On Anxiety and Depression, Peace and Happiness

I have seen many people post lately about their struggles with anxiety and depression, which is unfortunately a very common phenomenon, and seems to be on the rise. I wish it were only me with those challenges, and the rest of the world to be in a state of perennial well-being, yet so long as the topic is relatable, I want to share my views on it. My goal is not to offer remedies or advice, but only a sense of what I’ve come to know in regards to those things and ways to deal with them.
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Anxiety is a fear, nervousness, or dread for what the future might hold. It is negative anticipation. It is not only in the mind, since it has physiological symptoms. It can lead to health problems.
Depression is a sadness that zaps motivation from the individual. It is not enough to suggest a change of thinking or routine to the depressed person, since the melancholy lingers over the thoughts and actions of the individual. Depression can be said to originate in the past, in a sense, a lingering of unhappy memories and emotions. It can also be caused by a medical chemical imbalance of serotonin.
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When both depression and anxiety are present, a person feels dread at an anticipated fear, but feels very unmotivated to take action about it. Depression and anxiety are parasites that can make even the wealthiest person feel that he or she is in a living hell.
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On the other side of the coin are peace and happiness.
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Peace is an awareness of consciousness beyond thoughts and feelings, people and things. It is a paradoxical detachment that ends up with one feeling more connected everything. Peace does not ignore the problems of the world or the individual, but simply sees them from a centered state. Peace is to find comfort in one’s own skin, and to navigate life from a standpoint of equipoise. Peace is not just to be calm, but to perceive the pain of life as a faint echo in the totality of the oneness of the world. A person may be at peace yet not smile, but the sense of peace in palatable to those around the peaceful person. Peace can be induced, but sometimes it can come as a pleasant surprise. In the concept of “satori,” or brief moments of enlightenment, one feels peace for absolutely no reason. It is hard to describe, but it is a feeling that makes life and everything in it worth it, and can never be bought or sold, but is a random flash of contentment.
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Happiness is a joy that is a byproduct of gratitude, gratitude to what one has and is, and gratitude to what others have and are. It is not unusual to find a humble, poor person who is very happy, and then to find a CEO enflamed with dissatisfaction and greed. The opposite can be true as well. Happiness is a birthright to everyone, and is inherent in one’s nature. It is the ultimate goal and pursuit. People search for it in relationships, money, power, nature, art, hobbies, intoxicants, knowledge, and other endless things that sooner or later end up falling short of bringing lasting or true happiness. I have come to believe the statement that I hated in my youth, since it didn’t make sense back then, but there is no other way to put it: happiness is inside you.
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In regards to dealing with anxiety and depression, one thing I have found to be effective, and which I have read in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, is to face the feelings of anxiety and depression. The feelings they evoke linger in the body, and to give them attention is to make them subside. By attention, I do not mean thinking about them, but rather to feel it. The common mistake we all make is to think about the sadness and looking for people and situations to blame. This usually makes things worse, as the mind can bring forth resentment towards oneself and/or others for what one thinks is the cause of one’s suffering. On the other hand, when you allow yourself to feel the emotions in your body, without adding thoughts to them, you burn them out little by little. You allow them to be expressed through attention, and sooner or later you find that you don’t feel as bad as you used to. A sense of relief slowly starts to creep in, and you find yourself more aware of your surroundings as your inner suffering is no longer distracting you as much. You find yourself with more energy, motivation, and drive to move forward.
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In regards to peace and happiness, I realize that nothing and no one in the world can give that to you until you find it in yourself first. No one can really tell you what those things are, since you know them by first hand experience, and that is the only to recognize it. This means that they are states felt deep within one’s being, and hence, can be found inside. By reading Inner and Outer Peace Through Mediation by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, I have come to believe that mediation is the only way to find the type of peace and happiness that can’t be found by perennially chasing the things and experiences of the world.
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My account of anxiety, depression, peace, and happiness is continually evolving, as I’m sure so is that of you, the reader. I will not end this note with a call to action, but rather with an acknowledgement of what we as humanity share together, the journey towards our place in the world.

Lessons I learned through teaching others

I’ve worked as a tutor for years, and one of the things I like the most about it is that I learn alongside my students. Helping them with their schoolwork forces me to review, learn, and relearn concepts that I would have otherwise not learned or forgotten.  Algebra, Geometry, and Science terminology are now still fresh with me.

One of the most important things that I get out of tutoring is the need to keep myself to the same standards that I expect from my students. I ask them to read everyday, to practice math everyday, and to work hard at whatever they try to do. This, in turn, encourages me to do likewise. When I found that one of my students needed a personal planner to keep track of his assignments,  I felt obligated to set the example and buy one of my own to keep track of my goals.

Also, I think that tutoring has taught me that I should also stop and reflect on the lighter side of life. The kids I tutor remind me (sometimes explicitly) that I should not take everything seriously and that I should just try to have fun. That is a lesson that is worth remembering, as we in the world of adulthood sometimes we forget that joy is the reason we live to begin with. Ultimately, I get paid to teach, but perhaps I’m also the one getting tutored somehow.

