Archive | The Wish Factor RSS feed for this section

Hibernation and Boosts

1 Apr

You know, when bears awake from hibernation it takes them a minute to get situated. I mean they just don’t jump out of their cave and be like Yogi where are you at?! They have a sleepwalking period where they kind of ease out of it.

And this is where I’ve been … hibernating writer hiatus. I hadn’t planned it of course, I hadn’t planned any of them. Certain life events hit you harder than others and it takes you a minute to rebound from certain setbacks or bouts of depression. Just they way it is sometimes.

But life keeps moving even if you’re standing still.

After catching my breath, and as I was revving up to make my comeback, this unexpected series of unfortunate life events of blockbuster proportions landed on us all and we found ourselves in different roles with added workloads and no MacGyver-like gadgets to help save the day.

And I was okay. I mean I had concerns, just like everyone else. But because of the rough patch, a different perspective provides the specs for me on this. The Resilience. I was able to find that special place when community connection seemed to have been put on pause.

There’s comfort in knowing that many selfless people like doctors, nurses, janitors, educators, farm workers, grocery clerks and other community members stepped up to bat for a lot of people. Humanity found in the little crevasses of the cities brings hope to a profoundly troubled time, like when you hear of the college student down the street buying groceries for the elderly lady in the pink apartment building, or the teachers in a small caravan of cars driving through the neighborhood to say hello to their students, whom they hadn’t seen in a couple weeks, or to the multiple chalk artists taking to sidewalks across town trying to brighten someone’s day, or the Italian restaurant owner 15 minutes away giving away free spaghetti and meatballs with breadsticks because he felt the need of his community when there wasn’t much left at the markets.

It’s the small things that can create cataclysmic shifts. And so I find that practicing gratitude creates the little boosts needed for the big take-off.

Boosts.

That’s where I found myself. Returning to my Word of the Year and finding that I had picked the one that was right for the moment … Boost!

Everyone could use one, especially now. A physiological, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual uplifting And you can always get that from the good spirit of people, the grace they show for others, as well as for themselves, and these you can find in the tiny cracks and crevasses of communities. The feel-good stories that don’t always make the front page, but should definitely highlighted.

So keep your eyes open and when you find the feel-goods share them. Their impact could be what someone needs to come out of hibernation.

Buen Camino my friends!

Word of the Year …

12 Jan

Someone recently mentioned that an entire decade had gone by and I hadn’t even made the connection.

I mean I celebrated the New Year, but the heaviness of the decade escaped me. Then I smiled because the last decade I really celebrated was in 1999 when Prince was rocking everyone’s world.

Considering that 2009 wasn’t a pivotal moment for me, my mind raced back to Prince and the dance marathon that followed the night the 90’s came to an end.

Celebrated with non-stop laughter, friends, and dancing. I hadn’t thought about that moment in a long time, but it came to me as I remembered the hope in which I looked forward to the possibilities of 2000. It was a young hope of enthusiasm.

Fast forward 20 years and plenty of Ben-Gay and gray hair later, the perspective has changed. This year I looked to hope again. Instead of it acting as a springboard it functions as an anchor.

And I found signs in various places.

The most recent being Mary J.

This song helped me push through as I had lost it in between the Halloween candy and tryptophan from the turkey. Mary J gave it back to me. I found the pep that put the strut back in my walk again. And with that I just took it one step at a time and I continue. Step by step.

So with this turnaround hitting just in time for the new decade I found my word of the year. I mean I always have these bucket list items or adventures, and personal fulfillment goals that are grounded in my theme for the year. But this year with the help from my buddy Susie WildRider I was looking for a word of the year, and I think I found it.

BOOST.

I need a boost in my life and feel the need to push through the barriers and blockades that make it difficult to maintain a sense of self. But I need to remember that boost comes from all directions and in many forms, but the strongest one coming from me. I can find avenues that light a spark, but I’m the main source of energy. I just have to remember to be ready to catch the wave and ride it in.

You go to a go to a smoothie place and they offer … immunity boost, protein boost, vitamin boost, soy boost, 3G energy boost, they got them all.

