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May 2012

Testing, testing, can you hear me?

 

Click here to listen

 


Hello!

That little bar up there is me talking to you. It is a little test to see if it works. I got a little microphone a couple of weeks ago because I love the idea of talking to you directly. If everything works well, then I will be able to communicate with you through my voice. Please let me know what you think? Do you understand me OK?

Elsita :)


Happy 10th Anniversary!

Bill and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary today. These have been the 10 most important years of my life. Bill and I agree that we have a pretty good marriage. We feel so lucky. I decided to list the 10 main elements that make of our marriage a good one.

1. We respect each other. 

2. We're very patient with each other. 

3. We accept each other exactly as we are.

4. We want the same things in life: a happy family and space for creativity.

5. We keep it real. No drama, no complications.

6. Our parenting phylosophy is the same, no disagreements or conflicts in that area.

7. We admire each other.

8. We share a good sense of humor and practice it all the time.

9. We learn from each other.

10. We support each other emotionally.

These 10 years have been amazing. I personally feel that I have grown so much with Bill. He's 12 years older than me so that makes him 12 times wiser than I am. He has seen a lot more than me so when I'm trying to figure out something he has already graduated from it.

What I enjoy most about Bill is his down to Earth approach to life. He has worked with lots of rich and famous people in this and other countries, he has seen the kind of poverty that hurts your eyes. But no matter where he is or who he's interacting with, Bill is first of all human, he's always real, gentle, understanding and modest. That's why he's so good at his work (film producer). It takes a very unique person to deal with lots of different personalities, most of them intense, and yet, get things done and never lose perspective of what really matters.

Another thing that I really admire about Bill is his gift for listening. He can stand there, very quiet, and just listen for as long as you talk. Not only that, but he never rushes to impose his own opinion. He just says: everything will be OK. And he's always right, things are always OK in the end. 

I could talk about Bill's qualities forever, but one more gift of the many that Bill possess is the way in which he deals with crisis. I have never seen a person who can stay as calm and as in control as Bill is whenever there is a crisis. The world can be falling apart and there he is, never raising his voice, never panicking, never rushing to conclusions. The best part is that he always comes out with the right solution to the problem. He's a genius at proposing ideas that are simple and efective. It all comes from a high concrete intelligence combined with deep intuition and lots of perspective. When I grow up I want to be like Billy.

I will finish this post by saying: Thanks a million Billy for everything, you are my rock, my inspiration, my teacher, and the love of my life. Thank you for helping me become a better person in these 10 years. Thank you for being such a wonderful father to Miro, Natalie and Diego and thank you for letting me just be the way I am, as tricky as that could be sometimes ;). I love you forever!

Elsi :)


If you Believe in Magic, Magic will Happen!

I came running from Diego's school to share something wonderful with you. Something magic just happened! Here is the story:

I religiously spend about 25-30 minutes in Diego's school playground every single morning, from Monday to Friday. I have been doing this since Diego was in Kindergarten. By keeping this routine Diego is consistently exposed to an environment where he can get social clues about how children interact in a spontaneous dynamic. My hope has been that one day he will learn how to connect with other children on his own, without the participation of adults. I believe that adult help is key for Autistic children (which Diego has all the time) but I also believe that it's a positive thing to give Diego the freedom to figure things out on his own, from experience.

Diego is able to engage in play with children from his class and from his social skills group. But when he's in a situation where he doesn't know the children, then he never initiates a play and he doesn't follow kids that want to interact with him neither. That's what I see every morning in the playground. Non of the children from his class go to the playground, for various reasons, so he's there on his own.

Every morning when we arrive in the playground he has the same routine. He walks in circles around the playground. Then he runs following the same path and then he goes up to a little bridge and jumps over and over again. He loves doing that. But he does all of this alone while all the rest of the children are engaged in their own games. There was a time when I actively tried to help him connect with other children but it didn't work so I decided to trust the fact that Diego is a good learned. I think that in order to learn you need some space so I did that.

Sometimes, just to get an idea of how Diego is feelings I ask: Sweetie, do you like the playground? Do you like the kids in the playground? Do you want to keep going there in the morning? His answer has always been YES. But if you see how disconnected he looks from the children in the playground you would imagine that he's not happy over there. The thing is that I had to learn how to see beyond my eyes. 

Well, today is the day that I have been waiting for!! It was a normal day, he was doing the usual thing. I was talking with other mothers when suddenly Diego comes running to me. Two adorable smaller kids were having fun chasing him. Diego hugged me and with a mix of excitement and confusion, like expecting some kind of clarification he said: Mom! Those kids are chasing me!! I have been so ready for this moment that I immediately said: That is sooo cool!!! Go ahead and have fun chasing them now! Go! Go! They're waiting for you! So he did it. He started chasing the kids, they were laughing and having so much fun. Then they went to the slide and started playing together and taking turns. Then they run again...For a few minutes Diego was one more kid in the playground, having fun, sweating, smiling, his face was read. His body and mind were 100% activated.

I have visualized this scene in my mind so many times! And today it became real. This seems to be such a small thing but it was HUGE for me! It was a milestone. This is the first time that Diego engages in a play with other kids totally on his own, outside the group of children that he's familiar with. It's too bad that I didn't have a camera to take a picture. His face was so radiant! He was so happy!! I know that this is just the beginning of a long road.

Here is what I learned from this experience:

*Follow your instincts and always do what feels right.

*Have hope.

*Be extremely patient and consistent.

*Don't give up.

*Belive in magic and magic will happen.

*Visualize your dreams as if they were real.

*Be ready for what you want so you know what to do when it happens.

*Don't ever believe that idea that Autistic children prefer to be on their own. They do want to belong, they want to have friends, they want to be accepted and they want to have fun. They just don't know how to do it naturally. They don't "prefer" to be on their own, that's what they do because it's just easier or because they have been so affected by their unsuccessful attemps that they decided to give up trying. But very deep within, every Autistic child wants the same things that neurotypical children want.

Much love!

Elsita :)

 

 

 


My Precious Daughter.

Natalie 1 con fondo small

I can't believe that Natalie is turning 9 years old today. I still remember every detail from the day when she was born. My tiny premature baby has become one of the most special people that I know. I feel extremely honored to be her Mom. Natalie was born way before the due date. She was so ready to come out that the Dr. couldn't make it to the hospital on time. She was so pretty and vibrant. Bill held her in one of his hands, I couldn't believe how small she was and how pretty.

Natalie is a sponge, she captures everything from life around her. And she wants to learn on her own. I have never felt like a teacher to Natalie, I feel more like her student. As a Mom all I do is to make sure that she knows how much I lover her and how amazing I think she is. 

I know that my girl will be doing great things with her talents in the future. Time is going fast, we only get to have her with us for 9 more years. At 18 Natalie will be ready to fly away and find her own voice in the world. In the meantime I want to enjoy her presence as much as possible and I want to learn from her as much as possible.

Happy Birthday Natalie!

Love,

Mom :)



Much love to all the Moms in the world!

Mom small

Today I want to send a big hug to all the mothers out there in the world, specially to my Mom Margot. She has been the first most important person in my life since I was born. My Mom is a real inspiration to me. She raised 4 children on her own with absolutely no help. Mom worked in the most awful jobs in order to support her family. She never had the chance to go to school. She didn't graduate from anything but she became a Master o life.

My Mom has gone further than most people who lived under similar circumstances. When she moved to the USA she immediately learned how to drive, how to use a computer and other things that have helped her become 100% independent. She has always been open to learning anything that could be good for her. That interest in learning was one of the most important things that she taught her children.

My Mom is a fighter and a believer in justice. She feels people's pain as her own and she helps everyone around her. Mom had to struggle her whole life raising a severe Schizophrenic daughter (my sister Ileana). She went through the pain of seeing her child in the hospital all the time, very close to losing her life. But that didn't kill her positivism and drive. 

I could write a whole book about my Mom but with this post I just wanted to say: Un millon de gracias Mami por ser una inspiracion para tus hijos!

Con mucho amor!

Elsita :)

 


Feliz cumpleaños to me :)

Libelula copy

New painting for my upcoming show in Miami, Florida.

Today I'm turning 41 years old so I decided to list 41 of the many lessons that life has taught me so far:

1. Forgiving those who hurt you is the first step to personal growth.

2. Make a conscious effort to remember your past. Many of the clues that help us solve current problems are found in the past.

3. Be excited about the future. Anything can be better in the future if we star building it today.

 

Detail 1 copy

4. If you want to enjoy the beauty of life be present in everything you do.  

5. Don't judge others. Just observe, listen and learn from them. Every single person on Earth has something to teach you. 

6. Real wealth has nothing to do with money. 

7. Do good things for other people. By doing so you're planting little seeds of love. Those seeds will feed your soul when you most need it.

8. Be gentle and patient with yourself, everyday. 

9. Be brave enough to apologize when you do something wrong. 

10. The greatest lessons are learned from whatever hurt you. 

11. Smile and life will smile back to you. A smile is understood in every culture and in every languaje. 

12. Spend time in solitude often. It will give you space for listening, feeling and seeing more than when you're surrounded by people.

Detail 2 copy

13. Enjoy human presence. Human energy is the strongest of all energies.

14. We need to learn more from animals. They live simpler and happier lives. They deserve our respect.

15. Suffering comes from wanting and expecting things all the time.

16. Happiness is a state of mind. It's accepting ourselves and everything else in a peaceful manner. Just like nature does.

17. Don't try to change other people. Just accept them, love them exactly as they are. That will inspire them to be better.

18. Don't define yourself in any way. We're not something made in a factory with a label that says what we are. Just be whatever you want to be.

19. Parenthood is one of the hardest and most rewarding things in life.

20. The most important thing that every child wants is: your attention.

Detail 3 copy

21. Creating special rituals and habits with your children is like planting seeds for the future. One day that's what they're going to remember from the past.  

22. Being nice to other people doesn't mean that you have to be naive. Let your intuition alert you when someone has bad intentions so you can protect yourself.

23. You don't have to say yes to everything. Even when everybody else is doing it.

24. Our time and energy is precious and limited. Think well before you decide how to spend it.

25. Don't run away from your emotions and feelings. They are our most important communicators. They let us know everything that we need to know about ourselves.

26. What really works when it comes to healthy eating is to develop a functional relationship with food. 

Detail 4 copy

27. Pay attention to your appearance. Stay nice and clean. It will help you stay connected with your body and soul.

28. Be considerate with people that have physical disabilities. But don't feel sorry or underestimate them. They are probably stronger than you imagine. Having to overcome daily limitations builds a stronger character. 

29. Be nice with children and adults with special needs. If you're open to them you will be surprised by how much they have to offer.

30. If someone needs your help don't ignore it or make a big deal out of it. Whether the person is disabled or not, just be spontaneous, natural and enjoy helping.

31. Be always curious. Read, ask, research, learn as much as possible.

32. Knowledge is nothing without experience. In order to really learn something you have to somehow experience it yourself.

33. Be open to new experiences, don't be afraid to try something new. It will revitalize your mind and body. It will make your life more interesting.

Detail 5 copy

34. Let the most important people in your life know that you love them. Write a letter with a list of the things that you love about that person. 

35. Be creative in everything you do. Creativity can solve anything.

36. Don't be afraid to disagree with someone. Just do it in a gentle way. There is more power in being calm than in being aggressive. 

37. Don't do anything when you're angry. Otherwise you will end up hurting someone else or yourself.

38. Nothing stays the same for a long time. Be aware that change is part of life. Some changes will be positive and some negative. Be open to both of them so you won't be unprepared when they arrive. 

Detail 6 copy

39. Stress is part of modern society but you don't have to let it take over your life. A simple solution to reduce stress: define your priorities and eliminate everything else. Simplify your life in every possible way.

40. Enjoy your friends. You won't know how important they are until they're gone.

41. The best way to stay connected to life is to be aware of death. Our time is limited so do what you want to do, now.

 

 



Beetle

Femina Plantarum #13 copy

Acrylic paint on canvas.

24" x 24"

Here is another painting for my upcoming show in Miami, Florida. The size is larger than the pieces on paper that I have been sharing so far. I will try to take a picture of myself next to it so I can post it here or here.

Detail #13 copy

 

About the symbolic meaning of beetles Avia Venefica says:

Beetles speak to us of groundedness. They move with bellies always close to the earth, and so their wisdom is sacred and deep.  They are connected to the core of earth, and so they are rooted in their knowledge about the way of life and nature.

Beetles also talk to us about steady, gradual progress.  Observing them, they do nothing without pragmatic, methodical movement.

Beetles impart messages such as:

  • “Get to the root of your desire”
  • “Be practical in your expectations of progress”
  • “Find stability in simplicity”
  • “Anchor yourself in honest, true, natural ways”

Beetles also remind us of the simple things in life, and point our attention to the magic in the small.