phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the
ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the
first and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a
taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. This
is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by
istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?
Who is most likely to develop PTSD?
1. Those who experience greater stressor magnitude and intensity,
unpredictability, uncontrollability, sexual (as opposed to
nonsexual) victimization, real or perceived responsibility,
Veterans with PTSD have profound and pervasive problems in their daily lives. These often include migraines, intestinal complaints, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, and discomfort in other parts of the body. Often, medical doctors treat the symptoms without being aware that they stem from PTSD.
These problem often mask problems in family and other important relation-ships, problems with employment, trouble with the criminal justice system, and ultimately suicide. CBS News reported in November 07, that nearly 20 veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY. (I bet it's worse now, but the VA is managing to hide the issue. Sept. '10. aw)
If you can read, thank a teacher. If you are free, thank a veteran. You owe your freedom to Veterans. These are not disposable people to be kicked to the curb like dog droppings. Don't be so quick to judge a man "who just isn't the same."
All this hard news notwithstanding; it's crucial that the Veteran and his family hold on to their core values and most important,
DON'T GIVE UP!
PTSD does create permanent changes in brain function but it does not have to ruin your lives forever. Just as an oyster can create a pearl by creating layer after layer of nacre to protect itself from the constant irritation of the grain of sand, so can the Veteran and their families build up layers and layers of understanding and coping skills to manage the symptoms.
Thousands of Vietnam veterans have committed suicide on the installment plan, with obesity, drugs and alcohol, or they've killed themselves outright in a car wreck or with a gunshot.
But Millions of Veterans have found ways to have joyous successful lives, to achieve their goals, and serve their fellow man.
YOU CAN TOO.
Remember the words of the immortal Winston Churchill...
"Never, Never, Never give up."
The real tragedy in life is not in not reaching your goal. The real tragedy is in having no goal to reach.
Never, Never, Never Give Up!
You may want to check out the video we have embedded HERE. It's called"Iraq for Sale"by documentary film maker Robert Greenwald. It is somewhat dated, but is still relevant to the world of Government Contracting.
It tells the story of the no bid, sole source contracts given to Blackwater, Haliburton, Kellogg, Brown, and Root and others. Troublesome. It's worth the seventy five minutes to watch it.
The Wisdom of the Dakota
The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians,
passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When
you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to
However in government and in much of corporate
America more advanced strategies are often employed. Such as:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living impaired.
7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's
10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve
the dead horse's performance.
11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less
costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially
more to the bottom line of the economy than live horses.
12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
And last but not least:
13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Here's an inspirational message sent in by Dennis Stevens out in the basin. Thanks to Dennis and to "Sunshine" Faye Hall for sending it 'round.
And another interesting video
Thanks to Ralph Doolin in Tennessee for this funny link. Well, maybe not so funny.
A happy story....Sack Lunches on a Plane to Chicago
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to
read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.
Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled
all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a
conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated
nearest to me. ' Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two
weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq '
Veterans are the only people who can solve the suicide, unemployment, and readjustment difficulties that vex America's younger Veterans.
There is no cure; but symptoms can become un-diagnosable with proper attention. Ignoring the problem will make it worse. Much worse.
Over the last months we have been focusing a great deal of attention on Mental Recovery. Some say we should retire and not be so strident.
We say that there is a brief window of opportunity to organize Veterans of every generation to serve our fellow Veterans the same way that alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous help one another to recover.
Merely coping with the devastating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other mental illnesses is no longer the only option. Today, we have evidence is that actual Recovery is possible. It has been proven to be a fact that Veterans can learn to reprogram their own minds, creating new neural pathways that simply bypass, older, sometime dysfunctional programming that created our past. We may have had to endure the past; we now get to chose our future.
I'm speaking of creating a new, abundant way of life by learning new skills and making new choices. I recognize that most of the time, most of us are totally invested in the status quo. Change is terrifying. Change requires choices, and risks. But if we are to experience abundance we need to adjust our attitudes, our beliefs about ourselves and the challenges we face. We can choose to and step forward with renewed courage to claim the lives that we want. We no longer must accept the lie that our fates are sealed and that we must simply adapt to a river of crisis that threatens to drown us every day.
