Insights and Healing with Patrick Moore


“Not Even Music”

MikeyDanLunaCwithSpeechBubblesOne of the stories I am currently working on takes place at the first Writer’s Conference on the Moon. The teacher is a frustrated writer who had several number-one bestsellers of space-adventure-existential-comedy, and now he has writer’s block. He is on contract and owes his publisher one more book but he can’t do it, so they gave him an option to teach this writer’s workshop on the moon, to fulfill his contract…

by Patrick Moore LMT

In college I chose to take several semesters of music theory. In the final weeks of my last music theory class, the kindly youngish professor had invited his own music theory professor to come to our school for two things: a performance of his own compositions at the music hall, and a visit to our music theory class to have a listen to our compositions.

In the first semester I learned the rules of counterpoint and in this semester we created one-page compositions. I worked on my composition in one of the second story piano practice rooms of the lovely old music building designed in 1909. My composition was influenced by a feeling or emotion that I felt or wanted to feel.

When the famous composer came to our class, a few brave students handed their sheet music to him. He set each one on the piano stand and sight-read it, playing on the piano. Then he gave his comments. After seeing a few other students receive this feedback, I must have felt it would be okay to share mine. He played it and then looked at me sternly. “This isn’t even music,” he said as he handed it back to me. I was shocked, stunned, and perhaps I swallowed some other emotions in there somewhere. I was thinking I might become a musician but I believe this moment shifted my direction in life (I became a construction worker instead, not really by choice but default). I believe I am better off for not having become a musician/composer at that time. So maybe that rejection turns out to have been a synchronicity.

If this were the only example of professors doing this kind of dismissing students, I might have forgotten the incident or sublimated it.

When I attended graduate school I attended a 400/500 level creative writing class given by a professor who was also a published author. I just checked Amazon and she has thirteen novels to her name now, including a pushcart prize. The first story I wrote for the class was a day-in-the-life of myself as a construction worker, doing the night shift at the oil refinery shut-down with two carpenters building scaffolding from 7 p.m. til 6:30 a.m. I called it The Refinery, sort of ironic given the more refined carpenter seemed stuffy and the unrefined carpenter was very warm and human despite his jokes in poor taste. Following directions I printed ten copies of The Refinery and passed them around the table, to be critiqued by the following week by each student, the TA and the professor. The next week I received back ten copies, all with good comments and good suggestions from all but the professor, who wrote only “See me.” When I saw her, she said my story was not complete, that I would need to redo it. Why is it not complete? It did not have a plot, she said. I agreed it did not have a plot, but did that make it unacceptable? I did not rewrite the story, which probably irritated her. I just couldn’t bring myself to rewrite something for reasons I did not agree with, when the other nine people seemed to find value in it.

It came time for my second story, called Porous. This story had a plot but I admit it was a little fantasy or magic but set in the present day, so it wouldn’t fit a genre. The plot was that a young protagonist (much like myself) lived in a house with 5 guys, one of whom had a seawater aquarium. The friend told me the spiny starfish is unlike a regular fish. He is porous, so the seawater simply flows through him. He does not need a barrier to keep his own blood from the outside. The seawater acted as his blood to circulate what needed to be circulated. Then there is a nuclear bomb that wipes out everyone. (This was 1986, still in the Cold War). Insects survived but no humans, except the protagonist. By the end of the story the protagonist learns to be porous, with respect to the radiation, and he is sort of remade or reharmonized by the bees. Again I printed ten copies and handed them out. The following week I arrived on time and received back nine copies of my work, all with nice comments (better than my first story) and good suggestions. The teacher was late. When she came in looking stern, she did not sit down but pointed at me and said, “You, I need to see you outside, now. Bring your things.” I followed her outside and she said my story was “Not even a story.” She was very upset and emotional and told me I was removed from her class for not following the instructions. She went in and I did not.

My first musical composition was “Not even music.”

My second story was “Not even a story.”

My wife Traci had a similar experience with her senior photography project when she was in college but I’ll let her tell her own story

While the musical rejection halted my progress as a composer, I did not stop writing.

