Bobbing Around

Volume Eight, Number Five
February, 2009

Bob Rich's (chocolate flavoured) rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to the last issue
  Ron Peters, complaining about my spelling
  Age of Nefarious to Age of Aquarius? from Swami
  Firefighters call for action on climate change
  Make a difference: consider Kiva
  Open letter to the prime minister of Australia, from Andrew Glikson
  John James: Human extiction degree by degree
*Deeper issues
  Walking, boring?
  So many things wrong with me
  Tortured by the monster What If
  I am angry and abusive
  Therapist attacked? from Ken Pope
*For writers
  Publicity through helping, by Paul Krupin
  New support site for cancer sufferers and their carers
*What my friends want you to know
  Earth heart restorative living workshop, Moora Moora
  New Spring contest
  Sometimes Hearts Have to Break, by Petrea King
  Through Other Eyes, reviewed by "ChrisChat"
  Bizarre Bipeds, from Robin Bayne
  Carolyn Howard-Johnson: Californian wildfire

   Recently, I sent out a message to the bobbing around list that I am fine after the 7th February bushfires. I was greatly touched by the hundreds of emails in response.

   Thank you for caring. It's not over yet, which is why this issue is rather slim.

Love to you all,

Wildfire Preparedness: The Five Aspects of Readiness

by Paul Purcell

   Paul is a security analyst and preparedness consultant with over 20 years risk management experience. He is the author of what amounts to an encyclopaedia of disaster preparation, Disaster Prep 101. His web site is full of useful information.

   Paul sent me an essay on how to prepare for wildfires. Summary: Of all the dangers or emergencies that can strike anywhere and that can be classified as either a natural disaster or terrorist weapon, FIRE tops the list. As we've seen so tragically in Australia, wildfire is an unforgiving enemy with an insatiable appetite for destruction. But... did you know there are a number of things you can do to vastly improve your protection against wildfire?

   The whole essay is way too long for here, so I've put it up on my web site

   Paul's recommendations are summarised by the acronym FLAME:

  • Family -- Something as massive as a wildfire will affect your whole family. Prepare them now.
  • Landscaping -- Simple and subtle steps can make your property much more fire resistant.
  • Awareness -- In an emergency, time is crucial. Stay aware of the threat and get the warnings early.
  • Moisture -- Some say you fight fire with fire. We say you fight fire with water.
  • Evacuation -- Even after taking all the other steps, a wildfire is something best avoided.

       In our email exchanges, Paul agreed that in certain circumstances, the Australian strategy of either evacuating early or staying to defend the house can be OK. I intend to stay with my house if the fire comes, but am reproducing his essay in full.

    I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

       Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

  • Responses to the last issue

    Ron Peters, complaining of my spelling

    Ron Peters, complaining of my spelling

    Dear Bob.

       As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed your latest issue of Bobbing Around. The many points of view expressed therein are interesting and enlightening.

       However, I was somewhat shocked to see the frequent misspellings that appeared throughout the newsletter. I don’t remember that being the case in earlier issues, but then my recent onslaught of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit) may have something to do with that.

       For an editor of some renown, spellings like mimimise, labour, honoured, realise, localisation, etc. are inacceptable. For some reason, the letter ‘z’ has been dropped from your language. And throwing in extra ‘u’s for no good reason is very perplexing.

       You’ve even changed the name of your country, Auztralia, to Australia.

       For a man of international fame, such as yourself, to allow these mizzpellingz to creep into your language is almost criminal. Also, while you didn’t write this, to include some descriptors such as “boiling billies,” and “dinkum blokes” without a reasonable translation is inzane and zilly.

       Anyway, really do enjoy your monthly missive. Keep it up.

    Take care of yourself,

    Ron Peters
    award winning author of the tongue-in-cheek Dun Wheeling PI series: SOS, Night Before August, Castles of Deceit, Sphere of Reason.
    Just released: The Secret Stairway, a Jennifer Paskin Mystery, winner of the Best YA Mystery award


    Age of Nefarious to Age of Aquarius? from Swami
    Firefighters call for action on climate change
    Make a difference: consider Kiva

    Age of Nefarious to Age of Aquarius?
    from Swami

       If we are to truly celebrate the end of the Age of Nefarious ("... when the goon moves into Lincoln's house and stupider aligns with Mars...") that we have suffered through over the past eight years, we must switch our focus from lamenting what's wrong to designing and living what we would like instead. Put another way, to quote Van Jones, Martin Luther King did not say, "I have a complaint."

