentrating on what needs doing instead of what I want to do. When one or two are done, I allow for one that I want to do. Usually, those are the most fun, and take more time. And it goes like that…need vs. want, with room for both. Given my marked propensity for procrastination and sloth, the list never ends. But…it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. And it beats sitting around with an anatomical digit inserted in an anatomical orifice of my choice.

I once saw George Lucas giving an interview on tv, saying that one of the major milestones in his wonderfully creative life was realizing that he didn’t have time to do all that he wanted to do in life. Imagine his to- do list. I take a certain amount of solace in adopting his perspective, and thusly am experiencing less frustration.
Recently, while perusing posts sent to me on Facebook, I found the ultimate to-do list, and am making progress adding as many as possible into my daily life. In the interest of whirled peas, I offer them to you.
1) Sing – Yes, I can do that; it feels good, improves my breathing, and elevates my spirit.
2) Smile at stranger – Yes, that too. I try to be selective about it as some folks just aren’t in the mood and may take it the wrong way.
3) Keep learning – I still know very little about mechanics, flora and fauna, and must learn more about music and the Swedish language.
4) Notice kindness – Whenever I see it or experience it, I feel obligated to pass it along…whirled peas again.
5) Eat ice cream – Okay…not every day, but always with chocolate.
6) Hope – If you read the headlines or get your news from radio or tv, it has the effect of diminishing hope, so I’ve quit doing these things. Oddly, I’m more hopeful of late.
7) Count your blessing – One, two, three, four, five…I could go on, and usually do just before bedtime. Makes for better dreams and deeper sleep.
8) Laugh – It’s good for your body and soul, and begins with a smile. I consider a sense of humor to be the most important one, after the other five of course. And it’s just plain fun.
9) Love- Sometimes it’s harder to do, so I try to dig a little bit deeper and find a little bit more.
10) Love some more – See number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9

Among other things, the Human Potential Center is about Playfulness, Creativity and Love.
Need I say more.
Don’t worry, I will.



In my previous epistle I stressed the need for and benefits of physical exercise; Let us not leave out, put off or otherwise omit exercising you head…i.e. brain games. Not only can they be challenging and fun, but you can actually grow brain cells. Can’t remember why you went into the other room, where you put your keys, what’s that guy’s name….you know….doh?!?! There’s an app for that. Google, or put into you search engine on your smart phone, words like cognitive learning, mind puzzles, brain games, math games, word games, etc. and bunches of things come up. A lot of them are free, the rest not that expensive.
I do three solitaire games and four brain games on my phone just to warm up for the online crossword, in which I compete with 2 others in a friendly competitive manner. Played for speed, the fastest wins. That’s usually the woman among we three. A fine example of feminine intelligence she is, though once in a while one or the other of the remaining competitors is very infrequently faster. I’m usually in third place, in case you were wondering.
The brain is a wondrous entity. When injured, it can heal. “Neuroplasticity” It will mean more to you if you look it up than if I tell you.
A study was published in ’05 about the IQ of the American people. Just about half have an IQ less than 100. Apart from the psycho-social-political ramifications of this study, it is clear that we need to make more “smart” phones available to folks. And we all need to use these phones for more than texting and tweeting.
I was in line at the Post Office the other day, waiting for them to open for business. Three of the five of us standing there were tapping away and (gasp!) I was one of them! From pictures I’ve been sent, it seems these phones may be getting in the way of actual socializing face to face. Alas.
On the other hand, the available apps that can stretch your brain muscles can improve mental agility, concentration and peripheral vision. Just the things one needs to drive safely.
So before we all become half – human, half Borg beings linked inextricably to each other by wires and tubes and all of one mind, a possible scenario (star trek), we have to survive intact. Use the fantastic tools available to improve your life in soooo many ways, just…not while driving….Please.


Hurts so good

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” JFK
Yesterday I went to the gym to work out. Haven’t done that in years. But my tummy is beginning to stare back at me in the mirror with its one eye. This is the 3rd time I’ve joined a gym. It usually lasts a couple of months, then a couple more of not going before I actually cancel. “Good things come in three’s” is the old saying, and while I’m not very good with numbers, I will also keep my crosses fingered this time. My trainer said perseverance at first, and later, after I get the body I want, its maintenance. So what that means is that after 2 or 3 months of working out on the machines at least 3 days a week, watching my diet, drinking enough water, et cetera, I’ll only have to come in once a week. That’s fair.
Not that I want to be another ‘Ahnold’. I’ve always thought of myself as a Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda kind of guy, and that’s the goal. Just get fit one more time, then maintain…oh and boobs…pecs, to be specific. I could have some fake ones put in, could get liposuction for my tummy too, but…seems like cheating somehow. Plus, I would miss out on the endorphin rush when the exercising is over. If you haven’t heard, endorphins are feel good chemicals produced by the brain. Legal. Nothing to ingest, inhale or insert, no numbers to call, operators aren’t waiting.
So yesterday I dragged myself to the gym, whined all the way there, slogged over to the machines,and did about a half an hour. On the way home I noticed that I was feeling better, both physically and mentally. I’d overcome all the objections from the devil on my left shoulder, and while I didn’t peek, I knew the angel on my right shoulder was smiling knowingly.
Now comes the perseverance. I’ll keep you posted on that. After all, I’m only human, and…and…stuff happens once in a while to get in the way of going to the gym…and…and I’ve got years of wallowing in my propensity for procrastination and sloth to deal with as well, but…hey, I’m not making excuses here…I will overcome. That’ll be my daily mantra. Along with “All I am saying is give health a chance.”
Then there’s the diet. I love hamburgers and fries. There’s a good place near the HPC. Ok, I know I have to cut down on that stuff and eat more fruits and vegetables, no more downing 3/4ths of a cheesecake at one sitting…etc. I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits of a glass of wine…something about anti-oxidants. Oh and chocolate too. My trainer recommended having a glass of chocolate milk after a workout. That’s it! I’ll buy a package of chocolates and treat myself to one at the end of the day…and a glass of wine. Yup, sound like a good plan to me.
This is where I should say your body is a temple or something, but as I am now a little sore from yesterday’s workout, I have to rush to the store for some chocolate milk, chocolate candy and a bottle of wine.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that at the supermarkets in Sweden they have a wall of candy of all kinds in individual bins, with bags and scoops handy, and all for the same price? What a concept!
Ram Dassnt


Okay. The usual two parties have had their conventions. I don’t intend to comment here on my  preference. I would like to say a word or two about politics. It goes on daily between people. Between married and unmarried couples, at home, in the workplace, in schools, and on up the various ladders in just about every facet of life.

People disagree, and if they have a common goal, agree to disagree and work out a mutually acceptable solution…or not. If they don’t, it’s usually because of ego, machismo, tradition, power, money, you name it. Solutions to problems can only be resolved by talking it out, by compromise. Without compromise, things accelerate to more heated levels.

I once heard it said the “politics is war without the blood” and that “war is politics with the blood”. I’m not fond of either, but given a choice, I choose the obvious. I’ve also heard it said, “Make love not war.” Even making love is a give and take proposition…a political “movement” if you will, so again I choose the obvious.

The idea of “Love they neighbor as thyself”, a concept common to all major religions, seems to be all too frequently distorted or forgotten of late. Well, I prefer to be loved, so I have to dig a little deeper sometimes to find it in my heart to forgive those with whom I disagree.

Obviously, I love adages, saws and wise sayings, but I’ll not burden you anymore.

So Howzabout a song?

Rockaby baby … in the treetop….when the wind blows….the cradle will rock…if the bough breaks….the cradle will fall….and down will come baby…cradle and all.

Our country is the tree…We are the baby…(oops, I couldn’t resist one more).



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