Fact Checking the Politicians: Trumps Speech against Clinton

 

On June 22, 2016 The New York Times wrote a reaction to Donald Trump’s speech entitled Donald Trump’s Speech: What you Missed and our Fact Checks.  It was very informative and worth the read, and I recommend that you take a look at it.

Politicians are very skilled at using their rhetoric to mold our thinking with their agenda.  Trump is a businessman who simply transferred his skills of persuasion from his business life to the public arena. His rhetorical skill employs plenty of hyperbole and sometimes, flat-out lies as well.  This is not to bash on Donald Trump, but just to recognize that he fits right in with the politicians of the establishment who do likewise.  It is to your advantage, Americans, to see past the rhetoric and do fact checking whenever you get the chance so as to be an informed voter.

A foreigner’s thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election Season

trumpClinton

I, as a foreigner, can only weigh in so much on who your country chooses to be the next president of the United States.  As a Mexican, I can say that both candidates are a threat to the sovereignty of my country:  Trump by scapegoating Mexico every chance he gets, and Hillary for secretly pushing for the privatization of Mexico’s oil industry (as was revealed by leaks).  But, we must admit that the office of president of the United States is a global one, given the superpower status of your country, and the fact that your country has so much influence in world events.  Therefore, people from all over the world have an opinion, and the following is my own.

I don’t think anybody could have predicted that Donald Trump would make history by being the first orange clown-man with a titanic ego to take the Republican nomination, or for Hillary, the first candidate under FBI investigation, to grasp the Democratic nomination.  Nobody could have predicted that also Bernie Sanders, a European-style Social Democrat that looks like he just escaped a retirement home, to grasp the hopes and admiration of millions of youth across the country. This campaign season has undoubtedly been entertaining, but thanks to the fact that this is reality and not a T.V. Sitcom, it’s also terrifying.  What we have now is a campaign between a proto-facist, Trump, and an imperialist, Hillary.

Don’t think I use those words loosely.  Trump is not a fan of free speech and has always been trigger-happy to sue those who, as Hillary said in a speech, “get under his very thin skin.”  He wants to change the libel laws to sue journalist who cross his little line.  He bans certain outlets, like the Washington Post and Univision, from covering him in his events.  He wants to go after civilians in war, and make the U.S. into a police state, by instituting further domestic spying, to protect it against terrorism.  Which would be fine, if you don’t mind police states. He centers his proposals and speeches on ardent nationalism, and asked his supporters to pledge that they will vote for him by raising their hand, which they quickly did in a way that is too reminicent of the Hitler salute.

As for Hillary, she really is “crooked,” like Donald says.  She awards favors and concessions to those who donate to the Clinton foundation.  She wont release the transcripts to her speeches to Wall Street.  She created her own server in her home to keep secrets from the government.  And, like I mentioned earlier, she is also an imperialist.  She supported the Iraq War.  She violates the sovereignty of Latin America by secretly pushing for petroleum privatization in Mexico and backing an illegal coup in Honduras.  She pushed for U.S. military intervention in Libya, which “coincidentally” wanted to get off the dollar and use the gold standard for their currency value,  which is now a disaster zone.

Basically, it boils down to this: both candidates attack each other, and their attacks are true, but the image they create of themselves is false.  Trump is not a master mind in business, as his multiple bankruptcies attest, and Hillary is not the liberal lioness she wants Bernie supporters to think she is.  Both her and Trump are (cliche warning) birds of a feather, two sides of the same coin, and they flip flop so much no sandals can rival them.

The choices that you as a voter have are similar to choosing between Pepsi or Coke.  Both will cause took decay, but they have a certain following and debatably, their own unique tastes.  It’s not the fruit smoothie that most adults (when it comes to political maturity) in the political arena were pushing for (Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein), but it’s what the people voted for.

Of course, there are many third party alternatives.  I know many of us want them to be more nationally relevant, however, keep in mind that if you allow the voices of one third party organization, then the voices of others, which may be extreme in a way that you don’t agree with, can also come to the fray. For example, you might be in favor of the Tree Huggers United Party (I made up the name just now), but then you also have to tolerate the Racist Solidarity Party (also made up).  The point is, if you want a system similar to those parliaments in Europe that have a spectrum of parties, you may indeed hear your views may be represented by one of them, but that party’s voice might be drowned out by by the screams of other parties that have extreme views in the other direction of the political spectrum.  If that is tolerable to you, or to the country in general, which likes to fancy itself a democracy, then by all means go full-Europe.

Americans, this is your country.  I don’t know what you’re going to do and I have no recommendations for you.  Will you vote for the lesser of the two great evils?  Or will you vote third party?  It’s up to you.

Latino Graphics, Latino Gamer, and the L.A. Anime Expo

The 2015 Anime Expo in the Convention Center was just the thing for the Gaming Archaeologist to look into.  With financial help from Claudia and Ruben of Latino Graphics, he was able to have access to very interesting news in the world of anime and video games.  A future post in Latino Gamer will have a summary of what the Anime Expo had to offer.   Stay tuned.                                                                  IMG_20150705_113634949

The background of Downey California’s Latino Graphics

(Published in Latino Graphics and shared here as part of my writing portfolio.  Spanish language version found when you scroll down on the version published in Latino Gamer.  Also note that all underlined text is a hyperlink to related content)

claudia y ruben

Ruben Chávez and Claudia Hernández immigrated to the United States with the goal of acquiring a higher standard of living. Ruben has a BA in Computer Science from Instituto Technológico de Aguascalientes (ITA), and Claudia has clerical experience, but in their home country of Mexico, their ambitions could not be reached. As a newly married couple, they felt the need to explore a new world together in America.

In the beginning of their journey they both had to endure many hardships as they struggled to find employment and proper housing. There was even a time when they had to sleep on the floor without a bed. Eventually, Ruben and his wife acquired housing in the city of Anaheim since he found employment washing dishes at the world renowned Disneyland Theme Park. They were grateful for that, but when the opportunity to work for El Clasificado came along, Ruben took the job after much consideration and this allowed him to use his computer skills which he learned while attending college.

Claudia, not to be outdone, studied graphic design at Cerritos College. She then used her newfound knowledge to start her own business: Claudia Designer. She designed flyers and business cards, decorated calendars, and organized brochures for businesses. Soon, however, Ruben joined her, and together Latino Graphics was born. Latino Graphics is a local business in Downey, California, that offers services such as:

and many more services that reach all the corners of this beautiful country. With affordable advertising, Latino Graphics is here to help the community and meet its needs. Latino Graphics serves English and Spanish speaking customers with friendly bilingual employees. Ruben and Claudia started with a dream, but with the help of satisfied customers, it is rapidly becoming a successful reality. Discover why so many customers are satisfied with the work of Latino Graphics by utilizing whichever of their resources is right for you.

The following is a link to the Facebook page

Latino Graphics Facebook Page

The following is a link to the official website

Latino Graphics 

Thank you for reading

Saint Patrick’s Batallion

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Saint Patrick’s Day is the day people see as an excuse to drink or to pinch those who forgot to wear green.  Beyond that, though, is a chance to learn something about our home, California, and the rest of the American South West for that matter.  There was a time when these lands were ruled under Mexican law.  The process of turning them American involved a controversial war between the United States and Mexico, in which America took about half of Mexico’s vast territories.

Irish immigrants, who were Catholic and victims of oppression under British rule, were drafted to join the Army to invade Mexico.  Some of them questioned the legitimacy of the war, and after an act of courage, or some might say, foolhardy rashness, they switch sides and fought for the Mexican state.

Picture yourself in their shoes.  Imagine leaving your home island, wrecked by famine and imperial rule from England, migrating to a hostile United States, joining their armed forces, and then being forced to be the oppressors to a nation of fellow Catholics.  If you already lost your nation, your family, and the respect of those around you simply for being Irish, wouldn’t you find desertion easy, especially when it’s for a cause you relate to?  Perhaps this internal struggle was the main cause of the Irish American soldiers (though some were also from other countries) to switch sides and help Mexico in its war of self defense.

The reasons are still debated today, but among them are their mistreatment under the American officers, the promises of land that the Mexican government made them, and a solidarity to Catholicism.

They were the strongest and bravest fighters, threatening friendly fire on any soldier who would not stand up and fight against the U.S. in the heat of battle, and are remembered to this day.

sanpatriciosmemorial

I recommend you continue to look into this interesting piece of history that is often overlooked.  Library books, websites, and documentaries are great sources.  I also recommend you see the movie One Man’s Hero (1999).  The following is a clip from the movie.

Interview with Gamesanytime shop owners

gamesanytimeowners

I conducted an interview with the owners of Gamesanytime shop in Bell, CA.  Funny story how that came to pass:

I was riding my bicycle down Gage Ave. one day and noticed a closed video game shop.  At the top of the entrance was a big sign that said “FOR LEASE.”  I assumed it was an old store that was shutting down.  I peeked inside and saw Super Nintendo cartridges, old Game Boys, and classic consoles.  I had a brief and powerful nostalgia trip at that moment, which made me feel absolutely horrible about the notion that the shop might close down.  “If I had money, I would buy things here all the time to keep this shop from shutting down,” I thought.

Fortunately for me, the opposite of what I feared was actually true.  The shop wasn’t shutting down, it was establishing itself.  It wasn’t an old shop, it was new.  I introduced myself to the owners, and asked for them to grant me an interview for an article to be published in latinogamer.com

They kindly agreed.

The following is a link to the published version in the Latino Gamer website.

Interview with Gamesanytime store in Bell, CA.