Why Nuclear Energy is Both Awesome and Terrible

These videos demonstrate the differing
perspectives of nuclear energy


Recently I came across some videos on YouTube that were delightful in both their design and their ability to communicate ideas. They were created by Kurz Gesagt (German for “in a nutshell”), which is a Munich-based design studio.

Founded in 2013 with a distinctive perspective on design and animation within the fields of education, science and commerce. They say on their website that they “want to make science look beautiful because science is beautiful.”

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Enjoy a Bird’s-Eye View of Earth

This photo (and many others) offer an interesting perspective.

Verdun military cemetery
This picture of the military cemetery in Verdun, France, is a fitting illustration for the day after Memorial Day. It reminds me of the Normandy American Cemetery my husband and I visited the several years ago. The rows of white Crosses and the Star of David offer a stark reminder of the price soldiers have paid in our wars.

Also, I use this picture to point you to other pictures of earth as you may never have seen them. They were taken by the aerial photographer Arthus-Bertrand in his five-year odyssey across six continents. Read More

Finally, I’m Taking My Own Advice

June 5, 2014
 An update from Arlene.

For more than twenty years, I’ve told clients to slow down and smell the roses. Take time for yourself so your body can last as long as possible. Carve out spaces so you can be more creative. Savor life’s simple pleasures. Chop down that to-do list. Don’t put more on your calendar than you can comfortably complete.

Of course, if you knew me personally, you would know that I haven’t done those things very effectively, and not only because it’s taken me awhile to become a recovering perfectionist.

How times have changed in the last year.

Unexpected Twists and Turns in Life’s Journey

A year ago, I was in pain from a rare muscle condition in my neck. In an attempt to fix it, I was given Botox shots that landed me in the hospital because my body rejected the toxin.

A year ago, my husband was feeling well and working five days a week. When he turned 81 in September, he still loved his work and would have continued, except that he developed a blood cancer that eventually took his life in February.

Knowing that Bob was going to die gave us a chance to talk about how much we meant to each other and how I would manage our finances. It was a bitter-sweet time for both of us as we learned to accept life as it unfolds and appreciate what we had.

A Retirement Community? Really?

Because of our health problems, it was suggested that we sell our house and move to a retirement community.

Wait! Rubbing elbows with a bunch of “old” people? Of course, it was pointed out that I was using a cane and a neck brace and was not much younger than most of the people there. But still. It seemed a little premature.

However, when I thought about Bob’s impending death, I realized I didn’t want to have the responsibility of running a house without Bob’s help, so we moved to Villa Gardens in Pasadena.

About a month before Bob died, I asked him, “What am I going to do without you?” He replied, “You have lots of role models here. You’ll make it.”

He was right. It is the perfect place for me to be! Here I am surrounded by lots of vibrant “old” people. They provide the support I need to make the transition from wife to widow.

Having Someone Else Make Dinner Every Night Is a Delight

We get one meal a day, or more for an extra fee, and I am relieved of the need to go shopping for food and cooking. Breakfast is healthy cereal and lunch a few easy-to prepare items. I heartily recommend such arrangements when you reach my age.

With all this support, I am beginning to have a greater sense of peace and balance in my life than I have ever had before.
And guess what? By concentrating on removing stress in my life, my health has gradually improved and now I have very little pain and my regular strength has mostly returned.

My body is telling me that the advice that is good for others is good for me as well!

Did You Survive Without Me?

One of the things that can stop blog writers like me from slowing down or even taking a long vacation from writing is the delusion that our readers won’t be able to get by without frequent additions to our blogs. It’s as though we think you are sitting home with baited breath waiting to see what we will write next.

Of course, it isn’t true. You are going through your life just fine. And if you come here and don’t find anything new, your life will go on.

Now, however, I am gradually returning to writing. I plan for you to have something new from me every week, plus links to older posts that you may have missed. ‘Course, plans can get changed, but that’s what I think I can do.

Next post will be the comments I gave at the celebration of Bob’s life, which I called “What I Will Miss the Most.” The post after that will be a poem I wrote called “I Will Always Remember You.”

I’m glad to be back but won’t be pushing myself as much as I did a year ago.

The Psychosynthesis Model for Getting Your Act Together

July 24, 2013

This introduction to Psychosynthesis provides a good framework for upcoming posts.

Next week I will bring you an article that describes a relationship I have had with a friend and colleague for several decades and who has provided lots of good feedback on my books. I think it will help you understand the connection I have with her if I set the stage with some of the philosophy and experience she and I share.

I’ll begin with quotations from Healing Relationships is an Inside Job: When the Connection Between You and Another Person is Strained or Broken, which she helped me edit.

