The Truth Untold: How You Can Save Someone Thinking About Suicide

Note: Graphic details covered here. 


When I checked my phone this morning to see what daily news was trending, I saw a familiar face that I so loved seeing posts on: Anthony Bourdain. And then I read and reread several times, the heart-wrenching headline of what happened to him. My heart fell deep into a pit so cold and hollow that I was left feeling an aching twist in every part of me. I was immensely devastated to hear that someone who inspired me to travel, explore life outside of my realm, and encouraged me to cultivate compassion and wisdom for humans, was gone, just like that. I cried for a solid 20 minutes, grieving for him, his family, the people who were close to him, his colleagues, and all the people who were touched by him in some way. I also cried because I know a feeling that all too few people understand or want to engage in.

In between moments of wiping my tears for his soul and taking deep breaths to reflect on my own journey through living with depression, anxiety, and experiencing suicidal thoughts, I felt my heart soften back like the wings of a bird settling its feathers after a long flight. In my reflection, I knew that I had to talk about something that isn’t so widely covered in our responses to suicide. I asked myself, “What can we do to help? How can we change this so that we don’t become a society that just tells people to call a hotline for suicide prevention?” Without hesitation, I felt an answer rise up underneath from me that prompted me to write this.

There were so many responses to Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade’s deaths and the many deaths that came before theirs that were just too similar in pattern: “If you or you know someone who is thinking of killing themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.” In so many ways, I know this to be so insufficient to begin changing this sad epidemic that’s taking over our society. While I do believe that in some ways, talking to someone does help, but it is only just the foot in the door. In my own past experiences, I’ve called that hotline for myself several times. Sometimes it didn’t help. Sometimes it did. It’s nice to have another voice listen to you.

But the truth is this. What I wished so badly was that my own friends or family could answer their phones or text me back if I needed to talk. What I wished so badly for instead of calling a hotline were people who came to help me without any expectation of how I needed to explain myself or why I felt the way I did. It frustrated me so much that I felt so much emotional intensity and wanted to find a way to help myself, and yet I was told by society that I needed to “just call the suicide prevention hotline.”

The truth is, most of us who feel this way, feel like ending our lives because society has become so numb to actively engaging themselves with people who aren’t able to just “get over it” or “move on” or “be positive, it’s ok”.

These people tell us, “go to therapy”, “take prescription medication”, “call if you need me”, and it goes on. The truth is, while we want to do all those things, what we want most is to have someone just listen to us quietly, console us by making us dinner or lunch, maybe even brushing our hair–all without any expectation of telling them what’s wrong with us. When I am feeling depressed or suicidal, all I want is for someone to let me lay on their lap and have them caress my hair or my back, without any talking. Just quiet comforting.

When I talk about these things, please forgive me if I seem insensitive. The truth is, the people who often take their own lives tend to be extremely sensitive creatures filled with so much intensity inside them, whether it be a light or dark intensity, and sometimes that intensity can just be too much for one person. I know this feeling too well because I feel it everyday and it is so easy to stay shut-off around people for fear of shame or pestering by society’s solution of “just focus on yourself”. The last thing a person who is experiencing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts wants is to focus on themselves.

The truth is, we would love for someone to reach out a hand and help us–teach us–show us how to love ourselves and that we are loved.

I am reminded of a story I read about Parker Palmer, a poet and religious thinker, whose work I love so much and am inspired by. Parker Palmer went through a very long and extreme depression in his mid-50’s and when describing his experience with it, he talks about a neighbor/friend who noticed that Parker was depressed and this neighbor/friend began going to Parker’s house everyday for an hour and would simply massage Parker’s feet. There would be no exchanges in conversation between he and the neighbor/friend in that hour, just the act of a neighbor being of service to someone in need, quietly and compassionately. Reading about Parker’s story had me in tears because I desired that same experience and understood so well how important it was to just be cared for by another being. Sometimes, it really helps to have others help you tend to the wounds you can’t face yourself, yet. 

With Anthony Bourdain passing, I felt so angry towards society. How could we let this person choose to end his life? In many ways, I understood how. We live in a society that has no idea what to do with people who are experiencing struggle, depression, anxiety, etc. We live in a society that does not know how to engage or be compassionate towards people who have mental illnesses. Instead, we tell them to check into rehab, or take meds, etc.

What if change began by just being of service to those who are suffering?

What if change began by a small act of selfless kindness towards someone you know or don’t know?

What if I told you that the truth is, more than anything, someone who is suicidal or depressed or has anxiety just wants to be comforted with a warm plate of food or hugs that last for 15 minutes?

The truth is, so many of our own closest friends and family are just not equipped with the compassionate tools to do this. So many are afraid to be vulnerable towards people who are suffering because they fear that  “bad energy might affect them”. Perhaps my thinking is distorted or that you don’t quite understand how someone like me can talk this way. I only aim to be honest for those seeking to learn where and how to begin to understand how these thought processes work inside people who have suicidal thoughts, are depressed or have anxiety.

In a world where our attention spans are limited to 3 seconds because of technology’s hold on us, people only have time for you when it’s convenient for them. I ask that you put your phone away when you are with someone who appears to show signs of distress.

Listen without interrupting.
Listen without judging.
Console with a slight touch or a warm bowl of ramen.
Every small act of kindness helps guide those in painful places, back to a place of trust–a trust in oneself, in others, and in humanity. 

I feel as if Anthony Bourdain had had enough of the emotional intensity that he felt and could not bear to live with the burden of unloading this onto his friends, family, and loved ones. I say this because I feel this way quite often. I often think that the burden of unloading my emotional intensity onto friends and family is just a nuisance and that I should just take care of it myself. I went to see a therapist for nearly 3 years, going once a week, and while it definitely helped rewire a lot of my thought patterns and provided me new mental tools to trick my brain from going down the spiral of negativity, I often felt it wasn’t enough. That even though I was “acting out of love” to show myself that I could manage and control what I felt, it was all too easy for me to think of just turning my wheel abruptly while I would be driving and think “even if I change, the world is still the same, so I should just end it right now.” Again, that was my distorted thinking happening, but I wanted to show you how easy it is to fool people into thinking we’re alright even if we have an amazing job, financial security, family, love, etc.

To a person who is depressed, none of those things matter because the world is still the same. And that’s what breaks my heart now with Anthony Bourdain’s passing. The world will grieve his passing and honor his many talents and gifts that he’s brought into this world, and name the suicide prevention hotline, and people will carry on next week in their same patterns and routine, and the world will still run the same way.

What we, as a community, need to begin doing and taking part in, is engaging in acts of kindness and selfless compassion towards people who are quietly suffering. Because in all honesty, the things that a person who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts would love to feel and see from the community are so simple and fundamental to any human’s well being. Here are just a few ways on how to show those who are suffering that you are selflessly there to begin the process of saving them:

  1. Acts of selfless kindness towards us
  2. Listening to us without interrupting
  3. Comforting us without judging or prying out information
  4. Consoling us with the slightest touch or affection
  5. Calling or texting us every now and then to let us know we’re loved
  6. Not waiting days to respond to our efforts of reaching out to you (i.e. texting back several days or weeks later)
  7. Being consistent with your presence whether its face-to-face, through Facetime/Video, letters, or email.
  8. Not comparing our problems or delusions to others or yours
  9. Playing with us when we’re feeling a little bit happy through laughter, imagination, or games.
  10. Say “I love you as you are, now.” and “We’ll get through this, together.”

If our community could begin to learn these simple ways of showing selfless love and engaging in it as if it were second nature, I honestly believe we would not have so many suicides. We need each other whether we like it or not. In order to survive and evolve as a human species, we need to learn how to grow into our heart and become steadfast in compassion so that we no longer have to suggest calling a suicide prevention hotline to people who are struggling, but instead, become the first responders to any signs of sadness and depression, with arms wide open and a commitment to serving their aching heart out of kindness and love.

To Anthony Bourdain, may your memory and gifts continue to inspire and move people towards places they’ve never been to in the world, the way you did for me, and most importantly, may your wisdom and love teach the human race to travel deeper into the beautiful mysteries of our heart and spirit. There’s a saying I’ve heard somewhere that, “a person only truly dies with the last person who remembers them.” I find solace knowing that Anthony Bourdain will never die, because his grace will always have a mark on the human kind.

Being someone who still struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, I do feel hopeful for so many things. I am finding that the world is slowly changing, even if I only see it in a few places, and that people are catching on. At some point, the human race will reach a point where enough is enough in our material-based, superficial world and the journey inwards to understanding our heart and emotions will take the forefront for our species’ survival and evolution to become something greater than technology, machinery, consumption, war and division, and ourselves as we are now–and that our evolution begins with the journey into “the part’s unknown”, which Anthony Bourdain’s wisdom introduced us to explore.

To you, who has read this far: Thank you for reading. I love you.





Growth in Time.

Today marks the spring equinox. After a strange winter filled with what seemed like weeks of rain and short days met with sunlight and clear skies–metaphorically speaking too–we have this beautiful season ahead that brings blooms of life and spirit back into nature and us. We know summer is near and we feel a little bit happier, a little bit more motivated to get out and be active, we get out of our “winter” selves and start planning our summer, essentially, our overall mood becomes a reflection of spring itself–a reflection of growth and abundance. Have you noticed that in yourself? I’m beginning to feel this myself.

I love the seasons so much because they remind me of our true connection with nature and how beautiful it is to see and feel nature run its life cycles every couple of months. In a way, it reminds us that all things have a life cycle and that we should and can learn to accept and be comfortable with the changes happening around us and within us. Something that I’ve been feeling a lot of lately since my last post is this realization that life can be made, and remade, again and again, even when the harsh winters (or in my case my divorce and trauma from the abuse) of our life come and go and leave us with nothing.

We need to remind ourselves that we are exactly like nature–resilient, beautiful, and in many cases, needing the time to heal and regrow our seeds and water our own roots, because in time, we do begin to live again. I was living with depression for months, slyly hiding it beneath my smiles and laughter, but I knew something was off. I knew deep down that I had stepped away from watering and nourishing the passions and dreams that set my soul on fire. I became too immersed in saving the marriage for the sacred reasons that you don’t break your vows. Instead, I broke my vows to my dreams and passions, momentarily of course.

However broken we may feel or so far away from healing ourselves can be, there’s always just enough left of yourself, your heart and spirit, to live and grow again.

Doesn’t spring remind us of that? I took the pieces of my broken self and what was left was exactly what I needed to start all over again: my dreams, my passion, and my immense love for them. I remember thinking, this isn’t the first time that I’ve felt this way. In fact, it’s probably the 5th or 6th time that I’ve felt this way–broken, no idea where to go or what to do, with a feeling that always returned to remind me of what I should do. Somehow, in the moments of our deepest pain and dark periods in our life, a tiny little feeling of hope can be found in the things that had always pushed our heart to strive for more, to beat more passionately again for the things we love.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, as I always do, and remunerating over these endless possibilities I have now. One thing that I want to point out is that each of us have our own path to follow and our own lifestyles and gifts to discover and nourish. The safe-path, the one we’re taught to strive for in our lives (think: buy a home, get married, have a wedding, have kids and maybe a pet, have a career, be financially secure, climb the corporate ladder) is definitely one that many of us are seduced to working hard for. While I believe this path is a good one for a lot of us, I feel that it’s not often the right path for some of us.

I struggle with trying to adapt to this safe-path and every time I reach a point in my life that feels stagnant or empty, I am always reminded by what has always brought me joy and drive: writing, telling stories, inspiring, and being able to communicate a language that I feel is so foreign to us now in our culture and time; a language lost in the moments where we wonder what our purpose is in life; a language only understood by way of our senses to understand this world we live in; a language that we all wish to communicate, but don’t know how. It’s what I call the language of the sentient being.

Have you ever felt a need to be more connected with friends or family? Or maybe it’s a closer connection to nature or craving the experience of arts or music? It’s those things that we do that somehow lift our spirit by way of our senses. Have you ever felt this desire to see what can become of you? Or a thirst to understand why you’re even alive?

We’re sentient beings. We feel things because we’ve been given this gift that we don’t always like to use when we try to make sense of our place in the world. I am often reminded that not everyone has the privilege to be born with a dream or a known purpose of what they are truly meant to do in this life, so they take the safe-path because it’s a path that can provide if we follow it. The other path of course is the risky path–usually the path that artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, etc., take. The one we’re advised not to follow.

But I have to take a risk now. Because if I don’t, I will regret it later on. And I have to keep trying and getting back up, even if it means having to start all over from scratch every time I get beaten by my fears. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

A few things that have helped transform my perception about this risk-taking are people who have followed their intuition and worked incredibly hard to bring their dream to life. These people you’ve heard like Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Jeff Bezos, Salvador Dalí, Susan Sontag, maybe someone you know, etc., were always convinced and driven by the one thing that their heart always knew: their gift or purpose in this world.

In order to grow your dreams and make them come to life, you have to be clear about what you want, why you want it and what you’re willing to do to get it. You have to do it because you care deeply about it. You have to care deeply about it because not everyone in this world is born with a dream or a purpose–that itself is beyond divine comprehension.

Can you believe in yourself a little bit more because of this? I think so.

After weeks and mostly nights where I couldn’t sleep, I could feel this ache again to do what I always knew was my god-given gift. WRITE. While it’s not what I do for a living yet, I do believe that future exists for me so long as I continue to beat my own fears and assumptions about failure. Perhaps marriage and buying a home or having a corporate job are not part of my path right now. Because ultimately, if you have a dream or a passion you’d like to pursue, you are called to do the hard work, time and time again after every failure or obstacle that you experience. I know this to be true. I’ve lived in 3 different cities, had 5 jobs, and still, in moments where I’m lost and have no clue what the hell to do with my life, a quiet whisper comes to sweep me up and remind me of this dream to be a writer and storyteller.

Dreams are not to be taken lightly. Everything takes time, but you have to be willing to fail gracefully and be willing to work so so freaking hard. You have to be willing to answer these questions when you start taking your dreams and passions seriously:

What do you want to do?

What are you doing instead?

What are you afraid of?

What are your biggest assumptions?

You have to be willing to cry and feel all sorts of emotions you’ve never thought you were capable of feeling; You have to be willing to push yourself on your own when you don’t have any bit of inspiration left or have $200 left in your bank account; You have to be willing to delay gratification for the integrity it takes to build respect for your dreams; You have to be willing to be so resourceful and creative, but honest, in order to create the momentum needed for your progress; You have to be willing to sacrifice certain notions of the safe-path so you can remind yourself that you’re still doing the hard work that is required for your dream to come true; You have to be willing to sit with depression, sadness, madness, and jump through hoops of fear, and be able to face it head on because ultimately, the risk of not living your true self and the dreams and passions you have is far worse than the fear itself.

In a couple of months, I have an exciting journey ahead of me. I feel the stir of an engine in me, ready to meet my heart’s drive and experience the journey of where my talents take me. In a strange way, I really do feel that the Divine has perfected this imperfect path for me to take. In hindsight, some of the things I have experienced and learned have an eerily strange way of connecting itself back to the things we know most true in our heart. We should learn to trust the cycles and beat of our heart just like how nature trusts in the cycles of our solar system to create magic and abundance every year.

Where do you begin? How do you begin to feel your sense of purpose or know what your dream is? Start with curiosity. Pick up things that interest you. Challenge yourself with a new hobby or language. I promise that doing this will get the gears going for you. I began learning French and downloaded the free app, Duolingo.

I spend an hour every morning after breakfast and coffee entertaining myself with the app’s clever ways and methods to teach the phrases and vocabulary. I hired someone I found on Craigslist to teach me how to drive a manual transmission (stick shift) because it’s a useful skill to know if you’re traveling to other countries. I bought myself a Passion Planner because I got sick of trying to manage my goals with check-lists or scribbled thoughts in a notebook when I had NO REAL MAP of goals and what I needed to do to take steps to bring my dream to life. I minimized my belongings (again–5th time now) so that I wouldn’t have to worry about being tied down to having too much stuff and its maintenance and put everything I don’t even use in a public storage. I currently use a 40-liter Osprey backpack full of clothes, 4 pairs of shoes, my laptop and PC computer, and some books to live my day-to-day. I’ve accepted that I can live with only a few things right now and be completely satisfied and able to do my job and keep myself well-balanced so that I can focus on my dreams and my passion. Again, these are things I am doing out of my own curiosity to see how my life can transform and my habits change so that my dreams can start to feel confident to take center stage.

As you go through this season of spring, I hope that you can find comfort in the thought that your life will go only as far as you want it to. Growth takes hard work and patience. We have to be willing to understand ourselves better in order to make better choices that benefit our ability to grow for our dream, our purpose, our passion, whatever. We have to allow ourselves to feel a little bit more because it’s the language that allows new pathways for our heart to better serve and direct our soul to its reason for life.

I feel so much warmth and belief right now for myself and for you. We’re all in this together if you think about it. We all have moments where we ask ourselves these hard and time-tested questions from the heart and that’s good, because if you aren’t asking, you aren’t truly living your authentic self. How else could we experience the answers unless we live the questions themselves through our curiosity and actions?

In spring, I find that the the flowers and plants never bother to find the answers for why they exist because they already know they have gifts to gift every season. They live only to bring forth themselves, year after year, through drought-stricken weather and floods, inch-by-inch. They exist because their purpose is to be constant reminders for us all that we too, can rise in the faith that our purpose will grow more and more clear every season of our lives.

With love,


Featured Photo Credit: Official Tourism Blog of San Diego


Emptiness in Time.

Two years ago, I wrote about understanding the power of presence and how to stay in line with our self-love, reminding ourselves to recognize when something or someone does not serve our higher self and is toxic to our growth.

Two years later, after experiencing what I thought was the love you knew was meant for you, I sit here with an immense amount of emptiness—both a good and cruel feeling measured by time. I fell deep in love, or what I thought was love, and married the person who would unknowingly become a person I feared, loved, resented, and was heartbroken over so many, many times. It has taken me awhile to truly sit down and write my thoughts and feelings about where I’ve been these last two years.

I lost myself. I let who I love consume my life. I forgot how to love myself. I became a victim of broken promises. I lost respect for myself. I allowed the person I loved to continue harming me emotionally every time I accepted his apologies. I didn’t listen to myself. I second guessed my intuition, when all this time it kept telling me the truth. I was empty. I became so empty that I couldn’t function in my daily life, in my hobbies, in my passions. I became depressed and sought nothing more but to end my life because my marriage wasn’t working. Where did I go?

Two months ago, I experienced the most terrifying thing in my life that I could imagine. After two years of what felt like a slow emptying of myself through tears, arguments, late night drives to cool off, and constant forgiving and believing in someone who promised to change, I became a victim of abuse in 20 minutes of the most traumatic experience of my life. How could someone who says they love me do this to me? Writing this isn’t easy, and the anxiety and stress from the trauma still creep into my spirit, but I hope that my story can help you understand what it means to get out before it’s too late and how you can find hope in this tragedy.

My life was threatened by someone I love and in those 3 breathless seconds that I experienced, my life became more important to save than the love and broken marriage I was in. I managed to get out safely and report the incident to the police and soon after I moved my belongings out. Where did I go? I went to heal myself and protect everything that has ever made me full of the love that has given me my life, my soul, and spirit.

“Where did I go?” was a question I asked myself countless times throughout the day, ruminating on the past and what signals I should have taken a closer look at that got me to this place in my life. I stopped writing. I stopped feeling. I stopped expressing myself through love in ways that brought me joy. And for what? To be with a man who did not even know how to understand his own source of love, and falsely propose to give you what you needed in a partnership?

I blame myself for not having taken the time to truly test the waters and swim in the ocean of love long enough to know that a person I was going to marry is someone I could trust in turbulent and calm waters. I was a fool for believing so quickly in eloquent words and in the ideal that he would come to learn how to become himself through me. That he could grow with me. But ultimately, I did not have that kind of influence or power, no matter how hard I tried to inspire and motivate him to be the best version of himself that he could be. No matter how hard I tried to set an example of good habits and values, it was of no use if he didn’t care to practice these things in his own life.

At one point, I thought I was the crazy one—he would tell me I was crazy and was overly sensitive and should just “sleep things off”. I wish I had known not to have given so much of my love and effort to someone who was incredibly stubborn and prideful. The toxicity sucked every ounce of my empathy and compassion for myself that I became so disillusioned by the state of my marriage. In essence, I became a reflection of him during that time—picking up his habits because he wouldn’t compromise with mine, suppressing my emotions because he couldn’t express himself, not speaking or hanging out with friends or family as often because he didn’t like people knowing about us, becoming a complete hermit because he didn’t have any interest in making friends or hanging out with mine, making excuses for his absence at family parties or events because he was too anti-social, and all of this in hindsight, I see now, was enabling his behavior every time I forgave him and protected his values. I felt so unloved and neglected.

This was not a marriage or relationship I could tolerate any longer.

I had wanted so much to be married, but this was not the marriage the Universe and the Divine had intended for me. I wanted so much to believe that all the things he shared with me were true, and maybe some of it was, but our love for each other was felt in two different ways that could not grow together.

So often we forget to heed the wisdom of those who come before us and have felt love. While some are lucky to really know when they know the one, I find a lot of comfort and value in the thought that you cannot know unless you both have felt the treasure of time separately, first, and then, together. That with the treasure of time, you each would choose to live with intent and awareness in growing your self-love and learn to understand what compassion and empathy look and feel like because when you have that, the rest is simple when you choose to marry. When you have a sense of self respect for your love and your values then you already know what you must do to protect the love and values of the one you choose to spend the rest of your life with.

I don’t regret having gotten married and then disappearing for two years from my passions. I do regret not leaving sooner when the relationship was at its breaking point several times. I know that I am stronger than I feel or think and I am happy that I got out when I did, but how did I miss the warning signs? Signs that my intuition had pointed me to look at closer, but then I’d second guess myself. Warning signs found in the constant refusal of a substance abuse problem, lies masked in wordy excuses, denials and circular conversations, financial mismanagement and disorganization in goals and ambitions, broken promises and emotional neglect, refusal to understand on an emotional level, and pride that was prioritized first before the love and feelings of the partner you chose.

So many vows were broken. I never thought someone I love could emotionally and physically hurt me so much. In moments where the anxiety and PTSD creep in, I tell myself, “I am so sorry, Noemi. I am so sorry this happened to you.”

And in between the moments where my eyes well up and my throat is in a knot, I exhale a deep breath and hear my soul whisper, “But you are immensely loved. Do not forget the gift I have given solely to you in this life”.

I am crying as I write because I feel so sorry for having turned my heart away momentarily from what has always sparked my life and spirit: my own source of love.

It is an ever growing source that will never betray me or hurt me as long as I continue to believe and nurture it.

The end of this marriage has also reminded me of the one thing that has stayed true and constant in my life thus far: that my intuition is part of the gift I have been given to understand and express the truths of love and life in my time. In hindsight, it has been the silent compass of my soul, directing me to what I know is my divine purpose in this world. While the direction that it is going remains a complete mystery to me, I can trust that the direction will always be that of growth if I choose it to be. A huge part of my heart and soul have been emptied by this traumatic experience and the ones I experienced in the duration of my two years of absence. I have drowned and have been broken in love and after all of it, here I am.

I am a survivor.
I am stronger than I have ever been.
That there is hope after tragedy.

I am always reminded by the resilience of nature and how life and death is a cycle that can be seen in its seasons. This was a great and turbulent season of my life. It has washed away so much of what I had grown and yet there I am in pieces, scattered throughout the soil of my broken heart and soul like seeds, waiting to be nurtured and grown again—that in time, I will rise and become the garden of my love, once again.

I am so grateful for the friends and family who have shown me so much love and support during this difficult time. They are the ones who help water the soil of your brokenness while you take the time to make sense of the chaos of it all and heal from it. They are the ones who are truly heaven-sent to ensure your path is always comforted by reminders of real love and joy.

Having endured this momentary absence from my own life and the traumatic experience at the end of it, I realize that the process of my emptying in this marriage was necessary for me to learn so that I could understand how to grow myself again when destruction and chaos come to uproot everything.

It was a necessary emptying so that all I had left was everything that I began with—the foundation, the soil, the earth, the nothingness and everything, the messiness, the beauty and hope of starting all over again with the only tools I needed: my hands, my heart, my mind, my soul, my faith, my choice to live again in this emptiness in time, where darkness can be abundance, and death can bring new life.

I see now. How important it is to empty ourselves, whether that be emotionally or spiritually. I see now. How time is our silent friend in all matters of life, death, and love. That this emptiness in time that we all experience at one point in our lives, is one of the greatest reflections of love that call to the depths of our inner self to feel the incredible lightness and plasticity, magic and resilience of our divine soul.

The Power of Our Presence

Warning: Contains graphic details on the topics of abuse and suicide that may be uncomfortable for readers.

Illustration by: Mandy Tsung

Illustration by: Mandy Tsung

A week from now, I will be turning 27 years old. I usually like to reflect on how much growth I’ve experienced and what areas I need to improve in. This year, however, the gift I want to give myself is the gift of surrender. Surrendering is a liberating feeling. For so long, I have conditioned myself to believe that it was ok to be quiet and mum about the details of the experiences of my past. That if I were quiet or vague about my experiences, it would make others believe I was strong and that if I talked about those things it would made me weak or disrespectful towards my loved ones.

But after 27 years of accepting that what happened to me was just “another form of love”, I have reached the edge of a world I no longer wish to appease and realize the power I have when I acknowledge my presence in my life. It has taken me several years to write about this subject, but I feel, in my process of surrendering, becoming, and accepting towards my self, that my story is now, more than ever, relevant and necessary in a society that secretly craves truth-telling. If you have experienced any of what I am about to share with you, I hope that you find the strength in yourself to recognize the power of your presence and walk away from the things and people that do not move your being forward.

Up until the age of 17, I had been a witness to domestic and emotional abuse at home, was a victim of both, bullied by my peers at school, and what people would call, a “cutter”, during my self-destructive years. When you grow up never feeling what it is like to be comforted or praised for your accomplishments, or even complimented for your changing looks, a person grows up to become really numb and fearful of others giving compassion and love to them. I’m always told that it is just an “Asian” thing, and while that’s partly true with upbringing, I do believe that the presence we are surrounded by when we grow up greatly affects our understanding of ourselves and the relationships we create with other people. I never grew up with parents who expressed compassion or emotions. It was always known that if we defied our parents or showed emotion towards what they were telling us, that we were disrespectful and knew nothing. I grew up with constant yelling, and at times, plates and other objects being thrown violently across rooms. I was just a kid then, but I remember everything so vividly. To escape the pain and violence I was witnessing and sometimes receiving, I would create imaginary worlds in my head that I would take refuge in, playing “pretend” with the creatures and people I created in my head or drawing until my tears blotted the colors away.

Growing up Asian, you learn to not cry in front of anyone because doing so would signify your weakness. You also learn to grow a thick skin–taking in the most degrading, humiliating words you can imagine, sitting silently and nodding in agreement when it was all over. You get used to being thrown into the flames at any moment and deal with the new burns that fester on top of previous burns still healing. For so long I’ve been told, “that’s just the way Asian parents show their love. They don’t know how to be compassionate.” I would allow this excuse to override the actual pain I was feeling and I would tell myself, “It’s ok that this is happening to me. It’s just their way of showing me they love me.” I was a fool to believe that this was true. What society and families miss in the shaping of children’s future’s, are the soft skills necessary to create sustainable relationships with ourselves and others. I was taught to believe that putting my head down and working hard and never acknowledging my feelings would put me on track to a successful life. I am finding that this is all wrong.

When I started to “experiment” with different personalities and dying my hair and evolving my “self”, I would come home to my mother telling me I didn’t look pretty that day or that I was fat or worse, that I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I was just a kid. Of course we don’t know what we’re doing with our life when we’re that young. In high school, I was told that I was a “waste of beauty” when I dated women for a brief period and that God would punish me by sending me to hell to burn. What idea can we shape of religion when who you are (at the time) is punishable by a God you’re not wholly aware of or understanding of in your life yet? You’re just a kid. You have no idea what God is yet. You only have what you’re being told. And why would anyone want to burn in hell? We are just trying to learn more about ourselves and our place in the world by living it in our way. I was put down plenty of times for any achievements I had in school and if I did something bad, I was acknowledged as “useless”.

Emotional abuse is still abuse. Do not think that just because they do not physically harm you that it is not abuse. Abuse is abuse. When you berate someone constantly and put them down, it is not coming from a place of love. It is not LOVE. People will tell me that “they just have your best interest at heart”. Those who have your best interest at heart would not put you down or make you feel useless or ashamed to be an imperfect human. These are toxic people who take satisfaction in seeing you fall and crumble just so you can yield to their righteousness. They may not ever admit it, but toxic people find their fuel in the energies of budding hope and change in someone. If something wasn’t done in the way they experienced it, what you do will never be good enough. In these instances, stay present with yourself and what is really going on around you. Listen closely to the words being said and the actions being displayed. The affects of having to experience emotional or physical abuse is that it does begin to numb you and chip away at your soul. You question your humanity and you begin to question if receiving love is something you’re worthy of. You question how to behave when you’re in relationships and sometimes find yourself behaving just like the person who inflicted the abuse on you. It took me a long time to realize that love didn’t come in the form of cuts and bruises or mental beatings, but it only happened when I found the voice of my presence.

From junior year of high school up until my sophomore year of college, I was in a physically (and emotionally) abusive relationship. I was lied to repeatedly, cheated on multiple times, wounded, and felt a low in my life I had never felt. I remember thinking at times when we’d fight, that this was their way of showing me love. That this was my way of showing how much I loved them back in return. That love was something we fought for, literally. There was one fight in particular that damaged me the most which sent me towards a very dark time in my life. The anger inside of me had built up having found out that they had been emotionally cheating on me again. I felt so unloved and just like in my childhood, unworthy of receiving love. “But this was their way of showing me love”, I thought. I wanted to show them how much I loved them. I wanted to show them that I was willing to bleed for them, and so I picked up the sharpest object I could find and dug the sharp end into my skin and slid it across multiple times. This is how much I love you. That I would die for your love. I thought. I watched the person I loved watch me bleed and do completely nothing to stop me. It was a devastating experience for me.

At the time I felt, “I must not be worthy at all to anyone.” I had taken my experience as a child and added this moment to equate that I must be unworthy of life and love. I was broken. Completely shattered and broken. I was so far away from feeling human that pain became the only friend I could trust because it was the only thing that felt real to me. Anytime friends and my new partner at the time tried to help, I would lash out and go in full disaster mode, thinking everyone was out to intentionally hurt me. If you have ever been through a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, you subconsciously begin to deny yourself of the good things that happen in your life that are meant to heal you. I pushed away people and created false stories of infidelity just to rouse my partner, because I had defined that love meant fighting. That love meant chaos. And if I wasn’t experiencing that, then it mustn’t be love. Experiencing abuse is something that I wish for no one to experience. Some people think that words don’t hurt, but in reality, they do more harm in the long run because these things stay in our memory. And our mind loves to spin the wheels of memory.


Eventually, I overcame the darkest time in my life. It wasn’t easy–it still isn’t easy–to detach myself from those memories and experiences, but eventually, you get better because somehow, the light still wants to shine in the dark rooms of your heart whenever you’re hurt. Acknowledging the presence of your own self-loathing and destructive tendencies is not easy, but in the moments of despair and desperation for some kind of love, there is always something that saves you. I was saved by my own self.

In my darkest hour, having cried for 8 hours straight and lying on a floor, damp with a mix of my tears and blood, I found the presence I had been looking for in 22 years. I heard a voice inside me that whispered kindly,

“Get up. You are not who they say you are. You are not who you say you are. You need to live and tell your story. There are many others who feel the way you do. Only they are scared. You are their voice. Go on now. Get up.”

It is a presence that still finds me on days where I feel completely lost and alone. It is a presence that I believe people need to recognize they always have in them. The only reason it took so long to appear is because you had been surrounded by toxic people who were stifling your growth, but no matter where you find yourself in life, the presence will always be there with you, waiting for you to water and surround it with the good people and places that aren’t afraid to support you with their love and compassion. I want you to know that your presence, is also at your will. Establish what is love and what isn’t. Love isn’t violent. Love is comforting. Love isn’t bleeding. Love is healing. Love isn’t hurtful. Love is wishing for the best for you. Remember that, please.

Now that I’m reaching my late twenties, I am understanding my transformation and past experiences a lot better. I understand what love is and what it isn’t and I understand when I need to welcome love and when I see it disguised in manipulative and toxic people. While I am still working through a lot of things, I am learning the true gift of presence in our life. The presence and importance of compassion, of telling people you love them, of helping someone feel better even if you don’t understand their pain, of recognizing when something or someone has crossed the line of your self-love and respect, of knowing when to let go and walk away from people and places that no longer serve your highest self, and recognizing the presence of who you are–whatever it is becoming–that wishes for you to continue living and expanding in your own way of life and love.

Love is growing. Love is up-lifting. Love is your presence when you are weak. Love never doubts your courage or scorns you for trying. Love is not a score of who will fail first. Love is the highest belief of you.

And so you get up, and go on.

I promise you, there is a place where your love is deserving and worthy. It might take some time and detours to find it, but they are there. Just believe that you are enough and deserving, first. Remove yourself from whatever toxic environment you’re in, because there are people who will never berate you or bring you down. There is a place where even friends and acquaintances can be family and provide the love and familial comfort and support that you need. I am fortunate to have found this and grateful that I can continue to discover it, even if it means letting go of the people and places that we might consider our closest friends and family.

Your presence in this world is worthy of life and it is worthy of love. The recognition of the power of your own presence in this world is something never to be doubted. You are a head full of will and have a heart made oceans. You are beautifully, human.

Don’t you ever give up on that. Don’t you ever give up on you.



Love: A Constant Journey You Choose to Create


There is one feeling in the world that we all want in life and yet it is the one thing that we unknowingly fear the most: love. The phrase, “to fall in love”, carries both the terror and the bliss that happens when you meet someone who softens your heart and strengthens your soul. Isn’t that exactly what we truly want to feel when we fall in love with someone? That other soul and human being who is just as frightened yet courageous enough to hold on to something worth living and dying together for? My eyes well up as I write this because a very special human being came into my life and has shared with me, the most magnificent and sacred feeling that we humans are so lucky to experience. To experience love with another human being is absolutely breathtaking and marvelous. It is life elevated and is a dwelling place of true, heavenly felicity.

When I think about the journey I’ve made to discover my significance in the world, my divine purpose, and the love I needed to grow in order to create the life I wanted, I realize that all it took was a constant awareness of all that was happening around me and a choice to always choose that which was greater in love than in fear. As you move through your one human life, you are given gifts of love that are all around you. We are born into a world that already teaches us how to love and be present in the breaking and growing of ourselves as lovely human beings.



Nature teaches us this through the seasons. We cannot know or experience the beauty and blossoming of life felt in the spring without winter. We cannot know presence without knowing absence. We cannot know courage without knowing fear. And with every season, you see just how resilient nature is in its love to show you how tender and forgiving love can really be. We have to learn to open our eyes and heart and choose to feel the love that is all around us. If you want love, you truly must be love, no matter how many winters you may go through. Love could never be terrible or unkind, that is the role of fear. Love is always giving even in your darkest moments. I know this because I was close to death once.

In the darkest hour of my life, I spoke to death so calmly and begged to understand my role in this world. I cried for hours to the point where tears no longer fell. I hadn’t eaten a real meal in weeks and survived off a slice of bread a day as my punishment for not being good enough. And when choosing life seemed so far away, the next morning I woke up and heard a faint voice fill my heart. It whispered to me lovingly, “Noemi, you exist for a reason. I am sorry you feel that life isn’t beautiful, but your ability to feel this intensely is why you must live. Live so that you can be a light and loving source of strength to others when they read or listen to your soul speak in words.” It was in that moment that I realized, love was the only choice I needed to make. Since then, I have devoted every waking moment that I get to choose a life that grows my love and fills others with it. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had my heart broken plenty of times, but the truth is, the pain that passes through you is the moment you seize to give yourself the tender love that you deserve. You give yourself this love by maintaining your presence in the pain, awareness of your unhappiness, and you communicate with yourself and your partner what you would like to do differently and how you would like to grow through it.


Part of the problem of why we fear love so much is because we spend so much time equating love to being able to fulfill the ego’s needs. We don’t spend the time to truly listen and act in a loving way to ourselves and our partner. We desire the closeness and loyalty of intimacy that love brings, but choose instant gratifications that soothe our minor aches. We don’t understand that love isn’t a stagnant thing.

Love is a constant and growing force that requires full awareness of the self and the other. It requires sincere, hard work to grow and move towards a love so heavenly. It is equal parts oxygen and magic. It keeps our eyes dilated and throats laughing and dreams birthed and hearts alive. It gifts us wonder and energy and helps us thrive. It is truly the great motivator in life.


When we begin to love ourselves and can accept that sharing our vulnerabilities with each other is not a frightening task, we begin to allow love to enter in our home. Many people may enter and come and go, but only few will stay and create a home with you. Choose love and choose it always. And when you are lucky enough to meet someone who is brave in their weakness and yet steadfast in their choice to love and hold onto you as you both walk to the edges of the earth and fall together for a love so utterly captivating that even time and space tremble, you choose. You choose love over fear, always. You choose because even if you fear being hurt or shattered into pieces, you choose because growth requires breaking out of our old selves and routines to become truly alive as a human being for love.

I hope that you who are reading this, may go on and begin to create your place of felicity, wonder, and solace with yourself and whether or not you are ready to share that with another human who may just be courageous enough to build something with you, take it, choose it. Grow for love and all of its intoxicating beauty.

To my sweet Ben, my ever longing presence, my love has been waiting for such a soul like yours to share in the growth and experience of life’s ultimate purpose and greatest meaning in life: to love and be loved in return.

Always to the stars,


Carnal Presence: Underneath It All

We long for it constantly: the need to feel loved, a hunger for another being to touch our deepest selves; a warm heart and a kind ear to release our selves to; a hug we can fall apart in; laughter we can feel rising from the veins of our skin; other humans we can share our darkest selves and feel safe with; the ability to feel free to live and create our lives the way we wished when we were children; to be extremely honest with ourselves and others and still share a love so fierce with passion.

I was drawn to an article about falling in love and how it took 36 Questions and 4 minutes of staring into another stranger’s eyes to fall in love. The article went viral of course and I studied how people reacted to it. I was amused by how people treated this “breakthrough study”. Some understood the underlying reason for it, but other publications I read wrote about it as if it were something so completely unheard of. Human vulnerability? Having a conversation face to face, eye to eye? Sharing your story and self with another human? Unheard of–in the age of hyper-connectivity and artificial semi-connectedness, that is. It blows me away how we’ve conditioned ourselves to live in a world where human connection, and I mean real human connection, is now a scarcity that we’ve built ways to commodify it through Tindr, OkCupid,, EHarmon(e)y, etc. Now more than ever, you will most likely hear, “We met online”, “Our first date was through Tindr”, “We just hit it off on EHarmoney”, “I couldn’t believe I found the one”. Now, some connections made through these sites can actually become something really awesome, but I find that to be rare. Have we really reduced love to mere exchanges on Tindr? Yes, we have.

To have love and feel love, you need to have connection. Connection with one’s inner self and true sensory and temporal connection with another human being. You no doubt try to stay “connected” when physical distance keeps you and your loved ones apart so you use the phone, text, Facebook, email, and that’s important. But your body–your human, carnal body and raw (soul) self, sculpted by the forces of natural selection over millennia, was not designed for the abstractions of long-distance love, the “xoxos” or “lols”, no.

Your body and your soul hunger for more. You hunger to feel wild and beautiful with someone. You hunger to feel safe and free with someone. You hunger to feel and share an experience so moving that all the layers of you, unravel.

There is a carnal presence that exists in us, and it’s found in all the hungers that we crave to express and feel. We crave to feel connected, yet we fear sharing our honest selves with people and strangers. We crave to feel understood and comforted, yet we fear the embarrassment and humiliation we might get for feeling what we do. We crave to fall in love and find a partner who will run wild with us, yet we fear facing how to love and explore the depths of ourselves. We crave to follow our dreams and passions, yet we cower at the thought of criticism.

One of the scariest things that could happen to humanity, is the loss and scarcity of what it means to feel a real human connection. We are already experiencing this now. We get a little anxious when we receive a phone call instead of a text. We get a little surprised when a stranger tells us a story on the morning commute to work. We hurry into relationships and expect instant growth and years of love jam-packed in a few months, and feel heartbroken that it didn’t unfold fast enough. We’ve forgotten that things that are worth growing, take time and require our patience and full awareness–our full carnal presence–to create the rooted connections we want. To bear fruit on any tree, you must water it. You must frequent it with your presence and nurture it. To strengthen and expand the deep rooted connections with yourself and others, you must show up and care to bare your soul and real-time presence to the effort of growth, however much it hurts. The amount of love and connection you feel and receive depend on the frequency of your carnal presence with yourself and others. Are you extremely honest and wholehearted about what exists in your mind–the thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, the whole thing that adds up to what we call “me” or “I”? No one else can really sort out what opens up your world or what seems to keep you going in circles in some kind of repetitive misery but you. Choose to be a better human. Allow the presence of your true self to shake and settle in your skin.1521356_765664756796758_1122453004_n

You can choose to live a life fearful of your carnal presence and all that is underneath your skin or you can choose to live a life that is wholly you, wholly everything that you feel inside your heart and soul. You can choose to surround yourself around artificial semi-connectedness, or you can get outside and explore, say “hello”, start a conversation, tell a story about something you’ve experienced, look into another person’s eyes and laugh together, share a time where you were sad and lonely with a complete stranger, and maybe, just maybe, spark a mutual shared sense of deep aliveness and attention to the world.

I ask you please, do not be afraid to pour yourself, and express with paramount, your wholeness, your rawness, your vulnerability, your soul’s longing to be human in our artificially connected world, your fearless yet compassionate carnal presence.

I would not ever wish for this world, after we are long gone, to look at love as a myth or real human connection as an archaic thing humans no longer need. When you are aware of yourself and who you are, and you follow your heart and intention, you give this world and the rest of humanity another chance to make things better. You give the world and yourself growth to cultivate real human connections and real presence. When you show unwavering kindness to others and are honest to the core, you give others an opportunity to feel what hope and love are like. Please, I ask you, don’t be afraid to live your human self on a deeper level. Go deeper into yourself and discover that darkness, that lightness, the things that burn, burn, burn you to the ground like ashes and lift you like smoke. Pay close attention to what you choose to be aware of in this world and what you are aware of about yourself.

I hope that someday, you’ll understand that the only thing worth earning, growing, and experiencing is a life filled with real moments of human connection with yourself and with others. Underneath it all, we long to feel the nature and force of our carnal presence, loved and protected by another soul brave enough to share theirs. Understand yourself underneath it all, and be aware. Create a kind of awareness to yourself and the world that opens the hearts and minds of others to this awareness, but most of all, project a kind of feeling that awakens the consciousness of other souls longing to understand and feel this human life.



A Deeper Kind of Journey

For most of us, the New Year means setting new goals and resolutions to: get out more, be more active, lose weight, get a new job, work a little less and spend a little more time with family, meet new people, find the “one”, get a new look, whatever. Reaching the edge of the end of a year and the view of a new one is always a perfect time to reflect on all that we’ve been through this last year and see the places we’ve left behind and the horizons we have yet to conquer. For me, 2014 was a year of growth and risk. I felt myself truly grow creatively, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. There were moments of pure bliss and ecstasy whenever I reached a surprising height and a view so breathtaking I wanted more of it, and then there were moments where everything inside of me felt emptied out like a dry river bed aching for the winter snow to melt and bring in a rush of water. There were people I met who lifted me and others who drained me of my source of love, and when the last few hours of the year came near, I understood then, that everyone I met, and all the things I felt and places I’ve seen, were all part of my journey–my ascent–to see the beautiful horizon that lay ahead of me. I climbed and trudged through difficult terrain and braved through many storms to reach this breathtaking view, and even though I am proud and happy for having done so, I know that these mountains will not be the only landscapes I’ll journey through.IMG_1527

I spent the last weekend of 2014 camping in the Anza Borrego desert. It’s a different kind of feeling from hiking in the mountains where you have a goal in mind: to summit to the top and see the view.

Life is that way: ascending towards the ultimate view and that captivating feeling of awe with all that surrounds you at the top.

You don’t have an ascent or a peak that you hike to in the desert, no. The desert has something entirely different. It has a sacred depth hidden in the vast emptiness of its nature. The mountains surround you from afar like a comforting friend keeping a watchful eye on you, but the desert offers something more than friendship. It offers a journey to find the beauty of a dry land so immensely quiet and bare in its naked skin. It offers a journey to listen and hear the sounds of the gentle wind and the crackling of a star dazzling in the cold night sky. It offers a journey to understand what it means to be in awe of everything and nothing, at the same time.

I peeked out of my warm sleeping bag a couple of times to surprise the stars with my eyes and I felt like they were giggling at me as they twinkled across the velvet blackness of space saying, “Don’t be so afraid to come out and dance with us. You are one of us, too. Warm and bright. Get out of that silly heat bag.” Despite it being nearly 30ºF, I laughed back and in a rush of adrenaline, hopped out of my sleeping bag and danced underneath the light of my distant friends. It’s a beautiful feeling to surround yourself around the serenity of a landscape that is sparse with vegetation and immensely enchanting.


Life is that way. And you move through time and your days in that way: not ever really knowing what lay ahead in the sparse nothingness that surrounds you. So when you walk through a desert and admire the resiliency of life when things are bare and naked, you understand that life can only really be lived in such a bare and naked way–a way that allows us to go deeper into the vast emptiness and create with our unique magic and love, an inner life rich with vegetation and enchantment from the stars we shine.

You begin to understand that even though life is an ascent towards something, life is also a vast and infinite horizon that we must keep moving forward in. 

My word and anchor for 2015 is deeper. In the desert I felt a very deep connection to all that was around me: The nothingness. My skin, cold from the unforgiving sand underneath me. The quiet whispers and tenderness of the wind in my ears. The children in the stars, playing and taking their turns to shoot and dazzle for the moon. The way nothing felt so comforting like a blanket keeping me warm. I danced until I couldn’t feel my fingertips or toes on the sand, and let the desert take me deeper into myself to feel a real ecstasy that only surrendering to love could make you feel. This last year was a very challenging year to ascend and climb through, but I understand now, that deeper is where I need to go. In the desert, you find that deepness, that rawness and bare nakedness that summons you to go forth and move towards the depths of living.

This year, I want (and I hope you might want to do so too) to love more deeply in such a way that stirs up a chaos of fire and new life inside another soul that a society where love is matched through online dating sites, Tinder, and Ok Cupid, fall to its knees and beg for a deeper love like that; to kiss more deeply and hug more deeply in such a way that society stops and wonders what it’s like to feel a real human bond–stomach to stomach, heart to heart, lips to lips, eye to eye, soul to soul; to connect with people more deeply in such a way that the only value exchanged is our laughter and the memories we create together; to gaze and appreciate more deeply in a society that has lost what it means to have patience in a fast-paced instant world where we can have everything at the palm of our hands; to create and make art more deeply in such a way that breaks old grounds and stirs up a new kind of consciousness; to learn with a deeper curiosity in a society that no longer favors exploration of the soul and mind but rather, the exploration in possessing and amassing items that do not serve our highest selves; to speak and think more deeply in a world where very few understand what it means to really connect and share yourself with another human being; to live more deeply in such a way that my unique soul and magic can manifest and grow to inspire others to do the same.


I want you to understand, that in this life we will climb plenty of mountains. Most of us see a peak that challenges us and we make our plans and set out a course to get to the top. But in this life, we cannot avoid the deserts we must walk through. They exist in us the day we are born and can only be appreciated when we turn our eyes and heart into ourselves and see the vast emptiness we’ve created in our lives through hiding our talents and magic, fearing our passions for comfort and security, turning to our phones for passionless connections, and being a coward to living the life that wants to live through you in this time and space. Your soul and spirit are infinite, but the human life you have is not. We live in a time where we are planning ways to make the human body live forever as if such a thing is natural. There is a season for everything–take a look around you. Your soul and your passions, your talents and unique magic are aching to be lived through your human life. They want to manifest through you in a way that their other star siblings were not given a chance to do. We are truly are an impossibility living in an impossible Universe. How magical, crazy, and enchanting is that?

Turn your eyes towards yourself, darling.

Climb your mountains and grow strong enough to love and see the world when you reach the top–the Universe needs that from you, but it also needs you to be empty enough to sit down with the sparse nothingness and terror of the desert and be humble at the same time with its worse horrors. Turn your eyes towards the horizons and depths of your inner-self and love, and all the passions that burn within you, darling. When you walk through a desert and feel the comfort of the wind grazing your skin and the lashes of your eyes, and find your two feet on a solid ground that will keep you steady at your own pace, remember that you are on a deeper kind of journey that only requires you to move forward along the horizon, in any direction that your heart wants to follow.


That is how you grow. You keep walking. You keep moving. Closer, deeper, going further into yourself, going further into your art and magic, going further into your love and light, going further into your passion and ambition to live your human life the way your soul has wanted it to for so many decades.

This is what it means to live with full awareness of the nature that is within you: the mountains and the desert, the ascent into everything and the movement towards the abundance of nothingness.

What a feeling it is to sleep under the winter stars in the desert. A free and wild yet comforting kind of feeling. You hear nature in its most rawness, and it hears you in your journey towards a deeper kind of love. And when your cold-rimmed eyes shut and you hear the sound of your pounding heart burning through your veins and your thoughts escalating towards the heavens and your soul reaching for the infinite, listen closely.

This is when you will discover what it means to be a soul living and loving. This is when you will understand what it means to live a truly human experience.



My Stars My Destination

I used to crave love and fall for the person who gave me the care I wanted as soon as it was given to me. I used to think that just because someone wanted to spend time with you, it was automatically a gesture of potential interest. I used to think that kind actions and charming words were the right way to love me, but then I learned, over and over again, through many people who never earned my most true and raw love, that a love that is worth it, will be earned honestly and whole-heartedly by someone who is fearless enough to handle me. I’ve had my fair share of strong-willed and passionate individuals, but as we float in the endless ocean of possibilities when it comes to love, we find that we settle for what we think we need and work towards creating a powerful chemistry that did not wholly exist in the beginning. I used to think that my love was a little strange and a little too intense for anyone to handle, but then I remember, how amazingly special it feels to experience something so intense it is indescribable. Not many people will get to experience that kind of intensity that love brings, but I am lucky to have tasted it in my heart and my thoughts.

I want you to remember, that in your journey to create yourself and discover the abundance of love that exists in you, do not ever settle. Do not ever settle. It is worth the time and care and love that it takes to discover that most intense love you will be given. We will meet people who may come close and pique our intrigue or say sweet things and send smiley faces at every end of a message, but understand this, your love–that source of infinite terror and beauty–is worthy of only those who earn the loyalty, safety, and care that it needs to grow. You will meet people who will sweep you off your feet with their gentle words and kind mannerisms, but do not be fooled, anyone can be charming. Anyone will say and do what they need to do in order to get what they want, and you will never know their true intentions until after you’ve learned more about each other.

Relationships take time to create. Real ones will last.

You’ll be given love, and you’ll be taken care of. 

It takes discipline, but I understand now, how important it is to save your heart for someone who would be madly in love with you, for years and years. It is unfair to the spirit of love to give and share anything less than madness and the infatuation that comes with passion and rawness. People will come and go and take you out to nice places and give you sweet kisses that you long for everyday, but that kind of love is practice. We practice love with different kinds of people to learn what we like and the qualities and traits that make sense of the chaos inside of us. But the truth is, when you meet someone who makes you feel like the world is a better place because you’re in it and you exist, love becomes what it truly is: infinite. I like to think that love vibrates at different frequencies for everyone. It’s all around us if we listen closely.What we all aspire to have is a love that vibrates at a higher frequency–a kind that pulses with symbiotic waves that complement each other and produce a melodic harmony that both individuals benefit from, separately and together. It is a melodic dance that we crave to experience and hold.


We do not know it, but we crave to be vulnerable with someone who would accept us for all the things we are. We want true love, but we don’t know how to appreciate or be considerate of the other person’s time. We want true affection and a nurturing kind of love, but we don’t know how to put down our phones or say “I love you” just because or say how we really feel. We want to feel real human connections, but we don’t know how to let go of our anxieties and insecurities and feel comfortable in our own vulnerability. We want to spend more time together, but we make up silly excuses to avoid getting closer and sharing in each other’s lives. When we create a space based on fear, we grow further away from love.

You must understand that it is possible to be who you are and be honest about it, wholeheartedly, while protecting your most rare source of love that should only be shared for those who earn the presence to be around it. I am learning this as I move through the practice of love. I must constantly remind myself how important it is to who I’ve become and all the things I value, that I meet someone(s) who dare(s) to show me the protection and passion a lasting love deserves.

Your time here is precious. Your love, even more. Do not waste it on those people or things that do not grow your light. Spend your time around people and places that earn your rawness and your most passionate love and loyalty.

1010145_588872541240195_6031164481025143709_nThe people that do this are the stars you should be surrounded by, because these are the stars that will bring the best and brightest out of you for years. And if you don’t already know, these stars already exist in you. Be careful of those who dim your light, there will be plenty of them that question your burning truths and rawness. Burn anyway. The universe needs more stars to fall in love with because without them, we would have no destination or depth to reach for. Without them, we would not see the reflections of time and how beautiful it can be to burn brightly through the ages.

So please, reach for your stars. Surround yourself around them. Burn brightly and seek those who fuel your flame. Let that be your destination. The journey, is just practice you should enjoy. You will know when you have reached your destination when you feel your love becoming brighter and stronger from the protection and loyalty to your growth given by someone who will earn and care for your love.

You’ll be given love and you’ll be taken care of. It may not come from the sources you’ve poured yourself in. It may not come from the direction you’re standing in, but trust your inner light, and burn brightly all around you. Nature has a way of sending and giving you the things you ask for when you least expect it.



I’ve Been Waiting For You

Falling asleep is not easy when you’ve got an intense need to express and create. My mind wanders into the depths of my imagination and creativity at all hours, but are more vibrant and pulsating in the early morning hours and late nights. I thought about writing this post in different ways, but decided I share a personal anecdote instead, because why not? Maybe you’ll find some resonance in it.

IIMG_8717t was a humid morning and I had just finished splashing the water in my favorite violet polka dotted swimsuit. My grandpa or “lolo” in Tagalog, picked me up to take me to my grandma (my lola) to have me get ready for my first birthday celebration. Our house was buzzing with a cacophony of people setting up the tables, our maids laying out the food, and kids (invited and non-invited) hovering around the pile of gifts and birthday cake. I only remember how strange it all seemed to me–this big party with all these people and all these party things around me, all just to see me in a dress with no hair because my mom shaved my head the week before (which is why I’m wearing a party hat in that picture). I remember thinking, “I just want the scoops of ice cream from the neighborhood ice cream man vendor my lolo hired and to play with my (imaginary) friends.” As much as everything around me looked like fun, I just wanted to be in my “happy space”–and that usually was by myself in places that would evoke my curiosity and imagination. I bring this memory up because for as long as I could remember, I have always lived inwardly than most of my family, friends and peers, and because of it, I have always felt a little more disconnected with the “normal” world and the “normal” way of doing things.

I grew up in a very white community in the valley where the cool thing to do was go and play in the wash or play hide and seek at a trailer park. My english was terrible and I took ESL until the 6th grade. I was made fun of a lot because no one knew what a Filipino was so I was instantly classified as being Chinese. I was an alien, an outcast of some sort with tan skin and a strange uneven haircut who wore mismatched second hand clothes. I was a pretty good student, but my teachers would always say I was too quiet or non-responsive (haha!) to their instructions and questions that it led them to believe I was “troubled”. In reality, I found no solace or comfort in the structures they were placing on me. I wanted to live out my imagination and push people to think about what else there was besides what was given to them on paper. I made friends (eventually) with all sorts of people: the super-smart straight A kids, the mormon kids (because they were SO friendly), the unpopular crowd, the popular bitches and cute skater boys, the funny quirky kids, the new kids from Asia (because anyone with chinky eyes were just stereotyped for being from Asia) and my favorite, the open and imaginative kids that made a realm of their own. I never liked to hang out with just one group of people–it was just too boring that way. I liked all kinds of people and welcomed different ways of thought into my circles. I didn’t want to follow the crowd or even listen to what teachers suggested was good for me. I just did what I felt was right and didn’t care about being grouped into one standard model of a kid.

Life was too much of a color-in-the-lines canvas and all I wanted to do was color it with every color outside of the lines.

Too often we’re told at a very young age how we shouldn’t be too much of something. I was “too quiet” and that I needed to participate more and when I tried to, I was “too disruptive” because I didn’t follow the instructions. Too often we live our lives bombarded with all this noise telling us we’re “too much” because of something or “too little” because we didn’t try. For the most part, my living “inwardly” was part of my obsession with just being observant, understanding human behaviors, and trying to make sense of why people sent out strange messages about themselves and the way life should be lived. We spend so much of our life living in a bubble we don’t even know exists until something or someone along the way bursts it and shows us a world full of much more than we thought.

Right now though, there’s a sense of attachment and praise towards outwardly possessions and gratifications. We’re led to believe that we should follow a timeline of accomplishments: go to school, get a good job, buy a house, buy a car, get married, have some babies, raise the babies to become functional humans, and retire with a good pension fund. We’re led to believe that in between these accomplishments, we’re supposed to fill it with stuff so that we could show for our accomplishments. I never understood this, and I never will. While I respect those who want this kind of lifestyle, I want you to think about whether or not YOUR life fits with this timeline.

Sometimes the life we think we want is not the same as the life that wants to live through you.

I was very lucky to learn this early on. As much as I hated trying to follow the norm to get good grades so that my mom and grandparents were happy, I really just wanted ice cream, music, books, a notepad and markers, and to let my imagination run wild.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the life that you think you’ve been living, is probably a life that was molded and given to you to achieve and maintain.

Too often we’re told to do this so that we can be this and have this to be happy about all of this, but what is it all for? To make the ones who have molded your life for you happy? What about you? What about the life that was given to you as a kind of mystery to solve and explore–doesn’t that warrant a chance to manifest in you?

When I was a kid, I said I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up and then 2 minutes later I wanted to be the first asian to win an Oscar, and then 5 minutes later, I just wanted to be Jane Goodall and explore the world with awesome gorillas. The following day, I just wanted to be a club leader for love-struck writers, sharing our collection of CDs with each other and analyzing song lyrics so we could write them to our school crushes.

Everyday, your mind will change. Your heart will want something else, and that’s ok, just as long as you listen to it.

Listen to whatever life wants to be felt in you. I’ve lived quite a few lives at this point (I think I’m on my 5th life) and can tell you that following the mystery and exploring the depths of your own life trying to manifest itself into becoming is a wonderful journey. Sure you’ll get some scars and get made fun of along the way, but you just liveChoose to live your life the way it was given to you, as a gift. Gifts that are given should never be refashioned or molded into something else that it isn’t, and too many of us are asleep to this idea. While I love and value those people who make sure to take care of our life and prepare us with the right tools to live as decent human beings, you must love and value the very life that is aching to taste your creative passion and potential. It is aching to taste your wonder for the world and the deeply sensitive fondness for truth and beauty.

397551_443002159168959_9197152702121229844_n“When you understand that you are the vehicle in which your unique life wants to manifest in, encounters with love become ecstasy. Music and dancing become godlike. Heartache is a wide, somatic wound. Visual natural beauty is jewel-drenched, wild bliss.” – Victoria Erickson

And when you open your eyes tomorrow morning, you’ll finally feel that all it took was directing your passion and spreading your heart only across what clearly matters most: growing and nourishing the life that’s been waiting for you all this time. Listen inwardly as much as possible. If you don’t know how, find the people that lift and inspire your being in places where you thrive. Seek it. They are there if you come unapologetically as you are.

And the life that you’ve been told you should be living? Get off that road, it never was yours. Walk along the path that you want to create for yourself and let your heart steer the direction of your growth, stopping and taking as many detours as you’d like, as long as you come with a fervent belief that this life is all I have and that you must let it live through you. tumblr_ms6duymcvq1qabfuvo3_1280

You don’t need to choose mediocrity or the norm when fire exists. If you hear it early on, listen to it carefully. So what if you’re quiet? Or maybe you’re a trouble-maker. Naysayers will try to devalue and stunt your growth anyways.

But fire is passion and passion is aliveness, and for once in your life, allow your belief to undo all your disbeliefs so that your destiny can hold you in an ecstatic grasp, and yell, “I’ve been waiting for you!”

You are the designer of your life.

You are the artist, the musician, the writer, the dancer, and the scientist of your masterpiece, so make it the marvelous and captivating one that it’s waiting to be.



A Little Slower, A Little Sweeter.

IMG_0753Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to be the kind of love I want to be, and it all comes down to a simple feeling that we all should learn how to delight in: savoring.

This past Sunday, I took a spontaneous road trip to see the Imperial Sand Dunes. The place is surreal and absolutely breathtaking. You are transported into another world that feels so out of place especially being 2.5 hrs east of charming San Diego. Not many people know about this vast and magical place so very few people were there when I went. The grains of sand are so fine to the touch that you actually become comforted by the way your feet and hands sink in gently. The winds were strong and blew the sand everywhere, but a moment of calm came by surprise, and I took the chance to kneel and let my fingers graze the sand as I closed my eyes to the warm kiss of the sun.

I thought, here I am, in the presence of everything and nothing, and you still mesmerize me. There was something divine about being there. Something so calming yet powerful enough to remind me how close all of life’s beautiful wonders really are– if we only took the moment to savor what is around us. I opened my eyes to see the sinuous trail of ripples left by the winds and felt a sudden rush of awe and surrender. When you let things pass through you and you feel it in all of its rawness and truth, sometimes you are given a beautiful surprise that moves you beyond words. Savoring does this to you.

IMG_0718Savoring the moment our eyes grow mad with curiosity and intrigue for something or someone that ignites our soul. Savoring the places we travel to, however near or far, and the people we meet along the way–they all teach and give us a little taste of life different than ours. Savoring the hours we have with our lovers, no matter how short-lived the romance and intensity could be, and allowing every word and touch that spills out of you to be wholesome and true to your hearts at that very moment. Savoring the times we find ourselves in the darkness in search of finding beauty in unlikely places. Savoring the passing conversations we have with strangers or even distant family members and friends, and never letting an opportunity to connect and share love sincerely with one another.

I thought about this the other day as I was expressing my perspective on heartbreak and personal growth with a friend, that love is so simple and dating or “courting” would be so much easier if we knew how to savor each other, rather than pushing ourselves too soon and too quickly with someone (or anything for that matter) to fall in love with. I am guilty, though, for taking delight in the moment and forgetting to taste things slowly sometimes. In these moments, I find myself pausing and asking two questions:

Will this be the only chance we’ll ever feel this way? 

Do we both recognize in each other, and in ourselves, the gratitude and bittersweet truth of the present? 

It’s a difficult balance to savor something you know is so exquisite and memorable to have right away.

We are so consumed by instant gratification in our lives, that it is becoming a natural part of ourselves we are beginning to be blind–and ultimately–disabled by in our growth and love. “I wish I had taken it slower” is something we’ve all said to ourselves at one point. “I wish I spent more time with the people who loved and cared about me and said what I felt” is a very familiar and common thing we hear now. When you are learning how to savor, learn how to savor in the magic of manifesting your true self and the beautiful complexities of your being. Many of my friends are “waking up” from their slumber and are now discovering that there is more to life than what they’ve known and that there is more to the being we thought we were.

You have to understand, sweet darling, that even though we can be one big paradox, our complexities are what make growing and understanding worth the journey to experience and to savor all of the calm moments and intensities of the here and now, wherever you are in your life, is what others need to be surrounded and inspired by. To deepen relationships, with yourself and others, you must be willing to open yourself up. Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial and meaningless, and knowing how to savor an experience is how we create more abundance and gratitude in our lives and others. Because how else could we savor in this moment together if we didn’t share our vulnerabilities and true selves with one another?


So tomorrow, when you eat all of that delicious food and drink a luscious and smooth blend of red wine in the company of good friends, new friends, family and new family, take a moment to savor life and all the different cups it gives you: the places, the people, the moments, the fear, the confusion, the short-lived romances, the heartbreaking romances, the family we wish to be closer with, the friends we wish to reconnect with, the fascinating wonders your mind is drawn to, the ache from laughter, the what-ifs and why-nots that compel your creativity, and the moments that make your heart stop and feel time slow down. And when these seconds grab you, feel:

This. Savor this. Savor me. Savor you. Savor the here and now that we are together in this shared experience. 

Remember that.

You will always remember the places and people and experiences that have made you feel something profound. And all it takes to grow a little better every day, is to savor the people who are here in your life and everything that comes and goes your way just a little slower, a little sweeter, darling.