Letter to recovering addicts and those who loved one

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Atonement: satisfaction or reparation for awrong or injury; amends.

Atonement AA (Step 8): Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Atonement in a Religious context: Thereconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.

Closure is the end of something. After being caught sending naked pictures to minors or someone other than your spouse (for those of you who are married or cheating), expect theclosure of your political career and a boycott of your business for example. The cookie cutter definition of psychological closure (which is the topic of this post) is “… an individual’s desire for a firm solution as opposed to enduring ambiguity.”

Closure comes from the Latin claus (“shut”), and has numerous synonyms and linguistic or contextual applications. A road closure blocks that road from traffic. If you find closure after an emotional hardship, you’re ready to move on. An obstruction in a small passage, like a pipe, is also a closure, as is the button on your sweater. In debate, closure (usually cloture), stops debate and starts the vote.

Closure is a principle from Gestalt psychologyand Grief counseling as well.

I did not lose a battle with addiction and did not struggle with chemical dependency.I did not get lost in pop science trying to stabilize my perception of why I could not stop using drugs of any kind.Make a note, that I have just listed TWO reasons why I am blessed and I will return to this at the end of this post.

Process Philosophy:

My first exposure to the drug scene was straight out of a movie and far less glamorous. I was six years old and my father was arrested in the early 1980’s for what the DEA and RCMP said was his role in a 12 million dollar drug sting. He was arrested in Buffalo New York and his face was plastered all over the evening news on all three major news networks. My mother had just graduated from college with two degrees and was denied any opportunity to use her education degree in our community. She was presumed to be too emotionally unstable due to the public nature of my father’s arrest and of course, she was guilty before she was innocent in the eyes of many. Privately, neither of my parents used any kind of drug other than alcohol though they were both children of alcoholics. Of my grandparents, my father’s mother was the only one who did not drink at all.  I saw addiction and abuse from other angles than one would expect.

What do I know about drugs and addiction personally?

I am a sexual abuse survivor: I was a drugfor a sick grandfather and neighbor who could not control himself and who would not and presumably ‘could not’ stop. His excuse I presume would have been PTSD had he been confronted.My mother was anorexic and bulimic until my sister was born when I was 7 years old and used food as a drug. My parents raised me as a vegetarian which was promoted by their religious views at the time and abandoned the practice when she became pregnant with my sister.I have a step sibling who thru a variety of personal challenges of her own, was placed into rehab with Bradford at the age of 13. She relapsed 20 years later and has now recovered but at a price. I have also dated a recovering addict in my youth and as recently as three years ago for a brief time.Due to the fact that I live and breathe and survived childhood (Freud and Jung critics beware) I have had and still have ‘friends’ who used to various degrees. I also have done various drugs both legal and illegal.

What do I know about atonement and closure professionally?

I have a degree in Health and Wellness and have practiced Professional Massage Therapy since 1998.

Why am I writing this post?

I am writing this post for personal therapeutic reasons on several levels. When I began this post, I was thinking about the animosity I hold toward members of my family and how various facts of their lives and my own have been butchered in order to feed conspiracy thinking privately and publicly and how this fostered a burden of liability that cannot and has not been rectified or atoned for privately or publicly. This morning as I continue to draft this post, the topic of criticism of the AA model and religion has reminded me again of yet another angle on my need to compose this post.

When I hear addicts talk about their experiences I am reminded of why group therapy has value. In no other setting are the actions of others and their value systems so exposed. My ex who twice went thru rehab was an accountant. His profession is or was, to use mathematical skills to assign value. Need it be said that group therapy is closed for a reason just as many circles and distribution channels are closed to outsiders? Addicts remain addicted for a variety of reasons.

When friendships and family ties suffer for the sake of an addiction addicts often go thru various stages of grief and denial when they are informed of just how heinous the behaviour and actions of former associates turned out to be. My step sister talked about a theft ring that that bartered for drugs and I know I have heard similar tales as most casual drug users have. What addicts close the door on by speaking only in peer groups are the stories of bodily horror. They leave economic scandals to political media commentators to opine about so they can justify their own narcissism while still using and waving the flag of their choice. Its the stories of rape, child molestation, aggravated assault, forced or cohersed prostitution that trips their PTSD triggers that drive them underground into treatment out of horror and shame. Even then, for some, the horror only becomes real when they lose their teeth thru addiction.

I do not forgive my step sister or her family. All of them, including my father’s wife. As my ex who was an accountant reminded me thru accusation rather than reason mind you, is that addiction paradigms are not without flaws. One of the excuses my step sister and her family used to justify a number of significant transgressions and abuses was a mind body paradigm which presupposed a biological basis for mental processes which veered into hard core scientific reductionism and determinism. In the process of excusing various issues they abused far more and I fear that in their stupidity they allowed and facilitated the projection of larger societal issues into inappropriate contexts.

As an individual, I may one day accept my step mother again. I will always accept my step sisters children. For the time being, I despise her 13 years later. Infinity. Along with her brother and ALL the former friends and associates from two counties that she spread her lies in and MOST of my own home county.

Biological paradigms that mimic horror stories of “the gulag” coming prior to and on the heels of 911 could not be trusted – then or now. That was the genius of Osma Bin Laden and the germ of conspiracy post 911. They lend themselves to the ideas of eugenics and yet more conspiracy. When you know what I do and whom I know and you sit and watch what falls away after the fact you realize how little we know and just how much.

But back to closure and why it is often elusive. Closure is not about acceptance of bullshit decisions, choices or actions. Closure is about reaching a point where free will returns to us.

For those dealing with these issues, remember that free will is not a logical fallacy. Information and paradigms may contain them. Finding peace requires a clear mind. Peace is not a endless journey. It is available. It does exist.

And actions have consequences.

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Announcing Fruits, Nuts and Flakes: Massage and Bodywork Edition

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Announcing Fruits, Nuts and Flakes: Massage and Bodywork Edition!!

I am fundraising to print, produce and ship a card set for Massage educators, massage aficionados and their nemesis!!

I would like to be able to print at least 2,000 decks or more. Please share any and all feedback and thank you. I will be adding an option to purchase 1 set immediately.

Boredom: What is it and How should we respond?

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What is Boredom? Why would anyone other than someone who is bored be interested about the topic? Why write about it unless your creating solutions to a problem? Could boredom ever be healthy? Is Boredom contagious?

Boredom is a feeling first and foremost. It lies at the root of many illnesses, so many in fact, that the modern tourist economy can be traced to the rise of consumer based economic theory. Entire forests have been felled to produce the volumes of literature devoted to dispelling this fearsome specter that brings chaos in its wake. The Archbishop of Wales opined:

“We are a deeply, dangerously bored society. And we’re reluctant to look for the root of that. Why do we want to escape from the glories and difficulties of everyday life? Why do we want to escape into gambling or drugs or any other kind of fantasy? Why have we created a culture which seems more in love with fantasy than reality? Whether that’s gambling or drugs or, for that matter, the national lottery, we should be asking “What’s happened to us? Why are we so bored?”

In a comment about the presumed differences between urbanites and suburbanites, Reinhard Kuhn states ” She is tired of the magazine that she is reading or the television show that she is watching and mixes another cocktail for herself. Or perhaps she telephones an equally bored friend and they talk for hours about nothing, or perhaps she drifts into an affair that means as little to her as the television show or magazine article.”

These descriptions aren’t a flattering picture of modern societies and womanhood are they? Is it an excuse for anti-feminism or for economic criticism, religious criticism or is it indicative of an adjective, a description that in its discursive slant, illustrates the problem that hides in plain sight?

Anais Nin

Richard Winter broaches the subject of boredom by listing adjectives to describe it.

  • Apathetic
  • drab
  • dull
  • colorless
  • ennui
  • humdrum
  • insipid
  • interminable
  • irksome
  • lifeless
  • lethargic
  • monotonous
  • mundane
  • repetitious
  • routine
  • stale
  • tedious
  • stodgy
  • tiresome
  • uninteresting
  • vapid
  • wearisome

Antonyms for Bored and Boredom are

  • interesting
  • absorbing
  • amusing
  • attractive
  • captivating
  • charismatic
  • compelling
  • delightful
  • engaging
  • engrossing
  • enthralling
  • entrancing
  • exotic
  • fascinating
  • gripping
  • riveting
  • stimulating
  • exciting

To bore someone is to weary them by “being dull, uninteresting or monotonous” and as Winter notes, is also mildly aggressive. To even argue that by enforcing boredom, we inflict pain on our spouse, our friends or loved ones, would require that we understand and recognize the emotion within ourselves.

Academics have only confused and conflated the problem of identifying emotions such as boredom with quotes such as this one: “a metaphor for the postmodern condition” – when writing about the emergence of the word into the cultural lexicon of the 1750’s!

Andy Warhol has summed up the modern view of boredom in his film Sleep where an audience (presumably pays) to watch a man sleep for 8 solid hours! Rest assured, the clip below is only a minute and a half long, and at that length, may be longer than some sexual encounters, which brings up the various maladies and health disorders associated with boredom.

Addictions, family dysfunction, abuses of communication between those who love one another, all these are yet more symptoms of undiagnosed boredom that we attempt to treat with medication or with wellness paradigms that fail to educate about the emotional states common to the human condition. We are taught to climb rock walls to learn new ways to get high, to try dating and sex and even unprotected risky sex before we are ready, and of course, there are always other impulse control disorders where boredom can be regarded as a trigger factor or as a symptom.

We typically associate boredom with under stimulation and monotony. This is the wellness logic behind advertisements promoting exercise and yoga, rock climbing and the outdoors. Romanticism recycled as a cure for the evils and perils of the modern worlds ills. We see this clearly mass marketed in TV shows like Preppers and academics routinely lampoon such “cultural backwardness” as “conspiracy culture” and on and on. As cited above, the term postmodern or one of its variations is trotted out and used to criticize everything and sundry that represents a rejection of “progress.”

But is it? All this, all these ideas are invalidated to avoid discussing an emotion: boredom.

In some spas flotation tanks or “sensory deprivation ” tanks are utilized to promote altered states of consciousness. How do they achieve this? The effect is achieved thru under stimulation. Hallucinations, impaired thought processes, restlessness and mood swings occur if too much time is spent in the tank. For this reason, most spas don’t have the staff to monitor guests mental health and elect not to offer the service. The point however about the side effects of boredom are profound.

Repetition also takes a lot of heat when the subject of boredom arises. Not only does it raise psychological questions that have fueled near culture wars about psychoanalysis, over medication and healthcare, it has been used as a reason to challenge universities that offer wellness programs, as evidence for cultural decline and economic malaise due to globalization.

Boredom. Such a fearsome beast. It’s almost enough to drive people to suicide and one might be pardoned for wondering if it indeed does. What of a once happily married couple who no longer delights in one another’s company? One begins drinking, the other has an affair. Or perhaps it’s drugs or sex or both. Who is to blame? Would suggesting both individuals lack emotional maturity encourage them to slow down and work on self-development help or harm?

What about the common internet troll? What about the chat rooms that proliferate online? I’ve always and still do compare them to buy, sell and trade magazines, or the Sunday shoppers where the occasional rant disguised as a public announcement are often published. Online, it’s easier to recognize a real gripe from some psychological grandstand. Chances are, boredom prompted their rendition of “Teen Spirit” in a “grown-up” venue.

Any parent can tell us about the value of repetition as well. Small children love to hear bedtime stories and never seem to get tired of them, the same ones in their early years. The same toys and blankets, the same voices and smells and to their parents delight, they love to see the same faces day after day. Unlike soured romances and faithless lovers, children and animals know who butters their bread.

Assembly workers are the poster children for the physical ills of repetition. When we’re young and when we allow ourselves to learn something new, we often find repetition has value. We learn 2+2 equals 4, we learn to walk, we learn to listen and to talk. When we get older, some of us learn to think! Athletes put up with a great deal of bodily repetition and show off the results.

Politics and economics are another example. J.M. Barbalet is a sociologist who noted that boredom is also relieved by conflict. Those who have experienced the luxury of distancing themselves from the national tragedy of September 11th, 2001may or may not have noticed that at the time, that a push for “evidence based medicine” had been percolating since the mid 90’s. What may not be as obvious were the effects upon related but distinct discourses and disciplines. Take psychology for example. Freud and Jung were both beginning to be subjected to the processes of not only peer review but presumably, “scientific rigor.” Academia was the excuse as it so often is for those who recognize and can quote the names of modern intellectual gladiators and their forebears. Economics is yet another arena. Naomi Wolf took up this theme rightly or wrongly in her book The Shock Doctrine. And we all have borne witness to what has occurred in American political venues and health care since that time. Meanwhile, criticism of “the French Nietzsche” was advanced and the critics opined it was time to think with “Nietzsche against Nietzsche” as early as 1991 in France. An English language publication of this criticism did not emerge until 1994. Some of us earn our sheepskins and outlive either or both our competitors and our friends and some of us die young. Regardless of what is said about this sordid scene and how everyone was oblivious, it requires a collective variety of denials to say so; Osama did notice. And he wasn’t alone. Those who understand and know the upshot of what this implies should take a second look at history.

Boredom? Say it ain’t so?

The Vampire Facial: An assault on science or simple Race Baiting?

Back in 2013, Kim Kardashian tried the newest trend in esthetics, or so it may have seemed. The Vampire Facial.

The Spa world responded discreetly and quickly renamed the procedure “microneedling.”

Count on MTV to showcase this attempt at cultural stereotyping and shoddy science. 19 year old teen bathes in pigs blood to retain her ‘youth’ reads a recent headline. Hollywood is a simmering pot of “Postmodernism” after all, and no doubt, this impressionable youths decision will be laid at the door of either Kim Kardashian and Bar Rafeli, or (shudder) the spa industry.

For an angle on racism by design or by ‘coincidence’ take note: Ms. Kardashian and Ms. Rafeli both have semitic ancestry to varying degrees. Of course, with so much anti-intellectualism and ‘tea partying’ nationwide, “The Vampires” found their miracle cure trademarked via a Doctor from:

May I get a drumroll……….Alabama.

Oh My.

If there isn’t one excuse to use science as a substitute for religious identity by design or happenstance, as showcased by Kardashian and Rafeli as ‘consumers’, then it’s science as a substitute for various forms of ontological identity and from there its a substitute for sexual orientation.

My advice for Spa and Wellness Professionals is to avoid this service, period. The science may very well be sketchy. While pricking the skin does produce collagen, so does tribal scarring. What would the long term effects of this kind of treatment be when these two results are compared side by side?

Think Twice Ladies and Gentlemen. And for English students, teachers and Da Vinci Code fans: Race baiting is Race baiting. No matter what anyone calls it, regardless of how it’s passed off from science into literature, geography or in a substitution between Aesthetics and Esthetics. If it’s not one bait and switch about Natural Philosophy, it’s another.

Consumer Beware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Values? Judge lets child rapist walk free

Family Values? Judge lets child rapist walk free after sodomizing boy. Claims the rapist didn’t mean to hurt anyone. At least he didn’t quibble about the ethics of which kind of sexual assault is more acceptable, lest religion and syncretism conflict with modernism. As if healthcare and law are BOTH as “ignorant” as the “public.”

https://www.change.org/p/judge-says-child-rapist-didn-t-mean-to-hurt-the-3-year-old-toddler-he-sodomized/share?tk=FKoe5zs2erLvteh3Rd135dpcXCNAB5xVvCXOOWEDBSU&utm_source=supporter_signature_milestone_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_signatures_100000

Absolute Values Part Two: Epistemology, the Individual and Professional Development

This is the second article in a four part series on Professional Development for Massage Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

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The  quote above is by philosopher Imre Lakatos, taken from a paper titled Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. The distinction beetween Popper and Kuhn is beyond the scope of this artice but the difference between the two is ONE point of departure to examine questions of Epistemology, Education and Professional Development for Health Professions.

What is Epistemology? (link)

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. If or when this definition is expanded to include “How we know what we know” then the resulting definition begins to reveal an insight into the rationale behind modern disagreement regarding a revised understanding of the scientific method, religion, philosophy and the individual.

What is the role of logic within Epistemology?

To ask what the role of logic is within Epistemology without resorting to reflexivity illustrates why early efforts to answer this question were superceded in many professional disciplines during the last century.  When a linguist says a word or a concept is “reflexive” they are saying that there is an absence of logic agreement between subject and object or a circular relationship between cause and effect. Thomas Kuhn approaches Wittgenstein with his emphasis on “the linguistic turn” as part of his rationale for paradigm shifts, which ultimately derive from Wittgenstein’s early and later stages of work. And then, he steps back.

Why?

In the history of science, the logical positivists or logical empiricists as the case may be, were of the opinion that philosophy needed to be legitimized and the resulting legitimacy shared with science – (author emphasis). Logical positivists also proceeded with the idea that ONLY statements verifiable EITHER logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. This definition presents issues that we recognize today in debates between science researchers such as Kuhn and Popper.

Logical positivism is justifiably credited with scientific reductionism. Another way to describe this is to define it as A.J. Ayers has done; an “Attack on Metaphysics.” Many academics, intellectuals and political scientists recoiled from Logical Positivism at this time, including many faith based religious groups and denominations. A former note on the result can be seen in the shift of political and voting demographics in the American South after the Second World War from predominately Democrat to Republican.

Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims that supposedly are presumed to undergird scientific endeavors cannot be VERIFIED to be UNIVERSALLY true and that this revelation placed limits on how much we can know. This “revelation” (a form of knowledge itself) filtered into common parlance (language) in phrases such as “the linguistic turn” cited above. It is also another way to describe phrases such as “asymmetrical information” which are frequently floated to describe a variety of imbalances in power implied by terms such as “Balkanization” and resulting abuses.

Professional Development and Massage Terminology

Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? There are many reasons it is legitimate for a LMT to explore their professionalism and professional growth and development thru language. What is important to note is that the search by empiricists discussed above has several presumptions embedded in it about the limits of knowledge and by default, these presumptions encapuslate the limits of how LMT’s and CAM practitioners can go with a mind-body-spirit paradigm of holistic wellness.

Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy,
predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy. )

By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

Ludwig Wittgenstien made a comment many years ago on the role of the subjective deployment of language in order to make a larger point. One way to condense Wittgenstien’s position into something tangible is to do what any Deconstructionist would: take the words apart!

I tried this myself in a college English writing class in 2006, unaware that there was a meme coined by Saturday Night Live by that title and created a pitifully poor poem in my own and my professors opinion! The title of the poem was of course, “The Rapist.”

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Knowledge, Language and The Individual

Ludwig Wittgenstien more eloquently stated in his work Philosophical Investigations: “The words of this (private) language are to refer to what can be known only to the speaker; to his immediate, private, sensations. So another cannot understand the language.” But there is more. It is worthwhile to quote another paragraph from Stanford’s online encyclopedia entry on the subject according to Wittgenstein.

“Immediately after introducing the idea, Wittgenstein goes on to argue that there cannot be such a language. The importance of drawing philosophers’ attention to a largely unheard-of notion and then arguing that it is unrealizable lies in the fact that an unformulated reliance on the possibility of a private language is arguably essential to mainstream epistemology, philosophy of mind and metaphysics from Descartes to versions of the representational theory of mind which became prominent in late twentieth century cognitive science….Wittgenstein suggests that the existence of the rules governing the use of language and making communication possible depends on agreement in human behaviour—such as the uniformity in normal human reaction which makes it possible to train most children to look at something by pointing at it. (Unlike cats, which react in a seemingly random variety of ways to pointing.) One function of the private language argument is to show that not only actual languages but the very possibility of language and concept formation depends on the possibility of such agreement.”

Professional Development and Axiology

Axiology is typically defined by it’s first branch, ethics. In this way it can be said that Axiology is concerned with how value is understood and determined. Axiology however contains a second branch known as aesthetics. Do note, Aesthetics is NOT synonymous with Esthetics. Often, Axiology is accused of putting the cart before the horse and assigning value unethically or dualistically rather than universally; i.e, racism, nationalism, classism etc.

Basic questions derived or culled from Axiology are:

  1. How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?
  2. How do different kinds of value interrelate?
  3. Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?
  4. Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?
  5. What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

In professional massage, the question of language is actually a settled matter that was reached by consensus. Hence, current manifestations of individualism thru the application of gendered terminology or terms such as body worker, or even those terms that would purport to change the subject object relationship embedded in the professional designation really are a moot point. However, its not wrong to question if there are situations or contexts in which discussion of gender labels and professionalism are appropriate.

Is there ever a time when gender distinctions in professional massage are inappropriate?

All the questions cited above are value based. Because of the historic connections between eugenics, health and aesthetically grounded idealism, yes. There are instances where gendered terminology, art and discourse can conflict ideologically with norms and values embodied in a professional setting for a variety of reasons. That these reasons are 99% of the time subjective and personal matters of taste, style or belief for individuals or groups, illustrates why diversity is commonly considered alongside axiology.

Variations on a theme: Individualism and cultural context

An informative post from Alex Myles on Elephant Journal inadvertently raises the old quest of ontology back into the light of day. Unsurprisingly or not, gender is the vehicle. You can read the appropriate article in full here.

The gist of her article is simply news reporting and she skims samples of past pop culture references to illustrate various contexts in which the theme of the body is welcome and celebrated.

There were a few items however that to my eyes were conspicuous about her bio and when it comes to criticism, the point is ideas and not people!

That said, it may be best for me to switch approaches from an aesthetic angle to a psychological one.

Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy, predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy.)

By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

In education, particularly in vocations as opposed to professions, there are numerous reasons philosophy is utilized and deployed to promote learning. Ms. Myles makes note in her bio that she has “no intention of teaching” and totally degrades CAM education by stating that it’s her intent to continue to add certifications to her credentials in total disregard for the professions of Yoga and Reiki; credentials she employs as a platform in her role as a writer for elephant journal.

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I am currently working on a piece for massage therapists about professionalism. Given that there is one FEMALE minister in my extended family, I am aware of what kinds of challenges women in spiritual fields face.

Any accusations about a lack of ethics, spiritual, secular or civic, are on full display in Ms. Myles article. I don’t cut prostitutes any slack when they or their language cross the line. I also wont give Ms. Myles a pass for abusing CAM and CAM education in the name self expression or making a living as writer when her articles clearly are marketing her credentials.

Feminism and the body aren’t the issue. Ethics and education are.