challenge · experience · friendship · inspiration · life · love · poetry · positivity · self help · society · support · truth · Uncategorized · writing

Lifted

Some would say I’m floating on a cloud

Because convention means nothing to me

I will save every penny

So I can afford to live my fantasy

Every day is a brick to build my dream house

And I am tired of hearing that

My youth dictates my naivety

That all of my experiences amount to nothing

Because I don’t have a trail of debts following me

That life will suddenly catch up to me

And I will find myself in your shoes.

But with all of the intentional decisions I have made-

Why do you think I will suddenly lose my autonomy

And forsake all I have worked for

To live a life of safety?

There is nothing within me begging for comfort

I force myself into discomfort so that with squirming I grow

I scare myself straight so that nothing may scare me

I experiment with life so that I find what feels right

Trusting my instincts in the path that I take,

And knowing that nothing is enough to be the end of my fate

Nothing is so threatening that I will succumb

To the societal forces that drive others numb

There is no living on a cloud when you come to accept

life is built from dreams when you take concrete steps

towards passion and purpose and a generous path

in which you unfold with joy and others can laugh

sharing in how life rarely goes as planned

but if you continue seeking better, in a paradise you’ll land

with contentment and success in the deepest sense

not a pawn in the mundane game, but forever blessed

embodying the living in life and accepting nothing less

than the fruits of your labor and lovingness

for all aspects of living a life of cold truth

that may pain you to follow but to which you must commit

that’s why I’m vowing when I’m young to never submit

to the easiest path of instant gratification

my dreams are worth more than an occasional vacation

I will build my dream life so there is no need for escaping.

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positivity · self help · society · support · tips · Uncategorized

10 Reasons why I’m 19 and will never drink again

Don’t get me wrong, I used to drink alcohol. It was a good year from the summer after high school to the summer before my sophomore year in college. But I slowly started to realize I do not need nor do I want to consume alcohol or drugs in any way. There wasn’t a singular bad experience that brought me to this; just the realization that I am more me, and a better me without the façade of drugs and alcohol. Here’s why:

  1. I only really did it to conform in social settings. Party without alcohol? I’m not begging someone to go get it. Party with alcohol? I’m drinking what everyone else is. To me, this didn’t make sense. I equally am not motivated to consume alcohol in either of these situations yet in one I feel coerced into doing so simply to fit the social setting. The solution? Don’t put myself in that setting.
  2. Drinking “to get the edge off” is not a good thing. For me, drinking was a way to rid myself of the nervousness of being in settings with many people I didn’t know and probably wouldn’t hang out with under other circumstances. When you’re half-drunk you can have fun with anyone, even if they’re kind of a terrible person. This seemed appealing at first but I’ve realized I would rather have three real friendships than a billion fake friendships with people that I really have nothing in common with other than we drink together. That’s not enough to build a positive relationship, nor a meaningful social interaction. Translation? Not worth my time.
  3. Again, not worth my time. I only probably have a good 82 years left on this planet and I don’t want to waste a single more second with a hangover. Even moderate drinking isn’t worth it. You know what’s five times as fun and takes absolutely no loss of motor skills? Road tripping. Traveling. Things you probably shouldn’t do half- drunk. Although I’m young, I have far better things to be doing than wasting my time getting drunk. Do you see the world we’re living in? My time is valuable and can help others. Which brings me to…
  4. I know I’m young, and I’m “allowed to have fun” and I do have fun. I’m young but I’m not immature. The mistakes I make are honest mistakes. I don’t see the point in intentionally getting myself drunk and getting sick, and calling that my valuable youth experience. My valuable youth experiences include navigating the middle of California by myself and trying to learn as many languages as possible. I still make human errors along the way, and I am learning about life. But with intention, not in a beer bottle.
  5. I know I’m in college. I know a good majority of the kids in college consume alcohol and use drugs. Truthfully I don’t care. I am at a university to learn something that is hopefully useful for my future. I am here to become a better human and change agent. I’m not here for the parties. That’s literally $1,000s for parties. No thanks.
  6. I understand myself more deeply now. I know my desires and goals more and more each day and I am centered on these. I am so purpose- oriented that I don’t have the time nor the energy to pretend I am not. Yes, I have plenty of fun but I will not waste away my nights doing something so purposeless. I do not need to conform to others; I need to keep my eyes on my purpose.
  7. I have determined by now that I am an introvert. Expanding my social circle is not necessarily my goal right now. I have enough friends. Going to parties to blend in with the drunken crowd is at the bottom of my priority list.
  8. Alcohol isn’t healthy. Many studies show increased cancer risk even with moderate alcohol consumption. There’s added dyes, chemicals, and sugar in most drinks, and I already avoid these as it is. Plus, over time, alcohol damages your liver and other internal organs. It isn’t worth the risk.
  9. Drugs control you. I even avoid caffeine. Even a small amount can help you develop an addiction. Drugs alter your mind and perception. I am the only one who is in control of my mind and I want it to stay that way. As a yogi, I honor this and practice this. Allowing a substance to control me is dishonorable to my mind.
  10. By keeping my body free of foreign substances, I allow myself to further purify my soul. You probably didn’t think this would get so philosophical, did you? The truth is- my mind, body, and soul are near and dear to me. They are my temple. My home. I guard that shit with my LIFE. I try to live the most minimalistic and natural life I possibly can and honor what I need at any given time. If I have too many distractions, I will lose sight of this and will not be as satisfied with my life overall. I am the sole gatekeeper of this precious life.

As a young college student it can be awkward being one of a few that choose to not consume alcohol, but I avoid putting myself in uncomfortable settings as much as I can. I know my true friends will honor my decision. I am not condemning the consumption of alcohol for everyone; in moderation it can be okay. I can only speak for myself and what I know is that, I have many goals in this life and I am determined to do as much as I can to alleviate the societal ills in this world. Without added distractions, I am more focused, physically and mentally stronger, and have more time and energy to do this. I know now how to listen to what I need much better- and refraining from drugs and alcohol is just one of the ways I can honor that. I just encourage everyone to truly uncover their short-term and long-term intentions, and figure out what is their best path to achieving these. And honoring that fiercely.

And to the people at the party-yes, really, I’m fine with water.

Signed,

Forever D.D. (designated driver)

positivity · support · tips · truth · Uncategorized · writing

My Guide to Natural Beauty Products

Your bathroom routine could make you sick.

This is shocking to most people, but I am not exaggerating or lying. The products that are most accessible to us these days almost all contain a doozy list of carcinogenic dyes, fragrances, alcohols, and synthetic compounds- and most of us have no idea. Unfortunately, you really can’t trust stores that stock these products, marketing that throws out the word “natural” much too frequently, and even the FDA to protect you. That’s why, after months of making the switch to natural products I decided to compile a handy guide to help others in their transition to natural products. Just as I believe in the importance of clean and organic food, I believe it is highly crucial to our long- term health that we do not coat our bodies with carcinogenic chemicals that absorb into our bloodstream and impact us in ways we may never realize until it’s too late. For finding the right products, Environmental Workings Group (EWG) is a lifesaver- literally!- in that it rates products in terms of risks for cancer, reproductive effects, allergic reactions, etc. and gives a concise rating so consumers are able to assess the risks of the products they use and compare them to others. I have provided my recommendations, as well as some of the alarming toxins in the conventional versions of each products. Hope this helps you make better decisions for your well- being in the future!

Toothpaste

 What I use: Baking soda. You can also add peppermint oil and bentonite clay, and find many natural formulas in stores and online.

Why? Regular toothpaste contains fluoride, which actually wears down the enamel on your teeth over time. Studies have shown that baking soda is far less abrasive on teeth then conventional toothpaste, and without the actually toxic fluoride (note the warning labels on most toothpastes- they call kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours!), artificial colors synthesized from petroleum, the irritant sodium lauryl sulfate, the abrasive hydrated silica, and the carcinogenic triclosan. Not a list of things you would want anywhere near your pearly whites!

Shampoo/ Conditioner

What I use: I use Mill Creek Botanicals biotin shampoo and conditioner but there are many options at your local health store. Castile soap is also a great alternative. I advise you to try shampooing less too, because shampooing daily strips your hair of natural oils and most people shampoo more often that they need to.

Why? Conventional shampoo and conditioner contain artificial dyes, parabens which are linked to reproductive disorders and cancer, phthalates (fragrances) which become trapped in the body forever, and are linked to cancer, organ toxicity, birth defects, neurological disorders, and are hazardous to the environment, sulfates which are toxins that strip the skin of natural oils, EDTA which is linked to allergies, kidney damage, reproductive effects, and environmental effects, and dioxane which is common in foaming products (including peg, laureth, and polysorbates) retinyl palminate, Proplene glycol (antifreeze), and PEG-6- all linked to cancer.

Body wash

What I use: Right now I am using bars of natural soap, but I also bought a giant bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, which has 18 different uses. It is truly a lifesaver for cleaning basically anything, including yourself! For those of you that don’t know, castile soap is the most natural soap that exists and it’s typically made with coconut oil and some essential oils. It’s moisturizing and can clean just about anything without harsh, damaging chemicals.

Why? Body wash basically contains most of the same harmful products as shampoo and conditioner, and is notoriously awful for having dyes, fragrances, and all that foamy stuff. Your skin is the largest organ on your body- it is so important to treat it right!

Deodorant

What I use: I personally don’t wear deodorant currently and I’ve survived the hottest days of summer in Michigan without it. That being said, there are many wonderful natural products on the market made with baking soda, shea butter, and essential oils that help with odor. You can also make your own at home with simple ingredients!  Here’s a recipe my friend uses: https://agirlonthebrinkofadventure.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/natural-deodorants-dun-dun-dun/

Why?  Stopping sweat is not natural and not healthy, and conventional deodorants do this by using aluminum chloride that is linked to cancer (especially breast cancer). They also contain triclosan, parabens, silica, talc, and steareth-n (all carcinogenic!) Yikes! I previously used the 21% aluminum Certain Dri, and I am SO grateful I learned about this cancer risk soon enough!

Bug repellant

What I use: Essential oils work wonders for bug spray. You can make one with citronella, peppermint, and tea tree oil, plus witch hazel and distilled water.

Why? Most people know that bug spray is highly unnatural and dangerous, especially with the chemical DEET which may be linked to cancer. You don’t have to tell me twice; I’m not willing to take the chance on that one.

Sunscreen

What I use: I like Babyganics mineral-based sunscreen. It doesn’t leave me as white as others I have tried, and it feels good on my skin.

Why? Conventional sunscreen contains chemical compounds oxybenzone and avobenzone which are linked to… cancer. Aren’t you supposed to be using sunscreen to PREVENT cancer?! Thankfully there are some better natural options on the market. Remember: The best thing you can do is take preventative measures like wearing long clothing and staying out of the sun for long periods of time.

Face wash

What I use: I use Desert Essentials Thoroughly Clean tea tree oil face wash and bars of natural activated charcoal. I like Burt’s Bees toner and witch hazel for toner, and Aztec Healing Clay for an occasional face mask.

Why? Face wash typically contains most of the same ingredients as every other body product, as well as alcohols which are extremely damaging to skin, benzoyl peroxide which accelerates skin aging from the sun, and the awful triclosan. There are so many acne products on the market that are just absolutely terrible for the long-term health of your skin, so research these extensively. It may take a while to find what works for you, but I promise your face will come around eventually and reward you for treating it right!

Makeup

What I use: I recently became a fan of the brand Pacifica and I have tried their mascara, highlighting powder, CC Cream, concealer, and lip butter and love them all. They’re the cheapest I could find for natural makeup, but there are other well-rated brands like Inika, 100% Pure (fruit dyed!), Tarte, and Too Faced. You can also make your own makeup- Pinterest has loads of ideas with common household ingredients like cocoa powder and nutmeg, plus ingredients like shea butter and activated charcoal for eyeliner and mascara.

Why? Common makeup products contain a lengthy list of concerning chemicals including lead, mica, formaldehyde, coal tar, benzene, mineral oils ethylene oxide, phenacetin, heavy metals, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, silica, titanium dioxide- basically all of these are related to cancer, allergic reactions, and environmental effects at the minimum.

Shaving cream

What I use: I use Every Man Jack’s brand of shaving cream for sensitive skin, but there are many other brands including Dr. Bronner’s.

Why? Guess what comes up again here? Those dreaded phthalates, fragrances, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate, as well as triethanolamine which is a skin and respiratory toxicant. Not exactly desired for those gentle shaving areas.

Lotion

What I use: I haven’t found a favorite yet, but I’ve heard great things about using raw coconut oil and shea butter.

Why? Most lotions contain mineral oil which clogs pores and may be contaminated with carcinogens, retinyl palminate which may speed the development of skin lesions and tumors, as well as phthalates, dyes, and more. Again, your skin is so vitally important to your health, so make it a priority to protect it.

One of the common misconceptions about buying natural beauty products is that it is too expensive, but there are actually SO many options out there that you are bound to find products that fit your budget! (Coming from a college student who works part-time and buys all of her own products!) When in doubt, you can DIY just about any and everything- which saves a ton of money if you buy the ingredients in bulk. Your local health store and ones online are goldmines for natural products. It may take a bit to find what products work best for you in particular, but the rewards are absolutely priceless.

In a world where you basically cannot find anyone without a loved one affected by cancer, it is urgent that we start paying more attention to all of the chemicals we bring into our lives unintentionally. The fact that the FDA doesn’t prohibit the sale of products with carcinogenic chemicals is frustrating, but that means it’s up to us to take the responsibility of our health and our lives, and be proactive about disease prevention. We must also share this information whenever we learn it- it could quite possibly save our loved ones’ lives! The journey to natural living does not end at beauty products either- there are also issues with our cleaning products and even our apparel to worry about. I just hope this consciousness about the substances you allow to be so close to your body expands from here, and you continue to educate yourself and be the wisest consumer you can be. It is true what they say-

“Health is wealth, and without it you have nothing.”

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From left to right: Dr Bronner’s pure castile soap, Aztec Secret Indian healing clay, Desert Essence tea tree oil face wash, Mill Creek Botanicals biotin shampoo and conditioner, Pacifica makeup, Desert Essence lip balm, pure organic rosehip oil, Every Man Jack shaving cream, Burt’s Bees toner, Lush shower gel, pure baking soda, and of course- PETA’s free guide to cruelty free cosmetics  (be sure to check this out! All of the products I have listed are also vegan and cruelty-free- something everyone should make a priority with their purchases!)

 

experience · life · love · poetry · positivity · self help · society · support · tips · travel · truth · Uncategorized · writing

d.n.

Each day the sun draws the curtain and brings the shade.

The clouds roll back until they are wanted again.

The sky deepens.

It’s the daylight that taunts us.

Night is calm.

Night is a waterfall of sureness.

But day always breaks and we always wake to our unknowing minds.

We always greet our unknowing face in the mirror and move our unknowing limbs out the door.

We can’t escape the daylight.

We can’t forget that time is going going going and we have an endless array of puzzles to solve and ways to evolve.

The sun always sets, even if you think it’s only 2pm but it’s really 9.

Even if you think you’ve only lived a little but you’ve lived a lot.

You forget, but the sun remembers.

The sun knows what time it departs.

Every hour it sends us a reminder.

Deeper.

Darker.

Daylight is breaking;

Night is coming.

But like fools we romanticize the night and let the day run out of sight

Like fools we let the day go right before our very eyes.

8/5/16

poetry · positivity · society · support · truth · Uncategorized · writing

Going 23 mph on a bike

 

Going 23 MPH on a bike

Feels like you’re flying

Everything else in the world is false

Everything dissolves into the green

Of the trees and the blue

Of the sky

And you think your life

Will just be moving forward

From now on

Progressing, pedaling towards

Something actually attainable

It’s so much simpler

Going 23 MPH down a hill

On your bicycle

Smiling ear to ear like a child

Laughing and cheering like you’re wild

Wild for the weightless sensation

Wild for the loving embrace of nature

Frozen in time

All you can think is-

Never let me go.

6/13/16

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friendship · positivity · shoutout · support

Shoutout!

I want to give a shoutout to my best friend, Saley, who is also a blogger on WordPress. She’s my blogging buddy, and we both love pretty much all the same things. She’s really gotten her blog rolling lately, with bits of wisdom and relatable tips.

I encourage everyone to share the love online! Bring friends in on the adventure, and do your part to promote a positive community. There’s infinite inspiration to be gained and shared.

Check Saley out!

agirlonthebrinkofadventure.wordpress.com