Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Posts Tagged ‘Love’

What We Do with Our Pain

In News on November 14, 2019 at 06:00

The last five weeks have been tough. In 40 days I lost my godmother, received a huge bill from the IRS, worked on an interesting, but extremely demanding project, had another expensive dentist appointment, my toddler was hospitalized, saw my dear friend suffer the loss of her wonderful husband, and just days ago, another close friend lost his mother, who I deeply admired and respected.

I learned from my friend Anthony Alcalde’s TED Talk, that every time something painful happens, we have an opportunity to do something with our pain and what we do is our choice. We can use it to create or to destroy.

And as my eyes still hurt from crying and my heart still aches while it takes all these hits and mourns all these losses, I find myself learning important life lessons without even trying. Learning how to be a better mom inspired by the words said by my cousin about how my godmother Madrina Belén chose to be a Mom above everything in her life. Learning how to live, work and love wholeheartedly inspired by the hundreds of beautiful tributes written remembering Moses Shumow, and learning the infinite dimensions of happiness and success that a professional woman can achieve when she works hard, something I celebrated about Heather Heaps since the day we met.

It’s incredible how some deaths teach us how to live. As I go through beautiful memories that I will cherish forever about these loved ones, I am grateful for the lessons learned and even more grateful to be able to share them with my family and friends, including you.

For them, one of my favorite songs:

Know you are loved

Rest in peace

Dream your sweet dreams

“Til your soul is released

Beloved Child

My heart is yours

Beloved Child

Go out and open doors

With your love

With your faith

With your compassion

With your grace

Oh, with your grace

Beloved Child

Go out, spread light to the world

Be strong,

be kind,

be brave

Love you all,


P.S. Please consider supporting The Shumow Family here and/or donating to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation [Ovarian Cancer Medical Oncology Fund] via


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Ode to a Friend

In Family, Health, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality, travel, Videos on April 7, 2018 at 20:41

“To love is to admire with the heart; to admire is to love with the mind.”

– Theophile Gautier


A month ago, I lost my dear friend Leana. One of the most caring and smartest beings that I have ever had the honor to be friends and work with. I used to call her my consultant, she was my hotel roommate, my travel pal, my partner in crime, my neighbor, my favorite Nica, my light warrior, and much more. She made me her sidekick in endless adventures, and I will be forever grateful for that and for everything I  enjoyed and learned from her.


Leanita became my family and made me part of hers. She opened her house to us the same way she opened her heart, with no reservations. We enjoyed our friendship to the max, since day one. She was an amazing, fun, thoughtful friend.


As my other dear friends Melissa and Ana said: “She was loved, valued, and respected”. An inspiration to everybody around her. She taught me valuable lessons of love and integrity until the end: Loving her was respecting her. She knew that I felt both for her. Quoting Theophile Gautier above: I loved her with all my mind and admired her with all my heart. She knew that, and so did our families, friends, colleagues and clients.

She will always live in me. Her smile, her laugh, her professionalism, her passion for the entertainment industry, her respect for the craft, her style, her wit and wisdom. She will live attached to my heart like the beautiful orchids she gave me once for my birthday, now blooming in my patio attached to the mango tree.

I will always love you my friend. Thanks for sharing it all.

Tu Laurita

P. S. : This song is for you:

Know you are loved

Rest in peace

Dream your sweet dreams

“Til your soul is released

Beloved Child

My heart is yours

Beloved Child

Go out and open doors

With your love

With your faith

With your compassion

With your grace

Oh, with your grace

Beloved Child

Go out, spread light to the world

Be strong,

be kind,

be brave




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How My Mother Taught Me to Love

In Blogging, Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, Relationships on May 30, 2016 at 09:35

The following piece was written by Lia Seirotti, Writer and Blogger at A Girl in Her Thirties


Lia Seirotti

Some people come into our lives and we feel instant chemistry. With little effort we form a friendship that is not easily broken. Others, require time and effort, and with great difficulty we work to build those relationships. Still, in the face of rejection, if we counter with love, we can create strong bonds. That is what my mother taught me.

