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    The Morbid Gratitude Trap

    I’ve felt off lately. Low on energy, sad, discouraged… that familiar cloud of despair that hovers over me every now and then.

    This time, I noticed a pattern.

    Whenever I start feeling even just a little bit down, I avoid real life and look for ways to feel better. My go-to place? The news. Specifically, an app called Flipboard that compiles all my favorite news, tech, and celebrity magazines in one place.

    I had a couple of emotional days at the beginning of July, and I quickly turned to Flipboard to distract myself. Then, I became obsessed with it, checking it so frequently that I ran out of articles to read. I had to close it and hungrily return a few minutes later to refresh and see the 2-3 new posts.

    My justification was, “Oh, it’s always good to know what is happening in the world.”…

    But now that I think about it… most of the articles that make it onto Flipboard are tragedies, scandals, and precarious situations.

    To test my theory, I opened the app and the first article was, “Family of 5 killed while on vacation.”

    I made a mental list of the things I’ve been reading the past few weeks… cheating scandals, war threats, car crashes, plane crashes, kidnappings, murders.

    I wondered, is this an attempt on my part to feel better about my life? Am I reading these horrible things to find comfort and gratitude in knowing it could have been me, but it wasn’t?

    Holy crap. I need to look for comfort and gratitude in other places. This is wrong.

    I decided to make an effort this weekend to stop reading Flipboard. Instead, I spent the whole weekend watercoloring. I took my supplies to Omi’s room and painted while he played Witcher 3, Thor snoring in the background.


    I still avoided certain parts of life, but found a peaceful, healthy comfort in enjoying time at home with Omi and Thor. I had time to think about how this morbid gratitude trap was ultimately hurting me and keeping me down. I feel recharged.

    I’m deleting Flipboard right now.

    And getting back to real life. NOW.

    Thanks for reading,

    PS: Giveaway! If you’d like to win this majestically professional watercolor painting of some balloons painted with too much water (it’s my own technique I’m developing), leave a comment. I’ll pick a winner randomly and will respond to you in the comments to get your address.

    Time Heals

    Time and Rejection

    Time heals all wounds… But, all the time in the world will not preemptively heal wounds that have yet to happen.

    I’d been putting off writing a particular business related email for a long time. An email where I needed to ask for something, and I was terrified of being rejected.

    I wrote about this fear during my Morning Pages and stumbled upon a big realization.

    Behold. My morning pages.


    Handwriting transcription: “Ugh. I need to get over the fear of inconveniencing people. If people don’t want to do something, especially at that level, they simply won’t do it and they won’t bat an eye. Holy s…unflower. I’m spending weeks agonizing over something that others won’t really be troubled by.”

    In this particular case, the company’s answer is not going to change from one week to the next. If it’s going to be a no, it will be a no this week or next month. For them, it’s one more email. For me, it’d been weeks of worrying about how I was going to be perceived.

    Something started shifting in my mind. The following morning, I continued exploring.


    My fear of rejection diminished when I thought of it as part of a process of elimination, and not an end. The amount of peace I felt in this moment is the reason why I love morning pages. 

    Someone could have told me this… In fact, I’m sure somebody has… but, it wasn’t until I “dug” and unearthed this gem for myself that I fully understood it.

    Later that morning, I went to a coffee shop and asked the barista for a cappuccino and a piece of paper. 

    I sat down to write a list of the points I wanted to be sure to communicate. Referencing that list, I wrote down the first draft of the email.

    Doing this on paper and away from the computer was extra helpful. It made me focus on the human side of things, reminding me that we are all, after all, just people. I was able to express all my thoughts honestly and then distill them into a brief, professional email.

    I sent it later that day.

    I felt good about myself and certain that I’d done the right thing. I no longer felt afraid that rejection would hurt me.

    I hereby promise to remind myself the following things:

    About Time: Prolonging something out of fear only prolongs my own misery without changing the outcome. It’s better to take action.

    About Rejection: Rejection is just part of a process of elimination. YOUR process. And it’s hardly ever personal when it comes to business.

    DO NOT make it personal, Malukah. I promise you that high level executives are not writing about you in their morning pages, worrying about how to respond to you.

    On the other side of emails sit humans, just like you. They are not scary. Just be concise and respectful.

    As I hit send, I hoped I never had to write another email like that again.

    And then I had to, about a week later. And it was a hell of a lot easier.

    Thanks for reading!

    Week 5: Unexpected Doors

    Ay, there was a hiatus on these posts, but they’re back!

    In Week 5 of The Artist’s Way, Julia talks about how a creative recovery allows us to “pry ourselves loose from our old self-concepts” and be compassionate with ourselves.

    I saw this shift in Morning Pages. When it comes to others, compassion feels natural. When it comes to myself, compassion is nowhere to be seen. I’m drawn like a magnet to the negatives.

    Morning pages began as a way to analyze my shortcomings. But complaining about myself day after day grew boring and shortsighted. Over time, the pages have transformed into a place to celebrate my achievements, too. In noting the positive things I do–even if it’s as simple as keeping the kitchen clean–I’m gentler with myself.

    Week 5 the Artists Way

    Week 5 also talks about dealing with unexpected doors.

    When we finally start moving, we “take a few steps in the direction of the dream only to have the universe fling open an unexpected door. One of the central tasks of creative recovery is learning to accept this generosity.”

    I was reminded of the struggle I faced when a video I made of a musical performance went viral.

    I’d always hoped to work in music but planned to stay behind the scenes. Writing songs for other people, maybe scoring indie films or games. I did not want to be a performing artist.

    When this video went viral, an unexpected door opened and I panicked. I wanted to shut it.

    I suddenly had an opportunity that could potentially lead me to make a living as a musician, but I had to do exactly what I’d set out to avoid. Performing. It terrified me. I was scared of being judged and discouraged. Of failing and being embarrassed.

    I dealt with these feelings as best I could on my own. After 3 years of living in what felt like constant fear, I decided to try therapy.

    This changed my life. Therapy helped me pinpoint the exact reasons why I was afraid, and showed me how to walk through this unexpected door anyway.

    I love being able to give this concept a visual image. To have these opportunities take the shape of a simple, ordinary door and not some vague evil What-If black hole waiting to swallow us.

    I was quickly able to identify other “doors” that have been opened right before me. Some I walked through, others I shied away from (and I regret it).

    Hopefully, I’ll now be able to identify unexpected doors in the future… not as dangers… but as open opportunities to grow.

    Thanks for reading,

    2019 Goals

    2019: Word of the Year

    At the start of every year, we’re bombarded by articles on how to set resolutions or why we should skip them altogether.

    Everyone has their own approach.

    Some people swear by choosing one single thing they want to change.

    Others make a list of ALL the things they want to change.

    There are folks that choose to focus on the things they did right in the year before and vow to continue those actions, rather than impose new ones.

    The approach I’m trying this year is to pick one single word that will be my overall focus for 2019.

    My word for this year is…



    I want to build Endurance in many areas of my life. To work consistently, step by step, every day without expecting instant gratification.

    When it comes to exercise, building endurance could help me both lose weight and improve my singing technique.

    In songwriting, I want to stop abandoning songs at the first roadblock I encounter. I want to push through and work until they’re complete. Little by little. Every day.

    I want to learn to appreciate the discomfort of effort instead of being discouraged by it.

    It’s not easy? It takes work?

    Good. Bring it on.

    What’s your word of the year?

    Thanks for reading!


    Happy New Year Malukah

    Happy New Year!

    WOOOOOOO! Happy 2019! I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating.

    My husband’s side of the family came over to our house for dinner and it was lovely. We played a few rounds of a cowboy board game called Bang!, and it was hilarious. Highly recommended.

    Thankfully, there weren’t many fireworks, so Thor was able to nap through it all. Hehe!

    I love the start of a new year and setting New Year’s resolutions, even though time has shown I rarely keep them. Who cares? I get these first few weeks of the year to live with the joy that everything might work out just as I envision.

    I feel specially hopeful this year because during the last 4 months of 2018, I proved to myself that change is possible. I created a new habit that has made my life a better one.

    I’ve been writing almost every single day.

    Since reading The Artist’s Way–which sets Morning Pages as a daily assignment–I’ve been waking up early and writing for about 30 minutes first thing in the morning.

    I used the TimeLime app (here’s a post about that) to track this activity. A blue dot for each day I wrote.

    It feels INCREDIBLE to know I spent 77 hours writing and thinking instead of checking social media on my phone in bed.

    It’s shocking to think that for the first 8 months of 2018, pre-writing habit, I spent 154 hours of the morning reading other people’s thoughts and feelings instead of checking in with mine.


    This habit is my biggest personal win of 2018, and I hope to continue daily writing throughout 2019.

    I have other standard goals, like exercising, losing weight, cleaning closets, etc, etc, etc. And I hope to share how I will attempt to tackle each one.

    I don’t just make resolutions… I plan and strategize and overthink. haha!

    Will this be the year that I’ll keep them?

    You’ll just have to keep reading the blog to see…


    Big hug from Mexico.
    Thank you for reading,


    Cat in Pajamas

    2am at the Cat’s Pajamas

    2 am at the Cat's Pajamas

    The title of this book caught my attention the first time that I saw it as a teenager. What intrigued me the most is that nothing in the title revealed what kind of book it was…

    It wasn’t “Tragedy at the Cat’s Pajamas” or… “Mystery of the Cat’s Pijamas”… and well, what the crap is a Cat’s Pajamas anyway? haha!

    Cat in Pajamas

    My sister gave me this book for my birthday a few years back and I finally read it. It’s lovely! How can I explain? It’s quaint with a sprinkle of magic. The individual character stories are somewhat sad, but their journeys are uplifting.

    I wanted to share my favorite quotes.

    Here’s my favorite, faaaaavorite line from this book… possibly the most romantic thing I’ve ever read…

    “Sarina realizes why people have children: to see the face of the one they love at the ages they’ve missed, to see his eyes on a son she could teach to use scissors.”

    I mean… it gives me goosebumps. What a lovely way to think of parenthood. Expressed in a unique way, just like the rest of the book.

    And a line that made me laugh…

    “Clare Kelly never has shark fins when she combs her hair into a ponytail, and her braids always part diplomatically.”

    This made me remember how much I complained to my mom as a kid whenever she didn’t get my hair into a perfect ponytail. haha! In Spanish, those “shark fins” are called “gallos”, or roosters.

    Malukah Shark Fins

    And finally, a thought that I feel is a universal truth:

    “He likes that everyone laughs at one another’s jokes, even when they aren’t funny, because it isn’t about being clever, it’s about being present.”

    This. Being present is how you enjoy life and the people around you. If you’re busy resenting the past or worrying about the future, you miss the opportunity of living a moment that makes you see and be seen, hear and be heard.

    Drifting away from the present often closes you off from those around you. They can’t mentally travel with you and feel what you feel. So, you go alone.

    Sometimes, we need this. But most times, we don’t.

    Thank you for reading!


    (And thank you, Sis, for the gift!)

    Malukah 3rd Grade

    Wonderlukah’s 3rd Grade Adventure

    I remember when the very first person in my year at school got braces. It was 3rd grade. Word spread like wildfire. She suddenly became very popular.

    We all wanted to see them. It was the coolest, most fashionable thing in the world. No one else had them.

    We would stare at this lucky girl with jealousy when she talked. Humble bragging about what a pain it was to have braces. Her mouth slightly more pronounced, her words taken more seriously because of that elite shimmer of silver.

    It was the equivalent of a grill nowadays.

    I asked my mom if I could have braces and she said I didn’t need them. I made her take me to the dentist to get a professional opinion.

    No luck.

    I needed to find another way. At the point where most children give up, I got to work.

    How could I get my own braces?

    I suddenly remembered that earring backings kinda looked like brackets. Promptly, all my silver earrings were dismantled.

    The rest was easy, I just needed a standard paper clip.


    Closeup Braces

    The next day at school, I managed to fool several people into thinking I had braces.

    About an hour later I caved and shared my trick since everyone wanted braces, too. Besides, it wasn’t easy to keep them in place while talking.

    And, what do you know? The next day several girls showed up with “braces”. Terribly executed, by the way. Nobody could straighten a paperclip like I could.

    People in the neighboring classroom learned the secret, and soon, more of us were all walking around with wobbly, fake braces.

    Eventually that phase ended and years later puberty hit. Braces became uncool and ugly. And right when school started having mixed dances… that friggin’ dentist told me I needed braces.


    I was already in a very awkward stage…

    Too Late

    It was two years. Both my 8th and 9th grade school pictures were horrific while that one lucky girl who got braces back in 3rd grade was the prettiest of the whole yearbook. With her perfect, white smile.

    Nowadays, I don’t think braces are uncool, it’s actually pretty awesome they can fix teeth… But, I’ll never understand why I ever wanted them. As much as I wanted a toy or a bike.

    I was a strange child.

    Did you do anything crazy like this when growing up? Do tell me.

    Thanks for reading,

    My Boy

    Could we have a round of applause for this handsome pup?

    Thor is recovering very nicely from surgery. He has regained some mobility in his back legs and is in overall great spirits.

    Wooo!!! Clap, clap, clap.

    I’m always amazed that no matter what he is going through, his coat is always shiny. Hehe!

    Dogs are the best.



    Artist's Way Week 4

    Week 4: Details, Clarity and Moving On

    Week 4 of The Artist’s Way summarized my feelings about week 3.

    “[…] you didn’t realize how many small things you could do to improve your life.”

    It’s incredible how these adjustments–some in routine, some in perspective–have made me feel happier. The main one for me has been taking the time to be specific about what I think and feel.

    “The morning pages force us to get specific. Does ‘I feel okay’ mean I feel resigned, accepting, comfortable, detached, numb, tolerant, pleased, or satisfied? What does it mean to me?”

    The more clarity you have, the easier it is to find solutions when something’s troubling you.

    “As we clarify our perceptions, we lose our misconceptions. As we eliminate ambiguity, we lose illusion as well. We arrive at clarity, and clarity creates change.”

    I other words, clarity gets sh*t done.

    For the weekly exercise, I was dismayed to learn that it was to NOT READ ANYTHING.

    … WHAT?!?!

    No Books

    “For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble up the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than to cook up something of our own.”

    I makes sense, so I tried.

    The first day, I made it through without any illegal reading. I immediately realized how quiet life was. I was pleasantly surprised by how much space I had in my mind and how it was easier to focus.

    Until I woke up at 2 am, couldn’t go back to sleep, and like a junkie I reached for my phone and gobbled up the news.

    Later, when I put the phone down, I felt guilty. Did I really need to break my no-reading spree for celebrity gossip? I fell asleep worrying about Brad Pitt and Angie’s messy custody battle. /facepalm

    The next day, I did my best to stay away from reading, but it’s such an ingrained part of my life. It calms me, keeps my mind lightly busy when I’m taking a break from work, helps me fall asleep at night, etc.

    I can definitely see the great benefit of scaling down on consumption in order to focus on creating more. And I realize I use it to block my own thoughts. I thought reading was always a good thing. Turns out, not quite always.

    I thought about redoing Week 4 so that I could do the exercise without cheating.

    However, that tendency to want to redo everything as close to perfect as I can is what often traps me in a loop. I try again, same results, again, same results, throw tantrum, abandon book/project.


    I must keep moving. Doing my best while moving is all I need.

    Artists Way Week 4

    Thanks for reading,


    Artist's Way Week 3

    Week 3: Ready… Set…

    I feel an anxiousness to complete things. Not the bad kind of anxiety… more like an adrenaline rush while waiting for the starter pistol.

    I’m now constantly aware of a great desire to move forward, far enough to find myself in new surroundings.

    I’ve had certain items on my “To Do” list for years. I want to be done with them. I feel they keep me anchored to goals that I’m not sure are still relevant to who I am today.

    Artists Way Week 3

    As I continue reading The Artist’s Way, I keep discovering things about myself.

    Week 3’s epiphany happened during an assignment to make a list of 5 people I admire and 5 people I secretly admire. Which traits in particular do I look up to?

    I wonder, was the “secretly admire” list a trick? After jotting down the names, I couldn’t decide if it’s people I admire… or envy.

    If I was asked to list 5 people I envy, I would have quickly lied and said, “Oh, gosh, no, I don’t envy anyone.”


    The secret admiration approach nudged me to be honest. (I’m not sure if Julia meant this to happen, or if it’s my interpretation. Either way, it was helpful.)

    Looking over the traits of people on both lists, I realized that I admire people who are:

    [sparkle_list list_type=”sparkle-list4″]

    The fantastic thing is that 4 out of 5 can be a chain of “actionable items.”

    Traits I Admire

    This recipe of fabulousness is within my reach.

    Starting now, I can actively focus on developing these traits that I admire in other people. Who knows, maybe it will get rid of my secret envy.

    The remaining thoughts from the week that I loved are the following:

    About Anger

    “Anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. […] Anger is meant to be acted upon. It’s not meant to be acted out.”

    As somebody that always cringes away from conflict, this perspective is a game changer. Conflict is not all bad. On the contrary, it can lead to a much better outcome. Why avoid a chance to improve myself, my relationships, and surroundings?

    About Art

    “Art matures spasmodically and requires ugly-duckling growth stages.”

    Hehe! I have gigabytes of proof of this.

    “Art brings healing. But before a wound can heal, it must be seen.”

    So, bring Art into the open. No band-aids. Let it breathe. It will heal faster.

    Thanks for reading,

    PS: Talent is subjective, and I’m still trying to determine if you can nurture it, or if you’re born with a predetermined amount and can only build skills around it. What are your thoughts on this? I’d appreciate any insight.

    PS2: I bought a book stand. (Affiliate link. Read more.) It’s awesome!

    Artist's Way Book Stand