Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Woman in the Mirror

When I was a child I used to talk to a woman in the mirror.

We were best friends. We shared so many things; we combed our hair together; we even did our first make up together, when I secretly took my mother’s make up box, and we tried all shades and colours before she could catch us.

We spent a lot of time together telling each other stories. I used to tell her what I would like to be when I grew up; it was one of my favourite pastimes. We really liked each other. And she was with me all the time, because mum gave me one of her old powder compacts — there was a mirror in it, so I could take her with me everywhere.

As I grew older, many other friends came into my life: girlfriends, boyfriends, and “the boyfriends”. Life became very busy; there were so many things out there to discover, to talk about, to engage with.

As time passed, the women in the mirror became ever more a blurred image, until the day she finally disappeared, and I completely forgot about her existence.

Career took place; serious relationships took place; serious commitments took place; serious decisions took place. Life took charge like a river, and I was going with the flow.

I was no longer a girl when one day after a shower I had a fright! I looked at the mirror, and I saw a woman! I didn’t recognize her at first. She was not old, but she looked weary, tired; she had a very sad look in her eyes. In fact, I felt very uncomfortable looking at her, and my first reaction was to run away. But she looked back at me; she looked into my eyes; and a chilled feeling went through my whole body, up and down my spine, and I knew I had to face her.

I tried to start a conversation, and said “Hi, who are you?” She looked back at me, a bit surprised, and in a calm and sad voice replied, “Don’t you know me anymore?” I was confused. “Did I know you before?” She evinced a shy smile and looked at me intensely. “We used to be best friends,” she said. “Really? I don’t rememb… Oh — OMG, yes, I do remember you now! It was a long time ago. Yes, you’re right! But — you looked very different back then”. “Yes, indeed, I was very different,” she replied.

“What happened to you?” I asked. She looked deeply into my eyes and said, “I’m not loved any more. I’ve been forgotten by the one I loved most. In the past years everyone else became more important than I was. Before, we were great companions, we shared many things, we told our secrets to each other, and we had such plans for our future; our love for each other was our strength, and there was nothing more important than that. We knew we were beautiful, and we were very happy. Everything around us was worth living because we were together, because we were one.”

I could understand perfectly what she was saying. I couldn’t recall the time I felt such love anymore; I was, myself, very lonely, lost, trying to find where the river of life was taking me. I’d lost control; I felt I was being taken somewhere I didn’t know. I wasn’t happy, but didn’t know what to do or who could help me. In fact, I was quite scared.

I looked back at her and asked, “Can I help you?” She looked at me for a long, while — then she finally opened up with a big smile and said, “Yes! Actually, the truth is that you’re the only one who can help me. I’ve been waiting for you all these years. I felt desperate sometimes, but deep down I had the hope that one day you’d come back. Yes, you can help me. Give me your love, and I’ll be able to be what I was meant to be — that beautiful woman you used to talk to when you were a child, the one you admired, the wise woman who shared all your secrets, the one you believed was the most wonderful and loving, the one who could spread and share love wherever you took her — the one with whom you enjoyed the happiest days in your life. ”

I felt overwhelmed. I felt sad, but at the same time there was a tiny sense of joy deep inside me. Maybe it was the hope that I could again feel everything she was telling me. Although I was confused, and didn’t really know how to get started, I felt happy to know that my love could help her, the woman in the mirror.

I made her a promise that I would love, cherish, respect, and admire her every single day of my life. I gave her my word that I would always be with her. I don’t need to have the powder compact with me, as when I was a child, but I reassured her that I will always keep her present.

Since that day, there’s a routine I follow every morning: I get up and go to meet her at the mirror. She’s already there, waiting for me. We both smile at each other and I greet her: “Good morning, Darling! You’re looking wonderful today — even better than yesterday. I’m always so happy to see you. Look after yourself, and don’t forget, I love you. Have a great day!”

Since then, the woman in the mirror has blossomed. And it’s visible that she’s happy, she’s whole, she’s wonderful! All the love I give to her, I receive in return, multiplied. Finding her again really changed my life for the best.

She told me she will be 48 next month, and I can tell you, she looks gorgeous! I love her dearly!

PS Image by Francoise Nielly

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The first time I heard people greeting each other in Ireland I was a bit puzzled…

Once you ask an Irish person; “How are you?” the answer is, “not too bad…”

What is that? ‘Not too bad?’ What does it really mean? Those questions popped into my mind. I didn’t know what “not too bad” really meant. And to be honest, still don’t.

In what kind of ‘state’ are you, or is your life that can express and define, “not too bad!”? You are not bad, but you are not good either; and neither too bad… really confusing.

It was clear to me that it couldn't be a positive state, therefore, I never used it when someone greeted me. I preferred using “I’m very well, thank you.”

It is funny thinking about it now; but it was definitely something that bothered me, somehow. Maybe because, despite of not understanding the real meaning behind it, it couldn’t fit into my spontaneous positive nature. :-)

In Brazil, when someone greets you, the question is not really “how are you?” it is literally “Is everything good?” To which, your answer is always; “everything is good”. And, in a more informal environment and/or with friends, the answer will be just “everything”. Which I believe is even more powerful because it really means EVERYTHING!

Few years ago I met a guy; today he is a friend; who when asked the same question, “How are you?” He first would open a huge smile (and he has a beautiful one!) and then answer, “Excellent!”

WOW! Isn’t it wonderful, and powerful? His excellency was contagious, it immediately affected me. I felt I wanted to be excellent too. And decided copying him every time I had the opportunity until it would become a spontaneous answer to a greeting.

I truly believe that we are the ones who design, and define, the greatness of everything around us, and in our life. Through the way we think, and the things we believe. And, this projects and defines the way people see us, and how our lives unfold around us.

Of course, keeping an upstanding state of mind requires first awareness, then, vigilance. It is an endless work and commitment to oneself.

So, “excellent” was a conscious choice for a greeting answer, it was going to be another tool to be used for my self-improvement, as a whole. Until recently, when I came across an answer from another friend that excelled my excellent answer!

I immediately thought to myself, “That is it. It fits me up and down, sideways, and inside out!” It falls into everything I believe, and work for. It is a must to be used, and be grateful for!

Therefore dear friends, from now on, when I’m asked:

"Tulia, how are you?" 

I will proudly answer:

"Excellent and always improving!"


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Just the body….

This was what the Vet said to me when I asked: “how would you carry him?” She replied, “well, we will put him in this plastic bag… I won’t recommend you to see it… but, you know, in the end… it is just his body….” 

I’m quite sure she didn’t mean in a bad way. In fact, it is just the body anyway when you believe there is something else somewhere out there once you leave this physical world. But the idea of having him, my beloved companion for the past 13 years been referred as “just a body = skin and bones”, made me even sadder than I was.

I left the room and retreated myself. I didn’t want to see him carried away in a plastic bag. Then it came to my mind one section of Steven Covey’s book (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) which 3 years ago hit me quite hard, and made me ‘re-analyze’ how I was leading my life. I will share some extracts of it with you:

“ … Picture yourself going to the funeral of a loved one… As you walk inside the building, you see faces of friends and family you pass along the way. You feel share sorrow of losing, the joy of having known, that radiates from the hearts of the people there.

As you walk down to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral, three years from today. All these people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.

… you look the program in your hand. There are to be four speakers. The first is from your family… The second speaker is one of your friends…. The third speaker is from your work or profession… And the forth is from your church or some community organization where you’ve been involved in service.

Now think deeply. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of husband, wife, father, mother… son, daughter, cousin...friend… working associate?

What kind of character would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions… achievements would you like them to remember?... What difference would you like to have made in their lives?...”

And the big question was: “Are you leading your life, through your actions and behaviors, to achieve that? To be remembered, and valued the way you would like to?...”

My most loved Chico had gone. Although I could say that he had truly lived his life in a way that he could only be remembered as the most joyful, trustworthy, loyal and honest friend ever; for the ones who knew him he could only be remembered at utmost level of character integrity; still, for someone who didn’t know him, he was just a body….

Which made me to realise that when we reach the end of this physical life, for some people, no matter what, we will be just ‘a body’; easily disposable…

But it also reinforced to me that, if you lead your life with integrity, and honesty to yourself above all, once you leave this world I’m positive that there will be more of you than a body to be remembered in someone’s heart.

To my beloved Chico who left us the past Friday, August 17th.

You will always be in my heart ‘bola’!


Monday, 16 July 2012

The Element

In an interview to El Pais, Lang Lang, the Chinese piano player, told to the interviewer that when he was in his early teens he failed in a piano contest and his father told him “…you have two options: you can jump through the window right now, or can take some poison.” He said he never talked to his father since.

When you learn about Lang Lang’s career, and all his success and contribution to the musical world, you can only feel amazed and show respect. Despite such proposal coming from his own father, and many other adversities, he trusted his own talent and pursued his dream.

Many people wouldn’t have had the strength and motivation to keep going after such remark coming from their own father. But Lang Lang did, and succeeded.

