Hurricane Sandy makes it way north, NYC eerily quiet

Took a walk in my neighborhood this morning some ten hours before Hurricane Sandy is expected to arrive and the City that never sleeps was sleeping. Still is. Businessess are closed. Streets are deserted. The usually buzzing Chelsea area of Manhattan was eerily quiet. Took this photo in the middle of the street.

Walked toward the Hudson River--three blocks away from my home--and it was already over flowing. Sandy is serious. Be safe y'all.

Learn to meditate for FREE

If you spend your days thinking about what you don't have, you will miss appreciating what you do have.

Abundance is all around you, can you feel it?  The Chopra Center is again offering its seasonal free meditation to transition us to winter. This next 21-day challenge will explore the topic of abundance, how to cultivate, create, and experience it.  Register for the free Create Abundance 21-day Meditation Challenge. It starts Nov, 5th.

Create your life manifesto...

Moved by The Holstee Manifesto, I decided to create my life's manifesto. It's a great exercise. Create the outline for the life you want to live and keep it close. 

Check out these  10 Insanely Awesome Inspirational Manifestos. Mine is below. 

Get started. Life is short, live it fully.

Stay OPEN to life, you will be blessed with the essence of people, places + things. SMILE often, when you do, LIFE smiles back. LOVE deeply & without fear, even if the thought terrifies you. Be VULNERABLE, it is ground zero for so much. CREATE for yourself & not for someone else's approval. Stay CURIOUS & your brain will not atrophy. DANCE daily, alone, with the one you love, with a child, or in a club filled with strangers. Go BAREFOOT, feel the earth, skin to skin, under your feet. COOK for the ones you love. TRAVEL to foreign lands, or new neighborhoods. TALK to strangers. HUG a tree, smell a flower, SALUTE & CELEBRATE nature. Surround yourself with POSITIVE people. SHARE your unique gift with the world. PRAY to the sun, the moon, the stars, the ONEFORGIVE, life is really too short. BELIEVE in something, someone. BATHE under the moon, the stars, the sun, in a river, ocean or lake. MEDITATE everyday. Blow BUBBLES just for fun. Take time to PLAY. Be KIND to yourself, others & to mother earth. TRUST: the universe has your back.

This was so cool...

What an amazing time with Detective Gomez from that crazy show "Cheaters." I was on his radio program on a special thematic show "Guys Tell All." Also interviewed was sexologist, Dr Tanginika. Good interview. Check out the show. 

Your view of the world may keep you down, or not

Are are guilty of living while negative?

Do you look at the world and everyone you meet as guilty until proven innocent? Or is your view of the world, innocent until proven guilty? This question can shed much light and give you answers and insight into why things always work out for you. Or not.

The sages have always taught that the way you perceive the world is the way the world will perceive you. In other words, if you see the world as evil and guilty then you will be proven correct. You will harvest what you plant or have no harvest at all. It's that simple. 

I get why one would view the world and its creatures--human and not--as evil. There is a lot of ugly in the world. And yet there is also an abundance of good. I see it all the time, and in my life good supersedes the ugly. Does it in yours? 

No matter to whom you pray, remember this:

We are heard when we ask for guidance, and that's all that matters. ~ Caroline Myss

How to avoid being mean

When hurt, we want to hurt right back. Hard too! Rather than admitting we're in pain--which is also allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable and human--we turn around and maim. We turn on the mean girl & guy button and we cut people down with words, shitty attitude, gossip, vicious rumors, physical strikes--we kill spirits and much more. We seek revenge in epic proportions.

Ekhart Tolle calls this reaction the body pain. Cornel West, who has been the target of some vicious press because of his rightful critique of President Obama's anti poverty record among other things, says that seeking revenge against those who talk ish about him would have been the wrong response because he would have been dragged to their gutter. Love, he explained one recent evening, was the only rightful and noble response to those who heaped a pile vile toward him. Admittedly, West is a lot more evolved than I am. I guess that that is what the biblical advice "turn the other cheek" is all about. How I yearn to get to a place in my life where when hurt, rather than strike, I turn the other cheek...  I am a work in progress.

The thing is that wounding when hurt has become a global sport. It' a horrible bad habit and has become an addiction of mammoth proportions. But it's not just the world,  it plays out in the intimate spaces of our bedrooms, living rooms in addition to board rooms and the halls of Congress.

Are you squandering your potential?

When someone tells you how much potential you have, remember Fernando Pessoa's words: 

Success consists in being successful, not in having the potential for success. Any wide piece of ground is the potential site of a palace but there's no palace until it's built.  
Are you wasting your potential? Are you told how much potential you have and yet nothing happens with that potential? How much of your time is spent on dreaming, talking about what you want to do, versus executing? I've been there, believe me. Will your life be like the famous Norman Vincent Pearle quote, "the trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." Ouch.

Exploiting your potential takes many, many hours of hard work, with consistency, and courage. Of having the audacity to go against all odds and to keep at it even in the midst of self doubt, haters, and tremendous fear.

Calling all Dallas Ladies

Have questions about squirting? No mojo? Too much libido? Unhappy sex life? Or just curious about finding ways to cultivate healthy and positive sexual wellness in mind, body & spirit? Then we got the workshops for you.

Noted sexologist Tanginika Cuascud Vega and yours truly will host two free events exploring tools for personal, sexual and professional empowerment over a two day period in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

Tanginika will explore sexual health and when she's done, I'll tackle heart, soul and business. Fun night, fun times.

Details after the jump.

Two reasons why its important to cultivate your inner world

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. ~ Carl Jung

Don't be afraid of the universe that lives inside of you.

The more time I spend alone cultivating quiet time with me, exploring my inner universe, the more in awe I am of the woman I am. Raise your hand if you're with me? How many of us can honestly say those words and believe them? Sadly, modern day society is not built around self exploration. We hardly champion quiet time to just be. Let me explain: so much of our time is spent looking outside ourselves for approval, connection, acceptance, and love, that we forget that inside each of us is a rich multi-verse--complex, majestic, and magical: pure perfection.

When you travel inside and cultivate your inner world, you learn the nuanced language of your emotions, and as a consequence, be able to better articulate yourself and your emotions to the outside world. And also in the process of this self exploration, you will expand your capacity to understand others. Those two lessons are worth the trip.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum's eloquence on this topic hit close to home. I read it on the blog of my new favorite blogger, Maria Povpova, whose intelligence, light, and beautifully cultivated blog about life, the arts, love, and all things in between is a daily inspiration. I wanted to share:

Dating a Latina: Do's & Don'ts

Secrets to Dating Latinos & Latinas 

Dating is a complicated and nuanced endeavor in any language or culture, but when it comes to dating a Latino or Latina, it's a completely different animal.  Cultural minefields abound. During the kick off to the series "Sundays with Sandra," at La Casa Azul Bookstore, I'll read from my book, "The New Latina's Bible: The Modern Latina's Guide to Love, Spirituality & La Vida." We'll spend the afternoon exploring the uniqueness of dating in the Latino world, including the sets of do's and don't for catching a good Latin man. An autograph session will follow the reading. Even if you have a copy of my book already stop by for engaging conversation on Love & Dating Latinas in the 21st Century.

La Casa Azul Bookstore
143 East 103 Street
Between Lexington & Park Avenues
A few steps from the 6 train, 103rd Street stop.

This Sunday, 10/14
3 p.m. -- 5 pm.

So cool...

Being Latino and Best Buy teamed up and are doing these amazing shout outs to Latinas and Latino achievers during Hispanic Heritage Month. What an honor to be included with such amazing folks. Actress April Lee Hernandez does an amazing job narrating the snippet of my achievements. But, I'm curious if you think I look like the sketch?

Do you love correctly?

Love is a threat to any individual who is not ready to be transformed by its power ~ Cornel West

I am in awe of love and also intimidated by it because to love properly one must surrender to it completely. And that is a scary proposition especially if you are afraid that love will fail you. And lets be real, love sometimes fails us miserably. And yes, we sometimes fail love too.  

But to love right is something that I want to learn to do in this life time. And so I find myself a lifelong student of love. I want to learn love's many attributes. Experience them, live them, know them. I have been touched by loves profound beauty and want to see more. I want to understand the role that love plays in our private and public lives. 

Reality shows & negative people bad for your brain

I've always known on an energetic level that negative people sap your energy - they bring you down. Though I have compassion and know these folks are in deep pain, I steer clear from all that drama. Same goes for reality TV. I've never taken to  reality shows where there is violence -- verbal and physical -- because I notice that I never felt good after I watched them crazy shows.

So it was not surprising to learn of a new study that has found that even 30 minutes of being exposed to complaining or bad reality TV, actually makes you dumb.

Here's the take away from the lead researcher, Trevor Blake:

...Research from Stanford studies showing that a person who is exposed to 30 minutes of complaining every day, physically damages their brain. It damages the neurons in the part of the brain used for problem solving and cognitive functioning by peeling back the neurons in those areas.

Bottom line: protect your beautiful brain. Curate the people and media you let into your life.  

Immigration Paradox Solved

The most divisive and heated issue in America today is immigration. The hatred spewing against Latino immigrants on the ground and over the airwaves is disgusting.  The new documentary film, Harvest of Empire, based on the terrific book by the same name written by award-winning journalist, Juan Gonzalez, could not come at a better time.

The film is powerful. Profoundly powerful! Do you know why Latinos immigrate to America? Even if you know your family's immigrant story, this is a must watch film as it goes over a history not taught in schools.

Due to the overwhelming response, the Quad Cinema in New York City will extend it's run until October 11th.

This documentary and book should be required viewing and reading for all, and especially, the haters who call themselves journalists and who clog the airwaves with vitriol about immigrants, in particular, Mexican immigrants. A must watch for sure. Trailer after the jump.

I'm passionate about words, are you?

I'll be reading this Sunday, October 14, at the wonderful Spanish Harlem bookstore, La Casa Azul Bookstore, owned and operated by the passionate book lover, Aurora Anaya-Cerda, pictured above.

Sundays with Sandra, a series discussion on all things Latina, will kick off with a discussion about cultural healing. Next up will be Sunday, November 4th, and December 3rd. 

Come say hello, get an autographed copy of my book, The New Latina's Bible. Or, if you have copy already, stop by and hang out for a few hours. 

La Casa Azul Bookstore
143 East 103 Street
Between Lexington & Park Avenues
A few steps from the 6 train, 103 stop.

Sunday, 10/14/2012
3 p.m. -- 5 pm.


What Maya Angelou taught me

"I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias." ~ Letter to My Daughter,  Maya Angelou 

The great poet taught me that we are all children inside, regardless of the many birthday wishes we've made. That we feel safest when we go inside ourselves. She taught me that inside of me there is magic, and poetry, and that there is a wondrous world that is truly safe, where I can breathe, and feel free, and protected.

An argument for beauty in your life...

"I dream of painting and then I paint my dream," Vincent Van Gogh

I spent the morning walking through the local flower market. For a city dweller surrounded by gorgeous skyscrapers, walks like these are blissful and nourishing to the spirit. These gorgeous plants and flowers enhance my life and I'm always in a better mood and ready to tackle my day after these walks. And the thing is, it costs nothing to walk around and bathe in the beauty of nature. Of course it's a fact that most beautiful things in life are free, but are you paying attention?

To do this month: Go Get a Mammogram

Art by Anna Alvarado
It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month ladies and the brave gents to read my blog posts.  Accompany a sister, a relative, a girlfriend, wife, someone you care about to get their tatas checked out.

This is the thing, when it comes to preventive care, so many women are so busy taking care of other people that they "forget" to take care of themselves. Do you know anyone like that? If so, I hope this post serves as a reminder to give this special woman a call. Help a that sweet woman in your life take care of herself.

No woman has to die of breast cancer today but too many still do. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 227,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year, about 40,000 die. Breast cancer is, after lung, the most common form of cancer and the second leading case of death among women. Chances of a woman getting breast cancer in their lifetime is 1 in 8! Death from breast cancer is preventable but not when it's caught in later stages. Latinas and African American women die at higher rates because it gets detected at later stages. Why not go get checked, like today, or soon? I got mine early this year. When are you getting yours?

No health insurance? No worries! And no excuses! Punch in 'free mammograms" on your search engine and you'll be directed to a free or lost cost service in your area. I found a list of centers in New York City when I did a quick search.