Is it me or are some Latin men repulsed by the idea of a modern Latina?

Check out New York based  Telemundo correspondent Isolda Peguero's great story about my book "The New Latina's Bible"...   nicely put together piece. I think though that the anchorman is aghast by the message of my book. Watch to the end for his reaction. Is it me? Or is he repulsed by the idea of a modern Latina?:

 "The Latinas Bible" o La Biblia de las Latinas 

An 84 year old sage woman's secret to life: live each day fully & purposefully

She said every morning she writes on her calendar, "something good will happen to me today."

This morning I had a beautiful conversation with a woman whose smile can light up Time Square. Mavis is her name. She volunteered that she just celebrated her 84th birthday. She looked amazing too! When asked what 84 feels like she said without hesitation, "Great!" And what is her secret?" "I live everyday fully. And purposefully." She said every morning she writes on her calendar, "something good will happen to me today." And with that mantra she sets off her day. Great things happen to Mavis on a daily basis. She beckons beauty in her life. Goodness in her surroundings.

Another secret: Mavis forgets bad experiences. "Why keep them," she says, "they take up space for the good." Mavin also explained that while she does get angry, she doesn't hold onto it. "I let it go!" It's not worth it she advises, and you realize that when you get to her age. She cautions staying angry is never necessary.

Mavis had been married for 31 years when her beloved husband passed away but she says she talks to him every day. I asked if she had a boyfriend, or special friend and she was like, "Girl, why even bother, I don't want no old man my age! Besides, all I got to do is think and I can feel pleasure. Know what I mean?" she laughs with a wink.

Oh, I am so blessed that random conversations with a beautiful souls come to my life.

Breaking up with a family member is hard but sometimes it's the only way to stay sane

Divorcing your mother, father, sibling or that impertinent cousin or relative who totally doesn't understand boundaries is quite a revolutionary thing to do, especially for Latinas. But, it's doable and worth it. I believe deeply in the idea that if members of your family are the reason for your pain--then breaking off all communication with them temporarily or if necessary, permanently, is the way to go. Yes, I said it. And, as someone who has done it, albeit with some difficulty, it's worth every moment of peace of mind that you'll gain once you do it too.

Latinos are all about la familia. But what happens when this familia is a vortex of dysfunction that keeps you in a cycle of violence and self destruction? What happens when you are trying to move forward with positive things in your life and they are stuck in the same ol same ol and trying to drag you back in?

The only choice is to empower yourself and break free, you may have been born into drama but you don't have to stay in it. 

Let's be honest many times the drama that we encounter in our lives is not caused by strangers, neighbors, coworkers or friends in our midst--but our very own blood relatives. And while blood is thicker than water, the Romans (Euripedes) was right, one loyal friend is worth more than 1,000 relatives. At several of my recent readings this theme has come up again and again: tribal pressure to conform to their ways is causing women who want to live independent lives a lot of undue emotional, physical and spiritual pain.

Happy summer solstice...

We are children of the sun, of light, and the stars. And today's majestic summer solstice presents a perfect opportunity to acknowledge that beautiful fact.

What are you doing to celebrate? Bringing ceremony into your life--however tiny--will connect you to the sacred inside of you.  It will connect you to others, and help you repurpose your intention. Try it, guarantee you'll feel it. And today is a good day as ever to celebrate. Native people around the world will be singing, dancing, smudging, and connecting to mother earth as the sun reaches its highest point.

If you haven't already planned, do something special to welcome this powerful shift of stations. According to Reba Cain If you've been thinking about change in your life-- welcome new things, embarking on a new project, starting an exercise routine, anything new today is a great day to start. The theme of today's solar eclipse is to replace old beliefs with big picture things.

I will be dancing, meditating, and celebrating. Oh, and later today, I will be checking out 99 drummers at Morningside Park in Harlem as they drum for the light.

It's an auspicious day of new beginnings and I want some of that light!

Being Latino shares the love...another great story!

