WOMEN AND HEART ATTACKS: Things Every Woman Should Know, and So Should the Men Who Share Their Worlds

Do you know, when women have heart attacks, they seldom experience the same symptoms as men experience. Yet men’s symptoms are well and widely known. We men are told what to watch for early in life. So why are women not told what symptoms and signs they should watch for! Heart attacks are the number one killer of women in the world. If we do not know how to spot them coming, the earlier the better, how can women get the help they need before or when they need it.

Until just recently I had no idea heart attacks for women did not present the same as heart attacks for men. And when I found out, I was furious. Even in the medical world, where women dominate by numbers, most women are not aware of their signs of an oncoming heart attack, or an ongoing heart attack. So how do they, or the men around, them know when to call 911. This is what this post is about, and I hope you will reblog it, or otherwise spread it, to all your friends and readers, and that they will spread it to everyone they know. But let me shut up, and have Suze Hartline tell you about her heart attacks. It was sheer serendipity that I learned all this from Suze, so here is her story in (mostly) her own words. (I took the initiative to edit it just a bit!)

Suze Hartline: Men’s heart attack signs are well known. Women’s symptoms, even though heart attacks are the number one killer of women in the world, are not generally known.
Here they are. I learned these from Dr John Randolf, Oklahoma Heart Hospital director of cardiothoracic surgery after my second heart attack.
1) Angina, but NOT described as  crushing chest pain. Most women describe a “band of pain circling their upper chest directly under their breastbone.” They may think it is simply an upset stomach or gas pains. (Life threatening sign)
2) Sweating: From the waist to the head, sudden onset and dripping.  (Life threatening sign)
3) Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea:  all three occurring simultaneously, sudden onset immediately after sweating. (Life threatening sign)
4) Faintness may occur along with the sweating.
5) Jaw pain on ONE side only. may last several days before the heart attack occurs.
6) NUMBNESS and/or pain in hand that can travel up to the elbow. One arm only. May last WEEKS before a heart attack.

The biggest problem with women recognizing a heart attack is that our symptoms are NOT the same as men’s. 

(For those who might not know, Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The discomfort also can occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back [American Heart Association]. Angina itself may or may not be a heart attack, but can definitely occur during or lead to one. If you experience chest pain as described above, please get help immediately.)

Suze Hartline: I had my first heart attack at age 52.  I had been in excellent health. I had actually run a marathon that spring. I worked full time, and volunteered at a local women’s shelter. I had no idea what I was about to go through.
I spent the morning at water aerobics, after which I got into a hot tub to relax my muscles. A person in my exercise group said I looked a “bit gray.”  I felt fine, so ignored her statement. I had been having numbness in my right hand for about a week, but thought nothing of it. I also had some jaw pain, and had made an appointment with the dentist for later that week. It seemed to be intermittent and I had had trouble with a back tooth a month or so before. I figured it was the same tooth that a temporary filling had been placed in.  Heart attack never occurred to me.
On the drive home I felt a bit nauseous but figured it was because I was hungry and was late with breakfast. After I got home, I started to sweat… a LOT. It occurred to me that it was weird I was sweating only from the waist up… so I took a shower. Afterwards, I experienced explosive diarrhea, along with extreme vomiting.  I felt a bit faint. Again, Heart attack NEVER occurred to me. I thought perhaps it was food poisoning, except I hadn’t eaten anything. It had been two hours since I felt the first symptoms yet I didn’t put it all together.
I laid down to settle my stomach and realized the sweating had begun again…and now I felt a band of pain beginning in the center of my back and traveling around to my lower chest. I began to think I’d better call 911 and speak to someone who could put it all together for me. I got up and walked to the living room to call.
I called 911 and stated my name and address, then told the operator about the different symptoms I was having. But before I could speak any further, I became extremely faint and fell to the floor. I remember thinking as I was falling “I am going to die.”
I woke up in a helicopter for a brief moment. The technician was yelling “she’s got tombstones!” … The next time I woke up was in the heart hospital AFTER surgery. Successful surgery, luckily.
 My surgeon said I was extremely lucky as my heart was blocked 99% in two major arteries, and one other was 100% blocked.  I had gone into fibrillation (where the heart simply shakes instead of pumping blood), thus the tombstones on the ekg. He said if the EMT’s hadn’t arrived exactly when they did I would NOT have been alive long enough for any surgery to save me.
I was honestly amazed it was my heart that was the problem. I KNEW the signs of heart attack and which order they occurred, except what I KNEW was in MEN.  I had been discounting all the signs because they didn’t fit what I had learned. My husband, who is a CARDIAC intensive care RN DIDN’T KNOW EITHER! I had been telling him all the weird symptoms I had been having and it never occurred to him that they were heart related.
At least I knew the symptoms when I had my second heart attack, and I got to a doctor at the FIRST sign. A simple procedure to break a clot was all it took to fix the problem. I now take medication to keep my blood from clotting so easily. AND, I now get immediate help instead of waiting for something “big enough to bother a doctor with.”

