Insights and Healing with Patrick Moore


Saguaro Harvest will be a Good One!
May 30, 2018, 12:37 pm
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Judging from the profuse flowering of saguaro cactus in the city limits of Tucson, I am predicting a great harvest of saguaro fruits by June 15. You don’t need a pole to get the best fruits, you simply look around the bottom of saguaros. When to look? Look up at the tops of the Saguaros. Right now you see white flowers open, or flowers that have closed and look like knobs. When you see what looks like open red flowers, that look like Stargazer Lillies, those are not flowers.. Those are fruits! 

Saguaro Two Perfect fruits like Lillies

This photo shows two perfect saguaro fruits just as I found them lying on the ground near the base of the tall cactus. What look like flower petals, are the fruit skin. In the hot sun, the fruit opens and peels itself. The inner fruit that starts out juicy and wet, dehydrates during the day. Often just the dried fruit falls out of the peel. Often you find perfect non-messy soft but not juicy sweet fruits on the ground. Since they have partially dehydrated they do not pick up dirt, maybe a little dirt but you can blow them off and pop them in your mouth. Yum! This is my favorite fruit!!

The fruit peel may have a few stickers but I am very sensitive to stickers and I handle the fruit peels with my bare hands. Once the fruit has opened, the inner fruit has no stickers and you can eat it without fear of stickers in your mouth. (UNlike “prickly pear” fruit. Prickly Pear are small bushy cacti with flat pancake shapes that look like hands. Prickly pear are usually about the height of your knee or hip. Saguaro are usually twenty feet tall, like a light pole, sometimes with arms, sometimes without).

I have twice attended a saguaro harvesting class, where we were shown how to pull down saguaro fruits with a pole. I have done it that way myself but gave it up for two reasons. 1) the fruits that have fallen on the ground are so much more abundant that there is no need to go through all the work. You can get more fruits per hour just foraging on the ground. 2) the ones on the ground are dry, and the ones you push off the cactus twenty feet in the air are wet. Once they fall, the wet ones gather dirt and gravel.  Difficult to eat today, difficult to separate out the dirt and gravel if you want to eat raw fruits for the next few weeks.

Sometimes the fruit falls and hits a branch of a palo verde tree, and hangs there at the level of your eye or hand. You don’t even need to bend over, the fruit is offered for you there just perfect for your reach! How generous these tall beings are!

Last year I posted a plate full of dried saguaro, I will find that photo and post it again. In the middle of the season I filled up a 2-quart plastic container with mostly dry saguaro fruit in about two hours.

The season ends when the rains begin, maybe around July 3.

Saguaro fruit is low-glycemic sugar so it is healthier for people watching their sugar. That means it is metabolized slower than some other fruits. That is, unless you cook it. Once you boil saguaro fruit down to jelly, then the sugar is just as potent as other sugars. I feel cooking spoils the flavor of saguaro. They taste so good raw!! As the fruit has been hanging out on the peel all day, sometimes it ferments a little which gives it a sweet tang, ah!

It is illegal to harvest saguaro fruit in Saguaro National Park and many other places. It is against the policies to pick any fruits at the Desert Museum. Be sure to check and ask permission before harvesting. That said, since there has been so much flowering in local Tucson homes, you might have a bounty of fruits in your own yard, or your neighbor’s yard. My neighbor has given me permission to harvest her saguaro fruits. I have counted over a hundred blossoms on her several saguaros so I am drooling!



And, There She Was
April 29, 2018, 3:42 pm
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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
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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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Sweetwater Trail, Saguaro Nat’l Park
January 15, 2018, 7:42 pm
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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 / www.BetinaFink.com

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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
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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.



30 % WHOLE Facts
June 2, 2017, 8:56 am
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My wife, writer Traci Moore at her “fun desk” this morning, made me this collage:

30% WHOLE

Facts

generously blended with

Nutrition

roasted and kneaded

born of century old

tradition, faithfully produced

IN A COOL DRY PLACE the Swiss Alps!

Incomparable flavor!

 

I believe this inspired message comes from her training in the “Wild Mind” process that she’s been learning in Alameda and will be teaching in new workshops this summer… traci-moore.com



Blame Ruins Relationship Satisfaction
September 26, 2016, 2:35 pm
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Dr. David Burns wanted to know what kind of relationships were satisfying. He asked 1,200 people a bunch of questions about a relationship. This could be any relationship–a romantic partnership, people at work, family, or friends. He had them rate their agreement with 16 Beliefs, some of which were beliefs about oneself, and the rest were beliefs about the other person in the relationship. Finally he asked how satisfied they were with the relationship. He wanted to know if one’s own beliefs, the other person’s beliefs, or what pairs of beliefs, let to satisfied relationships.

tucson-2010-77ystretch-800

What makes relationships satisfying? Why do we hurt the ones we love?

Dr. Burns made some predictions before he looked at the data. For example, imagine one person has belief #2,  People who love each other shouldn’t fight. Anger is dangerous. The other person has belief #7, I’m right and you’re wrong and you’d better admit it! He predicted the more aggressive person would find this relationship more satisfying than the more passive person would. He and his colleagues made many other predictions. To his surprise, all of their predictions were wrong. There was no correlation among any of the pairings of beliefs.

Beliefs Listed in the Study:

 

Submissiveness/Demandingness

Submissiveness:

  1. Pleasing Others. I should always try to please you, even if I make myself miserable in the process.
  2. Conflict Phobia/Anger Phobia. People who love each other shouldn’t fight. Anger is dangerous.
  3. Perceived Narcissism. You can’t tolerate any criticism or disagreement without falling apart.
  4. Self-Blame. The problems in our relationship are all my fault.

Demandingness:

  1. You should always treat me in the way I expect. It’s your job to make me happy.
  2. Justice/Fairness. If you don’t meet my expectations, I have every right to get mad and punish you.
  3. I’m right and you’re wrong and you’d better admit it!
  4. Other-Blame. The problems in our relationship are all your fault.

Dependency/Detachment

Dependency:

  1. Love Addiction. I can’t feel happy and fulfilled without your love.
  2. Fear of Rejection. If you rejected me, it would mean I was worthless. I can’t be happy if I’m alone.
  3. Approval Addiction. I need your approval to feel happy and worthwhile.
  4. Mind Reading. If you really love me, you’ll know what I need and how I feel without me always having to explain myself.

Detachment:

  1. Achievement Addiction. My self-esteem depends on my achievements, intelligence, or income.
  2. I must never fail or make a mistake. If I fail, it means I’m worthless.
  3. Perceived Perfectionism. You won’t love or accept me as a flawed and vulnerable human being.
  4. Disclosure Phobia. I can’t tell you how I really feel inside. I have to keep my true self hidden.

 

from Feeling GOOD Together by David D. Burns, MD, 2008, p. 56.

Of all 16 beliefs, only one strongly correlated with relationship satisfaction. None of the beliefs correlated with high satisfaction, but one belief strongly correlated with low satisfaction. That one was #8, The problems in our relationship are all your fault. He labels this belief, Other-Blame. Those who blame others, are very unsatisfied with the relationship.

At first Dr. Burns was disappointed with the result of all that work. But once he began using this one simple fact in his counseling practice, he found it helped people improve their relationships significantly and quickly. At least, it helped the ones who were willing to reduce how much they blamed the other, and instead to take responsibility for what they could do differently.

 

People who blamed their partners (or other people in general) for the problems in their relationships were angry, frustrated, unhappy, and intensely dissatisfied with their relationships. In addition, this mind-set accurately predicted what would happen in the future. Individuals who blamed their partners for the problems in their relationship were even more miserably unhappy three months later. Things were clearly going downhill for this group. In contrast, people who were willing to assume complete personal responsibility for solving the problems in their relationships, and who felt a strong commitment to making their partners happy, not only reported the most satisfying and loving relationships at the time of initial testing, but their positive feelings seemed to increase over time. …individuals who focused on changing themselves … were usually able to work wonders in their relationships. In most cases, it didn’t take long at all.

In the following section of the book, Dr. Burns wanted readers to know that, once you stop blaming others, that does not mean you should blame yourself instead. That doesn’t help either! The cure is to stop blaming altogether, to be nonjudgmental [his word, p. 62]

This is great information! Still, I feel Dr. Burns does not describe well enough how to be nonjudgmental, or even how to not judge oneself. In fact, many of his terms seem loaded with judgment about oneself. Yes, in his earlier book, The Feeling Good Handbook  he demonstrated nonjudgment VERY well. But in this book … not as well. Which is unfortunate because to learn to be nonjudgmental, we really need examples, someone to demonstrate it for us.

In particular we need a nonjudgmental explanation for how and why we appear to be hurtful and blaming of our partners and other people. We need an answer to the ages-old question, “Why are we so hurtful to the ones we love?” … an answer that does not in turn hurt or judge US. Dr. Burns does not provide that kind of explanation in this book. I think the book lacks something without this explanation, so here is my attempt:

In our culture, we are trained from an early age to determine who is to blame. If one person is found not-guilty, then there must be another person who is guilty. But in relationships, most of the time neither person is blameworthy. We are trained from an early age to see blame as a black-or-white subject, when it is not that way at all.

Let’s take an example. Mickey is a person described earlier in the book. Here is a sample of Chapter One of Feeling GOOD Together that tells Mickey’s story.. scroll down about 60% and look for the bold heading, “Why Should I Have to Change?!”

Mickey blames his wife for all kinds of things that make the relationship unsatisfying to him. As Dr. Burns asks Mickey more questions, it becomes clear Mickey is doing far worse things to his wife, than the things he listed she was doing to him. In fact, Mickey is having extramarital affairs, and waving the evidence in front of his wife, to torment her. Why is Mickey doing this? The explanations Dr. Burns gives, seem to shift the blame to Mickey. Dr. Burns says Mickey is “intentionally doing things that are certain to demoralize her and ruin the marriage.” I have a different explanation.

I think Mickey fears his wife’s complaints about him would undermine the basis for his identity. Her criticisms would make him feel like the very foundation for his value could be lost. Who would he be without his values, core beliefs, and chosen identity? If this identity is shattered, he fears something like death. He can’t bear to have his basis questioned, or even revealed (for I am guessing, he too is suspicious that his foundation might be built upon sand). Therefore he pokes, even tortures his wife–just to keep her off balance so she doesn’t expose his inadequate foundation. It’s not that he really wants to do her harm, he doesn’t. He loves her. But when it comes to the survival of what he thinks of as his very Self, he can’t let his Self be destroyed, so he feels he must go on the offensive.

By the way, nobody on their own would think this offensively. It is not natural. Animals don’t naturally do this. Plant’s don’t naturally do this. It is not an inherent part of nature, not even human nature. It is artificial. How do artificial patterns get established? Two ways. One is that it is shown to you repeatedly. As an impressionable child, people demonstrated for Mickey the Offensive Method of Protecting Your Identity. His parents demonstrated it, his teachers, his leaders, the great books he read and the media he heard and saw. Repetition repetition repetition. The second way artificial patterns are instilled is by being the recipient. Somebody did this to Mickey when he was young. They used the offense upon him, terrifying him, demoralizing him. At some point being the recipient, he told himself, “Never Again!” Since that time, whenever a scenario smells as if he might have his identity or value destroyed, he now offends, rather than feel that pain again. In particular, it is only people who get close to him who are likely to see the foundation of his self, and this explains why he only hurts the people who love him.

This has happened to all of us. There may still remain a few indigenous cultures on Earth where this is not done, but everyone who partakes in Civilization has experienced both the repetitive demonstrations and being the recipient. It is done to us early, when we can’t defend against it. Then we carry it forward into our own relationships. I call this Enculturation (after learning this concept from Stephen Bruno).

Dr. Burns has made a misdiagnosis of Mickey, in my opinion. Mickey is not to blame. It’s our cultural heritage. Everyone does it, even Dr. Burns.  As terrible as Mickey’s behaviors are, as offensive and deliberate as they seem, they are only intended as self-protection. Mickey didn’t “intentionally demoralize his wife and ruin their marriage.” He only did those things the only way he knows to protect himself when he thinks his value is being questioned. If he knew another way, or learned that his Self does not need protecting, he would no longer do this.

Dr. Burns has some good advice: “Don’t blame others, and instead look at what you can do differently.” Yes, that will work, but nobody will actually do it until certain things occur:

  • the person needs to gain some accurate perception of who he truly is.
  • accurate perception of one’s true self naturally gives the person a true sense of value. Mickey’s true self is far more admirable than he had ever thought of himself.
  • One’s true self is naturally influential, safe and secure. It does not require protection because it cannot be injured or destroyed. There is no point in protecting what can’t be damaged. Defending oneself (one’s TRUE self) is silly, amusing.
  • the person needs to gain some accurate understanding that all people have this true self, that is inherently admirable, altruistic, influential and safe. Mickey’s wife has her true self that is far more than he ever thought her possible of.

When psychologists give a test to measure “self-esteem,” this only measures how strongly the person identifies with the cultural identity, the foundation built upon sand. This is why “high self-esteem” does not correlate with satisfying relationships, virtuous acts, or any other positive quality.

Knowledge about the true self, or essence, is more a matter of philosophy than psychology. Think Plato, Plotinus, Aquinas and Spinoza. I think this distinction between the true self and the cultural identity is necessary for understanding a couple of things in the book, Feeling GOOD together.

Dr. Burns’ describes frustrations he has when giving relationship counseling. Individual counseling works well using his prior methods, but relationship counseling falls flat. He doesn’t understand why people are so horrible to their partners. It appears to them these people are just plain mean, and he says he can’t help them.

I think none of these people (at least none of the ones he describes) are just plain mean, intentionally demoralizing others. They are simply insecure, because their identity has been built upon sand. So they are overprotective. I am this way too. I do all the things on Dr. Burns’ lists. But if I were to agree with Dr. Burns, this is my “dark side.” I don’t think it is a dark side. I think it is just my being defensive, because I am still insecure about what gives me value, so I strike out at anyone who questions my value.

The people in Dr. Burns’ book are not petty, vindictive, shallow, narcissistic, or mean. They are just uncertain about who they are.

Think of it this way: When your favorite person in the whole world, the one you chose to be your special person forever, starts questioning your value—that’s a big deal! You’ve put all your eggs in that basket! You’ve given that person extra power over you. And now they are using that power to examine whether your value rests upon a firm foundation or not. Ouch! That hurts! That person is supposed to be on my side and it sure feels like they are against me when they do that. I have to stop that activity! I will do anything to stop that pain! And so we react with extreme measures.

Once this less-judgmental explanation of Why We Hurt the Ones We Love is added to Dr. Burn’s book, I find his suggestions very useful. I am learning a lot from his books.