on a persistent Thursday

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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 Story of Glass, a Family, and Murder

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re back again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re watching us again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“I’m scared,” said the little boy. “I don’t want to be here mama”

“Someday baby, someday we’ll get out of here. Your father will come for us.”

And so they waited, and waited, and waited some more. But he never came and he never would.

Years went by. The boy was no longer little, the mother was no longer strong, and both of them were no longer hopeful.

“Mom,” said a no longer little boy, “we can’t wait any longer, we need to get out of here.”

“No,” she said, “it’s too dangerous. Your father will come for us.”

But the no longer little boy watched his mom’s once shiny black hair turn to grey and he knew that he could wait for his father no longer.

That day, while his mother lay quietly in the grass resting her tired eyes, he grabbed a rock and walked to the glass.

Bang.

Children began to scream.

Bang.

Parents grabbed their kin and began to run away.

Bang.

The mother of the no longer little boy ran after her son but it was too late.

Bang.

Three guards rushed toward the scene.

Bang.

The glass finally began to break.

Bang…

A bullet went through the no longer little boy’s chest.

Bang…

A bullet went through the mother’s chest as she ran towards where her son’s body lay.

Two weeks later the glass was fixed, the zookeepers removed all movable rocks, and two new gorillas filled the place of the deceased mother and son.

Photo credit: cincinnatizoo.org

A Much Needed Switch: Dying to Thriving

Photo credit: pinterest.com

I’ve been trying to get my dad to stop eating meat since I was four years old. We traveled to Ireland and I remember watching him eat bacon day after day and wanting nothing more than for him to understand the terrible health risks. I’ve always been worried about his health… His “weight loss” diets would always consist of meats and cheese (protein fads) along with Diet Ginger Ale… He would lose weight and looked fit so it worked for him, but I became more and more worried.

I tried to explain to him that natural sugars are okay and animal products were truly the problem. He was raised in a family of ten siblings so if he didn’t eat what was served (unhealthy crappy foods) he wouldn’t eat, period. Meats, processed foods and dairy was on the menu during his upbringing. So when I was young he was hard on me for my decisions because he simply didn’t have the proper knowledge. 

As I got older he started to support my lifestyle more and more, eventually taking me to vegan festivals and even dining with me to enjoy high quality vegan foods. He even asked me where he could get a metal straw to help with plastic pollution.  I figured this was as far as he would ever go. I accepted this reality and kind of gave up on him, sadly. I figured he would never change and that was okay…Because everyone is different right?

When I got the call last month…it was my dad on the phone telling me he is going plant based after watching “The Game Changers”  documentary on Netflix. I was in utter shock. Out of everyone in my life, he would have been the last person on my list I would ever expect to go vegan. For me, this showed me hope for humanity! He is the most “manly” guy I’ve ever met so for him to make this change is amazing.  With all the stereotypes about vegan guys being weak, feminine and all that other nonsense animal product companies endorse, this shows me how anyone can do it just letting go of their ego. My dad said, “All the research supports the vegan diet and this way of life is by far the most healthy. I have always known that you are on the right track. Now I am seeing that eating plant based can even build muscle, strength and healthy blood flow. It seems that it can also lower my cholesterol which is elevated at this time. I am so proud of you for paving the way. You are a great inspiration to me and I’m never eating meat again.”

A lot of the time people will tell me they would totally go vegan if they could, but it would be “too hard,” “I tried and just couldn’t” or it’s not the time and they will eventually make the switch… But the time is now. We have the resources. Nobody cares about getting the right nutrients until veganism comes up. People will be eating McDonald’s all day and act like veganism would just be detrimental to their health. Another excuse is that it’s too expensive. It is simply not expensive to go to your local grocery store and buy a can of beans or some vegetables.  Research the right foods and stop saying you “can’t.” Stop making excuses to make yourself feel like a better person because it is total BS. 

This is a lifestyle. And yes, changing your lifestyle is a big deal but crucial for your health and well being. This switch will change your life, and the ones in it, but only for the better. I hope my dad can be an inspirational success story and help you and your family on your own health journeys.

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

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.

End of Procrastination

I’m a huge procrastinator. No matter how much work is on my plate, I’ll always deal with it the minute before deadline. Last summer, I did the whole summer holiday’s assignment in the last 5 days. 

To procrastinate, you have to know your limits. There must be a point where you just know that you have to get started—or you won’t finish even if you pull an all-nighter. Like 5 days before school starts or every Sunday night. 

Every Saturday night I tell myself to work, but I always end up working my butt off on Sunday night. Every Psychology project, I do it the night before it…

Being the huge procrastinator that I am, I don’t recommend stalling. Change is hard, for me and everyone else. Whenever things become habitual, they stick like super glue—and tearing them off would hurt a lot. 

Why not start little, one day at a time? We have to fight fire with fire, strengthening a new, better habit while damning procrastination. 

Change can be hard, but it’s possible. Even the huge procrastinator I am, I didn’t wait until Sunday to clear my plate of work. Sometimes it’s not just work, work, work if you manage your time rightly. I’m done being lazy.

Photo Credit: collegian.com

To be sure, unsure, etc.

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I don’t know much about most things, but I do know that some things are just supposed to happen, and some are not –

I know that the moon is supposed to rise in the east and that dogs are supposed to bark at each other through chain link fences and that pomegranates are supposed to stain my shirt sleeves

and I know I would never want to be inside when they sky looks the way it did tonight.

But I’m not so sure that things are supposed to be like this;

I am not so sure that the pepper tree I stopped at today is the same type of pepper tree that I grew up with. It didn’t remind me of home in the same way they usually do. It should have been familiar to me, and it wasn’t.

I’m not at all sure of people like you, and I am not sure that the world should be melting and that we should all just be okay with it.

How should I be allowed to miss things before they’re gone? How can I possibly miss you when my hands are on your face and you’re standing directly in front of me? I’m not sure how that is even possible, and yet I do.

I must remind myself to look up every once in a while.