A surprise trip to Toronto: A catalyst for change.

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I often talk about my life, and I mention the word Journey, I think of what this means and how important it is for me to tell my story. I have so much to share, and a lot to be grateful for. As I have mentioned before the past years have not been the easiest, there was a lot of change that was triggered 2 years ago before I even realized what I was about to learn about myself and the many discoveries along the way, about my past, my relationships and ultimately my life story. I do feel deeply for the pain I endured over the years, but now that it feels like I am in a better place and I can say, I would not choose it any other way. I don’t think any artist can genuinely create if not from a place of vulnerability and deep emotion, I could not be a writer without the scars I receive inspiration from.

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A few weeks ago my beautiful Partner planned a surprise for me, I think it has been one of the most meaningful gifts someone has ever given me. Beyond the material aspect of it. That trip changed and transformed a part of myself that needed to see and witness kindness, love but more importantly the manifestation and proof of talent I possess. 8 hours in another country, sounds far right? Not really it was one of the shortest flights I’ve taken, quite pleasant (for a plane ride, after all, I’d still choose teleportation if I could)

This experience was so impactful it felt like the person arriving at that airport in Toronto was not the same one to come back to NY.

 

We visited so many places, and I took decent pictures, We walked around Kensington market and enjoyed some great food and then (boom) my insecurities hit me,  All this anxiety and pressure put on myself to be perfect, to be more than what I am this moment, to try to impress others in a way to prove my worth.

If the motive behind my intentions is to be perfect every time, I will never be able to create from a place of the heart. So right before we exited a crystal shop, which I felt very drawn to,  This beautiful gigantic Crystal cluster seemed to call my name, I placed my hands on it, and  I felt the need to let go of the fear of not being good enough and the need to create perfection.

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The moment I embraced me and denounced the lies I had believed until that moment, it all changed, all the pictures I took after this moment were more honest and sincere, but more importantly, they were beautiful, they came from a place of creation and passion without an intent to prove anything.

In Toronto, I witnessed the magic of not trying to be and just being. This is an amazing gift triggered by the universe and delivered by my girlfriend, and I feel so blessed, so in sync with God. Not the God behind religions but the one behind Love and art, sexuality, and free expression.

For the past 3 weeks, I have been creating nonstop, it amazes me sometimes to look at my shots and think wow I did this? Wow!

18 years ago I was just a girl living in a small village without electricity, cable or internet. I dreamed of travel and music, but in my head, it seemed an unattainable dream. Today at age 28 I wake up to the life I never even allowed myself to dream cause it felt too impossible. Now I create my reality of endless possibilities and a higher purpose.

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So thank you Toronto but thank you, Amanda: The catalyst for positive change since October 28th, 2015.

Cheers!

Your love saved me, Your departure broke my heart.

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” Dia de Los Muertos: a day to remember and honor those who no longer reside in this earthly plane, to show appreciation for the memories of those who we continue to love after death”

Two years ago, saying it out loud sounds like such a long time, but it also feels like it went by so quick. I have thought a lot of fall 2015, It was probably one of the most terrible years of my existence, I guess it was all tough love in a way. It was the beginning of the ultimate ending for me.

October 30th, I was about to embark on a trip I was not prepared to go on. My Grandmother whom I call Mamá was very ill, I did not want to be honest with myself, but she was dying, she was dying, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The one person who never let me down no longer exist in her mind cause Alzheimer took her from me years ago and that had been in my mind too. I arrived home to the place where I grew up around 9pm, As I entered the house, a memory from the day I moved to NY comes to my head, she cried so much that day, She kissed and hugged me and the only words she could speak were: mi hija!  I knew how much she was suffered over my departure 5 years before this moment. Now I was the one staying, and she was the one leaving, except there wouldn’t be a comeback.

I get to the door, and I don’t want to go into the room. She lies in bed, and all I see is flesh and bones, she isn’t there anymore. I wished she’d call my name, I wanted her to hug me.

So many thoughts in my mind, so I cried. I couldn’t hold my tears. I couldn’t  stand the idea that this was goodbye for us, in my heart she was timeless, and so she remains, but her body was not. Her body had an expiration date, and this was it.

