The Problems with Private Messaging

Be Careful with Inbox Messages

I would like to assume that most FB users are aware of the increasing amount of private message issues. These involve mass messages sent out from hacked accounts asking you to follow instructions , forward the message and/or click on a link. Anyone who has ever fallen for this has usually done so because they recognize or know the person supposedly sending the message. At best , nothing happens. But at worst, your own account may be hacked – introducing a virus or sending unacceptable messages out to your actual friends.

Again, I would like to assume this is common sense. Do not follow the instructions, forward or click on any links in your message box. Have your friend send the link to your phone as a text but only if they know your # without stating it again in the private message. This should possibly ensure legitimacy. However, if in doubt, politely decline. I am shocked that I still get these messages. But what I’ve come to understand is at least 2 things.

  1. If you are very ACTIVE on FB and have a tendency to share tons of memes and click on news feed posts with wild abandon, etc. you are at risk. Many memes and links contain hidden codes which create the problems mentioned above. Yes, even “news” articles and seemingly innocent memes. I’ve posted previously about other reasons to refrain from meme-ing – and I now can add this to the list.
  • If you are very INACTIVE on facebook-scammers and hackers will notice…trust me. They look for inactive or low use accounts to use for their schemes assuming the person will not be aware until someone lets them know elsewhere and by that time the damage has been done. Do yourself a favor –change your passwordand deactivate( not delete!) the account until you want to use it. Reactivation is easy. I have been in active of FB for over a month now and  I noticed an increase in problems at any time I have reactivated ( to use the facebook login for another app only).  

As I go along in this project, the issues with social media are continuing to pile up. At this point if I haven’t convinced you to at least take a break from it ( or hopefully abstain altogether) stay tuned and read on. Allow my mistakes and experiences to bring awareness to potential issues and possibly help you avoid some problems . Namaste!

Trying to “Fix it”

Face it. The ugly truth is, we can’t really “fix” anything that is not an object. We cannot mend broken hearts or souls. We cannot take away someone else’s physical or emotional pain. We cannot magically banish someone’s mental health issues, addictions or worries. And we certainly cannot erase problems, history or certain life choices made by others.Not your partner, friend , family member- Not for anyone, including our own children. But here is the good news.

We CAN fix ourselves. We are not eternally broken. In fact, as long as we are breathing we are not really broken at all. What we are is temporarily “out of order”. Think about that. The order of our ‘perfect life’ is never in synch with reality. It has not been since the day we were born. Our perfect selves, our perfect life and our perfect experiences do not exist. But , we are capable ….and alive ….and have a chance to make things better with every breath!

Now, before you start thinking- “shut up..i don’t wanna hear all of your living-in-a-bubble-of -positivity crap” ..just humor me and let me explain.

Read this out loud or to yourself and repeat as many times as you like : NO ONE’S LIFE IS WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE- NOT EVEN MINE.

Along with every positive , uplifting or “I am a namaste unicorn guru who lives in total Zen and peace” post I read elsewhere and/or make in this blog, understand that every single day is still a struggle. I deal with headaches, heartaches, frustrations , stress, recovery issues, financial problems, a swamped schedule, full time work as a pediatric Rn, and many, many miscellaneous unexpected crisis’  most of the time. Like 90% of the time. That 10% when I feel peaceful and focused comes with a huge  premium . Some days I am barely going through the motions and other days I collapse in tears and exhaustion. I am posting this stuff just as much for myself as anyone else reading it.  I have my coping methods and am always willing to try more as they come along. Anything to stay sane and keep moving forward.

Bottom line. STOP ..just STOP trying to fix someone else. It is not within your power to do so. You owe it to yourself and everyone you care for to realize this truth. We are each given our own bodies and minds for a reason. We were not created as part of a gelatinous blob dependent on each other for constant life support. We each have our own feet to walk with, mouths to speak with, hearts to love with and brains to think with. We are, therefore, responsible for our own actions, decisions and choices. And you absolutely cannot take on someone else’s human skin, hijack their soul and do the work that they themselves need to do.

What you CAN do for them is limited. You can be there for support in a reasonable, non- destructive, non-enabling way. You can listen (at times.) You can offer advice if they ask for it. You can continue living your own best life. You can realize that you are NOT responsible for their choices and that no matter how much you try, no matter how guilty you feel , or how much you believe in them- ultimately their choices are their own. And your choices are your own. Do not get overwhelmed or over extend yourself at the expense of losing your own strength or at the risk of living in constant unrest and peace.

Reach out when you need help. Be there for others when you realistically can. And just do the very best you can. Namaste!

Sleeping on the Floor

For decades, I suffered with increasingly chronic , severe back and neck pain. It all started in my early twenties when I stupidly went bungee jumping and got whiplash. I spent many years seeing chiropractors , physical therapists and going through boat loads of medications. All were temporary fixes, and one of the medications ( Soma) actually turned into an addiction which I had to over come . I did this cold turkey and  it was horrible.

Additionally I have done the following: used an inversion table, did yoga and weightlifting faithfully for 2 decades, was a vegetarian for 25 plus years, I even quit smoking for 10 years. I tried every single natural supplement I could get my hands on. I invested in many heating pads, got massages, bought & used a TENS unit/a shiatzu massager/ and other various machines. I use ice packs, icy hot patches and biofreeze. I tried CBD remedies ( until I tested allergic to it). I cycled over the counter pain relief medications. Worst and most expensively- I bought a 3, 300 tempur pedic bed which I am STILL paying on. These are just the things I remember off the top of my head. There were many other “fixes” I tried- found through online research and advice of friends. NOTHING seemed to help for long( with the exception of binaural puretones which is covered in a previous post)

Low & behold, in desperation ( after the Puretones helped about 50% ) I heard someone mention sleeping on the floor. I did a bit of research and said “hey, I got nothing to lose by trying- it’s free and if it doesn’t work, I can stop.” So, I did. OH.MY.GOD. The very next day I felt almost 90% better. I had NO hip or lower back pain at all. I kept it up , sometimes alternating bed to floor every few hours to get sued to it, and after a week. I was ecstatic with the results.

I still have neck pain. This has not been resolved despite hundreds of $ in trying various pillows and the above stuff. But I’ll  take it over all the other pain I’ve had for decades. I have invested in a decent sleep mat and I still use a pillow and a blanket ( it’s not supposed to be deprivation!).There are still rare, rare times when I slip into bed for a few hours because of temperature issues. But 99% , I am on the floor. I have been doing this for almost a year now and I cannot describe what a huge difference it’s made. I do not recommend it for anyone who has knee issues though, as getting up may be an issue. But for almost everyone else-try it for a week . What have you got to lose?

Boo to Boosting

. One thing i have not expanded on is the problems with using Facebook for advertising or business purposes.

In one sense, especially at first, Facebook seemed to be an excellent way to market a service or product -and it was totally free! Even today , Facebook is still the # 1 way to reach the widest and broadest market without spending a dime. Previously, this was done by adding friends and posting as much as possible. However, the “free” ride of the early years has passed. With the ever changing algorithms , most businesses have seen a tremendous drop in their organic growth. As most of us now realize , this was due to an increase in corporate advertising, and the introduction of an “opportunity” to expand your reach ( read: pay for the same exposure that was previously offered for free). Of course, this is not uncommon in the dog-eat-dog world of greed . It was to be expected that, at some point, a way to make money off of this tremendously popular app would eventually surface.Ads were introduced on side bars, and, over time- added to feeds. It was speculated many times that Facebook would soon charge for the app itself on a monthly basis, just like many other online sites. Of course, this never happened..

Instead, someone or many someones, decided to target businesses rather than individuals for profit. Kind of makes sense.And this was rarely complained about or noticed by the average user. But here’s what eventually happened with “Boosting”.

The range and amount of advertisement offered now is contingent on the amount of money paid to “boost” a post. For instance: if you pay the lowest amount offered, the additional viewers are selected from the regions farthest away from the advertiser. If i live in , say, Lancaster City, and i pay around $5, the projected advertising offered will begin as far away as 100 miles or so ( not the area closest to you or your service/product). It will be shown to the “minimum” amount of persons stated( and how do you prove this anyway?they don’t give you proof, you just have to trust this) and those persons may or may not have any interest in the service or product, nor have any other connections of value to indicate that they would even desire said product or service. A more specific example: i am a nurse and an artist living in York city. I have never inferred any interest online in purchasing a Chanel handbag from a person or company in Lake Erie , pa. Yet, someone with such an item to sell, individually or manufactured, paying the lowest amount offered will have this item placed in my feed and others like me. If that individual or business however pays more ( and it increases by levels) more people, closer to home, with an inferred online interest will be targeted .See how the game is played?More money( paid to Facebook) to potentially make more money yourself. This has always been the case with advertising , but the new, naive poster does not understand exactly what they are really getting ( or NOT getting) for their investment. They believe they are getting a “deal” for only a few dollars-and jump on it. In most cases, they would have better luck handing out flyers on their own street corner.

