Love of the Human Spirit

Enjoy the audio below and/or read the blog post below. Happy sweet day!

 

I love the human spirit. I do.

I love how even when the worst of who we are falls upon us, I love that the best of who we are always follows.

I love how we teach. How we learn. Beach Playing

I love that my life touches yours, and that your life affects mine. That something you do can change my life, and my life can change yours, hopefully for the better.

I love everything about the human journey.  I have faith in our possibilities, in all that we can accomplish.

I love that we push the boundaries, in everything we do.

I love that when we know better, we do better, most times.

I love the simple things too.  The smile.  The eyes that say “hi”.  The slight head nudge of acknowledgement. Oh, and when we dance. . .

I love the fist bumps. The high fives. Shaking someone’s hand for the first time.

I love the laughing, yeah, even the crying. Hey sometimes, things are bad.  And it’s hard.  And even in those moments, mostly in those moments, I dig deeper and find faith and believe even more in the magic of the human spirit.

I don’t know where this came from, this love of humanity.  But there it is.  I believe we are here to love and be loved.  Everything somehow falls under that.  Just Love.

I love all that we are, all that we have become and all that we can be.

I love the human spirit. I really do.

Jealousy Is A Thing

Jealousy.

Everyone denies they’re jealous.  Ever notice that?  “I’m not jealous. Me? No. I Frustrated 1could care less about her…”.  Or maybe it’s the shrugging of the shoulders in contempt or finding a way to belittle someone like, “…yeah, but I bet she can’t add 2 + 2…”.

When that feeling of jealously strikes us we tend to deny it’s even there.  Ever wonder why?

Somewhere along the line we learned that it was a bad thing to be jealous. That to be jealous, envious of another person’s advantages – whatever they may be – was a terrible thing.  It makes us look bad to ever be seen as being jealous.  So we deny it.

Here’s the thing: Being jealous is a natural part of who we are.  Like fear, it’s not something that we ever see coming, until we encounter it. When fear arrives, it’s because our inner selves detect something scary, something that we perceive might hurt us.  Our first reaction is to be afraid.  But denying we’re afraid, denying fear, doesn’t make the fear any less real or any less there.

Jealously works the same way.

When jealousy shows up, it’s never because we’re looking  for it, it just presents itself. And our first reaction is to try and deny it.  We try to push it away. Again, it doesn’t make the jealousy any less real or any less there, but it does throw most people into a strange place where their inability to deal with jealousy makes them lash out in ways that are counter-productive and most times, says more about who they are, than the people they’re hating on.

Let me share a recent example:

I was at a restaurant a couple of months ago at around lunch time. It was pretty empty patron-wise and the waitress was chit chatting with me about a movie she had just seen. About 10 minutes into my lunch, a couple walked in, early 30s maybe and absolutely stunning.  There was no doubt in my mind they were professional models  — and if they weren’t, they should have been! Now, to put this in perspective,  I live in a town where everyone is “beautiful” – that town being Hollywood – and these two stood out.  So  “drop-dead gorgeous”  is not a term I’m using loosely…  

The waitress, upon seeing them, said to me under her breath, “Great. Jerks.” I assumed she knew them and had some history with them. So I proceeded to eat my lunch but couldn’t help listening and watching what was happening… 

The waitress’s demeanor had completely changed. She wasn’t being kind to them. She was harsh and cold.  She seemed to throw down the water and plates of food in-front of them. She made no eye contact whatsoever  – she seemed annoyed to deal with them. I kept thinking, ‘wow, these people must have really pissed her off’ – and so, when she returned to the counter where I had been sitting I asked her, “How do you know them?” and she replied, “I don’t know them. I would never know people like that. Those are not my kind of people.”  She must have seen my confused expression because she proceeded and said, “You know the type:  they’re probably actors on some fucking show, or dumb models —  they don’t ever have to work for a living because mommy and daddy pay for everything. I mean, look at them, you can just tell they’re spoiled assholes.”  

Clearly, that experience told me more about the waitress than it did about the lovely people who had just come in for a bite to eat.  After that, I was no longer interested in talking to the waitress.  My impression of her had changed and the point is: when we don’t deal with jealousy, most times it makes US look ugly. It brings out the worst in who we are.  And without even knowing it, you turn people off.

So how do you learn not to be jealous?  You can’t.  And anyone who tells you they never get jealous is lying.  It’s just like fear.  You can’t stop being afraid, but you can learn to deal with fear when it shows itself.  And like anything else you work on, feeling afraid or being jealous becomes less of an obstacle over time.

Here’s how I overcame one aspect of fear:

I used to be afraid of heights and flying.  So much so, that it would take a lot for me to get on a plane. Even when I’d go hiking, I would stay away from looking at the scenery if we were too high up, because the knowledge that I had hiked that far away from “solid” ground would make me feel nauseous.  It became a problem – because, I do love to hike. So, although I had decided to deal with my fear of flying by avoiding planes all altogether, it was now keeping me from experiencing another part of life.  Now I wasn’t enjoying hiking as much – something had to change.  I decided that the way I was dealing with my fear – by denying it and avoiding it, was not working.  It was keeping me from being the best person I could be.  So, I talked to a few people and someone suggested I go skydiving.  I was completely fearful of the thought, but after some time passed, I knew in my gut I had to do it.  I decided to confront fear head on.  Here’s a quick clip of that fun life-changing event:

Going skydiving changed me.  I’m not saying all of my fear has completely gone away, but it doesn’t stop me from being my best self.   I handle all fear in my life differently now.  It’s the same with Jealousy.

How do you become your best self when you are confronted with Jealousy? Well, I don’t have a cool movie clip to show you that, but here’s how I deal with it on a regular basis and it works brilliantly for me.  Maybe, it can help you too.

First, you have to admit you get jealous.  It seems so simple, but if you don’t admit it, then you avoid tackling it and instead do things to avoid it.

Secondly, when confronted with a moment of jealousy, admit it out-loud.  I like to say, if you see something that makes you jealous, say something!  So, more often than not, when I see a beautiful woman working her magic in some fabulous dress, I’ll let her know, “Wow, that’s a great dress!” And I say it authentically and with sincerity  and EVERY time that person reacts with joy and appreciation.  And jealousy evaporates and becomes something else. I’ve made it into a compliment, instead of holding it inside.

Three, think about why you got jealous in that moment and use it as a tool to improve yourself.  More times than not, we’re jealous because we don’t have something the other person’s got.  Rarely, is it a dress I’m jealous of, generally it’s the woman’s self-confidence and the way she holds herself – and usually I’m thinking, I didn’t work out the past day or so.  Or, maybe know subconsciously that my eating habits had faltered that week and I wasn’t really working my own magic… see what I’m saying?

Here’s the thing:  there are enough moments in life when we get all frustrated and tied up in knots about things. Letting jealousy of another person’s advantages take up too much time in your head.  It makes you defensive when there is no need to be.  And it’s just a wasteful use of energy. The way I see it, jealousy can actually be a good thing,  if you use the moment to understand why you feel the way you do and then use that information to  improve upon who you are and who you can be!

Well, that’s how I do it anyways…

Happy sweet day!

xxoo.

Carm.

 

 

 

 

Can You List Ten Things You Like About Yourself?

Ten Things I LikeI was watching a show on CNN about addiction when one of the people being interviewed mentioned she had been struggling for days working on an exercise that could help her in her recovery.  The exercise she was struggling with was listing ten things she liked about herself.

I didn’t think much about it.  But later in the day, I wondered, can I do that? List ten things I like about myself?  And I added another caveat;  can I do it as quickly as I could write ten things I hate about myself? Because I’ll be honest, I could spit out 20 things in 20 seconds of all the things I hate about myself pretty easily…  sad but true!

So, I tried it.  I sat down, with the timer on my cell and listed ten things that I liked about myself. I stayed away from physical attributes (only list one if you must)  and then, when I was done, I went back and listed why I liked or loved these things about myself.

I have to tell you – a very interesting little learning moment for me.  And, it was…well, enlightening to say that least, and kind of fun.

Carmen’s List 

  • I love that I have great instincts. I’m hardly ever wrong when I go with my gut. This has to do with people or moments.  Most people I read within 30 seconds and I’m rarely wrong about them and although moments may surprise me or scare me, I’m never so thrown I can’t function.
  • I love that I’m extremely logical. I bring logic to a lot of things I do – whether it’s in explaining something, building something, creating something. I enjoy learning the order in the chaos of things. The patterns.  It intrigues me and really is the best way I function.
  • I love that I like to learn. With that comes the fact that once I learn something I don’t forget it if I care about it. Nine times out of ten, if I learned it, I care about it. But being a sponge for anything new is another great quality I love about myself.
  • I love that I don’t talk about what I don’t know. Rarely will anyone ever catch me discussing something I know nothing about. I love this about myself because I notice how many people constantly talk about something they don’t know.  It happens most often with movies.  People will trash a movie and if you ask them if they’d seen it, they’ll say “no”.  If it were just movies, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but people do it with politics, economics, worldly events, family issues, medical issues… hey, here’s a free bit of wisdom:  An easy way to seem like you’re really smart, is to admit when you don’t know something.  Seriously!  I’m not any smarter than anyone else, but I don’t talk about what I don’t know. Period. And when I don’t know something, I ask something.  Easy.
  • I love that I am able to sit with anyone of any race, age, color, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, celebrity, politician, Republican, Democrat, friend of foe… and fit right in. I am comfortable around people and have an innate ability to understand them, talk to them. There is something very “chameleon” about it. But not in a negative way. It’s not that I change who I am EVER.  But, that who I am is malleable to the circumstance.  I know myself so well, that I can find a way to connect with anyone.  It has to do with empathy. Finding a way to connect with another soul on the planet.
  • I love that I’m a very optimistic person. It’s not blind optimism, but it’s always being able to find the light in a dark circumstance. When things are bad, I find myself living in hope. Finding that source that will lead me to the next step.  Truly optimistic.
  • I love that I held onto my “Latina-ness” even though I lost my mom at such an early age and had to force myself to learn more of what it means to be Latina on my own. I know that’s a weird one, because I am Latina, but knowing my back story and how easily it would have been not to learn Spanish, not to understand and fit in with my mother’s culture, would have been an easy thing for this American to do.  And sadly, so many of us lose our culture along the way  – but what makes America so beautiful is the mix that everyone brings to the table. If I had been born to Scottish parents and lost them at a young age, I would have done the same thing.  Clearly it was my way of holding onto a piece of my past, my mom, but it also has other benefits as well.
  • Physically, without a doubt, I love my skin color. “..you were kissed by the sun…” my mother used to tell me.  And I remember that phrase after the all these years.  And even though my hands are older, I have some wrinkles showing, some cellulite here and there, some changes in tone and elasticity… I still see all the beauty that is my cinnamon colored skin.  Sometimes I do feel bad about it.  I mean, honestly, I was born with it, it’s not like I did anything to have it, but I have to acknowledge it just the same.  Loving who WE are, skin color and all, clearly is and was an important part of my strength growing up.
  • I love that I’m still a kid most days. This may seem strange or may seem like I’m in denial of some sort, but I’m not. I think one of the worst things I hear from people who are older than me is this “giving up” sentiment. Like somehow turning 40 was Hogwarts Teethe end of life as they knew it.  I’ve had people say to me, “We’re different now, we’re so much older now” and “It’s for the new generation.”  WTF?  Hello!  I’m in my 40’s, I’m not dead!  Jeez! I hope if I’m blessed to live till I’m 90+ that I’m still walking around workin’ my magic and still dreaming of all the new possibilities!  And I think that’s the essence of being like a kid most days. I don’t mean not keeping to your responsibilities, but I mean, keeping in a state of awe, freshness and aliveness. Again, it goes to being a very optimistic person.  Being kid-like really just means always living in the moment, in the right here and right now and having the energy to play in it!
  • I love that I love people. I do. Even when the worst of us seems to burst through more painfully than I feel need be, I still love that eventually the human spirit figures it out.  I love all types of humans — even the ones I don’t understand.  Individually, I may hate a few – and I do, and yes, I use the word “hate” purposely. But as a collective, as a species, I am fascinated by how we all function.  Wow, I’ve never admitted that out loud (or on paper), but it is true. I love that I love people and always look for the best in us, even when we are showing the worst of who we are.

Hmm… that was kinda fun.  And interesting.

Have a sweet day!

Carmen

 

 

 

Letter to Uni: I Was Here

March 14th, 2016

Monday 5:30am

Dear Uni,

It was a tough week. I didn’t recover as quickly as I wanted to from surgery – my doctor had told me as much, but, you know… somehow I thought my superhuman strength would prevail… Ha!

Later in the week I did finally step out into the world.  Unintentionally I met two women, maybe in their 20’s, who got into a conversation with me about LIFE.  Funny, when I think about it – they had no idea who they were talking to…  but I played along with what was before me and at one point the one named Carol said to me, “You’re problem is you’re an eternal optimist.”  Her meaning was somewhat negative, her tone was trite.  I, of course, took it as a compliment!  I mean, honestly what is an “eternal optimist” to do?

I do love the light.  I respect the darkness because without darkness there is no love of light. So, yes, even in the midst of any thing “bad” in my life, I always find my way through to where my breath finds hope… it’s how I made it here.  It’s how I’ve kept on my unwavering journey all these years.

The other woman, Jade, questioned me;  “What would you do if you died right now? What would be the point of it all?”  I smiled and without missing a beat, I replied, “Do you know that song: ‘I Was Here’ by Beyonce?  That’s kind of my anthem.  I wake up every morning feeling grateful to still be here, and just hoping I can be better, do better and maybe make a difference in someone else’s life. Because I am here now – and when I die, even if it’s just one persons life I touched and made just a tiny bit better – then, that will have all been worth it”.

They both looked at me like I had just told them some incredible secret.

Maybe, in a way, I did.

 

Loving today something fierce,

Carm.

Letter to Uni: My Crush & Thensome

 

Dear Uni,

My heads all over the place this morning. 

Just read an article on Zoe Saldana playing the role of Nina Simone and everyone has an opinion. I guess as a woman of color, who is Black and of Latin descent, I can understand one part of the argument. Zoe has a right to audition for and take any part she can play as an artist.  But, another argument is, she doesn’t have the right skin color, the right look and basically they had to put her in black face to pull it off.  And yet, as actors we use make-up and prosthetics all the time to help become a character. It’s a tough one. Nina Simone.  I mean, iconic.  I can’t decide if the Casting Department was just lazy and didn’t even try to audition, 9 other well-known, more “visibly similar”  and talented actresses to play the part?  Or, if this is all part of just great marketing?  I mean, no offense, but no one recently has talked about Nina Simone – and now everyone’s got an opinion, and everyone will watch to see how Zoe does. Ergo, everyone will see the movie.   And yeah, this is all good for Zoe. I’m not being cynical – I’m just saying.  I love Hollywood. I just do.  It cracks me up.

Brain change:

I had yet another surgical procedure yesterday. Uggh.  This on-going teeth/sinus thing is killing me and I’m trying to be grateful that it’s nothing else. But still:  I just suck at anything “Doctor-esque”.  I lost two back teeth, and, long story short, I don’t have that many to begin with so this wasn’t really a choice. I keep telling people, “I was born with a small mouth” – which is funny, since I talk more and louder than most people on any given day.  A “small mouth” would not be what would come to mind to anyone who knows me… too funny!  Anyways, this was just the next step, in an 11 month procedure.  And yesterday was just the next torture. Not eating or drinking for 6 hours prior was bad enough, but then getting the anesthesia through an IV…all I remember is the Surgeon telling me to stop talking (actually, in a way that’s kinda funny).  But, right after the surgery and this morning…horrible.  I was in so much pain when I got home. And the blood was soaking up the gauze pads in my mouth within minutes. I tried to eat – it’d been about 8 hours at that point – but just couldn’t get the blood and the pain out of my head.  Finally – hesitantly,  I took one of the pain pills I’d been given and felt much better.  The blood stopped from my mouth at some point and I had what tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten in my life: mashed potatoes.  A lot of them.  One thing is certain: I’d never make it on a deserted island at all  — I’m a friggin’ whimp!

This morning I look more like a chipmunk on one side of my face, but honestly, not too bad.  Besides my nose bleeding every so often, I’m alright.  I hate myself for complaining so much and being such a baby.  Honestly, first world problems, right?  So pathetic. I’ve got to keep things in perspective. This. Is. Nothing.

Look, squirrel.

As much as I want to express myself about Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the entire idiotic republican mess, I just can’t bare it.  Plus, so many others have said it better than me. I will say this, it makes me sad for our whole country. Maybe I’m being too dramatic, but it’s painful to see the worst of who we are in this fashion. I mean, I cry at what things people do like ISIS or anything happening in Africa or any other part of the world.  I feel pain when a natural disaster hits and people are hurt and killed.  I feel something horrible when children are starving, or being hurt, trafficked or… you get the point. But what is just as painful to watch, is a supposed civilized people celebrating and embracing the worst of who we are and cloaking it under democracy.  Pains me to watch. The Democrats are doing their thing running for office.  Normal fight to the finish.  But, there’s something else going on with the Republicans. And I think for me the last straw of thinking this might work itself out, was any discussion of the KKK.  I mean, forgive me Lord, but WTF?  I turned off the TV and prayed right then and there.  We need some serious love sprinkles or some sort of miracle or something.  Cuz what’s happening under the guise of politics right now… well, that just can’t be right. It just can’t be.

Jump all the way over here.

I’m thinking about “Alex”. What can I say? I’ve had a crush on that man for a long time now.  He’s perfect in every way except that he doesn’t even know I’m alive.  He’s smart, tall, handsome, kind… Well, he knows I’m alive, I just don’t think I’m a thought in his pretty head.  Ha!  Isn’t it interesting that the human heart never stops feeling butterflies when you like someone no matter how old you are?

I was thinking last night how different it would be if I came home to him in my post-surgical angst and just had someone there to let me know everything would be okay.  I then realized I was such a bitch when I got home,  that in my day-dream it’d be better if he was traveling and just called to see how I was doing.  Okay, no.  Because I had plenty of friends who did that and even THAT annoyed me so much!   Yeah, yesterday was definitely an ALONE type of day for me.  Maybe this is why I remain pretty much joyously single?  In my perfect world, I always thought the best “married” couple would be the ones who had a house so big, that one would have the West Wing, and the other would have the East Wing. And when they wanted to be with each other, they’d meet in the middle.  Ha!  Yeah, I think in my perfect world, I’d need at least that much room!

Honestly, I think everyone does – need that much room, I mean.  Most of my friends who are married or in intense relationships seem to be so miserable.  Any rare time I start to feel just a little lonely or a little sorry for myself, I remember it’s better to be alone than alone with someone else in the room.  That’s gotta be worse on every level.  But, I can’t lie, being enjoyably single has its drawbacks.  I mean, clearly it has its plusses! But, the drawbacks do creep up when I’m sick for sure or when I can’t find a friend to hang with because they’re with their family or whatever.  Eeeh, but other than those moments, I’m good.  I can’t ever imagine settling just to cover those bases.  Don’t get me wrong:  I know it’s more than that – the connection, the companionship. I just think all of that is a “give-in” when in a relationship. But one reason why so many relationships seem to get so toxic is because there’s a loss of individuality and a loss of alone time.  Quiet.  Real individual space.

Smooth transition. 

I’m such a creature of quiet and alone time. In that sense I’m quite the introvert.  Most people would peg me as an extrovert, but the truth is, I’m not one without the other.  The reason why I’m exuberant and talkative and can work a room like no-other, is because I do spend so much time alone. Whether it’s hiking, walking the beach, running, or just at home, I crave the time.  Being introspective, being quiet.  I’m not a natural social diva. Although many would think I am.  I’m one that needs to rejuvenate, replenish – basically, re-fuel. Without the joy or quiet in my life, I could never be who I am. I’d be a total mess . No doubt.  

Reality change. 

Now my nose is bleeding. It says in the “instructions for  sinus care” I was sent home with, that this is normal after this kind of surgery. Ugghh.  Seriously grossing me out.  Again, as my friend Chelsie always says, “first world problems.”  <- I love that line. Cuz, it’s true.  But still. Bloody nose, chipmunk face, stiches all up and in my mouth, I’m not saying it’s worse than anything else that can be happening to me, but for this moment, I’m just saying YUK!

So now I’m good.  I’m hoping to be able to do some TRX this morning.  I’m so addicted.  This guy Carl who teaches the TRX class I started taking a while back, acknowledged the other day that “you’ve come a long way, Carmen” and he’s so right!  I was feeling that way too because for me, TRX is all about core strength, which I had lost.  But him saying that, just nonchalantly, made my day.  I want to go running too this morning, but this bleeding has got to stop before I can even imagine that so… maybe not. It’s kinda hard to stay home today and just chill, because usually I plan when I’m going to “chill” and I have a plan on what that “chilling” means…  I’m behaving like such a control freak, huh?  Jeez.

Prayer time.

Okay. What do I hope for today?

As always, I hope to be better today than I was yesterday. Which, should be fairly easy since I won’t inundate everyone with my “having surgery” drama – ugghh.  That annoyed me.   I accidentally sent an email to way too many people when I meant to send it only to my clients so they wouldn’t reach out to me this weekend. That’s what I get for being lazy and not emailing people individually!  I can be better today when I’m not focusing so much on my own stuffage and instead, maybe focusing and helping someone else.

I hope I can make one person smile today.  Smaller goal than usual, but I have a feeling I’ll be limited in my outreach today.

I’m keeping it real simple today God.  I just don’t have that much energy in me today as I usually do.

I’d like to write a blog post. It’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog, but I just seem to only have subject matters that are angry or negative reactions so I’ve chosen NOT to post.  I’ve started saying to myself, pretty regularly:  “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  Maybe I’ll start posting my journal entries to the Universe and such.  Eeh, maybe just this one? I don’t know. I’ve thought about this so many times in the past – and it’s the same question:   Why anyone would want to read my long-winded ramblings is beyond me, but since I write every day as a form of therapy and generally it’s just jibberish, maybe there are others out there who get some type of clarity from therapeutic writing and self-analysis? Not sure.  Maybe the question is, how would this help me?  My inner-most thoughts to the Universe for the world to see?  (And when I say “universe” I mean anyone who accidentally finds themselves here, reads it and then probably throws their hands up in the air for wasting such a valuable time. Ha!).  Well, I’m not sure it benefits me in any way, except that maybe I’ll feel better about checking out and updating my website a little more often.  I don’t necessarily have to have a reason, except that I can, but I always have something to share with you Universe.  Just like you always have something to share with me.  And hey, maybe that’s good enough.

Thank you for another shot at this today. Hopefully, I’ll get it right and make a small difference to someone.

Wishing for peace, love and all that good stuff.

Carm.