Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Once we climb to the top of the mountain, we can clearly see the path that was so hard to find along the way.

"Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards."


Pronounced: Na- ma- Stay

Namaste is a mudra and a mantra. A greeting that is designed to open the heart chakra, and blend the energies of two people as they meet, or leave.

By placing the hands in prayer position and slightly bowing the head, one offers a humble greeting of honor and respect.

The meaning is "the divine within me, honors the divine within you."

Because Eastern philosophy decribes us all as ONE, this greeting implies acknowlegment that there is no seperation between us, that we are all part of a single divine consiousness.

namaste Posted by Hello

Energy Gathering Posted by Hello

Body, Mind and Spirit

The triangle of Body, Mind, and Spirit form the foundation of bliss.
As we travel through life, these three elements must remain in balance.
If the body is neglected, the mind and spirit will falter. If the spirit is void, the body and mind will suffer, and when the mind is not focused, the body and spirit are lost.

Each element is dependant on the other.

So as you go on your journey, seek balance. Discipline your mind. Use it to nourish and guide the body and the spirit.

If you look closely, you will find that every experience in life can be viewed with greater meaning and purpose when viewed through this lense.

The Body Mind Spirit Triangle Posted by Hello

Invest Energy

Invest Energy:

The power of prayer is a mighty thing, but it does not just happen all by itself. There is a difference between wishing for something, and investing in something.

In order to make miracles happen, you must invest your energy into them. No deposit, no return. It’s that simple. God helps those who help themselves.

‘If you are going to ask spirit for something, you must be willing to make an investment of your energy into the dream. What you receive in return will be a direct reflection of the energy that you invested.

Boredom Buster

When I was a teenager, my friends and I would often exclaim “I’m so Bored! There’s NOTHING to do!”

Over the years, I discovered that the best way to eliminate that word from my vocabulary involved shifting my perspective, and learning to view the world through The Body, Mind and Spirit Triangle. When all three of these centers are engaged, the word Boredom simply does not exist.

Even simple passive activities, like looking at a painting, evolve into a mental Olympics when deeper meanings are sought.

The French nineteenth century artist, Georges Seurat developed a method of painting called pointalism. His most famous work is a piece titled "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" He created this composition using millions of tiny dots of pure color. When viewed from a distance, the work depicts a pastoral scene of people in the park, but when viewed up close the reality changes to a series of individual points of shimmering brilliance.

Quantum Physics is a study of what the universe is made of, and how it all works. Cells are made up from molecules, which are made up of atoms, which are made up of quarks. Quarks are pure energy.

If this theory is true, then the universe is like a George Seurat painting. A giant soup of little energy dots that form a picture of reality.

It’s interesting to apply this concept to the spiritual realm. When I think it over, it seems that we might finally have a science that is not at odds with religion: A science that actually fortifies the beliefs that have been circulating the globe for centuries. Maybe there is something greater that connects us all, an unfathomable source of energy that lives within us, all throughout the universe, and beyond. Maybe that painting is about more than just a walk in the park.

With ideas like this to chew on, who could ever be bored?

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Authors Anonymous

Authors Anonymous

An unknown woman steps out of the shadows to approach the ominous podium.

“Hi, my name is Kelley, and I am a writing addict.”

“Hi, Kelley.” The members respond.

Her meek voice cracks as she grips the pedestal, and stares at her feet.

“I have come to the realization that writing has overtaken my life.”

“Even when I know that I am supposed to be doing something else, ideas will pop into my head. I am powerless to ignore them. Again and again I find myself back in front of the keyboard, drowning my thoughts.”

A knowing murmur arises from the crowd.

“My kids know what’s going on. Whenever they need me, they come to the office, and find me, sitting there, slumped over the keyboard, immersed and obsessed.”

Kelley clears her voice, and chokes back a tear.

“I see the sad disappointment on their faces. They know that mom is off on yet another binge.”

“I used to have a great relationship with my mother, and my friends. They would often call me on the phone, or drop by to chat. Now, they avoid me. They don’t like to spend time with me, when typing is all I ever have on my mind.”

Several audience members nod thoughtfully.

“My relationship with my husband has suffered too. We used to have so much going for us; but now, we just fight over the computer. He says that I am invading his space, and that my addiction is causing him problems at work.”

“One day, I emptied the bank account to buy a laptop. My husband was furious. We got into a fight, and I just lost it. I ran out of the house, and drove off into the night with my laptop. It was all that mattered. I…I…I started typing while I was driving. I know that I shouldn’t have, but I just couldn’t help it.

We hear it all the time… ‘Don’t write and Drive.’

It was crazy for me to do it, and I am lucky that no one was killed. I thought that I could handle it. You know, it wasn’t like I was going overboard, typing with both hands. I was just pecking at the keyboard with one finger… O.K, five fingers: But I kept the other one on the wheel!”

Kelley scans the crowd for sympathy, and then drops her head in shame.

“Things got blurry as I kept shifting my focus from the road to the monitor. The glow put me in a daze. I don’t remember much after that. I woke up in the hospital the next day.”

“You would think that this would be a wake up call, but no. I just wanted to get home and write all about it!”

“I knew that I had hit bottom when I started getting up in the middle of the night, to sneak into the office and write ‘just one more page.’ It’s hard to admit the truth, but, one page would often turn into an all night binge.”

“My family would see the dark circles under my eyes the next morning, and my breakfast discussions on philosophical topics were a dead give away. I couldn’t wait for the kids to go off to school, so that I could write even more.”

“I used to have a very steady hand, but now, if I am not drumming them on the keyboard, they tremor with “The Shakes.” I feel worthless, and I can’t concentrate on even simple tasks, unless I have ‘a belt o’ da- board’ to start my day.

Her shrill voice rises as she attempts a plea of understanding from the group.

It clears my head. It relaxes me, and helps me get through the tough times. It helps me focus. It is how I express myself! It is who I am!”

A long silence follows. She sees the sadness in their eyes. They know the road that she is on.

“I see now, that I am a writing addict. I am powerless against it, and I need help.”

With that, she steps down from the stage, goes to her car, and types:

Authors Anonymous

By Kelley Bell

Friday, December 24, 2004

Book Excerpt: Death

Excerpt from my book: Reach for the Stars


Before we can discuss how to live an extraordinary life, we have to discuss how to die. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of On Death and Dying, teaches that “Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have lived.”

Psychology teaches us that we will move away from pain and fear faster than we will motivate towards pleasure. Once we eliminate fear, we can focus on the higher realms of the human experience.

Embrace Death. Accept your own mortality. Death is a shadow who walks through life at your side, patiently waiting to take your hand at the journeys end.

View Death as your ally. By accepting Death as your friend, and saying “I am not afraid. I will take your hand willingly when the time comes.” You eliminate all fear.

Fear is what freezes us right in our tracks. It stops the creative process. It is a prison that limits us from fulfilling our dreams and reaching our full potential.

Accept that Death will one day come, and that your time here is limited. Commit to squeezing each and every ounce of wonderment from the precious moments that you have been given. Accept Death’s gift: An hourglass, filled with the sands of time. Each grain is a moment of your life. Do not just sit back and let them fall to the bottom unnoticed. Savor each one. Live each moment! Create a plan for your life, and go after it with gusto.

That, my friends, is the first step to extraordinary living.

Death is the ultimate ideal of pain and fear. It is The Great Mystery. We fear what we do not understand, so let’s begin by embracing death, and get the big stuff out of the way. Once we understand death, and no longer fear it, well, there’s really nothing else to be afraid of, is there?

Each of us has our own ideas about religion and philosophy, and your personal description of death will be tied to the ideals and experiences of your life. We live in a culture that hides death, and defies aging. We push it aside by focusing on goals and issues that really would not matter if this were the last day of your life.

a) If you were told that you were going to die in six months, what would you do differently?

b) Would you alter your routine? Would you spend more time with loved ones? Would you express your love more openly?

c) Would the things that seem so important to you now, still hold the same priority in your life?

Take a moment and visualize yourself at the end of a long and wonderful life. You are lying peacefully on your bed with your loved ones around you. The sun is shining, and you are filled with joy and satisfaction as you look back over the journey of your life.

What was that journey? Where did you go? What did you do? Why do you feel such a sense of completeness as you prepare to pass through the great veil?

