Monday, September 28, 2009

Placebos are becoming more effective. How? - Telegraph Blogs

Amazing! And the comments are just as interesting as the article:

Placebos are becoming more effective. How? - Telegraph Blogs

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Meta-Message

You may or may not have noticed that I've been a bit scarce on email, on FB, on this blog, for the last couple of weeks. There's a good reason for that, which I'll get to in a minute.

First, have you ever had someone tell you what should have been great news in a spectral tone of voice? Or had someone tell you they were fine, while sounding horribly depressed? Did you take the words seriously? Or did you believe the tone of voice? If you're like most people, you paid more attention to the tone than to the words.

In NLP (aka neurolinguisitics), the non-verbals, e.g. tone of voice or body language, are sometimes referred to as the 'meta-message'. The meta-message is the overall vibe that extends beyond the verbal message. Let me suggest that the meta-message is the message.

What you may not know is that the meta-message exists for artistic communication and for electronic communication. The reason a piece of art, whether that's a painting, a poem or a song, conveys a mood is partly the mood the artist was in when he or she created the piece.

Several years ago, I was at a talk given by a wonderful man, an MD turned holistic healer after a quadruple bypass literally opened up his heart. His presentation included a guided meditation, which ended with a recorded song, which he had commissioned from a gifted singer-songwriter. Although the song was lovely, and the words were uplifting, all I could hear was the pain in the singer's voice. Wrong meta-message! It left me with exactly the opposite feeling to what was intended.

And so it is with writing, even if it is published electronically. Last week, I wrote most of a piece on '3 Ways to be 'Up' in a Down Market', I guess because I needed it, and figured if I needed it, so did others. But even though it was well-written, I was not 'up'. I knew that if I hit the 'publish post' button while in that state of mind, the meta-message was going to be 'how to let things get to you'! So I didn't publish it, and in not publishing it, I had nothing to send to my email list.

The message here is pay attention to your feeling states, and don't reach out to people on a large scale when your feeling states don't match your message. If you are someone who must reach out to large numbers of people on a regular basis (you're a teacher, a sales rep, or even a healer), you must learn to manage your feeling states so that your meta-message supports your message.

Sometimes, though, all of us need to just let our natural feeling states be, and turn inward to clean up our own issues. That's what I did -- I took some time, took my own advice, and that of my guides, and worked through my issues, at least enough that my meta-message is positive again.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The 4 Kinds of Prayers

"...when you come right down to it, there are only four basic prayers. Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!”

Rabbi Marc Gellman, quoted in the NY Times

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Entangled Minds: Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven

Entangled Minds: Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven

For a scientist (whose work I admire and use) to argue that you need higher standards of proof for remote viewing than other areas of science is just absurd.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prayer May Reshape Your Brain ... And Your Reality : NPR

Prayer May Reshape Your Brain ... And Your Reality : NPR

What happened to the economy -- and what it portends for the future

From the Boston Globe:

"Minsky called his idea the “Financial Instability Hypothesis.” In the wake of a depression, he noted, financial institutions are extraordinarily conservative, as are businesses. With the borrowers and the lenders who fuel the economy all steering clear of high-risk deals, things go smoothly: loans are almost always paid on time, businesses generally succeed, and everyone does well. That success, however, inevitably encourages borrowers and lenders to take on more risk in the reasonable hope of making more money. As Minsky observed, “Success breeds a disregard of the possibility of failure.”

As people forget that failure is a possibility, a “euphoric economy” eventually develops, fueled by the rise of far riskier borrowers - what he called speculative borrowers, those whose income would cover interest payments but not the principal; and those he called “Ponzi borrowers,” those whose income could cover neither, and could only pay their bills by borrowing still further. As these latter categories grew, the overall economy would shift from a conservative but profitable environment to a much more freewheeling system dominated by players whose survival depended not on sound business plans, but on borrowed money and freely available credit.

Once that kind of economy had developed, any panic could wreck the market. The failure of a single firm, for example, or the revelation of a staggering fraud could trigger fear and a sudden, economy-wide attempt to shed debt. This watershed moment - what was later dubbed the “Minsky moment” - would create an environment deeply inhospitable to all borrowers. The speculators and Ponzi borrowers would collapse first, as they lost access to the credit they needed to survive. Even the more stable players might find themselves unable to pay their debt without selling off assets; their forced sales would send asset prices spiraling downward, and inevitably, the entire rickety financial edifice would start to collapse. Businesses would falter, and the crisis would spill over to the “real” economy that depended on the now-collapsing financial system."

Whole article here.

This is what it means for you:
  • We are going back to much more of a 'pay as you go' economy. You know, the one you grew up in if you're over 40.
  • Retail sales (remember, 70% of the economy is consumer spending) are going to be at a much lower level for a long time, first because people have to pay off their debt, and then because they'll have to save to buy things, because credit is and will be harder to come by.
  • We are actually experiencing deflation now. We all know real estate prices are down, sharply in many locations. But you know all those 'sales' at stores, even grocery stores? Those are deflation in action. Here's a personal example: I bought my first GE toaster oven around 1977. I think I paid $29 for it. It broke and I bought a new one, sometime in the early 90's -- I think I paid $49. It broke and I bought a new one around 2001, again $49. It broke and I'm going to Target later today to buy a new one -- 'on sale' at $15. Looks like pretty much the same model I've had, over and over again.
  • In deflation, people hang on to their cash. This makes sense, because you can buy an asset cheaper later than you can buy it now. Yet another reason for lower consumer spending.
  • This may not change for a generation or more. My grandparents were adults, raising their families during the Great Depression. My parents, who were kids then, were part of the 'save before you spend' crowd, and I am too, because they trained me well. People who got caught in a debt trap this time around, and their children, will remember this painful lesson for a long time.
  • You have to give people a REALLY good reason to buy something now, because they'll begin to expect that they can get it more cheaply later. Or it has to be something for which they're desperate.
  • What are people desperate for? Food, shelter, and clothing (although most of us have enough clothing to last us a few years). And end to their physical suffering, i.e. health care (though I understand that even Kaiser Permanente's business is off). A way to stretch a dollar. A way to make more dollars to pay for food, shelter and clothing. Transportation to get to those places where they make the dollars. After that, it's all 'nice to have'. So how do you relate what you do to one of these things?
  • When people need things, they're more likely to turn to the underground economy -- paying in trade (I have a friend in rural OR who gets paid for some of her services in pot, which she then uses to pay other tradespeople), or in untraceable green cash.
  • People are more likely to buy things used -- that's part of the rise of craigslist and eBay. Flea markets will be busier, too, because people still like to handle the merchandise.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Happiness Catching? -

Really great article and not just about happiness:

Is Happiness Catching? -

My favorite findings:

- the more friends you have, the likelier you are to be happy
- your spouse's weight will affect yours less than your best friend's weight will

Feeling inadequate? Don't know why?

This explains it:

Mind - When a Parent’s Love Comes With Conditions -