Unconditional Self Acceptance

Unconditional Self Acceptance Journal Based on listening to Cheri Huber 6 hour audio book. (Highly recommended)
I liked this very much because it is like one long guided meditation she reminds you to deep breathe at the beginning of each chapter and from the start she sounds like she is talking directly to me. I don’t know if anyone else would feel the same. She hit on issues that helped me a lot. I was surprised by the “Judge” section. It was the only time I couldn’t breathe. She asks where do you feel the emotion and it was a tightness in my abdomen. It was the most emotional part of the journey. I think I will keep listening to it in my spare time, maybe a chapter each session. It made me think. I also like it because there is very little mystical qualities. And no “positive affirmations” because they just don’t work for me. I don’t believe them when I hear them.

Picture 4 people in your life, My mom, when I was 6, smell of alcohol when she kissed me goodnight. I hated it. I hated the way she acted when she was drunk. Yes loving but, you know, or loud and obnoxious and embarrassing.

My uncle J when I was 6, pulling a knife on my mom’s boyfriend over some stupid argument. May have been thanksgiving. Fear, confusion, I never know how anyone is going to act depending on what substances they are using.

My aunt J, I was 4, My favorite thing was whoever was still awake when she got out of work at the Bar got to go to downtown Salisbury for beach pizza and sit on the huge driftwood tree in front of the fire, with the other late nighters. and drink wine out of a gallon jug, hobo style, rest it on your shoulder. I was usually the only one still awake. I felt special.

My Mom’s boyfriend, I still don’t know the story, he was married to her adopted sister and had two kids but somehow ended up living with my mom. He was a lumberjack and brought a case of beer with him to work each day. He taught us kids hard work. I was 6-10, I don’t know how I feel, He was usually Jovial but scared me once, pushed me down the stairs, when I didn’t want to help bring in the firewood. Stop your fucking crying!
Memories of when I felt strong emotion. Getting teased about Liz and trying to violence my cousin. (is embarrassment and emotion) anger, I got punished for being emotional. Sent to my room early while every one was still laughing down stairs. I think I was 9.

Kensington: baseball, I threw a tantrum because I struck out three times and mr perrea showed me the poster board at the end of the game, 50 cent pieces and every kid’s name and congratulations for making the higher team. I cried and I got ostracized by all my friends in 7th grade. I was punished for my emotions. 10 years old, 6th grade

Silent Meditation Notes: She was talking me through it and I kept noticing the highest I could count my breath was to 5, when she suggested 10, but I reminded myself it is called “practice” for a reason and did not berate myself. I noticed today my mind was very quiet while listening. Last night, many noises, When she went silent, I didn’t notice for the longest time.. Suddenly I realized I had no thoughts for the first time ever while meditating. I know that is not the point. My head tilted to the side as if I was about to fall asleep, but I was not sleeping when I was having no thoughts. I was startled and it wasn’t until then I noticed she had stopped talking. I thought the player had stopped!
Set time for awareness practice and stick to it. No more, no less (me 5 minutes) it’s for the child inside who believes adults lie. Keep your promises to yourself. ( I like this for some reason) (I didn’t know my first promise to myself was to not give up on this audio, it is only six hours and finish starting last night until sometime today) Meditation does not make you a better person. It makes you a person who is more aware.

Cool! I forgot to count my breath but when I remembered I made it up to 10 every time and twice I went to 11 forgetting to start over. The practice is to stay in the present but usually while I am doing meditation, I am living in the future. No different this time. I catch myself thinking of what I am going to do later in the day. Or most of all, what I was going to write after 5 minutes. 5 minutes felt like it would be excruciating but the timer sounded and surprised the hell out of me. Tinnitus is what I noticed the most. Many thoughts but not fast. footsteps upstairs, cars outside, Counting to ten became automatic. I think I was doing so well this summer because I was keeping my promise to get outside for a certain number of hours every nice day. Got discouraged because nothing incredible happened, that was an unrealistic expectation and was never the intention to begin the summer.

Childhood trauma:
Fear: adaptive coping mechanisms (Not sleeping, drugging, precocious sex. sneaking around the house late at night, getting into shit, withdrawn, Become the entertainer, keep everyone laughing so there would be no fighting.)
Guilt: Someone is going to find out, It’s all my fault.
The Judge: I always thought my inner critic was an adult yelling at me, loser, idiot, stupid etc…
Those are words a child uses to another child. (had to get up and type this. right away)
How do you feel? (Sadness and anger) What is your mind doing? (Shutting everything out) Why do we look to our thoughts to tell us how we feel?

Crying, wasn’t expecting this, chapter surprised me.
It’s still going, it won’t fucking end!

You come to a meadow, you see someone (I know where this is going, it’s me, in the picture, I was 4 sitting in the grass playing with my truck, I wasn’t a sad kid, I was happy) What would you do for this child? (anything, that’s what I’m trying to do with L=== that’s why I feel like such a fucking failure) Switch places with the child.. ask the adult what you want, what do you need? (I don’t fucking know, I don’t fucking know) Switch back and forth (I can’t remember) There is someone else standing nearby ( I know where this is going too, it’s the judge, it’s me,) Switch places with the judge… how does it feel to be the judge? (It fuckin’ hurts, pain, it fuckin’ hurts! He is lashing out at the world) What does the world look like through the judge’s eyes? What does he want? What does he need? (I don’t fucking know!) (Lot’s of crying. Finally it’s over, read it again, more crying)

It’s a nice day, I”m going for a walk.

Judge trashed me the whole time I was out.
Did the belly breathing while walking and calmed myself.
Got back from walk.

Reflective Listening? Confusing me with who is who inside my head. J: You talk too much… M: What worries you about me talking to much? J: People you love don’t feel like you are listening to them… M:

My Judge isn’t that nice, he would say: Shut the fuck up, asshole!
Feels like I”m patronizing myself and still don’t know who I am inside my head?

Write down the conversation on a piece of paper and replace, “I” with “he/she” appropriate
pronoun. Sometimes I/he call(s) myself “You”, “You fucking piece of shit! What the fuck is your problem?
Still confused… But I like the idea of separating…
“He’s a piece of shit!”, “Who is a piece of shit? (When I see it printed, it seems to end the conversation.)

Mentoring visualization meditation:
What was the most difficult time of your life? 7-12 grades
What made it so hard? In 7th I was ostracized by my friend’s from the school we came from in a smaller town. They sent me to every counselor and “ist” and the sociologist asked me to write a story and I wrote science fiction and used the word “warped” as in Star Trek, warp speed? So I guess that meant I was crazy she wouldn’t shut up about it. The summer after 8th grade, I had to go to a psychologist with my mother and brother and pretend everything at home was just peachy and everyone wasn’t shitfaced and crazy and fighting all the time. And the fucking guy spazzed on me when I said, “Sorry, I spaced out for a second, I didn’t hear the question” and we spent the whole hour with him asking me exactly why and what I meant by “spaced out” Hasn’t he ever heard hippies talk? They let me into high school.

In high school the studying of me like a specimen continued. I was put in the Resource Room, affectionately known as the “Retard Room.” But the best part of that was I had a free hall pass that let me leave class any time I wanted to go the Resource Room. Nobody ever checked to see if I actually went and half the time I went to see my friend who lived in his friend’s parents basement, behind the soccer fields and smoked weed all day. At night I hung out with the other misfits in the graveyard.
How did it make you feel? Angry, alienated, full of anxiety, distanced, Alone More like I didn’t fit in than most kids naturally feel at that age.
Picture your perfect mentor, what would you want them to say to you at the time? (I had trouble with this one) Me, I would say to myself, the same as I told my daughter. While you are in school it seems like the most important thing in the world but the older you get the less it matters.
(instrumental beat repeating in my head, driving my thoughts, was gone earlier today, during extended listening, returned during walk)

Conditioned Responses: I forget what the 5 steps named but I understood the chapter.
I have always believed that my drinking/drugging was a conditioned response/learned behavior. I don’t believe addiction is a disease that cannot be cured.

Mentor guided meditation:
Wow! I was on the right track on who I wanted to be my mentor. I have never had a more relaxed, positive talk with myself. She asks which emotion is hardest for you. Imagine a situation that creates it. Can you feel it? Now step outside yourself. See that person who is struggling. Ask them how you can be of assistance? Tell them you will be there for them. Be your own best friend.

