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Making a Daily Ritual

In my last corporate role, my morning ritual was to be an office fairy. I’d get in early clean and fill the coffee carafe, start my essential oil diffuser, and play peaceful meditation music over my headphones. Only a few people (those who really mattered to me) said it helped them. However, most never noticed.

The truth is I didn’t do it just for them. I did it to help lighten a toxic atmosphere and help my mental wellbeing. Once I went solo on my career as a writer/editor/yoga instructor I found myself creating a new morning ritual at home. This one is very simple. On days warm enough I’ll sit on our three-season front porch and open the door to welcome the day. The cat, Harvey, runs to the door and looks out. I take time to breathe in the air, welcome whatever noise may occur, and greet the day. In cooler temperatures I take time to open the living room window curtains, start a diffuser, and hold Harvey as we look out into the world.

Daily rituals don’t have to be long and drawn out. They can be as simple as saying a mantra each morning before starting work. Rituals can even be as simple as saying a prayer, a gentle stretching routine while getting out of bed, or kissing your loved one first thing when you wake up.

Make your own ritual.

  1. Find the best time when you start your day. If you work nights this maybe in the evening. There are no true rules behind when you should practice your daily ritual, but I’ve found it is best to start the day off right.
  2. Think about what resonates with you. Such as a mantra to chant quietly or mentally, or a physical practice that helps you clear your mind. For me it is opening a door or curtains leaving the night behind me. For you it might be making a cup of tea or your morning shower.
  3. Make it easy. If you are like me you don’t have time for a lengthy morning ritual, no one needs to get stressed out over wellness. If the ritual takes more than a minute, it is too long.
  4. Practice your ritual every dang day…Even if you feel like you can’t.
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Finding Connection with Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali contacted me about a poem she wrote and translated into multiple languages about a topic in the forefront of my mind. Below is Tali’s work in multiple languages. She reminds us that we are all connected. -Evelyn

To George Floyd

There were abandoned eyes like a Jewish boy in the ghetto.

I write on behalf of all the helpless who suffer in present and throughout human history

From

Injustice and inequality even though they are

Free human being.

with no

Religion

Race

And sex.

-Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali Cohen Shabtai translated by Dr

Eitan Medini 

Interracial war – in memory of George \ Tali Cohen Shabtai

What do you know ?

I am a jewess!

I came from a land of Uniforms- 

And you expect me to be able 

To fix a world of 

Hostile countries ?

I have absorbed Antisemitism racism 

And forced numerous time

To hug the name of a false 

Homeland  

In the diaspora

Or in the superpowers

For them taking over the maps

They have done very well

With huge population size

Where there aren’t many with the family name as mine

Carrying my nation’s flag 

And my father’s yarmulke .

What do you know about racism?

During history 

Women struggled

Rape and the sexual injuries 

Between the races.

Do you understand?

It’s a very well known War tactic

Conquers arrived to conquer nations

Brutalizing the women to prove their superiority.

Whether it be a black slave woman forced by white men during the black slavery since the early 17th century.

Or, Jews during the Holocaust 

When Jewish women were beaten by the “master race” in early 1933.

A common fate of black and Jews.

What do I know?

The murderer police officer 

Who played with the breathing 

Of George 

He wouldn’t commit suicide as Adolf Hitler did since his knee was more important to him

From end of time of a solitary living soul or of six millions 

Listen to me, I do know!

Guerra Interracial – en memoria de George 

Tali Cohen Shabtai 

Translated from English to Spanish by José Muchnik

(Translated from Hebrew to English by Eitan Medini)

¿Qué sabes?

¡Soy judía!

Vengo de una tierra de

Uniformes

¿Y esperas que yo pueda

Reparar un mundo de

Países hostiles?

Absorbí antisemitismo racismo

Y forzada numerosas veces

A abrazar un nombre falso

Patria

En la diáspora

O en los superpoderes

Los mapas para ellos

Han sido muy bien hechos 

Con enormes poblaciones

Donde

No hay muchos apellidos

Como el mío

Portando la bandera nacional

Y el yarmulke de mi padre.

¿Qué sabes del racismo?

Durante la historia

Un mal que las mujeres combatieron

Es la violación y las

Injurias sexuales.

Entre las razas.

¿Lo entiendes?

Es bien conocido

Táctica de guerra

Conquistadores llegaron para poseer naciones

Violando mujeres para demostrar superioridad.

Si una esclava negra fue forzada por hombres blancos en la negra esclavitud desde el siglo 17.

O durante el Holocausto

Cuando mujeres judías eran violadas por el “master race” 

Año 1933.

Un destino común de negros y judíos.

¿Qué sé? 

El oficial de policía asesino

Que jugó con la respiración

De George

No se suicidaría como Adolf Hitler porque su rodilla era más

Importante para él

Desde el final del tiempo de un alma viva solitaria o de seis millones

Escúchenme, yo sé. 

Tali Cohen Shabtai, es una poeta, nacida en Jerusalén, Israel. Comenzó a escribir poesía a los seis años, publicando sus impresiones en el periódico de la escuela, y cuando tenía quince años en una prestigiosa revista literaria de Israel (“Moznayim”). Ha escrito tres libros de poesía: Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick, (bilingüe 2007), Protest (bilingüe 2012) y Nine Years Away From You (2018). Los poemas de Tali expresan el exilio espiritual y material, el exilio y su libertad paradojal son sus temas de estudio, su visión cosmopolita se manifiesta en sus escritos. Vivió en Oslo, Noruega y en los EE. UU. Destacada poeta con una lírica especial, “no se libra fácilmente, sino que está sujeta a sus propias reglas”.

Tali obtuvo su licenciatura en el “David Yellin College of Education”. Es miembro de la Asociación de Escritores Hebreos y de la Asociación de Escritores Israelíes en el estado de Israel. En 2014, Cohen Shabtai participó en un film documental noruego sobre la vida de los poetas llamados “The Last Bohemian” – “Den Siste Bohemien”, proyectada en el cine Escandinavo. Traducida a varios idiomas, en 2020, publicará en Noruega su cuarto libro de poesía. 

מלחמה בין-גזעית-לזכר ג’ורג’ \ טלי כהן שבתאי

מה אתה יודע?

אני יהודונת!

אני באה מארץ של 

מדים-

ואתה מצפה שאני אוכל לתקן

עולם של

ארצות יריבות?

ספגתי אנטישמיות

ספגתי גזענות

נאלצתי רבות הפעמים 

לאמץ שם של 

מולדת 

שיקרית בגולה

או במעצמות שהמפה

הטיבה 

עימן במלאי האוכלוסין

היכן

אין הרבה שם משפחה כשלי

הנושא את דגל

הלאום שלי

ושל הכיפה 

של אבי.

מה אתה יודע על גזענות?

במהלך ההיסטוריה

אחד 

מהעוולות עימם 

התמודדו הנשים הוא 

האונס והפגיעות המיניות בין הגזעים. 

אתה מבין?

זוהי טקטיקת מלחמה ידועה, כובשים מגיעים לעם הנכבש ואונסים את הנשים כדי להוכיח עליונות. 

בין אם שפחה שחורה הניכפתה על 

ידי גברים לבנים בעת העבדות של

השחורים 

החל מראשית המאה ה-17.

ובין אם בשואה בה נאנסו

נשים יהודיות על ידי “הגזע העליון” מתחילת שנת 1933.

מן המשותף לשחורים וליהודים.

מה אני יודעת?

השוטר הרוצח, ששיחק 

בנשימה 

של ג’ורג 

לא יתאבד כמו אדלוף היטלר

הלא,הברך שלו 

חשובה לו

יותר

מקץ הימים של נפש חיה אחת או

של שישה מיליון

תקשיב לי,אני יודעת.

Tali Cohen Shabtai, is a poet, she was born in Jerusalem, Israel. She began writing poetry at the age of six, she had been an excellent student of literature. She began her writings by publishing her impressions in the school’s newspaper. Frst of all she published her poetry in a prestigious literary magazine of Israel ‘Moznayim’ when she was fifteen years old.

Tali has written three poetry books: Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick, (bilingual 2007), Protest (bilingual 2012) and Nine Years Away From You (2018).

Tali’s poems expresses spiritual and physical exile. She is studying her exile and freedom paradox, her cosmopolitan vision is very obvious in her writings. She lived some years in Oslo Norway and in the U.S.A. She is very prominent as a poet with a special lyric, “she doesn’t give herself easily, but subject to her own rules”.

Tali studied at the “David Yellin College of Education” for a bachelor’s degree. She is a member of the Hebrew Writers Association and the Israeli Writers Association in the state of Israel.

In 2014, Cohen Shabtai also participated in a Norwegian documentary about poets’ lives called “The Last Bohemian”- “Den Siste Bohemien”,and screened in the cinema in Scandinavia. By 2020, her fourth book of poetry will be published which will also be published in Norway. Her literary works have been translated into many languages as well.

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Ugly Truths

I have love/hate feelings about online advertisements. Specifically, on social media (I’m a sucker for Instagram advertisements). As a middle-class woman in her mid-thirties companies know I’m in the position to buy items that seem attractive to me. In my last job (online marketing) I used demographics, deceptive language, and creativity to sell products for a failing home shopping channel. At first working with the beauty/health items was fun. I had many moments where I’d be holding an item and say, “Who would buy this?”

The answer is me. I’m the kind of person who buys magnetic eyelashes, a skincare vacuum to suck the dead skin away, and products that tend to break quickly. Advertisers know this about me. I have a high enough education to know better, but the money burning through my pocket.

Yesterday as I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram a video came up on my feed. It was of a long-haired woman in flowing clothing holding a large circular toilet seat made out of wood. The wood was smooth and unfinished with a flower design burned into it. I paused: my algorithms picked up that I like alternative medicine long ago. But, toilet seats? My eyes quickly scanned the video description. Two words caught my eyes yoni steaming.

I’d never heard of yoni steaming, nor could I believe my eyes. During my time working at the television channel I’d worked with sexual health products. I had the idea to write warnings on all the vaginal sprays that contained perfumes. Unless a physician needs you to use an item vaginally things like sprays and suppositories or healing remedies should not be placed inside a human body. Sometimes even sexual lubrications can cause infections.

I texted my friend who is an acupuncturist and healer if she had heard of the practice. “Is it safe?” I asked. She quickly responded, “Yes. It seems safe. I don’t believe all the claims are true.” My brain went to all the products I had to market that also seemed safe. All the guilt of tricking women into buying products that cause infections once again returned. The number of douches, powders, and devices to help women stay “clean” and “tight” is wrong.

 Women’s bodies are still not their own. Men are not controlled like we are. They are not told they are dirty for having a self-cleaning organ. Men do not have yeast infections from sex, men do not face discrimination for buying products like tampons and menstrual pads by being taxed for luxury items. Men are not told they are dirty because they have periods. Men are not ostracized because of a monthly cycle. In the marketing I had to do we looked at women as objects. They must smell good for their men, they must be tight for the man’s pleasure, they must be well groomed to be sexually attractive.

The beauty/health industry is making women sick by trying to control what a vagina must be. Women aren’t dirty naturally; we are human we sweat and have bacteria. In addition, you don’t have to have be born a woman to identify as one, trans women get the same messages cis ones do. They face even harsher judgment from mainstream society because our obsessions with the perfect vagina. How do we break free from archaic group think that people who identify as women are dirty? 

One of the first things I learned in my human physiology course was. When a child is born the baby has a higher number of antibodies because of traveling through the birth canal. All humans have bacteria the difference is the power to procreate those antibodies help babies. As women we should not feel forced into using products to alter our intimate parts. Because of the products we use our natural chemistry can be altered causing yeast infections, exposure to toxins, and UTIs. When I looked further into yoni steaming, I found a similar message that I used to give women. The ritual claimed that steaming your vagina will rejuvenate it, or make you tighter, maybe help you regain fertility, and the claims went on and on. Yikes!

Yoni steaming is the alternative medicines world of telling women they are unclean. The concept is purely ritual, it has been used centuries.  Herbs are placed in a bowl or basin to be burned and the woman either sits on a yoni seat or hovers above to let the steam enter her. This is another tradition where our bodies are controlled for the pleasure of men. I say this because during my research many of the claims were directed at pleasing men sexually. Other claims were to treat infections, help women get pregnant, and help clean out the vagina. All this is done with steam or smoke.

All these claims scare me. The truth is gynecologist aren’t sold on the benefits of yoni steaming since the ritual can cause infection, burns, and exposure to toxins (because herb blends are not regulated anything can be added to them). That pretty yoni seat isn’t as pretty to me now. Although many women may use the device without any harm the claims don’t add up.

 If we look at this on a larger scale the world of beauty and health can get away with murder (with ingredients and devices). Yet, based on advertisements we’d never know as consumers. I implore you as a consumer to not buy into the advertisements you see. Take time and use local library resources to research claims. I know marketers are trying to get your money; protect your dollars and body.

As women we are given so many messages about how to take care of ourselves. Advertisements aim at making you feel less than human and try to trick you into buying solutions. The truth is you are perfect just being you.

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Garlic Tips and Tricks

Delicious Immune Support

It is no secret that I love garlic for the flavor. It adds an extra aroma and taste to dishes, but people forget garlic is a form of plant medicine.  Inside these little bulbs is something called allicin. These sulfenic acids are what boosts the plant to be considered a medicine. The best way to get immune support from this lovely plant is through eating it!

Because I love garlic it is easy for me to put it in everything. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use this plant medicine.

Fermented Garlic in Honey

Honey is the perfect pairing for garlic. Some people suggest pairing minced garlic with a spoonful of honey if you’re fighting of a cold or flu. Of course, that isn’t for the faint of stomach! If you want to mix garlic with honey it is easier on the tummy to ferment it. I found Colorado Hemp Honey to have a great recipe for fermentation. If you use hemp honey, you’ll also gain the benefit of CBD compounds.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Don’t be tricked! You can’t just put fresh garlic into oil—and, bingo-bango infused oil. This is because fresh garlic (or any herb) left in oil at room temperature for hours can cause botulism to form. The oil and garlic must be heated and infused together.

I make my infused oil using a crockpot. I normally use a full bulb of peeled garlic and 8oz of olive oil. Placing the garlic on the bottom pour in your oil and cook on low for 8 hours. Make sure to check on your oil every few hours. I have burned a few batches, sometimes it only takes 6-7 hours. Sterilize jars or containers you plan on using. Let the oil cool and take out the garlic cloves, you can use those over the next few days. Once the oil is cooled pour it into your containers. Try to use your oil up in a month or so.

Mix with Sandwich Toppings

If your stomach can handle raw garlic, like mine, add it to everything! I’ve minced garlic and added it to a smooched avocado, and also, I’ve added it to mayonnaise. Garlic is a great addition to any sandwich. You can also take the cooked garlic from making oil, mince it, and mix it for more sensitive stomachs.

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Green Kid Crafts Review

Green Kid Crafts sent me an amazing box at no cost to review! There are a few options available. One for older kiddos (ten and over), younger (five-ten, and preschool (two-four). Each box has four-eight different art or science kits, boxes start at $24.95 USD a month. Not only is this a great box to get your kids interested in learning STEAM fields early in life, it looks like a great way to bond with kids effortlessly.

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Easy Wellness With Loti

Loti Wellness Box

My first act of self-care was in the 90s: it was buying a lip gloss and stinky lotion. This event coincided with a deep clinical depression. The kind that left me hospitalized and physically scarred for life. I didn’t grow-up in a time when mental illness was talked about much; even my own family didn’t know about my struggles. Self-care and self-love were foreign to me until I started practicing/teaching yoga in my 20s. As the world rotates so does our basic understanding of mental health. At times it is hard talking about being on medication and monthly therapy sessions because some people are still to scared to hear about it. Closed ears are closed minds…hopefully they can be changed.

Because wellness and self-love are becoming big in the mainstream world many lives that may not have been touched with mindfulness practices are now being exposed. Studies about the use of yoga and meditation are showing millions how important mental health is. New small companies are helping out by creating trends for customers to learn about mindfulness. In the past few years I’ve fallen in love with self-care/self-love practices that can be used by anyone. So have many people in the quest for better mental and physical health, no matter underlying conditions or the lack thereof. For people who are always searching for new ways of treating themselves to a big dose of love subscription boxes have been helpful. I recently fell in love with the Loti Wellness Box and decided they are a perfect partner for my press.

I received my first box yesterday. My friend Alex, a fellow yoga instructor, unboxed it with me before our meal of tacos, and evening candle making session. Our first impressions; pure joy, excitement, and inquisitiveness on how these wellness items would help customers learn mindfulness. As yoga instructors we both love the practice of being mindful, but as normal people it can be hard to fit in practices to everyday life.

Part of why this box stands out is the Mindfulness Practice Workbook. There are basic exercises that anyone can do to infuse mindfulness into their days. Such as walking meditations, body scan visualizations, breathing routines, and even how to mindfully drink tea! I won’t spill all the good stuff in the workbook, but I will say it is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The back cover has a tracker so you can make the practices into great habits.

Other items in this box follow the same vein to help you live a mindful lifestyle. Caring for the body externally and internally is extremely important.

In my Loti Box I received a White Clay Exfoliating Mask/Scrub that is handcrafted in Vancouver, made by Merlette. This can be used on all sorts of skin types. I’ll be using it as an evening mask/scrub to help bring down a little inflammation caused by hormones. Personally, I like mixing this kind of mask with water, but it can also be mixed with yogurt or honey!

Another item in the box to treat your skin is a Mere Botanicals solid hand and body balm. Mine is infused with Calendula and Lemongrass; it smells like candy. Bars like this are awesome because a little goes a long way, just use the skin’s heat to melt the bar. What I really love about this is the container is metal, not plastic, so I’ll reuse it when the bar is gone.

Internal health items that came with the box are, Tease tea, and a cute pink tea diffuser. The self-care elixir is a Morninga Herbal Tisane, created with ayurvedic herbs. I’m excited to drink this caffeine free tea, and even more excited that this bag has 35 cups of tea in it!

This box didn’t forget how important curating a Zen space is. One of my favorite items is a Sage Smudge Spray created by Simple is Essential. The lightly scented spray has quartz crystals in it to help release negative energy. I’ll probably keep this in my bag for use in the car.

The last items in the box were Nature’s Garden Frankincense Incense created by Auroshikha and incense holder. I really love the handmade paper packaging and natural flowers used. These sticks smell great, made with high quality frankincense, my only concern is if I burn them when my partner is home it maybe too strong. So, I may wait to burn this inside for when the weather warms up and windows can be opened!

Overall, I just wanted to share one of the many tools that can be used for wellness. This Loti Box is great for anyone who is looking to infuse their life with a dose of self-love. I wish when I was younger that I could have subscribed to a box like this and taken care of myself from the inside-out.

Check out Loti here!