Curing Depression, Anxiety and Fear

Depression, anxiety, and fear are symptoms not causes. So when I read today that recently compiled statistics show that “one in 10 distressed Americans in 2014 did not have health insurance that would give them access to a psychiatrist or mental health counselor” I understood the point… but think it overshot the mark.

We have a tendency to treat symptoms not causes. I think its because as awful as symptoms can be they usually arise from causes we’d rather not confront. Whether it’s a lesion on our body or our psyche, we instinctively know that it will take less effort, and require less honesty and introspection, to treat the symptom rather than the cause.

The article went on to say each of these stress related conditions has escalated since the 2008 financial crisis. That the economic hit people took, the careers that were eviscerated overnight, the enduring personal debts that accrued due to loss of income have all been contributing factors. Well, yes.  And so it’s why I understand the concern for inadequate health insurance to address the symptoms, because psychiatrists and mental health counselors treat symptoms.

Only the individual can treat causes, and treating causes requires courage and honesty rather than government assistance or health insurance.

Of course the financial crisis of 2008 was hard on everyone (well, nearly everyone except those on the inside who are still profiting from their foreknowledge and connections) but even the near collapse was a symptom of a deeper cause. It was a symptom of a culture where values and principles have been discarded in favor of materialism and technology.

If you want to treat the cause of depression, anxiety and fear you have to look at the quality of your life, the choices you make, the things to which you aspire, the love in your heart for yourself and others. You have to put those you love before the things you want. You have to find gratitude in everything you have…not mourn or resent that which eludes you.

We went way off track decades ago. It began in the 1960’s in an innocent enough way. It began with the rising phoenix of individualism, no better exemplified that by four, hot-looking musicians from Britain with outrageously long hair and lyrics that dared speak truth about life as they saw it.  It was an exhilarating time when anything went and love, or at least sex, was a free-for-all.

Much could have come from that innocence but what, in fact, followed were decades of ever increasing self-absorption, self-indulgence and separation. We became a culture that wanted everything bigger, better, faster.

The millennials, who think they have their priorities on straight and are opting out of the “bigger” are still enslaved to the better and the faster. That is because they were raised by technology not human hands and hearts. In the world of technology, newer and faster are the “un-status” status symbols. Every generation has them…the seductions of the material world. It’s just that in each generation they are cloaked somewhat differently.

An appreciation for the material is not a sin. We live in physical world with things of beauty all around. Some are creations of God and some are creations on mankind. Both are here for our enjoyment not our enslavement.

I know firsthand about materialism and depression, anxiety and fear. I was raised with money. My parents had lots and, therefore, I had lots of things that were the status symbols of my generation. Three corvettes before the age of 20 paints an accurate picture. I was also riddled with depression, anxiety and fear. So, between the ages of 20 and 30, I saw a psychiatrist and a couple of mental health counselors. Its why I feel the authority to write about symptoms and causes.

I had stomach problems (symptom) that led to intestinal surgery at age 16.  At age 23, I was very depressed (symptom) so Triavil was prescribed. I used those to try to commit suicide (symptom). I was married and divorced in 11 months (symptom) followed by a series of unsuccessful relationships (symptom). I developed fibromyalgia (symptom) in my 30’s and struggled with it for almost two decades until I had enough of symptoms, their treatments and their cures.

I decided to address the cause, which turns out to be a full time job of being honest with myself and others, holding myself accountable for my actions, finding a connection to God, birthing my creativity and generally living life as an adult with principles and values that I live by not just espouse.

I have come to believe that most physical and psychological illnesses are the result of a spiritual imbalance. A soul at odds with higher laws. So, looking to government or the medical community often turns out to be an excuse for not looking within and up. I think we could cure a lot of our nation’s ailments by a willingness to look into the causes of our individual discontent and righting those aspects of ourselves that have gone belly up.              Carole

Why You Matter

It’s so easy to blame the politicians and the media. It’s always easiest to blame someone, or something, other than ourselves. But the dire situations we find ourselves in, politically and socially, are no one’s fault but our own.

For decades we have turned a blind eye to wrong doing. For those same decades we have become dependent upon, even expected, government to take care of us.  We have abdicated personal responsibility in almost every aspect of our lives for the corners we cut, the white lies we tell, the principles we say we believe in yet neglect to be heard in their defense.

Politicians are not our masters. They are simply individuals in public service who reflect the health or sickness of the society they serve. Our leaders have not been forced upon us. We have stood by and allowed the inept, the dishonest and the corrupt to seek and obtain positions of power. We have willingly enslaved ourselves to them and those who keep them in power.

After 2008, ask almost any trader on Wall Street and they will tell you they saw it coming. They saw it coming but did nothing about it. It was too lucrative. Mortgages and private school tuition had to be paid. Vacations were booked. Cocaine was costly.

It’s easier to go with the flow than swim against the current. Isn’t that always the case? But what happens when the current is carrying you to your destruction? Blame the current…or your unwillingness to fight against it?

A group of boys and young men of various ages, raped a 14-year old girl in Chicago this week and they did it on Facebook. Live. At least 40 people watched it and not one called the police.

It seems like a long way from the banking collapse of 2008 to live rape…but not really. The perpetrators in both cases knew what they were doing was wrong and so did those who watched. It’s a slippery slope when you give up conscience and all that is decent about human behavior; when self-satisfaction is the ultimate goal and any means to getting there is acceptable.

Every day we read about the corruption in Washington and fake news by the media. It’s all a distraction. The real news and what we should care about is how each of us in our daily lives lays another brick in the foundation of cultural destruction as we justify the corners we cut, the blind eyes we turn and the irretrievable and precious time we deny friends and family because we are addicted to our iphones.

It’s never about someone else. It’s always about ourselves. While none of us may have any control over what Washington or the New York Times does, each of us has total control over what we do in our own lives. Where we invest out time, what principles we stand for, what we value all define, in a very literal sense, our immediate world.

You comfort and excuse yourself because you are, after all, just one person and so what can you do?

Last year I moved into a condominium in Austin, Texas. I quickly learned that there was corrupt management that had drained the finances of the community and neglected the maintenance of the structures. I also learned that for 12 years, various homeowners had tried, unsuccessfully, to do something about it. So , everyone had given up and acquiesced to the corruption and neglect.

I spent a year investigating and compiling evidence of both the corruption and the neglect. I uncovered a privileged relationship between certain owners, the Board of Directors included, and the corrupt management company. I presented the findings at association meetings. I endured an organized effort by those involved to discredit me, including being sued, individually, for my efforts. But I  knew that what was occurring was wrong and I was determined to, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In spite of it all I endured.

It took 12 months, several court appearances and all the energy and skill I could muster. But the Board resigned and, as new President of the Board, I fired the corrupt management company. We now have exceptional, new management and a law suit against those who depleted or finances and neglected our physical assets.

Was it hard? About as hard as anything I’ve done in my life. Were there times I thought I could not go on? Absolutely. Was every conceivable effort made to stop me? Yes. So why did I keep at it?

The whole is no more than the sum of our parts. I am a part of my community, my society, my country, my species. If I do no stand for what I know to be right, what hope is there that others will do the same?

It’s never about anyone else. It’s always about ourselves. In humanity, it’s not top down. It’s what we as individuals are willing to put on the line for what we believe in. This is what makes the difference and that is what ultimately defines us.

A Christian Polish woman who fed Jews and kept them alive less than than a mile from a concentration camp was asked, recently, how she came to do the right thing given the behavior of those around her. Her reply was simply, “The righteous didn’t suddenly become righteous. We just refused to go off the cliff with everyone else.”

We are each confronted daily with personal cliffs. Now more so than ever with the rapid pace of technology and the warp speed at which AI is developing. If, in hindsight, you can see why it wasn’t such a long way from 2008 to live rape…wait until you see what’s just around the corner. One voice, one person, one principle upheld can save the world. Remember, the next corner you cut, blind eye you turn, or principle you fail to uphold… could be our last.                Carole

The Answer To Suffering

A farmer and a blue collar worker were in line to vote last Tuesday. Someone overheard their conversation in which both were sharing that they had not had a good year financially since 2000. That’s 16 years. They were suffering and they were voting for Trump.

hope

I know a lot about suffering. It’s the same whether it’s an individual or the collective consciousness of a nation.  My knowledge and understanding comes from years of suffering depression which culminated in an attempted suicide at age 24. Individuals, like nations, who misplace hope and choose suicide as an option, don’t really want to die. Notice I said, “misplace” hope. Hope is never gone…but when suffering is prolonged enough and there seems no cure for its cause and no end in sight, hope gets obscured by the pain. And when the pain is bad enough, rational thought is cast aside for any solution, regardless of how irrational or self-destructive.

A person may choose suicide as a seemingly rational end to their suffering. But what does a nation filled with people who have misplaced hope do?

The seeds of national suicide were sprouting in 2008. Barack Obama, and the Democrats recognized this and so, knowing the nation was suffering, offered “Hope and Change”. They ignited the flame of hope that the nation was in need of and with that held out the promise of an end to the early stages of suffering. But the promise was empty and as time passed, the pain and suffering grew more intense.  With that increased pain, came a decreased optimism…hope…that there was a “cure” or light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, from 2008 until now, that light has been progressively (no pun intended) harder and harder to see.

Pain and suffering increased over the past eight years to the point that hope was obscured and with it rational thought.  What resulted was a populace who would, in its desperation, settle for giving the most powerful position in its nation to either a greedy thief or an egomaniacal illusionist. We chose the illusionist.

That is how a nation commits suicide.

My experience of attempted suicide taught me an invaluable lesson. It’s the certainty that hope always exists; it’s just up to us to have the patience and determination find it. Donald Trump will not save us for he was chosen in a period of national darkness. Whether he is well intentioned or not, there are those around him who recognized our perilous time of suffering and glammed on for the ride and for their own agendas, not for the national best interest.

When I was in the emergency room, I had an out of body experience. As they were pumping the drugs out of me, I was up in the corner of the room, looking down at what they were doing, and thinking, “Why don’t they let that body go?” At which point I “felt” a distant voice say, “You have to go back, Carole, you have work to do.”

Our nation is on that table. We are looking at it and wanting the suffering to stop and for the pain to go away. There are no guarantees. But this I know.

Hope exists if we are patient and determined to be the best we can be. No one will save us but for ourselves. Giving it over to someone else is an act of suicide. Its up to us to demand of ourselves personal accountability. Its up to us to demand of our government accountability to the founding principles. So, fellow citizens, we have to go back. There is work to do.

Carole Gold

 

A Guy Named Omeleto Has The Answer

Want to watch a five minute video that will change your life? I just did.

Purpose

I can’t say what it will do for you… but I can tell you what it’s done for me.  It’s given me renewed hope that enough people are waking up to the power of the individual that I can remember to ignore the naysayers, the politicians, the fear-mongers, the cowards and the herd mentality that is so deliberately marketed and maintained by the media.

The reason I find the video so profound and inspirational is that I lived most of my life not following my own heart. Not that I was ever lacking in passion; but passion misdirected can be an obstacle at best or a force for self-destruction, at worst.

The passion that creates for the good is that which is born from the uniqueness within each of us. This is the message of Omeleto’s video. (click and wait a few seconds).  This is the message I now live and teach others, through my work, every opportunity I am given. We are born to be unique. We are born to “sing our own song”…much like the bird that sits on the branch and sings its song without regard for how it is received. The songbird sings unrestrained from the sheer joy of existence.

From the moment we are born, we are taught “No.”  We are taught what the rules are. We are taught how to conform. We are taught what to believe. We are taught to comply. We are taught that non-conformity has undesirable consequences. We are taught to hold or tongue. But a tongue withheld cannot speak the truth and a heart devoid of nourishment cannot find the strength to emit its own song.

So my interpretation of Omeleto’s message is, above all, find the joy in you and allow it to guide you to your life’s purpose. If you’re having difficulty doing that it’s because you’re not listening within, or because you’re carrying with you that which was…and is no more.

When you get into your car, and program the GPS to where you want to go, it only needs two set points: where you are and where you want to go. It does not care, and cannot use, information about where you’ve been. No matter what your life has been up until this moment, you have the Free Will, and can summon the courage, to identify where you are and where it is you want to go.  That’s pretty much what it takes, along with a commitment to stay on the road and not turn back to your starting point because it’s taking too long to arrive at your destination. When you deviate from the GPS, it advises you to “turn around”….you’re off your route.

Your heart does the same thing.

When you’re not living your Purpose, when you’re plodding along, stressed and unfulfilled, you feel sad, tired, frustrated, angry, empty…any or all of the aforementioned. That is your heart telling you you’re not living your truth and not singing your song. You’re lip syncing someone else’s.

Whenever I feel less than joyful in my life I think about that. I think about the inauthenticity of singing someone else’s song. I think about how empty that feels. And I quickly shift my thoughts and my actions to something that enlivens rather than deadens me.

It’s clearly learned behavior and, like any other habit, takes practice. But I’ve come to know with certainty that, as Omeleto so brilliantly conveys in the video, I have no intention of my last thoughts being about what I didn’t do in my lifetime or how I allowed the uniqueness that is me to rank so low on my list of things worth discovering.

Carole

Instructions For Being You

When I was a child I would converse with inanimate objects.

User guide

I can recall my parents retelling the story of how, when I was three and four years old, I would bump into a chair, for example, and say “’cub-ie chair!” (because I couldn’t pronounce the words “excuse me”). I also read words and sentences left to right… but then read them right to left. I would read a dictionary for fun as I thought words were important and in some way alive. I communicated with animals and trees. I often felt physical pain when someone or something else was harmed. I sometimes knew what others were thinking. I didn’t perceive the world the way most people did. For me, life was as much about the unseen and the unsaid as it was about the external, visible and auditory world.

As a result, I spent the first few decades of my life trying to fit into a world that seemingly had no place for me. Why did I have all of this awareness and what was I to do with it?

For those few decades during which I struggled with how to find my place in the world, I experienced a lot of wrong turns and made a lot of unwise choices. Because I was surrounded by people who did not share or understand my perceptions, I was unsupported in living a life that was consistent with truth as I experienced it.

Being unique, and living that uniqueness, is the hardest way to go through life. It is also the way we were designed to do it. You, too, are unique. How many times in your life have you been the recipient of those words? Probably not enough!

As we all struggle to adapt, and at times survive, the rapid changes the world is going through, how valuable would it be to truly know that you were born with direct access to all of the information you need to handle each and every moment of your life with certainty, focus and calm? The answer to that question is that such knowing would be priceless.

Looking back at human history and beyond, we have moved from predominantly individual barbarism to predominantly civilized societies with the help of certain events and structures that have aided us in that journey. The Goddess-led cultures that preceded monotheism, the giving of the Ten Commandments, the life of Jesus, agriculture, industrialization, and 20th century technological explosion have all contributed to this forward march.

With each of these advancements, so too has the individual’s freedom expanded. Yes, there are still remnants around the world of that barbarism I spoke of earlier, but we are on an undeniable path leading us to a fuller understanding of what Free Will is and the unlimited power that comes from autonomy over one’s own heart and mind through a direct inner connection with the Source of All That Is.

Resistance is always greatest nearest the point of breakthrough.

This is what we are experience now…globally. The resistance can be found in political and religious bureaucracies; yet, it is unstoppable. It is the approaching breakthrough of sufficient numbers of individuals around the world who have experienced, either over time or most recently, the possibilities that exist beyond our five senses and the limitations of enslavement, when fully engaged in using our hearts and minds to create the kind of world in which we choose to exist and flourish.

I now know, and want you to know, the power of the uniqueness that is you. You do not exist to be a replica of anyone who preceded you, or anyone who is in the world today. You are not meant to “fit in” at the price of denying or relinquishing your unique contribution to the ever-unfolding experience of conscious human evolution. So long as you do not intentionally harm another, nor they you, we are all required to honor our individual perceptions, truths and life choices as we identify and manifest the essence of who we are.

Once I realized the answer to that question of long ago, “Why did I have all of this awareness and what was I to do with it?” I stopped trying to fit in.

Now I create space that lovingly supports me as I am.

 

Carole

Is There Such As Thing As Universal Law?

Twenty two suicides a day.

universal law

These are the amount of U.S. military personnel we are losing to suicide each day. “6,500 former military personnel killed themselves in 2012. More veterans succumbed to suicide than were killed in Iraq. In 2012, 177 active-duty soldiers committed suicide, conversely 176 soldiers were killed in combat. In other words, more soldiers committed suicide compared to being killed in action.”

I am a Marine who served in combat.  Naturally, I feel an affinity with my brethren. It pains me that both Republican and Democrat  politicians are quick to send our men into action but quicker to forget about them once they return.  The Veterans Administration has been a disaster for decades.  Shockingly little is done to care for returning Veterans.  When we finally forced a turn over that at the highest post in the V.A., Administrator, not a single person was fired. Nor was a single person fired following the disclosure that there existed at several VA hospitals, dual sets of treatment lists – one fraudulent – showing timely treatment at various V.A. hospitals across the country when in fact many vets had died from grossly  delayed or non-existent treatment in violation of the V.A.’s own guidelines.

There are a few organizations out there trying to ill the void left by the V.A. One of them is The Wounded Warrior Project . A few years ago, I volunteered and worked one of their charity events. The experience left me with such overwhelming sadness that I vowed to myself never to return.  Seeing those young men, many of them severely and permanently disfigured, left me with such sorrow that I knew I could not help them. The last thing they needed was my pity. The Wounded Warriors Project does great work for our Veterans; but, after talking to some of their health professionals, even they acknowledged there Is a limit to what they can do in terms of recovery and reintroduction back into a “normal life.” Some of these men have seen such horrors and suffered such tragedies that these healthcare professionals cannot fix what has been broken inside of them. My service, combined with extensive reading on the subject,  has made me well aware of the scars left by war that participants live with for the remainder of their lives.

Any sane person instinctively knows that the trauma of war mars the lives of all involved. Such an awareness is akin to a Universal Law. But I would argue there are other universal laws that exist as well. Look at nature and how the change in seasons affects the planting, availability and consuming of food. Failing to align with or violating the cycles of life can cause us real damage in ways seen and unseen.

Take something as basic as sleep. Our body naturally produces Melatonin, a hormone that  regulates the sleep and wake cycle. For about a year, I used to work the “graveyard” shift for my bank. I was exhausted that whole year! I simply couldn’t get to sleep during daytime hours. When there is natural light outside, our bodies do not produce Melatonin. Consequently, despite the fact that I was exhausted, I could not sleep during daylight hours.

So, even when consciously making a decision to sleep…we must fall into harmony with Universal Law.

Now we are living through a time when we are being told that there no absolutes. Everything is pliable and malleable. Even in the case of sexual identity, we are told no Universal truth exists. The only truism is the one we “identify with.” So, if a man thinks he is a woman and wants to identify as such, so be it. That is “his” truth.

How is it then that on matters such as war, nature, and sleep we can acknowledge and see Universal Laws in action yet in the realm of sexual identity, we can’t?

The Progressive Left argues, successfully I might add, that its really up to us how we choose to subjectively proceed when it comes to a male/female self-identification. But on a biological level, the blueprint of our identity is defined scientifically, and objectively, by our chromosomes.  Males are comprised of the XX chromosome and females of the XY chromosome. So, on a genetic level, the biology of who we are is defined and fixed in the blueprint of our design. Think of it this way. I could take a 30-year old, beaten-down Kia automobile and replace the exterior with a brand new Mercedes without doing anything to the engine.  So, while the outside might appear to be a brand new Mercedes, the “heart” of the car, the thing that keeps it alive and moving, is still a Kia. Such is the case with gender identity. You can’t change the essential and biologically composition that defines you. Well you can make medical alternations and even transition the “exterior” but the chromosomal blueprint remains what it was at creation.

The latest push to redefine our sexuality has been going on since the 1960’s when the sexual liberation movement was born. Establishing sexual identity as subjectively defined is just the latest ideation of this movement. The Left’s goal has always been about removing the constraints and morality from sex. It argues that once those restraints are removed people and society at large will benefit.  We will all be more  free of the stresses and strains that accompany sexual “repression” and dogmatic thinking. We will be happier. Unfortunately, people who have the most amount if sex, such as those in the pornography industry, are known to have higher rates of suicide and drug problems than the public at large. The numbers are so high that YouTube has a vast amount of videos by porn stars who have killed themselves either by suicide or drug overdose. Having sex with lots of people is not good for mind, body or soul. When you treat sex as a solely physical act, separated from an emotional and moral component, there are repercussions.

From sex to sexual identity the Left, now with the imprimatur of the Federal government thanks to the Obama Administration,  is trying to push the notion that these are all decisions made on an individual basis…untethered from any Universal truth.

This is the problem of the Progressive Left – it is continually trying to shape and reshape inherent, natural and Universal laws that are the foundation of a balanced and thriving ecosystem of which we humans, male and female, are an integral part.

 

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Whose Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic?

My experiences with drug reactions and drug addiction began in my mid-20’s.

Addiction

Growing up, I was a closeted emotional wreck. I say this because I had developed a great act which, to others, masked the fact that inside my own skin I was depressed, confused and felt very much as if I didn’t belong anywhere despite popularity at school, good grades and an intact family.  Married at 23 and divorced at 24, I was no longer able to hide the depression.  A physician put me on the anti-depressant Triavil.  Not long after, I tried to commit suicide and came dangerously close to succeeding.

Fast forward to my mid-30s when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. At the time, it was not the commonly diagnosed disease it is today. In fact, I saw 21 medical specialists before the Arthritis-Lupus Clinic at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia got it right. It was, and I believe still is, considered to be a partially sleep-disorder related illness. At that time, the treatment was believed to be Amitriptyline (also known as Triavil). While at a dosage of 90mg or more the drug acts as an anti-depressant, at a considerably lower dose it does not; however, it does, at the low dose, induce crucial non-REM sleep, the restful transition sleep that many with Fibromyalgia seem to lack.

My tolerance for the Amitriptyline increased over time until I was approaching that 90mg ceiling. So, my treating physician prescribed Valium to accompany it. I quickly built up a tolerance to it and that dose was increased as well.

In a matter of no time I was addicted to it.

Without belaboring all the details, I’ll just say that when I realized I was addicted, I phoned a local hospital that had a drug detox unit and spoke with the head floor nurse. She told me I had two choices.  I could admit myself to the unit immediately or go cold turkey at home; but, if I chose the latter I had to have someone with me around the clock for seven days. She said either way, withdrawal was going to be hell.

And so it was.

Family and friends took turns staying with me for the next week. I was alternately hyper, depressed, suicidal and lacked any appetite. In fact, I had to force feed tiny amounts of food and water. It’s an experience never to be repeated or forgotten.

Recently, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has come forward with legislation to combat the national epidemic of addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin, known as opioids. Portman’s bill, known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), passed in the Senate by a vote of 94 to 1 in March and was followed this past week with several related bills to also address the epidemic.

But, as with so much of what ails us as a nation, legislation isn’t going to fix the problem because 1) the pharmaceutical companies have too much skin in the game and to many lobbyists; 2) Obamacare has so destroyed the ability of doctors to take the time needed to effectively diagnose and treat illness and, 3) we have become a culture of the quick fix, instant gratification and impatience with all things that require time and effort.

I may have tried to commit suicide without the anti-depressants prescribed for me at age 23 but I’ll never know that for certain. What I do know is that there exists an undisputed body of medical research concluding that, in certain people, anti-depressants (and particularly following cessation of the medication) increase suicidal ideation.

As for the subsequent addiction to Valium in my 30’s as a result of treatment for Fibromyalgia, it cured me forever of a willingness to take any pain medication for almost any reason. I can say that with certainty because I have had surgery since and refused all pain meds post-op to the horror of my physician. Yes, I suffered through rather than risk addiction to the too easily prescribed Tordol, Hydrocodone, Percocet, Tramadol. I am neither brave nor stupid. I simply never want to go through hell again. So, I chose two days of excruciating, post-op pain to even the possibility that a pain killer might be addicting.

What I learned from both of these experiences has served me well ever since.

First, following the attempted suicide, I embarked upon a life of inner reflection and personal responsibility. I decided nothing was worth living a lie and if I lived the life I wanted, rather than the life I internalized was expected of me, at least I could like myself for my authenticity.

Second, I threw off the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Well, not initially. I still said I had it but I treated it as a “lifestyle” illness. If I ate healthfully, exercised the correct amount, noticed what types of emotional, mental and physical stress in my life precipitated an “attack,” I could use my lifestyle to contain, or even eliminate the illness. For years now, I no longer think or speak of “having Fibromyalgia” nor have I had any symptoms.

While we may not be able do anything about the power of the pharmaceutical companies and their power over the FDA, or change the catastrophic effects of Obamacare on the quality of healthcare, what each of us can do is take responsibility for whether we are living a life of authenticity or deceit of self; whether or not we choose the quick fix over less expedient but safer alternatives and, perhaps most importantly, whether we are willing to acknowledge that much of what ails us is related to the pace at which we live and the choices that we make in trying fit into a culture that, in its present state, may have very little to contribute to our physical, emotional or mental well being.

 

Carole

The Biosphere and Minimum Wage

In the mid 1990’s scientists tried to create a self-sustaining, sealed environment that would produce all necessary food, oxygen and nutrients to sustain life.

Biosphere_2

The project was called Biosphere and massive amounts of time, energy and financial resources went into the project in an effort to succeed. The Biosphere was set up to house a fully enclosed and balanced system of animals, plants, water, minerals, chemicals and other life-sustaining items.

While bold in scope, the project ended in failure.  Mainly because keeping the system in balance could not be achieved. There was always something interfering with the ecological balance. Ants and cockroaches ran wild because there were not enough predators to eat them. Some vines grew wild thereby killing off other plants. There was too much nitrogen in the air, not enough oxygen, and the water became polluted.

The scientists worked tirelessly to get the ecology back into alignment; but, in the end, they realized the enclosed Biosphere could never support life..human or otherwise. Two of the scientist, Cohen and Tilman, concluded “No one yet knows how to engineer systems that provide humans with the life supporting systems that natural ecosystems produce.”

The U.S economy is like an ecological system wherein various commercial entities (organisms) around the globe compete and work to produce goods and services (plants, water systems and fauna) to bring to the marketplace (a balanced biosphere). Price changes are signals that are transmitted throughout the system. Entities react to those signals, adapting and adjusting to maintain or re-establish economic balance and then evolve.

Price of gas too high? Car companies build smaller cars to compensate. Price of sugar too high? Consumers will use more honey in their diet as a sweetener. These signals are continually sent out within the global system whereby humans react and adjust their behavior accordingly. Both humans and markets are way too complex to understand and regulate with certainty.

Yet, we have politicians trying to do it none-the-less.

For example, in California, if I have a job that needs to get done and would like to pay someone $6.00 an hour to do that job…I can’t. The law does not allow me to pay an amount below the minimum wage. Even if I find somebody who chooses to work at that rate, and who  desperately needs the money, the job must go undone.  Despite the fact that both parties are willing to meet at this price, the government will not allow the transaction to occur.

If, then  I am forced by law to pay a higher wage for that same job to be done, I will have to pass the additional cost on to the consumer who will ultimately buy my finished product. However, consumers of my finished product have a ceiling of how much they will pay. If my price exceeds that ceiling, my product goes unsold. The inevitable end result of that is my company goes out of business.

