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When and why would you do a self-discovery journey?

When we think about our daily life we really fast start feeling overwhelming with our calendars full of things-to-do, appointments, family commitments, including our significant other and our kids.  We think of ourselves as the wife, the mother, the co-worker, the boss, the teacher, the nurse, the daughter, the aunt, the sister, the friend… the list is endless.  But is that who we are? Are our different “titles” what defines us? 

The answer is no. We are just running day after day fulfilling all these commitments and obligations, most of them with a big smile, a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of love and gratitude… but is not who we are, is what we do.

This is why a journey of self-discovery is so important.  It is not to put a stop to all the things we do, but to learn to do them mindfully.  To consciously act upon our to-do list with the certainty of knowing the core of who we are, with the ability to extend the love to ourselves, to learn to be kind and compassionate towards our feelings, to believe we are in the pursuit of our happiness and this happiness is tangible.

There is no better day than today to start working on transforming our lives for the better and by doing it from within us.   Start today and you will be thanking yourself for the rest of your life for the gift of loving you.

3 Great Tips to be a Hopeful Person

Hopeful by definition means  “feeling or inspiring optimism about a future event” and in our lives, we need to cultivate the ability (or superpower) to be hopeful.  It is hard to talk about being optimistic and about better times when we just closed a year full of uncertainties and fears, however, being hopeful is, together with gratitude, our security blanket for a better day tomorrow, for a better 2021 year.

When we don’t feel hopeful we don’t expect a better outcome, we don’t expect things to get better, we will hit a moment in which the fear of failure becomes the result.

So how can we help ourselves to be more hopeful?  The road to being more hopeful is not difficult but it does require us to change our mindset.    First, we need to learn to put the situation we are in in a perspective that can provide us a better view, looking at the glass half full is always a better perspective than half empty. Focusing on what we have, on what we keep, on what we maintain is key when focusing on a better perspective. 

Also, it is important to surround ourselves with positivism, from daily affirmations throughout the day, to fill a positive quote board that we can access when we need to adjust our mindset.  Feeding our minds and spirit with positive stories, quotes, moments, and thoughts will keep us moving forward.

Finally, practicing gratitude will allow us to fill our days with the certainty that we are lucky, that we are special, that we do have daily miracles happening to us.  Keep a gratitude journal and when we see all the good things that happen in any given day we will realize that believing in good results and positive outcomes is a natural mindset that we can achieve.

Wishing you a hopeful 2021!

Short and Long Term Goals…. Easy Tips to Stay on Top of your Goals for 2021!

When setting up our goals for 2021 year it is important to make sure we do it in a S.M.A.R.T. way.  It is super important to set your goals correctly, taking into account many aspects that are needed for you to accomplish them on time.   I usually use the S.M.A.R.T. approach when setting up my goals:

S – Specific:  This is important as it is not the same to say I want to save money every month than saying I want to save $150.00 every month or to say I am going to read more than saying I will read 4 books every month.  Be specific with your goal.

M – Measurable: Your goal needs to be measurable in order to know how far or close you are to achieving it.  You need to be able to look and see that although you need to save $150.00 you have so far saved $75.00 and therefore be able to make adjustments in order to accomplish your goal.

A – Action Oriented:  You need to be able to act your goal in order to accomplish it. You can save money by doing or changing or adjusting certain expenses, or you can read more books by setting up a time for it. Both of these goals are based on actions that you can take and that you can control.   Setting goals in which you expect the actions of others will not reward you in the end.

R – Realistic: Your actions need to be realistic and you should e able to make them happen. If you have a busy working life or mom life, it would be very difficult to say you will read 100 books in one year or that you will take a 30-minute bath every day.  Your goal needs to be achievable by your actions.

T – Time-based:  Your actions should have a dateline. Either if it is a short term goal or a long term goal, putting a time will make you accountable and will allow you to see what adjustments you need to make in order to complete the goal.

Additionally, there are Short Term and Long Term Goals.  My usual method when setting up my goals is to pick a Long Term Goal, for example, have a successful Life Coaching practice for which I can give it a 2-year Timetable.  This Long Term Goal can be broken down in Small Short Term goals which can take up to 6 months and can be from completing additional Life Coaching Courses, to setting up a Marketing Strategy, completing Course Content, or getting clients.  Each one will have a specific Goal based on the S.M.AR.T. mode which allows me to build on my Long Term Goal.

Call to action!!!

Come up with 2 long Term Goals that can from 1 to 2 years, for example:

  • Losing weight
  • Writing a book
  • Having a successful social media presence
  • Becoming a sweet baker
  • Learning how to cook a specific cuisine (Indian, Chinese, Korean, Southern)
  • Completing educational courses
  • Learning a new language

Then break this Long Term Goal into smaller S.M.A.R.T. Goals (at least 2) that you can complete within 6 months each.  

Then commit! You are taking the time to make sure your GOAL is SMART and ATTAINABLE.  You are now accountable to make it happen.

What are Limiting Beliefs and How we can Recognize them?

We all have different aspects of our lives that could potentially be holding us back. These aspects can be beliefs, habits, mindsets, or attitudes and for the most part, we grow so attached to them that we hold them as true. Limiting beliefs can be about yourself, about others surrounding us, about things that we own or that we want to own, or about things that we are afraid of or do not want in our lives.

Limiting beliefs do have a negative effect on our lives including:

  • Holding us back from making different or risky choices;
  • Keeping us from seeing good opportunities presenting or missing out on those opportunities because of our lack of confidence;
  • Blinding us from our self-worth and positive qualities;
  • Keeping us focused on the negative aspects of our lives accepting them as “meant to be”

It can be as simple as something that our parents, or older siblings, or grandparents have been saying all of our lives, for example, sayings like “Money doesn’t grow on trees” or it can be learned from friends, teachers, coaches, co-workers, culture and social media.

There are so many limiting beliefs that are an obstacle to our goals and dreams and if we are not aware of the true nature of those beliefs we will live our lives with an overcast shadow of doubt and we will pass it along to our kids, students, co-workers, or friends.

Below I am giving you a few of the limiting beliefs that resonated with me while growing up and when I was a young adult. These beliefs became a fundamental part of my belief system and it was not easy to weed them out as negative aspects that negatively affected my life.

For example:

  1. All the good ones are already taken
  2. I don’t have the skills of talent
  3. Apples do not fall far from the tree 
  4. What is meant to be is meant to be
  5. Is not good to swim against the current
  6. Successful people are just lucky
  7. I am not lucky because I never win anything
  8. I am just not good with money
  9. I always lose everything
  10. Rich people are arrogant

Each one of the above is a limiting belief that has at some point put a damper in my love life, my bank account, my optimism and hopes, and at the same time have made me settle with less of what I am worth and with less of what I can do.

Call to Action!

Write down 5 limiting beliefs that you have and next to it add in what aspect of your life it could have affected you. By being aware of our limiting beliefs we can start changing them into an affirmation that can work positively for us.

Acknowledging Lack of Expertise and Accepting Criticism

Through trial and error, we become better at what we do.  By doing the same task repeatedly we find ways to improve it, to be more efficient at it, and becoming experts in the subject.  But is not easy to get there. It takes humility to accept our own shortcomings and our lack of expertise, and also it takes humility to accept criticism.   

I personally grew up in a home in which all I did was always praised.  The mere act of trying was rewarded and therefore it was really challenging when my school work, or professional work, or even my house chores had some criticism attached to it.  I felt very big when I was praised, and in that same line, I felt very small when I was criticized.

However, with time I have understood that acknowledging that I am not an expert at certain things is an important first step in my road to a more humble me, the second step is to look up to people around me (or not so close to me) that seem to have a better understanding of the subject and ask for guidance.  I have found out that most people are willing to help out from the bottom of their hearts.

As the end of the year approaches, let’s be open to being more vulnerable at admitting that there are actions, knowledge, hobbies, interests, and passions that we want to be better at, but that in the process of getting there we need to seek the guidance of people who have walked the path before us. Additionally, we need to be willing to show our progress so that it can be constructively criticized and allowing us to see where our gaps are so that we can get better at it.

We are perfection on the works, and the road to continuous improvement will always be ahead of us. Being humble and vulnerable while walking our path is how we will cross the finish line.

Weekly goal:  Be committed to accomplishing one goal!

It is Sunday and as we pull out our bullet journals and start drafting how the week will pretty much plan out, let’s take the moment to choose one goal that we will focus throughout the entire week.  It can be anything including:

  • Getting Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day meal menu (including shopping list)
  • Wrapping all Christmas presents
  • Commit to doing fasting for the whole week (either 16/8 or 20/4)
  • Commit to doing cardio every day of the week
  • Commit to not eat any sugar (cakes, cookies, pies) for the whole week
  • Write in your gratitude journal twice a day for the whole week

Whichever is your goal commit whole heartened for the next 7 days.  As the year comes to an end and our hopes and faith get renewed based on the promise of the upcoming year finishing the last few weeks strong and reaching goals will give us the assurance that we can complete our goals.

Sometimes we just need accomplishments to move forward to more commitments!

6 Tips para ayudar a tus hijos en la escuela

Nosotros como padres tenemos una expectativa muy alta de cómo nuestros hijos deberían de llevar los estudios.  Nosotros esperamos que nuestros hijos tengan notas altas, que sean responsables con sus tareas y proyectos escolares, que se porten bien durante clases, y ahora esperamos que no toquen nada y mantengan sus mascaras todo el día.

A mis hijos siempre se les ha pedido, como única responsabilidad, dar el 100% en el Colegio. Independientemente de la clase, o de la maestra, o de el grado. Es importante para nosotros que ellos entiendan que la expectative es alta y qué se espera que den lo mejor de sí para alcanzarla.

Como padres también entiendo que tenemos una responsabilidad con nuestros hijos. De darles las herramientas, el espacio, y el apoyo necesario para que puedan alcanzar sus metas. Aquí les dejos 6 tips importantes que nos ayudaran como padres, como hermanos major, como tíos or abuelos, a darles a nuestros niños mejores oportunidades para alcanzar sus metas escolares.

Crea el habito de la lectura: Dale a tus hijos el tiempo para leer todos los días. Estudios confirman que leer todos los días es básico para el desenvolvimiento intelectual. El tiempo para leer se debe de ajustar a la edad de los niños. Por ejemplo un niño de 9 debería de leer de 20 a 25 minutos, y un niño de 12 anos debería de leer de 25 a 30 minutos diarios. El habito de la lectura les ayudar a crear una fundación de disciplina que mantendrán durante su vida estudiantil.

Provee un lugar para estudiar: Puede ser un escritorio en sus cuartos o tu cuarto, la sala, o hasta la mesa de comer o la mesa de desayuno. Cualquier lugar funcionara mientras sea un lugar que sea cómodo, que este bien iluminado, que puedan sentarse con una mesa (no acostados), y que puedan usar diariamente. Los niños distinguirán con tiempo la importancia de tener un lugar reservado para el estudio. Donde puedan ir a estudiar que no sea sus camas.

Aprende con ellos: Esta claro que después de un día de trabajo, quehaceres en el hogar y manejar largas distancias lo que queremos hacer cuando llegamos a la casa es descansar. Pero tomarse el tiempo para aprender con tus hijos es importante en sus formaciones educacional. Leer con ellos alguna enciclopedia, por ejemplo es un acto divertido, dándoles la oportunidad de escoger el tema y compartir con ellos la lectura. Ver como sus ojitos se iluminan con información nueva es un momento inolvidable tanto para los niños como para nosotros los padres. Hacerse cómplices de su educación es sin duda algo increíble.

Apoyarlos en los que les interesa: El mundo tiene infinidad de cosas que aprender. Desde el Titanic a piedras preciosas, desde Dinosaurios hasta el espacio, incluyendo historia, religiones, o geografia. La imaginación de nuestros hijos sera cautivada por alguno, o varios de estos temas, y cuando es así, deberíamos de apoyarlos. Ayudarlos a encontrar más material ya sea por la internet, o en una librería o biblioteca. Si les apasiona el mundo de el espacio llevarlos de la mano mientras nutren su curiosidad es un regalo que le daremos para toda sus vidas. Aprenderán que cuando algo les interesa esta bien seguirlo, leer y aprender sobre el tema.

Recompensa los éxitos y entiende los fracasos: Cuando nuestros hijos sacan excelente nota o son reconocidos por sus maestros tenemos que felicitarlos, decirles que estamos orgullosos de ellos, de sus triunfos. Por el otro lado cuando fracasan en algún proyecto o examen en vez de gritarles y hacerlos sentir peor, debemos hablar con ellos, entender cuál es el problema (falta de estudio, no entender el material, distracciones). En vez de atacarlos de una vez debemos de tratar de ser pacientes y abrir así las puertas de la comunicación. Estoy de acuerdo que a veces como resultado de esa mala nota se deben de tomar medidas de repercusión como disminuir el tiempo de ver TV o jugar juegos electrónicos. Guiarlos con un plan que les ayude a subir sus notas o hacer un proyecto para extra crédito también es importante.

Darles un desayuno saludable: Darles en el desayuno un alimento rico en nutrientes, bajo en azúcar, y con buenas grasas es prioritario. Cuando nuestros hijos comen sano y nutricioso, esta científicamente demostrado que sus cerebros están mas atentos y sus cuerpos mas energéticos y alertas. Desde batidos de vegetales y frutas (como en nuestra casa) hasta barras nutritivas, frutas frescas, huevos con tostadas, yogurt con frutas, o cereales bajos en azúcar. También sus snacks durante el día deberían de ser nutritivos, incluyendo zanahorias o otros vegetales, humus, almendras o otros nueces, tostadas con aguacate o mantequilla de mani. La nutrición es pivotal en su desempeño escolar.

Estos tips son importantes para alentar y apoyar a nuestros hijos en su Educación. Para poder exigirles su alto rendimiento escolar tenemos que apoyarlos y darles siempre ese aliento y confianza tan necesitado. Ya sea por su lado educativo o deportivo, debemos ser sus fanes numero uno. Hacerlos sentir que aunque esta sea su responsabilidad, y el trabajo tiene que ser 100% de ellos, aquí estamos para hecharle la mano, para darles aliento cuando caen, y para celebrar sus metas alcanzadas.

Siempre hay tiempo para la remembranza

La melancolía siempre ha sido una solida acompañante en mi vida. Siempre he disfrutado de esos momentos de soledad en los que los recuerdos se apoderan de nuestros pensamientos, y nos secuestran a un viaje gratuito, directo y sin escala al pasado.

Con el tiempo he aprendido a reconocer esa chispa de la memoria que se prende al escuchar esa canción en la radio. Esa canción que cantábamos hasta el amanecer rodeados de amistades, lugares extraños, risas, y bailes. Esa canción que transporta mi alma a ese momento en el que solo era importante reír y cantar y bailar. Esos momentos de felicidad.

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

Viejas amistades son esenciales para poder recordar. Aferrada a los recuerdos dedico un tiempo para agradecer la buena fortuna de tener amistades que van a más de 30 anos. Amigas que iniciaron un Kindergarten conmigo jugando al escondite durante el recreo y que en un abrir y cerrar de ojos caminamos juntas a recibir nuestros diplomas. Corazones rotos, graduaciones con honores, bodas y divorcios, hacernos madres, y perder a nuestros seres queridos, todo ha pasado entre bailes, risas, y canciones.

Hoy hay lluvia afuera, busco entre mis CDs viejos y encuentro Duncan Dhu, y mi memoria me lleva a la Universidad, sentada en ese tranvía interminable que me llevaba de la Universidad a la casa, y donde Duncan Dhu y su disco “Piedras” me hicieron compañía mientras apoyaba mi frente en la ventana.

Dicen que recordar es volver a vivir… y en ese tranvía tengo 21 anos, no sé que pasara en mi futuro, pero pienso que me fue bien en el examen, mi corazón me duele un poco menos desde que termine con mi novio, y es Viernes y me voy de fiesta! Oh los recuerdos!

Ahora que ya se esta por terminar este ano, habrán muchos recuerdos que querremos enterrar en el baúl sin fondo donde guardamos los malos ratos… pero siempre habra esa canción, esa noticia, esa comida, ese comentario, esa palabra que nos hará recordar. Cuando es así cierra los ojos y sumérgete en la memoria. Recuerda con amor y con dolor, con risas y con lagrimas. Abre tus puertas a la remembranza, aun cuando viene acompañada de la melancolía.

Giving thanks when dealing with sadness

I woke up this morning with my home phone ringing. My home phone only rings if my parents or my grandmother calls… or if there is an emergency concerning my parents.  As soon as I heard the phone I had the certainty that there was bad news.  My uncle, Bishop Uriah Ashley, had passed away during the night. 

He was not a natural brother of my dad, but was for that it is worth, a brother.  Throughout my life, Monsignor Uriah, like he was usually called, was a constant rock of love, hope, and faith.  My grandmother invited him once for dinner when he was part of the seminary in a small town where my father is from.  From that dinner, from that moment, he became one more brother to all my father and his 7 siblings. 

He officiated his first Matrimony ceremony then he married my parents.  He baptized me and my brother and every other cousin (we are many).  When my grandmother got diagnosed with ALS he was there to give faith, strength, hope, and most importantly comfort.

When he has ordained Bishop he took his sisters (my three aunts and my mom) to the Vatican where they were given an audience with Pope John Paul II, which has been the highlight of my mother’s life ever since.   A few months later when my brother died in a tragic accident, he was there again, loyal to his faith and guiding us with his strength on God.

He married me, he baptized my sons, he spoke very well English and always took the time to talk with my husband, reassuring him that although he was not Catholic, he was family.  He would come and visit us in New Orleans when possible and after Katrina when we lost everything, he was there to help us see that all is not lost, if we had each other and the will to rebuild.  He blessed our homes, he blessed our lives, he blessed our hearts.

Today I am sad, I am sad that he died alone in a Hospital room with no one around him except for nurses and doctors due to complications of Covid.  I am sad that after everything he gave us, all his time and love, my parents and my aunts and uncles were not with him to say goodbye.  

Today is Thanksgiving, and I am focusing on giving thanks to him, to Monsignor Uriah Ashley, for teaching me unwavering love for God’s will and I thank him for always remind me that having faith is our choice a choice we make with our hearts.

Today I am sitting at my table, with just my husband and my kids, thankful that I was touched by him, taught by him, guided by him, loved by him. 

growing pains

Taking accountability for actions, or rather the lack of actions in my life has always been my biggest problem. Accepting that something has not been completed because I did not complete it has always been my downfall.  We can say that as a child my parents did not really make me accountable for my actions,  but we would have to understand their reasons for raisin me with a big sense of entitlement, and in the end, they cannot be judge, but just understood. 

It was not until in my adult life, that I got married and had children when in an argument with my husband I reflected on my actions. I had lived a whole life blaming the world and each one of its inhabitants for my problems, my disappointments, my sadness, even my inappropriate actions, everything was everyone’s fault, except mine. 

The moment this clicked in my head, I started to change that negative attitude for one that would lead me to be accountable for my actions, especially my lack of actions. Froma accepting the reasons I did not lose weight to the reasons why I kept on failing on keeping track of the family budget, I had always had an excuse …pointing fingers at my work (including bosses and coworkers), my children, my husband, my parents, the lack of time,  the lack of money, the house chores… oh my! the list is endless.

I believe that accepting our lack of accountability is an achievement, committing with oneself to learn to accept our failures, our mistakes to correct them and through kindness and gratitude, take responsibility for our actions, our mistakes, and even more important our victories.

I still have a lot to learn, I still fall into the trap of pointing my index finger at the culprit of these extra pounds, or putting my hands up asking the heavens above for more time to finish this or that, when I know very well that there are pieces of my time wasted on things that do not help in the mission of my goals … but I keep trying. I keep meditating, I keep searching inside myself for my doubts, my fears, my uncertainties, and I try to scare them away with kindness, faith, organization, and love for my family and myself.