This year, suffice to say, has been a challenge for the entire world. First and foremost, do what you can to help your family, friends and community. Small acts of kindness have a ripple effect. Kindness matters and no act of kindness is ever wasted, so do your part in helping those around you. Beyond your immediate community, consider how your broader community is doing – on the state level as well. The US, where I reside, has clearly been dealing with a tremendous challenge in navigating COVID-19 and continuing to be considerate of the needs of the broader communities which comprise your state is critical. For example, I live in California. The way in which California is impacted by COVID is shocking and not the only issue that has deeply affected this state in recent months, so being cognizant of your broader community means you are best equipped to be safe (and ensuring the safety of others) this holiday season.
California was devastated by wildfires this past summer and it goes without saying that those who lost their homes are still severely impacted by the crisis. Please contribute what you can to locally based charities which assist those who need it most. For victims of the California wildfires, the Red Cross of the Bay Area is a great place to start in providing much needed relief for those who are grappling with such significant losses. It’s tough to absorb the scale of losses when COVID has already impacted so many people’s livelihoods; it’s even more challenging for those who need this kind of immediate assistance with regard to housing instability. Furthermore, food banks are stretched to the limit as food security is nowhere near the level it should be during this time. Please consider donating to your local food bank as well.
Given what a toll this year has taken on all of us, looking inward, seeking joy in simplicity and focusing on the wellbeing of the spirit are necessary to ensuring that we all stay well. This year’s Holiday Gift Guide is focused on products which contribute some form of simple joy to your loved ones and is centered around the wellness of mind, body, and spirit. It’s as simple as having a nice brush for your hair etc. that can make a difference in your day sometimes. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that simple joys are essential for wellness.
The Wet Brush Pro Seriesis an adult oriented hair brush with Disney Princess art on them. These are certainly cute in design and are high performing brushes at an affordable price tag (think the Mason Pearson brush without the Mason Pearson price tag). You can find this limited edition Disney version of The Wet Brush at Ulta.
Pearl Bath Bombs has a dual pack of bath bomb products named “Poppin’ Bubbles in the Tub” which makes a fun gift for your friend or family member. Each bath bomb has a nice cocktail ring (pick the right ring size!) and a chance at winning a real diamond ring; each ring comes with a code to check on the website if you won.
Besame Cosmetics limited edition Cold Creamis the newest product to wow the Besame brand’s fan base! For the vintage history lover, all of the products created by this fabulous beauty brand based out of Los Angeles are historically accurate. Besame is well known for their lipsticks, rated by Vogue and Real Simple this year as the best red lipstick (all of their lipstick shades are exact matches to the decade you love; for example, the exact shade of red that Marilyn Monroe wore in the 1950s). Now you can take off that red lipstick using Besame’s fantastic cold cream!
Aveda has a BCRF edition of their classic hand relief Cherry Almond Hand Creamwhich is a cult favorite and it will keep your hands smelling nice and super moisturized. The proceeds also go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which makes this product a wise choice.
Raw Crystals for decoration and good spirit by KORA Organics in Clear Quartz and Rose Quartz are a wonderful edition to any room. These are great for decoration, but you can also actively integrate these crystals into your meditation practice! You can sit with a particular crystal and think about how that energy is representative of your meditation’s intention (for example, the pink glow to the rose quartz evokes an intention of love and gratitude).
West Elm’s Faux Fur Cascade Throws are exactly what can get you in the holiday mood! “Santa Baby, just slip a sable under the tree for me!” is exactly the vibe these throws give off. Make sure to get this throw before they run out – they are on sale!
CB2 has a pillow that is based off of the famous Herve Leger bandage dress… and it’s called the Leger pillow. If you want to indulge, this pillow has a fun texture to it and it’s also a good reminder that maybe someday we might fit back into our Leger style dresses for those events in the future…
Last but not least… a simple, yet classic complementary gift that might be for your office’s Secret Santa gift exchange (obviously by mail this year!) and you aren’t quite sure what to get to complement another gift to tie it all together, you can’t go wrong with Punch Studio’s Winter Greens Boxed Soap, only $6.50.
The Flower of Life is an ancient symbol which is hailed in ‘sacred geometry’ and has origins in the Sumerian culture. This symbol, which is revered as being the origin symbol which appears in all geometry (the form essence of all life itself) is intended to display the infinite nature of life, and has been studied for centuries. Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of Southern Mesopotamia (now Southern Iraq), between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. This was about 2,600 years ago. Also noteworthy is the worship of the Sumerian goddess, Ishtar, who is revered as the goddess of love and fertility from Sumerian culture — note, that the pronounciation of the word “Ishtar” sounds very similar to the Christian holiday, “Easter,” which the word is originally derived from. It’s certainly ironic and interesting to consider that Easter has a connection to the worship of a female goddess who represents love and fertility: life itself.
Even more enticing to consider is how the Sumerian worship of the goddess Ishtar enabled the ideals of a matriarchy, which allowed for a much healthier, harmonious, and much less oppressive relationship to women in society versus the oppressive and toxic nature that a patriarchy can have. The world’s earliest culture seemed to have had the ‘right model’ for civilization and perhaps we can learn from Sumerian civilization — treat women fairly and moreover, appreciate and revere women for the life creators that they are. Aphrodite, the world’s most famous Goddess of Love, was based on Ishtar… The story of Aphrodite and Adonis was based on the Mesopotamian myth of “Inanna and Dumuzid.” Inanna is also a name that Ishtar was referred to by.
The Psychoanalyst Nancy Qualls-Corbett writes in her book, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine regarding how sacred prostitutes (this remains a contested topic amongst academic researchers, but there is enough ancient resources to suggest that this was an ancient practice) is a way to understand worshipping Ishtar: “In her temple, men and women came to find life and all that it had to offer in sensual pleasure and delight. But with the change in cultural values and the institutionalization of monotheism and patriarchy, the individual came to the House of God to prepare for death.” Ultimately, when one ‘flips the script’ of our life stories and our perceived commitments to monotheistic standards, we may consider how worshipping the beauty of life is actually rooted in the matriarchy rather than the patriarchy… Perhaps we’d all do better if we spent more time pondering the good tidings of Ishtar and ruminate on how life is actually best represented in the concept of it being a never ending matriarchal continuum beyond death. Mother Earth… The Flower of Life… Sumerian culture… Ishtar…
So often, it seems that we can be so unsure (and also widely philosophize) what the grander “why” is to our lives. What is our life’s purpose? People sometimes dive deep into their religious faiths as a result of trying to answer this question or perhaps they turn to a more nihilistic view that life itself has no purpose, it is ‘just life.’ I think this is obviously a highly complex topic since the life experience we all have weaves together the idea of our personal autonomy (the individual’s choice to decide what their ‘purpose’ may be) with a broader discourse related to the science of space consciousness and how this ties into the realm of the personal, microcosm experience of the universe that we have within ourselves. Our purpose is quite simple to understand once you awaken to space consciousness.
I recently started reading Eckhart Tolle and came to understand this concept of ‘awakening’ that he references for humanity. On an individual level of the spiritual awakening we may have and then on a collective large scale global consciousness (which he speaks of how it’s already happening to humans on our planet). Eckhart references this collective awakening as a consciousness which transcends our personal form in order to understand the space that consciousness allows us to connect with on a collective plane and hence connects us with our personal experience of ‘purpose.’
Our life’s purpose is being one with the collective consciousness of Being. It goes beyond thought, you are aware of your consciousness, you find deep inner peace this way, and thus are capable of spreading joy to others. This is life’s purpose and there is a technique to share your space consciousness awakening with others. You may think the concept of ‘purpose’ is highly individual, but in reality, the concept of purpose is this, for all of us, always:
Your life’s purpose is to merge together your awareness of space consciousness which does not include thinking, it is BEING (breathing…. breath… ATMAN… one with God…) by merging your being together with your form and bodily experience, the outer, everyday experiences that you have. Once merged by your awakening, you then generate a deep sense of peace and therefore can spread joy in the lives of others by accepting the reality that our form is not the entirety of our life. We can spiritually dissociate from all of the trappings of ourselves and therefore we can achieve deep inner peace.
When this change happens within you, you are spiritually awakened and you will no longer feel confined to the restrictions our immediate experience can hold over us. If you believe in the teachings of Christ, you will understand that Christ lived a life which was not ‘of his own’ because he connected with a community of many souls to be one with it.
When we solely connect only to our form and our ego, we are creating spiritual blindness in ourselves – we are not recognizing the deep inner power that space consciousness provides us in connecting with the purpose of BEING.
I Am. I Am. I Am.
You are. You are. You are.
We are. We are. We are.
We are one. We are one. We are one.
In this way, when you speak these words, you recognize that the ego is a fabrication of the mind. We are all one spirit. We are all together on this Earth. We are all part of the human race. We are all a connected, living entity. We are conscious. We are consciousness. Now, our purpose: awaken and awaken others to this. Like a rose that is in bloom, open to your life’s purpose and share this beauty with others.
No one writer has had a more profound impact on me than William Blake. William Blake lived a life in obscurity in England during the 1700s, largely misunderstood and some even considered ‘mad.’ Though, disputed, William Blake’s art and poetry can be considered utter and pure genius.
He was known for getting into brawls and even leading the life of a nudist, William Blake led a life of great intrigue for someone who had to abide by the norms of an oppressive and ‘proper’ society. His ideas were so out of the box at his time, it is only in our contemporary days can we fully appreciate the complete and vivid beauty of his art and poetry combined, without the judgement that people of his time held against him.
He married the love of his life, but the marriage did not bear children. It is said that his wife, Catherine, is the reason that they did not sink into complete poverty… she kept track of their finances and oversaw his art. She would occasionally present her husband with an empty dinner plate to ensure that he had the right appetite for producing great art… A bit extreme, but William Blake’s life was nothing but an extreme presentation of the meaning of life itself.
William Blake’s flair for the eccentric was focused on living “larger than life” day to day. If one could say someone breathed life into an object, this would be the sum total of all of his art and poetry. His work was his legacy. A unique and stunning combination of his writings with his art display an interest in transcending the solemnity of words by combining the spirit of his words with the imagery he wanted to associate with it. This, to me, is where I have become most enamored with his work.
Being an English major, I had never seen something so unique before: a writer who needed to express his poetry by painting. The poetry doesn’t feel the same without the painting associated to it – this is where the spirit transcends form and that is the space where William Blake’s genius inhabits.William Blake transcended the intellectual limits of his time and became limitless this way. While he may have been a 17th century writer, his messages were timeless. His writings reflect the complex multiplicities of the human mind.
The value in his art and poetry is invaluable. Most of his writings are available to the public at the Tate Museum in London. I came across a rare copy of Songs of Innocence and Experience at City Lights in San Francisco, which was a book published by the Tate. I took the book to show to my English professor in college to inquire how rare the book is. He informed me that it is indeed a rare copy of his works and that my professor was well aware of the program at the Tate which organizes the William Blake archives. The original works by William Blake are precious and should continue being treasured, but on display for public access. There is so much to learn and love about the works of William Blake. I will always learn something new each time I pick up his books.
As we continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of this pandemic, there is more reason than ever to create routines (if not established already!) where you take time each day to reflect for yourself and your wellbeing – this can be done in a number of ways and no one way is the ‘right way,’ this is all dependent on how your schedule looks like and what you believe suits your schedule and lifestyle best.
Recently, I came across a series of guided meditations on YouTube that integrates affirmations into the guided meditation. I have found this to be especially centering for freeing the mind for me. I focus on the mantra that I am saying and nothing else. By doing this, I am able to enter into a deeper meditative state and have been able to achieve a lot of progress in how long and how deeply I can meditate for.
Meditation, for just 5 or 10 minutes per day can greatly reduce stress levels and also help clear a ‘cluttered mind’ that may feel distracted. During this time, given all that’s happening in the world, it’s only normal to feel stress from everything and I think we are too quick to be hard on ourselves about this. I think even before the pandemic, society, globally, was not going at a healthy pace. If this has given you an opportunity to slow down in some way and reflect on what lifestyle changes you can make in you and your family’s life in some way, then be grateful for this privilege and live into those mini changes – the little things can make a big difference!
I believe that wellness practices are for everyone – it’s not a luxury spa that’s exclusive to a any one group who can afford it – wellness practices are simple and easy to integrate into your everyday routine and you will feel and see the benefits! Each morning, I try to start with a 10 minute morning stretch on my yoga mat that is conditioning and warming up my body and letting energy flow into the body. There are a number of stretches that you can do to wake up, but stretching on a yoga mat is wonderful!
Once I am all ready and feel organized to tackle my day, I do some work and then take a break around 11am and do a 10 minute guided meditation, either on YouTube or I listen to Kundalini chants (Sat Nam) and use a timer for it for 10-15 minutes. Below you will find a few videos that I love to use for meditation and some words of affirmation that I believe are soothing and allow you be kind to yourself. We all need to see more of that in the world.
Words are powerful. I say affirmations like the following during my meditation everyday:
My body is a miracle. I visualize love flowing from my heart, washing and cleansing my mind, body, soul and spirit. I am healthy and full of energy.
I approve of who I am, what I stand for and what I believe in. I am my own best friend and I love being me.
I believe in myself and my abilities. I have unlimited potential when I trust in the universe and believe in me.
Holding on to past situations inhibits my growth. I choose to let go of past hurts. Each day is a new beginning and an opportunity to grow.
As I wake, I breathe in the opportunity of each new day and I am grateful for the energy I have. I am enlivened by life itself.
I choose how I feel inside and how I react at all times. I am worthy of anything I ask for from life. I believe in me. I don’t let negativity get to me; I am happy, calm and peaceful inside.
I appreciate and accept that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Criticism is just that: nothing more, nothing less. I choose powerfully and with love how or whether I react.
Boston native and proudly Greek American, Thea Vaporis, is a signed model with MMG in New York City and with New England models group in Boston. Thea is a professional makeup artist, running her own company, Khroma by Thea, which she hopes to launch as a makeup line in the future. She has danced ballet for 25 seasons and has taught dance classes for 13 years. Thea has also taught makeup classes at a beauty school and is passionate about the cause for clean beauty. Her multifaceted career in the arts is very impressive and it’s clear that Thea has many talents. I hope you enjoy reading my interview with Thea as much as I enjoyed speaking with her!
You are a signed model in New York and Boston. What have been some of your most memorable photo shoot experiences?
My father was a photographer and I modeled as a kid up until I was a young adult. Then, I went to college and beauty school and took a break away from modeling. I was signed as a kid here in Boston and after my break, I really felt like I had not completed that chapter. It was important to find representation and as a makeup artist and a talent. I am signed to MMG in New York and New England Models Group in Boston and I could not ask for a more supportive team – they are amazing. The market has really changed in the last 5 years. There is room for girls like all of us and there needs to be representation. There’s room for that now, which I am super happy about.
You are also a certified makeup artist and work professionally through your company, Khroma by Thea. How long have you been doing makeup professionally? What are some of your most memorable experiences?
I had no intentions of becoming a makeup artist. At 18, my body was kind of on the outs with dancing ballet. I became an aesthetician and went to school for it in 2010. I fell in love with skincare and when I was in school, I was asked to be a model for Kryolan and they did all sorts of beauty seminars and would paint my face as a bride or for special effects… sitting in that chair, I thought “Wow I could do this.” Through college, I worked as a freelance artist for green beauty brands and when I finished college, I decided to go into the corporate side and was a buyer and merchandiser for Walgreens. After that, I actually went and taught at the school that I went to. I’ve always been in beauty, had my toe in it, and now I think that by focusing on myself and my brand, I am able to share all that I have learned.
The latest makeup project that I did was about bringing attention to the cause for ALS. An initiative launched by my friend, Zoe Bucuvalas, for her mother, Mary Bucuvalas, who is battling ALS. Zoe launched a line of sports bras in support of her mother and 100% of the proceeds go to the Pete Frates Foundation (creator of the ALS ice bucket challenge). It was so fun to glam her and her mom for that day. Those kinds of events really overshadow any fashion shoots I’ve done.
You also work for The Parlr, which is an innovative beauty brand concept: the world’s first salon / spa + portrait studio. This seems like it has such a large market given how democratized modeling has become through social media. What do you enjoy most about this role?
I had discovered the Parlr on Instagram and was completely obsessed with the feed and the vibe. I am one of the makeup artists on the team and there was a soul connection between me and the team there. I work freelance for them and I am not there everyday, but I love being there and the vibe of their space is so unique. What I love about the Parlr is I have noticed that they curate who goes with their vibe as clients and who works there. It’s a special place.
How has the pandemic affected the process of your jobs? Social distancing in the beauty industry sounds like it can be quite the (necessary) challenge!
I am really fortunate on the modeling side, social distancing is very easy. For all of my photo shoots, I have been doing my hair and makeup and everyone in the fashion industry is so open and willing to adapt. I wish that a lot of other markets were like that. As a makeup artist, I taught the state board certification for two years; I pride myself on being the cleanest guru makeup artist in Boston since I know the state board inside and out.
You have worked with quite a few clean beauty brands! What is most important to you when promoting organic beauty?
My journey with clean beauty started 7 years ago. I went through a rough time, I was very sick. I have three different autoimmune disorders. As a makeup lover, It was the hardest thing to put something toxic on my face, feel inflamed, and not feel pretty while you’re sick. I was lucky enough to work with clean beauty brands like Jane Iredale and Inika Organics. I work for Inika Organics now by creating content for them and this ties back into me being aesthetician and understanding skin and its ingredients.
I hope that people see that it’s not just a trend and that green beauty is here to nourish your skin. It needs to be made sexier from a marketing standpoint, there’s this negative connotation of clean beauty not being glamorous and not having any performance, and that’s so not true. I really hope that the clean beauty market grows substantially. For example, I know a lot of great skincare comes out of Austria, because there’s an understanding there of what nature can do for your skin.
You have danced ballet and taught dance classes for many years! How many years have you been dancing? What style of ballet did you train? (I danced for 11 years and stopped as a teenager and can attest to how much discipline this takes!)
I have been dancing for 25 seasons! Dance has given me so many gifts. It has taught me teamwork, discipline, to believe in myself and know that I am never perfect. I grew up in a Vaganova school, which is a Russian style ballet and it was very intense and having that mindset very early on taught me so many life skills. I will forever be grateful for that training. I am not a professional dancer, but I am a ballet teacher and have been teaching for 13 years. The connections that I have made with my students are lifelong and I will never stop teaching dance. It’s so fulfilling to me.
I still take class every single week just for myself to get centered. Dance always brings me back home. Last summer, before COVID, I danced in Carmen as a principal dancer and it was the best show and the best music! I have always loved the music and the characters in ballets. With Carmen, there were so many facets to this character, the characters in this ballet are very much feminists; they want to go out and party and be in love, but they also want to be respected. I was able to put my all into that role.
What are some highlights of living in Boston and being a Boston native?
I don’t take this lightly. I really think Boston is one of the best cities in the whole entire world. I have traveled all over the world and all over the US and what I love about Boston is that everything is tangible and everything is close to home. There are world class sports and restaurants… contrary to what many people meet… Bostonians are very friendly when you get to know them… we are just uptight because there is a lot of traffic! I am really excited to see where Boston goes in the next five years and I think Boston is going to be shown in a light of really supporting the arts and fashion as well. I am super proud to see that happening. There is so much history and culture and the history of this city is really unique.
You are very proud of your Greek heritage! What do you want others to know about Greek culture that you value?
I am a super proud Greek and I really think that our culture is very unique. I am super proud of both of my sides of my family. On my mom’s side, my great grandfather came from Greece in 1914 and he opened the first grocery store in Lowell, MA. He was the first man in Lowell to have a car. After 105 years, my grandfather closed it, it is now a historic site in Lowell. My grandfather on my dad’s side was a very well known Greek Orthodox priest and he fought for civic justice in the 1960s. He ran Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, he published over 60 books and he spoke many languages.
Those two male figures in my life showed me that our culture sticks together and our culture appreciates history and education. I will always support the Greek community and if anyone on Instagram who is Greek messages me, I automatically open it and respond back. It’s like trying to find a long lost friend or a long lost cousin. You stick together and take care of your people. This world is so cut throat, you need to take care of your friends and your family.
What is the best part of your Greek family being super close? It’s very similar to Italian families and that closeness sometimes runs contrary to American values with respect to expecting 18 year olds to move out etc.
My dad is a deacon in the Greek Orthodox Church and my mom also works at the church. I respect their traditions and I respect the traditions of our church. It’s my choice to stay at home until I feel that I am ready to get married. It’s an old school thing, but my parents want me to feel spiritually and physically protected. I have 3 younger siblings. I am significantly older than them: there are 6 years, 10 years, and 12 years between all of us. At this time, I would never have a relationship with my siblings the way I do now if I had moved out. I love that I am home and they are able to see me as an example and I am able to understand them as they grow up, too.
Given how multi-faceted your career is, where do you see your career in 5 to 10 years?
What’s so wonderful about the arts is that you don’t know what’s coming your way. In the next 5 to 10 years, I see Khroma by Thea as its own makeup line and I am not going to stop modeling. I am really impressed where the fashion world is going and I am open to how it’s open and flexible and there’s definitely brands that I still want to model for. It will just be more of the same as long as it’s still fulfilling.
Also, another goal of mine in 5 to 10 years is that I really want to start teaching at classes at a university about women’s history, specifically about women’s fashion and the psychology between fashion and makeup in women’s lives. That’s something that I see myself doing way into the future… When I’ve taught makeup history for classes at beauty school, women always have such passionate answers, and it’s so intriguing to me!
What is your dream modeling job?
I think being in Vogue in some capacity would be a dream. Also, working with a brand like Skims by Kim Kardashian. I love the body inclusivity of that brand. I would definitely love to work with some of the great makeup masters like Charlotte Tilbury or Pat McGrath!
From my perspective, sustainability efforts and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a landscape that includes NGOs/nonprofits, thought leaders, collaborators, and action takers bound by specific goals. There is incredible opportunity now for widespread cross-sector sustainability practice standardization, especially with regard to leaders (individuals and their respective companies) taking action for sustainability efforts.
I view one of my roles as a lifestyle blogger who is committed to spreading information related to sustainability efforts is to stay atop of sustainability goals, programs, and global actors and sharing out the most germane information which will keep sustainability efforts top of mind. I firmly believe that sustainability practices can be integrated into the core of business models, and furthermore, I see a future where a commitment to these goals can be seen at an enormous scale.
Below you will find a few of the organizations making a large impact on various populations and communities, with an emphasis on protecting the environment and supporting Indigenous peoples. These organizations embody rosy values which Rosy BVM will always stand for and these organizations fighting for a more sustainable, just, equitable, spiritually balanced world should continue receiving support in the future.
UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life.
Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996, and based in Oakland, California, it works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. The organization partners with Indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.
The One Spirit mission is to help the Lakota meet the basic needs of their people and provide a culturally rich life for their youth. We support the Lakota in their goal of achieving food sovereignty and self-sufficiency in their communities.
One Spirit’s programs promote an intercultural relationship that recognizes that we are all related and that American Indians are an equal and valued part of our society.
On September 27th, 2011 the Tribal Council of the Oglala Sioux Tribe unanimously voted to formally recognize and support One Spirit and the One Spirit programs. The Tribal Council had been increasingly concerned about organizations and individuals who raise funds in the name of the Lakota people but have little or no accountability as to how the funds are spent or how much actually reaches the Reservation. The organization is honored to have the unanimous support of this governing body of the Lakota people.
Heaps Decent is an Australian organisation empowering diverse young people to express their creativity through music and multi-media. Heaps Decent currently offers ongoing music programs at multiple locations including schools, juvenile justice centres, drop in centres and studios as well as running distinct arts projects with partners such as Shopfront Contemporary Arts and Performance, the Sydney Opera House and the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Oceana was established by a group of leading foundations — The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oak Foundation, Marisla Foundation (formerly Homeland Foundation), Sandler Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund — after a 1999 study they commissioned discovered that less than 0.5 percent of all resources spent by environmental nonprofit groups in the United States went to ocean advocacy.
No organization was working exclusively to protect and restore the oceans on a global scale. To fill the gap, the founders created Oceana: an international organization focused solely on oceans, dedicated to achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based policy campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals.
As we enter the first week of Fall (while time may begin feeling like a construct of the mind more than ever), we are indeed entering into the Fall season. Perhaps it’s with the spirit of the Thankgsiving holiday to come, Fall gives us the opportunity to reset our priorities as we approach the holiday season and reflect and be more grateful than perhaps other seasons. This brings me into the topic of this blog post: Gratitude is a practice. Gratitude is something that I seek to practice consciously everyday of my life. The more I practice it, the most fulfilled and rooted in purpose I find myself in how I view and feel in my life circumstances. It’s truly the “half glass full” versus the “half glass empty” analogy put into practice. When you recognize how much you do have in your life, it’s much easier to reframe what you then may think as perhaps lacking – when you see how much you have to be grateful over, you will remember this more frequently and it will give you a deeper sense of fulfillment.
Practicing gratitude becomes easier with time. You can do this as you wake up and it can be as simple as being grateful for the gift of living another day. You can also become more structured about how you want to practice gratitude: for example, I have a habit now where I write down at least 10 things (anything!) that I am grateful for in a journal each morning. This helps me realize how much I am grateful for and helps set a great energy for the day to come. There is scientific research that backs how beneficial practicing gratitude is for your health. According to Happify, gratitude can do the following:
People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
There is science to this; for me, I even believe that my gratitude practice reduces my stress levels. I think this is significant because I am able to put things in perspective right as I am beginning my day and this doesn’t give room to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself or sit with any feelings of jealousy etc. I already have set my intention for the day: I act with gratitude. I hope this inspires you to reconsider how you integrate feelings of gratitude into your everyday routine and to always think positively; this benefits your health on an individual level, and further, on a community level, you give the best of you to those who are around you.
Japanese water researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto demonstrated how the human consciousness has a direct effect on the molecular structure of water. Dr. Emoto’s hypothesis is that water is a messenger: transmitting from one molecule to the next. He studied the aesthetics of water to different vibrations, freezing the water, and then studying it with microscopic photography. While his studies focus on the molecular restructuring of water and subsequent reshaping of water from different vibrations, one can make the assertion that hist studies’ results have outward and inward implications – outwardly, our vibration to the world impacts the world since Earth is covered with water. Inwardly, the experience of vibrations to the body is also significant because the human body is composed of roughly 70% water.
Dr. Emoto’s molecular images of water display a shocking but simple truth: sounds that are inherently “good” shape the water into a beautiful crystal display, exactly like a snowflake. Sounds that are inherently “bad” shaped the water into bacterial looking shapes. His studies created a tangible and visual explanation for the impact that water has within us and around us. Taking this one step further, these explanations have implications with our personal practices in life: practicing gratitude and positive thought generation does maintain health for your body and it also applies to the health of the overall planet.
Each person has a life force of energy [power] within them and water plays a role in how that energy [power] is used. Dr. Emoto was aware of the power of his studies and stated that practicing positive thinking into prayer by considering this thought: “No one particular religion has been able to secure the exclusive rights for the power of prayer. No matter who you are, we all have the ability to take advantage of this amazing and wonderful power. Once you realize this, you will then be filled with the desire to help others realize this as well. More and more people are resonating with this understanding, and this could result in a more wonderful future for mankind.” Dr. Emoto reminds us to be grateful and honor the power of our life force by applying it for good each day, for we are each pieces of one whole universe.
There is nothing more beautiful than appreciating the gift of life that we have each day. When I wake up, my first thought is reminding myself to be grateful for the gift of living another day and honoring that life force within me, which is so miraculous. We all need to do this more – engaging in a conscious connection to the miracle of our lives. It’s spectacular and needs to be celebrated each day. Nothing matters more in this life than honoring ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our Earth.
This leads me to what this blog post is all about: how water is the source of life and how the cultural phenomena of mermaids are a reflection of how we subconsciously (or consciously) recognize that connection. Water is sacred to me and it should be sacred to all of us. We don’t think of it enough, but we are united in the need for water being the most essential part of what allows us to survive and thrive in this lifetime. There is so much to love about water. Not only does it nourish our bodies, it cleanses our bodies, and even being near to it or hearing the sounds of water is good for our health and spirit. Mind, body, and soul… water is life.
Since I am a San Francisco Bay Area native, I am all too familiar with the trend of people attending Burning Man. To me, there is no worse way to dishonor our life force. I understand the experience is spiritually meaningful to people, but I see it mainly as a commercialized “trend experience” where people thoughtlessly go. I personally do not plan on ever attending, because I know in my heart that a dry, dusty desert festival is not honoring our life experience as being close to water does. Water is where all life emerges from. Let us all remember that, act with intention to honor that, and be sure to ensure a sustainable future in protecting water. May this be a reminder to you that recognizing the ‘simple joys’ of life are actually the most profound.