Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Contemplating the Place of 'Tears for Tess' by Pepper Winters in the Popular Culture

I went to see the movie 'The Counseler' the other week with my daughter. Why did I do that? Look at the poster here and immediately you will know. I chose by the cover, like I do when reading books:

What's there not to like. The casting of the best Oscar winners, nominees and wanna bees. Directed by one of my favorite directors and scripted by a really well considered screen writer and from a very famous book, which I had not read, mind you.

Do not judge a book by its cover, I say.

It is the same when I first tried to read 'The Fifty Shades of Grey' by E L James. The book that made the concept of sadomasochism normal. I only got to the chapter five and was getting bored. Now I know why. It reminded me of the first book of the 'Twilight' series in its style. It was disturbing. (At the time I did not know that it started as fan fiction to the series). Instead I ended up researching and updating the popular culture of sadomasochism by reading 'Sadomasochism and Ardent Love: A Reader's guide to Fifty Shades of Grey' by Edward Shorter

Why would I do that? I am very interested in this subject matter. If you google me, you find that I have done a lot of research on pornography, prostitution and the history of ideas of the concepts of human sexuality during the last 30 years in several languages.

Sex is normal. What I find interesting and often disturbing is the way it is presented in the popular culture and how that presentation is influencing the audience.

OK! So, I came out of the movie theatre after seeing 'The Counselor' really disturbed. With questions of why would Ridley Scott want to direct such a movie? Is it his statement of life? Maybe it is about our society? What is it about Mexico, that makes it such a suitable place to be used as a background to movies and books like this? And the same with the actors. Bratt Pitt, the philanthropist? What's with that?

It is a cold, cold world we live in when films like this are considered for Oscars despite that whatever happens in them can actually happen in real life.

For me it is the question of placing them in the right expectations with the audience. This movie clearly was not. Mark Dinning, in the Australian 'Empire' magazine (December issue) likes the film or maybe not. "It will frustrate. Or reward. Your choice", he writes. Well, I am really frustrated.

Maybe now that I really think about this. The movie reminded me of 'The Fifty Shades of Grey' in its handling of the subject matter. That would be its aim to shock, when there is really nothing to be shocked about. We are talking about the power over relationships and money. The dominants can be whoever.

'The Tears for Tess' by Pepper Winters, which I just finished is different. The writer is Australian. I like that. The book is being considered for 2013 Scandy Awards for the best erotic novel. It is a well written example of the romantic genre of BDSM with a twist about moral issues. I really like that.

The book is a fine piece of writing, witty and interesting, if you are interested in the subject matter. And it is her first novel! It reminds me of three movies I've seen with similar kind of handling of the subject matter:

Firstly 'The Inferno' of 1999, staring Jean-Claude Van Damme. With very interesting way to depict the futility of death while looking to regain your own humanity.

It really puts across the point of the human life having no value when one of the characters just raps the ever piling bodies in a clad rap and slides them down a Mexican canyon with no remorse or judgement while toasting the death with his water bottle.

The second one is 'Dirty Pretty Things' (2002), starring Andrey Tautou. The movie is written by Steven Knight and it's subject is the trafficking of the human body parts with the backdrop of the illegal emigration to Britain.

I found it very captivating although it was not a romance with a happy ending for the hero and the heroenna like I would like to have had. I am a romantic.

The third one is the resent Steven Knight movie 'Hummingbird' or 'Redemption' (2013) starring Jason Stratham. It is also about human trafficking and the moral issues of violence with the backdrop of the homelessness and the mobs of London.

I find myself drawn to contemplate on the human mind of how it can compartmentalise violence and sex. It is really interesting how when the sex and violence is not confused in the gaining of money or power in books and movies, it is easier to absorb and people like me can find it entertaining and at the same time rising questions about the human behaviour in tight moral situations.

