Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have been thinking about the people I surround myself with.

My path of thoughts eventually brought me to remembering a story I read once about corn. To set it up, the reason corn is planted in groups within it's rows is so because it is pollinated by the wind. The pollen from the stalks upwind are blown all down the rows and through the groups. (It's even recommended to plant different species at least 50 feet apart to avoid cross pollination.) I don't remember where I read this story, but it goes like this:

"There was a farmer who grew corn. Every year his county held a contest to determine which farmer grew the best corn. Every year he won. Year after year this farmer grew the best corn in the county and he won the award. One day, a visitor noticed that this farmer gave some of his best seed to one of his neighbors. The visitor asked why he was sharing his best seed with his neighbor. Wasn’t he concerned that their corn would be better than his? Wasn’t he concerned that they would eventually win the contest for having the best corn in the county? The farmer explained that the winds in the county pick up the corn pollen from all of the neighboring farms and deposit it to all over, so some of his corn pollen ends up on his neighbors’ farm and some of his neighbors’ corn pollen ends up on his farm. If his neighbors’ corn was very inferior and it was deposited on his award winning corn, his own corn would become less superior. By sharing his best seed with his neighbors, the pollen that was deposited on his farm was better than it would have been had he not shared and his corn wasn’t degraded."

Now there's something known as synergy. It basically means that the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Synergy is amazing; Stephen Covey even made it one of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He explained that "If you plant two plants close together, the roots co-mingle and improve the quality of the soil so that both plants will grow better than if they were separated" (263). I think this touches on the same idea that the corn story does -- that the best of what we can do and be comes through, not our efforts alone, but the synergy that exists within dynamic human relationships.

I think this is why marriage and family can be such a excellent place for sharing and experiencing positive growth. When we surround ourselves with genuinely aware, competent, and moral people we are "pollenated" by through their good example, positive activities and experiences we have together, and meaningful conversations. Together, as a whole, we are all bettered and accomplish so much more than if we were left alone.  Or worse, had surround ourselves with coarse, shallow, selfish people. 

Because the opposite is just as true. We will be degraded by immoral behavior and meaningless interactions, even if we aren't necessarily participating in them. I can attest the the power of negative "cross-pollenation" because there have been times in my life where I could see marked changes in myself and my habits because of the influences of those I spent the most time with. I became less. The problem wasn't even that they were "bad" people so much as they were just not "excellent" people. Covey goes on to state that a living without real synergy is "one of the great tragedies and wastes in life, because so much potential remains untapped -- completely undeveloped and unused" (264). We become less and we fail to become everything we could have been if we'd put ourselves in the right environment.

We should seek out friends that make us better, not just ones that are fun. We should seek out relationships that are not merely happy, but also characterized by intimacy, growth, and resilience. Those with whom we associate regularly will determine if we move forward or backward. If our days are full of shallow relationships (or even just shallow people) then where will the opportunity for synergy come from? If we take the time to surround ourselves with the best we can find, then we put ourselves in the position to become the best we can be.

To put this in personal terms: I have had definite difficulties in this most recent chapter of my life. But I can honestly say the greatest part of this past year has been the influence of the people in the nearest circle of my relationships: my dear family. There has been a definite and astounding amount of give-and-take influence that has helped me develop in ways I never could have imagined. It has been a crucible of growth and I am so grateful for those who have shared it with me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

i hope someday a man will read this poem to me

By Robert Herrick

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

passions that we fought

By Trumbull Stickney

The passions that we fought with and subdued
Never quite die. In some maimed serpent’s coil
They lurk, ready to spring and vindicate
That power was once our torture and our lord.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

hymn arrangements

this is what i wake up hearing on sunday mornings -- either my brother or my dad playing these kinds of beautiful arrangements.

(and i love this one)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings. (D&C 108:7)

In every conversation I have, with every person, I can say at least one small thing to show appreciation, admiration, or just plain loving friendliness. I CAN strengthen others through conversation.

