Welcome to New York.
It's been waiting for you.
Welcome to New York.
Welcome to New York.
It may appear I have this love for Taylor Swift, but this just happens to be a recent song about New York. Some of the greatest are by U2, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, and Norah Jones.
Welcome to New York-the city that produces some of the best writers, musicians, chefs, financial gurus, and hard workers of all kinds. It's a spectacular places that drives people to extend their arms out into their dreams.
Being back in the city where.........
I dreamed the impossible
I listened to music of all kinds
I spiritually drifted season to season
I loved and I lost
I learned from a great education
I appreciated new interactions and friends
I explored the city inside and out
I ate my way through Manhattan
I enjoyed moments of peace
I continued purpose to serve others
I smiled with a bittersweet symphony
After 2 years residence in New York City and returning after 4 years-the memories flooded through with favorite newsstands, restaurants, street vendors, grocery stores, the dry cleaner, the restaurant of past employment, the diners, the old apartment, the busy bees grabbing coffee and rushing to work, taxis at every corner, business suits, and sunshine.
Move was a great show, but that as not the end to the day... I stopped by the Wit to meet a friend for a short visit. We only had an hour and ordering food did not look promising with the waitress who came over saying, "I will come back I have a million things I am doing right now."We managed to squeeze through to get a drink. A drink for her was a Mojito and my summer cocktail Pelegrino or Perrier with extra lemon. It was Saturday, but seriously I felt like I was abroad or back in the Philippines where it takes thirty minutes to get service, but I tapped by shoes together and I was "home" in Chicago. The Wit is suppose to be an excusive rooftop bar of a posh hotel and my friend loved it there except.... Priscilla was not sold and is a bit harder to please.
Regardless! What did we just talk about? Being alive and grateful oh yes! It was a beautiful day staring at Lake Michigan and the boats and catching up about our travels, boys, and boys... This seemed to be her department because I'm in the dark with all of that as I barely even go out anymore except for daytime stuff. She respects my new Chapter of life and prioritizing work and writing over socializing every weekend. I appreciate the respect and acceptance rather than judgement and persuasion.
Greek Fest and Backyard Fiesta
Our time together was short, but definitely worth it. She was headed to a family dinner and I was headed to meet my Mom for Greek Festival at the West Chicago Greek Orthodox Church.
It has been known that I have a thing for "Greek festivals" and in Chicago we have an area called "Greek Town," which has the largest Greek festival. This year it was raining therefore it ruined all the fun. This festival was a small one, but it worked out because I had my show and we had a birthday party in the city.
Okay that is all irrelevant, let's get to the important part: the Food
Greek food is great: souvaki, spanokipita, Athena Chicken, Greek salads, gyros, Greek cookies and loukomades(my favorite, but I am not allowed to eat at this time).
Sitting and enjoying our food, they start the Greek music dancing in a circle. I am sitting and counting their steps and recall the days in Athens learning from an old Greek man who was teaching my friend and I basic steps that felt advanced with a few glasses of wine.
In this case, my Mom and I just sat in danced in our chair and decided we would not be the non-Greeks to come in and step on their feet. Even if we did, I think these people would not mind as everyone was very kind and lovely. This must be a representation of how fantastic the church must be!
PLEASE NOTE: I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT HAVING MORE FOOD PHOTOS, BUT THEY NEVER SEEM TO MAKE IT TO THE CAMERA;)
It all ended and the night was not over as it was time for live music at a friend's birthday party. They were playing rock music and speaking with a bass player, I apparently arrived two hours late for the Rocked out Blues session. Boo!
Lot of nice people and what a spot for a birthday with a huge area of a subdivision taken over. Apparently, as long as the neighbors can all participate then it's allowed to happen and police won't come on disturbing the musical peace. It even had a real band stage, awesome selection of food(thanks for that), and nice table clothes and chairs. That's how you throw a birthday party! Love it
Ciao for now PRIS
Whenever hearing the name Taylor Swift, I often associate it with "love Story." I never bought her music or ran to her concerts, but within the past few years I appreciate her new music. It's some kind of "Love therapy" for me and a billion other people in the world. Her song, "Shake it Off" I literally listen to once a day to get myself refreshed and in a "hater free" environment mode. She has the ability to make a song that you hear only ONE time and it is stuck in your head...but not just one song, two songs, three songs, four songs....and too many to actually verbalize out loud!
When her 1989 tour was coming to Chicago, I knew it was my time to see her! I attend many concerts, but I never saw her live...ever...so I must go!
