A little bit about me.

Check out my partner’s new blog! She’ll be writing about all things Yoga, Nutrition and Wellbeing!

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Growing up, I was always quite a peculiar child. From my inquisitive mind, the films I liked watching, my dress sense, to the foods which I enjoyed eating. I was rarely in uniform with my peers and thankfully this is not something I wished would change.

My mother often tells me stories from my youth. A funny one is that I used to enjoy watching sumo wrestling at the tender age of 1 and actually wanted to become a Sumo wrestler.

With this in mind, it is no secret that I was an active child. My interests went from being a Sumo wrestler to a stunt woman. I was often found creating my own stunt circuits jumping, climbing, hanging & tumbling from anything that would have me.

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Post Industrial Economy: Reclaiming your creative mind

“Creativity is the birthright of every human being” – Chairmain Kato

The industrial economy for most is very much the only reality that exists. These people perceive their working life as intended by those that shaped the educational institutions they were reformed from. The industrial economy refers to a historic method of working whereby companies created machines that required people to operate them. At the time, people were considered invaluable cogs to the results of ideas that ameliorated the state of the economy. Fast forward to today, the consumer is being familiarised with a robotic era in which you’re greeted by an automated entity in customer services, self-service checkouts and delivery drones. People in the workplace are becoming obsolete. But I can no longer see this as a bad thing. In fact, it is necessary.

There has been a shift in what is considered invaluable, and while that may no longer be people, it’s their ideas that hold the meaningful key to tomorrow’s growing economy. There’s been no better time to reclaim your creative mind!

We have just arrived on the other side of Mental Health Awareness week. I had the luxury of hearing a story from a doctor who traded in his stethoscope for a more meaningful approach to helping his clients.

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Chairman Kato pictures in the red sofa

Chairman Kato’s creative mind manifests in the form of painting, photography, installations and music but he described how his experience within the medical industry didn’t allow his creativity to surface as freely as he desired. He has delivered a talk called ‘The Art of Career Suicide’. I believe Kato’s story is one we can all resonate with but with it brings a conflict between the pursuit of happiness and security.

My appreciation for Kato’s transition lies in how he continued to use his art to help people rediscover their creative self. This just goes to show that what you might consider your purpose can have more than one form. But it’s left to us to explore the form that best supports our wellbeing. I believe Kato’s mentoring and coaching can be beneficial to those wishing to unleash their creativity.

Our time is money but many of us are being undervalued. Financial security is just as important as a good work ethic is to help maintain our lives, but that doesn’t mean we should become robots or rechargeable batteries that are so easily replaced. Tenure has no place in a post industrial economy. The idea of being given security has become a palpable illusion.

My work involves helping people who suffer from anxiety, depression and an array of mental and physical disorders, and do you know what they consider the biggest risk to their health? Work.

I see friends and family overworked to the extent where they believe collapsing on the commute to work is normal or their anxiety and depression is self inflicted. This has got to change! If our jobs plays such a major role in the state of our wellbeing, perhaps it’s time we revaluate how we function in our roles or better yet, reclaim our creative mind so that we can create an environment better suited to work in.

Special thanks to Ana Seferovic for inviting me to the talk.

If you or someone you know is suffering with depression, this is a MUST READ: Happiness: Defending against the onset of depression

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Happiness: Defending against the onset of depression

Depression is a good example of a polysemic word. While some people describe it as an emotion “you just need to overcome”, others narrate it as a place where navigating your way to an exit can appear impossible. It’s a word frequently used to describe a momentary feeling, but how much do we really understand of the impact this unpredictable climate has in weathering our lives.

A recent study was conducted by ENIGMA MDD Working group whereby they took MRI scans of the brains of 1,728 individuals diagnosed with chronic depression and compared them with thousands of brain scans taken from healthy individuals. A significant finding was in the size of the hippocampus. This part of the brain has been readily associated with the ability to recall memory but Professor Ian Hickie, the co-author of the study illustrated that associating the loss of memory with the shrinkage of the hippocampus is a simple way to look at it. If you take into account the behaviours that derive from memory, shrinkage of the hippocampus is better described as a “loss of function”.Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 18.54.52

The findings from this study has gained validity given the it’s sample size. This has given momentum to the criticised idea that depression is not a choice, and can now be seen as a form of brain damage. Though I agree that the findings highlight a definite change in the brains physiology, these only shed light on the effects of depression rather than the causes. It’s highly likely that the physiological changes play a role in the sustainability of depression, but the critical question we should be dissecting is what causes the onset of depression?

It would be unfair and ignorant to classify depression as a choice, but what if we explored depression as the choices we don’t make?

In his chapter titled ‘Life anenhanced-14883-1403037514-16.pngd Death’ taken from book ‘The War of Art’, Steven Pressfield enquires into how our actions mould our psyche. He talks about an author and lecturer, Tom Laughlin, who has devoted his career to working with people diagnosed with cancer. Steven paraphrased Tom’s words delivered at one of is workshops:

“The moment a person learns he’s got terminal cancer, a profound shift takes place in his psyche. At one stroke in the doctors office he becomes aware of what really matters to him. Things that sixty seconds earlier had seemed all-important suddenly appear meaningless, while people and concerns that he had till then dismissed at once take on supreme importance.”

Tom Laughlin’s foundation has helped people recover from cancer through not just making mental shifts but encouraging and teaching them to make the relevant changes in their lives. Steven writes about how Tom supports the housewife in resuming her career in social work and urges the business man to return to the violin. What struck my heart’s spinal cord were Tom’s following words:

Is it possible that the disease itself evolved as a consequence of actions taken (or not taken) in our lives? Could our unlived lives have exacted their vengeance upon us in the form of cancer? And if they did, can we cure ourselves now, by living these lives out?

I feel the same way about depression. Perhaps it’s not entirely the choices we’re making, but rather the choices we aren’t. If we take a closer look at the way western societies are set up, there’s little room for choice; expensive living costs in major cities measured against a minimum/living wage that makes it difficult to attain a good quality of life With overvalued housing prices and not to mention a perceived lack of time its no surprise that environments like this force people to live in pursuit of money, but at what cost? Time.

Robert Waldinger is the fourth director of the 75-year-old study on adult development and has unprecedented access to data on what what truly makes up happy. The current findings – relationships.

In his TEDxBeaconStreet talk he made a point to say:Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 14.27.13 “It’s not the number of friends you have but the quality of your close relationships that matter.”

This study followed the lives of men in their sophomore year at Harvard University and men from Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods. When questioned on what their most important life goals were, over 80% said a major life goal was to get rich. 50% said it was to be famous. Unsurprisingly, Robert stated that the tens of thousands of data obtained from this study made one thing clear: “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

Robert and his colleagues found that those that were satisfied with their relationships at age 50, were happier and healthier at age 80. Click to watch>> Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.

Tom encourages us to follow our true passions and Robert underscores the importance of quality relationships. Both entail meaningful connections, and require time as a form of currency. “Replacing screen time with people time”, Robert suggests.

The pursuit of happiness is madness if your idea of happiness is rooted in money and devoid of your life’s purpose. I’ve worked with many people suffering with mental health issues from varied walks of life. One of my main recommendations I work with them to achieve is the rediscovery of ‘self’ through the reinvestment of their time and priorities. Perhaps if we make certain choices now, years from now we won’t have to regret the choice we don’t make. DSC_0873

Consent: Is It Really That Simple?

I agree with Project Consent’s campaign highlighting the “unnecessary conversations” around the topic of consent. So let’s recap:

  • If she says yes, then go for it!
  • If she says no, then sheath your sword solider!

While spontaneity is often welcomed and desired in this dance we call sex, I’d like to think that we would all agree that sex is a journey and not a destination. The significance of looking at sex in this way is that the emphasis is not solely on the end result but rather the circumstances, actions and decisions that inevitably lead to a particular outcome. If we viewed the point in which an apology would surface in this manner, the authenticity of an apology would be questionable if one did not take responsibility for the actions that ultimately warrant it.

The Journey

Consent is simple. A lot of women would like to think that a number of men have a problem with understanding consent (I’m sure some do). Celebrity R&B singer and actor Tyrese Gibson hosts a relationship show with Rev Run, ‘It’s Not You, It’s Men’, which was recently criticized after their star guest Amber Rose had to provide them with a cutthroat lesson on consent. (see video below)

“No means no” are the words circulating the internet, and I couldn’t agree more! But there’s usually more than meets the eye when it comes to a certain type of sexual exchange.
There are a profuse number of women who use their bodies (sexually) to attain material goods (clothes, shoes, food, money etc) and services from men. Similarly, there are men that provide women with goods and services such as a date with the intention of receiving sex in exchange. Since prostitution is one of the world’s most ancient professions, this exchange in addition to more subtle versions isn’t breaking news to the people of the world.

Quick History Lesson: In the middle ages, prostitution in some cultures were deemed necessary as it helped prevent behaviors that were viewed upon as “greater evils”, such as rape, sodomy and masturbation. It was still regarded sinful by the Roman Catholic Church, and even today it is still collectively frowned upon.
Fun Fact: not to mention that male prostitution was just as common an female prostitution in many cultures!