You are ready to go, and not afraid, because you have lived out your dreams, and accomplished your goals. You close your eyes and smile as you prepare for the crossing.

Think about your life from this perspective. It will teach you quickly what is important, and what is not. If you have a solid understanding of what you want your life to be, then and only then, can you take the first steps to manifesting an extraordinary life.

Book Excerpt: Develop Positive Intent

Excerpt from my book, Reach for the Stars:

Develop positive intent

Developing positive intent is not that hard to do. What is difficult is the discipline to sustain it.

Right now at this very moment, I am crying. I am writing a book about positive thinking, and crying my eyes out.

I’m just having a bad day. We all do. I received some bad news this morning, and ever since, my day has gone down hill. My hormones are all out of whack, and that little voice in my head keeps trying to send negative doom and gloom messages like “this book will never get published. Why am I wasting my time? What makes me think that I could have a chance? I would be using my time better if I got a job at Wal-Mart.”

So what do we do when this happens?

1) Indulge in the present moment. Allow yourself to deeply experience the moment. Remember, we can only appreciate the positive when we have experienced the negative. Feel your feelings, and visualize the opposite. This will allow you to look forward to the joys to come.

2) Police your thoughts. Are you letting the doom and gloom take over? Are you putting blame on others, running a series of thoughts in your head over and over again in an attempt to place others at fault, or beating up on yourself? Stare that little monster in the face, and recognize that those thoughts are not your own. Tell the little monster that you will not listen. Make him go away.

3) Realize that there is a chemical physiological aspect to your emotions. Give your body the time it needs to regain balance. Did you work out today? Have you been fueling your body with the nutrition that it needs? If not, put that goal on your list of priorities. Know that your tears and sweat are cleansing your body of chemicals and excess hormones. You will regain balance in time.

4) Fight back!

I may be crying, self loathing, and blaming, and thinking of lots of doom and gloom, but by golly, I am still writing! I am still focused on breaking these patterns and continuing to trudge forward, step by step, closer to my dream. I have recognized what is going on, and have made a conscious decision not to allow it to cloud my focus.

At times like this we need to put on a Knights suit of armor, and go into battle. We must KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that we can in fact manifest ANY reality that we choose. We must have faith that Action plus Intent equals Miracles.


If we loose faith in this belief, we are doomed to fail, and destined to struggle through an existence of a completely ordinary average life.

And so, in the midst of my tears and pitiful sorry moaning, I raise my lance, mount my steed and charge forth with more steam and gusto than ever before!

I will not Fail!

I will not allow the enemy of my mind to sabotage my divine dream!

I will reach out and Live an Extraordinary Life!

Whoo-Hoo, I Say, through a stream of tears, Whoo-Hoo!

Anthony Robbins has a series of motivational tapes that I have recommended for years. On one of them he talks about a session that he had with a client who was depressed. Tony asked the man to describe his posture and actions when he felt depressed. The man replied that he slumped his shoulders, frowned, and did a lot of heavy sighs.

Tony mimicked those actions and said “Hey, you’re right, That Works! I do feel kind of depressed!”

So, I am sitting here at my computer, wiping my tears, checking my posture, feeling stronger as I rise up. I am forcing a smile.

Yes. Anthony Robbins is right. I feel better already.

Breathe Deep. Connect to the divine. Let go of all the stress with a long slow exhale.

Whoo-Hoo. What a day

Book Excerpt: Ready, Set, Action

Excerpt from my book: Reach for the Stars:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me";
Erma Bombeck

Ready, Set, Action:

The eulogy exercise should offer you some important insights. It should reveal what is truly important to you. Use it as a guide to create your destiny.

Take some time to really think about your dreams. Visualize what you want your life to be. Add lots of details. Paint a picture in your mind of the best possible future that you can imagine. Focus on how these achievements will make you feel when you look back on them at the end of your life.

Do not make the mistake of putting your focus on material gain. That subject will be covered later. Focus on accomplishments, experiences, relationships, and the emotional rewards that you desire.

Do you want to feel loved, or accepted? Do you want to feel that you have done something good for others? Do you want to feel secure, or safe? Do you want the satisfaction of knowing that your life has meaning?

These are the paints and brushes that you must use to create your vision.

