1. thereisalightthat-never-goes-out:

    If you’re a post-secondary student and if there’s anything on your mind that is troubling you, you can write it there on the website below and it is answered by student volunteers within 24 hours who can relate to your problem.

    spillnow.com

    This website has been really helpful to me this…

     
  2. fastcompany:

    When Heidi Allstop was a junior at the University of Wisconsin, she found herself struggling with the stress of college life. So Allstop called the university’s counseling center, only to be told there was a two-week wait for an appointment. “I thought, I just want to talk to peers, people who get it, who aren’t gonna sugarcoat their advice, they’re just gonna understand me and hear me out and tell me what they think I should do,” she remembers, and sitting outside the library, watching her fellow students walk by—heads down, earbuds in—she was struck with an epiphany: “So many of these people are going through the same thing as I am, but we have no way to connect,” she says. “What if there was a place online?”

    Spill, her anonymous peer-support network, was born in that moment. Users “spill” their problem at StudentSpill.com; their message is screened by a team trained in crisis prevention, then sent to student responders who post a reply (also screened) within 24 hours.

     

  3. The Family Plan.

    Hi, my name is Heidi, and I’m an addict.

    An internet addict.

    As the AT&T family plan would have it, however, I’m still sharing a data package with my mom, step-dad, and step-siblings, and am reliant on it for both my phone and my computer. Not the ideal situation for bingeing.

    This last month, my cell phone used up 90% of our entire family data package. Not to mention that we had just doubled our plan to 25GB the month before. Really? Me? Whoops. Sorry.

    Yesterday we got the “you used up all your data, suckas” text message, leaving me and the rest of the family internetless.
    On both my phone and computer. For the next 10 days. 

    I freaked out a little.

    Excuse me?! No internet? For how long?!
    How am I supposed to work? To communicate with people?
    To find my way back to my apartment?!

    I can’t even look up the number for AT&T to get it fixed!

    I pictured mind-numbing public transit commutes without BuzzFeed to distract me. Being tagged in a bad Facebook photo and not being able to untag it. Losing my ‘Inbox Zero’ streak. Amy Winehouse echoed in my brain. They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no. I will not participate in this forced digital detox.

    Like any responsible adult, I came up with a game plan: I’ll call mom.

    She—an iPad-addicted business woman—couldn’t bare the idea of getting through the next day without internet either. She immediately called AT&T to remedy the situation. Don’t worry, daughter, I’ll save us!

    After siting Skype, Hulu, and Spotify as the culprits (and laying a thick, well-deserved guilt trip on me), she said it’d be fixed by morning. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I could keep my addiction.

    As I lay in bed that night—void of my CandyCrush & Tinder bedtime rituals—I realized how pathetic my life had become. I had gone 6 hours without internet and was already writing my eulogy.

    I guess the first step is admitting that you have a problem.
    But do I really want to solve my problem? It’s part of the culture!

    I know I’ve placed a lot of loved ones on the back-burner for technology—staying in to watch YouTube on Fridays rather than going out with my friends or calling my family members to catch up. Even when they try to use technology to contact me, I still find my excuses (I’m too busy; I’m bad with text messages / Facebook messages; I don’t use instant messenger). 

    But… the hypocrite inside of me is worried for the world. 

    If you look around any given venue, 80% of people are interacting with electronics rather than other people. Teenagers sit by each other in silence on the bus—entranced with their cell phones, as if they all understand how hard it was to go without them the whole school day.

    Adults do it, too. I’ve noticed that in restaurants there’s an unspoken “cell phone break” at the end of each meal, where both parties can whip out their phones without disrespecting one another. I’ve put in my social time, now I can go back to my digital world. A lot of times this is done in front of kids, who ironically are going to be scolded in a few years for mimicking the actions they just witnessed at the dinner table. 

    I wonder if we’re going to laugh at how ridiculous we’re being (in replacing human interaction with digital interactions) 20 years from now? Or are we simply going to laugh at how low-tech our “high-tech” communication was?

    I don’t know how to change it. Or if it even needs to change. I just know that recognizing it is the first step. 

    ·       Step 1 - Admit Powerlessness. 
    ·       Step 2 - Find Hope.
    ·       Step 3 - Surrender.
    ·       Step 4 - Take Inventory
    ·       Step 5 - Confess
    ·       Step 6 - Become ready
    ·       Step 7 - Ask God 
    ·       Step 8 - Make a list of amends
    ·       Step 9 - Make amends 
    ·       Step 10 - Continue my Inventory 
    ·       Step 11 - Pray and Meditate 
    ·       Step 12 - Help Others 

     

     

  4. looking for my déjà vu


    I met a spirit reader once. 

    Not the crazy “call my 1-800 number” kind, but the kind who bashfully hesitates to share her secret. She was a normal-looking female business owner in her late 30s. The difference was that spirits had been visiting her for as long as she could remember.

    Usually I take that stuff with a grain of salt, but I decided to put my skepticism aside. Lately, pieces of our conversation have been replaying in my mind:

    She told me that déjà vu is a sign that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. 

    It’s our souls’ remembrance of the ‘preview’ that it saw before choosing its current body/life. Kind of like watching a trailer before agreeing to go to a movie, your soul watches your life before deciding to participate in it. Some lives are thrillers. Others comedies. Some tear-jerkers. Déjà vu is a fleeting memory of that movie’s preview. 

    I told her that I hadn’t had déjà vu in a long time.

    "You need to change something in your life; Get back on track," she said. 

    I didn’t disagree.

    She went on to tell me that the people we encounter in each life have been pre-determined, and that a lot of times we’ve consciously chosen to come back together (even though we don’t remember it). She said that we travel from life to life in ’spirit families’ with the people who matter most to us, switching roles (mother, best friend, husband) to serve different purposes. Gender is irrelevant, with some ‘male souls’ entering female bodies, and vice versa. 

    Our souls are selfless, participating in [sometimes difficult] roles for the greater good of the spirit family. Your father might come back as that best friend who comforts you when you’re down, and your mother might come back as the horrible boss that pushes you to your fullest potential. Your spouse might come back as an EMT who saves your life after a car accident. Big or small, good or bad, you always come together again for a reason.  

    I couldn’t help but think through the people in my life. The people who go out of their way to love and support me. The strangers who drop in for a moment and change my entire trajectory. The mentors who guide me, expecting nothing in return. The friends who don’t need me to explain. 

    And then I wonder what my role is. 

    Who am I meant to help?
    To look out for? To affect? 

    When will I have my next déjà vu? 

     

  5. The birth.

    One day I was so numb that my soul went silent.

    I was too sad to cry, too lonely to explain. I just sat in paralysis with my silent soul. People bustled around me, busy buzzing about their business. I wanted to hate them all. Why are you all so happy? Can’t you feel my numbness? Why am I the only one—…

    And then I recognized it: There were other muted souls everywhere. Actors—numb, lifeless creatures, warding each other off with earbuds and filling every spare second with status updates.

    And although there was a sting of pleasure in knowing that we were alone together, I felt an urge of injustice. An itch that needed to be scratched. A feeling of anger… of mania… of annoyance… of… Passion. For the first time in months, I felt something. I felt like I had a purpose.   

    And that’s when she was born. My hope for the world. My blessing in disguise. My vision. A pure and perfect seed that needed to be brought to life and cared for. A vision that needed me.

    She became a medium for my passion, a utility for my growth. I sacrificed sleep, money, and pride without batting an eye, and surrounded myself with dedicated co-parents who loved her just as much.

    She’s walking now; toddling around, trying to find her way. Sometimes she falls. Sometimes she hits walls. But I know that every day she’s breathing, she’s growing.

    I can guide her direction, but I can’t choose her path. 

    I see her potential and hope that I’m doing a good job. I watch as friends’ visions grow up around me—Celebrating with their successes and drinking with their failures. Each child has a different personality. A different destiny. A different purpose. I learn that even the best parents fail sometimes.

    And as I look at the life ahead of my little one, I am equal parts excited, scared, proud, and determined.

    Perhaps her purpose is to change the world—To comfort those seeking comfort and unite the isolated. Or, perhaps her purpose is to give me a purpose. To bring amazing people into my life, and to give me a chance to grow.

    Perhaps her purpose has not yet been written. All I know is that I can’t wait to find out.

     

    —Dedicated to my baby, Spill

     

  6. Selfishness & smiling at strangers.

     
    I did something nice for someone else today.
    It felt good… so good… that it felt unnatural.
     
    And then it hit me: It had been a long time since I’d acted altruistically. 
     
    This feeling of gratitude and purpose that came in helping someone else felt completely foreign. I’d buried it away beneath the hustle and bustle of my own daily agenda, convincing myself that "I’m too busy" and "just didn’t have time" for others.
     
    I had become selfish. And selfishly blinded myself to the reality of it. 
     
    After having this post-good-deed mini epiphany, I couldn’t help but smile. It was the kind of smile that comes after a friend plays a prank on you… a “man, I can’t believe I fell for that” kind of smile. But I let it linger as I walked home—darting around other selfish people at rush hour—and I began to notice something else:
     
    A lot of people smiled back.
     
    For the last few years I’ve been walking with my head down, eyes locked on the pavement, trying my best to “blend in” and not be noticed. I’d trained myself to avoiding eye contact with the people I passed… as if looking at them would violate their “personal bubble” and pop my own. But why? Why was I so afraid to do something as small, easy, and effortless as a smile? 
     
    I don’t have that answer. Yet. But I did notice that my external glow was contagious. For the next four blocks I consciously smiled at the people passing by meSome people smiled back. Some did a double-take.
    Quite a few gave a partial smirk, covering their bases as if they were on a reality TV show. 
     
    But I imagined that the ones who smiled back would go on to share it, and I pictured it spreading virally across the city. 
    What if we did this every day?
    What’s stopping us?
     
     
    -H
     
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