It’s that extra umph that gets you through and I’m gonna be trying to boost my life in all kinds of directions …

You see I found myself being the guy on the bottom of this cartoon and all I needed was a boost for one more swing. A Mary J Hope Power boost. I can’t give up if my next swing could be the one.

So with perspective in tact, my year is hopeful. The vision board is going up and with a new decade comes a deeper reserve, one where I’ll find the power boosts that lead to a healthier promising year, with less trips to the CVS special aisle. The boosts in muscle mass and fitness so that I can maintain healthy levels and be around for a long time, an energy boost in my storytelling career to keep determined along that path, and a boost in my parenting skills so that I become a better life coach for the kids. A boost in hope that that keeps my strength up during this comeback. A Mary J boost of confidence that keeps my strut in tact as I walk down the yellow brick road.

Boost.

That’s what’s happening this year.

Buen Camino my friends!

My Andy Dufresne Moment

26 Dec

I didn’t think someone from Shawshank Prison would help me turn the corner, but he did.

Andy Dufresne.

“… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side …”

Usually a moment triggers a memory and the sadness of missing him becomes so strong that I need a couple of minutes to get myself together. But this time it was different. The emotion was so overwhelming that I stopped in the middle of the track and began to cry.

It came with no warning and I just missed him. Right there on the bridge, after the big hill. I hadn’t sobbed like that since the year he passed away. But it happened and there I was … I couldn’t get a hold of it.

The feeling lasted a while … all month long. Usually sadness hits during Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday I remember my Dad the most. But this episode cast a shadow on the entire month of November, even December. I couldn’t shake it.

Life felt heavier. Things were slipping. The bottom was coming up and I was trying to hang on by looking for gratitude in moments where it was hard to find.

Family life was stressful as people kept revealing who they really were in times of normalcy and crises. But I always knew who they were, I just kept giving them chances. I was all out. Rejections felt uglier, the it’s-not-you-it’s-me letters were no longer coming in, it was just silence, like they weren’t even going to be bothered with notices. I had been moved over to the don’t-even-bother pile, and I was feeling the strain in every capacity, which incidentally increased my stress levels and decreased my tolerance and patience. Parenthood was kicking my ass and the weight of it effecting me. The year was in the homestretch and I was running out of gas.

While a lot of people I knew were busy getting projects, or writing thousands of words for NaNoWriMo, I stopped. It been the longest writing dry spell in 10 years. There were things happening, life was happening. But I stood there thinking about a future that wasn’t here and wondering whether it would ever show up.

And then I had my Andy Dufresne moment and I found my way back …

I had continued going to the track throughout all this, it was my one constant, if anything I’d at least walk in my hidden forest within the city. But that morning for the first time in a while, I picked up the pace. The storm clouds were hanging over head, and I wanted to beat the rain.

It didn’t work. The light mist turned into drizzle, then fat heavy rain drops found their way through the giant pine trees.

The few people walking through the park ran to their cars. But I didn’t.

I kept going, sloshing through mud puddles in the making, keeping pace while my baseball cap dripped with rain and sweatshirt drenched. I ran about three miles, and when I sprinted to my imaginary finish line I looked up to the sky and let the raindrops hit my face. I closed my eyes took a deep breath.

I found my moment.

I used to loathe running when I was a younger, but it’s become necessary to help me move passed all the crap and come out clean on the other side.

Buen Camino, my friends …

Writer Wednesdays with IWSG

3 Aug

It happens … shitty things happen to make your story more interesting.

At least that’s what I tell myself to help get through the nastiness that I encounter. Most people have to really use their imagination and dig deep for dramatic crappy things to happen in their plots.To some it comes natural, they have awesome imaginations … Stephen King.

My imagination is good, but not that great. But I’m lucky in other ways. I guess I’m lucky because I can just reach for what happened on a random Wednesday and it would make for an epic drama on any network.

 

plottwist

🙂

 

I used to worry about revealing the crappy parts of my life and the shitty things that people said and did to me.Insecure of myself. I used to think it was a reflection of me. But I realized … it wasn’t. It’s never been about me, it was always about them and their own broken parts they were trying to project on me.

Writing things out and being raw, with dialogue or dramatic events was not only therapeutic for me, but made for some of the best moments on the page.

I realized that writing my truth out struck a chord with people and made a connection, because they’ve also had crappy moments with family, boyfriends,  girlfriends, husbands, receptionists … whoever. They get it.

The stage play that was recently produced got so many nods and high fives because so many people that I didn’t know could relate to what happened to the young mother. They were like … I felt like you were talking about me.

My dark moments were also someone else’s, but I helped them not feel alone on the journey, plus I made them see the funny in the not so funny situation.

As writers sometimes the worst moments, the toughest moments, end up giving you the best parts of the page. And although I wouldn’t want to wish you crappy times, I do want to remind you that even when you’re at your lowest, no moment in your life is wasted. There’s a silver linings playbook with your name on it, and it will help bring something positive out of such a terrible experience. Sometimes it’s hard to see that right away. But eventually things shift.

Write out the crappiness and see what happens.

 

 

 

The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.

 

 

 

Looking Through The Right Lens …

29 Jul

Turning the corner feels so good, when the day before seemed like such a nightmare.

I was secretly hoping things were going to get better but I didn’t want to jinx myself. It’s weird when people think like that, I know. But I was just hoping for a little luck from the universe, and it turns out, the universe was definitely conspiring with me that day.

Even though we had to cancel our Bucket List Adventures that day, turning 41 ended up being pretty good. I found so many tiny blessings that added up to such a cool day, small moments to be super grateful for, and if I hadn’t been looking, my perspective would have been so different. So glad I was looking through the right lens …

beach

🙂

 

101-degree fevers and vomit gone …

No traffic on the way and Flock of Seagulls on the radio …

Realizing it’s 99 degrees where you live but a cool 77 on your beach spot …

Warm sand, low tide, cool waters, and no beach space invaders …

Catching some awesome boogie board waves that make you feel like you’re on a the Travel Channel Special, in slow motion, and Morgan Freeman is narrating  …

Great picnic with no sand in the sandwiches …

Splashing in the waves, hearing my kids laugh, hearing my own laugh …

Relaxing on a Tommy Bahama Beach Chair and taking a moment, a couple actually, to check out the peaceful scene …

Driving out for an early dinner and not getting lost on the way …

Eating the best fish tacos I’ve had in 12 years … Duuuuude.

Driving home, in traffic, but kids watching Despicable Me and I’m bopping my head to The Boss, The Zac Brown Band, The Rolling Stones,Tears for Fears, The Beastie Boys, New Edition, and La Pollera Colorada … ahhh best mixed tape ever …

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, flan, triple chocolate mousse, one candle, a happy birthday song, and a great wish waiting for me at home …

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

Yellow Brick Road Stepping Stones

30 Apr

It was a funny thing being in the front.

I’m not used to it.

I wasn’t only told to do so, but I was strongly encouraged to do it the easy way … voluntarily, otherwise I would have been dragged out of the audience.

And that, I did not want.

So I stood there, among the other writers, in my New York & Company 7th Avenue Slacks and black converse, while other lady writers were in dresses and high heels, waving to the people who were clapping.

I thought it was going to end there … but no … the director of the theater thought it would be a good idea to introduce the writers, one by one. So … there I was at the end of the line, nervously waiting my turn. When he finally introduced me, I announced that I had written La Visita … and they applauded.

 

 

It’s not like I didn’t think they were going to applaud, they clapped for everyone else, but somehow it was different. Other than my kids, I don’t think anyone has ever applauded for me. Maybe volunteers during a race, or at graduation. But nothing like this … this was for imagination, for story, for my words.

I looked at my friends who were sitting in the audience waving at me, and I waved back. I was grateful for their presence and those that had come to the previous shows. The praise and kind words were humbling.

But that was not my favorite part.

I like being behind the scenes.

I liked sitting in the audience and watching their reaction, watching people that I didn’t even know smile at little nuances I had written and hear their laughter during comedic moments. I loved hearing my friends laugh at what I had written. I enjoyed watching the actors become my characters and live out my words on stage. I enjoyed watching the impact of my story.

Most of the time with fiction, I don’t hear or see anyone’s reaction, unless they write to me and mention something. So I’m usually hidden away in the lonely writer sanctuary in the middle of the night, high-fiving myself. But this time around, their smiles and laughter were some of the best high-fives. The hugs from my friends meant a great deal. The compliments from the other writers and actors in the festival were reassuring.

Being in the audience took me back to that good feeling, that girl-scout shindig during my elementary school years, where I stood next to my troop leader, Maria, and watched as the girl scout masses at the camp  watched the show I had helped write and put together.

I felt good and I was proud.

I had landed on another stepping stone in my yellow brick road, one that also took me on a Bucket List Adventure … seeing my words come to life.

And now I’m back in my WordPress community sharing the news and catching up on some reading, and comments. I’ve been on a semi-hiatus for some time because of all the work it took to put this together, but now I return even more inspired to follow the writing journey and take you along with me, if you want to ride on this bus.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Morgan Freeman Knew My Name

18 Apr

The smell of Ben-Gay no longer lingers in the air and my left knee is miraculously still in tact.

Wobbly and weary, but still in tact. Like the rest of me.

I felt the same heaviness in my legs. I knew the burning in my calves very well. The tightening in my chest as I tried to catch my breath was something I remembered. I was familiar with these ailments that accosted me on the 27th floor. They couldn’t even wait until I hit the half-way mark of the race. They stalked me all the way to the top of the AON Building.

Bastards.

I was sweating and working as hard as those athletes in a Gatorade commercial, but I sure didn’t feel like one of them. I felt like a 40 year-old mom climbing stairs. I tried listening harder, but couldn’t hear Morgan Freeman narrating my journey. All I heard was the heavy breathers trying to drown out my music.

But among all the breathing and stuffiness and claustrophobic drama of the Fight for Air Climb I remembered my sister’s words.

The old man will be waiting for you at the top.

I got a little choked up as I read the text before I started the race. I was nervous, and I really don’t get too nervous before races. But I did for this one. This one wasn’t for fun or for glory or for Bucket Lists. This one was for him. It meant something more.

She was right. He was watching, probably smiling.

So I had to make it.

No matter what.

I had to.

Nervous. Exhausted. Running out of air. Ready to stop. I was feeling it all. But the stubbornness and Guatemalan will power pushed and dragged my ass to the top of those 63 flights.

I heard the bass and boom, boom, boom of  Tucanes de Tijuana, Mr. World Wide Pitbull, Venga Boys, and the Charlie Daniels Band. The rhythm took over and my body responded. The Gatorade-Commerical-Worthy Athlete was busting out of me and Morgan Freeman knew my name. As I looked up I couldn’t believe it. I saw the 60th floor sign … Dude …

I ran up those last three flights, crossed the finish line, and smiled because I had made it.

16:28.

That was it.

The toughest sixteen minutes this year. But definitely worth it.

 

 

 

Monday Morning Playlist

29 Feb

Staring at the pale white walls and ceiling of my room I took a breath … Expect to win.

That’s how I had to wake up this morning. Had to … it was Monday and after the ass-kicking I got last week well there wasn’t really any other way I could get up right?

I mean Leo had just won his first Oscar, and Alejandro had won his second. Things were on a roll. Things were possible. It was the 29th of February … a whole extra day had been given to me this year, couldn’t waste it by looking at online articles at how Trump punked his way out of and pretended not to know who the KKK were or David Duke.

The ear piece’s fault? Really?

No. Couldn’t waste the day on stuff like that. Nope. Needed it to be positive. Needed to focus on something good. Needed to build up some momentum, needed to step out like the universe was my Thelma and I was its Louise.

So I thought … Expect to win.

Wanted to win, wanted this Monday to rock and the only way to start on a great note was with a great playlist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No. 8

26 Mar

I think the best part of it is leaving the notes and imagining their expressions.

It would be nice to see their reactions, I’ll give you that. Confusion. Disbelief. And then a pause. A moment when they realize it’s a good surprise and that’s when the smile appears. Something good has happened to them, but they don’t know why. And it just makes things good … for a moment it makes things good.

