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Archive for the ‘Manifesting’ Category

Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

smile

After quite an intense month of introspection, hard decisions and transition, I am pleased to say that I feel that intensity slipping away while my more joyful self is dancing her way back up to the surface. The change of late has been really positive, just fairly intense, and I feel like I have been very serious (aka boring) as I do this dedicated and somewhat solitary “self-work.”

Part of the reason I have taken up yoga and meditation again is to allow myself a break from all the mind’s noise and try to center myself a bit. I am pretty crap at meditation, I must admit. I can last about 20 seconds before a thousand thoughts swirl through my head. I try the cloud theory that people keep telling me about, where you focus on an imaginary sky and whenever a thought happens, rather than try to escape it, you see it as a cloud floating by and then return to an empty canvas again. This unfortunately does not work for me. The clouds take shapes and remind me of more thoughts and stories. What does seem to work, however, are mantras. I do not have a great memory for Sanskrit, so I usually make up simple words or phrases in English and just repeat those over and over again, silently to myself. I find I can ignore my thoughts longer doing that.

After writing the post about my gut feelings last week, and subsequent belly and heart issues which led me to go to the doctor to make sure there was not actually something wrong with me, I took a week off of all exercise and yoga. I was afraid of making my oddly palpating heart overwork in an already irregular state. But once I realized that it was probably my nerves making me feel bad, I decided that yoga would probably help and decided to go to class. And I am so glad that I did.

Often at the beginning of class my yoga teacher asks us to make dedications of that day’s practice to someone we know. I sometimes pick family or friends randomly, but last Thursday it was a purposeful decision to dedicate the class to my good friend’s mom who passed away the day before. Her name was Joy. I have such fond and silly memories of her growing up, she was such a sweet and generous woman.

joyInspired by the dedication to her during that class, I naturally and somewhat organically began chanting her name in my mind throughout the class. As the breathing was long and slow and calm, so was her named stretched and emphasized. Jooooooooooy. Jooooooooooy.

By the time class was over, all I felt was pure, genuine joy.

Later in the evening I was blasting music and dancing around my house cleaning, in my underwear. Which is usually what I do when I am feeling pretty good. I was hungry, and made a big meal – no belly ache or heart burn. And when it was time to go to bed, I found that my irregular breathing and heartbeats were steady, and well, just back to normal. And I slept through the night like a baby.

The following day at work I could not stop giggling, and in the evening I went out with some girlfriends for dinner. After making some inappropriate remarks, Natascha rejoiced and sang out, “Yes! Regan is back!” Following dinner, after getting denied entrance to a concert for lack of proper identification, the idea to funky chicken dance bomb some posh clubs came to mind, and we spent the rest of the night trying to make very serious people laugh along with us.

Days later, I am still feeling back to my normal self. Full of joy. Pure silliness. I really think that the dedication to my friend’s mom made some radical change inside of me. Perhaps it resonated, as I too lost a parent too early to cancer. And when this happened, at least for me, I really learned the fragility of life, the beauty of actually being alive. It is certainly a cause for joy and I want to make the most of it. I think there was also something about spending an hour and a half chanting the name “Joy” over and over again that seeped into my bones and shook me.

I enjoy my moments of reflection, and I think it is important to have these quieter moments from time to time. But when my body’s response tells me it is time to lighten up, then I need to. The past few days I have felt great, I am completely back to my silly, giggly self. It is all about balance, finding that healthy space between taking yourself seriously and at the same time realizing that life is just too precious to not live in silly fits of joy.

Thank you, Joy. For the generosity you shared with all of us during your life. And for reminding me to keep the joy alive.

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There is something about writing that is very therapeutic.  It is a way to take that jumble of messy thoughts swirling about up there and to place them into some order (the Virgo in me prefers organized chaos).  I’ve kept journals my whole life, and go through long periods of dedicated writing followed by long hiatuses where I don’t write at all.  As I read through these old journals and posts, I realize there is a pattern.  I tend to write when I’m needing to work things out, when my heart is hurting, when I want to manifest something, or when I suddenly find myself in a moment of change.

To take it a step further, I choose to put these thoughts in a public space for anyone to read because I feel like this will somehow manifest what I’m trying to figure out, that somehow by ‘putting it out there’ and making myself exposed and more vulnerable that the answers will then find their way to me.  So far, it has worked pretty well =)

It has been a long time since I’ve written in this blog.  A few years back I went through a fairly big life transition, be it the Saturn Returns phenomenon around age 30, or just the early-life crisis of an illegal, broke, single immigrant trying to find her way.  During this period, I felt such a strong urge to write, whether it was in a journal, in this blog, or writing poetry for the Prostibulo Poetico.

It seems that after the year of struggling, soul searching and personal growth my life just fell into place.  I was offered reliable work and income, finally got my residency after 10 years of trying to make that happen, discovered my passion for birth and began my path as a doula, moved into my own flat, and experienced my first mutually loving romantic relationships.  In the past couple of years my life has become comfortable and reliable, not to mention totally awesome and fulfilling and FUN, which is exactly what was needed after a few unstable years of feeling like I was falling with no safety net.  As a result, I weened off writing in a very unintentional way, and this blog went off the radar.

Photo by Catherine Mansart

Photo by Catherine Mansart

Perhaps it’s because I work in threes, and because the cyclical nature of life enjoys keeping me on my toes, three years after my past transformation and now at the magical age of thirty-three, I am very aware that a new transformation is beginning.  For a couple of months now the Universe has been throwing me some signs that a) something needs to change, and b) the time is now, or at least soon-ish.  I see the signs.  I get that this process is happening, and I have some idea as to what needs to change, but there are many uncertainties.  That very familiar urge to find some quiet solitude, and to write down and share feelings and realizations as they come along, is back with a vengeance.

The sweet news is that I believe change is good.  And even better, this time around I feel much more positive about this inevitable change, as now I have a stable base below my feet as a starting point.  I can leap more confidently without fear of falling too hard. Overall I am very happy and feeling good about myself and the opportunities ahead.  This time there is no rush or immediate pressure looming over me either, so that allows me a little time to work all this out.  This is all dandy!

Regardless, transformations are never easy and I am having a difficult time right now trying to find out what exactly is happening and how to react to it.  So until I figure it out, and eventually react, I’m guessing my journals will get some more love and attention.  My lovely friends will unfortunately have to endure some of my head rants – sorry guys.  And maybe, if I’m not too lazy, this blog will become more present again and hopefully will work its magic to put me on the right track.

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I’m glad I was careful what I wished for.

One year ago I created a ‘Dream Board,’ which is basically a visual representation of all the things that, at the time, I was hoping to achieve as a result of my job.  I was looking for some motivation to keep me going, and when you work in sales, motivation = money.  After years of having fairly unstable, unreliable income and some difficult financial times, I was ready to reevaluate my relationship with money and make it actually a goal to learn to love it.  I first wrote a public apology letter to Money, admitting my faults in our deteriorating relationship. I asked forgiveness. Then I gave thanks. And to follow it all up, I started to follow the advice from a website called Master Manifestor and began my first experiment in manifesting with intention.

I first wrote out a Vision Statement, basically describing in detail what it felt like to have all these things I was hoping to achieve as a result of having more money (from more sales I was hoping to make), and then searched out, cut and pasted images onto a torn piece of cardboard to visually represent what I had written about.  Nothing fancy, but for me, meaningful.

I rigged the board so that is stood side by side with my computer screen in the office, where I would consequently absorb the messages sublimely 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Multiply that by the full year of work … these images have had A LOT of hours to creep into my subconscious!  The board has become such a familiar extension to my work screen that I hardly even notice it any more.  And the truth is that work picked up in the 2011-2012 year, despite the economic decline, and I had a great year.

But after a quiet couple of months on the sales front this summer, I recently looked to my Dream Board hoping to rekindle its magic, when I realized something incredible:

Everything on the board had come true.

I’ve manifested exactly what I put on that Board.  It’s a bit creepy really.  Some of the visual items were more specific to making money, like copies of signed contracts and money trees.  But the majority focused on what that money would bring me, like for example plane tickets with my name on them.  In the past 12 months I’ve flown to California, Turkey, Germany, England, Cuba, Sardinia, and Mallorca).  With the intention of eating healthier, I had a picture of organic produce, which unfortunately is not the cheapest food option available. Now I have a box of produce from a local farm delivered to my house twice a month.  I even made a blatantly fake Spanish residency ID card and cut and paste a picture of me and all my details on it, which I not only put on the board but also kept a copy folded up in my wallet.  And this month, after 10 years of waiting and trying, I got my residency here!  I had pictures of doula related images, and I’ve been able to complete a full training course, attend a one week Midwifery seminar in Bad Wildbad, and as a result have been fortunate to accompany three families in the birth and / or postpartum of their new babies.  I printed out a statement of my bank account, blocked out the real amount and typed in a fictitious number slightly exaggerated but the point being I never wanted to hit zero again, or negative for that matter.  And though I never got to maintain that higher number on the Board, I have not hit zero in over a year and that’s saying a lot when you live in Barcelona (or, I should clarify, when you’re ME living in Barcelona).  The list goes on, you get the point.

This is my first proper attempt at manifesting, and I am pleasantly shocked by the outcome.  It has worked like magic.  And it is so simple!

My friend (and also my boss) made an interesting suggestion that perhaps my sales have been quieter these past couple of months because the Universe has provided me with what I wanted and thinks the work is done.  I think he is right.  It’s time to get manifesting again!  So this week I will be brainstorming the new things I want to achieve (as a result of making good sales at work) and will make a new and refreshed Dream Board by the end of the week, to remind the Universe that I’m still in the game!

Now that I’ve experimented with work, and feel confident in this Power of Attraction thing, I think I will now also try to make a Dream Board for my personal, non-professional life to attract the things that money cannot buy, which are plentiful.  I’ll check back in with myself, and maybe you, in one year’s time to see how this second round of Dream Boards pans out.

Thank you Universe.  I am, unabashedly, grateful for the abundance in my life.

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Good Intentions

I have never been a big fan of New Years resolutions, not only because generally they are way out of reach, yet promised in tenacious declaration, but because people focus so much on negative things from their past, hoping to change themselves for the New Year. Most people try to change a bad habit, like giving up smoking, or will try to refrain from eating chocolate truffles left over from Christmas (that one never lasts long…I mean, how long can the Christmas truffles really last?). The major problem with New Years resolutions is that they are short-lived, can be extremely stressful and make you feel guilty for the life and lusts you left behind. I’d rather make no promise to myself than to tease myself or break one.

This said, I was recently introduced to New Years Intentions, which rather than resolutions, focuses less on changing your past and instead focuses more on adding to your future. Also, the verb intend implies that there is the possibility you will not achieve a goal, so you are not setting yourself up to be a complete failure. If there is no promise made, there is no promise broken. The fulfillment comes through working toward that goal. I like the sound of that.

So, with the selfish pleasure of reward on the back of my mind, I decided to make my Intentions for 2011 tangible, easy to shoot for, and positive. Here it goes, wish me luck!

New Years Intentions 2011

1. Get some fresh air a little more often. I live and work on the same street so my commute time does not count. Walking around does something good for my mind, body and soul. But it’s easy to get lazy, especially when it’s cold. Go outside more often. Buy some comfortable flat shoes, that may inspire you to explore.

2. Call my Grandmothers (all three of them!) much more often. Maybe call one a week. Or call all three once a month during a block of time I set aside just for that. I love talking to them. Make the time!

3. Smile at strangers. Wave to at least one a day, even if it freaks him/her out. It’s a nice gesture, they can get used to it.

4. Recognize that perhaps, just maybe, ok probably, I am falling in love with a Leo. Stop thinking so much, dear Virgo, and stop looking for problems when there are none. Just go with it and enjoy.

5. Keep on not smoking =) It’s been 14 months…the hard part is long past. You are doing well. Props. Yey for new no smoking law in Spain staring in 2011!

6. Buy a Burning Man ticket on January 19th, 2011. Actually getting there is a harder goal, so I’ll go with the one I know 100% I can do and will feel happy when it’s accomplished. Burning Man ticket or bust!

7. Learn how to cook properly the following: artichokes and eggplant. I always mess them up whenever I try. I would like to fix that.

8. Take Ed’s creative writing course at Collage again. I miss writing short stories and fiction. I usually find a way to do what I want. I want this. Make it happen.

9. Get a smaller hula hoop and practice more often. Must be in good form for Burning Man!

10. Complete my doula course

11. Buy the books I have saved in Amazon’s Wish List. Or look for them in Barcelona. Stop wasting time. Read!

12. Try to arrive to work on time in the morning. Jason…these are Intentions…I will do my best 😉

13. Even though you don’t see yourself as very positive, everyone seems to think you are, so start believing it.

14. Love openly. And give ‘front door’ compliments more often. They are nicer.

15. Manifest my dreams…anything is possible.

16. If I come across a massive dragon slide, always go down it! – CHECK! One down, 15 to go!!

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There is something really attractive about not being tied down to any specific place, job, man, apartment, child, car payments or anything else. It is the way I’ve been living my life for the past eight years and I do not regret a single second of it. That said, and perhaps it’s the whole turning thirty thing again, but suddenly I have this enormous urge for the “S” Trinity: Stability, Security and Sex (I mean, Savings. I got distracted for a minute, sorry). That said, stable and secure sex wouldn’t be bad, either.

I assure you that my ties will be always be loosely fastened. I’m looking for stability, not to be cemented to the floor. There is a difference. Stability. Just something to justify why I continue to make Barcelona my home. Don’t get me wrong. I love this city. Barcelona has treated me finely over the years and until the past year has more or less provided me with everything I needed at the time. But when you are living ‘under the table’ in a country that for some reason won’t allow you to pay its taxes, despite how hard you beg and plead to do so, it is really hard to feel stable and secure. I want in!

Security. It is difficult to find a job and I have not had a source of stable income in years. If it were not for sweet, generous friends running successful businesses that do their best to give me some work here and there, I would have been shit out of luck many years ago! Work apart, it is unnerving to pass customs while traveling, for fear they will deport you. Which is a problem when you travel a lot! It doesn’t matter how many years the government extends the retirement age, since you don’t have social security to begin with. You can’t rent videos at the store or rent an apartment in your name. Someone tried to break into my house last year and I think, what if he had succeeded? What if I were robbed? Would I call the police and risk that they ask to see my papers? I’m not sure.

Savings. What’s that? I think I have some change at the bottom of my purse or a drawer somewhere…

I have thought a lot about leaving Barcelona over the past couple of years. These past six months, in particular, I’ve been brainstorming my exit route and options. But, as usual, once you decide to leave a place you really start to appreciate the things you love about it. And I’ve realized these past couple of months that I do really love Barcelona and my life here. I feel so healthy and alive most of the time. I love the schedule and the way that food is the center of everything. I love walking and biking to get from point A to point B. And having it be socially acceptable to arrive late. The sun is usually shining. I love that the butcher calls me guapa as he hacks away at carnage. I love that I had my tonsils removed and was kept in a hospital for four days and never received a bill. I love that old women stroll by arm in arm and still walk up five flights of stairs in their old age. Keeps them strong! I love that the sea is just a few blocks from my house, and amazing countryside is just a short train ride away. I love that even though I’m far from home, I get so many visitors because this city is amazing and people want to come here! This list could go on and on and on.

So. I’m thinking that if I were able to achieve two out of the three components of my “S Trinity” I could justify staying a while longer. If I had to pick two, I’d take Security and Savings. But how much longer can I wait for that to happen? I’m willing to give it a bit more time, but maybe not too much longer. In the meantime, I’m just going to try to love loving this city and perhaps the city will reciprocate that love and provide me with what I need to stay here.

Barcelona, I love to hate you at times, but really I love to love you. Help me out here. Throw me a bone, in the form of a “S” please. Thank you.

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Money Matters

I am SO bored of being broke. I am SO bored with believing that I really don’t want or need money in my life. My previous boss and now good friend, Lisa, once told me way back when I was twenty-two years old that I had a negative relationship with money. Too bad she didn’t know that before she hired me to run her Spanish fundraising office for her NGO in Ghana!

I never understood what she meant until recently. It’s true. I diss money. I diss people with money. I’ve always viewed it as something negative that strains relationships, prevents you from doing things you want to do, and ends up in the hands of people who exploit it when there is so much poverty in the world. Phrases like “I hate money” and “Money can suck a big one” and “Ugh, I hate sales” probably were not inspiring old money bags to fork me over my fortune the past years.

This summer, unemployed and paperless in Spain, my friends paid my rent for me. I almost got in a fight with some punkis over a durum. Any nice meal out or drink was usually invited out of the good will of a good friend. My whole trip to the US and Burning Man were incredible gifts from my friends. There is nothing more humbling than asking for favors, or even worse at times, being offered favors without even asking for them. When I am in more fortunate situations, I love treating people and I have been known to let people borrow money as well. So I’m sure it always work itself out. But I much rather be in the giving spot than the receiving end. Any day.

But the financial tides are changing. Oh, they are! Because I’m growing to love money. Money is slowly growing to love me too. Money is in the process of pardoning me for all the bad things I said and did in the past. I know we have a beautiful future together, if we can just get through this difficult time things will be great! Even the medicine man in Senegal and the Shaman in Mexico told me I’m going to be wealthy. Money, you and I cannot deny our destiny. The spiritual gurus of the Southern Hemisphere see that we are meant to be together! I apologize a million times over for how I treated you, dear money. Please forgive me. And let’s move on.

The Power of Attraction, and also my hilarious Basque friend Fernando, both swear that visualization and manifestation can bring you what you want. I feel like in other areas of my life this has always been the case, so why not try with money now! The secret is that you are supposed to see yourself with what you want (money in the bank!) and to act as though you already have it. For example, make a plane reservation and plan that trip, and the money will somehow manifest itself. This month was a good example. I came back from the US and signed up for three courses in October that I couldn’t afford. Hula hoop dance. A women’s retreat. And my doula training. And guess what? I attended each one! Ok, so I am now down to small change to hold me over the rest of the month, and I still need to pay back my friends from their help this summer. But regardless. Things are happening.

That’s not to say you can sit in a corner waiting for the money to just appear, of course it requires some action as well. But slowly and surely I am taking action. I’m now working in sales, and that requires a proactive mentality. And I’m changing my attitude and the way I speak about money. My new favorite phrases are ones like the following: “I love money” and “Yes! I just closed another deal!” and “Meet me at the Liceu on Friday night, Carmen is playing and I have great seats!”

Don’t worry. I still value many things above money and will always keep my priorities in line. I still prefer to walk then to drive a car. And I still prefer to shop at thrift stores, and to find random stuff in the street to decorate my house. But let’s be honest. I love to travel. I love being able to fly home to see my family. I love concerts and eating at nice restaurants. I would really love to own some shoes that don’t fall apart while walking down the Rambla of Barcelona, which force me to walk home through piss streets in my thin sock, which also have holes (happened to me this weekend). I would love to be able to invite a friend for dinner or to the movies. And yes, it would be awesome to actually have a bit of savings for the next rainy day. Or for future retirement, since as of now I have no pension plan in any existing country.

Money, I love you. Now please come make my world go around!

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