Tag Archives: Journey

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! ❤️🙏🏽

  

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 ❤️🏝 

What is Self-Love? 

To my daughter and the women I love ~  

  
The key to learning to self-love is that you must first fully understand and make a decision that your “self-love” is not dependent on the approval of others! 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, a blog I created to share my journey and to hopefully share pointers, advice, and/or a simple reminder that you are not alone. That as women, we face and overcome so many challenges and barriers, but if we have community, a platform to share, love and the support of each other and others who believe in our growth and evolution – then we can truly grow! 

Self-love! I see the words everywhere. I hear the words spoken by so many, but do we really know and understand what it means? 

I’m convinced that while there’s a recurring theme – that one thing we can all agree on when it comes to what self-love means; the fact is that self-love, much like success and relationships, is really defined by you! 

What does it mean? I can’t speak for others but to me, it’s really learning how to put myself first in a world that has defined our roles as women. We have so many ever-changing titles/roles and to choose one over the other can sometimes feel impossible, let alone overwhelming! We are mothers, wives, partners, sisters, daughters, employees, employers, doctors to our families, caregivers, mentors, therapists for our family and friends, friends, best friends, hosts, lovers, givers, doers, etc etc! Shhheeezz….that’s a lot! 

If I were to ask you or if you asked yourself “who am I?” chances are you would list these titles/roles… but rarely do we answer “I am a woman – strong, empowered, smart, beautiful, giving, balanced, driven…

Self-love to me is being able to say all these things before I say that I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc etc… It means to me that I hold these self-attributes, strengths, actions more important so that I can successfully be all those titles/roles that the world has clearly defined for me/us without feeling guilty or ashamed! 

Self-love takes time, a long time! I’ve been blogging and writing for years and just when I think I have it, I realize I’m not quite there yet! I’m constantly evolving as a woman: reading, meditating, reflecting, learning, expanding my intake of readings and Ted Talks that reaffirms my feelings and adds to my growth and writing. 

Self-love is not easy! We are taught to stand strong, to put others before ourselves no matter what! We are warriors, we are doers and yet we often fail to see in ourselves and our fellow sisters how strong we truly are! Self-love to me also means that we have a community responsibility of building our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our youth and our communities! To work hand-in-hand in sharing, nurturing and building all that is a woman! 

Self-love is work in progress… It has to start with you and has to be about you before it can be about others, and once you understand that, then only then can you begin to help build others…

For so long, I was guilt ridden! Felt horrible at the idea of putting myself first! How could I do this? What will others think or say? I bet you know this all to well… It’s hard as hell!

I recently read that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.” 

The author shared and I now share with you, her Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love: 

Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.

Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.

Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.

Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.

Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsiblity for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.

Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.

These 7 steps, together with a host of other resources are what has helped me to further understand what self-love is for me and in turn, learned to live it. I hope it can help you. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s work in progress but the key words here are “work” and “progress”! By simply working on one thing, you are well on your way to building strength and in turn – SELF-LOVE! 

Peace & Love 

Excerpt above is from this article if you care to read in its entirety! 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

Luz y colores mi gran amigo Hector

It’s been nearly 4 months since the unexpected passing of one of my best friends! There’s been many of times I’ve tried to write about him, about our friendship, but to no avail. Never quite strong enough to get through my writing.

They say you never quite know how much someone means to you until they are gone…. So true! I surely knew how important he was in my life when his soul was alive, but with him no longer here, I certainly understand and have a new found appreciation of the “why” he was important.

I’ve always believed that every friend, every person that walks in and out of our lives, serves a purpose! Whether to listen to your woes, to provide sound or even obscure advise (such can be comical or whimsical in nature), others are there to make your boo-boos feel better, to laugh, to cry with, dance, talk, guide….etc (you get the picture) – friends serve a purpose – even the ones that are no longer in our lives (perhaps they were never a friend – but certainly served a purpose). Either way, that’s what my friend Hector was for me – all of the above and then some!

If you know me well then you know I owe some of my inner & outer strengths to him! He believed in the purpose, in the strength & power of a woman. He believed in me and in moments of doubt, fear, confusion and cloudiness – he was there to push me through… To provide stern advise, sensible wisdom, laughter, tainted humor and always a listening ear no matter how busy or strained his day! Whether via call, a text, a meet-up, Hector made time for his friend!

No closure! No goodbye, no closure for me in knowing why he took his life so sudden, so unexpected, so rash – so devilish in nature!

As much as I want to be angry at him for leaving his family, his friends, for no longer having our friendship, I can’t! Mental illness, for no matter how much it appears someone has it together, no matter how smart, wise, rational one appears – mental illness lies deep within the soul; so deeply rooted that while in the outer you sustain, deep within you are broken — feeling like there’s no way out! You are a functioning depressed person until your rock bottom is too heavy to dig yourself out.

He always encouraged me to write! To share my journey because in some form or fashion – we all have something amazing to share, and the idea behind sharing is that someone is inspired or empowered by your story!

Your journey, much like depression and suicide, is never something to be hidden, to be embarrassed about! I can hear him now, telling me that what he did was wrong on so many levels, a gravely ill mistake not fully comprehending the everlasting damage & impact it left behind – a pain that filters the veins….

He would never object to my writing about him, in fact, he would encourage such writings! To tell the world that suicide is never an answer and while it was his answer – it was the wrong answer!

I will never really know why, no one will ever know why – not even the letters he left behind will answer the why… His thoughts and his reasonings were his to have.

Wanting nothing more than to call, to send him a text to talk – just to talk about life, my journey, my woes, to laugh, to cry, to receive guidance, wisdom, perhaps an empowering quote, to talk about life and the human behavior (lol) … but they’d be no response! No response from my dear friend who is no longer here!

I hold on to his last text just three days before his death, his voicemail from just two days before… His words of encouragement, his words of wisdom –

Sad and sorry I could not help him get through his woes, his demons – for they were much bigger than me, then his wife & kids, then him!

My missing him is much bigger than my anger and hurt and disappointment. No closure, no goodbyes, no nothing… Just a text, a voicemail ~

But what I do have is this embodied strength that continues to manifest ~ that’s why I can’t and choose not to be angry no matter how much I miss him!

Allz I know is that this world is missing an amazing man – my dear friend! I do thank God for providing me with his friendship and for giving me amazing friends; for continuing to provide & to bless me with people who inspire, love and build me.

I know Hector is never coming back – yet, I find myself incredibly blessed to have had this man enter my life when he did. I just wish he could see me now on this new journey filled with strength, health, friends and new love!

He’d say he is ok! He’d tell me to continue to live life to the fullest! To be true to self first! To love me first! To be honest, loyal, giving, humble, respectful, and most importantly – to be a woman of my word! To love hard no matter what! To trust in my journey for it will not lead me on the wrong path! That we must cease every moment, that every moment we experience is a life lesson; that we must end each day with a lesson learned and wake up each morning with a purpose / with a goal to learn something knew and to pay it forward!

As I write, my Pandora plays, and on comes my dad’s song…

I have Angels guiding me… I know I do – because I believe, I love and I feel!

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Helps individuals in suicidal crisis within the United States.

Luz y Colores mi gran amigo Hector 🌴

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Only I can write my story….

I have not written a piece in a bit; a little over two months to be exact. Perhaps it’s out of laziness, or maybe it’s because there hasn’t been much time – but I really think it’s because so much has happened, and getting my thoughts on paper (well in my case a notes app) is a lot harder than one thinks!

Last piece I wrote was about living outside ones comfort zone, and not fully living if you’re living within safe boundaries! The piece before that was reminiscent of my childhood…. So it’s definitely time to write….

If you’ve read my posts before, then you know I’m quite the comedian, a realist if you will, an incredibly honest and forthcoming person, and one that truly believes (regardless of opinion) in sharing my journey because in some form or fashion, it helps to reaffirm all that is me, and helps to empower other women along the way!

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A friend posted the quote above on Facebook recently, and while I’ve posted hundreds of empowering quotes, this particular one stood out for me because it reminded me that “I” am the only one who gets to write my story.

Interesting ha? We all say this, know this, encourage others to believe this – but often, we are the ones allowing others to hold the pen and write on our behalf; we allow others to erase and rewrite sentences, change words, erase words, explain our ideas, give their opinions – leaving us with a piece written to the likes of others and not truly for ourselves! Get the picture?

Yes, one could argue that in the real world, whether we like it or not, we must conform in some way or another to that of others (children, partners, family, friends….you get the picture).

But for the sake of argument – let’s just all agree to focus on YOU! The importance of knowing that you are in control of you, that you truly can write your story, that while you can chose to accept the opinions of others – that you my friend, at the end of the day, are the author of your own story!

Like children who are born not yet knowing how to compromise (I know you’ve seen the kids walk the streets with rain boots and a cape in the winter – just because they said so!!) we too must dig deep within our soul, our essence, our innocence and not let our journey be derailed – we must stay true to our ideas, our words, our beliefs, and most importantly, ourselves!

I spared you the details of all that has gone on in my life the past 8 months…
the past three months in particular (I will share the ugly, the bad and the beautiful soon enough); but I will share this much with you now – I “have” been holding the pen and have been writing my story for the past 2 1/2 years!! It has not been the least bit easy – but it has been liberating, freeing, whole, and I tell you my friend that I have not put down my pen, I have not allowed others to use my pen (not even for a second), and I have not allowed others to sway me to write a different story!

I remain the author of my journey…..

I will continue to reach for the top and live as if I’m already there….

I will continues to be led by positive energy and the universe….

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Things happen for a reason

Good things do happen….

As I look back to the beginning of the year – from the untimely death of my grandmother – to celebrating my 40th birthday – to immediately thereafter the loss of a position I highly regarded leaving me with seeking employment for nearly 7 months – to landing a great position with a great company – to then landing the position of my dreams nearly two months after! There is no doubt that the saying “things happen for a reason” is 100% correct!

“Things happen for a reason” – so much easier said than taken. I’ve always wondered how people feel when they say this to other people; but the reality is that they mean well! But truth be told, it definitely makes a person listening to it want to cold-smack the person who is saying it upside the head! Lol

All jokes aside – what a journey I’ve been on this year, and I have to say that it’s definitely ending with a bang!

During the two months of employment with my current company, I was able to refer & hire three friends and acquaintances! I was able to refer two others who are currently being interviewed and have a good chance of being hired.

I have been able to reconnect with an old high school friend from the Bronx that I happened to see at a church where I was doing community relations – talk about “it’s a small world”. During my short time, a little less than two months in fact, I was able to coordinate and participate in several food pantries and soup kitchens, attend several community outreach events, position my company for everlasting success & have met some amazing people throughout three counties.

I really feel I was in this position to get reacquainted with old friends, to help others find a full-time permanent position, and to meet new people that will forever impact “my” life! Things happen for a reason!

Looking back I really feel that I was supposed to go through this journey; it allowed for self-reflection, self-affirmation, self-motivation, self-determination!

While this journey has tested me in so many ways, there’s been balance – balance is important my friends!

What has kept me balanced and sane these past couple of months?

Well first off, there’s always family and the support you get from your significant other, from your family, from your friends! But I also have to add that what has helped keep the balance is the network of support that I’ve been able to build & nurture outside of my immediate circle. From Facebook groups, to reading great articles in Essence magazine & NewLatina.net – to reading articles that have been posted by other aspiring, career-minded-driven woman, to speaking to life-coaches and my good friend Hector, that is what has kept me balanced and helped me reaffirm my positive attributes, my self-worth, and helped me to realize that I was good enough – that I was worthy of nothing but the very best, that I’ve worked really hard for the great things that are out there and within my reach, and that my goals are in fact achievable and don’t always have to be a dream!

