By the pricking of my thumbs…

Featured

Common vampire bat

Common vampire bat

Presented by
Tim

Good evening, something from the “lighter” side, of the darker side today…

Entertainment, events, tours, music and parties… some of the best from our own, for our own…

gothic_elegance
First off, since it is so close now, we travel to Portland in the United States and the upcoming Vampire’s Masquerade Ball where both old-fashioned; and new fashioned, denizens of the dark can gather and feel at one.

The 13th ball will take over the Melody Ballroom on March 28, “a night of gothic elegance and decadence” that eschews all stereotypes of costume or character, relishing instead in the wholehearted dedication to the purity of period and the lavishly macabre.

The ball began in 2002 in gothic nightclub Back Room, where 100 people came to celebrate the elegant aesthetic. In 2005 founders handed the ball over to Lady Raven, a promoter in Portland’s gothic scene, who moved it to The Scarlett Ballroom and re-imagined it on a much grander scale, drawing hundreds of attendees from around the region.

The VMB moved to the Melody Ballroom in 2007, and now attracts some 800 guests from across the world.

Portland’s Melody Ballroom on March 28, 2015

 

Iron Garden poster

Planning to be in NJ for April?

the Iron Garden with Horror Show Jack Fang smith and Genoveva Rossi at QXT’s (Official)

Join us Friday April 24th for an evening of socialization, education, creative expression, networking, charity and fun! Our conclave topic is THE POWER OF BLOOD

Our SPECIAL GUESTS:

LORD STEFAN RESURRECTUS speaks on “Unity thru Diversity”.
https://www.facebook.com/clanresurrectus

“Blood Mettle” book-signing with authoress HEATHER E. HUTSELL
www.HeatherEBooksell.com

Resident Tarot Reader GENOVEVA ROSSI
facebook.com/TarotbyGenoveva

Resident Fangsmith HORROR SHOW JACK
https://www.facebook.com/HorrorShowJackFangSmith

Plus an intimate BLOOD BLOT CEREMONY!

Iron Garden.com

Matt_PsivampIn the mood to rock???

Matt @ Psivamp… One of the hottest “dark side” artistes around today, you can follow Psivamp at https://www.facebook.com/PsivampMusic/info?tab=overview

…and while you’re there, check out the Official Music Video for the song Analysis off of the 2014 release of Asylum.

For your weekly fare of tunes from the darkside get your dials on to these delights…

Leathur Lair

The Leathur Lair

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BloodlitRadio/photos/

http://tunein.com/radio/Treble-Radio-Rocks-s201330/

http://www.trebleradiorocks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Leathur-Lair/205463962826662

https://www.facebook.com/TrebleRadioRocks

http://TrebleRadio.serverroom.us:8024

bloodlit radio imgThe Bloodlit Dark is waiting for you…

You might prefer to catch up with things in the refined atmosphere of a little light reading…

Aristos International Vampyre Magazine

Aristos International Vampyre Magazine

 

Aristos Vampyre International Magazine

“This page is geared toward the more (mentally) mature Vampire. Anyone that admires or indulges in the finer qualities and aspects of life!”

http://aristosvampyremagazine.weebly.com/

Dracula Festival 2015http://www.draculafestival.com/
May 2015

For our brothers and sisters “across the pond” a summer event coming your way…

Vampyresque summer salon

VAMPYRESQUE SUMMER SALON at ARNOS VALE CEMETERY – dark romantic gathering of souls • JUNE 17th 2015 • BRISTOL, UK

The VAMPYRESQUE SALON has secured exclusive access to a hauntingly beautiful place: Arnos Vale Cemetery. The Victorian “Arcadian” garden necropolis south of Bristol is a 45 acre oasis of peace and home to a unique collection of Grade II listed monuments and buildings. Its 50,000 graves hold the remains of 170,000 people.

The VAMPYRESQUE SALON will discover beautiful memorials and unlock the hidden meanings behind the cemetery’s most common grave symbols on an exclusive walking tour & celebrate its international and sophisticated dark romantic gathering of souls in the Anglican Chapel of Rest.

While downunder, heading for Autumn, or Fall if you prefer, our friends at The Carpathian Magistratus Vampyre Society are looking forward to their August Bloodlust Ball event at The Tivoli in Brisbane, Queensland ~ The premier event in Australia for those of “dark” inclination.
bloodlust ball img

Lots of things coming up, many more than are represented here… if you have an event coming up, or a standing entertainment service that caters to those in the shadows, that you would like us to feature at RVL please use the contact form below to send us details. We hope your “do” is a smash hit.
Respectfully.

RVL meets reality – Mindfulness, Crisis prevention and tossing away old baggage Part 3.

Featured

Stress Tolerance, Balance and Acceptance
Written and Presented by
Tim

DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ

Ladies and gentlemen, readers, I write this as a presentation to make suggestions for people who need to get a little self-wellness into their sphere. I need to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT a medical professional, I am NOT a Psychiatric professional or a Crisis Counselor.

I AM a survivor and this material is material I have found that works for me. Doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you but then again, it just might.

The information I contain in here is NOT something I just made up on the spur of the moment, it is carefully sourced from relevant and reliable sources, HOWEVER, it is NOT meant, nor intended, to replace or discount proper care and attention from qualified medical/psychological/psychiatric professionals. If you are in trouble PLEASE SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY, DON”T WAIT. Contact your nearest Crisis Line, Doctor or Healthcare Centre. DON’T TRY AND GO IT ALONE…

That being said, I offer the following for your consideration.

Img source: healthmeup.com

Img source: healthmeup.com

Good morning,
Every day, when I get up, before I approach what needs to be done through the day, before I begin working on some task or tasks and especially when I sit down to the computer and sign in to any of my OVC accounts, I compose myself. I practice mindfulness and I employ a meditative and relaxing practice that puts my mind in the here and now. I use the time to achieve an inner equilibrium and to foster a balance between my needs and expectations and the realities that I will encounter throughout the day. I learned this over a period of several years in the late eighties to early nineties and I reinforced, in a formal learning setting, late in 2014.

It is something which, to my mind, is such an integral part of myself that I can call upon it, pretty much in any situation, to take the stress out of a situation and be able to deal with it calmly, deliberately and in a timely manner. It is not magick, it is not sleight-of-hand and it is NOT delusion, it is ACCEPTANCE.

Stress tolerance and management…

There’s an old saying about stress, “Stress is the physiological and psychological reaction that occurs when a person is prevented from strangling the life out of someone who desperately deserves it…!

Cute huh? Unfortunately that’s only one type of stress and the solution is neither practical nor legal, so how do we cope with stress? What can we do to lessen its impact and, just as importantly, its longer term cumulative effects?

As you read through this part of the presentation you will recognize certain principles in play that were covered in Part 1 and 2 of the document. That’s because it all ties together, true, at this time you have two parts of the equation, this will connect with the first two and then, in part4 – the last part – we will look at how the whole comes together. As I have mentioned before, this is only a brief presentation based on work and methods that are employed in rehabilitation and outpatient programs right here in the United States today.

Img. source: www.boundless.com

Img. source: www.boundless.com

What is stress?
Stress is the way that we respond to changes in our lives. It is the way our bodies react physically, emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally.”

Change can be both positive and negative that cause stress and even imagined changes can cause stress. It is true, and accepted, that we need some stressors in our lives to keep us stimulated and motivated.

The other thing that we need to be aware of is that stress, and reactions to it, are highly individualized. No two people will experience, nor react to, the same stressor in the same way.

Chronic Stress
Our body’s hormonal system is important to help us cope with the demands of stress on a daily basis, at a low level. If the stress hormones are repeatedly triggered, and are intense, then disease will occur. YES – negative stress effects are recognized as a disease.

Below are a list of symptoms that we are adversely suffering from stress:

Physical: Tension, fatigue, insomnia, muscular aches, digestive upsets, radical appetite changes, headaches and general restlessness.

Mental (cognitive): Forgetfulness, low productivity, confusion, impaired concentration, lethargy, negativity, “busy” mind that is not able to be controlled and calmed.
Emotional: Anxiety, mood swings, irritability, depression, resentment, anger, impatience, worry, feeling of being “pressured” even when you are not being pressured.
Social: Unreasonable outbursts, decreased sex drive, lack of intimacy and withdrawal into isolation, intolerance, feelings of loneliness, avoidance of social events/ situations, increases in alcohol, tobacco or recreational drug use.
Spiritual: Apathy, loss of direction, feeling “empty”, losing sight of goals, being unforgiving and losing one’s sense of purpose.

The S.T.O.P. System
One of the quickest ways of tackling individual stress situations as they arise is known as The S.T.O.P. System.

S: stop
Tell yourself, out loud if necessary, Stop..! Relax, I can handle my anger/stress.

T: think
Tell yourself, don’t take it personally, don’t jump to conclusions and don’t make mountains from molehills.
O: others
Try to understand the other point/s of view and respect the rights of others while putting your point of view across.
P: pick
The alternatives for expressing your anger/irritation in an acceptable manner. Examine the pros and cons of expressing your anger. Make your “expressing” appropriate to the circumstances and then, after the fact, analyse how well you handled the situation and your anger.

Img. source: forwallpaper.com

Img. source: forwallpaper.com

What happens if stress reaches crisis point?

The worst effects (symptoms) from our list above will kick in and you may well find yourself lost in a dark, deep place with no idea of how to get out. IT IS TEMPORARY and the first thing to remember is DON’T PANIC.

Draw back from the crisis, unless it is a matter of imminent injury or death – that’s when adrenaline kicks in.

From a cognitive point of view there are several methods you can employ to lessen and manage the “crisis”.

The primary method is to DISTRACT yourself with other activities. This could be as simple as taking ten minutes to go outside, go for a short walk etc. This is a good example of the “walk away” theory. Distraction, in its simplest terms, means to reduce contact with the emotional stimuli that are causing the stress.

A: You can distract yourself with activities, for example physical activity helps you to feel better because when you engage in physical activity your body releases endorphins.

C: You can distract yourself by contributing, either to someone, some organization or some other form of active contribution to somebody other than you.

C: You can distract, believe it or not, with comparisons. Watch a disaster movie, visit an E.R. Waiting room, and compare yourself to people who are suffering greater stresses tan yourself.

E: You can distract by employing “opposing emotions”, for example, if you are sad watch a movie that makes you laugh. If you are tense listen to music that makes you relax.

P: Push away; that is to say, separate yourself from the stressors. Walk away for a while, find something else to do, meditate, clear your head and thoughts and just ignore the situation for a short while Take a ‘ME’ time-out.
T: Thoughts can also help you distract, turn your mind away from the stressful thinking patterns, imagine a serene place you would like to visit; remember times and places where you were happy and had fun. Look out the window at a tree or some other object, study it, think about it, and focus on it. By doing these things you can distract yourself quite easily from negative thought patterns, even if only for a little while to give your body time to regroup.
S: Sensations can be used, to various intensities, to distract the cognition. For example, hold ice cubes, squeeze a rubber ball hard and repetitively, take a shower, listen to loud music, have sex, snap a rubber band on the back of your hand. Intense sensations over power the cognitive thinking because they are linked to several of the primary functions of the body – protection, pleasure, survival etc.

A-C-C-E-P-T-S

The wise mind Accepts” ~ a handy little phrase to remember these steps.

'No stress' by Camille Besneville on deviantart.com

‘No stress’ by Camille Besneville on deviantart.com

Accepting reality
Stress, and its symptoms, are caused by circumstances. You don’t have to like the circumstances but a key factor in fighting the stress that is within you is accepting the situation at face value, accepting it for what it is in the here and now.

We each need to cultivate several things in respect of this;
We need to cultivate ‘Willingness’. A willingness to do the right thing in the situation, a willingness to be proactive in changing the situation and reducing, or removing, the stressors.
We need to cultivate a healthy opposition to ‘Willfulness’. Willfulness is defined as doing the opposite of what works, resisting changes and refusing opportunities to make the changes that will positively impact the situation.

We need to ‘Turn the Mind’, by an act of choice we need to make the commitment, to ourselves, to follow the right path and commit to accepting the reality of situations in a calm, balanced and deliberate manner.

Radical acceptance comes from within and when the inner person is free from fighting against the reality of a situation then the mind is free to accommodate solutions. By stopping yourself from fighting the anger, the rage and the stress will dissipate and leave you in a position to accept, accommodate and change in a positive and beneficial manner. When you ACCEPT you will FEEL better.

Copyright RVL & TB 2015

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion
http://www.intropsych.com/ – Dr. Dewey
S. T. Charles, J. R. Piazza, J. Mogle, M. J. Sliwinski, D. M. Almeida. The Wear and Tear of Daily Stressors on Mental Health. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612462222
www.getselfhelp.co.uk Vivyan, Carol 2009
Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Linehan, Marsha. 1993, The Guilford Press.

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced, or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and/or our guest/s.
For further details please see our Website Disclaimer

RVL meets reality – Mindfulness, Crisis prevention and tossing away old baggage Part 2.

When emotions take over…

Written and Presented by
Tim

DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ

Ladies and gentlemen, readers, I write this as a presentation to make suggestions for people who need to get a little self-wellness into their sphere. I need to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT a medical professional, I am NOT a Psychiatric professional or a Crisis Counselor.

I AM a survivor and this material is material I have found that works for me. Doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you but then again, it just might.

The information I contain in here is NOT something I just made up on the spur of the moment, it is carefully sourced from relevant and reliable sources, HOWEVER, it is NOT meant, nor intended, to replace or discount proper care and attention from qualified medical/psychological/psychiatric professionals. If you are in trouble PLEASE SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY, DON”T WAIT. Contact your nearest Crisis Line, Doctor or Healthcare Centre. DON’T TRY AND GO IT ALONE…

That being said, I offer the following for your consideration.

Img. source: www.linkedin.com

Img. source: www.linkedin.com

A big part of stress relief, and a big part of being able to employ mindfulness, is learning to let go of the things that are troubling you and the things that trouble us the most create strong emotions within ourselves. They create negative emotions, emotional states that are unhealthy and which drive many people to extremes of behavior or action. By learning to control, and master, these negative emotions we can become calmer, less stressed and worried and more easily capable of dealing with whatever situation we might be facing.

Emotions are a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence our behavior. The physiology of emotion is closely linked to arousal of the nervous system with various states and strengths of arousal relating, apparently, to particular emotions. Emotion is also linked to behavioral tendency.” [1]
Emotions are created by a great number of things, physiological, psychophysiological and sociological amongst others and while we may need assistance, or intervention, to cope with things such as biological levels of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin etc. even when biological influences are present cognition still plays a major role in emotional control.

The process of regulating emotions is very complex and involves four stages:

Internal feeling states (i.e. the subjective experience of emotion)
Emotion-related cognitions (e.g. thought reactions to a situation)
Emotion-related physiological processes (e.g. heart rate, hormonal, or other physiological reactions)
Emotion-related behavior (e.g. actions or facial expressions related to emotion).” [2]
For example, let’s say that you, dear reader, as a modern human living vampire, are confronted by someone who insists on telling you that you are delusional, irrational, a ‘wannabe’ or a ‘RPGer’ what comes to mind? What’s the most common emotional response? Irritation? Annoyance? Anger? – “How dare this miserable little creep tell me what I am and am not…”

I would suggest ‘anger’, either small or short lived or burning and livid, either way it is a destructive emotion FOR YOU, not them. In essence by being a prize A-hole this person has taken control of you, has pushed your buttons and has you reacting according to their whims and prejudices. How do you feel afterwards, after the event? Deflated? Still angry? Weary? – All negative states of being.

Img. source: gizmag.com

Img. source: gizmag.com

In the movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) demonstrates a trick involving a lit match in front of two NCO’s in a bar. One of the NCO’s, William Potter (Harry Fowler) tries the trick and exclaims, “Oww, that bleedin’ well ‘urt…!” To which Lawrence responds, “Of course it hurt, the trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurt.

Not minding that it hurt… hmmm

In the text Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha Linehan sets out a table of points to employ when confronting emotions.

The first thing is to Observe the emotion, note it’s presence, step back from it, separate your conscious thoughts from the emotion.

Allow yourself, once separated, to experience the emotion as a wave, coming and going. Don’t force yourself to block it, don’t force yourself to suppress it, and don’t battle with it trying to get rid of it or push it away. Don’t try to keep hold of it, hold on to it and don’t amplify it.

Remember this, she advises, “You are not your emotion.

Don’t necessarily act on your emotion and let your conscious mind recall times when you have felt different, better and more positive.

Practice ‘loving’ your emotion. Don’t judge it, practice the willingness to accept that the emotion is not you and then accept that the emotion is happening.

Exercise conscious control over the emotion.
There are going to be times when negative emotions are going to seem overwhelming and insurmountable and no matter what anyone says, uncontrollable. This is characterized as a “crisis” and this is where we step into the realm of ‘Crisis Survival Strategies’ which I will cover in Part 3.

Img. source: startupist.com

Img. source: startupist.com

The Emotions

There are 8 “primary” emotions, which are:
Anger, Sorrow, Joy, Fear, Disgust, Guilt/Shame, Interest/Curiosity and Surprise.

You are born with these emotions “wired” into the brain and all other emotions are comprised of different combinations of these 8. Sometimes, for example, we experience secondary emotions, or “emotional” reactions to emotions such as feeling shame when you get angry or out of control angry, feeling fear when you get angry or, vice versa. When the secondary emotion occurs the key to dealing with it is to determine what the primary emotion is and deal with the situation on that level.
Conditional emotional responses” (CERs) are learned emotional reactions like anxiety or happiness that occur as a response to predictive cues. Most American psychologists use the -ed form of the word, calling CERs “conditioned emotional responses.” [3]

There are certain steps that can be taken in order to regulate emotion and emotional responses pointed out by Linehan (1993)

Treat PhysicaL illness – Balance Eating – Avoid mood altering drugs (illicit) – Balance Sleep –
Get Exercise – Build your MASTERy – Remembered by the phrase PLEASE MASTER.

That is to say, Take care of your body, don’t eat too much or too little, stay off non-prescribed drugs, try to get the amount of sleep that helps you feel well, do some sort of exercise and try to build up to 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day and finally, “Master” – try to do one thing a day that makes you feel “in control”.

'Emotions' by Tamilia - fibrotv.com

‘Emotions’ by Tamilia – fibrotv.com

Supporting study
In a study published in Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science) Psychological scientist Susan Charles of the University of California, Irvine and colleagues conducted inquiries in order to answer a long-standing question: Do daily emotional experiences add up to make the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or do these experiences make us stronger and provide an inoculation against later distress?

Using data from two national surveys, the researchers examined the relationship between daily negative emotions and mental health outcomes ten years later. According to Charles and her colleagues, “these findings show that mental health outcomes aren’t only affected by major life events — they also bear the impact of seemingly minor emotional experiences.” [4]

Learning to relax
There are several simple methods that you can employ in building mastery over any given emotion/ response situation, learning to relax can help you stay in control. You may have a meditational practice that you can employ, if not here is a simple one.

Find a quiet place, sit or lie down after loosening any restrictive clothing. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths – a good method can be found in the breathing exercise discussed in Part 1 of this presentation.

Concentrate your thoughts on a single object, word or calming image/thought and if your thoughts wander to something else guide them back to the relaxing thought you are focusing on. Try this for ten to fifteen minutes until you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Another method, and one that I employ especially when it’s time to sleep, is Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Again, loosening all restrictive clothing, sit or lie down comfortably. Tense the muscles in your feet, hold that for about 5-10 seconds then relax them for 20 seconds. Tense/relax the muscles in the neck for the same lengths of time, move on to the shoulders, hands, arms, chest, stomach, belly, lower back, thighs, calves etc.

A third technique, and a pleasant one indeed, is visualization. Sitting or lying comfortably again, imagine a pleasant and peaceful scene of your favourite place, or what would be your ideal place to be, it may be in the mountains, a lush forest, a tropical beach, or wherever. Focus on the scene feeling the sensations as if you were actually there. After about 10 – 15 minutes gently let yourself drift back into the present and its surroundings.
Controlled relaxation can help you not to react, or over-react, to situations that promote stress and/or negative (knee jerk) reactions to any given situation, it can help you feel calmer, more in control and less ‘scattered’ – more up to the demanding task of coping with negative situations or emotions.

Conclusion
In the modern (mundane) world there are protocols for meetings, discussions and debates – the meetings are ‘chaired’ and the focus is maintained by a (good) meeting chair person. There are certain “niceties” observed in the inter-reactions between the people present at these meetings. In general these observances are governed by workplace protocols and legislation. In the OVC there is very little of this and the discussions tend, in a great many instances, to follow a “stone in the pond” pattern.

A “normal” pattern of general and open discussion for those in the OVC can be seen below;

OVC_discussion_model

In considerations of this problem it has been said that the VC/OVC is simply a microcosm of society and the reason we notice it so much is that we are speaking of a fairly finite; and relatively small, population encompassing the same motivations, the same emotions and the same problems as the wider society in which we live. The truth is that with a little effort aimed at self-development and the mastery of emotion control, we can overcome these barriers and conduct ourselves, personally, on a higher level of cooperative thinking. We can learn to relax, to listen to our emotions but not use them, to ‘discuss’ things at a more reasonable, calm and productive level but this all depends on the improvement of each person involved.

To be continued…

Copyright RVL & TB 2015

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion
2. Siegler, Robert (2006). How Children Develop, Exploring Child Develop Student Media Tool Kit & Scientific American Reader to Accompany How Children Develop. New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN 071676
3. http://www.intropsych.com/ – Dr. Dewey
4. S. T. Charles, J. R. Piazza, J. Mogle, M. J. Sliwinski, D. M. Almeida. The Wear and Tear of Daily Stressors on Mental Health. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612462222

Other resources:
Emotions – An important part of life.

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced, or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and/or our guest/s.
For further details please see our Website Disclaimer