Comparing 'Redemption' to 'The Counselor'', I find that it's unpretentious way to handle the subject matter clearly beats the try hard pretend philosophical banter of the other movie. Maybe it is the difference of the male brain and the female brain in how we interpret the movies, when we see them. But I like unpretentious, particularly when depicting violence.

It is like one of my all time favorite movies 'The Escape from Absolom' or 'No Escape' (1994) with Ray Liotta still tops my list of enjoyable male brain movies because of its straight forward aim to be what it is and nothing else. And with no sex, thank you.

It is based on the 1987 book 'The Penal Colony' by Richard Herley. There are others but this one is still my favorite.

Going back to 'Tears for Tess' then. I have been reading the reviews and the comments about it in the social media. They are excellent, particularly coming from the women. Well, clearly it is a female brain book.

There is the common question with the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' of why she came back for more. The answer seems easy. The next book in the series is being published in the middle of December. So obviously she and Q, the dominant were not done with the moral dilemma. And they are in love, of course. The book is a romance although pretty graphic as such. So, a no brainer.

To tell you the truth, I cannot wait to read the 'Quintessentially Q' when it comes out.

What I am afraid, however, is that Pepper Winters is aiming at publishing a trilogy when I can only see two sides to the immediate story.

What I would like to see as the third segment is an original screenplay by her for a movie with Tess and Quincy explaining their legacy to their 18 and 16-year old children, 20-odd years in the future. It should be directed by Steven Knight and starred by Stratham and Tautou. I would like to see how they handle the moral dilemma and win. It would be a romance, of course.

As I see it, it is good to dream of a better world where people can live in peace without violence and sex can have all its expressions people are comfortable with without double morals or double standards getting on the way.

Many people believe that what we get is only limited by our imagination. I would think that good storytelling can contribute to good outcomes and bring unpretentious positive images into our world.

So, I suggest, let's do it more.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Celebrating the passing of Helena Betrovna Blavatsky on The White Lotus Day

Last week, I was honored to have been invited to speak at the Theosophical Lodge of the Sunshine Coast at Buderim and the Tewantin in honor of The White Lotus Day.

Helena Betrovna Blavatsky died on the 8th of May in 1891. The day came to be remembered and celebrated annually as the White Lotus Day.

Helena wished that people would remember her passing by reading their favorite passages from the Indian epic 'Baghavad Gita' or from the 'Light of Asia' by Edvin Arnold.

For my speech, I chose the first line of the Badhavad Gita: "Dharmaksetre kuruksetre..." Or "On the field of virtue ..." and the 58 verse from chapter 18 of the same epic: "Keep your attention on Me, for if the attention is on Me, you will pass through by my grace ..."

I compared it to the note in Blavatsky's 'The Secret Doctrine' where she explains that it is the personality that must 'cling to the Monad' or otherwise perish.

The esoteric tradition has an understanding that always at a beginning of an age the humanity has been given some new esoteric teachings to follow in order to expand the universal consciousness of humanity. The Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 to ensure that humanity would not fall to utter materialism in the 'coming of the new age' which we have just arrived at.

The Baghavad Gita was written at the age of Aries. The Bible was collected for the age of Pieces and now we have the Quantum Science for the more secular Aquarian age. The teachings seems to be compatible, the method, the wording and the interpretation changes according to the current understanding of humanity.

What the Baghavad Gita stated was that everything real is on the field of the consciousness, from the creation to destruction it is on the field of 'virtue'. That only through the 'divine' grace can the personality hope to cross the bridge that shoots our consciousness to be together with 'Budhi' ( the higher consciousness) and become 'insightful' enough to 'cling to the Monad' and keep its imprint with the higher consciousness.

Monad theory was introduced to the world by Madame Ann Conway, who was the most brilliant pupil of Henry Moore at the turn of 18th Century. (Look up 'The Death of Nature' by Caroline Merchant). The theory was then spread to the population by Leibniz and he also got the credit for it (even in the 'Isis Unveiled' by Balvatsky) due to that women were writing as pseudonyms at the time.