I think this worked so well for me because I have been doing diaphragmatic slow breathing already.
I will be listening to this as much as possible until it is ingrained in my brain.

Back to Nature

The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature. Author: Peter Wohlleben.

This is the second book I have read of his; the first was The Hidden Life of Trees. He is a forester in Germany, hence the focus on trees.

I was looking forward to reading this because in the first book I discovered a million almost unbelievable facts about what goes on in the forest.

This book did not disappoint with even more incredible information backed up by intensive research and studies. A few hints I can give without spoilers Is why humans and some many other animals evolved to see in color while other animals only need to see in black and white to survive. Okay, one spoiler. Only because I have been wondering about this for a few years now. We have tiny muscles in our ears that move our eardrums to point in the direction of sounds we hear. My mind started on this when I started meditating and trying to figure out how I could not only tell exactly where sounds were coming from but also how far away the sound is produced. Even telling the difference between a loud or soft sound from afar or close. It doesn’t matter if the sounds have the exact same volume; I can discern if it originated from the highway a mile in the distance or directly outside my window in the parking lot. I still don’t know that one.

There is also a lot about human relationship with trees, starting with fire. Archaeologists are continually discovering much older evidence of ancient man’s relationship with controlled fires. He is well versed in research and admits when he is only speculating but his guesses are well educated. One proven idea is being in the forest calms relaxes us. Trees release chemicals which change our brains when we breathe them in. He has no idea why. But it explains a recent interest and some small industry around “forest bathing.”

Part of this book is a bummer when he explains exactly how much “old growth forest” is left in the world. (Not much) Old growth forest is a much better protection against climate change. Most forests left are managed like plantations with low diversity and are mostly used for profit. Trees are considered a renewable resource and these tree farms are promoted as good for the environment which is not always the case. Old growth forests are renewable but only over thousands of years.

Wow… Bad vibes. He does give hope, telling of many young people who have a great interest in the environment recently. They are motivated to do take action and not just talk about it. Overall, I am glad I read this book. It is a good read for me because my concentration is getting better but not like I used to be. So the short chapters gave me frequent breaks but I actually read it faster than I would another book of the same length. (This was short at 165 pages.) That is a personal plus.

I did enjoy, The Hidden Life of Trees more than this but only because I would rate that as one of the best books I have ever read. I have read a lot of books.

Got a Minute?

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

This book will hurt your brain and you will like it! In the first part he destroys all concepts of past, present and future. In subsequent chapters he puts them back together for you in a comfortable manner, only to tear apart the theories again. The main theme of the book posits there is no variable “t” for time. There are only events, relationships between events and probabilities which define time. All of which depend on our perspective. This doesn’t help because there are as many different perspectives of time as there are points of space in the universe.

The author has spent most of his life trying to pin down the science of time in facts we can prove as well as theoretical. One aspect that stick with me is the theory that time, like matter is granular. Just as there is a minimum Planck length of matter, there is also a minimum Planck length of time. Below which time doesn’t exist. This is Rovelli’s main area of study.

The book intertwines science and philosophy but he makes clear distinctions of which he is talking about. Although each can seem as valid as the other.

I found it captivating and also interesting for another reason. It was narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. That was a surprise to me but I know very little about him other than his name showed up quite frequently in social media, I suppose for it’s uniqueness.

I am waiting to listen to another of Rovelli’s books, “Seven Brief Lesson on Physics”

Junk Food Monkeys

Being Human: Life Lessons from The Frontiers of Science.By Robert Sopolsky.

I found this book on Great Courses Audio series on my library reader. It was an easy listen, each lecture was 30 minutes. Great Courses Series can be found for free on the Hoopla website or app with a library card.

Lecture 1: What makes us so special? You can take a neurotransmitter out of a rodent brain and put it in a human brain to get the same effect.

Lecture 2: Junk Food Monkeys. Apes will quickly adapt to a Western diet and sedentary lifestyle if given the opportunity.

Lecture 3: The burden of being burden free. What is stressing you out? Some people seemingly stress free have high amounts of stress hormones in their bodies.

Lecture 4: The herpes virus can detect stress hormones in the body which leads to a suppressed immune system and that is when it can break out. There are stranger things in this lesson. Some viruses can change the behavior of the host in order to get transmitted. For example when a dog is rabid it is more aggressive and more likely to bite something or someone.

Lecture 5: Poverty’s Remains. Poor people’s bodies were more likely to end up in a medical school being dissected and the consequences through the years.

Lecture 6: Why are Dreams Dreamlike? Fruit flies and earthworms need to sleep. Predators sleep more than prey animals. Birds sleep with half their brains while flying. Oh yeah, lots on the mechanics of what happens in your brain while sleeping.

Lecture 7: The Pleasures and Pains of “Maybe”. Baboons and unrequited love. Dopamine isn’t the response to the reward, it’s about the anticipation of the reward. That fuels addiction.

Lecture 8: How the Other Half Heals. Want healthier outcomes? Try not being born poor. Get more comfort and love.

Lecture 9: Why We Want the Bodies Back. Why do we want to see the bodies after they die? 9/11 and other disasters. Why will we risk our lives for it? Weddings for dead people.

Lecture 10: Anatomy of a Bad Mood. What happens when there is a bear in the room with you? Fake it till you make it!

Lecture 11: This is Your Brain on Metaphors. It’s a Chutes and Ladders type life. The garden of children. (Kindergarten) The end of human exceptionalism. Empathy explained.

Lecture 12: Sushi and Middle Age. Familiarity breeds familiarity. Closing windows on novelty.

The More You Want, The Less You Need

I listened to a book on Minimalism by Cait Flanders called, The Year of Less. I did it because it was short and lightweight. Before I started I thought, here is another rich person getting rid of more stuff than I’ve ever owned. I was correct. Okay, she wasn’t exactly rich but there was something about her expenses that didn’t add up. During her 2 year “No shopping challenge” she was able to live on less than 50% of her income some months. If I lived on 50% of my income I would be homeless. Before she did the no shopping challenge, she challenged herself to pay off her credit card debt. She managed to pay of 30K in 2 years. That is 15K of cash she just had lying around each year. I don’t know how she managed to get into debt in the first place. She also did a weight loss challenge but she is vague about how that worked out.

I did like the book because instead of setting goals for herself she defined them as challenges. It may be semantics but I think it is a good way to keep yourself more motivated if you are competitive. She set specific lengths of time to accomplish each feat. Her first challenge was to quit drinking which she managed with no problem. I think her second challenge was to pay off her debt in 2 years but the main theme of the book was her no shopping for 1 year challenge. During which time she could only purchase items to replace other items that had broken or worn out, such as an old pair of shoes, etc…

She began the challenge Marie Kondo style by getting rid of everything she owned but didn’t need. This is where my assumption was partially correct. She said she got rid of 70% of things she owned. When she went through the list it turned out to be a lot more things than I even own and I need almost everything in my apartment to live a somewhat normal life.

I did like that she learned to spend her money on experiences rather than things. That is what I have done with any extra money I’ve had throughout my life. I’ve never owned anything extravagant. It brings me back to my first question. How could she afford all that travel and still manage to save 30 -50% of her income each month.

Some of you being bloggers may have heard of her before because she dedicated a blog to paying off her debt and the no shopping challenge. I visited her blog but all there was only a page saying she is not blogging anymore. Maybe if I had read her blog before she wrote the book I would understand what her expenses were.

Part of what bothered me about the book was I can’t do the same thing. Any money I have goes to replace clothes I can’t wear anymore. Another thing that irked me was her saying the worst thing to happen in her life was her parents divorce. She was 28 years old when they got divorced for fuck’s sake! I mean, they did more than only stay together for the sake of the kids. The kids were grown ass people. By her age didn’t she realize that most couples do get divorced. I don’t see how it could be as traumatic as she said it was.

I don’t know if I would recommend this book. It’s not like anyone who wants to can’t figure out how to spend less money. You just buy less shit. I guess it could inspire you if you wanted to pose a similar challenge to yourself.

I googled her and found her blog and also she is really pushing her second book so I guess she doesn’t need to worry about spending money now.

Book Review?

When I started this blog thing I was excited because I was able to concentrate long enough to read and write again. That is why I started doing a book review every week or two. I haven’t done one in a long time because I am back to only being able to concentrate on reading or listening to a couple paragraphs at a time. It frustrates me because my whole life I was able to read books from cover to cover in no time. Now I get angry at the narrator for using too many examples to prove a point or if reading I keep going back to read again because I am so spaced out and my mind is flying.

I don’t know why I wanted to do it. I don’t think I have convinced anyone to read a book with my layman’s interpretation. I like boiling down the plot and sharing the points I find most interesting. I was also getting lucky with the books I picked. My method is almost random. I scan through titles until something catches my eye and then I will read the blurb on the inside cover if it is a real book or the description of a digital one. Admittedly it is not the best way to commit to reading for 8 hours. Who would have thought a book called, “Think Like A Freak” would actually be a self help book designed to make you more productive at work? I had no idea. I don’t pay much attention to “Bestseller Lists” because I know it is usually the publishing company buying all the first copies which make it a bestseller.

I have gotten pretty lucky picking books at random but recently I hit a lot of self help make you more productive at work books. Why would you want to learn how to make your boss more money? That may be why I have been losing interest so quickly. I also found newer books by some of my favorite (obviously still living) authors. I have a hard time because I am now interested in non-fiction books but that is where the self-help books are gathered. I also don’t like straight up biographies of long dead people. I do like auto biographies of people I know. My favorite still is David Sedaris books which are just edited versions of his daily journals and I find him very interesting.

I put my digital library books on hold for 7 days to give me a break and maybe I will be able to concentrate enough to remember what to write about. I miss reading all the time like I used to do. I spent most of my life reading fiction. Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, then suddenly I lost interest and started reading non-fiction, mostly sciences. Subjects I have always been interested in but never sought out.

That’s the end of this fantastic book review. My recommendation is to read whatever you like. You obviously like to read if you are following blogs on here.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

This is the second book I’ve read by Lori Gottlieb. I liked it for all the wrong reasons. Based on the first one I read, “Marry Him, The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” I thought I would be reading something completely different. “Marry Him” is about her long lasting journey on dating sites where she passes judgment on perfectly acceptable men for the most picayune of reasons. As a result she ends up a single mom in her 40’s trying to find “Mr. Good Enough”.

This book started out in that vein but quickly turned. She is a therapist, (I did not know that) who needs to find a therapist because her fiance breaks up with her because she has a young child.

You quickly get an idea of why she could be so picky about men. She worked as a consultant on the television shows Friends and ER. That is where she found her passion for helping people and decided to go to med school and eventually she becomes a famous therapist and author. Plus she has a thriving career in journalism on the side.

The chapters follow her sessions with her talking with her new therapist about “Boyfriend” and also follows clients of her own. Do not read this book if you fear your therapist is judging you. Because they are. She talks about being open and non-judgemental but she drops in some pretty harsh criticisms of her clients, I think without realizing she does it. Also she gets together with her colleagues once a week for wine and cheese where they gossip and pass judgement on their clients. It seems if therapy turns out well it is because of good work by the therapist but if it goes badly it is the client’s fault for not putting the work in. (Not always true, trust me)

She figures out it is not Boyfriend she is really fretting over and also learns some lessons that help in her own practice. The book actually made me cry unexpectedly, which is not normal for me to do while reading. It took a bad turn with no prelude.

About the author. I wonder how she got into being a therapist based on her own behavior. Mostly based on her internet stalking of people. In “Marry Him” she does it to weed out the potential dating partners and also to gather information for her book. I still think she went a little further than needed to write a book. The surprise is how in depth she got stalking her own therapist. I understand wanting to know a little about them to see if you think you would be a good mix. She goes deep down a rabbit hole. She studies his family, his extended family, cousins he knew as a child. She looks them up on LinkedIn and finds out what they do for work and how much money they make. She goes on Zillow with the addresses she finds and knows how much their homes are worth. I think she is a bit obsessive to say the least. I don’t think she would be good as my therapist. I would be afraid she was google stalking me. Although there is not much to find out.

I’m not sure how much she embellishes because of so many coincidences. For example, her practice is in Los Angeles, a very large city but she keeps running into clients in random places around the city. She wraps up the book by claiming success of her abilities of helping her clients lives be tied into neat little packages but blames the one client for being the reason therapy didn’t work.

I recommend this book even if you have never been in therapy. There is a lot to learn and it kept me reading. She is an excellent writer. I plan to read another book by her, “Stick Figure”, even though I have no idea what it is about at the moment. She is a very interesting person.

This is a link to my review? of the first book I read by Lori Gottleib. It is about her online dating history and trying to find the “Perfect” man.

Marry Him

THE CASE FOR SETTLING FOR MR. GOOD ENOUGH. By Lori Gottlieb. This book should have been called, THE BIGGER, BETTER DEAL! Because that is what she has been searching for her whole life. This book would be fun for anyone who has spent any time dating sites and wondered why they had no fun. The writer has spent many years online dating with the intent to get married. I can never understand that but I never wanted to get married. When I did I wasn’t out searching for it. I just met my wife and it happened. There was more than that but marriage was the furthest thing from my mind when I met my wife. Maybe she has scared a lot of men away by announcing she is looking to get married. I figured out early in the book that her problem isn’t she can’t find anyone good enough, it’s that she is always looking for the Bigger, Better, Deal. As my friends and I used to say. I’ll start by saying she is completely out of my league. She makes a ton of money, she’s good looking, well educated, funny, and she writes for The Atlantic, so she is high profile. I know she could afford to be picky but she took it to the extreme. The book starts with her list of qualities she is looking for in her ideal mate. The list is exhaustive and very particularly specific and detailed. And she wants all of it!

I’ll give you an example. I know most women are looking for someone taller than them. A lot of women say you have to be 6 feet or more, which leaves me coming up short. But she is very specific as I mentioned. She wants a man from 5’10” to 6’0″. A 2 inch range! And she is strict. When she is scrolling through dating site profiles looking at height, 5’9″ or 6’1″ gets you tossed. She wouldn’t even consider it. Forget about having the wrong hair color. Or worse, bald!

She has a good sense of humor. I don’t know how funny she meant this book to be but it is hilarious. It gets even funnier when she tells you she got tired of waiting to meet Mr. Right and went to a sperm bank and had a kid and went right back to looking for marriage. But by now she is 40 with a 2 year old and her marketability is way down. Please don’t peg me as a chauvinist for using the word “marketability” to describe a woman on a dating site. She does a whole chapter on it and it is a word given to her by her dating coach and she agreed with him.

For the book she sees everyone from psychologists to clergy to matchmakers to her dating coach. She does a lot of research because it is her job working at the Atlantic. Another funny part of the book is she met a man when she was younger who had all the major qualities she was looking for but she couldn’t date him because of his first name! It was “too nerdy.” There was no shortage of guys who were perfectly eligible. She was just too damn picky. The funny part is when she reaches the dating coach he convinces her to start dating another man who only meets her most basic requirements on paper. She dates him for 2 months. He is 5’6″ and bald and he has the same nerdy last name!

Another funny thing is she internet stalks these guys she turned down for silly reasons, like their first name or she didn’t immediately “feel it” in their first phone conversation so she didn’t give them a first date. That’s right. She ditched them and then she is googleing and Facebooking them years later and finding out they are happily married with 3 kids. And she would contact them and ask how that worked! I guess she wouldn’t have had much of a book without interviews from the unacceptable men but this is a thing she did before she had the idea of writing a book. Another good one is after her dating coach told her she wasn’t such a hot item anymore she finds a man she is very interested in online. She reaches out to him only to find out that 5 years previous he had reached out to her and she turned him down for another picayune reason. He wasn’t interested in her anymore. She had one of her perfect men 5 years ago but he still wasn’t good enough.

I’ll give away a lot of this book because I don’t think any of you will actually read it. You would think the funniest part is at the end after she tells her audience (younger single women, not older men like me) to “settle” at an earlier age you find out she doesn’t get married by the end of the book. I’ll tell you what I found to be the funniest thing. I found Lori Gottlieb because I am waiting on her 2nd book so I searched her and found this one. I read a sample of the 2nd book and in it her fiance cancels the marriage because she has an 8 year old and he doesn’t think he can go through the years of a young child after his kids are already grown. It’s not really funny but it was to me because all the time I read about her dating machinations I knew in the back of my head she writes a 2nd book and she is still not married 6 years later.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a very good book. It is filled with good advice but even if you aren’t looking to date anyone the stories are entertaining. She has much more to say than I even mention. I listened to this book through my library app. (Libby, by Overdrive). Now that I think of it she rejected a man without even talking to him because his profile said he likes to listen to books rather than read them. She didn’t think he would be intellectual enough. After she lowered her standards she internet stalked him and found out he knows about her from reading The Atlantic. (Wow! he’s intellectual) But now again he is not interested in her. By the way, I like to listen to books now because since my brain injury I have trouble focusing on written words. I still understand them.

I am going to read her next book when it becomes available to me. It is not about dating at all. It is about her being a therapist who ends up needing a therapist. Another true story.

Take Your Breath Away

From the little I know about this man I guessed that he bought copies of his own book to get on the bestseller list. I can’t understand the hysteria. My library app is weird because it has a limited number of copies of certain books. So you have to put them on hold if they are popular. The estimated wait time on this one was 4 months! I got it in 2 months. I guess a lot of people returned it early like I did. I couldn’t finish it even though it was an audio and I could have just left it on in the background. I couldn’t do it. It was that offensive.

He tells you he was born with a V shaped palate which pushed into his nasal cavity and has caused him breathing problems most of his life. He then projects his deformity onto all of humanity, going back to when man first started farming and eating soft food which caused this “de-evolution” of the face muscles. This gave me pause but I gave the book a chance because I was still interested in the subject of breathing and the effects it can have on the mind and body.

He says he spent ten years on this book. It shows. It is very well researched. The problem for me was he mixed the science with pseudoscience and anecdotal evidence in a flashback form of writing. All of which left me confused and angry.

He started by talking about free divers breathing which made sense because they practice to expand their lungs to take in more air and air is our fuel so we are healthier. That sounds like a good way to breathe. Then he got weird with his math and the perfect breathing being 5.5 seconds per breath, 5.5 times per minute. The numbers worked but I think he went backwards. I think he did the math first and then said it was the perfect way to breathe. He wasn’t very clear on that. Then he had the 3rd perfect way to breathe. This was most unseemly. He says we have to starve our bodies of oxygen to get our carbon dioxide levels up because everyone is actually suffering from a CO2 deficiency! He ended up giving himself a runner’s high in a matter of minutes and almost passing out. He took that as proof of his theory.

I”m saving the best part of the book for last. He used it in the beginning. It seems he and his buddy each paid a college $6K of their own money to be in a “study” on breathing. They plugged up their noses and only breathed through their mouths for ten days to see if it was a bad idea. What do you think? Do you think we even need our noses for anything?

I put “study” in quotes because I don’t believe there was a “study.” I think they spent their money testing supplies for blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc… And renting a studio apartment in San Francisco for the duration. They never mentioned any practitioners visiting them in their home where all this took place and they even had to make many different attempts finding the right way to block their noses. I think a lot of this book was fiction disguised as non fiction.

I got so angry about halfway through I stopped the book and returned it to the library so I wouldn’t have to listen to another word. Then the next day I rode my bike 20 miles, only breathing through my nose and I didn’t gasp for air or even break a sweat. I was pushing hard the whole time. This was something he claimed no ordinary human could do. It should have left me delirious on the side of the road. Because I hadn’t been trained in his specialized breathing techniques.

If you can figure out which bestselling book this is I would advise you to skip on to another.

But What If We’re Wrong?

“But What If We’re Wrong” by Chuck Klosterman. In this book the author posits we may be wrong about all the science we now accept as fact. He bases this on the notion that we have been wrong about science throughout our history. From a brick resting on the ground because that is it’s natural place to rest to the Earth being the center of the universe. But what if in another 500 years a scientist comes up with a theory that turns our concept of gravity and time on it’s head and we find out we were wrong again?

Klosterman is a science journalist and a contrarian. He writes the book to give a differing view on accepted reality. He is not a physicist so he doesn’t get too bogged down but the book is well researched which I like.

The book covers other topics such as which music and arts have lasted the ages and why and which current art may be around for years. Why the U.S. Constitution may not be such a good idea and why American football is so popular. (It’s not why you might think.)

This was a good book to pull me out of my reading funk. It was interesting enough to keep me coming back for more and was broken into short sections so I could take frequent breaks. I also like him because he doesn’t take himself too seriously and like me, he has experience pre and post internet. Yes, he has written in paper and ink print magazines and newspapers. Anybody remember those?