Monday, February 25, 2013

CUT THE C^%$: The Tragedy of Time

If only there were more than 24 hours in a day…

All of our lives are dominated by thoughts of time. There is always too much time, or not enough time. When things are good, we wish that time would stop. When we are miserable, time stands still. There is always too much time, or not enough time. We have all thought about these constraints at some point, especially while contemplating and (attempting to) carry out New Years Resolutions or even morbid thoughts of the temporality of life.

Not to be a total pessimist, but let’s be real----many of these resolutions don’t hold up past Valentine’s Day. These inspiring goals become trapped within a whirlpool of responsibility and sink deeply into a black abyss. As we see them sinking, we are too intimidated by the strength of the tide to save them from a brutal fate. The further they sink, the more we justify our failure to save them. Soon they are sucked into that dark abyss, where they will stay until the next period of resolutions.

We all start the New Year with an inflated sense of self. We think, this year is the year I am finally going to ______! We feel optimistic and inspired, sometimes even overly confident. Sadly, the strength of this confidence is often not enough to face the multiplicity of obligations and responsibilities we face on a daily basis. We make the goal less of a priority than what was originally intended. When it falls low enough on the list of priorities, it is forgotten.

And now we return to the tragedy of time. The idea that there is not enough time to do everything we want to do. To that I will say, if something is important to you, you will make time for it. Period. And, obviously, if it is something relevant to your future happiness, it should be very, very important to you.

I have sometimes felt like a slave to my commitments (school, work, extracurricular activities), like there is not enough time to do the things that I want to do. But, you're working towards something so you should really make an effort to enjoy the progress you are working so hard on. We always think about the acts we should be doing, rather than those that bring us joy or reframing our thoughts to love/find newness in the everyday.

So when thinking about 2013---remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary. We can’t stop time, but time also can’t stop us.

Here are TIME’s “Top Ten Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions”:

Feel free to contact columnists at Unleashed 

 The "Is This Real Life?" Column, Samantha Salis:

Sam is a Psychology Major and Political Economy Minor at UC Berkeley. She is a dedicated young woman, ambitious and sharp as a whip. Our dear Samantha tutors high schoolers and works at a Psychology lab at UC Berkeley. Even with this busy schedule, Ms. Salis creates the time to divulge to us her insider perspective on the world around us, backed with thorough researc. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

THE RIPPLE EFFECT: From the Lips of Tanzania

Water is precious.


In the heart of the bustling Dar es Salaam, even the white-beach shores and clear teal-ocean lapping at the Zanzibar shores, there is a secret. The secret is kept by many locals. And, many of the tourists know nothing of this secret. It has to do with water.

You see, in the midst of the Tanzanian heat, especially in the height of tourist season (December through January) the heat of the sun is crippling. Dehydration leaves countless tourists cuddling mosquito nets in the midst of their hostel or hotel room hoping the exhaustion will go away with a bottle of… water! Tourists eat extravagant sea food meals, feeling safe with their bottles of water, treasuring the cool feeling it lends the throat. Tourists bring bottles of water with them to all the offered excursions: swimming with dolphins in the sea, diving, going to the beach, going to old St. Monica’s, going to the market… just about everything. And, yet, so many tourists, even the most cautious, get sick. 

"I've drank so much water," an Italian tourist told me, "All bottled, to stay hydrated and away from the tap water. But, I still feel like shit! My stomach just won't stop hurting." 

So, what’s the secret of the water? And, why are tourists still getting sick? What do most of the locals know that the tourists remain oblivious to?

Most of the bottled water, appearing to be safe and sound—drinkable-- is actually tap water. Water peddlers, many of which are unsatisfied with the local tap water (which is florescent and oily in appearence), use a syringe to pull out the pure water from bottled water. And, so that they can still make money and sell them, they replace the pure water with tap water using the syringe to inject it. You can tell when there is a circular, raised bump on the bottom of the bottle as though someone burned a tiny hole to make sure it did not leak. For that is what they do; they use a cigarette lighter, or what have you, and burn the plastic so that the hole is sealed. There is already a small bump at the bottom of most water bottles. This is OK. But, when you see another, almost target like and rough bump beside or on top of the normal bump on the bottom of the bottle? Don’t drink it. You might not get sick, sure. But, it’s not worth the risk. Unfortunately, although this sounds too intricate a process to be widely replicated, on most Tanzanian water bottles you can surely find the syringe mark. At times it is discouraging because you will go from stand to stand and you will not find a normal one until an hour or two goes by. The brand Mount Kilimanjaro Water almost always has the marking. Other brands, however, like Zan Aqua, still have the marking sometimes but less so.  

Tampered with: 

Bottles with the syringe mark. You can see that when the mark is on the bump it is difficult to spot. But if you look closely and are careful, it is unmistakable. Unfortunately, sometimes the water bottle is cheaply made and it is quite difficult to tell whether or not a bump is due to the manufacturing quality or tampering.  But, if the mark is indeed not in the center as it typically would be found, this is a sure indicator that it has been tampered with and should be avoided. 

Two normal shots as a water bottle should be found: 

Zan Aqua Water Bottle:

Women in the World and the Ripple Effect Section, Sasha Martin:

I made my own major, The Nature of Emotion as investigated through literature, psychology, anthropology, cognitive science and other interdisciplinary fields, and am minoring in Creative Writing. I created Unleashed for the general empowerment and knowledge of women and men everywhere, and continue to be involved as editor, designer and writer. I am an editorial and PR intern for City Lights. I happen to love the Unleashed staff quite dearly, as well as readers like you. It's amazing what words can do! Feel free to email me at Unleashed. I hope you enjoy! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

WORDS OF WISDOM: Be Kind to Yourself


            Yes, you read the title correctly. I’m not going to tell you to be nice to your neighbors or your brother or your classmates or your mom. I’m not going to tell you that you should be nice because karma exists and you want to rack up as many “good” karma points as you can today just in case you’re having a bad day tomorrow. I’m going to tell you about a way to see kindness in my own life; a way that it has changed my life. It’s as simple as this: Be kind to yourself.

Think of the word, “kindness.” Think of how you act out kindness towards other people. Is kindness your default mode or does someone have to earn it? How do you want others to treat you? Do you expect kindness from others or is it just a pleasant surprise? Do you wish you were nicer? Are you maybe too nice sometimes? Now pause. Is this how you treat yourself? Do you treat yourself with the same kindness you give others?  If others are worthy of your benevolence, are you not?

Kindness is multi-faceted, whether it is towards others or towards yourself. It involves patience, awareness, honesty, and perseverance. But above all else, you, the giver of compassion, must believe that whomever it is that you are being nice to deserves your kindness. This is easy when the recipient is someone who is nice to you. When this is not the case, the giving of kindness can become a bit more of a challenge.

But what about when the recipient is yourself? How do you even “be kind” to yourself? Kindness is most often understood as a form of extending a pure, gentle love to another person through action. We often think of “acts of kindness” or saying nice things to someone. But kindness extends much further, and much closer, than simply our occasionally overly benevolent actions towards others. I believe that kindness can be a way of speaking, thinking, loving, and most of all, a way of treating yourself.

How might you do this? Start with being aware of what you feel – what you’re thinking, how your body feels, what you’re feeling, why you may be feeling that way, and how others make you feel. Be honest with yourself because kindness begins with honesty. And with this awareness and honesty with yourself and your heart, be gentle with yourself. You’re not always going to get everything right – whether it be in school, work, or relationships. People make mistakes. It’s okay. Even when things go wrong, be kind to yourself and you will learn and heal from your own kindness.

Be kind to your body; treat it like a temple. Be kind to your thoughts; don’t force ideas into your head. Listen to your thoughts and to your body and to your intuition and learn from it. Be honest about what you’re good at and be proud of that. But be just as honest about what you’re not and be open to learn, to change, to grow, to challenge yourself, and to love yourself. The beauty of kindness is that it begins with honesty and cultivates love – two things the world could always use a little more of.

I leave you with a poem from Mother Teresa. As said by the true speaker of words of wisdom, no matter what happens today, tomorrow, in life, or in your heart, “Be kind anyway.” 

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. 

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

-Mother Teresa

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The Words of Wisdom Column, Lia Vosti:

Lia Vosti is an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, majoring in Bioengineering. Growing up together, her words always made the most obscure situations crisp and clear. She is the up and coming Renaissance woman, able to give homely advise after a day in the lab, and wise beyond her years.