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3 terrorists stopped each day in Buffalo!

According to this US border patrol guard, three terrorists a day are stopped at the Canadian border crossings at the Port of Buffalo. That will make me think twice about visiting Niagara Falls any time soon.

You can listen here to an exchange between US Border guards and a Canadian couple trying to go to the mall where this information is revealed.

Awakening

A friend shared this with me. I liked it… a lot. So I thought I would share it with you too.

The Awakening
(Author unknown)

A time comes in your life when you finally get It…when, in the midst of all your fears and Insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out…ENOUGH!!! Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your AWAKENING.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety, and security to magically appear over the next horizon.

You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn’t do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that not everyone will always be there for you and that everything isn’t always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties…and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs are burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO!

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it, and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s okay to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it, and to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes bad things happened to unsuspecting good people…and you learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody’s punishing you and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, and a long hot shower.

Then you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yours

Thinking about Chantix? Think again.

Chantix a.k.a. Champix a.k.a. Varenicline

This post is a bit atypical for me. It has quite a few links to several articles. I am not a doctor. I am not a medical professional or scientist. I just notice the news with a discerning eye, thanks in part to the No Agenda Show


In 2006 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Chantix in the United States. Chantix is a prescription medicine to help adults 18 and over stop smoking. I have been noticing stories ever since then about potential severe side effects of this drug.

Let’s start with the most recent…

June 1, 2011
Chantix Approval Revoked in France
“The study revealed that Chantix is a whopping 18 times likelier to be associated with “violence and aggression” versus other drugs.”
“…Chantix has so much potential danger it should contain restrictions including exclusions for police, military, and others who must carry weapons.”

May 28, 2011 in the Daily Mail
High suicide rates related to anti-smoking drug Chantix were ‘left out of crucial safety review’
“Hundreds of reports of suicides and violent reactions tied to the stop-smoking drug Chantix were left out of a crucial government safety review.”

May 27, 2011 from MSNBC
Smoking-pill suicides overlooked in missing reports: Drugmaker sent data to FDA through ‘improper channels’
“Before last July, the FDA had logged 122 reports of suicides linked to Chantix, including 37 reported by Pfizer and 85 reported by health professionals or consumers, Moore reported. After the 150 new Pfizer reports were added, the total jumped to 272.”
And don’t think this is all new news…

February 10, 2008 in a feature in New York Magazine
This Is My Brain on Chantix
“I’d heard it was the most effective stop-smoking drug yet. So I took it. Then those reports of suicidal ideation began washing in.”

September 19, 2007 from ABC’s Good Morning America
Girlfriend Believes Chantix Contributed to Texas Musician’s Death
“Months earlier people had started posting concerns about Chantix online. There were reports of suicide. “I thought I was losing my mind,” wrote one poster. Another described a “super depressed meltdown.””

PubMed Health is a consumer health Web site produced by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The article from PubMed about Varenicline was last revised on October 1, 2009.
Varenicline (var en’ i kleen)
“Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so) while taking varenicline.”

When I read articles like these it makes me wonder about the motivations for pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. At some level aren’t they supposed to be trying to help people? It could seem that the love of power and money may have overtaken the number one priority. I remember once hearing about this thing called the Hippocratic Oath.

Primum non nocere

The Power of Words

My friends at Purplefeather and RedSnappa made this video and I wanted to share it here. If you follow me on twitter or facebook, I am sure you have seen the posts about it there. I just love it and felt compelled to spread the message. Enjoy!

Hack yourself

I came across this piece a few years ago. It was written by Michael Montoure on bloodletters.com but seems to no longer be around. I just re-read it the other day and thought it should be shared since it isn’t available on the original site any longer.

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Stop assigning blame. This is the first step. Stop assigning blame and leave the past behind you.

You know whose fault it is that your life isn’t perfect. Your boss. Your teachers. Your ex-lovers. The ones who hurt you, the ones who abused you, the ones who left you bleeding. Or even yourself. You know whose fault it is — you’ve been telling yourself your whole life. Knowing whose fault it is that your life sucks is an excellent way to absolve yourself of any responsibility for taking your life into your own hands.

Forget about it. Let it go. The past isn’t real. “That was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.” If we’re not talking about something that is real and present and in your life right now, then it doesn’t matter. Nothing can be done about it. If nothing can be done about it, then don’t spend your energy dwelling on it — you have other things to do.

I may sound cruel, I may sound simplistic, I may sound like I’m saying you should just “get over it,” by suggesting that you should let go of your past. I’m sorry for that. But life won’t hold still and wait for you to lick your wounds. The race is still being run. Get up and keep moving. You can’t do anything about yesterday.

You can do something about tomorrow. And about the next day. Focus your energies there.

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“I don’t have time to write.” “I can’t dance.” “I can’t talk to new people.” “I’m not attractive.”

I hear this all the time. I always hear the people around me sabotaging themselves, drawing lines and borders and boxes around themselves.

To which I say, make the time; dance; just talk to people; be attractive!

Yes, again, it’s simplistic of me to say that. But it’s simplistic of you to so easily say what you cannot do!

We’re excellent pattern-matchers. That’s what the human mind does — it’s a pattern-matching engine. So we look at ourselves, at our history, at our behaviors, and we draw straight lines between the points — we assume that just because we’ve done things a certain way in the past, we’ll always do them that way in the future. If we’ve failed before, we’ll always fail.

Screw that.

Surprise yourself. No — amaze yourself.

You don’t have to keep doing the things you hate. Why go home and beat yourself up for, say, not going over and saying a few words to someone you find really attractive? Can any damage they could do to you by rejecting you possibly be any worse than the damage you’re going to do to yourself for missing the chance?

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Find the demon.

Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s the little voice in the back of your head that’s always whispering, “You can’t.” You know the demon. You may think you hate the demon, but you don’t. You love it. You let it own you. You do everything it says. Every time there’s something you want, you consult the demon first, to see if it will say, “You can’t have that.”

What you don’t realize is that your demon doesn’t know anything. It’s an idiot. It’s nothing but a parrot, repeating back to you anything negative that it’s ever heard, anything that makes you hurt, makes you squirm. If a teacher once told you “You’ll never accomplish anything,” it was listening; it hoards words like that and repeats them back to you to watch you jump. It doesn’t know what it’s saying. It doesn’t care.

Exorcise yourself.

You can take me literally or not, as suits you. But do, please, the next time you hear that voice in your head, imagine it, visualize it, as something physical that you can get hold of; tear it out of you, feel its fingers weaken and lose their grip on your spine, and grind it to dust, to nothing, under your boot heel on your way out to dance in the streets.

You can. You think you can’t; but it’s telling you that. You can.

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You don’t exist.

You just think you do.

We’re nothing but the stories we tell ourselves. We know in our hearts what kind of people we are, what we’re capable of, because we’ve told ourselves what kind of people we are. You’re a carefully-rehearsed list of weaknesses and strengths you’ve told yourself you have.

(Self-confidence, for example, is a particularly nebulous quality you can easily talk yourself out of having.)

You owe no allegiance to that self-image if it harms you. If you don’t like the story your life has become — tell yourself a better one.

Think about the person you want to be and do what that person would do. Act the way that person would act.

Amazingly enough, once you start acting like that person, people will start treating you like that person.

And you’ll start to believe it. And then it will be true.

Welcome to your new self.

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You are a product of your environment.

Most people realize this — usually, in the form of having something else to blame — but they tend to forget one important fact:

Humans are the masters of changing their environment.

What this means is that if your environment effects you, and you can effect your environment, then obviously, you can effect yourself.

• Your environment includes people. Figure out who in your life isn’t good for you, whose presence tears you down more than it builds you up, whose nearness is poison to you — and get rid of them. Get them out of your life. I don’t care if it’s your best friend, your boss, your mother, your lover — if they are harming you, if they are doing nothing but reinforce everything bad you tell yourself about yourself, then your relationship with them needs to radically alter or it needs to end.

• Your environment includes goals. Don’t set yourself pie-in-the-sky impossible goals and then beat yourself up over not achieving them — set yourself goals that will be good for you, not a source of pain. Attainable goals. Set them and meet them. Don’t tell yourself you can’t — that’s the old story, that story you used to tell yourself about what a poor sad victim you were and how you could never change anything about your life. You can meet your goals. This is the new story.

Trying to clean your house? Good for you — a clean house can really effect your state of mind for the better. But don’t say “Today I’m going to clean the entire house from top to bottom,” when you don’t have the time and energy to — don’t set yourself up for failure; don’t feed the demon. Just say, “Today I’m going to wash all the dishes and clean off the kitchen counter.” And do it.

Don’t tell yourself, “This month I’m going to write that novel.” Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to write five pages.” And do it. Take your dreams and break them down into small pieces and you’ll have them in your hands before you know it.

And you’ll find, as you start meeting your goals, that you like it. That it feels good, makes you feel confident and capable. You’ll develop a hunger for it.

• Your environment includes yourself — your physical presence. Do what you know you need to do — treat yourself better. Sleep, eat right, exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to stop staying out late at night now and then, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a candy bar, it doesn’t mean you have to stop sitting around watching television — it just means start doing the things that are good for you as well as the things that are bad for you, every so often. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition; you don’t have to devote your life to being a health nut. Just try eating more fruits and vegetables, the occasional vegetarian meal; go for walks in the park on the weekends. You’ll feel better and be more alert if you’re a little healthier, and once you start feeling a little better, you’ll start wanting the things that make you feel better. You’ll see.

• Your environment includes your appearance. If you’re not happy with yourself, if you’re angry with the person in the mirror, it can honestly help to literally change who you see when you look in the mirror. Try a different hairstyle, new glasses, new jewelry, new clothes. It doesn’t have to be expensive — there’s a whole universe full of possible You’s waiting to be found in thrift stores, if need be. If you’re deciding to become the person you want to be, then decide what that person is going to look like. Dress the part. It’s not shallow, it’s not about vanity, it’s about self-transformation — even the most primitive tribes understand the value of costumes and masks for ritual, for change, for becoming someone else.

You are not an object. You are a system. Like with any system, if you change the inputs — change what goes into it — you’ll change what comes out.

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Despite everything I’ve just said:

Self-examination can be paralysis.

Don’t “remember to breathe” — just breathe. It’s a Tao thing.

It’s the paradox at the center of all this — remember that, “Am I living up to being the person I want to be?”, is not a question the person you want to be would ask.

If I can leave you with just one thought, it’s this:

Stop wasting your time fretting over not being happy.

Just be happy.

brought to you by The Art of Bloodletters

Dig if you will the picture


Many of us tend to live our lives with a lot of “things that need to happen before I am satisfied” conditions. There can be a variety of things such as getting a new car, or bigger house, or new outfit or shoes, or cleaning up that mess in the basement / garage / guest room, or quitting the smoking / drinking / over eating habit, or finding the right man or woman, or finishing school, or a better job, or paying off the credit card… Well you get the idea. 

I would contend that for many of us there is quite a list. And what we might not really realize is that by the time these conditions are met, we will have found new items that have been added to the list.

Here is an thought, act like these conditions have already been achieved. Imagine that you already have the things you want. How does it make you feel? Imagine it. Feel the feelings of having it. For material things, you may want to develop a specific plan to get the thing you desire. Realize though, generally, we are really chasing the feeling we get from having that thing.

More importantly, act how you think the person that has achieved those goals would act. If you wish you were a vegetarian, when you are choosing a food ask yourself what would a vegetarian eat. Choose that food. If you wish you didn’t smoke, play the role of a non-smoker. Do what they would do instead. If you want to lose weight, every choice you make, make the choice a healthy person would make. Imagine what they would do and do it. If you wish your house was cleaner, imagine you have a clean house and take the actions that someone with a clean house would have. It is a subtle shift in thinking but can make a world of difference.

Play the role. Become a childlike for a moment and put every ounce of your new condition into that role. Feel it. Act as if things are already the way you want them to be. Before you know it, they will be.

Unconditionally Yours

I recently read somewhere about just putting an idea out there and seeing what happens. I can’t remember if it was Leo Babauta, Everett Bogue, Chris Guillebeau or who specifically said it. I suppose who said it doesn’t matter. I suppose what matters is that I am taking a leap. I’m seeing if an idea such as this could take root somewhere for someone.

 
Unconditionality


When we are looking for people’s acceptance, what we are really hoping for is an unconditional love although we probably don’t realize it. We keep trying to get someone’s approval thinking that this is the time when they will realize our worth. This is when they will take us for who we are. Love us no matter what. This is what people are after.

So many people are constantly striving for complete acceptance. Yearning to end the fear of being left alone. We are looking for an unconditional love that we are taught from birth is hard to get. Even in the Bible, it says we need to do certain things to be loved by G-d. As we are being raised and into adulthood, we have to do various things to please our parents, family members, teachers, bosses and mentors. If we don’t, they will be unpleased and we will suffer. They will take away the love is doled out as a reward. We must jump through the hoops they put forth to feel their love. If we don’t, punishment.

Maybe that is why we have the addictions and over indulgences we do. Seeking that comfort that is so hard to find. Our parents gave it in limited quantities. So do many of our friends and lovers at some point. If individuals felt unconditional love and support from the people in their lives, if they felt able to be who they really are… how different would this world be?

The Search is Over


Back in 1996 I read an article in GQ Magazine by Tom Junod about tips that his father had taught him. I loved that article. It really had an impact on my then young, just finishing college, twenty-something mindset. I remember telling a friend about it. I even cut it out of the magazine so he could borrow it to see what impressed me so much. I never got that article back. 

Over the years I found myself trying to recall the lessons in those torn out pages. I often thought to myself I wish I could re-read it. Silly as it may sound, in the past I had done searches to see if I could locate it online without much luck. This morning, somehow, I stumbled upon it that article nearly a decade and a half later.

In some small way this might have been the piece that started the process of creating my little rule lists I’ve recently posted here. I hope you enjoy this article as I did so many years ago. My Father’s Fashion Tips by Tom Junod.

Metric System in the United States


Once upon a time, I remember hearing people talk about how the United States of America would be on the metric system someday. It seems like that day may never come, at least not in my lifetime. However if the powers that decide these things really want to make the switch, there is a way to acclimate the majority of the country in about four months time.

Massive campaigns spending money on educational programs would not be needed. It is simple really. It’s football. Change all the football fields from yards to meters. That is it. Starting with pee wee football teams all the way on up to the NFL. In one season, most everyone would completely understand meters. Well maybe it isn’t that simple. You need to get buy in from a lot of people ahead of time. Perhaps we just need to remind the team owners it is for the greater good of the country and they will go down in history as visionaries.

And if you are thinking that this only helps us understand distance not volume, I think the beverage companies of the world are already on that. Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have already made sure people know what two liters look like. They are doing a pretty good conversion with half liters too, after all charging about the same amount for 16.9 ounces instead of 20 ounces is a pretty solid profit move.

So who’s in? Are you ready for some football? Hmmm… maybe I should grab a couple of pints first.