A New Kind of Therapy

There was a wellness fair at an alternative health center in Burlington today.

I had a free salt water foot detox procedure.  That was okay.

I also had a free sample of didgeridoo vibroacoustic therapy.  Now that was interesting.  You lie on massage table that has speakers in the mattress.  The speakers are attached to a didgeridoo.  So as the instrument in played, the table vibrates and you get a strange kind of gentle massage.

The guy who offered this also makes and teaches playing the didgeridoo.  He had some research information on his table.  Some evidence suggests that playing it strengthens throat muscles that tend to go soft and cause obstructive sleep apnea.  An alternative to one of those C-PAP machines.

Interesting that there is always something new to learn.

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The set up did involve an impressive array of sound mixing equipment — something of current interest to my grandson.  Sometimes it’s hard to encourage his varied interests.

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What I Want to Know

From the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, responsible for enforcing Federal laws related to discrimination and harassment:

Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

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Hearing all the news lately, it is tempting to say all men are pigs.  However, I know many fine men and, unfortunately, I have known a few women who were completely capable of harassment.

Like sexual assault, there is a concerning balance of power issue at play.

As I understand assault, it involves attempted or actual physical harm.  The harm alluded to in the above definition of harassment seems to have to do with either an uncomfortable feeling (hostile environment) and adverse impact on job security.  It almost seems more benign that assault.  Is it?  Because sometimes psychological harm lingers longer than the physical.

Harassment becomes illegal when it is severe or frequent.  This is not simple teasing (bad enough) or offhand comments (I’ve made them but I learn quickly from adverse reaction) or isolated incidents (whoops, so sorry).  Things happen and you say, “Not okay.”  Not to blame victims, but if you don’t confront the small things some get the idea they are okay.

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What I want to know is what do we call sexual advances, requests for “favors” or inappropriate language of a sexual nature when it is not part of the workplace environment?  It’s still harassing, right?  But is it illegal? (I’ll note here that I took a career aptitude test when I was in college and my aptitude for anything law related was nearly zero.  I supposed I could have had a legal career, but I would have had to always act in a way that was the opposite of every instinct of thought and action that I own.)

I also want to know if there are women out there who have never experienced some level of discomfort in the presence of someone else’s acting out in a sexual way?  I had a dentist who had to wipe his hands each time he put them in my mouth (way before the days of latex gloves).  Of course the most convenient place to wipe them was down the paper bib covering my young breasts and giving a little squeeze along the way.  My sister din’t have breasts yet but he wanted to play a game with her called “touch tongues.”  So gross.  So completely unprofessional.

And why didn’t we ever tell our parents, you might wonder. Well, we didn’t want our dad to go to jail for killing the guy.  This experience made us uncomfortable for sure but did it harm us psychologically?  I just think it made us feisty feminists and pretty darn good at recognizing and avoiding predators.

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Some people are pigs.  Some just plain don’t know any better.  But it’s time for us all to say, “Stop it!”

Sufi Story

THE MAN AND THE TIGER

A man being followed by a hungry tiger, turned in desperation to face it, and cried: “Why don’t you leave me alone?”

The tiger answered: “Why don’t you stop being so appetizing?”

 

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And doesn’t that just say it all?

A Buddhist might use this as an illustration of the first and second Noble Truths.

There is suffering — fear of life for the man and hunger for the tiger.

The source of suffering is craving — a craving to continue life and a desire to forestall death for the man; a craving for food and a desire to avoid death from starvation from the tiger.

 

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What a conundrum.  Are there solutions to such conflicts?

Political Comment

I was visiting the Suncoast Festival today.

The lines to the fried dough, sausage and hot dog, and children’s face painting tents were all pretty long.

There was only one person stopped by this tent:

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I just could not help wondering what it takes to embarrass some people.  Really.

Signs

I love when I get signs.  Thank-you, Universe.

On the one hand, I was anxious to make a trip to Florida to check on what needs getting done after Hurricane Irma.  And I miss my Florida friends.

On the other hand, there are good friends and family left in Vermont, plus a budding new romance interrupted as it was starting.

Well, I arrived in Venice and I had to turn the calendar ahead from May to October:

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The Unfairness of Life

I visited my aunt and my cousin this past weekend.  My aunt is 93 and my cousin is 70.

Both of them live in assisted living facilities.

