Bloom.

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Chiang Mai, Thailand. 2018. 

“Life is a journey, not a destination. There are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken. Lay down your regrets, cause all we have is now. Wake up in the morning, and get out of bed. Start making a mental list in my head of all of the things that I am grateful for…Early in the morning, it’s the dawn of a new day. New hopes, new dreams, new ways. I open up my eyes and I open up my mind and I wonder how life will surprise me today.” -India Arie

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is hosted every year during the first weekend of February, displaying colorful chrysanthemums, damask roses, and so much more. Just near the city center, the streets are filled with vendors of plants, flowers, orchids and garden decorations. Overall, the city is beautiful, and has the rich vibe that speaks to my soul. The flowers that fill the streets is life’s way of reminding me to laugh, smile, and keep things simple.

Nature in general, always finds a way to gently tap me on the shoulder and whisper how magical it is to carry on organically. In translation, I typically hear a drawn out whimsical tone, with the following words recited, “Just be yourself.” Whenever I hear that, a weight is lifted, and there becomes less pressure in understanding the particular reason of why I’m here. Just a soul aware of the possibility in having a spiritually satisfying human experience. The idea is to gracefully learn from all that enters and exits my life, and see how those things contribute to my wild growth. For that reason, I’m grateful for the variations of my surroundings. With each clarifying day, I’m inspired to remove anything that I  consider “clutter,” by focusing on what is essential to my growth.

“She is like a wildflower, beautiful, fierce and free.”

Often enough, there’s so much that distracts us from keeping life simple, and I find the presence of flowers to be one of many stimulating experiences that gracefully gestures organic beauty.

The next time you stop to smell the roses (when you look at yourself in the mirror), remember:

“Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.”

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

“Happiness blooms from within.”

“She sprouted love like flowers, grew a garden in her mind, and even on the darkest days, from her smile the sun still shined.”

“Like wildflowers, you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.”

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”

“You are not your roots, you are a flower grown from them.”

“May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary.”

“Like flowers, we can also choose to bloom.”

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

“Advice from a sunflower: ‘Be bright, sunny and positive. Spread seeds of happiness. Rise, shine, and hold your head high.”

“Live wild, flower child.”

… and most importantly, “Bloom baby, bloom!”

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Beauty Mark

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Kerid Crater, Iceland. 2017

We all remember the day of the incident that scarred us, and changed our lives forever. Some of us remember the exact time, the scent, the words, the sounds. We remember every tingle and every tear. In the moment, the unexplainable was happening, the unimaginable, the unattainable, the inevitable. Not only was it happening, not only was it real, but it was present with a force, assuring we felt every ounce of pain, and it wasn’t leaving quietly. It was preparing to leave a mark. It was forcing a dent, a scar, a blemish, a distinguished feature, a crater, and ultimately, a distinct memory. Selfishly, this experience becomes the center of attention, and maybe not necessarily the preferred topic of discussion, but most certainly the elephant in the room. This new scar is uncomfortable, because it’s impossible to hide. It’s too large, too foreign, too complicated to explain. Yet, in nature, when we come across a crater of some sort, we find these “scars” to be “beauty marks.”

Nature’s scars become National Parks and World Wonders. We write articles and books about them, we rave on social media, we spend lots of money to see them in person, we travel the distance and make sacrifices, we take lots of pictures, tell our family and friends, we promote and advocate, and we become their biggest fans. At what point, after observing and obsessing, do we self-reflect? At what point after exercising all of those activities do we stop, sit, and have compassion for ourselves?

Similar to Earth, we too have experienced some shakes, quakes, rumbles, punctures, and blemishes; pain that has created scars, but aren’t they beauty marks as well? Why aren’t we turning our craters into wonders of our own worlds? Why are we not viewing them as art, taking photos, writing articles and books, telling our family and friends? The pain becomes beautiful, because it’s a part of us. It becomes something to talk about, study, discuss, observe, document, appreciate, share, and maybe even something we turn into profit, but let’s not keep our craters to ourselves. Similar to Earth’s natural wonders, we too, have scars, that become beauty marks.

