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Friday, December 21, 2012

Can money buy happiness after all?


After a much-needed hiatus from the blog world, I come to you refreshed and invigorated for the coming year. 2012 was a bit of an amazing year for me. I expanded my freelance writing business in general while also adding a new career or "micro career" as you might term it as a mashup DJ, took my friend's Feng Shui blog to a number one spot in the Google rankings and I got my first credit as a contributing editor to a self-help book (available here)—and I did all this while experiencing the joys of becoming a Mac user. (For as any Mac user can attest, Mac's are mavens of productivity which thereby gives them a special place on awesomeness lists the world over). :-)

In the interpersonal and social realms so to speak, I was able to travel a bit more: I finally was able to take a beautiful trip to Universal Studios in Orlando with my fiancée and I was also able to attend two internationally televised World Wrestling Entertainment events within a six-month period after previously never having gone to any events of such magnitude. (Seeing as I'm a lifelong fan of professional wrestling, This. Was. Epic!) Experiences such as these along with the smaller yet still poignant experiences of meeting up with Long Island relatives I hadn't seen in more than maybe three times in my whole life. made for some illumination conve I also found myself connecting and reconnecting with distant uncles and so forth at family events—family from Mexico, Italy and the Philippines (at least from a first-generation American cultural standpoint) for instance while equally expanding my willingness to say, try exotic food,  brave roller coasters, and visit niche museums in New York City, it all sums up a year that can only be described as one of my happiest ever! 

One reason I was able to do some of these things was because  of a very modest yet noticeable increase in my income that meant more money to fly to Orlando for a friend's wedding and a personal vacation, money to buy tickets to wrestling matches and money to expand my software lexicon to include a voice-activated dictation software (which I am actually using right now) and money to expand my business' productivity and even to make similar overtures in my social long-distance relationships via video chatting software such as Skype and FaceTime. So, as it turns out, in particular serendipitous instances, money and more of it has brought me a level of happiness. But in saying this, I realize it was not a particular amount of money that made me happy this year, nor was it any material gain. Rather it was that I used the money in such ways as to increase the quality of my life by increasing my quality of experiences in life with people, with ideas, with charity toward others, with clarity as to my intent and most importantly doing so with an open mind.

As the video below will show, this is not an uncommon occurrence among happy people who gain money. The premise: money can sometimes buy happiness, but the magic trick to experiencing joy is much of the time, as with most tools ilife, all in how you or I choose to use it.

More on money and happiness:


Roll on!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You are not so 'special' after all



Having grown up in a world in which Mr. Rodgers told me how special I was five days a week and anxiety ridden parents demand and command that their children be played more in Little League and soccer practice—a world where everyone gets a trophy for just showing up to play, the following speech is the refreshing drink of water some of us have been waiting for for the past 20 years.

Watch as a veteran high school English teacher tells his students so proudly graduating high school that they are not as special as they are so often told. In fact he says, one in a million means that there are around 7,000 people just like them. Instead, he suggests to find a way to make an impact regardless of what numbers of people might be feeling every bit as special as you on any given day.




Roll on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

George Carlin solves homelessness in ten minutes



George Carlin, master of comedic cacophony and effortless alliteration waxes poetic about solutions to homelessness. Among these: changing the name to "houselessness" and foregoing what he calls a useless elitist sport of golf (and until the Tiger Woods era according to Ol' Georgie, a racist sport that takes up entirely too much time and land—hundreds of acres of which, says Carlin, could be used to house the homeless). 'Tis a novel idea if I've ever heard one in my near-32 years on this spinning orb we call Earth.





Roll on!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Focus on what you DO want


Motivational Thought: Never focus on what you lack, what you fear or what you don't want in hopes to get rid of it. You won't. Rather, stay on course to thinking about what you're grateful for and what you would most love to have, to be, etc. The mind doesn't understand otherwise. It hones in on what you put into it.








Roll on!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Where do ideas really come from?




For sure, the idea is not singular, it is networked. Rather, the first idea is ill-formed and the complete idea is fully formed by the network. But the temporary ownership of the idea is essential for the idea to take hold in the world. This reinforces the idea of the narrators: people who can connect and explain the idea and communicate more or less exactly the idea as far as it can be understood by those taking an interest. In this way, the idea can take hold. -Tim Greenhalgh, YouTube user comment 


Steve Johnson takes some time in this TED talk to analyze, scrutinize and utterly break apart the notion of an idea as a single moment in time: a "eureka," a "lightbulb" or any number of terms used to suggest a singularity in concept of any particular idea. Rather Johnson argues for networked creativity wherein one idea might be borrowing from another and groups in the same way, might be cross-pollinating, if you will, with other groups.

This blog, while sometimes strong in its advocacy and championing of those with disabilities, is ultimately about championing difference as a form of unique contribution to the world and its various cultures. This video exemplifies that particular aim.



Roll on!






Wednesday, October 24, 2012

50 Things I'm Going to Do Today


This free lecture by free-thinking intellectual "shakerupper" Brian Johnson lists 50 of the most comprehensively motivating things for us, abled however we are, to do today. I agree with most of the things on this list except the whole "Stop milking the cow" part -- for I doth love me a milkshake now and again.

Listen here.

Roll on with yo' 50 things!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Bucket List Series: The Bucket List Book by Angie Webb

Paulo Coelho is the author of one of my favorite books, The Alchemist




Here is some boisterous and beautiful inspiration from an inspiring person whom my fiancee had the pleasure to meet  and befriend while working at a youth summer camp recently:

The Bucket List Series: The Bucket List Book:   THE BUCKET LIST FOR EVERYONE: 100 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU KICK THE BUCKET

Roll on!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Henry Rollins INSPIRES YOU LIKE CRAZY in under five minutes!

No matter how hard life has been to you, you have been given tomorrow as a sign to NOT give up!



Roll on!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My writing, editing and creative services are now available!





Writing, editing, marketing, ad copy, comedy writing, help with novels, screenplays... and even greeting cards and poems for that special person in your life; it's all a part of the Michael LaPenna creative service guarantee!

I'll work within your budget to ensure you get the best value for your dollar!

For rates, questions and general inquiries, contact me here or call (845) 313-4714.

Thanks so much for your business!


Sincerely,
Mike


Learn more about my service and book me at Thumbtack.com 

Reblog - Let me tell you a story about moving past limitations

Check out this reblog and as always... roll on!

The Wheelchair Philosopher: Let me tell you a story about moving past limitati...:   This image of rapper-singer Drake is taken from an anonymous source on Facebook. Copyright is granted in full to the original owner of ...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

State.com calls out ESPN on its lack of Paralympics coverage





The Paralympic Games of 2012 have been going on in London since August 29, but judging from the media coverage or more precisely, the lack of it, no one in the US would know that. While this kind of omission is not uncommon for unpopular topics in news, it is however a little glaring. Yet, honestly, I can't say I'm surprised any more than I would be at America's lack of interest in UK cricket. There's no reference point and no public outcry amid the home runs from early September Major League Baseball and touchdowns of the first few weeks of NFL football.

The following piece from Slate.com takes a stance of inexcusablity toward ESPN, its affiliates and subsequent sponsor relationships therein.  The piece points to the usual inspirational go-tos: indomitable spirit, the triumph of the will over the hardships of the flesh and body, etc. But  as someone who has competed in similar games and as your wheelchair philosopher, I ask that you reserve your judgment until after you read the article below.



http://www.slate.com/blogs/five_ring_circus/2012/09/07/paralympics_2012_espn_s_lack_of_coverage_is_totally_indefensible_.html

Like the Paralympics' wheelchair events... roll on!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pro Wrestler Nick Dinsmore discusses playing 'special needs' character Eugene

Nick Dinsmore as Eugene in WWE
Photo source: BBC
For most of you who read this blog, you know that I am very much an avid, diehard wrestling fan and because this is, after all, the Wheelchair Philosopher blog, disability is logically the common thread that binds this biosphere of topics together on most occasions.

Quite a few blogs back I profiled professional wrestler Colt Cabana's interview with fellow ring warrior Gregory Iron, the first professional wrestler born with Cerebral palsy in real life. But today, another detour in the journey of disability in professional wrestling is taken with fellow professional wrestler Colt Cabana's interview of Nick Dinsmore who portrayed "special-needs" character and wrestler Eugene for several years in World Wrestling Entertainment.

According to Dinsmore, Eugene's persona may have been modeled after one of WWE's writer's autistic son as a way to show triumph of the will in a new light for a new era. The premise of Eugene's story was that he would be a guy with a disability who grew up idolizing his favorite wrestlers and mimicking their moves with savant-like perfection so while having the disability, once in the ring, he would dominate his competition by being a harrowing hybrid of every great wrestler he grew up watching.

Colt and Nick discuss the controversy of the potential exploitation of a character such as Eugene and also the positives that have come out of the role.

Listen to the Art of Wrestling podcast with Nick Dinsmore at the link below.

Roll on!


From the podcast:

Eugene was a WWE superstar. Nick Dinsmore portrays the special needs character, Eugene. Dinsmore [has] been wrestling a long time and is full of fun stories. Find the origins of the character along with much more as Nick and Colt sit down and talk wrestling.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

As you deal with life's detours, think about this




Hi guys, I'm back to bring you my rolling thoughts and insights of inspiration after a near two-week hiatus. I've been busy with life while starting up plans for a website in its infancy and beginning a side career as a mashup DJ. But folks, I've learned something. I have very clearly and lucidly realized and have had to make piece with the reality that my life has not evolved the way I first imagined it might have when playing and plotting it out a decade or so ago.

In the time of been away from the blog in my free time, I've been getting to know and catch up on stories on the hit television show How I Met Your Mother. (Watch it on Netflix here.) I have now gone through four seasons of the show and believe it or not, I've learned something from the show based on the real lives of its co-writers: I realize now, more than ever, that though we may dream of being a philosopher (as the character of Ted Mosby did in college), we may instead  become an architect who designs a rib joint shaped like a cowboy hat and the absurdity of that experience may propel and prompt our minds to ask ourselves what we really want out of our lives and thus allow us to become a professor in our field (and to somehow rekindle the philosopher in the teacher so to speak).

When I was younger, I wanted to be various things when I grew up: a toymaker, a comedian, to be a voiceover actor (which is something I can no longer do without the voice of a 10-year-old boy) among various other job titles like computer programmer and rapper/emcee—Yes, I actually did think about becoming a rapper, but I realized after less than two years contemplating what kind of rapper I was going to be, I no longer had that passion inside me.

In other news thanks to the same TV show and its dealings with subjects like fate versus free will and narrator and protagonist Ted Mosby's story of how he found "the one" made me realize that without certain setbacks like subpar SAT scores in math and lost transcripts from my community college, my entire life's trajectory would've been completely different. In fact, probably 90% of the social relationships I have not would not have ever come into being and the near-perfect fiancée I have now would likely never have come to my life—and though my life is not anywhere I thought it would be at 31, I can say I am the happiest I've ever been. My fiancée is my best friend I've ever, ever had. My friends are truly compatible with who I am, and though I do not own my own home yet or have the financial status of my ideal life, I see all of that coming more and more every day and I thank the universal source I call God every day for every breath of what to me is a very blessed life!

Roll on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't give up, you're almost there!



In life, we often regret what we didn't do. We expect to be somewhere by a certain point in life. I'm turning 32-years-old (or young) this December and I haven't finished that screenplay; I've postponed my wedding a bit longer and those two children I envisioned long ago have yet to manifest. But, my friends, remember that just because you don't see it yet, doesn't mean that great things are not coming sooner than later. Look deep within yourself no matter what life gives you, whether good or bad and see a learning experience and an opportunity to hope. I find that when we do this we find true happiness!

You're almost there! Don't give up!

Dedicated to Abby, Wanda, Chris A. and Justine

Roll on!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jason Chu recites his poem 'Colorblind'


The following video is a response to the La Jolla Playhouse's curious casting of only two Asian actors in a play set in ancient China The Nightingale.

This spoken word piece by Jason Chu is entitled "Colorblind" and speaks to the humbling fact that most of us cannot name more than two Asians who are prominently featured on television, film, news or radio... or even the Web. Asians (including Indians) comprise nearly a third of the world population and yet remain one of the most underrepresented ethnic cultures in all of mass media.


Roll on!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hope springs eternal in Gotham and the world

May we learn something from the Dark Knight's rising.
Photo: Warner Bros.








Hi folks, it's been a while but I'm back. After a month of tech blogging and subsequently having that blog temporarily suspend certain activities therein, I now have more time for you.


A lot has happened in the past week or so. I've ended one job temporarily, applied to others, almost gotten hired by another blog only to be beaten to the punch, or the keyboard (during a power outage at my house mind you) by an earlier submission. Thems is the breaks I guess. I was luckily able to ask if any other positions were available and I was told that something would be opening up in about a month—fingers crossed.

As for disability and inspiration, the former hasn't been so much a factor, and truth be told, I haven't even seen the latest episode of Push Girls. But alas, I roll on into the Great Unknown with hope, perseverance and the occasional Subway sandwich to reinvigorate my soul's quest to conquer and triumph over perilous foes and in the process get jobs blogging, writing, editing, tweeting and creating as per the world's various needs while attempting to do it all with a smile upon my visage (also known as my face).

Also, I would be remiss in not mentioning the Colorado movie theater tragedy and the horrible reality of people who just wanted to watch a movie being hurt or killed in their simple effort to escape into a world of comic book heroes and mythical storytelling. However, it does make me value every breath I take all the more and I would hope that it has done the same for you as you go to work, eat dinner with your family or watch a movie with your friends. Life is just that fragile and precious and we should all be so fortunate to know this so that we might make the most of each experience no matter how small.

So with that I leave you with a hopeful message to continue to visit this blog while also enjoying life's simple and complex times with a greater vigor and verve and a smile whenever possible!

Roll on like Batman!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Darren Hardy of Success Magazine asks if you are on the right path


Are You on the Right Path?
by Darren Hardy
One of the first things successful people realize is the old adage, "If it is to be, it is up to me." Your success and your course is up to you. Jim Rohn, the late personal development icon, said you must ask yourself this question: Are all the disciplines I'm currently engaged in taking me where I want to go?
“What an important question to ask yourself at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week, the beginning of the day. You don’t ever want to ever kid yourself—hoping you will arrive at a good destination when you're not even headed that way,” Rohn says.
Ask yourself if the direction you are headed is what you want for your life and if it’s your own direction.
“After you have answered these questions within yourself, then take it one step further and ask, ‘What am I doing that is working or not working?’ Debate it all,” Rohn says. “Let the power of your own ambition take you where you want to go, to do what you want to do, to create the life you want to live.”



Roll on!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Colt Cabana talks the Art of Wresting with 'Handicapped Hero' Gregory Iron

Photo source: Wrestling News Center

"Cerebral Palsy hasn't stopped Gregory Iron from doing anything in life including pro wrestling. Some might remember Greg as the wrestler that CM Punk and Colt celebrated while Punk was WWE Champion. Colt and Greg sit down to talk life 
and wrestling."  - Episode 63 of The Art of Wrestling podcast

Listen here!

Roll on!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steve Jobs shares his wisdom on creating... anything you want


Steve Jobs unveils the Apple II, 1977
Photo source: Chicago Tribune

Here's a little something from my new blog at digibred.com on Steve Jobs' vision of what creativity truly is. May you be inspired and as always, roll on!


Read Steve's life-affirming words here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The part of you that is real never dies

As your Wheelchair Philosopher, I support the idea that we are more than our bodies. We are more than our abilities, disabilities,  more than what we can do or what we cannot do. We are a part of a greater Creation—a creation that never dies. We are, at least in this sense, infinite.



Roll on!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'll be rolling this week's blog posts back a day or two


I'm a nerd—I'm aware of this.

Ladies and gents, I apologize for my slight hiatus as of late. I started a new blog job and I've had to give that top priority over the bloggity goodness that is this blog.

So, in the interest of fairness, I shall temporarily move my blog schedule up a few days to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned and of course, roll on!

In the meantime, you can read my other at stuff at my new tech blog at digibred.com/mikeywriteswell.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reversal of desire will take you higher

Facing fear is  how it will go away. How often do we worry about something only to realize that it was never that bad in the first place?


Reversal of Desire of one of a handful of basic techniques found in the new book The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence and Creativity  by therapists Barry Michels and Phil Stutz




Roll on!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Do as Henry Rollins says: travel

"SHARE this among young people, encourage them to travel... there ARE many ways to travel on shoestring budget... Travel is NOT a pre-booked cruise to the Caribbean" from facebook.com/beingliberal.org



The above quotation speaks to something that I've thought about quite a lot in the past years. I'm 31 years old and I have been quite a few places. But in past years, while the trips were relaxing, I've had particular experiences where I would be on vacation at a resort and nothing about the atmosphere would feel in any way different or alternative to my normal day-to-day knowledge of what it's like to live in America.

This brings to mind one vacation in particular in Mexico which I enjoyed very much. However, most of it was spent sitting by the pool with English speakers and club hopping with the very same gringos like me. It was incredibly fun, but looking back I had no sense of being in another country save for the brief interactions with the cleaning crew in our hotel who didn't speak English too well and, in so not doing, forced me to coax out Spanish words that hadn't passed my lips in almost a decade previous to a random case of a clogged toilet in Cancun. Ay Dios Mio!

Conversely, there have been times ing my trekking where detours into the territory of the indigenous folk of the place have been completely accidental. My trip to London comes to mind. In 1999, I traveled to London with a group of high school juniors and seniors as part of EF Educational Tours' large group package. I was thrilled to get to the sites: the Globe Theater, Buckingham Palace, and Roman baths in Bath, England of course-all of it being good. But it really wasn't until the tour when accidentally off course  with non-wheelchair accessible shenanigans that we are able to see some cultural-milieu-related goodies.

Because of our troubles, our tour guide David took us into town in his personal car to local pub for fish and chips and burgerish, spiced and fried matchup that no hotel could ever offer it seemed, on even the most exotic or neurotic of stays with My dad, (someone who I brought along somewhat begrudgingly, but who may have saved the trip for me in a sort of serendipity meets Clark Griswold, "Let's do the vacation together" manner.) But the pub came only after just a few days earlier with he and I having to climb several dozen stairs to the top of the one of the government buildings while I rode piggyback on his back with people following our lead from likely about 15 states in the Union and quite a few European countries. 

Flash forward to one of our final nights when we were surprisingly shut out of one of the theaters showing what I recall was something called The Black Widow. This, with no shortage of irony, would be the kiss of death for our theatergoing experience. Instead we would opt to have dinner at a local Italian restaurant with seemingly Tex-Mex inspired murals on its walls as if we walked (and rolled) into the catering venue for a Cirque du Soleil show that just so happened to be in The Twilight Zone.

There have been countless other trips of which to speak in which the smallest details of culture rather than grandiose gestures of hotel room and board hospitality have entertained me like a baby handed a cardboard box. The Mexican restaurant in Vermont with all white people both serving and eating comes to mind. The Purple Cow restaurant in Virginia where dessert is served first also pops in there.

My point, though roundabout and brief, is clear to any person who enjoys randomness: it is more enjoyable in many instances when we go off the grid so to speak and escape from a comfort zone, our itineraries, our beach resorts, or sometimes even our handicap access. (Though I must say that last one is a bit more crucial to wheelchair users seeking eventful, rich or unique experiences in any kind of travel.) And so, I invite you to explore your life and all its idiosyncratic glory that you may become better learned and better traveled in the most precise sense of the word "better." The next time you travel, try staying with somebody  who lives there. You might want to opt out of the hotel for a friend's spare bedroom. You might skip the trendy nightspot, for the back door, hole in the wall with the best DJ in town and a signature drink that rocks your fancy pants socks off your very well-walked feet and thus, boldly go where no beach bum or Bahama mama has gone before.

Roll on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Quick Word on Happiness: Take advantage of what you do have





A handicapped and happy me hangin' with friends


Exploit the resources you DO have access to.

The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicapped person show intense signs of emotional happiness. How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy? The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has twenty-five Grammy Awards to show for it.

When I saw the above yesterday at care2.com, I paused a bit and thought, "Yeah, I guess that is what some people see." I have CP, I'm not medically cleared to drive a car, I spend a lot of time indoors and I'm not a rich guy. But those people, those naysayers, they don't see what they don't see: that my time indoors is used wisely for business, for watching movies, for Skype social events and for networking with friends. They don't see me working toward making money. They don't see that I get to spend all day freelancing in my pajamas if I want. They don't see that I met the love of my life and that I'm engaged to be married and currently planning the wedding.

You see, most things in your life, if you look at them detached from your worries, you may find that you have more blessings that you realize. The problem is likely that you are focusing on what you don't want, what mistakes you have made, obstacles not yet overcome. Instead you could be finding solutions, being thankful for what you do have and working hard toward what you want in a constructive and productive manner that allows you to be happier, healthier and smiling all the more. This seems easy, right? Doing these things may not make you $1 million or get you to the Tour de France, or then again it might. But you won't know unless you confront your worries and problems with actions that help you achieve more of what you want out of life. As Yoda of Star Wars fame once said, there is no try. Do or do not. In reality, trying is doing something. We don't try in our heads, in thoughts or prayers. Those are each intentions that must be met with actions. So act now in any way, no matter how small or large. Intend success and more success will likely come with intended action and living every day on purpose.
Roll on!

Click here to sponsor charities for free with a click of your mouse: http://www.care2.com/click-to-donate/

Thursday, June 7, 2012

'A-holes don't go out with the disabled': Curb Your Enthusiasm's Season 7 episode 'Denise Handicapped' shows us why they don't

Larry puts "the moves" on Denise... or something.
Photo credit: HBO




If you've ever seen HBO's hit series Curb Your Enthusiasm, you are very aware that the show's writer Larry David (famous for co-writing Seinfeld in the '90s) has  a certain proclivety toward the absurd, the obsessive and a much more straight-forward approach to life's daily happenings then our "PC polite" world would like to have us all behaving. As I had planned to feature this episode in an earlier post, I decided that I would resurrect a post on my rolling reaction to watching an episode of Season 7 entitled "Denise Handicapped."


 Summary:


Larry, who is fairly recently divorced, decides to flirt with and ask out an attractive blonde he meets at a restaurant only have her roll out from her table in her wheelchair.  Not wanting to be a prick, he tells his friend that he cannot possibly "cancel on the handicapped" and a series of seemly well-meaning, yet still very jerky and outright mean "incorrections" commence. (Side note: In the second restaurant scene, Denise receives greatly preferential treatment by the wait staff as well as by actor Ted Danson. This has never happened to me in all my near 30 years as a wheelchair user. Can you say stereotype, boys and girls? Hmmmm.)


Watch the "Denise Handicapped"episode here. (When you get to the page, wait a few seconds and then press the CONTINUE button.) Rated TV-MA/R for ages 17+

Roll on and laugh!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is your life in balance?

Is your life in balance? Are you happy with the direction your life is taking? If you say no, Dr. Wayne Dyer will give you  some small, yet profound steps to tipping the scales in your favor with this  five-minute excerpt from his book Being In Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires.

Feedback is welcome as always.

Roll on!





From Amazon.com:

More About the Author

Biography


Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He's the author of 30 books, has created many audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows.

His books Manifest Your Destiny, Wisdom of the Ages, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and the New York Times bestsellers 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, The Power of Intention, and Inspiration and now Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life have all been featured as National Public Television specials.

Dyer holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John's University in New York.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is affectionately called the "father of motivation" by his fans. Despite his childhood spent in orphanages and foster homes, Dr. Dyer has overcome many obstacles to make his dreams come true. Today he spends much of his time showing others how to do the same.

When he's not traveling the globe delivering his uplifting message, Wayne is writing from his home in Maui.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sundance Channel's 'Push Girls' push reality TV to new frontiers



 From left: Mia, Auti, Angela and Tiphany roll on! Credit: sundancechannel.com

Sundance Channel's latest reality series is the progressively titled feminine treatise on life Push Girls. Push Girls  follows four women living their lives in wheelchairs after various fates have made it so. I only heard about this show during my random perusal of my Facebook feed, but as the saying goes, we gravitate to the familiar, and obviously being a wheelchair philosopher amplifies any notice of a new trend with regard to disability in society.

The show itself is like most shows: a documentary style  interspersed with some "off-script" commentary/confessionals and such. But why I like Push Girls personally is the sheer unmitigated and almost casual tenacity of showing people with disabilities as they are, without the need for pandering, proselytizing for sympathy, excessive empathy, political bullhorning or Rev. Al Sharpton-like social justice activism. Push Girls is the story of four women between their mid-30s and early 40s attempting to redefine themselves after life has given them a detour into a journey on wheels as the show's intro bold proclaims, "When you can't stand up -- stand out!"

Each woman in the series has her expression of herself carried out in interesting, yet  very much unforced ways. Auti is a former traditional Hip Hop dancer who has spent the better part of a decade redefining the "dancer" as she continues to do shows and reinvent the wheel (pun intended) through a slinky style of dance that somehow allows for her wheelchair to seem like a prop in a kind of avant-garde, living hybrid car kind of way. Tiphany is a workout fanatic and perpetual flirt as she would tell you in different words. The pilot episode follows her relationship woes with her ex boyfriend and dives seamlessly into her current romance with a woman as Tiphany makes clear to the interviewer that she does not want to define her sexuality anymore than she wants to define herself as "the wheelchair girl" while her roommate Mia struggles to dive back into both her relationship with her boyfriend and, quite literally, into her former life as a competitive swimmer prior to a spinal infection at age 15. And finally there is Angela, a former model whose career took off to near supermodel stardom  at the leafy green age of 18. She is attempting to return, at least somewhat, to her former glory as she looks to get work as a now quadriplegic stunner.

For all the attempts that may be made to sentimentalize the aim of Push Girls, there is a bold simplicity to the show's premise. Simply put, it seems to convey unapologetically that life goes on for these four women not because they were forced into the "strong role" by their loved ones, or that they wanted to go on to inspire successive generations of little girls to redefine themselves, (though inspiration may play a part). More essentially, Push Girls shows life as it is for four women who simply do not know any other way to be. Like many with disabilities, for these women the goal is never really about being an inspiration to anyone, but as it seems, the real goal is for these women is to inspire themselves to be themselves no matter what obstacles, limitations or risk factors may be placed in their paths to a fulfilling life that we all might strive for, disability or no, for the greater good of ourselves and the  simple joy of living in itself.

Push Girls airs Monday nights at 10 pm Eastern on Sundance Channel. (Click here for more).  

Here is the pilot episode via Hulu:


Roll on!