Soul Journal: Non-Harm Begins With Ourselves

I have been transitioning to a plant-based diet for the last few months. I have been making an effort to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and pulses, and so far, I haven’t encountered too many obstacles. One of the (many) reasons I have made this change is to inflict less harm on the other creatures I share this planet with.

I have seen the videos of slaughterhouses, and while I am aware there are people in this world who suffer too, this is a type of suffering I can actually stop just by putting different food on my plate. But there’s another type of suffering that I can put an end to that I hadn’t considered in past years of vegetarianism and making compassionate choices: non-harm towards me!

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Maybe it has to do with the life stage that I am in, the overt nature of the ways I could hurt myself—with things like cosmetic procedures. I’ve become enlightened to the unnecessary harm perpetrated by the chemicals in my daily life; everything from household cleaners to self-care and beauty products. So while the more extreme forms of harm are what called my attention to this issue, I now feel that if a chemical is not nourishing my body, I would rather not smear myself in it in the name of beauty.

I think “beauty” (in terms of makeup) for me resonates more with the idea of fun and play, but it hasn’t been that for a long time for me. It’s been mostly about looking a certain way, instead. Self-care is about self-love and honouring myself and being with myself. And if I can get all this with products that are as little removed from nature as possible, then that is what I would like to do.

This all started with an inner scream of sorts. I don’t know how to describe it better… I’d made an appointment with a plastic surgeon for Botox and as the appointment inched closer, I knew I’d be taking a really big step and compromising yet another part of myself. I have made the decision to have cosmetic procedures in the past, and each one felt like a betrayal of myself—to my imperfection and to my humanity.

So I come from a place of knowing what it’s like to hurt yourself because on some level you feel an improvement is necessary, and I want to keep myself away from that place if I can help it. I don’t know if this resonates with you, and if it doesn’t, I invite you even more strongly to really consider what you are putting on the beautiful body that moves heaven and earth for you every single day, that puts up with all sorts of situations and fights for you to live each moment.

Needless to say, I did not go to the appointment and I have cancelled other cosmetic procedures, such as filling in the gap between my teeth or getting yet another round of braces and a tooth whitening (literally bleaching) treatment from my dentist. My teeth may be slightly crooked but they are perfectly healthy and functioning and abusing them is essentially a crime against myself that I don’t want to view as inconsequential and unimportant.

I know this post is heavy and I’m not sure whether the true love and happiness I feel for having taken what feels like a divergent path are coming across. I am excited about this. I still struggle… I wonder about future regret. For the most part, though, I feel free, like a now worry-free child who’s been told they’re allowed to run free and play in the sandbox however feels right to them. Before, unbeknownst to me, part of my focus was on reaching an ideal, of playing a game of winners and losers dictated by industry and others, where I just couldn’t win without unreasonably hurting myself.

I stopped and, if you want to, I think you can, too. 🙂

I learned at an early age that it’s better to invent your own game; then you can always be a winner. – Yvon Chouinard

Clinique Seven Day Scrub

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I started using Clinique’s Seven Day Scrub Cream (rinse-off formula) a few days ago, and I wanted to share some thoughts. It’s quite different from the Exfoliating Scrub I’d been looking  for (and couldn’t find), but I still like it—maybe even more. First things, scrubbing is an amazing way to stimulate growth of new skin cells, especially after your early twenties, when skin regeneration and collagen building need an extra push.

I personally love scrubbing because it helps to keep my pores from getting congested and when I do get the odd breakout, it clears the resulting red patch faster than if I weren’t exfoliating.

The cream-like texture of the product moisturizes even after I’ve rinsed off, but there’s definitely some exfoliating action happening as well. I really like that I can mediate how deeply I exfoliate based on how long I spend massaging my skin (30-90 seconds). That way, I can get a better scrubbing some days, while giving my skin a rest on others.

This product is designed for daily use and it should be suitable for most skin types. It’s not too abrasive. I do find that for me it works best on semidry or dry skin, rather than outright wet skin (the micro-granules just slide instead of “gripping” my skin when it’s totally wet).

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How do you like your facial scrub? I’ve been a fan of the more abrasive version of this one from Clinique (the Exfoliating Scrub) for my combination skin but using this daily is growing on me.

 $26 at The Hudson’s Bay in Canada for 3.4 oz/100 ml.