Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eat animal crackers, NOT animals!

So, as most of you know I've made a  pledge to myself to make 2011 a year of new found spirituality and all around healthier living. I'm committed and willing to make certain lifestyle changes if I feel  they will help me to live a more positive, fulfilling life. I've made a conscious to become a vegetarian, I want to do this because I feel it's better for the environment, and my body. I've eaten meat all of my life so I know that the transition to a no meat diet probably won't be an easy one. Last night, I  ordered my first veggie pizza, which I found was surprisingly good. I want to make sure that my nutrition isn't sacrificed so I've made it my business to do as much research as I can on what I need to do as a vegetarian to keep a balanced diet. I'm waiting on the arrival of a book I ordered from Amazon cleverly titled, "Living Vegetarian for Dummies". It discusses things like, the benefits of of choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, making grocery lists, what do when you're the only vegetarian in the house, and how to eat when going to a restaurant. I'm excited to try some of the dishes the book includes too, i'm not really that big on trying new things, so I'll  just look at this whole experience as an opportunity to "broden my horizons". As always though, i'll keep everyone posted as to what's going on with me..

* Now, the vid i'm posting isn't for people with weak stomachs, and if you're an animal lover like me, it'll be hard to sit through. After seeing how cruelly the animals in this video were treated, it made me want to stop eating meat all together. Get ready your. meat.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On truth, honesty, and being vulnerable

Being vulnerable doesn't have to be threatening. Just have the courage to be sincere, open and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around. It creates self-empowerment and the kind of connections with others we all want in life. Speaking from the heart frees us from the secrets that burden us. These secrets are what make us sick or fearful. Speaking truth helps you get clarity on your real heart directives.
-- Sara Paddison

* I was just sitting here thinking about a  conversation I had with a group of friends last night. We touched on a few but very important concepts, which brought up some thought-provoking questions:

-What is the difference between truth and honesty?
-Do we sometimes sacrifice who we are and what we want for fear of losing the love and support of our family?

The conversation we were having made me start thinking, and I came up with a question of my own.. Why is it so hard for us as human beings, to feel vulnerable?  I think the quote above does a good job of explaining the benefits of allowing ourselves to feel that. I think we get SO caught up in the preconceptions WE THINK others will say or conclude about us. I think it's safe to say that some of us have a real fear of being judged by people. I mean, let's face it: We don't really want to go the down the road we've chosen alone, it's comforting to know that we have that "go ahead" we sometimes crave from those important people in our lives. Especially our family. What do you do when your family doesn't approve of that special person in your life? Or the lifestyle you've chosen for yourself? Now, unless that someone isn't putting you through physical or emotional harm and that lifestyle you live isn't leading you down a path of self-destruction, are you willing to give op who you and what you want, just to get their support? This is something I've struggled with personally too, I still struggle with it. Especially since I've been raised by my grandparents, we are from two very different generations and we often have two very different views on things; life in general.

I admit, sometimes it's difficult for me to stand up and say, " I know you don't necessarily agree with me on this but this is something I really want for myself and I'm going  to do it." However, if I deny myself of doing something I know I want to do, I'm ultimately denying myself of both truth and honesty. I say this because, I wouldn't be being true to myself, and I wouldn't know the freedom of being honest with my grandparents. Yes, I do find myself feeling a little unsure if I don't have their support which leaves me with a sense of vulnerability but, I am also learning how to be true to myself and to be honest with the people in my life.

In closing, I want you to think about this:

If we want to make a difference in this world,  if we want better relationships,  can we start allowing ourselves to break those barriers between us and honesty? Us and the truth, If we really want to help people, can we face our vulnerability? That's the only way to do it, by letting others see the real you, not the facade..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Living Kabbalah

Kabbalah is a discipline of school and thought
concerned with the mystical aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious Creator, and the mortal and finite universe (His creation.)...Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions.-An excerpt from Wikipedia.
= Ontological: Ontology (noun) The branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such.

= Metaphysics: (noun) Philosophy, especially in its more  abtruse branches
= Finite: (adjective) Having bounds or limits; not infinite.

*Definitions were found on:

I've been studying and reading about Kabbalah for almost a month now. I found out about it through a very close childhood friend of mine. We were both looking to grow spiritually, so we decided to research it. As we both began reading into it, I knew it would be worth trying out. I liked the concept of changing your innate nature as human beings from "the desire to receive for the self alone" to one of  "the desire to share". I ordered a couple of books on Kabbalah written by a well known therapist and instructor, Yehuda Berg and started on my way. I think Kabbalah is helping realize some negative aspects of my nature that need changing. Such as: anger, anxiety, blame, and depression. Both of the books are very practical and easy to understand. They read more like a conversation than a book and that's really helpful. One of the books, "The Red String Book." explains a little about Kabbalah's history, and why people wear the red string on their left wrist.

The string is for protection against "The Evil Eye" that we sometime get from others out of jealousy, spite, or other negative energies. In order for it to work though, you must disengage from doing those same negative behaviors yourself. I wear this string on my wrist everyday and I must say, that as long as I stay positive, it works!

In the other book titled, "Living Kabbalah", there are various excersises that you must complete to begin your transformation. I will tell you that they require you to  look at yourself in a way that isn't always easy on the 'eyes'.  However, I made a vow to myself to stick with this- to transform into a more positive being and that's exactly what i'm going to do! I'll keep everyone up to speed on how it's going. Thanks as always for listening!  xoxo.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Continuing the journey: To school.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"-Nelson Mandela

I'm about to continue down "The Yellow Brick Road". No, not to see the wizard...but .to embark on a very important adventure, nonetheless. After sitting out of school this past semester, I'm FINALLY going back. I've been on quite the 'emotional roller coaster" since I've been away. I've lost friends, and gained some.  I've laughed, and cried. I've exerted my independence, and at times, felt powerless. I've reached the end of my rope, and thankfully decided to continue climbing a new "stronger" one. So, I must say that this break has proven itself to be a personal test of my strength, courage, and overall will to LIVE.

I am absolutely looking forward to learning how to perfect my craft and to deepen my appreciation for the works of the great writers that came before me (for those who don't know, I'm an English major.) Writing has been my love since I was very young. I discovered I had a talent for it when I had to  do a project for my 4th grade social studies class. The assignment was to come up with our own little "town" I think, and write about it. This excited me.

I  remember it like it was the teacher was explaining what she expected of us, my little mind started pondering. I was in my own universe at that moment. Ideas bouncing around in my head like a bouncy ball. I was so deep in thought that I saw my teacher's mouth moving but her voice became mute in my consciousness. A couple of short minutes later, I was smiling, I knew exactly what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. I went home that night and began working. I unrolled the piece of white construction paper I was given and stared at it as if it were a map telling  me where to start. I knew I wanted to "wow" the class, do something unique and unexpected.

So, instead of drawing a picture, and coloring it with markers I gathered every color of sparkly nail polish I owned. I believe there were three colors total: Gold, Blue, and Silver. I wanted to paint my interpretation of what Heaven must be like. I began by painting on a sparkly Blue Sky, that held pillows of clouds that tasted like your favorite kind of ice cream; any flavor you wanted you could have. I explained this and other aspects of my " Perfect Heaven" in the piece of writing that would later accompany it. I also created special attractions in this little world of mine like, the "Angel Hair" river, in which strands of gold hair flowed freely throughout the land from the most beautiful angelic women you've ever laid your eyes upon.
When I was finally finished creating and writing all of this, I was exhausted but I knew that there was one more thing I needed before I could be satistfied with my work, the approval of my grandmother. I was such a perfectionist, and still am. I knew that if she liked something, I'd done my best. I let her read what I'd written,  she did so silently. I was secretly on pins and needles, she was so quiet and it scared me. Was it that bad? She finally looked up at me. I'll never forget the emotion that showed on her face, I was shocked because she'd never reacted to anything in that way before. "What's wrong?" I asked, I was pretty confident I'd done something wrong, until she responded... "Oh Ashley, this is just beautiful!" I couldn't believe it- She was crying..
From that day on, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to make people feel things they'd never felt, I wanted to move people. I love the feeling that I get when people read something I've written and they ask me if they can keep it or share it with others. that's the best reward I could ever receive, knowing that I've touched someone or inspired an idea in the readers mind.  This is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
* I think the following song fits the theme of creativity.. It's one of my favorites by John Lennon. It's called, "Imagine".

Monday, February 7, 2011

A poem.

"You've never felt pain until you've felt love." -unknown.

A poem I wrote for the one I love:

Two years I've  stood strong for you, like a soldier prepared for war.
Ready for anything, expecting nothing.
Two years I've given my heart to you in hopes that you fix it, as it was broken when we met.
I came to you when I was confused, numb and alone, looking for something that would ease the pain of my thoughtlessness.
Two years and I've grown to adore you, you have  became my world. In these same two years, I've hated you for some of the things you put me through
Your love tastes so bittersweet, so addicting.
The memory of past love mars my mind, I gave him up for you.
Two years and he's moved on, I can't fault him because I moved on too..with you.
I never even looked back, I was selfish. I got what I wanted. And ultimately, he has gotten what he deserves, her.
Two years and we are still here, both secretly scared by relationships that didn't go as planned.
We  love each other, that's  one thing I know.  Two years later, it's incredibly HARD to let the one I love go...