Tuesday, 27 November 2012


This was a poem sent by my friend Dr Beau Eckland just before he died.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Friday, 31 August 2012

Blue Moon

Full article Once in a Blue Moon is available here.

HAPPY FULL BLUE MOON Friday 31st August 2012 !
Time zones:
SYDNEY = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 11:58:06 pm
TOKYO = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 10:58:06 pm
BEIJING = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 09:58:06 pm
DELHI = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 07:28:06 pm
MOSCOW = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 05:58:06 pm
BERLIN = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 03:58:06 pm
LONDON = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 02:58:06 pm
RIO = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 10:58:06 am
NEW YORK = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 09:58:06 am
MEXICO CITY = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 08:58:06 am
LOS ANGELES = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 06:58:06 am
HONOLULU = Friday * 31st August 2012 * 03:58:06 am

For more on the Blue Moon, read the Huffington Post.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

On Vibrate

Bit small really. Must be recession. 

I read a tech magazine called Gizmodo. The problem with Gizmodo is that it is probably written by a number of geeks and nerds who don't go out very much. No doubt they all fantasise about Lara Croft and  sex technology.They maybe so used to fantasy women, they wouldn't know what to do with a real one. Anyway, some guys like machinery to make up for their 30 second time limit before they fall asleep. So I decided to read their latest masterpiece on the history of vibrators.

Here is the article. The article has been circulated around Facebook more times than any other boring gadget piece so I feel safe and in good company. Facef*** or the nearest to a pick-up joint needed a motorised shake and no doubt legions of men and women are turning the page upside down and side ways up to try and figure out how those historical vibrators work. Personally, I thought it was a bit of a anti-climax. 

So here goes 
"Did you know that the first vibrator in history may have been invented by Egyptian Queen Cleopatra? Apparently, she had the idea of filling a hollow gourd with angry bees. The violent buzzing caused the gourd to vibrate and then... well, then, the rest is history" 

Really? I can now wait to die in the next 100 years in the full knowledge that I know this. Yes, I shall shout it out at the local supermarket while buying my cucumbers. As for the illustrations, I have my legs crossed  [Health and Safety reasons] while I write this as my eyes are watering following the first review of the monstrous pictures that were clearly a danger to someone somewhere at some time in history. What I want to know is this - did anyone die after using them? Clearly, only my mobile phone vibrates in this office. I thought I was safe until  I discovered  that an ex Microsoft geek had invented a mobile app for a Vibrator. This is what happens after working for Bill Gates and his jumpers. Everything just goes down below. 

Everyone else may wish to try the cheaper option and run down to the gym for a running, earth shattering, leg buckling climax. For the rest of us, it might just be enough to capture a smile from 6000 miles away for that cyclone effect. Call it cost effective :).

Related Links :)

1. Discreet Link for anyone who wishes to buy vibrators :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The exact origins of the phrase - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea can be read here. It is a phrase that  has a certain dilemma about it.
"Set against that there's the explanation that this is from the usual meaning of Devil, i.e. the supreme spirit of evil. If it's that Devil we are talking about then the origin is straightforward - the Devil is bad and falling in the deep sea is bad, so when caught between the two we would be in difficulty"
My favourite playwright Terence Rattigan had a field day with this phrase when he wrote the play - Deep Blue Sea. I love Terence because he has such an eye for frailty of human emotion. He studies the weakness of individuals and presents them in his plays as characters we would probably meet in our everyday lives.  Deep Blue Sea is all about destructive passion - a older married woman's passionate love for her younger lover. His inept reckless failure to understand her requirements for tokens of love or affection. And this finally resulting in her lover deciding to leave her once she threatens suicide after he forgets her birthday. It is the attempted suicide that draws fire from her fiery young lover who declares " We are death to each other" and promptly walks out. The passion she learns from this love is never forgotten for she refuses to return to her husband who offers her all the material comforts of the world. The power of the tale written by Rattigan lies in the fact that the characters are asked to survive all odds and not take the quick way out - suicide [ referred to as the Blue Sea]. There is a recent movie of Deep Blue Sea but I prefer the above version starring Vivien Leigh. The extracts show her grasping desperately onto her lover once he threatens to leave showing us the utter desperation she faces. It is the kind of desperation only felt in true passionate love.  The kind of love drawn from the heart where you understand that your beloved is much like essentials of the world - you cannot live without food, water or his love. It is this need that is portrayed so well by Vivien as she once did with Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Tomorrow is indeed another day in Rattigan's plays because he likes to believe his characters have learned something. In reality though, the our life's script is never ever written so eloquently or romantically. 

So Rattigan essentially shows our characters weaknesses one by one as they interact with each other. There are many parallels to real life. People clash into each other everyday and on each occasion, we exhibit our strengths and weaknesses depending on circumstance leading us to question whether love is indeed enough to hold relationships together?. If we are to believe in Rattigan's assessment, love and sexual passion isn't enough to hold relationships together. What is required is communication, understanding and potentially a meeting of minds. 

Mahatma Gandhi once declared

" Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" 

Few though in reality are prepared to live as Gandhi would have intended, preferring instead of succumb to their weakness, society's expectations, their cynicism, doubt and failure to see that we only live once. The above line is meant for the brave - there are few brave people in the world we live in.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Emotional Vampires

Just one bite

Vampires are fictional characters made infamous by Twilight and successful TV serials like True Blood. These creatures are characterised by being highly attractive, charming, sexually arousing and irresistible. Once they use these traits to catch their prey, the person's blood is drained to the point of death.  Down on earth and in the realms of reality, if we look close enough at our lives, we see many emotional vampires. Like the legend,  the main characteristic is that they drain your emotional energy without even trying. They are people who essentially negatively affect your mood. They may make you feel exhausted or physically sick. There are some common types of vampire that are discussed in psychiatric theory - narcissistic, victim, controller, constant talker and drama queen.

Emotional vampires are rather dangerous. They don't attack from the front. Instead their way is to work their way into your psyche slowly. Actions remain covert and manipulative. Conversations are mostly always focused on themselves. They pay little or no attention to the other person. They care little for the requirements or needs of their friend.

So in summary, these are the indications you are dealing with an emotional vampire :-

1. Turn the topic of conversation to themselves, no matter what you are talking about.
2. Redirect attention to something else when it is focused on someone other than them.
3. Make you feel a bit down, or unhappy, after you leave them.
4. Make you feel mentally exhausted.
5. Have an inability to feel empathy for your problems or circumstances.

Judith Orloff has this to say in her excellent summary here.

"Vampires do more than drain your physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you’re an unworthy, unlovable wretch who doesn’t deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage by making smaller digs which can make you feel bad about yourself—for instance, “Dear, I see you’ve put on a few pounds”  or “You’re overly sensitive!” Suddenly they’ve thrown you emotionally off-center you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth"

The creation of emotional vampires is quite simple. Their past is often filled with trauma. There has been an element of physical, mental or sexual abuse that has remained unresolved. Their childhood has been deprived in many ways. It is because of the emotional traumas, these individuals become people without insight, often dangerous to themselves and others, largely self centred and conceited. One could postulate that the reason for this is their adaptation over time to survive their negative surroundings. This is often done by developing a exterior that is largely superficial thereby concealing themselves from being affected or hurt by the environment. In time, this largely becomes a permanent adaptation and they effectively lose themselves to their well developed mask.

Because they do compensate well for their prior problems, they are inordinately attractive, supremely sexually experienced, superficially charming and highly intelligent. They are often surrounded by the opposite or even the same sex. Their own energy being derived from the positive energy of the people around them essentially to feed their insecurities. They will prefer those who admire them without question.  Of course, the more intelligent of emotional vampires are very difficult to spot until you have finally been caught in their net. Extracting yourself is of course a different kettle of fish. On the other hand, if you care enough about the person, you can attempt to help them but it is a long road. Sadly, most emotional vampires are resistant to assistance and lack insight. The personality deficits within them offer a poor prognosis but not all emotional vampires are a lost cause. The trick is to assist them before being bitten fully.

Related Links

1. Emotional Vampires.
2. How to Deal with Emotional Vampires.
3. Judith Orloff - Emotional Vampires.

Friday, 30 March 2012


Those who know me, understand that I can probably be happiest in the company of animals without the requirement for human contact for months. It is probably an odd aspect to admit but I can exist without human contact for a fairly lengthy period. This lack of dependence on people developed over sometime. I am not quite sure how it evolved but perhaps it was an emotional adaptation.

The affection that humans provide you with is unconditional. They are never as complicated as human beings nor do they desire or have great expectations. Many have written about unconditional love or compassion .I believe it is extremely important for every person to develop the ability to be compassionate - perhaps it distinguishes us from the machines and electronics we are surrounded by. 

The impact of animals on human well-being was discussed in this paper published in the Psychologist. The conclusions were as follows

"Whilst the evidence for a direct causal association between animals and human health is still not conclusive, the literature is largely supportive of the long-held belief that ‘pets are good for us’, contributing to both our physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, not all of the research carried out in this area has been without criticism (for review, see Wells, 2009). The lack of longitudinal designs and standardised measures that assess diverse areas of physical and cognitive functioning makes it difficult to draw finite conclusions, and further work in this sphere is certainly needed. It must be pointed out that research exploring the relationship between pets and human health has not always produced positive results (e.g. Parslow et al., 2005; Pluijm et al., 2006). Moreover, animals have the potential to pose enormous threat to human health, spreading disease, inducing allergies, inflicting bites and triggering psychological trauma (e.g. Baxter, 1984; Baxter & Leck, 1984). 

Pets should certainly not be regarded as a perfect pill for treating ill health. Nonetheless, employed in the correct manner, and targeted at the appropriate user group, animals have the potential to contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of lives, and, as such, should not be overlooked as an alternative, or complementary, form of therapy in modern-day healthcare practices"
 Unconditional Love 

Throughout all our lives, it is often vital to understand the concept of self development. These aspects are not taught in schools, through degrees or via achievements. It is self taught through the circumstances faced by each person in their own lives. You either opt to learn from those circumstances or you don't. I often find so many young people have the inability to understand or care for their elders, their animals or even themselves. Their lives revolve around everything that society has now become - driven by a materialistic attitude. Anyhow, animals teach us many things about our own failings. I certainly find that dogs teach us about unconditional love, caring and kindness. Animals provide us with some vital lessons in humanity, generosity, kindness and compassion. So often, we all believe that progress is being made by extensive knowledge of technical detail that the world has to offer. In doing so, we tend to discard the simpler and more valuable traits that a human being should learn and possess. This may prevent human emotion from being driven by selfishness, greed, decadence and peer pressure. Indeed, it may be the key to some modicum of happiness that  eludes many people in suburbia and  the concrete cities. Even during my time as a psychiatrist, I never felt humans were created or developed to cope with the stresses that our modern world forces upon them. The key to lessen human suffering is to seek the simplicity that the world around us has to offer. The trick  is recognising it before it is too late.