Having no interest in dragging people to a show, btw that doesn't work when the ticket cost three times the normal price, I decided to enjoy it by myself and have my "moments."
The concert was in Soldier field, which is a mile off the train so you have a large stampede all walking down the sidewalks and a mile through the park up to the stadium. Lots of families, lots of adorable kids, lots of creative posters, 1989 lights in numbers, and glow sticks.....and I met some fans who have been coming since her first show, fans who travel miles and miles to see her 1989 show again. People who come to Soldier field two nights in a row to see her. She always talks about her fans and she has some seriously committed fans who are borderline obsessed with her in a good childlike way or an adult-perhaps should find something else to do kind of way.
My seat was a side stage seat, but everything was open the screen was in front and so was the "Taylor runway." Soldier field is huge and sitting up in the 300 or 400 level would be way too far. I was happy with my "Single seat" that happened to be available and saved for me by Ticketmaster:) In my section, I met these cute younger girls in their late teens who were so excited and acting like school girls- "Oh those were the days." We were sitting and watching through the side stage door to see if we saw her and caught a glimpse one time in her black leather one piece.
When we entered we received a bracelet that glows when you pull the tab, but this one was special because with each song it turned a different color and you would see the all the 55,000 people in Solider field change color! At the end, it was multi-color along with fireworks and confetti-so much fun!
About Ms. Taylor Swift:
Taylor is beautiful and the girl does not have one bad angle.
She is dating my favorite DJ Calvin Harris(also recent underwear model for Armani).
She absolutely loves the camera a bit too much, but that probably is what happens after being on it for ten years.
She loves to strut...strut...and strut on that runway they created for her! She even had two of her supermodel friends from Paris come and dance, strut, smile, pose...on her runway??
She has Selected screen that make her look thinner than she already is, which would make her 85 pounds.
She doesn't need to try so hard...she is Taylor Swift they will love her anyways!
She played "Love story" swinging through the air playing her piano-cool
I hope she eats a few cookies and doesn't develop an eating disorder(or already have one) hanging out with supermodels. Regardless, she is awesome, beautiful, and talented. Shake it off T Swift!
We have come to a time of "technology overload." The social networking revolution has made it's attempts to compete with my passionate principles about psychology, but it lost. I came to my senses and have disappeared for three years with random guest appearances to the comfortable home of my many friends and followers. The world continues it's love affair with tweets, tumbles, faces, and books. The writing world, especially publishers, encourage you to get on social networking and promote yourself. If you have a business, promote your services. When you want to share that significant, intimate piece of your life, face book is your space to do it.
While technology provides a space, it also creates a platform. A platform to bring attention to ourselves in the best ways, the worst ways, or the neutral ways. It's always available as a platform to meet new people, tag more friends, select more "likes", and have a supporter from close and afar. It is the platform that people respond to with by having followers and being a "socialite" in your own right and space. We have a platform available to reach our "success." The amazing qualities are proven in the tech world, but what happened to our own "organic platform?"
Our own "organic platform" stems from the flowers that are blossoming within ourselves. We have our own personality traits, strengths, and abilities that can be shared interpersonally. It's not about having a thousand friends and having twenty who truly understand your passion behind your business. It's not about the number of friends to indicate you have a successful book. It's about utilizing what we already know and promoting ourselves. Book signings, conventions for a small business, home gatherings to promote a new product, or giving out free DVDs, products, brochures. We can't underestimate how resourceful, persistent, and eager we are when we are sharing our passion.
A social platform does not have to be in cyber world to show everyone that "You've arrived." It needs to be in the place it has been all this time-in your heart and in your own human actions and behavior. You have the potential to build your own platform "successfully" with that definition being created by you. The cyber world has it's amazing benefits, but it doesn't have to make you shine by numbers. Lets yourself shine with real people and your real self-not the outside noise that tells you to follow what everyone is doing. Use social media if you like, but make sure to place your organic platform in first place.
Can you stand tall without your social networking platform?
You can and you will and you shall..... PCR
Today, I was in the grocery store and a young girl spent EXTRA time asking me where to pack this and where to pack that in the grocery bag. She made sure to double bag items that were heavy. I could have left and said nothing OR I could have stopped and said, "Thanks for doing a good job. I appreciate it," which is what I did.
A couple days ago I was riding the bus from Iowa to Chicago. I sat and watched the bus driver dust off the seats while we were off the bus. He made sure he was timely for arrival, departure, and stops. He was kind, courteous, and extremely helpful. He gave every single direction towards bus, train, plaine, car humanely possible. He walked with a couple lost Russian men to the stop. I have seen great bus drivers before, but they were definitely competing with this man. I could have said nothing OR I could have said, "Thanks for being so nice and helpful today" and that is what I said.
Of course, my analytical eye looks out for these things practically always. But that does not mean that people don't have the potential to do the same.
How do most people respond? They walk out of the grocery store or they walk out of the bus and say NOTHING. This is quite normal and this is not Priscilla saying "Look at me I did something nice" rather it's Priscilla saying, "Take a look at the beautiful people who are serving you." "I have a good interaction and feel good after-you can too!"
When you see someone put that extra effort in at work, a restaurant, a café, the doctors office, the post office- SAY SOMETHING
It will not only benefit you to feel rewarded, satisfied, extra kick in your step (Secret: The More you do it, the better you feel), but it will also benefit them giving a self-esteem boost for their day. Maybe their boss is constantly picking on them for what they do Wrong rather than Right.
Give them a smile and enthusiastically say:
"Thanks so much"
"You're doing a great job."
"Thanks for being so helpful."
"Wow look how fast you did that."
"Thanks for listening."
While I understand that the world is moving fast, technology is taking over, and our time for people is decreasing day by day, month by month, and year by year.
It's hard to place this idea of "Praise" or "Saying something good" into the conscious mind, but hopefully spreading education can increase awareness into how to improve the lives of others, but make ourselves feel better as well.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE ACT AND ACT ON WHAT IS GOOD PCR
WHERE IS OUR WORLD WITHOUT HUMANITY? PCR
After a five hour arrival back to Chicago from San Francisco and a five hour bus ride to Iowa, I was extremely tired yet excited for the learning opportunities to come....the next morning at 8:30 a.m. in the Old City Museum on the University campus of Iowa.
Lots of umbrellas and unfamiliar yet friendly faces arrived at the museum enjoying some fantastic pastries and coffee. Being there in the place of such incredible writers was a bit intimidating also a place with an older population.
As I was walking up the wooden spiral staircase, I just so happened to run into a woman from the bus who I was speaking with at the rest stop. She is from Argentina(which is my new country of interest) and she was sharing how therapy is widely accepted and if you don't have it people think you are weird. Wow can I move there immediately, speak Spanish, have my own practice, and tango the nights away? A girl can dream right or make that dream reality...She has a great spirit and I look forward to speaking more with her.
As for our short, but extremely funny orientation-we went straight to our four hour course split into two sessions. This is just a Saturday and Sunday Course. The following course is one weeklong.
Class: Illustrated Scenes of Nonfiction with Carol Spindel
She has been teaching at the conference for years and my peers had also been attending the writing conference. Also, ten of my classmates were twice my age or perhaps older, which is just fine because I enjoy learning, but the discussion shifts based off their generation not my own.
Not going to share everything about the day, but basically
1. Don't edit it while you write it
2. Be specific and concrete taking a small edge from a topic
3. Choose and choose aggressively
4. Know your audience and don't write for your own
5. Frame, unity, and conference
Realistically writers can be fantastic and down to earth or they are on their "publication pedestal." Being in one of the best writers scene, Chicago, I have met 90 percent great down to earth authors and editors, but that is just my experience thus far.
It's just that somehow opposition(always resurfaces) especially in those moments of being productive and happy. If this is you, this means that you are on your path to success so keep going, smile, nod, and handle it with confidence rather than utilizing defense mechanisms from your back pocket.
If you succeed in facing opposition, then those good people will come your direction and reaffirm your own truth and character. That person was in my classroom. She sat next to me whispering in my ear, "You're a great writer don't listen to them." After class, I met two of her friends who were just as lovely, smart, and educated. They had been attending the writing festival for fifteen years and they were the experts. Over Indian food, they all let me have my own therapeutic moment(Priscilla needs this too:) and they confirmed that I wrote with passion, conviction, and reason. When you have confirmations that what you experienced was not what it should've or could've been-you feel empowered to keep trekking forward. "Chin up Priscilla and keep writing." Thankful for those that save me from the fall:)
Writing a book is time consuming, but so is passion:) PCR
When hanging out at the Fisherman’s wharf having this conversation about the homeless population and their interaction with tourists-I heard shouting and told him “Excuse me.” I walked over in front of the bakery to find an African-American pushed to the ground by two police officers. They were holding him down waiting for back-up, which apparently included ten other police officers. Most of them appeared to be rookies as I could identify from their facial expressions and confirmed from the cop I was standing right next to-nice guy, maybe fifty five, looked like the cute guy on Chopped.
Priscilla has to bluntly ask, “Do you guys really need ten people to hold him down?”
He responds, “Yes, we do. The guy just broke through a locked door and he is intoxicated along with using drugs.”
I said, “Oh I didn’t think it was that serious.”
We shared our disappointment with the system that puts police at the front line of Mental illness without any proper training. These poor rookies had no idea what to do with this man, as that is not what they signed up for. Of course, they have to deal with this population, but on a daily basis as much as a social worker might visit a client. Police officers are underestimated for all the work they have to do not even involving crime especially with the constant arrests and hospitalizations with this population.
This guy, Richard, said he’s been on the force for thirty years and he is about to retire. He has seen it all when it comes to the panhandling, drug use, theft, and crime on the streets. Average people who couldn’t make the bills, lost their job, or had an addiction problem-the streets took them in and they stayed committed to that lifestyle. Many don’t have interest in “getting a job and having an apartment.” The street is a preferred choice for them. Richard did express concern for this population as the system has not correctly addressed this problem for years except by engaging in control and giving them $400 a month to solve the problem. Money cannot buy the homeless out of their problems. PCR
As ten of them were struggling to keep him on the ground, I understood why they needed ten people. He kept complaining about his leg, but there was not one indication that they were mistreating him at all. Richard got a call and left, therefore, I decided I would try and speak with four or five of them to have an open, honest discussion about their job empathizing and thanking them for their hard work. The 45 year old man had already been placed in the stretcher and they were just interviewing the restaurant owner.
When I asked how many hours of Mental health training, they reported 40 hours of training when they start the job. What training do they receive when these real experiences are happening and they need to discuss them to learn about symptoms and identify similar patterns-NONE. Receiving forty hours of Mental health training is great for a starter, but the learning needs to a professional, educational, and social setting. When they show you how to break in a house, they should show you how to address a homeless man who is high on meth. An idea I believe in is focus groups once a week with 5-8 officers to share these cases, identify symptoms, situations, background information etc. If an officer has the experience, takes some notes, and then processes these encounters with others-it makes the process easier.
This is just a serious problem that we have no control over.”-Brian-
The Mental health system also has its fair share of work to do in regards to collaborating with the police. The police follow their protocol to bring this man into the hospital. He is unmedicated, has an illness, give him a prescription and he signs himself out. The hospital is supposed to be “the cure,” but when it comes to the Mentally Ill-many of them know how to work the system and it’s not to their own benefit.
This could be broken down with clearer specifications, but the point being made is that these officers shared honestly their inability to help this population. They get their training, they follow protocol, but at the end of the day-they just don’t get it. They share stories with their loved ones about the “crazy guy” they arrested today. The negative labels and the stigma continues to get worse. Why? The lack of education and experience that is broken down and processed overtime. Mental illness is not easily understood and for them being twenty five years old and thrown into a job that deals with this population everyday-it’s tough.
Thank you police in San Francisco for being kind and doing your best. It’s not easy work, but you are appreciated for working on the streets of SF with constant harmful activity.
When we hear the school or name "Stanford" automatically we may think two things: money and intelligence. For Nev Jones, this was not about money, but it was about intelligence, persistence, and true resilience.
Standing at a mere 5'3 and quite petite, she stand to the side of the podium just in the beginning of sharing her deepest and darkest secrets. Nev happened to have a parent diagnosed with Schizophrenia and had to spend a significant amount of physical and mental time caring for her mother. It was emotionally draining, but she always had her studies to focus on. Nev had what every program wanted and was except to the twelve or more Doctoral programs she was accepted to in the country.
She chose one school(name confidential), but things took a sharp turn when symptoms of Schizophrenia started to appear. The school took notice, the school humiliated her, they expelled her, and labeled her as "incompetent" when her grades were perfect. All of her friends turned on her and she had no activities left to attend.
It was the stigma of Mental Illness that was getting in the way of Nev's future....
After a deep depression and a psychotic episode, Nev received a random invitation from another program who were unaware of her illness. With support, medication, and not giving up-Nev is now a top researcher at Stanford for research of illness and educational impact. She has proven in her determination and now with research that things have a strong potential of shifting in the direction of Mental health with advocacy and increasing numbers.
This young woman is quite an inspiration. When it came time for questions a man even randomly asked, "Are you married? I have a nice son for you." "No response, but hey at least he tried:)
EDUCATING ENVIRONMENTS ARE SUPPOSE TO BE PLACES OF SAFETY...WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US IN THIS SOCIETY?? PCR
Priscilla CL Raj is a Therapist, Missionary, Writer, English Teacher. She is an enthusiast who is passionately purposeful in her life.