Friday, February 27, 2009

RESIST DOING THINGS THAT...

Pablo Casals wrote about his legacy, “...[I]t is the lesson of never losing touch with life, one’s own and that of others, to resist doing things that have no meaning for life.”

Resist doing things that have no meaning for life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DRINKING IS THE NEW NORMAL

For years now, I’ve longed to be a New Yorker. I’m not quite sure what that means. I mean, I don’t like spitting on vagabonds, having sex in the rambles, or selling drugs to junior high school kids. Oh, well, maybe someday...

Well, according to a new study by Siena Research Institute, that someday is now. How’s that? Well, let’s look at the numbers:

  • New Yorkers drink more than other city folks. 63% drank in the last year
  • Of those that drink, 46% have one or two drinks a week
  • Only 21% average more than a drink a day

But from my experience, 100% of New Yorkers consumed at least 42 drinks a week, but maybe that’s just my friends. Nevertheless, for the last few years, when I stumble home drunk, I cower in shame and guilt, feeling like a dirty whore. But no more! My alcoholism is New York. Thank you, vodka soda and Vlada’s mint kamikaze!

I’m finally a New Yorker. Yeessss!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HELP OTHERS...

The three mothers in China had never met until their only children were killed in Ohio.

On March 8, 2007, Bian “Jack” Jin, 27, was returning from shopping with Sun “Zoe” Yan and Xue “Jo” Bing, both 24, when Jason Skaggs, then 34, crashed his Chevy Tahoe into a car at 98 mph, went airborne and sandwiched Bian’s Taurus between a Chrysler and his Tahoe. The three Urbana University graduate students were killed instantly.

During his trial, the media uncovered a serious of driving violations: a speeding ticket for driving 91 mph in a 65-mph zone just weeks before the wreck and an aggravated vehicular homicide in 1994, killing a 79-year-old mother and her son. A judge in August sentenced Skaggs to the maximum 34 years in prison.

Ironically, it was China’s law that devastated them. Because of the world’s one-child-per-couple policy, Bian, Xue, and Sun had no siblings, so their families’ future rested upon them, which was crushed in a Ford Taurus.

“When you raise a child in China, you are basically insuring your old age,” Sun Yan’s mother, Yu Ming, said, weeping as she spoke through a translator.

The three mothers not only lost their only children, but also the prospect of security in old age and money they didn’t have. Because all three had promising futures, their parents were confident asking friends, relatives, colleagues and even their kids’ classmates for money to send them to graduate school at the 1,500-student Urbana University. However, now they are unable to pay their debts, which have escalated with funeral expenses and trips to the US to attend Skaggs’ trial.

“Even after I die, I could not close my eyes,” Bian Jin’s mother, Cai Tie Juan said, describing her stress and exhaustion through a translator.

Two years later, the women still struggle with American law and language, and wade through a cultural morass in order to try to repay their debts. Urbana University has set up a fund and you can help by making a donation. Do it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

LOVE IS...DEPENDENCY

Every week, a new scientific journal study confirms what my therapist and probation officer know unequivocally - I am wrong...about life and love. Yes, unlike you, I need to be told in print that I’m a loser. Hmm, is this why I’m single? Oh, damn!

It turns out love is about dependency. Wha??? Love is “the continual search for a basic, secure connection with someone else,” according to clinical psychologist Sue Johnson.

I have veraciously mocked dependency, but it appears we are wired to seek “security and safety” in emotional contact and responsiveness from significant others. It’s a survival instinct that we seek from cradle to grave, and evolves from our relationship with our mother and then to our partner.

When a relationship levels off from its on-set, it jeopardizes our sense of security, our human hunger for safe emotional connection, and creates a primal fear of panic. “It sets off an alarm in the brain’s amygdala, our fear center... Once the amygdala sends out an alarm, we don’t think - we act,” the articles says. “If we feel abandoned at a moment of need, we are set up to enter a state of panic.”

And when we talk to our partners, we talk about surface emotions, often failing to touch upon the real issue at hand - our deeply rooted attachment needs. Conflicts are really protests over emotional disconnection. What we want to know from our partners are: Are you there for me? Do you want me? Do you need me?

To repair bonds, we must accept our attachment needs (don’t be ashamed of it). And use healing touch: Men see their children’s vulnerability and respond to it, but with their wives, “they see only someone who is judging them. But she feels vulnerable, too.” Touch “is the most basic way of connecting with another human being.”

