A Month in Review: June and July

An old therapist of mine once taught me about the concept of being Dysthymic. He explained the underlying root as “feeling lots of feelings at once, and having lots of thoughts and emotions, but not knowing how to name and process those emotions”. I sometimes feel like that as I sit down to write… My brain feels like a swirl of conflicting knowledge and imbalanced emotions on the subject of ethical living and conscious consumerism these days. I’m not sure what to write about, where to start, or how to provide a balanced look at things I’m still struggling with sorting out myself.

Today, I thought that I’d try a little something different here on the blog. Back in the day, I used to post little life-updates. I miss that. There’s something that is soothing to me about writing down and documenting the things I know I’ll forget about in a month’s time. There’s something comforting in opening up and creating a bit more “closeness” in this online community… I sometimes feel so strange about presuming to give you all advice or “teach” anything through this blog when you all don’t really know me and I’m just a shiny face smiling through your computer or phone screen. I also thought that a “monthly update” of sorts would be the perfect way to deliver each month’s transparency report (read to the end for that).

June and July. They’re a little bit of a blur.

There were the wonderful trips to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India, where I got to visit a fair trade tea estate that partners with Numi Organic Tea, check out social enterprises galore: Aranya, Shomota, Freeset, Brown Boy, and Kantala, and soak in the amazing culture of each destination. I visited the site of the Rana Plaza collapse while in Bangladesh and I was really moved by that experience.

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There was the growth in the A Beautiful Refuge Shop. We’ve finally taken off, I feel, and are inching closer to our goal of making most of our income here in the Philippines. We’ve been doing lots of custom orders for local Filipino businesses, and working on a MAJOR expansion in the near future.

There was the trip in July to go visit family+friends! I am extremely close to my 6 siblings, and it was so wonderful to get to spend time with them after an absence of 5 months! Living halfway around the world from my best friends is tough, and I am so thankful for all the great memories we made camping, cooking outside, going to the drive in theatre, and soaking up the goodness of a midwestern summer.

There were also the health issues. My health has been really off lately, which has caused a needed shift in my priorities (hello, self care, my old nemesis). For those of you who don’t know, I’ve struggled since my teenage years with an autoimmune disease that affects several members of my family. After many unsuccessful attempts to “cure” myself, I’ve been resigned to managing my symptoms and choosing to sort of ignore it and refuse to let it slow me down or define my life. Ignoring it is no longer an option- I had a huge flare-up in late June that has lasted until now that brought several new symptoms with it- like hair falling out (what?!), weight gain, and burning, fibromyalgia-like pains in my back and limbs. I’m taking extra time these days to be a little gentler on my body… and choosing to be patient with my situation instead of feeling hopeless and defeated that my body won’t cooperate with what I want it to do. Some days are easier than others!

That being said- I’d love your patience with me as I might post a bit more slowly or erratically in the coming weeks!  

JUNE-JULY BLOG TRANSPARENCY REPORT
Remember when I said I’d start posting a blog transparency report? It’s a bit late for the past few months, but it’s here. Below is a record of the monetary and in-kind compensation I have received for sponsored posts on my blog.

June: $166.00
-A several-night stay at eco-retreat Mahagedara
-A gifted bag from my friends Vikum and Nadishan after spending the day learning about their brand, Kantala

July: $40.00
-Jumpsuit from Liz Alig  

Recap: In the past two months sponsored work on Life+Style+Justice has brought in $206.00 and I have added two new items, a bag and a jumpsuit, to my wardrobe.