I am a big, warm, kind but ferocious Bear (not a teddy bear). An equalist. Danish, well spoken, loyal, caring, history buff, spiritual, ACDF, socially anxious, musical, artistic, dog owner, married, and Jewish.
What am I about?
My life is dedicated to Tikkun Olam - Mending The World - if need be one being at a time. I don't have time for stupidity, I have no patience with arrogance, false humility, hypocrisy or intellectual dishonesty. If I think you are either of the above, I will call you on it. I will say that the Emperor is naked, even if the whole world says he is dressed and even if it hurts the Emperor's feelings.
I am very passionate about Human Rights, Children's Rights and Equal Rights, and chances are that if you are not, I am going to be up your rear with a chainsaw.
I believe that G-d, the Creator of all there is, meant us to be His hands, eyes and voice to each other in Life. That is the task we have been charged with, and that is what we are here to do. It doesn't matter to me what path you choose to do this on, as long as that is what you are doing.
In addition to being a Bear, I am also an Ogre - like Shrek - and like all Ogres I am bound to respond forcefully to kicks in the groin, burnings of my house, beating of my kids and friends. I am also VERY grumpy in the morning. I am true to myself, not to you or to social conventions. I have been through and seen so much bull crap and horse manure in my life, that I'll bet my last dime that I recognize both when they come across my path. If you poop on my floor, I will ask you to scoop it up and put it in the trash. If you do, that's the last you will hear about it, if you don't, if you don't, I'll come after to you till you do or one of us die, which ever comes first.
Here are all the blogs that I am allowed to link to on Care2:
I finally got to see Michael Moore's "Farenheit 911" - yeah, yeah, but Sweden is slow, and I don't go to the Movie Theaters, I always wait for TV to broadcast or for the DVD to hit the counters - and from an artistic point of view I am not impressed. Moore should stay with the short documentary.
But from the point of just another viewer, it pushed all the right buttons, and pulled all the right strings - unfortunately it pushed and pulled a little too much. Oh, I have no trouble buying the basics - The US is in deep shit President-wise and is currently engaged in an unethical, immoral and unjustifiable war in Iraq, nor do I have trouble buying the basic conspiracy-theory - but I don't like propaganda, no matter how true it is. Moore's agenda shine's through as glaring as Bush's lies about the WMDs. As well as the Rule by Fear that the Bush Admin is practicing - but it seems to me that everyone else but the Americans knew this as it went down. This raised a question in me that I have asked and asked and not gotten an answer to - WHY DIDN'T the Democrats and/or Anti-Bush contigent commit an electoral coup in 2004, when they had the chance to get rid of that crazy little boy with his lethal toys? Why on earth divide the votes on four different candidates, when the World and the American People NEEDED that intelligence-deficient Napoleon off his stolen throne??? What happened? Did you really think it was going to correct itself during the term 2004-2008, that somehow you would all wake up from a bad dream and there would be a Democrat President in the White House?
There are times when one's vote is more precious than one's beliefs and even one's life, when you vote against something, not for another thing - and that is when your country needs you to step up and do what it's leadership is not going to do.
Men’s issues are as valid as women’s issues, but until recently they have received little attention from the media or public policy. This brochure is intended as an ntroduction to men’s issues, which are part of the broader men’s movement. First of all, it is important to realize that most people in the men’s movement aren’t interested in pushing women into subservience. While their approaches may vary, most men’s advocates are interested in addressing the disparities that have increasingly affected men and boys in (mostly) Western nations since the late 1960s. This is an essential part of achieving gender fairness for both sexes. Second, the men’s movement is not just a concern of white men. Men’s issues affect all men and boys, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, or socioeconomic status.
The men’s movement exists because men and boys are at a disadvantage in several important areas in today's politically correct social structure. Laws and conventions originally intended to encourage equal rights for women have evolved into special privileges without responsibility for women and an elevated status for women only. This is taking place against a backdrop of misandry (hatred of men) in society. The result has been serious harm to many areas of society, such as family structure, education, and social services programs. Ironically, this has ultimately had a negative impact on women in general — and children in particular. While this brochure cannot list all of the issues affecting men and boys, it does provide a summary of the most visible ones. These issues are: · Divorce and Child Custody · Domestic Violence against Men · Media Representation of Men · Workplace Issues for Men · Men’s Health and Safety · Education · Other issues: Male only selective service, unequal sentencing, false accusations, and double standards against men.
Note: While many of the examples and statistics in this brochure are from the United States, the same concepts apply throughout much of the Western world.
