Parks or Profit?

This battle wages in many countries.  Last summer the unrest in Turkey started with an act to protect Gezi Park in the middle of bustling Istanbul.  Similar conflicts are erupting everywhere.  In the nearby country of Georgia, Guerrilla Gardeners are trying to preserve Vake Park, which they consider their version of Central Park from New York City.

1982095_485798608212989_811452429_n

Central Park, New York City

As a person who needs access to nature to rejuvinate my energy, the desire to protect the parks is high.  When I’m having a stressful moment, or something emotional is bothering me, a walk along the river near work, away from the noisy road, helps calm my emotions to get through the rest of the day.

Given that parks generally contribute to budget shortfalls instead of profits, what is the incentive to cities to protect these public spaces?  How can we fight the drive for profits?

Advertisements

Being Tardy – how much is okay?

How did it get to be okay to be late for everything?  Yes I’m one of those people who gets really annoyed when people are late.  Even for 5 minutes.  If we agree to meet at 7:00, I will try to arrive a little early out of respect for your time.  Why can’t others do the same?  While waiting I can spend time reading on my phone, or check Facebook.  But if people are going to be 10, 15, 30 minutes late or more, then I could have used that time for something productive.  Sure this may sound like Common Sense, but it’s not Common Practice.

being-on-time1I have friends who are notoriously late.  Sometimes and hour or more.  Know that I know this, I plan our meetings for situations where it does not matter if they are late.  For the people who are habitually late, it’s always something they didn’t expect to occur that caused them to be late.  Like this person who might have to respond to an email on the way to a meeting, etc.

I’m sorry, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to manage distractions.  The internet and cell phones provide instant access to people, which has resulted in the sense of immediate access.  We treat every situation as an emergency.  Maybe this immediate contact gives us a sense of being important and that we have to respond immediately in order to remain relevant.  But what is that doing to our ability to respect other people’s time by showing up at the agreed time?

I totally lose my cool when I’m running late.  Last night I was scheduled to present to a group of high school students.  I planned to arrive 15 min. early.  Traffic was worse than I have ever seen, and then the google map sent me to the wrong block on that street.  I arrived about 7 min late and was beyond frustrated.  Luckily, the organizers has people arrive 15 min early because of this Common Practice  in the US.

Do you believe in God? Yes, No, or Maybe?

If you believe in God, then maybe it was god speaking to me as I woke up this morning with these thoughts in my head.  If you do not, then it’s my brain assembling the teachings from recent TED Talks in my head.  For you maybes out there, does it matter which is true?

Things in my Head

Our first human instinct is survival. We learn to adapt and persevere in the most desperate of situations.  Three young women in Cleveland, held hostage, near the place they call home, eventually found help to get rescued.

Yet we also hear news about suicides over something as trite as teasing on Facebook. It does not involve physical assaults, and some of these people do have people around them who love them.  How can someone be treated so poorly, that they lose all hope for a better life?

If our instinct to survive is so basic as human nature, how can we continue a lifestyle that threatens and exterminates the worlds biodiversity?  It feels morally wrong to cause, intentionally or by accident, a species to cease to exist on this world.

Humane Connection Blog

Humane Connection Blog

Nature Knows Best- A recent TED Talk I listened to uses sound recordings to show human impact on wild nature. You can imagine the devastating results.  We need to approach our choices and practices with scientific analysis.  And the scientists are learning how each our actions affects nature and its biodiversity.  Another TED Talk describes how the imbalance when a predictor is removed from an ecosystem, such as reduced whale populations in the southern oceans, actually breaks the circle of life and kills off smaller species of that system.  Google images of the “plastic gyre” and you’ll see the island of plastic packaging and containers floating in the ocean.

It’s not just plants and animals that are suffering.  The impact on our water sources, the loss of pollinating bees in agricultural locations, the loss of our protective ozone layer, it affects our Health, our Food Production, and our Bottom Line (dollars).

There are things we can do to help.  No matter your education level or economic status, we all can improve. We all can learn and support the science to a better understanding.

You can do as little as planting flowers in your garden, or buy some organic foods, encourage others to reduce and recycle waste, TEACH children/adults about nature and our effects on nature, stop spraying chemical indoors kills those spiders with a shoe or paper towel, enjoy nature as it has been shown to have a restoring effect on us.  Whether you make little changes in your daily life, or you go back to school to become a Humane Educator, we all have the power to help the world and everything living on it.

Week of WordPress – Compassion

Eva Mendes with the children in Sierra Leone

Eva Mendes with the children in Sierra Leone

For a Psychology assignment, I have reviewed posts with the Tag Compassion and summarized my favorites here.  I do not include posts relating to animal cruelty, if you want your heart broken too, you’ll have to do that research on your own.  Next week, I think I’ll look for a less popular Tag to review.  One of my classmates also wrote about their day of compassion.

A Window of Wisdom put words to my thoughts before I was able to.  I’m so glad to have found this quote reminding us that we must be careful not to judge people by the image they want us to believe.  I ‘liked’ this post.

Whasenk teaches us about Compassion Meditation and gives some research on the study of compassionate behavior.  “If you want to make others happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama  There is no ‘like’ function for this blog.  Through the Vortex gets us wondering if acts of compassion can have a neurological change to our brains. Abigail talks about her view of living compassionately, and the profound effect it can have on ourselves.  I ‘liked’ this post.

siahpetermann challenges us to find someone we can show love to, just like my assignment.

Japanese Words of Wisdom explains Japanese proverbs and includes some experiences of why the proverb has personal meaning.  I really like the hands on application of the proverbs to real life.  This particular entry is about sharing life and travels with a companion.  I’m now following this blog.

So I’m an introvert!  Philosophical Diva explains one way to determine if you are an introvert, and that understanding leads her to think about the larger community we’re a part of.  I ‘liked’ this post.

fury’sfrenzy creates a compassionate bucket list.

Patrick points out that we easily find fault with others and should be more compassionate to their point of view, similar to the justifications we provide in defense of our own behavior.

So This Is Now warns us, the video posted “How to make stress your friend” will change your life if watched.  I can confirm this is true, and you’ll how it relates to compassion around 12 minutes into the video.  Don’t miss the extra bit after the first applause.

Definition

Princess Deficit shares her personal experience with learning to be compassionate, inadvertently giving a pretty good definition of compassion.

Work Collaboratively talks about nonviolent communication and how we might apply it to our every day lives.  I think this post nicely summarizes one of the social challenges we have today, western society has moved beyond violence as a means of reforming behavior.  Now we’re challenged by how to apply that new understanding to our foreign policy with Syria.  I’m now following this blog.

The Wren Project discusses forgiveness from many points of view and many different religions, which leaves us wondering, is forgiveness necessary to be compassionate?

Octopus Dance gives an important point of compassion that is often overlooked.  By sharing our difficulties with others, and making them feel as if they are not alone in their experiences, this can improve relationships.

Rose with Thorns writes a moving recount of her struggle with an eating disorder and autism/aspergers, but she teaches us how Comparison kills our ability to be Compassionate, and if we’re conscious to maintain compassion we might eliminate the comparisons.

Bible Study brings up a good point, how does Compassion differ from Sympathy?  How does a Jewish point of view differ, read For the Love of Small Things.

Mark Block tells of the shorted bible verse “Jesus wept.” Reminding us that being emotional is part of being compassionate.  Maybe some of you can have one without the other.

Helping those who Suffer

Who would have thought that reading about a person’s battle with a brain tumor could be so beautiful.  Grey Matter Life writes this post in gratitude for the compassion of the MRI technician which helps bring strength to their dreadful battle with the tumor.

Nexus pays homage to Jane Addams, referred to as the “mother of social service.”

Charlie writes a detailed description of the benefits we might experience when incorporating compassion in to our daily lives.  One of the quotes convinced me to re-blog this post: “A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind.”

Through personal experience with ICU patients, Reflective Nursing shares how being compassionate may be as simple as listening to others and making sure they feel listened to.

Dennis Cardiff writes about meeting a homeless woman on the street, getting to know her story, and sharing a coffee and sandwich.  He also writes the every-day stories of his homeless community on the blog Gotta Find a Home

Be Understanding

Eve Livingston writes a detailed post describing one act of compassion towards people who are hoarders.

The Fuerst Shall be Last writes about this TV show Breaking Bad and how it’s shown insight into the lives of drug dealers and violent criminals, inciting compassion for the way real people make decisions between right and wrong.

Be Grateful

Heidi reminds us to be grateful for the wonderful life we are enjoying.

Untamed Slave writes a lengthy list of what they are grateful for.  I ‘liked’ this post.

Love Yourself and Take Care of Yourself

Banana Map and Indigo Voice 82 share a quote from the Dalai Lama on the importance of self-compassion, while Path Write quotes the Dalai Lama’s message that compassion is the key to a happier world.

Rebecca writes about learning from our mistakes and forgiving ourselves.  This is a reoccurring lesson for me.  The idea that failure is not bad, it’s a learning opportunity.  She goes on to give suggested meditations for healing these types of wounds.  And Jeannie has an unexpected healing and finds ways to meditate during routine chores.  I agree, how can we hurry through life’s experiences and expect to sit quietly meditating to calm our overactive minds?

This VasqueszBlog courageously writes about recovering from Bulimia.  This post is another reminder to take care of ourselves and talks about the guilt and shame that might be prevent us from forgiving ourselves.

Inspired Woman Us gives a compelling reason for self-compassion.  Each day presents many instances of degradation, it could be helpful to balance this out with acts of self-compassion.

Sober Boots descries how self-compassion is affecting her mood and life and how she believes God’s compassion has given her the courage to practice self-compassion.  Beauty in the Design also finds solace in God’s continual compassion.

Helping Those In Need

Loitering with Content quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.”

Words that Serve is documenting compassion in action.  This post documents the 16th week of performing good deeds for others, and the good deeds received from others.  What I love about this post, is the importance of recognizing compassion from others.  Although it’s most important to share compassion, the benefits are maximized when the recipient is consciously aware of receiving it.  This act of tracking your good deeds reminds me of the 29 Gifts experience which is documented in a book and a website.  I ‘liked’ this post.

This Hoosier Fan recaps a story showing us how people have such individual needs, and sometimes the most compassionate act can be a little unusual.  Just a Thought relays a bible story where Jesus provides the healing compassion needed most by an ill woman.  Paulette Motzko recounts an opportunity to help someone in need get a decent lunch.

Eavesdropping on Conversations shares a story of compassion for school teachers and how one person with a good idea must take it upon themselves to baking cookies in support of these teachers.  I ‘liked’ this post.

Mymoena gives us an Islamic poem about life and helping each other.

Paper Gifts for Stefany describes the Barton family who lost their home in a fire, losing everything they had.  So they moved to the poorest country in the world to help Ugandan’s make a better life for themselves.

The Kindness Blog writes how a shoeshiner becomes a hero by donating $200 k in tips to a children’s hospital.  I am already following this blog.

Tracy and Drew shows how you might find just the right dose of compassion in the most unlikely place.

Giving Gratefully highlights the work of the work of a group Compassion, which a is Christian organization sponsoring children around the world.  This post links to several other authors who have written a letter to their younger self, written in response to a suggestion by the Compassion Blog.

karios catcher is also a supporter of the Compassion group, and write about the Kenyan girl she is sponsoring.  It’s funny how when we do something for others, it has such a profound effect on ourselves.

Sawyer Products shows photos from distributing water filters in Togo, Africa.  This groups works with the families support by Compassion.

H. Arnett reminds us that we often become desensitized, calloused in our hearts, to the needs of others and the impact we might have.

Love

shunyata has an Islamic poem about love.

You might also fall in love, just a little, with Tony’s partner after reading this poem.

Just like You and Me describes what’s it’s like to have three 30 something friends battling cancer, and a reminder that we can’t control everything in life.  I ‘liked’ this post.

Compassion Summary

There is a lot of encouragement to be compassionate and love each other, like this post from A Crazy Lady.  I did find a few people reporting how they have shared compassion with others, including this teacher who took her 3rd grade class to Uganda.  Some believe that Practical Compassion are any act of avoiding harm to other people, animals, or the environment, which leads to my final inquiry.  This 22 minute video gives a lengthy description of what it means to live compassionately.

Is Compassion an Act or a Point of View?  I think compassion is the act of easing someone’s suffering weather is be loneliness, hunger, discrimination … now to create my day of compassion.

How were you Compassionate Today?

Help! My Psychology class has an assignment to live one day as compassionately as possible. We are asked to define compassion, and if possible be compassionate to groups that we normally don’t consider or come in contact with.

20130903-095421.jpg

So, I would love your ideas to help me make the most of this experience. Just leave a note below with your thoughts:
1) How to define compassion.
2) Unique ways to behave compassionately, that we normally don’t think of.

I’ll post a summary of my experience for you all to see how your ideas came together.

Thank you everyone for helping me in this assignment, and for the time you spend to read this blog.

New Federal law on Sunscreen

This article summarizes the science behind the new law, here are some highlights:

  • zinc-oxide-on-nose_thumbSunscreen marketing cannot say waterproof or sweat-proof – I wonder why they could say that before if it wasn’t true.
  • “Broad Spectrum” is allowed for products shown to prevent sunburn (from UVA rays) and skin cancer/aging (UVB rays).
  • If it’s not effective against both kinds of rays, the label must say that it only prevents against sunburn and it does not protect against skin cancer/aging.

There are a lot of questions about sunscreens.  Which ingredients are more harmful than helpful?  Are the best products available in the US?  Are spray on sunscreens okay to use?  I don’t know these answers, and I don’t know the best source for information on these either.   The Environmental Working Group, rated 4 star on Charity Navigator, has some tips on these topics.

You might also check your favorite sunscreen product rating on Good Guide to see how environmentally friendly it is.

Pay no Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain…

SexualAbuse2

Listening to an NPR story about the PBS Frontline documentary A Rape in the Fields, got me to thinking.  So much of the discussion about rape focuses on the victims.  With many social problems, we often focus on dealing with the aftermath of the crime, the “band-aid” fixes.  What would change if we focus our discussion on the perpetrators?

Sadly, at least one in four women in the U.S. are victims of sexual attacks.  We all know that people in positions of power sometimes take the opportunity to abuse that power.  So how can we focus on these situations?

Who are these men, determined to abuse vulnerable women?  Are these men living in isolation?  Are they able to hide this trait from their friends, their peers, their boss, their wives and family?  In this documentary, agricultural workers report knowing about the frequency of attacks, they even go on to call the farms “fields of panties.”  Can it be that all the workers know about this barbaric behavior, but other supervisors and people of authority have no idea that this abuse happens?

Who is letting these people get away with abusing women, or children?  First, we have to stop being dubbed by false impressions.  Jerry Sandusky, and some holy priests, hide behind a veil of charity and “good” intentions; and the Tim Curleys of the world are encouraging such behavior by intentionally hiding the truth of these relationships.  Might this complicity fuel the manic fetish, increasing the prevalence and intensity of abuse?  Given the facade of honest character that lets some people perform such heinous acts, shouldn’t we focus on these types of opportunities where perpetrators have unquestioned authority over others?

Maybe we are at the cusp of change, where the Tim Curleys and Gary Schultzes are also held responsible, and have as much to lose as the perpetrators.

Is there anyone we can trust?

One of the benefits of my boyfriend is I’m pretty sure that I know what I’m getting.  I may not like everything about the way he behaves, but I am confident there is nothing hidden behind the scenes.  But in general, I don’t think that’s true with most people.  I concede that one can never be 100% certain, and it’s awful to hear about the situations where people are caught off guard about their friends, spouses, or children.

Last week, an admin manager at my company plead guilty to two counts of embezzlement with previous employers.  We are all very surprised that such a person could be hired by our firm to begin with.  I have also heard the stories of a former employer who was fired after downloading or printing inappropriate photos at the office.  This was before my time and I never met this person, so I have no idea what their personality was or how they interacted with people.

I just finished the book Between Good and Evil, which is a memoir of sorts by Roger L. Depue who was leading developer of criminal profiling with the FBI.  What they learned in the early years of the program, is how the sophisticated serial killers hide among us as normal and regular  people.  They also discovered the pattern of genetic characteristics in people subject to terrible abuse at a young age, common in these people who became unremorseful killers.

We all have been surprised by the character of people we thought we knew well.  And we all have been in vulnerable situations where the character of the people around us are critical to our safety.  Especially as young people, we often do not think to maintain a safety system in case of emergency, or avoid putting ourselves in vulnerable situations.