Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Here is the best description of meditation I've found.

Meditation: More Than Relaxation


Bathtub Wisdom

If you know how a bathtub works then you can learn how your body processes and eliminates drugs.  But students in public school have a law blocking their path to learning math this way.  Math education in America requires years of practice calculating answers using pencil and paper so that students can pass a standardized test.

If you know how to use a computer to build a model then you can learn all the basic mathematical equations.  But students in public school have a law blocking their path to learning math this way.  Math education in American requires years of practice calculating answers using pencil and paper so that students can pass a standardized test.

If you know how to use a computer to build a model of a bathtub then you can learn pharmacokinetics.  But students in public school have a law blocking their path to learning math this way.  Math education in American requires years of practice calculating answers using pencil and paper so that students can pass a standardized test.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Testing and System Dynamics

As long as the public school standardized tests don’t include questions that test for System Dynamics knowledge and only test for ability to calculate, then we don’t stand a chance of making changes to how things are taught. Unfortunately, I think we need someone who can attack the standardized math testing in a way to discredit it.
We need to create a gap between the testing of calculating skills and testing for SD skills. Associate testing of calculating skills with cockroaches or bedbugs and people will want to get rid of them. Associate the testing of SD skills with success, leadership, solving real problems, making lots of money, getting a job and people will want to include them on the standardized tests.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Free of Anxiety

I have been using mind-body non-drug therapy for about two years and the benefits continue to accumulate.

For the first time in over 50 years, I am free of harmful effects of social anxiety.  Had panic attacks a couple of years ago and have been able to keep those from recurring.  I use yoga and mediation.  I practice proper breathing everyday anytime.  I use one or more mantra.  I practice mindful mediation.  I practice walking mediation. 

None of my therapy is based on religious or spiritual beliefs.

One technique I benefit from the most is “taking one more breath”.  I get a deep breathing rhythm going and kept it up for about an hour.  Really took me deeper into my self-talk and helped me get to a new level of awareness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We need to have students use computers to do calculations and have students learn math by manipulating dynamic models on the computer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

President Obama

What is needed in America?

  1. Tell people to take a deep breath and calm down.
  2. Tell people they do not need to feel afraid.
  3. Tell people to show respect for each other.


Every message from the White House needs to communicate that we are not in a crisis at the moment.  The media hype does not mean there is a crisis.  Everyone needs to take a deep breath and remain calm.  America needs to take a collective deep breath and calm down.

Every message from every person working for the President needs to communicate that we do not need to feel afraid of anything or anyone.  America has the resources, the military power and the economy to recover from our current problems.  Everyone needs to stop feeling afraid of what might or might not happen and deal with what they need to do today without fear.

Every message from the White House and the people working for the President needs to demand that people show respect for one another.  Everyone needs to step back from disrespecting others and behave in a respectful way towards each other.  Every school in America has respecting others as a key character trait.  Adults also need to behave in a respectful way towards each other.  People who are not behaving in a respectful way need to be challenged on their behavior and told to change how they behave toward others.

What happens next?

People will begin going about their lives day to day finding jobs, getting married, retiring, going to school and shopping for groceries.  The economy will slowly improve and terrorist threats will be dealt with.  Businesses will earn profits and government will govern.

But what about the health care crisis, the debt crisis and education crisis?

In order to deal with these issues, we first need to calm down, not feel afraid and show respect for other people and their opinions.  Each of us needs to remember to breathe deeply and stay calm.  Deciding to not feel afraid of what might happen will empower people to take action for their own well being.  Showing respect for others is behaving in a calm way, not showing fear and not getting angry.

Friday, November 19, 2010


This is your brain on metaphors.

Democrats should pay attention to this article and make sure their messages and PR are focused on leveraging the metaphors that make sense to voters.  They lost the Nov. 3 election because they did not use metaphors in a way that triggered an emotional reaction from voters.

The Republicans are doing well at communicating metaphors that trigger an emotional reaction from voters.  They won the Nov. 3 election based on their use of metaphors to create fear in people who vote.

President Obama should have his speech writers researching how to implement the ideas from this article.

Education versus Learning system – what we have now.
    ...learning system – the goal.
If the goal is a learning system.
Can we visualize attaining a learning system and what it would look like in practice?
Can we identify the assumptions about the learning system and question those assumptions?
Can we determine the interconnected parts of the learning system?
Can we define the process for implementing and maintaining the interconnected parts of the learning system?
Using Barry Richmond’s description of system dynamics:
1. An education system uses linear, laundry list thinking instead of circular closed-loop view of causality that we want in a learning system. An education system is a static view of learning.  A learning system has a dynamic orientation so that we can understand how learning changes over time.
2. An education system focuses on external issues.  A learning system has an internal focus on performance.
3. An education system uses methods based on statistical correlation of trends from the past.  A learning system focuses on an operational view of how things actually work.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Learning and Systems

Let's imagine an impossible task. Getting agreement on a public policy for wolves. Federal, state and local government plus environmental, hunters, ranchers and others. Traditional methods don't work with everyone using the media to argue, public meetings to rant, regulations to control, laws to punish, etc. All those methods use words spoken or written.

One proposed process uses groups to build a consensus model of the system under review. members of the group have little or no math or model building skills. Someone has to lead the group. Group talks, leader translates into visuals and builds model. Group talks, leader tests model. Group asks questions, leader validates and verifies model. Group asks more questions, leader exercises model to respond to questions.

A model of the system is not the goal. The journey is what leads to discovery that creates learning. Learning is the goal. Learning leads to more questions and a revised model. Starting the cycle all over again.

There is a way to engage people online. build a model in Stella or iThink, upload to Forio using NetSim. Then use "share" or "embed" to connect the model with social media like Facebook or a blog. People can exercise the model give feedback and the author can revise the model. This process might work for a model of wolves. People might learn.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Happiness is feeling many seek.  Unfortunately happiness is an ideal we are not able to achieve except for a few moments of laughter, passion or joy.  A realistic goal is to be not unhappy.  Feeling not unhappy is something anyone can do consistently for hours, days and weeks.  There are many feelings we can have about life so that we can maintain ourselves in a state of being not unhappy.

Patience is also a feeling many seek.  Again, patience is an ideal we are not able to achieve consistently.  We experience very few moments when we feel we have time to listen to someone, wait for a response or silently enjoy being in someone else’s presence.  A realistic goal is to be not impatient in the moment.  Feeling not impatient is something anyone can do.  There are many feelings we can have about life so that we can maintain ourselves in a state of being not impatient.

Being impatient can be a symptom of an intuitive personality.  An intuitive person will take a few facts and make a leap to come to a conclusion. This can be very frustrating for someone interested in following procedures and having all the facts before making a decision.  The quintessential intuitive was Albert Einstein whose fanciful thought experiments revolutionized the 20th century. He could see patterns where others saw randomness or chaos.

Being impatient can be a symptom of too much caffeine or stress, frustration building up over time or relationships not working well.  Significant emotional events can lead to impatience with others. Impatience with others can be a way of attempting to control their behavior because they learn to be afraid of how a person might react.  People learn to withhold information if someone is always impatient and reacts in a negative manner when others are speaking.

Stop, look and listen are useful actions for being not impatient.  Stop talking, look at the other person and listen to understand the meaning behind what they are saying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to be Practical

If we had never discussed the ridiculous, we would never have discovered the practical.

My daughter Megan recently exchanged emails with me and this was her profound wisdom after discussing tearing out counter-tops and driving with them for six hours to Canada to install them at her place.  Instead, she should just install new laminate over the old.

What a way to get to the practical!  Let's talk about the ridiculous!

Love it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creativity and School Lunch

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Oregonian Newspaper online
"In the past academic year, for the first time in memory, a majority of kids in Oregon schools (50.2 percent, up from 46.1 percent just the year before) qualified for free or reduced price lunches. The number fit with another recent statistic, that one in five Oregon kids were in food-insecure families -- also an increase.">>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The increase is partly due to the increase in the number of families using food stamps that automatically qualifies the kids for free lunch at school.  Last week was the deadline to apply at schools for free and reduced lunch.

How can teachers get the kids to pay attention if the only good meal they get is lunch?

We are asking schools to be social incubators, food banks and baby sitters; they must have winning sports teams and academic success; they must be free of drugs, hate and bullying; and they have to do it with less money than last year using an aging infrastructure and a failing organizational model.  And now we want them to teach creativity and innovation?

We are expecting too much from schools, giving them too little support for basic services and their parents can't find a job that pays well enough to put food on the table.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Imagine a conversation with a student.

Adult: “How do you know if your answer to a math problem is correct?”

Student: “The teacher checks the ones that are wrong and I have to do them again.”

Alternative answer:

Student:  “After I get the answer to a division problem then I multiply my answer times the divisor to see if I get the same number as the problem.”

Teaching a student at any age how to detect and correct their own errors in any subject has more leverage than when the teacher has all the answers.

Typing Words

In typical 19th Century fashion, I am using typed words to communicate. I’m using a method that was invented in the late 1860’s.  The first typewriter was manufactured in 1873.  Now, instead of carbon paper we use electrons to send copies.
As I type these words, I make assumptions without stating them; I state conclusions without revealing the steps I took; I use words as objects instead of visual tools showing relationships.

