The changes that have taken place in my life as of late have been pretty severe, just as the 12 month spread predicted. I've always known that I haven't made the best choices when it comes to letting people into my closest circle of friends. Often times I have focused on letting people in and giving them the best of me, without really putting thought into if the relationship will be healthy or toxic to me.

Is not just about you. Unconsciously, people forget that friends don't necessarily have all the time or the energy needed to invest in listening to your intricate details. Sometimes, a summary of the situation is enough, especially after a detailed introduction to the situation. Keeping it brief will give your friend the feeling that you're not just using them as your personal psychologist or walking diary.

Requires maintenance. A similar event to the watering of a plant to keep it alive. Both sides must be willing to fill each other in on happenings without overwhelming each other. The nurturing should be mutual or neutral. This means an equal effort to see each other or keep in touch. It feels idealistic to a slight degree, but when a friendship is neglected, it wilts regardless of how solid the connection.

Time changes things. Sometimes beautiful relationships blossom and stretch for long periods of time, but it is likely that after a long period of inactivity, those relationships change into something else. It's out of your control, and it just happens.

People aren't accessories. It's not okay to keep someone around for how good you look with them, how much you can get out of them, or how much they're willing to give to you. It's easy to get lost in the idea that only the people that make sacrifices for you are worth it. If you're not willing to sacrifice anything for them in return, chances are that you should re-analyze the dynamics of those you hold closest to you.


Sometimes you don't realize the burden of the emotional baggage that your friends load onto you until you're irritated. Many times it is unintentional, but I have found that many expect their friends to sacrifice time and effort for them. Additionally, once they are done, they are not willing to do the same. When you care for someone, you're not likely to want to believe that they are not as healthy for you to keep around as you think. Chances are that you don't even realize how bad they are for you until after you flush them out of your system. It's not okay for people to take advantage of others for the skills and benefits that they can reap from friendship and relationships. I find that this tendency steadily increases in popularity, and it worries me.

It's really annoying when someone doesn't bother to keep in touch with you for months, and is suddenly super buddy-buddy with you in exchange for a gain or benefit. Having a secret agenda of things that you want to get out of someone is not true friendship, that's taking advantage of someone. It's okay if that person is otherwise immersed in a life full of responsibilities, work, other friends, and spouses to look after, especially long distance. Still, don't tell me that you magically remember someone at the very moment when they can conveniently help you with something that you want. Memory isn't that selective, and even the must undisciplined friendships don't slip this long without at least a short text message. Friends aren't tools, and you can't stow them away and forget about them until they are convenient or useful again.

Burning bridges isn't wise. A more sensible way of dealing with your toxic friends is to make a conscious effort to remind them that they need to invest a little effort into keeping in touch. It doesn't matter how busy your working life or your social life is. If you care about someone, you should let them know. Even a silly little instant message, text message, or e-mail work wonders sometimes. It doesn't mean that you need to make it a chore of going down the list of friends to report back it, it's more of a conscious effort to let people know that even though you're busy, you still care about them.

If you're looking to cut loose from someone that is draining your energy, I don't suggest bluntly stating "you're using me" right off the bat. Sometimes the truth hurts and friends lash out when you tell them the uncomfortable truth. It's amazing how people expect you to digest everything down to borderline sugarcoating the message, but I've found that not everyone is capable of handling the truth. Even less when the unbalanced dynamic has been going on for years. Discrete hints should do the trick. If they don't pick up after a steady dose, they probably don't want to or are too oblivious to notice. That's not your responsibility, though.

Writing this article has brought me a lot of clarity on what I should continue to do, and I hope it does the same for my readers as well. My friends are my treasure.

Credit goes to Gala Darling and Nubby Twiglet for the pictures!


Today marks one full year since my first trip to Tokyo, Japan. I didn't get the chance to blog about that trip on Samhain Moon because it hadn't launched yet, but I've been anticipating this post because I meant for it to evaluate the influence that this trip had in my life. In other words, I will look into how a journey to Tokyo changed my life.

