Burned

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Warning!!! This post contains criticism about modern dating.

Well, I finally know what it feels like to be burned by a guy. There is something fundamentally wrong about the way we date nowadays and this needs to change. I feel like an old toy that was just tossed to the side, like someone surprise attacked me and shoved a knife into my stomach and twisted it around. It stings now because the wound is fresh but I know that I deserve better and I probably dodged a bullet before I went any further with this guy.

Whatever happens when dating, there is no excuse not to be a decent human being. I swear sometimes it’s like some people need to take a class on human decency and respect. Don’t assume you know what the other person wants without checking in with them first. None of us are mind readers and therefore we cannot know the intricate details of what goes on in someone’s head or what they’re feeling in their heart without communicating with them.

I feel like a lot of guys in our culture feel pressured to play it cool around girls, to maintain this façade of masculinity or some crap, but it’s complete baloney and it’s also toxic! Being vulnerable and honestly showing yourself to another person is difficult, yes, but it is the only way to develop a true and meaningful connection with someone. You can run, you can hide, but you also won’t get to enjoy the rewards of vulnerability-genuine human connection. Also, there is nothing sexier than a guy who is honest, emotionally available, and can communicate and express himself and what he wants clearly. Can we please stop playing games with each other and just say what we want to say?

I don’t regret what happened or how I showed up with this guy because I would rather stay true to myself than tip-toe around trying to please everyone. We live and we learn. On to the next one I guess. To all the ladies and guys out there who have been burned, I feel your pain and I salute you. However, there’s a reason why you’re not with that person. It’s hard to believe that when you’ve just been hurt, but good things are coming your way.

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Plugging In

img_20190103_170847-1Hola amigos,

The concept of “unplugging” from social media and other facets of our lives is often talked about in the wellness and spiritual community. And while “unplugging” regularly is good for us to recharge our batteries, it is equally important that we choose to “plug in” and CONNECT to life. I sometimes catch myself just going through the motions, on auto-pilot, but then I tell myself Wait, this is it! Life is happening right now and I’m missing out because I’m in my head thinking about something else. I think that a lot of us feel this constant pressure to “get somewhere”, to get moving to the next thing in life. When do we ever just STOP and appreciate what we have in front of us? The coolest feeling I’ve experienced is realizing that life is perfect exactly where I’m at in this moment. Right here, right now. Connecting with the people around me, the sights, the smells, everything! Savoring every sensation and embracing it ALL.

One of my Sociology professors in college, Tony Vigorito, told us this quote that has always stuck with me…

“Attention is the currency in which reality is constructed”.

It’s a seemingly simple concept, where you focus your energy will create your reality, but I’ve found this concept to be extremely valuable and powerful in guiding me to create the life I want. How do we channel our attention and energy in a way that supports our values and desires in life? Where are you placing your attention?

Love,

Manders

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

― Lao Tzu

Footprints

 

Hola amigos,

What is success? I recently watched this video on Facebook about this “successful” businessman who had a revelation after his father passed away. His father was very sick and in the hospital, but instead of going to visit his father right away he decided to try and close the deal that he was working on for his business. He thought that him closing that deal would make his father proud and he wanted the gratification of successfully closing this huge deal. He ends up closing the deal, but then he hears that his father had passed away in the hospital. In shock and heartbroken, he had a revelation that changed his outlook on life and his definition of success. He switched his mindset from chasing the never-ending ladder of success and prioritizing external achievements TO pursuing significance and instead began to focus on leaving behind a positive legacy with his career. 

I loved this video because it reminded me that our society’s idea of “success” isn’t for everyone and maybe we should think about creating a new definition of success in our culture; one that is flexible and open-ended and values collaboration and significance. Our society values success and aggressive ambition vs. kindness and compassion. But making an impact in the world doesn’t just come from being in the newspaper or becoming rich and famous. Changing the world and making a difference comes from small deeds that often don’t make the headlines. Smiling at someone as you walk past, helping a stranger, giving someone a compliment, supporting a friend as they go through a difficult time, these simple things have the power to shift people’s lives. 

This week I had the Global Conference in Madrid with my 10 students and I could not have been more proud of them! It was incredibly rewarding and inspiring to see them debate, discuss, and collaborate with other students on the issue of juvenile crime and violence. They have come so far in the past four months preparing for this event. Not only has this been a great learning experience for them, but for me too. It’s made me want to be more aware of global issues and advocate for justice, peace, and a more sustainable society. My role at the conference was the Rapporteur, so I took roll call, kept time during speeches and debates, and got to bang the gavel:) I LOVED banging the gavel and am considering becoming a judge now! Also, the people I have met through Global Classrooms are incredible and I feel really lucky to have been part of this project. 

