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Hey villagers!

For my last week of summer, I decided to do something a little out of my comfort zone. I had the amazing opportunity of portaging in Algonquin Provincial Park for nine days AND get a university credit for it! I wanted to share about my camping trip in the woods and how you can apply what I learned to your own life!

As a child, I wasn’t much of an outdoorsy person and grew up staying in hotels (I know … shocker!) The most camping I ever did was on an air mattress in a tent, with a kitchen and shower close nearby.

However, I have evolved into a nature and dirt enthusiast and felt that the challenge of completing a camping gear checklist, learning to paddle and portage a canoe and cook my meals over a fire would be fun and exciting! I went with 33 other students and leaders with a full Duluth (a huge backpack that I could fit in!) and an open mind.

The first couple of days were spent solidifying our paddling strokes, compass skills [with our Algonquin park map!], our basic knowledge of how to set up camp, including our tents, tarp and camping food hang (to keep our goodies away from the bears!) and getting comfortable sleeping under the stars and adjusting to the circadian rhythm of the earth.

We began on Crotch Lake (someone with a dirty mind came up with that name … ) then portaged (hiking with a canoe on your head or shoulders) to Booth Lake and Shirley Lake for the remainder of the trip, scouting out camping spots along the way.

We stayed there a few nights and spent most of our time with our core groups as well as went on a day trip to another lake nearby (I went to Robin Lake, which was quite the portage – basically a vertical hike up a mountain in the mud … and mud filled with leeches)! That’s when we were immersed into the Algonquin lifestyle and applied the skills we learned [like how to properly remove leeches] … crash canoeing course 101.

We also had a four-hour solo (chilling in the woods, doing some yoga and writing!) and shared our insights during the council for all beings. The council was meant for us to share the perspective of something living around us. I was in awe of the pine trees surrounding me during my time alone, and wrote a poem from its perspective.

One of our last days, we spent the afternoon constructing our creative projects that showcased our connection to nature and our experience during the trip. I made a wind chime out of calm shells that were all over our campsites, twine, sticks (plenty to choose from) and pinecones [all Algonquin symbols!]!

It represented to me all that I am learning to do this next year – to go with the flow (the wind) and let go of control about my future plans, leaving them up to God because I know His plans are SO much better than I could ever hope for!

We spent lots of time together laughing, swimming and dancing! I also spent a lot of time reflecting in nature and wanted to share my ‘camping tips’ and how they can apply to YOUR life … so HERE it is:

Community.

I absolutely loved living in community as we shared meals, tents, cooking responsibilities, equipment, stories and laughs! Everything is better together (even if you are an introvert and need space from time to time … I get it) and experiencing Algonquin together made the trip so much more enjoyable and exciting! So spend a little extra time this week with the people that lift you up and bring a smile to your face!

Campfire coziness.

Learning how to start a fire was such a rewarding experience. It was so heart warming to be able to cook our meals and s’mores over the fire while we shared life experiences and passed the talking stick to express our feelings about the trip and the day we all had. Campfires are the perfect way to get deep with the perfect ambience! If you need to have a crucial conversation with someone … Maybe it’s best to have it around a campfire.

Nature’s tune.

Without a radio, TV, or a phone, we were very present and learned to truly listen to our surroundings. I did love to sit still and listen to nature at its best – the waves by the beach, the wind in the trees, and the flapping of bird wings and the loon calls.

Although, we did still miss our music at times, and would make up for it by singing our camp songs while paddling and sitting around the bonfire; we always remembered to engage in our sense of play and fun! So, enjoy music but still remember that nature has its own tune that we can sometimes miss if we aren’t listening.

Survival skills.

We went back to basics and learned such a simplistic way of living. Learning basic skills like how to start a fire and paddle properly gave me an appreciation for our interaction with nature and how priorities can change so fast. Everything was a process in the woods, but was so rewarding when that meal was finally made, the lake water was filtered, when we finally felt clean and when we reached the end of the lake to our next destination.

Remember to be grateful for a stove that lights itself, clean water to drink, a hot shower, and a car as a source of transportation. We are sometimes so caught up with relationship, work and school problems … all issues that somehow seemed so much less important in the woods with survival as our main priority.

No clocks, no mirrors, no worries.

My favourite part about our trip was that we did not have a sense of time (only the leaders), allowing us to truly get in tune with the circadian rhythm of the earth, as well as our bodies as we listened and ate when we were truly hungry. We didn’t worry about getting somewhere at a specific time, and could pace ourselves and enjoy each moment in the journey.

We also had no mirrors, which was a refreshing change. We went by how we felt, not by how we looked. We felt less self-conscious so we could be our authentic, real selves with each other, no masks [or makeup] allowed.

Just keep paddling.

Sometimes, we didn’t feel like paddling, or hiking to the end of the portage. We learned to persevere through the rain and sore muscles and finish strong. Remember that this too shall pass … and that once you reach your goal you feel so satisfied and accomplished! And if there isn’t a specific goal in mind, remember that things can get better and that pain and suffering can make you stronger and teach you a lesson along the way. There is always a sun after the storm.

Our core group consisted of 6 girls and 1 guy. So we called our group … Doug and the Girls. It was catchy.

So I challenge you to take some time in nature and get back to basics … find the inner child in you and spend some time just playing! Revel in the beauty that is all around us … be still and look up. I am always in awe of the moon and the stars… Especially in a canoe and on a clear night [The Milky Way!]

I encourage you to be your vulnerable and authentic self, because those who truly accept you are those that will help and support you to be your best self! Be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey!

Remember … Nature does not rush … yet everything is accomplished.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

 

Hey villagers,

We are all asked as children the daunting question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

We answer with some unrealistic, yet creative answers like “a princess” or “a pirate”.

Now, when we are asked the same loaded question as adults, we feel a wave of anxiety and are forced into some respectable and practical answer like “a professor” or “a surgeon”.

But why is this even a question AT ALL?

Why do we have to pick one thing?

What is growing up?

Why do our whole lives have to be centred around the idea of success being in what we DO?

Through travelling and talking with friends who have also travelled for extended periods of time, I have come to a conclusion that our careers shouldn’t be boxed into a traditional education and we shouldn’t be staying in one city for the rest of your life (aka. The Windsor Life).

At least for me, it seems kind of boring to do one thing for the rest of your life in one place, especially when you have a curious soul exploding with ideas and visions.

Does your soul scream for adventure? Does your soul thrive living in a minimalist environment filled with abundant relationships, health, and passion in how you serve the world?

Well, me too.

So, maybe you need a little travel in your life.

So, here is the world traveller’s answer to the question “what would you like to be when you grow up?”:

We want to feel ALIVE and live a RADICAL life filled with the majestic views from mountains, the salty mystery of the ocean, and the pounding purity of waterfalls.

We want to work to live, not the other way around.

But don’t call us lazy, or not motivated.

We are driven.

Driven to connect in community.

Driven to be of service to others, and try new things.

We have opened minds, willing hands and receptive hearts.

We have ears ready to listen to stories about traditions and rituals, lips to sing ancient songs and chants and mouths ready to eat traditional dishes made with [love] and fresh veggies from farmer’s markets.

We travellers love to live simply.

We don’t need a lot.

Maybe just a backpack [and a yoga mat] for a while.

We break down walls and aren’t afraid to show our vulnerable souls and bare faces.

We love to laugh and immerse ourselves in the lifestyle of the locals.

 

We want to use our God-given potential to drive change.

We are big picture thinkers.

We are radicals that don’t follow the rules [only as guidelines].

We care about the dying corals and floating landfills in our oceans and the starving souls roaming the streets of city sidewalks.

We are realists that want to live out our dreams.

We are not vacationers.

We are not tourists, and we shy away from big cities and tourist attractions.

We look for the rural communities living in isolated rainforests.

For the retreat centers on tops of mountains.

For the tiny houses and air bnbs along the way.

We hang out in open-concept jungaloos and tents are our preferred shelters.

So, we should never ask a child or an adult for that matter, “What do you want to do?” or “What will you be?”

Instead, we should be asked:

“Who do you want to be?” or “Where do you want to go?” or “How do you want to share your talents with the world?”

Let us shape and mold our character like water, going with the flow and adapting to new environments and new skills we acquire along the way.

Let’s not determine our success through how much we fit into our structurally sound smile-less and superficial society.

Let’s live radically beautiful lives filled with daring adventure, endless sparkly-eyed stories and countless connections.

Let’s keep things fresh and explore villages of love, laughter and longevity.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Please comment below about how travelling has impacted your life and how you are using your potential to change the world!!

Hey villagers!

When you see a 40-year-old man with a Harley jacket on and 20-year-old hippie-ish woman talking at a restaurant, what is your initial reaction? Yeah, right – it’s just wrong. But sometimes we shouldn’t make snap judgments, especially with who we see connecting over coffee.

We can be friends with anyone, no matter their age, gender or race, as we are all energetic beings that have gifts and talents to share. When we have an open and growth mindset towards our relationships, we can grow our own skill sets and gain invaluable knowledge.

mentorship

When we hangout in community, we can connect with the most unexpected people. These networks can lead to business partnership, weekly mentorship, and long-lasting friendship.

mentorship

Similarly, we can become friends with someone who could be our child or sibling’s age. We need to remind ourselves to stay humble, and to not act in a role of superiority. Here is our chance to teach, inspire, guide and love!

So here is why I have friends that are 15 years old and 50 years old and everywhere in between:

 1. Insight. When you are having a difficult time in life, either in your relationships with your family, friends or your {non-existent} love life, you can always gain a new perspective from someone who is in a different stage of life. Even when dealing with the deep and philosophical questions, people with a different perspective and mindset can give you answers and enlighten you, thus, strengthening and solidifying your own values and beliefs.

mentorship

2. Experience. When seeking advice or simply chatting, learning from someone who already went through major life events that you have yet to experience, can be reassuring and helpful with the mental and spiritual preparation that is being demanded from you. Talking to someone who has kids, is married or got a divorce, who is in retirement, or who went through university and has their PhD, can be extremely helpful when dealing with whatever comes your way.

mentorship

3. Guidance. Sometimes you need a little guidance, and those that know you best can help in reaffirming your decisions and opportunities. After creating your life web, you might just need to talk with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. They can give you the reassurance you need by drawing from their own experience to help you in your next step – whether that be university, a career change or ending a relationship. Someone older or younger just might know your heart and what will truly shine your light in the best way possible.

mentorship

4. Teach. Through your own words and actions, you can teach your friends life lessons that they are in the process of learning. You can be a role model and mentor for them and share your knowledge and gifts with those you love. We can shine our lights together by collaborating and getting creative! We can change the world, one awesome idea and connection at a time.

mentorship

5. Interests. You can expand in your interests and do different activities with friends that aren’t your age. I love doing yoga and rock climb with my friends who maybe are a bit older or younger than me but that thoroughly enjoy it! Also, it’s always fun to share your knowledge in a field with friends who are interested in learning new skills, like cooking, photography or gardening!

 mentorship

So I challenge you to get in community and start engaging with EVERYONE around you, even those who aren’t your age. I encourage you to keep an open mind and get ready to learn, grow and change the world.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

 

Hey my villagers!

I realized I have a problem: I am an extremist. Although it may not seem like a problem, it can hinder my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being when I become obsessed and focused on giving my all in the many areas of my life: my grades, research, diet, work, rock climbing, yoga practice, harp and volunteering.

When you are busy trying to do everything, balance is a hard thing, especially when your self-care and relationships begin to suffer. I have slowly learned to understand how to keep balance and create boundaries when I am prone to going to the extreme and being so self-disciplined that I miss out on the fun and carefree life we are meant to be living.

So how can we stay focused and optimize our performance in all areas of life without becoming obsessed with perfection?

It all starts with how deeply involved and engaged we are with ourselves and others.

We need to be conscious of our impact on others and how sustainable we are in the choices we make. And this starts with the QUALITY of our choices.

When I decided to let go of my unrealistic and perfectionist expectations: expectations of being a strict vegan, expectations of having the most knowledge in the health world, expectations of giving the best service, having lots of friends and expectations of being the most fit version of myself – I accepted that my best is enough and became healthier mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. 

 

So, here are some guiding principles to focusing on the QUALITY of your life without being perfect:

1. Quality food. I am all about my local and organic produce, and even incorporating some free range eggs, wild BC salmon, organic bone broth and organic goat cheese on occasion. So no, I’m not a strict vegan, but I try to eat sustainably and listen to what my body is craving. If I have to put a label to how I eat, I would say I am primarily pegan. Be conscious of where your food COMES from in order for it to fully nourish your body and forget about your expectations of an ideal diet.

Yes, my body craves banana bread. Xx

2. Quality time. I have a few close friends, and am invested in connecting with others on a deeper level, no matter their age or gender. I love having open discussions with others and learning about what they know and their experiences. Spending quality time (with no phones present) in wholehearted and rich discussion is how we can find fulfillment and happiness (your positive vibe attracts your tribe!)

Life begins and ends with people.

3. Quality things. I have embraced the idea of minimalism, and believe that less is truly more. Spend your money on things that you value and bring joy to your life is so satisfying. Aim for quality, sustainable products that will last you. I love thrift stores and having clothing swaps! Give up the world’s expectations of having the next best thing!

4. Quality breath. Stress usually results in shallow breaths between cluttered thoughts in an anxious mind. I have learned through my daily practices of yoga and meditation that taking quality breaths when feeling anxious can bring such a sense of calm and relaxation in the beginning, middle or end of your day. Focusing on not only how our mind responds, but how our bodies respond to stress is so important for us to remain peace and grace filled throughout our days.

Breathe in beauty.

5. Quality experiences. Use your money not only on things you value, but on building memories. Travelling to work or volunteer for a cause you care about and that is making a difference in this world is so rewarding! My experience travelling to Greece to work for the Center of Social Welfare was not only satisfying because I worked with children, but I also discovered my next steps in life. This summer, I will be going to Hawaii to volunteer at the Hawaiian Sanctuary for a yoga internship to expand my personal growth and learn from the healthy traditions of the Hawaiian people! Explore and let your creative mind soar! 

So I challenge you to focus on the quality of your meals, breath, relationships, possessions, and experiences and take time to reflect on what you can change to enhance your well-being. What expectations are affecting you mentally? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Please share your thoughts with me below!

Be present in each and every moment of this beautiful life and remember that less is truly more.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey veggie villagers!

Do you ever wonder while you are tossing and turning in your sheets that if your mind was a little more empty, if you just had a little less to do, if you had a tad more time or energy during the day – you might actually be able to fall asleep?

Lately, I have had stress swallowing me with to-do lists and deadlines to meet, not allowing for my restless mind to find peace and contentment, and leaving me in an unsettled, anxious and reactive state. I haven’t been able to focus and be as productive and I catch myself slowly slipping from reaching my new goals for 2017.

So how do we reset and get rid of these negative feelings? It all starts with a shift in the mind. When we are surrounded by negativity, we can start to internalize it. We must be aware of the thoughts entering our minds, while being conscious of the mood and emotions associated with the thought. Once we are aware, we can guard our minds from negative energy and learn to be conscious of our words and actions to produce encouraging and positive outcomes.

mind

Once we can shift our mind to a more positive and proactive perspective, we can shift our control. We need to let go of our future, forget the past, and live in the moment. We must rely on God to direct us and give us insight and understanding about where our path leads us. Let us take one step at a time, and check off our to-do list mindfully and deliberately. Once we spend the majority of our time in a free-flow mode as opposed to an analytical way of thinking, we can let go of the stress and anxiety and be mindful of what we can control – our best effort and energy.

By shifting our control and mind, we can shift our lives! Here are five things for five minutes that we can do TODAY that can help us shift our mind and our need for control in order to ease our emotions, increase our focus and awareness, and  improve and maintain our mental health:

1. Power Poses. This might sound silly, but it works! Before a stressful or intimidating situation, go somewhere for 2-5 minutes, whether it be a bathroom or in your car, and hold yourself in a power pose! A power pose is an opened, strong pose – with feet firmly planted hip width apart and arms held overhead or on the hips, you can unleash your inner Supergirl (or guy!) and strengthen your positive, confident and assertive thoughts and actions!

mind
Fake it until you become it.

2. Meditation. Get your Yogi on! By focusing on your breath and letting thoughts come and go, you can let go of negativity and gain control over how you filter your thoughts, keeping your emotions and moods being reactive and destructive. Take 5-10 minutes everyday, and try guided meditations or sitting in stillness and focusing on your inhales and exhales, along with keeping a smile on your face to encourage positivity and love! Inhale love, peace, contentment, gratitude and joy and exhale negativity, anger, fear, doubt and hate!

mind

3. Get creative. Connect with nature and your free-flow mind by going for a walk, and become inspired to write, cook, bake, paint, exercise or play music! Allow your creativity to be an outlet to release your stress and anxious thoughts, even if it’s 5-10 minutes a day. Get balanced and grounded before starting on your to-do list for the rest of the day.

mind
Get creative in the kitchen!

4. Prayer. I have incorporated prayer into my morning and nightly routine, always asking God for his strength and grace in difficult times, and thanking Him for all my blessings. Giving thanks can turn into a grateful and peaceful heart. Take 5-10 minutes a day to talk to God, or reflect in a journal through a written prayer or poem with Him in mind.

mind

5. Community. When you are feeling negative or have thoughts swimming in your mind, the best way to alleviate these thoughts is to get them OUT and talk about them with friends and family. Having a close friend to spill your guts to can serve as a way of replacing negative feelings with positive ones as you feed off their positive energy and encouragement. Remember: Your vibe will attract your tribe!! 

mind
Good food and good people.

These are just some ways that I change my mindset in order to get back to the best version of myself. I challenge you to change your mindset and get rid of negativity, shame, doubt and anxiety through the use of community, reflection, and creativity! Find your light when you are in darkness, and don’t let your emotions become your boundaries to having a joyful and peaceful life!

mind
Positive thoughts lead to positive life! 

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey villagers!!

Every class I have taken in school, I have not gotten below an A-, yet the most knowledge I have gained has not been in the classroom. The reality is, our left-brain memorizes facts before an exam, we answer multiple-choice questions, write a few short answers, then a few months later, we forget the majority of what we learned.

But then I went on an internship to Greece for seven weeks and volunteered at the centre of social welfare in the summer of my first year of university. I met students from all over the world and travelled for the first time in my life outside of North America. I lived on my own. I booked flights and planned trips with new friends and organized different games, events and crafts for the children at the centre. I communicated with others who spoke Greek. I figured out a bus system that was all in Greek. THAT was when I started to really learn something – life skills that couldn’t be taught in school.

 

School
Finding myself amongst the trees.

I had time to discover myself through hiking up mountains, jumping off cliffs, meditating, cooking, travelling by myself, talking with others and gaining a global perspective. The information we learn in school should be applied to real life and should help guide us and direct us to finding ourselves, while giving us the tools we need to articulate what we truly believe in.

School should be a place where we can focus on our wellbeing in a positive and encouraging environment. School should set us up for success in our advanced and complex world.

Here is how I would change the school system to improve the health of children and set up their path for success:

  1. Exercise: After completing Grade 9 gym class, students have the decision to continue gym throughout their high school career. This means they have a chance of remaining sedentary for the rest of their lives, leading to long-term health problems. Healthy habits need to start young. With children bringing digital technology to schools, constantly staring at smart boards and sitting the majority of their days to study, they need time to move. Safety concerns from helicopter parents have reduced playgrounds to stones and logs, not letting children be monkeys on playgrounds and imagine a jungle of endless possibilities!

What we need: Adjustable standing desks and periods throughout the day for children to participate in yoga classes, kickboxing, and rock climbing walls. We need a little adventure to be scheduled into children’s days that encourage physical literacy and physical stimulation.

School
Back to the basics.
  1. Mindfulness: ADHD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks; all issues that children didn’t have nearly as much of in the past, are increasing at alarming rates. Students need time to get away from the stress of school, and learn to manage their emotions and feelings.

What we need: Meditation spaces, both guided meditation and soothing music. With a focus on breathing and freeing minds by living in the present, teenagers would be considerably more focused and less anxious.

School
Kids naturally live in the moment when they are young. Then comes high school …
  1. Nutrition: Just the fact alone that canned tomato sauce on a slice of pre-heated pizza counts as a serving of vegetables says enough about our lunch programs. Kids are guzzling down bottles of Gatorade and Coca-Cola, without knowing that these sugar filled habits can lead to unhealthy behaviours and consequences to their future health. They can be better students with diets abundant in fruits and veggies!

What we need: Plant-based hot meals prepared with love each day. Fresh salad bars and fruit baskets replacing pre-cooked and preservative filled fried foods can provide children with the brain and mood boosting fuel they need for their school day.

School
Nectarines and community.
  1. Life skills: It’s sad to see college students getting an A in class, but failing on all accounts of how to cook a pot of oatmeal. Students are not taught the basic life skills of cooking, using social media properly and safely, having an interview and being punctual or discovering their purpose in life in ANY classroom.

What we need: Cooking classes, personal development and media and communication classes need to be mandatory, ensuring children are knowledgeable on how to survive and succeed in the 21st century.

School
Baking and laughter are the perfect combo.
  1. Right-brained dominance: We put such an emphasis on left-brain thinking, being that most classes are about memorizing and replicating our notes onto an exam. This is an informational way of thinking, and does not serve us in the long run with automation and exporting of repetitive tasks to other countries with cheaper wages. (More info here on right-brained thinking)

What we need: Majority of our time in class should be about seeing the bigger picture. They need to learn to connect information on a micro and macro level, like in biology – not only seeing how a cell functions, but how millions of cells work to create a person’s body as a whole. They should be spending more time in art and music class, which encourage them to create, think critically, problem solve, and innovate. These classes allowing children to strive towards unique and authentic ideas, not repetition and regurgitation.

School
Dressing up our puppets.
  1. Financial Literacy: Children are never taught in school how to deal with money in terms of what to save, what to spend, and what to give away. Parents are supposed to be their role models, but if they have a pile of debt in their bank accounts, where will they learn how to handle cash?

What we need: Teens need classes teaching them about how to properly manage money, and how to create money through multiple mediums. They need to be exposed to the area of entrepreneurship, as there is a new wave of online businesses through blogging, podcasts, E-books etc.

School
We need financial flash cards, teenager version.

If our school system taught life skills that children sometimes never learn, our world would be a much more functional and successful world. Children would understand themselves, know where they are going, and would stop switching majors, or taking minimum wage jobs after completing university degrees. If they were inspired to start businesses, gain global perspectives and develop creative and innovative problem-solving minds, they would rule the world.

School

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

Hey my villagers,

As December is upon us, Christmas sales are in full swing, stores are bustling, schedules are filling and stress is rising! I believe as a society, we let the ‘getting’ of Christmas allow our materialistic and selfish ways to take over, filling our homes with gifts that we don’t need but ‘wish’ for. We feel a need to get others stuff to check off yet any list! {not just a to-do list, but one another’s wishlists!}

giving, christmas
Looks like he isn’t getting anything from Santa {naughty from eating all those birds!}

In the busyness, we forget what Christmas is all about.

We forget that the Christmas spirit is full of generosity, faithfulness and love. 

Christmas is about the giving, not the getting, to those who are truly in NEED. 

christmas, giving
He’s so handsome. The Christmas bowtie is the perfect touch.

I challenge you to a ‘Giving’ Christmas this year. What does this look like?

  1. Clothing and can drives. Donate some cans in the cupboard, or clothes in the closet. It’s always more fun to have less while sharing what you have, then to have more while others don’t have enough!
  2. Giving your time. There is always so much going on this season that there must be some cause that needs help somewhere! Don’t worry about presents, but instead, your presence. Listening to a loved one and being there for support and encouragement is always more valuable than gifts.
  3. Making giving a family experience. Be a selfless servant at a local charity this Christmas season. Be a role model for those in your family, and encourage them to come with you! Try serving a meal at the Downtown Mission, filling a Operation Christmas Child shoebox, or passing out Goodfellows newspapers!
  4. Caring more about who is AROUND the tree, not the gifts under it. Start a Twelve Days of Gratefulness list as Christmas approaches with your family, and be thankful for all the blessings you have received this year!
  5. Share some tea and cookies near a fireplace. Stay warm and cozy this winter by sharing some goodies and cooking with love. This season should be filled with quality time spent in the kitchen as it is always a great way to teach your children how to cook, your spouse, or even your friends! Potlucks are also always a favourite this time of year – get together and share some of delicious dishes that everyone can enjoy! {Check on Facebook for upcoming potlucks planned!}

christmas, giving

So I encourage you to make Christmas simple again, focusing on those around you and how you can better serve your community. Enjoy some delicious food, heart-felt conversations, and remember to count all the amazing blessings you have had and continue to have this year!

christmas, giving
Be a light this season.

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

christmas, giving

Hey my Villagers!

I have had the privilege of working as an undergraduate research assistant in the field of social media and body image. We have done some interesting work looking at Instagram and how it can negatively impact how we view ourselves through not only comparing our bodies to others but sparking thoughts that lead to danger health patterns {that includes videos on how to make m&m deep fried twinkie cakes 😉 }.

selfie, social media
The selfie at its finest.

It may surprise you that the amount of time we spend ‘lurking’ on strangers’ accounts can cause us to become self-conscious, depressed, and ultimately, doubtful of ourselves and our abilities. You wouldn’t think that simply looking at images could change how we feel about ourselves, but reflect on how ads and marketing works. We are constantly bombarded by images of clothes and cars causing our society as a whole to become more aware of how we are viewed by others through the value of what we HAVE and not who we ARE.

Our materialism and superficial world has caused us to be so conscious of our APPEARANCE, rather than our SOULS.

 We are putting on layers of makeup, rather than peeling away layers of doubt, fear, and opening up our spirits to others and being real!

We need to let our souls LOOSE and not worry about what others think. Sing, dance, laugh, scream, and SHARE your messy and authentic self with the world because what people TRULY value is REALNESS and RAW BEAUTY.

nature, social media, health

We should be using media for GOOD, to stay in touch with long distant friends, to share what’s happening in our communities {the good news!} and to share ways to enhance our health and well-being. Social media shouldn’t be used to share selfies, judge others, or portray false and flashy lifestyles.

social media, health
Let’s be real.

Social media encourages us to spend money on things that make our lives empty, taking us away from truly LIVING in beautiful moments with those we love. We should be giving gratitude and thanks before meals, not taking pictures of our meals. {Guilty, but always pray first then snap that Instaworthy shot – it’s just the blogger in me 😉 }

social media, health, vegan

Here are some tips to help you protect your self-esteem and your SOULS, while still enjoying technology:

  1. Time yourself. Record how long you are on social media for a day. Can you live without checking your newsfeeds for a day? Or do you have FOMO (Fear of missing out – yes it’s actually a thing}?! Research has found that about 3 hours and more of social media use per day can start to effect body image and self-esteem. So protect yourself and be conscious of what you are spending your time doing. Use your extra time to invest in yourself – read a book, go for a walk, try a new recipe or take up a new hobby!
  2. Become media literate. Become educated on how media can affect your decisions. Yes, most pictures are photoshopped and models are usually unrealisitic sizes and shapes. Don’t let images change your thoughts and ultimately, your behaviours and harm your health. Make sure your kids or boys and girls you mentor know about the effects of social media, especially since kids at the age of like 8 have cell phones.
  3. Set a meeting time face to face. Social media sites like Facebook should be used to initially set up Skype meetings or coffee dates, but should not serve as the only means of communication. We are losing our communication skills – let’s stay connected face to face and not phone to phone.
  4. Check out events and stay updated. Facebook is the best source for searching events that are happening in your community! Instagram can also help you explore your communities and find new hiking trails that excite you or new places to travel! Use social media to research your next trip and make your life more exciting and health filled!
  5. Share things that bring you joy. I don’t know about you, but taking a selfie isn’t as rewarding to me than taking a picture with those I love! Share images of moments that bring you joy, and that enhance your life! Share what you love to do – whether that be cooking, hiking or dancing and inspire others to find themselves in their true passions!
community, social media, health, essential oils
Essential oil class with my fav and new people!

I encourage you to be conscious of the AMOUNT of time you spend on social media and WHAT you are looking at on your newsfeeds. Protect yourself from being consumed by materialism and appearance and instead, explore your passions, connect and share in community with like-minded, positive and joyful people!!

social media, health, community
Find stillness and joy in nature!

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

 

Hey villagers!

It’s Thoughtful Thursday {my favourite day of the week}!!

This past couple of weeks has been absolute chaos with the insane flood that happened in Tecumseh. We were clearly not prepared as a town to take on such a large amount of rain! Mother Nature got a little too excited {or too sad …. whatever way you look at it}. With all this rain, nearly 1 in 4 houses in the town has a flooded basement, including ours. We were called into a state of emergency.

In such hopeless circumstances, the community banded together!! We have taken time to get to know our new neighbours and talk to them about the severity of the flood in their homes. Maybe Mother Nature knew what she was doing!!

And yes, the town’s curbs have been littered with piles of drywall and soggy carpets – but we need to think about all the friends and family that banded together to create those piles of stuff.

Stuff that can be replaced.

But relationships that CAN’T. 

We all have too much stuff, and it was time for a fall purge anyways! What does matter, is the sense of community and love that has been created because of the mess. Mother Nature sent us a wake up call to connect to each other and disconnect from our stuff! 

thoughtful thursday, Tecumseh flood

The town has been so hopeful and has formed loving bonds with each other – It has truly been a beautiful disaster.

I have been reading Tuesdays with Morrie, and this quote fits our circumstances perfectly this week:

thoughtful thursday, mitch albom
Picture taken from our porch when the flood came. Just keep swimming ~

So I hope that you are finding connection in the chaos, and meeting some new people that are literally in your {wet} backyard.

As more restoration trucks and trailers roll into town, I can’t help but to think, the real restoration began way before they got here. The restoration in caring, compassion and community. 

Peace & Love,

Jill – your veggie villager xx

~

*PS – I also want to encourage you to come out to my Clothing Swap that is happening this week on Tuesday at 6:30 at Cafe March 21. It will be a good way to continue with the fall purge and connect with new faces in your local community!

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