In every prayer, every day I can be sure to remember a specific person with a specific life-situation. I CAN think of others and their needs and pray on their behalf; that the Lord will bless their lives.

Through the words I utter and the advice I give I can aim to be positive, uplifting, and true to the unchanging principles of happiness. I CAN tell, and show, others the way to joy.

In all of my doings, hanging out with my family, in school with my students, at the grocery store or other public places, among all the people that I interact with I can be a positive (if small) force for good. It may seem like a overly optimistic endeavor but it is a command from God and in all my efforts in small ways I CAN change myself and strengthen others.

Afterall, it is too much of a waste to do anything less. Think of all the crude jokes, profane and foul language, insenstive remarks, and thoughtless negligence that we perpetuate and only serves to make life less lovely and often more difficult for those around us. As put by president Gordon B. Hinkley, "do not indulge in put-downs, in pessimism, in self-recrimination. Never make fun at the expense of another. Look for virtue in the lives of all with whom you associate."

I think that naturally this is a difficult thing... But what a worthwhile one! And what a feeling it would be to look back on a day as you go to sleep and be able to say that today everything you did was a strength to others......

Friday, August 27, 2010

A good teacher

This is a beautiful quote from President Gordon B. Hinkley that every person given the opportunity to teach should consider:

There is an immortality in ideas and inspiration that a good teacher imparts to a receptive student, who in turn imparts to those who follow after him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

mark 5:24-34

24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

We talked about this in an institute class. It changes your perception of the story to have more details.

She had an "issue of blood" or hemorrhage. Basically she has been bleeding for 12 years. At the least it would have been embarrassing, but chronic blood loss probably left her weak and anemic. It says she suffered under medical treatments and had only gotten worse; she was incurable and destitute.

Despite all of this, hearing about Jesus gave her hope. In fact, she was so in earnest that she was willing to go against the social expectations of her day. Since she was bleeding she was an "unclean" woman and would have been unwelcome in society. Everything she touched became ceremonially unclean so she would have been shunned completely and by touching Jesus she would make him "unclean" (she actually, as a woman, wasn't even supposed to touch him, as a man, in public at all).

Despite all of this, she pushed through the press of people to touch the hem of Christ's robe...and in an instant 12 years of suffering came to an end.

We all have our own "issues" and we often have to face social pressures in order to be "made whole" through our Savior. But isn't it worth it?

Monday, August 23, 2010

the stories we tell

"This was a story about a girl who could find infinite beauty in anything, any little thing, and even love the person she was trapped with. And i told myself this story until it became true. Now, did doing this help me escape a wasted life? Or did it blind me so I didn't want to escape it? I don't know, but either way I was the one telling my own story..." 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A remedy for loneliness

"I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work and service in behalf of others. I do not wish to minimize your problems, but I do not hesitate to say that there are many others whose problems are more serious than yours. Reach out to serve them, to help them, to encourage them. There are so many boys and girls who fail in school for want of a little personal attention and encouragement. There are so many elderly people who live in misery and loneliness and fear for whom a simple conversation would bring a measure of hope and brightness."

- Gordon B. Hinkley

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Colossians 3:14

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

I want to discuss this description of charity -- that it is the bond of perfectness. The first and plainest connection is to see bond meaning a relationship -- a tie between two things. Referring to the idea that the state of"perfectness" is the state of someone who has charity; if we are trying to be charitable we are invariably trying for perfection. That makes sense, since there are so many facets to charity and to acquire all of them would be a BIG step to perfection (also the scriptures say that "the greatest of these is charity" 1 corin. 13:13 so again, it's a big one).

A bond is a promise as well. An agreement. "Perfectness" is the promise of "charity."

There's more to it than even that though. To bond also means to hold something (to restrict even). If you think about it, perfection isn't something you just get to -- it's something you have to maintain, forever if it's to be true perfection. Having charity is part of what will bond us to perfection, not so much that we are "restricted" to perfection but that we are tied to it; effectively bonded or stuck to it (therefor able to maintain it). Does that make sense? Think of a chemical bond, it's a strong attraction holding atoms together because of shared electrons -- charity and perfection share attributes creating a powerful connection.

