Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Some people say that forgiveness is for the offended party. Others admit is a mutual exchange of release and making peace. We go back and forward placing blames and demanding retribution for the sake of satisfying our sense of inadequacy. Mostly shame. A single word, the very gesture of asking for forgiveness is empowering. For both parties. The veracity of this exchange is inconsequential, just the mere gesture of it is where the true power lies. Taking that power is the key to bring peace to the offended party. But in most cases, that gesture never sees the light. That is why this gesture of bringing forward forgiveness has to come from the person that was hurt. This is the only guaranty that you will find some sort of closure and start over with the hope of moving forward...


Thursday, June 6, 2013

What kind of Christian Are You?

Finding God

The vast majority of religious people, rely on the bible to measure the world. We try to interpret the word of God in different ways. I have been studying the canonical books for over twenty years from different perspectives, including the secular study of those that approach it as a work of literature and it’s historical accuracy. One of the things that experience have taught me , is to never get into a philosophical discussion with a religious person . No matter what denomination. Big no no ! I respect everyone's beliefs. But unfortunately, this is something that I have not come across very often.

We try to find God in our own way, even when it’s through limited exposure to scripture. It’s my experience that those that claim to know God’s law and church, pick and choose the passages of Scripture that fit their thinking and lifestyle. I know this, because I see it everyday. In my quest to understand how we fit into God’s plan and how we as faith full ( or non believers) perceived these teachings.

I have interviewed dozens of church leaders, teachers, missionaries and countless individuals that are militant in the church. 80% of them have a very limited knowledge of the scriptures, and those verses that they know by heart are used out of content. Just repeating what other have said over the years, over and over. I have taught Sunday school for years, and have written many programs for the service. It’s amazing how limited is the spectrum of books that people are familiar with. Many of them can recite the 23 Psalm, but have no Idea that the word God is not mentioned in the Song of Songs book . This pains me to the point of great sadness. It is very frustrating to try to teach something that people really are not interested in, just because it casts a shadow on their own believes. You would be surprised how many people get offended when they find a reference in the Bible that refute their believes.

Super market of faith

How can we as human beings can pick and choose doctrine within doctrine? Like a buffet of rules and laws people hand pick what suites their view of the world. That’s why there are so many denominations. This country was founded as the result of pursuing religious freedom. They wanted to have a say in choosing how they worship.

Instead of finding God, we encountered a megastore of dogma. I really mean store, according to public records and Forbes Magazine, Super churches average of 8.5 BILLION a year in revenue. I had no idea how lucrative was to run a ministry! It boggles the mind to think that there are churches that have cafeterias, bookstores and ATM machines in the premises. But to each their own.

Humbling experience

Prov. 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. 12 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment. 
It’s not my place to judge others believes. I have seen too much of that already. I could count with the fingers of one hand, the number of Christians that don't harbor judgement toward others. It baffles me how proud they feel of this fact. Sadly as I got to know them better, it only reflects their own sin and hate toward themselves. There are thousands of websites , forums and even videos on the web that criticize water down religion and the business of having a ministry in today’s America. Attacking each other and spending time and money to discredit everyone that's is not in alignment with their views.

12 Thus, sinning against your brother sand wounding their conscience when it is weak,you sin against Christ. - Corinthians 8:12

I am but only your daughter Lord

What are we fighting for? God? The church? You tell me because it does not make any sense. Seven out ten people have stated that they follow the true gospel of Jesus Christ. All from different denominations and different dogma. They all say that God favors them over others. Mercy is something that rarely is followed. It breaks my heart to hear a person humiliate and condemn others just because some pastor, or priest, or teacher told them that they're not worth of mercy.

Jesus walked among us and surrounded himself with thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors, “sinners and the forgotten” - They followed him until the day he died. The Church leaders and the “ Godly people” were the ones that conspired to kill him. They did not recognized the light of God in him. They thought of themselves infallible and above the common man. Politics and vanity blinded these men. But those who followed Christ knew that his sacrifice was needed, even more so for those that say they serve and love God , He has come to them many times, and was turned away by appearances. In one of Jesus most famous encounters with “ The Law of Church” he asked the question-“Who ever is without sin, cast the first stone” 

I threw away my stone a long time ago, along with my pride and judgement of others. It’s not my place to judge you or anyone. I want to learn how to love , respect and learn from others. I see myself as a student of compassion and a servant of mercy. Whoever you are, whatever you believe and what ever you have done, I can only hold your hand and weep with you. So then we both can ask for forgiveness and be truly free.
32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do,not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.- Corinthians 10:32-33

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. -Corinthians 11

Corinthians 13:1-13

The Way of Love13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Childhood Does Not Define Me

When a child is exposed to violence, abuse and neglect, there is a high probability that this child will develop an array of emotional traumas and set backs. The challenge will be to rescue this child and convince him/her that his past does not define him/her.

This can be difficult especially when is so embedded in their minds that this is the only reality that is present and available. That same instint that reins in our subconscious to survive, is the catalyst that a person have to raise above his circumstances.

Nature Vs Nurture

The big question, nature VS nurture. Does our up bringing define the individuals personality or is this already embedded in our genetic code? Let’s see, as complex individuals, human beings posses the benefit of choice and adaptability of behavior. Never the less, instincts are the very thing that can determine the survival of a person in extreme circumstances.

It’s a proven fact that most mental ilnesses are hereditary, and for the sake of argument so is certain behaviors. Such as those directly linked to mental illness. For example, a child with one parent with bipolar disorder have more probability to develop a variation of the condition than one that has no genetic predisposition for the condition but suffered a traumatic event. Now, a child that has gone trough hell growing up is a recipe for long term trauma and will need equal or more help than the other. Can they make a choice?

I think the real question is not nurture Vs nature, but rather

How much of each ? Can I raise above my childhood?

Faith factor

It’s a fact that people with any belief system( ether religious, cultural or self imposed faith) adheres to the belief that there is a purpose for everything and that what happened to them does not define who they are. This goes to modern psychology and therapy.
It’s not your fault , but you are responsible for what you do with the pain, the anger and all the residual feelings from the past. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against self loathing and damaging self imagery.

That is how I know that any one can do it too.

It is a matter of choice, but who’s?

I decided a long time ago that what ever happens with my life, it would be my responsibility to use it as a stepping stone to reach my full potential.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a briefing for a seminar about child abuse and the possible reactions of the subject in question. I was presenting my own experiences as a survivor of child abuse and torture, and the techniques that has helped me stay focused and centered.
One of the contributors had her mouth hanging from her jaw. She interrupted the presentation and asked -“How In hell, are you still sane and standing here talking about it like any other case study?” It really caught me off guard, but I answered as honestly as I will now.

-"If I would let what happened to me all those years ago set the course of my life, the very essence of me would die. I am what I am because I survived it, and I am here to tell others that have gone through the same thing: I was there and I am OK. Most people have experienced some kind of trauma in their life, some, let that event destroy who they are. I decided not to let it become who I am. Every body is different. I have encountered people that have crashed down into a deep depression and life of self destructive behaviours. Using their past as an excuse, or maybe as a point of reference to live by.

I am the product of my experiences, but I decided that my life was going to mean something positive. Just like that Chinese Proverb: " the flower that blooms in adversity , is the most rare and beautiful of all.". Because if I don't thrive , if I don’t overcome and stay inspired, then all that I have been through, would have been in vain."

Don’t get me wrong, this has been my struggle. There are many others that can’t or won’t fight for themselves. For those are the ones that I keep standing, even if sometimes is easier to lay down. I can’t quit now. Because I walked that path I can say, yes it can be done...

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Sometimes we have to look back and evaluate certain aspects in our life. Some call it cleaning our closet or looking at the big picture once in a while. As we grow older, maybe even wiser, memories are sorted in two categories; treasured memories, and regrets.

For many regrets are those skeletons in the closet that, from time to time, come back like a flash back from hell. The same way we tend to remember the way others have wronged us in the past. And let's not forget our worst enemy when it comes to negative feelings, ourselves. Wouldn't be amazing to turn those negative thoughts into powerful tools for growth and healing?
Stop for a moment and step aside from yourself. Having a third party perspective often helps to asess any given situation from a fresh point of view. I don't care of what you think you are guilty off. Of how many lies you have told, or mistakes that you have committed this is the perfect time to learn to forgive yourself. This is probably the most difficult thing you have had to do in the whole of your life.Sure.
  • Don't you want to be able to start over again?
  • Isn't time to stop punishing yourself for messing up?
  • Has it been worth it?
  • Has it made a difference for others that you are still lingering in the past?
  • Aren't you tired of reliving the same thing over and over again?
  • HAs it helped you to become a better person?
  • Are you willing to be forgiven?
  • Are you ready to let go?

First of all, have you learned anything from those mistakes? This is very important for anyone that wants to change their life. The lesson will continue to keep showing up until you acknowledge that its something that need to be addressed.
As human beings we can be so stubborn. Change is something that most of us are not very good at. Specially when it comes with an " I was mistaken" clause. That's OK. No one is perfect. And that is the key to forgive yourself, and others. I am NOT suggesting that is going to be easy. By far. I know that is possible to change the way we see ourselves. Maybe is the starting point to move on.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No Regrets, Just My Life Inspired

Looking back at my life, I have been tempted to fall into the trap of regret. Of wishing that my life had been completely different. The choices I made, the people that I allowed into my life. The words spoken, and those that never got to express my feelings. That is a book that I seemed to re-read often.
I have lived my life on survival mode. Walking on a tight rope, keeping myself in check all the time. I was afraid of making mistakes, though adding to my soap opera of a life. I put my life in God's hands a long time ago. Half trusting Him, half waiting for a miracle of some sort. I have walked alone, living each day hoping it would be the last. But I can't bring myself to regret anything.

Blessings in trials

Sometimes we have to really take a hard look at our lives to find something to be grateful. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer refers to this self examination of the soul a necessary tool to find meaning in my life. For instance, make a list of all the people that you think that have done you wrong in the past. Instead of remembering how they hurt you, transform it into a life lesson. Transforming the aggressors into teachers.
For example; After years of wondering why things turned the way that they did, I came to the conclusion that, every single tear and painful event in my life, has taught me the most important lessons in my life. Specially, not to give up. That Angel, as I call it, that never let me surrender under any circumstance. If you would had asked me fifteen years ago if I regretted anything, Silently I would agree that it would have been better off giving up. But is not in my nature to do so.

No one understood

When I was 15 years old, I received a severe beating from my mother. One of many.That day when I looked at the mirror and saw how deformed my face was, as I tried to brush my matted hair and to put some make up over the bruises, I knew that there was a good chance that this was going to be my life. I had no one, people like me end up in abusive relationships and if they have children the cycle would never end. I was going to stop this madness, with me.
In spite of my religious believes, I figured that there could be no other hell than this. When and after taking the prescription drugs to end my life, my mother found me, and told me that she had two choices, to take me to the hospital and make sure that they put me away; or to see if indeed I succeed in killing myself. Ether way, she left the house. That was the moment that I decided to do everything in my power to live and to make it count. Between periods of consciousness, I asked God for forgiveness, pleading for a chance to make amends.
" God make me worthy of being an extension of your love"- That was my plea. Now I see how the subsequent events, harsh and painful, molded my spirit. He transformed my fear in peace, my pain into acceptance and my suffering into compassion.

No regrets, just my life

I have never had a drink, or used drugs, but I used to have this bad habit of wondering "what if".
This has been a big obstacle is seeing the real purpose in my life. To prove to you that it is possible to go beyond a horrible past. To learn from our mistakes and move forward. Tomorrow is not yesterday. Maybe I am still here to tell this story. So that someone out there knows that is possible to have a life with meaning...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Check out Mrs. Deborah Brooks' homage to mothers.

I Still Remember You

This poem is dedicated to my cousin Natalia
that passed away on May,2010. Today, the
 wound reopens and I am missing her terribly. 
Since I live In the west coast now, over 
1,482 miles away, I wasn't able to be there or,
 go to the funeral. So to me is still surreal.
This one is for you Nati..

I Still Remember You

The ray of light that was your smile
As it came and went with your laughter
still in our heart dwells and flutters
as the butterfly in mid autumn.
In your eyes stood love and beauty
as a friend and daughter, unmistakable.
as my heart misses you still, Naty.
My girl, like no other, remarkable.
Because you will live here forever
inside my heart, in my memory
hoping your smile be remembered
branding in my heart your story.

If I Were To Be Born Again...

Once I did this exercise were I was to pretend that I have never been born. Like in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. What I found out was pretty bad. I am the kind of person that apparently, the very moment of conception was a bad idea.Through out the years, it was made very clear that I was a waste of space.An embarrassment for my family. Not because of things I did but for the things that I never got to accomplish in this life.

I thought that I could do anything and tried to do everything in my power to raise up to those expectations.I failed.I wanted to study medicine, but because of my health, my memory was never normal. I wanted to have a career , but for the same reason my body betrayed me. I wanted to help others to overcome their troubles, but mine were too big to hide. I wanted to be so many things that are by their very nature impossible for me to do.

Wishing well

I can t bring myself to regret or try to change something, that I have no idea how is going to affect the lives of others. But In a hypothetical world is safe to wish for things that I would have given my life for them to be real.

In a perfect world

In a perfect world things would be completely different. Wishful thinking can trap us in a cycle that any time spent thinking about the past is worth something. It isn't. I could wish all day about all the things I would change. But then again, this would be pointless. Besides, I am what I am because of my trials and shortcomings.

People don't have the luxury of what if's, we have to focus on looking forward. I can't take the chance of turning into a pillar of salt . I have to think that there is a purpose for everything. And no matter what happens it's never too late to start over. Isn't what faith is all about? To keep moving forward hoping for a better tomorrow.So, If I where to be born again I would have not changed a thing...

Even if everything else goes wrong, keep going forward

Friday, May 10, 2013

To Mend and Keep Friendships

Maribel is once again looking at old pictures,of the self proclaimed “ Three Musketeers” back in the day. Fifty seven years; and still they call each other sisters. Jess and Martha, even though 2,000 miles away, still have that three hour phone call on Sundays with her childhood friends. Just talking about the same things, remembering the same things and reassuring each other that they still are best friends.
As with any relationship, friendship is one of the biggest blessings in existence. Only those that have experienced true kinship and connection can really relate to that scenario. Years of mutual support, the important and the mundane. Come together to form the most overlooked love of all, the love between friends.
Of course , there are going to be misunderstandings, shortcomings, and even tests of faith. No one is immune to problems and disagreements. No two people are alike. But that is the beauty of friendship, we take in this person even with flaws and see past them. The act of forgiveness is sometimes automatic,but others the need for sincere apologies, when the limits are tested, is a must to turn the page and move on.

A heartfelt apology can be the difference between, mending a relationship, or the dissolution of a partnership that could have lasted forever. Keep in mind, that as we grow older, relationships change, people change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
Two friends can mold the way they approach each other when disagreements arise. A simple “I am so sorry” can be the difference between mending a wound or pouring salt in it. Sometimes a best friend is more than that, sometimes is the only true relationship we have and for that matter we want to nourish it so it would last.

Just like Maribel, we can relate to an old friendship that gets caught in a single memory. In some instances, was the best relationship that we had, others the bitterest experience with another human being. Most of those bad parting friends could have been resolved with a single apology? You would be surprised.
Aristotle said:- "What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies."That's why we could forgive those friends that have wronged us, indeed is like trying to forgive ourselves, liberating. Think about this, if you know you have wronged someone you love, an apology is always in order. Specially if that one is a friend. Don't let pride take away the chance to grow old with your best friend.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Legacy I'm Leaving Behind

What kind of legacy will I leave behind?

When human beings are confronted with their own mortality, the perspective changes and so is their definition of legacy. I have had the blessing of being in the position to cheat death a couple of times. In those moments, I saw myself and the people around me quite different. In a moment that seemed like a second, your life does run like a silent movie in front of your eyes. Unfortunately , most of those images are tainted by the possibility of the things that never came to be. The very things that I should have done, the words unsaid, and the people I love and that love me.
Sometimes there is enough time to bargain and make promises to God and life. When I had my third heart attack, it was a very scary thing. The difference between this time and the other two previous episodes was that I was fully awake and in a lot of pain. I actually felt as the life was being yanked from me. My children were still small, and even though they knew that mommy was sick a lot they were understandably upset. Soul searching becomes a scavenger hunt for purpose and meaning.

It only took one minute to realize, that if I would have died that day, the only memory that my kids would have from me would be a sickly mother. That upset me even more. I did not want them to have to remember me by with only sad memories. Then I blacked out. I really thought that that was it.

Waking up from the mortal slumber

I woke up to a body that would not respond. Faces that I did not recognized. Then i found myself full of joy because I was ailed by a lot of pain. Yeah I was happy because pain= being alive! I had a lot of time to think. So, I mapped out what was going to be my legacy. I am considered poor by the standards of society, meaning I don't have a shoe to my name. So I figured that any one thing that I could leave behind had to be non-material.
I stopped focusing in my condition, and started building up memories and a strong testimony of love and God. This was not an easy task. When a person only knows how to suffer , is a true challenge to flip it around and transform emotions and beliefs into a declaration of love. If I had a Last will and testament, it would probably read like this...

Last Will And Testament of A. Celeste

I , Anan Celeste, declare that this is my last Will and testament.
Article I
Preliminary declarations
I revoke all other Wills and bad choices I had made in my life. I am married and have 3 children from this union. All other persons that I cherish and love have received the same portion of my spiritual estate and legacy.
Article II
Specific bequests and devices
I give my entire interest in the lessons of love and faith to my children and spouse. Equally distributed among them and those will distribute it among their friends and loved ones.
I give and bequest all my interest to the following;
To my husband, the blessings of a life together filled with God and love. The love of our three children. And my unconditional devotion.
To my children, my unconditional love and acceptance. The teachings of mercy and compassion. Charity and faith. Never give up. help one another and be God's hands to the people around you.
To my family, I leave to you my love and forgiveness.
To my friends, I leave to you an example to never be contempt, fight and love for yourself.
Article III
Executor and Administrative Powers
I nominate family and friends to make sure that my testimony is shared and distributed to as many people as possible.Therefore my legacy is ultimately in their hands to give away as they see fit. I hope that this is sufficient and complete to ensure that the message is served in it's entirely.
Article IV
General Provisions
I leave my full testimony to the world. The Lord has given me the opportunity to be here and share his love with all of you. He gave me the strength to forgive, and give what I don't have to others. He gave me peace. he gave me hope. He sustained my frail body, by holding my heart and spirit with his love. For this my last request would be to God, take my soul , but leave my love behind. So that it may comfort those that my life have touched.