In 1970, Jean Piaget published “The Science of Education”. His Learning Cycle model helped to popularize discovery-based teaching approaches, particularly in the sciences. High-stakes testing was first implemented by Massachusetts in 1993. 

Each of us can think of goals for education and methods to achieve them, and people have been doing that for decades.  Those involved in education - students, parents, teachers, unions, administrators, governments, taxpayers, businesses and other constituents – also have their own goals and preferred methods to achieve them.

If we want to promote creativity and innovation as a goal of education, how are we going to get the education system to implement those goals and what method are we going to use?  Why don’t we use dynamic modeling, mind mapping and other visual tools to promote our goals?

Why are we typing words?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creativity, Innovation and Invention

Program in Australia has three rules:

1.  Any idea is worth exploring but you must define and act within your parameters;
2.  Time is the enemy so get going
3.  You can’t give up.

Here’s the web site that gives a bit more info. Regional Breakthroughs

Creativity and Learning

Creativity, innovation, intuition and discovery might be appropriate for specific topics at different developmental stages.

For example:
1.  What is the appropriate age (brain development) for students to use addition to detect and correct subtraction errors (and the reverse)?
2.  What is the appropriate age (brain development) for students to use multiplication to detect and correct division errors (and the reverse)?

From my limited experience, using addition with subtraction or multiplication with division to detect and correct errors does not appear to be integrated into the elementary school math curriculum.  The student is dependent on the teacher to detect and correct math errors in grades four and five.

When using the appropriate process to build a dynamic model of a system, there are steps to test, verify and validate the model.  As a result, detecting and correcting errors is integrated with the process of building the model.  Thus the student modeler has the responsibility for detecting and correcting errors.  This is what leads to someone developing creativity, innovation, intuition and discovery.

There are many quantitative and qualitative methods of detecting and correcting errors in different subjects.  A teacher-centered classroom is where the teacher is the focal point of detecting and correcting errors.  When students learn a process for detecting and correcting their own errors they begin to take responsibility for their own learning.

The existing education system is primarily teacher-centered and is immune to any change toward a student-centered classroom. Probably only as high school extra-curricular activity or college level will anyone have a chance at introducing processes for students to learn how to detect and correct their own errors. I'm encouraged to learn about websites that are introducing these methods.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Debt and and GDP

As a percentage of GDP, debt by sector:
Non-financial business = 50 percent
Financial sector = 180 percent
Households and non-profit org = 100 percent
Public debt(state, local and federal) = 88 percent
The USA total debt is 3.5 times GDP

The data do not support the conservative focus on the federal annual debt and cumulative deficit. Cash flow is where the problem gets critical.  The USA is spending about 50% more than annual revenues and the costs are only going to increase.  Revenues need to go up and future expenses need to be limited for Social Security and Medicare, Military spending and other programs.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Tea Kettle Movement

Dear Mr. Friedman,

Re: The Tea Kettle Movement, Sept. 28, 2010, NYTimes

One example of the leadership you advocate in your article can be found at universities like Portland State University.  PSU supports entrepreneurs with several programs, as you say “to attract, develop and unleash creative talent.”  The programs include Social Innovation Incubator, Lab2Market and other centers and institutes linking together entrepreneurial PSU students, staff, and faculty with private sector leaders including venture capitalists, attorneys, and economic development officials.

PSU programs attract and educate, as you say “men and women who invent, build and sell…goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable” and secure.  Teams of professors, students and entrepreneurs develop the core competencies and strategic advantage that you talk about in your article.

The answer to your article’s challenge: invest in higher education to partner with small businesses that create the jobs we need.  The answer to your leadership challenge: future leaders are learning how to work with entrepreneurs and small businesses at universities throughout the country. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Predicting the Future

We predict the future when we publish the time for sunset and sunrise, the time for high and low tide, and the time for the equinox and solstice. The basic laws of physics allow us to accurately determine each of these events long before they actually happen.  These predictions require knowing the orbit of the moon around the earth and orbit of the earth around the sun.  These orbits vary and the earth wobbles on its axis over time so there is some uncertainty and adjustments are made over time to the values listed above.

The basic laws of physics apply to global climate.  We can predict the future average temperature of the atmosphere using physics just like we can predict the movement of the sun and moon.  Denying that global climate can change is like denying that the moon orbits the earth and the earth orbits the sun.

The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, first reliably experimented on by John Tyndall in 1858, and first reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.[1]  The greenhouse principle was developed as a theory and verified by experiment more than 110 years ago.  The basic laws of physics used to predict global climate change include the Stefan-Boltzman law and Kirchhoff’s law.

Over time, greenhouse gases like CO2 can have the same effect on the atmospheric temperature as changes in the output of the sun.  As humans cause the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to increase, even taking into account the absorption of CO2 by the ocean and vegetation plus the release of CO2 by the ocean, this has the same effect as an increase in sunlight caused by the sun.

Using variations in the Earth’s orbit, sunlight and ocean surface temperatures to explain changes in climate over time is like ignoring the effect of gravity on the orbits of the moon, earth and sun.  Global climate varies over decades based on the laws of physics not variations in measurements of parameters like orbit, sunlight and ocean temperature.

Applying the basic laws of physics to calculating the average atmospheric temperature, as the concentration of CO2 increases in the atmosphere, means we can predict the future just like we can predict the tides.  Denying the need to do anything now to deal with the certainty of a warming planet is like denying the need to move to higher ground before high tide.

By 2020, the earth’s average atmospheric temperature will have increased enough to cause a global migration and destabilize governments in developing countries.  Some of these countries have nuclear weapons now or will develop them in the next ten years.  We can not predict the consequences of this catastrophe only that it will happen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stuck between hope and reality

The Democrats are stuck between hope and reality.
This article from The Nation magazine details the facts about the upcoming election.  This is the most accurate description I've seen this summer and fall about the differences between the tea party and the Democratic base.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"George Will says tax cuts for wealthy cost less over 10 years than stimulus did in one year"

The truth-o-meter rated this as barely true.

My truth-o-meter rates this as false because it is a pseudo-fact. The statement is false based on the comparison of apples to oranges. The short term and long term consequences of these two very different expenditures makes putting them in the same sentence for comparison a pseudo-fact. The difference between the two costs is irrelevant to any debate about the deficit.

1. The stimulus stopped the US economy from sliding into a worse depression with higher unemployment. The tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs and no qualified economist can show you evidence that they do.

2. The difference between the tax cuts and the cost of the stimulus, according to your calculations, is $787 billion minus $678 billion or $109 billion. Mr. Will is focusing our attention on this difference when the real facts have to do with the systemic change of the stimulus expenditures on the overall economy.

3. The George Will statement is a deception to focus on the deficit and not the benefits of the stimulus. The difference between the cost of the tax cuts and the stimulus is a pseudo-fact.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


President Obama can not lose in the November 2010 election for two reasons. First, he's not running for office. Also, even if the Republicans win control of the House and gain enough seats in the Senate to have more than 40 votes to stop Democrats from passing legislation, when campaigning for re-election in 2012, President Obama will be able to run against the Republicans.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Approach

Leadership requires collaboration and coordination with people who are creative, value integrity and practice global thinking.  Leaders need a way of voicing concerns, problems and issues with someone independent enough to give them clear and focused feedback while trusting them to not repeat confidential information.  My approach to advising, mentoring and coaching brings creativity, integrity and global thinking together to support your overall mission and specific problems.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Rep. Boehner is quoted as saying "...President Obama should work with Republicans to stop all of these job-killing tax hikes."
Read more:

Tax hikes don't kill jobs.  Recessions kill jobs.
The Republicans were in power when the Great Recession happened.
President Obama and the Democrates rescued the economy and people are being hired daily.

Tax cuts don't create jobs. Growing businesses create jobs.
The Republicans were in power when the economy lost over 8 million jobs.
President Obama and the Democrates have stablized the economy and thousands of jobs are being added each month.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Climate Change

Excellent writing by John Sterman of MIT and comments about how systems work.

Here is link to NOAA study mentioned on the web site.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meanings of Modern Science

When new science is made, we are also made new.  We have a sense of connection with our own time and others living in this age of scientific discoveries.  If new discoveries are possible then anything is possible.  As new science is applied to everyday life in the form of new technology, our awareness of what makes us human opens up new possibilities.  Just as the internal combustion engine transformed us in the 1900s, how we use the Internet is transforming humanity in the 21st Century.  Applied science is exposing the complexity and irrational nature of humans.

When confronted with new science applied to benefit the human condition many can’t understand why the consequences aren’t all bad.  They see government conspiracies and corporate profits.  Their belief in the weather clouds their judgment about the climate.  Their belief in seeds poisons their acceptance of genetically modified crops.  Confronted with something we don’t like and don’t understand, we can’t believe in a future when new science is applied to benefit humans.  Our identity as humans is challenged by daily science discoveries that are applied to redefine what being human means.

The Information Age has brought 24/7 sound bites focused on crisis after crisis that increases anxiety over time like getting shot at every day in a war zone.  The Great Recession has threatened every person in this country with losing their home to foreclosure or not being able to move because their house is worth less than they owe.  The news on the Internet, on TV or on talk radio brings daily attacks on our senses in the form of crisis after crisis.

We ought to be having a good time but we aren’t.  As individuals we are anxious about our personal lives and as a society we are anxious about how business and government are dealing with daily assaults on long held beliefs because of new science applied in new ways changing the speed that humans communicate and connect with one another.  We used to measure the speed humans progressed from walking, to riding, to cars, to planes and finally space ships.  Now human progress is measured in the speed of our Internet connection, the doubling of the number of Facebook members, the sales of the first iPhone compared to the new iPhone or iPad.  The Information Age is no longer tethered by a wire, we’ve gone mobile with everything wireless.

Climate change is an example of how our anxiety about a crisis freezes us into inaction.  We are unable to react to the changes in the climate because the consequences of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere are distant in space and time from the coal plant smoke stack or vehicle exhaust.  Also, the science depends on understanding atmospheric physics equations, chemistry in the ocean and building computer models.  Why should everyone take action based on geeks playing games on a computer simulating the future in 2100?

Modern science means new technology applied to our daily lives that enables us to renew ourselves and overcome our anxiety about our future as individuals and as a country.  Investing in science and applying the technology to control and reverse climate change will not be a waste of money. Productivity will increase, energy efficiency will improve, unemployment will go down and society will benefit in the increased confidence to tackle other threats.  How do I know this to be an accurate forecast of the future?

We successfully responded to potential threats in the past with the same result: rebuilding Europe after WWII, putting a man on the moon and ending the Cold War to name a few.  Extreme investments were needed to get these results. There was a belief in the ability of modern science and engineering to deliver results for the benefit of society.  These investments put people to work and remade us as humans by giving us a sense of direction and pride in our contribution helping others succeed.  Investing in climate change is the way out of our collective state of anxiety.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rabbit Industry late 1920s Colorado


This is a scanned copy of the front and back of a brochure made by my grandfather Benjamin Turnock in Colorado in the late 1920s.  Below are pages 2 through 7 of the remainder of the brochure.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I read the email from Organizing for America (dated June 5, 2010) sent as a message from President Barack Obama to me personally. I used almost the exact same words and rewrote part of the message with a broader theme then added the last two paragraphes myself. Here is what I would tell the President.

Dear President Obama,

The Great Recession has not just damaged livelihoods. Whole communities have been degraded beyond recognition. And the fury people feel is not just about the money they have lost. They feel the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same.

The people now without jobs will work hard to meet their responsibilities. But now because of a manmade catastrophe, the Great Recession -- one that is not their fault and beyond their control -- their lives have been thrown into turmoil. This is brutally unfair. What the President needs to tell these unemployed men and women is that he will stand with the people of America until they are working again. In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 6.8 million.

These are hard times in America, and now Louisiana and the Gulf Coast are hard hit, an area that has already seen more than its fair share of troubles. The people of these United States have met the terrible catastrophe of the Great Recession with seemingly limitless strength and character in defense of their way of life. What we owe the unemployed everywhere is a commitment by our nation to match the resilience they have shown. That is our mission. And it is one we will fulfill: a job for everyone that wants one.

The Gulf Coast oil spill is a crisis that can be turned into an opportunity to put people back to work. BP pays and the government will hire companies that will hire the workers.

We need to have people back to work now, not in 2013 as forecast by economists. We need to increase tax revenues from income taxes by increasing people’s income not by increasing taxes. We need to decrease the deficit and the growth of the national debt by reducing spending on entitlements paid to people with unearned income over $100,000 per year (in 2010 dollars).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brain Power

Estimates vary on the percent of our brain our conscious mind uses.  Our subconscious mind probably uses around 80 percent of our brain.  Why do we assume people will make rational decisions when they aren’t using the majority of their brain for conscious thoughts?

People make intuitive and irrational decisions all the time.  Retailers know this and depend on impulse buying for sales.  People know in their gut and make decisions based on how they feel every day.  Our subconscious mind processes our experiences every night in dreams and we day dream every day about how our life could be different.

However our subconscious mind doesn’t communicate directly with our conscious mind.  We daydream, imagine, use our intuition and make decisions based on how we feel as ways of attempting to use our subconscious mind.  There are ways to tap into our subconscious mind to create rational results.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Conflict of Interest and Contracts

Soccer Player Tryouts

A situation with a young player at soccer tryouts became a conflict of interest.

A parent paid the $25 and registered their child expecting that the soccer player was going to tryout like anyone else.  That's a contract with offer and acceptance.  Someone interfered with the contract and told the coach evaluating players at the tryout to not consider the child. No matter what prior conversations there were between coaches and parents, no one has the right (legal or otherwise) to cancel the contract with the coaching staff doing the evaluations.

Call the coach and ask for an evaluation based on the fact that the registration fee was paid and the player was properly registered.  If the coach mentions the interference, tell the coach that you expect them to evaluate your child just like any other soccer player.

When a coach of a soccer player tells another coach not to consider that player for their team, they have a conflict of interest.  When a parent contracts for an evaluation of their child, they have a right to get feedback from the coach and the right to have their child considered for the team without interference from anyone else.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Anxiety, how to deal with

The way to help yourself is to practice proper breathing and use the mantra "I can leave my body out of it."
• By practice, I mean the Buddhist type of practice where you do it everyday for the rest of your life.
• By proper, I mean breathing by pushing your stomach out to move the diaphragm muscle instead of attempting to expand the rib cage.
• By breathing, I mean inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth while making an "O" sound and then closing the mouth and exhaling the remaining air through the nose while making an "M" sound (sounds like humming).
When feeling something isn't right with the body, say aloud "I can leave my body out of it" over and over again until the bad feeling passes. The bad feelings get shorter and shorter over time, but never go completely away. Then over time, saying the phrase silently to your self is all that is needed.

This method works whenever there is any physical symptom that a doctor can't diagnosis the cause. There are over a hundred symptoms for anxiety that mimic real physical problems that the doctor can’t diagnosis because there is no evidence of a cause (virus, bacteria or organ failure). In your situation (where many things have gone wrong in the past) there is sometimes no evidence of a cause for your symptoms.

Like all humans, your mind and body are closely connected. The mind thinks something might be wrong (because in your case many things have gone wrong) the body reacts and sends signals to the mind that something is wrong, the mind stimulates the body, the body sends signals to the mind that something is wrong and it spirals out of control. This circular cycle is broken by using the mantra "I can leave my body out of it" and practicing proper breathing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When is Fear Good or Bad?

Good fear is when we live in the moment and react to the present situation.  For example, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle or avoiding getting hit by a car.  We buckle our sear belts before driving in the car or use the brake to avoid an accident. Good fear is when we take actions in the present in a way that mitigates the risk from clear dangers in the present or near future.

Bad fear is when we think about something that is not close to us in space or time and our body reacts to what we’re thinking.  We have words like worry, afraid, panic, concern and anxiety that we use to describe our reactions to bad fear.  Bad fear is when someone obsesses daily on something that does not present a clear and present danger to them.  Our bodies react to what we are thinking, our mind thinks something is wrong with our body, then our body reacts to what we are thinking and the cycle continues.  Bad fear that builds over time is what leads to symptoms of anxiety and depression that mimic real medical issues.

Worrying about the national debt is bad fear.  Good fear is taking actions (that are legal) in the present or near future to support reducing the national debt.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Breathing Phase 1

Practice proper breathing.  Practicing every day builds confidence for when you begin to feel anxious or angry and can use your proper breathing to stay calm.  Proper breathing technique is not as complicated as taught in formal yoga or meditation classes.  Proper breathing technique is to inhale through the nose while expanding the stomach and exhaling first through the mouth and then finishing through the nose.  The description "expanding the stomach" is what you see.  What happens inside your body is that the diaphragm muscle below the lungs gets pulled down and lets the lungs expand so that you can take a deep breath.  Sit so that your back is not supported while you are practicing proper breathing, like you would on the floor or on a stool.  You can sit in a chair and not lean back.

What you don't want to do is try to to take a deep breath by expanding your upper rib cage or chest because the bones block the lungs from allowing you to take a deep breath thus creating a feeling that you can't get a full breath and that's a symptom of anxiety.

You want to find a period of ten minutes or more in the late afternoon or evening when you won't be interrupted.  Sit with your eyes closed to reduce the visual stimulation.  You might want to have paper and pencil handy to write down any thoughts that come to mind while you are practicing proper breathing.  Stop and write down anything that comes to mind that you want to act on later.

While you are sitting with your eyes closed practicing proper breathing, thoughts and feelings will present themselves to you.  Now you begin a process of sorting through these thoughts and feelings.  If one is something you want to remember to act on later then stop and write a very brief reminder.  Other thoughts about events during the day we experience again, as if they were happening in the present.  By naming or labeling these thoughts and feelings we separate our self in the present from the past. Another technique is to visualize something that happened and imagine the scene shrinking or moving away from you.

Begin to practice proper breathing with your eyes open any time you are alone: in the car, walking or waiting for someone.  Turn off the TV for ten minutes and practice proper breathing.

