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#ThanksgivingWithMexicanFamilies

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This year, I will be keeping it low key, soaking in the time off from work, and having a simple Vegan Thanksgiving meal. Not because I “celebrate” Thanksgiving, but because I like food.

As I scrolled through the #ThanksgivingWithMexicanFamilies tweets, I began to long for “once-upon-a-time”, when my childhood home was filled with so much family and friends of the family during the holidays.

How many of these can you relate to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s Wrong With Wanting More?

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“What’s wrong with wanting more? If you can fly then soar! With all there is, why settle for just a piece of sky?”

Last Thursday night, at the Adventures in Living class at Inner Light Ministries​, Rev. D referenced the movie Yentl, and my heart cracked open as I circled back to a sweet place in time for me.

I was in my mid 20’s, my mother had just passed away, and I was in the throws of a restlessness to live my life fully. My boss, who was a mother figure to me (I lived out of state and away from family), mentioned the movie Yentl to me. As I watched it, I identified so strongly with this character who wanted more than her little town could giver her, and was willing to do anything for what she knew was hers, even at the cost of going against cultural norms.

When I heard “A Piece of Sky”, I felt it directly pierce into my heart and soul as it showed me a stronger part of myself I yet had words for. I didn’t know it then, but this song was showing me a place I would eventually land in. The truer part of myself. At the time, I believed this song wholeheartedly, but still had a significant amount of self doubt and shame that would keep me hacking through the unpaved journey of my life.

And now, here I was in my early 40’s in Rev. D’s class, hearing her refer to this film. She was asking the question of “How badly do you want it?” “It” being our highest aspiration for being in the Adventures in Living class. For myself, this translates into, my vision for my highest self.

“How badly do you want it?” she asked, and I remembered a time when I thought it was bad to want, selfish to want, greedy to want, sinful to want, unappreciative to want. Although I shook a lot of those beliefs off of me over time, I know there is enough of these beliefs in me that hold me back in these covert and sub/unconscious ways.

How badly do I want it? It being a connected, empowered, and joy filled life. I want it with all of the passion “A Piece of Sky” embodies. Although it took a while, I can now say that I fully feel “A Piece of Sky”, not as a future vision, but as a complete NOW. I feel this song in my bones and my heart expands.

So I share this song with you, in hopes that you have a dream and are confident in wanting more, and can ask yourself “How badly do you want it?”

DAY 6 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: WHAT WERE YOU DOING TEN YEARS AGO?

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10-years-agoWhoa. Life got ahead of me, and I am beeehind.

So here we go..

“Today, take some time and travel back ten years ago (2005) in your life. Review photos or journal entries to help remember what was going on in your life ten years ago. How things changed for you since then? Did you accomplish some goals along the way? Have there been setbacks? Are you better off today than you were ten years ago? What experience stands out the most for you?”

In July of 2005 I was in graduate school in the School Counseling program at San Jose State University.  I was living in Salinas, California, working as a Social Worker/Case Manager with adolescents, living in my childhood home with my sister, and in a relationship that should have ended a year before.

At that time I believed I was winning my lifetime battle with weight. I was very hyper-conscious (anxious) about my exercise and what I ate. For the first time in my life, I considered myself athletic. The gym was my church, and food was something to be feared and conquered. I was doing the diet thing really well, and felt both strong and scared.

Since then, a lot has happened. A lot of deconstruction and rebuilding. I have earned money, and lost money; lost weight and gained weight; lost hope and gained hope. I hasn’t been easy or fun.

I accomplished my degree, never applied it directly as I realized I no longer wanted to work in the school system, and acquired a second degree in Counseling. I also realized that my strict eating and exercise routine was actually a disorder.

I achieved a few goals then, such as traveling, moving to a new location, and starting my journey towards working independently. I also achieved a few things I didn’t know I needed. For example, and deeper spiritual self, deeper consciousness, and deeper inner healing.

There has been a slew of setbacks, Setbacks I would have never expected. Setbacks that, to this day still scares me.

Emotionally and spiritually I am better of today. However, I am not better off financially. I am actually in a worse state financially than I was 10 years ago.

There are two experiences that stands out he most. The 24-day European trip I had in 2008 gave me a life experience where I felt most alive. Then in 2009, I began the unplanned slow and intense deconstruction that lead to intense emotional despair, significant life changes, unlearning difficult life lessons, and transformation into a healing path.

To take part in July’s #NAJOWRIMO, visit: http://najowrimo.org/welcome-to-najowrimo/blog-and-updates/

DAY 5 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: WHICH IS A BETTER WAY TO TRAVEL FOR YOU?

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mode of travelWHICH IS A BETTER WAY TO TRAVEL FOR YOU?

My most pleasurable experience traveling was when I was bumped up to first class on a flight to Seattle. If I could afford to travel this way all the time I would. Ah, the leg room, the big comfy seats, the friendly service. It was truly a comfort I will never forget.

For short distances I like the train. Being in those old Amtrak buildings, and boarding the train feels so nostalgic to me. The click-clack of the tracks, watching people come and go at the stops along the way, getting to meet fellow travellers, really warms me up to this mode for short distance travel.

To take part in July’s #NAJOWRIMO, visit: http://najowrimo.org/welcome-to-najowrimo/blog-and-updates/

DAY 4 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: WRITE ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT JOURNEY YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN

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inwardWRITE ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT JOURNEY YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN

On day 2 of #NAJOWRIMO, I wrote about an aspect of the road less traveled as an inward journey.

“The weight of living life from a place of grasping for safety brought me to my knees. All of my familiar ways no longer worked for me, and I was faced with resigning to hopelessness or going through a re-birthing process that was painful, unfamiliar, and foreign to my family, friends, and community. I had to look back at my life, reach out for help, and learn how to walk in this world in a different way than I was raised and accustomed to. Although most of my life consisted of consciously doing things different than my family, in this moment in time, I was stepping out of my unconscious family patterns, and seeking my authenticity in an existential way far deeper than I ever had.”

Of all the journeys I have taken, this by far is the most important. It was, and continues to be, a journey to re-claiming myself, re-membering myself, and coming home to myself.

To take part in July’s #NAJOWRIMO, visit: http://najowrimo.org/welcome-to-najowrimo/blog-and-updates/

DAY 3 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE PLACES YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRAVEL TO

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imgresMAKE A LIST OF ALL THE PLACES YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRAVEL TO

I was in middle school when I asked my mom if we could go to Australia. At the time we lived in an agricultural town in California, and had only driven annually to Juarez, Mexico to visit family. And here  I was, all 13 years of me, asking my mom to go to Australia.

Her answer? “We can’t go there! We don’t know anyone in Australia!” That moment gave me a glimpse into my mother’s world, and a better understanding of her. Maybe it also gave me a better understanding of myself as well. I wanted to go to places we had never been to, and never considered knowing people at these places as an issue. Elementary school field trips made me realize that visiting new places gave me a jolt of excitement and a sense of wonder. If a country or other location fascinated me, why not travel to see it?

As I grew older, my travels took the shape of spontaneous day trips to unfamiliar locations. My first cross-Atlantic journey took place in 2008, where I traveled through Europe in 24 days. I don’t know if I ever felt more alive than that time, and I hesitate to try and re-create it, because it just cannot be. However there are a few places from that trip I would like to re-vist and spend more time in.

Brussels, Belgium
Prague, Czech Republic
Venice, Italy
Paris, France
London, England

Other places I would like to re-visit:
Austin, Texas
Seattle, Washington

As for new places to visit:
San Antonio, Texas
Nashville, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mexico City, Mexico
New York, New York
Giza, Egypt
Marrakech, Morocco
New Delhi, India
Auckland, New Zealand
Croatia (coastal)
Athena Greece
Berlin, Germany
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dublin, Ireland
Antarctica

In looking at this list, I am realizing that if I want to visit at least half of these places, I need to get-a-move on!

To take part in July’s #NAJOWRIMO, visit: http://najowrimo.org/welcome-to-najowrimo/blog-and-updates/

DAY 2 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: WHEN HAVE YOU TAKEN THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED?

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WHEN HAVE YOU TAKEN THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED?

When I look back I feel like “The Road Less Traveled” has been a common theme in my life. Do you relate to this? I know I can’t be the only one.

I am a Chicana who grew up in the predominantly Mexican/Chicano town of Salinas, CA. As a kid, I felt like I walked in two worlds. The social world of my peers where we played familiar games, and my personal life which was rich with a curiosity of how this world “worked” and mainly consisted of wildlife documentaries. These documentaries excited me and made me happy, however when I tried to share this knowledge with others, they were not interested and quickly diverted to their playtime. Even though I was very young, I could feel the difference between us. I had no idea this would be the pattern for most of my life.

Most of what I have done has gone against the grain of my family’s values. The excitement was pleasant but the loneliness was painful. Moving away at 15, then at 19, choosing to not have children, preferring to live alone, being vegan and feminist, and constantly challenging the status quo were discomforts my family had to grow accustomed to.

Although these experiences shaped most of my early life, a more recent experience stands out as a very significant example of taking the road less traveled.

The weight of living life from a place of grasping for safety brought me to my knees. All of my familiar ways no longer worked for me, and I was faced with resigning to hopelessness or going through a re-birthing process that was painful, unfamiliar, and foreign to my family, friends, and community. I had to look back at my life, reach out for help, and learn how to walk in this world in a different way than I was raised and accustomed to. Although most of my life consisted of consciously doing things different than my family, in this moment in time, I was stepping out of my unconscious family patterns, and seeking my authenticity in an existential way far deeper than I ever had.

This poem not only captures the experience for me, but became an anchor I would return to several times to help me through that dark and painful time.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver

To take part in July’s #NAJOWRIMO, visit: http://najowrimo.org/welcome-to-najowrimo/blog-and-updates/

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