Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ribbon Dance: Where It All Began

Today I felt the need to go back to where it all began, some of the places that inspired me to write Called To Ribbon Dance; the meeting place, the trail, and the mystery. Looking back is healthy when it brings joy to your soul. Join me on this journey through hope.

"We dance for laughter, we dance for tears,
we dance for madness, we dance for fears,
we dance for hopes, we dance for screams,
we are the dancers, we create the dreams."

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Zen of Failure

From childhood we have been hammered with the idea that failure is not an option. No wonder that when we stumble and things don’t go the way we planned, we feel worthless, useless, and trap. What a difference it would have been if taught we could not fail no matter how many times we fell.

Life has taught me in many ways that failure indeed doesn't exist when seeing as an opportunity to better ourselves and grow. Just consider this. No “failure” means no risks taken which means we have done nothing new with our lives. What kind of boring life that is. A “failure” free life means you have not tried at all.

Zen is the art of contemplating your own nature. Your innate nature involves changes, experience, adventure, constant transformation into the amazing being you were born to be. That could not happen without trying, without striving to accomplish our dreams. Failure could be a state of bliss when you…

1.       have the courage. It’s not easy to embark in the new and unknown but it is worst to give up easily.
2.       stop planning for “someday”. Get out and engage.
3.       visualize the difference taking a risk would make in your life.
4.       start small and achieve big. Small experiments are the key.
5.       enjoy the process, all of it, as a powerful learning experience.

Starting today, don’t limit yourself by what you won’t try. Don’t fail to try but try to fail. Feel Zensationally accomplished and free. You took the chance and you made it! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How to Win the Happiness Challenge

“Successful people are not necessarily happier people but happy people are typically more successful.”

It’s 6:00 AM on a Sunday morning, still dark and cool. I had this dream where someone asked me, how I managed to stay happy. And then, I woke up keeping that thought. Happiness is an everyday challenge, that’s how I see it. Finding reasons to stay happy regardless of the circumstances is a sign that we have been able to embrace life making the best out of it no matter what’s going on around us. The happier we feel the more reasons to feel joy will unveil; that’s my experience. Happiness is a craft we must learn to master. It is about…

1.       Counting your blessings.
2.       Waking up with a grateful heart.
3.       Avoiding drama and negativity at all cost.
4.       Learning how to see your struggles as messages from the spirit; a wake up call.
5.       Loving who you are.
6.       Giving from what you have.
7.       Experiencing changes as opportunities.
8.       Cherishing your relationships.
9.       Being willing to be flexible, adapting to the circumstances.
10.   Finding something that would make you smile every day; blending with the adventure life is.

That’s my response to my dream. In return, I have been given many reasons to stay in my happy zone. What a precious gift that is! As you begin a new week, my wish is that you find yours as well and that you may experience the difference a happy soul makes. To your success! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stop Blowing the Balloon: 5 Natural Weight Loss Helpers

 I was recently reading a recent health report written by John Von Rodavitz, a correspondent for Science Press Association.  These are some of the staggering facts he reports after his research. 

1.       In 2008 more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight.
2.       Obesity in the United States, the fast food nation, is among the highest in the world.
3.       Over 18 percent of deaths in the U.S. among people 40 to 85 are linked to be being overweight and obese.

     You know my mantra is to live out loud. In order to live a fulfilling happy life, we must take control of everything affecting it, health being in my opinion the most important. That’s why I decided to share with you some of my personal strategies to maintain a healthy weight; easy, natural, and safe ways to stay healthy, of course, adding an active life to it.

1.       Bring the palm trees to your life. My ancestors knew better. Coconut oil is powerful. It lowers the bad cholesterol thus helping you shed those extra pounds. I take 1 tbsp. every day; use it on stir fry’s, and cakes. Coconut water is refreshing and a great source to stay hydrated.

2.       Don’t forget your garlic, raw of added to your dishes. Use it every day to lose weight plus give your heart and immunity a boost.

3.       Oatmeal for breakfast with honey and cinnamon will keep your weight on check; low calorie and fiber rich.

4.       An apple a day…in this case apple cider vinegar. I must admit that when I first heard of it my stomach closed. However this is an age old remedy to lose weight. To add some taste to it, I add some honey to a cup of water and 1 tbsp. of the vinegar. It serves as a great detox agent as well.

5.       When I was a child I used to play with the papaya stems. Well, time would show me that this fruit is a digestion wonder and natural weight loss agent.

So here it is my naturally simple weapons to maintain a healthy weight. To my friends from around the world, I would love to hear yours. If there’s any proven tip you would like to share? Stay healthy my friends and as always, live life out loud! 

"There's nothing more important than our good health- that's our principal capital asset." ~Arlen Specter~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And the Teacher Says: Live a Bold Life

Courageous, daring, adventurous; these are the qualities usually associated to a bold individual. To live a bold life it is necessary to find our passion. Unfortunately, too many people think that finding that passion equals finding the right job and the nice salary that would help them pay the bills even if that “right” job has nothing to do with what drives their inner engine; what makes them feel alive. As a consequence, as time goes by, they end up complicating their lives, hearing their own negative voices, fearing making a change or the wrong decision, and distrusting their own abilities. Their inner spark is gone so their joy for living.

To be passionately bold we must have a sense of purpose and feel deeply engaged with and by life as it is. This is what ultimately brings joy and positivism, what diminishes the difficulties, better our relationships with others, and brings a sense of well-being; what I call feeling in the flow. Seeing life this way transforms you into that person, daring to experience, blending, learning, and bravely engaging with life’s twists and turns against all odds.

These were my words to my students today as we were discussing our expectations. By their expressions I guess this wasn't what they were waiting for. Few teachers give this kind of speech, daring them to go out there and simply live their dreams.

How would you rate yourself? What is holding you back? The good news is that it’s never too late to be bold and shine bright.

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions; could have, might have, and should have.” –Unknown-

Monday, August 19, 2013

6 Tips to Stay Connected to Our Roots

It’s that time of the year again when I meet new students and their families, some of them newcomers to this country. From the beginning, the United States has been a country of immigrants. For us, it is sometimes difficult to stay in touch with our native traditions. If we have children, born or raise here, it seems harder to keep them grounded, linked to the mother land and their heritage. For me staying connected with my roots is an integral part of my life and passing it along a mission. Maybe many of you out there have gone through the same.

These are some of the things that have worked for me over the years helping me and my children to stay connected. Please feel free to share any other ideas you have implemented.

1.       Cherishing and embracing my native language has been strategy number 1. Since I teach Spanish, I am speaking my language most of the time. I use it at home with my children (well, when they come to visit now) and with close family.

2.       Listening to radio stations and watching TV programs in my native language has kept me connected with the cultural aspect of my country. Thanks to technology there are some places like HULU, Spotify, and Pandora where I can easily access them.

3.     International Film Festivals have been other venue to stay in touch through the arts.

4.       Cooking; everything begins there. I often cook traditional meals and share them with friends and colleagues to give them a taste of my culture. Epicurious is a great resource for international recipes. 

5.       I have a friend who hosts a student from her native Africa. Hosting a student gives both the opportunity to stay in touch while learning from each other. Both then decided to adopt a newcomer’s family from church forming a micro community of their own. 

6.       The celebration of traditional holidays away from home are a great way to involve the family and introduce neighbors and friends to our rich cultures.

I have been in this country for 17 years. I have many reasons to be grateful; love my life, the places I've been, and the people I've met. I am still who I am; a blend of Caribbean beaches, warm weather, lay back lifestyle, and the rhythm of a blended race. Preserving family memories and honoring our heritage is part of who we are, what makes our presence so unique; our contribution to the world wherever we go.

"Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach to our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings. "
~Walt Disney~ 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Live: Green Smoothies Go Latin

If you've read my book, The Power of US, you know I grew up in the wild, surrounded by nature and everything it had to offer. You also know my best life lessons were delivered by wise women, presided by my grandmother. From them I learned some of the secrets of eating fresh and incorporating some herbs to my diet. Honoring those days and those who guided me, I put together a simple, fun, and informative "batidos", smoothies recipe book: Green Smoothies Go Latin. It  features fruits and vegetables native from Latin American countries and the Caribbean. It offers a complete guide of healing fruits and vegetables and their medicinal uses. Quick, easy and delicious recipes to make sure you get all the fruits and veggies you need, also including herbs and spices that will boost your health and energy levels!
You can get the Kindle edition here:

To a healthy you! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Would You Reconsider the Food on Your Plate?

This short but amazing and thought provoking video gives you a glimpse on the food most all consume every day. Watch and take action! 

Resource: GreenMed

Thursday, August 15, 2013

9 Workplace Energy Booster: Keeping the Balance

Summer vacation is over. In less than a week I’ll be back to the hustle and bustle of lesson planning, meetings, and my students’ every day happenings. But, that’s then. Now, 30 feet above ground, between the pretzels and the Icelandic water, I am enjoying my San Antonio-Atlanta Delta flight, trying to somehow mentally organize my next 10 working months.

Teaching goes beyond the 8 hours schedule. It is the kind of profession that could silently drain your energy. If I add my writing, researching, and extras I end up with the perfect time bomb. I've had to learn how to control the clock and the elements surrounding me. Even after more than twenty plus years in charge of my space, I need to mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare myself.  Even if you are not a teacher, I think we could all use my “staying in the zone” strategy to keep cherishing what you do while also enjoying your life, making time for you and what you dearly love.

1.       Always keep it moving and move with it: Forget the desk. Try to add variety to whatever you do. Be creative and try new things. Move with the flow under your own terms.

2.       Spread your tasks. Take breaks. Prioritize. Don’t try to do it all. Some things can surely wait a little longer.

3.       Play your favorite sounds. Music is an integral part of my life. If you can, bring the sounds that sooth you to your workplace.

4.       Bring on the green. Nature in all its forms has a relaxing effect. Bring a plant to your workplace. From time to time, stop and simply look at it; the effect is transforming.

5.       Go out and stretch.  Have some time to spare, maybe lunch? Take a quick walk and shake it off.

6.       Breathe for real. Take a minute to follow your breathing pattern. It has a relaxing effect.

7.       Drink your H2O. It helps maintain the balance of body fluids and energizes the muscles.

8.       Choose well; the people around you and the choices you make. Learning how to say no is a great skill. At all cost avoid the drama, walk away from everything and everyone who might stress you.

9.       Keep a positive attitude. Many blessings and opportunities come in disguise. Any negative can be changed into a positive if seeing with different eyes.

After more than a month of local trotting, enjoying my family, friends, and even strangers. I am ready and excited. Any day is a good day and it starts with a great today.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is Bartering the New Economy Trend?

There was a time when civilization’s needs where met by a direct trade of goods and services; a hen for a pound of flour. It might have taken some time to find an exact match of wants and needs but it worked. That’s the way it was before money, paper and coins, became so valuable, not because it was valuable by itself, but because it turned into something everyone knew would be accepted as payment, the only form of payment, for their most basic needs.
Bartering has become popular in recent years perhaps due to the financial crisis nations all around the globe are facing. The internet has greatly contributed to a faster, safer, and more efficient bartering system. As an example, a couple of weeks ago I traded a written spa services review for an hour and half therapeutic massage. There was no money involved and both parts were completely satisfied.
Just as most things, there are also some disadvantages. The number 1 concern in my opinion is to determine how trustworthy the person you are trading with is. Always ask for references, research the business, and check if it is a verified provider.
Life is a cycle. It’s always changing. The recent worldwide events might be a sign urging us to pay attention to the old ways when simple was better and sharing was caring. If you are new at bartering you can check these sites: BarterQuest or JoeBarter. Do your research and decide if bartering feels right to you.
Have you tried bartering before? Feel free to share your comments or bartering resources. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Five Personality Traits Leading You to Success

According to the American Psychological Association, personality refers to individual differences in characteristics patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  There are thousands of personality tests out there that could give you a glimpse of your style and provide useful information on how to identify and make positive adjustments to those traits not serving your path and purpose. One of the best online and free of charge is provided by Human Metrics based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’s typological approach to personality.  There are many factors contributing to the development of certain personality types but I will leave that to the psychologist.

The truth is that we all have the power to change those patterns that are not serving us in living a happy, balanced, successful, and fulfilling life. Here I am sharing the top five which, in my opinion, will give you the best shot at life. They might not be the easiest to achieve but I can assure you they will enrich every area of your daily living.

1.    Humor: Having a good sense of humor is a great medicine to overcome the daily trials we often face. It feels good to laugh, reliefs stress, and gives you new perspectives. Learn how to laugh at yourself and your problems will minimize while solutions grow bigger.

2.    Passion: I am the number one fan of living passionately about everything we do. Passion ignites our inner fire. We work better, communicate better, achieve greater results, and nourish positive relationships when we feel them from the core.

3.    Authenticity: Being yourself and expressing it in a unique way in a world sometimes surrounded by fake appearances could be difficult but it is precisely your uniqueness what would make you stand out, capturing the attention of others. Being genuine opens many doors.

4.    Curiosity: The world is full of surprises. Be curious about it. Ask questions. Inquire and expect responses. Embrace life with a thought provoking attitude. Be willing to open the Pandora box.

5.    Credibility: Your honesty and trustworthiness are vital for your success in life. Begin by trusting your potential and skills and then present them with assurance and tenacity.

Like Erich Fromm said: “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important of his effort is his own personality.”

Choose your true colors and create your best world! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Amtrak Affair: Atlanta-New Orleans

Remember our trip to New Orleans last week? I shared with you some of the details of my trip to the city where time stopped. But, how did I get there? The first time is always the best or so it is said; be it because the experience is totally amazing or because in many ways, good or bad, it’s unforgettable and it sticks to your mind forever. 

Although I have been living in Georgia for 17 years, this was my first Amtrak ride, all the way down south  to dwell with Spanish conquistadors, African drums, and French Fleur de Liz. Amtrak or The National Railroad Passenger Corporation is the agency providing intercity passenger train service in the United States. It operates more than 300 trains each day with routes all over the country including Canada.  The Crescent route rises from New York to New Orleans and back.  

Pros: Riding The Crescent from Atlanta is an eleven hours journey, mostly running through the hidden trees and small towns unknown. Traveling coach, I was pleased to find comfortable seating with plenty of leg room and pillows and blankets available, although the temperature inside the cars is always pleasant. The train offers comfortable bed liners with private bathroom and showers for those passengers traveling overnight. It also provides with a cafe lounge, for light snacks and beverages, and a more formal dining room, where the passenger can sit, relax, and enjoy lunch or dinner with a view at a reasonable price. I had the pleasure to enjoy the best bacon ever. As an additional perk, if you like to meet new people, it is a great choice.
The train’s hosts are a display of southern hospitality, eager to help you with all your needs, sharing their stories, and anxious to engage the traveler with some local tales and useful tips as well.

Cons: Since Amtrak shares the rails with freight trains, delays can happen. On my way back home, we experienced a two hours delay which could be a hurdle for those passengers with pre-set schedules. If you are like me and like to enjoy the ride while staying connected to the world out there the Crescent is not for you, at least not yet. At this moment Wi-Fi is not available on this route so a plan b, like a good book, could be a great option.

Overall, I give them 4.5 out of 5. Knowing this, I would definitely do it again. It is a useful option when your schedule is flexible, if you want to try something different, and when you are willing to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Traveling transforms us. It lifts the spirit. If you are planning your first train ride, I definitely recommend giving Amtrak a try.  Happy journey and remember to always live it out loud!


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