When everything else is going wrong; Veterans can show Veterans that there are some alternatives. No matter how awful the crisis of the moment, Veterans can show other Veterans how to experience what we like to call "the abundant life". We are not just talking about abundant stuff. We are talking about abundant good health, happy relationships, emotional well being, strong marriages, satisfying work. Veterans listen to Veterans.
It's abundantly clear that the VA will not be able to serve the needs of the youngest generation of veterans. Even with massive budget increases, VA people are simply swamped. Furthermore, the younger Veterans are incredibly resistant to VA treatment. And with damn good reason. Veterans have a BS tolerance of about minus 10. They just cannot tolerate dealing with a Gulag where patients, professionals, providers, and paid staff; all become prisoners of the VA's policies and procedures. (Propagated by pinheads in power! hahahah) Veterans also realize that the stigma of "Being Mental" means branded for life!
And the potential social problem is beyond belief for the average citizen today. Civilians just can't even imagine what it could be like if a whole generation of Veterans were to become disgruntled and disaffected, feeling that that Veterans have been betrayed by America. How many young Vets, who feel that they are immortal, will act out their rage at the Mall or the local 7-11? How many young Veterans are so whacked that they just don't give a damn anymore? (For example: Have you heard about "Sovereign Citizens." That is some scary stuff. Check out the story on CBS News show 60 Minutes.It is crystal clear that disgruntled Veterans are huge targets of extremist groups who want rip America apart. Listen to what the Department of Homeland Security and FBI have to say about Veterans becoming terrorists. DHS claims to have active intelligence that disaffected Veterans are targets of Right Wing extremists who want to commit terrorist acts.
The public is in denial. People say "That's just plain crazy Andrew. You are paranoid." Maybe I am. But it is a fact that Veterans have about a 30% likelihood of having PTSD after a combat tour. What about after two tours or three or four tours? Literally everyone has a family member or neighbor who "Is just not the same since they came home from the war." Suddenly, out of the blue, our finest young men find it necessary to drink and self medicate with drugs. These Veterans do not have character defects; they have a brain injury and alcohol helps the feeling that our brain is about to explode from stress. Countless, anonymous, Vets are becoming more and more alienated from their families. Hot tempers flare and feelings are hurt beyond repair. Marriages crumble, children are left with one parent, and a lifetime of poverty.
Meanwhile, troubled Veterans get into deeper and deeper trouble. They too often go from disturbing the peace to DUI charges to assault to murder. Worst of all, Veterans' suicide rates dwarf the national average. Just because we can't see the problem on TV, does not mean the problem does not exist.
The saddest part of the whole problem is that Veterans do not need to suffer the way Veterans of the past have suffered. Veterans can help fellow Veterans to get onto the path of Recovery in the same way that alcoholics help other alcoholics to stay sober. Both the helper and the one being helped both benefit.
Now is the time for Veterans to link up through social media and help other Veterans learn that Recovery is possible. In the past Veterans were taught that once you had PTSD the best you could hope for was a steady diet of heavy medication and industrial strength Coping Skills. We know now that this is simply wrong. Veterans can learn to rewire their brains much the same way stroke victims learn to walk or talk again. The damaged part of the brain will never recover, but different parts of the brain can learn to do the job; with time and practice. We have proof. And when the Veteran's learn about Recovery, they can pass on their knowledge and experience to another Veteran. It's a one on one thing.
The Veterans Administration has spent one hundred million dollars over the last ten years trying to discover what actually helps Veterans with stress related brain injuries like TBI and PTSD. We have learned that people with brain injuries can condition their brains much the same way Pavlov trained his dogs to drool. Veterans can learn to reduce the symptoms of PTSD, sometimes to a degree that the symptoms become un diagnosable. This does not presume that the brain injury is healed or the trooper is "cured". We are simply advocating that Veterans enjoy "the abundant life" rather than suffer in silence like World War Two, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans did. We have a chance to share with the Veteran that there are alternatives to getting stinking drunk and beating up the wife. The important fact is that Veterans are uniquely suited to help other Veterans.
It is a fact: nobody can communicate with a Veteran like another Veteran. The government is not going to be able to solve our young Veterans's re-adjustment problems. We Veterans are the only ones who can do it. We can make a difference; therefore, it behooves us Veterans to do all we are able to do in order to fill the void of appropriate care. We have an opportunity to become the Most Appropriate care.
The future might be terrifying were it not for the fact that we have new tools for achieving Recovery. And you don't need a phd to use them. Everybody can teach recovery... starting with Active Conditioning.
Breathe in Peace
Breathe out Stress
Relax the neck and shoulders
Think about what you really want.
We want to teach this little sequence to anyone who will listen so they can and will teach it to anyone who will listen. Otherwise, we are going to experience a ton of domestic violence, broken homes and kids with one parent.
Maybe we will never be cured from PTSD; but what if our PTSD symptoms became "Un diagnosable"? In other words; what if all the PTSD related behavior just stopped? What if the quick temper and sharp tongue just evaporated? What if we could balance out what's happening in our guts just by practicing breathing a different way, ten times a day? What if you could actually recover health? What if you could actually get the life you desire, instead of just existing; reacting to the life that "just happens"?
Breathe in Peace
Breathe out Stress
Relax your neck and shoulders
Think about what you want
Every time you repeat this Breathing, Relaxing, and Thinking Sequence you are consciously creating new neural pathways in your brain. These are actual physical structures, not just some intellectual concept. Like raindrops following the path of least resistance down a window, so do your thoughts follow the path of least resistance. Many people experience life through thought processes that "just happened" through our experience.
When you choose to Actively Condition your brain, to choose to create new circuitry in your mind based on what you want, not on what randomly happened. You have the innate ability to reprogram your self to follow pathways that lead to what you have chosen for yourself. The alternative is simply reacting to life based on habits of thought that were programmed into you by people, places, and things, seemingly at random. You have to decide what you want. You choose to make it happen. With every repetition of the BRT sequence, wispy little filaments of new neural fiber are spun. Practice a hundred thousand times and create a hundred thousand tiny filaments and you get new neural pathways that actually rewire the way the brain operates. This is a lot like the way stroke victims teach a different part of the brain to perform functions lost in the stroke. I want to stress this is a physical process, that changes the brain function. It is simply not just another form of mental masturbation, that consumes tremendous energy but produces nothing positive.
I say again, Nature wants to program us with random, unplanned stimulus. You can choose instead to focus your mind on your intended desire and create a mental matrix that gradually guides you to your chosen objective. Mindfulness takes charge of the process. Everything that exists in the physical world, existed first in the spiritual, cerebral world. In it's new, evidence based Recovery programs, the VA teaches what it calls Mindfulness Breathing. We call it BRTseqencing or Active Conditioning. No matter what you call it, it is a tool. We have to choose to use it. Using Active Conditioning can accelerate the process of bringing that which we desire from the mental, thinking realm into the material realm. Like meditation. Like Prayer.
Every time that we repeat active conditioning and visualize that which we desire; we are creating new neural pathways that can actually, physiologically change the operation of our brains, and from there, the rest of our bodies. I asked Gerald Hubbard; "What would you do if all the foods that you loved, like chocolate cake, were poison and all the foods that could support health and happiness tasted awful to you?" He quickly replied, "I'd reprogram my brain to love the foods that were good for me." Gerald is a great example of a Marine that knows how to get what he wants.
I'm praying that the Mindfulness practice will quickly change my brain so I see myself with a thirty two inch waist line. Like Gerald said; I'm re-programming my mind that chocolate candy is poison, and that fruit, especially cantaloupe, is heavenly. I'll never have to diet, or develop will power. I'll just have to focus on what I want, and reprogram a healthy body. Better food choices will just happen, spontaneously, effortlessly as I more clearly visualize myself in great shape.. . . with a thirty two inch waistline. I can see it now! (So far I've lost 30 pounds. By the end of summer I will have lost another 30,)
I will be the product of my philosophy. Someday you will see me, walking five miles, with a thirty two inch waistline and you will know Active Conditioning works. For now, just believe the VA's evidence.
Note to skeptics: I'm not saying that if you practice Active Conditioning you will have a perfect life. Some Veterans need medication. Some Veterans need hospitalization. Some Veterans may even need incarceration. What I am stressing is that Veterans can help themselves in Recovery by helping another Veteran to experience Recovery... The Abundant Life.
Breathe in Peace
Breathe out Stress
Relax your neck and shoulders
Think about what you want
Meanwhile, you can perform an experiment with my info about Active Conditioning. Just try it for one day. See how you feel. I'm saying that Mindfulness Breathing can work for you. If you try it, you will know for yourself if the exercise has value...
or not. Like the Founding Fathers said: "We hold these truths to be self evident."
It's really all about what You really want. Active Conditioning helps you focus on that. You want to have a clear mental picture of it. Do you dare to actually want something? Am you willing to accept the risk of taking responsibility for what you want? What if you don't get it? Nobody wants their hope to be dashed. It is safer emotionally to just crush desire, especially desire for change
A caution; when you first begin Active Conditioning, Mindfulness Breathing, Yoga, the new neural pathways you are forming are wispy, ephemeral things, like spider web filaments floating in space. It's easy for a deeply embedded habit like smoking cigarettes, or depressive thoughts, to blow the newly forming pathways away, if you let them. You may experience these old neural paths as "Intrusive Thoughts". You must expect deeply rooted neural pathways to keep effecting your behavior. But if you can muster the courage to stay focused on your desire, you can let those filaments to grow and attract other filmy neural pathways. (Defend your brain by concentrating on a favorite tune when intrusive thoughts are threatening. Hymns work great.)
After a while the new neural pathway grows and becomes more and more efficient at moving thoughts down the preferred conduit. The old ways just atrophy. It takes practice. Ask someone who quit smoking ten years ago how much energy it takes to not pick up cigarettes. Not too much. After sufficient practice you can Actively Condition your mind to not even think about smoking. (Once you are passed three days of abstinence it gets easier.)
Am I saying that you will be cured? No way. You might still get depressed or anxious or angry from time to time. You might want to take a day off occasionally. You probably will still get mad too damn fast. You might still want to isolate yourself and avoid contact with family and friends. Recovery is a process not a destination. We are teaching gradual improvement.
Miracles can happen in twenty one days. New habits can form. (It's not uncommon for smokers who quit for three weeks to stay quit forever.) You have to discover for yourself that Recovery is possible. You can work a Recovery plan that very well might reduce your re-integration problems to zero. Active Conditioning can do that. You can save a marriage. Husbands and wives can build and rebuild joyous family life, one step at a time. Families can begin to heal. Work problems can evaporate. Great changes can begin in a matter of weeks. And who can't benefit from some form of recovery? Remember that the number one cause of PTSD is...
Who can't benefit from some form of recovery?
W. Andrew Wilson
There is a new website that offers hope to returning warriors and their families: 'Not Alone dot com.
This site is endorsed by Dr. Ray Scurfield, published author, combat veteran, and 25-year career at the VA, including Director the National Center for PTSD in Honolulu:“I am just blown away with the scope of your collective synergy, talent, vision, and passion. Your team is going to be able to put together an ever-evolving product that will actually be able to make a difference in the lives of many active duty personnel, veterans and their families. As a vet, my deepest appreciation.”
Check it out. I've visited many of the pages at this site and I'm consistently impressed with the quality of their content and production values. aw
Thanks to our Philadelphia connection, Professor Gerald Ney for this informative email:
Geopolitical Diary: The Medvedev Doctrine
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev gave an extraordinary interview on
Russian television's Channel One. In the course of the
interview, Medvedev unveiled a five-point doctrine that would govern
Russia's foreign policy going forward. It came in the course of an
interviewer's questions, but the statement was obviously well thought
out and planned. It is to be seen as a statement of Russian national
policy and is worth presenting here verbatim in translation by the
"I will make five principles the foundation for my work in
carrying out Russia's foreign policy. First, Russia recognizes the
primacy of the fundamental principles of international law, which define
the relations between civilized peoples. We will build our relations
with other countries within the framework of these principles and this
concept of international law. Second, the world should be multi polar. A
single-pole world is unacceptable. Domination is something we cannot
allow. We cannot accept a world order in which one country makes all the
decisions, even as serious and influential a country as the United
States of America. Such a world is unstable and threatened by conflict.
Third, Russia does not want confrontation with any other country. Russia
has no intention of isolating itself. We will develop friendly relations
with Europe, the United States, and other countries, as much as is
possible. Fourth, protecting the lives and dignity of our citizens,
wherever they may be, is an unquestionable priority for our country. Our
foreign policy decisions will be based on this need. We will also
protect the interests of our business community abroad. It should be
clear to all that we will respond to any aggressive acts committed
against us. Finally, fifth, as is the case of other countries, there are
regions in which Russia has privileged interests. These regions are home
to countries with which we share special historical relations and are
bound together as friends and good neighbors. We will pay particular
attention to our work in these regions and build friendly ties with
these countries, our close neighbors. These are the principles I will
follow in carrying out our foreign policy. As for the future, it depends
not only on us but also on our friends and partners in the international
community. They have a choice."
The interviewer then asked for greater definition of the Russian areas
of interest. Medvedev replied, "The countries on our borders are
priorities, of course, but our priorities do not end there."
The most important points to take away from this, from our point of
view, are as follows. First, the events in Georgia are not to be seen as
isolated, but as part of a general shift in Russian policy. Second, the
Russians are claiming responsibility for Russian citizens anywhere. This
is particularly important in the Baltics, where Russian citizens
constitute substantial minorities, and in Ukraine. Russia is making it
clear that the treatment of Russians in other regions is a fundamental
interest in its foreign policy. Third, the Russians are declaring a
sphere of interest in the former Soviet Union, and saying that friendly
relations with these countries is essential to Russia. This also means
that these countries may not have the option of pursuing policies that
Russia regards as unfriendly. Finally, Russian interests are not
confined to the former Soviet Union. That obviously means that they
extend to Eastern Europe and, in all likelihood, the Middle East as
We see this interview as not quite a formal doctrine, but a clear
indication of Russian thinking. It is clear that the Russians have now
publicly announced what is obvious: Russia has a new foreign policy, and
it is ambitious and will unfold quickly rather than slowly.
- - - -
With our attention turned to Iraq and Iran, the comment "...will unfold
quickly rather than slowly" should be of great interest to all. It may
be getting ugly soon. Look to the Baltic states as a flash point
1. Two vultures board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at them and says: "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only one carrion allowed per passenger."
2. Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.
3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.
4. A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He moseys up to the bar and announces: "I'm looking for the hombre who shot my paw."
5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during the root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of his office and asked them to disperse. But why? they asked, as they moved off. Because, he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named Ahmal. The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him Juan. Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
8. These friars were behind in their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to persuade them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.
9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him . what? (Oh, man this is so bad, it's good). A super callused fragile mystic vexed by halitosis.
10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
A large defense contractor finally succeeded in building a computer able to solve any strategic or tactical problem. Military leaders assembled in front of the new machine and were instructed to feed a difficult tactical problem into it. They described a hypothetical situation to the computer and then asked the pivotal question, "Attack or retreat?"
The computer hummed away for an hour and then came up with the answer, "Yes."
The generals looked at each other, stupefied.
Finally one of them submitted a second request to the computer, "Yes what?"