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It’s been a ride- this past year; from making myself incredibly vulnerable to superficiality and pettiness to realizing the greatness and a compassion which can coexist in a quiet year. From meeting brilliant minds to keeping my mind brilliant and realizing who my real friends are; 2011 has been the start of yet another incredible journey and one which I’m not ready to finish. Rather, I’ve decided to extend my stay on the planet of reflection, self-love, giving, empowerment and improvement indefinitely. -
And while it’s looking a bit shabby right about now- I dare say I’ve been handed the seeds to change this atmosphere and make it a little brighter. That’s why from this week forward I’ve decided to start a journey that I invite all of you to partake with me. This journey is one of self-discovery and potential inspiration like I’ve never taken before- it’s going to last for at least 5 months and include the following in no particular order.
1 week of silence: So I can get a sense of what it means to listen rather than speak. Our mouths move so much- but have you ever really analyzed what you use your voice for? Is it for self- forwarding, bringing people down, the greater good of society, petty gossip, white lies, ignorant/sexist comments or rather to teach, to acknowledge or to show universal love? Without having the least bit of time to notice our tones or our sense of self, there’s no way to really realize your motive and whether or not it’s how you want to live your life. That’s why for at least one week I’d like to experience first hand what it’s like to listen rather than feeling obliged to speak as I often do.
A vow to be vegan: How is it that we can try to be compassionate, loving beings when we spend so much of our time dependent on the suffering of other beings? From the way they’re treated on their farms during their temporary existence- to their unnecessary, barbaric, terrifying deaths in slaughterhouses; it’s become quite obvious that the life of meat animal is not one which we’d like to lead, so why condone it? Why consume the products of people who aren’t even paid minimum wage, given decent breaks or treated reasonably when all it does is further not only their own suffering but the animal’s, our environment’s as well as our own. Meanwhile we can’t give up meat while condoning the simple use of their udders, their female reproductive organs because it’s sexist. Milk comes from the mammary glands of female animals who have to be regularly impregnated and their babies regularly taken away from them.
Believe me I took a Dairy Science course- this stuff’s real and the sad reality.
SHOCKER!!! The mother’s actually cry for their babies- they become distressed and when they can no longer be used for reproduction, they’re sent to slaughter. Meanwhile their calves, their children are used for either milking or for veal if they’re male.
Sound fair to you?
Oh yeah forgot to mention- most cattle and even chickens can live to be 30 or twenty years old but are typically killed around 5 years old or 8 months old respectively.
30 minutes of meditation once a week and 8 minutes every other day: Caught up in the hustle and bustle of life it’s hard to remember to breathe. That’s why there’s no better way to remember to breathe than to make it your sole purpose for 8 minutes every day. The process may seem pointless if you’ve never tried it before but the calming of the mind known as meditation has not only been proven to increase brain efficiency by Harvard and Cornell Universities but is also incredibly relaxing. However, if you’re a beginner as I am- I would highly recommend starting out with 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet your mind. Change Your Life by Victor Davich and exploring local Buddhist temples. Buddhist temples typically believe more in a sense of self than a sense of salvation and in my experience are more about calm, meditation, self- reflection and bettering through the mind and actions rather than through direct preaching. This makes it ideal for people of all faiths and backgrounds, not to mention they’re typically, very beautiful.
My recommendation- start with the eight minutes a night( no excuses- as Davinch says- it’s the length of a commercial break and you owe it to yourself) and as you get the hang of it( give it five tries at least) push onwards to including one day with thirty minutes. I also highly recommend the book!
No artificial sugar or sweets: It’s hard to imagine our favorite snacks as anything but sweet. Unfortunately, the reality is that sugar and other sweeteners act as inflammatory agents to our bodies and also our arteries. Also the more artificial the sweeter(aka high fructose corn syrup) the more inflammation. Fun times.
Workout once a day( min 15 minutes): Bettering your mind can’t be done without actively bettering your body. Taking in this concept that all of our bodies should be equally honored( no matter the species) and that they are thus, all temples; we need to realize the responsibility of actively taking care of ourselves.
Write Thank You cards: I’ve been the worst about telling people how grateful I am for their presence but let me start with this. No matter where you are at this moment, what has happened to you, what you’ve done- I love you and I hope that you choose to be grateful for all that you can. I also hope that you come to realize as I have, how precious a card is- a letter or gesture of gratitude is.
Become more spiritual
Do one random act of kindness a day- Find Smile(pay it forward cards) on http://www.helpothers.org/cards.php: The holidays may be a time for giving and receiving but really what feels better? Giving or receiving? Now be honest, when was the last time you were nice to a stranger, to a person you knew for no good reason other than that they existed? Was it yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago? Didn’t it feel good? So why not do it more often? Even a simple gesture can make someone’s day- so do it.
Learn one new word every other day: We only ever use 10% of our brains and to think that we’d just stop learning and improving ourselves- it’s a scary thought.
Watch one documentary a month: They’re random, they’re in depth and they’re usually enjoyable. For a wide variety of free documentaries use www.topdocumentaryfilms.com
Read the New York Times/ The Advocate(local newspaper): I’m so sick of walking into a room full of men and being ignored because I haven’t actively spoken about politics. I’m sick of being unnoticed by society and by those who assume they know more than me, that’s why I’m determined to constantly learn.
Make an active effort to work towards my goals
Now I realize this seems like a lot to accomplish but I’d like to start one week and one thing at a time then add on from there. Stay tuned for which is first =).