Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships10 Jan 2013 01:42 pm

Much of my thought over the last year or two has been focused on articulating and exploring the wonderful world of life becoming conscious of itself. A major part of my reflections has dealt with the complementary and integrated roles of the body and self-consciousness. I refer to the body as that which lives in the world, or the habit body. I’m generally comfortable as designating the self-conscious mind as the ego.

As you many of you who visit this site frequently know, I think too much emphasis and attention is placed upon the self/ego/executive function to the disservice and lack of appreciation of the skill and wonder of the lived body. You may want to read the previous posts in order to get caught up to speed.………

Okay, so lets start by the simple statement that the ego is the thinking mind, which among other things observes, savors, problem solves, plans, judges, blames, etc. The ego is by definition self-conscious (conscious of itself). We refer to it as the executive function because of its primal role in planning, organizing, problem solving, etc.

While the ego is busy being self-conscious and thinking, speaking to itself, problem solving and judging, the lived body is busy participating, integrating, harmonizing, hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching the world. The lived body is reacting, responding, selecting, documenting, perceiving and managing our mundane existence and coexistence with the environment.

The lived body is the habit body. Based on a few important data points it learns how to effortlessly function in the real world with lightning speed. The lived body is able to act and process at a far greater speed than the self-conscious mind. While we walk our habit bodies are soaking in the environment even if we are self-consciously else where. When our conscious mind suddenly becomes aware of the smell of lilacs it is usually only because of the constant perceiving and sensing being conducted by the lived-habit body (me). Hopefully this description has you better understand or feel what I mean when I talk about our bodies being-in-the-world or taking up a world.

It is the transcendental nature of our ego (self-consciousness) which allows it to be able to reflect, observe and savor. Likewise it is the nature of the habit body to orient itself and function in the world. The habit body participates and is in the world, and the ego is that which appreciates and reflects on our being in the world. The ego’s ability to transcend and observe our body and our experience our essential for our being aware of our experience.

So in essence the habit body is aware and conscious, it just isn’t self-aware and self-conscious. The problem with most of modern psychology, science and even spiritualism is that they over exaggerate the importance and autonomy of the self-conscious mind and deny the importance if not existence of any other aspect of our humanity. In psychology there is only (self)-consciousness and unconsciousness.

Let’s take the term unconscious memory and apply it to the dynamic between ego and habit body and see if it can become understandable and not just an oxymoron. Okay, our lived body is processing and documenting a tremendous amount of data (experience, words, sensation, etc.). Much of this information is placed in short, medium and long term memory even when our conscious mind was elsewhere or focused on one or two aspects of the total experience. This is why if pressed you can recall what song was playing at a party, or what someone was wearing even while at the moment of those occurrences your ego was deeply focused on a conversation or lost deep in thought. While your habit body acts of a minimal amount of information, it still processes and remembers a huge amount of data over a small space of time.

The so called unconscious memory of psychology is more accurately described as memory that was documented and incorporated into the data base of the lived habit body and was able to be retrieved by the ego to become data for the self-conscious mind. In the rare occasion that the habit body has protected itself from the pain, discomfort or failure caused by a specific event/memory or general habit/memory than it is true that the self-conscious ego has to struggle to access this data. Yet, almost all memory is habit body catalogued, and the vast majority is organized in a manner allowing for the best and most comfortable successful functioning of being-in-the-world.

When one reflects on one’s actual experience there are many other forms of consciousness and awareness which do not fit the strict definition of ego or self-consciousness. Yet, in the dual world of consciousness and unconsciousness, the unconscious is bad and a problem. While it is true that inhibition and many bad habits originate in a the world of the habit body (me), it is ludicrous to say it only has negative attributes. The lightning quick short hand allows the lived body to move and successfully function in the world, it also allows it to sort essential from inessential material. Likewise, it is the lightning speed of its processing which allows it to perform and catalogue useful information (memory, habit, sensorial cues, etc.) at the same time.

Just think how slow and difficult it would be for us to function and learn if we were totally dependent on the ego as our only form of awareness. Even walking would be near impossible if we had to break it down into the thousands of components and compensations involved in almost every step. We probably would never learn to walk if the skill had to be imparted to us by our ego. Similarly, we could think of nothing else when walking if the general mechanics and each subtle variation of stride and terrain had to be self-consciously orchestrated and analyzed.

The habit body’s ability to adapt to a new situation is far more quick and efficient than if it were attempted by the ego. We can adapt and master a major change in a matter of moments as our body incorporates and makes the changes part of our functional body image. If I put a feather in my hat within a few minutes I move in a way honoring the existence of the feather and seldom having it bump into objects as I move about rooms I’ve never even been in before. Just imagine how long it would take if I were to have to consciously think through each new scenario.

Likewise think how quickly one adjusts to riding a bicycle or a car with radically different dimensions than the one we are accustomed to, and how impossible it would be to adjust if we had to consciously identify and analytically teach our body the modifications of the new vehicle, as we make every turn, brake and park the vehicle. A musician within minutes of being seated at a piano with keys of different size and response, can play even the most challenging piece with a smoothness and deft that defies logic.

I’ll end here and hopefully what I have chosen to write here has clarified more than it has overwhelmed in my attempt to articulate the importance of the habit body and its relation to the ego.

