My Travel Anniversary!

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It´s my Travel Anniversary! Watch my video here!

Today, July 2, marks one year since I left my home to embark on my travel adventures; which has been more of a Self-Discovery journey to say the very least. It certainly doesn´t feel like it´s been an entire year ago that I was telling Latonya; my childhood best friend, about my plans to quit my job when she excitedly told me she thought that was the right decision. Honestly, I don´t think either of us were as serious as it turned out we were. Three weeks later, I was already on a plane when reality started to settle in.

Here´s what I want to share with you a year from that day

  1. Manifest the life you want! You are capable of achieving every dream you´ve ever dreamt

At the beginning of 2019, I created my first vision board with the mantra ¨if it´s going to be, it’s up to me¨. Two of my goals were quitting my job and learning Spanish. I wrote my Resignation Letter that month so the only thing that was missing was the date. I also started learning Spanish on Duolingo with some colleagues but I never imagined being in Colombia 6 months after leaving. In hindsight, the universe was simply responding to my requests.

  1. Opportunity must meet preparedness

If we aren´t prepared for the opportunities we are hoping for, we will certainly miss them- from the smallest to the greatest ones. I can´t tell you the number of times I have missed opportunities simply because I was not prepared. Particularly, when we ask the Universe to grant our wishes we have to prepare ourselves for the fulfilment of those wishes.

  1. Worry about nothing and pray about everything and have faith that everything will work together for your greatness.

Did everything go according to my plan? Absolutely not! There were nights I could not sleep and woke some persons up at 2am or 3am. There were also other times when I was scared but didn’t want others to worry about me so I didn´t share everything that was happening at that time. What I do know is that worrying didn´t help me. Worry about nothing, pray about everything and trust that everything will work together for your greatness.

  1. Your gifts will make room for you.

If you´re anything like my old self, you´ll tell me that gifts don´t pay the bills- that´s what I told my mentor. My previous job gave me financial security but I never felt like it was what I wanted to do long term because it wasn´t me. Although I didn´t clearly know what was at that time, I knew that wasn´t it!  Ask yourself what your gifts are, the things you´re good at and those things you enjoy doing. The answers will come and when they do, know that they will make room for you.

  1. If you are brave enough to leave your nest and dare to fly; the universe will give you wings.

Today, I celebrate my bravery and the kindness, love and support of everyone who has been a part of my journey this past year. Whether you´ve said it sounded crazy but supported my wish, you´ve been reading and sharing my blog posts or check-in to make sure I´m safe, healthy and happy- I want you to know that I am grateful and if I can do this, so can you!

 

Learning. Being. Becoming, 

Daniella-Enough

All Things Colombia: Slowly & Safely Crawling Out Of Quarantine.

Lifestyle, Travel

It´s been ´since March 19´number of days and I have officially stopped counting. My last count was about two weeks ago when we were on day 89 but by now, we know that  Aunty Rona isn´t going anywhere anytime soon. As a teacher of mine said, she´s a stubborn red woman so I am slowly and safely crawling out of quarantine, embracing this season and looking for new things to do- like buying oil paints instead of acrylic paints and thinking I could use it with water.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you buy first and watch youtube videos after!

Nonetheless, I finally returned to the Papelaria and bought the brush cleaning solution so I could get down to business. This was my first time using oil paints and definitely my first in a long time painting anything at all. With the guidance of an amazing artist, Sunshine, (on Instagram @Artxsun) who has been hosting sip and paint activities, your girl went into full Picasso mode from sketch to finished product. Today, I´m sharing lessons I learned during this activity.

1. Trust the process.  I was as excited as clueless about how my painting would turn out. I followed Sunshine´s instructions, added my own dabs here and there (by that I mean a lot) and in the end, I loved how my painting looked! Too often, we´re anxious about what might happen instead of focusing on what we are doing. Trust the process!

2. You don´t know until you try.

I had paint, brushes and canvas but very little experience painting and none at all using oil paints. Guess what I know now that I have tried? I will be painting again soon! Perhaps, you´re reading this and thinking you can´t paint. The real question is, have you ever tried?

3. You are good enough.

This has been my motto for the last year but every once in a while it is great to reaffirm that you are enough- I may never be the best at painting but I am good enough to do it, anyway!

Even in this pandemic, may you enjoy painting your canvas and do it passionately – decide what paints you´ll use, use all the colours you want, in all the shades you love and dabble as often as you wish.  In the end, we are all Picasso´s of our own lives hanging each of our stories beautifully in our art gallery.

Learning. Being. Becoming. 
Daniella-Enough.

Amor y Paz

Lifestyle, Travel

There are lessons to learn each day and mine on Monday was Amor y Paz. When I stepped out of my apartment building on Monday in search of the missing ingredients for my `Shine Rice` I had no idea that I would meet Judy, Jesus and Alberto whose words I shall never forget. The trio are orphans who are currently homeless because they don`t want to be separated from each other.

Right now, they rely on the kindness of others for their meals; like the fruits and veggies vendor who gave a piece of casava or the butchery that gave a slice of meat. I noticed their pots tied to their haversack and quickly realized what was happening before my eyes. Hesitantly- because of my Spanish, I asked, ¨Hola amigos, que cocinan hoy?¨, to which Judy, a beautiful hazel eyes girl, responded with shrug shoulders.

Twenty minutes later, we finished purchasing vegetables and were sharing our stories with each other. By then too,  I had completely forgotten about the missing ingredient I left home in search of. We walked and talked until I realised I was walking in the opposite direction but before we parted ways, the trio left these words with me- Amor y Paz which means ´love and peace´.

How blessed many of us are to be in a pandemic and lack nothing. We may not have a lot but we may have enough to share with others. Our temporary discomfort is the long-lived reality of many people. Don`t take your blessings or the lessons we are learning in these moments for granted. I am grateful for those who share their blessings with me, to share my blessings with Judy, Jesus and Alberto as well my lesson of Amor y Paz with you!

 Learning. Being. Becoming. 

Daniella-Enough

24 Reasons I´m Grateful

Lifestyle, Travel

Thank you so very much for your kind birthday wishes. I didn´t have a lot planned for my birthday beyond an intentional day of happiness and gratitude but you found a way to my heart despite the miles between us (even making me cry with some of the wishes you bestowed and spontaneous celebrations) and I felt immeasurable joy!

A few days before celebrating my 24th, I challenged myself to write 24 reasons I´m grateful. At this time of uncertainty, often feeling alone and dismayed, I was happy to complete this challenge as a reminder to myself that there are many things to be grateful for and to recall some of those reasons.

There is no order to my list.

