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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 11 - Time To Come Alive: "Getting Unstuck" With Special Guest Isabel Blanco, Event Designer

Not Quite Strangers | Isabel Blanco | Confront Resignation

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Time To Come Alive: "Getting Unstuck" With Special Guest Isabel Blanco, Event Designer


Welcome to our coaching session, an opportunity for us to become more conscious of connecting with one another and ourselves, and also our opportunity to create something new in your life and with the people or the organizations that you're involved with. In this episode, we have a wonderful special friend of mine joining us who is going to be our special guest. Her name is Isabel Blanco. We are so happy to have you here.

We'll get into the nitty-gritty of Isabel's time with us and what she's here to accomplish. Before we do that, I love to take a moment to ground ourselves and create the space for the conversation that we're going to have with Isabel and then the rest of you. For that, wherever you are sitting, standing, or doing as long as it's safe, plant your feet on the ground and enter yourself in wherever you are sitting. Allow the seat that you're in or the place you're standing to take on your weight.

I want to start by taking some deep breaths with your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do it a couple of times. If you feel comfortable closing your eyes, you may. If not, soften your gaze. Feel free to do that. We're going to take a moment to look inward for a bit in preparation for this conversation to think about, “Where in your body do you feel stuck?”

When I say stuck, you don't feel freedom. Perhaps, you don't feel that there's any movement or progress. There's a sense of boredom. It might be dissatisfaction or anything. Whatever the word stuck means to you, I want you to think about where might that be showing up. If it is showing up physically, notice where it is. Is it emotional? Is it stuck in your heart? Is there a particular body part of your muscles and joints? Do you notice tension in some place in your body? It’s the stuck feeling. What is that stuck bear to tell you? What it is teaching you? Take a deep breath as you are focusing on that area of your life or body.

My invitation, as we have this conversation with Isabel, is for you to listen for yourself from where you've been stuck before or now. Engage in the conversation or read from how this might serve you to move, honor, acknowledge, relax, and accept. It's applied to your life or experience so that openly we can listen, be accepting, and see how this may or may not apply in your life. Take another final deep breath. You may open your eyes or refocus your gaze when you are ready.

First of all, I wanted to introduce my special friend here. Isabel and I have known each other since 2015. One of the things I so appreciate about you and the reason why I thought you'd be a great person to have on the episode is your love of life. The time to come alive is about acknowledging moments, people, or situations that bring us life. Life doesn't necessarily always mean fun but it means that you're engaged, present, and up to do something. You're always up to do something. That's how you show up for me. I wanted you to share some things. What are you up to? You're a mom of three children.

Almost four. I'm about to have my fourth, which was surprising and unexpected. It was nowhere ever in my books or house. It's been a crazy ride.

Having a fourth on the way is a good reason. You are excited.

It's going by so fast. Honestly, it's going by like nothing. With my other three kids at this point, I was so miserable. I'm still like, “What is there to do? What do we get to do?” Stuff happens. It's a different experience.


You are a pro.

At four, you should be a pro already.

There are four of us. I have three brothers. My mom is like, “I had twins the last time. What are you going to tell me? I got this.” One this I know about you is that you're also an event, occasion, and graphic designer. I don't even know what other type of designer but design is all part of your creativity.

I started in 2005. I was planning my wedding and then looking for invitations. I had something in mind and I couldn't find what I wanted. I went to several different stores. I looked online. I had something in my heart. I had a vision of what I wanted and I couldn't find it. One day I went to the craft store and found the material that I had in mind and pictured. I was like, “I am going to make my invitations.” At that moment, I decided, “This is what I’ll do.” It was so crazy from one day to another.

I loved the idea of doing that. I took on learning how to make invitations. We started making handmade invitations, and then I got into designing. I am an invitation designer. That is my specialty. I started taking on another type of design. We got the opportunity. People started looking for us. “Do you do stuff for parties?” I’m like, “I don't do much.” We started looking into making centerpieces and things like that, and then people started asking, “Do you guys decorate?” We're like, “Not really. We were doing other things.” We let our hearts go to that and have fallen in love with event decorating.

I'm an event decorator as well. It is such an amazing thing to do. It fills our hearts so much when we get to be a part of an event and we see the finished design. We're like, “This is gorgeous.” We can't wait to see the pictures of the event. What's so magical about what we do is that we get to be a part of a special celebration for someone and their unforgettable memories. What we do is where the people take pictures. That is one of the biggest highlights of their event. Years later when they look back at their pictures, we're going to be there in the background. It is something that we have at the moment.

Not Quite Strangers | Isabel Blanco | Confront Resignation
Confront Resignation: What's so magical about being an event designer is being a part of those memories.

One thing I understand as you're not only sharing about what you've done in the business but also even in motherhood is you say yes a lot. It seems to be, “Yes, we'll do that. I'll make my invitations. I'll have another child.” Where does that come from saying yes to whatever shows up?

From the bottom of my heart, we'd like to take on the challenge. It looks like something interesting and something we would like to do. That's one of the things that has made us go ahead and start taking on different stuff. That feeling of fear is always present. It's like, “Let's take that on. Maybe we should take it on and make it happen.” It’s the feeling of, “Should I do this or that?” When that shows up, it's like, “What is there to lose? Let’s go straight.” We start taking on a lot of different stuff.

What would you say the first time you remember taking on a challenge that you're excited about? Why did you take it?

I would say opening the business. I started in 2005 working from home. I would design invitations for a couple of whoever would refer me but it's something that I always had in my heart. It wasn't until my sister came up to me one day. She's like, “I'm miserable in my job. You're miserable in your job. Why don't we go ahead and open the business?” That was the biggest challenge that we've had or at least that I felt I had because back then, I was always wanting to be in my comfort zone. I didn't think anything was possible, different, and stuff like that. Once we did that and got it out of the way, it was like, “If I did this, which I felt was such an impossible thing, what else can I do?”

Escaping from our comfort zones is the biggest challenge we have.

I go back to what you said about the comfort zone. What does being in a comfort zone look like for you? What were you doing? What was the experience?

My comfort zone is being at home wishing I could be out there doing something. Not because I didn't want to be home with my kids and family but because I knew that there was a fair purpose and that I could serve us something else. I was bigger than being a stay-at-home mom, cleaning, folding clothes, and doing that all the time. I was having that fear of not being able to do anything. I can't talk to anybody. I'm shy, believe it or not. That was my comfort zone. I can picture myself being on the couch watching TV and wishing I could do something and not do anything at all.

I noticed that there's some emotion involved when you're talking about it. What's the emotion? Why is it coming up for you?

I don't know what this means but I always feel like there's something greater that I could do. Maybe it’s the thought of me being at home with my kids, doing laundry, sweeping, mopping, and cooking. The idea of that was never something that I ever pictured for myself. I grew up with my parents where they’re like, “Go to school so you can get a career, have a good job, and be somebody.”

The picture of me being at home and not doing anything for myself or in this case, I always pictured a career in a business, not doing any of those things was something that didn't make me happy if I wasn't doing that. It gets me emotional because I remember how I felt back then, being here at home, watching TV, and not doing anything in the world. I don't know what that means but I am so full when I am out doing something or creating something for myself. That gives me perhaps a sense of a significant existence and that I wasn't here in the world just existing and that I was doing something.

Thank you for sharing that. We've had many conversations, long ones, and some profound ones over the years. I want to shift gears and talk about the transition that you made in January 2018. You said yes to shifting something else in your life, and that was your body. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did? What took you to that point?

I took on ending my battle with weight problems that I had. I took on having bariatric surgery. The process is called BAGUA. That is the gastric bypass of one anastomosis. All the information about it, I don't remember what it was. I took that on for several reasons. I have been battling with weight problems ever since I could remember. It was something that I grew up with.

I felt so blessed myself, inferior to everyone else, and ugly. I never felt pretty. Even if I was wearing a dress, I never felt girly enough. It was something that was always bothering me. When you’re a teenager, you start to like boys. I would say, “Why don’t people like me? I like that guy. I'm so in love with him.” I would always think, “Maybe if I would be skinny, he would pay attention to me,” or stuff like that. It was so hard for me to deal with.

One of the biggest people that I had in my life that I felt and weighed much on was my dad. He is a very physically fit person. He has done tremendous things in his life. He's always been the best at what he does. He's taking on boxing. He's done Ironman and bodybuilding. He does mountain climbing and goes to the tallest mountains in Central America. His business is related to sports.

I always felt like him having an overweight daughter when he is such a huge promoter of health and sports, how hard that’d be for him that here's his daughter and he can't get her to lose weight but he's promoting everyone else to be physically fit. That was always something that I carried with me a lot. He carried that as well because of the way that he would speak to me. It was very frustrating for him. He didn't know how to motivate me, inspire me perhaps, or deal with having an overweight daughter.

To give people some context, when you mentioned problems with your weight or overweight, can you give us an idea? I don't have a before or after picture or anything. I want people to at least have a sense of what you're referring to. What is overweight? What do problems with weight look like?

I was raised in Mexico. I was always the chubbiest of everyone in school and my family. My heaviest when I lived in Mexico was weighing 200 pounds. I got to weigh 300 pounds so 200 pounds seems like nothing. That's what I weigh now but I feel so good about it, and I am pregnant. I carried that weight until I was 15 or 18. At that point, I started losing a little bit but it was never much that would be like, “She's losing weight.”

Similar to why you describe getting off the couch and starting your business, what was that moment that you decided that you were going to do something about your weight, something like surgery or whatever other intervention to make that happen?

It’s having the culture that my dad was providing for me. He owns a gym. There are aerobics classes and everything a gym has. I always felt like, “I need to work out and do this.” That's always something that I took on. I wouldn't lose weight. It was so hard for me to lose weight. I came to the United States. I got married and gained 100 pounds. I was stuck on that weight for a very long time. Often, I would always take on going to different classes, taking different shapes, and doing stuff like that.

At the most, I would lose about 40 pounds and then gain it right back. I took diet pills and that would get my heart crazy. I’m doing stuff like that. A lot of us overweight people do fall into doing a lot of the same things. We think that we want to crash diet. It works for a couple of weeks and then we go straight down. I had my third child a few years ago. I was at my heaviest. When I had her, I was about 320 pounds. It was too much. I didn't feel that weight on me.

Not Quite Strangers | Isabel Blanco | Confront Resignation
Confront Resignation: Many overweight people fall into doing a lot of the same things. We think that we want to crash diet, and it works for a couple of weeks, but it goes straight down.

It's always something that I would take on. I would take on exercising and doing stuff like that. It was such a struggle and a hard process. I can't explain it. It's a very hard thing to go through. The experience that I have of being overweight and not being able to control that feels so impotent. There's such a feeling of impotency that you don't have control over your body. You want to and you're trying. You can't. I would go to CrossFit, be there for hours, and do stuff that nobody else was doing or anybody else that was my weight would ever dare to do. I would be like, “Why am I not losing weight?”

Finally, it was November 2017. We had the loss of a family member. He died very young because of high blood pressure. Things started getting complicated from that. I went to Mexico to go to his funeral. I had a conversation with my dad. He came to my room one morning. He said, “Would you consider doing liposuction?” My dad is asking me to have liposuction. I thought, “Okay.” That threw me off because my dad was always a person of like, “You got to work hard for it and do this,” which is always what I was trying to do. When he asked me that, I thought, “Let me look into that.” He said, “If you do something like that, I'll see how I can help you. I can be a part of it.”

What was the feeling at the moment he said that? How did you feel?

It threw me off at the beginning but I got a sense that he was trying to help me achieve something that he saw that I was not able to achieve on my own. During those days that I was there visiting Mexico, I started asking around and getting information on doctors and different types of procedures in different places where I could have this procedure done. My dad kept insisting about me having a procedure done but in a way like, “I care for you. I would love to do this for you.” I don't think about it. Later on, he mentioned to someone that he felt responsible about my weight.

Responsible as in it was his fault or he needed to do something to help you? What do you mean responsible?

I don't know. I never asked him that but he did tell someone. He told one of my uncles that he felt responsible to a certain point. I know that he felt responsible for helping me achieve it. He also probably felt responsible maybe because of the way he would approach my weight issues, which was not motivating at all. He was taking responsibility for probably everything and how he handled everything.

I had already considered this many years ago. I'm talking about the weight loss surgery. I saw it as a way of an easy way out. I thought, “I don't want an easy way out. I want to earn it.” I tried earning it for many years. Finally, I saw myself with the same question, “Is this an easy way out? Am I wanting to take things easier? Can I not achieve it on my own?”

There was a whole process of a lot of questioning that I was doing a lot of discovery for myself as, “Why am I going to take it on? Am I doing this for myself? Am I doing it because I want to look pretty or be healthy? Am I doing it for my kids? Am I doing it to please my dad? Am I doing it for my husband or someone else?” There was so much that I started questioning for myself. That's probably what took me the longest to make a decision on whether I wanted to go ahead, take the surgery, and do the surgery. I wanted to discover what the true answer to that question was.

Don't leave us hanging. What was the answer?

I was thinking one day about somebody who asked me, “Imagine your daughter at fifteen years old.” I was like, “That's fifteen years from now.” It hit me at that moment. I was like, “I'm 34. Whenever she's 15, I'm going to be 49. My kids are going to be such and such age.” What hit me the most was, “I'm going to be 49. At the weight that I'm going with over 300 pounds, what is my quality of life going to be?” The biggest thing was, “Am I even still going to be around?” That is what has me take it up.

I trusted the procedure. I found a great doctor. It was that, “Am I going to be around for her?” As a human being, you want to be around the most, especially when you have kids. There's a fear of, “What if I'm not with them? Who's going to care for them and love them? Who's going to care for them as much as I do?” That's what made me make that decision to change that for myself and have a better quality of life.

We don't all have the experience of having this life-or-death moment, or an opportunity to reflect but I do think when we're stuck somewhere in life, whether that be in a relationship, career choice, or a community you don't want to be in anymore, some aspect of our life like financially or any of that, that's a wonderful question to post to ourselves. You not only ask yourself, “What would I look like? How would that be for me?” There are some external factors like, “Will this be helpful in how I look to other people in my life?”

The biggest question for us to ask ourselves is, “Are we going to be fulfilled by the quality of life that we have with this particular situation or that place where we're stuck?” It seems that that's what had you shift. You saw the quality of life you wanted to have. You pictured what quality of life is. There are a lot of us who don't necessarily have a picture of the quality of life. We exist.

The biggest question for us to ask ourselves is, "Are we going to be fulfilled by the quality of life that we have in this particular situation?"

That took me to the other conversation we were having.

What was that?

Another conversation we had before.

Let's bring it up. The quality of life conversation that you and I were having was, “When do you pursue your dream? I'll put this in a little capsule here, “Do you pursue your dream? Is having that particular dream a better quality of life than a different type of dream?” It sounds like the choice that you were stuck in at the time. I have not had the same amount of pressure around it but I've had body issues all my life.

I can’t believe that.

Here's the thing. The quality of life and peace come back. I remember when I was very young. There was a moment when a living sitter who was raped. I hate to put it out there but she was raped by a group of young people. I was nine so for me, young people there were older. Those are teenagers or older teens. In the culture that we were in Panama at the time, men looking at women and whistling or saying compliments was a pretty common thing but somehow, I associated in my mind that that attention would lead to that type of trauma.

For me putting on a little weight and not dressing that very feminine for many years beyond college was the way I kept myself safe. I don't think I ever know that. It wasn't like a conscious thing. You have all sorts of reasons why we do or don't do certain things. When I unpacked that years ago, I realized, “That's why I didn't wear very bright colors, or dresses and skirts that often.” I thought a lot about what was called for me. You mentioned the comfort zone.

I'm not speaking to make that comparison but we get to the question of, “What's the quality of life we're having?” I had a mirror held up in front of me at one point with a great friend. I was like, “I don't feel on the inside the way I show up on the outside. How can I make those two match up better?” The big question here is when our comfort zone keeps us stuck so the external circumstances, whether that be our body, life, home, career, or relationships don't match up with the quality that we experience internally, those are the questions that need to be asked.

I'm going to pause for a second with that because this got interesting. I want to engage those who are joining us in the session to know what are you hearing for yourself in this conversation, where might you be stuck, or where have you gotten unstuck that you love to share. Francis, why don't you go ahead and share?

What I was thinking is you were looking forward to the age of 49 and what your life would be like. I was thinking about people who are in my age bracket. When we look forward, it's like we almost have to create it. Our culture does not know what to do with somebody. I was with a group of people and there was a woman there who was so full of life. She drives her car all the time on her own and she exercises. She's very active as a member of the group and she celebrated her 96th birthday.

I thought that was going to be the norm for those of us who have that sense of looking forward. The thing that's not in place is what you do with it when you're 96 or 100. Peter Diamandis said, “We should look forward to being a 110 to 120.” I don't think that we're prepared for that. It got me thinking about that when you were thinking about, “What is my life going to be like when I'm 49?”

I'm thinking, “What is my life going to be like when I'm 110?” Nobody tells me what to do with that. In a way, I have to invent it. Part of what I think was it's our job to encourage each other to look at how to make that equality in life. Otherwise, a lot of people are heading towards a future that they're not prepared for. That's some ideas but it struck a chord with me.

Francis, I'm curious when you talk about inventing life. All of us at any stage, especially if we're stuck somewhere and we don't see beyond that circumstance, we have to invent something. What is the process for invention for you? Wanting to go to 110, how do you start inventing?

As my background, I've always worked as a therapist. I was trained to think in terms of stages. You're a child and then you become an adolescent, a young adult, and a middle adult. What happens as you get older when you become an older adult? We don't have any goals for older people. We have goals for somebody who's a teenager or an adult taking care of their family. One of the things that I first had to realize is that moving into a stage of life in older adulthood has no goals. It forced me to realize that if I don't invent them or start to think about what I want equality in life to look like, it's not going to happen.

That's why so many people say, “I think I resigned.” As they get older and resign, they’re like, “There's nothing for me to do. I'm going to be a burden to my family.” They have all these things that are excuses that are not relevant at a time when we have many more options for a healthy lifestyle but we have to, in a way, be the person who chooses it. We're responsible for our future. Maybe that's through learning from Isabel. You talked about that in your life. It's something that we learned all the way along. “If I'm responsible, it doesn't end when I get older. It’s just starting.”

People have excuses that are not relevant at a time when we have so many more options for a healthy lifestyle, but we have to be the person who chooses to make it. We're responsible for our future now.

That is incredible and so true. You do see your life of goals as you're an adult and then it's like, “You have the picture of once you get to a certain age.” “I just chill.” If we do have the opportunity to live to 110, what are we going to do? We can't just chill. Let's keep creating. Thank you so much for sharing that.

That sounds like a goal. It's funny what I understand you are saying, Francis, in what you shared with us. The shift is happening for all of us at all ages. That is continuous. For some, it is more evident than others but it's the shift from what we do to who we are being, from the doing to the being, and being mindful about the career we have, the relationship we have, the home that we live in, the car that we drive, and all those external trappings. Those #Goals that we make about getting certain and acquiring those things have an expiration.

Maybe not just the item, situation, or phase itself has the expiration but our relative satisfaction or fulfillment from that has an expiration date. The shifting to the being doesn't have an expiration date. As you're growing older and thinking about what that future is in the invention of it, the being is the goal. Who you're going to be? It’s that little range of certain circumstances that manifest certain items, elements, or adventures. Does that resonate?

Not Quite Strangers | Isabel Blanco | Confront Resignation
Confront Resignation: All those external trappings like hashtag goals we make about acquiring those things have an expiration. Our relative satisfaction or fulfillment from that has an expiration date, but shifting to the being doesn't have an expiration date.

I wrote down the word Purpose when Isabel was talking about it. This is where it relates to what you're talking about, Valerie. I used to think you have a car and you can be happy. You have a certain weight so you can feel good about yourself. All these external things are designed to help us to feel better internally. As I get older and when I look at being, we reverse that. It's like, “I'm not here to have cars, a house, and a lifestyle that's going to make me happy. What I do is bring my happiness to my lifestyle. I bring my joy and love to my family. I bring my being and qualities.” For me, the biggest core is joy. “I bring my joy to what I do. Can I start my day with that?” As I grow older, it's not “it's me” something but more an opportunity to be able to bring what I can to life. That's what we would call being.

Francis is scheduled to have a conversation at another time to come to the show in the future. Save some of these nuggets. This is great. You nailed it. The title of this episode is Time to Come Alive. There's a quiz that I didn't mention to you in the beginning but please take the quiz at to see where you are in that spectrum. Where is your mindset as it relates to some of these external areas of life? Whatever that inside thing we have is what we express hourly. That's what happens.

When we nurture what's inside of us, then what manifests outside of us matches up. It has to be on the inside first. The car and the lifestyle don't necessarily lead to joy. When we feel joy, it has us pick a certain car, partner, or job. We get to express that internal feeling and external action. We have more conversations. What are you hearing? What are you seeing for yourself and your life? Meg, what do you have to share?

There's so much that I've related to in this conversation, first with the feeling stuck, wanting to do something, and not knowing how to get there, the problems with weight, which I have, and then being an older person, and not knowing what my goals are or even should be at this stage. There are a lot of feelings going on right here. I am so glad that I found your sessions because it's truly been a blessing for me to know all the things that you're talking about and putting out there.

I am working towards moving back to Dallas. I moved to my hometown of Stephenville because I got sick. I do have a chronic illness but I'm feeling better and have been in the process of trying to get on disability and keep getting denied. Finally, I'm coming to the point where I'm saying, “Do I want to do that?” To me, that's giving up. I've been a nurse, an LVN, for over 40 years. I let my license go on inactive status because I haven't been able to work.

I have also started doing a peer recovery coach thing that I did the classes for when I was in Dallas because I've been a recovering alcoholic in Alcoholics Anonymous. I have been sober, at least continuously. I've been looking at what it is that I do and how to share myself with other people and get to what I need to do to be happy within myself. I write, draw, and paint. I've done these things all my life. I play piano. My creative stuff has always taken the backseat to the practical things. My mom was a songwriter and a playwright. She had very limited success in her lifetime. I was taught early on that those things are hobbies. You cannot make a living doing that. You have to do something practical.

I've therefore done practical things my whole life and kept other things as hobbies. Those are some of the things that I've been looking at and working toward. I had a healing experience here where I had a sudden huge improvement in my health. That was after going to the women's retreat within Belton. It was pretty profound and something that I wanted to hang on to. I don't know how it happened but I'm a fan of it. The weight thing for me is not something that I've had all my life. Like Isabel, I started putting on the weight when I got sick and after I started having my kids. A huge amount of weight that I've gained started when I got sick with lung disease and heart disease. I'm set to say a lot of things.

I appreciate you saying all those things. What I understand from you is you're not at the point in your life where you want to continue to contribute. I go back to what you said about being practical. There is a certain amount of practicality that we have to exercise to survive in this world. We have to eat, have some shelter, and maintain optimal health so we can continue to survive. What I’m hearing is how we can nurture the inner talent or gifts that we have.

That's the fuel to do the practical thing. That becomes fuel for us. That might look like, in your case, the arts, painting, drawing, and playing the piano. For some of us, it might look like journaling, sitting in nature, and going for a walk. Some people might do yoga, run, or travel. There are all sorts of ways that we nurture our inner life. We have the opportunity to choose how to nurture our inner life and allow that fuel to drive us to do practical things.

Nurture your inner talent or gifts. That's the fuel to do the practical thing.

It's tough. We have a society where we have this dichotomy between, “Living my purpose, working, and having my work reflect my purpose in life.” The purposes are being, not our doing. We get those two things to collapse. This has opened up twenty million other subjects. I encourage you all to share this with other people. It is such a beautiful conversation. It's a value shared so much of yourself and your journey.

Francis and Meg, your contribution to this conversation started up a lot of interesting thoughts from people. I don't want them to miss out on that. If you have the opportunity to take the quiz, go to That would be great. I do write at least Isabel's company name for those of you who are looking for an event designer or invitation. Isabel, you're out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Can you tell us your company name and where they can find you?

The business name is Issazii Creates and Invites. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram. You can call me. The number you can reach is (918) 798-1823. We are committed to making your events unforgettable. Call us for whatever needs you have.

Katherine, jump on, please.

Thank you for sharing, Isabel and Francis. There's so much that spoke to me. I needed to know this in terms of being stuck and all of it pretty much. I had a car accident at the end of December 2018. I started seeking treatment. At first, I thought, “There's nothing wrong.” I feel okay and then it started kicking in all of a sudden. I had thoughts associated with that part. I thought, “Many people are trying to get over on insurance companies and all these different things.” I started realizing that it was a true pain.

I started going to see a chiropractor, getting adjustments, and trying to seek natural healing versus the synthetic form. I took a fall randomly. I was rushing for church on Sunday. I slipped in my bathroom going from the carpet into the restroom. I was like, “This is the devil trying to keep me from going to church. Let me continue moving.” I feel like I took a few steps backward because I started feeling better after a few months of doing my therapy and doing these kinds of things. I haven't been able to work out, which is hard to mention.

What I realized is it wasn't so much about the weight thing. I didn't struggle either. I did bodybuilding in my first years in college but I always had my mother in my ear like, “When I was your age, I didn't struggle with weight.” I don't think our parents realize some of the things that they instill in us. I'm not saying they do it on purpose. She had the best of intentions but as I got older, life started to happen, and I started having female hormonal issues, the weight started to come on. I have a thyroid condition so it spiraled.

Parents don't realize some of the things they instill in their childrern. They don't necessarily do it on purpose. They always had the best of intentions.

My mother passed in 2005 due to hypertension. It occurred to me when I turned 45 a couple of years ago that that could happen to me. I don't want to die at 55. I don't have kids. I have nieces and nephews. I thought, “I'm not ready.” I gained a significant amount of weight. I went up to close to 200 pounds. I'm not very tall. For me, it was quite a bit of weight. Losing her, I felt like, “Something has got to change,” but there was a lot of body shaming associated with me.

I was molested as a kid. I started therapy for that as well because my mind was depressed. I started seeing how it was all related and why as a kid, I was a tomboy and I wore pants. I didn't like wearing dresses. My mom wanted me to be girly and I was not girly. I was out playing football with the boys, playing basketball, and always in sports. People look at me and are like, “Right.” I was a huge tomboy. A part of it was because I felt like if I looked or acted a certain way, then I was welcoming that abuse. While it started as a child, at the time, I don't think I was consciously making these decisions or choices but it was because of my experience.

When I'm older, I struggle with, “What is my purpose?” I'm blessed with the career that I've had. I've been praying constantly about my purpose. First of all, through the abuse, you realize that it's not your fault when it happens to you as a child. At any age, it's not your fault when you're sexually abused. It's amazing how it's all related. Hearing all of you share and speak about it has made me realize. Thank you again for sharing.

I'm blessed that I found your talks and this initiative because it's something that every episode speaks to me. This was even more so. The stuck part is realizing, “Where do I go from here?” I'm very analytical. Life in general is in black and white. I try to be like, “What's my next step?” Francis was saying, “I haven't even thought that far.” I'm at this point like, “I'm going to make it to 55.” I’m years away from it.

Thank you so much for sharing. Every single person on this planet I'm sure has a place in their lifetime where they have been stuck in a pattern of thinking or behavior and certain circumstances in their life that mean something. We get stuck at places, like in your case, the molestation. I mentioned having a nanny or babysitter that is raped. Isabel, you were stuck in your weight. All of us have some area of our life where we've experienced that.

I want to say this carefully because of the circumstances that we've experienced. In some cases, the trauma that's generated is profound and what's been happening in the circumstances around it. As we continue to evolve and expand our awareness about ourselves, the world, and the stories that we've been told when we were young and what we took on, what we chose to believe or adopt into our life, all of those are choices that we make.

Many cases are unconscious, choices or decisions that we make besides something. We play a certain game based on the decisions that we make. We show up in a certain way. Going back to what Francis mentioned, we have an invitation. I extend an invitation. If you're not reading this, I'm going to extend it to you. You have an invitation to invent the life that you want. Not invented as in blind belief but invented as in create. We created some meaning around the experiences of our youth and the circumstances that we had to live with.

We have the opportunity to create an invitation to create something else. If you're going to live to 110, make it the best living possible. The quality of life that we get to create is our choice. Take the stuff that you take on. I have to start watching Marie Kondo. She's been coming up into my consciousness so much. That's the woman who helps people be organized. She talks about, “What sparks joy?” That's the question that she asks her clients before they get rid of something or decide to keep something.

Not Quite Strangers | Isabel Blanco | Confront Resignation
Confront Resignation: We created some meaning around our youth experiences or circumstances that we had to live with. We now have the opportunity to create an invitation to create something else.

“Does it spark joy? Does it look good on me?” Not, “Does it fit well? Do other people like it? Do I always get compliments on it? Is this the way people expect me to be, act, and show up, or the career I should have? Is this the partner that they talk about that I should have because I need it?” “Does it spark joy?” That's a question to figure out for each of us and explore. What does that spark look like? What's the sensation or emotion so that we're clear that when we experience a spark of joy, we’re like, “That's it. That's something that I need to keep or look at and need to be curious about?”

That could make such a huge difference if we always ask ourselves that question. Maybe move on to something else but that is a question that I'm going to take on more. Any time that I find a situation, I'm going to ask myself, “Does that spark joy?” That's a great question.

We're talking about getting unstuck. Gayle Blair was our guest. If you go back and visit that session, we talk about resistance. When you pursue resistance, try to work towards it, and break through, the resistance will tell you that this is not for you. Those are some distinctions that we also need to make. Sometimes being stuck could mean pushing through the stuck part through the next phase and progressing forward. Sometimes being stuck means there are crossroads.

Being stuck doesn't necessarily mean you push through. It could mean you deviate and go in a different direction. She brings up some interesting distinctions. I invite you all to look at that particular episode. Everyone, I appreciate you for being here. Thank you for showing up, reflecting with us, and sharing what you shared. Isabel, thank you so much for being a part of this. I acknowledge the bold, creative, joyful, loving, transparent self, and vulnerable self that you brought to this show.

Being stuck doesn't necessarily mean you push through. It could mean you deviate and go in a different direction.

Thank you again for the invitation, Valerie. I appreciate it. You know that I love you.

I love you too.

I’ll see you soon. Thank you so much

It was my pleasure.

I’m looking forward to having more conversations.

Way more. Thank you, everybody. Have a wonderful day.

Important Links

Wes Moore: "We are not the product of our environment. We are the product of our expectations."


This week in the "Time to Come Alive" session, we welcomed our special guest, Isabel Blanco. She's a mother of three (soon to be four) children and an entrepreneur. She shares her journey from a life resigned to being comfortable by sitting on her couch to creating a business and confronting her issues with weight once and for all.


Key points:

  • How quality of life determines our decisions and actions.

  • What it takes to confront resignation and invent the life you want.

  • Moving beyond doing and focusing on being.


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