       This is in no way a denial of injustice and nefarious evildoing. It is an intentional and very powerful shift of focus from the domain of "problems" to the domain of "solutions." And, of course, one of those solutions could very well be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in America to help us metabolize the "political toxins" that have afflicted our body politic for far too long. The focus of such a breakthrough movement would be collective learning rather than punishment, on "healing wounds" rather than "wounding heels."

       More importantly, our collective focus must now shift from deconstructing the caterpillar to constructing the butterfly. We already know what's wrong, and what doesn't work. We have had an eight year course in exactly that, and it looks like we passed. Now we must graduate to a new level of participation and responsibility. The questions to answer are, "What would we like instead?" and "How can I apply my skills, talents, love and resources toward weaving a web of mass construction?"

       As we see the house of credit cards economy crumbling around us, how do we build a real, nurturing economy based on clean and abundant food, renewable energy, applied love and nurturance, and imaginative technology that multiplies our resources without damage to the natural world?

       In the coming months, we will be developing and launching the Department of Heartland Security to proliferate news about heart-based, functional ideas, projects, businesses and organizations so that the best of these global ideas can be applied locally. Click here to join the Department of Heartland Security community now.

       I am pleased to be partnering with three organizations with similar missions. In the Heart domain, I am working with the Institute of HeartMath (hear Heartland Security Radio interview with HeartMath's Howard Martin here)

       In the Land domain, I have partnered with the Interdependent Project, dedicated to bringing sustainability into the mainstream so we can all become "interdependently wealthy."

       In the Security domain, I am happy to be part of the Transpartisan Alliance, a member of their Sunshine Cabinet, and a presenter at their first Citizens Summit in Denver, February 11th-15th

       Please also note the launch of Heartland Security Radio on the World Puja Network, which we characterize as "heart-headed uncommontary and news before it happens." These interviews with known and not-yet-known visionaries and innovators on the healing edge will be archived for a year, so they provide a treasure chest of inspiring and informative programming.

       So, yes. Celebrate the Inauguration, if you are so inclined. And even more importantly, let's celebrate the dawn of political climate change where we leave the tired and obsolete positions of left and right, come front and center, face the music and dance together.

       May we finally inaugurate this new millennium as we turn the funk into function, and leave the junk at the junction.

    Firefighters call for action on climate change

       Peter Marshall is the national secretary of the United Firefighters Union of Australia. He has written an open letter to the Prime Minster, in which he uses evidence generated by research funded by the Australian Government to support a case for throwing out Australia's wimpish carbon dioxiode emission targets. He forcefully argues for halving Australia's greenhouse contributions by 2020.

       Floods in the north, drought and incredibly savage bushfires in the south are not accidental. They are predictable effects of global warming. Slight tweaking of business as usual isn't going to do any good.

       Mr Marshall gives specific examples, based on research, that show the huge increase in risk. For example, predictions for Canberra, where the Prime Minister now has to spend much of his time, are that the number of days with extreme fire danger will grow by 221% by 2050. He said about the current fires in Victoria: "These fires aren't happening by accident... it's highly likely we'll have similar events in other states and territories around Australia in 2010."

       The danger of fire is assessed by a "Fire Danger Index." When this reaches 50, a day of total fireban is declared. On Saturday 7th February, the FDI was 163 -- more than three times the level that results in maximum alert. This is abnormal by the criteria of the past. Sadly, it's likely to come back, time and again.

       Mr Marshall is right. Wake up, humanity!

    Make a difference: consider Kiva

       I belong to "Psychologists for Peace." The Queensland branch of this group has drawn my attention to Kiva, which is a micro-lending organisation. Hundreds of individuals and small groups in poor countries are helped to make an honest living through small loans from us in lucky places. You can contribute as little as $US25, which is repaid over time. So, if you have a little spare cash, all you are really donating is the interest lost.

       For example, I have loaned $25 to a young woman in Vietnam. She needed some $300 to buy gas bottles, which she sells at a market so people can cook their food. This then enables her to send her kids to school.

       You can choose recipients from all over the world. The record of repayment is excellent, and if you were to lose your investment, it'd be because the mini-enterpreneur suffered a tragedy. The past record shows remarkable honesty.

       By investing in Kiva, you are building bridges between cultures. It is the best way to fight terrorism, hunger, ignorance and hatred.


    Open letter to the prime minister of Australia from Andrew Glikson
    John James: Human extiction degree by degree

    Open letter to the prime minister of Australia
    from Andrew Glikson

    Australian -- but relevant to everyone, everywhere.


       In his letter to you of 27 March, 2008, Professor James Hansen, leading US climate scientist and chief scientist of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Research, wrote:

       “Global climate is near critical tipping points that could lead to loss of all summer sea ice in the Arctic with detrimental effects on wildlife, initiation of ice sheet disintegration in West Antarctica and Greenland with progressive, unstoppable global sea level rise, shifting of climatic zones with extermination of many animal and plant species, reduction of freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people, and a more intense hydrologic cycle with stronger droughts and forest fires, but also heavier rains and floods, and stronger storms driven by latent heat, including tropical storms, tornados and thunderstorms.”

       Since this letter was written, new research demonstrates the Earth’s atmosphere is more vulnerable to the rise in trace greenhouse gases, which regulate its temperatures, than we wish to believe, and that such rises in the past resulted in extreme shifts in the state of the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere, triggering mass extinction of species. Examples of some of these papers:

       The new findings indicate that targets considered in the Garnaut Review, namely 450 ppm or 550 ppm CO2, can not be sustained. This is because carbon cycle feedbacks, including looming methane emissions, and the dynamics of ice/warming melt water interactions, threaten runaway warming leading toward tipping points, as occurred repeatedly in the past.

       Current atmospheric CO2 levels (387 ppm) are already in the danger zone, while carbon gas emissions proceed at high rates (2.2 ppm in 2007; 1.8 ppm in 2008). It emerges that, unless simultaneous efforts are made to sharply cut carbon emissions and develop the technology for down-draw of atmospheric CO2, the future of our young and future generations looks grim.

       The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets formed under atmospheric conditions at, or below, 450 parts per million, which continued emissions and feedbacks will reach within a couple of decades, leading to temperature increases above 2 degrees C, advanced ice melt and metres-scale sea level rise.

       Large mammals can hardly exist on land on an ice-free Earth, nor can human civilization survive such conditions.

       In the wake of your election commitment to evidence-based policies, you were given a historic opportunity to lead the world by example in relation to what you have correctly described as the great moral challenge of our generation, through conversion of a coal-intensive highest per-capita carbon-emitting economy into an alternative energy-based system.

       This could tilt the scales in an increasingly desperate global effort to avert what has been recently described by John Holdren, Obama’s new chief science advisor, as the global climate disruption.

       Less than one year has elapsed since Hansen’s letter was sent, and while isolated weather events are not necessarily related to climate change, a dangerous trend has developed consistent with projections of atmospheric science, relegating southern Australia to droughts and fire and the north to intense cyclones and floods.

       Given the gravity of the matter, I suggest you urgently convene a climate summit, where your government can listen to reports of severe climate disruption around the globe and in Australia, and to what the science says regarding future generations your government was entrusted to protect.

       Honorable Prime Minister, as communicated by James Hansen, your leadership is required. I hope this will happen in the spirit of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    Yours faithfully
    (Dr) Andrew Glikson
    Earth and paleo-climate scientist
    Australian National University
    9 February, 2009

    John James: Human extiction degree by degree

       What will climate change do to our planet?


       If global warming continues at the current rate, we could be facing extinction. So what exactly is going to happen as the Earth heats up? Here is a degree-by-degree guide.

       Just remember that 1oC is virtually here now and that 2+oC is inevitable over the next two decades from what we have already put into the air.

    1oC Increase (by 2012±): Ice-free sea absorbs more heat and accelerates global warming; fresh water lost from a third of the world's surface; low-lying coastlines flooded.

    2oC Increase (by 2030± -- how old will you be then?): Europeans dying of heatstroke; forests ravaged by fire; stressed plants beginning to emit carbon rather than absorbing it; a third of all species face extinction.

    3oC Increase (never if we stop now, otherwise before 2050): Carbon release from vegetation and soils speeds global warming; death of the Amazon rainforest; super-hurricanes hit coastal cities; starvation in Africa.

    4c Increase: Runaway thaw of permafrost makes global warming unstoppable; much of Britain made uninhabitable by severe flooding; Mediterranean region abandoned.

    5oC Increase: Methane from ocean floor accelerates global warming; ice gone from both poles; humans migrate in search of food and try vainly to live like animals off the land.

    6oC Increase: Life on Earth ends with apocalyptic storms, flash floods, hydrogen sulphide gas and methane fireballs racing across the globe with the power of atomic bombs; only fungi survive.

       Chance of avoiding six degrees of global warming: zero if the rise passes five degrees, by which time all feedbacks will be running out of control.

       Abstracted from Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas, HarperCollins, price £12.99. Thanks to Richard Girling who made this investigation into the reality behind the science of climate change.

    Deeper Issues

    Walking, boring?


       I saw true love the other day.

       Two little white butterflies fluttered around each other. Then, one settled on the ground and spread her wings. The other became very excited. He made tiny circles around her, nibbled the tip of one wing then the other, kissed her everywhere with a joy that lifted my heart. He didn’t need words to say “I love you! You’re the most wonderful lady butterfly in the world and I am so ecstatic that you are mine!”

       Every movement was full of excitement, delight and love.

       After awhile, I decided to leave them to it, rather than intrude on the privacy of their mating.

       OK, OK, I know about pheromones, and how no doubt it was all an automatic mechanistic coupling that had nothing to do with real emotion. That’s the province of humans only, isn’t it?

       Well, think about the beetle with purpose then. I was sitting down, and it landed near me. It saw one of my feet, and started to march toward it. Being a tease, I moved my foot. Beetle wheeled right, and went for my foot again. This went on time and again. It had a determination and persistence I had to admire. After about ten moves by me and direction-changes by my six-legged dancing partner, I stayed still. It climbed up, and sat there like a King of the Castle.

       I don’t know why it wanted to sit on my foot, but it’s a travesty of language to deny that it had decided to do so, and persisted until success came.

       In olden days, when I still killed flies, I was often amazed at their ability to take evasive action. As the folded newspaper descended, the little fellow often managed to get into the corner of a window, or to skitter sideways at the right time. It could wait till the last minute until I’d committed myself to a blow, then fly away. If I didn’t know that flies are brainless, I would have considered their manoeuvres to be intelligent.

       Now, I think maybe they were.

       Entomologist Dr Adrian Dyer has been training bees in visual recognition tasks. Although the bee brain contains less than 1 million neurones, they can learn to identify a human face from an angle they have never previously seen, something computer-based recognition finds difficult. The point of the research was to help develop artificial intelligence systems. What it tells me is that bees are pretty smart people.

       I think it’s incredibly arrogant to limit emotion, purpose, perceptive ability and intelligence to humans only, or even to mammals only. Statements like this are usually accused of being anthropomorphic. That is, it’s supposed to be sloppy thinking, analogically assigning human-like aspects to other creatures. Well, I now disagree. I think that refusing to acknowledge the universality of such things in the animal world is sloppy thinking.

       What do YOU think?


    Walking, boring?

       A friend on a writing list is trying to lose weight, but complained that walking is so BORING. I was cheeky enough to respond thus:

       Walking can be a form of meditation.

       Look around. There is a sky above. Never is it the same. Grey, blue, the palettes of the sunrise and sunset, storms and fluffy clouds on the gentle breeze...

       One of the things I like about this planet is the birds. Wonderful little people, they go about their business in a way that I find amusing, edifying and entertaining. Watch birds, and you'll never be bored.

       Plants are interesting people too. From the tiniest mosses to the mightiest trees, all are unique individuals who deserve the focus of attention. I have saved people from suicide by asking them to study the leaves of a tree -- each different, each responding to the breeze in its own way, you can even say, each with a personality of its own.

       There are the human things too: buildings, garden designs, children, facial expressions each hiding or displaying a story, pathos and courage and cruelty and kindness.

       And all this is only vision. Listen to the symphony of your surroundings, ranging from the sound of your own breath to the many sounds that surround you.

       You also have a nose, and though it's not the nose of a canine, it does well enough, and with practice will pick up a lot about your world. Some of it is poetry, some, well, modern poetry, which to my mind is on the nose, but all of it worth focusing on.

       That's the outside. Within, you can go into a restful trance by noting the feel of the ground on the soles of your feet, the smooth coordination of arm and leg and muscles as they stretch and contract in smooth harmony.

       Walking, boring?


    So many things wrong with me
    Tortured by the monster What If
    I am angry and abusive
    Therapist attacked?

    So many things wrong with me

    Dear Sir,

       I think I am suffering from intense depression of some sort along with obsessive compulsive disorder because I am addicted to porn and can’t let go. I am not sure if these are just symptoms because I feel I have a personality disorder of some kind like narcissism or something.

       I am so full of myself that I cannot think of others. I am pessimistic, highly negative minded and every day is a big challenge for me. I think I am spoiling my own life.

       I am not sure what it is anymore but I have corroded my sense of self to an extent that I cannot recognise myself anymore. The only way I am holding up is by totally shutting myself up and not expressing myself, praying to GOD, reading spirituality and trying to be moralistic.

       It is like there is a battle of good and evil within me all the time and I am too scared of life.

       How do I get out of myself...

    Please advise

    Dear Vince,

       I think your main problem is that over time you have formed the habit of focusing on negative things about yourself. Hidden in your message, there are lots of good things about you, and I suspect you don’t even realise them. Here is what I have picked out, just from your few words:

  • You believe in God, and use prayer as a way of coping.
  • Your have a clear view of the kind of person you would like to become. In the battle of good and evil, your motivation is to be on the side of good.
  • Even while you are doing things like looking at pornography, you dislike this.

       Think of this as a destination you have in mind. It is where you are going. When you have arrived, you will no longer be interested in pornography. You will be able to focus your energies on other people instead of yourself. You will feel good about being the person you are.

       How to get there?

       First, get rid of all those pathological labels you are torturing yourself with. You are a good person. Some of the things you do are excellent. Some are OK. And there are some that are growing edges. They are the things that make us suffer, but that is a goad to improvement.

       I suspect you may have started looking at porno stuff because you were lonely. But you realize that porno exploits people, and it is an evil thing.

       Sex has nothing to do with it. Good sex, like good relationships is when two people each do everything possible to make things good for the other. Porno, bad relationships, bad sex is when each is trying to grasp as much as possible, and the other person is only a tool for getting what we want.

       Once you realize this, porno will have no appeal for you. It is only the rubbing together of two bodies.

       I suggest you get involved in activities that include both men and women, preferably activities that do something good for others. Be of service. Act the part of the self-confident, caring person you intend to become.

       Soon, that will be habitual, and it will have come true.

    All the best,

    Tortured by the monster What If

    Hi Bob,

       I'm sorry, I got your email address from a letter you wrote to a girl with bi-polar. I'm really struggling and I don't feel like I'm getting the help I need.

       My family are hurting, I'm hurting. I'm getting worse and am too frightened to contact my mental health centre because my CPN just upped and left. I found out seeing her shopping. She knows when I don't contact them that it's generally because I'm not doing good, yet I've been left to find out she's left from her in town.

       My doctor is saying I have social anxiety, my old CPN was adamant it is emotional intensity, which I do agree with but how could she just leave. Every day I worry about losing the people I love most around me, every day. I get horrible thoughts and panic. I want to know what my Mum is up to at ever minute just so I know she's ok. It's making her ill and stressed worrying and being so smothered and I know I'm hurting her but I just can't help it. I feel like I wake up, push myself so hard to be ok, to be normal and not to snap but I always seem to loose it. She's walking on eggshells and it's not fair. I can't relax and these thoughts are too much. I can't cope with them. I need help but like I said my CPN has left and my doctor is adamant I don't have emotional intensity. I'm sure I have but don't have the confidence or the strength to tell him I disagree.

       I don't know who you are, have tried writing to the Samaritans but they didn't get back to me. If you know what I can do or can give me any advice, please. I can't keep flicking from being ok to being like this. I'm calming now-can't remember exactly what I said but I know it was hurtful. I'm physically aggressive when I get so angry and full of rage or frustration.

    Please help me,

    Dear Callie,

       There is nothing to apologise for. I get emails like yours quite frequently. My reason for being on the planet is that somehow my words can make people become more powerful at taking charge of their lives.

       First, this woman who had been working with you is an employee of the mental health centre. She is allowed to leave that job, if that's what she did. What do you do if the shoe shop closes, and you need a pair of shoes? I'd go to another shop. What do you do if your previous counsellor is not available? I'd go to another counsellor.

       Is that thought scary? There are two possible courses of action: go back to the mental health centre and establish a connection with a new counsellor, or not go back. For each of these, ask yourself three questions:

       What is the worst outcome?

       What is the best outcome?

       What is the most likely outcome?

       Estimate how likely each of these is.

       So, the worst outcome for not going back might be that you don't get any help. That's pretty high probability, isn't it? The best outcome may be that they come running after you to see how you are.

       The worst outcome for going back might be that you don't get on with the new person. The best may be that the new therapist is far better than the previous one. I am only guessing of course, since I know nothing about your circumstances except for what you wrote. You can make far better estimates.

       Did this counsellor abandon you? From your letter, I have the impression that sometimes you feel like that. It is one possible interpretation of her actions. I'd like you to do a bit of brainstorming and come up with other possibilities. How about she is burned out in her job and can't do it any more? Or she's been at it for 20 years and is taking long service leave? Or her husband got a job in Timbuktu and she is packing, ready to go. Or her mother developed cancer, and she's given up work to care for her. Or she won a million pounds in a lottery. Or... a million things.

       Now, I've never heard about emotional intensity as a diagnosis. But social anxiety is something many people suffer from. Mind you, there may be things that you do that are indications of social anxiety, but you have not described them here. So, as far as the evidence I have shows, you don't have that either.

       You certainly suffer anxiety. Look up my panic page, and see what you can do to fight that problem.

       I think the reason for all the anxiety is that you are suffering from What If. You get a thought: "What if my Mum is having a heart attack?" "What if robbers strike the bank where Mum just went?" "What if this thunderstorm brings lightning that hits Mum?" Of course I don't know the details, but I hope you get the idea. You can insert your real What If thoughts here.

       Callie, these thoughts are not real. Thinking them doesn't make them true. George Bernard Shaw once said, "We suffer a thousand dangers every day. One or two of them may actually come true."

       I suppose your Mum must be an adult. She must have lived before you were born. If tomorrow you left home and went to live in America, she'd survive just fine. So, next time you worry about her, just tell yourself, "That's just a What If. I don't have to believe What Ifs."

       Think of all the million times that you checked up on your Mum to see if she was OK, and guess what? She was OK. How many times have you had a What If about her that was correct? So, go with the evidence. Chances are overwhelming that the What If is false, and she is doing as she always does.

       And "I can't help it" is exactly the same kind of thought. You can't help having a worry, but you can help what you do about it. You can choose to ignore it, and get on with your life. And every time you starve your fears like that, they get weaker. So, stop feeding them by taking them seriously.

       OK, last problem, getting physically aggressive. I suggest you learn one of the eastern martial arts: judo, karate, kung fu, tai kwan do. If properly taught, they develop your inner strength, so you become strong, self-confident, in control.

       You would also benefit from reading my little book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias. It is very cheap as an electronic book at Twilight Times Books

       You can change your life. That is easier if you have competent help, but even then, you need to do the work. The counsellor is only a guide.

       You have the rest of your life to design. Make it a good one.


    I am angry and abusive

       I know the root cause to every problem that I am in is my anger. My face looks like an aggressive human being. I am not ugly, but I look stoic. People have the preconception that I am a snob just by seeing me. I get angry very quickly and use verbal taunts to the other person. I haven’t harmed anyone but emotionally hurt many. Moreover, I am very hyperactive when it comes to speaking in public. I look aggressive when I speak. I am not like the other girls. There is some different element in me, I am always the different one. Many friends have left me saying they are envious of me. I do have a good personality.

       About my past. I lost my dad at 17. I am 20 now. He was very close and the emptiness still exists. It has left me with lots of frustrations as he died with a painful cancer, which I believe is injustice. I was a tomboy. I thought I was a lesbian, but I wasn’t actually. I am straight. Slowly I realised it. I am perfect in every sense but my anger ruins everything.

       Please help me get calm and normally active. I want to be a normal human being.

       Am I abnormal? Our pre-placement trainers told I was "different" when the question of my anger was put by me. I want to be normal. Please help.

    expecting a lot of help.

    Dear Tadina,

       I can see that English is not your first language, and yet you could express your emotions and describe your situation very well. That means you are intelligent.

       Intelligence means being able to solve problems. You have some problems. You have set them out clearly, and so that a solution is clear, to me at least.

       What is in the way of you finding a solution? I’ll tell you:

       You think of your problems as having something wrong with you. This is not so. Those problems are not a part of you. They are things you are doing.

       So, think about how you can do them differently.

       If you feel angry, this is not something you decided. It came to you, automatically, as if you were a machine. Or maybe as if you were a puppet, and the anger pulled the strings that make you move.

       You have no choice in what you feel. But you do have a choice in what you do. You have described some of the things you don’t like about what you do. OK, practice how to do them differently. I think you have a clear picture of how you would like to act. Do it. At first, it will seem false, artificial, but with a few months of practice, it will become habitual, the way you now do things.

       I am sure there are people who care for you, regardless of how you have been acting. Find a few you can trust, and ask them to help. They can remind you when you are acting the old, angry pattern, and praise you when you succeed at the new pattern.

       Now, on to where it may be coming from.

       You feel anger. Did you feel such anger before your father died? You feel it was unfair that he had to die in suffering, although he was a good person. But the world doesn’t run like that. Illness and death are not punishment. They just happen. Everyone has to die. Some do so before even being born, others live 100 years. The length is not important. Also, death is not the end of a book, but the end of a chapter.

       You know, being born is suffering too. It hurts. Often dying hurts too. It is just a part of life.

       Think of all the good things about your father. You love him. There are reasons for that, beyond the fact that he is your father. Have pictures of him around, write stories about the good times with him. When you need to think about something, ask his advice. You will know what he will say, because you know him well.

       He died. He suffered when he died. You can choose to focus on this, and become angry. Or you can accept it, and focus on all the good things, and get on with the rest of your life.

    You can make it a good life.

    Therapist attacked?
    from Ken Pope

       Today I created a new web page of resources for therapists who are stalked, threatened, or assaulted by patients.

       The possibility of being stalked, threatened, or attacked by a patient is a concern for many therapists and an occupational risk for all. For example, in *Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Practical Guide, 3rd Edition*, Melba Vasquez and I reviewed research indicating that:

  • Almost 1 in every 5 psychologists reported having been physically attacked by at least 1 client.
  • Over 80% of the psychologists reported having been afraid that a client would attack them.
  • Over half reported having had fantasies that a client would attack.
  • Over 1 out of 4 had summoned the police or security personnel for protection from a client.
  • About 3% reported obtaining a weapon to protect themselves against a client.

       The new web page includes citations and excerpts from 35 key resources that present research findings, incidence & prevalence stats, characteristics of high-risk patients, precipitating events, methods & motives, forms of attack including those that are fatal, issues in recognizing and responding to risks, PTSD & other common effects, dangers to therapists' families, issues in prosecuting patients, training recommendations, and prevention strategies.

       The web page is at:

       Please forward this announcement to any lists or individuals who might be interested in these resources.

    Ken Pope

    For Writers

    Publicity through helping
    by Paul Krupin

    This is an extract from a much longer article by Paul. Look him up at

       The best media coverage results when you offer something of value that appeals to lots of people in the audience at a deep personal level. By far, the highest impact media coverage and sales comes from value-packed problem solving messages placed before needy people in a dramatic way.

       If you want publicity and sales you need to craft your messages and couple them with actions so that you help the people you can help the most. With authors and publishers, this usually means that you create and use a problem solving tips article approach which identifies a crucial problem and offers your best advice on how to solve or alleviate that problem. Then when people read or see this type of message, they experience hope and desire for these benefits, and they contact you and purchase the book, product or service that you offer.

       You need to answer three key questions to use this technique successfully.

  • What can you do to help people?
  • Who are the people you can help?
  • How can you reach them to let them and others know you can help them?

       This technique is very powerful. Helping people in need gets attention. It brands you as a helpful person. It motivates people to find out more about you. Depending on the value of your help, it even creates a sense of obligation that triggers a reciprocal response. Of course, the beneficial impacts this has on your relationships are your prospects and dramatically reduces the barriers to sales.

       With non-fiction books, products and expert professional services this technique the help you offer is based on the topic in which you are most expert. The people you focus on are those who need your expertise the most.

       Even if you are a fiction author, focus on those people who are most interested in your type of work and you choose to be helpful, entertaining, inspiring and galvanizing so that they get interested in you and what you have to offer.

       What is Help? To help means to give support or assistance that solves a problem or improves a situation in some tangible way. To help means to give a remedy or provide relief to someone or do something for someone else that enables them to achieve something they want, need or desire.

       Help can be a noun. You can give people something tangible or intangible that they do not have enough of.

       Help can be a verb. You can do something for people that they cannot do by themselves.


    New support site for cancer sufferers and their carers

       Regular readers of Bobbing Around will know Carolyn Harris. She has now set up a web site as a resource, meeting place and community for people who battle cancer, and for people who love them. It is for anyone from 16 to 116, man, woman or child with any type of cancer, and is for Carers and for people who have lost loved ones to cancer as well.

       Over the years, Carolyn has saved many lives, and helped people to put meaning and serenity back into the way they see the world. If you need her, she will be there for you too.

       The link is http://www.darkiescancercorner. You can email Carolyn at

    What my friends want you to know

    Earth heart restorative living workshop, Moora Moora
    New Spring contest

    Earth heart restorative living workshop, Moora Moora

       A one-day programme of explorations and observations offered by the Learning Centre of the Moora Moora Cooperative Community

    BETWEEN 11.00 AM AND 6.00 PM.
    This is a satellite event of the 2009 Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival

       Workshops on


       Explore the advantages, challenges and joys of being a member of a community working to live in harmony with the land and with each other. Together we will consider questions such as…

       How do we live with renewable energy? What are its constraints and pleasures? What does it mean to one’s sense of home to build it yourself with the help of your friends? What is a sustainable balance between living in a community and maintaining one's identity and privacy? What role does community participation play in personal development? How does where you live nurture and challenge? What methods can you use for reflection, regeneration and conflict management?

       Full price is $45 per person. $35 is available to participants with a concession card. The cost includes attendance at one morning and one afternoon workshop and a guided tour.

       For more details about the programme and how to register, check our web pages at:
    Or contact us via e-mail at
    Moora Moora is located on Moora Road, Mount TooleBeWong, south of Healesville, Victoria, Australia


       The February issue of Bainstorming is now live at Subjects this month:

       Financiers' apologies? Watching Time, Sony Ebook Reader, Anniversary Roses, Tonto, Snake Eats Tail, Book Report, Hardest Job in the World, Ironic Togetherness, Progress Report, Excerpt From Ultimate Suggestions

    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007.
    Dream Realm Award, 2007. See for all my books.

    New Spring contest

       Bookswelove always has a free contest. Just coming up is one celebrating Spring, which seems odd to me: Autumn is starting in the Proper part of the globe. I know there will be giveaways of paperbacks, because the call has gone out to members for donations.

    A bit of fun



    This is making the rounds of the internet. I saw it posted by Janet Elaine Smith. I wish I could find the author, because congratulations are due.

       Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

       These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

       Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

       Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.



    Sometimes Hearts Have to Break by Petrea King
    Through Other Eyes reviewed by "ChrisChat"
    Bizarre Bipeds from Robn Bayne

    Sometimes Hearts Have to Break
    25 inspirational journeys to healing and peace
    by Petrea King

    Random House Australia, 2004
    ISBN 1 74051 333 9

       This is perhaps the most inspiring book I’ve ever read.

       Going through the 25 stories made me into a better therapist -- and a better person. If you see Petrea King’s name on a book, buy it. If you borrow it from the library, you’ll want to buy it anyway, because it’s not something to read once.

       The title seems depressing, but its history is uplifting. “Sometimes hearts have to break” was said by a dying little girl. But the full quote was “Sometimes hearts have to break before they heal.” This child had learnt a lesson all of us need: that suffering is the path to growth, the spur to emotional evolution. She had the joyful acceptance of death that I have seen in a few clients with cancer. People suffering intractable pain morphine won’t touch can radiate a serenity and acceptance. A few days before death from breast cancer, Anthea worked on her funeral service, and said to me, “Cancer is the best thing that’s happened to me. It puts what’s important into perspective.”

       But Anthea was a wise person in her 50s. “Kate” was a little girl of 10.

       Petrea has worked with tens of thousands of people with life-threatening illnesses. She established the Quest for Life Foundation as a resource for them, and this is her reason for gracing this planet with her presence.

       Why does she do this? Leukaemia nearly killed her. Some idiot doctor told her “You won’t see next Christmas,” which left her with about 12 weeks to live. She dates her recovery from 1984, so we have to agree, medical predictions are not to be believed. Fortunately, she is a fighter, and didn’t allow a self-fulfilling prophecy to kill her.

       The first of the 25 stories is her own. Her childhood was disrupted by a long succession of health issues. She was raped at 17, then later on developed the cancer. She lost her brother to suicide.

       We have choices. She could have chosen the path of “Not fair, why me,” taken by so many of my clients. Instead, she grew, and has been there for others to lead them to growth.

       In a way, the other 24 stories are Petrea’s too. These are not dry case presentations, but uplifting personal accounts of her interactions with someone who had taught her a lesson. Reading the story, we can learn the lesson too, far better than from any lecture.

       I have Petrea’s permission to share one of these stories:


       What are the lessons Petrea has taught me?

       On one level, nothing new. The research literature on therapeutic outcomes says the same: the importance of client resources, of the therapeutic bond, of the client’s perception that the therapist cares and is willing to go the extra mile. I already know that technique is secondary and sometimes immaterial compared to providing an emotional atmosphere in which the client feels completely accepted, understood and loved.

       Dry research findings are impressive in their way. But if you want to understand why the findings come out this way, if you want to grow as a person and thereby stimulate the people who come to you out of desperation into growing, then read any book by Petrea King.

    You can find out about Petrea and her current work at

    Through Other Eyes
    reviewed by "ChrisChat"

    Genre: Fiction
    ISBN: Paper: 1-877053-07-4
    Pages: Paper: 88
    Price: Trade Paper: $20.00


       Bob is a unique writer. His story ideas and thought processes come straight from his life experiences and personal observations, more so than for other writers. Bob shares with his readers who he is, what he does and has done. At the end of most stories, he offers up how the story was born.

       For “Through Other Eyes,” he suggests we don’t or won’t want to read the stories straight through. Sorry, Bob, I couldn’t stop myself. I was enjoying them too much.

       Heck, I’m hard-pressed to even point out any favourites. Each story is different, and they run the gambit of genres. Bob writes about families and everyday life. He writes fantasy and science fiction. Some have quiet reminders of lessons forgotten; some will lift your spirits and remind you to just believe.

       Whether it is Bob, himself, or his life as a writer, mudsmith, or psychologist, I’m always in for a surprise when reading him. By the way, you’ll have to check his website to find out what a mudsmith is.


    Bizarre Bipeds
    from Robin Bayne

       Well, it's not quite a review, but I am delighted anyway. Please go to Robin's column at the Baltimore Examiner and see what you can see.


    Carolyn Howard-Johnson: Californian wildfire

    About Bobbing Around

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