Japan 2017: A New Year’s Celebration

After living in New York City for several years, I decided to _mg_7251move “back home” (home state) in order to be able to travel more. Moving back came with it’s challenges, but I am so grateful that after three years of being in California, my aspirations to travel materialized into reality. I spent a week in Japan at the end of December. I started my trip in Tokyo, went to Kyoto for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s, and ended my trip in Tokyo.

I hope to spend the next couple of weeks sharing videos and photos of my time in Japan.

15875319_10106431583906116_2879783256546506677_oOn New Year’s Day I went to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Thousands of people from all over Japan and the world travel to Kyoto on New Year’s Day to welcome the new year. Throughout Kyoto, the day is filled with visits to temples and shrines, prayers, fortune telling, traditional dance performances, and at this particular temple, a hike up the mountain to reach the shrine that sits at the summit.

I joined thousands of people as they hiked up one of the most memorable mountain hikes I have experienced.


It’s 2016!

I am so excited for 2016! After several weeks of rest and relaxation I am ready to begin working again.

Since I will be engaging in my regular work/grad student/multiple forms of activism schedule, it will be important to take some time to slow down and practice self-care.

Reminder to practice self-care every day of every year
Hiking helps me connect with nature and myself


A Great Moment

I have had an amazing week. I’ve reconnected with several friends I met in NYC and haven’t seen in several years.

On Thursday, I went to the beach with a friend.


As I laid there taking in the late afternoon sun rays I felt bliss and gratitude for the opportunity to feel the wonders of nature underneath my body.

I keep reminding myself that living in the moment means acknowledging what’s happening in the present and observing it while being detached. It’s the good events I then immerse myself in, fill my heart with love, and express ultimate gratitude to the Universe for being able to experience a great moment in my life.


Today, I am having a good day.  Right now, I am happy.


I recently learned depression is tied to events that occurred in the past. Anxiety on the other hand is tied to events that have not yet occurred.

The problem with depression is that the past has already happened and it’s essential to learn to let it go. The problem with anxiety is that a person gets all worked up by events that have not even happened yet.

This has helped me understand the idea behind mindfulness. Living in the moment, being in the moment,  appreciating the present moment for all it is — especially when everything is fine.

Being present in the moment has been a key goal of mine. Mindfulness combined with my goal to focus on the happiness in my life made it possible for me to have a beautiful and wonderful day.

Today,  I reached out to people, learned about their lives, gave a caring hug to someone, and laughed a lot. I was open, fun,  free spirited, and genuinely human.

I am so proud of the amount I accomplished today and am grateful for the opportunity to live a wonderful day.


I am happy today!

Whirlwind & Instagram

I have been missing in action because shortly after my trip to Nebraska I went to Chicago for a few days and soon after to Las Vegas. The trips were both eventful and I will write about each one in another post. For now, I want to write about the insane crash I experienced as a result of these trips — mostly because on these trips I was constantly surrounded by people, constantly socializing, partying, and having fun.

When I arrived home from Las Vegas at 4 am on Sunday, I was relieved to know I would finally be home for a few weeks before summer takes a break ’til next year. However, I also began to experience loneliness. On Tuesday and Thursday I fell into a dark hole and struggled to crawl out of it. I happened to have a therapy appointment this week and am so grateful for that visit. I identified some of my triggers  and my homework over the next two weeks is to focus on the happiness in my life.

Today, I went to yoga and after class ordered a large Jamba Juice with a gift card I had received. I sat in the sun and read a few chapters from Law of Attraction before my parking meter expired. It was the most beautiful moment of the day! I was so happy, calm, and at peace. I continually told myself, ” Xiomara, it’s OKAY to be happy.” I am working to want happiness, expect happiness, and realize that happiness is the norm.

So, I will be posting on Instagram @dearxiomara.xo a picture (or two) a day of everyday happiness. Follow me on Instagram! #everydayhappiness

This Will Be a Great Weekend

During my medical leave I was in intensive group therapy (15 hours/week of therapy). At that time I began to read Feeling Good by David Burns on advice from my therapist. Dr. Burns writes about “the weekend blues”. Apparently, it is very common for people to feel sad on the weekends. My Dr. said I probably feel lost since the weekends are unstructured.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I usually dread weekends. Even when I have awesome plans to do fun things on Saturday or Sunday I have difficulty doing anything. I took 30 mg of sleeping pills last night and that barely helped. I woke up on Saturday morning thinking ahhh….I just want to feel good and have a great weekend.  So this is what I told myself as I found the courage to get up:

Dear Xiomara, 

You are wonderful! Today is going to be a great day! Wake up, make yourself a nice cup of coffee, wear something cute, spend time with family, connect with nature, and do something to inspire others to change the world. Be grateful for your beautiful apartment, for the beautiful sunlight, and for being an independent woman who is providing for herself. Plus, you will get to visit a new state in a few days and that alone is super exciting. Smile! You are loved!

<3, me

So, I woke up, washed dishes, made a cup of coffee, and put on a Pitbull concert I recorded — ’cause — yes, I love Pitbull (his music not his politics). I am happily sipping away my coffee and watching a Pitbull concert at 10 am haha. Yay to a great weekend! And since I know that connecting with people is a big part to feeling good I am picking up my little sister who coincidentally asked me to help her write a resume. We are having a sleep over and tomorrow we are going on a hike and to the planetarium. My goal is to set goals for the weekend and follow through!

I am grateful for a beautiful, sunny day. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with my family and for having the knowledge to assist my sister achieve her goals!






A Tropical Vacation

I thought it’d be fun to go on (what I am calling) a tropical vacation in my own city. A big part of feeling good is spending time with friends. I am so grateful that Tuesday and Wednesday I had a lot of fun with some special friends. We hiked, had a beach party, spent time at happy hour, and had a jacuzzi party!

Often, depression sucks all the energy out of us and it’s important to get up, get out, and do something! Even when an idea seems great it is so easy to make excuses and stay home instead. When this happens to me I tell myself, “Xiomara, get up and DO SOMETHING!

Connecting with nature, doing something active like going for a walk or a hike, and making the extra effort to reconnect with friends will make you feel better — I know it makes me feel good. With that said, I would like to share pictures taken over two fun and happy days I had this week!

Xiomara Project
Photographing the first frame I placed!
Xiomara Project
Spreading love on a hike
Xiomara Project
Returning love to mother nature ❤
A beautiful afternoon
A beautiful afternoon


Loving my tropical vacation

P.S.  Thanks, friends for some fun times! 😀