Tag Archives: truth

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!!


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 ❤️🎤

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!

Helps individuals in suicidal crisis within the United States.

Luz y Colores mi gran amigo Hector 🌴







To Love All


I’ve realized that some people do and say things just to be accepted.

They need to tell the world that they are okay, that they love life, that they love you, that they love community, that they love it all – love is the answer!!

For some, this is actually true – kudos to you! These are the people whose actions speak louder than words!

But for many others, however, they are not okay with “self/love”, and this is the scary part because the only disservice they are doing, is a disservice to “self”. Saying and acting otherwise, really fools no one but yourself.

In fact, it can be perceived by others as fake, untruth, not genuine, not a real friend – a story teller.

It’s totally okay to say that you’re not good, you’re not feeling well, and while you want the best for others (love all), that perhaps you’re not in the right place.

This is not about telling the world that life is not perfect, that perhaps there are some things in your life that are not working the way you want them to be, or that perhaps your heart and your life isn’t as fulfilled as you let the world know it to be, but rather being true to you.

Like I’ve stated in other posts, other writings, and in conversations that I have had with some; before we can preach love, act love, live love, we need to “self” love!

I created this blog for many reasons, those reasons are in my bio – those reasons are explicitly stated in the dozen or so writings I’ve shared. But as life continues, and lessons are learned, I continue to grow and experience some real hard lessons – life.

I don’t mask with “love all” but rather challenge you, empower you, challenge the mind with thought, remind you all to be strong, to fight those inner thoughts that can often cloud your judgement, and finally, to love yourself first!

Don’t confuse the word “love” with “self-infatuation”! But more “love” in lenses of reflection, actions, behavior, problem solving…



2014: Mind, Body & Spirit

Yes! Only you can take care of your mind, body & spirit (soul). Those you let into your inner circle are suppose to nourish it & never bruise it!

As you begin to finalize your goals for the new year, I encourage you to make room on your list of ways to put yourself first!

These acts of selfishness are totally necessary. It’s the only way you can assure that you are balanced!

As I reflect on this past year, I realize how blessed I am to have an amazing family, an uber-amazing life partner, and a circle of friends that have aided in my growth as a woman!

There have been lapses in judgement, and I’ve let people in who have done a disservice to my soul; nonetheless, as I look ahead to 2014, I know that these things were suppose to happen. I realize that things happen for a reason, but that ultimately, I am the one in control of my mind, body & spirit!

I will only allow in those who fuel my fire, not throw water at it! I will only allow in those that feed my brain with nutrients that add to my growth as a woman. I will only allow in those that make me happy! I will follow my gut (my soul, my spirit if you will) – for it will never steer me in the wrong direction!

I will owe no one an explanation for my decisions – because my decisions are what’s right for me & my soul. I will stay true to my core, to my values, to my true friends, to my family, to my career!

I will continue to love me first, for you can never truly love others if you don’t love you first!



One Month

One Month…

Not sure why I get this sense of urgency to write when I should be sleeping instead…oh well!

So my mind is racing – so much has happened since I last wrote. For one, I make a month in my new position! Woohoo! Gotta admit I’m quite pooped but I absolutely love it! Feels like I’ve been in my position for years..lol, but I really think it feels that way because the work is fulfilling on so many levels. My love for community, advocacy, empowerment and providing resources to those who are often left without a voice runs deep in my soul! To meet like-minded people who share in the same vision & passion is rewarding and incredibly breathtaking!

This past month has also allowed for a lot of reflection as I’ve found myself on several occassions having to protect & defend my personal space. I wrote several months ago about the power of friends & how each friendship adds a different value to your life. Each so special & different & rewarding.

It is when those friendships/relationships are tested that you find yourself reflecting – forcing you to rethink your boundaries, your values & what your expectations are for those friendships – asking yourself “what does this friendship/relationship mean & how important is it in my life?” Does it add value?

I realize that for me (and you don’t have to agree), that no matter the type of friendship – the relationship at its core has to always remain honest and respectful; one should never have to defend or explain integrity, value, commitment or loyalty. I feel that once these concerns come up – then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate that friendship/relationship for authenticity!

I get that all friendships, much like intimate relationships, are different & unique and ALL require work (commitment, communication and yes – respect)!

And much like relationships – when friendships outgrow eachother, or when it’s no longer fun or respectful or sincere – it’s time to walk away ~ they’re just certain things that are really not worth holding on to or working on when you know in your gut it’s just not worth the energy!

I find myself telling my daughter that “she needs to protect her personal space” – that she needs to “create boundaries” that can keep her safe, sane & healthy!

Same rules apply to adults!

I remember when she was a little kid (she technically still is at almost 18 ..lol, but you know what I mean)… when a girl was mean to her, I would tell her to let the girl know how it makes her feel. If the issues continue – then it’s time to walk away from this little girl – there are plenty of friends to be made & that she should never accept someone being mean to her.

Why do we forget those same basic principles as we become adults? I know why – it’s this inner thought that “we can fix it all and that as adults – we give each other the benefit of the doubt or we help eachother get through it”. We work and we work and we work until it becomes toxic!

Hmmm… this is a tough one

I suppose the saying “it’s easier said than done” applies to this topic!!

Life is tough – it is! Friendships, well, that shouldn’t be so tough!

Nonetheless, I am blessed & happy to have a circle of respectful, intelligent, funny, opinionated, strong, powerful & independent sisters in my life! They are in my life because there was never a question of integrity, trust, honesty or loyalty!

I will continue to protect my space. If I don’t let you in, it’s not because I don’t think you’re worthy, it’s only because I need to protect ME!

“Lovingmefirst” and if you don’t understand why – then perhaps you need to do some reflecting of your own

Peace & Love ~

I leave you with this impactful quote ~

“How would your life be different if…You approached all relationships with authenticity and honesty? Let today be the day…You dedicate yourself to building relationships on the solid foundation of truth and authenticity.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

My beautiful girl ~