What we don’t always pay attention to is the lesson we can learn from that seed when it comes to living in hard times.
This tiny thing starts in the dirt with no light, no roots, and surrounded by worms and bugs. Despite its meager start, however, it begins to grow. It stretches toward the light through mud, pushing against the roots of stronger plants, until it peeks its stem out into the open air.
Even then, it has to continue to fight. It has to survive harsh, dry summer heat and stand bare in the biting winter cold. It must shed the cold in the autumn and its short respite in the spring is short lived. A tree has to survive for years in these rotating conditions before it can stand tall and strong, admired for its scars and age.
When that tree creates its own seeds, we learn another lesson. We have seen the tree climb its way through the muck, soak up any water it could, and battle the elements. It has even survived all of the wasteful damage that humanity has to offer. It, in a way, knows the hardship of growing and that there is a chance that many of its seeds won’t survive. However, instead of holding onto the seed to protesct it until it is matured, something remarkably different happens.
It lets go of the seed.
The seeds fall and scatter on the wind. They grow and fight to survive. The cycle continues.
Humans hold on tight to things: memories, money, ticket stubs, collectible figurines. Above all, we hold on tightly to people as if we’re a boat in a storm and they are our anchor. That’s human. Our need for communication, comfort, and love is what makes us different from tress. We can consciously hold on to our seeds, but, in doing so, we risk stunting their growth and our own in the process.
We must learn from the trees and let go. Let go of things that weigh us down and let go of the seeds that have to grow on their own. If they really support you, their roots will grow strong and tangle with your own like redwoods whose roots can extend for miles to create a foundation with other trees.
This lesson is something that I’ve struggled with in the past, but I’m learning to let go of my seeds, to spread my branches, and grow.
So, first off, if you have read the other posts that are already on this site then you might notice that this is a very different way of starting my posts. That is because I have decided that because this is more of my blog that my writing voice should sound a little bit more like my own rather than philosophical and enlightened. Am I both of those things? I’d like to think so. However, I don’t normally speak like that.
Second, you’ve more than likely read the title and thought to yourself “What the f**k is a life cleanse?!” (My internal voice curses a lot, sorry if it offends anyone.)
Within the last few months I have started working at a chiropractic office as a receptionist and newsletter writer. The premise of the practice and the overall organization that they work for is not only about getting your back into proper alignment, but also about living a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. That means organic foods, little to no toxins, working out, etc. Recently most of the staff did a juice cleanse. I opted out because a) I’m in the process of adding healthy fats into my diet to help me gain weight and the three or so days of only drinking juices would seriously cut into any progress and b) if I don’t have enough to eat during the day I will pass out or be extremely grumpy, not a fun version of Hailey to be around.
On Friday, I had a meeting with my manager there about needing to be more organized and on top of things in the office. I will admit, I cried a little bit. This brought up a lot of my personal insecurities that only lead to feeding my depression, which I have struggled with since high school. (Note to my manager: If you are reading this DO NOT FEEL BAD. I know you might, but I’ve known that I needed to get my life more together for a while and you just happened to say the right/wrong thing at the right/wrong time.)
Needless to say, this has been a weekend of insecurities simply tumbling out in quick secession from disorganization to my severe lack of romantic interests or pursuers to the fact that girls years younger than me are way more successful than me (don’t get me wrong, GO SIMONE BILES!!) . I have legitimately sobbed from reading two Avengers fanfictions.
This got me thinking. What do I need to do to turn my life around?
I decided that my life needed a cleanse. The definition of cleanse is to “make (something, especially the skin) thoroughly clean.” If you don’t know anything about cleaning skin (which I am also trying to cleanse, actually), it’s about unclogging any pores and taking out unnecessary dirt or oil so your skin can breath and be healthy. Instead of my skin, however, I am unclogging the pores of my life by cleansing each part of my life of any clutter or behavior that is keeping me from living my life to it’s fullest potential.
First up, get organized and tidy up.
One of the books I’ve recently started reading is “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” by Marie Kondo. In the introduction, Kondo writes about the order in which you should tidy up using her komari method. You have to know what energy you want then discard before you can truly organize.
You’re supposed to imagine what exact feeling for your home, what you want to achieve in tidying your life and why. I started the cleaning because I am still in the process of reading the book, I’m doing things a little out of order. I started with my desk drawer, but, in my defense, I already knew that all of that stuff had to go. Then I sat down and I thought about what I wanted.
Since my home is my bedroom at my mom’s house, I decided that I wanted to make it feel a little like a tiny house minus the kitchen and bathroom of course. I wanted a place I can work and not feel like I have to leave the space to focus and get out of the comfortable, tumblr troll mindset I get into some (most, okay!) of the time. I wanted to be surrounded by the things that make me smile and let my nerdy heart soar when I see them like my little Pop! Bobbleheads of my favorite superheroes or antique typewriter my mom gifted me a few years ago for my birthday. I wanted a neat little area to do my make up and not have to go digging to find my work shirts. I wanted a place that was just for me, no one else. My escape from the world and any drama in it.
After I thought everything, I started going through all of my things and keeping only the things that truly bring my joy. Basically, if it’s a shirt you truly cherish and makes you smile just by holding it, keep it. If it’s a dirty piece of junk
mail that you jammed in your desk drawer for reasons you can’t remember, ditch it. Again, I had already started a little with my desk and organizing my little make up corner. Then, as I was listening to an audio version of Kondo’s book, I came across her instruction to start on your clothes. I immediately shifted gears and took nearly every piece of clothing out of my closet to start going through my tops and dresses.
Mind you, this is the first serious life cleanse day so everything is still not done. As I am writing this, clothes are still piled it bins around my room, stacks of old notebooks and papers are still waiting to be riffled through to find long forgotten ideas. Clutter still takes up half of my bed. But I can already feel the shift start to happen. In just today, I have filled 4 1/2 garbage bags of trash, 2 bags and a box of things for donations, and one box of things that I think I can sell. My makeup brushes and eyeliners sit in a neat bundle in a little mason jar I got on sale at Target. My lipstick is arranged in an old jewelry box I had.
Then are the other parts to my “life cleanse.”
The first will be time management. After I am done with this post, I will prepare a to-do list and, as my manager calls it, a “war plan” for tomorrow. I have organized my monthly calendar hanging next to my window, complete with days that my bills come in. A weekly calendar is on my door so I always see it coming into my room. I even have a pocket calendar and an agenda so I can get in the habit of writing everything down. I’m going to make more time to write efficiently and this blog, I hope, will be a part of that.
I will also be getting a new computer soon in hopes that it will help me in writing more, especially on the go since I am constantly working.
Next will be emotion and spirit cleanse. This is when I will begin to really pick at my insecurities and work on building my self-esteem along with my own spiritual beliefs. This will probably be more “interesting” part of my cleanse since I’m going to be challenged to see what sticks with me and what will only end up hurting me or go against what I believe to be true in my heart.
Finally, once I’ve started gaining more weight and feel more comfortable in my food choices (a process I have been working on for several weeks now), I’m going to try and do a physical cleanse. One of the other things my manager pointed out to me on Friday is that I rarely do things for myself. I’m constantly worried about everyone else: if they are comfortable, what they think of me, did I say something wrong, etc. I work weeks without a day off, juggling two jobs and my own writing projects along with any film jobs I have the time to fit in.
My physical cleanse won’t just be health. It’s about taking away anything that is physically doing me harm from the way I eat to my lack of fitness and even just pampering myself to reduce stress. I need to sleep right. I need to go out and destress more. Hell, I need to actually remember to wash my face and floss my teeth (seriously though, I’m terrible at flossing).
Atmosphere. Time. Emotion. Spirit. Body. These are the five parts that I have come up with for my total life cleanse. Add to that my desire to educate myself more and my work and it’s going to be an interesting couple of month. And I’m going to write about it all from the achievements to the downfalls. Hopefully, you will join me as I try to turn my life for the better as I turn 24 (September 25).
We live in a society that has always been involved in one war or another. It can be triggered by anything from money to rocks to lines in the dirt to the color of your hands. Even religion, which is meant to bring peace to the human soul during their short time in this life, seems to inspire bloodshed.
But why? Why must we resort to this violent depravity?
Perhaps it is because we have yet to find peace with ourselves, condemning those we deem different so we may feel more normal, acceptable. Maybe it’s from frustration over the lack of answers to the universe’s greatest questions: who are we? What are we here? We are so determined to have our answer be the only correct answer that we seek to diminish anyone who disagrees.
The question that haunts me, however, is if God hadn’t made us all perfect then why did you make us at all? A question to think of if judgement ever clouds your mind, for it is judgement that darkens the heary and mutilates the soul into something less than human.
In times of tragedy like this I think of these words from Elie Wiesel. In the two classes I was blessed to have with him, this phrase was a driving point to his work as a teacher, writer, and humanitarian.
We must all bare witness to a new tragedy today. One that hits, physically, very close to home for me. I have many friends in Orlando. I have even more in the LGBT community and it breaks my heart. I still can’t believe that while I was sleeping and getting up for my Sunday, these people were fearing for their lives only two hours away from me.
We must bare witness the stories and the honesty of the lives of those who have fallen or been injured. We must bare witness to the result of rampant hatred and intolerance from different groups that have grown like a flourishing fungus. Then, we must continue on the journey to make our world a better place for all walks of life no matter their color, sexuality, gender, religion, etc.
All I ask from the world, particularly from my own friends and family reading this, is that you do not lose hope for humanity entirely and that you not try to place the blame on one belief or another. This was one man who was unbalanced and violent, encouraged by a group of equally hate-filled people.
I normally don’t like to talk religion on my social media or anything since I believe it is a purely personal choice that should not be influenced by constant comments made over the internet, but God, no matter which form of God you speak of, preaches the love and acceptance of others. God created life, gave us the beautiful gift of life, and would want us to share it with each other. If all you are getting from God is hatred and intolerance and the belief that you should kill everyone that thinks differently from you then you must be reading God wrong no matter which text it is.
We are all imperfect. We are all flawed. We are all hurt and angry and upset by the largest single-person mass shooting in the history of the U.S. But we are all also a source of good if given the opportunity. We have a chance to console a friend, donate blood, or stand up for those who want nothing more than to love another human being.
My heart and prayers go out to many people tonight. To those that lost their lives. To those who survived. To those whose fate has yet to be decided. To those who must now pick up the pieces. To those who could have also lost their lives in Santa Monica if the police had not caught the suspect in time. Even those who may be ignorantly blamed despite their innocence during their holy month and are actually donating blood despite their fasting.
I stand with all of those effected. I stand for kindness, compassion, and acceptance. I seek to learn so that I may be a soldier against the reckless, unnecessary ignorance that has plagued our world and that seems to being growing the older I get.