Friday, June 30, 2006
My birthday is approaching soon, next week as a matter of fact. The time around my birthday always fills me up with excitement and a feeling of celebration. I announce it to the world and annoy everyone I know as I make a big deal out of it, making it a public event of large proportions. Birthdays are very special occasions, indeed. They mark an important event: our first appearance to the world as we know it in this lifetime. Being born is a privilege, a blessing. We get to love, laugh, cry, learn, make mistakes, fall, get up, and strive to reach maturity by developing into our best selves. I hope people around me have found my existence to be valuable and meaningful to them in some way. I know my life has been full of blessings, great memories, which combined with the not so great ones have turned me into the individual I am today. I am still a work in progress, no doubt, but I am moving forward and evolving.
I always say that I feel 15 at heart. My soul feels very young and new, full of lots of things to give and eager to learn. Sometimes I cannot believe that it has been that long since I took my first breath in Florida when I was born. Certainly time has gone by, fast and slow, and I have lived a very exciting and fulfilling life. I am looking forward to the new year in my calendar and for many birthdays to come, but most of all, I am looking forward to make this very moment the most important one of them all; soaking up in life and admiring how far I have come.
As for what I want for my birthday, I would love to spend it loving, pampering, indulging, honoring, caring for, and celebrating the most important person in my life: me. I will probably write and reflect about my life the way people do it on New Year’s Eve, and project towards the future but focusing in the present. I would love to emerge a better me to give to myself and to the ones I love, on my special day and everyday.
Happy birthday to me!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
It does not take a lot to make a person happy, at least us! Sarai and I gigled and laughed acting silly like when we were 15. I guess we just feel 15 at heart.
It does not take a lot to make a person happy, at least us! Sarai and I gigled and laughed acting silly like when we were 15. I guess we just feel 15 at heart.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
You Are Who You Are, Not What You Do
Becoming Your Wrong Decisions
Our perception of the traits and characteristics that make us who we are is often tightly intertwined with how we live our life. We define ourselves in terms of the roles we adopt, our actions and inactions, our triumphs, and what we think are failures. As a result it is easy to identify so strongly with a decision that has resulted in unexpected negative consequences that we actually become that "wrong" decision. The disappointment and shame we feel when we make what we perceive as a mistake grows until it becomes a dominant part of our identities. We rationalize our "poor" decisions by labeling ourselves incompetent decision-makers. However, your true identity cannot be defined by your choices. Your essence-what makes you a unique entity-exists independently of your decision-making process. There are no true right or wrong decisions. All decisions contribute to your development and are an integral part of your evolving existence yet they are still separate from the self. A decision that does not result in its intended outcome is in no way an illustration of character. Still, it can have dire effects on our ability to trust ourselves and our self-esteem. You can avoid becoming your decisions by affirming that a "bad decision" was just an experience, and next time you can choose differently. Try to avoid lingering in the past and mulling over the circumstances that led to your perceived error in judgment. Instead, adapt to the new circumstances you must face by considering how you can use your intelligence, inner strength, and intuition to aid you in moving forward more mindfully. Try not to entirely avoid thinking about the choices you have made, but reflect on the consequences of your decision from a rational rather than an emotional standpoint. Strive to under! stand why you made the choice you did, forgive yourself, and then move forward.A perceived mistake becomes a valuable learning experience and is, in essence, a gift to learn and grow from. You are not a bad person and you are not your decisions; you are simply human.
The Daily OM
Friday, June 23, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
We already know all the characteristics attributed to men. There is also the notion that males are incapable of multitasking like women, focus on something with complete dedication (except for work) like women, care for and nurture others like women, be gentle and detail oriented like women, and so on. I was having a conversation with a mother of a pre-teen boy, and she said that teenage boys are not as dedicated, focused, and able to take care of children (babysitting) like girls just because they are wired differently. That made me wonder: is it really that boys are not wired to do this or that, or is it that parents do not teach and enforce their boys to be nurturing, care givers, and caring and giving in general? Are we (men and women) categorically biologically different and therefore incapable of sharing the same degree of involvement in things? About everything that is said about men, is that just the way men are, period?
