Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Thought of Heaven

In every family, there are what we like to call TRADITIONS...most of them are passed on from generation to generation and most have family heirlooms that are such valuable keepsakes, they're that important and fragile, in a sentimental way to be exact. 

One of those TRADITIONS that I see most being passed down the generations is RELIGION. Many of my friends have been and/or are Catholic-Christian, others are Born Again Christian, some are Latter Day Saints (Mormon), some of Jehovah Witness, and many are Buddhists. Although TRADITION is so important to the core of the family, many of them are still in their perspective faiths, I know I am. Although I've ventured out into studying many other faiths/religions around the world, I've stuck to what I feel most comfortable and at peace with.

As a child growing up in a Mexican-American home, we usually went to Church Services every Sunday somewhere between 9-10 am. Mommy Dearest would get us up at 7 am to take showers, leave the house by 8:30 am the latest, get to Church at least 15 min. early and wait for the service to start. Now as a child, I would get bored in Church, every Sunday became redundant, we would sing the same hymns, get the "brown" book in front of us and pretend to follow the scripture readings when in fact, I would be staring at the person next to me to see if they hand pretty manicured hands or wrinkly ones (mostly I remember wrinkly hands than anything). Then I would feel a pinch from Mommy Dearest and she made sure my eyes were glued to the front of the Church where our Priest would be talking from.

As I recollect, I do remember one time in particular when our Priest was talking about the concept of "Heaven". He was explaining how one day we are to go back to where we came from, and how were not allowed to know how or where Heaven is, until it is time for us to go back, and until that time, we are to live LIFE as it happens.

I kid you not, ever since I heard our Priest's homily that Sunday morning, I've had it engraved in my head that one day, I won't see trees, the city, eat food or even sleep anymore, I, along with many others, will be going back to what was once my home. Now at the time, I must've been 4 or 5 years do I remember this?

Soon after that Sunday service, my family took a trip to Colima, Mexico, a trip that my older Sister Mari was unable to attend due to her school commitments and after school activities. I remember sitting next to my older brother, Jorge,on the plane and being excited about going up in the air. As the plane was getting ready to depart from the runway, I pretty much passed out. Shortly after take off I actually woke up right as the flight attendants were serving us lunch (Mommy Dearest had splashed water on my face to wake me up). After eating our lunch, I asked Mommy Dearest a question that left her thinking and asking herself, "Now why would he be asking me this in mid air?" I asked, "Mami, is this where GOD lives? Are we going up to heaven?" Mommy Dearest quickly replied, "Why would you ask that? No, GOD lives further up, we won't see him for a long time to come". Then I proceeded to ask, "Do the Angels live here?" She just shook her head no.

Now I can only imagine my Mom's fear as I ask this question as we were flying. I wasn't confused by her response, although as a 4-5 year old boy, my mind kept going over and over the concept of what Heaven was and what it must be...seeing the white puffy clouds with the bright blue sky out of the window of the plane was a beautiful sight, and my mind kept saying, 
"GOD must live in a beautiful place!"

In present time, the thought of Heaven is that of the same beautiful sight I saw back when I was a child in my mind. I've traveled quite a bit as an adult for my job and let me just say, every single time I've gotten on a plane, I think about my first Heaven question, which is why I actually never sit next to a window seat, I prefer for my mind not to wander so much, especially these days.

Heaven in my opinion is a mystery to a certain extent, yet it's one of the many wonders us humans will always want to experience and come back to tell others about how it is. 

Which is why I highly recommend the book "Heaven is for Real", the real story about a 4 year old boy who died, experienced Heaven, and came back to tell his parents all about it. It's a very compelling book and a TRUE and uncanny story that no 4 year old boy could ever make up in his mind. You will be left with your mouth open.

If anything, whichever faith you follow, or lack there of, this story will allow you to rediscover and question.... 

The Thought of Heaven.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Dejame Ir" (Let me Go)

Oh it's that time to choose a song!!
 One of my favorite things to do if you've followed me for a while (for those newcomers, welcome!) is share one of my favorite songs that has made such an impact on my life at the moment...of course one that ANYONE can relate to.

Today's choice....

Dejame Ir

I've had the great pleasure of working with this talented trio of singing musicians, and let me just say for the record that they are the most humbling artists you'll find in today's music world! On their albums, they're amazing, and in live concerts, they're even BETTER! Especially when it comes to their love songs, such as this particular one.

"Dejame Ir" ("Let Me Go" in English) is the basic thought of a breakup love song, although instead of your typical cry fest that one has when a relationship has ended, REIK gives the side of having come to terms with what it feels like to be in limbo, what it is to truly feel the pain when having to give a sigh with a lonely heart. Even though it hurts all around, they're telling the other person to let them go, not to be afraid to do so, as they also feel the pain and death of a love once fully alive.

Coming from a singer-songwriter such as myself, you really can't write a love song such as this one without having to feel the pain yourself. This song comes from REIK's 4th album and latest release "Peligro" (Danger), I of course have ALL 4 albums, and with each release that they've put out, the love songs keep getting deeper and have become an essential part of their signature sound. When I first heard "Dejame Ir", it struck a chord with what's been the ongoing theme in the beginning part of my 2012 life. 

I can't tell you how many people I've had to let go in my life recently. Obviously each year, certain events come about that make you really reflect on what IS happening and what WAS supposed to happen. It seems as if this year thus far, going now into 5 months, I've seen more people go than stay. I've even tried to put myself out there to date and get to know different people, and usually, before, when I used to go that route, people would stick around, now, I'm not able to do that anymore. I've battled with, "Is it something I'm saying? Is it something I'm not doing right? 
Am I changing for the worst?" 

Now when it comes to fear, I don't feed into it, I let it simmer and do it's marinating as much as it needs to and I let it go. I know it's not fear that's been straying people away from me, it's been my determination to NOT continue with any excess baggage. There's been times where I know I've seen the outcomes before they happen, in a premonition type of "preview", and my heart holds on to that vision for weeks on end, and then for some reason or another, I never hear from those people ever again. It's hard to always think that ONE day, it'll hurt to let go, yet,
 it'll hurt more to hold on to an empty memory.

Recently when I was invited by one of the band members from REIK to attend their concert, I stood there in a daze before they came onstage, almost in a fog, as always me thinking too much. Yet as soon as REIK came on and started performing their new material, my heart came to reason, and when I saw them perform, "Dejame Ir", it hit me like a gust of wind! I knew then FINALLY that it was O.K. to let go for the right reasons. If I was and still am to truly find my path of LIFE, even though I'm going to hurt, even though I'm going find it hard to breathe and find it hard to believe, once I let go, then THE OTHER PARTY will be letting go and we'll both find the right paths and will be led in the right direction.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple melody, truthful lyrics, and great musicians to sing it to you to make you see clearly. 

Tears usually turn into a smile,
Once you've learned to say, "Let Me Go".

Usualmente las lagrimas se convierten en una sonrisa,
Todo cuando aprendes a decir, "Dejame Ir".

--->Erik Velasco

Album on sale on iTunes


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Choice

This month has been deemed the "Learning to Let Go" month, which is tough to even comprehend in LIFE yet we as humans do it more than often.

Last month, one of my Sister-In-Law's sent me an article link through a text to my phone from the CNN website that I must say REALLY captivated me!! Let's just say that out of the 9 recipients that she sent this link to, I was the only one who read it. Therefore I had said that I would make sure this story would be shared here in my blog during the month of April.

In North Korea, a brutal Choice

This is a summary about the article, 
please click and/or copy & paste to read the FULL article.

This story's about a family of 8 in North Korea that were experiencing everything bad that could happen to them, pretty much famine in it's excess amount. The Mother of the family, Song Ee Han, is the one giving the interview and sharing her difficult story of what her family had to go through to survive and get her surviving children to live and not give up, especially on herself. 

Such drastic measures had been taken to the point where Song's family of 8, in a short period of time had dwindled down from to 4 in less than a year with one member, the Father and Husband of the family, having been beaten and tortured to death by officers while on his way back from China carrying rice to feed his family.

Song even at one point had delivered a newborn baby and within months passed away from starvation. The rest of her children's bodies were shrinking and their hair was turning brittle, having to survive each day, they "stripped pine trees, plucked grass and ate every part of each corn plant they could find, including the cob and the skin -- which they ground into tasteless cakes..". One of her daughter's had even found a family of mice under a rock, which Song had boiled and fed them to her daughter for any kind of nourishment, according to Song, "My heart was torn into shreds".

Now why the famine at this time in North Korea?

Food became scarce in North Korea in the 1990s following the demise of the Soviet Union, which was the country's main financial backer, and prolonged drought. Which left it's country in ruins and civilian's scraping for anything to survive.

At this point with Song having lost half of her family due to starvation and police brutality, she fled along with her 2 daughter's and 5 year old son wanting to cross into China for safety and an opportunity at a better LIFE. 

Although because they had to travel 100 miles by foot, her 5 year old son was completely restless at one point, and his sisters were too weak to carry him, let alone, Song herself, while staying at a friend's home, she had the most DIFFICULT decision a Mother could even ask herself...of choosing to stay in poverty for the rest of her LIFE and experience her very own death, or leave one of her children behind to get two of them to safety and risk coming back for the one that was left behind.

When I read this section of the article, I began to silently cry because I couldn't even imagine what her heart was going through even deciphering and going through her options. All I could think about was how she was weeping herself to sleep meanwhile at the same time she was praying to GOD himself about what she should do...all the most ironic of it all, many centuries ago, GOD himself sent his only Son Jesus to earth to die for man's sin, the ultimate sacrifice.

The next day, Song had left her 5 year old son with her friend, promising him that she would be back to get him within 5 days...yet unfortunately, the last time she saw her child was the very last time she would ever get to speak, hug, and see him.
Song now lives in the United States, with her only family being that of her two daughter's that were lucky to survive along with her. Today they speak out about their experience and believe they know and recognize that it is GOD that had chosen them to live this sacrifice for others to benefit from and garner the strength they have accumulated throughout the years. 

China served it's purpose for them to launch themselves into the greater dream, 
the land of the FREE, The United States.

Letting go requires a choice,
a choice that will shape your future,
and lead you to where you're supposed to be.

Are you willing to make a sacrificial choice to protect those around you and your future?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pro Life is that important

This is one touchy subject that most don't and won't talk about because it's what we like to call, "Taboo"! Yet, in my opinion, it's a must, even if I am a male, I myself believe in  
PRO LIFE because I lived it with the decision my Mom (Mommy Dearest) took 
with my little brother.

a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction. 

 My Mom became pregnant with my little brother at the age of 42, A LOT of people in the medical field were against her having him due to risks she was exposing both the unborn fetus and herself. I remember my Mom actually crying in the beginning of her pregnancy because of so much negativity that she was experiencing around her.

She had explained to both my older Brother and I of the exposure, the risks that were to take place depending on how her body was responding to my unborn Baby Brother, and we were aware of what could happen, therefore we made sure that we kept everything at the house at a healthy pace, including the constant fighting between my brother and I, the daily exercise and helping around the house chores. 

Now in the beginning if the pregnancy, there was the option of abortion
yet my Mom wouldn't hear of it and didn't want to think of it, largely in part due to our faith in Catholicism and also in our family bloodline, 
abortion was simply NOT an option, yet in the medical field, it WAS an option.

I remember as my Mom's belly was growing, it looked like a bowling ball, she really didn't gain weight anywhere else except for her stomach. The very first time I saw my Baby Brother's hand print sticking out of her stomach, it was surreal!! I immediately put my face on her stomach and waited for him to do it again, day after day after day. It was beautiful to say the least.

When she had given birth to my Baby Brother, he only weighed 5 lbs. In the hospital in it's entirety, he was the only 5 lb. baby, and unfortunately, was born ill and was put on observation for the next 3 days. Seeing this baby that had my blood being hooked up to machines and constantly being poked at was horrifying. Going home and just waiting was the worst feeling ever, at that time, my older Sister Mari had come home from college to make sure my older Brother and I were OK (also to babysit us while my Mom was in the hospital). Thankfully, by the grace of GOD, Christian, my Baby Brother, had taken a turn for the better and him and my Mom were able to come home. Holding him was amazing, this little being that used to touch me while in my Mom's stomach was finally in my arms and breathing with LIFE inside of him. Thanks be to GOD!!

Today, he's about to turn 18 years old in May, he's making his own way through LIFE and trying to find his route to take it up a notch, thankfully with the proper help that he needs. Whenever I hug him, I still think to myself, 
"What IF the outcome were the other way around? What IF he wasn't here?
 Would I have become this responsible in LIFE
Would our family still have the relationships we have now with eachother?"

He completely changed our lives for the better ALL because my Mom believed in the right for him to come and live in this world just like any of us have received the opportunity to do so. 
Some people called her selfish because of the risks, while others called her brave.

 To believe in LIFE is to take part in 
giving the opportunity of LIFE

I personally believe in a woman's right for Pro LIFE as long as there's LOVE behind the choice, if there's harm and or danger, that is a CHOICE one must make accordingly, either way....

Choose LIFE!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lose, Let Go, Heal

Loss is a part of LIFE...

We ALL come with a beginning and an end...

As some things go up, they must also come down...

As one door closes, another opens...

As we lose what we love, we gain perspective and cherish what once was...

In the end, we move on.

These are the thoughts that circle my head when I experience loss, whether it be an object, a friend, a lover, a loved one, etc. In the past I've always dwelled on what I lost and what isn't present in my LIFE anymore, focusing more on the void that just seems to make itself that much more alive,
 ironic isn't it?! 
The emptiness seems to have control and more LIFE than what was once there. 

When you experience loss, it most often comes out of the blue, at such a shock that it never really sinks in until one day it just hits you, then that's when the release comes and the sadness sinks in because LIFE took a sudden turn. Then there's the type of loss that comes and you know about it, though you can't do anything to change the outcome, in that very moment, 
all you can do is prepare yourself and those around you. 
This is where you start to ask yourself:

"How can I lose something I love so much?"

No one can ever prepare for loss, it's inevitable, it's undeniable, it'll happen...
all that can be done, all that one can ever do is... 

Letting go is the worst of it all, it doesn't make sense ever, though by doing so, 
you're allowing yourself to pick up the pieces and make sure you live for what will come next...

Healing can be a long process if you deny yourself the opportunity to move forward. Healing takes tears, struggle, laughter, hurt, smiles, everything you can think of to make it seem like you're a crazy person. Healing takes faith and a lot self assurance, instead of it being a 50/50 deal (meaning you take 50% care of yourself and let GOD take care of the other 50%), it's a 100/100 kind of deal, 
YOU take care of 100% and GOD assures you 100%.

To some point, and rest assure that everyone goes through this, you will hit a plateau, where you can't do anything anymore, you'll feel restless and tired of forging ahead without there being a difference. That's when you LET GO of the situation, acknowledge you're letting go,  
accept the loss, and let GOD take care of the healing. 

Although, give it a fair shot, a fair battle to know you have the strength of what it takes to survive and say to others:

"I've lost something I loved so much and I survived!"

If for some reason some of you are saying right now, "I don't know how to LET GO..",
 learn to accept, acknowledge and agree that loss has taken place.

From there, take it step by step to know that LIFE will come full circle, LIFE will move on, 
so will you, and you can heal as you go.

Faith and Love will always prevail!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The answer: Role Reversal

Ever just look at people while you're at the mall, the store, or even at work and wonder what's going on inside their heads?

Being that since I was a young lad myself at one point I ALWAYS had a staring problem, and it wasn't because certain individuals had something on their faces or dressed a certain quirky way, it was mainly because I would catch them staring at a certain object for a long period of time, so in my mind, I was trying to figure out what was surfing around in their head. 

To this day, especially since I drive everywhere, I find it interesting when people are either looking like they have a blank stare, singing to themselves, or screaming into their headphones, it would make for a great picture book for sure!! Yet I can't help but to wonder,  
"What is it that they're looking for?"
 ...just in case you haven't noticed, I tend think a lot!

At this age that I am, 28 going on 29, I can understand and see the frustrations that others may have in my inner circle. A good percentage of you can't stand your jobs because of one person or how annoying one attribute can be. Another good percentage of you don't like the economic state you're in therefore refuse to change anything to fit your current lifestyle. Finally, the last percentage of you feel lonely, as if you're missing something that you're not supposed to be missing, you're searching for that certain spark....and ALL 3 of these situations have one question in common:

"What am I looking for?"

The answer:

Role Reverse your LIFE

Think of what your LIFE would be like if you were on the opposite end of your situation....would you still be asking the same question? Or would you be happy with what LIFE has brought you thus far? Would it make a difference if you had everything within reach?

What will Role Reversal do for you exactly?
 It'll allow you to view your situation in a wider perspective, one where you'll be able to ask the right questions and ponder what is ready to go and what is meant to stay in your LIFE
More like a pro and con list, though Role Reversal examines ALL questions, answers ALL motives and determines an outcome, on your OWN will.

