Wellness & Holistics
I love the subtle nuances in language you encounter when you sit down to write. You end up pleasantly surprised by the unexpected gifts your muse can bring once you show up for the moment.
While preparing to write this post, I thought to share how I’ve been in the process of re-creating certain aspects of my life, and I initially wrote, “I am in process of recreation.”
I stopped and looked at that last word and thought,
“Now, that’s an oddball way to say that… re-creating vs. recreation?”
Or is it?
To describe re-creating oneself or life, I subconsciously used the word that means “refreshment of strengths and spirits after work,” a term whose Latin origin means to “restore to health.”
The more I think about it, that’s what writing does for me—it restores me.
The problem I face, like many other well-meaning writers, is I don’t give my health, er, writing, the front row seat it deserves. I neglect it, take it for granted, put it off, blab about my desire to improve it, and feel guilty and inadequate for not making it an everyday practice. Ugh, so much angst and shame surrounds this idea when I spell it out in that way.
But it wasn’t always like that…
When I was nine years old, I went to the store with my mother and came across a fuchsia-colored, cloth-bound book with blank pages inside and instantly made a friend. I asked to take this new friend home and mom agreed—no outside influences necessary, my request was based on a simple desire to write. That’s it. I had no expectations, no goals, no agenda, no ego.
I picked up a pen (no deep breaths required), and had my first exchange with page one.
It went like this… “Today I ate eggs and Grandma and Grandpa are visiting us from Texas…” That was the start to a lifelong relationship between me and writing.
I visited my new friend on a periodic basis and as the years past, I filled up page after page with details about how I felt, things I ate, places I went, and boys I liked. My infatuation with a guy named Ricky got what newspapers and magazines would consider full page spreads—I was clearly mesmerized by his dirty blond hair, white skin, blue eyes, and that Puerto Rican bubble butt.
(What, you didn’t think women noticed too?)
I became a writing zealot, a devout scribe to my deity, The Page… it proved to be my sanctuary of sorts.
Instead of rubbing rosary beads, I was kneading ballpoint pens between my fingers, releasing whatever demons plagued me at the moment. Happily, I knelt at the edge of my bed many a night to confess my innermost thoughts. This faithful act kept my emotions in check and calmed my mind when life didn’t make sense. I had little to no understanding of anxiety, procrastination, resistance or feeling a sense of obligation when it came to engaging with this faithful friend.
My family saw me writing often and, for the most part, they respected my privacy—except that one time my brother grabbed my diary and read it in front of the neighbor boy. Why did he have to randomly open to the page that began, “Today I started wearing a training bra…”? That story followed me to school the next day and I had a few of the other guys teasing me about my newly developing body. Dirty looks and silence were my response, but I licked my wounds, returned home and worked it out onto the page.
When my mother was busy loving my brother and actually raising me, I wrote about the unfairness of being the girl. When I experienced my first French kiss—with Ricky, of course—I wrote about that 25 minute ordeal (read: this burgeoning adolescent girl’s dream come true). When I had some run-ins with mean girls at school, I cursed and wrote about them.
Pre-pubescent little girl diaries with front cover key locks became hormonal teen girl five-subject notebook journals.
As the years passed, I enjoyed rereading my journals and seeing the changes I went through, laughing at myself and with others as I did open book readings with friends on my front stoop. My handwriting and language evolved from one book to another. I was able to evaluate myself as a person and decide, “Yuck…I cursed a lot there, not attractive…Wow, I was hateful…Ugh, what crappy friends, never again…” Those moments of recognition were the seeds of self-awareness being gently planted within me.
Thanks to my unacknowledged writing habit, I was unknowingly making decisions about the woman I wanted to be, on paper and in person.
Although I didn’t realize the benefits of what I was doing, self-reflection was at work and these seemingly unimportant moments of recreation were actually doing their part to create the person I am today.
When it came to writing, there was never a question of what I wanted to say, whether I was good enough to say it, whether the story was worth telling…it was merely about release and play and self-expression.
Eventually, that intimate practice of writing atop bunk beds late at night, sitting at the kitchen table, and scribbling in front of my Chicago brownstone on warm summer days translated to a young girl who had a high regard for herself. Writing granted me a healthy dose of self-worth without the conscious pursuit of it. Writing was an outlet for peace and solace. I wrote as if I was speaking to someone separate from me, yet it was a form of cultivating a relationship with me all along.
