Tag Archives: wisdom

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!!

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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 ❤️🏝 

Keep your eye on the goal

“To look where you are going is to be motivated by fear; to go where you are looking is to be driven by desire, confidence and vision. If you know you can handle whatever cracks and bumps come along, you do not have to watch the pavement all the time. Instead you can move full speed ahead with your eye on the goal.” [Excerpt – Get Out Of Your Own Way]

Love this excerpt; a subtle reminder that often we know where we are going but can get easily distracted at all the noise that surrounds us. I truly feel that the noise is there to help you reinforce your goals, to test your boundaries, to see if you can stand strong under pressure and to help you stay balanced (or not – it’s really up to you)!

You see, outside noise is unpredictable, it’s always going to be there and lastly, there’s no sure-fire-way we can get rid of it, so instead we have to adjust ourselves and learn to navigate through it.  Know your boundaries, keep tools in the tool box to help you get out of jams, always keep your eyes on the prize and never let your pride, ego and others get in the way!  

Hit the ground running with integrity, passion and love because when those things are deeply rooted, everything else is merely an eye-sore! 😘

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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Oil Change & Car Inspection

Oil Change & Car Inspection

As I sit here (waiting for my oil change & car inspection) taking in the morning breeze (before it reaches 90), I can’t help but to reflect on two powerful conversations I had this week.

The first one was with a fabulous woman I met through the Latina Network on Facebook. She is from Sacramento; she quickly responded to my request of needing to speak to someone with respect to youth development programming. We quickly connected, made arrangements to talk and soon thereafter, we spoke for an hour! What initially was supposed to be a professional call, turned out to be both that and a little reality check for me.

I refer to the call much like an oil change (odd comparison, I know)…. but so true. It was about needing to get rid of all the self-pitty, the negative thoughts – the need to defend what needed no defending; it was about flushing out the dirty juice that flowed through my system. While I was still functional, the pipes that kept me running were dirty..it was using too much of the wrong energy. My friends, it was time for an oil change!!

It was time to “own it”!

To believe in me and all the positives that live within me. To reaffirm the positive attributes and to “shift my perspectives” – to no longer see those things that hindered both my personal & professional growth as negative or less than, but rather finding the linkage to make it relatable, current and needed.

She told me to “own it”!

You see, professional titles are not and should not be the driving force – but rather, the love, passion & commitment you have for it! What an “AHA” moment for me. For someone whom I just met, how can she offer up such great wisdom, consejo (advise), friendship and some amazing professional points!!

So grateful to have connected with Liz A. Garcia!! Mil gracias…

Now it’s time for the inspection – making sure it all works and is functional…

After my call with Liz, I jumped on another much needed call with my friend/confidant/therapist – what an amazing man he is and how grateful I am for his wisdom.

In a nutshell, I began to feel, once again, that my world was falling apart. While my inside world (hubby & kids) is perfect, the outside world…well, that didn’t feel so good!

He made me realize that my emotions were okay – they were justified. My life was falling into place, everything was in order = family, relationship & job. Then in an instant things changed…no longer in the “working order” as I once knew it and worked so hard for; thus leaving me with alot of time on my hands. And with having time, comes having time to think about “everything”…even things that I know damn well I don’t have control of; leading me, well… to no longer have control of me & my thoughts! Making me angry, snappy and sad ~

He said something interesting -“he/she who has control of their emotions, controls the relationship/situation”… “AHA”!! (again)!!

It was time for an inspection – time to determine what is working, what is not and then to ask yourself what happened in between to cause that disruption in your emotions….

Once you know (and you will) – it’ll be time to fix it!! As he kindly reminded me – you are in control of you, your emotions, your thoughts, your actions and inactions – it’s You vs You!!

While this is easier said than done – (thank God for the opportunity to get an oil change & inspection frequently) – inspecting oneself every-so-often is a great way to start over (without starting NEW…more like a reality check with a dose of wisdom)…

My friends, I share this personal struggle because I know I’m not the only one who sometimes finds it hard to deal with the inner you – those spirits that are working against you!!

We all deal with it differently, yes, but at the end of the day, while it’s all up to YOU, seeking support from those you trust, and in my case, from those you just happen to meet…well, it can mean a world of difference!! I think of that extra help as “coupons”… We can always use them (I know I did, got $10 off my oil change)… Lol

Your mental sanity is so important ~ take care of it, feed it the fuel it needs so that it runs at its best!

Loving me first ~

Lanette

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