Now I'm not saying that one shouldn't complain about their issues and/or problems, everyone's entitled to, I myself have my days, yet, how long will you be searching for the answer to a question that you can change yourself in a matter of minutes rather than a matter of a lifetime? 
 One can only go so far in LIFE searching for that spark, 
searching for that meaning to fill that empty space. 

I can't tell you how to experience happiness, or how to erase negativity if you're not ready to, although what I can tell you from experience is that when the time is right, when you're ready to put yourself on the reversal side, LIFE will get a lot less heavy and a lot will get accomplished, closing one door at a time with the right ones opening by themselves ready for you to take on the right opportunity.

Nothing is easy
Yet only the strong survive
In the end,
We're ALL STRONG and will SURVIVE!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ask & You Shall Recieve

 WELCOME to April everyone!!

Today in the salon as I was retouching one of my every 4 week "victims" (aka clients), her and I were discussing the progress that one of her sons has experienced in the past 10 months of his LIFE.  Now a bit of a background, I went to high school with her son and he's just a year younger than me. He's been on a career path that has him like a roller coaster..LITERALLY!

He pretty much has to pay his dues for a while and hopefully sooner rather than later he'll be able to get a steady schedule, one where weekends are OFF limits I hope. Although for now, the traveling is extensive and at times, apparent, to where no plans can be made or he has to break them. 
Sounds ALL a bit too familiar (pointing at myself!).

Last year around June I was able to hand out with him and have a good talk for a couple hours and was able to listen to what his thoughts were, his state of mind, his worries, and anything plaguing his mind at the time. Actually we were both able to go back and forth and share our stories and catch up. Now remember everyone, I LOVE to listen to people, I LOVE to be able to offer advice and make sure people feel good about themselves, so this is a natural setting for me.

Not to go into grave detail because I want to respect his privacy, pretty much his main worry at the time was that others around him would look at what he was "trying" to accomplish and yet nothing was coming of it, he had doubt written ALL over him. As I kept listening, he reminded me so much of myself during the first couple years of my career,  and for some reason or other, there's something in our hearts that make us go "What's really my passion?" and "Am I doing the right thing?"
We feed into it and start believing that were not where were supposed to be. 
Yet it's the complete opposite!

TRUE on the outside, very UNTRUE on the inside!

After carefully listening and dissecting his words and feelings, I came up with a sentence that I'm sure hit home, "Why don't you just ask? You know you'll be able to receive it once you ask for it"....he just stared at me...and then it clicked! His face lit up like nothing I've ever seen before.

Then he said, "Well once I ask won't that make me selfish for wanting it?" 
 My response, "Absolutely NOT!"

This goes to everyone, whomever you pray to, whomever you believe in, whomever your heart goes to everyday and night, that being is listening, watching and making sure that the inside, what makes you whole, is always together, as best as possible. When I taught Youth Ministry I used to tell my Teens that if you have something to ask GOD, some favor that you would like for him to fulfill for you, you can't just stand in front of his door and expect him to invite you in. You have to put in your 50%, YOUR effort and make sure he hears your knock, then that's when he'll answer the door and invite you in and talk about it. 

"Ask and it will be given to you; 
seek and you will find; 
knock and the door will be opened to you." 
-Matthew 7:7-

You want something so bad yet nothing is being done..nothing will get accomplished. YOU, your soul, your being is that powerful that even YOU can stand and block your own path. From that point, you're feeding doubt, restlessness and the self pity that one feels when you feel stagnant. 
So what good comes out of this?? Nothing right?!

By saying it, and by putting it out there in the Universe, it will actually make that much more of a difference and make you go farther, one step at a time, and it's better that way as well, 
why would you want things in a rush? 

Needless to say, after my talk with my victims' son, about a week later, his world started to change! 10 months later, he's on the right track, on the right path to success both professionally and personally. I'm so happy that he's found a positive direction and he's been able to accept OPPORTUNITIES as they've shown up. In just 10 months, ALL is flowing and on the opposite of what he was feeling back when. Now it's just moving forward and going up to the next level.

There's nothing wrong with asking for what you truly want out of LIFE as long as there's a collective effort behind the drive. It takes more than just asking, it's taking a risk, taking a leap and even though you might not know what the end result will be, you'll at least know that ALL one can hope for is the BEST..ALWAYS hope for the BEST!