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Happy Fourth of July!

I hope everyone is doing well! Has anyone else been feeling sort of like they're on an emotional roller coaster (even if, by all accounts, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it)? I'm guessing it has to do with the energies because I'll be fine one moment and then feel like I'm in the funk the next, but there doesn't seem to be anything prompting it (unless it's an energy thing). We sure live in some interesting times. To all of those celebrating the holiday, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing day, whether you choose to celebrate it with friends and family or more quietly by yourself.

I didn't remember much from my dream when I woke up on Monday morning, but I was with a bunch of kids from the preschool. They were happy to see me, and they were showing me how well they know their letters now. They were so proud and hugged me in excitement. That's all I recall at this time, but it was really nice.

The first thing I remember from my dream is it being sort of like a Pokemon game. There was some kind of game mechanic I guess that allowed me to bounce and travel far. I had traveled farther than I would have liked and used the bounce method to move back towards where I wanted to be. As I was bouncing, I noticed there was a mountainous area and nestled between the mountains were several pokeballs. I ended up finding items in the form of pokeballs like in the game. After I collected the initial three items/pokeballs I saw, new ones were revealed; the mountain apparently was more like a step pyramid, and each time I collected an item, one of the steps would receded into the pyramid/mountain, revealing more items. The dream transitioned to resemble the “real world,” and I was no longer in the Pokemon game—I was now my human self, collecting the items that turned out to be a bunch of free crystals. I easily collected 50 or even 100 crystals, placing them into my Sesshomaru backpack. I was so excited.

Apparently, I was with my family, and the area was sort of like an attraction—my family had wanted to go to the wildernessy area because it had like a dinosaur or something. There was a massive river in a valley down below. So, it turned out that people were running the attraction thing, and they were giving riverboat rides/tours (I guess it led to the dinosaur?). I met my mom and sister at the boat, but we were still waiting for others. The boat apparently left at set times. My grandma showed up, too. I think we were waiting on my dad and maybe my brothers. I decided to go to the bathroom, and my sister and grandma were all, “Wait, you’re going to the bathroom? I’m coming with.” Getting to the location of the bathroom wasn’t a problem, but it was confusing for which side to go into (there were two different signs). I went into the side on the right (it claimed to be the women’s side). My sister and grandma followed me. I’m guessing other people were confused as well as there were a bunch of guys in there, too (like it was maybe a 50-50 split). I didn’t care and went about my business. Turns out I started my moon time suddenly. I don’t think I was particularly surprised, although I didn't anticipate it. My sister and grandma left rather quickly, but I was trying to clean things up (apparently there was a good chance of getting soaked on the boat ride). Apparently, I was taking too long, and my dad came to look for me. The bathrooms were rather large, and he was like waiting for me at the entrance. I guess I took too long, and he was convinced that I wasn’t there because he let my mom know that he couldn’t find me, causing her to freak out. I came out, and she was all frazzled. The attraction place sort of turned out to be like a safari.

We were heading back to the main area, and there were a bunch of unique animals/creatures. The first ones I noticed were like elephants, but they were colored with green, brown, and maybe a bluish green/gray spots (sort of like camo). Some of the ”elephants” only had one large eye, too. They were super friendly and pretty cute. They came right up to people. We were traveling I guess back towards the boat, but we ended up towards like a camping area (there might have been a campfire). We saw a lot of different animals/creatures. The main one I remember was sort of like a dragonesque creature. It was sort of like the little dragon Silica had for a pet (Pina) in Sword Art Online. I don’t think it had wings, though. This little creature seemed to bond with me instantly, and it could transform—at least into one different form, a form that just so happened to resemble fluffy cat exactly. This creature followed me around wherever I went. I ended up meeting everyone at the campfire area. I laid down and kind of curled on my side because I knew the creature/kitty would love it. It immediately trotted over to me, curling up close, snuggling into my side, and began purring. I was so happy and at peace. Emily came over and snatched the creature/kitty from me, and I wasn't sure if it bothered me because the creature didn't like it or if it was because I was tired of her always doing that (she did it all the time with fluffy cat when she was still alive). It came back to me, so I decided to focus on the now. I recognized that it was a baby (but I'm not sure how young exactly it was). One of the other creatures came up to me (I guess it was a dinosaur), and it started freaking out. I don't know if the other people understood it (I certainly did), but it was freaking out because the creature/cat was the missing baby. The other one started calling out to its mom (which was vast distances away in some sort of lush valley by like a lake and a cliffside). The baby creature seemed confused by it and seemed content to stay with me. I was a bit concerned about the situation, as I never tried to get it to follow me--while I had no problem with the baby following me, I never wanted to essentially steal it from its family. The baby seemed confused and unconcerned by the other creature's reaction (like they were making a mountain out of a mile hill). I'm guessing it was the other creature's frantic energy that caused chaos and like a stampede to erupt. The baby stuck to me like glue. It was a bit tricky avoiding all the other people/creatures, as they were literally everywhere, rushing around. The ground might have been breaking apart, similar to the earthquakes in The Land Before Time. We ended up in the air, and the baby clung to my back. Somehow I turned into like a flying squirrel, gliding to safety. I landed but thought it was strange that I was feeling a gust of wind coming from the ground. Turns out that it was like a sleeping ogre/golem (kind of like the earth giants in Frozen 2 or how that mountain was actually a yokai in InuYasha). It woke up, and other creatures started freaking out. It was like the boss/leader of all the golem/ogre creatures. Apparently, they had like a war with the fairies. The fairies and other golem/ogre beings were in like humanoid form/human disguises. The fairies' version had fairly pale skin while the ogres/golems had bronze. Something the ogre/golem beings said royally ticked the fairies off to the point where their disguise started to slip (apparently, they normally had blue skin, which was revealed when they got angered). The ogre/golem creatures seemed pretty smug, and they were plotting something. The two races were attempting to reach some kind of deal. The fairies agreed to the ogre/golem creatures terms, albeit a bit reluctantly, but it seemed to me like the ogre/golem creatures were trying to pull one over on the fairies and didn't intend to honor it. That's the last thing I remember before waking up.

I find it interesting in light of what Emily told me when she got back at 7:30 last night from Kansas City. She had saved a baby kitten that was lost/without a home on the streets, just like when fluffy cat was a baby. Apparently, this kitten had the exact same eyes as our kitty. I told Emily that it might have been our kitty, but Emily was all, "It's too old to be our cat." (Since it was just over 2 weeks that we said goodbye). As souls are quite large and since she had been losing weight for awhile (it was just more recently that it was noticeable without question), I think it's possible it was her (but simultaneously not, because it'd be a different incarnation/avatar). Emily seemed very closed off to the idea (like cased closed it couldn't be), so I didn't bring up anything about the largeness of souls, the soul potentially starting to separate as the body starts to shut down (could have started months ago when Drew commented that kitty might have lost some weight back in like March), etc.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, the details of my dream were rather hazy. I'm pretty certain my dream involved a cat spirit, but I don't recall the specifics. From what I could tell, it seemed kind/friendly. I wonder if it happened to be the spirit of our future cuddle buddy. Not really sure. I didn't remember anything from my dreams when I woke up on Thursday, and all I remembered when I woke up on Friday was that my younger brother, Adam, and I were going to school (I'm guessing it was high school because our other younger siblings weren't there, and I think either he or I were driving). I don't remember anything else.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was kind of full of mixed emotions. The dream was strange. From what I remember, it started off with me meeting up with Ralph Smart. That's the first time I can recall this happening, but what made it so strange is that we were meeting up to get food from some sort of restaurant--he said he wanted barbeque, but I've never been a fan of it (it's strange because not only has Ralph Smart stopped eating fast food, but he's gone plant based--from what I know, the bulk of barbeque, not necessarily all, is heavily centered around meat). I'm not sure if we ever settled on a place to eat. The next thing I remember is that I was kind of wandering around on my own. I was walking past a building, which turned out to be McDonald's. Apparently, my sister and dad were inside. They noticed me walking by and called me over. They said that they were trying these new cheesy crackers/cheesy biscuits (they interchanged the name as they were talking about it), and they thought that I would love them. They insisted that I stay and try the new menu item with them (from what I recall, it looked like a baked ball of dough, topped with melted cheese, and I think there was cheese on the inside, too). I'm not sure if I wanted it or not, but I think I decided to stay and see what they were raving about. I think their order was about to be brought out as my dad was paying, but one of the workers brought out my cat. This hit hard, mostly because she was still alive. My dad noticed that she had a cut/incision on her stomach (I'm guessing from when she was at the vet), but it was either patched up with stitches or partially healed (I don't remember actually seeing it). I remember thinking, "If she's been here, alive, this whole time... And why the heck is she at McDonalds?!" There were a lot of deep emotions... especially due to the fact that we had been told that she was dead/put to sleep (granted, in real life I witnessed it, but apparently, in the dream it had all been a lie--a charade of sorts played out to dupe us). Understandably, I was quite upset and distressed about this. I had been separated from my cuddle buddy for weeks, convinced she was no longer with us, missing her, when she was still alive. She seemed a bit achy, but she had no problem breathing in the dream. We took her home, and apparently there was some sort of gathering taking place (but it was ending). There was some mom with a small child that I didn't recognize that said that they would leave as soon as her baby took a nap. That's all I remember from the dream.

Upon waking this morning, I remembered bits and pieces of my dream. The first thing I remembered was that my parents came back from a trip/flight (which they did last night in real life). The difference was that it was apparently Christmas. My parents were asking where my sister was. I think I informed them that she left, but I’m not one hundred percent certain. They then started getting all judgmental and knit-picky about things on a dresser. That’s the gist of what I remember from the first part of my dream.

The next part I remember is a little bit hazy in the beginning. There was some guy with like his daughter trying to get this cat he found outside. He came up to this house, convinced that the cat belonged to the people inside (I’m not sure if I was one of the residents or if I was just an observer for this part). The cat didn’t belong to them, but he kept trying to force his way in so he could acquire the cat, not willing to listen to reason (or the fact that it wasn’t even their cat so they couldn’t give it to him). He was convinced it was there and was extremely persistent.

The dream transitioned, and it was now taking place somewhere that seemed sort of like the local children's museum. Apparently, James from Team Rocket had a cat. It got loose and managed to crawl into like the ventilation system. I was trying to help free it and return it to James. Somehow I managed to get a hold of a screw driver and started taking off parts of the vents so the cat could be freed (I’m not really sure where it came from—I didn’t have it on me, and we were in some hallway). Despite me opening part of the vent, the cat crawled further down the vent. Some kind of mechanic/specialist for ventilation systems showed up, and I assisted him taking apart this huge part of the vent (it wasn’t like a normal vent where we were taking it apart—it was like this massive plastic-like wall/gate-ish thing). We had to take off like six different parts before we finally got to the cat. The cat was returned to James, and the mechanic/specialist informed James there would be a fee. The first part (the metal one) apparently was next to nothing, but the plastic-like parts were apparently extra special and cost like $20 a piece to just take off and put on. I don’t remember anything else from this part of the dream.

The last thing I remember is being at like an airport. I was getting ready to go on a flight. I was wandering around and went down some stairs. There were a bunch of people around, and I ended up getting in this long line (to what I presume was my flight). I overheard this lady calling out, “Girls! Girls!” The person she ended up stopping was some guy, though; she had been convinced that he was going the wrong way and was supposed to go to a different flight. I think he had been walking towards the bathroom, though. She felt embarrassed because she was mistaken and I think had the wrong person. They both parted and went on their way. I witnessed the whole thing from my spot in line. The people ahead of me were commenting about how it would be a two-hour flight, taking off at 7:30 am and landing at 9:30 am. I have no idea where the flight was actually heading. I don’t think I got on the plane—at least, I don’t remember doing so because the next thing I remember is waking up.

I do find it interesting that when I woke up my family was discussing a news story in the group chat about how this wild cat got loose. Apparently, the wild cat entered someone’s house, and the woman woke up to find it on her bed, inches from her face.

Earlier in this week the song "Yerbatero" got stuck in my head. I haven't heard this song in several years (all my Spanish classes throughout school had me fall in love with some of the songs, even if I don't understand every word that's said--if I have the lyrics I'm able to read and understand most of the songs). I suddenly started singing "soy yerbatero" with conviction one night (it's all I could remember from the song aside from the beat/tune and a part that went "los animales"). After I processed what I was doing, I realized I didn't know what I was saying I was since I didn't know the English translation for "yerbatero." Turns out it's a herbalist (or healer). Looking at the song again, the lyrics go:

"Soy yerbatero, vengo a curar su mal de amores

Soy el que quita los dolores y habla con los animales"

It talks about being a herbalist/healer that will cure your "bad love" (like heartaches), that they're the one that will take away the pain and talks to the animals. It makes sense that this song would get stuck in my head based on its premise about healing. I seek to be a positive, healing force in the world, so this song is right up my alley. I'm all about helping people heal; it's quite needed right now. There's so much trauma and pain in the world that has yet to be healed, which results in cycles of more pain, suffering, and trauma. It's time to break these cycles and start a new era.

Speaking of songs, I really enjoy Fearless Soul's latest song. It's quite powerful. I've included it down below if you'd like to listen to it for yourself:

I did some revising and editing of a story Corliss just wrote this week. It's pretty interesting. I know it's going to be a gem that shines brightly once it's done being revised and edited! It's set in the future, and it has an intriguing premise.

It's been an interesting week of babysitting. The boys have been hilariously witty and quirky. The younger of the two's first goal on his workbook page: to do his work pages faster. I also thought he might try picking a word from the word bank and use it a sentence like this, "[Vocab word] is a word." since that would, indeed, be using it in a sentence (and his typical style of response). He didn't though. Later he wrote on a life without things like electricity and cars; according to him, without electricity or cars, things cease to exist and people just die. He also started meowing before saying, "You know what? I'm not a cow. I'm not a cow! I'm not a cow!!! I'm a human--I think..." Just help me 🤣 These kids are a riot!

My new Spiritual Supermall Divine $9 goodies arrived! It's neat that they decided to release another solid pyramid (and they have a solid rose quartz pyramid released for this week). I love that they provide all these new goodies each week for $9. It was funny because when I got home from babysitting at the beginning of the week, I noticed that I had a package waiting for me. I thought it was strange because I couldn't remember ordering anything else, but it looked like it could have been a book. It made me wonder if it was the missing book that got lost in transit--the one that I ordered back in May. Turns out it was the missing book. The universe has an interesting sense of humor. The lost book showed up a month late. I guess somethings just take their time and take detours on their way to you (lol).

The first cycle of the tumbling process finished this week! They're looking pretty nice! I started the second cycle, which will last six to eight days. After this current cycle there's two more to go through before they should be nice and tumbled! I'll probably get some mineral oil to help polish them since the instructions/guidebook recommended it. I have some time, though, since the process of tumbling takes about a month to complete.

The clouds were gorgeous this week! There were also lots of storm clouds (it poured rain for three days straight before giving us a day of reprieve and starting the rain again). I ended up going for a walk with April's mom on my surprise days off, and it was so nice--it felt like just what I needed. I'm grateful for the fresh air and good company!

My mom sent this photo to me this week; she said they ate sandwiches at Emerald Cove. I asked her if they found the chaos emeralds. I wondered if she understood what I meant, but I suspected she didn't (she doesn't know video games at all). Her answer supported my hunch, though, when she said that my dad said that they saw a hedgehog (my dad would know because my siblings and I played Sonic the Hedgehog with him growing up). She went on to say that he said they saw a two-tailed fox and a man with a mustache and sunglasses (but no red echidnas, though--I asked lol). I got a kick out of my response.

Speaking of walks and breath-taking nature, have you heard about the new nature park in Japan? It's Pokemon themed, but all the Pokemon are made out items you find naturally in outdoors. It popped up sporadically as a notification on my phone this week, and I'm super hyped about it. It's like a scavenger hunt in the beauty of nature, and I want to experience it for myself! It seems like a lot of fun and seems so peaceful! Here's the link if you'd like to learn more and check it out yourself: New Pokemon Nature Theme Park

My sister got a new tattoo in honor of fluffy cat this week, too.

Here are the paintings for the week:

After I watched the first season of Demon Slayer somewhat recently, I got curious about the Demon Slayer Mugen Train movie. I saw that you could get tickets to see it in theaters, but I didn't particularly feel like going to see it in theaters (sometimes the theaters are overwhelming with crowds, the massive screen, and the excessive volume). I'm glad I waited to watch it in the comfort of home--it's such a great movie. The first half of the movie focuses on dreams; the newest created demon by Muzan Kibutsuji is able to grant people dreams. He lures people to sleep with sweet, happy dreams, making people never want to leave. The temptation is real. Tanjiro struggles with waking up because he is finally able to be reunited with his family. The struggle is real when he recognizes that the dream isn't real and that he has to say goodbye. As much as he wants to stay, it's an illusion and will lead to his demise if he chooses to stay. Having the strength to say goodbye, even if it's an illusion, to all of your loved ones that are begging and crying out for you to stay--props, to him. That's such a difficult situation to be put in. Tanjiro and company are able to defeat the demon, despite all the ploys and sleep attempts he pulls. Kyojuro Rengoku then gives Tanjiro guidance on healing himself in the aftermath of the battle. Kyojuro emphasizes the importance of focusing the mind to heal the body; by using concentrated mind power and a clear mental image, Tanjiro is able to mend a torn blood vessel that was causing him to bleed out from the gut. Kyojuro asserts, "Mastering your breathing: it will open up many doors for you. Now, it won't solve everything, but it will help. You will continue to grow stronger." I find it interesting that the importance of breathwork and visualization/the power of the mind are making it into popular anime. Kyojuro is 100% right on this matter; we just need to learn how to implement these skills, much like Tanjiro.

All's well that ends well--or so it seemed. Just when everyone one thought the day was saved, a new demon shows up out of the blue. This one is much, much stronger. The one they had previously defeated was one of the lower ranks--this new foe is ranked Upper Three.The Upper Three ranked demon tries to tempt Kyojuro into becoming a demon; this demon recognizes his strength and tries to persuade him with the prospect of living longer to improve himself. Kyojuro isn't swayed by the demon's persuasion, though. He stands firm in his beliefs, proclaiming, "Both growing old and passing away--these are things that make being human beautiful. Those may seem like weaknesses to you, but our lives are all the more precious and honorable because of them. You see, true strength does not just refer to the physical body. This boy is not weak. Don't insult him. Let me be clear. The two of us will never see eye to eye. No matter what twisted reasons you give, I will not yield!" The two begin their intense battle, skills and convictions clashing. During their fight, the Upper Three demon admits, "In all my years I've never gotten to kill a flame hashira. No one has yet to take me up on my offer, either. Why do you think that is? As a fellow master of the martial arts, I just can't comprehend it--not when only the chosen ones can become demons. Watching the hideous decline of someone blessed with your powers, it pains me--more than you know! ... Those reflexes! Brilliant! Those breath-taking sword skills will be lost, too! Doesn't that thought make you sad, Kyojuro?" Kyojuro continues to remain steadfast in his convictions, countering, "They are simply aspects of being a human being. Why would it?" Despite all of the demon's attempts, despite all his "logic" and reasoning, Kyojuro remains true to himself and fights for what he believes in. Their fight continues, the Upper Three ranked demon knocks him into the ground. The demon makes yet another attempt in convincing Kyojuro, inquiring, "Are you sure you won't turn into a demon? Think of it this way: if you did, we could spar with each other endlessly. Imagine how much stronger we'd become!" The demon doesn't get the picture, continuing to appeal for his case, but Kyojuro isn't having any of it. Kyojuro stresses, "Never. Let me make this clear. I do not like you. I will not become a demon!" The battle drags on, and, despite Kyojuro's noble efforts and honorable intentions, his body starts to fail him. Noticing his decline, the Upper Three demon reasons, "Don't you see that fighting to death in that frail, human body will never measure up to mine? Those impressive attacks that you inflicted upon me have already healed completely. You, on the other hand: a smashed left eye, shattered ribs, damage to the internal organs--all irreparable. If you were a demon, you'd heal in the blink of an eye, and those wounds would be but mere scratches. In the end a human can never surpass a demon." It's like beating against a brick wall; the demon can't comprehend Kyojuro's insistence and stance. Kyojuro declares, "I will see my duty fullfilled. No matter what it takes, no one will die here!" As Kyojuro's fighting spirit is once again ignited, the demon admires, "What an impressive fighting spirit--to press on, despite your bodily injuries. That brilliant strength of mind! And that iron-clad stance! Now you have to become a demon! Just imagine it! We'd be able to fight each other for the rest of eternity!!" The demon's attempts of persuasion fall on deaf ears, and Kyojuro tries to deal the final blow. Despite his valiant efforts, he ends up with the demon's arm running through his stomach, dealing a death blow. The demon begs for Kyojuro to come to his senses, urging, "Kyojuro, you must know this wound will kill you! Save yourself! Say that you'll become a demon! Can't you see?! Your strength makes you truly special!" Kyojuro has a flashback to before his mothers death about the importance of using one's strength properly. His mother emphasizes, "Do you know why it is you were born with greater strength than so many others? ... It is so that you can protect the weak. Those, who are born blessed with more bountiful gifts than others, are obligated to use those gifts for the sake of the world, for all of our fellow brothers and sisters. You must never use that god-given strength to bring harm to mankind or for your own selfish desires. It is the duty of those born strong to help those that may be less fortunate--a responsibility you must carry onward with due purpose. Be sure you never forget that." It's this memory and his mother's words that give Kyojuro a second wind, allowing him to push past the limits of his failing body and to attempt at cutting off the demon's head again. The Upper Three demon tries to flee, as the sun is beginning to rise, but Kyojuro clenches his stomach around the demon's arm that's impaled him in order to prevent his escape. Unfortunately, despite everything, the demon rips his arms off so he can escape into the forest. While Kyojuro failed to defeat the demon, he did not lose the battle; he protected everyone--there wasn't a single casualty--just like he pledged. In that light, Kyojuro was the victor. As his fatal wounds are bleeding out, Kyojuro encourages the others, "If you are feeling disheartened, that you are somehow not enough, set your heart ablaze. Dry your eyes, and look ahead. You may feel like digging your heels in, but the flow of time waits for no one. It won't patiently stand by as you grieve. Don't feel bad that I'm going to die. As a hashira, it's natural that I'd protect you all. The young buds must be allowed to bloom. Any other hashira would have done the same as I... You must continue to grow, and, eventually, you will end your way by becoming the next hashira. I believe in each and every one of you." No matter what the demon threw at him, no matter what promises he made, Kyojuro remained firm in his beliefs. He remained sovereign. He didn't let others dictate his path, and he endured as his authentic self. His commitment and conviction is truly admirable. His battle, his life, and his death are truly impactful, and we could definitely learn a thing or two from him about being genuine no matter what obstacles or temptations come our way.

Understandably, Kyojuro's passing hits the others hard (heck, it even had me crying on the other side of the screen). Tanjiro laments, "I'm so frustrated. As soon as I've managed to break through one wall, it feels like I just hit an even higher, thicker wall... And all the while, I can hear the sounds of my heroes fighting just beyond it, but I can't make it over to join them. If I'm still here, fumbling around in the dark, how could I ever--is becoming someone like him even possible for me?" Like so many others, Tanjiro struggles with his growing pains. Each obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow, but they can feel so daunting. Viewing them as they loom before us can leave us feeling hopeless at times--like it's not possible, that it's much to grand a feat to pull off. We don't know where to go. We don't know the best way to accomplish our goals and bring our dreams into reality. It feels like we're stumbling around, blindly at times, trying to reach our ambitions. We can't lose heart, though. As Enosuke scolds Tanjiro, emphasizing, "Stop blubbering like a little baby! This can I or can't I junk is really pissing me off! He already said he believes in you, so you just have to worry about how to get there! All living things just go back to the Earth when they die--feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to change that! Remember what Bug Eyes [Kyojuro] said to you! No matter how pathetic or humiliated you feel, you just got to keep on living!" Sometimes the dark will feel suffocating. Sometimes we will feel like we're not enough, but we just need to keep moving forward, even if it's only a small step at a time. Even if we have to crawl in order to do so, we must continue down our path. There's nothing wrong with having emotions; it's part of the human experience. That being said, wallowing in our emotions and feeling sorry for ourselves won't change things. We can accomplish so much, but in order to do so we must try. If we don't even try, we're guaranteed to fail. There are so many people that believe in us. Give yourself the chance to bloom. Give yourself the chance to shine and thrive. Don't sell yourself short and cut yourself down before you even see what you can do. Keep on living. Even if you have to take it slow for now. If you give up now, you'll never get to see all the wonderful feats you'll accomplish.