Now I personally know a fair number of men who date in a manner that implies intent through flirtatious and sexual behavior. Equivalently, I know women who are aware of a man’s implied intent, and will consciously allow this behavior to continue, because so long as the man believes that he will be rewarded sexually, he’ll keep rewarding her materialistically. However, because this is not prostitution, per se, the woman doesn’t always intend to offer up sex as part of this exchange. But saying “no” early is likely to harm her prospect of reward.
Imagine working at a job you hate but you’re up for your yearly bonus review. As you hand in your performance appraisal, in the section that asks, “what are your objectives for next year”, you willingly leave out the fact that once you receive your bonus, you have absolutely no intention of remaining in the company!
So in the realm of sexual exchange between man and woman, if she has no intention of offering something sexual, then refusing consent would probably be more effective as a last resort. Until then, the journey of this exchange is driven by implied consent.

Implied consent

“Implied consent is consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather implicitly granted by a person’s actions and the facts and circumstances of a particular situation (or in some cases, by a person’s silence or inaction).”

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In a world where ‘apparently’ nobody cares about what someone thinks about them, your words and behaviors becomes everything when it comes to implied consent. Sexual assault cases have been kicked out of court because the victim’s actions were deemed to have implied consent.

Everything mentioned above is less about blaming people and more about individuals taking more responsibility over their own actions. And though it may be true that we can’t always control someone else’s actions, your body language is always acting on your behalf when it comes to implied consent.

Responsibility

Being a man myself,  I have been on the receiving end of a “no”. There have also been instances where I have had to exercise the use of the word “no” (even if I regretted it the next day)! But if there is one thing my experiences have taught me, its that a woman’s uncertainty can be mistaken for a green light. Most men would prefer not to question noticeable ‘awkward’ behaviors because the other head is making the decisions, but communication is an often overlooked skill during sex.

Communication leading up to sex needn’t always be ‘dirty’ or sexual in nature. It can be compassionate and considerate; “are you okay?”, “tell me if you want me to stop”. I believe as men, we have a responsibility to ensure we are communicating as much as possible during these such an exchange, as it helps to ensure that the act itself is genuine and mutually enjoyable.

So let’s recap again:

  • If she say’s yes, then go for it!
  • If she say’s no, then sheath your sword solider!
  • Implied consent can be misleading especially when you are entertaining their implied intent.
  • Communication is imperative to ensure both parties are comfortable and on the same page.

So there is more to consent than yes and no! Perhaps there is a need for reform in sex education classes. But until then,  I guess we’re going to have to be an example for the younger generation through educating ourselves first!

Charles Rare (Rare Thoughts)
Instagram: @Rare_Thoughts
Twitter:@Rare_Thoughts
Email: charles.rarethoughts@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ararethought

Mac Cosmetics Fans: A Face of Racism Beneath The Makeup

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Above is a photo of Kylie Jenner following her “temporary” lip filler/injection procedure.
This and many more of her pictures that exhibit her ‘fuller’ lips were at the center of praise, inspiration and envy among her fans.

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This is what appears to be a model wearing Mac makeup backstage a New York Fashion week show. The photo was uploaded to @maccosmetics’s instagram page, but unlike Kylie’s lips, this photo brought to the surface a racial onslaught against the image.

Racism has many faces but they all share the same heart. I have noticed that a lot of black women I know or have met through different walks of life have something in common; they constantly have to affirm that their beauty and features are acceptable. Why? Because they live and have been raised in a society that doesn’t accept them. As a man that favors the melanin beauty as a reflection of his own, my soul is grieved with each new story of a black woman’s beauty that has been buried under the universal aesthetic of beauty in western society.

You would think that the death of a race’s beauty would be enough, but western culture has a reputation for taking everything you own and claiming it as its own.

While it might be common knowledge that descendants of African culture tend to have larger lips, hips or overall features in general, a large consensus seem to be more comfortable in validating such features when associated with non-colored individuals as demonstrated in the above pictures. Is beauty’s preference in today’s culture as artificial as the makeup people wear?

You’ve probably not noticed that I’ve made a conscious effort to refer to racism as a cultural responsibility rather than name shaming the individuals that speak such hateful words. This is because racism is a form of cultural conditioning that subconsciously governs the behaviors and thoughts of the masses raised in a particular environment. It’s normal to picture our environment as our immediate surroundings but to truly understand your environment, you must think about everything your mind has been exposed to from the moment you were able to learn. This would include the books you read when you were a toddler, the media and advertisements that depict what’s in trend, what is beautiful and through lack of exposure, what isn’t.

