Tag Archives: integrity

Happeh Happeh Happeh (Issue No. 3)

11 Sep

As a continuation of my little research project into happiness and fulfillment, here are the things I’ve identified that need improvement:

Things I’d like to improve:

  1. Relationships (love/family/friends)
  2. Energy level
  3. Finances
  4. Personal Satisfaction

The game plan: How do I plan to make these things better? I’m glad you asked.

Relationships

  • Communication: I won’t wait for or depend on others to initiate interaction.
  • Remember birthdays: I am really terrible about this, and I feel really bad about it. At the beginning of each month I am going to buy.make cards for everyone close to me with a birthday that month and send them out immediately. Goodbye procrastination!
  • Call, skype, write or email more often.
  • Be honest: if there are people in my life that just drag me down or do not contribute something positive to my life, I will not continue to waste my energy on them.
  • Forgiveness: If someone has done something that hurt me, real or perceived, I will let it go. It isn’t healthy or productive to hold onto grudges.
  • Connect: I want to find my long lost sister that I’ve never met. I want to rebuild my relationship with my little brother and sister and strengthen my ties to my big brother and sister. We are such a complicated family, with many obstacles, but with all the things I’ve listed above, I’m optimistic that it can be done.

Communication specific to my love relationship:

  • I will give him a break. He’s trying really hard.
  • I won’t say “I’m fine” if I’m in fact not. If I don’t want to talk about it, that’s what I’ll say.
  • I will let go of the past. It’s over. I need to either get over it and move on, or not get over it and end the relationship…if it’s that serious.

Energy level

  • Improve sleep: Because of my health, there are some things that affect my sleep that are beyond my control. Here are some of the things I can control:
    • Embrace the darkness: It’s amazing how just a small bit of light can disturb sleep. I’m putting up black out curtains and getting rid of any glowing lights from chargers and other gadgets.
    • Be active during the day: Duh.
    • Eat dinner at a reasonable time: 9 o’clock does not fit this criteria. Let’s shoot for 7-7:30 ish.
    • Read more, TV less. This isn’t really that big of an issue because we traded cable TV for a gym membership, but we can still do a little better. TV is not conducive to sleep, as a matter of fact, it’s usually to blame for nights I stay up late. (Like Monday night football that starts at 9:15. LOL)
    • Journal/Blog/Sketch: I need to get all of those thoughts and great ideas out of my head so my mind can rest.
  • Meditation: I’m a skeptic when it comes to “new age” type ideas. However, I gave this an honest shot for a while and was amazed at how well it worked to quiet my mind and relieve stress and anxiety. If for no other reason, I’m doing it to shut my brain up. I’ve got thoughts a mile a minute and they never stop, not even when I’m not paying attention to what I’m thinking about. I am shooting for 30 minutes a day, at minimum Monday through Friday.
  • Exercise: This is probably key to fixing many of my personal issues, so don’t be surprised to see this one a few times.
  • Eat better: Obviously.
    • Limit eating out. I will be cutting out places like Mc Donalds completely. It makes me sick to my stomach anyway.
    • Cook dinner at home, from scratch as much as possible.
    • Bring lunch to work whenever possible.
    • Make/eat more vegetables.
    • Make more fruit smoothies.
  • Clear out the clutter: Unworn clothing, unused miscellany and trinkets…I’ll be getting rid of them or finding a way to properly store it so it’s not lingering all over the house.
    • Be honest: Am I really going to use this?
    • Sentimental items are okay to keep as long as it’s properly displayed or stored.
  • Finish projects: All those nagging loose ends hanging around drain my energy and actually keeps me from getting to work on them. It’s a vicious cycle. I plan on keeping a list of current and future projects to be able to visualize what I have on my plate, so to speak.

Finances: Money, or more specifically lack of, is a monumental source of stress and general unhappiness. The issue isn’t strictly a matter of not making enough money to make ends meet, it’s a combination of that and not spending as wisely as we should. Getting a grip on income and expenditures would relieve a lot of this stress.

  • Make a budget: List all expenditures and income.
    • Take cash out at the bank for all small expenditures like gas, etc.
    • Set up bills to be paid through the bank’s bill pay to ensure they’re paid on time.
  • Stick to the budget: Use only the cash allowed for any miscellaneous spending.

Personal Satisfaction: There are a lot of things that I can do or change to increase my self-esteem or make me feel better about who I am or how I’m living my life. I’ve made a good start, making forward progress with this over the last couple years. However, I’m a long way off from where I’d like to be. Some of these items overlap or repeat, but that’s because they’re important.

  • Figure out what my business is, and start it. Whether it’s on Etsy or even working with someone that sells on consignment, this needs to happen. I need to define what my business will encompass, build a plan, buy supplies, start production and get my stuff out in the world. Oh, and I need business cards because everyone knows you’re not legit business person without a business card.
  • Get right with my spiritual life. I’m Catholic and always have been. I’ve fallen off the wagon like most people do from time to time, not because I don’t believe anymore, but I lose sight of my priorities. Sitting in mass, my heart feels full and find myself at times stifling back tears of joy. I can’t help feeling that this is where I’m meant to be.  I would like to start a family in the fairly near future, and I want my children to grow up with faith and the knowledge of God’s love and how we are not just arbitrary beings with no purpose. I want to pass along the faith that my mother passed on to me, because it is a beautiful thing. I’ve begun confirmation classes to kick off my journey to re-acquaintance with the Good Lord.
  • Finish projects: A repeater. All those quasi-finished project lying around make it hard to view myself as a success. Small victories will help with this for sure.
  • Get back to school ASAP. Seriously. Even if it’s just a random class here or there.
  • Get into shape! I need exercise like a pizza needs cheese. My clothes don’t fit as well as they should and I just get depressed when I look in the mirror. I’m not too far off, but enough that I’ve disappointed myself.
  • Finish organizing my music on iTunes. Sounds stupid I know, but I’m so OCD that having duplicate songs and mislabeled music is really irritating.

Happeh Happeh Happeh (Issue No. 2)

10 Sep

I recently read Juicy Joy by Lisa McCourt and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Both excellent reads on the subject of happiness, I highly recommend them. They’ve given me a bit more focus in my life, as I continue my quest for a life that thrills me. Even though I am happier than I have been in a very long time, I know that there are always thing that can be done better. Just like there’s always room for Jello, there is also always room for improvement. SO…I’m beginning this research project, inspired by these books, as a quest to pin point the little things that might occasionally cause a little strife, and decide how to change them.

As I start this project, I am taking some time to identify some important lessons I’ve learned over the years. I am also going to identify  aspects of my life that need improvement, as well as ways that I can actually implement these improvements.

First step, what have I learned so far:

  1. I am in total control of the way I feel, the way I view myself, and the way I react to certain situations or events.
  • I make the decision to give that power/control away each time someone/thing causes me to feel unhappy or bad about myself.
  • I have the power to change the way I perceive things and in doing so, I have the power to  change the way they affect me.

       2.     Harboring hate or negative feelings doesn’t hurt anyone but myself.

  • Hatred and negativity are not constructive. They won’t change anyone’s behavior. Allowing these feelings and types of thoughts is another way of giving your power away.

       3.     I can’t control everything.

  • I can’t force anyone to see or do things my way. I need to accept that even though it would be nice for everything to be done exactly as I would have done, I am much less stressed and much happier just accepting that some people thing and do things differently.

       4.     Life isn’t about finding comfort and sticking with it.

  • Adventures, no matter how big or small, are the key to a happy life.

       5.     Take risks.

  • You never know how something is going to turn out. But if you take a risk, at least you won’t be left wondering if maybe it could’ve been something really great.

       6.     Travel as often as you can.

  • This one is directly related to adventures.
  • What good is that PTO doing you if you’re not taking it?
  • It gets more and more difficult to travel (for most) as we get older. Obligations, careers, children…these things make traveling more complicated. If I could do it over, I would have tried a semester (or two) of college abroad. Unfortunately, the ship has sailed on that one. So instead, I promise myself I will make the extra effort to get away as often as I can.

       7.     Take good care of your skin, and for the love of everything good, don’t touch your face! (unless you’re washing/moisturizing)

  • Dirty hands on your face = zits. Seriously. Even the natural oils on your hands can cause issues. So just keep your hands away from that pretty mug.
  • Forget spending a ton of money on injections, peels, and lifts. Just take care of your skin. Try not to smoke, take it easy on the boozing (drink water more often) and get your beauty rest. You’d be amazed at how big of a difference these changes will make in your appearance. Also, make sure you wash off your makeup before bed time and use moisturizer. If you throw in an occasional scrub or mask, all the better.

       8.     Forgiveness isn’t easy.

  • It’s real hard to let someone who did you wrong off the hook, so to speak. But instead of looking at forgiveness as absolving the person of their actions, try looking at it as a gift you’re giving yourself (getting rid of negative emotional baggage and finally allowing people who belong in your past stay in the past)

       9.     Be yourself, no matter what.

  • Don’t try to change who you are to fit someone’s expectations. You weren’t created to hold back your gifts just because it makes someone else uncomfortable. You were made to pass your gifts along.

       10.    Money isn’t everything.

  • True, money does make the world go round. But like I mentioned a minute ago about what good is that PTO doing you if you’re not taking it…the same goes with money. I’m not going to say it isn’t prudent to build up an emergency fund, to have a cushion in the event you lose your job. It is. And I highly recommend it, if you can. But do you really need a massive savings account if its acquired at the expense of your personal life? Everyone tells us to save now so we don’t have to worry about expenses when we retire. Who says we’re going to make it that long? Not to sound morbid, but tomorrow is a gift, not a promise. Great, your next of kin will be most appreciative enjoying the duckets you stowed away, working your ass off, and sacrificing your personal time for. All I’m saying is don’t put money and work above your happiness. I’ve never heard of anyone saying, “Gee, I really wish I would have worked more”.

Happeh Happeh Happeh (Issue No. 1)

10 Sep

The purpose of todays post and pretty much all my posts is to get you thinking. I want you to think about your life: the way you’re living it and what you’re doing to pursue happiness. Are the choices you’re making made because they will result in happiness or are they made out of convenience? It’s easy to keep your head down and move forward without any real scrutiny. It’s certainly easier to cope with unhappiness or lack of fulfillment when you’re not thinking about it. Wake up!  It’s time to take control of the wheel, my friends. Sure, sometimes heading out on a road trip without a map is exciting. It’s called adventure. But even a spontaneous trip starts with a general idea of what you wanna see or what you wanna do. There’s a general theme driving the adventure, be it the beach, national parks, or who can find the most bizarre landmark. The general theme driving your life should be happiness. Going through life complacent, not considering where you’re headed or what you’re after is the fastest way to wake up at (insert age here) with a slew of regrets. You need to think. Incidently, it’s the whole purpose behind being blessed with the capacity to reason.

Speaking of reasoning, have you ever stopped and taken inventory of what brings you happiness? If you haven’t, I highly suggest that you do, and do it often. The things that bring happiness change regularly, just like everything else in life. Sometimes a long weekend partying with good friends is what makes your heart smile. Other times, it’s the satisfaction of finally finishing that painting that you started in high school that you’ve been meaning to get to for a dozen or so years that does it for you. If you’re not constantly considering what makes you happy, you’ll miss those changes and find yourself chasing hollow dreams, winding up unfulfilled.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: if you don’t like something in your life, change it. Sure, that’s a simplified statement, and certainly easier said than done, but at the same time, it is literally that simple. It’s a matter of thinking about your  life and the situation situation you find yourself in and deciding it’s not what you want. You need to embrace the fact that your happiness is in your own hands, and is often just a decision (albeit sometimes a difficult decision) away.

To illustrate this point, I’ll use myself as opposed to embarrassing someone I know or lying to you good people by making up a fake story. I was the same person from just before I turned 19 until our divorce at age 27. The idea of having children with him terrified me. Buying a home with him terrified me. A normal person would say to them self “hey self, these events are pretty fundamental to marriage, if they scare you, maybe this isn’t the person for you”.  I didn’t trust my instincts about the lies or the cheating. I continued on unhappy, my anger and resentment mounting for years. I blamed him for the way I felt. I really felt, down to my shoes, that he was the sole person to blame. And he was to blame. To do the kinds of things he did while we were together is unacceptable without a doubt. But who’s the girl with two thumbs and stuck around through it all? That’s right, this girl. Ultimately, I was the only one that can be held to answer for my profound unhappiness. I was lost. I had given so much to support his dreams that I forgot who I was as an individual. I turned my back on the things that truly brought happiness to my life and lost myself. In my defense, and I feel like this is a big obstacle for many people which is why I’m airing out this laundry, a divorce would mean my life would be changed so completely, it’d be unrecognizable. We’d have to figure out what to do with all our stuff, the house would need to be disposed of, I’d have to get a new job, and probably give up my medical benefits (which, with RA, is beyond a huge deal) because we worked at the same place, not to mention climatize myself to a single  (and much smaller income). I am happy to report that though I was lost, now I am found. Mind you, it took some catastrophically major events to open my eyes. It was one of the scariest decisions I ever made, but big pay offs rarely come easily.

My intent is to open your eyes. Don’t let it come down to a life altering or tragic event that finally wakes you up and makes you realize that happiness cannot wait. It will not. It’ll pass you by like all those cactuses  on the drive to Vegas. No one can stop the car but you.

So Fresh and So Fresh and So Clean Clean….(ain’t nobody as dope as me)

4 Apr

I know it’s Wednesday and you all must be wondering where this week’s Wreck is. Well, I’m interrupting my previously scheduled Wreck in celebration of a very special occasion.

It happens to be Lent. It is the commemoration of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, being tempted by Satan. For us, it is the season of sacrifice, charity, fasting, atonement and forgiveness. Lent gives us a fresh start, spiritually, and is the foundation for positive growth. “Cleaning” and “de-cluttering” the soul and spirit is not always easy. It can be painful, confronting your past transgressions and mistakes. Airing out those skeletons can come with consequences. There are times that even with forgiveness, relationships cannot be saved once the truth is brought to light. I think this is one of the hardest parts of the season. I also know, however, that without this season of atonement and forgiveness, we cannot grow and become the happy people that we are meant to be.

I’ve thought for a long time that life has a funny way of placing things, situations or people in your path at the exact moment you need them. Whether it’s an opportunity to exercise your ability to forgive, or to love, or maybe it’s an opportunity to understand what it really means to have faith and perseverance–it’s a message meant to help you grow. The reason I mention this is because I’ve just been reading a manuscript for a book called Through the Eyes of Another by Karen Noe. I will be posting a review for the book in the coming weeks, but for now, the premise of the book is to receive your “Life Review” before making your transition from this world to the next  (or whatever you believe lies after life) by writing letters. Though the topic might seem strange and arbitrary, it turned out to be a very inspiring book. It encourages the reader to write letters to various family and  loved ones, telling them why and how much you care about them, and acknowledge the things that you are sorry about, ways you’ve hurt them or caused pain. The next part is apologizing for the things that you’ve done. The purpose of these letters, more than anything are meant for emotional and spiritual healing. In my opinion, I can’t think of anything better that could have been put in my path to bring my attention to the fact that, while I have not had soda like I promised on Ash Wednesday, I have kind of neglected the whole contrition and atonement part of Lent.

Deep down, we all know deep down that these letters do need to be written or these conversations need to be had. We don’t reach out to those we love and those who love us to tell them how much they mean to us. We don’t tell people enough that we are blessed to have them in our lives. We don’t see clearly how our actions have caused hurt or pain in other lives. We certainly don’t always apologize for causing that hurt. God has given us this season as an opportunity to become better people, to be a little more like his Son. It’s not about Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday,  Easter Sunday, hardboiled eggs or even delicious ham. It’s about His only Son sacrificing his own purely innocent life for us sinners to have life eternal. All that’s requested of us is to live our lives with love, humility, honesty. He doesn’t even care that we all commit sins daily. Contrition and repentance is the key. Doesn’t sound like such a hard thing to do. Right?

Tomorrow isn’t going to be a better day to let those people in your life know that you love them. Next week could very well be too late to make amends with that friend you’ve neglected. Today is the day. Make it one that your Father can be proud of.

 

Rockin’ it ‘Til the Wheels Fall Off…

25 Jan

Or should I say, Rockin’ it Even After the Wheel Fell Off? Yes, that would be a more apt title for what I’m going to share with you fine people today.

Last weekend, my friends and I attended Monster Jam in San Diego. It’s been many years since I last attended a monster truck rally, so I was pretty excited. The show was sold out, and since I do not make a living writing this lovely blog, we were in the cheap seats at the top of the stadium…no mind, these trucks did not disappoint, regardless of your vantage point. Besides, me and my friends are more of the “Lets put on overalls, Billy-Bob teeth and mullet wigs” kind of crowd anyway.

Now, the highlight of the evening was by far the “Freestyle” portion of the show. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of experiencing this thunderous exhibition of giant tires, rolling, jumping and racing, the “freestyle” event is where each driver has 90 seconds to rack up as many points as possible. These points are accumulated via said jumping, rolling and any other tricks that the drivers can come up with. When this 90 seconds is completed, the driver then has an additional 30 seconds as a “bonus round”. This results in two scores, one for regulation and a second as a bonus. He or she with most points, obviously wins.

Amidst all this super charged chaos, I walked away with some distinct and surprisingly profound lessons. Now, to illustrate what I’m talking about, please take a peek at this video of Grave Digger free styling it up. You will notice that at one point, while doing “donuts” one of his rear wheels comes off completely. Now, most drivers would have called it quits. They would have chalked it up to a loss and been done with it. But not Grave Digger. No. He literally rocked it until his wheel fell off….and then some. As a matter of fact, he got more air, better stunts than any of the other trucks on 25% less rubber.

My friends and I were completely blown away at the performance. We decided that never again will we miss a Monster Jam, it was way too much fun. The shouting, the cheering, the good old fashioned kind of fun I remember from my childhood…it was epic.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself how in the world this experience left me with some sort of profound lesson. Well, I’ll tell you. I saw his performance as a textbook example of persistence and tenacity. He took pride in his work, and he wasn’t about to let something like a missing tire stop him from giving his fans the show they come to expect. To find some sort of meaning in something as loud and rough as a monster truck rally, it’s got to involve some serious stretching of the imagination.

Call it silly, but I’m doing my best to see things in the best light possible. I have resolved to be that adventurer in search of treasure I spoke about in God is great, beer is good…People are crazy. I will see opportunity in every experience. There is too much beauty in this world to let it fall on blind eyes.

Thank you Grave Digger.

Brown Cow update….

23 Jan

For anyone who enjoyed Brown Cow: The Verdict, here is a very brief update.

I’ve officially wandered from the cherry vanilla flavor. I am happy to announce that the maple flavor is equally as delicious and creamy.

I was skeptical at first because I’m not a huge fan of syrpy sweet yogurt, but this cup did not disappoint. It has a distinct, yet not overpowering maple flavor without the tooth decay. It delivers the delicious flavor of pancake syrup with a satisfying bit of tang. Texture-wise, it still has that same cream top like the cherry vanilla. It looks a little funky at first opening, but mixes effortlessly into a smooth creamy delicious treat.

Brown Cow certainly has not disappointed. Tomorrow, I’m gonna take another one for the team and review the PEACH flavor, so stay tuned, if you’re curious.

God is great, beer is good…People are crazy.

10 Jan

I’d like to begin by thanking Mr. Billy Currington for writing a little ditty called People are Crazy.

Why? I’m so happy that you asked. First of all, the fact is that God is great. He has created so many beautiful things for us to enjoy. The next fact is that Beer is good. It is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Third, and most pertinent for me today (since it’s not beer-thirty…yet) is, PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. So I am thanking Mr. Currington for writing a song that holds so much truth.

We are all a bit crazy. Some of us are the fun, “woo-whoo” let’s go streaking though the quad kind of crazy. These people like to have a good time, start a little trouble maybe, but they don’t hurt anyone…not maliciously anyway. Others are the kind of crazy that just breed hate and discontent. They are miserable people, and you know what momma says about misery: it loves company. My goal is to identify and figure out what to do with those hateful people who continue to sap my energy, steal time and stress me out. Luckily, I’ve got half the equation taken care of. I’ve definitely identified who these people are in my life. I just wish I knew I knew the best way to get rid of them.

I’d like to spend a little time describing these people I’ve identified. Odds are, many of you have similar people in your lives. Maybe you know who I’m talking about (figuratively speaking, in your own lives, of course.), but just haven’t thought about ways to rid your life of the stress and drama they bring. Maybe, it never occurred to you before reading this that these little monsters existed in your life. Regardless, if we identify these people and work towards separating ourselves from their drama and the stress they create, we are that much closer to taking control of our own happiness and mental health.

The first person, (we’ll call this one, Mind Ninja) can turn any situation around to make himself the victim. It doesn’t matter what he’s done, when you tangle with Mind Ninja, you will walk away from the situation with the blame, and you won’t even know what hit you. In the past, I’ve reflected on this on and found myself wishing I had that same ability to weasel my way out of things. But I’ve been thinking about it more and I’ve changed my mind. I could not live happily, knowing that I am a manipulative liar that takes no responsibility for hurting others. Sure, it’d save me from some hot water from time to time, but I’m no stranger to a butt-chewing. I’d take one if it means that someone else isn’t held responsible for something I’ve done. I’m a caring and kind person, capable of remorse and using those two words: I’m sorry. I also don’t mind correcting my mistakes. Being willfully responsible for someone else’s emotional pain is not something I’m equipped to do.

I believe in my heart, from my experiences, in Karma. I know that we all get exactly what we deserve, whether good or bad. I’m no one to think that I have the right or responsibility to punish those who choose to be “bad people”. As a matter of fact, it’s been my experience that when those who do wrong finally do get their “just deserts”, it’s often far worse than anything I could have possibly done. Don’t misunderstand this, if someone attacks me or my loved ones I’m not going to just stand by and take it. You’d better believe that I will unleash a furious anger of which you have never had the misfortune to experience. however, I’m not going to go out of my way to say or do something spiteful to someone just because they said or did something that hurt me. They are the ones that are going to have to live with their words and actions in the long run. You, on the other hand, you can move on knowing the truth about the kind of person you are.

The next crazy in my life, we’ll call her Me Me Me, is something truly special. This little peach likes to make every situation about her. It doesn’t matter what is going on, in her mind, it’s happening to her. A perpetual victim of the world, she directs anger towards anything or anyone that might detract from her “lime light”. I cannot begin to describe how profoundly I’ve been hurt by this particular person’s selfishness. I could go on and on for years describing how my family and I have suffered at the hands of Me Me Me. A sane person would have told her to shove it over a decade ago.

I’m in a quandary, because unfortunately, Me Me Me is also the evil dragon that sits outside of the tower where my little brother and sister live. She is the gatekeeper to all I have left of my father, aside from letters, photos and memories, of course. They are so young and far away, I can’t be a positive influence and make my presence known as much as I would like. However, I’ve continued, as my father’s last request of me, to keep the peace and do all I can to take care of Me Me Me (presumably so she has support while caring for my siblings.). But now that he’s gone, she is doing everything possible to cut me out of their lives. I’ve cried, and screamed and prayed. I don’t know how to handle this situation. I don’t know how to honor my father’s request, stay in my siblings’ lives and not let this woman stress me out.

For a long time, I’ve relied on one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite author’s to help me move on when I feel hurt by someone’s actions:

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.          ~Paulo Coehlo

It was a reminder that we all have our own issues to deal with on a daily basis. No one but God could possibly see all of it. So I go back to this idea when I feel like someone isn’t treating me the way I would like or need to be treated. Right now, this quote isn’t doing it for me. It’s not making me feel better. There is no excuse for the way these people behave.

