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Lost connections

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Lost connections by Johann Hari is simply the best book I’ve ever read. It asks all the right questions and it also provides many possible answers. I hope this will be a book that ultimately will change our society and the way we think about mental illness. Working as a psychologist myself, it felt like somebody finally provided solutions that will work in therapy and possibly change.

This synopsis is copied from goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told—like his entire generation—that his problem was caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate this question—and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.34921573Across the world, Hari discovered social scientists who were uncovering the real causes—and they are mostly not in our brains, but in the way we live today. Hari’s journey took him from the people living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin—all showing in vivid and dramatic detail these new insights. They lead to solutions radically different from the ones we have been offered up until now.

Just as Chasing the Scream transformed the global debate about addiction, with over twenty million views for his TED talk and the animation based on it, Lost Connections will lead us to a very different debate about depression and anxiety—one that shows how, together, we can change

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The sound of little steps

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When I started this blog, I had a vague idea of what I wanted: To share some of the knowledge collected over a lifetime with the readers, and maybe find others who wanted to do the same. I love meeting new people, and wish I had more time to get to know many more than I already have. One of my new aquaintances has produced this post for our blog. I have read some of his post, and know already it is an intelligent and creative man who follow his thoughts and ideas with vigor. I respect people who do, and am very honored that he wanted to use some of that valuable energy on us. The post is well written, based on his personal theory and experiences and really interesting to read. He applies his own thoughts on former psychological knowledge, and the result is an exciting new view of things. Of course, this is an individual thoughts, and one must remember that this is just one possible perspective rather than the «solution». He has written many posts and tries to do research to strengthen it`s credibility, so I will follow his further work with excitement.

Again, thank you Monty. 

Many of our post focus on how we can do small things to change the world. We have a chance, every day, but sometimes it just feels like a drop in the sea. Be assured, your drop might be a important ingredient the world-remedy. With all those individual and special drops, our sea will never be polluted by debris from high power industries, stigma or “parasites”. Today I want to focus on a blog that has dedicated itself to searching for the good, by also contributing to it. It amazes me how much love and joy one person is able to give, and I am sure he has already inspired many others to do the same.

Does this little step towards changing the world matter? Or is it «no more than a drop in the sea»? Decide for yourself.

GOTTA FIND A HOME

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How it began:

My lungs ached, as frost hung in the bitterly cold December morning air, making breathing difficult. I trudged in the falling snow toward Place Bell where I work, in the city’s gray, concrete, office tower canyon. I dodged other pedestrians, also trying to get to work on time, I noticed a woman seated cross-legged on the sidewalk with her back against the wall of the library. A snow-covered Buddha wrapped in a sleeping bag, shivering in the below freezing temperature. I guessed her to be in her forties. Everything about her seemed round. She had the most angelic face, sparkling blue eyes and a beautiful smile. A cap was upturned in front of her. I thought,There but for the grace of God go I. Her smile and blue eyes haunted me all day.

In the past I’ve been unemployed, my wife and I were unable to pay our mortgage and other bills, we went through bankruptcy, lost our house, my truck. Being in my fifties, my prospects looked dim. It could have been me, on the sidewalk, in her place.

I’ve been told not to give money to pan handlers because they’ll just spend it on booze. I thought to myself, What should I do, if anything? What would you do? I asked for advice from a friend who has worked with homeless people. She said, “The woman is probably hungry. Why don’t you ask her if she’d like a breakfast sandwich and maybe a coffee?”

That sounded reasonable, so the next day I asked, “Are you hungry? Would you like some breakfast, perhaps a coffee?”

“That would be nice,” she replied.

ballongWhen I brought her a sandwich and coffee she said to me, “Thank you so much, sir. You’re so kind. Bless you.” I truly felt blessed.

This has become a morning routine for the past two and a half years. The woman (I’ll call Joy) and I have become friends. Often I’ll sit with her on the sidewalk. We sometimes meet her companions in the park. They have become my closest friends. I think of them as angels. My life has become much richer for the experience.

Throughout the past few years I have come to know many people, now friends, who for various reasons are, or were, homeless. Antonio, slept on a park bench and was beaten, had his teeth kicked out, for no other reason than his choice to sleep outdoors. He is a small, gentle man who has a phobia about enclosed spaces.

Craig, slept on the sidewalk in the freezing cold. I see him every morning and am never sure if, when I lift the corner of his sleeping bag, I will find him dead or alive.

husSometimes, he confided, he would prefer never to awake.

Joy is a friend who fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of Starbucks. I have seen her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips. I usually see her sitting on the sidewalk ‘panning’ for change.

I can’t do much for these people except to show them love, compassion, an ear to listen, perhaps a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I would like to do more. To know them is to love them. What has been seen cannot be unseen. I have started to write an account of their daily lives. I intend to turn this into a book and have it published. That is my goal.

I am writing articles and biographies of Joy and other street people. They have been informed that they don’t have to use their real names, that any profits would go back to the homeless and that it could be a vehicle to say whatever they want to the population at large.

Let`s change the world: Background

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What Is “Faces In The Sea”?

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What Is “Faces In The Sea”?.

This is an idea created by a man I respect just for the fact that he had I. But he also brings it to life, and I cannot underline how impressed I am. A person loving people around him, and showing it, without expecting anything else in return, touch my hear. Giving people a chance to talk and even looking for those who should, inspire me.

The dancing boys of Afghanistan

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The last weeks I have read, thought about and reacted on a theme I know want to dedicate extra attention to.

The theme is sexual slavery through trafficking. I have already put forward some thought in my last post, but there is still so much more I want to write about.

This post is dedicated to a video about one of the darkest phenomena: Boys and sexual slavery. The scene is Afghanistan. This video was one I found on the internet, so I cannot guarantee for the truth in it, just show where the signs are pointing. If you find faults, feel free to comment. If you have more information about this important theme, feel free to share.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvdY310Xp3Y

 

sex slaves

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bookaRight now I am reading the book sex slaves. And I must be brutally honest.
I am angry. Not just from the facts presented in the book (and the author has actually chosen to exclude the worst stories) but also because we still let it happen:

“The truth of the matter is that there was not a time where we ever stopped being barbaric. We simply became better at deceiving ourselves and thereby also each other into believing that a form of civilized and moral society had been accomplished. Because obviously if you walk the streets of any western capital in the tourist areas at daytime you see a ‘perfect world’ of concrete and lights, but right beneath the surface, there are cockroaches and sex slaves”.
http://annabrixthomsen.com/tag/sex-slaves/

The book presents the facts about Asian sex trafficking in a very clear way.(Sex trafficking is when a vulnerable person is being moved from one place to another by an abuser either unwillingly or through being deceived and manipulated or made dependent upon the abuser). The soot has been cleaned away from dirty windows, and you look right in at atrocities that some part of the mind want to blank out.

I have even found that I was irritated on the book, because it mentions the same fact again and again, and I realize that this actually makes the book better. I. Am. Getting. Irritated. Because I must read several times that in Asia prostitution is rationalized by both men and women. That women are too poor to have another choice, that the ones who “sell” women and small girls, are often people they know (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3691604&page=1#.UYkysZXXPoA).

Another fact that repeats itself endlessly is that virgins are really appreciated. It is scary that this irritates me, and to never forget and even make more people more conscious of what`s going on, I want to give credit to this book and give a glimpse of its content.

One important question the book tries to discuss, is why men buy sex. The reasons are varied, but I want to focus some of the explanations:
“The sexual demands of mature women are seen as threatening to men who have not yet acquired sexual and emotional maturity. P. 145” For men this is a proof of their masculinity and one of the most important markers of a man`s position within male hierarchies.
imagesSex workers are important in framing the sexual lives and identity of large numbers of men all over the region. In Calcutta it has been estimated that 60000-80000 men buy sex every day (p 135), and in countries like the Philippines and Thailand friends and family members may arrange excursions to brothels. In Cambodia, high-level business deals are sealed by having sex with virgins (p. 139). Still, this isn`t always enough. Thai and Filipina women report beatings and threats with knives and guns (p. 149), and one girl reported that she was burned with cigarettes on her nipples by two Japanese men (p. 150).The most disturbing chapter is the one that deals with ‘seasoning’, the acute physical and psychological violence used to initiate women into prostitution.

942008_666866313329389_2045914407_nComments are made everywhere in Asia that strengthen the slavery (even if the public picture is one of moral code and chastity”. “The purchase of sex is universal among men” or “it involves all men at some points in their lives” (p. 133. Those comments are exaggerated).

And what do the women think about this? The have to accept it. For many there is no other alternative, either because of poverty (some even “sell their daughters”), or because they are dependent on the economic and social security provided by their unfaithful husbands.

Also politicians have shown attitudes of acceptance. The following excerpt is from a blog, describing a politician in Kuwait (Salwa al Mutairi).
http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/annals-of-heartlessness-4-legalized-sex-slaves/

“Men should be allowed sex slaves and female prisoners could do the job” she has also called for sex slavery to be legalized – and suggested that non-Muslim prisoners from war-torn countries would make suitable concubines. Further, she chainsargued buying a sex-slave would protect decent, devout and “virile” Kuwaiti men from adultery because buying an imported sex partner would be tantamount to marriage.
The political activist and TV host even suggested that it would be a better life for women in warring countries as the might die of starvation.
Mutairi claimed: “There was no shame in it and it is not haram (forbidden) under Islamic Sharia law.” …

In an attempt to consider the woman’s feelings in the arrangement, Mutari conceded that the enslaved women, however, should be at least 15.

Returning to the book, I must ensure you that the book has been worked with for a long time. The author has talked with many girls who has had real experiences and with many help-organizations. The stories and the scale of the abuse, is shocking, and she sex-traffickingcertainly wants us to see this. Some people don`t like that it makes Asia and men look really bad, and I must admit it paints a grim picture. But we have to keep in mind that this is not about the good sides of life, it`s meant to show the reality for over 20 million women and boys in Asia. She also repeats several times that not all girls are forced into this, and not all men buy sex. And most readers will know enough about the world, to realize that there will always be a lot of exceptions and grey areas.

I recommend this book for people who want to know more, since I myself was very surprised myself over the magnitude of the industry, and don`t like to think about how much I didn`t know.

That being said, my anger is still here (a bit better), but I take with me this knowledge and know I will never be silent if someone ask what I think. Maybe I will work with this, some day, or maybe some of you will. The best way to help people is by spreading knowledge, and I think that is the real danger for human trafficking.

That means one point for each and every of you who read this, and one minus point to the agents who go to sleep every night with the knowledge that their pockets will be even fuller the next day.

 

 

Hope Bird.

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Great idea from a blogger who want to inspire people to be there for others! A small way to make a contribution:)

Cats and Chocolate

Hopebird by Rubicon ArtSometimes when I’m doing my re-blogging on Tumblr, and endlessly scrolling through the dashboard, I come across something that makes me feel – ‘yes, this is important.’ It’s a simple way of saying – ‘I’m here, and I’ll listen.’

This is for everyone who stumbles across my blog, or reads it regularly, who makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when you ‘like’ my blog posts or even – hey – comment. People who need someone to vent to or who need a friend, just for a moment, or forever. No matter how far away you are. I’m a good listener. I won’t judge you or think any less of you if you’re going through something.

So without further ado, I introduce Hopebird, the brainchild (or heartchild?) of Rubicon’s Art, a blogger and artist on Tumblr. This is what Hopebird is about:

‘This is hopebird.

Hopebird is a…

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Protected: The sound of reconstruction

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