A LOOK INTO MY MINDSET BEFORE:The trip to Tokyo came at a turning point in my life in which I was still reeling from a break-up that happened in August. Desperately trying to forget about it, but couldn't. Additionally, I was nervous about my career because Puerto Rico could not provide me with the same employment opportunities that I knew I could gain in the U.S.A. Having just graduated college, I was terrified of the thought that after 4 years of sacrifice, I wouldn't find a job to help me pay back my debts. One week before the trip, I landed a job as a graphic designer for Encuentros Mágicos. This job has kept me sane through the remainder of the year. Needless to say, I was a bit of an emotional wreck at the time! Usually,  an emotional crisis is a sheer indicative of the need for a change of scenery or a change in personality.

Getting to Japan was a journey in itself. An unusual number of mishaps happened. I remember crying at least half of the plane ride to Tokyo Narita from LAX, Los Angeles. I was going to a foreign country by myself and I had no clue what to expect. I was so rattled by the fact that I knew there was a higher purpose to this trip, and calmed down when the excitement of this new adventure presented itself.


That first day in Japan went by impossibly fast. I felt so small and so lost in a world that seem to operate by itself. When I got to my room, I was so tired that I didn't bother eating. Instead, I took a long bath and then wrote a massive diary entry before I went to sleep. The next day I woke up at 5 A.M. Tokyo time, did some research, and headed out to explore the streets at 9 A.M. Everything seemed to come alive as if by magic. My first visit was to the Meiji Temple in Shibuya, followed by exploring the Takeshita Dori, also known as "boxed street".

I'll always remember my very first metro train ride in Tokyo. I was on the way to Shibuya using the Yamanote JR from the Shimbashi Station, and the realization that I was living one of my wildest dreams dawned on me. I was in Japan for two weeks, the opportunity of a lifetime! Fate took a turn for the ironic when I heard the speaker say, "we are now approaching... Tamachi. Tamachi." There I was, miles from home and trying to forget about my x-boyfriend Tama[Shi] aka J, and the train mockingly announced that an alternate spelling of his name was my next destination. Seconds later, I started to cry in front of everyone else in the train. Not a day passed that I didn't think of him, because I took the same train ride every day.

In my visit to the Meiji Temple, I exercised prayer for the first time in years. I asked for changes in my life, for the grace of love, and for my grandmother's health. 15 minutes of silent prayer, and the whole rest of the day in contemplation—it isn't very hard when no one speaks your language!

The time away from home allowed me to find the clarity that I needed to battle out my obstacles. I immersed myself in Japanese culture and nothing but. Everything in sight was appealing to the senses, shopping was great, and so were the sights. At the very end of my voyage I met Almond. Born in Germany, attending college in Japan. We had a lot of fun, further exploring the streets together. Thanks to him, I was able to eat something substantial and share my experience in Japan with someone else, however brief. In reality, we just spent two days together. Thanks to this trip, I had a high sense of purpose and the motivation that I had previously lacked to pick up my life and move on! On the bus back to the airport I reflected on how much two weeks could impact a person, and I made a list of immediate things I could recognize about myself that had changed. I was humbled by how much I learned, just being by myself. I healed!

To this day, I still have dreams of Japan.



This entry could hardly be more appropriate to write, since I am doing so at 5 A.M. under candlelight in sheer darkness. The night was stormy, and it looks as if the grey tones of melancholy will stretch on during the day.

The life of a hermit isn’t the same compared to the life of a villain. It is, however, similar to the life of a “lone wolf” of sorts. I’ve noticed that in general, people like to travel/live their lives in groups. These units may exchange members regularly, but the common rule is that two is better than one. Sometimes it is unacceptable or even frowned upon in some groups if one person decides to move on through his or her own. Socially speaking, doing things by yourself is sometimes unacceptable. People shy away from the notion of being seen eating by themselves or running into acquaintances at the mall while being unattended. The state of being lonely is undesirable because of what others could think: You have no friends, or you’re a hard ass that no one can stand to be around.

And yet, there are a few that don’t mind going alone to have a beer; to breakfast, lunch or dinner; to run errands; and to watch a movie. These can be known as hermits.

The aspects of hermits that I am looking to focus on are: their comfort in solitude, their intellect and the secrets they have to show us. The lifestyle they lead. A hermit doesn't need a posse to back up his or her notions, and actions by extension. They don't allow themselves to be influenced too easily by others. In fact, the definition of hermit I'm trying to clarify generally describes a person that will listen to opinions and advice intently, and then will take it as simply an influence. They won't necessarily adopt it, but they may very well consider it. They stand against indoctrination in general. Joining the masses is not necessarily desired or frowned upon. In many aspects they remain impartial to those groups as long as they are not affiliated and directly associated.

[ While I agree with the notion of keeping a ‘social balance’, I can also admit that I am most comfortable when in solitude. As I have mentioned here and here, I can think more clearly when no one else is around. Outward influences in my life are important, “sticking to myself generates authenticity.” ]

In terms of tarot, the Hermit turns away from society to seek the enlightenment within. He cares little of what others think because he knows that he holds the truth, and that his secrets are meaningful to the world.


Today there won't be need for many words. I ran across a stunning blog called The Dying Swans, and I wanted to share some of the jewels in it with my readers. Enjoy!



Wow! This article could not come at a better time! Many are under the misconception that working freelance actually means sitting around in pajamas all day chatting on Facebook while working on a series of projects. I need to be clear on the fact that working from one’s residence as personal studio does not mean a vacation from the world of labor.

Freelance is flexible, but for those of us immersed in the lifestyle, we find that our work life and our personal life blend into one. Freelancers juggle a number of projects delivered under severe time constraints. Clients rate the effectiveness of a project based on how quickly the product can be churned out. With so many tasks making your days spill from one onto the other, when do you finally make time for you?

Turn off the Tv. During breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I personally don’t watch television at all! Since I spend an overwhelming amount of time sitting before the glowing screen, I try to keep my off-hours as far away from any screen as is possible.
Play some music you enjoy during your meals. Light some candles, play something relaxing or with up beat energy. Set the mood!
Take a walk. Walk your dog, go to a botanical park, take your children out for fruit smoothies or ice cream. Stray from places with high volumes of people to re-set.
Meditate. During break, silence your mind. If done effectively, it could feel more effective than a nap.
Take one day off to do nothing. Focus instead on you, significant others, and family members.

Stress is generated from worry. Worry can be avoided by minimizing distractions and paying attention to one’s needs. I am a huge fan of discipline, but I’m an even more devoted advocate to for healthy lifestyles. One can work diligently and still enjoy life. I must remind my readers that we work so we can sustain our lifestyles, but we don’t live solely for work. In being so submerged with bills or debts to be paid, many forget to nurture themselves with the life that they’re entitled to live.
Truth be told, a lot of this is directly linked to time management. Planning ahead of a day makes a great difference to just winging it as you go. For one, if you don't already have an established agenda:

It's easy to forget certain tasks. Let's face it, the mind is wonderful and powerful, but when you're running like crazy, it is really hard to remember to do everything at once. Some important details might slip, and that's exactly what you don't want.

Leave some leeway for changes. Don't cram your agenda, because chances are that when unexpected errands pop up, you won't be able to sedge way them into your plans. If you're a busy person, chances are that some tasks spring on you as you are carrying out plans that have already been established.

General organization. If you take a few minutes to plan your tasks out each day, you are likely to get distracted with breaks between those tasks. Sometimes it takes a while to decide which task to do first, so you'll go get lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

These are things I keep in mind when I'm managing my time. I don't like working until crazy in the morning when I have to get up the next day and work again. Usually, my scheduling helps me balance my affairs so that I can do a bit of everything that I want to get done. Surprisingly, I manage to get my work done AND have spare time to spare with friends or on my own creative endeavors.

Times are changing, they’re hard for dreamers. Don’t make commitments that won’t be worth your time and your effort!

Date book pictures credited to Koonelli.