Spirituality & Life

Details by La Mari of Chambao

I came across this song on Pandora and the sound, the lyrics, and most of all, the singer, La Mari’s voice penetrated me to the core. Just a beautiful song to share. It’s in Spanish, so I happily translated it to English for those who may not speak as the Spaniards do.

While listening to the music, I felt at peace, hopeful, encouraged, and inspired. I think I even remember physically feeling myself expanding from within, like my body was happy with what it was hearing.

So, whether you’re sitting down to polish up a story, perfecting a presentation, preparing for a photo shoot, growing a miracle inside your womb, or whatever other creative act you have planned for the day, the rest of the week, or year, I hope this song has similar effects on you…Enjoy!


Oh…I don’t know…
how to start…
No, I don’t know…how to
Take the step already.

Oh…I don’t know how to start…
No, I don’t know…how to
Take the step already.

To share my yearning to help others…
I give of myself this fresh and new opportunity
Working with
and respect…
the light of my conscious
that fills me with peace.

Opening my eyes real well
Paying attention to the details
Awakening my senses,
Uniting my being with the air

Opening my eyes real well
Paying attention to the details
Awakening my senses,
Uniting my being with the air

Escape from time and live without fear
Contemplate life and all of its mysteries…
Listen to the silence and lose myself within it
Find answers among the whispers in the wind

Opening my eyes real well
Paying attention to the details
Awakening my senses,
Uniting my being with the air

Connect with myself and wake up/wise up

Project my happiness, observe
And liberate my mind
To feel with clarity
That there is a new world
And enjoy the present.

Opening my eyes real well
Paying attention to the details
Awakening my senses,
Uniting my being with the air

Opening my eyes real well
Paying attention to the details
Awakening my senses,
Uniting my being with the air

Uniting my being with the air
Uniting my being with the air

Oh, I don’t know…

Here’s to inspirational, motivating sounds,


Art & Existence: Making the Convivial Distinction for 2012

One year ago, I re-launched my website from the name Convivial Society to The Convivial Woman and during the month of January, I went on digital sabbatical to read and write to determine my site’s purpose and overall message. The theme that kept coming up in my notes was Art, a person’s need to express it, and the joys and struggles of doing so. As the year progressed, I somehow ignored that underlying theme and experienced confusion with my focus.

Was this my platform to preach to women about how they needed to conduct themselves as women? What kind of friends, mothers, wives they needed to be? Choices they should make in their lives? No, it wasn’t. It was simply a way to express myself creatively via the written word, the art form that chose me, but calling myself The Convivial Woman began to play tricks on my mind and make me feel a little self-righteous. Like any stage name, there’s a persona that comes with it and I was still trying to figure out the difference so I could play my part right. I wasn’t here to fake anything.

Recently, I’ve made the distinction:

The Convivial Woman is to me what Sasha Fierce is to Beyonce- the muse, a name given the creative power that comes from within and drives you to create and release your art into the world. I am Cheryl Chavarria, the writer also known as The Convivial Woman. Period.

Clarity of purpose, of vision, of thy self makes you an unstoppable force.

The Convivial Woman does not exist to impose some idea of what the perfect woman should be, or tell women how to behave, how to save themselves, their relationships, or how to love and better support one other, though we desperately need more mentoring of women by women.

The Convivial Woman represents something grander. She represents Art…the creation of it and the defiant spirit that accompanies it. She exists to praise and promote human creativity and the idea that a work of art resides within each of us.

It’s about the art of convivial living, which centers around discovering the art and life within you, and making the conscious choice to express it as only YOU can do.

2012 is going to be a Work of A.R.T.

This year, The Convivial Woman is going to be all about making A Return To creative origins. For me that’s writing. What is it for you?

My focus is to write about how I lead, not necessarily how to lead, a convivial life, and what the art of convivial living means to me as I dedicate myself to the practice and creation of art, as well as the struggles that come with it.

In making the choice to follow your art, you will come to know your power and live a convivial life, for life itself is art. Whether it be a book, a business, blog, necklace, cake, lesson plan, a baby, new body / life for yourself, or even a simple meal for your family, it requires the courage to create. If you’re heart is in it, then it’s bound to be art worth admiring.

You are a Masterpiece. Live accordingly.

This is the message of The Convivial Woman, what I’m inspired to live by, and want to share with you. By pursuing my heart’s desire to write, I hope to encourage you to do the same, whatever your art may be, for that is the journey we share.

Go forth and create your reality,


The Art of Convivial Living

Hello kindred spirits. It’s been a while since my last “inscription.” WARNING: This blog is the mother of all blogs I’ve written. I’m playing catch up to cap off the year so hold tight and hang with me for a moment. I have much to say.

Since announcing my move to Austin, I’ve been quite the gypsy mama, traveling back and forth from Dallas to Austin. My husband and I have been on the house hunt since renting out our home in November and haven’t hit gold yet, but I’m patient and holding out for the most convivial home of them all. It’s out there and I’m ready to plant my feet on the grounds of the State Capitol of Texas, or somewhere close enough.

Changes are brewing on the convivial home front…

This being in limbo, not knowing where my family will hang their hat and call home screws with a lot. With any kind of move you make, there is no way it cannot change you, and it definitely plays tricks on your mind.

I like to know where I’m going, what the plan is, a woman who, as one friend put it, “requires a lot of answers,” and when there are so many unknowns, well, I’m gonna get antsy, uncomfortable, and I’ll do my best to keep my irritability in check, but I can’t guarantee it.

Not knowing where I’m settling causes unsettling feelings about what to plan for, what to talk about, and it’s created some resistance about writing- really just blogging. You see, I’m a perfectionist (I know…I’m working on letting up) and I put these expectations on myself to crank out a “masterpiece” and share something worthwhile, something profound, and eye-opening, with you, every time. And yet it’s a blog. But it’s much more for me. (more…)


In the midst of change, savor the convivial memories

I hope all is going great in your world and that you are facing each new day with the courage to do that ONE THING that your heart is calling you to do.

Today, my heart has me savoring all the good memories I’ve had in my Dallas home since this is the last weekend I will officially reside here.

I’m still in the midst of moving to Austin. Thankfully, I can say it hasn’t been stressful! Finding a home in our new city is taking a tad bit longer, but I know it’s coming. This delay gives me that much more time to consider all the memories my current home offered me.

Everything is falling into place as we say farewell to this space.

This was the home that birthed the idea of a Convivial Society (in my kitchen as I talked to a dear friend), where The Convivial Woman wrote late into the night (as my hard-working husband and sweet boys slept, the place I had many discussions with hubby about creating our family’s future in Austin, where we made our first attempts at cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners…

It’s where I shared the news and sonogram picture with my husband of our first and second baby, where we enjoyed many playdates and visits from family and friends, where I designed the convivial website with the help of some very talented people, where I hosted one unforgettable brunch for some special women in my garden. There’s so much to remember and appreciate…

It’s easy to look ahead and imagine yourself somewhere new, somewhere different, but there is always something to gain from the moment, the current experience, wherever it is spent, with whomever.

With any big change you make, uncertainty is…certain.

I have tons of questions about this next chapter in my life.

Where will I live?

What new friendships await me?

How will my current friendships hold up with the distance?

How will this town proclaiming to keep things weird nurture my convivial spirit?

How’s it going to feel putting “roots down” finally?
(I was so resistant to doing so in Dallas)

How will it feel being three hours away from my parents
(we’ve always been close)?

Who will help me with my kids when on convivial business and hubby’s not available? (Mom was five minutes away!)

How will my husband and I create more romance in this Texas hot spot?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to settle into the now, but I’m working that muscle right NOW by writing. It’s my version of spirituality…the creative kind. This whole business of “being present” of focusing on the “now”-I say, that’s what you call practicing faith. It’s having faith when you don’t know what is ahead and you don’t have all the answers. It’s a conscious choice to find peace and comfort with what is, right now.

When it comes to what you truly desire, your efforts follow a close second behind.

When entering a new phase of life, sharing your writing, your product, your service, simply who you are with the world, be prepared to feel uncertainty for the details of your path won’t always be clear cut, but you can get clear by cutting all that you know is not serving you or bringing you closer to that ONE THING your heart beats for. Only you know what that is…

The world is full of opinions and judgment and everyone is working to figure out their own way. For that reason, concentrate on yourself and make every effort to live according to that convivial vision only you can have for your life.

Here’s to peace, love, and constant change,

P.S. EXTRA EXTRA: I’m writing a book! I would love for you to join me on this new adventure! Join me on The Convivial Woman fanpage so I can share all the juicy details with you as they happen!


CHOOSING (where) TO LIVE: following my heart to Austin, TX

In 2009, I took this picture while showing my husband around Austin, Texas. We were passing through a random neighborhood near downtown and a small sign hanging to the side of this home’s front door caused me to hit the brakes and reverse with tires screeching, saying, “Oh my God, I don’t believe this!” When my husband got a closer look, he was just as baffled. More on the sign’s message soon…

Two years later, I’m here to tell you my family is moving from Dallas to Austin, TX. This potential move has been at the forefront of our dinner table conversation since I first proposed the idea in 2009, so it’s cause for me to jump for joy!

There were many times I thought it might not ever happen

-initially, my husband wasn’t eager about starting over in a new city. Most men aren’t. However, he eventually grabbed onto the anchor I kept throwing out to him from my imaginary turquoise-colored sailboat. You know, the one I’ve yet to buy to set asail on the waters of Lake Travis…it’s on my To-Have list once I settle in Austin. Hey, who said dreams can’t have a domino effect?

Before The Convivial Woman came to be, this space was known as Convivial Society and the mantra I was inspired to live by was

“Know Your Power. Live Your Life.”

For many years, I had this lingering feeling of resistance when it came to settling down in Dallas. Big D was where I was brought by my parents at age 16 to live after my brother started getting involved in Chicago street gangs.

I finished high school here, got my start in Banking while I put myself through college, thus graduating from The University of Texas at Dallas, and I found love and got married here.

I was busy and had my head in a lot of things, but once all those projects were complete, my heart was free to roam.

I acquired many friendships and enjoyed living five minutes away from mom and dad, but still…every time I’d travel, there went that lingering feeling again.

Initially, I wanted to move to San Francisco or back to Chicago, but I allowed outside factors and other people’s feelings to get in the way of my personal endeavors. So, I stayed put. I tried the whole “Change your thoughts, Change your life” mentality and told myself, “If Mark Cuban can make it here, I can too!” But I was lying to myself which only fueled the fire within.

I’d already had my first son, a cute little house and two dogs to call home, but it wasn’t all I envisioned. Was I an unsatisfied, ungrateful woman for wanting more, or perhaps just something slightly different? I didn’t think so.

I was willing to make adjustments and be flexible in my dreaming, but not fully surrender it.

Knowing that I didn’t want to venture too far from mom and dad (for grandkids sake- I know what it’s like to grow up without extended family and holiday get togethers) I decided if there was anywhere in Texas I wanted to be, it was Austin.

I tapped into my 6-year-old little girl’s mind and remembered the hills and winding roads, the sweetest summer time nectarines picked up at H.E.B., the grandeur of the state capitol building, and the feeling of care-free joy when I visited my family in this Texas town. It truly felt like a homecoming for me. Every time. Can’t forget to mention my first tour of 6th street riding on my uncle’s Harley at 16 years old!

Austin reminded me of my family, my roots, something so familiar to me, so I set my sights on her and gathered the courage to tell my hubby.

It was a bumpy ride at first, but I told myself that compromising this feeling would be fatal to my fierce spirit.

There were times when it seemed not worth fighting for, but as I stared out toward my backyard one morning, I remember thinking to myself (just as a tear rolled down my cheek) that I’d be a hypocrite to talk the talk of “Know Your Power, Live Your Life” if I didn’t walk the walk and fight the fight…IF it had to be one at all. It was a true test of will and desire and thankfully, my husband and I made it happen… together. That is KEY.

In the early stages of this dream, when it seemed hard to get on the same page, I once imagined myself driving down I-35 toward Austin, yelling out the window like Winona Ryder in Mermaids, “I wanna lead a violent and exciting liiiiiiife!”- with belongings in tow and hubby tied up in the trunk, of course. There’s a Thelma and Louise aspect to me, but I wasn’t determined to make it happen that way!

Compromises can be made, but when it comes to what makes you happy, if the other doesn’t give you a chance to explore that feeling, then there are other issues to consider between the two of you.

And the compromises have to feel good for both or they’ll resurface in other ways later. So, be true to you and everyone reaps the benefits, even if there’s resistance at first.

So, we’re off to the state capitol of Texas and in search of our next home! It’s bitter sweet to be packing up and a surreal sensation to be the one putting up the “For Rent” sign in front of my house. Kinda felt like I was in an old school 21st Century real estate commercial!

Now, about that sign on a random house in Austin two years ago…

When it comes to listening to my heart and being the one to choose a place where I could feel truly at home, here’s why I believe someone, somewhere, somehow was conspiring in my favor two years ago…it said:

Know your power…Live your life. Indeed.

P.S. What deep desires have you been shoving to the back burner? How badly do you want to taste them? What’s it going to take for you to act on them? I’d love to hear from you!


A Convivial Homecoming: A Return to Chicago and Myself

After the dip, there’s only one way to go and that is up.

Taking a trip back to my hometown of Chicago, the place where I spent the most influential years of my life, proved to be a great way to bring me back to the core of who I am after I’d experienced a dip in my own life.

During my time there, my hubby grabbed us some wheels at Bobby’s Bike Hike and we biked from Navy Pier along the lakeshore to Fullerton avenue to Clark street to Wrigley Field and all the way back down Clark to the Willis Tower! If you’re a local, you’ll know how much distance we covered! If not, I’m gonna guess we did about 15-20 miles.

I gathered with my old neighborhood pals, friends with whom I kept the Sabbath day holy (back in my parentally-imposed religious days), and with grammar school chums.

Among other typical tourist spots, we also (more…)


6 Convivial Tips To Bounce Back From Rejection

“People will forget what you say, what you do, but they never forget how you made them feel.”
-Maya Angelou

Rejection…being judged…it happens to us all.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of rejection. Like these moments in particular…

I’m in New York at a conference that promotes authenticity, love, and support for your fellow woman in business. After the first night’s activities, I get invited to have dinner with some women whose work I love and support, then (more…)


5 Natural Remedies for a Convivial Woman’s Depression

Hey Convivial world of mine!

It’s been 3 months and I’m back. At least, I think it’s been that long since I last felt my true self.

Confession: I think I experienced depression for the first time.

I actually googled the symptoms and had many of them. Fatigued. Check. Hard time getting out of bed to face the day. Check. Preferred extreme isolation to socialization. Yup. Lack of focus and clarity. Writers block. A sense of hopelessness. All there in the imaginary dark room with me.

Having the sudden blues from one moment to the next. Oh yeah. Not being able to tear myself away from episode after episode of Mob Wives and Basketball Wives. Yikes! One could argue and say I was doing “research” to better understand the dynamics of female relationships, but I’m not one to shit ya…THAT’S when I knew something was seriously wrong!

I’m a full-time mama who is committed to nurturing her individuality, the writer in her, and building a convivial brand of her own

BUT I do the writing and empire building once my little bambinos hit the hay. It’s not always an easy feat, it can get overwhelming, and all three adventures (mama, writer, entrepreneur) take a ton of practice and patience.

Word to ya muthas: There’s no place like the home we make and no such thing as “life balance.” Don’t quote me on that, I’m just living it. I continue to juggle and drop occasional balls, but the key is learning to pick up your delicate heart along with all the balls and keep juggling. My own lessons continue and I just want to be brave enough to write about them here.

The Scoop on how things went down…low. (more…)


Behold: The Official Anthem of The Convivial Woman

It’s a great day when you hear a song that touches you, speaks to your heart, expresses how you feel or want to feel.

I’m writing at 6:45am, because 1) I haven’t been able to sleep all night, and 2) I’ve finally stolen time away for myself to share this news:

I’m officially adopting a song for The Convivial Woman!

First, let me tell you which songs it will NOT be: (more…)


A Continual Test of Strength: Speaking Up For Yourself

I’m lucky enough to have friends I can look in the face and with whom I can be completely honest.

I’m the kind of personality that doesn’t want to condition people to simply tell me what they think I want to hear.

I want the truth. Even if sometimes it’s not pretty.

For that reason, I use to think that being completely honest with someone, even if what I was saying was hard to handle, was showing that person respect, but not everyone is on the same wavelength. What I continually learn through experience is to

know when to share the truth and when to simply offer love.

I don’t always get it right every time, but my intention is there.

In today’s video, (yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a video!) I talk with my dear friend, Nina about this whole business of speaking your truth and letting people know where you stand- politely, of course. We’re all continually evolving and learning, so I hope our discussion serves you well and I encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences on the subject!

We all learn from one another if we’re willing to share.

NOTE: There is a lot of background noise which I tried to minimize with iMovie, but that would’ve minimized our voices too, so please forgive my lack of film editing skills and the background noise and try to focus on us! I’ll get better with time and practice.

P.S. Gotta love those screen shot expressions lol

Convivially yours,


On the day you were born…

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Rajneesh

The photo you see is my belly when I was pregnant with my first son back in 2007 (just tilt your head to the left and you’ll see it right!)

I decided to post the photo this way, because it makes me think of the earth, a globe, and to me, that looks like mother nature’s hands keeping the world in tact. ‘Cause you know that’s what us mamas do!



The PowerHouse Series: Megan Monique Interviews Me

Can you imagine standing in the middle of a football field with friday night lights flashing on you? No one in the stands, no one on the field, just you and everything significant about your life being cast in the spotlight for the world to see.

Could you imagine if there was someone or something out there that could give your life such an illuminating effect? How amazing, enlightening and oh so much fun that would be! Well, guess what? I know someone who is a Life Illuminator and she’s my friend, Megan Monique Harner.

She’s been featured on here once before as a very special model for The Convivial Woman Photography Project: Episode 2 and she offers Life Illumination Courses to anyone who wants to take a magnifying glass to see how wondrous their life already is. I’ve had the chance to peek at some of her course activities and they are really cool. What’s cooler is her course lasts a whole month!

Megan offered me the sweetest gig one Friday afternoon. She asked me to participate in her PowerHouse Series of interviews. Moi? A PowerHouse? But of course! Lights, camera, action! I must say we shared quite the convivial moment together and I’m pleased to share the video here:

The PowerHouse Series with Cheryl Chavarria from MeganMonique on Vimeo.

Get to know Megan Monique Harner by following her on twitter @meganmonique and make sure to check out her Life Illumination Courses if you’re up for some fun self-discovery.

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