Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sen. Paul Wellstone's Death, or, Know What You Know

Did you ever have that niggling feeling that you knew something, but you couldn't quite put your finger on it? Or maybe you had the feeling that you weren't being told the whole story, or worse, an outright lie, but when you brought up your doubts, everyone told you you were nuts?

Those things happen to me, with fair regularity, but it can take quite a while -- years, decades, sometimes -- to find out I was right. Here's one of those stories, but it's going to take a little while to get there.

I grew up in NJ, at the Jersey shore (yes, there is a group of people who are really like that; I avoided them like the plague). In fact, I grew up at northernmost end of the Jersey Shore, quite close to NYC, where rum running was invented. (During Prohibition, booze was smuggled in by ship to the north Jersey shore, which was one of the ways the Mafia made money, and grew powerful.)

This really was Mafia country. So when I was a kid, and someone had a light plane accident, or a boating accident, we knew it wasn't really an accident. I mean, even 10-year-olds knew that.

Which brings me to Paul Wellstone.

When he died in a 'light plane accident', I strongly suspected it wasn't an accident. And there were some plausible theories about the balance of power in the Senate a a motive for murder, yadda yadda yadda. But those didn't really explain it.

Last night, I was reading my most recent Harvard Magazine, and I came across this, in an article about Sen. Al Franken.

"Paul Wellstone didn’t mind taking unpopular positions. In 1990, his first year as junior U.S. senator from Minnesota, he voted against the Gulf War. President George H.W. Bush’s reaction: “Who is that chickenshit?” An equal-opportunity offender, Wellstone was the only Democrat to vote against President Bill Clinton’s welfare-reform bill. And when the second Bush administration was rounding up votes for an invasion of Iraq, Wellstone said he heard from Vice President Dick Cheney: “If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”

Wellstone voted against the war, but Cheney never had to retaliate. On October 25, 2002—just two weeks after the Senate vote—a plane carrying Wellstone, his wife, his daughter, two aides, and two pilots crashed in northern Minnesota."

Umm, Cheney never had to retaliate??? Huh? If a guy is willing to shoot his hunting partner in the face, what do you suppose he'd do to a guy he didn't like?

So there it is, right there in black and white for everyone to see. All you have to read is the first 2 paragraphs, though the rest of the story is wonderful. (The author, Jesse Kornbluth, is no slouch, having written for New York Times, New York, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and more.  So I assume journalistic competence here, that he isn't making this up.)

Here's what gets me: At least one person, who knew about the threat and was willing to talk about, lived to talk about it. That means this mass murder was meant as a message to someone else. Ever wonder why the Republicans walk in lockstep?

My larger point is this: while you do have to listen to what is out there, what other people think, hang on to that niggling sense that all those people may be wrong, and you might just be right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Science overturns view of humans as naturally 'nasty' - The Times of India

My personal opinion is that we picked a relatively nasty race of apes to ensoul (e.g. chimpanzees v. bonobos), and there's still a lot of hope:

Science overturns view of humans as naturally 'nasty' - The Times of India

Feeling unmotivated lately? You're not alone...

A number of my friends and clients have turned up sick and/or unmotivated lately. These are not slackers, but successful women (and the occasional man) who are suddenly, though temporarily incapacitated (the flu, a broken leg), or uncharacteristically lazy all of a sudden. A few are on overwhelm after months or years of doing too much, and just can't seem to get going right now. Most of them are energetically sensitive, as well.

They all seem to feel guilty about their lack of 'get up and go', too. This makes it worse, of course, because the guilt ties them up in knots of self-doubt, and sucks their energy so it can't go into healing.  Even worse, they don't want to admit it to anyone, so each of them thinks she's alone in feeling this way.

When one person says something to me, it's about that person. When 2 people say it, well, maybe it's a coincidence. When 3 or 4 or 10 say it, it's a pattern. Well, folks, this is a pattern. It's not just me noticing the pattern, either - 2 of my healer friends have noticed the same pattern in their friends and clients, as well.

What's going on?

I don't know for sure, but I'd like to offer 2 hypotheses:
  1. Part of your energy is going towards changing society on the inner planes. Remember, we are all one, along with the planet, and so when things change, we all have to change as a system. Think of a mobile here -- if you tap one piece, all the others rearrange in space. (For more on this, listen to my interview of Roger Nelson about the Gaia Project, here or here in iTunes.) Sometimes, mild illnesses serve a larger purpose, whether it's personal, like giving you time to re-evaluate, or global, like helping the earth evolve.
  2. You are acting out of learned helplessness. If you try and try and try, and nothing comes of your efforts, you give up. This has been demonstrated even in rats. Given the stacked nature of the deck in today's economy, I suspect many people are here.  (See this "60 Minutes" story for examples. )
I actually think most of the ones I'm seeing are the first kind, and I have to acknowledge that the second kind are probably legion as well. 

Here's the point: if you are feeling unmotivated lately, please know it is not completely you -- and at least stop beating yourself up about it. This will free up some energy for you to heal, and ultimately to get your motivation back.

If you are type 1 for lack of motivation, please know, this will pass, and your motivation will return at the appropriate time. If you are type 2, then it's time to remember this NLP precept: If what you are doing isn't working, do anything different.

(Call me at 888-4-HOLLIS, which is 888-446-5547, if you want help looking at your motivation issues.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's your Losada ratio?

What's the best way to improve any relationship? 

This is so simple, it's almost mind-blowing. You ready? Here it is:

Say more positive things to the other person.

That's it! Simple, huh?

I'm reading "Flourish" by Martin Seligman. In it, he quotes a colleague, who says:

"We go into companies and transcribe every word that is said in their business meetings. We have done this in sixty companies. One-third of the companies are flourishing, one-third are doing okay, and one-third are failing. We code each sentence for positive or negative words, and then we take a simple ratio of positive to negative statements.

"There is a sharp dividing line... Companies with better than a 2.9:1 ratio for positive to negative statements are flourishing. Below that ratio, companies are not doing well economically."

They call this the Losada ratio.

But you can't be Polyanna about it, either --- a ratio above 13:1 diminishes your credibility.

Think about this. Although they were talking about work groups, why wouldn't this work for personal relationships, too? In fact, there is evidence that marriages break up if that ratio is less than 5:1.

So how do you improve your Losada ratio? Here are a few ideas:

  • Catch people doing things right -- and then tell them about it, preferably in front of others. 
  • Appreciate them at random just for being who they are. (Intermittent feedback has been shown to be more effective than consistent feedback.)
  • Talk about things that are going right for you, instead of whining about what's going wrong.
  • Actively look for the silver lining in the dark cloud, and talk about that. See the opportunities offered by the problems.
  • Express your appreciation for your surroundings.
  • If you're looking forward to something, talk about that. 

You can only change your own communication -- but since we all affect others, you are a role model.  The more positive you are, the more positive others in your sphere will be. And that makes for a much more pleasant world.