Thursday, January 16, 2014

What defines you?, by Lizzie Velasquez.

In a time when beauty is defined by supermodels, success is defined by wealth, and fame is deified by how many followers you have on social media, Lizzie Velasquez asks the question how do you define yourself? Once labeled, "The Worlds Ugliest Woman," Lizzie decided to turn things around and create her own definitions of what she defines as beauty and happiness.

What Media Does To Women, by Jean Kilbourne.

It's a fact: Almost 100% of the images you see of models and celebrities are altered.

10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Unhappy Self, by Saren Stiegel.

If you ran into me today, my ear-to-ear smile may fool you into thinking that I’ve always had this joyful thing happening. If you met me a year ago, you’d probably run the other direction. I was just that unhappy. Now that I’m (sort of) getting the hang of this thriving thing, I've been thinking a lot about that rough time.

While I was a Chicago attorney, I felt like I was falling down a black hole. On the surface, I’d acquired all the trappings of success, but my discontent manifested in weekly illnesses and ailments, constant bitchiness, hating myself, loneliness, exhaustion, and craving other people’s lives. At times I thought that antidepressants and patience were the cure, but I knew there had to be another answer.

After quitting my job, starting my own business, and moving to Los Angeles, I can't say that everyday is a cakewalk, but I certainly can say that I love my life. More than anything I wish I could sit down with my single, unhappy self. This is what I'd say:

1. Things can and will change.

Even without actively changing the situation, everything evolves. All is temporary, so please take "stuck," "ruined," and "defeated" out of your vocabulary.

2. Believe in good people (aka not all men are jerks).

Imagine the greatest people you can: lots of fun, talented, generous, trustworthy, communicative, humorous, loyal, etc. These people will become your friends and your partner when you hold yourself to higher standards and look for the beauty in every person you meet. Believe that these gems are out there, and they will appear.

3. Invest in your happiness.

I'm well aware that you've spent many years and pennies on your education, but you're not done learning. I'm sorry that I'm not sorry. Now, you get to learn things that fuel your passion and self-­growth. Don't skimp on this kind of learning. It will bring you more joy than anything else.

4. An abundant life comes from focusing on what you have.

Notice how you feel when you list the things you lack — your body contracts, you stop seeing the goodness you already have, you block abundance. Focusing on what you do have creates not only an attitude of gratitude, but also an openness that allows you to receive more.

5. Challenge is not meant to break you.

You won't fulfill some greater good in the future without this experience. Your current difficulties are serving a purpose that requires the strength you're building right now. The second you believe that your circumstances are preparing, rather than breaking you, you've opened yourself up to endless possibilities.

6. Trust your instincts — ­­always!

Remember that time you were hired as an associate attorney, then within five minutes felt conflicted and got a stomachache? This was a lesson in ignoring your intuition. You proceeded to let sickness and negativity eat away at you without listening to signs that say, "PLEASE CHANGE SOMETHING!" Please listen.

7. When you feel lack, give.

I know you're feeling scared about love and money, not having enough, not creating more, and losing it. I challenge you to give in those times of scarcity and grasping. Give give give. In the action of giving you release the gripping, opening yourself up to receive more. Put simply, give to live until you live to give.

8. Rejection is protection.

It may be difficult to see, but the put-downs, losses, and disappoints are a blessing. You're being protected from putting your energy somewhere other than your purpose. If you meet Mr. Right before you’re ready, you won’t do all of the amazing things the universe has in store for you.

9. Your misery is affecting everyone.

You think that it's selfish to deeply love yourself and create a life that you're crazy about. Well, FYI, darling, your misery is aging your mother, depleting your father, annoying your brother, depressing your friends, scaring off new ones, and rippling through the lives of every person you mean mug. It is infinitely more selfish to remain miserable.

10. Be the hero of your own life.

True, things will change without you doing anything (read #1). However, once you take responsibility for your own happiness, instead of blaming your job, the weather, your friends and family, or the government — making yourself a victim — you can become the hero of your own life. When you actively seek truth, joy, and love, with the vulnerability and diligence you deserve, a fantastic transformation will not be withheld from you.
Read original post here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Three Secrets to Happiness, by Sam Berns.

About three months before he passed away, 17-year-old Sam Berns gave this speech explaining his dislike for obstacles and his strategies for beating them. When he was 2 years old, Sam was diagnosed with the rare disease progeria, which causes rapid aging and various other side effects, none of which could prevent Sam from leading a happy life.

The original video, made by TEDx, is just one of lots of things Sam did in his many efforts to make the world a better place. You can get to know him better through his HBO documentary as well as help find a cure for this awful disease by checking out Progeria Research Foundation.

Read original article here.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Juicing or Blending? by Vanessa.

Juicing is the single easiest way to squeeze nutrition into your diet for a sharp mind, slim figure and non-stop energy, let me show you what juicing is and how to do it the right way.

There are generally two types of juices.  Both are plant based concoctions of fruits, vegetables and greens, but made in a different way.  

The number one thing people ask me?  Yes, it's  "Can I use a blender to juice?"  My answer:'s yes, aaaand no :)

The two types of juices are extracted juice and blender juice.  Both good, but different.  It's quite a hot topic, actually.  Let me explain...

Juicing is extracting all the fresh raw juice from produce.  No pulp, seeds or fibers.  Just liquid juice.  To make these types of juices you need a juicer machine. This is what most people are referring to when they talk about "juicing."

Blender juicing is when you combine the pulp, fiber and juice (the whole shebang) into a liquid juice.  For this type of juice you need a blender.  These are a spin off of smoothies and are basically watery smoothies.

Technically speaking, real traditional juicing is done through an extractor and has the pulp removed.  It's also the most nutritious and best way to juice, in my opinion.   You can pack more nutrition into a glass of juiced juice then you can in a blended juice, simply because it's concentrated.  

But for people who don't have a juicer or just plain prefer blending, blended juices are great for your diet too.  The blender still breaks down the fibers so your body can easily digest the nutrients. 

And some fruits and vegetables that don't juice well in an extractor work better in a blender.  For example, watermelons and papayas.  

Because these two types of "juices" are vastly different, the recipes are different.  If you are converting a juice recipe into a blender juice, you need to add water or more juicy produce to the mix.

I personally juice and make blender juices.  But most of my advice and recipes are about traditional juicing.  I recommend both, but juicing with a juice extractor is really the ultimate way to go. 

Hackschooling: This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education.


Logan Laplante is a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead. Not only was he home schooled, but Logan had the ability to tailor his education to his interests and also his style of learning, something traditional education does not offer. As Logan has mentioned, when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. At a TEDx talk in 2013, he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal.

Logan’s story can be seen in a similar light as Jacob Barnett‘s story who was first put in Special Ed by his school until he was pulled out of standard education and is now seen as an incredibly intelligent young person who is on track to winning a Nobel Prize one day.

More on Education & Homeschooling

Education is often considered the foundation for creating a well rounded and productive society, but this belief usually stems from being sure that those coming out of the education system are able to keep the cogs of society turning in order to maintain profit margins of large companies in a system that requires constant growth. Instead of having creative and out-of-the-box-thinking people, the current style of education creates more submissive, obedient and trained graduates so the current system is always maintained.

What this means is that standard education is focused less on each individual and their growth and more on creating a supply of worker bees that can go out into the world and follow within the confines the system sets out. Sir Ken Robinson gave a famous TED talk in 2007 where he discussed his beliefs about how education kills creativity. This TED talk is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time and  has inspired many to re-think the way we are educating our children. Since traditional education is still taking its time with adjusting, many are turning to homeschooling as a solution as it allows children to explore education much like Logan did.

Currently about 3.8% of children ages 5 – 17 are home schooled in the US. In Canada, that number drops to about 1%. This is a number that is expected to continue growing in both countries as more see the limitations of our current education system. Also, studies done in the US and Canada show that home schooled children out perform their peers from both private and public schools.

In my view, home schooling is much more likely to create a creative, adaptive, and forward thinking person who is less conditioned to think only within the small confines of a crumbling system. Does this mean it is for everyone and that one can’t turn out that way through standard education? No, I simply feel the chances are far greater with homeschooling.

My decision to leave school behind when I was in college came from the same beliefs I hold today about education. I felt confined within the system and I felt it wasn’t going to lead me somewhere I wanted to be. It didn’t matter whether I was studying business, engineering, marketing or music, I did not enjoy the methods and couldn’t see a way to change things except by leaving. Aside from what society would make us think, leaving education and a diploma behind was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made as I was then able to explore and learn anything I wanted without having to worry about a rigid structure which promotes memorization and useless testing. I believe we will be OK if we leave the current education system behind and choose other methods. This isn’t to say homeschool is for everyone, but I truly believe that a drastic, and I mean drastic, change in the way our education system functions needs to happen, and soon.
Read the original article here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Truth About Chemistry, by Shelly Bullard.

Chemistry has a purpose. It's not random; it's not a fluke. There's essential information in the attraction that occurs between two people. 

It's important for us to know what chemistry is so we can use it to feel more love in our lives. Without understanding that there's a secret order to love, we feel out of control. And no one likes that.

Don't worry, you're not out of control. You're just in love. And there's a reason you feel a strong chemical attraction towards the people you do. That's what I'm going to discuss today.

I often hear people talk about chemistry as if it's a bad thing. Like we should be wary of the people we're attracted to the most. And I understand why this is a common warning: Because these people tend to bring our issues to the surface. 

It's true that strong attraction makes for a wild ride in love. But the question is: Is this really a bad thing? 

Some people will say yes. Sure, if you want life to be easy then the path of strong attraction isn't for you (Side note: Is there an easy path? I'm still trying to figure that one out). Of course, we all want love to be uncomplicated. But we are complicated! So why would our relationships be anything less? 

From a spiritual perspective, love is supposed to be a wild ride. This doesn't mean that we stick around in relationships that are abusive or feel horrible to be in. But it does mean we recognize that love will provoke us to grow into fuller versions of ourselves. And this isn't easy! 

Feelings such as of insecurity, doubt, fear, jealousy, judgement, and contempt (all ego feelings) will appear with the people we desire most. Because of this, many of us categorize these highly attractive relationships as "bad" or "unhealthy." Spiritually speaking, however, these relationships are doing what they're supposed to do — they're provoking your ego to surface so you can transform it.  

When we remember that relationships are meant to teach us growth, we approach the "bad" very differently. We know that there is a lesson in every challenge — that lesson is to regain a connection to love. 

Lessons of love take on many different forms. Sometimes reconnecting with love means leaving the relationship. Sometimes reconnecting with love means sticking around and working through the challenges. Sometimes the lesson is learning to forgive your partner. Sometimes the lesson is learning to forgive yourself. 

Yes, we all want peace in relationships; they're supposed to be blissful and loving. And when they aren't, we know we've fallen off the path of love and we have to get back on track. This is how we grow. 

Don't bypass or downplay the chemistry you feel; remember that it exists for a reason. The people you're most attracted to are your greatest teachers in love. Show up for the lessons they have for you.

The "What I Be Project", by Steve Rosenfield.

Twelve years ago Steve Rosenfield was working a 9-to-5 job. While successful, he wasn’t happy.
Twelve years ago Steve Rosenfield was working a 9-to-5 job. While successful, he wasn't happy.

Closed off and uncomfortable being honest, he had a hard time connecting to those around him. So he quit his job, and spent four years traveling the world.

Closed off and uncomfortable being honest, he had a hard time connecting to those around him. So he quit his job, and spent four years traveling the world.

When he finished he asked his friend Amanda to display her greatest insecurity proudly on her body. And she did.

When he finished he asked his friend Amanda to display her greatest insecurity proudly on her body. And she did.
Image by Steve Rosenfield

1. As did more than a thousand more…

As did more than a thousand more...
“I am not my vices”

2. “I am not my depression”

"I am not my depression"
Image by Steve Rosenfield

3. “I am not my hips”

“I am not my hips”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

4. “I am not my dyslexia”

“I am not my dyslexia”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

5. “I am not my success”

“I am not my success”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

6. “I am not my sentence”

“I am not my sentence”
Image by Steve Rosenfield
25 to life. That’s what they told me I was facing for the 2 counts of involuntary manslaughter, 18 counts of trafficking narcotics and 1 count of conspiracy. At 15 years old, I managed to gain all of that in one. single. night. The worst night of my life. The night that I decided that it would be cool to steal some methadone pills, sell them at the Homecoming football game and I gave into peer pressure…Two of my friends, young boys whom I loved and cared for, who were 15 and 17 years old, died that night from overdosing. Dead. Lives GONE, families TORN. I was arrested a few days later and then sentenced to 12 years. By the grace of God, I served only 4 in a youth prison down in Southern California, and at 19, I was released.

7. “I am not my turban”

“I am not my turban”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

8. “I am not my dysmorphia”

“I am not my dysmorphia”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

9. “I am not my therapy”

“I am not my therapy”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

10. “I am not my guard”

“I am not my guard”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

11. “I am not my traumatic brain injury”

“I am not my traumatic brain injury”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

12. “I am not my diabetes”

“I am not my diabetes"
Image by Steve Rosenfield

13. “I am not my drama”

“I am not my drama”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

14. “I am not my selfishness”

“I am not my selfishness”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

15. “I am not my abortion”

“I am not my abortion”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

16. “I am not my gender”

“I am not my gender”
Image by Steven Rosenfield

17. “I am not my viruses”

“I am not my viruses”

18. “I am not my gender”

“I am not my gender”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

19. “I am not my weirdness”

“I am not my weirdness”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

20. “I am not my envy”

“I am not my envy”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

21. “I am not my ways”

“I am not my ways”

22. “I am not my sexuality”

“I am not my sexuality”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

23. “I am not my indecision”

“I am not my indecision”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

24. “I am not my emotions”

“I am not my emotions”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

25. “I am not my quietness”

“I am not my quietness”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

26. “I am not my detachment”

“I am not my detachment”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

27. “I am not my molestation”

“I am not my molestation”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

28. “I am not my attempts”

“I am not my attempts”
Image by Steve Rosenfield

"I am not my amputation."
"I am not my molestation."
"I am not my number."
"I am not my abortion."
"I am not my adoption."
"I am not my character."
"I am not my thoughts."
"I am not my guilt."

"The 'What I Be Project' is all about honesty," Rosenfield writes on his site. "In today’s society, we are told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these 'standards,' we are often judged, ridiculed, and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind and heart."

The project -- started in September of 2010 -- covers a broad population of people dealing with career obstacles, eating disorders, chronic illness, self-harm and disabilities, among many, many other things. With over 1,100 images under his belt, Rosenfield began asking his volunteers to write essays to accompany their images to provide more context for an upcoming book.
"I encourage every viewer to look at each image and put yourself in the individuals shoes," the photographer adds. "By allowing yourself to feel what they feel, you might realize something you’ve never noticed before."
Follow his project on Facebook.