Taking Advantage of Inspiration

So I have been in the house all weekend getting over a cold. And then today, a friend of mine insisted that they ride for 1 hour to come visit me and my city. And as much as I tried to overt their plans, they eventually won the battle. If it were up to me, I would have been in the house all day, after being in Friday and Saturday also, with no problems.

So we started at a bar and had a few drinks, trying to communicate as much as possible in Spanish. Then we visited a discoteca to listen to some live music and dance a little bit. While there were a few moments where I could’ve allowed for things to get under my skin (a veces, la gente simplemente no te entienden), they did not! Other than me not allowing for things to bother me, tonight for some reason it was pretty easy. And also, I am trying to be nice 😉 Estoy bien conmigo mismo y con los demás. #unbesitoSOLOparaestanoche

Something about this night has inspired me. I am not sure what it is. Perhaps it was because I needed to get out the house and breath in the crisp, fresh (cold) Spain air. Or perhaps it is because I have a few alcoholic beverages in my system. Maybe it is because I got to dance a little after not dancing for weeks. Or possibly it was being able to speak to my family via Skype and see the excitement on their faces because they had the opportunity to see mine.

Whatever it is. I am inspired. And so appreciative of these moments. Because they do not come as often as I’d like. And to top off my evening, I came home to mis niños pequeños. They were so excited to see me and were eager to play. It lit up my heart that I could put a smile on their faces. Even though one of them turned around muy rapido to call me “mala” when it was time for him to go to bed. It didn’t bother me one bit because I understood his frustration.

We can be inspired by so many things. Perhaps a bad breakup resulting in an excruciating heartbreak. Or losing a loved one. Or being let go from your job. But when good moments come around that breed inspiration, I think it is something to be recognized and celebrated. Because sometimes it is easier to dwell on the bad, versus celebrating the good.

My life is in no way perfect. There are many things I could find to complain about. There are many ways I could try to victimize myself and say how the world is against me. But what good would that do me? There are so many people out there who are without. Without family. Without food and shelter. Without a friend to lean on. And while my life may not be deemed “perfect” in the eyes of others, it is my version of perfection.

The fact that I am able to find inspiration from the good that is occurring in my life. That is perfection. This happiness that I feel is overwhelmingly beautiful. And I am looking forward to more moments like these.

Listen to this song by Jill Scott, “He Loves Me“. While the love of a man did not inspire me today. I hope you can find a way to mirror these lyrics with whatever is inspiring you, just as I did…

This is for you. Can you hear the music in me? You insight me to co-write. With love, Nico

I have a life that’s good…

Life is crazy. It can really throw some hardballs at you. Our everyday experiences can encourage our thoughts to take control and bring about discouragement topped off with despair…if we let them.

Though I would say that November has been a pretty great month, it is no secret that I have been struggling with some personal things, some that I can and cannot control. Including being away from my entire support system back home. Not having too many people here in Spain who understand me and what I am trying to accomplish. Juggling multiple responsibilities, including performing on the job, obtaining a Master’s degree and learning Spanish.

And there are moments where a tear or two may fall from my eyes. But then, I suck them up. And recognize that I have a life that’s good…

Of course, I think by now you are beginning to notice a trend in my posts. I enjoy good movies and good music. I mean…who doesn’t?! And right now, I am on my Nashville kick. I just started watching the series (season 1) about 2 weeks ago, and just started on season 3 today. And there has been a song that has stuck with me. But today, more than others… A Life That’s Good is so beautifully touching and is a wonderful reminder of the gratitude I feel for my life and experiences and the people who are a part of them with me.

During the past several, long years, I have been dealing with things that were not my fault, and some things that were consequences resulting from my misguided actions. I could not see the bright light at the end of the tunnel for a long time because I felt I had no way around or out. Since I have made the decision to turn my life around and do something with the gifts that I believe God has blessed me with, I have been so much more open to the obstacles and bumps and bruises that I have been incurring on this new journey of mine.

