Marianne Williamson on Political Engagement and Speaking Up vs. Tearing Down

Our community tends to be very proactive in organizing interventions for drug and alcohol abuse. We step in and say, “If you continue this way, you will die, so we’re going to have an intervention.”

But we don’t speak forcefully enough when it comes to politics, the environment, and social issues. It’s no different. If we continue polluting the air and water, we could lose civilization as we know it. If we continue to suppress the vote among large groups of people, we could lose our democracy.

We cannot pretend this isn’t happening. There’s a difference between transcendence and denial. Negative denial is when you’re just not looking at it. Positive denial is when you realize it’s happening, but you deny its ability to go any further, now that you’re here. You deny its ultimate power over you.

We have to use our spiritual perspectives to reduce ourselves to zero—so that we can be present for the really big issues facing humanity. To be really available to the suffering of humanity, it has to mean more than just the suffering of the individual. We have to wake up to the collective suffering.

~ Marianne Williamson

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Naomi Klein on change

“To change everything, we need everyone.” 

–Naomi Klein (born May 8, 1970)  is a Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of capitalism. She is currently the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University, a three year appointment.Wikipedia

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Halloween history: The ancient origins of these dark traditions

Why do we celebrate Halloween, and what have pumpkins got to do with it?

  • Halloween was influenced heavily by Celtic, Pagan and Christian traditions.
  • The holiday has always celebrated the strange and scary, but festivities as we know them have changed over the years.
  • Current Halloween traditions were brought by immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.

Halloween is a holiday that’s celebrated every year on October 31st. While its tradition in the United States is felt everywhere, from horror films in our cinemas, weekend house-party revelers and kids trick or treating in the streets, the celebrations don’t stop here. Halloween draws from a number of festive fall holidays throughout the millennia.

It originally came from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Later, in the eighth century, Catholic Pope Gregory III decided to call November 1st All Saints Day. Over time, the two disparate holidays began to coalesce and the foundations of Halloween began to form. The evening before November 1st became known as All Hallow’s Eve.

Over time, Halloween activities evolved into what we know today. But it took a long time to get there.

Halloween: A mix of ancient traditions

Samhain Revival Via Flickr

In Celtic tradition, Samhain marked the day that summer was coming to a complete close. The harvest was ending and the throngs of winter were near. The shadowy winter was a time associated with death followed by eventual renewal. Celts believed that this was the night where the veil between the living and the dead was lifted and the spectral past returned to the Earth.

At the time, Druids (Celtic priests) would use Samhain to make prophecies about the future to help guide their community. They would begin to light massive bonfires where they burned crops and animals as sacrifices to their gods. During this celebration, the druids would dress up in animal heads and skins, dance around the fire and tell fortunes and stories.

It was the early first century when the Roman Empire had managed to conquer most of the Celtic territory. During this centuries-long rule, a few Roman fall festivals combined with Samhain. Romans also celebrated the dead through a holiday called Feralia. Throughout the years, this eventually blended with the holiday of Samhain. The next Roman festivity that influenced Halloween was one that honored Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and vegetation.

Halloween’s etymology and the lore of the jack-o-lantern

Photo: Getty Images

All Saint’s Day

It was during the 18th century when the word “Halloween” came to be. Scottish poet Robert Burns helped to make the word more popular with his poem called ‘Halloween’. The word itself seems to be a portmanteau of the word ‘Hallow’, which originally meant ‘saint’, mixed with ‘een’ which was an abbreviation of the word “eve,” or night before.

Halloween is just another way of saying something like the night before All Saint’s Day or Hallowmas. Christians tended to celebrate the holidays and other traditions on the night before the major feast, for example Christmas Eve.

The many mixtures of traditions date back throughout the years. People used to make additional food offerings for their ancestors and the many spirits wandering about. Halloween’s history is a great mix of religion, folklore and eventually secular consumerism.

The apple bobbing most likely comes from Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Jack-o’-lanterns derive from an old Irish folk figure; the legend was that one night a drunkard named Jack had come across the devil on a deserted and darkened road. He tricked and trapped the devil in a tree. After agreeing to let the devil down, he struck a deal with him that he could never take his soul.

When he died, he went to neither heaven nor hell. Instead he was forced to wander around in eternity. The devil flung up from hell an ember of coal to light his way, which Jack stuck in a hollowed-out gourd. Thus, the legend of the jack-o’-lantern was born.

Other eponymous Halloween traditions also have similar folksy roots.

Where did trick or treating come from?

Our modern day iteration of trick-or-treating has a number of influences. Ancient Celts began the tradition of dressing up as animals and evil spirits in order to confound demons and other malevolent spirits.

Eventually, in medieval England, there was a group of people called “soulers” who’d go around on Halloween begging the rich for soul cakes. They were said to have prayed for people’s souls in exchange for their cakes or food.

All around Europe in the middle ages, there was a tradition of dressing up during major feast days and festivals. Eventually, the tradition of “souling” was brought to the United States in the 19th century. This would mix perfectly with the remnants of colonial Halloween festivities.

The peak time for the creation of what we now think of as Halloween came in the early half of the 1900s when there was an influx of millions of Irish immigrants. They helped to popularize the complete celebration of Halloween and eventually lead it to its national holiday status.

Borrowing from many of these ancient traditions, Americans would both dress up and go from house to house asking for food or money. This early trick-or-treating would eventually turn into the consumer bonanza we know today, with candy taking the place of the original “souling” practice. Eventually there was a general move in America to turn Halloween into a secular holiday and play down the ghastly and scarier aspects. The intention was to put the focus on get-togethers and parties.

Today, Halloween remains a mixture of many of these things. The spookiness still flows and the deep tradition is still there, hidden, if you know where to look.

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Your Horoscopes — Week Of October 30, 2018 (theonion.com)

Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21

An ancient prophecy will be fulfilled at long last when Queen guitarist Brian May shows up unannounced at your house and rocks you.

Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

Your ego will be irreparably damaged this week when your girlfriend leaves you for some guy named Dave, a “much better cartographer.”

Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19

The discovery that three pieces are missing from your almost-complete 65,000-piece jigsaw puzzle will be enough to kill you.

Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18

Your obsession with England’s royal family ends this week when you realize that you are not one of them.

Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20

Your special dream comes true this week when a pretty angel urinates all over your new carpet.

Aries | March 21 to April 19

Your quest for abs of steel ends tragically when you cut yourself in half with a welding torch.

Taurus | April 20 to May 20

Your children run away from home when they discover the Dalmatian puppy you gave them is actually a spotted opossum.

Gemini | May 21 to June 20

The love of your life will leave you this week when you confuse John Candy and Chris Farley for the 200th time.

Cancer | June 21 to July 22

You inch closer to a state of universal love this week when you realize that you don’t really mind Ryan.

Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22

You will be nominated for a Nobel Prize in the poultry sciences when years of experimentation finally prove your controversial “To Get To The Other Side” theory.

Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22

Your get-rich-quick scheme fails when it becomes evident that there is no market for self-cleaning wicker toilet seats.

Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22

Your worldview is shaken this week when Anne Rice announces on national television that vampires are probably imaginary.

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What is Meditation?

What is meditation? In its deepest form, meditation should not be done to get something for the ever insecure and incomplete-feeling ego; rather it should be done with the intention to make direct contact with your Self at a level you have heretofore not yet experienced. Do not meditate out of habit, or it will become a form of sleep—which is the opposite of true meditation. Meditation, in its purest form, is the decisive act of turning attention away from objects and perceptions, and placing it as firmly as one can on the feeling of ‘Awareness being aware of itself.’ ~ Bentinho Massaro

Image may contain: sky, cloud, mountain, outdoor and nature

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SUNDAY NIGHT TRANSLATION GROUP – 10/28/18

Translators: Mike Zonta, Melissa Goodnight, Richard Branam, Hanz Bolen

SENSE TESTIMONY:  Too much change or unpredictability creates uncertainty and pain.

5th Step Conclusions:

1)  Truth is inexchangeable, unchanging, predictable, settled law and the judgment of Truth is Divine Oneness.

2)  Infinite Consciousness Beingness is always knowing and foreseeing the constant reliability of its own formless changeless Principle.

3)  Truth is ever-present abundant, totality, safe , sound , well, agreeable, harmonious, playful, always.

4)  Truth is this Magnus Opus, Being playful Musical panorama, composing I am Thou identity, Harmonically arranging and Rhythmically concluding Autismically Alchemical Certainty.

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Psychotherapy is not harmless: on the side effects of CBT

The structured nature of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and its clearly defined principles (based on the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviours) make it relatively easy to train practitioners, ensure standardised delivery and measure outcomes. Consequently, CBT has revolutionised mental-health care, allowing psychologists to alchemise therapy from an art into a science. For many mental-health conditions, there is now considerable evidence that CBT is as, or more, effective than drug treatments. Yet, just like any form of psychotherapy, CBT is not without the risk of unwanted adverse effects.

A recent paper in Cognitive Therapy and Research outlines the nature and prevalence of these unwanted effects, based on structured interviews with 100 CBT-trained psychotherapists. ‘This is what therapists should know about when informing their patients about the upcoming merits and risks of treatment,’ write Marie-Luise Schermuly-Haupt of the Charité University of Medicine in Berlin and her colleagues.

The researchers asked each CBT therapist (78 per cent of whom were female, average age 32, with an average of five years’ experience) to recall their most recent client who had taken part in at least 10 sessions of CBT. The chosen clients mostly had diagnoses of depression, anxiety or personality disorder, in the mild to moderate range.

The interviewer – an experienced clinical psychologist trained in CBT – followed the checklist of unwanted events and adverse treatment outcomes, asking each therapist whether the client had experienced any of 17 possible unwanted effects from therapy, such as deterioration, new symptoms, distress, strains in family relations or stigma.

The therapists reported an average of 3.7 unwanted events per client. Based on the therapists’ descriptions, the interviewer then rated the likelihood of each unwanted event being directly attributable to the therapeutic process – making it a true side effect (only those rated as ‘definitely related to treatment’ were categorised as such).

Following this process, the researchers estimated that 43 per cent of clients had experienced at least one unwanted side effect from CBT, equating to an average of 0.57 per client (one client had four, the maximum allowed by the research methodology): most often distress, deterioration and strains in family relations. More than 40 per cent of side effects were rated as severe or very severe, and more than a quarter lasted weeks or months, though the majority were mild or moderate and transient. ‘Psychotherapy is not harmless,’ the researchers said. There was no evidence that any of the side effects were due to unethical practice.

Examples of severe side effects included: ‘suicidality, breakups, negative feedback from family members, withdrawal from relatives, feelings of shame and guilt, or intensive crying and emotional disturbance during sessions’.

Such effects are not so surprising when you consider that CBT can involve exposure therapy (ie, gradual exposure to situations that provoke anxiety); discussing and focusing on one’s problems; reflecting on the sources of one’s stress, such as difficult relationships; frustration at lack of progress; and feelings of growing dependency on a therapist’s support.

The longer that a client had been in therapy, the more likely she was to have experienced one or more side effects. Also, and against expectations, clients with milder symptoms were more likely to experience side effects, perhaps because more serious symptoms mask such effects.

Interestingly, before the structured interviews, the therapists were asked to say, off the top of their heads, whether they felt that their client had had any unwanted effects – in this case, 74 per cent said they had not. Often it was only when prompted to think through the different examples of potential side effects that therapists became aware of their prevalence. This chimes with earlier research that’s documented the biases which can lead therapists to believe that therapy has been successful when it hasn’t.

Schermuly-Haupt and her colleagues said a conundrum raised by their findings was whether unpleasant reactions that might be an unavoidable aspect of the therapeutic process should be considered side effects. ‘We argue that they are side effects although they may be unavoidable, justified, or even needed and intended,’ they said. ‘If there were an equally effective treatment that did not promote anxiety in the patient, the present form of exposure treatment would become unethical as it is a burden to the patient.’

There are reasons to treat the new findings with caution: the results depended on the therapists’ recall (an in-the-moment or diary-based methodology could overcome this problem), and about half the clients were also on psychoactive medication, so it’s possible that some adverse effects could be attributable to the drugs rather than the therapy (even though this was not the interviewer’s judgment). At the same time, though, remember that the researchers used a conservative estimate of side effects, only considering those that were ‘definitely’ related to therapy by their estimation, and ignoring those that they considered ‘rather’ or ‘most probably’ related.

The researchers concluded that: ‘An awareness and recognition of unwanted events and side effects in all therapies will benefit patients, improve therapy or reduce attrition, analogous to the benefit of measurement-based monitoring of treatment progress.’

This is an adaptation of an article originally published by The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.Aeon counter – do not remove

–Christian Jarrett

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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