Monday, March 17, 2008


I just watched the video from this link... by a doctor who's specialization is brain anatomy, and this is her account of her personal conscious experience of having a stroke. Found it fascinating, especially in relationship to the idea of schizophrenia. It really brings up some questions about where the line is drawn between some mental disorders and spiritual emergence.

"The DSM-IV has included a new category called Religious or Spiritual Problem (Code V62.89). This code was included to detail a spiritual condition as a process that mimics a psychiatric disorder. Basically, this code allows for the possibility that not all psychiatric crisis is a mental disorder or evidence that something is wrong. Spiritual emergence is a transformative and growing personal experience, with characteristics of other DSM-IV types of behavior present."

schiz·o·phre·ni·a (skĭt'sə-frē'nē-ə, -frěn'ē-ə) Pronunciation Key n.
Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

"The mystic, endowed with native talents... and following... the instructions of a master, enters the waters and finds he can swim; whereas the schizophrenic, unprepared, unguided, and ungifted, has fallen or has intentionally plunged and is drowning."
Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By
Not only does this relate with the work done by mythologist Joseph Campbell about the 'heroic journey' that humans and humanity embark upon during their lives, but it also closely relates with Dabrowski's theory of positive disintigration -
The Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) by Kazimierz Dabrowski describes a theory of personality and personality development. Unlike mainstream psychology, Dabrowski's theoretical framework views psychological tension, anxiety, and depression as necessary for growth. These "disintegrative" processes are therefore seen as "positive," whereas people who fail to go through positive disintegration may remain for their entire lives in a state of "negative integration," unquestioning and unaware. The strongest potential for tensions that lead to advancement through positive disintegration stem from mental overexcitabilities, above-average reactions to stimuli.
I hope you're still with me. This is the sort of thing that happens when I have an energy drink and watch something that I find exciting!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Ever since I moved into this house four or five years ago, it was clear that the open field next to the house was slated for development. But we enjoyed the open space, the wildlife, the unobstructed views of the mountains, the golden or green rippling wheat with the knowledge that it was fleeting.

It is hard for me to explain exactly why I am so deeply distrubed by the destruction of the field. It isn't just the noise and smells and vibrations as the earth movers and bulldozers rip up the grasses and habitat. It isn't the knowledge that there will be a whole new neighborhood where there was once openness. It isn't even the fact that our once beautiful view of a fourteener and the foothills in front of it are now obstructed by a Walmart when we look toward the west.

I think that what made me cry every morning for a week when I got up and looked out the window was what this ongoing destruction symbolizes. It feels so wrong to me that our culture singularly exists for 'progress' and material gain, without taking into consideration the reprocussions of the wanton destruction and 'civilizing' of everthing in it's path. It is a violent force with no conciousness. I feel the delicate web of the interconnectedness of all things being ripped, bled and violated, even though this little one hundred acres is nothing compared to the development that has been taking place in Colorado since the mid 1800's. But it IS everything to the creatures that have fled their homes in terror, and to the living, breathing earth that will no longer exist there. I can't help but think what it must have been like for the last generation of native peoples who left this land, knowing and feeling in their bones the death force of the white man's world that was slowly creeping across the country like a plauge. I've felt this profound sadness since I was a child 30 years ago, observing the same phenomenon happening 60 miles north of where I live now. I feel like I'm living in a time of endings, when collectively as a people we have forgotten why we are alive, and stopped truely living but are merely surviving.

So my solution has been to avoid being here, spending a lot of time in the magic motorhome which is parked at the barn where I board one of the horses. But low and behold, on the horizon there as well...

I don't pretend to not be a part of this problem. I live in and have lived in houses that were built on former fields and prairies. I drive a car. I eat food that has been shipped here from other parts of the world. So much of what I do on a daily basis seems to be in opposition to the flow of nature, and I feel it, yet I continue to live this way because it is easy and I am too often apathetic. Apathy is contagious and takes constant energy to fight against.
I dream of a different life in my future, far away from development and imported hybridized foods and non-renewable energy. Some day I'm going to move, but not soon enough.