Sunday, March 3, 2013


I’m not perfect but one of the things I try to do it see things from other people's perspective.  This may not seem particularly extraordinary but as I have gotten older I have seen how much friendships are lost, arguments are fought, and relationships turned to dysfunction.  

All because we can’t understand how someone else is feeling. How many times have we said something like this…“I can’t believe she would do that, knowing how that makes me feel?” But do they really know?

Sometimes things that are so apparent to us are not so apparent to others. It’s important to stop and think before you let your anger take over you, and take the time to understand from another’s perspective of what’s going on. 

If you truly care about a person you take the time to understand them.  In doing this we may realize that we are the ones who are being overly sensitive or have expectations of other people (i.e., husbands, mothers, sons, etc.) that we did not share with them. 

I have a great deal of patience. Having patience comes from caring about the particular person or the situation I am in. I can’t say I would have the patience to deal with people I honestly didn’t care for or who could not care for me. But my point is you should have the patience to take the extra time to understand a situation instead of just reacting.  

The ultimate challenge I have faced was losing my daughter. She was born at 28 weeks and lived for 6 days. The struggle to keep her alive was great and unlike anything I have experienced. 

After she died I thought I would never get to a place where I could move on. I was afraid of forgetting about her. But she has been my inspiration. I have helped other women in my same situation because of her. 

It was with the support of my husband and living for my son that made me overcome this challenge. My son was my biggest inspiration; it was because he needed me that I motivated myself to move forward and be a great mom to him. 

I think for me growing up was about figuring out “who I am”. When  I was young it was about trying to be cool and fitting in. In college it was about deciding who I want to be based on newly established beliefs.  As an adult, I have had to get reality checks that has made me question and reevaluate my beliefs.  

Due to the realities of life I have come to understand that I am complex and don't need to identify myself as one or 2 things – I am not just a mother , or a wife or defined by my career, or my activities , or by my beliefs. 

I understand that how I identify myself now may change in years to come because of the challenges I accept to take or not take. Right now I am all these things and more. 

I am happy to say one of my personal achievements is training for and completing 2 half marathons, (13.1 miles), The New Jersey Half Marathon and the Staten Island (My hometown) Half marathon and working on training for my 3rd, the NYC half marathon in March. Running has allowed me to see my potential, by setting a goal and working to achieve it.  

Running also gives me an outlet to release stress, gives me personal space to think and plan. It has been very therapeutic. I just wish I could be more consistent. I do more than running, I also work out by doing boot camp, Pilates, and kickboxing. 

The problem is I just don’t have enough time in the week to do everything including work, cook for my family and being a mom to my children. With running, I love it when my time improves. I love telling people that if I can do it you can do it. I was not a runner. But I was active. 

I used to get on the treadmill and run 20 minutes then get off. Not because I was tired or couldn’t. I just never pushed myself. When I ran my first race I remembered the feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction of setting a goal and completing it and better yet, exceeding my expectations and performing better than I planned. 

That alone makes me want to run forever. It helps me to put it all in perspective and allows me to see myself worth! If I can do this and do better than I expected what else in my life have I been holding back on? Where else am I not living to my potential? 

Its pretty deep and maybe many people don’t think that way about running- but it certainly has opened my eyes. I have been running for what will be 2 years as of May. I had been wanting to participate in races for awhile before but I was always afraid. 

Afraid that I was too slow, or I would not be able to finish. Before I had ever entered a race I stood at the sidelines to watch the runners of one race. Of course their were the elites at the start of the race, but then I saw people who looked like me, who were older than me, or fatter than me. 

It was at that moment that I realized I could do it and didn’t need to run with anyone else, especially since no one around me seem to want it as badly as I did. Sometimes if we really want to do something we need to get over our own personal fears and do it alone. 

The only person who can make you better is YOU! There maybe people in our lives that we admire and help to influence us but ultimately YOU are your best and worst motivator! 


As I have come to grow older friendships have become more than just hanging out and having fun. 
My circle of friends have actually decreased and become more meaningful.  Those around me that I call a friend are truly that, friends. I care about these people treat their children as my own, provide support to them during their time of need and they have done the same for me. 


When entering in a serious relationship people need to not take this decision lightly. I believe a person’s companion develops to be an extension of themselves.  The longer we are with a person the more their flaws and strengths have an impact on our own character.

Thus it is important to really think about who you choose to be in a relationship with. In addition who you choose to be in a relationship with ultimately demonstrates what you think about yourself. Are you choosing a person because they look good on your arm, or because of their possessions? Relationships based on this deteriorate quickly and don’t stand the test of time. 

Finding a mate shouldn’t be about a checklist of do’s and don’t- but instead about finding a person whose beliefs (Spiritually and philosophically) are aligned with your own. This is important because this is a person that you may be raising children with, or financially linked to.

I feel truly lucky to be married to a beautiful man inside and out. Who challenges me to a better wife, mother and person. Helps me see and work on my faults and praises my achievements and successes, especially during those occasions I when I don't give myself enough credit. 

A lot of times we measure success by how much we have? How much we make or where we live, or the title that follows the end of our name. I have made this mistake before.  I have wanted to get a certain level, make a certain amount of money. But in the end it did not truly make me happy. This has caused me to analyze exactly what it is I wanted and why. 

Success to me is about striving to reach your full potential. In doing that, sometimes you are rewarded with accolades and promotions and financial gains. But this is not how you should measure your success.  If you are a stay at  home mom there are no rewards or accolades or promotions. Your biggest reward maybe just being able to experience your child’s first steps or words, or any experience that working parents are unable to witness.


I believe you can’t have it all. Sometimes being successful in one area may require you to lack in another area. Many women especially working mothers strive to achieve a state that is truly unattainable. It is difficult and impossible to be accessible and to everyone at all times.

Look at Oprah for example, extremely successful. But would she be the same Oprah if she had two small children to raise? Sure she could be successful, but at some point she would have to pull back, right? If she had to spend too many late nights or days away from home.

Life is tough and being a working parent is even tougher. I wouldn’t be able to do many things if I didn’t have a husband that is able to be with our children when I am working late, taking bootcamp classes or going on long runs.  Superwoman does not exist but that does not mean you cannot be a super woman! 

Being a woman of strength means to have the strength to live another day. When work is hard and you can’t figure out how you got the job, are overwhelmed and think there is no way you could possibly handle more – but you do , because your kid gets sick, or your deadline at work has been moved up.Having strength to face another day is huge. Because for every challenge you face head on you gain knowledge. Knowledge to improve your circumstances in the future.

I think my purpose is what I choose it to be & what speaks to me. Right now I am in a stage of self- development & understanding. This has been the overall theme for me lately whether it involves my children and improving their education, my family’s health & well-being, or my career and getting to the next level, or working to run longer or faster.

I try to to look at myself intensely and figure out what do I need to do to get to the next level.  In this stage right now I am re-evaluating my career looking at what I can do to get better. 

Trying  to figure out if I can be in this industry for another 30 years. Its hard to figure this out because I may change. In the moment this is what I am thinking about, but I understand that what I plan for myself in the next 10 years could change. But I accept that but still continue to look forward. 
Shakira is a Mother, a wife, a runner, a fighter. This is what I am now but this may all change. Because who I am is based on the challenges I choose or not choose to face.  Whether I grow to my potential or stay stagnant. 

I am a good hearted person, who tries to balance selflessness and selfishness, and sometimes do it unsuccessfully but I am not without flaws. I try to understand them through self awareness and reflection so I can work to conquer them. At my best I am I am strong confident, insightful, and witty. At my worst I am I am self-conscious & withdrawn. 
If you are never challenged in life you can never truly grow. You will never truly see how strong you really are.  If everything has been handed to you in life how can you truly believe you deserve everything you have been given? 

Life is difficult and scary and doesn’t always turn out the way we want, but this is not a reason to go through life and remain stagnant. It is not worth it to let fear hold you back. I would like to share what I believe to be a valuable lesson with those who are younger than me, cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers, & sisters, Stay humble!  
Even during times when it seems like you know it all, understand you don’t, as I have learned- take the time to see others perspective and be introspective let yourself be in a place where you can accept growth! What can seem like nagging, is actually people’s well intentions for you to do better and succeed. 
Something that is really important to me is nutrition. I do a lot of reading on the subject. I watch documentaries and do lots of research and All for fun. :)  

In all seriousness, this topic has been something that really peaked my interest when my father was diagnosed with cancer. He went to an alternative cancer treatment center and shared with me everything he learned. It didn’t immediately change how I looked at food & nutrition, but it was a start. 

Also going to school in Ithaca NY (a small college town that has a number of local farms & wineries- basically the perfect learning environment for understanding the importance of sustainable chemical free food.) and having a roommate and friends who were big in holistic living taught me more. 

Ultimately, it wasn’t until I lost my daughter that I really started taking nutrition seriously. 
While I was pregnant with my youngest son I did everything right, from eating chemical free and eliminating junk food (like trans fats, HFCS, hydrogenated oils, etc). I also did a lot of reading. I learned about pesticides and chemicals used in common foods and products we use. and how they contribute to poor health.  

This is my message I like to give to my friends and family, Take the time to pay attention to what you're eating.  

Before you criticize what I am doing hear me out first. If you disagree, do the research for yourself. Look at arguments for and against eating organic. These are my favorite websites and I read them regularly online & thru Facebook as well. 
As well as some good books: 
“The Self Health Revolution” 
by J. Michael Zenn“The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply. An Investigation into The Worlds Most Controversial Company” By Marie- Monique Robin“Green Babies, Sage Moms; The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Baby” By Lynda Fassa“The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” By Michael Pollan“Fast Food Nation” By Eric Schlosser
I believe that nutrition contributes to health. I don’t think that anyone will dispute that having a healthy lifestyle will reduce instances of diseases like cancer & diabetes. My take on this is rather simple. I rather spend the extra money & time cooking & buying good chemical free healthy foods instead of having to spend money later in life on expensive invasive medical treatments. Its so worth it! I wish people would see it that way! 


Unknown said...

Thank You again Bin for the opportunity to share my thoughts!


It was my pleasure and honor! Thank you so much for not only sharing your truth but for educating all of us on how why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle. You are a true inspiration!!!! ;-)