I WANT IT NOW!!

15 May

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              Photo: Saptak Ganguly-Stocksy  

 Yes, that’s a screaming child, and no it’s not me when I was little. The reason I added the picture is because as an adult I could sometimes be that screaming child.  I could also throw tantrums when things don’t go my way. So why as adults, do we still have that screaming child in us? Well, as my therapist says it has do with obsessions and not accepting reality. So what is an obsession? According to Psychology Today,  at its worst, obsession is an iron mask that permits us to gaze in only one direction at one thing—or, to use another metaphor, a giant tidal wave that crashes through our minds and washes away all other concerns. We may become obsessed with a person, a place, a goal, a subject—but obsession amounts to the same thing in all cases:  addiction. I’ve had many obsessions over my lifetime, so far, and none of them resulted in anything good. However, there were some good obsessions that did help me.  Being obsessed with doing something travel related led me to starting my business and being obsessed with personal development has opened up many doors leading me to have better relationships.

Obsession is a big thing in the USA where winning is everything and  loosing is devastating.  Our obsessive focus on winning in our culture to some degree reflects our belief that competition is good and the best way to gauge the value of our individual and collective enterprise, particularly in relation to business. This quote from Psychology Today really resonated with me: “Perhaps the final indictment of an obsession with competition and winning, is that it restrains people from engaging in a personal journey of self knowledge and finding one’s place in life as an entirely internal and personal process, not one that requires the comparisons and constant competition with others as a measure of self-worth.

Bad obsessions:

Obsessing over a guy who clearly had no interest in me. I became consumed by him. I would check my phone and emails constantly to see if he had responded. I asked my therapist, why was I so obsessed?  He said, “it was because you couldn’t face the reality of being alone. It was better to be obsessed and hopeful about the guy calling you than face the reality of loneliness.” The reality that I may be alone with no one.

Bad bosses: I would constantly dream about them hoping something bad would happen. My focus of conversation revolved around trashing my bosses. Again, I wasn’t facing the fact that my shyness and not standing up for myself was causing them to act a certain way. I was allowing them to step allover me. I was too scared of confrontation so the best thing was to obsessivley gossip and vent because in that moment it felt good but never resolved anything.

Due to being raised in the US and living in a city like Washington, DC where you’re surrounded by successful people competition became my way of life. I would see a colleague of mine who had married a great guy, had two beautiful children and was director of a creative communications firm and I right away wanted to be her. I obsessed with wanting to get into one of the big PR firms, getting married and having kids. I wanted to be that person. Again, I wasn’t facing reality that she was her own person facing life her own way.  And why did I consider her to be successful? Is it because society teaches us that in order to be a successful woman you need to be married with kids and be in a leadership position at work. I wasn’t facing the reality of who “Adriana” really was. I guess I was scared to find out that I was different from what society considered to be normal and successful.  Today, there are many fulfilling options to not getting the dream job, man or baby. Accept that we’re all different and everyone has his or her own journey.   

Lesson Learned:

Learn to accept reality and know that there isn’t always one solution to a problem. We have to learn to accept ourselves and our situation and do the best we can with the options there may be. I don’t want to be that crying kid anymore who gets mad when she doesn’t get her way. I want to tell that demanding and crying kid that everything will be ok in the end. It’s like when a child throws a tantrum in a store because you didn’t buy him or her a toy so you just say, “I’m not going to buy you the toy right now but don’t worry there won’t be a shortage of toys any time soon.” Follow the conversation about obsession on the DC Full Wellness Spectrum community. 

 

 

 

 

It’s Really About the Journey Not the End Result

6 May

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When I was little I daydreamed of wanting to be a star to get all the attention, to dress in glamorous dresses and to travel the world in luxury, and now I still sometimes catch myself daydreaming of attending a red carpet event. It all sounds nice: glamor, fame, recognition, travel, money, and beauty but at what price. I remember when I was ten years old I took a Mexican dance class and it was hard work to learn all the steps, and it took a lot of practice and dedication to memorize the routines. I wasn’t cut out for it because it was too hard.  Before anyone gets noticed or makes it there’s a process of sweat, tears, sleepless nights, and of being just awful at your craft. I learned about the process from the book The Artist’s Way A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity.  “We want to be great-immediately great- but that is not how greatness or dreams happen. It’s an awkward, tentative, even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won’t look good-to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do . It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time. You need to give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist or whatever it is you want to be you have a chance to reach the end result. When you’re a beginner you’re like a sponge you absorb and want to learn everything. Mistakes only makes us better.

