Coffee Turned Feminist Rant

So it all started when I went to have my coffee…

I love coffee. I love the taste. I love the smell. I love the smooth liquid sliding down my throat and warming me from the inside out. I love coffee so much, that I moved to Seattle. Okay, I’m kidding about that last part, but living in the Coffee City of America is a definite plus.

I started my addiction to the java bean at a young age. Every Labor day weekend when I was young, back when elementary school started Mid-September, my family would go camping. My birthday also happens to usually fall on Labor day weekend, and every year for my birthday, my dad would make me a special cup of coffee. It was my favorite present. This tradition continued until I got old enough to make my own coffee, and then, coffee sort of became this unspoken bond between my father and I. I think for us, it was an ode to those years camping, and the memories we had.

Since I’ve been a coffee junkie for a while, I definitely have my specific tastes when it comes to how I prepare my coffee. First, I use whole coffee beans and grind them each morning. This way, the coffee’s oil is at its most flavorful. Second, I use Arabica coffee beans that are dark roasted. In my opinion, this is a bold flavor for those who enjoy the true essence of coffee. I then use the drip brewing method to preserve and enhance the taste of my coffee. Lastly, as I am still sort of a wuss, I sweeten it up a bit with some almond milk and honey.

Honey. My second addiction. I love honey. I love the taste. I love the different types. I love the golden color. I love that it’s natural. Problem is, beside the fact that the bee population is dwindling, is that honey isn’t cheap. Nor should it be I suppose, if you think about all the hard work the bees to do produce that honey. Anyways, to cut down on costs, I’ve been using less honey, which means my coffee is becoming less sweet.

As it so happens, today, I did not put any honey in it. I figured I’d try and go with just the almond milk. It’s the closest thing I could get to straight black coffee….the coffee lover’s goal. Quite proud of myself for taking a step toward this accomplishment, I went to “the Facebook” to brag.

At first, I wanted to come up with something witty about how Seattle is turning me into a coffee pro. But…pro wasn’t the right word. I was practically already a pro. I had my preferences, my methods. No…to drink black coffee, you have to be brave. No, brave wasn’t right either. Brave sounds like you’re afraid to drink black coffee. But that’s the whole goal! Yeah it’s hard to drink black coffee starting off and like the taste. To drink black coffee, is to drink like a man. That is essentially what I wanted to say. Drinking coffee like a man, tough, bold, strong.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t write that. Drinking coffee ‘like a man’ isn’t a proper way to describe an action. So I went to the thesaurus, being sure there was a proper word to describe this feeling. There wasn’t. In the end, I typed masculine, to find the synonyms I was looking for, bold, strong, brave, honorable. Under synonyms were the antonyms, weak, shy, timid, cowardly, feminine.

At this point I didn’t even care about the coffee post on Facebook. I was appalled. I was appalled that we associated these characteristics with these genders, which often get confused with our physical sex. To be a woman is to be feminine, and to be feminine is apparently weak, shy, timid, and cowardly.

Our society accepts this. I mean, it’s in a thesaurus for crying out loud. Is this what we want to teach our children….our girls? That being a female is associated with these qualities? These qualities that confine us and limit our power and potential as humans? We need to start redefining what being a female is. It is not weak. It is not cowardly. Being a woman is what we make it.

Feminism is growing, and women are standing up more and more for their rights. Seeing a bit of sexism written in a book on the English language shows me that we need to culturally redefine our interpretations and beliefs on women and what we are capable of…

like drinking a cup of black coffee.

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Tip to Self: Remember to Have Fun along the Way

So I am not sure if you are aware or not, but I no longer live in the state of Illinois. In fact, I have moved out of the Midwest to live life in the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend, Tom. Just two weeks ago, we packed up our cars and drove about 2,000 miles to Seattle, Washington. We are both starting new chapters in our lives. He is attending Bastyr School of Naturopathic Medicine, while I plan to develop my career in Interior Design.

Even though I am an efficient planner, organizer, and manager, moving to a new city can frazzle the best of us. It is stepping into the unknown with the hope and inner wisdom that it will all be worth it in the end. These past two weeks have weighed heavily on my stress and emotions. I’ve even broken down in a Wholefoods, which seems to be a theme in my Seattle Wholefood experiences. I wish I could blame it all on the full moon, but I had a realization that I am just someone who likes ‘knowing’. This whole ‘stepping out into the unknown’ has put my desire for peace, order, and control into full-drive and my sanity can only take so much…

We are at the stage now of organizing our apartment. Usually, I like organizing, but it’s quite a challenge when you’re trying to fit three cars worth of stuff into 325 square feet of space (I guess my dream of ‘tiny living’ is coming true). Anywho, I’ve gotten to unpacking my crystals. Maybe it’s the energy, I don’t know, but unwrapping my earthy beauties from their newspaper packaging filled me with the feeling of Christmas day as a child. All the excitement and joy I got when I got to touch and see them made me relax, and for the first time in a while, I was calm. I wasn’t thinking about the millions of things we still need to do. I was living in the moment. I was having fun.

This experience made me realize that I need to have more moments like these. That I need to allow myself more moments like these. Yes, I am someone who likes order and having a plan. But I also need to have fun every now and then. Sometimes I think of fun as childish, but sometimes being childish is the key to a happier and healthier self. Note to self: Act more like a child.

The End of a Chapter

It’s 5:42 am, central time, and I cannot sleep. In less than five hours I will be on the road heading to my new home in Seattle. Ever since the summer of 2014, when I took my first road trip out west and saw the magnificent Emerald City, I have wanted to live there. Manifesting my dream for the past two years, I snatched the opportunity and today, I am making this dream a reality.

As the excitement of a new city is on the horizon, I cannot help but feel bittersweet about this moment. There is an underlying sadness of the ending to a chapter of my life. I have grown up and lived in the same town all my life (St. Charles, Illinois), and my roots are deep in the midwest. There are so many memories engrained here, and as I laid in bed last night, I could not help but reflect on them…

My Home

West of the city of St. Charles, on the outskirts of town, is a subdivision that is home to a plethora of ranch-style homes. In this subdivision, nestled on 1 1/2 acres, there is a split-level ranch with a long driveway and a mushroom painted mailbox as a marker for all the new comers who have trouble finding the address. I have lived in this house all my life.  That is my home. I know its bones, its history. I can tell you that on a summer eve, if you are swimming in the pool, you can see the fruit bats that come out to eat the bugs, and you better dive under water for shelter. I can tell you about the chorus frogs that sing in the late spring in the marsh behind our property. Or about the one room in the house, my bedroom, that is the coldest room in the winter and the hottest room in the summer. Or the apple trees in our backyard. I can go on and on, because to me, this place will always be my home.

My Friends & Family

I am someone who when it comes to friendships, chooses quality over quantity. I have always had a small group of fiends, and while these groups may have changed thought the years, there have always been one or two people who have remained close to, and I can call them lifelong friends. My first and longest friendship started when I was six, and my new neighbors moved in. They had a young daughter my age, and our first playdate turned into a 18+ year friendship. Our childhood was spend in our backyards playing make-believe, and our tween years were spent in our basements playing N64 and Playstation. I went to her wedding last May, and our friendship is irreplaceable. Then in high school, freshman year I was on the dive team. At my school, though we shared a pool with the swimmers, swimming and diving are two different worlds. However, there was a senior swimmer that took interest in me, and I became her “surrogate daughter”. Even after she graduated, we remained friends, and even bought me my first drink when I turned 21. When I started college, I remember not knowing anyone at the school, and for the first couple days, I was a ball of nerves and tears, but as fate would have it, I sat at a table with three other folks who I developed a connection with. They were my “dysfunctional family” and we would joke about our relationship. I of course was the grandma, as my responsible nature gave me that title. I kept in contact with one of the group-members, and we still call each other “grandson” and “grandma”. Lastly, there is my family at the Crystal Shop where I worked these past two years. I had only been working there for three months when we hired on a new staff member who was still in high school. When I first met him, I thought, “Oh, dear god.” as I didn’t quite appreciate his sense of humor at the time. But we slowly grew into a great duo, and even created our own podcast and music videos, which I am pretty sure are still up on Youtube. All of these people I have kept near and dear to my heart, and I cannot help but feel sadness in knowing that I won’t have those face-to-face moments as often as I had.

Like I said, it’s exciting starting a new chapter, but with starting something new means that something present will have to come to an end. All of the memories and moments I have from these past 24 years I will cherish. As I drive out today, I feel like I am leaving a part of me behind. I sort of wish I was. That I could be in two places at once. I guess that is a part of growing up. To make these tough choices, knowing that you need to leave something behind in order to move forward. I will miss you Illinois. Even though your corn fields are the worst to drive past, your temperatures fluctuate more than a PMSing woman, and you have a horrible bug problem, I will miss you.

Bronzed Heart: Letting Go Of the Ego

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On my breaks at work from the Crystal shop, I enjoy going on walks down by the Fox River. There is a park on a little island in the Fox, which is a rather quaint and charming stroll through shady oaks, fresh cut grass, and city planted gardening. Today on my walk, I crossed the bridge to get onto the island, as I do many times. But this time something made me stop and think.

On the bridge was a bronzed plaque with the name of the Bridge. It was named after a specific person, first and last name, and unfortunately I cannot remember the exact name, but this bronze plaque was named after someone for a reason.

It stopped and made me think, Who was this person? What did they do to get their name on a bridge? There are many objects with bronze plaques on them, benches, schools, buildings, even a whole walk of fame in Hollywood. There are memerable names: Rockefeller, Columbus, Trump, Edison . All of people who I particularity question their morals. These men were forward-thinkers, and while they did contribute to society, it was their greed and ruthlessness that got them fame and fortune.

Many people are driven by ego. The ego to succeed and become better than everyone else. The ego to win. We prize having our names go down in history, imprinted throughout the ages in bronze plaques. Remember me, I was someone.

We are so caught up in our egos that we focus on building a tangible proof of our existence rather than letting our legacy spread on through our actions. Did we bring good into this world? Did we live a life that was full of love? Did we try and change it, to make it a better place? Activists such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Goodall, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama may not have had the intention to live on throughout history, but their actions of love, peace, and equality have given them immortality.

We may not reach such a global impact as them, but focusing on these actions of love instead of ego can allow us to let go of that desire and insecurity of needing to be recognized by society and future generations. Instead, we are filled with peace and happiness, knowing that our actions will live on instead.

So they can keep their bronze plaques, because my heart is full of gold.

Reflection: A Balance of Self-Improvement and Self -Acceptance

Hello Blog World!

Sorry that it’s been a while since I last posted anything. Recently I have been focusing on getting my business and lifestyle blog, Honey Lune Hivery, off the ground. Every now and then though, something occurs in my life that connects to the growth of mind, body, and soul, which is what Tortuga de Lune was established for.

Probably the other reason that I rarely post is that honestly, life has been pretty good to me. All aspects of my life are for the most part, balanced and at peace. Because of this, I have not been consciously focused on the tasks I once did regularly to strengthen my mental well-being. Don’t get me wrong, I am not totally slacking, but I’ve been focusing my attention on other self-improvement activities.

Tonight though, while I was doing my restorative yoga, my mind started to wander off and reflect. I reflected about myself. I thought about how far I have come as a person, my achievements and growth. I also started to think about what improvements I still would like to make. This sort of lead into a slippery slope of then thinking about my flaws. The Virgo that I am, I started to analyze and criticize myself, thinking about the things I needed to work on to make me an even better person. I had to stop myself.

Oddly enough, reflecting on reflecting, I realized that it was something, while beneficial for self-growth and happiness, could also lead to my anxieties of inadequacy. There needed to be a balance of knowing what I needed to work on, but also knowing and accepting some of my “weaknesses” as they are. I am not perfect, and despite my Virgo mentality of striving towards perfection, I will never BE perfect. Realizing that I am only human, I can accept that I do have “weaknesses”. That being said, I know that I can improve my weaknesses if I am conscious of them and mindfully try to work on them each day. If I slip up, it is not my job to reflect about my faults in a negative manner, but instead to focus on the positive goal of trying again the next day and never giving up.

Like I said, reflection is a great tool, but tools can be used in different ways. The goal is to balance the duality of ourselves. The positive and negative sides of reflection. The self-improvement vs. the self-acceptance. As everything seems to be, it all comes down to balance.

Namaste.

How to Achieve Balance within Your Life

As a child, I excelled at balancing. Climbing trees, doing cartwheels, and dancing all helped in this natural ability. Despite this physical capability, I had a hard time in balancing aspects of my life. I would spend hours watching TV, or way too much time on one portion of what made up my life. This unbalance infiltrated in my mind, which led to the coined term “black and white thinking”. My thoughts and views were on the extreme ends of the scale. They was no “grey ground”. Because of this, areas of my life suffered. I was unproductive, unhappy, and unhealthy.

When I started my own journey on self-healing, I focused on bringing balance back into my life. In return to gaining balance, I found myself becoming happier and healthier. In my discovery of balance, I gained my own personal tools to achieving harmony.

YOGA

Yoga is more that just physical balance. It is a disciplined practice that involves stillness and strength of the mind. These two opposing ideas blend together in holding poses and focusing on the breath and body. Yoga showcases determination and calmness. It is a gentle power with in us emerging. I realized this power within me when I first started yoga. From practicing poses and counter poses, as well as this balance of yin and yang energies, yoga was a gateway into bringing more balance into my life.

ROUTINE

While it is not good to get stuck in a rut because of it, having a routine was something that helped me in physically balancing out the aspects of my life. By following the guidelines of a daily list I set up for myself, I was able to be more productive, and my health and happiness improved. Everyone’s routine is different, but for me, my health was very important. I had neglected that for such a long time, that it had become my top priority. Each day, I make a goal to myself to do something that helps my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

MINDFULNESS

Another helpful tool, mindfulness was so beneficial. Being aware and conscious of when I was off balance, I could refocus my attention on how to harmonize this. I looked at the balance around me, through yin-yang energies, the sun and moon, light and dark, earth and sky. When I noticed the balance around me, it made me see and want to achieve the balance within myself.

I had finally found balance in my life. Noticing that like the scale that often tips, our lives are not always going to be “in-balance”. We too may “tip” slightly every now and again, but by learning about balance, we can more easily help in reharmonizing our scales.

Individuality vs. Wholeness

Being a natural observer and philosopher, I have been pondering the idea of wholeness vs. individuality. The balancing act. We as a species, seek wholeness in our community. To feel a sense of love and belonging. To form social bonds. We as individuals though, seek individuality and uniqueness, through our egos. To be one of a kind. It is a goal, to seek harmony within these two views.

This rarely seems to happen though. Often times, people get this idea of wholeness mixed up with the idea of fitting in. But conforming to the limitations of “fitting in” proves failure in both wholeness and individuality, for we are not only not our true, authentic selves because of this, we do not feel that sense of wholeness and acceptance because of it. Deep down, we know that this false image we portray can never fill us with the gratitude and happiness we seek.

Our society, for the majority, is one of judgement based on differences. We see this in race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. We see and hear about this frequently, mainly in major news, but the judgments that happen daily, in our everyday lives, are the ones about the free-thinkers. The questioning minds and rebelling souls. The quirky individuals that often get teased in high school for being weird. The ones that stand out, but in our society, that is seen as a bad thing because they are different. And we judge different.

Our family, our peers, the media, they all try to fit us into this mold. But why do we want to be a copy? Why try to be like everyone else? Why try to dim that burning fire inside of us when that is the thing that shines and makes us unique? Society needs to embrace these differences instead of shun them, because in reality, we are all unique. Many of us just don’t let our uniqueness show in fear of not obtaining that sense of wholeness and acceptance.

These changes need to happen on both ends of the spectrum, from the individual level and from the public. To shift our perspective to one of acceptance for all instead of mocking those that are different. Many great minds and leaders throughout the ages were the “oddballs”, “rebels”, etc. All because they chose to allow their fires to burn within them, letting themselves be taken by passion, by an idea, or however they let their uniqueness shine. So here’s to the free-thinkers, the rebels, the outcasts, the curious minds, and the lost souls. Their bravery of being themselves is a lesson for us to take note. Through them being their authentic selves and allowing their true identities and individualites to show, they are able to find wholeness and acceptance with others that have embraced this same idea of respecting and valuing our differences just as much as our similarities. So, here’s to the odd and the weird that makes this world a little bit brighter with their shining rays.

Stay weird. Stay beautiful.

