Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion. - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Thought for the Day

There is always someone, something, to be grateful for. Always.

  • JST.C, 7/12/2017, 10:33 A.M. EST

Positivity & Light: Welcome June!

Buon giorno tutti, e felice prima di giugno! That’s “good morning everyone, and happy June 1st!” in Italian. Today is the start of a brand new month, one that I feel nothing but happiness and positive vibes about. Historically, June has always been a prime month in my life where many chances occurred. From graduating junior high (I graduated high school and college in May), to losing my grandparents within exactly a year and two weeks of each other (my grandmother ascended three days before her birthday), realizing my love for la citta just as I left Rome and recovered my repressed love for the city in general (ti amo, Manhattan) to going to concerts, being a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding, taking finals and regents, even starting a new job, many of life’s large journeys crossed their paths during this time of the year, and I’m on high alert — but in a good way. Therefore, I want to spread the joy and positive energy out there for anything and everything that is to come.

It’s also the month of St. Anthony, the patron saint of miracles and lost things in Catholicism. Whether you’re skeptical or not, this saint has done the impossible for myself and my friends for God knows how long. From helping my great-grandmother during a dangerous childbirth with my grandfather, finding my cousin’s now-husband, and helping me in various aspects of my life, it’s no surprise as to why he’s my favorite saint and beloved intercessor. His feast day is June 13th, a day that is not to be feared because of the modern legend of the number, but to be celebrated and multiplied with positive intent, energy, healing, and love.

Here’s a short *prayer to get the month started and lift your spirits up. May happiness and love fill your heart, and, as the Grateful Dead said, “once in a while you get shone the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Avere un giungo Benedetto!

Caro Dio — Dear Lord,

As we enter this sacred month, help me to remain calm and

be fruitful in all that I do. Help me and assist me, Dear Lord, in

fulfilling my goals and finally obtaining– and regaining– my

heart’s true desires. Let my mind be not troubled, but ever

growing and glowing in grace, knowledge, wisdom, and love. And

thank you, God, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Holy Spirit, thank you,

Blessed Virgin Mary, and thank you, St. Anthony, patron saint

of miracles and returning lost people and items–and all the angels and saints and

ancestors hearing me–for all that has been given and the even

better things that are to come. And so it is– amen.

*this prayer is open to all regardless of religion or faith. Names can be switched out or changed to the participant’s liking.

 

Fort Lauderdale 2017

My best friend Lauren and I went to south Florida for vacation a month ago. While staying in Fort Lauderdale, we dazzled in exploring the city along with Hollywood, Miami Beach, and South Beach. This photo was taken on her iPhone7 at Fort Lauderdale Beach via the Sunrise Blvd. entrance.

via Photo Challenge: Friend

The Power of Meditation & How It Saved Me From a Farce

Buon giorno, everyone! The past month was busy, from my vacation in Florida to preparing materials to enter into another writing contest, but its safe to say I’ll post again daily now. Don’t worry, I knocked on wood to ensure this happens.

One thing that I cultivated more in these past weeks is meditation. One of my best friends is huge on meditation, and her actually meditating on the beach while we were in Florida really inspired me. From enhancing the power of prayer to the energy within myself, I’ve been more in tune lately and am currently using law of attraction exercises to bring me my heart’s desires. It is and isn’t easy — getting into the zone is easier when you truly let go, yet truly letting go is the hard part. The reason why is because its good to use affirmations and visualize your manifestations, yet if you focus too much, it’ll cause friction since the emotions and desired outcome are too attached to one another. After trying a new technique last night, and taking action with the last contest I entered in so far in terms of manifesting my career and lifestyle goals, I’m ready to fully let go and let go. I did let go and let God, and eagerly wait the desired outcome while surrendering my will to the higher power of the universe.

Speaking of God, the universe, or whatever you wish to call it (I use both interchangeably, along with Jesus, Mary, and specific saints since I identify as an open-minded Catholic and call for ancestors on occasion, too), its amazing how the higher power is always looking out for us. The first time I felt the strength and didn’t know it, I was driving and felt something have me take force of my steering wheel and go into the other lane without hesitation. I realized why five minutes later when the car in the other lane nearly collided with the one behind me, who was now parallel to them. The moment of awe, wonder, and “thank you, God” set in as I made it safely to class three years ago. Someone was watching over me and ensured my safety while on the road.

That same moment came to me five nights ago, but I wasn’t on the road traveling; I was in my own house. After a long day of working hard on my General Hospital spec script to submit to the Disney/ABC Writing Program and attempted realization in between, I finally took at break. It was after 10:00 pm, and I went to browse my phone when I noticed I had a missed call. I clicked and saw that 1.) the call was actually from the night before at 12:38 am and 2.) it was a number I didn’t recognize, yet it had my county’s area code. When this happens, its usually a telemarketer or a recruiter. Why a recruiter would call someone after midnight I don’t know, but I have had them message me at 1 am before, and always for, pardon my tongue, bull shit jobs that its obvious I don’t want since I put specifically on my requests “no sales position inquiries.” So I Google the number, as I always do when I receive a call from one I don’t recognize, and I was in shock by what popped up — it was the home number of someone who screwed me over in the past. Her parents’ info came right up; I was shook.

Out of respect, I won’t provide any details other than this person was a horrible friend and was my then-boyfriend’s mistress for the last 10 months of our relationship before I left for the final time and she officially replaced me. My mind might sound biased, but even before all that happened, I knew in my gut she was a bad person because of the things she’d say and do to people. However, I like to see the best in people and hoped it wasn’t true. It took all that plus her throwing her sins onto me and getting people to believe them to fully rip my eyes open. As one of my friends who has an amazing sixth sense said upon meeting her one time, this person is “soulless,” giving off nothing but the worst aura imaginable. That’s why God had me miss that phone call — to protect me from whatever mind games she wanted to play, despite the fact that five years came and went, and she got exactly what she wanted. The last time she bothered me four years ago, and she did it very sneaky since she makes people snap at her and pretends to be the victim, I fell right into her trap and the outcome was not good. I don’t know why she’d call me, but I do know she used that number because she knows I wouldn’t answer if she did on her cell phone. Yet her outcome of causing a farce was not achieved; mine of meditating that night and working hard the following day was, and I didn’t even notice her sad attempt until later.

How did I handle it? Through wisdom — the wisdom I acquired and continue to over the years guided me to block the number to ensure it would never happen again. This is a far cry from the girl I was years ago, who would’ve fallen into the trap of calling back and getting all worked up. As much as I would’ve loved to finally have told her like it is, its not worth it. Her energy is so dark and negative that it would cause nothing but pain, pain I left behind so long ago. I don’t wish her well, and I don’t wish her luck; I forgive her for stealing my life years ago and hope karma does her the justice she deserves, if it hasn’t already.

After blocking the number, I got on my knees and thanked God. I haven’t gotten what I want just yet, but I did prevent myself from dealing with something, someone, that was nothing but wrong. Never underestimated God, the universe, whatever you want to call your deity’s power; True Light only wants what’s best for you.

Have a blessed day and nothing but peaceful energy and vibes 🙂 !

via Daily Prompt: Farce

A Rumination on Self-Awareness

“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

  • Polonius, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare

I’m not here to discuss a dissertation on this famous phrase. Instead, I intend to combat it into a central theme in this blog– self-awareness. While it may be hard to believe, the hardest time we ever have getting to know something isn’t our distant relatives or the lucky person we’re crushing on; its us– ourselves. Why is it so difficult to know yourself? Aren’t just people who are ill solely in this category? Think of it this way– we’re always doing what other people tell us. Whether its our parents, siblings, friends, boss, co-workers, significant other, etc., our role is constantly to please others. Regardless of whether we enjoy catering to others to not, we still space the image of ourselves through everyone else’s eyes except our own. When we don’t take notice of how we act towards ourselves and others, we are not self-aware, although we can be aware of others.

Often times this leads to confrontation, whether minor or major, and we are in denial of our character based on feedback on others. Some of us take a step back and realize the situation, others keep their foot down, refusing to admit guilt. Yet nine times out of ten when we apologize and say “I can change,” we’re not doing it for ourselves, but for others. We’re constantly trying to mold ourselves into other people’s visions rather than our own. In fact, many people find it impossible to visualize themselves without the important people in their life. This is normal and totally understandable, but we must remember that we are more than just so-and-so’s child, friend, partner, employee; we are ourselves, uniquely and beautifully, and no one can take that away from us. Ever.

So how do you become self-aware of who you are? What do you need to do? Step one, and perhaps the hardest step of all, you need to be alone. This is perfect for anyone who is going through a breakup or experiencing death. Does that mean lock yourself up in your room and avoid human contact? No, of course not. It simply means do an activity by yourself– go to the city, the beach, the country, on vacation. Notice how you feel by yourself. What are you craving? What do you want to do that you couldn’t do with others? Give into the cravings and do what you want; eat the pizza, go dancing, swim with dolphins. As long as you don’t hurt yourself or others, do what you must for yourself and have fun with it. Notice how you interact with people; you’ll see some things in yourself you never noticed. A perfect example is if you use kindness, kindness will find its way back. Along with that is also don’t take anyone’s shit. Its no secret that they’re not too fond of Americans in Europe, depending on the country and city/region/town. While my fluency may not be strong, I can speak basic Italian and Spanish, and I fully understand the former. While stopping with friends in Benetton, I simply said excuse me in Italian as I passed a worker. He started laughing at my New York accent, remarking “De nada, de nada,” which means “you’re welcome” in Spanish. I looked at one of my friends and said, “That’s Spanish.” The man remarks giggling like a five-year-old, “No, no its Italian.” He thinks he’s smart.

“So Italiano e so Español,” I remarked. “Un poco– ma io so.”

That means in a combo of the languages that I know Italian and I know Spanish, a little, but I know. His stupid grin faded, and he waltzed off. So what’s the meaning? Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself; get over the fear of looking like what someone else, not your, might see yourself as. You just feel better in the long run and it makes you a stronger person.

That’s Step 1– spend time alone, notice how you interact with people, and be nice but take no shit. Now Step 2– notice yourself around people you usually surround yourself with. Ask and assert these questions: why am I with them? Are we having fun? Are they bringing out the best in me? If you answered “yes” to all those questions, you have no worries; if, however, you answered “no” to the last part, assert yourself with these follow-ups: “Why do we hang out?”, “Are they really trustworthy?,” and “Is there a reason why this relationship is still going?” If you can’t find a positive answered, you need to find different people to hang out with. Scat. This was a problem I had for a long time. I hung around and associated myself with a crew of people who I never truly felt a part of. While they are good people, its no secret that some of them illustrated no qualms about giving hints I didn’t count, either. I have nothing bad to say and won’t demonize them — they have the tendency to be gossip, but, hey, don’t we are. Although they might never realize it, the gossip can come off as two faced and fake. I didn’t like it. Ironically it took getting another now former friend with her issues in the mix for me to see that it was time to go, for I never truly fit in. So I distanced myself. Severely. A year later, I realized maybe I was too hard on them, my means of distance being full of its two-facedness and gossip that I was truly to get away from, and we all reconnected.

The brief reunion with my group from high school was a lot of fun, the most we’d had in years. However, I got the previously mentioned old friend involved, who, despite seeming like an innocent person, inflicts severe damage, harm, and casts a negative aura on all those she associates herself with. I used to blame her for years, though now I realize that she may or may not be bad after all, given the fact that, like my ex, she has a psychological condition that she’ll never get checked out because she’s constantly in denial and believes drugs, alcohol, and gratification from backstabbing others makes all the pain go away. She brings out the worst in everyone and puts them in dangerous situations; it took her leaving me at a bar not in the right state of mind to see this. Yet everyone loves her because of the all the crazy stories they can get out of her, despite the fact that they know that she needs real help from medical professionals and they’re not helping, only enabling her destructive behavior. That’s why I don’t bother with any of them anymore. Only one person from the group, to me the most honest and genuine one, I keep in touch with; the rest? Non proprio — not really. We say “hello” and “goodbye,” or check in on one another once in a while, but that’s about it. Perhaps if she didn’t get involved again, we’d be close again, or maybe not.

The moral of the story is this — this period of my life is a boat, myself and my high school friends the passengers. I never felt part of the group, and would retreat to my cabin (staying away for a year). One day I realized maybe it was too harsh, so I came out, and everything was good again. But then that old friend came along, myself leading her in their direction ironically, as an iceberg, which caused the ship to crash. Unlike everyone else who decided to stay on board and go down because they couldn’t let go or picture themselves off of the ship, I jumped overboard, cast adrift into the ocean, until I found new land (my higher self), and survived. Don’t be afraid to jump ship — you’ll sail adrift for days, months, even years, but there is always land in sight. Something better will come along, or perhaps the past will work itself out when all parties involved are aware and mature in accordance with free will and divine timing. Its also survival of the fittest. You must do what’s best in order to move on. In time, you’ll know it was worth it, and have better people in your life, or realize the good people in your life you used to take for granted all the time. This is a huge step in becoming self-aware.

Now onto step 3– “Journey to the Past (Anastasia reference, sorry I had to), but Don’t Live There.” That past is our biggest teacher in hindsight, but we can’t get too warped up in it. Focus on the mistakes, but don’t linger there; realize what should’ve been done, but also why things are the way they are and realize how its better this way. A perfect example is how I always wanted, and to this day still long a little, to go back to my first two years of high school. I had it all — loads of friends, an amazing boyfriend, good grades and a social life, I was always going out, etc. This was a huge accomplishment for me, especially being a product of formerly strict parents growing up. Everything people do in college, I did in high school, even the dates, although it was with one guy. Yet I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Then years later, reality hit. Friendships died, romance crumbled. I felt so forlorn and longing for the past for so long. It affected me deeply. I dealt with a lot at such a young age and did the best I could. Plain and simple. The romance didn’t work out, the friendship didn’t make it, you didn’t get the job– what’s done is done. Learn from the past, focus on the future, and most of all, live in the present moment. Also, who knows. Maybe people are meant to be in our lives, but at different times then they originally were. We all need time and room to learn, grow, and love at our own paces. Perhaps you’ll meet or hear from them again; others not. But we must live in the present moment, and try our best not to be preoccupied by longing for the future or the past.

Live. That’s the big advice I can give to be self-aware. Live the life you want, not the one others force on you. Reject their force and use your own; choose your own fate. Happiness belongs to those who make it, so get going. The time is now, and there’s no going back, only moving forward.

via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Push It to the Limit: Workout Progress Weeks 1 & 2

Last Wednesday, I began working out for an hour everyday and already notice the changes in my body and mood. I joined the gym at my job, using my one hour lunch to go there where I use a variety of machines, such as weight machines, free weights, elliptical trainers, recumbent stationary bikes (“cycling”), regular gym bikes, and, my favorite, cardio rowing machines, a.k.a “rowers.” I’m not going to lie, the reason why I last so long on those is, besides being comfortable, I feel like I’m in the rowing scene of Ben-Hur and want to succeed even more. Moreover, when not at work or the gym, I use Rebecca-Lousie’s videos on XHIT while at home and walking longer distances as opposed to using the subway when I’m in the city.

In conversation with my best friend, she mentioned, “the first things to go are your boobs and butt.” I admit, I didn’t want to be believe this, I don’t want to, but it’s the first thing I noticed all week. Not the boobs, but the butt; I’ve always had a large chest growing up, even when I was a size 0, so no worries there. My bottom, however, is from all the weight I gained in college, and while I haven’t dropped a pants size or two just yet, I notice the change of fittings in my pants, tights, jeans, etc. My tighes can now breathe in my pajama shorts, and some of my tights are looser than they were back a few weeks. I don’t have to “suck it in” as much to fit in my jeans, and I don’t feel like I have a gut hanging out. Speaking of gut, my stomach feels pulled in more like it was when I was in high school, so much so I got a little concerned. Is this normal? I think to myself, as I waltz down the hallway at my job to my cubicle. Of course it is, its just been so long that I forgot. However, it was not back in the midst of high school when I was this fit– it was mere months ago, from May to November 2016.

Being in Rome for three weeks with no car having to relay on my feet and the metro propelled me to get back into shape. I can home with so much energy I didn’t know what to do with; I actually began to miss mass transit, even though I live right outside of NYC. Therefore, I started working out at home. I began utilizing the abandoned yoga mat and weights I ignored in my room from once to four times a day, usually twice on a workout, and four times on my day off. I also when tanning– the natural way. I went from being Dracula’s daughter to Baywatch golden. Then fall came– not so bad, my going on interviews downtown helped me in terms of being on my toes walking in NYC and on mass transit. I also went on hikes, too. It was winter that killed me– cold weather ruins everything. Yet it couldn’t have come at a worse time, since I was doing Miss New York USA 2017 in January. Oh well, I thought. I’ll just work with what I have. Did I do well? Yes, I did. Did I do my best? No– in fact, I didn’t realize until a month later, I could’ve done much better, in terms of my body. I don’t hate my body, I love it; I just want to be more toned down and healthy, although I refuse to give up my “diet of a 12-year-old boy,” as my aunt calls it, just limit it. Instead of having chicken fingers and fries for lunch everyday, a yogurt and chips will do…at work. Weekends are different, only if its a special occasion, like I’m out with friends or in the city or something. Either way, it couldn’t have come at a better time, since things are tight and after the next fun packed week ahead, I literally can’t spend any money, except on bills. Either way, it’ll all work out– pun definitely intended.

P.S: The “Push It to the Limit” in this title is a spin on the song from Scarface, not the God awful Corbin Bleu movie of the same name. He’s a good actor, but we don’t talk about that. We don’t ever talk about that.

An Epiphany

Recently I posted that I’ll wait to do what I want no matter how long it takes. It’s going to take longer than I thought. Besides participating in an annual mentorship program at work, I’m also getting resume/job hunting help and advice and life coaching from two separate colleagues, one who’s in charge of staffing & recruitment at my job and another who’s my former supervisor. Three people who’re helping me, yet all three have the same advice– don’t give up on your dream. That includes settling for a job I wouldn’t want to do full-time. They, and other colleagues and friends, also advised me to aim for writing jobs and enter contests, which I’m proud of entering NBCUniversal’s Late Night Writers’ Workshop 2017 and can’t wait to enter more. Speaking of which, I know February just started, but I still didn’t hear anything back. If you believe in God, please pray for me, and if you don’t, just send positive vibes over my way. I could really use them right now, because I officially decided to stop applying to jobs that have nothing to do with my dream or end goal. Yup– I made a big decision.

How did such a revelation come about? Three events led me to this conclusion, ironically all three being interviews. The first was the interview for the FT role in my old department, and it was the second interview for the job. I met with the two department heads and felt like I was on The Apprentice during a sunny afternoon. Maybe it was because the room looked like the boardroom of the show, only brighter, or perhaps it was something else. Perhaps it was in that moment they could see the cracks that this is not something I would be happy doing. When asked what I loved about working in my current role, I listed x, y, z, but when asked what I loved about working in my previous one, my acting skills came out, and not that good. For once, I was happy not to get the job, and I found out later on that although they really like me, they knew it was a disservice to them and myself by hiring a highly creative individual in a math heavy role. Happily, it all worked out, and I actually still see them a lot since we all work on the same floor, so its all good.

The second instance was that dreadful experience I encountered last week with that company that could find itself in a lot of trouble if something finds out what’s going on payroll wise. To be conned into a role, especially an internship, which I already have three of under my belt, is a horrible thing. So I decided no more applying to internships unless they’re paid legally and involved in television and/or novel writing. Speaking of which, I just applied to one today, so please wish me luck!

Third strike to make this mindset out? I interviewed for a publishing assistant role yesterday. The title was great, the company was awesome, and the location was a dream come true– right down the block from Grand Central. So what went wrong? I learned the role would only be technical. No room for creative opportunity or growth, apart from making PowerPoints. It was a difficult decision, but after much consideration and thought, I emailed the three lovely women who interviewed me and the recruiter who helped me out a lot by finding me the job in the first place to let them know where I stand. I’m grateful nonetheless, and I am capable of the role, but I want to move away from number and technical heavy roles into more creative ones. I want to be a writer; therefore, I need to write. Write on my blog, write in contests, write for the world, write for myself. And if I’m going to put myself out there, it has to be for only writing roles. Nothing less, only the best. It was a hard decision to come to, and is going to be a difficult road financial wise ahead, but I’m ready for whatever comes at me. Hey, I’ve made it this far, I can surely go farther.

I Just Submitted Poetry to The New Yorker

Words alone cannot express how happy I am. Being a writer with no connection to the business is hard enough, and I know I need to make an effort to put myself out there more. I’ve had poems, pros and photos published before in my university’s literary magazine. Although it wasn’t paid, I’m still nonetheless happy and grateful to get featured. Now that I’m out of school and in the real world, I need to take every change, every opportunity, every silver lining I get. So, I submitted a total of six poems, including two haikus. It says it can take up to six months before I hear back, but it doesn’t matter; I feel accomplished already that I’ve gotten them in.