You May Not Have Known This

Two days. That is how long this title has sat there while I contemplated just how to go about this article. The original premise was to be a series of small anecdotes of fake names and made up circumstances. All would relate to a perspective into why any given person on any given day could be so easily overwhelmed or in pain of some kind and lash out at a stranger online. It does not even have to be lashing out; a not well thought out reply is often enough to offend someone.

Yes, we are going to discuss social media interactions and the bitterness that seems to be so prevalent of late.

To save some of you some time, I have no idea what I am talking about. I can relate only my own personal experience and I have no business or intent to speak for anyone else. I am without post-graduate education of any kind and therefore have no qualifications or belief that would make me an expert of any kind.

OK. Let me know when they are gone.

Are they gone? It’s just us? Excellent! Let’s try and have a discussion. I think if we focus on influence and choices, we might find that great nirvana that frees us all: An alternate perspective.

Influence, while seemingly more powerful than choice, is incredibly powerful but truly second to informed choice. It is all around us every day. We constantly see Republicans bashing Democrats and, in other countries, Conservatives bashing Liberals. Public discourse among nations’ highest leaders offer little in terms of having respect for political opposition. Recent years have seen this ramped up to extraordinary levels with veiled insults being set aside for openly abusive language.

Before long, the neighbour who displays a different political affiliation on their lawn goes from respected to hated because that is what leaders are telling them. Human exploration into global connectivity and intercommunication on levels never seen before comes with it’s own downsides. The widespread belief that free speech is just that — regardless of the media or intent — is as false a human premise as could be imagined. It is a myth, a carrot held over our heads by those who would choose to use the stick.

Everyone has a right to life free from abuse. Any law or given right that permits violation of that right is immoral. Yet so often it is the cry of the oppressor that it is their right to be abusive. What it is, is a choice that is made. A choice to be abusive, condescending and to try to unload some personal baggage onto someone else. A choice to respond in anger instead of with understanding. Sadly, it’s the easiest choice, but it’s far from the most powerful.

Setting aside influence, choice is the path past anger and hostility. Just as those going after another, for any reason, seem to be able to justify it a hundred different ways, the hardest choice requires no justification. Choosing to attack someone who was rude only keeps the cycle of negativity going. Yet some seem to derive great satisfaction from it. In the moment, they are fully unaware that they are elevating themselves by stepping on another.

Choice is the great power we all possess. It is ours alone and, used well, great benefit for oneself and others is easily found. If, that is, we make the right choices.

Choose to be aware that everyone you encounter on social media is damaged in some way. We all are. No human walks this life without knowing difficulty in some manner, visible or otherwise. Choose to be aware. Communication is a gift and a skill some are much more proficient at than others. Choose to look at intent over content. Quite often they can be polar opposite, again reflecting a lack of communication skills.

You can choose to create and feed fires or you can choose to put them out. You can choose to be understanding, perhaps offering a hand in friendship. Inspiring gratitude for even a small kindness in another is a gift that everyone receives.

You can choose compassion.

You can choose to embrace the positive.

You can choose to be happy.

These are the only rights that matter and that no one can take away.

What will you choose to do?

Cannabis Legalization in Canada: It’s Not All Bad

It’s now mid-2019 and cannabis has been legal for recreational use for over half a year. This far in, there is no shortage of directions to look that lead to head-shaking disbelief. It started in some sense back in 2017, when we were getting the first glimpses into what the government thought legalization should look like. It really did not get much better leading up to oct 2018 when it came into effect. It may even have gotten worse, as confusion and frustration over access and prices led established consumers to stay with current black- and grey market sources.

To use a basketball analogy: When it comes to cannabis legalization, our federal leaders are no Harlem Globetrotters. Fumbles and whiffs are plentiful and consistent. That is not, however, what this article will be about. We don’t get a lot of articles on the subject of the best parts of the new normal. Exposés and feel-good stories are as near an oxymoron when used in the same context as it gets. But feel-good, upside stories exist and are plentiful when one goes looking for them. Most centre around an individual’s accomplishments, but some are bigger stories such as the one we will now get explore.

Gifting and Trading Cannabis: A Jewel in the Crown

Have you done it? Has a friend done it? Do you know anyone who does it? Lots of people are doing it every day! And it’s fun as hell! You should try it.

The best thing we were given in the new regulations is the legal ability to gift or trade cannabis freely among legal-age adults anywhere in Canada. It was not long after the new laws came into effect that people saw there would be potential in gifting and trading. Websites designed to facilitate people coming together for that purpose arrived soon after. Having never utilized one for any purpose, I will not suggest an opinion on them one way or the other.

Social media interactions became an important part of trading for myself and, I suspect, many others. We own our social media in the sense that what we publish says who we are or who we want the world to see. Reputation and credibility come into play and, based on ongoing interactions, trust is formed.

For me, trading was initially about trading seeds. We all know how expensive good genetics are. So, I was really not disappointed with the result of my hedonistic exuberance last season and the 800+ seeds that it yielded. That first trip to Canada Post to send off a package was a pleasure, even when I was told how much it would cost. Knowing it was legal made it fun, even if it was only for the novelty of doing it. Quickly, however, one trade turned into several and not all were seed-for-seed. Through the process of building relationships over the course of the next few months, my experiences went beyond trading and into gifting. There is no feeling quite like opening a package or being handed a bag or two of such premium flower that it would be otherwise unaffordable, which was sent only because someone knew of a need or simply wanted to do so.

This is the very heart of who we are when we are at our best.

The idea for an article around this phenomenon has been with me for while. It was the culmination of a period of vitriol and bitterness that led someone to finally almost beg for a good-news story that fuelled my motivation. That and it’s raining today.

If you have yet to do some trading, don’t be afraid to say you are looking to do some trading. Or if you’re in a position to perhaps send some gifts, find some people who could use a little boost. It’ll make everyone feel good.

Each and every day, we are in a position to make someone else’s day a little better. Often, it isn’t even obvious because it seems so small and insignificant. In truth, small kindnesses have huge impacts on people’s everyday lives. You might let someone in line with two items checkout ahead of you with your 40. As has become popular with the drive-through coffee crowd, you might pay for the person behind you in line. There are a million ways to be kind in a world that bombards us with hate and intolerance. It’s a simple choice where no one loses.

What better gift is there to someone having a bad day than finding a way to make it better, even if only for a little while?

Tips for Gifting/Sharing

Social media: Be aware with whom you are gifting or trading. Never engage in illegal trades, such as crossing international borders. Mailing: If sending flower, use vacuum-sealed, odour-proof bags. There is also a smell-proof mailing envelope available for purchase. The smaller the package, the less it will cost. If sending seeds, try to avoid using things like greeting cards and flat envelopes, which get run through processing machines and will crush seeds.

Most importantly, pay it forward. Be good to each other; it elevates us all.