How to think less about Politics

Many of us have gone over the top when it comes to politics, on a myriad if issues on both the left, right and centre of the spectrum. It’s understandable on an evolutionary standpoint as in the early days it’s rumoured that politics could have meant life or death for some people or living in squalor. Luckily in the 20th century things have moved on immensely from those times but it’s still possible to get entirely carried away with politics.

There are a number of reasons why you might get carried away with political issues and ways to prevent it should you desire not to

Stick to the issues most important to you Sure, you have a ton of issues you care about. However maybe sticking to a small handful (or less if you can manage) is a means to keep your political vent time on the down low.

Stop hiding from your demons or figure out what they are so you then have a chance of understanding the problem. I have sounded off over political issues when they touched a nerve too close to home more than once. An ability to understand what it is in your life that’s triggering these feelings will be of greater assistance to you then “sounding off” in many cases.

Realise you can’t change everything both directly and indirectly. There are a whole ton of political issues out there and yes its possible that you can change some of them by protesting, petitioning and showing populist support on social media. However there really are some you stand little to no chance of making any changes to. Knowing when to quit and save your energy will mean your more relaxed for what you wish to do and those issues that are closer to your heart.

Have some hobbies take up what you’ve always been wishing to do or discover something new. Many of us use politics as a cover for when were entirely bored and have nothing better to do with life. Often times it covers social media and the news so there is an almost endless stream of it for those who crave it. If you find yourself caught in this trap and don’t wish to be then it’s the time to take up old hobbies, or discover something new that you never would have thought you’d like.

I do think in some situations it’s advisable to take a hard stance politically and to walk away from every issue politically is not the greatest action if you wish for your voice to be heard, however I also think that endless political debates that can turn into full-blown arguments can turn counterproductive pretty quickly and gain you a bad reputation.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

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Is the Sunday Assembly the next step in Athiesm?

20160430_170010While I admit to not having been before I’m openly curious about the Sunday Assembly. It’s new take on organised services that are open to people of any religion or none (including spiritualists and agnostics) and focusses on celebration of life and positive feelings over preaching about organised religion.

From what I have gathered I support the concept and welcome the fact that its gaining momentum and here is why.

I have seen critiques of atheism by atheists that say that organised religion gives people community and actually strives to help people and listen to their concerns and that in many cases atheism of the past rarely did anything like this (at least not en masse). This sort of idea and concept could bridge this gap that many atheists are rightly concerned about.

Celebration of happiness Most people whether religious or not would prefer to be happy and embrace positive feelings both with friends and wider community and sometimes on their own. This concept makes a lovely excuse (not that one’s needed) to partake in happier feelings in a communal sense. It’s not about non-belief but what can be achieved together as why should organised religion hold the monopoly on gatherings to share in happiness and good feelings.

Would like to see a community support function if it doe’s not already exist.* Projects like helping the homeless and aiming to better the lives of impoverished children as examples. Such projects could take place after the Assembly services for those who bear a keen interest in service to others.

*may exist already in some locations.

More calm and collected the Skeptics Society I have never attended a Skeptic’s Society meeting but have seen their forums. There is a lot of debating about belief/or lack of but very little else from what I’ve seen. This provides atheists and others who have either grown tired of Skeptic’s Societies or were never interested at all a viable alternative with a whole lot less need for debates.

Great for those seeking community If you are seeking new circles and new friends this might be a relatively quick way to find a new sense of community and even some new friends. It’s not entirely uncommon for people to move cities or countries and it’s likely to be something that many can get involved with quickly. The necessity to not be religious in order to share in church/congregation related community is a bonus either. I’ve known people who are not religious but have pretended to be in order to feel a belonging with somewhere, this requirement isn’t truly necessary anymore.

Due to its generic nature it’s fantastic for those who struggle socially There are a fair number of reasons why some of us struggle socially. Because this is fairly generic while also being an organised activity it provides an easy backdrop for these people to find community easier.

Multi-generational I am told that many generations attend the Sunday Assemblies and this is fantastic as young and old can learn from each other and share with each other i a gentle environment. There is also an increased likelihood of other diversity.

I admit that the Assembly is in its relative infancy and is building an entire culture from scratch because of this. I would also like to see it expand further into the non english speaking world within time.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Alternate Indoor Activities – Drawing

20160703_170857Something I admit to having done fairly rarely recently but admit there are a lot of benefits to. Drawing is an artistic hobby that is fairly popular with many lovers of arts and craft related hobbies. There are many reasons why people like to draw and many positives to drawing also.

To communicate with the outside world in an art form Lot of people use drawings and paintings to communicate their thoughts and abstract ideas through these art forms.

To express your feelings and let them out We all experience a lot of feelings from euphoria to depression and many varying emotions in between. Many choose to draw to express both feelings of happiness and feelings of sadness as a way of bringing those events to life. With feelings of sadness this can bring about a release of these feelings.

Meditation and searching for peace and serenity for many drawing is a way of connecting with an inner sense of peace “after a long days work and tending to the kids”. It’s a way of entering a relaxed state where many or all life worries are put on hold for a short period while drawing.

A means to have fun while being practical If your like me and you only watch television in the winter or bad weather days you’ll still want to have things to replace it with. Drawing is another means to enjoy yourself while getting those practical juices flowing. You might even be able to draw with the TV or Radio on in the background if that helps you reach that place of relaxation ready to get into the mood to draw. This is a hobby that can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike and is one of the few avenues where an adult can tap into their sense of imagination!

Improved self-esteem From the most advanced works to the most basic works, there is a self-esteem element involved in the drawing hobby. A child will naturally feel better about themselves having created a drawing of a flower and a greater sense of self esteem can be gained no matter the skill level or theme of drawing. Colouring books exist and are excellent for those with no desire to start from scratch or have motor function problems. These books have multiple pictures to colour and many include the ability to remove the completed picture from the book for display around the house.

Greater clarity of mind As well as relaxing the mind it can be a good way to think of ways to resolve issues in life should this be what you wish to use it for. Drawing will often de-stress you allowing for the ability to think clearly about a life problem. Drawing may help some people feel as though they are getting their issues out of thier head and into the world (via the paper) and this can be a release of the stronger emotions allowing for greater scope of how to deal with the issues one might be facing.

Well its time to get out the drawing books

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Maximise your enjoyment of Art

20160703_160349I absolutely can’t get enough of art. It’s a real cultural gem that is capable of expanding your cultural horizons.

There are a number of ways you can aim to enhance your enjoyment of Art whether you’re a self-confessed Art lover or someone who is doing their first museum or art festival visit.

Read the guide or listen to the audio guide if possible. Most well established museums and galleries have these and they can be worth it to help you understand the context and background story to a piece. If you don’t fancy paying the extra then there are usually explanations that go with many of the major works and sets of works.

Listen to the human guides from time to time These bring a differing perspective as they often include their perspectives about the pieces and this can expand the overall perspectives surrounding the works. If you don’t have the desire to stick with the guide guy/gal then be sure to keep an eye on where they are so you know when they get to the work you have a burning desire to know more about.

Form your own sense of what a piece means to you While the perspective of a human guide might help to open your horizons a key facet to enjoying art is to “connect with it” on your own terms. Simply put this means to try to forget about other things and just “be with the piece” mentally and see “how you personally relate to it” and what it “conjures up for you”.

Exploration of abstract art may be beneficial to some. While these works have been heavily criticised by some they could serve as a way of practising “just being” with the art and getting a feeling for what this piece means and represents to you.

Find a style that resonates with you Once you have seen a fair few museums, galleries and fairs there will no doubt be areas of the art world you truly love and those you don’t. There are many artist’s, styles, techniques, periods, regions and some will truly be your thing while others won’t pique your interest in the slightest. I for example have little interest for art depicting war as I’m anti-war for example but am besotted with paintings and depictions of mediterranean european architecture.

Find art in everyday life Sure, Organised art galleries and festivals are great but don’t limit yourself to these or you’ll be missing out! There is art to be found in  vintage motorcycles to multicolored cars parked in equally unusual places. There is even art form to be found in such things as adult colouring books. The possibilities are endless with a bit of imagination and the right eye.

Do some research beforehand, if possible. I’m sure many see this as boring and I can understand why, However it helps if you know what’s there so you have a basic idea of what you are likely to see. I believe this could make your experience more enjoyable than turning up knowing nothing and hoping to figure it all out on the day. Having a small amount of knowledge pre visit will help with knowing which special or once off exhibits are in the gallery.

If doing an all day visit stop for coffee and a bite to eat Most of the bigger and established galleries have cafeterias where you can stop for a croissant and a coffee. This will help you not only slow down but also stop and talk about the pieces you liked and related to if with a companion. Art is something to be enjoyed and not rushed.

Gain an appreciation for techniques used in production Many art forms from Pabeo to Murano Glass have varying methods used to produce that type of art form. Some galleries have videos and boards detailing the production methods and even the smaller ones may have someone familiar with the production techniques that you can speak to in person. I was lucky to once find the artist who created a piece I was fond of and she told me about the techniques for that work and pieces like it. Background information like that is nice to know.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

How the American Dream is detremental to the West

The American Dream is the idea that if you work hard enough you can attain almost anything you like career wise and have a high salary with all the trappings of success (usually openly visible). This may have been attainable back in the past with relative east in comparison to today but I would suggest it’s harder for most people to attain in the modern-day and individual people and society at times can lose out because of the effects of the “American Dream”. I believe this can affect most Western countries and not only the U.S.A

Higher education costs To achieve anything close to the “American Dream” one needs education. However this isn’t cheap and costs are rising. Many are still paying off student debts 10-20 years after their adult education is finished and for some even more. What’s even more troubling is that the jobs market  isn’t what it used to be in many western nations and graduates are finding themselves in entry-level positions that don’t pay near enough to pay off student debts while paying living expenses.

Increased working hours and a host of other struggles relating to working included increased stress and over competitiveness that can be seen as un-natural to some. The “ideal” of the “American Dream” only serves to increase these issues.

Debt and living beyond ones means is becoming increasingly commonplace. A high amount of American households have considerable consumer debt according to surveys.

Social position plays a role in who gets what opportunities. While the idea of a meritocracy is great in theory some people have a higher social standpoint and have “more doors opened” for them to progress. A very basic example would be someone with a lot of social savvy would be “noticed by the working world” far quicker then someone with aspbergers.

Productivity Culture is destroying other forms of culture by making things about productivity and not the ability to “take time” to enjoy things as they are to be properly enjoyed. The productivity culture is slipping into the fabric of our non work lives and some may be losing the ability to just enjoy things without rushing or endlessly worrying about how efficient something was done.

Promotion of materialism has some detriment to society as the main function of the “American Dream” is to have ones wealth and success on show by the multiple items people buy in order to show the world they have made it, or pretend they have made it if this in’t true. The saying “fake it till you make it” is true here. This creates a space issue in many households and some of the stuff bought doesn’t see usage (or much of it).

Growth is expanding and sometimes at record pace. Due to both materialism and productivity culture growth is happening at an alarming rate. This is problematic in an environmental sense as some natural land has to be given up to build all the extra shops and services to accommodate the needs and desires of more people and greater needs and desires. This growth may have some part to play in Gentrification

To conclude I’m not completely against productivity, success and materialism but think that they will not be able to carry on in an extreme form for much longer. I think the “American Dream” or what could be called consumerist dream is on its last legs if not already dead.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Alternative indoor activities – Dancing

If you prefer the active life and like to be “actively doing” even when you are intending to have lots of fun then Dancing and Dance routines coud be something to consider if too much television is not your gig.

Discover new music Well since you know Single Ladies by Beyonce off by heart then why not see what else is out there. Theres bound to be a whole ton of stuff just asking to be discovered and now you’ve got an excuse to see what’s out there.

Have a way of embracing international music If you are a language learner or someone who is keeping their linguistic skills up to date then its a no fuss way of embracing music from other shores and keeping up to date with “what’s just hit the Argentine chart at number 1”.

Depending on your preference this can be coupled with singing.

Doesn’t require other people for you to enjoy it Sure it’s often nice to share your activities with others but this is one of those activities that can be enjoyed solo if you are rained out and truly can’t get to your mates house at all. It can also be enjoyed in the company of others for example Zumba etc.

Zumba Is usually a group activity where a mild exercise/dance routine is shared among the participants while some high tempo music is being played in the background. It’s popular among many age groups and provides relatively easily accessible means of sharing both exercise and dance in the company of others.

Exercise routines Some are looking for a more full on exercise regimen, usually with the aid of an experienced physical trainer. These regimens can and usually are enjoyed in the presence of music to get and keep the participants in the mood.

Cultured Music and Dances Love Salsa, Flamenco and other cultured dancing styles that are a hit in the ballroom? Many clubs and classes that teach these styles are out there and they can be a great way to meet new people and “feel” another culture by practising it.

Help with sense of self Even if done in your own privacy dancing can be a nice carefree way to embrace yourself and feel at one with yourself.  It’s a way of expressing yourself in a westernised culture that appears to care only about productivity. The ability to do something for the sheer fact it helps you to feel whole and enlivened. We can show our spirit and our heart through dance. This can build confidence in other areas.

Release of good vibes If you do any form of dancing for even half an hour the chemicals it will release into your bloodstream will help to raise your mood and spirits and can also wake you up if you are feeling a little tired to a more enlivened state.

Keep Dancing!

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Understanding Aspbergers syndrome

As someone with the condition I thought I’d use my website as a platform to not only raise awareness of the condition but also aid those who seek to know more about it. As people with Aspbergers are not a monolith there will be some things that wont be applicable to your best friend, partner or even yourself! I’ll speak about how I relate to the ones applicable to me where possible.

The condition is best understood as a social disability although it can have some other potential symptoms that are unrelated to socializing. As part of the Autistic spectrum it’s seen as a condition in the Autistic Spectrum family and has been also called High Functioning Autism.

Need for Structure and Routine I can relate to those that need a structure to their day. It’s our way of knowing where we are at.

Differing manner of speech Some of us are known to over think and therefore not say an awful lot. This causes us issues from the perspective that some people see these sufferers as quiet when they perhaps are thinking of the best way to say something.

Most of us can have professor like vocabularies and this is usually true when speaking about our “areas of deep interest” or anything closely related.

Many of us speak in a manner that’s borderline formal although this can and does change in the right company.

May struggle to read facial expression or body language Because our brain chemistry is wired differently we can have trouble reading body language or misread it.

Perfection Many of us are either perfectionists or semi perfectionists. While this can be a great skill and aptitude to have it can mean we can be harsh on ourselves.

Stimming This is rarely heard of outside of the Aspie/Autistic sphere. Put simply stimming is our way of calming ourselves and neutralising any negative feelings that we may have. There are a wide range of stims that people use to self sooth when the need arises.

Phone Phobia I was pleased to read I wasn’t and am not the only one with this. This is in effect a mild apprehension of calling someone you are not yet acquainted with.

Have difficulty with falseness in general In most cases we have tremendous difficulty in pretending something is anything other than the way it is. I always struggle with the question How are you?, Because there’s a social norm to say good, thanks even if that’s not entirely true at the time. I understand the concept of “fake it till you make it” but have always been beyond hopeless at pulling it off in practice. I and many other aspies are transparent in our intent.

Sensory difficulties Some of us have sensory difficulties regarding bright lights, lots of noise, loud noise or even a combination. I’ve luckily only struggled with loud noise but others have sensory issues including more than one.

Intense interests We often have interests that are not the regular interests (although we can and do have those as well) ranging from Train Spotting to Banknote Collecting and many others. We usually have very deep knowledge bases on these “specialist” interests of ours.

Can be self-absorbed Without meaning to be we can be or come across as “self-absorbed”. We can over talk about ourselves without meaning to or even being “self conscious” that this is in fact what we are doing. It’s also possible that we may fail to take pleasure in other people happiness at times although this is not intended.

May have motor skill delays One of the key non socially related ones I grew up with was a delay in motor dexterity. It certainly took me a little longer to be able to play tennis and ride a bike then my peer group at the time.

May have noticeable difficulties in the dating arena Coupled with difficulty in accurately reading facial and bodily expressions many of us have underdeveloped flirting skills and skills surrounding dating as a concept. As a lesbian I’ve always been relieved when I’ve been hit on by girls rather than having to navigate how to do that sort of thing myself.

Struggle to keep eye contact I’ve heard of this complaint quite a lot from other aspies and can relate to it myself with ease. There is a social norm among society at large that eye contact is essential when talking to someone. I find this hard to do and it can put me off what I was actually trying to say. There are techniques out there that give the illusion of looking someone in the eye while not actually doing so which fulfils this expectation fairly well.

Most of us like people In most cases we do want to connect with others. The ability to “play it cool” is often an ability lost on us. Some of us can get lonely because of this and some seek people similar to us that “get” our way of seeing things.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable