Open Up & Expand

We all have cargo. We all come carrying stories on our shoulders. We all come burdened with raw emotions we have not been able to leave behind.

We are all heavy in our own way.

We keep so much inside the universe that we are, afraid of being misunderstood, criticized or judged. We are afraid of losing… of hurting… of being hurt.

Who can we tell all our secrets to? Who can we trust? Who will listen without judgement?

We have been taught to bottle up our feelings. We have been educated to believe that sharing our deepest emotions is a sign of weakness.

What are you hiding? What are you not telling? What are you ashamed of? What are you afraid of? What is YOUR truth?

Own it… and share it with someone you love today. Let’s change how we communicate.

Let’s never have an empty conversation again. Let’s never bring up the weather. Let “small talk” cease to exist. Let’s get real. Let’s go deep. Within ourselves and our relations with others. I believe we are all here to relate. So let’s do that.

Let go of your fear, your anger, your shame and make room for the love, for the beauty.

Unburden yourself. Lift the weight. Shake the heavy off.

Be Yourself.

 

Be unapologetically you.

Advertisements

Happy 2016!

jar

I started my jar this morning. I call it the “Gratitude and Wishes Jar”

I plan to write down one thing a day that I’m grateful for and all my hopes and dreams for this year.

This morning I realized… I have so much to be grateful for.

I have my health, my sanity, my family, my friends, my job which I love, a roof over my head, food in the fridge. I have a lot of qualities I don’t give myself enough credit for but I also have a bunch of beautiful people who are there to remind me.  I have a lot! What more could I ask for? To be truthful, nothing. I want nothing more than to continue on this journey called life. To continue to walk with myself, to learn more, to grow more, to see more, to experience more, to love more, to breathe more. Another year of more of all this that I’ve been living.

For some reason, I have this notion that my life has been radically transformed during the past few years. As if the sum of my life experiences has somehow altered me on a genetic or biological level.

I find myself to be more kind, more loving, more generous, more intuitive, more patient, more graceful, more benevolent, more decisive, more confident, more honest, more trusting, more flexible, more peaceful, more joyous, more beautiful, more EVERYTHING than I’ve ever been in my life….

 

I posted this on Facebook today:

Some of you might not know this, but once upon a time I was a very shy person. I was afraid of sharing my thoughts and feelings with the world because I feared they could be rejected. I feared I could be rejected.. and in some way, by thinking that way I created that reality for myself. I was an outcast for a big part of my life. Today, not sharing my heart with others feels like drowning. Not letting them know how much I love them every second of every day is not an option. (some people are actually sick of it already haha) but I am so grateful for my bold, beating heart that feels so damn much for so many people. I am so grateful for this year because this is the year that I learned about courage, authenticity, loss, discovery, connection, transformation, detachment, freedom and most of all.. Love. To my friends and family, you beautiful people… thank you for being with me (near or far).. teaching me, pushing me, encouraging me, scolding me… loving me. Thank you so damn much 2015. I wish you all a 2016 full of love, love, love, some peace and joy too, and most of all… I look forward to the memories and experiences I hope to share with you. Happy New Year!

 

The response was somewhat overwhelming. I received messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years telling me how amazing and awesome I am, my primary school teacher even wrote to me saying she knew that shy side, but that I’ve always had a big and kind heart.

 

So maybe… I’ve always been this way? Maybe I’m now realizing it. Maybe this is what we call “Awakening”. Who knows? 🙂

They are a lot of things I’m not sure of. In fact, there are very few things I believe with 100% certainty. Full conviction. It is these 3 things:

 

  1. I am a being of Love

 

loveHuman beings have an immeasurable capacity for compassion, for kindness, for gratitude, for love! Love knows no boundaries, no barriers, no race, no gender, no color… when love comes knocking, open the door!

 

  1. The stars, the trees, the leaves, the breeze, the sea, everything without is within me. I am connected to an Eternal Source of Unlimited Energy

divine

  1. I am here in this life to be happy. To experience love and beauty and truth and peace. In order to step into my own authenticity, in order to be me and claim my beautiful life, I need courage.

courage

 

  1. There is a flow to the entire Universe. There is order in the Chaos.

 

This is a post I wrote Jan 1, 2015:

Oh my god, is it really over? 2014, you were amazing on so many levels. You were a roller coaster ride the whole time and I’d like to emphasize that I survived. Thank you for pushing me past my limits, for testing new waters, for challenging… well pretty much everything. Thank you for bringing change, both temporary and permanent. Thank you for bringing opportunity. For bringing wisdom, joy, creativity, love and friendship. Thank you for reminding me of the value of family. I’m glad we do that every year. Thank you for my family of friends. Thank you for the books, the movies, the moments, the intimate conversations, the aleatory souls, the random chance encounters, the late nights, the early mornings, the sunsets, the meditations, the silence, those infinite moments where I took a deep breathe. Thank you for courage, for patience, for freedom, for truth. For everything, thank you. Sending my love to all my family and friends, may 2015 be a time of intense joy, fulfillment and togetherness. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

As you can see, there is some conducive string attaching 2014 to 2015 and I hope to 2016. I believe it is because I am aligned with my Truth more and more in time and therefore the path that I’m on automatically winds to fit where I am. I believe life is a beautiful and intrinsic dance and we all just need to let loose, take off our shoes and shake the hell out of it!

 

I wish every single one of you kindred spirits from the bottom of my heart a very wonderful and beautiful 2016. Full of LOVE! Peace, Happiness, Beauty, Growth, Transformation, Discovery, Re-Discovery, Encounters, Magic, Flores, Laughter, Eye gazing, hugs and absolute Bliss!

Thank you for being in my life. You are part of my journey, my existence, my growth, my transformation. This year, I hope to do the same for you.

With immense gratitude and love,

12470707_10156367951380114_1904717416_o

Dolly

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

Life.

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.

lety

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.

Video

Caged Bird, Take Flight.

Caged bird, take flight. Never lose your will to fight.

I am elated.
I am proud.
I am grateful.

Today, on Music Monday (yes, I just made that up) I’d like to share with you a local band from my beautiful island of Barbados. A treasure find is more like it.

Hungry Soul is a new band but lead singer Dennica Pearl has been creating music for some time now. The 22 year old, singer-soul writer, born in St. Michael, Barbados and raised in Florida. Acoustic, soul, jazz artist influenced mainly by Billie Holiday, Tracy Chapman, and Erykah Badu. Her belief that musicians are agents of change with the responsibility to lift the social level of consciousness are reflected in her lyrics.”

I am proud to call the members of this band my friends & beautiful souls. The Universe brought them to me and now I am sharing their gift with you. I hope this song brings you love, joy and peace today 🙂

I love this song, maybe because I feel like the bird in it. Living in a prison that I created for myself. I remember reading Maya Angelou‘s poem for the first time and thinking since when was freedom something we had to fight for? Nevertheless, it is. Until this day, there are people fighting to keep us ‘free’.

There’s liberation in these lights.

Music frees the masses,

come unwind your mind.

We live in a world

full of mass confusion;

unmask your psyche,

control is an illusion.

We all have a version of a ‘cage’ in our life. Whether it’s regret, fear, or sorrow holding us back. Whether it’s your job, bank account or city. I’ve never met anyone that hasn’t felt trapped. But we are not. There are no chains tying us to the ground. We were born to fly. If you believe this, you will be able to soar across the highest of peaks. Believe. Believe in yourself, your strengths, your capabilities.

Believe that you deserve to live your dreams. And live them.    

It’s not as complicated as you make it out to be 🙂

I’d also like to remind you: There is inspiration everywhere.

Take a walk around your neighborhood, explore your hometown, find a local group or band or class or person that is attuned to your frequency. Really notice your surroundings. You might be amazed and what you find. A mutual friend introduced me to this amazing band and when I met the lead singer, she can attest that I told her I loved her on the first day of meeting her. She had such a pure, generous and radiant energy. In her, I found another soul sister. Thank you, Universe. So get out there, put your best foot forward and allow what’s meant for you to come your way.

 

Watch Strangers become Friends!

This is pure awesomeness, I think it’s the perfect video to start off December!

Watch strangers become friends in 3 minutes! SoulPancake hits the streets to see what happens when two strangers sit in a ball pit… and talk about life’s big questions. When they first get in, they’re not sure what to think. But there’s just something about a ball pit that breaks down barriers and encourages new friends. New souls collide and realize… we’re not that different. I love making new friends and I’m quite inclined to start a ball pit in my country to make this a thing. Which brings me to my assignment…

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion”
~ Simone de Beauvoir

Happy December my WordPress Family!

I love this season. Love is in the air.. literally! It’s the season that turns the grumpiest people into believers. The whole world comes together to advocate love, peace, joy and gratitude. It is the Season of Giving. Everyone is opening up their hearts to let more love in and more love out. If you just look around, you’ll see it.

December is a time where everything is possible (although we know it’s really all year round). But more people believe in December. So i’d like you to try something with me…

This December, I will let my guard down. I will break my walls. I will be open. I will be honest. I will make a new friend.

This is my promise for December. Will you join me?