I do not know if this newfound strength and passion of mine will last. I do not know what the future may bring. Who knows… there might be a moment that breaks me completely if I am not prepared. But I can speak for my strength and passion at the moment. And I feel like I am unstoppable for some reason. I know I am not immortal or anything. I am human. I have feelings. And those feelings can be hurt. But I just feel like everything that I am experiencing is a part of a plan that is necessary for me to experience so that I am able to see the bigger picture and realize all of the goals and aspirations I have envisioned for myself.

While I have my moments, like any other person out there. There is this love inside of me. This compassion. This gratitude for this life that I have been granted. I am so fortunate it is ridiculous. And I am not fortunate by the money I have in the bank (because let me tell you…I could do for some more to keep up with these living abroad expenses) or because I get to live in SPAIN right now. I am fortunate for the people I have been blessed to share my new experiences with. I am fortunate for the opportunity to grow and be something better for myself and others. I am fortunate that I am able to share this love inside of me. (by the way, these babies I get to care for… I LOVE THEM!!)

It is weird. Sometimes I wonder if this optimism and happiness that I feel is also misguided and I am imagining it all. Telling myself that I am optimistic and happy when I am actually scared out of my whits and depressed. Haha.

If this is the case. At the moment, I do not really care. Because I figured, isn’t that where it begins. Telling yourself that you deserve better. That tomorrow will be a brighter day. That “this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it”. It begins with us. Believing in ourselves. And believing that we can change our stars and do something positive for ourselves and others.

At the moment, I do not have anything intriguing to speak about. Because of my hectic schedule, I haven’t been able to really work on my “independent research project”. Though I intend to when I visit Madrid sometime soon hopefully. At the moment, my life basically consists of me, my current household and the people that live in it, and trying to make a positive impression on the people here in Spain so I can make a contribution. I just felt compelled to express myself and show my gratitude in that I have a life that’s good…

Sittin’ here tonight (LITERALLY…in my bed right now), it reminds me I already have more than I should. Two arms around me, heaven to ground me, and (LOOKING FORWARD TO THOSE MOMENTS WHEN I GET TO TALK TO MY) family that always calls me home. At the end of the day, Lord I pray, I have a life that’s good.

This is something that I hope for everyone living this crazy thing called “Life”. Especially those out there who feel alone. Who are without their friends and family. Those possibly traveling around the world. I hope you are able to find fortune in your days and be gracious for the life you have been given. It is so short. With Love, Nicola

December and January are meant to bring about some great learning experiences for me, including finding somewhere to volunteer (which has not been easy as I have contacted organizations and have not heard back from anyone yet). I am looking forward to what life has to offer…#intrigued #excited #anxious #determined #hungry4more

Because I’m Happy…

I think every person has their moments of despair, anxiety, disappointment, sadness, and discouragement. We are all human. It’s natural, even if we are one of the happiest people around. Life is no easy ballgame for ANYONE to play, even if it seems as though to an onlooking outsider.

But when those moments come around where a person can look past all of the despair, anxiety, disappointment, sadness, and discouragement, and acknowledge the happiness that they have been granted. I think it is important to recognize and show gratitude. So with this post, that is what I intend to do…

Because I am so busy (and tired), I rarely have time to write. I am a horrible blogger. But the truth is, I created this blog to (try to) keep account of my journey and new experiences so I could not only gain perspectives from other global bloggers, but most importantly, so I would not forget (to express myself).

But as I sit here listening to music and writing a new friend that I have made in Spain. It hit me! I have been listening to Pharrell William’s “Happy” on youtube for the past couple of days. I listened to the song twice today. And it is because there is a sense of happiness coursing through me.

While I am dealing with some things internally that no one (but my mother mas o menos) is aware of. I am still able to show gratitude for these moments of happiness because I am able to acknowledge how fortunate I am. I LOVE my job and the kids I get to care for…and most importantly, I feel their love as well. I am in another country getting to experience a whole other world. I am gradually seeking progress and obtaining success in my independent professional endeavors. And both my family and I are in good health. How could I not be happy? How could I not show my gratitude? How could I not be appreciative for this day that has been made, enabling me the opportunity to continue working towards my many, many goals?

It also doesn’t hurt to separate yourself from negativity. Including people who do not promote happiness. Here come bad news talking this and that. Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine. No offense to you, don’t waste your time.

I have met people here in Spain. Some wonderfully nice and welcoming. Some hesitant and judgmental. Some who I think just didn’t click with my personality due to (cultural) misunderstandings and miscommunications. Who knows. Either way, I am thankful for everyone I have crossed paths with because it has given me the opportunity to reevaluate myself and my approach. Being able to recognize my areas of improvement and consider alterations in order to better acclimate myself in my new surroundings has strengthened my chances for achieving happiness and serenity.

And because of this happiness that I feel inside. I know no feelings of regret. I know no feelings of revenge or trying to intentionally do back to others what I feel has been done to me in the few months I have been here (because other than the fact that messing with people’s heads and livelihoods is just not apart of my hustle, bad karma is no bueno). I know feelings of compassion and understanding. We all have something going on in our lives and you never know…

This is what I hope for us all. That in spite of our unfortunate “moments”, that we are able to find contentment in our circumstances. That we are able to set aside our pride, jealousy, envy, regrets, judgements, vengeance, and other emotions and actions birthed by insecurity, fear, and pain. That we are able to experience happiness. It feels so good 😉

Dedicado a Papi, mi nuevo amigo. Con amor, Nicola.

21 Questions to Ask Yourself When Nothing Seems to Be Going Your Way

Begin to believe that CHANGE is possible, and happiness can be the result.

prayer & practice

1. Am I grateful?

Gratitude is a great balancing force. It allows us to be kind to ourselves and have a greater perspective of where we REALLY stand. Find something to be grateful for and remind yourself of it everyday!

2. Are my expectations/goals realistic?

Sometimes we can set goals higher than we can climb at one time. Let yourself off the hook and break down your goals/expectations into smaller more do-able pieces.

3. What actions I am I repeating over and over again that never seem to work out?

We can have a habit of repeating certain actions or practices, not because they’re working but because we’re comfortable with them and/or we’re too lazy or fearful to come up with a new way of doing things. Think about it; make a list…find the courage to make a different turn and you may find yourself in a different place.

Are We All Lost Stars?

Since being in Spain, I have found that my plans (working a full-time job, implementing a scientific research study, learning a new language, volunteering with non-profit organizations), insecurities (feeling like I have bitten off more than I can chew, being away from all of my friends/family back home, having a low proficiency in the native language), and high expectations of myself have hindered me from truly getting to know this beautiful country and the people that inhabit it. Though this is normal because I am still transitioning, it’s difficult for me to put my expectations on hold sometimes. But despite this, I remain optimistic.

All of my experiences, both good and bad, have led me to this place of being in a foreign country, alone. Despite the sometimes scary notions, through the will of my inner faith, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help; my help cometh from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2). He is telling me what to do and is giving me the strength and courage to do so. He is guiding me to a place where I will be able to join others who share my passion to help others. I believe I am here, alone, for a reason. And again, while I believe in Karma. I am aware that things don’t always happen how and when we think they should. But as long as my heart is sincere, I am not worried about the outcome of my journey. (though I can’t say the same for some others that I’ve come across recently…*sigh*)

I have mentioned in previous posts that we have the opportunity and capacity to determine our stars (i.e. path), and change them accordingly when necessary. I have found that allowing my thoughts to victimize me is of no assistance to my cause. Woe, is me. If we’re not careful. Turns into reality.

I am meeting so many wonderfully mysterious and colorful people. I am gaining insight into their hopes and aspirations…into their worries and fears. For example, here in Spain, with a population of 47.1 million, the unemployment rate is still at 24.47% as of the 2nd quarter of 2014 (11,525,370 people unemployed). How discouraging is this? I thought we had it bad in the United States, with a population of 318.1 and a 5.9% unemployment rate (18,767,900 people unemployed). I feel for those I have met, especially the parent who is unable to obtain consistent income or the young person of my generation just graduating from college but unable to find employment. How could I not be optimistic when I am so FORTUNATE to be studying abroad and working for a beautiful family and caring for their 2 children that I adore?

