June 25, 2007

Lessons from Panic

OPTIONS - Pathways to Well-Being

In finance, an option is a contract, or a provision of a contract, that gives one party (the option holder) the right, but not the obligation, to perform a specified transaction with another party (the option issuer or option writer) according to specified terms.

In human terms, options imply contracts you make with yourself. They aren't obligatory, but they will help you TRANSACT with yourself!!

I did a little checking and discovered that the term OPTIONS often surfaces when working with the most vulnerable populations, who often do not feel like they have options, like impoverished youth, youth facing mandatory military service, those with illiteracy problems and so on. In the middle of a Panic Attack we do not FEEL as though we have options, we feel like it's fight or die ... or we run away. We are vulnerable.

OR options are associated with the PRIVILEGED, those who have money as a tool and can "buy" something or use their power over others. The use of options is something we can do get our power back, an empowering set of possibilities.

And the possibilities for healthy living are literally endless. Below is an exercise to help you tap all those inner potentials.

In a PANIC attack, or in an intense anxiety situation, the idea we have options appears pretty limited, maybe even non-existent. Am I ringing any bells yet? A good preplan for panic attacks is giving ourselves a way to feel empowered. So being able to recall the exercise below was part of what became for me, a big tool in my recovery tool kit. It's these little time savers that make a difference over the long haul. Using these tools can turn our lives around.

We find out when we list out a few options that we have more time, can use our energy wisely, live with a passion (instead of internal constriction), wish to LIVE in reality and can go from an emotional/mental prison to freedom very quickly.

Options exercise

Take a DEEP breath -- relaxing right into it -- and then:

1. Take a piece of paper and number from 1 to 10

2. Write down each and every option that comes to mind, including those really dire ones.

I mean take a pen or pencil and list out the ghastly options we don't like anyone to know are there, burying themselves in our mind, such as: eating an entire chocolate cake, calling up an old toxic friend (or two or three), taking a trip down to the local bar where we got plastered last panic attack and so on. In a panic, our minds are likely to throw up the MOST despicable options at a "time like this". So we want to take a good look at those, later.

On the other hand, our Survivor inside also remembers some pretty good options, and is really excited to let them have some fresh air, so write down options like praying, meditating (not always easy in a panic attack, but the rest of the exercise should clarify that), take a walk, listen to some LOUD and WILD rock and roll, visit a friend, drink a glass of water or brew some tea ..

Hey, this is up to YOU! This is YOUR list! This is YOU figuring it all out in a framework you can understand.

You will find the limitless possibilities; a good list of 10 will help us reconnect with our intuition.

Write down ONLY ten, no more. We are not aiming for overwhelm. Concentrating on verbs helps us see the possibilities for action and find solutions, if you have a mind to do that.

3. Decide which you are willing to do. Circle those which seem appealing.

Take a look. What ten things were SCREAMING at you ..? The reason we do ten, is that it forces the mind to list more than one, thus we see how our having options is the greatest resource bank to draw on.

If you are like most of us, you will quickly and noticeably just leave the old, stale, self-harm non-options where they belong -- on the piece of paper. By now, your inner balance should have reached a point of equilibrium.

By now, those dire option will seem like what they are, dire and undesirable - these will hurt those we love and who love us. They surely will not lead to growing a healthy self of SELF esteem. They don't lead to growth and change, and perhaps we notice that they were robbing us of our human birthright which is, after all, creativity.

By looking at the list when we are feeling a bit less desperate we find that we can find at least one, or two or maybe more events or activities that we CAN do -- right now.

4. DO one of the circled OPTIONS!

This taking back our right to make decisions is very empowering.

Maybe things are so bad, we have to call a crisis hot line. This is actually an act of self empowerment, strange as that notion may sound. Our hands and mouth connect so that our brain can tune into in some new information by simply dialing a phone number and becoming ready to listen. Our mouths get used in a productive way as we speak our truth. For resources, here is a list of great numbers to call. It really is a great DO option.

You'll find it really doesn't take much to find that you have lots of power, right under your nose.

That's one thing about meeting our needs, they usually -- if not always -- can be fixed by something just as close as our nose, our fingers, our eyes, our ears, or our tongues. Use of the five senses rapidly changes our emotional landscape and our minds begin to clear.

5. Celebrate your success!

This can be so important as it reinforces that we can find our way back from any and all crises. It's a healthy form of self parenting and an amazing stress reducer.

The importance of a long term recovery PLAN

Meditation is a powerful tool for many. But if our mind/body/spiritual connection isn't authentic, meditation can stop us from experiencing emotions that need to be dealt with. It is a great and powerful recovery tool, but I have doubts about its use when having a panic attack. To be useful, some form of meditation must be used every day, even if it's just a few minutes of sitting quietly. I personally call this psi time; you can call it what you like.

I've met meditation addicts. This is a controversial area and not everyone will agree with me. Most people use meditation for the intended purpose - to help relieve a sense of inner peace and to help the subconscious mind unlock inner truths. According to Dr Thynn Thynn, meditation can be as addictive as your
morning cup of coffee or tea. You can become addicted to meditation also. Although this is definitely not a bad conditioning per se, there are many subtleties that one must be aware of in meditation. The mind is very tricky, and one must always be aware of how the mind can be trapped.
If you are using meditation to help your subconscious find new options to deal with your panic then that is a healthy use for meditation. But, if you are using meditation as a way to escape from having to deal with your underlying issues, or to repress anything outside your "comfort" zone, then you will stay stuck in old unhelpful patterns. I have hung out with people who suppress their problems and end up reverting back to the same old, same old answers that never worked. As Ernie Larson has pointed out, insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. You can only resolve these issues and thought patterns by digging deep into the mind/body connection.

And ditto for the affirmations "racket". What I mean by this is that in a crisis, it's hard to trust WORDS. It's great to SAY, right aloud, with each syllable ringing above the din, "I CAN COPE!" But what I am saying is that writing down "I am a beautiful and loving person" 100 times is like scratching on a blackboard with chalk after being found guilty at school. AWK!

Try everyday to take time out for both these things. Make friends with your mirror and say the afirmations right aloud to yourself and get totally comfortable with saying them. But don't expect them to be cure alls during a panic attack.

Ever hear this joke ...? The good news is you are in recovery. The bad news is there are no days off.

When we start making a plan for recovery, the tools we select should accomplish job. No need to use a sledge hammer when a gentle pat will do the job. Prayer, meditation and affirmations are part of Daily Plan - they are not rescue workers.

What looking at active options accomplishes

During a panic attack, what I need is more room for growth. And I need it NOW. My bet is so do you when out feeling overwhelmed.

I know that if I start writing other types of activities down I get the relief I need. Usually it is my Inner Child who just wants to have some FUN. I find instead of engaging in "word work" that I want to reach UP! and OUT, flinging away all the webs and creepy crawlies that are lodged in my inner garden.

I am a walking meditator. I CAN sit for hours, I've had years of practice. And I can go "way out there" with mediation, too, in terms of hitting "other worldly" states of consciousness.

But I find that when my body is full engaged in the walking meditation activity, those inner promptings have a way of coming right to life inside this old noggin of mine. My best ideas have a way to flow. The possibilities enlarge while I am out there among other living beings. Nearly every really good thought I have had has come on "walks". When I lived in the UK, going to Stonehenge and sitting waiting for "answers" didn't do much for me. I went to the awesome Avebury, took a walk all the way round those inimitable stones (where did they come from?), crossed the old riverbed and climbed to the top of the hill. I felt AWESOME! That is when I realized, "Virginia, you are a walking meditator." All of me became open to CHANGE. Even the air I was breathing up on that tor seemed charged with possibility.

The two tools of sitting mediation and affirmations "work" and are most wisely used in a disciplined manner, setting aside prescribed times, rather than being used as a "fix". They deserve proper respect, not to be utilized to "cover up" and distract us from truly dealing with our problems. Most "word answers" have layers upon denial that might mask the real problem, still waiting to be addressed.

Instead, this list making frees up our right brain, coming up with just the right answer!! I love seeing that all I want to do is dance, dance, dance the night away and shake my sillies out. Indulging this craving allows me to get my "stuff" in a proper perspective, which only time can provide.

I am truly amazed how checking in with this "assignment" has accomplished for me over the years. I have a profound sense of what I am really excited about doing, what makes me doze, what has been imprinted on me as being "acceptable". After all, emotional well being is, at least in part, socially determined. Nobody wants to live in shame spirals by straying too far from what their social connections tell them are acceptable.

This options list making is easy, simple and HONEST. The ability to help me in moments of panic increased the longer I employed it. And that has made me into a better, kinder person. I take out my contract, no obligation but to myself to be just as I really AM; happy, joyous and free. What a freeing option. The lists become a way to take an inner breath, a process not an event.

Care to try it ...?

This is the fourth in a series of Lessons from Panic

Related Stories:
Lesson 1: Inside panic and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Lesson 2: Learning to set reasonable goals and deal with PTSD
Lesson 3: Cut to the Chase - write about it!

Lady Broadoak or Virginia Simson

WND Exclusive Commentary

N. American integration to 'disappear' Canada?

Posted: June 23, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Don't miss Jerome Corsi's brand new book exposing plans for a North American Union, "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada."

The conservative minority government of Canada's Stephen Harper, under the banner of "deep integration" with the United States, is pushing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, agenda by advancing a new law directed at Canada's provinces.

Titled "The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement," or TILMA, the new law would make it possible for a Canadian company to challenge Canadian laws in the provinces that block the company's NAFTA aspirations.

Murray Dobbin, a Vancouver author and journalist critical of SPP, voiced his objections to TILMA in an article entitled, "The Plan to Disappear Canada – 'Deep Integration' comes out of the shadows."

Dobbin argued that the secretive trilateral bureaucratic working groups organized under the auspices of SPP are "harmonizing" virtually every important area of public policy with the United States, including "defense, foreign policy, energy (they get security, we get greenhouse gases), culture, social policy, tax policy, drug testing and safety and much more."

The problem, as Dobbin sees it, is that "to 'harmonize' Canadian public policy with the U.S. requires massive deregulation across the country." But since much of the regulation in question is provincial or municipal in Canada, the federal government in Ottawa has no control.

"That's where TILMA comes in," Dobbin writes. "I have to admit it's clever, if they ultimately get away with it. Prepare the country for assimilation into the U.S. by promoting an agreement that claims to be about domestic, inter-provincial trade."

TILMA allows companies who feel that provincial laws and regulations harm their NAFTA rights to demand up to $5 million in compensatory damages for each violation.

When fully implemented, Dobbin argues, "TILMA would allow challenges to the location and size of commercial signs, environmental set-backs for developers, zoning, building height restrictions, pesticide bans and green space requirements in urban areas. It also would allow challenges to restrictions on private health clinics, halt stricter rules for nursing homes and almost certainly overturn the current ban on junk food in British Columbia schools."

The controversy over SPP broke into the mainstream in Canada last month when Tory Member of Parliament Leon Benoit walked out of a House of Commons International Trade Committee hearing in protest of a leftist professor who wanted to air his objections to "deep integration" with the United States.

The professor, Gordon Laxer, a political economy prof at the University of Alberta and the director and co-founder of the Parkland Institute, was about to explain to the committee his theory that SPP involves a U.S. grab of Canada's energy resources, when Benoit adjourned the meeting and bolted out of the room, preventing the Canadian mainstream press from hearing and reporting the professor's arguments.

Not to be subdued, Laxer published his suppressed testimony in the Globe and Mail, a newspaper that bills itself as "Canada's national newspaper."

Laxer began his article by claiming he had spent several days preparing his testimony and two more days traveling to Ottawa for the hearing. He charged Benoit's behavior was "prompted by a secret guidebook for Conservative chairmen, designed to interrupt witnesses challenging government positions."

Many Eastern Canadians could end up freezing in the dark, Laxar was prepared to tell Canada's Parliament, by complying with "harmonized" energy regulations dictated by the SPP working groups.

"Many Eastern Canadians heat their homes with oil," Laxar argued. "Western Canada cannot supply all of Eastern Canadian needs, because NAFTA reserves Canadian oil for Americans' security of supply. Canada now exports 63 percent of the oil it produces and 56 percent of its natural gas."

In a speech posted on YouTube.com, Laxar links SPP "deep integration" to an argument that Canada's multi-national corporations are pushing the Canadian government to support the U.S. war in Iraq, a war Laxar sees motivated by a U.S. desire to grab Iraqi oil.

"The U.S. military runs on oil and gets much of it from Alberta," Laxar told his audience.

Arguing Canada under SPP is becoming a "resource colony of the United States," Laxar asserted, "NAFTA gives the U.S. unlimited access to Canadian energy. Canada must export the same proportion of energy, two-thirds of our oil and almost 60 percent of our natural gas, even if Canadians are running short during an Arctic cold front."

The point of NAFTA and SPP, according to Laxar, is to allow the U.S. to grab Canada's oil on the cheap.

Charging the government of Alberta receives revenue as little as 25 cents a barrel for oil from Canada's tar sands, Laxar encouraged shouts from the audience to "Abrogate NAFTA!"

In a 2005 speech to an International Forum on Globalization symposium at the Fifth World Social Order Forum in Brazil, Laxar claimed, "Corporate elites in Canada, many of whom work for foreign-owned transnationals, no longer want Canada to be a separate country in North America. They continually pressure Canada to support U.S. aggression abroad, so they can maintain access to the U.S. market."

Laxar says "integration and harmonizing" proceeding under SPP are threats to Canadian sovereignty.

"Corporate elites and their political allies pressure Canada to adopt U.S.-style, private-for-profit health care, U.S. immigration and refugee policies, and guarantee exports of Canadian energy resources to the U.S., even when Canadians face shortage," he told the IFG forum.

Laxar has also objected to the closed-door meeting roundtables of Canadian business and corporate elite being held in Calgary by the Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, as part of their "North American Future 2025 Project."

The real goal of the project, Laxar claims, is "more about integrating Canada and Mexico into the American way of doing things. It's also about getting our energy and water, and Canadian participation in U.S.-led, pre-emptive wars."

WND has previously reported two activist groups, the Council of Canadians and the Coalition for Water Aid, are protesting the CSIS research project, titled "The North American Future 2025 Project," saying it will involve a massive grab by the U.S. of Canadian fresh water, estimated to be one-fifth of the world's supply.

WND has also reported that the CSIS, chaired by former Sen. Sam Nunn and guided by trustees including Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brezezinski, Harold Brown, William Cohen and Henry Kissinger, is planning to present its "North American Future 2025" final report to the governments of Mexico, Canada and the U.S. by Sept. 30. The report is expected to recommend the benefits of integrating the U.S., Mexico and Canada into one political economic and security bloc.

As WND reported, Canadian activists are preparing to protest the third summit meting of the SPP. The summit is scheduled for Aug. 20 and 21 in Montebello, Quebec, at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello resort.

Get Corsi's latest book, autographed: "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada"


WND Exclusive
The North American Union agenda exposed
Get Jerome Corsi's brand new blockbuster – 'The Late Great USA'

Posted: June 18, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

What's really behind the Washington elite's unpopular promotion of amnesty for millions of illegal aliens?

What is the bigger agenda that propels politicians from both parties to defy the will of the American people and ignore the laws of the land?

Is it possible it's really just part of a plot to erase the borders of North America and move Mexico, the U.S. and Canada toward a European Union-style superstate?

WND columnist Jerome Corsi exposes the whole globalist agenda in "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada," his latest book that, for the first time, puts together all the pieces of the puzzle.

(Story continues below)While the book will not be officially released to bookstores until the week of July 4, WND has in stock advance copies of the first edition and is offering them for a limited time at a bargain sale price personally autographed by Corsi, the best-selling author of "Unfit for Command" and many other books.

Using dozens of documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act and his trademark style of investigative reporting, Corsi sets out a chilling view of America's possible "harmonized" future – one being created covertly, without voter input, congressional oversight or even a national debate.

It's the latest release from WND Books, founded with the same mission as WND – to provide cutting-edge investigative reporting into government waste, fraud, abuse and corruption,

"Titles like 'The Late Great USA' are what we had in mind when we founded WND Books," explains Joseph Farah, founder of both the publishing company and the leading independent Internet news source.

Corsi, Farah and the WND editorial staff have led the way in breaking news about the North American Union agenda over the past two years. But "The Late Great USA" goes beyond what can be told or comprehended in dozens of news stories spread out over time.

"This book will be a news breaker," says Farah. "I believe the North American Union agenda will finally be the talk of the nation this summer as a result of the focus on the immigration debate. Everyone is wondering why President Bush and others are so adamant about ramming amnesty down our throats. This book has the answers. And it is bound to shock all Americans."

June 24, 2007

Manufacturer's Resource Wars: Agriculture

This CounterCurrent reprint of an article from the Independent is chockful of statistics about what is happening NOW around the globe as Agflation takes over. Who will suffer as the US/EU embark on an ethanol campaign that is going to starve millions.

read more | digg story

June 23, 2007

The secret government of Dick Chency ..

Dick Cheney, US Vice President, claims to be outside the law.  Claiming both executive and legislative privilege he has declared that he does not have to turn documents over to Congress or to the National Archives and Records Administration.. Here is some background on ALL the players including Waxman and Addington ...

Again, how is this relevant?  For answers to this and MORE, read Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast.  Don't get confused by all the players in on the Iraqi war conflict any more.

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June 21, 2007

About bloody time, but don't fall for the PR

Soldiers completely demolished after service stints finally shame the Defense Department into taking action on PTSD and addictions issue. But there is still plenty to be done.

read more | digg story

June 20, 2007

King Hemp

The sordid tale of hemp prohibition in America is a superlative example of power working against the population, of corporate profits trumping We The People ...

In actual fact, the lack of hemp oil production is causing many of Mother Earth's problems. Rand Clifford is tackling some important background here. But this is not *just* an American problem. The production of plastics with chemicals is causing this planet to lose it's food chain. This article may be a good start to turning that around. Think Dupont, think lobbying of CONgress and we might see why this torturous prohibition continues. We need biodegradables, not more war machines ...

About bloody time ... PTSD and the DOD

I have been on at least a dozen sites posting long and hard about this.  I don't know where the psychiatric profession has been on this; they weren't on summer vacation the WHOLE time.

Anyone who knows about, works with or is in a relationship with a PTSD could tell you .. nearly a half of PTSD sufferers who do not get help are going to really make bonafide suicide attempts.  It is a condition that is too bloody much.  In these times of mass genocide, I cannot even begin to imagine what blows through the soul of today's veteran.

If you have read some the 1000+ posts on this blog, you would know that I suffer from PTSD.  It is no picnic.  I have gradually gotten better, but losing my home and all my belongings last year set it off again - this time with agoraphobia complexing the already compounded PTSD.  This is similar to a vet who is suffering the disorder and then finds himself homeless in the US after a nice, loooooooooong stint at war.   A war that isn't at home!  A war that is illegal!  A war that shouldn't have started in the first place!   

I know alot about PTSD, in fact, I write a blog piece about it every week, so it is always fresh mind.  I am an "expert" patient, so to speak. I've read all the literature my hands would allow me to read; sometimes they get so overwhelming I cannot handle reading them at all.

The entire children of alcoholics grew out of the Veteran Administration's inability to cope with the constant need of Vietnam vets.  Thus, group therapy began to be studied and shown to be actually MORE effective.  However, the groups need to be monitored.  The suicide threats need to be taken seriously.  Perhaps this is another reason the VA chose to reject help seekers. It simply does not want to hear the damage that is being done.

The gross neglect and incompetance that has been shown when processing claims is a topic for a whole other blog item. For shame!  For shame!

These men and women, although probably sadly mislead when recruited, should not have to suffer endlessly due to "congressional oversight".  Or because the past Secretary of Defense was too busy playing with war toys.  As for BUSH, the commander in chief, who is so busy PLAYING Commander in Chief, this mistreatment of "his" troops is paralyzingly appaling and insensitive.

The article below mentions many many side topics -- including the questionable and baffling response of commanders to the mental (and emotional) problems of these troops - both before and after service.   On the websites I have insisted that more literature concerning PTSD be made available to EVERYONE.

The poor publicity that the VA has had as a result of the Jeans Cruz case, has certainly started "motivating" some action.  He had given up his appeals case.  And with good reaon: he was feel more hopeless and helpless than ever.  These two "feelings" are exactly what sets PTSD apart from other "mental" "illnesses".  It is a wonder Jeans Cruz was still alive.  They are bloody lucky they've seen fit to keep him alive.

New intiatives go into effect on August 1, requiring those who ask for mental health or substance abuse care to be evaluated within 24 hours.  Hell, if a person needs detox they need it when it is evident.  I suggested a 24/7 hotline in all my postings about the internet.  It is the LEAST they could do.  The addictions really kick in when you are not getting help.  Self medication is a very dangerous business.

At this juncture, ONLY 200 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers have been added to America's effort to help shell shocked, war wearied, messed up ex-soldiers.  It ain't enough and it ain't bloody enough.

We won't stop screaming about this until there is enough in place.

This affects/afflicts my family, too.  My son was on mainstream media begging them to help the veterans with PTSD and addictions.  I am SO proud.   I just wish our whole family could finally rest assured that there will be enough care to get us all through the terrible mess ...

I read also about the two new Defense Department centers to be set up to study mental health.  My God!   Don't they read!  It was so predictable it is frightening to think that they are that bloody thick.  Their own PR department must be having a very bad day as this all looks horrible on them.

One last cranky observation - the only DRUG that Big Pharma has on offer besides their ineffective and overprescription of atypical antipsychotics is beta blockers.  Yes, beta blockers.  The ones that are on time release are best, but they are expensive if living on a veteran's pension.  The only known "cure" for this all too human soul affliction is LOVE.  Yup, you read that right.  LOVE.  Time that the DOD morphed into something it really does not intend to be - concerned and caring about the future of America's next LEADERS.

Military Psychiatric-Care Overhaul


Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, June 19, 2007; Page A07

Top officials in the Bush administration and on Capitol Hill said yesterday that the federal government must move quickly to revamp the nation's system for identifying and caring for military personnel with the invisible wounds of mental illness.

Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center yesterday and discussed mental-health issues, including treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on Ward 53, according to an Army spokesman.

been going about fixing it," said Col. Dan Baggio, noting that the Army has conducted four mental-health surveys of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More ...

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American Contractors in Iraq's "SHADOW ARMY'.

and more!!

And I thought that US troops are taken OFF the web now.

Not so those employed by military CONTRACTORS.

I am not being facetious today.

I truly feel badly for these people.

They are so seriously mislead and

waking up would be so very hard to do.

They do suffer the same PTSD,

The same horrible injuries and so on.

They are motivated to help themselves

And their families.

But this will never ever

Give them the peace that they are looking for.

<<:>> <<:>> <<:>>

Must be seen to be believed.

See how cool the recruitment site REALLY is.&nbsp; What is interesting is that under employment opportunities, no jobs are listed!&nbsp; You just send in the latest video of you kicking your dog, or beating your wife - while remaining a completely dedicated, enraptured attitude towards security and "solving" the world's problems.&nbsp; Humanitarian Aid/Peacekeeping.&nbsp; INDEED!!

And don't miss THIS ....

Question of the Day:&nbsp;

How many little robotic spys did I put on my computer going to this site and the others today ..?

And now a self description from Blackwater, I mean Greystone.&nbsp; It IS Blackwater.&nbsp; Cool.&nbsp; Huh?

Greystone is an international security services company

that offers your country or organization a complete

solution to your most pressing security needs.

We have the personnel, logistical support, equipment,

and expertise to solve your most critical security


It is more difficult than ever for an organization

to successfully protect its interest against diverse

and complicated threats in today’s grey world

where the solutions to your security concerns are no

longer black and white.

Greystone is dedicated to providing the best physical

security assets from around the world in support of

stability and peace. Our international focus

enables us to develop unique and creative solutions

to match each client’s individual needs.&nbsp; Customer

satisfaction is our primary focus, and we deliver superior

services with professionalism and flexibility.

Contact information:&nbsp; info@greystone-ltd.com

<<:>> <<:> <<:>>

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Part II - Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Mercenaries on the streets of New Orleans

A mercenary army

Bush's Shadow Army

Just for starters; You can also read about lawsuit that was brought by the
families of four Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah. as well
as articles about attempts by local activists to block Blackwater
building training facilities in their communities.

If you are unlucky, you may get recruitment ads sent to you, like I have. They just love them Canucks in on the action in Iraq ...

I keep saying it, someday, these end runs around immunity from the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) are going to be exposed. Estimates are that as many as 150,000 "mercenaries" are in Iraq, as I type this. The all seem to be thugs ...

<<:>> <<:>> <<:>>

Mercenaries in the news

I just love them "code words" like outsourcing and the way what you really want to know is not told to you .. it's all so very patriotic.&nbsp; These guys are making HUGE bucks, while US troops are being decimated financially and going homeless and without medical treatment at the come home.


Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War

As Security Work Increases, so DO Casualties

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, June 16, 2007; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq,
enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of
casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed,
according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.

While the military has built up troops in an ongoing campaign to secure Baghdad,
the security companies, out of public view, have been engaged in a
parallel surge, boosting manpower, adding expensive armor and stepping
up evasive action as attacks increase, the officials and company
representatives said. One in seven supply convoys protected by private
forces has come under attack this year, according to previously
unreleased statistics; one security company reported nearly 300
"hostile actions" in the first four months.


The military plans to outsource at least $1.5 billion in security
operations this year, including the three largest security contracts in
Iraq: a "theaterwide" contract to protect U.S. bases that is worth up
to $480 million, according to Scott; a contract for up to $475 million
to provide intelligence for the Army and personal security for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
and a contract for up to $450 million to protect reconstruction
convoys. The Army has also tested a plan to use private security on
military convoys for the first time, a shift that would significantly
increase the presence of armed contractors on Iraq's dangerous roads.

Read more, with links provided ...

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June 19, 2007

Sicko IS a must see film - Mike Adams' review


I have been waiting to read Mike Adams' review of Sicko ever since I first heard the documentary was coming out. Mike Adams and I see most health topics "in the same light". Big difference though: he is still living in the US and is in good health. I live in Canada, on disablity, and I do not enjoy "good" health: I simply cannot afford it. But we do have the national health care model people are so het up about. What would he SAY ...? He knows the drill. Here is his review. Mine will follow after I have seen it.
From Newstarget

America's disastrous health care system is heaving the country head-first into near-certain economic collapse. Just about everybody's either financially strained or going broke due to spiraling health care costs: the people, the employers, state governments and even the federal government. Multinational corporations are fleeing the United States due to health care costs, taking jobs and economic productivity with them. Meanwhile, 50 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical expenses.

But not everybody's doing badly. The drug companies, surgeons, medical specialists, health insurance companies and private hospitals are making out like bandits, raking in multi-million dollar CEO salaries and -- I'm not making this up -- greater than 500,000% markups on prescription drugs. And while the American people get sicker, the drug companies, insurance companies and many health "care" providers (it's really more like "sick care providers") are rolling in cash. Drug companies are now among the richest corporations in the world, and they got there by inventing fictitious diseases, then selling drugs to people who mostly don't need them. See my CounterThink cartoon, Disease Mongers, Inc. to learn more about this topic.

Meanwhile, the American people are the most diseased people in the world among advanced nations. We spend more on health care than anyone, we pay the highest prices for medications, and we're constantly told that we have the best medical technology in the world. But if our health care system is really so good, why do 50 million Americans have no health insurance? Why are hospitals literally dumping uninsured patients on the street, abandoning the sick to protect profits while our politicians actually negotiate on behalf of Big Pharma to make sure Americans keep paying the highest prices in the world for medications? (Click here to see our CounterThink cartoon on President Bush's price negotiations with drug companies.)

What's wrong with America's health care system?

SiCKO is a must-see documentary

SiCKO creator Michael Moore answers that all-important question in his best documentary yet. Forget whatever criticism you may have heard about SiCKO -- this is a Michael Moore masterpiece: A courageous, impactful and outrageous documentary that exposes the arrogance of modern medicine and the utter failure of America's corporate-controlled sick care system to provide decent health care to the people. Watching this movie will leave you either steaming mad or shedding tears (or both). It reveals the deep-rooted corruption in America's health care system and explains why the whole system was actually designed to deny health care to the American people.

I've been ranting about America's health care failures for years, and as I've consistently stated to the amazement of some, the health care corporations actually have a plan to keep people sick. There's no money in preventing disease, especially in the cancer industry. Click here to read my recent report on the American Cancer Society's refusal to help prevent 77% of all cancers using affordable, scientifically-proven vitamin D supplements.

In SiCKO, what Moore does very effectively is tells this story to a mass audience, weaving together the emotionally-charged stories of American citizens who lost husbands, daughters and other family members to preventable disease, all thanks to intentional, well-planned payment denials by health insurance companies. In one segment in the film, he features archival footage of former President Nixon, who strongly approves of a new 1970's health care concept called the "HMO" where the more patients are denied health care services, the more money the hospitals and health insurance companies rake in!

In contrast to all this, Moore shows us the universal health care systems in countries like Canada, the UK, France and even Cuba... all countries where health care is free to everyone. It's called universal health care (or "socialized medicine"), and it's a system followed by nearly every modern nation in the world... and even some not-so-modern nations. Only America practices medicine in the Dark Ages, tied to a hopelessly corrupt system of financial exploitation and monopoly price controls, where Big Pharma gets richer, the FDA gets more powerful, and the American people get the shaft.

See my CounterThink cartoon, The Disease Economy, for a visual representation of this mess we're in, or read my book Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them to see just how evil and corrupt our modern health care system really is.

Why Moore is being so vicious attacked

Moore, as usual, is being targeted by all sorts of critics who would like nothing better than to see this guy disappear and stop rocking the Good 'ol Boys boat that seems to be floating just fine in America (as long as you're part of the wealthy elite, anyway). For starters, U.S. government officials are investigating Moore for violating travel restrictions to Cuba. And why? Because Moore gathered a dozen Americans who were denied health care in the U.S. and brought them to Cuba where they received free, quality health care in a modern Cuban hospital.

The message is hard to miss: Cuba takes better care of its citizens than America does. In fact, Cuba is willing to take care of a few American citizens that America abandoned! That kind of "in-yo-face" embarrassment to U.S. officials isn't appreciated much in police-state America these days, where practically anyone who dares question the wisdom of the government is branded a terrorist. Moore is clearly being targeted not merely because he took some 9/11 heroes to Cuba and got them health care, but because he dared to make it all public. Humiliating the King is a quick way to find your head on a chopping block. Just ask all the scientists who publicly disagree with the Bush Administration's hopelessly politicized view on climate change...

Other critics of Moore are either the greedy, corrupt corporations impacted by his film (drug companies, health insurance providers, hospitals and so on) or juvenile stay-at-home back-seat Internet critics who don't like Moore for the simple fact that he dares to stand up and say "The Emperor Has No Clothes!" Nearly all the criticism leveled against Moore is without substance. People attack Moore personally, but they won't dare debate what he's presenting in the movie. Why? Because Michael Moore is right. America's health care system is an embarrassment to the nation, and to the world. It's so bad that most informed world citizens wouldn't be caught dead in this country, unless of course they actually visit America and have an accident that lands them in the U.S. health care system.

Personally, I opted out of the American health care system long ago. I'm a holistic nutritionist, and I exercise, eat right, get lots of sunshine and gorge on superfoods and raw berries. I have no need for a doctor, or a pharmaceutical, or a health insurance policy. I don't get annual physical exams, and I have zero risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or other common health conditions. (I posted my health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org if you want to see my blood workup.)

At the same time, I realize that not everybody is in such a fortunate health position. Most people simply don't take care of their own health, and while I could argue for days about the need for more patient responsibility alongside corporate responsibility, the fact is that relentless advertising from drug companies and food manufacturers has bred a mindset of disease, junk food consumption, pharmaceutical dependence and patient victimization. We have a health crisis in this country, and it's going to take genuinely radical reforms to turn this around and save America from a financial wipeout exacerbated by runaway health care spending.

What's missing from SiCKO

The material that's in SiCKO is hard-hitting, and it accomplishes what it sets out to do. But there's something missing from the film: A serious discussion about how a nation can prevent disease using nutrition, medicinal herbs, sunshine, clean water, avoidance of toxic chemicals, smart dietary choices, banning the advertising of junk foods and pharmaceuticals, and so on. Of course, that's not really what SiCKO set out to do, and this topic would require another film all by itself, but personally I wouldn't have minded a stronger nod towards solving our nation's health care problems through genuine prevention (rather than the current policy which is basically centered around waiting for everybody to get sick and then treating their symptoms while ignoring the true causes of their disease).

Of course, it might be tricky for Moore to argue for disease prevention given that he is obviously not the poster boy for ideal physical health. But he never claims to be. So the critics who attack Moore's own personal health are missing the whole point of the film. Moore is simply pointing out what's wrong with America's health care system, and he does so brilliantly and convincingly, regardless of his own personal health status. And besides, if you want to argue about the health of "experts," just walk into any hospital and take a look at the health of all the people who work there. Many aren't any healthier than Moore, and they work in the industry! The average lifespan of a U.S. doctor is less than a Cuban peasant. That's not a joke.

Regardless of Moore's present physical fitness challenges, he's obviously operating with a great degree of healthy skepticism about the way the U.S. operates today. Moore is an independent thinker who simply refuses to follow the crowd, and with this film, he's doing the job that the American people should have been doing all along -- questioning the sanity of our health care system. But sadly, the truth is that most Americans are sheeple who just follow the herd and do what they're told. A recent poll revealed that nearly 45% of Americans still trust the FDA! That's astounding, given that I've solidly established the Food and Drug Administration is far more dangerous to the health and safety of the American people than all the terrorists in the world. To learn more, read my article The lawlessness of the FDA, Big Pharma immunity, and crimes against humanity.

How will SiCKO play?

I think SiCKO's timing is perfect, and I think the movie will be a significant factor in the upcoming 2008 elections. Those politicians who run on a platform of radical health care reforms are likely to pick up a lot more support than those unwise enough to try to defend the current system.

This is a tough call for Republicans, since most Republicans support Big Pharma and the corporate control of modern medicine, usually at the expense of the people. Democrats, though, are also on Big Pharma's payroll, as was obvious with the recent voting record on the FDA Revitilization Act co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy. The truth is, Big Pharma owns virtually all the politicians in Washington (except Rep. Ron Paul, of course).

The movie will definitely get America talking about serious health care reforms. But as I've pointed out in a previous article, Where's the Health In Health Care Reform?, almost nobody is considering proposals that would genuinely solve the health care problem in America today. You can't "treat" your way out of a nation that has become so over-drugged, over-fed and over-diseased that even the little children are now being put on speed (also called "Ritalin"). Nearly 50 percent of American adults are now taking pharmaceuticals, most of which are utterly unnecessary from a medical point of view. Drug advertising has taken over the media, the FDA has suppressed natural alternatives, and the American Medical Association continues to peddle such health nonsense that it's amazing the AMA hasn't yet been invited to join the Smithsonian's Museum of Outdated American History.

The American Cancer Society, in my opinion, is a supremely corrupt, big-business front group that actually takes steps to ensure more cases of future cancer by "preventing prevention," the American Diabetes Association takes money from candy and soda manufacturers, and the American Psychiatric Association is so steeped in Big Pharma money that they've practically become inseparable. (Click here to see my CounterThink cartoon on this topic.)

The future of America looks dim

Clearly, something has to change in this country if we're going to survive as a nation. Under the current system of massive debt spending, widespread political corruption, war mongering and health care failures, the United States of America will simply not survive another generation. No nation that abandons the health of its people can expect to have a future. As Moore points out, however, there is a chance to save America, but only if we make significant changes starting now.

Truly radical changes must be put into place. I've offered many suggestions in a popular article, The health care reform legislation that Congress should pass, but won't. Lawmakers, you see, have no interest in actually saving America from financial demise. They're only concerned about the next election, and raising campaign reelection funds means kow-towing to the interests of the powerful corporations that really run Washington.

Personally, I don't see that meaningful reform is possible under the current system of politics in America. The Big Business sick care industry has a stranglehold on the American political system, and the whole ugly thing will mostly likely have to collapse and be rebooted before we'll see significant change.

And make no mistake: that's what's coming. I predict America will not survive its health care crisis. It won't be the first empire to crumble from arrogance and corruption. In fact, it will join a long (and growing) list of civilizations that have risen and fallen, securing its place in the pages of history as yet another imperialist nation that thought it could rule the world while abandoning the needs of its own people.

The bottom line on SiCKO

It's a must-see documentary. It's surprisingly even-handed and well grounded, never resorting to unsubstantiated claims merely to shock the audience. In fact, as a person who has been writing about America's health care problems for four years, I didn't detect a single false statement in the film. It's all true, and it's pretty damn scary. Go see it. It opens on June 29th.

And if, like one person featured in the film, I ever have to choose between reconnective surgery for my middle finger at $60,000 vs. my ring finger at $12,000, I'll choose to have my middle finger sewn on first just so I can visually demonstrate to U.S. Senators precisely how I feel about America's health care system today.


About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and technology pioneer with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, reaching millions of readers with information that is saving lives and improving personal health around the world. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a manufacturer of mercury-free, energy-efficient LED lighting products that save electricity and help prevent global warming. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the CEO of a highly successful email newsletter software company that develops software used to send permission email campaigns to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and adult gymnastics. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org

Eagle teaches the people

Posted by Bear Warrior

Many winters ago a clan went fishing. They were a hungry people and needed to catch much fish to survive. All day long they caught nothing. They didn't even get a single bite.
All day long Eagle would easily catch a fish and take it to their nest to feed their young. They would then go back and catch more fish. The people watched eagle do this all day and they asked eagle how they were able to catch fish all day and with their long nets the people couldn't even catch one single fish.
The eagle said you are a nation who asks Creator for provision and you forget to thank Creator for providing. We are a nation who never asks Creator for our needs. Creator knows what we need and we always thank Creator when he provides. We do not ask and expect. We receive and are thankful. You are a nation who asks and expects and when you receive you forget to thank Creator. From that day on the people began thanking Creator for their provisions and never went hungry again.

Written by Bear Warrior

If you have a chance to make life better for others and fail to do so,
you are wasting your time on Earth. No matter what our station in life,
we are here to serve, even if that sometimes means making the greatest
sacrifice of all.
www.theupcn. com

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Garda, Stephan Cretier, Canada's Blackwater

One way to get around complying with international accords, an increasingly employed (disturbing) practice, is to find psychopathic people who will just go in and DO THE JOB.

For pay.&nbsp; For the RIGHT pay.

Why sign up for the military when you can

make 4X the money in the "private sector"

Here is the latest profile of a man whose firm stands rake in

&nbsp;$1.4 bn

next year alone --

from the increased militarization of the world.

Fighting for the liberty to make profits the "old fashioned"

gunboat diplomacy way.

What a high price we all pay.

Stéphan Crétier, once a guard at The Bay,

now heads one the world's largest security firms


This story ran under the Headline

Securing a niche among Quebec's business elite

Jun 18, 2007 04:30 AM

Quebec Bureau Chief

the fantasy of every workaday stiff and wage slave: get rich enough to
buy the company and take over the boss's chair.

And last year, Montreal businessman Stéphan Crétier lived it.

the senior moneymen at Garda World Security Corp. picked through
Crétier's request to acquire Sec-Pro, a Quebec security outfit where
Crétier got his start, they didn't immediately like what they saw in
the balance sheet.

"I told them, `Boys, you don't get it. This
one isn't about the money,'" Crétier said last week at Garda's annual
general meeting.

The hard-driving Crétier, who is CEO and
chairman of Garda, is a man in a hurry. And at 43, he sits atop one of
the country's fastest-growing companies, and is carving his place in
Quebec's business elite.

The company he presides over, which
expects to rake in $1.4 billion in revenues next year, started with
four employees and a cramped, ramshackle office in 1996.

But for
all his rapidly mounting wealth and eye-popping financial performance,
there is also a whiff of controversy surrounding Crétier and the
business he built from the ground up.

Last month, four
British-based Garda employees were abducted in Baghdad. As one of the
few Canadian companies active in Iraq, Garda finds itself lumped in
with private security contractors whose role in the invasion and
repelling the insurgency has been criticized by human rights groups.
These contractors aren't forced to play by the same rules as uniformed
military, and they have a propensity to hire mercenary soldiers.

Though Crétier said the kidnappings have been trying for the company, he is unapologetic about Garda's role in the country.

has been made about the private security companies working in that
environment, but less talked about are the humanitarian and aid
organizations, who form the bulk of our clientele. I think we have a
very important role to play," he said. "I sleep very well at night."

with reporters after Garda's annual meeting, Crétier was also quick to
differentiate his company's operations in Iraq from those of highly
controversial operations like Blackwater USA, a "professional military"
firm with close ties to the White House.

"We're nothing like
Blackwater. They are completely different ... they are clearly
identified as a para-military organization, which is not the case with
us," said Crétier, whose company has 1,500 people working in Iraq.&nbsp; (and what, pray tell is the difference ... standing guard for colonialists is NOT mercenary work ..?

are in the autonomous Kurdish region in the country's north, but there
are also 300 employees whose main job is to guard the British embassy
in Baghdad – workers inherited when Garda acquired a London-based
security company two years ago.

Crétier travelled to Iraq
recently to survey his company's operations – "you can fly there
commercially; did you know that?" he joked with reporters – and came
away with the impression that vast areas of the country are quite

Asked if the abductions would change his mind about
staying in the country, Crétier was categorical. "Absolutely not.
Unfortunately, this is part of our mandate, those are the risks
associated with being active in these regions. I have more employees
who have been shot in North America than anywhere else in the world,"
he said, adding that the company plans to expand its operations in
war-torn regions like Darfur.

Currently, only about 10 per cent
of Garda's business – roughly $150 million – comes from "high-risk"
environments, although Crétier freely acknowledges the work is highly

Crétier grew up in Montreal, working briefly as a security guard at The Bay to pay his way through school.

moved to Florida after university with designs on studying for an MBA
and becoming a professional baseball umpire. When his umpiring career
didn't pan out, Crétier moved back to Canada and went into management
at Sec-Pro.

He left in the mid-1990s, taking out a $20,000 second
mortgage on his house to found Trans-Quebec Security, which by 2000 had
morphed into Garda. Since then, Crétier's prodigious energies – he is a
fighting-trim workout fanatic – have mostly been turned to making Garda
into a global player.

And Crétier, an unabashed free-marketer who
sits on the board of the right-leaning Montreal Economic Institute, has
used his shrewd business acumen and deal-making abilities to rapidly
acquire 11 companies – making Garda the second-largest armoured car
company in North America, and one of the five largest security
companies in the world.

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June 18, 2007

Lessons from PANIC ..

Part III

This article could go by loads of names. You could call it my thang about counter-intuitive therapy, you could call it what finally worked for me.

It could also be called "cutting to the chase".

It could be called when I finally learned to quit running and get on with my ACCEPTANCE of anxiety. This item has gone through MANY changes in recent days.




Panic to me is an inner call to WAKE UP and smell the coffee, so to speak. It is my body's way of telling me that it's time to shake out my sillies and take a good, hard look at why I am DISTRESSED. In another, future article I am going to post all the notes from the psychiatric community as to what EXACTLY they label as anxiety disorder(s), panic disorder(s) and such. But I thought I should really touch base with you all as to what I think it is. I believe as I do because PANIC, anxiety and fear is nothing new to the human race. People used to have it but they didn't have labels or drugs to use. And they wrote long and hard about it, too, trying always to come up with solutions to it. Plato, for one. And it is very prevalent in the Eastern mystical traditions to deal with it, too. It interests me that currently most of the suggested therapy is coming from Eastern traditions. Recently, in North America, going to native shaman has become the "in" thing; maybe because it works.

Having been a sufferer of EXTREME panicky states, I realize now that all the writing I have done about it has been my best therapy. And there are good reasons for this.

Have been sitting in the cave, resisting these states, I got nowhere. I felt like a "victim" of Catch-22, as in the novel by Joseph Heller. The more anxiety I "produced", the more anxious I became. The more my anxiety alienated others, the more anxious I became.

They say "confession is good for the soul", but I found that even well intentioned therapy didn't help all that much at the time. In all honesty, I doubt if I could have continued the way I was without REAL therapeutic help. I had repressed, suppressed and denied too many things. Plus the well-educated therapeutic community was "hip" to some things about my existence that I had NO IDEA might be causing me to be so .. so ... anxious. Being a motherless daughter was one of those things I really couldn't have figured out on my own. Dealing with the rejection of my body, was another. I gave up my Theatre Arts major at University because I could not STAND being viewed on stage. I was unable to handle people watching me!! I ended up in radio. Therapy did help me through that transition. I was able to finish school, get a job and become self supporting.

The upshot of my experience is that I have learned to WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT MAKES ME ANXIOUS. By "objectively" telling myself what is causing me so much anxiety, I can start to deal with it. It may take me quite a while to get it all down. I found that writing with a pencil is best - it flows along nicely that way. The feelings begin to surface. Writing on a computer is TOO LINEAR, it is designed for narration only. A pencil is the BEST tool for me.

And that leads to the second step (see the picture above ... Ascent to Sunlight!). I just do the hard part which is get to grips with the FEELINGS. I write them down and look at them. My feelings, or as some like to call them, emotional tones, are what keep me "in the loop". I used to joke .. "but I don't DO feelings". I would rather do 3,000 word essays about feelings than to have them. But when I take a good "look" at them, when those feelings come into focus, I can DO something about them.

They just don't see so damned important in the light of day on a page. They seem pretty NORMAL, really. I am just struggling, like everyone else, to cope with life, death, the instability of the world ever changing and me sitting around being STATIC. My writing always, always changes this. Studies have shown that writing about anxiety (or journaling) is probably the most effective way to deal with panic and anxiety that has ever been proposed! No wonder workbooks on anxiety, fear and panic are such BEST sellers! It's obvious .. ya gotta write it down.

My original self-inflicted "therapy", taught to me in a workshop -- two decades ago -- was to simply take responsibility for any and all problems that cropped up in my life. This would reduce any urge I had to get into blame, finger pointing, resentment, guilt, arrogance and/or manipulation I was pulling to create "situations".

The exercise goes like this: On a piece of paper I would write down my "problem". I mean really DEFINE it, in terms I understood. Didn't matter how much blaming of others I was doing or "reasons" that I "would" have certain problems, I took the responsibility on as "my" problem.

Then, I would write the following: The reason behind me, Virginia, having the problem whereby ______________ and here I would fill in the blank with what was causing me anxiety or emotional PAIN.

Then I would write, in Capital Letters IS ...

I would then write every single idea that came into my head about WHY I had created this problem. After each "reason", I would write IS again and put down the next thing about the problem that popped into my head. And that would get followed by the "IS" and so on.

Okay. It is a real sad thing to say, but I could come up with at least 20 reasons I had created the problem! Sometimes 50! But the heart of the matter would always emerge .. or the multiple "reasons" would emerge -- some old, stale way of thinking that was keeping me STUCK. One idea that might be "the one" would be that there was simply the "old" belief that it wasn't okay to feel bad. The STUCK would have made me panic, but not when actually examined. One reason would somehow just "feel" like the right one, though. Do you know what years of doing this accomplished? I've always finished the exercise realizing that I was "okay". That what I felt was perfectly within human reality and not so unique and unrealistic at all. I would always find out that I am a member of the human race and still lovable. Wow! I usually finished the exercise by doing my favorite of all affirmations, "I am enough, I have enough, I do enough" And I would take as big a dose of that affirmation as the situation required.

One could say that this exercise was my little dialogue with a God of my understanding -- the page was my confessor, so to speak and the exercise sure took me into the light each time I did it. It returned me to sanity. I have made lists over the years answering the same three questions on paper, over and over ... Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going ...? Amazing to go back and look at the answers and realize how much I have grown and find the seeds of self knowledge that came later. I do left handed portraits of myself every six months, but that is a tale for another time.

I did have one other "trick" and still do. I simply make a cup of herbal tea. It makes me see that taking everything a step at a time will make the horrible moment pass. But during a panic attack, making a cup of tea can be quite an undertaking. I do it anyway. and I BREATHE.

I took a look at a pile of books that have come out about anxiety, phobia, panic .. I think this one is pretty good Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick. It's a workbook. I am not so sure that all the attention it gives to making sure you have a "label" is necessary. Having a "label" is not necessarily going to reassure a person predisposed to intense anxiety. Still, the author does make four extremely good points right at the beginning of the book. The quiz that defines your exact label might actually reduce your anxiety level!! Right on the Amazon site, you can read the four things he asks you to do before you buy or read or work the workbook.

I love the fact he tells you to "get a buddy" as No. 4. It reassures me that he really gets it. A problem shared is a problem halved, at the very least. I used to take my written exercises into the therapist to discuss them; that served as my buddy. Dr. Carbonell is helping you establish that you are part of a community before you even begin. I have had Panic Disorder with agoraphobia. It happened when my landlord threw away all that I owned. I simply could not trust anything would be there when I came back if I went out anywhere during the next three months so I didn't want to leave my home. This workbook could have been a big help to me. This workbook will be a godsend to anyone newly "diagnosed".

I have had amazing results from James Pennebaker's books. If you're experiencing anxiety, panic or other emotional problems these books could TRANSFORM you entire life.

In the time since I read the first one, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, which convinced me my writing it all out was the thing to do, Pennebaker has produced a workbook, Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval. I have met people who were helped by him, especially as it relates to panic and anxiety. They all go on to do amazingly well and that to me is an important criteria. He hands them the tools and they are motivated to use them! Other books on therapeutic journaling often get critisized for being somewhat "cultish" and not showing examples of what did NOT work. The "cool" thing about these techniques is that they put a "therapist" at your fingertips, even when you feel no one is listening. I once had a conversation with Julia Cameron about The Artist's Way (which I'll write ALL about another time) and she said that using daily pages was a way to get out all the griping and whinging so on so one could get back to doing what humans are here to do .. CREATE! Time has shown that her techniques produce powerful results. If you are looking to find something you can do that isn't as structured as Daily Pages and find you resist them, then Pennebaker is your man.

Pennebaker has helped I would guess millions free up their inner selves to the light of day as he was taken "seriously". His book is accessible to layman and makes deep therapy much richer and useful. He's "done his homework" by having done convincing research that shows that writing reduces all the physical symptoms associated with PANIC, anxiety and all those other greedy little emotions that plague us. He has had a lot of influence on many therapists; many have never heard of him but employ his "techniques". He was one of the very first to understand the mind/body connection in therapy and then went on to come up with practical ways for people to use this knowledge.

I have come to the conclusion that much of the scientific literature on how to work through panic is pure hogwash, because the writers have no personal experience of panic. It just doesn't fit what REALLY happens to us, nor does it suggest how we can get to be at peace with ourselves because we all have such individual experience to work through. Dispelling the myths surrounding how we act and feel will go a long way towards getting public understanding of what is a debilitating condition UNTIL WE DEAL WITH IT. But the first step is always acceptance of our own experience. Since, as Cervantes said "the pen is the tongue of the mind", I think writing it all down as a step to acceptance will be around for a looooooong time.

I am curious as to what has been the most helpful to anyone that reads this.

What has YOUR experience been? What suggestion have you taken up that really makes a difference? For me, besides learning how to BREATHE, writing has been the focal point of my recovery.

I have been in situations where the daily stress and uncertainty was so bad that I took meds. I lived for eight continuous years in what is known as a "psychiatric void" - a place where I had no control over my future and thus could not plan what I wanted or needed to do. I needed medication, I went to a real professional that I trusted had my best interests at heart when the medication was prescribed.

But keeping my head and heart and hands working together as allies is the REAL work. I found I could just keep writing about it.

What has been effective for you?

If you had the chance to help someone literally suffering from panic attacks, what advice would you give them ..?

This is the third in a series of Lessons from Panic

Related Stories:
Lesson 1: Inside panic and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Lesson 2: Learning to set reasonable goals and deal with PTSD
Codependency – When Caring Becomes Self-Destructive
Do you worry too much? Check whether you are at risk of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Lady Broadoak or Virginia Simson