My mother says I rejected her almost immediately when I was born. It could be because I was dealing with the pain and symptoms caused by a slight birth defect; but I suspect my real defect was being born with a tendency to be less affectionate than most humans. From then onward, I’ve continued being somewhat cold. To this day, I prefer not to have unsolicited skin contact, I rarely ask for hugs, and I am extremely uncomfortable when strangers touch me. I am perfectly content this way. Deep down, however, I know this personality trait has always bothered my mother. In fact, my mother might well be the exact opposite of me, she is more open about her emotions and is not afraid to let her feelings show. Perhaps these are the reasons we didn’t have that instant chemistry the day we met. Rather, our bond is the product of a resilient effort made by my mother to win my affections over time.

It was with courage, through the worst of times that she single-handedly built our relationship. When I was hospitalized at the age of two, my mother dropped everything in her life to advocate for me. With much hardship, she traveled great distances in a developing country, in order for me to receive the best medical care. She stood up to doctors and demanded that I be treated the way she instinctively knew was best. Later, at the age of eight and immigrants in this new country, I was hospitalized a second time. My mother spent every night at my bedside. She comforted me through the physical pain and the fear I felt. Despite the fact that I was not very communicative or affectionate, she stayed with me. Then, when I was diagnosed with different disease at the age of twenty-one, she took care of me once again. My mother knew it was important for me as a newlywed to conserve some dignity. So, for almost a year she came to my house weekly to inject my medications, so that my husband wouldn’t have to see me that way. When I soiled myself in my own bed, she cleaned me. When I lost more weight than I expected, she took my dresses in so that I didn’t look as sick. And when the suicidal thoughts left me debilitated, she cleaned my house and cooked for my husband.

Ten years have passed since my mother last took care of me; but when my older sister called me recently to tell me my mother was in the emergency room, I dropped everything. It was the middle of a workday. Hardly thinking and without packing any clothes, I shut my computer down, got in my car, and drove six hours to be by her side. To be honest, all those moments in my life in which my mother had taken care of me didn’t even cross my mind. I was driven by pure instinct. It was almost a sixth sense that I felt. I knew exactly what my mother needed, and knew that I was the only one who understood the proper way to care for her.

I knew she would need someone who could advocate for her, because that was what she did for me when I was two. I knew she would need someone who would stay by her side every sleepless night, because that was what she did for me when I was eight. And, I knew she would want dignity and privacy because that was what she gave me when I was twenty-one. Immediately upon arriving, I organized and cleaned her room, because that was what she meticulously did for me every week when I was sick. I asked her if she had eaten and taken her medication, even when I knew she hadn’t. I knew I had to make small talk and pretend we weren’t all scared. I knew it was my job to downplay the entire situation as if it were normal, because I have learned to never let the fear of chronic illness show in your demeanor as caregiver.

Now that my mother is recovering, we hardly speak of illness, she knows I’d rather not get emotional. But now we both know now that I am capable of caring for her and that I will when she needs it again. In fact, I don’t remember if I hugged her or kissed her, but I know I cared for her and loved her.

Doctors say there is a vital moment immediately after birth in which a mother and child should have uninterrupted skin to skin contact. They attribute this to being key in any mother-child relationship. While that may be true, I have learned that if you missed that chance you can make up for it with resiliency, compassion, and consideration. Without realizing or intending to, my mother taught me so many invaluable lessons about love. She has shown me that even if you feel you already deserve it and shouldn’t have to, you can work to earn someone’s affections. She taught me how to nurse someone you love. She modeled what unconditional love looks like and taught me that it can triumph over unrequited love.

About Lia:

Lia is a writer, blogger, and art-lover. Ultimately, just a girl in her thirties blogging about Miami’s lifestyle, her travels, and growing up in general on her coming of age blog:


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Am I Doing My Best? Or, at least, Am I Doing My Part?

