February 10, 2019


When I notice a minor typo in an email I’ve just sent, I have to continually tell myself to let it go. When I find a typo in a social media post, I immediately edit it. These things don’t really matter, but I still want to get them right. I think about these small mistakes longer than I should, and I chastise myself for not checking twice. However, these digital mistakes pale in comparison to my quest for perfection when publishing a new book.

When organizing a new book, I agonize over every space and every font. I want the pages and words to be perfect, so that errors do not distract from what I am trying to say. I feel physical pain when I’ve fallen short of that goal, but I also feel euphoric when I feel like I’ve gotten it right. I’ll be the first to say that this is all insanity, but I delight in things don’t right, so I’ve had to accept this quirk about myself.

Recently, when working on publishing my third book, Get Free, I’ve dealt with more crushing moments of imperfection than I thought possible. (And anxiety when making changes, hoping that something else is not accidentally broken.) I thought the process of putting together this book would take one week…or three weeks at most. Instead, it’s taken almost three months and I hate to admit that I’m still tweaking pages! (I’ve just made some formatting changes and promised myself this would be the end of it…I just hope I keep to that goal!)

In this moment, I can say that perfection feels like an addiction–just a little more change and it will be okay. But I know deep within that there has to be a stopping point to the process of endless changes to move forward. Thankfully, I’ve experienced this with my previous two books, so I know that I can do it. Those books were designed to be more artistic…with centered text and lots of empty space, so there was less to worry about with margins and paragraphs. (Even still, I was crazy about spacing and centering then haha) Get Free brings unique challenges because it is more of a traditional book, with paragraphs, chapters, and a table of contents. I also made the late choice to change the font of the book, which resulted in some additional challenges within spacing/format in InDesign (software I used to layout the book).

I’m thankful for my keen eye and quest to get things right, but I’m also very aware that there is a fine line between perfection and insanity. I think of the quote, “Perfection is the enemy of greatness,” and I know deep down that sometimes we have to be brave enough to say this is wonderful and beautiful as it is…even if a line has spacing that isn’t perfect.

The challenge of any artist is knowing when to stop and let it go. There can be beauty and relatability in flaws, too. It provides subtle permission to other artists of the courage it takes to get your work out. Even if it’s not exactly right, others can overlook slight imperfections and embrace your greater work. Typos can be corrected another time…that’s what second editions are for ;)

Wishing you space to breathe through perceived mistakes as you release your art into the world. Mistakes happen, and they are correctable. What you are sharing is bigger than the small reasons that may be keeping you from doing so. Namaste.


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Pictured: Cover art for my third book, Get Free: 7 Simple Steps to Free Your Mind & Live Your Dreams. Though my amazing graphic designer got me most of the way there with the cover, I had to teach myself how to use Illustrator to tweak a few things to get achieve my vision of perfection haha ;)

Note: My tweaks to the internal text today (InDesign) were formatting changes that (I felt) were needed as a result of changing the font within the book.

January 1, 2019


As we enter a new year, let us burn all of the doubts, fears, and anxieties that we felt in 2018. Let us celebrate our resilience as we overcame all that threatened to tear us down in the days past… and may we recognize that, like a phoenix, we continue to rise from the ashes of all that we’ve left behind.

New years are simply markers of time that encourage us to take a moment to recollect times spent in the previous year, and make plans for the next year. In our recollections, let us look with gratitude for all of our experiences and let us recognize our own growth. As we move forward, let it be with a spirit of gratitude and excitement for all of the goodness that will continue to manifest in our grateful hearts.

Today, I am reminded of Mooji’s wise words that “life takes care of life,” and I am humbled with deep gratitude for the many ways that I was taken care of in 2018. I am thankful for you. I choose to keep hope in my heart for all of the beautiful things to come in 2019, and I wish you peace, prosperity, freedom, and joy in the days and years to come.



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December 3, 2018


In August, I woke up one day and realized that I needed to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest Conference. I bought an airline ticket and registered days before the conference, and I think motion became a theme for that trip from there.

While at the conference, I met so many wonderful new people and learned a great deal of new information. Two lecturers at the conference really stood out for me: the incredible Jordan Rosenfeld and the sweet Jeanne Bowerman.

Jordan gave two incredible talks (on vivid imagery and tension) that truly transformed my thinking about my (still) in-progress novel, Seven Lives. Her kind spirit and depth of knowledge amazed me, and I immediately felt a sense of connection with her. More than that, I knew that I needed her editing help on my novel! I will forever be thankful that she felt the same and was eager to help! The feedback she has provided so far has been incredible.

Jeanne gave a spectacular talk about screenwriting that energized me to move forward with a screenplay idea that still feels good a  year after brainstorming the concept with a friend.

Being surrounded by other talented writers, including the prolific Walter Mosley, was such a treat! Connecting with these other incredible individuals felt like a tribal communion. While getting to the conference required navigating through flooded streets (Lyft days!) and subways and buses, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in NYC! I decided to rock the African kimonos that I had made in Cabo Verde (with fabric purchased from Senegal, and sewed by a Senegalese friend), so that lead to many great conversations…and even an impromptu photoshoot in the middle of 5th Ave by a photographer that was out for the Puerto Rican day parade (still waiting for those photos *eyebrow raise* haha!).

I was also able to see friends and fam in the Big Apple, and that’s always a  treat <3 Thinking back, I always feel that I could stay in New York longer…but I know that the trip was so jam-packed that I needed to get back to my Cali beach for recovery!

A Little More About The Conference

Of particular note, I participated in Pitch Slam event at the conference and had the opportunity to pitch my novel to seven agents! What a thrill to get expressed interest from all seven agents I spoke with! They loved the concept, recognized the uniqueness of the story, and (I think) vibed with my vibe. The energy around creating stories that people get excited about has been uniquely different than what I have experienced with my other books. Receiving confirmation that I was on the right track really did help to boost my spirits, and for that, I am grateful.

Also…no post about this particular trip to New York would be complete without mention of my travel blessing. As with all of my trips, this journey was unplanned, and unbudgeted (new word haha). On paper, it didn’t really make sense to go so last minute, but that always seems like the case with travel. Still, I went, but a small part of me wished it had cost a bit less haha

The Universe and God stepped in, as my flight ended up being overbooked! When the desk made the announcement with a call for volunteers, I happened to me on the phone with my sister Iris…and it took us half a second to realize that I needed to be first on that list! I jumped up and added my name, elated when I learned that the flight re-book would be for the flight that was only an hour later! (And also a nonstop flight on Delta!) Ironically, that flight was the flight I’d originally tried to book! But I ended up having to book the earlier flight…that turned out to be overbooked.

Due to my great fortune, they only needed one volunteer…me! I received a $600 voucher, which was a little more than what I’d paid for the last minute flight! I am so thankful for that blessing, and still in awe that it only required me to wait an hour longer for the next flight. What a gift.

I also had the chance to meet and speak with Walter Mosley after his dynamic keynote speech! He encouraged me to write everyday…but I told him that my creativity seemed to flow all at once, like a download, whenever I created new books. He nodded sagely and said I was like a French writer (whose name I can’t remember…Seneca or something? haha), and that was pretty cool :)

All-in-all, this trip was another reminder from the Universe to me to act on the small voice that repeats in my head to do something. It has become a guide, and I continue to deepen in my faith as I understand that good always comes from following this divine intuition…and that I’m always supported when I follow this voice. I remain humbled and so very thankful.


November 27, 2018


I often that I’ve been time traveling when I get back from one of my trips. While it is true that I go through some trippy time zone changes, I sometimes have moments of feeling like I’m in a different place and time…

This morning, as I was biking in Redondo Beach, CA next to the ocean, I had the clear feeling of biking in Kyoto next to the river…or in Santo Antao next to the ocean. Then at the gym, while I was rowing, I could have easily been at the gym in Cascais or Sarasota rowing. It sometimes feels like I’m shifting between times and places and spaces…



My perception of time, space and place has been altered. It feels, at times, like it is all overlapping. It causes me to question the concept of time…like perhaps it is not linear as we think it is. What would it mean if everything were happening at once?




November 17, 2018


During my short time in Japan, I feel like I rode half of the country’s trains. The process was made massively more complicated by all of the luggage I was carrying.

As I think back on those times, I am happy that I made it! I battled countless escalators, treacherous stairs, and was saved a few times by heavenly elevators. The process gave me perspective…and more than once, I thought about the plight of any alternately abled person who might be in need of support when utilizing this efficient form of transportation. (Our physicality is probably one of our most overlooked privileges!)