Sandra Guzman: A Nueva Latina

by Cindy Tovar
Despite having spent almost half an hour searching for parking in Washington Heights, Sandra Guzman, author of The New Latina’s Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family, and La Vida, strode into the Rio Penthouse Gallery, composed and ready for the reading and signing session scheduled for that evening. Sitting next to me on a bench outside, with the clouds threatening to burst any second, she stared intently into my eyes, speaking to me like a long-lost friend.
She began by discussing el que dirán, which is “this constant judging that takes place, and that I feel limits our ability to grow and to live to our fullest potential.  I wish I could’ve thrown out el que dirán a long time ago from my life. Throughout the years, that’s what I think Latinas most connect with.”
She went on to describe the big message of her book: self-love, self-care, and self-esteem. “This idea of self-care is still very much revolutionary among Latin women.  We just don’t take care of ourselves. We take care of others. We know how to take care of our families, our boyfriends, our husbands. But when it comes to self-nurturing, we have an issue with that.”
The topics of self-love and el que dirán permeate this new book, as well as the 2002 version. However, Sandra points out that she has kept and updated the 12 original chapters of the first book, as well as added two more: one about depression and another about domestic and dating violence. READ MORE

Another beautiful story...

Sandra Guzman: Preaching the Gospel of the New Latina

BY Crystal Rodriguez
Photo Credit: Gloria Pazmiño | The Manhattan Times
A Puerto Rican goddess was in our midst, last week, at the Rio Penthouse Gallery. Actually, said Sandra Guzman, Latinas, all women, are queens and should recognize their regality.
Guzman introduced her newest edition of The New Latina Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family, and La Vida here in Washington heights. The book has the potential to redefine the Latina woman and her roles in society – in the uptown community. The women in attendance listened eagerly to Guzman finally receiving the validation they’ve wanted to hear all their lives: They are exquisite.
This realization or rather discernment is the beginning of a ripple effect. A precursor to an enlightenment of Latina women right here in Washington Heights.
Sandra Garcia, executive director and CEO of NoMAA, introduced the “wonderful writer” and her “old friend” to the Uptown Artstroll crowd. Garcia after reminiscing about old parties and past times, turns to Guzman, almost personally addressing her rather then the crowd, “I am an admirer” says Garcia. Guzman has been “representing the voice of Latinas for many years and producing literature to help us in our daily lives” says Garcia. Garcia ends as she does all the Artstroll events, with thanks on all of our behalf. “We love you and appreciate you”.

Naturally, an event-taking place in uptown Manhattan was bound to turn bilingual. “Somos orgullosos de tener Sandra… Este libro es fantastico, como una biblia” said a representative of the Dominican Women’s Development Center.
“This,” says Guzman “is the new generation of Latina”. The audience looks among themselves, meeting each other’s eyes, in agreement and recognition.
“ The joys of being a nueva Latina”
She wrote the novel, continues Guzman to “keep a book [she] wrote with love alive”. The book begins with her journey as a woman and details this growth and exploration.
Guzman dives into “taboo” topics straight away. She uncovers the imbalance between the male and female in our Latin culture. “Boys are very much celebrated,” said Guzman. While girls “ learn to be ashamed of our bodies…we grow up not celebrating who we are, our essence,” said Guzman.
Guzman explains that in our culture the daughter is raised to recognize her role as “la sirvienta”. Latina girls are taught to always remember their duties in the home.
Guzman challenges this old time expectation of servitude. The times are changing, not only must the Latina change but her role in society must also accommodate her newfound identity. First things come first, explained Guzman. “If the center of the family is healthy then everything around you will become healthier,” said Guzman. To ensure the prosperity of the family the woman must make herself “whole and well”.
Guzman’s growth and response to change is evident in the two added chapters of her new book. She sheds light on the “Elephant[s] in our living rooms”.  Just as the first edition, she tackles subjects that are considered unmentionable, one being depression and the other domestic violence. She touches on these subjects because she feels Latinas “ don’t take it seriously” said Guzman.
“Washington Heights is the epicenter for domestic violence,” said Guzman. Right here, in uptown Manhattan “domestic and dating violence” is occurring. She then goes on to share a frightening reality: “80% of domestic violence takes place in our homes and is completely legal”. The reason for this Guzman goes on to explain is because “…extreme jealousy is very much a part of our Latin lives”.
All of these assertions put into question our very own community here in uptown. The verbal abuse endured and the encouragement of the macho man attitude must come to an end. The reason? Latina women “ are exquisite, divine and beautiful”. And “ I will be honored as the queen that I am,” said Guzman proudly. Her last piece of advice before beginning the reading was “ Never go out with cabrones”.
The audience sat at the edges of their seat. It was story time on the reading rug all over again. Her reading begins by laying it all out there: “It is difficult being a Latina today”.
The book dives into the “hate and injustice” and the struggle against ethnic profiling. But what stood out among all the hurt and crime against Latina women, is the “collective soul”. Latinas, and Latin people share in a collective soul and they should not “let those stereotypes infect your soul” reads Guzman.
All of the women and men in the room shared their existence in a “cultural middle”. Everyone in attendance belonged to their homeland and Latin culture but also to America and the American culture. The new Latina is a blend “layers and layers of history”… “Three languages”…and “home cooked meals”.
Guzman closed the reading with a question “Why don’t you love yourself enough?” No one in the crowd moved as the question sunk in. As the audience mulled over the question, Guzman took it a step further. Guzman offered up a 30-day challenge “ to say today I’m going to come first”. “Who here is going to take the challenge,” said Guzman, the audience raised their hands.
“The new Latina seeks to fulfill her greatest potential”
After the reading, came the question and answer portion. Women and men shared experiences and uncertainties. Together the audience worked to understand what this new realization meant in their lives and how to move forward into the future.
Some questioned the disparity they face between generations. Others spoke of the difficulty in balancing between two cultures. In the end, the audience agreed that la reflexión was our key to the future. To Incorporate self-examination and exploration in our daily lives.
The evening ended with a beautiful poem performed by Rosita Romera. She left the audience with these last words…
“La vida empieza cuando todos somos iguales”

My EMMY has arrived....

I sent the statue for repair and it's finally home.  Long story short, it goes like this: the statue fell and broke in two. Cleaning lady, me... don't quite remember. All I know is that I was devastated but not so much as to do anything about it. For years, the broken pieces languished in a plastic bag, waiting to be sent for repair. Thinking back, it may have been a metaphor for how I viewed my career at the time. While outstanding, it lingered, fragmented in two. I was then writing and editing stories for a major media company under some very challenging conditions. I pined to write stories that came from deep inside my soul under different conditions. The idea that I allowed my career to be outstanding and lag in a dark place was something that I have been thinking about a lot. Talking to hundreds of women who I've been blessed to meet at my book signings has brought up intimate and intriguing conversations. We take ourselves for granted. Yes, me, the one who wrote the Guide for Modern Day Latinas has been there and done that, a lot. What you thought I was flawless? Every day is filled with teachable moments.

I get it... many times in life, we focus on other things and forget ourselves. Today, I am grateful and thankful to be awake and taking care of business--I am my business. My beautiful writing career is my business. Several months ago, I was cleaning my closets, just having completed the edits and writing of "The New Latina's Bible" and, there it was, in a dark corner, the forgotten bag. I rushed the statue for repair. And it's here... all new, glowy and beautiful just like I am feeling inside these days.  The EMMY was awarded to me in 1994 for "Outstanding Political Programming" for a  show that I produced at the NYC Telemundo station titled "Embargo Contra Cuba."  It explored the Cold War policy against the communist island. Nothing special, just solid reporting on an issue that is as emotional as it is political.

Back to today: teachable moments are everywhere...I learned that it's quite a healthy exercise to clean closets. What you find might beautifully surprise you. 

Do you have any parts of you that are broken, forgotten, languishing in a corner, waiting for you to take notice? Waiting for you to have it repaired? Are you taking your outstanding self/career/potential for granted? It's worth exploring. 

My statue being back in my home in one gorgeous piece is a reminder that things can be made whole, literally and metaphorically. It's about taking that first step go in, recognize and act. For me, it is about living congruent with my spirit: If I do work that I love that educates, celebrates, inspires, and contributes positively to the betterment of my world, it is timeless, and priceless. And, if you are lucky enough, award winning too! And while it's super cool to be the recipient of an EMMY, the real award isn't necessarily a shiny statue--rather, the internal tranquility that you are living a humble life cultivating your  potential in small and big ways, everyday and in every way.

Today, I feel lucky, and the article below is one of the reasons why...

Written by Gloria Pazmiño   
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sandra Guzman, Emmy Award winner and author of The New Latina Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family and La Vida,” held a reading as part of NoMAA’s Art Stroll, an inspiring event for Latinas en el Alto and beyond.
When I was growing up, the biggest monster that I feared didn’t hide under my bed or come out of the closet at night. Instead, it was an imaginary, invisible dark cloud that terrified my mother and, by osmosis, I learned to fear as well.
That monster was called “El Que Diran [what will they say].”
I know that monster stalks many Latinas in Northern Manhattan, women who overly self-police their behavior, losing themselves in a cloud of hush-hush worry about what others will say and think about them.
On Thu., June 9 I attended NoMAA’s Uptown Arts Stroll event featuring a reading by Emmy Award-winning journalist Sandra Guzman, author of “The New Latina Bible: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family and La Vida.”
When Guzman began her reading she mentioned the “El Que Diran” monster. I was immediately transported to my childhood.
But Guzman told me and the mostly female audience that we had nothing to fear as long as we learned to appreciate, love, and recognize just how important each one of us is.
“Latina women have been conditioned since birth to never put themselves at the top of their to-do lists,” said Guzman. “We are taught to serve, to take care of others, and we have forgotten to take care of ourselves.”
But it’s an interesting time for an interesting generation, my generation. One that doesn’t have to choose between being Latina or being American, a choice Guzman grappled with for a long time even as she climbed to the highest ranks of journalistic excellence.
“When I came back from college, people said to me: ‘Oh, so now you think you’re white?’” she reflected, growing up in a Puerto Rican household in Jersey City. Guzman said the road to claiming her roots and feeling proud of being “JerseyRican” wasn’t always easy.
In el Alto, and in the words of Guzman, there are generations of “New Latinas” learning to make themselves the top priority, not because we are “unas egoistas,” [selfish] but because we are learning that we can only do good for others – by being better girlfriends and wives, mothers and daughters, and lovers – if we take care of ourselves before taking care of others.
Quien diria no? [Who knew?]
In the second edition of her book, Guzman adds chapters on depression and domestic violence. Washington Heights is an epicenter for these issues, which she called “the big elephants in our rooms.”
Latino culture in el Alto and across the city looks down on mental health conditions; the idea of being “depressed” is laughable in some households. Yet, it’s issues like these that the New Latina generation is standing up to.
In el Alto, I have often walked past young couples and heard things that made me blush, (and I’m brown). The way some of our young men treat our young women is appalling. Sadly, both sides are to blame.
Guzman addresses sexism in her book and reminds us that domestic violence doesn’t start with physical attacks, but rather with verbal abuse some of our young girls willingly subject themselves to. They need a loud reminder that they’re important, that self respect should be their top priority.
But even as some of us struggle to find the right path to this much needed self-love, I’m hopeful that el Alto is raising an army of New Latinas. A generation that will love themselves before giving love to others and won’t break under the pressures of needing to fit into a mold.
New Latinas in el Alto, in the words of Guzman, will be a “combination of English, Spanish, and Spanglish. Our opinion will count. We will stand up to authority when necessary and look them in the eye. We will love and cherish our bodies. We will not be martyrs or servants, because we are all one dream in one café con leche body. Because we weren’t born to a culture: culture was born in us.” I come. Will you join me in the Sunshine state?

The good folks at the Orange Country Library System created this cute internal promotion for my upcoming reading and book signing. I think she looks like me!

I will be making three appearances, two at the local libraries. And Friday, I will be joining my colleagues at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Orlando area folks, stop by. If you know people in the area, tell 'em to to join us in the conversation.

 June 16th
South East Branch: 
3 pm

South Creek Branch: 
6:30 pm

For information: 407-825-7343

June 17
9 am
National Association of Hispanic Journalists Conference

For information:

Are you free to live in the way you were meant to be?

What keeps you from having a healthy and loving relationship with yourself?
What traumas or memories have a grip on you so tight that they rob you of blissful intimacy with your loved one? 
Is it a painful past? 
Is it feeling unworthy? 
How long will you allow your past--however painful it has been--continue to keep you in chains?

Being relentlessly attached to our painful memories is dangerously unhealthy--spiritually, mentally and physically. Our wounds become such an integral part of our daily lives that we become addicted to them--in many cases--even be defined by them. Truth is that we are layers of our past--they are part of our biography. The hurts live in our bodies much like the joys. But it's the painful memories that keep us  from moving toward the light. Holding on to traumas keep us from growing, accepting and loving ourselves fully. The Eastern mystics believe that we are meant to walk through our wounds, not stay in them. Acknowledging the wounds, 'stepping into them so to speak," forgiving ourselves and those who wounded us is truly part of the stuff that allows each of us to grow spiritually strong to be at a place where we can truly honor ourselves.

Yes, self care and self love can include delicious bubble baths--or in my case last night--in the Day One of the 30-Day Self Love Challenge--a Celopatra-like milk and honey bath. But self love is so much deeper. In Day Two in the 30-Day Self Love Challenge ask yourself the tough questions. Stay with them... ponder... answer them honestly. Your answers may hold the key to the beginning of your healing.

Thank you Washington Heights for coming out...another extraordinary night

How do  you explain magic? A friend, William Omar, once described it to me as "a night when all the smiles and accolades are sincere. A night when the moon comes out not just as a natural act, but to shine especially for you." Well such as night it was in the Heights last night. The standing room only crowd included women of different ages--from 75-yr. old abuelitas to tweens who love Justin Bieber, from young mothers to college students! Dominicanas, Cubanas, Colombianas, Panameñas, Costariquenãs, Puertorriqueñas, Salvadoreñas, Ecuatorianas...An array of Pan Latino beauty wanting to connect around around feminine energy and self-love, around cultural pride and Latina beauty. (One beautiful sister bought 30 of my books to give out to her staff. The bookseller sold out!!)

The conversation was beautiful and powerful. Very empowering. And, yes intense. I asked for a show of hands hands who practiced self-love? Only 10 percent of the women in the audience raised their hands. The overwhelming majority were amazingly honest and admitted that all the other daily duties  come before themselves. Tragic I think...

NY Daily News gives me love... check out the piece in today's paper

New edition of 'Latina's Bible' updated with new challenges

Wednesday, June 8th 2011
Sandra Guzmán has updated her "Latina's Bible" with sections on new challenges.
Enid Alvarez/News
Sandra Guzmán has updated her "Latina's Bible" with sections on new challenges.
"Latinas have a reputation of talking a lot," Sandra Guzmán says. "I just don't think we talk enough about issues that matter."
In the second edition of her self-help book, "The New Latina's Bible: The Modern Latina's Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family and La Vida" (Seal Press, $19.95), Guzmán offers a chatty, informative, girl-I've-been-there guide.
She tackles the small terrors - pimples! - and cultural brushes, like Latina girls don't date. ("Those things are for gringas," her mom says.)
But in an update of the 2002 edition, she has added chapters that discuss such troubling issues as depression, domestic violence and the rising epidemic of Latina teenage suicide.
"We need to start having conversations with ourselves, with our daughters, with our sons - with each other," says Guzmán, who conceived the book as a dialogue, not a set of commandments.  Read more

Tell me who you fly with & I will tell you about yourself

My beautiful and wise mother would always tell me this aphorism when she wanted to warn me about certain friends in my midst that I shouldn't be keeping company with: "dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres." Simple words with profound meaning that I would learn to appreciate with the passage of time.

You are not only what you eat, but you are the energy that you allow in your life. And while you don't necessarily (consciously) choose your family, you do choose your friends. And the friends you choose to keep company with reveals truths about you...and others.

I had a friend growing up whom I adored, my bestie for life, or so I thought. Mom never liked her, and let me know in so many ways, but being the wise woman that she is, she never forced me to give up the friendship. She let me learn on my own. Mother was right--the young woman ended up quitting high school, getting pregnant as a teen, and totally going down a path of crack and dysfunction. My heart breaks for her. How mom saw this--I still don't know.

Want to know about yourself, check out the friends that are in your midst. Do they support you? Are they negative? Are they about something? Do they gossip about inanities--the crazy lives of Lilo, Paris Hilton, Kanye West, Beyonce, Jlo, the bochinche of the moment etc--or do they have thoughtful discussions about the debt ceiling, Middle East uprisings, Tea or Tequila Party politics? Do they build or destroy? Are they filled with joy, envy, dreams, focus, anger, or any one of the seven virtues or vices.

This is the thing: friends can steal your light or help you shine. It's your choice the kind of birds you want to fly with.

Washington Heights Countdown....

More beautiful photos, this time of the after party at Empire Hotel lounge....

 Rosie Perez, me & Jimmy Smits
 Maria Bencebi, Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits and my son Bobby Guzman
Sandra Guzman, Dr. Belisa Vranich & Eva
 My sister Lydia Rodriguez & yours truly
 Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Austin Fenner, Ikimulisa Livingston, Maggie Castro

 Maria Bencebi, my son Bobby Guzman, and me
 Jimmy Smits and me, intense conversation. I don't remember...
 Rosie Perez & my starstruck cousin, Jesus Torres

My beautiful fans at Borders book signing and reading...thank you for showing up

Here are more photos from my Border's book signing and reading. So many beautiful women (and brave men) came out to show and share the love of my new book "The New Latina's Bible." 

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it," Mark Twain

When you forgive wondrous things happen, most amazingly you connect to pure spirit.