Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Times of Rice and Beans

I grew up on rice and beans. Not that I didn’t know the flavors of a tender piece of chicken or juicy meat but, those were served on special occasions even though we had everything right there in our back yard. It was the time when we honored the land and in exchange for our love and care she provided us with all we needed; no need for a weekly trip to the grocery store.

As I grew older and retrieved from her, I was introduced to the nice sirloins, pre-packed salads, artificially grown fruits, red and black caviar, and exotic beverages. Big aisles inside air conditioned stores substituted my daily trips to collect fresh eggs. My hands stooped getting dirty while picking tomatoes and lettuce from the still moist soil. I came to live in the “pre” world; pre-packed, pre-cooked, and pre-seasoned. Life also began to be pre-complicated as I grew apart from the land that had carried and fed me in my early years.

All these thoughts were running wild in my head while cooking my ancient rice and beans. How have we gotten so separated from our origins, from our roots? How have we forgotten everything that tied us to the natural ways? Why have we gotten so lost in an artificial world we naturally don’t belong to?

As we get older, we become wiser. At least, that should be one of our main life purposes. My old land is gone. Layers of concrete cover her now. It is now when I am finally listening to her voice and understanding her message. We need to go back to her. We need to honor and see her again as the sacred being she is. We need to live simple and unwind the ball of thread that has been keeping us captive.

In my country, rice and beans are sacred .They are our "daily bread," our comfort and soul food. They represent our basic needs, our way back to simple life. They remind us Hans Christian Anderson words when he said:” Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower” and I would add a good plate of rice and beans.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Self-Efficacy to Survive

“It’s a total chaos out there”, I was thinking on my drive back home. What’s wrong with people, society, and the democratic, fair system we used to be part of? Economy is showing no signs of recovery. Thousands of people are struggling to keep the material possessions they worked so hard to get. They are in a constant battle to even keep their sanity! Around us, everything in every single country is crumbling and arriving to our coasts like a domino effect. We have been touched and altered by the giant net around us.

Some time ago while taking my life coaching courses I heard about self-efficacy for the first time. This term is defined as the capabilities people have to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. In simple terms, how mentally, spiritually, and physically strong we are to deal with the problems we are faced with. In times when our emotions are constantly challenged by outer events we can’t control, this itself presents an ordeal and inner fight. So, to prove your levels of self-efficacy ask yourself these questions:

1. How do you deal with challenging problems?
2. Have you developed a deep interest in some activities that keep you entertained and help you in releasing your tension or have you been avoiding them staying stuck in your drama and negative situations?
3. Do you have a strong sense of commitment to yourself and your strengths or are you always dwelling on your difficult situations?
4. How quickly you recover from your setbacks? Are you losing confidence in your abilities and skills?

Whatever your beliefs are they make the difference between surviving this chaos and making it better or simply drown into its waters.

By the time I pulled over, I have had enough time to think about all this. I’ve been there already. I am here now, again facing challenges not worse than the others. My confidence in the woman I am has brought me here, has lifted me many times. My faith has grown stronger. I have a clear vision of the world around me. Yes, changes are needed. We all need to change our old ways to get rid of this chaos. Although not within the definition, self-efficacy has shown me a new dimension to the word. We must all believe in ourselves, in our potential as a human race, our connection to each other, and the power we have if we all pull on the same direction, together. Only then we will be able to survive.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Living with the Fly

Flies; small, annoying, and bothersome insects many of us despised. They move everywhere, reaching many places, and making us move around in crazy, out of balance swirls. Flies could take many shapes. They could be a persistent struggle attached to our skin. They could transform in the shadow following us everywhere; that negative attitude or person endangering our sanity, the broken dream far away from our reach. The fly has become part of our lives, so stuck to us that we end up thinking we are both the same. Truth is we are but we have chosen to be separated from that reality, resisting its presence. As a consequence, what we resist always persists.

How many flies are flying around you right now? Would you allow the fly to continue bothering you or would you come to the understanding of your true essence? Would you be willing to fly along with it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 19th 2011, 10:30 PM. In a hotel room I was excited with the good news; a new life has come to this world in the body of my newborn granddaughter. Like the two previous ones, she represents the arrival of the sacred feminine bringing healing and blessings to my family and the world. And then, I walked to the mirror, looking at my own reflection, thinking about the miraculous life cycles. There she was, perfect, soft, learning how to breathe in this world. There I was, with a bulk of experiences already written on my skin, an already long story to share and lessons to pass on.

The mirror was showing me the first appearance of still smooth lines on my face, witnesses of good and bad days, lots of smiles and a good share of tears. My grandmother used to say that the so called wrinkles are not signs of aging but wisdom. “If you’ve lived a happy, serene, and generous life, wrinkles show as tender and almost imperceptible signs of a life filled with miracles. What kind of wrinkles would you pass on to those women coming after you?” It is strange how I have come to understand my grandmother’s words years after they were said.

Natalia means the birth of Christ. She is the maiden, the promise of new beginnings. She made me look at the mirror feeling grateful for my reflection. She made me promise that just like my grandmother did, I would pass on the smooth wrinkles to her and my other little princesses; wrinkles of wisdom, love, a heart filled with compassion and forgiveness, a life well lived, and gratefulness for our daily blessings. That’s my promise to you Natalia. Just like me, in time you’ll know that Love does conquers all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No Matter What...

The fourth agreement according to Don Miguel Ruiz says: " Always do your best." To that I would add, "no matter what." ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST NO MATTER WHAT! Life could be plagued with challenging situations. As mortals, too often we feel discouraged, frustrated, and even worthless. All these negative feelings drive us to the edge of giving up, failing the most important person of all, YOU. And then, we allow the circumstances to take over. We stop giving ourselves the best that we deserve. We stop showing it and sharing it with those around us. We create a huge inner mess that will inevitably reflect into the many mirrors we face every day.

It is not about becoming super men and women. It is simply about becoming divine humans, embracing and reconnecting to that sacred connection to all that it is. It is about...

1. Believing in you and your outstanding potential.
2. Confronting challenges as lessons and growing opportunities.
3. Getting rid of fears and doubts.
4. Loving and accepting every single inch of who you are.
5. Looking inside and reaching out to that higher intelligence from which we ALL come from.
6. Being truthful and open to new realities.

There is an African American proverb that summarizes it all: "God makes three requests of his children. Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, NOW." That NOW makes all the difference! Then, what are you waiting for to bring out the best of you, no matter what?
Need some motivation?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Speaking from the Heart Quick Tips

Sara Paddison once said, "Being vulnerable doesn't have to be threatening. Just have the courage to be sincere, open and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around. It creates self-empowerment and the kind of connections with others we all want in life. Speaking from the heart frees us from the secrets that burden us. These secrets are what make us sick or fearful. Speaking truth helps you get clarity on your real heart directives."

Your heart knows best. Here is where your spirit resides.The language of the heart has been forgotten but it is universal. This is the time to re-discover our true nature, mend broken relationships, and create meaningful venues of communication. We are not isolated. We could all have the same language if we could only:

1. Accept people the way they are avoiding demands, criticism, and judgement.
2. Be honest in your feelings and needs.
3. Understand the feelings and needs of others.
4. Be compassionate listeners.
5. Learn how to love unconditionally.

Could we give it a try?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What if...?

Last night we were challenged with this question. What if you would have been given the chance to create your own, ideal reality? Um, something to think about, right? I was told long time ago that we are granted the privilege of choosing our family. In that case, I did a great job choosing the perfect balance between love and hate. Half of my relatives showed me the healing benefits of unconditional love, humility, and care for yourself and others. From the other side, I learned the fatal effects caused by old grudges, apathy, and dysfunctional relationships. To live is to learn and we must learn from all sources to make wise decisions and choose the path we want to follow. If, as I was told, my relatives were my decision, I chose a great school. But, that is the past.

My path has been built upon high mountains and flat grounds. I admit I’ve been the creator of my storms and sunny days through the decisions I have made along the way; the so called mistakes we make due to ignorance, immaturity, and lack of knowledge. However, what is life without these episodes when we challenge ourselves? Aren’t those “mistakes” precisely what makes us growing?

In pondering the question then I would have to say that our reality does depend on the choices we make. We are in charge of our today and I emphasize today, and how we live it. We all have that power. How we use this power is what makes the difference. Then, it is not about what if anymore but about what are we going to do now, knowing that we have been granted the tools of creation? This doesn’t mean that we are exempt from external circumstances, out of our control. How we choose to deal with those circumstances will determine its positive or negative effects on us.

My self-created reality has helped me in becoming the woman, the human being I am today. Challenges have made me stronger and more humanized. They have strengthened my faith in me and the higher powers guiding my way. My reality rests in love, gratefulness, compassion, and forgiveness; what I have learned as I’ve walked through my stepping stones. It is grounded on happiness. Even in times of trouble, when everything looks upside down, I rather choose a smile. Amazingly it helps me in finding the reasons and blessings in disguise. My reality has brought me closer to wonderful human beings, my teachers and angels on earth. So, you see, taking charge of your reality does have wonderful benefits. The next question is, what are you waiting for? How is the perfect portrait of yours? Are you up to the challenge?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Change your Mind. Enjoy a New Sight

What is your view of the world around you? If you follow the daily news, probably your view is geared towards disasters, instability, and uncertainty. The latest rapture news had many in the “run for your life” mode. Well, we are still here and regardless of all the changes we are witnessing and the ones we will certainly see, there is always a bright side to every story and it is up to you to change the characters, settings, and outcomes.

Let’s face it, changes are part of life. Through history our ancestors have gone through many drastic transformations. They are part of our own evolution. What is the difference now? Could it be that we have been too complacent in our “we are the center of the world” mentality? Is there any way our old beliefs are getting in the way of seeing a different, more positive picture?

First we must admit that change is one of the most difficult things for people to experience. We tend to fear the unknown. We feel afraid with the possibility of failure. But, what is failure but the opportunity to learn, recharge, and create new and better experiences?

Second, we must be willing to transform our past, present, and future. Sometimes we live our present still holding on to what happened two, three, or even twenty years ago. We allow our past to control our today. Getting rid of what doesn’t exist anymore should be our number one priority if we truly want to move on and flow with the changes we face. Your past is not in charge of your present. Let go and get rid of all the barriers blocking you from moving forward toward your dreams.

Living in the present, totally here and now, will create your new and positive sight for the future. How are you living your present? Detach from the drama, the gossip, and the fatalistic images we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Stay centered and focused on your own vision. Reach out to your heart and start living from it. Why living from the heart? Deepak Chopra explains it like this:

"Only the heart knows the correct answer...most people think the heart is mushy and sentimental. But it's not. The heart is intuitive... at times it may not even seem rational, but the heart has a computing ability that is far more accurate and far more precise than anything within the limits of rational thought..."

Finally, accept and embrace changes as part of your own magical transformation. When we have no control over what is to come, we could only get as prepared as we could and learn how to flow and welcome those changes with a positive attitude. How to create a positive attitude in the midst of chaos? Simply, enjoy yourself, be grateful for your every day and list the reasons. I can assure you you’ll be surprised with the many blessings you are granted. Cherish your loved ones and show them your love. Go out, walk, breath. Nature is there for us. Take a look at the beliefs that are not serving you anymore and find ways to clean and renew your mental storage. Remember, you create your own reality. And the way that reality gets created, is through your beliefs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 1, 2, 3 of Faith

One of my first and most vivid memories as a child was my grandmother’s daily nocturnal praying ritual. There was not a night she would go to bed without elevating her soul to God, Jesus, and Mary. I always wondered why this obviously devoted woman would never set foot in church. Back then I thought or at least the rest of the world made me think that there was a direct and unavoidable connection between church and true faith. I never asked her but continued to spy on her every night.

Growing up, my own experiences started molding my beliefs. Hundreds of different creeds began exploding all around me. Friends would blame for not attending any of them. They even used the words heretic and atheist to describe me from time to time. To make them happy, I would join mass once in a while just to end up totally disappointed most of the time. How do you show your faith through complains, gossip, anger, and a false belief that your truth is the one and only? You are right while the rest of the world is wrong. Those who don’t agree with your truth will certainly go to hell! Mass then became one more distant memory.

After 47 years of a blessed life I have come to my own conclusions.

1. Faith is just a word when it is not experienced.
2. Faith means to stand strong in the midst of the storm, knowing that there’s a divine plan for every event in our lives. It is to accept happiness as well as sorrow as part of our learning process.
3. Faith is to believe in the higher power that guides our spirits with no need for concrete evidence. It is to feel the power of unconditional love that conquers all.

Like many other things, I have followed my ancestor’s ritual after I finally understood it. In the end she was just following sacred words:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray on the streets to be seen by men…But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father…then your Father, who sees what is done in secret., will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” – Gospel of Matthew 6:5-15


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Adultery by Paulo Coelho

AdulteryAdultery by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great story by Paulo Coehlo. Real life down to earth characters struggling to find the meaning of life; a mirror of what we all go through day by day. The amazing story of Linda makes us ponder and question. What's life's ultimate purpose? What force moves us? What is it that we should all strive for?

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