We were surrounded by a lot of people, but I needed us to be alone, one last moment together just us, like when I was a little girl. I held on to her hand, and I kept looking into her eyes. Maybe this is all a bad dream, perhaps she will wake up and laugh out of excitement to see me. I told her how much I loved and how I will miss her. I say to her in between my pain that I know she needs to go, although I couldn’t stop it. I wanted to be okay with it, but I couldn’t.  Please don’t leave me! I screamed inside my head, please remember me! Please talk to me please, please….. it’s me Your daughter.

Please if there is a God this is the time to prove it, don’t take her away from me!

I let go of her hand… I walked away… I kept running. I kept hiding.

I will never forget the last time I held your hand. I love you. I will miss you until the day I die, and we meet again.

 

Thank you for being my person.

Healing through travel: Cuba

”Your soul was not created to sit in a cubicle and make money, you came here to make memories that will surpass time and space”

Esmeralda Garcia.

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When I first started this blog, I really had no idea what direction my writing would take, I just knew I wanted to share my experiences and help others in their own path to emotional recovery and spirituality.  And to be honest, I doubted myself a lot, and I still do.  I want honesty to be a clear foundation between my readers and me, I am not in the search of blinded followers, my heart desires to build relationships with my readers.

The platform that I want to create is: using travel as a way to free my soul and heal the many wounds created along the way, all the way from the first breath to the present moment.  You often hear that time heals everything. Indeed this is real but add a beautiful vacation to a destination of your choosing, and there you have a match made in heaven.

Speaking of which, Time has taught me is that the healing process cannot be rushed, you truly have to sit with all your emotions as hard and challenging as they may be. It took patience and commitment, but there is no more rewarding thing than looking back and realizing how much knowledge you have attained or even how much you have healed, give yourself acknowledge your progress. Do not follow the voice of the inner critic, it will never give you the encouragement you need.

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Now, back to my trip to Cuba, this adventure came with a lot of fear, doubts, and challenges, flying on a plane triggers my anxiety, and it is tough to deal with even with the amount of knowledge I have picked up over the past year. You probably wouldn’t even guess this with the amount of travel  I have done this year alone, but this as well is part of my journey, overcoming this fear every time so I can get to my next destination.

I have realized that although I live in a big city which brings a lot of incredible opportunities, my heart is set on the countryside. I love the rain, the trees, and don’t even get me started on watching the stars on a clear, beautiful night and for my blessing, Cuba offered this and more.

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I think the best way for anyone to connect with themselves while being away is to disconnect from distractions and noise. I came here with the intention not to use my phone, and I have to admit it was an excellent way to remain present, not checking my phone every 5mins to check on social media updates.  In this millennial age we live, our phones have become a part of ourselves, and using it on a daily basis as the answer to everything is easy to forget how much we take for granted in the outside world.

In this beautiful country, one of the best assets I encountered were the people, the hosts at the house we stayed were so kind and genuine I honestly felt like I was visiting long time friends, this was a great sign for me to let my guard down and let them in. I never really encountered such feeling with my family but it always amazes me how strangers can make you feel so at home yet they don’t really know who you are. This restores my hope in this world becoming a better one for everyone.

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We stayed about 45 mins from the capital: la Habana, and it was truly the best decision we could have made, I love the feeling of being surrounded by nature everywhere you look and the peace of observing all these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.  Another perk that we had was: the beach, about 5 mins away from the house, how wonderful to be there with all the locals and see things through their eyes. Reading so much about the Cuban “situation” you’d expect to see a lot of sadness and catastrophe but what I witnessed was nothing but pure joy and happiness. There wasn’t really one moment while being in the country where I felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

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But, because nothing is ever perfect this trip did not come without any lessons not just for me but also for the rest of the group, I will share the most enlightening and powerful of our experience. We are so privileged, so damn lucky of the many opportunities we get every day, yet we are very ungrateful, and we take all this privilege for granted. I thought to myself, how lucky I am where I get to make a commitment to be a vegetarian, and although I have profound ethical and spiritual reasons to choose this when you can barely afford the basics, this becomes a sacrifice, not a choice as it is for me and many of us.

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On our last day in Cuba we visited ”el Barrio” this translates to: ”the hood”.  El Barrio located a block away from one of the main streets: Calle Obispo. Just walk one block, and you will see poverty and a lot of struggle, kids running around the streets with bikes I have never seen anyone here in NY riding. Sadly enough I have seen many beautiful toys in the trash those kids would kill for. But you know what else I saw: happiness, humility, open hearts and genuine smiles.

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My girlfriend asked me if we could take the kids to eat ice cream with us, I must admit she is more kindhearted than me, I thought to refuse, but her desire to make a difference genuinely inspires me, and boy was it inspiring. We took them to the same street where all the tourists walk around, I dare to assume this is not something they often do.  They were so happy, it brought me back to my own childhood, I was just like one of them, I did not have luxuries or even some basic needs, but I was so happy. Seeing them so excited and contempt makes you wonder why is it so hard for adults to be happy having it all while kids who have nothing feel on the top of the world over getting ice cream on a hot day in Habana.

I had one of the best experiences of my life, and the more I know myself, the more this brings me closer to those around me.I cannot wait to take you with me on my next adventure.

Cheers!

Why is The Healing Journey Painful?

”Heal your past and you will find your truth”

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My healing journey has been filled with many endings, painful realizations, and eye opening experiences. For the longest, I expected it to be a very straightforward and progressive lane with also an expiration date, which I sought to measure at all costs. It took a lot for me to realize that, the only way to find peace is to flow with the situations unfolding in front of me, rather than resist, in the end, I have little control.

As many of you already know I have suffered from anxiety for many years, not only this but I always felt like there was a disconnect inside of me, I often failed to feel grounded and present, and it felt like there were chunks of my childhood missing from my awareness.

Later on, I learned with the help of my therapist about repressed memories and how trauma is a reason for them to be locked away in a very heavily guarded place in your brain. After realizing this, I have been able to recognize the many cycles I’ve repeated, and a key to my healing has been breaking them for good.

I have come up with a list of the different reasons why healing has been a painful process for me, there are many more not included here, but I compiled the ones I struggled with the most:

1- Fear is the enemy of enlightenment:

This emotion is simply paralyzing, we tend to create disastrous scenarios, in efforts to protect ourselves from future disappointment, So for anyone to unlock their past and find peace, courage will be a key component. In my case, my fears were always bigger in my head. Important note: Being brave does not entail, not feeling fear.

2- Healing is like peeling layers:

Our feelings are our truth. When we deny and ignore them, we are also failing to be genuine. I learned that emotions are stored as energy in your body, repressing them will only delay an imminent explosion, sometimes it may simply show as passive aggressiveness or bursts of uncontrollable rage, if this happens to you often, it is time to slow down and be more observant.

3- Attachment, as the Buddha explained, is the cause of suffering:

Everything will come and go at its own pace, whether right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. Emotions and pain are bound to leave. The lesson here is: you are the ocean and not the waves. Let it all flow, be present with it all.

4- You cannot do this alone:

Allow yourself to be supported by those you love and trust:  for as long as I can remember I have been a loner, survival has been my most precious life accomplishment. Relying on others or asking for help was never easy, once I was comfortable I found so much love in opening myself and allowing others to witness my pain, We all need a compassionate witness in our journey, to help us validate our truth when we cannot do it for ourselves.

5- Isolation will also be part of the equation:

I took a vacation from the outside world, Alone time serves me as a tool to explore my feelings, in a way where I don’t have to filter what I say or how I say it, socializing is ideal for healing, but this could also be a distraction. Allow yourself to have a balance between the two.

Lastly, healing is all about breaking cycles, ending relationships and removing toxic energies from your life. It may feel like an eternity, but I want you to find peace in knowing that cycles are bound to end, and this too shall pass.

Please leave me your comments and thoughts on the comment section, I would love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Anxiety is not the cause but the effect

IMG_3162‘There is beauty inside of you waiting to be discovered. Your perception of yourself has nothing to do with the outside world so if you cannot see it then it is time to go within.”