As humans we identify with what we are familiar with. That to which we aren’t makes us uncomfortable. This is why a baby will often cry when it is picked up by someone else other than the people it sees everyday – it views you as unfamiliar therefore it is uncomfortable. So if the media and advertisement campaigns have for many decades associated beauty with Caucasian/lighter skinned individuals, perhaps we can begin to see this face of racism as a reaction of the misinformed.

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I am tired of observing misinformed people destroying themselves for what they’re not born with, and then attempting to destroy others for what they are born with.

Beauty is where one of the many faces of racism resides. There is a need for more diversity in beauty, encouragement to accept our natural beauty, and less dependency on the media and advertisements to depict what it means to be beautiful.

This is a video that has touched that hearts of many, with an aim of reconnecting you with your natural beauty once again:

Charles Rare (Rare Thoughts)
Instagram: @Rare_Thoughts
Twitter:@Rare_Thoughts
Email: charles.rarethoughts@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ararethought

Filtering The Natural Back Into Beauty

“Filtering The Natural Back Into Beauty” is a project that aims to speaks substance to every man and woman that has been conditioned to believe beauty only exists through the use of makeup.
The project aims to inspire all hidden beauty to surface from the shadows of makeup.
Makeup has its purpose as an enhancer of natural beauty, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the first step to destroying beauty is by hiding it.

The Misinterpretation of Loneliness

Like many others, man is a social creature. But we spend vast amounts of our time observing other people from the sidelines while they engage in an activity we were designed to participate in. Observing from the sidelines has become an activity in itself! Just moments ago, I was scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook timeline (as you do), having lost interest in the timelines that of Instagram and Twitter. Once I grew weary of Facebook, I closed the app and moved on to the next. In less then 2 seconds of closing the app, I had instinctively reopened Facebook again. This was no accident, and it wasn’t the first occurrence either. This behavior was not indicative of poor use of time but more so a deficit in something integral to our daily active lives: social activity.

While it was true that my day had been productive, it had been inefficient. To help you understand this, I’ll provide you with a scenario that most of us are all too well familiar with: a high output of productivity with a low intake of food. I think we can all agree that no matter how busy you have been, if you do not eat a sufficient amount throughout the day, you’ll be impeding your health which in turn, impacts on your productivity. Correspondingly, social activity is food for the soul, but we are at risk of serving up a distasteful alternative.

The social apps on our phones and tablets missed out an crucial point when using the word “social” – it takes place in real-time. I have conversed with many people who admit to mindlessly scrolling through their phone no matter where they might be. Bare with me while I briefly digress: Parasites are interesting creatures. They first infect the host, whom is often unaware of its presence, and pretty much live in/on the host rent free. Some species even manipulate the brain of their host by causing them to commit suicide in water so that they can reproduce. If you think that’s shocking, I’ve seen mobile phones manipulate people into finding plug sockets (even at weddings) so they can “charge” their phone for more mindless scrolling.

How can we be at an event where we need only ‘be’ to elicit social activity, and still find ourselves craving connection via the online world?

The truth is we are lonely. Not because of our environment’s state, but because many of us are deprived of the state encourages us to rise from our newly found (online) comfort zone. We are addicted to connection and no longer familiar with interaction, because in a world where we are rewarded and validated for every action we make, it has become easier to be who we think we are as opposed to who we really are.

Being alone is a choice. Loneliness is the deprivation of a social life.

 

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The Identity of an Insecure Man (Part 1)

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You know him well, don’t you?
To say only a handful of women have met him would underestimate an insecure man’s ability to infect his host.
Playing host to his desires is a modern day synonym for catering to his insecurities.
You fell for his potential while he observed your potential as a new home where his insecurities could run wild, like how a young teenager treats responsibility; he’s been running from himself for far too long.

When one becomes familiar with their flaws, change can feel uncomfortable.
So as he observes how you’re blinded by a NEED to be with someone, because your loneliness is a world you no longer want to live in, the human tendency to succumb to lust paints a perfect path.

His insecurities breech your unguarded wits, the backdoor to your soul can be felt through your hips.
You were left wide open.
In hindsight, one should have known better but since that moment felt like the limelight, nothing feels better.
Is it rhetorical to ask whether you deserved better than having your flame blown out so that his diminishing flicker can appear bright?
Hm…
The truth is your confidence is the foundation of your beauty.
If you allow someone to take it from you then you’ll forever be looking for who you are in someone else.

Charles Rare
Instagram: Rare_Thoughts
Email: charles.rarethoughts@gmail.com

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