Tag: perspective


After my visit to the eye doctor I ordered new glasses with new frames … this level of clarity cost over $700.

I’ve read thousands of pages, watched hundreds of hours of video on animal training and applied it … this level of clarity cost a lifetime with animals.

I’ve practiced drawing, artwork, playing instruments and singing … this level of clarity cost massive creativity.

I’ve written journals, mindmaps, blogs and lists … this level of clarity cost intuition, self-knowledge, pens and ink.

I’ve lived rural, grown food, and been outside in all weather … this level of clarity cost living with nature.

Imagine how easy your life will be when you are able to make all decisions with clarity and freedom from fear. —Lulu Mares

Rhubarb leaves in autumn colors … the weather has faded them now that it’s December. Photo – J. Renzoni


What has clarity cost You?


Ice Creatures

We’re back to cold in Wisconsin – 7 degrees overnight and a high that barely skirts the 20s. Our brief springlike weather has blown over. But there is some melting, dripping, ice forming in the bright sunlight and that’s where the creatures are formed.

Icedragonfly 006a
Decorated ice photo – Dragonfly aka Mosquito Dragon photo Jeanine Renzoni
Icedragonfly 005
Ice creature in the honeysuckle vine. Photo Jeanine Renzoni

Dragonfly, serpent gleam;

Delicate bridge, to in between;

Icy drips, aching cold;

Sunlight streams, never old.

Icefrog 002a
Photo edited to intensify ice frog … – Jeanine Renzoni
Icedragonfly 002
Ice frog in the honeysuckle vine – photo Jeanine Renzoni

Sagging amid the honeysuckle vines,

Amphibian style so reclines,

Frozen in this awkward pose,

When will spring come, no one knows.



Right to health? Health and interventions are not the same.

Right to health, what? What do you mean by right to health? Right to medical intervention is not the same as health, in fact it’s far from it. Access to preventative screenings is several steps closer to giving people the information they might need to promote their health – assuming the screening is accurate and not prone to false negatives or positives. In the ideal setting the intervention would be early enough that it was minor and effective.

Healthy people generally have the least contact with the medical field unless you are part of the medical field (as I was). So I’ve had lots of contact, just not many interventions.

The current system rewards interventions with payment and interventions breed more interventions. Iatrogenic mortality (one source) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (medications, surgeries and hospital based infections are often fatal). Basically, if the system drives illness-based-wealth, we will get more illness. Because there is money in it, lots of money, goodwill and power. Why else would churches be a main player in hospital ownership? Hm, religion is a player on the field.

Non-healthcare people generally seem to believe the medications they take are keeping them well. Most medications only control the symptoms of being unwell, they do not cure the underlying disease or chronically poor behaviors promoting the disease.

The great exceptions are antibiotics, which are rapidly being undermined by stupid use (meat animal growth enhancement and as placebos for viruses) driving evolutionary changes in bacteria. And vaccinations, which are a proven prevention strategy, being undermined by misinformation and fear (and inadequate understanding of the risks of the diseases being prevented).

One of the reasons surgeons are the rock stars of the medical profession is because with a scalpel they can cure disease (sometimes).

Let’s take for example the approach to an ever increasing chronic problem overweight/obesity. The answer, the weight loss industry – diets and surgery.

As a dietitian I know something about it although, because I’m an idealist, I never partook of its riches – it seemed wrong to me. The best predictor of unintended weight gain is going on a weight loss diet. The efforts to find one main cause for the obesity and subsequent diabetes epidemic have not really uncovered ‘a’ culprit, but the ‘best predictor of unintended weight gain is dieting.’

If you never, never were restricted, shamed, never went on that first diet…and next and next it is exceedingly likely that you would weigh much less now. It is more likely that you would have maintained the internal system for hunger and satiety cues that those without weight issues use to maintain their body weight. You wouldn’t be charmed by recipes or be entranced by foodie shows or have undeniable need to eat when not hungry. You wouldn’t be a prime candidate for adult-onset diabetes.

However if I wanted to partake and make money off weight loss systems I would use some modified diet, controlled portions, an external system. Because then you would continue to need my services ($) after great initial success and praise, then, oh darn you failed, lost your focus, lacked willpower, but some people succeed and you could be like them! See they’re famous on TV.

Or I would get aligned with a weight loss surgical team and do counseling about how to deal with minimal stomach volume. Lots of clients, effective surgery (people definitely lose weight following surgery) and follow up issues usually related to absorption problems or eating through – regaining and need for another surgical intervention. Nice economic system. Justifiable because of the serious health problems that come along with obesity.

