Healing Civilization

This book, and my response to reading it, came to mind today, and I thought it might be useful to re-post. I referred to it within a conversation with a patient about a different model for education – in primary and secondary school, especially.

Howard Dieno's Blog

I have just read a life-altering book: Healing Civilization by Claudio Naranjo.

In it, Naranjo speaks of the the whole thread of civilization as we know it – the last 5000 to 6000 years or so – as being of one basic trend: Patriarchy. All of our competitiveness, striving and busyness of mind seen so universally in modern culture, taking precedence over the values of the matristic communities he asserts obtained before civilization arose. In those pre-civilized and women-led groups, the emphasis was on heart-based experience, featuring co-operation, mutual support and communication amongst its members.

While the latter sounds idyllic in the short sketch I have made of the difference, Naranjo importantly points out that what is needed now is a three-centered approach to Life and Education. In other words, our societal structures need to incorporate not just the Male Head Centre – logical, linear, technological and productive aspects, and…

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In Memory of a Dear Friend

I heard tonight that a long-time and very dear friend of my sister, Alvina, took his own life today. Chris was a funny and talented man, compassionate, sensitive, and in recent years, deeply troubled and depressed. How is it that Life gets to look so dark, so hopeless, so irredeemable, that a man in his forties would choose to end his life so abruptly? I don’t know.

In the case of my father, who also took his own life, the situation was very different. Dad was 84, had had a pretty full and well-rounded life – though absolutely not without its dark periods. But his decision to end his life, given the circumstances of a return of his cancer after 7 years with a permanent colostomy that was producing major problems, is more understandable to me.

I don’t mean to say that I don’t accept Chris’s reasons as valid or authentic – for I do. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic. The fact that he reached that state and didn’t feel there was any way back from the brink is one that I know my sister is struggling with – as may be the case for many who knew Chris. In response to that feeling I want to say this: If feelings of shame and self-judgement arise (“I should have seen this coming; I should have helped him find his way back”) please remember that it’s not the feeling that is the problem, it’s the latching on to such feelings in preference to feeling our vulnerability that is in the way. It’s in the way of some manner of peace, healing, even gratitude. Yes, there is gratitude for knowing Chris,  and for being reminded of the frailty of the human mind and body. And yet that frailty, and even the tragic end to Chris’s life, does not diminish the essence of Chris, nor the majesty of Life itself. For in fact, they are the same thing.

Now I want to append a blog post I wrote back in November, 2014 but never posted. It seems apt to what I have written above: for me, my sister, Alvina, and perhaps others too. It will make this a long post. May it be helpful to those who need solace just now.

This draft blog post was entitled

On Vulnerability and Shame

The first of the Ted Talks by Brene Brown appearing below, was done in 2010, and I wrote about it and another TedTalk on Vulnerability, almost two years ago now. That previous blog entry can be read here: https://howarddieno.com/2012/12/23/two-very-important-tedtalks/

The second talk, called Listening to Shame, was done by Dr. Brown more recently and is referred to for the first time in this blog.

Recent events in my life have had me pondering (yet again) how to be vulnerable, and WITH (or Listening To) my shame, in the face of some pretty difficult challenges.

Some time ago I had several sessions of Brain Wave Optimization (BWO) – a particular type of neurofeedback protocol. From that work I learned more about, and got some perspective on, some very early trauma in my life. As so often happens, later traumas, leading up to and especially including the death of both my parents six days apart last spring, worked to unhinge my best compensations to deal with my early trauma. What I am describing here is, of course, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).The unhinging in me has meant a significant change (decrease) in my ability to rest, relax and recharge – in short, to quiet my mind. Fortunately for my practice work with patients, I have still been able (mostly) to remain present and available to their process – ironically, sometimes more than ever before.

Now I have always experienced some vulnerability when regarding my challenges in quieting my mind. Evidence of this is seen in a poem/song, called “Truth”, which I wrote over 15 years ago. Here are the first three lines of that song:

 Try as I might, I can not stop this busy mind,

But what delight, as Truth comes to light,

                                             And I See the Beloved, in all Humankind.

The deeper feelings of shame associated with my challenges in quieting my busy mind, and difficulty in being with my feelings of anger and inadequacy, have only really amped up again since the death of my parents. I had always felt blessed in my abilities to sleep in a peaceful, restorative manner, to meditate, and to use HRV biofeedback to demonstrate “Presence”.  (You can search for previous posts on this blog relating to Presence, and The Presence Project.) But recently, it is often as if all the traumas experienced in my life sum up in the moment, and derail my most fervent attempts to let them go. (Yes, I absolutely see the malapropism of “fervent attempts to let go.”) The fact that a big part of my practice relates to helping others let go into the void of not-knowing anything in particular has been of little help in my own case. In fact, there is a great deal of shame associated with feeling hypocritical and fraudulent in connection with my life’s work as an osteopath (working in support of personal and spiritual growth, and not just helping people move toward optimized bio-mechanical relationships in the body) while I am simultaneously feeling more disconnected from my own life as Presence.

