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Hoisting the Happy Flag—Intergalactic Mission to Overcome November Neurosis

HOISTING THE HAPPY FLAG—INTERGALACTIC MISSION TO OVERCOME NOVEMBER NEUROSIS
Monthly Hideaway for Writers, Insecure, Self-Motivated or SuperGalactic Success Stories

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in towns all over Britain on ‘Bonfire Night’ with sponsored firelighting ceremony and fireworks, a tradition going back 420 years.

Guy Fawkes, 1605 plot failed to blow up parliament buildings for English pro-Catholic James VI & I restorationists

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions did a scheme contrive
To blow the King and Parliament all up alive.
Threescore barrels laid below, to prove olde Englande’s overthrow.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
English Folk Verse, 1605; Victorian version 1870

His Gunpowder Plot failed. He got caught.

Just before his execution on 31 January, 1606 Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered. He became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605, when his effigy is traditionally burned on a community-sponsored bonfire—usually with a finale of fireworks.

While in the U.S.A. setting off fireworks around the All Hallows season is illegal, for Brits and some Commonwealth nations it has come to mean an explosion of national last-gasp celebration/pride before the onset of winter. Plus a twinkling of folk memory buried somewhere in the magic pagan pot. A closely comparable U.S. ceremonial/celebration is the mid-August madness in the Nevada desert known as Burning Man.


Kickstarting the Happiness Curve

It all has to do with joy and ways to achieve that calm place in our mind.

According to Prof. Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist at New York’s Columbia University, during REM—rapid eye movement experienced in sleep—our serotonin levels decrease. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter best known for encouraging human feelings of calm.

We are superhuman superheroes & heroines, once we lock into our neurotransmitter serotonin levels, SuperMan the Original courtesy CBS

“I close my eyes and open them. Who is this body—and this mind? Why am I thinking these meaningless thoughts that seem to be causing me pain?
“I have a mission: to calm this body down and do some good today.
“And then I’m gone tomorrow. On another, intergalactic, interdimensional mission.”
“I am a multi-dimensional, multi-verse superhero, on a mission for billions of years and this is just one”
James Altucher Four Rules for Achieving Happiness

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, there are ways we can intentionally cause them to flow. Dopamine motivates us to take action towards goals, gives us pride in ticking our boxes. Serotonin flows when we feel significant, or important. Depression comes when serotonin leaves. Oxytocin—so-called cuddle hormone—is present in intimacy, trust, continuity, childbirth, breastfeeding and sex. It creates fidelity.

Coincidentally, sleep and happiness studies have found the actual physical weight of (light) bedding causes deep pressure stimulation that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing dopamine*—as mood-boosting transmitter—and serotonin levels—according to Ellen Wermter, Sleep Therapist.

Endorphins, Mind-Body Joy Triggers of Calm
Dopamine, serotonin and other pleasure-producing mind-body feelings were unknown until a series of 1975 groundbreaking studies by University of Aberdeen (and Nobel-prize-winning) professors John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz* published in Nature, suggested a relationship with opiates and calm-inducing drugs.
*Dr Kosterlitz, a refugee from Nazi Prussia, and a family friend of my father’s, called the newly-discovered brain chemicals Enkephalin, aka Endorphins. He was among the first to link mind-body pleasure centers with neurotransmitters. I am delighted to acknowledge his work along with that of his Nobel-winning son, Michael, in a related mind-body-spirit arena. It only took forty-five years for the happiness ‘drug’ to become a conversation piece; a household word. Sorry if you don’t need the applause, Michael! Well deserved.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) began in the early 1970s as a thesis project at Santa Cruz, California, home of the original (and unique) award-winning U.C. History of Consciousness course. Richard Bandler and his professor, John Grinder, wanted to develop models of human behaviour, to understand why certain people seemed to be excellent at what they did, while others found the same tasks challenging, or nearly impossible to do.

Inspired by pioneers in fields of therapy and personal growth and development, Bandler and Grinder began to develop systematic procedures and theories that formed the language of NLP. They studied three top therapists: Virginia Satir, the extraordinary family therapist, who consistently was able to resolve difficult family relationships that many other therapists found intractable; the innovative psychotherapist Fritz Perls, 1893-1970, who originated the Gestalt school of therapy; and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, 1901-1980.

They developed a more personal interactive approach with patients/clients, using encouraging gestures and language to open doors otherwise relegated to psychotic or barricaded emotional realms.

Fall Back—Self-Doubt and Writerly Insecurity Begone
Perhaps our Intergalactic Space Commander Alex would have a better perspective on the whole Superhero satisfaction thing, continually venturing out there with his success, CassaStar series.

Finding a pristine shell while beachcombing brings enormous pleasure, raises oxytocin levels

Ticking the box of achievement—and the joy it brings—gives us feelings of self-reliance, increased confidence—self determination, even. Guy Fawkes, above, paradoxically, has been described as orchestrating his own death—by breaking his neck—rather than endure the triple ritual death by hanging, drawn-quartering.

We can alter our path any time, with a little help from such wellbeing enhancers as yoga, brief meditation and physical exercise—and a lot of writerly moral support.

And we can always fall back on our Muse—November being not just a reminder to change the clocks—Britain last week October; U.S. first November—but crucial writing month for brave NaNoWriMo wordsmiths.

I admit I prefer my pheromone-diffusing area of expertise, e.g. gardening, planting, encouraging bees and birds. With the occasional venture into blogdom. They say—apart from sleep—that our back-to-nature activities are by far the most effective in dispelling anxiety, depression and self-doubt.

I take heart that our best therapy has always been doing what we love the most: aka writing. Joy from that does feel empowering.

As Aristotle 384–322 B.C. said: You are what you continually do. And enjoy doing. Happy writing this November.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

November 5, 2019 Posted by | art, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, environment, festivals, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, pre-Christian, Prehistory, publishing, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seasonal Music and Whalesong to Ease IWSG Pain

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER

Migrating gray whales sometimes learn notes from humpbacks on their shared journey

Migrating gray whales sometimes learn notes from humpbacks on their shared jpurney

Rockin’ in the Ole Town Tonight
If—as the Zen Buddhists and String Theory Physicists say—all is vibration—then a full schedule of outdoor music festivals in natural surroundings, weekend after weekend throughput June and July should place Northern California and Humboldt County in particular in good graces with the gods.

Harry Belafonte kicks off Willits, CA series of summer  live music festivals —solstice 2016

Harry Belafonte kicks off Willits, CA series of summer live music festivals —solstice 2016

Headlining the Kate Wolf Music Festival June 23 – 26, 2016 at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville, CA is veteran crooner Harry Belafonte. Contemporary of Frank Sinatra, Sidney Poitier and Nat Cole, his voice and repertoire have captivated audiences for a minimum of five decades, and still he pleases. Only for reason of age and fame does Belafonte NOT join the revelers who overnight in gay abandon within Black Oak’s leafy canopy, their campground, tents, sleeping bags, makeshift awnings a-go-go all part of the madness of the onset of summer.

Blending Cultures through Music
Free camping goes with ticket purchase at Mateel Community’s 32nd Reggae on the River August 4th-7th in Humboldt County’s renowned French’s Camp, near Garbeville. While international headliners like James Taylor whiz through on a whirlwind tour.

I may be forgiven by my fellow IWSGers—and our faithful Cap’n.Alex—for mentioning only once the fact that, because summer of 2016 is forecast to outstrip 2015 in temperatures and arid conditions, by Lammas and the balmy days of August—Summer’s End—the renowned desert happening of Burning Man may appropriately celebrate burning humans—in the music world, as well as in the ‘real world’.

Camping under the stars to Music has filled summer festivals since Woodstock

Camping under the stars to Music has filled summer festivals since Woodstock

Meanwhile, we writers seem to find a space—rearranging our own personal hell—in order to focus on what we do most of the time—stringing words together.

Does Going Through Hell Help us Write Better?
Quoting our group’s enlightened captain:

Many writers have been through some crisis in their life. Maybe it was a bad childhood, a divorce, drugs, alcohol, illness—the list is endless. It’s left scars and many seem to draw upon their difficult experiences to write great stories.
Alex J. Cavanaugh, author and blogger

Some of us are more fatalistic than others. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that my responsibility lies not just in writing; but somehow in blending into the written fabric some encouragement to my fellow scribes that we will get through this coming crisis. By that I mean us IWSGers: I can’t be quite so optimistic about the human race in general.

So it’s really a good thing to listen to the drumbeat of summertime—let go those old cold winter reins, shake a leg, kick up a jig or two and enjoy the music.

It can’t hurt, can it?
©2016 Marian Youngblood

June 1, 2016 Posted by | authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, energy, festivals, music, nature, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

August Musical Express: Insecure Jazz-Jamboree to Nirvana

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ MIRACLE MANIFESTATION CORNER or
Sounding One’s Own Trumpet

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Hailstones the size of walnuts in Boston, floodwaters inundating the Rio Grande on TexMex border, volcanic unrest in a new Atlantic seamount off the Falklands, Pacific Northwest arteries ripped by forest fires; no glaciers left in Glacier National Park.
What in the world is happening? you may ask.

Is it a bird, a plane, a super cloud?
No, Batman. It’s called ignoring/misleading public/human condition, in the final horse race to the political gate.

Bread and Circuses—Fodder for U.S. ‘uninformed’ Masses

U.S. adds three new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park

U.S. adds four new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park


Political press liken both parties’ cavalier attitude to the American Constitution to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Do American politicians still remotely believe the public is listening to their rhetoric?

We in Ninja Cap’n.Alex‘s IWSGers stalwart group of writers know when it’s time to throw in the towel—allow Nature to take over the reins.. After all, we are INSECURE. And it’s summer—festival season. This is no time for intellectual—or intellect-less mind games. Carpe diem—seize the (day) moment. Time to look to the skies and aim heavenward—or hole up and w-r-i-t-e—or even go into permanent meditational mode: achieve mental freedom of Nirvana—or something even more (insecurely) celestial.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview

Every Gun made
Every Warship launched
Every Rocket fired
signifies a Theft from the Hungry not fed, the Cold not clothed, and the Homeless left unhoused
Dwight D.Eisenhower, U.S. President 1953-61

Analogies with the Roman Colisseum are not totally inappropriate, in 2015-2016 election fever. The so-called uninformed public is now—courtesy of the Internet and the Cloud—hugely well-informed. Where gladiators and gore, pythons and phalluses were customary fodder for ignorant pre-Christian masses, two thousand years down the line, we’d hope we might have learned a little sophistry in leading humanity along a more enlightened path.

Music—Food of Love—Live Transmission
Music heals and regenerates human cells. With recent research confirming what Galileo discovered about acoustics, when he devised the first western scale.

Summer music festivals, it seems, are not just mindless, letting off steam—they are, since the times of Lughnasadh, Bacchanalia, Lupercalia and Saturnalia, an essential release mechanism for the human psyche from the shackles of (cold, winter, drudgery) ‘responsibility’.

Trumpet High-notes Only a Dog Could Hear

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

If the ‘Father of Jazz’ were alive, he would be 114 years old today. Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, born August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans, died July 6, 1971 in New York.

As a bandleader, his virtuoso arrangements and seminal trumpet playing earned him the moniker Satchelmouth. Among other predominately black musicians like Duke Ellington and fellow horn player Cat Anderson, we have him to thank for freedom expressed through music, preserved for posterity in this digital age. Louis and Cat were reputed to reach high notes only a dog could hear.

Tribute bands to those former icons—including Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, the Beatles—provide substitute Nirvana for live festival attendees. And August is jamboree month in the Pacific Northwest.

If Burning Man in Nevada isn’t your style, maybe you should go for down-home 31st Annual Reggae-on-the-River in Mendocino; or Oregon’s Jamboree.

Whatever your summer addiction—in this group, it HAS to be writing-related—even the hardest taskmaster will allow you a little time off. Thanks, Taskmaster Alex.
#IamWriting.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

August 5, 2015 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, festivals, music, nature, publishing, ritual, seasonal, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

September Blues? Consider Poor Mother Earth

INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER


Thanks to our (non-mutant) Ninja Capn. Alex, I make a seasonal appearance as last rays of summer flash, to say hi to my fellow IWSGers, but also to share the pathos of impending equinoctial changes: seasonal, earth-related, celestial and beyond—

Ancient Lughnasadh Festival of Light
I try to celebrate the end of summer, lasting—as all Druid-lore-lovers know—from mid-July to September equinox, plumbing sacred depths of fire festival season centered on:
Lammas Day, August 1st, the Glorious Twelfth.*

Mud-slides: par for course @T-in-the-Park

Mud-slides: par for course @T-in-the-Park

It spans the crazies of [Brit. advertising-cum-financial industry] ‘Silly Season’, culminating at September’s doorway in a frenzy of global music festivals: epitomized by (Brit) Leeds-Reading Extravaganza and (beer-fueled) T-in-the-Park. And BURNING MAN in the Nevada Desert.

Yet I feel pathos and sadness engulfing a season’s end, a dying earth. Our Mother Earth, especially, has suffered much this year.

Burning Man festival of light, Nevada desert

Burning Man festival of light, Nevada desert

*I am not sentimental about the killing of grouse; I never liked the practice, however fashionable and smoothly operated it’s supposed to be. I shall not change my view; but my attitude to what goes on in the ‘Old Country‘, now that I’m an ex-pat, has softened.

I know this doesn’t sound remotely like a writing moan—as our monthly corner is supposed to be—but there is a connection:

Harvest—Dying—Resurrection—Metamorphosis
Ancient Lammas, Lughnasadh primal fire festival of the god Lugh, [‘Light’] is known across the indigenous cultural spectrum as First Harvest, Harvest Home, a time to STOP, give thanks and celebrate with offerings—bread from our table. Rejoicing in Mother Earth’s bounty, we share and celebrate her fruitfulness with good food and friends. Traditionally, harvest tables were decked with red, gold, orange, yellow, bronze, citrine, gray, and green: colors now associated with wild dress-couture-masquerade extravaganzas—particularly in U.S.

Corn dollies have been replaced by macho/Ninja? [!!] sickles, scythes, iMax giant scimitars, over fresh veggies & fruits, bread, and sun-wheels. But drumbeat rhythm focuses joy, seeps between the volcanic cracks into the Earth, honoring her cross-cultural daughters of Lugh: Freya, Demeter, Ceres, Pandora et al.—goddesses of fruitfulness,carers of the Earth thru her seasons. In this sense she (Earth Mother) and Hathor are one and the same: primeval Eve, Brittonic Bride, Norse Auohumla, great cow-giant goddess, and ancestor of the Norse gods. She is also Gaia, Sumerian Antu: who became Ishtar, goddess of love and procreation.

Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014-style

Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014-style

Summerend, in all cultures—ancient Lammas, now-generation Virtual.world and future Turtle Island—with deference to our Sci-Fi Cap’n’s focus—is always a good time for a celebration.

Now is time to enjoy drinking, eating fresh food, indulging our hedonist within— dancing, expressing joy, getting back to our roots—being oneself.

For a light-deprived northerner, I am grateful for long days of warmth, time in the garden, maybe occasionally, I think about writing…lol. But I digress.

The Caravanserai Headed East
In current Western culture, Burning Man takes precedence. Trailers are rented at great expense, shared rides go East thru the Nevada desert, to pitch camp in an awesome congregation of festival-goers—almost medieval in ethos—with singing, dancing, beating and celebrating the earth, the sun, and being alive— through music, masque, dance and new connections, made over five days.

Leeds-Reading morphs to 4-day festival, à la Burning Man

Leeds-Reading morphs to 4-day festival, à la Burning Man

Glastonbury’s Symposium begins the season mid-June, followed by July drinking madness: Scotland’s T-in the Park, above, originating in 1997 in Strathclyde Country Park, where triple stages were annually bogged down in mud.

Black Rock, NV, 2014 artwork DC

Black Rock, NV, 2014 artwork DC

2014’s TITP was last epic concert to be held on Kinross’s disused Balado field:a medically-better location, where WWII runways provided metaphorical undercarriage for nine multiple stages over three-day weekend.

But, because Forties Field oil pipeline runs under the tarmac, Scots (financial and) Government agencies started yelling ‘health&safety’, so 2014 was its swan song. T-in-the-Park 2015 will migrate to the former boarding school of Strathallan, twenty miles West in Perthshire.

Sunday morning at the ephemeral Cathedral, Black Rock Nevada-ending 2014 Burning Man

Sunday morning at the ephemeral Cathedral, Black Rock Nevada-ending 2014 Burning Man

There follows the majestic three-day wonder of Reading-Leeds Music Festival, at the height of Lammas: August 21-24, 2014.

Leeds-Reading DeafHavana & Bill Bailey

Leeds-Reading DeafHavana & Bill Bailey

It would seem the Brits are following the U.S. lead in widening the window of music sent heavenward in sheer joy of numbers.

Americans wowed by Nevada desert’s five-day Burning Man festival have yet to experience the booze-quotient of a Brit music venue: comparisons of liters/pints of beer drunk at Glastonbury vs. Leeds/Reading shock American/Canadian drinkers who, by law, have to put tankard to lip behind closed doors. Ah, the contrast.

As Britain closes for the summer, the American continent opens. Festivals ripple like musical arpeggios across barren, dry (over-watered) southern states, Austin, Dallas, Nashville. As the earth gets hotter—most of continental U.S. is in grill-bbq grip of unrelenting heat, forest fires, drought.

Here is not the place to bring up city water demands from rural salmon spawning hinterland—Eel, Van Duzen, Klamath, Trinity and Navarro— but we all know Earth is shrieking for us to slow down, take a look at what we are doing to our Pale Blue Dot, called home, and stop.

One could liken it to an Apocalypse scenario. But our Ninja Cap’n knowzzzz all about that.

Thank you Alex, always for providing a corner for a moan, a shared frisson and love for Sci-Fi, and a window on tomorrow’s world—and for letting me in under the wire—late. 🙂
©2014Marian Youngblood

September 3, 2014 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, belief, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment