Porque los que viven en Washington, DC tienen suerte?

28 Jan

Desde que llevo viviendo en Washington, DC  he descubierto tanta belleza de pueblos pintorescos, historia de la Guerra Civil y una gran naturaleza que no hay ninguna razón de siempre subirse a un avión y escaparse a un sitio exótico.

Este fin de semana visitamos el condado de Highland en Virginia, esta localizado en el oeste del estado y hace frontera con el estado de West Virginia.

 

Why those of us who live in Washington, DC are so lucky!

28 Jan

Since I’ve lived in Washington, DC I’ve had the chance to discover all the natural beauty and history that surrounds us. Last weekend, I spent some time in Highland County, Virginia. And stayed in the beautiful historic charmed town of Monterey in the beautiful Bed and Breakfast Arbogast Inn. There’s no reason to always jump on a plane to get out of the city try to focus on the beauty that’s within reach, it’s also a lot cheaper.

Enjoy!

Two days spent with monks??

4 Jan

You’re probably wondering how is it that I spent some time with monks. Well, like most great things that have happened in my life it wasn’t planned. Meeting Oprah was also not planned!! Even my own wedding wasn’t really planned; we just went to the courthouse and got married. Since I encountered Oprah on stage at the Life you Want Weekend Tour last September, I promised myself that I was going to work on living out the vision I wanted for my life: “to let go of fear, anger, and guilt in order to build a positive and good life for my family, job, and well-being. I would take the necessarily steps followed by action to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.”

I started going to a therapist to help clear my thoughts, judgments, fears, and angers. It has been great to talk to someone who really listens without judgement and gives you objective and factual advice.  I also started incorporating yoga and visualization meditation into my daily morning routines and meeting like-minded people. I decided to take it a step even further and spend two days in solitude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey which is an Olivetan Benedictine monastery in Pecos, New Mexico.

IMG_0131

An artist carved the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus out of a tree. You’ll see it on one of the trails near the monastery.

Most of my life has been surrounded by constant noise and activity with never a moment to do nothing. At work and with family people are always looking for immediate answers/solutions to questions and to problems. There’s never time to think about a situation or a problem because in the world we live in everything needs to be now or you’re just “too slow to the game” or people think you just don’t understand. Pico Iyer, well-known travel writer, recently did a TED Talk about “The Art of Stillness”  and it really caught my attention when he said, ” to enjoy life you must learn to be still in order to not be exhausted or distracted at events or with people.” When you give yourself the opportunity to be still your mind becomes clearer and you’re able to give your  true full self to people and life. When you’re constantly going you’re never really there. Also, when you’re still you find out what moves you most and where your true happiness lies.  According to Reflections of Buddhist physician Alex Lickerman, M.D.”Silence is a terrific substitute for self-control, not only creating its appearance, but over time and with practice its substance as well.

 

What I personally learned on my two days of solitude with no phone, books, make up or

pictures(FYI:the pictures in this post are from a previous trip I took, to the monastery, with

my family a couple years ago). It was just me, myself and I.

IMG_3623

-Being silent is really not that hard. However, even though I went on a two day silent retreat I’m not a changed person or saw the light beam upon me. It takes time and practice to slowly feel inner peace within you. I’ll have to practice the act of being still for many more years in order to reap the true benefits. Some say it takes eight weeks to start feeling some ease and mindfulness in your mind, body, and spirit.

-Yes…I was staying at a monastery where monks live but I didn’t think I would encounter them because I was out most of the day doing my own silent retreat. Of course….never say never because on Sunday I was invited to eat breakfast and lunch with them. I couldn’t believe the monks invited me to eat with them but there I was sitting at the other end of the table watching them eat. Most of them ate in silence. I was able to observe the peace in their faces and how gentle they moved and ate.  During breakfast time there was a disagreement between two of the monks and instead of getting mad one of the monks simply smiled and calmly stated his opinion. He didn’t need to scream, insult or give explanations why he disagreed he just simply stated his opinion in a calm manner. I guess when you have inner peace there’s no reason to get out of control.  I was so blessed to have witnessed such kindness and calmness.

-My many walks: the lake was frozen but it still maintained its beauty. I had fun throwing rocks because they were like hockey pucks, just gliding on the ice. I sat near the lake for a long time because I felt I could just stare and talk to it in a way that’s hard to talk to others. Nature is so comforting because no matter how many changes it goes through with the seasons it still maintains its beauty and calmness. The lake taught me that no matter how the external world may treat you try to keep your true essence intact.
IMG_0122

-Things are not as bad as we think and we’re stronger than we think. I was completely alone but I felt fine. Before going I thought I would be scared of being on my own away from familiar surroundings and people. I thought that I would not be able to sleep or go on walks. Well, for two days I went on plenty of walks where I was the only one on the trail. And as you can see I survived, and actually I wanted to spend more time there.  Lesson Learned: stop exaggerating and creating stories in the mind of things that still haven’t occurred. If it still hasn’t happened there’s no reason to worry. It’s not until you’ve personally experienced something that you could then think about it as it happened, and try not to embellish the experience:)

I would like to thank the monks and nature for teaching me about calmness, about being present, and about staying true to my core self!!! Please share your thoughts on the Google Group about the post or about a time you were in silence.

 

 

It’s time to wake up!! Just write

4 Dec

Since I left my full-time communications job in July, I have been on a self-discovery transformative journey. For too many years, my creativity has been blocked inside causing strong back and stomach pains. I was also always complaining and jealous of others who were working on cool and innovative projects. I finally had it with jobs that didn’t fulfill me and put me in a box of following the straight line. I was ready to be a rebel and not follow that straight line but a curvy one. I started to research groups that could help me uncover my creativity in some way. I wanted to be with like-minded people who enjoyed expressing themselves, being vulnerable and open to self-discovery through travel, wellness, arts, self-care or therapeutic exercises. I thought that it would be impossible to find those people, especially in DC, but I was wrong when I found the group “The District’s Wonder & Creative Lab”. I read the description of the group:

Greetings Goldstreamers! Join our local wellness group and embark on a journey of unblocking creativity, reawakening inspiration and learning how to tap into your artistic vein. The sessions will be based on the The Artist’s Way: A ( 12 step) Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. Must bring your own copy of the book. Open to those who are searching for creative outlets to stress, confusion and despair. Among many things, together we will learn the significance of writing “Morning Pages” in experiencing a more spontaneous and mindful day, share our processes and encourage each other on this journey towards self discovery.

The description personally hit me because it was exactly what I was looking for. I decided to venture out on my own and give the group a try. I instantaneously felt like I was at home because I was with people who were in my same boat. The group leader Katerina also has a way of bringing out your creative side, and I’ve truly connected with her due to both having the desire to help people improve their well-being. For so many years, I thought something was wrong with me for not feeling excited about work or having my whole life revolve around work. I guess the piece of the puzzle that was missing was that I wasn’t meant for a 9-5pm job but for a career of constant learning and creating.

The group works together on reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The book really makes us dig deep to bring out the artist in us. I never thought of myself as an artist since I can’t paint, sing, draw, design, dance…..you get the point. However, my personality and the things I enjoy are all signs of an artist. I enjoy dabbling in a few things: editing videos, learning new programs like Photoshop and Premiere, traveling, and blogging. Also, in the book the author says we’re all artists. We were created by God, or whatever you may believe in, and we’re creations put on this earth to create. My greatest creation is the one I’m currently embarking on owning my business of organizing wellness travel retreats.

IMG_1665                                                                                                                            

The main exercise of the book is “Morning Pages” in which you have to write 3 pages of long-hand writing with a pen(no computer) first thing in the morning when you wake up. As soon as the alarm goes off instead of pressing the snooze button or getting up to go to the bathroom you must take out your notebook and just write anything that comes to your mind. No thinking….you’re not writing a master piece it’s just about letting your conscious dictate what to write on the pages. Wow…..this exercise has been my savior. I never thought writing could be so therapeutic. Most of my life I’ve been scared of writing because I’ve always had someone butcher my writing saying it was no good or that I couldn’t write. I lived with this shame and fear until the lightbulb went off. My writing sucked because I was forced to write about things I didn’t care about or that didn’t make sense, basically forced to write bullshit. Morning pages has taken that shame and fear of writing away. I just write and for once I’m not worried about what anyone else will say about it–most liberating thing ever. I actually enjoy writing because once I start writing those morning pages I just can’t stop. I’ve had too much fear and shame built inside me. These morning pages have opened me up and are allowing the creative, strong, and proud Adriana to emerge. She’s tired of hiding.

How has writing helped you? Post on our Google Plus group- a group for people interested in wellness-improving one’s well-being

 

IMG_1666

 

 

Rediscovering myself in San Francisco

7 Nov

It had been at least six years or more since I took a solo trip. When I was single living in Europe I used to travel everywhere by myself. I think subconsciously my mind and body needed to take a solo trip. It was time to go back to the days of wandering a place with a map and camera, and that’s exactly what I did in San Francisco. I spent two days wandering all over the city. I needed to know that I still had it in me and hadn’t become too co-dependent.

Every morning I was in charge of my day, I didn’t have a boss or a husband telling me what I needed to do.  It was great to be able to plan out my days and go the places I wanted to visit. I decided to walk everywhere but I soon realized that walking around in San Francisco was a true work out due to the very very steep streets. However, I sure did build up my legs.

IMG_1328

I loved San Francisco’s creativity energy both in its people and buildings. In the area near Yerba Buena Park you’ll see innovative benches and other structures. San Francisco has an initiative called, the Living Innovation Zone Program (LIZ) which makes it possible to use public space in new and exciting ways, like the picture below.

IMG_1288

I later went to the infamous gay neighborhood in the Castro District, and stopped by the Starbucks to charge my phone. It was a great experience because two men, like in their 50s, gave me great advice about the things I should visit in San Francisco, and told me to take the train down Market Street to the Ferry Building. During our conversation a true New Yorker interrupted us to complain about the steep hills and having to walk up them. Later the conversation turned to how today’s youth doesn’t have to fight how the baby boomer or earlier generations did. The two older men said how they had to fight for everything like workers, gay, women, voter and city rights…just to name a few. One thing that made me laugh is what one of the men said, “well the youth of today has Taylor Swift.” It was great to be in a conversation with a true New Yorker and two men who had been living in San Francisco for over 30 years. Its moments like those that you appreciate the ability to witness all the great and quirky things that this world has to offer.

 

IMG_1202

I also ventured to two parks: Buena Vista Park and Dolores Park. I was a little scared going up Buena Vista Park because you’re surrounded by these huge redwood trees and you don’t know what’s hiding behind them. At that moment you feel a little vulnerable but then you take deep breath in and realize that nature in no way would ever hurt you. And the Dolores Park took me back to what it would’ve been like to have lived in the 70s with all the hippies. At the park it was full of free-spirited people hula-hooping, dancing, and smoking. It felt good to be able to let loose a little and not worry what others think. In San Francisco everyone is its own person.

And finally, my days always ended at the Embarcadero looking out at the Bay Bridge as cars drove to and from San Francisco and Oakland, a reminder that life keeps going no matter what.

Life lesson of what I discovered on my solo trip: Life is going to keep going with or without you so you better join the ride or stay put and feel sorry for yourself. Many times when I was alone I would catch myself thinking of something and saying, “poor me,” but on the last day I stopped myself by saying “life in San Francisco is vibrant and doesn’t stop to analyze everything and feel sorry for anything it just lives. So this post is to “JUST LIVING.”

Please, share any life lessons you’ve discovered on your trips on the community group. 

 

IMG_1235

 

 

 

Interviewed by the Blog J. Elaine On Beauty

24 Oct

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

 

I had the privilege to be interviewed by my former colleague Jessica Pumphrey for her blog titled “J. Elaine|On Beauty.” The blog focuses on telling stories of everyday women and how they appreciate their own beauty experience. She has a series called “OnBeauty Q&A + portrait,” in which I was a part of. She wants to highlight women’s beauty from the inside out. 

Below is my interview:

How do you define beauty? 

True beauty comes from being comfortable and happy with yourself. The other part of beauty is about putting a smile on someone’s face and making them feel good about themselves.

What is one thing your mother or grandmother taught you about maintaining your own beauty? 

The women in my life are very simple. Most of them don’t wear makeup or dress up. I was taught natural beauty and being yourself  are two things that will make you a beautiful person. I learned to be content with what God gave me.

What is a unique feature that you had to ‘grow into’ or learn to appreciate? 

My nose because I thought it was huge. When I was a kid I would put a clothes pin on it hoping to make it smaller. Now when I look at my nose I don’t think it’s big at all. I guess when I was younger I focused too much on the nose which probably made it seem huge.

What is your favorite scripture or quote that helps you stay grounded? Why. 

“As you become more clear about who you really are you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you-the first time around (Oprah).

I think you need to take the time to listen to your inner voice or the whispers because they’re always trying to tell you something. Sometimes in life we’re just on overdrive and don’t take the time to be silent and listen to what the universe wants from us. It takes time and courage to listen to the whispers and do something about them. Change is never easy but in order to live the life of your dreams you need the courage to go for it.

What is your favorite beauty product and/or routine? 

My beauty routine starts at 6am. The first thing I do when I wake up is write in my journal about any thoughts I have on my mind. I don’t think I just write whatever comes to my mind when I’m basically half asleep. It helps clear my mind of any negativity or bad thoughts I had over night. I later spend 10 minutes meditating without any sound just closing my eyes and trying to be present. And finally, I go on a three mile run. I like to start my mornings with a clear mind.

What would you tell someone who struggles to find their own beauty?  

I myself struggle with this all the time. It’s not always easy to be comfortable with yourself.  There’s a lot of pressure from our society, friends, work, and family who want to dictate how we should look or act.  Sometimes with so much negativity in the external world its hard to even recognize or see our own beauty. Positive affirmations are the best way to find your own beauty, everyday look in the mirror and say, “I am a beautiful person.”

Favorite feel good song? 

I think its everyone’s favorite song, Pharrell Williams “Happy” song. I like the verse: “Can’t nothing bring me down. My level’s too high.”

Mi viaje terapéutico a Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

14 Oct

Pase un día en este pueblo de West Virginia que se llama Berkeley Springs. Disfrute del cambio de hojas y ande por el pueblo que ha mantenido sus baños terminales desde los 1750s. Este pueblo se concentra en mejorar la salud de todos los que lo visitan.

Los montañas se llaman Cacapon, que es un nombre que viene de los Indios Shawnee que significa aguas curativos. Mire el video para ver como si puede disfrutar de un viaje sin cambiar mucho tu estilo de vida.

 

 

Therapeutic Trip to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

14 Oct

I had a great day in the beautiful “spa” town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. There’s something so charming about small towns. People greet you with a smile and are always willing to help. This town in particular is focused on your health to help you feel better!

Check out the video to learn how you could stay healthy while still enjoying the sites, food, and scenery of the place. And by the way Cacapon is a derivative of a Shawnee Indian word meaning “medicine waters,” a reference to the mineral waters that have been renowned through history for their healing powers.

 

What I mean by traveling being therapeutic

11 Oct

Since I started my business idea of using travel as a therapeutic tool to help one going through a tough time I have received many comments about how it can actually help.

This summer I came to understand what people meant when they would say, “Travel doesn’t help me. It can be quite stressful, and I don’t get anything out of it.”  Many would say, “I rather stay home than have to deal with driving or being on a plane.”

And they’re right, if you travel because you have to or your trips have no purpose then you will not receive any true benefits.

This summer I didn’t have a true purpose which is why I got sick and didn’t enjoy it.

My purpose for our summer trip was focused on the need to please everyone. I had family coming to visit and my natural instinct was to immediately get excited and want to show them everything. It was going to be their first time in my home state of New Mexico so I wanted to leave a good impression.

Well…… the three week summer trip went a little something like this……

First stop: Brooklyn

One day spent in Brooklyn to meet the family coming from JFK airport. A short tour around Brooklyn to get a taste of the city, if you could even call it that.

IMG_1028

Second stop: Albuquerque and then Denver

Flew from Brooklyn to Albuquerque. Spent a day or two with my mom and then got on the road to visit my brother.

IMG_1098

IMG_1074

Spent three days in Denver. I was able to see the infamous Rocky Mountains and some parts of Denver.

On this trip I forgot about healthy eating and exercise. I stuffed whatever food was offered….ice cream, steak, pancakes….you get the picture. This is where the stomach starts to slowly fall apart.

Third stop: Grand Canyon

Just being in the presence of this masterpiece is enough to be content.

However, I went with the wrong mindset. My stomach hurt, was tired(hadn’t been sleeping in days), and was told I couldn’t walk down into the canyon. I was too focused on being mad and tired.

This goes to show that pictures can lie because everyone sees them and thinks, “wow, Adriana is having the time of her life,” but what they didn’t know was that my mental and physical state were suffering. Never truly believe the pictures until you talk to the person.

 

 

IMG_1215

IMG_1214

Fourth stop:  Sedona and Hoover Dam

Again…beautiful sites. The magical red rocks of Sedona definitely have a soothing medicinal aura of making you feel good.

Hoover Dam is just an architectural and scientific masterpiece. Again, I was in the wrong mindset. I was tired, stomach issues, and upset that we were seeing everything in a rush and not enjoying nature or the sites.

I was focused on the negativity and I let my physical pains dictate everything else.  I just didn’t get to enjoy the nature because I felt there wasn’t enough time to truly connect with it.

IMG_1256

IMG_1226

 

Last stop: Vegas and then back to Albuquerque

Of course, when you’re already feeling bad you have to stop in the “city of sins” to stuff yourself with greasy food and be surrounded by people’s desire to spend!!!

At this point my stomach couldn’t digest anything, everything was going right through me.  I could not hold anything down. I had huge eye bags because of not sleeping, and my mind just wanted to get away and hide. I didn’t feel like talking, walking or exploring, which is weird for me. I had given up on enjoying any of the sites or the rest of our travels.

IMG_1272

I know what you’re thinking… “what a spoiled brat, she gets to travel to great places and she complains. So many others would love to be in her place.” And you’re right, I’m extremely blessed and fortunate for everything in my life.  However, since my business is about using travel as a tool to help you feel better I have to tell you what I did wrong and why it’s so  important to “TRAVEL WITH A PURPOSE.” My problem this summer is that I had no purpose but to please everyone and do way too much in a short period of time. I didn’t think of how I would feel, and thought if I didn’t offer enough they would think I’m selfish. In the end, I did more harm than good because of my mental and physical state I could not be my best self, which was the initial intention.

When I say “travel” I don’t want you to think you have to spend a lot of money or visit the hot spots. Traveling could be visiting the town nearby or going to a local state park, it’s about getting away and focusing on your purpose for being there. Like the organization Travel Effect says, “Travelers report higher levels of satisfaction with regard to their stress levels and their physical health and well-being. ”

My business  concept is about incorporating wellness into your travels, something I learned from Wellness Tourism Worldwide. When you travel because you want to help yourself feel better you have to think of your well-being, the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. It’s about gaining an empowering experiential experience, not just gaining miles. It’s about finding activities to enhance both the mind and body. According to Wellness Tourism Worldwide, a leader in education, development, and promotion of wellness travel says, “When your body or spirt encompasses discovery, connectivity, growth, and fulfillment by your positive engagement between people, cultures, and nature you come back a new person. 

My retreats are about leading physical, psychological, or spiritual activities to improve your well-being, and at the same giving you the opportunity to visit nature or a new town.  In the end, like anything in life you have to think of yourself first before trying to help the world. Like Oprah says, “its ok to put yourself down as #1 priority” because when you do you’re in a better state to help others.

Mi experencia con Oprah

30 Sep

10614299_10152676093566181_5836435732708342152_n

Todo cambio en mi vida cuando mande esta foto al concurso de  #OlayxLifeYouWant:

La reina de la televisión americana Oprah lanzó una series de eventos este año por todo los Estados Unidos que se llamaban “The Life You Want Tour” (La Vida que tu Deseas), y claro que compre entradas para atender. Desde que tenia 14 años he admirado mucho Oprah porque siempre decía algo que te hacia pensar en como mejorar tu vida. Siempre he sido una niña muy tímida y todavía lo puedo ser cuando no conozco bien el ambiente o a las personas. Cuando estaba en la secundaria pretendía ser Oprah en mi habitación y entrevistaba a los invitados  invisibles.

Pues como puedes ver he admirado mucho la carrera de Oprah así que me podrás entender cuando digo que mi vida cambio cuando le conocí.  Dos semanas antes del gran evento, “Life you Want Tour Weekend,” tour en el Verizon Center en Washington, DC un productor del programa de Oprah me llamo para decirme que a Oprah le gusto mucho la foto que mande (la foto arriba de mi en el Gran Cañon) y lo que escribí sobre la foto. Como le gusto a Oprah el productor me dijo que ella me iba llamar al escenario para explicar el significativo de la foto. Estaba saltando de alegría cuando me dijeron que me habían seleccionado para  estar con Oprah en el escenario. A la misma vez me puse super nerviosa de estar enfrente de mas de 10,000 personas y a lado de Oprah pero algo me dijo que era mi momento.

Y claro que fue mi momento. Para ver los subtítulos en español haz click al “cc” que esta abajo del video.  

Tuve la oportunidad de hablar, a mas de 10,000 personas, sin problemas sobre la vision de mi negocio que es usar el viajar para ayudar a personas pasando por fases difíciles en la vida. Cuando digo el viajar significa tomando tiempo para ti mismo, sin familia, solo tu u otra persona especial. Es el poder viajar a un sitio fuera de tu ciudad/pueblo donde podrás conectarte con la historia, cultura y naturaleza del sito y hacer actividades de relajación.

El estar allí enfrente de 10,000 personas y a lado de Oprah fue algo muy personal para mi porque estaba en una fase de mi vida no muy seguro de lo que quería hacer con mi carrera. Sabia que quería lanzar un negocio de organizar retiros de bienestar en el estado de Nuevo Mexico pero tenia muchas dudas si era algo que se podía lograr.  Lo que me paso después de bajarme del escenario fue algo que me trajo toda la claridad del mundo. Muchas personas que estaban en la audiencia me pararon, en los pasillos, para decirme que me veía muy bien con Oprah y que les gusto mucho mi idea de los retiros de bienestar. En ese momento todas las inseguridades desaparecieron y me di cuenta que mi negocio era algo que valía mucho y que tenia mucha potencial de ayudar a muchos que están pasando por una fase difícil.  Ya no tengo excusas ni dudas sobre mi negocio porque se que el universo quiere que lo haga.

Como dice Oprah en la vida tienes que escuchar a esa voz en ti que siempre sabe lo que debes estar haciendo. Tengo toda la confianza en el mundo algo que nunca tuvo hasta ahora. Oprah no sabe pero con su sonrisa y por haberme dado la oportunidad de estar con ella en el Verizon Center cambio mi vida. Gracias!!!