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It Starts With Us: Parents Talking to Their Children to Stop Bullying

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“You’re not thin enough”, “You look weird”, “Why are you even here? You should die”, these phrases are just a few of the phrases that are being thrown around in the schoolyards, in the classrooms, and I kid you not, at work as well. And believe it or not, there are even some worse phrases that will not be mentioned in this post. Why? Because they are horrifying and should never be said to another human being, or any being for that matter.

Now, I am not a parent, well, I am a fur-mama, but I do not have any human children at the moment. However, I do have nieces and nephews, and they are the light of my world, and right now they are very young, very impressionable, and can sense when things are not right. And I know that they are the perfect target for bullying. Hell, every child, teenager, and adult is a perfect target for being bullied. I know this. I’ve lived through most of my life of being bullied. Bullied by classmates, by teachers (yes, that does happen), and even bullied by co-workers, and it is not something I would want another person to endure.

Recently, I found out that a friend of mine’s son was bullied. Bullied to the point that he was sent to the hospital with a broken nose, several broken ribs, and bruises all up and down his body. Do you know how angry this made his father feel? How his mother felt? Hell, when I heard what happened I got so mad to the point that I nearly broke a counter. Yes, I got that mad. But where does this anger get placed? On the school system? Absolutely, the school is responsible for the children while they are at school, and under their supervision. On the children themselves? Of course, they are supposed to know what is right from wrong. On ourselves? Yes, a million times yes it is, the anger should weigh heavily on us adults. Why should we be angry with ourselves? Because we are the adults here, we are supposed to show our children how to behave, how to treat one another and to show them that they are not supposed to bully and assault others. As the adults we are supposed to set an example for them, to show them that two beings can be in the same room without violating the other. We are not supposed to set a bad example to them about how to start a fight, how to mistreat a girl or a boy. We are the adults here, it is our job.

Yes, there are pep rallies every year in most schools that bring awareness to the subject at hand, but do they really make an impact? No, not really. Growing up I went to several of those rallies, and do you know what still occurred. The bullying still occurred. Don’t get me wrong, I think the rallies are great, but they do not actually do much help when it comes to telling children to stop bullying, to stop assaulting their classmates, or anyone they meet in life.

It all starts at home, with the parents. As parents, we are supposed to set examples, good examples of how to treat others, and it is the way you mistreat others, say unkind and horrible things about another person is what the children are seeing more of. I know this to be true. I know a lady who is in her early 40’s and she treats others like crap, she mistreats them, bullies them, steals their energy, and makes others feel like garbage. And time and time again her children have witnessed this, and time and time again I have to remind her that they are watching her every move, every word that she says, and they are more than likely going to mimic her as they grow up. And that is what happens. Children mimic their parents, they mimic the way we talk to each other, how we treat each other. And if they are seeing that we are mistreating each other, then they are going to assume that it is completely normal, that it is okay to bully and assault each other.

So, parents this on us. We need to be setting a good example for the children, and show them how two human beings can get along, and show them how to treat others. Have a long conversation, or two, or three. It doesn’t matter how many conversations you have with your children, the only thing that does matter is that you talk with them and that you set yourself as a good example. Because if we don’t do anything about this, then more and more boys and girls will end up in hospitals due to broken ribs, led to anorexia or bulimia, or even led to the final blow of a gun from being bullied.

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Why I’m a Feminist

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I am a feminist because I want to end unrealistic expectations for both men and women, there should not be some expectation to look like someone else to feel appreciated, to feel loved, to feel like we belong in some sort of “group”, this is not high school where they are focused on cliques, this is the real world that we live in, no two people look alike.

I am a feminist because I am tired of hearing, “Cool story, now go make me a sandwich” or “Real men don’t cry”, because these stereotypes are harmful to everyone around the world. Real men do cry, they have emotions just like the rest of us. And no one is your personal maid or slave, they are not obligated to make you a ‘sandwich’, you can go make it yourself.

I am a feminist because I want to end this horrible rape culture that we live in. Both men and women get raped, it is a proven fact. The problem is that not everyone realizes that men are also the victims to such abuse just like any other woman out there who gets raped and abused, they are terrified just like everyone else who endures physical, emotional, and mental abuse. To say that they don’t, is just down right ignorant.

I am a feminist because I want to end gender roles. In the past, roles to each gender were assigned, for men, they had to play with trucks, play in the dirt, get “manly” jobs, for women, they were told to play with dolls and have an easy bake oven, while dressing up in dresses and looking pretty. Young girls are allowed to play with toy trucks, and young boys are allowed to play with dolls that they find fun. There should be no roles assigned to anyone. If you like something, then by all means, do that hobby or get that outfit, just be you. I know several women who are welders, and they are badasses at their jobs, proving that they can do anything. I know a man who is a manicurist and he is phenomenal at his job, he chose that job because he loves it, he isn’t at a job that doesn’t love.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people judging women based on their clothing, yet they gawk at a woman who wears a mini skirt and tank top, then catcall her. One, women are not objects to stare at, they are hardworking, intelligent, compassionate people, just like you. They are not meant to be stared down and made to feel inferior. Second, you have no say over what a woman wears, she wears what she wants to wear. It is her body, and you have no say over what she wears on her body. If she wants to wear a hijab, don’t you dare try to take it off to offend her. If she wants to wear a mini skirt, then let her wear that mini skirt. She wears articles of clothing because she is drawn to them and likes them. Same goes for men as well, if a man wants to wear a pink shirt, then don’t criticize him for it. If a man wears his pants saggy, let him, it is his body and he can wear whatever he wants just like women can.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people comparing everyone to others and degrading others. Stop with the signs and memes that roam around Pinterest, Google, and other parts of the internet that say, “In a World of Kardashians, be a …..”.  Honestly, I don’t know much about the Kardashians, but to degrade them like that is wrong on many levels, you may not agree with their lifestyle, fashion sense, or moral compass, however you shouldn’t be degrading them and trying to raise another person up. Degrading others to feel better about yourself is just plain wrong and it shouldn’t be happening whatsoever. Comparing one person to another also needs to be put to an end, due to the fact that no two people are alike, it is nearly impossible, even twins are not alike on many levels.

I am a feminist because I believe in equal pay between men and women, based on education and experience, not based on what is between your legs. It shouldn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, it should matter on your education and experience. If a man and a woman both have a bachelor’s degree and also have ten years of experience, then they should get paid equally. Currently, women get paid $.75 to a man who gets paid $1.00.

I am a feminist because my feminine needs are not a luxury. Every woman since the dawn of time has had their premenstrual cycles, and they bleed for 5 to 7 days every 28 days. Tampons, pads, cups, whatever else is used out there, is viewed as a luxury. It is not a luxury. Stop hiking the percentage price to %40 tax.

I am a feminist because I want to protect all of those who are being forced to become child’s brides as 10 years old. I don’t believe in becoming a bride at such a young age. Back in the 1500’s men and women were betrothed at the age of birth, and were made to get married at once they were to be perceived as a man or woman. We live in the 21st century, and things need to change today.

This is just the icing on the cake as to why I am a feminist. This is extremely important to me, and should be important to everyone around the world. Why are you a feminist?

 

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Healing From the Core: Journaling

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When it comes to healing oneself, it can be rather difficult to find something that you can vent to about your emotions, struggles, and the things that are plaguing your mind. However, most people overlook the one thing that they could do to help them vent productively in a non-violent manner, journaling.

Yes, it sounds a little strange for adults to be journaling, especially since the prime demographic is young teenaged girls and boys; however, there are plenty of adults who journal. In fact, I am one of those adults. I journal several times a week, my journal has become a book filled with different things from my meditation sessions that I just went through, my dreams, and overall, just my emotions in general. It helps me figuring things out on paper, and it truly helps, especially after I’ve written what I need to write down, I can look back and see what symbolic thing that is going on in my life at the time.

Journaling is one of the most therapeutic ways of dealing with everyday stress and just life in general. You can pour yourself out on pages among pages, without the fear of judgment or ridicule. In a way, journaling is a therapist that you can vent to about all of your problems, and just dive into what you are truly feeling. It can help you come to terms with a lot of things that you are dealing with internally, while also helping you deal with your past that you seem to be running from.

I’ve always believed that you need a journal that you resonate with, something that you feel connected to. This is due to the fact that you will be sharing your most intimate thoughts, feelings, and dreams to. So the picking the right journal will help you along in the process of healing. There are many places that you can go to find a journal from your local stores to online shopping, finding a journal that you feel comfortable writing in and venting to is highly important.

And do not worry what others will say if they ever find out that you journal, there is nothing wrong with it at all. In fact, it is perfectly normal to journal at any age.

 

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Meditation: Garden of Your Soul

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Turn on your preferred meditation music, and get comfortable by either sitting down in the lotus position or laying on down on your back. Close your eyes and sink into your position, as the music washes over your entire being. As the music makes its way gently into your mind, your mind will be cleared of any toxic and negative energy, and you will then become lightheaded.

At this time, your mind will dive into another world, a place where it will lead you to your final destination. In your third eye and in your mind, you will see yourself standing on the pier, overlooking dark waters. The dark waters whisper to you to take a dip, go ahead and take that dip into the smooth dark waters and let your body float down to the bottom. Before you can reach the bottom of the ocean, a bright light will make its appearance, seducing you to swim to it. Swim over to the bright light and feel your body being pulled through, the weight of your body has been reduced to feeling as though you are light as a feather. Once you are pulled all the way through, you will find yourself in the middle of a dirt path. You look down and you are now in a brightly colored outfit that suits your personality, and you feel ever so free to be your true self.

As you walk down the dirt path, you can see something coming into view, it is a temple, but this temple resembles your inner soul, your place that you can call home. Look at the details of it, remember the way it makes you feel, feel the energy coming from it and let it soak into your soul. Remembering these things will bring you closer to home, in your heart and soul.

Make your way into the temple, and walk about the smooth floor with your bare feet, and absorb the energy coming from the temple into your body. As you walk about the temple, you look outside, and there you see is a garden that resembles your complete home of your inner self. Walking outside and into the garden, you feel the delicious sensation of grass touching your feet. The sweet perfume coming from the flowers fill the air around you, making your mouth water. As you walk around the garden, while you smell the delicious air, and feel the tree leaves brush up against your skin, you hear something behind you. Turning around you see an animal presenting itself to you, knowing that it will not hurt you or you hurt it, you walk closer to the animal ever so cautiously. The animal rubs up against you and a sensation runs through your body. For some unknown reason, you know this animal, you know that it is apart of you. Suddenly the animal guides you around the garden, no words are needed for this conversation between the two of you. For your minds are connected, just as your hearts and souls are too. You realize that this animal is your spirit animal, one that guides you and protects you. You let yourself go, and put yourself into the animal’s control, letting it help you throughout your life and never letting you go. The animal leaves your sight, leaving you in the garden. Suddenly, you feel a tug on your body, making you realize it is time to come back. You walk through the temple once more, to find yourself on the dirt path. You walk up the dirt path, to where you had first arrived, then the bright light reappears to pull you back in. You find yourself in the dark waters once more, so you begin to swim. You reach the surface of the water, and find yourself wading back and forth. You know you don’t need to reach the pier, so you slowly wake from your meditation, bringing you back to reality.

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A Brand New Beginning (2017)

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It is official, in just a couple of days it will be 2017! That being said, there will be a lot of people making resolutions for the new year, and it can be fun and daunting to make these resolutions and stick to them. But nevertheless, you will have someone there for you and supporting you and your resolution, whether it be a friend, coworker, coach, or even a relative that will help you and support you along the way in your resolution (s).

2017 is full of opportunities for everyone out there, and that is one of the most amazing things about it when it comes to welcoming a new year into our lives. This is a new chapter in each of our lives, and this gives us a chance to see how our own story is going to come out by the time 2018 comes around.

Just like everyone else out there, I make resolutions for myself and goals that I set for myself, it has been something that I have been really into since I graduated high school. Each year I pick the top 5 things that I am going to focus on for that year and to set out to make them happen. That is how I prioritize everything, I don’t know why, but it is just how I manage to do things. Here are my top 5 things that I will be focusing on for 2017.

1. Healthy Coaching Myself – I already coach a lot of you out there, and show you different recipes, different exercises, and also how to maintain your stress levels. However this new year, I need to focus on getting my own self back into better shape. Many of you didn’t know that I had broken my ankle back in 2015, primarily because I didn’t want to broadcast it at the time, and because of that I was on crutches or quite some time and gained the weight that I had lost. Finally I am off the crutches, and have the ability to run and do my Muay Thai, but I am going to focus on getting myself healthier and stronger. Signing up as a Beachbody Coach, it has given me the opportunity to incorporate specific exercises that I enjoy into my own workouts, and it will bring me back to my own healthier self.

2. Finish and Publish – Many of you have already realized that my third poetry book has just been released and available to the public. However, many of you do not know that I have been working on a novel for the past year and a half. And for 2017, I am wanting to finish this novel and get it published by the end of next year. I know that I am getting closer towards the end, but I will be making a trip really soon to get some inspiration to finish the novel.

3. Expand and Grow – Simple Life, Simple You is my baby. I started this company when I was just 23, and now at 25 it is still growing but ever so slowly. So at this point I am going to have to use my introverted self and start focusing on the internet aspect and put myself out there through the world wide web to help my company grow.

4. Nomad Soul – Ever since I was a child, I have always been unable to settle down into one spot and stay there. Primarily due to the fact that I have a nomadic soul. That being said, for 2017, I will be doing a lot more traveling and exploring the world even more. For I wish to visit specific places this coming year and will have the opportunity to do so.

5. Back to the Mat – I am an avid yogi, have been for years. Not only that, I am also an avid meditator on the mat. This year, my resolution is to stick to the mat more often to heal myself more, to open my chakras more, to guide myself and to also let the Universe guide me through the mat, through my limbs, and into my soul, heart, and mind. That being said, I plan on going to Yoga Retreats and Meditative Retreats this year to help me through, then I will be teaching you all what I have learned. Let’s be honest, you should always be learning something new. In fact, you should learn something new everyday.

These are my resolutions for 2017, what are your resolutions? Comment below and let’s have a fun conversation.

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To Never Give Up

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(Joan Sutherland at the Old Met in Lucia)

 

We all had dreams when we were younger, some of us wanted to be astronauts, others wanted to be the president, and some wanted to be actors or actresses. Yet, once we start growing up and start hitting middle school we get asked again about what it is we want to be when we grow up. And we are told to be realistic. At that point, a lot of kids start thinking about what it is they want to be (the backup plan), and many go onto medical school, become lawyers, or become teachers. Although many of us go to school become something more “realistic”, our dreams and passions are put on the back burner, and they are just left there for us to fantasize about what your life would be like if you were an actor or actress, or if you had become that astronaut. And that is all you do, just fantasize.

Here is the thing, instead of just going for a backup plan of your choice, why don’t you go with what you are truly passionate about? Why don’t you go down to a talent agency and put in your resume and headshots, and start working with an agent? Why don’t you go apply to college, to study the field that you want to be in? To be an astronaut? To focus on whatever your heart and soul is pushing you towards? Because society, your parents, and other adults who have put aside their own dreams and own passions tell you that you should be realistic, that you should forget about it because you will never become that. And they are wrong. You may not become the next A- lister of Hollywood, or you may not become the president; you will however be able to land roles of a lifetime, the roles that you will get to share your experience with to your grandchildren. You can still make a difference if you don’t become the president, in fact, you could be the next congressman or the next politician who will make a difference in someone’s life.

Some of us are even afraid to admit what it is that drives us, what it is that makes us want to reach towards the stars with our dreams and start following that path. And some of us are afraid of telling others what our true passions are, for the fear of judgment and ridicule will hover over our heads. I know. For years I have never told anyone, never told anyone of my passions and would always practice them in secret. To be a writer, yes, that is a passion of mine that I have been following for years and thoroughly enjoy it and truly am content with. Helping others to better themselves and to heal themselves, brings joy into my heart. To be a ballerina and to be on The Met (Metropolitan Opera) stage and sing my lungs and heart out; those are the two things that I have always wanted to do but have never pushed myself to do them. Why? Because there is that voice in the back of my head from all of those years of listening to others telling me that I will never make it and that it is unrealistic. However, despite listening to them, I practice. I practice my singing skills (I grew up in a musical household and on the stage, despite being introverted), and sing opera songs nearly everyday to see how high I can hit the notes. And with the help I had during my junior year of high school, my musical instructor figured out that I am a natural second soprano, which I did not know. I practice dancing, for dancing brings me joy and lets me be me. In everyday life, I can trip over my feet just by walking because I am a clumsy fool; however, when I hear music, I do not have any problems at all. For the music and I have become one and I can easily glide across the floor. Maybe one day I will make it to The Met. Maybe one day I will get the chance to perform in The Nutcracker. Maybe? If that word leaves my mouth one more time I will scream. Because there should never be a maybe attached to a sentence. Because one day I will get to The Met, and one day I will get to a part in a production on stage as a dancer.

Never let someone tell you that you are never going to make it, never let anyone tell you  that you need to be more realistic and that you need to settle for some job that you do not like. Because you will be miserable. Miserable because you have not done the things that you have wanted to do, miserable because you sit at home on a Friday night binge eating a tub of ice cream because you had never pursued your passions. Instead of listening to society, to all of those who question your talent, your passions and your dreams, this is what you need to do… never give up. That is it. That is all you need to do. To never give up.

 

 

 

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Hygge Lifestyle

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“The absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.” — The art of hygge

Hygge is a Danish word that has a hard time being translated into the English language, due to the fact that it means more than just one word. Hygee, in an overall sense means, “pleasures we associate with everyday living, relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two.” If you wish to give it one word that it translates to, it would be, “cozy.” Denmark is located in the northern region of Europe, it is part of the Scandinavian countries; not only that, Denmark is rated as the #1 Happiest Country in the world. Why? Because of hygge. They enjoy the greater things in life: spending time with family, baking delicious healthy foods, minimalism, and spending time by the fireplace with a good book and tea.  It is no wonder why they are the happiest people in the world.

For years I have incorporated this type of lifestyle into my own life without even knowing it. The thought of just living a simple cozy life has always drawn me in, spending the evening eating delicious meals made from scratch, drinking tea, and spending time with loved ones while playing games is what I have always gravitated towards, even though I am introverted. In a sense, this is embedded in my DNA; for I am part Scandinavian from both parents, Norwegian from my dad, and Finnish from my mom. It is not only the Danish people who have incorporated hygge into their lives, it is the entire Scandinavian region that has as well.

So, exactly what is hygge? How do you explain it? It is not easy to explain it, but I can give you a scenario of what it would be like. Imagine this, you are at home and it is either snowing or raining outside. While you can see and listen to the sounds of the snow or rain from your window, you are inside your home, on the couch in your comfortable pajama’s, covered by a blanket, sipping on tea with a friend of yours sitting next to you while the both of you are watching Doc Martin on the television as the fireplace crackles throughout the night. That is hygge. That is comfort, the kind that you feel safe and snug inside your home. Now keep in mind, hygge is not only incorporated during the winter time in the Scandinavian countries, it is incorporated all year round. Here are some tips on how to hygge all year round (in no particular order):

Invest in Candles – Candles are a big thing in hygge in Scandinavian countries. They bring the warmth, the incense, the comfort into the home and create the atmosphere where everyone can enjoy the night time, all the while spending time with a loved one. There are numerous scents that you can choose from, choose the ones that you find soothing and would enjoy during the entire time; don’t get a candle just because everyone else picked that one out, if you don’t like it, then don’t get it.

Texture – A nice knitted blanket or fuzzy pillows will help set  the atmosphere even a little higher with the candles and warm fireplace/ heater.

Loungewear – Who doesn’t enjoy a nice set of pajamas that you can lounge in around the house while you watch a movie or show, or even read a book? Having a set of pajamas that will keep you warm while you relax. They do not need to be expensive.

Friends – You can hygge alone, however, when you hygge with friends, it creates a different atmosphere. One where you can just relax at the kitchen table and play a board game or in the living while you watch a movie or television show; having a great time with them, all the while you are hunkered down in the house staying cozy.

Hobbies everywhere – Hobbies are great to do when you hygge; sewing, knitting, reading, painting, are all great when you want to just focus on the mind. Turn off the television and pick up  a book or something else, and just relax your mind while you are enjoying solitary for a couple of hours.

Do not rush – Everyone in this country (USA) is all about running around thinking that they need to be somewhere at that very instant or thinking about the next thing that they need to do. So stop, just take some time and hygge. Take a deep breath and enjoy this time to refocus your mind, your body, and your soul. Get back to where you are supposed to be and just enjoy this moment.

Never overdo hygge- It is not about setting a ten course meal for you and your loved ones coming over, it is not about hosting some extravagant masquerade ball in the middle of your backyard. It is all about creating a warm and inviting atmosphere where everyone can just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Have some warm soups and open-faced sandwiches while you enjoy playing a board game with your company next to some candle lights.

It isn’t just for winter – Like I said before, hygge isn’t just for the winter time. In fact you can practice it all year round. Spending time out in the park with a book and a cold beverage is a perfect way to hygge, just as it is in the fall time when you and your friends head over to little cafe’s and just enjoy each other’s company. Hygge is all year round, not just for winter.

A friend of mine is from Denmark and still lives there to this day has said that you use all of your five senses to “absorb the joy in the simplest things”. And she is correct, the simplest things in life are far more priceless and more valuable than the $6,000 clutch that could possibly be used as a paperweight.