a LOVEly Day

February 14th is traditionally celebrated between lovers and amongst friends. In early 2014, my journey towards healing began. That year, I spent Valentine’s Day hiking to the Hollywood sign and found a beautiful rock left by XoXo NONO — NONO Facebook. I found it  when I most needed affirmations from the Universe.

That Valentine’s Day marked the beginning of a celebration of self-love for me. As simplistic as it may seem, that was when I first realized that one cannot fully love others until self-love is achieved.

Today and everyday, let us celebrate self-love!

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Reflections and a New Year

2015.

The beginning of a new year leads one to reflect on the past year.  On New Year’s Eve I visited Fern Dell Nature Center to quietly contemplate 2014.

Surrounded by the smell of fern, the sight of hummingbirds, the sound of running water, and the feel of warm rays of the sun on my skin epitomized a perfect place for thought and reflection.

2014 was a year of transformation.  In order for one to grow, things have to change.   While 2014 did not start off as a piece of cake for me, halfway through the year, and with a lot of work – things got better.

I am so proud of my health: mind, body and spirit. Perseverance, resilience, and taking the time to get to know myself and fall in love with who I am and am becoming are all I could’ve asked for in 2014.

**Sending you warm hugs and happy wishes. Happy New Year!**

 

I leave you with some images I took while at Fern Dell.

fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara fern dell, dear xiomara

 

 

Holiday Party (of One)

Soft blankets, hot cocoa, rainy days, holiday lights, and fuzzy socks. That’s what comes to mind when I think about winter, particularly, December.

Along with the coziness found in homes on chilly winter evenings come cheery, almost always fun filled holiday parties.

This year, my job’s holiday party invite was sent out via email. I excitedly RSVPed immediately. As the date neared, I occasionally checked the list of confirmed guests. As more people replied yes, one thing became obvious — almost every single person had a plus one.

____ + 1 (my husband)

____ +1 (my partner)

…and on it went.

On the days leading up to the party, I became mildly obsessed with this idea that everyone was taking a +1. And yes, saying Everyone is a cognitive distortion.

Let’s take a moment to rationalize that thought: some people are in relationships and are taking a plus one. Others, however, are going solo, just like you.

That symbol and number led me to spend some time thinking about my current relationship status: single.

I made a cross-country move while being in a long distance relationship with an individual living in the city I was relocating to. I was starting over in a new place. I had left several things behind: friendships, a job  — an entire life I had spent 5 years creating.

The difficult reality of relocating hadn’t fully hit me and a big reason was because I had someone there.

My life revolved around work, him, and reconnecting with family and some friends. Along with ridding myself of many physical belongings when I moved, so did the powerful traits that once defined me shed away.  Transplant amnesia took over as I completely forgot about the passionate, empowering activities I had spent years committed to that truly defined me. And, I was okay with that because I was in love.

After the break up I took care of my self, focused on positivity, cognitive behavioral therapy, and self-love. Slowly, I began to find myself again and find meaning in my life outside of my partner.

Now, months later, I know and am truly happy taking care of myself by myself.  I have once again dedicated my hours and days to fighting for a better, more just world.

I have set short and long term goals and have regained confidence, self-esteem, and levels of productivity. I have become a better person by prioritizing my needs and wants.

Currently, I stand in a place of compassion and self-care, where I am becoming a better version of myself. Along the way, I have created unimaginable amazing experiences and fostered even stronger relationships with others – all which would have not been as achievable if I had not had the opportunity to blossom.

So, tomorrow is my work’s holiday party. Tomorrow, I will go as a RSVP without the +. Tomorrow, however, I will also spend the entire day prior to the party engaging in empowering work that has provided me a space to find myself once again and develop my own life. A life independent of another person, i.e. a man; a life where I am building myself; a life filled with experiences that have transformed me, built my confidence, and surrounded me with love.

My First Singing Bowl

Ten Thousand Villages  (http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/) is a fair trade retailer ten thousand villageswith locations across the United States. Though there is one in California, I recently learned about this nonprofit during my visit to Lincoln, Nebraska. I decided to go for a walk on a windy afternoon and found this cute shop down the block from the hotel where I was staying.

As I walked through the store I was overwhelmed by the beautiful handmade pieces of art and knew instantly I would own something from this place. Then I saw them: the most singing bowls I have ever seen in one place!

ten thousand villagesI recently created a meditation altar in my apartment and soon after thought about having a singing bowl to use for meditation. Though I had never heard one or seen one in person the thought of a singing bowl for my altar stuck with me. Then, I found one at my yoga studio — it was the the first singing bowl I had ever seen and held.

At Ten Thousand Villages, I was excited about the beautiful fair trade singing bowls made in Nepal. I asked the employee for a free demonstration and was amazed by the sounds it produced and the simplicity with which she “played” them.

my first singing bowl

I looked at the price tag and gasped — $99 for the bigger singing bowls and $50 something for the smaller ones. I looked at them and thought, I gotta sleep on it. All night I thought about the singing bowls, read up on singing bowls, and checked prices on Amazon.com. An important point that stood out from my reading was that one must “bond” with the singing bowl — choose the one that feels right. So, I returned to the store the next day and saw a particular singing bowl sitting there and knew that was the one. I played it and could not believe the ease with which I did so. I played a few others, but for some reason could not play them the way I played the one — I knew that was mine. I took the singing bowl home along with a sandstone sculpture of a dancing couple and some sandalwood incense. I was eager to land in Los Angeles and place my recent acquisitions on my meditation altar.

A meditation altar is ever evolving. It’s a place where I go to seek peace, solace, comfort, and love. Creating a mediation altar in my home has been one of the greatest ways in which I have created a calming space. My first singing bowl is a beautiful addition to my altar.

I am a loving being who exudes love, positivity, and peacefulness. I am grateful for who I am. 

my first singing bowlmy first mediation altar

 

 

 

Nebraska Nice

Xiomara Project

I have lived in Los Angeles and New York City — with that said, the idea of going to Nebraska for a few days was somewhat amusing. However, I left the state of Nebraska with many happy memories and a desire to go back again! (I am secretly hoping my currently nonexistent kids go to the University of Nebraska so I can go to the football games haha).

I flew into Omaha, Nebraska and then made the hour long drive to Lincoln, Nebraska. I stayed in the Haymarket area and was surprised by the cuteness of the area. I left four picture frames around Nebraska and am sure they brightened up someone’s day!

The highlight of my trip was finding a fair trade store where I purchased my first singing bowl (will post about this separately). Please enjoy some shots I took in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Also, to any Nebraskans out there — thank you for the hospitality. They call it Nebraska Nice for a reason!

I am grateful for the opportunity to visit a new place and meet wonderful human beings. 

Xiomara Project
Belly rubbing for good luck :p
xiomara project
First frame left in Nebraska
xiomara project
Can you spot the frame?

xiomara project

xiomara project

 

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!

dearxiomara.com
dearxiomara.com
dearxiomara.com

dearxiomara.com