Relationships


Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships14 Oct 2018 01:44 pm

In the previous post, Well-Being Defined, I mentioned my plan to write a third book in my Art of Living series. Today I’d like to give an overview of the first two books, Exploring Intimacy and Cellular Joy as well as a basic outline of the third book, Your Results May Vary.

In Exploring Intimacy we treated intimacy as a  basic human drive. Intimacy was defined as our basic desire to become closer to and increasingly familiar with. The list of things we can become more intimate, closer and more familiar with, is almost endless. 

We can become more intimate with ourselves, friends, lovers, nature, ideas, sports, history, art, music, furniture or a specific hobby such as stamp collecting. We can become more familiar and intimate with mythology, magic, food or any beverage such as tea, or wine. The entire universes of ideas, activities, things and feelings are all ripe with intimate possibilities.

Exploring Intimacy carves out a space in the world of the Art of Living comparing and contrasting itself with ideals and beliefs in the various realms such as religion, spirituality, philosophy, psychology and mysticism. Intimacy is compared and contrasted with views on transcendence, enlightenment, and other traditions and disciplines concerned with happiness, meaning and the quality of life.

Since in Exploring Intimacy, Intimacy is treated as a natural drive, we explore the obstacles to intimacy which limit and suppress this basic drive. We discuss the role fear, inhibition and trauma play and how one can even use our human limitations as a means of unfolding intimacy. 

The goal of this exploration is to help people identify how they can increase the quality, intensity and frequency of intimacy in their lives in a realistic and fulfilling manner. Intimacy is shown to be a full and rewarding organic experience and not just an abstract ideal.

The second book, Cellular Joy, is a journey into the rewards of integrated experience. Cellular Joy is divided into three sections, Survive and Thrive, I and Me, and Bodyfullness.

In the first section we consider how the Fight for Survival and the tendency for life on earth to thrive and become lush and plentiful are both true.  The significance, importance  and value of these perspectives is explored through a number of sub lenses such as domination and co-existence.

While our culture has a tendency to emphasize the fight for survival and scarcity and its related fears, we can appreciate its truth while also appreciating how plenitude is both an observable reality and important lens to keep in mind. The ability to to see things from a multitude of perspectives, and to apply them in decision making, is a hallmark of wisdom. Being able to see things from different viewpoints is literally “keeping things in perspective” and is very valuable in cultivating joy and satisfaction in life.

In the second section we explore the synergistic and essential relationship between the self-conscious mind (“I”), and the sentient body (“Me”). We observe how the sentient body lives in the moment with amazing speed and agility and the role the reflective ego plays in savoring, enriching and guiding the body which lives in the world. 

In essence the sentient body lives in the actual while the self-conscious mind lives in the possible. The body senses, perceives and experiences while the ego organizes and instills experience with history, meaning and perspective.

The third section focuses on the rewards of integrating the experiences of the sentient body and self-conscious mind. The entwining of thought, emotion and sensation into one integrated whole is given the name of Bodyfullness. 

Bodyfullness is distinguished from Mindfulness in that mindfulness can often be an act of consciousness, an act of awareness, in which visceral and sensorial experience is often marginalized or transcended. Cellular Joy being steeped in the integration of I and Me, of the sentient and visceral habit body with the self-conscious ego, is a full bodied experience. 

In the section on Bodyfullness we explore how Cellular Joy can become a daily experience and become one’s default mode. While happiness can be an abstract idea, attitude or state of mind, joy is identified as an experience felt deep in one’s core and radiates through the body. 

Your Results May Vary builds upon Bodyfullness by expanding on the experience of well-being. We feel well-being when our heart rate, body sugar, and many other biochemical systems stay within an acceptable range. A sense of well-being does not create Cellular Joy, but more often than not needs to be in place for us to access it.

In Your Results May Vary I plan on discussing how “feelings” are central to our quality of life. We feel not only physically/sensoriallly but also psychologically and emotionally. Feeling well, the experience of well-being, is common to all four realms (the sensorial, the psychological the emotional and the visceral/physical). 

