Don’t Let It Happen To You!


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Dear Readers,

I hope this post finds you and your family well, and  in a good place.

The New Year opened with grim news and mass hysteria for immigrants and minorities in America. I can only imagine the panic resonating among the refugees still waiting for their chance to come to America. A distraction was very much welcomed. For the entire month of January, I challenged myself to promote only positive and uplifting messages on social media, especially Facebook. Now, before the wheels start churning, my posts are generally positive; however, when I see instances of social injustices, discrimination in any form, police brutality etc, I will get out my soap box. The posts typically garner a bit of attention and discussion. Anyway, I digress, back to the matter at hand! Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite messages from the challenge. I guess it resonated with me because I’ve dedicated the rest of my life, however long that is, to ensuring it is full, in every way possible.

Take a look again at Anne’s message above. Does it urge you pursue the type of life you want to live, with wild, passionate, and fearless abandon? God, I hope so! I’m fully aware how ridiculously easy it is to get caught up in “doing stuff”; dreams are hard to chase, when we are furiously paddling beneath the surface, to stay above water. The timing isn’t convenient. My friends, it never is. As I have said before, one day, we will wake up, and realize there isn’t enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. Whatever your circumstances, and however this message reaches you, please don’t let this happen to you. Take steps, regardless of how small. Please, try not to get overwhelmed by the obstacles which persists on every step towards the destination. The only way you can fail, is if you fail to try. Focus on the journey instead, and how magical and glorious it can be.

I’m fast approaching my 6th anniversary as a blogger. Chindeepinlife will become a Blook; some of the most well liked, popular, and searched-for posts, will appear in its pages. The Blook is currently in the editing process, and it’s so difficult to choose! Watch this space. I remain grateful for you, my audience, for allowing me this platform, on which I’ve grown, thrived, and hopefully provided you succor in your time of need!

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

I Am Me.


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In the recent past, I’ve discovered, and fell in love with a few authors. They give new meaning to the word FABULOUS.  I’m drawn to the ways in which they express themselves. Raw. Unapologetic. Authentic. Below is another piece from the incomparable Janne Robinson. I see so much of myself in the words and phrases below. I make no apologies for how I feel. You shouldn’t either.

If you’re either easily offended or prudish, with all the kindness and respect I can convey here, it’s best if you carry on, now.

This is for the women who don’t give a f**k. The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it. The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite. The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.

This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.

The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance. The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the f**k out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart. This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.

The women who swear like truck drivers. The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability. The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name. The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.

Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.

Who use “no” to be in service for themselves. Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish. For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.

This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded. These are the women I want around me.

Whoever you are. However you choose to express your truth. Live it. Love it. Celebrate who you are!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Sit Down!


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Despite Gabby Douglas’s phenomenal history making performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, her accomplishments since then, and now with the Final Five US Women Gymnastics’ team  in Rio, trolls still managed to find ways to bully her. First they attacked her hair (in this case, her edges), then vilified her, for not placing hand over heart, during the medal ceremony.

I find it incredibly troubling to note, the vicious and demeaning “nappy hair” comments started within the black community. One that Gabby and I belong to. As a side note, the majority of black women, are known for being overly concerned, intensely preoccupied, and incredibly vain, when it comes to their hair. Upkeep is expensive, but sometimes other responsibilities take a back seat to the beauty shop. Hair must always slay! By any means necessary. It is not uncommon for some women to sacrifice health (cut exercise), to keep up a certain look.

I also think it’s incredibly distressing, that the same people who have been marginalized, oppressed, and discriminated against, would take it upon themselves to initiate the attacks. I expected only the loudest cheers of support and praise. Nothing  less. The Olympics is a sporting event, NOT a hair show.  I was, however, encouraged by celebrities who used their star power, to publicly offer encouragement and support, at a time when she desperately needed it.

Next, other groups started attacking Gabby for her supposed lack of patriotism. The ignorance was loud and deafening. Not every athlete at Rio (or any other Olympics) placed hand over heart during the American anthem. Some did, others laughed, cried, smiled, stared into the unknown. It’s common for hands to be either in front, or at the sides. As a litmus test example, one American soldier, Sam Kendricks, stopped in the middle of his Pole Vault performance, and stood at attention, when the anthem started playing. No hand was placed over heart. He didn’t have to.

I’m inclined to think medaling in any event as big as the Olympics, often elicits a paramount of emotions. No one should be judged, by how they respond while the anthem is being played. Now, total disrespect, is a horse of a different color. There is NO law or practice to dictate what to do during this time. My heart went out to her, as she fought back tears during an interview, where she was asked to address the trolling.

I’m also at a loss as to why everyone cannot simply enjoy THIS moment in history. The Final Five is now the most successful, and decorated female gymnastics team ever. A truly amazing feat. One that deserves the highest levels of respect, appreciation, and admiration. Sadly, there is always the “special attention seeking few” who choose to cloud an accomplishment.

To the ones who participated in this inexcusable behavior, I hope you’re all proud of yourselves! No one will remember you, BUT, they will remember the achievements of these fabulous young women, Gabby included! I am sure Gabby doesn’t need me to defend her. No. I think she is quite capable of standing up for herself. One doesn’t get to where she is, and not have a few life affirming experiences, with which to battle the storms.

For all the haters, detractors, trolls, negative Nancy’s; have a seat! As a matter of fact, have several. Stay in your own lane. The fact that you would publicly attack someone you’ve never met,  who worked so hard to help her country win, became a role model to millions of girls in the process, and focus on something so trivial like her hair style, says more about you, than it could ever do about her. You are a troll. Plain and simple. So, how many medals have you won for your country? My guess is NONE.

Let’s say for argument’s sake, Gabby, or anyone else, decides to wear their hair curly, straight, kinky, braided etc. What exactly did she do wrong? Her hair didn’t get in the way of winning. Consider for a moment, if that was your daughter on the world’s biggest sporting stage. The pressure to do well is not for the fainthearted. She won. However, people who don’t know her personally, have begun attacking her for no reason. Doesn’t feel good with the shoe on the other foot, now does it? Society is constantly telling us, we’re not good enough. On the contrary, we are. Always have been. Always will.

Furthermore, the next time you decide to write negative and offensive statements, whether it’s about Gabby or someone else, PLEASE, have a long look in the mirror, and figure out how you got to this point. The rest of us, don’t want any part of what you’re selling. You might get attention for fifteen minutes, but very soon, you’ll be seen for what you are.  Remember, you’ll catch a lot more flies with honey, than vinegar.

Gabby has accomplished MORE than half of you put together, in your lifetimes. Besides being a three-time gold medal Olympic champion, she has released a memoir.  Landed a reality show. Created her own leotard clothing line. This year, Barbie launched The Gabby Douglas doll.  On a side note, when this post was published, news broke that Gabby has been tapped as a judge, on the Miss America 2017 pageant. I’m willing to bet the accolades and accomplishments doesn’t end there.

Gabby is a role model for every young girl, sat at home, watched the Olympics, and dreamt of representing her country (not necessarily in gymnastics). Millions of us are immensely proud of her efforts. In 2012, she was th BEST in the world! This time around she still managed to help Team USA win gold, again. Little girls who most likely turned to their mothers, with sparkling, wide-eyed innocence, and asked “Mom, can I do that?”, to which came the response “Of course you can baby. And one day you will!”

Gabby, I hope you’re too busy writing the next phase of your life, to bother giving a spearing thought to any of these detractors. Continue to show the world just how great you are.  And long after you’ve retired from gymnastics, you’ll still be blazing trails. I know being in the public eye, and having your every move scrutinized, can’t be easy. Sadly, people think its open season to hide behind their keyboards, and become instant experts on every and anything.

You’re a BADASS. Entrepreneur. Author. Role Model. Olympic Champion. You will ALWAYS have these things to look back on. No one can take them away from you. Happily, it’s not the only label that defines you. We think you’re strong, capable, gracious, and resilient.

So carry on. Get up and own it. We are all cheering for you. Because..”Still You Rise”

Until the next post,

Best,

 

Juan

Freedom Is Not Free.


 

aphiliprandolph212163America celebrated Independence yesterday. All around the city of Brooklyn, people came out with the familiar celebratory BBQ  get up; food and drinks to feed a small army, grills, loud music, and of course, family, friends, and loved ones, to mark the nation’s annual tradition. Amidst the flurry of activity, I couldn’t help but reflect on what makes us truly free. Can we be truly free of any and everything?

Rhetorical question, yes. There will always be a crisis to handle, problem to solve, and some part of our world to be put to right. Isn’t life a constant changing of the guards from one problem to another? If we are to grow and learn from experience, then these challenges are necessary, right? Isn’t this what those self-improvement guru’s want us to believe? I have also blogged about the need to remain steady and firm in the face of difficulties.

My thoughts then turned to the things I can control. My actions and how much they impact my future happiness. There is no personalized life book that comes with any of us at birth. We make what we think is the best decision, and hope for the right outcome.  I guess I can only look back now, at the battles the past few years, and ponder heavily on how one decision changed the course of my life. Forever.

Stay with me.

The year started out with major disappointments. Two days in, and the bad news opened like flood gates. Adding to the existing string of difficult issues already being tended to. They kept coming. Granted, I have to accept and appreciate all the good. The small and big moments of happiness, that have help me through the most difficult few years of my life. Some of which have been noted on my Earth strong post. You can’t have the great without the struggle. The only prayer I offer up these days is one of hope, for things to turn around.

I used to attend church regularly. Served the members of my congregation in every capacity possible. Did all the right things. For a very long time. Somewhere along the line, all that changed. As a result of one decision. Call it the consequences of veering off the path, or some type of karmic shift, I don’t know, but the ensuing years have been very harsh. I was free to make this decision, but not free of the consequences. No one ever is. Freedom does come at a cost. Always.

I’m writing my memoir. It is a project I’ve started and stopped many times. Why a memoir? I mean, everyone has a story, but not everyone is sharing it with the world. You WILL understand, once it’s published. I’ve abandoned all completion timelines. The story needs to be written and accurately. However, it is coming. Months or years from now, it will come.

When you get to a certain age, for all intents and purposes, it appears you must go through a few years of extreme hardship. I’m aware some people have more. Whether it’s the loss of an important relationship, financial downfall, home, or anything that means something. I remain grateful to the universe though, for the things, experiences, and good, wholesome people I’ve been blessed to cross paths with.

I hope this refiner’s fire I am going through leads to something glorious. Since I no longer hold many of the beliefs about Deity I used to, I only have to believe the universe is preparing me for an elevation of gigantic proportions. I also hope whatever karmic debt I owed in my previous life, will soon be repaid. Then there is the question of whether or not, I ever owed any “debts” to speak of.

I hope the struggles of the past few years continue to strengthen my battle weary shoulders. Among my friends, I’m always admired for qualities such as fortitude, resilience, and inspiration. Sometimes I get tired of the fight. Don’t you? Tired of having to keep a brave face all the time. A partner once told me : ‘You’re strong woman, you don’t need anyone’. Sadly, he failed to recognize underneath all the strength, is a woman who wished he would see the silent battles I fought. Another time and universe I guess.

I also know, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten (Tony Robbins). My heart and soul hungers to be free of so much. I’m working on it. I think it’s time to make life a whole lot simpler. Continue working on my bucket list….I hate that phrase, but it applies for now

I hope wherever you are, and however this post reaches you, life has been kind to you. I hope you and your family are well, and happy. I wish you enough. Of everything.

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

REIKI LEVEL 11 CERTIFIED (updated)


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22/03/2016 Update: I’ve now completed Reiki Level 11. Happy Days. Since embarking on this journey, something incredibly fascinating, and almost unbelievable, has happened to me. People not meant to be in my life, have disappeared. Let me explain; all contact and communication in every form, has abruptly stopped. I even tried communicating one more time. Nothing happened. Initially, I was very bothered by this, as people generally want to be around me. Hurt even, as they were people I welcomed with warmth, into my life. The answer came to me after a little while: “this is what you ask for every time you perform a self-treatment. You ask the universe to direct the energy for your highest good. The trouble is, I’ve never specifically asked or set any intention around people. I’m still coming to terms with this. The journey has only just begun.

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Oh! What an incredible spiritual journey this year has been! And there is so much left of it! I completed my Level 1 Reiki course almost a month ago. In Level 1, you’re invited to schedule your attunement (the ability to perform Reiki  on yourself and others). I decided to wait until the recommended post attunement – 21 day period of self treatments, post a before writing about it.

In the course forum, I noticed some have completed the entire Master course in 45 days. I plan on taking twice as long. I just became certified at the first level. Before moving on, I plan on immersing myself in all the knowledge I can get my hands on. I’ve already read three E books on the subject. I’m more than hooked:). I’m now halfway through Level II

We have an online community where you can share your experiences, ask questions, and access resources. Students have shared experiences of having visions, all over body tingling, being connected with love ones etc during the attunement. I wondered what mine would be like. The Master/teacher gives you all six levels of  attunement at once. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical that someone in another country, thousands of miles away, could make me feel anything. I was so wrong. Very wrong.

I think some things should remain sacred, so I’ve since removed the description of the sensations and feelings I had during the process. I laid in bed for almost ten minutes after, as I wanted to savor the experience for as long as I could. I supposed I needed such a vivid attunement, as I could be very skeptical. I was in awe of what had transpired. Today, I’ve got a headache, and a bit of nausea, but I supposed this is the body detoxing itself. I’m so grateful I found Reiki at this time, as there are so many other stresses in my life. Or maybe it’s the Reiki who found me. Thank you very much Lisa, and everyone for sharing your own attunement experiences. Love and light to all”

As part of the process, you’re expected to go through a detox, mainly of emotions, which results in physical symptoms. One can expect healing from trauma, abuse, negative energy etc. Depending on how blocked your chakras are, you experience the detox differently. In the days that followed, and up to this point, while performing the self treatments, it was confirmed to me, Reiki was going where it’s supposed to.

Every time I perform a meditation and self treatment, I can’t tell you how many times I can feel the energy vibrating and extending all over my body. It is especially powerful when I linger over my heart chakra. There have been so many burdens I’ve carried, past hurts held onto. Toxic and negative emotions that were holding me prisoner, and preventing me from attracting the right people and things into my life. I know this now.

Its worth mentioning, that I used to have a restless energy… I would lay awake for hours, trying to fall asleep. Ever since my attunment, as soon as I’m finished with my self treatments, sleep comes naturally and quickly. Every day, I find myself repeating the Five Principles several times, as the temptations and distractions come it. Guess what? It works!

This year, if I don’t accomplish anything more than  peace of mind, extending forgiveness, and having a balanced life, I’ll be more than happy. I didn’t plan for this stage of my life. It somehow has found me. In my daily actions, I find myself becoming more kind, more tolerant, more loving. I honestly cannot wait to see where I am a year from now.

 

Until the next post,

 

Love and light,

 

Juan

I Rise. I Grind.


 

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Recently, I blogged about how good things were going for me. For the first time in a long time, this girl was content and happy. Well, as it always does, life happens. Two weeks ago tomorrow, I was brought to a place I’ve never been before. Never envisioned. I visited several dark places. There was no one there to welcome me, give directions, or show me the way out. It was just me. With my thoughts and fears. Off in the distance, very far away, I did catch glimpses of the dreams I have, and if it wasn’t for those glimpses, I would still be in the dark place.

I returned for the results of an MRI and CT. I had an aneurysm. As the Neurologist read the results and my options, I looked to my left. I was curious about how the receiver was taking the news. Unfortunately, it was just me, and the junior doctor in training. And the Neurologist certainly wasn’t facing him. I sat in stunned silence, staring at the man whose lips were moving. All I heard was, “You have an 8-9mm aneurysm. Because of your age and its size, you’ll be meeting with an MDT team to discuss surgery, which is risky and invasive”.

I mean, how could this be? I initially went to see the doctor for dizziness. At the worse, I thought medication would be prescribed, and at the very least, it would be controlled. I had prepared myself for some type of tumor, which can be removed. Even hearing early onset of some disease, was expected. Instead, I was told that the older I get, my risk of a stroke increases. The doctor must have seen the supersize struggle I was having, as I fought the urge to cry. He offered an apology for the news, and his voice grew softer, and more compassionate. He wasn’t just giving a result, he was talking to someone, who didn’t expect this news. It was big.

I never wanted to fall into my mother’s arms more than I did then. Unfortunately, she is on another continent. Was there any good news in all this? The aneurysm hadn’t grown between scans, which meant it was stable. In addition, he told me that if I ever felt I was having the worse headache of my life, it was a sign it had ruptured. Medical treatment must be sought immediately. I’m almost positive I had one of those headaches in the recent past. In addition, the condition was caught in time, so it can be dealt with.

I knew I needed prayers. I wasn’t convinced that mine would be enough. No, I needed a small army to offer up supplications to the Lord. On my behalf. So I did something, I’ve never done on social media. I asked for prayers. The outpouring of support was immediate, and overwhelming. Almost two weeks later, almost 100 people have reached out to me, through messages, phone calls, texts and offers to pray for me. I felt supported. I hope the big man is listening.

So now what? I don’t know. All I know is the what ifs are very scary. I also know that I am a very resilient person, and even if I am in uncharted territory, the only thing I can do is push on. To live and do the same things I had planned before I learned of this terrible news. To always have a powerful prayer in my soul asking for the God in Heaven to spare me. And if this is not his will, to give me strong shoulders.

There are many things I want to do. Adventures to have. People to meet and help. Volunteer projects to take part in. Dreams to come through. Clients to help overcome barriers. An aging mom to take care of. Reunions to attend. Books to write. Pretty Muddy events to run. Home to buy. A business to run. History to explore. Charities to start. Loves to discover. The wonders of the world to visit. Hot balloon rides to take. The list is far from exhaustive.

I don’t plan on hiding away, feeling sorry for myself. The first week was the hardest. I cried, and cried some more. I even questioned, why, at a time in my life, when I was doing so good, this should happen. Then I sobered up, put on my big girl panties and got on with it. I still have days when I wrestle with huge decisions. Days when the darkness comes knocking on the doors of my fears. Days when I wished it was something else. Anything other than this. Please.

Self pity will not destroy my spirit, eat away at my soul, and erode my dreams. I do need prayers. I’m not giving up on my dreams. Quite the opposite. If God brings me to it, he will bring me through it. Sometimes, things happen in our lives, because HE wants us to move in a certain direction.

I will do a lot of things differently. For every breath I take, another soul is taking their last. While this year has carried with it, the most challenging times of my life,  there have been some fantastic memories. I can’t and won’t forget them. Each day I rise. I will grind.

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan