MY NOVEL–
READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

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While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts.

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Please help me launch this project by preordering copies on my website, using PayPal or another method (personal check, MO).  Paypal buttons will soon be up on the Writing Page.

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The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

I think this will be the cover.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, your workout can play a key role in managing your symptoms, thanks to the powerful link between your physical and mental health.

“We know that the old divisions of body and mind are false,” says Ben Michaelis, PhD, an evolutionary clinical psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy ($2; amazon.com). “The body is the mind and the mind is the body. When you take care of yourself, you are helping the whole system.”

Needless to say, you should always consult with your doctor about your treatment options, says Michaelis. But it can’t hurt to incorporate exercise, of any kind, into your routine. Research suggests that these three activities in particular could help alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety.

More.

The Little Prince would tell you to hold on to your creativity, laugh more often, and sleep better.

And more.

More and more people are unwilling to exchange their ideals for a paycheck. But how does this work practically? The place most of us begin is wrong. We search for epiphanies when, in fact, we should be learning to live with ambiguity. The clarity we seek is a myth.

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I’m sure there are people who know exactly what they were born to do, who have had a vision of their life since they were six years old. I’ve just never met them. Most who have a dream struggle to articulate it. They don’t know what it is or what it should look like. Often, all they know is this thing that they’re doing is wrong.

So where do you go from there, if all you’ve got is an itch, a vague premonition of an un-lived life?

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HuffPost Divorce bloggers are all too familiar with how damaging these recurring arguments can be (or, in some cases, the damage from leaving problems unaddressed and not arguing at all). Below, they share the fights they regret having the most while married.

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In a paper published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology, an international team of researchers suggests that there’s some lag time between when we actually see something and when we become aware of it.

Data from previously published psychological and behavioral experiments supports this theory, the researchers determined. The two-stage model they devised suggests that our brains first process visual information from the environment while we’re in an unconscious state, and then transfer it to our conscious awareness.

Here’s what the researchers believe happens: First, we rapidly and unconsciously process visual information, which takes only several milliseconds. Then, the features of that visual information are integrated into our conscious awareness in a coherent way, which takes several hundred milliseconds.

This would mean that consciousness comes in a series of 400-millisecond “time slices,” with gaps of unconsciousness in between. Got that?

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[N]ew research, published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that while social deficiencies are one aspect of autism, this stereotype is nothing more than a myth. In fact, individuals with autism are far from indifferent to the suffering of others.

“It’s a common but very unfortunate misunderstanding that individuals with autism do not care for other people, or that they don’t love other people,” Dr. Paul Wang, senior vice president of medical research for the research and advocacy organization Autism Speaks, who was not involved in the study, told The Huffington Post. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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We live in a loud and distracting world, where silence is increasingly difficult to come by — and that may be negatively affecting our health.

In fact, a 2011 World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”

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It disrupts decision-making pathways in the brain, neuroscientists find.
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A new study from neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh finds that anxiety disengages the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that’s critical for flexible decision-making, as well as attention and higher-order thinking.

“Anxiety is a mental health issue that affects our day-to-day life, including our decision-making,” Dr. Bita Moghaddam, a neuroscientist at the university and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. “By understanding the biological processes that make this happen, we can hopefully come up with better ways of treating this aspect of anxiety.”

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In the depths of the Great Recession, Paul Ryan worried that the social safety net was becoming “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency.” Unemployment had spiked not because of a financial crisis, but because the poor had suddenly decided in unison to be very lazy. Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment was nearly as dismissive as Williamson’s vitriol.

But this only explains why the rabble are abandoning their well-heeled overlords in the GOP. It does not explain why they have embraced a xenophobic authoritarian instead of, say, the Democratic Party.

The most comforting rationale for Democratic true believers is that these voters are racist and ignorant and hostile to Democratic policies on social issues. That’s part of the explanation. But the full truth is a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow. Thomas Frank’s new book Listen, Liberal Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of People? documents a half-century of work by the Democratic elite to belittle working people and exile their concerns to the fringes of the party’s platform. If the prevailing ideology of the Republican establishment is that of a sneering aristocracy, Democratic elites are all too often the purveyors of a smirking meritocracy that offers working people very little.

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Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t always mean sitting in lotus pose with your eyes closed. In fact, most people are unaware that you can practice meditation virtually anywhere — sitting still is not a requirement.

The true beauty of meditation lies in the fact that you can make your practice perfectly suited to your personal needs. The benefits are also undeniable: Studies show the practice can prevent disease and reduce inflammation, be an effective form of treating depression and increase happiness levels. It is even thought to prevent signs of aging in the brain.

Everyone can take advantage of meditation’s perks, regardless of whether or not they want to sit in one place. Below are five types of meditation you can do on the move:

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

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In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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