How to piss off John.

John is very easy to piss off. For me. Not for others. ‘Cause I know his triggers. He also knows mine. Grrr.

Because there is a high probability that you will bump into him one day and as pissing him off is a world-saving action, I will hereby give you some hints how to achieve that.

Bakery: For starters let’s talk about how to tease him. When you will be in a bakery together because you have asked him to drive you there and help you buy a birthday cake for a friend of yours, strike. The bakery is empty, shortly before closing, you didn’t pick an order number, yet, because you first want to check out what they have but the bakery girl is helpful enough to urge your order. Your order from John. And she starts pushing him: ‘What would you like?’, ‘May I help you?’, ‘What will you have?’. It may not be so profound right now that it will be easy to tease him, but think. The whole attention of the empty bakery is on John and he doesn’t like that. You are, of course, pretending to be invisible. How you recognize he doesn’t like the attention? He starts shaking his body forward and back, something like dancing to ‘I like to move it, move it!’, he gets red on his cheeks and it gradually spreads to his whole face. This is your moment. You totally ignore his willingness to spend some of his time to help you, drive you, advice you, you show no respect for that and you start imitating his dance and then you ask him ‘What’s up, John? You can’t talk?’

Now the real stuff. How to piss him off.

Change his identity: We are getting to the real juice here. John has grown up in a very tolerant country when it comes to diversity of people where LGBT is not a big issue. Everybody here lives in peace and understanding (Ok, except for the nationalists that are much in fashion all around Europe right now but I won’t go into that. John is our centre of attention.). For some unexplanable reason, though, John doesn’t like to be called gay. Maybe because he’s not. So when you realize John hasn’t been dating any girl for a longer period of time, strike. Go, sit next to him like you want to find out how he is, start asking caring questions seriously and when you have achieved closeness, switch to your real intention and tell him ‘You are gay!’ and start laughing so he can clearly understand that the whole past 10 minutes of your interest have only been a sneaky strategy to piss him off. He will chase you all around his apartment in a Madagascar move it-move it style and squeeze you once he’s got you.

Good luck pissing off,

Kristina

Olympic hypocrisy – Sochi 2014

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What is this? Seriously!

Being an admirer of Russian history and rich culture I get disappointed by the current affairs in a multiplied manner. Anti-gay law during the Olympics? I won’t touch the vast topic whether the law should have been implemented in the first place. But being so, it will affect the period of the Olympic Games. OG are supposed to represent equality, friendships between nations and human rights and with this law in action they will be held in a country that is legislatively manifesting discrimination. This law brings a group of the participating athletes (the gays) to a situation to go ‘into the closet’ again, not participate or take the risk. Something that heterosexual athletes won’t even have to pay attention to, theoretically speaking, unless they want to ‘help out’ the situation. But the point is heterosexual athletes are not being stigmatized and, thus, not directly affected. From the performance and preparation perspective, homosexual athletes will have to face this challenge plus to the challenge being at the OG itself which is a great stress on its own.

Mark Tewksbury mentions the added challenge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS3jevs3l5o

Don’t we hold the hand of our partner if we need support? Don’t we initiate a hug to relieve our stress? During Sochi 2014 gays won’t be permitted to do that because they might get arrested for gay ‘propaganda’ under the big-eye cloud of the anti-gay law? Is that equal conditions for all? The equality that Olympic values represent? No. I wonder what is more of an insult to human kind – being gay or injuring and killing gay for the protection of a ‘higher value’ (traditional family)?

And here’s the thing about the big argument ‘ruining traditional family values’? If I was to choose between a traditional family where the father is every night coming back home drunk and shouts (if not hits) his wife and children, where the children feel in threat every time they are at home and experience no understanding…and a gay family where the parents show mutual love, respect and courtesy, I would undoubtadly go for the second one. What and whom does the tradition serve in the first case? Violence? Suffering? Unhappiness? No good in any manner, I’d say. I’m not advocating that all traditional or gay families are like the above examples but I’m supporting the view that family happiness goes beyond strict traditions and that tradition is sometimes being used as a tool to justify empty unsubstantiated behaviours e.g. intolerance towards homosexuals (just because we are afraid to face the new and we try to cling to the old and known that is rottening).