The question is: “what makes people to keep going under such adversities, and where do they find the strength?”

As per Steven Jobs: "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle."

In the other hand, Sir Ken Robison, in his book The Element, explains that we have to find our Element in order to find true happiness and fulfillment in life. He says, “The Element is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion. When people are in their Element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose, and well-being.” And he adds, “…many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their own powers; they don’t understand their true organic nature; they don’t understand their constant potential for renewal.”

It is clear that Lang Lang understood them all, and from an early age. And so Steven Jobs, and all those people who faced so many adversities in their lives and not only kept going but excelled in whatever they decided to pursue.

Finding your Element sometimes means breaking rules imposed by your own personal, social and cultural environments. Therefore, I believe that what brings us to our Element is passion!

When you do something with passion, no matter how hard it could be, instead of taking away your energy it fuels you with it; even when you are physically exhausted. It is when there is no distinction between work and pleasure; they blend in such a powerful way that the more you give in, the more you get back.

It is only when you find your passion and love what you do that you find the strength to stand up every time, and any time, you fall. Finding your Element is to transcend this physical world, it is when miracles happen.

I leave you here with Lang Lang at his Element!

Friday, 29 June 2012


Few weeks ago I went back to Spain to a event organised in Puig de la Balma by my Toastmasters Club, Prestigious Speakers, and I had to deliver a Speech After Dinner.

I decided there was not a better topic than talk about them, my friends, about our friendship; how much it mattered to me.

There is so much one have inside when talking about good friends, special friends, that you really need some time to deliberate what, and how, you want to express your feelings towards them.

I had prepared my speech very carefully, and felt my message was clear and expressing my sincere feelings towards them. I was confident that it was going to be a good one.

The first emotion came when seeing them at the meeting point to go to Puig de la Balma. Many questions about each other lives, many laughs, lovely weather, and all the excitement of a great time together.

We travelled to the place, and the entertainments started straight away: Music, drinks, and more laughs.

Dinner finished and there was my time to be in the spotlight. Our lovely toastmasters colleague Julia, made a wonderful introduction of myself, which I honestly was not expecting, and for my own surprise I was overwhelmed by emotion. And guess what? I forgot the speech completely. A full size blank mind!

I started apologising and our colleague Florian shout loud "oh please start over again!" And, as in any Toastmasters gathering, everybody started clapping and cheering up!

More claps, more yuhus...! I had to sit down, to take a deep breath - at this moment my mind was spinning around thinking "you can to do it, you have to find the way to start, c'mon Tulia!" - And after few seconds which lasted almost an eternity, I was able to get started.

I can say my delivery was far below of what I had planned. I forgot certain parts of my script, and was not happy with that at all just after I had finished. But then I thought, does it really matter? No, it doesn't. What really mattered was that even with blanks and blackouts my message came from my heart, and I know they could feel it. And I felt the warmth coming from everybody around.

I was amongst friends!

In the Middle Ages, King Arthur's Knights, congregated around a table - a round table. As the table had no head, it implied that everyone who sat there had equal status. The table was founded in patience, humility and meekness.

The Knights of the Round Table were well-known for their honour, honesty, valour and loyalty - for the strong bond of friendship amongst them.

Around the 5th Century, the Celts believed, "friends are the ones who would bring light where the soul could shelter. And where there is light, there is life. And, the soul awakens with light."

Taking the Celts and the Knights' wisdom, through friendship and with our friends, we should aim to learn to respect and accept our differences with patience, humility and meekness.
And, with that to strengthen our foundations, where throught giving we gain most.

Friends, my blog friends, your friends are the most precious assets you can ever have in this lifetime. They are your soul mates; they are your chosen family in this lifetime journey.

Cherish them, enjoy them, celebrate them and with them.

To you, to all my friends and to the honour of being called friend back!


Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Coming back from the Toastmasters Conference in Poznan - Poland - we had a stopover in Leipzig

A lovely medieval city in Germany where my favorite baroque composer – Johann Sebastian Bach, is buried. 

St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche) was the place where he was choir director from 1723 until his death in 1750. And even now, the choir of the Thomaskirche, the famous Thomanerchor, founded in 1212, is one of the oldest and most famous boys' choirs in Germany.

I always find visiting churches a fascinating experience. The devotion and, in many cases, obsession of mankind with trying to reproduce God’s image and to reach Him through their art and music, can many times be overwhelming. However, none of those expressions can diminish the faith and artistic value of their actions.

Music, I believe, is the closest and purest communication with God -- and all invisible forces/energies -- that mankind has ever achieved, and Bach’s music is a perfect example of this.

