Pushing Through Anxiety

20160909_anxiety_photo(Drawing by me and quote by Brian Tracey)

I started going to holistic therapy sessions weekly in August and it’s a great step in this moment of my life. I’ve been to traditional therapy sessions before, but I was not ready to move forward back then. It was almost impossible for me to open up and talk about my feelings and that made the sessions pretty much useless. (I always say I learned one or two things about myself and I totally believe everything happens for a reason, that’s why I think it was not a total waste of my time. However, I know I couldn’t benefit entirely because it was not the right moment for that.) I’m glad I’m living the exact opposite situation right now. I’ve never felt that comfortable talking about my feelings to a stranger as I’ve been doing in these sessions and this is paying off, for sure.The last couple of weeks have been very focused on one specific feeling (or should I call it a state?): anxiety.

Back in the beginning of August, I decided to step back a little from the “get-it-done-and-make-it-happen” mode, totally focused on business and money, to relax and take care of myself because I was very stressed and overwhelmed. At the beginning, it was difficult because I’ve been in that mode for as long as I remember and I think I don’t know how to relax for more than a couple of days (I think a week is the longest period of time I’ve ever relaxed in my adult life). That was when I noticed I was feeling anxious. I was anxious about not having things done in my business. I was anxious about not contributing to our family income.

However, I was determined. I knew all those thoughts were not a picture of reality. I knew we could get by without my contribution. Even that was not the reality because I didn’t totally stop working, I just slowed down to take care of myself.

That was when I created an affirmation and repeated it every morning after meditating: I persist, that’s how I know I’m capable of creating the life I love. Repeating that affirmation every morning was a good motivator to calm me down in moments of anxiety and to help me believe in myself and the decision I’ve made.

All of this happened before talking to the therapist about how anxious I was and how I was dealing with it, and because it was our first session she was getting to know me first.

Two weeks later, we started the conversation about anxiety. She starts every new session asking me how my week was and I always say it was good, but I was feeling guilty for not doing everything on my to-do list. That’s how we started talking about the fears I have. I’ve already seen in books, blogs and youtube channels I follow that anxiety is a symptom, not the problem itself. It is our reaction to the discomfort of facing the fear. But this was the first time I was actually observing it in my body and in my mind. I was anxious because I was getting out of my comfort zone.

I realized that I could change the things I desire the most and be so much more as a person if I overcame those fears and that I’d be able to offer the best of me if I didn’t have the fears that stop me from growing. Understanding all that gave me the validation of what I was doing: meditation, repeating my affirmation and writing about my feelings (besides talking to the therapist) to help me understand the anxiety/fear and keep the motivation to overcome it.

I’m still learning as I go further in my new routine. But I wanna share the most useful things I’ve learned so far:

Anxiety is a signal.

Learn to listen to your body and mind, anxiety is not a bad thing. It is the language that your body and mind use to tell you something is out of the usual. It can mean you’re at risk of something dangerous, that’s useful because you can avoid that risk. However, sometimes it means you are stepping out of your comfort zone, be aware of that and determine to go on because you’re gonna feel comfortable eventually and that is stretching your comfort zone.

There are many ways you can do that, you must find the way that suits you best. I do my best reflections when I’m writing, that’s when I access my intuition and get answers. There are people who do better with meditation or talking to a counselor.

Take baby-steps

In the past, whenever I wanted to make a change in my life, I planned to make a major change, spreading the word and committing publicly, setting high goals and not tolerating mistakes which led to more anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed and frustration when something was not the way I idealized.

Start with something that makes you feel uncomfortable, but is doable, and then work upward. One thing that makes me feel uncomfortable is publishing this post when I know I’m not an expert and I’m not sure if someone will benefit from it. I’m determined to make it weekly instead of trying to follow the blogging industry standards of at least three posts a week which is way out of my comfort zone right now. So, one post per week won’t kill me, right?

Be honest with yourself (no excuses)

Taking baby steps is a great way to start, but don’t fool yourself: consistency is the key. Many times in August I thought of not doing my morning routine (meditation, journaling, affirmation and green smoothie) because I could take advantage of the time I spent doing those things to get something done for my business or the house. In all those moments, I repeated to myself “I persist, that’s how I know I’m capable of creating the life I love.” and started my routine.

Open yourself for miracles

There’s a Brazilian spiritual coach I follow, Ariana Schlosser, who says we must open ourselves for miracles. That means giving opportunities for the universe to surprise us with beautiful things. When you step out of your comfort zone and try new things you may be surprised by how much fun you may have. You get an incredible adrenaline rush from doing things that scare you and give yourself opportunities for new fun activities.