The process also made me reflect on the influence of momentum. I was traveling on holiday…without a need to be at a particular place at a certain time, but I found myself caught in the motion of the wave. In crowded subway stations, there is nowhere to stop. Like a molecule in a wave, you are hopelessly locked in step with the motion of everyone around you. To stop is to risk being trampled. I think the pressure to keep pace with everyone else (and the train! When the doors close, they close!) was a form of stress on my body…and it contributed greatly to my feelings of exhaustion after every trip. (I used the high speed, 300mph, bullet train Nozomi to get from Tokyo to Osaka, and then Osaka to Yokohama. Between those times, I traveled via subway and elevated trains.)

After every train trip, I found myself in need of rest and fresh air. Walks outside would rejuvenate me, and sleep would heal me. By the end of the trip, a warm soak in a deep tub was a welcome escape from my sore muscles. All of these activities helped me to breathe again, and to get back to my own pace.

Society can be like the train station experience. We take cues for the speed we should be traveling by the forces around us. Our jobs are often the train that sets the tempo (when to wake, when to sleep), and the people around us (friends, family, colleagues, social media network) set the speed of the wave. These influences give us our cues as to where we should be going, and the speed at which we should be moving to get there (e.g. child by 35!).

But this is exhausting. And it is meaningless.

Dare to disrupt this paradigm and set your own pace! Dare to rest (down with competitions regarding who worked the most hours!)…dare to have “unproductive” days…and date to take a walk in nature, at your own, to connect with Source.

Waves eventually crash. Take care of you and watch the Universe respond to support you. The leaf that rides the wave eventually makes it to shore, too ;)


November 16, 2018


When traveling to Kyoto, it just makes sense to visit Osaka (or vice versa). They are not that far apart (maybe an hour by train), but the cities feel worlds apart. I was staying in the business district in Osaka, so the energy definitely felt focused and determined. In Kyoto, the old city, the feeling of ancient tradition dominated.

I had planned to visit the Osaka Castle simply because I was attracted to the beauty of the site…but the walk around the castle, complete with a moat and stone walls for defense, was also lovely.

Even with the walk, I arrived before 8am (the golden time!), so I was able to take pictures…and later tour the castle (the interior has been turned into a museum)…without many people around. However, what I didn’t expect is that I would become a part of the attraction for others! While standing outside of the castle, I was asked no-less-than twenty times (by other Japanese tourists) if I’d pose for a photo! I happily accepted, and I’m sure there are a lot of photos of me floating around on social media haha

I’m particularly happy that my photos with this lovely lady were on my camera, because she motioned to the line and kindly whispered to me, “It is because the queen has returned to her castle,” and that was really lovely. Her kind words made my beautiful day even more lovely. :) And whenever I think of Osaka, I’ll remember her too. <3



November 16, 2018


Visiting Fushimi Inari in Kyoto was another surreal moment during my whirlwind visit to Japan (4 cities –Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama–in 5 days!).

I had seen pictures of the thousands of torii (Shinto gates that symbolize that everything on the other side of them is holy) at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto…and I’d dreamed of one day visiting. I don’t know why, but the beauty of the shrine always fascinated me. I wondered, what might it feel like to walk under these magical torii?

I had only the idea of one day visiting this moment, but I had no plan. Honestly, I also had no thought of making a plan! But somehow, the Universe took control of things and the visit happened far sooner than I could have imagined. It began with my decision to visit Thailand…

Even from California, the journey to Asia is long (at least 13 hours by flight). As a result, I always try to add on another Asian country to my visit. Historically, I’ve tacked on Bali…but this time, I was trying to figure out how to return to Japan, even for a day!

Fortunately, the American Airlines website was not working properly, so I had to call them. (At the time, it seemed like an annoyance.) I booked my trip to Thailand with the agent, and focused on having a long layover in Japan. The most she could find was 23 hours, and that seemed okay at the time…so we booked it. I had assumed that extended the trip more would cost a lot, and made a casual comment to that effect. She asked me if I wanted her to check, and I replied, “Sure, why not?!” To my surprise, extending the trip four more days only cost $100! I made the impulsive decision to do it!

Days later, I wondered if those five days in Japan would cost as much as my month in Thailand (haha), but I pushed those thoughts aside and remained excited about my trip.

During my last week in Thailand, I decided that I should take a crack at planning my time in Japan. I tried researching trains, hotels, and cities, but honestly, it all seemed like a blur. It was probably because of the heat in Thailand and my engagement in the training there…there’s also a chance that I was suffering from dehydration from the combination, too! In the end, I decided to just book my first hotel in Tokyo so I would have a destination from the airport. I knew that the only thing I really wanted to do in Tokyo was return to Ueno Park, so I selected a hotel in the Taito area (near the park).

When I arrived at my hotel in Tokyo, I can only remember being exhausted. I got there early in the morning (10am, after at 7:15am landing!), and I’d dealt with my luggage on three different trains, before finally decided to exit the subway and get a cab! (Fortunately, I also knew that my hotel was near the Tokyo Skytree, which is a major attraction. Therefore, it was a major subway stop…and an area where I knew I could find a taxi.)

Unfortunately, my room was not ready, so the front desk recommended that I got to a bath house to relax. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but I was staying at a business hotel without any real facilities…so unless I wanted to sit on a hard chair in the cafe for four house, the bath house was the best choice. They told me the bath house had hot springs (really hot tubs), restaurants, and resting rooms…and all of those things sounded good in my state of exhaustion. So, there I went!

The bath house was sorted by gender, and you’re not permitted to wear anything  in the pools. It ended up being an odd cultural experience as I walked around naked among Japanese women of all ages, and relaxed in hot tubs. Everyone was polite and pointed out where I should place my towels, etc. Soon after arriving, you stop caring, as you realize no one else does. There was a sense of freedom there that seemed missing in other parts of the culture in Japan. I understood the draw.

After a few hours there, I returned to my hotel and had thoughts of abandoning the thought of visiting other cities in Japan and just staying there. It would be cheaper, I reasoned, and I was so tired that I could rest there.

But fate had other plans as the hotel I was staying at was booked for the rest of my trip! I had to find other accommodations anyway…so why not just go to the other cities?  Following that thought, I went to sleep.When I woke up, I decided to go to the front desk to figure out the best way to get to Osaka.

The concierge gave me a website that greatly simplified all of my travel around Japan (, and solidified my decision to use my remaining days to visit new cities. I’m really thankful for that.

My biggest challenge was managing all of my luggage in the various train stations, and on-and-off all of the trains. Since I’d spent a month in Thailand, it was hard to avoid the size of the bags…and it was the reality I had to deal with. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have changed anything because storing my bags or sending them ahead would have been more expensive, and more of a headache. More days and less stuff were probably the only thing that would have helped.

Since I had limited time, I decided to focus on visiting one site per city. That’s it. In Tokyo, Ueno Park was an easy choice. In Osaka, I decided that I only truly cared about seeing the Osaka Castle…and that turned into an awesome experience (I sort of became part of the attraction, as 20+ Japanese tourists wanted to take photos with me there! haha). And in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari was an easy choice. (I later added Yokohama simply because I found a great price on a 4.5 star hotel and decided that would be a good place to rest haha An added bonus is that there was a coach shuttle to the airport that did not require anymore train travel!)

I rented a bicycle and biked to Fushimi Inari just after daybreak (6:45am). After getting slightly turned around, and braving some steep uphill areas, I arrived around 7:45am. (I learned in Osaka that it is best to arrive at 8am or before to avoid massive numbers of tourists that usually flood major attractions between 9 and 10am.)

There were only a few tourists at that time, which was great because that meant that I could walk through the torii (mostly) alone…and have some people around if I wanted to take photos haha. But I think it felt most magical because it was empty and you could really feel the history. (When I left a few hours later, it was packed and devoid of a lot of that feeling.)

Still, the feeling I remember most was when I was overcome with emotion for simply being there. How I’d imagined one day being there…and, without any real plan, I’d made it.

As I stop to think about these words, I know that there was some action that was taken on my part…but I was really guided to make those actions when I needed to make them. As I flowed through the process of visiting Japan, everything worked out fine. I made decisions when I needed to make them…I was everywhere I was supposed to be.

But it is so easy to forget these lessons. It is easy to get caught up in the doing rather than the being. However, once decisions became essential, it was easy for me to get them done. I only did what I had to do when I needed to do it.

If we do only what we need to do, everything will get done.

The time at Fushimi Inari was beautiful…not just because of the magical torii and mountain hike, but also because of the reminder that we get where we want to go, even without really trying…and, usually, not when we imagined we would.

It was a reminder to me to flow more, and resist less.




November 16, 2018


ueno park 1

I have to say first that I don’t even love the picture above…haha! But it’s so perfect. While I was standing in Ueno Park in Tokyo, next to the cherry blossom tree (not in bloom, it was autumn) that inspired me to write my first published book (Meditative Questions), I was overcome with so many emotions. I was nervous returning to the site…emotional as I next to the tree and thought about how it changed my life…and blissful as I had the opportunity to bring my books back to the spot where it all started. But everyone around me was going about their day, not understanding the magnitude of the moment for me. I think that’s what I like about this photo :)

I was lucky to meet a kind American (Hi Glen, from Skywest!) who took so many pictures of me next to my beloved tree. This was one snap he captured that really stood out because I can look at this picture and feel my own joy. I mean, where’s the fun if you can’t see all of my teeth and tonsils?? haha

The moment was so precious because I reminded of how the spark that this one tree provided lit up my life in so many unexpectedly wonderful ways. As I think of this tree, I’m humbled and thankful of my bravery and courage for daring to continue with the dream of a book and make it real…and for daring to dream of a new life, and creating that too.

I will always love this tree. And I will always strive to be more like it. [Side note: Even during this visit, as I had to check myself for being unhappy that people were daring to smoke under my beloved tree! But then, I recognized that my tree gracefully provided shelter for smokers and non-smokers (I expanded that idea saints and sinners) alike, without judgement. I also laughed as I thought about how I came back looking like a tree myself! haha]



ueno park 2




November 16, 2018


When I traveled to Thailand, I had expected to stay at the Lamai Muay Thai Camp and train daily. I did that. I expected the become physically stronger. I did. And I expected to meet good people. Another check mark.

On the basic levels, my month-long stay in Thailand went exactly as I expected. But as I reflect back on my time there, I realize very quickly that nothing went the way I’d expected.

I’d expected to return to my normal, hormone-balanced weight…nope, didn’t happen. (But it eventually will haha) I’d expected the weather to be cool…it was unbelievably hot (100 degrees in Oct/Nov!).  I’d expected that I wouldn’t get anything done…I somehow wrote three books in one week! I thought I’d meet new friends…but the new friends I met actually became new family.

Transformational Reiki

Also during my visit, I received a Reiki session from my new friend-turned-sister that completely rocked my world. I’ll be honest, I was completely skeptical of Reiki…I didn’t think gliding your hands above someone’s body could really do anything. But because I vibed with my sister Sheila, I wanted to support her. She explained that the process was all about energy flow and healing, similar to acupuncture–without the needles haha! I rolled with it all, without expectation.

As I think back on the session (Oct 28th, a special day for me because of my Heavenly Grams), I’m still amazed. When her hands were on my head, my thoughts went very quickly from useless (“did I remember to turn off my cell phone ringer?”) to transformational (visualization of myself as a being of light, moving into the galaxy). Everything was so real and it became like a waking dream. I saw Mooji laughing and encouraging me to drop my small self and merge with everything. It was a spiritual call for transcendence…and I witnessed myself resisting the call, instead choosing to stay in my small self to spread light, and potentially make new light. It was surreal.

As Sheila continued the Reiki, I felt other sensations…like feeling my heart race, as she moved her hands over my heart (omg!), and I had other scattered thoughts as different parts of my pysche were activated. But I kept returning to the universal vision and experience of that level of freedom. I experienced moments of light-headedness, but Sheila always seemed to know when to pull back to alleviate those feelings.

When we were done, I think I called her a magician haha I was floored by the experience, but to my surprise, so was she! During our talk, she expressed to me the crazy activity she felt in my mind (she said it felt magnetic), and she told me she wasn’t surprised about the deep thoughts I was having. She told me that she felt my heart was working overtime, but that there was some conflict.

In my solar plexus, my sense of self was rock solid…almost as it was pushing her away! She felt my independence and strength there, and helped to make a bridge between my self and my heart. Messages of “freedom” came through to her…and, most unbelievably (and believably), Sheila told me that one of my Native American ancestors joined that session and told her that “she is me.” By this point I’m floored, and in tears, as Sheila told me of her experience with this ancestor who cradled me and participated in the healing. She apparently told Sheila about how some of my dislikes and likes were hers. Even now, my heart races a bit thinking of it.

It was a magical experience, and nothing that I expected.

Even now, I don’t know what it all means…but on some level, I know that I’m not supposed to understand. I think I’m simply meant to have appreciation for the experience and an understanding that there are so many forces greater than us…that are a part of us…that we may never understand.

I was reminded that often times we go into situations with clear expectations about what the experience will be…and we are proven wrong.

I remain so thankful for the experience that I had in Lamai…and for the lifelong bonds that were created. I was transformed in ways that I never thought I would be…and those changes always carry unexpected ripples into the future. Here’s hoping that those ripples are as beautiful as this memory.


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image source: by mmpninja

Thanks, Sheila <3 + xo ;)

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