reflection: holding the space

November 16, 2014

Holding the Space

Holding Me in the Light

i have spent the last two years preparing and then going through a very intense accelerated nursing program. i’ve said it countless times, this has been the most challenging academic experience of my life. but it has also challenged other aspects of my life: spiritually, emotionally, even physically; i have been beaten. actually, my ass has been whooped. every experience we have during the course of our lives is bound to change us, no doubt. but along the way we have a few some highlighted events that we can say were so pivotal to how we move forward from that point on, that we count them as beautifully treacherous.

two weeks ago, i took the NCLEX. it is the state board exam to certify you as a registered nurse. before i continue sharing that part of this story, i feel the need to share that i haven’t been the best test taker in the world throughout my life. if you ask me a question, i can either answer it or not. if you ask me a multiple choice question, i prefer not to answer. testing is not my strength. certainly the North American way of testing needs an overhaul because all students are not created equal and we should all be tested how we learn. but alas, that will be another fight.

back to two weeks ago…

i went in on a Monday. at 8am. i didn’t study at all the day before. i took a xanax early that morning. i had my coffee and two bananas. on my way i chanted, i prayed, i meditated. about 15 minutes to arriving i played music. really loud. in hopes that i would shut the noise of my difficulty testing. i was prepared to answer every question. i didn’t care how many questions this “smart test” would ask, i just wanted it to tell me that i passed. four hours. thirty-two minutes. two-hundred-sixty-five questions. test was over. and i had to wait forty-eight hours.

do you know how long forty-eight hours are?

during that time i thought about the last two years (one-year of prerequisites and the brutal twelve months of nursing school). the frustrations. the anger. the doubts. “what if?” became my question of uncertainty. what if this was not the right path? what if i failed and had to go through it again? would i even want to? who would i disappoint other than myself?

my friends? family?

and that was my moment of breakdown. that was the point where i said out loud: “i’m exhausted. and i don’t know that i can do much more.” and i cried. hard. by myself in the shower.

on Wednesday of that week, i could pay $7.99 to get my results. i told my wife (a clinical social worker) to do it for me. i was heading to work. i didn’t want to know when she was doing it or how or anything… i knew she’d figure out a way to tell me whatever the news may be.

i was at work. around 10ish AM i decided to check my phone (as i normally do) and my wife had texted me eight times: You passed baby! you passed! i knew you would!!! i leapt from my chair, my fellow nurses, medical assistants and providers congratulated me. i felt this urge to run a marathon. in a tutu. yes, that’s how freakin’ giddy i felt. and then i started calling the people who matter: my #TeamSarahi received a group text, my former classmates (now friends), professors and family.

as i made each call, i could literally feel my Friends “lighten up.” i could feel that they were holding the space for me; they were holding my anger, my frustrations, my fears and my doubts as if it were their own. and it was. i was never alone in this… i felt that my happiness was their own. and it was in each of those phone calls that i learned the real lesson of nursing school: those who care will hold the space for you and with you. they help carry it because we are extensions of each other in every instance. the people who matter will listen, encourage, and root for you through all of your battles. and should you feel the heaviness almost unbearable, know that those people are feeling and carrying it with you. and your victory is multiplied exponentially.

my dear Loves, may i always prove to be the kind of friend you’ve been to me.

reflection: connection

November 15, 2011

this past weekend was perhaps one of the most amazing weekends of my life.

my saturday started with a workshop that i was facilitating.  i’ve been giving a series of workshops at work for the past three months.  the relationships that have developed from these are absolutely beautiful. connecting with people that i would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet and getting to know them, their struggles, their stories and how they continue to move forward is uplifting and has allowed me to view my own struggles and grow stronger because of each of them.

lesson learned: we grow stronger in our collective struggles.

i headed to boston, to visit my sister, meet up with an old love who is visiting from DR  and then get together with new friends.

time with my sister is always a great time. i consider her one of the funniest people in my life. when i am with her my cheeks and abdomen hurt after just one hour. she has beautiful energy. she has a way to make me feel at peace.

lesson learned: her smile makes me feel at home.

