My best friend, Nick, visited me last year after my initial cancer diagnosis. He arrived to Austin bronzed and happy, flying in from a trip he was eager to tell me all about: Groove Cruise. It’s a five day cruise from Miami that focuses on positive music and good vibes. I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise- my mom and I have talked since I was in high school about going on an Alaskan cruise through the glaciers together. I listened intensively to Nick’s stories of all-night dance parties, the ocean breeze and the people that he met. At that time, I needed something to look forward to; perhaps something to live for. I was beyond stressed with work and my health concerns so I decided to commit to the cruise. I put down a despot and paid off the trip over the course of the year, looking forward to the day I would sail the Caribbean Sea.
Flash forward to this year… I won’t be lying when I write that I spent this last week in heaven. I didn’t know what to expect going in. Frankly, I was terrified that I wasn’t going to have fun. But boy, I did ever. Not only was there lifting music but there was beautiful art and the kindest, most generous people on board. I was given the opportunity to volunteer at a school in Costa Maya, Mexico, clearing a field so a playground could be built. I played like a mermaid in ocean and I felt a love and bond from my friends that I haven’t experienced in at least a decade.
While a large part of me is a bit disappointed to be back in my currently reality, I think about the lessons that I learned aboard and what I can do to incorporate them into my life here in Texas. How I restore myself when I’m at home? How can I be vulnerable with love and kindness, not only for myself but others? Here are some of my takeaways:
- I need to have more fun in my life. I need to go out more, meet new people, go on more vacations and travel. So, why don’t I? Because I refuse to pop my comfort zone bubble. I know that I’m terrified about social interactions- I don’t want to look or sound stupid. But when I do pop it, great things happen. The entire cruise experience ripped me from that bubble. But I had to do the work, which meant getting out of my room whenever I could (even if the cabin was adorable), engaging with others, smiling, keeping an open mind and being ready for anything. Vacations are good for all of us. Play is IMPORTANT! We need to take breaks and regroup. I deserve that. I also deserve to have fun and good times. I deserve good memories. (I also need to learn how to save money better but that’s another blog post.)
- Playtime includes being creative. The mess that I call 2019 left me feeling artistically uninspired. I started and stopped a lot of projects including an oil painting and ukele lessons. While on the ship, I spent hours doing my make-up, experimenting with various shades and lots of glitter. I forgot how much fun it is to let my creative juices flow. I desperately need to get back to that, making my life colorful. Maybe I’ll finally start putting my music out…
- Dancing is healing. Not only is it good for the body physically but there is something about constant movement that frees the soul. I never danced so much in my life in one single moment, even with all my ballet classes. My heart was so full with rhythm and music and made me realize that I need to get back on the barre. Dancing brings so much joy to my life and I need to shake it more often. My new daily goal is to spend a half hour each day dancing, whether its in my bedroom with my cat, Canela, cleaning my apartment or going out to a club (even if I’m by myself).
There is magic in the world. Maybe there aren’t rabbits jumping out of top hats and disappearing magician assistants but there is something out there. I heard about manifesting your inner desires from a couple of people but honestly, I thought that was a bunch of hocus pocus. I’ve turned around. While I don’t know everything about manifestation, I did learn that when you positively put your intentions out there, things can happen. AMAZING things and I have the proof (and a fun story that I will only share with close friends). My friend, David, also read me my past, present and future cards of his Tarot deck, It was spooky to see what each card revealed and what qualities I bring forth, such as being a nurturer (SO TRUE! I’m the “mom” of my friend group.) but also letting fear and negativity rule my life. I used to take information like that with a grain of salt but I’m now looking at it differently and am figuring out how to apply it to my daily routine.
- And finally, a note to myself: start brushing up on your Spanish. I will be going to Puerto Rico within the next couple of months (Cristian, I will be taking up your offer!). I’m manifesting that desire and goal now and will make it happen.
I’m incredibly grateful for this experience that I had. I feel like this trip has pointed the start of my new year and new decade in a more positive, loving and purposeful direction. Remember that you deserve some inspiration and fun in your life, dear reader, and I hope to see you next year on Groove Cruise 2021.