About the deviant ‘I come from many places.’

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PortaThe question: “Where do you come from?” may make some of us feel uncomfortable ’cause we can’t provide a standard answer like: “France.”, “I’m British.” etc. without limiting the picture about our origin. Nevertheless, for the other person’s comfort, we, either, decide to use one label to satisfy the expectations and make it easy for the poor creature, that had the bad luck to meet a deviant, to make sense of us. In that case, we feel a bit like squeezed into a 1cm2 glass box with our hands trying to push the walls farther while our knees are touching our forehead. But we have said something senseful. Or…we make the mistake to start explaining our complicated origin, that includes all about who we are, where we can see the creature’s brain switching off from overload as soon as we articulate the second origin. The brain labels us “indefinable” and shows an error. If observable enough, we learn that any origin longer than a simple short word causes a brain crash down to our fellow humans.

And still around 220,000,000 people in the world live in a ‘foreign’ country. To the surprise of many, their home is not represented by only one physical place, if any. Many are carriers of multiple origin and their homes are more virtual and consist of knowledge gathered from the various places that have influenced their lives. This is, indeed, an alternative concept of home to the traditional settled and rooted one. It often causes confusion or difficulty in understanding it but it can be liberating for the ones that are called to be put into the category of monoculturals every time they are asked about their origin. Pico Iyer illustrates the point brilliantly in his recent TED talk:

Your failure is not always your fault

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Many of us may often take any failure to succeed exclusively as their own fault. We do not pay attention to that the conditions may have not been favourable or to the possible lack of luck or fortune. Alain de Botton is addressing this current phenomenon in nowadays Western(ized) societies in his TED talk below (especially 6.05-9.07). 

 

Let’s say you are on your way to a job interview for a long-desired position. You are coming down to your garage to pick up your car with a sufficient time advantage. When you reach your car you find out you have had your tire stabbed. Those teenagers in the neightbourhood…Last time you shouted at them to be quite at midnight…Your stress hormone level immediately starts to increase, you lose your head but after a couple of seconds you start realizing your options. You can start replacing the tire but your clothes may get dirty and how would that look like in front of all those VIPs?, you can call your best friend to drive you but you don’t know whether s/he will be free and besides s/he talks too much and you are totally not in the mood right now, you can take a taxi but you have no cash because your sister stopped by last night asking you for some cash as she had lost her card or you can take the tram but you have to change twice and you may get to the interview just on time without any time to wipe the sweat off your face.

In the rush, taking the tram appears to be the most reasonable option. You get on it but you are unable to concentrate and go through your thoughts for one last time before the interview because all you can think about is whether you will make it on time. Nevertheless, after approx. 10 minutes you manage to ignore the co-passengers and put your thoughts together. You start to go through the notes you wrote down last night when you were rehearsing presenting your cv and skills to a friend from college.

But suddenly the tram stops and announces an electricity failure. You panic, you run out of the tram and desperately start looking for a cash machine so you can take a taxi. There’s a cash machine right across the street. You run while causing the traffic to stop ’cause you cross with red, withdraw some money and jump into a taxi on the red light. You are out of breath but you still manage to articulate the address. While you are sitting daunted, exhausted and thirsty, all the possible thoughts about how much you have studied and worked to get to such an interview and how much you’ve been preparing for it flow inside your mind in a heart-breaking sequence.

You urge the taxi driver and you get to the interview 2 minutes prior. They call your name at the arranged time sharp. You get in the office, you are a bit sweaty but you don’t stink so you’ll manage. They ask you to sit down and start asking questions. You cope but the interview does not go as well as you expected. Next week they call you up to announce that you have a valuable CV but ‘thank you but no, thank you.’. Your first thought is that you should have fixed that flat tire last week and gone to the interview on your car…Then that you shouldn’t have given money to your sister in need…After that that you should have called your friend, even though his/her talk would have made you nervous before the interview…You try to change the past without a time machine instead of accepting that it was not all that totally entirely your fault.

You meet with your friends for a beer in the evening and you present to them that you messed up the interview. You hardly consider that there could have been more experienced candidates for the position that naturally deserved it more or that the ‘car adventure’ could have had an impact on the course of the interview. You are hard on yourself and take all the blame. And all that ‘tragedy’ mainly because nowadays standards for the perception of success have forgotten that life doesn’t always go our way and it’s not always our fault.

Keep a dialogue

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SilenceHave you ever had the feeling of not talking because everything that happens around you makes perfect sense to you and you don’t need to have it confirmed by anyone or share it because you might get some feedback that blurs your point? You are in your silent zone that brings you peace and balance. You feel comfortable and aligned. Anything that would cross the border of your meaningful silence would be a distrurbance and redundancy. Now the question is if this is the state when you feel complete how do you keep a dialogue with the world?

Well, as difficult to guess as it may seem, by ‘coming out’. It may not always be comfortable or pleasant but it may also be refreshing and ‘nutritious’. We may sometimes need to collide to bring change. It may not be pleasant for us but it can trigger an improvement at the other side of the table. Go out with what creates your silent peace, spread it, talk to people about your nice thoughts, communicate yourself, get them encouraged with your existence…you may get a bit shaken, maybe not everyone will respond but you will leave a trace that may initiate somebody’s longed for change…and that’s…generous.

Migration :o

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How is it different to immigrate to Seek from immigrating to Hide (yes, people do indeed immigrate there,too)?

When you immigrate to Seek you become the dark power threat of severly spoiling those poor locals’ culture, for that reason they all-in hard try to keep you out of the ‘tribe’. If you are from some other Seek super cool country you may be spared some pitiful looks but not necessarily – they are the one and only ‘clean family’ after all. In case the tribe wanna appear democratic for some higher self-admiration reasons they are polite, nice, helpful but never give up their deep belief in being more blessed (few exceptions allowed). You are the one ‘in great need’ that they are saving from starvation and poverty and the only thing you deserve is a head caress and only that.

On the other hand, when immigrating to Hide that’s a whole different story. You are there either as an extraterrestrial that accidentally landed there because of a spaceship breakdown, as an enormously unfortunate human being or/and as a heaven sent gift. After you experience the services ‘slap in the face’ where you are approached as an annoyance and only annoyance for now and forever and you get blamed for changing your mind about your order and experience the laser ‘burn-through’ angry eyes look when thinking too long whether to order a cappuccino or something else…after that you find out that there is a life in that part of the world that you can come to appreciate, indeed. There are cars, not that many horses anymore…houses, schools, roads, drinkable water, the locals can actually walk and talk…aaaand people somehow miraculously are nice when they don’t work in the services and when they see you are a carrier of a breath of fresh air (few exceptions allowed). And to complete the experience, while feeling like an exotic fruit you get dissected as an unexplored spieces.

Nevertheless, above that in both Seek and Hide you get the chance to enrich those pattern experiences with your own unique stories. So do not give in and find your alien.

Question to the audience: Could you apply the places in the article to any part of the world you’ve been to?

If culture is not inclusive…

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A letter from a world traveller:

To my (when I say my…) race.

If cultures are so noninclusive, I don’t want to report to any culture. I’m willing to give up my cultural identification in the sake of escaping from the ego motive for identification. Because that prevents me from seeing human beings deeper in. I wanna be a man of my own that includes depending on soul, goodness, kindness and humanhood that I have deliberately decided to make my own. I don’t want to include depending on country, group belongingness and stereotypes. For those are the forces that make us become what we are expected to and kill major chances of becoming something more than what is already ‘out there’ prepared for us…Chances of exploring further and finding out beautiful levels of connection.

Not yours,

me.

Why do people often separate?

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Let’s say you have a flatmate. The beginning of your common living was fine but after some months now you have stopped being able to agree on arrangements around your household and maybe you have come to interfere with your lives too much. That’s the point that calls for ‘alert’ action. There are two main options:
1. give up
2. try to communicate your concerns.

The first approach either leaves you living in a flat with a flatmate you basically start ignoring and don’t care about (not the best practice for dealing with the human kind) or you move out without giving it a shot (if you are lucky enough not to live in a city where it may take you even a year to find a new place).

The second approach gives the relationship a chance to improve and even develop. Quarrels and arguments, paradoxical as it may sound, can bring people together and create connections. By opening up and sharing your thoughts even if they are thoughts of disturbance and distress (with your partner, friend, relative, whoever you are facing a miscommunication with) you show part of yourself. And if the other person is listening, he/she can get a step closer to your inner world and use it as a tool for a better tomorrow. That applies also to you. Open up and listen…deeply. Try to understand.

Now if your flatmate’s thoughts are of a kind that is against your fundamental values and aspirations, the situation may fairly lead to a separation. But in general, people may often separate not because their core values are in collision but because they believe too early that it won’t work and so don’t try to open up and explain themselves (this doesn’t apply to those who have tried everything and still got no move or only arguments that hardly made sense from the other side). People are afraid to show themselves under the risk of getting hurt. Well…maybe we should try to feel less sorry for ourselves.

To get more practical:

communicating your concerns without shouting, without anger, without using the word ‘but’ after your flatmate has finished a statement that you even agree with (pretty please, stop misusing that word), without feeling like the victim but rather like a balanced and equal partner of the conversation, without blaming and without taking every statement of your flatmate by default as a blame, may help to prevent an unnecessary separation and get your relationship/friendship to the next stage. A hint for achieving such an interaction is to put a portion of this thing called love in your soul right before.

Tribute to drama queens – where to find them?

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drama queenHow come there are so many drama queens around at times? Where do they come from and how come they gather up at a specific time all together? I have no idea but I figured out one possible source of the drama-queen phenomenon.

It’s supression. The more they supress what they feel, the more it gathers up and they end up finding an alternative way of filtering their inner universe – in this case they become the drama queens of their building, of their office, of their marriage, of their sports club, of their library group, of their café, of of of…They end up breaking the balls of some of their close people because they have ended up as an impotent communication freak that knows how to channel emotions and thoughts only by making the other person lose balance. Hmmm…

So where to find them? In case you are in search of one because you are looking for some thrill, Sherlock-Holmes-addiction-to-excitement kinda thingy look for places where people are socially ‘invited’ to supress their feelings…Basically in every public place in a highly civilized society…Well, ok, except for bars during Friday, Saturday night, football stadiums and such playgrounds. So yeah, I believe you’ll find one in your office right after you arrive at work on Monday, in your local activity club tomorrow when you’ll be having your common morning coffee, and definitely at some family celebration…

But be cautious…they may still be hidden…If you work in a healthy environment or you have a well-functioning family, what is crucial – don’t lose hope! They are everywhere and at times they even come in bunches…

Good luck!

Get enthusiastic!

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SANTORINI AUG-SEP 2011 230

What makes you enthusiastic?
What prevents you from seeing every new day as a copy of the last one?
Which activity feels meaningful to you?

It doesn’t necessarily need to be the activity that secures your living or the activity that makes you popular, successful or in demand. It can be any activity that when carried out leaves an anticipation for the next time. The activity that gives you a fresh feeling in the morning while you are putting on your jacket before going out in the rain. The activity that gives all your other actions meaning because they are supporting pieces of your activity’s web.

Enthusiasm could be compared to a child’s genuine reaction to a present. The child is excited to open it and see if it contains the promised toy. Most adults, even though they would pretend to be excited in order to be polite, would fear the content because they have received so many undesired presents in their lives by now. And that is the challenge to be taken in our adult lives – to find the courage to anticipate good things despite the negative experience. To be enthusiastic about our desires and dreams despite having been rejected countless times.

A man is not strong when mistrustful but when brave enough to act with joy.