I'm not sure where I'm headed with all of this, I don't have a destination/neat tidy ending to this post... But I think it's fascinating to consider the relationship of charity and perfection. The word "bond" may have just been the English word that the translator thought best fit the Hebrew character... but it gave me new path to think about "the greatest" of topics. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Romans 13:8
"Owe no man any thing, but to love on another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."

I owe no one any thing but love?

This was a really important verse for me to read. I think that like many people I have a tendency to deal with emotions and interactions almost like a trade-system. You smile at me, I smile back. You let me borrow your car, I let you use my laptop. I send you a graduation card, you send me a birthday card. It's this sort of this give and take relationship. Which I think we all sorta expect from each other -- and if someone isn't holding up their end of things then they generally stop receiving our friendship. Fair is fair right?

But if you think about it, that is not how God's relationship with us works.
Mosiah 2:23-24
And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

He just gives and gives and gives and we NEVER really hold up our end of the relationship. We are always the "bad friend" of the two and the one who doesn't really bring much to the table.

And yet we expect this in our relationships with each other? That's like the parable in Matthew 18 of the debtor who owed his Lord ten thousand talents (and could not pay). But while his lord forgave him his large debt, he himself was unwilling to forgive his fellow servant who owed him only one hundred pence. Our relationship with God is so HUGELY unequal, yet we let ourselves be loved and given to. Our relationships with others seem at times "unequal" and we must learn to love and give despite that if we want to truly emulate our Lord.

When it comes down to it...who am I to judge the "equality" of the relationships I have anyways? My responsibility is to love, not to judge whether or not the other person deserves it or is accepting it well enough or is loving me back with the appropriate appreciation. Those things are lovely when they occur -- and it certainly seems more mutually beneficial and joyous to be in an equal sharing relationship...but that doesn't mean if they aren't there that I am allowed to dissolve that connection or stop giving however I can. If I honestly believe every person in my life, in every degree of closeness, is in my life for a reason (which I do) then like it says in Romans, I owe them my love. It's the only thing I owe -- and it entails the whole spectrum of the law; I owe respect, and gratitude, graciousness, forgiveness, prayers -- everything that falls under the definition of love that fits the circumstances of that relationship.

Which is hard. It is hard to love someone who doesn't seem to love you back. It's hard to love someone who doesn't seem to respect you. It's hard to love someone who doesn't even seem to want to have you in their life.

But God always loves us -- even when we don't love Him back, disrespect Him, and try to shut Him out of our lives. So I have to learn to love those who are hard to love. And not give up on loving them in whatever ways I am able to love. The nature of our interactions may change (God said to love our enemies, not to invite them to our house) but in whatever way is appropriate for that relationship I can try to love.

(This verse taught me a whole new side of how far I still have to go in learning to love like God. I hope I can begin to apply it. Not just with the difficult cases, but with the ones I am used to loving too!)

P.S. I just got some verbal feedback and I want to say I am by no means condoning staying in unhealthy relationships! If you are in a relationship that is in any way emotionally or physically abusive you should NOT stay in that relationship -- and you do not have to in order to love that person. You can love them outside of the relationship, where you are safe, through forgiveness and prayers on their behalf. Love manifests itself in many ways and you should only allow your love for someone to be shown in ways that are healthy and appropriate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

an effort to comfort

I hope it isn't wrong for me to blog about this -- I'm kind of afraid of how it could come across… but I really want to share this experience because it felt so big to me.

