Love Note

Just as the tears dry up, the emotions wring my heart again, squeezing out yet more bittersweet tears.

I cannot describe the EXCITEMENT and ANTICIPATION I feel for this next, upcoming adventure… this move to L.A. I feel as if the seconds could not fly by fast enough. The seconds that separate him and I. He with the widest of grins and the giggliest of laughs. He that is always sprinkling the sparkling dust of laughter into my own eyes.

And yet, as the seconds tick away, I can’t help but feel how quickly my last few moments with some incredibly moving people I’ve met here in the Riviera Maya… are vanishing. I couldn’t put into words everything, all the beloved attributes that have made me fall completely head over heels in love for most amazing friends here. And I’m not going to try. My words couldn’t do their loveliness any justice.

Just please know…

Perla
Benny
Ruben
Victor
Roberto
Daniel
Antonio
Edgar
Jimmy
America
Paoloko
Jason
Juan Carlos
Joakin
Simon
Marco
CS Cancun Community

Each of you, in your own most unique and enchanting ways, have captured my heart. I love you guys… and I always will.

Back to Blogging with a Blast of Inspiration!

More than 75 days of blogging silence from yours truly. That’s… disappointing actually. But life has thrown me a few curve balls these past 2 1/2 months. You could say at least one of them smacked me dead center in the forehead… hence the proverbial “knockout” and “disappearing blog” act.

During the silence, lots of life has happened. To sum it up, you could say that I’ve had a more than a fistful of truly heart-movingly RICH experiences… that were all strung along a coarse strand of significant hardship and trial.

Yesterday, in fact, I took another hard hit. This one didn’t knock me out though. Rather, it knocked me back awake… at least I think it did.

Things haven’t been matching up. Opportunities, yes more than one, that seemed golden suddenly tarnished into fool’s gold.

Yesterday was the climax of the second “not gold but fool’s gold” enlightenment.

I’ll bypass the details about what happened with whom for now. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is learning and moving forward.

Learning and growing:

1. I’ve really got to stop trusting so wholeheartedly at the first “hello.” I offer my trust on a silver platter without doing my homework to see just whom it is I’m offering this fine delicacy. That’s just imprudent. Personal improvement goal number one: Stay open, willing, friendly and receptive but be more prudent and weary with whom I trust.

And if you think I’m talking about love… I’m not. I’m talking about work and employment.

2. See the warning signs. People leaving the company should be at least a yellow flag that prompts me to investigate “why.” People holding the exact same position they were holding six years ago, without the slightest change in “standard of living” or even upgraded equipment should be a blaring red flag. And there were more… with my “after the fact” perspective I see that so clearly now. Personal improvement goal number two: Interview the company even as they are interviewing you.

The bright-side:

In just two months I went from having experience solely in Journalistic Photography to having plenty of content for a solid portfolio in Lifestyle Photography and Wedding Photography. That of which I’m very proud. I learn fast and work even faster!

The surprise:

Yesterday, as I was trying to calm my emotions and meditate on what’s been happening I decided to turn to the greats for inspiration, look to the words of wise that have walked before me. Each time I’ve done that has marked a coming pivotal period in my growth, success and achievement. This time, instead of taking months to remember the inspirational quotes from world sages remedy, I remembered in the very same afternoon. Yes! A sign of growth! Well, my to-do’s reminded me actually. In a moment of distress I decided it was better to put this spring of hurt, negative energy toward something useful and good. Transform it. Thus, I decided to turn to the weary task of cleaning out my computer and hard drives (they’re bogged with lord know what.) During this, I stumbled upon some business mentoring articles I had saved. Since I had saved them I had never read them. I was always brushing them off: Later. Later. I’ll have more time to read them later. In my determination to clean out my hard drive and computer once and for all, I almost brushed by them once again. But, I paused and considered: This is where I need the most guidance right now. There is no time better than NOW. Read them!

Less than ten minutes in my spirits were lifted, my confidence restored and my drive to overcome not only renewed but SUPERCHARGED.

One of the very first quotes that jumped out at me while reading stopped me in my tracks:

“Within each of us is a NATURAL PATH. Someone who ALIGNS themselves 100% to their PATH finds an EXTRAORDINARY sense of FLOW and ENERGY comes into their life or work.”

Wait a minute! I just had that! I was just there!! During my last few days in Chihuahua and even more poignantly so during my first several weeks in the Riviera Maya I was nearly EXPLOSIVE with energy. Getting an average of 3-4 hours of sleep I night I quickly became the a CS social butterfly, got involved in photography projects, lined up not one but two jobs, completed daily runs along the shore of the emerald and sapphire colored sea, visited and charmed the tropical island of Isla Mujeres and kept up a very active night life… and I was feeling GREAT. The best shape of my life, the best health of my life…

Pffff. What happened??!! On the contrary the past two to three weeks I’ve felt drained of energy, unrefreshed as I woke up feeling worse than when I had gone to bed, little desire for my normal here-there-everywhere social life. Just zapped. Accordingly, the tension gathered, the health went downhill and I got grumpier at realizing I was getting grumpier. I never lost the “Que Rico!” but I was feeling it less and less. (Thanks to amazing friends they really kept blazing moments of it alive even amidst my period of waning energy.)

So what gives? I asked myself. I’ve definitely gone through a tough bout of trial so the zapped energy makes sense. Pffff I deserve a break. I reasoned. But I didn’t want to stop there. Why all the hardship and trial I wondered? What happened that made me suddenly plummet head first from the exhilarating heights of feeling an “EXTRAORDINARY sense of FLOW and ENERGY” in my life and work?

The blog.

I’ve had the blog for several years now. But, it wasn’t until Chihuahua that I decided to really start sharing the juicy stuff. The crazy stuff. The weird, Locura de Laura spiritual stuff. When I began really writing everything that I was feeling and experiencing not just “parts of it” is when I felt the blast of energy. I had even written about how I felt the call to write it all… now. Then, the blog went offline, the energy and flow peaked and I was on a fast-track to decent.

Wow. A powerful realization. I knew that writing and sharing and opening up was therapeutic. But geez, I didn’t realize the extent of which I need my blog for my own personal release and self-development. Maybe some of you out there read it. Maybe not. While I’m truly heartened and utterly touched to get the feedback I occasionally get, I just realized how much this blog is for me. My development, my growth, my health… me. Without it… I began holding everything within. Blocking my flow, which manifested both physically and in my external life experiences. I need to express and to express freely… my precious little blog lets me do that. She lets me blab and blab and blab and never once talks back and tells me “no,” “can’t,” “stop,” “you’re doing it wrong,” “you’re a failure.” She simple lets me share, express and be free to be in love… in love with this wonderful blue little planet I so adoringly call home.

Yelp! How excited I am to have my blog back!!!

Mind Scraps: Reverence Before the Radiant Sun

One morning a workmate at Traveo was enchanted by the sun. It was actually one of the workmates who ended up disappointing me, giving me much undeserved trouble.

On this morning though, we had connected, shared and, together, marveled at the stunning radiance of the sun. Though the sky was blanketed in clouds her brilliance could not be dulled. In her strong defiance she even graced us with a ring of rainbow…

Mind Scraps: The Spirit Prince

“You, as I already told you, are a gift, a marvelous talent. You have a most unique, contagious energy that affects everyone!! You are love as a person. There is overwhelming kindness in you. You represent my vision of life: TO ENJOY IT!

Tu ya te dije que tienes un don, un talento maravilloso!! tienes una energia UNICA que contagia a todos!! eres un amor de persona, hay muchisia bondad en ti, y representas mi vision de vida, DISFRUTARLA!

I received those humbling, heart-warming words just after The Spirit Prince returned home after his Riviera Maya vacation. I met him while working with Traveo. He was a part of the many groups Traveo hosts for “spring break” vacations in Cancun. At just 18, he’s another young one… and another whose spirit has left me speechless. For the first time in my life, I encountered someone whose energy matched my own. Always flashing a brilliant smile, he is positive light and I witnessed how all of his friends look to him for life. His charm: irresistible. I saw how he could turn a girl’s frown upside in minutes. Tenderly cupping her face in his hands, and directing a kind and loving gaze straight into her eyes, he would whisper in her ear, telling her how beautiful she was. More precious than gold, he would say. Don’t shed your tears for those who don’t deserve to see the fallen pearls. Cruel words dissolve before your beauty. Take heart! (No the girl wasn’t me. :P)

If the music was playing, he was dancing. When the music wasn’t playing… he was still dancing. Dancing, rejoicing, celebrating the living beat of life!

I quickly recognized The Spirit Prince encountered the magic in life that I encountered. We shared philosophical discussions and for once, my lips were nearly (hahaha) sealed as I listened to my own words, my own heart pour forth from another’s soul speech. At just 18, he had come to know deep truths that I learned and am still learning while roving the globe in my 20s. So young, yet so soulfully wise! I marveled.

Since he left the Riviera Maya, The Spirit Prince and I have kept in good touch. I’d like to share but just a few of the many loving words he has sent me, so that their light might reach more than just me. Can you believe there are young men in this world that feel as he feels, have the courage to share what he shares? How heartening!! Continue reading “Mind Scraps: The Spirit Prince”

Mind Scraps: No to Nonsense, Yes to Progress!

So my stint with Traveo is already over. While the job looked fun on paper – beach lounges, sunset cruises, nights at the club and beachfront accomodation (with Mexico’s infamous soccer star Hugo Sanchez as a neighbor) – in reality it had its problems. Yet, my blog isn’t for spreading “chisma” as they say here in MX, so let’s just say that from my experience I wouldn’t necessarily recommend working with the outfit and leave it at that.

That being said, I wasn’t all sour. I did live in a beautiful beachfront abode for two weeks, enjoyed runs along the night surf, cruised at sunset, danced my heart out and met some most touching souls (the Boy King of Spirit and others) … even a famous soccer player!

I ended up playing one-on-one sand soccer with Patricio Araujo of Chivas. He couldn’t put one past me… nor I him. We collapsed in the sand at a draw. But dude, a pro futballer couldn’t beat me!! Hahaha… On a real field with a more realistic match, I’m sure he’d have his chance to outshine. But hey, when it came down to sleep deprived one-on-one on the beach “El Pato” met his match! Mwahahaahaha… He did beat me in volleyball though. What I’d like to know is… when are my tryouts with Chivas??? Also exchanged a brief hello with Pato’s teammate Edgar Mejia.

Want to note that, from what I saw, Pato is a rather down-to-earth, genuine guy. He picked up stray trash and always made a point to leave things where he found them. He was courteous and gracious with the hotel staff. He didn’t act like a soccer diva at all… except in having a little trouble accepting that I might be a better contender than he anticipated. Hehehehee…

…Unfortunately, though, the ill ended up outweighing all that wonderful goodness. The job with Traveo had some MAJOR perks, yet the last few days I was suffering – emotionally and spiritually. So, with a sincere nod of good luck I said: Thanks. But no thanks. No more. I was losing my spirit and wasn’t making much. Some camera equipment had been damaged the very first night. The atmosphere, while fun, wasn’t exactly in line with my professional aims. It just wasn’t worth sticking with it…

Moving forward…

After tapping out, I immediately contacted the director at Dream Art Photography. From the moment I first connected online with one of the founders and learned about the company and its concept, I was eager to become involved. The photo agency had originally indicated that it might be better to start a little later, when the high tourist season hit, which is why I went ahead with the offer from Traveo. Thus, I was hoping the two weeks I did spend with Traveo had bought enough time and I could get something going with Dream Art.

With luck, the director – who splits his time between studios in Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen – was in Playa. We could meet!

