Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Mantra: Make Mistakes

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Making mistakes is not a bad thing. Sometimes you're making memories.

I recently made a huge, catastrophic, I-should-have-known-better mistake.

It was the best mistake I've ever made.

A couple weekends ago my boyfriend and I went to Las Vegas with some friends. We snagged a deal on Hotwire, which landed us with this pretty awesome room at the Trump Hotel that had my very favorite thing ever- a giant whirlpool tub. Upon first sight of this porcelain beauty, I started hatching a plan to take the Most Awesome Bubble Bath Ever. I had visions of sipping sparking apple cider while relaxing in giant bubbles that smelled of jasmine and awesomeness. The only problem was that Mr. Trump had not a single bubble bath item in sight and, as I don't usually make a point of traveling with bubbles, I was on a hunt to find my most needed ingredient.

My search for bubble bath lead me to a store called Lush. Upon my entrance I was greeted by the most friendly edging on stalkerish store associate I've possibly ever met. My personal space became her new home while she rubbed smelly things (good smelly things, mind you) all over me before I could utter a word of protest and asked so many questions about my personal life you'd have thought we were on one of those speed dating shows. During our precious time together, however, I was able to attain not one, not two, but three bubble bath contraptions that were supposed to explode into magical bubbles bath fantastic-ness upon contact with the water.


On our last night there I filled up the tub, popped those bubble bath bombs in, and waited. I saw no explosion of bubbles, nor did the smell of lavender and blueberries fill the room, as Stalker Lush Store Girl had promised. I saw nothing except my water turning a Smurf shade of blue with some surprise glitter in it that I wasn't expecting. I was quite disheartened at this point, but dreams don't always turn out the way you hope they will (especially when you dream big) so I decided to settle in and accept my fate.

My first mistake was that I had made the water a lovely scorching 150 bazillion degrees. I'm pretty sure my lower left calf may never look the same again. I had already filled the tub pretty darn full, but I had just enough room to add some ice cold water. While I did that, I decided to turn the jets on.

I would like to blame the next set of events on the bubble bath fairy, who must have paid me a visit, because my tub went from zero to holy shit within one minute flat. Now I not only had a tub full of still mostly scorching water, but I had two feet of bubbles on top of it that were slowly climbing the walls like incandescent round spiders.

Remember when you were a little kid and you would make bubbles only to have them pop in thin air a second later? These were not those kind of bubbles. No, these had a mind of their own. These were serious bubbles - lifers - that decided once they were around they were never not ever leaving.

Most people at this point would probably have given up, but I'm not sane like most people. Instead, I enlisted my boyfriend's help to transport the bubbles from the tub to the shower, from the tub to the sink, from the tub to anywhere else so I could actually get in the tub and not have my head covered in bubbles. After about 37 trips back and forth, we had secured space in the tub.

The water was still very, very, very hot so I had to add more cold water. When I added more cold water, the bubbles went away- sort of. They lessened, anyway, which ticked me off. What the?! I hadn't gone through all this work not to have the appropriate amount of bubbles in the I turned the jets back on. This would be my second mistake.

While the water did finally cool down from scalding to just plain freaking hot, another 37 or so trips were required to move the bubbles from one place to another. While doing this, and almost slipping and dying in the process, we had transformed the bathroom into a full blown bubble room. There were glitter infused bubbles on the floor, the sink, in the shower, on all the towels- everywhere. Finally at the wee hour of 2:30 AM (yes, AM not PM), it was time to relax.

This is where my third mistake comes into a multitude of ways. You see, the magnitude of the bubble products used by yours truly left the tub super, ridiculously slippery. The bottom of the tub was a death trap which now seemed to replicate the frozen glass type qualities of a road from Ice Road Truckers. There was no way a human being could maintain any kind of composure in the tub without somehow propping one foot on the faucet, the other on the wall, and gripping with both hands on to the sides while holding your breath so as not to move one single centimeter. This, my friends, is not a relaxing bath.

Nothing had worked out thanks to my mistake of overdosing the tub with those damn Smurf glitter bombs. All I wanted to do was sit there with the jets going and pretend, for just five minutes, that everything had worked according to plan. You know what turning the jets on means, yes? More bubbles. But at that point it didn't even matter. So I sat there, holding on for dear life, while the rub filled with more of those death defying bubbles, soaking in the last of my Most Awesome Bubble Bath Ever dream at 3:30 in the morning.

While nothing - and I do mean nothing - went as I'd hoped, during this I have to admit I was having the most hilarious time of my life. I could've been angry and irritated at the whole event, but instead I enjoyed myself. I laughed so hard that night that it felt as if my abs and I had joined the military and done 5000 crunches as punishment for failing to salute an officer. It was one of the most memorable and best nights of my life, all because I made a series of mistakes. And I'd do it again, just for the memories.

Next time something doesn't go as planned for you, try and find the goodness in it. Try and see it from another angle. Your attitude towards the situation, towards any situation, is up to you. It can be terrible or wonderful, all depending on how you view it.

Also, don't ever use three bath bombs in a whirlpool tub. I'm just sayin'.

The shower, the very LARGE shower, full of bubbles.
This was only when it was half way full. Yes, there was more.
In other news, I found these two articles to be very interesting this week. When you have a moment, read through them to see why you should love yourself exactly the way you are and the good news that GMO foods may be labeled- one day.

How to Accept Yourself
Will All Genetically Engineered Foods Soon Be Labeled?


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Monday Mantra: Take Time to Reflect

Image via Imaginale Design Blog

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Mantra: Killing them with Kindness (the brave way)

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Kindness is the answer, braveness is the key
Marvin Porcher

In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate- only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible. 
The wind cannot overturn a mountain. 
Temptation cannot touch the man who is awake, strong and humble, who masters himself and minds the law. 
See the false as false. 
The true as true. 
Look into your heart, follow your nature
- Buddha

When I was a little girl my mom would give me the "kill them with kindness" speech all the time. "Be nice, Melia. It doesn't matter what they do, it matters what you do" she would say.

Along the way of trying to be a nice girl I've also been a pushover and a wall flower. In those moments where I was was brave and fought the good fight, I later felt bad about being less than nice because I didn't know how to be both courageous and forthright while being kind. For days on end afterwards I wondered how I could've approached the situation differently, in a kinder way.

Over time I found that my way, the best approach for me, is what some folks call The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Yes, it's a book and movie, but what I'm saying is that this way, this idea of doing all things with kindness in your heart, is what feels good in my soul.

I struggled for a long time (and still even sometimes now) to balance being nice, yet honest with my answers if I disagreed, if I thought they were wrong, if I was in any way the opposite of where someone else was coming from. I've struggled with the need to be good and keep the peace while standing up for what I believe in.

Last week, as you may have seen on my Facebook page, I posted the new Sara Bareillas song, Brave. I am absolutely and positively in love with it because I believe that courage is key when you're being kind- in some cases, anyway. When you need to stand up for what you believe in, when you need someone to know how you feel or how what they've done has affected you, courage is the hammer to the nail of kindness. In those instances you need both bravery and a polite approach to get your point across effectively.

Here's the link to the Brave music video. Next time you need to kill someone with kindness, think about how you can be brave and still kind in your words and actions.

How do you mix braveness with kindness when dealing with tricky situations?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

(Not a) Monday Mantra (but I'll explain): Command Your Time- Part 1

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Start commanding your time
Suspended Time by Shalisa Photography
My apologies, friends, as I have no super awesome story for why this post is coming out on Tuesday instead of Monday. I was not abducted by aliens, nor asked to join as the newest rap member of Three 6 Mafia. In fact, I don't have an exciting reason for why this is late at all. It's late because I decided to command my time.

