Let Our Light Shine

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This quote is   by Marianne Williamson Quote from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, but it is often found on the Internet incorrectly credited to Nelson Mandela from his Inauguration Speech, 1994, especially the last sentence of that quote, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

For reference, here are links to two official African government sites with Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Inauguration Speech:

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Don’t Go There!

by George Kovacik

Newswise — Shopping the perimeter of your local grocery store and avoiding the aisles will give you a head start on fighting the battle of the bulge.

“In most grocery stores, the aisles are filled with canned goods, frozen and boxed dinners that are loaded with fat and extra unnecessary calories,” said Gaye Lynn Hicks, RD, LD, with The Methodist Weight Management Center in Houston. “The perimeter features fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other healthy fair.”

If you simply cannot avoid going down the aisles, it’s important to be aware of food labels and find foods with the fewest amount of ingredients — three to four instead of 6 to 8.

“The top 5 ingredients listed make up the food, the rest are preservatives and additives to give it flavor. Many times this leads to additional fat and calories,” Hicks said. “It should be a red flag if you see they are adding a large amount of sugars and fats. Women only need 200 calories of added sugar per day and men 300 calories.”

Your body gets all the nutrients, sugars and fats it needs from the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy and whole grains. All of these items are located around the perimeter of most grocery stores.

“If 90 percent of what is in your shopping cart is from around the perimeter of the store, you are eating a clean, healthy diet,” Hicks said.

For instance, she said, low-fat milk offers the same proteins and calcium as whole milk, but you are cutting out all the extra saturated fat. Lean chicken, without the skin, will give you the protein you need without the fat. Five to 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables will also help you keep off unwanted pounds. Some healthy items will be found down the aisles such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and some spices. In fact, when it comes to spices and seasonings, do it yourself. This way you have more control over what is being put into your food.
George Kovacik is the Sr. Media Relations Coordinator
The Methodist Hospital, Houston
(281) 841-7119
ggkovacik@tmhs.org

Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MethodistHosp and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/methodisthospital. You can also log on to www.methodisthealth.com.

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Shame

Hiding One’s True Self

Shame can cause one to invent a false persona to avoid having one’s true self been seen and potentially judged.

Phoenix Rising
By Thomas Fransen

I have been preoccupied with the topic of shame lately. As I have reflected more deeply on my life’s experiences and felt more keenly the presence of shame, I am noticing with ever-increasing clarity its toxic effects. In the past such recognition would have fueled an even greater sense of shame, in effect being ashamed of having shame. Difficult or painful emotions tend to have a circular effect with me — and with others. I see it every day as people get more depressed over being depressed, grow more anxious about being anxious.

At its core shame involves hiding from the truth of who we are, as if we are protecting the world from what we perceive as our glaring defects and protecting our vulnerability against further judgment. Throughout my life shame has paralyzed me, inhibiting my ability to reach out for help or be honest about my feelings. Cowering in abject fear of judgment, I erected a false self to make life as safe as I possibly could. In my case this most clearly was the result of feeling I had been judged harshly for being gay.

To protect myself I became a very good and polite boy, as if garnering the admiration and affection of others would protect me from their judgment. In essence, I convinced myself that by behaving I would be loved.??I recall that even as an adolescent — surrounded by friends whom I loved and who loved me — I felt a deep suspicion that if they knew the real me, they would withdraw their love and support and abandon me. I was held hostage by this dynamic, as the shame made it difficult to contemplate another solution.

One can easily see the problems with this maneuver. In the moment, it works to create a sense of safety, guarding against the annihilation of abandonment. Over time, however, its corrosive effects change that sanctuary into a prison.

Over the past few months I have experienced a number of serious consequences — financial, personal, professional — related to the prison of shame. The extreme difficulty of being honest about my struggles prevented me from dealing honestly with my situations. Hence, I hid from the problems themselves, presenting a self that was more organized, competent, and professional than was really the case.

The problem with the false self is that the illusion it creates prevents a person from taking genuine action in areas that matter. As a friend of mine said, it’s impossible to change your life if you don’t know where you are.

The antidote to shame is having the willingness to be seen and accepted as one is, the willingness to assert one’s feelings in the presence of fear. Courage. And this needs to be said: Change is difficult. If one is most familiar with hiding, then the notion of not hiding anymore is very scary indeed.

Overcoming these fears and presenting one’s true self — whether that’s linked with one’s HIV status, sexual orientation, substance abuse, sexual abuse, or mental illness — is vital, and it’s one of the reasons I so strongly advocate peer support networks. These groups help break the horrific isolation that typically accompanies shame and allow us to develop compassion for ourselves. The self-acceptance that comes with this experience is truly liberating — and carries the potential for healing rarely found elsewhere.

My heartfelt wish for those of you identifying with the dynamics of shame is that you each can find the courage and willingness to locate and join a support group with which you identify in order to help break your own cycles of shame.

Fransen is a licensed clinical social worker who is in private therapy practice in Chicago. He welcomes feedback at stillpoint4003@yahoo.com

From HIVplus Magazine

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Lessons from dad

Dad taught me how to:
1. Tie My Shoes

Untied shoelaces won’t do. Dad taught me how to lace my shoes and tie them firmly in place. The laces need to be tied properly to give your shoe a proper fit and to make sure straggler laces don’t trip you and cause a skinned knee from a fall.
What I Learned: From this I learned that life at times can trip you up. A little effort and preparation before taking steps down life’s pathways will make your journey less treacherous.

2. Ride A Bike

My mom likes to tell me the story about what good little bike riders my sister and I were when we took turns riding on our shared bicycle. My older sister and I are Irish twins, I am ten months younger. Dad taught us both to ride without the help of training wheels on the sidewalk out in front of our home. Later, he taught us about bike safety when we became first graders and were given new bicycles to ride to school.
What I Learned: From this I learned about sharing, responsibility, and also the importance of balance.

3. Jump Rope

I was in tears one day after school because the other girls at recess would no longer let me play jump rope with them. I was a terrible rope jumper and was teased on the playground. Dad backed our car off the carport making room for me to practice jumping. He coached me on what I was doing wrong and helped give me the confidence to jump better.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of feeling confident.

4. Grow A Garden

In the summertime my parents had a large vegetable garden growing in our backyard. Dad toiled with the hoe, carving out the rows. My sister and I got down on our knees and pushed in the seeds with our “green thumbs.” With my father’s strong hands cupped over our smaller hands we covered seeded rows of radishes, carrots, beans, and corn with the freshly tilled soil. In the weeks to follow we helped to water and weed the garden.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of nourishment and caring for the bountiful earth.

5. Fly A Kite

My first kite cost 15 cents! It was yellow and I loved it. It came with a ball of string. Mom gave me a few strips of fabric to tie on its tail. Dad marched my sister and me across the street from our home to an open field where we could fly our new kites. He tested the direction of the wind and gave us a few instructions. After a few failed tries, my kite was soon soaring high in the sky.
What I Learned: From this I learned the excitement of being a part of something higher than myself.

6. Play Fair

Every child wants to be a winner. I was no different. My dad made sure that I didn’t cheat or take short cuts to secure the winning prize. My family and I played lots of indoor and outdoor games together. It didn’t matter what the game being played was (croquet, ping-pong, badminton, monopoly, or rummy), cheating was not allowed.
What I Learned: From this I learned how much sweeter winning is when the game is played fairly. And, I also learned the joy of play, win or lose.

7. Play Chess

My father taught me how to play many games. Chess is one that I never learned how to play very well, not for the lack of trying. But the lessons I learned from playing it have served me well.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of strategy. There are many different ways to win a game or survive a loss. And the most significant lesson that I took from this game as a young girl was realizing that the Queen (the female gender) had more moves than her King. Women are significant and powerful.

8. Shoot Hoops

Both my parents played basketball on their high school teams. To this day they are huge basketball fans, regularly attending the Hawkeyes games in Iowa City. I fondly remember shooting hoops out on the back patio before supper time. Dad patiently taught me how to hold the ball and aim for the basket.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of focusing on a goal, aiming for the best score, and most importantly that practice, practice, practice is an important element in becoming your very best.

9. Hunt For Mushrooms

Each springtime we would go trampling through the wooded areas looking for morel mushrooms. Dad would give my sister and me a few tips where to look for them. I loved these nature outings and often times picked more wild flowers than mushrooms. However, I fondly remember the afternoon I discovered a motherload of shrooms growing under a lush patch of mayapples.
What I Learned: From this I learned that some of life’s best treasures come from nature… and they’re free!

10. Save My Allowance

I credit my father, both parents really, about learning the value of money. I was given a weekly allowance but was not allowed to spend it freely. I was cautioned to save half of it each week so that it would accumulate into a larger sum. I was raised in a Christian home and was also taught about tithing.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of securing a savings account and about charity.

Thanks Dad!

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Ask Sammy

Same shirt, different day – Let’s Talk Men’s Dress Style

HI, Sammy,

I’m tired of wearing the same old shirts. It seems like I’m recycling the same 10 shirts for work and the same 5 for the weekend. Without having to replace my wardrobe, what can I do to keep my style from turning stale?

Thanks!

————————————————————————————————————

Hi anonymous dude in need of fashion help!

Thanks for writing in, I always get warm tinglies when guys come to me for fashion advice. I used to dole out perceptive style suggestions to all my classmates during recess when I was in kindergarten and while the girls were always receptive to my thoughts on correct barrette placement, my style shake didn’t bring all the boys to the yard. They’d get annoyed when I suggested they tuck in their IZod shirts into their mini Levis waistbands and I’d get sand kicked in my face in return.

I’ve come a long way since then, and those boys are all grown up and getting sand kicked in their faces because they dress like doofuses.

men’s puffy shirt.jpg

First off nameless dude, as long as you’re not wearing a puffy pirate shirt shown above, you’ve already won half of the shirt battle. I suspect that you’re alternating the same shirts week in and week out because those are you favorites. We tend to gravitate towards the things we love in our closets, I’m guilty of it myself. I have two suggestions for you-

1. Buy some new favorite shirts.

2. Revamp the shirts you’ve got.

Men usually think they have it pretty easy when it comes to getting dressed due to their limited options. Shirt-pants or shirt-shorts…unless you’re Scottish, then you have a bunch of tartan kilts thrown into the mix. Sometimes you can revamp the same old shirts you’ve got hanging in your closet by adding a few key pieces that you never thought of incorporating. Sometimes even a simple pair of bamboo socks can make an entire outfit feel like new.

For work you can get away with wearing the same white or blue dress shirt during the week if you pair it with a classic tie one day and a light blazer another day. Wear that blazer over a polo and you’ve got a weekend shirt that’s good enough to wear to work. Damn I’m good. Light V-neck sweaters like the one above from DKNY Men are another shirt transforming blessing.

For weekend wear, pair short sleeved button down shirts with a cool soft tee layered underneath like these sweet choices from Lucky Jeans or organic men’s tees from 3Clothing. The shirts will look different and feel different while doubling and tripling your options.

As for choice 1, check out sales sections online at spots like Banana Republic for dress shirts and Old Navy for casual wear. Try to buy styles in a new color palette to add some variety. You’re bound to find some new favorites to mix and match at marked down prices so you won’t lose your shirt in the process.

Good luck nameless dude! I’d love to hear an update and if you have any fashionally challenged buddies, send ’em on over to me.

xoxo,

sammy

Having a fashion dilemma or crisis?

Need to know what top goes with what bottom?

Don’t go it alone. Ask Sammy!

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Dr. Know on How the Penis Really Works

Q: I am having erection problems.  What are my options?

Dr. Know replies:

I heard once in a lecture on erectile dysfunction that the penis is nothing more than a glorified vein.  After I stopped laughing, I had to agree with the speaker.  Basic penile anatomy is two corpus cavernosa, large vascular tubes that fill with blood.  Erections are mediated by the release of nitrous oxide into the corpus cavernosa, which leads to smooth muscle relaxation, allowing inflow of blood.

Treatment of erectile dysfunction can be chemical, surgical, or mechanical.  There are three oral drugs available:  Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis.  These medications work by inhibiting a chemical called phosphodiesterase type 5, which makes the nitrous oxide more effective.  All of these medications are most effective when taken on an empty stomach, which is one hour before food, or two hours after food.  Viagra and Levitra should be taken up to one hour before anticipated sexual activity, and are effective for up to four hours.  Some of my patients report some effect from these medications for up to twenty-four hours.  Cialis is the 36 hour pill.  I call it the weekend party drug:  good from Friday night until Sunday morning.  There is now daily Cialis as well, allowing you to always be ready for sex.

Muse is a urethral suppository.  You insert the suppository into the urethra, massage the penis, and you achieve an erection in 5 to 10 minutes that will last 30 to 60 minutes.

Caverject is an injectible medication.  It is injected directly into the base of the penis, producing an erection that can last up to 60 minutes.

An erection that lasts more than four hours as a consequence of using any of the above treatment modalities is an emergency.  You should get to an emergency room as soon as possible, or permanent damage to the penis can occur.  This condition is called priapism, and can be very painful.  The treatment is drainage of the corpus cavernosa with large bore needles.

Surgical treatment is an implant, some permanently firm, some inflatable.  Two implants are required, one for each side of the penis.  Complications can include infection, and erosion of the implants through the head of the penis.

Mechanical treatment is the vacuum pump device.  A cylinder is placed around the penis, and a vacuum is created which causes the penis to fill with blood.  Usually, a ring of some kind is used at the base of the penis to keep the blood in place.  These devices are frequently used by men who do not have erectile dysfunction.

Send your questions to Dr. Know to men@men4men.com

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Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman

Newswise — U.S. Rep. Barney Frank will appear at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to discuss his 30-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives, and to sign copies of his biography “Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman,” published by the University of Massachusetts Press.

The event, which begins at 11 a.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is free and open to the public.

Joining the congressman will be author Stuart Weisberg, who conducted more than 30 hours of interviews with Frank and interviewed 150 other people in researching the biography. Weisberg’s biography for the first time reconstructs Frank’s life and career, from his working-class childhood in Bayonne, N.J., to his years at Harvard and in Boston politics, through his rise to national prominence – and examines the pressure Frank has felt as the most well-known, openly gay politician in the United States.

As chairman for the House Financial Services Committee, Frank has been at the center of the legislative response to the economic collapse that began on Wall Street in 2008, and has emerged as an outspoken proponent of regulatory reform. He was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $700 billion rescue plan.

First elected in 1980, Frank represents the Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District, which includes 29 towns – and a population of 600,000 – stretching from the Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline south to New Bedford, Taunton and Fall River. In a survey conducted by Washington magazine, Barney Frank was rated the smartest, funniest and most eloquent member of Congress.

Stuart Weisberg is a Washington veteran, having spent 10 years as staff director and chief counsel for the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Employment and Housing. His friendship with Frank dates back to 1971 when he was a summer intern in the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Harrington’s office where Frank was chief of staff.

Spotlighted by the University of Massachusetts Press for its balance and thoroughness, the biography has earned high marks from journalists and politicians alike, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Cokie Roberts of ABC and NPR News, and CNN political commentator Jeffery Toobin, who said that it “is not just definitive – it’s as entertaining and fascinating as its subject.”

UMass Amherst chancellor Robert Holub will introduce Frank and Weisberg who will discuss the book and respond to questions. Both guests will also sign copies of “Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman” which will be offered at a special price of $20.

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Passing on skills

Posted in COVERTAIR on January 11th, 2010

Have you ever noticed that when someone is really good in their craft or profession they tend to share their expertise with others? I have been thinking about that lately and was wondering what it is that makes this phenomenon so prevalent. Think about it, they have spent a lot of time either in school or in real life practice, honing and perfecting the very skills that made them successful. So what is it that that makes them want to in effect provide a shortcut to those who are in the learning stages of the field?

My theory approaches this practice with a broad view and is as old as time. Where would we be now if the basic skills of construction, art and design were not passed down by the craftsmen that developed and built the Parthenon, coliseum and aqueduct? The engineering tolerances in the columns alone are a feat unto its own. But let’s reel it in just a bit.

As I have researched and studied the principals of the mentor/portage principle, it is my belief that passing on the skills learned is wired into our DNA. Without the transmission of these techniques the less learned would spend a great deal more time re-inventing the wheel and less time actually producing the very product or service of their intent.

One somewhat sad yet comical offshoot of the mentoring process is this- Watching those that are less skilled and trained. They seem to be very insecure in just where they fit into the overall scheme of things. Instead of sharing information with those that are just starting out, they tend to hide what little they know in fear of sharing information with those they feel could end up being their competition. These types are very insecure and are very easy to spot.

As I close I would like to raise my glass and say thank you to those that have shared their skills with me in the past present and future. I would also like to encourage you to be the one that shares what you have learned with those starting out. Who knows you can be training someone who could eventually build the 21st century version of the Parthenon.

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