It’s easy to daydream and criticize all our idols or those who are doing what we would like to be doing than expose ourselves. Many times the fear stems from perfectionism. “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop-an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole. I have lived with that word for way too long thanks to all the lovely bosses I’ve had. Most of my bosses would get stuck on the details rather than look at the whole paper or bigger picture. They would get stuck on a typo, a missed comma, a sentence or a word and not be able to go beyond that. Thanks to them analyzing every mistake I always feared writing.

Like anything in life if you want to be good at something you have to put yourself out there no matter the criticism you may receive. Some criticism is good when it’s constructive and will help you grow, and other criticism is not even worth it when someone just says, “that was bad or it didn’t make sense.” I always ask them to tell me the “why” it was bad and the “how” it could have been improved.

Moral of the Story:

Stop idolizing the end result. The nice glossy Pepsi can, the Apple iPhone, Madonna, Gucci, Mother Teresa and so many others all went through the process.  The creation of my business “Adrivo: The Travel Session” has been a three-year process, and it’s still ongoing, of many changes and doubts. Now, I’m slowly gaining a little traction. Through the process I’ve learned to ask for help, listen to people’s advice,  and look for ways to improve. No matter how hard it has been or will get I won’t quit this business venture. The “Adriana” who would quit when things got tough or when the criticism was too much to handle no longer exists.  If you want to work on your passion you have to be consistent and put in the work and exposure or else you could just sit on the sidelines criticizing others or spend your days daydreaming.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Especially in DC

29 Apr

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The reason for the post is because of an article I found in the Washington Post titled, ” Two Washington Post reporters head to Alaska to find romance.” Although it was written a couple years ago it’s still relevant. I also left DC to find romance. As they say in the article, “Guys here are more interested in power than in romance. We were used to blue-suited guys who hunched over their phones and dragged around briefcases stuffed with legal documents — or the nuclear code.”

After I had been living in Washington, DC for about three years, during 2005-2007, and had dated several guys: one who traveled all the time, foreigners who were just in the US for some fun, and some who were more interested in dancing and partying than forming anything serious I decided to move to Spain to see if I could find someone from the motherland. Anyway, the destination didn’t change the situation what needs to change is YOU. If you let men be self-centered egomaniacs allowing them to just focus on their work then that’s what they’ll do and become. Washington, DC could be a hard city to have a normal easy going life where dinner is served at 6pm and friends or family eat together.  People work way too much in this city, and for WHAT? To have eye bags, sleeping problems, health issues and relationship problems. What happened to just working your normal 9-5, preferably at a place not too far from your home, being home for dinner, taking the dog or kids to the park and having time to have nice conversations.

After twelve years I finally said “adios” to my communications career in which I was surrounded by workaholics with eye bags and people glued to their desks. People would leave work late and eat whatever crap they could find. Why do we need so much money? To be able to eat out at the hottest new spot, buy a house, have the latest gadgets, travel to exotic places for a few days or to buy a new car.  It’s hard to find someone because everyone, including women, are too self-centered on themselves or careers. I always tell my husband you can’t have it all: an amazing career, a house, a good marriage, good health by working all the time. Sometimes you have to take that pay cut or work less hours. In reality we don’t need much to live: food, shelter, and clothing. Ok–reality check there are many people who have loans to pay thanks to the wonderful education system we have in this country where furthering your education can put you in debt for many years. And if you have kids, you’ll probably have more expenses. I get it sometimes our expenses are more than just food, shelter and clothing.  However, we could learn to also live with less clutter and material possessions.

The moral of the story: You could go to Alaska or any other exotic place to find your dream guy but at some point reality needs to sink in. Relationships are hard work and require sacrifices on both parts. Washington, DC needs to stop glorifying powerful men like they’re the shit with money and prestige because then those men start to think they are the greatest thing on earth thanks to women buying into that whole “power” thing. In the end it comes to knowing what you want. I knew I wanted to get married and one day have a family. In accepting some sacrifices would need to be made like staying in a certain city or budgeting I finally found a man and later got married.

I know how hard it can to be single in a  city like DC where for every 100 women in the District, there are 89.5 men, fewer than in any of the 50 states. In the past year I created an online community for those interested in improving their well-being through wellness and travel, it’s very much needed in a city like DC, and personally helps me a lot. We have several relationship therapists who are part of the community so please do reach out to them or join and who knows you may even meet someone:)

Family Reunion in Denver

22 Apr

You’ve heard me say it a million times, “what’s the purpose of your trip?” If you want travel to be therapeutic you need to know what’s your “intent” which allows the opportunity for maximum benefit. If your intent is for it to be therapeutic you need to go with a certain mindset, but keep in mind when you go with family your intent should be “let it be.”

It always helps when the destination is walkable, full of art, history and nature which allows you to focus on all those new sensory experiences that help calm the mind. Family is family…….you just got to love them.  However, on a family trip it’s not about you it’s about the group. Many times people will try to change things around and want to do things their way, but in the end that will only cause you STRESS!

After the last family trip I told myself don’t try to change things or get upset people don’t want to hike with you for hours. On a family trip let the river take you and enjoy every little thing along the way. It doesn’t make sense to be frustrated with different opinions or that people don’t listen to you. It takes too much energy from you to try to control everything.  On this trip I would have done things differently but I truly enjoyed it because I found beauty in our differences. In the end, what mattered is that we were able to spend some time together.  I just know family trips are not about “ME” or trying to relax or be mindful or find inner peace it’s about enjoying the family for what it is.

If you do want to go on trips to help your mind, body and spirit then you need to go on one of my retreats:)

Finding Beauty Next to You

12 Apr

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You’ve all seen my slogan “Traveling is my Therapy. El Viajar es mi Terapia” on my blog and social media sites. Sometimes people will say traveling is expensive or takes too much time to plan and it could be quite stressful. And it’s true travel could be all those things, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to venture out of your environment. Through the community I’ve created one thing that bonds us together are the walks our member Jessica Tunon has organized through her company Netwalking. For example, this past Saturday we walked around our beautiful city of Washington, DC. I felt like a tourist in my own city discovering new alleys, houses, cafes, and flowers. And for this adventure I spent zero dollars. Not only did I see new things but I had wonderful conversations which made the experience that much better.

After the walk I felt more energized and happier to have connected with another person and realized we really are not that different. On the walk each person talks about what makes them happy, sad or upset, and most of the things mentioned struck a chord.

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The next time you say there’s nothing to do just look out your door and you’ll find some beauty.  Also, ask your neighbor or friend if they’ll go on a walk with you. Walking helps break down formalities, relaxes inhibitions and fosters camaraderie between colleagues. Discovery and a walk are two simple concepts that have been happening since humans started roaming the Earth so let’s continue it!!

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Time to Peel off the Layers of the Onion

31 Mar

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 High School-16 years old
Wow! How time flies! Just looking at the picture above seems like another lifetime.  I remember how I longed to be an adult to be on my own away from nagging parents and responsibilities.

Now that I’m an adult on my own dealing with my own responsibilities, I’ve decided to reflect on my life as I embark on two of  my biggest quests-owning a business–Adrivo: The Travel Session, and wanting to have a baby.

