I'm sitting here in the quiet of our apartment in Ohio relishing in the sounds of placid electronic hums and bustling traffic outside the window before me. I can feel and hear everything; the cool dryness of the airconditioner blasting next to me, the heat wafting in from the door, and while the senses are active to the external elements above me, the stirring on the inside is hard to ignore. My heart is beating at an unsettling quick pace and the aches from this morning's workout creeping onto me cell by cell with every breath. All of this to remind me about the space in time that I currently occupy. It's slower than it has been in previous months with travel nursing, child-rearing (my siblings' kids), the various undertakings of entrepreneurship and the months of coexisting with new traumatic experiences and scenarios. I have softened into a new but familiar place where the world bustles around me and my life revolves around this 17 inch screen in a 460 sq ft loft. I am far removed from what is familiar, a profane blessing. I have been given the opportunity to dive right into my passions free from distraction as everything that is familiar to me is either expensive or otherwise unavailable. And while it seems that my landscape has been reduced to a vacuum, my internal system is alive and well.
I'm left to reflect on time and its impact as the day of my birth looms over my head. Most years have been kind, some moments, not so. And so in the safety and quiet of this space I start to ring off some of the things that I can easily account as pockets of joy and moments of clarity over the years.
1. Life doesn't matter AND it does. So live in love.
In the grand scheme of things our lives don't matter. We become dust and return to the Stars. Our impact can be great or small and every conscious, waking moment gets to be lived in love: of what you do, where you do it and who you do it with.
2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
You can cook a fusion meal inspired by Filipino foods and Filipinos will decide it's not authentic. You can then choose to cook a dish that your Filipino mom taught you how to make and Filipinos will decide that it's not as good as their version or their Lola's version.
No matter what we choose to do, there will always be opinions. We are not mind readers and are not meant to listen to the conversations in the privacy of one's mind and heart. So if you are being judged anyway, who cares?
3. Gratitude is everything.
Dropping into the frequency of gratitude has saved me from the endless pit of self loathing when expectations aren't met. It reminds that what I do have matters and what I do not isn't for me.
4. "You're suffering from self doubt, while other's are intimidated by your full potential."
The most accessible 'not-self' theme I experience is self-doubt. If I am showing up adequately as x, y, z,. When we let self-doubt spiral, we procrastinate, self sabotage and keep ourselves from doing and being the things that raise our life force. When others lean into our same fear either maliciously or to save us from ourselves, we remain right where we are, unable to reach our highest potential. Squash that doubt.
5. Some people come into your life to teach you how to let go.
I like to call them my little guardian angels. The kind of people that are designed to enter your life, teach you something about life, love, relationships, your triggers, and let themselves out. Some people are meant to be with you for a lifetime, some for shorter and some for only a moment. Honor all of it.
6. Appreciate the ones that check on you.
If you've met me, I usually look like I got it together. As a former people pleaser it was always easier to show up and take care of others without making a fuss myself. A super power I have developed now is self-sufficiency and resilience. 90% of the time I am thriving, but when I am in my 10%, there are those special few that sense it and show up. You may not need help, but you deserve to always be seen.
7. You can't save people from themselves.
People are stubborn, set in their ways or not in a space of openness. I've learned as a nurse and as a human that you can't save everyone. I am all about helping you cook up something delicious for the potluck of your healing, but forget my invitation to the Pity Pool Party.
8. Please yourself first.
When you welcome moments of pleasure just for you, your capacity to receive in wholeness is large. You're receptive, you're clear and want joy for others.
9. Marriage is a conscious effort in choosing each other everyday.
That piece of paper may be a placebo for commitment, but it was a true activation in my body to thwart complacency. I am committed to growing, to being better, to my health, to living in kindness and compassion, to not letting my mind or body go to waste because he deserves the best in life.
10. It's okay to let go of past iterations of you.
The story of our lives are made up of multiple drafts. You can choose to edit out characteristics of your Hero every now and then. Especially if it doesn't fit your current version.
11. You're not meant to be everyone's flavor of person.
My favorite icebreaker question to anyone I meet is: what type of ice cream would you be? Fixin's? Cup or Cone? Some people hate dark chocolate or can't live without coconut. Lychee? That's weird. Point is, you can't be every flavor because that would be kind of disgusting. So don't do it.
12. Pleasure brings joy, joy brings surrender, surrender brings abundance.
See #8 - what brings you pleasure? Self love practices? A hike? Going to the zoo? Do it.
13. There's something feral about being called a "Good Girl".
When I was a little I loved being called a "good girl" because it meant I was satisfying the needs of others. I was making them happy. In my early 20s I began to thwart that label to unravel the piece of it that meant obedient, 'on-call' and ever waiting for an opportunity to serve. Today, "good girl" means leaning into my own pleasure, leaning into the goodness of the sensual and the dance of submission and mastery.
14. Travel to stay humble.
When you travel, a little selfish part of you dies and what takes its place is perspective. Anyone who frequently travels knows that you are never the same after each return.
15. Your body is a vessel for magic and stories. Nurture it.
I had a skewed relationships with my body for a long time. It took losing control of it or parts of it that helped me realize that I needed to take care of it. It's the only one I have. Every rolling hill, canyon, dune, curve, ripple and cave makes up the roadmap of my body. If you don't like it, take a hike.
16. No one should cost you your peace.
The anguish and mental strain caused by other's resistance in life should not derail you from your own purpose and passions in this world. Bye, bitch.
17. We celebrate an entrance into the world, the departure should be equally observed.
I have seen my own share of birthdays and celebrated them well. I have also seen more death than the average person outside of the medical/first responder world. Birth and death are equal and beautiful rights of passage. Not one better than the other, not one darker. After birth the only other inevitable thing in this world is death. Approach death in every form with reverence, with gratitude and delight.
18. Multiple people can serve different parts of you.
I grew up in a household where my parents were/are everything to each other. I love that, I honor and treasure that. It feels really good though to spread the load. Poor Max would be burdened with a lot grievances that involve everything including him. I would take up so much space that he would have very little opportunity to spread his love and delight to others, and that's not fair. So I am very fortunate to have other people to show up where I need them.
19. You'd be surprised at what you learn when you ask for help.
Who shows up/who doesn't when you ask for help, the ways people are willing to show up for you when you need, discerning when it is actually time to ask for help or self soothe - there's so much that can happen when you are open to receiving.
20. "When we notice our breath, we notice our life."
When you are in love, when you are stressed, when you are out running, having sex, laughing, each and every one of these moments is distinguishable by the way your breathe. It is the first thing that changes when your environment changes. So when you pay attention to it, you notice your state, what is happening in your body, what feelings get to stay and what needs to go. Powerful.
21. We are meant to undo our conditioning, that's life.
We come out these perfectly, untainted, precious beings molded by experience. There is an essence within us to purposefully unweave a lot of conditioning when we are consciously aware of it, with compassion, with grace and forgiveness.
22. Family is who and what you make of it.
Family is everything to me. I have been fortunate to be born into a family full of humor, love, perseverance and presence. But there are bad apples and people that I have met that deserve a seat at the family table, and I get to decide that.
23. Notice and appreciate the little things.
With open eyes and an open heart, we can turn the mundane into the extraordinary.
24. The Universe rewards those open to receiving.
Like attracts like. I have seen it first hand that beautiful, aligned, amazing things happen to people that experience just to experience and give back what they get. I have also seen the catastrophe of scarcity and negativity and the hardship that comes when we operate from that frequency. I believe that we get back the energy that we give, but amplified.
25. You can be a hopeless romantic and a realist.
I love opulent gestures and love letters. I swoon at the thought of my lover and so grateful that I found my knight in shining armor. But I also know that there aren't enough hours in the day to express how deeply I care for him, how much he means to this world and what a contribution he makes. I can't serve every need and neither can he. So we depend on our circles to step
26. Respect the wisdom of your elders.
It is easy to thwart the advice of our parents and the people that came before us as if we know better. But when viewed from a lens of compassion, an insight into their perspective and their place in time, sometimes to heed their advice is beneficial and can pave the way for your direction forward.
27. "Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is."
Boundaries are a reciprocal way of letting the world know how to treat you. When boundaries are set from a place of love for yourself and are respected, it is easy to show up in love and respect to those around you.
28. You can have cake for breakfast.
Speaking of rules and boundaries, the most prominent place I use to follow a regimented set of rules was with food. Bred from a place of scarcity and trauma, my ED and dysmorphia told me that I would not be loved if I didn't eat a certain way. Today, cake isn't just reserved for birthdays.
29. You are meant to dance to the tempo of your own heartbeat. Move at your convenience.
The pace of living, breathing, resting and being productive is not the same as the people I surround myself with. And that's okay. When I am true to the sundial that moves with the light of my own inspiration, things just go better.
30. We're not meant to continuously read our books backwards.
We have old stories, old traumas, old relationships and old baggage. We get to look at it, process it and choose not to ruminate on it. You get to create new chapters as transcendence.
31. We derive true efficiency from nervous system regulation.
Good luck getting any intentional, impactful work done when you're stuck in anxiety and living on overdrive. When our bodies are nourished and not living from flight-fight-freeze all the time, the output of energy comes from a place of true alignment.
32. Every trigger is an opportunity to explore joy.
Triggers feel icky, unwarranted and unrelenting. Like there is no way out. But with courage and compassion triggers while scary can be exciting portals to truth. They show us where we need attention, affection, nourishment. They bring out the worst in us so that we can realign with what is best.
There's so many more nuggets floating in my brain and I am grateful to be receptive to each and every one of them.