Daily Mandala Challenge: Everything You Need To Know About This New Self-Care Trend :)

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.

Image from Pinterest.com

Tis the Season

If anyone asks me of favorite holiday of the year, I would reply “Christmas” without hesitation.  There are several reasons why I like Christmas. First of all, I get to see my parents for solid amount of time. However, I just like the unique vibe of Christmas. I like the special smell of Christmas that triggers my nostalgia. Also Christmas carols that are played everywhere on the street.  Good foods are always available during Christmas, and then you get to enjoy the new year celebration. My favorite part of the new year celebration is Fireworks for sure.  It is mesmerizing to watch bursts of fireworks in the night sky, making me think about new year resolution that I will never do.

PC: Patch.com

The Breakfast Table

I got up early on Sunday, and went to the breakfast table.

We sing songs at the breakfast table: how your day has been, how my day has been, how everybody’s day has been… yes, even on a Sunday morning. 

It was one thing that I did, one tiny thing that I mentioned. But then it became all that defined me. I was no longer myself, but the ugly thing at the breakfast table. Imagine the horror of that—losing yourself at a breakfast table.

Jake, way to impress the breakfast table, I thought. Now I walk with a label. It’s going to expand with delicious rumors while my bones crumble and unravel.

In a way, it was a relief. The breakfast table only found out about this nasty side of me. Even when aristocrats at the table are disgusted by the sight of me, it’s ok. It’s alright because if my character is defined by a tiny mishap, they won’t discover the real fault of me. 

I left the breakfast table a long time ago, and aristocracy means nothing to me. But days like today I find my bright side wondering, did the breakfast kill me? My respect for the breakfast table has crumbled, but just like before, I’m still idle. Have you ever been to the breakfast table?

Picture Credit: GodUpdates.com

Your Vegan Thanksgiving is still a Celebration of Violence!

Photo via Pinterest.com

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.

I wouldn’t say it’s a poem, but I would say it’s for you.

So many things I’ve felt, so many things I’m feeling: like

the lips, the teeth, my hands that go numb from time to time;

unwelcome visitors crawling across my arm, still not wanting to disturb them;

hoping to be an anarchist someday – not in a way so extreme as starting a revolution or in a way so dull as loving someone your family doesn’t approve of, but in a way that falls somewhere in between;

watching the words pour out of your mouth, pour out of your mouth and drip down the sides – they drip down the sides and spill all over me.

And I suppose if I’m still in the business of missing things, there are a few things I could miss:

I could miss the blue days, the warm days, but I don’t. I could miss the excitement that came along with summer, the uncertainty, perhaps, but I don’t.

Instead I miss your words.

NationalGeographic.com

Worth it

Thanksgiving break is coming soon, and everyone seems to be excited for it.

Most of the people go back home, and celebrate with a humongous turkey sitting on the middle of table. As an international student, however, Thanksgiving is not as welcoming as other holidays. I love going back home, but 1 week is simply too short. To go back, we have to endure 13 hours of flight and then another 2 hours to go back home. Then you have to deal with Jet lag, which takes a while to get over.

Time just flies during thanksgiving, and it is exhausting to spend a full day just in plane, but I guess I’m still excited to see my family.

pc; Giphy

The Scary Truth about Pumpkins


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^)

Now blend-

-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!

Image credit: Pinterest.com