We all seek purpose in this life. Whether we believe our purpose is working a 9 to 5 job, day in and day out so we can maintain a dream of one day having a family of our own. Or whether we believe our purpose is to sacrifice our stability and contentment so we might be able to venture out into the world to do something more unconventional. We’re searching for meaning. But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?

I recently came across the film, Begin Again (2013), and it really inspired me. It pretty much exhibited the lows that people experience, and how forgiveness, confidence, finding one’s self, and common goals (in this film, musical collaboration and expression) can lead one to the opportunity of beginning again. The main song of the film, Lost Stars, touched me and is the inspiration behind this post.

I do not know where my path will lead me. But I do know that no matter what is thrown my way and what obstacles I may face, that I am capable of changing and aligning my stars. And I believe that in order for me to find serenity and peace within myself, while I am just fine with enduring these many moments of loneliness (which are inevitable because I am in a foreign country and working on obtaining goals that many are unable to relate to; these moments can also be a good thing because it allows for me to stay FOCUSED on what is most important), I must be open to allowing others to be a part of my journey. Please, see me. Reaching out for someone I can’t see.

Perhaps we ARE all lost stars…trying to find our way to one another so we can light up the dark together. I am full of gratitude in that I know how I want my stars to align. And while I may be just a speck of dust within the galaxy, taking each day as it comes. As I work towards fulfilling my dreams and aspirations, I am learning new things about myself, feeding my starved inner-ignorance by gaining new insights and knowledge, and/or establishing relationships with others who have similar interests. And each day, my stars are properly aligning that much more.

Don’t you dare let (y)our best memories bring you sorrow. Change is inevitable, and change can be good. Allow changes to occur in your life so that you are able to begin (the next chapter) again. Be brave and daring. Take a chance on yourself (and others). You will not be a lost star forever if you continue to yearn for more (new experiences, new knowledge, new relationships, new goals, etc.).

This post is dedicated to all the lost stars in Spain. Dices “Si Se Puede!!” Jajajja. Con amor, Nicola

Somebody that I used to know…

So I have been here in Spain for about 1.5 months now. And of course, I still feel like a stranger to the city in the sense that I’m aware that I am a foreigner (*smirk*) and I am also aware that the locals are aware that I am a foreigner as well. They do not make me feel uncomfortable or anything (too often). You can just tell when they look at me that I appear to be something “new”…something different.

But what is surprising to me are the feelings I am feeling about myself. I too am feeling something new and different growing inside of me. I am feeling stronger. More confident. More aware. I am caring less about how others will perceive me and if I will fit in. Not that I am not trying to be a part. I am just doing what everyone else here is doing… Trying to survive so that one day they might just have the chance to just live, happily and peacefully.

We are all human and we all have worries. But there is a point where you start to realize what’s really important. It is about 345AM in the morning here in Spain. And you want to know what’s on my mind. Not what’s happening back home. Not if I am making a good impression in my new home. But focusing on fulfilling the goals I have set for myself. And those goals consist of experiencing the culture here in Spain and gaining insight into how the people of Spain live and feel. Putting my all into setting up opportunities for myself to be able to implement research tactics and understand the affects of prostitution and human trafficking on the community. Working hard to do all that I can to better myself (my mind, body and spirit) so I am equipped with the stamina/endurance, knowledge and resources needed to help save our children and deter them from being exposed to a life of victimization.

This feeling inside of me. I wish I could put it into words. This belief that God has instilled in me these powerful thoughts and ideas that I am capable of doing something worthwhile that could positively impact our youth on a global level… it is sometimes mind-blowing.

One thing that I can admit about myself is that I was never good with people on a consistent level. At one moment I could be popular and “on”. The next minute (period of time) if I was going thru something, my feelings could pour into my relationships, tarnishing and even ending them. Fortunately, I believe everyone who is supposed to be in my life at the moment is there for a reason. And I thank God everyday for them because they are my motivation to continue to push myself to do and be better.

I was recently speaking to my mother and at some point in the conversation I told her “I need to win people”. And initially she perceived that as I need for people to accept me, like I needed their attention and approval in order to validate myself. But I had to further explain. We were not bred to be alone. God created us to congregated in multiples. Just from the story of Noah’s Ark… none of the family members or animals who entered that vessel entered it alone.

We need the love and support of each other to survive. To truly be alive inside. Not to validate one another. But to spiritually empower one another. To reiterate the vision that God planned for us as a people. I realize that I have chosen to embark on a scary journey that will not be an easy task. And I am also aware that the fight I am trying to fight cannot be fought alone. I am only one person. And I need and want the support of others, who might be able to share in the mission and vision of my heart and the hearts of so many others around the world.

Over the past several years, especially as I have chosen to shed the “drama” and negativity from my life, I have been unforgiving in the sense that if I felt a relationship of mine was one-sided or I was feeling a sense of drama/cruelty/negativity from the other party, I had no problems removing them from my circle. And now, when I look myself in the mirror. I see love and forgiveness and compassion and passion for others. And I feel this overwhelming desire to touch others and be touched by others. When I look in the mirror…I feel it is somebody that I used to know.

I will always be me I believe. I am who I am and there are parts of my personality that will never change. But everyday, I am growing and evolving and gaining a better understanding and compassion for others. I am more forgiving than I have ever been in my life. I discretely tear up (meaning…you wouldn’t see me tear up but I can feel the pressure slightly swell in the back of my eyes) when I see the pain in a woman’s eyes because she has been heartbroken by the man she loves. Just little stuff like that. So imagine how I feel when I see a homeless child starving or being abused. When I look in the mirror. I see a woman. A sensitive, but strong-willed and determined woman who is preparing for battle.

The war against hatred, and starvation, and prostitution, and human trafficking, and all the other negativities in this world is a war that can’t be fought alone. And for the 1st time in a very long time…I am able to say “I need people”. Not for the sake of making myself feel better. But for the sake of working together and doing something positive for our hurting and dying world.

I know these blogs that I write might seem kind of extra’d out. But this is what I feel. I just feel so much love in me and so much sadness for others that I just do not know what do sometimes. And my only way of expressing these emotions that bring tears to my eyes are through writing.

I feel a self-obligation to make a difference. I do not know how much longer I have in this world or how long my body will allow for me to keep moving this fast. I do not know how much longer our world can survive all of this madness and turmoil. So time to me is just ticking away. And I feel that girl I used to know… she is someone who has led me to becoming this woman full of faith and hope that we can do it TOGETHER.

So I will end this by saying to my old self and all of the people who are no longer in my life: Now and then I think of when we were together. Told myself that you were right for me. But felt so lonely in your company. But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember. But you didn’t have to cut me off. Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing… Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

You’re somebody that I used to know. But my subconscious will never forget you. It is you that reminds me of forgiveness, maturity and progress. Thank you. With Love, Nicola

The Devil is a Lie: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is My Thoughts

So in some of my posts you have read about me finding the courage to make a change of pace and place. You have read about my intentions to do something positive for myself and others. You have read about how I have been in a state of hope and happiness.

The months leading up to my trip to Spain, everything that happened I felt was because of God. No matter what got in the way, I NEVER doubted that He would come thru. While my visa was a long and annoying process, I never doubted that I would get it on time. While I had to accept the fact that I would be leaving my family and friends for a period of time, I never doubted that God would lead me to a “new” family (i.e. the people I would meet and have the opportunity of not only just knowing, but getting to know them truly).

When I made this decision to change. It was not for the sake of needing to get away for a little vacation. I established some life-changing goals that would expect hard work and diligence. With intentions to get a Master’s degree, learn new languages, experience different cultures, and hopefully one day be able to contribute to or establish my own non-profit organization…I knew that this change would be no easy triumph. I knew I would have to give all of myself.

So here is why the devil is a lie…

Week 1: After what it seemed like 24 hours of traveling. Once I touched down in Spain, my feet decided to swell up in a major way. This had never happened to me when I had traveled in the past so I didn’t even think to consider precautions when embarking on long trips. It took me about 5 days of swimming and icing my feet to get them back to a state of not being excessively swollen or in pain. But honestly, due to all of the walking that occurs here in Spain, I think they are in a constant state of the swells. But at least there is no pain. (1st week of no exciting activities during the weekend).

Week 2: I came down with a cold that I caught from one of the children who live with me. I got exactly what she did, including a fever. Fortunately, my will to get better sooner than I could get worse worked, and I was without a fever soon and able to get back to my everyday activities. (2nd week of no exciting activities during the weekend).

Week 3: Food poisoning and diarrhea!! Probably the worst because I also had a small scale fever. Going from hot to cold every couple of hours, and not being able to keep my bathroom visits limited. Then to top it all off, I was suffering from some womanly issues AND also pulled a muscle (I guess my body felt it needed to teach me a lesson for walking to much and not stretching beforehand) in my thigh which took 50 hours to heal.

And ever since, it has been an on-going thought of “am I getting sick” with constant episodes of getting that tickle in my throat when one of the kids cough or I forget to put on slippers when walking around the house.

So, on top of handling school (which is no breeze) AND handling a new job with a new boss (sometimes I am not even sure if they realized how difficult things were for me initially, with being sick, considering I always tried to push through and do the best I could, with no complaints) and their high (yet understandable) expectations and responsibilities that I had never been acquainted with…

As you would imagine, there were several moments through this all that I began to feel discouraged. I began to question my choices and the decision to take on such huge responsibilities. I began to doubt myself and my capabilities to accomplish so many things. I was feeling as though my ‘journey’ was all a mistake and I began to ponder other alternatives to relieving some of my stress and maintaining my sanity, even going as far to consider that I might be forced to quit my job or return home altogether.

Then I had to snap back to reality. Have you ever heard something similar to ‘when you are on a path to righteousness the devil will try to trick you up’. My mother would remind me of this often, especially throughout this period of my life. Especially before I began my journey. She told me that if things seemed to go wrong or take unexpected turns, don’t think that they too are signs from God that it is time to turn away and end your journey. She told me, when you are trying to do something great and beautiful, the devil will try to deceive you and make you think that you are not meant to do such things.

2 Corinthians 11:3 — But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

I made the decision right then and there to do my best to find balance in my life. Something that I promised I’d continue to do once I reached my foreign destination (but seemed to have been thrown off track from all the chaos that is ‘new transitioning’). Soon thereafter, I had a gym membership which offered a swimming pool, yoga, and massage therapy. I also went out and bought me some candles so I could do my own little personal yoga sessions from home to the sound of my favorite and inspirational tunes. And don’t forget not forgetting to take my daily vitamins, and drinking plenty of water and hot teas for antioxidants. I also promised myself that I would do my best to keep my business and personal lives as separate as possible.

Yes, a major part of this process was allowing for myself to fully be immersed in the culture, which meant becoming acquainted with families and residents in Spain (or wherever I traveled to), so that I could gain insight and understanding into their way of life. And thus, this made it a business situation as I was gaining knowledge and doing “research”. But I was also spending quality time with these adults and children, and sharing deep and sincere parts of myself as well. And I found that trying to balance the business and personal all at once was becoming stressful (on top of everything else I had on my plate), because when things weren’t always so easy, it was difficult for me to keep from taking things personally considering I had established such personal relationships with some of these individuals.

It is nothing wrong with finding a balance and keeping parts of yourself to yourself…making sure that certain days and times are specifically set aside for you and your spirit(ual growth). Not allowing business and pleasure to become one… a blur.

Don’t let the wolf (devil or devil’s advocate) in sheep’s clothing trick you up. That is his objective in life. To keep you from fulfilling something great and beautiful. To keep you from believing in yourself. To keep you from following your stars… the life and good deeds you were pre-determinedly meant to sow. It is crazy how quickly he creeps up on you and into your thoughts. The devil is a LIE. The more you realize and accept this, the easier it will be for you to push through the hard situations. When has the devil ever tried to trick you up. Do Tell Nicola….

You Never Know…

My experiences today in Spain have inspired me to write a little poem. I am not a poet so it probably won’t be any good. It might even be a little abrasive or exhibit some unexpected turns. I have just been inspired by people…both cruel and kind. But please bear with me…

You never know how you can affect someone. With a sincere smile or kind gesture. Your actions could (un)intentionally heal the world.

You never know what you are capable of. With a burst of courage and a leap of (misdirected) faith. Your inner desires or most secreted fears could spring you into a world of unlimited heights filled with failure or success.

You never know what the future holds. With ample possibilities and a world that seems to keep on going… limitless and never-ending. Your little box of comfort could be your shackled demise or the inspiration needed to break free and experience something new.

You never know what someone else is going thru. With so many perishing right before our eyes and with (what it seems as though) the walls tumbling all around us. Your lack of consideration or keen perception could drastically change the life of another.

You never know…

The day you decided to belittle another for the sake of bringing yourself happiness or possibly because you were too foolish to understand your ‘powers (of persuasion)’ over others. Not considering that your actions caused a trickle effect leading that other to plunge head first off of a freeway bridge into oncoming traffic. (I know…the unexpected turn – a little dark)

For many years I walked through life like an ignorant, blind little child. Living carelessly with no anticipation for tomorrow or worries of what consequences my choices would bring. Over the past couple of years (before I decided to officially make a change), as I have looked back, I try to comprehend who that person was and why did she allow for things to take such a crazy and unexpected turn.

I can only hope that my shortcomings have not hindered my chances of receiving forgiveness from others. Because while I have forgiven myself and know that something wonderfully beautiful is in store for me (and hopefully for those I yearn to touch)… I will never truly know how my actions, both good and bad, have affected all the people I have crossed paths with.

This little “poem” or whatever you’d call it can be open for interpretation. It is not meant to put you on a guilt trip. It is not meant to make you feel that you do not deserve forgiveness. It is not meant to put a weight on your shoulders leading you to feel regret for what you have or have not done in this world thus far. It is just a message for all of us that we are all that we have. And we were all created for a reason. Most importantly, to join together, help our “brother”, and love one another.

This world is a dark and lonely place filled with death, pain, sadness, envy, jealousy, vengeance, and much more. And it is unfortunate that so many of us go thru life, just trying to get by, and never stop to think about the person we do not know that passes us everyday in the morning on the way to work with a sadness in their eyes. Or the person we think has it all together.

We are all filled with so many beautiful gifts that are just waiting to be shared with the world. And it is up to us to remember that, and never forget to do that one simple thing that could change the life of another in a positive way. Whether it be saying “hello” with a smile or opening the door for the person walking behind you. Whether it be waking up one morning and realizing that the life you have been leading is not allowing for you to share the love inside. Because I promise you, it is there. Possibly faint from all of the bumps and bruises you have incurred. But we are all capable of love.

There is something in me that I cannot describe. This deep compassion for others. A sadness (for the young boy who sits alone at home, wondering if his parents even love him. Not understanding that just maybe they have forgotten how to love).

I am not perfect. I have much to learn and lots of work to do. And I know that while I will never obtain perfection. I will do all that I can to share this love inside of me with those who are willing to receive it. How about you?

Sometimes there is just so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it. And my heart is just going to cave in. LOVE IS TRANSCENDING!!! LOVE IS FORGIVENESS!!! LOVE YOURSELF SO YOU CAN LOVE ANOTHER!!!

God Bless. With Love, Nicola

Seeking Transcendent Expression: The Poetry in Me

This feeling in me. Pleasantly placing a pressure on the inner walls of my heart. Filling me with an indescribable sense of courage and hope.

This love in me. Embodying the serenity and happiness that has consumed my thoughts and spirit.

This joy in me. Forcing my lips to pucker and my mouth to expose the excitement that my cheeks are unable to conceal.

This peace in me. Causing a euphoric sense of tranquility to pulsate throughout my body, from my eternal soul to ends of my toes and fingertips.

