margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


heal thyself

A great deal of physical illness is directly related to mental attitudes. As we heal our psychological/emotional pain, the physical often improves too (and vice versa.)

Does this explain the placebo effect?

Placebos, placebo effect, and the response to the healing situation: the evolution of a concept
Papakostas YG, Daras MD.
Department of Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.

In spite of its impressive progress, medicine has been strongly criticized for relying on its modern biomedical tradition to the neglect of the psychosocial aspects of health. This neglect may account for patients' dissatisfaction and eventual use of alternative health approaches. The concept of placebo has sustained dramatic "protean" metamorphoses through the ages. For centuries, placebos have been regarded as powerful deceptive therapies. From the middle of the twentieth century, however, conventional medicine has used placebos as methodologic tools to distinguish the specific from the nonspecific ingredients in treatments. In modern medical research, the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial has been established as the gold standard for the assessment of any new treatment. Recently a new trend regarding placebos seems to have emerged. The placebo and other nonspecific effects elicited by the "healing situation" have been independently subjected to scientific study. Progress in this area may promote useful clinical applications, enabling physicians to broaden their perspectives on the healing process. We present the historical changes of the concept of placebo and the ethical issues raised by their use.

Abstract from Pubmed for
Epilepsia. 2001 Dec;42(12):1614-25.

Filed under: diet & health 2 Comments

worth the wait

this assignment is challenging
under these circumstances
I'm doing great!
despite how it may appear
there is more going on than is obvious
and truly
progress proceeds like beautiful messy poetry

Filed under: poetry No Comments

almost 2007

It's been a fun holiday season and I find myself facing the obviousness that it's time for me to adopt more of a routine. I love having a flexible schedule, however it takes a certain amount of discipline to handle so much freedom!

Doubts about whether I could make it as a freelancer have subsided as work flows to me almost effortlessly. Most of the jobs I've got right now came to me without me trying for them specifically and though it's taking a bit of extra effort to mobilize myself, I am confident in my abilities to do a great job. Choosing to focus on providing value & service to others (rather than money) seems to have been the key.

Special thanks to everyone who has helped and believed in me along the way despite my emotional episodes and seemingly erratic transitional phase behaviour. I could not have survived this journey without you.

From now until I go to Vancouver on Saturday or Sunday for my New Year's Eve adventure it's all about digging into these projects and getting myself organized. After NYE I'll be visiting my family for a week in the USA, which I'm really looking forward to. Due to various immigration issues that are now solved it's been several years since I've been to my country of birth (I have nephews I haven't even met!)

Special New Year blessings on all who read these words.


the joy beyond circumstances

Here's a quote from a story of a near-death experience that gave this particular experiencer a new perspective and sense of purpose.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Near Death Experience Research
It was at this moment that he watched himself in the street [sic], critically injured, while he observed the whole scene of the accident from a few feet above. It was at this moment that his family appeared in front of him, in a glow of light with an incredible sense of love. They had happy smiles on their faces, and simply made him aware of their presence, not communicating in any verbal way but in the form of thought transference, sharing with him the joy and happiness of their present existence.


refining each other through collision like stones in a polisher

dear everyone
I love you
even if I haven't always acted like it

Filed under: poetry 3 Comments

the art of auto restoration

I invoke connection
with divine will
every word
& dream
towards light

Keep in mind that power is a means to an end and not an end in itself. In applying the available forces to the situation at hand, be certain that your timing is exact and that your actions are correct -- that is, in the best interest for all concerned.
Do not assume that your power indicates strength of character, or that it justifies all your attitudes and opinions. This is just another test.

-- from Hexagram 34 (Great Power) in The I-Ching Workbook by R.L. Wing:

Filed under: miscellaneous 2 Comments

another make money fast online offer?

The book The E-Code: 33 Internet Superstars Reveal 43 Ways to Make Money Online Almost Instantly---Using Only Email is a collection of essays written by different people who have made money online giving tips on how to go about it.

I noticed that many of the included authors made their money selling information on the Internet about how to make money on the Internet. This reminded me of those real estate seminar guys who promise to teach you how to make money in real estate in exchange for a hefty fee (when the truth is they made most of their money not in real estate, but in seminars!) This and the whole "make money online almost instantly" vibe turned me off and I quit reading about halfway through.

However, I couldn't stop thinking about the book and decided that I would put aside my irritations and give it another chance, primarily because what had initially attracted me to the book was that one of the editors is Joe Vitale, who appears in the movie The Secret where he seems very wise indeed. I decided to be open minded and read the book again, sifting through the filler and fluff in search of any gems of useful information.

The main technique that is championed is writing ebooks online, choosing topics based on the currrent most popular Internet searches. The editor also happens to sell an ebook online about how to write and sell ebooks online. You can read the short version for free on his website.

There are some useful tips about marketing, including the idea that it better to look for an existing "hungry market" rather than choosing what to sell first then looking people to buy it. There are also some more obvious tips such as, "put together an irresistible offer and have a quality product."

I also like the idea that one's primary focus in business must be providing value to customers, far above and beyond doing it just for the money. This is definitely a good philosophy, though sometimes when we're in need money concerns come to mind during meetings.

For me personally, the most valuable piece of information was this bit by Joe Vitale, who is a proponent of the idea that we attract our own realities to us via our thoughts as much as our actions. This quote sparked something in me:

If you are broke right now, ask yourself what the lesson in being broke is for you. Don't settle on flip answers like, "I should have saved more in advance." And don't blame others. It's no one's fault. What is the positive reason for you to have this situation in your life? You know the answer. Be honest and write it down.

He's sneaky embedding stuff like that into the text, eh?

I'm glad I gave the book another chance, it turns out it will help my career after all!


"who you are is the present moment"

There's an ashram in New Zealand where a man named Elysha meditates and helps people "realize who they are." I've been watching some of his videos and am finding the ideas compelling, though I know most "spiritual" types might be turned off by his insistence that we are not our minds, bodies, or personalities (and his liberal usage of the f-word.)

Don't be turned off by the f-ing tacky website design ;)

Elysha: Who You Are
The spiritual fraternity of humanity also has no interest in realization. This includes not only just the religions and the "laa laa, mamby pamby, fluffy wuffy, goo goo gaa gaa, spacey casey, righty flighty, doo laa lee, leady heady, mantrie tantrie, pie in the sky, trippy dippy, flowery powery" new age spiritual types and energy bunnies, it also includes the "western male minders" who think that they are onto it while they have no idea as to "who you are" and are equally persistent in trying to be who they think they are with the same amount of refusal to let it go, all the while hoping to break through into freedom while clinging to that which is false. Nearly all of the "presentness," "here and now," and "nothingness" teachers that abound, fall into this category - including those who claim to not be teachers.

Everything is already in place. You already are who you are. The only thing going on for you to not wake up to who you are and of you coming to being deeply at rest as who you are is your attempt and persistence in trying to be this person that who you are is flowing through right now. You will not stop and drop this attempt to be this person. That activity is what creates all that you suffer. You may even think that you are comfortable but you have no idea of how much you are suffering simply because you have no idea just who you already are.


who do you think you are?

I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.

This quote stood out as compelling:

The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life.

As did this one:

The ego doesn't know that the mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself.