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

Take Heart

Dear readers,  each one of us is bombarded continuously with images and words.  Stay Home, Stay Safe, Quarantine, Covid-19, Pandemic, Death, Complications for High Risk Patients…….. and the list  goes on and on.

Consumption of images, consumption of words, gruel us each and every day if we are on social media, on the television,  or on the computer.  Are phones pulsate and vibrate throughout the day with the notifications bells ringing endlessly bringing the updated information of the updated information of the past hour or half an hour ago. It’s lunacy.

Where can we stand in the midst of chaos?

Where do I stand?

I don’t know if, I will ever know. It may just become a blur.  Lost in my memories of 2020.  But, I don’t want it to become a blur, I want to remember.  That’s why I need to sit with it.

Even in days like today,  where I have been feeling off, grumpy, generally just fed up of being cooped up during all this time.  Which is not that much, but  has seemed so much more.  Faced with so many changes, and without time to adjust or readjust has been hard.  And I can’t just push it down, toughen up and just get through it with a smile.

I have to sit with these changes, take them in.

I have to sit with the sorrow, the uncertainty of the economy, the loss of  lives, the grief of families mourning the loss of their loved ones. the dreadful sight of empty streets.

I also have to sit with the joy of witnessing altruism in its many forms.  From the bouquet a stranger placed near New York’s Mount Sinai urging those who walked by to “Take Heart”,  to the massive donations individuals have given to help those who are less fortunate.

I have to sit with it all in a quiet place within myself.

I want to make it right today, so I have something to pass on and share with those who will come after me.  If I’m skillful enough to have survived the  2020 Pandemic, caused by a virus that was named Covid-19.

Take Heart

I want to be able to tell a story about it, hopefully with some lessons learned, so I can make my descendants stronger than I was. Hoping to pass on my words of wisdom to the next generation.  Probably with some funny lines along the way just to make it better.  Because a smile brings warmth inside us.

Stay safe, be skillful, so you also can have a story to tell to those who will come after you.

Your next generation. My next generation.  Our next generation.

Those who will have to evolve into skillful and conscious being to be able to survive in a world of constant change.  Some caused by deadly viruses, others caused by their humanity.

We can only hope to better days taking in our present day with all it entails, without loosing sight of our task at hand.

Thanks for stopping by.

Faith · Friendship · Happiness · Hope · Life

Pray, Love & Eat

Dear readers, the other night I sat in front of my television checking out Netflix’s new  additions.  I stumbled on Eat, Love and Pray.

And I watched it again.  The  first  time I watched this movie was on Thanksgiving Day eight years ago.

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photo credit via Morguefile

I barely understood it on that occasion, I dragged  through what I thought  was a very boring movie.  I totally didn’t get the point of the story at all.  I obliged myself because I  had picked it up at the “video  store” to  do something  after our dinner.  I  had family and friends over, but only one of  my younger cousins and myself went through  the motions.  We were both Julia Robert’s fans and we pulled through  out  of our loyalty to her or at least for me, that’s how it worked.

To tell you the story in a nutshell, I’ve been on my own version of Eat, Pray and Love.

Your journey for discovery can only be began and finished with  one person and that my dear friends is you and me only.

I had no understanding of these millennial spiritual traditions, so that added up to my disconnect the first time around.  A fore night before I was  deeply invested in Elizabeth’s pain and joy trying to figure out my own.

This is my own version of this great story.

Now a days,  I try to  remain still and become aware of God’s presence in my life. I no longer feel the need to introduce myself to him. He knows who I am, he’s been with me always.  His calm and gentle voice has protected and guided me through out so much.  In 2011 my life was beginning to fall apart after my diagnosis and I felt vulnerable and lost.

Feeling the presence of a still higher power uplifted me through very difficult times.

Today I don’t pray in a structured or modeled way, but just with the words in my heart. I don’t care much if they sound right for others and make sure they are honest and right for me.  Praying for me is the very first step.

It’s probably the hardest because I need to  recognize that I am in trouble with myself.  Recognizing this is hard, almost unbearable.

Love is a locked gift in our souls waiting  to be set free. It entails plenty a work on our part to keep it  going.

Lately I like to go by this prayer for friendship written with so much love and insight by, Christopher Titmuss.

“May my mother and father live in peace and harmony.

May my brothers and sisters live in peace and harmony.

May my friends and neighbors live in peace and harmony.

May the friendly, strangers and unfriendly live in peace and harmony.

May I live in peace and harmony.

May my words and actions contribute to the happiness and welfare to others.

May the power of my friendship transform difficult situations.

May all living beings live in peace and harmony.”

And the eating part, I love my food! Nowadays I don’t let guilt ruin it for me.  I try to eat feeling gratitude for all that goes into it.  When I drink my fruit beverage I delight myself in thinking that my papayas grow in my mom’s trees with any other fruit I’m lucky enough to enjoy.  And I apply this principle to all that I eat.

I love my cake and when I get the blessing of eating a slice of one (like I’m about to) I savor the moment not worrying to much about calories or so and so.  I used to beat myself the morning after if I indulged the prior night, I do that no  more! Yesterday is gone and the only good about it is thinking about the happiness we  experienced during that brief moment yesterday brought.

You know I’m still a work in  progress.  Always trying to balance off my life! However just like Ketut told Elizabeth, “sometimes to be in balance we need to unbalance our lives”.

So my friends what better way to end this post then with a quote from the book,

“Devotion is diligence without assurance. Faith is a way of saying “Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Be kind to your self and listen to your heart  with deep compassion.  Hasta pronto!

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.

tomb

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.