My 2015 wish: Please be better than 2014, please

Why hello January 1st 2015! In efforts to stay consistent I tell myself that if I am going to post at least once this year, it will be on the first day of the new year. New year, new day.

I don’t make resolutions, so my personal goal for 2015 is to remember what is important to me in life, and to live life one day at time.

You ever feel like you lost of sense of self? Well I think that happened to me sometime in 2014, well actually in the beginning of 2014. Who knew such small changes in life would be so hard to recover from. I must say I was more than happy to say good-bye to 2014.  Not one of my best years, but defiantly a year that I can learn from. Now my challenge is to take lessons learned, and make 2015 one of my best years.

“Your best days are yet to come”; I need to remember that.

I started out 2014 with a broken leg. With a broken leg came the inability to run, I lost my motivation to make my body, and my mind better. With a broken leg came physical therapy, and recovery. If only I knew how much that process would change my life. Every activity that I found peace in was gone. I made attempts to find new ways to keep my body and mind challenged, yet nothing was the same. Recovery was hard, running hurt, cycling hurt, my motivation to be stronger, run longer, and work harder was diminished.

The year seemed cloudy, somewhat like a dark fog, I was living life, but never really felt like I was in it. Everything that kept me sane, happy, and living life with purpose while I was in Honolulu was gone. And I struggled for 365 days to get it back.

2014 ended, well nearly as bad as it started, oh wait, actually this is worse. The job that I moved to Washington D.C. for is closing. Yup, my program that was started to change the lives of Washington D.C. youth is coming to an end in two weeks, leaving me unemployed. So December of 2014, was not a good month. Yes I feel sorry for myself that my therapeutic program is ending, but I have a strong feeling that God has this. His plan keeps me alive, and keeps me living to make it through the day. However, the feeling of sadness and devastation that I feel for my clients, and other adolescents in Washington D.C. is  what really makes this a hard transition. For the last year, we were doing something good. We were changing lives, and one day someone made a decision that what we were doing did not matter that much so the budget for the program could be cut.

The highlight of 2014: I was able to watch two of my clients walk across the stage at their high school graduation, and receive a high school diploma. With the assistance of a few good friends, I watched another client attend a high school prom.  Wow, I don’t think I could explain the deepness of emotion that goes into those two events. But, to know that these boys may have never had that opportunity without our program is an unbelievable experience. When no one else believed in these kids, I did. Everyday I worked with them was a day that was one step closer to helping them see that life goes far beyond a life of poverty and jail. And that made my job nothing less than amazing.

I work to change lives, I work to inspire. I hope my next job continues to give me that opportunity.

I must  say that I am very happy to finally see 2015. I am looking forward to good news, exciting new opportunities, and happiness! My faith guides me, and I know everything will work out, because God has a plan that works, and my God have never failed me. Live a life that is worth living. That is what I want to remember to tell myself each day.

2015 I’m ready, show me what you got!

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

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I can do it all by myself, except sometimes I need help

When I was young, about the age of 3 or 4 my mom gave me the book All by Myself by Mercer Mayer. At the age of 31 my mom still reminds me that ever since I read that book over 25 years ago, I have always wanted to do things all by myself. When I was a child it was simple things like tying my shoe, or doing my homework. I would sit and try it over and over again until I got it right. I wanted to do it all by myself. As I got older life became more complex, and the complexity of things that I could actually do all by myself began to change. In high school it was filling out college applications, I didn’t need help, I could do that all by myself. However, once I got into college I had to pay for tuition, books, fees, oh and lets not forget that I actually needed to move everything out of my bedroom in Queens to my dorm room in Connecticut, yeah I needed help. Mainly from my parents, and because they are great parents they helped, and because they had hindsight to know I actually couldn’t do it all by myself I really didn’t even have to ask for much help. They just knew what to do.

As we get older we have greater needs in life, and may need more help. I have always been one to hate asking for help because I could do it all by myself. My favorite question to ask my clients in therapy sessions is “how is that working out for you?” When I think about times that I didn’t ask for help but really knowing that I needed help, I reflect on how poorly that is working out for me. When I bought my first car, I went into full-blown panic mode. Buying a car is stressful and I needed help. Luckily I had that help, my ex boyfriend helped me find a car, and my dad helped me to get my care registered, inspected and ready to drive. Needless to say without that help I would have been left stuck and riding the bus for a mighty long time.

Before moving to Hawaii, my mom asked me was I scared to go alone. My answer of course was no, if the fear was there I was never going to admit that to anyone anyway. She told me she doesn’t worry about me because she knows I will be fine, she reminded me that I have always had that determination that I could do it all by myself. That determination helped me to take leaps in life and never look back. That determination helps me prove to myself that no matter where I am in life and what I am going through, I will always at least try to do it all by myself, even though sometimes I may fail.

I am no longer a 3-year-old kid who just wants to tie her own shoe, or a 4-year-old who just wants to walk into a new classroom all by myself just to prove that I am a big girl. I am a 31-year-old who has grown to realize that as much as I want to do it all by myself, sometimes I need help, badly.

I realized the importance of help when I was living in Honolulu, I was all by myself, and couldn’t possibly do everything alone. Upon arriving on the island, I received help from my first landlord. She was overwhelmingly kind to me. She was local from Kauai and now living on the Windward side of Oahu. She went out of her way to welcome me to the island, I had no car, she drove me around, she showed me how to get to my job, how to get to the store, and what I would need to do to be safe in Honolulu. Her warming attitude made me feel like I would have a great home in Hawaii. I continued to find help along the way in friends, those friends helped me to overcome a sense of loneliness, and seemed to always make sure that I was doing ok. I received help to stay in shape from my motivating workout crew, and due to the fact that I had amazing co-workers, they never failed to help me learn my way around the island, and adjust my mainland style of building therapeutic relationships, to the local style of how to be a successful therapist. I was starting to learn that needing help was not a sign of weakness, but much-needed to keep building future success.

Now I am back on the mainland and have found myself in a place where I once again need help, and I continue working to overcome the struggle to ask, although it has gotten a lot easier. A few weeks ago I went snow tubing and broke a bone in my leg when it hit a block of ice.  Ok maybe I should have not been so quick to jump into winter sports since I have been living on an island that was 80 degrees every day for the past 4 years. Nevertheless, it was fun, well expect for the part where I broke my leg.

Being on crutches with a broken leg, yeah I have needed help. I want to do it all by myself, but life’s turns has hit me and now I can’t. This has truly been an experience in asking for help. I literally have needed help from everyone who is around me. Even my 7-year-old god-daughter has had to help me carry my purse. Lucky for me I have an awesome support group. My friends have been nothing less than amazing and have been there fully to help me. I end up feeling guilty though, I hate to inconvenience others or need help for something that I could just do on my own a few weeks ago. I remind myself that this is a temporary situation. It’s still hard most days.  It’s not forever, just for now, and now I have to continue to ask for help. This has truly been an eye-opening experience, I was the girl who thought I could do everything by myself. I could do it all, no help necessary. Now I can’t even drive my car, so to go anywhere outside of the house, yeah I need help.

Though this current situation of my broken leg is temporary and with time my bones will heal, it is a sudden much-needed reminder that life is not meant to be lived alone. If you always have the right circle of support you will never be alone, and when life throws you a curve ball, don’t struggle, put pride aside and just ask for help.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

2014: The year of focus and personal accomplishments

Today is the first day of 2014. Happy New Year! Wow now what happened to 2013 again? I feel like a lot has happened in the year the last. It was another year of transition. A year of memories. A year of saying goodbye to old friends, and once again saying hello to lifetime friends. It was year of meeting new friends, it was a year that is worth remembering.

Exactly one year ago I would have never imagined that I would be once again living on the east coast. I would have never imagined that I would be permanently living in the an area with freezing cold winter nights, cleaning snow off my car, and wearing layers of winter clothes. Life again has worked out in an unexpected way. In 2013 I learned more about myself. I learned that I am in control of my life, no matter how chaotic it may seem, ultimately I have control. 2013 was a year of personal accomplishments, I ran my first half marathon! I learned to accept my love-hate relationship with running. I laughed a lot in 2013. Life was good. I smiled even in those times when there was little to nothing to smile about. I learned to appreciate me. I took risks, and I fell back in love with me.

I feel like 2013 was the year of me. When I look back over the year I feel like I spent a lot of time alone, yet I hardly ever had times of feeling lonely. I was able to enjoy the things I loved, not do the things I didn’t, and somewhere along the line I feel like I grew into a better version of myself. I hope that growth continues in 2014.

Life changed over the last few months. Adjusting back to the mainland after living on a rock in the middle of the pacific is not easy. I feel like I was thrown a curveball even though I know what is expected from life on the mainland. Yet it still remains slightly difficult some days to get used to. A challenge yes, but a necessary challenge indeed. 2013 you were a year with unexpected surprises, new friends, new home, and new job. Life is always changing, here is another change to overcome.

2014 will be my year of adjustment, always working on me, continuing to grow, learn, and accomplish something that is truly amazing. My personal theme for 2014 will be focus. To focus on all aspects of life a little more. Take in each moment and remember that life moments are always changing so enjoy them while I can. 2014 will be my year! My year to stop saying what I want to do and just do. Go for it. I feel the need for increased motivation, internal fulfillment, and to remember to live a life worth living. Personally I think 2014 will be a big year, and as always the best is yet to come! And finally I am ready.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

My mother: Over 50, Fabulous, Fearless, and ready to take on the world!

When I was child I thought my mother was superwoman, she always knew everything and had all the answers. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to move out and get far away from mom because obviously, I knew everything and parents were no longer needed after the age of 14 (except for money). Between the ages of 14 and 21,  I just knew that I had all the answers. Now as a 31-year-old woman, I know with absolute certainty that mom is a mix of superwoman, combined with a woman who does not always have all the answers. The best part; she is not to afraid to admit that she does not have as many answers as I once thought. Therefore, my 31-year-old self can just say that my mother is truly amazing.

A few days ago mom celebrated her 59th birthday. As she reaches her final year in her 50’s, and prepares for her 60th birthday week bash next year, I must say that mom is truly an inspiration, the epitome of the woman who I desire to become. She is over 50, Fabulous, Fearless, and more ready than ever to take on the world.

While I was growing up I strived to make mom proud. Looking back as an adult I appreciate her approach to parenting. She allowed me to make my own mistakes and develop my own life path. If and when I messed up, she allowed me to learn how to fix it, always offering help when she saw that help was needed. It’s funny how life happens and how times change. As an adult, I am watching mom grow into the woman who she was always meant to be. She is meeting the strong, confident, driven woman who has been living inside of her, yet she had always feared letting her out. Day by day as I watch mom grow, and learn I smile. For all those years of her being proud of me, now I am the one who is proud of her.

On the refrigerator at our house in Queens there is a quote by Joel Osteen, it says “your best days are yet to come”. When I go home I always look at that quote and think to myself, wow, mom is actually living that way. I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life begins after 50. I don’t know what happens after 50 because I’m still tying to figure out my 30’s however, when I think about what mom has accomplished over the past decade, then life must be great after 50. My mom has started to live. Sure she had a life before 50, she is married with 3 kids. She had a life that consisted of taking care of other people, hardly taking care of herself. I grew up watching her give all of her to everyone around her, leaving little to noting left for her as an individual. She frequently put her needs aside to be the best mother for our family. However, today at 59 she can put her needs first to be the best person to herself. She has finally started to show herself that she matters, and with that comes a sense of peace and happiness.

A few years ago mom started going back to school. Taking one to two classes a semester, she has the determination and the heart to earn a college degree. That makes me proud. She pushed me to earn a college degree, I actually did not believe I had a choice to do anything else. Now I can push her to earn her very own college degree, leading her to believe that she has no other option. I tell her not to stop at an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree, to keep going for that master’s or Ph.D. I know she can do it, so why give up.

Being a woman over 50, mom has conquered many fears. She used to be afraid of the classroom, now she has the passion to learn. With the desire to know more information, she is no longer intimated by not being smart enough. She knows she can push through it, and succeed.

Mom was raised as a country girl in the south. She tells the story of when she first arrived in New York City at the age of 18, she was afraid to get on the escalator and ride it to the top of the bus station to meet her uncle who was picking her up that day. For a small town girl, the city was a huge scary place. However through fears, and doubts,  she ended up staying in New York, and made the big city her new home. She never trusted that she could conquer the city life, go to a museum, a restaurant, or a broadway play alone. Yet today, she is able to go anywhere in the city alone, and actually love it!

Mommy at Pearl Harbor

When I moved to Hawaii, mom supported my decision to move to an island in the middle of the pacific, where I have never been before, and knew absolutely no one but myself. She didn’t try to talk me out of it, or ask why. To my amazement she thought it was a good idea. Previously to my move, she had never travelled away from the east coast. Within a year of my move, she had made her first plane trip out to Hawaii. I quickly realized that my crazy, overly impulsive life decision, not only changed my life, but also affected a major change in mom’s life, and that change is very good.

The first time mom made her journey to Honolulu, she was overly fearful. Her first experience of taking a plane for over 10 hours, and having to fly for a full five and a half hours directly over the pacific ocean. Mom has a passionate fear of large bodies of water. Yet through it all, she made it and managed to return to Honolulu the following year. Currently she is preparing for her third trip out to the middle of the pacific, obviously she is filled with excitement.

For the small town girl from the south, mom has grown to appreciate life and what the world has to offer. On her last visit, we traveled to Maui. Many people spend their whole lives dreaming about what it would be like to actually be on the island of Maui, many die never knowing. At the age of 58 mom got her first experience at taking Maui by storm, and that experience was far better than what she had ever imagined.

Now if anyone ever travels with me, trust me, we will do any and everything possible in the least amount of time, probably getting the least amount of sleep. With mom it was no different. We were on Maui, and we were going to explore all of Maui. Mom is afraid of the water, yet she got on a boat to travel to the island of Lanai. Mom is afraid of heights, however without hesitation she went with my idea of taking a tour to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. That is a volcanic crater over 10,000 feet high, and it was about 30 degrees up there. To see God’s work as the sun rises over the clouds is definitely worth facing all fears, and taking in the freezing cold air. Such sights in life should never be missed, that is truly one of them.

Maui maui 2

On Oahu, I took mom to climb Diamond Head crater. Mom was still afraid of heights, and had never hiked up a volcano before in life. I was taking her on a hike that was 762 feet up a crater. Once we entered the park area, I pointed to where our end point was at the top of the mountain. She laughed, called me crazy, and adamantly said that she was not going up there. Her mind was set and she knew that she was not going to the top of that very large volcanic crater. I nicely convinced her to start walking, we started on the trail, one step at a time, and just kept going. Mom complained, cursed me, and I think she even yelled at me a few times while walking on the trail, then suddenly she could see the top. She could see the motivation to keep going. When she wanted to turn around, I reminded her that she could keep going, one step at a time, she was almost there. In my mind it was too late to turn around, she was so close to the end, why stop now. As she came upon on the final stairway to the top, she was more motivated than ever, other tourist gave her encouragement, and she was able to make it all the way to the top of the mountain. While we were at the top I pointed out to her where she started, and where she was when she finished. She finally saw how far had come just because she kept moving forward, she didn’t turn around, and despite all the odds due to being tired, and hot, she did not give up on herself.  A true metaphor for life. She was literally looking down on Waikiki. The fearful southern girl, who moved to New York at age 18,  now was over 50 experiencing life while looking down on the beaches of Waikiki. It may have seemed like a dream, but no that was mom’s reality.

Mom thought that she would never make it to the top, but she preserved and broke though her own self-doubt. On her journey she proved to herself  that she could do things that she would  have never thought were possible 10 or 20 years ago. It’s funny because now she can’t wait to climb Diamond Head again, and even wants to time herself to see how fast she can climb to the top. Yes, I have created a monster. But all I can do is sit back and smile, like the proud daughter that I have become.

Life is for living your dreams, and making those dreams come true. To talk to mom, puts my own life in perspective. Life is short, we have to live it today, life happens quick then its gone. Mom has found love in treating herself, finally. She takes herself on spa dates. Last month while I was in New York we went to the spa at the Trump hotel in lower Manhattan, she was reading a travel magazine which had an article on the Big Island. Now imagine the irony in that since we will be traveling to the Big Island in a few weeks. Just a few years ago, mom would have picked up that magazine and only have dreams of what it would be like to visit Kona, well that day she was able to plan what she would do, what she will see, and what she will eat, WHEN she arrives on Kona.

At 31, mom still is able to teach me so many lessons about life, and growing into a woman. I have realized that you can start living life at any age. Whenever you are ready, life is ready to have you live it. When I look at the 59-year-old woman my mom has become, I am so happy to see that she is more excited than ever as she ages. Her youthful spirit gives her the energy to keep going, he desire to learn gives her the will to grow, and her renewed sense of confidence gives her the ability the face the things she has feared all her life. Through my mom, I have learned how to live. Mom truly sets the example because, like mom, in 29 years as I am approaching the age of 60, I also want to be fabulous, fearless, and ready to take on the world!

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Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens)

prayer..Pray Until Something Happens. I remember seeing that somewhere (probably on a  Facebook status), but it is a line that has been stuck in my mind recently.

Recently I have been undergoing severe writer’s block. I have been going through a period of having ideas to write about, thoughts about what I want to say, yet I am missing the words to express these thoughts. My mind is not connecting properly. It is a frustrating experience, you ever want to speak on something but cannot find the right words to say it. I feel like that now. I attribute that feeling to a period of overwhelm. I like to describe it as brain overload. Some days I feel like my brain is about to explode. Too much information, but the inability to disseminate the information properly. The outcome, an inner explosion of meaningless thoughts. So once again I come to a point where I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to change it so I take the easy route I PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens).

I am a firm believer of the power of prayer, if you are not that’s fine.  I wont force you to pray or force you to believe in a higher power. I believe in the power of prayer because it has worked for me. Now no I haven’t had a life changing miracle moment where I am suddenly healed from a deathly illness, but I have had small moments where prayer has kept me going in life. When I get scared, I pray, when I feel angry, I pray, and when I feel like my life is lost and I don’t know what direction to turn, I pray. I keep praying because I know something will happen. I don’t feel alone anymore, God takes the burden with each prayer so I am assured that something is happening.

In my career, some days I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by confusion and lack of immediate thought. I am a Therapist, I find people look to me for answers. Most days I don’t have an answer. The constant interaction with clients who suffer from strong feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts is emotionally draining. Clients look to me for help, they look to me to make it better. I pray that I am able to do that. But some days I feel like I can’t do it, I start to feel as if  I have given all my positive energy away to clients and I have nothing left for myself. The burden has then caught up to me. I want to crawl in between the sheets of my bed, put the comforter over my head and disappear. When I get the feeling of wanting to go away, I have to find just a small amount of energy deep down inside to keep going and PUSH. In order to PUSH not much energy is required, so it is simple. To keep going and believing takes a leap of faith, a faith that has to stay constant for something to happen. I then get back to finding me.

Eventually I get up. I wipe the problems of others off me. I keep going. I find my energy and eventually I am better able to  help my clients to keep going. I often find myself asking them what helps them to keep going, and yes they usually have a response. Many of them have faith that it will get better, they have the belief that life will always get better. So no matter how bad it seems, no matter how stuck you are in the moment, and no matter how overwhelming life may get, if you are able to just PUSH, God is already working to make something happen.

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences