Sunday’s Bicycle Adventure

I took the two dogs out with me on Sunday on a short bicycle ride: only did about 1.5 miles. It didn’t take them long to get tired. Neither are used to be doing this much exercise. But, let me set the scene before I get into the story with the dogs and our adventure.

My dogs, Lacy (white) and Morgan. You can see my bicycle back behind them.

I am still working on my bicycle touring, trying to increase my distance and endurance, and working out what works for me. I had decided I wanted to be able to do some dirt/gravel road travel in addition to touring on the asphalt. While I had my bike in for a repair (a bent rear derailer) and upgrade for the back gear cassette, I consultated with my favorite bicycle repair person, Ben, at R.E.I., about the dual touring I wanted to do. He talked about ‘off-road’ tires for the bike. My bike is not a mountain bike. It is a big touring bike. They are heavier than mountain bikes or even my road bike, but still I had read some people who do touring also include dirt/gravel road riding. If you are in a third world country, often there are very few paved roads.

Ben said he wanted to do a little research first to see if he could find ones that would not require me to take off my fenders, especially the back one where there was little clearance. During the week, he ordered me some that should work both on the asphalt and dirt–dual purpose tires. My current ones, which are essentially brand new, are great road tires, but not for dirt/gravel roads. When they came in a week or so later, I took the bike in to get them changed out. (Yes, I could have done it myself but there were some other factors we had to make a decisions about.) Off-road, dual purpose tires are wider and have special treads on the sides to help stabilize you during turns on the dirt/gravel.

I was delighted when I got to R.E.I, The tires had brown sidewalls which went nicely with my new Brooks leather saddle (seat)–and not so bad with my handlebar bag. Then, Ben had the audacity to tell me I could also get brown leather handlebar padding when I got ready to replace them. Vanity, vanity, vanity. I know where part of my R.E.I. rebate is going next year. Okay, back to my story.

My R.E.I. Adv 1.1. touring bike with new tires and saddle, sans touring bags.

Got the bicycle with its new tires back home, but the rear tires was leaking a little air. The tires can be run tubeless. You just add a sealant inside the tire so that if it gets a puncture and it self seals. Now, I know several tricks for remedying air leaks, but it was still leaking. After trying all my tricks, and getting a few more from R.E.I. bike shop people, I still had a slow leak. I decided to put the tire up to pressure and take it for a couple of mile ride to see if that would seal it. So I did, and it helped. But, alas, still a tiny leak. So, another ride. This time it seemed to seal. When I got up the next morning, it was still reading 60 lbs! Bingo, problem solved.


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n-Dimensional Emotional Hyperspace

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In an earlier post on meeting your personal Jungian archetypes, and discussed in my new Guru book above, I mentioned emotional neural circuits and that the archetypes were closely associated with these. Here I want to expand on that and combine it with my 2009 idea and webpage on n-dimensional emotional hyperspace. In later posts I will relate these to our comfort zone and spiritual growth. In this post I am just laying the foundation for these later discussions.

First, let me review my original idea about n-dimensional emotional hyperspace starting with Fig 1 below:

Figure 1. n-dimensional emotional hyperspace as originally presented.

“n” is the number of basic emotions as shown above and equals seven in this case. Each emotion is in its own dimension, i. e. has its own axis. Being humans we can only “envision” three dimensions of space (length, width, and depth), then add the forth dimension of time. For perspective then, we live in a four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Each of these dimensions is independent of the others, meaning you can move down the axis of say time, without affecting your position along any of the space dimensions. Graphically, we say that they are orthogonal (90°) to each other. In a our two dimensional drawing here, imagine each emotional axis going off into a different dimension. Of course you can not draw that, but you can represent it as I have tried to do in my drawing above.

Mathematically, you can theoretically have any number of dimension. Much of quantum physics’ string theory does this, pointing to the possible existance of up to ten dimensions.

Several additional points about the model:

Rating scale for intensity: Each emotion is scaled on a 0 to 10 scale of intensity. I often have patients do this is in therapy. I have them rate their feelings on a scale of 0 to 10 for the intensity of their emotion, such as sadness, where 0 is no sadness and 10 is the strongest sadness they can imagine. Only two emotional axises are so labeled as such in Figure 1.

Also to reiterate something I wrote in earlier posts and discuss in more detail in Guru, “emotions” are our underlying psycho-physiological response to a stimulus, whereas “feelings” refer to our conscious awareness of those underlying emotions.

Again, orthogonality means that the axises are independent of each other in our emotional hyperspace, i.e. they are at 90° from each other.

Can we feel more than one emotion at a time? That is, are our emotions really independent of each other? Can we be both happy and sad, for example? Can we feel happy and shame at the same time? Happiness is the culprit here. It is the only positive emotion. The rest are all negative emotions. We can definitely feel a mix of emotions about something or someone and they are independent of each other as outlined above.

We can have love-hate relationships for example. Or we can love someone, but not like them–our teens often fit into this category at least at times. My brother does. I have not discussed “love” as an emotion. Maybe more on this later. It is worthy of a blog (chapter/book) by itself. Our emotional hyperspace model here is conceptual, not rigorously accurate. It is useful for helping us understand how our emotions affect us. Now let me expand this concept to emotional neural circuits.

Emotional Neural Circuits

I would like to reframe our model above neurologically in terms of our emotional neural circuits. We now know much more about these circuits compared to when I proposed the original model. I spend a lot of time in my Guru book on the emotional neural circuits as they pertain to the archetypes. I thought about presenting this model there, but it was already so full of the science stuff, I decided not to. The reasons this model is helpful is because some of the emotion listed above, e.g. loneliness and sadness, engage more than one neural circuit. Also, it takes our understanding of emotions to the neurobiological level, allowing a more global understanding of what is happening.

Here is the updated n-dimensional emotional neurocircuit model:

Figure 2. n-dimensional emotional neurocircuit hyperspace

Notice that except for the FEAR dimension, there is not much correspondence between Fig 1, the emotional hyperspace model, and Fig 2, the neurocircuits involved in our emotions. For example, sadness and loneliness–there are no emotional neurocircuits for these emotions, although they wil call into play some of the neurocircuits. Sadness results from say when our SEEKING neurocircuit is thwarted or blocked, and we can’t seek or find what we are seeking. Sadness is a results of changes at the neurotransmitter level, most notably serotonin. Loneliness activates the SEEKING and PANIC circuits. Let us take a quick look-see at these neurocircuits and what they do. I go into them in much greater detail in my Guru book.

As McGowen points out there are four primary and three secondary neural circuits that have been identified. (SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PANIC, PLAY, LUST, and CARE; see Guru Appendix 1 for more details.) Below, I give a slightly condensed summary from Guru:


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Finding Deeper Spiritual Meaning in Our Uncertain World: Overview

Life is like riding a bicycle: to keep your balance you have to keep moving.

Albert Einstein

Darrell Yardley rephrase: “Spirituality is like riding a bicycle: to keep your balance you have to keep practicing.”

Spiritual practice is what keeps us moving on our spiritual journey. It is the rear wheel of the bicycle that powers our journey. The front wheel determines our direction, our path, and is the choices we make about our journey. The bike’s frame is the guiding principles and values that holds it all together and supports us. The pedals supply power to the back wheel and you supply your power to the pedals. The practice, the pedals, our power, keep us moving forward on our spiritual journey. The practice and guiding principles are what help us keep our balance in life.

Lose your balance and it’s splat! Like road kill–a mess on the highway. Maybe, road splat, is a better metaphor here. Because, like the cartoon character, Ziggy: you picks yourself up, dusts yourself off, check to see that nothing is broken or amiss, get back on your bike, and start pedaling again. If something is broken, you fix it, or get it fixed as in my recent post. Sometimes duct taping it has to do as a temporary fix.

The other day on my bicycle I had a spill when my bike locked down, and I couldn’t get my feet our of the pedal clips in time. Right in the middle of the road…and here came a car (see earlier blog). The lady driver stopped and offered assistance, but I was okay, embarrassed maybe, but okay. In this case, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and walked the bike back to the truck a block or so away when I realized the derailer was messed up. Back to my shop for repairs. Nope. I had a bent derailer but good, not sure how that happened. (Ended up taking the bike in to repair to R.E.I. the next day.)

Before I go further, let me be clear about what I mean by spirituality. I am defining spirituality as a combination of inner-peace and personal growth. As discussed at greater length in my new Guru book (above), you have to have both to grow spiritually.

Ultimately, spirituality is about spiritual practice, and spiritual growth is about keeping at and extending that practice. Our practice provides the movement that keeps us in spiritual balance and allows us to grow. Spiritual practice is what enables us to cultivate deeper spiritual connections–with ourselves, each other, nature and the universe–and stillness. Spiritual practice is really about cultivating stillness, not movement. In that, it is from our inner, mental stillness that movement, or growth, comes.


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Dinning Out and Landfills in a Coronavirus World

Wednesday, after spending a hot, sticky, muggy, mosquito-harassed day doing equine assisted psychotherapy at our boys school, Cherokee Creek Boys School, where we have been going now for some 14 years, I decided to splurge and pamper myself a little. I went out to my local favorite Tex-Mex place here in Liberty, SC. A cold draught beers (XX Amber), AC, and Tex-Mex. I keep forgetting all the changes that restaurants have had to make to be safe and stay in business.

To put things into perspective, pretty much living a life of a hermit and alone, and being a good cook anyway, I usually prefer my own cooking. I seldom went out to dine before the pandemic. After it hit, I have since only gone out a few times. This also has to do some with trying to live more frugally and eco-friendly in my hermit lifestyle tradition.

At the restaurant, I sat down in the cool, dimly lit booth area where I like to sit–away usually from the larger dinning area–ordered my beer. It quickly came. After a few sips, I placed my order, deciding to try a new dish they had on their menu instead of my usual. Several minutes and sips later, out came the waitress with my order. She placed on my table, a styrofoam to go container that contained my food and a plastic fork. I looked at the order is disdain and disgust. If I hadn’t been drinking the beer, I would have picked up my “take-out” order and taken it home to eat.

Okay, now another bit of important background here. Trying to live a more eco-responsible lifestyle, I have quit doing business with any cafe, restaurant, or fast food, that serves with plastic and styrofoam. Plastic and styrofoam go into the landfills and just set there. It takes hundreds of years for styrofoam to decompose. Plastic even longer. You can’t recycle styrofoam. Some plastic you can thankfully. Also, as styrofoam and plastic decompose, they release toxic compounds to the surroundings, air, and eventually, water table itself. So nasty stuff.

I carry my own take-home containers as I usually can’t or don’t want to finish whole meals when eating out. I take it home in my container, which is reusable. If I don’t want it, the dogs are always willing to do their share. I also carry in my man-bag flatware and stainless steel straws. I’ve done this for some time now, but the pandemic has made me even more conscientious about doing it. I carry a set in my truck and in my bicycle trailer, as I do face masks, and hand sterilizer.

Enters the coronavirus pandemic….


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