The Demon Slayer movie isn't the only movie I've watched this week. I've wanted to see the new Sailor Moon movies ever since I saw trailers back in like January of this year; they looked so good! The new movies did not disappoint. The themes the movies explored feel rather relevant to the times. With a solar eclipse the Dead Moon Circus travels to Earth, bringing nightmares with them. The nightmares can seem rather real. The Amazoness Quartet assist the dark spirit guide and Queen Nehelenia in their plans to take over the planet. When confronting the quartet, Sailor Saturn urges that them to come to their senses, to realize that their beliefs on what their true powers/abilities are have been distorted. She explains that an individual that lusts for power is manipulating them. Sailor Saturn urges, "You don't understand. You must wake up, or this will be your end." What we view to be "truth" and "reality" isn't always in fact the truth. Our perceptions can become skewed, sometimes due to the manipulation of others. The truth will always come to light, though. The darkness can only shroud the truth for so long.

These movies also delve into the partnership of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. Throughout the Sailor Moon storyline, Sailor Moon grows and demonstrates her natural gifts, abilities, and strength. Time and time again, she rises to the challenge and finds the power necessary to succeed. Mamoru wishes to be an equal to Usagi/Sailor Moon but ends up feeling inadequate in comparison. Through these movies, we learn about Elysion, the heart of the planet, and former capital of the Golden Kingdom--the kingdom Prince Endymion ruled during the Silver Millennium. Helios explains, "This goal [to protect the planet] was also one you shared with each other. That's why the two of you fell in love. One from above. One from below. You should never have met, but you did. You both had the same duty to fulfill, and you wielded the same power... Silver Millenium from above and the Golden Kingdom from below, together have long protected the Earth, and both kingdoms had power crystals. The legendary silver crystal was the power crystal for the princess of Silver Millenium. While the golden crystal, holy stone of the Golden Kingdom, belonged to you, prince of the Golden Kingdom." Despite how Mamoru felt, he held the power within him all along. He naturally held the power as Usagi's equal, but the fear of letting her down, of not being able to stand as her equal, kept him in the illusion of not being strong enough as the "truth." This revelation leaves Mamoru in disbelief. Mamoru questions, "I don't understand. I've always had this power? So when I thought I was holding you back, I wasn't?" Like Mamoru, we are learning the truth, finding and awakening our true powers that have been with us all along. The Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine are stepping into power, and nothing will impede them. Sailor Moon assures Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, "You and I made a vow to protect this planet and everyone's happiness forever. It wasn't all a dream. That was real. That was true. Protecting this planet--that's always been our truth. It's our purpose. We can't give up. That's not an option." United, they shall not fail. The Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine are stepping into their power, empowered by their truth; they're truly a force to be reckoned with. As individuals, we can be quite strong, but nothing compares to when we come together. The Sailor Scouts join forces for a group meditation, which blasts the dark spirit guide that was imposing nightmares on everyone away. They later join hands again to meditate and transport the group to Elysion. Together, we are unbeatable. As Sailor Moon emphasizes, "True power isn't something you can take. You have to create it! And when you create it, it's never alone. You always need others. You want true power? Well, take a look! This is true power! ... My friends, lend me your strength!" Together, we can change the world.

The Sailor Moon Eternal movies explore the theme of light vs dark, truth vs illusion/fear. The reincarnations of the Silver Millennium face the Dead Moon/New Moon of Nightmares. Nehelenia finally decides to confront all of the Sailor Scouts in Elysion. Nehelenia greets, "To those, who do not know me, I am Nehelenia, queen of the Dead Moon, Kingdom of the New Moon Darkness. Hello again, Sailor Moon, or rather, young princess of the of the White Moon Kingdom, Silver Milennium. I must say, your mother's idea was ingenious, having you reincarnated on a different planet in a new form. Well, she may have planned on a new form, but to my eyes you are the spitting image of the late queen."

Sailor Moon: "You knew her, the queen?!"

Nehelenia: "But of course, I, too, rule the Moon Kingdom, and this planet is part of the Moon Kingdom, hence the time has now come to reveal the true ruler of the planet called Earth!"

The concept of yin and yang and balance is strong in these movies. With the light comes the dark. The Sailor Scouts are granted a vision of a memory from their past lives in the Silver Millennium. Sailor Mars recalls, "The moon of that time was an orb of white light without any trace of darkness. There was only peace and happiness there. Then suddenly, an enemy appeared and settled deep in the moon's recesses. And nobody noticed. No one knew. No one realized the light could attract darkness like a moth to a flame." The fate of the Silver Millennium reminds me of the fall of Lemuria; times were peaceful before the collapse. In the flashback, we learn of Nehelenia's first encounter with the Silver Millennium and Queen Serenity after Princess Serenity's (Usagi/Sailor Moon's previous incarnation) birth. Queen Serenity addresses Nehelenia, "I bid you greetings, stranger. If you've come here, seeking a peaceful coexistence, we welcome you. However, if your true intent is to spread darkness, then you will have to leave." Nehelenia replies, "I will have to leave? You speak as if you are native born, but you came here, too. You are also from a distant part of the universe. Thus, you have no right to make me leave, nor I you, but, Queen, I'm not here to argue. Darkness isn't evil. It's the inverse of light. Accept that, and there will be balance... Where there is light, there is also darkness. Always both. Darkness calls light. Light calls darkness. They need each other." This prompts me to reflect on those in the community that profusely emphasize love and light and insist that we not acknowledge the dark. Granted, it's important not to become fixated on the dark, as that will only feed it and help it grow, but to pretend it does not exist is not the wisest course. Insisting it is not there is fighting reality. It will exist, regardless of whether you acknowledge it or not. It's important to not give your power away, but you cannot have light without the dark. They balance each other. The light casts a shadow. The shadow isn't inherently bad--it just is. The darkness, as the opposite and inverse of light, helps reveal the importance of the light. The contrast allows us to learn and understand the world. It may not be our preference, but we get to decide. We get to choose our path. In a flashback, Queen Serenity reminds a young Princess Serenity, "Wherever there is light, there will also be darkness. If you show the darkness you're afraid, it will feed off your fear and try to harm you. Unchecked, it will devour all your light, but, my dear Serenity, there is a way to overcome the power of darkness. Listen well, for it is something important you must never forget to do. Always, like the star in your heart, shine brightly." We have the power within us to shine brightly if we so choose. We can give in to the darkness if we decide to do so, but we can also choose to overcome the fear. Usagi divulges to Mamoru, "Mamo-chan, somebody once told me that everyone has a star in their heart... and what you're feeling, deep in your heart, is proof your start is shining. To make our dreams come true, to continue protecting all those we care about, to keep fighting for truth and justice--oh, star tucked away in my heart, your light is my power! Keep shining on!" Each of us has the power if we choose to wield it. We can shine brightly. We can allow the darkness and fear to dim and shroud our light. The challenges, changes, and endings we face may feel overwhelming and hopeless at times. The unknown may terrify us. We always have the power inside us to persevere and overcome the darkness with the power of our hearts, though. We have the power to shine brightly and change the world.

Fruits Basket also concluded this week; it's such a beautiful story. While it's a bit sad to say goodbye and for it to be over, the story will always resonate so much with me. I'm so glad that they finally told the manga's whole story as an anime (although it does have me wondering if they'll make an anime adaptation of Fruits Basket Another... hmm.... the possibilities). This final episode is all about the closing of chapters, but how that ending leads to new beginnings. Endings tend to be pretty emotional and sad, but they can be happy, too. We can struggle as we say goodbye since we can wish for things to continue as they had been. Our experiences and memories are dear to our hearts, and we can yearn to make more memories just like them. Life is full of change, however. Things will never stay the same. Tohru, the Somas, and their friends process the new changes that are coming. Machi admits, "Does it make you sad? ... It makes me sad, too. The idea of you leaving. You'll be far away. I won't get to see you very often. Not like I do now." It's not always easy to take change in stride. We grow accustomed to things as they are. Change can seem terrifying, an unwelcome guest that came knocking on the door of your happy, little home. It might feel like change is the enemy, ruining the perfect life you created. Change can bring with it anguish and heartache. It can bring with it many tears. Hiro, noticing that Kisa started crying, asks, "Whoa, why are you crying? What's wrong?"

Kisa: "It--it's nothing really. I'm sorry. I was just thinking Tohru leaves tomorrow. Don't worry. I'll see her off with a smile. She deserves that."

Hiro: "No, Kisa. Cry all you want tomorrow. There's nothing wrong with that. Because... you love her."

It's okay to feel. Emotions are neither good nor bad. They are guests that come to visit. Some stay longer than others. Some bring others with them. We're allowed to feel. We don't have to pretend to feel otherwise. There will be days were deep sadness grips our hearts, and it's okay to cry. It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to show others how you feel. The tears you shed, the mourning you feel, stems from how deeply you care, how much love your heart holds. There's nothing wrong with caring, nor is there anything wrong with preferring things to be otherwise. So often we opt to hide our emotions away, locking them behind a façade of everything being just great. We decide that our true emotions aren't right, denying our right to experience being human. Isuzu divulges, "Am I wrong to feel that way? The rest of you are moving past it, but me? No matter what I do, the mess in my heart doesn't go away. Haru, am I letting you down? Whenever I say this stuff, I worry you'll hate me." Hatsuharu reassures Isuzu, "You could never let me down, and I'll never hate you." We are our own worst critics, judging ourselves based on what we presume others think. We assume that everyone else is doing better than we are, that we are the only one that struggles and has issues. We convince ourselves that if we share how we really feel, others will hate what they see and leave us. In reality, our loved ones care for us profoundly--those that truly love us would never leave us if we are sad or struggling. They would help us, not abandon us. We get so wrapped up in the mental space, becoming ensnared in the fear it creates, that we cut ourselves off from the help loved ones could provide us. It's not wrong to feel your emotions. It's not wrong to admit how you truly feel. It's the first step to processing and healing. You won't grow if you constantly deny yourself, sweeping things under the rug and pretending that everything is just fine. Change and admitting our feelings can seem terrifying. The fear doesn't have to remain permanent, though. We're doing better than we often belief. Kazuma notes, "They've been through so much. They may be moving on, but they're still scared and hurt, some of them more than others." Hanajima, agreeing, remarks, "Yes, it won't be easy, but they'll overcome it." No matter what we find on our journey, no matter what appears on our path, we can persevere. It may not be the easiest. Some may seem to be having an easier time than others, but we'll all be just fine in the end as we overcome our obstacles. In the end we'll have quite the tale to share. Getting to that point won't always be easy. Mine acknowledges, "But you know, it's not always easy when a child leaves the nest. There's a certain loneliness to it. Fear of what the future will bring." In response Ayame declares, "Indeed, there is! Which is why we adults make obnoxious care packages, stuffed with instant ramen, socks, maid outfits, everything they could need. We send them on their way with a box full of love! So wherever they may go, they will carry that love with them." The prospect of the future, all the change and unknown that it can bring, can loom over our heads. It can leave us petrified, but there are those that love us, that wish us well and know we'll succeed in the end. Endings and change can bring loneliness with them; that much is true. Others care about us, though, and will happily send us love and support. Change and the closing of chapters doesn't have to be a "bad" thing.

Concluding a chapter is a mixed bag. It can be bittersweet. It can bring sorrow for the loss, but the premise of new beginnings can bring a sense of excitement. Uotani concedes, "Course I'm sad. How could I not be? But still... happy, too. Excited for them, I guess. Journeys, you know?" Endings will likely bring with them some sadness, but they don't only mean loss. True, we experience loss when a chapter comes to an end, but we are also granted the possibility for a new, fresh start. It's okay to feel simultaneously happy and sad. Life is a journey, and it's full of twists and turns, ups and downs, ebbs and flows, joy and sorrow. We encounter so much on our journey, and each moment is precious. We're lucky to experience, grow, and change as we venture our way along our paths. We've come so far, learning and growing so much. Yuki confesses, "So, tomorrow's the day... I won't get to hear you say, 'Welcome home!' anymore then, will I? But... even so, I'm happy. Happy for you and for myself, too. The me I've become. Before I was weak. I wanted to connect, to be needed and loved. I yearned for it so badly and for so long, but I didn't know how to reach out. Then one day, out of nowhere, you came into my life. You appeared and made it all come true. Granted my deepest wish, asking nothing in return. You gave me so much. I'm here now, standing strong, because of you. You helped me grow. Made me a real person. Accepted my weakness and turned it into strength. You were there always, giving me love and shelter, like a mother. I did it. I finally managed to tell you how I feel. Heh, it's kind of embarrassing, I guess. Honestly, though, I think it's the same for the others. Not just me. You're someone special. Bright and warm. Selfless and kind. And yeah, things are changing. Our lives will be different. We'll have new adventures in new places, but still, we'll think of you. 'Is she doing well?' we'll wonder. 'I hope she's not crying or hurt.' 'Is she happy today?' 'Wherever she is, is there a smile on her face?' We'll carry you with us in our thoughts and our hearts--always. Thank you. I'm glad we met. So glad. Knowing you changed my life, so thank you. Thank you." Life always provides the people and experiences we need in divine timing, without fail. They help us evolve into an improved version of ourselves, seeing the good that was in us all along. They change and help us more than we can ever truly put into words. You matter. Don't ever forget that. No matter how dark it may seem in this moment, no matter how hopeless it appears, you won't remain that way. The universe will give you exactly what you need. Even if what you need is to say goodbye at times. That doesn't mean that your paths will never cross again. What's more, they will never truly leave you; they'll have irrevocably changed you and always remain in your heart. Nothing will ever change that or change the precious memories you've created together. Tohru acknowledges that her experiences with the Somas are dear, remarking, "Surprising and strange, but... also fun. They've all been, these last years. I've enjoyed the days I spent with all of you. Never perfect, but always precious, like jewels to treasure. It's sad, you know? Saying goodbye to them.... I'm sad, and maybe I wouldn't have been if I hadn't loved it here so much. I guess the greater the love, the lonelier the goodbye." Kyo illuminates, "You still don't get it, do you? Here's the deal. Are you listening? Everyone loves you, more than you realize. It'll be okay, I promise. This isn't the last time you'll see them. It's the beginning of a new banquet, right?" It's okay to feel grief over the loss that comes from endings. It's okay to feel lonely and sad. It's okay to miss being able to continue creating memories the way you used to. It's also okay to treasure your experiences, memories, and bonds. It's okay to be grateful for all that you've shared and received. It's okay to say goodbye. Whatever conclusions you find yourself in now, whether it's ending a relationship, saying goodbye to a beloved pet, leaving your job, etc., it's okay. Feel whatever you need to feel. There's nothing wrong with having emotions. There's nothing wrong with expressing your emotions. Endings can be difficult. They can be messy. Even so, they hold so much promise. With each ending comes the dawn of endless possibility. The new chapter possesses so much potential. Anything could happen. Despite the loss you may feel now, the new chapter could bring more happiness and love than you can even imagine. Take your time. There's no need to rush. Process your feelings, and allow yourself to heal. Your new banquet is on the horizon, gleaming with possibility. I know the universe is eager to bring it and its blessings to you. Take care of yourselves. Stay well. Stay blessed with love and light~

Here's some food for thought to consider from Ralph Smart:

Here's some food for the thought for the week:

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