Ever since an early age — I started playing piano when I was 6 — I felt connected with something when playing, or listening to, any piece by Bach. There is always a dialogue in his music — called counterpoint: the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent — which, on the piano, can be clearly felt with each hand.

Sometimes these dialogues are harmonious, other times they are not, but in most cases, despite all dissonances, the dialogues always finish in an agreement, in harmony, as if an inner and deeper peace is found.

I was absorbed by my thoughts listening to the Bach music that was playing in my mind, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be there, with him playing in that very church I was walking around at that moment; feeling the powerful energy emanating from the church (I believe all churches have a different energy), finding peace and enjoying the moment.

My emotions were already flowing through my body when I reached Bach’s tomb at the centre of the church’s altar. I thanked God, the Universe, for occasionally sending to this planet people who leave such a strong and beautiful legacy, as Bach did.

I was looking down at the tomb and thanking Bach for everything he left to us, when I saw a small note in a corner, almost hidden by the flowers people had left there. I couldn’t resist reading it:

“Barcelona 2012,

Gracias Maestro por ayudarme con tu música en uno de los momentos más difíciles de mi vida.

Ana X X X”

Ana, whoever you are, I have to confess that somehow I could feel your pain and… I couldn't control my tears...
This piece of music is for you.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Elvira and Ivan

Elvira, a Uzbek nurse; Ivan, a Cuban engineer; married to each other, living in Cuba in early 90s.

One day Ivan comes to Elvira and tells her that he heard that, in a country called Ireland, he could find opportunities to give them a better living. And a plan was set. 

After selling all family’s few possessions, Ivan left for Ireland with the hope of a better future for him and his family, leaving Elvira and their little boy behind with the promise that he’d be coming back.

Two months after he left, Elvira discovered she was pregnant by him. She panicked. She thought to herself that she was not going to have a baby alone, so she made up her mind and decided to follow Ivan’s footprints. They had a very limited way of contacting each other, so she didn’t have a chance to tell him her plan, but she had made up her mind.  Nothing was going to stop her.

Leaving Cuba was troublesome. As a  Uzbek  she could only go back "home", to Uzbekistan  in the former USSR —  nowhere else. Therefore, it required a lot of preparation, visas, permits, and luck. There was no money left. She had to sell everything she could: the family’s silverware, jewellery, furniture, everything. The money she got from the sales was only enough to buy the tickets for the boy and herself; not much was left.

At that time there was a flight from Cuba to Uzbekistan with a stopover in Shannon, Ireland. The plan was, when arriving in Ireland, during the boarding transfers, she would run to the immigration and ask for asylum.

Elvira left Cuba, to cross the Atlantic Ocean, with her son, carrying her baby in her belly and a small handbag under her arm. No suitcases, nothing else, not even a look back. Not even knowing where or how, she would find Ivan.

When she arrived at Shannon, she knew she had to act fast. While waiting for the next boarding, she tried to think straight about what to do, and how. She couldn’t speak the language. She hadn’t seen the Immigration desk. She was extremely nervous. In her small handbag she had a set of underwear for herself, and another set for the boy, and some cash - $2 US dollars. She took the boy and walked to a kiosk to buy something to eat; only to realise that the money she had was enough to buy only two small sandwiches.  She bought one for the boy, and for herself a pack of cigarettes, which she smoked one after the other, trying to calm herself down.

When the next boarding was announced, she took the boy by hand and ran into the restroom, went into one of the cubicles, and locked it. She was sweating, panicking, trying to keep the boy quiet, not really knowing what to do, praying to God to give her some light; and almost collapsing when she heard their names called over the loudspeakers.

She couldn’t recall how long they stayed there; one hour? three? She doesn’t know. When she felt a little safer, she decided to leave and go in search of the immigration desk. She knew she had to act fast; if the police were to get her, she’d be in serious trouble, and they would be probably deported. She had to find the Immigration desk at any cost!

She looked at the boy and said, “Baby, no matter what, just run with mummy, ok? “

She left the restroom, trying to act normal, trying to see straight, and trying to find the Immigration desk. She felt as if her eyes were defying her; she couldn’t see clearly and she couldn’t even breathe properly. When she thought she was about to faint, she finally spot the Immigration desk. She ran towards it and stood in front of the Officer, and then, she collapsed — and fainted!

She woke up with many Officers around her. She started speaking the only words she knew in their language: “Asylum please! Asylum please!” They couldn’t speak her language, either. But her boy could speak Spanish, so they organised a Spanish interpreter.

And, finally, through her 4 year old boy, she could tell her story.  And she made it clear: “I’m not leaving this country without my husband!”

They were taken to one of those ‘Asylum seekers shelters’, and after a month or so, she was finally reunited with her husband. She was 7 months pregnant at the time.

When Elvira told me this story, her story, she was already working in a hospital, Ivan was working in an IT company, they had bought their own house in Dublin, and she had had not only one child after her arrival in the country, but two beautiful girls.

I heard many stories about Cuban immigration to Ireland, and to other countries; I heard many stories about immigrants and immigration in general. I’m an immigrant myself, and I also have my own story, which also had its struggles.

But, Elvira’s story really touched me. The scene of her and the boy at the airport in Shannon, locked in the cubicle, hiding from security, then running to find the Immigration desk — I still don’t know if it was an act of courage or despair, or both.

If I could say something about Elvira’s story, I would say that it put into perspective for me that for some people, between them and the opportunities of life, there is a huge gap, much wider and much deeper than the Atlantic Ocean.

But not even that can stop them!

What I really learned from Elvira’s story, my friends, is, “What lies between us and our dreams and our desires, should only be our determination to make them into reality.”


Sunday, 6 May 2012


Few days ago I was having breakfast at a hotel in Fulda, in Germany, and there was a young family sitting at the table beside me with their Toddler.

Demanding as every Toddler can be, there he was, screaming and pointing to every single item which attracted his attention.  The parents, trying to keep him quiet and to have some breakfast, kept giving to him every single item he pointed to.

Thoughts take us abruptly to some places, although we don’t consciously know the reason, and I caught myself looking at the Toddler and remembering one person with whom I had a relationship many years ago.
Why?  I asked myself.  Surprisingly my subconscious mind immediately came up with the answer:  he was like a Toddler!

If I were to ask you if you’ve ever been in a relationship with a Toddler, you might think I’m a bit insane. But I can prove to you that many of us, at certain times in our lives, have gotten lost in a Toddler’s world.

Toddlers are very charming.  They want to attract you, and everyone, into their world.  Once you’re there, you suddenly realize that they believe they are the center of your, and everyone else’s, Universe, and that everything and everyone revolves/navigates around them, and can be reached at any time.

Toddlers are all about demands.  Their priorities are, they believe, everyone’s priorities.  Although it’s better to say that they don’t even acknowledge other people’s priorities.  They can see the world only, and solely, from the central position they believe they hold.

In the games of daily life, they set the rules.  If you don’t play the way they want, they’ll make sure you feel miserable, and worse, guilty, for upsetting them.  Taking responsibility for their actions is something they also don’t understand — when something doesn’t go the way they expect, of course it’s someone else’s fault.

A relationship with a Toddler is, honestly, nerve-wracking! You live in constant tension, not knowing what he will demand next.  And worse, you want to be ready, to be able to guess his demands prior to being asked, because you want at all costs to avoid a confrontation.  Because, you know, there is no negotiation, nor common sense, with a Toddler.

The fact is, when you get dragged into the gravity field of a Toddler, on the contrary to our lovely Sun, which give us its light and, with that, gives us life, the Toddler takes all your light.  He is the only one allowed to shine. The longer you stay around him, the more probable it is that you’ll end up as just one little faded star in the Toddler’s constellation — or you’ll have gone completely dark.

Contrary to my Toddler, that little boy at the table beside will grow up and, we hope, will realize one day that he can become a key part of someone’s Universe if he’s willing to share the warmth of his light, and be grateful and happy every time they shine.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dos and Don'ts

Last year, few hours before I was due to deliver a speech at a Toastmasters Conference in Lisbon, the contest chair asked me few questions to introduce myself to the audience.  One thing she asked me was: "What are the things you like doing?"

Surprise, surprise -- I got stuck!  Yes, for a lapse of time I couldn’t list what are the things that I do like. To get away from that frozen moment, which seemed to last an eternity, I answered something -- liketo read, to travel, to dance…. whatever.

I could see in her face that she was somehow disappointed by my lack of creativity. I’m sure she thought I was a bit more interesting. And so did I.

I couldn’t get rid of that unpleasant feeling, and I started wondering why I had that reaction.

After baking it in my mind for a considerable time, I realized that it always seems much easier to say what we don’t like, don’t want, don’t care for, don’t love; than what we do like, do want, do care for, do love. Why is that?

I've heard many people say, “I don’t know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want.”

Why do we spend time making sure of our don’ts? Wouldn’t it be more productive to make sure of our dos?

