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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Meditation. What I think of it. On Bullshit

I honestly think that all sorts of meditation suck, and big time so. Don’t confuse it with yoga, please, since it is a historical well-proven practice, which at least involves some movement, in addition to opening chakras (don’t ask me which, I am not an expert).

Meditation, however, is, how to say it, is rather negation or absence of total mediation between critical thinking and thinking about what matters.

Let  me give you an example. Meditation involves the torture of clearing one’s mind, in order to stop thinking and going into the void. In my humble opinion, the only person who could benefit from this bullshit is either someone who is constantly glued on to the reality TV, spends all his/her time in the shops, or has based one’s life on gossip.

Otherwise, why should we meditate in the first place? I tried it, of course. I tried it in fact several times, because the amount of all sorts of apps, books,  and gurus in the matter, should indicate that there might be something there. Yes, there is, a huge market which is busy making profit out the misery of the world. As usual.

But let’s stop for a moment and indeed think. How can one meditate when we have so much misery, indeed, on the planet? The first time I went to the gym to attend a class on meditation, September 11 happened. I was shocked that people could even stay in the gym once seeing the image on the TV at all. Crashing towers, flying planes, and dying people. My first reaction was to get out and puke all over the street. I never came back to that gym.

Another meditation I ever tried was at home, but after five, and even ten minutes of trying,  I gave up, realising that I simply have better things to do, such as having a nice cup of coffee, reading a book (it was Saturday or Sunday, I can’t even remember), meeting with friends, and going out for a walk, in order to well, meditate. 

One can hear the universe only when communicating with nature, while shutting away one’s thoughts, well…we all know where it can lead. It leads to the world turning upside down upon itself.  As Nietzsche once said:  “Whatever a priest regards as true must be false: there you have almost a definition of truth.
I am already Buddha.  I don’t need to meditate.

Stop meditating and simply become AWAKE

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dima, where are you? Or advice on how not to fuck up…in the love area

I was sixteen, and still studying at school. On the day when I encountered Dima I was taking the metro to deliver my body for a photo session. It was the time, which lasted for a year at most, when I was dreaming of becoming a model. In other words, I was completely, totally insecure in both my body and my head.
When I entered the wagon at one remote station in the beautiful Moscow metro, I immediately spotted Dima. The guy was charming, had dark hair and was laughing in a very sure way with two girls sitting next to him.
A cute guy and a student, I sighed. No way a person like him will ever notice my presence. I was wearing a terrible fur cap (to safeguard my hair for the photo session), while the only piece of style in my wardrobe was limited to the boots, which half of Moscow was wearing at that time. It was the period when limited pieces of fashion were attacking Moscow shops in masses. I might have skipped the rainbow coat (worn by the other half of the city’s population) but I had the boots.
I sat next to the guy, however, as there was a vacant place. Taking out of my suitcase a book, I tried to lose myself in studying French grammar - the subject I was supposed to know perfectly, while attending a privileged linguistic college in my native town.
            “You speak French?” I heard a second later, and to my greatest amazement, this comment was coming from the cute dark-haired guy. He turned away from his fellow blonde student girlfriends and was looking intensely at me.
            “Yes, professionally,” I gave the most stupid answer, while removing my fur cap with my right hand and hiding a pimple on my check with my left.
            “Interesting,” the guy moved closer to me to look at my book. “Where?”
            “At the University,” I said in a confident way, while trying to adjust the position of my face in such a way that he wouldn’t notice my pimple.
            “Which university?”
Despite the fact that I was only sixteen (and still at school), and blessed with pimples I knew which were the best universities, at that time, to learn French in Moscow.
            “The Institute for Foreign Languages,” I said proudly, forecasting my future at that moment, as it’s exactly where I landed for a year before moving to Brussels, let me think … three years later?
            “Oh …” I could see that the guy’s interest in me was growing. Which was fine by me, as never in my life had a guy like him talked to me for such a long time, and yes, he was the cutest guy I had met so far.
            “Well …” he continued, “I also study French, at the University for Foreign Relations.”
Not only was he cute, he was also smart. At that time the institution he was attending was renowned as the ‘hottest’ place to get your degree.
            “Really?” I said. “I love French. It’s the love of my life,” I lied, since the biggest love of my life at that period was George Michael and Wham!
            “My name is Dima”, said the guy, while trying to hold my gaze for more than two seconds. It was exactly what I was trying to avoid, as my biggest problem at that time, apart from pimples, was that I was blushing on every possible and impossible occasion.
“My name is Ekaterina,” I answered, while wondering what on earth Dima saw in me, as the look on the faces of his two fellow girlfriends was suggesting that they were asking exactly the same question, and not in a very pleasant way. “Voudriez-vous diner avec moi ce soir?” the eyes of Dima were really too close to mine this time.
I blushed. The thing was … I didn’t understand a word of what Dima had said. In perfect French. I was so blown away by his intense stare that it didn’t occur to me that I should also use my brain and my ears.
            “Fuck!!!!” was my answer in perfect Russian, when I noticed the name of the metro stop. “I missed my station!”
And without giving it an additional, mature, balanced thought I literally jumped from the train.
And only on the platform seeing the departing train and Dima in the train looking (sadly?) at me did the meaning of his sentence entered my teenage brain. “Would you like to have a dinner with me tonight?”

Below is the picture from my modelling session. I suppose I did get something from that day. Fucked up in the love sphere, but having gotten rid of my pimples. Well, sort of…

Friday, October 6, 2017

Trump, Kim Jong-un, PUTIN and political madness

When psychiatrists accuse me of being mad I usually point my finger at the rest of the world, trying to explain that being mad is a response of sanity to the world gone mad. I don’t recommend though that you argue your case while sitting in a mental institution, but wait until you get released from their premises ( don’t forget to take notes), and then, start talking.

In order to illustrate my argument, let’s have a look (and a good one) at the current world situation, such as the conflict between North Korea and The United States. Unless you are totally not interested in politics, and spend your time on some reality TV and shopping, you probably do know what I am talking about.

In one recent verbal battle (hopefully, that’s where it will end), Trump accused Kim Jong-un of being a madman and that he would send ‘fire and fury’ to North Korea. In response (NOT FAKE NEWS) Kim Jong-un named Donald Trump a dotard, a linguistic term that, as a result, will now become a historic title, sending many academics into linguistic discourse, that, provided, we will still all live to see their treatises when they are finished.

The problem of Donald Trump, and it is him who has a problem at this moment, and not Kim Jong-un, is that he spends too much time on Twitter, defending his reputation from fake news, while he should calm down, take example from Taylor Swift in terms of how to defend one’s reputation, and start playing real politics. Such as delivering on his promise to make reform in mental health, help Native Americans, homeless, and people who are in need. Actions speak louder than words.

I am not sure who sits next to him while he is on Twitter, since he fires and rehires all his PR team, but one should indeed ban him from Twitter when he is in a bad mood. What Donald Trump doesn’t get is that he doesn’t have to pay any attention to fucking fake news. He was elected as the President of the United States, he already has a TITLE. Personally, when I drink a couple of glasses of red wine, I am also prone to say more on Facebook or Twitter, and wouldn’t mind a personal assistant banning me from Online Social Networks after eight o’clock in the evening. But my budget is rather limited at this moment, and therefore, as College Humour tells on Twitter (#CollegeHumour) ‘alcohol in, truth comes out’. I am Russian after all.

But let’s return to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, and analyse their birthday charts. If we look at the birth date of the American President, his month of birth is Gemini, while his year of birth (borrowing from the Chinese Wisdom) is Dog. All in all, Donald Trump is a very nice person, but can be volatile and moody, especially that he is indeed being chastised everywhere from all wrong angles, while personally, I would rather continue enjoying the show of exchange of handshakes. Donald Trump is just Human, as sings one brilliant singer.

Let’s have a look now at Kim Jong-un. His month of birth is Capricorn (a reasonable, earth person), while his year of birth is Rat (Chinese). Rats are extremely smart and intelligent people, and if he does indeed develop a bomb, I would prefer to be his friend rather than an enemy.

But to conclude on this story on madness, the only safe place on earth at this moment is, ironically so, Russia. One extremely clever man such as Putin (a Dragon, according to the Chinese, and a Balance in the rest of astrology) sits there quietly, observing, playing real politics, while praying that sanctions will never end, because, like finally, local farmers stopped drinking too much and sleeping, and returned to their work. His mission is to chase oligarchs, hiding as bad witches in the rest of the world.

Let’s pray for peace, as I really still want to visit the US one day, and probably even North Korea (well, only if on a Christian mission). 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Battle of the Celebrities

In the latest battle of the celebrities, the definite winner is Taylor Swift. If you haven’t yet watched her video (Look What You Made me Do), I would strongly advise you to do it right now, even if The Guardian Newspaper disagrees with my opinion about how brilliant it is.

The video is not just brilliant for the very obvious reasons that it is brilliant (music, acting, lyrics, and the beautiful Taylor Swift herself), it also represents how to deal with public bullying from an artistic point of view. If you don’t follow any latest celebrity gossip (guilty as charged), or don’t know what Twitter or Instagram are, let me explain. Taylor Swift was bullied by other celebrities (a famous couple, none of the less), who clearly tried to ruin her reputation. The same once also happened to Jennifer Lawrence, and certain Angelina Jolie, with such ‘provocative’ material appearing on the net that they quickly were hired for even more film roles. No one should ever be ashamed of their bodies, as all bodies are beautiful, and if I could see Jennifer Lawrence naked (I didn’t check the picture due to my own ethics), at her personal invitation, I would, honestly, feel quite honoured and accept the offer.
However, if we return to the new video by Taylor Swift, the lesson in dealing with public bullying should apply to all of us, even the mundane. You do respond (because no one should ever be bullied) but from your own moral standing point. In the case of Taylor Swift, she clearly says that no one can ever damage her reputation, and I agree. I have all her CDs from the start because I admire her as a singer. The same goes to Paulo Coelho (Paulo Coelho) whom I admire as a writer, and who responds to all his critics with inspiring quotes, in the line of ‘If everyone likes you, something is wrong with you’. It is indeed impossible to be liked by everyone because everyone has different characters, personalities, moral values, and ethics.

But to add some interesting conclusion to the story, and round it up around mental health issues, I think that Taylor Swift should make contact with Britney Spears to become friends or just collaborate on some creative project. Britney Spears, when photographed and ridiculed for making an appearance at a mental institution, reappeared from her ‘demise’ with absolutely amazing songs, putting her at the top of all music charts at once. Watch the video of Britney Spears in response to her critiques. And just to send some smart people into some thinking mode, all those who stand together for a common cause, should simply work together, as in RUN 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gina, the magical cat

Let me tell you about my cat. Her name is Gina and she is truly special, and I won’t argue with other pet owners who all believe that their pets are equally special if not more.
My cat is more than special. She is a magical cat. Let’s first have a look at these marvellous eyes.

See? An Egyptian goddess she is, and she knows. The house does belong to her, I am just a visitor.
Here is a proof. 

She just claimed the entire bed to herself, as well as my table, and the third floor, where she complains if you go to fetch something when she is napping. How dare you, she mews, disturbing my beauty sleep!
We took Gina from a local shelter when she was 7 years old. She is 13 now, but in good health and still quite active on the local cat scene. Other cats know better than to argue with Gina, when it comes to defending her territory (as well as the territory belonging to the enemy), she is unbeatable.

An example. Before I finally installed a cat flap for her to go out when she fancies, I noticed at some point that she would mew, asking to let her out, exactly right after our neighbours would leave their house to go to work. They had two cats living in the house, but it didn’t cross my mind that my cat had such guts as to go there and eat both their breakfast and lunch, all of it. It didn’t appear to me as possibility for the simple reason that Gina is always starving. One would assume that she doesn’t eat at all, despite the fact that I buy her best cat brands and she has breakfast, lunch and dinner. As well as treats.
But Gina was expanding, literally so. To an extent that when I took her for a routine check up to the vet, he advised to put her on a diet and suggested to refer her to pets’ diet club.
“Your cat is on the border of obesity,” he said while cuddling Gina, who was purring from pleasure even at the vet. She is a very kind cat. But she is also super intelligent, I have to give it to her.
And so, one morning I followed her. I sneaked out after she left and where she was, guilty as charged, emerging from the neighbours’ cat flap, with a satisfied grin on her face, still eating.
She knew that she was naughty because once seeing me, she jumped over the fence and didn’t come back until two hours later, thinking I would forget.
“Don’t you dare going there and stealing their food!” I was shouting at her back, in full naivety that she would follow my recommendation. You see, Gina is more than extra-smart, she is also extremely easy to get along with in terms of sharing a household. She understood from the start that it isn’t advisable to wake me up in the morning and lets me sleep, waiting patiently for her breakfast, even if it is at 11 am.
One evening though when the neighbour came back home from work, I could hear some screaming. It did cross briefly my mind that my cat could be a culprit, but still, I hung on to hope that it wasn’t.
It was. As the neighbour explained, he first thought it was one of his own, lying in the middle of the sofa as it was a throne. But then he remembered that his own cats weren’t allowed on the sofa and upon inspection, found them hiding in the attic, terrified from being taken over by the most complacent cat on earth. Yes, that’s what they told us in the shelter. She did manage to foul them all.
“Gina is very good with other cats and children,” the staff at the shelter said, then adding as an after-thought, “she does like her food though.”
I am not sure whether the neighbours decided to move because of my cat, or maybe it was just a natural progression of the events (after all they did plan to buy a house, just not for another couple of years), but Gina is not shrinking because of their move. No, not at all. They still try to refer her to the pets’ diet club every time we visit the vet. And she is still annoyed with my son, but at least she allows now that he cuddles her…for a second so. But it is a progress. In the first couple of years, Gina would literary fly out of the room at the first sight of him, to reappear only when he was in bed. Yes, she is good with children, provided they sleep.

And now, to confirm that she is magical. Yesterday I made this picture, while my cat was standing on the kitchen counter in front. The result? I became a fairy.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Psychiatry versus Psychiatrists

Now, with the festivities behind us, and when everyone is busy with sticking to some new year resolutions, before giving up on them, as usual, I reckon it’s time to update you about what I’ve been doing during the holiday period.

While I might have an odd kilo I need to drop (one to be precise), as well as cut down on wine and coffee (mhh), unlike many other people who were busy shopping and cooking, I spent my final days before Christmas on writing an article for Mad in America. Here is a link to my article, called ‘Dialogue with a psychiatrist’.

This is a good article, I have to say (more or less humbly), and the number of views and comments are a clear demonstration that it reached the audience I wanted. I wished to lift up the mood of all people who have mental health diagnosis, who are stuck in a psychiatric hospital, or are giving up because they had misfortune of dealing with some bad doctors, right before Christmas. And I hope that my wish came true.

However, it also attracted some criticism from oldest members of the community (Mad in America) as their point of view is that I already come from a wrong position as long as I try arguing with a psychiatrist, less talking nicely to one. It doesn’t even matter that the psychiatrist in my article is a fictional one. I don’t see any, you see. They sing me off very quickly, as either they really think I don’t need them at all, or simply don’t want to deal with me (more likely). In my next post I will present new tips on how to talk with a psychiatrist. Beware!

But so, back to that article. I come from a position that science and magic can co-exist peacefully together. Even Christian Church started to argue for a dialogue recently, with the Pope proclaiming that the theory of evolution and Christian faith don’t exclude each other.

In my own personal case, if anything, more harm was done by some people who advised me against taking any medication after my first psychosis, saying that I am totally normal. Yes, I am! I am more normal than the majority of the human population and having been in psychosis definitely helps me to understand that those who are mad often possess much more sanity than the rest of the world, especially as far as the political elite is concerned. If I stuck to that initial dose recommended by my first doctor, and then reduced it gradually as advised (by the same doctor), then I would probably avoid any relapses in the future, and not deal with the issue of psychiatry and psychiatrists for the rest of my life.

But as fate would impose I would deal with more psychiatrists and psychiatry as a consequence of me not following recommendations from the doctor. And maybe there is a reason for it. Now, with a PhD in philosophy and managing to maintain more or less stable and happy life, my argument is and will remain that medication can help! Honestly, why choose a life being transferred from one hospital to another, instead of a life where you can have it all? Be a member of the society, work, have a family, friends and be happy? And still be able to experience magic?

And therefore, my main argument is still the following. I don’t like the power that psychiatry as institution holds, it needs a radical reform, as well as the whole domain of mental health, but there are individual, nice doctors to be found among psychiatrists and we shouldn’t ban then. If there is help available, we should take it!
In my opinion, as far as psychiatrists and medication are concerned, everything is in the dose (of medication). And in my next post I will tell you how you should talk with a psychiatrist. The trick is to come prepared! 
(picture taken from cartoon stock)