The emotional atmosphere you create

for others and for yourself




Blessings and curses

The emotional atmosphere you create within yourself and for those around you is the result of the balance of positive and negative placebos you throw and catch.  The balance of blessings and curses you give and receive.


People consciously and unconsciously keep tract of negative and positive placebos thrown their way.  The emotional quality of your relationship with others and with yourself depends upon the balance.


1.  Shake your Rattle---witch doctor power

2.  Blessings and curses---the placebos you throw and catch

3.  Do you nourish or poison?

4.  Don’t stuff your negative feelings---they accumulate and blow






Witch doctor power

Each year at the time of the winter solstice, the witch doctor gathered the tribe.  Sure enough, when he shook his rattle the days stopped getting shorter and started to get longer.  He stopped the world from plunging into eternal darkness---a very powerful witch doctor.


Villagers assumed the he was responsible because they confused association with causality.  The rattle-shaking witch doctor was associated with the sun starting to stay longer in the sky, but in no way caused the change.  That was our planet slowly tilting on its axis.  People back then would have no way to know that, so I wonder what very brave, very foolhardy chief or witch doctor stopped the ritual.


On the other hand, his obvious ability to control the sun gave him and his rattle great power to heal the sick.  When he shook his rattle, the self-healing abilities of the human body were powerfully mobilized---a great example of a positive placebo.  Modern medicine men and women generally don’t shake rattles---they have pills, surgery, and shiny, silver equipment.





You throw and catch

The witch doctor blessed the sick and cursed his enemies.  The positive and negative placebos worked great because they triggered powerful hope and fear in their targets.


We still have many, many witch doctors:

  The tests indicate that you have an excellent chance of recovery.

  You need retinal implants or you will go blind in two years.

  The odds are very high for another heart attack without this medication.

  Your condition will quickly deteriorate if you do not follow my instructions

  We almost always have excellent results with this exercise.


Alexander Pope

Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.


A messy mix of beneficial and harmful placebos are thrown by religions, governments, and interests groups.  Negative and positive placebos are also thrown by you and me---all the time.  At each other and at ourselves.


The Medical Industrial Complex is particularly vulnerable to perverse incentives which favor negative placebos.  I strongly suspect that if practitioners concentrated less on illness and negative placebos and more on health and positive placebos, they would have fewer patients.  Those they have would need fewer drugs and surgeries.  Not so good for the bottom line.


Incentives influence behavior.

Wittingly and unwittingly.



There is nothing more dangerous than a surgeon

with an open operating room and a mortgage to pay

Kevin B. Jones, MD


During the next week watch for placebos you throw and for those thrown at you.  In the words of long ago some will be uppers, some downers, some good vibes, some bad.  The nonverbal, like a frown, smile, tone of voice, posture, are often more powerful than the verbal.  Pay special attention to those you throw at yourself.


You will easily be aware of the placebos in your life, and easily see, hear and feel the difference between those that are negative and those that are positive.  Yes, that is a placebo and hopefully a blessing.







Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining,

fault finding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.

Joyce Meyer


Some people do really find fault

like there's a reward for it.

Zig Ziglar


The less you respond to negative people,

the more peaceful your life will become.

The Buddha


…you should tell yourself frequently, I will only react to constructive suggestions, for this gives you some protection against your own negative thoughts and those of others.



Constructive criticism is valuable and appreciated.  Faultfinders do not criticize to be helpful---they criticize to put-down and self-glorify.


If you are honest and courageous open your eyes, ears and sensitivity to your effect on others, and especially on yourself.  Do your messages enliven or depress?  Do you throw mostly beneficial or harmful placebos?


The emotional atmosphere you create within yourself and for those around you is the result of the balance of positive and negative placebos you throw and catch.  The balance of blessings and curses you give and receive.


People consciously and unconsciously keep tract of the negative and positive placebos thrown their way.  The quality of your relationship with others depends upon the balance---as does the quality of the relationship you have with yourself.


Negative messages are more powerful than positive.  If you want to keep your friendships warm, you better have 2 or 3 positives ready after you throw a negative.  Have 3 or 4 ready when you throw one at yourself.


Sandwich every bit of criticism

between two layers of praise.

Mary Kay Ash


Early on, I dreaded going to parties---smacked myself repeatedly with negative placebos.  Sure enough, when I got to the party I had a dreadful time.


Then I was lucky or smart enough to shift the negatives to positives.  I changed the dread to excitement and fun---smacked myself some more.  Sure enough, my party experience changed to excitement and fun.


Most importantly---when you are thrown a negative placebo, stop and evaluate it to find if there might be something you need to acknowledge and correct.


Attend to those that provide an opportunity for growth.

CANCEL!  CANCEL! those that do not.









Sure I throw them all the time.  But only good ones.  Make people happy.  Give em a boost no matter how much you have to lie.  And I’m lying now.  I throw plenty of curses.  Watched.  And they throw them right back.  Maybe I really will throw more blessings and fewer curses.  But curses are more fun.  Ya, I caught myself throwing some curses at myself.  I undid them with a blessing.  What would happen if somebody threw me a curse, and I threw them a blessing?



I watched.  Funny ways to throw curses.  Very low key.  More subtle than those examples.  More subtle cues like a frown or tone of my voice.  Even the way I sit or stand.  Now can choose better.  Maybe I need to throw more curses.  Too much of a goody, goody.  I put myself down with curses all the time.  No wonder I feel like a little mouse.  Gotta start throwing some wild woman messages at myself.





They accumulate and blow

That does not mean you should never have negative feelings, never throw them at yourself or others.  They are important signals that you or they did something that was inappropriate or harmful.


Honest and constructive criticism is a healthy and necessary part of normal human interaction.  When you stuff your negative feelings they build up, bursting out in unexpected and inappropriate ways.


As The Buddha put it:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal

with the intent of throwing it at someone else;

you are the one who gets burned.


Discrimination and balance are needed, again.

Who said it was easy to be human.