I Think I’m a Rose

Our Wellness excursion to the Denver Botanical Gardens was personally both an escape and a coming home of sorts. The immersement in a field of life helped lift me from social standards that are placed on us in a college setting, and the task of contemplative natural photography gave me the chance to open my mind to similarities between my existence and that of a flower’s. One specific idea that really struck home was this idea that both the rose and myself are fruits from some great tree of emptiness that exists as a foundation for our reality. I wanted to express how the perception of separateness can trap someone in their own body like a cage, and how even though the fruit and the flower are both part of the same organism they appear to be distinct and separate. This physical “uniqueness” is the same mechanism for how the illusion of a self or the ego is formed in the human psyche, basically that there is nothing else in the world that appears to be you, so you must only identify with yourself.

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Floribunda Rose

Flower and fruit,

Ego and you


Created in connection

Separated by connection


They are one

But appearance says otherwise


Pride in uniqueness:

I am different

But now I am lonely.


Joy in equality:

I am you.


The stem feeds the flower,

Creation feeds the creative.


What is beautiful?


The ground that is shared

The black box,

Defining all light inside.


Written by Conor Sullivan, WLLC 2015-2016

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A JOURNEY TO WELLNESS

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Though it may seem that being well is impossible, whether you find yourself struggling physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, etcetera, do not lose hope. We swim in the sea of life, some drowning, some gasping for breath, all searching for land and hope and prosperity… We find ourselves surrounded by illness. Mental illness. Physical illness. Social illness. A world of illness. And it is the end goal to find oneself “unscathed”, untouched, unharmed, at life’s shore. Find success. Find love. Find a life worth living.

Do not lose hope in your goals, no matter how hard life may seem. You will find yourself happy and whole and healthy one day, looking back at struggles and realizing your growth in them.

Just something to think about in order to say well. Motivate yourself. Exercise, whether it be physically or mentally. Love who you are. Focus on your wellbeing. Rest, take care of your body. Eat well, give your body what it needs to survive and thrive. Be happy, find things that give your soul joy. Treat people positively. Do not take your life for granted. Love others. And always believe in who you are and the potential you have in this life, in this world. You can do this. Just do it.

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Yes, these are a few really cheesy motivational pictures, but I feel that sometimes in life it is just what I need to get through the day; just a little peace of positivity to motivate my life and actions and dreams. Often times, especially when I find myself very busy with school, homework, and relationships, I don’t take the time to motivate myself. I sit there, struggling, and wonder why I am doing something. What’s the point? I need to step back, and evaluate my life. Why am I here? What is my ultimate goal? Just this past week, my calculus teacher from high school emailed me, informing me of the news of my old high school, and hoping that I’m doing well. Just hearing from this man I highly admired from home inspired me. It reminded me of what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what I aim to achieve. Little things like inspirational poems, quotes, and even emails from past teachers can inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you in your sufferings. (:

Written by Nikky Johnson, WLLC 2015-2016

An Escape from Reality

As I am adjusting to the hectic college lifestyle I sometimes forget to take care of myself so I will not feel stressed out. After this weekend I realized that I cannot let this happen because it is not healthy way to live my life as a student. Last weekend I adventured out into the beautiful Colorado mountains for the Wellness LLC retreat. For me this retreat was a chance take a break from my busy schedule and take some time to take care of myself mentally and recharge for the upcoming week.

UntitledThroughout the weekend I was able to let go of all my worries and troubles that filled my mind and enjoy myself by participating in activities I enjoy. From a yoga class, stargazing, hiking, coloring, and even taking pictures of the gorgeous scenery I found myself to be more relaxed and happy. Since I was enjoying the activities over the retreat I was able to release my stress instead of bottling it up. By the end of the retreat I did not want to leave and face the reality of school, since I had such a wonderful time. Even though I was disappointed to leave, I felt more calm and determined to get through the busy week ahead of me.

UntitledThis made me realize that I need to set time aside from school to focus on myself. College has been very overwhelming at times so it is ok to escape from the world every one in a while and relax. From now on I plan on implementing this idea even if it may seem difficult at first. All I need to do is find a healthy balance and to remember to take care of myself.

UntitledWritten and Photographed by Danielle Nebel, WLLC 2015-2016

If You Want To Be Happy, BE

Maybe it’s because I am going to his concert this coming week, or maybe it’s just my undying adoration for him; but I have ModSun on the brain. Because of this mental plaque, I am finding myself incredibly inclined to write a blog post on the topic. So here it is. My soulmate, my muse and my spiritual inspiration: ModSun.

UntitledFor those of you unfamiliar, ModSun is a rapper, artist and author who categorizes his genre as “hippy hop.” He is dedicated to spreading positivity and self-love through music and art. I love his message. I love his delivery. And I love what he is doing for the world.

There are endless amounts of quotes and lyrics of his that I draw inspiration from. Whenever I am in a funk or tough situation, ModSun helps get me through. He is such a contributor to my emotional and spiritual wellness that I find myself wanting to share his work and his message with almost everyone I meet. One of my personal favorite songs of his is entitled, “Happy As F***.” Though a little vulgar, the message appeases my adolescent anxieties like nothing I have found before.

I don’t really know how to put it into words, but there is just something about a ModSun song that puts my soul at ease. A simple google search of “mod sun quotes” will leave your screen flooded

Written by Claire Boggs, WLLC 2015-2016

The Art of Letting Go

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I’ve always known and heard that college would be hard, and I believed people when they told me this, but I thought I could handle it. I always heard about unfairly curved grades, or 100 page essays so I wasn’t prepared for the type of work that I’m doing now. My brother texts me every night and every day I tell him “Can’t talk much, doing homework”. His response was “Are you ever done?” and the answer was “No”. It caught me off guard having an infinite amount of homework to do that started from the first day up until now, I never had to study much before but now that’s all I do. My schedule is wake up, eat, study, sleep, only to be repeated the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m not alone in this, I see my friends doing the same thing everyday like me, the only thing is only I can process how I’m feeling with this amount of work, I don’t know how they are dealing with it.

In class someone said that we are a cup, filled to the brim with water, and with just one more drop, we overflow. That’s how I felt this past week more so than ever. My last “drop” was once again calculus. This class is driving me insane, It’s all I think about when I’m at a school organization meeting, or even my other classes. I took my midterm and unless there’s a miracle, I failed it completely. I know because I couldn’t figure out many of the problems and I honestly just didn’t know what to do after a bit. I love school, and I usually don’t hate math, so I would like to do well in this course so that I can apply it to Computer Science. The feeling of failing this test stayed on my mind all day, and I was so upset that I basically let it ruin the rest of my day and almost the retreat for me.

I’m saying this because how I reacted to the test was not well at all. It deeply affected my emotional wellbeing. After the test, I realized that I was worrying about something that I could no longer control, it was over. But because I let it obsess in my mind I knew that I was not acting healthy whatsoever. This small experience made me realize that I could act unwell in many ways if I focus on the past. My issue was simply a math test but already I know that if I was still obsessing over it today, it would still be affecting my emotional, and physical wellness (physical because I got a headache I was so angry at myself) and probably my intellectual wellness because I know that if I only thought about Calculus and how many more Calculus classes I have to take, I would probably hate school and learning in general in the next four years.

My rant is to say that, people and myself should only worry about things that we are directly in control of, worrying about them after the fact, or other things we have no control over is not a healthy practice at all, and to move forward to learn from our mistakes, or to get a better grade on the next test, we need to learn how to let it go.

Written by Summer Graham, WLLC 2015-2016

The Sight of the Stars

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream…”

–Vincent Van Gogh

Coming from a city as big as Miami, I never really got many chances to see the stars well. I honestly have such admiration for natural beauties in the sky, like sunsets and sunrises, and being from Florida I’m lucky enough to experience them on the water often. I can sincerely say, however, that I have never seen a sight as beautiful as the stars we slept under during our Calwood retreat. To others it wasn’t that big of a deal, but to me it was fucking amazing.

Abbey, Anna, Bruce, Morgann, Laura, Athena and I were the lucky ones who got to fall asleep under that breathtaking view. Experiencing such a stunning part of nature brought up some deep talks between the seven of us. To think about how crazy it is for us to be able to look up and see all these twinkling lights that are actually the illuminations of stars that have died long ago but still shine in our sky because they are literally light years away was incredibly mind-blowing. It was eye-opening to hear a few of my friends’ opinions and beliefs on this concept of how and why these wonderful things in the universe exist. It definitely got me thinking about my own beliefs about the universe and religions, as underdeveloped as they are. Slowly, I began to realize a bit more about them.Untitled

One thing is for certain: I don’t identify with any set religion. Beyond that, everything to me is so uncertain and unclear. I am aware that there is something, some higher power or force of energy that controls or maintains our planet and our universe, I just have no idea what that actually is. I tend to refer to whatever it may be as “The Universe.” To me the Universe is my way of thinking of a Christian’s God or a Muslim’s Allah, that higher power that we all think about, the one who has laid our lives out for us or the one who constantly intervenes in them. Thinking about those stars and that fantastic mountain view, it’s completely impossible for me to even consider that there is nothing that ties our meager human lives to those elevated masses of earth or the burning flashes of those stars that have perished. I may not have strong convictions in a religion, but I adamantly believe in some form of a divine entity that has a say in things as small as the migration patterns of a school of fish and in things as immense as the creation of new galaxies.

I genuinely think that a connection exists between everything. The energy that is sent out from all these different things creates this connection. Something had to create the universe, and us for that matter, and I like to think of that as more than just science because I’ve experienced things that are inexplicable from the point of view of a scientist. When I was looking up at that starry sky I wasn’t thinking about the gases that compose that specific star and how far away each one is from us exactly. I was contemplating about the nature of our existence and about the presence of this “Universe” and wondering if my life was predestined to happen in an exact way and if, similarly, everyone’s life and every event on Earth and in the universe is predestined to be one way. It’s incredible that just simply looking up at the stars brought upon all these thoughts in my mind about my own spirituality and beliefs.

After falling asleep, a bit disappointed in myself for succumbing to my exhaustion and missing out on this majestic scene, I found myself naturally waking up to the sunrise over the mountains. Again, I was only further impressed and stunned at the dazzling landscape that I seriously felt honored to experience.

UntitledAs I was the only one awake at this point I sort of just held my breath in this moment (after taking a few pictures of course) trying to linger in this exact point in my life as long as possible. In this moment, I realized something. I may not know the answers to all of my intuitive questions, but that’s okay. This time in my life is for exactly that: searching for answers, searching for myself, searching for what I’m passionate about and what I believe in, and I’m beyond excited to continue this journey for knowledge self-discovery.

UntitledSo, as far as “religion,” I’m not so sure I would fall under any category or set of standards that defines someone who is part of one, but I sure as hell know that I have faith. Faith in whatever omnipotent entity is controlling our universe and I hope one day I’ll be pleasantly surprised when my questions are answered.

Written and Photographed by Kourtney Lesperance, WLLC 2015-2016

Transition to College

Starting college has been a very emotional time. I feel like I am going crazy half the time and I’m constantly treading water just to stay a float. My mental health is, well let’s just say, alright… It’s a constant battle between freaking out and having complete meltdowns and having meltdowns about having meltdowns because I cannot get stuff down when I’m having a meltdown. Does this make sense?… Ya it doesn’t make sense to me either. Glad we’re on the same page. However, even though my mental health has been a constant battle I have learned many coping methods to deal with this issue. Meditation and yoga have really been my medicine during my journey here so far. I have been doing yoga for quite some time now, but I have learned to appreciate every moment of my practice. When I am in a class I cherish every moment I am there. It is my time to work hard, relax, and have some “me” time, which is very hard to obtain while at school. I feel overall that even though college has been a little bit of a struggle when it comes to my mental wellness I have becoming stronger at dealing with emotions and also I have learned to appreciate the small moments of self reflection.

Ahh Freshman 15… Legendary myth? or True? I honestly could not tell you. Personally I feel like I am in the best shape ever. Partially because I get the privilege of running from Sturm to Bettchoer every SINGLE DAY! Note to future self do not do that. But I mean I’m not complaining its a good work out. However, dorm food really needs to up its game. Pizza and French fries at every meal are not healthy and I know what your all thinking. “Well you don’t have to eat them” but really if you put out pizza and curly fries it’s not even a choice at that point of whether or not your going to eat them. It’s just an accepted norm at that point. Oh and then there is late night were there is amazing food, however, did you know that eating late at night is extremely unhealthy for you..? Well now you do! But does this stop me? No! However, I try to stay conscious on what I consume and I also try to eat lots of fruit and a salad at every meal so at least I’m trying!

Emotions Emotions. Really the world would be a lot easier without these little stinkers sometimes. I feel like emotions go along with relational wellness and this has been very hard for me during this year so far. Since I am from Colorado my boyfriend and I are still kind of together. But not really. This has been very hard for me. Not only that, but also relationships dealing with friends. I miss all my close friends I had in high school. I miss all the inside jokes the laughs etc.. Not saying that people at DU are not fabulous it just takes time to build relationships like the ones we graduated from high school with. This especially makes it hard when you are dealing with something and you feel like you can’t tell people about it because they won’t fully understand. To get over this I go to the friends I have made and tell them about my problems. It’s still hard because they do not get it fully and they shouldn’t. It’s hard to only know someone for 4 weeks and expect them to know your life, that just doesn’t happen. But it’s okay to try because that’s how relationships are built.

Written by Lexie Karet, WLLC 2015-2016