I challenge you to ask yourself what you do like, and then check how long it takes you to come up with a small list of your dos. Then ask yourself what you don’t like (in this order), and check the time. You might be surprised.

The fact is, if you are absolutely clear of what you do want for yourself, for your life, for your family, then when something is presented to you, if your dos are not there, you don’t even need to bother to look at it. You don’t even need to check about the don’ts.  If the dos are not there, then it's not for you. Simple! 

As a result, you will always be looking at things, opportunities, people, through a positive prism. Won't that be more pleasant? 

Mother Theresa once said: "Don't ask me to campaign against war, ask me to campaign Pro-Peace!"

It is all about choices. Whether you look at things from a positive or negative point of view, it's always your choice...

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”*

*Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Rapunzel was one of my favourite's fairy tales. I had it in LP and used to listen to it over and over again, and to sing along with Rapunzel... "I'm 15 years old, living in this tower alone, braiding my hair and singing along, while waiting for my prince to come, rescue me, and take me home..."

I'm from a generation where too many fairy tales were told to us. There was always a poor girl, somehow under the spell of a certain witch and/or witchcraft, always waiting for a prince to rescue her.

Unfortunately, to add to her suffering, the witch (another woman) was always there to put her under stress, to take the prince away from her. Therefore, she could never be happy until the day the prince; 1) would choose her, and 2) would finally come to rescue her...

The side effect of this was, a prince expectation was really built in our brains, in our lives. And it has been a cause of a lot of misery of many women of my generation, I believe.  Even when we refused to admit it, deep down, we believed that we could only be whole, and happy, when the male figure became part of our lives.

Don't take me wrong. I love the male figure. I love to have one in my life. But, despite the fact that Rapunzel's story has first written in 1812, I have to confess that I also bumped into a lot of walls before I realised that I had to be whole myself in order to really welcome the other whole in my life
It is not about looking for your half-orange. It is about being a full orange yourself and meet another full orange, and together make a very rich and concentrated orange juice.

Back to Rapunzel's tale: she was locked in a tower, with just one window, with no way to escape. And what did she do? She sang, melancholically, while wrapping her long hair, waiting for the only "thing" that could save her, could make her happy, could give her future some meaning: a prince to come to rescue her. But, in the meantime, while the prince didn't show up, she had to cope with the visits of the witch who was there to confirm her misery, to remind her of her unlucky fate.
As all other girls from story tales, Rapunzel was always a victim.

The bad news is, there are still too many Rapunzels around.

However, there are some good news. You can always change your fate.
I truly believe so.

What about giving another meaning to Rapunzel's story...?

"Once upon a time there was a wonderful woman called Rapunzel. She was taken to a tower, with no way to escape. The door was locked from outside, and there was only one window. 
She knew, from the stories that were told to her, that she should be there singing and waiting, until the day, somehow, from somewhere, A prince would come to rescue her. 
She should be ready, and for that she should grow her hair to be long enough for the prince to climb up to her, when the so longed day would arrive.
But, this lady Rapunzel, was not like the other ones before, and instead of feeling miserable, waiting for A prince to rescue her, as her predecessors did, she took the time in the tower to learn about herself, to listen to her inner voice and, above all, to learn how to love herself deeply. 
As time passed, the more she learned about herself, more peaceful she felt, and with the realization of  how precious she was, instead of growing a long hair to help someone to reach her, to rescue her, she grew wings and through the window she flew away and set herself free..." 


Friday, 6 April 2012

Weeds and Vampires

Some of you might not know but I have an old dog. A 13 year old Golden Retriever, who is now almost blind, almost deaf, and has almost no sense of smell.

A long time ago, I read a book about dogs' behaviour and psychology, and in this book one thing that struck me was: when dogs get old, or become a hazard to their pack, they are either left to die, or killed by the pack leader. Shocking right?

Lately, when walking my dog, I’ve observed that every time another dog comes to meet him, even when from the distance the other dog comes wagging his tale (which means he is in a friendly mood), once he gets closer he attacks my old one.

This wouldn’t happen before. And I started wondering why.

I got to the conclusion, that the other dog might sense my dog’s weakness. Therefore my dog is a hazard to be eliminated.
Not fair, I thought at first. But, giving it a second thought I realised that this is typical  human misunderstanding of nature's wisdom.

Take a look at your plants. All old and dying leaves, the weeds, have to be removed in order to allow the plant to keep growing and blossoming.

Now take a look at our own lives. How many times we have experienced relationships at work, within our family and close ones, where there are some people who are like weeds and vampires. They are sucking our vital energy, our blood, and we are still feeling guilty because we know we don’t have enough for both of us.

Well, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t allow those weeds and vampires take over you. You shouldn’t weaken yourself to give to others. It is against nature.

As for my dog, I can say he is not a burden to me. But I can fully understand why he is a hazard to his pack mattes.

Think about that and do yourself a favour: "Follow nature's wisdom and start your spring cleaning by cutting off all weeds and exorcising all vampires of your life, and start blossoming."

Happy Easter!


Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Sharing a bit of Brazilian Popular Music...

"Choro, traditionally called chorinho ("little cry" or "little lament"), is a Brazilian popular music instrumental style. Its origins are in the 19th century in Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style often has a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by virtuosity, improvisation, subtle modulations and full of syncopation and counterpoint.

Choro is considered the first urban popular music typical of Brazil.

In the 19th century, choro resulted from the style of playing several musical genres (polka, schottische, waltz, mazurka and habanera) by carioca musicians, who were already strongly influenced by African rhythms, principally the lundu and the batuque. The term "choro" was used informally at first to refer to the style of playing, or a particular instrumental ensemble.

Just like ragtime in the United States, tango in Argentina and habanera in Cuba, choro springs up as a result of influences of musical styles and rhythms coming from Europe and Africa."
Source: Wikipedia

Enjoy it!

Sunday, 18 March 2012


A couple of months ago I delivered a speech in my Prestigious Speakers Toasmasters club in Barcelona where the core message was "every time you fall, get up, shake the dust and keep walking."

Recently I had to face a big new challenge in my life. Something that I had never planned before moving to Switzerland, honestly. I was "kindly asked" by my partner (who is an excellent skier) to learn to ski.
He loves it so much that he wanted to share that joy with me. For that, I would have to learn how to do it.

I was a bit sceptical.... Being a Brazilian, my closest relationship with ice was an ice-cream. Running down slopes was never part of any plan in my life.
But there I was, in the beautiful Zermatt, facing the 4, 478 metres (14,690ft) high, gigantic Matterhorn, thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?"

However, at this stage in life I have learned to take new challenges as opportunities. Opportunities to open new doors, to see new worlds, to discover new talents within myself.

And with that mind-set, I took my first class. Wow, it was fun!
I realised that breaking a bone was not that easy. So, the first fear was conquered.
Now, I had to practice. And so I did. I practiced over 3 hours each day, non-stop. I have to say that I was impressed with my own self-determination.
After 8 days, my big day arrived: I was finally going down a slope.

The pure air coming into my lungs, the absolutely amazing landscape, and the sense of freedom was such a powerful experience that I wanted it more and more, and each day I was aiming to overcome another little step, practising, polishing, and doing it over and over again.

When I was on my teens someone once told me: "The higher you go, the hardest and painful is the fall..." Not a motivational advice I might say. Thank God, somehow, I never followed it.

These past two weeks, being there, at the top of the world, looking at Matterhorn, such statement came to my mind and made me laugh. Taking the ski experience as an analogy to that statement, if I had a chance to meet that person again, I would love to say: "Dear friend, aim for the highest you can imagine. You will fall, of course, it is part of the learning process. But, every time you get up, you will be a step further, you will be amazed with the new talents you discover within yourself, and the new environments you will be surrounded by. And I can promise you that you will be willing to fall as many times necessary to conquer those new horizons."


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sin Condiciones

"Quiero que me oigas sin juzgarme,
Quiero que opines sin aconsejarme,
Quiero que confíes en mí sin exigirme, 
Quiero que me ayudes sin intentar decidir por mí,
Quiero que me cuides sin anularme,
Quiero que me mires sin proyectar tus cosas en mí,
Quiero que me abraces sin asfixiarme,
Quiero que me animes sin empujarme,
Quiero que me sostengas sin hacerte cargo de mí,
Quiero que me protejas sin mentiras,
Quiero que te acerques sin invadirme,
Quiero que conozcas las cosas mías que más te disgusten,
Que las aceptes y que no pretendas cambiarlas,
Quiero que sepas, que hoy, por lo menos hoy, tu puedes contar conmigo,
Sin condiciones."
Jorge Bucay

Descifre, con Bucay, las entrelineas de su poesía.

Parte I

Parte II


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

"We live under the impression that in order for something to be divine it has to be perfect. We are mistaken. In fact, the exact opposite is true. 
To be divine is to be whole and to be whole is to be everything; the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, the holy and the devil.

When we take the time to discover our shadow and its gifts we will understand what Jung meant by – The gold is in the dark.
Each of us needs to find that gold in order to reunite with our sacred self.

The dark parts of our psyches are only dark when they are stuffed away and hidden. When we bring them into the light of our consciousness and fine their sacred gifts, they transform us. Then we are free.

Each aspect within us needs understanding and compassion. Turn your wounds into wisdom.

Shadow work is not intellectual; it’s a journey from the head to the heart. Owning your shadow restores your body’s natural tendency towards wholeness. When you are whole you are healed.

When we can lovingly hold all of these traits together in one hand, without judgment, they will naturally integrate into our system. Then we can take off our masks and trust that the universe created each of us with a divine design.

Then we can stand tall, embracing the world within.”

PS Extracts from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" by Debbie Ford

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Anam Cara

"In the Celtic Tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. 

One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul love; the old Gaelic term for this is Anam Cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and Cara is the word for friend.

In the early Celtic Church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion or spiritual guide was called an anam cara. With the anam cara you could share your innermost self, your mind your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging.

You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the ´friend of your soul’. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship. In this love, you were understood as you are without mask or pretension.

Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really fell understood, you feel free to release your self into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul*."

Today, Valentine’s Day, celebrate love taking the teachings from the Celtic culture and bring them into our daily lives, and awaken the anam cara who lives within us, around us, with us, and which most of times we are too busy to aknowledge.

Nourish the anam cara within you and celebrate love every day, forever.

*Extract from Anam Cara – The Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World by John O’Donohue

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Release Yourself from Old Wounds

There is a story of two monks journeying home who come to the banks of a fast flowing river.
When they reach the riverside they see a young woman unable to cross.
One of the monks picks her up in his arms, carries her through the current, and sets her safely on the other side.
Then the two monks continue on their travels.

Finally the monk who crossed the river alone can restrain himself no longer and he begins to rebuke his brother,   "You know it is against our rules to touch a woman. You have broken our holy vows!"
The other monk answers, "Brother, I left that young woman on the banks of the river. Are you still carrying her?"

Remember, when you hold on to old wounds you continue down the road carrying that burden....

Release yourself from your old wounds, and open your heart to new possibilities.


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

St Brigid's Day - February 1st

Brigid was born at the time of major transition in 5th century in Ireland. She embodies in herself the pre-Christian Celtic and Christian Celtic spirit. It is generally accepted that St. Brigid built her double monastery for men and women in Kildare around 470AD.
A woman of wisdom and common sense, Brigid's genius for leadership and organization is widely recognized.

Brigid was one of the many Celtic saints who insisted that a vital component of the spiritual life is having a soul friend (anam cara). Celtic Spirituality has a profound sense of the presence of God in everyone and in everything. IT is a spirituality nourished by ritual, tradition, contemplation, experience and story.

Saint Brigid is one the few saints who stands on the boundary between pagan mythology, Druidism and Christian spirituality. Saint Brigid is the most famous female leader of the early Celtic Christian Church.

Brigid is remembered through the ages as a woman of the land.
Her feast day on the 1st of February marks the first day of Spring in the noorthern hemisphere. 
It is the season when we celebrate new life on earth.

It is believed that Saint Brigid's Cross protects the house from fire and evil.

"Saint Brigid's Blessing

May Brigid bless the house where in you dwell
Bless every fireside, every wall and door
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy
Bless every foot that walks its portals through
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you."

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Do schools kill creativity?

Dear all,
Light up your creativity

I believe we all have had the experience of feeling 'misplaced' some times in our lives; when you don't really fit in.

If you are fortunate, you might find someone, or an environment, along your journey in life that welcome you the way you are, and trust and motivate your capabilities.

Sir Ken Robinson gives a wonderful insight on how our education system, our society, can kill one of our most precious gift, our creativity.

In his own words:
"Creativity is important to education as literacy. 
We should give it the same status."

He also says, "if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come with something original."

And I would add, "if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never let yourself be free and grow."

It is time to all of us to liberate ourselves and enjoy the gift of just be.

Enjoy the talk.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Art of Purposeful Storytelling

Dear ladies,

Listening to a good story is always fascinating.
It can bring you to different worlds, open new perspectives, new dreams.

Storytelling is a powerful and efficient tool to deliver your message.
It helps to motivate and engage people with you and your objectives.

Peter Guber, former CEO and chairman of Sony Pictures, and 
active chairman and CEO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group, explains why storytelling is so important when it comes to attracting and connecting to your audience.
Take a few minutes to watch this video from Harvard Business Review.
Sit back and enjoy it.

The Art of Purposeful Storytelling