Now that I’ve said that, there is also no excuse for allowing anybody to make me feel unhappy. The moment I’ve allowed someone to make me unhappy, I’ve given my power away. But today, the power is mine. I will not let these people affect my life anymore.

My new quote to live by, also from the same author as the last quote:

I can choose to be either a victim of the world, or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a matter of how I choose to view my life.            ~Paulo Coehlo

I’m no hippie, but…

3 Jan

“Great cheese come from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” I’m taking more stock in to this…cheesy line from the California Milk Advisory Board. Read more and you’ll understand why.

I, did a little grocery shopping yesterday, and as I cruised the dairy section to pick up this week’s worth of breakfast (Yoplait yogurt), I made a discovery. I had already thrown my selection into the basket as I saw a yogurt made by a company called Brown Cow. I picked up a cup and noticed that there was a special little label that said something along the lines of “Certified Humane”. Now, I had never been the kind of girl with a predilection for anything labeled “organic”, but this label really interested me. As I considered the idea of my food being “Certified Humane”, I realized that this is something that I would be willing to pay a little extra for. I immediately replaced my Yoplait with Brown Cow.

This comes on the heels of recently watching the movie, Life in a Day, in which I saw a cow being slaughtered. I have to be honest, that scene made me a little ashamed of being the steak-loving girl that I am. It made me sad about the state of our food supply chain and the fact that we as a society take for granted the things we find in our grocery stores every day. We raise livestock for food, without any regard for the well-being of the animals. This doesn’t mean that I believe that we humans are meant to be vegans or vegetarians. But I do believe that just because an animal is being raised to be, at some point, our food, that they don’t deserve to be treated and slaughtered as humanely as possible. I’m, no hippie, but I find myself believing that supporting irresponsible farming practices and consuming animals that have been raised and slaughtered inhumanely affects us – maybe not immediately, maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally and spiritually.

This is kind of interesting for me to think about, considering I’ve never really been much for buying anything organic. If you really think about it, organic is really the “small potatoes” part of the issue with our food suppliers. If you’d like to educate yourself a little more on what organic means, take a peek at my links as I’ve included one from the USDA. Maybe my reading comprehension skills are a little rusty having been out of school for so long, but it seems like the organic movement is kind of selfish. It focuses on eliminating the obvious things that are done to our food that may directly or indirectly affect our health as humans. It does nothing to ensure the well-being of the animals themselves.

If you see a product labeled as certified humane, it means that the product meets the Humane Farm Animal Care program standards, which includes nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors (as stated on their website – I’ve posted the link to this one as well). Now isn’t this what we all should be aiming for? Not only are the regulations set forth by the USDA satisfied, but it goes a step further, ensuring that the animals are treated with the respect they deserve. We wouldn’t need the USDA to certify anything as being organic if our food suppliers were held to this standard.

The more I think about this, the more enraged I get. This shouldn’t be a special badge of honor, just like McDonalds saying their burgers are made with 100% real beef shouldn’t be. Burgers are supposed to be made with beef. Sorry Ronald, you don’t get extra gold stars for it. Cows should be treated like cows, they should be allowed to graze and act like, well, cows. The same with any other animals that we use for food. I’m tired of people getting extra credit for doing the things they should be doing. I don’t get a pat on the back for taking care of my dog, and I don’t do it because I expect special recognition for it. I do it because I love her, and care about her well-being. I respect her for the companionship she provides me with. We need to do the same with our food. We should be grateful and respectful for the nourishment it provides us with, and treat it as such.

Having said that, I would also like to note that I understand the idea of commercial farming/ranching. I get that there is a huge demand for a high volume of low-cost food. I understand that we, as consumers, have created the conceived need for this “efficient” but disrespectful industry. I for one am guilty for perpetuating this ugliness.  But I also understand that we have the ability, and the responsibility to change this. We need to make a stand for what’s right, even if it means we’re forking out a few extra dollars for our food. Things won’t change until we as individuals take responsibility for our part in the inhumane farming practices we helped create. It makes me sad that this is where we’ve sunk to, but, if this certified humane program is what it takes to get us back on the straight and narrow, then I’m for it.

Let’s call this a new years resolution. What do you think?