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Talk About Your Loved Ones Who Have Passed…


Do you freely talk about your loved ones who have passed?

Death is such touchy subject. Unless experiencing the loss of a loved one up-close and personal, people try to avoid the theme as much as they can.


In my household, and at Pat’s, we talk about and treat death with honesty, humbled by the experiences we’ve had, and honor the life we have the gift to live.

We don’t seek the conversation actively, but we don’t shy away from it either. It is not taboo. An example of this is how candidly and freely Karlee (Pat’s five year old granddaughter) talks to her cousin, Jada, about the death of Jada’s father, Pat’s son Gregory.

One day, we were playing Barbies. A Barbie convertible was part of the game. Karlee was doing, I don’t remember what, to the car and Jada asked her to please be more careful as that car was a gift from her dad. Karlee replied, in a sweet yet very wise way, that she got the importance and meaning the car has to Jada because, “your dad gave it to you and he died, right?” 

As simple as that. And… It’s true. He died. Like my husband also died. So what do you reply to that? Nothing special. You say “yes” gracefully and keep on playing. 

Death can be a touchy subject but when you treat it with respect, honor, and normalcy, it becomes just another conversation topic. At least that’s how I see it…


When I was growing up, we rarely spoke of our family members after they passed. I thought this was “normal”, until my son passed. 

You see, it’s very important for me to keep my son “alive” for my granddaughter. Her father was the only parent she had known since she was two years old. He was a single parent, both mom and dad to her. 

It is important for me that she “feels” his presence. It is important that I share stories with her about things he did when he was growing up. It is important for me to tell his story to her, so she “knows” her father, keeps her strong connection to him. 

It is important for us, as a family, to talk about my son. We often laugh about things he said or did. Laughing is healing. 

We are also not afraid to share with each other when our hearts hurt because we are missing him so badly. We cry together, hold each other. Crying is also healing. 

In our homes, death is a part of our normal, as Alicia said. We “ about and treat death with honesty, humbled by the experiences we’ve had…”

Humbled by the gifts of our loss that we would never have known if we chose not to talk about our loved ones, if talking about our beloveds was taboo.

In Light and Love,

We Are Not Meant To Stay Wounded

We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds — the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise.” – Caroline Myss

We are not meant to stay wounded…

We aren’t.

When life hits us with all its might, we feel as if we have no other choice but to be wounded. We become the wound.

When we become the wound we incessantly pick at it. We rip off the scab. We make it bleed. We leave it open, raw, unattended. We don’t allow a scar tissue to form, to seal the wound, to protect it and consequently heal it.

When we act as if we are the wound, we try to wound others. Our pain is so big we want to bring it upon everyone and anyone. We do this mostly and especially with those closest to us.

We want them to feel our pain. We want them to only see our wound. We want them to become a wound as well.

Only when we surrender the pain to a Higher Source we are able to let go of the need to hurt others, to hurt ourselves.

Healing takes time and patience.

At some point during this process we rediscover our own innate healing capacity and we finally allow the wound to heal. We allow a scar to form.

Once this healing occurs we are able to see “the greater gifts inherent in our wounds.” We are able to find “the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them.

When we are around those who are hurting we see their wounds as “the means through which we enter their hearts.” We help them move through…

As they heal, we heal. 

We are not meant to stay wounded…

We aren’t. Period.


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Find Something…

You have to find something. Something that anchors you, something that keeps you looking forward. Even on the bad days, the days when you’re tempted to look back.” Unknown

Sometimes things happen and normal days become bad. 
Things that do not make sense at all, no matter how we try to wrap our minds around them. Things that hit us hard, that leave us breathless. Things that come so unexpectedly they test our courage to its core. 

When things like that have happen to me, I have felt at the mercy of destiny. It has seemed to me as if I’m a puppet and my puppeteer is drunk. I have felt lost at sea during a storm. I have needed an anchor. 
When things like that have happened to loved ones, to close friends, to people dear to my heart, I have had the need to find something that anchors me, something that keeps me looking forward. Looking back, remembering, is just too painful. If I look back for too long, I’m not able to BE present. 
We all have something or someone capable of anchoring us. These people, songs, situations or things allow us to remain centered through the strongest storm. They lead us through the darkness back to that place where we can once again find the light. 

When going through rough times, what/who anchors you? What/who keeps you looking forward?

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We Only Remember the Love 

Pat and I write a long post every day. We take turns. We find inspiration in myriad places. We try to share our experiences, open our hearts, and pour down our souls in these daily words we post. 

