Students are going on break soon to celebrate a holiday with their friends and family. This holiday is fun for people of all ages with football, the Macy’s Parade (which is going to be virtual this year), the National Dog Show, and lots of food.
There is normally turkey, but if you do not eat meat or turkey you can always substitute it. Mash potatoes and gravy is a necessity at every thanksgiving table. My personal favorite is stuffing.
My family and I play lots of card games and spend time together. We used to eat Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but due to COVID it will just be our family which is perfectly fine.
I can not wait to go home and celebrate this joyous time with my family. We gather around the table and say what we’re thankful for and what we hope to do for the rest of our year.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I can not wait to celebrate it.
The Halloween experience acts as a measurement of growth as it changes after every birthday. I watch each Halloween become less and less magical as my costumes have faded to my everyday clothes. Halloween is, as they say, “what you make it,” because unlike holidays like Christmas where there is no escaping the holiday spirit, Halloween is the easiest time to take a knee.
Spending time with friends and family passing out candy or trick or treating this year has been discouraged due to COVID. I’m not too disappointed, as I haven’t done much in recent years either, though I celebrated with a glass of apple cider and a little pumpkin to keep up the spirit.
I look forward to the day when I can spend the evening with my friends again, and maybe put together a costume with some magically newfound makeup skills. For now, however, I am content with this year’s Halloween because I know that there are many more to come.
Walking among trees, flowers, and bushes, I see so many detailed shapes and colors that could be put together to represent almost anything. One homework assignment I had this week was to create a biological structure using elements of nature, and it was incredible to see how many mediums were available in the small space of my backyard.
I can see the textures of the plants and imagine how they would function in a work of art. I remember back in the seventh grade when our english teacher had us replicate the art of a famous nature artist by arranging leaves on the ground. We created the pattern of a heart using the different shapes, colors, and textures of nature. It was incredible to see how so many pieces of nature can come together and create something so beautiful.
While nature is stunning in itself, it has the capacity to be rearranged into a work of art with intent. The intention within a nature piece shows the connection between human spirit and the beauty of the natural world.
It’s exciting, yet I feel like I am losing the security of youth. This is my last chance to live guilt-free as a dependent before I look upon myself as an adult who must do adult things.
I will be held accountable and have obligations (more so than I already do.)
I can vote.
I can go to prison.
I can adopt a cat.
I will now be one of the “grown-ups” I never thought I’d be. I will still be seen as a “kid,” though the number to my name proves my maturity when people find it convenient. I’m old enough for financial shame. Adults will look at me as a young teenager in the hierarchy of age, yet call me an adult when I make a mistake. I’ll have been alive for eighteen years. I’ll no longer be grouped with the “children” at family Christmas parties.
But I’m still in high school. I’m living at home. The title of “adult” on government documents makes no difference to my level of maturity. I will be a true functioning adult when I move away to college. I will soon become independent, but for now, I am happy where I am – finishing high school with my supportive family.
Now that it is October I now feel the need to wear warm cloths, drink hot tea throughout the day, and I expect the scent of pumpkin spice to fill the air.
But we live in Southern California, where we spend the beginning of October in a wave of one hundred ten degree heat and smoke filled skies from wildfires raging across the state.
The trees don’t turn colors from that end of summer green to stunning shades of orange, red, and brown. Instead, the leaves either are scorched from the blazing heat or they simply fall to the ground with no colorful exit.
Sometimes I find myself wishing our little town of Ojai experiences all the beauties and wonders of the “typical” fall, but I then remember what fall is like in our quaint town.
Fall is going to the farmers market early on Sunday mornings and starting to see the seasonal fruit and flowers being sold change and the abundance of fresh pies made from apples and pumpkins. It is going to the grocery store and seeing big bins of pumpkins fill the sidewalk and overtake the porches of houses. It is going to the local pumpkin patch and riding on the old tractor around the corn field. It is watching the most incredible sunsets of the year.
So no, we may not have the stereotypical fall with the cold weather and shades of orange that fills the treetops, but we have our own beautiful version of it in our small Southern California town.
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.