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

an ode to the ones i love.

Sometimes I feel really young when I look at the experiences I have compared to the experiences I have not been through. I might seem like I am naive by saying this but I love where I am at with my relationships currently. This is an evaluation of all my current relationships as a seventeen-year-old: 

When I am with you, 

You take me out of my fixed headspace 

That can sometimes be crippling

You talk with purpose, even if it is to yourself, it means something. 

You make me feel like Stevie Wonder when he talks about the people he loves,

unconditionally and without limitations. 

you give me relief and let me express myself without shame 

which is something that i have lacked in my past relationships

photo credit: pinterest.com

i look at the little things like your laugh 

and the way you smile at the things that make you happy,

i look at the things that make you mad or irritated

i look at the touch from your hands and your tenderness 

it’s weird that i feel this way cause i have lost so much in the last couple of months. But, i can always control how i feel. that’s something that my mother taught me. 

To conclude: You make me happy, in a giddy, platonic way. 

Wandering

Let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

I know you hide your fears from me,

you get ashamed when you let them show,

but babe,

I’ve cried in your arms many times,

so please just let me know

what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,

your wicked, twisted, brain

filled with lies and awful times,

but babe let me be your change.

I just want to love you,

you’ve been through so god damn much,

your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,

I wish you thought the same.

I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,

you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.

Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,

but darling I’m not the same.

So let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

Photo via: searchengineland.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.

why is it? you.

Credit:https://pixels.com/featured/aztec-sun-olga-ponomareva.html

a brick wall,

why is it that when I lean into you

like a brick wall you can support me

or cause my world to tumble down

brick by brick

like a brick wall

warm,

why is it that when I put my neck on your shoulder

it’s warm and comforting

even though

sometimes

it shouldn’t be

on a hot day.

why is it that on a hot day when it is dry and breathing is a chore

you make me so happy to just be there

to just enjoy

the

way

things are

and you’re there

why is it that when I see you

I know you’re there

when

even you don’t really know if that’s true

smiling.

why is it that when you smile

even when i scowl back at you

you still manage to make me happy

The Ugly Truths About Eating Disorders and The Path to Recovery

Many women who are convinced they’re in control, sticking to a dangerously low number of calories a day and severely suffering mentally and physically, most of the time have no idea about the seriousness of their situation. 

Looking back, it’s hard to explain the level of daily obsession that I suffered over my physical appearance. As a child, I thought of sticking a needle in to my thighs and calves, to see if I could squeeze out the fat. I also had the best idea ever… to just cut my stomach off with scissors. 

Suffering from eating disorders in the past I had no idea I was ill and most of the women I spoke to were in denial as well. 

I thought eating an orange per day was healthy and that everyone around me wasn’t. I didn’t think I had anorexia: real anorexics, I erroneously believed, ate nothing at all. And I was still eating? 

There’s no question that letting go of an eating disorder is one of the hardest things a person can do. It’s also important to note that each individual will follow their own unique path to recovery but here are some steps that may help: 

  1. Recognizing you have a problem: This step is crucial because if you don’t acknowledge that you have a problem there’s no point in changing. If you are not sure if you have an eating disorder the best thing to do is see a registered dietitian or therapist so that you can get a professional opinion. For me, I took an online quiz and then from there I started taking steps to change. 
  2. Decide that you are worthy of recovery and start to make small changes: start to research how you can make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. This might include introducing more balanced foods into your diet and exercise so that if you do eat more you won’t necessarily gain weight. 
  3. Instead of just focusing on your physical appearance and food intake incorporate various ways to practice self-care with your mind, body and spirit. If your body and brain are being deprived, you are less likely to reap the benefits of everything from therapy to mindfulness.

Recovering from an eating disorder is difficult but definitely possible. The most important thing is to accept help and seek support.

Is your Toothbrush Killing our Future Generations?

There is no perfect toothbrush, but some choices are better than others. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose… They end up in landfills and release toxic chemicals into the air resulting in harsh damage to the environment. In addition to getting washed away into the ocean, the toothbrush is endangering marine life and contaminating our food. 

After seeing this piece of art made by an African artist, it was really eye-opening. Africa has a huge trash pollution issue, along with the rest of the world… This art piece is a commentary on plastic pollution. 

Knowing that every plastic toothbrush impacts the environment and that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States alone, creating 50 million pounds of waste- what can we do?

Bamboo Toothbrushes: bamboo is biodegradable. (bristles are not biodegradable) 

If bamboo toothbrushes end up in the trash, they aren’t significantly more environmentally friendly than plastic… but if you compost the handles of bamboo toothbrushes by first remove the nylon bristles with pliers then composting the handles… it makes a huge difference. Plus it is really beneficial for our environment. 

Then there are the toothbrushes that are recycled and/or recyclable:  Some options I love:

Bogobrush (bogobrush.com) 

Bogobrush is a Company that makes its brushes from compostable bioplastic using leftover plant material from American farms.

Or consider (preserve.eco) Toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt containers which are easily accessible online or in local stores Ojai: Being in Westridge and Rainbow Bridge. Also if you mail your old toothbrushes, not only will they be recycled into new products, but you will also receive a coupon for their online store. 

After using these types of recycled toothbrushes another option to help continue supporting the recycling market is by sending them to organizations such as Gimme 5 drop-off/mail-in program. Whole Foods And other companies have Gimme 5 bins located in their stores. You can just look up ones near you. 

Note: *Buying recycled stuff when we need to buy new products is the smartest move.*

So now you know the best eco friendly toothbrushes on the market: what do we do with our old ones?

Three months of brushing your teeth is not worth 400 years in the landfills. So an option would be to reuse your toothbrush in different ways until you switch to an eco-friendly toothbrush: 

You could easily label your toothbrushes for their different uses around the house: Here are a few options:

-Cleaning Household Items

-Remove dirt from shoes/Soccer cleats!

-Fingernail brushing

-Deep clean your desk/Clean beauty supplies

-Spot-treat stains on clothes

-Clean Your Hairbrush out 

-Brush Your Eyebrows

These are just some out of hundreds of household uses…

Best of luck on your zero-waste journey! It can be difficult sometimes but if you put in the effort, it’s well worth it. In the meantime, I wish you fresh breath and zero cavities.