After the storm – the sun shined, the rainbow appreared, the clouds were like candy, the flowers blossomed, and everyone thought you were so beautiful, but you thought it was only because of the sun.

 

Like a Bird

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Rome, Italy. 2017.

Every morning, when I wake up, I am reminded that I am magic. I am powerful, over my thoughts, my words and my reality. I’d like to think that my sense of freedom has elevated in the last few weeks. I am soaring to new heights, and this feeling is extremely liberating. I’m not questioning the wind. It’s guiding me, and I know for sure that my wings were made for this!

We all know many who are afraid to leave the nest, afraid to spread their wings, afraid to soar. The view from the nest is just not good enough for me. There are some things I want to see up close and personal. I’ll never forget home, but I’m also not obligated to stay there. My spirit is pulling me to fly and experience life around the world. My spirit is pulling me to become immersed in the possibilities of a new life each day.

From the skylines of Croatia, to Montenegro, to Italy in the last week, I am feeling free, and embracing the dream. The added beauty that comes along with this experience is the pleasure of being surrounded by others with the same intentions, the same ideas, the same outlooks, the same dreams, and the same visions. We are out here in the world, flying together – because it’s possible.

Each day, I further understand Maya Angelou’s eloquence and sentiments. I too, know why the caged bird sings…I’m remembering the moments of feeling stuck, and my subconscious whispers of  songs, wishes, hopes and prayers, and then realizing that the locked cage was an illusion. How many years of life does one lose, as they trick themselves into believing they are supposed to live with limitations? The limits of the home, the job, the family… we are not obligated to these things. These are circumstances placed to help shape us. As we develop from them, it’s wise to know and understand that the circumstances will shift. My circumstances are shifting!

Fear is nothing. The locked cage is an illusion. The wings are too. But, the dreams, the visions, the passions, those are real! When you realize you’re as free as a bird, you walk, run, fly, soar, and float. The perspectives are limitless, the views leave you speechless, and your soul is grateful because it has become even more alive. Let’s be as birds.

Abstract Nature Girl.

 

 

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Vinales, Cuba. 2017

Far beyond anything we can see with our eyes. Until infinity, as long as we believe. Take care of our minds, and our hearts, and exist forever. Keep a healthy self. Keep light. Keep love. Be light. Be love. Declutter and detach. Flow freely; be whimsical. Have a clear understanding on how to embrace and release all that comes and goes. Be still. Connect with the trees. Study nature. Become its reflection. Listen to the birds when they sing. Reject fear, judgement and discomfort. Welcome courage, and be courageous. Watch the changes right before our eyes. Don’t deny them. Pay attention to the evolution, within and around us. We are spirits. Let our spirits direct our steps. Trust in that, because it feels right. How much do we have to cover up? Layer up? Dumb down in make-up? Do not hide. Do not die. Do not subside. Awaken! Let’s get centered, balanced, lifted. Disconnect from “things” and get charged up! Find purity, and value that. Find innocence, and capitalize on that. Find radiance, and become drenched in that. Find the light, and never lose it again. Sing and fly as wild as birds. Grow strong and deeply rooted. The sky is beautiful. The ocean, so soothing. Let’s get back to nature, so much, that we become it.

 

What are we feeling?

What are we thinking?

What are we doing?

What are we saying?

What are we eating?

Is it all natural?

Does it come from nature?

What’s the energy like?

 Be still.

Peace.

Unfiltered.

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Brooklyn, NY 2015.

Recording… We typically say, “honesty is the best policy.” Then we cover up in many ways. In moments of extreme comfort, we may take the opportunity to unveil our true selves, slowly. Spirit listeners, we are stepping further into a life of freedom. We are making the best decisions we can, for ourselves! We are removing the suits, the hats, the wigs, the false eyelashes, the labels, social circles, the lies, the drinks, the drugs, the caffeine, the filters, the pretense, and all things that contribute to the people we really don’t agree with being. We are becoming more honest, and mindful of every feeling and every action. We are moving closer to things that come naturally to us, because we are feeling natural within. We are beginning to see one another for who we really are. I want to see you. I want you to see me. Let’s not lie. Let’s not cover up. Let’s remove the filters. We are proving to others that they can trust and believe us, and believe in us, and understand our loyalty. We are letting down our guards, and paying attention to ourselves. We love who we are, especially when we’re in our natural state. We’ve also noticed that we attract the people and lifestyle that’s destined for us, because we’re not pretending. Life is awesome in this light of living. We feel comfortable sharing with others how amazing this journey can be. Not everyone will understand. The misunderstanding creates annoyance. All it really takes is getting to the basics. Real recognizes real. If people don’t respect your natural living, it’s because they’re struggling to get to that place. It’s definitely not easy. There are too many pressures to “keep up” and “carry on.” We, spirit listeners, are diving deep. We’re moving away from trying to “keep up” with a life of fiction, saving that for the books we write. We’re moving away from trying to cover up our faces and our personalities, saving that for Halloween. We’re working toward being unfiltered, everyday.

“Ask yourself what is really important, and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.”

“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be.”

“She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

“There is beauty in simplicity.”

“You are naturally beautiful, when you are yourself.”

“Being different is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Embrace your YOUness.”

“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and a pretty soul.”

“No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.”

“A confident girl doesn’t show off her naked body, she shows off her naked face.”

“Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

“Spend less time in the mirror and more time feeling wonderful.”

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

“Being natural is not a statement. It’s the closest I can get to being myself.”

Be true, to yourself!

 

Grace.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica, 2016

It was so peaceful atop the rock, which was perfectly positioned for one to take in such astonishing natural beauty. Wow, Jamaica – you’re gorgeous. There was such a strong sense of stillness as I sat there, taking a moment to be grateful for all I am, and all I have. I admit, again and again, “It’s the simple things that makes me happy.” It’s life’s purest and most innocent beauties that I admire so much. In those moments, I am reminded to show gratitude for good health. Not great or excellent health, because I believe we all suffer from some sense of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional imbalance. I’m grateful for loving and supportive family and friends, opportunities to travel, living dreams out loud as an author and artist, and working in an admirable field of education where everyone around me is helping to inspire and teach children (our future). I love this quote, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see will change.” I believe that to be true. It is all about perspective. So, when I think of the guardian angels that have been placed in my life over time as my very own spiritual guides, I am now viewing them from an angle of appreciation. Physical loss of near and dear loved ones may be the greatest form of pain that any human endures, but we get to a point where we are even grateful that their spirit carries on. As much as we miss sounds of their laughter, warm hugs, and kind words, it’s comforting to know that they are always in our hearts and guiding our steps. Over time, the light in which we see them shifts from darkness. It does not have to be sad forever…because we all know we’re going some day, and when that day comes we’ll become guardian angels ourselves. Losing their laughter, warm hugs and kind words, should only encourage us to laugh more, hug more and speak kindly to others, as often as we can. Our guardian angels feed our destiny. They are light. It is a struggle to always see them in this way, but it is the best way. So, I’m grateful for them, everyday, in every way. I try my best to keep an attitude of gratitude, because I’ve noticed that when I’m gracious and grateful, blessings that were never even imagined begins to surface, and my life experiences truly turn out to be just as beautiful as nature.

I Am…

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Brooklyn, NY, 2016.

We all make investments. We invest time and energy in what we believe is important. Well, we should. Everything should have purpose. It’s not always easy, but sacrifice is necessary – otherwise your happiness and peace become compromised. Recently, I decided to solely focus on one particular investment. Myself! I’m on a journey of awareness. I am awake, and paying attention. I am visualizing the life I want for myself, each day, with an understanding that everything has its time.

I began watching food documentaries. It was time to alter my eating habits. I am an extreme believer in the law of attraction, and I knew it was time to align my spiritual being, with my physical being. I became excited in exploring the idea of becoming vegetarian, and one day, vegan. The journey began last winter. I watched Vegucated. I became a strict vegetarian for five months. My weakness is seafood. Currently, there’s a thin line between vegetarianism and pescetarianism. Either way, on this path I am feeling lighter in spirit, healthier at heart, happier with decision making, and at a beautiful level of peace. I am now, and always will be a work-in-progress.

The next thing on my list was to go on new adventures, which equated to quitting my job. I had to create space for new experiences, and my job was in the way. When it’s time, it’s time. Life is too short to stay in one place for too long. The lessons I was there to learn, ended. After my last day, so much began to surface: I participated in an art show as one of two exhibiting artists, spent a month practicing my spanish and exploring Colombia, and started a new job (the one I actually envisioned for myself). The space I created by leaving something I’ve been doing for so long, was filled with dreams come true. I am amazed, but it’s reassuring proof that thoughts are powerful. I am still a work in progress.

I’ve learned to become still, and listen to spiritual messages from the universe. Some of the messages came to me as I participated in guided meditations with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Some spiritual messages were sent to me as I binge-watched youtube videos of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday segments. I also became submerged in the Infinite Waters youtube channel, where Ralph Smart speaks on…you know what – just go check it out! Talk about morning energy! To heighten my spirituality, I joined an amazing church here in Brooklyn. It has been life-changing. I am still a work in progress.

Along this journey of self-awareness, to further the alignment of my spiritual being and physical being, I decided it was time to allow my natural hair to grow freely. You may have noticed many photos of me with braids (that was my transition period of eight months). Those braids helped me, tremendously! At the eighth month mark, and just before my 29th birthday, I did the big chop! It was such a liberating feeling, because as with all things – it’s about timing. The chop was right on time. I am still a work in progress.

I have eczema. If you have it, you know how frustrating it can be. I’ve decided to give up the prescriptions. My body care products now consist of natural body oils (coconut, avocado, mango, tea tree, etc.), Shea butters, black soap, and it ends there. No perfumes, no body sprays. I’m learning. I am still a work in progress.

Knowing that God’s plan for me is greater than the plan I have for myself is so inspiring. What a beautiful thing, to be conscious of who I am and work toward becoming a better me, and then finding out along the way that I am attaining so much more than I could have ever imagined. I am always reminded, “All things in due time.” I am…

 

Own It.

 

IMG_9982 “It’s not always pretty.”

People all around the world think critically about their lives. The events that take place, the things we do, the way we interact with others. We compare, cry and question everything. We force ourselves to believe that we’ve got it so hard. We stress and worry. We become anxious and behave irrationally. What we have is just not enough. We over think and pass judgement. We’ve created a fast-paced world, and have become unreasonably selfish monsters with a major lack of patience and awareness.

People are mentally flustered, and need attention – now! We don’t just want to be seen, we want a connection. We want to be loved, recognized and supported, yet in control of everything. Too often, the need to be validated is sought from others. There’s a build up of doubt that becomes detrimental. Stress is a dangerous thing. Social media is a pool of deception. We are the masters of manipulation. Everything wears a mask. We fool others, but don’t expect to be fooled in return. The issue with people is that we always think we’re the only ones dealing with something. Yes, we’re intelligent and obviously capable of amazingness. We’re not always what we appear to be, but we have to “play the part,” because apparently we’re registered for some sort of competition. We value the arbitrary, and downplay life’s priceless gifts; our natural beauty, our precious talents, the ones who love us. Behind closed doors we stress and worry. We’re fragile when vulnerable, so that’s kept hidden. Advertise day life, fine print night life. Feeling stressed, confused, uncertain, perhaps envious, remember that we’ve all traveled different paths to get where we are today. All pretty things have roots, and they go through their seasons. Everyone goes through the seasons. Live an authentic life, push through and know that you’re an inspiration to someone.