Mom died and Jessie J saved me. Both parts of this statement are true. I always say, “Turn your breakdowns into breakthroughs. There are so many opportunities to thrive.” But this past month, faced with my own grief, I found myself saying, “Um, no. I don’t think I can do this thrive thing.” And then I found my way to Jessie J.
There I was trying to find a playlist on Spotify (mornings suck sometimes) as I made my way into the shower, when I remembered my editor, Marisa, saying, “Jessie J will change the world.”
I started to play her song – “Ain’t been Done”- got in the shower and, honestly, came out another person. Seriously.
As I was listening and just letting the water drip down, something shifted. I decided that, this time, I’m doing it like it “ain’t been done.” And this list of “I will…” flooded my mind. I will get in the best shape of my life, I will have the best relationships of my life, I will write this damn book, and I WILL inspire others to take the journey with me.
As I sobbed my eyes out to “Big White Room,” I realized I don’t have to be in the big white room alone; I can grieve and also choose to live, at the same time. Umm … do people do that? Well, I do. Jessie J is showing me that I can choose hope as I learn to cope.
So Project “ABD” has been in full effect for a few weeks now…
4 Things I’m Doin’ Like They Ain’t Been Done
- I am not eating my feelings. Historically, I eat my feelings. But when Mom passed, I got a trainer instead. I am getting up early, journaling feelings to Mamabear (as opposed to sleeping in and getting a hot bagel next door after late nights with Ben & Jerry). My goal: Cope without gaining weight. It’s possible. Who knew?! And I am so damn proud. I am doin’ my body like it ain’t been done.
- I am not being a crazy, needy person in my new relationship. Listen, if there was a time I wanted to be extra needy with my man, it’s right now, folks. But instead, I am learning how to cope more on my own, communicate my fears as opposed to silently feed them, and I give the relationship space. Instead, I am letting myself grow while taking it slow. And I actually feel my relationship is super healthy. I am doin’ my relationship like it ain’t been done.
- I am stopping my procrastination cycle. My pattern: let things pile up and then in a stress induced, overwhelmed state, I try to get everything done in a day. I often create my own difficulties. So I am pacing myself, immediately identifying when projects start to pile up – can even be my clothes on the floor. (I often undress and walk away – workin’ on it.) And now I pick two things to do. My pick “2 To-Do” strategy makes me feel like a rockstar and often leads to doing a little more than I had planned. I am doin’ my daily life like it ain’t been done.
- I am loving sex. My friends always come to me to discuss sex because I am always open to talk about it. It’s a fun topic, and I know a thing or three about it. Currently, I am with someone who is ridiculously generous, which is something I am honestly not used to. I have had passionate, amazing sex but nothing this generous and intimate before. I am way out of my comfort zone of control. I am much more of a giver than a receiver. Period. So I am choosing to be a student of sex. What?! Be a student of something I historically have been the expert on? Yes. Feeling comfortable enough to say things like, “Teach me” or “Help me do that better.” It’s amazing to see you do not need to be the “expert,” you just need to be willing to talk and learn. I am doin’ sex like it ain’t been done.
I look at it this way – you can read about tennis for years but if you don’t get on the damn court and play, it doesn’t matter what you read. And I share this all with you because I don’t think I am the only one who says, “I got this…” and finds themselves out to sea with no life jacket. When in reality, if we just asked; if we just started talking about things and making a plan, things would get better – from how we view our bodies, our relationships, our sex lives – our whole lives would be better.
And isn’t that the goal of living? To just get better at life? Well, for me it is. DiStyle is all about looking at life like this…
So what will you do like it “ain’t been done?” Now… go do it. And let me know what it is. Leave a comment below or email me. Thank you for the reminder Jessie J. I am perfectly incomplete but I am determined to create my masterpiece. This will be the best chapter yet.
P.S. Listen to Jessie J. Pop her on a playlist with these three songs and change your life: “Ain’t Been Done”, “Masterpiece” and “Big White Room”. #Action
I used to be a wallower.
I remember a friend saying to me, “I have no desire to buy a ticket for the
Di Ana rollercoaster anymore.” And although we are no longer best friends, she gave me my much needed wake up call.
And when something triggers you, there is always a reason.
And, man, was I triggered but when I stepped back and looked at my behavior (this took a few years, mind you ) I saw she was right. When the shit went down I made it everyone’s focus – drowning in it almost, and deciding there couldn’t possibly be a way out – that I had it worse than everyone else, so they couldn’t possibly understand.
What do you choose to focus on? #Awareness
So now, what is different? I don’t let the pain and adversity be the focal point and defining factor in my life. Of course, I feel the pain. You can’t ignore it. That is also a recipe for disaster. But I allow the pain to move me forward. And I remember this:
My pain and adversity are not my whole story unless I choose to make them so. Change the story you tell yourself. #Action
And make no bones about it, the story you tell yourself will be what manifests. If someone passes away and you assume that everyone will leave and all good things will come to a screeching dramatic end, you will create more adversity. Now that’s just an example from my current book (that I have to change stat) and a little compassion and understanding for moi does the trick. So here is my one piece of advice. Do it ((always)).
Make pain purposeful. Let it grow you.
You are meant to be fierce and fabulous – that’s what DiStyle is all about.
I am not about making this blog super dark, but I will start off by saying when a mother dies part of you goes 6 feet under with her. And all other parts are left to grieve and love on the ground above, and that reality sucks.
In typical DiStyle and because I am the daughter of Lourdes Pisarri (known as Lulu), possibly one of the fiercest women I know – I knew (the past tense thing is so hard) – it dawned on me when I was writing her eulogy that now I must love myself the way she loved me, which will be extremely hard because she had such a limitless vision for me. She saw the very best, and so I think it will be difficult but I am up for the challenge.
Love yourself with the acceptance and nurturing of a mother.
So I decided, in Lulu fashion, to move some of my own mountains and make this my best chapter yet.
Well it started with going through my mom’s home and beginning that God-awful task of “what to do with all of the stuff?” In my overwhelm, I decided to take her juicer and just blend shit. It’s healing. Who knew tossing kale could heal a grieving soul? Not me. However, it reminds me of the simplicity and necessity of self-care even in times like this. So I’m in.
I got a trainer. He’s a rockstar dude, ex-dancer, Pilates trainer (my core is a little soft. I am not so into it, so let’s change it) and he will get me out of bed 4 days a week.
Look at what you can change, and commit to that.
I will get up because he treks it to my apartment to get me feeling more like myself. Sometimes showing up for someone else gets the job done. Whatever works, ya know? I have also put myself on a tighter schedule to get my book written.
The truth is changing history is no small feat, but I believe with all my heart and soul that if my mom had known how and had the willingness, things would’ve been so different for her.
Truthfully, there are some powerful things that could have saved her but she was not willing. My mother was incapable of loving herself in the way she loved others, and she didn’t know how to take care of herself from the most simple of ways to the more complex. And this inability ultimately killed her. Her story is a powerful one, and something so many of us can learn from, so I’m ready to tell it, and I’m ready to change my own history.
I’m starting off small and learning how to do many of these things for the first time. Turning wounds to wisdom is the most powerful thing we can do as human beings so I turn the question to you for a moment.
What wound are you willing to transform? Wounds are not meant to define us and stop our growth, they are meant to show us where we need to heal – extra TLC and attention, if you will. And if I can, you sure as hell can. We will always have breakdowns – that’s a given. And we will go down but we do not have to stay down.
Whether you have recently lost someone you loved or are going through a profound change, and even if you are just ready to go after your dreams, I invite you to take the journey with me. There is no right or wrong; there is just doing – keep putting one step in front of the other and keep moving forward…
Today – one day at a time – has a whole new meaning to me, but ya know what? If not now, when? So here’s to creating the best chapter yet.
Often, I find people showing gratitude when things are going super well in their lives. But, let me tell you, I have watched so many clients throw gratitude right out the window when life takes an unexpected turn. And, let me also tell you, I am guilty of this, myself.
So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to talk about gratitude–DiStyle.
First off, thank you Kris Carr for sharing your “Love List” with me. (Get on this, people. She’s brilliant.) It inspired me to begin to look at my daily life from a place of gratitude. When I did this, I found my own list was abundant. From the mundane to the more profound, there is so much more to be grateful for than we think.
You just have to decide to look through the lens of what you do have as opposed to what you don’t.
And we cultivate it all. Here’s a peek through my lens…
Di Ana’s Love List:
I am profoundly grateful for my mom. Her unconditional love and support of me, my artistic, and entrepreneurial pursuits is truly a blessing in my life. She never told me I wasn’t capable–ever.
She saw possibility for me, always.
Parents: tell your kids that they can. A child needs no criticism–the world will do that for them.
Mama, you never criticized. You modeled that I could do anything by your own actions and words.
I am grateful for all of it.
“New York…concrete jungle where dreams are made of…” You constantly push me to work harder, filling each day with so many amazing possibilities and people for me to find.
From a home I love, in a city that constantly provides endless opportunities, I am so blessed. When Gazpacho & Chèvre explore and play in the toy basket with the octopus, I am reminded what a sanctuary I have created.
Pure joy happens in this room (on the daily), and for that I am beyond grateful.
I am ((so)) damn grateful that I no longer live this way.
I used to need everyone’s approval (even the barista that poured my coffee at my fancy coffee shop).
I remember seeing this piece of art in a friend’s home and recognizing it in myself and knew I needed to make a change.
I am grateful I did.
So grateful for the day when we received a proclamation from former New York City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, for our contribution to marriage equality.
We truly had no idea we would be honored in such a way. And, that we would be honored, on the same day, as Gloria Steinem for being, well…Gloria Steinem.
Such an incredible day experienced with two amazing collaborators and friends.
Grateful for art and the stories they tell.
Being involved with Strange Sun Theatre, an artistic community that is devoted to telling stories that illuminate our humanity through a shared experience, has been such a highlight in my life.
I will always be grateful for the theater: the escape it gave me as a child and the respect and love I have for it, as an adult.
I have the amazing opportunity to coach parents and the kids they love.
Helping children learn these precious life skills at a young age is one of my greatest blessings.
Kids can write the above words knowing what it means and use it to express their feelings, while having parents who cultivate a creative, supportive environment.
Changing two generations at a time and loving every moment of it.
One of my 11-year-old clients created the above picture as an example of something she was so glad she did at school that day. That’s what it’s all about.
Awareness + Action (as a kid) = An Amazing Childhood
For years I struggled with my own self-acceptance.
I mean, don’t we all? And food was my way to cope. I love that I now cope in healthier ways.
I will always be a foodie (any restaurant recommendations, I am your girl!) but food is one part of my joy now as opposed to fueling of my guilt and being my only means of comfort.
Grateful for no more diets, just healthy live its. #DeeperWork
For playing, dancing, laughter, joy, and my cousin Julia (the little sister I never had).
You are the best.
For my Aunt Genny who showed me what it means to be resilient. You gave us all Natasha who profoundly changed my life.
After her passing, your resilience and ability to find love showed me how to really live.
I would have stayed in anger, saying, “Why me? Why my child?” Instead, you found purpose and healing.
I am so grateful for all you taught me without even knowing it: by living out loud and sharing your experience.
My grandma always says, “Di Ana, I think you love you too much.” Well Gram, I think you taught me how to love like this, and that is OK with me.
Grateful for you, daily.
This Thanksgiving, let’s take all that we are grateful for and cultivate more of it…every single day, no matter what.
What’s on your list?
I love me some Joseph Campbell and he is definitely onto something.
He says, “You are the answer.” But let me back it up, Joseph, if I may.
I don’t know about you but there was a time when I had taken so many workshops, had so many thought provoking conversations with friends, experts, healers–you name it, and all I really had accomplished was a lot of rumination.
Let’s define rumination, shall we?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think meaningful conversations that help us become more self-aware are a key part in our growth.
But, for many years my rumination held me back from risking and taking action.
Rumination can be a dead end.
As the definition points out, when we are constantly focusing on why we feel this way, or why this happened to us, as opposed to how we can move forward, we can get stuck. I experience so many friends, clients, and family members caught in rumination.
There is a DiStyle distinction between self-awareness and rumination:
Self-awareness: leads to action and change.
Rumination: a loop that feels active but becomes inactive and safe. Also, in my own life, this has made me depressed and hopeless.
How would you know if you’re stuck? For starters, look at your progress. Are you closer to having the relationship you desire? Are you taking the risk of giving your heart? Are you changing behavior or just finding more reasons to justify why you are the way you are?
We all (myself included) have ruminated long enough. It is time to risk. Without risk there is no reward.
As Joseph Campbell says, “You are the answer.” Yes, and I want all of us to actively:
Below, I am sharing part of my own Dream It, Live It list.
Remember that everything you desire requires a deeper understanding of the HOW and consistent commitment to the DO. That’s how dreams come true.
Di’s Dream It, Live It List:
- A new family history not rooted in anger and criticism because I have made changes.
- A healthy relationship to my body. I lost almost all the weight I gained in a healthy, mindful way.
- Writing a book that feeds my soul and makes my pain purposeful.
- Cooking more to stay healthy and energized.
- Building friendships that challenge and support my best self.
- Organizing my desktop which can often be chaos personified.
What’s on your list? I want to know! Let’s dream it and live it, shall we?
As Marianne Williamson says, “It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
In short, our blind spots keep us safe. When we are forced to see, often the vision can tear us apart, but it is in those moments we invite healing in to help put us back together and live a better life.
I cultivated a courage I didn’t know I had and this is my story. Grateful to Huff Post for giving it a voice..