Close your eyes, and paint the picture.

Once you have created your masterpiece, the work begins. You must convert your big idea to ACTION. Now, if it’s a really big idea, this can be a bit overwhelming. So, I recommend that you think about it some more and then go sit on the couch and eat a bag of potato chips.

No, not really, what you need to do is visualize the journey, and then just like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, you need to step onto the path and begin.

I can tell you what the first step is. It’s the same for all of us. Get up out of your chair and take a step towards your goal. That step might be to your phone, or your computer, or to your car. Whatever it is, go do it. Put an action behind your idea. You are now on the path to your goal!

Break your vision up into little steps. Feed on each little action as you go. It is fulfilling and satisfying. If your dream is big enough, you will be able to feast on it for your entire lifetime! You might even be able to get others to join in and host a banquet! How great is that?

The beauty is that if you are focused on feeding off of your dream, and it is fulfilling and sustaining you…guess what, all the other problems in your life are not getting your attention. They are starving and becoming weak. With this dream as your source of spiritual nutrition, you will not fall prey to self pity, depression, negative thinking, or boredom driven habits that nullify the great experience of living.

Only the things that you put energy into can grow and prosper. It’s your choice.

Once you have a positive thought, ask yourself how you can make it better. THINK BIG! Change the world! Creating a big idea is like creating a work of art. It takes time and concentration and creativity. Review the end of life exercise. Make sure that your goal is one that will bring you peace and satisfaction on that last day.

Book Excerpt: Have a good Cry

Excerpt from my book: Reach for the Stars:

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

Anthony J. D'Angelo

Have a Good Cry

Tears are the spirits way of cleansing the soul. They are the prism that separates our emotions into the colors of the rainbow, and reveal the hues of the heart.

Emotional tears contain higher levels of hormones than tears from eye irritants. This is the body’s way of regulating the chemical balance of the body. So feel free to cry when you experience strong emotions. If you try to hold it in, your body will be chemically out of balance, and this will manifest itself through other symptoms.

We are living beings that must interact with the world around us. Our bodies are masterful machines with many regulatory mechanisms designed to keep the system running smoothly. Don’t fight it. Go with the flow.

Dr. Rae Baum, Ph.D. writes:

It is thought by many that there is a relationship between the suppression of emotions, psychological health, and disease. It is also generally accepted that crying is one way to expressing and releasing emotion. "Tears are the safety valves of the heart when too much pressure is laid upon it," wrote Albert Richard Smith. If emotional tearing reduces the effects of stress, then we may increase our susceptibility to a variety of physical and psychological problems when we suppress our tears.

Book Excerpt: Everything has a lesson

Excerpt from my book: Reach for the Stars

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever.

Henry Drummond

Everything has a lesson

In ancient Egypt, people were very concerned about entering the after life. One test to see if a person was worthy to be reborn, was that the heart was weighed against a feather. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the person was granted entry into the after life. If it was not, the person was eaten by the God of death. Thus we have the origination of the term “Light Hearted.”

My Family roots are in Ohio. My aunt, who is now in her sixties, married and moved out west some forty years ago. She came to visit recently. We offered to take her back to her hometown of Urbana to visit old friends. She adamantly refused. After some prodding, we discovered that her reluctance was due to her worry that they would see that she had “become old and fat.” That evening, I was checking my E-mail, and received this yummy quote from a friend:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and
well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,
champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other,
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and
screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!"

I printed it off, and set it on the table for my aunt to see. Apparently, she read it, because she changed her mind about Urbana, and went off to visit her old friends, and had a lovely time. She found the clue that she needed in order to lighten her heart. When she left, I became “The Whoo-Hoo Woman.” A title I carry to this day.

The lesson here is that whatever we need will manifest itself at just the right moment. We simply have to open our eyes and see it.

Book Excerpt: You are Perfect

Excerpt from my book, Reach for the Stars:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

You are perfect just as you are

All people share a basic sense of insecurity. We second guess our thoughts, our actions and our ideals. We are a species that lives in a constant state of awe and wonderment of the universe that we behold. Psychologists say that one of the most powerful emotional needs of human beings is the desire to be accepted by others. This explains a lot of the crazy behaviors that we see in others. It explains both introverts, who hide from the spotlight because of their fear of being rejected, as it explains the extroverts to act out publicly in order to gain the attention, if not the approval of their peers.

The secret to navigating through this quagmire of emotion is simple.

Ya gotta know when to play it Cool, and when to play the Fool.

When you are dealing with the ego, or the Id, as Freud defined it, play it cool. This applies to issues of your own ego, or that of others. Just be cool, baby. Don’t make a big deal of small issues. Don’t stress out and make things worse. Don’t blow your stack. Just be cool.

When dealing with the divine, well, that’s when you gotta play the fool. The wisdom of the fool is summed up in the famous quote: “All I know is that I know nothing at all.” This attitude opens your mind to all possibilities. It relieves you of the responsibility of controlling everything in your world. It summarizes the intent that there is a higher power of divinity that you surrender to.

We all know what it is like to listen to someone boast knowledge abut a subject that it is obvious they know nothing about. They are talking out of their backside. They are making the mistake of trying to play it cool when wisdom would direct them to play the fool. Their ego is getting in the way of their ability to be open and honest, and willing to accept new ideas. They are so afraid of what others think that they go to great lengths to put on a big act. They feel that if they can force others to believe that they know more than everyone else, or if they can get others to agree with their opinions that they will win the battle over their own insecurities. They focus all of their energy on this false bravado or hoax, when it would be so much easier, and so much more honorable to simply let go and be the fool.

Let go of all that unneeded stress by realizing that you do not need to cultivate the desire to be accepted by others. You only need to be accepting of yourself. When you let go of this anxiety, people will see it in you. They will be attracted to it, and everything you ever desired will come to pass.

Accept that no matter what you do, some people will like you and some people wont. And that’s O.K. Don’t try to please everyone. Don’t try to be everyone’s best friend. Just be yourself, and let the rest take care of it self.

Another famous quote, by Churchill, I think, was “a man without enemies is not worth knowing.”

Why is that? Let’s look at it a bit closer. A man without enemies must be someone who tries very hard to please everyone. This means that he must be engaging in a lot of falsehood. It means that he is a person who never takes a stand on any issue, because every issue has at least two sides, and therefore, when you express an opinion, you are bound to have others disagree. It means that he is a man without opinion, or one who hides his opinions, which either way means that he is really of no intellectual use to you. He will either lie to you, tell you what you want to her, or refuse to say anything at all. None of which is helpful.

So we see from this example that in order to be productive members of society, we must be willing to use our intellect, to develop opinions, and to express them openly. This means that we will have enemies, and we must accept that, and know that the more formidable that our enemies are, the more formidable our ideas are. And formidable ideas are worth suffering for.

Let us also remember the rule of the Cool and the Fool. The fool knows that opinions are just ideas from different points of view, and that these ideas are always subject to change. The fool knows that we must laugh at our own sense of seriousness, and that we must always be open to change.

The cool knows not to get overheated or to over react. Often the most powerful expression of opinion is often wrapped in a quiet understated approach. The cool person will step outside of an issue, and watch from the sidelines while others hash it out. He will wait, and listen, and learn. He won’t get emotionally involved or wear his heart on his sleeve. He thinks before he acts, and he acts with a deliberate goal.

Don’t ever make it part of your agenda to change the ideals of others. This is a huge mistake. Only worry about the evolution of your own mind. People welcome ideas that make them think, but they resent being told what to think.

Remember what I said about religion…when it comes down to the details, no two people share the exact same ideology. You have to remember that there are as many points of view as there are people, and that you do not have all the answers. Be cool, and play the fool. It will take you far.

Book Excerpt: Compassion and Love

Excerpt from my book, Reach for the Stars:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.


Compassion and Love are the ultimate weapons

I had a little situation in my life where I was having an on going problem with a gossipy mom in the neighborhood. When my daughter came home upset about the rumors, I thought “oh no, not more of this silliness!”

I was so ready to march down there and “have a little talk with that woman. I wanted to remind her that gossip is never good parenting. I had so many good lines to use, I felt so justified, so righteous. So right. But deep in my heart, I knew that telling her about the evils of gossip would not solve my problem. It would probably just make it worse. In fact, experience had taught me that no matter what point I tried to make with these types of women, they would just discuss it amongst themselves until they had found a way to justify that they were right and I was wrong. Anything I said would be held against me, and it wasn’t even a court of law!

So I decided to sit back, calm down and meditate. I tough task when your blood is boiling. And guess what…at that moment, I heard the voice of Dr. Wayne Dyer coming from my bedroom. He was doing his motivational piece on The Power of Intention for public television. He said that if we would just let go, surrender to source, that our world would be better. He told a story about sending out kindness instead of anger. He told a story of a lady at the airline who was not happy to provide service to him. He said that instead of arguing with her about the rules, he instead showed her as much genuine kindness as he possibly could. He even gave her a signed copy of his book. He said that by the end of the flight, this woman was bending over backwards to help: Just begging to assist him in any way that she could.

I thought, yea right, like that would work for me. Then I tried to meditate again. I tried to find some compassion for this woman. Ooh how I tried. But I just couldn’t. I was too angry. I was right and she was wrong, and all I wanted to do was march down there and make her agree with me. Dr. Dyer said something about my ego getting in the way of my connection to source, but I didn’t hear him. I tried again to meditate, to connect to my source of inner peace. If I couldn’t find compassion for this woman, at least I could find a little peace and calm.

Then I heard his voice coming from the bedroom again. He said that when you connect to source it is amazing how just the right people show up at just the right time in your life. Hmmf. Not for me. I made a silent wish for my best friend to call. I wanted to tell her about this awful gossip, and have her agree that I was right. I wanted to vent. Girlfriends are great for that aren’t they?

Well, she did not call.

What’s up with that Doc, I thought. I’m connecting here. Where is my support team?

My mind wandered back to the problem at hand. Gosh I had so much good ammo. I could really put that girl in her place if I wanted to. But if I did, how would she react? She would be angry and resentful, and would probably never see my point even if I talked till I was blue in the face.

I imagined myself going to talk to her preacher, and bringing him to her house to take my side and tell her about the evils of gossiping. That would get her! But would it? Would she repent, throw her arms around me and apologize? No. She would become defensive, get even madder at me, and then call her friend to tell her what nerve I had to bring her preacher into this! Then together they would decide that I was an evil manipulator, and they would spread the story around the whole neighborhood that I was a pariah to be avoided.

Then, I had an interesting shift in my emotions. As I meditated, and continued to try to push these thoughts out of my mind and connect to Dr Dyers Source, I heard his voice resonate in my head. Offer kindness, and you will have ‘em eating out of your hand. Hmmm, is that what I wanted? No. Not really. I wanted to give em the ol one two! But, I realized that in the end, if I did that it would only cause me more pain. Whatever you send out comes back to you ten fold. So, if I wanted peaceful relations with my neighbors, and if I wanted to provide a healthy environment for my kids, I was going to have to push my ego aside, suck it up, and offer kindness. Oooh, that did not sound like any fun at all. But I knew that even though the ol one two would be a lot more satisfying in the short run, the hard work of the route of compassion was the only path to my ultimate goal.

I realized then, that I was powerless to do anything to change this woman. The only thing that I had the power to do was change my self. I could see that my desire for satisfaction was only short term, and that acting on that desire would be in direct conflict with my long term goal.

Just then I had another remarkable realization. The person that I needed at that very moment in my life DID appear! He was a man that I had never met, who was half a world away, and yet, he appeared in my bedroom, on public television, at the exact moment that I needed him, and told me EXACTLY what I needed to know!

It Worked!

For the next week, I was careful to avoid confrontation, and put my focus on sending only positive energy from a pure heart. At first the reaction was cold, but when she saw my sincerity, things really turned around. She invited my kids to a party, asked me to join them for an evening social, and sent several of those cute little e-mails with inspirational thoughts and poetry.

Love from a pure heart is the only weapon of defense that really works to achieve the desired results. Every other tactic just compounds pain and strife. Do not be fooled by the simplicity of this thought. Love is not an easy weapon to wield. It is much easier to be reactionary, spiteful and defensive. To respond with love in the face of confrontation takes more honor and strength of spirit than you can possibly imagine. Your mind and your ego will trick you and try to make you give in. Just as it does to a drug addict. Your body will surge with adrenaline, your muscles will tense, and your vision will tunnel. You will have to fight so hard just to refocus your energy on your self control, that you will not be able to even consider your opponent. Responding with love is an art of the highest form that requires the training of a master warrior.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Death Statistics update

In response to my comments on the Death Statistics study, Research Scientist and Associate Director of Biostatistics, Donn C. Young, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center offered this reply:

Dear Ms. Bell,

Thank you for your thoughtful note about our recently published study.
The questions you raise are important, but difficult to answer within
the framework of scientific investigation. Since we were working from
information recorded on death certificates, there was no way of knowing
such things as the individual's intent or manner in which they
approached their disease. And position and credibility have nothing to
do with it - it's a matter of looking at the data.

But I disagree that our study removes hope - far from it. We know that
many cancer patients live well beyond what might be 'expected'. But
those of us who specialize in statistics know that random variation
results in a few individuals who achieve often remarkable survivals. For
example, Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist, survived 20
years after a diagnosis of abdominal mesothelioma - a remarkably
agressive and fatal form of cancer. He understood the nature of
statistical distributions and understood that a few would have a lengthy
survival - and found solace in the hope that that would include himself
- and it did.

And while optimism and a positive coping style may greatly enhance a
patient's quality of life, there seems little evidence that they have
any influence on overall survival in people with cancer. You may wish to
read the two articles below from the journals Cancer and British Medical

Schofield P, Ball D, et al. Optimism and survival in lung carcinoma
patients. Cancer 2004;100:1276-82.
Petticrew M, Bell R, Hunter D. Influence of psychological coping on
survival and recurrence in people with cancer: systematic review. BMJ

We by no means remove hope, but wish only to emphasize that if you have
a family member, friend, or loved one dying of cancer or other chronic
disease that we need to give them an early gift of our love, our
friendship, our attention, and our time. Nothing is more important. I
hope this message is clear.


Donn Young

Death Statistics

In regards to the December 22 article in The Columbus Dispatch Newspaper titled: "Study says patients can't hold off death, but stories disagree"

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, by Ohio State University biostatatistician Donn Young, examined 309.221 death certificates and found "no difference in the number of patients who died before or after" the milestone dates of Christmas, Thanksgiving, or birthdays.

The story seems to imply that although there are many stories of terminally ill people who have held on longer that expected, that the data does not support the notion that there is an element of individual will power or control over the time of death.

I doubt the validity of this conclusion. I would argue that if you were to extract the patients from the study who did in fact live beyond the milestones, and then look into the qualities that these rare individuals have in common, I am quite certain that you will find a correlation between the extended time of life and the personality type.

I predict that these people will share qualities that are often seen in highly successful individuals.

Positive Attitude

Ability to visualize through prayer or meditation

The ability to think from the end; To visualize the future move towards it.


Successful record of accomplishments

I also predict that the percentage of people who beat the odds will correlate to the percentage of people in the general population who are highly successful in life. It might also correlate with the percentage of people who survived the Nazi Death camps, as discussed in the works of Victor Frankl.

Think of it this way: If you were to take a poll and ask 1000 people if they would like to have a degree from an Ivy League school, and the job security and status that goes with it, I imagine that most, if not all the respondents would say yes.

However, the fact is that only a very small segment of the population will actually focus on achieving this goal. This does not in any way imply that the average person can not achieve this goal, nor does not imply that a person has no control over the outcome.

The truth is in fact quite the opposite. Achievement of this goal is obtained through a high degree of control and effort that only a select few people have learned to generate.

This study tells me what I already know: That wishes alone are powerless.

Miracles are only created through a recipe of focused intent that very few people know how to harness.

Viktor Frankl’s theory and therapy grew out of his experiences in Nazi death camps. Watching who did and did not survive, he concluded that the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had it right: “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. "

Look into his research and you will find that ALL prisoners in the camps wished to live and be free, but only a very few could visualize from the end, and see hope in the future. This is the quality that set them apart.

This study, although well intentioned, uses the universities credibility and position to remove hope, which is a shame because the conclusion is flawed.

I suggest the researchers go back and look at the population that beat the odds and use their talents to find out why. This is a quest worthy of limited research dollars.