Thursday, December 29, 2011

Learning Curve

Do you ever stress out about things out of your control? Do you ever imagine a scenario to take a turn for the worse before even having gone through it? This kind of thinking can lead to anxiety and an eventual state of being unhappy. Your palms sweat, your muscles tighten and ultimately you age a little bit quicker than the calm and carefree person.

So why is life so stressful? It really shouldn't be. You have a job which pays for your home, car, and lifestyle. You plan ahead for the future and save when you can. You see your family and friends as much as possible to cultivate relationships and maintain closeness. You take up hobbies like singing, writing, crafting, hiking, running, cooking, etc. in order to keep your passions alive. You find someone on this Earth that loves you for who you are and you fall in love with them for exactly who they are too. All these things are in place so why would you feel so stressed out and on edge?

Well, the answer is different for everyone. On our paths we either feel light and airy or we feel like we’re carrying a 500 Lb satchel on our back. Though the one thing we tend to forget is that we are in control of the way we walk through this world. We are in control of what weighs us down and what we simply move along from. The key is to determine what we need to drop off on the side of our path so that we can walk more purely and freely.

I remember a time in my life - between the ages of 16-20 where I was one of the "light and airy" people whose path was easy and my stride was calm. I didn't have anything to worry about because I was living at home and experiencing anything and everything that came my way. I made some horrible choices in my freedom, but they all turned out to be great learning experiences and made me stronger. If my nature would have been uptight or unwilling to try new things, I would have lost out on so many lessons and life in general. I wasn't stressed or expecting the worse. I had no expectations and was happy with every scenario that played out because I hadn't thought it over to death. I hadn't killed the experience before it had even come to fruition. I was too busy living to think things over so heavily. In my early 20s I became a deeper thinker. I had a lot of things to still fully process and I took this time to do so and I slowly shut down... took a full 6-8 years, but I began to stress on things of my past. How I handled this or that. Started regretting things I had done and people I let into my heart. I became bitter. I had no religion, no real direction. I kept doing what I "thought" I should do instead of what I really "wanted" to do. I became a depressed robot and so 2009 was a very dark and dreadful year for me. I was introverted and cynical. Many things had become clear to me that as a "light and airy" person you just wouldn't have time to worry about. People whom I invested time and love in didn't give me any respect or love back. It hurt and instead of brushing it off my shoulders I internalized it all and became very sad. It hurt me and I just didn't want to become close to anyone new because they may hurt me too.

Then - *POOF* - a realization, a rebirth if you will... The weight of the world had been so light for me because I hadn't tied anyone else's baggage to me. I hadn't let anyone weigh me down back in my late teen years. That was the difference. So, I started to take note of each and everything I was tying myself to. How was it fair that I carry all that on my shoulders when others walked free and clear of it, even if it was theirs to carry? I became aware of my control over my actions, my feelings, my deep cuts that felt like they would never mend. And guess what? They started to heal. I saw in myself the girl I used to be in the “good ‘ol days.” I got back in touch with the girl who didn’t have such “heavy boots.” This girl is still there! She was just covering herself in other people’s bull.

Just this past weekend - over the holidays - I saw more of “her” in me. I was more open and truthful. After all, if I allow anyone else's words to cut me down, that's my fault. I need to stand proud and stand firm in my life because it's where I'm at, it's what I'm planning, it's who I am. And I did. I shined in my silly, unique way and felt proud of me. I also was able to communicate in a more effective manner without overwhelming emotion so I was better received. I felt heard, I felt understood and I feel so much lighter and airy now. I still have a lot of work to do, but this was a big step for me. I didn't feel ashamed of my place in this world because I own it and I know it's where I'm supposed to be to get me healthy and to the next phase of my life. No longer did I feel less than for not having a house, a fancy car or some high-falutin job... I am enough. What I do is enough. What I own is enough. I feel good in my skin and with every piece of what I’m doing. That is a huge step for me. I’m confident in every aspect of me and my life.

It's been an amazingly hard year for various reasons. The end of life is always hard to process and I struggled with that earlier this year and struggle with it again now. It's a sad thing for all of us here to go through, but those who pass into the other side of life are finally at peace and no longer have to wonder what it is all about. As Betty White would say, "Now they know the secret." And isn't that the truth. It hurts to miss someone, but it hurts to see them struggling to live even more. It's just one of those oddities of life that we aren't really supposed to be comfortable with. We all go... It's the memories we hold tight to and the legacy we carry onward. Live for all those who cannot... REALLY LIVE! That's the message I believe we need to take away from the dark side of life.

I've dealt with the death of unhealthy relationships as well. Hurts, but if you're constantly being pointed out as the one to blame and being tormented by other's words then all you can do is take back the power. I no longer will allow anyone to hurt me so deeply. Some call me unkind for cutting ties, but those who really KNOW the ways of evil people understand how the cycle just spins round and round and round. I'm not above my own mistakes and I will never play the victim. My words have gotten me in trouble a time or ten, but I'm no different than everyone else. The most important thing is to be honest with you. Know when you've really screwed up and do your best to make it right. If your apology attempts go without acceptance - there's nothing more to do. I think the biggest red flag in a relationship is when there are disagreements and each time you are the ONLY one to apologize and make things right again. If the other person stands firm and doesn't entertain the fact that they had any wrong doing at all and you're forced to beg their forgiveness... the relationship is done. It's become too one-sided and selfish. We are all here to help each other and love each other and family should always support each other and COMMUNICATE.

My recent relationship meltdown was a 3 year progression. I don't want to go into all of it, but I will say that lately I've gotten a lot of flak for NOT "respecting my elders." It kind of makes me chuckle because it’s so far from who I am. If anyone REALLY knows me - you understand that I'm very nurturing and loving and respectful of my family and especially of my elders. When certain "elders" break my trust and hurt other "elders" in the family... it's hard to continue a fair level of respect. So, just to touch on this subject quickly - I feel that you "get what you give" and respect of any capacity - especially when you're both adults - is to be earned.

Some thoughts on maturity... I believe that in certain environments you must act your age and be business oriented. Work is a formal setting and it's very important to act accordingly. To show respect and dedication, you must show that you are serious in your appointment. Still, I have learned from both my parents and all my family that you should never grow old in spirit. We all have to grow old in body, but if you hold tight to your youth, stay active and enjoy yourself as much as possible - you've found the Fountain of Youth. To look at a Ferris Wheel and have eyes that still light up or to sit down with a coloring book and just color for a half hour. To enjoy the innocence you have managed to hold tight to. That's so important. Now, that's not to say that some people act way too young for some situations. Those who make up stories for attention, have a fit when they don't get their way or want and steal other people's toys. Well, those are signs of not growing up at all. High School is over people! No need to make up stories about how "Judy and Jack were caught behind the bleachers," or how "Rhonda and Jane went to some party and drank too much instead of going to the library." Even though the gossip has elevated to "who's divorcing who" or "what amazing thing happened to you last week." If it's not true... it's an immature way to live. Live for the now and enjoy the reality. If you can't enjoy this time and space - the present - real life... you will never be happy.

I am 31 years old... I feel like I am a sponge soaking in the "what to dos” and "what not to dos” from my own experiences and luckily from watching others. I don't have to go through each thing to learn. That's what we're all here for - to teach each other and to learn from each other. I feel that my learning curve is pretty good, but I’m not devoid of error. I, as we all do, fail at times. I am going to make mistakes. My intuition is going to lead me astray – that’s life. Still, I will definitely own it and apologize if necessary and then move on.

I am so in love with my family. I feel like we're ALL Good. We can only do what we can do and we can only control what we can control, but it seems like all the people I love really grasp that. We understand each other. We have respect and love for each other and we are supportive of every goal and dream we're chasing. It's a great space to be in... to be happy, driven, and proud of where we stand. No more baggage from anyone else is holding us down. We own our thoughts, our feelings and we're looking at this New Year as a treasure to be discovered. Another adventure begins…

To everyone who stopped to read my mind’s musings… Thank you for your support, love and guidance!

May each and every one of your 2012 voyages be safe and successful!

(photo found on

Sunday, July 31, 2011


It is so important to be kind... you have struggles, but so does everyone else. It's good to think of others and not always yourself. When you take the "I" out of every single interaction, you become a rich and open person. You are flexible and get to experience more connections and more joy in life. Those who live without the want for human good and give less than they take will be alone in some capacity. It's all about giving, sharing, apologizing, being a big person always - not just to show off who you are. Those who are great people, don't need to show it off... they just are. We're all the same... we all make mistakes, we all get dealt hard breaks, but it's how we handle ourselves and how we treat other people that matters most in this world. The best quote ever is: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou... It's true. Your actions and how you enter a space determine how someone else feels. Yes, we are all accountable for our feelings, but if someone walks into the room with a sour look on their face you will begin your time with them sour-filled. We need to be responsible for what we feel - surely, but we also need to be held accountable for the energy we fill a space with. We each are people. Equal in value, equal in humanity. Don't look someone up and down and expect them to think highly of you. Your judging turns off even the most loving person. If you want love and happiness - truly want it - then give it out whole heartedly and without question. You give what you get and by golly if you choose to give of yourself and nurture and love those around you - you will have such a full beautiful life... Just ask my Mom! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Human Experience

I love learning about the human experience. The trials, joys, victories, kindnesses, moments of weakness, and all the rest. We all have the best intentions (I hope) and yet we are all human. We all make mistakes, we break each other's hearts, we say things we don't mean, we side with negativity from time to time, and we just don't always get it right. It's often used as an excuse, "hey, I'm human," but sometimes there's much more involved. 

When I make a mistake or feel guilty for my actions, there are usually three commonalities behind why I acted the way I did. 1) Experience - what I've seen and heard in my past experiences mold how I react. 2) Feelings - emotions are intense. They can take hold of you and influence how you react. Crying, yelling, silence, laughing, etc. all come from emotional control. Very hard to have emotional control - at least for me. 3) Pride & Integrity - when someone has wronged you over and over again. You feel a sense of pride. You don't want to make amends because they wronged you. They need to apologize to you. There is also the Integrity factor. When someone acts in such a way that goes against your moral fiber and all you stand for, it's really hard to just sit idly by and watch their actions hurt those around you or you yourself. 

I have a certain "relationship" which is beyond repair, I fear. One of my elder family members chooses to make me a peer instead of someone to nuture and love. Jealousy, judgment, and even put downs have been the treatment I receive instead. It's really hard for me. Recently, I've excluded myself from anything to do with that family member because it just hurts me so much. The 3 commonalities always come into play. 1) Experience - So many times we've had our issues and disagreements and then we talk it out and then we're close and happy for a while, but for some reason the trouble comes back around. Then again, I'm hurt and vulnerable and let down. It has gotten to the point where I don't want to be on that roller coaster anymore. 2) Feelings - my feelings get hurt. I'm emotional and sensitive and I am so glad that I am. I feel so deeply and so passionately and because of that my life is rich beyond material things. So when this person says or writes such mean things or acts so mean to other family members I have intense feelings. I get angry and I get bitter. 3) Pride & Integrity - There is a fine line in this situation because I would never want to treat people in such a manner as I've been treated, but there I go also treating this person differently than anyone else because of my prior experiences with them. I have pride in myself and I feel that I shouldn't have to do anything I don't want to do (nobody else does) which includes faking kindness and interest in someone who hurts me constantly. Integrity is important too. I believe that silence or just not interacting is better than interacting and feeling negativity or against who I am. Why would I want to save face and go against my grain just to make everyone comfortable? If you're uncomfortable, those are your feelings and my actions don't make you feel a certain way, you do. Just as I make myself feel hurt and sad about the lack of relationship I have with that one person. I own those feelings. I have tried to the best of my ability to get along. It hurts, but you move along...

It's a constant struggle though. I don't always feel so convicted. Last night I had a hard night and woke up early thinking about family and how the relationships within the family unit are just so messed up. Cried a little and got it out. It hurts me to not be able to be close to everyone I love. Yes, I love everyone in my family, but that doesn't mean I like all of them. It's just one of those things. Perhaps as I grow, I'll learn the tools to look past differences and not take things so personally. I'm growing, I'm 30 and I'm trying and doing the best I can. I truly believe that. If I just continue to let myself be walked all over, It will take me back down the path of low self esteem and low pride in who I am. I stand convicted and I own my choices and decisions. I learn by example and I really would like to think that all these experiences are helping to shape who I'll be. I want to nurture all the children/youth in my life. I want to feel blessed to see the world through their fresh eyes. I want to instill morals and kindness into every young spirit I encounter. I want to fill the time with words of literature, arts, beauty in the landscape, music, education, and things of importance. We may indulge in E! Entertainment shows, reality television, etc, but when it comes to real life - gossip shouldn't be such a favorite past time. It's great to talk about someone's achievements or the daily events, but when you relish in someone else's misfortune or you criticize someone for their choices with large groups of cackling hens it becomes unhealthy and unproductive. Fill your time with more enriching activities! Wouldn't it be great to shower these types of beliefs onto the young souls of the world? I truly can't wait to have a child and help mold them to be better than I. The next generation should be viewed as the 2.0 version. Your wisdom + their wisdom = a smarter, more grounded generation of people. 

I have said this time and time again. "If we just put ourselves in other's shoes, most problems would be solved." Judging is huge. We judge someone before even thinking about why they may act a certain way. We judge someone because they are making choices that we don't choose. We judge a person just for dressing a certain way or liking a certain thing. We all have our own identities and we all are different - that's the glory of the human race. So, as I get older, one of the biggest revelations I've made is my parents are PEOPLE too. In your younger years you see your Dad/Mom as larger than life, god-like caretakers. They are there for you and you alone. You really don't think about how they have dreams, goals, desires, and hopes too. You just see them as your parents. It's really amazing when you realize that they want love, they want success and they want happiness for themselves. So much attention gets put on you as their child, but it's great when you can put the attention back on their achievements and happiness. Your Dad is not just "Papi," he's a husband, brother, hard worker, hiker, son, friend, sports enthusiast, writer, athlete, lover of literature and music... etc... WAY more than just "Papi!" Your Mom is not just "Mama," she's a sister, daughter, teacher, friend, hard worker, singer, writer, artist, runner, hiker, wine enthusiast, caregiver, lover of all the arts, hopes to find love... etc... WAY more than just "Mama!" It adds a new flair to your relationship because you can converse about more than just your schoolwork and your dirty room like you did as a child. You can really talk about life and learn from each other. It's a beautiful thing. You have to put yourself in their shoes though before you come to this realization. 

I've noticed recently that there are many other relationships that really require stepping into each other's shoes. For instance - a Mother loves her child and would do anything for her. Sometimes when there's multiple generations it's hard for roles to be clear. A Grandmother has children and she loves all her children and does things for them because of that love. Grandmother's children have children of their own. They love their children as much as Grandmother loves them. Still, it's not always respected as such. Say the Grandmother does something for her child, but then when her child wants to do the same for their child it's veto-ed or frowned upon. Seems hypocritical, but all that it takes is stepping into her daughter's shoes. Your love for your child is the same love she has for her child. Another instance has to do with siblings. Moms/Dads and their children should be close and do things together. Sometimes it's not always true of the sibling relationship - brothers/sisters aren't always close. Just depends. Still, a Mom should realize that she cannot force this closeness upon her children. Also, the sibling should see that a Mom should want to be around all her kids as much as possible, but it doesn't mean they have to go along. Put yourself in your Mom's shoes, "She's a Mother loving her child." Put yourself in your children's shoes, "She's a Sister and doesn't always feel so deeply for her siblings, but that means nothing - a Mother's love is supreme and should be more abundant." Every Mother loves their children abundantly! If you're a Mother, another Mother feels the same about their children as you - as simply as that! Respect that bond as you'd want your bond respected!

Human experience is often valued by what you have instead of who are as well. Greed is a scary, twisted way to look at life. If you see your value in what you own instead of what you have to offer the world - you are leading a sad exsistence. It's all about giving back and giving what you have to those in need. How sad to sit atop your pile of gold alone! The saying is so true - "You can't take it with you when you go." Money is nice to have, but it's there to use. "Spend" wouldn't be in the dictionary if this weren't true. Money is to be spent. It's a tool to help you experience life. I love what Chris Rock said on the Oprah show: "Money gives you options." It's so true. If you look at it that way, you're golden. Find ways to earn it so that you can fund a good life. Take only what you need. A 20 bedroom 5 bathroom home with a bowling alley and movie theater is a waste for just a couple of people. What do you need all that for? It's frivilous and unnecessary plus it takes away from experiencing life. You're sheltering yourself away in your retreat instead of going out to bowl or see a movie. You're sheltering yourself from the human experience of meeting and seeing people. I believe that the more you keep for yourself, the less happy you are. When you give, you feel so rewarded and so good about your imprint on the world. If someone is struggling, especially in your family, it's the kind thing to do to help them if you have the means. If you can't - don't feel that you have nothing to give. Support or ideas can be lent which cost nothing. Don't feel badly for not being able to give monetary help, but if you do nothing - give no love or hope which is free and so appreciated as well - you are taking the value out of support. Support and love are  so valuable. 

Looks and weight are such a focal point in our country. What you look like is judged the moment you enter a room. It's so interesting to me because back in the beginning of time they didn't have make-up or name brand clothing and they judged by character and other attributes such as skills, creativity, and strength. Where did we get so superficial? Spas, mani/pedis, $200 haircuts, $100 pair of jeans, botox, liposuction, teeth whitening, and all the rest have become a normal part of the vernacular. It's puzzling to me. You could be a beautiful person on the outside - great hair, nice clothes, perfectly applied make-up, high dollar shoes and handbag, but if you're a mean person you instantly turn ugly. So, why not work on who you are on the inside and let that shine outward? Really bothers me that we've gotten so into sizes and measurements. That a girl like Jennifer Love Hewitt can feel fat in a size 5? It's just not right. I have let myself get caught up in all that - I'm not going to lie. You hear it enough or get looked up and down enough that you fall into that way of thinking. Luckily, I snapped out of it. I'm working on my health and size because I'm not comfortable in my skin completely. Being honest, but I don't see myself ever getting into less than a size 10. That's just my body and I own that and am realistic about that. I go to Supercuts and buy my makeup at Wal-Mart. I use my Grandmother and Mother's beauty secret - Oil of Olay every single day to keep the wrinkles away. I have a few more wrinkles than I'd like, but that's my life lines. I own my appearance and my inexpensive clothes - because I don't spend a gazillion dollars - I can get more and still have money to enjoy life. Heels? I'm already Godzilla - no thank you plus they hurt and why do women do that to themselves? Beauty is what you make it. Own your look, your regimine, and don't ever compare yourself to the air brushed ladies in the magazines - it's a false reality! You are beautiful and let yourself age... take care of skin, but own god's graces. Whatever makes you feel good and stand tall is the right choice!

Life is ever evolving and ever changing. We're all growing, learning, and hopefully doing the best we can. It's all about observing and reflecting, but not too much. In the moment, you have to enjoy it and fully take it all in. Experience, Feelings, Pride & Integrity are important factors when reacting to any situation. If you aren't happy with the outcome - see if you can't control how you react, by thinking before jumping to a decision. Nurture the youth in your life instead of resenting them for their youth. Engage and enjoy - don't retract and gossip. Put yourself in other people's shoes. Take the "role" out of the picture and see those around you as people, not just your Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Daughter/Son... etc. Give far more than you get. Take only what you need. Love the person you are inside and out. You're beautiful! 

I don't pretend to know it all. I'm an observer and a deep thinker. My soul and spirit have a rich joy in life and all it has to offer. We all have different opinions and as long as we hold onto ours, but still keep an open mind, we can become closer to people and stronger in our characters. It's all about how you treat people. Recognize when you may be going against your grain or treating someone in a way you don't like to be treated. Reflect and try to remedy the situation. If you can. Don't be upset if a remedy is out of your control. Every relationship is a two way street. Yes, I merely sit and reflect onto this page. None of us are experts. There are so many different situations and experiences to go through that we will NEVER know it all and that's the beauty of this life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Approach & Attitude

In the past I've looked at the world with critical eyes and a hardened heart. I saw the pain and the hurt instead of seeing the joy and the laughter. I internalized my thoughts and devalued my worth and voice. I loathed my body, my appetite and my distaste for traditional exercise. I became a shell of a person because I started to listen to the critics and naysayers instead of listening to myself. This is no way to live. You fear everything and everyone. You feel stuck in your bland existence and find it hard to shine. When you're not yourself, you don't believe you deserve to shine. 

I have always struggled with my weight and my image. A great lover of Hollywood and all that it entails, I have always compared myself to those airbrushed beauties. This has given me a false sense of what it means to be beautiful. Recently, I've thrown those unrealistic ideals out the window. For about a month now I've stopped the crazy dieting and workouts. I'm mindful of my portions and what I eat, but no longer deprive myself. I also have changed what "working out" means. It doesn't have to be extreme or so repetitive that I get bored. Now I hike, walk/run, or just walk for an hour a day. Everyday my activity is something different which keeps it exciting and effective. Since February, when I became a vegetarian, I've felt lighter and more nourished. 70% of my diet is now made up of vegetables which are full of nutrients and vitamins. I have more energy and wake up ready to take on the day. I have also added vitamins to my daily regimen. I take a multi-vitamin along with one calcium and fish oil pill two times a day. After about 2 weeks of taking vitamins, I saw a huge difference in how I felt. Worth a try - for sure! 

When it comes to the pain and sadness out in the world - it's hard for me to be unaffected. I am the most sensitive person I know. I feel everything and even though emotions are inspiring, my emotions can hold me back or drag me down. I'm highly aware these days of what affects me. I choose to only watch the news one day a week. I want to be aware of current events, but I don't need to know every injustice happening throughout the world. I also try to avoid websites on the Internet that are constantly streaming news. It's all about being aware of what makes you tick. As the amazing Feist sings, "I feel it all..." I really do feel so many things fully that aren't mine to take on. It's all about acknowledging your reactions and either avoiding what makes you react or learning how to control the way you react. I also have found that the more you engage in the world around you, the more you do and experience - the less time you have to think. Though speculation and reflection are important, you can think too much and I'm guilty of that. More living, less thinking. 

Another form of thinking is stewing. When you block yourself off from the world and think about all the negatives in your life, you will never find a positive path. You have to open yourself up to life and what it has to offer. If you don't like a relationship you're in - change it or fix it. If you feel you don't have the tools to move on with your life to learn and grow, go out and acquire those tools. It is never too late to change. I think that is the best gift I have given myself. I no longer put up "dead end" or "detour" signs on my path. I realize that if I need to feel more secure - I can do so. If I want to go back to school - it's never too late. If I want to start a new career path - I can now. If I want to learn how to be a more loving, open person - I can now! If I don't feel I can communicate to my full potential - I can learn now! It's all about starting here. I have today to change my life and I'm taking it. 

Recently, I was listening to my Uncle speak of my Grandmother who had just passed away. She had lived a long, beautiful life and her life can be the model for many. My Uncle was explaining who she was: 
  • She never complained, she JUST DID IT 
  • She never blamed anyone else for anything 
  • She was reserved with her opinions until it really mattered 
  • She loved sports and music 
  • She had deep faith
  • She walked everywhere 
  • She loved her family and friends so dearly 
Listening in church, I realized that my Grandmother's life holds such a legacy and can be used as a guide of how to live. Those words in church changed my life. I was already feeling a shift in how I live and how I feel, but this experience changed me forever. I still cannot believe that my Grandmother is gone, but I know that all her children and grandchildren will keep her alive. The best tribute we can give to her is to live as brilliantly as she did.