December 26, 2010 - 10:30 AM
This winter break, I have felt anything but energized. Though I have managed to get little bits of what I had hoped to get done finished, I have fallen far short of doing anything too spectacular. I have felt dense and sloth-like. My inspiration does not run congruently with my bouts of strength. Though various life events and unexpected cosmic forces could be blamed for some of this, for simplicity's sake, I will blame the majority of it on the terrible head cold that has taken over my being. It was bound to happen. A strong immune system can only battle off so much until it must succumb to some sort of cold strand. It will, in the end, be a better system for it, I am sure. Anyway, I digress.
This blog is supposed to be about Gaia Life Force. Why? Because it's beautiful and because I happen to live in one of its epicenters. My cold-ridden soul has been hidden under a pile of congestion, a sore throat, headaches, and all the rest of it for several days now. It is smothered and hoping to break free and to feel something wonderful again. This led me earlier to think about how wonderful it would be to just go jump into an ice-cold pool of salty Pacific Ocean water. Now, this may be a tad extreme and that may be the cold-induced mind talking, but it nevertheless held a powerful answer. My body was craving Gaia's Life Force. The jumping into a freezing ocean scenario is a go to because it is such a clear path to feeling such force. The cold power of the ocean overtakes the body and every cell becomes awakened.
No, I didn't go jump into the ocean. I did, however, stand on a large rock at high tide and bask in its glory while breathing in its healing winds of life energy. I must say, to an extent, it worked. For the time I was standing there looking at such a powerful, gorgeous body of water, I was at peace. All the stresses of life still existed, yes, but for this moment, I tried to just focus on what was there in front of me. I feel blessed to have grown up in such an extreme place of beauty and nourishment.
Sometimes when I am away at school in Eugene, I long for the ocean. Sometimes I wish that I could take it with me wherever I go. However, I know the only way to do this is to learn how to carry that feeling of peace with me wherever I go. I love knowing that the great Pacific Ocean is always there for me to return to when I need to regain balance.
My head cold is still running strong, but I'm hoping that meaningful change is soon to come.
December 24, 2010 - 3:30 PM
‘Tis the season to consume. Therefore, I find it fitting to write this blog about a recent movement I have tried to start for myself. As a college student, every dollar counts. Living on a budget means having to make decisions between different products and when and how much of things you can afford to buy. This type of product choice can be tough, but it can be significantly worse if the item you choose to spend your money on falls far below its expected satisfaction. After recent repeated disappointment from products I expected to meet a certain standard, I have found myself as a large proponent of consumer activism.
Consumer activism involves taking a stand for the moments where a product's value does not meet the dollar value that you paid for. For example, one of my recent consumer let downs involved a bag of chips that were supposed to be very crunchy, very crisp. When I began eating the chips, it became very clear to me very fast that the chips were not crunchy and delicious, but rather soggy and unsatisfactory. I could've just muddled about the rest of the evening in disappointment, throwing away the rest of the bag of chips and with it my budgeted cash, but instead, I chose consumer activism. I found the contact information for the company that produced the chips and wrote to them about my experience and why it was so disappointing. I included all the specific information I could about the particular bag of chips and then sent the letter off. This allowed me to work through some of the frustration I had about the product and also made me feel like a better citizen for speaking up for others who may happen to experience the same thing.
From my letter, I received a very wonderful response. The company seemed to have a very sincere concern for my product displeasure and sent me coupons to reimburse my loss. They were sure the next time around I would be satisfied like I had hoped to be. I very much appreciated their concern and quality costumer service and it will certainly bring me back to try the chips again. I also liked that they said they would look into the problem and even thanked me for writing.
I believe it is our duty as consumers to make sure we get what we pay for. Consumer activism helps to make this happen and I think that it also helps to better overall quality control for companies. It is always heart warming when a company cares enough to write back as well. I have had a few other times lately where I have had to write letters and each time it has led to a satisfactory experience. I urge all consumers to be activists!
This blog may also be an alarming look into the world of my procrastination and my fascination with communicating ideas through text.
December 19, 2010 - 11:30 PM
My last post began my new series, "Blog Blast from the Past," which explores what I was writing about on my blog this time one or two years ago. This series hopes to spice up my blog a bit and allow me to recount some of my favorite memories while at the UO.
This Blog Blast from the Past comes from this week two years ago on December 15, 2008. The original post was titled, "First Snow!" An excerpt from the original follows:
"It was so quiet out as the glistening flakes fell from the sky and blanketed themselves on the ground. It was absolutely freezing out and we had not dressed to stay out for very long. However, as we both stood there watching the snow, I was overcome with peace. I felt as though even if it was freezing outside, I could stay out there and just meditate. I emptied my mind into the snowy scene. The snow seemed like it was coming unexpectedly and just covering up everything that was bad. As it fell, it covered the dirt and grime of a long fall term. It hid gas-guzzling cars under a dusty white coat. It surrounded houses, keeping families inside, with each other, where their love would be what existed to keep them warm. When a mindless idiot came and destroyed the peace, racing by us, doing 180's and 360's in his truck, he left muddy marks in the perfect white snow. However, as Michelle and I continued to just stand there and gaze at the whole process going on, we watched the tire tracks slowly disappear. The beautiful snow was so innocent, so perfect, a fresh start."
This was a really fun blog for me to re-read. I remember this winter very well. This was the most snow I had ever seen (and I believe still have ever seen) in Eugene. My work at the local elementary school was cancelled for the rest of the week because of it. I have very fond memories, especially, of the night I wrote about in this post. This night, my friend had come over and, after standing out in the snow and just basking in its glory, we decided to go sledding at 2am on cereal boxes we found in my neighbor's recycling bin. It was so spontaneous and fun and simple and involved so much laughing and joy!
I liked in this post how I wrote about the snow being a fresh start and being something calming. I think we can find "snow" all over the place if we need it. We just have to allow ourselves to stop for a moment and let it happen. I have learned this to be very important throughout my college career. After some terms, like this last one, I just need a fresh, calming start over. These fresh starts can happen in the middle of a term too though. Sometimes if you're overwhelmed or bored, you just need to find a little glitter somewhere or maybe even cut a few things out to allow for other things to flourish. I am doing a lot of work over this winter break, but I also need to remember to use it to just relax and be me.
December 18, 2010 - 8:45 PM
After nearly three years of blogging, sometimes I find it quite difficult to find a new topic that I deem interesting enough to share on here. I feel like I used to write such eloquent, exciting pieces about what was inspiring me and how the college experience was shaping me far beyond the expected academic knowledge and professional development. Therefore, in a tribute to my nostalgic counterpart, I am beginning a new blogging series for those moments when I just don't know what to say anymore. I will be looking back at my blogs from this week a year or two ago and reflecting on what I wrote in terms of where I am now and who I am. I'm hoping that this will jazz up my writing a bit, as well as help me to remember and reconnect to some of my favorite college memories as I prepare to graduate in the spring. This "Blog Blast from the Past" series will not be every week, as exciting things are happening this year as well that I wish to write about, but for those weeks where I perhaps reach a lull, I will now have this series to fall back upon.
The first Blog Blast from the Past takes place on December 12, 2009 and was entitled, "Drugs/Travel." An excerpt from the blog follows:
"Once I was on that plane, I had felt my fears, my nerves, my anxiety, my stress, my doubts, my loss, evaporate into the rising elevation. I knew that this was exactly where I was suppose to be, high on the ecstasy of travel. I have a couple of days to relax in Long Island now until I sip again from the sweet elixir and leave Monday to Israel. I have a feeling that Israel may be just what I need right now."
This week one year ago, I was on an educational tour of Israel, followed by a brief blitz of fabulosity in New York City. My trip to Israel was absolutely incredible. I felt such a strong spiritual connection to Israel and made two amazing friends while on the trip. I swam in the Dead Sea and placed my hands on the Western Wall. It was truly surreal and I remember the entire trip (including spending time with a friend in NYC afterwards) as completely nourishing my soul. I felt so alive and happy. It was a winter break to never forget.
Looking back at this post now, I am reminded of many important things. The first is my love of travel and the great importance it holds in my life. To me, there is nothing quite as euphoric and traveling to new places and meeting new people, completely letting go of yourself and just diving in. There are so many more places I want and need to travel to. When I graduate, I will find a way to go do some traveling. I must! It is a necessity! A second thing this post reminded me of was how incredibly wonderful my two closest friends in Israel were and still are. I still talk to both of them and they are both doing such amazing things. I need to plan to go visit both of them soon. I think that would be a great way to get my travel needs met as well! The third important thing this post reminded me of was the need to create more joy in the everyday. I want to find those moments of travel bliss within the ordinary day and feel the soul nourishment. I think I will make it a winter term goal to manifest more joy!
This concludes the first entry of my "Blog Blast from the Past" series. I think this could be the start of something very lovely and, I believe, certainly more enjoyable of a read than, "Today I took a final and it went fine." I love remembering all of these moments that have shaped my time as a Duck.
December 12, 2010 - 5:00 PM
As I begin to settle into a euphoric state of winter break bliss, it dawns on me that this might be my last one for a while. Although I am looking forward to graduation in June, there will definitely be things that I miss about being an undergrad, living in the university life bubble.
After a long term, it is so nice to be able to relax for a few weeks before starting the next. I realize that this luxury is not likely to continue after I graduate. So, this is, in fact, my last winter break.
I plan to soak it up as much as possible. Although I will have things that I have to get done this break, I will also be focusing a great deal on just relaxing and doing the things that I have been unable to do during the term. I'm especially looking forward to going to spend some time at home and in Napa visiting my family. I think I will spend ample amounts of time is coffee shops drinking fabulous teas and possibly going to my favorite bead store to make gifts for people (and for myself!).
I wonder what life is like without three weeks off in the winter, a week off in the spring, and three months of summer vacation. I like to think that I will be doing such wonderful work that I won't even notice, but I think, in the end, I will miss it. Someday, maybe I'll be able to get it back! There is always room for dreaming. For now, however, I am going to enjoy this! I'm going to sleep in, relax, and be jolly.