Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"It got me thinking of all those insanely talented writers out there in fits of despair thinking they're not any good. Could it be that they're just suffering from a little Dunning-Kruger effect?Take it away Wikipedia!
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which "people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it". The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than in actuality; by contrast the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to a perverse result where less competent people will rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. "Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others." "
I've caught myself doing this tons of times - undervaluing my own skills while over-assuming the competence and experience of others. I never knew it had a name before!! Thanks, NB, my new hero!
In lots of ways then, this blog has done exactly as I hoped it would. It's opened me to technology. It has put me in touch with beauty and ideas and experiences from every corner of the globe. It has accompanied me in my writing.
What it hasn't done is become commercial. It is not a platform, not in the sense of the word that I could use it to sell books. It has not won me any popularity contests. But I'm not sure I ever wanted to win those to start with.
This blog has been a beginning for me. This blog has been a witness to love, and tremendous loss, and pain. George Michels sings "That's all I wanted - something special, something sacred in your eyes" and I think, yes, that fits here. That is what this blog has been - my spiritual tool into a realm of sacred growth.
"Until the end of time"
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Australian researchers find that each hour a day spent in front of television is linked with an 18% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and an 11% greater risk of all causes of death.
Watching television for hour upon hour obviously isn't the best way to spend leisure time -- inactivity has been linked to obesity and heart disease. But a new study quantifies TV viewing's effect on risk of death.
Researchers found that each hour a day spent watching TV was linked with an 18% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, an 11% greater risk of all causes of death, and a 9% increased risk of death from cancer.
FOR THE RECORD:
Effects of TV viewing: The headline on an article in Tuesday's Section A that said "Hours sitting in front of TV found to shorten life" overstated the results of a study. As the article stated, researchers found a statistical relationship between long hours of TV viewing and a shortened life span, but the study did not go so far as to find a direct cause. —
The study, released Monday in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Assn., looked at health data among 8,800 men and women older than 25 who were part of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Participants recorded their television viewing hours for a week, and researchers separated the results by amount of viewing: those who watched less than two hours of TV a day, those who watched two to four hours a day, and those who watched more than four hours a day.
The subjects also had oral glucose tolerance tests to determine blood sugar and gave blood samples to establish cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study. People with a history of cardiovascular disease were not included. In a follow up about six years later, 87 people had died due to cardiovascular disease and 125 of cancer.
Researchers found a strong connection between TV hours and death from cardiovascular disease, not just among the overweight and obese, but among people who had a healthy weight and exercised.
People who watched more than four hours a day showed an 80% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 46% higher risk of all causes of death compared with those who watched fewer than two hours a day, suggesting that being sedentary could have general deleterious effects. The numbers were the same after the researchers controlled for smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an unhealthy diet and leisure-time exercise.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Good things are already happening, and more are coming every day! The weather is gorgeous, heaping us with sunshine and spring breezes for each off-track day. I have my two little loves at home with me for two more weeks, and my Big Love as well next week.
Although J's rehearsal schedule for her school/community play at the end of April keeps us close to home every day - and, darn!, cause I'm craving San Diego -it still promises to be a spectacular vacation.
Yesterday, we bought the cutest present for my niece, current age 8 months. The adorable giraffe pictured above. I hope she'll appreciate being in the same groove as all the celebrities' offspring! Just stick with your Aunt Marie, kid, and she'll make sure you get a taste of the finer touches in life!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I've come across this verse several times in the last few days - had friends mention it to me, and had it pop up in my reading. Whenever I hit something that I notice multiple times, I realize that there is probably some sort of information or message for me there. Otherwise, why would my subconscious mind, soul, intellect, or whatever you think makes us tick pay attention to it?
I've been dealing with some legal matters lately. Long ago, I made some very bad decisions that resulted in me committing a crime. I don't talk about it that much. In general, I've tried to pick up my life the best I can, put the pieces together in a new shape, and move forward in positive ways.
Now, I have an amazing opportunity to have my case reconsidered, and ultimately downgraded in a way that would truly FREE me for the rest of my life.
All that will happen is the district attorney will carefully review my specific details and agree to revise my status. It is just that simple. My entire future hinges on the upcoming moment when one person agrees to give me another chance.
In preparation, I am trying to give the DA the best opportunity to do just that. I am providing character references, psychological testing, lie detector results, you name it. I want to give her mounds of evidence to reassure her that I can be trusted to be a wholesome, productive person.
This has meant that lately I have been trying to get in touch with what feels like about a hundred people and ask them for letters. Some people I have to fill in on the story; others know it well. The effort of going over and over a part of my life that I cannot wait to put truly into my past has been quite tiring. At the same time, I don't mind telling others the truth of mistakes I've made. It's good practice at Satya and generally freeing. My issue is that the mistakes of my past don't accurately depict the person I am today, and I dislike feeling tied down to an ancient self.
But through it all I am feeling wonderful and hopeful. This is it, I think. This is the start of the rest of my life.
Because I keep coming across the verse above. And "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen" (Hebrews 11:1).
** If you feel that you know me through this blog, and would like to provide a reference, feel free to email me at beginwriting at yahoo dot com, and I will provide you with details.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Isn't that nice? It sure the heck is true for me. No matter what happens in life, I just keep trusting - new friends and old, my family, my self, and that life in general will be way more awesome and fun than anything else.
What do you trust?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This is a wonderful feeling as I am so very attached to K, and really want to share my health with her - although she is pretty darn happy, bubbly and unbelievably positive without any help from anyone!
"Kidney donors needn't worry" was the first thing that caught my eye this morning. The blurb leads to this article and the lovely words "profoundly safe." But I knew that already intuitively, and I am getting more and more excited about this novel experience that I am going to share with K.
There are big, BIG changes going on in my life, my work, my writing, my health, my marriage, my home - just about every aspect of my being is up for improvement right now, and there is a sense of unbelievably positive, unstoppable forces at work all around me!
The very, very best to you as well, dear reader!
Friday, March 5, 2010
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
Thursday, March 4, 2010
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one”
That's what all of us are doing. Looking for the others like us, looking for the place where we can belong. Go to The Chocolate Chip Waffle's post on Mary Oliver's poem Wild Geese. That's where my post title comes from. Look at the poem and what it says. Look at the comments of the people who love the poem.
A small group of strangers, pulled together into friendship by love of poetry, loving each other and loving poems for their ability to say to us, Yes. Me too.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Each week I write a lesson and the astonishing teacher rips it apart and has me reconstruct it. She used to be a newspaper editor and she still has that wonderful Lou Grant-like energy, all gruff and abrupt but kindhearted too.
The best way to learn is to be humble enough to be corrected, and I love that she is willing to spend her time and energy sharing her immense knowledge with me!
a. Swastikasana (Seated Crossed Legs Pose)
b. Neck extension – Face Forward – Face Down – Face Forward- Open Eyes
II. Standing Poses
a. Tadasana X 2
i. Modifications – wall, nearby chair, Feet hip width apart if needed
b. Trikonasana (Triangle) X 2
i. Modifications – wall, hand on chair, block
c. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
i. Modifications – against wall, lean toward back of chair, don’t bend over very far, watch for dizziness
d. Virabhadrasana (Warrior 2 Pose) X 2
i. Pay careful attention to position of feet and knees. Keep knee and bent thigh moving away, don’t lock knees.
ii. Use wall behind for balance.
e. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) X2
i. Put palms of hand on wall if needed
ii. Use back or seat of chair
III. Seated/On Floor
a. Upavista Konasana (Wide Angle Pose)
i. Emphasize alignment of feet and knees and active legs.
ii. Use blankets as needed. Place hands on floor, slightly behind if needed.
b. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
i. Use blankets or blocks as needed to support thighs or elevate sitting bones.
a. Savasana (Corpse)/ Supta Baddha Konasana
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Also if you've never read her short story collection Pilgrims, it is an exquisite compilation of quirky but worthwhile characters in unusual situations. I think it showcases her raw writing talent better than anything else I've read by her.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free.
Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.
These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It’s a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we’re being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.
The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they’re stuck to the outside of her hands. They’re a colour that’s difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.
I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I’m giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don’t think I’m alone in wondering whether it’s all worth it. I’ve seen the look in people’s eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I’ve heard the weary grief in my dad’s voice.
So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I’m Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I’m sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?
Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I’ve had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I’ve still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.
Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad’s snoring was.
I’ve always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I’ll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; ‘It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for’, before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It’ll all be here. I’m using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I’m striping the paper. I’m near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I’m allowed to make my decision. That’s it for today. It’s begun.