We Are the Core of Humanity

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I was coming out of Trader Joe’s this morning and putting the cart back in the parking lot area when an elderly lady was struggling to take one out. She could barely keep herself up. I took mine to her and said, “Here, ma’am, you can have mine.” I helped her get her empty bags and belongings in it. She looked up at me with such a shocking expression.

“Thank you,” she kindly said. To which I said, “No problem.”

“These days, at 85, I am invisible.” Tears formed in her eyes. And, I thought to myself, “It’s only a cart, not a million dollars…!” I told her that she wasn’t invisible. She stood there with such gratitude that I got a bit weepy. I was taken aback. Are we, as a society, that self-absorbed that we don’t see the joy in giving a simple supermarket cart to an elderly person? Well, of course, that moment opened up conversation for sweet Margaret and I. We stood there sharing what kindness is in this world and how it’s truly missing from so many. We hugged. She rolled herself into the store and I got into my car. Then it hit me like a giant freight train. Her word, “invisible” was exactly what I needed in order to release my own truth. I was transported back to a memory that I had forgotten.

Fifteen years ago I had a traumatic brain injury that to this day is still present. I was 33 years old. I woke alone in a park around midnight, with blood draining from my forehead, hands, and knees. I had a huge blot clot on the back of my head. I woke up thinking I was 19 years old. When I was finally taken by police and ambulance to the nearest hospital I was in and out of consciousness. As the next day developed I didn’t recognize any of my six children or my ex-mate at the time. I didn’t recognize anything from 2001. I was stuck in 1989. After 24 hours of scans, questions, spinal tap and other intrusive testings I was placed in room to heal and wait for the results of all the exams. They truly didn’t know the cause of my accident or what to do with me. I was stuck and felt invisible.

That night, I woke to go to the bathroom. Until that moment I hadn’t looked in the mirror. I still believed that I was 19 and I was being lied to…some conspiracy theory. It was like an episode from The Twilight Zone. No one believed me…not one person could understand how I ended up with such severe head trauma without memory. I saw my reflection and lost it in that bathroom. It’s bad enough that the lighting is atrocious but to see the aging from a teenage girl to a woman was devastating. To see scars and scratches and everything that was not there before was overwhelming.

I returned to bed and sobbed. I kept pulling on my IV as if that was the only lifeline available. I wanted someone to just point me into the right direction. I feared everything that night. I wanted to understand what had happened and how I was going to handle this new life…

…because, I knew I would be sent with total strangers to a home that wasn’t mine. Because I was not able to understand why I was at a park alone in the middle of the night. Because I had a new mate who was way older than me and not the husband that I had at 19. Because, because, because this was total shit and I was angry that I could not make heads or tails of this life that others insisted I was part of. Because, let’s face it you don’t know how strong you are until you have to use your strength to survive.

Shortly thereafter, a bodacious gorgeous black nurse entered my room. She checked my vitals. She held my hand while I sobbed. Then she grabbed a chair and sat next to me. She had a Jamaican accent. She was lovely. Her name tag said, “Cinthya” which I found endearing because of the spelling.

Cinthya sat with me for a long while. She asked questions. She let me cry and be completely raw. She told me things. These things have stayed with me over 15 years. She said that things happen every single day to push us to grow. I asked her what this particular event in my life was suppose to teach me? Cinthya stared into my eyes with her huge black gorgeousness and clearly said to me, “You will find the reason for it one day. You are not invisible so stop acting like you are. You have an opportunity to touch the world with compassion. And, even though you have not been shown compassion during the last 35 hours of this incident, I promise you that you will take this experience and pay it forward. You will have no choice but to live from your truth.” She showed me such compassion. And, eventually I fell asleep and Cinthya left.

In the morning I asked the other nurse to please ask Cinthya to come say goodbye before her shift was over. She assured me that there was no one with that name on that floor. She and two other nurses were the only ones working my room that night. I insisted that this woman had visited me. I even pointed to the chair drawn closer to the bed. The nurse, again, suggested that perhaps I had dreamed it because there was, “No one here during night, plus visiting hours stopped earlier in the evening.”

Now, folks, I might have dreamed that an angel came to console me. I might have been delusional with all the meds pumped for the pain in the body and my spinal tap. I don’t know. I don’t care because I lived that moment from a place of truth and compassion. But, what I do know is that someone took that chair and moved it closer to me. Some magnificent woman shared divine wisdom about grace, forgiveness, and how we are all here to love and change the world. She was pure love and I promised myself that I would always be open to every single experience that came my way, especially if I never got my memory back. To this day, I have lost a tremendous chunk of memories from when my children were young. But I also know that those experiences are somewhere in my cellular memories.

Today, Margaret reminded me of how we are failing in our compassion and kindness departments. We love to look out into the world and pretend that we can make a difference by wanting to do things “out there” when we need things in our own backyards. We forget that every single freaking day we get an opportunity to touch another. I am so grateful that on a daily basis I can experience it…one way or another.

When an elderly woman breaks over handing a shopping cart, there has to be something that we can learn from her. We are here to serve society with kindness and gratitude. I had just dropped off a huge car load of clothes and bedding to an abuse/battered women shelter before going to the supermarket. I was in full speed raw vulnerability and open to such gratitude for all that I have. I lead a charmed life. Margaret reminded me of such powerful acceptance and awareness. We are in this together.

Get your butts out there and help the elderly, the homeless, the children, and the neighbors in your area. They won’t ask for help. Your only job in this lifetime is to be kind and love. Pay it forward…you never know when your life can be altered in a second. Happy holidays and remember what this season is really about: LOVE!

I love you!!! You are NOT invisible. I see you. I feel you. I am connected to you.

The Sum of Stories

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We are the sum of our stories. When I began my blog and writing publicly a few years ago I feared sharing anything too personal. But, as I met other writers I let go of the fear and began writing from a place of vulnerability. It’s never easy to let go. At times I have shared way too much of the scars, the rawness and the sensitivity. And in those times I have received some amazing heartfelt private emails from folks in different parts of the world saying, “Oh my gosh, I am going through this too!”

The act of writing is based on releasing all expectations. I don’t write for anyone. I write because something inside pushes and pulls me to release. And, sometimes I need to step back and recognize that there are things too private to also share with the world because once it’s out there I can’t retract them. There is such a thing as hanging your dirty laundry for the world to see.

Here, I tell you…the only thing you can do for your soul is to create from a place of truth and wonder. In this place there is an endless source of awareness and love. Write, paint, create all that’s inside. We will always teeter in the unknown. Don’t create to be liked. Don’t put things out there that you think will be accepted. Put your work out there because it is coming from a spiritual connection with humanity. We have the most awesome opportunity to inspire others every day and receive endless inspirations in return.

We tell others to be brave because we know that it is a conscious choice. Bravery is a commitment between your spirit and the heart to keep going. It’s a relationship that requires acceptance while releasing any sense of victimization. So next time you whisper to someone, “You are brave! I love your strength!” Feel it in the core of your own existence. Courage comes from falling while not allowing yourself to permanently stay there having a pity party.

You are courageous every single day. It isn’t until we see it in others that we remember our awesomeness. And if you don’t recognize your greatness when you are with loved ones then you need new folks in your life. Like, seriously! Look at your circle of friends!!!

You are magnificently created to be in oneness with others. We become mirrors of one another. Creating and sharing are art forms for seeing the uniqueness in our hearts and souls.

Thank you for the constant source of love and support. Thank you for showing up and being with me on this Mystical Journey. Mucho love!

Our Ability to Love

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When I became a writer/blogger I made a mental note that some things weren’t up for discussion or sharing: serious things about my children (unless it was to help someone), hardships and disappointments with family and friends, and any discord with my mate. I wouldn’t put my dirty laundry out there for the world. When I’ve written about things, in regards to my children, I have tried to do it from a place of motherhood and the challenges the job entails, often times from a humorous point of view. Being a parent is never easy. Ever! In the moments when there is heartbreak you feel isolated. In moments of pure joy, you feel elated beyond whatever words can describe the event.

Yesterday it became official. Our (almost three year old) was officially adopted. We’ve been on this long process of making her ours since she was 5 months old. It’s a bitter sweet story. It’s one of complete joy in one hand and sadness in another. After raising 6 kids, one of my daughters from Romania had this baby girl. She is not mentally stable. She has serious mental health issues and lost this sweet addition to the family. Incredible how one moment of joy can transform into something so deeply heartbreaking within a short time.

Motherhood is who I am. I knew from early on in my childhood that I wanted a house full of children. My family was small. I wanted a big one. At the age of 10 I would say that I was going to have my own biological kids and lots of adopted ones. My mother frowned on this. I think she expected me to “outgrow” this notion.