Every day, practice proper breathing.  Above is phase one and will take you days and weeks to develop a regular habit.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fear and Meditation


Our worst fears begin and end in our mind. Every fear I’ve felt began in my imagination. With the safety and security our lifestyle allows, we have only once come close to a life threatening emergency.

Reality has never come close to the frequency, duration, intensity and physical reaction of the fear I’ve created in my own mind. My imagination is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. Everything I’ve accomplished in life has happened twice: first in my mind and then in real life.

Date: January 24, 2010 originally published Jan. 20, 1963


I can’t stop my mind from imagining things and don’t want to when I can benefit from that ability. I’ve developed a way to train my mind to interrupt my mind when it wanders off into imagined fears. I practice meditation almost every day and when I don’t, I feel the consequences. In the worst cases, I use the mantra “I can leave my body out of it” to stop the physical reactions triggered by my mind.

My meditation practice involves controlled breathing while sitting. You can sit in a chair or on the floor as long as your back is not supported by anything. First, I push my stomach out to inhale by expanding my diaphragm instead of feeling constricted when I try to expand my chest to inhale. Second, I use the basic mantra “o-m” by exhaling through my mouth with a short “o” sound, then closing my mouth and continuing to slowly exhale through my nose with a humming sound. The longer I practice the humming sound the longer I can exhale. By slowing down my breathing, making long exhales and full inhales with stomach/diaphragm I can begin to relax.

The practice also involves my mind. I close my eyes and do what I call “looking at the backs of my eyelids.” The result is to have my mind see darkness, which means I’m not imagining anything visual. My mind sees nothing. As I continue my controlled breathing and focus my eyes on the backs of my eyelids, I notice my mind begins to bring up thoughts. Sometimes they are things I want to remember or need to take action on something, so I stop and write them down. So part of my preparation is to have a pencil and paper handy.

Sometimes a thought isn’t one that I want to write down. Any thought that has some emotion attached that makes me feel anxious, afraid, guilty, sad, mad, angry or any of a million unwanted feelings, I work to push it away. I imagine shrinking the thought then it moves away from me into the darkness beyond the backs of my eyelids.

As I continue to practice this meditation, I notice that fewer and fewer thoughts present themselves. I’m not stopping to write anything down. I’m not interrupted by emotional thoughts that I have to throw away. I can take deeper and longer breaths. I’m able to enter into a more relaxed state of mind. Studies have shown that a person’s blood pressure goes down and their pulse slows.

When I'm relaxed and my mind is calm, I'm breathing slow and steady, then I practice connecting my feelings with a memory of when I've felt well, alive and really good about things. This is when I begin reinforcing positive thoughts. Sometimes one of those bad thoughts will interrupt me. I work it like I did the others. Then I work my way back to my state of positive thinking.

I find that the longer I can sustain my meditation the more benefit I get from it. I haven’t mediated from more than about 20 or 30 minutes yet. For me the most benefit is meditating on a steady daily basis especially before an hour or so before bedtime.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another example of the power of social networking and new technology.  Jan. 19, 2010
A campaign using text messages to raise money for the Red Cross has tallied more than $21 million for relief efforts in Haiti. The electronic fundraiser, boosted in its early days by widespread posting on social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, has outstripped the organization's expectations and is showing no signs of letting up, an official said Monday.

The power of the Millennial generation to influence society has drawn millions of people into using social networking sites and twitter.  You can donate $10 using twitter.
New mobile tech is changing how the world works.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Teacher Effectiveness -- Symptom of System Ineffectiveness

Here is another example of symptoms and non-systems thinking.
Recent posting by Chalkboard Project in Oregon from email.

Report by the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality entitled, "America's Opportunity: Teacher Effectiveness and Equity in K-12 Classrooms."

Chapter 4 of "America's Opportunity: Teacher Effectiveness and Equity in K-12 Classrooms" includes a section called, "Defining Teacher Effectiveness." The chapter makes the case that "without a working definition of teacher effectiveness, there will be no way to measure outcomes and thus no way to determine if efforts are successful."

The chapter presents a five-point definition of an effective teacher from Goe, Bell and Little (2008):


All of the items listed for the definition of teacher effectiveness are symptoms of the effectiveness of the school/district as an organizational system. A teacher’s behavior, or any employee in any organization, is determined by the structure of the system they work within.

Why? The teacher is not the worker in the organization. The teacher is the leader and supervisor. The students are the worker. The students produce learning. When students are not effective learners the teachers get blamed as not being effective. The organization as a system needs to improve.