Suze is a very lucky and a very special person. She lived to tell her tale. But no one listens to it. Why not? Women are half the people on this planet. A great number are going to experience heart attacks, and many of them are going to die because they and the people around them DO NOT KNOW what to look for!

Well, now you do. Please do something to help spread this information. No one else seems to care…

An afterthought: There is information on the world wide web about women’s heart attack symptoms, but not as much as I thought there should be. And if you do not know it is there, you are NOT going to go looking for it. Also, when you do look, if you do, the information is presented matter-of-factly, and has no urgency to it. Heart attacks are URGENT! They are life and death urgent. Please learn these signs and symptons, and make sure everyone around you learns them too. You never know who will need help, or when they will need it.

A second afterthought: While researching this topic on the internet, I came across an article asking why more women have not heard of women’s heart attack symptoms. That writer thought this knowledge was important then. Unfortunately, I did not think to bookmark the article, and I cannot remember how I got to it. That is not important. What is important, that article was published in 2018. It is only three years later, but still hardly anyone knows. THAT MUST CHANGE! Please, be the change.

SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION, Why Isn’t It Working?

When I started my last post a few days ago, I wanted to make a point about why it seems we humans have stopped evolving spiritually. Looking around us, all over the world, we find populist movements and conservative/republican ideas are seemingly taking hold of governments from America to Zimbabwe, and everywhere in-between. If humans are evolving spiritually, how can this be happening? How can genocides be happening? How can climate change be called a hoax? Worst of all, how can we be so close to fighting a war in which nuclear weapons could destroy life on Earth. Maybe not all life, cockroaches and plankton might survive, but that would put us billions of year back in the evolutionary processes, both physical and spiritual.

I think, no, I know, spiritual evolution is real. Where other people see the wonder of God, I see the products of two evolutionary processes happening side-by-side. Physical evolution is a slow process, one has to look over million-year tracts of time to see how living beings are evolving. It took some 4.5 billion years to move from one-celled beings swimming in the primordial soup to become multi-celled being called humans who believe they can have thoughts that rise above birthing, eating, fucking, and dying. It is only in the last ten or so thousand years that spiritual ideas, as we know them to be, have become possible. And it is only in the past few hundred years that we have truly starting thinking beyond Earth being the dominion of gods and realizing living beings are the ones in charge of our own lives. Most humans have not even got there yet. Why might that be?

In my mind it is because people still see themselves as the crown of creation, thinking we are the only ones capable of thinking higher thoughts. Science is only now telling us that other lifeforms, including plants and trees, can communicate with each other in ways we once believed only humans could. Scientists are discovering intelligence where we always thought we were the only intelligent beings around. And soon our scientists will come to see that humans are not the only species with sentience, the awareness of ourselves. How did these things happen? At least in the West, starting from Asia Minor and moving towards the western shores of the Pacific Ocean, particularly north of the Sahara Desert, a book called the Bible shaped our thoughts about ourselves. And God gave humanity dominion over the plants and animals. With those few words we came to believe only we have what Abrahamic religions call souls, non-physical bodies that survive death and go to places like Heaven and Paradise. The idea is so well packaged and marketed that is has spread not only over all western areas, but is now widespread in the East also. The One True God rules over more than 50% of the peoples of the world, and the feeling of human superiority exists in probably 90% or more of the population of the world.

This is the illusion that Spiritual Evolutionists have been working under for over two hundred years, because they are looking at it through humancentric eyes and minds. And they are encapsulating it in the idea God rules this universe, while all they can really talk about is this world. And even there they are wrong.

It is not much of a limb, but I will go out on it anyway. There is no God, or god, or group of gods ruling anywhere, or anything. There is no Supreme Intelligence directing where life is going. There is only us, living beings, who are responsible for what happens to us. Most of the living beings on this world are humble enough to not bother about anything but their own lives. They still birth, eat, fuck (or otherwise reproduce), and die without worrying what happens to others. They are content to live in their own little worlds. But we humans are not content to do that. Because we have dominion over all other forms of life we think we can go where we want and do what we want with impunity. No one else matters. Only us! But after centuries of living like that, we are finally starting to learn, we cannot survive without all those others species of life to help us live healthy lives.

Ask yourselves, please, do you harbour these feelings of superiority over other species? I’m betting a good 97% of the humans of this world feel that way, if they think about it. Not everyone thinks about it. But most of us live that way because we are taught as children we are the crown of creation. The truth is far from this…

I STAND CORRECTED!… OR DO I?

50 some years ago I came up with the basic idea of spiritual evolution, but it took me another 10 years to refine the philosophy to where I could name it. Obviously I named it Spiritual Evolution. There was no Internet in those days, no way to check to see if the idea was my own, or whether others had predated me. Just this morning I found out others had; it seems it has been around for a few centuries at least. There are so many names associated with it, I am not even going to try to list them. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to it at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_evolution. Please check it out.

So, at first I was heartbroken. My idea was not a new one after all. But the more I read on the page, the more I became aware that maybe I have taken it to a new place, or sent it in a new direction, so-to-speak. Not everything, but almost everything on that page discusses two main tenets: spiritual evolution is human-centric, and God-centric. Only humans are evolved enough to be self-aware enough to the point of being able to know they are evolved; and the evolution of the spirit seems to always have a knowable purpose, and that purpose is either to evolve into God, or to lead humans to God in some way. Maybe not everyone uses that term, God, but they certainly have a similarity of godliness and god-directed morality.

Now, I have to admit that I started out with similar ideas. The very name rawgod began as the idea I was training myself to become one with God, or, after a while as my atheism took hold, to create a god where no god existed yet. Big goals, assuredly, but not too big for the person I was becoming.

And then, one day, I realized, I did not want to be any kind of god! I did not want to rule the universe, or anyone in it. To even try to do so would be the height of arrogance. So I started examining myself, and the spirit I knew to be inside of me. Things were not making sense to me anymore. Something had to give. And that is when I changed my focus from wanting to change the focus from become one with God to wanting to just live in this universe to the best of my abilities. If I wanted to be part of anything, I wanted to be part of life. The universe was what it was, it needed no changing, it was already perfect. And, decidedly, humans were nowhere close to perfect. In fact, humans are very much imperfect.

Still, the goal of my brand of spiritual evolution, if there could be said to be one, was to aim for perfection. That meant being a part of life, all forms of life. Every form of life. Life was taking on a new meaning. Life was no longer just the condition of being alive, life was a being all on its own in a manner of speaking. And every living being was a representative of life. Each of us, from single-celled plants and animals right up to quadrillion-celled plants and animals, are equal partners in life. While our physical bodies are definitely the result of physical evolution–check out your DNA as compared to the DNA of any living being, you will see the similarities–so too are our spirits the result of a different form of evolution, Spiritual Evolution.

So, while my original thesis had changed, still it kept the original base idea, we, all living beings, are moving in a particular direction. We are, generally-speaking, trying to become better people, where all living beings are people in their own ways–we all share the condition of life.

As usual, I have digressed from my original intent for this post. It is a very bad habit of mine. All it takes is a word here and a different word there, and my micro purpose is redirected from my macro purpose. My mind goes where it wants to go, or rather, where my spirit wants it to go. So, for now, I am going to leave this idea here. I suspect it will require more…

SPIRITUAL ATHEISM CANCELLED

Today I am spiritually exhausted. There is no fight for life in me anymore. It seems nobody wants a different way to look at life. I am not religious–there is no need nor room in my cosmos for a superior/supreme being of any kind, no one who controls the universe, no one who could control the universe. I am not a believer in science–though science is a decent tool to use for as long as it works. But it is not a perfect tool, because it is as blind as religion. We creatures who walk or do not walk this earth, we living beings are the best we can hope for right now. I believe there is a future, that life will continue to evolve, and one day whatever life exists in that future will look back at us and laugh their asses off, if they still have asses. We are nothing but bumbling boobs unable to fight our way out of the amniotic sac we were born in, or out of the scientific sac we placed ourselves in.

I have a vision of a better world, of a better way of life, of a better way of being! But it seems there are very few others who want that too.

A number of posts ago I ventured out of my spiritualist niche to try to discover something that could use the distant past to offer us a way to a new look at the future. I failed. Two posts ago I ventured even farther out of my niche to try to look at economic conditions in our present world and offer a new way to look at them. Again, nobody wants them. Nobody wants to hear them. There aren’t reality! Damn straight they aren’t reality! But, I thought, nobody wants that reality. Well, I was wrong. That’s all people want, the reality they already have, not a reality they maybe could have in the future.