  1. God´s love and grace that brought me back to my feet after being on my knees for a long time and reminding me that my life has s purpose, recognizing my gifts and using them for his good. An existential crisis may take you to rock bottom but the good news is you ascend from there.
  2. My mother taught me the values of faith, hard work and dedication. Mommy made many sacrifices and she ALWAYS gave her best. I have never gone to a place where my mother´s prayers have not gone before me.
  3. My Grand-mother who loved, nurtured and protected us in an inexplicable way and taught me the values of family, love, compassion and strength.
  4. My siblings whose love never diminished even when we fought terribly. We have always believed in and supported the dreams of each other never believing any to be unattainable. I´m grateful for their belief in me especially at times when I doubted my abilities.
  5. My cousins, aunts and uncles for reinforcing our bond, for being there the best way they could and by their own examples teaching us there were options and to make wise choices.
  6. My partner who has been patient, supportive and kind while I travel, soul search and share my journey of learning, being and becoming Daniella-Enough.
  7. My friends especially Enya, Deanna and Keyshana who listen to me tell one story one million times, cry (which I don´t do beautifully), vent, pray with and for me. PS. I have many other friends who I am truly grateful for but these women have VIP tickets to my life.
  8. The family I made through life whose presence have made me a better woman. We may not speak and for long hours; Madonna’s an exception, still, I am grateful for our bond. The Maynard´s, Stephen´s, Hopkinson´s, Girdharry´s, Gomes, Chin´s, Darlington´s and all my President´s College homes.
  9. My mentor, Mr Clarence Brotherson, who has always reminded me of the power of self, the importance of God and alignment of purpose. Often, I roll my eyes when I think of the times I didn´t listen and his words were true.
  10. My teachers who have played an impactful role in the woman I have become. For as long as I can remember, my teachers have always seen my unbirthed potentials and encouraged me to strive for excellence. Time does not permit me to recall all their names but the lessons they taught will never be forgotten.
  11. Opportunities that have taught me that it´s quite okay to view the world from a  lens other than mine. Sometimes, our beliefs are our greatest limitations.
  12. EVERYONE who showed up for me even I didn´t think I needed it. God knew though and he sent them for me. I´m so grateful!
  13. For good times with uncontrollable waves of laughter; the kind that had me on the floor curled up and the kind that made me breathless.
  14. For the bad times too – like this pandemic that halts my life but brings me to a place of reflection and self-realization.
  15. The lessons of failure have taught me patience and perseverance.
  16. Old relationships and friendships that have given me some of the best memories and allow me from time to time to revisit and relive those moments; even just mentally.
  17. For good health, a safe home and food. Why did it take this long to recall this?
  18. Opportunities to learn, unlearn, try new adventures, see new places and meet new people.
  19. Love, happiness and peace as it comes from and to me in every moment. I don´t get to control anything outside of me so I am manifesting happiness, gratitude, love and peace.
  20. Opportunities to do the things I love. Truth is, I didn´t always have the courage or faith to manifest the life I dreamt of.
  21. To share my journey with others and know that it inspires them to also believe in the power of self and pursue their purpose with passion.
  22. Strength! Whew chile, some days are so hard and appear as though there´s no way to get through them but I´ve gotten through all of those days if only one second at a time and I´m grateful for the strength that led me beyond those days.
  23. The importance of forgiveness. Major! I spent a large part of my life withholding forgiveness from my father. No matter how many times my mother told me I needed to forgive him, I resisted. At the core, I knew I loved my father but I wanted to punish him for his absence. I hoped it would give me gratification but instead, it gave me pain. Now, I am learning to forgive myself and others without conditions.
  24. You! I am grateful that you continue to share my journey with me. While my photos are only one second of a moment, my words are as true and real as each experience and I will continue to write because this is one part of who I am.

What are some of your reasons to be grateful?

Understand Why You’re In Opposition

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It is often important to pause and analyze why we’re in opposition to certain ideas, beliefs, attitudes and sometimes even other people. For Racquel & I, it was the fear of possibly contracting the Corona Virus.

When Racquel told me that she had left her home to minister God’s word in my community; Bartica, I jokingly admonished her and called it a severe case of ‘church peopleness’ coupled with a disregard for the current precautionary measures implemented.

I mean, everything is now being done on Live stream, right? (possibly including Guyana’s National Election recount)

This morning, I had the pleasure of joining this initiative and in one word, it was Rejuvenating! I felt reached despite geography and all that’s going on. I felt connected and I know others did too!

What a reminder of how valuable good connections are; especially at a time when we are largely restricted by the coronavirus. More than that, a timely reminder to understand before we oppose!

Today, Joseph; Racquel’s husband, demonstrated the importance of discernment and doing what we are each called to do – serve – even when others are in opposition because they don’t understand.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Learning. Being. Becoming

Daniella-Enough

If Ya Know,Ya Know pt. 2

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So I had to continue we ¨If ya know ya know¨ gyaff because I undoubtedly enjoyed reading the experiences of others like Terrence´s cousin, who went to the shop to buy brief when the shop man only had ´buktah´ and Lucrecia who tried to explain it´s ¨tomatoes¨and not ¨tomadoes¨ at Subway´s counter. As Guyanese, we aint deh down hay!

While I was in the US, shopping for a pair of jeans, I asked the sales guy to assist me with a particular style but when he returned he told me that they didnt have my preferred style available and suggested another. When I said, ¨No, that one too damaged¨, he quickly started checking the jeans to see where it was ´damaged´ and I realized immediately that I needed to say ripped jeans instead of damaged jeans. Both laughing, he asked me where I was from.

Guyana, of course!

In all our different stories one element stays the same. That is, the things which distinguish us from others are the same things that remind us of how similar we are; things as simple as chicken curry vs. curry chicken, referring to every toothpaste as colgate, every nail polish as Qtex and not having to explain words like ´dog ears´ or ‘balambi sour’. More than that, a gentleman travelling on the bus in New York spinning around because he recognized his people by their speech or the Guyanese woman selling avocados in Barbados calling out for the GT crew passing by.

In the end, what matters most is if ya know, ya know. I´m so proud to be Guyanese!

Please continue to share your stories.

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If Ya Know, Ya Know

Travel

Some things are really ¨If ya know, ya know and if ya don´t know well..¨ Let me tell you about some of those moments for me.

Sometime in 2018 while I was in Trinidad for Carnival I went to the grocery store (a lil shop on the corner). Apart from ¨Inside!”, how do you summon the seller? I kid you not when I say I said that more than ten times with slight variations like ¨Hey Inside, Good morning!¨and ¨Hello, anybody Inside?¨and nobody came. I stood there hoping another customer would come and trying to think of another way of calling for the shop man or lady. Finally, after a few more ¨Inside!¨, the shop lady came out and had the audacity to ask me if I´m Guyanese because only Guyanese say ¨Inside!¨.

Fast forward to Colombia and living with persons from other countries.

One evening, while I and two other homemates were in the kitchen Guillame (from France) told me he wanted to ask me a question and without hesitation, I said, ¨sure¨. You won´t believe his question. ¨What kind of English do you speak with your family?¨, he asked. Still in awe, Madisson (from Canada) chimed in, ¨Yes, I wanted to ask you the same thing!¨. As if not enough at this point, he told me I sound very Jamaica. (Not even West Indian?!) What in the ´hasty cultural generalization´is that? I told him that nothing could be further from the truth but I understood his train of thought.

Anyway, we´re moving on because if ya know, ya know and if you don´t know well…

Today, my homemate Fritz and I were conversing. Fritz has Haitian heritage so he is au fait with creole and he understands most- if not all- of what I say so we chit chat ever so often. We talked from one thing to the next and I used the word ´deh´. His exact words were, ¨wait, what´s ´deh´? and I gave him the ´you don´t know what deh means?´look. I tried explaining the different ways of using deh such as position- it deh deh, relationship- dehing with somebody and behavior- you just deh. I think I did well with definition and context but it reminded me that some things are just if ya know, ya know and if ya don´t know well..

Have you had similar experiences? If you have, share them in the comments below.

The Burden Of Unforgiveness

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Like many things, the act of forgiveness begins and ends with us. Whether we seek or express forgiveness, it can be a lot easier in theory than practice. I’m not going to lie; I am guilty of holding a solid grudge against others and myself. I am guilty of excessive lamenting over past actions and wondering if I’d been forgiven by those persons my actions affected.

While my actions were never ill-intended, certainly it has been the reality on many occasions. Similarly, we sometimes experience hurt or grief by the unintended actions of others with whom we may never have the opportunity to discuss. Forgive yourself and forgive them, too. The opposite is the burden of unforgiveness; a hefty and unnecessary weight to carry.

Forgive yourself as many times as you need to. Let go of the guilt you carry for everything that happened while you were learning, creating and defining yourself. Let go of the negative emotions you harbour that were intentionally or unintentionally caused by someone. It is not an excuse, it is a reason. It is the only way to make peace with your past and space for your future.

If you ever need a place a start, this was mine- The Burning Letter Ritual; a good place to reflect and release. http://intothesoul.com/burning-letter-ritual/

Sending you love and courage to release the burden of unforgiveness.

Learning. Being. Becoming

Daniella-Enough

All Things Colombia: Quarantining

Travel

CORONA VIRUS! IT’S REAL! (Cardi said it first)

A little more than 3 weeks ago, I was hesitant to abandon my travel plans. Being in Tunja- a relatively small place, I felt safe. I certainly didn’t share my family’s anxiety or foresee that within the next three days Colombia’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases would soar from 3 to 151. Currently, more than 3100 confirmed cases. By day five, airlines were announcing service suspension, countries were announcing border closures and we were reading through the new lockdown measures- all of which would directly affect my flight scheduled for two days later. Ultimately, I could not return home.

In the days that followed, I was completely out of it.

I cried, slept, journaled, cried and slept before eventually accepting my reality.

While I may be stuck in Colombia alone; the whole world is sticking through this pandemic so I am really never alone. In the meantime, I’m making the best of these moments with Netflix, new books, some exercise here and there and of course hearty laughters with the entertaining Facebook dancers. According to my friend Latonya, “Rock and come in, baby”. Each new day brings as much hope as uncertainty but there is much to be grateful for and grateful, I am!

Oh yeah!

Then there’s social media with scores of messages giving advice on how to cope during this time. There are those messages that tell us we should come out of quarantine with new skills, more knowledge or complete the things we’ve putting off while others encourage to us practice more self-care, self-love and relaxation. With all of these, it is necessary to simply take what resonates and ignore what doesn’t. Do not give anyone the power of telling you what to do in this time and how to do it.

Corona Virus is real. We are collectively experiencing its effects and we collectively share the responsibility of helping to flatten the curve as well as protecting those who are risking their lives to protect us. Let us stay home so we can stay safe and encourage others to do the same!

I’m sending you lots of love, wishing you good health and praying this will be over soon.

Daniella-Enough.

How are you coping during the lockdown? Share in the comments below.

Dearest Daniella, I’m Proud Of You.

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My Dearest Daniella,

With your face to the sun and dreams bigger than your smile. Five years that feels like yesterday and many moons ago at the same time. That independent, smart and brave eighteen year old girl determined to change her generation’s pattern and discover herself.

As I reflect and tears roll down my face, I want you to know I am proud of the woman you have become; you’ve earned it. There was no way of knowing where the trajectory of your life would take you but ultimately it has brought you here to this divine moment. Don’t stop writing your story.

Pen the details of the power of letting go, the grit of persevering and the freedom of forgiveness. Pen the lessons of love, failure and growth. Pen your journey of learning, being and becoming Daniella- Enough.

With love, yourself. ❤

What would you say in your note to yourself?

Greater Than Fear And Failure.

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Last week´s blog post was a reminder that failure is just a checkpoint in our journey, not our destination. Often, it is the idea of failure- not failure itself- that terrifies us to our core and strips us of the courage to act. If we thought there was no possibility of failing, we would dream bigger, work harder and stay consistent. Except, there is a great possibility that we will and so we play it safe or simply don´t play at all.

During our lesson today, one of my students shared his dream of traveling to Europe. His eyes lit up as he spoke of all he imagined his trip would be and his long list of places he’d love to visit. Then, he shared his terror of getting on an aeroplane to start his journey. The only thing that stands between him and the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum and the Palace of Versailles is often the same thing that stands between us and the life we desire- not the lack of any resource but the lack of courage.

As I listened to him, he reminded me of myself not so long ago – a girl with fear as big as her dreams. In the beginning, I feared failing and when I failed, I feared the humiliation of accepting failure as a part of my reality. What I know now that I didn´t know eight month ago, was that my attitude couldn´t take me where I wanted to be- where I needed to be. My life has not always unfolded the way I imagined but I have faith that it unfolds the way it should and when fear steps in or failure occurs, I am reassured by the fact that neither fear nor failure is greater than I.

Do the things you want to do, live the dreams that haunt you and when fear steps in or failure occurs, know that neither are greater than you!

Don´t Stop At Checkpoint Failure

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None of us are too great to fail at anything but we are all greater than any failure. We live in an era where perfect photos, videos, success and love stories are shared on social platforms that often we ourselves believe our lives ought to be evaluated by. What we are oblivious to is the realness- diligence, commitment, tenacity, trial and error attempts – of those who strive to achieve what we see so perfectly through our lens. We think that if only we could do the same we’d be happier, more successful and more of something. In comparing our life to someone else’s, we discredit ours and imagine our happiness in another place that we have not yet reached.

Whatever your reality is, it belongs to you. If this includes failing, trying harder yet failing over and over again, it is still yours and beautifully so. None of us are too great to fail at anything and certainly, our failures do not determine our destination. Failure often forces us to pause, evaluate, strategize and persevere. If or when you do fail, know that failure is only a checkpoint in your journey, not your destination. It requires immeasurable courage to persist despite adversities but we are all capable of doing this. Our willingness to persist; that is another thing! Today, know that you are without a shadow of doubt capable of reaching your destination but you have to be determined to get pass ‘checkpoint failure’.