The meeting went great. Those that I met that work with Dream Art seem extremely professional, yet genuinely friendly. Always smiling. Always welcoming. They all professed to love their job. Excellent sign. None of that surprised me though. I’ll be officially feeling it out later this week. I must say… I’m pretty excited. I have a great feeling… about a great company with great people. 😀

On a side note, I’d like to add that today I met a didgeridoo player, a top chef, a musician that plays 17 instruments, a sculptor and a French smart ass (in a good way… hahaha). Seriously, how enchanting is this world?? What a mix of intriguing characters to meet in one day!! I’m eager to get to more about each and every one!

Mind Scraps: Hitting the Notes or Touching the Soul

Saturday night Playa del Carmen hosted a pre-concert for its International Jazz Festival coming up in November. The main attractions for the 2010 summer highlight includeded smooth jazz singer/songwriter Phil Perry and renowned jazz pop singer Bryan McKnight.

Admittedly, I don’t know Perry’s music too well. His performance was fun. I felt his heart and passion for his music, but I can’t say his concert really touched me the way some artists can.

McKnight’s performance, even less so. Yes, Bryan has a beautiful voice. Yes, he can do fancy scales. But, the entire time, he was putting on a show. And that’s exactly what I got from the experience. A talented, seasoned artist doing no more than putting on a show. I didn’t feel his heart, or his passion. It simply wasn’t there. I imagine after his professed 21 years in the biz, it could be difficult to deliver heart every time, for every concert. One song… I thought I started to feel it come through. But that’s it. Thus, I enjoyed the music, the clear notes. But, I left the concert feeling a yearning for more…

So who touches me? That night of the concert, as I felt a lack of spirit, my thoughts wandered to Paul Potts and his performance on Britian’s Got Talent. I’ve watched the video below a countless number of times. My eyes still well up when I watch it:

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A true example of an artist pouring his heart out.

Another that came to mind, is a young man I met recently in Cancun, MX. He might not hit every note, clear and sharp (yet, with a bit a voice training I feel he very easily could). Yet his voice is saturated with spirit. He’s singing for the sheer joy of singing… sharing what’s inside the best way he can… through his voice. Every time I hear him sing, whether in person or on video, his sweet, pure voice brings a smile to my lips and my heart.

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There’s more to sharing music than just hitting the notes clearly…

Graffiti Prophet in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Not new news. But new to me…

I love how this story demonstrates that wisdom and courage can come from the most unexpected sources. I love how it illustrates that practices commonly labeled as “taboo” or “bad” can be used for good. Finally, it’s yet another testament of the power of art and expression.

The Graffiti Prophet of Bois Verna

In the hours after the earthquake struck on Jan. 12, thousands of his shocked countrymen had congregated in the giant plaza, weeping and crying out for Jesus. Jerry Rosembert, a 25-year-old graffiti artist, knew what to do: with a can of spray paint, he turned a map of Haiti into a person who cried and held his hands skyward in prayer. Jerry didn’t sleep that night, and after dawn broke the next day, he sprayed five more crying Haitis in a neighborhood called Bois Verna. Soon after, the symbols appeared all over town…

For more than a year before the quake, Jerry had been spray-painting the city with strange, sharp images. His paintings stood out; until then, most Port-au-Prince graffiti shilled for politicians hardly anyone cared about…

On Avenue Christophe, he had depicted two men with raised forks who fought over a roast chicken and, a little farther down the street, a long line of patients who languished in front of an imperious receptionist, busy with her nails…

Near a corner where prostitutes plied their trade, Jerry painted a woman torn between a john and her child. A goggle-eyed man slipped a rope around his neck. All over town, faces of beautiful young women and old men simply wept…

Much of Jerry’s pre-quake work has survived, and these days it has an awful poignancy. In the camps, the homeless are indeed scrumming over food. In the hospitals, patients wait days to be seen. Young women are forced to trade sex for food or shelter. With no visible end to the crisis, some Haitians have surrendered their last asset: faith in the future.

The other day, a Haitian friend told Jerry that he was a prophet, that he must have sensed the hell that would befall his country. “Maybe I did,” Jerry said to me later. “But really, those things I painted — the suffering, the poverty, the misery — that all existed before the earthquake. Now things are just worse.”

Read more by clicking here.

RIP: Human Rights Defender Bety Cariño

Tragic news like the murder of two human rights workers in Oaxaca, MX leaves me feeling frustrated, exasperated… yet more determined to believe that this world can change. Thanks to La Cebollita who forwarded this info on to me:

Human rights defenders in Mexico paying with their lives, warn UN experts

Human rights defenders in Mexico are under increasing threat, a group of independent United Nations experts cautioned today, speaking out against the recent killings of two defenders in the country’s southeast.
Rights defender Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo and international observer Tyri Antero Jaakkola, who were on a monitoring mission in Oaxaca, were killed on 27 April when ambushed by paramilitaries.

Several others, including journalists, were killed in the attack, and four members of the mission were rescued by the police after being stranded in the forest following the incident.

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who focuses on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, acknowledged the complexity of the situation in Mexico and the challenges the country’s Government faces in fight against drug cartels.

“But there is no justification for failing to take strong steps when human rights defenders, journalists and others are killed,” he emphasized.

“Human rights must not be permitted to be a casualty in the fight against drugs and crime.”

Below a recent speech Cariño gave at the Front Line Dublin Platform, February 2010

MIXTECA – OAXACA – MEXICO

OUR FEET STEADY AND FIRM ON THE GROUND – OUR HEADS HELD HIGH; DIGNIFIED, WITH FOCUSED SPIRIT AND BURNING HEART

BROTHERS AND SISTERS,

With my voice, I speak for my brothers and sisters of my mixteco people, from rebellious Oaxaca in this great country called Mexico. And in these lines I cannot speak of myself without speaking of the others, because I can only exist if they exist. Therefore, we exist
as us. Brothers and sisters, these women I am; a daughter, a sister, a mother, a comrade, a teacher, an indigenous woman, a Mixteca, an Oaxaqueña, a Mexican, they represent us women who go forward leading our peoples against the looting of our mother Earth, for the benefit of large transnational corporations and financial capital. Today, with our voices, with our struggles, with our hands, the legitimate wishes for social justice of the Mexican Revolution are being kept alive; our struggle is the same one the Morelos, the Magón, the great Zapata and, in today’s Mexico, the EZLN led, a struggle that has cost the lives of thousands of Mexicans, all of them poor people from the bottom of society who have fought these fights. The place they have been given in history continues to be one of exclusion and they have been forgotten. Today we, the young, the indigenous peoples and the women are at the head of this catastrophe.

Our fields now are the scenes of ruin and disaster, victims of indiscriminate commercial
opening, genetically modified crops, the ambitions of the multinationals; this has consequently caused the forced migration of millions of our brothers and sisters who, in the words of my grandfather, “have to leave in order to remain.”

In Mexico the right to autonomy, the right to exist for the indigenous peoples is still being denied, and today we want to live another history: we are rebelling and we are saying enough is enough, today and here we want to say the they are afraid of us because we are not afraid of them, because despite their threats, despite their slander, despite their harassment, we continue to walk towards a sun which we think shines strongly; we think the time of the peoples is coming closer, the time of unrepressed women, the time of the people at the bottom.

These days, discontent is present throughout the length and breadth of our national territory. Because of this the presence and participation of us, the women we defend,cannot be put off any more in the daily business of human rights; we want to construct a world with Justice and dignity; without any kind of discrimination; today we are pushing forward a profound and extensive process of organisation, mobilisation, analysis, discussion and consensus which is helping us to build up a world in which many worlds can fit. We are the result of many fights, we carry in our blood the inheritance of our grandmothers, our roots make demands of us and our daughters.

For Bety Cariño’s Bio click here: Continue reading “RIP: Human Rights Defender Bety Cariño”