humor

SURPRISE! What I REALLY Got from My Masters Degree

What I REALLY Got from my Masters_GoJulesGo_titlegraphic_28NOV2018

‘Cause I don’t wanna lose you now, I’m looking right at the other half of me...”

I groaned, cursing my alarm. Wednesday. I quickly swiped my phone to silent. Even Justin Timberlake couldn’t convince me 6:15am looked good on a Wednesday.

Bleary-eyed, I got into the shower, wondering what work-appropriate pants might actually be clean and still fit. As the clock neared 7:00am, I started preparing my Commuter’s Survival Kit.

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I opened the fridge and reached for the half and half, suddenly pausing.

I stood there for what felt like days, vivid scenes rushing to mind, clawing for air, demanding to know how I could have been so naive. Maybe I could just go back in time and pretend everything was “normal.” What was normal? Who was I, and why did that person suddenly feel like a stranger to the woman standing in the middle of the kitchen with a twisted expression on her face?

Just hours earlier, I had watched a documentary on Netflix about healthy eating. Or so I’d thought when I’d hit play.

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Photo credit

Instead, I’d gotten the awakening of a lifetime. My entire worldview was upended, as if learning that everyone and everything I’d ever known had been in disguise.

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Hey! I’m the only one around here who gets to wear ‘stache glasses!

Puzzle pieces I’d never known I’d failed to connect suddenly formed a gruesome picture. And I was part of causing that gore.

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And this doesn’t even cover the half of it – like the cruelty. Credit

I poured a few tablespoons of creamer into my travel mug, throwing the remainder into the garbage.

That’s it. Never again.

At lunchtime I eyed the salad bar as though I’d never seen it before. My heart was racing. I felt scared. Alone. So if I don’t have the chicken, or the eggs, or the cheese…are those grains cooked with stock? Are there any non-dairy dressings?

I loaded a plate with greens, tofu, beans, and, Ooh! Nuts! That could work…

My internet browser exploded with new tabs. Vegan Recipes. Beginner Vegan. Why No Honey? Is Wool Vegan? Can I keep my leather hiking boots?

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Thankfully, I quickly stumbled upon resources like this one.

I felt like I was in The Matrix. Except instead of staring dreamily at Keanu Reeves, I was looking at everyone around me, wondering if I’d lost my mind. “They’re eating babies!” my new, red pill-swallowing brain shouted. “BABIES!”

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It was so profoundly disconcerting that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to function normally. (As if I was playing with a full deck to begin with!)

I spent the next month combating this dis-ease by learning everything I could about veganism, wondering how long it would take until someone caught on that I was ordering avocado rolls instead of my normal salmon sashimi. I had adopted the notion that no one liked vegans, and this latest epiphany triggered teenage Jules. What if no one wants to hang out with me anymore? What if everyone thinks I’m a judge-y a*shole?

I had been a vegetarian for all of my teen years, but by 19, had succumbed to latent peer pressure and returned to the Standard American Diet. At 34, I was terrified that I’d let that happen again.

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SAD, indeed! Photo credit

Credibility. I need credibility. And support. In one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made (besides starting this blog, of course), I enrolled in a Masters degree program for Humane Education.

Essential Elements of Humane Ed
Photo credit

The Institute for Humane Education gave me everything I’d hoped it would and more. Because two and a half years later, I’m happy to report: My vegan flag flies loud and proud. And I promise – I’m not here to convert you.

But I am here for this:

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And this:

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And this: 

I cannot overstate the impact going vegan has had on my life, nor the lightness of heart I feel at every meal, knowing that my decisions align with my values. The real epiphany, though? Realizing my choices matter. I matter.

You matter.

And we get the opportunity to express our true, loving, compassionate selves every day, through every action we take.

What a gift.

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Have you ever had a Matrix-y moment?

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humor, Just For Fun

Someone Tried to Steal My Emmy

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“I don’t know how to ‘rate’ how I’m feeling. I don’t even f*@%ing want to be here.”

Seven heads shot up and stared at the redheaded woman in our circle. A few of us giggled nervously.

“You all have these cool projects you’re presenting, and I just don’t know what I’m doing here.”

Alyssa’s eyes watered and inwardly, we all applauded. Finally. An honest answer.

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Usually team-building events go more like this. Or this.

In an uncharacteristically social moment a few months earlier, I had accepted a friend’s invitation to a “Vegan Creatives” 5-day retreat on Cape Cod.

“I want to get a bunch of my vegan artist friends together to talk about our projects and brainstorm,” Shawna, the retreat mastermind, had explained. She and I had met the prior summer at my Masters program residency, where she had graciously overlooked my penchant for public urination.

Much like the cold sweats I experience when interviewing narcissists for school assignments, as the retreat neared, I began to shvitz. What was I thinking? I didn’t know the hostess or anyone going. Sure, I had my thesis project to present, but I was also in the throes of writing said thesis. Could I handle any more stress?

“JUST GO,” I told myself for the 9,000th time. “It’ll be good for you.”

DAY 1

Arrive at guest house. Meet three-legged, one-eyed dog and attractive vegans #1-7. Eat colorful food and receive unicorn name. Grow concerned that I seem to be having…what’s the word…fun. No. That can’t be it.

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DAY 2

Convince Alyssa she too is having, well, whatever these feelings are. Begin stroking each other’s hair. Watch Tracy feed pet bee sugar water. Try to take photo without Dakota wearing a bowl. Unsuccessful.

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DAY 3

Eat more colorful food, voluntarily touch beach garbage, and reevaluate entire existence. Can I vote using new unicorn name?

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DAY 4

Learn that not only do new best friends save animals, sing, write, paint, cook, act, travel, scale mountains, rollerblade with bubbles and have kickass blogs, but the hostess, Allison Argo, has won half a dozen Emmys. Attempt to steal one.

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DAY 5

Say goodbye. Ugly cry.

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Until Alyssa reminds me to snap the f$&@ out of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tuck my Emmy into bed.

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PSAs

I’m Gonna Get REALLY Weird With It (Part 1 of 2)

Last Wednesday I drove down a long, winding, forested road, glancing at Google maps and praying the cell phone service wouldn’t cut out. I wiped a sweaty palm on my pants and watched the mailbox numbers go mysteriously up, down, then back up again. It was almost 9:00am and another unusually balmy day in Maine, halfway through my week-long getaway from New Jersey.

I tried calling the number I’d jotted down, but the phone automatically hung up before it even rang. Sh*t. I should just turn around and go home. Right then, I spotted a mailbox that read St. John.

*record scratch*

“HANG ON. HANG ON. Jules, I think you should keep this story to yourself.”

“Oh, C’MONNN, Jules, it’s SO COOLLLUH.”

“That’s exactly what you said about that bedazzled Justin Timberlake shirt.”

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“I thought we agreed to stop using this photo?!”

“It’s not like people take us seriously anyway.”

“True. That ship has sailed.”

Hi. Welcome to the inside of my head. This is the conversation that’s been playing on a loop for the past week. I have SUCH A COOL STORY, but it’s… out there. In fairness, I did warn you -when I blogged about oracle cards and taking a “Meet Your Spirit Guides” class at Omega Institute– that things were gonna get WEIRD here on Go Jules Go.

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And we all know I’m a woman of my word.

If you’ve been reading lately, you know I’ve been exploring “metaphysical curiosities” in depth for the past year, deciding to come out of the woo-woo closet in March. I realized how many people are just as fascinated as I am, but nervous about dipping their toes into the mystical waters.

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Looook into my eyes and let me show you the way.

While in Maine (a.k.a. my future home) last week on vacation, I took things to a whollllle new level…

I turned down the gravel driveway, passing the mailbox marked St. John, and parked my car on the far right, not wanting to block the driveway. I had no idea how many people lived in this charming white house. I checked my face in the rearview mirror, grabbed my binder and headed towards the front door.

“Julie, welcome, welcome, it’s so nice to meet you!” A slim, smiling woman opened the door and gave me the kind of hug you’d offer an old friend. “Come in, come in.”

Oh hell. There’s no air conditioning? Seriously?!

“Dagny! So nice to meet you! I’m sorry I’m a few minutes late!”

Dagny offered me water and explained we’d be starting our 3+ hour session in her living room.

“So what brings you here?” she asked once we’d settled in, jotting down notes on a piece of paper she assured she’d give me before I left.

“WELL,” I said, tears springing to my eyes. I took a deep breath. “I guess things really started about two and a half years ago…”

I explained The Great Awakening of 2016 that had led to my vegan lifestyle and pursuing a Masters degree in Humane Education, which had then brought me to meditation and re-contemplating my navel higher purpose.

“For over a year now, I’ve been…sensing things,” I said shyly. “Questions about ‘the other side,’ so many unexplainable coincidences, dreams and intuitive hits, things and people from the past that seemed to have risen from the ashes…”

“Mm-hmm. Yeah. Of course.” Dagny nodded and smiled. “So how about I tell you more about my process? After we talk for a while so I can get to know you and your history -and that could be a good hour- we’ll set your intention and review the questions you brought to ask your higher self. Then we’ll head upstairs and bring you into a light hypnosis and see what comes up.”

I nodded, unfazed. I had done my research.

“I guess I’m ultimately looking for a breakthrough – in any area of my life,” I continued. “A brand new way of seeing things. I’ve had my share of standard talk therapy, and still feel like I’m struggling with a lot of the same issues.”

Which is exactly what led me to her, Dagny St. John, an “intuitive soul reader” practicing out of her home in mid-coast Maine. We were in the midst of a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT) session and I was certain I’d never been more nervous in my life. Who does this? Have I really lost my mind? What if hypnosis doesn’t work on me? What if something disturbing comes through? What if, oh dear god, NOTHING CHANGES afterwards?

Three hours later, I left Dagny’s house in a blissed-out daze. I felt like I’d need days to process. Weeks. Months. Years.

Click here for Part Two!

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