As I grew up, I took breaks from writing because I got busy living and there was no guilt in my absence.
I became your everyday working girl, newly graduated from college, and when I wanted to slow down, I’d do so at the page.
It wasn’t until I jumped the corporate cliff and made the announcement, “I want to be a writer” that I somehow lost the feeling the act brought me.
I was mentally unprepared to handle the struggle I encountered balancing something that brought me peace once I put a price on it. Declaring myself a writer was unnecessary because I was one already. Without realizing, I had embarked on a search for validation for something that didn’t need to be proven.
Instead of going to confession with pen and paper in hand, I started to rely on conversations with others about my feelings, about the confusion I was experiencing on this trail that had only my name on it. I almost started to believe that other people had the answers I needed, that the accolades and social proof behind them was suppose to give me comfort in asking for directions to where I needed to go—as if they knew. That wasn’t the key that would unlock the door to what once brought me and could always bring me peace.
Looking outside of yourself for answers has a dizzying effect and takes you nowhere.
Show up for you, for the YOU in fresh canvas form to weigh things out in your own mind first. Give time to what nurtures and grounds you…the practice of writing, or whatever art form that chooses you. There are many outlets—sports, music, writing, painting, building a business, etc. Become engaged in yours, regularly, so you don’t become stagnant and polluted by what can cause you to feel jaded or confused about life. It can get pretty weird out there.
Writing, or whatever art form you practice, has a grounding effect and it’s crucial that you remember to do it for this purpose, not for your own personal glory, for likes, or validation.
I’m fully aware that my words could land on deaf ears because each one of us has to take a ride for ourselves to discover these truths. It’s hard won wisdom and it cannot be earned any other way.
I’m not here to dish grand advice on how to live right, but to encourage you to simply write (or however you creatively unleash on life). Do it because it makes you feel good, because it strengthens you, and if you approach it with that intention, or better yet, with no intention at all, you will experience true recreation in this very pure act and end up creating something unexpectedly amazing.
Those moments when you are stared at blankly or laughed at frankly… grab a hold of them and make them your experiment on paper.
When you write it out, you inevitably write it off, and THAT is what restores you again and again and again.
Live, write, release, restore… go for that full circle effect, my friend.Tweet
There are moments in your life when you have to pay attention to what life is throwing at you and act accordingly.
Sometimes, all can be going smoothly; other times, everything can be going to sh*t. What do you do when its the latter?
As I must often learn, the more you resist the change you are needing to make, the more momentum you give the forces working against you.
This is when you have to (more…)Tweet
The smell of fresh fruit and vegetables emanating from the revolving doors of Daily Juice were too enticing to pass up, so we stepped inside and ordered the Green Ocean (Cucumber, Apple, Spirulina, Marine Phyplankton).
I prefer to save my cash and juice at home on my Breville – something I’ve been doing for the last five years – but today we splurged. I have to say, though…the wait was way too long (20 minutes) so I will avoid going there at lunch time again.
As their mama and first teacher, I know it’s up to me to train my son’s taste buds for healthy eating…
That’s why I made certain they fell in love with Natalia Rose‘s Green Lemonade drink as babies and I’ve kept up the task of introducing new foods to their palate each day.
For the record, my oldest son loved his green juice, but my little one was like, “Whatever…” I know, I know…you can’t convert them all.
How about you…are you a green juice lover? Do you juice at home? Or could you seriously care less? It’s all good whichever way you go.Tweet
Self-care is a form of trusting, listening, seeking, yearning, surrendering…it’s purpose is convivial at the core.
This is the story of my convivial discovery of an Ancient Mayan massage therapy and how I came to the understanding that you are your body’s advocate and its up to you to find the many ways that nurture, restore, and heal you…
Once upon a time, I headed to Mexico for a much needed sabbatical after quitting my job in Banking. I left behind my husband, my home, my parents; my country, language, currency, and all certainty to walk the cobble-stoned streets of San Miguel de Allende with the intention to restore myself to who I once knew myself to be…a writer.
My first week in town, I went to the mercado and purchased what I thought was a fresh bowl of albondigas (meatball soup). After taking a long walk and climbing the steps of El Chorro to reach the peak streets of this colorful central Mexican town, I knew Moctezuma had spiked my soup with drano, because I fell ill that night with chills and fever.
My mother-in-law, concerned for me, recommended I visit La Dona Chole, “‘pa que te de una sobada…” My Spanish was getting better by the day, but I still had to put two and two together to understand that she was suggesting (more…)Tweet
The weekend is upon us – my gosh, seriously, where do the days go? Friday’s the day we usually start daydreaming of how to make this weekend a memory that lasts and my brain’s already on overdrive.
What plans are you thinking up right now? A night out with family and friends…entertaining guests in town…hosting or dining out on a savory meal? I gotta say…
I feel like Mountain Biking!
The last time I switched gears like that, I was 15 and was attending a summer camp program in Orr, Minnesota. That experience turned out to be the best six weeks of my teenage life! I remember biking up a boulder and winning the camp medal for being super fast and first to arrive back that day.
I never forgot that heavenly experience and want to relive it as an adult woman. I hear St. Croix has great trails, and you can’t go wrong with Colorado or any one of these other destinations. And when I can’t hop on a plane to take a vacay, I’m so happy to know my Austin has some great spots to hike and bike.
What’s been on your radar of things to do, places to go?
Indifference to someone’s ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires, concerns and fears can kill so much between cherished individuals.
When someone shows courage and speaks a deep desire, a wish, or they share a long-time or completely new dream with you, understand that THAT is an honor if you are on the receiving/listening end.
When someone trusts you enough to share something so close to their heart AND something they fear, keep in mind that by speaking up, they have just walked across a tight rope, then leaped over a self-imposed safety net that existed to keep them exactly where they are in life.
Do you remember how scary it felt to share a deep desire or a dream you had with another person?
We have to take great care with one another’s heart’s desires.
When someone speaks up and declares how they feel, what they want to change, and what they intend to do about it…know that they are taking the first crucial step of busting out of a box they have been comfortably sitting in for who knows how long.
Your thoughts become your reality, so by taking the faint whispers of your heart and putting them out in the open for another person to hear and know, you are declaring your desire to change the story you’ve been telling yourself and the world.
You are deciding to begin anew, to recreate yourself.
That someone, that dreamer, can be you.
If you are the one who is lucky enough to be on the listening end in that grand moment, YOU are a chosen one, you are the secondary ears and eyes for that potential vision, and if you care enough, you can play a role, a part in their success – you can be a co-creator of their happiness.
They have spoken ALOUD what many are afraid to admit – what they want, need, yearn for, fear.
I’ve been that dreamer speaking my desires and dreams aloud to certain individuals for a long time now and I have learned to decipher between those who care, those who don’t, and those who don’t KNOW how to care.
When I first embarked on my path to writing for the best city news magazine in Dallas, I was excited about simply getting my foot in the door and wanted to share how I was feeling with a friend. When I began talking about what I was doing at the office, my friend cut me off, flicked her hand and said, “Oh, you’re just fetching coffee for them there!” Talk about getting shot DOWN, huh?
Being as self-aware and emotionally driven as I am, those sorts of moments hit me deep, because I would never dream of doing that to a friend.
Every single one of us is a dreamer.
Not everyone of us is a doer, though.
That has nothing to do with ability, but about the choice to take action.
The dreaming for 2013 has already begun for so many…what are you ready to make happen?
Depending on how self-motivated you are, and especially who you surround yourself with, who you choose to hear you out when its dream-speaking time, is a big factor in going from dreamer to doer.
For that reason, it’s important to be attentive, be conscious, be considerate, be open, be available when someone chooses you.
There is a reason they have chosen you, and its not convenience.
Don’t be indifferent.
One day, it will be your turn to speak up. If you dare.
However well you listen can determine how well you will be heard when your time comes to share what’s in your heart.
Your dreams are fed by the amount of nurturing you do for another person’s dream mapping.
Don’t be indifferent.
Be willing to dream with them.
We are all in this together.
P.S. if you’re ready to embark on a quest to the masterpiece within you in 2013, take the first step and grab your copy of my book ‘Convivial’ – its one experiential read that can set you on your way to the creative, convivial life that awaits you.Tweet
- I was the new girl at the three elementary and high schools I attended.
- I stopped talking to my best friend in the 8th grade and found myself a loner at school.
- My neighbors announced they were moving back to Mexico–this was a family of five siblings I spent every day with outside of school. My summer was officially over.
- My family moved back to Texas and every friend I’d grown up with was left behind in Chicago. That included my boyfriend.
- I became a mother and while transitioning into that lifestyle, I found a new circle of friends, only to find myself turned off by their competitive mommy behavior and walked away.
- Moving to a new city with my family and feeling extremely happy, yet knowing I had to build new relationships for my children and myself again.
Change was my friend. I looked forward to it, embraced it, made the best of it.
I have one brother and he never had trouble getting in where he fit in. He made friends very quickly. But me, I was picky with my company, very selective and took my time getting to know people. My brother many times thought I was a snob because of that, and probably many other people thought so too, but I wanted deep connections, true friendships.
When I first moved to Dallas, I attended a football game with my parents, because my brother had been invited by his new friends. I was sitting in the stands next to my mother and my brother brought his new friends to meet us.
When they left, my mother looked over at me and asked, “Do you have any friends?”
Nonchalantly, I said, “No. Not yet.”
She asked, “Why not?”
I said, “I’ve not found any I like yet.”
End of that conversation.
Since changes are inevitable in life, it’s important to “diversify your identity”, as my entrepreneurial crush, Tim Ferriss once said. In order to roll with the punches that life will bring, you can’t allow who you are to get wrapped up into one area of your life. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs…you know the rest.
Your ideas, interests, career, relationships, mind and body will change throughout the years, but the one thing that is constant is…CHANGE! Yes, you get the prize. Be willing to embrace it, seek it out, and accept it when it is out of your control. There are lessons to be learned and insights and wisdom to be gained from every transition you go through.
It’s all for the purpose to build a stronger sense of who you are and your place in the world.
What have been some of your biggest takeaways in moments when it was time to start all over–whether it was moving to a new city, ending a relationship, switching career paths, etc? We could all gain some wisdom through your experience, so don’t hesitate to share it in the comments below.
As a mother of two boys, the wife of a messy husband (shh…don’t tell him I told you), and being a writer and entrepreneur in my soul who walks around with myriad thoughts and ideas jumping off the walls of my membrane, I work hard to keep order in my world. I can’t say I’m always successful.
As creatives, the meaning of “order” is different for each of us. Do you know what it means for you?
Way back when, I may have wondered about, or dare I say, judged someone for keeping a crazy space, but I’ve learned there’s more lurking beneath the surface than just laziness. It plays a part, but many times its more than that.
I’m reminded of when my brother was temporily living at my parent’s home as an adult. Back then, he was quite distant from family and didn’t want to mingle or talk much. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I do.
He knew he was talented, smart, and (more…)Tweet
I’ve been living in Austin for four months now. My husband and I have been in the throws of looking for a house and we’re discovering so many areas and details about this town because of it.
If you ask me for the zip code of any area surrounding downtown Austin, I bet I can tell ya! I’ve driven all the neighborhoods and have determined the ones whose vibe seep deep into my soul.
I’ve flip flopped back and forth between wanting to raise my kids in the outskirts of the city (aka suburbs) and the inner city and I keep coming back to the city.
I grew up in Chicago and my husband grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, so we were used to seeing people walk up and down the streets, hang out on their front steps, play football in the street, wave to the police, wash our neighbors cars during spring break, play basketball at the neighborhood park, walk to the corner store, and so many more unforgettable memories.
I didn’t go to the most prestigious urban schools- my folks were hard-working people just doing their best to put food on the table and clothes on our backs- but I can tell you I got schooled by the exposure I had living in the city. I’ve got street smarts up the wazoo!
I cherish my upbringing and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Now that I’m a parent, I plan to enhance my children’s education by not only finding them great schools (it’s important to know what that really means for you), but also granting them exposure to city living, because there are myriad things to learn by simply living among all kinds of free-thinking individuals.
I am not going to be a parent who relies solely on the school system to educate my sons.
I don’t plan for my kids to live in a pristine neighborhood that resembles Pleasantville. Nothing against those areas, or the people who prefer to live there, but to me there’s so much more to life than having a well sculpted lawn, a nice car in the driveway, and a pretty box made of bricks to call home.
I want edgy, cultural, unexpected experiences. I want eclectic, progressive-thinking, out of the ordinary people surrounding my family.
I want people who know the value of investing in the community they live in (and I don’t mean just money, but time) and not just buying into one that is already established.
My mother is visiting me for the second time around and I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that the neighborhoods in the city that I fell for appeal to her too and remind her of her own upbringing.
I take that as a great sign that there’s something familiar pulsing beneath the trees and the streets of the city spots I keep coming back to.
I remember my days in Dallas when I was itching to experience other urban lands and my husband would (nay)say, “Change your thoughts; it’s not Dallas, it’s you.” Well, he couldn’t have been more right! It sure as hell was me and there was no avoiding my feeling.
Pay attention to the places that bring you to life. You will feel it the instant you set foot on the ground.
Some places just don’t get you and vice versa. You can change your thoughts all you want, but your gut (that spot near your hips) don’t lie.
It took me five years to follow my instinct to the place where I felt at home with myself. That feeling reaches deep within and is undeniable. The first week that I got to Austin, I felt this inner calm and felt no desire to be anywhere except the place where I was standing. It felt so good.
It sucks to live each day with the attitude of “Anywhere but here…”
Your life is all about venturing out and discovering where YOUR proper place is, which can be many places. Sadly, many well-meaning people who love you can get in the way of that if you let them. Be courageous and follow your bliss.
I’ve got five places that I can easily call my soul’s home- San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, San Miguel de Allende, and Florence, Italy. And I don’t mean to use pretty language when I say “soul’s home”…I literally mean it, because I felt it the moment I walked the streets of each distinct location.
Places can make a person just as much as a person makes the place.
Getting out every day to discover something new about Austin is what I’m living for these days.
Today I hiked a scenic point overlooking the Austin skyline with my mother and two boys. My oldest son, now 4 years old, led the way and feisty mama wasn’t too thrilled that she had to hike in sandals, but we worked it out!
Sometimes, life takes you away from the things you think you should be doing to give you the material and wisdom you need to do what you’re meant to do.
It’s all about surrendering to the direction your life wants to take you. Only you can steer that wheel. If you let someone else take control of it, who knows where you’ll end up.
Which risk do you want to take?
Transitioning from one place to another is never smooth or stress-free, but I am thankful I had the will and the courage to make the move…even if I had to do a good bit of ball-busting to get here.
Listen to what calls you and what haunts you, because there’s something magical and scary and exciting on the other end just waiting for you to take that first step towards living how and where you are meant to live.
With Mother’s Day this weekend, I’m getting a head start on the celebration by joining in the conversations that are bubbling to the surface online and in print about a beautiful, mysterious, golden handcuffs kind of experience called motherhood.
After a long day of taking care of my convivial clan, I snuck away for some late night reading.
I came across this article about the on-going debate over the so-called “controversial” cover photo of Time Magazine. Take a look:
Are you offended by the image? Is it too much for you? Or does it possibly bring back fond memories as it does for me?
First of all, controversial photo my ass. That image is not offensive. It’s a reality for many people (the attachment parenting fans). I’m not exactly one of them.
The purpose of the photo was to spark a debate and Time succeeded in getting it started.
Hello! Raising my hand to speak on the subject! Thank you for granting me the floor. Ahem…(clearing my throat and straightening imaginary collar) (more…)Tweet
I rented the movie We Bought a Zoo for my boys the other night, but I ended up watching the film solo since both little warriors knocked out on me.
There I sat watching the story of a newly widowed father and his two young children. They were trying to figure out how to go on with life after the death of their wife and mother.
I hadn’t seen any previews nor heard anyone rave about the film, so it really was just a casual grab at the good old Redbox near my home. (Psst…that’s exactly how the best and most memorable experiences of your life tend to begin.)
Come to think of it, I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate greatness knowing damn well Matt Damon would be starring in the movie.
The experience I took away from this work of art consisted of tears, major heart palpatations, more tears, and just an all around warm feeling in my body.
I couldn’t help thinking about Matt Damon, a husband and father himself in real life, and wondering what motivated him to take on this role.
We’re all used to him busting equations at Harvard, running from the adjustment bureau, or motivating soldiers in the green zone with one-liners like “Put your f*cking game face on.” I have a certain friend, very masculine in nature, who goes weak in the knees when he hears Matt Damon talk dirty like that.
But in this film, he was simply a man trying to figure out how to start over and starting over proved to be him learning to speak a tiger’s language. Talk about a true character actor.
There was so much about life weaved into this film:
the loss of a loved one,
not knowing where or how to begin again,
going where your heart leads you, as crazy as it may appear to others,
the importance of having stories of your own to share,
and really getting the chance to live and take on your own kind of adventure- one that suits you, that is right for you.
You’ll find many beautiful lessons about life, love, leading, taking risks, and letting go throughout the movie.
I felt moved to tears numerous times and highly recommend you watch the film.
I leave you with music by Jónsi from We Bought A Zoo, performing (click below)
The music is the next best thing about the movie! Just listening to it again brings tears. Enjoy!Tweet
I’m at Starbucks trying to uncover the gems I seek for what will eventually become chapters of the convivial book I am writing.
I won’t pretend to be fearless. It scares me to say that I’m writing a book. Such a daunting task for a busy mama, but its what I desire.
I refuse to believe in the impossibility of my dreams.
It’s so easy to just exist, to get by, but defiantly creative spirits won’t let up and don’t get comfortable, so day by day, I take steps to be resourceful, to connect with people who can guide and be part of making this book a reality.
Declaring what you want to the world takes cojones and holds you accountable.
Once you make your dream known, you have a choice to follow through or disappoint…yourself. After all, that’s who you’re creating for, right? If that isn’t the focus, then forget it. Your art is not about anyone else but you. By being true to you, to your art, that’s how you serve others.
And the world- upon hearing your dream- now has the choice to believe you, (eagerly) watch you fail, or become part of the process. Ask for help. Show up for the unknown.
Failure is inevitable, a gift, something to embrace.
In Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, he says, “You’ve got to be willing to be wrong in order to be right all the other times in your life..” Words like that fire me up and make me want to go make a writing fool of myself…in private. If I show up and do the work, I’ll eventually clear the junk and find my treasure.
That’s how art and the process of creating it works. It’s hard to see the initial results of your labor, but if you keep faith behind your efforts, you’ll get to the good stuff.
I am in the beginning stages of this book project. Unfortunately, writing for me can’t begin until after 8pm each night, and I can’t always dedicate every day to creating a new sentence for the book, the blog, or simply for me, because family life takes first place, and many nights, my body fails me. My boys take a lot of my energy throughout the day, and even though I’ve got passion for this convivial empire brewing and bubbling beneath the surface, sometimes I just don’t have enough energy to keep going.
This is me, the convivial mama in action.
I’ve learned very quickly, and painfully, that you are nothing without your body. You must take care of it.
I used to stay up late into the night writing, researching, creating plans with my muse, but those days seem long gone. Nowadays, my body seems to crash around 3pm and I’ve not even done anything! It’s frustrating since the lack of energy cuts into my creative time. Scoliosis and a 34 degree curve in my lower back are the big culprits. I’m working to get that driving force of energy back. My next holistic move to heal myself is Cranio-sacral massage. I’ve been wanting to try it for years now. Intuition’s leading me there and I’m finally listening.
For now, I take it day by day. I avoid comparing myself to others who are birthing one creative project after another, because I know my story is not their story, and my path is my own. Being gentle with yourself is essential to pushing through the slow times, the times when you’re full of creative ideas, yet seemingly stagnant. It’s like you’re standing idle, in some imaginary, never-ending line, waiting for your turn to come.
This is every artist’s struggle: making the time and having the energy to create.
You get knocked down, find discouragement almost anywhere, at times lack clarity of vision, struggle with self-acceptance and self-belief, yet you keep at it, keep believing in what you are compelled to do, because that is what convivial minds who are artistically committed do.
Sometimes I don’t know why I feel the need to show up for the blank page and write my journey, sometimes I am not sure what difference it all is making, but I do it anyway, because I don’t know how NOT to write what I feel, what I believe, desire and dream. Some of it I share here, some I keep just for me, but I know one day, it will all come together. One day…this I believe.
Wishing you the best health for your next creation,Tweet