Sunday, 6 September 2020

Attachments and Surrender

This begs the question: Why are these teats considered undesirable to a dairy farmer? The answer, according to the text, is that milking machines are designed with an ideal udder structure in mind. Should nature deviate from this mechanical ideal by providing more teats, it could make placement of the teatcup challenging for the farmer. On this scorecard, my dad awarded points for virtually everything positive I accomplished during the game. Sure enough, I found myself sprinting over during timeouts to check on my contribution points, as my dad called them. When I arrived home after a game, I would mark the chart I had on my wall to plot my progress. With this simple graph, I could see where I was improving. As the season went on, I worked hard to make sure the graph kept going upward. It was cool, because by the end of the season I improved so much that I amazed myself--and I did it without a single harsh word from my dad. I definitely became a much better player in the process because I worked on developing my strengths. I focused on what I did well, and as a result, my confidence grew as well. Today, I still do something similar. I've made a habit of tracking my growth and my successes. Finally, go for a walk through the desert of your own privilege. This is hard. I did this terrifying side-route several times on this journey. I realised I was using certain `enlightened' or over-share-ish concepts to mask my shame. For example, I often referred to how I came from nothing and got where I am from working hard. It was when I decided to write an Instagram post to this effect that I saw how disconnecting my behaviour was. So I wrote: `I'm super white.

I've benefited from all the perks of not only being white, and very girl next door in my pink TV sweater (FFS), but also from the leg-ups whites like me who came from nothing and have worked to get where they are and who succeeded on their own merit benefit from. The neoliberal system can cope with disadvantage that fits into its model of bootstrap-pulling. And it loves success stories. Surprisingly, the text also says, At any rate, extra teats detract from an udder's general appearance. It is surprising to learn that a farmer could be concerned in the slightest with the general appearance of a cow's udder. After all, these cows are not paraded before judges at an animal fair, but are routinely confined to cement floor stalls with little or no room to move. The only people who see their teats are the workers who place the milking machines onto the udder. Aesthetically pleasing or not, extra teats are routinely removed from cows by a simple and merciless procedure involving no anesthetic. In short, the cow is placed on its side, its back legs are spread, and the teat is sliced off the udder with a pair of scissors, the preferred tool of use. The text advises that dull scissors are even better, as they tend to crush the blood vessels as they cut, which minimizes bleeding. Not surprisingly, a cow's horns can cause injury to other cows when the animals are kept in cramped quarters. An injured cow is a less-productive cow -- growth and milk production are reduced -- and therefore, horns are routinely removed, again, without anesthetic. In calves under ten weeks of age, the procedure is referred to as disbudding, and involves using a hot iron (hot-iron cautery) to destroy the horn's bud (root) tissue. I am very careful about what I choose to focus on. I'm aware of my weaknesses, but I focus on my strengths and what I do well so I can build on them. Why do most people put more emphasis on their failures and their limitations than on their successes and strengths? Well, it's really no surprise when you think about it. Just look back to how you were raised. When you were just a child and you behaved, what happened? You were probably left alone to twiddle your thumbs.

But when you misbehaved by being a nuisance and making too much noise, you got yelled at and punished. When you got an A on your report card, you might have received a simple good job, but God forbid what happened when you got an F! Do you see the trend here? What it can't cope with is nuance and the type of disadvantage that holds a whopping great mirror up to its prejudice. Although, if we're going to stick with this mirror analogy, the system doesn't even see non-whiteness in the reflection. When you decide to take this walk, asking a few beautiful (but courageous) questions can help. Like, if you speak of `unattachment', ask if it's because you are too scared to speak up, or to face the cost of your lifestyle's footprint, or to get engaged in politics. And when you send `thoughts and prayers', ask if you are just giving yourself an excuse not to step up and do something. If you talk of manifesting and creating your own reality, ask how you might help create a world where everyone has equal access to the tools and playing field. If you speak of abundance, ask why you are not preaching material sacrifice instead. If you prefer to chill and be Zen, ask if you are shunning the anger, outrage and protest that's entirely necessary right now. Are you gaslighting others who are being honest with their rage? At every step, I have asked myself, `Are you practising what you're preaching? In older cows, farmers use a saw, shears, or wire. As with having a nipple crimped off with scissors, we can only imagine the pain the animals feel during and after this inhumane procedure. All of the procedures have been shown to result in elevated serum levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Few of us even think of the unfortunate existence of these creatures when we reach for a gallon of milk from the dairy case at our supermarket. Yet each time we do so, we unwittingly vote with our dollars and endorse such cruelty. In light of all these disclosures, to say a dairy cow's life is stressful would seem to be an understatement. Veterinary scientist Neil Forsberg of Oregon State University says, In situations where producers manage their dairy herds to get as much milk production as possible, cows may suffer physical and metabolic stress, which weakens their immune systems, making them more susceptible to disease.

Forsberg suspects this may be the cause of Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS) or bloody gut, a condition that causes blood clots in the small intestine, which in turn obstruct and enlarge the bowel. Considered a significant and growing problem in dairy herds, it causes the animals to suffer severe distress, and not infrequently, sudden death. Milking the Taxpayer! There's often more attention placed on negativity. It is true that there are consequences to poor performance--and that's what our parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses are emphasizing when they get mad at us. But it's important that we take it upon ourselves to emphasize our own strengths and past successes so we can build on them (and then experience more of them). When we speak, we often ask the audience to do something very simple: Just turn to the person next to you and share a success you've had in the past week. It's amazing how many people struggle to do this. Many people don't think they have had any successes at all. But if we ask them to list ten failures they've had in the past week . Well, that's easy! People have a much harder time identifying the victories. What about you? Will you use this opportunity to wake up and come back to life and what matters? Only I could answer this. As Anne Frank once wrote, `How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. And motivating. It struck me it wasn't enough to wake up, reconnect, to meet in that field and hang out for a bit, having more soulful chats and loving on life. We had to get more marvellous with things. There's a wisdom from Jungian psychologist and prolific author James Hollis that haunts me.

He says that eventually, once we're connected and informed enough, our soul will call us to an appointment with life. Our souls are our knowingness. They perceive when we're off track and not living in service - not actually doing anything to help improve the world - and they say, `Oi! Born of the New Deal-era, our government began subsidizing and regulating the milk industry with the Federal Milk Marketing Order in 1937, followed by a price support program in 1949. In 2002, an income support program was added. Each month, the marketing order program, under which two-thirds of all dairy products are produced, specifies a minimum price that will be paid for these times. The balance is produced under a California state regulatory system. The rate that processors pay for the milk is dependent upon how they will use it. The price support program guarantees that the government will step in and buy, at a set price, whatever amount of butter, cheese, and nonfat dry milk is produced, even if the demand for the product is absent and it must go into cold storage. Since 1950, American dairies have produced far more milk than consumers demand. In 2002, the Milk Income Loss Contract policy was established. The purpose of this program is to provide cash payouts to dairy producers in the event that market prices dip below a specified threshold. What product is not sent to storage is dumped into public schools, where children are required to consume the stuff, contributing to the health problems reviewed in article Six. What great things have you done in the past? The truth is we all have past successes and victories that we can build on. The question is, will we remind ourselves of our progress and measure it so we're driven to create even more successes? Stacy, 17 (San Francisco, CA): In middle school, I became really critical of myself. I was never happy with my effort or performance. As time went on, things just got worse and worse. One of my teachers could see that I was really frustrated and talked with me about it.

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