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Archive for April, 2012

Sound That Kills Sound

Don’t Let This Warning Fall On Deaf Ears

Have you ever being riding on the train, maybe taking a nap, or quietly reading a magazine or a book, and at the same time noticing that you also been involuntarily listening to a music coming out of another person’s headphones? A person may not even be sitting next to you – he or she may have been standing all the way at the other end of a car, minding their own business, but the music they listen to reaches your ears. Sometimes you can’t hear it well enough to distinguish one artist from another (not that you want to), but you can hear the beat pattern loud enough for you to kinda tell what style of music has been listened to – you know – fast or slow, techno dance or heavy metal…

While it may be distracting, and even frustrating for some of the passengers to have no choice but to listen to a noise coming from a stranger’s iPod, that is not what I’d like to talk about here.

The mere fact that I can hear any sound at all, that is coming from the audio device mounted on somebody else’s head, screams the fact that what is happening between that music transmitting piece of equipment and its owner’s ears is not even almost healthy. And I’ll tell you why.

We have these tiny hair cells in our ears that are responsible for our ability to hear well. Without those hair cells our brain won’t be receiving a very important signal – sound. Listening to loud music causes these hairs to flatten up. And though they will usually bounce back if exposed to a loud noise for only a short period of time (like at the concert, for instance), in case of being bombarded with sound over 90dB over a long period of time, your ear hairs become weaker and, eventually, get damaged permanently – they won’t ever re-grow.

Put plainly, listening to a loud music may, and gradually will make you deaf. Any noise above 90dB is harmful for our hearing, and causes noise-inducted hearing loss (NIHL). While we can’t eliminate all noise pollution from our life (sounds of street, industrial noise, construction activities, to name a few), we can do something about our music listening habits. And it’s not the style of music we are listening to – it’s excessive amount of time and volume at which we choose to listen to it. So, to prevent NIHL, don’t listen to music non-stop and at maximum volume.

Good Mood Formula

Creating Positive and Combating Negative

Once upon a time I decided to conduct a little (totally unscientific!) study on positive versus pessimistic thinking. I’ve appointed myself to become a subject of my own experiment, and began preparations for the future breakthroughs. First, I had to get myself in the right mood. So, I eagerly waited for depression to strike. I stayed positive and optimistic about getting disappointed or being let down sometime in the very near future, and sure enough my inner desires came to fruition.

Disappointment materialized in the form of – totally unwelcome under the circumstances – period of unprecedented success in my career, unexpected positive spike in my love life, and – completely inappropriate for my study – increase in all sort of happy outcomes in my personal and financial endeavors.  

Having made a little – once again, totally unscientific! – analysis of what kind of forces might have been at work and preventing me from reaching desired (preferably – temporarily) period of unsatisfaction with my life, I came to a conclusion that the mere fact of me having positive thoughts toward my future experimental (or so I thought) depression, and my excitement about the project in general, created these positive vibes around me that kept on attracting good fortune into my life.  

So, in my quest for perfect conditions for my silly study, I decided to start applying some negative thoughts and actions toward all the good things and precious people in my life, thus actively provoking and welcoming less fortunate circumstances into my life. Determined to achieve such necessary for my study melancholy, I got into a heated argument with my boss, picked a fight with my boyfriend, and, against any common sense, refused to sell a stock that was steadily generating losses. For my experiment’s sake, I also skipped on a couple of credit card payments, and failed to follow up on a really important new client lead. 

I thought, once my experiment was over, it’d be easy for me to fix a chaos I was jokingly creating – I’d explain everything to my boyfriend and ask him for forgiveness, I’d apologize for my over-reaction at work, I’d pay off the bills, and it would all go back to normal.  

So I did do just that – after successfully putting out negative vibes, falling apart and spending a few sleepless, lonely and cry-ful nights, which marked a period of brief but, nevertheless, deep sadness, I overpowered all that negativity with a few optimistic thoughts and affirmations. Also, to remedy the situation completely, I apologized to my boyfriend and to my boss, and both of them understood and forgave me. I finally sold a losing stock. Paying late fee, on the top of a balance owed, made it OK between me and a credit card company.  As long as I was concerned, my experiment was over, and I considered it a success. 

But the Universe, clearly didn’t appreciate me challenging its laws that are always at work. In 2007, chain of unfortunate events started manifesting itself in my life. I lost my job, my boyfriend would not return my calls, and the stock market just kept on falling… To make things worse, I managed to get sick with a real bad flu three times in a roll over a couple of months, my apartment got flooded and now needed major renovations, while my financial situation was a screaming disaster with a very slim hope for recovery. It felt like I had hit some kind of Jackpot in a Lottery of Bad Luck. 

Set of circumstances made me and the man, who I was still very much in love with at the time, go separate ways. Our separation was not in any way a consequence of a quarrel provoked by me in the past. The firm I worked at had to relocate, and I didn’t want to move, so losing my job had nothing to do with a little conflict between me and my colleague… I obviously didn’t cause a crash of the stock market… Yet, situations, that just started popping up in my life, resembled the disharmony I had so stupidly invited into my life about a year earlier.   

I entered the Gates of Depressive Heaven. The timing was perfect for me to open the Laboratory of Positive Thinking. This time for real! And so I rolled up my sleeves, and, with the enthusiasm close to fanaticism, started incorporating everything I’ve ever learned from self-improvement and personal growth books, tapes and seminars.  

I remembered that laughter is a powerful anti-depressant, because it produces a lot of hormone of happiness – endorphins. I also reminded myself about Law of Attraction and how it works. I just had to stop thinking of what I didn’t have, and start feeling grateful for what I did have at the time. In order to make those – ephemeral at that point – smiles and laughs of mine come alive again, I started ‘Faking-It-in-the-Hopes-of-Making-It’ phase of my so-called experimental journey. I diligently attended parties and gatherings where people enjoyed mine and each other’s company. I made it a point to watch at least one comedy a week. Volunteering at local non-profit organization, helping strangers, spending time with my friends and family, writing songs, dating new people, looking for a new career, and even doing some light traveling – I threw it all at me, desperately clinging to His Royal Highness Positivity.  

Slowly but surely, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and started getting excited about my life. I was still single with no job, but it didn’t prevent me from truly appreciating people around me, and experiences we were sharing. I was living in a moment again. Every night, before going to sleep, I would say a little improvisational prayer thanking both God and Universe for everything I have – for the roof over my head and the food on my table, for all the great people in my life – my parents, relatives, friends, and even strangers I was yet to meet. Then I would thank the powers above for my ability to see and hear, think and dream, walk and talk. Then I’d pray for everyone I love to be healthy and happy. And then I’d fall asleep smiling. 

Things did get better. My professional life improved, and I fell in love again. I stay away from the stock market now. Of course, I can’t eliminate disappointments and let downs from my life completely. However, not letting pessimism overcome me, keeping my spirits up when things don’t go according to a plan, not sweating the small stuff, as well as staying humble and thankful for all the achievements however small they may seem, makes all the difference for me. So, yes – staying positive and optimistic is important. I’ve also learned that Gratitude and Forgiveness are powerful healers. You may have it all, and lose it all just cause you never truly appreciated or enjoyed what you had. And you may not have much, but being grateful for what you do have will make you so much happier – guaranteed!


You Get to Live in America

You Get to Live in America

This a video I made at 2011 New York Fashion Week. And the song you hear I wrote in collaboration with music producer Jay Fenix. I appreciate your comments.


Hello world!

I figured I’d start this blog to share my thoughts and exchange ideas and experiences with people, who will care enough to read it, and to contribute to it. It’s gonna be fun!

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