Category Archives: friendship

I Never Give Up, I Give In

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I Never Give Up, I Give In

Nothing has gone “right” or as expected these past three weeks, luckily I let go of the wheel and allowed the universe take over 17 days ago so it’s been nothing more than a beautiful ride. The universe has a completely different design in mind for me right now and that’s fine by me, I trust the energy taken and given will be put to good use. I create everything and anything into existence and I truly believe that it is my positive thought process that makes me so blessed and successful in life.

Each day I go to sleep with closure meditations and reawaken to the clean slate of a completely new day full of brand new possibilities being created into existence. Last night I knew I would have to wake up with the sun with so much to get done so I set my intentions before bed and slept peacefully, charging up as much energy as possible.  I woke minutes before my alarm, my brain cranking long before my feet hit the floor. So much happening so fast that I can barely hang on – so I don’t – I let go and trust. I counted my spoons (The Spoon Theory), grabbed my list of lists, kissed my fur kids (the count is currently at three), cranked the car stereo and hit the road to the old Bumble Bee Tuna Factory (Check out a previous blog post I had written about exploring this cool abandoned factory: Isla Adventure Squad: Bumble Bee Tuna Factory) to take my best buddy David to work. The Clean Ocean Initiative Project is full systems a-go so there are new rules involving security all around the factory. I signed in and walked up to the main office to shoot the shit with the boys a bit before everyone got into their work flow and I had to rush off to tend to my own day. New baby goats were born at the factory about an hour before we arrived on the scene, which happens almost monthly now it seems like and I’m pretty positive they are all family in every way.

The two new babies still had the umbilical cords dragging as the little ones tested their knees and elbows weeble wooble so I snapped a few pictures, oohed and ahhed a bit and then hit the road.

I had to schedule special time this morning to call my Papa and give him updates on all the things happening with and around me.  My father is my best friend and our energy is always and forever connected, our blessing and our curse. When he is happy, I am happier, so in a way, my forever desire to make my Papa happy is slightly selfish. Full grown grateful Daddy’s Girl. I left myself exactly half an hour for the phone call, multi tasking with making myself a proper breakfast to fuel me up for the day. Our phone call lasted longer than intended as we gossiped like a couple of high school girls. His happy energy lifted my spirits even higher than I thought was possible for this day though and I was left literally pacing around my living room as energy and thoughts ricocheted all around and through me.

By noon I had handled my morning inversion and yogance workout, made all personal calls and returned all business emails, arranged an elopement for my Airbnb guests, bought my neighbors bicycle to add to my Airbnb stash of guest toys, returned a dog crate to the store, dropped off loads of clothes to donate, prepped lunch smoothies, drank too much coffee, walked fed and cleaned up after all three dogs and contemplated bathing them all but instead bathed myself because I needed it just as bad as they did and can not excuse my stench as adorably as my cuddly squad can. I was avoiding making commitments with three different friends who wanted me to step away for three different fun activities, until I could take a moment to rewrite up my days must do list, re count my spoons and be honest with myself about what I could handle for the rest of the day. Things are constantly and forever altering throughout my days and life so I have learned to be entirely flexible in every way. By the time I received the fourth call from the fourth friend requesting a fourth activity I threw my hands up, kicked my feet back, shredded my list and yelled out Fine Universe You WIN! For all my intents and purposes of remaining business minded today, everything around me is screaming go out and play. Such is island life, it’s super cute that I still try to act like I’m mainland minded from time to time though.

So, the laundry is drying, the guests have all been tended to, my casita is tidy, my calendars are in order, my belly is full, and I am sitting here recharging and recollecting some extra spoons for the remainder of this day that could go anyway. Right this second my biggest concern is whether I’m going to go swimming with Rafa, drink wine and laugh/cry about how much we missed each other with Crystal, go Playuela camping with Natalie and crew, or vibe out on the beach with Kris & Ari while burning palo santo and catching up on our time apart. I don’t feel one bit rushed anymore even though I want to do all the things. I am sitting here completely grounded and centered knowing that my people are all out there waiting to give me hugs and help me relax even deeper. I trust that all will get done and I will be exactly where I need to be when each moment is right. My body is at a stand still right this second but my heart is fluttering around with so much happiness I could burst from the feels. I never give up but will always give in to the universes design.

 

(The Very Second that I finished typing up this blog post, Kris & Ari magically appeared unexpectedly at my door and I jumped up with a shriek to give them sweaty island hugs and kisses!! My bro babes are here and it’s time to play, catch you all on the flip side!)

 

 

Looking At Love Through New Eyes

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Looking At Love Through New Eyes

Before my thirties, I had met very few people to look towards as an example of what the sacred love shared between only two people should be like. Just before my 31st birthday I met a couple who changed not only my entire perspective, but their loving influence changed my entire life from that point forward.

I met Derek in 2014 when he came to vacation in Rincon, Puerto Rico to visit his family with his best friend Maty. I vibed out instantly with the guys and we all stayed in contact after they left. One year later Derek returned with his new girlfriend, Jade. I have always been “one of the boys” and am used to a variety of reactions that occur when a woman involved with one of my friends meets me for the first time. As soon as someone says, She doesn’t really get along with other girls, I know we will vibe out. Not that I don’t get along with other girls, but I am more likely to find common interests among groups of women who display more male characteristics (which also feels wrong to say because what truly determines “male” vs “female” characteristics except for our own individual opinions?). Derek & I have so much respect for each other and our friendship that we were both nervous of me meeting Jade for the first time. We both wanted everything to go perfectly.

Derek & Jade knew each other growing up through their school years and only began dating each other later in life. They watched each other make mistakes and grow from them. They already knew each other’s past, understood each other’s mood fluctuations, and honored each other’s energy in a way that I had never witnessed before. Derek & Jade were not perfect by any means. They bickered in their sarcastic New York way, spouted out You Never’s & You Always’, and experienced arguments and disagreements that would have sent most couples stomping off in opposite directions. Even their arguments are beautiful to me. There is so much love shown in every action that they take, individually and as a partnership. The lines of Her, Him, and Them are clearly defined. Derek & Jade are so very much their each individual people, and yet also very much one great combined unstoppable force each complimenting the other in such naturally effortless ways.

I quickly became in love with their love and in love with being their “third wheel”. Every visit they make to la isla we cram in as many adventures as possible, swap music until the sun comes up, talk until our voices are raw and laugh so hard our forehead veins pop. For the first time in my life I witnessed a passionate romance and love that made me want to scream out loud “I Want That!”.  Every emotion that they displayed between them is done with honesty, love and respect. I want everything that they have, the love, the laughter, the gentle disagreements, the honest opinions, and the complete partnership that they share.

I was waiting oh so patiently for the event that I knew was coming…..the announcement of their engagement! As if that was not enough to shed happy celebratory tears, I learned that they intended to have their wedding here in Puerto Rico instead of New York where they are from and I completely lost my head. But wait it gets better…..the wedding falls on the week of my birthday AND Maty (Derek’s best friend who I met a year before Jade) will be their officiant. I have not seen Maty since we all originally met back in 2014, and I have never gotten the pleasure of enjoying all their company at once. I’m so over the moon happy as can be you would think this wedding was for me!

Since meeting Derek, Maty, and Jade, my eyes have been opened to the endless definitions of love and soul mates. We are raised with the mainstream belief that our life’s purpose is to find our one true love soulmate and live happily ever after. I have loved so many people in so many different ways, for so many different reasons and each experience has brought something necessary into my life. The love that I speak of has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with passion and connection. I now understand that being loved is just as powerful and necessary as giving love.

I will forever have the biggest couple crush in history for the two people that opened my eyes to a new way of loving and living. This upcoming weekend we will all join together to celebrate Derek & Jade’s wedding in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Stay tuned because this will be the first wedding in my life that I have ever looked forward to so I will all full of love and will have beautiful pictures to share later.

I adore this article from Elephant Journal on the Five Types of Soulmates We’ll Meet & Love In Our Lifetimes. Give the article a read if you would like and leave a comment below about any type of love that lifts you up!

 

“Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies meet each other.” ~ Paul Coelho

Our Souls Connect Via Social Media

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Our Souls Connect Via Social Media

There are no words for the incredible timing of the magic of the universe….

A gift arrived in the mail yesterday with a note from someone that I have never met before but have become good friends with on Instagram (I never thought I would live in a world where that sentence is not only acceptable, but the norm). I love to give all things my proper attention, and since I was not ready to do so at the moment of the packages arrival, I set it to the side. A message came through my phone a moment later that rocked my sense of peace and calm. Someone who very recently caused my heart and soul an incredible amount of pain and confusion attempted to reopen a tiny line of communication. Since I was not ready to address my feelings or respond to the message, I decided to step out with a friend for a drink and distract my mind for a bit and address the situation at the later time. I returned home in a stronger state of mind and remembered the package that had arrived earlier in the day. The note included said:

“I know that you said you don’t need anything, which is great because this isn’t out of need. I send you this out of love. I recall you mentioning you were a healer, I love and accept your beauty, and am so lucky to have met you, even though it’s through Social Media for the time being. I am a lover and a giver. This comes from a genuine and appreciative place.”

I was hit by a smell that I could immediately place, and a sensation between my chest and throat that I could not. The wooden Om symbol smelled like the pure energy of selfless love. It wasn’t until I looked up the symbolic meaning of a Blue Lace Agate that the sensation in my chest became apparent. I was feeling the anxiety of too many words attempting to bubble up and burst out within me slowly simmer down into a gentle calm and find their proper place within my throat.

Blue Lace Agate is a throat chakra stone with a gentle energy and is considered a stone of communication. It can ease the harsh edge off communication in difficult times, enhance public speaking, and smooth discussions. It also brings tactfulness to speech and written communications. Blue Lace Agate brings calm and tranquility, a lessening of anger, even deep rooted anger issues, and a calming of nervousness. It is considered a happiness stone from these harmonious energies it carries, as well as one of hope. It is also a stone that aids in inflammatory and arthritic conditions, which I suffer greatly from. My friend from a far could not have chose a more appropriate stone and timing to gift it to me. I sit here and wonder how she did it, but then again I know better than that. The energy of the universe did it, we were merely the receiving messengers of this beautiful moment and lesson.

Social Media and the role it plays on our daily lives and relationships has been a strong topic of conversation all around me this year. In addition to promoting my individual businesses, I mainly utilize my social media feeds as a platform for inspiration and positivity. It took me a long time to get comfortable with who I was and my purpose in this world, and learning to share my experiences in order to give others a sense of peace, support, and community was part of that process. I am so blessed that I have an outlet to shine my light onto and that my light is accepted so openly and lovingly by so many people. I am proud that my tiny actions have drawn other amazingly compassionate warriors towards each other and into my own direction as well. I am grateful to be a gentle member of this technologically advanced generation at times like these. This moment of the selfless giving of such great love is the very reason that I share my heart and soul with others. This is what I live for. This moment right here is a shining example of the beautiful connection that social media can bring to our lives if we use it respectfully. Live gently, love strongly, and pay the gift of life forward every single day that you are blessed to do so.

 

“Life. Love. It took me and it shook me and it broke me and it woke me and it made me into a woman. The bigger the death, the bigger the birth and as my life unfolds on this earth I can say that I love, I love being a woman. The more your heart breaks, the more it can hold. So be brave, my sister, be bold. And the bigger your heart, the greater your power and now, now is the feminine’s hour. The world is starved, its ravenous for you, and we need all the hearts on deck if we’re going to make it through. So go ahead, do your part, offer your heart and the world’s starving alter. Go ahead, shine till the stars shake. Go ahead, may the world wake in your wake.”

Snapchat VS Instagram Stories

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Snapchat VS Instagram Stories

Those of you who utilize social media apps re probably already more than aware of the launching of Instagram’s “Stories” back on August 2, 2016 and have also probably heard both sides of people’s opinions between the new Snapchat Clone called Instagram Stories. I have avoided getting involved in any of these opinions until I sat back and was able to observe the differences and people’s responses for a little while. I first began social media networks as a lonely teenager who found a way to connect with people that I would normally not have to courage to talk to. I remained at home a lot and had created a life for myself that satisfied most of my social needs by using MySpace, and later transitioning into Facebook. I did not get into the Instagram craze until early 2014 while I was working jobs worthy enough to want to share with others and promote for. I never really took social media networks seriously until I began getting involved with marketing and promoting for companies that I was a part of. The lines between my “work” and play life posts began to blur around May 2015 when I stepping into a long distance relationship and found another benefit for social media.

While the Pros far outweighed the Cons for using SM networks and apps, my data bill is not as pleased as the rest of me. I live on an island, which already makes for multiple points against my data plan to begin with due to hurricanes, storms, and lack of cell towers and just island life in general. The second factor working against me is that I work from home and all of my businesses are ran from my phone or computer, so having access to the Internet and Wifi is a MUST. The second month that I ran over my data plan four times I began doing some research to see what I could do besides altering my data plan to reduce usage. My findings pleased me greatly because there is in fact Lots you can do to reduce your usage! I will let someone else who already did the full research explain the details better to you….

Kerry Flynn wrote an article about Snapchat’s Data Usage and in it she mentions that Snapchat accounts for about 75% of our data usage and she lays out specifics about what we are actually using from our data plans when we send messages: Here’s The Crazy Amount of Cellular Data Snapchat Uses and How To Stop It 

If you don’t want to read the full article (if you are using Snapchat you Should though!) below I copied a few key points that the author laid out.

“For reference, 1 GB = 1000 MB = 1,000,000 KB. A 1 GB data plan on AT&T costs $25 per month

As a user, sending a message:

  • Sending A Text Message: 20.1 KB
  • Sending A Picture Message: 13.0 KB (5-second photo to one person); 15.6 (5-second photo to two people)
  • Sending A Video Message: 1.9 MB (10-second video)

As a recipient, receiving a message:

  • Viewing A Text Message: 17.3 KB
  • Viewing A Picture Message: 867 KB (10-second photo)
  • Viewing A Video Message: 891 KB (10-second video)

Beyond one-to-one messaging:

  • Viewing Snapchat ‘Our Story’: 679 KB (46 seconds of Tuesday’s Berlin story) 
  • Viewing Snapchat Discover: 2.7 MB (30 seconds of using CNN)

After a few minutes of using Snapchat, we had gone through 7 MB of data, or 0.7% of a 1 GB per month data plan. For further comparison, 1 GB would be about 100,000 photos, or  1000 videos, or 1000 views of “Our Story,” or 400 uses of Discover. Another striking note was that going in and out of Snapchat causes data usage to spike. After taking a 10-second picture message and leaving the app, usage was 124 KB. Then 197 KB. And then 240 KB. That’s because the app is can continuous run in the background. Users can limit that drainage by deselecting background running. For Android, go to “Settings > Data Usage > Snapchat > Restrict Background Data’. For iPhone, go to ‘Settings > General > Background App Refresh > toggle off Snapchat.”


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I made the necessary changes, but during my research I began questioning why I was using Snapchat at all if it was costing me this much extra effort. I do 99% of my marketing and advertising for my businesses on Instagram, I don’t even utilize Facebook the way that I used to these days. My only use for Snapchat these days is to feel like I am still connected to my Partner overseas, and more times than not it can cause more issues than make me feel loved or special. So why am I being to stubborn about making the switch from Snapchat to Instagram Stories? I don’t like change and need facts before I can commit to a change I can believe in, and I do believe I have enough information now to feel comfortable about making the switch. 

Ironically it was an article titled: Instagram’s Snapchat Clone Has Shown Little Sign of Hurting Snapchat Just Yet that swayed me to finally make the decision to leave Snapchat. The author of the article, Lara O’Reilly made some good points about Snapchat being the most popular app among teens in the country and  that for brands, Instagram houses a more sophisticated advertising and analytics platform than Snapchat currently offers. Those two factors right there combined with the excessive data usage that Snapchat sucks up is why I am getting prepared to announce that I will officially be leaving Snapchat as of September 9th. What’s the significance behind the date you’re probably wondering…..My Love Is Finally Coming Home!!!! Snapchat was fun while it lasted but in all honesty the app has not benefited my life or businesses in any significant way, so it is time to downsize my data usage. You can follow me on Instagram and watch my Story as I bumble along getting used to the new features and sharing my island life and adventures with  you all!

 

Personal Isla Gypsy Adventures: GypsySugarCloud

Airbnb & Tour Guided Island Adventures: BeachGoddessAirbnb

Crochet Etsy Page: GypsySugarCrochet 

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GD Garner Art Show in Rincon, Puerto Rico

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GD Garner Art Show in Rincon, Puerto Rico

I live in a small seasonal surf town in Puerto Rico called Rincon where people come and go as frequently as the tide. If you’re lucky and can make fast friends and take life as it comes you will meet some truly amazing people during your time spent here. My current group of friends include two American men who were itching for some off hours island adventures and linked up with me and some friends to explore on our weekends off. (Check out my post about the Abandoned Prison that we discovered down in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico!). I thought my buddy was just another average Joe that passes through the tiny tourist town that I live in, until he asked me to assist him in holding an Art Show he was having in town and I began doing the necessary research to promote his work. His intention was to host an art show of his work and to donate 100% of the proceeds to ARF (the Animal Rescue Foundation). I have a background in marketing and assisting with an art gallery so this project to help a friend and a good cause within my town was right up my alley. I read up and found out that my good ole buddy was known to some as GD Garner and he is quite talented. I had always noticed that he carried around a set of pens with a notebook and would sketch doodles on menus everywhere we went, but had simply enjoyed observing and had never inquired any further.

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GD Garner spent 5 years on a global expedition to all seven continents engaging indigenous cultures in search of the essence of life. His work chronicles those experiences and fuses them with his fervent imagination and exploitation of vibrant color. His work has been featured on the red carpet of numerous Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Sundance events as well as appearing on network, cable and public television shows, major feature films and the walls of countless A list celebrities homes.

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When GD told me of his plans to hold a Silent Auction & Fundraiser here in town, I was honestly a little apprehensive at first, but instantly agreeable to helping in any way a friend needed. Rincon is a small seasonal surf town, I had no idea how people would react to an art show of his caliber or how we would hold up to his expectations. Everyone’s intentions aside, nothing went as planned. Like any event, there were bumps along the way, but things smoothed out the way they tend to around here and the night ended up being more than a great success. All the art was sold incredibly fast and we were able to send ARF a nice bundle to provide for the fur kids in needs here in Puerto Rico. The band performing that night kept drawing my concentration away from my tasks that evening, they were fabulous! Horns and funky beats galore! I had never heard The Almas Band perform before that evening and I have been greatly looking forward to hearing them perform again ever since.

Check out the highlights video that I created using Luis Marin’s photographs from the evening! You can contact Luis Marin Creative for photoshoots and events. The music played in the video is called Booty Swing by Parov Stellar.

The Kübler-Ross Model In Everyday Life

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The Kübler-Ross Model In Everyday Life

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, suggests a series of emotions experienced by survivors of an intimate’s death. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. These are a collation of five common experiences for the bereaved that can occur in any order, if at all. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.

We have all experienced different sorts of grievances, and even have different definitions as to what grief means to us. Whether I show it in my daily actions or not, I am incredibly sensitive. Not sensitive in the “everyone is being mean to me so I’m going to throw a hissy fit and pout whoa-is-me, eye-for-an-eye” sort of way. I am more along the lines of a, “everyone is being mean to me, to each other, and to this earth and I can not take the careless, selfish, negative energy any longer so I’m going to take a step back from everyone and heal my own energies”. Even the smallest of slights can disturb me greatly enough to throw my energy completely off balance for as short as a brief second or a long as several days. I have always felt that these five stages can be applied to any type of grief, not just in the event of a loss due to death. I added my own personal grieving thought process below in parenthesis as a further example.

The Five Stages of Grief (The Kübler-Ross Model)

Denial: In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality. (Personal denial that people could even treat me so cruelly and disrespectfully in the first place, there must have been a miscommunication somewhere along the line. It Must be a mistake.)

Anger: When we recognize that denial cannot continue and something must give, we can become frustrated, especially at the people closest to us. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would this happen?” Anger is usually coupled with blame because it is in our nature to sort out the Why behind our life happenings. (Anger that people could be so carelessly cruel at times without any regard to how their actions are affecting others. How do you sleep at night knowing what you did? How do I keep this anger from leeching into everything else in my life at this very moment? And Dammit how dare anything anger me to this extent in the first place, I thought I was better than that, stronger than that!)

Bargaining: Involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.(Bargaining with myself that if maybe I changed my actions then I will be treated differently. Treated with more compassion and respect, maybe, hopefully, possibly. That’s it, I’ll change, because obviously somehow this was my fault so it is my responsibility to fix it.)

Depression: The individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen. (Although I despise the word Depression, I will leave it so; Depression at the knowledge that some people just aren’t compassionate by nature and have to be told how to be nice and help others. Depression at having to explain myself, depression that the people who say they care don’t care enough to remember what I need when I need it. It saddens me greatly that I have not found more people that live by what they say when it comes to compassion and understanding.)

Acceptance: “It’s going to be okay.” “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.” In this final stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable futures. Acceptance typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the situation, and a stable condition of emotions. ( I can accept that this life is what it is and people are who they are. I can not change others, or this entire world, but I can control my own actions and how I live by example. I can always trust the peace and happiness that I have created inside of me.)   

One of the most common concerns I hear from grieving folks (myself included) is that too many people just don’t seem to know what to say to them, and end up either making inappropriate remarks or avoiding them altogether.  This can result in the griever feeling further isolated and unsupported. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a small tiff with a friend, or the rude actions of a stranger that triggers the feelings inside of you, grief is grief and no one should have to validate their feelings for the comfort of others around them. Fortunately talking to grieving people does not have to be as complicated or confusing as people seem to think. Refer back to one of my later blog posts that I wrote about The Art of Communicating Through Grief for more details on exactly just how to help someone through any difficult situation they may be experiencing. 

I have come to realize that you can not always expect compassion and understanding from others if you do not practice it first in your own home and heart. There were a series of small incidents that happened to me in a row that triggered my latest bout of Grief Hibernation. Each slight was individually small enough to look past, but combined together I felt personally attacked in every way possible to the point where I called a Life Time Out so that I could heal. Part of what helped bump me back on track was writing my feelings out on paper so I could better sort the thoughts in my head. I took time with myself to purge my negative thoughts, realign my chakras, sweat it out, and think about everything But what had triggered my original upset. When I started to feel “normal” again and the residual bitterness faded I was able to write objectively so that I could share my thoughts openly. When I grieve, I retreat to heal myself, so that I can be strong enough to help heal others later, but my goal and intent is to one day be able to feel comfortable with my grief while having a proper support system available to me so that I do not feel so alone in my journey. I yearn for compassionate understanding without explanation, kind words without being prompted, strength from my loved ones, and silent hugs without having to request them. I don’t know how it is for others, but when I am upset a part of me feels like I am 6yrs old again and craving my parents comfort or something comparable. I am human, I falter in my own practices from time to time, but one day I hope to become a better Griever.

 

 

The Art of Communicating Through Grief

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The Art of Communicating Through Grief

I very recently had someone I love very dearly go through a family loss and I was not able to be by their side for support. We are so connected that I could feel their grief from a distance and so I spent the week doing all that I could to send that person love, energy, distractions, and support from a far. By the end of the week they made a small comment about how every time they started to feel sad and overwhelmed I had somehow done something to distract them and completely take their mind off their grief for the moment. It was the biggest compliment I could have been given, because I was in fact working very hard to both honor and aid in the distraction of their grief, and it felt amazing to know that my efforts had been noticed and appreciated. It also reminded me of my own experiences with grief and the moments of both solitude and connection that I felt at different times throughout.

I know a great deal about first hand personal grief, and about the residual effects that come with the territory of being an empath and being overly sensitive to all kinds of emotions. Unfortunately, it is always easier to help others than it is to help yourself. Me personally, I recognize that I push the people that I love away even though I want them near during my toughest struggles and darkest days of grief. I do not want people to see me during what I see as moments of weakness. I am working on changing that way of thinking by trying to be honest with myself about what it is I am actually expecting from people during my moments of grief. Reading the book The Art of Communication by Thich Nhat Hanh is another step that I am taking towards growing and self enlightenment. My goal is to help both myself and the ones that I love communicate better, and in turn be a better friend to those who may need compassionate support through any rough patches of life that might arise.

Everyone has different needs and expectations during their grieving experiences. What ever caused the loss, hurt, or sadness, whether it be a new or old event, will always have an effect on the griever. Raw open wounds and reminders of old hurts will sometimes trigger us to act in ways that could push those closest to us away when in fact what we want is the very opposite. Some, myself included, say that we want comfort yet act in ways that push people away from us instead of encouraging the compassionate responses we want. So how can we help ourselves communicate better, and help each other through difficult times? For some, actions speak louder than words, while others need to hear the words spoken in order to trust the actions.

The often repeated obligatory phrases “There is a reason for everything” “I’m sorry for your loss” “Things will get better” or even a simple “Are you Ok?” can be aggravating to the griever when said at the wrong time. When in the position of wanting to help a friend or loved one in grief, often times our first desire is to try to “fix” the situation, when in all actuality our good intentions can lead to nothing but more grief. Knowing the right thing to say is only half of the responsibility of being a supportive emotional caregiver. The first thing to remember when helping someone through their pain is that this grief is not your own. This is not about you and your feelings so please try not to allow them to get in the way of helping your grieving friend in need.  Take the time to understand and show proper respect to your friend’s grief and feelings. Allow the griever to set the pace. Hopefully they will give you subtle hints about what is needed if they are unable to come right out and ask for help. Some may need a distraction, some may crave solitude, some may need a partner to make them not feel alone as they face their grief head on and embrace the feelings, while some actually need a healthy balance of both.

If your friend or loved one needs a shoulder to cry on or an ear to bend, make them feel heard and respond in kind. Being able to just sit and listen is an amazing gift to give someone in need, but being able to give a heartfelt response of some kind is even more helpful. If a distraction is needed use your best judgement as to what type of distraction is most appropriate for the moment. If you can help be a distraction in person go somewhere fun, it’s alright to laugh during times of grief. Laughter is the best medicine, but you also don’t want your timing to ever be tacky or disrespectful. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease also. Bonus! Go see a movie or do something educational so you have to use your brain in other ways than focusing on your grief. If you can not be there in person for your friend in need there are still lots of ways you can help someone get through their time of grief from a distance. Send pictures, links to jokes, share articles that you enjoy, challenge with brain teasers, and utilize everything that you can to connect and distract in anyway that you can.

There is a super cute article that lays out six simple tips on how to be a good friend. Listen, Ask them what they need, Get physical, Keep in touch, and Tell them how you feel. You can read the entire article here: How To Be A Good Friend

I am only a few chapters into The Art of Communication and already everything that I am reading is vibing with my current thoughts and situations, educating me, and healing me. My favorite part of tonight’s readings went as follows:

“What you read and write can help you heal, so be thoughtful about what you consume. When you write an e-mail or a letter that is full of understanding and compassion, you are nourishing yourself during the time you write that letter. Even if it’s just a short note, everything you are writing down can nourish you and the person to whom you are writing.”

I loved that section so very much because that it is a practice I use myself to get through moments of difficulty. If yourself or someone you care about it grieving the best thing that you could do is put pen to paper and fill the pages with words of understanding, compassion and love. Using phrases like “I don’t know how you feel but I am here to help” or “I wish I had the right words, just know that I care” might possibly do more to soothe a grievers distressed mind than declaring that you “know how they feel” or advising to “be strong”. We all have moments of grief throughout our lives, it is inevitable. It is important to be honest with yourself when you are feeling sad, own it, embrace it, then move past into the light so that you are able to help someone else with your strength. 

I Can Feel You Through My iPhone

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Any relationship takes work but long distance relationships do not work if both people are not equally committed. A study by Cornell University revealed that while couples in a “normal” relationship tend to have more daily interactions than couples in a long-distance relationship, the couples who had hundreds of miles in between them tend to have longer, more meaningful conversations. It has been proven that Long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back. I can honestly say that I am giving more of myself and my efforts than I have ever given any relationship that I have been in, not just because of our distance, but because I know they are TheOne, and all of our efforts are worth it.

Miles apart and Bae keeps repeating “communication is all we have. I think to myself, but we have So much more, we have memories, we have love, we have connection, we have a future. I hear the words loud and clear though, I understand and respect their desire to remain connected through all forms of communication. They are far better than I at living in the present moment and helping me see the value in doing so, more and more every day. I work through my days, party through my nights, but every now and then a stray emotion or three slithers through my barriers and I can tangibly feel our distance. Like a radar inside of me bleeping, reminding me of every single island, wave, mile, and hour we are apart. Most days I suck it up and work my tail feathers off, but the pain of missing My Other Whole feels just as honorable as the beauty of being in love. So I embrace it, and I give them all the communication that they desire while we are apart.
I was gifted with an old fashion soul mate who has high expectations, a penchant for hand written letters and appreciates filter free conversations just as much as I. We are a rare breed. Alas, we are also children of the 21st century. In appreciation of, but not slaves to, the instant gratification that modern technology can provide. I’ll be the first to admit, text messages, audio messages, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook have been key contributors to keeping me united with the one I love overseas. There are times that I feel like I can actually Feel MyLove through my iphone. The text bubbles in imessage give me real time, I know they are there. Hand is on their phone, I know exactly how they hold it, palms clasped around the base, thumbs quick at work on the touch screen. The second the message comes through I can picture MyLove’s thumb tapping the blue highlighted SEND with a little smirk on that gorgeous face that I love so much.

There are times that I find myself unable to put my phone down because I have become addicted to seeing notifications coming through my phone, only looking for one name in particular. I can see the text bubbles or the “Is Typing…” notification and I know I am not alone. 3,603 Miles apart yet I feel like my love is right There! As if I could push my finger through my touchscreen and caress their face, feel their touch, smell their scent. I would give anything to do so, but for now, this will have to satisfy. I can feel MyLove through my iPhone.
Anyone familiar with Snapchat knows that things can get real naughty real quick, but you can also get goofy and sentimental. Being in a long distance relationship I can fully understand the benefits of the App, especially with the updated Live Feed feature, similar to FaceTiming. New messaging and video chat features were added to Snapchat allowing users to send text to other users and save text messages by clicking on them. A crucial aspect of the update is the “Here” sign that can subtly appear at any moment as a blue bubble in your chat window. The bubble pulsates softly to inform a user that a friend is also available to engage in a video chat—video chatting (the live feed feature I mentioned earlier) can only occur between users who are concurrently using the app. When the Here button is held down, a live video chat function is immediately launched. Regarding the Here function, Spiegel (Snapchats creator) explained: “The accepted notion of an online indicator that every chat service has is really a negative indicator. It means ‘my friend is available and doesn’t want to talk to you,’ versus this idea in Snapchat where ‘my friend is here and is giving you their full attention.”

Just the sight of the blue button, whether it is pulsating or not gives me comfort that my love is there. Not beside me, and no where nearby, but There where ever that may be. I have their undivided attention for the moment, and I can feel them through my iPhone. For that moment, Nothing else exists but me, my love, that mesmerizing blue pulsating button, and the connection that it gives us. Comfort washes over me and instantly I feel like I can handle this distance between us and anything else that life throws our way. When you find your forever soul mate every thing that you do is worth every effort that you make. I know the long distance will not always be an issue in my relationship, so for now, I am grateful for the technology that I normally take such great pains to avoid.

Until my love is in my arms again, I can feel them through my iPhone.

AirBnb: The Psychologist and The Accountant

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As a young girl I was raised hanging out at hotels and parties with my mother the Catering Director. I loved the process of planning, organizing, and executing a successful party. In my early twenties I applied my skills to a few of my own parties and transitioned into Wedding Planning. I noticed the party planning taking a serious draining toll on my energy and drive but I also recognized that I couldn’t let it go because I Loved working with the people. I had an appreciation for the tiniest of details and an ability to make anyone feel comfortable and welcome. I had a secret dreams to open my own Bed&Breakfast that never manifested, life happened and I moved on. I never purged the dream though, every trip I took became a secret hostess fantasy. My journals and sketch books were filled with dream houses, breakfast menus, fake guest itineraries and mock-up brochures. Somewhere along the journey through my twenties I forgot to continue dreaming. I thought hopes and dreams were for frivolous people who had no “career driven goals”. Back then I was not aware that hopes, dreams and career driven goals Could be one and the same.

Surprisingly I did not become aware of AirBnb until late last year (Nov 2014)  while living here in Rincon, Puerto Rico. I was approached by someone who knew a little bit of my background and asked to assist in running AirBnb room rentals to travelers out of an apartment. I experienced my first life Ah Ha (So This Is What The Universe Was Telling Me To Wait For) moment when I began my AirBnb Hostess journey. I was handed the opportunity of a lifetime, an arrangement that allowed me to live out my fantasies without the risk and investment I was concerned with in the past. I ran AirBnb rentals for others for enough months to allow me to learn the ropes and work out the kinks before I ventured out on my own…..

A week ago I took over a friend’s apartment, and in the middle of transitioning our belongings I got a little Mainland Impatient (I’ll admit, the rum soaked coconut Piratas made me do it!) and prematurely posted my extra room just before I went to bed. I should have known better, especially out here on this isla loca! I woke up the next morning with 3 bookings, one of which was showing up Pronto. I looked from my computer screen around at the boxes, 2 thin beach towels I was using, and linens that the last tenant was kind enough to leave me with, back down to my computer screen clock. <> Start laundry loads, line dry linens, set Private Room up for guests, clean bathroom, personal paraphernalia put away, tiny decorative touches utilizing what I could find around the apartment, sweep, mop, prep fresh fruit, and collapse into a perspiring lady like puddle of wilted gypsy.

So it’s officially official! Last night I hosted my first guests here in my new spot! Rebeca (the Accountant) y Roberto (the psychologist) were a delightful first start. We discovered an instant bond in our appreciation for environmental activist groups and things available to be a part of and experience here in Puerto Rico. When I learned that the Sierra Club has a PR chapter I booted up my computer and signed up right then and there. With more than two million members and supporters, The Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.  Their efforts range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.  You can become a Member or a Wilderness Guardian by signing up on their website here: Sierra Club Home Page

Use this link for the Sierra Club-Puerto Rico Chapter

For more travel websites, location information, and less gypsy ramblings check out my

Travel Links Page

In our conversations I learned that Rebeca has been creating an extensive medicinal herbal farm on her property. I shared my past experiences with my ex-roommate and talked about the herbs and roots that he would collect an teach me about for my own medical purposes. I expressed a desire to find or create a book that listed Only herbs native to Puerto Rico….and Rebeca pulled one out. My jaw hit the floor and an embarrassing squeal of delight slipped past my lips. I sent up silent Thanks to these amazing people involved in this perfectly amazing interaction that was unfolding before my eyes and rejuvenating my passions all over again! The AirBnb Experience is not so much unlike utilizing an online dating service. During the booking process everyone involved is interviewing each other for the best possible fit and selecting strangers to live with for a short amount of time.  By the time the travel day arrives and you finally meet in person you already feel a connection. The biggest difficulty that I have being an AirBnb Hostess is forgetting that these people did not come into town Just to visit Me. The guests that come into my home are virtual strangers who will leave and go about their lives and adventures. We exchange as much information as we chose during our short time together, pictures, stories, tidbits of knowledge, book titles, travel websites, etc, and then we all go about our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of bad AirBnb experiences, but I trust my instincts and am usually rewarding for doing so. Roberto y Rebeca left me with fresh handpicked mangos, fresh hand steeped Tamarindo juice, a homemade pesto that they learned to make during a class taken from Maria Benedetti, and a renewed sense of purpose. I do not know if I will ever see them again, but I’m ok with that. I have our memories, and the taste of her Pesto still on my lips.

Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico

Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico

Maria Benidetti’s Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico is available for purchase on Amazon in both Spanish and English. Click the book title to follow the link.

If you have any interest in being my guest during your visit to Puerto Rico follow my AirBnb link to see available listings and dates. I take great pride in making people feel welcome during their stay with me and come away feeling like they experienced the best that Rincon, PR has to offer.

Surf Town Beach Goddess Casita

My Tourist Collection is Growing!

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My Tourist Collection is Growing!

I found a cure for my loneliness! I have begun a new hobby collecting tourists. Don’t you laugh at me, I’m conquering fears one baby step at a time. I’m not afraid of people or anything weird, I just have found few that I like to spend time with on a long term basis. I’m not going into a ramble about my quirks and oddities today, save that for another post 😉

What started as a temporary relief from a case of sever blues and loneliness, is quickly becoming my new favorite hobby. I came to Puerto Rico alone, I left all my family, friends, regular routines and hobbies back on the mainland and started fresh here. I do have a cousin Summer who lives here but she’s just as much of a LoneWolf as I am. I will properly introduce you to her loveliness later since I mention her a lot, she creates Rockin swimsuits. There is an immense sense of relief and freedom that comes with starting fresh, but it is paired with an intense feeling of loneliness at times as I readjust to my new surroundings and meet new people here. I was mentally preparing myself to spend my very first Christmas completely alone and I was not handling it well. After I was done feeling sad about my current state of solitude I decided to pretend it was just another day and go through my regular routine of beach hunting/dog duties/movies and crocheting. I even went so far as to cook up a roasted chicken for myself and my buddy before he left for work. Just as I had settled my soul the universe gifted me with a lovely, equally lonely Brazilian girl who was staying on the property (I live on the property of vacation bungalows, new people come and go constantly)! I quickly pulled my curls into a bun so I didn’t look like a desperate crazy person, and offered myself up to her as a Christmas Companion. Lara & I have hung out everyday since, and yesterday we collected another solitary straggler, Justin from New Jersey!

Lara & Chelsea's Chubby Shadow Heart

Lara & Chelsea’s Chubby Shadow Heart

Paddle boarding, beach hunting, and a few impromptu mini adventures where I took them to some groovy spots for photographs and secluded swimming. Every time I get to show someone around I remember why I love it here. I feel like I should make this a Thing. Offer myself up as a tourist companion………wait a second, nope, never mind, that’s beginning to sound a lot like a borderline island escort girl! Making friends with the people who come to stay at the Las Palmas Del Mar Vacation Bungalows is defiantly going to make life a wee bit more interesting though that’s for sure. I love hearing about where people come from and what brings them to La Isla Encanta! Foreign and out of town friends means more vacation swapping in my future, Bonus! 

Lara intrigues the heck out of me. She is young, beautiful, intelligent, and has the world at her fingertips. She is currently on a slightly similar self quest as I am and I applaud her bravery! Meeting her has been a blessing and I have high hopes that we will stay in contact even when she leaves the island. Justin was a handsomely odd addition to our trio with his giant man paws and military background, but we fast discovered there was far more to him. Sensitive yet ultra sarcastic, he ended up fitting right in to our shenanigans. Each of us had individual needs yet instantly adjusted from going solo to having each others backs and interests in mind. I had good times bonding with these two and I look forward to seeing them again in the future.

So, my Holiday melancholy was successfully diverted. I also retaught myself an important lesson about how powerful my mind can be. Sometimes I have to force myself to get out and be a social creature, but every time I do I am rewarded for it. Rewarded with friendship, experiences, lessons, confidence, and memories.

Aguadilla Ruins

Aguadilla Ruins

Lara Above Spanish Wall

Lara Above Spanish Wall

Lara/Justin Playa Crashboat

Lara/Justin Playa Crashboat