So why are we like Baboons exactly?

Turning on the Television after reading Gabor Mate’s book In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, I was surprised to see a Nation Geographics study of Stress and its Toll. Wow. You know you are doing what is meant to be done when these synchronicities show up in your life.

The Whitehall study of stress demonstrated that people under stress deposit fat on the abdomen. If the person is removed from stress or learns stress lowering techniques the fat moves away from the belly area and is distributed differently. The difficulty in contemporary society is that stress reduction is not valued. Work is.

Another study which the documentary referenced was the Winter of Hunger in the Holland. In 1944 people were starving and at war. Winter came with its harshness to create a tripled layered challenge. LH Lumly and other research scientists, wereimpressed by the meticulous records kept in Holland and accessed those records for her project. What they discovered is that the 2400 people studied and exposed to stress in fetal life have today as 60 year olds more health problems and a shorter predicted life span than those who were born immediately before or after the Winter of Hunger. Even as babies, their bodies evidenced health and stress difficulties. Cardiovascular disease, changed nervous systems, depression, psychiatric disorders, bio-polar disorder and anger issues were all more likely to be present in this cohort.

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/6/1196.full
A further study of mothers of disabled children lead by Elizabeth Blackburn demonstrated that chronic stress ages a body. The continually stressful environment had the rough equivalent of for every year of tension the biological impact was to shorten life span by roughly six years.
The mechanism for this is in the chromosone caps which are called telemeres.
http://longevity.about.com/od/researchandmedicine/p/telomeres.htm
These telemere caps allow for repair and restoration and when they are eroded, the body can no longer reclaim damaged areas.
The women with disabled children were aging rapidly and the telemeres were shortening. The researcher was curious as to the possibility of reversal of the process. When she placed these women in a support group and the resultant social connectedness and sharing of black humour occurred, the telemeres began to repair. The “reserves that sustain us” was the terminology that describes the telemere function.
Another way that the researchers discovered that telemere function can be protected and reversed is through the development of a compassionate practice. Seeing another’s point of view, volunteering, seeing helping behaviors actually allow an individual to maintain his or her own health so they can mend the cellular damage.
The study began with Robert Sapolsky‚Äôs work on stress in a group of baboons that he studies for over three decades. He is considered the leading expert on the effect of stress in the neurological system. When he began the study, he discovered that the alpha males in the tribe had low stress indicators. The boss could attack female monkey, injure beta males and set the rules. Beta monkey and female’s stress levels were high with cardiovascular indicators and other damage. Robert was shocked and distressed when a local tourist camp garbage dump attracted the baboons and the alpha males all died from poisoning.
He believed that his study was compromised or ended. However, he was surprised to see that the beta males now set the tone for the social rules in the society. Prized were grooming activities, social networking, protection of the females and young. The mores changed. New young males that would naturally move into the tribe for purity of breeding purposes took a few months to go from the standard of aggressive interaction to the model of cooperation and caring. Surprisingly, the stress indicators in the entire group went down and all individuals were healthier.
The presence of alpha hierarchy, in corporate structure, in familial structure creates stress in all but the “boss” strata. The only way out of the denigration physically and neurologically that an individual can find is to establish an arena that he or she is the alpha individual. Robert suggested perhaps becoming the office coordinator of the volleyball team. The issue of a sense of control in the occupational hierarchy is, essentially a health and survival issue. To give people more justice in treatment, more rewards for their work will allow people to flourish.
The two magic bullets according to these researchers are social affiliation and compassionate practice. These two choices allow an individual to maintain a feeling of control, to lower stress, to protect or rebuild telemeres and live a life of creative energy.
We can learn much from Robert Sapolsky’s studies on a tribe of baboons. They are, after all, in our genetic family.
http://www.managestresstips.com/481/national-geographic-stress-portrait-of-a-killer/

A change in the Weather, What next for the artist?

Dolphins sculpture Kelowna
The wind blows the Maple outside my window and the clouds cover the sky for the first time in weeks. Yesterday was all about reconnecting. A coffee brought to me in the morning, my son visiting with his dog, a friend going for a walk with me, communicating with two Face Book friends at night.
But the most basic communication is with self. I have to become more focused and see where I am heading. One of the things I have been engaged in recently is taking photos at night of things I see around Kelowna. Usual things seen with fresh eyes is the theme.

water like fire at night

Waiting through this pain
like my legs so numb
not moving
I look down and see
the progress I am making
is unclear
I cannot see the stones
I walk upon
Nor feel the contact
with the bottoms of
my feet.
Spirit, legs lift
I am hopeful
that just moving
will move me forward
to a new place
where I can dance again..
the beautiful shapes of water
Today I begin to make the shed into a studio, to get some painting done, to honor the gifts I have been given.
Do I know what will come?
I have the confidence to know I have vision and talent.

Those will be my guiding lights for now.the surface of the water is sculptoral

How do you incorporate art into everyday life?

Art is my life. I am also exploring a spiritual path that leads away from the briar patch of anxiety, jealousy and tears of low self-esteem. Up the mountain… my eyes are looking. So every day I sit meditation and watch my ego mind chattering, swinging through the low lying branches and just observe. One suggestion that a long time student offered was to visualize the ego as an animal and give it a name.

Open to Passion inspirational doorstop

Open to Passion inspirational doorstop

Then when the ego appears, remember discipline. Gentleness. Not anger is the way to a calmer co-relationship. My ego is a chimpanzee much like the one who used to be in the Tarzan series on TV in the 50’s. Her name is Cheetah and she puts up a god awful racket.

Open the Door to Passion inspirational door stop on Etsy

Open the Door to Passion inspirational door stop on Etsy

She can talk, she can swing agilely from one idea to another, from one branch to another with her lips curled out. She is also amazingly clever. A real entertainer is this ego creature. But don’t be fooled. She has teeth and will either attack or throw her long arms about and sulk noisily if she doesn’t get her way.

Consequently, I need every tool I can find to deal with 65 years of programming. This is where the idea for my newest art pieces came from.

Open to health

Open to health

My husband has pieces of wood left over when he made our back gate. “Doorstops,” he said. “You like to paint everything. Why don’t you make doorstops?”

Open to Health from Etsy shop

Open to Health from Etsy shop

So…. things have been slow because I have been going to physio twice a week trying to get the pressure on my nerve from my neck to my hands to lessen.

Open to Health from Etsy Splash Over Designs

Open to Health from Etsy Splash Over Designs

I have used the time between appointments and recovery from appointments to do this small project. OPEN THE DOOR Inspirational pieces have been really fun and not laborious. My mind is quiet when I paint.

Cheetah sleeps somewhere in the overhead trees.

Open to Love waves of color with green jewels

Open to Love waves of color with green jewels

Here are the pieces that I have completed so far. All are for sale on my Etsy shop SPLASH OVER DESIGNS at $20 each.

Open to Joy rhinestones on flowers

Open to Joy rhinestones on flowers