Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simplify to Amplify

A full time job, household chores, family, friends, unexpected events…are you feeling the pressure? Twenty four hours are not enough sometimes. By the end of the day we feel so drained that just the thought of having to start all over again the next day feels like a threat. Years ago I was riding the same train and dragging the people around me on the way. No wonder why stress has been categorized as the main cause of illnesses. Why do we try to do so much? Why do we worry excessively? It’s not like we won’t have another chance. Simplifying to amplify; that’s been my newly discovered trend and I have to say that it works perfectly for me and my goals at the moment and I am determined to keep it that way. So how am I making it simpler? How could you?

1.       Get rid of all the extras, all those things not needed any more. When the market went into a crisis, I decided to get rid of the so called “American dream”. I got rid of a too big for me house that was squeezing my pocket and my sanity. As a result, I am now living in a comfortable townhouse with a view to remember; nice mountains and a soothing lake that brings me peace every morning. All the bills, house chores, maintenance fees, and headaches were cut in half along to the huge, useless collection of objects I had stored for years.

2.       Go local and make some changes in your eating habits. Eating has been one of my most expensive habits. I don’t eat a lot but I do like to eat good which meant a high grocery bill until I discovered community agricultural associations where I could find healthy home grown crops for less. Now, I order my fruits, vegetables, and herbs during the week and pick them up on Saturdays. I buy in bulk for the rest of the stuff and I am saving a big chunk every month. http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

3.       Go outdoors and enjoy what nature has to offer. A good morning walk could turn any day into a great day. You gain a different perspective of life by being connected to the wisdom of nature and its cycle and, best of all, it is free entertainment. http://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-and-walking-benefits-of-mindful-walking/

4.       Check yourself. Listen to your body and keep track of its messages. Whenever it prompts you to take a break, do it. Sit in silence, make time to practice some activity you love, go for a ride without any set destination, observe people and connect with them, take the train or get a plane ticket to that spot you have always wanted to visit, learn something new that inspires only you.

5.       Stop worrying, worrying will not change the circumstances but it can definitely take a tow on you.

In the end, make sure whatever you are doing right now is what you love, what makes you wake up every morning with a smile in your face, what makes you feel you are making a difference in the world. Your gifts are your blessings and they expand when shared. Living a simple life amplifies the quality of each moment lived, your vision, and the way you nurture your relationship with others.

As Robert Brault would say; “Everything we possess that is not necessary for life and happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.” Get rid of the extra load and take a break. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

La Nouvelle Orleans

Traveling, like writing feeds my soul. It is one of my passions. This is especially true when I can visit those places that literally speak to me. This passion has taken me to different countries. This time however, I stayed local. It was the turn of La Nouvelle Orleans, in search for lady New Orleans in the state of Louisiana.

In New Orleans, the queen still reigns like it was from the beginning, located in southern Louisiana on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River Delta on the east and west and the majestic Lake Pontchartrain in the south. The real magic of this city rests on its history and blend of cultures. Music to my ears it was to walk down Bourbon Street listening to all the dialects and languages of the world. My soul was energized with the sounds of jazz and zydeco rhythms emerging from every corner in a non-stop display of art. The The French Quarter is a cultural fusion, an art museum filled with life; remnants of the past, work in progress of the present, and hope for the future. I went in search of the lady and came back determined to return, hoping to spend more time with the locals, enjoying the bayous, and bathing in the sounds of the music that characterizes the happy self of its people. This is just a taste of this magical city; a place you have to feel, smell, and touch on your own; the sweet Cafe Du Monde beignets honoring French ancestry, delicious seafood and Voodoo juice at Le Bayou or some fresh from the marshes alligator nuggets and Flambeaux from the Market Cafe.
New Orleans has to be lived. Laissez le bon rouler!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Enter to Win

Enter to win a copy of my recently published book, Called to Ribbon Dance: A Short Story of Hope. See the details here. Good luck!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Called to Ribbon Dance A Short Story of Hope by Norma Casas



          Called to Ribbon Dance A Short Story of Hope

          by Norma Casas


            Giveaway ends July 30, 2013.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

      Enter to win

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blinded by Color: The State of the Nation

It has been my purpose since I began my writing adventure to inspire and empower. Through this path I have been called a dreamer, an idealistic, and a visionary of a world that would never be. Today I am speaking up against the storm of racial and cultural divide permeating this country lately. Maybe because I wasn't born in this country I never experienced this kind of prejudice and ignorance before. Even after I moved here it has never personally touched me. However I can’t help but to feel sad, and yes, sometimes angry while witnessing how it seems like as a human race we are taking steps backwards instead of evolving as one interconnected entity. If you are one of my readers living abroad, I would refer you to these headlines so you can get an idea of the reasons of my disappointment.

I am wholeheartedly hoping that at some point better sooner than later, we all come to realize that unless we don’t join forces and start acting as citizens of the world, we will not be able to make a difference, improving the living conditions of all, living by the old virtues of our ancestors; simplicity, charity, tolerance, and community. We are indeed facing a challenge, to demonstrate our true human nature. The Native Americans put it this way:

Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade…where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself.
~Native American Wisdom~

I was born in Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth of the United States since 1952. I was born an American citizen. I am proud of my African, European, and Taino heritage. People can keep calling me a dreamer but I still believe we can all make it happen if we don’t get blinded by color. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Why of My Words

Today I met with a friend for some coffee; I love nice coffee shops.  We were talking about my new book and the story behind it. He praised me as always and shared some ideas. Before checking out of the place, he grabbed my arm. “I admire your dedication,” he said. “I could never be a writer. That’s too much work and no pay.” Somehow I felt stunned. In the end, although money is necessary and a healthy relationship with it a must have, that’s not the end to my writing. I felt the need to write this post to explain my followers why I write.

As many of you know I've been writing nonstop since I have memory but my first published book saw the light in 2011 so I consider myself a newbie.  I still have so much to learn! So why do I write? I write because the dreamer in me is bigger than myself, because I feel the need to share my world, experiences, and beliefs with others, because it is my best therapy and it’s free. Writing keeps my mind working 24/7, yes, even when I am sleeping. It is food for my soul. In my own way, simple and clear, I enjoy delivering a positive message of hope and empowerment. I write because writing is an act of love and, as cliche as it might sound, we all need a huge amount of it.

This is me, the writer and human being; the visionary and idealist who still believe in the power of words and the message they carry. We all have a passion and it grows when shared with others. Not so long I received this email from a reader:

I just read The Power of Us; there were so many similarities in your story and my own. I have been on this beautiful path to self-discovery for over twenty years. Like an onion every time I peel a layer I discover more of my authentic self. I have realized this is a process but it is very fulfilling and beautiful. I enjoyed your book very much and wish you much success. As a Latin American woman I know the importance of being a female and the power that I carry with me. As women we need to support each other and help each other grow. Thank you for your light and for sharing your story.”

Her message made my day. This is why I write. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The O of Emotions

Have you ever asked yourself why you are the way you are, the reason for your reactions? I do and all roads take me to my childhood; the origin of it all. Do you remember grandma and her ways?  Mine, a short but powerful woman, used to be the commander in the house, her word was the last word; the ultimate deliverer of discipline. One of her favorite extreme measures was to lock me up in the shower; not a shower like those we all enjoy these days but a dark, small, rectangular concrete room where little spiders and scorpions would crawl; a spooky experience although now I laugh at the memories. Maybe this is the reason why I developed my number one pet peeve, feeling caged, cut off from my freedom to come and go, to do or don't, to choose my surroundings as I please. It all starts with an uncomfortable feeling, a shrinking stomach, a loud inner voice shouting let's get out of here and me following without a second guess. Could you relate? Is this good or bad? I have wondered many times. My friends call it free spirit and yes, it might fit well. I've been in situations when I've had to cope and adapt; reaching out to the great virtue of patience. My best tool is still to fly. And you might be thinking, why to bother trying to figure out our emotions? Well, it's really simple. Emotions, good or bad, control our thinking, behavior, and actions. They influence not only us as individuals but those around us as well and the only person in charge, the only one who can change what you feel and the way you react to it is you. So, I've had to learn how to peacefully live with my fly while you can effect by...

1. not trying to be in control of every situation
2. expressing my feelings in the moment and be open to feedback
3. often doing a reality check
4. limiting my expectations of people and situations
5. allowing life to take its course 
5. trying to see the best in every situation

If you are a "free spirit" like me, maybe these could help. The real irony is that grandma was just like me. 

If you want some more information on Emotional Freedom I also recommend this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307338193?ie=UTF8&tag=juormd-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0307338193


Airfares Around The World

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?

View all my reviews