Today, I have no words. None. No words of wisdom. No enlightening quotes. No uplifting message.
Today, I feel sad. And feeling sad is not only okay, but it is the proper reaction for the news we received before leaving work. 
As dear friends are going through painful and scary times, their pain, being too close to home, doesn’t allow me to share with the world hopeful words. Not this minute. Not today… And that’s okay. 
After going through all the pain I’ve gone through, I’ve learned that I don’t have all the answers all the time. I’ve learned that I know nothing. I’ve learned that sometimes my words are not required. I’ve learned that my presence is far more appreciated and that a heartfelt prayer is all I can actually say, even in the silence. 
Today, I want to be even more aware that life changes in a split second. That no matter how big our plans are, or how busy our life gets, there’s absolutely NOTHING more important than spending time with our loved ones, and making them feel how much we love them, every single chance we get. 

In the end, the love we shared is all we will ever remember. 



Don’t Jump Off Your Train


When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. ” – Corrie Ten Boom

There have been many instances in my life where I felt deeply enveloped by the challenge I was experiencing. On the train of my life, the tunnel I was crossing seemed too dark for me…

Darkness can have many forms. It is an individual experience. When we are going through a dark moment it’s really hard to see the light anywhere. When we are experiencing darkness we don’t know what to do or who to call. I can tell you that in many cases all that I have wanted to do was jump off the train.

At that point, surrendering was all I had.

Surrender comes on its own when we are ready. True surrender comes from within. Sitting still and trusting the “engineer” (call it God, Spirit, Universe or whatever) requires daily and constant practice.

I admit to you that I’m almost always ready to jump off the train, but when I take a deep breath, sit still and trust The Engineer, I have found that the railroad of my train takes a turn to the most beautiful routes.


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Are Beautiful Things Rooted in Pain?


I read this quote and began thinking about its accuracy. “Every beautiful thing in the world is rooted in some kind of pain.” seems too much. Has anything beautiful ever been created or manifested without the slightest amount of pain?

I started thinking about some of the things I consider beautiful. Are they indeed “rooted in some kind of pain”?

My children…There is “some kind of pain” involved in their beauty, in the beauty they represent in my life. At their births, both C-sections were somewhat painful. That is not what makes them beautiful in my eyes, but their births were “rooted in pain.” The beauty they bring into the world is “rooted in some kind of pain.” They are courageous as they continue to grow and become amazing human beings without their father. I can only imagine what and how they feel, yet they still show up in life every single day and with a smile. Beautiful indeed.

My freedom, my safety… I live in this country where I feel safe and free. I had to leave behind my homeland, my childhood memories, members of my family, half of my life, and pieces of my identity. It’s been a bittersweet experience to be here enjoying many vital and basic needs that most of the people in my country do not have the “luxury” to enjoy. For me, there has been pain and struggle to live here as well. Adapting to a new culture, new language, and new customs has not always been easy. Yet it is still amazingly beautiful. I am blessed beyond words.

Mentally, I went over many beautiful things in my life. I discovered they were somehow rooted in pain.

Pat and I recently recorded a video about honoring and giving thanks for what has been. Some of the most beautiful gifts we’ve received have come from some sort of painful situation.

As she proofread this post, she added, “I believe pain opens us to awareness, wholeness…opens our hearts, allows us to see with our hearts. When we see from our hearts, we are open to the beauty that surrounds us.”

I have come to the conclusion, the beauty pain brings is more of a sense of awareness, honoring, and appreciation. To me, when beauty manifests after or through pain, it is because we gain the mindfulness to enjoy what is. We become whole. We become aware of our wholeness.

That’s a beautiful thing indeed!

(Thanks to Bryant McGill for his wisdom.)


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Your Most Effective Ministry


Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Rick Warren

These words are true for me.

I have found healing in the wounds of many others who have had similar losses and/or have gone through similar experiences. Their life stories have inspired me. The way they have gone, or are still going, through their darkest moments has been a light in my own darkness.

I’ve met people that have tried to motivate others towards healing with words that sound wise but that are, in a way, empty. Words that have meant well but carry no healing energy, no power, no inspiration. Why? Simply because these words have come from someone who has not fully gone through a major loss, a tough or painful experience, a dark night of the soul.

Motivating others to SEE and BElieve that their own healing is somehow possible can be easier when you come from wholeheartedness, from your inner courage, from your own experience.

One of my greatest healers and ministers is Pat. The way she carries herself, the way she shows up in the world, the way she lives her truth, the way she has kept on going on has been pivotal in my own way of continuing to go on with my life during/after loss.

The “work” we do together in this “ministry” we call Iluminada is for me, one of my most effective and centering healing opportunities.

As we share our journeys with you, we find healing on the way. Hopefully, our wounds, our deepest hurts, along with our stories of joy and success inspire you as well.


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Breathe… You Are Going to BE Okay.


Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived. Breathe and know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them and eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again and again. This will pass. I promise it will pass.” — Daniell Koepke

My body aches. I am in so much pain I feel stiff. I feel short of breath. I move with difficulty and I cannot bend forward. I’m uncomfortable seating down, lying in bed, standing up… walking. There’s no apparent reason for this sudden state of soreness. Yet, I can think of one… grief.

Grief can attack your body without notice. It shows up. It hurts. It demands to be felt.

The third anniversary of my husband’s passing is coming up this week. This anniversary has been THE most painful to date. Pat has a name for this; she calls it “hell week”. A week where we go back to the hell we lived as our loved ones left this plane. I agree with her.

I’ve been there before… I’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and I’ve survived.

Can I avoid “hell week”? Perhaps, but there would be no purpose on trying to avoid it. Trying to avoid it would only make it come back stronger next time. It would be like trying to soothe the pain a rotten tooth brings with over-the-counter medicine. These feelings can’t break me…

I do wonder… Am I this sore because I am actually awakening from the slumber my life has been in? Have I really been numb for this long? I guess I have. I guess my body is trying to tell me to take it easy, to go slow, to rest, to feel in order to heal… to not be afraid anymore. I’ve been here before…

This week I’ll do just that, I will take it easy on myself. I will try my best to remember I will indeed be okay. I might forget at times; but, if I do… I will remember to breathe.

If you are experiencing a “hell week”, know you are not alone. Let’s take a breath together, shall we?


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Things That Remind Us…


My twelve year old granddaughter came home from school the other day looking like she had a difficult day. I asked her if she was ok, she said that she was “feeling really tired”. My grandma radar went off, I knew she was not telling me a complete story.

On occasion, I will go through her phone, to see who she is texting and what she is texting. Since I didn’t feel she was telling me what was really going on with her, I checked her phone. Earlier, she had sent a text to a friend stating she was really missing her dad that day.

So, we sat down and had a talk. She said she had seen a work truck from the company her dad had worked for, said it made her feel really sad, made her really miss her dad.

I told her I understood what she was saying. Told her there are things that make me feel sad and miss him when I see them or hear them. Told her that every time I see a work truck from the company he worked for or see a car that looks like the car he used to drive or hear certain songs, I too feel sad, miss him and go directly to my dark place.

I explained we will feel sad and miss him every time we see that work truck, see that type of car, hear those songs… probably for the rest of our lives.

I also explained we need to cry and feel and talk about our feelings when we experience them.

We need to do this with each other and with our family and friends because maybe, just maybe, they have just seen that work truck or that car or heard that song and they also need to cry, feel and share their experiences about the “things” that make them feel sad and miss her dad too.

In light and love,

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Allow the Healing You Desire


“Allow the healing you desire”.

Are you aware that all the health, abundance, love, and joy you need and desire is already within? You already posses all you could possibly need, but you need to awaken to this Truth. And not only to awaken to it, but to remain awake and aware to it. This, requires work. “Do you want to be made well?”

I was in meditation a few days ago after a phone call with a mentor. During this meditation, I came back with the “knowing” that the healing I desire already happened. I just have not awakened to it yet. I have not allowed it to happen. So, my prayer was, “let me see it. Let me live it. Let me become aware of it.”

I’ve had personal issues with my physical self. I have pain when I walk. I have not been able to figure out where it’s coming from, what’s causing it, why is it happening. As much energy work that has been done and as many pain killers I’ve taken, I still randomly and unexpectedly hurt when I walk.

So, after the meditation, I truly knew that the healing I need is already in me. That my body is already as perfect as it needs to be, as it came here to be. Yet I am not allowing it to express.

When Pat and I were talking about this topic, she said that any healing requires work. This work on “allowing” the healing, whether is physical, emotional, or psychological, requires work.

Important side note: We are NOT in any way saying that if there’s a medical need you shouldn’t visit a doctor. We are NOT counselors nor physicians.

The work required in the allowing, to us, means being mindful and aware of what we do, and what we say; being aware of our beliefs. Being aware of the affirmations we say on daily basis as they reflect our beliefs; they reflect what we believe to be true and it might not be. For me, personally, allowing a healing to happen, the healing you desire, is like waking up.

I think I’ve been asleep for a long time and as much as I’m dreaming this healing to happen, I have not awaken to it, hence I have not allowed it to happen. So, I have declared that I am “healthy, whole, complete, lacking in nothing”, and I will work to remain awake and aware to this Truth.

Would you consider doing this with me? To try to awaken to the Truth in you?

Here’s the VIDEO version of this post. Enjoy!

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