Friday, July 21, 2006

Catching Up

Lots of things to talk about, so let's jump in.

To Give or Not To Give's money section features an article on handling panhandlers. The article was surprisingly honest, and even featured common thoughts from the head of an organization that helps the homeless, including beliefs that not all homeless folk are genuinely poor. I'll leave the judgements to you, but the upshot is that it's better to not give to panhandlers. That part wasn't surprising. There was an article in a recent edition of USA Today that looked at how welfare reform has changed the country, with large drops in the number of families on welfare rolls, but you have to wonder just how much if large cities like San Francisco and Chicago have beggars on every corner. What is undisputed, in both articles, is that panhandling and welfare, can't, won't, and shouldn't be the be-all and end-all for sustaining life, and low-paying menial and clerical jobs aren't cutting it either. Let's make it easier to get education and training for higher skilled jobs, bring down the price of property so that maybe we don't have to lose support services to cheaper places overseas, and perhaps we won't have such a huge problem with poverty.

I'm Not Gay, and Neither Is My Girlfriend
For the record, I'm not one of those homosexuals who either needs every homosexual in the world to come out, nor do I think every well-dressed, pretty man or strong woman is queer. My people have to stop claiming everyone. Quite frankly, some folks we have, we don't want! Okay, maybe just me. Conversely, heterosexuals who aren't gay need to stop unconcsiously demonizing queers by making declarative statements affirming their heterosexuality. Case in point, when Oprah speaks, people listen. The August issue of O magazine focuses on friendship, and features an extensive interview with buddies Oprah and Gayle King. They're so close that each of Oprah's homes has a room for Gayle (Oprah doesn't want a tv in her bedroom, but Gayle insists that hers does). And, Oprah shares a truth that as much as we want to believe that marriage is an equal thing, or rather, unconditional, it's not, but their relationship is unconditional. This isn't the first time that Oprah's been a little less than gay-friendly. She used to do a pretty decent show for National Coming Out Day, but then she spent an hour with author J.L. King, whose book explodes the myth of the down low, making it seem that most Black men are cheating on their women with men, and another hour with author Terry McMillan, to discuss her nasty divorce from husband Jonathan Plummer, who had to endure verbal pummeling from both women. I'm not suggesting that Oprah either tell a lie about her friendship, but what happens (and happened in People magazine) is the "I'm not gay" part is what is teased out and inflated, not "There's nothing wrong with being gay."

And speaking of gay, I was in Chicago, performing in several events for the Gay Games. Lots of music, lots of hot weather, and lots of fun. Aside from a small group of pro-het marriage supporters, and one heckler at the choral concert, who was silent through the entire evening, I didn't encounter anyone who was anything other than supportive and friendly. Oddly enough, and I do mean odd, there supposed to have been a group of anti-gay Christians who hung out in front of Steamworks, a large and very popular gay bathhouse in Boys Town (Chicago's gay district). The Christians were offering to pray for potential patrons, that they would turn from their "destructive" lifestyle, blah blah blah. I'm always amused at where these clowns choose to appear -- they're never at concerts featuring openly gay gospel artists, nor are they at picnics for gay families. And, in news coverage of the Games, a gay man, whose name I wish I knew, but I do know he's either the head of a gay rights org or part of the Games, is in a dialogue with Peter La Barbera, head of the Illinois Family Institute (and someone who is unusually well-versed in gay male sexuality), and this guy says:
"It is offensive that you would reduce tha lives of gay and lesbian people to their genitals." Brilliant!

Try to keep cool and dry, my friends. More later.


Blogger Ace Employment Services said...

Positive self-talk means purposely giving yourself positive reinforcement, motivation, and recognition- just as you would do for a friend. Congratulate yourself when you do well, and remind yourself of your abilities, accomplishments, strengths and skills. Keep a to-do list, check off accomplishments, and review your progress periodically.

Make self-talk work for you. When you habitually say to yourself has a very profound impact on your self-image, your self-esteem, and your performance as well as eventual success. Remember that your subconscious triggers physiological responses to match the pictures and thoughts that you have of yourself to make them happens. Make this work for you by keeping your self-talk positive.

For example say to yourself either “ I did a good job on that changing a friend’s oil even though I took a quart and ½ for myself “ or “ I did a good job of not paying a good friend the cost of supplies for the efforts he did for me “.

Stop negative self-talk. You may well be quick to nag yourself because your mother wanted you to more than perfect. However, negative self talk can be damaging because your subconscious believes what you say to your when you repeat that negative talk in your mind over and over. How is your subconscious to know otherwise? If you catch yourself using negative self-talk, stop and rephrase. Eliminate the negative words. Focus instead on the best course you can take and do it.

Make positive communications a habit. Focus on the positive in goal statements, self-talk, and all communications. Compare the following phrases, and notice how the positive words convey confidence, commitment, and enthusiasm.

For example instead of “I will try” substitute the phrase “ I will “. Instead of saying to you “I should do “insert the phrase “I will do “. Try saying “ I want to “ or “ I choose to” instead of the more common “I must “.

Focus with affirmation statements. Affirmative statements are positive self-statements or reminders to help you achieve goals. They are positive messages with a punch “mental bumper stickers” of sorts to motivate your subconscious mind to work for you.

Here are guidelines to help you to use the powerful tool of affirmative statements as vital mental reminder technique.

1) Make the statements personal to yourself. Not arbitrary or generic. Use the phrase “I” , your own name , or you

2) Keep affirmations short. How can you use the affirmations if you cannot remember them?

3) Phrase your affirmations positively. The mind accepts as truth the words that you give it. Use positive words only as affirmations. Leave out any negative words. For example say “I will not be nervous during my interview with the warden “. Rather say “ I will be calm and self-assured during my interview”

4) Include a positive emotion. A phrase that triggers a positive emotion strengthens the affirmation. For example “My goals are valuable and it excites me.”

5) Phrase affirmations as fact. Phrase a goal as though it is happening even if you have not achieved it yet. Your subconscious believes mental messages and works to make them a reality.

6) Say your affirmation at least 6 times a day. Repetition is life. Repetition enhances self-confidence, acts as a reminder, and stimulates your subconscious to help you achieve your goals in life.

It cannot be overstated the impact that positive self talk and affirmative statements can help you towards the vital goals that you have identified in your life. Remember that without goals even if you work hard you are like a ship without a rudder.

These powerful tools of positive self talk and positive affirmations can more than help speed you along to your chosen goals.

Shaun Stevens

1:43 AM  
Blogger roy said...

Wow, you went to the Gay Games? I've only attended one such event, and that was a long time ago:

I hope you had fun.

I don't know who this "ace employment services" guys is, but I wonder if he'd still be that positive after I hit him in the head with a wrench.

5:48 AM  
Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

I have to admit that when I heard bits and pieces about the Oprah/Gayle situation, I thought to myself, "so what?" Why must any of us qualify or quantify who we are?

5:59 PM  

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