Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dear 2010 ...

Always hopeful
Dear 2010,

Thank you for being so good to me. 2008 and 2009 were pretty rough, but 2009 signed off with promises of a better tomorrow.

In 2010 I got a lot done, and I gained a clearer perspective of my life, of where I’d been and where I’m going. 

I turned in an overdue book proposal, I wrote a non-fiction book in Spanish on finding love again in mid-life (which will be released in February 2011), I wrote a first rough draft of a novel in English (which I will rewrite in 2011) and I kept Success Diaries going in two languages and in three Internet sites (and I´ll kick it up a notch in 2011).

I saw my 9-year old off at the airport on her first solo trip from Florida to Spain and back and then before Christmas I took both my girls and their dad (my former husband) to the airport so they could all spend the holidays in Spain together.

I traveled to San Francisco to visit my beloved sister.

I dealt with unfinished business, personal, financial and emotional. Some of it will carry over into 2011 but hopefully not for long.

I stayed in shape and healthy. I am grateful for it: mental, emotional and physical health. I know I am fortunate to have it. It hasn´t always been that way. 

I was given the opportunity to promote my books on TV. Thank you!

The meaning of relationships: romantic love, friendship, family, have taken on a new meaning. My glass is always half full, and my heart is brimming. 

And yet, it pains me to know that some of my friends and family are suffering in 2010, in ways that I did before them. I’m glad that I can use my own experience to tell them that perhaps 2011 will also bring them the promise of a better tomorrow. 

To those who can´t wait for you to be over, 2010, I say:

The rest of your life starts today.

And … as Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh:

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On Ho'Oponopono or Being Responsible and Forgiving

If you are interested in feeling lighter of spirit and heart, clearing yourself of resentments and inner turmoil, taking responsibility for how you feel, finding closure and moving on, then Ho´Oponopono may be for you!

You can find more about it in Wikipedia, or by googling it.

This is based on an ancient Hawaian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness that was carried out as a family or a community when there were ill feelings amongst them. They believed that feeling grudges and anger, for instance, made the body ill.

I´m not Hawaiian or ancient (yet!), but I know that when I am angry or resentful I don´t feel as good and don´t look as pretty. I also know that it is unlikely that others will stop behaving in the way that makes me angry and resentful, on demand. So I adhere to the Ho´Oponopono method of taking responsibility for how I feel, regardless of others. The only person I can do something about is me.

We don´t see things the way they are, say the followers of this ancient practice; we see them the way we are. I knew that before I read about Ho´Oponopono, so that makes it that much easier to absorb.
In order to clear yourself of ill feelings, says the simplistic approach to this method, you must follow the following four steps, over and over. And, according to many, it works. 

I’ve heard of more far-fetched ideas than this, so why not give it a try. If it works, it works, and if not, at least your mind is busy with nice thoughts instead of brooding.

When you are feeling out of sorts, angry, upset, sad, repeat the following phrases mentally.

1.- I’m sorry (You are saying this to the Divine, to a Higher Power, or whatever you believe in)
2.- Please forgive me (Assuming responsibility for your part in the feeling or event)
3.- Thank you (Letting go of the ill feeling)
4.- I love you (Letting in love and loving yourself and others)

Even if you don’t do this, the simple act of acknowledging that we are responsible for how we feel and that we have no control over other people, places or things, and doing our best to see the best in people or at least understand where they are coming from makes for a much lighter heart.

When I was a lot younger I knew how to bear a grudge and my heart was heavy. As time passes, my heart feels lighter and life gets better. Nothing has changed on the outside. It's all in the eyes of the beholder. 

What a better time to start this practice than right before the holidays! I wish you peace ... 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

8 Tips for Successful Holidays

The holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever it is you celebrate, should be relaxing and fun and not yet another source of stress in our busy days.

Life goes on despite the holidays and although commercials tell us that it’s all about shopping and being of good cheer, things happen: people fall ill, die, argue, separate, divorce, are fired, away from their loved ones, tired, depressed and lonely, also during the holidays. Some people are especially so during the holidays.

A few tips to simplify the season and enjoy it warts and all …

-       Minimize material gift giving, if you can’t afford it. Nobody should be offended if you cannot buy a present.

-       Christmas meals need not be elaborate and expensive. Make it a potluck, where everyone brings something.

-       It’s ok not to send Christmas cards.

-       Focus on what you have, not on what you lack.

-       Say no. If I gave money to every Salvation Army bucket and every charity I come across, I’d have nothing left for my kids.

-       Realize there is no “perfect” Christmas. Pining for a Normal Rockwell kind of celebration will only make you feel bad. You can make the best of any season.

-       Know that if you don’t bake cookies, the “Christmas Baking Police” won’t arrest you!

-       Give and receive the greatest gift of all: the gift of your presence.

Any tips of your own?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Simple Entrepreneurial Recipe for Success

Jodie and Dustin Goeggle
Be good at what you do, know your market and reduce your overhead during a recession.

That’s what Jodie and Dustin Goeggle, owners of have been successfully doing for 17 years.

When they showed me around their factory in Naples, Florida, I saw T-shirts with the logo of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” bar in Key West being printed, alongside those of The Lazy Flamingo in Sanibel Island.

After many years of tried and true entrepreneurial success, the Goeggles decided to go online and offer customers everywhere the possibility of ordering custom printing or embroidery on the Internet at wholesale prices.

They provide the same fast, professional and reliable service as usual, but with the added bonus of the client being able to upload their logo or artwork to their website. They then tweak it and send it back to the customer for approval. The turnaround time is ten days guaranteed delivery, or five if it is a rush order.

