Archive for December, 2011

No need to be sorry with sore eyes

Posted in health and fitness on December 28, 2011 by gohelpyourself

Who's afraid of sore eyes? That's me, my daughter Ariadne, and my wife Em.

By Anthony O. Alcantara
When you have sore eyes, some people avoid you as if you have leprosy. It recently happened to me. But I’ve come to love it.

Here are some advantages to consider:

1. It’s the easiest way to tell people you don’t like to get lost. “Hey, I have sore eyes.” “Really? Oops, I think I have a meeting at the other building. Bye.”

Or you can just stare at them for 20 seconds. Now that’s an artful way of sending the message. It’s like having the perfect insect repellant, especially effective against enemies endowed with annoying proboscises, generally used for sucking, and who emit irritating noise, which, to you,  vaguely resembles human speech.

2. You get to buy a new pair of sunglasses or shades. If you have one or a few pairs already, having sore eyes gives you the license to buy a new pair. That’s cool.

I didn’t have one, but I have eyeglasses that I don’t use anymore. So I just had the lenses changed. Since I didn’t want the lenses to be too dark, I chose a lighter shade, a 25F according to the scale that was shown to me at Sarabia Optical.

Aside from hiding your reddish eyes, the shades also remind you not to scratch or touch your eyes, thus preventing the spread of the virus or bacteria to others.

3. You get to stay at home. Staying at home may not be that exciting for some people, especially since you may not be able to do anything because your eyes hurt. But it can be an opportunity to bond with your family.

In my case, I got to play with my 15-month-old daughter, Ariadne. She was the one who infected me with the virus in the first place. Everytime I get home, she would run to me and poke my eyes and say “Eyes!” Then she would laugh. It’s a good thing she was cured of the ailment much more quickly than me and my wife.

So we got to play and cuddle but avoided the eye-poking. I wore my shades at home. We also had picture-taking sessions wearing shades.

4. You get to practice eye contact. Since people would tend to look at you twice, it’s the perfect opportunity to communicate with your eyes.

Usually, one eye gets badly hit by the virus, while the other awaits attack. So one eye may appear to be partly squinting because of the swelling. Here’s what you do: Look at the mirror and practice squinting the other unaffected eye. That way your eyes would look the same. If you get quizzical looks, you can just say that a speck of dust launched itself into one of your eyes earlier.

In any case, more eye contact will improve your relationships. It’s been said that more eye contact implies intelligence and confidence. So, yes, you can actually fake intelligence.

Just one exception: Don’t try to make eye contact with a drunken man on the street. That would be stupidity.

So enjoy your sore eyes. But don’t infect others–not unless they’re your enemies.



Kabbalah for the uninitiated

Posted in philosophy, psychology on December 22, 2011 by gohelpyourself

Kabbalah is supposed to help transmogrify people to become spiritual beings and reach the 99% reality of this world. I'd like that. But not soon, though.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

With a few lines and a few circles on the presentation easel, she was finished.

Ta-da! It was the “tree of life.”

I couldn’t believe it was that simple. It didn’t even look like a tree. I felt like genuflecting but my left leg was numb after 10 minutes with crossed legs.

I was at the Kabbalah lecture titled “Redefining Impossible” held recently at the Mandarin Oriental in Makati. Curious about many things, I decided to see what it was all about.

Kabbalah, according to the brochure given to us, is “an ancient wisdom that reveals how the universe and life work. On a literal level, the word Kabbalah means ‘receiving.’ It’s the study of how to receive fulfillment in our lives.”

It’s vague, I know. Perhaps I can direct you to In any case, it’s not a religion. You can still be a devout Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim, or even a Jedi Knight, which, incidentally, is based on the philosophy of Star Wars. Some fans of the movie series actually managed to influence some people to include this quasi-religion in surveys in the United Kingdom, Australia, and some other countries. Don’t ask.

Sarah Lopez, a Kabbalah teacher based in London where some Jedi Knights exist, showed us where most people are on the tree of life–right down there at the bottom circle of the tree of life.

They call it the 1% world, which is the physical world that we live in. The 99% world, represented by nine other circles above the lone circle at the bottom, is the realm of the spirit.

Sarah made references about the atom. Most of the atom, she said, is really energy. It’s not physical. She equates energy with spiritual energy. The universe, as we were taught, was created with a sudden burst of light that led to the “accident”, which means you and me, the awe-inspiring landscapes and animals in the zoo and, unfortunately, some irritating politicians we have.

The goal, Sarah said, is to “bring our consciousness out of the 1%.”

“The spiritual came first before the physical,” she said.

And spiritual is infinite, too, just as the universe is infinite and boundless.

She added that everything in this world is part of that primordial light that started everything. And since we all came from that light, we are all destined to get that light.

This leads to an interesting dichotomy between the spiritual and physical:

  • endless – limited
  • immortality – death
  • infinite – finite
  • cure – disease
  • courage – fear
  • certainty – doubt
  • love – hate
  • solution – problem
  • possibility – impossibility

The lecture was full of anecdotes and parables–the men in the mental hospital, the raven and the dove, the pessimistic kid and the optimistic kid, the Kabbalah teacher in a coma, the drowning man. And there was a lot of reference to the “Light”–seeking the “Light”, receiving the “Light”, sharing our light, the curtain covering the “Light.”

Now how the heck do they teach Kabbalah to the blind? Perhaps Kabbalah for the blind would be an interesting topic.

But perhaps Sarah and the other Kabbalah experts have the answer to this already. After all, they’re already in a higher plane of existence, while I’m here sitting on my chair massaging my numb leg.