Guilt, we struggle with it so much

Guilt, we struggle with it so much

Guilt is not good.  It generates and produces fear, an unproductive emotion. For the most part, we feel guilty because we are used to feeling guilty.  It’s a familiar, automatic subconscious reaction caused by years of conditioning by others that have shamed us in order to manipulate our actions.

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What the physical discomforts and pains of pregnancy have taught me

   A traditional healing drumming circle at Bi-National Health Week 2015...Incredible to learn one of the many ways to heal ourselves and our lives.  

A traditional healing drumming circle at Bi-National Health Week 2015...Incredible to learn one of the many ways to heal ourselves and our lives.  

I have been able to maintain my healthy lifestyle throughout my pregnancy.  I have eaten fresh and organic as much as possible and exercised, doing cardio two times and yoga three times a week.  Despite this, like all expecting mothers, I have had my share of uncomfortable moments throughout the last 8 months.  The most painful? Round Ligament and Relaxed Pelvic Joint pains.  My Braxton Hicks contractions have also been quite uncomfortable.  I once went on a walk and half way through called my doctor given the pain I was experiencing in my pelvis and hips (I truly thought I was going to have to take a taxi back home!); my doctor told me all was good and it was just a result of my body preparing for labor. 

Despite the medical reassurance, at times my hip and pelvic pain as left me with no other option than to cancel or change up plans.  Anyone who knows me knows how mentally painful this is for me.  I am always on the GO!  Even with all of the work that I do in the wellness space, and the perspectives I choose to see things through, unexpected moments like these are difficult to accept.

A few years back, I was experiencing some pretty bad upper back pain.  On a hike with a much wiser and good friend, I shared about the back pain I was experiencing.  My friend turned to me and told me “Sometimes physical pain comes to us so we can empathize with others that also experience pain”.  I didn’t fully understand her response at that moment.  Yet it impacted me and I took it with me throughout the proceeding weeks and months.  As I mulled over what I knew was a very profound comment, I started to slowly get it.  There are many, many people that endure chronic physical pain on a daily basis.  They have to take daily pills of pain management medication and have to practice daily physical therapy exercises.  They have to visit hospitals and centers daily in order to maintain life on this earth.  Physical pain is part of their lives and will continue to be so forever.  Despite this pain, they must rise to a level of performance that will allow them to be a part of society.  They have to continue to perform at their jobs if they want to have a roof over their heads.  They have to find patience, compassion, and love within themselves so that they can interact with friends and family in a healthy manner (and not alienate themselves from others).  They have to find ways to discover joy, or else they will be choosing to live a hopeless life. 

How do you do all of that while managing chronic physical pain?  And how do those, that are incredibly fortunate not to have to manage such a situation, authentically provide kindness and some level of understanding (I say some as it would be impossible to relate fully)?  There is a fine line to walk, when we are strong and healthy we can easily look at someone and believe they are exaggerating or addicted to their story and pain.  Pregnancy discomforts and pains have humbled me and have provided me an understanding of what it looks like to be unable to “override” your body and nature.  To accept how fragile my body, and ultimately my life, is.  I am blessed my friend gave me her advice years before I got pregnant.  When I started experiencing all of the pains and discomforts of pregnancy, I wasn’t as resentful.  Her advice doesn’t mean I do not have the right to feel the pain and wish for it to go away.  I just have a different appreciation for what that pain is here to teach me.  I make statements explaining to those around me what I was experiencing, while internally, I observe through this window of opportunity a piece of a world that many live in.  I have felt myself softening towards my fellow human being that experiences pain every single day. And I have seen myself admiring their daily strength and courage.  

I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judit

A unique opportunity to live on purpose

 Having a wonderful time at the shower

Having a wonderful time at the shower

A few months ago, I wrote about how I’ve made the events in my life that I participate in (weddings, engagement parties, birthdays) as structures to help me live on purpose and, ultimately, the life of my dreams.  If you missed this, you can read about it here.  Well, I just had my baby shower and it was a blast!  We had a ton of fun with family and friends. 

The day before the event, I was taking a walk with my husband when we began talking about the next day.  On my end, I had been thinking of the following questions:

  • What is a baby shower for?
  • What is the point of having one?
  • What do I want out of my own baby shower?

When you look at one of the more “official” definitions of a baby shower, it states that it is “a way to celebrate the pending birth of a child.”  I love the idea of celebrating the pending birth of a child.  What does that celebration mean? Well we all have a different definition for celebration, but this is what it meant to me:

  • It was an opportunity to get our tribe together and strengthen these relationships as we embark on this important journey.  I remember a long time ago, I was speaking with a friend who had just had a baby and explained to her how scared I was at the idea of taking on such a responsibility.  At the time, I couldn’t imagine doing everything that needed to get done.  She told me: “Judith, this is why they say that raising a child ‘takes a tribe’”.  I felt a surge of relief.  Of course! I’ve heard this saying before and it all now made sense.  It does take a tribe!  My baby shower was an opportunity for me to get our tribe together and celebrate.  It was an opportunity to strengthen relationships and bring our tribe together in a beautiful bonding experience.  It was an opportunity for our tribe to get closer to us as parents, and to start to help us raise this future child.  It was great. 
  • It was also an opportunity to surround our baby with what the actions of love and joy feel like, as well as what a celebration of life looks like.  How often do we celebrate life?  Celebrate the abundance that we have: that we can read, that we can see, that we can breathe, that we have friends, that we have family, that we have food, that we have cake, that we have the ability to take a warm bath.  1 billion children in the world live in poverty; according to UNICEF 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.  If you are reading this article on a computer or phone, you have a lot to celebrate in life.  Let’s teach our babies how abundant they are and how important it is to be grateful.  A baby can hear words and feel feelings at this stage; I am confident that our little one felt the love, joy and celebration that was present at our baby shower.  We have planted a see within him for more gratitude in his life.

So there you have it.  This is what my baby shower meant to me and my husband.  Because we discussed this before the event, the day of was absolutely beautiful.  Instead of having an event with superficiality and drama, we ended up showing our baby how we like to live our lives and all of the wonderful things that await him. 

I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you liked this post, please share it with friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judit

An unexpected parenting lesson from my puppy

Well my “puppy” is really no longer a puppy.  Nico is 2.5 years old even though he still behaves like a puppy in many ways.  It has been a great 2+ years with him and I have learned a lot.  As I wait to become a mother, I am appreciating many of the unexpected parenting lessons he has given me!  The first lesson he taught me occurred in the first months he joined our family. 

At the very beginning of him joining our family, he and I were having a bit of a “tense” relationship.  I had a very hard time adjusting to my new schedule.  Potty training him meant taking him outside every 2-3 hours, at times starting as early as 5:30am.  If he ate something that upset his stomach he would get diarrhea at 2am!  And for a long time we couldn’t leave him home alone if my husband and I wanted to go away for the day…So goodbye day trips for a while!  Finally, I would attempt to “train” him on a whole bunch of other things (don’t eat my shoes!!!!) and I wasn’t being very successful.

After many sleepless nights and headaches, we finally caved and hired a dog trainer.  One of her pieces of advice was so simple, yet so impactful, that it has not only stayed with me over these past couple of years, I have been able to apply it to many areas of my life.  The biggest mistake I was making with Nico was that I only pointed out all of the things he was doing wrong.  It was very common for me to give him a sharp “NO”, follow it up with “Bad Dog”, and shake my head.  Our trainer pointed out that was a huge mistake.  The poor little guy didn’t know what to do!  He knew he was doing something wrong, but because he was getting zero positive reinforcement from me, he didn’t know what to actually do.  And so she gave us the best advice for training him and what ultimately worked:

  1. When he does something correctly, give him positive reinforcement.  Go crazy! Give him praise, pat him on the head, and maybe even give him a treat.  He will want to replicate this behavior whenever possible so he can get all of this love.
  2. When he does something incorrectly, ignore him.  He will eventually see that he doesn’t get any attention from this and will stop.  If he does something really wrong, correct him on the spot.  Be quick and firm about it.  If you don’t catch him doing it, it’s pretty hard to discipline him as he won’t remember something he did hours ago.   

I was giving poor little Nico absolutely no positive reinforcement.  Whenever he did something correctly, I just expected it and assumed that he knew that was proper behavior.  That is old school Latin parenting for you!  Most of us who were raised by very strict parents never really received praise for behaving properly, but were clearly disciplined if we behaved incorrectly.  My mother was always proud that in a waiting room (whether at the doctor or running an errand), my sister and I were never the children running up and down the hallway.  No matter how long we had to wait, we would quietly sit in our chairs…sometimes for hours and with absolutely nothing to do (not even a book to read!).  When we left, we never received praise, a gift, or even a thank you for behaving well.  It was just assumed it was the only option (or else!).  Thus, learning this way of training Nico was eye opening for me.  And I now attempt to apply it everywhere.  Instead of looking for what is wrong in situations or relationships, I look for what is right, what is positive.  In my relationships, I now attempt to look towards what I can say thank you for, not what I can criticize and be frustrated over.  I make leaps and bounds every single day Nico is a part of my life!

What do you think about this parenting tip?  Do you give your children positive reinforcement when they do something correctly, or do you just expect it from them?  Do you think some things shouldn’t receive praise or a thank you?  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judith

"I forgot to live"

Recently, I came across this beautiful poem:

First I was dying to finish high school and start college.

And then I was dying to finish college and start working.

And then I was dying to marry and have children.

And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work.

And then I was dying to retire.

And now I am dying...

And suddenly I realize I forgot to live.

Author Unknown

After I read it, I felt an incredible sense of peace as it reminded me to stop and live this moment, right now, as I write this article and as you read it on your computer.  For the most part, we run from one thing, to the next, to the next, to the next, without stopping to live the present moment.  We think the next activity or life change will have the keys to more happiness, more peace, and in essence a better life.  We go about this without realizing that we are chasing our own tails.  What keeps us in this cycle?  Why can’t we just stop and live in the moment right now?  There are MANY reasons, but here are two that I needed to get over in order to begin to overcome this cycle myself:

  I won't forget to live, so i can set this example to my future little one

I won't forget to live, so i can set this example to my future little one

  • We find the quiet uncomfortable.  When you stop the moving, the noise stops.  When you stop the noise, it gets very quiet.  Eventually, a question emerges: Who am I?  At my core, apart from my husband, wife, children, parents, colleagues, and community…Who am I as a person?  What do I stand for outside of “group think”? Am I willing to stand for my True Self (great article on your True Self for you to look at here) or would I rather take the mush easier route and fall back into the noise and moving pieces were I am required to think less and follow more?
  • We find the “nothingness” uncomfortable.  Once you get past the above, the question that will eventually creep up is “What is this all about?”.  If it’s not about moving from one thing to the next, completing tasks, and putting out fires, “What is this all about?”  It makes us tremendously uncomfortable to not know the answer to this question (there is an answer for you), and so we just fall back into the noise and moving pieces, rather than believe that we can find our own answer to this question. 

As a Latina, culturally the behavior this poem depicts has its own particular spin.  I remember the first time I realized this about 10 years ago, when my younger cousin was feeling frustrated with the push-back she was getting from those around her as she was moving out of her home and in to her own apartment after college.  She told me: “Judith, what frustrates me most is that we are not expected to live for ourselves.  As kids we are taught to listen to what our parents say, and there isn’t much regard to our own personality needs.  We are then not allowed to leave the house until we get married.  We then get married and are taught that our priority is our husband.  We then have children and our priority becomes the children.  Then we take on the care of our aging parents. When we try to live for ourselves in any of those moments we are seen as selfish and called 'egoista' (selfish). We are expected to move from one thing to the next without living."    

So you can see there are many reasons this poem strikes a nerve and becomes a reality in our lives.  Not only do we have to overcome our own limiting beliefs, but we then have to overcome the expectations of those around us (and in my experience, quite specific ones as a Latina).  One tip I do want to share with you that helped me overcome the expectations of others is to become very, very comfortable with words such as “egoista” (selfish).  Because I have become OK with such words, I can no longer be manipulated by them.  The people that choose to call you “egoista”/selfish/etc. are usually people that are resentful at seeing you choose to live your life the way you want to live it.  They resent the fact that they didn’t make the same choice, and hence do not want others to have the freedom to make this choice.  If you get past the hurt and pain that results from such labeling to the point that it doesn’t bother you anymore, those around you will not be able to manipulate you into their own agenda, attempting you have you live your life in a way that doesn’t feel threating to them and allows them to feel most comfortable.

At the end of the day, we are asked to take true responsibility for our lives.  It takes work, and it’s tremendously uncomfortable as we fall short of the expectations those around us project unto us.  Yet the alternative is to die knowing you forgot to live.  And that’s not an option.

I hope this helps you!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judith

The one thing I must do every day to perform

The one thing I must do every day to perform

If you start just doing 1-2 of these things, you will get yourself in good shape and stop cheating yourself of your own knowledge and inner wisdom.  You will find your voice and what you deeply desire.  You will stop the noise around you that is drowning your own opinions.  You will become more confident and your True Self will shine through.  People will notice and stop trying to overpower you with their opinions.  If they don’t stop attempting to overpower you, you are so strong and connected so solidly to who you are that all the noise seems like just a feather attempting to push your True Self around. 

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How to meditate, part 2

Hi all!  A while back I taught Leticia Mendoza how to meditate on her show Al Dia and in my segment Alimenta Tu Alma.  This is the second instalment, and it has a great meditation teaching you how to meditate on others around you for the greater good of all.  The video is in Spanish, but in case you don’t speak Spanish, here are some English resources for you:

I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judith

How to meditate, part 1

Hi all!  A while back I taught Leticia Mendoza how to meditate on her show Al Dia and in my segment Alimenta Tu Alma.  The video is in Spanish, but in case you don’t speak Spanish, here are some English resources for you:

I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judith

The hardest person to forgive

The hardest person to forgive

Many people define the act of forgiveness as occurring when we choose to no longer want to change the past.  We accept that the past happened and we give up trying to change it.  Yet, what do we do with the participant who is surprisingly hardest to forgive? 

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Stop taking on other peoples’ problems alone

Stop taking on other peoples’ problems alone

Life can become complicated when our Destructive Self is in control and chooses to take on every single problem we encounter alone.  At times, our Destructive Self goes even further, having us take on the problems of others by ourselves.  This is unsustainable and something we want to stop doing now.   

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