The “Only What Brings Me Joy” Challenge

As you guys know, about a year ago, February 28th, I became a vegan. I gave up meats, dairy, and any products that were not plant-based. As I’ve embarked on this path it’s made me realize society has influenced our desire and subsequent need for material things. I successfully transitioned in one week from eating everything to eating only things produced by plants. Society tells us it’s unhealthy. Society tells us it shouldn’t be done and we need meat, dairy, and everything else mass-produced to live a healthy and successful life. But it’s just not true.

I have had my blood tested and gone to the doctor several times to make sure I am healthy, and have passed every test with flying colors. I, among countless others, have successfully debunked this myth that being vegan is not something humans were meant to do. Literature says that not being lactose intolerant is a genetic mutation that developed because human beings insisted on drinking cows milk. Cows milk is meant for baby cows, just like breast milk is meant for baby humans. We don’t drink breast milk once we grow-up, and cows don’t drink milk from other cows once they grow-up. It’s statistics like these that have engaged many in re-evaluating our ways of life and general consumption.

Big business has fooled us into thinking the only ways to get what we need are from foods and beverages that they provide. But now, with the world’s environment going to hell in a hand basket, to save the next generation we must do something different. This is no longer the time where you can say, “Well by the time this happens I’ll be dead,” because that is no longer true. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now, and by us. We must take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. We can change this world. We just have to realize it’s OURS, and no other generation’s responsibility to get the ball rolling.

Through becoming a vegan, and learning to cut out certain foods and supply myself with exactly what my body needs to be happy and healthy, I’ve also begun exploring this idea in other parts of my life. Minimalism is the idea that you only have what you need. You only buy what you absolutely love, and you only keep things that bring you true joy. I have, for a long time, had a love-hate relationship with clothing and fashion. Each year I find myself staring at my closet and wondering when is it going to be time for me to give this stuff away? A positive quality of mine is that I do keep things until I absolutely have to throw them away: they rip, or break, or are just plain unwearable. So, it’s not that I buy a lot, but I keep a lot. Over the last ten years I haven’t changed shoe size or height and have barely grown anywhere else. I still have jeans from freshman year of high school, because they still fit and I still love them. The problem is that 10 years worth of clothing, shoes, and accessories tends to add up. I have way more than I need or can even wear.

The Challenge

What I am challenging myself to do this year is to go through my closet once a month for the next 12 months and pick out at least 5 items that I no longer wear, and “no longer bring me joy” – As Gilmore Girls would say. Over the next year I should have given away at least 60 items in my closet.

I challenge you, ladies and gentleman, to declutter your lives as well. Provide both your body and your mind with only what makes you happy. Stop living by the societal norms that we are worth more the more we possess, and start living for you and what you enjoy. Find love and happiness within, and stop looking for it amongst other people and things. This year and every year to come are going to be the years where we change the world! They are going to be the years where we challenge both ourselves and others to just Be You. in both the happiest, healthiest, and most sustainable ways possible, so who’s with me!?

Gluttony and Greed

 

wpid-fed-up-trailer-header.jpg
Images From Fed Up and Cowspiracy Documentaries

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of “cause” documentaries on Netflix. I stumbled upon two documentaries that have really changed my outlook on American and worldly big business: Cowspiracy and Fed Up . Based on just these two documentaries alone I have been provided with copious information about the environment and the world around me that I would have otherwise never known. Big business and big food corporations have done a fantastic job of keeping these shocking statistics out of the media. For example, 13% of children today are MORBIDLY obese, not just obese, but morbidly obese. In the next 25 years it is estimated that 1 in every 3 people will have Diabetes. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US [more than all modes of transportation combined (cars, trains, planes, etc.) – 13%] and 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The gluttony and greed of the human race is destroying the lives of the next generation and the world as we know it. Please, I beg everyone, start paying attention!!!

The Change Starts Here

“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.” – Napoleon

About a week ago the United States had over 100 lives changed forever. Orlando, Florida became the location of the largest mass shooting in American history, at a nightclub called Pulse. Pulse is known as a largely homosexual nightclub, and the shooter is said to have struggled with accepting his sexual preferences (a possible cause for his unhinging). I know I told you guys we were going to do a Top 10 posts in honor of the new Be You. Page, but I think this cause is way too large to be ignored.

Lately, the minority of focus has been African American males. It seems like every day there’s another cop shooting of a young African American male that can’t be justified by a simple “fear for one’s life.” I in no way try and belittle those wrongs or make light of those losses, but I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the struggles of others when we have such flagrant misuses of authority occurring so frequently. Last week was a shocking reminder of the prejudice other minority groups are still facing. Being different has become such a threat for American’s today. It almost makes you wonder why people would want to move here in the first place. The United States is supposed to be a melting pot of racial and ethnic acceptance, as well as social, religious, and marital/relational freedom. FREEDOM. That’s what we’re known for. We’re known for allowing people to be exactly who they are without judgment or persecution. But the more time that goes by and the more aware that I become, the more I notice that being different in the United States is almost a death sentence waiting to happen.

It is human nature to not like change and to prefer things that are normative to their group, but the extremes we’ve hit today are inexcusable. When you’re afraid to just be a minority, to just be gay, or black, or in a minority group of any kind then it should be a red flag to everyone in America that we’re doing something wrong. We’re teaching values that are giving way to violence and rigid thinking. We aren’t teaching our children to love and be loved by others, but to judge others that are unlike them, to fear them, and/or verbally and physically abuse them. Violence has become such an easy answer to delaying dealing with emotions we don’t understand. We’ve taught the next generation to take the cowards’ way out, even worse they’re now using guns. There’s no talking in gunplay, there’s no healing from death, there are no take-backs. We’ve given these children, that already lack the proper skills to process his or her emotions and already value prejudice over acceptance, access to guns. We’ve given them the ability to end the life of anyone who doesn’t see their side, agree with his or her way, or choose to live according to his or her standard. We’re failing. We’re failing to teach the next generation what’s important. We’re failing to teach them that’s it’s not about “Keeping up with the Jones’s,” it’s about being exactly who you are and loving yourself. It’s about accepting yourself and being tolerant of others.

These senseless acts of violence are cries for help from people who have lost their way. They are cries for help for entire communities and populations. It’s easy to look at the news and say, “Man, I wish that would change. There’s so much wrong with the world,” but the real change starts at home. The change starts with accepting our children and teaching them to love and accept others. The change begins when we do away with “the norm” and teach that what’s normal is exactly who they wish to be, whenever they wish to be it. The change begins when we are able to see someone different than ourselves and not see disgust or desire aggression, but see beauty and desire love and tolerance. Don’t put this burden off on the next generation, because guess who is now looking to us and paying attention to how we react to adversity and different lifestyle choices? The Next Generation. The next generation sees it all and is paying attention. The next generation sees this hate, judgment, and violence and is likely to imitate what they see if they aren’t taught otherwise. Be responsible for your part. Love all human beings and all life choices. Pass on this love and acceptance to everyone around you. Teach peace and open-mindedness. And most importantly never be afraid to, in your own life, just Be You.