i drove, nervously to her.  i didn’t know what to expect when i saw her. my heart was racing a faster as i got closer to our meeting place. i saw her. we hugged for what seemed to be hours. i felt no anger. no fear. no resentment. the only thing i could feel was our love: tender and true. her arms, her scent and her love wrapped around me like caribbean sun on palm trees.

lesson learned: undoubtedly, where true Love exist, regardless of what took place, the moment you come together, the only thing you feel is all that was beautiful about the relationship.

i headed to meet up with some friends. and with them i went to another place where i met an absolutely amazing group of new friends. it is inspiring to meet people and instantly connect. their energies, their spirits, their laughter… you’d think we all knew each other for years. our conversations went from intense to nonsense. we laughed so hard, inhalers had to come out. there were counseling sessions in the kitchen and dance-offs in the living room. games that taught us a little more about each other and had us talking about the next time we’d come together.

lesson learned: spiritual connections are still taking place.

the weekend just kept bringing me back to connections: lifelong ones, old ones and new ones.

when connections are made in their most honest form, we are guaranteed a lifetime of spiritual energy and renewal.

my love

October 21, 2011

gracias por el regalo de esta hija, que sera el maximo exponente de nuestro amor

when i was born, my father brought my mother flowers. the card read, “thank you for the gift of this daughter, who will be the maximum exponent of our love.”

growing up, we knew “got nothing” days. i have known days without a plate of food, but i have never known a day without love. in my lifetime, regardless of the circumstances, i have never missed an “i love you,” a warm embrace or some words of affection from a parent, a cousin, grandma, an aunt or uncle or a friend. i have been fortunate and blessed to always feel love (physically, emotionally and spiritually).

the following words were expressed to me “…sometimes i wonder, who is all that [love and attention] for?”

…and then i started rethinking that some friends and family, have often expressed that “[i] give love too quickly.” that i should be more “selective for my own sake.”

pero mis amores… i have no idea how to do things differently, nor do i want to.

i have no idea how to not love, if that is what i am feeling; regardless of the love (love of family, love of friends, intimate love). even as a child, those who have known me since, will tell you that i have always been the same.

i have a very difficult time being upset with those who hurt me; i forgive almost instantly. i have always been of the belief that i don’t have time for that shit. i don’t have time to hold anger so close that it doesn’t allow me to love and be loved. i don’t have time to be pissed off at the world for what it has brought me, because quite honestly, it drains me exponentially. it keeps me from evolving.


then my brain goes haywire. is there some truth to the idea that perhaps i do “love too quickly?” too intensely? is it possible that repetitive love becomes obsolete? that it almost becomes “habit” if it is something i express with ease? and if i am questioning all this, there has to be a message for me.

could it be that perhaps my parents’ love, in some pre-hogwarts-era-way cursed me?

(forgive me for rambling reader, i am literally writing this out).
Besos, Felo 15-5-78

is it that, like my mother has told me so many times, “the majority of people in this world are not ready for your love, mi hija.” or does she say that to make me feel somewhat “normal” in my expressive ways? or my biggest fear, is it that perhaps, i don’t really know what love is because somehow it has some sort of rules of engagement that i have not followed?

i don’t know how to not express sentiments and feelings. i don’t know how to hold back and be reserved and not tell someone what i am feeling because i feel as though i will literally implode.

and i don’t do it because, i have to —as my uncle says, “i ain’t gotta’ do nuttin’ but be puertorican and die. 


the repetitive act of my sweetness (be it words or a gift), doesn’t diminish the sincerity of the sentiment.  life is too short to limit how often acts of love take place.

i am this way because quite simply… there isn’t enough love in this world. and for some reason, i have some rare “surplus” and am willing to give it with ease and without reservation because fuck, you deserve to be loved! i give love to those i make connections with along the way. and with this love came honesty… if i don’t feel it, i don’t give it.

but i don’t know any other way except love’s way.

call me a poet. an idealist. a hopeless romantic. a sappy, mushy fool. it doesn’t matter.

i will stand beside you as long as you let me. and when you don’t. i will love you from a distance. love is a compromise. come what may, you keep love and it keeps you.

this isn’t poetry.