When Grief Hits The Fan

- By Robert Mays 

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Life has a funny way of playing itself out. When I was a child, I would make statements, blank judgmental statements of how Iwould handle certain situations. For example,  “I would never do…” or “I can’t believe someone would put up with …, they must be stupid”. My mother wouldreply calmly, “You’ll never know what you will or won’t do in a situation. Keep Livin’.” And I would think, “Damn it, she’s right!”

We say what we won’t do, but we often times we underestimate are own capabilities. So what is the relevance of grief to actions? Well its quite simple, because loss in life is normal and we are so busy with our regular activities and schedules, we are so busy just trying to make it to the next weekend we forget to stop and smell the flowers,  but more importantly we miss out on the life lesson. To be clear, grief is the state or the process one undergoes when they experience a loss. We often associate this with physical death, but we never explore how this looks when we stop speaking to a close friend, a bad break-up, the cousin who betrayed you, or the absence of a caregiver. Our culture is built on the notion of people entering and exiting our lives. In loss, we have hopes of an afterlife or the chance to rebuild and grow. But that does not happen unless one is prepared to explore who they were before, and who they are now. There is something humbling about the grieving experience. For some, it opens up suppressed pain,  for others the notion of guilt (What I haven’t done? or How I could have made it better?) is consuming. Whatever the dominate feeling may be, there is no better time to pull back and start “checking yourself”.

When we are victims of loss we are taught to push through, let it go, move on. In some part; this should occur. However; it’s not healthy. This causes people to think they bypassed or have fully dealt with the loss, but in reality the process is delayed and when it resurfaces, as it will, the plight is much worse; and usually at the most inconvenient time. 

Man, life is messy and complex. Through loss we find ourselves trying to make sense of what was, what is and what calls into question the very things we hold on dearly to. It takes an incredible amount of strength to examine one’s self, recognize the loss experience, and how one has been impacted. That’s not weakness, that’s fortitude. Grief, when handled correctly should force you to evaluate what matters. It should make you question the reciprocal nature of the people in your circle. It should cause you to let go of people that don’t add value. Grief will ultimately make you stronger.

Now this process isn’t clean. AT ALL. Trust me. The very things we make declarative judgmental statements about, are the very predicaments we find ourselves in. Life transitions, in particular, grief, is one of many catalysts propelling people into loops, patterns, and cycles they never saw themselves apart of. The heart is fickle about all things, who really can understand it? We have such an aversion to pain, we seek pleasure and comfort wherever we deem it safe and acceptable. How that looks in your life depends on how you cope with stress. I’m just here to say “It’s okay”. Life is a journey, not a 100 meter dash. You’ll get to where you need to be in due time and due season. In the words of a wise man, “The sea is full of transition; the balance makes you appreciate the smooth ride, but surviving the waves gives you confidence.” – anonymous By Robert Mays

Kohlrabi: What the F*&$ is That?

Wikipedia says:

Kohlrabi (German turnip or turnip cabbageBrassica oleracea Gongylodes Group) is a biennial vegetable, and is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. Edible preparations are made with both the stem and the leaves.
Gotta love a new vegetable, check out this article from www.theKitchn.com that offers 5 tasty ways to prepare this delicious vegetable. 

How Should I Eat Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is found in a lot of Indian cooking, so it naturally does well with traditional Indian spices. Honestly, though, we feel that the mild flavor of kohlrabi gets lost if mixed with too many other vegetables or seasonings, so we tend toward simple preparations where the kohlrabi can take center stage:

1. Enjoyed raw.

When raw, kohlrabi is slightly crunchy and mildly spicy, like radishes mixed with turnip. You can toss them in a salad, make a slaw out of grated kohlrabi, or eat them on their own with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Get a recipeKohlrabi Slaw

    2. Puréed into soup.

    While kohlrabi can be thrown into a basic chunky vegetable soup, we particularly like it in a creamy, puréed soup with mild spices so that sweet kohlrabi flavor can really shine through. Kohlrabi can also be added to recipes for cream of potato, cream of broccoli, and even cream of mushroom soup!

    Get a recipeCreamy Kohlrabi and Potato Soup with Winter Savory from Purple Rain Vineyard

      3. Made into fritters.

      This is a great way to get kids to eat their kohlrabi! Shred it and mix with an egg and a few tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs. Heat oil or butter in a flat skillet, drop on small mounds, and flatten slightly with the back of your spatula. Turn after a few minutes, and serve when both sides are crispy.

      Get a recipeKohlrabi Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce from A Couple Cooks

      4. Roasted.

      Like most other vegetables, when roasted in the oven, the outside of the kohlrabi caramelizes, and the flavor sweetens and mellows. We like to toss it with other roasted veggies like eggplant and potatoes for a hearty side dish.

      Get a recipeRoasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash from Gourmet

        5. Steamed.

        This is kind of a cheat suggestion because kohlrabi can be used in literally anything once steamed. We throw steamed kohlrabi into frittatas, stir-fries, and pasta dishes. We also like to purée it with a little cream and simple spices. There are even recipes for stuffing steamed kohlrabi into empanadas and calzones!

        http://www.thekitchn.com/5-tasty-ways-to-prepare-kohlrabi-60321
        _-Chloe Aquil 

        10 Easy Tips to Improve Your Physical & Mental Health

        By Sweet Whit

        1. Drink more water. Drinking water helps you burn fat and increases your energy level. Eliminating sodas and juices from your diet will also help you reduce your sugar intake. Diet sodas are generally bad as well. Try adding fresh fruit, mint leaves or both to your water for a subtle hint of flavor.

        2. No smoking or alcohol. Okay, I lied because clearly this one is not easy for many of us. But, if you really want to give your physical and mental health a boost, stay away from the booze and smoking. Alcohol is considered a depressant so if you're feeling down already it's best to avoid drinking, especially at night.

        3. Cut back on the whites. AKA complex carbs and starches, they taste so good but can do so much damage; white bread, rolls, cakes, bagels, pizza, etc. 

        4. Pump up the greens. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, salad, celery sticks, cucumbers, etc.   

        5. Limit your intake of processed and fried foods. Food in it's natural state offers the most nutritional value.

        6. Adequate sleep. Although this is not realistic for many people try to prioritize getting at least 8 hours of sleep each day.

        7. Eating regularly. Eating regular meals is just as important as not starving yourself. Eating 3-4 smaller meals per day is much better for your body and metabolism than over-eating 1-2 times per day because when you starve yourself, your body holds on to the calories.

        8. At least 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week. 3 sets of 10 push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, burpies, etc. will help you lose fat and tone up quickly. Biking, dancing and swimming are great cardio workouts that have a pretty low impact on knees and other, joints but they will still give you a high intensity workout.

        9. Try a multi-vitamin. Taking a multivitamin every day provides you with an array of essential vitamins and minerals to help maintain optimal health.

        10. Regular relaxation. Meditation, reading, listening to music or running water, sitting in the sauna, deep breathing, a hot bath, massage, etc.

        Source: askinyourface.com

        I Am Denouncing Success

        There is this relentless need to quantify success. It is so deeply ingrained in our culture that we are blind to its obviously blatant reach. If you just graduated from an Ivy League university, obviously, and have not backpacked across an obscure third world country, fixing the lives of the lesser, in order to prep for that post grad education, then you are unsuccessful. If you are over the age of 25 and are not settled into a career, engaged to someone of the opposite sex and have just finished putting on that last coat of white paint on your picket fence out front, then boy are you doing something wrong. If you are turning thirty and don’t have that huge, expensive, could have bought you a car rock on your left ring finger as you blowout those 30 sparkling reminders of your failure, then the world casts a harsh judgmental shadow on you. You are singled out, ostracized and pitied. And all for what?

         

        A false notion that holds about as much water as my mother’s stainless steel colander.

         

        This definition of success, housed by us in our collective psyches, needs to be abolished. We talk about this ever present glass ceiling, but in my opinion, it's time that we start discussing the brick wall. This big, ugly, overshadowing, brick wall that separates those who, in the eyes of society, have succeeded, and those who have failed to meet a systematically constructed idea of success. This pressure to reach that mountain peak so that you can plant your flag alongside all the successful, pat on the back, greats, needs to be eased, ebbed, and erased before it pulls us, as a society, into a void that we cannot escape. 

         

        When I see my peers, who are some of the most brilliant, ambitious, headstrong people I have the ultimate pleasure of knowing, get trampled by the overbearing foot of success, my heart shatters for them. It is in that moment that I believe we have failed as a society. I know firsthand what that unhealthy level of pressure to be successful can do to even the strongest of people. I have felt the unnerving feeling of the world slip away from underneath you as you stand in a circle of your peers, who have been granted front row seats to watch you fall to your untimely demise. I have felt that hard blow to the ego that comes about when you are completely blindsided by life and success rears its ugly head, grinning ear to ear, as you kiss goodbye a future you thought was so certain. I have walked calmly out of a room, smile plastered on my face, fighting against it all, until I am standing alone in a parking lot, holding onto my car for dear life, just so I can cry straight for an hour after failing at something success promised I could win.

         

        Where, before, you felt invincible with the world in front of you, after, you feel disheveled, unsure of yourself and lost. Afraid that you simply will not be able to reach and attain that Holy Grail we all call success.

         

        Enough is enough.

         

        I am denouncing success.

         

        My ideologically constructed sense of success no longer relies on what you, you or you think success should be. My frame of thought no longer holds that perfect picture of success, captured through a lens I no longer feel the need to see through. My success is predicated on one very simple premise – if I can look at myself in the mirror and love what I see, then I’m successful.

         

        Point, blank, period.

         

        Full stop.

         

        That’s all folks. 

         

        If I am happy with me and am at peace with myself, I will exude success. It doesn't matter where this mirror is located, if it’s dripping in 24 karat gold or hanging off its last tired hinge, I will always continue to see myself as successful. Because to me, if I can look myself in the eye and still be able to appreciate myself in my unadulterated, most raw form, and still see the essence of me shine through, I've won. Won what? I don’t think any of us really know, but it’s the feeling of being able to walk through life, chin to the sky that is the ultimate trophy.

         

        Now this is not a call for everyone to see success this way; on the contrary, this view of success should be mine, and mine alone. Because it comes from a place deep within myself, it can, and should, really only penetrate that humiliating darkness within me. 

        Success should differ in us all because where we are coming from is so uniquely beautiful, our past stories a mosaic of hurt, loss, and love, that one universal definition for an end goal is nonsensical. Go forth and find your success, wherever it may be. Embrace your success in whatever form it comes in, even if your success is that white picket fence drying in the cherry blossom wind.

        But always remember, the definition of success comes from within you and no external force should ever be able to unhinge that.

         

        No one should tell you that you are unsuccessful because they have not trudged through the ever winding road you have in order to get to the person you are today. There is only one you and therefore there is only one unique definition of success for you to live by.

        Love & Light  - Inemesit Etokudo