Sending you lots of love and hope you stop and smell the roses this week.

Love,

Manders

“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.”

-Confucius

The Arena

IMG_20190118_082316Hola amigos,

Over winter break I read the book The Alchemist for the first time and fell in love with the story and its message. I won’t go into too much detail because I highly recommend you uncover this gem for yourself, but its about discovering and pursuing our Personal Legends. Its an easy, breezy read and anyone who is passionate about finding their life’s purpose and living authentically would devour this read.

Reading The Alchemist inspired me to pursue the desires in my heart that I had always repressed or didn’t give myself permission to do in the past. Exploring new territory in life can be scary and make us want to run for the hills and hide. This week I have been experiencing a roller coaster of emotions because I started dating for the first time. I’m so happy that I’m finally putting myself out there with guys and feel comfortable enough in my skin to do so, but this fun learning experience has not been without pain and discomfort. The foreignness of it all has left me feeling simultaneously excited and anxious. There are moments when things are so thrilling and it makes you feel high, but there are also moments when the anxiety kicks in and it messes with your sleep schedule or ability to breathe normally for example. I know that it would be best for me to just go with the flow and surrender to the mystery of things, but that is much easier said than done:)

Whatever new territory you embark on, be it dating or some other experience, things can be rocky and uncomfortable at first. Even though you might experience the urge to avoid your new experience and clutch for safety, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep moving forward and lean into the discomfort. We all like to do things that make us feel comfortable and often dislike things when we’re put out of our comfort zone and pushed off our equilibrium. But the thing is that only when we step outside of our comfort zone do we have the opportunity to learn and grow. Yes, it might not be pretty in the beginning but it’s necessary if we want to continue developing our character and experience life to the fullest. So if you’re going through some newness in your life, I encourage you to hang in there because it does get better and you do get stronger.

Love,

Manders

P.S. Thank you Rachel, Chummy, Jules, and Jordyn for ALWAYS being there for me. I will love you girls more than any boy I date;)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Little Nudges

Hola amigos,

How do we know how to make decisions? How do we choose the so-called “right” way for ourselves and pave a path for ourselves that will bring us peace, joy, and prosperity? In my experiences thus far, honestly you can never truly know how something will pan out until you experience it and just wholeheartedly GO for an opportunity. Trust your intuition and honor what is on your heart. You can do all the research, make a pros and cons list, talk to other people, but sometimes the best way to go is to just JUMP. Dive in head first and see what happens. This topic has been on my mind because it’s the time of year at my school to start the process of renewal for the next school year. If you had asked me in November if I would consider doing another year of being an auxiliar in Madrid, I would have confidently said “Heck no!” but now I don’t know… As time goes by, I become more comfortable and happy here. I love where I’m at in life, but I also miss my family and friends back home. Only time will tell I guess. Nothing in this life is permanent and I feel very inspired at the moment to seize the day, to go all in, to trust my gut, and to live it up to the fullest.

This was my first week back at work from the Christmas holidays. I have been working with the “Chosen 10” students for Global Classrooms and prepping them for the official conference on January 23rd. Its been a lot of work up until this point, but I am so proud of my students. I hear them practicing their speeches, debating ideas, and coming up with resolutions for issues about juvenile crime and violence and I am amazed. They are practicing their English and discussing relevant global issues! I can’t wait to see them strut their stuff at the conference:)

I also got to explore Casa de Campo with Renee this Saturday, which is a gorgeous and ginormous park in the city, a great place to walk, bike, have a picnic, and be in nature. 

Sending you lots of love from Madrid!

Love,

Manders

 

 

 

Compelled in Portugal

 

 

Hola amigos,

I visited Portugal for the first time this past week for a little New Year’s getaway with Elin. We started in Porto for two nights, which is in the north, and then spent another two nights in Lisbon, which is in the south. We both were so charmed and in love with Porto. It’s a smaller city than Lisbon, but Porto has a lovely balance of city life and small town warmth, with a mix of old and new. The cobblestone streets are narrow and quite hilly, the buildings are eclectic colors with beautiful designs of tile called Azulejo that Porto is known for, the people are friendly and smiling, and the pastries are some of the best I’ve had. For breakfast, we went to this bakery across the street from our hotel every morning for pastries and a cappuccino. So good! The buildings and the hilly streets reminded me a little of San Francisco, but a more quaint and European version. Honestly this was one of the first year’s that I actually stayed up until midnight, but it was worth it. There was a street party downtown with live music and lots of local people and some visitors too. People were dancing and singing and just enjoying themselves-their happiness was infectious. 

 On New Year’s Day we stumbled across this insanely gorgeous cemetery with angelic statues and memorials. It was cool to see families buried together in their unique mausoleums. One of my favorite parts of Porto was walking on the Ponte Luís I Bridge and getting an incredible view of the city and the sparkling Douro River. Walking and sitting along the Ribiera/river area was another highlight. So peaceful and relaxing to just sit, stare, and have a chat with a friend. We also tried Portugal’s famous Francesinha sandwich. Look it up. Its crazy. And their Port wine, very sweet and delicious. The Tawny was my personal favorite. Something cool that I learned is that J.K. Rowling taught English in Portugal and there is this bookstore called Livraria Lello in downtown Porto that is rumored to be the place where she was inspired to create the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately that bookstore is a huge tourist trap and the line was super long so we didn’t get to go in. But even just looking from the outside, you can see the resemblance to Harry Potter: the winding wood staircases and architecture had a magical quality to it. 

After Porto, we took the 2 1/2 hour train journey to Lisbon. Seeing the landscape and countryside of Portugal was incredible! We went to the Time Out Food market, which has a variety of world class food, desserts, and drinks. Elin and I tried the famous pastel de nata dessert and the cod fish was delicious too. We also took a trolley ride downtown, saw the Belém Tower, and walked along the ocean. I didn’t like Lisbon nearly as much as Porto; it has a grungier feel and is more metropolitan-like compared to Porto. Even though we got to do a lot of things in Portugal, my favorite moments are the little things: relaxing in the hotel room with Elin, buying souvenirs, good conversation, and admiring the beauty of a new place. 

Another cultural difference I’ve noticed since being in Spain vs. USA is this idea that I refer to as “Spilled milk- a Spanish approach to living and making mistakes”

I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up as a student-athlete in Orange County, but I felt a strong pressure to be perfect all the time and because of this I developed a fear of making mistakes and trying new things. The perfectionistic culture prevalent in the U.S. is cut-throat and as an impressionable young person I found it difficult to live freely and fully. Its no wonder that anxiety and depression is at an all time high. Its because of this that I am nervous to go back home, but ultimately how we live our lives is our own choice. I’d like to think that this perfectionistic culture is changing, in some places more than others, but being in Spain has given me a taste of how life can be different. Our goal shouldn’t be perfection- maximum effort, showing up fully, giving our best, that’s what counts. Striving for excellence is different than striving for perfection. When you’re chasing perfection, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and it becomes an endless goose chase. Take the shame out of “mistakes” and laugh instead and take it easy on yourself. Its really not that big of a deal. We live and we learn. Change your perspective on “mistakes” or “failures” and embrace whatever arises throughout your day as an opportunity for growth, for learning. Our mental health and wellbeing matters too. A friendly reminder to take care of yourself! 

Hope your 2019 is off to a lovely start! Wishing you peace, joy, good health, and prosperity. 

Love,

Manders

Building a Home

Hola amigos,

This past week my family came out to visit me for Christmas. The time flew by, but it was wonderful to be together and show them around. On Christmas day, we had lunch at my place and my señora prepared an authentic Spanish feast: bread, cheese, shrimp, tortilla de patatas, ham, a mango dessert, and Spanish candies called turrón. In addition to exploring the neighborhoods and sites in Madrid, we also went on day trips to Cuenca, Segovia, and Toledo. And of course we ate a ton of food too…They were astounded by the amount of food that comes with the menu del día option and we definitely experienced our fair share of food comas but it was worth it! One thing that my brother pointed out that I hadn’t noticed before is the prevalence of street art and graffiti around the city of Madrid. They also loved how great public transportation is here, the charming streets, and the rich history of Spain, but I think they’re ready to go back to the warm weather in SoCal. Until next time!

One thing about growing up and post grad life is the shifting configuration of home. In most cases, we live somewhere with our family until we graduate high school, then we leave the nest for university, and after that we might go back home or venture somewhere new, or a mix of both. Something shifted for me my junior year of university. I came home for Thanksgiving break and my childhood home didn’t feel like home anymore. Not necessarily in a bad way; things just felt different. Maybe I felt my world expanding and knew that I had popped the Orange County bubble? Graduating university and moving to Spain gave me that similar expanded feeling…where is home now?

I’ve talked about this idea with my good friend Megan and what we’ve come to realize is that “home” is within yourself. Home is wherever you are in the world. It is not a physical place, but something you create wherever you are. I love this idea because it gives you full freedom and responsibility to create your joy and comfort no matter where you are or what circumstances you are in. Its on you to build your home. You can paint it and decorate it however you like…and remember that you hold the paint brush and the canvas is within you.

Feliz año nuevo!

Love,

Manders

P.S. Thank you Mommy, Daddy, and Ezra for coming out here..come and visit anytime:)