Jim Guido

Poetry and Relationships and sexuality25 Oct 2012 01:25 pm

She repulsed him with her kindness
if not genuine at least sincere

He needed passion more than understanding
No matter how he showed or said it
it remained doggedly unclear

She was in his head
What he wanted was to be in her body
To infuse her with his playful desire

To her love was romantic, a perfect ideal
For him passion was just a thin membrane away from complete fusion

She dreamt of a child
He yearned for intimacy
She envisioned them as parents and partners
He viewed the viscerally shared as the root of all meaning

She sought harmony, an unblemished life
A personal eden bereft of conflict
Her eternal goal was to be a still pond
No ripples to disturb its presentation

She sought beauty everywhere
In thought, word, sight, smell and touch
She found beauty everywhere
Yet, in her man, not so much

He thrived on life’s imperfections
Problems were challenges and opportunities
He loved the grit and the sweat
The joy of a challenge met

He saw intimacy as the measure of one’s life
Each new experience as a gift
Immersed in the rough and tumble of existence
Sharing with her was his bliss

In her relations:
Harmony over honesty
Ease over disease
Calm as endless balance

Beauty was the handmaiden of love
It was what made life attractive
Beauty is what drew her to others
To nature, art and the sacred

He wore each new wrinkle as a badge of honor
Sensed ardor often was born from the arduous
That one often had to provoke to be provocative
and wisdom was more about the real than the ideal

She sees life through the lens of love and beauty
He through the lens of history and experience
Beauty she fashioned into life’s ideal
Intimacy he saw as the measure of one’s life
Beauty became her life’s purpose and zeal
Intimacy was all he asked of life

Is there sufficient beauty in intimacy?
The fate of this love may be dependent on it

Relationships and Social Issues10 Aug 2012 09:27 pm

As a young catholic boy the nuns taught me the dangers of ambition
of wanting too much and of having vain and unrealistic goals
I was taught to do the right thing, and value only what was important in life

I heeded the nun’s advice and tried to construct a simple life
based on being a good person, thinking good thoughts, and being a good friend
Whether by myself or with others
I thrived on passion, desire and play
I craved to be intimate with myself, the world, and all with whom I interacted

So, I spent my youth in play and conversation
I listened intently and relished in whatever my friends were able to share
I played sports and I played with words and ideas
I found humor and laughter to be life’s most treasured possessions

Though we were young and had little wisdom or insight
I was more successful in high school that at any other time
in having my conversations result in feelings of intimacy and communion
The older I’ve gotten the more guarded I find people
Always too busy or too weary to stay in intimate conversation

I’ve sought intimacy in almost everything I’ve done
I’ve been writing songs for near forty years
They have served me well as a vehicle to express and expand myself
They have catalogued my life, my feelings, my hopes, dreams and fears

During one decade of life I took to writing books
Yet since no publisher nor agent deemed them worthy of publication
The joy soon ended and while the ideas are there the will is no longer
Instead I have a website in which I write posts and essays on a regular basis
On the site I also have my books, music and lyrics, and a growing catalogue of posts

While each year the number of visitors to the site has increased
There is no dialogue and people only drop comments promoting their businesses
I seek out creative and productive people and ask questions and interview them
But sadly they do not want to talk about their thoughts any more than mine
I write songs and posts to which no one listens or responds to
I engage in conversations that seldom go anywhere

For years the passion and play of my marriage has kept the fires burning
Our life was the template of intimacy that I used for all other situations
While my appreciation of myself, nature and human consciousness continues
To be an endless spring of intimacy, play and passion
I find that the passion, desire and play that was the hallmark of my marriage wanes

Passion, desire and play have always been interconnected in me
Without passion my desire fades and my body is often
to weary, achy or tired for play

Nature and self-consciousness are my remaining life lines
Yet these sometimes aren’t enough to fuel a robust body

I mourn now for so much lost
Is acceptance the only path open to me?

Without passion, desire and play
I have difficulty recognizing who I am
or how I am to be in the world

I have never been a highly credentialed person
My talents have been my calling card
Some time ago I began donating some of my earnings
back to the agencies I contracted with
giving back to help save services offered

I have always and am prepared to live a solitary life
Life is wondrous in and of itself
Yet, I mourn all the wasted opportunity
for intimacy, passion, desire and play
These are the ingredients of the simple life
One about what’s important and not money and things

This is about unfolding and sharing the wonders of life
and of life being conscious of itself
Living life in its naked splendor
While remaining respectful and appreciative

So much suffering is unnecessary
And I am party to it by my silence
I feel I could be very helpful
But my voice and hands are wasted

So, today I sit and mourn all the wasted opportunities
for intimacy, passion, desire and play
I watch the darkening clouds move in
And hope we will survive the fray
For all I have is this world, my body and consciousness
And all three are in danger today


Part 2

I speak with an intensity and investment
Which others find too taxing
About issues and concerns
That others find overwhelming

I’m optimistic about topics which others find depressing and
Express skepticism about paths and solutions
Which provide most with a sense of hope

I participate in groups
Which never fully embrace me as a member
And shun the trappings of community
That strike me deceptive or exclusive

I find excitement in the mundane
And emptiness in the thrilling
I find people more fascinating
Than the wonders of the universe
I find my little acre more fulfilling
Than travels far abroad

I find little solace in words
Or in the bosom of belief
I trust more in the world of actions
And my body’s ability to learn

I yearn for little beyond my thoughts,
My feelings, senses and desires
I feel privileged to be alive
And honored to be aware

I long to share simplicity
And the wisdom that time bestows
A world, a body a consciousness
Both unique and the bonds we know

Though I’ve dedicated myself to a life of
intimacy and self-actualization
I often feel ignorant and alone

Yet when all is said and done
I’m quite happy to call home
My acre, nature and the planet
My body, the experience we mold

Yet, my insatiable thirst for intimacy
Will always have me seek for more

United in Compassion,

Jim Guido


Music and Poetry and Relationships08 Jul 2012 07:36 am

Thirty years ago I was in the recording studio recording my first album Life in the Shadows. Most of the songs on that album we (the band Ekstasis) had been performing in clubs in the Chicago area for about five years before recording them.

Often I surprise myself when I read the lyrics I penned back then. One of the oddest and most arcane lyrics of that time period was Psittacism Criticism, and in honor of the 30th anniversary of my first album I thought a reverie on that song would be both fun and fitting.

The term psittacism refers to any speech pattern which resembles the monotonous metallic vocalizations which were the staple of futuristic robots. So here’s the lyrics followed by my reflections of what I was thinking when I wrote them.