Their competitive prices are possible because the Goeggles are not outsourcing the job. I saw how they receive the orders, process them, execute them and mail them from their premises. They also happen to be the providers for my kids’ elementary school T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Whether you need to dress a soccer or football team, your employees, or even your customers, is a reliable place to go for that.

I’ve seen what’s behind the Internet storefront and I know the people who are the heart of the business. A family with their head in the clouds but their feet firmly planted on the ground.

They embody success in the simplest of terms and their recipe is worth repeating: Be good at what you do, know your market and reduce your overhead during a recession.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Gifts you Can Give this Christmas!

Christmas should not be a time of stress spent at the mall or online, shopping for stuff, only to face January’s huge credit card bills and a host of gifts you have no use for.

Of course I wouldn’t balk at an IPad under the Christmas tree – I love gadgets!

But throughout the years I´ve grown less interested in material things (I´m not just sayin´: you can read my older posts if you are curious as to why!) and more appreciative of other kinds of gifts.

My children and close friends and family may get a present from me if my budget and time allows, but I find that there are other more valuable gifts that are free or low-budget and that are more gratifying to the soul, and those rank higher on my list.
Some of these:

-       The gift of time – Spend time with those you love, give them your undivided attention on a regular basis, even if it’s only once a week!

-       The gift of support – Think of a friend who is going through a tough time now (you may not have to think too hard!). Do something nice for them, like treat them to the movies, babysit their kids, or clean their apartment.

-       The gift of listening – Have you ever caught yourself thinking of what you are going to say before the other person has even finished talking?

-       The gift of your presence – We may regret not having spent enough time with a loved one – a child, a parent, a grandparent … Don´t let that happen.

-       The gift of mentorship – Do you have a friend or family member who would benefit from your guidance? Whether you are an artist, a writer, a juggler or an entrepreneur, your knowledge and experience is priceless to those who are starting out.

-       The gift of motivation – Offer to go jogging with your best friend if she needs to get in shape (and has expressed it!), to attend a seminar with your sister who wants to start her own business …

-       The gift of joy – Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching? This may sound trite, but it reminds me daily of the fact that my best asset is my positive attitude!

-       The gift of forgiveness – Make a list of your grudges. Consider forgiving others as, in doing so, you are freeing yourself. This one´s hard! I know!

-       The gift of the written word – Write a heartfelt letter to everyone and anyone you wish you could give a material gift to. Tell them what they mean to you, list their virtues and happy memories you have about them, or even the tough times you shared.

This type of giving won’t empty your wallet and will fill your heart.
You may have others to add to the list! If so, please do.

¡Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I Believe in People

I wrote this post exactly one year ago, on my private Facebook profile, and tagged the friends it pertained to. One year later, I am happy to say 2010 has been a much better year than the one before, and I trust that 2011 will be even better. And if not, I know that I have it in me to weather the storms of life, over and over again. Thanks to them I discovered I have a soul with stamina, and a lot of kind people around me.


2009 was an extremely challenging year for me and my kids, although naturally the real challenges had started a few years back ...

Hardship and how one deals with it can make or break a person. I didn't break. And I didn't break not only because I have learned to develop a soul with stamina, but because there are good persons in this world. I am fortunate to know many of them. For those who do not believe in others ... I would like to share with you a list of things angels that walk the earth have done for me this year alone. I will not mention names because some asked me not to disclose the act of generosity or kindness when I thanked them and I respect that. Someone said: "This is between you and me and God" ... and it is, whatever your beliefs may be.

I hope this list rekindles your belief in people if you ever lost it. I am happy to say I haven't ....

So, THANKS to YOU who (without me asking) ...

- came to my place and pulled me out of bed at midday when I was down, and took me and my kids to get an oil change for my car and to shop for groceries and paid for it all.

- gave me your wedding and engagement rings so I could sell them and pay for bills.

- gave me boxes of cereal for my kids.

- cooked dinner for me and the girls and brought it over.

- cosigned my lease for my apartment.

- bought me a new laptop when my Macbook was stolen.

- paid for my dinner and drinks (often) when I needed to go out and have a good time with my friends.

- prepared a birthday party for me even when I wasn't sure I wanted to celebrate.

- bought my ticket to New York.

- gave me work writing blogs.

- drove me to Miami airport and back when I went to Spain in summer.

- took care of my kids so I could work or go to get my salsa fix.

- bartered services so I could have nice clothes or anything else I needed.

- filled my gas tank.

- wrote and composed a song for me. How cool is that?

- chatted with me when I needed comfort at 4 am in Spain. Thank God for friends in other countries!

- helped me move boxes and boxes and more boxes, even driving across Florida to do it.

- worked with me to get a pampering service for free, at a lower price or with a payment plan.

- paid my rent.

- gave me a great price for all my gold jewelry while I almost cried when selling it.

- held Sterling Silver Silpada shows for me just to help me out.

- connected me with someone who could give me work writing or translating.

- gave my kids clothes.

- taught me that wealth is what you have when you've lost everything.

- made sure my kids were on the list to get gifts this Christmas.

- lent me your entire jewelry display for a Silpada show.

- gave me money to go to the dentist.

- sent me recognition gifts for my jewelry business performance.

- took fantastic pictures of me for my books and jewelry biz for free.

- gave me your own stuff to sell on e bay so I could keep the money.

- paid me a compliment when I did not feel at my best.

- told me I would make it.

- changed my tire and wasted the entire morning doing it.

- respected the times I needed to be alone and came hastily when I needed company.

- performed an expensive surgery practically for free.

- accepted me for who I am.

I know there are more things, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.
People are good ... and I also believe others mirror who we are.

For that I am grateful.

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart!