Ways to Lower Stress

I have been a bit stressed lately. I have many things going on such as prepping for a new school year and conquering some fears. As some of you know, when I get stressed my body goes out of whack. It makes life hard for me when that happens so taking care of my stress levels is very important. There are many things that I can do to help control the stress so my body stays healthy. Here are a few…

  1. Physical Exercise:

There are many types of physical exercise that can help lower stress. Swimming in the ocean and running have been a lifesavers for me. Running is great for an immediate change in my mental state. Running requires a lot of breathing. Since it is high impact, you can feel the pain from running right away, which helps bring me into the moment. Swimming in the ocean is low impact so I don’t feel the pain as quickly as I do when I run. I really love the salt from the ocean. It helps take out toxins and other emotional energies that are pent up inside.

  1. Deep Stomach Breathing:

Most people, do not do a complete breathing. They breathe very shallow, only into their lungs. When breathing is done correctly, it is done all the way into your stomach. When I do deep breathing to help lower my stress, I start with a huge breath in. The breath starts in my stomach and ends in my upper lungs. Then I release from my upper lungs down to my stomach. This is done slowly and consciously. It keeps my heart and head in the moment. I notice when I do not do this type of breathing I get overwhelmed more easily.

  1. Essential Oils:

Essential oils are good for many things. I use them for my IBS and other ailments I may have. They come in handy for stress in many ways. I use DoTerra brand because I love some of the combinations they have available. There are a few I use for stress. Elevation blend is used in my diffuser. If I am on the go and can’t diffuse the oil, I rub it on my chest. I also use Balance blend. This one is rubbed behind my ears. I put the oils on my pointer finger, cross my arms, and rub it behind my ears. This helps keep my emotions balanced. Intune is another one I use to help me stay focused on what it is that I need to do. I rub it on the back of my neck and bottoms of my feet. Lastly, Lavender helps me stay calm and relaxed. I add this to a little spray bottle and spray it on my sheets and clothes.

  1. Writing:

Writing is one of the best ways for me to lower my stress levels. Since my head tends to over think things it helps to get it all down on paper. I write whatever comes to mind.  This does two things for me. One, it helps me see things in a more realistic manner. When I put it on paper, I am able to see if I am over reacting or not. Second, it helps me order my thoughts so I can see what is more important for me to accomplish. Sometimes we think we need to do everything right now, when some things can wait.

  1. Keeping a Healthy Mindset:

When I am dealing with stressful situations, it is imperative that I make sure my mental thoughts are positive. It has taking me a long time to be able to keep my mental thoughts positive even when everything is going to shit. I have come to enjoy the roller coaster of life events. Instead of saying “why me”, I say “bring it on”. Instead of saying “this is too much”, I say “thank you”. There are so many positive things we can do with our speech that can have a huge impact on how we get through a stressful time.

 

These are just a few of the things I do when I am stressed. I would love to hear what things you do to keep your stress levels low. Let me know what you do and how it works for you!

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Te Quiero vs. Te Amo

I have been experiencing so much this past month. Everything from a second degree burn to riding a motorcycle for over 7 hours. I want to write about something that I am learning about the Spanish and English languages.

There are many things that I do not like about the Spanish language compared to English. I find that some words I love to use in English do not translate in a way that I would like it too. However, there are words in English that I am finding are not well defined as it is in Spanish.

One of those Phrases is “I love you”. In English, we use I love you when talking about many things. We use it when talking about our cell phones, our family and friends, our significant others. It is used in many ways.

In Spanish, you have “te quiero” and “te amo”, both translate into “I love you”. Since I have been dating, I have had a few men say “te quiero” to me. This freaked me out because I don’t need a guy “loving” me after a few days of going out with them. I asked a few people to explain the difference to me. No one has explained it to me in a way that made sense to me until recently. Jonathan explained it to me like this…

“Te quiero” is like I love my phone. It’s like “I want you”, more than “I love you”. You can always upgrade your phone when you don’t want it any more. It is also said when you are boyfriend and girlfriend because you could always upgrade them to someone better. “Te quiero” has no commitment or no responsibility, it is just a feeling “Te amo” is used when it is final, there is no upgrade. You really “love” them. You use this with your spouse or family. With your family, you love them no matter what. This doesn’t change. When you marry, it is supposed to be final. With “Te amo”, you don’t give up on that person. It means you know the flaws and all and you chose to still love them.

Once I figured this out, I didn’t freak out as much. I am able to see the difference. I would love for there to be a difference in the “I love you” phrase in the English language. I like you a lot and I love you are different. I feel that “te quiero” is in between the two.

I like having the difference in meaning behind the words “I love you” because there are different types of love. There are many other words used for this is Spanish. “me encanta”, is another one that relates to love. This is used more with objects and places rather than people. Google translates this as “I adore”.

I had questions about what love really was before I moved here. Being immersed in a different culture with a different language has opened my eyes to many things related to love and relationships. It is pretty amazing!

He asked… it’s not what you think!

Last night, Jonathan asked me to be his girlfriend. First… who does that? And second… it was perfect!

I do not think I have ever had a man ask me to be his girlfriend. Most of the time we just date and eventually we “assume” that we are boyfriend and girlfriend. When you start to meet each other’s families you then know that you are boyfriend and girlfriend.

After I moved, to Costa Rica I was talking with some friends about dating and relationships. She told me that she never does certain things with a guy until he asks her to be her boyfriend. This made me think for a little bit. Then I forgot about it until I was in a “relationship” with a guy (you all know who he is. I write about him a lot.) I had “assumed” he and I were boyfriend and girlfriend like I had done with everyone in the past. This turned out to be wrong. We were not boyfriend and girlfriend. This caused a lot of issues, I am pretty sure I wrote about in a previous post.

Since then, I have made sure that if the relationship went past a certain point the man would ask me. I have only had one guy ask me since then, until now…

Yesterday, was a month since Jonathan and I met. He is the new maintenance man for my landlord. I first saw him when he came to fix my A/C a month and half ago. He and I didn’t talk because I had a friend over and he was busy helping my landlord with the A/C.

Two weeks after that I saw him making a new trash can for the apartment out front. I was standing on the side of the road waiting for the bus to come. I was headed to Liberia and Playas del Coco with a friend. I thought about going over and talking to him. Something about him made me smile. I decided not to because I needed to figure out this bus situation. I went about my day thinking about him a few times throughout the day. Around 5pm, my friend and I were at a bus stop in Filadelfia. We were talking about guys. I told her about the new maintenance man. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t married or seeing anyone, so I asked my landlord is he was single. They said he is separated. I asked them to give him my number for me. Within a few minutes, he messaged me. We have been talking and going on adventures ever since. We have had some communication issues since he doesn’t speak English. It has shown me so much about myself. I have posted about some of it and I will post about more to come.

This post is about how he asked me. So… here it is….

He came over to my house and gave me a long hug and a kiss, He sat me on my bed. He motioned for me to wait. He turns away from me and gets something out of a bag. I just sit on the edge of the bed waiting. He turns around with a handful of papers. He holds them in front of him, smiling at me. I read the first one, smile, and nod. He removes that one and I read the next one. This goes on for about 9 sheets of paper (two of which I posted) with the last one saying “do you agree to be my girlfriend?” I smiled and said “yes” with the biggest smile on my face. I am surprised I didn’t cry. He then gives me the flowers and some chocolate! He is absolutely the sweetest.

How he went about the whole things was the best because it showed me his respect, his “love”, and appreciation for me and our relationship. It was perfect. I would share all 10 sheets, yet I want to keep somethings personal. I want to keep some of this in my heart, just for me.

I have said this many times, do not settle for anything less than what you deserve. If you don’t know what you deserve, figure it out. Life is worth living, not settling!

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Respect… What does it look like?

 

I have been learning so much this month. I am going to post a few posts over the next few days explaining all the wonderful and crazy things I have been going through. This first post is about what I have learned about respect.

I have been seeing a guy for the past month. His name is Jonathan. (yes, it is the same name as my ex fiancé from the states). He is different than most guys I have dated. How he talks to me and explains things to me is sweet. The first few times we had a conversation about life I was thrown for a loop. I wasn’t used to someone talking to me in such a way. I was confused. I didn’t understand what that was. I didn’t recognize what he was doing. I couldn’t put a name to it.

The other day we were having another one of these conversations and he mentioned how he doesn’t like something about his culture. He said he didn’t like “machismo.” Machismo is not really something that happens just in his culture it happens everywhere even in the US. It just may have a different name. I understood what it was in my feelings I just didn’t have words for what it was. This led me to ask questions, like I always do when I don’t understand something. I had thoughts about what I thought it was I just didn’t quite know for sure.

I asked two men the same questions and I got two different responses. First, I asked a guy that I was seeing a few months back. I asked if he would explain something about the Spanish culture for me. I said “explain machismo.” His responses were normal responses for him when I ask him questions like this. He said “Machismo is not a Spanish culture. It is an attitude for thousands of years where the man is arrogant and believes much more than women. They demystify and leave the woman wrong before themselves. Then it is not a Spanish culture. Careful with that because machismo exists everywhere.” I understood this. I had more specific questions I wanted answered. I started asking questions like… Is it a sexual thing or is it deeper, a man telling a woman she needs to have kids, a man making all the decisions without the woman’s opinion or thoughts in regards to their life together? To these questions, he responded that it is not sexual and yes to the other two. I kept asking more questions… would telling a woman she is crazy and emotional every time she is hormonal and getting angry at her for it be considered that, do “machismo” men think emotions are not “good”? His response to those questions was “why all the questions? The best example I can give you is the opposite of me.” and “mmmm it seems strange to me. sure you’re experiencing this with the guy you’re with.” These response made my head spin even more? I felt as though these response were defensive and “machismo” in nature.

I really wanted to know what Jonathan’s responses would be. I had an idea of what he would say. I just wanted clarity. Jonathan was sleeping when I had all these thoughts, so I had to wait for him to wake up to ask. He woke up and I asked him the same questions I asked the other guy. Jonathan’s responses were the complete opposite. I knew they would be because he doesn’t respond to me like most men.

Jonathan’s response to what is machismo… “It’s very ugly. The man thinks he is superior to the woman. He does not cook or clean because he thinks it is the woman’s job.” Jonathan’s response to “would telling a woman she is crazy and emotional every time she is hormonal and getting angry at her for it be considered that, do “machismo” men think emotions are not “good”…. “Macho men think that emotions are corny and ridiculous. Macho men are not romantic because they think that being romantic is a woman’s thing.” He then goes on to say that macho men in Nicaragua do not say things like “mi princesa”.

I had asked Jonathan some questions I didn’t ask the other guy as well. I asked him if macho men are greedy and do not give attention and things freely? His response was that they love to receive things yet do not give things because love is a woman’s thing. We went on to talk about how machismo shows in his life. He tells me jealousy is the biggest thing that he struggles with. He doesn’t like being jealous and he is working on it.

I sent him some of the responses from the other guy and asked if he noticed a difference. He said the guys responses were a defensive response. He was defending himself from your questions. He looked at my questions with poison and gave an answer with poison.

This absolutely blew my mind! I realized all this came down to was respect. It really has nothing to do with being macho. It has to do respect for themselves as a man and for the woman in their life. Jonathan’s responses over the last month have made me question how men respond to me. I have a lot of emotions that change and fluctuate. Most men get bothered by this and in return their responses are defensive or unloving. I thought that this was normal and I accepted it even though I didn’t really like it. After experiencing Jonathan’s love, acceptance, and appreciation I realize that it’s about respect. Jonathan respects my emotions and my opinions as a woman.

It has only been a month. I do not know what will change as time goes on. I do, however, know what it is like for a man to truly respect you. This will forever be in my needs and wants for any man in my life. Do not settle for less than you deserve.  If you are unsure about something, do whatever you need to find the answer. You deserve the love and respect you give yourself. Find your own self-respect.

True Colors


I am blown away. I don’t understand what has happened with me. The last two weeks have taught me so much. About 10 days ago, I had to go to the United States on short notice for my work visa here in Costa Rica. I had to go back and get a background check because the one I had expired. I thought it was good for 6 months when it was really good for 3 months. I had 10 days to get the background check submitted to immigration in Costa Rica. I really didn’t want to go back to the states during my break from work. I wanted to stay here, relax, and find a side job. Which I can still do.

It was great to get to see family. I got to spend time with my sister, dad, step mom and nana. I was able to take my nana to the doctors a few times and be there with her when she got her new wheelchair. She has been waiting 4 years for a new on. I remember being with her when she would call for the new wheelchair 4 years ago. It was really amazing to be there. I was able to talk with my sister. I spent some time with my niece and nephew. It was perfect.

Being away always teaches me something. This time I learned a lot. I learned just how strong I am. I learned how much I have grown. I continually surprise myself. I had a bunch of conversations with a guy I have been talking to during the time I was away. We had conversations about his children and about life. It was very eye opening for me. I was able to be honest in a way that I had never been. I stayed true to myself.

I am still trying to comprehend what I learned. I am in a state of shock at the moment. My life is one hilarious event after another. Today, something happened that is a bit too personal for me to share publicly.  I should be angry right now. I should feel hurt and upset. I should feel betrayed and offended. What I don’t understand is that I don’t feel any of those things. I feel light and peaceful. I feel calm and okay. I feel like laughing. I am smiling as I write this because I don’t understand who I am at the moment. I am laughing because I am happy to be in the place I am. Even if it sucks, I am happy that no one can take my peace no matter what they do to me.

Everyone’s true colors come out eventually. I am not perfect. I am far from it. I do my best to treat people how I would wanted to be treated. I am honest, almost to a fault, with most things. I can’t say I am always honest because I am not.  I have been honest about my feelings and thoughts about situations with most people. I do this so they have a choice as to how they want to proceed with the information I give them. I have yet to find someone who does this in return. I would rather be honest and lose someone than hide something and risk the consequences when the truth comes out. The truth always comes out.

I don’t understand what this all means. I am happy that things happen in my life because they help me in many ways. They help me be strong and trust myself. They help me keep my peace and happiness no matter what happens. Eventually, I will see the reason behind why certain things happen in my life.

Until then, I am laughing, loving, and living my life to the fullest. Questioning and searching for answers to the life I live.

You will get a bill….

 

The universe has laws that need to be followed. If they aren’t followed there are consequences. I broke one of the universes laws about 8 months ago and continued to deny the fact that I broke this law. I kept justifying that what I was doing was okay. I was only helping people. When in reality, I wasn’t helping any one. I was blinded by my own wants that I didn’t see how it was affecting myself or others.

It’s been about two weeks since I owned up to the mistake and corrected what I needed to correct with two people. I understand what has happened and words aren’t enough to explain it. It is something that I have to live by example with. I have to show people with my actions what has happened. The right people will see the difference from before and after. They will see the mistake and what I did to correct it by the way I write and live my life. Future posts and even this one are different in regards to who and how I talk about things.

Some people may ask, what was it that you did? I feel at this time what I did or didn’t do isn’t important. It is about what I do about it with my actions that is important. One day, I will write a post about what I did and how it affected people. For right now, writing what I did isn’t what I am supposed to write.

I will tell you that I feel free. I feel that I am finally living up to my commitments and morals for how I live. I am finally right with the universe. I know that I am right with the universe because I am no longer struggling and fighting something with in me. I know that I am right with the universe because I am gaining the most perfect and amazing people in my life. People who support me and truly love me. I am finally harnessing the power that I have within me. I am staying true to me. I am thankful for even the craziest situations without judgements or blame.

My life is still insane even as I live in heaven. The maintenance man for my apartment and I went out the other night. He owns a motorcycle. Which is great. I love motorcycles, even though they scare me. And there is a good reason they scare me. You can seriously get hurt. I am always very careful of the tailpipe. This one time I was not and I got a second degree burn on my leg. I have never had a burn this bad. I am thankful that it doesn’t hurt. I am thankful for the local clinic and my amazing doctors for taking care of me. It is still in the healing process. The incident has made me amazed and thankful for life. I am living in heaven again.