While Your Results May Vary the goal is for us to become as engaged and enthralled with the world as when we were infants. An infant’s energy, joy and engagement are awe inspiring. One of the reasons a toddler is so engaged is that without worded language they are locked in the actual (the present). While this allows them to be engaged it prevents them from most memory, ego appreciation and reflective savoring.

Yet, the danger of the possible is that it can be used to deflect, avoid and transcend as well as appreciate and savor. We often can get lost in thought or become enamored with chasing abstract ideas and exercises of mind. While this has its own form of joy, it more often than not takes away from our body, our heart and our actual experience.

In Your Results May Vary our journey will involve exploring the possibility of intertwining  the toddlers engagement in the actual with the ego’s ability to reflect, savor and appreciate. The goal of this exploration will be to see to what degree we can turn the flashlight of our attention back towards our engaged intimate and joyful experience, so that can best maximize our integrated experience and live a life rife with Cellular Joy.

Exploring Intimacy is currently available on this website in the Words section.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships11 Sep 2018 11:19 am

Well-being, is the sense of being or feeling well. Our general sense of well-being is often dependent on our staying within an acceptable range of functioning regarding basic physiology and biochemistry. Such ranges would include vital statistics such as blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate to blood sugar, cholesterol and dopamine. 

The term homeostasis has been given to this range of well being where organisms not only survive but thrive and flourish. Our general health and safety is generally assured when our  bodies and nervous systems stay within these ranges. Homeostasis (well-being) is therefore not a static state or reaching some ideal form of balance but rather the staying within a life affirming range in a host of variables.

While the staying within the acceptable biochemical and physiological ranges often results in our feeling good, safe and comfortable, we also can experience well-being on mainly emotional or psychological levels. Studies have shown that even when people stray beyond the acceptable ranges of biochemistry their emotional and psychological feelings of well-being can limit the harm or danger posed by their detrimental physiology. This is not to suggest that one can overcome all realities of physiology and biochemistry through attitude alone, but only that emotional and psychological well being can help lessen the danger and ill effects of our biochemistry slightly passing beyond the acceptable thresholds of homeostatic physiology. 

Organic homeostasis  and emotional/psychological well-being often reinforce each other resulting in our experiencing a high quality of life. Individuals who frequently experience well-being physiologically, emotionally and psychologically usually report a high quality of life resulting in a joyful and fulfilling existence.

I am currently planning on writing a book entitled Your Results May Vary, the third in a series of Art of Living Books which will focus attention on the experience of well-being and its impact on our lives. This post is the first in a series which will flesh out many of the themes I hope to expand on in the book regarding well-being, self-consciousness, the body and integrated experience.

Jim Guido

Psychology and Relationships and Therapy19 Jan 2018 08:15 pm

The change process is a crucial element to almost everything we learn or improve upon. In two posts I wrote over seven years ago I observed that the change process takes place on three levels.

The first level is that of a behavior or habit that you want to change. The second dimension involves the psychological and emotional elements which support and maintain the habit you want to change. The third dimension is the biochemical/neurological wiring that the habit creates in your body and brain.

While you can acquire improvement by just focusing on learning a new habit, real change occurs (and mastery of a new habit usually only results) when all three realms are honored and respected. Pease read the following links to the old posts for examples and a deeper explanation of the roles that habit/behavior, emotion/psychology, and biochemistry/neurology play in the change process.

Components of Personal Growth and Development

Components of Personal Growth and Development: Part 2

So today I’d like to talk about the change process in slightly different terms. A comprehensive and efficient way for you to effectively make changes in your life is by reframing, replacing and rewiring.

Reframing means that one is encouraged to see things from an alternate perspective. The process of reframing allows one to stop being locked or rigid in the way one feels or thinks about their habit or bias. It opens them up emotionally and psychologically to news ways of acting and being in the world.

It makes sense that what we think and say greatly effects the way we feel. The way we think and feel impacts the choices we make regarding actions we take and how we respond to others. The way we act and respond forms our habits. The feelings and emotions we have when engaging in habitual activity creates our neural networks in the brain and secretes the biochemistry which is the basis of who we are and how we are wired.

Therefore, by changing our perspective and attitude we become more open and receptive to developing new habits. New habits Replace the old habits, and new habits done over time Rewire both our neurology and biochemistry.

An anxious person has anxious thoughts and feelings. These anxious thoughts and feelings have one engage in actions which exhibit anxiety. A person who thinks, feels, and acts anxiously will have an anxious biochemistry and be neurologically wired to behave in an anxious manner.

Oftentimes, people’s attempts to change something in their lives are limited or unsuccessful due to an over emphasis on one dimension of the change process or even completely ignoring the other two dimensions. Talk therapy often helps a person gain insight into why they behave or react in a certain fashion. Yet, gaining insight into why I get angry or have trouble sustaining an intimate relationship doesn’t, by itself, prevent me from getting angry or being toxic or self-sabotaging in relationships.

People often try to end a bad behavior through just will power. In the language of the social sciences a person attempts to extinguish the old behavior by pure will and determination. Examples of this are when a person makes a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, eating too much, or spending too much time on the computer. Such resolutions seldom fare well unless the person is able to find a suitable Replacement for the old habit. The replacement chances of success are increased the more the new behavior successfully addresses the emotional and psychological needs that the old behavior fulfilled.

Sometimes attempts at facilitating change focus on the biochemical level. The most common form of such a biochemical intervention is the taking of non prescription or psychotropic drugs. Yet, we often try to affect our biochemistry through other means such as exercise, meditation, or diet.

Pharmaceuticals seldom solve a problem, but more often than not just mask a symptom or shift the problem to another area. Taking an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant seldom cures the anxiety or depression, but does provide relief or causes a temporary change in one’s biochemistry deadening one’s unwanted experience.

Even though changes in biochemistry caused by increased exercise and healthy diet inherently involve the introduction of new habits, their long term success depends on the emotional and psychological needs also being addressed and met. While exercise biochemically elevates mood and provides needed energy, these benefits will have a hard time overcoming a highly stressful lifestyle, or a personal psychology dominated by self-hatred. Activities such as exercise or diet, which are inherently biochemical interventions, need frequent and consistent repetition if they have any hope of becoming durable and reliable facets of successful change.

Reframing, Replacing and Rewiring are essential and interrelated elements in the change process.  When it comes to the learning and mastery of a skill or talent it is best accomplished through the integration of habit, mind, and body. Reframing tends to the psychological and emotional elements through providing the necessary shift in perspective and attitude. Replacing deals with the actual habit, allowing the ritual to become part of our body memory no longer being dependent on conscious awareness. When one habit is replaced by another the new one becomes reflexive and our default mode when we aren’t consciously monitoring our behavior.

A reflexive habit becomes wired into our neurology. Each time we engage in the habit our body deepens the groove, the neural pathways, carved out by the behavior. Each neurological event elicits a corresponding biochemical experience. A new habit, therefore, Rewires us both neurologically and biochemically.

In therapeutic situations I have found it highly beneficial to pay close attention to the processes of Reframing, Replacing and Rewiring. A new book, The Parental Tool Box, written by my wife and I will be released at the end of this month. In each and every chapter we explore parenting strategies and techniques which help create a mutually respectful and rewarding home environment.

The various tools provided all incorporate aspects of Reframing, Replacing and Rewiring.The tools provided are not magic wands but means by which both parents and their children can find increasing joy and harmony in their interactions with each other.

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues27 Aug 2017 02:53 pm

I have always been a person who has had an ambivalent relationship with objectivity. While I like being able to see things clearly and not be overly influenced with my perspective, I’m also a person who views emotion and feeling as being integral in the experience of joy, intimacy and rewarding experience.

So while trying to see things from a multiple of perspectives and being able to live in another man’s/women’s shoes, I also want to fully engage and participate in my own experience. I yearn to savor and relish my sentient life full of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

This has led me to have a very ambivalent relationship to science in which I utilize its objectivity to see things as they are, but then I quickly advance beyond pure objectivity and avail myself to the artistic subjectivity of life. In my song Thinking Inside the Box, I express the concern of overdoing objectivity in the following manner.

I object to the objective of your objectivity

In Science often the objective of objectivity is to avert and transcend subjectivity. The goal is often to annihilate the prejudicial view of subjectivity and to acquire objective Truth and Knowledge. Yet, for me pure objective knowledge is sterile and inhuman. I therefore object to the objective of objectivity!

I am enthralled with life in all its imperfections and impermanence. Life is a rewarding and unending process in which each day I become more intimate with myself, others and nature.

This brings me to my discomfort with the modern feminist framing of objectifying females and the female body. While I admit it is possible to objectify anything, including the female form/body I strongly react to how it is presented. I once again object to the objective of their claim that men generally objectify women.
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Ecology and Government and Philosophy and Politics and Psychology and Relationships and Social Issues13 Jun 2017 06:43 pm

The KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) is said to have been originated in the early sixties by the navy and referred to the importance and benefit of simple design. Albert Einstein was a big proponent of the idea and felt that any good theory must be simple and elegant, and that complicated formulas and solutions are both inefficient and unusable.

Here is a Wikipedia’s article on the KISS principle:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle

I have stated on numerous occasions that people generally make life far more complicated that it has to be. Experiences such as joy, happiness, peace and harmony are not that complicated, let alone idealistic. The majority of people conduct the vast majority of their social interactions in a peaceful and harmonious manner. In a world of indoor plumbing, potable water, electricity, etc. we are now in a position for most societies, if not the entire globe, to live increasingly comfortable and rewarding lives.

Yet, the greedy and power hungry minority spawn fear and hatred as a means of making the good life the possession of the few by complicating life and convincing the masses that life’s simple pleasures are idealistic and unattainable. Destroying the elegance and simplicity of cooperation by presenting the easiest conflict as unresolvable and flatly stating that all realistic options and acts of diplomacy have been exhausted when nary a one has been explored.

When breaking down a rewarding life into its simplest terms I come up with a few observations. First I yearn for intimacy. I don’t just mean having an intimate relationship with other people, but an intimate relationship with myself, nature and life in general. Intimacy is just the natural process of becoming closer and more familiar with something. One can be intimate with almost any object, idea or activity. I explored this in depth in my book Exploring Intimacy which can be read here:

http://guidoworld.com/words/exploring-intimacy

The second major category is to better enjoy the integration of all aspects of our/my experience. This would mean that I enjoy the sensorial, emotional and mental aspects of my life. In other words I learn how to maximize my experience by enjoying and savoring my being a thinking and feeling sentient person which exists in a body and lives in a world. The third element is my feeling connected to the world and act in a way which improves and maintains not only my quality of life but that of all of organic life.

Applying these ideas to our shared social world we come up with the following. We can keep things simple if we focus on the following. First we should not only tolerate but encourage all to find and cultivate intimacy in their lives. Second we can protect the quality of people’s lives and experiences by not destroying the environment and endangering people’s health through dumping toxins and poisons into our air, land and water.

The third guiding principle is that the major goal and concern of all personal and social behavior is to be life affirming. Being life affirming not only has us move away from poisoning our land, water and air, but also dictates that we make peace and harmony the goal and focus of all our decisions. In a life affirming society any action which harms others or the environment would be attended to and not be allowed to become entrenched or a habit of government. No action which caused harm or impaired the quality of life would be considered an act of progress or even tolerated. Only actions which enhanced or maintained the quality of life of the majority would be considered progress.

Einstein pointed out that one needs to be as simple as one can be without becoming too simple. While intimacy and integrated experience are relatively straight forward, the concept of being life affirming will always be a work in progress. In many situations it will be easy to determine what is life affirming, yet in many areas assessing what is the most life affirming option both near and far term will be challenging.

The fact that social utopias do not exist should not be alarming nor discouraging. The fact that life is an endless process of improvement and development only adds to its preciousness, and is inherent in the concept of intimacy. Yet, do let the greedy and power hungry convince you that life’s lack of perfection means everything is too complicated and joy, peace and harmony are idealistic fictions. Joy, intimacy and harmony are real experiences and not ideals. Real experience is never perfect, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be simple or elegant.

One does not have to deny the reality of pain and suffering to appreciate the reality of joy, love, intimacy and harmony.

Jim Guido

 

 

 

Psychology and Relationships and Social Issues12 Mar 2017 01:14 pm

Skin-on-skin contact is not only essential in infancy, but plays a privileged role in our physical and mental health throughout our lives. A lack of physical contact can lead to increased depression and anxiety as well as being linked to heart disease and many forms of cancer.

While nothing duplicates the biochemical benefits of a rewarding sex life, affection, exercise and social bonding all have measurable physical and psychological rewards. Moments of physical and social comfort and connection reduce one’s stress level and improve one’s view of self and the world at large.

A good deal of live in person human contact and communication has been replaced by indirect and distant forms of interaction via technologies such as the computer and phone. While the amount and frequency of human contact has stagnated or declined the amount and frequency of affection people receive from their pets has increased sharply. It would be safe to say that a great percentage of people now give and receive more affection from cats, dogs and other animals than they do from other humans.

While incredibly rewarding, human affection and interaction, is often very complicated and conflictual. Affection with animals comes easy and has very little strings attached to it. Animals rarely rebuff our attention and affections and are generally available to us at our beckoning.


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Humor and Relationships and Social Issues10 Jan 2017 02:36 pm

We have become such a devout society. No matter where I go, I see people standing and sitting with their heads slightly bowed as they scan the sacred verses and icons (text and images) on their hand held prayer books. The most devout stay focused on their prayer books while kneeling, walking and in some cases even driving their cars. As darkness approaches their pious faces become bathed in soft eternal light (or as long as their batteries stay charged).

Their eyes and minds stay transfixed on the transcendent realities evoked by what they read and what they see. They are part of a universal community far greater than the mind can comprehend. They are connected to the universe through mind and spirit without the cumbersome limitations of the body and its senses. The faithful, while in prayer, are freed from all of the blasphemous temptations of the profane world and need not fret about its impending demise, or get distracted by its imperfect and fading beauty.

The clergy (Google, Facebook, etc. protect the purity of the message through loving censorship making sure that our (power) lord’s message of the “Good News” stays intact. While we can’t totally overcome our sinful natures and our appetites for actual physical sensorial pleasure, we can remove ourselves from temptation by entering the virtual sacred world of prayer and meditation. We can at least temporarily transcend the wheel of life and its attachments which lead to all human suffering and find calm and peace in the warm embrace of our electronic prayer books and their electronic spirit world of perfection. Virtual reality for faithful is truly a virtuous reality.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues21 Nov 2016 02:34 pm

Ever since early adolescence I’ve been hormonally constituted to be fascinated, mesmerized, entranced, intoxicated, infatuated and enthralled with the female body. Yet, even before the onset of puberty I found myself drawn to girls in the arena of personal relationships and intimate connection.

When it came to the realm of physical activity comprised of running, jumping, tackling and working together as a team I totally preferred the company of boys. In adolescence, in terms of intellectual, scientific and philosophical discourse I once again preferred the company of men.

Yet, what mattered to me most was how to maximize the quality of personal experience through consistently deriving joy form both body and mind. The time and energy, care and devotion, women spent processing their thoughts and feelings regarding their relationship with others as well as themselves I found highly captivating and fulfilling. In many ways this processing of relationship became the core of my definition of intimacy, and intimacy became the center of both the way I lived in the world and how I found meaning and fulfillment in life.

My love affair with the female body and feminine personality were not relegated to a specific type or ideal. The female body and the many varied ways woman had of processing their thoughts and feelings I found endlessly stimulating and refreshing. They were the fruit that I longed to savor and desire whether they be peach, plum, watermelon, pomegranate, grape or berry.
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Art and Music and Relationships13 Aug 2016 09:28 am

Album Release and The Art of Living:

People attain a sense of meaning and purpose in their life through a variety of means. An abbreviated list of ways would include: tasks and accomplishments, thought and ideas, experience and emotions, faith and belief, and events and adventures. The way we derive meaning, joy and satisfaction from our lives could be referred to as the Art of Living.

I advocate for an approach which attempts to maximize the moment by integrating sensorial, visceral, emotional, conceptual and psychological elements as often as possible. Both experience and logic seem to verify that such well rounded and comprehensiveness provides our lives with much depth, richness and satisfaction.

While everyone is free to find what best works for them I must admit a sense of wariness and fear when people employ methods that emphasize mind, spirit and consciousness at the expense of dismissing, ignoring, devaluing and sometimes demonizing the body and sensorial life.

If we lived in a global community that was life affirming all personal preferences would be safe and acceptable. Yet, when our and all of organic life’s continued existence is threatened through war, intolerance, etc. the respect for and valuing of physical organic life becomes essential. The less one values and appreciates our bodies and tangible organic life, the more likely it becomes that we will engage in or tolerate actions which harm and destroy organic life. The more the body and the world is a burden, obstacle, temptation, illusion or thing to transcend the less likely we are vigilantly insure its survival.

My music and lyrics are a major way in which I personally grow and find meaning in life. It is also the means by which I try to have a positive impact on the quality of life of others as well as have a life affirming influence on the world as a whole. I, therefore, greatly appreciate your taking the time to listen to my songs, and ask that you introduce and share it with others.

So, here are 2 songs from my latest release Go!
Below for those who are interested is a little insight into how I create music and write songs.
Just tap on links immediately below and enjoy!

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/feelin…
 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/carniv…

To read lyrics and listen to songs from all currently released albums go to:

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/music

Just tap on any album cover and go from there.

Me and my music

Occasionally when writing a song I’ll start with an image, or a phrase and then find a couple of chords which fit. Yet, the vast majority of the time I start with a totally clean slate and play chords on the guitar (or piano) until they create a distinct emotional environment.

Out of this musical mood/environment a tentative vocal line emerges. After singing nonsense words for hours over a number of days, the song usually coalesces into a few distinct musical sections with their own chord patterns. Then the dance between actual words and melody lines begins to happen which shapes the length and order of each section, verse and refrain,

My entire songwriting process is extremely organic and as reflexive as speech or driving a car. I usually enter a kind of emotional trance state trusting that words will come to me which elicit and evoke what I’m feeling. In many ways I experience the bulk of the process as me listening and paying attention to my emotional and sentient body. While my ego does help in the decision process by and large my ego spends its time trying to listen and portray what I’m feeling.

Songwriting is a form of personal therapy in which I learn about me as I create. I often find that the longer I sit with my original lyrics the more comfortable I become with them making it unnecessary to make many changes or alterations. While words serve many purposes in my lyrics I find a certain hierarchy of preferences. I most often use words to evoke and elicit an experience or mood, next I prefer words that express, after that comes words that articulate and my least favorite lyrics are those that explain.
I would learn little about myself if I all that I created was managed or filtered through my self-conscious ego. The learning of myself comes after a songs completion when i reflect on and savor what I’ve created.

Ironically, I find that my music is easiest for people to enjoy if they start first by reading the lyrics and my liner notes. In this way most people find a way to appreciate the mood and intensity of the music. Most modern music is a consumable, while my songs are more art than easily digestible sound.

I seldom find music that moves me more than that which arises out of me. I feel that my music speaks and shares many aspects of myself in an intimate and powerful fashion. I invite you to viscerally enter my world and inspires you to further explore yours and maybe even motivates you to share with me some of your reactions and experiences.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships17 Feb 2016 09:06 am

The following is the introduction from my book Exploring Intimacy which can be accessed by clicking on the words tab. The entire book is available for your perusal and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

INTRODUCTION

Throughout most of my life there has been an attitudinal thread running through me. All my thoughts, actions and feelings have come together to form one unified view of life. This unified view forms the basis of my theory of intimacy.

This theory tends to all the major questions of life including, what is love, where do I find meaning, how can I be happy, and how can I derive the most from my moment to moment experiences?

The basic views outlined in this book were initially formed as early as high school but began to take shape and become organized in my early twenties. Since then I have been pleasantly surprised to see how my earliest intuitions have been validated through all I have read and experienced throughout the years.

While other people I knew created their ideal world around religious beliefs, love, faith, or psychological/philosophical schools of thought, I instead found myself drawn to a very practical way of looking at and appreciating my experiences. This attitude soon found a name, that being intimacy.
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