Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving-Pictures

The Bottom Line

Let’s try to be thankful for all that we do have and not just because of this one day a year where we fill up on enough turkey to put us to sleep. You don’t have to look too far to find something to complain about or something you don’t have. It’s easy to see what we lack and harder to count our blessings. And the blessings worth treasuring are not monetary, but the loved ones that are in our life whether they are family or close friends. There’s a lot to be grateful for and it usually begins at home.



William Blake



 

 

Some Contacts Are Not Worth Keeping: Let the Bridge Burn!

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Burning Bridge


Some people insist that you never want to burn a bridge, especially in professional settings. But, what if there is mismanagement, miscommunications, terrible leadership, indecisiveness, and “too many chiefs, but not enough Indians?” How about a football team. Can a football team work effectively if everyone insists on being the quarterback and the team is unable to work together because everyone wants to be the alpha? Can a marriage or relationship work if both parties refuse to communicate with each other and set clear expectations? Ever date someone who could not communicate what they want and how long did that relationship last? Ever work with clients or in an environment where everything a company leader should not do, that person decided to do?

What about respect? Have you ever had to cut ties with a self-centered friend where everything was always about them? What about dating someone who couldn’t trust anything you did because of their own insecurities? And what if you had to work with people who refuse to respect or trust your abilities because it’s more about their ego and their need to be in charge? If people flat-out refuse to respect your expertise or trust what you are capable of then, I don’t believe that you should desire to salvage that relationship. Period. If there are big egos and entitled behavior where mismanagement is so bad, communication is so terrible then what choice do you have? I do not believe in the type of diplomacy where I must sacrifice my own self-worth and integrity. I do not agree that one must be a martyr in personal or professional situations where one must continuously turn the other cheek only for a repeated slap to eventually turn into a punch.

How many hits do you have to take before you take a stand and say that you deserve better?


The Bottom Line:

I am rather positive on this site. However, I am a firm believer in being an honest writer. Being brutally honest might not feel comfortable or sound like an Anthony Robbins self-help talk. Not that I don’t love that sort of thing, but it’s imperative to not ignore or dismiss fundamental problems especially when working with either dysfunctional professional situations or individuals in your personal life where you should take a stand.

If leadership is lacking it’s usually indicative of a larger issue that stems from the person who’s been given the keys to the company. It’s the same with how a child’s behavior is a reflection on parenting skills. If you’ve got a friend or a relationship that leaves you feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of or where there is a lack of reciprocity, team work, respect and you’ve noticed this to be a repeated pattern. Then you have to ask yourself how much do you love and respect yourself? If you’re around incompetent “decision makers” that continuously make horrible decisions, ones that can potentially cost the company additional funds, not to mention added chaos. A bridge should only be available and cared for if indeed it’s worth it. If you respect and honor yourself you’ll know that you deserve better.

Sometimes the only solution is to take a lighter fluid, ignite the match and burn that bridge down.



Robert Tew



Law and Injustice in Ferguson: Wilson Walks

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I would think that if Darren Wilson were to be indicted then he would have been arrested by now. In paraphrasing, that’s basically what CNN news anchor Don Lemon explained based upon a couple of interviews conducted just minutes before the grand jury announcement, and it definitely made sense. This racially charged tragedy has definitely stirred a deep feeling of injustice and not only for those in Ferguson, Missouri. When it comes to race, things can often become complicated, especially for those of us who are mixed ethnicities. Some of us American mutts face more peculiar looks and questions than others who look more like one obvious ethnicity.



Justice is supposed to surpass race. It’s not just an ethical issue but also one that questions our moral integrity as a society. I believe the grand jury’s decision is unfair and I am not remotely comfortable with it. At the very least, as one who is unable to check just one racial box, it’s undeniably frustrating. I am often asked to pick between the options of “two or more races – not Hispanic,” “Hispanic” or Asian — but where’s the choice for Asian and Hispanic? How can it be in the U.S. melting pot that there isn’t a box for “two or more race including Hispanic?” And why does Hispanic even need to be specified? Some job applications allow for a “two or more races” box to be checked and leave out the “not Hispanic” part. For the most part, most job applications expect individuals to choose one ethnicity. If you are more than one race, you must choose one over another.

I am not sure how my ethnicity qualifies or disqualifies me from having the necessary skill set, education, and experience required to do a job. But, this is just one minor personal annoyance when having to deal with this touchy topic. People just hate talking about race.


The Bottom Line:

Officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed Michael Brown, shooting him six times. If Michael Brown was intimidating as Darren Wilson claims and was acting out or not cooperating with instructions. Why wasn’t a stun gun or other non-deadly methods used instead? Especially for someone who was unarmed? Prosecutor Robert McCulloch (who has been rumored to be extremely pro-law enforcement) made the bizarre, long and drawn out announcement. Where he proceeded to sound as if he was trying to justify how the verdict was decided. If this were a case involving two random individuals, someone would have been arrested by now. But, since it involves someone with a badge, it looks like the “evidence” shows that Officer Darren Wilson will get to go back to his job and his everyday life. Meanwhile, a grieving family and a community suffers through the loss of an innocent life gunned down.

What made the grand jury decide to believe some witnesses and discount others? Perhaps it’s true that those in law enforcement really do serve and protect their own. No, I do not agree with the riots, looting, and violence taking place that’s burning down the Ferguson community. However, I personally have family in law enforcement in New York and regardless I still honestly believe that justice was not served.



Martin Luther King, Jr



 

 

It’s Not About You!

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Having a peace that surpasses human understanding is a challenge in almost any situation. There are natural human emotions that course through our bodies in response to professional or personal experiences. But, if you are unable to find peace, then you must examine the feelings inside you and decide for yourself what lesson you will learn.

