Tag Archives: learning

Music is art

Whats good, my names Kevin also known as KevinXI. My purpose here is to spread mental health awareness through, music, culture, and basically anything related to art. I believe that music can bring people together, as well as split them apart, so it is important to keep that in mind when creating any track.

I want to let everyone out there to know that there is hope. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety ever since I was 14. I am now 22 and trying to bring awareness to these disorders so that further research can be done in order to gain more insight on them.

Hopefully this insight can lead to some sort of solution, but for now we are all just trying to survive. Live on and be grateful 🙂 Attached below is a link to my music and merch. Lets start a movement; Lets end the stigma associated with mental health disorders; Lets build a community were people can be open without judgment.

Music and Merch –

https://linktr.ee/KevinXI

peace, love, and positivity

KevinXI

Words I have heard in my yoga practice that you might need to hear right now

First of all… this poem called Joy For No Reason by Danna Faulds:

I am filled with quiet joy for no reason save the fact that I’m alive.


The message I received is clear – there’s no time to lose from loving,


no place but here to offer kindness,


no day but this to be my true, unfettered self and pass the flame from heart to heart.


This is the only moment that exists – so simple, so exquisite, and so real.

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Secondly…

…You are beautiful, inside and out.

…Sometimes it’s tough.  Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.  But you push through it and the relief at the end is a feeling unlike any other.

…The most valuable gift we can give our bodies is time.

…This breath in…this breath out.

woman in black bikini underwater photography
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

…May you be happy, may you be safe, and may you live your life with ease.

…We always seem to be tied up in what has happened and what is happening later.  But when we lock into our breathing, we are in the present.

…You are here, you showed up.  You did the hard part.

…Appreciate that you are alive beneath your hands, that you are the only person under your hands that matters right now.

Image result for supta baddha konasana with hands over heart

And don’t forget…

…If you can balance your body in here, you can balance anything out there.

…It’s okay if you fall.  It means you pushed it to your edge, and you get right back up.

…You’re the most graceful fall-er I’ve ever met.

…Your pose is not going to look the same as any other pose, because every body is different.

…Every day, your body needs different things.  One day you may be able to hold a headstand for 10 minutes, the next maybe you need to lie down into child’s pose most of the practice.  Wherever your body is, is perfect.

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Photo by Zsolt Joo on Pexels.com

…If you are really stressed or overwhelmed, try doing a few handstands.  They take conscious effort and focus, so it diverts your mind for a minute, and brings your attention to your balance and breath.  I think of it like hitting a mini restart button on whatever you were doing.

…We all know about the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would like to be done unto yourself.  But did you know it goes both ways?  You should do unto yourself as you do unto others.

…Find comfort in the discomfort.

…Whatever it looks like right now is beautiful.

…You’re sweating and you’re breathing: that’s all that really matters.

..Nothing changes if nothing changes.

…When the merry-go-round of thoughts come in, let them.  But don’t get caught up on any that don’t matter in the right now.  Just let them keep going around.

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Photo by Salma Smida on Pexels.com

In case you need a reminder…

…You are enough, you do enough, you have enough.

…Practice self-compassion.  Compliment yourself and appreciate your body just as you would another person.

…If your loved one was going through this, what would you tell them?  Sometimes what we tell others is what we need to hear ourselves.

…Find softness in your edge; the furthest point you can push your body.  Then exhale, soften, and push just an inch further.  That’s where the change happens.

…Sometimes what we need is not what we want.

…Heart open, back straight, booty low.

…It’s so easy to just send a text, or post a photo.  Showing up, being present – that’s showing passion, commitment, appreciation, drive.

…Just being here, right now, adds to the dynamic of the room.  If one person was missing, this whole practice would be different.

And finally…

…The light in me sees, and honors the light in you. Namaste.

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Photo by Vinícius Vieira Fotografia on Pexels.com



Special thank you to The Yoga Shop of Salem (well the entire TYS community, for that matter) for allowing me to grow in my practice, my mind, and my life.  Thank you for sharing these words with me in and out of our practice.

If you would like more mantras like these, I highly suggest getting yourself a copy of  Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. (Shout-out to Amanda for the best Secret Santa gift this year.) Some of these words came from this book, as many of my instructors use it for their opening meditations in class.