But for them to see me? Nah I like to keep things under cover when I can.

I hope they feel something when it happens. Although sometimes people don’t really appreciate the little things and it’s sad when that happens. But kids … they get happy when anything happens. So this time I thought I’d pay it forward to a future dreamer, who enjoys surprises and can do cartwheels when moments of awesome happen to them … dreamers with a bat and glove …

It’s always the bottom of the ninth, and you’re losing, with two outs, full count, and bases loaded.

That’s how it always happens when you’re practicing in the batting cages. You got your helmet, your Big League Chew gum, and your Babe Ruth confidence. It’s gonna happen. You walk up, bring the that around, and swing.

Smack!

You win the game and you round the bases like a champion.

That’s what’s going on in the cage.

My son is still young so I don’t know if he has that vision yet, all I know is that he’s happy when he sends that yellow ball flying. It puts a big smile on his face.That little connection gives him a boost of confidence, and he does the happy dance.

So when we finished a couple of rounds in the cage it hit me … this is it. This is where it’s gonna happen. I want to give someone a moment of happy. I want a kid to feel like Derek Jeter.

:)

                                      🙂

So I bought a couple of tokens, borrowed some tape, and wrote my note.

I left the tokens on top of a couple of machines with a message …

Everything is Awesome!

Here’s 30 balls on us. Hope you hit a homer.

🙂 40 Random Acts of Kindness

My son looked a little confused and didn’t understand why I had left the tokens on the machines. When he asked me why I had done that, I said it’s always good to be kind to people. It’s always nice to find moments when you can be kind, when you find a chance to do that, make sure you do. It gives you a good feeling.

He smiled and gave me a thumbs up.

When BenGay Isn’t Gonna Be Strong Enough … But You Do It Anyway

21 Mar

I’m confessing something big tonight.

HUGE.

Duuuuuuude

There is fear living in the Guat Household.

My knees are freaking out.

Now normally I’m not afraid of much. Neither are they.

I’m fearless.

I’m a badass, not afraid to fly my freak flag. Not afraid to chase Bucket List Adventure Challenges. Scared of what? Bungy Jumping. No. Skydiving. No. Triathlons. No. Warrior Dash Mud Run Obstacles that make you jump through fire. No. The Mommy-and-Me-Mafia-PTA-Looking group of ladies that take over the park. No. Gaining weight. Hell no bring it on.

But there is one thing that makes my close-to-40-year-old-worn-out-and weary knees tremble.

Wobble.

63 floors.

Close to 1,400 steps.

Ain’t no BenGay strong enough, no ice pack cold enough …

But there is one man that’s inspirational enough …

My Dad.

14

My Dad and me sporting our awesome bell-bottoms.

He lost the 12-Round-Heavyweight Championship Bout against Interstitial Lung Disease at 62 years young. It was an all out battle and he fought hard, but in the end he lost his fight against the disease, and I lost my father.

So this is it.

Time for me to cowboy up.

On April 11th, I’m taking on The Fight For Air Climb again in what seems to be the ultimate battle of strength and will for my bones and cartilage. It’s become a tradition now. Exhausting and claustrophobic, but worth it.

Honoring family is worth it, and that’s what I aim to do.

Hanging with Dad.

Hanging with Dad.

So I’m going to take my Hulk Hogan-Randy-Macho-Man-Savage-Tina-Turner-looking quads and run down knees through the ultimate test of the year.

I’m gonna do it for my Dad.

My Dad ... just being Dad

My Dad … just being Dad

He’s still with me, sometimes on my shoulders whispering in my ear while I’m chasing dreams, and sometimes in my heart when I’m raising my kids and I’m trying to be awesome at something. He’s the champion for my life. He’s the spirit behind my drive. My Dad is there in one of his many baseball caps and smile, being my friend, my TV buddy, my support group, and the TV remote control ruler of the house.

I’ll be taking this on next month and if you’re feeling generous with the need to donate to a good cause, feel free to click the link on the bottom and it will guide you to my personal fundraising page.

Buen Camino Everyone!

Fight For Air Climb Fundraising Page

… Siganme Los Buenos!