Life Lessons

Mistakes I made so that hopefully you won’t have to.

It’s OK to Feel

The original title of this post was “It’s OK to be Sad.” However, after a brief text conversation with a friend, it felt more adequate to leave the emotion open-ended. We are all born with the ability to feel. The verb definition of feel is to experience. For the intents and purposes of this post, the feel I refer to is the experience of emotions. Culturally and socially, we are taught that certain emotions are more acceptable to feel than others. It is necessary to recognize that all emotions are valid, and that giving ourselves (and each other) permission to go through the motions of feeling what we need to is of paramount importance for our own health and for the health of our relationships.

When I realized what Become Your Own Bliss evolved into, it was a set of notes that served as reminders for me to come back to center, I felt the pressure to deny the inklings to feel certain emotions. I did my very best to overcome sadness, anger, and rage before they even set in. The way I processed the aforementioned emotions was to immediately invalidate them. I told myself that I had no reason to feel sad, angry, or livid.

The problem with intentionally numbing myself was that when it came time for me to have to process negative emotions, I was stunted. It’s prevalent in societal conditioning that people who are happy and joyful are the favorable ones. Life is so sad and the people who can hold the happy torch come out ahead. Yes, happiness, joy, and bliss are beautiful. They are experiences that we all strive toward, although using those emotions as a mental/spiritual litmus test to determine how life is going, misses the point more often than not.

I often have to remind myself that it’s perfectly OK and necessary to experience the other side of the bliss coin. I would be completely remiss in the process of savoring the goodness that happens in life if I continued to ignore everything else.

Whatever you’re going through, it’s important that you feel your way through it as a part of the process. Give yourself permission. Don’t judge it. Move through it then come out of it better, with more clarity.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

When I first realized that the word bliss resonated with me in a way that no other word affected me, the statement I most often read that term used within was “Ignorance is bliss.” by Thomas Gray.

As I dove deeper into this word that stuck a chord with my soul, I realized that the extremely popular notion of making bliss synonymous with a lack of knowledge is a way people justify denial of their own emotions. On a broader scale, social issues are ignored because it doesn’t feel good to live with knowing all of the injustice and cruelty that is so prevalent in the world we live in. On a personal level, I have been told to mind my own business because paying attention makes me a negative person.

I am still learning to walk the tightrope that exists between choosing to be proactive when shedding light on social and environmental situations whilst choosing to become my own bliss in every other instance. I have come to this conclusion. When ignorance is a conscious choice, it is based on laziness, not simply the desire to be happy.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss. It is Laziness.

Learning that one’s thoughts are not random occurrences; that every person of sound body and mind has complete control over their own thoughts and ideas are what differentiates sentient beings from, say, rocks.

Every person has the choice to face a situation s/he encounters head-on; situations that do not sit well with the soul, it is a responsibility to act and enlighten accordingly. Too many people turn their heads and do the easy thing that is to simply go on about their lives never acknowledging the undesirable topic or mentality because it’s easier to.

Progress exists because courage outweighed comfort.

When we, as the human race continually choose to turn our backs on one another, the helpless in this world, animals, and the environment, we are deliberately delaying progress that could mean life or death for future generations.

This means talking about the uncomfortable issues. Healing societal wounds that need to be dressed by understanding, love and compassion.

This means going above and beyond the realm of our own tendencies to lean into the comfort that lies within our feebleness, and embracing the active good that we can do for one another and this world. Once humanity allows itself to continue to kick the can down the road for someone else to fix, hope for progress and hope for a better world will cease to exist.

I realize that making efforts to break certain people open past their own experiences catalyzes eye-rolling and distance between myself and others. That’s a price I’m willing to pay. You may not like my perspective, what I write, or the discomfort my words bring you, but at the very least, I will get you to think. I served my purpose.

What are YOU passionate about?
What gifts do YOU possess to help elevate and enlighten those around you?
What have you been wanting to talk about/get off your chest but have been afraid to?

 

This is 30

Turning 30 years old has been something I’ve been looking forward to since the beginning of my 20’s. Many cling to the notion that age is nothing than a number, but for some reason, this birthday feels profoundly different. I’ve heard many dread this year (especially the childless and unmarried), but from what I’ve seen, those same people have grown into their own and are enjoying life on a different level. Like most things in life, perspective is EVERYTHING.

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5 Things Grief-Stricken People Don’t Want to Hear

When

…someone tells you they have cancer.
…someone loses someone they love.
…someone experiences a pain that is unfathomable and beyond your realm of understanding and experience,

DO NOT say “Everything happens for a reason.” If they’re too polite to say it out loud, I’m fairly certain they’re mentally screaming in your face and telling you to go fuck yourself.

It’s instinct. When a person sees someone in pain or with grief, the immediate instinct is to take it upon  her/himself to ease the individual’s suffering. Well-meaning and innocent as these statements may be, they’re incredibly patronizing. I realize that the last 3 sentences on this list are along the same vein. People who have experienced any degree of grief in their lives may or may not need these reminders. Some may receive sentiments as condescending.

  1. Everything happens for a reason.
  2. Be strong.
  3. Time heals all wounds.
  4. This, too, shall pass.
  5. It will get easier.

When dealing with someone who is grieving, remember, let that person know s/he is loved. Allow them space. Be kinder than usual.

One good rule of thumb is to treat people you love and care about as though you love and care about them, before shit hits the fan in their personal lives. Don’t hesitate to be encouraging, without waiting for tragedy to strike first. Spread love, always, and it’s bound to come back to you.

My Greatest Insecurity

When I was 25, I left college. I had taken my sweet time working on my associate’s degree at Valencia College, where I learned so much about myself and the world around me. Growing within the world of academia was an indulgence because I loved to learn. The process of learning in the arena of higher education was something I was good at, but I had better ideas about my future. I wanted to start companies; make some money. I wanted to start these business ventures by figuring out the way to build them from the bottom up in ways that perhaps were never explored before.

Shortly after I made my decision to take a break from my studies, I walked into a bookstore because I was craving guidance. What better place to find guidance about life choices than a bookstore?  I made a major life decision and what followed the peace was insecurity. I exhaled a tiny request from the Universe: “Was I right about leaving college?”

The first book I laid my eyes upon was The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg (an intensely unique soul I am grateful and humbled to call my friend). I read the book from cover to cover and within those pages, I found relief. I was relieved to read about a plethora of successful founders who opted to forego post-secondary education. I felt as though I had stumbled upon my ilk. Of course, I have yet to experience the astronomical success the interviewees within the book have created for themselves, but I felt as though I was given permission by the Universe by way of Mr. Ellsberg, to move forward in the way my instincts were guiding me.

I was on my way to entrepreneurial success.

It’s been nearly 5 years since my break from college, and I am feeling the itch to return. I find myself referring to moments and lessons during college that have enriched my life. Sure, I’ve learned much by failing on my own and living forward – both have been instrumental in my growth as a person, writer, and coach.

When I was 19, my mom gave me a simple life suggestion.

“People have an average of 3 careers in their lifetime in order to avoid burnout.”

That bulb has been shining brightly within the realm of my consciousness ever since.

I have been feeling myself being drawn towards social issues that ignite and highlight the injustices that run so rampant today. With the advent of social media and 24-hour news cycle, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the plight of the oppressed. I work in teaching people to go within to seek their bliss, and I find myself applying my own lessons on a daily basis because learning about the human tendency to righteously victimize one another with no sense of accountability or remorse is something that keeps my inner Hulk wanting to smash.

How can I help?

What can I do?

My answers to these questions lie in my determination to further my own education both as an act of self-enrichment, but also as a way to better serve the human race. I am well aware of the talents and capabilities I possess, and if I do not expand my abilities, I will not only do myself and my future children a great disservice, but I will also cheat those I could potentially be a voice for.

What my Close Call with Death Reminded me About Life

I had a close call recently, and it was the strangest thing. My compact sedan was seconds away from being t-boned by a moving truck, and I knew that had the driver struck my car, I would have ceased to exist. The strange part is that when I felt moments away from death, I wasn’t fearful. I thought my death was imminent and I was at peace. I thought of my family.

To summarize, I was making a left turn on my way home from Target. The light was green, and the oncoming traffic was steady. There was a short break, and this oncoming truck had his right blinker on. There was a gap, and I took  the turn. Up until a couple of days ago, I never trusted people’s blinkers. In a split second, I floored into my turn, and the truck didn’t seem to slow down (I don’t think the driver could have).

Before you tell yourself a joke about an Asian woman driving, I’d like the point out that the latest vehicular accident death statistic is around 3,200 people who perish per day in car crashes (statistics from Assosication for Safe International Road Travel).

I was shaken and surprised that there was no loud crash, no shredded car, and that I was still breathing. I really did think I was going to die. And in that moment, I felt the weight of everything I always wanted to do but have never done. I wondered what I had been waiting for. I was so grateful. I inhaled deeply and savored the sensation of air filling my lungs.

I remembered that it had been a while since I did something that scared me. 

That I couldn’t remember the last time I watched a sunset, or a sunrise for that matter. 

I don’t enjoy selfies enough. 

I have to get these books out. 

I must serve more people. Who can I help?

I must love more people and animals and flowers.

I gotta plant more trees. 

I’m leaving Florida; I should surf while I’m here. 

I must become a billionaire so that I can save animals and parts of this planet. 

The list goes on. I’ll take it one day at a time, make an impact in the space I occupy and serve those who are open to me.

So.Grateful.For.Life.

7 Beautiful Things That Happened When I Quit my Job

It’s so deeply ingrained within the collective consciousness. Graduate from high school, then graduate from college with desired career in mind. That path will lead to success and hopefully a family will follow soon after. All this will guarantee fulfillment and happiness. For most of my life, I bought into this mindset. Inexplicably, one day, I decided that my curiosity about the path less trodden was more appealing than living a life coloring within the proverbial lines.

I left college to pursue my dreams of becoming a life coach and published author. Along the way, I completed a couple of necessary certifications and began working as an office administrator and then as a bartender in order to bring in quick cash while building my coaching company. The fear of building my business crept into my consciousness and spread like cancer. I kept telling myself that I would eventually quit and devote more time to my projects but a year later, I was still working the job I dreaded yet felt comfortable in. It felt safer to stay than to pursue my dreams.

Everything began to suffer. I was too exhausted from work to write my book and my service industry job made me crave solitude. Coaching was impossible. I uncharacteristically began breaking dishes out of frustration. My poor then-boyfriend was subjected to dealing with a version of myself I’d never known before.

I decided it was time to separate myself from exchanging my time and dreams for the mere earning of a pittance. I knew that no amount of cubicle time nor bartending money would ever make me feel fulfilled, and the moment I admitted that to myself, I felt free.

So, I quit. I couldn’t imagine the awesomeness that followed.

  1. Being broke didn’t scare me.

I saved up enough money before I quit because I knew that it was going to be dry for a few weeks or months, but I wasn’t afraid of sacrificing through building my dreams into my reality. It’s a small price to pay, and I had faith that doing what I love would eventually generate an income beyond what I was going to earn as an employee.

  1. I became a morning person.

It’s strange that I dreaded waking up every morning for my previous jobs, but when it came time to wake up to work on my book and correspond with clients, I had so much energy even before my first cup of green tea. I rose happily to work on my life’s mission.

  1. My relationship with my partner flourished.

I am deeply indebted to my then-boyfriend (and new husband) for seeing me through that rough patch. There’s only one thing more unsettling than jumping into uncharted waters: living a painfully mediocre existence. He understood and embraced this about me. When I realized how well my man supported me, I loved him and served him more deeply.

  1. Investing time and money in myself became necessary.

Because I didn’t have a “Plan B,” I knew I had to equip myself with the tools to be able to follow through with my visions. There was NO way I was willing to risk falling back into the fold of working a job that I hated. I took courses, certifications, studied books and methods by the people who did the damn things – the same things I was determined to do.

  1. I worked more hours but enjoyed it.

I worked less than 40 hours a week at the jobs I hated and more than 75 hours per week doing what I love from home. The former burned me out and the latter brings joy to every working day. I can’t tell you how many times I worked for 18 hours straight; 20 days straight with no breaks or days off. This is not a recommendation. I’m stating a point. Because money was not my only source of motivation, I experienced sustained energy more often. I was forced to take care of myself in order to be fully functional in my endeavors.

  1. I stopped tolerating nonsense.

The mere act of walking away from a superficially rewarding (being paid) gig was the first step in taking no shit in exchange for a small exchange for my time. The toxic friendships I had, I ended. Wasting time happened less often. I began to acknowledge that my time and energy were the most valuable currencies and I no longer suffered fools.

  1. I no longer feared failure.

Failure is necessary in life and learning. It is the ONLY way to properly learn when something doesn’t work. It’s not that “F” I worked so hard to avoid in the realm of academia. As an entrepreneur, failure has become my friend. I’ve made some expensive mistakes and from those mistakes I learned a better way. Failure is a constant for those who are courageous enough to step outside comfort zones and make moves, and fearing it is out of the question.

I finally gave myself the opportunity to prove to myself exactly what it is I’m made of.

The Bliss in Knowing

“In order for the seeds to be planted, the surface must first be disrupted.”

For most of my young, adult life, I’ve grappled with what it means to be a “good woman.”

I’ve somehow inherited the notion – the lie – which states that my fundamental goodness was based upon my ability to be obedient. Internally, I’ve always felt the desire to “F%ck sh!t up,” in the best ways possible.

As much as I felt the pressure to want to be quiet and to play nice; to be like those who move along with the tide, I so desperately sought permission to swim against it.

I’m so grateful that I learned sooner than later that I don’t need permission to be myself. There’s no shame in wanting to be who I am. And that I would miss a lifetime of opportunities if I didn’t utilize my time and talents unabashedly in order to elevate those who are open to it.

Ever since I made the decision to go into the bliss business, I’ve sought to disprove that “Ignorance is bliss.” Even the ignorant should have a deep-seated instinct that alerts them to what is right and wrong. Just because society says it is so does not mean it is the correct and dignified thing for everyone.

So I committed to this exercise. On a daily basis, I would do one thing or write about a subject that made me deeply uncomfortable because I knew what doing the thing or writing the words would ensue. It would make people roll their eyes, or they would choose to be offended, or they would decide they wanted to have nothing to do with me.

All of these three instances and all other related instances made me realize one thing. They didn’t affect me. Even when a discussion turned into a sh!t show, it didn’t matter, because I learned firsthand that bliss doesn’t lie in ignorance, rather in the realization that there is something more, something greater, than my formerly small perspective.