Friday, October 30, 2015

venezuelan economy

If you haven't heard, Venezuela is economy is tanking. Politics aside (both within Venezuela and internationally) the people of Venezuela are struggling. NPR wrote an article yesterday that shows just how this crisis is affecting the average person.


What the article doesn't talk about is that the Venezuelan government is running out of cash and has started selling it's gold reserves to pay off their debts. Which is devaluing their currency further. This means that the people of Venezuela may face even worse hardships in the future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

finding purpose and multipotentialites

Finding your purpose is hard. I think it can be difficult for many reasons. A person might find it hard to figure out what path to follow. There can be problems of logistics, like time or money. There can be internal issues, like self doubt. How do we sort it all out?

To the first question, I have a few answers.

First, a person doesn't necessarily need to follow one path. That is a very limiting view in this very complex world. As a self proclaimed multipotentialite, I understand this all too well. A person can be interested in many disciplines and address them and utilize them as they desire. It is that simple.


But, let's say you are determined to find that one thing. That jewel of a purpose that will complete you. I am here to say you probably already found it.

What? That's right you probably already have the answer and didn't even know it. 

I have seen the following image circulating a lot lately in regards to purpose and I think it is useful as a guideline. It can show you a lot of things that might have you looking at completely different fields, especially if you focus on getting paid for it last.

Purpose, is something inherent in our being. Something we are drawn to. Something that we strive for. We don't even have to be good at it, we just have to want it. Well, want it enough to pursue it and act on it. But we will touch on that later.

Now, logistics can often cause a problem for those who want to actively pursue their dreams. Money, time, and responsibility; being the largest roadblocks. You want to be a Doctor? Yet, you can't afford school. You want to write a book? But, you work too many hours. You want to become a surfboard salesmen? But, you have to take over the family business. At this point you must ask yourself, how can I? How can I make school cheaper and make more money to afford school? How can I dedicate even a half hour every day to writing? How can I sell those surfboards and still run the family business? 

The idea that something is impossible is what holds you back. It makes you inactive and inaction is the enemy of purpose.

Action is key. Even if it is small actions everyday, it creates a space where you are closer to your goals. The closer you are; the less impossible it will seem. The less impossible it seems; the more motivated you will be. This creates a cycle that can remove the negativity of the, "I can't" attitude.

"I can't", can mean many things. But it what it really means is, "I don't know how." and when you combine that with self deprecation you can find yourself in a bad place. Ignore all the negetivity and allow yourself grow. You can and that is all you need to know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

mental illness and lies

Both my parents are mentally ill and they would probably be very frustrated to have me announcing this to the world.

When I was very young, I didn't think it was unusual. I thought everybody had to go to the psychiatrist. I thought everyone took medicine. I thought everyone had a father with severe depression and a mother with schizophrenia.

I suppose growing up under those conditions has created some strange reactions in me. My mother, for instance, tried to kill herself in my presence more than once. Besides the initial trauma, my view of death is skewed. I am not terrified of it on that basic human intrinsic level. However, I have a fundamental love for having the opportunity for life. But, my teachers and school therapist were certainly concerned when I would say, "The only sure thing in life is death." That seems to send up red flags.

There was nothing wrong with being pragmatic. I know that now. At the time, those words would send me into a tail spin of self doubt. I would state the truth and be told that was wrong. Confused, I started to lie.

It became easier to exist in the world shielded by these lies. Not because I felt I had to use them for me, but for other people. It took a lot of work and time to get out of this habit. 

It's scary to me that the world has become a place were we are less concerned about truth and more concerned about how other people perceive us. We don't speak our truths and then wonder why we feel so alienated. We wonder why other people cannot understand us. We grow into a mass of repressed and mentally ill people who are hiding it from other people. We fear the truth as much as we fear being flawed.

I'm flawed. 

I'm not mentally ill. Not in the sense that I take medicine or have a diagnoses. However, I am mentally ill in the sense that a have a list of phobias. I have a few minor compulsions. I am neurotic. At times, I can have some very magical thinking. There are deep wounds in my psyche that will never heal. But none of that makes me less of a person. 

I have read that 1 in 6 people have mental illness. Whereas I believe that 6 in 6 people have mental illness and I feel like we are lying to ourselves if we think otherwise.

I always loop back to acceptance.  If we lived in a society that did not categorize and marginalize people for "needing help" or"expressing themselves", we'd be in a much happier place. Literally.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

oh, andy

I was looking for an old file and came across these Lulu comics about Andy and I. 





They are still pretty damn awesome! (I drew them about five years ago.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

near death experience

It has been five years since I died and came back to life.

The beginning of this story is innocuous. I was a healthy 29 year old, on my way to a friend's house with Andy. The only sign of trouble is that I kept complaining about how thirsty I was.

Things started off as they usually would. We gathered. We talked. We laughed, Then, one friend suggested we go out dancing. I was indifferent to the idea.

The club we went to was typical. Music. Booze. Dancing. So, I wandered with Andy towards the bar and ordered bottled water.

It was while I was drinking that water that I started feeling an odd sensation. A prickling behind my eyes. I tried to shrug it off, but it persisted. Irritated that a migraine was coming on, I decided to dance to distract myself.

After a few minutes of dancing, I lost time. I found myself standing on the dance floor, unsteady on my feet that the first pang of fear hit. What was wrong with me? How long had I been standing there? I looked around and a man in a dark suit was watching me. His expression unreadable,

I struggled through the crowd to find Andy. I managed a few coherent words once I found him and he helped me over to a quiet space. When I looked back to where I had been, the man in the dark suit was gone.

I vaguely remember telling him that the strobe lights were bothering me. That the smoke machines were making it hard to breathe. That I felt dizzy. He was concerned. He flagged down our group and suggested we go eat somewhere. Thinking giving me some time to reboot would me some good. I have had seizures in the past and I know now that is what he thought happened.

We left the club and walked to a local diner.

It was about five minutes after we sat down that I knew I was in trouble. Everything started looking like it was a strange shade of green. Like it was tinted. I couldn't get enough air. I was trying to tell Andy what was wrong but I could barely talk. It felt like I was separating from my body.

This is when I remember things in slices of fragmented time and fear. Like my consciousness was a skipping record. Nothing. Fear. My friend saying something was wrong with me. Nothing. Fear. Andy leaning me against a wall, telling me to open my eyes. Nothing. Fear. Andy calling 911. 

Then nothing.

It was a real nothing. No fear. No sound. Blackness and a distant sense of peace. The fear was gone and a huge part of me was gone. It was like I was experiencing the real me for the first time. At the same time, I had no sense of self.

I knew the secrets of everything. I knew I was dead. I knew that I had three choices. Go back. Reincarnate. Or go to a higher realm. I am not sure what I chose but I didn't choose to go back. Not at first. I was ready for a new life or a new world or both. But also understood my decision wasn't about me. It was about more. When I thought about it that way I didn't to go back.

The first thing I became aware of was a sense of self and it felt like an uncomfortable coat. Then fear followed. Quickly followed by pain and I heard Andy's panicked voice whispering. 

"You promised. You promised."

Through the pain I jerked my hand it felt like lead. My breaths couldn't get enough air. Andy hugged me and mumbled his thanks. I experienced the time skipping like I had before. At one point Andy stood me up. Then I was outside on a bench. There was a stranger next to me. A man. He had a lispy feminine voice. I could barely open my eyes. He held me at his side. Petting me. Whispering in my ear, breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out. I was grateful to him. A few times I would stop breathing and he would shake me. Tell me to breathe. We'd start the process over. It felt like hours of this.

Andy returned with paramedics. I remember bits and pieces of him explaining what happened. My symptoms. Him getting into a verbal fight with the paramedic. They wouldn't bring me to the hospital. I still don't understand why. The stranger that had been holding me, now backed Andy up.