A year after the 1986 story rejection, I printed off a dozen more copies of Porous and began sending them out. In 1989 while staying home with my newborn daughter I wrote a novel called Nonjudgment Day, in a spiral notebook. It was a dark comedy, following a group of evangelists who wanted to see the Messiah so badly that they were willing to instigate nuclear warheads against one of the major superpowers, which they would think were the enemy so they would retaliate, ending human life as we know it. Since the evangelists believed prophecy literally, they were certain this global destruction would bring about the second coming. Well, what happened surprised them. I can’t remember now, maybe some sort of embracing radiation perhaps like the Porous story I had written earlier, and some sort of forgiveness for the misguided terrorists who destroyed the world. In the style of Life of Brian.

In 2015 I attended a writer’s conference and got an appointment to show six pages of my current work to an agent. It blended short fables using wolves, coyotes and the cells in a tree as characters, with nonfiction about the power of group mind. The agent did not wait for me to speak but began a barrage of how my work would not fit any genre and what was I thinking and why was I wasting her time? 

This definitely put a damper on me showing my fiction for a while, and even my blog posting. But I may be recuperated by now, or soon will be. The group-mind book wasn’t really publishable, or not that way, or at least I think I can do better. And I need to be able to handle rejection to be able to move forward as a writer, even aggressive, personal rejection. I feel by now, the rejections I have experienced as a music composer and writer are better for having happened that way. Or they soon will be.

I have begun at least a hundred short stories and novels, and some of them will certainly reach publication one day, who knows, maybe soon? We need to have a sense of humor about these things.

One of the stories I am currently working on takes place at the first Writer’s Conference to take place at the Lunar Conference Center on the Moon. The leader is a frustrated writer who had several number-one bestsellers that include near-future predictions, and now he has writer’s block. He is on contract and owes his publisher one more book but he can’t do it, so they gave him an option to teach this writer’s workshop on the moon…

 

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The Importance of Poor Performance
May 19, 2018, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Better For Having Happened (BFHH), Education, synchronicity | Tags:

I have begun more than one thousand articles and stories, archived in my computer. Over 10,000 nature photographs are stored on external hard drives. Rather than share them, I hide my light under a bushel basket. I would like to change that. Today I was going through an old folder and found this one from 2014. . .

by Patrick Moore

I have taught hundreds of one-day workshops in thirteen years. Before most workshops I worry that I may not perform well as a teacher. After the workshop is over, I ask the students to write their feedback. After they leave, I file these forms away without reading them.

feedback form

A year later I prepare to teach that same workshop. Do I brave my fear of looking back at student feedback forms and past handouts? Not in recent years. When I revise the handouts, things I wrote a couple years prior, I usually gasp when I see how horrible the writing is. I can’t believe I printed that, and handed it to people! What was I thinking? This regret over past writing, carries over to my teaching. I imagine the previous year I was teaching things badly, wrongly, inaccurately, with all bad qualities that people must see through. I fear exposure for all the faults that I feel in myself.

I might consider praying to God, or to a patron saint for teachers, asking the angels or getting a blessing from a shaman to guarantee my next teaching performance will be perfect. Wouldn’t that be nice? Resting in the certainty that I’ve got it covered?

In theory I understand that for one’s teaching to improve, there must be worse performances for it to improve from. This is the importance of poor performance. I understand that guaranteed perfect performance would be one good class, but over time this assurance would diminish the growth and development of what I offer. The quality of teaching would diminish over time, or at least it would never improve.

Reading the feedback forms is not comfortable, but it does improve my teaching over time. That’s why using feedback forms for an improvement process, is required by the agency that certifies me as a teacher. I ask myself which is more important—my comfort, or the improvement of my teaching? I admit many times my comfort has been more important.

Some classes I teach, I do teach practically perfectly. I understand the content so well from doing it over and over in my practice, and from having taught that same content so many times that I do feel pretty confident. While I teach things practically perfectly, I feel self-satisfied. Afterwards I feel self-satisfied. That feels good, right? But not for me. When I attend classes (which I must do to maintain my license just like everybody else), self-satisfied teachers really irritate me. My brain won’t let me have it both ways. Whenever I feel self-satisfied, my brain will give me a tinge of the judgment that I have applied toward those other self-satisfied teachers. Then I feel ashamed and guilty of the same things I hate in other teachers.

Perfect performances require no improvement, only repetition of what was done perfectly last time. Perfect teachers demonstrate to students, Once you have “it,” like I do, you don’t need to learn any more. There is an advertisement I have seen many times in massage magazines, showing a teacher doing his technique perfectly, and satisfied with his mastery. The photos of that teacher stuck in my mind over two decades and whenever I see a new ad with that teacher I feel the irritation all over again.

…As I wrote that last sentence I realize my photos show me being really knowledgeable, just like those aggravating photos of the other teacher. Again the shame of it! Arragh…

2004 Juneau rotator cuff

Teaching melting shoulder rotators in Juneau, Alaska 2004

 

In my first years teaching, I was trying, and maybe succeeding in perfectly performing the technique. Yay for me, but what about the students? My perfect demonstrations (of things that I had practiced thousands of times) made them feel they could not live up to the technique. Good for me, bad for students.

The irony I am seeing now is, my perfect performances, were at the same time poor performances. They were poor because they showed my self-importance and standards of knowledge and technique impossible for students to suddenly master. So I do get to learn after all. (Seeing oneself for one’s shortcomings is a bitter pill.)

 

Some of the students from my first classes have kept in touch with me and attended again and again over the years. I wonder if they have seen my teaching improve from a self-satisfied teacher with perfect technique (all about me) to (something more useful for them)?

My poor performances, that others saw, become a good thing when others see me improve later. My poor teaching that improves, send the message that, You, too, can experiment and make a mess for a while because by doing this you too will improve. The fact I was self-satisfied with my skills, by now is better for having happened that way

Now that I am thinking of this principle I guess it would also apply to parenting and even being a partner to your most favorite loved one. . . As I give myself permission to let it be a learning experience, I give others permission to also experiment and gain from mistakes.



And, There She Was
April 29, 2018, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is from my jogging coach, Stephen. At his suggestion I began jogging at age 35 and have been jogging more and more miles each year since then. Some people spend a lot of effort improving their minds, some improving their bodies, some improving their hearts, and I am learning all are important in balance.

scan0087 Running a high school varsity cross country race. I always ran barefoot.

Many years ago, when I was vegan, I ran sixteen miles nearly every day while living in Phoenix, Arizona. I would run from my home along the city streets until I reached the canals. Most of my run on the canal was solitary. I was at the peak of my physical capability, even better than in high school and college.

One day it was about 118° and extremely high humidity. I thought I would be okay to run as I had found a great way to stay hydrated. I would wear light running shorts and T-shirt along with the best running shoes I could afford. I wore a dual pack of water bottles strapped to my lower back. I would freeze the water bottles overnight, so they remained frozen during the early portion of my run. At the…

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Quincy, a Dachshund Co-Therapist
April 9, 2018, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

a fun short story of healing from my mentor Stephen

Many people have wonderful stories about their animal companions which are sometimes about how the actions of the cat, dog or another animal saved their life. Here is my story about my animal companion, Quincy, a miniature Dachshund.

Many years ago, I provided psychological counseling through private practice in my office and sometimes in my home. One day, I received a referral from a psychologist at a local school district about a male high school student. The psychologist told me that the individual was very resistant to therapy and refused to communicate in any sessions, so they decided on referring him to me.

In the first session in the home office, I briefly greeted the young high school student who sat on the couch facing me while I sat in the recliner. Quincy chose that day for the first time to climb up on my lap, with my help, and…

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Clothed Massage Resolves Tension and Reduces Mischief (book excerpt)
March 29, 2018, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Clothed Massage, essence, massage

Three Parts of the Book Focus on Three Aspects of Safety

(this is an excerpt from the opening of my new book in progress. Please leave comments at the bottom, thanks.)

Clothing increases safety, in numerous ways. This is the message of Part One of the book.

I know clothing increases therapeutic effectiveness because I can feel the difference. I have done thousands of massages the Swedish way (on bare skin) and through clothing. Muscles begin to resolve tension quicker, muscles resolve a greater percentage of their tension, and more muscles in more regions of the body resolve tension when the person is clothed. Part One explains a dozen ways the brain feels safer to let down its guard, while the person is clothed. The therapist also feels safer. When the therapist feels safer, therapy is more effective.

Part One finishes with some practical benefits of clothed massage. The absence of massage oil keeps the clinic much cleaner and saves laundry. Far less privacy is required which may saves space and definitely saves time, because there is no wasted time as people disrobe and dress again. Advertising your massage business as clothed-only may draw thousands of new customers who have never dared to receive massage before, who did not want to be told to take their clothes off to receive therapy.

Part Two of this book explains the minimum you need to do to touch muscles in a way that helps the brain resolve its tensions. When the brain reduces the voltage to the muscle, the muscle palpably softens. I wish I had been taught this stuff in massage school! The technique is far simpler than you may think. Many people are already doing this, they just don’t have the language yet to explain what they are doing. Knowing how muscles become tense, and how they relax, dramatically increases your effectiveness. Too many bodywork methods seem mysterious in how they work, or downright unbelievable. You must be able to explain to recipients exactly how your technique leads to the resolution of tensions. The person’s subconscious brain won’t feel safe enough to let down its guarding, without a plausible explanation of how it will benefit the person.

Part Three explains the minimum you need to be so that people’s brains will feel safe letting down their guarding in your presence. Things like equal-power relationship and qualities you are being like patient, nonjudgmental and curious, make all the difference. Again this is simpler than you might think. It is actually more difficult to explain in words, than it is to be. I’d like you to know how being nonjudgmental, for example, leads to muscles relaxing. Hint: the person feels much safer when she knows she is not being judged.

What’s In The Book? What’s Not?

The rule for this book is, if it’s in here, I believe you need to know it in order to thrive in the business of clothed massage, either as an individual therapist or as a clinic manager.

What’s not in the book? I leave out advanced techniques because you don’t need them. The simplest techniques work perfectly, when you are consistently coming from the right place . What is the right place? That is covered.

Because I don’t like to rehash what’s in other books, this book will be on the short side. I hope you see the value of my leaving out what you don’t need.

 

Is Clothed Massage Merely a Second-Rate Consolation?

I have never seen clothed massage offered on any menu of services besides my own.

Clothed massage is not taught in massage school. The closest thing offered is an elective class in chair massage, which is done through clothing. Most therapists I know who offer chair massage offer it as a sort of free sample, to get people to make an appointment for the real thing–bare skin massage. Or if someone is too modest to take off her clothes, you might agree to give her at least something, since she won’t commit to the real thing. Therapists or clinics might occasionally condescend to allow clothing in isolated instances, when the recipient is too modest, resistant or prudish.

I see it the other way round. I believe muscles relax better when the recipient is clothed. I see clothed massage as the real thing and bare skin massage as second-best. Modesty helps the brain feel safer and the brain’s safety should be our first concern, if we consider ourselves therapists.

My intention for this book is that every person, in every city, wanting therapy to resolve their muscle tension, would have the option of remaining clothed during every session. If it works as well or better than the old way, why not offer clothed massage on your menu of services?

Safety First

When a person feels safe, her nervous system cooperates with therapists and activates all her body’s healing abilities. When she questions her safety, her nervous system deactivates healing processes and activates defense, offense and diversion. In particular, when a person questions her safety, her brain sends extra electricity to her muscles, which contracts or tenses the muscles so they become harder, less flexible and sore. Each muscle that is tense today, was made tense deliberately by the brain quite a while ago, based on a particular interpretation she made regarding her safety. The brain does this to protect or guard her from risks. Her brain has not yet felt safe enough to resolve that guarding.

How Safe is Massage Therapy Currently?

Massage therapy is an unusual form of therapy.