My brother woke up sick this morning. He seems to have food poisoning -- but it's very severe and he has been suffering all day. At one point he came stumbling out of his room, panting and shaking, and my heart really went out to him. His symptoms are very similar to what I experienced when I was infected with parasites in El Salvador. It was a miserable, exhausting, and at times terrifying ordeal, and all afternoon long I've thought about how my brother must be feeling -- and I've tried to do all I can to help. I felt sorta helpless at times…

He went to bed a couple hours ago, but woke up to puke and couldn't get back to sleep. So I told him I'd sit in his room and read out loud to him to help him fall asleep. It worked (hooray!) And as I snuck out of his room, I felt a sort of overwhelming surge of love and empathy for my brother… it came in such a way and with a strength I don't think I've ever experienced. As I wondered at it, a scripture in Alma 7 popped into my head - one that describe's an important aspect of the Savior's Atonement: that he took "upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people" as well as sins.

It says "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:11-12)

Christ suffered to understand and love and succor more perfectly…Now I don't pretend to understand the Atonement (the enormity of what it is overwhelms me at times) but tonight I understand a small part  of that in a more real and tangible way. 

It's different to see someone suffering and feel a helpless sympathy versus a helpless empathy -- when you really know and have experienced what they are going through, you just CAN'T let that feeling of helplessness keep you from doing something. I think this afternoon I felt like all I could figure out to do was refill my brother's water and keep saying "Let me know if you need anything." But that feeling of understanding the experience he was having and wanting so badly to do something to ease his suffering (& thinking "what would I want if I were him now") really did guide me to do things I think otherwise would have never occurred to me. 

I believe that I understand a little better how the Savior aches to help us when we suffer, and how well He comprehends how to comfort us -- because of what He suffered and how deeply He loves us. I believe that tonight I felt clearer than I ever have what it is like to feel a true sort of compassion…genuine empathy and strong real love -- somehow they created in as faulty a vessel as myself a powerful and pure representation of that… I hope I can hold onto it…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was thinking about forest fires. even though we're all about preventing them, because of the danger and destruction they cause, they are a natural part of the life of a forest. old overgrowth is cleaned out and new small growth flourishes -- the forest is renewed and begins again.

I know the scriptures are full of references of terrible fire, but typically what comes to my mind is fire like those forest fires... the refiners fire.

For example, I know that Malachi 3:2 is in reference to the second coming, "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap" but I think it means the same for anyone who allows Christ to come into their life. He becomes the fire to burn out all the old habits and sins and make us able to support new growth -- and even if we let ourselves become full of dead material all over again, He can and will cleanse us every time. It isn't an easy process... to be refined by fire... but this purposeful...

Zechariah 13:9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." We need the difficulty of being tried and refined because not only does it burn out all of the impurities, it drives us to God. It forces us to pray and to rely on Him and to become His.  It is the "furnace of affliction" where we are "chosen" (Isa. 48:10) because it is there that we begin to become what we are truly meant to be; cleansed of imperfection and truly His.

Our lives have cycles like forests. We go through periods of refining fire... Difficult in the heat and pain of the moment -- but all in preparation for a new beginning.

Monday, August 9, 2010

brain matter

So I was listening to a podcast (Radiolab) and during one segment they were talking about how the activity of your brain comes down to, not so much "you" making things happen but the actions of the tiny neurons in your brain-jelly firing, and down to just the electrical impulses of cells. It explained that it is the organization of all of those cells, neurons, etc. that make brain function work; that one neuron or one cell by itself does nothing, but the collection and organization of all of those together and make our brains working-brains.

I got to thinking about the creation; how our spirits, our "selves," were "intelligences that were organized before the world was" by God (Abraham 3:22). The creation is always spoke of as an organization -- so it makes sense to think of our ability to exist, spiritually as well as physically, being dependent on a state of organization -- and an organizer.

Anyways, just something I was thinking about. Kind of an Alma 30:44 moment for me: "yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

Friday, August 6, 2010

The best is yet to be

My thoughts today were prompted by Jeffery R. Holland's address The Best is Yet to Be. He speaks about life's transitions and about letting go of the past and looking faithfully to the future. He gives the example of the Apostle Paul who "after having reviewed the privileged and rewarding life of his early years—his birthright, education, and standing in the Jewish community" said "to the Philippians that all of that was “dung” compared to his conversion to Christianity" and that he has “stopped rhapsodizing about ‘the good old days’ and now eagerly look toward the future" that he "may apprehend that for which Christ apprehended me’” (Philippians 3:7–12). Of this looking anxiously to the future work the Lord has in store for him, Paul states:

“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14)

It is a particular fault of mine "to yearn to go back to a world that cannot be lived in now, to be perennially dissatisfied with present circumstances" and "miss the here and now" like Elder Holland describes, and it is one I deeply regret. While thinking about it today, I can see many instances where I was too slow in discovering the joys of the situation I was in because I was too busy wishing things were the way they were or that they'd change and be "better" somehow. Many times the 'good 'old days' I long for are ones I didn't even realize and appreciate while I was living them. I have struggled often to learn the art contentment. It is something I am working to change in myself. Today, the words of Paul in the previous verses opened my mind to a new understanding about what it means to have hope for the future through Christ. To know of the glorious things the Lord has prepared for me, to have faith in that -- and that God himself "apprehended" me (like Paul) and put me here now for a purpose that I need to figure out and work towards -- well, it gives new purpose to a situation I might otherwise see as difficult and incomprehensible.

Any challenge in life can be tackled differently when you have a "mark for the prize" to "press toward" like Paul did -- and while my mark and prize may not be the same as Paul's they are nonetheless determined by God specifically for me and I can trust that.

The best part is that the Lord knows and understands my difficulty in doing this. That despite what I have learned today I will still struggle in the transitions of my life and I will continue making many of the same mistakes I always have -- but that the Lord has make provision for this, and this is part of how I am to learn and improve. The past is only to help us repent. Elder Holland goes on to say in his address that we are to remember "just enough" to try to avoid repeating our mistakes "but then put the rest of it all on the dung heap Paul spoke of to the Philippians. Dismiss the destructive, and keep dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement of Christ has revealed to you your bright future and the bright future of your family, your friends, and your neighbors. God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I've been reading the biography "Rough Stone Rolling" by Richard Lyman Bushman and I'm again impressed by the enormity of what Joseph Smith Jr. did and the complicated (and yet uncomplicated...) person that he was.

From the introduction:

Joseph Smith is one of those large Americans who like Abraham Lincoln came from nowhere. Reared in a poor Yankee farm family, he had less that two years of formal schooling and began life without social standing or institutional backing. His family rarely attended church. Yet in the fourteen years he headed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Smith created a religious culture that survived his death, flourished in the most desolate regions of the United States, and continues to grow worldwide after more than a century and a half. In 1830 at the age of twenty-four, he published a second Bible -- an entirely new revealed work to stand beside the traditional scriptures. He built cities and temples and gathered thousands of followers before he was killed at age thirty-eight. 

What had I done by 24? Moved away from home...Finished college... What will I do by 38?

Smith is interesting for what he was as well as for what he did. He was the closest America has come to producing a biblical-style prophet -- one who spoke for God with the authority of Moses or Isaiah. He was not an eloquent preacher; he is not known to have preached a single sermon before organizing the church in 1830. But he spoke in God's voice in revelations he compiled and published. A revelations typically began with words like "Hearken O ye people which profess my name, saith the Lord your God." Many thought him presumptuous if not blasphemous, and he made no effort to prove them wrong. He did not defend his revelations or give reasons for belief. He dictated the words and let people decide. Everything he taught and most of what he did originated in these revelations. 

He did not try to prove or defend himself -- he simply stated truth and "let people decide."

The question of this book is how such a man came to be in the age of railroads and the penny press? What was the logic of his visionary life?

