Wake Up, Speak Up. {The Pain of Healing}


There are billions of metaphors about life.

Life is like a roller-coaster, like a tree, like a balloon, like a ship, like a winter coat, like a pet, like a Madonna song, like a mountain, like a river, like a bird and so on and so forth.

Today, life is like a war. You go in with an ideal, hoping to fight for something, praying you get it on your way out.

Usually, death is an uncertainty. We live in blissful ignorance about our expiration date. I don’t know if I have 5 hours, 5 days or 50 years left.

Some of us do know. It’s just the kind of hand we’ve been dealt. There are still incurable diseases out there. Huntington’s disease, Coronary Artery disease, COPD, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc. These diseases are death sentences.

Then there is something more subtle at play. An area I believe we don’t spend enough attention focusing on: Mental Illnesses. This includes anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and depression. Diseases like this can cause the victim to take their own life.

According to a report by PBS, More than 54 million (or nearly one in five) Americans have a mental disorder in any given year. The risk of suicide makes untreated manic-depressive illness more fatal than heart disease and some forms of cancer.

I guess you don’t really take notice of certain things until they hit home for you.

On the 12 of March, 2015 one of my best friends tried to commit suicide. After 10 days of being in the ICU with burns covering 90% of her body, she passed away.


My full of life, happy go lucky, dancing, dreaming, valedictorian, kick ass doctor friend chose to end her life.

Why? An acute postpartum depression that went unnoticed, among other things.

She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in October. Add depression on to a preexisting struggle with OCD. You get a recipe for suicide.

For years she’s been struggling with OCD. I don’t think I ever understood the gravity of her problem. She always seemed to have it all together. When she told me she wanted to become a doctor after having studied two years of civil engineering I laughed because I knew that she would be terrific at it. When she told me she was taking flamenco and reiki classes because she didn’t plan to be a doctor forever I nodded and kept telling her “if there’s anyone capable of doing anything, it’s you”. I truly believed that. Lety was one of those people that inspired you. Her lightness and enthusiasm reminded you what being human was all about. She was someone you’d look up to. Today, I rummage through all the memories we built over the 17 years that I knew her. We went to high school together. She was always voted most pretty, most intelligent, most likable, most likely to succeed. There was no one in that school that didn’t love her. She had a soul that would shine right out of her eyes.

But she was secretly at war. At war with her mind. I know what it’s like, I’m always fighting to stay in control of my mind so I know what it’s like to be dragged down the rabbit hole against your will.

These last few months when she told me what was going on, I tried to help her. I shared any and every kind of knowledge I had with her. From Buddhist spiritual practices to Hindu rituals. From self-help to consciousness books. The power of our thoughts create our reality, our perception dictates what we see as true. I believe this. I tried to help her to see that. I tried every day for four months. Last month, for five days, I stopped. I took a break. She wasn’t budging. I needed to recharge. I dropped the ball. And now she’s dead. Now I will never get a chance to speak to her again.

And I have to say, it’s the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced.

I haven’t been taking her death as gracefully as I should, knowing all I know.

There’s this remorse, this guilt that eats at me. I didn’t take her suicide talk seriously. I’ve always seen her as a logical and strong woman. I never thought anything like this would happen to her.

Which is why I’m writing today. After the incident, several people around me came forward to let me know that i’m not alone. I was shocked to find out that there were so many people that had suffered similar situations and they only realized the gravity of the issue after it was too late.

self harm

Today, I want to encourage you, whoever is reading, to speak up.

Mental illness is a disease of the mind. We lose sovereignty over the organ that makes us who we are.

If you suspect or know someone suffering from a mental illness, do something about it. Do something as if they had a cut and they were bleeding out right in front of you.

The absence of physical symptoms makes it hard sometimes to recognize or understand the pain that a victim of mental illness suffers but believe me, they are very much suffering.

If you are someone who is struggling with a mental illness, speak up. Tell someone. Seek help. You’d be surprised at the love, support and understanding you can find from a stranger. It is not too late for you because you are still alive and you can make the choice to stay that way.

And finally, if you have lost someone to an illness and are grieving like me, then, let it out. Take your time to make your peace. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t tell yourself its okay when its not.

A lot of people have been giving me unsolicited advice. Advice like “it’s a part of life, it will pass, time will heal” I’m not saying its wrong, its just something I’m not ready to hear right now. The death of my friend has shook me down to my core.

Poetry is my current outlet for getting out all my pent up emotions. The advice I got stirred a rage in me I had to get out.

She knows me. I’m not one to reply with a fine, thanks.

She knows I am a hurricane that shakes the honest awake.

When i’m not okay, i’m not fucking okay.

And it’s okay to not be fucking okay.

Its okay to say you’re not fucking okay.

“A little bit.” I say. “Im worn out.”

“Why?” she asks.

It’s hard to say.

“Just how I feel” I reply.

“It’ll pass” she asserts.

It’ll pass.

Let me tell you about a few things that will pass.

An airplane passes the Atlantic to arrive in Europe, Troy is always frightened it will fall out of the sky.

Easter passes every year, Maria is scared she won’t get enough chocolates.

Children worry about passing their exams.

My mother prays she lives to pass 80.

There are few things that when they pass you can get over without much distress.

Missing an appointment, being misunderstood, not having a cent to your name.

However, they are other things that we must respect,

And we must understand, even if we don’t.

Things that we cannot take lightly.

My best friend is dead.

She died.

She took her life.

That is not light.

There is nothing light in my life right now.

Only heavy.

So please, dear God, allow me to be worn out and worn down.

Allow me to speak it.

To share it.

And recognize my scars.

Let them be for the time being.

For I also know that time will play a tune

And eventually make it all alright again.

But don’t minimize this pain,

This howling grief inside my bones.

It is the only companion I have.

The only truth I hold.

I pray for a world, for a future where a broken heart is treated just as gently as a broken arm.

Where we don’t need bravery to stand up and say to someone else “I’m not okay”

A future where our health plan includes mental sick days.

None of us are really, truly okay. We’re all just trying our best.

Falling down and getting back up again.

Let’s be more compassionate.

More honest.

More open.

You never know, you could save a life that way. It could be your own.

The Secret to Second Chances

And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic
Oh yes I do
Of course I do

Allow me to share a story.

Girl meets girl.

They talked for hours on end. Laughter, secrets, hopes and dreams were shared.

There was this closeness. This familiarity. This complicity.

Like they’ve known each other forever.

They were high on each other, they were accomplices exploring each others universes,

sharing optimism and revered glances.

Their language was kindness, trust and truth.

It was glorified sexy on all fronts.

Some might even dare call it Love.

–  –  –

Then something happened. A darkness crept in.

It began to stain their sacred space. Things that were not meant were said.

Lies became the new truth.

At that time, it was hard to figure out what was happening. You could only stand by the shore watching everything as it crumbled.

In the silence, in the loneliness, the truth revealed itself to her: Fear.

Fear was the monster eating her alive. It was a hungry beast preying on her weaknesses and faults. It broke them apart.

In the sadness, in the regret, another truth revealed itself: “I never wanted this to end.”

The girl confronted the beast head on and though she was left with some bruises, she felt less pain in her heart.

“I love you” she yelled as loud as she possibly could.

“Please forgive me, I beg you.” But no one was there to listen.

Her lover’s heart had grown as cold as winter.

But the girl insisted.

“Please. Give me another chance. I love you.” She repeated and repeated.

Finally a voice answered.

“I’m sorry, I’ve shut down in order to not get hurt again. It was very sad. It broke my soul… So I’ve shut down.

The girl felt herself wanting to shut down too to avoid feeling the pain and the guilt but without fear, this was hard for her to do.

“That’s okay.” she said quietly.

“I’ll be patient. I’ll wait for you to give me another chance.” she said retreating to lay in wait for her love.

–  –  –

They say love conquers all. I’d like to believe that false steps are included in that list.

Imagine a baseball game with only one strike to hit the ball. To get it right.

Imagine a football match made up of a single half.

Imagine our education system without makeup tests.

Imagine hating your mother for the rest of your life because she forgot to get you what you asked.

Imagine an unforgiving lover, unable to let go of the past.

When someone we love has hurt us, betrayed us or let us down it’s painstakingly difficult to offer them (or even someone else) a second chance in the fear of suffering through the same mistake twice.

However, life is made up of second chances. The universe allows it. There is room for it, for with mistakes comes growth and with growth comes change.

So why is it so hard sometimes to give the ones we love a second chance?

Did they hurt us? Yes

Do they deserve our forgiveness? Absolutely.

I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t made a mistake. To err is human. It’s a part of the process. It’s a part of life itself. So why do we find it so difficult to forgive? To move on?

Why do we hold on so desperately to the mistakes as if they were some kind of armor we needed to accumulate to pass to the next round?

This is not a game.

If you’ve ever loved with all your heart and you’ve been wronged, I’m sure you’ve felt the pain. This is the repercussion, the consequence of growing. Hurt.

Sometimes we hurt our own selves and most times we hurt others as well.

There are so many casualties caught up in the crossfire.

What do we do? How do we cope?

How can we move on?

How do we let go?

It’s funny because everyone thinks they know what needs to be done. 10 years ago I didn’t know that forgiving someone had actually nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.

I didn’t know how awful it would be when the expectations you lay on somebody just came crashing down.

I didn’t know how much I could be hurt and more importantly, how much I could hurt. It’s then that I also discovered how much I could love and be loved.

second chance

In my humble opinion, here are 3 steps you must be willing to take in order to offer a second chance:

  1.  Forgiveness

This is primordial and probably the hardest step. Without forgiveness, no matter how great the relationship may be in the present there will always be this cloud of resentment lingering over you. True forgiveness is divine. It comes when you are ready to differentiate between the person and the mistake they’ve committed. By forgiving the person you are letting go of the past, of criticism, of judgment and disappointment. It takes a compassionate and strong heart to truly bestow forgiveness.

  1. Communication

Because a level of trust was destroyed, it is important to build it up again. Some people believe that once trust is lost, it can never be regained. I adamantly deny this reasoning. It takes work and consistent effort but it is not impossible and not without merit. An open line of communication is essential when rebuilding a relationship. You can and you should share what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling on a regular basis, even if what you have to say isn’t that positive, even when In doubt, even if with a whisper or on a post it note. No matter what it is, if you’re thinking it or feeling it, it’s important.

  1. Courage

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” – Brene Brown

Here’s the tricky part. You have to be willing to open up your heart. Your whole heart.

All. Over. Again.

You need to dare. To dream. To place your bet. To take the risk of being hurt again. Yes, I said it. Take the f*cking risk. To trust your humongous, forgiving heart into the abyss. Trust what you’re feeling and hold on to it. There is no running, no hiding, no shirking. Don’t you worry for your heart is made for this. It wants to be let out. It wants to be free. It wants to be put into everything you do… because it’s you.

Second chances aren’t for everyone. They are for the bold hearted. The big hearted. The true hearted. A true second chance needs to feel a lot like the first one. It can be a beautiful thing, your relationship could transform into a much deeper and stronger one. Each situation is unique and only you know if it’s worth another chance.

Here’s to second chances, or better yet, starting over.

What do You Want?


When we want to achieve something, when we have something that needs to be done, what we’re doing is focusing our energy to accomplish said task.

So my question is:

What do you REALLY want out of this Life?

What are you focusing your energy on?

Does it make your heart sing?

Does it make your soul fly?

Does it make you want to cry out of sheer joy?

Are you living or surviving?

What can you do about it?

If there were no limitations, no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes…”

No fear.

If failure wasn’t an option… what would you seek out of life?

You want to know what I want?

Are you ready to hear this?

Are you ready to give me what I need?

Because I want You.

I want to see you succeed.

I want to hear your dreams.

I want to help make them come true.

I want to love and be loved.

Without conditions, without boundaries,

Without words, without fears.

I want to abolish currency.

I want to pay for my muffin with love.

I want our hearts to be treated as celebrities,

Rolling out the red carpet whenever you catch a glimpse of it.

I want to have the liberty to not do things just for the money.

I want to live free of fear. In all its forms and masks.

Self-doubt, procrastination, caution, get lost.

I want the mountains closer to me.

I want rivers.

I want trees.

I want kisses that end wars.

I want to share my point of view with whomever is willing to listen.

I want to give you my eyes, so you can finally see how beautiful you really are to me.

I want a family. I want babies.

I want my soulmate to give me another chance.

Just one more.

I want to live forever.

I want to be remembered for who I am.

I want to be an example of vulnerability.

I want to get it all out on paper.

I can’t die with things still inside of me.

I want clarity.

I want yoga.

I want 4 a.m. meditations back.

I want to find my purpose.

I want closeness,

With every human being.

I want to play my part

In this vast Universe.

I want to make the most

Of this body

My soul has chosen to inhabit.

And of this soul,

That my body has awoken to.

I want simplicity.




I want a revolution.

I want to break the mold.


Romantic Stories


I have recently had the pleasure of discovering Nicole and her amazing blog.

I am compelled to share this post because I couldn’t have said it any better if I tried.

As you know, I am a defender of Love. In all its forms.

I’ve given your heartstrings a tug, I’ve spoken of Unconditional love, of Universal love, Connected love,  Body love and Self-love.

I’ve asked you to question who you give your love to, I’ve even shared my intrinsic relationship with my own beating heart.

Now I want to share with you a take on a different kind of love.

Fierce. Uncensored. Instinctual. Revolutionary… Love.

Originally posted on finding gold dust:


I’m no longer interested in romantic stories
how who completed who
or how one is lost without the other
the give and take
the “are you mad?” make up fights
the melting and disappearance
of one into another

I’m no longer interested in romantic stories
give me ones about fierce self-love
about the ways you found yourself
or built yourself or uncovered yourself
give me adventures
in the unknown territory
of being human
give me nightmares
by the depth of your pain
and humiliations
give me joy in your victory
over the doubts and failures
of the you you didn’t want to be

just give me
all of yourself
the story of how you come to be
sitting next to me
I don’t want to keep it
just a glimpse of you

write down
the tumultuous tale
of how you and your fears
made friends
and how you…

View original 27 more words

don’t forget: you are human


I’m falling in love with these Treasure Finds.

A profound revelation/remembrance on what it means to be Human <3

Originally posted on Conversations with a Human Heart.:

part wolf

I see you now.

Fear camouflaged by counterfeit extroversion.

I see you.

You can’t see me, as I’m years into your future; in fact, you can’t see much more than this, your neon present cluttered with empty beer bottles and cigarette ash. You can’t see past instant gratification. You can’t see past the terrible way your heart feels when you’re alone.

I’m going to speak to you and hope you hear me; not just the words, not just the sentences. I hope you honestly, truly, fearlessly hear me.

Remember this, child: you are human.

You are human, which requires you to have a past.

There are millions of pasts out there, floating around in the universe, but no other past is your past. So however unfair, however burdensome, however slippery it may feel, this past is yours to care for; you must honor it as such.

Memories will bubble up, child. One day, amidst…

View original 686 more words

Have you met Vidal?

I am going to be real with you. I sometimes go into a deep existential crisis when I think about the future of humanity. When I think about the world that I must grow old in, the world in which the children I will one day give birth to have to grow up in. What kind of world will that be?

My optimism allows me to hope for the best. When I see the youth of today, I think of myself and remember that most things are just a phase and we need to go through certain life experiences in order to grow and expand our consciousness. However, this new generation has an obsession with technology. Striving to create virtual connections yet failing somewhere along the line to nourish and value true connections, emotions, people.

A lot of what is needed currently in the world are more of us being present in the moment. Absolutely present. Mind, body and soul connected to the action.

 However, I know for a fact that not all adolescents are the same. No human being is like any other. We are each unique in our experiences, our thoughts and our beliefs.

I put a lot of faith in the youth. I believe we are underestimating their power. I believe a ten year old has infinite potential within him yet he doesn’t have the space to express it.

That’s why I’m always moved when I read stories about very young children making a difference, whether at home, in school, for their community or their country.

It shows a powerful soul knowing its purpose and overcoming any adversity.

You might have met this young man already but if you haven’t, I want to make sure you do.

Meet 13-year-old Vidal Chastanet from Brownsville, Brooklyn. He had a chance encounter with Brandon Stanton, creator of the popular website Humans of New York.

Brandon took Vidal’s photo, and asked the teen who the most influential person in his life was; Vidal replied it was his Principal, Nadia Lopez, at Mott Hall Bridges Academy. The interaction went viral in this touching photograph.

screen shot 2015-01-29 at 9.03.23 am

Curious Brandon just had to meet this amazing principal.

It turns out that Ms. Lopez was in the middle of raising money to send her students on a trip to Harvard, a college she wanted them to have in the forefront of their minds. Soon thereafter, Brandon found himself joining the cause, helping to raise over $700,000 for the trip in just four days.

“Nadia’s unbelievable,” Brandon tells Ellen’s Good News.

“She’s like a movie character, she just cares so much and she’s tough. It’s what you need in this area. She’s tough and she’s unbelievably committed and ambitious, but ambitious on part of the kids. She could have been CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but decided to be principal in one of toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn.”

Because they’ve raised so much money – their original goal was only $100,000 – the entire school will be visiting Harvard, and subsequently, the sixth-grade class will be able to go for the next ten years. Additionally, they will be able to establish a summer program to run for the next 10 years, as well as a scholarship fund named in Vidal’s honor.


“When people tell you they’re from Brownsville they get cringes. There’s a sense of hopelessness. I want these kids to know that there are no limits or boundaries to where they can go… I also want those institutions to see the impact they can have on those children’s lives.” says Nadia. She is making a huge impact on her students. She started the school in 2010 as a way to change the narrative of the neighborhood, and to empower students to believe they are more than their surroundings. Vidal says he began school with a “short temper” and often got in trouble, but Nadia changed his attitude.

“If you’re from Brownsville, they don’t expect you to be much in life,” he says. “They don’t expect you to have a quality education, they don’t expect you to know what you’re doing. They expect you to fail. They don’t want you to become anything that you want to be… I realized that if I want to be anything in life, as Ms. Lopez said, I have to learn how to be better. It doesn’t matter about the past and present, you must focus on the future. Your future is what you set it to be in your mind.”


The most recent post shows Ms. Lopez at an assembly on Monday where Ms. Lopez explained the fundraiser to the entire student body. Most of the students had already heard bits and pieces about what’s been going on, but Ms. Lopez projected the blog onto a screen and walked through the entire story. She began with Vidal’s original post and ended with the final tally raised thus far. ($707,000 at the time. over a million now!)


“I have something to admit to all of you. Before all of this happened, I was about to give up. I was broken. I felt like typing my resignation. I told my mother: ‘Mom, I don’t think I can do it anymore. Because I don’t think my scholars care. And I don’t think they believe in themselves enough to care. I’m afraid they don’t think they’re good enough.’ And she told me to pray on it. But I told her, ‘I might be too angry to pray.’ And I know this is hard to believe, because you guys have never seen me break. But I was broken. It’s just like when you see your mom break down. You only see your mom cry when she’s been fighting so hard for you and she doesn’t think you care. That’s how I felt. But then a couple nights later I was with my daughter at a Broadway show, and we were waiting for the show to start, and I started to get all these text messages from my teachers and former students. And then I saw Vidal’s face pop up on my screen. And my first thought was that something bad had happened. Because that’s normally the case around here when someone’s photo shows up unexpectedly. And the moment I realized that Vidal had said something nice about me, the usher came over and made me turn off my phone. When intermission came, my daughter said: ‘Mom, we’ve got to find out what’s happening.’ So we went and sat in the car. And I read what Vidal said, and I began to read the comments. And tears started coming down my face. Because even though I always tell you that you matter, up until that moment, I didn’t feel like I mattered.”

This is love. Care. Inspiration. Kindness. Solidarity. Hope.

This is Humanity.

That’s why it touches us all.

PS – There are still 7 days left to donate! If you’re interested in reading more about the cause or adding your little grain of salt, click here.

PS 2 – Aren’t you glad you met Vidal? :)

Familiar Strangers…


“I feel very strongly that I’m surrounded by other realities.” —Ingmar Bergman

I have this theory about strangers. My theory is this: No one is really a stranger.

When we don’t recognize a person, we tend to label them as strangers. When we get on the bus or the plane or the train, we tend to believe that we are surrounded by “strangers”, but this is so far from the truth. Have you ever felt attracted by a stranger? Has a stranger ever felt attracted by you? How do you describe that? What does it mean in the vastness of things?


I believe we are all connected. Connected by an undercurrent of energy. We are all souls, we all come from the same source. We all knew each other once. In fact, we still do. No encounter is random, nothing is by chance. I have this strong feeling that the girl I’m noticing outside of my peripheral vision is not a coincidence, neither is the magnetism. I want to go up to her and say something, but what? After all, I’m just a stranger. But there’s something in her eyes, in her demeanor, in the way she slants her back against the wall and rubs her wrists that tells me to approach her. I just met this girl five seconds ago on the metro. I don’t know a thing about her, yet I know her. I feel her. I sense her… but for the life of me I can’t gather up the courage to talk to her because… what if this is all in my head? What if her supposed sadness is nothing but a projection? What if she really is… just a stranger?

“My theory is – we don’t really go that far into other people, even when we think we do. We hardly ever go in and bring them out. We just stand at the jaws of the cave, and strike a match, and ask quickly if anybody’s there.” —Martin Louis Amis

This happens to me at least ten times a day. I feel like I’m missing out on connections. On friends. On stories. On people. On growth. On discovery.

Every day I find myself so close but so far from another soul.

She waited for the train to pass. Then she said, “I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.”
― Haruki Murakami

Maybe I am focusing too much on the superficial. Maybe we were never meant to interact. Maybe we were always meant to remain flooded by a pool of strangers. Maybe no matter how much we try, we can never ever really get to know a person. Maybe the next time we meet a stranger, we can just smile and continue on our way.


I try to do subtle service for these souls. I have warm and well wishes for them. I try to find a way to honor my connection without breaking the balance because i think considering a person a stranger is a distance we create. The moment you meet someone, we close off the distance that separates us. Have you ever noticed how you can meet someone today and all of a sudden you recognize them on the street? You might’ve never noticed them before. So, in a lot of ways, the distance is necessary and healthy.

Think of a celebrity. Do you think a celebrity knows all their fans by name? It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s just because we can’t. We can’t know everybody. Not in that way. Not in the way we know our mother, our brother or our lover.

But we can connect with them. All we need is to use our minds. To send a gracious, kind, powerful and positive thought their way. That is our undying well of wishes.

I wrote a poem when I was 15 I think and it had to do with this topic. I don’t remember it well but there’s a line a wrote that I always remember from time to time. It said:

I sprinkled my heart across the sea, now everybody has a little piece of me.

It’s true that this modern technology world is disconnecting us (I encourage you to watch the video in the link). It’s true that everyone sticks their headphones on and shut the world out. Crowded areas like airport terminals, subway stations and bank lines are the loneliest places to be… because you are surrounded by humans but practically invisible to them.

Is this the world we want to live in? Is this the future we envision? 

What can you do today to create a change?

To live in a more connected, compassionate, loving, caring, aligned and centered world?


PS – Happy Belated MLK Day (he should be constantly celebrated so that’s what I do)