 

If you are currently reading this feeling lost, and in need of guidance, I certainly hope that I can at least set you on the right track of your personal search for answers. I want to share, and it is not a secret that I have been suffering from an anxiety disorder for years, if you are experiencing the same, please know that I feel your pain. I honestly feel for the panic attacks you have experienced and for the many times you have felt inadequate and defeated. And if you have not been told this yet, please trust me when I say: you are not crazy, not broken, and you will not spend the rest of your days like this.

When I first started my journey of recovery, at first I was looking for the quick fix, the magic pill, I wanted a quick exit out of it. I was looking for answers in books, websites, and Substances thinking that I would find the help I needed on the outside. Little did I know that I had all the answers with me and it would take a lot to uncover.

After a year of ups and downs and many sleepless nights, I can say that I have accomplished a new sense of peace and purpose and I want the same for you. My dear reader, I want you to be the best version of yourself starting today.

The first thing you need to know is that your anxiety as awful as it feels, it is not the cause but the effect. This means that all those panic attacks and sensations throwing you into dismay every time are just the symptoms of the real reason:  Emotional trauma. All your answers are in your memories, and once you start witnessing them, you will understand why, your own body was trying to keep you from having to go through it, again.

Now I want to clarify and bring light to what trauma is, although abuse comes in many forms, I know that when we hear the word, we think of the most horrible physical or sexual violence and although yes this is in fact and undeniably traumatic. We tend to overlook the different types of traumatic experiences anyone, but specifically, children go through.Just to name a few think: neglect, bullying, invalidation, abandonment, verbal attacks, physical or sexual violence.

In my childhood, I went through a lot of traumatic experiences, always feeling helpless to the circumstances.  I became so conditioned to feel like my opinion did not matter that I internalized everything and made it my own. I believed the different times I was made feel like I wasn’t enough and lived this truth every day for far too long. Every time you experience abuse, it creates a layer of false beliefs and insecurities and the longest it goes for, the more terrible and devastating your present anxiety will be.

When I first started digging into my past my defense mechanism was immediately triggered, I had stored so much pain for so long that any attempt to unlock it only increased my panic attacks, and this is just a warning sign. This is just an alarm going off inside of you. Your brain in every effort to protect you has locked away so many awful memories and keeps throwing all this distraction manifesting as panic attacks, blurry vision, a feeling of fainting, disconnection from reality and many other uncomfortable feelings.

I am not implying this is not horrible. It is! I am saying: this is just the surface of the reality right underneath and for you to be free from it.  You need to go down the darkest days of your life and get to the core of your false beliefs.

There are many  things I do to help my recovery from my emotional trauma, I want to share a few, you use the ones you feel most connected to or use them as a reference and starting point in your own search for love, peace, and happiness:

  • Seek a therapist: this will allow you to get guidance and also have a safe space for you to share whatever comes to the surface. Do not be afraid to share your secrets for fear of them sharing it, by law they cannot. Also, they will not be biased and will give you useful feedback and advice. If you do not know where to start Here is a link.
  • Do not expect miracle work, many of your first sessions will be around establishing trust and getting to know the basics of what you should expect. Also, know that your therapist cannot ”fix” you and you will be doing most of the work.
  • Do not put a time stamp on this process, this is a mistake I made, and it was hard to correct, getting to know yourself will take time, and you will progress at a very steady pace, but there’s no way of telling when you will feel done with it.
  • You will hit a lot of emotional lows, and at times it will feel as if you will never get passed this sad moment. Trust that nothing lasts forever and this stage is not the exception
  • Isolating yourself to be alone will become a necessity:  You could not do this work if you are surrounded by distractions, so keep in mind that, parties, alcohol, sex, food and drugs are tools you could use to cope with the emotional distress. Be strong and treat your cravings as a sign you are on the right track.
  • Be compassionate, and although sometimes you will not know how. Just be patient and know that this is how Self-love is created. One day at a time and treating yourself as a work in progress and not a lost case.
  • Distancing from those who hurt you will be ideal, they are a constant reminder of your pain, and you deserve better.
  • Your work is not about gaining validation from the same individuals who harmed you but loving yourself so much that now you validate yourself.
  • Expressing your emotions will be a most so allow the tears, the pain, the rage and anything else that comes up to flow naturally and unjudgementally. Now that being said, when it comes to anger I highly recommend to be mindful of your triggers and remember you are working on being a healthy and grounded individual so do not hurt anyone in your path, you will not create love in yourself by harming others.
  • Your job is to become the observer in the of your emotions and let them come and go as they please, see them as waves in the ocean.
  • Journaling your experience will be very beneficial, express your thoughts and feelings by writing, recording, posting, painting, singing or playing instruments, supporting your creativity will have significant healing effects.
  • Lastly, support yourself in any wholesome and healthy way you like, whether you choose to exercise, connect with nature, try new things, travel, practice yoga or meditate. Do what your heart asks for.

If you haven’t yet, I invite you to read my article about Self-love here, this is a continuation of my Self-development series. I wish you great success on this journey and ask you to be your own hero starting right now.

If there is anything you want to ask, feel free to drop your question below.

What Is Selflove?

”Love is a free expression, and it comes from the heart willingly”

For many years of my life, I had this idea in my head and this false conviction of the meaning of self-love and what it is supposed to look like, I was convinced I loved who I was. Yet I paid little attention to all the noise happening in my subconscious. I used to say out loud how much love I had for all of me, but I still did things hoping to get approval, recognition, and love. This journey of self-discovery and self Appreciation takes a lot of work, it truly requires for you to forget about what you learned in the past. It is important to start questioning the things you do out of habit, to be honest with yourself with every decision and every choice you make. People pleasing is so easy so if you want to say ”No.” then do so, if you feel obligated, then your decision might not be authentic.

We are all born free and naive, we come to this world as a blank canvas, and the people and experiences we go through as we are growing up will determine who we will be as adults. My childhood was tough. I never seemed to fit in, and the more I tried, the more rejection I experienced,  my ideas never seemed to be good, and when people needed to have a good laugh, I would be the topic of choice. All this and more pushed me to become a very different person than who I truly am. An extended version of myself in which I did not have to feel my pain. Her name is anxiety. She has been my companion for years telling my how unworthy and unlovable I am, how easy it is for people to leave and how hard it is for those to stay. I have been in recovery for over a year, releasing the lies I believed about myself and reconnecting and embracing my true essence.

Believe it or not, we have all been brainwashed one way or the other.To believe that we are not pretty enough, not smart enough, not worth it, not deserving and if you feel this way I want you to know this is not true. Anyone who does not accept you exactly as you are is not worth your time.

Every time you feel sad and unworthy  I would want you to picture yourself as a 10-year-old, think about the things this child would feel happy to hear. Would you be as hard on her as you are on yourself currently? I can almost guarantee that you would not punish a child the same way you do yourself, I can almost guarantee you would be supportive and encouraging when they felt down and defeated.

There are many lessons I have learned in this beautiful journey of self-discovery and I will share a few of them in hopes you will apply them to your own and find what you are looking for:

1- Your feelings are your truth, and you should always honor them:
I used to be the type never to express myself I was not in touch with my feelings and found myself often afraid to be shut down and disregarded, always expecting the other person to guess my feelings and validate them so I could feel they mattered and were true. Your feelings are your most genuine expression of your TrueSelf, and if you deny them, you deny your authenticity.

2- How you choose to express your feelings matters:
As important as it is for you to be true to yourself and express what you feel in your heart, the way you choose to communicate this to the other party will have a huge impact on the outcome of your conversation or discussion.Expressing yourself and speaking your truth is not about being always right or disregarding the other person’s views or their feelings.It is not about shouting or being petty about things. Authenticity comes from a grounded place and clear mind. The goal is not to win, the target is to be understood and offer the same in return.

3- You don’t  have to love anyone because you are told to do so:
I want you to think about this one very carefully. Think about anyone in your family, for example, think about someone who you may not feel is deserving of your love and your dedication. But you have this thought that because they are your ______ (father, mother, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc.), you have to love them? (hence the words ”have to”).This is something you have heard everywhere, and many times, the question here is; do you love them or are you idealizing them? Do they love you and does their behavior proves this? Do you see your truth or the truth you were told to believe?

4- Do not feel guilt over leaving people behind and taking time for yourSelf:
The journey of self-love can be lonely at times, you cannot expect to listen to your heart if you surrounded by noise and distractions. Cutting ties with people who do not resonate with you anymore is part of it. It’s like trying to have a healthy diet, and you start cutting all the foods and drinks which you very well know are not going to be good for you. Nothing ever stays the same, and you have the right to change your mind and think differently, you have the right to make choices based on your current needs, and you owe no explanations.

5- Letting go hurts at first but in the end it is rewarding:
This has been the hardest part of my experience, letting go of old patterns, thoughts, ideas, and people but also letting go of the pain inflicted by those who I so firmly held on to. Allowing mySelf to feel my pain and diving into an obscure phase that brought tears for weeks at a time. Before you can be the best version of yourself, you need to declutter the bullshit you went through that built so many walls around you.

I hope this piece inspires you to begin your journey and find the person you were meant to be since day one, you are worth the fight, and you are your only savior.

Keep fighting; you are a warrior!

Love and Light!

Healing through travel

 

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cancun, it was the second time I came to this part of Mexico, but it felt very different from the first time. Nothing had changed except for my perception and willingness to only go with the flow. I used to think that for things to be enjoyable, they had to come out exactly as planned, it all had to work out correctly, or I would catalog it as a failure. What I have come to find out is that if I see magic in the world, my experience will always be magical too.

In this trip, accompanied by my partner, her best friend, and her son.We were supposed to travel to Cartagena and Medellin. I was genuinely excited to experience Colombian culture the food  and the warmth of the people there. We were not able to board the flight since it was booked and after some time we agreed just to book the next flight to Cancun, How freeing it is not to get caught in the why, and the could have been and simply follow the trajectory of this unknown journey. Once we arrived our bags never made it out of the aircraft due to technical issues with the compartment where they were kept, we were offered to have our bags delivered on the same night or the next day, it may have seemed that we were being tested or at least I felt as if the universe was giving me a good lesson about patience and gratitude, things were not coming out as planned but at the end of the day I was no longer in Cold New York. So we went to the hotel and started our vacation, I noticed how easy it is to get caught up in the illusion of social media, of wanting to post every minute of our vacation for people to see what we were doing and the views we were enjoying. I tried my best to disconnect and simply remain present, to look at the horizon and enjoy the breeze and the beautiful sunshine that I was lucky enough to experience. The morning after I had an excellent opportunity to meditate on the beach and hear the beautiful sounds of the waves while the sunlight bathed my face with bright solar plexus light. In my last Therapy session I was asked to try to see things with clarity and love, clarity to see the love I had around me without getting  caught up in the past and the disappointment I experienced in the past, I saw how much I held on and how badly I refuse the love around me unintentionally simply because letting down my guard seems like such a compromise, Resisting the need to plan every detail of any event to prevent unexpected outcomes. I allowed myself to be seen and to be loved and just to be.

One of the nights we stayed in the hotel room quietly talking, i had a chance to see vulnerable parts of my companions, their pain and regrets and soft spots you could never even guess, seeing myself in their stories and knowing that their pain is also mine as I have been there but more importantly  learning that sharing secrets with those who we love only brings us closer, it makes us feel less alone and allows us to see different perspectives and opinions and see that life is not a one way street with manual and batteries. I felt healing by listening, by being present and enjoying their company, and this is the job I want to have in the lifetime.

We went to Market 28; there you can enjoy some homemade real Mexican food, we had tacos, tostadas,mexican corn on the Cobb and mexican Coca-Cola(the best). We walked around the different stands with souvenirs and artisan made items. I think the one thing I enjoyed the most about this kind of trip is connecting with the people, seeing the very young kids selling bracelets in the street for a dollar makes me think about how easy life we sometimes have and don’t even realize it. We met this particular young man named Joshua, he spoke English and was very conversational with us, he works with this Dad in the market and as many others in there, this is the life he knows. All this brings humbleness to my heart.

I look forward to the opportunity to experience more people like him and more places like Cancun, to enjoy the real treasures of life and not to get caught up in the fast lane pace of life we are so accustomed in NYC.

I want to see and hang with the locals, to eat where they eat and walk around the streets where no tourist walks around. This is where heartfelt memories come from and where my heart feels more at home.

 

Namaste!