Divine Pain

“It is through poverty that Divine riches are known;

it is through ignorance that Divine wisdom is known;

it is through loneliness that Divine company is known;

it is through weakness that Divine strength is known;

it is through failure that Divine victory is known;

it is through impotence that Divine power is known;

it is through confusion that Divine faith is known;

it is through rejection that Divine acceptance is known;

it is through weariness that Divine endurance is known;

it is when we surrender our pride and control

that we obtain Divine guide and Divine control

and all is known through, oh blessed, and divine pain.”

by Melissa A.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”               Romans 5: 3-5

I will leave you now with one of my favorite Bible-based sermons by Pastor Francis Chan:


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As I began to Love Myself

by Charlie Chaplin

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY.”

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody

if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT.”

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY.”

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE.”

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY.”

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF.”

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY.”

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT.”

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART.”

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

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The love we need

indexIn the beginning we were born with a whole heart, but then…

…life started to happen along with fear (and lots of it) which gave birth to lies, rejection, abandonment, sorrow, anger, violence, guilt, shame, loneliness, insecurity, control, greed, envy, vanity, lust, disconnection… you get the picture. Pandora’s box became rampant. Amidst all of this chaos we learned to adopt some of these mechanisms to avoid pain. We learned to give love only when we were sure (or thought we were) we’d receive it back, otherwise we’d be terrified of being hurt if love was not returned. When this happened (at least in our perception) we gradually shut down and reinforced our belief.

We learned to control situations and people to avoid pain and disconnection. We created an image of how people should treat us (love us) and if they skewed that vision we would feel anger, resentment and shame thinking that we didn’t ‘meet the standards’… ‘that we’re not enough’ which becomes our visceral chant and most painful predicament. And so we disconnect. We use numbness at best and violence at worst as our swords to avoid pain, never truly finding joy and peace thus, creating holes in our heart paired with anger and frustration.

The feelings of rejection and abandonment as the aftermath of all this tainted learning process creates more holes and cracks in our once whole heart, which we so desperately need to fill and so the delusion begins…

imagesWe search for love anywhere we can find it, by any means, at any costs and sometimes as a result of this we’re stuck believing that love is temporary and conditional, which is in fact the total opposite. We become needy and codependent on people, things and/or situations in our desperate attempt to fill the holes in our heart. The problem arises when these people, situations and things fail to provide the love that we want (or think we need) we become offended, irritable and resentful. We become prisoners of a roller coaster of emotions which ultimately leave us depleted and frustrated and always wanting more. More often than not, we turn to what I call ‘fast love’: excess or lack of nourishment, accumulating money, vices, illegitimate sex, workaholism, validation, admiration, perfectionism, body image, etc. just to discover (like the term implies) the temporary thrill these provide.

007661d6d8c1c8c701edf05f534d397aWe need to notice that our real pain comes from the fear of giving to others the love we want from them. We are petrified of rejection first and foremost because it makes us believe that we are not worthy of love.

What we fail to realize is that we have the power within ourselves to fill the holes in our heart. We need to give ourselves the love and respect we so desperately want from others. We need to unlearn the mechanisms that we previously internalized when we started to receive conditional love from others and acknowledge the conditional love we give others as a result. In order to do this we need to summon the highest power within us – God. We need His guidance and support in this lifelong journey we so fiercely need to embark on. This transition from conditional to unconditional love is the only way of living the abundant life God intended us to live. But He requires us to want it above all else.

Even if others earnestly tried to love us with all their might, they wouldn’t be able to fill our void completely, if our heart is not filled first. Because we only accept from others the love we think we deserve.

Real love begins with self-love. When we learn to fill the holes and cracks in our heart with self provided love, we become less likely to expect others to do it for us. We seldom become interested in looking for love in things and situations that we know won’t provide the kind of love we’re looking for. We won’t be needy, therefore we won’t be resentful, angry, bitter or feel lonely when others fail to reciprocate our love. Our hearts will be filled with love, thus immune to fear which will lead us to provide unconditional love to others. We will set others free from the burden of making us happy, thus loving them in an unselfish way.

abstract-red-shiny-heart-vector-illustration_75914026When this happens we’re ready to discover the meaning of pure joy and are able to understand the verse in Acts 20:35 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ We can’t give to others what we don’t have ourselves. If we have a heart filled with holes we will provide love with the purpose of expecting it in return. When our hearts are whole we become capable to provide selfless love (expecting nothing in return) just for the sheer joy of feeling it ourselves and benefiting those who receive it. This kind of love sets others free as opposed of binding them to cater our needs, desires and expectations. We will be capable of loving fearlessly knowing that if we don’t receive it in return it’s OK. Not everybody is ready to receive or accept unconditional love because most likely they lack it themselves. It has nothing to do with us or our self-worth.

Now getting from point A to point B is the journey of a lifetime. It is time to pack our bags and start the pilgrimage from our heads to our hearts. But cross a dessert we must. Which is to stop living the cheap illusion that our comfort zones provide. Vacations are over once we decide to take the plunge. This process requires to delve in the dark places of our souls to find and heal our underlying wounds. But we are not alone. Our highest self – God will accompany us in this process. He will guide us, enlighten us, wipe our tears, give us courage when there is none, provide rest, etc. All we need to do is want it badly enough through commitment, patience and knowledge. Educating ourselves through reading is cornerstone. I suggest the Bible and other literature that supports it. It also requires us to relinquish our desire for ‘fast love’ because it will lead us astray.

Self-knowledge, awareness, prayer, reading, meditation, alone time, being creative through any artistic talent, sharing our findings and practicing real love with others… Yikes! Are some of the ways to pursue our goal.

Every time we are rejected, abandoned or mistreated is an excellent opportunity to put into practice our new found knowledge. Like I said vacations are over.

The verse in Mark 12:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a fact because you can only love others as you love yourself. Which means if you have trouble loving others, you should check in with your self-love. Even selfish people who assume that they love themselves more than others are wrong because selfishness is a product of fear and fear is the absence of love.

Whenever opportunities arise, specially painful ones, I practice a visualization technique to illustrate my train of thought. Every time I find myself unloved by others (this can take many forms) I think of my heart as being whole (even though I know in my heart of hearts it still needs plastering) and repeat to myself that I have all the love I need. That people’s lack of love has nothing to do with me. That most likely they need my unconditional love to learn how it’s done. And move on. I believe that by doing this it will only be a matter of time until unconditional love will be the only way to love ourselves and others.

This is the love we need.

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What’s your source of joy?

6ca29b232893ed28a340729407e594e7We all want to be happy, specially while breathing. But if given a choice, would we rather be happy now or happier in the future? How about both! Is that possible? Long answer short: Not always. We live in an era of instant everything specially gratification. “Why would I wait for happiness later (specially if I don’t know if later is really going to come) when I can have it right now? Right?” Ask that to the girl who’s trying to lose weight and decided to ditch good health practices for not seeing immediate results, or the woman who chose Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right or the guy who chose a wrong career path just to please others or the 15 year old girl who decided to become a mother or the kid who ate the two marshmallows on the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, etc… you get the picture.

Now, aren’t we supposed to enjoy the moment? Indeed we are! But with responsibility. The same responsibility that makes us enjoy that piece of dessert after having healthy eats during the week, or taking a well deserved trip after a long year of work, or striving to pursue a passion even if it involves pain and risk (which in most cases it does), etc. Otherwise happiness becomes the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As a work in progress procrastinator I’ve come to realize that simply thinking about all the things that I have to do (while enjoying myself in the hammock of my own comfort) sucks the life out of me in more profound ways than one, than actually doing those things when I’m supposed to. I’m a firm believer that joy is derived from meaning more so than pleasure. Both are important, yet the former has a longer shelf life.

“… in the end, the price of comfort is always higher than the price of effort”

Truth be told we tend to be more comfortable wishing for happiness than we are of actually enjoying it. Not just because our unconscious mind tends to think happiness is something to strive for without fully realizing it is the journey itself, but because happiness takes conscious effort. The kind of effort that sets our priorities in order and allows us to focus on what’s really important. E.g., when we come across a beautiful sunrise we tend to think: “Oh, if only so and so were here to watch it with me. Oh I know I will instagram it, pick a cool background and later post it for all to enjoy.” Bam! We just missed our moment!

After reading quite a few books* on existentialism I’ve learned that there a three basic sources of joy: Pleasure, knowledge and spirituality. All of them involve a quest. And all of them are meant to be sought out by humans. We tend to incline on either one of them at different stages of our lives. For example, the first third of our lives we are prone to seek pleasure as a way to understand our own existence, then we seek knowledge for the same purpose at a deeper level (self-awareness), after which we move on to the latter to attain self-realization. Now, not everyone follows this same pattern. The truth is we’re constantly in search of all three to find joy. Our flesh is designed for pleasure, our mind for knowledge and our spirit for spirituality (closeness to God).

“Dmitri the sensualist, Ivan the intellectual & Alexei the spiritual…”- The Brothers Karamazov

As we all know and experienced, the quest for pleasure takes the least amount of time compared to the other two. Hence, those who constantly crave instant gratification tend to fall into the pleasure seeking category. Those who choose to seek meaning through out their lives despite possessions tend to fall into the spiritual category. And so on.

The question is, which one do we consciously choose to hold on to (through out the compos mentis stages of our lives) as a means of deriving joy? Ask yourself: Does happiness revolve around being with people? How much you know? How you look? Your résumé? Acquiring new things? The opposite sex? Your life’s purpose? All of the above? I’m not saying that these things are bad in and of themselves. But, what if we – God forbid – lose them in an instant? How would we be able to cope? Not feeling pain is not the issue here (it is evidently out of the question), but the amount and length of it is directly correlated to how attached we are to these things/situations/people. 

“…walk by the Spirit…”- Galatians 5:16

images (1)What if we had a choice of attaching joy to the things we can control? This is only found in the spiritual realm, within ourselves and God (our supreme power). Every situation we encounter, whether good or bad, gives us the opportunity to practice this new found freedom of choice, which will in time become second nature. We have learned through out history about many examples of people who chose the spiritual realm as the source of joy, who fought for a greater cause than themselves and were stripped away of everything – even their lives – except their spirit. I bet very little came between them and their joy.

“Our ultimate freedom is to choose our attitude despite our circumstance” Viktor Frankl

Let us undermine the reigns of things, situations and people with the destiny of our joy. If we come to think of it, when we choose to disempower others, even those we love, as the sole source of our joy, we are capable to love them better because we take the burden out of them having to make us happy. Whatever they choose to do or don’t won’t matter as much, because our joy is not dependent on them, but on what lies within ourselves.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose from within.”- Viktor Frankl

*The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Logotherapy by Viktor Frankl, To have or to Be by Erich Fromm, The Bible by God – among others.

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Angels in disguise

angelHe was conspicuously humble, yet possessed a regal countenance I can’t put to words. His hands were battered from working hard. His wrinkled, sunburned skin made him seem older than he surely was. As he spoke, I could tell he was a wise yet uneducated man. He seemed awkwardly uncomfortable with small talk (we had something in common) yet couldn’t get too deep with his conversation, but tried. He had these huge eyes that sparkled and grinned every time he talked about his dying wife. All the while he was grieving inside.

He restored my faith in humanity.

This is a man I met not long ago who came to my house to repair my broken oven. He told me his wife had recently had a double mastectomy and was trying to recover, but her life expectancy was shaky. His teen daughter came to my place to wait for her dad, we had a very brief encounter, me and her, yet I got a glimpse of her demeanor while she was watching her dad work that caught my eye and made me realize that my intuition about this man was true. I regarded his way of carrying himself as atypical considering his strenuous life. People where I live seem so consumed with their everyday lives (specially those with such a low level of education) that very rarely one sees a character so happy about life and himself, with such a positive vibe, that one can’t help but notice and enjoy. I want a double scoop of whatever he’s having, I thought. He’s an everyman with a privileged disposition towards life.

He told me a little bit about his life trying not to emphasize his hardships, yet I could infer they were many. While I walked him to his car he saw my guanabana tree and asked me if he could have some leaves to make his wife a concoction with them. Just some leaves! I thought, at this point I would’ve wanted him to have the whole tree. I felt so blessed by his presence. If only he knew. I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth are there so many people who can’t get a grip and waste no time complaining for every damn thing around them. How this negative disposition offends my soul knows no bounds. Yet, I can’t throw rocks at anybody ’cause I too have fallen victim, at one point in my life, of this unnerving act. Of course being aware of a limiting attitude is the first step towards changing it. I try to constantly remind myself of all the good in my life so I don’t have the need to complain every time something doesn’t go my way. He was sent to remind me once more. He was an angel in disguise, not so much by what he said but by how he made me feel & what I understood just by taking notice.

angels 1Angels disguised as common people are everywhere. We just have to be aware of their existence and learn what they’re trying to teach us, usually without them knowing. They have many things in common, such as: they’re never self-promoting, they don’t have the need to prove themselves to anyone, they don’t need to adulate anybody in order for people to feel loved in their presence, they seldom speak ill, they know themselves very well and embrace who they are, yet carry an uncanny aura of humility. They’re selfless beings who have a natural zest for life, yet carry themselves with such dignity and humble pride (if such term exists) that you can’t help but admire and strive to emulate them. They are highly emotional mature people who, in essence, have an attitude that speaks louder than words.

These people use their pain as a catapult to further understand compassion and love. Their character is a natural flow of their values. They know that good channeled pain can do so much good in the world whereas badly channeled pain can do so much evil. How much time one spends with them is unimportant. It can be from a fleeting encounter to a lifetime. What matters is the lifelong (usually subconscious) impact they leave whosoever crosses their path and is appreciative of their ways. I’ve been blessed to have met quite a few.

“Pride is spiritual blindness. It’s a delusional view of self. It’s unreality on steroids. It’s the thing to which we are most blind in ourselves, but can clearly see in others. We cannot see pride though it is our most grievous, disabling sin because its very nature is blindness and the first thing to which it is blind is its own existence”- excerpt from the book Gospel-Powered Humility

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I am Success

prayer 2
 “I am success
not because I think so
but because I know so
I am success
not because others tell me
but because I tell myself
I am success when I fear
I am success when I fail
Because I learn
I am success
when I love
I am success
when I hurt
Because I feel
I am success
when I have
I am success
when I have not
I am success
in defeat
I am success
in victory
Because success is not a circumstance
but a choice
Success comes from above;
it starts with weak knees
and a strong will
I am success
because I am created for no less
and so are you.”
by qualia for life
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What does success taste like anyways?

successThis is a question most of us wonder at some (more often than not pivotal) point in our lives. What is the answer? God only knows. After the birth of my kids I was having a hard time coming up with relevant answers to this question. Having a wonderful husband and two beautiful & smart kids tasted like success. Yet my mind still inquired. I had the opportunity of surrounding myself abroad with a diverse group of women – well educated and not – who decided never to work outside their homes on behalf (or with the excuse) of rearing their children. I questioned myself if that was right for me. As much as I love to be present in my children’s lives the answer was always a resounding no. Yet, I kept wondering. How dare me to want more if I found myself in a position of privilege!… “To vork or not to vork, zat eez ze question?” I’m not saying that the extra income was not needed, of course it was, but in this prevailing maternity-on-a-pedestal-children-first society that we live in, a mother can only wonder what is the best way to go.

There were a lot of dissonant voices in my head trying to figure out an answer that would fully satisfy me, but to my dismay there were none. What was I to do with a lot of questions and very little answers? To this I quoted Rainer Maria Rilke in my head about loving the questions more than the answers because the answers will come to you once you ask yourself the right questions and bla bla bla. It did very little. I was brought up to believe – by society and the likes – that having a lot of money was the very definition of success. Having been on both ends of the equation at different points in my life I questioned this definition to the most visceral part of my being. Then I thought, Ok if society’s definition of success is not on par with my noblest ideals, maybe, just maybe I could define success on my own terms. Bingo! I searched within myself – and thanks to the big gap on my résumé because I chose to be a stay at home mom for a while and nobody would hire me anywhere else – I landed a teaching gig, through which I discovered how to embrace my passion and get paid teaching it! Hip hip hooray!

making a livingI am a Language Arts highschool teacher and I love it! I get to read – nonstop – and educate teens (yikes!) on how to love and connect with all sorts of books. At first I was a bit skeptical at how things would turn out since the only thing I could really teach was my passion for reading and writing (no relevant studies on the subject) and english is not even my native language! To my surprise my class is basically comprised of just that: reading and writing… I was flabbergasted! Then my sense of duty obligated me to spend a lot of time researching for material that would engage students on this rewarding art form and provide them with a set of tools that would help them connect to their reading which will help them to write better. I have a lot to learn, but keep trying my best to teach what I know. And yes, I do read every single essay they write, and often compliment their singular ideas.

Long story short, I don’t know if this is the rest of my life or what but for the time being I found my calling. There are very few things I love more than sharing my passion with others in a consistent and earnest way. To know if I’ll stick with this in the long run I have to keep asking myself: Why do I love doing this? What is it about it that brings me joy and feels meaningful? What do I need to do in order to find more opportunities of doing this? I find teaching a very critical job because I get to touch other’s lives everyday for better or for worse. The moment this does not feel right for me I will surely stop. Otherwise I will not be true to myself and my values and end up misguiding others along the way (namely my students). 

Just a week ago one of my students came to me and said: “Miss, because of you I now like to read.” I felt a choke in my throat and could only muster a smile. This is what success tasted like to me.

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Busy: An overrated word

keep calmEverywhere we turn we find busy, busy people around, even when they are not busy they’re busy with their thoughts. The fact is we live in an extremely busy world. Some people honor the word busy as if it is a prize in and of itself, as if being busy somehow makes them feel virtuous. I’ve been trapped in this mentality – thank you very much type A personality. – But the past few years I’ve realized that there is something wrong with this picture. Making myself busy all the time was an unconscious attempt to numb my feelings, my real intentions in life, it was my way of feeling worthy of myself. Until I found out that I needed to go on a different route. I thought that by being constantly busy I was being more productive – ergo more worthy – till I realized the opposite is true.

Just last year I used to think that with two small children and a demanding job, how on earth could I not be busy & overwhelmed!? Then I found meditation as a tool to help cure my inner buzz. I learned that I could be busy without being overwhelmed. That despite having an endless laundry list I could be calm and at the same time be twice as productive. This comes as a surprise to no one, since meditation is older than the dust. But the fact remains that if I do not incorporate meditation into my daily life it is going to stay on a wishful thinking list A.K.A worthless.

I’ve come to realize that ‘busyness’ is a state of mind. Even saying the word ‘I’m so busy’ to myself somehow hinders my day into unproductiveness, it gets me tired before I even started, thus overwhelmed. I’ve known people who despite their full schedules & overwhelming agenda, seem absolutely calm and at ease, and I say to myself ‘I want a piece of that.’ These are the people who I feel drawn to. They have been a long-standing puzzle in my mind. Not anymore! What I love most about calmness is that it’s contagious (so is agitation) & when I see calm I become calm. Thank you calm people out there, you’re doing a wonderful job (even changing the world) without even realizing it.

“…I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.”- Henry David Thoreau

Now, I know there’s more to keeping-ourselves-calm-through-busy-times than meditation. Sometimes we lose ourselves so much in our busyness that we create blind spots in our personality, that of course we don’t realize (they’re called blind spots for a reason, duh.) These come in a variety of annoyances such as: not being present in a conversation, not reading between the lines of the needs of loved ones, not assessing our own needs (maybe only our wants), and the likes. It amazes me how I sometimes catch myself not paying attention to my children (while they’re pulling my arm to go play with them) whilst reading a blog post on ‘How to listen to my children’s needs.’ It happens to the best of us. But the important thing is to notice those little moments so they don’t turn into big regrets.

Awareness is my other tool. Try as we might, it is virtually impossible to notice every single mistake we make, but the more we are ‘aware’ of the importance of awareness in our lives, the more capable we are of being in a course-correct mode. Multitasking is not something we should strive for. I think the guys have it right (sorry girls). Multitasking as useful as it sometimes is, thwarts our concentration & our blind spots go ballistic.

“Self-control is strength; right thought is mastery; calmness is power”- J.A.

Yoga & regular exercise are excellent ways to destress oneself. Everyone who knows me knows that exercise does not come easy to me, it is not imprinted in my DNA (like it seems to be in some people), but since I am aware of its crucial importance in my life I do like Nike says. And yes I have reaped its multiple benefits – more the emotional than the physical ones.-

be still 2Prayer is my best tool, it enables me to use the other tools adequately. When I sync my spirit with my Father’s, He allows me to realize the momentousness of bettering myself. He makes me feel loved and worthy so I can become aware of my faults and therefore find the will & the ways of correcting them. He enables me to become emotionally & physically healthy thus allowing me to add meditation & exercise into my everyday life. What would I be without Him? Just a bunch of roads without a map.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus.”- Phil 4:6,7

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The people I like

Famous Latin American poet Mario Benedetti took the words right out of my heart & mouth with this amazing poem. It’s like he read my mind & soul to the bones with this one. When I first read it I was in awe of the way it perfectly describes the people I like to be around with & admire. It really struck a chord & I choose to share it with you. Without further ado I give you…

“The People I Like” 

joyI like the people that vibrate, that don’t need to be pushed, that you don’t have to tell them to do stuff, because they know what needs to be done and just do it. I like the people that cultivate their dreams until those dreams take over their own reality. I like the people that are able to face the consequences of their actions, people that risk what’s true for what’s uncertain to go after a dream, people that allow themselves to run from “sensitive advice” leaving solutions in the hands of our father God.

I like the people that are fair with their own people and themselves, people that are thankful for each new day, the good things existing in their life, people who live every hour with good enthusiasm giving their best, thankful for being alive, for being able to give smiles, for being able to offer their hands and help kindly, waiting for nothing in return.

I like the people that are capable of criticizing me constructively and up front, but without hurting me. People with tact. 

I like the people with sense of justice. These are the people I call my friends.

I like the people that acknowledge the importance of joy and preaches about it.

I like the people that with jokes teach us to conceive life with humor.

I like the people that never stop being childish.

I like the people that are sincere and honest, capable of opposing with reasonable arguments to anyone’s decisions.

I like the people that are loyal and persistent, that fight tirelessly for their goals and ideas. I like people with criteria that are never ashamed of recognizing a mistake or recognizing ignorance about something. People that, when accepting their mistakes, genuinely make an effort not to make them again. People that fight against adversities. People that look for solutions. People that think and meditate. People that value their equals not by a social stereotype or how they look. People that don’t judge and don’t let others judge. I like people with personality. People capable of understanding that humanity’s biggest mistake is to try to get out of their head something that won’t go out of their heart.

Sensitivity, courage, solidarity, kindness, respect, peace, values, joy, humility, faith, happiness, tact, trust, hope, gratitude, wisdom, dreams, regret, and love for others and oneself are fundamental things to be called PEOPLE.

With people like this, I can commit to anything for the rest of my life, because just by having them next to me, I consider myself well rewarded.

–  Mario Benedetti

Ditto Mario Benedetti. Plaudits to the people we like & enrich our world by their mere presence.

(painting by Alice Bailly “A Concert in the Garden”)

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A love letter to myself

Love lettersDear Mel,

This is the first time I write you a letter, which makes me very excited. There are many reasons why I decided to write to you, like letting you know how much I value the time we spend together, which by the way, is a lot. I actually look forward everyday to spend quality time with you, like our much anticipated 5 AM yoga routine together is nothing short of amazing! Or the time we spend reading in our favorite corner sipping some nice hot beverage, few things top that! I also love spending time with your family & friends they seem very interesting people. Your kids are absolutely adorable.

We have spent 35 years together with our ups & downs. Yet, I manage to remember mainly the ups more than the downs. Do you remember the time when, try as I might, I couldn’t convince you about how pretty you are. I did my best trying to make you see your own beauty, but there was no use, you kept insisting that your mirror told you otherwise. I could see your beauty right through your heart, but you were short-sighted. I am so glad you are over that & now understand that the essence of physical beauty comes from the heart.

Remember that just a while ago we were not on speaking terms when you started criticizing yourself for not being perfect? You were not able to understand that perfection is not the point. You needn’t be perfect to be loved or happy. I don’t know were you got that from, really! But all this time I’ve come to respect your values, like the way you try to be fair with those around you. I commend you for how you’ve next to mastered the art of not taking things personal. I admire the way you try to make people special & worthy of your time. For you listening to people & opening your heart is an art form. Kudos my friend!

I absolutely cherish the moments we spend meditating & praying, all the while figuring out the world’s most grueling predicaments; you usually ask God to help you out with these, I absolutely agree. I appreciate the time you take from your busy schedule to spend time with me, mostly by ourselves. I owe you for this one!

I cringe every time I remember you thinking that you’re not good enough. How can that idea ever crossed your mind?! Remember when we had that long conversation & you came to the conclusion that your worthiness was, in fact, your birthright & not something you need to earn. Remember when I told you that the moment you need to prove your value to the people around you is the moment you have to reevaluate your environment or your self-acceptance. What a joyful moment it was when you realized that true love to others & by others starts from within yourself, God’s dwelling place. You were 13 I remember, which was about the same time you invited Jesus into your heart & never looked back.

selfloveI can still recall when you listened to Brené Brown’s famous TED talk about vulnerability & you said to me: “The hell with it, being vulnerable is the way to go! Instead of pretending to look powerful in front of people (who by the way will never buy that for a second) I choose to be myself & connect with them on a deeper & more authentic level by showing my true essence through vulnerability. People don’t relate to perfect, they relate to human”… long story short, you felt more understood & connected than ever before! Yaay!

You are a work in progress, just like everyone else, but overall I think you’re going to make it, I have faith in you. It has been a grueling process no less & it will continue through out life, because the minute you learn something you have to relearn it everytime you apply it. A very good example of this is when you understood that loving others by accepting them exactly the way they are – their mistakes, bad moods, short temper, etc – and not try to make them fulfil your ideal of them, specially with people hard to love, is a lifelong journey that will never end. But I’ve seen you reap the benefits of your constant efforts on self-improvement, which makes me so proud. I want you to know that I’ll always – and I mean always – have your back… literally. You are my best friend & will be for life, I wholeheartedly love you & accept you just the way you are, imperfections & all. Never lose that sparkle in your eyes & smile when you’re doing what you love & being with those you love, including me. Never erase those from your face, no matter what!

Yours truly,

Your Soul

P.S. I invite all my readers to write themselves a love letter, it is absolutely liberating & fun!

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