Uncategorized

Love

Dear readers, haven’t you noticed how loosely we use the L word. We say “I love you”, but do we really love in a tangible way? Quarantine has had me thinking….. maybe too much by the way.

I’ve also had my grandparents in my thoughts a lot lately.

My grandparents weren’t people fond of words, they were folks of action. They could easily be the poster children for Home Depot’s catch phrase, “How doers get more done”. They excelled at doing. They excelled at loving.

My grandfather provided for his family out of love and responsibility in a time where resources were scarce. I have made my personal mission to interrogate my mom about her childhood (or what she can remember of it). Before time, which never hesitates, takes her physically away from me.

Covid19 has made my trips home less frequent, however our conversations on the phone have become quite long. They begin with business as usual, and then move on to the stories of her childhood, all it takes is a short question to get things going. A story that often comes up is how her mom sewed all of her daughters undergarments including her own by hand. Putting it into perspective and knowing the amount of daughters she had, that was a heavy load.

I can imagine her stitching with a concentrated gaze, with the needle chanting the phrase “I love you” over and over….. it was the only way she knew how to love. Caring and working for her family.

Expressing our feeling is liberating and equally fulfilling. However, like Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh in his book “How to Love” writes, “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”

Love is a practice.

We need to teach ourselves to practice love in its many dimensions. For me, it’s taking my grandparents doing and adding powerful words forming boundless expressions of love in its purest form. It’s feeling the warmth of its caress in my life expressed in tangible and intangible manifestations.

Love is a way of life. A life full of days worth living. It’s not that things will be easier, but rather that life will become more easier to live. No human being has a promise of eternal summer. But, loving and being loved make winters easier to bear.

So my dear friends, next time you come across the words “I love you”, please think of a way to express healing in a world full of disruption and violence.

And remember be kind to yourself, stay safe and thanks for stopping by.

Hasta Pronto!

Life

CBM

Dear readers,  after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, I began my CBM Program.  I chose this acronym because it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to accomplish for myself, and I could easily be reminded during the day that CBM was crucial at my age.

I had just turned 50 at the beginning of the year and I was concerned about some things in my life. So, I thought,  “If I want to make it to the other half of my life, I really need to deal with some serious shit that I have going on right now. ”

Questions popped in and out of my head,  some with quick responses and others with a huge question mark.

Then I experienced what catastrophe looked like in the aftermath of a category five hurricane leaving darkness and the creeping feeling of being desolate in the midst of it all.

When the government announced that our power would be down for the foreseen future and in remote places (like where I live) it could take up to six months to get it restored.

That night I picked up a journal that my daughter had  began for me as she introduced me to bullet journaling.  I went on and numbered a blank page from one to twenty-six.

Each number represented one week.  Week number one would  run from September 20 to the 27th.  The very first one after the hurricane.  It was quiet and dark outside and with a candle I tried to plan out my next twenty six weeks.

That seemed a decent amount of time for transforming myself into someone worthy of having lived fifty years.

As a manic planner, I began pondering about what would I do with them.

This is when…….. (explosion sound effects) CBM was born.

If your still there, and think I actually completed the program. I’m sorry to inform you that I DID NOT COMPLETE THE PROGRAM.

The program itself shifted a little bit, and was extended, I would say, to have no end date. In order for it to survive I changed the premises it had at the beginning, when it was first born in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Right now, I’m in the middle of week number one hundred thirty six.

Looking back I ask myself, “Darling, what were you thinking ?”. How could you possibly think twenty five weeks would be enough time for an overhaul?

What began as a plan for twenty four weeks or so became an ongoing  thirst for transformation.  But not at the superficial stuff,  I thought that stopping and working on some lousy habits and very bad relationships with those I have very close to my heart would fix me.

The first thing I figured out was that I don’t need to be fixed, I’m just me. With all the good and bad. I just have to water the good seeds and pull out the weeds that grow inside my heart once in a while.

CBM made me acknowledge that.

Even though I still bingy eat at night, (my love for midnight snacks, has not dwindled), I no longer think it’s that important to have a food journal, or designate days for fasting, or choosing low sodium products, or figuring out the perfect portion of food. CBM has taught me to be grateful of the food I get to eat each day.

Or try to be the almost perfect daughter (believe me fellas when your mom and dad deliver the anxiety my folks do, you’ll probably think of giving up on them all together). CBM taught me not to judge them.  I am no longer a defenseless child anymore and I am more than capable of taking care of myself, and I have long forgave them for all the sufferings they caused me.

Or mom (I gather my kids love me just the way I am, I don’t really have to try too much there), their love is not conditioned to this or that. Their presence in my life as adults are a testament that I didn’t screw that up too much.  I did the best I could, with the resources I had.

Or wife, my life long buddy is the greatest human being to grow old with.  His love is everlasting and never conditioned to anything.

On the other hand, my role as a sister is complicated, CBM has helped me navigate the turbulent waters of expectations and wants.  It’s hard to have a distanced relationship with the only sibling you have.  We suffered many things together as children and maybe just being part of one another’s life just brings all that suffering back.  I am far away from perfection, and my heart is heavy and divided. I’ve come to understand that the family I knew as a child is just broken.  Forgiving my parents, my brother and ultimately myself is the best way to love and free myself from that burden.  I love my brother dearly, but we’re as just to to far away to bridge all the years he’s missed out of my life and I’ve missed out of his.

Or try to be a so called “good” Christian.  CBM has opened my eyes to a living Christ. To live generating love and compassion for all. Free of judgment or perceptions.  Jesus was still, he was very much present in his community.  Giving, never taking; loving deeply; always trying to understand; and, most of all he had endless compassion towards all. Give me a church with all these jewels, and I will certainly be sitting in it’s pews.

Bottom line, CREATING A BETTER ME, has nothing to do with all the outside stuff, but with the inside, what’s in our heads, our thoughts are the most powerful thing ever. So now a days, I just smile at myself and I take care of my heart the best I can.

I really hope you guys can also work on your CBM program, and remember reaching and connecting with yourself, is the best way to get ready for ANYTHING that’s coming our way.

My CBM is still full throttle ahead and probably will stop the day I breathe my last breath.

Where I will breathe in, and listen carefully to my breath, treasuring it’s qualities, knowing it will be my last, and as I breathe out,  I will know I’m going home, leaving only the result of my thoughts, feelings and deeds to those who will come after me.

Hopefully making things better for them. Taking with me the anxiety that was relayed to me by my father and his father, but at the same passing of the resilience and strength I inherited from my beloved Papito, Mamita and Mama Querida.

Hasta pronto, and thanks for stopping by this silly blog. Go ahead and CBY not only for you, but for all who you get to meet in this wonderful everchanging world we live in today.

 

Life · Uncategorized

The Road of Mental Illness

What goes on in the mind of a man that kills himself along with his two children?

When faced to a question without an answer, we disregard further thought and explain it with two words, “mental illness”.

I wasn’t catching all the reporter’s words because Ian had come from our church’s summer camp and he was talking to me about something his camp leader had asked him to bring tomorrow. So, I kept on asking my husband, “What did she say?”.

Carlos replied, “I’m not paying too much attention to the report.”

I knew he was trying not to get his head wrapped around the news clip, with thoughts about the two boys who perished with their dad. As a father he just can’t understand an atrocity like this.

Mental illness is blamed more too often for everything from mass shootings to callous murders.  I’m not saying it isn’t the issue at hand, but there are preventive measures we can take to avoid these tragedies.

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Carlos lost his job last year, a job he thought he would retire from and that brought an enormous emotional baggage he had to deal with. It has been hard on him and on our family, but we’re working at it.  This man had also lost his job and was facing a tough reality in front of him.  He took the easy way out.

Just looking at my seven-year-old, I felt heavy hearted just thinking about how innocent he is and how blindly he trusts us.  Those two boys trusted their father the very same way.

I only can think about, what they asked him, if they were hungry or thirsty, or if they were asking him where their mommy was. Answers to these questions will remain unanswered to us.

When events like this happen, people have a hard time believing in anything. These events compromise humanity’s faith because there is the underlying question of, “Why did God let this happen?” “Where was God?” However, you can’t forget that as humans one of the endowments we possess is free will.

We make choices.

Today this man chose death over life.

Surpassing all the things that are categorized under mental health, we need to be vigilant of those who surround us.

This life has so many ups and downs, but one of the most beautiful things we can do for ourselves is develop creativity.  Create new things when those we have get broken.  Shifting paradigms and rewriting our lives with brand new scripts to tell a new story.  This is the message we need to deliver to those we love and those we meet.  A message of hope, so they can believe that things will get better.

It’s a difficult road to travel because sometimes people don’t want to listen to a message of hope or any kind of message.  Nonetheless, we need to keep on trying and find the courage to confront someone we think may harm themselves or those they love.

So, next time we come across a situation we may easily categorize under “mental health” issues, let’s take a moment to readdress the situation with the mentality of what can I do to help this person and offer him, or her preventive self-care not only for their own safekeeping, but also for their family.

See you around the corner, and thanks for stopping by. And remember  be kind to yourself and to others.  Kindness my dear friends can go a very long way.

 

 

Life

Life’s Curve Balls

Dear readers, sometimes life throws at us a curve ball.  The unexpected happens and leaves us confused and to an extent shocked.

Nonetheless, that pitcher was getting ready all along to make his move. What happened is that player at home didn’t see it coming.

In a sense life is like that sometimes.

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We think we’re positioned correctly on that home base,  living flawless lives from our point of view.  However, when those life events come around that don’t match with whatever plans we have in our heads, we are left confused about what to do next.

It’s easy to judge from afar when something happens to people that surround us in a way or two,  but I’ll rather learn from those experiences any given day.

Recently a childhood friend passed and I felt sad about his too soon departure from this world, my daughter pointed out quickly that everything doesn’t have to be a learning experience.

Well, for me it is.  That’s who I am.

Some life lessons are not learned once, but many times through the course of our lives.

Resilience is one of them.  We have to get out of those comfort zones so we can reconnect with things and people who are an important part of our lives. It’s never giving up to whatever circumstance we have in our lives.

It can be loosing your job, facing an accident, or having to deal with loss. As to mention just a few of the multiple things that happen to everyone in exponential terms on this blue ball.

Let’s reach out, learn and love.  It sounds just right out of “Barney”, but it feels darn good to do something good and not be petty about things.  We can’t control life, it just happens.

Next time life throws one of its famous curve balls, instead of being confused let’s hit a one of a kind home-run.

So my dear friends, be good to yourself and to others, recycle to conserve this beautiful planet and find compassion to deal with everything we have to deal with on a daily basis.  Today is here and tomorrow is a surprise, don’t let today just slip away between your fingers, live intentionally.

See you around the corner.

 

 

 

 

Life · Uncategorized

The Miracle of Healing

Dear readers,  I take my life one day at a time because just dealing with today is hard enough.

Our routines and so much more have a direct impact on those who surround and love us deeply. They live through our ups and downs, sometimes voicing their feelings and other times just remaining silent.  It’s hard on us and  for them as well.

As I sorted my daughter’s things trying to organize her room I stumbled upon  a prayer she wrote during the Summer while I was trying to recover after receiving treatment in the Hospital.  Her prayer was issued in a secluded place between God and her, and even though it was not intended to be shared with anyone, today I share it with all of those who are caregivers of those they love, let the miracle of healing begin within us all.

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Photo credit Stephanie Quintana Union Theological Seminary NY. NY

“I heard once that prayer is about redefining our desires,  it is about being open to ask for guidance,  and even though we do not control our journey that does not mean we are astray.

Today I pray open to hear, even when that fills me with fear.  

Dear Gracious God, I am not praying to give excuses or explain my silence.  Whom I am trying to fool? My silence is yet nothing more than silent panic. 

You know that.

I pray for longer walks, for less tiredness. 

I pray for more smiles and restfulness of spirit.

I pray that the spirit might comfort the body.

I pray for shorter naps and more energy.

I pray for coffee @3 pm between shared stories. 

I pray for our usual complicity to remain intact in times of sickness. 

I pray for our unspoken bond to grow stronger in the face of weakness.

I pray that we can share prayers.

I pray that her body can gain strength while her spirit stands strong. 

For now, I pray that she can rest knowing that we will do our best holding her so she does not fall.

Amen”