guest blogger: Na’veh

Today we have a guest post from fellow blogger Na’veh who’s blog @thebloggingsofv is full of through provoking poetry and art that challenges and stimulates the mind of its reader on a regular basis. The poem below is one that I related to on a spiritual level as loneliness and mundanity seem to be constantly creeping around every corner. If you would like to connect with Na’veh more and experience her poetry and writing on a more personal level, you should check out her Instagram @thewritingsofv

The loneliness pandemic | Harvard Magazine

It isn’t being alone that scares me,

but feeling lonely that causes fear. 

With my moods swinging from side to side,

my mind is attacked from the inside. 

A mental tug of war where I’m afraid

of the outcome if the opposed were to

succeed. It’s as if the pain I feel— the pain

that has been caused— is responsible for the apparent separation between myself

and hope. Everyday is a motionless routine,

silently battling demons and wallowing in a puddle of my own despair.

Loneliness is no

longer just a word, but a state of mind that

places fear in my heart. Where is my solitude,

this feeling of self-love and self-awareness, to

remind me of who I am? Where is my epiphanic

moment where I’m reminded of my worth?

Perhaps, one day, loneliness and I will end our

battle and there will be no more of either one of us. 

5 ways to Protect Your Peace — H.O.E.

I stumbled across this blog today and this post could not have been better timed. Kaillaby wrote an extensive post on the best ways to protect your peace and I appreciated every word that she laid out on her blog. Sometimes as women we spend so much time worrying about others and those around us, and we sacrifice our own peace at the expense of others. After reading her blog post, I wrote down her five ways to protect your peace on a post it note and stuck it to my computer because I wanted to be constantly reminded of what she had to say. Take a look and give Kaillaby some love.

Your peace is sacred, protect it at all costs. Read on for the 5 building blocks you need to barricade your peace. I inspire people with my sunny disposition. I often receive compliments on my high energy and people ask what keeps me walking on sunshine. “Is it coffee? Money? Did you just go on […]

5 ways to Protect Your Peace — H.O.E.

guilty

Artists Are Paying Tribute on Social Media to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,  and Other Black Americans Killed by the Police | Artnet News

Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd, has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter as of 5:30 p.m. today.

When I heard the news, I released an audible sigh of relief. I watched a video on Twitter where a group of protesters changed a sign that read “Justice?” to “Justice Served,” and I cried. I know that I was not the only one.

It is heartbreaking that we had to wait this long for George Floyd and his family to receive this justice at all, and it is even more heartbreaking that his life was taken from him. We are so far from the change that needs to happen in this country and I hope that the momentum that was gathered this past summer and the fires that have been ignited across the country do not go out. So many names go unsaid and so many families never receive the accountability and justice that they deserve. The death of George Floyd ignited something strong in our nation and I am hopeful that more change is coming.

I spent some time talking to my co-workers about the verdict. We discussed the importance of the continued conversations and the strong calls to action that have occurred over the last year. Social media has allowed a type of communication and community that wasn’t available in years past. The way information is shared and spread is quite literally instantaneous, and that allows us to grow and learn as a community.

It is unfortunate that we had to fight and protest to get the result we did today. It is heartbreaking that we had to still hold our breath as the jury deliberated. There were moments when we worried that the right verdict would not come to pass, and that is beyond unacceptable. The fact that we had to wait almost a year for the verdict is disgusting. I can’t think of a good reason why Chauvin wasn’t already behind bars serving his sentence.

This case is a testament to the realities of the justice system and it is terrifying how much we had to do for this one man and his family to receive the justice they deserved.

Some people say the system is broken, but it is not. The system was built like this and it needs to be torn down and rebuilt so that proper justice and protection could be served for all.

random poetry #2

11/18/2017 *trigger warning: mention of sexual assault

Dear God,

I just have a couple questions for you, some things that I’ve had on my mind. Answer me this, why is it that in your own book it says, “seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” I have been searching and searching and I haven’t found a single thing. The only thing I have to show for my knocking is cold, bloody knuckles and that door? Couldn’t be more closed.

It’s not that I don’t try God, I mean don’t get me wrong. I pray the prayers, I read the words, and I sing every song. But all I get back? Is nothing.

Here’s another, if you oh God, are the creator of all things. If you are so indescribable, uncontainable, then why the war? famine? drought? death? disease? And don’t try and say, “that one tree, remember? That stupid girl Eve?” No. I need a real legitimate answer. I’m tired of turning on the TV and seeing lies, fighting, destruction and violence. I’m tired of all this stuff happening and from you? Only getting radio silence. Answer me God. Why?

Why is it that my mother seems to only get sicker and sicker no matter how much prayer or medicine we seem to give her? Why is it that there are hundreds of thousands of children sitting in foster homes or on the streets alone and abandoned? What have those kids done to deserve that treatment from you? What about those single mothers whose husbands, boyfriends, and baby daddies have left them to fend for themselves? Not a bit of money, clothes for their babies, or food sitting on their shelves.

Here’s another question for you. If you are so full of love and compassion, why are the people who claim to be your most dedicated followers so full of hate? Swearing up and down with things that are “different”, “against the rules” or “unnatural” they just can’t relate. So instead of treating others with love or kindness, they burn them with words, slam them with negativity, and kill them with closemindedness. Knowing there are so many skeletons in their closet that the door doesn’t even close anymore. I just don’t understand God I just don’t get it.

For all my life I have believed in something, someone bigger, someone stronger. Well you know what I think? I think I’ve been screwed over. I think me and everyone else have fallen for big what if.

what if there’s someone up there watching us, what if there’s are way out, what if one day this all goes away. Well you know what I think God? There isn’t. And it doesn’t.

Because that little boy, his dad is still going to beat him. That young girl is still going to get raped. That black boy is still going to get shot and that school full of children are never going to see their parents again. Because God you weren’t there.

You weren’t there when my mom and dad were fighting all hours into the night. You weren’t there when that man took advantage of me. You weren’t there when I was crying and begging for help. You weren’t there when I wanted to cease to exist, you were never there.

When I scream in anger I scream at the wind and when I cry, I’m crying tot he sky. I know you wouldn’t care if right now I died. How could you exist? How could you be real? When the pain of life is almost unreal. We’re dying out here. Addictions on the rise, depression on the incline, mental disorders on the climb, all this senseless crime, we’re running out of time.

I just can’t do it anymore.

Sincerely,

respectfully,

Jessica

my favorite book: TFOS

Image result for the fault in our stars

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I went out for coffee with a new friend the other day and she asked me what my all time favorite book was. Without any hesitation I answered and told her The Fault In our Stars by John Green. If you were a young teen girl from 2012 when the book was released to 2014 when the movie was released, it undoubted had a strong hold over you and your friends. I was absolutely obssessed with that book. Not only did I read it more time than I can count, throughout the course of several years I collected three different copies of the book. One copy, my first purchase, was used as my annotated and loved on copy. There are notes and comments on that book dating all the way back to when I was 13 years old. My second copy is hard back that I bought intentionally to keep in pristine condition forever and ever. When I bought it I even remember telling my mom that I was going to give it to my daughter on her 13th birthday. The final copy of the book I have was a gift from an ex-boyfriend. He spent months contacting John Green’s publishers and eventually John Green himself to have the book personal signed for me, then he also spent that time annotating the copy as he read through it. Little notes and comments for me from him. It was the best gift I’d ever received.

There are a couple of reasons that book sticks out to me. For one, I was entranced by the story that John Green managed to weave. A coming of age love story from the perspective of a teenage girl that I felt completely and utterly connected to. Hazel Grace Lancaster felt like the literary embodiment of me….If I was a little white girl with a depilating lung disease. The way that she expressed her emotions and thoughts throughout the story resonated with me in a way that no piece of literature ever did. I felt connected to her character, and I felt for her story. The love that Hazel and Augustus found in each other became my blueprint. I wanted a love like theirs more than anything in the world. Augustus was also a character that was extremely intriguing to me. Now in my grown up age, I realize that I wasn’t attracted to him but I infact wanted to be him. Confident, intelligent, brave and independent, Augustus loved Hazel with his whole heart up until his final moments and it was inspiring.

When I think of the book I think of the impact the story and the characters had on my life. I wept with Hazel throughout the book, I shared her love and her loss and her pain on every page. Sometimes I forgot that she wasn’t real, I would worry about her and her unfinished story. Did she ever get better? Did she ever find a love as great as Gus? It’s ironic really given Hazel’s obsession with the novel An Imperial Affliction and the ambiguous ending the author provided to her. Hazel is depressed and sick, but passionate and fiery and I wanted to embody her character and Gus’s character all at once.

I plan to re-read The Fault in Our stars as soon as possible because I want to see how the story changes for me in adulthood. My motivations have definitely changed and it will be interesting to see how the story affects me.

respond telling me about your favorite book, I want to engage more with my followers!

random poetry

I have decided to add a new blog segment called random poetry (that name is a work in progress). I’m just going to be going through old journals and pulling out old poetry and writing a little blurb about what the poem is about. I think it will be a fun look into my past mind.

1/27/2021

They each chose a part to focus on.

you can see them,

see the music.

base,

harmony,

melody,

tones,

everything together to make that one song,

each feeling their own part

together,

seeing colors and patterns inwardly connecting to create one vibrant moment

So this poem was inspired by me watching my friends listen to music. Listening to music is such a beautiful activity that I don’t think we take the time to appreciate enough. It affects everyone just a little bit different and it was interesting to watch how they felt the music.

How does music make you feel? What kind of music is most inspiring to you? Drop some artists, I love listening to new artists!

soul work: self love

I had a hard time coming up with what I wanted to write for this post. Like some of the other posts on my blog, this topic came at the request of my professor. The problem is, while I have been trying very hard recently to connect with myself and my soul recently, I have a hard time transferring what my brain is thinking onto the computer. But the best thing one can do is try their best so that’s what I’m going to do.

For me, working on my soul means expressing self love. I’ve always struggled loving myself in the right ways. I think its a combination of feeling like sometimes I don’t do enough to deserve love and also feeling like “well I just don’t have time I’ll do it later”. So I recently came to the decision to just do it. To just love myself. Sometimes I wait so long to do things for absolutely no reason and I realized almost too late that I can’t do that anymore. I’ve been going through a serious personal low recently, and if anyone is in need of some self love its me.

I took myself on a date the other day. I geuniely can’t remember the last time I did that. I got dressed and put on a cute outfit, did my hair and makeup, packed a bookbag with snacks and my painting supplies, and headed out. I took the blanket out of my car and set up a little picnic for myself at College Green and painting while listening to some music for a good 2 hours. I have never been so relaxed! The weather was perfect and it was just so nice to spend some good quality time with myself. After the park I went a got boba before I headed home. It was a wonderful date and I wrote in my journal afterwards talking about how I need to spend more intentional quality time with myself. I spend a lot of time and effort making sure those around me are okay and taken care of, and sometimes I loose myself. But I am determined to love on Jess in the ways that she needs and wants to be loved on.

I’ve also been doing some intense spiritual revitalization in my life. I have always enjoyed being a spiritual person, but along with my self love, my spiritual life had taken a backseat. Which really sucked because my spirituality is a huge part of who I am. I have gotten back into doing my research, a daily tarot pull and guided meditation every morning and I already notice a difference in my days. Starting my day of with good intentions and calm really has an affect on not just my day but my being as well. I can sense my spiritual walk affecting how I interact with people I care about, people at work, and even with myself. I encourage anyone who is struggling with their soul and self love to get into spirituality. That kind of connection is unmatched and I can really say without a doubt that it has had profound affect on not just my day to day but my soul.

I also learned that its important to love yourself in not just your own love language, but all the love languages! I thought that I only wanted to be loved through words of affirmation and physical touch but there are so many other ways that you can love yourself. I’ll give some examples because I know sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas on your own. (I struggle with that a lot

Words of affirmation: write yourself a nice letter and read it out loud, say nice things about yourself to yourself in the mirror in the mornings to start your day.

Physical touch: Go get a massage, take a bath or nice shower, a mini at home spa day

Gifts: get yourself something off your wishlist (if you can afford it, buy it~ you’re allowed to spoil yourself)

Acts of Service: if you have the energy, clean your home or car. take the trash out or cook yourself a nice meal

Quality Time: take yourself on a date doing something you enjoy! Bookstore, picnic, movies, or even dinner. Don’t be afraid to do things alone.

Love yourself ladies and gentleman, I promise you deserve it

having a reactive dog

So I recently discovered through TikTok that Joplin is considered a reactive dog. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, it just means that he has a tendency to overreact to certain triggers. I had a suspicion of this as Joplin often barks at other dogs on leash, animals outside the window and is just constantly on high alert when we take him out. It was honestly getting frustrating because normal leash training didn’t seem to be working for him. But I’ve been doing some research and I have learned so much! I really want him to feel understood and comfortable and safe so I thought I would compile what I learned here just in case anyone has a dog with similar traits and they are curious as to what they can do. Obviously, I am in no way a professional and you have to do what’s best for you and your puppy but here’s somethings I have learned.

Behavior: Joplin is a great dog, he is a basset hound lab mix with lots of energy and so much love. Some of his reactive triggers are men, other dogs, and large groups of people. When he is stimulated in a way he doesn’t like his hair goes up, his muscles tense and he becomes unresponsive to his call-back words and treats. He pulls hard on the leash and barks very loudly at whatever is bothering him. It’s not necessarily an angry bark, but it’s loud and often frightening to people who don’t know him. This behavior used to anger me but I came to learn that reactive dogs act that way mostly out of fear and heightened stress. Being on his leash makes him feel trapped so he feels his only way to escape the situation is to act aggressively. He will bark at the threat until either it or himself or out of range. Here is a list of some other signs of heightened anxiety

  • yawning when not tired
  • lip licking
  • sudden scratching
  • sniffing
  • panting
  • tail tucked under body
  • intense eye contact
  • growling
  • showing teeth
  • tense body

Management: There is a difference between training and management. Training is aimed at changing a dogs behavior in the long run. In regards to your reactive pup, that means counterconditioning and desensitization. Management is when you set up a dogs environment in a way that makes good behavior more likely. For example, if your dog chews on shoes you put the shoes away. That doesn’t teach the dog not to do it, but it does keep the shoes from being damaged and does stop the behavior. Management is important because it can help to keep your dog as happy and comfortable as possible which goes hand in hand with training. Some management techniques I have implemented for Joplin are scheduling his potty trips and walks during times I know there isn’t a lot of foot traffic. He can’t get reactive on leash if there’s nothing to react to.

Training: Training is a long process and it can often be awhile before you see results in behavior modifications. But consistency is key! Dog-to-dog interactions are a great way to help socialize and help your dog get more comfortable. Doggy play dates and dog parks are a great way to get regular exposure to your dog. It is important to make sure this exposure is supervised and controlled as you don’t want to do anything to elevate your dogs anxiety or go over his threshold. A type of training that was super interesting to me was long-leash training. I was taught that it was important to keep your dog close and I always assumed the proper correction on leash was a swift yank and then changing the direction. However, I learned that reactive dogs find that kind of correction more anxiety inducing and stressful. Keeping a reactive dog on a short leash can increase their stress levels because they aren’t able to use body language in the way they usually would. I really like the way Spirit Dog Training summarized it.

As we sense a potential trigger approach, we tend to wrap the leash around our wrist or hold it high up in the air, further restricting our dog’s movement and making him feel like there is only one way out of the situation: outright attack.

If you are at a distance to a trigger at which your pup is already lunging and going crazy, you are too close in any way – long line or not. Ideally, you want to always keep your dog at a distance at which he is under his threshold – meaning not stressed enough to “go wild” and not be able to listen to you or take treats anymore.

So since you want to keep a healthy distance in any case, while you are at this distance your dog might really benefit from being at a long leash that allows him to sniff and move his body naturally without restrictions.

Some other forms of training that I learned about included chewing therapy, sniff walks, mental exercises and routine building. Joplin loves to chew so I try to keep bones and chewable treats in the house for him. Chewing helps to lower anxiety and is a great way to mentally stimulate your pup. Sniff walks are also super fun. Sniffing allows your pet to feel more informed and more comfortable about his environment. Dogs take in a lot of information through their nose so giving the the opportunity to intensely explore is great for them. Take your time and be patient, I like to put on a podcast or a good playlist and just walk to really let him get in some good sniffs. Routine building was actually really interesting to learn about. Reactivity often occurs when your dog is feeling uncertain. Something that we can do as pet owners is try to make sure that even if they are in a new place or situation that always have something familiar. A routine trick is a great way to build this routine. For Joplin he is really good at sitting pretty. (sitting on his back legs with his front paws raised in the air) I have started to have him sit pretty when we are on walks and he loves to do his tricks outside. Finding a trick that your dog enjoys and can do well is great way to build that routine.

I love my animals and I love doing reasearch to enrich their life and find out ways that I can be a better pet mom. I hope this information was helpful to someone else out there! I’ll put all the links down below too, so you can do your own reading and research.

the eye

Below this photo is the scrambled ranting of my mind after our professor showed us this picture and then had us write about it for 10 minutes. I hope you enjoy it, I hope it’s thought provoking and I hope it makes sense.

by Hipgnosis: Thorgerson and Powell

They can’t hide. The overbearing eye seems them in both their physical and emotional nakedness. Balancing on the balls of their feet, hovering over the rocks and hiding the most delicate parts of themself from the sight of the unwanted. Piercing green eye breaks the blue sky and creates an uncomfortable feeling for the individual perched there. The feeling of vulnerability that you can not run from, the feeling of being caught in your nakedness.

They feel the only option is to cower, burying in the sand or running are off the table because that would require action. Those who fear vulnerability and visibility fear and cower in the face of action. There seems to be no other choice but to cover yourself until the threat passes.

A single eye piercing into their very naked body can only be a threat. There is no possibility of friendliness coming from something so willing about able to make another so obviously uncomfortable. It does not blink or change it’s gaze, instead the singular gaze of vulnerability latches itself onto the poor unfortunate soul. Their legs are taut, the muscles in their calves screaming after being forced to hold such a strong but fragile position for so long. How long do they wait? They eye seems fixed. Will they wait for the eye to disappear or will they gather the courage to move out of the line of sight. Or do they now become a fixed point in time along with the eye. Cowering in fright, infront of the unblinking eye for all eternity.

Or is it fake. It the eye simply a physical manifestation of their deepest insecurities of constant self scrutiny and judgement. The consistent worry and fear and self doubt slowly building up and eventually leaking into our plan of existence, creating a personal hell for this fragile individual. Isn’t that just what hell seems to be though? Our inner fears and personal anxieties teased up and manifested into physical realities, real enough to stop us in our tracks. Naked or now.

How would you react to the eye? Would you cower in fear, becoming immobile for eternity representing one inability to make a choice. Would you face it boldly. Staring it down, forcing it to move away or even cower at your stare. Or would you run. And if you run, would you look back? Or would you run, keeping your gaze locked on the horizon running until you know their is no way it can see you. Hoping it can’t see you anymore.

I would run.

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