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NOVEMBER – THE PENULTIMATE MONTH

No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –
November!

Written by Thomas Hood in 1844 when London was subjected to frequent smog.

This poem also describes a future that a handful of transnational companies have designed for us and are ready to profit even more from. Almost every country has a government that can be bought with Mother Nature’s blood money and almost every political leader is ignoring climate change because it’s ‘not good for business.’

These decisions are leaving us to face our own extinction because money seems more important than our survival. Our pensions are literally paying for our death. The madness has to stop NOW!

Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash

We are going through the most critical, ecological crisis this planet has ever experienced. It is bigger than our previous five mass extinctions and more concerning than world war one and world war two. This is the time for everyone to heed the call to prevent further damage. The social contract between those who govern us and the rest of humanity has been broken.

In order to survive, we must all take up the fight.

Photo by Cleam Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Photo by Cleam Onojeghuo on Unsplash

That is what hundreds of concerned citizens in the UK are doing and they are calling it Extinction Rebellion.

Students in Sweden went on strike from school for climate change and 15 year old Greta made a moving speech.

Civil disobedience is growing because governments fail to acknowledge the severity of climate change and divest from fossil fuels. The youth have foreseen a dark future ahead while those in power are almost ready to retire. Some activists are winning and continue to win with support from ordinary folk like you and me.

Protests have been happening all over the world on a large scale and still we continue to fight.

We can change the course we are on from destructive to regenerative and we must, because we no longer have a choice. It’s not about you or me or them, it’s about every force of life on this precious planet. Every life counts, every creature matters.

If everything we do, we do with the best intention for the planet, then we can live healthy lives, in body and mind. This is no longer the time to start with something small like recycling your glass, this is the time to do a complete overhaul of your life and terminate our bad habits that have a high carbon footprint.

Like John Newton’s successful campaign to end the slave trade, we must do 5 things:

1. Join the community
2. Communicate in images
3. Invoke emotion with intention
4. Create meaningful calls to action
5. Tell better stories

To elaborate on number 4: What can we do?

  • Stop traveling on fossil fuels on your own. Take a bus, a taxi, a train or car pool or even ride a bicycle. Not only will it be cheaper but you will have more time to yourself to read and feed your mind. Riding a bicycle is a healthy gift to your body because you can burn fat instead of fossil fuels. Live close to work or find work close to home.
  • Plant more trees. Plant a tree for Arbour day, for your birthday, for your wedding, for your funeral, for the birth of your children, to celebrate someone else’s life. Plant a tree for the community, for the future, for the unborn, for the birds, the bees and the love in between. Trees sequester carbon, filter noise and wind, drop temperatures, seed rain, fertilise soil, create shade, enhance wildlife, increase value of property, decrease crime and they are beautiful.
  • Eat more vegetables. Grow them too if you can. Eating more vegetables means you eat less meat. Animal agriculture accounts for over 50% of biomass on the planet. We are so busy growing food to feed livestock that children in poorer countries are starving to death not to mention water becoming a scarcity. Growing your own food means less poison on your plate, less salt in the earth, more diverse ecosystems, less fossil fuels from farm to store, less fossil fuels from store to plate, less fossil fuels to keep food cool and better quality food. Growing food is fun, educational, rewarding and it just tastes better – I promise.
  • Ditch the dustbin and the trashy life. Roll up your sleeves and learn to zero waste your lifestyle. Join Facebook groups. Many are on this journey already. Join Freecycle. You will need the help of an ecobrick to get you started.
  • Get involved. Join your neighbourhood community or start one. Go to protests, sign petitions, volunteer for environmental justice, engage in civil disobedience if that’s what it takes. This is your call to do your part for the green revolution.
  • Invest in clean energy and harvest water. You can reuse your grey water for the garden by making your own biodegradable cleaning products. Guerrilla House regularly hold workshops to learn how to do this effectively.
  • Search with Ecosia instead of Google. They have planted over 40 million trees and offered 1 million Euros to save Germany’s forest from coal mining. They have great success and when you search with them all the time, they share these positive stories with you. Latest happy story here.
  • If there is one philosophy, one science, one topic, one book, one youtube video, one subject you should invest your time in, this should be permaculture. It truly does have the answers to live a healthy life. Read about it, investigate it and study it if you can. Want proof? Good! I’m glad you asked. Search for Surviving Collapse by Geoff Lawton and he will show you how he is greening deserts. The most arid, barren, dry, hot deserts where nothing grows. He may even become your new best friend.
  • Invest in an eco loo and build a compost bin. You can use all that water that you were using to flush, for your food garden. Plus, in year’s time, your biowaste would have turned into lovely black compost for your trees. It’s nature’s way and has been this way long before flushing toilets came into operation in the mid nineteenth century. Despite public opinion and paranoia, eco toilets are much cleaner than their flushing counterparts, if managed correctly. No bacteria aerosols, no need for ghastly sewerage pipes running under the city letting off methane in it’s path. Nature does all the work for you and everything you ate is returned back into the ground as carbon, where it belongs. Your water saving efforts are then repeated because soil that contains organic matter retains water very well. This means plants don’t need to be watered as frequently.
  • Support small local businesses instead of transnational companies.

Mother Nature can feed us abundantly with nutritious food, she can shelter us, give us happiness and provide future generations with a diverse and beautiful home. In order to unlock her gifts, we must honour, love and respect her with every single action we take during our lives. Let’s evolve from an industrial revolution to a green revolution!

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October 2018 Update

Despite it’s misleading name meaning eight, October in the southern hemisphere is a time between the sping equinox and the summer solstice.

Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash

Freethought Day

October the 12th, is an annual observance known as Freethought day. This is a day for freethinkers to remember the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem witch trials where 25 innocent people died mostly by hanging due to mass hysteria, false accusations and religious extremism.

 

Bridget Bishop hanged as a witch at Salem in 1692. Briggs. Co. / George Eastman House / Getty Images

 

Beltane

A festival called Beltane is celebrated on the 31st of October until sunrise on the 1st of November.
This festival is celebrated to commemorate fertility and growth.
Deciduous trees who have lost their leaves are budding and growing again. Fertile soil will give abundant food and herbs. Nature is at play while the days grow longer and warmer.

 

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

There are many ways to celebrate Beltane which often include communal bonfires at night and to share the flame for home fires. Maypole dancing is another way to celebrate this solar based festival and committments and promises are made at this time of year.

The planting of a seed into rich soil is an act of magic in itself. It is the beginning of new life and out of the dark earth, it breaks free to grow, express, be, and give seed again.

Fertility is about germinating, sprouting, rising – so while your garden is burgeoning, let your mind be fertile too.

 

Photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash

Renew your connection to the force of life on this planet and enhance your dialogue with Mother Nature.
Understanding her, brings out the best solutions to living a wild and happy life.

Without fertility, there is no growth so take some time to meditate on the meaning of this word and see how you can increase the fertility of your life to bring abundance and high spirits.

Photo by Laura Marques on Unsplash

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September Update

Charming Spring
© Patricia L. Cisco

Published: March 26, 2018

Reminiscent melodies
serenade the morning breeze.

Feathered creatures nest with care
in cherry blossoms pink and fair.

Perfumed scent of roses flow.
Tiny blades of green grass grow.

Misty showers soak the earth,
glorious colors come to birth.

Gathering clouds come and go,
rain, sun, and vibrant bow.

Dainty petals, fancy flair,
dancing in the warm, sweet air.

Violets, yellows, purest white,
graceful, gentle, welcomed sight.

Thank you, oh sweet lovely Spring,
patiently waiting the charms you bring!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/charming-spring

Happy Spring!

We, at Unicorn Cafe, wish you every success and happiness during this time of rebirth, rejuvination, fertility and activity.

 

 

Spring is such an exciting time of the year where landscapes burst with the colours of flowers and babies of every kind are born. The slumber of Winter ends and we awaken to warmer, longer days where our sewn seeds germinate into tiny expressions of life.

 

 

Plan your hikes in nature, make time for a wild flower drive. Invite your friends to a picnic in the park or along a river. Go stawberry picking and plant lots and lots of seeds. Indulge in the sunshine outdoors and relish the new buds on the deciduous trees.

 

 

The 15th of September is world clean up day…

…where people all around the world will be cleaning up coasts, rivers and landscapes. September has also been labelled plastic free due to the plastic epidemic that we face. Clean ups are being organized world wide so join one and have some fun while making a difference for the environment. I always meet such wonderful people at cleanups and I find them so rewarding. Remember that a clean up without a brand audit is only treating the symptom and not the cause. More about that here. Join the movement and be part of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Revolution!

 

 

September is also Arbor month in South Africa and

there is something remarkably noble about planting a tree. Trees don’t just add greenery and shade to an area but they keep fresh water on land. Their leaves protect the soil and provide fertility. They provide microclimates and regulate temperature. If we want to stop our city from becoming unbrearingly hot from climate change, we should be planting trees and lots of them! One of my favourite sayings is ‘When in drought, plant a tree!’

 

 

Nurseries will mostly likely have Arbor week specials. Plant a fruit tree in your garden. With some love and care, it will reward you with delicious sun ripened fruit far tastier than anything bought in a grocery store. Plant an indigenous water wise tree in your local park or a sidewalk. It is the ultimate form of guerilla gardening.

 

 

Yours in creating a regenerative community
The Unicorn Cafe Team

 

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August 2018 Introduction

AUGUST IN SOUTH AFRICA

Womens Day 9 August

Wathint’ Abafazi,

Wathint’ Imbokodo!

(You strike the women, you strike a rock!)

These words will forever be a part of August in South Africa.

You strike a women, you strike a rock
Women’s day

August is an important month of the year for a few reasons. We highlight issues faced by women and mark the beginning of Spring.

 

On the 9th of August 1957, 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings and sang this song – Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo!

Passes for women was the issue at the time and hence these women marched to protest this law. Women marched in an orderly fashion on a Thursday, when most domestic workers had leave. A specially composed song, with the lyrics above, was sang  and silence was held for half an hour. The feeling in the air was powerful and motivating as described in some reports online.

Womens day is celebrated on the 9th of August in South Africa in order to remember the meaningful march in 1957.

Womens March
Womens March

Governments started grating women the right to vote in the 1800s with white South Africans being able to vote in 1930. Only in 1994, could all South African women vote. Many difficult challenges regarding rights and equality have been faced by women which have made women strong and resilient. These qualities are essential for leadership and perserverence. The struggle for equal rights is not over and if we take a brief look at the Top 40 JSE listed companies, only one company has a female CEO.  Excercising the demons of the past can take a long time, yet progress has been made in leaps and strides.

Women are still oppressed in many cultures but as women are educated and thus empowered, this attitude changes.

IMBOLC

We can celebrate the beginning Spring in August. Imbolc is observed on the 1st of August as a Celtic fire festival marking the land’s preparation for Spring.  As a result, this time is honoured for poetry, healing, metal work, a time to fight for social and political change, regain enthusiam, and declare independence.  Lighting candles is symbolic for personal changes we will experience in the year.

Imbolc
Celtic Fire festival

SETTING THE SCENE FOR AUGUST

Consequently, let’s remember the struggle of our predecessors and also remember that women before us, fought for the rights we enjoy today. More importantly, women and men must defend them these rights and always consider ourselves equal to the other sexes. Let’s reignite our spirits and feed our desire for justice in the world.

 

Brigid
Imbolc
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July 2018 Introduction

Hello Unicorns!

History on July

Julius Caesar

On the 15th of March 44 BCE, the senators of Rom assassinated Julius Caesar because Ceasar’s elevated dictatorship sparked anger in elites. These elites conspired against him.  After Julius’ death, the Roman senate renamed the month Quintilus, meaning 5th monht, to Lulius. July replaces Lulius.

Why was Quintilis known as the fifth month when we all know it is the 7th month of the year? Well, that is because the winter months were not counted in the Roman calendar. They were like a big gap in the year and March was the first month. This was in the Northern hemisphere. Under Julius Caesar’s rule, the Roman calendar then became the Julian calendar to align the calendar with the seasons.

POPE GREGORY VIII

Finally, in October 1582, Pope Gregory XIII adjusted the calendar and this is the calendar we still use today. This new Gregorian calendar accounted for leap years and the term ‘Anno Domini’ (AD) meaning year of our lord was introduced at that time.

In today’s times, before the common/current era (BCE) and common/current era (CE) is the preferred use by academics, non-Christians and those who respect biodiversity.

July Currently

Mandela Day

July in 2018 is proving to be quite an influential month of the year. Firstly, because we celebrate Mandela day on the 18th of July. People like you, dedicate 67 minutes of time to community service on Mandela Day. Mandela Day is a call to action emphasizing that the individual has the power to make an impact to transform the world to a better place. Positive change is made by wonderful events out there and we can also experience the gratification that volunteer work provides. Find an activity that calls to you by scrolling down to our events calendar.

 

PLASTIC FREE JULY

 

Secondly, ‘Plastic Free July‘  is a global movement to dramatically reducing use of plastic and improving recycling.  Citizens all over the world are called to address one of the biggest environmental issues we are facing now. Plastic is a massive issue we are facing in the Holocene Extinction period and this is why we are now refusing plastic in July and trying to go plastic free.

I will expand a bit about the global movement, #BreakFreeFromPlastic in this newsletter.

Business Update

Unicorn Cafe is using the services of a business coach to help us achieve our dreams of opening a zero waste store. Our business plan is being refined and all our numbers and books are being brought up to date because we hope to find an investor.

 

Yours in creating a regenerative community
The Unicorn Cafe Team

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Unicorn Business Update June 2018

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Hello Unicorns!

For most of my life, I haven’t been a fan of winter. A lot of people have asked me: “Are you a winter or a summer person?” and the answer was always summer with very little thought.
I found that I am not as energetic and enthusiatic in winter, as I am in summer. Naturally I perceived this as a negative feeling. To  me, it was a season I just needed to ‘get through’.
So much has changed in the last 2 years of my life, since I have been digging up the garden and paying closer attention to nature and the solar events.
For the first time, I welcome winter and I am excited to encournter new experiences at this time of year.

The shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere is on the 21st of June and is also known as Winter Solsctice. The word solstice is derived from the Latin ‘Sol Stice’ or ‘sun stands still’.   But what do they mean ‘sun stands still’?
This is because of an annalema. If you took a photo of the sun every day at noon, you will see that the position of the sun at noon moves. We know that the earth revolves around the sun but in the sky, the position of the sun changes. On the shortest day of the year, the position of the sun will be at it’s lowest point, in the sky, and it will stay there for a while before the position starts to move upward. I have included some youtube videos to explain the annalemma and the earth’s ellptiical orbit around the sun.

Some mark the winter solstice as the end of the earth’s eliptical orbit around the sun but how can an oval shape have a beginning and an end? If we consider the seasons, it is a time to pause in the darkness of winter and contemplate that after this point in time, days will become longer again, as if we are coming into being again.

Some celebrate this time by bringing greenery into the home and lighting candles to emphasise light and life, in the dark barren winter. A rebirth of the year so to speak. There is feast with some wine and gifts are exchanged. Does this sound a lot like Christmas to you? If it is does, it is because winter solstice in the Northern Hemishere is around the 21st of December and many of Christmas traditions stem from ancient practices long before christianity. Many old traditions were based on celestial movements that had a profound effect on the success of our crops at that time.

When we start to live regeneratively, we tend to pay more attention to the weather, the seasons and other changes in nature. This winter, I will enjoy the dark mornings that I awake to because I can still gaze at the stars. The constellations will be in different places and so the celestial scenery changes.  I can rest more during this time and use it for spiritual growth. I can use it to plan what I will do when the days are long and warm. Winter time is my new ‘me’ time. I will use this time to focus on me and whatever my intention for myself is. More reading, more meditation, more yoga time, more relaxation and hibernation time so that when Spring arrives, I will feel rested, rejuvinated and ready to plant in Spring.

Happy June Solstice.
The Unicorn Cafe Team

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Unicorn Cafe Business Update for May 2018

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Hello Unicorns!

I am back from annual leave and settling into living in what some call ‘The Default World’ If you haven’t figured it out already, I went to Afrikaburn for seven days. This was my 8th attendance to the annual event and I write all about the lessons, this dynamic and experimental event have taught me in the article below.

I am sending this newsletter out on the 1st of May. If you are a pagan in the Southern Hemisphere, you will know that it is Samhain. In the Northern Hemisphere, pagans will be celebrating Beltane.

Samhain is Irish Gaelic for “summer’s end.” The standard Irish pronunciation is “sow-in” with the “ow” like in “cow.” Other pronunciations that follow with the many Gaelic dialects include “sow-een” “shahvin” “sowin” (with “ow” like in “glow”). The Scots Gaelic spelling is “Samhuin” or “Samhuinn.”

Unicorn Cafe respects people from all walks of life and cultures, however we have a particular interest in paganism purely because it puts mother nature first. The shortened version of their creed is  “An ye harm none, do what ye will” which means that one can do whatever he or she likes provided that no harm is caused to others. This law rings true to our values and beliefs that no harm should be caused in our daily lives. This is why we source things like biodegradable earbuds, toothbrushes and sell products for regenerative living.

We also find a particular interest in wicca or paganism because of the ancient rites and rituals which move in harmony with the seasons. They seem to remind us when to plant, when to be thankful and move with the flow of nature. We at Unicorn Cafe believe the real magic is in our pure intentions and in nature which we are part of. From the largest land fungi and mammals to the smallest microscopic life. There is a curious wonder to all these things that work together in the great force of life.

So what is so special about the pagan Samhain? It is a time to honour the dead and also to celebrate the second harvest. Today we are celebrating by harvesting vegetables from the garden and cooking them, on a fire, in a South Africa cauldron which many of you fondly know as a potjie pot.

The Northern Hemisphere have commercialised this festival and called it Halloween. It seems strange to celebrate this ancient holiday in the middle of spring here in South Africa so like nature, we flow with the seasons. We have chosen to honour a handful of people of our own choosing being:

– World renowned British physicist professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 on March the 14th, 2018.

– Larry Harvey, whose whimsical decision to erect a giant wooden figure and then burn it to the ground led to the popular, long-running counterculture celebration known as “Burning Man,” died April 28, 2018. Afrikaburn is a regional event of Burining Man.

– John Sulston, a Nobel Prize-winning British scientist who helped decode the human genome, died March 6, 2018

– Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a former wife of Nelson Mandela, and an anti-apartheid activist in her own right whose reputation was sullied by scandal, died April 2, 2018.

We hope that you enjoy May and make the best of this time and we look forward to touching base with you in June.

Through the darkness
The Unicorn Cafe Team

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Unicorn Cafe Business Update for April 2018

Hello Unicorns!

March was really about marching! What an amazing event the Cape Town Unites for Animals March turned out to be. There were so many passionate people and I can still feel the intense atmosphere of the day in my heart. The speeches were moving and inspring and I cannot explain how good it felt to stand together for something important. Often, activism in any form can be lonely especially if it requires educating the general public.

Several months ago, Beauty Without Cruelty initiated a move with the IFP, to introduce a bill requesting the acknlowledgement of animal sentience , drafted by ANCP whip ,Cheryilyn Dudley (MP) and her team. We honour the dedication, time and energy that has been given to this important and vital issue.

The march to deliver the bill was organised by Beauty Without Cruelty, Voices for African Wildlife Campaign, and Talking Tree. The bill was accepted by Anthony Mitchell, representing Prince Buthulezi, to give to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Minister of Environmental Affairs and The Honourable Ms Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly. The purpose of the Bill is to amend two Acts, the Animals Protection Act 1962 and the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1972.

This progress by South Africans has given me more motivation to continue to provide ethical alternatives to mainstream products. Thank you to everyone who took the time out in their weekend to take part and to all the organisers who arranged the march. It was an outstanding success!

There will be another march on the 21st of April to support the ban on cosmetic testing on animals. See our calendar section for more details.

Amending animal rights
Bill to amend Animal Rights in South Africa

Autumn is a time to appreciate the balance between night and day. As many of you are noticing, our days are becoming shorter and nights longer. It’s a time to harvest seeds and the fruits of summer for winter storage. Give tribute to the trees by offering a libation of worm tea or another liquid fertiliser. A time to be thankful and reflect on the past months that have gone by.

I am so pleased to announce that our feauture stories have been contributed by another writer, Mandy Carpenter. Mandy is a part time researcher and facilitator specialising in research methodology, English and communication. She is also an avid reader and a Tolkien fanatic. She enjoys writing poetry and inventing puns. Her interests include decluttering, minimilism, anticonsumption and psychology. These feature stories are about reflecting on our lives and the things we have which is perfect for this time of year. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have and manage to find some freedom in your living and loving spaces.

May your April be abundant with the second harvest, and may your find a sense of balance within yourselves and the activities and things around you.

The Unicorn Cafe Team.

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Unicorn Cafe Business Update March 2018

Hello Unicorns!

I hope you had an enlightening February. There are so many wonderful events that have been happening to promote sustainable and regenerative living. People are starting to realise that it’s up to us to make a difference and that if we rely on authoritative entities, we may face catastrophic results to our end.  I hope the pot of environmentally friendly ideas and change keep on bubbling to produce a new generation of eco-conscious people.

We have a lot to share with you in our March newsletter. The month named after Mars, the God of War. War isn’t a pleasant thing, but for me, Mars symbolises standing up for what we believe in and facing the corporate giants that are causing endless destruction to our planet. Two massive protests are taking place this month:

The World Naked Bike Ride and
Cape Town Unites for Animal March

We will tell you a bit more about them below. Did you know that Mars, the Roman God of War, was also believed to be the guardian of agriculture? Considering it was the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere, this makes sense. Autumn has it’s place in growing food too and we will share some handy gardening tips in our gardening section below.

We highlighted meditation last month and I found myself doing many meditative tasks such as harvesting sunflower and rocket seeds. These types of tasks allow us to breath and reflect and have time for thought. I find them almost revitalising.

I wish you strength, perseverance and courage for March.

Challenging the destructive forces,
The Unicorn Cafe Team.

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Unicorn Cafe February 2018 Business Update

Here we are, in the last month of summer and in the shortest month of the year. February comes from the latin word Februum which means purification. This month was only added to the Roman calendar in 713 BC, as the romans believed winter (in the northern hemisphere) was a monthless period. Other historical names for February are Solmonath (Mud month – Old English), Kale-monath (Cabbage – Old English), and Helmicuu (month of the pearl – Finnish) – this is because snow melted off trees and froze again to form droplets that looked like pearls.

February has been assoicated with symbols like the violet and the common primrose. It’s birthstone is the amethyst which symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity.

I think the meaning of purification is significant for those in the Western Cape and even for those in the rest of the world. Capetonians are faced with a colossal challenge, of ensuring survival on what has been, and what  may still be, a centralised water system that has failed. More and more people are realising how we have taken an essential resource for granted and slowly but surely, our attitude towards this resource is undergoing some kind of purification.

We are also purifying our lifestyles in a way that they demand less water and realising how our food impacts the water usage. This purification of our attitudes and lifestyles can only lead us to a better life that is more harmonious with mother nature.

Let’s focus on purification this month and filter out the glitches that we have learnt through society on how to live. We may be feeling stressed and under pressure and there may be more anxiety to follow regarding water availability.

Sometimes a little bit of stress is good and it teaches us to solve problems and perform well however it can overpower us and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Meditation is a valuable tool to quiet the mind and the external noise of stress. I explain a little about it below and have also listed some short YouTube videos for guided meditation. These videos share a common theme of purity to coincide with our February theme. I hope that you find some relief, peace, purity and enlightenment by listening to them in a calm and comfortable space.

With peace and purity,
The Unicorn Cafe Team.

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