He said, "I agree with him, you guys need to bring her to the hospital."

The paramedic said, "And you are?"

The guy who helped me shrugged, "Just some gay guy."

Afterwards, time kept skipping. We eventually were home. I remember it took days for me to not have loss of time. It took me at least two years to not think about it constantly, to not wonder why I was here.

When I asked Andy to describe that night to me, it started off similar to mine. Friends. Club. We got water. I danced and came back. I told him I didn't feel good. He gathered up the group and we went tot he diner. He said I put my head down on the table and relaxed. It was when my friend offered me some water and I didn't respond that they knew something was wrong. Andy told them to get the check and bring the car around. He helped me to the bathroom area thinking I was going to be sick and instead, I collapsed. He opened my eyes and they were blank. He checked my pulse and there was none. He called 911. That is when he scooped me up and kept telling me that I promised. Then my hand jerked and I was back. He decided to take me outside so that when the paramedics came they'd see me right away. He sat me on a bench. Minutes later the paramedics came and he stepped away to flag them down. He returned and the paramedics said I was fine. That I must have took something. When Andy said I didn't. They didn't believe him. That is when he said that a random gay guy appeared out of nowhere and tried to get them to bring me to the hospital too.

I told Andy about the gay guy helping me breath. He slowly said, "No, honey you were alone on that bench." Then I asked him if he saw a man in a dark suit at the club. He said, "No, I think I'd remember that."

I still don't know what to think of my experience. It's hard to say if everything that happened was a creation of the last synopsis of my mind. Perhaps, a moment of insanity. The only thing I know for certain is that I was dead, and now I am not.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

the circus continues

The first thing I will say about this book is that the synopsis is poorly written. The book I read vs. the book I thought I was going to read were extremely different books.

This is how the synopsis should have read:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a competition is underway between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been guided since childhood expressly, for this purpose, by their unusual instructors. They do not know the rules or the why's  but they know they must perform.
But the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead


I think one of the problems with this book is that it was written in a way that has no validation. There are many things alluded to, but never confirmed. 

This book creates a world where magic and mystery is a supporting character. Where the circus itself, is the most important main character. The game that Celia and Marco find themselves in, is open to context. I synthesized this by filling in the blanks. When the elder magicians pit Celia and Marco together, I formed the idea that the game was a sandbox creation and that the rule makers themselves didn't fully understand.

Then there was the plot. I am still kind of struggling with this. The book has a very simple plot stretched over years. However, if I follow the development of the circus, it becomes immortal. As if the plot could continue in the recesses of my imagination. That open ended space is something I enjoy, immensely. On the other hand, it is by definition a bad structure for a book.

Why did I love this book then? The language. The world building. The mystery. The magic. How it left me feeling when I finished it. How a part of me felt like whoever read this book, became part of the circus magic themselves. The book felt more like art and that is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

my inner dialog anytime I am in the produce section


the aftermath

Anytime I finish a self induced project, I feel a little sullen. Like my offspring has grown up and I have sent them off into the world. After completing the 18 Days of Global Goals, I can't help feeling a bit bereaved.

Yesterday, after finishing a variety of tasks, I tried to think of some new thing that I could sink my teeth into. A purpose. A creation. An idea. My mind is a total blank. I wouldn't call it creative block. Not really. I have a list of small projects that I want to complete. But none them have purpose and with the 18 Days of Global Goals, I found myself waking up every day with a purpose. It was satisfying and exhilarating. 

Purpose is really different than what a person "does". Errands. Work. Meetings. Meals. Cleaning. Those things are what people do. A purpose is so different. It brings out an inner resolve and an understanding that the outside world is improving by ones actions. 

I am left thinking about validity. What will be valid and useful in my life? What will be valid and useful in other peoples lives?

Any ideas out there?

Monday, October 12, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 18)

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

This is the last of the global goals which calls for rich nations to give more assistance to poorer countries and to help less developed nations progress.* But it strengthens the idea that all the global goals should be pursued by the community of our leaders.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level:
Raise awareness. Support and actively address the rest of the global goals. Understand how our nation can benefit from global success.

On a International level: If global citizens around the world petition politicians, endorse ethical and globally-minded companies and promote more international dialogue, then Goal 17 can be achieved.**

Sunday, October 11, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 17)

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

In other words: We should all live in harmony. The goal also calls for an end to violence and corruption.* This is obviously easier said than done but there is no reason why we can't focus our energies to get a little closer to being peaceful, genuine human beings.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Peace and justice are goals that begin on an individual level and grow outward. They start with everyday people treating one another with respect and lending a helping hand when needed.

On a International level: Promote peace and justice, learn more about the world, have cross-cultural discussions, actually treat everyone you meet with respect and call on world leaders to send robust aid to countries in difficult situations.

*NPR

Saturday, October 10, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 16)

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainability manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

This goal targets all processes and actions that are a threat to animals, plants and ecosystems on our great, green planet.

Some specific, key elements of what this looks like include: Saving the rain forest by putting a stop to deforestation and promoting reforestation Making sure ecosystems like forests, wetlands and mountains are conserved, restored and made sustainable. Preventing the extinction of threatened species. Stopping the poaching and trafficking of protected animals. Making biodiversity values a part of development planning.*

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level:
Plant trees. Switch to clean energies. Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Create your own garden or join a community garden. Use natural pesticides. Create and nurture save environments for flora and fauna to coexist.

On a International level: Raise awareness. Donate to reforestation projects like http://www.edenprojects.org/. Or sponsor a wild animal through http://www.worldanimalfoundation.net/wildlife.html

Friday, October 9, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 15)

14. The conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Dramatic global economic growth has created the need for more food. More trade has left the oceans and seas increasingly vulnerable to human activity. Around 76 percent of the world’s fish populations are endangered and ocean acidification, which has troubling consequences, is increasing.*

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Buy only sustainable fish. Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. Invest in permeable driveways and sidewalks for your property. Utilize water collection containers to water your lawns. Change your nozzles and toilet systems to use less water. Think about converting to gray water systems. Think before you book that cruise. One billion gallons of sewage dumps into the ocean each year from cruise ships. According to the US EPA, a cruise ship with 3,000 passengers produces 21,000 gallons of sewage waste a day. There ARE responsible ship lines to choose from.*

On a International level: Join and support groups like http://www.theoceancleanup.com.

*Globalcitizen

Thursday, October 8, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 14)

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

This global goal sets measures to integrate it into international policies. As well as improve education, awareness-raising and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation and adaption. *

Whether you want to believe in it, climate change is a real thing that is grossly affected by carbon waste and other pollutions of humanity. It is true that there have been carbon fluctuations in the past, but those fluctuations do not compare to the consistent damage we afflict on the Earth in our short lifespans.

Remember the Kyoto Protocol? Countries that committed to reducing carbon emissions by 5 percent of 1990 levels actually reduced emissions by 22.6 percent between 1997 and 2012. The US has already taken action to reduce emission by 25-27 percent by 2025, please support our governments efforts to reduce our harmful affects on our world.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Help stop deforestation. Plant trees. Switch to clean energies. Buy into carbon footprint offset programs. Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Eat less beef. Beef produces 5 times more carbon emissions, uses 28 percent more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken. Or go vegetarian which saves on both water and carbon emissions. Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. 

On a International level: Raise awareness. Practice active harmony with the Earth at all times. Donate to reforestation projects like http://www.edenprojects.org/

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 13)

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
 
This goal sets bold targets for cutting in half food waste by the year 2030 and over the next five years overhauling industrial waste streams. *

The United States has a lot of room for improvement, where many other countries barely have any detrimental waste at all. In Sweden 1% of the countries waste ends up in landfills. Whereas, the United States sends 69% of waste to landfills.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Compost. Avoid food waste. Reuse. Repurpose. Offer large items on Craigslist for free. Donate anything reusable to thrift stores. Join community and urban cleanup efforts. Purchase products with less packaging. Purchase products from companies that reuse materials in innovative ways. Utilize electronic and battery recycling programs. Avoid using any products that have a long decomposition rate. Example: Standard Styrofoam takes 1 million years to decompose.

On a International level: Join and support groups like http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org/ that actively dedicate themselves to the global improvement and sustainability of consumer products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 12)

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

This goal envisions sustainable, livable urban centers with universal access to green spaces.* This focuses energy and finding solutions to the increasing amounts of slums and urban decay, while using models from more sustainable cities to develop a more functional city space.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Create your own garden or join a community garden. Become more externally involved in your community. Understand and become active in civic engagement, on local, state, and national levels. 

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to programs like http://practicalaction.org/slum-improvement-1 that actively support and provide services to slum residents. The adoption of these practices, slum upgrading and land tenure create a more sustainable outcome than other slum solutions.

*NPR

Monday, October 5, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 11)

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.

This target tries to address the growing gap that's emerged globally between the "haves" and the "have-nots."* The reason people are trapped in cycles of poverty is because of extreme inequalities that persist in society today. By taking action to reduce these inequalities we can create a world where people have equal access to all the benefits of life.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Stand up for equal human rights for people of all races, genders, and socioeconomic status. Do not discriminate between classes of people no matter who they are or where they come from. Support the previous nine Global Goals to create an atmosphere where equality can exist.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group like http://www.amnestyusa.org/

Sunday, October 4, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 10)

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

This goal calls for increased technological assistance from developed countries to poorer nations to modernize roads, dams, electrical grids and other infrastructure,* while supporting the idea of domestic development of sustainable industries in all nations.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Support small and local businesses. Make investments in American companies. Donate or volunteer to research projects. Support and learn about OpenSource projects found at http://opensource.com. Support a Kickstarter project that benefits the future of technology at http://www.kickstarter.com/.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group like http://fee.org/freeman/third-world-development-foreign-aid-or-free-trade/

Saturday, October 3, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 9)

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

This item sets an ambitious annual economic growth target of 7 percent per year for the poorest nations.* While protecting labor tights and promoting safe and secure working environments for workers. **

The recession hit America in 2008 creating an atmosphere where the unemployment rate went from under 5% to just over 10% in 2009. Reported in September 2015, the United States has dropped back down to 5.1% over time. *** Yet, there are still people working very hard to rebound from the recession.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Buy American made products. Support small and local businesses. Make investments in American companies. Help your friends and families with their careers. Direct people to job skills programs. Do research on money saving tips. Volunteer your time or money to homeless shelters that actively assist the homeless back into the workforce.

On a International level: Look into micro loan programs like http://www.kiva.org/ where something like $25 can assist a person become monetarily independent through hard work and a little capital.

Friday, October 2, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 8)


7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

This goal calls for universal access to electricity and more renewable energy. * More than 1.3 billion people still lack access to affordable, reliable electricity—critical to education, health and livelihoods. **

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Limiting your power usage and learning how to consume less energy. Helping your friends and family do the same. Investing in green renewable energies. Support a local non profit organization that helps the elderly with their power bills.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group who is trying to provide affordable renewable energy services like,  http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/charge

Thursday, October 1, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 7)

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

40% of the world's population live without access to sanitation. * This global goal calls for toilets and clean drinking water for everyone. It also promotes protecting and restoring natural water resources over the next five years. **

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. Invest in permeable driveways and sidewalks for your property. Utilize water collection containers to water your lawns. Change your nozzles and toilet systems to use less water. Think about converting to gray water systems.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group who is trying to provide clean water and sanitation around the world like, http://www.wateraid.org/