I guess right now there is no direct answer to that question. Although there are undeniable differences between a man and a woman, my thought is that the differences are mostly physiological and physiologically driven. The fact that most men act in a certain way may be the result of all of them being raised to act and react to some situations in an expected way, enforced to do so, reinforced when done so, and the behavior just keeps going on. For example, if a boy leaves a mess after he has been playing with his toys, he is just a boy. If a boy is rough when he plays, he is all boy. If a boy is restless and loud, he is being a boy. The boy then grows up to be a man who is not organized, does not pick up after himself, is not detail oriented, but will probably end up with a woman who will be all those things, so he does not have anything to worry about.
I believe gender issues and gender differences will take a long time to figure out and resolve. The only way of knowing if sex and gender is really not the same thing is going back to the Blue Lagoon (like in the movie) and seeing what happens. However, I would guess, and research backs me up, that ever since the day we are born parents and everyone around us treat us according to the preconceived notions of gender already stored in our brain, so we are highly influenced by gender constructs since birth and throughout all our lives, which would still have an impact on the way things develop in the Blue Lagoon. In the meantime, I do not think that men ARE, I think that men have been taught (or not) to be a certain way. That been said, men can also be taught to be different, to be better men, to be whole persons, and women can learn to do the same.
Monday, June 19, 2006
ENTRE EL VIENTO Y EL MAR
Iracundo un día el viento, al mar vino a preguntar:
-Qué derecho tienes de arrancar la joven y tibia arena?
¿Es que acaso no te aterra que socaves sus entrañas?
Vienes y te robas su alma y en un momento te vas.
¿Es que no puedes pensar en lo frágil que ella es;
que tu furia y tu poder desmantela lo que toca?
¿Es que acaso no te provoca este acto algún dolor?
¡Que quebranten tus deseos de encerrarla en tu pasión!
-¡Ay viento! Si supieras que a la arena yo respeto
y aunque no quiera, tengo que volcarme en sus entrañas,
pues no fui yo, sino otro el que decidiera este acto.
Y aunque es profundo mi deseo de a la arena no arropar
Fue Dios quien decidiera: “¡Toda arena tendrá mar!”.
Luis E. Valderrama
Valderrama expuso su “amor prohibido” de una forma fácil de entender, y a la vez meritorio. Se explicó en su poesía, la cual es muy parte de él, al igual que es parte de mí. El poema siempre ha vivido en mi diario y en mi recuerdo, y ahora lo comparto con el mundo.
Como explica Valderrama, el mar no puede evitar fundirse con la arena y ser parte de ella. Ambos están unidos por algo que es más fuerte que ellos, de manera ineludible y hermosa, aunque a los ojos de algunos parezca cruel y mal intencionado. Supongo que muchas veces la relación de amor entre dos seres solo ellos pueden entenderla y escoger o no vivirla a plenitud a pesar de las circunstancias. Este es uno de mis poemas favoritos de todos los tiempos.
In the heat of the moment one can say the harshest things, things we do not really and deeply mean, or things we do not want others to hear. In the heat of the moment we may let things slip off our lips without thinking about how our words will impact the other persons’ lives or how much meaning our words have on our own lives. We have all been hunted by our words at some point in our lives. We all have said things we later regret saying. We all have said things we wish we could take back. However, words are permanent once they come out of our mouth. Some words resonate in our heads, both after we say them and hear them being said, for a long time after the fact. Some words have a deep impact in the daily steps we take and how we do things and look at life. Words are powerful: they exert the power of our voice, carry the images we want to portray and the energy we vest in them. That’s why it’s very important that we acknowledge that we have a great responsibility to use our words with wisdom and truth, for ourselves and others. As I always say, mean what you say and say what you mean.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Y el amor se convirtió en carne, y la carne en espíritu que viajó a lugares prohibidos, alto y profundo, rápido en el tiempo eterno que se acortó abruptamente cuando se abrieron los ojos de la razón. El alma se quedó atrapada en el crisol que filtra la realidad y la verdad, sin saber a dónde ir, desorientada perdida en la nada. Se fue lo físico y lo demás trascendió las estaciones, los lugares, los momentos marcados por los minutos, los segundos y las horas, y vivió en lo recóndito para siempre. Los ojos miran adentro ahora, miran hacia el río que viaja traspasando el corazón sin cauce ni destino; miran adentro sin tener horizonte al cual seguir, inventando uno en el éter de lo desconocido y de lo incierto. Abruptamente la verdad se enfrentó a la realidad y chocó con ella, tratando de hacerle ver pero no entendió. Y la verdad sigue allí siendo amor y espíritu, escondida en la espera de la hora de la revelación para volverse grande y hacerse comprender ante los ojos desnudos de lo conciente.
Today I am celebrating publishing 100+ postings in my blog. I hope some have found my words interesting, intriguing, thought provoking, useless, funny, boring, but sometimes worth investing some time reading. It has been a revealing journey for myself as when I write I unveil my deepest thoughts and my deepest self for everyone to watch and for me to learn from.
I am raising a little boy, and the challenge goes beyond what I think is right for him in order to sensitize him to the opposite gender and develop an open mind in him. There is a constant portrayal of the same old stereotypes in the children stories that my child is listening to in school. There is the challenge to make his father understand that there is nothing wrong with our child playing with a doll. There is the fear, present in our family members, that anything that we allow Paul Vincent to do or be exposed to that is considered “unmanly” will turn him into a “sissy” (ultimately meaning that there is a fear that he will be gay if he is not taught to think and behave as a “man”). I want my child to be a strong person, not a strong man. I want my child to be a man, in whatever definition he feels fits him best. I want my child to be able to respect all women and not see them as inferior. I want my child to know that he can do anything he wants to: be a secretary, a nurse or a surgeon, without having to think twice about it because it might not fit what society and his parents are expecting of him as a man. Ultimately, I want my child to be a man with a deep knowledge and respect of and for a woman’s heart.
The future of women and the equality we seek is in our hands. We must raise children that break the old stereotypes and see life through new and different paradigms, and that are not afraid of keep changing the paradigms when the situation applies. We need to respect and honor ourselves as women and instill that in our children, with our behaviors, and also with what we are teaching them at home, in school, on TV, and everywhere else.
Women in Relationships:
Generally, women are expected to have a passive role when it comes to dating and mating. Women who express their feelings openly and are up-front about their intentions in a relationship are often misjudged and labeled as easy, freeky, too intense, and so on. Men, in the other hand, are always taught to be aggressive when pursuing any kind of relationship with a woman, enforced to do so, and rewarded for doing so.
Women in the Family:
Women are taught to be nurturing, to take care of their children, their husbands, their extended family, and even their husbands’ extended family in some cases. Women are expected to sacrifice their entire lives for the sake of the family.
Women in the Workplace:
Women encounter segregation and discrimination in the workplace in a constant basis. Women encounter a glass ceiling at work, meaning that they can only reach up to a certain organizational level, and beyond that the climb is almost impossible. Stereotypes follow women to the workplace, as they are expected to do “women jobs” and be followers rather than leaders. Women who actively pursue leadership roles and are straight forward in the workplace are labeled as too aggressive, manly, or bitches.
Women in Society:
As I was growing up, I always heard that behind a great leader (a man) there is always a great woman. That say was supposed to be a compliment for women. Women have made great contributions to society, however, since women have been socialized to be prudent and giving, they usually do not get the credit and exposure for their roles in society as men do. Interestingly, though, women are mostly responsible for charity work and volunteerism.
Women in the World:
Women have been persecuted, mistreated, disrespected, and alienated in every culture, in every country in the world, for centuries. I do not know if there was a time in which women’s situation was different than what we have known over the years. It is clear that women have been able to level things with men more in some countries in the world. However, there is still a lot of improvement to be done, in our neck of the woods and the rest of the world.
Men are a wonderful thing, and we cannot keep placing the blame on them for our position in the world and society. At least in this country, women can start to learn to value themselves more and make everyone see and appreciate that value. We have to break the chains of socialization and gender roles, and start forging the life we want, as women, but mostly as individuals. This is not a call to an armed revolution or a revolution against men, but rather a call for women to start living more passionate and fulfilling lives, in whatever roles we decide to exert.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Psychologists would say that most humans are in fear of the unknown and in fear of change. That is primarily true for all kinds of fear. Either we are in fear of the situation because we do not know how to deal with it, or because we do not know what and how the end result will be. Either we feel fear because we do not want to deal with the turmoil that change unravels before it finally materializes into the end result, or because we are uncertain about how much better or worse things will turn if we accept change and let it take its course. Ultimately, we are always in fear of getting hurt in the change processes that life proposes.
I believe the pain that we may experience when confronting our fears is temporary and sometimes necessary to expose the magnificence of what should be instead of what it is. Something is for sure: we are the only ones who can deal with our own fear. We can be willing to offer our assistance so others can conquer their demons and fight the skeletons in their closet, but ultimately it is up to each individual to stand up, look at fear right in the eye, and decide whether they want to fight or to flight. It is up to each individual to decide upon what role fear will take in their lives and how they will deal with it in the short and long run. Dealing with fear is risky, but no fight is risk free.
