“Just Suck”: Advice to Creatives from Junot Diaz

Top 3 Favorite Funny Quotes from “The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

This book is so funny. It is about the life of Oscar Cabral, a nerdy dominican kid with no rico-suave charm struggling with life. Here are some of my favorite lines in the book:

Created by Stephanie Rodriguez, a student at the School of Visual Arts.

1. Oscar, Lola warned repeatedly, your going to die a virgin unless you start changing.

Don’t you think I know that? Another 5 years of this and I’ll be you somebody tries to name a church after me (p. 25)

2. When it came to the mujeres my roommate was like no one on the planet. On the one hand he had the worst case of no-toto-itis I’dever seen. (p.173)

3. Got him to start watching his diet and stop talking crazy negative–I am ill fated, I am going to perish a virgin, I’m lacking in pulchritude–at least whil I was around I did. (Positive thoughts, I stressed, positive thoughts, motherfucker!).

If you read the book , please feel free to share some of your favorite lines too!

“50 Shades of Grey”: Would You Sign The Contract?

ImageInitially, I thought this book was just fluffy fiction with great erotic scenes. However, as E.L. James started to reveal the dynamics between Anastasia Steele and Mr. Grey; it becomes really hard to put it down.

In short, an insecure recent college graduate falls in love with Mr. Grey; a young, sexy, extremely rich business entrepreneur. However, Mr. Grey has a dark side. He’s into BDSM (bondage, discipline, type of relationships and Ana struggles to decide whether or not she will sign a contract that would commit her to being his sexual submissive for 3 months. Here’s a small excerpt from the book:

But last night, in the playroom, you…” he trails off.

“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.

His gray eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.

“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.”

Continue reading

“Thoughts of A Butterfly”

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Do you think a negative catalytic experience is what you need to spark the motivation you have to make positive changes in your life?

Well, that’s kind of what happened to Shirley Ramos. At the age of 29 years-old, Ramos suffered a stroke and the experience changed her life.

In her book, “Thoughts of a Butterfly,” she shares poems and narrative essays about her journey from a state of lost existence to self-affirmation.

Born in Queens, New York, Ramos was striving to figure out the right formula for success. After many heartbreaking relationships and traveling countless career paths, she describes former self as “a mess without purpose.”

But one day, she woke up from a “dream” not realizing that she had been asleep for 14 hours. Shortly after, she learned that she had suffered a stroke. A hole was in her heart; physically and emotionally as she struggled to make sense of her life. In her poem, “Thoughts in the Dark,” she says:

“How did this end up being my life?
Where did I go so wrong
I lay at night, my attention focused on the cross on the wall.
I would privately pray,
“God, I’m meant for more–this isn’t the life I should live
I would just lie there
until my eyes could no longer hand the weight of pain.
My lids would shut, and I slept.
The next day I woke wondering if I was dreaming.
Then I would look at my surroundings
all the material stuff I had accumulated,
and I was faced with the reality;
this is the life I allowed to exist in my soul.”

Things in her life started to change when Ramos started making decisions in her life that aligned with acknowledge that voice inside in our head that we would ordinarily ignore. In her poem, “A Force,” she says:

“Finally, I’ve given in to realizing that this silent spirit
will lead me to experiences beyond my imagination.”

Through reading this book, I learned that listening to that voice is probably all we need to live our best lives.

Following Up on Your New Year Resolutions

There is a deep urgency in my heart to fulfill my personal life goals this year. I’m known among those closest to me to relapse into old habits more easily than I’d like to admit.

But what’s different about 2012, is the wisdom and a better understanding of life from two intensely insightful books. They have answered two questions I’ve been grappling with for years: What is my purpose in life? and How do I live it out?

“The Purpose Driven Life” is the answer to all of my “why’s” in life. Rick Warren explains the why God created life and more importantly the purpose of it.  You make a 40 day commitment to read one chapter a day and keep a journal reflecting on your take of the readings. It’s principles are ones that you want to embed in your heart and minds; so you can’t breeze through the reading or else you will get overwhelmed and miss the opportunity to grow.

One of the most important insights that I learned from this book is how he explains God main interest is in developing our character; not our career or other worldly desires we may have planned for our life.

 Take on an entirely new way of life–a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

Understanding life principles is easy; applying them to the day to day grind of life is the hard part. Uggh! We are constantly being tested through relationships with everyone on how much patience, compassion, diligence, discipline and faith we have.

“The Four Agreements” by Miguel Don Ruiz is a offers philosophical perspective about how people are living and four agreements you need to make in order to live out your personal dream of heaven on earth.

Here are the agreements:

  • Be Impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

By applying and mastering these agreements, I know it will enable me to grow into my purpose.  If you’ve been craving for life change like I have and made a promise to make this year your year to be your best self,  read these books and let me know if  it has impacted your thinking on how to deal with the ups and downs of life.