Y2 – Day 188 – True Identity

Life varies its stories. Time changes everything, yet what is truly valuable – what is worth keeping – is beyond time. – Ruth Senter

We are emotionally attached to our identities that we give to ourselves that society labels us with.  Our true identity, our authentic self, is not our ego.

The ego invites you into a ‘story’ and keeps you away from the vulnerable, welcome and open self.  It is a self-imposed prison that the world abides and ascribes pain to.

You have to be willing to let go of who you are, thought you were and believe you should be.  And if I truly know who I am, your attacks will not bother me, what you think of me will not matter.

How do we get there?  With Love, our ‘stories’ dissolve and we do not focus on problems, your body becomes a teaching instrument and the accumulation of your mean, erroneous thoughts disappear.

My life on this spiritual journey has been a series of letting go of ‘my’ identities.  It is a matter of holding on to roles that bind us or surrendering to what is.

Our radiance is sweet and Grace brings us back home.

“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step back into safety.”  Abraham Maslow

Y2 – Day 187 – Separate?

“Our lives improve only when we take chances ~
 and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
Walter Anderson

Acknowledge the Now, as it is, claim it and allow grace to course through you.  Control is about perpetuating the past or fearing the future.  There is no room for the present if you are living in the past or waiting on expected outcomes.

Be considerate of self when you are suffering.  Ask What is Hurting?  Bring the darkness to the light.  Is there a sense of safety in your darkness?  It is YOUR darkness that you have come to know after all.  Is there guilt or shame attached to it?  It is our work to feel the fear behind the anger, judgment or pain.  We have disenfranchised ourselves – How do we connect again?

It is our responsibility to lessen the harshness towards ourselves.

It is up to us to remove the separateness.

Is it possible to see yourself not as separate?  What is it in you that compels you to pursue a spiritual path?

It takes courage and dedication to pursue a relationship with Goddess, the Creative Force and others.

In order to fulfill my purpose on earth, I need to shift my attention away from controlling others, getting my way, to disciplining myself. – me

Y2 – Day 186 – Start with Yourself

Kind words are jewels that live in the heart and soul and remain as blessed memories years after they have been spoken – Marvea Johnson

Compassion, forgiveness and basically all derivatives of Love begin with me.

Kind words spoken into my head, non-judgmental thoughts and living in the here and now, elevates my self-worth, self-respect and nurtures me.

We cannot see or give to another what we don’t see or give to ourselves.  You spot it.  You got it.

I am what I identify with.  I project what I want to see.  It is time to dissolve illusion, empower you and claim the goodness within.

When in despair, believing in the unthinkable, remember Love.

Give up your attack thoughts onto yourself and others and you will free yourself from judgment and find inner peace.  We tend to distance, push or pull away from those that touch us with truth and do them, a disservice and ourselves, as well.

Love is the virtue of the heart.  Sincerity is the virtue of the mind.  Courage is the virtue of the spirit.  Decision is the virtue of the will.  – Frank Lloyd Wright – from the organic commandment, 1940

Y2 – Day 185 – Exotica and Lilies

Dazzling yellow lilies lend sunshine to a back drop of dark mauve tulip anthuriums and deep brown fern curls.  The stunning and happy display is abundant in radiance with the long star-shaped Asiatic lilies and the exotic Hawaiian heart-shaped blooms and unusual, magical fronds.

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. –Henry Ward Beecher

Y2 – Day 184 – Simple Goddess Traits

The Goddess Within

The authentic woman is a goddess.

The 12 Qualities of an authentic goddess on her lifetime journey are:

Patience – A real woman allows others the dignity to process and respond at their pace. She knows how to open up her own individual channels processing from the intellectual/mind Chakra 6 to the Heart/emotions Chakra 4.   She accomplishes this via chakra 5/throat/communication/expression.  And, again, permitting others to do the same for themselves.

Service – being there for each other – recognizing the goddess in another trying to come through.  The authentic, real goddess is there to guide, listen to the 5th chakra/expression of another and mirror the information back, with tenderness, so they can each gently grow on their path.  She is also available to be of service to another so they can also reap the rewards and pleasure of giving back to her.

Health – physical and mental states are consistently and constantly re-evaluated and improved according to circumstances and age – setting boundaries and knowing their own limits, goddesses take good care of themselves therefore they have a clear understanding of self which is required and explored.  If a goddess needs therapy, help, assistance or motivation, she goes and gets it.  No excuses.

Spiritual – A goddess seeks and pursues soul fulfillment in any and every form.  She lives as much as possible in the moment and remembers, as much as possible, she is LOVE.

Teachable – The genuine goddess is open and willing to change.  She is free to adapt and to see all sides.

Generosity – A bona fide goddess believes in universal abundance. Her mentality springs hopefulness to all and encouragement is her middle name.

Awareness – A goddess comes to a place of acceptance even and especially with her own defects of character, ever improving.  She takes action and responsibility for wrongdoings, flaws and her own idiosyncrasies, seeing herself in reality and as one, whole goddess who still needs to work on herself and can never become complacent.

Joy – The glow of the goddess is her Passion, her Glee and her Enthusiasm!

Humility – A pure goddess is cooperative and non-competitive.  She sees herself as not more or less than anyone else, never above or below another human being, no matter what!  She works interdependently with others.

Kindness – A compassionate goddess does random acts of service anonymously.  She is full of Forgiveness – withholding it blocks her energy from flowing and wounds her deeply.  She will look for ways to disengage and be more objective in order to invite her soft heart to heal and recover by giving of herself tenderly to others.

Rigorous Honesty – A true goddess withholds nothing from herself and is transparent.  Her seeming vulnerability is actually attractive.  Her hugs are sincere, her embraces are heartfelt and she wears her emotions and thoughts on her sleeves knowing higher beings/vibrations/guides/laws protect her.  She KNOWS that the truth always comes out so she sticks to it.

Gratitude – The authentic goddess is gracious, appreciative and carries herself with natural thankfulness.  She realizes the gift of life is precious and that every encounter is holy.  She sees everything as sacred and stays clear of pretension.

Y2 – Day 183 – Green Tomato Grill

Recently, we headed over to Green Tomato Grill and had an outdoor dinner with our little Cindi in tow.  We are trying to take our dog with us as much as possible to dinner as well as scope out dining options where vegans are welcomed.  The investigation is ongoing and rather fun.

They have a cute little patio on busy Tustin St. with picnic tables, umbrellas, astro turf and a warbling fountain.  What we liked about the menu was it had something for omnivores, vegetarians, gluten intolerants and vegans with the added benefit of having everything labeled.  Plus, some items even had the calorie count.  Everything is made fresh to order and the ingredients are clean, distinctive and well seasoned.

We ordered two sides, both vegan.  Chili Lime Popcorn which was seasoned with Adobo Seasoning and Lime Juice served in a bountiful brown bag for only $1. And, Crispy Chick Peas for $2, that were out of this world crispy and addictive.  We finished off the garbanzos that night.

I had a Mediterranean Black Bean Soup for just $2.95 and it was genuinely homemade and I saved some for the next day’s lunch.  Then, I ordered a Crispy Tofu Salad that turned out to be huge for just $7.65 and I also saved some of that for the next day.  We ordered two sauces on the side, Habanero Fire and Thai Peanut.  I had my Balsamic Vinaigrette for the salad on the side and never tried the Fire but adored the strong ginger and mint in the Thai.  They have six vegan sauces and the friendly gal who helped us also let me know they could exchange any protein with crispy tofu so the menu is wide open.  They have breakfast too and use soyrizo for us vegans.  We tried all five of the vegan dessert options and would only recommend the cookie dough ganache.

Crispy Lemongrass Tofu, Avocado, Cucumber, Edamame, Jicama, Bell Peppers and  Tomatoes on a bed of Mixed Greens.

Soup at twelve o’clock  and crispy chickpeas on the top right!

Y2 – Day 182 – World Cup – page 4

As the time approached to single out the trainees whom would work with the international sports casting reporters and represent Argentina’s newest technology and services, our group was further divided.  Some people were not capable of performing agreeably or under pressure and they were let go.  Some candidates were sent directly to the stadiums, still being built, to assist both Argentine and Foreign correspondents.  I was selected to work on Calle Corrientes (Corrientes Street) where the center of the International Telecommunications of the city of Buenos Aires was located.  Buenos Aires is not only the capital of the province of Buenos Aires but also the country’s capital.  The city was designed to be almost an exact replica of Paris and its streets and locales are like the arrondissements (administrative divisions) of the City of Lights.

My Tio Abel gave me directions and insisted on taking me there my first day even though my stubborn, naïve, embarrassed and unappreciative 18 year old self stomped and protested I already knew how to get myself there.  For the first week, he waited outside until 9pm every evening and escorted me home safely until he assured himself, my parents and all my cousins that I was capable and well versed in my occupation as well as my hour and a half commute.  Supposedly, he visited this or that colleague who was also retired and lived in the city during the day or sometimes met with an old friend at a café and chatted the hours away.

When my Tio Abel passed away, not too many years later while I sat in my dorm room at the State University of Stony Brook in my sophomore year and heard via telephone, I wailed inconsolably, losing my composure in heart wrenching anguish, so stricken, that I had to hang up on my mother and walked around in disbelief during finals week.

My cousin Lilia’s dad, Tio Abel, adopted me as his own daughter, just because.  Her family had taken me in the year before so I could study and take my equivalency exams and we had become a close knit, tight family. I will always be indebted to them.  They suffered through my cultural shock, homesickness and emotional meltdowns with love, love and more love.  And Lilia is still like a soul sister to me.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. 
Without them, humanity cannot survive.” –  
Dalai Lama 

So, every four years, about this time, I do not just watch the World Cup, I re-live that incredible historical time I was lucky enough to live through, during the worst upheaval in my personal life and be grateful for those influential, loving and beautiful people, I was meant to remember and pass and pay forward their teachings on to others while they protected and guided me like angels, whom I believe and feel are still watching over me.

“It’s astonishing in this world how things don’t turn out at all the way you expect them to.”

– Agatha Christie

Y2 – Day 181 – World Cup – page 3

During breaks, we would enjoy sharing a meal and conversation at any of the many outdoor cafes.  As the youngest, I made friends with everyone, watched carefully and listened to everything said, with an open mind.

I especially got close to Marguerite, a French, ex-ballet dancer that had immigrated to Buenos Aires to start anew after a disastrous affair with a man she was convinced was her soul mate but later found out was already married.  In her disgust and pain, she quit Europe, headed for the New World, but couldn’t escape his memory and she pined mostly in solitude until we met. She was older, wiser and keener than I but we had the yearning for a culture and the love of our lives living so far away as a common bond.  She had class and style coming out of her eyes, fingers and skin.  She dressed like Isadora Duncan and spoke in a soft but deeper whisper like Jackie O.  She loved to eat because she could finally indulge, giving up dancing.  She was big boned, tall, with a large distinctive nose; long light brown tresses and she had an air of Venus the Goddess within her.

We became fast friends, day one and beyond our Cup experience.  Then we lost touch, as we drifted away, separated by nations, worlds and years apart.  But I never forgot my ballerina.

On the heels of a militant state of siege, guerilla warfare and investigations into the disappeared political prisoners, The World Cup proceeded full force into the international public arena and judgmental eye.

Many ugly conversations took place or accusations were directed towards me during those human moments at the coffee shops, as nationalists blamed the U.S. for helping certain factions of government to overthrow this puppet or scurry the other, into exile, free of punishment.  I had no idea what anyone was talking about; I did not care (the only thing in my little brain was how was I going to get back to my boyfriend, Michael, who of course much later became my husband but that’s another story). And why pick on me because I was raised in the good ole USA anyways?  Marguerite always had my back and eventually we realized whom we wanted to sit with or where other farther, welcoming cafes were located.

My favorite thing to order was a banana or peach licuado  (shake) and a grilled cheese.  Most of the other, more mature trainees had demitasses of coffee with a croissant or media luna (half moon) as we call them in Argentina or sandwiches de miga (tea time crust less cucumber, thinly, sliced boiled egg, or ham and cheese sandwiches).

Dinner awaited us when we commuted home and we all had a large breakfast or lunch so as to spend as little of our allotment money for food in the cafes. I made sure to splurge and treat Marguerite as often as she allowed because she was on a tight budget, renting a room nearby in the expensive, international quarter of the capital.  She taught me much about compassion, forgiveness, letting go and acceptance as she moved through her melancholy.  She also fed my Francophile self and told me endless stories of her adopted homeland as she was really born in Uruguay, I found out as our friendship grew even more intimate and true.  I often wonder how the rest of her life turned out and if she ever created a “happy ending” for herself.

“If you do not find peace in yourself,
you will never find it anywhere else.”
Paula A. Bendry 

Y2 – Day 180 – World Cup – page 2

I attended Pittman shorthand and typing classes, having graduated from the US and Argentinian secondary school systems on an independent basis but having no marketable skills.

In preparation for the FIFA World Cup held in Argentina for 1978, someone in my family, I cannot remember whom but possibly my Tio Abel, clipped out of the paper and brought us an advertisement for bi-lingual, fast typists who were eager to learn Telex and train to work for the National Communications Company.

I jumped at the chance to apply, I do remember it was my Tio Abel that took me to the preliminary test in the city, and awaited further instructions in a small, plain, stuffy, wood floored upstairs room to be further tested or be dismissed.  I passed the fluent language part with ease but just barely typed fast enough to be hired.  Nevertheless, I began training the following week.

I learned the subway and bus system so well, (by even my Tio Abel’s mass transit expert opinion) I used to take different routes just to diversify and challenge myself.  The only way to get to know an international, bustling center is to get lost and have plenty of time to try a variety of routes, food and shopping experiences.  I would leave extra early just for these purposes.

For over four months, the applicants in training and I became well acquainted.  Our education consisted of memorizing the Telex code, which was a system of holes, punched onto a tape that then ran through a switched on device attached to a printer that typed out the band into Arabic letters.  Then we had a break and went back and transcribed pages and pages of written material onto Telex tapes and read them back using the system of punched holes through a teleprinter.  Each letter, number or punctuation mark corresponded with a certain number and placement of perforated dots.  Similar to the telegraph or even the Morse code, this was way before texting, faxes and computers.

 “Telex provided the first common medium for international record communications using standard signaling techniques and operating criteria as specified by the International Telecommunication Union. Customers on any telex exchange could deliver messages to any other, around the world. To lower line usage, telex messages were normally first encoded onto paper tape and then read into the line as quickly as possible.” – from Wikipedia.


Y2 – Day 179 – World Cup – page 1

Every 4 years, in June, I am taken back to 1978.  When I was 18, I lived in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina with my family.  We moved into my grandparents’ house that they built when they were young and moved into, newly married. There they raised two children, my dad and my Tia Betty, my cousins Gabriela and Maria Laura’s mom.

My abuela’s immigrant Italian mother and self-made stepfather/uncle bought five empty lots for each of their children near a well-traversed dirt road named, Gaona.  Today, paved and wide as a freeway, Gaona backs to these homes and only one remains in our family as ancestors have died and ‘new blood’ descendants needed money or moved away.

My abuela’s dad was fatally wounded in WWI and his brother, out of familial generosity, duty and survival, married his widow with kids and brought them to Argentina across the Atlantic Ocean voyaging via a rollicking ship to escape the fear, poverty and grief that had spread through Europe.

In front of the largest cornered lot and house, deeded to my abuela Estela’s first born status, my dad’s dad, Bernardo, additionally built a shop for my grandmother, whom he adored, where she sold dry goods, toys, candy, pantry items, school necessities, writing paraphernalia and sometimes her homemade pastas and freshly grated Parmesan for the newly arrived Italians and Spaniards in the neighborhood.

My dad, Victor, built himself a room, a bathroom and a huge viewing terrace on top of the original home as a teenager so he could have privacy.  I remember the sturdy, cement, stucco and brick stairs from the backyard of the house giving my dad a secluded, outdoor entrance.  He was a precise and capable mason. He was a do-it–yourselfer and thought outside the box. He further enhanced his parent’s home with his first patio and built–in, bar-b-q area, which he continued to add to all of his future homes in later years.  Wanting to advance and change his future, he used his aerie to study diligently and become a draftsman engineer.  He was known as Mr. Fix-it on three continents and taught himself how-to do anything by trial, error, logic and observation.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time. – Thomas Edison