Here is something that I read this morning that can probably better explain fear and the effect it has on us. I hope everyone finds it useful, myself included.
Walking Through Your Fear
The Daily OM
The situations, activities, and individuals that frighten us remain static. Their relative intensity does not change. Fear, on the other hand, self-magnifies. It is when you are afraid and envisioning all that might go wrong that the energy underlying your fear grows. A tiny flicker of anxiety can easily develop into a terror that manifests itself physically and eventually paralyzes you into inaction…Though fear is literally an evolutionary gift meant to sharpen your senses and energize you during times of great stress, it can nonetheless become a barrier that prevents you from fulfilling your potential by causing you to miss out on rewarding, life-changing experiences. During the period before you face your fear, you may have to deal with a barrage of negative thoughts and emotions. Walking through it, whether your fear is public speaking, taking part in an activity that makes you nervous, or asserting yourself when the odds are against you, may be equally as difficult. But once you have emerged unscathed on the other side, which you will, you will likely wonder why you assumed the worst in the first place. As you spend time worrying about what might happen, it's good to know that your fear probably won't happen at all. It may feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and you will likely feel a sense of passionate pride. Walking through your fear can! mean taking risks and can require both practice and patience…You will also find that when you are willing to stare your fear in the face, the universe will always offer you some form of aid or support. When you see the heights of accomplishment and personal evolution you can attain when you walk through your fears, your faith in yourself will grow, allowing your next step to be easier.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Ausencia de ti, de tus brazos sobre mi espalda…
Ausencia de tus manos en mi pecho resbalándose por mi piel salada…
Ausencia de tu aire abanicando mi boca sedienta y hambrienta de la tuya en la mía enclaustrada…
Ausencia del peso de tu cuerpo sobre el mío en la mañana y las noches sin ti desoladas.
Ausencia de tu mirada sobre mis ojos y sobre mi alma.
Ausencia de tu voz metiéndose por mis oídos y grabándose profundo en mi emoción silenciada.
Ausencia de tu voluntad que de nuestra realidad escapas.
Ausencia de tu presencia cuando presente viajas en el tiempo lejos de nuestra cara.
Ausencia de tu alma en éxodo escondiéndose de la mía que te llama…
Ausencia de tu corazón escondido en lo recóndito del sentimiento que niegas y callas…
Ausencia de tu ser en mis pasos pisándome las huellas de amor que dejo en tu cama…
Ausencia de ti en mí, fugitivo cautivo en escapada constante negándose al alba.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
It seems to me that some are more inclined to satisfy the expected roles, and marriage is a perfect example. Once people are in it, God forbid that they find themselves like they made the wrong decision; they basically have to “suck it up” and make it work. I am not talking about the daily difficulties and challenges of having a face to face relationship with someone you swore you would have a life-long, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual relationship with, but the realization that the path that the vows tried to portray is no longer a path that will lead to a better you, self realization for maybe neither of the parties involved, happiness, harmony, joy, peace, and all the ideals of what an emotional, spiritual, and physical commitment to a person entails. When it is known that that special connection is no longer existent or was maybe never present, is if fair to keep the relationship going as it is just because people are married?
This matter is very complicated. Society (and by that I mean people in it) condemn people who “opt out” of a marriage for their own sake; that is just plain selfish. A marriage usually means that the bigger person stays in the relationship even when the other party already left the relationship emotionally, or maybe when the bigger person him/herself has left the relationship emotionally. I guess once people are married, they are supposed to be “locked into it” and out of the world. Do not get me wrong, I am not against marriage, I could not be. My point is people should not be condemned so bitterly for doing what they think is right for themselves, and in the long run, for the other half.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
"Anything you do from the soulful self will help lighten the burdens of the world. Anything. You have no idea what the smallest word, the tiniest generosity can cause to be set in motion. Be outrageous in forgiving. Be dramatic in reconciling. Mistakes? Back up and make them as right as you can, then move on. Be off the charts in kindness. In whatever you are called to, strive to be devoted to it in all aspects large and small. Fall short? Try again. Mastery is made in increments, not in leaps. Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are "within your reach." To strive to live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give to the world". (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
Thursday, June 08, 2006
It seems like men tend to ponder with logical thinking the matters of the heart. Men generally tend to be more cautious when it comes to opening their hearts and giving in to their feelings and emotions. For women, loving and giving in to that love is sometimes simple. For men, beginning to love (or to accept it) seems to be a little bit more difficult; it takes more steps, more time, more thinking.
I have no doubt that beside all the socialization and conditioning we are exposed to throughout our lives, men and women are truly wired differently. Maybe it is true that women give our hearts too freely, but it is sad that we have to watch out for those who would take advantage of that fact. Giving our hearts is a voluntary act, and no one should feel threatened to express their feelings when they mean well. Love is a wonderful thing, it makes our lives richer and happier, and everyone should be willing to give it, receive it, and experiment it in the best way possible.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I continued to look at the blue mountains every Saturday morning, and was always amazed by their rare color and wondered what made them look like that. Later on, when I was a young adult, I decided to hike up the hills with some of my friends. The trip to the top was exhilarating, and once at the top we could see all kinds of things, from part of the valley of Lajas to some of the coast line of Guánica. We felt very happy and empowered being at the top as though we had climbed up the Everest. We planted a flag in evidence of our visit, which was blown away by a hurricane years later.
When I went back to my home town Puerto Rico I looked at the blue mountains once again. They were looking smoky and blue as ever, and I could not help but to stare at them just like when I was a little girl. There is no flag now to be a silent witness to the ascend to the top with my friends, and I might not take the hike to the top again. However, just like when I was a little girl, the mountains made me think that I could in fact touch the sky just like them, and this time I don’t have to climb them to do it.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Nowadays technology enables us to communicate with people from all over the World. It is amazing that now we can have friends all over the world, and although we might not see them in living color in flesh and bone, we are able to see them instantly through a web cam, and have conversations like we do with our next door neighbors. Yes, technology has allowed us to expand our horizons and have no boundaries when it comes to meeting people, making new friends, and learning from one another. All that is wonderful and truly marvelous, but I think the magic really happens when people want to share their experiences, feelings, emotions, thoughts, and lives, and they pursue so and are able to do it using technology.
I think our perception and intuition have no boundaries when we really want to connect with people in any fashion, where ever they may be. The power of words transcends physical limitations and is able to travel through mechanical apparatuses like computers, phones, and cell phones, and make their way via email, instant messaging, web cams, digital pictures, blogs, and whatever next technology will be developed. Where there’s the will to communicate and give ourselves to others there are no obstacles, and distance is not even an inconvenience in some cases. No place is too far and no person is out of reach in the world today. Hopefully, everyone will take advantage to connect and learn from others and make the whole world our backyard.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Me metí en la oscuridad de la luz que brilla fuerte y tenue al final del abismo
Un peligro que acecha silente, a toda voz desde el fondo de ti y conmigo
Osadía de figuras que se unen penetrando y trascendiendo el tiempo
Amenaza de ganarme en la perdición de la entrega que no puedo evitar ni quiero.
Inminente tu paso por los renglones de mi ser expuesto en carne viva a tus ojos
Inminente albur que auguró tu aura que me encontró y me sedujo cuando eras otro
Me fui, te fuiste tú, y el tiempo y las vidas pasaron, pero inevitable
Se hizo la luz en la oscuridad de lo desconocido que nos hizo palpables.
Lo supo el ánima de la sustancia que me trajo hasta los confines de tenerte
Claro se abrió el cielo en infinito calor, sin alarma, ante el delirio de la suerte
De la viveza que reveló la fuerza que emana ahora de lo que es puro y verdugo
En el centro de la nada no hay razón, sólo dos volviendo a ser uno.
I love to indulge myself. I do not need much to pamper myself, though. I like to involve my senses in the things I do, and much of the everyday little things I do give me pleasure. I derive joy in cooking, doing the dishes, reading a good book, listening to music, dancing in the kitchen, singing in the shower, feeding the ducks at the lake, writing my thoughts, and almost everything I engage myself into. Many times I am by myself, and always with myself. I can have the most meaningful conversations with my soul, listen my heart, and be content in knowing that my deepest self shines of happiness through my eyes. Often times I prepare a delicious meal for myself, serve it on my best china, drink from my pretty glass, and savor every moment of that experience with myself at the table. All that happens while I keep myself good company.
One can be without company, however, the most important thing is to feel as though we are never alone. All the components of our best self are with us to enjoy, to give us warmth, teach us, comfort us, enlighten us, and reassure us that we are great to be with. When we come to that realization, the world will know, and others will follow.