Ahimsa: non-harming

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This time I want to use my voice for the beings that do not have one – Animals.

For the last decade I was deceived by the false image that is deeply and imperceptibly woven in the fabric of human society by leading health organisations. Misleading advertising and medical advice teaches us that animal products are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. This information has been passed down through generations of people not questioning the morality until it became our culture.

Once I discovered the truth behind the food industry and how animals are being mistreated, the decision to not contribute to any being suffering was made. 7 months ago I became vegan, it is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. I always aim to be a good person, but little did I know then that I was a hypocrite.

It is a question of moral – how can we eat our meal knowing an animal was killed or tortured for it?

Watch a video about what happens in slaughterhouses and if you feel compassion it is time to stop the violence, not the picture. Ever since this day I cannot look at animal products without seeing the image from the slaughterhouse and empathising with the being. I believe it is a selfish thought to put our desire above someone else’s life. Animals are NOT our property. Why do we differentiate between our and their rights? Why do we see some animals as our pets and others as food?

Soon after making this change in my life I discovered the health benefits. In the documentary ‘What the Health’ Kip Andersen & Keegan Kuhn uncover the secret to minimising the risk of chronic diseases. By focusing our attention on the causes rather than the symptoms we will soon reduce the need for many medications that also harm our body in the long-term.

Veganism is about causing the least amount of harm possible and it is the change we can immediately make to save the planet. In the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ Andersen and Kuhn explore the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. It is the primary source of environmental destruction.

With modern technology it has become increasingly easier to replicate the taste and texture of animal products. Those alternatives allow us to recreate our favourite dishes guilt free.

It will be difficult at first, because of how we were raised. The lack of understanding from the people around us. Or simply the convenience to follow the crowd. But continue to remind yourself why you changed your diet and eliminated the animal consumption.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Breaking Free from my Paralysis

Most of you don’t know that I was a huge geek in my teens, because it happened behind the scenes. I spent countless hours collecting achievements, building a reputation, improving my gear and my player performance. After years I started to see that everything is just one click away from non-existence – What would I be left with?

Back then it was almost nothing. Most of my leisure time I spent stimulated in video games, that it didn’t leave much space to pursue different things. I was caught up in the virtual world and my school performance decreased, as I didn’t study hard enough; my relationships suffered, since I didn’t give much attention to them. I didn’t know how to maintain a healthy balance nor the value of time. It took a very painful fall to open my eyes and break free from the paralysis that I was in – I didn’t pass my final exam and had to redo another year of school. It’s been the biggest setback I’ve experienced and there was only me to blame.

I started to ask myself what is truly important to me and soon I recognized that I am on a path, which didn’t lead me towards my goals. It clearly wasn’t who I wanted to be in the future and it requiered a change in order for me to get there. It was difficult to give up video games, since I invested so much time on them it’s been a big part of my life at that time. But with a vision in my mind and the immediate improvement of my life circumstances that I saw, it became easier.

I transformed my enjoyments into the real world – meeting people from different countries; creating a continuous stream of challenging situations, collecting the achievements of mastering them and the satisfaction it brings me; improving different aspects of my life and the feeling of success it comes with.

Nowadays I still enjoy playing video games once in a while – They’re made for entertainment purposes after all, but now I made my priorities clear: I’m not willing to let life just pass me by without experiencing it.

Life’s circle is balanced by undulation of happiness and misery

For the first time since I came to Australia I felt down – I reached the low phase and sank into it, because I forgot what it was like.

For the last weeks everything seemed to constantly improve. I explored and discovered beautiful places and met amazing people from all around the globe. I’ve moved forward with my dreams to the point where I got a taste of what it would be like to accomplish them. I’ve never been happier with my life and myself. Finally I was busy living – the life I always admired. I bought myself a guitar for my birthday and started practicing. I began to improve my pronounciation by talking to natives, therefore express my love for languages. I started to write a blog and spend my days at my favourite spot on earth – the beach.

But winter came and so did the routine. The intense rush I experienced began to ease.

It became more a Work than a Travel visa and I didn’t know how to handle the change from carefree days back to (at times stressful) work days. The rainy days washed away my motivation to explore. My inspiration to write vanished. My plans were delayed to days with more energy, but they weren’t in sight. As intensed as I felt those positive emotions, so did I feel the negative ones.

