Stories you never forget

31 days of simple change

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Small acts of kindness:

31 Days of Simple Change {Day 19} Simple Acts of Kindness

31 Days of Simple Change

I read a moving article a few weeks ago about a teenager named Alyssa Josephine O’Neil.  Alyssa was a teenager living in Erie, PA preparing to begin her freshmen year of college.   On September 3rd, she texted her mom and suggested they plan some time to visit Starbucks together so she could try a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time.  But the day after the text, Alyssa passed away from an epileptic seizure.  After her passing, her parents decided to honor their daughter by going to Starbucks and purchasing Pumpkin Spice Lattes for themselves and the next 40 customers.  Alyssa’s parents asked the baristas to write #AJO on the cups of the free drinks and  then explain to the customers why the drinks were free.  What the O’Neils didn’t realize was that their gesture would lead those customers to respond in kind and pay it forward.  According to the article, this act of kindness has spread through their community and to other parts of the country.  What a wonderful way to honor their daughter’s life and use their sorrow and grief  as motivation to show kindness to others!

I love the idea of random acts of kindness and paying it forward.  Performing random acts of kindness is a win-win situation.  When you perform a random act of kindness, it helps you feel like you are doing something that matters.  You are happier because you are doing something to make the world better, even if it’s just a very small part of the world.  And when you receive a random act of kindness, you feel happier too.  People who receive random acts of kindness also report feeling more grateful, and generally more positive overall.

Random acts of kindness don’ t need to be elaborate or expensive.  They can be as simple as dropping off some cookies for your new neighbors, dropping of a meal for a family with a new baby, or visiting an elderly relative.  During this time of year, some neighborhoods practice paying forward random acts of kindness by starting the “You’ve Been BOOED” tradition.  In case you’ve never heard of this before, one family puts together a simple basket containing homemade treats, or small, inexpensive gifts.  They also include BOO instructions and a BOO sign.  They leave the basket on a neighbor’s doorstep anonymously.  That neighbor, upon receiving the BOO, hangs up the sign on their door or in their window that indicates that they’ve been BOOED and then proceeds to BOO someone else.  It’s simple and inexpensive, but it certainly brings some happiness and fun to the people in the neighborhood.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the difficulties in our own lives and all the bad things happening in the world.  But performing random acts of kindness are an easy way to not only spread happiness to those around you but to also improve your own happiness as well.

Have you ever received or performed a random act of kindness?  Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you!

Throughout the month of October, I’ll be sharing some ideas for simple changes you can make to improve your life.  Did you miss a day?  Visit the 31 Days Welcome page for links to each day.

And of course, my ever-growing baby: “How to change the world” at http://forfreepsychology.wordpress.com


Protected: The sound of cheering

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Protected: The sound of blossoming seeds

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The sound of steps in the sand

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Footprints in the sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

 “You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
 Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”oxy

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Rejecting rejection

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A group of black-clad people walk in a line. Their hands raised upwards, holding a heavy plate of steel in their hands. Each step is tiresome, but they go forward. One step in the right direction, is one away from carrying anything more. One step means the burden is less and that the solution comes nearer. They don`t have to carry it forever, but right now, they do. No one force them; They have liftet each steel plate on their own accord, since they`ve seen that it would be too hard for one person alone.

I do truly love people. It`s important to remember, that each times our hearts breaks, there will be many who want to put Band-Aids on it.

I have invited some of my lovely friends over tonight, just to cook dinner, watch some funny movie (any tips?), talk like girls do, and make something beautiful and scrapbook-alike. We need beauty, but most importantly, we need to believe in beauty, even when darkness falls upon us.

Snill fb012872756e927e5c0757060211cf23 e842adaf97edbd50bb717e2ca0cbb0d5


From the kindness blog: My Mom Found an Envelope in Her Mailbox

How can you change the world?:

 Let us change the world

The sound of shocking news

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You can cut all the flowers 
but you cannot keep 
spring from coming


Yesterday I showed a video-interview that I found on an excellent blog I really like to visit when I need information about personality disorders  (“Dating a psychopath“) . It was about a famous man in UK (Jimmy Savile), who had many of the traits of a charismatic psychopath.

The following video is footage collected after his death, when the truth came out about him. He had fooled the public for decades. Masked with charisma. Which was, only a mask. He was not only a charismatic sociopath. He was also a paedophile.

Exposure – The Other Side of Jimmy Saville… by couchtripper

Exposure – The Other Side of Jimmy Saville… by couchtripper

The sound of falling shackles

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But I got chains and you got wings

Angels were never meant to fall And you were the loveliest of all If I thought God could fix this, I’d pray for your forgiveness

Natalia Kills

From the blog: Dating a psychopath

This link ( http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xu2udi_when-louis-theroux-met-jimmy-saville_news#.UWdq7qLqmzg) is a good documentary with Louis Theroux. In this video all the classic character traits of a charismatic sociopath can be seen.

The truth about Jimmy Saville did not come out fully until after his death. He was a very celebrity in the UK, and operated behind his mask of charisma for decades. This is a really good video. Unfortunately I can no longer find this on youtube. 

More about her

2012-08-10 17.11.06
Amadeus  He never returned the cat after he got him. I never got the chance to say goodbye.

It`s actually quite sad that psychopaths/sociopaths never (?) can experience the range of feelings we have. People with shackles who are freed, can truly live in every way. Many psychopaths have no meanings in their lives, because without feelings, everything is flat. Its sad really, but they have to help themselves. It can`t be family or their lover. The people closest to us, don`t have the necessary distance that people must have to handle it. Am I a sociopath? (part 1) from the blogger in: 

Sociopath World

A reader of the blog to the sociopath, asks about how it is to be a sociopath. Here follows the answer:

Hello. I think I might be a sociopath, but I’m not sure. I don’t have a conscience per se, it’s more like a logical guide for what is right and wrong. Nothing turns my stomach, no type of immoral behavior enrages me unless I’m on the receiving end. All of my responses, even my “emotional” responses, are calculated and performed. I know I’m not the smartest person on the planet–VERY WELL, but I feel it. As far as my heart and soul are concerned, there is nobody smarter on this planet, even though the very mind in question knows that’s not the case. I use people when I can, so long as it doesn’t hurt them in the process. I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t want to hurt people or because I’d like to believe I’m not manipulative. Generally speaking, I don’t lie about anything except for my feelings. But I don’t go out of my way to hurt people. I actually go out of my way NOT to hurt people. Pretty much my entire life IS an act, and I don’t really know who I am… but I’m definitely not normal, nor do I fit all of the negative aspects of the sociopath stereotype. What does this sound like to you? I’m asking because as much as I’m able to make sense of the world around me, I cannot for the life of me make sense of myself. That is the one thing that my mind can’t penetrate. I can state facts about what I do, what I don’t do, my habits and tendencies, etc, but trying to form an opinion about myself is like walking through a minefield of self-deception and convenient stray thoughts.

His story

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He partciulary lost control of his hands

he hit her until she was beaten to bloods. The police said: Surely, there is something you must have done to provoke him. “My mother did nothing to provoke him and even if she had, violence is never, ever a choice that a man should make.”


This is how some people respond after stories like these


I felt nauseous when watching this. Not that I don`t mean women can`t be violent, and that one must take that as serious as when men hit, but the way this video is made, how the studies referred to have been twisted and specially picked for the purpose. A place in the video he actually says: i have to admit, this study has serious methological issues, and one is not enough. Than he says: Lets look at hundred more. He pulls forward a study from scientists that are not easy to prove today. He also pulls forward studies where women are more likely to inflict serious injury, and after a while contradict himself with: Are there studies disproving this study? Sure! But there is enough evidence to.. like this it continues. And: When men rapport abuse (of course we shall and must take it seriously), might some of them rapport it to not be blamed themselves? This movie is filled with big words and extreme examples in a terrorizing fashion



The sound of care

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Empathy Is Necessary for a Good Life

This entry was posted on June 16, 2012, in EthicsMoralitysocial commentary and tagged. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments

“Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. In those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own,” explains Fritz Williams, Leader Emeritus of the Baltimore Ethical Society.

she saved over hundred children, because she could not watch them being tortured during world war 2
she saved over hundred children, because she could not watch them being tortured during world war two

Infants respond to the cries of other infants; toddlers are upset when they see another in distress. Young children try to soothe others who are hurt and adults wince when they see another injured. This ability to identify with the inner life of another begins at the dawn of self-awakening.

How lovely to find satisfaction in that which others have enjoyed. This ability to find happiness in another’s joy is a wonderful trait. And to taste another’s tears is crucial for the alleviation of suffering and the move towards social justice.

Empathy is essential for living well. It frees us from the bonds of isolation and, therefore, exaggerated fear. We know that we aren’t alone, that we are intimately bound to the fate of others and they with us. To participate in the pleasures and sorrows of someone we love is to know one of life’s great satisfactions. To imagine the misfortunes of those we don’t know personally is the basis of social justice.

Here is one of my favorite stories about empathy. It comes from Mark Salzburg’s Iron and Silk, his account of being a teacher in China. He gave this assignment to his students: write an essay about the happiest moment of your life. One student composed a rhapsody about eatingPeking duck while visiting the capital city.

“It was like clouds disappearing,” he wrote.

The teacher gave the student great praise, but after class the student came with a confession. He said that he had never been to the capital and he had never had Peking duck. But his wife had gone and she described the delicacy to him.

“She tells me about it again and again,” he said, “and I think, even though I was not there, it is my happiest moment.”

So here is a good question for meditation: What moves you to feel with another person?