You can only grow if you feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy


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Get inspired after iNSD frenzy and burn out

After the iNSD festivities*, do you feel burned out? Do you feel like your mojo left you after scrapping so much during the festivities? Or maybe you didn’t have time to scrap because you were collecting freebies and grabbing the best deals around and now you feel like you don’t know where to start.

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the questions, this post is perfect for you. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and get comfortable because this is going to be long, but I promise you are going to feel much more inspired to start scrapping something (or maybe doing something else you would like to) after reading it.

*iNSD = international Scrapbooking Day. All digiscrap stores and communities have lots of festivities that include games, chats, challenges, huge sales, hops and more…


As a digiscrap designer, I usually feel a bit tired after iNSD, we always work hard to offer the best deals for our audience. Unfortunately, I rarely find time or energy to scrap and play along with the festivities. There’s a mix of feelings in that, I love to design and offer opportunities for scrappers to spend less and get more, I also love to buy lots of things myself. But, I wish I could spend some time online only for the pleasure. This has been a current subject in my mind in the last couple of days… Sometimes, I get lost in all the noise outside and I forget to listen to my heart and what makes me truly happy.

I’ve been whining about the lack of time or inspiration to scrap for more than a year, and one of my dreams (not the biggest or fanciest) is to have lots of albums full of memories in our living room that whisper “come see what’s inside” to everyone who walks into our house. The question in my mind is “how far this dream is from reality?” Surprisingly, the answer is “not much.” How hard is it to stop, scrap, save, upload it to the print service company website, pay for it, wait for delivery and add it to the album? You see, sometimes we think something is so far from reality when it is actually so doable. All it takes is that we set it as a priority.

We are capable of doing whatever we want. 
All we need is to take ourselves seriously and set priorities.

There are things we prioritize in our lives because they are needed for our existence. When you’re hungry, you eat. I bet you don’t procrastinate that (maybe once or twice in a week, right? LOL). You put gas in your car otherwise, it won’t work. You feed your children, drive them to school, clean the house, etc. These are all necessary, so you have no option, you just do them. What about the things you dream about? The things that are optional? Are you going to opt-in for them? When are you going to do that?

This month, I’ve made choices. I chose to make DIY projects, re-do old scrap pages, share what I learn spontaneously, connect, and catch-up so I can work ahead. These are all things I’ve been wanting to do for months and kept procrastinating. Adding them to my routine made me realize there’s enough time, I have enough energy and the more I do, the more energy I find to do more.

Here are some of the things I’ve done so far in May.

I’ve bought this small end table for very cheap months ago and I hadn’t painted yet. It holds a vase of flowers. That little cage was the perfect touch to embellish it.


We went to a 15th birthday celebration and I wanted to give a special and cheap gift, so I bought wooden boxes and a string and voilá. The cage was only for the photo, it is the same cage from the picture above. LOL

I so want to make one of this to hold condiments in my kitchen.


We are on a budget and that’s why I decided to make the gifts for the celebrations we had this month. These aromatizers were very easy and cheap to make. They have artificial flowers and little rocks used in aquariums. The aromatizer is made with cereal alcohol, aromatizer essence and water.


I also started re-doing old layouts that I didn’t keep the high resolution images to print. Some months ago I had 10 printed at Pernisckety and I love their service. Here are the new pages. These are from 2006 and 2007, it is so good to re-visit the memories of when my daughter was a baby.


the cutest baby face

What about you? How long are you going to procrastinate the simple things that will make you happy?



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The secret to why you haven’t found your passion yet


If you are a multi-passionate person like me or you are frustrated that you haven’t been able to focus your passion on anything in particular, don’t beat yourself up over it. I have a secret that will bring hope to your heart followed by a worksheet with actionable steps because all you have to do is take action. I mean it. Just try things out. You can only find your passion when you experience it.

The Secret:
You can only like (or dislike) what you try

There are no magic pills that will bring light to your mind. When you see others living a happy life doing something you think you’d love, you are mistaken to think they just woke up one day and had an a-ha moment. Believe me when I say it’s not that easy.

Watching others doing what they love is inspiring, but it doesn’t compare to how it feels to do what YOU love. How you would experience a venture is not going to be exactly how they experience it because we are all a bit different from each other. When you start doing things you might also discover that some aspects are often a bit messier in real life than in you perceive them in books, blogs, or where it may seem like everything is perfect and beautiful as a fairytale. But that’s part of the fun of finding your own passion rather than just watching or reading about others’ – experiencing it for yourself.

One of the things I love the most is sharing knowledge. I believe that knowledge is the best skill anyone can have, and nobody can take it from you. I believe that’s one of the reasons why I became a teacher some years ago. At the risk of portraying something different than humble, I believe I did a good job because my students and my coordinators complimented my work. When we are passionate about something, we usually make it incredible and we get recognition even though we are not expecting it. We are usually doing it only for the amazing feeling of gratitude to be able to do something we are passionate about. And I was passionate during the 4 years I taught English in the language school. Then I became a coordinator and I came across two additional passions – organizing systems and leading a team. I would have never known I was passionate about organizing systems, spreadsheets, analyzing data if I hadn’t experienced it. It doesn’t mean I lost my first passion. In actuality, it evolved to a new level since I was teaching teachers. And while I was teaching them, I was learning a lot of new things. Another passion, I may say.


The most incredible thing happens when you take action. You activate the energy of the universe in favor of what you believe. If you believe something is your passion and you take action towards it, the universe gives you opportunities to experience that.

It’s like when you go shopping for clothes. You may like an outfit in the window, but the only way to be certain it looks good on you is to go in the store and try it on. You may get lucky and notice you look very elegant and sexy in that outfit, so that makes you feel so happy that you buy it right away. However, you may also find it doesn’t flatter your body type when you look at yourself in the mirror. In that case, you feel disappointed and the only thing you can do is thank the salesperson and leave the store. It is the same with passion, you have to try it out. When you find something you really like, embrace it. If you start and eventually end up losing that fire that ignited your heart in the beginning, it’s time to thank the universe for the opportunity and let it go.

>> Click here to download the worksheet with the first steps towards finding your passion.

Bonus Secret:
You have to do it again, again and again.

A very important thing to remember is experiencing something you like can take more than just one try. You may need a week, maybe a month, maybe a whole year doing something to discover it’s your thing. It will depend on you observing your feelings while you evolve. One of the hardest things in life is to do what you think is right for you. Not what your friends, family, teachers, boss and society expects from you. Following your passion (even when you are not sure about it yet) will make you get out of your comfort zone and consequently, the people around you will be uncomfortable too. You need to be consistent, otherwise you will never reach your destination (I may say your destiny, right?).

Why am I talking about consistency now?
Because taking action is the first step, and being consistent is just as important. The process of finding your passion takes time and may require you to change habits. That’s when your comfort zone and also the comfort zone of others around you will be shaken.

After 3 years as a coordinator at the school, I started to feel my energy and inspiration draining. I realized I didn’t feel the same passion about it as in the beginning. My passion was evolving again because I was practicing self-development – a topic I was always researching so I could give teachers more tools to help students’ learning issues and behavior. However, after some family problems, I was working long hours and couldn’t find moments for myself to read or study. That lead me to quit my job and work from home growing my side business in the digital scrapbooking industry. It was the perfect environment to learn and experience self-development and also evolve my passion into what I’m doing now – sharing my own experiences and knowledge about living an inspired and happy life with purpose.

It lead me to change habits, change my environment, change my family routine, and go through hard times in many aspects.  However, I was consistent through it all. It’s like an athlete who is training for a competition, he must practice for hours every day, he must immerse himself in a whole new life – habits and routines – to get the body condition he needs for the competition.

Click here to download the worksheet with the first steps towards finding your passion, and you will also get a planning sheet and a tracker to get started now.

Not really a secret:
Time will pass no matter what you do.


You may think trying something for months to find it’s your passion (or not) is too long. I recommend you ask yourself how long you want to be living a life with no purpose, an ordinary life. Your time is one the most important things you have available. Don’t waste a huge chunk of it wondering or watching others living their dream lives. Start taking action towards what you really want out of life today.

>> Click here to download the worksheet with the first steps towards finding your passion.


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Achieve your goals by following an action-affirmation


We all know the power of positive affirmations, right? It’s been said everywhere from books to workshops, from blogs to webinars. I’ve been exposed to this concept for years now, and something I asked myself was how I could bring positive affirmations alive. I mean, how I could turn positive thinking into real positive action? I call these action-affirmations.

* This post contains affiliate links. You will never find links to a product or service that I don’t trust.

We are living in an age of seeking for a greater life and living with purpose. I see lots of people looking for their passion, talking about living a simpler life, changing their habits, and trying to be healthier and happier. There are lots of people who speak beautiful words, but don’t speak from their heart. I wouldn’t call them a fraud, no one is a bad person to think and speak the way they do.

Some of us never learned how our thoughts and talk influence our lives. If our parents didn’t know it and their parents didn’t know either, how could they teach us? It’s time for all of us to wake up and begin to consciously create our lives in a way that we feel we are truly living. Our goal as human beings is to be happy, and the only way of doing it is by doing what comes from our hearts. Forget about all that “I’ll make a difference in the world” syndrome that is all over the internet. You can only impact other people’s lives when you are doing what comes from your heart, you need to impact your own life first.

Are you feeling enthusiastic about your life when you wake up every day?

If not, it’s time to change that. The first thing you need to realize is that every thought or word you say is an affirmation. That means affirmations are not only positive. Actually, we tend to have more negative thoughts and talks than positive. Every complaint, angry moment, or “not enough” thought creates your reality. The good news is our beliefs attract more of the same. We can attract more of what we want when we believe we deserve. You may say it’s easier said than done. I know, I’ve been there too. And here’s a motivator: the harder it seems, greater is the reward.


The year of 2015 was life-changing for our family. We decided the best for me and my family was quitting my full-time job (plus extra hours) and working from home because I would be able to focus on myself and finally find the healing to the ups and downs of depression I’d been in since I was a kid. I knew it wouldn’t be easy because we couldn’t afford to pay all our costs of living with only my husband’s salary. That’s why I went back to class to teach, it gave me the flexibility to choose the working hours I wanted and I could manage to work on my creative brand while teaching some hours during the week.

I’d tried growing my creative business in previous years, but I never really believed I could do it and I ended up throwing the towel. Why would this time be different? Because I decided, I chose. I was still feeling afraid, actually I was freaking out, but I thought I should do it. No more excuses.

One of the things that helped me go through the hard moments is that I looked for a quote (I’m addicted to quotes as you can see in my posts – he he) and found one from Walt Disney (someone who inspires me every day) that touched my heart. In the beginning, I wrote it on sticky notes and placed on my workstation, and I wrote it in my planner. I repeated it to myself whenever I felt afraid and thought of giving up. It reinforced my decision. I believed that I should keep on doing the work because it was going to pay off.


And it did. I’m living a greater life now and my family is happier too. We’re not living our dream life, but we are happy with the life we are living now because we know we are heading to our dream life. Part of it is enjoying the journey.

The difference between positive affirmations and action-affirmations.

I name some quotes and affirmations as action-affirmations because they motivate me to take action. Some affirmations are only focused on being positive and that’s good as well. However, sometimes we need more than only positive thoughts. To be honest, the thing we need the most to create the life we truly love is taking action.

It’s like writing a book. I hear lots of people saying they want to write a book (me included), and they may have the belief that they will do it one day. However, if they’re not doing anything to make it a real possibility, it’s only an Idea; only positive thinking. It’s not action.

Find your own action-affirmations.

Affirmations are tools that support our own ideas. If you want to do something, but feel afraid of trying or if you started something and feel a bit anxious about the outcome, find an affirmation that motivates you to do the necessary work.

Maybe a quote or an affirmation may not motivate me to take action, but it may motivate you, it’s very personal. Search for them on Pinterest, books or blogs you read. When you resonate with one, keep it.

Want to know more about the power of affirmations and how you can change your life through a positive thinking? Author Louise Hay wrote a book named I Can Do It – How to Use Affirmations to Change Your Life. I like her approach and positive talk. She’s very inspiring.

It’s your turn. Tell me if you believe in the power of positive affirmations. Do you have any quotes or affirmations that inspire you? Share them here in the comments.


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Monthly memories collection – lessons learned so far in 2016


Do you journal, review or take notes of your progress during the year? Every month I make a recap to check what worked and what didn’t work for my business and for me personally. In addition to that, I add all the great things that happened, which doubles as my gratitude log. That’s when I give myself time to enjoy the amazing journey (of life, I mean) drawing and writing in my bullet journal. If I had a busy month it’s even more important to do this. It’s a good moment to stop, breathe and be aware of the life I’m living.

>> Special thanks to Kacheri for the inspiration. Be sure to follow her @passion.theme.life

* This post contains affiliate links. You will never find links to a product or service that I don’t trust.

We’re heading to the 97th day of the year (a quarter is gone) and I think that all I’ve experienced so far is bigger than in any other year of my life. So, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the best lessons I learned that are not too personal and can be applied to your lives as well. Maybe someone out there can get motivated to change, too.

So, here are the most important lessons I learned so far in 2016.

Lesson #1: Clarity leads to efficiency.

Finding clarity is the first step you have to take to start a new project or business, as you will find in many books and workshops – Marie Forleo‘s B-School course as one of them. Clarity about your personal mission and values is the most important thing you need to create the life you truly love and be efficient, as also discussed by Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a life changing read, btw). That means you need to be clear about what you want and how you want to live so you can become productive and truly happy.

I’ve been looking for my passion my whole life, at least since I was a teenager if not sooner. I’m a multi-passionate person and it has lead me to a lot of self-doubt. I tried a lot of workbooks, books and techniques to find clarity. More than once I’ve chosen something to pursue that I really liked and got freaking excited about it. I planned, started, had doubts and lost the fire that ignited it in the beginning.

One particular time, after weeks of struggling to beat procrastination, exhausted from trying so hard, I decided to take the afternoon off. I told my daughter I was going to meditate and reflect and I needed some time alone. I locked myself in our master bedroom with my journal, pen and cell phone where I keep my meditation audios. I started with meditation, calming my mind and asking for guidance. I’m not religious, but I’m spiritualized; I have faith in the energy of the Universe and I know in my heart there’s something greater than the physical world we live in. After calming my mind, I got my notebook and pen and started talking to my intuition, as I learned from Jess Lively’s blog and it was revealing. I was told not to worry so much and let go of the fear and to trust that I am meant to do this. All I need is do the work and everything else will follow.

To be totally honest, it wasn’t the first, nor the second, but the third time I was told I should take a leap of faith in my intuition and let go of the fear that I actually did it. So what was different this time? The answer is my current affirmation. As I told you before, one of Albert Einstein’s quotes is guiding me this year and whenever I’m facing a new situation (or an old situation that didn’t work out) I remember his quote and take action in a different direction.


I decided to trust it and because of that I had a clear goal to follow. It has been the most important lesson towards beating procrastination. I’ve been more efficient than ever so far in my life.

Try this to find clarity.

If you’re looking for clarity in your personal mission, you can imagine that you knew you were going to die in two years. In the first year, you would get all the sensual stuff of the way: visit all the places you promised you were going one day, cross off things from your bucket list, spend quality time with your loved ones. Then the second year would come. What would you do? What legacy would you want to leave behind? Oh, and don’t censor yourself, imagine finances are handled.

Lesson #2: Food is an important factor of productivity (energy).

According to the study released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2005, our eating habits have a direct impact on our productivity. In fact, the World Health Organization says that proper dieting can raise national productivity levels by 20 percent!

Last December, we changed one eating habit in our family diet – we stopped eating rice and beans. You may not understand how unusual it is to take rice and beans off lunch and dinner if you’ve never been to Brazil. This is as traditional as Americans drinking large cups of coffee in the morning. We decided to do that after we heard about the paleo diet. It made a huge change in our lives, bodies and energy along the day. In January, we took the 30 days of green smoothies challenge and it was incredibly rewarding. I felt a great increase in the energy during the day and realized I was more productive. That’s why we’re keeping these changes.

Our bodies are like any other motor, take a car as an example. If you don’t put good gas, water and perform proper maintenance, it won’t even start, let alone work properly. Feeding our body good food is essential to be more productive and happier.

Lesson #3: Do things before you can see the big picture, A.K.A. baby steps.

I’m pretty sure you’ve already read and heard the term baby steps many times before. It is recommended that you have it in mind when planning a big project. Baby steps will help you take action instead of feeling lost about where to start or overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project.

I’ve tried using the baby steps approach so many times with no success (so frustrating!) and I believe it is because I didn’t understand it completely before. I used to plan all the steps to reach my goal, even when I was not sure if that would be a viable action since I was not sure what was waiting for me at that point of the journey. It was neither clear or motivating. Things changed for me when I saw one of Geronimo Theml‘s YouTube video tips (he’s Brazilian and the video is in Portuguese… sorry) He is a coach for coaches. In his video, he makes an analogy that made sense to me. (Yes, I got it!) Now I’m doing things towards my goal one day at a time.

The analogy of baby steps that made sense to me.

Imagine you’re gonna take a long road trip. You start your car, and the GPS lights about 0.2 miles ahead of you. You can’t see your destination. It only shows you a certain distance ahead. Then you drive for those 0.2 miles and now you can see more of the road, but still not the destination. You keep driving and again you see another part of the road. You do that all the way until you get to your destination. You don’t need to have everything figured out, if you have a clear vision of part of your project, start it now and it will evolve as you go.

There you have it.Three very important lessons I learned so far in 2016. I had more experiences and lessons learned, but I think these ones are the most important to what I’m focused on right now, that is productivity. The good news is I can always revisit the memories spread in my journal to see things I accomplished and all the lessons I learned or can learn in a near future.

What about you? Have you ever considered having a monthly memory or lessons learned spread in your journal? If you haven’t, I suggest you give it a try. If you have, what did you enjoy most about making it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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