If I could choose a super-power, it would be being able to let go. I used to think that mind-reading was a better option, but what good would it bring me if I’m not able to let go of all the information I get? It’s actually counter-productive.
I am in the process of decluttering my life. I always do so at this time of year. The hardest is always my children’s room. As I donate all those toys and clothes that no longer suit them because of how much they’ve grown, I realize how much I need to learn to let go;
I want life to move at a slower pace and give me time to choose wiser, to plan better, or at least enjoy a bit more.
But it doesn’t; it won’t. There’s nothing more certain than change.
I try to keep those toys that gave content to so many days of their babyhood in the hope that the memories won’t fade. I want to cryztallize those moments, and recapture the momentarily happiness of those ordinary days. Yet, if hurricane Irma and the Earthquake taught me something this year, is that objects are bound to disappear. They are not worth so much attention.
But then, there’s also people, and feelings; so many feelings you slightly remember, yet would give so much in order to feel again. Like wonder, safety, innocence and surprise…
also, certain kinds of love.
I feel there’s a huge resemblance between living, and playing Mario Bros: as the game of life progresses, different elements are being added to increase the difficulty we face, but every ‘world’ we battle the same monsters, until you are able to truly move on from the core.
My Kooper for this life will be dominating the art of letting go…
Today, five huge bags of things went off to be donated to different places. Still working on processing all the rest, one day at a time.
Photos by Celia D Luna, wearing Narces. Thank you for your support in helping me create the content I love. The title of this post was borrowed by Rebekka Karijord; one of my favorite songs by a Nordic singer that I met in Sweden, and has truly inspired my journey.
It’s simply that photography has become our canvas. We discover ourselves through the pictures we post.
I portray the subject I know best –which is obviously myself — allowing the lense to grab what’s inside: the camera takes off my shield and I find myself ‘naked’, never allowing a socially sought after smile to dress me, and be protagonist over what’s really happening inside.
They make us all feel comfortable and welcome, yet real ‘happy’ has so many dimensions and tones that rarely fit into one smile. They rarely do for me.
The anatomy of a good pose is a mix between history, feelings, and how much you want to reveal about yourself in that specific moment: smiles get in the way, unless they are a true revelation of where you stand.
I was discussing the current state of the world with a friend not long ago, and she said that the more she felt the chaos around us, the more she wanted to stay inside her bubble with her son, not caring for anything else.
I used to be her, and my bubble was so very beautiful.
Yet it popped: the soapy texture that divided me from the reality and crudeness of natural disaster headlines disappeared, and with it, an understanding of the current conditions of the world we have created.
No. No. No. We can’t afford to turn our heads any longer.
Someone on Instagram mentioned to me that it was interesting how I had become an activist, I re-read her message twice: me? activist?
But it’s true.
Think of it.
We are all activists.
The way we live our life, sets an example to others, wether we take responsibility of it, or not.
So we should all be activists.
And live up to what we want the world to become.
Dress made out of an up-cycled vintage curtain by Pompi García/ Pictures by Celia D Luna
I’ve been struggling the last couple of days to use the right words to express how I feel. If you follow my stories through Instagram, you know what I mean. First it was Irma, who threatend to destroy Miami.
She taught me what fear was.
Just when I was able to sleep again without worries, I found myself at the Earthquake that struck Mexico City, causing more destruction than I could have ever imagined.
It taught me what terror is.
For the first time I could feel the numbness of panic.
Why is it that earthquakes don’t have names? It feels better to refer to a name than just to an earthquake.
I thought I knew what earthquakes were; I lived through hundreds of them growing up.
This was so much more than that; it was a direct hit to our history. We all have stories related to the 1985 Earthquake which happened exactly the same day 32 years ago. It was always a date written in our collective calendar. At that time, my dad used to work at Televisa, and his office collapsed. The only reason he didn’t die crushed by its structure, was a last minute rendez-vous with my aunt.
He spent weeks trying to find survivors and make sense of the left overs. ‘How can you count the number of victims when you have 17 arms, 15 legs and 23 hands?’, he used to say in tears.
As I found myself in the midst of this disaster, sitting on a roundabout, waiting for a friend to find his cat, before his badly affected building crumbled into pieces, with a smell of gas I can’t even start to describe, I was sure that it was the last day of my life.
Buildings were falling everywhere. You could see them. You could hear them. The destruction lead to a union beyond compare among Mexicans. So many silent heroes were born in the last couple of days. So many empty coffins were honored.
We have changed. Our society is different. It has realized how strong it is.
That feeling changes you forever; it really does. For me, it has been the beginning of a Journey from Within.
And now there’s Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. The Caribbean will never be the paradise it used to be: Cuba, Antigua, Barbuda, St Thomas, St Martin, St Barts.
Bali is perhaps on the ‘waiting list’ of disasters to come, and so is Mexico thanks to the activity registered by our volcanoes in the last couple of days.
And of course, so are we in the USA, with the growing tensions with North Korea, and the discomfort in La Falla de San Andres — those tectonic plates have absolutely no mercy.
I don’t even want to list all the disasters happening on the West.
Let’s face it. We can’t control what’s happening outside.All we have left is help others while we can, and dare break into an inner journey that makes us understand that we are so much more than what our eyes can see.
We read daily stories regarding natural disasters, war, or dictatorships and see them as something so distant. It’s the first time I live a natural disaster of this kind, and I was pretty impressed by all the feelings and emotions I went through. Even with such little damage, I know I was changed for life by fear. Here is my story.
Everyday we say good-bye to people and to places without knowing. Everyday our journeys collide if only for a second. And then, they no longer do.
The seventh of September I packed all the things I love most, and closed the door of my house holding my breath, not knowing if I would ever reopen that door again. Hurricane Irma was on its way, and every prediction showed that it was ready for a direct hit, as a category 4, to Miami. On its path, it had already destroyed a couple of islands in the Caribbean.
‘You have to leave. Don’t take this lightly,’ said my dad on Monday. By Wednesday, every news outlet was saying the same thing. We were asked to evacuate right away given that we were in ‘Zone A’ which was basically the worst place to be.
I had lived through Mathew, which became the funniest meme ever among Floridians, and didn’t expect this to be a big deal at first. Regardless, we decided to buy tickets, 1000 USD per person versus the usual 180 — thank you American Airlines.
As Irma approached, no one could talk about anything else. No more flights available ANYWHERE. Almost everyone was ready to leave, or had already left. The supermarkets were running low on everything.
But we were safe…
We had a ticket out of here….
Right. 🙄 (watch video below)
We took shelter at a really good friend’s house at El Portal, which seemed to be one of the safest areas. We couldn’t be more grateful to him. My boys were loving the adventure playing with his pets and just having a good time.
When you are waiting life goes by so slowly.
I started having really good conversations with amazing people on Instagram.
We are a wonderful species. When we are awfully vulnerable we become human to the core. We stop being afraid of one another. Flags, religions and languages are no longer a barrier. Vulnerability unites us all.
As the lights blinked, and the winds blew stronger we decided it was time for bed.
I woke up at 5am.
She had arrived.
You should always keep something beautiful in your mind. It comes handy in times of fear.
My children were wrapped all over my neck and my husbands body. We held hands although we couldn’t really move.
The tornado alerts started ringing on our phones waking up everyone.
The measure of who we are is how we react to things that don’t go our way. What is it that determines who leaves the country or who doesn’t? Who decides if a tree falls on a street, or smashes a house? Is there a grand purpose, or it’s just luck?
We watch movies to feel what other people feel, often on extreme apocalyptical situations. But when the things you are going through feel like a movie, all you wish for is an average uneventful day.
Strangely enough, I wanted to go out desperately to feel the force of nature first hand; so did everyone else in the house. It’s so awfully attractive. Obviously fear kept me rational enough not to.
The following morning, it was over. Once we knew we were safe, we were desperate to see how our house was doing. Cellphones were not working. All we knew is that the Grove had lots of fallen trees.
I have a huge oak tree right in front of my house, and couldn’t be more worried. This is how the Grove looked like as we approached home.
As I looked at my oak tree standing strong at the entrance, I couldn’t contain my happiness. I opened the door to my house as I gratefully prayed with all the love in my heart.
We still had a house. It was a mess of course, with fallen branches all over, but the structure was intact. After a couple of hours cleaning up we went for walk to help others as much as we could. Some properties had serious damage. The journey to recovery had begun.
A warm cup of coffee, a friend checking up on you, fresh water, AC or a smile from a stranger has never been more meaningful. As we went for our first real meal in a couple of days you could feel all the mixed energies, and the unity among people. The real damage wasn’t as awful as it could have, but I learned the importance of empathy towards the people going through similar, or much worse situations.
Perhaps the storm in your life is real. It might just be figurative. Whatever the case, just know hope is a work in progress. We can bear so much more than we think we can.
When the body functions spontaneously, that is called instinct. When the soul functions spontaneously, that is called intuition." –Shree Rajneesh
When we are born, we carry the knowledge of divinity within. If you don't believe me, stare at a newborn straight in the eye, and you'll understand what I mean.
To ignite the passion that will bring us back to the reason we are in this world, we just need a trigger. It happens at different times for everyone: sometimes it's a failed romance; sometimes it's loosing a loved one; it can also happen when changing career paths.
The narrative of my journey has been triggered by the impotency associated with moving from one country to another, and rebuilding my life every time. First it was Madrid; that move was an escape. Then came New York, triggered by love. Toronto was a move ignited by hope of having found my partner. Stockholm is where I learned how to build a family.
Miami has been the city where I've reconnected with myself.
The fury came. Ever since I arrived, I became disciplined. I started putting together projects at a fast and furious pace. I've been driven by the insecurity of not being seen as myself, or who I wanted to be. You see, when you are married to an expat, the alternative is becoming a shadow of the person whose journey you are following, and being defined simply as a wife or as a mother, loosing your sense of self.
And that was not an option.
So I put all my discipline into building myself, discovering who I am at every turn.
If you are still waiting for your trigger, don't feel intimidated by passion; follow your curiosity. Everything starts with a thought. Believe in your intuition. It will guide you as you decipher what you are supposed to bring into this world. Allow yourself to be frightened, or know you will always wake up in the same place.
It's ok to follow the biological recipe for a good life, but if you have a burning desire to go beyond that, don't miss the chance to do so.
Open your eyes, and see what you can with them before they close forever.
I have to confess: I fill almost every short gap in my life with instagram. Elevators, street-lights, lonely lunches… You see? It has become a friend to me.
I kept myself far away from it until I started working for Glamour. Previous to that I managed social media communities for brands, so obviously the last thing I wanted, was to do it for myself. Plus I never thought, until recently, that I had a story to tell, and I don’t think it’s fair for the current state of the world to just be another instagram account posting about pretty bags. There has to be more to it…
Perhaps it’s loneliness. We all have starved hearts no matter how blessed and surrounded by people we are. It’s part of our human condition. And it’s nice to see karma at work. There’s a silent economy among the community that you follow and follows you back in relation to likes, comments, and general interaction. The more you like and comment others, the more you will be liked and commented on, with time and effort. Feels good, specially when it’s so hard to feel appreciated on our daily lives.
It’s also a personal experiment. I know myself so much better since I started posting on a daily basis. I’ve learned to embrace my inner-monsters, my intensity and the necessity I have to find beauty and share it with others in my everyday life.
I get it. It’s addiction. The feeling of posting a picture is similar to that of playing a slot machine. The expectation towards the amount of likes or comments you might get is as exciting as waiting for the reel-spinning slots to settle. It’s not money you are investing. It’s time. So you’d better use it wisely.
And, of course, it’s also the most wonderful pacifier. We are all so anxious, that it’s good to know we don’t have to stare straight into the eyes of the world we are facing; you can simply peek between swipes.
Yeah… The art of swiping and liking. That’s where insta-therapy happens: As I swipe through the pictures of all the friends and strangers whose life I follow, I can see their voids and relate to them in so many ways.
Yes. Even in the most beautiful feeds, once you read between the lines, there’s an insight into the hardships of the person behind the account. And just then, being human seems enough.
But I’m not sure everyone notices this, and it worries me. Look into #depression next time you use Instagram. Like any drug, social media has generated feelings of emptiness and unworthiness to society in astounding ways. I’ve been around for a bit and lived a ‘cool’ life around people with ‘amazing’ lives long enough to know for certain that what I see is not the full story, but I follow some younger people, and friends I’ve done through constant interaction and mutual admiration, who I often think don’t know that.
So do consider that we all have a responsibility, regardless of the size of our following, to show reality from time to time and mention that not every day is a sunny day, because the more we humanize sadness, the more we build upon a healthier society.
So let’s do it well. Let’s continue sharing the beauty that surrounds us, but not forgetting how important is to give a glimpse into our thoughts and our real stories, as subtly as we dare to. Because I know no matter how beautiful your feed is, there’s more to you behind the scenes.
And perhaps we’ll uncover the beauty of sadness, and even save a life from time to time.
Have you ever felt as if you’ve missed up on important memos regarding, well… life? Perhaps someone got your address wrong, the media got in the way or something happened to the messenger that was supposed to deliver the right messages.
The consequences are clear. You are caught fully off guard.
…Or maybe you are just starting to live enough to realize the importance of these information, and didn’t ‘get it’ before.
Whatever the case, I’m sharing with you my missing memos. Perhaps you’ll be able to learn from my experience, and manage your expectations better than I have, saving yourself a couple of sleepless nights.
1. Being an adult doesn’t mean you know anything. In fact, it’s the opposite. Remember how many times you were told that when you are an adult you would understand? 😒
Nah. You never do. I understand less of life than I ever did.
2. No one has anything figured out. Even the greatest of the greatest have no real idea of what they are doing. We are all cruising through life doing our best to stay afloat. Don’t loose yourself in the glamour of the life of some people. They are as confused as you and me.
3. The best choices you make, might turn out to be the worst choices ever, and the worst choices might change your life in the best way possible. Stop asking yourself if you are doing things right. There is no A/B testing. Just keep walking and make the best out of your path.
4. Do not judge or criticize others. It pollutes your mind and your energy, and signs you up to live a similar situation to the one you are criticizing. It has happened to me so many times. For sure we are all curious about how others manage their life and their decisions. We learn by talking about it as well, but do not allow that to become criticism. Just understand people are different. Trust me. You will be confronted by all that you judge harshly. It’s better to be human and understand that it’s ok not to understand sometimes.
5. I’m a child of divorced parents. If you are too, (or if you watch enough movies), you are aware of that key moment when parents tell you that their divorce didn’t have anything to do with you. Sorry to break it, but not really… The best way to push the limits of love is spending your time in conversations strategizing the life of little people that depend on you, and for whom you have different approaches/expectations. Yes. Babies are cute and produce more love in your heart than anything in the world ever will, but they don’t necessarily unite a couple. They put it through a test.
6. You too, will get old.
Ok… You probably did get that memo, but didn’t pay much attention. It happens. Your soul might stay the same, you will probably still feel like a teen ager, but the body ages… a lot! Use your body while it’s still young. 😏
7. Just like ‘forever’ and ‘never’ are false and uncontrollable premises, there is no good or bad. It’s all relative. No one ever catalogues themselves as the ‘bad guy’. Watch this video from a former CIA officer to understand what I mean. It changed my perception. We all believe we are doing good in our strange minds for our own strange life situations. Even the worst of criminals. More than ever, its important to listen to others with different views of the world. I have so many debates with my 5 year old when he tells me I’m playing ‘the good one’ or ‘the bad’ one. It’s easy to catalogue people that way, but reality is much more complicated. Don’t stay in the surface.
8. You have a mission. Your existence is not an accident. You will be presented with abstract clues of what that mission is all the time, and with the tools to fulfill it. Things get easier, and way less frustrating, when you start to understand and follow the pattern.
…for best results, stop trying to control everything.
9. We are all weird. I really wish I had know that when I was a teen. It takes a lifetime to embrace your own version of weirdness, but when you do it’s extremely liberating, and your walls disappear allowing you to find your tribe. The problem with not being yourself is that people can feel on an energetic level that there’s something ‘off’ about you. When you present yourself as vulnerable and real as you actually are, you allow for others to feel confortable around you.
And if none of these missing memos bring anything of value to your journey, just remember we are all dying. I always keep that in mind when I have bad moments. Be thankful for the opportunity you have to live today and make an impact, even in what may seem the smallest of ways.
Trust me: there’s a ripple effect to everything you do.