Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ingushetia: Wild Beauty, People, Towers, Skiing and Moto biking (Part 3)

Christianity was spread in Ingushetia in XII - XVIII centuries. At that time, their beautiful towers were built. Practically each family or a small community, integrated by several families had their own towers. Ingush towers are of three types:

military (the tallest) and living (smaller)

and mixed.

Military towers were built in such geographical pattern, that one tower was visible from the two neighboring ones.

In case of emergency, fire set in one tower,
served as the alarm signal for others.

The whole mountainous area was informed within minutes.

People would gather in their towers, with supplies of food and water. Military towers are multistoried. The ground floor was occupied by livestock and captives.  Two upper levels were for the family members. The warriors and defenders were on top. There was always a rich supply of stones on top of each military tower as a powerful weapon against attackers.

It was impossible to get inside the military tower from the ground floor, as it had neither windows nor doors. The only way to get inside is to use removable wooden staircase to the second floor.

The living towers have a very original design.

There is a post in the middle. 
Through holes wooden floors were fixed for each level

Ingush towers had a central heating system! They set fire on the ground floor.

Walls were made of double stones layers (highlighted by green color), with a gap between them. Through this gap warm air was circulating all around the tower and flowing out through special holes (red arrows).

This is Erzi castle complex, high in the mountains, very beautiful even in winter.

Erzi means “eagle”

I made these pictures on the New Year Eve. The weather was snowy and foggy. To show you the splendor of this place I colored the grey sky into azzuro-blue.

Russian jeep “Niva” – the most reliable car for extreme driving

Ancient streets in Erzi

Although Erzi is not inhabited now, it gives the feeling of pure divineness and vitality. You must smell and drink this space one day!

Come and visit Ingushetia in summer or in spring.

You will be charmed

To be continued...

Natalia Levis-Fox

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wanting, Liking. Overwhelming, Pain and Satisfaction

Why 'Wanting' and 'Liking' something simultaneously is overwhelming?

Wanting and liking are separate urges controlled by different brain circuits and when combined at once, the impact on the brain is especially powerful, according to University of Michigan research (Smith and  Berridge, 2007).

The U-M study reports that the brain divides wanting and liking into separate circuits for the same sweet reward. Natural heroin-like chemicals (opioids) in a few brain "pleasure hotspots" make individuals want to eat more of a tasty sweet food, and make them like its sweet taste more when they eat it, the study says. The same thing happens with addictions to drugs, sex, gambling and other pursuits involving "brain reward" circuits.
The researchers Kyle Smith and Kent Berridge show that two different brain circuits carry out the wanting and liking for the sweet reward, even when both are triggered in the same brain pleasure hotspots.

"We typically want what we like, and like what we want," Smith said. "But these results suggest that wanting and liking are processed by distinct brain circuits and may not always go hand-in-hand."

Experimenters put an opioid drug (Damgo) into a pleasure hotspot in the brains of rats—in the front base of the brain—using a painless microinjection technique to deliver tiny chemical droplets to the brain target without disturbing the rats.

The opioid made the rats want to eat three times more food than normal, and to show double the normal number of "liking" expressions when they tasted the sugar.

"Liking" expressions are positive facial lip licking expressions that are similar in rats, monkeys, apes and even human infants.

"The brain seems to be more stingy with mechanisms for pleasure than for desire," Berridge said.

To turn off a particular brain circuit, the experimenters simultaneously made another microinjection of an opioid-suppressing chemical—in a different pleasure hotspot of the brain in some rats.

The opioid-suppressing chemical in that second hotspot completely prevented any increase in liking for the sugar taste from being caused by the first opioid-activating drug in the nucleus accumbens.

Nucleus accumbens
Nucleus accumbens shell (neuronal cover around core), but not core,
tracks motivational value (Loriaux et al., 2011)

But the opioid-activation in nucleus accumbens still caused the rats to want to eat triple the normal amount of food, even though the extra "liking" for it was gone.

A single looping circuit between hotspots was found to be always activated by microinjections that caused pleasure liking.

On the other hand, a different outgoing circuit from nucleus accumbens appeared to cause the wanting by going to the hypothalamus instead.

The U-M study reports that the brain divides wanting and liking into separate circuits for the same sweet reward.
Natural heroin-like chemicals (opioids) in a few brain "pleasure hotspots" make individuals want to eat more of a tasty sweet food, and make them like its sweet taste more when they eat it, the study says. The same thing happens with addictions to drugs, sex, gambling and other pursuits involving "brain reward" circuits

The findings suggest that liking and wanting for tasty treats can either change together or change separately, depending on which brain circuits are involved.

For example, various eating disorders might involve different activation patterns in the two brain circuits, possibly dissociating liking from wanting in some cases but not in others.