On a personal level, we all hope that we are able to elevate ourselves above negativity. Instead, we strive to bring into our lives everything that’s good, that we know that we are abundant in every department, which makes up our universe and we lack no resources. While some of us exist with that deep knowledge within us, the reality might be to the contrary. In our professional lives we might have all the skills necessary to prove our competency, but one cannot force respect from others. Respect is “earned,” as some might say, yet even if it’s earned we still live in a world full of stubborn people who sometimes aren’t willing to respect you. It stops becoming about whether or not you “earned” respect and it starts becoming about someone else’s ignorance.

Especially in professional circles, I have found that some people will refuse to show any sort of respect for education, skills and competency regardless of what you do or how much you prove. The greatest lesson I have learned in how and why people treat you the way they do is that their behavior very rarely has anything to do with you. A person’s arrogance, entitlement and egoism — and let’s not forget the natural chip on one’s shoulder — is a reflection of whatever unresolved baggage they still lug around. Read the rest of this entry »

An Artist’s Perspective: A Calling

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There are sure paths that some take, ones that are not riddled with uncertainty. Plenty of people choose a stable career. There isn’t any ambiguity. You go to medical school, you get out and do your residency, and then you’re a doctor.

It’s not so cut and dry for those that have chosen the arts, however. For some it’s not a decision that they woke up one day and thought they’d like to do. It’s more of a calling.


The Bottom Line:

There are some risks in life that are worth taking. Regardless if your path might not be the conventional or safe one, the world needs all kinds of people. What would the world be like without art, without music, without films, without books, without dance, without opera? We would all be shells devoid of creativity, the life force of spirit.



Georgia O'Keeffe



Be Your Own Ally: The Value of Failing

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Two Thumbs Up!!Maybe you live in a world where everyone cheers you on, where everyone is on your side and no one wants to rain on your parade. If so, then I’d love to visit your universe because, in reality, where good exists so does the bad. And if you grew up being told all your life that everything you did was great, that you could do no wrong, then your first sign of rejection probably turned your world upside down.

While it’s fine to get a trophy just for participating, the blow of a loss, rejection, a letdown, and, yes, failure can be just as much of a prize. It might not sound logical at first but understanding how to take a hit is just as valuable, if not, more so than all the gooshy flattering words of affirmation one can spew on another.

Who doesn’t love positive words to affirm our value, self-worth, and give us meaning where we might otherwise feel void of purpose? Who doesn’t want to be reminded of our greatness, to be told we can do anything and everything? When in reality we might hate exercise, for example, so becoming an Olympic athlete might be out of the question. Read the rest of this entry »

Success Doesn’t Require A Leap, But A Micro-Step

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New-Year-ResolutionsAccording to recent 2014 statistics, here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions: lose weight; get organized; save more money; enjoy life more; stay fit; learn something new; quit smoking; help others; fall in love; and spend more time with family.

However, out of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolution, 24 percent fail and only 8 percent actually succeed.

Many people also have a bucket list of what they’d like to achieve before they leave this earth. Running a marathon happens to be one of the most popular. In 1976 there were approximately 25,000 marathon finishers, a small number compared to the record high of 541,000 determined runners that completed marathons in 2013. This is despite the Boston marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. Rather than deterring Americans, the tragedy perhaps inspired more runners to put on their running shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Evolution Of Halloween

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Halloween was influenced by Celtic harvest festivals with a purpose to confront the power of death with humor and ridicule. Devout religious folk might blame paganism, but it was Western Christianity that initially celebrated All Hallow’s Eve. This was the day that Christians went to church and lit candles on graves in remembrance of the dead. Rather than costumes or candy, Western Christians refrained from eating meat on All Hallow’s Eve. Though, in the 19th century costumes would be revived and made popular by Scottish and Irish immigrants.


Helloween-Holidays


The Bottom Line:

As you dress your little ones and enjoy ‘trick or treating’ with family or friends at a costume party, enjoy the many influences that helped Halloween evolve into the fun celebration it is today.



Shakespeare



Maryville H.S. Shooting: One of Six School Shootings in Six Months

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There have been six fatal school shootings during which innocent victims were killed in the past six months within the United States. However, there have been a total of 15 school shootings in as many months. Of these documented incidents since May, nine of the shootings lead to injuries and no deaths. One of the 15 shooting was death by suicide (a bullied 14 year-old Lamar Hawkins killed himself in a middle school restroom). Since January 2014 there have been a total of 39 school or university related shootings, as a result of which some combination of injury, death or both was reported. Not all are student related. One incident involved a knife-wielding man who was shot and killed on the San Jose University campus. Two of the 39 documented shootings since January were fatal marital spats. One man murdered his wife in a school parking lot and then later turned the gun on himself. 33 year-old Michelle Wilcox also suffered the same fate as she was shot and killed by husband Antonio Wilcox behind a Miami preschool. One other student, Zachary Leyes, like Lamar Hawkins decided to take his own life.

No other country experiences this type of violence amongst its youth. This seems to be unique to the United States. Why? Is it the deterioration of family values? Could it be as simple as a desire to commit copy-cat murder? Perhaps.

But in today’s incident, the school shooter was reportedly NOT bullied by peers. However it is rumored that popular freshman Jaylen Fryberg might have been publicly taunted via social media regarding his relationship, or lack thereof, with a female love interest. Regardless, what is unanimously reported is that Jaylen was a popular, well-liked, football player and had been recently crowned “Homecoming Prince.” It has been revealed that he just came off school suspension after fighting with another student. Now, older tweets by students are surfacing and various news sources and student witnesses claim that Fryberg apparently asked the girl out but she basically rejected him. As a result, he shot and killed her, wounded four other students and ultimately took his own life. Perhaps, Jaylen Fryberg had difficulty dealing with rejection and humiliation.


1.) October 24, 2014,

Maryville, WA

bullets_PNG1468Maryville High School Shooting

Four injured, one dead not including the killer (Jaylen Fryberg) who shot himself.

2.) October 3, 2014,

Fairburn, GA

bullets_PNG1468Langston Hughes High School (Parking Lot)

One dead (18 year-old Eric Dana Johnson Jr. was arrested alive).

3.) September 10, 2014

Lake Mary, FL

bullets_PNG1468Greenwood Lakes Middle School

One dead (14 year-old Lamar Hawkins shot himself in the school bathroom).

3.) June 10, 2014

Troutdale, Oregon

bullets_PNG1468Reynolds Oregon High School Shooting

One teacher injured, one student dead not including (15 year-old Jared Michael Padgett) who shot himself.

5.) June 5, 2014

bullets_PNG1468Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington

Two injured, one dead. 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra is currently being held at King County Jail.

6.) May 23, 2014,

bullets_PNG1468Isla Vista, California

Six injured, six dead not including the killer (Elliot Rodgers) who shot himself.


Bottom Line:

Are kids so fragile in the 21st century that they can’t deal with bullying, not being liked, being unpopular, or a relationship break-up or rejection? No matter how “well adjusted” youth or kids today might appear? Fryberg was NOT the typical isolated, bullied, 14 year-old with a history of mental illness. Was he mentally unstable? Well, to do what he did I would say so. However, no one expected this from a popular kid. Though, he was overly excited when his parents decided to buy him a GUN for his birthday, one that he was rather proud of, as he gloated with a picture via Instagram. Perhaps parents ought not to buy their kids guns, and guns should not be so readily accessible to our youth today. Above all else, we need to seriously consider MANDATORY parenting classes in hopes to instruct parents, as well as educators on how to teach healthy coping skills to vulnerable/fragile/mentally unstable teens and young adults.



Ayn Rand Gun Quote



 

 

 

Video Killed the Radio Star But Can Breathe Life Into Your Brand

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Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notesIs it truly necessary to continue to spend hundreds, if not, thousands of marketing dollars for a pricey commercial spot during prime time? For major billion dollar companies, it’s a no brainer. They can afford to have a rather lofty budget set aside for an all inspiring cinematic commercial shot at some exotic location. Hey, whatever it takes to get you into that brand new 2015 vehicle.

It’s frightening for many of us to realize that many youth today will never know a time before the Internet. Truth be told, most of us can admit that regardless of what generation we’ve been born into, we now can’t image doing without the Internet.

Back in 1992, the Internet was limited to large companies such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research that launched CERN, which will go down in our history books as the very first website launched. Now days, anyone can create their own website. Simple template-based tools such as Wix and WordPress.com allow anyone with browser access to create a professional site without needing to know a lick of code. Read the rest of this entry »

Love is an Action, Not a Text Message

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There is strong speculation that there are numerous ways love is demonstrated and expressed. There are also varying definitions for what love is based upon the individual, because love can often be very subjective.

According to the well-known self-help book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, love can be expressed through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. However, from my perspective all of these can be grouped into one simple category: action.

My experience in dealing with a dysfunctional, cold and emotionless family and the ups and downs of personal and romantic relationship tells me that everyone to some degree can relate to either giving too much love or not receiving enough. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Chapman is correct that there are various ways you can express love, but the best way is through action.8839468-i-love-you-hd
Read the rest of this entry »

Setting Expectations in Your Professional & Personal Life

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According to an article from Harvard Business Review, Four Mistakes Leaders Keep Making, a common behavioral trap to fall into is the failure to set proper expectations. While the article is geared toward working professionals in various fields, setting expectations is imperative in your personal life as well.

expectationsLack of communication can cause the smallest conflict to erupt into World War III. While there is an art to every craft, there are different types of genius. Muhammad Ali couldn’t develop the theory of relativity because he wasn’t a physicist. Albert Einstein, meanwhile, wasn’t trained to win 56 out of 61 boxing bouts, 37 of those victories by way of knock out.

No matter how brilliant Ali was in the ring or Einstein was at science, neither completed a musical composition at the age of 5 like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Your Voice & The Internet

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I will make this short and sweet today. Most of us yearn to share what is on our mind. Most of us don’t always feel heard and that’s what makes some of us turn to writing. Be warned of what you write, because your words hold immense amount of power.

I recently wrote about the major pitfalls of obtaining your own health insurance. To this day, I still haven’t received my health insurance card. I am still waiting until Monday to call HealthNet back to ask them if they “found” my check. Yes, I mailed the check via online banking the way most folks in the 21st Century pay bills. So, to give you a little background before I dive into the power of the Internet, I wanted to share what had initially prompted me to write the article in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

The Major Pitfalls of Obtaining Your Own Health Insurance

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I try to stay positive on this site, but my recent health care fiasco left me struggling to take deep breaths to calm down, attempting not to scream as a result of my frustration.

I recently transitioned from working full time for an employer to becoming my own boss. It’s had its ups and downs for sure. The work, at least initially, can be sporadic, so it’s difficult to determine specifically how much you’ll actually make monthly much less annually. The first year of self-employment is not as steady as the second year, I’m told. I certainly hope so.

stethoscope-on-moneyI found that I make too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal, which is not a bad problem to have. Yet, because there is still three months remaining in the year, and having just started my freelance practice, I cannot accurately predict how much I stand to make. So, I’ve been searching for a health plan that fits my wallet, and I wanted to be reasonably conservative.

Going cheap definitely has its pitfalls. I was asked how often I go to the doctor, but the plan that was the most attractive in terms of cost only gave me the option (and hope) to visit one up to two times within one calendar year. The insurance plans that are most affordable to healthy young adults include incredibly high deductibles. In other words, you basically don’t really have insurance. Often times you are required to pay $2,000 or more out of pocket within the year before your benefit finally kicks in. Say What?! Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Friending

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There are some positions in life that cannot be replaced. One of those is the job of being an older sister. I don’t talk to all of my family, but I definitely appreciate the way one sister in particular who always has my back.

sistersMaria is my oldest sister who I always have been able to talk to, someone who withholds judgment and, most importantly, is down to Earth. That is a big plus for me. She has never made me feel like there was any sort of sibling rivalry between us. Read the rest of this entry »

Producing Your Own Opportunity in a Creative World

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Healthy competition exists in every industry. However, some fields are much more competitive than others. This is especially true for the entertainment industry and most, if not all, creative fields.

Creative-peopleIf you don’t want the stress of not knowing how or when you will break into the industry, then entertainment is certainly not for you. There are many people who choose a career in medicine, law, engineering, technology, and computer science because these are fields that, while not without stiff competition, tend to be more stable. That is a healthy goal to have, especially when you start building a family.

For those of us who have a desire to not simply work but to thrive in a particular creative field, then we have to be prepared to think outside of the box. Creativity after all is a prerequisite for us to get work in the first place, and it should also be used for how we make our career plans. Read the rest of this entry »

ALS Challenge Joke on Autistic Teen: Sign of Ailing Society?

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On September 4, an Autistic boy was duped into doing the ALS ice bucket challenge. Unbeknownst to him rather than ice in the bucket, he was doused with urine, feces, spit, and cigarette butts.



 The Bottom Line

This horrific and inhuman act is beyond cruel. Whoever participated ought to receive the maximum punishment. The local police and school district are investigating.

Comedian Drew Carey is offering $10,000 to catch who did this. Come on, someone must know! This is an AWFUL and CRUEL prank. No one deserves this type of treatment. How can kids these days get away with something so disgusting? They posted this on Instagram. Can’t Instagram or any of these other social networking sites help authorities locate who the account belongs to? Don’t kids realize these days the repercussions of what is posted on the Internet and that the information is not private? What happened to common sense?

There have been numerous bullying awareness programs released by various educational institutions, groups, states and the federal government over the past several years. But, this is an act way beyond bullying. It is inhuman and disgusting. This is treating someone like they are an animal or even worse.

Whoever is in charge of investigating this “prank” ought to start working over time and all “teens” regardless of whether or not they are minors ought to be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.



 

Macklemore



 

 

An Inspirational View On the Ferguson Shooting & Culture

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Let’s find out who this guy is, it’s been going around Facebook. Very deep. Worth watching.



Marcus Garvey



 

 

 

When It’s Time to Divorce Your Family

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I am thoroughly amused by the plethora of topics at our disposal via peculiar sites on the web. I Google “pet peeves” just for fun and came across dumb.com, getannoyed.com, and a variety of articles ranging from college humor to Vibe’s article on the 20 most common pet peeves.

Do you have a pet peeve? Most certainly you do, and probably several. No matter how nice you might be or if you have all the patience in the world there will always be someone or something that gets under your skin like no one or nothing else.

Just like bizarre fetishes, there are common and not so common pet peeves that drive people bonkers. I once dated a guy who hated lip balm. You might be thinking, “huh?” Yeah, I felt the same way too. Here’s what happened.

He worked with someone who obsessively applied the stuff. Apparently, this particularly annoying co-worker re-applied lip balm every other minute regardless of the fact that his lips weren’t even chapped. This left his lips in a permanent state of not just over-gloss but also made him look like he just devoured a lit candle. He clearly was addicted to the lip balm, feeling he needed to slather himself with it when in reality he only needed it in especially sunny, dry, cold or windy conditions.

Everyone has at least one pet peeve. I don’t care who you are. The late Mother Teresa had to have had at least one thing that others disliked about her, even if that was only the fact she loved everyone unconditionally. That has to piss someone off, right?

Unfortunately, people can tell you to not let “it” (whatever that it may be) get to you, but we’re all human. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve got a pet peeve until it rears its head. What gets to me, to the extent that it has affected my mood and has sparked episodes of depression, is dealing with a person who feels the need to one-up me. I understand that there are competitive people out there, but I do not believe that being overly competitive, rude even, equals success. In fact, I find some highly competitive people to be toxic. Read the rest of this entry »

RIP Joan Rivers

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lilpickmeup:

A very sad day to have lost another beautiful human being with so much spirit. She gave the world so much and refused to quit.

She left us all better people.

She left her humor and laughter and spunk. She wasn’t ordinary and that is why there will never be another Joan Rivers.



Joan Rivers



 

Originally posted on The Journal:

Joan-Rivers-Black-White-photo001Look in a dictionary under ‘relentless’, ‘energy’, ‘ incredible’ or ‘professional’ and there you will find a pic of Ms Joan Rivers. 1933 – 2014.

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Is the Adobe Creative Cloud Worth It?

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Adobe-Creative-Cloud-iconThose of us who were used to buying software licenses off the shelf were a little thrown off by Adobe’s announcement on May 6, 2013 that the company would no longer release new versions of Creative Suite, at least not in the manner we had grown accustomed to.

No longer could users of Photoshop, Premier or Illustrator purchase software updates, install a DVD and run an executable to load the latest updates. Adobe was taking its suite into the cloud, where the company could more easily make updates across platforms and ostensibly save millions of dollars not only on support but product packaging.

But it was Amazon.com in 2006 that truly popularized the term “the cloud” when it released its Elastic Compute Cloud to allow scalable deployment of applications via a Web service. Read the rest of this entry »

A Labor Day Tribute: Giving Gratitude to Those Who Fought for Worker’s Rights

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Peter-j-mcguireAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, there remains speculation over which McGuire (or is it Maguire?) is to credit for the start of Labor Day. New evidence suggests it was Matthew Maguire, though many still believe it was Peter McGuire.

While Matthew Maguire was the secretary of the New York Labor Union in 1882 and led a strike in 1870 with the intended goal of making union leaders aware of the harsh long work hours, most historians say Labor Day was the idea of Peter McGuire. He was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, and is said to have first suggested a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” Read the rest of this entry »

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Self-Employment to Determine if it’s Right for You

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Being self-employed has definite benefits and drawbacks. Owning your own business or working for yourself can sound like a dream come true, but is it really? It’s all up to you and how you prepare yourself and your blossoming business for success.freelance

The positive side to working from home is that you can set your own hours. The down side is that you work from home and set your own hours. It’s very easy to deviate from the hours you plan on working when you are your own boss. Good ideas can come to you in the middle of the night, while cooking dinner or even playing with your children. When you work at home, you’re almost always at work. Think about it. Is that what you really want?

Most self-employed small business owners and freelancers tend to not deviate from their schedules. In other words they are workaholics. They don’t know the meaning of an eight-hour day. In fact, if they don’t work a 12 or 13-hour day they feel like a slacker. At least that’s how I feel. Read the rest of this entry »

Sleep is Our Best Friend for Professional, Personal Health

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Imagine a type of fatigue that numbs you head to toe and scrambles your thoughts until you are engulfed in an incoherent fog. You might be so overcome with exhaustion that you literally cannot see straight. You are drained not by an intense workout at the gym or a long day spent in the sun but by a lack of sleep. But, no matter how tired you are you are unable to rest.

You’re brain will not shut off. Thoughts continue to race around your head as each minute and hour that ticks by makes you more and more frustrated. Insomnia, especially chronic insomnia, can be caused by a numerous factors. Regardless of general causes, studies show that insomnia to be one of the key signs of clinical depression. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing to Feed the Good in Ourselves

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ChoiceManifesting positive energy in our lives benefits more than just our attitude. Positivity can reduce stress, brighten our countenance and potentially make us a magnet for good. When we are negative, however, we can unknowingly repel people and shut doors rather than open us up to new opportunities.

Though for some of us, remaining optimistic isn’t always easy, especially if we are prone to depression. I am a total believer that our minds are much more powerful than we give it credit for, and that we are truly capable of changing our belief system. It’s not easy. For some of us it is a daily task and requires diligent practice. And how we react to depression, or our “bad day,” is crucial. Read the rest of this entry »

The Daunting Statistics on Depression & Suicide: More Awareness = Less Stigma

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Depression and Sorrow


According to recent depression statistics, amongst Americans one out of ten claim to be suffering from depression. Nationally, out of all those who suffer only 20 percent actually get treated. In other words, 80 percent of clinically depressed individuals aren’t being treated at all. And the number of depressed individuals increases by 20 percent annually.

lets-talk-about-mental-healthWhy are so many individuals not receiving treatment for clinical depression? Perhaps the stigma, fear of what family, loved ones, and friends might think or say? Perhaps clinically depressed or the 80 percent that have symptoms of clinical depression are too proud or even embarrassed. Most people do not say that they really enjoy being around someone who is feeling down, especially if the “low days” tend to be often. When depression takes a hold of people susceptible to the illness, it can be situational where the depression is more or less seasonal. Read the rest of this entry »

THE EXTRODINARY HEALING POWER OF MACROBIOTICS

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Guest Author

Melanie Patricia Farkash


In 1985 I was introduced to the macrobiotic or brown rice diet. I will take you on the adventure and show you its amazing healing power.

I started on it as an overweight, 38-year-old woman. My health to say the least was not good at all. My teeth had numerous cavities, crowns and missing teeth. My hair was thin. My eyesight was so bad that I wore bifocals for my myopia and a stigmatism. I also had very little night vision, so I never drove after dark. I also have a variety of hemophilia. My doctors tested the blood for years and said I apparently had everything there in terms of plasma and platelets, but the blood just would not coagulate. Read the rest of this entry »

R.I.P. Robin Williams: The Road to Mental Health Awareness is Not Without its Potholes

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R.I.P. Robin Williams

DEPRESSION: A Serious Illness

In memory of the very tragic, shocking and sudden suicide of Robin Williams, I am re-posting the following article because I find it fitting for the moment. This was written in April and in my article Are Your Feelings Running Your Life, I provided a list of comedians that I learned had suffered or suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or some form of mental illness. And yes, Robin Williams was apart of this list.

In this below article, I was attempting to be strong by boasting that I was trying to go organic without medication by juicing and eating a vegetarian diet. I seriously tried everything. But, since I finally had to come to terms with the fact that I might need to get back on anti-depressants. Despite my attempt to be positive on this blog, I have suffered from depression my entire life and I am now on a low dose of Effexor. There is a very real stigma behind mental illness, especially depression. Everyone wants to say that they are happy, and no one wants to be around someone that only brings them down. Depression is often very embarrassing, especially for the one that is depressed.

We want to put on a happy face and usually can. At the very least we can fake it when out in public. I can be very extroverted, talkative, and positively ambitious. So much so, sometimes, that I am manic. I have a master’s degree at one of the top communication schools in the nation. And yet, I found myself battling with the worst bouts of depression. Everyone would remind me of how attractive, talented, educated I was but none of it mattered because no one understood just how debilitating depression is.

Depression is a disease. Depression can care less about your looks, money, fame, degrees and or bourgeoisie lifestyle. It’s a serious illness that is so stigmatized; it’s no wonder Robin Williams and others that have faced the same battle feared reaching out to get help. When you don’t feel like being alive, it doesn’t matter how much money is in your bank account or what movie deal you just signed.

For the better part of this evening I wept and I wept hard for the loss of Robin Williams. I wept not only because this world lost an amazing and talented and loved human being but because I understand the horrific pit of hell that those of us that suffer from depression can often be dragged into. It’s a spell of hopelessness and utter misery where there seems to be no way out. I have been there and wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to endure a single night of the type of depression that can often convince us that it’s better to control when we die because those of us in pain cannot seem to escape it.

Some of us that have been diagnosed with this unfortunate, terrible disease understand all too well the kind of pain that perhaps Robin Williams was in. I had to get help. I got back on medication and I hope that others experiencing the same type of chemical imbalance or genetic predisposition do the same.





 

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April 11, 2014

The Road to Mental Health Awareness is Not without its Potholes

 

mental-health-iStock_000020845193_SmallMental health is one subject that tends to stir up controversy, as medical professionals and holistic practitioners debate over ways to heal our afflicted “mind” sickness. The most influential people in our lives can be family, friends and even strangers. Some people may agree or disagree on the course of action to take when it comes to a loved one who is mentally ill or suffering from a mood disorder. To some extent we are all searching for a way to cope with life, regardless of our mental and emotional fitness level.

As I said before, it is not easy to wake up in the morning and make an effort to find that glimmer of joy in life. While it comes easy for some, staying positive doesn’t come easy for others. Especially those who are afflicted and diagnosed with clinical depression or any other type of mood disorder; the inability to feel joy comes down to a chemical imbalance or a number of other factors (trauma from current circumstances, from childhood or major life-changing events).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Importance of Listening: Tap into the Journalist inside You

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attentive-listeningI realized that after experiencing both the good and the bad, the one universal desire that everyone has in common— people want to be understood and heard. Every time we open ourselves up to the world, we welcome in criticism, judgment, and every day reality that makes us flawed and human. So, most of us are grateful when we meet nonjudgmental people.

Some people are more introverted than others, but everyone to some degree enjoys having the opportunity to be heard. And unfortunately we’ve all been a little guilty of interrupting others only to insert our own experiences, stories, perspective, and opinion. Extroverted individuals are often guilty of selling themselves a little too much. Personally, I have always experienced social anxiety. Most people wouldn’t know it because I appear quite talkative, energetic, and openly friendly to any stranger I meet. Though, inside, I am aware of nervous energy and social anxiety that have always been with me. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Cliques & What To Keep In Mind: You Can’t Control How Others Behave

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man walking 2 dogs stockI was walking the babies (my dogs) Abe and Abby. Without fail, Abraham gets into everyone’s face immediately, and yes, it can be a little overwhelming. He’s so excited, friendly, lovable and outgoing that his personality is unstoppable. He’s got one goal in mind. Every day, it’s Abraham’s mission to find as many new humans to greet. And if he’s real lucky, he’ll manipulate them with his big grown eyes long enough to get them to pet him.

Abraham loves touch; it’s his love language. Meanwhile, Abigail my little 5-pound Japanese Chin insists on remaining aloof. She gains the spotlight quickly with her pretty long white coat and her dainty princess-like gait. However, most strangers learn quickly that she’s not as excited to see them as they are to see her. She acts like a cat and is so independent, so autonomous that she couldn’t care less about those who dote on her. Read the rest of this entry »

Subjectivity: Are You Too Honest?

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Of course, most individuals state that they want everyone to say exactly what they mean and mean what they say. We grow up being told that we must tell the truth no matter what. But, are there some occasions when being blunt and saying exactly what is on your mind, might be a bad idea?

What if you are a little too straightforward? Read the rest of this entry »

The Biggest Mistakes Family-Owned Companies & Small Businesses Make

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One of the things that I’ve noticed in working with various companies on a freelance basis is how businesses distribute finances and allocate for expenses.

Unfortunately, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is the show of favoritism especially with small businesses that are family owned. Because, there are several individuals who might be a family friend or someone who’s worked with the company for a long time (10-20 plus years.) Unfortunately, this means that these individuals end up getting overpaid hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars more to do what anyone can do. And let’s not forget, others can probably execute and deliver the product or project at a fraction of the cost. It’s like companies play favorites with long time family friends, which wind up causing further complications in the end. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Stress-Free Traveling Tip: Over-Prepare

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Have you ever had a stress-free travel situation where everything just went absolutely perfect? I doubt that anything flows in perfect order, especially when it comes to traveling. I recently had to travel for a freelance gig and started at home attempting to gather my dogs before the work trip, only to find out that they both had fleas. Again. So, I had to get them both in the bath tub, wash them in special flea shampoo and then drop them off to relatives, that would watch them while I was gone. Then, I forgot where I left my car keys and I was scrambling to find them. Ugh.

The airport was sooo crowded as well and so was the airplane. I was stuck on a Southwest Airline flight that doesn’t assign seating. So, I ended up squeezed in a middle seat between two, let’s just say, very large people. In general, traveling can be really stressful. Unexpected situations and scenarios erupt unexpectedly. I didn’t expect my babies (my dogs) to suddenly have fleas. I didn’t expect to have to rush and get everything together at the last minute. Read the rest of this entry »

The Value of True & Honest Friends

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True friendships are hard to come by and the ones that really are your friends will be honest with you. If you have someone in your life that can be brutally blunt with you, then count yourself lucky.

friendship-quotes-4-3452Some friends come across as always happy. They’re all smiles and they’re always complimenting everyone. If you’re the type that will sometimes criticize yourself, the overtly nice friend will be the one to tell you that you’re being ridiculous and your criticism of yourself is simply not true. But, what if it is? Sometimes people really enjoy surrounding themselves with “yes” people. It’s almost like having your own little posse, an entourage. They’re always giving you such wonderful compliments. Read the rest of this entry »

Be Happy with Who You are and Who You are Not

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Upon introspection have you discovered that there are things about your personality that you’d like to change? Has anyone tried to give you unsolicited advice on your character and how to improve it? They might say that you should smile more, speak softer or be more assertive. You might be told to stop interrupting people when they talk or that you’re too quiet and you need to speak up. Read the rest of this entry »

The Wounded Inner Child Part II: Snobbery, The New Prejudice

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NOTE TO MY READERS: This article is unlike my others. Today, I decided to speak my mind and transparently write the truth, without walls. This article is based upon my observation of L.A. culture and my run-ins with countless individuals who seem to have unhealed childhood wounds.


I teach Film History part-time at the International School of Motion Pictures, a small but passionate school geared towards Japanese students highly interested in a film career. Yesterday, we decided to revisit Buffalo 66 because one of my students is highly interested in editing. Buffalo 66 has some great edited scenes, but the story reminds me of the inner wounded child that tends to be in all of us. Vincent Gallo reflects on his own childhood living in Buffalo, N.Y., as he wrote the screenplay inspired or at least influenced by childhood reflections.

The movie is one of my favorites for a number of reasons. It’s a very transparent look into the heart of a wounded child existing in a grown man. The unhealed wounds from our childhood are often unconscious and buried somewhere deep inside of us. It’s not always the case that he or she gets triggered, though, we are lucky if we have an opportunity to confront our inner wounded selves. And, yes, I do say lucky because as bad as it may hurt; we can only grow by discovering that there might be parts of our childhood that we still need to confront and heal. Read the rest of this entry »

Falling in Love Versus Growing in Love

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Do you remember falling in love for the first time? Recall how quickly the feeling intoxicated you, basking in the sheer new glow that your new love showered over you. It’s as if the sky was suddenly bluer, the grass and the trees were greener, and flowers more lush. Everything around you seemed to come alive with more vibrance than ever before.

article-1340275709020-13b6ccfc000005dc-339201_466x310It’s like you took some sort of drug; you felt so high on life. As a matter of fact, according to Psychology Today, falling in love is a lot like smoking crack cocaine! Research conducted by anthropologist and relationship researcher, Dr. Helen Fisher found some outstanding results in her illuminating studies on how love affects our brain chemistry. According to her findings, feelings of love elicit exceptionally high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are the same chemical compounds activated during a cocaine-induced high. There is a clear euphoric effect both drugs and being in love exhibits in our bodies, as our bodies know very little the difference between an illegal substance and falling for your “one and only.” The stimulation is said to sharpen focus and allows one to feel as if they can conquer the world, do anything, and be anything. Read the rest of this entry »

The Wounded Inner Child: Deconstructing Our Egos

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It is during our relationships and interactions with people, regardless if they are friends, relatives, co-workers or distant associates and strangers, that we learn the most about ourselves. If we live like a hermit, no one can push our buttons. However, this requires a life of misery and isolation.

urlFrom personal experience, I have found that the biggest upsets in our lives often teach us the biggest lessons. Family members and close loved ones can especially get under our skin, and for the longest time, I have taken things quite personally. Selfish, ego-centered individuals tend to be born from their wounded inner child and how we were raised.

My perspective has recently changed; I opened up to a new way of seeing my situation and hopefully you can do the same. I really feel sorry for people who cannot see how hurt they really are from their childhood. When one doesn’t face how hurt they are, or were as children, they become damaged adults in damaged relationships. Read the rest of this entry »

When Disaster Strikes: Healing with Compassion

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When unexpected disaster occurs, we’re often caught at a loss for words. You can be driving the speed limit, minding your own business and in your own lane. Suddenly, someone runs a red light and careens into your vehicle hitting you head on. Aside from fractured ribs, a neck brace, whip lash, and a really sore back; you are lucky to get out alive.mw-630-istock-robber-1-630w-1

You’re coming home from a dinner and a movie, still laughing as you recap the funniest scenes with your spouse. You open the door to discover that you’ve been robbed and all of your expensive electronics and jewelry are now gone. Little do you know that the thieves were escaping out the back window as your keys hit the front door lock, and they were armed with guns. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Death Penalty Unconstitutional?

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Is there ever a good reason to take a human life? If one of your relatives were murdered, what would justice look like to you? Is it wrong to take an eye for an eye? Or is it more painful, and just, to let the guilty individual rot in prison for the rest of their life?

Cormac_J._Carney_District_JudgeAccording to U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, today more than 900 individuals in the state of California have been sentenced to death row since 1978. But only 13 of them were executed.

This afternoon’s Los Angeles Times article reported on how Carney scrutinized this apparent flaw in administering the death penalty. He ultimately ruled that lengthy delays and resulting uncertainty as to when or even if an inmate will be executed are in violation of human rights regardless of incarceration. Carney declared the state’s death penalty is “dysfunctional” because sentences have been reduced in essence to “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.” Read the rest of this entry »

Overcoming Hypocrisy

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Deception can be cloaked in silky smooth motive, but behind what may sound exceptionally convincing is the desire to do just what one said they’d never do. It is in our DNA to make mistakes, but being human is not a “get out of jail free” card. Some of us are lucky to have never been confronted with hypocrisy, while others have faced it more times than we’d like to admit.