Three things culminated in my understanding both the scale and pervasiveness of my own PTSD. Firstly I saw the graphing of my brain activity, and heard the feedback from the clinic staff who administered the BWO. The evidence there was of more hyper-vigilance and distractability than even I was aware of. The second thing was discussing the findings with my friend, Rod Punnett – a very close friend and an expert on neurofeedback, HRV and other modality-based biofeedback and fellow journeyman on the Path to living in, and as, Presence. With the help of the first two points, the third thing was simple observation – seeing and feeling the extent to which my sleep has been interrupted and the level of busyness of mind that is my (almost) continual fellow traveler.

Just to finish this off, tonight, February 2nd, 2015, I am gradually integrating more. That means I am getting more able to be with my own shame and vulnerability; and that helps. As that occurs I am getting more restful sleep. That is also hugely helpful.

Chris, I am thinking of you on this next difficult journey of your soul. Some may think it naive, but I truly believe that with the support of those who love you, you will eventually heal from this traumatic end to this round of embodied life. For those who love you, and are shocked, saddened, even traumatized by hearing of your abrupt end, know that Love  given is always received, by all parties, whether it seems to be so, or not.

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A Brief Vignette in Memory of my Father

It was the summer of 1971, when Richard and I were still 16 for a bit longer, and Marcel had already turned 17.

Back when I was 14 and just learning to drive, my Dad had bought a 1956 Plymouth Savoy, as a car for my mother, and later, for me to also use. When I got my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday, I began driving it much more than my mother did.

Anyway, on that fateful summer day in ’71, Richard and Marcel and I were throwing the football around at about the time when my Dad left for his afternoon shift as a switchman for the CNR in Edmonton. After Dad had driven away, I took my friends into the garage and told them about how,  just days before, Dad and I had spent hours replacing a passenger door on the Plymouth. They didn’t seem all that interested in what I was saying, for by the time I was finishing the story they were throwing the football at each other in the garage. At one point Marcel jumped into the front passenger seat of the Plymouth and Richard threw the football hard at Marcel’s head. But before the ball came through the opening, Marcel had quickly rolled up the window. There was a shattering of glass, and little tiny pieces were everywhere inside the car and out.

The funny thing about my Dad was that he could be all sorts of fun to be around, but when he was angry the last thing anyone wanted was to be in his orbit – let alone as the target of his wrath. Richard knew of this only by reputation – but Marcel knew, almost as well as I did, how serious a fix we were in.

I organized  us into a very efficient team over the following few hours. We cleaned up the glass well enough to pile into the car and head off to the car-wrecker yard on the outskirts of the city. There I managed to find another door on a similar Plymouth model of the same year. The original car was a Savoy, with the simpler, more-pleasing curved line to the lower white panel on the doors. My Dad and I had replaced the driver’s door with a red and white door from a Plymouth Belvedere, with the zig-zag design. I managed (this time with some help from Richard and Marcel) to remove the front passenger door from the same wreck, and put that in the trunk of the car. So with both front doors replaced we ended up with a 1956 Plymouth Savoy that looked more like a Plymouth Belvedere. (See pictures below.)

The real work began after we got back to my Dad’s double garage. I had to pry the interior panel off of both the door we were taking off, and the one we were replacing it with, so as to get at the roll-down window assembly. That window and mechanism  had to be carefully removed and then replaced after properly reattaching and realigning the “new door”. I had already removed the intact window assembly from the door we got from the wrecker, in the process of taking it off. All that shattered glass made for lots of cursing in the longer process of taking apart the door I was discarding.

We were all getting pretty worried as the time of my father’s return ((11:20pm) approached, and I still was not quite finished. Richard and Marcel wondered aloud what I was already thinking: “How would my old man respond to what had gone on since he left?” As it became clear we were in the home stretch I knew that my Dad would be fine with it, overall. He’d have a few stern disapproving words to say, for sure. But, he’d be pleased and impressed by the way I had learned enough from working side-by-side with him on cars, and wood-working projects, and other creations, that I could pull this off. And I hardly remember his reaction now – except to say that he was fine about it.

So, I thank you, Dad, for teaching me about resourcefulness, innovation, self-reliance and self-confidence. Your ingenuity and thorough attention to detail in almost everything you did, still inform my ways of being in the world to this day. You are missed.



Several years after the incident with the old Plymouth, I was married and living in Victoria. Marcel was in a final remission with his cancer – Hodgkin’s Disease – and he went on a quick solo road trip down the Oregon coast to California. On his hurried way back to Edmonton, he showed up unannounced one day when I was at work. He stayed overnight and left the next day. Mostly because of the car-door incident (I guess) Marcel was still of the (misguided) opinion that I could fix anything on cars. His VW Rabbit had a throttle cable problem – which I discovered more about when I checked his car. But I can still remember how disillusioned and disappointed he was when I told him he’d have to go to the dealer – or some mechanic, anyway – to have the throttle cable replaced.

Marcel tragically died at age 25, only a few months after that.



Screenshot 2014-10-13 13.53.01

1956 Plymouth Savoy (as it looked when Mom and I first got it)

I was born in 1954. So the car was nearly as old as I was.


Screenshot 2014-10-13 13.46.53

1956 Plymouth Belvedere.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the many women I know, from extended family members to friends, colleagues, sisters-in-law, nieces, to my own sisters, my partner, and to my own dearly departed mother, I say thank you. I celebrate your loving care in this world; a world that so sorely needs just that.


Last night I attended a Joy of Life concert with Daniel Lapp and his many musical friends. I was sitting up in the balcony and happened to be behind a family of three young boys, their parents, and what looked to be their Grandad too. The youngest of the boys was right in front of me, snuggled in with his mother for much of the long festivities. He looked at his mother’s watch three or four times towards the end, but I neither heard nor saw any whining. The middle brother was cuddled up with Dad most of the concert. (I overheard that the middle boy’s birthday was the day before, and he hadn’t had much sleep the previous night. Anyway, I was very impressed with the affectionate and supportive way in which this family were with each other. And, I thought how lucky that little boy was to have a mother so completely devoted to her family – yet without appearing to give herself up to do so. And it reminded me of how supremely fortunate I was to have been raised by a mother just like that! Thank you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day to you!Image

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Marine Phytoplankton

While searching the Web for information on my previous post (about Bright Eyes drops) I also came across this fascinating information on the use of Marine Phytoplankton as a powerful anti-oxidant. See the short video link, below, and the other linked information I have provided here:

Here is a nicely done brochure on the available product from “Forever Green”


Again, this looks reliable and well-documented. The head of the BC Chiropractic Association is an ardent supporter of the product.

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“Bright Eyes” treatment for Cataracts

I have recently been conducting a search for “Bright Eyes” drops and their efficacy in treating cataracts – which I was told about by a friend and client who now lives in Brazil.

This looks very promising indeed. I believe that I have early cataracts myself and I will try this method for myself. Have a look at the two links below for more information.


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Further Reflections – 2

I am presently reading a book which truly nourishes me: The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein. This book brings together the threads I have begun to speak of (as well as a few I haven’t yet explored) in posts on this blog in the last few days.

Here are a few quotes from this amazing piece of work which will help me link to what is coming up for me:

“Each experience of love nudges us toward the Story of Interbeing, because it only fits into that story and defies the logic of Separation.”
“We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.”
“I am saying that there is a time to do, and a time not to do, and that when we are slave to the habit of doing we are unable to distinguish between them.”

“I once read a news story about a train wreck in Peru. The travelers and tourists were stranded in the mountainous area in winter, without food or heat. Many might have died that night, if it weren’t for the local villagers who came with food and blankets to keep them warm. These were poor villagers, and they were giving their only blankets.

I remember when I read that story how petty my own insecurity seemed, how tight my heart, and how tiny my generosity. I felt a kind of opening. If those indigent villagers can give their last blankets, then surely I needn’t be so concerned about my financial future. I can give. It will be okay.

One way to interpret this story is to conclude that obviously, those seemingly indigent villagers are much wealthier than I am. Let’s try a new definition of wealth: “the ease and freedom to be generous”. Perhaps these villagers have what we, in pursuit of money and its illusory security, are seeking to attain. For one thing, they are in community, and know that they will be taken care of by those around them. That is not so true in a money economy like ours. Second, they have a deep connection to the land and a sense of belonging. Through their relationships, they know who they are. That is a kind of wealth that no amount of money can replace. We moderns, the disconnected, have a lot of rebuilding to do. People like those villagers, and anyone living from interbeing, remind us of our potential wealth and the ground truth of interbeing. Their generosity enriches us merely through witnessing it.”

― Charles EisensteinThe More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

I truly believe that becoming part of the Vancouver Island dollar (vi$) can help those involved realize and further some of the excellent initiatives participants of The Living the New Economy conference heard about just recently. See my previous couple of posts about that. Michael Linton, Ernie Yacub and Jason Guille will be hosting more introductory sessions on the vi$ soon. Watch this space for further details on that.


One final thing: As I said previously, we really need Victoria businesses to join in and support this local currency launch. So, if you have a local business, or know one whose values seem to gel with what you are reading here, please get in touch with me so that our team can invite them to a meeting and/or  one of us can meet with a representative personally to answer questions.

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