How To Check Your Racial Privilege

In light of recent events, now more than ever it’s important to check your privilege and even more important that you know what to do with it.

Each statement that applies counts as one point.

 

How to check your privilege:

 

1) I am white.

Racial privilege starts with skin color, and if you are white, then you automatically have privilege, whether you excercise it or not. This is not bad, and you are not to blame; we cannot help what color we are born. This goes for both people of color and people who are white. But if you have racial privilege, you have to understand that those who don’t face a very different daily life than yours: a life in which we have to work twice as hard for less pay, yell twice as loud upon deaf ears, and fight twice as much for equal opportunity and an equal stance in this country.

2) I have never faced any discrimination based on my skin color.

Sometimes you know right then and there, and sometimes it takes years of reflection for it to come back to you. Whether you’ve experienced an extreme act of violence, microagressions on a daily basis, or faced one comment or question that deeply affected you, any sort of discrimination is degrading, hurtful and has no place in our country. Might I remind us all again that racial discrimination has nothing real to stand on? It exists because white people decided a long time ago that any color other than white was savage and inferior. And we have all been perpetuating this for years and years. It’s time to stop. We can’t change the past, but it’s gone on long enough, and, frankly, to discriminate against someone based on the color of skin they are wrapped in sounds crazy! I dare you to tell me it doesn’t!

3) I am not usually aware of the color of my skin on a day to day basis.

For some people of color, this is our first thought in the morning and the last thing we think about before bed. The thought stays with us all day, and it never leaves. It is reinforced heavily by the media and seeps into social platforms through small cracks. It whispers, “remember your color.” We live in a country where you are reminded what color you are every day. You’re not supposed to forget, and people like 45 and those who support him don’t want you to. And you shouldn’t because you should be proud of the color you are, but it should not define us and separate us. It should bring us together and help us create something new! But right now, this country is trying to make our skin color define us and dictate what we can and can’t do. Now, on the other hand, you may be aware that you’re white, and you may wake up and go to sleep with that thought in your head every night, but you don’t face it in practice, and it does not affect you negatively in your day, except perhaps when people call you out, which can be uncomfortable, but please remember that it comes from a place of wanting to be understood and validated. We have to work together to understand each other, both those with privilege and those without.

4) I feel like my skin color does not factor into other people’s views of me.

This one is loaded. There is the pressure of cultural expectations of identifying with one racial group, so it’s easier to place people in categories we understand, and there is the way in which people see you and make snap judgements about you, independent of how you personally identify. People will always assume things about you, especially when it comes to race because race and difference makes people uncomfortable. We would rather make an assumption than ask a question to avoid being wrong. But again, at what cost? At the cost of people getting to make these horrible and hurtful false racial stereotypes. Some people walk around every day unable to escape the way their skin color affects the way people see them. Being racially profiled, unlawful searches and unnecessary violence, having to teach your children of color how to respond in potentially dangerous situations with law enforcement, the list goes on and on…

5) I don’t have to defend my race.

Racial privilege allows you the opportunity to engage when you see fit and sit on the side lines when it’s all too much. Not having racial privilege means it’s your life. You don’t have a choice. You either engage and fight for your brothers and sisters, or we are all in danger. There is no freedom until we are all free. You get to be free now. You’ve never experienced this kind of oppression and this kind of fight, and we never have either. Our ancestors and those who came before us have, and now it’s our turn. For people of color, the fight for equality is not an option  but it is what we must do to try to create something more, something better than all this.

 

If at the end of this, you have any number of points, whether it be 5 or 1, you have racial privilege. Please keep in mind this is not bad, it just means that you have different advantages!

“When someone asks you to “check your privilege,” what they’re really asking you to do is to reflect on the ways that your social status might have given you an advantage – even if you didn’t ask for it or earn it – while their social status might have given them a disadvantage.” -Sam Dylan Finch (Read Sam’s Full Piece Here)

The number one question I get asked by people I have this discussion with is, “what can I do?” I can only answer this from my personal perspective and this is what I say:

Reach out to any and every friend of color you have. Inundate them with love. Do not condescend or try to argue the situation, but listen and try to understand how people of color are suffering right now. Lock into empathy, and use it like it’s going out of style. Each day, there will be only more news about how the “father of our country” can’t stand up to our bullies and protect America’s children. It’s up to us to protect each other. Be a force of positivity, spread love, support and understanding. Use your privilege to help others.

 

This is not a space for negativity or argument. If you don’t agree, ask a question rather than assert your opinion, and be open to an answer you’re not expecting. Otherwise, you’re looking for an argument, and in that case, don’t even bother.

Sending all the love I have to spare out to those who need it most in this dark time. ❤

I stand with my brothers and sisters of color today and every day.

✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Is Yoga For You?

I never thought yoga would be for me. Nothing about it appealed to me. The thought of holding a difficult stretch for a prolonged period of time while trying to be “relaxed” did not sound the least bit enjoyable. And hot yoga? Forget about it! But the thought of vigorous exercise made me want to puke, and it had come to the point where I had to try something, anything to finally alleviate some of my anxiety. Yoga was my mom’s suggestion, and like anything moms suggest when it comes to taking care of ourselves, I was reluctant to see the benefit. How could taking up yoga and trying to fit yet another thing into my already packed schedule possibly make me feel any less anxious? But weighing that against the stomachaches I was getting on a daily basis and the anxiety mounting in my chest, I had to try something.

Once I put my mind to starting yoga, I began to look to the internet for resources. I began to follow a ton of yoga profiles on social media, and I found it very hard not to get caught up in all the seemingly perfect social media surrounding it. At first, I have to say, I was a bit intimidated to begin yoga practice myself.  I did not have the flexibility it seems everyone who does yoga has. I had not stretched or been to my regular dance classes in over a year. I wasn’t sure I had the stamina, abs, or even muscles to do any of the insane poses I was seeing. It seemed so effortless to other women. There was no way I could do it. I would be too worried about how my poses looked, or that I really wasn’t cut out for it, or that I’d fall on my face!

But then I stopped, and I noticed what I was doing.

I was comparing myself to other women in a practice I hadn’t even started yet. How could I sit there staring at Instagram and tell myself that I was not as good at yoga as these countless other women when I hadn’t even tried? These were people who had practiced, learned, studied and spent countless hours working on their craft, and now they were getting to share that with other people and hopefully inspire them. It certainly inspired me.

I realized that the only failure in this yoga debacle was going to be a failure of my own. I was going to fail by not even giving it a try.

So I started small. With very little searching (cause I’m lazy!), I found a 30 day yoga challenge on Youtube. Little did I know this would be the gateway into my now consistent practice. This challenge was great for me. I’ve mentioned it before, but 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne is what got me started. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people that feels really guilty when I miss a day of any sort of challenge. For some reason, I feel accountable to stick to and finish short bursts of challenges like this, so when I started this 30 day yoga challenge, I knew I would hold myself to it. Just in case though, I enlisted a friend/roommate to do it with me. It was nice to have a buddy breathing along side me and someone who was also able to hold me to it on the days I felt like slacking! This challenge was a great way to ease into a yoga practice.

At this point, I was desperate for a way to try to get back in touch with my body and my soul, whatever that meant, and finally get some relief. And to my surprise, my body was slowly waking up again to movement. Suddenly I could focus on nothing but the sensations of my body and the sound of my breath. Yoga took all my focus. It was really hard work, but it was all I could think about when I was on my mat. For the first time, my mind wasn’t wandering uncontrollably. I was present on my mat as I struggled to press my heels to the floor and lift my hips higher.  But there were also days of soreness, days I absolutely dragged my feet all the way to the mat, and days I was not focused or could only think about the end of the practice. But every day, slowly, my coordination was getting better, and I was becoming familiar with the poses and sensations. I could keep my focus a little longer and my head felt a little bit clearer.

At the end of 30 days, I felt very differently about my mother’s suggestion. I had found 20-60 minutes a day that was dedicated to me and my body. It was dedicated to taking care of myself, to breathing and letting go of stress and tension, to stretching out my body, and creating space in body and mind. It was time dedicated solely to bettering myself. At the end of those 30 days, I could not see how I could continue without carving this time out for myself. Why would I go back to not taking care of myself? Why would this not be a top priority for my sanity? So much of the time we believe our time needs to be spent getting ahead, working, grinding so that we can relax later in a pile of money and security. But if you burn yourself out in the process to get there, is it worth it?

Whether you are so anxious it’s making you sick or you have mild stress each day, there is no reason you should not be taking time out to stretch and connect with and appreciate your body. They say it takes about 21 days to form a habit. So just for fun, try a 30 day challenge and see if it makes a difference. Can’t muster 30 whole days? Try a week! Try just a day! Treat yourself the way you want other people to treat you. Respect you body, and it will do it’s best to respect you!

And yes, while some of the pictures do at first intimidate me, I try to remember not to compare myself to others, but rather to what I was able to do before. Were my heels a little lower to the ground in my downward dog? Was my forward fold just a little more folded? Did my practice bring me peace? Did I focus on myself?

Try it out and see if it doesn’t bring you a little peace of mind. And if it does, I’d love to hear from you! Namaste. ❤

 

 

IMAGE CRED:

Farsai C.

6 Things I Do Every Day To Lower My Anxiety

Feeling anxious is no one’s cup of tea. These are the 6 most important things I do each day to counteract my anxiety!

  1. Slow Mornings

I have an amazing, talented, beautiful friend, who during our last visit, told me about slow mornings! How did I not know about this?! For those of us that work from home, it can be really hard to separate work time from personal time. In my recent transition to a home office, I find that a lot of my work time is bleeding into my personal life because it’s just so easy to check my social media metrics or respond to an email when everything is on my phone (and because I’m obsessed with my job!). I didn’t realize what a bad stress cycle this was putting me and my relationships into! Who wants to work every minute of every day or be around someone who is constantly working?

It was in the height of this stress that I learned about slow mornings. Over tea with my friend, I tried to pick up my jaw off the floor when she told me she doesn’t start work until 1pm! WHAT?! But how do you get enough done in the day? That’s when I realized slow mornings were not necessarily about productivity, but about sanity. It was about living a more full and less manic life. It was about scheduling and being responsible and gentle with my time. Imagining what this could be like in my own schedule, I suddenly felt lighter and less stressed! I couldn’t wait to try it out when I got back from the trip! I even made it a priority to create space for slow mornings in my bullet journal so I could hold myself accountable for trying and maintaining them! ( If you’re not aware, bullet journals are a great creative scheduling tool if you’re looking for a way to keep track of appointments, to-dos and habits! You can check out mine at @lealikesdesign!)

Spoiler: Slow mornings worked wonders for my stress and anxiety! Now when I wake up in the morning I feel like I have time to breathe before my day gets going. I can let my mind stay in morning mode and then gradually switch to work mode. I don’t have to wake up in it. I can eat my breakfast without trying to rush or multitask. Some mornings, I read or catch up on my own personal projects.  It can be a little difficult at first to get into the swing of slow mornings, but once you set and schedule your time, the days become a little more relaxed and, dare I say, fun!

2. Yoga

I’ve finally found my favorite YouTube yoga teacher! I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again – YouTube yoga is amazing, free, and so easy to access it’s insane! Sometimes I’m too lazy to motivate myself to go to a yoga class, and I will often give myself the excuse that it is too expensive or that there is too much traffic, but there is no excuse for pulling out my mat at home and setting up one of Maris’s videos in the living room. YogaUpload with Maris Aylward, begins and end most of my days. Yoga is my time for myself. It’s time to connect to my body and bring myself back down to earth. It’s a way to ground myself in the morning, and after getting caught up in my head and thoughts all day, it can be a nice way to settle back into my body at night.

3. Headspace

I found this amazing resource, surprisingly, on a plane of all places! Who would have thought one of my first meditation experiences would happen on a plane?! I have always been skeptical of meditation. I always feel like I can’t quite close the floodgate of my mind, and there’s nothing I hate more than staring at the inside of my eyelids while trying to feel at peace. But Headspace changed my perspective about what meditation can be and what it can do for you. Not only is founder Andy Puddicombe the coolest guy ever as a former Buddhist monk with a degree in Circus Arts, but he also has the most soothing, lovely voice. Seriously, once you hear Andy’s velvety voice, I guarantee you’re going to be hooked!

The first Headspace meditation I came across was one designed specifically for sleeping while sitting in a plane. As I had exhausted all the good movie choices on the flight back from Greece and knew I would be miserable if I did not get some rest before we landed, I tapped its icon on the screen, put my headphones in, and began my first ever meditation. The meditation was only ten minutes long. I used it twice before we landed and was sound asleep before it ended each time! I was shocked! I never, and I mean NEVER, sleep on planes y’all. Headspace is magical.

I’ve even started testing out using it as my shavasana (cool down) at the end of my yoga practice. In combination with the yoga, my body and mind get some peace and quiet along with some exercise!

4. Working out

It’s hard. It sucks. I never really want to do it, but it pulls my focus to survival mode, and I can’t think about anything except trying not to die. It’s great for getting away from my other thoughts. It’s great when I feel anxious, and it’s great when I’m not. It clears my head and changes my perspective sometimes. Things look a lot different after a run. I always feel better, stronger and ready after a small daily workout of squats or crunches. I think the mistake a lot of us make is that we promise we’ll do it tomorrow, or we feel like it needs to be planned out. Get up, right now, and walk for 15 minutes, or do 100 crunches throughout the day today. Something is better than nothing. Just do something. And who knows, you might be able to push yourself! I NEVER thought I would be into fitness or running at all, but when I take care of my body, my mind falls in line too!

5. Evening walk

Every evening before dinner, I take a walk with my boyfriend. No technology. Just us. We catch up about our day, our plans, our dreams, our future. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. I love hearing about what his day was like, what he thinks, his stories. I’ve always had a hard time communicating in relationships, and these walks definitely force both of us to be open with each other. With this practice, I can more accurately voice when I’m feeling stressed, and we are able talk through anything. He’s a wonderful source of advice and a wonderful listener. I never thought I’d find that, so for the longest time, I just didn’t say anything to anyone. You never know what people have to offer until you open up to them. (Especially if they love you and you love them!)

6. Communicating

Communicating what you are experiencing is key. I know it’s hard, near impossible sometimes. I’ve been there. I am there. But no one knows what you are going through except you. The more we can share our experience with others, even though it’s scary and sometimes others may disagree or argue, the more we understand one another. This can help both ourselves and others who might also be struggling. Search for someone you can have these conversations with. Have a friend in mind, but don’t know where to start? Start with that! People can be way more understanding and ready to help than we give them credit for. Most of the time, we have already made up what we think someone will think or say without giving them the opportunity to actually react. We have to give people the benefit of the doubt that they will be able to support us, until they prove otherwise. Put more trust in those you surround yourself with.

 

Breathe in. Breathe out. You are loved. ❤

Ethnicity Etiquette

If you are any color other than white, you, like me, have probably been asked all about your shade and where it was made. And you, like me, also know that there is a right way and about a billion wrong ways to be asked about your background. Before I fill you in on the dos and don’ts of asking, let’s get our terms straight: Race vs. Ethnicity.

Race is defined by physical characteristics such as bone structure and skin, hair, and eye color.

“The term race refers to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of physical characteristics (which usually result from genetic ancestry).”

The word race is used to separate people into groups based on HOW THEY LOOK! It is also stipulated that this is “actual OR ASSERTED” (are you serious?!). ” In the early 19th century, racial differences were ascribed significance in areas of intelligence, health, and personality. There is no evidence validating these ideas. Races are assumed to be distinguished by skin color, facial type, etc. However, the scientific basis of racial distinctions is very weak. Scientific studies show that racial genetic differences are weak except in skin color.”

So race is basically a construct with no real evidence to back it up, being used to separate people into groups based on skin color. It makes sense, as people are so eager to categorize and label things, but this just sets up the foundation for all sorts of messed up logic. Need I even begin to explain the racial mess we’re in now?

“Racial categories result from a shared genealogy due to geographical isolation. In the modern world this isolation has been broken down and racial groups have mixed.”

Read that last part again people! In case you didn’t know (Donald Trump!), RACIAL GROUPS HAVE MIXED. I REPEAT, RACIAL GROUPS HAVE MIXED! So if this is true, and this is the modern world we live in, why oh why are we still having problems with race? I mean, it must be scary losing your categorization system, but the whole world is going to be brown soon, so give it up.

This brings us to Ethnicity.

Ethnicity is defined by cultural factors including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language.

“An ethnic group or ethnicity is a population group whose members identify with each other on the basis of common nationality or shared cultural traditions.”

Ethnicity is based on shared cultural traits and group history, though some may also go as far as sharing a language or religion.

“You are said to be able to have multiple ethnicities but only one race, even if you are mixed race.”

This again seems a little problematic, as even if you are a mix of two different races, you can still only be classified into one. How does that make any sense? You have to deny half of yourself to fit into the correct race box? I don’t think so!

So when you want to ask me about my beautiful brown skin and how it was made, the correct word to use here would be ETHNICITY, not race. I am proud of my heritage and happy to share it with you!

And this brings us to the things to keep in mind when you inevitably do! I present to you the Ethnicity Etiquette pocket flowchart! Perfect for finishing up this blog, printing and hanging anywhere in your home, or folding up to carry around in your pocket for quick reference! 😉

 

Ethnicity Etiquette

And, above all else, always treat others (and ask them things) the way you would want them to treat (and ask) you, no matter your color, creed or gender.

 

 

Information and quotations for this post sourced from: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Ethnicity_vs_Race

Anxiety Transfiguration

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains some spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Anxiety has so many forms, from general to social to PTSD. I can’t speak to all forms, but I’ve noticed a lot of my anxiety has been coming from the way I think. All any person has is their own personal perspective of reality. This is true about the situations around them as well. No one can see through your eyes or read your mind. It can be be challenging for people with anxiety to express their perspective and those without anxiety to try to understand it. It is sometimes (most of the time) difficult for people with anxiety of any kind to voice exactly how they’re feeling or discuss how anxiety manifests. This can be both to others around them and even to themselves! After getting my head truly spinning, I sat down for some serious Harry Potter binge watching. Little did I know I would find some great ways to transfigure my thinking about anxiety.

I bring you: Anxiety Transfiguration!

When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out, I was so excited to see the dream of the Harry Potter universe continue. Finally, we got to step back into the world of magic that us avid fans of the films and books so greatly missed. I became so wrapped up in the world that David Yates so expertly crafted for us, I was not prepared for a scene close to the end that ended up affecting me very deeply. It was the most poignant portrayal of what it feels like to be out of control of your emotions that I had ever seen.

Toward the end of the film, Creedence, a timid boy who has been very abused, turns out to be the host of the Obscurus, which is a disease that manifests itself in young witches or wizards who suppress their magical powers. It hit me. Creedence was suppressing his magical ability just as I was suppressing my anxiety. This suppression, paired with the rage he began to feel, led Creedence to become overtaken by the Obscurus, transforming him into a cloud of black smoke capable of obliterating roads, uprooting houses, and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

Creedence spirals in and out of his human and Obscurus forms.  He goes in and out of being able to calm himself down for a moment only to be overtaken and lose control in a destructive black cloud of emotion and rage. Anxiety often feels like this. One moment my feet are on solid ground, and the next I’m falling down a dark train of thought that spirals uncontrollably into self-destruction. This scene is anxiety personified; it is a visual representation of what an anxiety attack can feel like from start to finish.

This got me thinking all the way back to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Surprisingly, there was another anxiety thought transformer hidden there that helped me to come to yet another understanding.  Anxiety bore a strange resemblance to Devil’s Snare, a magical plant that the more you struggle against, the more tightly the Devil’s Snare holds on to you and squeezes the life out of you. When you relax, only then are you able to sink below and get through the maze going on underneath. Only in Hermione’s case, Ron and Harry must be saved because they don’t stop struggling and almost die. That right there is a message in and of it self.  All this crazy stuff with my health and sleep being off, my daily stress, my constant need to work – it was all because I was struggling so hard, the life was being squeezed out of me. No one was going to come though with a magic spell to stop the squeezing of my Devil’s Snare though. The doctors could only prescribe so much, and my friends could only empathize, but not fix. I had to take some responsibility to relax myself and get a new perspective, or I was going to be squeezed to death.

Anxiety sometimes consumes us. Sometimes it squeezes us dry of all rational thought. Sometimes it is a raging path of destructive thoughts when we are feeling misunderstood and trapped. It’s okay to feel this way. It really is alright. We wouldn’t be intelligent beings if our thoughts did not consume us. It’s how our species has evolved. But sometimes, things sneak up on us and affect us more than we can explain, no matter how hard we try to rationalize or think through it.

I believe our key and our hope lies in learning and understanding. Once we begin to lean into our anxiety instead of shy away from it, we can begin learning and understanding deep fears, conditioning, and situations that have, or are currently, triggering anxiety. I try to set my thoughts to the side rather than letting them consume me, especially the big dark, anxious ones. I just wrap them in pretty wrapping paper and put them into the Vanishing Cabinet until I am in a better space to interact with them. As we know, the vanishing cabinet is a two way street, and sometimes it brings things back to us that we need to deal with. But all in good time! With the help of some great resources (coming to the blog soon!), I’ve been learning how to do just that. I’m starting to relax into the Devil’s Snare and disintegrate the dark cloud spinning around in my chest. I’m starting to figure out how to harness my magic, and feeling the freest from anxiety yet!

 

 

(Image cred to Kristopher Roller: https://unsplash.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 Reasons Why Moana is the Best Movie You Could Be Showing Your Kids (and yourself) Right Now!

***Contains Spoilers!***

#1 Moana is Brown!

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The next brown Disney female character has arrived! Do I really have to explain how having more brown role models can only benefit both kids and adults alike? Not only that, but Moana is also one of the first ladies to join the normally proportioned body club! It’s never once about her outfit or a change of costume, as she wears the traditional dress of her island and culture the whole movie!

#2 EVERYONE is Brown!

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Moana displays another culture and skin color, showcasing the very rich and interesting history of the people and how they lived their lives. Need I expand on why having this onscreen is super effective and just breeds tolerance?

#3 It’s Magical All Around

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The world this movie creates, its animation style, its message and its songs are all around magical, stunning and moving. It is the best work Disney has done so far!

#4 Some Songs Start in a Different Language First

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We get a wonderful taste of another culture as we struggle to understand the beautiful words before we get our English version.

#5 Traditional Dance of Another Culture

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There are so many wonderful traditional dance components sprinkled throughout the musical numbers in this film. It’s so important to be exposed to the culture of others.

#6 Moana Follows What’s Inside

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When everything around her tells Moana she needs to follow tradition and focus on her duty to the Island, she’s knows there must be another solution to the Island’s problems. She must leave it to save it! There is danger in the unknown, but she approaches life with curiosity and good intentions. How could the result be anything but good, right?

#7 Moana Dreams Big

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Moana’s inner voice drives her dreams of sailing beyond the reef. She doesn’t let anything stop her passion, even serious danger! Even when her first attempt to leave the reef fails, she keeps after her goal!

#8 No Love Interest In Sight

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Girl’s got bigger fish to fry than worrying about love right now!

#9 Line of Succession

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There is no question, explanation or second thought that Moana will take her father’s place as Chief. There’s no speech about how she’s going to be the first female chief. She’s just going to be!

#10 Trust and Nurture Your Child’s Passion

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As kids, we sometimes want to do some crazy things. We don’t always know what it takes or what came before us to make these things possible, but generally, we sure do know what we are passionate about. These passions should be supported (within reason) to help maintain the connection between parent and child. (Because if we know anything about teenagers, chances are they will probably try to do it anyway with or without support.)

#11 Respect, Learn From and Treasure Your Elders

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Moana respects her Mother, Father and, most of all, her Grandmother. Although she wants badly to sail and leave the Island, she also respects her parents’ wishes and treasures her Grandmother’s teaching and advice. There is so much wisdom in the generation above us, and yet we cast it off in favor of our own wants and the newer, faster, better way. So much can be learned and applied if only we follow Moana’s example of respecting and appreciating her elders.

#12 Dealing With Death

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Moana’s grandmother passes away, and there is no skirting around the difficulty of this for her. She has a brief moment to say goodbye and receive her grandmother’s final words of wisdom. It is clear when her Grandmother has died, but she is reincarnated and stays with Moana during her entire journey. She is there in her darkest and lowest moment. She is inside her the whole time. Our people can always be with us and within us and influence us if we let them.

#13 Life Is Hard

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Life beats you up and doesn’t always help you out when you need it most. Sometimes, the things you depend on or that helped you before don’t help, and you get thrown off your path. Stay strong and hopeful. Things have a funny way of working out…

#14 Gender Inclusive

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Maui is a hero to all. Nuff said.

#15 Your Ego Will Give You Away, Your Conscience Sets You Free

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Your ego can certainly look nice, and people might misread it for accomplishment, but it will ultimately give you away. Your conscience always knows the right thing to do. Perhaps we ought to indulge that angel voice a bit more than the devil tapping us on the other shoulder. Who knows, it might help you save the planet and become that special hero to all!

#16 Fight Coconuts, Not People

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The villain in this “fight scene” is portrayed by coconuts, not people. I can’t tell you the wonders this does in terms of the subliminal message it gives kids. It’s not about fighting someone else, or another race, but rather hittin’ some coconuts around on the way to saving the world. They aren’t super important, and they aren’t human, but boy are they fun, witty and dangerous little suckers.

#17 Help Others

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Doing the right thing, aka helping people and looking out for each other, gets you recognition. This is what people will remember you for. The other stuff is great, but helping other people means the most in the long run.

 

 

#18 Hidden Strengths

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Moana see potential in everyone and does not discriminate based on first look, or second, or even third. She never gives up on people, or chickens, as everyone has hidden strengths!

#19 Moana Continues to Be Underestimated and Continues to Surprise

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Girl has got mad skills, and on top of that, she just keeps learning and getting better!

#20 Fab Crab

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He’s so SHINY! This guy knows who he is on the inside and the outside. He’s sure of himself, and it’s beautiful! He knows what he wants more than most of us, and as we see, definitely more than Maui. He teaches us to take a hard look at ourselves and resolve what’s going on inside, so you can shine on the outside, baby!

#20 Promotes Empathy

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Moana has empathy for her family, village and Island, for her animal friends, the new people she meets, and for the ocean and Mother Nature. This is different than just sympathizing, as she actively tries to understand and identify with those around her and her environment. What better example could be set as to how we should treat one another and our planet? When you open up to those around you, others can offer you a different perspective, and help could come from the most unlikely source!

#21 She Learns a Skill

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Moana doesn’t sit on the beach and dream about sailing, or just hop out on the water in a canoe and is suddenly good at Way Finding. She goes through many failed attempts. She hurts herself and almost drowns in the reef, but she doesn’t let even that near death experience turn her away! She learns, even from a hard and sometimes unwilling teacher, and she perseveres. She studies, practices and improves! She masters her own craft, and eventually, she is even able to pass on what she learned to her people!

#22 Mother Nature is Pissed

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Mother nature is pretty mad at us for the way we’ve treated her. Wouldn’t you be? She is clearly not a fan, but she forgives. Just…let us girls talk to her, okay guys?

#23 Girls Will Save the World

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As previously mentioned, girls are going to be the ones to fix this mess we’ve landed ourselves in. So boys, join in and help us out, or step aside and let us get this under control! (Honestly, where are some of your mothers?)

#24 We Can Begin to Heal the Planet

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So let’s get on it, okay, people? Our planet want us to love it. How can we start doing that today?

#25 Our True BFFs Are Always Waiting For Us When We Come Home

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They may not be able to come on our journey with us, but they’re happily waiting to hear all about it when we get back!

#26 Our Hair Never Does What We Tell It

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Any curly haired girl watching this knows the hair struggle. Thank you, Moana, for rocking the hell out of it!

#27 Never Forget Where You Come From

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Moana’s inspiration for saving the Island comes from learning about her past. Her whole journey is rooted in where she comes from and her history. It never strays far from her mind. Instead of casting it off to forge ahead into the future, she learns from her past and ends up using an old tradition to save her village, the Island, and the world, bringing forth an improved way of life.

Pick a Card, Any Card

I had my Tarot cards read the other day. It’s such an amazing practice, and nothing makes me feel more on track than a Tarot reading. Now, I know you may think this is crazy, but my recent reading actually made me start to think about my anxiety in a different way. I’ve been making many discoveries about myself lately, such as how my anxiety manifests and how it functions, and I can’t wait to share those insights, but it was the reading itself that was a major emotional tipping point.

Now, I know there are a lot of skeptics out there who say that Tarot is made up, or that it’s just probability and projection, but I think you can find things in a reading that apply to you no matter how you think the cards are drawn. I, however, do not think probability is the force at work in Tarot, but rather that you truly draw the cards you need in your life at that moment. This was never more apparent than this last reading, which was done by a wonderful friend! (Thank you dear one!)

I won’t share my entire reading, but I would like to tell you about the two most important parts. These cards started the change my thinking, and they’ve been a guiding force every day since.

For those that don’t know, there are different types of layouts you can choose for your reading, such as Celtic Cross or the Career Path Spread. I chose the Chakra reading, which aligns the cards with your different chakra points and depicts influences, blockages, or advances for healing.

The first card I want to share with you was drawn for my solar plexus chakra (the stomach/sternum area), which indicates feelings of self-worth and major obstacles in our path to success. The card I drew was Failure. “You are afraid of failing,” said my friend, “and this blocks your confidence.” How could one card call me out so completely? Deep down, where I thought I had buried it a long time ago, was exactly that – a fear of failure. This fear had not seen the light of day for so long, and suddenly, here was this giant spotlight shining on it!

It gets even crazier because this fear that I had not acknowledged for so long had begun to physically manifest in my body. For almost three weeks, I have woken up every morning at 6 or 7am with an upset stomach that takes anywhere from 1-3 hours to normalize, and also makes it extremely hard to eat anything (No, I’m not pregnant. I checked…). How had I not put this together? Then again, how could I? Without this reading to bring it out from hiding and help me connect the dots, it would have stayed there unacknowledged, continuing to mess with my health.

“If you want, you can draw another card to see what happens once you let that fear of failure go,” she told me. So, of course, I did. The next card was Gain. “Once you are able to drop your fears, which have nothing to do with reality, you can change your intentions and thought patterns to focus on the positive, and thus you will gain from all situations in life. This is an important perspective shift.” Wait wait wait, drop my fears that have nothing to do with reality? What? All my fears are very real and important, aren’t they? Maybe I really did get stuck in a downward spiral of negativity. When was the last time I focused on something positive? I couldn’t recall. The thing that resonated most though was this mention of a perspective shift… I hadn’t thought about it that way. Something about that seemed more doable and less threatening than making a change. And the perspective shift had to start with my thinking about fear and negativity.

The second noteworthy card was drawn for my heart chakra, which points to important and close relationships. The card I received was Worry, which seemed to go hand in hand with Failure. I strongly believe that the first drawing definitely affected this second one. “Your ability to love and love life is blocked by fear of painful situations and pessimism,” she told me. Damn, right again. These things that I didn’t want to admit or couldn’t put a name to were coming up so clearly that it scared me. There was that fear again. So much fear! Where did it all come from? How had I hidden it so well from myself? And yet, once I spotted it, I realized I had become so pessimistic that I was beginning to get annoyed with myself!

“You can draw another card to see what will replace worry once you let it go,” she said. Again, I drew a second card. The Sun. “Once you reprogram your thoughts from ‘but what if all the bad stuff…’ to ‘there could be so much good stuff…,’ you will feel free to join in the dance of life, which will lead you to fulfilled love relationships and creative adventures! The sun is shining in and through your heart!” Fulfilled love relationships and creative adventures?! You mean the two things I want most in this life? I could actually have those things?

My mind was spinning. Here, in just these two cards alone, was everything I had been hiding from myself, everything that I had pushed away. Even if I didn’t believe that the universe or Tarot Gods or some higher power had chosen these cards for me, here laid out on the carpet in my apartment were the truths I could no longer run from. Here was a map of my anxiety and how it had begun to affect me and manifest in my body. Here was an explanation for my stomach issues, my frantic multi-tasking, and my constant feeling of not doing enough to try to succeed each day. Here was the inescapable truth.

Maybe the way I had been thinking for so long had become a negative pattern that was only getting worse each day. Maybe it affected my anxiety more than I thought. Maybe, just maybe, there was a way to start fixing this and let Gain and The Sun rule my life instead of Failure and Worry. Maybe I could shift my thinking in a more positive way. Maybe my heart could burst with love each day instead of drowning in worry.

This reading left me with so many maybes but I can tell you now, those maybes would to certainties. It was only a matter of time.