 

Dear Love,

Dear Love,
I probably will never give this to you. I need to put it out into the universe. Almost a week ago I told you I couldn’t speak to you while you have whatever relationship you have with your ex-wife. That was a hard thing for me to do. I want to meet your mom and abuelo. I feel connected to your mom which i don’t understand at all because I have never meet her. I feel connected to her like i do my own mom. I know i have a lot to learn from her. I  hope she arrived safely (i think she came today). I want to message you right now. I really do. that is why I am writing this.
The last week has been hard for me. I am having to deal with my own defects. there have been consequences for this. People who I thought were my friends are now mad at me. Which i understand. One of them left me in a bar at 1 am because he couldn’t handle my honesty. i handled getting home like a pro so i am okay. Another friend, I told them I cant talk to them any more because of a similar reason to you. (He lives in the states) He is married and acts  a way with me that isn’t good even if he is going through a divorce.He threw a huge fit and said i was a horrible friend. The reason I bring this up is because both of them got super angry with me for correcting a mistake I made. I have to stay true to myself and to my morals. I realized something in that….you are a great friend. you maybe upset at me i know this. What I love is that you haven’t taken that out on me. you just let me be. This is beautiful. I am so proud of you. Before you would show me your anger or sadness by saying some negative things when I stood up for myself. You didn’t do that this time. You’re letting me do me. your letting me find myself. I hope you see how far you have come. I hope you see what you do for me. How you help me. How you are making small changes with your words and actions that affect me positively. I love you.
I am about to go on a journey of really finding myself. i am terrified because I have to do this alone. It is going to be really hard for me. I am excited at the same time to  go down this path. When you told me your ex was helping you pay for you mom and abuelo to come here. I got jealous. I wanted to be able to do that for you. I wanted to provide that for you. Now, after realizing that i need to fight for myself I don’t want to be able to do that. here is why…
I am in debt $1000 from medical bills and my Chile trip. With the salary from Educarte, I can’t pay any of that bill off. I also can’t afford my insurance premiums. And the hardest thing is not being able to pay for my IHP dues. i will lose access to things that i need from IHP. I haven’t always been the best with money. Jon has had to bail me out a few times in the last 6 years. I was actually afraid to leave him because of this. I knew that i would mess up with money and have no one to help me. i didn’t want to leave jon because i would lose an easy way out when i messed up with money. i would have to do it alone. i am there. i am at the point where i cant ask for help. i have to do this. i have to fight to make money so i can pay my debt and IHP dues. IHP means the world to me. i can’t lose it. I do however know that this is apart of my work. i have to find myself out there. i am not supposed to teach online or anything for a long period of time. I am supposed to write my book and make money off my blog and the photos i take. This is testing me in ways that i am scared of. i am ready for it because i need to fulfill my purpose. That is to change the world. If people give me money i can’t change the world. I need to “work” for it. i need to appreciate money and what i do. i can’t do that if people hand me money. I need to feel what it is like to fight for something i want so bad. I want access to IHP. I want freedom from relying on people. In order to have that i need to put myself out there and really make my blog take off. I need to do what i am supposed to do and not take the easy way out.
Thank you for showing me this. Thank you for giving me the strength and power to make this happen. Thank you for your patience and love. Thank you for changing yourself. Thank you for following your own path and not the path others tell you to take. You inspire me to be the best i can possibly be. I couldn’t do this without you. I will talk to you soon. Enjoy your mom and abuelo being here. Know that i am with you and them energetically.
Love always,
Rafiki

A letter to myself…

Today I realized how important it is to tell yourself what you need to hear. I know for me I always want someone else to tell me how grateful or lucky they are. I am giving people love and affection when they need it. It made me think why don’t I do that with myself? What is stopping me from allowing myself to really love myself? I wrote a note to myself telling me what I needed to hear.

My note to myself…

“Thank you, Ashley, for being strong and powerful. Thank you for doing the work. You are beautiful beyond belief. You have changed my life. You are always there when I need you. You are deep and feminine you are mighty and free. I am lucky and grateful to live this life with you. You are courageous and wonderful. I know you’re not perfect yet I love you. I love you more than you could imagine. You are worth so much. Deep inside there is a gold that is worth the world and more. I am amazed at the woman you have become. Every day you show the world more light.”

I hope you can have the courage and strength to give yourself what you need. You are the only one you will ever have. Life is beautiful. Allow yourself to fully feel the beauty however that is for you.

Justifying?

One of the things I struggle with is being able to keep my mouth shut about what I see in people. The more I go through and the more I grow. The more I see. It is hard to see what people put themselves through. It’s hard to see what I put myself through.

Lately, I have seen how different things affect my life. I hold on to resentment. Not as much as I used to yet I do. I hold on to other people’s anger and resentment too. It is interesting to see what happens. So many people don’t even see what is right in front of them. I am the same way. Recently, I noticed that I wasn’t doing what I needed too. I was taking medication to get rid of the symptoms instead of treating the cause. Some people get headaches, others insomnia. I however get intestinal issues.

When I am avoiding reality, I get intestinal issues. When I hold on to resentment, I get intestinal issues. I know exactly how to make the intestinal issues go away. I have to eat healthy, run or/and dance, and acknowledge my reality. Sometimes acknowledging my reality means letting go of something that is over. Sometimes it is letting go of what I see others are going through. I can’t help anyone other than myself. I can’t worry about what others are doing in their lives. I need to worry about what I am doing in my life. When I worry about others I start to listen to what they think I need. I also get lazy and slack on my own health. I know that I can’t have dairy and I know that I need to run. Sometimes when I am too worried about helping someone else, I eat dairy and don’t run. Then I get upset at everyone else ignoring their lives, when I am really ignoring mine.

I justify myself by saying things in my head. I may say “well I do my daily breathings and I lift weights. That’s good enough.” I know damn well that’s not good enough. If I slack in some areas, that gives room for me to slack more. That leads to a downward spiral that I don’t want to go down. I let myself go down this road for the last three weeks. It took me pain and unanswered doctor’s visits to see what was happening. I now have a lot of work to do to get me to where I want to be.

I found that I had been listening to other people’s advice instead of listening to what my body needs. Other people say “You need surgery.” or ” You need this medicine.” I don’t need those things. I need to change my diet, exercise, and breathe. So many people put themselves through things that are harmful for them because they don’t want to see reality for what it is. Why would I take their advice? I would because I don’t want to face reality as it is. So, why not listen to the advice of avoidance pros.

As much as I want to say I am in a bad place, I know that I am in the perfect place. It’s neither good nor bad. It is where I need to be in this moment. I am happy. I will struggle with many things over the next few weeks while I am getting myself physically and mentally to a better place. I am ready for it. Sometimes a Phoenix must burn in order to be reborn. They never die.

Sometimes life hits you…

The last few weeks have been hard on me. I have had to deal with more medical issues. I recently went to San Jose to see a specialist about my kidney stones. He didn’t give me any answers to the pain I have been having. He says that the pain isn’t from my kidney stones. I should get a few more tests done and take a new medication. I should also see a gastroenterologist. Something is telling me I need to stop taking all medication for a while. I have been on multiple medications in the last 3 weeks. My body needs to rest from the different types of medication. Not only does my body need it, my mind needs it too. The medicine is affecting me on more than just a physical level.

I am going to do some essential oils and natural remedies like warm water with ginger and honey. I am also going to make sure I that I exercise daily. While Copito was here I slacked on the running and exercise. I need to get back into the groove of running and dancing. As much as I loved Copito I learned a lot. I needed him for the time I had him. Although, that time has come to an end because I am affected by animals energy in a way I never noticed. I know that I am affected by other people’s energy for prolonged periods of time. It is the same with animals.

I realized this about 2 weeks ago. Something was telling me that Copito wasn’t good for my energy and well being. I didn’t do what I needed to do about it. Same thing with my health. I knew that I didn’t need the medicine because I knew what my body needed. I just didn’t do it. I am still processing the reason why I didn’t listen to myself. I wouldn’t go back and changed it because I am learning something valuable.

Life has its ups and downs. It has its times of trials and tribulations. I am thankful for these times because they help me appreciate my life. They help me appreciate and see how far I have come. It’s not easy by any means to go through sickness and stress. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t gone through all the hard times I have had. I am not out of the woods yet. I have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of things to do to get to the place I want to be. I can get there. I have been there. I know exactly how to do it. I will do it. And I am doing it.