If I wanted you to be able to really become free of this chronic problem I would have to help you see it in a completely different way and you would have to resist the multiple forces driving you towards dieting, food policing, scales, portion controls, fast change, elective surgery and whatever newest and greatest extreme exercise craze. And nutrition and exercise would be of the gentle long-haul quality, something you could and wanted to continue forever without will power. You would pay attention to your own body, how it reacts – you would be aware. Sounds spiritual, it is.

Makes you think – maybe. But we don’t want to have to change our behaviors, they are ours and we’re used to them. So what if they are making us sick, making us feel sick, making us less than happy.

It is the government’s responsibility to make the decisions that will benefit the whole country. Decisions like ensuring clean air, clean water, untainted food sources, fairness in economic systems and security in those systems. Perhaps being the police force for the world is part of that, probably not. It is also important to prevent endemics of diseases that would threaten the population and the population’s ability to produce healthy food and a reasonable living, which ties into education. The government which we deride, is us. We vote, we buy, we accept, we want, we demand, we blame and we ignore our responsibility to think choices all the way through.

The financial system is a completely made-up, arbitrary system. Its consistency important only because it stands for other things. Its regulation is very important because of that factor. Money means nothing if there is no health, no clean water, no clean air, no untainted food, no way for the majority to have security, except of course those with the most will be able to garner the last of the supplies and sway the ones who also want the power of money.

Having people driven into insolvency, poverty and death instead of being a productive member of society is tragic. Having subsidies, benefits, cheap loans for companies who will significantly damage the air quality, water quality, food quality, devalue employees, is idiotic, and amazingly short sighted; except if your over-riding purpose is to quickly accumulate money – which is most corporations primary goal.

Continuing to support a system that benefits from illness is dumb. Continuing to promote systems that encourage the formation of morbid chronic diseases is also less than brilliant.

Yes we should have freedom to choose with informed choice, but then we also get to have the results of those choices and how educated are we in our choices? Are the repeated pieces of marketing doing all the education? Are students even taught how to evaluate the risks vs the benefits of a health care protocol? How many men get treated for prostate cancer, when the statistics show that 49 will get the treatment and only one will benefit by not dying from that cancer. The other 48 get the side-effects and no life saving, but you don’t know it, you might be the one who is saved. Would you be tough enough to say no if your doctor told you of your cancer and what he could do to possibly save you?

We have tried this current system of private insurance health care for a while now and the results? Well U.S. does not have statistics that support continuing as we have been. But the players have a lot of money on the field and it is better for them financially if things continue and people already in ‘disease’ are afraid.

Afraid of the things they might lose, afraid they won’t be saved, afraid in a culture that keeps death at arm’s length and wants to hide from the declines of aging. Afraid medications won’t be there, in denial that sick old people often just want it all to end, denial about the level of mental illness in the population…  Do you think fear and denial make a strong country or are they more likely to set up ill-thought-out panic? Scare mongering seems amazingly blatant lately.

And everyone in the system can’t see a way out of the system, that’s the way it is with systems, they overtake ones whole perspective. They blind us to the potential benefits of other ways.

But yes, I call for choice in interventions. However I think there needs to be proof of homework, proof of viable research for the choice being made. Where is the risk/benefit ratio? How likely is this intervention to actually produce a healthy recovery. Would a surgeon from another medical center agree to have it done to him?

Choice based on proof of quality of life after intervention and understanding of the likelihood of little benefit and a myriad of unpleasant side-effects.



Learning mastery

Snowpinesdec272014 005My asking has celestial life in the shadowy garden still.

I once read it took at least 10,000 hours or maybe a lifetime to become a master of whatever you’re trying to master. It’s not possible at 10 minutes or even 20 minutes per day because you won’t live long enough.  At 4 hours per day, 2500 days.

Expertise is valuable, even though we live in a confusing time where access to information ranks almost the same as having mastery.

As I work towards mastery in my garden of interests, I find that my sporadic progress, and randomly focused gathering of tools and ideas, has suddenly allowed me to do lots of new things – which I couldn’t do before. I was learning things, that had limited use in and of themselves, when internalized and congealed, a whole new range of options magically appeared. I have graduated so connections light up. However, now there are new problems, new things become important, become visible and necessary.

Lethargic progress finds precious flame, enlightened.

When I’m learning from (talking to or reading or looking at videos of) someone, it’s obvious if they are a level above me, because they see instantly or do instantly what takes me work or time or both to figure out. The newly accomplished are good people to learn from, because they were recently where I am now, they remember the struggle. What they are doing is easy for me to make sense of (it’s not that much harder, even though I can’t do it yet, than what I can already do).

Early success fuels confidence, until…

Learning from someone many levels up is a different matter. They are barely understandable, incomprehensible, in fact, they speak a new language. It’s hard to think I would ever know or be able to do what they do. Trying to learn from them is good (barring the discouragement of being so far below), but the things they want to teach seem philosophical, not practical, and it’s hard to see how they’ll help.

Hard to see until the philosophy is what enables new jumps.

A master of ______ (fill in the blank) is speaking a different language. Even if the words are comprehensible the meanings are more nuanced, more specialized. They may seem less impressive than someone who is just several steps up, because most of what they’re thinking about and referring to is totally invisible to me.  So invisible it doesn’t even register. They usually are aiming for understandable, as opposed to trying to impress. They have gone beyond the complexity, to refined, deep knowledge and ability. I might think I can follow them because of the really entertaining stories they told. Any one of these stories, if I pay enough thoughtful attention to it, can have adequate insight to get me into my next phase of mastery. If they are recorded, I watch them many times with space and learning in between.

It’s always a head shaking surprise – why didn’t I catch that before?

What are you trying to master? Is there something that made you step up? Something invisible that became suddenly visible?

Volunteerism – and other free stuff

It’s county fair time, raspberry picking time, haying time and maybe time to rant.

Hay bales in neighbor's field - it's a late first crop this year.
Hay bales in neighbor’s field – it’s a late first crop this year.

A rant about volunteerism

Time, money, expertise – all the things so many people have so little of, but yet when it’s volunteered it gets devalued. Well maybe not the money, except think of it, free money gets spent in frivolous ways (ie. the big win, the birthday cash, the bonus go to things that are not really needed most of the time – the actions speak ‘this money isn’t as valuable/important as other earned money’).

Why is that? Why must there be an equal price to make something worthwhile? It makes no sense actually and it’s stupid. The value is in there, whether it’s paid for with the traditional exchange of cash or not. Someone has paid for it, has accumulated it, has done the time, done the gather.

This devaluing is why volunteers quit and why programs that are brilliant but free disappear.

So what to do? Because without volunteers/philanthropy so many community things fall apart – there just isn’t the money, time or expertise.

If to be valued there must be a cost, then recipients must pay some cost before they get any benefits. It doesn’t have to be money, but it does need to be of value to the recipients, some initial cost to get their attention and volunteers who are offering up their part need to get something they value too.

The big money people/corporations have this in place for themselves – favors, deductions, power, publicity and legacies. But the backbone of the volunteer workforce gets, pretty much, nothing for their efforts. Oh maybe new friendships, maybe good feelings, karma, charitable deductions for money or goods donated and a small amount for volunteer mileage and maybe a volunteer dinner that mostly you have to sit through. Or maybe just a lot of work that no one seems to appreciate and often doesn’t show up even though they were so enthused originally (of course they weren’t doing the work and so they didn’t have a clue). And then they never find out, never gain the offered knowledge … ah well, may they suffer later.

I despise people who say they will do something and then don’t without even an explanation. It’s so thoughtless, so rude, so hypocritical, such a lie and a bad example. I assume they make promises to themselves all the time and break them, because if you can’t keep  your word to someone else it’s got to be even harder to keep it for yourself when no one else knows what you’ve agreed to.

And maybe, stupid, this is all about values set by an arbitrary price. Over my life I’ve been paid $0 to over $100/hour for the same expertise — arbitrary isn’t it. And the further away I came from the more of an expert I seemed to become, downright silly isn’t it. Just think how much my abilities and knowledge would be worth if I came from a big city instead of up-north rural Wisconsin (you think I’m joking, think again).

The results of this rant haven’t made being a volunteer more appealing to me, in fact I’m thinking of always putting a price on things, always creating hoops, never assuming that others have any idea of what’s being offered – usually they don’t know the difference between an off-the-cuff opinion and researched answers/experience. Grr, this trying to change the world stuff is irritating.

Can’t give it away? Charge for it and be happier.

If you don’t want dementia, log in a gratitude journal

I’ve noticed that gratitude is often born out of misadventure, maybe that’s why it wards off dementia. I mean, there are choices; remember the problems and spin them into gratitude examples – ‘optimism r us’ or remember the problems, but don’t figure out any solutions – which would be the opposite of finding a reason to be grateful. A dead end. Or let someone else provide the answers and be grateful for them – which seems somewhat lazy, especially if they also do the work – maybe really smart.

I’ve met some people with dementia who are optimistic despite continually having forgotten what they were doing, but I doubt they were writing a gratitude journal.

Does it really need to be a journal? Do you have to write it? And are there actually any studies on this or does it just sound nice? Expressing gratitude is pleasing for the people around you, maybe this is just a plot to get potentially confused people to be nicer? Whatever.

Gratitude entry #1: Yesterday I dropped a used syringe out of my pocket in the horse pasture and couldn’t find it despite doing many grid search patterns over the area.