So, I’ve been mocking dependency, which is I guess...wrong. And I promote boundaries instead of touching. Wrong, too! Yeah, that’s why I’m single. Dumb. Ass! Damn it, I shouldn’t have listened to Oprah. All her fault...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CUONG’S SPIRIT SERIES

Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
- Anaïs Nin

Wow. Read it again. Just once more...

I have never heard of author Anaïs Nin, but her words struck me like a trailer tractor plowing through my chest, spilling blood and guts and blood everywhere, and opening me up to the simple truth that every human interaction is a sacred connection. It is that simple. It can shake your world.

Her words are a manifesto, a call to action. And we must do so!

Anaïs Nin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NOTES ON HAPPINESS

It happens every Friday and Saturday nights in bars across America as 2 a.m. nears and people grab the most acceptable trickster to take home. Margaret Cho called it “dick o’clock.” For me, it’s shoving as much food as possible in my mouth. Thank goodness, I am not as dirrrty as you all!

The truth is, we all seek happiness. Happiness - as agreed upon by neuroscientists, psychiatrists, behavioral economists, positive psychologists, and Buddhist monks - is more like “satisfied or content than ‘happy’ in its strict bursting-with-glee sense... It encompasses living a meaningful life, utilizing your gifts and your time, living with thought and purpose.”

Happiness requires acting in life, and not merely taking it in. It is maximized when: you also feel part of a community, you confront annoyances and crises with grace, your willingness to learn and stretch and grow (which sometimes involves discomfort). Here are some other notes on happiness:

  • Some People Are Born Happy: It’s not me and it’s also not you, but so for the rest of us it’s important to engage in positive internal dialogue, which is actually a mark of the mentally healthy.

  • Getting What You Want Doesn’t Make You Happy: After a temporary period of excitement, we ultimately bounce back to our previous level of happiness and seek something new again. To get off the “hedonic treadmill,” where happiness is always just one notch away, we need to focus on activities that are dynamic, surprising, and attention-absorbing.

  • Pain Is A Part of Happiness: I believe that life is supposed to be hard and that shiny moments of joy and happiness is what we should covet. It is, says the article, not your reward for escaping pain. But rather, it demands that you confront negative feelings head-on, without letting them overwhelm you. “If you’re going to live a rich and meaningful life,” says Russ Harris, a medical doctor-cum-counselor and author of The Happiness Trap, “you’re going to feel a full range of emotions.” Sadness sheds light onto happiness.

  • Happiness Lies In The Chase: I like to do nothing as much as you lazy asses, but action towards goals makes us happy (not necessarily crossing the finish line). Remember that! University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found that working hard toward a goal, and making progress to the point of expecting a goal to be realized, doesn’t just activate positive feelings - it also suppresses negative emotions, such as fear and depression.

  • You’re Wrong About What Will Make You Happy and You’re Wrong About What Made You Happy: The past is the past. It exists, but it’s not always a reliable recording device. People tend to remember beginnings and ends, but not “the middle.” Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert’s advice is to forgo your own mental projections.

Here’s my take-away: The next time “dick o’clock” rolls around, fight your wanton urge to the death. Chances are you’ll lose because you’re a whore. But you can stop your perverted ways by reading the rest of the ideas on happiness. Do it, you whore!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ENEMIES OF THE BRAIN AND HEART

Attraction can make enemies of the brain and the heart, notes clinical psychologist Nando Pelusi.

When boys are emotionally unavailable (and sometimes psychologically unstable), then lo and behold we want them! Um, or is that just me? You know you love them too, and here’s why. Bad boys have good genes (as defined for men): high-testosterone-fueled masculinity, symmetry, height, and parasite resistance (I know, the last one is weird). Thus, those men are confident and dominant.

“Women intuitively get attracted to brave acts of altruism more than to altruism per se,” says author Daniel Kruger. Thus, chicks are drawn to acts of bravado in bad boys. (Losers! Oh, that’s me too...) But secretly, they hope to change their cads into loving dads. The result is that she may not keep the guy for long.

We know bad boys are fun: they make you bring them beer after sex, slap the shit out of you if you want to watch Lipstick Jungle instead of monster truck racing, and steal drugs in your private stash. But maybe this year, we should consider dating nice guys: ones who have a job, can spell, and are multi-syllabic. I mean, just a thought...

Nice guys...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SORRY FOR THE MISTAKES I’VE MADE...

We’ve explored how to apologize and ideas on forgiveness. While it may be unrealistic to forgive and forget, this article notes that forgiving “means you’re willing accept the mistake, look past it and start over. Truly forgiving means making a commitment to never bring it up or use it your advantage.” And while forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve forgotten, “attempting to forget is part of the package of forgiveness.”

I like that: Attempting to forget is part of the package of forgiveness. Aha! that’s big! So, to forgive someone you should consider the four R’s:

  • Regret: Does the person regret the action and hurt they’ve caused you?
  • Repentance: Has the person said, “I’m sorry”?
  • Restitution: Have they made it up to you?
  • Rehabilitation: Have they made a sincere effort to never repeat their mistake?

Marianne Williamson said it most eloquently when she offered these words: “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” So, do it. Do it for you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

WHO DOESN’T?

I just got trounced, did I say trrrounced!?!, for having a Gay.com profile. I mean, what ’mo doesn’t, right?

You can’t take everything you read online seriously. Look, my Facebook profile says I eat dogs and feed vagabonds at Port Authority on weekends. Guess what? That’s not me... (I know, shocking!) Online profiles are a form of entertainment - the random adulation or the anonymity of conversations between strangers. It could be fun, it could be healing, it could shed light into your world, but most of the time it’s retarded. So it means whatever life you choose to give it. You give meaning to it...

Yahoo! Personals says active profile doesn’t mean active dating. Online is just like offline, just because you’re seeing someone doesn’t mean you put blinders on, says Michael Lasky, co-author of Online Dating for Dummies. “This is nothing new,” he explains. “Do people who aren’t married consider the possibility that there’s someone else out there for them? The answer is yes.” So don’t assume.

Ha, I dare you to look me in the eyes and tell me I’m a perv...

Hmmm... Okay, so maybe I look like a perv. But it’s just the way I look. It’s not me. Really.

Friday, February 06, 2009

GIFTS FOR YOUR BEST FRIENDS

If there’s a group I know very well, it’s alcoholics. That’s because most of my friends act like pubescent, horny college students: binge drinking, hangovers (everyday!), and frequent black outs/potential rape targets. (Don’t judge, it’s just who they are).

Well, there’s good news for them because the gift of an intervention has gotten easier, faster, and lazier. (But probably bad news for potential rapists...) According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, even when delivered by email or the internet, one self-help session can decrease one’s drinking habits.

Online sessions not only provides “personalized-feedback interventions,” but could be anonymous, thus allowing society’s worthless to hide their shame and avoid eye contact. Aweeesome! My friends will be very pleased.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

SCHADENFREUDE RULES!

I know it strikes you too. When the hottie you wanna bang dumps your good friend or your buddy finds out he has an STD, try as you might to hold that frown, your smile is just dying to burst out! That’s you. And you my friend, are a maniacal bitch too!

Schadenfreude is a German word that means: pleasure in other’s misfortune. It’s not as diabolical as you might think, according to PyschologyToday.com, if you understand some of the reasons people find joy in other’s misfortunate, which include:

  • It benefits you, namely makes you feel superior (...external validation isn’t real)
  • You think the person deserves it
  • That it’s cosmic justice, if you will. That it’s an “unsolicited gift”
  • It is “passive” payback for due infractions (ones we lack authority over or don’t want to bloody our hands with...)

Schadenfreude, the articles says, if pertaining to minor misfortunes and involving the belief that justice has been done and that we aren’t responsible for eliciting the misfortune, then it isn’t so resprehensible. I am not sure I agree, but I think you’ll agree that laughing at your friends’ misfortune is fun. Kinda...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

IF THE CAMERA’S ON, DON’T DO IT

It’s official: Miley Cyrus has a middle name. It’s Dumbass.

If there’s one thing you think she would learn, it’s that if the camera’s on you might not want to do it... First, 16-year-old Cyrus sends lascivious pics of herself all over the internet, she then emulates child porn, shags a 21-year-old old hottie boyfriend, disses the lovely Selena Gomez, and now, she’s proven she’s a redneck racist.

She and her cousins (who are also her aunts and uncles) posed in photographs mocking Asian Americans. I can’t even post the pics because she is so stupid (I know, I’m sorry, Words of Wisdom is all about positivity, but...), but you can see the pic here.

Regardless, I think her middle name is fitting. Don’t you?