Or, better yet, come join a practice sometime.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Hello Neighbor

One of the top books trending on Amazon, and was recently named a New York Times Best Seller, is The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King. The book by King is an in depth biography about everyone’s favorite person growing up; Mr. Fred Rogers. Chronicling the life and times of this almost saintly PBS star, we get a really close look into an adult figure that basically shaped the modern times through his unconditional sense of nurturing and embracing the love of helping others grow. Even thou he is gone, that cardigan and simplistic smile still represents so much today.

i was fortunate enough to grow up in the time frame when Fred Rogers was producing the famous PBS show directly day in and day out. Although i was younger and started to watch the show and Mr Rogers in his later part of his legendary broadcasting career, i still loved to rush to the TV back in the day and wait to see the friendly neighbor walk through his door. i feel now that i am 24 i look back and become enthralled with what i learned from the show. Even if we did not know we were learning the skills to be a good human being, Fred Rogers always knew his audience was learning. Through his teachings and time with us, we learned what Fred Roger’s idea of being a good person was and how very simple it could be.

Be Kind.

It has been nearly sixteen years since Fred Rogers left our neighborhood, a new generation of children have come and started to learn of the lessons he gave us, but what if i told you that we need to revisit the episodes of a simple man ourselves?

It seems these days we haven’t been the friendliest of neighbors to each other. Building walls, hurting one another and not simply being kind when we need it the most. We know that this world is not meant to be perfect, nor is meant to be catastrophic in nature, but what we should start as 2019 is in its infantile stages is to be more like Fred Rogers and take up his Good Neighbor mantle he left behind for us. I like to believe that the world could use a good neighbor like Mr. Rogers these days. He was imperfect and that’s the way we all are, he loved unconditionally which we all have the potential to create, and he never created a persona for himself to supply the audience, in short terms he never stopped being who he was a rare, authentic form of a man.

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers always tried to bring the best out of people, even adults. In times of hardship and tragedy, we always looked for comfort in the things that are familiar to use and our childhood usually makes an appearance. In recent years, we have had things happen in this world that should never happen to anyone under our sun and stars, unspeakable acts and disasters that have rattled us to our very core, that have changed us in ways we wished we weren’t changed. But even in the 21st century and almost two decades since he passed away Fred Rogers is still helping us even in adulthood. As he said before “look for the helpers”, but i think we can do better than look for them. Lets be the helpers in times where things are not so good. It doesn’t have to be on a cataclysmic scale but we can be the ones that help others day in and day out even on the smallest things. Lets be the ones the next generation looks to in times of strife and say “Yes there they are, the helpers”.

I like to think this will be my goal for not only 2019 but in the years to come as well. We can all use a neighbor during our life, to help us on both our bad days and to help celebrate the good ones. i challenge those who are reading this to be a little more neighborly this year and it doesn’t have to be on a major scale. It can be simple and sweet and still have all the value still to it. If not the most important challenge i ask of those who read this is very simple and honors Fred Rogers the most; be kind.

A Good Man

A Good Man goes through life with no expectation of rewards or praise for the things they find should be common. They do not want the pomp and circumstance that comes with the deeds they do because its not what they were put on this Earth to do. They were not put on this earth to take medals and prizes, they are here for the people and progress of humanity.  A good man does everything for someone or something else, dedicating his values to the needs and desires of those he serves in what ever way that he finds serves the many. No matter the days, the hours, or service, a good man is always there for his people.

It seems today, i see less and less good men in this world. Too many spotlights pointed on people who don’t need them, too many awards for people who only served themselves. Too much stolen glory that the good men didn’t want, yet deserved, be given to the lackluster members of humanity. These are not good men of whom i write about.

Its not a sin for a good man to take some credit in some instances, its not a sin for a good many to accept some of the glory that comes with life. Its a sin when you don’t attempt to recognize their efforts of being a good man once in a while. Even if its minimal, its something for us to give back to them.

This past weekend, it was veterans day.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A day where we honor those men, and women, for their service in the armed forces of our land and for our people. This day, is our way of saying thank you.  These good men and women never asked for praise, glory, or medals. They signed up to serve there nation without complaint, without thought, but with all the sacrifice. From the greatest generation, to Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars and everything in between, they didn’t sign up to fight wars, they signed up to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic.

They signed up to be Patriots.

My entire family served, from Dad and all the way up. Navy and Army. Two legendary branches. There was a time even when for Christmas and thanksgiving that there was always one Gill deployed, the holidays weren’t complete. But they were and are good men. My father is a good man. He helps where he can, teaches when he can, and loves no matter what. He never asks for praise, never takes the glory of extra money when he provides for others, and he never asks for anything in return. A good man you see. Although he will never read this, my navy boy dad will be one of my examples of what it means to be a good man in these days where i can not seem to find people like this anymore. I have known great men.

In addition to veterans day, it is also a day of sorrow. Its a day where i remember another good man. Today is a day where a good man got called home.

Now, i don’t say much to outsiders about Brother Oxx simply because remembering hurts too much, it stings the fingertips as i write these words down on digital paper. He was a man who could command a room of testosterone fueled high school boys with a simple look. Not many people earn the respect like that in a lifetime.  He was the one in our darkest hours, both as a community and our personal matters, whom we looked up to and asked for guidance when we could not see ahead of ourselves. He, one of the best men i have ever known. Unfortunately, time waits for no man. No matter how good he or she is.

Br Oxx passed away almost six years ago on November 12th 2012. Not a day goes by without me missing him in some way.

In recent years, i find myself stumbling upon  asking a question that pops in my head.

“Am i a Good Man? “

i always ask myself what makes me good in the eyes of the world, especially with so much to live up to, especially after these great men i have in my life. i sometimes feel as if i can not compare to them and that i don’t measure up. I feel as if i can not contribute to what is already good in this world. Even tho i am told by people that i am kind in a world of hate and i am caring in times where it is overlooked, i feel i do not do enough to be a good man. I know to measuring a mans worth is never a good idea, but i like to know my worth is, so i can see that i am on the right path, the good path, to becoming a better man.

But these men that i have known, who have set an example for myself and all those who come after them, i hope they have an express ticket to heaven, for they have done well in life and deserve so much.

For they, in my eyes, are good men

and in the darkest of times,

good men shall always rise.

I am the Traveler

Lost man’s journey or true adventures wonder.

what i cant find is what i cant see

Blind man, sour man, gone man.

 

I am the Traveler

The one who does not stay in one place,

who stays without a trace

yet longs for a home.

He does not stay for long like a paper cut in between fingers.

Stings but not for long.

Why cant he stand to stay?

 

Is it the people?

He knows once the journey resumes, they forget him

Some don’t but who writes to a man on the road?

 

Is it the places?

With such exotic beauty and diversity decay

He does not like to become a statue in such a state.

Not left to stain the ways of where he is when he could be away.

 

What is it then?

 

I am the traveler,

I move because i don’t want to be entombed,

by the people and their places.

I hate to be the stain that can not be cleaned. 

I wish to tend to my fires and have them come to me.

Its pure that way.

I give them my knowledge, in return they nurture me, feed me nourishment

So that i may travel wider and further 

To build fires for others to gather around, to kindle stories 

mountains nature sky night
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

 

I became the traveler, 

to ease the minds

calm the hearts

and to carry on.

 

I am the traveler, for the love of the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

See the person next to you? Wear their glasses.

Into adulthood, almost 22 years into life, I’ve learned many things.

I’ve learned how to walk, and talk, and write letters.

I’ve learned how to make those letters into words and those words into sentences that sometimes make sense.

I’ve learned (miraculously) how to let the little things go and live life like a wave (and have always had a love for alliteration).

I have taught myself the virtue of patience, and 8-hour bladder control (thanks to teaching the young children), and how to carry things on my head for all of 7 seconds.

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

But of everything I have learned, the most important take away, I think, is to never stop learning.

About math, science, geography, and the people around you.  They often have the best stories, and the best knowledge.

I am fortunate to have been able to immerse myself abroad, in a new country, town, culture, and standard of living.  I am far from an expert on these countries, and far from truly understanding what life is like there, since I was just an ‘obroni’ traveler volunteering my time for but a couple of months.

What I do know, though, is that what I learned from the people I met there will forever exceed anything I have learned, and will ever learn, in school.

People are your best resources.

If someone is around you, that means they somehow, someway, ended up in the same space.

You all ended up in the same place at the same time, and are likely now doing similar things.

And while you ended up together at this moment, your paths leading up to now were so, so different.

You grew up in different households, towns, states, countries.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You have a different set of relatives living in your home and different relationships with those people; you may even speak a different language with them than you do at work.

Maybe the person sitting next to you speaks 3 different languages, with English being their second or third.

Maybe you are the one with a rich background – the one with a story to tell.

Or maybe the girl down the hall has family members in the country you’re travelling to on your next vacation and can give you the inside scoop.

What if the boy you sit across from grew up learning math using a different method, and can help you solve the problem you’ve been stuck on for hours?

How do you know the woman who just got promoted didn’t grow up bouncing from foster home to foster home, until she was able to pay for school and work her ass off to get to where she is now?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All of you have had life experiences that lead here, yes.

But those experiences have also taught you differently than the person sitting next you, and has shaped your mind in a unique way.

I think that is the most beautiful thing about humans: we are so incredibly unique; we have such an amazing mind filled with memories and choices and viewpoints that allow us to see the world through a new set of glasses.

We have had a different set of family, friends, mentors, and way of living.

Different resources and standards of living and values that have shaped the way we live on this planet.

So talk to the people around you.

Wear their glasses for a while.

Can you imagine if we could see through everyone’s glasses all the time?

I would want that would be my superpower: to be able to communicate with everyone on this planet, so I can learn about how they perceive everything around them.

I think that’s way more fun than walking a mile in their shoes.

You may just learn something about yourself you didn’t realize before.

 

Welcome Home

Could a phrase mean more than just that?

(First off, i would like to thank Kenney, Shannon, and Campus Ministry for allowing me to experience Nazareth Farm, now on with the regularly scheduled blog post)

We commonly hear it during the times after a long vacation, or coming home from college, or even in sarcasm (Yup that is my mom alright). But what it could mean to a select few, means an experience unlike any other?

In Early 2018, a group i was very fortunate to Co-advise for an Alternative Winter Break to Nazareth Farms ,West Virginia. (Yes, i already know as I said this you are looking up John Denver’s hit song ” Take Me Home, Country Roads” I mean its a jam anyways.) The Alternative Break was designed to give back to communities within the Appalachian mountain region of West Virginia. Sounds straight forward right? Seems like a 2-D Service Trip through a service site?

Wrong…

Nazareth Farms was one of the best sites for service i think students can go to. First off, the staff is one of the most welcoming you’ll ever meet. Basically right when you get off the van you are greeted with a hug and “Welcome Home”. You do not know this person or this place (especially if you get in at 8 pm and in the dark like we did) and they welcome you home like a long lost family member. It is interesting to say the least. You find out as you get there that other schools alternative break programs and your instant thought is ” Oh, well i guess then i may just introduce myself to the them then ill stay with my group.”

Wrong again.

Instantly you just start talking with the different student and staff members and find similarities that start long conversations that last well into the timeless night. Oh yeah time, forget it, you do not need it when your down here, or phones, or any technology for that matter. You are enjoying yourself so much that you do not need this stuff. (Also there isn’t any WIFI but that is beside the point.) The experience of staying up late, talking, playing guitar and singing along. Its one of the greatest times i think a student can have during their down time.

The work you do with Nazareth Farms is unbelievable, you do so much in such little time with such diversity of tasks. One day you may be ripping down old dry wall and setting up new stuff, you may be painting, you may even do minor electrical work, or you could be cleaning Nazareth Farms and preparing the meal for the night. Its such a different way to give back than i have ever seen. Its really rewarding that although the families that may have been less fortunate, they are appreciative and always believe they are more fortunate with Nazareth Farms around and when students and staff like us take time that we could be spending with our loved ones after the holidays and spend it giving back to the community that was not our own.

For those who have gone to down to “NAZ Farm” its one of the best experiences we got to have within the realm of service. The loving nature of the staff and crew to the people who help serve the community to the families we work with. Everything seemed magical during this time and it really created a sense of bonding both between the individual school and the community as a whole group. I think everyone would agree that the hardest thing is leaving this great place and going back to ordinary life. What the Farm teaches you is that everyone has to “come down the mountain” or end their experience at one point or another, but they are always welcomed to “Come Home.” I think this was one of the best wrap ups to the week of service i have ever seen. The idea of you have to go but you can always come back is one of the best send off messages i have ever received on a service trip. It is one that will stay with a lot of us for a while.

West Virginia_1

The picture above shows a group of students that made me stay within Higher Education. When i accepted the opportunity to Co- Advise on this service trip, i had a lot of questions that i needed answered for myself. Am i a good leader?, Am i someone who people will follow, Am i respected, the list goes on and on. Basically i viewed this trip as a gut check so to speak. I figured i am so high strung about the future that i needed a test.

THIS WAS A SELF-PROCTORED EXAM

What i felt at the beginning was anxiety that i was not a good leader that i was some what doomed to fail. Nazareth Farms was the turning point for me. I can remember during a time where i was the driver of the van, that i was in control and the people within the van trusted me to drive the van safely. That meant the world to me. People trusted me to get something done. Then as we left the farm, i drove all the way from West Virginia to North Andover MA with everyone trusting me to get them home safely, I considered this the passing of my own test, and it was all in relation to the Farm. Even today i start my staff meetings with ” Its Good to Be Here” “Its great to be here” Shout Out. (You know the call 🙂 )

 

Nazareth Farms, it is home to me and so many others because of what it can do for a person. It can re invigorate you to continue the great work you already do, it can create new thoughts and ideas, or can change you to be a better person in a world where you can make a difference even if its just a day of honest work. Service trips are designed for students and others alike to get the taste of what its like giving back without really feeling the presence of the work they do. Nazareth Farms Brings a community to surround you, welcome you, and to add to your own sense of belonging both in a wider range of the community and within the Nazareth Farms community. I do not think you can get service trip like this very often. If you have the opportunity to visit please accept the moment you are able to,  you will never regret going.

Even after so many months away, As i sit here writing this i can not help and think of Nazareth Farms and what it as able to do for both me and everyone else who was able to attend this wonderful place so thank you to the great staff that runs this place day in and day out.

SO to those who have been and those who will go

Welcome Home 26814895_565130677155706_5042406003603574494_n

 

I wish I Had Known

If I had known what was going wrong,

I would have been there

 

If I had seen what you were feeling,

the winds around would have spun me a tornado strong enough to save you

and I would have taken a whole barn out of its place to find you, comfort you.

 

These days I am more angry than sad

No longer able to stand knowing what happens to good people.

But Of course, I am late to the funeral, And it seems to be a trend.

And God! it burns a hole in my head!

Because I would have done something, anything,

If only

And I wish I knew how you are feeling, even though I’ll never comprehend it

And I wish I knew what goes on in your thoughts when the darkness seeps neath closed doors and windows,

And even if you do not want it –

I will try to hold a candle out for you to take. To burn away what hate hath break –

 

You see

When the time comes I just hope someone can hold me back

And tie me up in the thickest of chains,

For if this ever happens to someone I care about, I will hunt them till the ends of the earth

 

And you may pray that an Earthly force will hold me back.

But Even I doubt that.

 

Now I can take some sort of stand to amend for my sins

Even though they do not stain my own soul.

 

 

May God have my back,

May you have my reason

May I never again not know 

How you are Doing.

 

 

 

lose, find, navigate

Loss is a weird concept

because

you can Lose a lot of things

you can Lose a soccer game,

a chess match,

or a hot dog eating contest,

or come in last in a dance recital

 

you can Lose time, and you can Lose hope

you can Lose pets, and you can Lose people

you can Lose your car keys,

or,

Lose your way

(which is more difficult to find if,

you also happen to Lose

your gps)

clear glass with red sand grainer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

i’ve been fortunate

to not have Lost a lot of people

but the ones I have,

Hurt.

 

you know the school saying,

quality,

over quantity

 

sometimes you may feel

like you’ve

Lost yourself

 

you may go

on a spiritual

or soulful

journey to find you

again

 

but the you

that you find

is different every time

beige analog gauge
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

i think the scariest thing,

is not spiders or monsters,

not killers or WWIII

but ghosts, of sorts.

 

the scariest thing,

i believe,

is Losing memories of those

whom we love

but can no longer

make new memories with,

because they,

also,

have been Lost.

 

when you Lose something,

important.

something,

that hurts your heart

to Lose.

 

you may try to find new ways

to look at the world

for better

or for worse

 

but the problem is,

what are you to do

when you realize

nothing can help find them.

person s hand on black board with hello text beside brown mug

when you figure out,

that just being kind,

or reaching out,

while great in the moment,

can’t find someone you’ve already Lost.

 

it can’t bring back

your Lost friend

your Lost sibling

your Lost parent

like you can find your car keys

or practice your soccer skills

 

but it can,

possibly,

prevent someone else from Losing

something they love

 

it can help

navigate

the strangeness of our hearts

white and gray textile
Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

it can help mellow

the way we sway

through the winds

that whistle like our lost items,

our Lost

emotions.

 

Loss is a weird concept

because

sometimes I feel like I have

Lost something

that I never even had in the first place.

adult anger art black background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

xoxo

A Letter To My Angels

It isn’t Invincibility – But it isn’t Faith Either

over the past few years I came to the conclusion that – while mortality is great and all – I have too many angels around and about to let anything of real consequence happen to me. Now to clarify this doesn’t mean I have taken to jumping out of planes or running into fires to save kittens but it has given me a renewed sense of surviving through the ordinary and the extraordinary.

By now many of you have heard of the fires, explosions and gas leaks in Lawrence Massachusetts – click here for the story – but what you may not know is that I live just north of the river, in an area that lay on the edge of Lawrence and Andover.

Today my heart goes out to the family who lost their son in one of the blasts, the families of the ten people whom were injured, and to those who lost their homes. But today my heart also looks up to the forces that be for protecting me, my friends, and all those who were effected but are safe in the wake of this terrible event.

I don’t believe in Immortality

Not beyond the way writing makes us live on past our own expiration date. But I believe that something stands to protect me because yesterday, in the wake of such frightening events, I was not for a moment – afraid.

The way I see it, I have too many angels to let me join them – and I have too much left to do in my life to allow it to be cut short. I don’t believe in immortality, I don’t believe I am invincible, but I am young and naïve enough to know that if my time was now – well then that would be beyond my control.

I used to NEED Control

But today I woke up with this feeling where [and yeah maybe it was faith] took over and suddenly I wasn’t as stressed as I usually was. In many ways I still would not call myself a godly woman – but if I believe in anything, I believe in my angels – and I could not be more grateful that they are here to watch over me and those I love.

Lastly

I want to ask that we hold all those suffering both here in Massachusetts and those in the wake of hurricane Florence in the Light [ and for those who aren’t familiar with Quakerism – this means we hold them in our thoughts and send love and positivity their way] and I would also like to thank the first responders who were not able to spend last night with their own families because they were selflessly giving to others. Thank you.

What Our Minds Do

When you think about it, every person is just a matter of bones, tissue, and skin, encased in a figure that our minds created, and for some people they can’t escape that casing. So trapped in their own head all the time, that they have more going on on the inside than what they show on the outside. You know what I’m talking about, when a person is “spacing out” ever wonder what they are thinking about, or how about those who suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. They have built worlds inside their minds, worlds that most people could not even dream of!

I mean worlds with relationships, dream jobs, tragedies, deaths, and more. A world where they aren’t even in control half the time. Is that not crazy to think about? That really who we are, we ourselves have created; physically we are just  bones, tissue, muscle, veins, and more; but who we truly are, we created ourselves, our personality, thoughts, perceptions, etc. So when a person dies, do they really die? Or is just their physical body that has stopped working, but there soul, who they created, relationships they built, are they gone?

I have never viewed death in a religious way, the thought that if someone is good they go to heaven, and i they are bad they go to hell. But who is to say what is good or bad? Who is to say that one person’s perception is universal? Obviously it isn’t since conflict is all around us every day. Personally I believe in what goes around comes around, kind of like karma, I also believe in the energy you give out you get back. We as humans are always looking for something to look up to, to follow, something to give us hope and faith. And from that sprouted religion, religion is a man maid creation; so how are people supposed to believe in an other worldly all powerful figure or figures when they were created from man. Don’t get me wrong it is a nice concept and gives people strength there is no question there, but what about those who don’t believe in an afterlife, when they die do they themself seize to exist anywhere, nothing but bones in the ground?

I tried the whole church thing for years but never really felt anything, it never really clicked or made sense, if anything I felt more judged and more alone. I like to think back over the thousands of religions that have died, been created, or even yet haven’t even been created. People were so sure that greek gods were the reasons for why the sky was blue, the tides changed, the harvest was plenty, the reason love existed, or even when it came to wars, battles, and deaths. And then one day everyone moved on, abandoned their beliefs for something new. All of a sudden those gods weren’t the reason for all those things?

What I’m trying to say is that our minds have created universes, worlds, hope, and so much more. That is the incredible thing about being human, our minds have the power to change the world, unlock thoughts that some people have never thought before, so for those who are silent or trapped in their own mind, they may not be what you think, they could be the people that see the world for how is truly is or they could be the next person who changes everyone’s world and history forever.

 

Becca’s Declassified School Survival Guide

College, the place I heard about my whole life from my mom. The best 4 years of her life; filled with friends, parties, late night adventures, listening to bands in the courtyard with 200 other students, and of course LOVE!

I couldn’t wait to go to college, I had this perfect vision of what it would be like. I had it all laid out; I would make a huge group of friends, we would all stay up till 3am laughing, drinking, doing our homework together. That on the holidays we would all go to each others houses or have things like a “friends-giving”. And that we would all be like one big family.

I went in confident with high hopes that these next four years would be the ones I would never forget, and for the first semester it was! It was filled with all the things I hoped for, all the late night adventures and being one big family (I had so many new contacts in my phone my storage was getting full). It was great! I went to sleep with a big smile on my face every night because I made it happen, ME! And I only highlight that because in high school I was quiet and did not really care for all the students around me, and I low-key kind of regret. But for college I couldn’t wait to leave, start fresh, and really discover new things about me!

As the years went on, I switched friend groups, people transferred, people changed, I changed…. College started to become this place that I suddenly could not wait to leave and somewhat forget. By the end it looked nothing like the vision I came into school with, but yet I still didn’t mind how it turned out. That just because it wasn’t great like what I had always imagined, it was still great but in its own way.

“I realized that living with so many expectations does more harm than good. Its nice to have ideas and maybe an outline for life and certain things, but lives best moments happen unexpectedly. So just live!”

But if there were a few things I could warn freshmen year me about they would be……

  1. SAVE MONEY
    • SAVE SAVE SAVE!!! College is expensive!!! From text books, to alcohol, and especially food!!! I really wish I worked more before and during college, It would have defiantly been worth the hard work and sucky hours, but beats being a poor college student!
  2. Go out
    • Even if you don’t feel like going out GO OUT! Especially when you go to school in New England and half the year its too cold to go outside in winter coats let alone in skimpy party clothes. I do regret not going out more the first 2 years of school (when it was actually fun to go out at Merrimack!(true OG merrimack people will know what I mean). I was anxious most nights about so many things that I always told myself I’d just go out next weekend but then it would be the same thing the next. So go out, have fun, meet people, just let loose!
  3. SAY NO TO THE LATE NIGHT SNACKS!!!! 
    • O.M.G. DO NOT EAT THE LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES!!!!! I repeat do not eat the late night MUNCHIES!!! You will regret them in 3 years!!!!!
  4. Don’t be afraid to truly be yourself because in an environment of over 4,000 people you are bound to find someone just as odd as yourself.
    • I went through my fair share of friends in college, but hey thats the beauty of college right? So many people, there is always a chance to meet someone new. But at a school with only 4,000 students (I know that sounds like a lot but its really not!!!) by the time you are a senior you pretty much know everyone. But within those 4,000 students you are always bound to find other people who like and do the same things you do. So don’t stress so much about trying to make friends. It will happen over time I promise!
  5. GO FAR AWAY!!!!
    • If there is one thing I would do differently in college, this would be it. GO FAR AWAY!!! When it came to picking colleges I was 100% sure I didn’t want to go too far away from home. I don’t know if it was because I had separation anxiety or what; but I ended up going to school 30 minutes away from home.(so tell me why I paid for housing!!! Just kidding, living with roommates is what made me grow the most!!) I should have gone further away and seen the world, maybe Italy or Hawaii, but should not have stayed so close to home, it was definitely a crutch
  6. Don’t live with regrets when it comes to your feelings
    • When I went away to school I imagined I’d find love. Like I said I grew up hearing all about the boyfriends and loves my mom had in college. All the memories of the group ski trips they’d all go one, the memories of her special someone meeting her parents, and wearing their jerseys at football games. I was so ready for me to create my own memories like those, but there was a small problem…….. ALL THE GUYS IN MY GENERATION ARE F*** BOYS (sorry not sorry). But there were a few guys that got away through out the 4 years there.
    • I learned shortly after falling head over heels for a guy, to never live with regrets and if you have feelings for someone tell them before it’s too late (and they transfer). After that, telling guys how I felt became easier. Because nothing was more painful than living with the feeling of “what if.”

I soon grew up from freshmen year me and really started to accept the fact that all things happen for a reason. No matter how shitty they feel, no matter how much you don’t want change to come, change is good. But these 6 tips are ones to live by for myself, college is where I did most of my growing, it was painful sometimes, but so worth it!

So even though college was NOTHING like I expected,it pointed me in the right direction for my future, and taught some of the most meaningful lessons that I will never forget.