The morning is the inhale – the first air that is taken in, and held there –
Some days are more deceptive than others like a warm Thursday afternoon that manages to convince you there is nothing left to do;
It leaves you anticipating the rest. The first breath that is fully taken in and fully released in a few easy seconds. Knowing everything else may be paused for a while.
But then you remember: the light is not orange because it is summertime, when the days are so hot they seem to melt into one another, but rather because it is 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, and you are wearing sunglasses because the days are only shorter now.
And because it is a Thursday and not a Friday, you can only breathe partially.
And so the evening is the exhale – the same morning air that never really escaped finally does, though it won’t return until the sun comes up again tomorrow –
And we grow used to that feeling. Or at least I do.
A Mandala is a symbolic spiritual geometric design which, when reflected on, has the ability to bring out profound inner transformation. The Mandala is self-expression in the design, meant to represent the universe. The first evidence of Buddha Mandala art dates back to the first century. The Mandala is rooted in Buddhism but later became present in Hinduism, new age spirituality and other religions. Each Mandala has significance and represents an aspect of wisdom and is supposed to remind the meditator of a guiding principle. The Mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones with the assistance of deep healing.
The “Mandala a day” challenge was created by Australian artist Elyse Lauthier and it is now showing up in select areas across the world. Drawing, painting or somehow creating a Mandala a day helps express yourself creatively in ways you wouldn’t normally. It promotes self awareness and Chakra alignments.
The Challenge is simple: Each day you make a Mandala and simply let your creativity flow, embracing your originality. Creating Mandala is therapeutic because you can express your feelings through art. The Mandala a day challenge is a form of meditation and art. Mandala’s take “The meditator on a wordless journey into the minds deepest mysteries” said in Eastern traditions.
Another way to fully grasp Mandala’s intentions is to work/meditate with them. I would recommend investing in Mandala Source Book by David Fontana and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, as it gives you specific guidance while approaching the artworks. The book includes 150 Mandala’s grouped in four sections: beginning Mandala meditation, healing mandalas, nature mandalas, And other mandalas. This book is a good reference for your own Mandala challenge or meditations.
Obtaining Mandala mindfulness is a path of self discovery. This challenge challenges us to open up and learn more not only about our conscious minds but also our unconscious minds as we remain unaware of the deeper mysteries of our inner selves through Mandala realignment.
A vegan Thanksgiving is more sustainable and animal cruelty free. Supporting semen being sucked out with a straw from 46 million male turkeys’ anuses each year is cruel. But having Thanksgiving at all is not necessarily cruelty free. The only ethical way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to spend it educating yourself on indigenous rights.
“Happy Thanksgiving” I am so thankful for the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, their lands, refuse to abide by the societal expectations of pretending nothing terrible happened to their ancestors on this holiday.
As we are having a beautiful Thanksgiving feast with our families and friends, remember that today is a national day of mourning for native Americans across the country. So while you’re thinking, “wow, this holiday is so incredible and based upon gratefulness and love between humans,” please don’t forget that thousands upon thousands of Native Americans have been brutally murdered in cold blood (partly) for their lands by white colonizers.
And this question shocks me… but how many people across the country will celebrate Thanksgiving today having never even engaged with or met a native person, can’t name five tribes, can’t name the tribe whose lands they occupy or even can’t name a living native person?
So… why not celebrate gratitude daily? It is one of the most important self-care practices a person can do. Daily practices rather than on just one day covered by blood which is just another white supremacist holiday. I’m not saying we should completely cut Thanksgiving from our yearly tradition but being less arrogant and realizing what this holiday truly represents. Being “woke” can be very emotionally taxing and difficult to talk about; but it’s worth doing the right thing rather than taking the easy way out and staying silent.
Ignorance is not bliss. Even though it would be much easier not to post about these topics and just pretend today is a wonderful day of giving thanks…like everyone else does… so I don’t hurt any proud Americans’ feelings. If you’re not speaking the truth, you’re part of the problem.
So bon appétit, but don’t forget! As we celebrate thanks, for Native Americans Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the assault on their culture and history of colonial violence.
October traditions lead to massive pumpkin waste! In November when pumpkins begin to decompose, unfortunately they turn in to methane. That, of course, is a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a huge part in climate change.
Transforming a plain old pumpkin into a jack-o’-lantern is one of the highlights of Halloween. But once we’re done, second nature – we throw them away instead of disposing them in an eco-friendly manner. Pumpkins are organic waste, which means you can compost them, but we often fail to do so. Here are some ways to extend the life of your used jack-o’-lantern and uncarved pumpkins.
Firstly, what you’re going to want to do is split the pumpkin seeds and guts apart. Then cut the pumpkin in half. With the seeds you can either roast them, creating a delicious plant protein snack, or you can store the seeds to grow your own pumpkin patch.
To roast them you simply preheat the oven to 320°
-Boil the seeds in salt water and drain
-Scatter them on a cooking sheet
-Add olive oil and a little bit of salt
-Roast for 10 minutes and you’re done with an easy healthy snack.
Now for the guts – many overlook the endless possibilities of how you can use the guts – If you have a juicer you can juice the pumpkin with apple, ginger or cinnamon, creating a healthy drink. You can use the pulp for these recipes- but if you don’t have a juicer, you can use the guts of the pumpkin for various recipes.
If you have a savory sweet tooth but want to stay healthy around the holidays this might be the perfect drink for you –
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake (Vegan)
-Steam the pumpkin guts for 30 minutes
-Let it cool and using a blender purée
(If using pulp you can skip this step^)
-4 tbsp purée or pulp
-Either 3 ice cubes and a Banana or 1 cup vanilla vegan ice cream
-¼ cup of any plant-based milk (my favorite, oak milk)
-½ TBSP vanilla extract
-½ tbsp pumpkin spice, cinnamon or nutMeg
And enjoy a healthy holiday dessert!
This next recipe will make your dogs love you a little bit more around the holidays – pumpkins are considered one of the best “people foods” you can give your canine companion, supporting their urinary and digestive health!
Pumpkin Flaxseed/oat Dog Treats
Blend: the pumpkin pulp
-1 ½ cups of flaxseeds or oats
-¼ cup of water
– *2 tablespoons of coconut flakes or peanut butter (If desired)
Roll into ball shapes and freeze them
With this same recipe you can make a brightening face mask filled with vitamin A and C
All you do is you the same ingredients, minus the peanut butter and freezing.
If you don’t want to do any of these sustainable recipes you can always donate pumpkins to local animal sanctuary. The animals love them. You can also compost in your own backyard, or find a local composting facility or community garden that will utilize the pumpkins.
Make the most out of your pumpkins this season and let’s all be less wasteful together!
the pool, hot on a september slab of concrete. a speaker singing a distinctly weekend song, listing back towards the heat of summer struggling against the onset of school. but we just repeatedly submerged ourselves and lie on hot things in the sun roasting to save a bit of heat, sort of fattening up for the winter. Peter was ripped of course, how could he not have a six pack at 16, he’s just that kinda guy. strong silent type, super cool, badass; also relentlessly nerdy, shy as can be, and definitely one of the guys you have to know well to know at all. he’s perched like a lizard on the high dive rolling over to toast each side, occasionally and jarringly rolling off the diving board upsetting the water 10 feet below and the less fit, less shy, me on the low dive (because heights aren’t my thing.)
you feel like the sun is shining through you when you lay on a black diving board like that, the surface burns your skin and the sun does its worst on the other side, you lie there. the closest we will ever feel to a cold blooded animal, or a zucchini in the midst of the broiling of a lifetime. we just lie there thinking that maybe if we didn’t move time might pass us by and leave us happily stranded in constant farewell to the pregnant bliss of the weekend. and teal, blues in abundance like a brochure to mykonos, both the sky and the water both are cloudless and still moving.
in those peaceful hours i saw fleetingly like a stag in your peripheral, the adolescence people tell you to hold onto. we did. we savored it. an experience we never talked about partly because it might seem gay and partly because what would we say. in a way it was my connection to the schoolboys i see in black and white, with my white gloves flipping through ancient yearbooks. content to lie on a hot rock by the creek with a friend you have been through hell and back with. i saw a glimpse in that moment, a glimpse of the school we would’ve attended had we been born in 1900.
Peter never chose me. he was content with the friends he had, i wasn’t cool, and i idolized him. terrible way to make a friend. but i just kinda showed up, next door, and i would just come and sit with him, uncomfortable as all hell at first, but within days we became happy to distract one another and would spend study hall sneaking back and forth between our rooms talking about rock climbing season and expensive climbing shoes. like two freshman boys did in a hundred years prior, one running into the others room discussing the intricacies of a new radio. wasting a two hour study period and leaving homework for 5 am the next morning before we went to muck their horses. and tomorrow we’d plan to sleep through study hall as a result of our long day but instead chose to scour ebay for deals on aforementioned climbing shoes.
we weren’t fast friends, but when we needed to study we could sit in silence and study and that was comfortable. also wasting our time nerding out over lame climbing equipment, but both were necessary evils and a part of our lives. for me silence was always the enemy of friendship because good friends always had something to talk or argue about. but Peter liked to listen, to say nothing, to test if it would be awkward, sometimes it was, most of the time it wasn’t. but now when i see him once a month silence is my enemy again. i want him to tell me everything, tell me the gossip, what’s happened since i left, who’s with who, who hates who, funny stories. and Peter just wants to be with his friend and sit and eat obscene quantities of brie and just exist and pretend nothing happened.
As a student who moved from Texas to Connecticut and to California, it is always refreshing to live in different states. Each state has different vibes for sure. The winter of Texas felt super short, and in contrast Connecticut’s winter felt super long. I realized that the climate of each state affects people subtly yet is still discernible, and those subtle changes accumulate and then makes each state’s unique vibe. The weather in California is indeed beautiful yet whimsical, and people in California seem to have another unique vibe compared to other states. This is my first year in California, and it is indeed mesmerizing to observe the beautiful state of California. And I can’t wait to watch the other side of California that I have not observed. I am really fascinated to stay in this state for a while, and I hope the good impression from the beginning will still stay in my head till the end.
Every breath I take sitting and watching the teardrop water fall to the ground.
I am calm, grounded, grey.
I can’t describe the smell of rain in scents, only in feelings;
calm: an encompassing blanket wrapped around my shoulders and a companion sitting by my side. We are together, we are in love, we are safe, or at least we think we are in the moment.
brave: walking alone on an empty road. Only thoughts to accompany me. I am strong, I am powerful, I am one with the nature that surrounds me. Fuck the world, society, my responsibilities; I will walk until my legs give out. And when I collapse, my time has come. Like a wild rabbit in the jaws of a wolf.
sad: the sky is crying, so am I. But the sky’s tears feed the earth, maybe mine will too.
solitude: lonely, but lonely is not always bad. Today it’s peaceful, but yesterday it was harrowing . But today it’s peaceful
The smell of rain
One second it drizzles, the next it pours.
Thunder follows lighting.
A bolt hits a tree, a fire starts
It is only natural.
Some days the rain makes me feel gloomy, somedays it makes me feel safe.
Today I feel thankful.
Thankful for the sun, thankful for the rain, thankful for the world, thankful to feel something.
California will always be the greatest state to me, don’t get me wrong. We have everything here. Some of the best skiing in the world, iconic beaches, wine country, incredible and unique cities. But despite all of these, the golden state lacks one thing- seasons. For me, and probably many of us who were raised here, Fall is warm breezes and dry air. The landscape maintains a tan and green hue, and the blue skies yield temperatures in the 80s. Here, it isn’t harvest season. The skies are not gray. Sweaters are not the garment of choice. Yes, we do have an abundance of pumpkin spice themed foods at the local Trader Jose. But it doesn’t quite make up for an abundance of colored leaves and ominous sky. In some ways it feels like fall. The lighting is different than summer, and the nights colder. There’s a general sense of giddy unease, and everything is a shade darker. But it isn’t the same. Visiting colleges display fold outs of orange yellow and gold tinted campuses, scarves and beanies, coffee and scarecrows resembling the flourishing crops. I know I’m not the only one that yearns for this, but sometimes it feels that way. California I love you, but there’s a few things you lack. Don’t even get me started about winter.