8 Ideas from Stoicism I Wish I’d Learned in School

By Jules Evans

Philosophy and psychology need each other. Philosophy without psychology is a brain in a vat, artificially cut off from emotions and actions and the habits of life. Psychology without ethics is a chicken without a head, focused entirely on evidence without any clear sense of the goal. Practical philosophy is a bridge between the evidence-based techniques of psychology, and the Socratic questioning of philosophy.

I wish that, when I was suffering from social anxiety and depression at school, someone had told me about Stoic philosophy, and explained their idea that my emotions are connected to my beliefs and attitudes, and we can transform our feelings by changing our beliefs. Instead I had to find all this out for myself, and it took me several rather unhappy years. When I did finally come across ancient philosophy, it helped me enormously.

Here are eight key ideas from Stoicism that, speaking personally, I wish I’d come across at school:

1. It’s not events that cause us suffering, but our opinion about events.

People often think ‘Stoic’ means ‘suppressing your emotions behind a stiff upper lip’. This is not what ancient Stoicism meant. The Stoics thought we could transform emotions by understanding how they’re connected to our beliefs and attitudes. Often what causes us suffering is not a particular adverse event, but our opinion about it. We can make a difficult situation much worse by the attitude we bring to it. This doesn’t mean relentlessly ‘thinking positively’ – it simply means being more mindful of how our attitudes and beliefs create our emotional reality. We don’t realize that often we are the ones causing ourselves suffering through our thoughts. Have you noticed how people react very differently to exactly the same event, how some sink rapidly into despondency while others shrug it off? Perhaps we can learn to be more resilient and intelligent in how we react to events.

2. Our opinions are often unconscious, but we can bring them to consciousness by asking ourselves questions.

Socrates said we sleepwalk through life, unaware of how we live and never asking ourselves if our opinions about life are correct or wise. Yet we assume automatically they’re true. The way to bring unconscious beliefs into consciousness is simply to ask yourself questions. Why am I feeling this strong emotional reaction? What interpretation or belief is leading to it? Is that belief definitely true? Where is the evidence for it? We can get into the practice of asking ourselves questions and examining our automatic interpretations. The Stoics used journals to keep track of their automatic responses and to examine them.

3. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we react.

This is another very simple and powerful idea from the Stoics, best presented by Epictetus, the slave-philosopher, who divided all human experience into two domains: things we control, things we don’t. We don’t control other people, the weather, the economy, our bodies and health, our reputation, or things in the past and future. We can influence these things, but not entirely control them. The only thing we have complete control over is our beliefs – if we choose to exercise this control. But we often try to exert complete control over something external, and then feel insecure and angry when we fail. Or we fail to take responsibility for our own thoughts and beliefs, and use the outside world as an alibi. Focusing on what you control is a powerful way to reduce anxiety and assert autonomy in chaotic situations – the stories of Rhonda Cornum, Viktor Frankel, James Stockdale or Sam Sullivan to illustrate this idea – they all faced profound adversity but managed to find a sense of autonomy in their response to it. The Serenity Prayer is also a nice encapsulation of this idea.

4. Choosing your perspective wisely.

Every moment of the day, we can choose the perspective we take on life, like a film-director choosing the angle of a shot. What are you going to focus on? What’s your angle on life?

A lot of the wisdom of Stoicism comes down to choosing your perspective wisely. One of the exercises the Stoics practiced was called the View From Above – if you’re feeling stressed by some niggling annoyances, project your imagination into space and imagine the vastness of the universe. From that cosmic perspective, the annoyance doesn’t seem that important anymore – you’ve made a molehill out of a mountain. Another technique the Stoics used (along with Buddhists and Epicureans) was bringing their attention back to the present moment, if they felt they were worrying too much about the future or ruminating over the past. Seneca told a friend: ‘What’s the point of dragging up sufferings that are over, of being miserable now because you were miserable then?’

5. The power of habits.

One thing the Stoics got, which a lot of modern philosophy (and Religious Studies) misses with its focus on theory, is the importance of practice, training, repetition and, in a word, habits. It doesn’t matter what theory you profess in the classroom if you don’t embody it in your habits of thinking and acting. Because we’re such forgetful creatures, we need to repeat ideas over and over until they become ingrained habits. It might be useful to talk about the Stoic technique of the maxim, how they’d encapsulate their ideas into brief memorable phrases or proverbs (like ‘Everything in moderation’ or ‘The best revenge is not to be like that’), which they would repeat to themselves when needed. Stoics also carried around little handbooks with some of their favorite maxims in. What sayings do you find inspirational? Where could you put them up to remind yourself of them throughout the day?

6. Fieldwork

Another thing the Stoics got, which modern philosophy often misses, is the idea of fieldwork. One of my favorite quotes from Epictetus is: ‘We might be fluent in the classroom but drag us out into practice and we’re miserably shipwrecked’. Philosophy can’t just be theory, it can’t just be talk, it also has to be practice. If you’re trying to improve your temper, practice not losing it. If you’re trying to rely less on comfort eating, practice eating less junk food. Seneca said: ‘The Stoic sees all adversity as training’. I love the bit in the movie Fight Club where students from Tyler Durden’s school get sent out to do homework in the streets (even if the homework is a little, er, inappropriate, like intentionally losing a fight). Imagine if philosophy also gave us street homework, tailor-made for the habits we’re trying to weaken or strengthen, like practicing asking a girl out, or practicing not gossiping about friends, or practicing being kind to someone every day. Imagine if people didn’t think philosophy was ‘just talking’.

7. Virtue is sufficient for happiness.

All the previous main points are quite instrumental and value-neutral, but Stoicism wasn’t just a feel-good therapy, it was an ethics, with a specific definition of the good life: the aim of life for Stoics was living in accordance with virtue. They believed if you found the good life not in externals like wealth or power but in doing the right thing, then you’d always be happy, because doing the right thing is always in your power and never subject to the whims of fortune. A demanding philosophy, and yet also in some ways true – doing the right thing is always in our power. So what are we worried about?

8. Our ethical obligations to our community.

The Stoics pioneered the theory of cosmopolitanism – the idea that we have ethical obligations not just to our friends and family, but to our wider community, and even to the community of humanity. Sometimes our obligations might clash – between our friends and our country, or between our government and our conscience (for example, would we resist the Nazis if we grew up in 1930s Germany?) Do we really have moral obligations to people on the other side of the world? What about other species, or future generations?

Those are just some ideas I’ve found useful, and which I’ve found people of all ages respond to in workshops (including teenagers).

Based on the book “Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations”. Copyright © 2012 by Jules Evans. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com.

About Jules Evans:
Journalist and writer Jules Evans is policy director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London. He helps run the London Philosophy Club, the biggest philosophy club in the world, with over 3,000 members, and is one of ten BBC Next Generation Thinkers for 2013. He teaches and blogs about practical philosophy. His website is philosophyforlife.org.

Lights, Camera, Booze!

I’ve always had a soft spot for the movie “The Princess Bride”. Then when my husband and I got married we made reference to the book at our ceremony so we never officially declared it, but the movie sort of became “our” film. So obviously we did what any reasonable married couple would do with such a special film, we invited our friends over for “The Princess Bride”: The Drinking Game.

Yes my friends, you read that correctly. I received a review copy of “Lights, Camera, Booze: Drinking Games for Your Favorite Movies” by Kourtney Jason and Lauren Metz and illustrated by Amanda Lanzone, and you can’t get a book like that and not take it for a test drive. There were tons of tempting options: “The Goonies”, “Back to the Future”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Clerks”, “Fight Club”, “Monty Python & the Holy Grail”, and so many more! Yet when everything was said and done my husband and I picked “our” movie, “The Princess Bride”.

With the difficult decision of film picked out, we all gathered and prepared for the fun. “Lights, Camera, Booze” tells you when to drink. In this case, drink when….
1. “Farmboy”
2. As you wish
3. Mawwiage
4. Anyone mentions Andre the Giant’s size
5. Inconceivable
6. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
7. True love
8. The grandson interrupts
9. Sword fight
10. The Machine
11. Horse Rides
12. Dread Pirate Roberts
13. Rodents of Unusual Size
14. Man in Black
15. Westley defeats a foe.
16. 6-fingered man.
17. Prince Humperdinck
18. Buttercup is referred to as Highness or Princess

Each movie, along with the “drink when”, has a cocktail paired up with it. For “The Princess Bride” the drink is the True Love Cocktail. A mix of coconut rum (RUM!), peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. The first few to try it proclaimed that it “tasted like college” and others agreed. It was pretty sweet and needless to say, tasted better the more you had.

Being the super hostess, I had provided potato chips. I refer to them as fried sliced potato tapas. Fortunately a few of our friends had other things in mind. One friend brought roasted in the shell peanuts (“Anybody want a peanut?”), and snack size Snickers (to emulate the oversized chocolate Miracle Max pill). A different pair brought beer bread (Yum!) and M.L.T.s, yep, mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches (Miracle Max’s favorite!). They were DELICIOUS!

The book stresses that when you “drink”, it’s a sip, not a pounding back the whole glass. Although even with that rule in place most of us thought we were in trouble with just the plot background at the start of the film. We were like, Buttercup, quit saying Farmboy and for the love of God Westley, shut up on the “As you wish”! Depending on the size of the glass, some folks were refilling by the time Buttercup was vowing she would never love again. It was ugly and it was HILARIOUS!

We all had a great time and when it was over I shared the trivia that “Lights, Camera, Booze” provides. They also have a game, which for The Princess Bride was a toy sword fight. Being adults, full of True Love Cocktails, in our crowded apartment; we opted to pass on the game. There’s also a Hot Topics section with some conversational questions which I totally forgot about and by this point my friends wanted to go through and look at other movies.

By the end of the evening people were talking about what the next movie/drinking game night should be and what other movies should have been in the book. With that in mind, I would give Jason & Metz’s “Lights, Camera, Booze” two thumbs up, way up.

Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

It is November and Americans are counting down the days until changes instituted under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, go into effect. A question on many minds is the subject of this month’s column: What is up with Obamacare? Please understand that while I am curious about the implications of this monumental shift in policy, it is also my intention to not reflect my own views, hopes or fears in this reading- a difficult task and exciting challenge.

In only three cards a glimpse is shown, not every aspect of this complex social, political and economic shift likely to be caused by the institution of this new bill. For an initial intuitive “warm up” I hoped to glean a sense of the good, bad and ugly about the coming changes, trying to be objective and open up purely to the guidance from Spirit. My initial impression is that the original bill promised, discussed and debated will be either stopped or watered down. My sense is that even this close to the “deadlines” there will still be cuts, compromises and political reconstructive surgery on this policy so that what we have heard rumor of will not be what ends up coming down the line. My sense is that discrepancies among powerful institutions that influence government will not allow this bill to pass as intended and civil disobedience in many forms will ensue. I also sense that the majority of individuals hoping to receive positive benefit from this policy change will largely be in the dark about their rights and responsibilities and that misinformation or poor information will be a significant disadvantage to the masses.

On a positive note I sense a turning point on the horizon for numerous health crises including those involving prescription drugs and obesity. The attention given to the flaws in current healthcare system will revolutionize healthcare as we know it and that greater accountability and definitive results will be demanded by numerous powers involved from researchers to insurance companies to health advocacy groups. I feel a shift in power accompanying this issue- on more than a medical front, on an economic and civil rights front as well. Greater attention given to populations neglected and underserved by the healthcare system and greater priorities given to addressing lack of preventive care. Revolutionary ripple effects will follow this change- a fissure or drastic schism among political rivals. The government shutdown last month will not be the last act of disharmony among those in power. Again I wish to emphasize this is not my hope, nor is it any reflection of my personal feelings about this bill. My sense is that the individualization of coverage will not imminently take place- it seems to me that this is initially a result of confusion and lack of awareness of the majority of lay people regarding how to individualize care to meet their needs.

Now for the cards- an interesting mix! No Major Arcana, a surprise considering the significance of this milestone bill- this also leads to my impression that what rolls out next year will be quite watered down but will serve as a philosophical and political catalyst more than an actual step in our collective enlightenment or betterment. There are however two aces. The Ace of Cups, the Four of Swords, and the Ace of Pentacles.

The Ace of Cups suggests happiness, compassion and new understanding emerging. This suggests a unified benevolent and loving atmosphere. It is associated with joy and celebration. I feel this card represents the cleansing, positive aspects of this change- that for many the satisfaction of accessing care will be a relief. It also suggests a new beginning that suffices to satisfy the emotional needs perhaps more style than substance.

The Four of Swords suggests the downside of this transition phase- stagnation, delay and loss of power. The engine that drives this change seems to run out of steam before the main mission is accomplished. There is a sense of being driven into hibernation as well. While delays have already occurred we may expect another delay of four weeks or four months before the final product is ready. Stagnation is likely to occur as multiple sides reach a stalemate and there is little budging from Democrats or Republicans for a period of likely 4 months. Further delays will likely accompany the roll out phase- as if the original plan is laid to rest before it is even born.

The final card in the reading is the Ace of Pentacles. Another ace reaffirms the message of new beginning, after a period of standoff the breaking point will arise in favor of profit and business rather than in favor of the benefit of the public. The bill will be born after progress is halted but what is birthed is more concrete and profit driven version of the original mission, having lost idealism and social conscience. It would also seem that happy optimism are replaced by concrete, direct and rigid final product that serves to get the job done. As much as this bill brings about a new model for healthcare it appears to deliver more economic features than socialist benefits, for better or worse.

As we brace for the changes ahead excitement be prepared to embrace the emergence of new concepts around healthcare stemming from what is benevolent and disappointing about this first step in the direction toward a new model of managing health needs. The initial changes slow in coming, bring dividing lines both economically and philosophically. We may choose this transition to be our collective initiation- a catalyst for change that may not fully take shape for another four years or so but which at least brings to life the possibility of a system that looks far different from what has been accepted as status quo. The “first born” version of this plan appears to fall short of the social ideals upon which it was originally based, but it is nevertheless the first step. As a catalyst, this first bill will serve the purpose of challenging the past model and though it seems to come close to mimicking it when all is said and done I feel the door will be open for further change in the long term.

Remember, no matter where you are reading this all readings are intended for entertainment purposes in accordance with NYS law.

The deck used this month is the Aquarian Tarot published by US Games Inc and created by David Palladini. For more information visit http://www.usgamesinc.com/Aquarian-tarot-deck/

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” And the newly released “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space, Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011). In 2006 she joined ISIS Paranormal Investigations and has accompanied the team on numerous investigations in private residences and businesses throughout the capital region, Adirondacks, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com

Shanti Orchestra: Epic New Age Album

I love collaborations. I tend to romanticize, glorify, and other things that end in the “I” sound them. So you can imagine how excited I got when I heard about Ricky Kej’s album “Shanti Orchestra”. Composer Kej collaborated with over 20 different musicians from around the globe. The results are, well, for example, here’s “Pieces of Heaven” with lyricist and vocalist Alexis D’Souza from Qatar.

Not too shabby, right? Beautiful, yes? Dare I say enchanting? I think I dare.

Here’s “Exotic Dreams”:

Exotic, right? Mellow but you can groove to it, yes?

I really enjoy “Forever” featuring lyrics and vocals by Junior Bay from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Just sublime, correct?

The liner notes describe “Shanti Orchestra” as an “epic ‘New Age’ album”. I’m by no mean an expert on the “new age” musical genre, but Ricky Kej’s undertaking with “Shanti Orchestra” was certainly epic and the results were certainly wonderful and evocative. That seems pretty much like an epic New Age album to me!

Thou Art That

How sad is this? I honestly feel just awful. I seriously started this book review over 5 times. That’s right kids, OVER 5 TIMES! I was given a copy of “Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor” by Joseph Campbell. It’s collected from previously unpublished work. It does what Campbell does best, compares the Judeo-Christian faiths similarities and misrepresentations with scholarship that is authoritative, yet a dummy like me can understand.

What do I say about that besides I liked it? That I REALLY liked it! Here’s what I’d like to say, it comes from Eugene Kennedy, Ph.D., “Thou Art That’s” editor:

“Tat tvam asi” is a phrase that appears often in these collected spiritual reflections of the late Joseph Campbell. These words also inscribe a signature of celebration on his life and work. Translated from the Sanskrit as “thou art that,” this epigram captures Campbell’s generous spirit just as it does his scholarly focus. The great student of mythology not only understood the profound spiritual implications of the phrase but, quite unselfconsciously, lived by them as well.

Joseph Campbell was fond of asking Schopenhauer’s question, found in his essay “On the Foundation of Morality:” “How is it possible that suffering that is neither my own nor of my concern should immediately affect me as though it were my own, and with such force that it moves me to action?…This is something really mysterious, something for which Reason can provide no explanation, and for which no basis can be found in practical experience. It is not unknown even to the most hard-hearted and self-interested. Examples appear every day before our eyes of instant responses of the kind, without reflection, one person helping another, coming to his aid, even setting his own life in clear danger for someone whom he has seen for the first time, having nothing more in mind than that the other is in need and in peril of his life….”

Schopenhauer’s response, one Campbell delighted in making his own, was that the immediate reaction and response represented the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization best rendered as “thou art that.” This presupposes, as the German philosopher wrote, his identification with someone not himself, a penetration of the barrier between persons so that the other was no longer perceived as an indifferent stranger but as a person “in whom I suffer, in spite of the fact that his skin does not enfold my nerves.”

And I feel like that’s the real story this collection of previously unpublished works is trying to tell us. Christian, Jewish, whatever. You are a person that’s part of this crazy experiment called humanity. “Thou art that.”

Geek Month in Review: October 2013

By JB Sanders

Fall is here.

Fun Victorian Phrases
For those linguistic geeks among us, here’s a review of a Victorian slang dictionary. It brings such fun phrases as “suitable for electioneering purposes” (referring to an egg that’s gone bad, for “the exercise of projecting them at antagonistic candidates”), or “bags o’ mystery”, referring to sausages.

20 Trivia Bits On the X-Files
So, to make some of us feel old, the TV show The X-Files premiered 20 years ago. In honor of that, some random trivia bits about the show and its creators.

Every First Edition of the James Bond Novels
Ian Fleming’s seminal novels all in one virtual place. In full color, with original covers. Pretty nifty.

Cube Robots
Ignore the stupid headline — while they are “self-assembling”, it’s only in that the cubes can be told to arrange themselves together in groups, not actually build new robo-cubes. Still, they’re pretty neat.

Fearsome Galloping Robot
When the robot wars come, this will have been your preview. Or at some point we’ll get mechanical, robotic horse-racing. Either way.

Printing a Satellite
Times were, you had to build those communications (or spy) satellites by hand, took years, and cost millions. Nowadays, we’re aiming to just print those suckers whole cloth.

Why the Number 1729 Matters — Futurama!
Apparently Futurama has mathematicians on their writing staff, and as you probably already know, the slip sly (and not so sly) math references into every episode.

For the full rundown on math in Futurama

What a Strange Place Memory Is
Read about the man who stopped being able to make new memories. He could recall his past, up to a point, but everything after that stopped happening for him. Tragic, but also one of the foundation rocks of our understanding of the brain and how memory works.

Remember the Game Myst?
Yeah, or Riven? The same creators are back and the screenshots are crazy. This time, they’re using kickstarted to fund the project, instead of finding a traditional publisher. Check it out.

Aliens in 2001: A Space Odyssey
Yup, we almost had actual, walking-around aliens in the movie, until Carl Sagan talked Kubrick and Clark out of it.

NASA’s Pumpkin-Carving Contest
Yup, rocket scientists carving pumpkins. You know this is gonna be good. Yes, there’s a video.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com

10 Questions with Irina Shapiro

1. You’re originally from Russia, but you’ve been in the United States for a while now. Was it difficult adjusting to Miami after Moscow?

When I’m in Miami or Los Angeles, as a Russian I can feel like a stranger there. It is different, but I love Miami! It’s like a never ending party. My true inspirations are sunrises and sunsets there. I also love the clubs in Miami, it’s like energy lives there forever and people really enjoy it to the fullest. I did some performances in Miami and I loved it so much!

2. I hear there is quite a Russian dance music scene, have you had the chance to go back and be a part of it?

I’m currently located in Los Angeles working on my music, but I travel a lot to Moscow and am actually here right now :). Hopefully I will be performing here soon too.

3. How did you end up partnering with such a respected name as Dave Audé on “One Last Kiss”?

I love having positive, creative people around! Dave is an amazing person, great husband and father – I love and respect those qualities in a person!

“One Last Kiss” – Official Video

4. Were you excited to learn that both R3hab and Sick Individuals wanted to remix “One Last Kiss”?

These guys are so talented and I love their sound! They are energetic and very unique characters with unique personalities – I love that the most! I was freaking screaming!! haha!!!!!

“One Last Kiss” – R3hab Remix

“One Last Kiss” – Sick Individuals Remix

5. Is it weird hearing your song remixed?

I don’t think it’s weird because I love to work with other song writers too. It makes me feel like we are making history – so cool!

6. There is a lot choreography in the video for “One Last Kiss”, how hard was the video shoot?

It was a lot of work! But I have been dancing my entire life and love expressing myself through body language.

7. What kind of music do you enjoy dancing to?

I love rock music, Bon Jovi is my favorite rock musician. I came to the USA to do a rock project. Something like a Blonde Jovi in a sexy skirt :).

I also adore Kylie Minogue. She is real unbelievable – feminine woman, sexy diva. Icon!

8. The other day I was in a really rotten mood getting ready for work. While in the shower I started humming a tune and it cheered me up. That tune was “One Last Kiss”. No question, I just really wanted to tell you that.

9. What are you working on next that my readers can look forward to?

My next single to be released will be “Believe.” It’s a very spiritual song about our destiny, our stories—our past and future, our all or nothing! It’s about love and power of love, which can heal everything in this world! Empathy and perception!

You can also look out for a full length album soon!

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

What is your favorite type of music? Do you have a favorite DJ?

I like all kinds of music depending on my mood. For dance/electronic, lately I’ve been listening to Swedish House Mafia’s “Until Now” album, Diplo, the album “18 Months” from Calvin Harris, everything from Robyn, and Madonna’s “Hard Candy” album”.

About Irina Shapiro:
Irina was born in the Russian capital of Moscow, with performing arts always at the center of her life. She began singing at the age of three, and was constantly involved in theater while in school. At the age of six, Irina sang in the school choir as a mezzo-soprano and started to learn English.

At 18, Irina attended a university in Russia, acquiring her first degree in economics and second in psychology. Though she was busy with her studies, she managed to find time for what she describes as a “hobby.” For many years, she had written poems, but now Irina began to write songs. She continued writing, something she devoted more time to when she was in her mid-20s, but soon learned that her family had decided to move to the US to start a new business. Not wanting to be separated from her relatives, Irina moved with.

On a trip to Los Angeles, Irina’s fate changed for good. Irina met Mikey Minden, creative director for the Pussycat Dolls, which launched the start of her pop project. Together, Irina and Mikey worked on a hot club dance style and Irina’s first single, the original song “Something About You,” was released in the US. The song quickly debuted on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart and remained on the list for a number of weeks, peaking at No. 40.

Now, Irina’s second single “One Last Kiss” has made its debut, and she is gearing up for the launch of her third original track, “Believe.”