"It's relatively hard for a brain to generate pleasure, because it needs to activate different opioid sites together to make you like something more," Berridge said.

"It's easier to activate desire, because a brain has several 'wanting' pathways available for the task. Sometimes a brain will like the rewards it wants. But other times it just wants them."

This is what neuroscience opened for us. The scientific materials make it clear why majority of people live under “the pressure of wanting”. The question arises easily: “Where is satisfaction?”

Wanting something strongly and not getting it, leads first to hyper-agitation, then to stress. Life without satisfaction and physical pleasure fills the body with tension.

It turns out that most of people have no natural mechanisms of pleasure and satisfaction, i.e. feeling happily released and good! To compensate for this shortage or lack, people over-drink, over-eat and “over-do” other things they are not proud of.

What can be done? I found the solution to this problem and will reveal the information in my book

“Pain? Gone!”

I still have not finished it because the mystery was uncovered for me only today. The truth is so simple and elegant, that all pain disappears very fast, within minutes.

Reference articles
  1. Kyle S. Smith and Kent C. Berridge. Opioid Limbic Circuit for Reward: Interaction between Hedonic Hotspots of Nucleus Accumbens and Ventral Pallidum. The Journal of Neuroscience, 14 February 2007, 27(7): 1594-1605; doi: 10.1523. JNEUROSCI.4205-06.2007. Abstract/FREE Full Text

  1. Amy L. Loriaux, Jamie D. Roitman, and Mitchell F. Roitman. Nucleus accumbens shell, but not core, tracks motivational value of salt J Neurophysiol September 2011 106:(3) 1537-1544; published ahead of print June 22, 2011, doi:10.1152/jn.00153.2011 0022-3077 1522-1598 . Abstract/ Full Text / Full Text (PDF)/ Supplemental Figures and Tables.

Natalia Levis-Fox

Monday, January 14, 2013

Secret Weapon In Getting What You Want From People

We humans prefer to be addressed in our right ear and are more likely to perform a task when we receive the request in our right ear rather than our left. In a series of three studies, looking at ear preference in communication between humans, Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli from the University "Gabriele d'Annunzio" in Chieti, Italy, showed

We humans prefer to be addressed in our right ear.

Need Something? Talk To My Right Ear!

So if you need to get what you want – ask the person, addressing playfully or tenderly to his or her right ear.

A friend of mine, who depends on her husband’s money, had been using this trick for many years.

When she wants something, she writes down her wish. For instance: “I need to have his car at my disposal, whenever I want”.

Then she turns the sentence into command:

Jack (his name) is giving his car to … (her name) with pleasure,
each time she needs it.”

She prepares some tasty dinner (or invites friends), makes him drunk. Then she waits until her husband falls asleep. When she is sure, she tenderly whispers the prepared phrase into his right ear. After that, she tells that he is a very good boy, and she is very much pleased with him. Then she kisses his right ear, caresses him and goes to sleep herself, satisfied.

As far as I know, he had never refused her, except for the moments, when the roads were icy or snowy.

Journal Reference:
Marzoli et al. Side biases in humans (Homo sapiens): three ecological studies on hemispheric asymmetries. Naturwissenschaften, 2009; DOI: 10.1007/s00114-009-0571-4
Natalia Levis-Fox

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ingushetia: Wild Beauty, People, Towers, Skiing and Moto biking (Part 2)

According to the antique data, the Ingush ancestors lived in the Northern Caucasus since 3000 BCE.  They used to call themselves “people of God and Sun” (“ma” – sun and “hal” – God).

“Sun” petroglyphs in the Northern Caucasus

Ancient Ingush were pagans and they cultivated sun, as the source of life, power and wellness. For 5000 years of this faith, their attitude to Sun reflected in their official solar symbol – flag of Ingush Republic:

The circle in the middle (sun) is surrounded by 3 rays.

This ancient solar petroglyph
(i.e. drawing, writing or inscription on stone,
as a painting on a cave wall)

means eternity, movement, dynamics of life, creation and wellness. This state symbol is very popular among modern Ingush now.

The shining neon solar symbol on The Curovs’ tower
(transcribed as [tzurov])

It both protects from disasters and gives wellness, prosperity and hope for the best.

For centuries, the Ingush lived by laws of patriarchal clans - “types”. They had collective property, production tools, consumption and territorial integrity.

After Georgian missioners had brought Christianity to Northern Caucasus, the Ingush started to build family towers in the 12th century. Each family or type had their own tower, cemetery or crypts. 

Legend about the Curovs’ tower construction

Many centuries ago, in Dzheirakh there lived Chur Curov with his four sons. Once he went hunting to forests high in the mountains. Suddenly he saw a naked man, milking a female deer into a beautiful gold cup . He killed the animal, and the man run away.

Chur brought the cup home and his sons decided to build a military family tower. They prepared the ground for the tower and put the cup at the basis. They invited a famous master who had built the Curovs’ tower for 61 cows and bulls. At that time 60 cows and bulls were equivalent to a big sum of money for building towers, as the construction lasted for a year.

Modern Curovs at their tower

Lydia Curov, a girl from a distant branch of the big family

Dzheirakh region, the highlands of towers and ancient history
described in the article (white circle)

To be continued...

Natalia Levis-Fox

Friday, January 11, 2013

Psychology of Pleasure: Truth about the Truth

Did you know that your own truth about yourself and events is the main in this world?

Did you use, follow or believe somebody else’s truth?

Foreign truth (i.e. imposed by other people) often hurts, even physically!
On the contrary, your own truth is pleasant and comforting.

Of course, nobody argues or doubts so-called ‘universal truth’, like “The sun rises on the East”, or “Seasons follow each other”, or

“Ice is cold”…

,,, “End of summer and autumn is the harvest time of abundance”…

…”Cherries are nice, and art intensifies beauty”.

Your own desires and needs are the unique and pleasant truth about you…

When in bed: either before going to sleep or after awakening, you are free to think about your own wishes, secrets and best qualities. They are your truths!

If somebody does not understand or value you, then you live and communicate with the wrong type of person. It’s their problem, not yours!

Do not practice “affirmations”, created by gurus or other popular authors. Certainly, they created these affirmations for you and your wellness. But they are not yours.

It was discovered that individuals with low self-esteem actually felt worse about themselves after repeating positive self-statements, like: "I am a lovable person" (Wood et al., 2009). Paradoxically, low self-esteem individuals' moods fared better when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts. Unreasonably positive self-statements, such as "I accept myself completely," can provoke contradictory thoughts in individuals with low self-esteem.

The best way to deal with your own truths is the following:
1. Explore your own needs in different life areas and turn your discoveries into pleasant truths about yourself.

My ebook “How to Create Love” will guide you (free report)

2. Caress yourself with pleasant truths:

- “My pleasant truth is that I need … and I will get it”
- My pleasant truth is that I do not like (smth or smb), and I need a better person (thing, quality), etc

Practice regularly, the results will surprise you

Scientific reference
Wood et al. Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others. Psychological Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02370.x

Yours with pleasure,
Natalia Levis-Fox

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ingushetia: Wild Beauty, People, Towers, Skiing and Moto biking (Part 1)

We planned to ski in Karpaty (Ukraine) and see the New 1213 Year with our friends. Weather forecast (+10 C and rains) made us change our pleasant plans. So, we went to explore Ingushetia and stay in

Armhi, spa resort hotel, high in the mountains

View from hotel

We had never been there before and Ingushetia became a real discovery,

a wild lovely perl with divine air, gorgeous nature,

unexpected ancient architecture

and friendly people. 
Adam Curov, representative of a very ancient Ingush family, rescuer

I was so charmed by Ingushetia and its people, monuments and culture, that I did an extended research. The results will make several articles (posts). I hope you will also enjoy them.

The Republic of Ingushetia (Russian: Респу́блика Ингуше́тия, Respublika Ingushetiya; Ingush: ГӀалгӀай Мохк Ğalğaj Moxk) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic), located in the North Caucasus region with its capital at Magas. In terms of area, the republic is the smallest of Russia's federal subjects except for the two federal cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was established on June 4, 1992 after the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was split in two.The republic is home to the indigenous Ingush, a people of Vainakh ancestry. Population: 412,529 (2010 Census).
The name "Ingushetia" is derived from an ancient village of Ongusht (renamed in 1859 to Tarskaya and in 1944 transferred to North Ossetia) and the Georgian ending -eti, all together meaning "(land) where the Ingush live".
Ingushetia is situated on the northern slopes of the Caucasus. It has an area of c. 4,000 km². It borders Republic of North Ossetia–Alania,  Chechen Republic and Georgia (southwards). The highest point is the Gora Shan (4451 m).
A 150 km stretch of the Caucasus Mountains runs through the territory of the republic.


The Ingush, a nationality group indigenous to the Caucasus, mostly inhabit the Republic of Ingushetia. They refer to themselves as Ghalghai (from Ingush: Ghal ("fortress") and ghai ("inhabitants", or, according to another Russian interpretation, "citizen"). The Ingush speak the Ingush language, which has a very high degree of mutual intelligibility with neighboring Chechen.


The Ingush are predominantly Shāfi‘ī Madh'hab of Sunni Islam with some Sufi minority which are often associated with one of two traditional Sufi orders: the Sufi tariqa Naqshbandi, represented in Ingushetia by the brotherhood of Deni Arsanov, and the tariqa Qadiriyyah, associated with Kunta-Haji Kishiev.

To be continued…
Natalia Levis-Fox