According to the Theosophical Doctrine, there are three kinds of evolutions: the physical, the intellectual and the monadic. The two first ones are well known but the monadic one is mostly unknown to many.

The Monadic Evolution happens in the 'non-locality', where everything is possible. The only thing for a personality who hopes to participate is to elevate itself enough to imprint on the monadic current that enables the memories of the higher consciousness to be passed on to the next incarnation in the ever evolving passage of the monadic evolution.

We are like a holograph of the imprint of a reflection of a Monad that drifts in the current of its own evolution that we cannot even begin to understand as it is outside our imagination and can be anything and everything in space in nothingness.

We can only hope for that through our physical and intellectual evolution we can in time understand the world and the reality we live in a little bit better in order to get to know a little bit more about the purpose of being and becoming.

It is the days like 'The White Lotus Day' that enable us to focus our thoughts in the 'unthinkable' and 'unimaginable' for a few moments. The days like these give us hope that some day, in some new age, we might get to understand how and why we are here and that it was not by change but by intention and purpose that we can live our lives to the full, now and always.
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Contemplation on Changeology: My Changing Directions as a Wild Consultant

If You listen to experts and are used to following trends, then you know that our world is in turmoil and the change is just escalating and even thought to be out of control in some places.

You know how the technology is developing in such a pace that it is hard to keep up. Every time you think you are on top, new things have emerged. While you might be a proud owner of a 3D TV, you know that there is a 4K one available, whatever that means.

You think that your newest laptop with its terabyte of memory is a huge advantagement but at the same time you know to marvel on how the new USB stick can have the same amount in a piece of plastic looking like a dab of paint.

You also know how it takes time to understand about the full potential of social engagement on the net. It is just amazing how people can manage their connections at all with all these possibilities.

The big question is, how do you know what it the best course of action for you? Are you going to continue as if nothing is in the making as you always did or are you going to take the opportunity and change directions and get into the flow of it?
Lately, I have been pondering what would be the best course of action for me to do after finishing a rather long career at the helm of a community organisation in the business of creating, developing, implementing and offering community services, starting from age-care, through to youth and all the way to the prenatal concerns of the community.

By a common understanding, the most direct course of action would be to get another job, quite similar as before with possibilities for advancement. This would be able to take into account the long acquired leadership experience and most of the networked connections that have been acquired while working in the old job. My question is would it be the best action for me and would it be in line with my purpose in life?

I always wanted to make a difference, to aid in the transformation of human consciousness, to participate in changing the world for the better.

For a time as a director for a community organisation, I truly felt that it was a right place to be. The local community can be very inspiring and engaging in its process of change. It is a pleasure to be part of it. The satisfaction is to see that what you were working for actually was realized successfully. But is it enough? What about the world?

So, I went to learn about it some more:

Les Robinson, a very experienced former social marketing professional was having a workshop in what he calls 'Changeology' in Sydney, a couple week ago. Since it was on my traveling way, I was able to attend and participate and learn a few things, including what I could look into in my own goal setting.

For two days we talked about how to design projects that are aimed at changing people's behavior; how to facilitate focus group and how to make sense of the gathered information and put it into a form that would be most beneficial for the desired future of whatever we want to change.

I wished I would have known about this years ago. On the other hand I was able to reflect on what was done in my former organisation and think about how it could have been done better as an easier, more direct kind of process.

My experience in the community helped my understanding that the method Les presented can work in lots of projects, global and local. Adaptation is the key.

So, I decided to change the course of my life, although I was already pretty much on the way to do it anyway encouraged by many dear friends and collegues who have supported my decisions before this.

I am to go with the flow as a wild consultant aiming to help organisations, companies and people wanting to support good causes, especially helping children of the world to a better future.

I will start by traveling to Africa, Swaziland to be precise and by becoming a global engagement and inspiration collaborator in order to help orphans whose parents have died of AIDS.

I am looking forwards to new experiences and challenges around the world and will certainly share them in my blogs here. I am inviting you all to follow.

Thanks for the continuous support I have received from so many people that it is hard to mention them individually. Please, take this as a universal expression of gratitude and friendship to all and everyone who is reading my blogs and engaged in aiding the good and compassionate causes for the betterment of the world around us, locally and globally.

See you around!
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Be the Change You Want to Be - My Year with Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Have you ever questioned yourself and your own ability to change your own circumstances to make your life more meaningful and happier? Have you ever thought that life is really hard and that making a conscious change is not worth the trouble? That leaving everything to chance would be the easiest thing to do? Well, I certainly have.

In my vocabulary, it is called procrastination. Leaving everything to that little change that it might get better on its own without continuous conscious effort from ourselves. We do it all the time, at work, at home, with friends, with family and in ourselves. It is the easy way out. Stalling! We don't really want to change, get out of the familiar and form new habits.

According to research what people believe and what they actually do is a very different thing. We might clearly see that we are overweight, that our environment is non-productive, our friendships are destructive to our development, but instead of doing something to change the situation, we cling to the comfort of it and complain about the situation. We might even blame it on something or someone else. It is comforting to think that we are helpless as it is the outside circumstances that depress us and leave us no other options than taking it as it comes. We might as well accept the defeat right there and then. Some of us might make an attempt, for a short while and then fall back to the old habits when we find that it did not work anyway. It was doomed from the start and we knew it. We forget so easily. What we did a year ago is not relevant to what we do today anyway.

OK. So, you want to lose weight! The easiest way is to fast, for a few days and lose 3 kg in the process. Or to buy any of the women's magazines and follow any of the celebrity insights and compare yourself to anyone of the pictures, especially the 'greatest looser' pictures an find yourself wanting. And you are back to your old habits.

So, you want to get more energy. The easiest way is to join any gym for a month and/or take up an exercise regime three times a week for eight weeks challenge. That is habit forming and you can be sure that you've lost some centimeters from your tummy and thighs. But did you really change anything in yourself or did you just make a little payment for the change that everything will be better if you just did something? And how about getting a face lift like the celebrities do or a non-invasive treatment that takes five centimeters from your tummy in 30 minutes treatment for a price.

Or, you want to get healthy in another way by eating supplements. Then going to the nearest chemist will be exciting as they certainly have an array of supplements that is said to work and have a slight possibility of aiding in the good health project you have going on there. I am getting sarcastic here even though it is not my aim with this article.

I tried it all during the last year. That is the point! Everything I do becomes a research project. I have done the research. And here are the results:

1. Losing weight.
During the last year I tried many methods of fasting and dieting.

The one I still find the easiest and the best after years of practice is called the Lemon Detox fast with Neera combined Palm and Maple syrup. It can now be bought from most of the health shops around Australia due to the new packaging and renaming the product with a more attractive brand name (Lemon Detox).

I found the fast involves very little effort in that you only need to follow the directions and forget about eating or drinking anything else except water and herbal tea. The reaction I got from those near me was a question on how I could tolerate to fast for ten days drinking lemons without eating? The answer is that forgetting about eating was easier for me than keeping a schedule of eating whatever was on the list of things that I could eat. The booklet that comes with the syrup has lots of suggestions for diverse needs and personality types. The Australian instructions are much gentler on the body than the once I followed in Finland during the 1990's although the practice is the same. The benefit was that I lost three kilos and my cravings for sugar and Coke disappeared.

The easiest way for me to lose weight in a longer term was to quit sugar altogether. David Gillespie in his book Sweet Poison. Why Sugar Makes Us Fat makes a good case study argument for the refined sugar as poison that can be an incentive for some people who need to have a scientific and historical explanation to why eating sugar has made such an impact in the human nutritional habits. It gives a believable explanation why type 2 diabetes is rampant in our society when before it was not even known.

That was my incentive. The fact that my doctor told me that I could fix my type 2 diabetes threat myself. During the last year my sugar levels have gone from 13 to 5.9 and I lost 17 kilos with no more effort than watching my sugar and refined foods diet.
My daughter who said that she could not give up sweets, especially chocolate, restricted her sugar intake in support of my effort and has so far lost 14 kilos.

My only challenge is in the finding that chocolate is also made with maltitol as a sugar replacement and holidays like Christmas and Easter where kindhearted people you love give you chocolate as a present can give you 2 kilos just because maltitol acts just like sugar in your body or maybe it is the fat. Then it is giving that up once the habit has formed that presents a new challenge.

2. Getting more energy through exercise and supplements.
My only and most enjoyable exercise habit has been walking our dog. And that itself is an effort for me who just do not like anything to do with physical strain except when doing it in a social context which I do not have anyway.

So, I tried the gym. I paid for it in order to have an incentive to go there. But no, it did not stick. I had no friends to go with except a paid companion and that is no fun. I tried to take up an eight weeks challenge for myself combined with supporting a charity. After one week, I found an excuse not to go. At least I am supporting some young girls for education with that payment I made. So no amount of money as incentive has been effective enough to get me into exercising. Nothing came of it. What my brain knows to be a best method for losing weight is something I just do not want to do. I tried other non-invasive fat loosing methods instead.

The first one was the ultrasound fat burner. I believe, it actually aided my weight loss last year. At least it was fun although a bit painful. But since I had paid for it, I went through with it and in the process found some other cool things about the modern beauty industry I never would have known otherwise. The benefit of it for me was the experience.

The second non-invasive fat losing technique I am trying is iLipo. So far it has not had any effect but it has been fun. Much more fun that any gym I ever went to. Trying all the machines that shake, massage and squish you in effort to lose weight has been an experience I would not give up. The judgement is still out on its effectiveness, though. I will keep you posted on that.

The best and the most beneficial to my changing appearance during the last year has been the Nu Skin Galvanic Face and Body Spas combined with the Pharmanex supplements, especially Vitality and now R2. I have tried many others as well.

There has been a long time habit in our family to eat supplement as it was a firm belief of my grandfather that the food quality in Australia was not enough to sustain all the vitamins and minerals. He used to order his supplements from those considered by his research the best suppliers and I believed that this contributed to his and my grandmothers long life span despite lots of health risks.

In 2005 after a longer struggle with stress at work and an operation I was recommended Matagenics Fibroblex Plus and Meta A & B Complex as a repair by my friend and massage person. And wow what a difference it made to my life. I could feel how it literally went to my 'bones and sinew' and made my life easier. I supplied the supplement to my daughter and my daughter-in-law after their childbirths and both had really good results. Unfortunately the effects of these supplements are not lasting and in time after 7 years of usage I could not feel the benefits any longer although I am sure they helped.

So, last year I was looking for new things, especially as I knew there was so much new medical research done in the world after the Human Genome was completed. Not only that but there has been a tremendous change in the approach to healing practice as well. There was bound to be more efficient methods and supplements on the market. That's when I was introduced to AgeLoc Science as an approach to resetting the cellular and attacking the cause instead of repairing the damage after diagnosing the signs.

The AgeLoc Science and its friendly positivistic approach of changing the gene-expression instead of using the gene manipulation as the rule to design new human beings as a preferred human behavior also came as an answer to my idea historical research on what really can happen with decoding the human DNA. Instead of looking at it as a treat, we can find a more positive and constructive approach that is based on the same science.

Nothing in my former experience had prepared me in embracing this as a possibility. So I tried it all. I have taken the supplement as recommended and found that they really work. I now feel like I did in my late 20's before giving birth to my third child. I know this because I can remember how I felt then and how much energy I had then in contrast of how little energy I had a year ago. My family has also experienced the benefits in me being able to do much more with them, like going shopping for whole days and going to movies in the evenings after a full workday.
And after my resent blood tests, my doctor says that from the evidence he is convinced that LifePak and Optimum Omega have been a contributing factor in my excellent results. That's good enough for me.

The benefits I have acquired with using the spas can be seen in the picture. It is real.

3. Self-Development and life choices
I find it impossible to go through change without incentive or motivation. The modern brain science tells me that I need a lot of dopamine as a fix and seeing myself in a more presentable light might be one but it does not stretch to maintain my need to change in order to improve my life circumstances.

So, of course the last year has also been full of books and chatting with friends and finding new ideas on all areas that life can bring. My favorite books are in the picture apart from The Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson, which I have passed on already.

In the nutritional field the winner is David Gillepie, hands on. His books have certainly inspired me beyond just looking at food but to actually start paying attention to what is in the food I eat. I also now own a very cool App called FoodSwich that allows me to scan everything I buy and see if there are healthier varieties on the market to try.

In the business strategy field my son recommended Business Model Generation and I have been fascinated by the approach. And you can also Business You. How cool is that!

In the motivational and changeological fields there is Barbara Fredrickson with her positivity research and Les Robinson with the psychology of change. What a combination. And the coolest thing is that on Pinterest I can now collect pictures for My Positivity Portfolio as a reminder to see how positive I can get.

In the spiritual field I will choose The Healing Code by Alexander Loyd. What an impact it had on me and judging from my friends to whom I have spread the message, it is a huge source of solace in many ways. I use the method and feel better for it continuously.

And in the end it is back to my old favorite anyway. It is back to the roots with the Blavatsky Quotation Book, edited by Winifield A. Parley. I better check what it says for March the 31st:

"The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man (sic), save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychosis and reincarnations." (SD,1,17)

How suitable is that for the last words for 'being the change you want to be' right now.
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Contemplation on New Years Resolutions for 2013

So, it is the New Year and time for new resolutions. Usually, according to statistics from the Australian TV program The Project (01/01/13) by the end of the first month of the year 25% of the promises we have made to ourselves have been broken and during the second month the non-action escalates to 46% of resolutions not being attended to. What kind of conclusion should we draw from that?

The Project concluded tongue in cheek that the resolutions were made by people who were mostly dunk and who cares for the promises made while being affected by alcohol anyway! I feel though that the data shows the volatility of people in general. Our promises are often made while 'crossing the fingers' behind our backs. New Year's Resolutions are often made just because it is part of the celebration tradition and not because people seriously think of commitment. Inspiring? Not in the least.

However, this year I was inspired by finding my hidden practical abilities instead of making promises I wouldn't keep. I am figuring that by appreciating what I find I didn't know or remember I can do, I could commit my abilities to refocusing in committing to my already so many times thought over and voiced New Years Resolutions. No need to make so many new ones. I already had made them ten times before so they must be good and important.

I found that I can for example read 'complicated' IKEA furniture assembly instructions and by following the steps, I can put together any number of pieces of furniture, like sofas, TV stands and most importantly bed frames all on my own. Surely some sweat and some mishaps have gone into the project but mostly the results have given me a huge boost of confidence in myself and my abilities to do whatever I want to accomplish.
Taking the cue from what I have now learned about me, I find myself more confident in writing down my annual list of what I want for the new year.

Here is an example of how to do an action plan for 2013 New Years Resolution list:

First evaluate the last year's resolutions. Hopefully they were written down for evidence based data collection.
I prefer to have them under four categories: Emotional, Mental, Financial and Physical.
It is surprising how many items can be ticked off from the list.

Secondly, think how you really want your life to be a year from now. Even write a letter for yourself dated on the next New Year of the gone year. Then break the resolutions to smaller actionable bits.

Thirdly, make a monthly/weekly action plan depending on the suitability of the resolution. Some resolutions are statements of intentions on where you want your life path to lead.

Fourthly, and most importantly believe in your own ability to commit to the plan. It only takes four weeks to develop it into a habit.

Have a great New Year and enjoy your new found happiness in yourself.

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