I’m forever grateful to those woman, and you know who you are, who have believed in me. When they provide a reference, they say the most amazing things about me. The way they remember all my contributions, all my accomplishments, the ways that I have helped them in their organizations & in their communities, the way I carry myself, my professionalism, the way they view my work ethics – it’s really beyond words..no words can express my gratitude – I suppose a Thank You will do!

To those women who have been there and provided a listening ear, a vote of confidence and the simple words of “your amazing – cut it out -keep your head up and keep moving!” I thank you too!

Together with the quote that “good things happen for a reason”, I also add “success is never attainable alone”

Having been the victim of unemployment twice within a 4 year period, I know first-hand what it’s like to have to put yourself out there! To have to sell your experiences, to be rejected, to feel like you’re not good enough…. It’s not easy!

Folks, surround yourself with people who believe in your strengths, who can provide you with tips about self-improvements & best practices, and who can provide a listening ear! Seek out a mentor!

I am excited to begin a new journey in a field/sector I highly respect and value; working with diverse women
in areas of empowerment, coaching and goal setting!

balance + support + self = Success

I got this! I now understand why things happen, and they are in fact for a reason!

No regrets – just life lessons!

Peace!

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Fierce & Fearless at 40!!

Fierce & Fearless at 40!!

One of my most dearest friends recently told me how proud of me she was – that despite all the trials & tribulations I have gone through this past year, that I still muster up a smile, still have a sence of humor, display confindence and that I am a champion!

I’m closing this 39-year chapter with a bang and beginning a new one with an explosion of such magnitude that only I have the power to put it out – because at the end of the day, I am in control.

So I ask myself, what does the next chapter in my life look like? In all honesty, I am unable to answer that without pure, deep, personal self-reflection. There were so many life lessons, most recently the death of my beloved grandmother – but not one ounce of regret! You see, for I have never lived my life with regret. Never once did I regret being a teenage mom, marrying young, dropping out of college at 19 & returning as an adult, moving away, my career choices and the many jobs I’ve had following “the career”, the people I have let into my life & heart and my many ventures of community service…etc etc…

Not one ounce of regret lives in my soul, travels my veins nor lives in my subconcious! I see every one of these challenges (for sake of a better word) as a stepping-stone to where I am now! A sucessful, powerful, strong and educated woman (and beautiful…lol). And while I may not be 100% sure of what I wanna be when I grow up (lol)… I am, however, in a much better place. I am on a journey to better health, I am continuously learning how the mind works and how it aligns with our heart and our everyday decisions & actions.

Truth be told, I am wiser, stronger, healthier, smarter; a better woman, friend, mother, wife, sister, daughter – all because of my previous chapter!

In my new chapter – my 40’s…I plan to travel more, to visit places I’ve always wanted to discover, to go back to school because I thrive on the art of learning…perhaps I’ll pursue a second masters and/or I’ll go for the PHd….haven’t quite decided but I do know it’s going to happen! To spend time with my friends, for they mean the world to me – they were my rock in my deepest and most scariest of moments. I would also take out some time to love myself more…for I realized how precious and fulfilling self-love can be…it’s quite a humbling experience, one I cannot put into words – you just need to feel it.

My therapist once told me – “stay true to your core”… I’ve often in my conversations with friends have told them the same thing – this is what I will continue to do. You need to define for urself what that is, but for me it means just being honest, to speak up when it feels wrong, acknowledging my emotions whether they are great or sad; learning how to say no without feeling guilty…and most important – to continue to love hard…regardless of the hurt that may come from it.

As I count down the days to my big 4-0….yeah, I said it (age ain’t nothing but a number), I think back to all the wonderful memories, lessons learned and love (and love lost) I’ve endured and I will carry it forward (because when you live with no regrets, there is nothing to leave in the past)!

Like my friend Anna told me not too long ago – I am strong, confident and a champion!

In my grandmother’s honor I will celebrate on January 27th a new chapter in my life ~

Happy Birthday to me….Happy Birthday Lanette!!!

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