In the days following the boosting (even those not posted as ads per say but containing certain words or phrases or symbols indicating potential sales or advertising dollars to be had) Facebook will attempt to sway you into more boosting.If you ever do decide to boost, and start with the lowest amount you will be pestered for more “exposure” money. If you boost once and decide not to again, most of your posts will be even further limited in feeds as a sort of “punishment” to goad you into once again boosting.Even those NOT related to sales or advertising. You are “red flagged”- forever.Even Facebook users who have never boosted are now getting targeted and encouraged to boost posts.

I have struggled for several years as a small not for profit venue owner and an unknown small time local artist. In the early years i was able to make a “small” profit using Facebook.This is no longer the case. After boosting several times with no results , i noted an actual decline in viewers. It has continued no matter how many friends i add or how i’ve tried to get around the algorithms .

Just another reason to abstain from it altogether.

Stress and More Stress

After my day today ,when everything seemed to come crashing down around me, i am simply going to write a raw unedited post about what is on my mind. I hope you don’t mind.If you want, feel free to skip it.

I have been working with 2 realtors( a team that works together ) to find and purchase a home for several weeks now. It has taken an extreme amount of time, energy, stress and a huge lack of sleep.I have spent 3-4 hrs each night researching properties that fall within ever changing guidelines and have been to showings of over 25 properties. I have made offers on 2 and they were sold before the contract even made it to the seller. I put in a 3rd one this morning right before falling asleep, being assured by the agent i would have docs to sign when i work and then we would meet for more showings. I get up early again to do all of this only to see an email terminating the realtor/buyer relationship with absolutely no explanation.I tried in vain to get an explanation(texts, emails, calls) with no results .

At this point i am beyond exhausted, stressed to the max, and overwhelmed with having to start over at ground zero.The enormous amount the wasted time and energy has seriously dented my health… holding on by a thread.

To make matters worse, i believe the email account I have been using for over 20 years has been hacked.Notifications of suspicious activity with several accounts have shown up in the past few days. So i spent more hours changing passwords , etc before work tonight.The rest of my week is swamped with obligations and stress.

I am doing the best i can to maintain balance and talk myself back up after a seemingly endless cycle of obstacles and incidents. I do this daily, but every time i wake up there’s more. Even with all of the hard work and determination . I am struggling. Thats all i have to say today. Namaste .

Cancelling Out Consumerism

On the subject of making better connections in real life, let’s talk about holidays, consumerism, and unnecessary expectations.

When I was growing up, we were pretty much “dirt poor”. Christmas was still fun and full of excitement, but we had extremely low expectations of how many gifts we might receive and how much they would cost( almost always in the $10-20 range).We always knew our stockings would contain an orange and a large peppermint stick candy. On good years we had an uncle that would give each of us $2 every year( which was a huge windfall to us!!lol).But he best part was the family traditions, seeing our cousins, and the FOOD.

This was also true for other yearly holidays including Easter ( a small basket with a littlecandy- , thanksgiving( no gifts – just food) and birthdays ( which were special but mostly focused around cake, ice cream and games- gifts, again , were small and inexpensive). On July 4th, memorial day and labor day- we would gather for crabs & beer and fireworks, and Halloween was a family costume party. These memories are the best things about my childhood. The only time we really felt we had less than anyone else was seeing the few privileged children at school.- and they WERE very few. Even those children never got the types of gifts we see being given now. 

Fast forward to the next 2 generations. Gifts became larger, more expensive, more techno, and in larger amounts. Ipads, ipods, laptops, cell phones, electric cars, etc. – stuff that even makes ME jealous. Advertising has exploded, finally reaching the levels of today. Christmas adds start as early as right after the start of school in September!! Many children and teens expect more, more, more, ..and act like  entitled brats if they don’t get it! Adults spend crazy amounts of time and money trying to meet these demands. And most of the time the gifts wind up sitting and collecting dust after only a few weeks as the next best thing is introduced in stores.Sadly, i have to admit there were times i fell into this with my own kids, eventually learning my lesson.You are never a “better parent” because you are buying the latest trendy toy!In fact, NOT buying it makes you the better parent:)

How does this relate to our project subject? Easy- these days, most of the advertisement is done online. This shows up extensively in social media feeds, but also in kids youtube channels, games , apps and other media. The reach of its emotional hypnotism is far beyond those of the past. Reality shows allow us to see the resulting greedy, selfish, entitled attitudes of many of our youth. By tuning out of social media and other online media sources we eliminate much of the brainwashing being done to ourselves and our children. We begin to address positive ways to celebrate Holidays that promote love & connection, family values and generosity over ego and materialism. We begin to develop our own time honored traditions or continue those of our own childhood . We simply begin- to reconnect as people.

Stuck on Repeat

I have them. You have them. We all subscribe to cycles , patterns and habits. One of mine ( and ironically it drives me crazyto see others do it!) is to start something new, only to begin failing at it within a  few weeks. It can include nutrition, exercise, relationship patterns, complaining, financial mistakes or just about any bad habits we strive to overcome.

Failure #1-For me, the last few years, the cycle of getting on a regular exercise schedule has been an extreme struggle. I go faithfully for a few weeks , then , life starts getting stressful , busy and overwhelming . I just start over scheduling myself again and wind up too exhausted to do anything but sit and binge watch Netflix for a few nights. Le sigh. Today -I finally got to the gym after a week and felt awesome for it:)Re-commit!!

Failure #2-So, I have successfully maintained my absence from Facebook and no longer post or scroll, keeping it only there so that I can download/transfer photos and some easier sign in’s to other apps. It’s been a  huge burden off my ego and soul. But now, with all of the crazy real estate stuff, I have been checking my emails immediately upon waking and doing that with my coffee. I do have a justification- needing to return messages before close of business and confirming showing appointments. I’ve also had to spend excessive amounts of time looking for homes on various sites that will work as far as location, price & financing. But it distresses me that I  have replaced one monster for another. 

Failure #3- Caffeine…this one continues to be such  beast for me that I sincerely believe it’s harder for me to overcome than even quitting alcohol and Facebook. I still cheat and have 1-1 ½ cups a day…grr. Still, I’m proud that I have come even THAT far.

Failure #4- maintaining a cheerful disposition. With all of the things up in the air and constant frustrations and disappointments  related to finding a home, I have been stressed & grumpy 75% of the time. This upsets me because I know it affects others- namely my roommate and best friend. I hate that she has to absorb my stress. But I keep working at it!

Failure #5- eating better. When you have extra stress, you tend to gravitate towards the quickest comfort foods you can find. The junk. Of course what I consider junk, not everyone does- I’m talking potatoes, bread, and pasta. I mostly do well avoiding these, but sandwiches are kind for me when I am on the go or depressed. Pasta is cheap and easy ( I do get the green stuff /veggie based but ..). and potatoes- I tend towards baked potatoes , veggie chips, and potato salad (easy to make and transport.)Because of this I’ve eaten less fresh produce and I’ve felt sluggish and bloated.

The best way I know how to get myself out of any pattern is to start with a fresh canvasevery time I see myself sinking. I talk to myself, meditate, and commit to taking action a.s.a.p. Never give up. As long as you are still breathing, you have a chance. And I am NOT done yet:).

This Friday will be one whole month into my project. As you can see, I’m not perfect at it. But I still lift myself up with pep talks and I HAVE made some progress. My continued plan is to just keep at it.Fighting the ingrained patterns and cycles .Fortunately, I have conquered alcohol and relationship ones and am damn proud of myself for those!! The rest- well- Onward & Upward!

Funding Big Pharma

You know those flip out photo wallets grandmothers worldwide seem to carry and whip out with the slightest provocation to show total strangers their adorable offspring? If I had one, mine would be filled with my photos of my (previous) medications. There would be one for every color of the rainbow, in every size, form and hour of the day. Some lucky bystander would be barraged with stories of how , why, what happened and for how long.

Now before you create a picture in your mind of me being a drug fiend of any sort, consider that I am talking about decades of my life. Think about it. From the day when you popped out of your mamma, the Doctor was waiting right there with a list of what  interventions you were going to “need” when you came out. There were blood tests for all kinds of things but also, immediatemedicationsare pre- prescribed for various issues. I was born in the 60’s. So, they still gave scopolamine and morphine cocktails to women during labor- also known as “twilight sleep”. Thalidomide and DES exposure was happening. Silver Nitrate was still dropped into babies eyes at birth.

Today, babies immediately get erythromycin in their eyes and their 1stvaccination for Hep B along with Vitamin K. This is followed by at least 24 months of vaccinations( on a predetermined schedule).The medications over the next several years will vary for each individual but most kids receive antibiotics at the very least for various reasons. Teenagers face birth control pills, more antibiotics, and booster vaccinations. And let’s not forget what I call “trends” – like A.D.D. medication.(ps..some people actually need it- I’m talking more about these prescription “speeders” that college kids buy from their friends to party with, study longer and stay awake).

As adults, we become even more exposed. And as aging adults the med list can really start to pile up. Genetics, age related issues and poor lifestyle choices are often the reasons. At some point, most adults lose count  of how many meds they have been on at one time or another. And many still take more than 6 pills daily.

Over the past year I have reduced my medication to only one pill daily for my heart arrhythmia ( genetic) which causes blood pressure issues. It’s a low dose and has helped tremendously. I have another one I take as needed – generally only twice a week. But there have been many times I have been on 7-10 pills per day- some just to relieve symptoms caused by the others!! I had tried everything from natural remedies( herbals and adding or eliminating certain foods) to CBD items ( I’m allergic)to vitamins to rituals ( sleeping with head elevated to relieve heartburn).I have suffered from insomnia, chronic pain, and allergy issues for over 3 decades. I’ve had to experiment like crazy .I have even slept with onions in my soxon several occasions. Sometimes it still irks me when someone says something like “Have you tried wearing ear plugs or blocking out any light or using white noise( for insomnia)?”( Gee, no..i hadn’t thought of that in the last 30 years or so!)I know they are just trying to be helpful ,but…..

The point is, everyone is different. What works for one, may not for another. My only advice here is try everything within reason to avoid medication. Don’t be stupid though, research THOROUGHLY ( i.e.- no drinking bleach to kill germs-hehe ).My best results have come from NON medicinal solutions: Using Binaural Tones meditation, Using a TENS unit/heating pad/ice pack, sleeping on the floor, regular exercise, drinking more water, eating less processed food, abstaining from alcohol & getting fresh air. Sure beats a handful of meds. And certainly a lot less expensive!

The Dragon & The Mammoth

One of the enormous tasks ahead of me prior to deleting my Fb account forever ( if I choose to after 6 months) is downloading the hundreds of photos and storing them elsewhere. I had, like many people, gotten so used to having ready access to them via Fb, that I now have to deal with the process of transferring them all. I know extremely little about cloud accounts and will have to beg my son to help me with all of it. It will probably take hours or even days..ugh!

This is yet another way we are coerced into dependency. It all seems so easy. Yet, in retrospect the issues with privacy, the process of  transferring everything , and the maddening and ongoing realizations of how entangled most of us are in it all has really hit home.

To me, every step has further emphasized the monster social media has become- so subtly and innocently . It’s like the dragon that is under your bed that starts as a baby, and grows stronger and more powerful with every passing day as we feed and nurture it- all the while believing we are still in control. One day we suddenly become aware of how much it has taken over every aspect of our lives and how little control we actually have.

As we commence our counter attack, even when the dragon’s fire begins to die out and stops breathing down our necks, it turns into a mammoth task that we have to carve away at piece by piece  until  we begin to feel some sense of power over the beast.

The dichotomy of it all is trading one problem for another. I certainly have no desire to add 5 apps to cover one .Considering the photo transfers and storage in addition to alternatives for bill paying, document saving, and transferring account information, and better communications it can be very time consuming and,  if not carefully thought out- will add  even more complications. People balk at using email or reading blogs anymore . I believe this is because, while it was direct and personal at first- it became its own monster after a few years– businesses forcing us to add our emails to get further info online, excess advertising and an insane amount of junk emails every day. Blogging became little more than sites with tons of advertisements and click bait. It’s a tough world out there . Just to simplify, is complicated.

I’ll keep striving for a better life .Here’s to a brighter future and easier options. Be the Dragon Slayer!- Cheers!