Stability or Less (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 228)

Yesterday, a long term employee of mine expressed her gratitude to me for educating her in and helping her to understand the principle of stability in regard to all behavior, but most specifically in regard to that of her child.

As I myself have said on many occasions, she began talking to me by reiterating that “It’s very difficult to be a parent who truly cares about your child and wants more than anything to do the right thing for them. There isn’t any type of instruction manual and unfortunately, most of the advice that everyone wants to stuff down your throat, including your parents and the rest of your family, doesn’t really work worth a shit. That advice more often than not, simply perpetuates ongoing behavior in yourself and your child that isn’t helpful or healthy in any long term manner. The same sins, madness, abuses, and confusion of the parents usually get passed on to their children. It happens in a familiar presentation of the societal norm, routine parental expectation, and supposed love, but in the end, there isn’t any real growth or learning or escape from the past for that child. Everyone involved, though, just keeps smiling and pretending like everything that could possibly be done is being done, that it is what it is, and that life is only supposed to play out that way. And meanwhile, if you are a person who actually observes and engages your child without that common delusional filter, you can see their suffering and struggle with all of life. You want to do something about it, but you don’t know where to turn or who to listen to. It doesn’t seem like anyone knows the answer.”

I replied “Well, you know that I understand all of that and that I agree with every word of it. I guess most people are just too broken or oblivious to want to look at all of that in the face and then be forced to do something about what they see. They are okay pretending to care, pretending to be a parent in the “normal” way, but not with acknowledging the actual degree of responsibility and obligation that they should have committed to themselves before biologically reproducing. It’s exactly the same way so many people approach their pets. You know that just as much as I do. We see it every day, over and over and over. People, parents, owners, whomever. . .they love to talk and editorialize about love and all that they do for those they love, but their actions are irrefutable proof that they are more focused on telling the fairy tale and selling it to everyone, than actually figuring out what it profoundly means to love and cherish another living creature. Love is stability, of that I have no doubt. Less than stability is instability or unstable or destabilizing, however you want to describe it, and that’s not love, that is passing on torment, suffering, and confusion to another living creature. That is anti-love and it is despicable.

I’m not sure how everyone is supposed to figure all of that out. Like you said, there isn’t an instruction manual and most people are raised to have no clue whatsoever about awareness, behavior, and empathy. Generation, after generation, after generation, repeats the same cycles without anyone intervening or breaking out of the delusional conformity of their family tree. It is impossible to even know where the blame starts, but in the end that doesn’t matter either, because one person after another just keeps passing on the demons to their children and then, their children’s children. Everyone’s caught in this acceptable repetitive loop of conforming excusable deniability instead of simply engaging in the reality of love; of either fostering and nurturing genuine stability or encouraging and enabling destabilization. I have had to connect the dots from a lot of diverse and complex shit to bring all of that into the focus that I now possess, but I know it’s true and I know it works. I wish I could share it with people on a much greater level than I do now, but most don’t listen. They have no desire to contemplate such complexity or embrace such a never ending burden.”

My employee had tears in her eyes when she spoke next. “I’ve seen such a difference in him. He was having a lot of problems before and acting out frequently and feeling like a failure. He told me once that he didn’t think anyone liked him, and I felt so sad, so sorry for him. I told him that that wasn’t true and I tried to help him, but it was hard to know what to do to really help him, how to offset or change the influences in his life that brought him to that point and made him continue to feel that way. Working here, I have learned an enormous amount about stability from you. I’ve seen it over and over with our patient’s and I’ve seen it over and over in employee interactions. I’m so glad that I have because it has made all the difference in the world in my child’s life. He has responded so well. The difference in him is so astounding. He won an award the other day in school for being the best at something. He didn’t get sent to detention or recieve a bad mark or get it trouble for failing a test. He didn’t get attention for being a failure or doing something wrong. He got attention for doing something right and being great at something. He was so proud of himself. He felt so good about his accomplishment and what he had achieved. You should have seen his smile and how happy he was. It made me cry.”

I smiled back with perhaps the faintest trickle of a tear in my own eye and said “That’s awesome. That’s so great to hear. That experience will stick with him from now on in his life. I think you know it, but that is a profound paradigm shift, and it is in such a great direction. I’m unbelievably happy for you and for him. That’s the difference between destabilization and stabilization, between “love” and tough love. You would think everyone who knows him would recognize that change, what brought it about, and want some for themselves, but the sad part is, most will erroneously chalk it up to something irrelevant or happenstance. I wish more would get it, but we know that they will not even when it is that black and white. Nonetheless, we will keep doing all that we may at the Castle* to keep spreading stability in our funky way as far and wide as we might, and being happy in whatever change, great or small, that we catalyze in the world for the better.”

*The Castle is a term I use to refer to the veterinary hospital that I own and operate.

Cribb          2018

The Giant Screeching Metal Crayon Amalgamation (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 224)

A child comes into the restaurant with her grandmother and they both sit down together besides me. The child appears to be maybe three to five years old and she immediately displays a knee jerk response of inappropriate social shyness towards me (an unknown authority figure) when I say hello and wave at her in a goofy but amicable manner.

A moment later, the girl has changed positions and sits kneeling and prone across two seats with her butt pointed towards her grandmother. The child has now figured out that I am being silly to everyone around me and that I am not flexing my authority over anyone, including her. She becomes much more relaxed and begins smiling at me while making some silly and somewhat indecipherable noises that I know to be indications of her nervous or excitable energy. She is “playing” with me or “charming” me because she still doesn’t know for sure where she stands with me. In other words, she doesn’t know how much she can manipulate me or get away with around me, because I am a foreign authority figure to her normal existence. Her behavior is subtle enough not to threaten or upset me in any hostile manner while she gently ramps up her “dominance” or willful behavior to whatever level she can successfully achieve. This is extremely normal social behavior for a child who is highly aware and extremely intelligent, but who has not been taught appropriate structure, boundaries, and respect at home.

Meanwhile, the grandmother is rubbing and massaging the girl’s lower back. She does this as she tells me along with an sympathetic grin that “She makes me do this every night before she goes to bed.”

I smile back, because this isn’t my fight and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to help the situation even though I can accurately predict the next forty to fifty years of this little girl’s life. I slay my rational thoughts and focus on smiling like a blubbering idiot as I reply “And why wouldn’t she? I suppose that’s to be expected. Everyone loves to be massaged or get a good back and butt rub! That’s good stuff for the body and soul no matter who you happen to be.”

A brief period of time passes. I go back to being more focused on my book and eating my mid day breakfast. In the periphery of my mind and senses though, I do notice the little girl is proceeding behaviorally in the exact manner that I would normally expect for this dynamic. The child has grown louder with her nervous and excitable noises, and she has further ramped up her “assertive influence” on the environment by picking up her metal silverware in her hand, making a giant screeching metal crayon amalgamation of that silverware, and then drawing creatively with her new “instrument of attention” all over the table in front of her. This behavior continues for a few minutes, during which her grandmother appears completely obvious or perhaps satially content at the “creativeness” and/or “innocent adorable playfulness” of her granddaughter’s actions, but for anyone truly paying attention to the reality of the situation, the child’s antics are factually more disrespectful and rude in nature than anything else.

Again, I slay my thoughts as much as possible and shift all remaining unutilized reserve power to “Full Shields” on my starboard side.

The server, who happens to know this grandmother and grandchild by name, and who has been friendly and jovial with both since they came into the restaurant, walks over to the counter directly in front of them, and begins to try and take their food order from the grandmother. After a second or two, it is apparent that the noise of the giant screeching metal crayon amalgamation being wielded upon the table is making any reasonable communication and thinking, along with the order taking, nearly impossible. The server in a stable and steady firm voice says “Darling, you gotta stop that. You are scratching up the whole table top doing that. That’s not good. You can’t do be doing that. Okay?”

The little girl immediately and appropriately stopped, but then the grandmother now reflexively displaying hissyfit features and gesticulations of her face, neck, and arms, replied to the caught-off-guard server something along the lines of “Well, I guess we just won’t order then! We’ll go eat somewhere else!”, getting up and marching out the door before a further rational thought or comment might even register to anyone else.

The server had a reflexive, agonal, trailing off of “what. . . I. .what did she. . .huh. . . . . did she just. . .oh. . okay.”

Behavioral Summary:

This little girl would typically be a child of high awareness, intelligence, and drive. She is borne into a family environment that is not stable enough and/or aware enough to understand how to provide her with proper structure, boundaries, and balanced objective perception. Thus, such a child is inappropriately and pathologically addressed either through manipulative spoiling (over-nurturing) or induction of fear (overdominance). Neither leads to stability, accurate perception, or respect for others. Instead, it leads to the behavior noted by the little girl in the story above.

The grandmother displayed typical over-nurturing behavior towards her granddaughter, which unfortunately encourages the repetitive cyclical indoctrination of bad behavior and confusion of the child to “appear completely normal” to the child.

The server issued a stable and appropriate correction to the child. The correction was not over-the-top and it did not produce a fear response. It was and is precisely the type of “correction” and “tough love” that that little girl needs to develop properly in mind, body, soul, and spirit.

The grandmother ran (flight) because she knows she is too weak (or unstable) to be an effective authority figure or parent, even to an itty bitty little girl, who really needs her help. The server brought that reality into the grandmother’s focus, so the grandmother took her “victim” and her awareness and exchanged it, quite eagerly, for the anger and victim card of distraction and delusion.

Waffle House Conversations

Cribb          2018

Hyper-Emotional Addiction versus Love (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 221)

My love, instead of growing, had come to a standstill, and a new sensation of restlessness gradually invaded my spirit. Loving was not enough for me after the happiness I had known falling in love. I longed for activity, instead of an even flow of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to renounce self for the sake of my love. I was conscious of a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life. I had bouts of depression, which I tried to hide, as something to be ashamed of, and transports of violent affection and gaiety which alarmed him. He notice my state of mind before I did, and proposed a visit to Petersburg; but I begged him to give this idea up, not to change our mode of life, not to spoil our happiness. And I really was happy, but it tormented me that this happiness cost me no effort and sacrifice consumed me. I loved him and saw that I was all to him; but I wanted everyone to see our love and put obstacles in its way, so that I could love him in spite of everything. My mind, and even my senses, were occupied, but there was another feeling — the feeling of youth and a craving for activity — which found no scope in our quiet life. Why had he told me we could move to town whenever I wanted to? If he had not said that, I might have realized that the feeling which oppressed me was pernicious nonsense, for which I was to blame; that the very sacrifice I sought lay right in front of me — in the suppression of that feeling. The idea that escape from my depression could be found merely by moving to town haunted me, yet at the same time it seemed a shame and a pity for selfish motives to drag him away from all he cared for. So time went by, the snow piled higher and higher around the house, and there we remained together, always and for ever alone and just the same in each other’s eyes; while somewhere far away amidst glitter and noise multitudes of people thrilled, suffered and rejoiced, without one thought of us and our existence which was ebbing away. Worst of all, I felt that every day that past riveted another link to the chain of habit which was binding our life into a fixed shape, that our emotions, ceasing to be spontaneous, were being subordinated to the even, passionless flow of time. In the morning we were bright and cheerful, at dinner polite, in the evening affectionate. ‘It’s all very well . . .’ I thought, ‘it’s all very well to do good and lead upright lives, as he says, but we’ll have plenty of time for that later, and there are other things for which the time is now or never.’ I wanted, not what I had got, but a life of challenge; I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to be the guide of feeling. If only I could go with him to the edge of a precipice and say, ‘One more step, and I shall be over; one more movement and I die!’, and then, pale with fear, he would catch me in his strong arms and hold me over the edge till my blood froze, and carry me off whither he pleased.

My state of mind affected my health, and I began to suffer from nerves.

I fancied he did not want to talk because he thought me a child who could not understand his preoccupations.

But no, he must needs suppose I shouldn’t understand, must needs humiliate me by his lofty composure and always be in the right against me.

I eventually said to him, ‘Why do you suppose I can never help you with anything?’

‘Not help me?’ he said, throwing down his pen. ‘Why, I believe that without you I couldn’t live. You not only help me in everything I do — everything — you do it yourself! However could you get such an idea! he exclaimed with a laugh. ‘You are my life. All’s well with the world simply because you are here, because I need you. . .’

‘Yes, I know all that: I’m a delightful child who must be humoured and kept quiet,’ I said in a tone which made him look up in surprise as if he were seeing something for the first time. ‘I don’t want quiet — there’s enough of that and to spare with you,’ I added.

I was now finding it very pleasant to disturb his equanimity. It annoyed me that he should be all serene and calm, whereas I was full of vexation and a feeling akin to remorse.

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859


The Energy of Interaction (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 220)

The energy that flows back and forth in a genuine interaction between two souls is much different that the nervous energy of delusion, distraction, and pretend, which spins, flutters, flies, and reels, awkwardly and uncomfortably, between those who are too fearfully embedded within their own projected personas to even consider the genuine cores that exist within themselves and within others. The numbed avatars playing their assumed roles of acceptance, comradery, and understanding, as if on stage in a poorly directed play, continuously falter, stamer, and miss their ques of expressive devout attentive interest, perceptual awareness, and empathetic and contemplative exchange. It’s more like two dogs barking at each other, sometimes in competition, sometimes in alternation, and sometimes in seeming unison, but all the while, each dog only barking and barking and barking his own reflexive deafening distraction of avoidance, never actually listening, never actually perceiving, never actually contemplating, only barking relentlessly like everyone else, like everyone else, like everyone else. And woe be unto whomever strays from such noise and barking, because non-conformity to such collective delusional herd behavior cannot be tolerated. It’s a threat to the bosom of non-contemplative barking and the satiating numbness of an unquestioned pseudo-plausible existence. The nervous energy erupts and writhes from the instability of the illusion which centrally governs all such behavior. Negation of the individual souls, of their core interactive existence, is what I perceive as the product of that infectious and unstable nervous energy of illusion. That negation yields a unified imperceptive herd which can only effectively serve one purpose. That is its own destruction.

The energy of a genuine interaction is composed of an unmistakably different nature.

Cribb          2017

Judge Others Lest You Might Judge Yourself (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 219)


If you believe

the alcoholic,

the pill popper,

the meth head,

the cigarette smoker,


the sex addict,

all to be

intolerable, insufferable, and pitiful,

in their contribution

to all of humanity

due to their inability

to function in any meaningful way

without their “god-crutch” obsession,

try putting down your wallet for an hour or a day;

stop spending money and purchasing shit relentlessly;

take a good hard clear look at what,

if anything,

contentedly remains of yourself and your relationship with those you supposedly love,

after you remove your “god-crutch” obsession from your routine.



The Difference Between Bandaged and Unbandaged Reality (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 214)

Pretext: I am a veterinarian and this piece relates to the practice of veterinary medicine, but its greater purpose and message is in its complete metaphorical potential.

I recently performed a skin graft on one of my patients because I did not have enough surrounding tissue remaining to close the incision after removing a tumor off of the dog’s lower leg. This surgery is almost always done at specialty hospitals and associated with a much higher cost that what I charged the client. My opportunity to perform this procedure in this manner and have the fortunate results so far experienced is also highly attributable to the clients/owners for being exceptionally attentive and observant in the post-op aftercare of their dog and in complying with all of my instructions and requests.

Today is post-op day 14 and the graft has done exceptionally well. It appears that 80-90% of it will take. That’s a pretty high ratio of expectation especially given the conservative manner in which the wound has been managed.

I was very excited about the results when I performed the recheck exam today and I almost took a picture so that I might share the level of skill and success my team/hospital has been able to achieve for the patient. But then, as I was talking with my staff, we collectively realized that anyone in the general public that viewed a picture of the wound in its current state would not be able to appreciate or understand what they were looking at. Most likely, they would think that a butcher had performed the surgery and was displaying a sick picture of his gore.

That is such a hard concept for me. To know, to profoundly know, and objectively see the exceptional product or change that you can bring about doing things the right way and yet, be unable to share it with others so that they might see, appreciate, and accept the truth of the matter. So, explicit truth must be tamed down or covered up with a bandage until it might become subtle enough in appearance for someone to not even appreciate its presence or the significant difference in effort and skill that it brought about.

Taming things down seems to make everything look the same. It collectively homogenizes outliers and noteworthy differences. In part, I think that’s why such a tolerance has been allowed to foster, or maybe I should say fester.

Maybe we should be looking at the raw unfiltered and unbandaged truth more; looking at the flesh, the ooze, the scabbing, the inflammation, the blood supply, and the compromised tissue, which are all involved and relevant towards the final outcome. That might tell the true tale; the difference between what works and what does not; the difference between what we are capable of and what we settle for; the difference between the illusion of proclaimed reality via lip service and the reality experienced through witnessing the healing of a very challenging and complicated wound.

Jeff Cribb DVM          2017

Work Life Imbalance, Balance and Bullshit (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 208)

It started off as a good idea where people would say “you must have work life balance.” Work life balance is certainly better than work life imbalance, but I think that the concept is basically mindless, and the reason for that is that we have these categories; work. . , life. . , and we have brains, and brawn, and so on, all of the different distinctions that we (feel we must) make. . .we make them mindfully and then start to use them mindlessly, forgetting that when we are at work, we are people, we have the same needs we had when we were on vacation, that when we’re talking to people, the people we’re talking to also have the same needs and so on. The idea, I think needs to be, to replace work life balance which treats these categories as independent, with work life integration. And you should get to the point where you’re treating yourself, whether you’re at at work or at play, in basically the same way.

Ellen Jane Langer          2014

Ellen Jane Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard University, having in 1981 become the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. Langer studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory.