10 Tips on Staying Balanced in 2018

Like many of you, behind a pretty picture is a women that has struggled with identity, doubt, insecurities, anxiety, mental & emotional abuse, worry and fear, but what has kept me balanced and focused is the know-how that I was meant to be on this earth, to share my journey and to help empower others as they have helped to empower me.

I sometimes get texts thanking me for the motivational posts and upbeat attitude and along with those messages comes the questions: can you share what keeps you grounded, how do you stay afloat and/or can you share some tools that have helped you?

So after sharing some of this recently with a friend in a very private conversation in hopes that it can help her, I thought it would be great to just pay it forward! No one lives a perfect life my friends! Behind the pretty pictures and posts of happiness & “security” – many of us are living in turbulence; we have lost ourselves and/or are giving all of ourselves to others and/or our thoughts and not taking the time to breathe, to really breathe and to love ourselves! To know me and to follow me is to know I preach “love yourself first” but truth be told – we all get lost in the hustle & bustle we call life and forget to love ourselves! But look… how can we really lose ourselves? We’re with ourselves 24/7/365 – in fact, there’s just no way that can happen – just look in the mirror, look around you – YOU ARE ALWAYS THERE…OMG..lol!!

But really, I know it’s easier said than done and I totally, 100% get what it means to “lose ourselves”!

There are so many great tools that have helped me and continue to help me stay balanced, grounded and true to me, below are the top 10:

1. Community – surrounding myself with strong women & men who genuinely care for my wellbeing. They have kept me grounded, they have steered me in the right direction and have never been afraid to be honest with me, no matter how much it hurts or bites! You see, your community shouldn’t judge, speak behind your back and/or make you feel bad! They love and care for you unconditionally but also hold you accountable!

**It’s important to rid members of your community who aren’t aiding in your growth! If they are only around when you’re in a rut then chances are they are not for you – keep it moving!

2. Writing – writing has helped me to articulate my thoughts, my frustrations and my vision as it doesn’t always come out my mouth the same way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always kept a journal and pencil near by; even at work! Thoughts come up for us all the time…don’t ignore them and don’t ever think you’ll remember them later (because you won’t)! Write and if you can, but don’t have to, share it. The beauty of writing is that you can read/speak your thoughts & visions into existence and/or let them go into the universe!

3. Music & Exercise – it brings life to my soul and lifts my spirits. It makes me feel safe … ever hear a song and it reminds you of something and/or it takes you to a place that’s safe? That’s what it does for me. I close my eyes and let the music feed my soul! So when you’re feeling off, or just need a breather or just need to rework what’s happening in that head of yours – put on feel good music! Exercise….well….it works wonders on your mind, body and spirit! It helps to reduce stress and many ailments. You feel amazing after a great workout and it’s just damn good for you – don’t cheat yourself from a healthy life – go workout!!

4. Laughter – because when you laugh you can’t cry! Ever laugh right after crying? If you have, then you know that you can’t cry immediately after; forcing you to think why you were crying to begin with! Put a comedy on, call a friend who you know can make you laugh (I have a few of those…) and laugh… where there is laughter rarely lives tears!

5. Reflecting & Meditation – reflection makes you realize that every obstacle: good, bad or indifferent has shaped us to be the person we are today. To know me is to know that I live a life with no regrets, no what ifs – just lessons learned! Look, we’re not perfect and just when we think we’ve learned a lesson, we make the same mistake again!! I can sit here and say “we’re human” but truth of the matter is that we all have a choice**! We do! I don’t care what you say! You have a choice to do something, to say something, to behave a certain way, to react… you get it! It’s a choice! Reflecting is a beautiful thing because it helps you realize your role in what’s happening in your life! Meditation – learning to sit in silence, with your thoughts, with your breath! It’s one of the hardest things to do and quite honestly I have yet to master this art but what I can tell you is that it has helped me countless of times to help calm the battlefield that happens in my head every now and then!

**The beauty of choice is that it forces you to create reason, to think critically and sadly for many, that’s too hard because living in the alternative is safe. We sometimes create this false illusion, an altered reality and would much rather live there because it feeds the ego, because we love to live in the box and fit into societal norms … because being average is safe and acceptable! Choice, it’s a beautiful thing we have – use it wisely!

6. Know Your Self worth! What are you worth? What is your legacy? What do you want out of life? And what do you need to do to get there? What won’t you ever stand or settle for? What are your dreams and are you setting small actionable goals? It’s what I.V.A stands for (my fitness program pictured above – go check it out at http://www.ivafitness.com). Never forget your self worth and never compromise your soul for the fear of loneliness or in hopes you can change someone!

7. Self-affirmations: There is no perfect world, person or way of doing things – you just have to be the change you want to see! Positive mantras, self affirmations, vision boards, sticky’s everywhere that remind you of the amazing person you are. My mantra “I am fierce I am fearless”!

8. Therapy – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Therapy can provide useful tools to help you dissolve those rooted feelings that are not mixing with your current being. It’s someone to listen to you and make sense of all that comes out of your mouth (or not). Someone to provide you with resources outside the office setting. Therapy can be amazing if you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to trust the process.

9. Accountability Partner – having an accountability partner is different than having a community. They’ll be that one person, maybe two or three who will set you straight, be the voice of reason and tell you stop, wait, are you crazy, no and good job, you’re beautiful, keep pushing …. because at the end of the day, we all like structure in some form or fashion; we all want to be accountable to someone and we most certainly want to be held accountable!

10. Faith & Prayer: what ever and/or whomever you believe in – the power of faith and prayer works! I truly believe that when you believe in it and speak it into existence and take the necessary steps to make it happen – anything is possible! Love is energy.. keep your energy pure, honest and share it! The universe always delivers when you are true to you, when you pray and when you have integrity and have faith!!

Walks, biking, books, podcasts, blogs have all helped me – here are a few of my favorite books and author (there are so many others so if you need more, let me know): The Woman’s Book of Confidence by Sue Patton Thoele; The Four Agreements & The Fifth Agreement by Ruiz & Ruiz; I Got You by Rob Hill Sr.; Eckhart Tolles (subscribe to his channel on YouTube); God Where is my Boaz by Stephan Labossiere (audio or book); Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary.

The only person you can control is you! You have control of your thoughts, your emotions, your choices and how you deal with all of it! Create a safe space, choose to be happy, choose to live in the present, in health, peace and balance, choose to smile, to learn, to give and to LOVE!! Take responsibility for your actions and inactions and lastly, be empowered by the power of you! You got this! Happy New Year 2018!!

Rise Up by Andra Day – song!!


Be yourself, loudly!

Happy Monday peeps! Be #loud #bold #confident #secure #understanding #loving #patient and remember that everyday is an opportunity to #learn something new, to #empower yourself and others, and to #grow. And never forget to #ownyourtruth ❤️ have a magical Monday 😘

No Coincidences in Life 🌴

They say that people come in and out of your life for a reason/purpose. Sometimes we know the purpose immediately, other times we don’t. And sometimes we don’t realize the purpose until they have left. Some stay in your life forever and others for seconds, perhaps minutes. 

I remember listening to an audio book years ago called “The 5 people you meet in Heaven”. I picked up the book after hearing Hoda Kotb, an NBC Journalist speak about the impact the book had on her and how it helped her get through some really tough times. I too took to the book thinking who will be the 5 people I meet in Heaven and why? 

In the book, the author speaks about Eddie, an older man who met his untimely death while trying to save a little girl and now he’s going through the five stages of Heaven, meeting a person in each of the stages. 

Each person means something and there was a lesson to be learned at each stage. I remember one of the lessons he learned was that there are no random events in life and all individuals and experiences are connected in some way.  Simply put, there are no coincidences.

As I lay here, writing and thinking – today (Monday, June 19th), marks the 1-week anniversary of a man I never knew, I never spoke to him, I never heard his voice, I never once saw him in the street, yet I was chosen by some divine force to witness his untimely death; to kneel beside his helpless and injured body. I just stood there, asking him for his wife’s phone number so I can call her – but no response (yet I wonder if he heard me). He was slowly drifting away. I can feel it, I knew it – I knew he was on his way to Heaven. Felt it coming when the bus I was on was traveling behind him, then next to him and then he was gone…. it was at that point that I felt this connection. I was immediately heart broken for this man and his family. I didn’t know why! I’ve played the scene over and over in my head – thanking God for sparing me the picture of seeing his body being run over by the 3,000 pound bus I was on. But it didn’t matter that I didn’t see the actual impact, I knew it was going to happen the minute we came to close and the bus driver decided to pass him. He was to my right – I can see him and then I couldn’t ~ 

I later learned he died and it felt like I lost a friend! I went home that evening and cried and cried – all night! Woke up hurt, confused and angry. I had to stay home. I began to think that there was something I needed to do besides tell the truth to the media who had the story wrong. So I reached out to the bus company to give my statement, but no call back – no call back till this day.

I spoke to my mom minutes after and it was at that moment that I realized I needed to connect with his family, at least to hear their voice, see a picture, to tell them that he did nothing wrong – he was an innocent cyclist riding to work that morning. It brought me some peace when his wife immediately responded to me and later his two friends. I spoke to one of them several times since the accident but I know they need to heal – so I give them space. 

I suppose I’ve done my part in telling the truth, in giving peace to his family… but still, this man weighs heavy in my thoughts and I ask myself why? 

It’s taken me a week to start writing, to process, to reflect – I know I have to begin to heal and move away from this but I’m just not sure how and if that’s even possible. My bus mates ask how I’m doing and I am grateful. Some ask “what happened?” and it conjures up ill feelings but I know they mean well. My friends and family have been supportive and I’m blessed. Some don’t ask because they know it’s hard.

My anxiety goes through the roof the moment I take my seat on that bus, the moment he/she presses on the break, the moment I see us come close to a bike – I close my eyes! It’s wicked I tell you but I fight through it, every morning and evening since the accident.  

But I ask myself as I lay in my bed – “why me?” 

Why me? As the book stated – there are no random incidents. Something I’ve often stated in my writings “everything happens for a reason”….

But still, why me? Like I haven’t already lost people who have meant the world to me either through death or separation. Like I haven’t gone through enough shit in my 44 years of life! Like I haven’t cried and hurt enough! Why the fuck me and why now? 

Why do I have to lay here and cry – why? (I have no idea why the eye doctor said I have dry eyes – I swear they have no problems producing tears!! Lol – now stop crying – I want you to read past this…we got this far and because truth be told, it’s also hard for me to write if I’m balling.. this is going to stop now!) I think…maybe not! 

(Con’d… 6/20) 

So back to why? I initially thought (and still believe) that I was meant to be on that bus to be his eyes and ears! To speak out the truth to all who got the story wrong. To be able to tell his wife that her husband was the victim of a bad accident and that there was nothing he could do to avoid it (he didn’t see it coming). But there’s more to the why, there has to be. 

I now realize that the why also means that I needed a reality check! That I needed to open up my eyes and see this beautiful world we live in and that no matter the bad apples who come into your life to deplete your energy, there are so many beautiful apples (seeds) to be planted, groomed, to be picked, savored and enjoyed. 

That no matter how bad things may feel or get, that your perception of those times are flawed by the circumstance and doesn’t means it’s forever!

That life is filled with so many beautiful things, people and opportunities, and that WE MUST make time for those we love, WE MUST make time to take care of ourselves first and others, that WE MUST appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly because it teaches us so many lessons, that WE MUST live each day as if it was our last because we NEVER know when it’ll be our last and lastly, WE MUST always do right by our neighbor! It doesn’t matter what, why or how; when someone needs you or when you are called to the aid of someone by some divine calling – you just go! 

So that’s my WHY! 

Rest in eternal peace the friend I never knew – you join the many amazing men I know in Heaven 🌴 

#DanHanegby #06122017 – Thank you for opening my eyes once again! ❤️🙏🏽


Don’t apologize for it! 

This is deep…. 
As much as I preach to “own your truth”, to “live outside your comfort zone” and to “love yourself first”, it’s easy to allow outside noise influence what goes on in your brain and the choices you ultimately make! 

This note reminds us that what we know to be the truth, and the knowledge we store in our minds, that what we feel to be true in our souls and hearts – – that is never to be dismissed! 

You are/we are who we are: smart, beautiful, wise and loving (and so much more) and it’s so important that we never dumb ourselves down for anyone; that we not loose who we are and what we are meant to be, that we not be intimidated by the weakness of others and lastly, that we not forget that a mind is a beautiful thing to waste simply because those in our circle may be too weak to accept and appreciate it! Ladies, work on that circle you keep because not everyone is meant to be in it and/or stay there! 

As our wonderful First Lady Michelle Obama said “don’t apologize for it”! Be true to you and always #ownyourtruth because as I’ve said before, the world will adjust! Sometimes I even need to be reminded and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! Now let’s be #AMAZING #MUJERES #LADIES 

Follow my blog at http://www.lovingmefirstblog.wordpress.com ❤️🎤

Deeply rooted 

What does this tree symbolize to you? While the palm tree is my favorite tree (and I’ve written about it before), this tree however, resonates so deeply with me! To me it tells me that when you are deeply rooted, you can branch out in any form but your root, that’s your foundation and nothing (not even a storm) can uproot you! 

Yeah, the healthiest of trees have been uprooted; even the most solid & aged trees – but that doesn’t happen often (there’s usually some circumstance beyond our control and sometimes we are simply not taking care of it [ourselves]).

You may have some dead branches or perhaps some of the leaves have dried out and are holding on by its last vein, or maybe it simply falls off, but the root, well that only grows deeper in the soil. Rich in nutrients that continue to add to the life of each branch and leaf and perhaps flower.

This tree is soaring, dancing, living, growing and is simply beautiful! If there is anything that we can learn about trees, it would be that we need to appreciate them (ourselves), we need to take care of them (water it and cut off old branches to allow for further growth), we need to breathe them in (take in the beauty that you are) and lastly, allow it to grow (don’t let anything hinder its potential)!

Trees can prosper without sunlight but imagine what a little love and light can do!! So my peeps, take a deep look at this gorgeous life (the tree & you) and reflect – think about the beauty and it’s endless possibilities! #peace & #love to you all – always ❤️🏝 

My Ocean 

My last day in warm Fort Lauderdale and what an amazing time I had. To share, laugh, eat, dance and just be with three amazing women is my blessing! I forgot how hard one can laugh; that belly holding, body crunching, can’t breathe, almost pee-on-yourself kinda laugh…. and sometimes for no reason! Almost as if the laughter had been surppresed for months or maybe it’s because my cousins are just too damn silly! Either way the laughter brought so much relief – to be with women who get you, who love you just because you are you, to be a silly little girl, to be the woman you are and to be loved unconditionally – like, what’s better than that? #blessed
My cousin and bestie did a quick mall run as we count down the hours before we depart; my other cousin made it back home safely this morning.

I decided to stay behind and take these few hours to enjoy the ocean breeze alone, to hear the ocean waves, write, reflect and think not to far ahead, but enough to keep me balanced, focused and happy (inside and out).

It’s not a coincidence that every trip to Florida (with the exception of one) has not come after a hardship, almost as if God knew the warmth of the sun and the ocean is what I will need to help me get through! I swear he knows what he is doing – he always delivers!

The ocean – it’s a calling deeply rooted in my soul, something I can’t explain but I feel it. We all have that thing that brings internal calmness. For some it’s a walk, hike, meditation, yoga, a bike ride but for me, it’s the ocean. I swear it’s where I belong. If I can end my day every day and wake up every day to the sounds and the smell of the ocean, I’d be in heaven on earth.

The ocean doesn’t care who you are, what you’ve been through, where you’re going – the ocean is just there. The waves can be subtle or enormous, the sounds easy or powerful, the smell soft or strong, the breeze gentle or hard but the view – the view is priceless…. the variations of it all is truly breathtaking.

The ocean is my reminder that while you can see its beginning (the shore) – the ending is no where in sight…. a true reflection of the experiences we live through. The ocean for me signifies a cleansing. I brought it all my hurt, worries, sadness, confusion, anger and I left it there…. by the shore and it washed it all away…. no more worries, no more confusion, no more anger – the sadness and hurt washing away with each wave…. the waves come to you but it’s taking away what is left at the shore making it untouchable!

The ocean is my spiritual connection ~

The ocean is my safe space ~

The ocean is my detox ~

The ocean is my inner peace ~

The ocean is my ocean.

I go back home renewed. Reminded by the ocean that I had been there before and I return every time wiser, stronger, eternally youthful, and blessed to have spent some time with it!

I know I’ll be back to visit in several weeks. To take in the sun, the sounds, the smell, to enjoy and laugh, and to remember that nothing or no one can damper my spirit, just like the ocean – let it go Lanette ~

Blessed beyond my soul ~

Mom, are you okay? 

Mom, how come you’re fine being alone in the house (after my break-up)?

My first response was that of a joke “honestly, I’m use to it… been through this twice: three times a charm (with the same person)!” We both laughed, “true” was her response.

She said “oh no, I’ll be going crazy, you’re like nothing!”

After the brief humor (like what’s life without humor?) I stated that I am OK being alone. Happiness starts from within and as long as I am happy within, then being alone is just a state of mind and besides I’m not alone – I have the world at my finger tips! I further stated that while I may appear fine at the moment, my heart does experience sadness at times. But I do know that the universe knows exactly what it’s doing and at the end of the day, we can’t fight against the inevitable. What’s not meant to be will not be! Period!

She looked at me in dismay (I think she thought I was probably gonna loose it) and said “wow”! I just said, “it’s all good, I’m good and life goes on!” And that was the end of that conversation.

But I made a mistake! I did not ask her how she felt! This wasn’t only about me, this was about her and anyone else who may have been impacted by my relationship.

We’re always so quick to say that it doesn’t matter how anyone else feels, it’s your shoes that you walk in and it’s your relationship. While that may be all true, I’ve learned to realize that in fact our relationships affect other people and particularly our children (no matter the age).

You see, she had to learn to care for and see her mom with someone who is not her dad. She had to learn to trust and to respect this person who has entered not only her mother’s life but in default, her life as well.

When she first heard of the break-up the first thing she said was “I learned to care for someone then he’s gone!”. At the moment, all I can said say was that I was sorry and that she had my full permission to always stay in touch, if that is what she desired. There is no malice.

As mothers and parents we have a big responsibility. It’s not just to provide Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but also to nurture our children, to teach them right from wrong, to give them responsibilities, to love them, to forgive them, to be there when they most need you because truly the love a parent has for a child is unconditional; but what I feel one of the biggest responsibilities that we don’t often think about is that of modeling good behavior. No matter their age, our children look at us to see how we respond to difficult situations, to see how we act out when we are hurt or angry, and lastly they watch our every move – as if they were playing chess with us, ready to check our ass when we say or do something against what we’ve told/taught them! You know it’s true! If you’re a parent then most likely you’ve heard them say “but you do it!”

In the case with my daughter, it doesn’t mean that I only show her this strong exterior all the time. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve cried in front of her for one reason or another. Where I’ve had to handle tough situations or maybe it was her and something she may have done or said. But my point here is to tell and SHOW her that a break-up, no matter how hurtful or debilitating it can be, regardless of who’s fault it is, it’s always important to remain rational. At the end of the day, what will being irrational get you? You may say some comfort, even if it’s for a brief couple of minutes, but truth be told the pain will stay there until you heal, forgive and accept what no longer is. Healing cannot begin if you’re still angry, and that’s a fact! So why waste your time!

At the moment I was feeling great, there were no feelings creeping up but I can sense she was nervous, not knowing what to expect from her mom who just broke up with a man she deeply cared for. Allz I can tell her was that at the moment I was fine and that I have a lot of great days and when moments of sadness creep up, I allow myself to have them but I don’t sit there! I can’t and I won’t! Been there and done that and it’s gotten me no where. I’ve realized that life is too short and we must appreciate each day we have – so I leave it in Gods hands!

She quickly relaxed and I can see she was ok with my being ok!

I later spoke to her to check in, to apologize to her for not asking how she was doing and letting her know that although this is my break-up, I recognize that my break-up can affect other people and that I did not want to make the same mistake as I have in the past by thinking it’s no one else’s business. That if she needs to talk about it, I am here to listen.

Her response “it just effects me if it effects you, thats why i asked if you were okay. Im always here for you to talk to also , i know its easy to b poker face but dont feel alone ever .. youll find what youre looking for and deserve. Love you 😘” (my 21 year old)

As it is our first instinct to take care of our children when they are hurt, I believe they too feel the same exact way. They want to protect you, fix you, and sometimes stay away from you because they don’t want to see you hurt or don’t know how to deal.

Either way, we owe it to our children to let them know that we are here for them as well. That while break-ups are never easy regardless of the situation, we must handle it with integrity and humility, respect for one’s self and the other person (if applicable! Hey, sometimes you just need to let that shit go and never ever look back – I’m sorry!) and we must continue to live life to the fullest!

Trust that the universe knows exactly what it is doing! 💪🏽 pa’lante!!