The Masseur shows the recipient into the private room with a bed, complete with sheets and covers. There are no windows or if there are, nobody can see in. The recipient is instructed to take off her clothes and get between the sheets. He steps out and closes the door while she takes off her clothes and climbs onto the bed nude, then covers herself with the top sheet. Then he knocks and comes in. If she understood him correctly she will be lying between the sheets, so that her nudity is covered by the top sheet and perhaps a blanket. If she misunderstood she may be lying nude on top of both sheets, so he sees her nudity when she walks in. He closes the door behind him. They will be alone in the closed room for an hour. The room has dim lighting, nice music playing, perhaps with candles lit or scent diffusers for mood. Before the touching even begins, this form of therapy is unlike any other form of therapy. Or is it therapy?

For therapy to occur, the subconscious brain must feel safe enough to revisit old reactions and reconsider or reinterpret them in a more enlightened way. How safe does her brain feel, right now, to do this? Or does she wonder if he has something else on his mind? Does he? Does she?

Safety is important for all forms of therapy, in order to help the person’s brain or mind to make progress toward the therapeutic goals. Safety may be doubly important when the therapist will touch the recipient. The importance of safety may be four times as important, when the recipient will be nude during the touch. If the recipient (or the giver) created a strong negative interpretation during the attachment phase of childhood with a parent or caregiver, the safety required during a touch-therapy that occurs while the recipient is nude, doubles again to eight times more safety necessary… (please leave comments, thanks)

sidelying-lower-trapezius



Sweetwater Trail, Saguaro Nat’l Park
January 15, 2018, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A wonderful way to do “activism” is by using creative arts like painting! Betina Fink shows an excellent example of doing this in her recent post…

Betina Fink

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Park lands in the western states are being threatened on a daily basis. The natural beauty and stark intensity of desert lands just aren’t important to some people in power. The land is seen as valuable only in terms of what it can give up for money: mining, uranium, rooftops.

Close to my home are the Tucson Mountains, and the Sweetwater Trail, which still has National Park status, but lots of new rooftops dotting the pristine hills. I had a free day and went to walk the washes and animal trails just off the main human trail. Found a spot to set up and do an oil sketch.

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It was so peaceful, yes warm because it has been the warmest recorded temps for this time of year, regardless of what some might say. But no snakes! Just coyotes howling a little in the distance and some birds rustling about.

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Prince of Peace 1985
August 18, 2017, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was just sharing this story with some friends last night and I thought it would be worth sharing to a larger audience..

In 1985 I went to the Prince concert, Purple Rain tour at the Tacoma Dome.

Prince of Peace 1985

The line was long getting in to the Tacoma Dome. As we moved so slowly in the line we noticed a protester carrying a sign. The sign said, “Jesus is the REAL PRINCE of peace.” I thought, that’s not such a bad protest. The guy was probably twenty or thirty feet away from us.

Years later I found out that Prince was a Jehova’s Witness. My friend John followed Prince and told me Prince would actually go out door to door just like all the other Jehova’s Witnesses. I thought that was integrity.

I remember playing a Prince album and noticing there was some garbled message at the end of the LP. I knew that some hard rock bands from the 70s had put messages recorded backwards on their albums. So I unplugged my turntable and ran the turntable backwards with my finger, to hear the message. The message was Prince singing, “I’m so glad / that the Lord / is coming soon! / Coming / Coming / soo–ooon. / Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.” I thought that was pretty clever and cool, since the 70’s bands had put satanic or demonic messages on their albums, and Prince was doing something like the opposite. Some of his songs spoke of things like “positivity,” which enhanced his value to me.

A few years ago I was telling the story of the protester at the Purple Rain concert, now with the added knowledge that Prince had been a Christian evangelist, which I didn’t know in 1985. And something occurred to me. I think the protester was Prince, in makeup and a costume so we couldn’t recognize him. I think he protested his own concert! I think he protested his own name, “Prince,” or rather he used it as a way to celebrate another Prince whom he revered far more, the Prince of Peace.

I have never read or heard anyone talk about this. But if he stood outside with a sign at the Tacoma concert, he might have done the same at other locations in his Purple Rain tour in 1984-85. Did anyone else notice a protester with this sign?

I drew this drawing to show the picture in my mind of the moment. It wasn’t actually raining. There was a lot of concrete, with the dome in the background. I was wearing a pink long sleeve button down shirt with a skinny purple tie. I had a haircut something like David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust album cover.