In 1911, Roberto Assagioli, an Italian psychiatrist, developed a school of psychology and philosophy in the art of living called “Psychosynthesis” that I believe accurately, clearly, and holistically describes the human psyche. He created a model of how we are often driven apart by conflicting parts of ourselves, which his student, Piero Ferrucci, describes it this way in the book, What We May Be:

Each of us is a crowd. There can be the rebel and the intellectual, the seducer and the housewife, the saboteur and the aesthete, the organizer and the bon vivant—each with its own mythology, and all more or less comfortably crowded into one single person. Often they are far from being at peace with one another. As Assagioli wrote, ‘We are not unified, we often feel that we are, because we do not have many bodies and many limbs, and because one hand doesn’t usually hit the other. But, metaphorically, that is exactly what does happen within us. Several Subpersonalities [false selves] are continually scuffling: impulses, desires, principles, aspirations are engaged in an unceasing struggle.

Now, it’s time for me to describe how these parts of ourselves can cause great difficulty with others if they are not understood and managed by the “true self.” It isn’t easy to explain, or to draw, the true self and its relationship to self-awareness, but the model I like best sees the true self as being at the center of a circle. Everything that happens to us is experienced within that circle; however, the true self does not attach itself to any of them. It simply and calmly notices our thoughts, our feelings and emotions, our relationships, our needs and desires, our body and physical sensations, and what we do.

Because the true self is not attached to any of these experiences, but only observes them, it can say:

  • I am more than my opinions, ideas and beliefs.
  • I am more than my emotions and feelings.
  • I am more than my relationships.
  • What I want and desire and what I have does not define me.
  • I am more than what I do.
  • How I look or feel does not limit me.

Unfortunately for our relationships, we have an ego. . . . that draws attention to itself. Like the true self, it also notices our thoughts, emotions, desires, actions, sensations, and relationships, but it attaches itself from one to the other. At one moment the ego is entirely focused on our thoughts and opinions. The next moment it is overcome with emotions. A short while later it becomes aware of something it wants and it’s off again in another direction.

Because the ego jumps back and forth from one sensation to another, from one moment to the next, it sees you quite differently than the true self does. Consequently, it thinks:

  • You are your thoughts.
  • You are your emotions.
  • You are what you want.
  • You are your possessions and the size of your bank account.
  • You are how you look and how you feel.
  • You are what you do.
  • You are defined by your family and your relationships.

Eva Fugitt, teacher and author of He Hit Me Back First!: Development of the Will in Children for Making Choices, adapted some of Assagioli’s techniques for the classroom and describes the process this way:

. . . This [self-] awareness is gradually brought into consciousness through a series of techniques, including imagery and visualization, designed to achieve harmony and synthesis within a person and between the person and her surroundings. Psychosynthesis, then, is a process of connecting with the Self—the core of our being—so that it can direct our life and relationships with joy and wisdom. For children, I simply say it is getting in touch with the Wise Part Within us.

In order words, since “psyche” means self and “synthesis” means integration, Psychosynthesis is simply a way of “getting your act together.” It is a perspective that most closely parallels what I observe in both myself and others, and which has been used as the model for other theories of the human mind, although different terms are sometimes used.

If you are interested in understanding this approach to self-awareness and its relationship with healing relationships, please check out the page describing the book at Healing Relationships is an Inside Job.

Did you enjoy this post?
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Please Listen

July 19, 2013
This poem beautifully expresses the need for anyone who is sick to be genuinely heard.

We found this poem among some old notes on the relationship between caregivers and patients. There was no name given, but if you happen to know who the author is, we would like to give him or her credit.


When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving advice,
you have not done what I asked
nor heard what I need.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
you have failed me — strange as that may seem.

Listen, please!
All I asked was that you listen.
Not talk nor “do”—just hear me.
Advice is cheap.
A quarter gets both “Dear Abby” and astrological forecasts
in the same newspaper.
That I can do for myself. I’m not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering — but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to me seeming fearful and weak.

But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how seemingly irrational, then I can quit trying to
convince you and get about to understanding what’s behind
what I am saying and doing — to what I am feeling.

When that’s clear, chances are so will the answers be, and I won’t need any advice. (Or then, I’ll be able to hear it!)

Perhaps that’s why, for some people, prayer works, because God is mute, and doesn’t give advice or try to fix what we must take care of ourselves

So, please listen and just hear me.

And if you want to talk, let’s plan for your turn, and I promise I’ll listen to you.

— Anonymous


Did you enjoy this post?
Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website: