Saturday, December 8, 2012

I've been made free

Check out the uplifting song "Free" by Dara Maclean.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Write a novel this month!

Have you always wanted to write a book? I know I have! Well, exactly one month from now you will have achieved that goal if you jump on board with National Novel Writing Month which starts today (but so what even if you start it a little late, too!) Thousands of people are going to be writing a novel this month, and so can you!

I am wishing you luck, but I know you don't need it. You only need to stay connected to the desire in your heart and the knowing that you deserve to do this for yourself, if it's something you would like to do. A big dose of gratitude goes out to my two friends who encouraged me to join them in this project. Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The aftermath of Sandy

My city, New York, and where I'm from, the Jersey Shore, have been ravaged by the storm. The material damage is great, but I know we will rebuild. I'm grateful there weren't more lives lost and am sorry for those who did pass. Throughout this time, it's been so beautiful to see people reaching out and extending love to one another. The support given will help the healing process. I am sending out my love and well wishes to everyone impacted. May you all stay safe.

Here is a healing chant that I find very peaceful and powerful to listen or meditate to. I recommend finding a comfortable seat, closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and then taking in what you hear. I hope you will find it as beneficial as I do.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My new art classroom

In my blog post "An Art Room of Their Own," I wrote about how important it was for me to create a suitable space for my students to develop their artistic ability. Below are some before and after photographs of the transformation. I love working in this space!











Monday, October 1, 2012

I love my job

This is the type of stuff I get to buy for my job... How could I not be happy when I'm surrounded by glitter all day?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Smoothie of the day

Summertime is an opportune season for cool, refreshing smoothies. I've really taken to them. This morning, I pulled out my blender to make my usual mix of banana and whatever else I had on hand that I might be in the mood for. However, I had forgotten to pick up some bananas at the store yesterday and was fresh out. Contemplation ensued: Do I skip my smoothie today, or find some way to make it happen? 

I took a peek around and decided to go for it. The outcome was an absurdly refreshing, frozen, green, healthy concoction that I would definitely recommend. Below is the recipe.

1.  Cold almond milk
2.  Vanilla protein powder
3.  Spirulina powder
4.  Frozen green and black grapes (Using frozen grapes is the key to making this smoothie taste like a virgin daiquiri of some sort.)
5.  Blend. If not mixing properly, add a little more almond milk.
6.  Enjoy!

Health benefits: Almond milk is high in calcium, non-dairy, and vitamin-rich. The protein powder offers the obvious dose of beneficial protein, while also providing other vitamins and nutrients. Spirulina, which is probably the most wonderful part of this smoothie health-wise, is full of protein, iron, vitamin A, and other nutrients. It improves digestion and fights free radicals. It just does so many things that I don't even know where to begin! Trust me, it's good stuff. (I use Earthrise Spirulina Natural powder.) Finally, grapes are full of antioxidants and vitamin C. I would recommend buying organic grapes, but I'd be lying if I said that I did that! However, if you are able to, organic is obviously always better (no pesticides = healthier people.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

An art room of their own

In my blog post "Is it time to revamp your home?", I discussed the positive impact of having a clutter-free, organized, calming home. I still believe this to be absolutely vital to having a happy and healthy sense of well-being, but recently, I am even more convinced of this necessity.

I was a special education teacher for the last six years. Throughout that time, I went out of my way to make my classroom comforting and welcoming for all students, and found that this had a positive impact on them and their academic performance in my class. This year, I obtained a new position as an art teacher (which I am beyond excited about)! While being further introduced to the school after accepting the job, I was told that I was assigned to Room 511 (quite a nice number!) and that it would be the new art room. Upon entering the space, I came face to face with light brown walls and science artifacts galore. Although beyond grateful for its huge size, large sinks, literally bullet-proof (great for art) tables, tech-savvy connectedness, lots of storage space, and view of the skyline windows (that's right!), I still noticed that this was not a space that felt beautiful, inviting, or creative. Understanding that in order to be creative and feel good, it greatly helps to be in a space that encourages whatever the purpose of said space is, I set out to make sure the room would feel like a creative space for students.

As I was coming up with ideas to transform the room, or "artify" it, as I like to say, I was reminded of the essay A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf. In this potent piece of writing, she conveys that in order to create, a woman must be able to provide for herself and have an actual space that offers the ability and physicality to allow for what's inside of her to come to fruition. This essay moved me when I read it in college. Many people don't have the circumstances that easily allow for their inner essence to be brought into the world, and Woolf sends that message so clearly. For me, one thing that has always helped encourage my inner creativity to flourish is having a beautiful space to abide within. This gives one more freedom to let their inner light come out.

Especially because I am now an art teacher, I feel vitally responsible for directly encouraging creative growth in my students. Therefore, I knew that I needed to create the best possible environment for that to be able to happen. First on my list for creating this space for my soon-to-be students (who just so happen, Ms. Woolf, to be all girls) is to paint the walls a gorgeous periwinkle purple. Warm, inviting, and beautiful, the color just seems to vibrate the words "You are wanted and welcome here." Next, I'll make sure that the cabinets and storage fixtures don't impede the natural energy flow through the room. I'll hang bright and sparkling decorations in strategic locations, make sure lots of natural light shines everywhere, cover non-relevant science storage areas with colorful abstract paper art, organize materials in a logical way, and ensure that music will be a continuous part of our classroom environment. Finally, I'll check in to see if the girls love the space, and if they don't - if something is missing - then we will just have to figure out what they need in order to love it, and add it.

I want to make sure that these students have the best environment possible for tapping into their creative spirits. They, like us all, deserve a space that is beautiful, so that they feel more beautiful in it. They deserve an inviting place to learn, explore, and express themselves. They deserve "a room of their own," and maybe, hopefully, for some of them, this will be it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A love story that changed history

It's amazing what one act, done for love, can do to change the course of history. 

The article "Tender Photos Unearthed from a Turbulent Time" describes how, after being arrested for sleeping in the same bed with her husband (they were legally married elsewhere, but the state they resided in deemed it illegal) because of the differing color of their skin, Mildred Loving courageously spoke out and her case was brought to the judicial system. Eventually, in 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, ending U.S. laws banning interracial marriage.

What a beautiful story, and the photos included with the article especially speak to the power of that moment in time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My latest artwork

I wish you could see the glitter and sequins! ...I guess they will just have to be left to your imagination.

The Brightest Star (2012)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Universe loves me

Affirm: The Universe, at this very moment, is aligning to fulfill all my current desires. I need only believe it to be true, and it is so. Today, I believe.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Within this moment is a miracle

Within this moment is a miracle wherein all things are possible. I never imagined I would be who I am today, but that's just it - with every instant, the cells in our body are dying, being born, or changing. There is nothing stagnant. If I embrace this flow, I am bound to grow.

In each second, an entirely new you is present who therefore has infinite potential. Embrace who you really are now. And now. And now. Again, and again, and again. And enjoy. There is no one, in all the world, like you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's the little things

Yesterday, I was craving a good run. As I walked into the gym, I was greeted by a whole row of empty treadmills waiting there just for me.

Today, I went to Central Park, took off my shoes, laid down on the grass with no blanket, looked up at the leaves and the bright blue sky above me, and then fell asleep.

One of the best things about life is being able to enjoy all the little things. Lately, I try to remember that the amount of blessings I receive is directly proportionate to the amount I count. Have a beautiful rest of the weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today, I believe

Affirm: "The Light within me is creating miracles in my life here and now." (CG)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I am deserving

Today, I affirm: "I am connected to an unlimited source of abundance." (WD)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You are beautiful

If you are feeling a little insecure or down about yourself, try having a listen to Selena Gomez's song "Who Says" for some uplifting lyrics that will hopefully help you see how beautiful you really are, inside and out. Embrace yourself. Allow yourself to shine. We are all perfectly imperfect and gorgeous just as we are, right this very instant.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sick? A clove a day keeps the doctor away

Several months ago, I started going through some major changes in my life. Although they were all ultimately good changes, they took a lot out of me emotionally and physically, so my immune system was compromised. I found myself getting sick....and then getting sick a second time....and then, yes, getting sick yet again. Not only were my defenses down in general, but I also work with children every day and am therefore exposed to a lot of germs! After a long time of feeling run down, someone recommended that I try garlic. I was skeptical, intrigued, and honestly somewhat desperate, so I did a little research.

Simply googling "garlic medicinal" will expose you to a wealth of information on the health benefits of taking garlic. Not only is it a natural antibiotic, but it is also said to prevent heart disease, cancer, and viral infections, such as the common cold. In fact, according to the New York Times, studies prove that garlic helps reduce instances of the common cold. I was sold. I mean, why not give it a go? After a bit more reading, I decided that I would try consuming fresh, raw garlic, as opposed to taking it in pill form, because apparently there's no easy way to decipher which supplements work and which don't.

The first day or so of taking the garlic, I was sweating and felt different in my body, like I could feel it coursing through my veins. However, after five days in a row of taking garlic once a day, I was no longer sweating, and I felt better than I had in months! I think that the garlic was really helping my body heal. It was like I had gained a new sense of energy. Since then, I have taken garlic about once a week for maintenance, and also whenever I feel run down or have been around people who are sick. I have not fallen ill at all in that time.

Now, hear me out. I know garlic is strong. It can upset one's stomach and also make you smell so that no one will want to speak with you (let alone kiss you). No one wants that. So, I figured out a way to circumvent those annoying side effects. Here's my routine:

1. In the morning, before eating, press about a tablespoon of organic garlic (a few raw, peeled cloves) into a spoon and let it sit for 14 minutes (makes the potency of allicin, one of the key components in garlic, stronger). 
2. Prepare a cup of ginger tea. 
3. After the 14 minutes, take a few sips of almond milk (to reduce the acidity in the stomach, since I have a sensitive one), pour honey over the garlic (to coat it), and then swallow the spoonful whole - no chewing or tasting! Just one gulp! (This is key if you don't want to smell like garlic.)
4. Drink water and some more almond milk. 
5. Drink the ginger tea and have a little breakfast shortly after. (Breakfast before ingesting the garlic is not as effective at keeping the garlic taste away.)

By following these five steps, my stomach doesn't hurt, and I find that I really don't smell of garlic at all. (Trust me, I've asked multiple people if they smell any garlic, and the answer is repeatedly a resounding, surprising, "No.")

I know it sounds intense, but I can honestly say that I am hooked and will never turn back. A little while after I started my garlic routine, my sister came down with a bug and was sick for a while. Out of sheer longing for health, she decided to give garlic a try. The next day I got a message from her saying, "Well, I guess we'll never know what really made me feel better, but I'll be taking the garlic again today." And, she's been taking it ever since. So, if you are daring, intrigued, or are ever in a desperate moment, definitely give garlic a try. I'm certainly convinced that the saying should be, "A clove a day keeps the doctor away!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Emotional growth

Ever have one of those moments when you can feel an emotional growth spurt within you so strongly that it's as though something is actually coursing through your bones and forcing you to expand? It's painful, sometimes excruciatingly so, but afterwards there's just exhaustion and, of course, tearful gratitude. Then, things are never the same again. Okay, life, what's next? I'm ready.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Longing for fearlessness

Recently, I have been challenging myself to face some deeper fears that I possess. I have felt such determination to conquer them, yet I am finding that, as always, it is not easy. Time and again, I go back to the questions, "Why not live fearlessly? What am I really risking if I walk through these fears? What is the worst that could happen?"

Indeed, in pondering these questions, what is the worst that could happen? Would I find myself alone? No, I don't think so. Death? Well, as my father has reminded me at various times, "No one gets out of here alive." Will people not like me? Will people be upset with me? Perhaps, but then what does that mean? Maybe those people shouldn't be in my life anyway. Will I fail or make a mistake? Possibly, but then what does that mean? At least I tried and had an experience. Will I feel pain? It is painful to be hindered by the fear anyway, so better that the pain come from courage than from hiding out in safety. 

In all of the ways there is to look at fear, what always comes to the surface is that it is better to walk through it than to succumb to it. May I be a bit braver with each passing day. May I remember that there really is nothing to fear.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1000 Oceans

Sometimes over the years, when I have been sad about something, I have gone back to listen to the unbelievable song by Tori Amos called "1000 Oceans." It allows me to feel my grief, while still keeping in touch with the love underneath it all. Recently, when searching for it on You Tube, I came across a cover of it being sung by the 2009 Chorus of PS22 - a school in Staten Island, NY. The song itself is incredible, but to hear it sung by the voices of these children touches my heart in an even deeper place.

Turns out that this wonderful chorus has performed amazing versions of many different songs over the years. Bless their music teacher, Gregg Breinberg, whose passion, talent, and care has helped them blossom. You can find out more about them and listen to their other songs by visiting the PS22 Chorus Blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"The world's mine oyster..."

"There is nothing that you cannot be, or do, or have." (Hicks) 

In my life, I have had a few spiritual experiences. Okay, that's a lie, I have had a ton of spiritual experiences (most of which I didn't notice, but that's what life is - one big spiritual experience). What I am referring to, though, are those knock you down, in the moment realizations that you are inarguably, absolutely, unequivocally part of the spirit of the universe and that all has always been, is, and always will be alright. In those moments, I feel so calm and serene, and wish that I could live all my hours in that state. However, in general, I spend the bulk of my existence engaged in this activity or that and forget that I am joined with that great spirit. Although, the amount of time that I live within the consciousness of it is growing. It's far more common to find me taking a mindful approach to something now than it ever was in the past. 

As the days go by, I can see just how much of my experience depends on my beliefs about the universe and that great undercurrent of all there is. When I choose to think in small, negative, fear-based ways and am detached from that consciousness, my experience is never helped. Regardless of the outcome and whether it is what I originally wanted, thinking positively about it and cradling myself with the faith that things are forever perfect and just as they should be allows me to flow through life the way I know I am supposed to.

The more I do this, the more I realize that I am only limited by myself. I have finally boiled down what I want out of life to things that are entirely emotional in nature. For example, I want to experience the constant undercurrent of the joy in life. Or, I want to learn how to love myself and others as purely as possible in order to experience love in its truest form. Or, yet another, I want to live life like it is a safe adventure, with nothing to fear. I may want to express these longings in certain ways, but ultimately the goal is emotional.

The limits come when I expect my dreams to be realized and pan out in scenarios of my own choosing. When I think they are manifesting, I get the itch to try and make them happen, instead of just letting them unfold. The limits also come when I choose fear over faith. This is the big one, right? Fear - it's such a crippling power. I would be more free to experience life as it should be experienced, and all my dreams could be realized in an instant with the smashing of these two hindrances. What an ultimate goal. As Shakespeare wrote, "The world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open." Today, it's all of ours for the taking. The "it" being anything you could possibly want.