An Exciting Endeavor

My blog has gone through so many transformations. Starting off as a recovery blog for self-help and personal growth, it has transformed with me, incorporating my spirituality and interest in crystals and the metaphysical, with my love of the environment and vegan eating.

Recently, I have had another “ah-ha” moment in which I want to incorporate more into my blog. Working at the crystal shop, I have found a calling in helping people empower themselves and to connect to spirituality and energies. Being of service and helping people is something that I feel very rewarded in. After all, I am a Virgo. I also have a passion for Interior Design. Knowing that this was what I wanted to major in when I took my first design class in high school, I persevered to make this dream a reality. Now that I am in the design world, I am stuck in a sort of limbo, where I love everything still about design, from space planning to finishes and materials, but not the service side of the business. My “ah-ha” moment came when I realized that I can combine my two current jobs into my own entrepreneurial expedition. I want to open my own design store/business, where I can sell environmental and energy decor/products as well as my services as a designer, where I focus on environmental design and feng shui.

So instead of making yet another transformation to this blog, I decided to start from scratch on this new endeavor, and created a new blog called Honey Lune Hivery. In this blog, I write about connecting to the environment and our spirituality through a simplistic and holistic way of natural living. I focus mainly on energy work, vegan recipes and natural products you can make with simple ingredients. Since spirituality and the environment are what I would like to incorporate into my products and design services, I have linked my etsy account, where I will be creating products and displaying my art that connects to these aspects.

I am not big on self-promotion, but I would appreciate if you check it out. My mission is to help and serve, spreading loving energies with my work. Thank you everyone who has been a part of my journey thus far! I appreciate you all and would love your support in my future dreams.

Namaste.

Life is a Journey, Not a Destination

“Life is a journey, not a destination”. Written on a large river rock, this saying had caught my eye a couple weeks ago while at work. A meaningful quote, yet meaningless to my life at the time, its importance was stored in the back of my mind, waiting until today to reveal its message.

A few words that describe me are competitive and ambitious. Earning a degree in the competitive world of design, I actively pursued internship opportunities and sought chances to advance in my career. My reach was high. I wasn’t one for settling. Having a clear goal for my future, I had revolved my achievements around that.

This was my thought pattern for the past six years of my life: get a cushy job in design, advance in my career, and gain social success. Then when I didn’t get that design job right after college, I began working at the crystal shop, and my consciousness shifted, and I found myself questioning my future plans. The materialistic glamour of contact design had lost its appeal to me, and I discovered I was more interested in holistic healing and helping others in their paths towards peace and harmony. Not wanting to botch my whole design degree (and those wonderful student loans I am still paying off), my new goal for my future is to merge the two—holistic design: creating spaces and selling products that raise our vibrations and heal us through our harmonious environments.

With this new goal in mind, I am also faced with the worries of any aspiring entrepreneur: Where to start? Will I be successful? Social media keeps reminding me of others who have their own businesses and have achieved success. Even some of my friends have made advancements towards their own future, and right now, I feel stuck in limbo (or a young adult life crisis). I have started doubting myself and how I will make this dream a reality. All my thoughts are envisioning the end result I want to achieve…my destination. These worries swarmed my mind for the past few days and yesterday while on the train, the answer came to me. The saying I’ve been noticing at work, “Life is a journey, not a destination” popped into my head and eased my troubled mind. It’s funny how the universe works that way, I see these words every day and think nothing of it, and then the moment comes where I find myself struggling to understand the lesson life has presented itself to me, they pop into my head, the light bulb comes on, and I learn why I was connecting to this saying.

The future is unknown, plans change, and we may take different paths than the ones we started off on. Life is a journey, full of lessons and experiences that shape us and allow us to grow. I may be very fixated on the end result of my dream, I need to focus on the part that is going to get me there: the journey. This quote also reminds me to not turn life into a competition. I’ve been seeing other’s success and comparing them to my own dreams. Everyone’s journey is different though, and I do not know their trails and experiences that allowed them to grow and achieve their dreams. What I can do right now is focus on my own journey and enjoy the process of getting there, to learn from the experiences I gain from my growth, to remember that everything takes time, and to have fun as well! Plan for the future, but live in the present and see where this journey takes me…