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Urban Lights LACMA theArtMuseHello July. You've made your way back into my life again with another birthday. Last year, you brought on the big 4-0. And let me tell you, it has been quite a year. As I've mentioned before, I knew things were going to change. I was even told by my astrologer that something major was about to happen. I know, I know, not everyone believes in that stuff but something in me does. Call it a connection to my Incan and Taino ancestry, but I've always felt a mystic presence in my life that can't be explained .. or maybe it's just that I grew up watching too much Walter Mercado. Who knows. Either way, in that life-changing conversation, I was told that I would face the past again in a different way, and that it will include my current relationship. Except this time, I would handle it differently when faced with the challenge. Of course, a million scenarios popped into my head. None of which came to fruition except for the TMJ disorder issue that I dealt with in 2006. Back then, I had no idea what was wrong with me and what was going on with my body. I was scared. Practically bed-ridden for close to 5 months, my mother came out to help me. While grappling with debilitating symptoms that impaired my vision and hearing, the disorder came with a huge message and helped me "see" things clearer. I learned what love was and what it wasn't, and what I needed and wanted in my life. Having the senses you took for granted every day compromised will do that to you. As I got better, things came to light and I started a new journey. But I honestly can't say I truly learned the lesson that my body and the universe was trying to teach me. I blindly embarked on a path with lots of different doors lined up hoping to find the right one. Some of those doors welcomed me with beams of light while others were deceptively beautiful with an agenda to teach me valuable life lessons. But being a risk-taker, I opened each and every door. And I have to say that what I learned in my 30s has been extraordinary. However, my work-a-holic ways still remained, and I fell ill again with TMJ in February. This time, I knew what it was and took the necessary steps to heal my body. While doing that, I upped my yoga and meditation practices, and did not ignore the universal signs that kept appearing every day. Once again, my vision and hearing became impaired (in addition to new symptoms of vertigo and excrutiating pain) and I learned another lesson in love and acceptance. All those things that once plagued me started to wither away. The noise in my mind got quieter. I listened to my body and I lived in the world as an observer. I was fortunate to have a son who gave me amazing hugs and a beau who spent many evenings making me power soups to reset my body. It's all I needed, and as I recalled what the astrologer (or shall we say messenger) said about the past resurfacing, I realized - That was it. There I was bed-ridden once again and scared. Except this time, I received an overwhelming amount of love and care, and I was ready to take it all in. I saw God's work before me in every small loving gesture, and felt extremely humbled. He blessed me with these beautiful souls. My heart was filled with gratitude and, in turn, I got better. Love heals.

And that, my friends, sums up 40. So thank you dear 20s and 30s for making me wiser. Today I feel more beautiful and alive than I ever did, and these things cannot be felt if you don't go through those necessary pains and losses in life. When you recover, happiness is that much greater. Here's to 41! Looking forward to meeting you on the 23rd.