As I patiently wait for a moment of clarity, allowing me to fully understand and enjoy the feelings inside of me. As I remain faithful to the idea that the kindness and goodness seaming from my pores into the lives of others will bring about a sweet departure where I may go gently into the night and be reunited with my Father and loved ones. As I maintain all self-control while I yearn for the moment where this life will be enough for me to sustain security and contentment. I will nurture the fruit of the Spirit and remain loyal to the anticipation of transcendence and the undying optimism that has been a part of me since my waking moment.

We were all born with the fruit of the Spirit embedded in our core. It is up to us to determine how we will allow for these gifts to be shared with the world until our moment comes where we are so fortunate to return home.

Inspired by my journey. Looking forward to getting to know you Espana. Con amor, Nicola

The Formula for Achieving Serenity

I think I discussed in my “What’s in a Name” post about experiencing true happiness. And I feel this is what every person wants. Some of us may find happiness in making lots of money and others might find happiness in helping others. And with true happiness, comes serenity.

Let me tell you. I never thought I could feel this sense of happiness and serenity. Though I feel I have not reached the maximum capacity, I believe I am on the right path.

While the world seems to be crumbling around me. Loved ones dying. People starving. Friends losing their jobs. Me losing my job. Despite all of these discouraging events, there is something in me that nothing seems to be able to shake. My life is no where close to being perfect, and it may never be. But the troubling feelings and thoughts that I felt a year ago, even 3 months ago, are no longer present.

I wish I could express exactly what it is that is instilling this unexplainable sense of hope in me. Perhaps it is my determination. My need to be better and do something bigger than myself. Perhaps it is just the right time in my life. While it was unfortunate that I had to lose my job, as many others in our screwed up economy have as well. Maybe this was all meant to be.

In another previous post of mine I discussed Karma and whether or not if our paths are determined based on our own thoughts and actions or the predetermined path already designed and destined for us to walk. And as I consider all the not so great events that have occurred in my life, I have come to realize that I am so fortunate to be where I am. I have a loving and encouraging family who are always there for me. I have friends that accept me for who I am and remain supportive even through their own hardships. And I have a roof over my head. How can I not feel contentment and peace?

I am excited to find myself. I am determined to tear down the walls that I have built up over the years through disappointment and pain. I am passionate about touching the lives of others and doing something that will leave a beautiful mark on this world when I am no longer here. I realize that I may not be able to accomplish all of my goals, but I intend to dedicate myself no matter the unexpected circumstances.

Se·ren·i·ty (noun) = the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. I am at least 50 percent there. And have only begun my journey. Being able to let go of the “stuff” that is irrelevant and has no place in my thoughts and heart has shed so many burdens that I have held on to for many years.

I have decided to challenge myself to do the following everyday, at least once a day:

1) Give up a fear or worry to the universe (or a higher power such as God)

2) Express my gratitude by saying “Thank you” or showing my appreciation

3) Doing something healthy for myself (such as exercising, eating a healthy meal, taking my vitamins, reading an inspirational book, etc.)

4) Fulfilling a guilty, but positive pleasure (such as having dessert after dinner, treating myself to a movie, wearing no underwear to bed, not counting my daily calories and intake or tracking the time I exercised)

5) Doing something kind and selfless for someone else (such as listening to them vent without expressing my opinion, letting someone over into my driving lane, taking the time to see how you can help someone less fortunate like the homeless)

6) Speaking positivity into my day and allowing my spirit to believe that my words are not just an affirmation, but a reality waiting to be revealed


I personally feel that all of these challenges will allow for me to reach a level of contentment and happiness that I feel I deserve, and they will encourage me to achieve a state of serenity. No matter what is happening around us, we have a choice of how we will handle the situation. And it is time for me (and you) to take control of the myriad thoughts that trickle in when we do our best to block them out. We all deserve the opportunity to reach the place of serenity that we need in order to survive this “crazy thing called life”.

PRAYER FOR SERENITY: God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can & wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will. So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. AMEN. ~Reinhold Niebuhr

Have you established your own list of challenges that have helped you to achieve serenity? Any good ideas that others can consider? Please Do Tell Nicola…