Uncategorized

To Understand

Dear readers, understanding holds a profound dichotomy. We say, “I undersand.” as we nod our heads, but quickly after we insert “but” into our affirmation of our so called understanding.

I hold a struggle with understanding each day.

I hold a struggle with getting into the shoes of those who get on my nerves once in a while. Not only of those who I know, but also those I see and listen to on the news or social media. That once in a while is for the moments where my tolerance goes down to ground zero and I just want to shout at someone for any reason.

Understanding is the hard part of believing that we can experience meaningful relationships with our family members, friends or community in a broader sense.

It’s the hard part because it’s the one where we have to co-exist. To be with, in each aspect of the other we seek to comprehend during times where there is sorrow, anxiety or joy. It’s easy to be with a happy human being where everything is dandy. On the other hand, picking someone up and being with him or her during troubled times is difficult because we don’t want to have to deal with anything out of our comfort zones.

It’s part of our nature to look away or hide our pain. Many would agree with me when I write, “Out of sight, out of mind.”. Since I began experiencing my illness, the hurried questions of, “How are you?”, have bothered me because many our issued as a quick courtesy, out of politeness, but very few are asked to deeply listen of my realities facing the ups and downs of how living with Myasthenia really is.

Practicing understanding should be a habit blazed in our hearts.

When we are able to get out of our own heads it’s easier to listen and comprehend another perspective of things. Seeing deeply into another person be it, foe or friend, has a soothing effect after I get over all the internal battles I have already fought within myself because I don’t want to be you, I want to be me. Doing nothing and feeling nothing for the other party.

Understanding can only grow inside us if we nurture it with an empty mind and heart. Shutting down all the loud conversations that contain poor communication can become a stepping stone in the path of constructing life long relationships with one another.

Poor communication has the power to create a funnel as mighty as any tornado that destroys relationships and interbeing along it’s deadly path.

When we don’t break the cycles, we live perpetually in the suffering that has been passed on to us by our parents and grandparents. I tend to worry about my children, about their interbeing with each other. Mainly because there will be a time when I’ve passed and they no longer have me acting as their denominator in the equation that are growing family is becoming. I’ve been a poor example in the latter, and I know now that sooner than later the consequences of this will manifest as they become older siblings.

Finally, at the end of the day it comes back to taking our first steps in understanding deeply and that my dear friends comes with something as simple , or not, as to learn how to listen.

Thanks for stopping by , and remember to always follow the golden rule of life, treat and talk to yourself with kindness and compassion, and then you will be able to treat and talk to others the same way.

See you around the corner. Hasta pronto.

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.

 

Mindfulness

It Takes More Than Believing

Dear readers, I’ve been on my quest to become a better person for many years now.

For some time I thought that “it” meaning transforming myself into what I had thought was the best version of myself, would come “naturally” meaning I would have to do nothing more than believe and a magical wand would transform me.

By the way that’s how my blog ended up with it’s name.

Boy, was I wrong!

thoughts

Transformation requires being stunned, it takes time, patience and a ton of work.

It means that each and every morning when I wake up, I tune myself into nature, into everything that surrounds me and I practice no harm, love, self-awareness and mindfulness.

In a world where consumption, criticism, hatred and violence are practiced so vehemently by so many, it’s like swimming against the current, feeling you’ll drown any minute.

Which makes me lazy once in a while.  I ask myself, “Why practice?”, “It doesn’t really make a difference in the world.”, “Why put myself through this each day?, “Why not just join the crowd?”.  However, that would certainly unleash the crazy monkeys who would probably make a home in my thoughts.

I struggle with my mental health every day, it’s my little secret.   I’ve really gotten good at hiding and blending in. Although, lately I no longer try to reject that part of who I am, I’ll rather embrace it and love myself with an “all inclusive” attitude.   I’ve  basically wrestled with it since a very young  age and I’m  tired of   doing that.  I’ve been thinking about therapy for some time now (like a year or so), but that very first step is hard to take.  Which takes me back to my starting point, my day to day practice which keeps me sane in the midst of the jungle of my thoughts.  My practice lets every part of who I am live in harmony.

So my dear friends, I do conquer lazy and come back again and again, to my practice. I hold myself accountable for living my life the best I can, always trying to remember that in all of us live good and bad. We just have to work on our good! Sometimes it only  takes a shared story and a good laugh to make us feel that everything will be fine. That we can share our lives with all that negativity that permeates everything.

I would say that humanity’s greatest challenge today is being able to live and let live.

That being said, thanks for stopping by and remember to practice kindness to yourself and others.  See you around the corner.  Hasta pronto!

 

 

 

Boricua Power

Who Are We?

Dear readers, I haven’t been following all the drama going on related to the Puerto Rico’s Beauty Pageant because it’s not something I’m interested in.  There is much more to worry about than who is “la reina de belleza” of whatever land in my humble opinion. Like why are we still using foam containers and to make it ever worse, IT’S LEGAL!

cat

Now, what caught my interest was all the cyber bullying going on because Miss So and So, made a “fool” of herself trying to speak Spanish.  Although what I think added a bit more grievance to it all was the fact that she voiced out something like “obviamente” Spanish is not my L1, can you please repeat?  Jesus Christ, did that piss off all the “boricuas”.

Going back a bit, there is a couple of things we “los boricuas” should be worried about right now.  First of all, this quite definetely raises a question we should be all asking ourselves, who are we?

Puerto Ricans safely nested in our Island don’t need to worry to much about cultural identity because we’re pretty much set.  Instead if  you were like me  growing up,  who happened to live in the States, BUT DID NOT BELONG there, or coming back to Puerto Rico, didn’t  belong here either.  Having been mainstreamed had caught us up in an identity crisis,  can you believe that?  To say the least, we were very confuuuuuused.

Now I know that what we suffered was something called displacement.  Sometime ago I heard Lin Manuel Miranda talk about the same thing during an interview with our local newspaper.  I’m no expert on our beauty pageant queen’s life, to tell you the truth I don’t even know her name, but nothing makes it right to utilize her poor judgment as an excuse to diminish who she is or what she may stand for.

Instead of worrying to much about if Miss So and So knows or does not know how to speak Spanish, we should think about who we are as Puerto Ricans and how we can become a community that welcomes all, even if language barriers come up in the equation. Our “boricua” culture is slowly fading away and a mixology of mainstream and island life is taking its place, let’s celebrate what we are without judgment.

I will be on the lookout to see if Miss So and So brings home once again the Miss Universe crown to see if people will care a bannana if she does or doesns’t speak Spanish at all.

Remember be kind to yourself and everyone who comes your way.

Hasta pronto!