Organic Melinda

healthy living with a Latin twist


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Day 30 – A Day of Work, Work, Work

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 I have switched my site to a new server. I will only be posting on this blog for the next week or two until I have completed the site transfer. 

To My Little Princess,

What a day this has been. Mami woke up to edit for a client, transfer my website to a new server, edit for another client, and work some more.

I am sorry for not being as attentive as you needed me to be, but I am glad that I got to hold you in my arms while I worked. You got to play with my hair and fall asleep on my chest.

I know that there will be many more days where I will have to work around the clock in order to establish my business.

I hope that this will be a temporary process and the income will flow in from Eat Like A Vegan and my Healthy Living Consultations.

I have faith that things will get better, soon, and we wont have to fret about whether or not you can run around and drop food on the floor here and there.

Grandma has been gracious enough to let us stay here for the month, but our time here is coming to an end soon. We have to find a place to live.

Luckily, Daddy has a job interview on Wednesday, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets it. That would be so awesome, because he has been working part-time. But, we shall see what the future holds.

I am pushing through, applying to jobs, and continuing my efforts.

I really hate the thought of having to leave you for 50 hours a week, so I am trying my best not to have to, baby girl.

Now that it nears 5 a.m., it’s time for Mami to get some sleep.

Everyday of my life,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:
In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.

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Day 29 – Somersaults

Dear Little Acrobat of Mine,

After my interview with Tasleem Jamila of Radio Islam where she and I discussed living gmo-free, supporting local farms, and my services, you and I had a ton of fun this afternoon.

I took you on a trip to the backyard and brought you to stand in the sun for a little while.

Afterwards, we came back home, and I played with you in bed. I would place the blanket over my head and you would lift it up and laugh so hard.

Then, we could go under the blanket together. You would giggle and put your feet in my face telling me to kiss your toes.

I tickled you as you laughed and laughed some more.

We sang capoeira songs. Now, you know two songs – la la la eu and oi sim sim sim oi nao nao nao. You sing them on your own, clap your hands, and then make me join along.

you and Daddy doing capoeira

During one of these moments, you did your very first somersault, today!

I am so proud of how athletic you are at only 18 months old.

You are flourishing so quickly and getting so smart.

Of course, you’re still my baby girl as you demand kisses and cuddles.

You always want to fall asleep in my arms and stay there the whole time you’re napping.

I am usually happy to oblige.

I have to breastfeed you, now, so I have to go.

With a boobie in your mouth,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:
In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


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Day 28 – Prisoner of Love

To My Love,

Hello, my sweet. You are rest, right now, and I am right besides you. I have a super long to-do list, but, even in your sleep, you want all of my attention.

Today has been an odd day for me. I was up much of last night working on my second book, editing my website, setting up the course material for DDFS, and I didnt get to sleep until about 8 a.m.

I woke up around 10:30 am because I had a meeting scheduled with Francesca, who has been a guiding light these past 6 months. She’s helped turn me into a more competent business woman. Today, she and I talked about my course design, workshops, and pricing. She’s been super helpful in helping me turn my skills into a business.

20131012-214728.jpg

You’ve been clingy much of the day. I am sure that you can feel how preoccupied I am with thoughts in order to secure our survival.

Because I have been so busy trying to build my businesses, I am just going to lay here next to you while you sleep and comfort you.

You’re more important to me than all of the money in the world. Mami is just trying to secure our financial future.

This series is coming to a close in just a few more days, but I have decided to keep writing to you at least a few times a week.

I cannot wait until you’re old enough to read these letters.

Every day,
Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:
In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


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Day 27 – Perfection is Myth

To My Little Love,

I was having a discussion about perfection with Annie Sanchez from Debt Free Like Annie.  She told me that she likes that I set goals and work towards them without obsessing over making every single detail perfect.

My response to her can be summed up in this quote:

“My farts will never smell like mangoes.”

The phrase just slipped out while I was writing to her, and while amusing, it gets to the heart of what I was trying to explain.

We often obsess over things being perfect. We want the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect body, the perfect meal, the perfect life experience, but it doesn’t exist.

If anything, it is the flaws and imperfections that provide detail and render life beautiful.

I learned many moons ago that my pursuit of perfection would, literally, make me go crazy.

I decided I would get my doctorate degree when I was roughly 10 years old. From that moment on, I worked super hard at everything. I joined almost every after-school program I could throughout middle and high school, and found myself at Barnard College of Columbia University where I pursued education with the same fervor I did as a child.

At the end of that pursuit, I found myself with few friends and on the verge of insanity when, upon graduation, I was unemployed, back at my mother’s house, and had to make that terrible trip to the Department of Social Services and apply for food stamps.

I cried the entire walk there. I cried quietly in the waiting room. I cried after I applied, and yet again when I got home.

I continued to send my resume and landed a job, again, which I worked at very hard, but the pressure that I had placed upon myself to live a life I had dreamed of when I was 10 years old caused me to have severe panic attacks.

I couldn’t even keep the job, which was a high paying research analyst position in Wall Street, because my entire existence became consumed with panic attacks.

Perfectionism often comes with the consequence of high levels of anxiety.  The more pressure you put on yourself on having a particular item be perfect, the more your level of anxiety increases until you are in a state of panic.

Once you are used to being anxious most (or all) of the time, your body transitions faster and faster to the flight or fight mode activated by anxiety.

I began to unconsciously hyperventilate all of the time.

My battle with panic attacks resulted in an extreme fear of death. The more I tried to control my environment, the worse my panic attacks got. This battle lasted about a year.

And, then, I had a breakthrough.

One day, as I laid in bed having one of the worst panic attacks of my life which convinced me that I would die, a thought occurred to me – just relax Melinda.

I took a deep breath, said La illaha il Allah, closed my eyes, and decided that I would allow myself to die if I was going to.

The next day, I woke up.

I felt refreshed. Maybe, even renewed.

When I gave up the illusion of control and my anxiety over dying before that perfect moment I envisioned in my head, the panic attack stopped.

I have had very few, if any, panic attacks since that day.

That moment taught me that life would never be exactly what I wanted it to be, and insisting that life be some ideal version will only cause me anxiety, fear, and imbalance.

Good mental health is not about life being perfect. It is not about always being happy. It is not about everything always falling into place exactly how you want it.

Instead, you can only be a truly healthy person when you learn how to cope with the difficulty around you, how to make the best of it, and how to appreciate what you have.

Letting go of the twin illusions of perfection and control does not mean that you don’t work towards the betterment of your life. It doesn’t mean that you half-ass things and don’t put your all into them.

Rather, it means that you become even more responsible for your own actions, because you have a deeper understanding of your own accountability.

I believe in being able to shape things through my actions.

Things will never be perfect, but they will be what you need to grow and expand into a full human being.

Always by your side,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.

 


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Day 26 – Mujeres Poderosas – Valesca Macedo (Contra Mestre Loba)

To My Inspiration,

They say that people with goals seldom sleep.  They leave the dreaming to others while they build their realities.

As I watch the sunrise through a grey sky full of clouds, I reflect on what makes women role models. Particularly, I think about the common traits that the women who inspire me possess.

They are kind, determined, self-loving, nurturing, authentic, and hard working.

Today’s Mujer (or rather Mulher) Poderosa is my capoeira teacher, mentor, and friend, Valesca Macedo  (Contra Mestre Loba of Grupo Senzala de Capoeira).

Valesca possesses all of these qualities and many more.

Valesca and her son.

 

I learned about CM Loba when I attended a Grupo Senzala batizado in 2010.  She was the first female capoeirista that I had seen climb the ranks as I had the privilege of witnessing her receive her contra mestre cordao.

In the roda, she was sharp – a total badass – holding her own against men twice her size. I was enamored by her strength and agility in the roda.

It took over three years, however, and me being part of two other capoeira groups before I had the privilege to train under CM Loba.

Upon becoming a member of Grupo Senzala, I was determined to train under a woman, particularly, with CM Loba.

I joined Evolution Fitness just to take her capoeira classes, but then I began to take all of her classes – Step, Butt, Legs and Thighs, and Butts, Guts & More.

In those classes, she is Valesca. During capoeira class, she is CM Loba.

Valesca’s energy was infectious. I found myself getting in shape super fast. Not only was she great at motivating us to push ourselves during class, she was also kind and always willing to provide advice for anyone who had a question.

In capoeira class, she has been patient with me as I transition from my previous capoeira styles into hers and as I recover from physical injury. And, of course, she pushes me to be better and better.

Valesca is all about female empowerment, and she gets super excited when our capoeira classes are all-women.

Through my experiences  with women like her, I have learned to value the importance of female companionship and camaraderie.

As if teaching tons of fitness classes weren’t enough, Valesca is also an entrepreneur, a mother, and she is currently training to be a Bikini Fitness Model.

It is super exciting to see her body transformation these past few months, and she is a constant reminder of my own fitness goals.

While I have only formally been Valesca’s student since March of this year, I am sure that this friendship will last a lifetime.

I am honored to be in the presence of such an inspiring woman who can kick ass and look super hot while doing it.

Valesca is a role model for you because she embodies strength and femininity, physical fitness and gentleness, and toughness and kindness.

I look forward to when you are old enough to take capoeira classes with her.

Axe,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


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Capoeira é Meu Amor (Capoeira is my love)

Sem capoeira eu não posso viver
Sou peixe fora do mar
Passarinho sem voar
Dia sem escurecer

Without capoeira, I cannot live
I am a fish outside of the ocean
A bird without flight
Day without night

Capoeira is, in so many ways, my life force.  Without capoeira, so much of my life would not be what it is, today. I would have never met the most important people in my life. My daughter would not have been born.  Capoeira has changed my life in the most beautiful of ways.

Capoeira is the secret to the pep in my step. It is what grounds me in the hardest of days.  Capoeira is life, love, and FREEDOM.

It is, also, of course, exercise, but so much more than that.

People have asked me how I managed to stay in shape throughout my difficult pregnancy, and how I was able to bounce back (within a year) post-partum.  Eating healthy, real food was an important part of that; however, without exercise, you’re only half way there.  Capoeira is, also, an essential part of my overall health and wellness.

In this post, I would like to share my capoeira journey with all of my awesome readers!

I began doing capoeira in August of 2009, which apparently makes it FOUR years, now.  How INSANE!

However, my knowledge of capoeira predates my actual start by over 10 years.  I began learning about capoeira when I was a child because I was born and raised in the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey.

I used to live right across the street from a capoeira studio all throughout elementary, middle, and high school.  I would often hear the strumming of the berimbau and the clapping hands from my backyard. I yearned to learn it, to be a part of it, to experience it; however, it just was not financially feasible for my mom to pay for the classes for me.

In 2009, I had the wonderful privilege of working as an assistant for the artist, Vikki Michalios (www.michalios.com), and her daughters were participating in capoeira in her neighborhood.  Vikki informed me that there was a capoeira club at Rutgers’ University- New Brunswick, where I was headed to in the Fall of 2009 for graduate school.

Once at Rutgers, I met Ria Das Gupta, one of the leading founders and dancers for Kalamandir Dance Co (www.kalamandirdanceco.com/), who has also been doing capoeira for many years. Ria insisted I come check out the group, Capoeira Maranhao under, then, Professor Maranhao.

After my first class, I was completely and utterly in love!

I continued to train with Professor Maranhao for the duration of my time at Rutgers, and I had two batizados with him.

my first cordao w/ Mestre Lobao

My first capoeira padrino was Mestre Lobao, who is one of the kindest souls I have met. He has so much patience with beginner capoeira students, and I was honored for him to give me my first cordao!

In the first picture, you can see that I was quite a bit heavier than in my second capoeira batizado, below.  Professor Maranhao’s intense capoeira classes surely whipped me into shape!

my 2nd Batizado with Mestre Lobao

It was through capoeira that I met my daughter’s father, a 7 year student of capoeira, Kris “Lobo Mau” Hunte.  Capoeira was a primary reason why we fell in love. With his capoeira knowledge, I was able to learn so much more of the art. We would train 6 times a week together, and it was through him that I discovered ANGOLA!

Lobo Mau and I would travel all over the place to capoeira events – Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Florida were just some of the states we hit up along with going to local events in New Jersey almost every single weekend.  And, it was also through him that I met my second capoeira family, Capoeira Guerreiros where I trained with Formado Negao for some time.

Capoeira Guerreiros

When I get pregnant, the capoeira community was incredibly supportive.  Teachers would modify their movements for me, and encourage me to play in the roda.  It was a great experience, as we were all determined that my daughter love capoeira even before birth.

Lobo Mau and I playing capoeira when I was about 35 weeks pregnant.

The capoeira community was so accepting of me as a new mother and a pregnant woman that Lobo Mau and I decided to have a capoeira themed baby shower where we began the event by playing in the roda together.  So, ladies, do please note that you CAN exercise while pregnant. Just be careful.

After the Newark chapter of Capoeira Guerreiros was closed for a few months, Lobo Mau joined Grupo Senzala de Capoeira, our current capoeira family, who have been just as loving, kind and accepting as every capoeira group that I have had a pleasure of visiting. The entirety of the capoeira community is constant love and acceptance with a little butt-kicking to keep you in check.

At Lobo Mau’s batizado last fall, Mestre Zumbi surprised me with a cordao to welcome me into his capoeira family, which was an incredible honor for me.  At the time, I was not sure where I would train and was very humbled by Mestre Zumbi’s immediate acceptance of my little family into his wonderful group.  Lobo Mau trains with Mestre Zumbi of Grupo Senzala, and I train with Contra Mestre Loba of Grupo Senzala.

While the number of women capoeira mestres and high-chords is still small, we are taking the capoeira world by storm! Women are definitely becoming the fastest growing group of capoeiristas and we are establishing ourselves as formidable opponents in the roda.

Evidence of this is the annual Women’s Encounter hosted by Madame from Ginga Brasil under Mestre Pinga Fogo. I had the privilege of attending this past year, and I learned so much about how women’s bodies work in the roda and how to use our bodies to help us in challenging movements, especially ones requiring the upper body.

me at the Capoeira Women’s Encounter hosted by Madame from Ginga Brasil

Capoeira is martial arts, maculele, samba, Portuguese, Brasil, music, art, freedom and so much more.  Without it, I would not be who I am today.

I am grateful to Capoeira Maranhao, Capoeira Guerreiros and Grupo Senzala for allowing me to be part of their families as I grow and become a better capoerista every day of my life.

Lobo Mau and I in samba de roda