Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finding your mind/body balance


Allow time for meditation or contemplation: Meditation is a fairly new concept for myself. For years, I have had excruciating stomach ulcers brought on by crazy high levels of stress, so it's a wonder I hadn't looked into meditation sooner. It is amazing just how fast you notice results in your stress levels. Just a few deep breaths and you're well on your way to quieting your mind. Too easy! 

Be mindful of the expectations you place upon yourself: In this crazy modern world of 9 to 5, take-away dinners and endless housework, where are we supposed to find the time to get everything done? The fact is, we don't have to. Some things can simply wait. Why must we wash our plates the moment we have finished using it? Let's wait an hour and do a few in the same hit. Prioritise the things which simply can't be avoided and above all, never be afraid to say 'no' because sometimes our bodies can mentally shut down from the expectations as I have discovered too many times to count. 

Create time to reflect on your daily choices: We all have 24 hours in a day, yet what we do with that time is completely individual. We live our lives the same way we live our days, so your choices form the type of person you are; the type of person you will be remembered for. Do your choices reflect the person you are on the inside? 

Drink plenty of water: This is one little mantra I can't seem to get into my head. I am trying however! Health folks say we are supposed to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day, which equates to roughly 2 litres. In theory, that amount really isn't that hard to manage. C'mon people, we can do this! 

Evaluate your current commitments: Sometimes you just need to take a step backwards and ask yourself if your current commitments are worthy of the time and energy you are investing in them. Trust me, there is no shame in dropping out of something because the love is gone. I was a year into the TAFE course that would land me my childhood "dream" job, when I realised it wasn't for me. But that's what life is, finding what you like and what you don't. 

Follow a nutritious diet: As you probably already know, I made the commitment to veganism almost a year ago. This doesn't make me immediately healthy though! It's all about matching up your foods to get the most bang for your buck. For instance, a can of kidney beans can be added to your pasta sauce for added nutrients and will do you a world of good. It's about swapping your foods too. Swap fattier options like fried chips for oven-baked chips instead. There's a whole world of healthy options out there waiting for you. Enjoy! 

Identify the stressors in your life and try to reduce them: As we get older, it seems we find new things to worry about. At the ripe old age of 22 I have managed to discover a ton of things to stress over that didn't even exist to 17 year old Mel. We need to tune in to what i is that keeps us up at night and consider ways to reduce or eliminate the stress. Should we be safer with our investments? Plan a vacation? Take some down time? The trick is to find this out and try to take all necessary measures to bring yourself peace. 

Learn to listen to the inner message your body is giving you: Occasionally we all go through a patch of uncertainty where we are unsure if what we are doing is on par with what we had hoped to achieve in our lifetime. It is in times like these where we must take a breather and remember to simply respect when it is time to eat, slow down, rest or play. 

Maintain an attitude of realistic optimism: We can't all do everything, but we can all do something. 

Pursue activities that are pleasurable or you are passionate about: I have a sneaky little obsession with The Sims 3. I have no shame in telling this to the world, so when I need to just chill out, that's what I do. Life is finite so don't forget to actually live. When you feel like baking or watching a whole season of 'Supernatural' in one sitting, please do so. There is nothing worse than living a life you aren't enjoying. 

Read more: Reading is proven to widen our imagination. It also widens our vocabulary. When you pick up a book you can go anywhere, at any time; past, present or future. You can be anyone in any situation. It is the ultimate form of escapism. If you've been putting off that novel, I urge you to give it a chance, I promise you won't regret it. 

Reduce external stimulation: We all have things which get us either worked up or hyped up. Most people can't drink coffee before bed because the caffeine keeps them up counting sheep all night. Strangely, caffeine puts me to bed. I blame the warm liquid. Stress is my stimulation; that and strange noises. I had a ridiculously short temper so have found that exercise and meditation help me to reduce external stimulation and to just chill. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lessons to live by


I can't be too sure where I found this list as it was a long time ago, but have found it always helpful when I'm not sure what comes next. Over time I have changed bits to fit with my life better, but if you know its original source, please tell me so I may credit it :) I hope it helps you too.

1. Always give people more than they expect to receive. Do so cheerfully.

2. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or loaf all you want.

3. When you say "I love you", mean it.

4. When you say "I'm sorry", look the person in the eyes.

5. Be engaged for at least 6 months before marriage.

6. Never laugh at someone's dreams. People without dreams don't have much at all.

7. Love deeply and passionately. There's a good chance you're going to get hurt, but you take a bigger risk by never loving at all.

8. In disagreements, always fight fairly. Leave the name-calling out of it.

9. Don't judge people by their relatives, or the life they were born into.

10. Teach yourself to speak slowly but think quickly.

11. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

12. Call your mum.

13. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

14. Follow the three Rs: Respect for yourself, respect for others and responsibility for your actions.

15. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

16. When you realise you have made a mistake, correct it as soon as humanly possible.

17. Smile when you answer your phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

18. Marry a person you love to talk to. When you're both older and not so youthful, looks will be far less important than your conversations together.

19. Remember to schedule in some alone time with yourself every now and then.

20. Sometimes silence is the best answer.

21. Don't just listen to what someone is saying. Listen to why they are saying it.

22. Share your knowledge. It's a way to reach immortality.

23. Be gentle with the earth. We only have one.

24. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.

25. Mind your own business.

26. Never trust anyone who doesn't close their eyes while kissing.

27. Once a year, go somewhere you've never been before.

28. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

29. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

30. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

31. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

32. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for one another.

33. Live with the knowledge that your character is your destiny.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011: The year that was.


Way back at the beginning of this year I wrote a post about all the things I wished to achieve by the end of 2011. Now that I am on work holidays and have the clarity to think back on the past few months, I don't feel as though I really achieved anything on my list. I didn't go to Melbourne. I didn't go anywhere actually. This year I have probably done less travelling than any other year to date. I didn't successfully learn french, let alone learn enough to read a book. The doors of my wardrobe are papered with french words and phrases, and while I see them every day, I couldn't tell you 1-10 unless you had a reasonable amount of time to waste on me trying to remember. The fact is, I didn't do what I set out to do.

What I did do though, I think was much more valuable. I became a vegan. This is a huge part of me now. I write another blog, Vegan Earth as well as helping out with articles for Vegan Era website. I was published in Wild Fire, which is a vegan magazine by the lovely Kohii Love. I am about to write and publish a mammoth article about raising vegan children. And while saying isn't doing, I plan on advocating for animals in the next year.

I became a volunteer. For Vegan Era and for Northern Rivers Animal Services. Had I not taken these opportunity I would not have met my beautiful Patches. He came to us a very loud and angry Bengal of 7 months. While it has been incredibly straining on me introducing him and my other baby, Allegra, I wouldn't change a thing. He is full of beans and never sits still for more than a few minutes without destroying something.

I learnt to let go. I have always been a very highly strung person. I find it incredibly hard to sit back and just enjoy the moment. I have learnt to just say no when I can't give anymore where the old me would have pushed myself to the edge. Self preservation I guess; there is no point running yourself into the ground.

My hopes for 2012 are basic. To stop swearing. To save a decent amount of money. To move out.

Did your 2011 turn out how you had hoped it would?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Twenty Two: The Age of Maturity?


Next week marks a landmark in my life; my 22nd birthday. While 22 is not as important a milestone as an 18th or 21st, to me it marks an age of maturity and responsibility; the age where you can no longer pretend to be a child.

How I perceive age is that at 18 you are an adult in the eyes of the law, however are still treated as a child in regards to still being an adolescent. At 21 we begin to settle down. Some into long lasting relationships while other into commitments of other sorts such as car loans and mortgages. By this age we are beginning to finish up our tertiary studies and begin a professional career.

This to me is terrifying. For the next week at least I am a 21 year old woman with zero savings and the ambition to write. I don’t have the perception of a ‘career’ as per say, as more of a yearning to follow my words where they shall lead me. I know that I want to build my life on the foundations of veganism, goodness and writing and inside my mind I feel I shall always be proud of my achievements, however I don’t feel this will translate into a worldview worth to the people around me or those who try to judge my worth on a monetary scale.

And this is why I am afraid of 22. While it is the Great Unknown where I may create my own truths, how society will perceive me terrifies me. I do not feel I have ticked off enough of society’s checklist that is created for people becoming young adults. While I have never lived out of home, saved a significant amount of money or travelled abroad, I have however done exactly what I love to do. I have conquered illness, became my own inspiration, pushed my limits and let other lean on me.

I hope that when my day of ‘maturity’ comes next week that I may forget about stereotypes and remember that while I haven’t done everything on my list, I have still done a hell of a lot. The future is unwritten and I shall write it at my own pace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



It has occurred to me lately that maybe we aren't the sum of our achievements. We are the sum of our characters. Of our beliefs; of our morals; of our passions. I have been trying to hard to be a writer that I forgot to be Melissa. Melissa the daughter, sister, lover, friend, co-worker, vegan, female, cat person. Melissa the unwritten.

And I think this is the truth of all of us. We are striving towards the 9 - 5 and totally denying the Great Perhaps. We live our lives the same was we live our days. We need to step back and see what it is that we are missing in life before it is too late.

We are taking our lives for granted. I think that at 80, at this rate, we will look back and think "What on earth was I thinking? It was all there in front of me and I threw it away". I can only hope I can find it within myself to stop when I notice myself missing the forest for the trees and to learn to just live. Because all we have in the end, is life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

And I say sorry.


I think that people value life too poorly. We consume the flesh of innocent creatures several times a day without a care to whether the he or she on our plate suffered throughout life and during death. We don't even care to stop and wonder whether they were a he or a she. From that creatures first breath it had a tiny heart, tiny nose, eyes and a little pair of ears. They are not so different from you and I.

We play games where the prime role is to inflict death on those opposing us. We stab, maim, torture, rape and stalk our own kind. We reoffend and reoffend. We cheat on our partners, lie to our friends and family, disrespect ourselves over and over again.

We are ripping down entire rain forests to use as commodities. We are overfishing our oceans to the point of extinction, we are destroying our ozone layer with harmful products. We are destroying the only planet we will ever have.

How is our race; this so called 'alpha species' supposed to survive when all we do is destroy? A lot of the time I am disgusted for what we have done. I can't apologise enough for my kind's destructive and totalitarian nature. I may only hope for a generation removed from today that operates on a system of compassion instead of greed and gluttony

Monday, September 26, 2011

A time to begin


It has been a while since I have just sat down and wrote. I don't have a  good reason as to why this is. I can say I will not neglect to write but the reality is that I am human. We get sloppy and break promises with ourselves and others. We fall short of expectations.

I wish I was less like this and more like the person I want to be: one who doesn't waste so much precious time on trivial things. As we are all aware; life is timed. Nobody is immortal and we all have an expiry date.

This concept has really began to hit home with me recently. No, nobody in close proximity to my life has died nor have I recently experienced any particularly life-altering moments. It is just becoming more apparent everyday that at 21; it really is time to move out of my parent's home.

There are times where I look back and wish I have saved more of my money so I could leave home or take more financial risks however my reality is that that money is gone; spent on bits and pieces. All we have is the present and it is everything we make it. Hopefully with a little careful planning, I will be able to afford to live the life I can only afford in my head.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How do we measure worth?


On the exterior, humanity measures worth in terms of looks, possessions and wealth. I personally have never understood this concept. I believe your 'worth' is determined by your heart - not the physical beating organ but by how you treat others; what you wish in those around you. I would like to hope that everyone gauges worth in this same concept; not because it is my belief but because people would be kinder if they did.

Girls are dying of anorexia because they are trying to live up to the worldly expectations of beauty being synonymous with being thin. If only someone would tell them that the single most beautiful thing you can be is yourself.

Beauty is subjective - which means that out of the six billion beautiful individuals that we share this planet with, you will always be surrounded by love. We are never alone. Yet, why is it that people are found dead in their homes years after they have passed on? What has happened to humanity that we can't even pop in next door to see if our elderly neighbours are alright? When did we become obsessed with our image and less about our minds?

I hope that for not even one moment I succumb to this way of existence. I hope I may always have it within myself to help those less fortunate. And to remember that 'less fortunate' doesn't always mean poorer. There are many ways to be disadvantaged. I hope I can love unconditionally; even those who test my patience and my beliefs. I hope that I may help others to see the beauty within themselves.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coming to life


I feel that I am going through a moment of great change in my life. I have come to a fork in the road where I have to choose between continuing on eating consciously but not really doing much else about animal cruelty - or I can choose to come to life.

Lately I have felt unfulfilled and haven't been able to put my finger on why. At my current job I am working two days a week and it has me considering what to do with the other five days. Do I sit on my ass watching hercules re-runs? Should I finally push through my procrastination and study?

I would really like to volunteer with an animal shelter or an animal rights place. I really want to get into advocacy; or at a push activism. I just feel that I personally can't feel whole unless I do this. I will keep you posted on how my efforts pan out.

As I promised long ago, here are a few links of pure gold, enjoy :)

Vegan Eats

Sustainable shopping

The beginning of something beautiful


Sunday, July 31, 2011

To future expectations


I feel I have been neglecting to write lately, on here and in general. I'm finding the more time goes by, the more excuses I can come up with. Life gets in the way, assignments need to get done, the dishes need washing, the list goes on. But, I think, what truly makes a writer is getting in there when you're tired, cold, in a bad mood, or knowing there is a pile of other stuff to be done. Being a writer is writing at unattractive times when you would prefer to be doing something else.

So, taking this into consideration, I hope to "blog" a whole lot more in the future, as opposed to my track record of one per month, which to be honest, is quite dismal. I can only hide behind the facade of writer's block for so long.

Here is to keeping my promises :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moon and Moon


There is a depravity deep within this hour. The world has long fallen into slumber and only the owls and insomniacs remain. Winter’s chill is especially harsh to those who do not dream. To those who choose to sit stagnantly and watch the dark turn to light and back to dark again. It is only in the space where time and mind are left behind that the prospect of clarity may be bartered for. We are those who do not wish to dream. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tofu doesn't scream.


Back in February, I made the pledge to become a vegetarian. I thought 'Ah yeah, give it a month! You may just like it'. I lasted one glorious week. It was then that I realised I needed to do more. Humanity is single-handedly destroying this planet, and for what? Cruelty. Now I am no expert on the topic but I do know that we are breeding creatures for consumption, for entertainment, for clothing, for experimentation. We are sending baby animals to the slaughter right after birth when they need their mothers. We are skinning animals alive to wear as handbags or jackets. Why? It is so unnecessary. It is our shame.

I have now been a vegan for seven solid weeks. I couldn't stand to look away any longer. And to be honest I am feeling amazing! Cruelty-free is cheaper, and so it should be! You can't put a price on life. Vegans (myself included) are usually thinner, healthier and more energetic than the average omnivore.
Soon I will post some cruelty-free brands and websites I am completely in lust with. They have made my transition to compassionate living just that little easier :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011: The year that will be.


With this new year Im feeling a breath of fresh enthusiasm for all the things I have been putting off lately. The last few weeks I have been knuckling down and getting through my third session of my B.Arts for 2010. I think it is about time I start enjoying myself so without no further ado, here are a few things I would love to achieve in the next year :)

1. Read a novel in French: I have always wanted to be fluent in French. I am hoping by the end of this year I finally will be! 'Bonjour, je m'appelle Melissa. Et tu?'

2. Go to a festival: In all my 21 years I have never been to a festival! I saw Birds of Tokyo in my hometown of Ballina last year, which I must saw was mindblowing, but other than that I am a concert virgin.

3. Get published in Frankie magazine: From the word 'go' I have been deeply in lust with this magazine. It is so beautifuuly illustrated and always leaves me feeling nostalgic and filled with inspiration

4. Graduate from university!: Phew! This will be a massive load of my shoulders as any uni student will tell you! Then off into the land of journalism I go.

5. Get an internship: This is a biggie. On my vast websurfing travels I have come to the conclusion that no writer/journo gets any breaks without having work experience or an internship under their belt so I will hopefully be undertaking this rite of passage too :)

6. Visit Melbourne: I am a winter child. Despite being a summer baby (literally; my birthday is the 1st December) I have always had winter chills, autumn leaves and rain deep within my bones. From what I hear, Victoria is COOOLD. I swear my pending trip has nothing to do with the insane amount of shopping to be had... :D

7. Smile: Because what the world needs more of is happiness!

And so there is my list; its not too simple but still achievable I believe :) Lets see how far I get!