Blog

65 posts

The beauty and danger of belief + how to change the world

change the world

It doesn’t happen often that a song makes me rethink my beliefs, but when it comes to John Mayer, he can pretty much do anything with his music. His album Continuum is probably the best album that anyone has ever put together – alongside Leighton Meester’s Heartstrings – and his song Slow Dancing in a Burning Room is my favourite song of all time, but it’s his song Belief that actually inspired me to write this today. It was his song Belief that made me question some things.

The line in Belief that touched me the most and that always puts a knife in my heart because it’s so painfully true, he sings: »Belief is a beautiful armor but makes for the heaviest sword, like punching underwater, you never can hit who you’re trying for.«

Just listen to the song performed live. Beautiful.

As people we always fight beliefs and ideas that people have about how the world should be. We fight others because their beliefs are not the same as ours and we kill because we are convinced in our way of living. We protest and shout, shoot and punch, all because we want to change the world; because we want to fight the beliefs of others who are different from us.

That doesn’t mean that all beliefs are to be accepted and never questioned, as far as things go in my book, if your beliefs aren’t harming others, you can believe in whatever you want.

But that’s not how things are isn’t it? That’s not how the world works. Our beliefs have done more harm than good. Our beliefs have killed more people than saved.

So how can we save the world? How can we fight beliefs? In the words of John Mayer, we are never going to win the world, we are never going to stop the war, if belief is what we are fighting for.

I wish there would be an easy answer, or at least an answer that would be understood by most people, but there isn’t one. All we can do is not try to change other people’s beliefs, but live our truth.

The world was built on beliefs. Some beliefs are harmful and dangerous, others are innocent. Some beliefs need to be protected, others need to be rejected. How do we know which beliefs are which? Look in your heart. Look around. Look at which beliefs harm and which don’t.

  • Believing that some people should be killed because they believe in something else is a harmful belief and should be rejected.
  • Believing that one gender or race is less valuable than the other is a belief that is harmful and should be rejected.
  • Believing in an invisible man in the sky and in the book that was written by primitive man is dangerous and should be rejected.
  • Believing that one species of animals must dominate the other is dangerous and should be rejected.

What makes a belief dangerous and harmful? A belief should be rejected if it oppresses someone else, if it harms the other being, and most importantly, if that belief kills. The second someone dies because of a belief, it should be rejected.

Another thing that inspired this post is a video by someone whom I deeply admire and I think he is a genius, and that is Sam Harris. Sam is a philosopher, author of multiple books – his book Waking Up is one of my favourites, and a neuroscientist. He often debates religious people and talks about meditation and consciousness and the observer and all the things that I love.

Anyway, here is a video that talks about the dangers of religious beliefs.

I remember a few months ago, when I was passionately figuring out the best ways to change the world and how to make a huge difference in the world while living my short life, I heard one of my favourite animal advocates, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, talk about on her podcast Food For Thought, about how we should stop changing the world and change ourselves instead. Why? Because we ARE changing the world either way, we don’t have to do it. We already are doing it.

We are all working on the outside. We want to change the world yet we rarely change ourselves. Remember that famous quote by one of my favourite plant eaters Lev Tolstoy? He said that everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves. Truer words have never been spoken.

Yes, let’s debate and protest and physically stop if necessary. Yes, let’s change the world and make it a better place.

But let’s do it by changing ourselves first. Let’s fight beliefs by living according to our own way of compassion. Let’s stop fighting the war and instead bring peace to the world. Let’s stop protesting against slavery and let’s protest for equality. Stop using your voice to speak and instead do.

DO!

Let your life be an example.

Yes, beliefs are harmful and we can rarely change them, but if we want to take a shot at influencing those whose beliefs are harmful and dangerous, the best way to do it is through our own life. We can’t avoid beliefs in a world of ours, but we can change all our beliefs into one – compassion. Let that be your biggest belief that you live by.

To keep up with what I do, find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Tanja

Eating healthy + how to get back on track

eating healthy

Do you ever notice that people hate the idea of eating healthy because it would make them look dull and boring? I do and it’s something we need to talk about, because if we continue being afraid of looking boring due to eating healthy, we will all die pretty soon.

Everywhere you look in the media, you can read about celebrities who »indulge« in some pasta after a week of tough workouts or every few days when they are tired of starving themselves. They of course don’t eat more than 900 calories a day and they always eat some lean protein aka chicken or fish. They eat butter, oil and meat, but avoid bananas, rice and potatoes.

Just because they fear carbs and calories.

But the point of my post today is not to talk about why carbs are actually very good for you, I would rather talk about why people are afraid of eating healthy and why healthy just doesn’t equal sexy – and that’s all that matters.

A few theories about why people don’t want to be that freak that eats healthy:

  • They live with the idea that eating healthy equals eating plain vegetables with no taste. Now that is absurd because vegetables have plenty of taste, but it also isn’t true that eating plants is boring. Anything that you can eat with animals, I can eat with plants in a much healthier version. And tastier for that matter. Check out some awesome recipes here.
  • They believe that eating meat makes them look stronger and sexier because they think that eating like cavemen – who had to sometimes kill to survive and were therefore more macho, because obviously killing equals being manlier – is what real men do. I mean, only women and gays eat spinach isn’t it?
  • Guys like girls that eat hamburgers because they live »on the wild side«. I mean, what’s attractive about ordering a salad, when you can be seducing your man with a hot dog? Better sex life due to blood actually going to where it is needed, but you don’t care about that stuff, right? You can always have pills.
  • Not enough unhealthy options for when you want to binge eat on sugar – on a plant based diet, so that subconsciously puts you off of the idea of eating healthy. It’s just not appealing to eat plants when you can be in the store buying everything that your heart wishes.
  • And finally – the idea that eating plants is just too damn hard. If it’s hard it can’t be good right? Well, there is that small detail that it actually isn’t hard to eat plant based, but being brainwashed and all, it just doesn’t sound very true. Read more here.

If you struggle with any ideas that I wrote about – that are bad for your health and actually make you look a bit dumb – I want you to consider a few side effects of eating healthy – meaning a healthy plant based diet with plenty of good carbs.

  • Having problem with digestion? Guess what, food on a plant based diet is basically fiber, water, healthy fats and protein from plants. Let’s just say that I have never met a healthy vegan who had digestion problems. Ever.
  • Interested in having more energy? Well, since animals are harder to digest, you should do very well eating plants because they are, you know, plants, and plants are easy to swallow, digest and let go.
  • Eager to get rid of those diabetes symptoms? Eating plants lowers your blood sugar, so think about switching from animal based foods to food that grows in nature.
  • Cholesterol who? I don’t know her. But seriously, plants contain no cholesterol and eating one egg per day equals to smoking five cigarettes. Which one sounds better?
  • Not interested in having cancer? Welcome on board dear. A plant based diet is the best way to lower your risk of having colon or breast cancer.
  • Want to be skinnier? You would be glad to know that within two weeks of eating a healthy plant based diet, most people lose up to 2 kilos, and get this – they don’t starve. That’s pretty rad if you ask me.

Now let’s talk about how to get back on track if you already eat plants but you kind of fell from the train of healthy eating.

I need to confess something. In the last month I gained like 3 kilos from eating braided bread and being a regular at my local bakery; for like 30 days I ate three of them a day. No joke. Being upset and all, I »celebrated« my weight gain with a bunch of processed sugar. So healthy.

What’s the next step? Starvation? More yoga? Less calories?

Nah.

  • Less white bread and more rice.
  • Less sugar and more fruit.
  • Less feeling sorry for myself and more motivation.
  • Dealing with my emotions through journaling – I just started it and it’s so helpful – and not through eating braided bread.

It happens to all of us. You get to the emotional stuff and the only way out seems to be through food. You then realize that you actually feel even worse so that upsets you to the point of having to drown those feelings with even more unhealthy food. It’s what humans do.

Don’t worry about it, darling. It happens to everyone at least once.

To keep up with what I do, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Tanja

Mind detox + how social media controls us

mind detox

In late July I was given a challenge to detox my mind for 12 days by not reading, listening to music/podcasts, writing, watching movies/shows/videos and checking social media; basically to spend 12 days without anyone telling me what to do in any form.

I did that.

I hated it.

I loved it.

If you know a bit about me, you know that we don’t own a TV at home, so I have been TV free for like 6 years or something and I kind of went through a mind detox back then, but that was much different. Social media is awfully clever. Well, people that run them and people who post on them are awfully clever.

They know how to sell, what to sell, when to sell, why to sell; they know how to sell that what they want you to do is needed and it is needed to be done by you. They are very good at it.

But more than people who professionally sell you ideas, social media manages to bring the worst out of people. You don’t know how weak you are at controlling your mind until you go on Facebook and find yourself stalking an old friend who did you wrong. That’s when you know you really hit that low point and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Every day we watch people live their lives presented through the camera lenses in the form of photos and videos. They pick the best moments – like we all do, let’s not pretend we are any different – and feed us with them. We are craving new content from them to chew on. To taste that happy perfect life they present. And it doesn’t even matter if they are honest about not having the life they present on their social media, we still want it. We must have it!

So what do we do?

We follow people that we like and want to be like. We watch videos with content that is far too superficial to be even seen as educational, yet we consume it like we have never eaten before. We let celebrities – whom we admire – influence our taste in music, politics, food, clothes, beauty, relationships etc.

If my favourite actor does that, I must do it too. He is influential, he is powerful, and he is more than I am.

Bullshit.

They are all just people who share their views and opinions. But we – the weak followers of the leaders in the shadow – we trust them and want to be like them, mainly because through that same source of evil – meaning social media – we are taught that our lives suck and we should be miserable.

We are brainwashed into behaving like victims.

I don’t blame celebrities. They are just humans. They are the same as you are with the exception of fame and a bigger pay check. But they are humans too. You just forget that.

During those 12 days I heard myself again. I heard my voice. I think I forgot how it sounded like.

When I had no one else to tell me what I should do and what I should think, I could see the world for myself again. I could experience life on my own terms, without anyone telling me in advance what is supposed to happen.

Did I miss those voices? Sure.

Did I get my dose of social media afterwards? Sure.

Did I lose my voice again? No.

I still get influenced by those other voices, but I am much more careful with accepting them. I filter the heck out of everything I hear. That doesn’t mean that I am living in the forest or that I think social media is the devil, not at all, but I know the difference between my voice and the voice of those who are unintentionally harming me with their ideas.

I challenge you to go through a 12 day detox.

I dare you.

But before you go, keep in mind that social media makes it easier to meet people that you can form beautiful friendships with, so find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Tanja

p.s. – If you need any ideas on how to take better care of yourself, I wrote a post a while ago with a few self care ideas. You can read it right here.