When we speak about domestic violence it's 99.9% exclusively male physical and sexual violence against women we speak about. Some keep asserting that men are natural born abusers of women, and that women are 99.9% natural born victims of male violence. This attitude is unfair to both men and women.
I believe that we have to re-define what constitutes violence, in order to be fair to both genders. Violence is more than just someone using physical means to abuse. We don't count verbal, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, intellectual means to abuse as violence - this means that most women who abuse get away with 'murder' in some cases. Unless we start seeing women's non-physical violence as just as much violence as men's physical violence - we are not addressing the issue of domestic violence in it's entirety.
I like to divide abusers into two categories: Control abusers - they abuse by any means available for the sake of power and control, they abuse without prior provocation, without any other reason that the fact that they like the feeling of power; and Affect abusers - they abuse in self defence in a state of affect from a position of feeling powerless. I believe that the number of control abusers are more or less constant, and relatively small. There are also about as many female as male control abusers - the reason we do not see this reflected in statistics is because we do not reckognize the female control abuser.
She will use physical violence only as a last resort, but before that she has gone through a wide range of methods to get her 'kicks' - verbal and emotional - name calling, belittleing, sarcasms, ironies, 'silent treatment' constant nagging and disapproval, re-doing household chores after her husband/son has already done them, claiming that 'it wasn't good enough' - spiritual - constant 'preaching', demands that husband/children adopt her belief and accompany her to church, synagogue, temple etc; social - 'keeping tabs' on her husbands friends and colleges and either demand that he doesn't socialize with them or ridicule his social network, his social activities, his family, his hobbies and his social interests; financial - excessive demands on her husband's work performance, demanding that he be promoted, 'get in with the right crowd' in order to make more money or get better 'status', demand that he turn his wage over to her bank account, paying him a small 'allowance' if anything at all, subjecting him to 'the third degree' about who he met, talked to, saw and socialized with, this includes searching his clothes and belongings for evidence that he is unfaithful to her; sexual - withholding sex, demanding sex, using sex as a matter of trade-off, ridiculing her husband's/sons' sexuality, belittleing his performance, physique, desires etc; threaten to leave him for other men, using pregnancy/abortion as a means to get what she wants.The methods are plethora. These are all things we already reckognize from the male control abuser. So it is not that hard actually - the difference is that those methods seldom sends the victim to hospital. On occasion the female control abuser will use physical violence, especially in relation to children and young adults.
If we start reckognizing the female control abuser and start acknowledging the above methods of violence as VIOLENCE and abuse, we will realize that the female control abuser is just as common as her male counterpart.
The Affect abuser uses violence as a reaction to something that takes place in interaction with the other spouse. Men are more likely to use physical violence in these situations, than women are, but on the other hand - women are more likely to use verbal/emotional violence in these situations. His physical attack often on or two slaps often stops at one or two slaps, because the only thing he wants is for the source of the provocation to be silent and the same thing with the female affect abuser - she uses her verbal advantage in a stressful situation to silence him - both are acting from a position of feeling powerless and from a sense of self-defence. While his physical violence often leaves tangible evidence, her verbal and emotional violence doesn't, which is why we see more male violence in the statistics.
I am certain that if we let a married couple where there have been incidents of domestic violence in the past, keep a log book over any incidents of such violence, without any legal repercussions for a year - we'd see how the affect abusers are two in the same pair, and that it is in fact a dance, where both play a major role.
As long as we do not accept that women do abuse on par with men, only differently, we are NEVER going to erradicate domestic violence.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, Who am I? What am I? or Why am I here? Well, as human beings, many of us ask those same questions everyday of our lives. Unfortunately, however, we never truly find the answers to those questions, and they remain mysteries forever.
religion vs. spirituality
Believe it or not, humans were historically spiritual beings first and foremost before becoming religious beings. So what is spirituality? Well, I'll tell you what it's not . It's not an organization. It's not a set of rules and laws. It's not scripture. It's not history. It's not ritual. And finally, it's not faith.
In a few words, spirituality is the attachment to all that concerns the life of an individual's soul. Religion, on the other hand, is the attachment to all that concerns the life and faith of a society or culture.
are you spiritual enough?
In general, women tend to be more spiritual by nature than men. That probably has to do with the fact that women are emotional creatures, while men are more rational. Recently, however, rationalism and logic have been playing a big part in spiritual experiences. Therefore, men have become more aware of their spiritual side.
In this stressful world we live in, spirituality plays an important role for men who want solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. The most common question many men ask nowadays is, Why in the world do I have to get up at 6am, rush out of my house, drive an hour in traffic, work my butt off for 10 hours a day (9 to 5 doesn't exist anymore), get no appreciation, drive back for 2 hours (in more traffic) to get home, slop on the couch and watch TV until I fall asleep?… and repeat the process everyday of my life?
If you already have this kind of lifestyle, chances are that your spiritual side is almost non-existent.
But if you are one of those people who loves waking up early simply to see the sunrise, loves to drive in traffic because it gives you more time to listen to your favorite band, loves your job because you learn something new each day, and loves some quite time alone at night to reflect upon your life, then you, my friend, are a living Zen master and don't even know it.
the road to enlightenment
Many of our world's so-called religions are actually different forms of spiritualism. For example, Confucianism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, and Wicca (naturalists) all concentrate their philosophies on the growth of the individual soul and it's ascension into a higher level of being.
Through different methods and practices, these "religions" focus on ways to satisfy one's soul in order to calm it and make it one with nature. After all, we are children of this Earth. The simplest form of spiritual practice would be Zen Buddhism and the ultimate goal of a spiritual experience would be enlightenment.
Being "enlightened" means attaining happiness through understanding both the physical and spiritual world. In Zen Buddhism, meditation is used as a means to gaining enlightenment. The road to enlightenment, however, can take someone years, if not decades, to achieve. For more simple folk like ourselves, simply becoming more in tune with yourself and your surroundings would suffice.
The following are some suggestions on how to gain a higher level of spirituality:
i can see the light!
1. Take time off It is extremely important to make time for yourself during the day, week, month, or even year. Time is after all a precious commodity, and something that we can not take for granted. The next step would be what to do with that time.
2. Start a journal Writing your thoughts and feeling down in a private journal a few times per month helps you to become in tune with your inner self. Each time you write, try not to think too much, just let your thoughts flow and your pen move. It's always interesting to look back on your journals and see how you evolve spiritually over time.
3. Exercise Yes, a healthy body almost always leads to a healthy soul. Exercise refreshes your mind and greatly diminishes stress and worry, two key factors you need to eliminate in order for your spirit to thrive.
4. Read Nowadays, more and more men are regressing to watching TV or listening to the radio instead of picking up a good book and reading. Lack of time might be a huge factor in this problem.
Once you take care of that, however, reading can be the most enjoyable thing you do during the day. Its main benefit is that it stimulates your imagination and creativity, not to mention your vocabulary. Imagination is an important part for the next tip.
5. Meditate The word itself conjures up images of mystical people levitating in mid-air with serenity around them. The truth is, anyone can do it, and it's not hard at all (except the levitation of course, which is just nonsense). Here is a meditation technique I teach my martial art students:
Sit down cross-legged on the ground and make sure you are comfortable. Your hands on your knees, and your back and shoulders straight. Slightly tilt your chin down, and close your eyes.
Start breathing slowly and deeply -- in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus only on your breathing for 5 minutes and try bringing in as much air into your lungs as possible.
While breathing, focus on contracting and releasing your abdominal muscles in order to fully contract and dilate your diaphragm, which will, in turn, open your lungs more.
After 5 minutes, visualize all your day's problems, and one by one push them aside in your mind. Make them disappear. All that should remain is total blackness.
And finally enjoy this void, while maintaining your deep breathing and falling more into a relaxed state.
If stray thoughts come into your mind, don't fight them. Accept them, acknowledge them, and then push them aside.
You can meditate as often as you like, at any time or place (except while driving of course), and for as little as 5 minutes to as long as an hour.
6. Be positive Optimism also destroys worry and stress, and an added advantage is that others will become influenced by your own optimism and share your happiness. Positivity plays a key role in spirituality.
There you have it. Use these tips and try to find your own spirituality. It may not happen right away, but nonetheless, the journey to a more spiritual life is full of interesting learning experiences that you will treasure for a lifetime.
By Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D., and Judith Sherven, Ph.D.
Domestic violence has at least two sides. One is visceral, physical, impulsive and vicious. When that level kicks in the only response is to take whatever means necessary to stop it.
However, the recently heightened debate has remained fixated on the urgency of the violence. That keeps our national focus on punishment - of the abuser who is almost exclusively and, therefore erroneously, viewed as the male.
The other side, which receives almost no serious attention, is prevention and ultimate resolution. It receives almost no serious attention, because the roots of domestic violence can only be found in the co-created, interpersonal relationship dynamics between both people that foster the violence. Solutions will emerge only from an unbiased look at how the two people are participating in a situation of ongoing brutality. That, however, is politically incorrect, and the denial surrounding co-responsibility is enormous.
There are those who claim that domestic violence "occurs unexpectedly, with little warning, even for people who are in long term relationships and supposedly 'know' one another." That is simply not the case. According to Lenore Walker, Ph.D., a feminist psychologist who made the idea of "learned helplessness" part of the diagnosis of the woman's role in domestic violence, women interviewed in shelters describe a process that has three distinct stages: 1) the tension building stage where both persons sense the oncoming eruption; 2) the battering incident when the violence erupts; 3) the remorseful stage in which both parties express sorrow for what took place. There is an entire phase of warning, especially for the people who have tuned their awareness and responses to the violence. Furthermore, in most cases, the violence is present during the courtship, although not as severe as it later becomes.
We have been asked, "Do men and women marry people knowing full well that they may wind up beaten or killed?" The answer is yes. The proof is in the recidivism rates for both men and women who either return to the abusive relationship or leave it only to resume the violence with a new partner.
Some women take the position that "hope springs eternal" for people in love and they shouldn't be held accountable for the abusive spousal choices they make. That is precisely the kind of romantic notion that men and women cling to and use to seduce themselves into staying in relationships in which there is abundant evidence that they should leave. Often friends and parents try to intervene, but, when "hope springs eternal" obvious dangers are overlooked, denied and women tell themselves something like, "If I just love him enough, he'll change." By the way, battered men say exactly the same kinds of things. What is needed in situations of verbal and physical abuse and danger is not romantic fantasy but a critical and self- protective assessment of the facts followed by a decision based on those facts.
To avoid confronting evidence of women's violence against men, many women's advocates argue that men are stronger and do more damage. Although there are many men who are not stronger, generally men are taller and stronger than women. The facts are, however, that women initiate violence against men in roughly equal numbers (women 24% and men 27%) with both sexes mutually the rest of the time. To offset men's larger physiques, women more often use weapons than do men (82% of women, 25% of men). A woman with a knife, scissors, gun, lamp, frying pan and the like can be very dangerous and damaging.
We suggest that you, the reader, ask your friends and acquaintances. How many of them know situations in which women have battered men? Even though verbal and psychological abuse can inflict a deep wound, if not deeper, than some physical violence (if you have been emotionally wounded in your life, you know what we are talking about), keep your inquiry based on physical violence. We would like to know what you discover.
The belief that "men are more likely to act out their anger in a physically violent way" is a cliche. Women, more and more women during the last thirty years, are just as capable of acting out physically. In fact, when they do, most men, who have been taught "never to hit a woman" are rendered powerless because they must retrain themselves. Our culture teaches boys and young men that to be a "real man" they have to be able to take it, and especially take it from a woman. Multiple studies obtain statistics that support the fact that women act out their anger in a physically violent way frequently and especially with family members. For example:
55% of son/daughter murders involved a female killer;
41% of spousal murders involved a female killer;
33% of family murders involved a female killer;
18% of parent murders involved a female killer;
15% of sibling murders involved a female killer.
The media continues to attribute control and domination solely to men. If we are honest with ourselves we all know that women are just as controlling and dominating in their ways as are men. Yet, what is it in our society, for women and men alike, that continues to protect women and our national awareness from the truth about woman's dark side?
Another myth would have us believe that abusive men are treated more leniently by the courts. Everyone has at least one horror story on both sides of this issue. Most often, those cases have a National Enquirer flavor and make all the news broadcasts. The fact is that many women get off just as frequently. One reason is that, as a culture, we have a deep commitment to the belief that women are helpless and innocent (which, by the way, victimizes and infantalizes them) and, as a consequence, police admit they are less likely to believe that women can be violent and almost always look to the man, regardless of the actual circumstances.
Domestic violence is a two way street. As long as women refuse to take responsibility for their participation, they will remain disempowered and completely dependent upon men to change. Is that what women really want?
Domestic violence should not be tolerated. It must be faced and prevented. We must look clearly and fearlessly at the dance women and men create that allows for and sustains that violence. Male bashing and protection of women's innocence only perpetuate the problem.
Sadly, we are a long way from teaching and learning the lesson of co-responsibility, co-accountability, and the mutuality of all long-term relationships, whatever their dynamics. And that is what is needed to prevent domestic violence.