Thursday, July 31, 2014

Save the Elephants Takes on a Whole New Meaning

Came across this link today and rushed here to share it with you.  Go ahead and take a peek, I'll hang out here and drink my coffee.

Elephants addicted to heroin

Well?  Is that not bizarre?  What do you think?

I think it's cruel enough to be true.  There's no end, it seems, to what a certain slice of humanity will do in order to gain  money and power.

And I can't help but we feel more sorry for the elephants than we do for the human victims of addiction?  I'm willing to bet that if you took a survey many people would say, "people have a choice and they  know better.  The elephants didn't."

To those people I would say, it doesn't really matter when or why people try drugs.  It might be by choice the first time, it might be by trickery, sometimes it's by force.  The end result is the same-thousands of children and adults leading a sad existence from which it can  seem there is no escape other than death.

Heroin dealers infiltrate society and use the drug the same ways on people as they do on elephants. They have to create a market.   To control people.  To manage their human trafficking operations.  To make money.

Heroin dealers make house calls.   In your neighborhood.

At least the elephants don't have much of a choice when it comes to being rehabilitated.  They are at the mercy of their handlers.  Human addicts in recovery have to make the difficult choice every day to stay sober.

I wish that we were as worried about the drugs crossing the borders as we are about the children crossing our borders.

And now I'm just all upset.  I started out with the intent of talking about really skinny elephants, twitching trunks and elephants on  street corners holding signs.

But then I started writing and you know what ?   It's just not funny, is it?  Too many people (and elephants and who knows, maybe dogs or other useful animals) are suffering from addiction.  How can they be helped?  I'd start with very harsher penalties for dealers and free elective and non-elective rehab for addicts.

You got any ideas?

Chicken out

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beginner Mind

A fellow blogger wrote a post recently about keeping an open mind and it reminded me of a concept that I first learned in yoga class, but which  originated in Zen Buddhism.

To approach a task with beginners mind means approaching with no pre-set notions about how things should proceed.  The task  is wide open to many possibilities.

For instance, if you write stories a lot, you probably know about sentence and  plot construction, grammatical style, etc.  As you write, maybe you keep these things in mind and maybe it interferes with your creativity.

If you are just beginning to write stories, you might not worry about  such  complications. Your focus would probably  be on getting the story down on  paper before you forgot it.  You'll learn more as you  continue writing.

For true beginners, embracing "beginner's mind" is fairly easy.  When you become a little more accomplished at your work, when you learn the tricks of the trade, and the small nuances that mark a hack from a pro, that's when the real work begins.  It's a lot harder to be open when you "know" how everything is supposed to work.  The possibilities narrow considerably.

I have struggled with beginner's mind.  I understand the concept.  Still, I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I've learned to prepare ahead.  Being prepared is sorta my thing.  I like to do well when I'm new at something, and I like to be recognized for my expertise when I'm well-practiced.  I have to impress you, don't I?  I can't just walk around trying new things without researching them on the internet first and picking up a few tips, can I?  I can't just humbly listen while you prattle on about something you apparently know nothing about, can I?  I can't try things  a new way.  At my  old school, we did it differently.  The right way. This is the way it's done, damn it.

Right?  Are you with me?

When I was younger, I was more open to possibility.  I believed magic could happen in this world.  I believed in fairies and parallel universes and portals into other dimensions.  I believed that I did not need to know how to do something before I did it for the first time.

On the negative side, I was a dreamy, magical-thinking, impractical hot little mess who once put an offer on a house without realizing that when you agree to purchase a house, custom dictates you hand over a deposit.  I  saw the house, got a prickly feeling, and knew I needed to buy it before someone else did.  Then I did what I needed to do to make that happen.  It all worked out.  Had I known then what I know now, that purchase would not have happened.  I would have researched, talked to my friends, made pros/cons lists, and scared myself with the financial concerns.  Then I would have given up  on the idea.  But beginner's mind saved me way back then and shortly after I moved into my own house.  And then proceeded to became a second-guessing, scaredy cat know-it-all.  Not all at once, mind you.  It happened over a long stretch.  I think it might be time to change my ways.

Let's all be beginners today.  I will if you will.


Chicken out

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I look really good on Linked In

I am connected to 750 people on Linked In.  I have 10 million people in my network.  Many of people I'm connected to I have never met.  This does not stop them for endorsing me for various skills I may or may not have.  Maybe I'm a great Cat Herder, and maybe I am not, but according to Linked In, I am a seasoned Cat Herder.  If you are looking for a good Cat Herder, rest assured, my name will come up in your search.  I don't own any cats, I've never herded a cat, but I guess it can't be that hard.  Thank God for benevolent Linked In strangers.

These mystery connections and endorsements happen because Linked In is, of course, highly engaged in supporting its own platform of connectivity and to that end, it makes suggestions daily as to who one should connect with to increase profile views and who might be worthy of one's endorsement for some specific skill. People can't be trusted to develop a network on  their own.  People are lazy.  At least Linked In seems to think so.

The premise of Linked In is great.  You develop a network of people you work with, have worked with, know professionally or personally, or went to school with.  And then, by extension, you are connected to their connections.  If your old school chum has a connection that you would like to meet, you can, in theory,  ask your old school  chum to introduce you.

This works well if you a.) do, in fact, know your old school chum and b.) they do, in fact, know your target and like you enough to provide a warm intro. Otherwise, it's smoke and mirrors, and unsolicited marketing attempts.

I realized this too late.  Early on, when using  Linked In, I accepted invitations from anyone.  I was LI Easy.  I was also in the habit of connecting to everyone I met in the course of business.  I really wanted to be one of those 400+ people.

Now I am and I look really good on Linked In.  Just don't ask me to introduce you to anyone.  I'd be happy to write you a recommendation, though.  What was your name again?

Chicken out