I think the answer to that lies in something Joseph himself said when it was remarked that he had "too much power to be safely trusted to one man." Joseph responded, "in a rich, comical aside, as if in hearty recognition of the ridiculous sound they might have in the ears of a Gentile" that perhaps in another person's hands "so much power would no doubt be dangerous. I am the only man in the world whom it would safe to trust with it. Remember, I am a prophet!" (Bushman 7)

Whether or not you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, you have to admit he had an amazing historical impact. I think this is best qualified by the words of Josiah Quincy Jr., a successful railroad executive and mayor of Boston (and not a Mormon), who was puzzled by his visit to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo and wrote: "It is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to the interrogator may be thus written: Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet."

I do believe Joseph was a prophet. The weaknesses of his character, as well as the strengths, confirm this to me. Even an extraordinary man, with flaws, inadequacies, and power of his very human will alone, could not have done it. Only one endowed with power from heaven could accomplish what he did -- to organize and re-establish the kingdom of God to "roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth"(D&C 65:2) and "never be taken again" (D&C 13:1).

Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

emotion-processing through dreams

I've been having a repeating theme in my dreams lately -- of someone I was once very close to avoiding me or not wanting to associate with me; basically just being rudely dismissive of me. The emotion I feel during these dreams is an unpleasant feeling to be sure -- and leaves a bit of a bad taste when I wake up. But, still it's just a dream and I can usually brush it off and go about my day just fine. Like most bad dreams.

Today however, it crossed my mind to wondering why I've been having so many of these types dreams about this single person -- who is not in my life much these days -- and shouldn't be turning up so often.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this afternoon I listened to the Radiolab podcast that I did -- though I just popped on the next one in line. I got some very interesting insight. According to the podcast, current research about sleep shows that the brain not only reviews/replays experiences during sleep but sorta re-mixes experiences -- blending events together into new events -- making connections (a kind of learning & creating). The brain choose what to use by keeping track of the emotions you feel -- it puts "a sticky" on everything that is difficult during the day to "work on it later." In sleep it uses those things to create these sorta "free associations" -- creations i.e. dreams prompted by things that happened that caused strong emotions. The hypothesis is that strong emotions need the vivid dream in order to be processed.

I've been learning to consciously pass through my emotions better these last few month -- When they come upon my I step through them and move on, rather than dwelling in them. However, there are still flashes of strong resentment and feelings of having been abandoned by this person who used to be at the core of my life and I think that unconsciously all the moments of strong emotions associated with not hearing from him or not getting a response to letters, along with other daily reminders that I don't know anything about his life and that we are no longer connected-friends anymore -- while they aren't overpowering me while I'm awake -- are manifesting themselves in the processing of my dreams.

An example: I send an email, a couple days pass with no response, I think "oh well he's busy" and move on...but the emotion that he just doesn't care for or respect me enough to respond, even though I don't let it get beyond just a flash of emotion, still gets flagged and then manifests itself in a dream about him brushing me off...make sense?

What I'm driving at here, is how interesting an idea it is that the body aids itself in taking it's emotions (physical responses) and processes them in a physical way (a dream). To me, it seems like my body is helping me to remove the emotional reactions I have to this person.

After some online searching I found that there is new research, presented at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle, which confirms my idea that I am using sleep to process a complex emotion. "Sleep essentially is resetting the magnetic north of your emotional compass," says Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley in a Time article. He explains that "one function of REM sleep — dreaming, in particular — is to allow the brain to sift through that day's events, process any negative emotion attached to them, then strip it away from the memories." Like applying a "nocturnal soothing balm" which “tries to ameliorate the sharp emotional chips and dents that life gives you along the way.” Not that it is to make you forget, it's just a way to make a memory no longer an emotional episode because “If you don’t let go of the emotion, what results is a constant state of anxiety.”

It really is an interesting and complicated process when it's slowly drawn out over a long period of time -- as in this particular instance in my life. To be honest, it seems to be making it a more complete and thorough dissolution of all emotions tied to this person.

Any input/ideas/similar experiences?

(I found a hefty article related to the topic in a psychological science journal that I will read and report on asap!)