I am grateful for horses who were willingly bribed to a new grassy fenced area before stabbing themselves. I am grateful the syringe was capped so being stuck with a long pointy used rabies vaccine tip is low. I am grateful I got my additional hiking exercise in a grassy rough horse poopie area as the mosquitoes were rushing into full power. I am grateful I didn’t pick up any ticks (none that I know of) in the search process. I am grateful I didn’t write a review for the syringe seller since I now believe clear, gray and black is not the best color choice for syringes used on horses.

Gratitude entry #2: Today I hit the turquoise new post button and ended up with the message, flash program not responding continue or end program, so I hit continue, then after many seconds the page came up and I hit inspire me. I waited several minutes and nothing – I suppose this, if it worked, would be the lazy version.

Thank you for the frustration that drove new thoughts on dementia. Thank you for the opportunity to write in a gratitude journal, since I was actually intending to post in my dog blog, but this at long computer pause, came up first. Thank you for letting me wonder if computer foibles are helping to drive the explosion of dementia … wanting to go somewhere, but ending up somewhere else.

Yeah. Feel much more cognitively sound!

However, it seems that the building blocks of dementia are put in place up to 30 years or more before its onset. I doubt that backdating the gratitude journal would fool anyone.

Gratitude entry #21788: I’m 25 years old, visiting Pearl Lake. Lovely day, grateful for the blue skies, warm breezes and warm sand on the shoreline. Water’s cold yet, but looks pretty.

Yah, unlikely I would put my age into a gratitude entry. Plus dementia turns back the clock, don’t need to jump start the process.

So exercise anyone? I’ve got a syringe to find.




Looking west, looking east, north, south – perspective photos

In the morning there is often such neat light bathing the landscape. The angles, the shadows, the golden glow or intense sparkle depending upon which way it’s viewed. These are all taken this morning within several minutes of each other; the difference, looking in different directions and a bit of walking (no digital fixing, just photos).

Frost covered, sunlight reflections. Direction: south-easterly.
Frost covered, sunlight reflections, somewhat sepia toned. Direction: south-easterly.
Sunrise bathed. Direction: west
Sunrise bathed-golden with pink, much still in blue shaded shadow. Direction: west
Slow children (the bane of all parents :)) Direction: east
Slow children (the bane of all parents :)) Direction: east
Direction: south, I like the definition of the grass because of the early angle sunlight.
Direction: south, I like the definition of the grass because of the early angle sunlight.
Woods with branches and trees highlighted peachy, golden. Direction: north
Woods with branches and trees highlighted peachy, golden. Direction: north

Perspective, the view, the angle from which you look changes things a lot. It is not just an attitude, it’s an actual change…colors, light, things seen, not seen.

If what I see is all I think there is, I better be doing 360s fairly often. I better be looking and listening to things that aren’t my usual perspective. Because it’s easy to think I know what a sunrise looks like, when I could be surprised.

Cascading Appetite

Black, orange, white, blue velvet fuzz dipping, floating, wandering as if lost, but accurately finding flowery food. I would like, no love, to look so beautiful while gorging on sweet stuff. There are some glamorous iridescent flies, green, blue waves of color, but they don’t look great finding food. Their legs and heads remind me that they’re insects and that they eat icky stuff. I forgive butterflies when they land on excrement. I do. I believe that they just made a mistake in their airy, fairy way. And despite proof that they can be very exact in their landings and focus, can fly for 1000s of miles, butterflies are butterflies and not besmirched or given credit for their technological accomplishments.

Understanding this mental block, this predilection to forgive beauty its flaws and ignore its cunning helps me to see the errors in my wisdom. I’m not sure that I can actually overcome my bias but at least I know that its there. Visual beauty doesn’t have to become uglier, it just doesn’t get a pass for behavior. The chasm between what something actually is in its entirety and my perception of it can get closer, more real, more actual. And I can still be delighted by a trait, a treasured vista.

Or maybe butterflies just get a pass, I mean really, they’re butterflies.

What about other things?

There’s some reasons to be biased toward beauty; vibrant colors, balanced even features, clear loud tones are all indicators of health and physical capability. In order to function well, efficiently and chronically, form is important. Otherwise wear is uneven and causes pain and illness. But beauty tells us nothing of character or kindness, even though in ‘Disneyland’ beauty usually, especially young beauty, is kind. Unfortunately fairly often young beauty isn’t kind, it just is, and beauty of spirit definitely isn’t a visual thing.

Cascading Appetite
Sensual, delightful flower sipper

What do you think? Is beauty forgiven too often? And given too much credit for kindness and not for capability? Or really – love those butterflies and blooms!