How Not To Be The Damsel In Distress

“You got to dig a little deeper; when you find out who you are, you’ll find out what you need”- Mama Odie, The Princess and The Frog.

If you are a parent, then you are definitely familiar with Walt Disney; so familiar that you find yourself humming the whimsical tunes when you are at work or in the car. Your not-parent friends will express their concern for your well-being, telling you that you have been brainwashed and need to listen to some Bruno Mars immediately. But it’s game over, I’m hooked. Especially since watching The Princess and the Frog three nights in a row….

Louis the gator really makes me laugh. He reminds me of a more jazzy and musical Baloo The Bear. Both characters of which remind the viewer to follow their dreams and always do the right thing.

Prior to my Disney days (probably since Peanut has started watching) I considered it was brainwashing material. But watching them now… I see the true genius of them.

Between the bright colors, the catchy music, and the hero’s tale, Disney discovered the key to every child’s fantasy and imagination. But under all of the sparkle, there is a hidden moral to each story that even an adult needs to be reminded of.

Tiana, the waitress from The Princess and The Frog that I have come to know, is not a princess, or at least not the stereotypical princess that is casted in glitter and pink. She sings of hard work and determination, but ends up turning out to be a workaholic.

Meanwhile, Navine, the prince, turns out to be irresponsible, losing all of his riches and getting himself into trouble with the Shadow Man because he wanted to live a life of no work and all play. Both characters turn out to be the “damsel in distress”, needing the other in order to discover their “true self.” With the help of a wise blind woman who “sees everything”, can you already sense the irony, the two begin to reconsider what it is that is the most important in their lives.

Keep getting out there and try and try again. You can never fail too much. You just gotta bounce.

So, next time my friends, you jump too quickly to criticizing Disney movies, maybe listen to the wise words of Mama Odie and “dig a little deeper .”


Cheese Addiction, Binge Watching And Human Self-Sabotage

Peanut asked me the other day, who’s idea was it to eat cheese? And I was like, yo I have no idea quit playin’. Then she just looked at me with that ‘nah man I’m serious’ look. So naturally some research ensued.

Seriously think about it though. 2,000 something years ago some guy was probably super drunk, had the drunchies and said, ‘Ya know what screw it, Ima eat that. What’s the worst that could happen?’ And from one man’s impromptu drunk food adventure came today’s wine and cheese parties.

Dairy actually contains something called Casein and when digested, Casein fragments are converted into Casomorphins – which has effects similar to an opioid. Dairy cows have this inherent chemical breakdown in their milk to help baby calves eat more and grow bigger.

After thinking about it for a while, I realized drinking the milk of another animal is absolutely absurd. And to what extent that first guy needed to go to in order to chase down that poor cow.

Humanity will always find a way.

It doesn’t matter what the addiction is, humans find a way to over use everything – cheese, food, drugs, alcohol, video games or Netflix.

Netflix or more generally media addiction is really prevalent and is constantly down played in social settings.

“Have you seen the new season of that show?”

“Yeah, I’m totally addicted. I binge watched the whole thing.”

This conversation has become a reality in today’s world. People deflate the reality of wasting hours at a time as if it’s not a big deal. Ya’ll should be aspiring to more than that and you know it.

When that 30-second timer pops up saying the next episode is about run, stop the playback loop and do something else. You’ll thank Peanut and I later at some point, trust me.

In moderation addictive things are radical and can really be cool, but when abused they take over your life. Over consumption of dairy product rich in proteins or probiotics can cause stomach and heart problems. An awe-inspiring Netflix show can just blur into a giant blur of staring at a screen. Video games can increase reaction times and creativity, but when used too much it over stimulates the brain and users get less quality sleep.

Again, Peanut asked why do humans go out of their way to hurt themselves and ruin really cool things?

I wanted to just say, “Cuz they’re human, honey” but I know that would just be followed by a “but why?”

Simply put, people have a hard time saying NO. The more disturbing thing is when other people (like marketers) take advantage of this inherent disposition, but I digress.

So, how do we avoid addiction?

It takes saying NO to break the cycle. Then follow up that NO with some action. This reinforces new habits.

Find addictions or habits that are beneficial to your wellbeing. Instead of eating cheese and watching Netflix on the couch eat something that makes you feel good (You Are What You Eat) and go to the gym (Babies Workout Too).



How Interesting Is Your Life Story?

Peanut loves stories. She’ll be all fussy and squirming around, but when a story starts, she stops and gives a listen. A great big calm hangs in the air and she seems to be paralyzed in deep thought as she visually and mentally grabs onto the words of the story.

Humans of all ages are inherently drawn to stories.

Storytelling has been around since ancient times and for good reason. It is the most effective way to make a person learn a lesson, evoke emotion, or laugh. Homer told epic tales of the Odyssey and William Shakespeare told the loving tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

Be The Author Of Your Life

Contemporary short story author Dr. Jonathon Gottschall takes it a step even further and says that people live their entire lives inside stories. Jonathon says, “we live in stories all day long —fiction stories, novels, TV shows, films, interactive video games. We daydream in stories all day long. We go to sleep at night to rest; the body rests, but not the brain. The brain stays up at night and it’s telling itself stories for about two hours per night.”

Jonathon has a pretty good point. Almost everything we do as humans can be looked through the lens of a story narrative. Why? Because our brains process information much more effectively through this technique.

Humans are addicted to stories. They can’t help but follow the latest celebrity gossip or binge watch Netflix.

So, considering our story narrative isn’t going anywhere any time soon, how do we make the most of it?

You may not be a good writer or storyteller. BUT YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR STORY AS INTERESTING AS POSSIBLE.

Introduce a Plot Twist

Do something today that you’ve never done before. It could give you a new perspective on life and change you for the better.

Try doing yoga on the beach. Try doing 1,000 jumping jacks. Try learning a different language.

The key word here is TRY. Try whatever strikes your fancy. As long as it is beneficial to you as a person, why not try it.

Too often, people lead sedentary lifestyles (and everyone wonders why depression rates are up) leading to feelings of resentment. But it is so easy to avoid, just try.

Following some good ol’ Latin can always act as a good mantra, ‘acta non verba’ or “Actions not words.”

Conceptualize your story. Go act on those thoughts. Then reap the rewards.

The Devil Is In The Details

Ira Israel is a psychotherapist who counsels creative people on mindfulness and happiness. Ira has a blog about living a meaningful, productive life.

In his video ‘How to Own Your Life,’ he talks of his experience in a car crash. Ira concludes that while his involvement in the car crash were awful; he was dwelling too much on the negative. Ira practices a form of radical acceptance and accepts what happens in his life. So don’t let yourself get in your own head. In the words of Mr. Israel, “Accept what is. Accept every aspect of your life.”