Well, it is time for me to shut up my mouth and go away. Oh, I won’t leave the WordPress.com bubble, I’ll hang around like the spirit I am, but no more posts. No more writing what almost nobody else wants to hear.

So enjoy your realities, folks. Poof!

CONSCIENCE CAPITALISM CANCELLED (part last)

Today, after two days of almost constant travel, I am physically exhausted. The old body just doesn’t have the energy anymore that it once did.

Today, after being beat around the head and shoulders for having tried to imagine a new way to live, I am mentally exhausted. No, I am downright depressed. I didn’t expect to change the world, I just wanted to give people an idea that the world could be changed. Well, for all the talk of wanting something better, I hear nothing but this is the way it is and it is what we know so let’s keep it because we are scared to try anything else! You have convinced me to stop trying. I give up.

CONSCIENCE CAPITALISM (part two)

I came to the idea of the credit card being a huge cause of wealth inequity basically on my own. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the hording of great amounts of wealth to the detriment of those without wealth began to get out of control in about the 1950s. I stand by that. But taking a nosedive into the history of money gave me another angle to look at, and that apparently began in Britain in 1931:

The gold standard is not currently used by any government. Britain stopped using the gold standard in 1931 and the U.S. followed suit in 1933 and abandoned the remnants of the system in 1973. The gold standard was completely replaced by fiat money, a term to describe currency that is used because of a government’s order, or fiat, that the currency must be accepted as a means of payment.

Fiat means an arbitrary decree of a governing body. When the gold standard was abolished, and fiat money took over, control of the amount of money that could be printed was lost. The value of money has always been arbitrary, but using a given amount of gold meant it had an understandable value. Money represented an established amount of gold. This is no longer true.

So, with there being an unlimited supply of money, based simply on how long it took to print or coin money, wealth became a game, and only a select few were allowed to play it. And play it, playing with money, is what they did. Then add in the completely uncontrollable idea of credit, with its concomitant interest charges, and money did not even have to be printed to be, in any degree, real. As I said last post, money became just numbers on paper, and then just numbers in a computer program. There is now more money existing only inside computers than there is printed or coined money. When we buy on credit, our only limit is how much credit someone allows us to use. Add on interest paid to use that non-existent money, and we end up paying more money than the already profit-driven value of the product that we bought is worth.

There is more debt in this world than there is money to pay for it!

This brings me to the first step of Conscience Capitalism, and that is to begin to level the playing field. In our present economic cultures, the field of play is tilted at such an extremely sharp angle, metaphorically around 88 degrees–2 degrees off vertical, that most of us here at the lower end will never be able to climb up to the higher end. And this is done intentionally by those people who are already at the top. We are trodden down so the wealth owners always have work-slaves to create even more wealth for them–wealth they cannot ever use.

How to begin to level the playing field? Call me crazy, call me daft, call me anything you like, but Step One is to abolish all debt. Legislate it right out of existence. We cannot afford to repay it, and the wealthy have no need for us to repay it. Debt is doing no one any good, so get rid of it. And, if the politicians refuse to serve the people in this way, force them to do it. Run our credit up as high as we are allowed, and then we inundate the court system with bankruptcy claims. Grind the economy to a halt. There are 8 billion of us, and maybe a million or so of them. If we stop paying our debts, they cannot stop us! They will not even be able to arrest us, because there will be no wealth police to try. Wealthy people have no idea how to do their own dirty work. There will be no value in it.

Just to be clear, when I say abolish all debt, I am not just talking personal debt, but all public debt too. Our governments all owe money to someone (exactly who is unclear!). We call this the deficit. Remember, it is not us the poor workers who create this debt, it is the wealthy who spend their money on our behalf! What a load of bullshit! What they are doing is holding us interest-hostage. The largest amount of our tax dollars goes to pay the interest on the money our governments owe. But who gets these interest payments? Certainly not us. We are the public debtors, on top of our own already impossible-to-repay personal debts. And this is where our tax dollars go. Not the tax dollars of the wealthy, because they are given tax reductions on top of loopholes on top of books cooked to hide the income the wealthy are actually taking out of the economy, while telling us they are putting their money into our economy.

The greatest crime there is against us work-slaves is not just holding us down, but charging us interest compounded on interest compounded on interest to keep us down. The money charged for using money is more than any government can afford. And the myth that governments are trying to reduce the public debt to zero is just so much poppycock. The more a government owes, the wealthier the already too wealthy become. So, all debt, personal and public, must be eradicated without prejudice. Thus the playing field begins to level out.

That is just Step One. More will follow.

A PRECURSOR TO A NEW ECONOMIC STYLE (part one of CONSCIENCE CAPITALISM, slightly reworked)

There has been a lot of talk lately about many issues facing our way of life, and a lot of people are asking, “What can we do? How do we change things?” Poverty, homelessness, unaffordable health care, climate change, depletion of natural resources. Pollution so bad our oceans are dying, our water is becoming undrinkable, and our air is becoming unbreathable. We are killing ourselves, and we are killing our planet. Looking at the big picture, we are killing life! What good is anything, especially money, if there is no one to spend that money–if there is no one alive to live here? So, having heard these pleas for help, I started to ask myself, what ideas could I come up with? Can I offer anything to this world so we don’t commit lifeicide? My answer is, maybe…

But before I get into my ideas, I feel the need to state I am not an economist, not in any way, shape, or form. In fact, what I am is a spiritual explorer, a label I have recently given myself, on top of others I gave myself at varying times throughout my life. I study life, not from without, but from within. I am the me scientist. I have only one field of study, me. I have only one test subject, me. And I am my best student. Anything that does not come from within me is just outside interference. I can only know it is real if I find it in me. And it is by knowing me I have come to know life, all life, and where I learned to care about all life. If I can help anyone, big or small, many, or few, or just one, then it is my responsibility to do so.

So, having set my parameters, or lack thereof, I would like to offer the world what I call conscience capitalism. Or, capitalism with a conscience. Why? Because, inside me, I care.

Why do we need conscience capitalism, whatever that is? I am speaking here mainly to the industrialized nations of this world, where capitalism in any form is the dominant way of life. As it happens, I use the word dominant in more than one way: capitalism dominates the nations that use it, but capitalism also dominates almost every nation on earth through having most of the power in the world. We do have socialist nations, and communist nations, and even communal nations, or some kind of mixtures or hybrids of the main four economic/geopolitical systems, but one thing is clear: Capitalists have created such fear in the hearts of the workers-for-wages they rely on to support their capitalism that the workers fear losing their ways of life should any other economic system be tried. It does not matter that this fear is unfounded, or built on false premises, or even false promises! It matters only the fear is there! And therefore we must work with it, and around it.

But how do we, the workers, work with what has come to be called the 1%? All of the wealth in all the capitalist nations in the world is owned by just 1% of the population of the world. Karl Marx tried to warn the workers of the world over 150 years ago this was going to happen. Unfortunately, he did warn the capitalists of the world of what might happen if the workers of the world decided to do something about the 1%. Their response, accomplished much faster than the workers could respond, was to create a deep, unjustifiable, and unreasonable fear of the system Marx and his buddy Friedrich Engels called communism, which Marx and Engels devised as an alternative to capitalism.

The result is, almost everyone in the industrialized world has an inbred fear of anything that is not capitalism, especially socialism and communism. Just listen to the Republicans in the USA today. Democrats are socialists out to destroy democracy. They might as well be communists. And look how many people believe them. How many people voted to let Trump, a Republican, continue destroying the democracy he claimed to want to save. AMERICA cannot afford to lose their democracy. And democracy seems for too many to mean capitalism. So, therefore, the best way to save capitslism is to work with the capitalists.

But, at present, capitalism is running amuck. Once upon a time it paid lipservice to the idea prices will be determined by what consumers will be willing to pay for a product, and by competition, consumers will demand better products by purchasing higher quality products. If ever that were true, it is not anymore. What happened to change those ideas, or should I call them ideals? I don’t think there is one simple answer to that question, and there is not just one answer, but I am going to give you one big answer, and that is credit cards.

There was a time when workers/consumers had to save their money up to buy things they needed. This created a capitalist cycle that looked something like: an owner of wealth or ideas to create wealth would employ workers to create things, said workers being paid a certain amount of money in return for their labour. The workers would then use their money to purchase the things they produced, as well as food, shelter, and all the necessities of life. But, the price of those goods was not based solely on the value that would be determined as the cost of production, there were two other factors, interest on the money used to invest in creating the means of production, meaning that money was another form of worker and had to get paid for working, and profit, which was an arbitrary amount paid to the wealth owner for allowing people to earn money from him. So, the cycle ran with money going from its owner to the workers who paid more to consume than they were paid to produce. This profit in turn is paid to the owner for risking his money in the first place. The controlling factor was that there was only so much money available, and so there had to be some caution given to what to do with that amount of money. And the workers, having only so much money, did have some influence on price and quality.

No more! When the idea of letting people use credit cards to purchase goods they were paid to produce arrived, the wheels came off the machine. Credit started as just a short-term form of non-money. People were very leery about credit cards, buying things on credit, buying only as much as they believed they could afford to pay at the end of each period of time. But that was the generation who grew up having what they called respect for money. They did not believe in spending too much more than they earned in that particular length of time. One problem was, though, the wealth owners started to pay the workers wages of less value, while at the same time asking them to produce products of lower quality. The words planned obdolescence entered into the language–goods made to last only so long so that consumers would have to purchase more of the same goods over and over. This helped lead to wealth inequality, the buying power experienced by the rich as compared to the buying power of the workers. To put it bluntly, there was no comparison.

But the children of those earlier wage-workers looked at credit differently than their parents did: Why wait till tomorrow to purchase something you could purchase right now, and enjoy right now, rather than waiting to buy only that amount equivalent to what you could earn right now? With that concept came the idea: Buy now. Pay later! And suddenly, there was more money around than what was the value of the available money. The money did not exist, except in bookkeeping records that soon turned into computer records. But the idea of the money did. When the wealth owners saw that, their eyes bugged out of their heads! Here were oceans of non-existent money that could not only earn high percentages of interest, but also previously unheard of rates of profit. And they knew the workers would hardly notice, most of them were incapable of high finance. In fact, not only would consumers pay ridiculous prices for the goods they wanted right now, but also the consumers would willingly pay ridiculous interest charges on their credit cards for the right to have instant gratification. Profit rates and interest rates soared. As we all know, the rich became richer, the poor became poorer, and the wealth inequality divide grew, and grew, and grew.

But there is a cost for all these things. There is always a cost. The question is, who is going to pay it?

Right now, capitalism has no conscience. The wealth owners, for the most part, care very little for the workers, and even less for those incapable of working, no matter what the reason. They take, and take, and take, and give little of value in return. The worst part is, what they take they do nothing with. They play games with their fellow wealth owners to see who can own the most wealth. They are numbers on a scoreboard, numbers that do nothing worth anything. That is what has to change. That is what must change.

Money that just sits there, doing nothing but earning interest, can be considered dead money. It is not working for anyone but its owner. It is not helping the wage-workers, nor the poor, nor even the government. The more the wealthy take, the less taxes they are willing to pay, the less money they are willing to pay to charities that benefit the greatest number of people. The less they pay, the more the wage-workers need to pay. This only benefits the rich.

So, once again I say, capitalism needs to grow a conscience. And it needs to grow one soon.

PERMISSION GRANTED

Lately I have come across more than a few comments that have made me think about my own spiritual past, and I see where had someone let me know something, my life may have been better, sooner.

The first thing is that no one told me it was okay to not believe in superior or supreme beings–the Abrahamic God, for instance. God was presented as a real being, no doubt whatsoever he existed. The only question was to believe in him or not, which meant heaven or hell. I wanted to choose hell, it was better than my life, but my fear level was far too high. Had someone told me it was okay to not believe, that heaven and hell were just bullying tactics–in nicer words, of course–I could have saved myself from years of terror, and stress. Stress shows up in me as disease. Maybe I would have been healthier, physically and mentally, a whole lot sooner.

But that is not the main purpose of this post. Maybe prior to, but getting serious attention in the later 60s and ever since, was the question, Who am I? What that really meant was, what kind of person am I? Do I want to be that kind of person? How can I change if I want to? The ultimate search for self!

In a way this sounds like a simple thing to do. But if you have ever asked these questions seriously, the answers are not so simple to find. Why not?

My main position is a cultural one. When we want to learn something, we are taught to look for answers outside of ourselves. Our whole education system is built on the fact that others know more than we do. We call these people experts, and we are taught to consult them when we want to know something. It was bad enough in my generation: you had a question, you asked someone, or you went to the library and looked it up in a book, or journal. The general sense was, if you could find it in print it was believable. Seeing is believing is one of the oldest adages foist upon us as children. Only, anyone could say anything in a book, and get away with it. As children we are not told that. In school, books held all the knowledge in the world. Nowadays, books have changed into the Internet. Yes, we still have books, can still buy books, but most of them exist on the Internet. We can find anything on the Internet–including lies, conspiracy theories, graphic pornography–even love–whatever you want you can find.

Except, you cannot find out anything real about you. There are no experts on the Internet about you. Oh, there are those who will pretend to be! They will tell us they understand all about the human body, about the human mind, even about the human spirit. You can probably find a million and more websites explaining life, the universe, and everything. But you can find not one website about you, unless you built it. So, if you want to learn about yourself, where do you go. I want to tell you, it is okay to seek answers about yourself from yourself. Think about it. If there is one expert in this world, in this universe, on you, it can only be you!

But you are doing the seeking, how can you give yourself answers you don’t know. If I may, because I found this out by looking for me, the answers about you are inside you. The main question is, when you think you see something about yourself, will you believe yourself? Is there any reason not to?

Okay, so I have given you a place to look, but how do you do that? How can you, the seeker, become you, the observer? I cannot tell you what will work for you. Everyone is an individual, nothing works for everyone. But I can tell you what worked for me. Maybe something similar will work for you.

I had to figure this out for myself, so there was no uniform process, no step-by-step organized method. Approaches came, approaches went. Some stayed. My first breakthrough was realising I could observe myself living my life. The best way I can desctibe that is creating a watcher me, like a person with a video camera recording my life. I was constantly asking myself, what am I doing, and why am I doing that. Probably you are all familiar with the cartoons of a person with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. That is the best analogy I can think of. Except, on the one shoulder was the guy recording my life, and on the other shoulder was a guy narrating my life, and wondering what was driving me to make the choices I was making. I was doing the living, don’t get me wrong, I was still the star, the lead character. Everything was about me, and how I conducted myself in my relationships with people and/or other living things, and/or just other things. The more I did this the more I was able to do it in real time, and then surprise, I started doing it a split second in advance of doing whatever the living me was doing. Why am I going to tell her I love her when I don’t? Or, why am I not telling her I love her when I do? Why am I about to lie to this person (to avoid being responsible for something I know I did). Or, why don’t I want someone to know the truth about me?

The questions didn’t start out to be so serious, but they quickly became that way. It just made sense. After all, I wanted to know who I was, who I wanted to be! If I could not ask myself the big questions, who could? Who else would? No, I had to not only ask big questions, but I also had to provide honest answers. And that was the hardest part.

My childhood was not easy, let me just say that. I learned to avoid situations that would result in harm to me, either physically or mentally. I learned to lie to avoid punishment. (Whether I deserved it or not does not matter.) And I learned how to be nice even when I wanted to strike out. To be seen when what I really wanted was to be heard. I learned how not to be myself, to suppress myself. That was the worst discovery I made. I was not being me!

I still had no idea who I was, but I was learning who I was not, and that turned out to be as important as who I was.

I hope you get the picture. I could rattle on about discovering myself, but I’ve already talked enough about me. I would rather talk about you. The first thing you might want to learn is how to observe yourself, how to split one into two, in a good healthy way. Later you can split yourself even more, but the two is probably a necessity. And I think, I do not know this will work for everyone but it worked for me, my way was asking the why questions as quickly as I could after doing something I did not always understand why I was doing it in the first place. At first I waited till I was by myself to do this. I compartmentalized things for later introspection, but in the time in-between I found I was losing or missing the nuances, the little things that caused me to make the choices I was making. Maybe you can do this more successfully than me, and good for you if you can. But be careful you are not lieing to yourself to make things seem different than they are. Be honest with yourself, but also be gentle. Don’t chastise yourself, always remember to love yourself.

And respect yourself.

Hopefully, if you don’t already have some kind of process of your own, and you want to learn more about yourself, you can develop a method for yourself, similar or disimilar to what I did. Truly, I don’t care how you do it. But I hope you will want to do this, discover yourself. And I hope you will learn to look inside, not outside, because that is where the real answers already exist. They just need to be discovered.

What is the best possible result? For me, it was getting to know me, and to love me. When it comes right down to the nitty gritty, I have to be my own best friend. I will always be with myself, beside myself, inside myself! I am going to be with me the whole of my life. I find it best to be a person I want to be around.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask them. I will, as always, answer all questions as honestly as I know how. I have nothing to hide. If I can help you accomplish getting you to know yourself, I will. If you want my email address, you can have it, to keep things private.

Good luck, and good self-searching.

1 + 1 (+ n) = ONE?

It is time to come clean. When I started A Look Back, At the Beginning of Life, and through the Sum posts, I thought I had a definite goal in mind. I’ve talked about it before, but not as in depth as I want to discuss it now.

Ever since my NDEs I have felt the spirit of life inside me, an actual though unknowable something I can only call life, or spirit. I have no other words for it. Sure, I went through life knowing I was alive, but my understanding of alive changed. It became real, as it were a being all to itself. If I had to commit to anything, I might say life has a personality. But that would be so wrong. I might try the word consciousness, but that isn’t right either. Maybe, just maybe, I could say life has beingness, but what would that even mean. Life, for me, is so much more than us just being alive, it is everything about being alive.

What life is not is God, or a god, or any kind of super-superior-supreme being. It is a kernel of being, like what you might imagine the spirit of an individual cell to be. Tiny, obscure, barely able to sustain itself, except that it has no need of sustenance. It is. End of thought. And while it may be, probably is, capable of intelligence, that intelligence is not what we think of as intelligent. If anything, it is, or has the potential, of intelligence, but of a kind so far beyond the intelligence of earthly beings as to be unimaginable to said intelligent beings as we.

Yeah, I know I am not making much sense, my mind is just not capable of imagining such a being, and yet I know I can sense its presence within me, and within you, and within every living being on this earth, and anywhere else life is occurring in our cosmos. Yeah, it is like religious people talk about their God being everywhere, but as I already said, life is not God! It has no ulterior motives, needs no worship or adoration, no need to be supreme in any way. It has no ego! I guess that is what I am trying to say. LIFE HAS NO EGO! Life has no ego…

But life is still something we all have, and share. That is why I wanted to go back to the very beginning, the primordial soup which seems to be the origin of life as we know it, some 4.5 billion years ago. I have always felt that living beings did not always have the spirit of life in them. Life was around before living beings, but was separate from them for a time. Somehow, I thought life came to be aware of living beings, and sensed that living beings could lead it to self-awareness. But that would mean it already had to be self-aware, wouldn’t it? Going back to the dawn of life-on-earth, I hoped, would help me see some point at which living beings gained life, the spirit of life, the force that is life. But it has not!

It seems to me, after writing these posts, and probably 20 or more different drafts of this post, that my task is beyond me. I have feelings, but I do not have words. I can imagine, but I cannot see. I can sense, but life is unsensible. I know it, but I cannot share it.

This saddens me in a way. My brain is horrible at languages! English is the worst possible language in which to try to discuss things beyond reality. But it is the only language I have, and that frustrates me to no end. I have failed. I have failed me. I have failed you. And I have failed life itself.

But failure is merely a roadblock. I will try again.

The title of this post, 1+1 (+ n) = One? is a formula that came into my mind while agonizing over how to describe what I want to say. Maybe to a mathematician out there it may have actual meaning. To me it is just an expression of my frustration. The first 1 is life. The plus sign is the connector. The second 1 is the first living being, a one-celled organism of the simplest kind. The opening bracket is a distinguisher, the passage of time. The second plus sign stands for physical evolution, the advance of one-celled organisms to organisms with more than one cell, working together to produce a more efficient being. The n symbolises the fact living beings can have any number of cells of many different kinds, doing many different tasks, and numbering every number between 1 and the largest number possible for the number of cells in a living organism. The closing bracket is now, the point in time, ever-changing, when life is being actively observed by living beings, if they have the senses to observe with. The equal sign denotes that a change has taken place. Individual things have joined together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. Then there is the one, or the ONE, that is what life, working together, has become, living being mixed with life yet being joined in a way that all life is just one life. There is no doubt all life, wherever it exists, in whatever form it exists, is directly connected to all other forms of life.

Lastly comes the ?, the question mark, the wonderment. Is this possible? Is life possible? If life is, then is there a purpose to it? Or is it just a thing that is born and then dies for no other reason than that the biology works that way.

Life, living, probably started out as one cell that somehow managed to reproduce itself. From there it evolved into all the beautiful and ugly but nonetheless hugely plentiful life that exists on this earth in so many different forms, varieties, species, and even us humans. To me, life cannot not have purpose. We have a drive inside us to improve, to advance. It is not given to us by anything, unless that thing is ourselves. That drive existed in the first mitosis that took place in the primordial soup, and it is still with us today. It appears it will always be with us, as long as there is life somewhere in our cosmos.

And though I have failed in my task to reveal where life became a living being, I hope I have succeeded at least in some way to inspire even one someone somewhere to at some time take up the search to find where life came from, so we can learn where life is going, at least in our imaginations….

Somewhere in the present

Lies a vision of the future

Understood from the past

Lost

In the eternity

Of now

The end, for now…