Shards of Consciousness


The Short Version

Shards of Consciousness is devoted to articles and information on reaching your goals, personal development, self-awareness, and time management. These are tools to help you change your beliefs, change your life, and create your world.

The Long Version

Hi! I'm Rick Cockrum. The dreaded and omnipresent they say I should tell a little something about myself on this page so that you see I have a clue what I'm talking about in the articles on this blog.

I was born in 1958 in Illinois to a couple who had migrated there from Alabama in the 1950s. I joined the Air Force right after graduating from high school, where I worked in munitions maintenance and started taking courses for college. I also began reading in Eastern philosophy and the occult movements of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. During this time I lived in Colorado and Florida.

After getting out of the Air Force I moved to Pennsylvania, where I met my first wife. We had two wonderful boys, one of whom works with computers now (and who shot the beautiful photograph you see in the header here), while the other is in the Marines. I attended the University of Pennsylvania and, while working full time, earning my Bachelor's degree in Psychology.

My wife and I divorced. I remarried a couple of years later to the woman I still love. She had one boy, who is now in the Army, and we had a daughter between us. My wife and I currently live with our daughter and one of our granddaughters in a small town in Pennsylvania.

I didn't get an advanced degree for several reasons. The psychiatric model of human beings is that we are biological machines. While this is true to an extent, it leaves the most meaningful part of a person out of the equation. The normal psychological model of human beings is also primarily biologically based, though not to the extent of the psychiatric model, but the experience I had with people who had gone through counseling didn't encourage me in the view that I would be able to help people much as a psychologist, so I didn't think it would be right for me to take the amounts of money people pay psychologists for what I saw as little benefit. I was also influenced by my prior studies of Eastern psychology and mysticism in this, as well as the writings of Allan Wheelis (How People Change), Albert Ellis, and Robert Harper (A Guide To Rational Living).

So, with my Bachelor's degree in hand, I went into the world. I ended up working with people with development disabilities for the next seven years. This was rewarding, but I began feeling like I had two families, so I left the field. During this time I taught myself computer programming, got acquainted with AOL, and then the internet when it became available.

After leaving my position working with the handicapped, I went to a local community college and got some formal training in computer programming, but decided employment in the field would cost more in time and energy than I wished to spend away from my family. Since I found social service a more emotionally rewarding field, I applied for and got a position as a service coordinator with a local housing authority, a position which I still have. A service coordinator is a type of social worker who works with elderly people and people with disabilities to provide services to try to keep them in their homes when their age or disability makes it difficult for them to care for themselves. It is a way for the state to save money and the individual to retain their independence and dignity by keeping them out an institutional setting as long as possible.

My wife and I also own a small single screen theatre. Every weekend, Friday through Sunday, you can find us there supplying entertainment the way it used to be before the multiplexes became popular. That is where I do a lot of my website design work and decide on the subjects I want to talk about in this blog.

Finally! The life history is over and I'm getting to the reason why this blog even exists.

I started my internet site, Cockrum Publishing to sell the software I had written. Currently I have two products, Amibook, a personal information manager, and ResTrax, software for Service Coordinators.

I wanted to give back some of the things I have learned over the years, things that have helped me live my life and make sense out of world, as well as make a few dollars, so in 2006 I began this blog. I believe there is nothing more important for you than to learn who you are, to change the parts of your personality you don't like, and develop the parts you do like so you can be an effective, loving human being. I'm arrogant enough to think what I have learned or come to believe over the years has yielded some tools to assist you in this task.

From what I have seen over the years, the only thing people really want is to be happy. You may choose any of a number of avenues to get there, but you want to be happy. The purpose of the articles on this blog is to show you some tools that can help you in the search for happiness in your life, both in the short term and in the long term. Long term, the only true happiness is spiritual. Short term, since the beliefs and assumptions you have built about yourself and the world over the years determine your emotional state and physical circumstances, many of these tools focus on clarifying and changing these internal programs, especially those that are self-destructive and self-limiting. Others show how to replace negative beliefs with more positive, fulfilling beliefs.

Many of the tools and techniques are explained in general terms. Just reading something, whether here or somewhere else, won't do you any good. You have to incorporate what you read into your own world view, your own system of beliefs, in order to take ownership of it and get any good out of it. This takes work. Miracles and overnight changes don't often happen. You will have good days and bad days, good months and bad months, even good years and bad years. But if you do the work, over time you will see changes for the better.

I named this blog Shards of Consciousness after many false starts. The name is intended to convey the idea that here you will find ideas and techniques, not all of which are obviously part of a larger picture, that can aid in illuminating your world, your personality, who you are, where you come from, and where you're going.

If you find the information here useful, subscribe. I would enjoy hearing your comments on the articles that you read, both good and bad (though not flamebait or personal derogations - these will be deleted), and will reply as I am able.

Exploring Pathways to Freedom