Early this morning on my way to the gym, I saw a disheveled homeless man convincingly arguing with a phantom antagonist. He was waving his hands in the air to emphasize an imperative point.
We call people like this homeless man crazy, but I wonder how much of his insanity stems from isolation and the need for positive connection. I wonder how many of us dog lovers have better conversations with our four-legged friends than with humans. I wonder if like this homeless man, we are all craving a little conversation and are willing to argue with ourselves just to feel the rise of human emotion, reminding us we’re still alive.
Although technology and social media makes us feel like we’re more connected than ever before, nothing can replace quality time spent with someone who’s willing to return the favor. Making the right connections is more than just what someone can do for you. If you make a deep connection with another person, it’s a soul connection that is invaluable. The truth is, people are guarded today and it’s hard to break down walls.
The Bottom Line:
I think many of us are lonely and seeking deeper conversations, deeper connections and actual thought-provoking philosophical discussions. When speaking with someone we want to know that they are actually listening. Not because they can’t wait for us to shut up so that they can pipe in. No, they are actively listening because they understand that the conversation is not about them. My hope is for deeper connections, true friends and honesty to be the core desire of the people I choose to surround myself with. Selfless humans are hard to find. It’s a challenge in today’s age to find someone who truly cares and wants to get to know all facets of you, and not just share a shallow “hello” every now and then. If you can find those types of meaningful, positive connections, never take them for granted.
I started to clean house and didn’t expect to achieve a therapeutic result, but I did. The reality TV shows Hoarders made collecting clutter a serious situation, bringing awareness that hoarding and disorganized chaos piling in the home is often a reflection of mental wellness or lack thereof.  Read the rest of this entry »
Love Is More Than Just Words
The one thing I’ve learned in my travels, having lived all over the United States, is how easy it is for people to come and go in your life. Those who remain in our lives for the long haul are meant to be a part of it. Their love is demonstrated through their actions and not just their words. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many things we have little control over, most importantly we have little control over others and circumstances. How are you thinking? What are your thoughts telling you? What do you say to yourself every day that does not help you to be the best you? Read the rest of this entry »
Insomnia = Depression?
I have always been a night owl. Without fail, I’d stay up way too late and often not by choice. Insomnia has been a big part of most, if not, all of my life. People who can just fall asleep with ease have always baffled me. I mean, they lie down and within 5 minutes or less they’re totally OUT! I have no idea what that feels like and have a doctor’s prescribed medication that helps me fall asleep at night. Those of us with true chronic and life long insomnia can wake up at 5 am, run a marathon, remain busy from morning until night, maybe even solve all the world’s problems and still can’t fall asleep at night. Read the rest of this entry »
Benefits of Kale
I spoke to a doctor once and not in some office setting, but at the sauna of all places at the gym. The doctor was not a proponent of medication, but claimed if people ate what they were supposed to eat and took care of their bodies, they wouldn’t need to be medicated. Read the rest of this entry »
I was recently interviewed on the podcast Upside Downtrodden (Scott Mullin and Sean Namanny) on the important subject of healthcare. That’s right, someone actually found me via lilpickmeup and actually asked for an interview?!?! Now, realize I am not a self-help expert. Quite the contrary; I am just like you trying to figure my way through this thing called “life.” While many of you were blessed to be born with the “happy gene,” others like me do their best to manage their happiness and contentment, taking them one day at a time. Read the rest of this entry »
Motivation is a muscle, just like obtaining positive vibrations when you don’t necessarily feel it. Emotions can be deceiving. Feelings can be manipulative. You hear the phrase “think positive” or “stay positive” yet what most people don’t realize is that being positive is a muscle. Our positive muscle requires exercise daily but that equally requires motivation, inspiration and most importantly energy. Read the rest of this entry »
Drained is the only word that describes my current state. And no, I’m not going to blame it on daylight savings. I am searching for momentum, but each day I’ve found myself struggling to find the energy. It’s taken all of me to be a present mother living in the moment with my daughter. So unfortunately, I’m not an everyday blogger. I used to be and then I created a very active little human that requires a lot of attention. My daughter is priority. Managing my time is not a matter of discipline, but a matter of energy. Read the rest of this entry »
In the 21st Century we as a country are far behind others when it comes to discrimination against not just skin color but also age and sex. Out of all the social issues facing our country, I want to discuss unequal pay as well as unhealthy work environments that are tainted by sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and intimidation and bullying.1 Why? Women are deemed to be “easy” targets. Read the rest of this entry »
I am exhausted. I was told that once a baby reaches the three-month threshold that they become easier to manage. After passing the three-month mark, you are supposedly able to get decent rest. When having a new kid, the one thing new parents want more than anything other than to know their child is safe and developing correctly is sleep, which suddenly is hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »
Only a few days into 2016, most of us have recently emerged from the excess of the holiday season and are inspired to improve ourselves in mind, body and spirit. But are we prepared for the reality, when it comes, that self-improvement means changing the dynamics that are fundamentally rooted within the basic blueprint that makes us who we are?
How do we change what we’ve been led to believe all our lives? The parents and extended family we were automatically linked to at birth as well as all other daily interactions with friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers that fall outside of our control are what we battle against daily. So what can we control? How each of us deal with these forces. Read the rest of this entry »
My delay in posting a blog lately has been directly related to a couple of family members being recently admitted into the ICU. It’s been a challenge to focus on writing when my mind has been consumed with a concern for their wellbeing. Luckily, one is recovering well but the other remains in the hospital as I type.
Aside from being mentally distracted, the holidays have gotten in the way and then there’s this “new mom” thing. Read the rest of this entry »
We hope to become more than we are because stagnancy is a recipe for momentum lost. But change is often the one thing we fight against. We’re afraid to admit that there are weaknesses that can be improved upon; otherwise, our ego takes over and convinces us that there is absolutely nothing wrong with us. And maybe this is true, but the history of Earth is the story of evolving. Read the rest of this entry »
Silence is not always the easiest thing to experience. Who wants to sit through nothingness and void? We are often bombarded by noise. It’s all around us. It’s in our technology: Smart phones, tablets, laptops, computers, television, radio, music. There is noise everywhere. And where there are coffee shops, we are sure to have caffeinated humanoids who are overly chatty and overly boisterous. Noise feels like energy; it resonates as if life is riveting through us. This is why many of us feel the need to go to coffee houses or bookstores to do work. Silence feels like isolation, and this is why some of us crave crowds and the noise that comes with it. Read the rest of this entry »
Rejection is the most powerful human emotion. Without a doubt, it is a universal experience that, it’s safe to say, everyone hopes to avoid. Personally, I believe everyone has a deep desire to be accepted.
Acceptance is the driving force behind everyone’s human need to love and to be loved. Without the acceptance from peers, friends or family, feelings of rejection often result as does the seeking of vengeance. In our generation of gun violence and school shootings, most of the deadly news headlines have resulted from the same recycled cause. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s easy to be so busy that we forget to live in the moment. Before I became a mother, I found myself consumed with two things: Living in the past or worrying about the future. You can’t undo the past, but you can learn from it. And it’s important to plan for the future, but obsessing about it only increases anxiety. At least, this is what I have learned. Read the rest of this entry »
Everyone, even the likes of Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle, has a bad day. And if you’re one of the few who swears you’ve never experienced dark times, I question if you are human. Some can use spiritual or Zen rhetoric to pontificate that there is no such thing as “bad,” that it’s simply perception. But if you were to strip out the spiritual jargon, a bad day is a bad day.
This is especially if it’s not only bad but you’ve reached your lowest point. You’ve hit rock bottom. Taken from 16th-century Spanish poet, Saint John of the Cross and his famous Noche obscura del alma. Translated into English it means The Dark Night of the Soul. Tolle and others have used the poem’s title to describe a moment in their lives when the feeling of utter despair became all-consuming. Read the rest of this entry »
I am a firm believer in a layered approach to productivity, living a healthier and potentially happier life. A layered approach to progress is like living in snow country. When it’s 30 below zero (I’ve actually lived in such conditions) you have to dress in layers. It’s the same when it comes to addressing a stable emotional, spiritual, mental and physical life. Some of you might only need a couple of layers, while some of us might need several. After all, everyone handles cold weather differently.
Locals might be so used to the weather, that they’re almost immune. Others can live in the same area for the same amount of time and can never get used to how cold it is. Then there are times when it’s so damn cold, that wearing layers is the difference between life and death, no matter if you claim to be thick skinned or not. My main pursuit is happiness, as my main struggle has been my ongoing battle with depression. I know many creative people and artists who struggle with depression. But what I learned is that it really does take a layered approach. You have to try every angle and you have to tackle each life area and analyze it, to see if there’s something that can be improved. Read the rest of this entry »
In my experience, anytime people hear of someone who throws the word “depressed” around with the next breath you are automatically bombarded with the word “gratitude.” And the more you’ve seemingly accomplished in life, it seems, the more you’re a total moron for living with a serious and underestimated illness such as clinical depression. Read the rest of this entry »
I haven’t reached enlightenment yet. And although we are all on a path to hopefully discover this for ourselves, sometimes people will not understand your process because it’s not theirs. We see things often one-sided through one story and one set of lens.
Introspection is more than digging deep within yourself to face the mirror towards our own face, but it’s also asking others to respect the period of transformation you undergo. I am working on doing the best and being my best that I can be without comparing or competing against anyone other than myself. I do my best to avoid situations and people who function off of one-upmanship. I know people who see nothing wrong with it, as they literally thrive off of trying to outdo everyone around them. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m seeing more and more aspiring writers and future authors impatiently go the self-publishing route. I say “impatiently” because it indeed takes some time to go the traditional way, namely knocking on publisher’s doors and, often, getting rejected over and over again before something happens.
Like many bloggers, I’m a writer who aspires to have her books published, but I don’t feel it necessary to constantly post or discuss it. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to discuss it. Having said this, for the sake of this post title, I’ll finally mention it. I’ve written a memoir titled Scars of Valor, but I am also considering it as fiction “based on a true story” about my experiences as a former Army wife who struggled through our nation’s period of heavy deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. It’s an insight into depression and isolation caused by moving from base to base, town to town, and enduring Army life, PTSD and, then, divorce. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever heard of the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you?” You don’t need to be religious to understand the meaning or to abide by it. Just because you live by a certain moral and ethical code, it doesn’t mean others do.
Over time I’ve grown to realize that living my life this way would one day reward me on many different levels. At the same time, I’ve also learned that having expectations of other people and how they live is wrong because everyone has free will. Just because you respect someone else’s time and planning doesn’t mean that they have to return the favor. People will say that respect is earned, but this is not always the case. You’ll meet people who simply refuse to respect you regardless of what you have or haven’t done, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Read the rest of this entry »
From the time that we are in kindergarten or maybe even preschool we are conditioned to keep score. We are introduced to scoreboards, on which we receive stars for doing good, or we lose them for doing bad or at least not good enough. The more stars we obtain, the closer we get to winning some type of prize.
We are ranked from childhood. We have report cards that indicate how well we are doing in our school subjects. By December, we even have Santa Clause to remind us if we’ve been naughty or nice. By the time we are deep into elementary school and junior high, we realize that not only do we have to do well because our grades depend upon them, but we learn the importance of conforming to social and family pressures of perfectionism. Read the rest of this entry »
If you don’t already know, I had my daughter on May 12, so as I write this she’s exactly 6 weeks old (a little over one month in non-mommy lingo.) I know, I know, it’s annoying how mother’s use weeks when asked how old their child is, as in they’re like “24 weeks,” and you quickly have to do the math in your head to figure out the kid is 6 months old.
It is odd how being a new parent changes your vocabulary, disposition and level of patience and how it forces you to become the best time manager ever. You literally have to plot out a strategy as to not when but if you will shower, and only then can you maybe figure out when it will happen. You spend way too much time figuring out how you will walk the dogs and how you will get everyone (including baby) out the door. If you’re crafty, you manage to go to the toilet while the baby is still snuggled against you in the baby carrier. Read the rest of this entry »
Anytime there is a life change, the stages you go through can often mirror those of grief. If your only child or youngest finally goes off to college and moves out, you may experience “empty nest syndrome.” Or your 40-year career is finally winding to a close and the light of retirement that you once looked forward to at the end of a very long tunnel suddenly is replaced with a feeling you didn’t expect – sadness.
Say you’re moving out of state for a new job. Coming from personal experience, having moved around more than the average person (an ex-military brat), I can say that moving can be stressful on so many levels, not only physically but emotionally. You’re likely met with a heavy heart as you are faced to deal with saying goodbye to people, places and things that you’ll miss more than you can comprehend at the time. Saying sayonara to friends, relatives and, heck, even old routines makes you yearn for familiar stomping grounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Hunched over on the cement bench facing the ocean at Redondo Beach is Esperanza. Most, if not, all locals know who she is by sight though very few know her by name. Esperanza in French and Spanish, ironically, mean’s hope, though perhaps from society’s perspective she represents the loss of it.
I have tried to talk to Esperanza on several occasions, only for her to retreat by hanging her head in shame, reversing her cart piled with a hodge-podge collection of discarded junk, but it’s all that she owns. Despite her need for privacy or, perhaps, due to her fear of the outside world, I managed to catch her on a good day and squeezed out her name. Walking my dogs along the beach, we’ve managed to get to know other dogs and their owners around the neighborhood. So, I wanted to also know Esperanza by name rather than to simply point to her, referencing her by apparent her lack of finances and an address. Read the rest of this entry »
I haven’t gotten a chance to breathe, at least that is what it feels like since May 12th when my daughter was born. I’ve managed to check my email here and there via my cellphone (starting to really pat myself on the back for choosing the iPhone 6 Plus for its large screen) and to virally poke in from time to time on Facebook. But that’s the extent of it. This is my very first time turning on my computer and attempting to write a post before I am back up to my eyeballs in poop and pee-pee diapers.
As a late bloomer, motherhood didn’t seem to sink in for me during my pregnancy. Perhaps I should blame it on my body’s amazing ability to absorb most, if not, all of the negative side effects and instead leave me feeling mostly symptom-free. Compared to the ordinary woman and most stories I’ve read and heard, my pregnancy was by far the easiest. I never felt sick and did not experience any swelling whatsoever. Occasionally I’d need a nap after I ate, but that wasn’t until I was nearly 8 months prego. So, honestly, my pregnancy itself was DRAMA-FREE! Read the rest of this entry »
As Mother’s Day approaches, I thought it fitting to explain the reasons behind a very personal decision to not write or discuss a huge moment in my life. For the past few months, I have kept this very huge life transition practically secret on Facebook, Twitter and the like, opting instead to share the news the old-fashioned way. In about a week and five days, my first child will be due. You’ve heard me correctly; I am 9 ½ months pregnant, 38 weeks to be exact. My daughter can come any day now, as I am full term.
I have discussed my education in some of my posts, but what you might not know is that I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t graduate with my bachelor’s degree in film production until I was 29. This wasn’t by choice; I was working full-time and didn’t receive any help from family. Following graduation, I waited a few years before getting my project management certification, and then I opted to get my master’s degree after that. Somewhere in between, I wrote a couple of screenplays and a novel that I am attempting to publish after a few final touch ups and last-minute revisions. But, who hasn’t written a screenplay or a novel? Tons of bloggers have and they even write about their self-published or traditionally published books. It’s more common especially now days and especially in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »
More times than not we place conditions on everything. This is especially true when it comes to love. I am not necessarily speaking of romantic love but the kind that you give to yourself. But, many of us continue to place conditions on ourselves as we do others.
There’s a quota we must all meet, and if this minimum is not satisfied, then we put up barriers and our love is constrained. Disappointment can equally set in and devastate our motivation when we haven’t lived up to our own expectations. FYI – beating up on yourself or others, whether physically or verbally, is not love. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve watched Limitless you’ll probably agree that the concept of taking one pill to make you brilliant, happy and invincible is not a new one. Like the “fountain of youth” we’re always looking for that magic elixir that will make us younger and more beautiful, or the best medically crafted and extensively researched pill that can make us not only exceptionally happy but also elevate our IQ to a level that provides us with solutions to all of life’s problems and removes from our mind all doubt in our abilities.
The popular trend heads more towards a culture obsessed with organic living, one that praises the holistic, go-green, recycle, anti-dairy, gluten-free, take-your-vitamins-and-herbs, and don’t-forget-to-consume-only-organic/non-pesticide-riddled-food. Others find a bit more comfort in modestly embracing the organic trend, realizing that not everything prescribed by our doctor or psychiatrist is necessarily horrible or evil. I believe in a customizable approach to life, where people ought to realize that they’re individuals and that not just one solution fits everyone. Read the rest of this entry »
I finally got around to watching “Big Hero 6” via Redbox and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story as well as the moral behind it. In many ways the movie hits the mark in describing that inside all of our geeky, quirky, and oddball shells lies a soul longing to fight against dullness.
There’s a huge fascination for turning yourself from an ordinary human into someone with super powers: Hollywood, comic book creators and video game developers exploit this. Let’s also not forget sci-fi and fantasy writers. It’s nice to live vicariously through an avatar, one that is stronger, braver and smarter than you may ever be. Read the rest of this entry »
As a child I wasn’t diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but I always new that I was different. As an adult, a doctor would later confirm my suspicions. I recall, childhood was laborious. My handwriting was extremely messy, I read slower than other students, and it was harder for me to get focused. I wasn’t the hyper kid bouncing off the walls, but I remember being a talker. The absolute most difficult thing in the world was taking tests.
From the time I was in elementary school all the way up until I got my master’s degree, test taking was never ever my forte. Only during special situations and classes that really interested me did my brain seem to memorize the material photographically. I recall one of my favorite classes was cultural anthropology at a community college. I don’t know why I enjoyed it so much, maybe because it explored a variety of cultures, societies, lifestyles, religions, and all with such an educated, yet open-minded objectivity. I found exploring cultures so fascinating, and I still do. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently found myself consumed with tasks that take up a good portion of my mental and physical energy, hence the lag in updating this blog. I had been meaning to post one or more articles daily, or at the very least, on a weekly basis. It’s amazing that, when push comes to shove, some things must really be put on the back burner while life takes priority. Everyone will tell you until it almost becomes an exhausted cliché, that “Oh, just write down a list of what your priorities are and what aren’t.”
But often it’s true the best way to decide what needs to be tackled is to just make it brutally simple for yourself and tackle what needs to be done right this second and let the rest wait until later. But, what if all the tasks on your list hold equal importance in your eyes? I think it’s important to understand the way our minds work in these instances. Read the rest of this entry »
It sounds like a generic interview question, but what is the one adjective that best describes you? Do you consider yourself hardworking, motivated, conscientious, methodical, a team player, honest, reliable, confident, ambitious, or punctual?
There’s not a soul that doesn’t have their own best intention in mind, and certainly for a job interview we all want to ensure we put our best foot forward. The same goes for cover letters and resumes but also for online profiles, in-person networking opportunities, the first time meeting your partner’s parents — nearly everyone wants to present him or herself in the best possible light. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been almost two years since I discovered my love for orchids. Ever since, through trial and error, I have learned that orchids can be simple, yet fickle, even sensitive indoor plants to grow. For in everything in life we can glean similar lessons from nature, if only we truly pay attention to the subtle way it speaks to us.
In June, I wrote about my initial experience with repotting orchids. I learned that when you don’t repot an orchid in a proper pot, the chances of the flower surviving long-term is slim. And just like in real life, if we don’t decide to spread our wings we become stunted. We can’t grow by confining our roots. Back in June, two out of my three orchids died mainly because I didn’t repot them in time. I replaced them and assumed I knew the “orchid trick” to keep them living a long time. Upon getting two more orchids to replace the deceased ones I immediately learned my lesson and bought orchid pots. Read the rest of this entry »
Our mind, body and spirit are truly connected. This is why if you stop feeding what lifts your spirit, no matter how physically fit or mentally sharp you might be, there remains an imbalance in your life. The same can be said about our body.
You might work really hard to keep your spirit afloat; in fact, that’s all you live for is to do what ever it is you do. Your work and your title can make you feel on top of this world. However, if you’re too busy working, especially with a high paying, high demand job, then your body might be totally out of shape or stress might be preventing you from getting a decent night’s sleep. Your blood pressure might be through the roof, and your cardiologist might warn that if you don’t slow down and get healthy you’ll be on the brink of a heart attack. That’s if you haven’t already had one. Read the rest of this entry »
We’re never quite ready for what we’re about to face in life when it involves two ingredients: unpredictability and pain. I’m one of those who thrive off of solid plans; I work best with some sort of structure, and knowing where I stand makes me feel secure. If you asked me, surprises are overrated. I’m not big on them.
However, I don’t care if you claim to be the world’s leading psychic — no one can completely be prepared for tragedy to strike. As I described in my last post, an unexpected tragedy struck one woman whose life would be forever altered. On Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, 26 year-old Claudia Salley drove her husband and her four-month-old son Levi westbound on Interstate 20 in Shreveport, Louisiana. While Claudia slowed her family’s white Lincoln due to road construction, the 18-wheeler behind her didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »
I can’t begin to tell you how often I have played this game. You know, “the happiness game” where I become fixated on this “major” situation that may or may not be so serious. But it is to me at the time, and if only I can accomplish the goal or avoid the calamity then I’ll be sooo happy.
Have you ever had a “major” thing, be it a goal, desire or wish that you fantasized and dreamed about daily, even to the point of obsession?
I bet that with enough sweat, hard work and tenacity you reached that major goal just like I have. Maybe you bathed in euphoria afterward, but how long did the high last?
According to psychological research, there’s a name to the drop off in happiness after having achieved or reached your coveted goal. The phenomenon is called hedonic adaptation and it’s essentially when we adapt to whatever it is we’ve achieved regardless of how grand the result. In fact, the idea is you return back to the same emotional state before your big reward. Read the rest of this entry »
I need to keep busy and often. If I have too much time on my hands, then I feel like something is wrong and my day feels wasted. For many of us, what we don’t realize is that we’re filled with distractions, ones that can mostly be blamed on ourselves. We usually create distractions for ourselves because often times it’s better than facing what the silence might reveal to us.
For a very long time I needed to keep so busy that working 65-75 hours a week was not only tolerable, but eventually became the norm and the only thing that made me feel satisfied. Once you set a really high bar for yourself and you’re able to somewhat clear it, then nothing below this extraordinarily high standard computes to success. Why is it wrong to have out-of-this-world, ridiculous standards for yourself? Because it not only affects you, it becomes the standard you place on everyone else. It’s not always obvious that you are actually projecting your impossible standards on others because you’re doing so subconsciously. If you’re reflective enough you might catch yourself doing it, or if your fortunate enough a good friend will pull you aside to explain what you can’t see. Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that scientific research found that the brain doesn’t fully develop – especially your prefrontal cortex, the problem solving part of your brain – until your mid-20s?
However, a neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London explained in a 2010 PhysOrg.com article that the brain continues to change shape well into your 30s and 40s. In fact, the prefrontal cortex of our brain takes the longest to develop and is the key area in charge of high cognitive functions: planning, decision making, social behavior, social awareness, emotional intelligence, and various personality traits.
So, when we are told to “grow up” and “get with the program” or “stop being so immature,” technically we can blame it on our brain development or lack there of. What does this have to do with the direction of our lives, especially now that we’re in the New Year and everyone is claiming 2015 as a better year for them? Everything. Read the rest of this entry »