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Rechanneling, Slowly

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Breaks in routine do funny things to people. Now that I’m back in Austin, it’s taking me awhile to ramp up again, in just about every aspect of my life.

Ashoka’s selection criteria mentions that people who possess entrepreneurial traits often have little interest in anything other than their mission. I think it’s actually a little more nuanced than that; I think entrepreneurs instinctively understand that they can’t have much of an interest in anything besides their mission, lest they fall off the tracks. That’s not to say they’re all automatons; it’s just that thoughts and ideas are slippery, and when you redirect them, it’s hard to push them back to where they once were.

Thoughts are like rivers. Events are like dams. And damn it (ha) if the recent events in my life didn’t just start channeling my thoughts elsewhere.

The Great Exchange, and work in general, is moving a bit more slowly now, like a runner with a pulled hamstring. I don’t know how to repair a metaphorical hamstring; but if I’m going to see this analogy through to the end, I’d say the only way to do it is to rest a little bit more than I used to, take care of myself, and work back up to where I once was as slowly and carefully as I need to.

So I don’t know, maybe this blog post symbolized my first 100-yard dash. And yes, even this tiny little cluster of words took longer than it used to. And I guess that’s okay.

A Healthy Family

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The Huffington Post’s article about abuse towards disabled adults hit me hard in the stomach. Before citing some absolutely appalling stories and details, the article reports that disabled adults are at a much higher risk of being physically and sexually abused than non-disabled adults.

This hurts. It hurts every single one of us. Our health as a family, a society, and a planet is directly tied ┬áto the way we treat our vulnerable or misunderstood community members. If a person is fragile physically, mentally or socially, the healthiest possible human grouping will take the best possible care of them. The weakest possible human grouping will take advantage of them. If someone mistreats a disabled person, it’s not just a problem; it’s a symptom of societal disease.

I truly believe that speaking to a person with a social or cognitive disability, then becoming their friend, then learning to love them as a contributing member of society will impact so much more than the rights of the disabled. Once your brain is open to compassionate understanding, it will affect the way you treat everyone else in your network, disabled or not. A person with a disability is one of the best possible candidates for instilling this sense of compassion.

The tenet that increased interaction with cognitively disabled people will lead to greater societal compassion is one of the more idealistic or “visionary” philosophies behind The Great Exchange (as opposed to “practical”), but it runs deep. It will be a long time before something like that can be measured. But there it is, tucked away, driving the more practical in’s and out’s. I guess I just take this one on faith.