Monday, January 4, 2010

The Coming Chaos: War in the 2020s

The success of terrorists to wage warfare did not peak with the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center nor with the insurgents in Iraq prior to 2008. In 2008 and 2009, many more people lost their lives in thousands of terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, at Mumbai, India and other places around the world. Each month US soldiers are killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In October 2009, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been the largest killer of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and are also showing up in Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Colombia, Somalia and parts of North Africa.

Strategically, extremists hope to wear us down over time. However the greatest threat to civilization might be the vast number of destabilizing events reaching a tipping point causing a catastrophic shift in the balance of power in the world. The international community might not be able to maintain order and the rule of law in the 2020s due to non-state insurgents and nation states like Iran and North Korea initiating destabilizing events.

A shift in behavior has created a new area of military action between the point where conventional diplomacy fails and a declared conventional war begins. This is why the past decade and the next decade of chaos will lead to world wide war in the 2020s. In under developed countries millions of people will migrate attempting to avoid the chaos of warfare. In developed countries millions of young adults will volunteer to join the military and civilian industry supporting the war effort.

The economic mobilization for war is not tied to the actual outbreak of hostilities. The increasingly hostile international environment and the long lead-times necessary to produce the sophisticated tools of war have created what many call the military-industrial complex. Today they provide armed, unmanned aircraft that can be controlled from anywhere in the world using satellite communications and used to destroy the command structure of a decentralized enemy.

The US political climate, the lack of UN power and the inability to use conventional diplomacy with insurgents will lead to increasing violence to destabilize states and destroy the public’s support of military efforts to stop the violence. Full-scale mobilization will remain politically impossible until we have passed the tipping-point (a Pearl Harbor type event).

The current protective mobilization to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq at least gives the US military a starting point in preparing for a world wide defense mission. Few people understand that a mobilization for 2020 is, in fact, already under way. Mobilization for 2020 will be an evolving situation with the US not formally at war and reacting to the spread of conflict by moving from one set of expansion goals to another.

The US government will need to encourage industrial expansion before increasing the armed forces manpower otherwise the war might be lost before it ever begins. This includes stopping production of cold war weapons and building capacity for 21st Century weapons to fight a much different war.

This expansion will probably be justified to provide support for vulnerable countries and nuclear states like Pakistan. In 20090, President Obama is cutting cold war style fighting weapons from the budget and at the same time providing weapons and support to Pakistan. The continued creativity and innovation by the US military to fight insurgents over the next ten years will greatly improve our chances of successful mobilization for future warfare.

One of the overlooked factors will be the construction of housing to support training and organizing the millions volunteering for military duty. Any delay in housing might delay enlistments. Since 2001, US experience with mobilizing the National Guard and Reserve greatly improves the chances we will be prepared by 2020 however we will still be overwhelmed by the millions volunteering.

Creation of a political consensus in support of war will no longer be an issue after a defining event that is unknown to us in 2009. Whoever is President, they will need to manage the mobilization for war without political consensus before 2020. Then the US will need to quickly develop the type of civilian and military organization to merge and manage the industrial and manpower mobilization.

At the end of World War II there were over 8 million soldiers in the US Army. In 2009, there are a total of 1,473,900 active duty personnel from all services and 1,458,500 reserve personnel. (Only China has more active duty personnel.) In 2008, the US had almost 120 million men and women fit for service between the ages of 18 and 49. Mobilizing that many people for wartime civilian and military service will be a significant challenge. Millions of people will be migrating across the US and the world.

Looking back, we will see that the first step in mobilizing for 2020 began with the authorization in 2007 to expand the Army and Marine Corps by 2012. As of 2008 there were over 200,000 (13.5%) female military personnel. The percentage of female personnel will be significantly higher by 2020.

My opinion is not a forecast or prediction, not a wish or prophecy, not a fantasy or intuition. I’m not predicting success or failure. I don’t know exactly when or how it will start. We know this will be a global war.

The driving forces behind the chaos leading up to the catastrophic 2020s will be demographics. The millions of unemployed, unmarried, cause-driven, heroic young men in Asia and the Middle East are going to threaten the stability of every government and nation-state. India, Pakistan, Iran and other countries are going to lead the way toward instability.


1. Morris, Chris. "Information Warfare in the Age of Chaos: Preparing for 2020." Airpower Journal (Spring 1995). Print.
2. "WWII: Mobilization." U.S. Army Center Of Military History. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. .
3. "United States armed forces -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. .

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Anxiety by Limbaugh

Jan. 1, 2010 News

Rush Limbaugh felt like he was having a heart attack but he actually had an anxiety attack due to low serotonin in his brain. Given no other medical explanation, as verified by the doctors, the only medical diagnosis is low Serotonin.  He needs cognitive behavioral therapy and maybe an SSRI for a year.