When I set out to start my own business I didn’t realize all my armor, emotions and struggles would be exposed.  The reason for the exposure is due to the nature of the business I’m developing which is about creating a strong support community of like-minded people who want to work together on having meaningful professional and personal lives.  The retreats we put together help create the bond and community. The workshops and travel exploration adventures on the retreat take a holistic approach in giving people the necessary tools to be satisfied with their lives. With that being said my business is basically about making people feel that everything is ok and well within and around them. People will come on the retreats to get some peace. In order to offer the peace and comfort I also need to have inner peace within me and the faith that my truth has the power to steer us to a meaningful life. I know I have the inner peace within me because I have felt it when sitting silently inside a church and during my nature walks. I want to bring that feeling to my life all the time and to the people on the retreats.

How do I do that? Well, according to Psychologist Arthur Aron he says mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. I want people to relate to me when they embark on a personal journey to go on one of the retreats. In order for people to feel safe with me there needs to be a connection. According to Social Worker Brene Brown, “Connection is why we’re here. The ability to feel connected is neurobiological how we’re wired.” She goes on to say in order for connection to happen we need to be seen but really seen. I want to create strong real connections in order for me and the business to flourish. Vulnerability connects us. It is a great gift we give to another person when we let them see behind any masks or walls of emotional protection. Moreover, vulnerability is a priceless gift to give to ourselves. Vulnerability births places of joy and creativity love and belonging. I crave joy and creativity so bad.

Here we go the layers start to come off:
I would say for most of my life I have lived with a lot of shame and was scared to expose my vulnerability for fear of being made fun of. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and my first language was Spanish because my mother is from Spain and didn’t speak any English when she first came to this country. I never thought it was wrong to speak Spanish until my parents put my brother and I in an almost “all white” (Anglo) school where everyone struggled to say my very Spanish name: Adriana Maria Gallegos Espinosa. Also, teachers thought I would struggle in school and not succeed because I knew another language. Thanks to them not believing in me I tended to always get very nervous and struggle on standardized tests. So from a very early age, I already felt different and ashamed of my heritage and the way I looked. In school I would deny I spoke Spanish and was embarrassed to say my name. Until I woke up and realized in high school how awesome it was to speak Spanish fluently. I’ll have to write another post about my identity issues. I never truly felt American, Latina/Hispanic or Spanish because of people’s comments…”you’re not American or you don’t act or talk Latina or you can’t claim  Spanish because you were not born in Spain.” I’ll have to dig deeper into the issue but after so many years I could finally say loud and proud “I’m a proud American (Native American and Spanish heritage) and I’m a proud Spaniard. I’m a 100% American and 100% Spanish and that’s how I feel.

I also was very shy. I remember once in fourth grade I started to cry when I had to present in front of the class.  Also with family guests, I would be the girl in the corner listening but never saying anything. I was a very good listener and observed everything that was going on. I would later give my mom the analysis report about each person. I always had a fear of speaking out and was scared of authority because felt they had to be treated well and respected at all times.  I would study hard and do my homework every night like a good little girl. I never had teachers who truly believed or motivated me in any way until sixth grade. It was math class and Mrs. Northrup made me feel like the smartest kid in class by constantly praising me for my work and tests. She thought I was good in math so she sent me to a summer math camp for top students. Since then I started to really like math (except geometry) and science (only chemistry, biology and anatomy and physiology).

My goal was to be a doctor or do something in the medical field. Well, life took many turns and I ended up in a career I didn’t even know existed…PR/marketing. I was a very lost and confused teen (16-21) and lacked confidence in myself. My parents tried to steer me in the right direction but at that age I wanted to be left alone.  During senior year in high school, I just wanted to be an adult and have fun even though my pre-calculus teacher was telling me to take a higher level math course. I ended up hanging out with the wrong crowd and liking the typical “bad-boys.”  I just wanted to escape to be on my own.  

After high school, I got a scholarship and some financial aid to attend a small catholic university in San Antonio called, “Our Lady of the Lake,” in which I enrolled in their pre-med program. Anyway,  I failed my freshmen year because I wasn’t mature enough to study and focus because I continued to hang around the wrong crowd and “bad boys.” That was the turning point in my life. I had failed the pre-med courses, lost a scholarship and financial aid, and lost most of the friends I was hanging out with. What to do? For one, I had to return back to Albuquerque to attend UNM.  Since I didn’t have any good mentors I could turn to for advice I said to myself, ” I like what Oprah does and like to watch the news so I guess I can study broadcast journalism.” And that’s what I did studied journalism hoping to be the next Oprah or Barbara Walters.

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I graduated from college landed some TV reporting gigs in which I got fired from because according to them I  was not well prepared. I later came to DC because a friend persuaded me to come out to help her with the Kerry campaign. My ex-boyfriend helped me drive from Laredo, TX to Washington, DC. I didn’t have a real job waiting for me in DC except volunteering for Kerry and getting a stipend from Americorp.  After a month in DC, I ended up landing a job on Capitol Hill which was the best and worst experience of my life. I was thrown into the shark tank and well I drowned but ended up meeting really interesting people who helped me stay in DC by hooking me up with some great jobs. Thanks to the people I met on the Hill I stayed in DC and started a successful career in communications and marketing that has lasted about 10 years and is still going.

As you can see for most of my life I never thought I was good enough and was always in the corner hiding out of fear of being exposed. The fear was so strong that I lied in order for people not to know I had failed freshman year or that I had been fired or just came to DC with no real job or I liked bad boys. I always wanted to portray the good strong girl who had it all together due to my pride. Since from an early age some people told me I would struggle and I always had someone bringing me down I wanted to prove to “the haters” I was perfect. I wanted so in my heart to prove them wrong. And I just realized that I have proven the haters wrong. I never really failed because I’m still here standing strong and ready to start my business, and I met Oprah. I’m also married to a great man who truly believes in me and hoping to start a family one day. I realized that before bringing a baby into the world I would need to take a weight off my shoulders and heal my wounds of self-doubt and low self-esteem.  I thought by now I would already be pregnant because a baby is the one thing I also really want in life other than the business, but I’m not because I think God wants me to heal before bringing someone into the world. I want to be strong enough to teach my kid the lesson below. Probably two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to teach any lessons due to my fear of exposure.

 

Lessons Learned: To all the young women out there don’t ever feel you’re not smart or pretty enough. Also be proud of being different and of your heritage. Stand tall and strong and know you’re not the only one with problems or feelings of insecurity. All those people who you think are perfect and so confident I can bet a million dollars they also struggle and have their insecurities.
Also try to look for mentors or get involved/volunteer in programs that have to do with what you want to study or  are about your  personal interests. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and tell someone how you feel. I wish I could have asked for help and told someone how I felt. In the end I had to deal with a lot in order to be here today. I may not be a doctor but through my business I will kind of be a doctor by helping people feel better about themselves by adding meaning to their lives.

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I end with some questions I would like you to answer in the community: DC Full Wellness Spectrum.

 

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

 

The buzz word for 2015 is COMMUNITY Why?

5 Mar

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For the past year all I’ve heard are the following words or phrases…community building, community managers, community, communities of practice, community exchanges, buzzing communities, online communities…and the list goes on for a while. Also my husband happens to work at the World Bank as a coordinator of their communities of practice program, and he started out as a community builder in undergraduate developing a Bosnian Diaspora Network. Before meeting my husband I had no clue that people actually took the time to create/build communities.

So what is a community? According to Webster Dictionary it’s the following: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common or a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

I never thought of starting a community or joining one because I was fine with my “tribe.” I’ve always had my social circle of friends, in which we shared similar characteristics or interests, to share trips, food and talks with and it came quite natural to have this community or circle. Also all my cousins in Spain have their  social circle of friends that get together quite often to have drinks, picnics, excursions and just to hang out. They don’t use any fancy online tools to organize these outings or plan months ahead to see each other it just comes natural. I also always remember my grandpa knowing every neighbor and employee at the supermarket and taking joy in socializing with them on a daily basis. These communities were organic and shared a common interest of a desire to belong to something and know that they were not alone in this world because someone had their back.

And according to the book Blue Zones one reason some people live to a 100 and more is because of the following:

As the years went by I realized that my lenses were quite narrow because I was fine with my tribe and not worried about the bigger picture of being part of something that was greater than just me such as my neighborhood, city, workplace, association, religion, homeless, health clubs, business, etc… If I wanted to make an impact I had to get out of my little circle and know that as a citizen of our planet Earth I had obligations to be there for others. If I had certain skills or passions I needed to share them with people who could benefit from them in some way.  Thanks to all those community organizers like our President Obama real change has happened and for that people are better off.

My passion is wellness travel helping people decompress their emotions and be more satisfied with their lives by taking them to historic unknown small towns or sites to gain new perspectives and appreciation for their lives.  Since I was a little girl I’ve enjoyed travel and have seen how therapeutic it can be and what a positive impact it has had in my personal life.  I wanted to share that discovery with the world. And for the past couple of years  I’ve bonded with several wellness practitioners because I was looking for ways to feel better both mentally and physically due to all the stress I had in my life.  I’ve delved into yoga, meditation, therapy, healthy eating (yummy green smoothies), energy healing, reiki, creative expression, art expression….ok you get the picture I’ve tried it all. All those things have helped me grow in some way which is why I wanted to combine the wellness with the travel. To my surprise I found many people who found my passion for travel exploration and wellness as a great combination to help them through tough times. I decided that I needed to create a space for those people because nothing like that existed in DC so I started the “DC Wellness Full Spectrum” community  to get like-minded people together to help one another and create a strong bond…it’s really that simple. I believe one should build a community only when something doesn’t exist on the subject matter or idea.  There are too many communities that in the end are very similar all working toward the same mission. A community is about collaboration so if you see many communities that are very similar try to bring them all together into one nice community.

Since there happens to be a void in using travel and wellness as a means to help one’s well-being I’m currently working hard to connect people and get them to feel like they belong to something that will bring about good change. I really get joy in reading people’s posts or when they engage with one another online but the best part is when we’re all able to  meet in person to talk about the common factor which is helping improve one’s well-being. My question to you is, how do I get people to become active participants in order to create some type of impact? Please answer the question on the community.

 

 

Lexington, Kentucky lleno de caballos y nieve y mucho mas!!

27 Feb

Pasamos un día en Lexington, Kentucky pero pudimos disfrutar de todo lo típico: ver los caballos que ganaron premios en las carreras del Derby y otras famosas; hicimos un tour para aprender como hacen whiskey, que por cierto esta hecho con maíz; y como la Universidad de Kentucky, reconocido por el baloncesto, esta en la ciudad hay mucho estudiante muy talentoso como Marcus Wilkerson.

Espero que disfruteis del video!

Lexington, Kentucky and Snow and a lot of it!!

27 Feb

Our Kentucky experience ended in Lexington full of horses, bourbon and snow. Fun fact about bourbon it’s made out of corn…who knew!

We were stuck in the historic snowpocalypse. It’s always nice to be a part of  something. We went out to buy some groceries and a guy in his truck stopped to give us a ride because he saw that the snow went up to our knees and it was hard to walk. Like I said in my las post about Berea there’s something about how nice and genuine people are in Kentucky.

We also caught a show with local artists such as Marcus Wilkerson

Hope you enjoy the video!

 

 

 

 

La amabilidad de gente en el pueblo artístico de Berea, Kentucky

22 Feb

La semana pasada estuvimos en Berea, Kentucky. Esta a nueve horas de Washington, DC, tienes que atravesar todo el estado de West Virginia. Me encanto este pueblo por la energía de los estudiantes que van a Berea College.  La universidad anima a los estudiantes a usar arte y música para seguir con las tradiciones de la artesanía de los Appalachians y para expresar su creatividad.

Lo que mas me impresiono es que los residentes nos hablaban aunque no nos conocían porque nos quieren contar sobre la historia de Berea. Tienen mucho orgullo en su pueblo.

Cuando estuvimos en la oficina de turismo escuchamos a música blue grass y quisimos saber de donde venia. Lo que descubrimos fue tres señoras ensayando en una oficina pequeña pero de todos modos nos invitaron a escuchar. Hay algo en la música blue grass que te hace pensar del campo y la libertad de estar fuera del estrés de la ciudad.