In Career, Family, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships, Spirituality on November 16, 2015 at 09:00


Now that I am in my thirties, I consider one of my personal quests to be slow to judge fellow human beings and their actions. As a result, I frequently abstain myself from giving an opinion, picking a side, incriminating, complaining and/or even celebrating some events, current topics or holidays.

These days, every time a situation or crisis arise and becomes a trending topic in media and offline conversations, I fight the temptation to express my first thoughts.  I do my best to inform myself first about the background of the story, wait until the individual or group in question claims responsibility and then, inspired by Pope Francis’ answer to a delicate question, ask myself:

Who Am I To Judge?

Am I doing my best?

…Or, at least, Am I doing my part to make it better?

As a daughter?

As a sister?

As a friend?

As a Dominican?

As a raised Catholic?

As a woman?

As a professional?

As a colleague?

As an aunt? As a niece? As a granddaughter? As a cousin? 

As an immigrant? As a Hispanic immigrant? 

As a wife?

As a daughter in law?

As an expat?

As a blogger?

As a stranger?

As a spiritual person? 

As a privileged human being?

As a citizen of this world?

Only when I am in peace with my own answers to those questions, I will allow myself to talk.

And the first thing I would like to say is:

How can I help?

Yours In Love & Service,


Image Credit: Jen B. Peters.

Thanks Jen for creating and authorizing the use of this beautiful image!


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Love Now

In Family, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality on February 14, 2015 at 08:39

Love is everywhere...even on my plate!

Love is everywhere…even on my plate!

As with everything in life, love evolves over time.

When we were babies, love was only found in the arms of our parents, the smile on their faces, and the milk of mom’s breasts.

In elementary school years, love was receiving dozens of letters on Valentine’s Day.

When we were teenagers, love was getting anonymous notes, daydreaming that they were from that one crush and keeping our fingers crossed while waiting for that call.

In our twenties, love was looking for The One and wondering if we would ever find him or her.

Now in my thirties, I have a much broader concept of what love means. Above all, love is energy. It is what keeps me going. I run on love. It takes a lot of work, and I’m ok with it. I’m willing to go the extra mile and put in the extra hour. I bet you think I’m only referring to romantic love, but I’m not. For me, LOVE is:

-The energy to get up everyday and do the best for myself and for others

-Loving myself with all my virtues and my flaws, not hiding any of them anymore

-Taking care of my emotional, mental and physical health and the overall health of my loved ones

-Being in touch with family and friends

-Respecting, being mindful and creating awareness about my surroundings and the other beings sharing time and space with me at all times

-Giving back in every little interaction that I have with others

-Working for the causes that I believe in, including my own

-Becoming a better person for my own sake and for the sake of others

-Pursuing empathy, balance and harmony in all my acts

-Learning and teaching

-Forgiving and healing


-Showing gratitude

-Loving every second, being present

-Knowing when to listen and when to speak

-Being a mentor and a mentee

-Showing and sharing the love we feel for each other!

Now that I am in my 30s, I look forward to staying in love more than I ever craved falling in love. As Steven Covey said: “Seeking first to understand, then to be understood”. Loving every day as an ode to life.

What does love mean to you these days?

Show me some love by letting me know!

Who loves you?



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Making the Best Out Of the Worst

In Career, Lifestyle, Quotes, Relationships, Spirituality on October 16, 2014 at 09:18

Remember that post where I told you everything about my 32nd birthday?

It’s been almost two months. A lot has happened since then. 

Some great moments: I enjoyed the enriching and humbling experience of volunteering at TEDxManagua. After a long work hiatus, four exciting projects with brands that I love came my way. Had a quiet but nice celebration for our 5th year anniversary. I reblogged a beautiful and touching post by Edna Medina. Thanks to a dear friend, I managed to sell my ticket to the Oprah Life You Want Tour to a person that will benefit from it a lot more than me, therefore I am now 100% guilt-free to attend my cousin’s wedding abroad next week.

And then, the inevitable hurt showed up without the request of its presence. My entire life has been shaken. Some of my wildest nightmares have given me a taste of how it would feel if they ever come true. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” became my mantra. Contemplating my fears, choosing love while fighting the impulse to make decisions based on conventional wisdom, pride or the wrong fantasies.

Would you like to know the best part?

It’s been all worth it. 

I am grateful for having the mindfulness, self-awareness, imagination, will, and strength to look for and pick the right tools to deal with pain.

I am thankful for the love and support that come from the cherished usual suspects and thankful to find the same as well in the least expected hearts.

I am amazed to confirm the healing powers of giving back. Even in our saddest moments, we can make somebody happy and that itself will make us happy back. God is in the details.

I realize that I have received so much love in my life that I only have love to give. And that makes me humble and better, vulnerable and strong, at the same time.

Quoting one of my wisest friends: 


Thank God for everything.

Always blessed,


P.S.:  Do you relate to any of these feelings? Have you ever felt like this? Opening up your heart and sharing what’s inside helps wonders too. I would love to hear from you, just comment below and encourage your friends to do the same!

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This Is What Turning 32 Looked Like…

In Family, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality on August 28, 2014 at 09:00

An early email from that friend that is afraid of forgetting on the actual day. On the day of, a kiss and a hug in bed. Phone calls, Whatsapp messages, Skype calls, emails from all around the world, including that friend that messaged me from her honeymoon, making me feel so special after I missed her wedding just two days before. Automatic, cold but still somehow thoughtful marketing notes from my dentist, dermatologist office and an inspiring one from my college alumni association. A few Facebook posts “filtered” even though I chose to be the “only” one who can see my birth date there. LinkedIn sent a reminder to some friends, and I was happy to hear from them. Google made a doodle (Scary, signed out right away).

Beautiful flowers from the hubby and a wonderful gift from a friend, cooked an impromptu perfect dinner to enjoy with both of them.

Girls’ night “in” the next day, local friends arrived with flowers, wine, homemade pasta al pesto and vegan mango pie.

Reflecting on life’s lessons and challenges, surrounded by offline and virtual love during a voluntary incognito birthday in the exile.

Mixed feelings of loneliness, frustration, nostalgia, and overwhelming love.

Counting my blessings.

Grateful at heart.

Happy belated birthday to


P.S.: How did you spend your most recent birthday? What has been the most memorable one? Any plans for the next one? I’d love to know!


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“Life continues to flow”

In Career, Contributors, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality on October 12, 2013 at 10:24

By Patricia Hernández

Patricia Hernandez Final

This October I will be 35. I believe my 30s thus far has been the most challenging and yet the most liberating.  I celebrated my 30th birthday in a small community surrounded by friends in El Salvador while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. Together we celebrated with food, laughter, and music, a lovely way to begin my 30s. After I left Peace Corps I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico and began my dual masters of Public Health and Social Work. Originally from Miami, FL and raised by Cuban parents I wanted to move out west and see what it was like to live close to the Mexican border. After living in El Salvador and hearing so many tales from people who immigrated from there to the United States through Mexico I was curious to learn about the border issues. During my time in Las Cruces I pushed myself more out of my comfort zone as I quickly took the lead in numerous student organizations, work, and personal life. I developed leadership skills and encircled myself with positive and upbeat people as that are some of the characteristics that I have embraced since Peace Corps.

May 2010 my life changed dramatically as my older sister, who was diagnosed with non-smoker’s lung cancer, took a turn for the worst. I rushed home to Miami from Las Cruces and to hear that she only had a few weeks to live. I was distraught at first and then became the strong one as I held her hand each day. I was the one who told her she was going to die and who worked with her to write out her will as no one else was able to do it. The night before she died, she awoke from her drug induced hazed and asked me for permission to leave. I granted it to her and then informed my family it was time for us to say goodbye. I remained by her side until the caretakers took her away.

A year later my mother was also diagnosed with non-smoker’s lung cancer but of a different side. I was in Nicaragua at the time of the diagnosis as I was working with a non-profit organization for my public health internship. Again I rushed home and remained by her side for 6 months until she regained her strength, therefore, putting off graduate school for a year. Once she was better and her cancer was in remission I returned to Las Cruces to resume my studies. I graduated with my Masters of Public Health and Social Work in May 2013.

Although I lost my sister in her physical form I know she continues to remain by my side. Since she has left I have followed more of what my heart has told me and less of what was expected of me. I have recently moved to Nicaragua where I work with the non-profit I completed my internship with. My outlook on life remains optimistic and I always have a smile on my face and a giggle in my throat. Recently I met the love of my life who complements me in every way. I look forward to every day with a heart full of love, joy, and happiness. I feel stronger every day and I am guided by a positive energy force called ki. In April 2013 I also became a Reiki Master so I can continue to assist people with healing energy so they may continue to live their lives to the fullest. I am blessed every day for the gifts I have been given and those I can share with others. I am blessed with family and friends who support me in all that I do and love me just the way I am. I am thankful I can share this story with pride and happiness. Blessings upon all of you and may you continue to prosper in all that you do.

About Patricia:

Born and raised in Miami, traveled around the US and Europe seeking new adventures. In her late 20s joined the Peace Corps and was thankfully sent to El Salvador, a beautiful country with courageous people living day to day. Her love of Latin America and working with people who have suffered from traumatic situations, such as civil war, yet who are survivors due to their resilient nature. Recently moved to Nicaragua and works with a non-profit called Emergency Response Services for Latin America as a Project Coordinator and assisting local firefighters with resources, such as training and support. Her future goal is to operate a wellness and healing center with her partner Joel and best friend Libby by providing holistic services somewhere in Latin America.


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“To the Girl I once Was”

In Beauty, Career, Contributors, Finances, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality on September 3, 2013 at 08:44

By Nena Ubani aka Duchess

Nena Ubani aka Duchess

I spent my teenage years and my 20s trying so hard to fit in. Energy I feel should have been spent more productively. Now in my early 30s, I feel most comfortable with myself and sometimes wonder if I was given a chance to communicate to the girl I once was, what would I tell her?

To the girl I once was

If I had a chance to meet you,

I would tell you to ‘chill’

Life is not a competition

Do not put too much pressure on yourself

Aspire to be happy and do the things you love

It’s impossible to please people all the time

Beauty is truly from within, so it’s ok to go out without make-up sometimes

Designer bags and shoes are not investments

Keeping up with trends does not define you

True friends would love you just as you are

Fulfillment comes from living the life you want

Living a life of laughs, love and spirituality.

About Nena:

Born and raised in Nigeria and now based in the UK, Nena Ubani aka Duchess is a multitalented presenter who has had the opportunity to interview so many leading African and international names for Voice of Africa Radio and Guess radio, and she is also a columnist for Africa world newspaper Ireland. Later founded Duchess TV and the Igbokwenu radio with the aim of providing a platform for promoting talent and positivity in her community. She has also worked in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police London as a youth mentor, engaging young people as a way to combat crime. Nena continues to do her work in dignity representing the new face of the African woman wherever she goes.


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“Letter to My Younger Self”

In Contributors, Videos on June 24, 2013 at 09:30

By Zania Sala

Dear little Zania,

Even though as a teenager you may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders you must know that the best is yet to come. You are still very young and naive and that is good. You must let time give you gills and courage. You are strong and beautiful and every decision you have made in the past as well as those that you will make in the future will shape you in unimaginable ways. I wish for you to be happy and free. So for that, I give you the following words of advice.

Congratulations on being such a responsible and disciplined student. Those two traits will get you very far in life especially during your 20’s. Those two traits will also be your downfall. You will work tirelessly and you will soon figure out that you cannot work without a purpose. In order to have a purpose you need to live with purpose. You may not know what it is now, but you will find out. Time will grant you that gift.

Keep saving your money. You won’t always manage it correctly, but for the most part, you will be frugal and wise with it. In fact, you are so good with money that you will help others learn about the value behind it. If you live within your means everything will be alright.

Don’t search for love in those that can’t return the emotion. Love will find you unexpectedly and it will be the kind of love that you never imagined existed. It’s truthful, pure, imperfect, effortless, real and incapable of harm or hurt. It might just be under your nose. Just remember, if you want to experience love at it’s highest level, you must surrender to the emotion when it comes to greet you.

It’s ok to break the rules every once in a while. And guess what? You will. All in good faith. Know that some rules don’t apply to you and it’s ok if you differ. And you must differ since no rule book is intended to be “one-size-fits-all”. You will take risks in life that will scare you, but they will all be worth it in the end. You’ll be fine.

Zania, you will discover that music is not your life. You will figure out that the reason for your voice is that you have one. Your voice is your instrument for conveying a message of hope and service. You will inspire through your voice whether in song or not.

You don’t need to prove to anyone that you are an artist. You just are. In fact, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Don’t sing because you are told to. Sing because you want to. Sing because you are happy and it makes you feel good. That will make all the difference.

You know how you’ve already picked family weekends at the beach over parties or staying over at friends’ houses? That doesn’t change. To you, family always comes first. Nature is also the reason why you love the water, wind and sun so much. It feeds you. It speaks to you. It syncs with you. Go out to nature when you need to recharge. All you need to do is look outside.

Don’t be so worried about what the future will bring. It’s ok to prepare and plan ahead, but don’t try to think too far ahead because there comes a point where the horizon gets blurry. That’s ok. Some things are better left to the unknown. Experience will light your way. You have your feet on the ground and a good head on your shoulders. Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t give up.

Your love for your brothers will remain to be like a steel chain. Help them out and ask them about their life. Get them to talk to you. They look up to you and you should open up to them. You three together have an unbreakable bond that will last a lifetime. Be vulnerable with them. You will only benefit from it.

Know that you are very much like your parents. Both of them. Don’t you ever deny that. They have taught you well and because of them you will grow up to be self-reliant and filled with love. Make sure to hug them and let them know how much they mean to you. Love them as they have loved you.

Know that the love of your life is alive and unknowingly waiting for you. He is tall, handsome, smart and sensible. He makes you a better woman and he doesn’t judge you. He loves you, respects you and supports you. He will fight for you and always treat you right. He sees you. He feels you. He lives for you. You picked the right one. Your heart knew that all along.

Live everyday in the presence of love and gratefulness and you’ll see that life is really just about that. You get what you give. No drama. Just love.

I hope these words of advice challenge you and make you think. However, in the end, you can take this letter, crumple it up and throw it away because everything explained here has already been done. You did it. You did it without a rule book. You did it on your own and you survived. You moved mountains and you were great at it. You let love conquer you. You loved in return. You grew up. You are compassionate, you are strong as hell, you are vulnerable and openminded and you are capable of being in touch with your inner voice. Your soul is pristine and at peace. You know you are special and unique. You are meant to be great. And you will be. But give it time and work hard. You’ll figure it out. Best of all, you’ll be ok because your #1 fans will always be there for you and it’s ok to lean on them once in a while. Don’t pretend to be an idea of someone else. Just be your true, authentic self and you’ll see how life will surprise you. Go out there and breathe.

Zania, count on me for anything. I will always be with you, protecting you.


You, at the sweet age of 30.

NOTE: Remember that we are interested in reading about your experiences being 30+!  

For more info, please click here!


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