Instead of staying up into the wee hours of the night/morning to complete my post after a busy day catching a flight, preparing for a presentation in school, and being in said school all evening, I decided that sleeping was the one and only thing I would be doing. It was wonderful and well needed and, more importantly, I didn't beat myself up for not getting everything done on schedule. Because really, who's schedule am I trying to live up to anyway? It's just my own, which means when things need to shift, I have the power and capability to let them do so.

I read the below article the other day from Martha Beck, a best selling author, life coach, and brilliant woman with a multitude of degrees to back that up, who covers this topic perfectly.

Read over what she has to say and remember, in most cases (even when it comes to work and family) you have a say in how your time is spent. Start taking charge of your time in a way that supports your healthiest and best life.


Command your time...
Insight from Martha

It’s springtime in the forest of Central California where I live, and everything seems to be happening at once. Wildflowers have blossomed in every field, like blue and yellow and pink paint poured over the green landscape. The wild turkeys are mating up a storm—bird porn wherever you look. My calendar seems to be experiencing the same riotous growth as everything else. My schedule is so packed with joyful and astonishing treats that there is barely an unscheduled moment left. Frankly, it’s terrifying.

I have always had a troubled relationship with time. I don’t like the way it passes, taking every material form along with it. I don’t like the way it pushes me, requiring that I put aside one joyful or necessary action to perform another. I don’t like the way it tires my body, and I fully resent the fact that it means I will not be a concert pianist, a circus acrobat, a wild animal tracker, and a neuroscientist during this lifetime.

Speaking of neuroscientists, I’ve been prepping for a workshop with 15 medical doctors who are frustrated with the way medicine is constructed by our culture. Led by the inimitable Lissa Rankin, MD, these brilliant physicians are coming here to begin forming new ideas about how they can run their lives and careers. As I read the entry forms for this corps of doctors, I am astonished and appalled by the brutal way their training has taught them to deal with their time. All of them crush more activity into an hour than most people do all day. But what gets crushed includes activities such as being present with the person who is dying, or eating a nutritious meal leisurely, or assuming an easy, relaxed pace as they open a human body and tinker with the mechanisms inside. How ironic those our culture considers healers of the body are forced to drive themselves without enough sleep, food, or play to keep their own bodies healthy. As we say in my coaching system, how can you give what you cannot live?

But whether or not you are a medical doctor, the tyranny of time very likely dominates your life. Our clocks, our calendars, our associations drive us like overburdened pack mules from one hurried task to another. Right now, if I let myself worry about the amount of work I think I must do this very day, I will topple off the tightrope of inner peace and into a full-on panic. I suspect the same may be true of you—if not today, then soon. One of the most essential tasks for living a life of purpose and joy is to command your time, rather than let it command you.

This will require that you steel yourself for enormous disapproval. Yesterday, I was torn between the conflicting demands of a friend who needed support and an appointment at an unknown destination. I left myself just enough time to get to the interview, but since it was at an unfamiliar location and I have the navigational skills of a cashew, I was late. The interviewer at the studio was not amused. He was testy and frustrated, as I would have been in his place. As I apologized, I realized I was facing a choice: beat myself up for misusing my time, or hold fast to my decision to be present for my friend and allow the interviewer his anger without changing my commitment to scheduling myself in the way that feels most soulful and authentic to me.

For a while I chose door #1. I got out my patented self-flagellation whip (no, it’s not real, you perv, it’s a metaphor) and told myself that somehow, next time, I would have to be less emotional, more professional, in my scheduling choices. Just as everyone has always predicted, I went straight to hell. Fortunately, I left right away. By the time I got home, I had reconnected myself to what is true for me at the deepest level. That is that no professional obligation is remotely as significant as one moment that bonds two human hearts and lives. I turned on a Bob Marley song and bellowed along at the top of my voice—"Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing's gonna be all right”—and it was.

This little story sums up all the steps to taking command of your own time. One: Set your schedule according to your deepest priorities. Two: When others object to this scheduling, respectfully decline to give a crap. Three: When you receive negative feedback for your scheduling choices, allow any feelings you may have; then sing and dance to Bob Marley until the bad feelings go away. (You may substitute Bach or ABBA or Usher for Bob Marley, although I would suggest that you avoid Enya as this could put you into an irreversible trance.)

This process is not for the faint of heart. It scares the willies out of me. But when I do it, something miraculous occurs. Time—which physicists know to be elastic—begins to bend and stretch for me. Tasks I thought would occupy hours get done in minutes. Helpers show up out of nowhere to help things go more quickly. And the things I do become so interesting that the timekeeper in my head stops altogether. Running your life by your heart, rather than your schedule, is the only method I know that is efficient enough to help us get everything done that we need to do.

I’ll tell you what it’s time to do right now. It’s time to set your schedule in order so that you don’t look back on the day of your death and wonder why you never really lived. It’s time to ignore the opinions of those who think your life should be all about their cause, their rules, their agenda, and not your soul's desire. It’s time to stop flagellating and start dancing. If you wish to argue about this, I must respectfully decline. I simply do not have the time.


Martha Beck

What can you do to command that your time is used better and in a way that supports a healthier lifestyle?

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Monday, April 8, 2013

In the World of Wellness: Monsanto and the Umbrella Corporation

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: News you need on the new Monsanto Protection Act and what you can do

You know Monsanto news has gone big time when Jon Stewart chimes in on it, and thank goodness for that! We need as many supporters as we can get for this, and if they happen to be famous and have their own TV show, well, that's just better for all of us.

Recently, many of us heard about the Monsanto Protection Act that was signed in by our president. But do you really understand what it means? Let me lay it out for you like this...

Have you heard of the Umbrella Corporation? It's a fictional company in the Resident Evil series, that "specializes" in pharmaceuticals, biological weaponry, and last but not least, genetic engineering. If you're a fan of  either the video games or the movies, you know that things get out of hand and the Umbrella Corporation ends up ruling and ruining the entire world because of their genetic and biological testing. People die. A lot of people die. In fact, civilization as we know it is gone. And the way they went about it was to portray to the people a nice, innocent cover of being a consumer production company for cosmetics and (are you ready for this?) food.

Let that soak in for a second. Now, let's look at Monsanto.

Monsanto is a genetically modified food company. They "specialize" in creating genetically modified food substances. They "specialize" in genetic engineering. They appeal to the masses as a sustainable agriculture company. Monsanto is a real company. If we do a comparison of them and the Umbrella Corporation, we're all in real trouble.


Because putting a patent on living things, creating Terminator/Suicide Seeds (which prevent the natural cultivation and renewal of crops year over year), and creating food like substances (that we eat) made from chemicals that cause bugs stomachs to explode upon consumption, is cause for concern.

Now, let's break this down a little further. Let's say you are allergic to something...corn, perhaps. And let's say these GMO foods, regardless of which food, all contain some component of corn in them because that's part of their newly created DNA. You eat a bell pepper, a strawberry, an apple, and BAM- you break out into hives. You're essentially screwed. You can't eat anything GMO, but you'll never even know what is or isn't GMO because they refuse to label it. And let's be honest, there are a lot of people with allergies to corn, but that's just a minor concern.

Take into account that these GMO foods contain a multitude of chemicals that our bodies do not know how to handle and we have a serious epidemic on our hands. Twenty years ago no one - not me, you, your grandma or grandpa, or second cousin twice removed - would have seen this coming. Fake fruits and veggies? No way! That's a science fiction novel waiting to happen. But it did happen. It's happening now. If things continue down this path, years from now they will have to create a vaccine for all of humanity just to be able to tolerate eating food. And if that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will.

I want you all to consider something for a moment...

If you have anyone you love in your life - your child, boyfriend, wife, mother, aunt, dog - would you feel comfortable handing them a bottle of Roundup weed killer and asking them to drink from it? Because that's what a GMO food is. It isn't a fruit or a veggie full of nutrient rich vitamins and minerals that help prevent disease. It is a genetically modified food organism that, instead or preventing disease, causes it.

Last but not least, I ask you this: If Shady McGrady Monsanto refuses to label their products, what does that tell you? If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide. If those products are sooooo safe and you're not the least bit concerned about your profit margin decreasing, label your damn fake foods, Monsanto!

Whew. I need a punching bag and a nap, because this shit is ridiculous.

Here's an article I received in my inbox that gives you more details on it and also lets you know what you can do to stop them. I've also put together a lovely visual montage (sort of) of the things people are saying about Monsanto.

We're not alone. We need to keep fighting.

Key Next Steps For US Food Policy

Here is the "inside story" with complete details you need to know about what happened with HR 933, Continuing Resolution including the “Monsanto Protection Act” the President signed this week. I detail actions we took, what this means, and suggest steps for the future. Please read this to the end to be well-informed and please respond.

Send me an email to to confirm you received this message now, and feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Thank you for thousands of encouraging emails and conversations about our work!  If you want to unsubscribe, you must follow the link at the bottom of this email to do so because I have no control over the email server. Like, share, and participate in our facebook group which receives as many as over 200,000 views monthly and features a wealth of valuable information about food, health, regulatory affairs, gardening, and many inputs. We read every email and Facebook comment, and many of you know from experience that we answer personally when possible. Please know, our all-volunteer effort is funded solely and at great personal cost and risk by the Petition Author without any outside support or financial affiliation.  Ours is a historic example of what citizens can accomplish when commitment and vision combine in action.

Your efforts and responses to our phone campaign request has been humbling and we cannot thank you enough. We estimate well over 60,000 calls were received by the White House this week, though some of you reported having to dial as many as 100 times to get through!  What’s more, we arranged for the Food Democracy Now 250,000-plus-signer petition seeking Veto of HR 733 to be brought directly to the President's personal attention. We received help at very high Administration levels and express our deep appreciation. does not speak for the entire Food Policy movement. However, aside from the White House itself, we were the most intimately involved with President Obama among all food policy organizations so this is a "from the horse's mouth" account. This email serves to share elements of what happened this week with the goal of helping everyone concerned work together more effectively to achieve our goals.

First of all, you need to realize the Continuing Resolution is only a six month law. No part of this law lives beyond September 2013, no matter what it provides.  You should take comfort in that, and heed this as a call to action for the future.

Second,  you need to realize passing periodic Continuing Resolutions has been at the highest level of political importance for Presidents over the past 2 decades. Without passage, the Government shuts down, leading the nation into certain disaster. Whatever political objectives any President has, first and foremost, the government must be funded. For this reason, we did not promote a Veto campaign, but we helped Food Democracy Now in their Veto campaign because of our common long-term objectives.

Section 735 "Monsanto Rider" is reported by NY Daily News to have been written in concert with Monsanto by Sen. Roy Blount (R-MO), perhaps Monsanto’s biggest Senate  contribution beneficiary. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) allowed the language to stand without consultation with the Agriculture Subcommittee, or any others, for that matter. This infamous action has been widely criticized in the strongest terms, even within the Senate.  Sen. Mikulski's Facebook page has dozens of comments in opposition. Unlike a typical "Rider," the "Section 735" paragraph did not appear at the end of the bill. Because of this, the President could not issue a Signing Statement nullifying it. We know Mr. Obama consulted the White House Consul in detail to explore this possibility.
Most believe Section 735 of this bill violates the US Constitution’s “Separation of Powers” which provides for the Courts to maintain authority whenever cases are brought. This provision requires the Secretary of Agriculture to grant permits and temporary deregulation without Court intervention.  Additional opinions suggest it violates the National Environmental Policy Act which calls for various Environmental Impact disclosures among other procedures.

This is the problem we face: The US doesn’t really have a National Policy on Food and Agriculture.  Corporate interests and regulators have never been governed by a solid Policy framework.  We need Policy that comes from a clear and sustained public debate followed by legislation towards sustainable, healthy, and scientifically legitimate Food Policy. While tens of millions of citizens are actively involved in various national debates about topics like abortion, and other hot button issues, Food Policy gets relatively minor attention, though literally everyone eats. Occasionally, some voices involved in Food Policy advocacy compete with each other – leading to potential fragmentation and dilution of our power. We must eliminate that as a factor, and work in concert like a well-tuned orchestra to be effective.  A group of important leading Food advocacy organizations including is being convened by Center for Food Safety which will address strategy and tactics next week.

Our task over the next six months is to stimulate a vast national hot-button debate that puts tremendous pressure on all elected officials AND which leads to wise food-policy legislation. Some of this is already being drafted now. If that past year has taught us at ProOrganic anything, it’s that fighting Monsanto or the FDA is not leadership, it’s an understandable, but relatively ineffective reaction. Have to move beyond opposition towards proposition.
Leadership means we grow our movement to 100 million people who demand Food Policy and who use it as a litmus test for supporting elected officials’ ambitions. ANY President, Governor, Senator or Congressman would have to support us or face political failure.  The outrage over Section 735 and its assault on the Constitution should be used to spark many more people to involvement and action. We absolutely have to use this moment wisely, because we just got “fifteen minutes of fame” and we can exploit this to our advantage. 
Now it’s time to craft a crystal clear message that everybody can understand and get excited about. We have to get so many people involved in the debate that the message comes loud and clear to the all elected officials. At, we see this week’s events as an opportunity to stimulate a turning-point in the National conversation.  

Thanks ever so much: You will hear from me again shortly.

And now for the montage...

For more on this one, click here.
What are your thoughts on the Monsanto Protection Act? Any of you karate masters? We might need your help to battle Monsanto, Alice style.

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Images via Pinterest

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Mantra: Dolce Far Niente

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Dolce Far Niente: The sweetness of doing nothing

Unplanned Plans: What a perfectly stupid time we would have.

A few months ago I started re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's best selling book Eat, Pray, Love. As terrible as this sounds (since I love her book dearly) I'd hardly made a dent in it because I'd been so busy trying to do...everything. Every little task and to-do item that my mind could conjure up in an effort to make my life easier in the long run, even if it wasn't easy in the present moment.

It wasn't until I got to a specific part of the book that I had a much needed wake up call. In it, Giovanni, her friend from Italy, explains to her the Italian way of enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing. The art of stopping to enjoy life - fully and completely - without multitasking while relaxing, without shaming ourselves for relaxing, without any guilt whatsoever for enjoying the beautiful things in life. He goes on to explain that while Americans view down time as a negative, in the Italian culture it is praised. It is a normal and very important part of their way of life.

It occurred to me that, even in the moments where I thought I was relaxing, I wasn't. I read through magazines while I watch a movie I've been dying to see for months, not really paying appropriate attention to either one. I walk my dog and catch up on returning voice mails. I take what's supposed to be a relaxing bubble bath and focus in on all my to-do lists. I am well rehearsed in the art of multitasking and because of that I miss out on the simple pleasure of doing one thing at a time or nothing at all.

I'm working on finding the pleasure in empty moments. Right now, because of work and school and life, the only way I've found to do this (as hilarious and contradictory as this sounds) is to schedule in time to do nothing. I know, I know...scheduling it in...but the beautiful thing is that it works. When I actively decide that the time blocked out is for nothing but relaxation, I actually achieve that goal. And by doing that, I've felt far better about every other crazy thing going on in my world. In fact, I actually end up achieving more, with a happier state of mind, because I've allowed myself time to relax.

This week I've scheduled time in for a rose petal bubble bath and a reflexology session. I can already feel the tension of this coming weeks events slipping away knowing I have beautiful nothingness to look forward to. I hope you'll join with me in finding, celebrating, and appreciating the sweetness of doing nothing.

Do you feel guilty when you take time to relax? And if you do give yourself that much needed down time, what do you do to unwind? 

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