Pa’lante Con Mi Alma

By Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo

Ever seen those people who seem to have everything under control? And by “everything” I mean, life. Always joking around and saying positive things, constant smile on their face… I wonder, how do they do it? How do they balance everything and stay so positive all the time? I try to live my life that way: as care-free as possible, absorbing all the goodness in my life, and living positively day after day. However, there are times that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t do it.

Depression is an ugly monster that runs in my family. Despite the fact that it’s inherited, I find myself wondering how much of it may actually be learned behavior and, if so, how much can be unlearned? I’ve read countless material, spoken to other sufferers, had therapy, and even tried meds in the past and still, somehow, the beast revisits. Trying to rewire yourself is not an easy task by any means, especially when you find yourself drowning, disconnected, isolated. Though (logically) I am aware I’m not alone, solitude still manages to take over when the wave resurfaces. It is a difficult reality to confront, let alone discuss. Sleepless nights, extensive hours, private battles become harder and harder to disguise behind emoticons, exclamation points, LOL’s and “everything’s fine” facade. It is paralyzing – mentally, emotionally. Once you’re in that place, it is easy to feel defeated, helpless, and hopeless. As much as I wish they did, triumph, logic, and choice have no place in the middle of this ocean.

I do love life and know it is far from perfect – nothing is, and I’m okay with that. I love my family and close friends more than they know and understand they are not perfect either – nor am I, God knows! Despite being grateful for the love, acceptance and support I receive there are still aspects of my life that leave me lost and confused causing me to disconnect from others and, at times, even myself (like unresolved past occurrences or present day situations that I, realistically, cannot fix). It can be difficult for me to stay in that place where I can just be a spiritual being living a human experience. Sometimes I need guidelines, shown the road and provided the map. Today I have revisited, reevaluated and reawakened yet again. I can breathe a little easier, can finally write and want nothing more than to just be and live in the essence of peace, light and love (permanently). Onward with my journey…

I am thankful, here and now, to recall: four months ago I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a private workshop of De Almas… A Women’s Collective. This spiritual retreat, run by Gloria Rodriguez, offers the experience to: reconnect with your soul, unite with others, inspire, share and build bridges with fellow sisters who are in need of discovering, maintaining and illuminating their inner light. It teaches the key to inner growth = consciousness = self awareness; shows how to find and claim your essence through love and trust; guides you in being kind to yourself, and forgiving, throughout your personal journey. De Almas provides a safe haven for women to join and support each other by recognizing and breaking boundaries, overcoming fears and doubts, shape shifting thoughts and emotions so self love and acceptance can be the fuel behind spiritual freedom.

So I sit here today for the first time IN MONTHS: home alone, no distractions, functioning brain – I can finally breathe! And what I mean by breathe is: WRITE. The past few months have been extremely crazed with family obligations, personal obligations, and my on-again-off-again battles with insomnia and depression. I can FINALLY complete unfinished pieces and begin new ones, reattach the wings on my voice and let it fly again. I write, if for no other reason than to connect – with myself and, in turn, the outside world – in ways I normally could not. My pen has always known how to extract that which festers, that which illuminates, that which is silenced in the gentlest of ways injecting my soul into the veins of the universe. But it’s difficult to escape the clutch of such struggles which can, literally, anesthetize the mind. I feel I have now returned home, yet again, where reflection welcomes me – the core, the untitled, the unrestrained. It is here that I can resume forward, and leave my excess baggage at the doors of my past. Aunque sea dificil a veces, hay que seguir pa’lante, siempre pa’lante.

Some sites/links that offer inspiration, spiritual uplifting and guidance:

www.dealmas.org

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/15508.Iyanla_Vanzant

http://www.marianne.com/

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

http://www.paulocoelho.com/

photo from gracefullhome.blogspot.com

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4 Responses to “Pa’lante Con Mi Alma”

  1. This is a wonderful testimony Bernice! My wife’s family has it in the genes and we’re presently watching our eldest son. Her mother has it really bad (she has OCD on top of it and the depression drives it).
    You are SO not alone. Thank you for reminding that we aren’t either. :) Abrazos

  2. I truly felt the spirit of your writing. I am also very proud that you was able to find your way through a organization led by Latina Women. Thank you for sharing this priceless knowledge and ever rewarding experience. Peace…

  3. This was beautifully honest Bernice. It’s great that you have been able to re-connect with your pen and put to paper all of those beautiful words that reside in your mind and heart. You are talented and blessed with a gift. I always look forward to reading your work. Keep it up hermana.

  4. Depression is a beast. Like you, I’ve got it in my DNA. (I wonder, are hispanics more prone to depression than other ethnicities?) I’ve taken (still do take, as a matter of fact) anti-depressants and that helps. Exercise also helps.

    But what I’ve found to be most effective, believe it or not, is planning things in the future. I’m less susceptible to depression if I have something to look forward to. For example, my wife and I are taking a trip overseas this year and having that on the schedule keeps me positive and forward-looking.

    Best of luck. I wrote a blog post the last time I had a bout with depression. You can read it here, if you’re interested: http://dadecariaga.blogspot.com/2008/06/back-on-pax.html

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