Tag Archives: self-determination

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!!


One year anniversary 

One year ago today I embarked on the biggest, most impressive, indulging, evolving, fruitful, emotional, life-changing, scary, happiest, challenging and eye-opening experience ever – I left a marriage and moved into my very own apartment, alone! Let the journey begin!

In that year, I met an amazing man, I dealt with really difficult situations with my children, I lost one of my best friends to suicide, my family home was lost in a fire, I dealt with the loss of people whom I thought were my friends, I gained and reconnected with old friends, bonds with existing friends became stronger; and I was becoming and growing into a new me – facing new and interesting challenges!

Shoot, I’m still learning a new me, but then again – isn’t that what life is about? Learning, recreating, testing the waters, challenging your thoughts – it’s never about complacency or living in a comfort box!

I have new found faith in God & this universe and as I look around my apartment, I realize and appreciate my blessings and the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me this past year! I know that when one door closes others open in some form or fashion. As I sit here on my deck the entire day and I meditate, reflect, write and recount this past year – I know that I am blessed and thankful for everything that has happened!

I am a stronger woman, mother and human being. I’ve learned so much and while I know that I’m not perfect, I do know I’m a great person with the capacity to love and give selflessly – I’m happy to be me! I’m proud of me because I did it! Yeah me 👍🏼☺️

What’s especially cool about being me in this place is that I’m growing and most importantly, I am willing to grow & for that I’m proud of me. ☺️

To those that have been by my side this past year, listening to my cries & worries, pushing me on days I felt hopeless & helpless, loving me when I felt I wasn’t deserving, for showing me what a great & loving relationship can look like, for giving me chance after chance when I screwed up, for empowering me and telling me “you got this”, for those who simply said “you inspire me; your strength and resilience is empowering”, for those who kicked my ass and set me straight when I needed it no matter how much it hurt, and lastly to everyone who loves me despite my flaws; who truly love me unconditionally – I thank you because truth be told, I could not have done this if not for your love, trust and confidence in me!

Humbly thankful & eternally grateful!

Here’s to another great year filled with love, laughter, health, prosperity, cries, lessons, growth, happiness and smiles! Yes smiles and happiness – it’s what I want and will make sure to have!

Special homage ~~

To my childhood best friend for helping me stay grounded & your honesty even when it hurt!

To my friend who is no longer here ~ gracias por tener fe en mi ~

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!



Test of Self

Test of Self

So where do I start? Funny how I come up with my own topics, yet, it can take me days to get my thoughts together.

Test of self – so what do I mean by that? Well for starters, I feel that life’s journey takes you on a path that challenges you in so many different ways. For me, the past three months have been a challenge – a test of self!

You see, I am on the job market and I am being very strategic and meticulous on the types of jobs I apply for. But in doing so comes less opportunities, less interviews, more competiveness and denials of jobs that would’ve been a great fit!

A test of self = bouncing back from denial, feeling defeated and/or perhaps that feeling that you’re not as good as the person who ultimately got the “job”…

To me, moving ahead from these dissappointments is a test of self. Test of self-endurance, self-enpowerment, self-esteem, self-motivation. If I can get over these hurdles and emotions – then I have passed the test; if I’m sulking in self-pitty, then I have failed the test and failed me.

We’ve all heard the saying (whether you believe and/or are religious)

“God does not give us things we can’t handle”….

It’s so true!! Despite the worst of difficulties, struggles and pain – we always end up OKAY! Right? Things just always get a little easier!

It’s only when we choose to fail, choose to be in denial, to be sad, to be unhappy, to be blue, to be defeated – that is when we fail. But when you test [your] self and you pass – these things are only temporary and you – you ultimately become stronger!

Can you pass the self-test? I think you can! In fact, I know you can!

Test to be the best. Life is a journey – live it!