Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, it's been real... really.

Perhaps one of my favorite places to spend time at is a coffee shop. In between student counseling sessions, I pause to check Facebook. Everyone posts on how today is the last day of 2014, the last page of the book that is that last year in our lives, and reminders of the opportunity that tomorrow will bring: a new year begins, a new book to start writing the epic novel that is life; a blank canvas to paint a colorful image morphed into something stemmed from our minds and thoughts...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right??

Here's my third December 31, new year's eve post on my blog.  All three might sound the same if you flip back and read, but I can guarantee one thing: I am not the same person. And that is OK.

This year, 2014, has been quite fascinating. Yes, fascinating is the first word that came to mind. The word is appropriate because it can be both equally, shimmering in all things positive as well as the challenging. Of course, by challenging, I embrace challenges as lessons, needed as they are at first rejected.  Bring them on, for that is how we learn and be better; how I learn and become a better version of myself.

Along with the given (NOT to be taken for granted) blessings in my life, my loved ones and family, my friends, old and new, the year brought with it a reminder of who I am, who I have always been and who I am meant to be. It was a great reminder, that while it may have come with a tiny bit of pain, it has been worth it...

So, what did I remember I had not quite forgotten, but appreciated a reminder about?? ;)
I am in love with education, higher education to be exact. I need intellectual stimulation, so knowledge, you will be nurtured more. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experiences with others, students, adults, whoever. I put others' needs before mine and (as the reminder, reminded me) got a little sick along the way... No bueno! ;) Got over it, moving on. Like I wrote on my 40th birthday, it's OK to be a little self-caring at times, and it is NOT being selfish if you need to take care of yourself in other to take care of others. Caso Cerrado!

Careers shifted, passions reignited and risks are being taken. I am a heart-felt, emotional piece of Puerto Ricanness that will NOT omit my natural "me" regardless of where I live and where I work. While I am a careful and meticulous planner, I stepped out my comfort zone and decided to take one day at a time... OMG, it's oh so scary, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I had grown content, complacent and, dare I admit, jaded. That's NOT me. Life is for living, as my Camp Horizons boss always said... Every day is a gift. Every day brings new challenges and blessings, equally...  The question is and will always be... how will I react and handle them?

PAUSE if you need a break if this post turns overly positive. Sorry, but I am not sorry. Positive is what I am, is how I feel and how I need to face the rest of my days, NO MATTER what 2015, or any new day, year, may bring. Is it easy? Hell no. The truth is I HAVE NO CHOICE. Yes, we have a choice in how we react to actions, words, circumstances. My choice is not to have a choice but be positive. I make a promise to you, the world, the Universe and to all that is holy, to face whatever this year brings with the best attitude possible and to channel thoughts through the tunnel of love.  Why?
Why not....

I wish the same to you all.... Let this year be the most positive year, wherever we are, whatever we do, whoever we are. Happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


My first post, a little over two years ago, was all about processing a million thoughts in my head. It seems there's a massive gathering of people all wanting my attention at the same time. Hmm, it looks as if this year's meeting is taking place whether I like it or not, when I so politely declined the invitation to attend...  Right.

The colorful array of thoughts represent different types of people. Those in attendance represent the "to-do list" or the mom-types, smothering, controlling, loving tough. Others are the overly-emotional, letting the heart sucker-punch the mind so emotions can flow (too much at times), just to turn around and allow the mind to embrace it with thoughts of fear and worry. In comes the confident, no-nonsense "I am stronger than this" thought, as the peace maker. Her voice trying to speak firm, but kindly and loud enough she can be heard and hopefully, bring consensus to this gathering. In the corner, the intellectual stands quietly observing what's going on, analyzing, assessing the situation to see if the heart and the mind, the most powerful vessels of thoughts can agree to disagree. And move on.

Think of these types of thoughts, as member chapters representing the different thoughts that mosey on into our minds when something happened, happens or is about to happen.  Each chapter has over 50 members. Quite crowded for my mind... ;) but what can we, I, do about it? Can I attempt to be diplomatic and ask them to find another mind to clutter, especially, before 4:00 a.m. Sigh... Well, let's take a stab at this...

It's the holiday season. Christmas is coming. Advent to some of us, Catholics, is a time to wait, anticipate the "good news" to come in the shape of a baby. A new life, a new hope, a new future. Ok, yeah, we know that. What about the now, and the million thoughts in my head fighting for my attention, right here? Right now. What does that have to do with all of this?  --- Queue thoughts talking to themselves- in my head. ;)

"We need to do our best to take one thing at a time. To speak, one at a time; be heard, listened to, one at a time. There's no need to worry --yes, I am looking at you, worrier--  take one thing at time and accept that what you see is what you get. If it's not there, if it hasn't happened, don't worry. If you don't hear it, see it, it's OK. Some things are meant to just be... so let it go. Each and everyone of us is causing anxiety by fighting for room in Jess' mind. We need to know our boundaries. We need to cut her a little slack and tone it down a notch. Perhaps, mom-type, relax a bit, while staying firm about the kid's school year. It's slowly getting better. We know you care about that, but relax.

No-nonsense and intellectual decide to work together and to ease the job situation and enable Jess to take advantage of the here and now, go with the flow and see where the universe will lead. Enjoy the time, the present, for it may not be as flexible in the future. And even if there's too much of it and you feel like you need to stay busy, that's OK. This time is yours and yours alone. Use it wisely."

The heart (thoughts) and the mind (thoughts) were staring at each other, like a duel at high noon where cowboys were locked in sight, sweating pouring down their faces waiting to see who would shoot first.  The room went silent. Jess' mind quiet for the first time in at least a month. Waiting.

The mind held its hand up like asking for truce. Walked straight up to the heart and said it was sorry. The heart just listened. Said nothing. "I am so sorry for cluttering your judgment and taking advantage of your sensitivity. My negative side wanted to camp out, and stay. So much has happened and since you always win, I wanted to one-up you. I promise to let my positive side take over and allow you to be who you are, and if you allow me, help you channel emotions rationally and not as emotionally as usual. I am not perfect, but I will do my best to protect you from my negative side, especially now, at Christmas. This is my promise and my renewal to you."

The heart, stunned at what she had heard, responded in a calm, collected manner when let's admit it, everyone expected the tears to flow, like a waterfall in Niagara.

"Thank you. I appreciate everything you do for me. I am sorry for allowing the unnecessary stress come between us. We need to work together. To better communicate and to understand where each of us is coming from. I have allowed you to come into Jess' mind and forget I am here. I am not saying you can't come in at all, on the contrary. Please do, let's sit by the fire. But, I am glad you said your negative side will not overpower your positive side. It has devastating consequences and the fact is that I am frail. I think we all are, where the heart is concerned. However, don't underestimate my power, for I come from a line of folks that are all heart, and while we need to tone-it down and control the intensity of our blood-pumping power, we must protect Jess and not over do it. My promise to you is to stay in check. Not to change who I am and how I function, but to be more aware and balance the emotion part of our partnership. Key word is partnership. I am also not perfect and I know when I have to say I am sorry. I am whole-heartedly - chuckle for pun ;) - sorry for doing my own thing and not letting you join in the conversation, even if we agree to disagree. I will from now on allow you to be part of the conversation and decision making process for Jess, as long as it's your positive side. I will listen and respect where you are coming from. I will beat strong and loving for you, for our partnership. This is my renewal and promise to you."

And with that, all thoughts looks at each other and together left the cluttered space that was my mind for peaceful flows of fresh air to breeze through...

Wow, folks, I've been up since 3:30 a.m. I haven't had my coffee (catastrophic GASP!!!!) but I am wide away, and I am OK. Thank you for allowing me to help my many thoughts chill for a bit, and express themselves. They were too loud and they needed a time-out. Funny, as I am processing everything I wrote, I realized, all they needed was probably to be listened to. I gave them space, a little attention by putting them into writing so I can let them go... and flow and move on.

It is the holiday season. Indeed a time for renewal, to be grateful. A time for patience in the middle of stress, reflection and pause in the midst of uncertainty. But most of all, it is a time of hope, faith and love. I have asked my thoughts, all different types of thoughts, from emotional to rational, that moving forward they always remember this conversation they had with each other and the consensus they came to. Their promise to work together in hope, faith and love... May we all have the blessing and opportunity to pause and reflect, assess what's going on in our lives, learn from it and move on in hope, faith and love...

Half an hour more and Starbucks opens... ;) Have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Simple nudges we can't take for granted...

Simple nudges we can't take for granted...
T'was February 1998 and while the cast ate, not an eye I found staring, not even my date....

LOL, I crack myself up. That's it for the "Night Before Christmas" reference, for this Rican will admit not knowing how the rest goes... just thought it was fun to start that way.

Anyway, what happened February 1998, was pretty cool, at least for me. My cast of 160 plus people, were either enjoying dinner, doing a last sound and light check on stage, getting their make-up and hair done or signing up on the following day's bus date schedule. UP WITH PEOPLE reference for you, mere mortals, you haven't had the blessing, pleasure and honor to know and be part of this amazing organization that gave me the world and so much more...

While all that was swiftly taking place, I snuck out and ran.  The show was to start about an hour and half later, and I didn't feel like eating dinner. I wanted to work out. Hmmm, where to go. We are in a high school, somewhere in Florida, and for obvious reasons I didn't have access to the students' gym.
Alas, I went outside and saw the track, and jackpot! The gate was open. I began my sprint...

For all who've known me for years may see that if there's a remote physical resemblance to my mother now, it was never there when I was little. I was chubby and I knew it... I was chubby and I was told, over and over and over again. En español, "ay, estas goooorda." Well, after those awkward years of 12-14 came high school, then college... and the freshman 15, or what it 50? Ask my roommates.

Why write about this? Simple, I am not gorda anymore, but the sting of the comments when I was growing up lingered. This is not an entry about eating disorders or joining the track team. The lesson I want to share is, be kind and watch what and how you say things when addressing another person, your loved one, a child.

Eventually, I had to learn to tune out negative comments and make peace with me and who I am, I got over it. Unfortunately, as I grew out of the "taking it in the face" stage and began to defend myself, at times, even explain myself,  and didn't always watch how I was saying what I was saying. I have learned to watch what I say, when I say what I have to say... tongue twisted already? ;) In other words, think a little bit harder before we, I speak.

My son, as a pre-adolescent, hormones out of whack, but magnificent, big-hearted boy, reminds me, "No offence, Mama, but you need to zip it"--- that's when I know I have said enough, or perhaps, I have said something in a way I shouldn't. Thanks, kid, for in the midst of juggling so many balls in the air, the main one labeled "speak from a place of love" slips and I have to quickly find my own balance in order to keep the juggling going.

Back to running... I now have developed an interest and actually, enjoy, a sprint or a jog on almost a daily basis. I do it for my health. I do it because it keeps me fit and I do it because I feel GREAT afterwards, actually happy. There are no plans to join a club, or gym, or to run a marathon anytime soon. My body responds well to this and it shows.

All of this relates, mind you. The running helps me stay in shape and my ticker ticking. I feel good, and I look good. It makes me happy and others around me see it, actually benefit from it. ;) Recently, I was TOLD, you "need" to go for your run... ;)  AND all was well afterwards.

Turning 40 has been more eye opening than just adding more anti-wrinkle cream to my maintenance routine. It's been only a month and a day since I began this new decade, which I have stated before, is regarded as the best for women!!! Already I have been reminded of love, friendship, family, and so many blessings to be grateful for. It also has pinched and nudged me not to raise my voice when it is unnecessary, to be patient and not to worry so much about little things that may be little to everyone, except to me, and to always, always speak from a place of love, even when what I am facing a challenge. Another great reminder, which never hurts to hear, is that if a mistake is made, a cruel word is spoken or in an unloving way, own it and apologize and speak from a place of love. Never take for granted those who stand by you, who love you and tell you. They are still around because they do care, for reals. :)

We've dwelled enough... The lesson is simple and a positive one. Well, maybe two lessons braided into one: do what it takes to feel good, healthy, and happy, for it will only allow you to love, act, BE and speak in love.