1 June 2017 Streams in the Desert Reading in honor of my Dad’s birthday and Sleeping Enough to be Truly Awake (Daily Good feature article)

Good morning to you, it’s 5:00 am here as I start to write to you.  I hope this finds you well wherever and whenever you are in time.  Todays message from the Streams in the Desert devotional was visited by me 2 years ago and I revisited it again last night in honor of my Dad’s 74th birthday.  It is a beautiful message for my Dad who served in the in United States Navy as a young man.

8 May 2016 – My Dad Larry, Mom Dianne and Kyle and I at DQ Alvarado TX

(I ate at DQ yesterday in honor of this moment)

May 31

“Like a shock of corn fully ripe.” (Job 5:26.)

A gentleman writing about the breaking up of old ships, recently said that it is not the age alone which improves the quality of the fiber in the wood of an old vessel, but the straining and wrenching of the vessel by the sea, the chemical action of the bilge water, and of many kinds of cargoes.

Some planks and veneers made from an oak beam which had been part of a ship eighty years old were exhibited a few years ago at a fashionable furniture storeon Broadway, New York, and attracted general notice for the exquisite coloring and beautiful grain.

Equally striking were some beams of mahogany taken from a bark which sailed the seas sixty years ago. The years and the traffic had contracted the pores and deepened the color, until it looked as superb in its chromatic intensity as an antique Chinese vase. It was made into a cabinet, and has today a place of honor in the drawing room of a wealthy New York family.

So there is a vast difference between the quality of old people who have lived flabby, self-indulgent, useless lives, and the fiber of those who have sailed all seas and carried all cargoes as th eservants of God and the helpers of their fellow men.

Not only the wrenching and straining of life, but also something of the sweetness of the cargoes carried get into the very pores and fiber of character. – Louis Albert Banks.

When the sun goes below the horizon he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world. When he goeshe leaves behind him much of himself. Being dead, he speaks. – Beecher.

When Victor Hugo was past eighty years of age he gave expression to his religious faith in these sublime sentences: “I feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest which has been more than once cut down. The new shoots are livelier than ever,. I am rising toward the sky. The sunishine is on my head. The earth gives me its generous sap, but Heaven lights me with its unknown worlds.

“You say the soul is nothing but the resultant of the bodily powers. Why, then, is my soul more luminous when my bodily powers begin to fail? Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses as at twenty years. The nearer I approach the end the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple.”

Whenever catching sight of others, look on them with an open, loving heart. Patrul Rinpoche

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/31/sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake/

Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/

May 31, 2017— “Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this… And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep — so there is no safety net [to bank on when it comes to sleep loss.]” In this Awakin call, guest Matt Walker, a professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, describes the critical importance of good sleep for learning, memory, creativity, emotional regulation, cardiovascular health, and healthy aging. Calling the global sleep loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Matt examines the impact of sleep loss on the human brain function. In this lively discussion, Matt also answers several pertinent questions from participants on issues ranging from the use of electronic devices during bed time to working late-night shifts to napping during the day to long-term use of sleeping pills — and helps demystify this fundamental biological drive. (5172 reads)

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. –E. Joseph Cossman

Matt Walker: Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

–by Awakin Call Editors, May 31, 2017

“The evidence is overwhelming, it is irrefutable. Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health each and every day,” — Matt Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Calling the global sleep-loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Walker examines the impact of sleep on human brain function in healthy and clinical populations. Through his work at UC Berkeley, he has been at the forefront of sleep research. He has linked sleep deprivation to psychiatric disorders, obesity, risky behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning, and memory loss in old age. And recently, his research demonstrates that a poor night’s sleep may also hinder one’s ability to accurately read the emotions of others – an impairment that may have wide-ranging consequences for our social interactions. “Few things come unhinged as quickly and profoundly as our emotional stability…when we are not getting enough sleep,” What follows is the edited transcript of an Awakin Call interview with Matt Walker, moderated by Aryae Coopersmith.You can read or listen to the full version of the interview here.

Aryae Coopersmith: Would you start off by talking a little bit about what is sleep and the different issues and ways we deal with sleeping?

Matt Walker: “What is sleep?” That is such a critical question. I think many of us believe that we lose consciousness, and our brain is dormant and our body gets a little bit of rest, and gets some recharging, and then we wake up. So what is the harm if we short change our sleep by going to bed late or waking up a little too early with an alarm clock?

Sleep is not a dormant state. It is an incredibly active state in the brain and body. There are some parts of your brain that are up to 30% more active in some stages of sleep relative to when you are awake.

There are two principal stages of sleep that we cycle through when we are asleep that many people might have learned about. One of them is non rapid eye movement sleep or non-REM sleep. The other is rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep, which is commonly associated with dreaming.

You ebb and flow through a cycle of REM to non-REM sleep every 90 minutes. You will replay that 90 minute cycle every 90 minutes throughout the night. It is an incredible cerebral war that is won and lost between these two stages of sleep.

What is interesting is that although that 90-minute cycle of non-REM to REM is stable across the night, the ratio balances of REM to non-REM sleep changes as you move across the night. So in the first half of the night the majority of those 90-minute cycles is comprised of that deep non-REM sleep.

As you push through the second half of the night, now that seesaw balance actually changes. And instead much more of those 90- minute cycles are composed of rapid eye movement sleep and a lot less deep non-REM sleep.

If you go to bed a little bit too late—perhaps an hour or two hours later than you normally would and you asked, “How much sleep have I lost compared to a normal eight hours?” You might think you have lost 25% of your sleep since you have gone to sleep 2 hours later than normal. I am going to wake up at the same time, so I only got six hours of sleep rather than eight. But that is not true. You didn’t just lose 25% of your sleep. You have probably lost up to 60 to 70% of your deep sleep. And it works the same way on the backend, too. We can’t afford to burn the candle at either one of those ends based on how sleep plays out throughout the night in terms of this canonical structure.

Over the past 10 years, through an explosion of the most wonderful science, we understand that there is no single process within your brain, and there is no single physiological process within the body, that is not powerfully enhanced when you get sleep or demonstrably impaired when you don’t get enough.

So now we’ve been forced to up-end the question in a way. Rather than asking “What is the function of sleep?”, we’ve been forced to ask, “Is there anything that does not benefit from sleep?” And the answer is no.

Aryae: The complexity of this is very interesting. I know that my own habits tend to be I’ve lost an hour or two of sleep tonight, so I’ll sleep an hour or two extra tomorrow night. My understanding of what you’re saying is that this will not catch me up?

Matt: No, this is one of the myths that are so critical for people to recognize and embrace. We’ve found no evidence that you get back all of the sleep that you lose. What I mean is that sleep is not like the bank. You cannot accumulate at debt and hope to pay it off at a later point in time.

Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this without biological gain. And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep, so there is no safety net.

Aryae: What is the difference between sleep in a younger person and sleep in an older person?

Matt: There are two interesting questions there. When is and how is sleep different across the lifespan? And the second is how do older and younger adults deal with insufficient sleep?

In terms of sleep across the lifespan, there are just dramatic changes. Some of the most dramatic changes happen in the first 18 to 24 months of life. Your sleep structure changes and you begin to stabilize. You start to have longer regular bouts of sleep. And then you start to have different types of sleep. An infant seems to have predominately rapid eye movement sleep and very little deep sleep. That seems to be common across almost every single mammal that we have studied. Then non-REM sleep starts to develop later in life. And we’re not entirely sure why. Why is it that REM sleep dominates early in life? There’s a theory that it’s actually a critical igniter of brain development. That REM sleep or dream sleep sparks all of these neural pathways and makes them flourish. It is like an internet service provider in the brain that populates the brain with all of these high-speed broadband connections.

Then there’s another dramatic change that happens in our sleep. And it happens right around adolescence. What we see is that sleep time preference changes. What I mean by that is that when you are a younger child, you want to stay up late, but it is nearly impossible. You fall asleep early and much to the chagrin of your parents, you wake up early. Once you hit adolescence a dramatic shift happens in what we call the 24-hour biological clock rhythm, or your circadian rhythm. What that means is that you now want to go to bed later and wake up later. And there is nothing you can do about it. No amount of parental ranting and raving is going to make you fall asleep as a teenager at 9 o’clock because you have to wake up at 6 a.m. the next morning to catch the bus. And that is one of the most profound tragedies of society in industrialized nations right now—the brute forcing of adolescent teen sleep against its biological natural tendency. And this is doing our youth a terrible disservice.

Then we maintain this regular sleep pattern in our mid-to-late twenties. But then, sadly, the great sleep depression comes—somewhere between your thirties and forties. If you were to come into my laboratory, we could measure the decline of your deep sleep quality. So even by the fourth or fifth decade of life, sleep starts to deteriorate.

By your seventies/eighties, it’s actually really difficult for us to pick up really deep sleep. We’ve actually done work in the last five years to explore why. And it is even more profound in diseases like dementia, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. Very recently we’ve discovered that these two things that we very commonly associated with aging—poor memory or poor cognitive function and poor sleep—they aren’t simply coincidental. They are, in fact, significantly interrelated. And the destruction of deep sleep in later life is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated factors that are contributing to what we call cognitive decline, and now it seems Alzheimer’s disease as well.

So it is very difficult with aging. All signs point to the fact that sleep need remains just as high, but sleep-generating capacity is eroded and declines. In other words, the older adult brain cannot produce the sleep that it nevertheless still needs. We are now desperately trying to find innovative new ways to restore sleep in the elderly. It is one of the moonshot goals in my laboratory. Can we give back and boost and amplify deep sleep in older adults? And in doing so can we salvage aspects of learning and memory function? And can we start to fight back against disorders like Alzheimer’s disease? That is the very real hope now.

Aryae: Would you tell us a little bit about the work that you’re currently doing in the lab? And how is it helping you discover some of these new things about sleep?

Matt: The research that I perform in my lab has many different programs. Some of them are clinical. I’m not an M.D. by the way, and I don’t pretend to be one or play one in the public forum. I am a Ph.D. But we do work with clinical populations and psychological populations and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. But we also do a lot of basic science research. We’re still trying to uncover all of these nutritional benefits that sleep provides to the brain and body.

The explosion of research and understanding about sleep has been driven by technology. We have these new methods of brain science to explore sleep in ways that we never could before. We can measure patterns of brain wave activity during sleep. And we can also peer deep into the brain with things like MRI scanners as people are sleeping. We can look to see which parts of the brain are switching on and switching off. And we can also sort of decompose these brain wave patterns, and really understand their individual parts, like a prism where you’re beaming white light and you can break it apart into its component shades and hues. By doing this we are able to speak in the currency of the brain which is in oscillations and brain waves and patterns of brain activity and networks of brain activity. And we are able to explore the body and find out more detail than we ever could before. We can look at genetics now through genetic screening—we can do blood draws; we can do measurements of heart rate and cardiac function, and we can start to unite all these things together. We can get a holistic view of the human while they sleep. And then we can see how that predicts the same set of measurements while they are awake. And then pattern match those two and then understand so much more about sleep. So it’s been this revolution of new science and technology that allows us to understand these living organisms and live homosapiens included.

Aryae: Is there a particular focus of your research currently for this year—a particular direction that you are going?

Matt: We have several different areas at work that we are doing. For example, one of them is working with aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Right now, based on work that is coming out of my lab and some other labs around the world, insufficient sleep across the lifetime is becoming one of the most important lifestyle factors determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is an incredibly hot topic now. And it is bi-directional. What we now understand is at night during deep sleep the brain actually cleanses itself of toxins that have been building up during the day. It is important that people realize that wakefulness is low-level brain damage. And I don’t mean to be an alarmist in saying that. It is simply a scientific fact. From all of this metabolic combustion and activity that happens when we’re awake inside of the brain you build up excretory products just like in the rest of your body.

This system in your body, the sewerage system, is called the glymphatic system. At night is when that glymphatic system kicks into high gear. One of the things that this system clears out at night is this toxic protein called beta-amyloid, which is one of the leading factors that we believe causes Alzheimer’s disease. Now we realize why insufficient sleep can set you on a trajectory path towards Alzheimer’s. Because if you’re not getting the deep sleep that you need throughout your life, you’re not cleansing the brain of that toxic protein. Then we made a discovery that where that toxic protein builds up is not just in random places all over the brain. The Alzheimer’s protein amyloid will actually develop in some parts of the brain and not in others. Now we understand that if you don’t get that deep sleep at night, that toxic protein builds up in these deep sleep areas so you can’t generate the deep sleep even if you allow yourself the chance to get it. So more of that toxic protein builds up and prevents us from getting the deep sleep that we subsequently need. And through this sort of spiral, it leads to what we know is an accelerated trajectory. That is one of the areas that is exciting for us right now.

Of course, one of the other features of that discovery is that there is a silver lining—in making this discovery that sleep is a new missing piece in the puzzle about Alzheimer’s. Yet it’s not the only one. Please don’t think that. There are many factors we know that contribute to Alzheimer’s. But sleep seems to be one unlike many of the other factors—changes, for example, in the blood flow dynamic of the brain or the chemistry of the brain—sleep is a particularly treatable target. We can actually do something about sleep. It is very difficult for us to change blood flow in the brain right now. Modern medicine doesn’t have the technology to do that. But we do have some new methods to change sleep, and one of the ways that we’re exploring is by electrical brain stimulation. We’ll try very small amounts of electricity in the brain. But if you pulse that electricity in time with those deep sleep brain waves I was describing, almost as if you’re singing in time with the natural rhythm of the brain, in young healthy adults you can amplify the size of those deep sleep brain waves. And you can almost double the amount of memory benefit that you get from sleep as a consequence.

So the question now is—can we translate the same techniques into older adults and those with dementia and give back that sleep?

Sleeping pills are not advised for the long term, and in fact, they are not advised as the primary method for treating poor sleep. Sleeping pills do not produce naturalistic sleep. If I were to show you the electrical read out of your brain while you are taking sleeping pills verses natural sleep, they are not the same. Those sleeping pills have been commonly called the sedative hypnotics and for good reason. Sedation is not sleep. Now I’m not going to argue that when you take those sleeping pills that you are awake at night. You are not. But to suggest that you are in naturalistic sleep is equally a falsehood. And now there’s some quite damning evidence of the use of sleeping pills and increased risk of mortality and increased risk of cancer.

There is hope here. There’s a new method called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia. It is just as effective, if not more effective, than sleeping pills. You work with the therapist. It doesn’t require drugs. But better still its much longer lasting than sleeping pills. One of the problems with sleeping pills is that you start to use them and if you stop you have what’s called an insomnia rebound effect which is that you not only go back to having the poor sleep that you had before but your sleep is even worse due to drug tolerance and drug expectation.

So we’re looking at non-pharmacological ways to cure sleep in the elderly. We are not using drugs because right now the evidence isn’t strong enough to prove that they are beneficial. If we can find a drug that does improve sleep, and we can scientifically prove that, I will support it.

Mila from the UK: What’s one thing that we can do to salvage that lack of sleep in our older age? And why is it that some people have dementia and Alzheimer’s and others don’t? Does it mean that those who do have it have lost valuable sleep in their lifetime?

Matt: Two great questions. Firstly, in terms of sleep as we get older, there are several things that we can do. These are things that we call sleep hygiene.

Firstly, you can try to help regulate your rhythms. As you get older you actually start to regress back to childhood in terms of your sleep preference. You want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

The other thing that older adults commonly do, which is a mistake is to fall asleep in the afternoon and evening. Here is the problem with that behavior. During the day when we are awake we build up something called sleep pressure. There is a chemical that builds up. The chemical is called adenosine. The longer you are awake, the more adenosine builds up. The more adenosine that builds up, the sleepier you feel. And after about sixteen hours of continued wakefulness, you are usually so sleepy that it’s time to go to sleep. And you fall asleep naturally and easily.

When we sleep at night it is like a pressure valve on that cooker. We release and remove all of that adenosine. We clear it out. And then we wake up the next morning feeling refreshed, because we’ve removed those adenosines—that sleep pressure.

And here is now the problem. If you stay awake during the day like all us adults, and you’re building up all this sleep pressure and ready to get a full night’s sleep, and then you fall asleep on the couch or you go to the movies and you fall asleep, now you’ve released that sleep pressure or some of that sleep pressure. Even just a couple of minutes can relieve that sleep pressure. So no wonder then you find it difficult to fall asleep at night or stay asleep throughout the night. So be really mindful of unplanned napping. And falling asleep on the couch is napping.

The three final things I would say for elderly individuals: firstly, when you go out in the morning, get lots of bright light and try not to wear shades. Make sure you have sun protection. Get lots of light. Suppress your hormone called melatonin. It signals darkness to your body, and when you block it with light which is what happens—daylight helps put the brakes on melatonin—it makes your body realize that it’s no longer darkness, and it wakes you up so that you feel good and alert in the morning. But then what we need to do is decrease our light exposure throughout the afternoon and evening. So if you go out for a walk in the afternoon now is the time to put shades on. People with televisions in their bedrooms tend to sleep worse than those who don’t. People who use iPads or iPhones an hour before bedtime tend to have considerably worse sleep than those who don’t.

Secondly, avoid caffeine after midday. That is critical.

The last thing for older adults is medications. Some medications that older adults take for hypertension, for example, actually prevent sleep at night.

Parniti: Often sleep is compromised by other people—sleeping with our partner—is there a biological or evolutionary benefit to sleeping or to not sleeping alone? Also, I have a difficult time adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. Do you have any tips on adjusting to the time change every six months?

Matt: So how are we supposed to sleep as a species? If you look at cultures that are untouched by electricity, many of them are actually co-sleepers. They sleep as a community or group. We shouldn’t necessarily adhere to that sort of classic hominid curtain. And the reason is this. Firstly, the frequency of sleep disorders in industrialized nations is astronomical. About seventy million Americans now suffer from some sleep disorder. And there are over a hundred types of sleep disorders.

If you look at these cultures that are not affected by electricity those rates of sleep disorders are usually less than 1%. What that means is that when sleeping as a group, the group tends to sleep largely at the same time. They are driven by dusk, by the sun, and by dawn. So everyone has a much more stable regular common sleep pattern. Now that is not true in industrialized life. First, we have higher rates of sleep disorders and people are going to bed at different times for different social and professional reasons. As a consequence, having a partner in your bed who is off your schedule and sleeping at a different time and/or has a sleep disorder—snoring, sleep apnea, tossing and turning with insomnia—has a profound impact on your sleep, too. And we now know that between some 40% and 60% of couples will either not sleep in the same room or they will start sleeping in the same room but then end up sleeping in different locations, either on the couch or in a guest room. So now there is a revolution, largely unspoken of because of the stigma, which is called the wonderful sleep divorce, where people are deciding to go to sleep in different rooms where they sleep better. And the stigma around this of course is that it signals that you’re not having a healthy relationship if you are not sleeping in the same bed then perhaps you are not having a physical relationship. In fact the opposite is true if you look at the data. People who get more sleep are more physically engaged in their relationships than people who are not getting sufficient sleep in part because it regulates many of our hormones and our energies that are critical to that side of nurturing physical relationship. So that’s a big topic, and I think we’ll see a continued recognition and acceptance of it in the community.

Coming onto Daylight Savings Time, it is a problem. It is very hard on the body when it shifts between time zones. It cannot make up time zones as quickly as we can now travel with on a jet airplane. It causes a mismatch between the biological clock and the new clock time in the time zone. That mismatch causes what we call jet lag. Every day that you are in a new time zone your biological clock; your circadian rhythm, adjusts by about 1 hour of time. So if I fly back to the United Kingdom, which is 8 hours ahead of us, it is going to take me 8 days to catch up an hour each day. Now for Daylight Savings Time: what that means is it’s going to take a little bit of time to catch up. The best way to try and deal with Daylight Savings Time is to use an alarm to gradually titrate. It is almost like coming off a drug. You’re at full dose and you come down to 80% dose and then you come down to 60% dose. If you were in the springtime where you are losing an hour sleep, and we’ll have to wake up an hour early, in the weeks before, try to start waking up 10 minutes earlier then 10 minutes earlier the next day and 10 minutes earlier the following day.

Aryae: You talk about the global sleepless epidemic as the greatest public health challenge that we are now facing, and hearing what you are now saying, it makes a lot of sense. Before the call, I was curious and Googled public health challenges and I got all kinds of lists. Here is one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in March 2017. They have on the list alcohol-related harms, food safety, healthcare-associated infections, heart disease/strokes, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, prescription drug overdose, teen pregnancy, and tobacco use. They do not have sleep on their list. So what do you say about that discrepancy?

Matt: What is fascinating is that almost every one of those large public health concerns is directly related to insufficient sleep. So, for example, we know that insufficient sleep is tied to high rates of cardiovascular disease, the calcification of the coronary arteries, hypertension, and stroke. We also know that sleep loss is causally related to obesity. Sleeplessness has a profound impact on your immune health and in fact you can go to so many of the classic immune disorders even the common cold. People who get six hours of sleep or less are between 50% or 60% more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep more.

Cancer is now strongly related to insufficient sleep. That includes cancer of the bowel, cancer of the prostate, and cancer of the breast. So much so that in fact the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen. Set jobs that disrupt your sleep wake rhythm are cancer-inducing, that is how strong the evidence is right now.

We now know that drowsy driving causes more accidents on our roads then either drugs or alcohol combined. And yet we spend a fraction of 1% of our public health policy budget on educating people about the dangers of insufficient sleep.

Risk-and-reward behaviors are intimately tied to insufficient sleep, from risky behavior to drug addiction and drug-taking and teenage pregnancy. We’ve done a lot of work in this area, too, particularly on adolescent youth. You shorten their sleep; they become much more risk-taking and sensation-seeking. They engage in behaviors that are high-risk behaviors.

Every one of the conditions on that list has a link to insufficient sleep! So why sleep is not on that list is so desperately sad and striking to me. That is why people like me needed to become much better sleep ambassadors. We need to go to places like Capitol Hill. We need not just go there waving our hands saying look at this problem. We need to come up with 21st century new visions of solutions. And that is one of the things that I speak about in the forthcoming book. And is one of the things that I am trying to now push very hard with a number of quick advocacy policies. We need to change society for the better. We need to reorient and prioritize!

Aryae: How is the way any of us might be getting a night’s sleep affected by where we live, by our cultural background, by a socioeconomic status?

Matt: I’ve spoken a lot about how and why we sleep from a biological angle or from the physiology of our brains and our body. Of course they are strong determinants. Our biology is a big determinant of how we sleep. But sleep is also determined socially. It is a social construct. Just think about it. Like who are you? What is your social standing? And do you think that makes a difference with how you sleep?

For example, take someone who is of a low socioeconomic status. What is their sleeping condition like? Do you think that social status changes their opportunity to get good night’s sleep? And the answer is of course is yes. There are different factors that play out pressure on sleep in low socio-economic classes. There’s a deep sleep disparity right now. But it is not just biologically caused. It is socially caused. Firstly, one of the principal reasons is your sleeping situation. If you live in a neighborhood where there is high crime, for example, then that psychological threat of danger will prevent you from getting a full and normal night of sleep. And this we know from lots of good studies—that psychological weight of danger if you’re in the neighborhood where there is constant violence or there is constant threat of burglary or home intrusion, imagine how well you would sleep at night. Not particularly well, I’m sure.

The other thing is how work pressures sleep and grabs sleep like a vice grip and squeezes it from top to tail. What I mean by that is a lot of low-paying, low socio-economic employment is in the service industry right now. Service industry jobs tend to start very early in the morning. And as a consequence, people from low socioeconomic families also often don’t have a car, so they are taking public transport which can sometimes start at 5 or 6 in the morning, they may have to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get to those jobs. And then when they come home sometimes they may have two jobs–one that goes from the afternoon into the evening. Often these are families that have just one parent. You have this huge burden of child care in the evening and then you are waking up at 4 o’clock the next morning to get to your job again. So there is an economic and employment disparity that forces poor sleep in these communities.

Amit: We have a lot of interest from people around the world. Isabel from Germany says, “I’m one of those people that are sleeping less and less and can that be reversed? I’ve done this for years. Is there any benefits to changing now rather than in my late sixties?”

Matt: There is always benefit. And one should always hold out hope to try and obtain the very best sleep that your brain in that time of life is capable of. As I said some of these sleep hygiene principles–you can just Google sleep hygiene–should really help your biology at this stage of life, which is about finding the best chance of producing the best quantity and quality of sleep that you can have. So I think there is usually always room for improvement.

Kozo (a caller): Hi Matt. Thank you for this wonderful information. I was really struck by when you said that sleep and bad sleep patterns can actually cause disease. I’m wondering if you know if there’s any research being done on sleep being a therapeutic for disease. So let’s say you are diagnosed with cancer, is there any research being done where they require people to sleep in a certain way for a certain amount of time and then check and see if that affects the disease? Also, is there any movement or any research being done on sleep and hospitals, because it seems to me like you said sedation is not sleep? And in a hospital environment it seems like sleep is almost impossible. They come in and check on you. You have a roommate. They are moving things around. They have lights on. I’m just wondering if that is causing more disease or causing more mortality?

Matt: So the answer to both of those questions is an emerging area but the movement isn’t really in full swing right now. The evidence is concrete. We have good evidence and clinical studies in animal models that suggest that if you bi-directionally perturb sleep you can accelerate or retard certain diseases. A good example of this is cancer. If you are fighting a battle against cancer and not getting sufficient sleep, we now know that the cancer will grow more aggressively and more quickly. So people are now trying to think about prioritizing sleep as an agent that will aid in in the fight against cancer. Some really powerful and quite disturbing animal studies are out there showing that if you are short changing animals who have cancer of sleep, that cancer can increase in its speed and size and growth by 200%. So the evidence is that sleep is causal and bi-directional. It has forced people like me to try and advocate to medicine and doctors that we need to start prescribing sleep. Not prescribing sleep medication but prescribing sleep as the elixir of life, as a panacea for good health, and perhaps one of the best Archimedes levers that we can think of for actually brute forcing health under the attack of disease. And we will see more of that in the future.

In terms of sleep in the hospitals, you are absolutely right. There’s now a slow but growing recognition that it is a major problem. The place where I would argue you need a good night’s sleep the most is perhaps the last place that you get it, which is a hospital. And one of the things that I write about in the forthcoming book, is why don’t we do what we do on transatlantic flights. We give people a free eye mask and a free pair of earplugs. Add a small cost and it would help significantly with improving sleep. Now we’ve even seen evidence in neonates in the Intensive Care Unit that if you regularize the sleep they will exit out of the Neo Intensive Care Unit in half the time. It’s a dramatic improvement in health.

Albert from Oakland: Thank you so much. So, what I’m hearing is that a nap during the day is not really encouraged, which is contrary to a lot of older stories of certain cultures that may have benefited from the tradition of a siesta. Or if you take a look at children for example napping is encouraged for them for brain development. So is there a shift that happens at a certain age where it is no longer required or needed?

Matt: Let me be very, very clear about naps and their use. Firstly, children should be napping. Children very early in life are what we call Polyphasic sleepers, which means they have many phases of sleep. Then they become biphasic, which means they have an afternoon nap and then they sleep at night. If you do look at cultures that are touched by electricity, many of them are biphasic. They will sleep six and a half or seven hours of sleep at night and then they will have a siesta-like phase in the afternoon. We may be in modern-day societies not sleeping in the way we are naturally programmed. And I think there’s good evidence for that. But here’s the problem. Most people are not able to regularly nap. And it is in that context that sleep medicine now advocates against napping.

So if you can regularly nap during the day, day after day in a very stable manner and you can do so early in the afternoon, then napping is advantageous only under the condition that you are not having problems falling asleep at night. But if you cannot nap regularly then it is not advisable. Secondly, it is not advised that you nap later in the day. And finally, for older adults, if you are napping and having problems with sleep at night it is strongly advocated against that you don’t nap during the day and that you try to just push all of that sleep pressure into getting a good night’s sleep throughout the night.

So children—great to be napping. It is natural. Human beings, innately, we may be biphasic. We may be born natural nappers throughout our adult life. It is just that in modern day society very few people can nap regularly and if you can’t then it can be problematic especially late in the day.

Amit: Do natural supplements support sleep like calcium and magnesium or melatonin?

Matt: Sadly the evidence isn’t particularly strong in clinical trials. If you are in a severely nutrition deficient state then that can have an effect on your sleep and I want to be clear about that, but many of the homeopathic medications and even melatonin—and this is melatonin in the context of once you’re in a new time zone and you’re stable and you’re not suffering from jet lag—homeopathic medicines and melatonin for the most part have not held up under clinical trials to be any more efficacious than a placebo. If you are taking melatonin or some kind of a homeopathic medication and you feel as though it helps you sleep, my recommendation is keep taking it. The reason is that the placebo effect is the most reliable effect in all of pharmacology. What that tells us is that there is such a thing as mind over matter, and science is now grappling with this. It is acknowledging the placebo effect and we should take advantage of it.

Caller: Hello my name is Suzanne. Our new president (President Trump) concerns me in that he stays awake tweeting all night Is he going to be able to judge adequately not sleeping?

Matt: Great question. And it strikes at the very heart of one of the biggest problems with sleep. The answer is no he’s not going to be able to judge based on the scientific evidence. The fact is this your subjective sense of how well you are doing when you haven’t been sleeping enough is a miserable predictor of objectively how poorly you are doing with insufficient sleep. What I mean by that is you don’t really know that you’re sleep deprived when you’re sleep deprived. The analogy is a drunk driver at a bar who has had five or six shots of vodka and a couple of beers and who may pick up their keys at the end of the night and say, “I am fine to drive home.” And your response is, “No, no, no, I know you think you’re fine to drive, but trust me you are, objectively speaking, certainly not.” It’s the same with sleep deprivation, and we’ve got great data demonstrating this. That’s the reason why people will say to you, “No I’m actually one of those people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less.” That is sadly not true based on the scientific data of about 17000 studies; the number of people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less without measurable impairment rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent is zero.

Mish (a caller from New York): I am now questioning the benefit of my sleep pattern after listening. I’m a senior, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and I sleep straight through for about 4 hours. I wake up between one and three times for a few minutes, go back to sleep right away each time, and then wake up as soon as my feet hit the floor. Is there any quality to the sleep pattern?

Matt: You’re worried about the waking up throughout the night— is that your concern?

Mish: Yes.

Matt: As long as you are finding that you’re able to fall asleep quickly after those awakenings without a problem, and secondly during the day if you are feeling restored by your sleep and you’re not feeling as though you’re nodding off, or you’re lacking in energy, then the chances are that the sleep you’re getting is sufficient. But if it’s not, or you’re concerned and don’t think your sleep is sufficient, definitely do go and see your doctors and let them know about those sleep problems. But from the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like you’re suffering one of the two forms of insomnia. One of them is called sleep onset insomnia which is having trouble falling asleep and the other is sleep maintenance insomnia which is trouble staying asleep where you wake up throughout the night and find it difficult to fall back asleep. It sounds like you do wake up, but you’re able to get back to sleep.

Amit: I’m going to go to one of our online questions: “Do you have any recommendations for getting smartphone apps for monitoring the quality of our sleep? Have you heard of things like motion eggs and are there techniques for getting dream sleep and non-dream sleep?

Matt: It’s a little bit of a mixed bag out there in terms of these sleep assessment tools, and I should also mention that I work with a start-up company up in San Francisco as the Scientific Advisor. But I think right now the apps that track your sleep are perhaps not particularly accurate. I think we’ll get there very soon, and in the next 2 to 3 years, we will have good sleep-tracking devices, and I’m excited about that because right now technology is one of the biggest enemies in the bedroom for sleep. But I think it’s going to be technology that is our salvation. And the reason is this, there’s a common adage in medicine which is, “What gets measured gets managed.” And for so many of us for so many decades we’ve never really had a handle on how we are sleeping because we couldn’t measure it apart from our subjective sense of what time we turn the lights off and what time we woke up–and that’s not a very accurate rendering of our sleep. I’m very hopeful that soon we will have wearable technology or technology in the bedroom that accurately tracks our sleep. And once we take control of our sleep we will be able to better manage our sleep, and I think that’s fast going to happen and it will only be good for society.

Pranidhi (a caller) What do you think of advocacy for institutional change in this realm?

Matt: There is just no way to cheat the brain and body out of sleep. One way or another it will catch up to you whether it’s chronic sleep deprivation across a lifetime, leading to chronic disease and ill-health, or it’s the tragedy of mortality and this brings us back to road traffic accidents. When you are not sleeping, you are having micro-sleeps at the wheel. Sometimes your eyelids will partially close. Now at 65 miles per hour if you have a micro sleep that usually lasts just for 1 or 2 seconds, at 65 miles per hour that means you’ll drift from one lane to the next. So at that moment for those 2 seconds there is a one ton missile traveling at 65 miles per hour and no one is in control. And that can lead to fatal consequences not just for you but for those around you on the road. There’s sadly no way to short change it. It’s non-negotiable; it’s a life support system. It’s a biological necessity, and it’s Mother Nature’s best effort yet to counter death.

Alissa (a caller): I work sling shift so I do have an odd schedule but I try and keep my sleep regular. And this is for all the people who can’t do what you describe and go to bed an earlier time—is that still okay as far as maintaining your sleep regularly but working at odd, different times?

Matt: Right now shift work is a real problem and working at different times of day causes that normal window of sleep to slide across the 24 hour clock face. That really isn’t an optimal way to be falling asleep. Right now the advocacy in shift work is, if you’re on a shift, try to maintain that shift for long durations of time, and then come off and have a long period of recovery, and then go back on that stable shift. The biggest problem with shift work is having shift work that is inconsistent. Now technology is going to help try to limit the burden some, but people still make that sacrifice for us and we need to make it better for them and this is one of the ways that seems to be best. If you do need to do shift work, maintain that stable shift; that off normal natural rhythm shift, for a long period of time and once that shift ends give yourself a long period of recovery before you have to go into that same shift again.

Unfortunately if you give yourself eight hours of sleep during the day versus eight hours of sleep at night, the sleep you get during the day is not the same that you get at night; it is more fragmented, and it’s not as deep quality of sleep. It doesn’t necessarily contain the same stages of sleep. The reason is that biologically you’re not designed to sleep during the day. However, other species are. We’re not nocturnal species; we are a diurnal species. And so the recommendation is make sure you do give yourself 8 hours, that’s critical, but do realize that it’s probably not going to be as good a quality as 8 hours of sleep during the day as it would be 8 hours at night.

Just a little bit of a caveat on that: everyone has their own circadian preference, the fancy name is pronotype which means some people are owls, and some people are larks. Some people like to go to bed late and wake up late. Others like to go to bed early and wake up early. It’s a natural variation and it’s determined by genetics. It also changes across the lifespan, of course. If you’re one of those people who like to go to bed late and wake up late then the schedule of going to bed at 2 am and waking up at 10 am, may actually be fine. It fits perfectly with your biological rhythm. But if you’re someone who is a lark then you would like to go to bed at 10 o’clock and wake up at 6:00, then going to bed at 2:00 am and waking at 10 is not going to be optimal for your biology.

Amit: This is a very hot topic. We really appreciate you coming to share with us today. As a community how can we support your work?

Matt: I think I would just ask people to propagate the good work. And rather than necessarily support my work try and learn more about sleep and advocate more the critical thing for us to do as a society is to get rid of the stigma of sufficient sleep. This is one of the major problems right now that we face is in the civilized world is that we have associated getting sufficient sleep with this thing called laziness. That we think people who get 8 hours are slothful, and they’re not productive and the opposite is true. So as a society we need to be proud of our sleep; we need to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep without embarrassment and without that terrible stigma of laziness. And in doing so, we may all feel what it’s like to be truly awake during the day. So please don’t chastise others for getting sufficient sleep. As parents we shouldn’t chastise our children because that parent-child transmission of sleep neglect is powerful and it is problematic. That’s the only support I would ask for.

***

Join an Awakin Call this Saturday with dedicated yoga-teacher and innovative gift ecology practitioner Pranidhi Varshney. More details and RSVP info here,

This interview was edited by Lisa Clayton. Awakin Calls is a weekly interview series and community podcast that highlights the work and inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways. Each call features a moderated conversation with a unique guest. Past interviewees include a calligraphy artist, a path-breaking neurosurgeon, an evolution biologist, a pioneering venture capitalist, and a socially conscious hip-hop rapper. Awakin Calls are ad-free, available at no charge, and an all-volunteer-run offering of ServiceSpace, a global platform founded on the principle of “Change Yourself. Change the World.”

 

27 May 2017 No more pictures, cell phones and todays message from Streams in the Desert (letting go and letting God – true faith)

Good morning to you – it’s 5:59 am as I write.  I have come to an impasse with this blog – my picture allowance is maxed so just words and existing images.  I will say that I was going to share a picture from Gateway to the heavens – pages 104 and 105 and the meditation I did last night 1007pm that involved a drawing I had done earlier with the fragment of purple chalk….a Goddess and the Prussian iron cross.  What happened is I was burning a red cinnamon candle in the darkness and it kept going out so I thought to pour the wax out and was lead to pour it on the drawing in the lower abdomen part – this happened twice which matches the number of times I was operated on for fibroid cyst removal by two separate doctors, two years in a row.  I was pretty upset after I realized this is what I was seeing was about and tried to turn off my phone.  Well as I did a voice activation feature for the phone came on and for some reason it wanted to call my broker of several years, Seth Peritzman!  I thought that was very strange.  When that happened a very small flying insect flew itself into the hot wax of the candle I was burning and died.  Why couldn’t I just turn off my phone?  Then I started looking at the features of the phone and realized all kinds of tracking elements had been activated on it and that was interesting.  I realized if something were to happen to me, if someone were trying to find me, a tracking feature would be useful.   Cell phones can be very useful but as with any tool, only if used for good reasons.

The message from Streams in the Desert resonates with me on many levels and it puts to words beautifully a message I have tried to share in so many ways, through the years.  People like me don’t always get listened to.  People like me – middle-aged house wife with “labels” and no children who live in the lower middle-class income bracket.  I have been speaking, writing, drawing and attempting through my crafts to share so many things that if only had been acknowledged long ago could have helped so much.  I do not expect today will be any different than any other day in this regard but I have faith in the God who has walked with me thus far, through all things, that may today will be different.  I also have Hope – not the child….the daughter….the vision and spirit of the future I want for all creation.   Much love to you today wherever and whenever this message finds you.

9 years and going strong! Happy snap to note the special occasion 🙂

Streams in the Desert message for the today that is also tomorrow:

May 28

“I will not let thee go, except thou bless me…and he blessed him there.” (Gen. 32:26, 29.)

Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessings by force from God? It is never the violence of willfulness that prevails with god. It si the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degrees that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we can the blessing. – J.R. Miller

An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating “soul-cling” as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): “My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.

“One day I stood watching him as he lay in nhis cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, “O God, I have given much time in prayher for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him I choose Thy will–I surrender him entirely to Thee.’

“I called my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.

“He said, “God has given me faith to believe that he will recover–have you faith?”

“I said, ‘I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ‘soul-cling’ in my pyrers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy wold be with me today.

“Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ‘our father Abraham,’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice.” (See Rom. 4:12.)

————–

This Kyle and I did on 27 April 2011 with our cocker spaniel Samuel and God’s answer was to let him go to God. God didn’t abandon us in our grief…..we surely thought so! But we waited and through love, patience and friendship we were blessed with Link who came to us along with two brothers on 9 Dec 2015. When Sam died, it was like Kyle and I had lost a child. I went looking everywhere to get him back – screaming in the field down the street that was my sanctuary, my church that has been turned over and made into houses for profit. In 100 degree temperatures I walked that blooming field and stood by it’s waters begging for Sam to come back….screaming at the air….the God of my understanding in all things and all it seemed I got was more searching. Then came the day I found the first part of a Christmas ornament in that field and the other at the entrance to the neighborhood. I thought it was to tell me my friend Erin was going to have a son as she is part Choctaw because the ornament was from a Choctaw Casino.  But  no…..she and I were to be blessed with Link and his two brothers. Two women not able to have human children but having maternal instincts to care for all God’s children whatever their form.

God answers your prayers, God is always listening, God never fails – it’s just that you must let go of YOUR plans, YOUR timing, YOUR expectations of how those prayers will be answered. As I have learned to pray and have shared many, many times all through this blog:

“Whatever is for the greatest, most loving good for this (person, place or situation) – not as I would have it but as you would have it. I do not know what is best for my sight is limited to this moment and what has already been and you see all directions of time and space….all possible outcomes and you know what is best….you see the big picture.”

Then LET GO! Stop holding on, “clinging” to your prayers because when you do that is not faith….that is using God like a wishing well. God doesn’t require your monetary homage to answer your prayers, God needs your faith, hope, praise and trust. Let go, Let God – learn acceptance as a path to peace.

 

26 May 2017 Outdoor meditation – My Mother’s Suicide – Guns with Divine Numbers

Hello, it’s 9:47 am, think this will be the last post for today but in light of me seeing something about President Trump going to be talking to the National Rifle Association, this can’t wait.  I don’t expect that he even knows of my existence but there is power in words and pictures – so I will go on.

On 24 Dec 1968 my Mother Jeanne Faith Becker, age 26, a mental patient, took her own life using my Dad’s .38  – shot herself in the heart.  They say she had trouble with post partum depression but from what I can tell from her journals and other things, it was more than just because I came into the world that she suffered in her heart.  If anything,  my coming here gave her a fleeting glimpse of Hope.  That’s what I would like to think anyways.  Ever since I found out the manner and cause of her death and have been myself through the “mental health system”,  if that is what you want to call it, I have had resentments against gun and weapon manufacturers and “the system” as a whole.  What all of us are involved in is a system….a mechanism…..a machine.  Each of us cogs of the “wheel” which has also caused great resentment in me during the course of my life.  Being considered a ways to a means….and end…. instead of a beginning.

So this meditation revolves (like the pun?) around the premature death of my Mother and what it did to my Dad’s heart, soul and life afterwards….to me….to everyone.  For those who keep up with me, you know how I feel about violent deaths….it’s like shattering a round glass globe into a million pieces.  All those shards getting into everything – the food, the water, the soil, the air…into people.

Some will say that guns are just tools and it is people that kill people not the guns.  People would say if she didn’t use the gun she would have found something else – yes but may be she could have been saved!  TIME!!!!  Guns take away TIME!!!  We are feeding “hell’s well.”  What I say is what I’ve said about thoughts, about intention, about purpose and design of the “thing.”  Guns indeed are tools and they are good for one thing – killing people, killing animals, destroying property, threatening and intimidating people by filling the carrier with false pride and superiority.  They were designed with the intent to kill whereas a knife or another tool has multiple – USEFUL – purposes besides being used just for destruction.

 

 

26 May 2017 Last Flight of the One-Winged Brown Moth and Cycles and Connections of Life (Drawings)

Good morning.  It’s 8:21 am as I write to you about the last flight of a large brown moth I met this morning that came to me with a broken wing and was prepared to go through the garden gate….to die….to rest.  They, I say they because I can’t tell the difference between male and female moths.  They came to me after I had been listening to some music, one of the songs, Midnight by Coldplay and the other by Enigma, The Silence Must Be Heard.  It was during the Enigma song that the Moth appeared.  I shut off the music and let them come to me.  They seemed to want to climb up my pants leg because they could no longer fly.  So I got a dry leaf and assisted the poor thing up.  Once in my lap, I sang On Eagles Wings and The Wind Beneath My Wings to it and it calmed down enough for me to transport it to the small side garden that is safe from most predators that would disturb it’s rest.  I laid it in the leaves and let the poor thing be.  It’s exhausting existing and flying with one wing!  When I checked later, I couldn’t find them….were they truly dead or just resting?  How little we know and understand about so many life forms we share this planet….this Universe with.   Perhaps if we just calm down and put our ego’s away we can do better.

It’s truly o.k to not know everything, to not be the smartest, the fittest, the brightest, the prettiest the “est” of anything.  Just Be You!  We all have a part, a place, a reason and purpose it just takes varying lengths of time to find a good fit!

Without You (Glee Cast Version)

I can’t win, I can’t reign I will never win this game
Without you, without you I am lost, I am vain,
I will never be the same without you, without you

I won’t run, I won’t fly
I will never make it by
Without you, without you
I can’t rest, I can’t fight
All I need is you and I,
Without you, without you

Oh oh oh! You! You! You!
Without, you! You! You! Without you

I can’t erase, so I’ll take blame
But I can’t accept that we’re estranged
Without you, without you
I can’t quit now, this can’t be right
I can’t take one more sleepless night
Without you, without you

I won’t soar, I won’t climb
If you’re not here, I’m paralyzed
Without you, without you
I can’t look, I’m so blind
I lost my heart, I lost my mind
Without you, without you

Oh oh oh! You! You! You!
Without, you! You! You! Without you

I am lost, I am vain,
I will never be the same
Without you, without you, without you

Songwriters: DAVID GUETTA, FREDERIC JEAN RIESTERER, RICHARD PRESTON JR BUTLER, TAIO CRUZ, USHER RAYMOND, GIORGIO TUINFORT
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, SHAPIRO BERNSTEIN & CO. INC.

 

 

26 May 2017 Link and Pen and Ink Meditations “with a couple of Kooks”

Good morning.  It’s 3:30 am as I begin to write to you, woke up a little before 3.  I am pretty rested as I took a nap yesterday afternoon when I felt I was getting too tired.  We had to take Link to Banfield Animal Hospital yesterday to have an itching problem dealt with.  We were blessed and fortunate that Dr. Haydn was there and she charted a course for him.  She’s the first vet we’ve had in a long time that Link has completely trusted – didn’t even mind getting his temperature taken!  This is because she held him like a child and with love!  We are starting with an antibiotic/anti-itch shampoo and spray and see if that does it.  We also found that organic apple cider vinegar works well too — used some on several bites that have appeared on me again recently.  We aren’t sure if what he is experiencing is an allergic reaction to something or from messing with the possum that is trying to take shelter under our bandstand.  He and Link don’t like each other very much but I don’t have a problem with the possum being there.  So much territory around us has been dug up or farmed for development that beings like Possums, squirrels, mice, rats, ants, wasps and others need homes.   I try to find way to peacefully co-exist with them.  The fire ants and mosquitos and I are still working on boundaries lol.

Anyhew.  Last night I went out with pen, ink and paper and just let my thoughts go.  One of the songs that came up before I really delved in was and comforted me was Kooks by David Bowie.

What I was musing about was the fusion of numbers that is Kyle and I, what are we (star cars) and how the trucks and cars we make, sell, buy and own are often reflections, like most things, of who we are.

 

25 May 2017 A New Design

Hello to you – it’s 1:41 pm as I write.  The pictures that I have to share with you will hopefully make sense in the sequence of the previous posts.  What has come to me is the only way through this design is through energy of creation…..creativity….originality….free-form thinking and subsequent design and manifestation.  What I made this afternoon I did with materials I already had – the only thing new was how I perceived what was before me, input from Kyle for how to start it and then just going with the flow.  We can’t change the past.  We can only live in the moment we are in and imagine the future while we are in the present.

24 May 2017 Meeting famous musicians and the half-breed (Dreams)

Good morning to you.  How are you today, now?  It’s 6:41 am as I begin to write to you and I hope this finds you well in your place in time. Last night I did a lot of dreaming and actually got some deep sleep for a change.  Link’s bites are healing – amazing stuff organic apple vinegar!  Nothing really worked but that to help stop him from itching so much.

I had more than the two dreams I am going to share but these are the important ones I think.

I dreamt about talking to my brother-in-law Drew about meeting famous musicians and how nice it would be.  I always wanted to meet David Bowie but it just wasn’t meant to be.  There was something about his fiancé Ale’s hoodie being cut into three parts and sewn back together.  The next one was about stopping a stray dog from running into the street.  Kyle was greeting dogs in a yard and I saw men/boys coming that didn’t like it (they were carrying what looked like gun cases) and one of the dogs in the yard tried to run but I stopped him before getting in the street – the dog looked like a mix of a King Cavalier spaniel and a Chihuahua.

The second dream was unlocked by a couple of things.  All the thoughts I’ve been about what has been going on in Europe, specifically Great Britain, thinking about Diana last night, having Queen Elizabeth on my mind and having seen some historical footage of her recently on PBS and the news I had heard about the Queen getting on Harry and William about airing their laundry too much in public.  The dog in the dream makes me think of Prince Harry.  I couldn’t access this article but it is the one that came to mind.

What the dog in my dream looked like – King Cavalier and Chihuahua Mix

  1. News about Queen Elizabeth Getting On Harry And

    bing.com/news
    Queen Elizabeth Thinks Prince William & Prince Harry Need to Put a Lid on It
    The Stir · 2 days ago

    According to a new report, Queen Elizabeth has had it up to her scepter with Prince William and Prince Harry baring their souls … feels “lonely” sometimes. While the public, understandably, can’t …

23 May 2017 My spirit walk at home and Combichrist – Get Your Body Beat

These pictures are the result of my spirit walk at home today.  The rain stopped and the wind blew enough to dry off my canvas to do it.  For me, what a spirit walk is about is allowing myself to flow and process, without question or examination, what comes to me.  This is my daily practice.  What comes may be confusing and off-putting so some or crystal clear to others.  I’m just passing things along as they come, as I feel I am supposed to do with this.  Nothing belongs to me and if I can help even one other person, albeit it just be me, than so be it.  As you will read in the lyrics below, I have given up on giving a fuck what anyone else feels, thinks or believes about me.  All that matters is what I am doing, thinking and feeling.  I do censor myself with what I share here and anywhere else for concern of others to a certain extent, but not to the point it obstructs the overall message.  What is here is in no way to imply that I am anything other than just me, Jackie.  Just one of 7 billion plus “channels” for which information of this nature can be sent and received.  Mindfulness, awareness and paying attention – this is what you must practice each day and I am trying to do that.  What I have come to realize for myself is the image I am developing of the God is a being of energy made up of each one of us as part of the one.  It’s partially why things are not going so well right now — imagine there being 20 of different versions of you in one room trying to solve a problem?!  One of you is Christian.  One of you is a Jew.  One of you is an Muslim.  One of you is Black, White, Brown, Yellow or even Gray skinned.  One of you is an artist.  One of you is an car mechanic and so on but all still the one You.  This is why “group-think” like governments, religions and other organizations like major corporations frequently experience discord, in-fighting and literal division of the “cells” and factions.  We are biologically incapable of perceiving the world all of the same way!  There must be learning to agree to disagree….compromise….being willing to walk in another’s shoes.

My prayers go out to every living being on this planet today like they always do – especially the folks in Manchester.  As always my prayer is for whatever is for the greatest good of all which I hope doesn’t include the caning, maiming, abuse, neglect and murder of anymore people that can’t help being who they were born to be.   People can’t just “stop being gay, straight, or otherwise.”   They can make choices about their religious, political and entertainment which is part of the direction perspective can go with being “gay, straight or other – LGBTQ.”  Fear is at the core of most wars whatever the battlefield.  I’m sick, tired and frankly bored with wars, the perpetual “loops” aren’t you?!

This song was playing on my Ipod shuffle when the battery suddenly failed.  I went to my phone that also has my playlist on it and the song was next along with  “Live from NY radio…..”  That will make sense to some of those who know me.  Just passing things along as they come.

Combichrist “Get Your Body Beat” Music Video

 

http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Combichrist:Get_Your_Body_Beat

Combichrist:Get Your Body Beat Lyrics

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Get Your Body Beat

This song is by Combichrist and appears on the album What The Fuck Is Wrong With You People? (2007) and on the Soundtrack album No Redemption (2013).

Trick your brain to set the score
Can you take the pain at all?
I try to understand you girl
But you gotta earn it
Fuck it up and let it go

Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow

Doesn’t matter what you say
Never understood at all
Don’t give a fuck what people say
Glad your piece is just for show
Grab its neck and don’t let go

Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow

Get your body be-at

Uploaded on Jun 10, 2006

Get Your Body Beat, Combichrist’s new single released in the summer of 6/6/06 following the music video containing clips from the movie “The Gene Generation”

 

22 May 2017 My outdoor chalk meditation this morning – if you mind the “why”, you don’t have so many “what’s” (core of problems and preventing/solving them)

This meditation was spurred by my feeling a great deal of sorrow and anxiety after my post this morning.  What came to me, “It doesn’t matter where it is coming from, just let it pass through….feel it.”  I sat down by the large garden gate and just cried.  Then I saw a large snail moving slowly on the small side garden next to the house and I thought of my birth mom  Jeanne.  On 25 May she would be 75 and adding there is a lot of symbology in all those numbers and dates….5’s, 7’s and 12’s.  Watching the snail I thought of the slow passage through the “garden gate.”  I thought of my Mom and the slow passage through the “garden gate”…..passing through.  Then I thought again of what I’ve come to believe is the process of heaven to earth and back again…it is all connected by water.  Water is the key to it all and with what I and so many others have been witnessing going on in our shared skies…heavens….it’s like watching an attack on heaven.  What comes up, comes down and then back again.  The clouds are the key to the random nature of all things and what are clouds?  Vapors, a solid ship made from what it receives from the Earth.  If we contaminate the Earth we also contaminate “Heaven.”  When you take a drink of water, pure and untainted drinking water, you are taking a drink of Heaven and the potential of the future.  It’s a perfect system and we have been putting price tags on it…..trying to possess and control it.  What goes up, comes back down and so it is for all things.  We must clean up the “Messy Garden” and in turn restore the Heavens…restore balance between Heaven and Earth.

Nothing I am writing or exploring is new or revelationary – we’ve been in this “loop” for millennia…since forever.  I’ve just found a different way to convey it.  God will keep changing the dial, changing the “channel” until we learn these basic truths.  Everyone is looking for an answer.  Many can’t possibly imagine the answers could be so simple – it’s too easy!  No it’s quite complicated to try to get 7 billion plus parts of one body to cooperate for one common purpose…..peace.   Think of how complicated it is for just one person to find peace within themselves?  Magnify it to the Earth, to all dimensions and Universes….each thought a person has in a day to a deity size….yeah…it’s not easy but it is possible.  Anything is possible if you have Faith….that was my Mother’s middle name and mine is Joy which is what comes from true Peace.

21 May 2017 The Game and the Messenger (drawings)

Hello to you.  It’s 2:08 pm this overcast but lovely Sunday.  Just finished a pretty “heady” meditation outside and this is what came out of it.  I know some of this may not make sense or seem pretty far out, but that is the difference between the spirit world and the reality we all share.  When you spend time with the God of your understanding and just “shut yourself” up for a minute, it’s amazing what happens and the insights you might be shown.   One of the biggest challenges I have always had is talking too much – either inside or outside of myself.  Lately when I’ve been doing these drawings I will try to think too hard at first and then will come the voice, “just draw!”  Just like anything in this life that you want to do well, it takes practice.  The lead man doing our siding installation said he trained for 9 years to know how to do what he does.   I told Kyle this morning, it’s taking me 49 years to get this far and I still have much to learn!  You are never complete.  You are never finished.  You are never done.  This process of refinement is an eternal process because perfection does not exist.  There is perfection in imperfection because there is always room left to learn and grow beyond this moment of who we are.

I don’t know everything there is to know about this life and all it’s mysteries – each day is another day in Earth School!  (for my friend Castle).