Overall, small jobs get left undone and businesses close. People move away from the geographic region in search of jobs and better quality of life after properties values drop. Just like the ecosystem where the wild vines grew and killed all the helpful plants, regulations, laws and taxes have the same net effect…strangling and cutting off otherwise healthy business environments. And “minimum wage” jobs? They are the first to go when employers are forced to pay a wage that is  harmful to their business. All that discussion about a minimum wage not being a “living wage” is a canard. Only 2.5% of all minimum wage earners are over age 21.  It isn’t meant to be a living wage. Its meant to be a starter wage for teens and unskilled workers to enter the workforce and move on to an education or skilled job.

In the Biosphere experiment, the scientist came to the conclusion that it was virtually impossible to regulate an ecosystem. It was too complex. But our politicians, in their hubris and ignorance, think they can control the economy by way of laws and regulations. They tend to look at markets as inputs and outputs rather than complex adaptive systems which, when left alone, will find their own balance.

This artificial intrusion by government has lead to disastrous consequences:

  • In 1998, as a result if the Asian Crisis and failure of Long Term Capital Management, the Federal Reserve slashed rates and saw a gush of money flow into the technology sector only to see it crash and burn in 2000.
  • In 2001, after the Twin Tower bombings and subsequent military actions decimated the economy, the Federal Reserve slashed rates yet again. This money promptly moved into Real Estate causing the financial meltdown of 2008.
  • In 2008, the banking sector crashed and the U.S. government slashed rates again then went on  a massive spending spree to jump-start the economy. We are still waiting to see the full consequences of those decisions; but, I predict the next crisis will be one of the largest ever recorded in history. Perhaps the bursting of the student loan or auto loan bubbles.

The intrusions have left us all worse off than we started.

Take a look at healthcare. Unhappy with the state of  healthcare, President Obama embarked on a plan to nationalize all health care because he knew better then everybody else what was needed.

President Obama is a lawyer by training and a community activist by job experience.  Yet with no formal qualifications whatsoever in the medical space, he decided to impose a healthcare plan that affects 300 million people. Once he saw the infeasability and likely real-time effects of his plan, he and his minions approached media outlets with knowingly false and misleading statements about the plan to deceive the American populace into supporting it.

Where is healthcare as a result? Its where the Biosphere is. It is a failed system that is, itself, on financial life-support!

Democrat leaders (especially Progressive Democrat leaders) believe they know what is best for everyone in every situation and stop at nothing to ram these untruths down our throats. Democrat ideologues and sycophants could care less whether they are lied to as long as “their party wins.” There is no search for meaning. There is no search for truth. The game is all about power, even if the implementation of that power does more harm than good. The economy, like an ecology, is a complex adaptive system wired to self-regulate if only specific political humans, cloaked in the garb of Democrats, stay out of the way.

Did you know that the Progressive Democrat Party in the U.S. was born from the Fabian Socialist Party in Europe who’s mascot and symbol was…wait for it…a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You can’t make this stuff up!

fabianHumanity is a dynamic system not a machine to be manipulated by constraints and levers. We are so complex and unpredictable and that it is virtually impossible to map our behavior; so, let us be free.

Personally,  I favor liberty, opportunity and free markets. We need to start looking for talented people who do the same and are willing to take us where we want to go…not where they think we belong.

Steve & Carole

sleeclark@gmail.com

Is It Safe?

In my “former life” I was a bond trader and salesman. A common question I received from my clients when taking about an investment was ” Is it safe?”  I was always thought it was an odd question, especially given the financial acumen of the people with whom I was dealing with. The reality is that nothing in finance, as in life, is truly safe. There is risk everywhere.

Expert

The best investors in the world achieve their great returns by avoiding risk at all costs.The famed investor Warren Buffett only buys things with what he calls a “margin of safety.” Buffet hates risk so much that in his early part of his career he would only buy things that were below their break up value. So, for example, when he bought a stock at $80, he knew that if the company fell apart he could easily take over the company and sell its assets for more than the $80 dollar a share price.

Buffett understood the world is filled with risk; it is unavoidable. For example I use to be responsible for trading a portfolio of bonds for the bank and it was not uncommon for me to have defaulted bonds on my ledger that I was responsible for managing. I never intended to have them on my books, but during the course of a year it was only natural that some bonds on my blotter would go bust.

In order to mitigate some of this risk,the bond houses relies on ratings agencies to help them gauge the level of risk of companies. Moodys and Fitch are two ratings agencies that ascertain the risks of companies. They have analysts that go in and analyze and research companies to find out the probability of repayment The demand is so great for companies and people to be told that something is safe that these two companies make millions of dollars a year for their financial assessments.

Moody’s and Fitch’s rating are so well respected an “A” rating or higher is usually enough validation for a fund manager to buy the asset. Many mutual fund and pension by-laws have clauses in them that will not allow the fund manager to buy assets below this “A” level rating.

In essence many fund managers and companies outsource their “risks” tolerance to Moody’s and Fitch,so if there is a problem the fund managers can always point the blame to someone else. However, in the financial crisis of 2008, many of the funds and instruments that Moody’s and Fitch recommended went under causing massive devastation in the financial community. A hard lesson was learned by all, you can never outsource or assign risk to someone else.

This belief that “others” have more knowledge than “us” and can guide us is a fallacy sold by the elites and the master marketers. Having sat on many risk meetings on Wall Street, I know first hand how this game works.

The “Trust Us”-We are expert crowd lives in the media. The media is well aware of their ability to influence and move policy, because of their expert status, that their reporting at times can be labeled as criminal. During the Vietnam war one of the most pivotal moments was the 1968 battled named the”Tet Offensive.” It  was a large military invasion by the communist in the North attacking the U.S allied South Vietnamese army. The result was a crushing defeat for the North that many felt would end the war. Oddly enough the American media claimed the North had won the battle. The reporter, Walter Cronkite, with no military training whatsoever, declared and reported to the American public that it had been a humiliating defeat for the U.S forces.

Many historians attribute not the battle of Tet as the turning point in the war but rather the erroneous report by Walter Cronkite. Since Walter Cronkite was an expert in the journalism field, the American public believed him. Once the public lost the conviction in the war (because of Cronkite’s influence), the government followed. Vietnam was eventually overrun by the North and became a communist country and in the process many innocent lives were lost.

Given what I now know,I treat all experts with a healthy amount if skepticism. This has helped both professionally as well as personally.

A few years ago one of my daughters was quite ill and I spent the night with her at the hospital. During that time I researched her condition and came to understand what was happening to her. The next day, the Doctor  prescribed her a treatment which I felt was contrary to the research I had read. After a brief discussion of the facts the Doctor  altered my daughters treatment which helped her.

By no means did I think I was smarter or more knowledgable than the Doctor in her own profession. But I do know that Doctors are overworked and makes mistakes like all of us. Like any profession, being a Doctor requires constant study and reflection just to stay current, and not all Doctors can stay abreast of all the developments in the medical field. In the end my daughter was cured and I was thankful for having such a thoughtful Doctor to care for my daughter.

Life is a constant battle to grow and develop or to wither away and die. I know if I don’t continue to work on myself and on my skills, my talents will die. I know the dangers of trusting experts and I believe that there is something in the human condition that tends to look for answers from those that supposedly know more than us.But this is dangerous. Life is inherently risky and its better to embrace that risk rather than give our power away to somebody else.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Science Makes A Life-Altering Discovery

If we look at the history of our species and what we have accomplished to-date, it is difficult for me to understand why anyone would doubt what can, and is, occurring beyond the realm of our five senses. Have we not yet learned that there is more that we don’t know… than we do?

Universe

The latest example of the seemingly incomprehensible is the just released finding by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that the entire corpus of Western classical music exists in a field of reality completely removed from human perception. In case you don’t immediately grasp what that means (as I did not; it took me two reads to get it) this means that when you stop listening to classical music, it doesn’t cease to exist. It actually continues to exist in a realm, along with all the other classical music ever composed, outside of our human perception but none-the-less real. In other words, it’s all “floating around” out there as surely as we are floating around in here.

Or, in the alternative, is either of us floating around anywhere?

This discovery by CERN, and the question I just posed, is why I call myself The Jury Whisperer and founded a business by the same name. For years, I practiced law and was an Intuitive with a national client base. But I kept the two worlds separate because, while the Integration of those two seemingly incompatible skill sets was the norm for me, it was certainly not the norm for society. In fact, my legal friends disparaged intuition and my intuitive friends disparaged lawyers! That left me having to bifurcate my exterior world in order to co-exist.

Talk about a legitimate basis for psychosis!

Ultimately, I decided that my success as a lawyer was in large part due to my intuition and my openness to listening and following that guidance from within. I always perceived the information I received internally as similar to tuning into a frequency not often accessed by others… like AM and FM but simply by some other call letters. This information exists outside the realm of our five senses just waiting to be “tuned in.”

Like Tesla or Marconi (if you’ll allow me a moment to hang with some pretty awesome company) I felt that what I knew could be shared for the greater good and accessed by many. That’s because I had developed and honed, over time, my own abilities through repetitive use: commonly called “practice.” Now, I am teaching lawyers to identify, strengthen and apply their own intuition to their professional lives. But its certainly not limited to lawyers. Anyone can elevate the quality of their existence, personal and professional, by releasing limiting ideas about what is knowable beyond that which has been known.

It’s always a thrill for me each time science catches up with Universal Intelligence. That’s what the CERN discovery is. It’s not only a boon for our conscious evolution, it’s also a welcome affirmation for those of us already aware that what we don’t know far exceeds what we do.

Carole

contact@carolegold.com