Psittacism Criticism

Coughing up those bricks
Glorified shibboleths
I’d give you the back of my hand
If I could endorse a cliché

She talks with all the class of escaping gas
To sad little void heads
Glazed eyes and gaping jaw (perpetual sneeze)

Come to my room to play adult Parchesee
Unshuffle me with your card shark hands
Let me be your detour if you desire reconstruction
I’m sad yet hopeful, this blue blood’s not green

Parched man desires refreshment
But even a man dehydrate will decline HCL

Where’s the party, where’s the party?
Put me on remote control
Oh hell, I used to be 21
There’s no time after alcohol

Put me in my time
Put me in my time

I used to be a friend of mine till
You put me in my time

Tell me if you care

This song was written after a weekend of socializing with friends and other young twenty contemporaries. I found most parties to be disappointing and somewhat depressing. Most gatherings lacked the type of intensity and intimacy for which I thirsted. The lyrics of this song sum up my sense of disappointment.

Coughing up those bricks
Glorified shibboleths

While shibboleth usually refers to customs and beliefs which are the hallmark of a given group I also used it to mean the lingo and habits of my crowd. The time was the middle to late seventies and we were a proud and somewhat arrogant group. We viewed most adults as ignorant, selfish and power hungry automatons whose lives were generally empty and shallow. In this respect I was in synch with my peer group, yet I was also quite critical of my peers.

The first two lines of the song refers to the catch phrases that accompanied almost every sentence uttered by my crowd. Hardly five seconds ever passed without someone saying “right on”, “heavy”, “cool”, “man” or some other trite response. These words were the “amens” of our social religion and though they were meant to provide validation and solidarity I found them an obstacle to sustaining meaningful dialogue.

The bricks were, of course, those lifeless catch phrases which said nothing and went no where. I chose coughing up those bricks for several reasons. One, coughing is a sign of pain and contagious disease and I was becoming increasingly concerned that the empty party talk was beginning to contaminate my thought process as well as the quality of my relationships with others. Bricks are lifeless dead weight and seemed the perfect vehicle for how I felt about the empty, lifeless discussions which were passing as meaningful conversation.

We believed that our lingo and slang were a sign of our depth and superior social awareness, that is why they were glorified shibboleths. We weren’t up tight inhibited slaves to the establishment as were our parents, but rather fully autonomous revelers of life’s secrets and pleasures. While our parents were “out of touch”, we were “with it” and totally “tuned in”.

Yet, to me the incessant lingo showed that my peers were becoming just as empty as their parents, and the drugs weren’t about self-discovery and opening new universes but no different than our parents alcohol and cigarette dominated socializing. To borrow a phrase from another one of my songs of that time period, Eros and Erosion, “I refuse to speak in ejaculations”. I wanted penetrating discourse which revealed and created life’s meaning and significance, and was not content with the reflexive grunts of community which pervaded all social interaction.

I’d give you the back of my hand
If I could endorse a cliché

My disappointment with my peers was heading towards anger and that is why I said that “I’d give you the back of my hand”. So, while criticizing my peers for engaging in endless trite phrases I engaged in a little self-effacing humor by using a hackneyed saying from a previous generation as my threatening reprimand. I qualify that statement by saying “if I could endorse a cliche”, because the whole idea behind psittacism criticism is to revoke all manner of trite an repetitive speech and expression, rather than attacking one form while glorifying another.

She talks with all the class of escaping gas
To sad little void heads
Glazed eyes and gaping jaw (perpetual sneeze)

I could not help but see my drugged out friends as “sad little void heads”. While I was juiced on life, they were choosing to escape into an anesthetized world which would bar them from remembering the nights conversations when they woke the next day. A sure sign of the drugged out partier was the gaping jaw and perpetual sneeze pose mentioned in the song.

Come to my room to play adult Parchesee
Unshuffle me with your card shark hands
Let me be your detour if you desire reconstruction
I’m sad yet hopeful, this blue blood’s not green

This verse was intended to be rich in obscure sexual innuendo. First off choosing Parchesee as an implicitly tawdry game seems ironic unless you know that it supposedly was originally a game of leisure played by harem girls. I invented the concept of unshuffling to show how deft and agile were my harem girl lover’s hands. Since I was feeling so out of synch with my world, her unshuffling me would most likely restore my life to a sense of meaning and intimacy.

In response to her healing acts of love I would gladly return the favor and help her reconstruct a life of intimacy and fulfillment. All she would have to do is say the word, and we would be each other’s detour from the current emptiness of modern life. The word play of detour and reconstruction were a veiled reference to the “road to enlightenment” that so dominated the counter cultural spiritualism of that time.

The last line of the verse notes how my discontent with the hippie zeitgeist had more to do with my high ideals then any kind of envy of those openly embracing the times. One again I use a bit of ironic self-effacing humor as I equate my aspirations of intimacy with being a blue blood.

Parched man desires refreshment
But even a man dehydrate will decline HCL

The next verse emphasizes the fact that while my thirst for community and intimacy remains unquenched, I will not sacrifice my principles and settle for less. A drink of (HCL) hydrochloric acid will not only not quench my thirst but would only do me further damage.

Where’s the party, where’s the party?
Put me on remote control
Oh hell, I used to be 21
There’s no time after alcohol

As my frustration peaks I cry out and ask where is the party. where is the celebration. I’m beginning to find these gatherings not only unfulfilling but annoying. At these functions I just go through the motions of having a good time, as if I were on remote control. My mainly unconscious drugged out companions are likewise on auto pilot as we seem to be acting out the same play every night. Life is quickly becoming one gigantic alcoholic blackout where we age quickly while our lives go on in a semi-conscious coma.

Put me in my time
Put me in my time

I used to be a friend of mine till
You put me in my time

I remember a time when our conversations were filled with insight and meaning. A time when we openly disclosed things that mattered to us, before they became parodies and caricatures of real feelings dressed in teenage angst and political slogans.

I remember when I felt good about myself, and was a true friend of mine. Yet, the more I become a member of the the partying crowd of the late seventies the less self-respect I have. It seems every time I try to connect with my friends they “put me in my time”, this time of emptiness and self-alienation.

Tell me if you care

The song ends with the plaintive yet hopeful request of my friends if they still care. Like me, do they still yearn to share what’s important and desire real intimacy, insight and disclosure?

When listening to the song please take note how the stilted rhythm of the beginning verses echo the psittacism that I’m articulating. While the song is in 4/4 it has a kind of demented waltz feel to it. The music lurches and jerks like the automatons it is meant to portray.

Yet, soon after the lead vocalists voice becomes metallic and robotic the music blossoms and gains a hopeful flow. The sax and female vocal solos soar and rage against the machine and end the song in majestic celebration. A sensual celebration which is the hope and means by which the psittacism I have here criticized gets destroyed.

Now, thirty years later my life has played out more like the sax and vocal solo than the stilted disconnected world of the beginning of the song, yet my disappointment in the quality of most human contact remains. I still hunger and thirst for increased intimacy and depth of sharing, and remain vigilant to fully exploit each opportunity for quality conversation that presents itself.

Jim Guido

Psychology and Relationships01 May 2012 10:42 pm

The following is a description of a model of care I am designing. I have introduced it to a few families I’m working with and the response to date has been very positive. The model is not just for adoptive family systems, but that is the populace for which I decided to use this pilot program with.

I will post a more complete description of the program, its goals, theory and methodology as I flesh out the details.

The Family Advocacy Model

In adopted family systems it is common that the adoptive child’s ability to function in their adopted family in a healthy manner has been compromised by the severity and/or confluence of early developmental factors. These factors can involve gaps in early personal/social development, neglect, abuse, trauma, or any chronic patterns or lacks which adversely affect the child’s sense of trust, validation or self-esteem.

In the Family Advocacy Model we assist the adopted family in the development and implementation of strategies, skills and family rituals which restore and promote the healthy functioning of the family. This is accomplished by our workers gaining an understanding and knowledge of the family system through family interviews, in-home observations, and file information along with on-going dialogue with support services already in place such as treatment teams, therapists, psychiatrists, etc.

Information regarding the family system thus acquired will be used in the design and implementation of goals and skills which will assist family functioning in terms of increased harmony, family role integration, bonding and attachment, and each family members sense of personal growth and development. Each family member will have input into the identification of their goals and assessment of their progress.

While attempting to assist in the improved functioning of the adopted family system we will also strive to honor, retain and promote the unique qualities and values of the system. We will restrict our focus to each family members functioning in the family in terms of their abilities, gifts and personality characteristics. While the Family Advocacy model attempts to meet the current needs of the adopted family, services and goals typically center around areas such as communication patterns, generational boundaries, role identification and clarification, and the appreciation, respect and empathy of each family member to the feelings and integrity of the other family members.

Although the immediate goal of the Family Advocacy Model is the improved functioning of the adopted family system as a whole, we, as well, do advocate for the successful social functioning of each individual member. As an family advocate we will assist and support the family in arenas outside the family home such as school, employment and peer interaction.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Relationships03 Feb 2012 08:59 am

Each year I write my wife 12 letters during the Christmas season (the 12 days of Christmas) as part of her presents. She has graciously given me permission to post this letter.

I decided to post this letter as it was written. Hopefully, you the reader, can follow it despite some of the inside references and verbal short hand. Recently my thoughts have been darkened by some dark prospects I will address in my next post to be entitled “Let’s hope I’m Wrong”.

Yet, it is always nice to take a moment to reflect on the wonder of human existence. I hope you enjoy this post and keep it in mind when you read my next few posts.

December 12, 2011

This year for me has been one of getting back to my phenomenological roots and feeling increased gratitude for being healthy. This has been a year for focusing on what I have, rather than what I do not have.

As the mighty storm clouds continue to build around our economy and social structure it is difficult to not feel a little anxiety regarding the future. Yet, at the same time it is almost impossible not to feel very fortunate in the present and to take heart in how well the years have treated us.

We don’t deserve suffering nor good fortune, yet eating right, exercise, kindness and appreciation are their own rewards. I feel that doing the healthy thing is going to continue to be one of my highest priorities for the coming years. I hope you too, make your continued health the highest of personal priorities.

Putting together the package of my lyrics for the book club has helped me gain some perspective and appreciation of what I have written and sung. “I shoot out thoughts like a Tommy gun, words pour out in rapid runs, painting the world that is me, making the world I am to be…….sometimes the world touches me. “

Speech has always come easy for me. Thoughts and words do shoot out in constant streams. Getting older I do have the occasional experience of struggling for a word, yet for the bulk of my life words have come to me effortlessly and even complex or original thoughts have been there for me with no hesitation.

My writing forever surprises me. On one level I’m a rather controlled and thoughtful writer. When writing a song I more often than not take my time slowly building the song phrase by phrase, often going back and changing lines until a certain flow happens. Yet, even when I have anguished over its creation my words always surpass my intentions. Days, months and in some cases years will pass by before I appreciate or even recognize some meanings that lay hidden inside the words.

Being human is such an extraordinary thing. Each human life is far more fascinating then its author intended. If people truly appreciated human experience and the richness of self-consciousness than there would be no greater endangered species than depression.

Despite the fact that we refer to ourselves as human beings we seem to unrealistically and negatively judge and evaluate ourselves as human doings. Most of us race about doing, acting and accomplishing while rarely matching up to our expectations. We are finite and limited beings who seem to demand of ourselves absolutes, completions and perfections.

As I wistfully mention in Opportunity Lost, ‘I wish the human race could be run at a more comfortable pace.” It does seem that we are pitting the two most dominant ways we refer to ourselves against each other. In one corner we have human beings and in the other the human race. Yet, despite the popularity of mindfulness and spirituality the realities and demands of modern capitalism are having the race overshadow the being.

There is no inherent problem in doing, acting and performing as long as it is anchored in being. Being is not the opposite of acting, for to be demands breathing and all sensorial experience necessitates movement. Yet, being includes an acceptance of one’s real situation and one’s intersubjective connection with the world, others, the body and self-consciousness.

Yet, there is no where on the globe in which people stay centered in the real and actual experience of being human. It appears that it is extremely difficult to accept our inherent ambiguity and uncertainty. Either self-consciousness is the goal or the illusion, or the present is the goal relegating history, reflection and anticipation into evils or distractions.

As I point out and question in Come on In,

The limits we strive hard to overcome
Make life possible are its total sum
Why is being human such a bad gig?
What’s so wrong with life as it is?

And all I have to say is the invitation I offer in the same song:

I’m so excited by the challenge within
I’m so delighted to take it all in
I just want to dance, I just want to swim
I just want to laugh, I just have to grin
Come on in

It is hard to imagine anything more interesting and fulfilling that to think, feel and speak. For me no description of heaven, nirvana or cosmic consciousness has surpassed or even matched the beauty and satiation I can acquire through the simple process of human experience and intimacy.

Hopefully we can enjoy many more years in appreciating our journey on this our earthly and all so human Magic Carpet Ride.



PS No not Hendrix, the Italian guy

Philosophy and Relationships11 Nov 2011 12:48 pm

One of my popular posts is the one I entitled Learning How to Purr which I wrote back in 2008. I’m glad it has been read so often as I think Learning How to Purr is a rewarding skill. The post by the way was based on the lyrics of the song by that name which can be heard and read on Zephyr in the music section of the site.

What is amazing is that for a cat purring is not a rare event or a sign of perfect bliss. Purring is the default mode of a cat, if nothing pressing is happening then for most felines purring is the thing to do (feel). I, too, am learning how to make that humming type of contentment my fall back mode of being in the world.

My nature is to be reflective and thoughtful and even in the midst of activity I am often ruminating on some thought or observation. I love learning about myself, others and the world I perceive. Each day I find it easier to do all these things in a manner which makes purring commonplace.

A calm cellular joy which traverses my body and guides my perspective is finding its way into my daily activities. Even at the height of activity at work, playing music or sports, or in conversation I can sense the purr arising from deep inside me. I meditate twice a day and it is now becoming rare when the bulk of that time is not spent purring (basking) in cellular joy.

As you can tell from my posts, this purring does not prevent me from looking at the world critically and realistically. My cellular joy isn’t born of dreaming and escapism but from my visceral integration with others and my surroundings. The warm hum is visceral and emanates from and circulates through my body. It is not an abstract joy divorced from the real world and a possession of my mind, it is not a platonic ideal, or a spiritual consciousness, but rather a full bodied joy of the wonder of the dance of me perceiving myself and the world.

In my poems Awed and I Realize It is Me, which have been posted on this site, I try to paint and articulate this beauty in a form which helps create the perspective that gives rise to the experience of cellular joy and purring. Each day that passes I learn new ways of celebrating life, and make new discoveries revealing the wonder of human existence.

What I’ve learned from developing the habit of purring is that it is not what you do that’s is so important as how you do it. Cellular joy comes more from adopting the right perspectives than having total control over the activities you do from moment to moment. In fact, what seems to be emerging is an organic realization that the cellular joy has little to do with any specific activity and the very search for the right activity or accomplishment often runs counter to the experience of cellular joy (purring).

Though certain thoughts and attitudes are helpful in fostering or allowing purring to occur, I have come to learn that cellular joy is an actual organic experience. The human body makes our having a world and perception possible. Without my body there would be no me, and no way for me to experience a world. My sense of self is not a thing, it is a process, and without my body and its taking up a world there would be nothing to feel, know or experience.

Cellular joy is the celebration of being alive. And when it comes down to it, what better is there to celebrate that the gift of life.

Jim Guido

Relationships and Social Issues26 Sep 2011 01:21 pm

I recently read a book entitled Money and Psychotherapy that pointed out how specifics regarding people’s financial situation are seldom ever addressed in therapy. A major point of the book was to say that there is a taboo in therapy regarding any investigative discussion on money, and that this taboo reflects a general avoidance of personal finance discussion in everyday life.

When reading the book I thought about how many taboos we have in our culture regarding typical conversation between friends and associates. In fact it is hard to think of a topic of conversation that doesn’t have restrictions on what can be shared. There are taboos and restrictions on open dialogues about sex, religion, politics, ethics, government, law, desire, fantasy, parenting and education just to name a few.

Sometimes it is acceptable to have a general discussion about one of these topics with a group of like minded individuals, or we can tolerate a quick professing of strongly held beliefs. Yet, usually these conversations are more an opportunity for individuals to state or express their opinions and beliefs and are not usually forums for a true exchange of ideas.

In general our society has many rules regarding “polite” or “civilized” conversation. Topics which are emotionally powerful, full of personal significance or socially important are not considered appropriate for daily dialogue and more often than not are considered to be “private issues”.

I will readily admit that personal realities, set beliefs and certainties are rather fruitless topics of conversation. At best one can express these views, but since they are fixed and rigid they are by definition not useful for conversation or dialogue. Yet, as growing changing human beings there should be much of our lives which we are exploring and learning in which shared dialogue would be helpful and productive.

While my distaste for typical social conversation is stronger than most, I seldom meet a person who finds most social and party conversation satisfying. Most people express some form of emptiness or lack in the quality of most social conversation, yet feel the sense of community outweighs the deficits.

The taboos and rules regarding what can be discussed in one-on-one or small group conversation are far less restrictive. While there is an openness and even sometimes a willingness for self-disclosure and an articulation of one’s personal reality, there still exists a substantial resistance to a frank exchange of ideas or working through opposing perceptions.

I myself find even the best of friends can have a relatively small threshold and tolerance of meaningful or explorative conversation. Even my intimate life long friends who used to energetically engage in these type of conversations in high school and college, now find it difficult to delve for more than a few minutes before seeking a distraction.
I do find my thirst for meaningful conversation has stayed strong through out the years. My closest friends are very appreciative of the quality of our conversations and often express regret that they don’t have “these type” of conversations more often. Yet, when it comes down to it, they honor the taboos and inhibitions of socially accepted discourse.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed an aggressive nature to the avoidance of intimate or meaningful dialogue, and that is to make the desire for meaningful dialogue into a pathology or a sign of social ineptness. Now, efforts to engage in meaningful or emotionally invested discussion are rebuffed as a sign of a person’s “inability to read social cues” or their honesty as “a lack of social filters”.

I have worked many years with people on the Autism Spectrum and so I’m quite aware of individuals who have neurological deficits that limit their ability to read social situations, or to see things from another’s perspective. Yet, now people are now using this fact as a defense mechanism in rationalizing their resistance or discomfort with intimate dialogue.

In a future post I hope to talk more on the role inhibitions play on limiting our basic drive towards intimacy. Those willing to learn more of my thoughts regarding intimacy, should go to the words section of this website and read my book “Exploring Intimacy”.

Yet, in this post I only want to conclude by once again emphasizing my sadness at the lack of intimate and meaningful conversation allowed by social protocol and conventions. The taboos we have restricting meaningful interchange strip our social world from much of the richness it has to offer. Of course, one is free to express these things in the arts, such as I do in lyric, song and books. Yet, life and experience could be so much richer if our society encouraged meaningful exchange thereby allowing us to more fully benefit by the perspective, experience and energy of others in an immediate fashion.

It is a shame that our wonder of the world and depth of our experience often is expected to stay mute. There is so little time, and so much richness to share, and almost every individual I know possesses so many gems that, do to social conventions, stay hidden from my eyes.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Poetry and Relationships15 May 2011 06:19 pm

Dear Aunt Nancy,

As I mentioned in my last letter I prefer our conversations to me writing you a letter. On the telephone I can learn of what you’re currently thinking and feeling and co-tailor our conversation to take into consideration both of our present concerns and joys.

Often our conversations begin with your making an observation, stating an opinion, or asking a question based on a recent thought you’ve had, discussion you’ve been part of, or a news report you’ve heard. This leads me to a favor I want to ask of you.

Could you please email any thoughts you have so that I may be able to respond to it? It would be very helpful. I may not be able to respond quickly, so anytime you have a thought you’d like to share or talk on, just send it to me. I’ll read and mull them over and then write my thoughts when I get a chance. Is it a deal?

In the meantime I thought I’d just do some of my current thoughts mixed in with some extensions of my last letter. In my last letter I talked of your being like a river, with your ability to both influence and adapt to your environment. A side bar to that letter was my having you explore what one can do, and how you could best adapt to your current state of health and well being.

So, let me be selfish a second and answer that question from my own perspective. When not feeling well or recuperating from an injury I often resort to contemplation. Which even though is sometimes difficult due to the distractions of illness, is far more feasible than most other human activities.
So, lets spend some time contemplating.

In my last letter I mentioned how much I enjoyed our conversations and how much I would miss having them. The bulk of the letter focused on you and the person you bring to the table. Yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about me and my motivations for liking our conversations.

One of the major reasons I enjoy our conversations is that I like the person I am when I’m speaking with you, and I like the person our conversations inspire me to become. Reflecting on that last observation I realize that those internal feelings truly mark off my strong friends from my acquaintances.

Many people, often through no fault of their own, have me speak and respond in ways which make me uncomfortable with myself or with my reactions to them. My distance from them is more created by how they make me feel about myself or who I am with them, then any judgement on my part about them as a person. Wow, I think that’s bordering on a self-revelation, thanks for inspiring that thought. Is it any wonder I miss our conversations?

This morning while I was walking my attention was drawn to the elaborate song of a mockingbird. Over the last several years a mockingbird has been a constant companion to my spring and summer walks perching in a short list of high places and singing away with rapid urgency. I am amazed at how often I hear him sing no matter what time of the day I choose to walk. Even during the short time it takes me to pass him he serenades me with dozens of bird songs.

Most of us are like most songbirds. We spend our lives developing and perfecting our song. We develop very deep grooves of habit which gives us a sense of history, identity and meaning. These are all very good things.

Yet, in some ways I would like to be more like a Mockingbird. It would be nice to be able to learn and perfectly repeat the songs of others. It would appear that to truly learn anothers song I would have to inhabit their reality and there way of living life. This would be true compassion and allow me to stay sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Being able to sing anothers song would be invaluable in terms of creating harmony and having a positive influence on those you speak to.

The greater portion of my contemplation centers on human experience and my experience in particular. I never stop marveling at how intricate and fascinating human sensorial experience is, and how inaccurate our unreflected assumptions of what we actually experience often is.

One of my strongest joys is in reflecting on simple experience and being able to describe my observations to others. The following lyric and a few reveries on each line will help demonstrate what I mean.

The World Touches Me 4/26/2008

What I do see is more than I see everyday
What I do feel is more than I sense
Sometimes the world touches me
Keeps me company while I think

I shoot out thoughts like a Tommy gun
Words pour out in rapid runs
Painting the world that is me
Making the world I am to be

Wonder fills my joy
Laughter seasons the stew I’m steeping
Every day is a feast
So much to taste of which comforts and awakens
Sometimes the world touches me
Talks to me while I think

Sharing all our days
Gives my life dimension widens my perception
Listening to the rain
The rhythm is dreamy soothes like honey

Every breath I take
Is filled with wonder new world to uncover (discover)
Everything takes shape
Random seeks order when the world touches me

If you want to listen to the song you can go to and listen to it on the Go! CD in the music section of the website.

What I do see is more than I see everyday

To understand and appreciate this first line and the general tenor of the song takes a little background. So,….

In every conscious experience I have there is part of me having the experience (my sensorial body) and part of me that is aware of it (ego, self-consciousness). A large part of my life is unthought and kind of on autopilot. I walk, pick things up, breathe, move my arms and legs, smile and make gestures often without any conscious assistance. Even a great part of speech is done naturally and in the flow of the moment far faster and more often than conscious thought is capable of producing.
Life happens too fast and there is far too much information for us to weed through in the most basic experience to depend on our ego. In order to survive and make sense out of life we need a most basic part of us to exist and be in the world prior to a self-conscious decision process.

A major part of us needs to be in the world and respond to it with lightning speed. First we need to be able to select and organize a world out of the tons of sense data assaulting our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin at every moment. Then while doing this we must breathe, chew, blink and respond to specific demands of the environment (someone speaking to you, a dog running in front of you, or catching yourself as you fall) all at speeds faster than our ego can think.

Our ego, though slow is extremely valuable. Without the ego we would not process, appreciate, evaluate, alter or plan our actions. Our ego, is the central manager, who feels embarrassed, proud and happy. It is our self-consciousness which gives life its history, meaning and sense of direction. Yes, it is our ego which often causes us conflict with others or gives rise to negative emotions, yet it is also the ego that makes loving, savoring and relishing life and others possible.

So when I say that “What I do see is more than I see everyday” I mean it literally and figuratively. First, the amount of input coming into my eyes has to be organized into a comprehensible (and livable) environment. Yet, what I see at the moment with the help of my ego becomes part of my history. So, at each moment I see, I see with the eyes and knowledge of my past as well as the feelings and memories they evoke in me.

Yet, even in vision itself we see more than we see. As I look about my room I see many things. I see a table, lamps, chairs, sofa, TV, speakers, paintings, pictures, plants, shelves, walls and floor to name just a few. The simple fact of the matter is that I never fully see any of these things.

I never actually see the entire room, only a series of partial snapshots. Yet, I am able to imagine it as a whole, and to move about in it as if I saw the entire room at once. If I stare straight ahead I begin to realize how little I actually see at one moment. Even individual object only seems to come alive as my eyes move about and quickly make scan after scan.

What is even more astounding is the fact that I never see all of the chair or even the lamp. Depending on my position and its distance from me I may only see a fraction of the object, the rest of it is filled in by me. I never see the backside or the underneath of the sofa or lamp, but it does not prevent me from seeing the lamp or instinctively being able to reach and lift the entire lamp.

When in a room, walking in your neighborhood, or driving in town, you are able to successfully move about, adapt to, and respond to these environments even though you are not seeing a substantial portion of, or even thinking about them. We truly do see more than we do see.

What I do feel is more than I sense

Likewise, what I feel is more than I sense in a number of ways. First, though I never touch the entire cat, I know what my cat feels like. With my eyes close I recognize the cat almost the moment my hand makes contact with her. There are very few objects I could feel at one moment, and even many of those have shapes, contours, nooks and crannies which make it impossible for me to feel it completely. Yet, my mind is able to fill in what is missing, both in what can’t be felt in one caress as well as the absences that could not be felt at all. It may be a little misleading to say my mind fills in the gaps because it often is done with no thought and instead accomplished by the preconscious part of me that lives in the world which usually is labeled the body.

“What I feel is more than I sense”, is also true in terms of emotional feeling. The entire network of sensations cannot explain nor capture my emotions and feelings. I always feel more than I sense, and my feelings are also influenced by reflections of sensations that has taken me an entire lifetime to form.

Sometimes the world touches me
Keeps me company while I think

We often make thought in charge of perception and view perception as something that occurs in the brain (mind). Sight, for example, is when images come to us through our eyes and rest on our retina in an inverted fashion, only to be corrected by our mind. My experience tells me that world -body – self consciousness are one intimate network, in which complete separation is impossible.

My experience says that sometimes the world beckons my attention and touches me. It is obvious that the world touches me when a breeze blows or when the sun peeks out from a cloud and bathes me in sudden warmth. Often times when deep in thought, or reflection a sound or smell will summon me, or keep me company while I think.

Also, often events in my environment will touch me in the sense of having a certain poignancy or inspire me to have some strong emotion. In this sense, the world in all its wonder and mystery is forever touching me. When one recognizes the intimate relationship between the world – our body – and our sense of self, it is truly impossible to feel isolated and alone.

The world, the environment and my immediate setting affect all that I feel, perceive, sense and think. My environment defines my limitations as well as my possibilities. At each moment my setting and my body color, guide and inspire my thoughts, emotions and experiences.

My setting and others who are part of my setting, influence and help create who I am. In so many ways I am the product and project of others and the world I live in. All of my experiences are created by the world and my body, and I would not be who I am if I had a different body or lived in a different setting.

I shoot out thoughts like a Tommy gun
Words pour out in rapid runs
Painting the world that is me
Making the world I am to be

We’ve already covered those first two lines with the realization that we speak far faster than we can think, and therefore, most of speech is preconscious and evaluated by our ego as we speak. If the ego agrees or is pleased it lets us ramble on, and only intervenes when it feels a need to interrupt or redirect.

Words paint and describe the world and person that is me. My words not only express who I am, but are the very tools which help construct my view of myself, my world, and my future. My perceptions and experiences are articulated through words, but words also help create and fashion my experiences and perceptions. My words and perceptions have a mutually beneficial relationship. My experiences can inspire me to find better words to articulate my perceptions, yet well chosen words can improve and refine my experiences and give it a richness it would otherwise not have.

Similarly, it is impossible to assess to what degree the world forms my perception of myself as opposed to how my self-perception fashions my views of the world.

Wonder fills my joy
Laughter seasons the stew I’m steeping
Every day is a feast
So much to taste of which comforts and awakens

All of the above thoughts lead me to see the world, my body, and my sense of self all with a sense of wonder and mystery. We are all born out of the world and at some point dissolve back into it. With something like a plant this concept is very easy to see. The plant sprouts forth from a seed in the ground and after a time dies and becomes reabsorbed into the earth.

We are born from a seed in our mothers body. Our life, being self-conscious, evolves a little differently than our experience of the plant. Becoming conscious is born out of the entire stew of sensations and perceptions fostered by the interaction between the world and our body. Soon our sense of self seems to form like condensation. Where eventually we become self-conscious, that is we become aware of the fact that we are alive. Not only that, but we become aware of all life, whereby through us life is becoming aware of itself.

We are aware of not just our ego centric existence but we become engulfed and surrounded by life. We exist and are alive, because we inhabit a world teeming with life.

Our self-conscious existence is dependent on the fact that we have a body and live in a world. The world, our body, and consciousness are co-existent. This is the beauty and wonder that is human life. We only live because we can breathe in life from the outside world.

When we inhale we take in life, when we exhale we give part of ourselves to the outside world. With this in mind it is hard to say where we end and where the outside world begins.

I became enthralled with life many years ago. I find great joy and satisfaction in reflecting on human experience and life and in describing what we actually see and feel. I find meaning in life itself and have no desire to try attain ultimate Truth. I stopped asking big questions when I realized I was only capable of producing small answers.

Sometimes the world touches me
Talks to me while I think

Obviously other people talk to me. Yet, even those who speak a foreign language speak to me through their gestures and through my interpretations of their actions. Animals, insects even trees and plants seem to speak to me, to teach me their secrets. All of nature reveals themselves to me, and in the process reveal me to myself.

The world touches and speaks to me through every sensation of my body. I reach out and touch the world in all my activities. When I have my hands touch each other, one always has to be the toucher and the other the one being touched. I can switch the roles at a moments notice, but one hand cannot be both toucher and touched at the same time. Likewise it is just a matter of perspective that has me switch from being touched by the world to its touching me.

Sharing all our days
Gives my life dimension widens my perception
Listening to the rain
The rhythm is dreamy soothes like honey

Though I’m never separate or alone in the world, I feel the most connected to other conscious beings. We all need to feel unique and special as well as a need to belong and be connected. It is through higher animals and people that we get these needs met. It is though others that I get validation as well as a greater perspective. Many experiences and thoughts I would otherwise have no access to, I can vicariously experience through my dialogues with others.

I find comfort in the predictable, in habits and in the patterns of life. The basic rhythms of life ground me and from this base give me the courage and stability to grow and develop.

Every breath I take
Is filled with wonder new world to uncover (discover)
Everything takes shape
Random seeks order when the world touches me

Life is a never ending process of growth and discovery. Each sensation, perception, experience and feeling we have is just another color with which to paint our world or a puzzle piece to use in constructing the great mosaic of our life.

Many seek to overcome life and view it as an illusion. Me, I view life as this wonderful dance we have the privilege to attend. I love the world, the body and our consciousness and relish the opportunity to live and savor this life.

Every sentence needs a period to have meaning. Every song only becomes one when it ends. We would not know the day without the night, and life would have no significance if it had no end.

We are bound by the limits of a body that occupies a specific space and experiences life as an unfolding of time. Yet, their would be no experience for something limitless or eternal. Something all knowing could not learn, grow, be surprised or have a revelation. The true beauty of human life is that it is born with so little, and through the unfolding of time, through the interaction of world-body-and self-consciousness develops a history and a personal story of ever increasing complexity and richness.

Wonder and mystery fill our days, and as we touch the world and the world touches us we begin to see patterns and forms, and we begin to feel connected to the world, nature and others. The miracle of conscious life is in its delicate fragility which dazzles the eye and captivates the reflective soul with its rarity and ephemeral beauty.

United in Compassion,


Relationships30 Jul 2010 07:17 pm

Tomorrow is Dayna and my 27th anniversary.
I thought this would be good time to print the lyrics of my most recent songs as they do reflect the beauty of the life we have created together.

Peace, Love and Dignity 5/3/2010

I want to feel your smile
I want to breathe in your joy
I want to touch your dreams
I want to listen to your feet

For time moves with or without heat
And I live within each heartbeat

I want to taste your words
Till I can no longer eat
I want to sip on your emotions
The bitter and the sweet

Our tongues feel more than we can speak
Our minds hold more than we can seek

I sang this song before I had a notion
I was a man before I knew me
Such is the beauty of living without knowing
Such is the wonder of human beings

Falling into the stream
Loving our history

I sang this song before I had a notion
I was a man before I knew me
Such is the beauty of living without knowing
Such is the wonder of you and me

Winters come and summers go
Each time has its beauty
Some things change and others grow
Whether liquid or sturdy
I want to share my life
Of that I am certain
I want to learn from life
I am its student

All of you fashion me
thru words and reactions
I hope my words unfold you
Validate, spawn satisfaction
Through you all I know me
I am your project
What is now and what will be
Gives life its passion

John Lennon and Yoko
Had a lovely message
Peace, love and dignity
for every person
Peace love and dignity
What a lovely message
Peace love and dignity
for every person

Life Fills My Days 6/15/10

We are all masters of illusion
Forging certainty from a handful of clues
Whether it be science or religion
We forsake what is
for eternal Truth
it’s what we do

Never satisfied with what is real
With our hands, eyes nor ears
Even the desire to be in the moment
We get beyond oneself
to cosmic union
into the blue

I’ve always lingered in fascination
Simple pleasures are my fuel
I never tire of the landscape
Every sensation draws me to you

Each and every day that passes
Ripens some low hanging fruit
Drinking in all of their juices
Breathing in the aroma
of morning dew
is my form of truth

I’ll swim awhile in your ocean
I’ll lie and rest on your soggy shores
Feel wet sand cool my backside
As evening rays warm my core

Life fills my days
In sweet subtle ways
Life fills my days


Well I guess I am learning how to purr after all.

As always you are invited to listen to my songs and read my lyrics by clicking on to the music tab above.

Jim Guido

PS I should have a topical blog up some time this weekend. Enjoy!

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