When I was 18 years old the show 20/20 did a segment on Romanian orphanages. I had just gotten married and I made a comment of this to my then-husband. I was heartbroken, crying like a baby, watching the images of this segment. I told him that I had to help. He told me he didn’t agree with adoption. I was told that I could possibly never have children. I wanted to get on that quickly. I was born with some major issues in my female reproductive organs…but my tenacity and faith truly showed those ovaries who was in charged. By the time I was 22 I had two sweet boys, a divorce behind me, and the world ahead to possibly change the lives of one child. By the time I was 29 I knew I was ready to make that dream come true. My first little girl arrived on my 30th birthday (cause that’s the way God works with me). She was 2-1/2 y/o. The following year I adopted a little boy who was four and a few months later a little 9 year-old girl, and an 11-1/2 year-old young lady.

I will not share the struggles that arrive with caring for older children. I will not list the issues that came up with having that many kids under one roof. I believe that laughter and lots of prayers help us all cope with the wonderful experiences. But, I will share this: every single one of my kiddos has taught me some major powerful lessons. Each one has enriched me with love, patience, compassion and the understanding that we all have a purpose here. I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a mother. I can’t imagine another career more soul-fully connected to growth, spiritual connections, and love.

When Kali arrived into our home, and hearts, my youngest was graduating high school. At the age of 45 I restarted my career of loving, patience, and compassion. I had to come to terms that my then-plans would be altered. My husband and I are truly blessed. He didn’t have children of his own. To witness the love between this child and her daddy…oh my gawd…makes your heart melt. I promise it’s sometimes Hallmark moments.

I woke today with gratitude. When her social worker informed me yesterday that she was finally ours, I sobbed at work. I was overcome with so many emotions. I felt the elation of finality and the sadness of completion for my daughter (Kali’s mother) who can’t be in her life at this moment. I have to continue being her mother and protecting this child as well. It’s not a fun balancing act. At times, in solitude, it tears me apart knowing I cannot be all to all of them. I cannot be Super Mom! But those are my lessons. They are there for the evolution and expansion of my soul.

I am no saint. I am often one giant hot mess. I make some amazing delicious over-the-top mistakes. I am as simple and common as they come. I am just trying to live the most beautiful lifetime while knowing that because of me, seven children, have experienced love and laughter.

We are all connected. May you find yourself reaching out to another who needs it. It’s in the small things. You don’t have to adopt a child or an animal or a family. You can just be there for another. You have the ability to be good, do good and create good. It’s all about humanity. We all have that extra oomph of DNA that expands with giving love. We have a tremendous ability to love one another. It’s called altruism.

It’s the holidays. Please gift yourself the most loving present of giving and seeing the world change one soul at a time because you were PRESENT in someone’s life. A cup of coffee, a gentle touch, a freaking delicious smile, a scarf and jacket, or anything that can give a stranger the ability to recognize they matter. It’s really THAT simple. You matter. I matter. We all matter on this melting pot of awesomeness we get to call home.

I don’t know another way to live. I don’t know another way to forgive. I don’t know another way to love. It might not be right, but it also isn’t wrong. So…join me, darlings, in the ability to give of yourself to those in need.  There are so many folks out there feeling the stings of loss and destitution.

I love you! Yes…you! Even if we aren’t friends anymore. Even if we are strangers. Even if we have had issues. Even if our time was short and sweet. We are in this together. Hugs!

Happy Holidays! We got an early Christmas present. And…nothing can beat these moments!

The Love of One

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This morning in my way into town I stopped to see a sweet soul at an assisted living facility. She’s been in hospice care for a bit. I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I haven’t visited in a few months. And, today it made me so deeply sad at this acceptance because life is so fragile and delicate. Walking into her room I was shocked at how much she had changed in a few months. She had just had breakfast and I sat next to her. I gently loved on her, trying desperately not to lose my shit…cause the tears swelled and I wanted to just break in half there. But…I didn’t.

I told her about how much I appreciated her. I admitted that she and her family have become the epitome of a loving family. I met this woman and her extended family over five years ago when they rented my motel for a 4th of July family reunion. I was blown away at their unity, laughter and love. I told her today that, now from a distance, I witness the most perfect version of true love. Then I went down the line to tell her how her legacy has affected so many in her life.

I shared that I was proud of her granddaughter, Sara and her sweet husband, traveling through South America and how they are changing lives through their words and experiences. I told her that her other granddaughter, Megan, teaches me often how to stand up for what I believe in. “Darling, she teaches me to stand the hell up, and not take anyone’s bull crap. I love that about her. She’s my little writer who is going to have a huge novel soon.” Then I continued with her grandson, Sean, and how he’s helping so many being a therapist. I shared with her little anecdotes of her kids and grand-kids that I see on Facebook. She smiled. Tears came up and out several times. She is pure grace.

“Hannelore, you have made a legacy of pure love, faith and inspiration. Do you know this? So many generations have been created because of you!”

“I don’t think so.” She answered, squeezing my hand in hers.

“Oh, sweetheart, you have healed so many. They are here on this earth changing and shifting the lives of so many others because of you. You are the ripple effect in their hearts that keeps on giving.” She smiled and thanked me.

I told her I was excited about seeing my son after a whole year and he would be here on Wednesday. She said she was looking forward to having her youngest son home too. The confusion in her memory let me know how deeply she has deteriorated. She shared about her children as if they were young.

Here is the thing about legacies and how we want others to perceive us. We are always trying to leave deep-seated footprints for others to follow. We want to know that we have mattered at the end of life. This is one of the things most people think about as they wait for death. We want to know that their existence has been valuable. And, to me, this woman has been the crown of a long line of love and lessons. I keep seeing it with her family. They know how to love wholeheartedly and accept everything. They extend their humanity to anyone and everyone. I’ve never experienced another tight-knit group as this. This is all on her. She has been a healer for a huge part of her life. She has changed so many with her faith and unconditional love. She IS love. She is compassion. She is acceptance. She is radiance in divine light. She has been the foundation to a huge family that continues to return to the source…to her!

Her hands were cold but so soft. I mentioned her lovely hands to her and she held tighter. I reminded her that those hands have loved, touched, healed, caressed, forgiven, mended, worked, raised children, and experienced so much life. I took that hand and opened it up for her to see it clearly. I said, “I am so fortunate to have the experience of having you hold my hands on several occasions. Thank you, darling. Thank you for the love you have bestowed unconditionally on me and endless others out there.”

Then we sat in silence. She laid there in full gratitude for the visit while I promised I would return soon. I wouldn’t let so much time go by. I was ashamed of myself without saying it to her. I also noticed the sadness in her…the grief. Grief does not change you. It reveals the innermost part of your spirit.

To watch a loved one diminish and suffer is hell here on earth. There is no relief in that. The comfort is finally breathing and understanding that we are not immortal. We come here momentarily to love, learn and experience life. In the sadness of loss comes the joy of celebrating a life fully lived. So often we mourn the death instead of rejoicing the life and what that soul offered us in our journey. But, her life isn’t over yet. She is hanging on and, hopefully, allowing those parts of her soul to heal and release while she continues to shed light into the hearts of so many.

I kissed her head. I told her I would return next week. She smiled and thanked me for the visit. I shared that she had gifted me so much in that visit. “You continue to woo me with your magnificent radiance. You continue to show me what compassion is…thank you!”

We are here passing through: for learning, accumulating, and exercising the greatness of our existence. There is no real secret to life. That’s perhaps the secret. We all want to know that we’ve mattered. We have. I have. You have. We are here in this melting pot together making our way home. Every day I am gifted favorable circumstances. I get opportunities of love (giving and receiving), forgiveness (for mistakes and misunderstandings), learning (beyond my means), dreaming (manifesting all my desires), kindness, and compassion (without them I am not human) so that my spiritual, physical and emotional bodies can evolve into greatness. This greatness is called life. Make each moment count with joy, surrendering abandonment for the past, miracles for the future, and appreciation for being present at all times. Laugh at the silliness, forgive the hurt, love those who you never thought you could. Allow these opportunities to map out the journey. You got this! No one else can do it for you. Create the greatest story of YOU! That’s your legacy.

Cosmic Corners

I sit staring outside on this gorgeous cool mountain evening realizing this is just a tiny corner of the cosmos. Even while the fires continue to burn all around the area I feel at ease knowing I am home.  This is my universe at this moment..full bellied…content…relaxed…watching a movie with Kali and Matt. My youngest daughter left to her own space but spent a wonderful time with us.This is the universe of all there needs to be in calmness and gratitude at this moment in time. I have my eldest son arriving from New York this week. I have another who will be here in the holidays. I feel gratitude rise and fall with each breath of awareness. The only thing missing in this perfect time is the presence from the rest of my kiddos who are scattered throughout their own cosmos and edges of different worlds and lives. And…to hear from them at any given time makes me realize that no matter what corner of the world they live in we are united by the thread of love. May you all have a wonderful evening in your own piece of cosmic universe.

Gratitude 

Gratitude opens the door into the fullness of living authentically. It allows whatever we have into an acceptance of having enough and making room for more. In the recognition of grace we unlock our awareness from hurt into forgiveness, chaos into harmony, and turmoil into simplicity. This clarity and recognition is what allows a house to become a home, strangers to become family, and this moment to become all about release. Gratitude is the key to unlocking the magic of whatever will come through the blessings of God. I am grateful for this moment. I am filled with the light of spirit because of the love I receive with each teacher passing through my existence. On this week of giving thanks, I count the many blessings for what I have right now: My children are all safe and healthy, each one embracing their own paths of discovery. I have loving friends and family who have been there in the toughest moments of my life, picking up the pieces when I have truly thought I had enough. I have a wonderful man who allows the real me to be just that…”real” without judgment while bringing me the love I only imagined could exist. I live in a magical place within the walls of heaven and I marvel at the many angels who walk through the doors.  Thank you for this incredible journey. I am so very grateful for everyone and everything that touches me. I have finally allowed grace to unlock the doors into the fullness of life. I couldn’t do it alone! Mucho love y’all!

A Letter to America From America

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Dear Sweethearts!

My middle name is America. Yes, just like the country! Growing up kids were mean and mocked me when they found out I was named like this nation. I hid it. I hid it because it symbolized something I didn’t understand. I was a Hispanic young girl in a very Anglo area. What that name felt was a stab of sarcasm and irony. I was born in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth territory of the United States, but not many kids knew this. So, even though I was American, I was also not in their eyes.

I have learned to embrace this middle name. In spite of the inhumane, bigotry, prejudices, judgments, and fears, I hold my head up high for sharing a name given to this gorgeous and magical land of ours. I will not hide it any further…because RIGHT NOW, I will continue to voice out my feelings on what it means to be an American. I will share what it means to be a Latin woman in a country with other magnificent minorities. I will not stand by and hide in fear of discrimination, hatred and victimization. On the contrary, I send more love now than ever before. Even when I don’t agree with all the political nonsense and skepticism, I am an American.

I am proud of the men and women who fight for this country. I am in awed of communities and unity and the love that goes behind all the media frenzy that only focuses on the bullshit and darkness. Cause, darlings, America is a land of opportunities and freedom. Step away from your televisions, media chaos, and other negative sources. Go outside and see the real beauty of this country. It’s not just in nature, but in its people. It’s in the veteran, the elderly, the children, the millions of souls who truly want to be here in this country.

No nation is perfect. Just like its people, it has flaws and requires work. A country is as powerful as its folks, not its leaders. We get to decide who and what happens, even when the media tells you otherwise.

I have recently witnessed the most incredible reminder of unity through the fighting of these wild fires in Western North Carolina. I have seen first hand what love entails when you don’t care about race, color, gender or any of the ridiculous labels the mainstream media focuses on. I have seen hands of all sizes, colors and shapes battling the fires and eat together at the fire station. I have witnessed several accents from all parts of the country laughing and sharing during gatherings there. I take notice, because I am proud of be part of this area.

America! It is made of the most complex and simple multitudes of souls. The world looks over at us and craves for what we have. It’s time to fight the hate with more compassion. I might be naive but I do know love. I know the power it holds when we stop fearing the things we don’t understand. Hatred comes from fear of the unknown and lack of education. In my lifetime I have felt the bigotry on many occasions. Although I might not look Hispanic, I open my mouth and the Spanish does come out. I have children of all shades and nationalities. They are a quilt in my heart composed of solidarity and dreams of what this nation offers. America is their home and I hope they never ever take it for granted. I sure don’t!

I am America. You are America. And, I will stand with my brothers and sisters to show the world that a few assholes will not tarnish that name. After all, darlings, we are here to create, follow, and unite what our forefathers dreamed of hundreds of years ago when they entrusted a nation to be moved by its people. Go into this holiday season, not in separation of who is President, who is part of the KKK, who is giving the Blacks, Latinos, Homosexuals, Women, and everyone else the lack consideration. Go into this time with acceptance, awareness, and unity for all the religions, cultures and amazing spirits that make this melting pot we call “home.” We are one race…the human race…on a constant marathon for a power that truly doesn’t exist. It’s all part of the facade. It’s time to stop this insanity of pointing fingers and demoralizing each other. Hate is not fought with more hate. It is fought with light, love, and pure kindness. You all matter to America and to me.

I love you….Millie America