A few weeks back I decided to stay in hostels rather than an appartment, since I knew that there lays an important lesson – how to deal with people. As passionate as I am about challenging myself, I changed the hostel every week to get myself out of my comfortzone. I can’t even count how many people I’ve met during the last 4 months. Everyone was different and the acceptance my good friend back home teached me were put to the test. I’ve overcame my shyness and was no longer afraid to make the first move to talk with strangers. I became comfortable in my own skin and I felt that the happiness that it brought shine through. Even I am not where I want to be yet, I am fine with where I stand.

There is always something happening in hostels, but sometimes you just need a quiet moment by yourself. Recharge from the stress at work. At times you can’t be your bubbly self. Sometimes you don’t want to be the one starting a conversation. The thought that my every move makes a first impression on someone created so much pressure in me.

I fell back to reality. The truth is that life’s circle is balanced by undulation of happiness and misery. There will always be up & downs. We wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good times without the bad ones. Keep in mind that neither is permanent.

“Everything in life is temporary. So if things are going good, enjoy it because it won’t last forever. If things are going bad, don’t worry, it can’t last forever either.”

Not only is this a message to you, it is a reminder to myself.

Let’s take this road and call it home

Lately I’ve tried very hard to find the ‘right’ path for me by waiting for signs about important life decisions and searching for logical reasons to support my choices.

I didn’t want to be in a relationship, because I don’t know God’s plan A – I was afraid to miss out on the person He intended for me, because I settled down only for comfort and eventually find out that a better life was meant for me, which I will never be able to experience.

I was moving back and forth with choosing my career path, because of my interest in many different fields. Besides I tried to figure out what role money plays in my life as material possessions could never satisfy my desire for lasting fulfillment. However spending money on experiences (for example traveling) is a good investment, since your life will be marked with beautiful stories and amazing people. Also it would be easier without the constant need to worry about money – specially after seeing the high university fees here in Australia.

The most absurd question I asked myself was “Where should I live?”. There are numerous options and I thought that each one lead me to another path. But maybe that’s not how life works…

Maybe we’re always on the right path – whatever’s happening is supposed to happen and whatever path I am heading down is the path I’m supposed to be on. The lessons we have to learn in order to grow are everywhere and we will encounter them one way or the other. If it weren’t supposed to happen, it wouldn’t be happening, right?

However that doesn’t mean we have to relinquish all control when it comes to our lives – We have to listen to what we know instinctively. If we’re too afraid to take any step at all, because the fear of taking responsibility of the consequences, then we’re standing still meanwhile life continually moves. Isn’t our time more precious than this?

We’re not able to predict the future; unexpected opportunities accure, we change and so do circumstances. Then why do we try to make a decision for our future self?

Remember that your present situation is not yout final destination, you are able to change the direction when it doesn’t feel right to your heart. Trust yourself.

Have faith that your life is unfolding as it should, then you can appreciate the road down which you’re traveling and eventually you will let go of events that happend in the past.

Always seek knowledge

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I set myself a new goal to read two books a month, since they offer an outstanding wealth of learning  – my favourite books are self-development ones, they contain so much knowledge that I use to improve my life and ultimately work towards being the best version of myself. But recently after finally choosing my career path of Business I decided to start setting one foot in the business world and I got lost in the hidden treasures of a small book store in Glebe. After spending hours sitting on the floor going through the pages and reading the synopsis, my interest grew.

The barefoot investor by Scott Pape is one of the best selling books in Australia at the moment. It is very well written in a simple language that is easy to understand, even with a topic as extensive as money. Pape gives many insight of how he is handeling his own money and step by step tips, which we can follow to improve our financial situation. It’s exciting to learn about a new subject of life and develop the necessary mindset to eventually be an Entrepeneur in the future.

Lately I’ve desired to have more people in my life with influence, successful people that I can look up to and use as my role model to push me further and inspire me to take action. The people around us have so much influence on us, therefore we need to be concious who we continuously spend our time with. Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.

Authors are able to reach out to people all over the world and share their wisdom to help increase the speed of our progress and broaden our horizon. It seems silly to not take advantage of the experiences someone already had and the lesson they’ve learned from it. Or the effort and time they put into researching a topic and summarizing it.

We can find the answer we are looking for in someone elses words – Recreate habits of successful people to achieve our dreams.

“I do believe something very magicial can happen when you read a good book.” – J.K. Rowling