Hypocrisy is often linked to religion, or at least heavily associated with it, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. We are faced with hypocrisy everyday from how our government operators to our careers to our family and friends. Politics really seems to get our collective goat. Regardless if you are on the right, left or prefer to consider yourself somewhere in the middle, there is plenty of blame, finger pointing, and “caught in the cookie jar” scenarios for just about every political party. Read the rest of this entry »

21st Century Parenting: Who’s Feeding the Family & Who’s Raising the Kids?

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There are some people who just make life look so easy. Nothing personal against men, but the super humans I’ve known have mostly been of the fairer sex.Angelatraining

In interviewing both male and female tattoo artists during my various ink binges, I was told that women could stomach some of the most painful tattoos on the most sensitive places of the body. Women could even withstand hours upon hours of pain without even flinching. Meanwhile, I have heard testimonies from some of the oldest tattoo shops and highly talented tattoo artists in the business that they’ve had male clients actually cry or even stopped the tattoo artist because the pain was too intense. Read the rest of this entry »

Should You Second-Guess Yourself?

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All you have to do is Google “Second Guessing” and you’ll find a host of articles about how to stop questioning yourself. For example, experts say that it’s better to go with your gut when taking a test. But can second guessing yourself in certain situations be a good thing? Read the rest of this entry »

Estranged Family: Is there Ever an Excuse for Burning the Bridge?

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“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr

You might recognize the above serenity prayer by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and although it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1941, it might have been used as early as 1934. Though, the three-line stanza is a modified version of the author’s original, a prayer that was 16 stanzas in length, Niebuhr didn’t know how popular his mantra would become. It circulated throughout the United States Armed Forces, thanks to the FCC, and would become the signature theme for the AA 12-step program.

But it was the philosopher, Epictetus (Ancient Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; AD c. 55 – 135) who wrote:

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, and aversions. In short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing” Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Treasures in the Moment

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Sunday morning, I woke up with the worst stomachache and nausea. When your body isn’t well, it’s hard to do anything much less well. That’s why they say you have to take care of your physical body so that your spiritual, emotional and mental state can function properly.

Needless to say, I felt sick all yesterday and was grateful I felt better today. When you slow things down and take one moment at a time, you discover the little details of life. These details become newly discovered treasures that teach new lessons that cannot be quantified by the triviality of anything tied to human monetary means, labels or definitions. This morning I walked without my brain plugged into my iPhone, no listening to my favorite podcasts. I decided to be in the moment and what a gift an hour walk with the doggies would bring. Read the rest of this entry »

From Tots to Adults: When Spoiled Brats Grow Up into Bigger Ones!

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Remember the stories your parents told you when you were growing up? These were stories of how they had to walk miles just to go to school or the grocery store. Barefoot. In the snow. They had to wake up really early to tend to the farm, and chores in those days were much more labor intensive. Now you are an adult and you look back at your own life. The way we were raised often influences how we will raise our kids. What we will choose to do differently and what we will teach our kids?

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating 238 Years of Independence

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As we prepare to celebrate the birth of America’s independence, it was John Adam’s attempt to actually make July 2nd the day to celebrate America’s independence from Britain. That was the actual date in 1776 that the Second Constitutional Congress voted to declare its intentions. The Revolutionary War officially ended on July 4, 1783, and it wasn’t until 1938 that the Fourth was declared the actual federal holiday. Ironically John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the 4th of July, making the day even more memorable.

Ellis_island_1902Another fact that most do not know is that the United States is not alone in celebrating the 4th. Because so many Europeans immigrated to the United States in the 1900s Denmark, Norway, Sweden and, interestingly, even England all celebrate the Fourth of July. The first barbecue grill also made its way to American backyards in the 1950s, thanks to Chicago native Don McGlaughlin. Most American’s will congregate around the grill this weekend and, of course, watching fireworks. Contrary to what some believe, Americans were not the first to invent the barbecue. Anthropologists say that mastering the fire during our primitive years is precisely what today draws man to grill outdoors over flame. Read the rest of this entry »

Put Down the Magnifying Glass & Pick Up a Mirror

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There is never a better chance to truly understand yourself than when you are being ultra-critical about someone else. Both joy and anger are two emotions that can be easily impacted for better or worse. Think about it. Have you ever been elated at having such a marvelous day that you tell yourself there is absolutely nothing that can ruin your mood? Or, conversely, you are having the worst day of your life. You are so angry, there is nothing on earth that can take away the wrath you feel in your heart.

What if on your happiest day you receive news that a friend you lent your brand new car to was in an accident? Or you come home and find out you’ve been robbed? Your home and possession are not insured, so although you file a police report you cannot salvage the loss. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Quirky? Don’t Fight it. Flaunt it!

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According to the Cambridge online dictionary, the English definition of “quirk” noun [C] /kwɜrk/ › is an unusual habit or type of behavior, or something that is strange and unexpected:

a personality quirk

It’s just one of the quirks of living there.greekthingy

quirky /ˈkwɜr·ki/ adjective [-er/-est only]

› a quirky, offbeat sense of humor

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary quirky <adjective › means different from the ordinary in a way that causes curiosity or suspicion.

While there are many, many ordinary individuals on this planet there are quite a few with idiosyncrasies, and let’s just say these extraordinary individuals might be considered, well, peculiar. Google breaks down idiosyncrasy and its origin best: Early 17th century (originally in the sense ‘physical constitution peculiar to an individual’): from Greek idiosunkrasia, from idios ‘own, private’ + sun ‘with’ + krasis ‘mixture.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Rising Debt: Are You Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses?

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JonesesEver check out the U.S. debt clock? The national debt continues to rise and rise with each passing second. Trust me, I bet you’ll find it more frightening than your favorite horror movie. Read the rest of this entry »