Category Archives for "Life"

It took me 7 years to experience forgiveness like this…

I had just gotten my chicken sandwich and fries when my cell phone rang. 

It was 8:45 pm on a Tuesday evening, an odd time for my mom to be calling. 

I answered the phone and there were a few moments of silence. Something didn’t seem right…my pulse quickened, “Hi mom, what’s going on?”

“It’s your dad,” she said in a voice that left me immediately feeling incredibly alert and strangely focused. 

He’d been in and out of the hospital about once a month for the past 6 months and we all knew his health was deteriorating. 

She proceeded to tell me that he’d been admitted into the hospital the day before with some complications and had to undergo a minor procedure.

In the operating room, he flat-lined and was put in a medically-induced coma. 

The next few moments felt like an eternity. 

I found my voice and told her I would take the next flight out from Denver to California.

Less than 24 hours later, I was sitting across from the on-call surgeon discussing my father’s health and the options we had before us for his life.

Nothing, I mean NOTHING could’ve prepared me for the strength I had to draw upon in the days that followed. Sometimes you don’t know how strong you can be until it’s the only choice you have. 

My father’s health was exponentially declining and we made the decision to take him off life support once I had gotten ahold of all his siblings so they could travel to say good-bye. 

The next 24 hours were a blur of phone calls and logistical back and forth. I don’t think my phone left my hand that day. 

In a window of about 12 hours, all six of my uncles and aunts arrived, some from as far as Colombia. 

As I look around the hospital room I saw a room full of tired, hungry, and exhausted souls. 

My father had been taken off life support about 4 hours earlier and the Doctor’s said that it would be between 4-8 hours for him to naturally pass. He was conscious and coherent, but couldn’t speak. 

He was hooked up to a heart monitor and a single IV that was helping him stay pain-free.

I looked around the room of humans and made a decision. 

“You all need to eat, change, check-in to hotel rooms, and rest a little. Take an hour or two and take care of yourselves, please. I have all your numbers if anything about his condition changes.” 

Everyone had literally dropped what they were doing to fly out and be next to my father. He was the oldest of all the siblings and had stepped in as the father figure when his father passed away far too soon.

He was basically dad to each of his siblings. 

I even kicked out my mom, brother, and sister. 

Everyone finally left the hospital room. A part of me was relieved to have the stillness and quiet of the room as the last few days had been a complete whirlwind. 

All of a sudden, the reality of the situation sunk in…I was sitting next to my dad’s bed, just him and I. I realized this would be the last chance I would have to speak to him, in the flesh. 

I looked over at him and checked in: “Dad, it’s me, Luisa…blink once if you can hear me.” He blinked once. 

I said very little and it would take me seven years to truly understand why I said what I did. 

“Dad, I want you to know you are the best father that I could’ve ever asked for.  There is nothing in this world that I would change about what my life has been to this point with you. Do you understand this?”

He blinked. 

That was it. After our exchange, I sat with him, and we watched Jeopardy on the hospital TV.  

Those were my last words to my father. He passed away about 5 hours surrounded by Love. 

That was in 2013. For the past seven years, I thought that our conversation was ME forgiving my dad for the sharp and often extreme upbringing that I had. 

I was wrong. 

That conversation was actually about me forgiving myself for judging myself for the way he raised me. 

Forgiving myself for thinking I knew best how I should be loved. 

The depth of that conversation took me seven years to fully integrate. A long time for my mind, but the spirit operates in Kronos time so it was really “just in time”. 

My father and I didn’t have an idyllic father-daughter relationship. 

I now understand our relationship was what my soul ordered so that I could become the spiritual guidance teacher that I am. So that I could develop unconditional love, stand up fiercely for others, transcend judgemental thinking against victims, and more that has not been revealed to me.

To this day, I don’t know what compelled me to say what I did…but I listened to the nudge from my spirit and that conversation fundamentally shifted my life.

Life has difficulties, that is inevitable. Life contains pain…when we get what we want and when we get what we don’t want because of the impermanence of it all. 

That is what is. 

Suffering comes in when we cling to the desire of our mind…
…when we find ourselves emotionally attached to the way we think things should go…
…when they are different than what is unfolding in front of us.

So in that sense, if we can let go of the clinging, we let go of the suffering. 

Our ego wants to convince us otherwise because the recognition and acceptance of our pain is a threat to the stability of our ego. 

But if we listen to our higher mind, and travel the path of the spirit, there is freedom, unlike anything you could ever imagine. 

When we can BE with our pain, we do not suffer…we simply heal, grow, evolve, and evolve. 

And that is why we are each on this planet. 

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Are You Ready to Create Your Life?

In 2015, I had no idea that I would align with my Purpose following a deeply painful breakup to the man I loved for over five years.

I believe that sometimes we have to let go of what no longer serves us, in order to create space for what I meant to come together for our life.

It’s also become very clear that when we are unable to let go on our own accord, the Universe steps in and makes sh*t happen on our behalf.

While I couldn’t see it at the time, that period in my life brought about a whole new world of possibilities.

Because of what that experience brought about; I embrace Courage, Purpose, Truth, and Commitment with fervor.

When you decide to intentionally explore why you were placed on this planet, something shifts at a fundamental level in all areas of life.

When you’re ready to create your life in alignment with your higher self, you’re ready to step into another dimension of living.

When you can look yourself in the mirror and say: “This will require effort, and I am committed to the growth of my spirit over the desires of my mind.” – at that moment, the entire Universe gets behind you and conspires with you to make that a reality.

I believe in destiny, and I believe in choice.

I can look myself in the mirror and say: I’m ready.

I’m ready to make an impact on this planet.

I’m ready to put my higher self over my ego.

I’m ready to stop sabotaging myself.

I’m ready to live the life I was given, full-expressed.

I’m ready to honor myself.

Are you, ready?

There’s more for you in this life than you could ever imagine.

It all starts with a willingness to explore a path that is different than the conditioning you were raised with and the standards set by society, filled with “shoulds”.

It starts with a choice. One that only you alone can make.

If you are ready, and you would like the support of a guide who has navigated that terrain for the last five years, let me know and we can explore possibilities together.

If you’ve been asking the Universe for a sign, maybe, just maybe, this is it.

The choice is yours.

Yours alone.

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How do you know if you are “growing”?

We all regularly see opportunities for growth in life. 

Sometimes we act on them, sometimes we don’t.

The times when we act on them, how often do we pause to celebrate our growth?

How do we even know we’ve grown?

This morning I was in the shower, shampooing my hair when a call came through my cell phone.

I have a glass shower so I could clearly see who was calling.

Just about every time I hear from this person, they are calling to borrow money.

I have seen this as an opportunity for my personal growth for quite some time now.

Not because I want to get to this place where I don’t lend/give them money, not at all.

Because I want to get to a place where I choose TO give or choose NOT to give them money without feeling like I “gotta”.

Freedom is a core value of mine and as a rebel at heart, feeling like I have to do something is the surest way to get me to resist it. 

When we operate from choice rather than obligation, we are free to be ourselves and things like blame, and judgement show up in our landscape less frequently. 

As I watched my cellphone ring, I mentally considered whether this was a call to again ask for money.

I checked in to see how I felt about that…and the response I would give showed up clearly and quietly, without any story or emotional attachment. 

This had NEVER happened before with this person!

It surprised me a little bit because for the first time in as long as I can remember the decision was a simple one.

This person also hasn’t called me in almost a month, so it had been a while since I last spoke to them.

I had grown. Was it my work with my coach, my own inner work – who cares!

I. Had. Grown.

And, I didn’t realize I had grown until the situation presented itself again.

So no matter how big or small what you are working on may be, trust that you are growing, even if you can’t see it.

You are growing, you just may not see it, yet. 

With All My Love,

Luisa

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Are You Done Hiding?

On June 19th I completed 30 days of Authentic and Audacious Expression through a program led by my coach. I posted a summary of the experience on Facebook, you can read about it here. In a nutshell, I posted 3 times per day, for 30 days on Facebook. 

Before I started the program I would’ve told you I was authentic and even (mostly) audacious – I was not.  It wasn’t that I was never authentic or audacious, it was that I spent most of the time managing what I perceived to be the experience of others, over speaking my truth.

The journey inward started in 2014 when I first attended Landmark Forum, and since then I have worked with a number of coaches however these 30 days shifted something deep within me that is now allowing me to show up to the world in a fresh, new way.

It’s like realizing you accidentally placed a filter on an image and you swipe to remove it, you still see the same things, it’s simply in a new light. 

What Most Don’t Know About Speaking Our Truth

When we water down our truth we water down our communication and ultimately our impact. I believe many of us walk around hiding our true selves from the world and that is a gross disservice to the people in our life that are waiting to be impacted by who we are.  

The Universe doesn’t make mistakes, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. And, if you know you are hiding, and no longer want to, you can choose a different path – today.

Even if you don’t choose, you still have made a choice. 

The number one misconception I held about “speaking my truth” is that if I did, it would hurt or offend others. What I thought was my truth, was really judgment or blame. 

Our truth carries no attachment to what other people will think. Our truth is our truth, our truth is love, even if it’s tough love. It’s not always easy, it’s necessary. 

We also can’t lie to ourselves. We can rationalize things, but we cannot lie to ourselves.

If you show up to meetings, conversations, and even entire relationships as a reflection of who you think others think you should be – you know it.

The Illusion That Hiding Creates

And it’s not a bad thing. Hiding keeps us safe and creates the illusion that we’re secure and in control. It’s part of our conditioning and we innocently do this because at one point in our lives it served us. 

I get it, I played that game for years. It’s a fine game, but it comes at a cost. 

It cost me relationships, my health, and it almost cost me my job at one point. The highest payment I made was to my soul. 

The cost of hiding was like a lump of coal in my soul – slowly burning away the very foundation of my spirit. 

When we hide we run around hoping that others will change, adjust, or behave differently so we can be OK with who we are – that’s not how it works. We teach people how to treat us in the way we honor ourselves and our truth. 

A Different Way to Be

To show up to the world as we are doesn’t mean we speak and act from an unfiltered place, it means that we are clear about our intention, and what we want for the conversation/situation; and can own it without needing others to applaud or approve of it.

It’s great if they do, but we know at a fundamental level that we’re OK if they don’t. People get to not like everything that comes out of our mouth.

In the same we get to speak our truth, others do as well. Most people think that when someone disagrees with us, it’s a problem. That’s actually the moment you’re in real dialogue. That’s the moment you can begin to truly lead and inspire and impact.

If you are feeling a little uncomfortable by this point – GOOD, we must feel the discomfort of not being ourselves in order to step into our true power. 

It requires commitment, awareness, and a sherpa to be a guide through that terrain. 

If this is the nudge you’ve didn’t know you needed, and you want to explore what it would look like to step into your true power, let me know by replying to this email and we can find a time to connect. 

I know that I was placed on this planet to help women re-discover their inner badass, so I call to your spirit: are you done hiding? Are you ready to honor the badass you know you are?

With All The Love That I Know…

Luisa

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What if you could access happiness no matter your circumstances?

It may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not. All we need is an understanding of what creates our experience.

My mentor and international coach and author, Michael Neill says: “understanding what creates our experience doesn’t mean we no longer have one, it means we no longer need to fear it.”

To me, happiness is the sense you get in the present moment that at a fundamental level, you are OK and that all the other humans around us are OK. 

That none of us are broken – we just have thoughts about being broken from time to time. 

This also doesn’t mean that we don’t fight for what we believe to be right or just it just means that we do that from a place of intention and choice versus reaction.

We are conditioned to believe that our experience is created by our circumstances and as such, we end up working hard and chasing things outside of us in order to feel “happy”.

In that sense, our experience is created from the outside, in and while this is a normal/habitual way of life, it is not the natural way of life.

The natural way of life is actually the other way around because our life is shaped from the inside out. 

Have you ever been given the news about a promotion, money, or a client only to find out minutes later that you read or heard wrong? You likely went from feeling STOKED to MEH however nothing REAL happened between the initial news and the clarification – the only thing that shifted was how you felt as a result of your thinking. 

That’s life, in a nutshell.

So the next time you feel stressed by what’s going on around you and the world, consider the space in your heart where you are already OK despite what’s going on AND you can educate, learn and take the needed action you believe is necessary for your family, community and world.

And, this is a practice. There are moments I see this with 100% clarity and others where I seem unable to look within, and that’s OK. Just because we can’t see electricity doesn’t mean it’s not there.  

This is not the only way to BE in life, but it is one I have seen to be quite a wonderful way to go about life.  

With all the love I know… <3

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Change Happens In An Instant, and This is That Instant

It’s almost hard to believe that we’ve been at home for nearly two months.

In that time, I’ve had dozens of conversations with individuals ranging from bartenders to CEOs of companies and individuals directly and indirectly impacted by the pandemic. 

I noticed a theme throughout each of the conversations. 

Each person has been able to start (or stop) doing something in their life that proven to be meaningful. 

I was recently catching up with a dear friend and business owner. They shared the slowdown of the pandemic created a series of opportunities for them to enjoy things like not checking their work email first thing in the morning, yoga, and daily meditation practice. Moments later, they shared how those items might not be sustainable once the stay at home order went away. 

His words resonated deeply with me because while I have been a life-long goal-setter and go-getter, change has always shown up with a lot of resistance – when it’s something I do for myself. 

My rationalization was (and sometimes still is) that maintaining a habit, belief, or behavior takes time and effort and that I don’t always have the luxury of that, especially when there’s a team, department, or company to lead. 

And while that is not untrue, it’s simply not accurate. 

If I shared with you a shortcut that allowed you to get to work in 1/2 the time, how long would you need to take that new route before adopting the new habit? 

Tony Robbins jokes, “how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it’s expensive and takes a long time.” He believes our past is inconsequential. So do I. 

I add that in a single moment, we can choose to change the course and meaning of our life entirely as we live in a non-linear and relative world.

That change only takes an instant, and that is instant is now. 

What thoughts/beliefs/behaviors did you pick up that you want to keep or what thoughts/beliefs/behaviors have you put down that you want to leave in the ‘old normal’?

If there is one that jumped out to you, that would mean everything, but you aren’t acting on it – ask yourself whether your motivation is moving you towards a vision of what you want or whether it’s moving you away from something you want to avoid. 

The choice is yours. The time is now. What will you choose?

If this sparks anything for you, I would love to know!

“Sometimes, it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” ~Keri Russell

Change Isn’t Scary. Our thinking about change is scary.

I worked for a Fortune 200 company from 2009 to 2017 and the running joke was always “the only constant at Arrow is change”. I now understand the only constant in life is change.  

When I say change, I don’t mean shifting and evolving priorities; I mean the variable quality of our thoughts and the fact that we live inside a world of thought. 

We can’t see, hear or feel without thought informing our senses, and we have no way of checking whether or not our thoughts are telling us something that’s really happening or simply projecting false data which we interpret to be true. 

This is why we can be sure that everything is going to be fine one moment and in the next, be equally sure that it isn’t – without anything actually changing around us. 

This understanding serves by allowing us to see and understand that our challenge or issue is simply made of thought rather than made of our circumstances. 

Have you ever thought you royally messed something up, proceeded to feel physically awful only to re-read the email, and realize you read the point incorrectly and then you immediately felt OK again?

That’s the nature of our thoughts in action – nothing changed from one minute to the next aside from our thinking because we’re only ever living in the feeling of our thinking. 

This was real for me in 2017 when it took me roughly six months to take the first step to transition from my corporate role.

There was no doubt I needed to move towards something new yet I stayed because of how scary my thoughts felt about the change.

In a nutshell, I chose my perceived “safety” over my happiness and rationalized my circumstances by telling myself “at least here, you know what you’re dealing with…if you leave, who knows what could happen”. 

I kept thinking stressful thoughts about the future, so of course, I spent months and months feeling stressed. 

Staying where I was felt safer than the unknown of the future, but I now realize it wasn’t safety I craved, it was certainty.

The truth is certainty is a guarantee for no one. Each one of us can only take the next best action and repeat. Click To Tweet

Now I don’t regret a thing because everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen however since my mission in life is to help others reimagine what’s possible then I leave you with this question: what if the challenge you are facing had nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to do with your thoughts about the circumstances?

What if you spent this next week thinking about the thing itself and less time thinking about your thinking about the challenge. 

Let me know if this sparks anything for you!

What’s your G.O.O.D. thought?

The news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as of late has it so I can’t open up a major website or email without seeing something about the coronavirus. Some folks are preparing big time, others doing basic things like stocking extra water, rice, beans, and hand sanitizer in their home. 

Yesterday I came across an ad for a G.O.O.D. bag, otherwise known as a get-out-of-dodge bag. It’s mostly a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for 72-hours when escaping from a disaster. 

It typically comes in a backpack and is made so that you can grab it and run should you need to escape the area. 

I realized we experience something similar thing with our thoughts.

We all have a get-out-of-dodge thought that shows up when things get tough, uncomfortable, or unpleasant and we need to escape. This thought drives action to take us away from our current state. 

My G.O.O.D. thought has always been: “I’m outta here.”  

From leaving my parent’s home at 19 to my divorce at 27, that thought helped me take action in my life at crucial times. 

It was a gift. 

Until it wasn’t. 

Allow me to explain. I have been in the most incredible relationship since 2015. The longer I’m with my husband, the more my gratitude deepens for him and what we’ve worked to create in our relationship. 

But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when at least twice a week, he’d say or do something that triggered my “I’m outta here” thought. Some days the thinking would snowball; other times, not so much, but each time there was always a lot of thinking. 

I intellectually knew I was with an incredible man; however, I couldn’t reconcile why I reacted this way time after time. Then one day, as I sat there catastrophizing and making meaning out the latest thing he’d said – it hit me. 

What if I sat with my discomfort? What if I chose to feel uncomfortable and not race away from it the way I knew best? After all, I’ve never heard of someone dying from discomfort (unpleasant as it may be). 

I tried it a few times, and my experience shifted. Significantly. 

One day a while later, I had another thought: what if I didn’t think that thought? Could it be that simple? 

At that moment, I was free. 

Freedom from the thought didn’t mean it wouldn’t ever show up again; it meant I was no longer chained to it. 

So when it shows up, I know I can choose to allow the thought to float on by like the feather on Forrest Gump, observing it without engaging with it.

The delta between ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ can make all the difference in our life.

We are never more than one thought away from a completely different experience of being alive. ~Michael Neill. Click To Tweet

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To plan is smart, to act is divine.

I was recently a guest on my coach Rich Litvin’s podcast. In that episode, I shared for the first time in a public forum about my experience growing up in a very strict and religious household and how I almost entered into an arraigned marriage. 

I was taught from a very young age to respect my elders, do as I was told and not question God. I was also a very strong-willed and opinionated young girl, so not surprisingly, I often challenged rules and norms. 

Spoiler alert: The arranged marriage never happened. 

I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t marry someone I didn’t love. 

So one day, two weeks before the wedding, I sat my parents down and told them I couldn’t do it. I remember saying something like this, “I can’t stand before God and the congregation and say I do till death do us part when I don’t.”  

That didn’t go over well with my parents or the church. Things got so bad that I wondered if I could even stay living at home. 

A few days later, it became apparent that I needed to leave home. I believe that when we know, we know – and I knew. 

I found a gal who was renting a room near Cal State Fullerton. I called her, confirmed it was still available, and two days later, I was moving in. 

There was no business plan, no strategy session, merely a series of actions towards my desired future. 

I think back to this story often because, as a business owner, there are a handful of times a day (dozens on some) where my desire to create something new for my business seems thwarted.

It is thwarted by my desire to have certainty around exactly HOW it’s going to work and THAT it’s going to work.

And while there’s nothing wrong with those thoughts, they become problematic when I find myself still thinking about creating that something, weeks later—when I am refining, designing, and planning versions and versions without moving into action of any kind. 

I think back to the young, feisty nineteen-year-old that one day decided to leave the comfort and security of her own home and venture out on her own. 

I didn’t have the first clue how life outside of my parent’s home would be. I had never even spent the night at anyone’s house but a relative. 

Once I left, I knew there was no going back, and I somehow knew that I would and could figure it out. 

That said, it wasn’t easy. There were weeks at a time where I’d have Top Ramen noodles for dinner. However, with each week and month that went by, I got a little smarter at figuring out this whole “adulting” thing. 

The reason is that it is always easier to adjust when you’re in action! 

Has there ever been a time where you leaped without knowing how things would pan out, and they worked out just fine? 

Take Action! Even a small amount of movement will bring you closer to your desired outcome than a mile of thinking. Click To Tweet

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Part 2: The End, or a New Beginning?

This is part two of a two-part article on my six-year journey chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more and the price that came with it.

I am again excited to share that Part 2 was also featured on Thrive Global, you can check out that article here.

In part two I share how I was able to reimagine a completely new chapter for my life from a place that most would consider “career-breaking”. 

Here we go:

A few days later, I was sitting on the porch of our home enjoying a latte and the crisp morning air with my husband. We sat silently, enjoying the mixture of birds chirping and cars passing by. For the first time in my career, I had failed, and I didn’t know what to do next. What I did know, though, was that this experience would not define my worth.

Then it hit me; the answer was right in front of me. My PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) contained the clarity and prioritization I’d been wanting since starting this role. Rather than being a list of failures, I realized it was a list of ways I could grow and succeed. By reframing this List of Failures to a List of Opportunities, I got to work, and over the next few months, delivered on each item in that document.

Sixty-two days later, I was taken off the PIP.

In the weeks that followed, I reflected on this experience and realized that I had spent most of my career chasing the concept of modern-day success: wanting more, achieving more, and having more.

I had also paid the price in terms of my health and my quality of life. I realized that I had been focused entirely on my outer world and had never taken the time to explore and define how success felt on the inside. I had convinced myself I’d be happy when I got to a certain level.

The truth is, happiness is always an inside job.

The dictionary defines bankruptcy as “completely lacking in a particular quality or value.” For me, it was time to declare bankruptcy on this external model for success I had followed for so long.

While this did not mean I would no longer pursue the external appearance of success if I chose to, it did mean I would never again allow the look of success to be my only focus or driver.

Two months after being taken off the PIP, I tendered my resignation to pursue the exciting and intimidating world of coaching and consulting where I could help others through the incredible self-discovery I had just navigated.

More than two years later, my coaching & consulting practice thrives and fulfills me daily. I take time to enjoy each moment, celebrate my challenges, and savor the journey. Savoring the journey is not a one-time check the box kind of thing, it’s a moment to moment choice that I make every day.

As Buddha says: Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

It is a priceless feeling to know I am doing what I am meant to do for the rest of my life. I serve as a guide to individuals & companies who believe that talent matters and get that success has not only a look but a feel and want support to explore creating a powerful experience of both for themselves, their teams and their company.

Over time, those I serve are transformed as they see the impact of creating their world from the inside-out. Ultimately, they come to deeply know their worth is a currency defined by themselves alone, and no market or economy can alter this value without permission.

The greatest gift of this experience was seeing my father in a new light. I write this with tears in my eyes because I see my dad had it figured out all along. He never cared about the title, prestige, money, or fancy things. He lived his life for the joy of contributing, serving, and working to support his family. It’s all so crystal clear now.

For him, the feeling of success was all that ever mattered. Thank you, Daddy, for sharing your wisdom six years after we said goodbye.

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