My aunt’s place is lovely.  She has a small kitchenette, a living room and a bedroom.  All are tastefully decorated and plenty of her own things surround her.  Her gentleman friend picks her up and they go to lunch and dinners together in the main dining room.  She uses a walker now and there are definite signs of short term memory loss.  I had not seen her since my uncle’s funeral seven years ago and I feel happy that I got to visit her before I have another family funeral to attend.  We had a good visit and I even got to meet her gentleman friend who is 97.

My cousin is not faring quite as well.  Her place is considerably less appealing, just the single room with bath.  The furnishings are sparse and the look of everything is worn.  I think it would be fair to characterize the place as a warehouse of the waning generations.  Even so, she had to spend seven weeks in a hospital waiting for a room at a place that could accept her.  My cousin was born completely deaf and now she suffers from peripheral neuropathy (started at age 50) and a diagnosis of mild dementia.  She was so loved and protected by her parents.  She has a fiercely independent spirit and lived and worked on her own for many years.  Now that has all been taken away.  She is no longer independent and she is very unhappy and it is heartbreaking.  Just heartbreaking.

Quilts

Quilts have been around for a very long time.  Basically a sandwich of layers of fabric and some type of filling, they range from utilitarian items for keeping body and home warm to works of art.

My sister gave me this quilt top that my mother had pieced by hand.  It still needs the backing and filling layer, which I will get around to doing one day.  This is interesting to my sister and me because my mother used scraps of material left over from dresses that she had made either for us or for herself.  I say us, but in truth my mom made the dresses for me and then my sister, five years younger, got to wear the hand-me-downs.  There are reasons why they say birth order can inform personality development.

IMG_20171004_085423477Can’t say I am wild about the aesthetic of it.

Having grown up in the depression era, my mom was definitely of the “waste not, want not” persuasion.  Scraps of material left after a pattern was cut out would definitely not be just thrown away.

I have been to quilt shows and seen quilts that are so stunningly beautiful they take my breath away.

My quilts are utilitarian, not works of art, but I enjoy making them.

I finished a second baby quilt. I think it is kind of cute.IMG_20171004_091121684

Of course, this one is my sentimental favorite, made for myself out of Mike’s flannel shirts:

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I felt a little selfish not donating them to someone in need of warm shirts, but I wrap myself in this quilt on chilly evenings.  I give most of the quilts I make away, but never this one.  It’s a keeper.  It may not be art, but it means the world to me.

Amy told me yesterday that Kristen has commandeered both of the quilts I made for my grandkids so I need to make another one for Dane.

Giving my sewing machine a good cleaning and oiling is on my list of things to-do for today.

Owl

The pumpkins come and go with the seasons but this owl lives on my mantel full time.  I got it six or seven years ago.  It was an unusual thing for me to acquire at the time, but for some reason it called me and I had to have it.

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I went to Florida in October, 2013, two months after Mike had died.  I got there in the afternoon and went about settling in, then took a walk around the neighborhood in just before sunset.  As I walked, I heard an owl hooting over and over.  It almost seemed to be following me.  As I walked up my street, returning to home. I saw the owl perched a top the very tall pine tree directly across the street from my house. Later, when I went to bed, I heard that owl calling for the longest time.  I felt that Mike was telling me he was nearby and watching over.

Slight digression in case you are thinking the owl thing isn’t whacky enough: The next day I took a walk on Caspersen Beach where Mike went everyday to walk and look for sharks’ teeth.  I stopped at the spot where he always said was his lucky place for finding the teeth.  I stood there for a long time and had myself a good cry.  When I finally turned to go back. I looked out over the water and shouted, “Well, it wouldn’t hurt to throw me just one shark’s tooth!” I took a step and there at my feet was a good sized tooth.  Mike and I had opposing views on the possibility of life after death.  I took the tooth as a sign that he was grudgingly admitting that his insistence on a great nothing might have been wrong.

I came across this quiz, What’s My Spirit Animal. I was predicting a crowbar ( actually predicting a crow — it’s only auto correct that thinks my spirit animal should be a crowbar) maybe hoping for it.  I see crows all the time.  Yesterday, I saw several crows on a lawn while on my way to a friend’s house.  Six hours later, as I returned, I saw crows on the same lawn.  We also saw an eagle swooping out over the lake as we were having lunch.  I figured there might be some message there.  I looked up the crow symbolism which lead me to the quiz.  My spirit animal: OWL.

The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.