My daily headache

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The last post was actually post number 200. I AM proud of myself. From writing almost nothing, I have the last year written and written, and there is still so much to say, so many stories to tell, so many other blogs to share (there is a lot of interesting stories out there) and thoughts that have to come out. I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far. Any wishes on themes I might write about?

I am reblogging one of my fav. blogs:

Every day someone lives in pain. Sometimes it is physical torment, and sometimes it`s mental agony. A memory can harm as well as knives and blows. I want to present a blog from Ashana. She grew up with no safety net, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that must have been. But we have to. We can`t close our eyes. Stories like her, make me want to fight for a better world.

Ashana, thank you so much for sharing your story. Sending you warm thoughts.

Nina, psychologist

The Daily Headache

Have you had yours?


About This Blog

August 6th, a lone gunman toting two semi-automatic weapons killed seven people and wounded a number of others at a crowded Sikh temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A few weeks before, a man opened fire in a theater in Colorado, killing 12 and wounded 58 others. The first instance is classified as a hate crime. The second appears to be entirely random—murder for the sake of it.

These are difficult and frightening times we live in.  Much of the Middle East has become destabilized, with civil war raging in Syria and smoldering in Egypt. Terrorist attacks and sectarian violence have become so commonplace in Afghanistan and Iraq it no longer seems to be news. Bombs planted in war-torn Chechnya, where violence has erupted sporadically since the start of the First Chechen War in 1994, reportedly killed four individuals on the same day as the gurudwara shooting. Meanwhile, the Indian Mujahideen struck in Pune on August 1st, when serial explosions rocked Jangli Maharaj Road. The world has become a terrifying place.

Or has it? Is this really anything new?

The aftermath of the 2010 German Bakery bombing in Pune.

What about the 500,000-100,000 murdered in Rwanda in 1994? The 200,000 killed in Bosnia’s “ethnic cleansing” between 1992 and 1995? The 2 million executed, starved, or worked to death in Cambodia starting in 1975? The .5 million hacked to death or burned alive during Partition? Or, for heaven’s sake, the 11 million who died during the Holocaust under Nazi rule? And going back to perhaps one of the first genocides of the 20th century, the mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish beginning in 1915? What about them?

Targets change, weapons improve, but ordinary people are now and always have been quite capable of torture and mass murder. Evil, it seems, is part of the human heart.

In saying this, I am not arguing that we are all just sinners, hopelessly seduced by that devil. Evil, at least in my mind, is a complicated matter. It is worth making an effort to understand  These are my questions:

Why do some people carry out evil acts?

Why do some engage in more extreme acts of evil than others?

Why do these events occur more at some times than others?

How is it that some people—and not others—take a stand against evil, often at great personal risk to themselves?

This Travelodge in Oceanside was shut down in 2011 because of its use in sex trafficking by gang members.
This Travelodge in Oceanside was shut down in 2011 because of its use in sex trafficking by gang members.

Since I was about 13 years old, I have been deeply and abidingly interested in these questions. While an adolescent Stephen Hawking may have started searching for a unified theory of physics at that age, I started looking for a unified theory of evil. We need to understand the worlds we live in, and mine was for many years almost unrelentingly evil.

It might help to tell a little of my story. My dad molested me from the time I can remember. When I was two, he raped me with a pair of scissors. Like many sociopaths, he killed animals from time to time—usually in front of me—and at least once insisted I kill as well. His aim was not only to frighten, but to corrupt.

Before I was school-aged, my mother assaulted me multiple times—a few times by strangling, once with a pair of kitchen knives, once with a kitchen chair. I have incoherent memories of being dunked head-first in water—the tub or the toilet. I think she did that. But I don’t know.

To discipline me, one or both of them shut me up in a freezer until I lost consciousness. Alternatively, they chained me blindfolded to a wall in the garage, at times without any clothes on. In the garage, I was fed spoiled food, crawling with bugs, or no food at all and refused access to a toilet.

At the same time, my father was also my pimp. For 11 years, I serviced the perverted desires of pedophiles, mainly in a variety of cheap hotels, but also at home or in the homes of his friends. In addition, I performed sporadically in child pornography—both still and filmed.

I grew up in hell and the devil lived there.

Except these were people. People did these things, and in some cases, a lot of people. Unlike my mother, who acted impulsively and alone, my father was intelligent, organized, and apparently well-connected. For the most part, he abused me in the context of organizations that were systematically abusing other children and employed a variety of people—as actors and film crew, hotel managers, maintenance and janitorial workers, and human traffickers.

This was not simply the product of a single, unbalanced mind going over the edge, nor was it the result of a few people getting greedy and slipping into amoral behavior. There were too many of them—both consumers and producers—for these to be adequately understood as isolated incidents or as the work of the 1% of the population who simply lack conscience. Some of this is about ordinary people committing unbelievably, horrifyingly evil acts..

This blog is not so much the place where I am telling my story, as the place where I work to understand those stories. And also where I try to heal the scars.

Thanks for being here with me.


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